Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Be Absent From the Body is to Be Present with the Lord!!

Last Tuesday we received one of those phone calls that sends you into a whirlwind of activity and leaves your life changed forever.  Wally’s Dad was in critical condition.  He had gone into cardiac arrest while driving home and hit a parked car. A friend of the family had been driving behind Pop and saw him slump over the wheel.  He pulled Pop from the car who was already unconscious.  CPR was performed and EMS arrived.  But we feel Pop was gone, having already stepped into eternity and the waiting arms of the Lord.

Gramps' Funeral

Wally and his sister Leah left for Oklahoma just hours after getting that phone call.  They arrived at the hospital at 3:45 am.  Their brother Lewis was there but Mom had gone home to rest a few hours.  Tim would arrive on Thursday. The medical team had performed a cat scan on Gramps and found there was no brain activity.  Early on Wednesday morning, they took him off of life support and his body died within a few hours.

We later heard from Wally’s Mom that they had had a great morning together.  Pop had spent the time doing some chores, cleaning the grates from the grill, vacuuming, shaking rugs.  Simple chores that took a lot for him to accomplish.  Grams said for every two minutes he worked he sat down for five to rest.  He had commented, “whoo, it’s just hard today.”  One sweet memory Mom has shared was  when they had prayed together that morning, Pop had prayed longer than usual, praying for each of his children and grandchildren by name as he brought them to the Lord.

Grams and Gramps ran an errand and then went to pick up the Falcon from the garage where it was stored.  Gramps was planning to clean it up and get it ready to sell.  Grams and Gramps parted ways with “We’ll be in touch, and We’ll see you tonight.”  Grams went onto work and in about an hour, she received the call that her husband had been in an accident.

My Father-in-law had had heart issues since he was forty-nine. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with hepatitis C which he probably received in a blood transfusion at some point.  When our family saw him in June in Arkansas, he was just getting underway with some treatments for stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver, a result of the hepatitis.  Grams told us that two of the side effects from this treatment were cardiac arrest or stroke. 

As believers, God has promised us that we do not sorrow as those who have no hope.  Yes, we do sorrow.  But let me share how different it was to say goodbye to our Pop and Gramps because he had trusted Jesus as his Savior years before as a young man.  Friday night there was a viewing at the funeral home.  For about three hours people filed into the room.  And while there were tears, there was also great fellowship and even laughter!  That really impressed me.

Gramps' FuneralGrams, Whitney and Andrea as we arrived at the funeral home for the viewing.  Whitney flew home from Bulgaria where she is just beginning  a two year service with the Peace Corps.

Gramps' Funeral One of Gramps’ older brothers drove up from Florida, Uncle Lee and Aunt Charlotte

Gramps' Funeral Uncle Lee, Aunt Charlotte and their children, Terrie and Wayne. 

Gramps' FuneralGramps’ oldest brother, Uncle Harold and his wife Lucy drove from Virginia

Gramps' FuneralCousins, Tom and Shirley Cox

Gramps' Funeral

This is Theresa.  My Mother-in –law has taught a grief share class for the past ten years.  Theresa came to one of those classes and Grams led her to the Lord and then discipled her.  Theresa just kind of became a daughter to Grams and Gramps.

Gramps' FuneralKenny and Gramsie

Gramps' Funeral Gramps was quite an old car buff so Grams had some of his model car miniatures tied into the flower spray. He had refinished about eight vehicles in his lifetime.

Gramps' Funeral

Gramps' Funeral Grams at the funeral home with almost all of the grandchildren

On Saturday morning the family gathered at the cemetery. Two grandsons, Kelty and Allen had arrived late on Friday and missed the viewing.  So Grams opened the casket for them to say goodbye.  There was no hopeless clinging to a body at this burial.  Our hope is that we confidently know that Gramps is alive and in the presence of his Savior.  Who would wish him to come back to this old world?  Most precious to me was when Lewis asked Kenny to lead out singing in some hymns.  We started with Gramps favorite, “The Old Rugged Cross”, then “Amazing Grace” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” followed by “Majesty” and “He Is Lord”! 

Gramps' Funeral

Gramps' Funeral

Gramps' Funeral

That same confident hope allowed us to celebrate Gramps’ life at the Memorial Service.  Kaylah played her violin, Kenny sang, Wally and Tim spoke and Marlin read letters from Leah, Michael, Lee and even Grams.  Sunday morning Grams went to Sunday School and the time was filled with more testimonies from the class members of how Pop had impacted their life.  There was no Bible lesson taught that morning.  The lesson was the importance of serving God in everyday life, helping others. Gramp's’ life was an example of that!  

Gramps' FuneralGramps' Funeral



Gramps' Funeral  Lewis, Whitney, Becky, Allen and Kelty

Gramps' FuneralLeah and Marlin

(I feel badly I did not get a family picture, just their family in many pictures)

Gramps' FuneralKaylah and Nicole with Wesley

Gramps' Funeral Michael…he was thinking about his comments to write in his letter to Gramps

Gramps' FuneralOur family

Kenny, Wesley, Ben, Andrea, Sherry, Wally and Elaine

Gramps' FuneralMaddie, Tim, Ann and Zane

Gramps' FuneralMy kids with their Grams

  Gramps' Funeral Grams and the Grands

scanThis is my favorite picture of Wally’s folks

From the moment that Wally called to tell me his Dad was gone, one verse has continually been in my mind… “O death where is your sting?” I Corinthians 15:55.  The sting, the hopeless separation that death brings has no hold on a believer’s life. I like to picture my father-in-law driving down Broadway and 7th street and not having an accident, but rather that he just vacated his place behind the wheel! He stepped from the falcon into the open arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who stood to welcome Gene home!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone


docimage46 easter 005




Kennys graduation




Mother's Day 2009

Ok, I am winding down.  Sorry if I showed too many pictures, but I am a scrapbooker, and we like every picture we take.  With the photos come memories.  I once heard Dr. Dobson interview the founders of Creative Memories, Cheryl Lightle and Rhonda Anderson.  He made a statement about the fact that if families had a scrapbook to look at, when they have hard times and want to quit, they would have a reminder of all the good times that they have shared together and all that has been invested.  I really believe that. 

Twenty-nine years!  It seems like a long time ago that I vowed to Wally to be his wife “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do we part.”   Every marriage is hard.  There is a lot of “for worse”.  When you have the Lord, the hard and hurtful events are not hopeless or even without His goodness.  That has been my experience.  And there is a lot of “for better!”  (We do have the pictures and memories to remind us).

As Wally and I have come to this anniversary, we have had several friends whose marriages are on the brink or who have thrown in the towel altogether.  Each time we hear about someone, my heart just breaks.  We just keep saying, “why don’t they just hold on, or work a little harder, or not give up?”  It is so worth it!  It is wonderful to reach this point, kids mostly raised, grandkids, and just be blessed!!  A verse that I have come to treasure and that God gave to me during one of those difficult seasons is Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.”   It is not just because circumstances are good, it is because He is good! 

Yes, the story continues, and for how many more years we do not know.  But it is a good story to be part of!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Behold, Children are a Heritage from the Lord…Psalm 127:3a

God blessed Wally and I with three wonderful children.  A good deal of our 29 years together was spent raising them.  Wally has worked hard providing for us…even working two jobs at times so I could be home with the kids.  I never wanted to be anything else than a Wife and Mom.  Those years went by entirely too fast.  These are some of my favorite pics of the three kids together!docimage37


docimage9The three kids with our sheltie from England, Brandy.  She was the very best dog.

docimage43 Riding at Uncle Lewis’ House

docimage11docimage42On a mission trip to Mexico


docimage12 First Day of School

docimage38 Wally’s Mom made these night shirts and monogrammed their names on the pocket

docimage13I always liked this picture and had it on my bulletin board in the school room.  You may notice that Wes and Andrea have a mark on their heads…Kenny used this picture for target practice at some point!


Hang in there…I am almost done…the story is winding down!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life in Merry ole’ England

So in early February Wally and I packed up our first home in California and began a drive across the States.  Our destination was Dover, Delaware.  It was there that  the little pinto would be put on a boat bound for England.  It was also the place where Wally and I would part ways.  I could not go to England with him until he had found housing for us. On the trip across the States we visited my family in Colorado, my sister Jo at Shepherd’s in Wisconsin and Wally’s folks in Indiana.  It was while we were in Indiana that we found out that I was pregnant.  I finally boarded a plane for England Mother’s Day weekend! 


Here I am pregnant in England, in the room that would be our nursery. Our baby so far was a sheltie pup.  Wally had  bought this pram for me before I arrived.  I get a kick out of picturing him push it into the barracks where he was living at the time!


Here is the arrival of our first baby, Andrea Michelle was born on November 10, 1982 at 9:10 am.  She was born at RAF Lakenheath, an hour away from us.   We actually made that drive twice.  The first time, they sent us home saying I must be in false labor.  But several hours later in the middle of the night, and in the rain, we returned, not false labor! 

On our first anniversary I was pretty pregnant.  But after Andrea was born, we took a weekend, boarded the train with our tandem and went to London.  We stayed in a bed and breakfast and rode all over London.

docimage58 Here we are near the Tower Bridge…

docimage57 …and St. Paul’s Cathedral

We were stationed in England for three years.  I really liked living there.  We lived in the English countryside and saw many wonderful places.  We also visited Paris and Germany.  Just before we left England, we found out that we were expecting another baby!  Leaving England also brought more separation for Wally and I.  He would only be at our new base for a few weeks and then report to weather observing school at Chanute, AFB in Illinois.  It was a three month school and the military did not pay for the family to move.  So Andrea and I went to Indiana and lived with Wally’s folks.  Wally drove the five hours to come and see us every weekend.  And then he made a mad dash home one night for the birth of Kenneth Michael on July 2, 1985!




When Kenny was ten days old, and Wally’s school was over, we drove together to Tacoma, WA.  Wally was stationed at McCord AFB for the next 18 months.  It was while we were living in Washington that I attended my first Bible Study Fellowship class.  It would become a very big part of my life and the biggest tool for developing my relationship with the Lord.

After leaving Washington, we lived six months in Illinois where Wally was in weather forecasting school.  After completing school we lived in Florida at Patrick, AFB. 

We made four cross country moves with the military in three years. We had three lengthy separations that I can recall. Overall I did enjoy military life and being an Air Force wife.  When Wally left the Air Force, we returned to Colorado and settled down to raise our family.  Wesley Keith was born in Denver on May 17, 1989.



Yes, I am not done yet and the story continues…


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