Friday, February 28, 2014

Saying Goodbye, Yet Remembering

I am not exactly sure how to begin this post . . . the past few weeks have been difficult and sad, yet special and memorable ones as well. I know what I'll share here won't even begin to express the emotions and all that happened 'behind the scenes', but at least it will give you an idea of what has been filling our lives and hearts the past few weeks.

I believe I have shared here before that my Grandpa (my Dad's Dad) had a form of dementia called Picks Disease which eventually led to him needing to be in a Veteran's Home. About the time I did my last post a few weeks ago, we got word that he had begun to rapidly decline in health and was placed on hospice comfort care. They expected him to go at any moment and called the family in.

With the very cold weather, we were unable to leave because of our animals so one of my aunts kept us updated via the phone. She also let us call her cell phone and leave a message for Grandpa which she played over and over to him and talked to him about us. It was very hard not being there! But this made it a little easier.

Unlike had been expected, he lingered a long week and half until he passed away a week ago from this past Monday. The weather warmed up just enough the days of the visitation and funeral that we were all able to go which we were so thankful to the Lord for.

I loved my Grandpa so very dearly, and he is going to be greatly missed!


I remember the last time I saw him, we had gone to see him at the Veteran's Home. I knelt beside him, and he took my hand and held it and held it. Every once in awhile, he'd give it a little squeeze. The entire time we were there, I knelt by him like that with my hand in his. That was the last time I saw my Grandpa, and I am so thankful for this special memory!

It is our great hope that we will see him again in heaven, yet we do not know . . . we had shared the gospel with him many times over the years, and his heart had seemed receptive. The phone message that was played for him also included my Dad briefly sharing the gospel with him once again. It is our hope that at some point he trusted in Jesus Christ alone as his Savior!

~~~~~~~~~~~

As mentioned, we were all able to go up to Nebraska for the visitation/funeral as the weather was warm enough here, but it wasn't quite as nice the further northwest we got! Our drive was long and slow thanks to first heavy rain, then freezing rain and icy roads, then wintry mix and still treacherous roads, and eventually snow and very strong winds. We finally made it there safely and the storm had moved through, even letting the sun peek through some.

Driving slow thanks to ice on the roads!

Poor visibility due to the snow

The only photos that I took during the trip were while we were driving so all of the ones shared here are courtesy of other family members who utilized their cameras and phones.

At the visitation with two of my cousins' children . . . I enjoyed spending time with them both! Can you tell by his smile, that Evin is quite the little tease? :) Ava remembered me and Leah from the last time we saw her, and she wanted to spend a lot of time with us. She is such an affectionate little girl, and I cannot tell you how many hugs I got from her over the few days we were there!

The visitation was a mix of sadness, tears, and also enjoyable times with family. It was wonderful to be able to spend so much time together with Grandma, my Aunts and Uncles, my cousins, and my cousins' children as well. Some of my cousins I hadn't seen in 10+ years so it was especially nice to see them and catch up a bit! It was definitely a memorable time.

The funeral home had put together a beautiful slideshow of photos of my Grandpa with accompanying music which we all watched over and over . . . the tears flowed a lot then. What special memories we all have of him!

The next day was the funeral and burial which were both quite emotional. As my Grandpa had served in the Navy during World War II, they had a military funeral for him. As the funeral procession drove to the cemetery, police cars had blocked the intersections that we would go through. Each car had its lights going, and the officer stood outside and saluted as the hearse went by. It brought tears to our eyes to see the respect and honor showed to my Grandpa!



Between the gun salute, the playing of the Taps, and the folding of the flag that had covered my Grandpa's casket, it was very emotional and heart-stirring.

Ava quite emotional and getting comfort from her Great-Grandma

After the funeral and burial, there was a meal served for family and friends which was really nice and especially having all of that time with everyone. I loved being able to visit with so many of my relatives, to catch up with one another, to reminisce, and so much more.

My Grandma holding her newest great-granddaughter . . . little Tessa was born just a week before this!

Leah and I visiting with two of our cousins (who aren't pictured) and two of my Dad's cousins

Aunt Marci, Uncle Pat, and Michaela 
(my Dad's sister, brother, and one of my cousins)

Mom and Gracen

After the meal and before people began to leave, we took group photos which was fun! It's been so long since we were all together . . . .

All of us grandkids save for one

All of us with Grandma

Grandma with all of her children
Uncle Pat, Aunt Monica, Aunt Judy, Aunt Marci, Aunt Chris and my Dad

Grandma with all of her great-grandchildren who were there. This was a hard picture to get! At least most of the children are looking in somewhat the general direction of the camera!

Dad and one of his cousins, Leland

Leah and I with our Grandma

Mom, Great-Uncle Howard (my Grandpa's brother), and Uncle Jim visiting

Over the two days we were in Nebraska, I worked to win over Morgan :) (she's one of my cousins' daughters) . . . it took some doing, but once she was won over, I was treated to so many 'Morgan hugs'! Arms clasped tight around my neck and her little face next to mine . . . she's such a little sweetheart!

My dear Grandma with another of her great-granddaughters

So many special moments from these two days are filling my mind now . . . so many that I would love to share yet this is already quite long. :) So I'll share just one that was especially memorable . . . after the funeral and burial service, one of my cousin’s sweet little girls who is eight (and who I had met for the first time this week) was sitting over at a table by herself with a sad look on her face. I went over and sat next to her and started gently talking to her my arm around her. 

Part of our simple little conversation went something like this: her - “Grandpa Walt died didn’t he?”; “Yes, he did sweetheart”; “He’s in heaven now and I’ll see him again.”; “Yes, Grandpa is in heaven if he trusted in Jesus as his Savior. Do you know who Jesus is?”; She thought for a moment and said a little hesitantly “He’s the Father, isn’t He?”; “Jesus is God’s Son”; “Did Jesus love Grandpa?”; “Yes, Jesus loved Grandpa very very much. He loved Him so much that He died for him so that Grandpa could live forever in heaven if he believed in Him; Jesus loves you, too, and wants you to love Him and believe in Him, too” . . . it was a precious moment that I am so thankful for! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

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We stayed and visited until we and some of one of my Aunt's family were the last ones left, and then we said our last goodbyes and began the trip home. What a special, sad, beautiful, hard, memorable, emotional, heartwarming few days it was!

The sky/clouds/sunlight were beautiful during our drive home

Once getting home, it was rather busy catching up on things, completing some orders and getting them mailed out, etc. so it took a bit before I had opportunity to put this post together. Now with all of this behind us, I should be back to posting regularly again!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just Popping In . . .

. . . to say I haven't completely disappeared :), and I hope to be back to posting again soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Books, Books and more Books!

As this long, cold winter continues to stretch on, I've been enjoying breaking up the monotony a bit by doing some things that are a little out of the ordinary . . . such as pulling out all of my books, sorting them by category, and then seeing if there were any that I did not want to keep. As one who loves books, a project like this was so much fun!

Due to lack of bookshelf room, a large portion of my books are stored wherever I can find a place to put them . . . piled in stacks underneath the table on which my computer and printer sit and in a previously empty desk drawer to name a few . . . .

 
History, reference, and more

More history, science, and readers

While I was going through books, my Mom came up at one point and when seeing piles of books spread out in a circle around me, she stopped to enjoy looking at some of them. At one point, she made the comment that with the variety and number of books I have, there's enough there to provide nearly all of the materials one would need to homeschool through 2nd or 3rd grade! And if I never have opportunity to do that myself, I'll certainly have a lot of books to share with others. :)

Once I had gone through all the books and had a small stack of ones to get rid of, I put back the ones to keep . . . only to remember that quite a few of them hadn't been added to my book list yet! (I keep a running list so when I am at book sales, etc., I'll be able to quickly see what I already have.) So out came all of the stacks again and after a bit of work, all of the titles are now on the book list. 

Part of two shelves on my bookcase (and where I keep most of my antique books)

Out of curiosity, I counted up how many books I have, and the grand total (as long as I didn't miscount!) was 643 books. I didn't realize I had that many! And given the fact that I still have a long list of books I would like to add to my collection (mostly antique fiction, Lamplighter books, and scriptural/spiritual reference books) that number will likely be increasing. :)

Part of the other two shelves on my bookcase

Once all of that was done, I updated "The Bookshelf" page on my blog . . . while it doesn't include anywhere near all of the books on it, it has most of my favorites and ones I would recommend!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On My Heart . . .


 I love the book of 1 Peter and just finished reading it yet again. This particular passage was once again, particularly convicting! One thing that stood out to me when reading it this time is how many specific commands are given to us . . .

Therefore . . . 

--prepare your minds for action

--keep sober in spirit, 

--fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

--As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance

--but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.’ 

--If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” (1 Peter 1:13-17.)

And why?

“. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:18-19.)

Because of who He is, because of His sacrifice for us, because of the very great price with which we were redeemed - Christ's precious blood - do we earnestly long and strive to walk in obedience to each of these commands that He has given us. Because He "first loved us", we love Him, and with that love, long to please and obey Him!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Post Debate Analysis

ham-nye-debate

Since the close of the debate Tuesday night, there has been much said about it online! I've seen (and read!) so many articles and comments regarding it from both sides. One of the articles that I came across was excellent, and I wanted to share it with you all . . .


This article was put out by another ministry that I really appreciated, Creation Ministries International. They are based in Australia and have done a huge amount of scientific research in many different areas, and they publish an abundance of scientific articles (including through their technical Journal of Creation which they publish three times a year.)

In this particular article, they not only analyzed the debate as a whole, but also addressed many of the scientific challenges/claims that Bill Nye made during the debate . . . clearly showing that science does indeed support Biblical creation.

I encourage you all to take the time to read this article . . . it is well worth it!

One Step Closer

This week, the snow fell thickly (around 10 inches of it in fact!), the winds blew strongly, the temperature plummeted, and meanwhile, my sewing machine whirred . . .


Row by row, stitch by stitch . . . and the final result? All of the machine quilting on my quilt is now finished! Finally! Now all that is left as far as the actual quilting goes, is to finish the hand quilting . . . only 25 squares left to go. Maybe just maybe, I'll meet my goal and have this quilt finished by the end of the winter!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bill Nye and Ken Ham Debate Tonight - Watch Live!

In case you all haven't heard yet, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis will be debating Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' tonight regarding creation/evolution. And . . . it can be watched live online! 

http://debatelive.org/

This debate has been garnering a huge amount of attention, and my hope and prayer is that those watching who believe in evolution, would see that evolution is not the answer to origins . . . but instead that the historical account of creation that God the Creator gave in His Word, the Bible, is true and that science doesn’t contradict it, but actually supports it.

I am really looking forward to watching this debate . . . it should be excellent! 

To watch the debate live, simply follow this link . . .

Monday, February 3, 2014

Emily's Quilt

Last week, my last sewing student finished her last project! Or at least, finished it to the point that she can bring it home to do the remaining bit of handsewing. :)

She worked so diligently and patiently over this past year, and
 the result of her efforts was definitely worth it . . .


Her first twin sized quilt! Each of the hearts is hand appliqued on, and then the entire quilt is machine quilted. You can imagine her dedication when considering all of the many, many hours she put into this project! We had fun working on the quilt together, and I am so happy with how she did and how her quilt turned out. And she is, too. :)

It was somewhat bittersweet, though, as with the completion of her quilt, it also marked the end of my teaching sewing lessons. As I had prepared to enter into the year 2014, I had realized that I needed to cut back on some things. When evaluating everything with my family, teaching sewing lessons was one of those things that I decided to let go of. 

I didn't realize until thinking about it over the past few weeks, that I have been teaching sewing for 10 years now!  It was a joy working with each of my special students over those years, and I have many good memories of our times together. It was also a wonderful experience, and I learned so much through it! So at least for now, I am a 'retired' sewing teacher. :)