Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't be Afraid

No one wants to go to a funeral over Christmas.
No one wants to say goodbye to a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a friend, an Aunt over Christmas. Five years after losing my mother, her sister, Gladys went home. Oh what a day of celebrating those 3 sisters must have had! Mom, Dad and 3 sisters, all home at last!

We said goodbye to my Aunt Gladys last week. I am sure that is not what her children would have wished for. I am sure that is not what her husband, Nels, would have wished for, but it was to be. I was so involved with the message at her celebration, given by Rev. Mary R. Dodgson, I was madly taking notes....."Don't be afraid"...."peace to all women and men on earth", "Glory to God"...."Don't be afraid"....

She went home while we were expecting a blizzard. She went home, but her body waited for the storm, for Christmas Eve, for Christmas Day, for the parties, for the wind, for the drifts, for the digging out, for the cancellations. She was at home, just as He had promised, but we waited with her earthly body, for the day that we would finally put her body to rest, under the blue tarp in Minnesota.

The message, the tree, the decorations, the flowers, the greenery...all said "Celebrate". Her sons' and husband's eyes said, "Mourn".

Jesus said, "Don't be afraid".

This is what you need to look for....a baby lying in a manger, and the angels singing, Glory to God. Peace to all on earth.

We are done with the shopping, done with the gifts, done with the parties and food and festivities to celebrate the birth of a baby, wrapped in a blanket. Now we have time to reflect on the Christmas story.

The pastor equated my Aunt Gladys' passing from this life into her Heavenly life with the birth of Jesus. "That new baby was a grand and glorious servant of Christ. Now, Gladys has been born to new life. She has been re-birthed into another place. Her leaving creates in us a great deal of loss, emptiness and mourning, but in the words of the Angels...."Do not be afraid" -Luke 2

The song I planned to sing, was not to be, something about a technical malfunction caused me to sing, "Amazing Grace" instead, with my God given voice, no accompaniment. I have heard it said before, but it ws true...you actually COULD have heard a pin drop! Every eye was on me, except for those eyes that had closed in prayer, every heart was on the message.

That malfunction made it just as it was meant to be.

"Amazing Grace" Amazing!

Then the pastor switched to another text, found in John 14.

"Do not let this throw you.
You trust in God, don't you? Then you should trust in Me.
I am going ahead of you.
Trust Me.
Do not be afraid.
In My Father's house, there are many mansions.
I am going ahead of you to prepare a place for you.
Do not be afraid.
Trust what I am telling you.
If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and get you."

In our distrust, we may say, "Master, we have no idea where we are going. How can we know the road we should take?"

Jesus said, "I am the road. If you know me, you know my Father.
You see Him in me.
Do not be afraid."

All of this makes us wonder again what that home He is preparing looks like. What is Gladys experiencing? What are those 3 sisters experiencing? Is there a room for me????

"Look at the baby.
To see His face is to see the miracle sent to earth, but also, the miracle of new life waiting for us."

"Don't be afraid."



In the Joy of Sharing His Story

Each year, Advent and Christmas
joy in the sharing of his story
God, the Christ-child, love
Emmanuel, come to earth
to set all of us, each one a prisoner,
to set we, the captives, free
Free from the world
from our sin
offering us peace
within his loving arms
spread wide for us
God, given for you, for me
that we may live again

Raymond A. Foss

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What a Saturday!

We baked -We watched TV

We thanked God for neighbors like Joel and Marilyn-

We had a slumber party-

We learned how to use the self timer-

We posed-

We beaded-

We enjoyed the ornaments

We had time to enjoy the angel and our own snow angel-

We marveled-We climbed

We laughed- We clowned

We scooped-We scrapbooked

We remembered-Brandon at 5 in his new coveralls
his son, Kavian at 5 wearing his daddy's coveralls 20 years later!

Life goes by so quickly-wasn't that just yesterday?

All is well.
All is safe.
All is dry.
All are fed-and then some!

Thanking God for family, friends and the reason for the season-
JESUS is Born!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Praying for Ken

The following words are copied from Ken Walter's Caring Bridge Site. I am not sure who wrote them, but they are not my words, but the words of Ken's family!

Ken has been having ongoing issues with his right foot and leg since June. He saw a few Orthopedics who thought the problem was related to a back injury and previous surgery two years ago. The past few weeks the numbness and spasms became greater and more frequent - even traveling up his arm. Ken starting experiencing numbness in his right hand and arm and extreme weakness in his legs.

The doctors first thought that Ken had a mild stroke so they ordered a CT scan and an MRI of the brain. The CT scan showed swelling in the brain and the MRI showed a mass on the left side. Ken was admitted to the hospital and met with a neurosurgeon Saturday morning. The neurosurgeon informed us that the mass was a probable stage 3 or 4 glioma (brain tumor) and that they wanted to proceed with surgery as soon as possible. The tumor is located on the motor highway which controls Ken's motor skills on the right side of his body. The doctors are hopeful because the tumor is located on the surface of the brain, not deeper in the brain tissue. They think the tumor has been growing for only two or three months, so we caught it in its early stages.

During surgery the doctor removed the tumor from Ken's brain and it was determined to be a stage 4 astrocytoma. In a CB update, a" family member said, "This was by no means the diagnosis we were all hoping for, but as we said earlier it's only the beginning of the fight, not the end." http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kenwaltner

After just a few days in the hospital with therapy and many prayers and lots of love, Ken was able to update his own Caring Bridge today. What a blessing to me!

Friday, December 25, 2009 11:16 AM,

Well, it is time to hear from the guy who has been causing all of the commotion.

First of all, you can not imagine how much all of your support means to me. It simply has overwhelmed my thought process as my family reads the messages and identifies each and every author who has taken the effort to encourage me. Also, all of the phone calls, visits, cards and gifts have been very much appreciated.
A few things I have learned:

*There are angels among us who appear when most needed. Some of you have taken on this role without knowing it.

*When things get really difficult, it is essential to take one day at a time. (sometimes 1/2 day!)

*Be willing to accept assistance from family and friends when needed. Independence is great, but the time will come when each of us will be humbled and require assistance.

*The biggest thing that I have learned in the past few weeks and years is that Ken is not in charge. God is in total charge (PERIOD)!

*I never realized how much my son and his family, daughter and immediate family love me.

*And finally, my wife, Cindy, is the greatest angel of all.

Our walk with God is really quite simple. When we hit the pearly gates I believe St. Peter's spreadsheet will contain the following criteria:

-Believe and accept
-WE WILL BE JUDGED HOW WE TREAT PEOPLE HERE ON EARTH. (by the way, each of you have a check mark on his spreadsheet by this one)

Well, it is time to close. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas. Thanks again for your support, your messages have been priceless!!!

Best Regard and may God bless you.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Christmas is All About-

Learning the story of baby Jesus-

Taking time to talk-

Helping others without asking for anything in return-

Giving to others-

Blessing others with the gifts God has given you-

Sharing in a time of love and receiving far richer blessings
in return.

Giving thanks for your babies!

Sharing your joy through song-

Being all together.

Love of a lifetime......Christmas this year means saying
goodbye to my Aunt Gladys. Pray for Nels and the
whole family. Gladys is spending Christmas with
Jesus this year!

Christmas in Heaven
I see the countless CHRISTMAS TREES around the world below
with tiny lights like HEAVEN’S STARS reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so SPECTACULAR please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I hear the many CHRISTMAS SONGS that people hold so dear
but the SOUND OF MUSIC can't compare with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.

I have no words to tell you of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description to HEAR THE ANGELS SING.

I know HOW MUCH YOU MISS ME, I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine CHRISTMAS WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face

I'll ask him to LIFT YOUR SPIRIT as I tell him of your love
so then PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your HEARTS BE JOYFUL and let your SPIRIT SING
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN and I’m walking


~ by Wanda Bencke
© Copyright 1999

The presents are not what is under the tree,
but what is in the heart. "He who has not Christmas
in his heart will never find it under a tree. -Roy L. Smith

Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The historic record of the birth of Christ can be found in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. Unlike any other baby, the one born that night in Bethlehem was unique in all of history. In the birth of Jesus, the eternal, all-powerful and all-knowing Creator came to earth in the flesh.

Why would God do such a thing? Why would he come as a baby, instead of appearing in power and majesty? Why make himself a true man and live among us, when he knew full well how terribly he would be treated?

It was LOVE! It was necessary, if you are to be saved! Have YOU excepted the greatest gift ever sent to this earth?

God's richest blessings to you and yours as you celebrate the season of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus. "For unto us a child is born"! Amazing!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas in Heaven

I have been touched by friends who have experienced recent losses,

especially at Christmastime. This is especially for the families

of Lavena, Doris, Paul, Alex, Ike, my Mom and Dad, George,

and always.................Lauren Grace...................

Story Behind the Poem

In 1984, God placed within our family a child born with

severe cerebral palsy. A blessing in disguise, she touched

our lives in ways only God could orchestrate. We enjoyed

Lysandra's presence here on earth for thirteen years.

On Christmas Day, 1997, she had a seizure leaving her

in a coma for five days before the Lord took her to

His eternal home in Heaven.

A season filled with joy...now pierced our hearts.

The severe seizure lasted for three hours, raising Lysandra's

body temperature to 107 degrees causing damage to her

internal organs. She was in a coma for five days as we slowly

watched her organs shut down. We were faced with the

decision to place Lysandra on life support, then faced

with the heart-breaking decision to remove life support.

During those five days God kept showing me scriptures

about Heaven. As a result, I wrote the poem Christmas in


Christmas has always been my favorite season because

the whole world is singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The fact that God took Lysandra home in the season when

everyone was singing His praises seemed strangely fitting

and appropriate.

The poem speaks so deeply to the hearts of people because

it is based on scripture and God speaks to us through

His word.

“...in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me,
when as yet there were none of them.”
~ Psalm 139:16