Monday, November 16, 2015


My father came home to his farm in Iowa on Friday after being in two different hospitals for three weeks. 
He is 85 years old and he is dying. We were first told he would still be with us at Christmas, then we were told Thanksgiving, this morning we were told he only has a few days at the most. Maybe even just a few hours. It is in God's hands.
He has been my hero even before I was old enough to know what a hero was.
He was a farmer for most of his life and he was an adventurer.
At 9 years old he helped his dad tear down an old church building and used the lumber to build the house on the farm; they finished the building and out buildings and moved to the new house in just three years. The house that he still lives in 71 years later... the home I grew up in. When he was 16 years old he went to Poland with a load of horses right after WWII. He was called a Seagoing Cowboy.  This was part of a humanitarian group that eventually became known as Heifer International.
He went to Korea for thirteen months when he was in the Marines and was sent there right after the Chosin Reservoir. That was the second bloodiest battle in the Korean War. He met my mom while at Camp Pendleton, they married and upon discharge moved  to Iowa to farm with my grandpa. Their were four daughters in the family. No boys to carry on the family name and to join him in farming. That always made me sad for him, but what a wonderful childhood I had! I knew I was loved, and that is the most important thing. Because of his love for me I had no difficulty believing in a loving Heavenly Father.
We took family vacations most every year. He enjoyed traveling and instilled in me a love of adventure also. He and Mama were able to travel to Europe (to visit his sister and family in the military), and free trips to Hawaii and a cruise to the Bahamas for being such a successful seed corn dealer after he retired from farming.
On a visit to our home  in 1999, Daddy said if we wanted he would help us put on an addition with a room on the first floor for Amy. We took him up on the offer in 2001 and he and my mom brought out their fifth wheel trailer and lived with us for the summer. Amy was 18 and her Granddaddy turned 71 that summer while they were there.
He was a wonderful Granddaddy to Amy. Granddaddy is what I called my mother's father when I was growing up. So it just made sense that my children would call their mother's father Granddaddy. Amy loved her granddaddy. He had a special bond with her. He always accepted her just as she was and loved her.
Her Granddaddy will be the first family member she gets to welcome to heaven. He will be able to hear her speak and sing and I imagine they will run some races together, free from the trappings of this earthly body. I must admit that I am jealous.
God gave us a blessing when He allowed us to have time with Amy before she died. Now God has granted us another special gift in allowing us to tell our father goodbye. I came two weeks ago and spent time with him in the hospital. Yesterday my son James and his wife Laura and little Will came. Another blessing to be able to hold my grandson!
 Daddy has cancer in his pancreas, colon, and stomach. He has beaten prostate cancer and lymphoma. This past surgery was the 28th surgery he has had in his life. He is ready to go to live with Jesus. We have been praying that the Lord will take him quickly and not let him suffer. But I was not ready for it. I wanted more than just a few days. I will treasure the moments I have left, just as I did with Amy. Today I was able to sing the hymn, "Our Great Savior" to him. How precious the words of the third verse,
 "Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o'er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul."
Update today, Monday, Nov. 16th. Daddy passed away today while I was holding his hand.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Mighty Fortress

Today is Halloween. I have never much cared for the holiday since I researched the history of it when I was homeschooling my children. I like to think instead of Reformation Day and Martin Luther and when I think of Luther, I can't help but think of "A Mighty Fortress."  I have always loved that hymn even as a child. I think it was the music more than the words, but as I have gotten older the words have become so sweet to me. 
I will never forget the Saturday after September 11, 2001. We were planning on visiting Lancaster Bible College where Tess was attending and see a concert by Steve Green. We questioned going because of what happened but then decided we needed to spend time with her--because of what had happened!  The concert was in a medium sized chapel on campus. It was a somber crowd that gathered and Steve Green sang acapella  "A Mighty Fortress."  I had chills and was in tears by the time he finished. Of course Amy was with us. She loved music, she loved going places, and she loved seeing her big sister.
Today I was reminded of that time.  Today I was also reminded, thanks to Facebook, of my blog last year on this day. You can read it here.
Last year I was still so full of grief over Amy's death and so many others at that time. Even our beloved dog had died.  We had just attended a funeral of a dear friend of the family and he was a Marine, like my dad. I said in my blog that I wondered if the next military funeral we attended would be my father's.  
Well, my parents have both been very ill. My mama has chronic congestive heart failure with only 15% use of her heart. My dad is in the hospital now with what they think is pancreatic cancer. His diagnosis does not look good. I am flying out on Monday morning to be with them for two weeks. I hope I can help them plan for the immediate future and be a source of comfort to them. But it is only for two weeks. It is hard living so far away.
Psalm 46:1 and 2 says, 
"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. 

Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;"

God is and always will be my source of comfort. He has taken me through the valley of the shadow of death with Amy and He will see me through whatever valleys lie ahead with my parents. 
"A Mighty Fortress" kept going through my head today. I love the last lines to this song...... 
"Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever."

His kingdom is forever, where, if we have Him as our Savior we will live with Him and those who have died in Christ before us, forever and forever.

Steve Green singing "A Mighty Fortress"