Category Archives: Grandparents

Grandad and Hot Cocoa

Today is my dad’s birthday. It has been bittersweet to think of him throughout the day, to look at pictures, talk about him with the kids and on Facebook, and hear others share memories of him. I am continually amazed that it has been almost four years since he left us and went to heaven. I am incredibly proud of him. I am thankful of the godly heritage he left me. And I am full of joyful hope that we will see each other again one day.

Looking over the blog (we’ve been writing off and on since 2004), I found that I had posted a birthday hello to Grandad in 2007 (Joshua – look, it’s your cell phone! From 2007! Impressive). I also wrote something in 2008.


Loss – it pierces with the realization that we must hold lightly to things in this life at the same time savor every moment with abandonment. Such a strange paradox. We get lost in the minutia and the mundane, but it is exactly those things that weave together the most glorious tapestry of relationships, love and LIFE.

Amidst this rather busy, gray day, the kids decided some hot cocoa would be a nice treat. As for me, I skip the chocolatey stuff and stick to coffee.

Pretty girl and her hot cocoa

My sweet girl and her hot cocoa

The hot cocoa tins from Costco are a regular stocking stuffer in our house so, during the month of January, there’s usually plenty of hot chocolate to go around.

Daniel says NO to marshmallows and YES to whipped cream on his hot cocoa.

Daniel says NO to marshmallows and YES to whipped cream on his hot cocoa.

When even the hot cocoa can’t cheer away the fog and gray skies, there are always plenty of candles to brighten the room. Strangely enough I can always find a child willing to get out the matches and light the candles for me.

Careful, David!

Careful, David!

When the week (or is it a month?) of sunLESS days continues on, I pause, breathe deeply, close my eyes and savor the memories of the incredibly GORGEOUS Washington summer we had this year.

Sarah and some beautiful island girls!!

Sarah and some beautiful island girls!!

Hot cocoa, memories of Grandad, pictures of beach days, and the knowledge that my happiness and hope rests in Jesus.

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Project 365 – Day 12

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Happy Easter

After a beautiful (early) Easter service at church, we piled into the van and set off for the Duckabush. Time to spend the day with Tim’s parents. Such a treat for us! Family time, delicious food and literally NO WORK for me as Tim’s mom did all the prep work and cooking. Yum!

Can you say SPOILED!

I’m so SPOILED! Thank you, G’ma, for doing ALL the cooking!

We had a wonderful family lunch with lamb and hot cross buns, a huge salad and a platter piled high of vegetables.

First they work, and then they nap!

First they work, and then they nap!

The girls helped Grandma with lunch while David set the table and provided some dinner music.

Thank you, David.  The table looks good!

Thank you, David. The table looks good!

Play on, David!

Play on, David!

Who would like some lamb?

Who would like some lamb?

After lunch we relaxed. Daniel picked out a sad movie for us to watch. I think I fell asleep on the couch at one point. Tim helped his dad with computer work. It was a perfect way to end the Easter weekend. That evening we gathered with some other friends and celebrated Jesus’ Resurrection with a mini-drama and Easter hymn singalong.

Daniel starred as Thaddeus and David as Cleopas.

Daniel starred as Thaddeus and David as Cleopas.

On the Road to Emmaus, the boys (aka Thaddeus and Cleopas) met Jesus (played by Tim).

Tim has the beard, that pretty much qualified him to play Jesus in our drama.

Tim has the beard, that pretty much qualified him to play Jesus in our drama.

In between acts we sang Easter hymns. Some I knew (Christ the Lord is Risen Today, There is a Redeemer, Crown Him with Many Crowns) and several I didn’t (Only Believe, Jesus the Very Thought of Thee, and I Gave My Life for Thee). Obviously I have not been spending enough time listening to traditional hymns.

Dessert time!

Dessert time!

Sarah, Rachel LOVE seeing Tirzah and Sharon!

Sarah, Rachel LOVE seeing Tirzah and Sharon!

Afterwards we celebrated with more delicious treats and some time with friends. It was a nice break from the busyness of life and a chance to reflect on the wonder of Christ’s gift to us – conquering death and offering us LIFE FOREVER!

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Christmas with Mamie

It is such an incredible blessing to spend time with my mom. She is beautiful, godly and a true servant. The joy, however, is always tinged with the sadness of missing my dad. This is the second Christmas without him and time has not diminished the ache of our loss. If anything, I think I miss him even more as the realization that he really and truly isn’t coming back hits me. The family picture is NOT complete without Grandad.

Such a blessing to have everyone gathered together for Christmas – we miss Grandad!

There are more things I wanted to discuss with him. There are projects around the house I had hoped he would do with Daniel and David. I wanted him to see how well Joshua is doing at college and marvel over Rachel’s new car and shake his head at how much we love our cat. I wanted to watch him hug the kids and listen to them talk about their friends and school and the books they are reading. I wanted to see him hold Mom’s hand and sing enthusiastically (off key of course) to the Christmas carols at church and watch Christmas movies with us.

We love Mamie!

It is a sweet comfort to know we will see each other again. I hold tightly to the truth that death does not part forever those who love Jesus and follow Him. And I am thankful beyond measure that I had such a godly, wise, loving earthly father and that my children had close, tender relationships with their grandfather.

Mamie and her oldest grandson.

In the meantime, as we wait for heaven or Christ’s return, I am holding tight to the gift of this time with Mamie. What an honor that she comes and spends weeks with us. It is worth the effort of shuffling kids around and sharing the space. She brings such a light and joy to our family times. Even her tears are a reminder of God’s love and His design for marriage – she grieves deeply because she loved wholeheartedly. I hope that I will be as closely bound to Tim in our marriage.

A restful moment at The Refuge!

The children love her (even if she says Grandad was the “fun one”). She is always ready for a game or an outing or a story. She is faithful and steady and gifted us with her service (she must have washed dozens of loads of laundry while she was here) and finances (paying for groceries and dinners out).

Laughter and joy – a silly moment.

Our last official outing – pedicures for the girls!

We love you, Mamie! Thank you for traveling to Washington to be with us. Thank you for loving my children and my friends. Thank you for pedicures and dinners and laundry and groceries. Thank you for tissues and cold medicine and wise council. Thank you for Christmas presents and little treats and clean dishes and helping me prepare many, many salads. It was NOT long enough! Please come back soon!!


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Michigan Memories

“Come and spend a week in Michigan,” my mom proposed hopefully early in February. “When do the kids have their winter break?”

It just so happened the week-long break of the kids online classes fell on the one year anniversary of my father’s death from cancer.

Isn’t God so kind when He tenderly places one or two “just so happened” in your path. Not only was it the week off from The Potters School, it was also winter break for Daniel and Joshua’s NJROTC classes.

Deep breath – gathering with family, reliving memories of Dad, laughing, crying, a new house for Mom, more memories, and an anniversary full of “Firsts”.

Standing outside Mamie's new condo

“I’ll come,” I promised, “shall I bring Rachel?”

“Definitely,” Mom laughed, “if she can bear to leave the kittens behind.”

Logan LOVES all things trains - Rachel is a great cousin!

And so Rachel and I packed our things and set off for a red-eye flight to Detroit. We landed amidst falling snow, climbed into Mom’s (or Mamie as she is known to the grandkids) car and wound our way to her new condo. How odd to see my sweet mother begin a new chapter in her life; a chapter full of precious, dear friends, a vibrant church, a lovely new home, and yet empty of the very person who mattered most and has been her Beloved for nearly fifty years.

Mom/Cindy, Jan, Nancy, Sue, and Janie - beautiful women and true friends

Rachel and I were honored to be included in several outings with Mamie’s friends. It is very evident to me that she is richly blessed with some incredible, godly, faithful friendships.

Mamie is well loved and cared for - these are just a few of her dear friends.

Yes, indeed. The boys came and we laughed and cried and talked about memories. Logan (age 3) played trains and insisted the celebration was all for his birthday. The cousins enjoyed each other and opened presents and snacked on our traditional Christmas treats. We spent the first holiday together in the new condo – Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Easter all rolled into one. We bought things for the new place, played Wii games, and watched old family slides. We worshiped together on Sunday, we hugged and then we said goodbye.

Me, Mom and Jenn

We tried to acknowledge all the winter birthdays, but it was Logan who blew out the candles!

IKEA makes it easy to outfit a new place.

It was good. There was loss and change and tension. And the twinkle and energy and gentle force that made up Grandad was NOT there. Still, somehow we march on. We worry/trust, hurt/forgive, doubt/believe. We laugh and cry and remember and somehow the days pass.

Aunt Emily and Uncle Phil are always a joy to see - Chase and Rachel agree.

God is Good. He is true and present; He has not abandoned us. We have all seen how He has walked closely with Mom every step of this journey. It is comforting to watch Him work and encouraging to see Mom’s faithful response.

Hopefully we can count on family to carry us through some hard times.

Dearest Mamie,

I am so proud of you. You are an amazing example to me (and others) of true grace and strength. I know you don’t want to be strong, but every day I see you clinging to Jesus and finding the courage to go on. I know you don’t want (at such a cost) to be a model of faith and beauty in sorrow, but you are. I know you often feel depleted and weak and lacking “people energy,” and yet over and over I see you ministering to others, reaching out to the lonely and sad. You reflect God’s wisdom in your countenance, words and counsel and, even in the darkest days, you shine with the light of Jesus’ redeeming work.

Thank you for being so transparent in your grief and sadness; so loving in your care for Dad, me, Tim, my children, your sons/daughters-in-law, and the grandchildren; so generous with your time and resources; so clear in your beliefs; so completely and utterly supportive of me as your daughter; and most of all a passionate follower of Jesus.

I love you!


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Books, Grandad and Loss

I’m sitting in the darkened room of my mom’s new condo. Her lovely, airy, just-the-right-size condo where she lives ALONE, without my dad. How is it possible that a year has passed already since we said goodbye to one of the most godly, energetic, full-of-life men that I have ever known? A year? A year of tears, sadness, changes, laughter, new memories, birthdays, holidays, old and new traditions. At every turn there exists both bitter loss and, at the same time, the peace and comfort that can only be found in God’s incredible care.

“I haven’t been bored since the third grade,” Dad used to say, a book (or two) in hand, a project (or two) in the works, and a place (or two) to go.

I found this picture in a stack of old family slides.

“What happened in the third grade?” I asked my mom this week, my heart full of an odd mingled joy and sadness, glad to be together with my family in Michigan but hating the reason for our celebration.

Mom’s eyes slid to the bookshelves adorning the wall in the upstairs bedroom, and she laughed, “It’s probably when he discovered the school library.”

Oh my, that must be it! I can think of dozens of pictures, snapshots on the computer and faded slides in boxes, and hundreds of images, vivid memories, that include my father with a book in his hand.

My high school honors program, yep a book and magazine article tucked in his jacket pocket.

Visiting people at the hospital – Bible in one hand and a book in the other.

The pool, beach or park – there wasn’t a single outing where Dad would venture without one or more books, usually a small tote bag full of reading material with him.

Niece Aydia already shares Grandad's love of reading!

My dad possessed a passion for learning and a library of thousands of books. He could never resist a book sale and was constantly bringing home bags of “treasures” he found at the library sale racks. I truly believe he intended to read ALL of the books on his shelves, if only he could find the time in his incredibly busy, full life.

I remember the distressed sound in his voice when we spoke over the phone while he was in the hospital, “Kath, I can’t seem to concentrate on my book. I can’t even read one of the westerns.”

Are there books in heaven?

A year since we last held his hand, kissed his cheek and said farewell.

Dear Daddy,

I miss you. Your smile reached down to the deep, scared places of my heart. That smile radiated, loud and clearly, “You are my daughter, and I love you.”

Thank you for instilling in me a curiosity and craving for knowledge. Thank you for teaching and learning and modeling a hunger and thirst for the Lord. Thank you for loving my children. My soul hurts for their loss as much as my own.

Sometimes it feels like we can’t go on without you. I can’t remember a time when you and Mom were apart for more than three days. There is an emptiness, by her side, where you should be standing.

I dreamt last month that we were all together. In the dream I kept wondering, “Where were you during that long year when Mom sold the house and moved? Why weren’t you with her? Where did you go?” But the separation was over and you smiled, and I knew I was loved.

I woke up and realized you were gone, and I sobbed and sobbed.

In the quiet moments, later in the day, I realized that dream was a gift; it was a little glimpse of heaven. Eventually we will all be together again. We will no longer ache with loss and sadness. We will be whole and complete, and we will all smile in the radiance of Christ’s glory and presence.

I love you,

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