This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Monday, May 22, 2017

God is good...

On Monday morning April 10th I woke up with so many different feelings gong through my mind. I was exhausted. It was the day after my father's memorial and I was completely drained physically, mentally and emotionally.

I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief, but also relieved that it was over. My heart was full from the outpour of love and support from our family and friends, but I also felt a strange loneliness in my heart. It felt wonderful to have all that work done and all those items on my to-do lists were scratched off. I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt proud that we did a good job of honoring Daddy at his service, and also both of our parents as we spread their ashes. At the same time though, I felt so tired, so incredibly sad and I was fearful I would fall into depression.
I had the day off and my husband had gone to work early. I wanted to spend time with the Lord and noticed it was a pretty morning. After all our recent crazy weather including below freezing temperatures, freezing rain, snow, thunder and lightening, buckets of rain and high wind storms, it was a welcomed site to see a little blue sky and have fair weather. I decided to bundle up and take the quad up on the little hill next to our house and have my morning devotions up there.
I brought my Daddy's Bible, his old favorite coffee cup, a thermos of coffee and the quilt they gave him at the hospital.
 I had lots to think about.
It's beautiful and peaceful up here.
 I talked to God out loud and thanked him for my many, many blessings. Especially for Jesus.
I thanked him for my wonderful family. For my amazing parents that God gave me. For the herritage of Christianity that I was born into and will pass down. I thanked Him for my wonderful husband and amazing sons and daughter-in-laws. I thanked him for my delightful grandson and the two babies on their way! I thanked God for all our many friends and extended family and for this beautiful state, our town and our property.
I also poured out my heart to God and cried out to Him about how very sad I was and asked Him to please comfort me. I asked Him to be with all of my family and especially to be with someone I love so much who has turned from Him.
I asked Him to answers the prayers of my family and friends with all of their needs. I told God how much I miss my Daddy.
Then I opened my father's Bible and started flipping through it reading the passages my father had highlighted.
I was soon comforted as I realized it was almost as though Daddy was speaking to me through the highlights in his Bible. Of course God always speaks to us through His word, but I almost felt like I could imagine having a conversation with Daddy and him giving me Godly advice and scriptures. This passage, Psalm 139:1-4 is beautiful. God loves us and He knows us so well!
James 1:2-8. Consider it pure joy whenever we face trials because testing of your faith develops perseverance. This is a perfect word for me right now!
Isn't that just the way of our Lord, He uses His word to reach our hearts right when we need it.
This really comforted me.
 What a perfect passage for my two sons, Cameron and Grayson, as they are expecting their babies! Psalm 139:13-16. I snapped a photo of this and texted it to them.
During difficult times like this when loved ones die, relationships are severed, we have health issues, financial issues, etc. I really ponder what life is all about. I still don't know the answers other than God created us to love, honor and glorify Him.
 He made us in His image. He gave us Jesus and if we accept Jesus and try to live as He directed that we will have eternal life. He loves us and gives us His mercy, His grace and His forgiveness. He gave us each other and I know He values and cares about our relationships we have with one another. I feel that we've been given one life and it's important to strive to live it for God and to always think of others. It's important to be productive, work hard and also enjoy the things that God has given us and to be thankful for it all. He also gave us His word, the Holy Bible, where we can find answers.
I know that God is with me and everything is going to be ok.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Saying good-bye to my wonderful Daddy

On April 9th we had a memorial service for my dearly beloved father.
I had been under so much stress to get everything done and of all things, the two days prior to the service a big wind storm came in and we lost power for a full day again! Thankfully by Friday night the power came back on again. It had been really rainy and windy all day. I was very concerned about what the weather was going to do when we were trying to spread my parents ashes. It could rain and blow all it wants, but please on Sunday from 11:00am to 12:00pm let it be decent weather while we spread the ashes.

All the sudden on Friday evening about 7:00, my husband came into the house and said, "Honey, come out and look at this beautiful rainbow." I joined him outside and we looked at it together. He hugged me and said, "Everything is going to be ok." This rainbow was a beautiful sign to us from God. Rainbows have become extra special to us because we saw a huge full double rainbow moments after his mother died 2 years ago.
For the past couple of weeks I had worked hard on everything for the service and the events surrounding it and it was finally coming together with just a few more details. Sunday morning I cut these hyacinths from our yard and we took them to the spreading of the ashes service. I gave one to each person to throw into the water with the ashes.

I set out two special treasures my Daddy gave me because I was going to talk about them in my tribute to Daddy and show these items to people at the service. When I was about 13 I started collecting little tiny trinkets. I asked my talented father if he could make something small for me to put in my trinket box. He made me these darling owls sitting on a branch. He carved them out of wood and painted them ever so carefully. He wrote his "Lenny" on the branch, this was the nickname my mother called him.
The next item is this little button. In 1973 I was 12 years old and buttons were all the rage. I found a plain dark green button and I asked my Daddy if he could etch my name on it. He was happy to do it and he put my name, the date with a star. I feel like these are two little examples of how he cared for me. A silly small request from his daughter was not silly or small to him, he loved me and he cared about what I cared about.
I wore this on my lapel at the memorial.
Before the memorial service our family went up to Daddy's hometown and spread their ashes in the creek.
When we got to the church we set up two tables full of wonderful things in memory of Daddy, things such as family portraits, photo albums, some of his paintings, bird houses he made, wooden toys he made, wooden treasure boxes he made for the grand kids, etc. I am sad that I forgot to get a photo of the memory table.

We hung his old Navy uniform up for everyone to see. Amazingly, my Daddy saved everything including his Navy Blues, Navy Whites, his hats, his t-shirt and even his shoes and socks! When the men from the Navy and VFW arrived I snapped this picture of them next to Daddy's uniform. They were such sweet men. I thought we would just have one or two, but they kept coming in the door! A total of 10 servicemen came to honor their own. Of note, the young sailor's uniforms are exactly the same as my Daddy's. They have not changed in 70 years!
My Daddy as a strapping young Navy man. He served during the Korean war from 1948-1952.
The service was beautiful. Pastor Glen did a great job. He had been my Daddy's pastor for the past 20 years and knew my father well. We had four Easter lilies at the front of the church (one for each of us kids) alongside a portrait of Daddy and a beautiful folded American flag that the US Navy provided.
I read my tribute and it felt so good to honor Daddy. Again, just like it was for my mother's funeral, I did not get my tribute done until that morning and I felt like God gave me the words and it just flowed together.
My husband said the sweetest things about my Daddy and he even got a little choked up. He didn't plan anything, he just spoke from the heart and it touched my heart so much. My sister, Kathi, and my brother, Wade, also spoke. Then my nephew Harrison stood up and said a few words as well as my son Hayden. It was lovely.

The slide show was incredible and I was so moved by the song at the very end that my son, Mackenzie, had written and sang for his grandfather. It was so meaningful to me on many levels. It was a true gift of love from Mackenzie. After the slide show my daughter-in-law, Brittany, and her friend, Alicia, sang Broken Vessels, which is a variation of Amazing Grace. It was absolutely beautiful. Brittany sings like an angel.
At the end of the service the Military honored my father for his service in the US Navy. It was beautiful. They gave him a three rifle salute, which was almost more than I could handle.
They played taps on the bugle and unfolded and folded the flag.  It was a poignant heart-rending moment. There was not a dry eye in the place. After they folded the flag they asked my sisters and I stand in the front and they presented it to us on behalf of the President of the United States. We were so honored and touched.
It so very moving when they were done with their ceremony they each walked by Daddy's photo and saluted him and personally thanked him for his service. Then as the veterans exited the building they stopped by each of us girls and gave us a spent bullet shell, thanked us and saluted us.
I am so proud of my father and the service he gave for our country.
After we visited with everyone after the service at the church, just our immediate family came over to our house for an intimate gathering and to eat dinner and remember Daddy.
We  kept it simple and ordered a bunch of pizza.
For dessert I made a candy bar.
My Daddy loved candy, so I decided to serve all of his favorites such as black jelly beans, Almond Roca, cinnamon bears, Doublemint gum, licorice allsorts...
...circus peanuts, black licorice, red licorice, candied orange slices and chocolate covered rations. The family all loved this and it was amazing how each candy evoked fond memories of our Daddy and Grandpa.
I set up a little display honoring Daddy with wonderful items he once owned. I laid out his old thermos, hardhat and driver's log from his driving days. He was a problem solver and inventor and one thing that he did was create a thermos holder and cup holder for his truck out of wood. You can see the red thermos cup sitting in it. There's a photo of him playing the fiddle while his Daddy played the piano alongside his employee of the month plaque. I displayed some old jeans, an old shirt, a few of his hats and his old handkerchiefs. My father was very sentimental and he saved wood chips from the different mills that he had delivered to over his 50 year truck driving career. I am very sentimental too, so I saved all these things about my Daddy. I have them all displayed out in my little shop.
I set up another  little display with some of the old photo albums, a scrapbook, his books from the Navy, a sketch pad, some old bills. I wanted the family to be able to look through all these things as we celebrated him. We had a lovely time visiting, eating, laughing, crying and sharing about our wonderful father and grandfather. I feel like we honored both of our parents very well.
Goodbye my precious Daddy. I will love you forever.

"And now, dear brothers, I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those are who have no hope.For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him all the Christians who have died." I Thessalonians 4:13-14

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My Daddy was a rare diamond

My Daddy was a very special man. I'm not sure I fully realized that until he passed away. I was very close to my father, but as I went through his photos I got to know him even better. I wanted to share with you a little about this wonderful man. There are no baby pictures of my father. This is the youngest photo of my father that I could find. It was his 2nd grade school picture. Isn't he a cute little boy!
My Daddy was the 4th born child out of the 9 children that Harry and Ethel had. They were dirt poor and lived much like the Walton's. They didn't have much money, but they sure had love and had fun! Their father, Harry, worked out in the woods as a timber cutter and also in the local mill. He was a strong father figure to all 9 children.
Daddy had six brothers and two sisters. As you can imagine, those boys got into lots of mischief! My grandma, Ethel, was a strong Godly women and all of those kids were good kids and all love God. All six boys served in the US Military. My Grandfather and Grandmother were married for over 60 years!
My father graduated high school in 1947.
He joined the US Navy in 1948 and served 4 years during the Korean War. He had a very dangerous job in the Navy, he was a Mine Man and he worked on explosives. He was humble and never talked much about it. Oh how I wish I would have taken the time to discuss all of this with him when he was alive.
After the Navy he started attending Bible college. He was so handsome!
His life forever changed the day he met this young lady, the love of his life, my mother Shirley. He was 24 and she was just 16! This was their first date, they are sitting on the back porch of my mother's house.
They married two years later on April 26, 1956.
Daddy started driving truck for a local fuel company and he worked at that company for the next almost 50 years of his life!
Daddy and Mamma both worked hard and saved their money and soon built their first home using a VA loan. Here's Daddy at the work site helping out as much as he could.
Soon four little babies came in four years! Kelli in 1958, Kathi in 1960, Sharon in 1961 and Wade in 1962. Here's a sweet photo of him holding and feeding me. I love how he's looking at me and how I'm looking at him!
Daddy was so happy with his beautiful wife, their beautiful life and their four beautiful children! They soon realized that they had outgrown their home.
Daddy kept working hard...
....and they saved enough money to build a new larger home. This is the construction of the home I grew up in. This is the home that they lived in for 52 years.
Daddy was always so much fun and ingenious too! Here is is pulling us kids in a sled he made from an old dresser drawer! Oh what fun it was being pulled around by my strong Daddy with the bitter cold wind hitting my cheeks!
Here's Daddy paying the bills. He was a wonderful provider. He was home every night and never drank, swore or acted in anger.
We had a lovely family. Mamma and Daddy made a cozy, loving, secure home for us.
We had an idyllic childhood. We had a Daddy who loved us. He loved our mother. We were safe and secure. We were told we were loved every single day.
Daddy was a great example of a Godly man. He loved and respected his parents. Here he is shaving his father and hugging his mother. He also helped my mother's parents, Irving and Margaret and did yard work and other projects when my grandpa Irv got sick with cancer. After Grandpa Irv died, Daddy took care of Grandma Margaret and her place until she died a few years later.
Daddy always visited widows and widowers and shut-ins. He cared about anyone who was alone or who needed help. He would visit or do any favors or odd jobs that needed to be done for them. He took us kids with him many times.
Daddy was a devoted family man. It was important to him that we all attend church and know Jesus Christ as our personal saviour. Every night either Daddy or Mommy prayed with us and tucked us in bed. Often times you would hear one of us kids say, "Daddy will you come and pray with me" because we had an extra worry we wanted to pray about and he always came when we called. He read his Bible every day early in the morning as he ate breakfast before work. Often times us kids got up early and would visit with Daddy and he would read us the Bible and discuss it with us.
Whenever we had a problem we knew we could go to him and he would give such Godly, sound advice and pray with us about it. I always felt so secure knowing my Daddy was praying for me!
Daddy was an interesting person and had many hobbies and talents. He played many instruments including the piano, guitar, fiddle and harmonica. He was an amazing photographer. He painted beautiful oil paintings. He was an amazing cartoonist. He worked on cars and other things around the house. He was excellent at woodworking and made shelves, dressers, cabinets and toys. He even helped Mamma in the kitchen with jam and fudge. He liked old things and would go up to his childhood home with his brothers to look for old bottles and other treasures. He was very sentimental and saved treasures and memories from his adventures (I think this apple(me) didn't fall too far from the tree!).
He was an excellent landscaper and took great pride in keeping the yard immaculate. People often times stopped by to tell him how pretty the yard was!
He was a very hard worker. He averaged 60 hours a week driving truck and then he would come home and do chores around the house and do big projects such as cutting firewood on the weekends. But there was always time for us kids and of course for church.
Daddy made the best eggs! They are just scrambled, but he had a magic touch to make them so flavorful. I have so many memories of Daddy making a big breakfast on Sunday mornings before church.
He loved cats and trained our kitty Sarah to climb his leg to get a treat!
My Daddy was always there for me. I felt so loved and secure.
Here we are on my wedding day right before Daddy gave me away to Eric. My father really liked Eric and approved of us getting married. God blessed me with such a good husband. I know my Daddy was praying for whoever I was going to marry. I didn't consciously go out and try to find a husband who was like my father, but I think because of the example of my father, I couldn't help but seek a man with the same type of character traits.
When the grand kids started coming, Daddy was the best grandpa! Every time my kids came for a visit, he always did such fun and interesting things with them. As I was going through the photos, I found photo after photo of proof that he made it a magical fun experience at his house with ALL 15 of his grandchildren. Here are pictures of him with my four boys. Carving a pumpkin with Mackenzie...
...having a coffee break with Cameron...
....working in the garage with Grayson...
...and showing Hayden the world. This photo is one of my favorites. He let Hayden try on his old Navy uniform and was showing him on the globe where French Morocco is, the place he was stationed in the Navy. He always did cute things like this.
My son Cameron always had a special connection with his grandpa because they were born on the same day but 57 years apart! They always called each other on their birthday and this year I know it will be so sad for Cameron to not be able to call his grandpa.
In 1999 he retired from his 50 year truck driving career. He always really loved his job and he was really good at it. He was a very hard worker. He was a cheerful worker. He never got in an accident and only called in sick one time in 50 years!!!
Oh how I miss this man.
Once he retired, he didn't slow down. He kept busy with lots of projects around the place, spending time with Mamma, spending time with his grandchildren, working out (look how buff he is in this photo!), going on trips with Mamma, going on trips with us kids and our families, tinkering in his shop, visiting shut-ins, working in the yard, spending time with his siblings, etc.
He also kept up with the times and got a computer and really enjoyed it.
Daddy had an alter ego, Doc Leonard. Whenever there was a talent show or someone needed someone to do a skit, he was there as Doc Leonard. That's me and my father in the lower right corner acting up in skit at a family reunion. I'm so thankful for the memories.
In 2007 we almost lost Daddy. He had a major stroke with a brain hemorrhage. The doctors and nurses said it was a miracle that he survived, most people do not survive that kind of hemorrhagic stroke. Praise God he survived and he recovered almost 100% and he even was able to drive again. Daddy was determined to recover and worked very hard towards his goal. He even started pumping iron again and walking on his treadmill. I am so thankful we got ten extra years with my Daddy!
He was able to go to work with my husband a few times up in the woods. This was a very special blessing for both my husband and my father.
This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my father. I love him so much.
He was very joyful when he became a great grandfather to precious Ridley.
Here he is playing the harmonica for Ridley. This is just the cutest picture!
Daddy and Mommy loved to laugh and both had a great sense of humor.
Daddy had a bad fall and had a serious brain injury requiring surgery in June of 2015. This caused him to be wheelchair bound. He was so humble and accepted what had happened to his once strong body. He did not complain about it. I'm so proud of my sons for always helping their elderly parents. I am sure it was such an honor for my boys to help their grandfather.
In April of 2017 Mommy and Daddy celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary! What a gift to give our family to have a long and loving marriage. They were committed to each other! When Mommy died Daddy looked at his wedding ring and looked at her and said, "Til death do us part". He had kept that promise he made to her 60+years before.
I love this picture of my husband and my father having a laugh together. These are my two favorite men in the whole world (well, also my four sons and my dear father-in-law).
Oh Daddy, why did you have to leave this earth? I miss you. I love you.
I did not even know what a special diamond I had in my life until he was gone. He was truly one of a kind person. He lived and loved. He gave. He forgave. He was tender and kind. He was good natured. He laughed. He was considerate.  He was an excellent husband. He was an excellent father. He was a hard worker. He was a man of character, strength and integrity. He was honest. He was committed. He was a man of his word. He was a stand up guy. He was truthful. He loved the Lord and tried to live a life according to Christ's teachings. My Daddy was truly a rare diamond. I am so blessed that he was mine.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14 

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