What Wondrous Love is This?!

Dave - learning to dance.


“What wondrous love is this!” is an apt question or exclamation for the love and support we have been experiencing. An unexpected gift made it possible for us to attend the Woodstock Old Students Association (WOSA) conference/reunion last weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. What a wondrous gift!

Seeing several staff gave me the chance to ask all of my burning questions about the folks who had just arrived before we left, about my former staff in the HR office, about changes around campus. I met the new principal and poured my concerns into his listening ear for about half an hour. I warned one person that I had many questions and they gracefully answered them all! Woodstock is not an easy place to leave – if you have loved it well. Having left on very short notice last August, we did not have anything approaching “closure”. My heart and mind were full of questions and concerns for the welfare of those we had lived and worked with, for policies and procedures or processes begun, but not finished, for changes initiated – how had they stood the test of time? On a  more mundane level, what had happened to the washing machine we left at Mount Hermon?

Some answers filled me with joy, some with sadness. Some losses were not unexpected. Some new staff turned out to be absolutely wonderful – and others a real mis-match. Such is life. We – and they – are taking a real chance in coming to a new job in another culture on the far side of the world. Not being a good fit doesn’t mean someone isn’t a “good person” or that we in HR didn’t do our job properly; some hitches are simply not fore-see-able. We all have to learn to go with the flow and work with what we’ve got when the school year starts. Whether officially on staff in the HR department or not, I will always be on the lookout for those unique individuals who might be a good fit for Woodstock.

It was wonderful to see Jack and Cate, the folks who hosted us in their Delhi apartment for three weeks while I doctored at MAX hospital, staying with them through a failed surgery and my first round of chemotherapy before heading back up to Mussoorie. It is impossible to thank them enough for their hospitality and generosity in those difficult weeks.

It was great to see Pete from the development office; we had been in a small Bible study/sharing group with him and Dot. What a surprise when Pete said I actually look better now than I did at Woodstock! Surely the bright lime green of my new sari was simply blinding him to signs of disease…  Either that, or I was smiling so much (so happy to see folks), they (he wasn’t the only one who thought I looked “great”) didn’t notice that I’ve lost a little too much weight, have circles under my eyes and am ready to fall asleep standing up as my hemoglobin takes a hit from this chemo. I am down to my early days of marriage weight of 130 lbs. Thanks to Dr. Delmore’s skill with the knife, my gut, even without a navel, looks a bit better than after the last 3 surgeries! In my sari, I felt beautiful on Saturday night.


Meeting Dan Terry’s sister Ruth, and seeing his daughters, Saara and Anneli (with a little guy in tow) was healing in its own way for each of us.  Dan was killed during those three weeks we were in Delhi surrounding my diagnosis and failed surgery. I wrote a blog post about how Dan’s death put things into a broader perspective – even for us – even for me facing my own possible death from cancer.

Saara is holding Anneli’s 4-month old son.

While many Woodstock alum were several decades older than us, there were a few from the 90?s and 2000?s. Our stories are significantly different than those of the older generations, yet our attachment appears just as deep. Which makes me wonder why there aren’t more young alumni coming to the reunion??? It’s a question I can’t answer and development probably wishes it could.

BABY: We are grandparents!!!

Before leaving Colorado, we knew that our daughter had headed for the hospital when her water broke on Monday morning. We were expecting that grandchild all day long, and all night long.  About 24 hours later, around 5 o’clock this morning, the little guy made his debut, having taken his time getting things properly started. Abra inherited some good “birthing bones” from somewhere, not from me who had two c-sections. She managed to birth an 8 pound 8 ounce, 21-inch boy with minimal tearing and normal pain meds. We are now officially grandparents!!! Yipee!!!! Yikes! When Abra posts publicly, I will link to her website and put up some photos. We haven’t seen any yet either 🙁


I survived the 8-hour drive to Colorado, with an overnight in Colby on the way home.  We arrived in time for a bit of a nap before heading to Wichita for my chemo (round 3, week 3). Next week is my week off. I will get blood drawn tomorrow or Thurs to see if I need a transfusion before heading off to Minnesota in a couple of days.

The Gemzar worked well the first round, slightly less well the second round, and I would expect – even less well during this third round… We won’t know for a while yet – until we get blood work back. Having cancelled our appointment with the folks in Ohio for the clinical trial, we must now wait until the current regimen is no longer working before either trying for the trial again, or trying another chemo.


The cat and the chickens all survived, though today we were shooting for a record high.  Didn’t quite make it at 110 degrees.  Wow, that is hot enough! Though it wasn’t an all-time hottest day ever record, it was a record for this day in August. We tied the July record for for number of days over 100 degrees set in 1980. We saw deer in the creek on our evening walk today. Too dark to get a good photo, I can still prove they were there!

While keeping our air conditioner set on 80 during the day, we turn it off when we go to bed, open our bedroom windows and run the whole house fan all night. It pulls air from outside (now in the 90’s) across our bed and we actually sleep fairly comfortably, albeit with ice packs at our backs…


There are some deeper thoughts rattling around in my head that want to come out… I will do a “thoughtful” blog post as soon as I can…  For now, though, it’s good-bye. Keep cool!!!


This is the slideshow of 100 images that Jerry Weaver used during Sunday Morning worship.

Anyone interested in purchasing an image should write a comment to this blog post and include the photo file name/number. I will not post your comment, but will get back to you. All rights to the use of these images are reserved, please do not copy, print or use in any way without permission. -Cookie

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 David Wiebe
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This entry was posted in Cancer, India: Woodstock School, Newest Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What Wondrous Love is This?!

  1. betsy lehman says:

    Dearest Cookie and David,

    We are so grateful you could enjoy the wonderful opportunity to attend WOSA in Colorado. I know that bringing closure to your abrupt leaving of Woodstock is very helpful to you both, And how wonderful you must feel when people tell you that you look even better than you looked when they last saw you !!!!!

    How happy we are to hear about the arrival of your grandson !! May God continue to bless you both, Phil and Abra and the newest Wiebe!!!!

    You are all in our prayers, With much love,

  2. Jillianwilkins says:

    Congratulations on becoming grandparents. I look forward to seeing photo’s – has he been named yet?
    Our love and continued prayers,
    Jill & Howard

  3. Charlotte watson says:

    Dear Cookie and Dave
    How wonderful to hear Abra has had her baby. Huge congratulations to you all. And we are so pleased that you had such a happy weekend. You do look beautiful, both in your sari and your other outfit.
    We continue to send you lots of love and lots of prayers
    Charlotte and pete xx

    • cookie says:

      Thank you for the compliments! I am, however, too skinny… good thing I love ice cream!

  4. Marva Weigelt says:

    Cookie, you and I have not met, but I think we are supposed to! Three different persons mentioned you to me in less than a week: my neighbor Michael Clauson, Myrna Krehbiel and a Circles of Hope ally I think is named Steve. I moved here 6 months ago (amounts to a calling, but I’m still not sure to what) and am in the midst of writing a book called “FLUX: Inspiration for Navigating Uncertainty.” I know we are navigating different kinds of uncertainty, but in terms of common ground, flux is flux! I’d be delighted to hear from you when you have the time and energy. I resonate deeply with the intent behind charitable living. In another coincidence (okay, so I don’t believe that coincidents are accidents), I just had visitors last week who were on their way to WOSA, part of the “old-school” gang that graduated in the 1950s, I think, and worked there for awhile as well, Doug and Ann Pickett. They were staying in the Econolodge in Newton and showing me travelogues of Nepal!

    • cookie says:

      Oh my – what a lot of “co-incidents”! I will send you my contact info privately so we can find a time to meet. Did you know there is a fun card game named “Flux”?

  5. Celeste says:

    You certainly did look beautiful in the green sari!

    I’m delighted to hear of the arrival of your grandson.

    Love to you both,

  6. Annelle Wiens Claassen says:

    Sorry – I misunderstood about purchasing copies. I am still interested in purchasing copies but do not see numbers on the photos. Also would like info on the cost. Thanks.

  7. Annelle Wiens Claassen says:

    I would love a copy of your India slides show. Your pictures capture the beautiful people and places of the hillside that I remember from 30 years ago.
    I am glad you were able to go to the reunion – you look great in your sari.
    Congrats on becoming grandparents! I hope you have a wonderful visit.

  8. robert kinkley says:

    Hi Dave and Cookie! Congratulations on your both becoming Grandparents! The school year has begun again! Miss you both lots. Stay well. take good care.


  9. Mary Ellen Pesavento says:

    Cookie — Wonderful to see the pictures of you at the reunion. I follow your blogs and keep both you and Dave in my thoughts and prayers. Wanted to let you know that Mushroom continues to call our house “home,” though she still prefers to be an outside cat. We are delighted to see her each day — often meeting us on the path home or following us halfway to school.
    We send you our love.
    Mary Ellen

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