Monthly Archives: July 2013

18 + 476 Surprise!

Katie was stunned…completely unsuspecting. “Gee there are a lot of people here for Bible study tonight.” She quipped as we rolled to a stop.

Megan delivered the perfect response, “Yep, more parents have been staying around to visit lately.”

And with that we hopped out of the car and sauntered to the front door. I squeezed the latch, pushed it open and let Katie step through first. The roar was deafening! Close to 60 friends and family were on hand to provide resounding culmination to her 16th birthday.

Thursday night was a block party dinner with neighbors that turned into a celebration of Katie and kicked off four days of birthday festivities. Friday night was our special daddy/daughter date and what an evening it turned out to be.

A friend loaned us his shiny, black, convertible BMW Z4 sports car. Katie’s jaw dropped when she stepped out and saw the surprise ride for the night. Dinner was elegant and then we cruised all the Austin hotspots with the top down… the smiles of enjoyment and contentment from my delightful daughter were priceless.

Saturday was “just” another birthday dinner for her, out with some friends while I was in Waco checking in for my race. But yesterday was the big day. When my dad and I returned to his house after the race, we met the children there and mom spoiled us with chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and her famous chocolate pie (all at Katie’s request) for lunch. Of course this hungry post-race dad didn’t complain at all…just stuffed it in my face as fast as I could!

Katie ripped through her presents but the shocker was a brand new iPhone. She was hoping for it but I don’t think she was really expecting it. A true blessing to give good gifts to your children! She hung on my neck in thanks, shedding tears of gratitude for what felt like several minutes. A blessed moment.

And that was it…or so she thought. When “SURPRISE” was hollered by the collective voice of her friends she was flabbergasted…in the best way possible. She floated around the house, beaming but a bit dazed. THANK YOU to everyone who so thoroughly celebrated our precious daughter this week. You have blessed and encouraged this dad in his inner core.

Please keep us in prayer as we have a very busy eight days ahead of us:
Today, prep for flight to CA tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Flights and travel
Wed-Fri: Travel throughout N CA to see family. (revisit the mountain top location where I proposed to Kristi)
Sat-Sun: Travel to Mt Hermon in Santa Cruz mountains to attend staff reunion. (revisit the location where Kristi and I first met)
Sunday, August 4th: Reception for Kristi in Danville.
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Fly back to Texas.

The girls have minor head colds…I think I gave them what I had last week. The boys have been immune so far. Praying for good health this week as we embark on a celebration of Kristi.

I was dead dog tired last night…the race, the adrenaline of competition, the 3:50AM wake-up to get to the race, the birthday celebration, the surprise party…but it was a good, thankful tired, not a sorrowful tired. And that’s a good, surprising way to go to sleep.

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed…its a way of life

18 + 471 Day By Day

The Father is ever present in our midst and giving grace in a time of recovery and grief. We’ve prayed together, sang together and read scripture together as a family. And yes we’ve laughed together. I just take each day as it comes to me. Yesterday and today I’ve been physically tired. The cold/allergies I dealt with over the weekend are gone, but I’m just recovering my strength slowly. I’m taking it easy to regain my stamina before the triathlon this weekend. Speaking of the weekend… Our precious Katie turns sixteen on Sunday!

I’m taking her out to eat, just she and I, for a special daddy/daughter date on Friday evening to a high class seafood and steak place. Yes, we will get dressed up and I’ll get to show her how a gentleman handles himself when in her presence. Sunday we will celebrate her at my parents after I get back from the early morning race.

Both she and Megan have quietly stepped up to the plate this last week and a half. They are handling things around the house that need doing without me having to ask. Or if I do point out something that needs attention, one or the other simply takes care of it without a complaint. Such a blessing! They wanted to plan out our meals this week, so we listed them out and all five of us shared an adventure at the grocery store on Sunday to stock up for the week. It wasn’t all that different really, I’ve been doing the shopping for most of the last year already. It’s like many of the tasks that I find at hand, I’ve taken most of them on over the past year, it’s just that now I realize it’s mine in perpetuity.

And I’m having to pay attention to things that dads don’t normally…how much sugar have the boys consumed today? When was the last time they changed their underwear? How about a shower? Can I see the carpet in their room? Have they been well hugged? What about a story, have they been engaged? How much time on the electronics? Have the girls been able to get time alone? Do they need to talk? Moms seem to have an intuitive built-in barometer for these things. Dads, well, dads like to count basic things…Are all four of them here? Yep, we’re good!

Seriously, the energy required to build in an automatic awareness of the states of cleanliness, the pantry stock level, the emotional tenor and intellectual stimulation to name but several may explain my tiredness of the last two days. But I’m getting there. All of this of course reminds me of Kristi’s absence and how much I miss her. At the same time that it aches, I let it remind me of how well we learned to live together and quality of the home we built. And that home is running pretty well right now, all things considered. The children have been amazing.

They are looking forward to Katie’s birthday and then the trip out to California next week. So if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got a sweet sixteen birthday to pull-off, a travel list to make, duffles to pack, boys to scrub and a race to compete.

As each busy day unfolds, I know He’s right there with me every step of the way. Thanks for your continued prayers. We look forward to seeing so many more of you next week!

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed

18 + 467 A Good Day

Phew, this week is almost behind us. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were flat out hard. I found myself in my room with tears streaming down my face several times. But Thursday and Friday were MUCH better. Today even counts as a good day!

Even the head cold / mold allergies I’m dealing with haven’t dampened my spirits. I still bump up against Kristi’s absence a thousand times a day but it hasn’t derailed me the past three days. Progress is good.

This morning started with a 45 mile bike ride with friends from the triathlon club. I changed the route at the end and instead of riding home I went to my parent’s house because my dad picked up the children and mom had beignets and bacon ready for consumption. After burning 3000 calories on the ride I was ready to refuel!

With a face covered in powdered sugar and four happy children we came home to do a little cleaning and then head over to a friends house for lunch and swimming. Tonight is a Phil Keaggy concert here in Georgetown. Indeed it’s shaping up to be a fine day.

Yesterday morning’s family worship time was helpful too. I played the guitar, we all sang and then I read Psalm 93. It references the Israelites not trusting God and not entering His planned rest for them in the promise land. Then I flipped over to Hebrews chapter 4 where the writer picks up that same theme, quoting Psalm 95 and says, today we still have the opportunity to enter his rest through Jesus. And then I kept reading…

At the end of the chapter is the verse that says Jesus is our high priest but one who sympathizes with us in our times of weakness and did so without sin. It came to me at that moment as I sat there with the children looking at me, that Jesus had to deal with the loss of a parent. Joseph is not in the picture by the time Jesus begins his ministry. I shared with the children that they can talk to Jesus about what it feels like to lose a parent. But as I shared this encouragement with them I was thinking, “yeah, but he never lost a spouse. Doesn’t know what I’ve feeling.”

Then the calm voice of the Spirit said, “His bride rejected him. He came to the Jews, but they killed him. They wouldn’t listen to him. His heart and body were broken by his first love.” Whoa! I wasn’t ready for that. Then I heard further…”that’s why he loves the church…his people are his bride and we’ve been lovingly grafted into his family tree. We are the restoration of his bride.”

I shared that word immediately with the children and they liked it too. God is good. He has walked our path before and he is walking it with us now. He is present, he hears, he sees and there will be restoration. “We will work together with him to bring about every good thing.” (Rom 8:28 paraphrased)

Indeed, today is a good day!

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed

18 + 463 Sudden Silence

My good friend left to catch his flight at 4AM yesterday morning. When we woke, it was just the five of us and the pounding rain. It started at 10PM but kept on through the night.

Morning dawned gray and soggy. It kept raining until three inches filled the gauge. I’d been dreading this moment for some days. The high of the weekend, the great service, the celebration and for weeks a very busy house with caregivers coming and going to minister to Kristi’s needs kept us busy and distracted to a certain degree.

But they’re all gone and it was just us to face the gray day. I couldn’t make it through the breakfast prayer, choking up with the reality of her absence.

But then the children couldn’t be contained. The rain puddles were growing and needed to be explored. Soon all five of us plus the dog were out in the weather, a motley looking crew to be sure. From rain coats, to sweat shirts, shorts to rain boots, we were out to get wet.

An hour later we slogged back in, soaked and loving it. We showered, dried and put on robes and drank hot chocolate…in the summer…in Texas. It was still 68 outside, but when it was 104 on Saturday, it felt downright frigid.

My mom arrived just after lunch and stayed through the afternoon letting Katie and Megan sort through Kristi’s clothes and shoes to see what they’d like. That was actually a fun process for them.

My dad joined us for a dinner of leftovers and then we watched the baseball home-run derby before heading off to bed.

The first day was done and we all survived!

Today was better. We are eating dinner with some friends to watch the baseball All-Star game this evening.

I knew the sudden silence would be deafening, and it was, but we made it through. Thanks for your prayers. We miss Kristi mightily, but we will make it and will be ok.

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed…its a way of life

18 + 461 A Celebration

Yesterday was amazing in so many ways. Well over 400 people crowded the room to honor Kristi and celebrate her life. I was moved to tears as Joy, her cousin, sang the song “How Beautiful” to start the service. Joy sang that same song at our wedding nineteen years ago. Kristi truly was a beautiful woman in so many ways and the service was a fitting tribute to her life and love of family, friends and Jesus.

Kristi’s aunt Margie and Uncle Tom both shared their own recollections as well as notes from her mother and father, John and Bev. My mother, father and sister also shared how much they loved Kristi and what she means to our family.

As the last strains of “In Christ Alone” floated in the air, I stepped to the pulpit and told the story of my initial date with Kristi and our subsequent courtship, mountain top engagement and surprise Hawaiian honeymoon. I shared about how we both continued to pursue our love for each other through the years, never allowing it to grow stale. I closed with an encouragement to keep pursing a relationship with the Father and make sure to respond to His pursuit of you and invited anyone who wanted to come forward for prayer for any reason.

Two couples came forward to receive prayer and both received healing, one for spinal issues and another for GI tract issues. The Spirit Of the Living God was present and as scripture says, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Freedom in Christ brings life and ultimately healing.

I have since prayed for two friends, one with a hip problem and one with a sprained ankle and seen the pain decrease or disappear immediately. Hallelujah! I finished my talk by urging us all to keep leaning in toward Jesus until our faith reflects His and that B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed becomes second nature to us, a way of life that is characterized by the overflowing of Jesus’ spirit to those in our sphere of influence.

Today has been low key. A run this morning, hanging with my sister and family (in town for the service) and talking with a long time friend also in town this weekend. As expected, I’m tired. Truth be told I haven’t slept very well for a couple of weeks, first caring for Kristi and then the whirlwind of schedule and details that have descended upon us. Pray for deep, restful sleep tonight and in the days to come.

Finally, thank you to everyone who came out yesterday and thanks to those that sent messages of encouragement even though you couldn’t attend. It blessed my spirit to look over the crowd and feel the love, support and care for Kristi and our family.

I love you all!

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed