Wednesday, August 31, 2011 wonderful second dad!

After my earlier post, I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to the man I am honored to call Dad.  (Yes, I also have my own dad that I love so much as well.  Hi, Dad!)

When I got married, I not only married my wonderful husband, but I also gained the privilege of being grafted into his family. I can honestly say that I could not be more blessed! My father-in-law was a building trades teacher in a public school system for at least 30 years . Each year the kids would build a house and auction it off at the end. He used that time not only to teach kids how to do a job and do it right, but he also gave them opportunities to learn more about Jesus if they wanted to. (After school hours, of course.) He also spent a lot of time wrestling with and working with his three sons, being a deacon at his church, and teaching adult Sunday School classes. When he retired from his teacher job, he slowed way down....NOT. He just started spending lots and lots more time helping Scott's oldest brother who is the director at a Christian camp. Finally, he and his amazing wife just up and moved there to help full time. I'm not sure how many hours he spends cutting grass, power washing, weed whacking, building, and everything else under the sun each week.

He is hard-working (and that is the understatement of a lifetime), kind, loving to everyone, playful, the best grandpa you can imagine, and the best dad and husband. All three of his sons asked him to be the best man at their weddings.  Oh, and he plays piano and has been writing songs! He can barely get through singing them without tearing up, just thinking about how much He loves the Lord. He is committed to God and spending every minute he can serving Him. When I see him with the grandkids, encouraging them to give everything they have to the Lord, and giving each one of them undivided attention, letting them all know how very important they are and how much he loves them, I am just overcome with how blessed we all are to have him.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words they say... Here is our dad and grandpa. Enjoy.

Enjoying life together

Never too big...: )

 Splashing with us

Helping with projects

 Unveiling a big surprise...

 Always wrestling...

 At the zoo

 Checking out something interesting

 Camping and fishing together

 Never complaining that these boys never lest you rest...; )

 Always loving our kids

 Giver of 4-wheeler rides...lots and lots of them

 Helping our kids learn the importance of working hard

 Father and sons working together

 You're never too old to sit on  Grandpa's lap

 Expert snuggler.

 Everyone loves Grandma and Grandpa...oldest to the youngest

 Still a kid at heart

 Time out for fishing

 Never too old to hold Grandpa's hand

 Singing for Jesus

 He's been a horsie, I don't know how many times...

 After so many years, still happy in love

 Enjoying God's creation

 Dad and two of his boys

Simply the best

 Sarah loves her grandpa

 Cassandra does too.

 Always there for us

Letting them know what is most important

No need for words.

We love this man!  Thank you for praying!

In everything give thanks....


Have you heard that word much lately? 

Our daughter, our friend, and now our precious father-in-law....have heard that they have these ugly cells lurking in their body. 

Two Sundays ago, my father-in-law went to the ER with severe stomach pains.  A CT scan showed enlarged lymph nodes behind his stomach.  They hoped it might be an infection, but the doctors were almost certain it was cancer.  That Tuesday he had a biopsy, and yesterday he had an appointment with an oncologist confirming that he does indeed have Lymphoma.  It is at an advanced stage, but thankfully, they are saying it is highly treatable. we go again. 

I am left wondering, what in the world is going on with all this cancer?  I've heard it said, well, people are living longer now, so that is why we are seeing more cases.  But these cases are not in really old people! Most cases of cancer I've heard about lately are people that are really not old at all.

Maybe the devil has asked permission if he can use it to wreak havoc, and God has said yes...knowing that He can use it in amazing ways to draw people closer to Him. 

I have no idea.  But what I do know is, no matter what is the cause of all this cancer everywhere, God has already used it in my life so profoundly.  With each new diagnosis I hear, I am reminded how very much we NEED God.  We can think we have it all together.  Make our plans, go about our busy lives, keep all the plates spinning...and so easily forget that quite literally, we can do nothing without Him.  He will never show us His power if we are always contentedly relying on our own puny selves to make it through.  Especially here in cushy America, we are in desperate need of reminders of who is the real Source of power.  We honestly and truly need HIM. 

On facebook today, one of my friends reminded me that we are called to be thankful for EVERYTHING.  Even cancer, cancer, and cancer again is something to be thankful for when it keeps us on our knees, leaving it in the ultimate Healer's hands once again.  He is so worthy of all our praise.  I will admit, I did question Him.  I can't understand for the life of me why He would choose one of the most loved, most godly men on this earth to battle this awful disease.  But we do not have to understand. 

We only have to trust.

We are praying for our beloved father and grandpa and our dear mom and grandma.  If only you could meet them,  you would know how blessed we are to have them, and honestly, how blessed is everyone who knows them or who is touched by their lives in some way.  Please pray for them and our whole family as we stand together with our sweet Jesus to fight cancer again.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of  God in Christ Jesus, concerning you.-- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, August 26, 2011

2,500 letters

I just felt I had to share this with you today.

I was driving and listening to Focus on the Family today, and I was so moved by the program, I literally smiled the entire time, and was even brought to tears a few times.  And I am normally not the type who cries easily.  It was just really special.

The story was about a man--a teacher at a Christian middle school named Mr. Dan Stroup--who has a unique way of reaching out to his students.  Since he got the idea back in 1985,  (again...that is 1985...) he has been writing letters to his students on their birthdays.  EVERY SINGLE STUDENT he has now and has ever had in his class, (he is able to keep in touch with 98% of them) gets a personal, hand-written letter on his or her birthday, every single year!  He encourages them, lets them know he still cares about them and their families, adds Bible verses....  All of them.   At the beginning of the radio segment about him, they played a recording of so many of these students, many of them men and women now, telling what this teacher means to them and has meant to them over the years--how he was such an amazing teacher, and how he went out of his way to make sure that each child knew they were special and loved.  One of them went so far as to say there is no one like Mr Stroup in the entire world.  The host interviewed him then, and he said he writes about 2,500 letters a year.  Every night he works on them.  Such a beautiful labor of love.

Well, I was so greatly touched by that.  I thought about what middle school was like for me, and that special science teacher I had in the seventh grade who went out of HIS way to make us feel special.  I will never forget him.  He gave us nick-names and decorated our ditto sheets with silly drawings.  We knew he truly and honestly cared about us.  He sent me a birthday card once that I treasure to this day.  I can't even imagine getting one every single year.  Simply amazing.

That story about Mr Stroup (and the memory of my 7th grade science teacher) helped me to remember how really easy it is to make a difference in people's lives.  It's truly the small things.  A special nick-name, an encouraging word, a letter on a birthday...can make such a huge difference, especially to children.  We might not have time to write so many birthday letters each year, but we can all do something to make someone's day brighter.  We'll never know the impact our words and actions have on people until we get to heaven.  The new school year is kind of like New Year's Eve, isn't it?   I am committing to make it my goal to be a blessing to as many people, and especially children, as I possibly can this year.  Who's with me? 

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!  It sure is fading fast!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Family...the most precious gift God's given to us

I mentioned in my last post that we just returned from Family Camp up at Fort Faith Camp where my brother-in-law is the director. 
So Spiritually filling, the weather was perfect, and it was fun!

And it was treasured time with our family--Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunt, uncle, grandparents and special friends.  Valuable... Priceless, really... Time.

 The boys slept in a tent, and loved it.  : )

Dear friends...Cherish your family!