Saturday, June 20, 2009

No, I have not jumped ship...

I have only just returned. Last Wednesday (though it was really Thursday by the time we left), we headed down to Florida for Opa's funeral. We all had a GREAT time, despite the heat, and loved catching up and having the ENTIRE family there. All of us splashed around in the pool a lot, and rode bikes all around the community. Our cousins were all delighted to meet the two new additions, and after a few uncertain hours, B and M warmed up to them as well. We were able to go to the ocean on Sunday, and drive out immediately after that. For the most part, the drive there and back was a big blur, and I try not to think much about it, even though it was not as bad as it could have been (thank you Lord!!).

From there, we drove to Wisconsin to drop Me, C and O off at Church Camp, where I would be a counselor, and they would be campers. What a great time! C was in my cabin, which was wonderful, and O wasn't even a little embarrassed when I came up and hugged him at meals, or sat and talked with him. What a great little (and not so much) guy he is! I had a blast, and so did both of them. Since this was my first time being a counselor, I was a bit out of the loop (especially since newbies tend to miss the memos about almost everything), but I look forward to next year, praying that God will use me TEN TIMES MORE than He did this year!
We just got back this morning, and I was SO glad to see my siblings (I get a mite homesick, even now). It seems as though EVERYONE changed in the week we were gone! M's hair is growing back, and his tummy is smaller (bye bye bugs!), E's hair is growing out too (she gave herself a haircut a few weeks back), and I swear B is taller.

In other news, one of our best friends, the C family, just brought twin girls into the world on Monday. Welcome G and L!! You can check out their blog here: The two middle girls, A and P were at camp with us, and I got to give them the exciting news via a phone call to their dad. And, I got to meet said babies today, even though every time I looked, someone had stolen the baby I was holding. Thank goodness for twins, and oldest priority!! Can't wait 'til God blesses me with a little one of my own. :)

Now I'm waiting for things to settle down around here, looking forward to cleaning, and hopefully earning a bit of money in the weeks to come.

God is so, SO good!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Today my grandfather (Opa) passed into the arms of God. I believe that at this moment I am truly at peace, as is the rest of my family. Opa was in so much pain, and for about the past five days has been completely unresponsive.

He was ready.

I know he's up there now, singing away in the heavenly chorus, and dancing with the angels. He's happy, and in a much better place.

Yes, there is sadness for us left here, but we will manage. It was entirely selfish to want him to stay, since here he would have been continually miserable. I have prayed for peace for him, and now he has it!

Opa was a truly amazing man. He was a strong and faithful Christian, who loved his wife (Oma) and children dearly. The memories I have of Opa are all good. He was a doer. He would ride bikes with us, garden, push us on the swings, read to us, play with us. He was always happy, and smiling, and comforting. I loved to snuggle up to him, and listen to him breathe, and laugh. My whole family was VERY close with Opa, and loved him (still do, as a matter of fact!) very much!

Opa was also a napper. All of his children, and most of their spouses are nappers as well (it runs in the family, I think!). When we have a family get-together, almost all the adults lie down in the afternoon for a nap every day.
And when he napped, Opa snored. Loud.
Loud, like you can hear it in the basement with the door closed, loud. But I loved to hear him snore. And Oma used to say she had trouble sleeping when he wasn't there snoring in her ear!

Opa left behind a wife, four children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 16 grandchildren, and many, many friends. He passed into heaven this morning while my Auntie M was singing hymns to him.
It breaks my heart that M and B will never know their Opa, and that E and O might not remember him (I'm praying they do!). I was blessed to have 17 years with him myself.

This Thursday, my family is driving down to Florida for his funeral. I ask for prayer for safe, safe travels!
The funeral is this Saturday at 11:00 am. My dear cousin, M, and I have been asked by Oma to do a duet (we'll possibly be accompanied by her sisters R and C, too), and talking today, we were wondering how we'd make it through our songs without breaking down!

I ask for prayers of peace for my entire family, and prayers for safe travels (for all of us), and prayers for B and M. This is very confusing for them, even though the sadness didn't last that long this morning, and to top if off, we'll be driving for two days straight to get there in time.

But, above all, I am so glad Opa is in a better place, walking with Jesus still.

God is so, so good!

Thank you friends :)
Our kids with O and O

Opa leading us on his famous "bear hunt".
(He was also famous for singing "On Top of Old Baldy")

Our family, and our cousins, the M's. These pictures were taken right before O and O moved down to Florida permanently. So that's why some faces look a wee bit teary.
(Not pictured, the other M's)

Yep, good times, those.
I love you Opa!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Boy and His Potty.

Meet M:

M likes to eat.
What happens to that food after it's been eaten?
Why, it goes in the potty of course!
M is potty trained. He says "popo" when he has to go.
And then he does.

He is an expert flusher.

He flushes all the time.

Yeah, he knows he's cute.
Even when he flushes three times, unnecessarily.

This is where he hides when he doesn't want to stop flushing.
People laughing at him makes him not want to stop flushing too.
What a ham.
Oh yes. He loves his potty.

Come along, M. Potty time's over.
Hope you liked your glimpse into one of the happier moments of our life right now! More on the unhappy coming soon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just when we thought...

... life couldn't get any more crazy.

It did. Our Ethiopia trip saga will continue once life settles down again. For now, you'll have to be satisfied with ordinary (and not so much) everyday stuff.

This past Friday, while marking our one-week-home milestone (woohoo!), also brought the news that my grandfather (Opa) is doing extremely badly. Opa has had type-2 diabetes for most of his life, and was diagnosed with cancer of the plasma cells several years ago. He and my Oma moved down to South this past July, and it seems that he has been in a steady decline ever since.

For several months it's been a roller coaster, with him getting better and worse alternately. It's been incredibly hard for all of us (most especially Oma), but true death (as opposed to the kind we just talk about in hushed voices) was not supposed to happen for a good, long while.
So, it was difficult (BIG understatement there), when my uncle called Daddy on Friday, and told him one of Opa's nurses had called him and said basically, "if it was my dad, I'd want to see him now". Needless to say, Daddy flew down there Saturday to see Opa, and say goodbye.

Sunday, J and I got to "talk" to Opa. Wherein we talked, and heard some noise on the other end, but were told he mostly just smiled at us.
Oh, my. That was difficult.

Opa has always been the kind of grandpa you rake leaves with, and who pushes you on the swing, and has his own familiar smell.
To think that he might soon be with our Lord is as comforting as it is hard. He is in so much pain right now, we think heaven is much better for him at this point :).
We are not expecting him to stay with us for much longer, and poor, poor E BEGGED Daddy to take her with him to see Opa, so she could see him, and love on him. She loves him so very much, as do we all. Would that we could all go, but what with either having to drive, or buy plane tickets for 10 (and probably completely freak out B and M in the process), it was determined that we would stay home.
It breaks my heart that Opa might not get to see his two newest grandchildren, and that they might never know him (or at least never remember him), but I am at peace, knowing God is in control.

I am praying for peace and comfort for our family. Will you pray with us?