Tag Archives: Family

Mother’s Day – 2022

It was a very different Mother’s Day this year for me. Oh, my kiddos called and gave me lots of Momma love, and we even celebrated the day at a lovely luncheon put on by a very special niece and nephew. It was a beautiful spring day (after two solid days of rain) and there was love abounding. But still, it was hard. My lovely Mom has been in Heaven 26 years, but I still miss her – especially on these Hallmark card days. And since I remember well the ‘hard’ of those first couple of Mother’s Days in the years following Mom’s passing, I was especially aware of how hard this day must’ve been for my nieces and nephew who lost their mom just a week ago. Today on social media, Bethany posted these words –

My mother, my favorite person in all the world, is not here, not reachable by phone or touch or text or…but that invisible string maybe… and I’m so glad she gave her life to love. In honor of her daily choice to love and love more and fight and stay standing, I will say as she said “I just want to be more full of Jesus.”

May we all say the same!
And in her honor also –

I will pray rejoicing from my heart
Pray rejoicing from my heart
For in Him my victory’s lifted high
His salvation is my cry
He has overcome my enemies
Our praises scorn the enemy
I delight in His deliverance
The Lord is our deliverance

Pass the promise
To our sons and daughters
God most high, God our Father
We bear witness

There is no one holy like the Lord
Holy, holy is the Lord
Our Rock and refuge is our God
All the earth belongs to God
Do not speak with pride of noble deeds
For the Lord will weigh our every deed
See the strong have lost, the weak have gained
And from the dust my life He raised

Pass the promise
To our sons and daughters
God most high, God our Father
We bear witness

He will guard the feet of faithful ones
He will hold His faithful ones
But the wicked they will not prevail
Not by might will man prevail
He is coming soon to judge the earth
He is coming soon to judge the earth
For the Lord gives power to His King
All Strength to His Anointed King

Pass the promise
To our sons and daughters
God most high, God our Father
We bear witness [x4]

We bear witness [x2]

Walking Elna Home

Last Saturday (4/30) my sister Elna slipped into heaven to meet her Savior whom she had loved since her early teens. As she left this life behind, she was surrounded by her two daughters and husband of 50 years. The room was filled with love. And tears.
Such sweet memories we have of those last weeks with Elna. Some of the sweetest center around her quick wit that continued to surface even as her body weakened.
One evening, before she moved to the hospital bed in the living room, we (Heather, Bethany, Chris, Joie & I (aka the Team)) were gathered around the bed peppering her with questions.
“Do you need another pillow?”
“Do you want to get up to use the bedside commode?”
“Do you want to put your brace on (per the previous question)?”
“Do you want another sip of juice?”
“Do you think you might want to poop?” (Yes, there were a fair number of body function questions being asked.)
Finally there was a pause. She looked at us and said – “I think I need to “Phone a Friend”! Call Dr. Mike – maybe he knows the answer!” Took us a while to stop giggling over that one.

When the day came to move her down the hall to her ‘new digs’ – the hospital bed in the back of the living room – she looked up at Beth (who was gently explaining the move as she pushed the wheelchair) and said with a straight face – “Does everyone have my forwarding address?”

UntitledEncouraging her to eat brought another slew of questions.
“How about a bagel this morning?”
“Maybe some chicken?”
“How about a bite of this brownie?”
“Lora brought some homemade tapioca? Does that sound good?”
When we finally got around to offering her a Pringle potato chip, her face would break into a grin- “I thought you’d never ask!” she’d say in her quiet sweet voice.  More chuckling ensued!

And just in those last quiet days while I was trying to entice her with one of her long-time favorites, a soft boiled egg with buttery toast, the questions came again –
“Are you ready for another bite?”
“Do you want a bite with toast?”
“This bite has lots of yolk. Does that sound good?”
Finally she looked at me – “Are you egging me on?”

Many more memories – and many more tears and smiles – will be recorded here in the coming days. But for now I just want to remember the sweetest sound of her joining us in our hymn sing each night.
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Precious Elna – you were the best of us! We’re so happy for your official New Address, but oh how our hearts are aching!

Every Day New


The trip here was an adventure filled with  flight delays, missed connections, stand-by tickets (which delightfully morphed into a first class seat), a smooth connection with my sister (though 4 hours later than we had expected), sun and clouds, rain and hail, and multiple rainbows.  Oh, and beautiful pink mountains as we entered Vermont.

We arrived late, but still had time for a quick Elna hug before we settled in at Chris’s apartment, our home for the next foreseeable future. And so began this time of helping with the care of my precious sister. I stress the ‘helping’ aspect of this because her beautiful daughters, Heather and Bethany, are the ‘A’ team – handling all of the heavy lifting, in both a literal and figurative sense. Husband Henry has disabilities of his own, so he works on the med schedule and other less physical components of her care. Joie and I are the auxiliary squad, filling in where we can physically and always ready with hugs and words of love and support. And back rubs when needed!

She has been moved officially to hospice care and we are thankful for their support and resources. Her hospital bed (what a blessing!) is in the corner of the living room with privacy curtains when needed. Some days she is quite conversational and chatty, and then the next day she’s sleepy and withdrawn. So each day is different and we are treasuring them as they come.

The house has been filled with people who love her and I know she is feeling the love and prayers of so many.


Each evening before we head back to our nest, we gather ’round her bed to sing hymns. Sometimes she sings along in her sweet alto voice, sometimes she just mouths the words (to ALL the verses!) and sometimes her eyes just close in contented rest.

What better way to end the day but with words of praise and adoration to our LORD who holds her fast!

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.

Every day new. Every day a precious treasure.

 
 

The New Neighborhood

Springtime in Georgia! We’re working this month at Marshview Bible Camp, located in Midway, Georgia.

It’s a “new to us” project, and actually has only been a SOWER project for about a year. We’ll be doing some general maintenance and cleaning in preparation for campers this summer, and there is also some new construction the guys will be working on.
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We’ve only been here three days and already we’ve had two campfires
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and made one trip into beautiful Savannah! Sweet!
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Then tonight we were able to connect with our nephew and his sweet wife who were in vacationing in Hilton Head and providentially were in Savannah for dinner. What a treat- both the ice cream (long gone by the time the picture was taken) and the visit!
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Yep, it’s gonna be a good month!

Nieces

I have been blessed with six lovely nieces. Over the years we’ve kept track of them, rejoiced at their weddings, celebrated at the birth of their children and prayed for them in their times of need. One of the blessings of my recent trip to Vermont was being able to spend time with three of them and getting to know them on a whole new level!
First there was Heather, Elna’s oldest daughter –
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Let’s face it – 20 hours on the road and sharing a Econo-lodge double room sets the stage for a fair bit of conversation.
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Since Heather was the driver (and bless her heart, she did ALL the driving), I figured it was my job to keep the stories coming, right? There were historical stories (about her grandparents and great grandparents), there were travel stories (yes, I have a few of those), there were family stories (we do have a fair number of family members in common), and there were sister stories (her sister, my sisters – whatever!). We didn’t come close to solving the problems of the world, but we did share our hearts as she kept the pedal to the metal (within the speed limit of course!) heading north. I think one of the reasons we kept up the steady stream of stories was because when we paused we would remember just why we were in that little Honda for hours on end. It was easier to keep talking than to focus on the unknowns ahead.
Heather, that was a very long road trip we shared – and I’ll be treasuring each mile for a long while to come.

Then there was Chris, daughter #2 from the Fitzpatrick clan.
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Chris moved to Bradford (the same town where Elna & Henry live) last summer after she took a job at Dartmouth. She not only shared her lovely guest room with me,
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but she fed me, loaned me her car, supplied me with all sorts of winter gear and even convinced me to hike into the cabin after a fresh snow!
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It was a grand and beautiful day and a totally unexpected addition to this little Vermont jaunt.
Chris – Your hospitality was stellar! We are all so thankful you are close by Elna – and that you loves her so!

And then there was Bethany – Daughter #2 of Elna & Henry.
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Bethany, her dear hubby and two sweet little boys live in Utah, and she had flown in for the weekend. Given the limited visitor schedule, I didn’t get a lot of visiting time with Beth over the weekend (her first priority was time with Elna of course). However, since I was trying to figure out just how and when I was going to get back Florida and she was flying home on Monday, it seemed that a plan which involved getting to an airport via Beth was a good plan indeed. Thanks to some travel agent-type magic, Chris found me a flight out of the same airport, on the same airline, on the same day and virtually at the same time. Once again, God had worked out those details.
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And since the airport in question was JFK in New York City – it was another road trip in the making! We didn’t have as much time together as Heather and I, but it was still precious heart-sharing time.
Bethany – I was honored to share the time with you!

And so I could see God’s hand even in the uncertainty of those Vermont days.  He was holding us close – and we could feel it in every hug we shared.

UntitledThis past Sunday two of those nieces (along with several other family members) gathered at Elna’s for a big family visit. It might’ve been exhausting, but judging by the look on her face – it was well worth it!

Thank you for your prayers for Elna and our family. They have been appreciated – and felt!

Steph

 

 

 

PS – the header picture is from 2003. I can’t remember how we got all those girl cousins (except Sydney who was only 13) to our house but love this sweet memory. For those of you who know us  – L-R: Hannah, Heather, Lara, Chris, Abby, and Bethany =)