Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top Crust

My daddy is gone from this world.   

I remember the words of Dwight L. Moody.  In his final days he said  "Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead.  Don't believe it for a moment.  I will be more alive than ever before!"

We had the viewing the evening before the funeral.  I thought Jack, at Ruzens, did a great job on the flowers for the casket!  A little bit of subtropics for the area of Japan where my parents were missionaries.

I had Dad wear this tie clasp.  It was a gift to Dad when he lived in Japan.
The kanji, or Chinese character, is "kotobuki" or something like congratulations, happy, long life.  Sort of fitting.

I cried to see flowers from a couple of the churches Dad served at in Japan and also from some dear Japanese friends.  It was so touching for them to remember him!

There were lots of flowers or plants. 

 My young mom's Bible study group sent this bouquet.

Quite a few friends and family dropped by.  
Our children, Josh, Jill and Mindy were all there also to be with us.

Several friends cried with us as we talked about my Dad.
One dear couple who came were Jim and Shirley. 
Shirley told us a story about when they came to visit us in Japan.  My parents took them to a public bath house.  Their son was with my Dad and he was a little concerned that a curtain was all that divided the men's bath from the women's bath. 
                "Uncle Pete, what will we do if the curtain falls down?"  
                "We will just stay under the water!" he replied.

Jim and Shirley have plots at the same cemetery we do.  As do my parents and Al's parents.  His grandparents and my Voran grandparents.  Lots of friends and relatives.  
                 We got all excited to think that one day we will all rise together!!

1 Thess. 4:16 
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.

One lady shared with us that her grandmother attended the first church that my Dad pastored before going to Japan.  She said her grandmother was a little critical of Dad at first.  He would play baseball with the youth and didn't the pastor have better things to do than to play baseball with young people?  But after awhile, she decided he was all right.  Makes me so proud to hear that about my Dad!  Dad loved baseball and what a great thing to do!

One person made the remark to me "You are now the top crust."  ??  I wasn't sure what she meant until she said "You are no longer in the sandwich generation."  That's right!!  I have been a part of the sandwich generation for many years, taking care of my parents on one end and helping with my children/grandchildren on the other.  Goodness.  We are the old ones now.  Matriarch/patriarch.

Thank you to all who came to give hugs and give words of encouragement!

After the viewing was over, Al's sister, Julie and his cousin, Jim and his wife Joanne came over.  Such a good visit.  Too often it takes a funeral to bring some of us together. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dad has left us - but not forever!

On Tuesday we had a care plan meeting at the nursing home with the staff and hospice.  Dad was there in his wheelchair.  The staff there is so sweet!  They wanted Daddy's input on their care for him.  He said a few words but couldn't seem to complete thoughts.  At one point he said he felt bad.  I think what he was saying was that he felt bad for being a bother.  Mom and him often felt that way but we told them over and over that they were not a bother at all!  When you love people, you care for them!
I had some things to do after the meeting but came back in the afternoon.  The Rempels and I have had a standing date to visit with Dad every Tuesday afternoon.  

When we entered the room, we noticed that there was a sudden change in him.  He was in a lot of pain and crying out.  The nurse came to give him more medication.  

Richard held Dad's hand for the hour as we visited.  When it was time for them to leave, Dad gave them the blessing  "The Lord bless you and keep you".  It is a blessing he gives out often.  Some days he can only get out the word "blessing...".  

Then he said to them "I will miss you."  
It was as if Dad knew he wouldn't be seeing them regularly on Tuesdays any longer.
I stayed for 3 hours, waiting for him to get comfortable.

Over the next few days, Dad continued to decline.  Rempels came to stay with him so I could go home to shower.  He had other visitors who came to talk with him also.  Dad had some very cherished friends!

I didn't get pictures of everyone who came and some others were out of town.  
But we are so grateful for all who have shown such love to my parents over the years!!

My husband was always so gentle and sweet with Dad.

I played some songs for him. 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in His wonderful face
and the things of this earth
will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.

He loved this song

I spent the last 2 nights with Dad.  I put the recliner right up next to his and held his hand all night long.  It really seemed to comfort him when he got anxious.

Our daughter, Jill, came to relieve me in the day so I could go home to shower.  
She took this photo of her holding his hands. 

On Saturday evening, my father took his last earthly breath.

He is more alive than ever now!
With Christ, which is far better!
He is laughing and rejoicing! 

 My 8 year old granddaughter is convinced he is doing flips!  
Out of that wheelchair for good!!

I wish I could peek in and see him as he was greeted by the Lord, and turned to see Mom, my brother, his siblings, parents and in-laws, fellow Japanese missionaries (12 have gone ahead of him), Japanese people that Dad led to the Lord, Peter the Apostle, and the list goes on and on and on!

On Facebook Jill wrote:
Tonight I said goodbye to my last remaining grandparent.  I feel both the loss of that layer of legacy and the blessing of that heritage.  It was a privilege to feel him squeeze my  hand as I sang hymns to him yesterday.

Sunday afternoon, Al and I went to the home to pack up his belongings.

I took the Japanese calendar off the wall.  He died one month shy of a year of when my mother passed away (Dec. 15, 2014)

Today is Tuesday. 
I got a reminder on my phone:  visit Dad

Monday, November 9, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, following another stroke, my father was placed on hospice.

This week my aunt and uncle from Missouri came to visit him in the morning.

My dad had 4 sisters.  Helen, Millie and Mary have all passed away.
The little girl in this photo is Betty.  She is 10 years younger than Dad.

We had a good visit and talked about their growing up years.

During the war the German POWs came to work on the farm.  Since the family spoke German and ate German food, I am sure the POWs had it much better there than the American POWs did in Germany during that time.  Even though they would have been treated kindly at my Dad's home, one of the POWs hung himself in the barn one day.  Dad remembers having seen that.

Uncle Bill wanted to eat at Wendy's for lunch.  

Guess who was also there?
Sue and Missy were out biking!

In the afternoon, my niece from Pennsylvania and her family drove in to see Grandpa.  
We hadn't seen them for 5 years, at my brother's funeral.

Dad enjoyed seeing his precious family! 

I know Dad appreciates everyone who visits him!  Thank you to all who take the time to pop in on him!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Road Trip day 3: worship

On Sunday morning, we went to New Heights church.
It meets at the Boys and Girls Club.
Adam met up with a Moody college alum who used to be in college with him.

Josh has to get up pretty early Sunday mornings to get ready.

They are going through a family series and the sermon this day really touched my heart!  God's design for women.  We have been talking about the same thing in my young mom's Bible study and this was said so plainly and in a new way that we will listen to it next week.  If you want to hear it, click here.

Brother and sister were matchy matchy this day!

Josh still had 2nd service to do, but we needed to get on the road.  
So we said our byes to him and went to Newks to eat.

Adam and Jill doing a silly pose.

And from Denver, Mindy and Bryan texted us a come back to it.

Goodbye sweet Arkansas family!

When I got home later that night, Al and I stayed up to watch the Royals.  We were also switching channels to watch the Packers, who weren't doing so hot.  Sad.  But the Royals!!!  Oh my goodness!   So happy for this team that won the World Series!

Roadtrip, day 2: Boo!

 On Halloween day, I read this cute little story to the grandchildren called the Pumpkin Gospel.

It talks about how the slime inside the pumpkin reminds us of our insides before God makes us new.

We scoop out the mushy gushies and it reminds us that He cleans out our sins.
God's love is like the candle that shines from the inside out.
                                       "You are the light of the world!"  Matt. 5:14

We colored and pasted pumpkin faces

and then worked on making a real jack-o-lantern!

The first pumpkin that Hannah carved.  I cut out the first triangle to show her how, and she did the rest!
 I washed the slime off the pumpkin seeds and put them in the oven.

Jill asked Josh to take some family photos so we went outside to do that.  When we got done, I could smell burnt pumpkin seeds!  I had forgotten all about them!  They were ruined.  So sad.  I love roasted pumpkin seeds!

As soon as supper was over, the children were ready to dress up for Trick or Treating!

Claire found this mask in Emeri's room and 
on her own initiative wanted to wear it.

Off we went.

Trick or Treat!

 It was a fun neighborhood to walk around and the kids were all excited to eat their stash!  Their parents allowed 2 candies that night.  (and I think the grownups had a few too!)

"Act like people of the light and make your light shine."  Ephesians 5:8,9