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.

 
 

Detour

C511F7CC-7EF5-4894-A435-627DFE814A92As so often happens, life is full of twist and turns. This morning I am sitting in the Savannah airport waiting for a flight north. I’ll meet up with my sister Joie in Scranton, and we’ll continue north to help care for our dear sister, Elna. When I left her last month we were very hopeful that the three tumors they found in her brain would be treatable and the crisis would be averted. However, while those tumors could be treated, she has not been able to regain her strength to actually endure the treatments. No one knows but our Lord what the days ahead will look like, but I knew (as did my sister Joie) that I needed to be there. Gary graciously said – Go! Stay as long as you are needed (or that my heart needs to be there). And so I am on my way. We covet your prayers as we face the days ahead – knowing that while Heaven is such a good thing for Elna, still we pray for more time with  her.  He is holding her and keeping her and we are trusting in His goodness to her.

A dear friend said to me “Hurting deeply is a beautiful sign that we have been blessed to have loved deeply.”  Yes, how blessed we are!

Steph

PS – I worked hard to get this blog up-to-date this last week because it could get pretty quiet in this little corner of the internet for the next little bit. You understand, right? Thanks!

Backtracking – Part IV

Really? Another installment? I think this will be the last of the catch-up posts, so here goes…..

We finished up our project at HEART in Lake Wales, FL and drove the house up to Live Oak, FL (where we worked in January), parked it nicely, plugged it in and the next morning we loaded up the truck and drove to Texas! It was kinda crazy, but we really wanted to get to the SOWER Texas Rally and this was the only practical way to do it!
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It was a long day of driving – but we got close enough so that we just had a bit of a drive the next day to get to our Rally destination (ALERT Academy in Big Sandy, TX). After a stop at the office in the morning, we were off to the Rally!
While the remnants of Covid-19 and the price of fuel may have diminished the number of attendees at this year’s Texas Round-up, what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality! Once again ALERT provided exceptional accommodations and meals along with a great facility for fellowship and community. We were able to help out with a service project collating/stapling booklets containing the Gospel of John and Romans to be sent worldwide
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and I even got to run one of the massive stapling machines!
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As a bonus – I left with all my fingers too!
We met so many new SOWERs, and it’s always a blessing to see how God is growing our ministry! Here we all are –
SOWER Roundup, 2022 03, ALERT
Pretty nice looking group, right? From folks who have worked over 100 projects to the couple who were on their way to their first project- our fellowship was sweet, and it was well worth the drive!
We arrived safely back at Live Oak, got a good night’s rest and set out the next morning for our April project – here at Marshview Bible Camp!

We’re pretty close to Savannah, so this past Sunday we drove in for the morning worship at Independent Presbyterian Church which was inspiring!
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Then we strolled around town and enjoyed some of the Savannah ambiance!
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Such a beautiful city!
One thing we did miss, though! Turns out my nephew and wife were also in Savannah that day – and went to the evening service at IPC! We couldn’t let a ‘near miss’ deter us, so we met up Monday night for some ice cream!
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What an unexpected delight!
So that about brings us up to date. Well, except for what we’ve been doing this week here at Marshview. But hey, I have to save something for another day, right?
Thanks for stopping by (again and again!)!
Steph

If you’d like to see a few more TX Rally photos, you can check them out here!

Seeing the country……Serving our Lord!