Going home…

Going home…

This has been a week for loss and sad news.  My precious daughter-in-love’s dear mom lost her battle with Parkinson’s and went to be with the Lord a few days ago.  A precious Christian, Joan loved the Lord with all her heart.  She went to sleep on this earth and woke up in Heaven.  What a blessed way for a Christian to leave this life on earth!   Please remember my son and Jeanine and their family as they make the long journey from Montana to East Tennessee to say goodbye.  My heart goes with them…

 

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My precious sister Gerry has now been in Heaven for three years.  I have missed her more than words could say every single day.  Her husband of 65+ years and the love of her life has missed her even more.  He is lost without her.  He is now in a coma with his children at his bedside…waiting to go home to be with the Lord and  his beloved.  He is a strong believer and has sung in the choir for many years.  Just as I imagine my sister Gerry is cooking heavenly biscuits while she sings praises to the Lord, I imagine my brother by marriage will be singing in Heaven’s choir…and once again strumming his guitar.

Gerry and Sonny…at “the house on the hill” in the 1980’s.    She would fuss at me for posting this pic since she is wearing her 80’s “big hair”!  Nah, she’d probably just laugh with that wonderful laugh of hers!

 

 

My last year of nursing was spent as in Oncology, and on the walls of the unit there hung this beautiful poem below.  This is how I imagine death and dying…and I have seen several leave this earth during my long nursing career.  Hallelujah, our souls never die!   Thank God, He has made provision for us to spend eternity with Him through His Son!  

The Sailing Ship

What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes” – and that is dying.

Bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929)

UPDATE:  Wednesday, October 22nd.  Sonny passed away peacefully last night at 11:47 p.m. with his and Gerry’s family by his bedside.  There may be sadness on earth, but there is rejoicing in Heaven as he joins my sister Gerry and the rest of those who have gone before.  What a wonderful, blessed hope we have in Jesus!
The Kid…

The Kid…

I loved the movie The Kid starring Bruce Willis.  A Disney movie released in 2000, The Kid is a drama-comedy-fantasy about a 40 year old miserable – but successful – image consultant played by Bruce Willis.  Through magic, known only to Hollywood, Bruce’s character meets himself as a ten year old boy and the story of his life evolves.  It’s a great story.  Much like seeing the house you grew up in…years later…and saying you “remembered it being larger” or wondering how all of you fit into 3 small bedrooms and 1 bathroom.  Or seeing the backyard you played in with the big tree you climbed in and, somehow, it was all so much bigger back then. Remember the stages in your life when everything seemed so urgent – as if there would never be enough time for anything else?   If you could go back and tell yourself anything at one of those stages of your life, what would you say?

  • I’d tell two year old Dianne that someday there would be grandchildren who would actually favor her a little bit.  I’d also tell her to hang on to the ball even when the photographer asked for it back.  Apparently, he did and I told him “no, you have one”!

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  • I would tell 5 year old Dianne that she and her niece Sharon would always be together like sisters.  She would miss her when they lived far apart but they just had to call and the other one would come.

DianneandSharon50s

  • I’d tell nine year old Dianne to “run” and not let Mama cut her bangs anymore.  In any case, I’d reassure that one day soon she could grow her bangs out – or not – just as she wanted to do!

Dianne about age 10 years

  • I’d tell thirteen year old Dianne that while it was true she would never be any taller than 5’4″ tall, she wouldn’t always be wearing a training bra!

Dianne age 13

 

  • I’d tell 18 year old Dianne that even if that was “the style” back then, to let her hair grow out!

Dianne1963

 

christyandbilljrabout1970

  • I would tell 26 year old sleep-deprived, busy, happy mom of two Dianne to enjoy every single moment of these toddler years.  I would tell her that they were going to grow up altogether too fast and to enjoy the journey.  I would also tell her that all her children were going to grow up every bit as special as she dreamed they would.

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  • I would tell 39 year old Dianne, mom of a 5 year old creative entertainer, to believe him and encourage him when he said he was going to grow up and take over a well known television show one day.  He is certainly headed in that direction!

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  • I would remind thirty-four year old Dianne to treasure every moment with all four sisters together!  The sad day would come when two of them would be in Heaven much too soon.

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Through it all, I know enough to know that God is in control.  The Dianne of today knows not to take anyone or anything for granted…to enjoy each and every day.  I may not know what the future holds…but I know WHO holds the future!  

 

Enjoy a glimpse of THE KID below…

One fun visit…

One fun visit…

This time last week, I was enjoying my first out-of-town company since moving into the condo.  Penny, my sister-in-law of 39 years, and her sweet husband Mike had arrived about 9:30 p.m. the night before in the midst of a typically severe Midwest thunderstorm.  I greeted them with hugs and a “welcome to Iowa”!

The photo below of (L to R) Mike, Penny, me and Bill was taken sometime in the mid-1970’s.  When you’ve been together since 1966, there is a storehouse of memories and a strong bond.  I’m sure Bill was looking down from Heaven…reminiscing along with us and laughing at the three of us. 

 

 

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and lunch together each day.  In the afternoon, we headed over to my daughter’s house for a fun visit and delicious supper.  The grandchildren love Aunt Penny & Uncle Mike!  It was all so much fun.

As a superb craftsman and “handyman”, Mike found several things around the condo that needed repair and attention – and fixed them!  I had been living with having to plug/unplug the lamp in the living room each day…trying not to trip over the exposed cord!   (The condo was built in the 80’s and does not have a plug in the floor).  Among other creative fixes, Mike devised a method of hiding a new cord under my large area rug and plugged it in behind the entertainment center.  No more exposed cord and no more tripping over it!  Oh, so much better that I did a little happy dance!  😉

One day, we headed to Lowe’s where we picked up brown felt feet for all my bookcases, entertainment center, table and chairs (Mike’s super idea).  Since they came in their dual-cab truck, we also picked up a glass-topped round table and  two new chairs for my porch – in keeping with the blue & green theme of the pillows which my daughter selected.  I also found another inexpensive table to elevate my other fern.  Mike arranged all the furniture on the porch and it looks great!  Penny says he’s a “keeper” and I agree!

They had been searching for a travel trailer and actually purchased one here!  It’s a 24′ one that can sleep 6, complete with television, stove top, microwave, bathroom and table & banquet!  It looks so comfortable – a home away from home in the Smokies or wherever they journey.  My grandchildren loved it – especially since they had to store it at my daughter’s house while they were here.

After the Monday night storm on the evening they arrived, the weather turned cool and very much like Fall.  The porch was a very pleasant place to be.  They enjoyed sitting out there and Penny especially enjoyed reading there.

All too soon, our visit was over and they made the long trip back to Memphis – this time pulling a 24′ travel trailer!  Thank you, Mike and Penny, for the fun visit and all the help.  I miss you guys already.  Come back soon!

 

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Memories and prayers…

Memories and prayers…

It was May 24, 1971.  All these years later, I still remember that it had begun as a beautiful Spring day.  At that time, we were a young couple and parents to an almost three year old and a one year old.  We were living in the first home of our own, a small two bedroom cottage in an older treed neighborhood.  A neighborhood where you knew your neighbors and everyone cared about their homes and one another.  We had spent months restoring and redecorating…learning as we went.  We were proud of what we had accomplished.  As I recall, my parents were spending time with our children at their house that morning, one mile away.  That gave us some rare free time together, but I don’t remember where we had been that morning.

While we were out, the rains had started and the winds had picked up.  I don’t remember if there were sirens back then or if we heard about the tornado on the radio but, at one point, we could actually see the dark gray funnel as it swirled furiously about!  It was behind us, in the vicinity of our home, as we raced away from it and toward my parents’ home.  The winds were so strong and fierce that, at one scary point, our little VW bug was lifted up on to the sidewalk!  My husband managed to get back on the road as we made our way to our children.  We waited out the storm at my parents’ home with our children safe in our arms.  Later, when it was all over, we ventured back home.

Thankfully, our home was intact.  There were some limbs and debris in the yard but everything was fine.  As we began walking about the neighborhood, we realized that the tornado had touched down on every other street!  There was unbelievable damage on every other street!  According to Memphis records, it was a Force 2 which covered 24 miles and injured 22 people.  Somewhere, within my boxes of photographs, there are pictures of the damage that day…but I don’t need a photograph.  I still remember.

In the early 1990’s, we were living in a small town in Kentucky.   On that particular Summer day, my husband and I were at work, our daughter was at home from college for the summer, our younger son was at the church playing basketball with friends of his and our older son was away at medical school.  A typical, busy Summer day.

Early that afternoon, the skies turned an unusual, deep shade of green and it began to rain in torrents and fierce horizontal sheets.  The winds began to literally howl – roaring loudly.  We lived in a large 1940’s Cape Cod house not far from the hospital where I worked.  Something told me that I needed to get home but it was impossible at that point to even leave the building.  I called to check on my daughter and young son.  She was at home alone and scared.  We determined the safest place in the house for her to wait.  My young son was in the basement of the church with the youth director and several other children.  They were safe.  Later, my daughter called to say that we needed to come home and that we wouldn’t believe what we were going to see.

After the storm was over, we made our way home.  Much of Elizabethtown looked like a battle zone.  Our historical street was one of the worst hit.  The elderly gentleman across the steet from us lost his house entirely as an immense oak tree fell through the middle of the house – literally splitting it in two.  His daughter had called seconds before the tree fell.  He got up to answer the phone and his life was spared as the tree fell exactly where he had been sitting.  Many others lost their homes.

A very large tree limb fell into the roof of my daughter’s upstairs room, protruding several feet into the room!  Another large tree took our back porch off.  There was other damage to our home but nothing compared to what others had lost.  There were trees that had lived for two hundred years sprawled across our yard and across the road all the way down our street.  It was a sad picture.  But we were safe.  My husband was interviewed in our front yard by national news networks about the storm and the damage to our home.  I then reminded him that he needed to call his Mom to let her know before she saw the news!  Our parents and our son needed to know we were safe.

Again, somewhere in my photo files, there are pictures of that day…but I don’t need them.  I remember.

These memories pale in comparison to the horrific scenes in Moore, Oklahoma.  As I viewed the literal devastation and heard the stories, my heart broke for those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their everything.  As I watched people climbing over the rubble and through the debris, I wished that I had a search and rescue dog and could be there helping.  That was what they needed at that time – search and rescue dogs – before it was too late.

It will take years to rebuild everything and many years before the pain subsides for those who have lost so much.  They won’t need pictures either…they will remember.  There are several ways or avenues through which we can help at this point – regardless of where we are located.  Most of us don’t have a search and rescue dog or the means to rebuild a home, however we can still help with a small donation

The following is according to MSNBC:

  • The Salvation Army is currently organizing disaster response units to serve the hard-hit areas in Oklahoma. Supporters are encouraged to give online or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”  Donate to the Oklahoma Tornado Relief by mailing a check to: The Salvation Army, PO Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK 73157.

  • The Red Cross – Donations may be made by calling 1-800 RED CROSS (733-276-2767), or by visiting  redcross.org.   Send $10 to the Disaster Relief fund by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 or by visiting the website at RedCross.org.
  • Samaritan’s Purse – The international Christian relief organization will provide emergency assistance as well as cleaning and repairing damaged homes.  Donations to help victims can be made at samaritanspurse.org.
  • United Way of Central Oklahoma – The organization advises that monetary donations are the best way to help. Fund dollars will be distributed without administrative fees to United Way Partner Agencies working on the tornado relief efforts.  Donations may be made online at www.unitedwayokc.org or by mail to: United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK  73101 with notation for May Tornado Relief.

But probably the single most important thing any of us can do at this moment is pray.  Pray for the families who have lost so much.  Pray for strength, endurance, peace and comfort that only God can give.  Pray for those still missing that they may be found safe and alive if at all possible.  Just pray…

Memories of Bill…

Memories of Bill…

December 1, 1943 –  April 10, 2006

We are souls living in bodies.  Our bodies grow old, but our souls never die.  Seven years ago, you went to Heaven.  While you are no longer on this earth, your spirit lingers on in the lives of our three amazing children.  You would be so proud of them.  They are strong, loving, successful.  They are giving and devoted spouses.   They are loving, remarkable, wonderful parents.

They are happy.

Our grandchildren are treasures.  I tell them about you often.  I tell them “Granddad stories”.   I wish you could have lived long enough to have met the youngest ones.  They will hear Granddad stories too.  I see so much of you in our children and, now, in the grandchildren.  No doubt, they will have your drive and your competitive streak.  They are all athletic like you.  They’re artistic like both of us.  You would love hearing them play the piano and the violin.

Our grandchildren are incredible blessings and bring me such joy.

From time to time, I do see a mischievous grin on their faces and I know just where that came from…

Love always,

Dianne

Matching shirts in the early seventies…

Our two older children…fifteen & a half months apart.  Joyful, busy days for a young Mom and Dad.  Here they are coloring before bedtime in our son’s “cowboy & Indian” room…
 

late eighties at Vanderbilt University…our little cowboy grew up

Glacier National Park and a week of backpacking…

 

Daddy and Daddy’s girl

 

Graduation day…Mississippi College

Wearing her Dad’s Heroes shirt…

 

Our youngest little bundle of forever joy…

 

Taking a break from playing frisbee by the street lights…

Graduation day at Indiana University…

Our firstborn grandchild helping Granddad paint…

Granddad talking to our daughter’s oldest two children…

Granddad and our firstborn grandchild. At Scott and Amy’s wedding in Memphis…

 

Granddad holding our daughter’s daughter…

 

2004…Granddad holding our daughter’s baby girl.

 

Granddad holding our firstborn’s firstborn…

Playing doll clothes with our older son’s firstborn on a visit to Memphis.

 

Granddad and our older son’s baby girl…they had been playing doll clothes and dolls in the floor with Granddad. We celebrated her second birthday that week.

 

GrandDad, Great-Grandmom, our older son and his daughters…

 

My three sisters and Bill on a visit when we lived in Terre Haute, Indiana. Sad to think that three of them are now in Heaven. My sister (second from right) and I remain behind on this earth…

 

(L to R) Penny (Bill’s sister), Bobbie (Bill’s late Mom) and Bill. This was taken on one of their fun visits to Terre Haute.

A fun photo taken at Silver Dollar City in Missouri.

This is actually my favorite pic of the two of us…

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