Thursday, December 26, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I Last week my grandpa passed away. It's been heartbreaking!
Here is what I read at his service:
I’ve been thinking a lot over the past week about what I would like to say to honor my grandpa today. I’ve had many conversations with God while driving and my thoughts sound so much more eloquent than I’m sure they will come out today, but I know my grandpa wouldn’t mind if I stumble over my words, and you’ll just have to bare with me.
As you all know, my grandpa had an influence on many different people throughout his life – that’s why you’re all here. As you’ve already heard, and I’m sure you’d agree, he was loving, funny, courageous, faithful and kindhearted. He loved Jesus and lived his life honoring the Lord and loving people. He wasn’t afraid to speak the Truth of the gospel and live it out, no matter what the cost, even when it meant he had to stand up against the South Africangovernment because they were treating the African people so badly. My grandpa was an amazing preacher, I can still remember him standing at the pulpit teaching his congregation about God. He was my first pastor and the one who has had the greatest influence on my life and my own faith. I’ll never forget standing before him during VBS when he would dress up as “Mr. Pockets”. He had a big white coat covered in different colored pockets. In each one were treats we could choose from when we memorized the daily bible verse. I can still picture him smiling down at me as “Mr. Pockets”, so proud of me for memorizing scripture. And let’s be honest it was right up his ally because my grandpa loved sweets!
I have countless memories of my grandpa: one of my favorites wasfinding his stash of kit kat bars behind his desk when my sister Ashley and I were playing in his study. Of course the family all knows about it now, but at the time he didn’t want us to tell Grandma because he knew she’d keep them in the kitchen. Ashley and I loved spending time at my grandparents house, whenever we were around he would get extra goodies because grandma always liked to spoil us with cookies and sweets. He especially loved teasing my sister and I when we were little, he knew just how push our buttons, which at the time could get old, but I think Ashley would agree that we’d give anything to be teased by him just one more time.
As a little girl I’d always get so embarrassed because wheneveranyone went in to use the restroom he’d say “if you have any trouble, call a policeman”. The funny thing is that I ended up marrying a policeman and my grandpa got a huge kick out of that. He especially loved Josh’s haircut and often said he’d like to get his own haircut just like Josh. He was quite a character and as I’m sure you all know he was quite the storyteller as well. He loved history and had a great memory of his childhood and earlier years in life. My husband and brother would always sit next to him at family dinners and my grandpa would talk their ears off the entire time. He loved a captive audience, and always had the perfect story to relate to where we were at in our lives. My sister Ashley especially loved his college dorm stories.
More than anything though I am so thankful for the relationship my son Harrison and my grandpa shared. In the past few weeks Harry started calling great grandpa, “grand papa” and I will never stop telling him about what a wonderful grand papa he had. It is hard to accept that Harry won’t have any memories of his grand papa, but we have plenty of photos, videos and stories to share with him in the years to come.
Harry was born the day before my grandpa’s 80th birthday. He made quite an entrance into the world with an emergency c-section. It was long and stressful day for my family as they were waiting, and despite the fact that they were tired and hungry, my grandpa was adamant that they all stayed until Harry arrived. I obviously wasn’t in the waiting room, but I found out later that at a moment in my labor when we needed prayer the most, my grandpa stood up out of the blue and told everyone that they needed to pray. Knowing that he led my family in a prayer at just the right moment is something I will never forget.
And from that moment on Harry and my grandpa had a special bond. My grandpa suffered a stroke when Harry was about 7 months old, from then on his dementia made it so that he didn’t remember any of us aside from a rare glimmer of the old grandpa we knew and loved. But anytime my grandpa laid eyes on my son, his entire face lit up in the most amazing smile. Harrison didn’t know it, but he brought my grandpa so much joy in his final year and a half of life. I know that my grandpa is in heaven now smiling down on us and enjoying my little boy even more so now that his mind and body are healed completely.
We obviously miss him terribly, and that will probably never change, but I am so thankful for every moment that we were all blessed to have my grandpa in our lives. And now we can rest assured that he is worshipping Jesus face-to-face. I can’t wait to be there too, hopefully many years from now.
Sometime during the last week of my grandpa’s life, when Ashley kissed him goodnight, he told her, as clear as day, “ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT I LOVE YOU.” I think he would want us all to remember that today, and always.
And don’t worry grandpa, if we have any trouble we’ve got a policeman in the family! :)
Monday, December 9, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Like everyone else this time of year, and in this stage of life...things are busy. It's an ordinary kind of busy...family stuff, household things, holiday prep, work, sleep...but somehow each day just feels full to the brim.
Anyway, if you want to join me in prayer I would greatly appreciate it! My grandpa seems to be in the final stage of his dementia and I don't think he will be with us much longer. It is heartbreaking and hard, but we also long for him to be at rest after a long/hard last year-and-a-half. He has lived such a good life, and while we will miss him terribly I think we are ready to say goodbye. Watching him like this is hard, death is hard, it's all hard.
His name is Francis and my grandma's name is Mary. They've been married for 51 (almost 52) years. I love them both and know they'd really appreciate your prayers this week...our whole family would!
Hope this finds you well...I'm hoping to post some Christmas photos soon. It's already proving to be way more fun with Harry this year than last. His favorite things to say are "it's Christmas" and "pretty lights". Precious!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
I planned on saving these letters for your birthdays (and half birthdays) because aside from moms, most people don't keep track of how many months-old children are much past a year. But there are a few things that I just couldn't wait to write down for you until you turn two. You are changing just as fast as (if not faster than) ever before and I know if I don't pause for a moment and write some of it down, I'll blink and you'll be graduating from high school. Seriously!
Oh sweet boy, you are so funny these days. You run around, love trucks, want to read books "again, again, again........again", recognize family in pictures and LOVE love LOVE rattling off the names of everyone you know and love. My favorite is when you wake up in the morning and we hear you saying "a dada, a mama, a baby" in reference to a photo hanging above your crib of your daddy and I holding you when you were just three weeks old.
Trucks are pretty much your favorite thing right now. We got this book called "Dig It" from the library and you practically know it by heart. When I turn to the page about the dump truck you say "mess" because it's dumping a pile of dirt into a big mess. Watching you soak up the world around you, and all the things we are teaching you is such an incredible gift. I've heard people say that kids are sponges, and I'm sure I've uttered the phrase myself before...but until now I don't think I've fully experienced it. You recognize animals in books, both illustrations and real photographs...you can say the sounds they make. You say "wuv woo" for love you (melts my heart every time) and you are starting to remember the words to songs like the ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle. Pretty much anything we say, you repeat the last word of the phrase, even if you don't know what it means.
Some of my favorites from this weekend - you finally said "gamma" for grandma (which up until now has been "bumpa" or "gampa" for both grandparents). Pretty sure it made your grandma's day!! And the way you say yogurt is hilarious. When you're done eating yogurt you say "bye bye yogurt". You also love coloring with my whiteboard and markers, "cuh-cuh" is how you say color. Your teacher Mrs. Mulu is "moo-noo" and you really purse out your lips in a pucker when you say it.
As with every stage you've been through so far Harry, I just wish I could bottle these little moments up and keep them forever. Hence the hundreds of photos and videos I've taken of you. And lots of letters and blog posts just trying to capture a snapshot of what it's like having you around.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a million details. The mad face you make with your eyebrows and lips, the time outs you've had to have for being disobedient, your love of "may-mo" (Mater from Cars), Curious George, and Elmo. Your obsession with the Disney Big Block Singsongs. The way you call any superhero or action figure "man". Listening to you rattle off your friends' names from school (especially "ai-ay-uh" for Kailea).
I tell you a lot, but I hope you never forget the fact that you are my BLESSING. God has had such great favor on us to give us the gift of being your parents. Your daddy and I find more joy in parenting you than anything else in this life. I am so thankful that you are YOU sweet Harrison. You are the greatest blessing I have ever been given. I mean it from the deepest part of my heart. You must have put the connection together between sneezing and the words "bless you" because whenever I tell you that you're my blessing, you tell me "ahhh-choo"! So sweet!
I will try to add some recent photos to this post sometime soon. But for now I just wanted to pour my heart out a little - regardless of how rambling it is - because someday I want to be able to go back and read these letters myself...and for you to be able to read them too. No matter what happens in the future, no matter what challenges we face as a family or how hard life may get (because life is hard, really hard, sometimes) I want you to know how much I treasure being your mom. How much you have changed my life for the better...how much God has used this gift of being your mama to make me more like Him and reveal to me how much He loves his children (you and daddy and I included)! Because of you I pray more and trust in Jesus more than ever before. You are my BLESSING Harrison Levi!!!
No matter how much you grow and change I will always be your mama and I pray that God will bless us both with many years to come filled with laughter and joy that just abounds even more than either of us could hope for or imagine!
Friday, October 25, 2013
I know it's been a little quiet around here aside from the occasional photo overload - but the Fall is in full swing which means I am in the trenches of teaching, parenting, and trying to soak up every ounce of the season.
I have been reading the book of James along with the She Reads Truth community and it's been a really good and practical study.
Today's post was so encouraging I thought I'd share:
Click here to read about the way God's abounding love gives us the strength to serve Him and love the people around us. So freeing and inspiring!
Happy Friday friends!
I'll hopefully be back on Sunday with some photos and a Fall 2013 life update :)