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Lower Valley native speaks at Christian Women's Club

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Lower Valley native Linda Sieveke, now of Spokane, speaks to members of the Lower Valley Christian Women's Club about finding restoration in God. Sieveke said that God can heal "brokeness" in our lives.

Linda (Holmes) Sieveke, now of Spokane, was born while her father was working on a hop farm in Mabton. Her family moved to Wapato before settling in the Rattlesnake foothills north of Sunnyside.

"We lived above the Roza Canal up in the sagebrush," Sieveke told members of the Lower Valley Christian Women's Club attending Monday's luncheon.

Humor was always a big part of Sieveke's life.

"Once a month the mailman would deliver the Reader's Digest," she said.

Over the course of the next week her father would systematically go through the magazine and read jokes and stories to Sieveke and her siblings.

"He would start to read and then he would start to laugh," said Sieveke.

Soon the whole group would be laughing, she said, but they didn't even know the funny part yet.

"To this day when I see my dad he will say, 'Hey Linda, have you heard this one'."

Sieveke said that if her memories were written down they would probably read much like those in the Reader's Digest section titled, "Life in these United States."

She said that living on the Roza, traveling to town was an event, however she did remember the book mobile was always parked at her Auntie Pat Schilperoort's house.

"There were always books in my life," she said.

As a senior in high school, life changed for Sieveke. Her family moved off the farm and into Grandview.

"I now found myself in a little town just down the street from stores," she said.

There were boys and dates, she said.

Going off to college, Sieveke met and married her husband on Valentine's Day 40 years ago.

Soon after the couple was married the Vietnam conflict started and the couple found themselves stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. Sieveke also found herself a busy young mother of three young children, all born within 33 months.

"There's one thing about memories," she said. "We can pick out which ones we want and forget the rest."

Sieveke said that as a little girl she had an 'I can do it myself' attitude toward life.

"To say I was strong-willed was probably an understatement," she said.

But, the choices she made in her life did not bring her peace or happiness.

"I liked to control the situation with anger," said Sieveke. "I was a door slammer, well, I liked anything that would make noise."

After she was married she and her husband were in an argument and she was not happy about a decision he had made.

"I threw on my jacket, stomped out the door and slammed it and got into my car and slammed the car door," she said.

Being the middle of winter, the force of slamming the car door blew out the vehicle's back window.

"It wasn't very funny then," she said with a giggle.

Sieveke said that as she grew older she remembered things her mother had read to her from the Bible.

"My mother read from the Bible every night," she said. "My favorite stories were about Jesus."

Sieveke said that she remembered her mother reading about the penalties for the things we have done.

"It also says, if we say we have no sin in us we are fooling ourselves," said Sieveke.

The memories of those words and the words that read "All who receive Him he give the right to be a child of God," led her to a place where she made a decision to let God lead her.

"I had been taught the importance of studying God's word, but until I made that decision I hadn't experience relief, that is until I let God move into my life," she said.

Sieveke said she still faces heartaches and disappointments, even though she has turned her life over to God.

Sieveke's third child, Eric, was born with Down's Syndrome. By the time he was 3-1/2 he was learning to walk and began attending a special school, but it was about that time that his legs began showing signs of crippling.

By the time Sieveke's fourth child was born, Eric was wheelchair-bound due to a rare degenerative disease. Ten years later the disease caused Eric's death.

Besides deciding on long-term care for Eric before his death, she said they had to deal with how to handle the death of a child with her other children.

"God does not promise to remove us from hard situations," said Sieveke. But she quickly added, "I don't know what I would do without Him in my life."

She said that God knows what kinds of "brokeness" is in each one of our lives and can bring us back to restoration with Him if we just ask.

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