Friday, November 9, 2018

In a Time of Grief



It's taken me time to write this post.  I could barely take the funeral program out of my car until just a few days ago.  Her picture with her smiling so lovingly at me every time I glanced at it. So much has happened in just a month. It's been very tough, life is still full of grief, but God is still in control. 

Grief is such a unique process.  It is different in every circumstance, for every person.  Although I have lost loved ones before, the grief this time is so hard to experience, hard to control, and I cannot wait for it to end.  If it ever will.

To watch a love one fade away...to be so vibrant one day and then see the life leaving them the next...is incredibly tough.  It's heart-wrenching, it is hurtful, but it is also so very beautiful.  I am thankful we all got to be together in the last few days of my mother-in-law's life.  I am very thankful she knew she was surrounded by what was most important to her.

Her family.

We all had our time to say good-bye even though it was still much too soon.  Our kids even chose to spend time with her on her last day, which I hope they will remember fondly.  That time was incredibly special and rare.  As I said my final good-bye I could only manage to whisper two words in her ear.

Thank you.

Thank you for being a constant encourager and supporter.  Thank you for being meek yet very strong.  Thank you for your strong leadership in the walls of the church, on the mission field, and for the family. Thank you for your nurturing ways.  Showing others what it is like to be compassionate, kind, and care for others in all situations.  Thank you for being the most amazing granna and mother-in-law.  You never meddled or overstepped boundaries. You let us be a family of 4, but glowed with pride whenever we saw you. 

Thank you for your big heart and being a willing servant of God.  Because of this, you allowed two little boys into your home that already had three children and called them your own.  You raised them as if they were your own flesh and blood and did not treat them as if they were not.  Without your obedience, our family would not be what it is.  Thank you for raising all five children in God's Word and to be strong and unique individuals.  Their commitment to their parents, to each other, and the understanding that unity is utmost important is remarkable to watch.

Although they were only two words, there was so much said.  And I pray she received my message.

As we grieve the loss of one beautiful soul, we find ourselves grieving a life that is no longer the same.  My father-in-law will live out the rest of his life, hopefully many years still, fighting against the terrible disease of Alzheimer's.  But knowing we can spend this time with him, learning so much about his younger years, is a huge blessing. 

And so we grieve.  And we pray.  And we understand that God is still good and in control of situations.  And we have some peace knowing she is pain free, worry-free, and simply free...in the presence of the One she so faithfully served.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Road to Omaha

Baseball is life.  At least for this family.  And when we heard we were taking a baseball trip to Omaha, Nebraska with our team, we made a family vacation out of it.

We headed to South Dakota first to check out some presidents.  We booked the Mount Rushmore tour with our own tour guide and saw some pretty amazing things.  It's definitely the best way to sight see.  Plus, the weather was in the cool 60's and felt so nice!!!

We stopped at Crazy Horse Memorial.  It's been under construction for over 20 years and Craig and I probably won't see the completion in our lifetime.  But it still looks pretty cool. 


 
 

 The white sculpture is how the finished product should look.
 
Our guide took us on a very scenic route through Custer State Park.  We saw lots of wild elk and a couple of buffalo.  We were told the rest of the buffalo were on higher ground in the park due to the recent rains.  It was still so beautiful!!!!
 



The rains started and the fog was drifting in and out.  We weren't sure how much of Mount Rushmore we would be able to see.  Thankfully, just as we were getting to the monument, the rains stopped.  However, it made the former Presidents look like they were crying (perhaps they were?).

 
A flag for each state was represented along this walkway.


Our tour included a free lunch at the cafĂ© and we enjoyed taking in the sights.  It was a pretty cool experience.

For dinner, we took in a local chuck wagon show, Fort Hays.  It was also the location of some of the scenes from the movie "Dances with Wolves."  Some movie memorabilia was housed on site.  We had such a great time.  They played music from all decades after we finished a delicious meal.  There was even an Elvis sighting!





We had a great time in South Dakota and it is such a beautiful state.  I wish we had time to check out more tourist attractions, but we had to head off to Omaha to start the baseball festivities.

We took in two college world series games.  Preston had a blast watching the games and hanging out with his teammates.  Even when it was raining, he did not want to leave.

 

 
 
Sadly, our first day of games got rained out.  So, our family took the opportunity to go across the river to Iowa and do some sight seeing.  We visited the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and learned all about the history of this railroad company.  Then, we toured a historic home and loved it!!  I always think the woodwork in these old houses are so beautiful. 
 
 


 


 
We ate dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube.  It looks like an old gas station with replicas of cars inside.  The food was pretty good.
 


 
The next day (after going 1-1 in our games), we went to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and stood in 2 states at a time.  Then we headed to a local burger joint that was A-MAY-ZING!!!!
 


 
 
Baseball
We really traveled to the Midwest for a baseball tournament.  There was a bonfire where the boys traded pins, met players from across the country and participated in a skills challenge. After going 1-1 on that Friday, we won our game on Saturday and then won 3 games in a row on Sunday!  We won the championship for our division.  Such an amazing feat!!!!  The last 3 teams were all from Texas and were seeded higher than us.  It also got pretty warm, but our team pushed through.  Every single player did such a fantastic job.  We went home with pretty full hearts.
 
 
 
 




We made one more stop in Oklahoma on our way home.  I am a huge fan of Pioneer Woman and was dying to stop at her restaurant and store.  Craig was kind enough to make the detour so I can see it.  There were also public tours of her Lodge, which is where she films her TV show.  I loved it so much!!!
 









 
It was a very busy week, we drove many, many miles, visited 4 more states, and made so many new memories.