Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Mother's Gift on Father's Day

Ironically a few minutes before my children woke me up for Father’s Day, I received a wonderful gift from my mother. Since her passing, over eighteen months ago, it’s bothered me that I’ve never had a dream about her. I dream fairly consistently, so I expected our paths to cross in the recesses of the night. Just prior to waking this morning, I finally had a dream about my mother. The dream had extreme moments of clarity as well as pockets of ambiguity. My mom and I were at some sort of Bible study/church service. Toward the end of the session, there was a confusing passage that required deeper discussion. The Bible study leader asked the pastor to offer his opinion. Quite conveniently, the pastor happened to be at the piano. Instantaneously he started playing a hymn. I, as always, was belting the lyrics, “The Lord will rescue me, Hallelujah,” all the while my mother was looking at me so contentedly. There was such love and acceptance in her eyes; just a sincere peace that passes all understanding. I didn't understand why she just kept staring instead of singing, but I knew the second I awoke. As much as I loved the boys’ cards and the fun Hummingbird feeder, the most memorable gift I received this year was a sweet, contented look from my mother in my dreams.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nonna's Reading Garden

This message is long overdue. As some of you may have noticed, I have not sent any weekly messages since last May. I'm giving myself a break to see what shape this blog might take for the future. In addition, I have not posted any updates on my mom's garden for a while either. Plans are well under way, but the actual timeline is still dependent upon funding for a larger project surrounding the garden (estimated completion during the 2012-2013 school year). I was granted permission to share with you the designs of the garden. The gray portions are already built. The garden will be very intimate, functional and flowing directly off of the library which works wonderfully.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Encouraging - Class of 2011

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor 3:2-3).

Yesterday the Class of 2011 graduated. They will be missed; they are extraordinary. There have been many special classes in the past, but this particular class was special to me because we encountered many milestones together. They rejoiced with us by welcoming our two little boys into the world and shed tears with us over the passing of multiple family members, including my beloved mom. They experienced life with us and vice versa. Those experiences helped to keep everything in the right perspective. There is a spiritual depth to this class that is marked and unique. Prior to graduation, I had the privilege of chaperoning their senior trip in Colorado. The senior trip serves as a wonderful bookend to a great high school career. Countless fun activities are planned, but it’s also one last time to share the Gospel as well as provide opportunities for the students to mend broken relationships and simply enjoy each other. I am forever grateful for having the opportunity to play a small role in these children’s lives. They are ready for a new adventure and I am “confident that he who began a good work in [them] will carry it out until completion” (Phil 1:6).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Encouraging - Comfortable

It is not God’s plan to give you everything you want for your life or to ensure that your life is comfortable and problem-free. God has made life so that it is filled with times of receiving and times of letting go. He wants you to learn to be content where you are now because He is with you…Since we cannot see the full picture and do not have all the facts, our judgment is skewed. God would not be God if He could not see all things and judge all situations for the ultimate good.

Bill Dunn & Kathy Leonard, Through a Season of Grief (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN: 2004), 98, 104.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Encouraging - Ache

Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.

Bill Dunn & Kathy Leonard, Through a Season of Grief (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN: 2004), 5.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Encouraging - Opportunities through Loss

Loss provides an opportunity to take inventory of our lives, to reconsider priorities, and to determine new directions. “Few people,” someone once told me, “wish at seventy that they had worked more hours at the office when they were forty. If anything, they wish that they had given more time back then to family, friends, and worthy causes. They wish they had dared to say ‘no’ to their own selfishness.” As Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his soul?” Loss invites us to ask basic questions about ourselves. “What do I believe?” “Is there life after death?” Is there a God?” “What kind of person am I?” “Do I really care about other people?” “How have I used my resources – my time, money, and talent?” “Where am I headed with my life?”

Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI: 2004), 76.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Encouraging - Pain & Pleasure

What is true in the body is also true in the soul. The pain of loss is severe because the pleasure of life is so great; it demonstrates the supreme value of what is lost. The screaming pain I feel at the loss of my mother, my wife, and my daughter reflects the pure pleasure I felt in knowing them. I cannot have one without the other, for both show what the soul is capable of feeling, sometimes simultaneously.

Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI: 2004), 55.