This coming Tuesday is our SILVER wedding anniversary - 25 years! Wow, hard to believe it was 25 years ago when my dad walked me down the isle to give me away to David. Here are some photos of us throughout the years. Some were definite anniversary pictures, while others were not taken on an anniversary but on the dates closest that I could find.
1st Anniversary - 1993 We defrosted the top of our wedding cake
2nd Anniversary - 1994
Camping - 1995 I was sunburned
At a friend's wedding -1996 David was the Best Man
5th Anniversary at Olive Garden - 1997
6th Anniversary, pregnant with 1st child - 1998
Family photo - 1999
8th Anniversary - 2000
Family photo - 2001
10th Anniversary, pregnant with 2nd child - 2002
Family photo - 2003
At a Fire Department dinner - 2004
13th Anniversary - 2005
David's 40th birthday - 2006
15th Anniversary - 2007
16th Anniversary - 2008
At a dinner theater with friends - 2009
Heading to another dinner theater - 2010
At home - 2011
20th Anniversary - 2012
Cancer treatments - 2013
22nd Anniversary at the local fair - 2014
23rd Anniversary heading to a dinner theater - 2015
I don't have very many photos of my dad holding me as an infant. But, I did find this one which was taken shortly after I was born. That means, it was probably taken on, or very close to, Father's Day of 1969. It was my first Father's Day with my dad.
Today is Father's Day 2017, and it is another "first" for me - the first one without my dad. It is very different to not have my dad to send a card to this year, or to be able to pick up the phone and give him call. But, it is not a sad day. Instead, I choose it to be a day of remembrance and gratitude; a day to thank God for giving me a father who loved his family dearly (and one I loved dearly in return).
In February 2017, my family and I took a trip to visit my parents. While we were there, my dad (a retired Pastor and Bible College Instructor) handed me a 3-ring binder that included some of his memoirs, thoughts, and past teachings. He told me he finally wanted to start working on the book we had been asking him to write, and asked me to edit it and get it ready for publishing.
I looked over Dad's material, and began editing the book in March. Dad was mostly home bound at this point, but we collaborated via e-mail and telephone calls until his book was finally published on April 17th. This book was a goal Dad had wanted to accomplish, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to help make it happen for him. It ended up being his final project on earth.
A BRIEF HEALTH HISTORY: It was over 15 years ago when Dad had aggressive, fast-growing prostate cancer. He was told he would only have several months to live if he didn't seek treatment. After weighing his options, he and Mom chose for him to receive brachytherapy which, in short, is the implanting of tiny radiation seeds that kill off the cancer. The treatment did its job, and Dad was cancer free for the past 15+ years. We are thankful he was given these additional years to take part in the lives of his family and friends. The drawback is that the radiation seeds caused damage to Dad's internal organs and, over this past year, his health began to take a drastic turn for the worse. Ultimately, his liver failed and he went home to be with the Lord on May 12th, less than a month after his book became available.
Dad wasn't perfect, and he was the first to admit it, but he loved the Lord and was always looking for ways to serve Him. So, when he became home bound, it was hard for him to be less physically active, and he went through a difficult time of feeling somewhat "useless." But, what he eventually learned is that God can and does use us, no matter what season of life we are in. Even as Dad's health was failing, God used him in the hospital to speak with others about the Lord. God also used him to be a counselor and encourager when people would call and talk with him. Finally, God used him to write this small, easy to read, 86-page book that shares "where he has been," and "where he is now" through a collection of memoirs, meaningful moments, teachings, and observations.
Dad's hope for this book was for his readers to be Spiritually encouraged, and to help us understand how God places us where HE wants us, and then it is our responsibility to serve Him no matter where we have been placed.
Here is the link to order a copy on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle format. (FYI: My mother, Carolyn, is the beneficiary of any proceeds.)
For the month of May, I took an unexpected break from blogging. The reason? I was saying goodbye (or rather, "see you later") to my wonderful dad, and then began trying to adjust to the new normal without him here on this earth. It has not been easy but, with God's help, my family and I are slowly adjusting with the strength given to us from above.
This photo was taken sometime within the 2 weeks my dad was at home in a hospice bed. Among other things, his liver was failing, and we all knew his "time" was getting closer; but, even at the end of his earthly life, it was such an encouragement to see him sharing the love of Jesus with us. As he spoke to us, we know he was trying to make sure he would be seeing his family again someday in Heaven. For example, at one point, Dad asked me directly, "What will you say to Jesus when you meet Him?"
I confidently answered, "I will thank Him for saving me from my sins. And, then I will also thank Him for giving me a dad and a mom who took the time to teach me about Jesus."
Although I miss my dad terribly, I have felt the prayers of others, and truly feel at peace, knowing he is in a better place, and that I will see him again someday. His favorite song by The Booth Brothers is "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet." I certainly plan on looking for him there when it is my turn to leave this world behind. I hope you will be able to join us.
Please watch this 5-minute video tribute to my dad, made by my brother, Daniel. This was played during Dad's memorial service on May 20th. And, if you need more information about becoming a Christian and want
to be sure you have a right relationship with God, please take a look at:
WHY WE NEED SALVATION.)
SIDE NOTE: In the photo you can see a little toy figurine attached to Dad's watch. When he first came home on hospice, he asked for something from one of his grandkids that he could hold next to his heart. He loved his grandkids dearly with unconditional, unending love.