Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cowabunga baby dude!

Crew turned 3...in April. He is all about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It only seemed fitting to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza party. That's just what we did.

Crew loves to dance. And by dance, I mean he hears a beat and it's as if he can't help but to tap his foot which leads to nodding his head which leads to jammin' his arms which leads to wiggling his hips and then you find him full-on dancing. 

His other favorite thing to do is fight. As in Ninja fight or sword fight. The boys have a collection of weapons and they are constantly chasing each other through the house pretend fighting. 

Crew says the funniest things too. He is like his daddy in that he'll go to any expense to make people laugh. And he's good at it too! He is making us laugh all the time and for that, I am so grateful.

Crew and Pike are inseparable. That doesn't mean they play quietly and are always kind to one another but they rarely leave each other's side.

The most common phrase you'll hear is, "I'm hungry. What I can have?" To which I answer with, "cheese, banana, crackers, etc." He will eat a couple of bites. Be done and return with the same phrase 20 minutes later.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


My flesh is trying to ignore today; to pretend that everything is okay. But my heart is aching. My heart is drowning in tears and memories.

Today is Father's Day. And for the first time, my dad isn't here to see or hear how much he is loved by his children. I told my dad so many times that he is "the best dad in the world!" And oh, what I wouldn't give to tell him one more time.

My dad was the most selfless man, with the kindest heart. He loved my mom so gently and fiercely. He was devoted to his family, to me, to my family. You know, my dad didn't really have a hobby. We were his hobby. Supporting us. Playing ball with us. Tinkering on cars with us. Playing games with us. Going on vacation with us. It was always WITH US and for us. I don't think he ever did much for himself. He took joy in us. And that is who he was. 

My heart hurts. But I think what some might not realize is that it's not simply because he's not here. I miss him, I miss him terribly. But the majority of my pain stems from how selfless he was, and how much he endured on my account. The tears that are flowing and the memories swirling around my head are of all that he tried to hide and how much he suffered, to spare me and my siblings the pain of knowing his pain. Little things like when I'd ask him how he was feeling, and he'd say "okay," when in fact he was far from okay. Or how many times he stubbed his toe because he couldn't see or walk very well during the last weeks and yet he wouldn't raise his voice in frustration but humbly kept going, trying to hide the pain. He had spasms which we called severe hiccups for the last week of his life. At one point I heard him say that they gave him a pounding headache and with each one he felt as though his brain would explode. In that week, I only heard that one small complaint. I said sorry that he had the hiccups several times, and he would wave his hand as to say, it's okay, don't worry about me. The living room was his bedroom for the last weeks. 9 kids, 4 of their spouses, 6 grand-kids, and he camped out in the middle of it all, in pain and humiliation and chose to grin-and-bear-it. These things seem small and are only a tiny glimpse.

I'm still having a hard time getting past how terrible the past several months have been. I have a hard time dwelling on good memories because my mind always drifts back to something that reminds me of his suffering. I want to be able to talk to my kids and tell them stories of "Pappy" but I still can't keep my composure long enough to tell them. 

My dad made life wonderful and fun. He imparted wisdom and joy. He listened well, and spoke encouragement and life into those around him. His embrace was strong and gentle and I miss it so much. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such a dad. And though I wish I could have had another 29 years with him, in the 29 years I had, he extended more love, joy and kindness than most experience in a 100. Life is hard and at times it seems the opposite of beautiful. One day....one day I'll see him again and all will be well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's been two months. It feels like years. It's hard without you, dad. I will often think of something that I want to tell you and I wish so badly I could call you or even text you and hear your response.

I cleaned out the car a couple of weeks ago. We found so many special rocks that the kids picked out of your rock bowl. The kids and I will treasure them forever.

Hazel is scooting around everywhere. She uses her toes and inches along like a worm. She gets where she wants to go though.

I fixed the freezer, AGAIN. You'd be proud.

We are almost caught up on the books and the taxes. I kind of have fun bookkeeping. I never really realized it until I started doing them again.

We are getting ready to list our house. Once it sells, we will rent until we are ready to build that dream house we showed you. We may even do it on that property, I know you saw the vision with that property. You were actually the one that sealed the deal and really inspired us that it could be what we wanted. If it's meant for us, it'll still be available when we're ready.

The kids miss you. We were making cards for out-of-town family the other day and as we were discussing who we should make cards for Pike said, "and one for Pappy! 'cuz he moved." When I asked where you moved to, he responded, "to heaven."

We watched Interstellar a couple of nights ago. You'd find it interesting. It got me thinking about time and how different it must be for you and for God compared to us here. One day we'll all be on the same page. But for now, we don't understand.

You have inspired me to be compassionate. To be kind to others. And to enjoy the simple things in life and say yes more. I'm trying to enjoy my family, my kids, and make memories. You lived and enjoyed life and I'm trying to do the same.

Love you, dad.

Monday, March 16, 2015


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you're my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

 I've sang these words and cried out so many times over the past months. I've sang them in hopes that through hard times, faith and trust would lead to a celebration of healing and that I would be proclaiming to the world around me that God can, and indeed did, heal. I've sang them with the intent that no matter the outcome, my faith will be made stronger as I am lead to walk on water. And yet, here I am, lost. I don't know what to sing. I don't know what to pray. I don't understand how my faith is possibly being made stronger when I feel so weak. 

Psalm 130:5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

And so, I continue to ask, "Spirit lead me where I would never imagine going. Take me deeper than I think I can go. And make my faith stronger." Trust. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Love you. Have fun!" Those were the last words my dad spoke to me. I had been visiting that Friday morning and the afternoon rolled around and I packed up the boys and said, "we're leaving dad. Love you!" He grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "Love you. Have fun!" I had a feeling at that moment that those were the last words I'd be hearing from him. After I got home, I sat down to write my dad a note to describe how much I love him. My dad had been having a hard time reading over the last few days so I recorded my letter and sent it over for him to listen to. My mom said he was coherent when she played it for him that evening. He laughed and he cried. Here is the recording: 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

No words.

I have no words. I haven't for a week. My heart hurts. My head is in a daze. You see, my dad was the most selfless person I know. (My mom being right beside him on the selfless scale.) He was a man that looked to serve others. And his children were pretty high on the list of those he served the most. He worked tirelessly to make each of us happy. He never complained and I think that is why it hurts so bad. He gave, and gave, and gave and yet never complained. He could have a busted knee or a sprained ankle and work right through it without anyone knowing his pain.

Over the past 4 months, my dad suffered day and night. When I asked how he was doing, he would usually look to the ground or away and say, "okay." He wasn't feeling okay, but he pretended. He didn't want us to worry or feel bad. So he'd simply say, "okay." My dad had stage IV renal cell kidney cancer. It spread to his brain, his lungs and his bones. He had a tumor that he said he could feel crawling up his rib cage. His bones were so week that he had several fractured ribs. In late January, we found out that the medication he was originally on, didn't seem to be effective and that the cancer had spread more. Even after gamma knife surgery on the brain, the lesions multiplied. The outlook was grim.

When my dad sat us down to tell us, he wept. But what hurts so badly is that his words were so selfless. He said, "When you hear me cry and see the sorrow in my face, it's not because I'm afraid or because I'm sad about my condition. It's because I look around and see the love in each of you." He knew where he was going. He submitted his life to God's ultimate plan. Throughout this journey, over and over again, my dad said that he trusts God. God is good and He will be glorified through this. Even the night before he took his last breath, he praised God. My mom and brother said that the evening before he passed, he had a conversation and his message was that the world is full of God isn't this or that but HE IS and our message and our lives need to proclaim that He is. He is Risen. He is Faithful. He is Just. He is awesome. He is kind. He is good. He is amazing. He is here. He is Love. HE IS.

My dad was greatly touched by the compassion that was extended to him during this time. He was so touched by the sincerity in peoples words. He told me that when he comes out of this, he is never going to pass by someone hurting without reaching out to them. He said he learned what compassion looks like. What my dad didn't know at the time though, is how many people saw this trait in him. And how many people were touched by him simply saying, "how are you?" in the middle of his busy work day. I hope to pick up where my dad left off and not pass by anyone hurting without reaching out to them. In honor of my dad.

I am still at a loss for words to describe how much I love him, how much I will miss him and how sad I am right now. Maybe some day I'll have the right words. But I want the world to know that God is good. And that my family is still praising God right along side my dad.

And when my final breath you lend
I'll thank you for the life you gave
But that won't mean the praises end
'Cause I won't be silenced by the grave

And your praise goes on, I'll be runnin' to your throne
With every nation, tribe and tongue
To your arms I'll fly, I'll gaze into your eyes
Then I'll know as I am known and your praise goes on

And your praise goes on
And your praise goes on

Friday, January 16, 2015

4 months and such a breeze

Hazel is 4 months old. She brings so much joy. She loves her sisters....and her brothers...but mostly her sisters. They make her laugh. And sometimes they make her cry. She is deathly afraid of dogs barking. And she loves to snuggle with her mommy. She is a dream of a baby. Mostly always content and happy.