A Legacy

When you cross over Jordan, all is left behind,
of wealth, fame, and fortune, nothing is taken along.
Yet, in all that which is left behind,
the thing of most value is not of this world
but the legacy written by your life.

Tris Katelyn

He was a friend.
He left a legacy of friendship where ever he went.
If you were his family or a relative, you were important.
If your interest was in tractors, jeeps, dirt bikes,
mechanical or all things greasy, he was ready to talk.
If he had nothing in common with you,
he would think of something to say to draw you out
and pull you into the conversation with him.
No one was too small, no one was too big,
each person deserved his attention and care.
He called you by name, got on your level,
and really listened to what you had to say.
He was a friend who cared.

He was positive.
He left a legacy of being cheerful and encouraging.
His outlook on life was happy and upbeat
and he was always looking on the bright side.
He was often heard singing and whistling while he worked.
His reply to a farmer with a breakdown,
“Not a problem! I‘ll have ya fixed up in no time.”
Every day was a great day to be alive
and tomorrow was sure to be a good one too.

He was humble.
He left a legacy of quietly using his God-given gifts.
No one knew how wise he was, he never told them.
There was little he could not do, little he did not know,
but few people realized how much he knew.
If you posed a question, it was never too small,
never beneath his level of expertise.
He worked with you and around you
until you were left believing you could do it all.
He never thought himself above someone,
but always on their level.

He was bigger than life.
He left a legacy of living life to the fullest.
Whether it was tearing into a motor, restoring a jeep,
or loving his little family, he gave it his all.
It was all or none, full steam ahead with excitement,
ready to take on and conquer whatever was next.
He worked and played equally hard,
late at night under a combine out in a muddy field
or playing kickball with the kids on the front lawn,
each was worth the best of his time and effort.

He was funny.
He left a legacy of spreading laughter and smiles.
He could tell the best jokes and stories
to which a crowd of people would always respond.
His family saw a side of him most people never knew.
Wrapped up like a burrito and snoozing on the floor,
whispering something dumb in your ear in a crowd of people,
slurping coffee loudly with a sigh, eating out of the bowl,
telling a story with great enthusiasm or singing with gusto,
there was always something to make us smile.

He was selfless.
He left a legacy of caring more for others than himself.
If there was work to do, he was the first to help.
If it was midnight and you called, he would come,
or he was just getting home from work, “I’ll be right over.”
He would answer his phone day and night,
always willing to let a hand because you were worth his time.

He was gracious.
He left a legacy of being considerate to all,
no matter who you were or how you treated him.
His kindness and thoughtfulness were well known.
Farmers in his world of business still remark
about his care and attention for them.
Even when he had more to do than could be done,
he stopped, listened and cared about each one.

He was steady.
He left a legacy of dependability and steadfastness.
He was a strong tower for his wife and children.
They leaned on him for his strength and confidence,
in return, he delighted in being their safe refuge.
No matter what storms of life beat around them,
they knew they could trust his quiet constancy.

He had faith.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.
His life bore fruit from the core of his heart,
his character and qualities were witnesses
of a heart which was motivated by a love for Jesus.
He was a man of unstoppable spirit,
passionately dedicated to Jesus and living life.
And when his days were ended, he had fought a good fight
and he finished his race with faithfulness.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.

When you cross the Jordan, you leave a legacy behind.
Will it be a legacy worth leaving?

legacy

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Mending Broken

I went to calling hours and a funeral.
I felt a chink in the heart walls so well-built,
a crevice began to open again,
and the tears came trickling out.

There was no comparison between him and her,
nothing about them was the same.
She was old and had lived a full life well.
He was young and in his prime.
But, old or young, a funeral is a funeral
and it pulls out all the emotions
that have been so carefully tucked away.

There are the flowers, sent for cheer,
along with photos and mementos of life filling the tables.
The long lines of people coming and going,
expressing sympathy in whispered words, stretch endless.
Hands, reaching and clasping,
arms tightening and squeezing silent messages.
The water bottles, tissues, and mints for raw throats,
clutter spaces under chairs not sat upon.
Pieces of conversation float through the air,
remember when they said this or did that,
and how we wish for one more word.
Words of songs meant to sooth,
yet they fill the air with sadness all the same.
And all the way up front
is the one lone wooden box.

You fight for control yet slowly, but surely
the heart begins to beat a faster pace,
the teeth clench and muscles tense.
Eyes dart this way and that for an escape
while the mind begins to unravel too quickly.
Tears push behind the eyelids only a blink from spilling
and the hands begin a cold sweat while the feet rush for a swift exit.
The cold darkness swallows the sobs
of the memories that come rushing back, threatening to overtake.

There is no comparison between him and her, really,
but what the mind sees and hears compels a rush of emotions,
cracking the walls so carefully built to guard the heart.

All alone in the darkness of tears,
the heart once again feels all the painful emotions.
Tears for the here and now,
mourning for the past and what was lost,
and an ache for the future and what will never be.

But with each new break, comes a new mending.
When He sees the heart walls chip and crumble,
the Mender returns and with his gentle touch
lends a few more stitches to repair and patch anew.
He speaks in soothing tones while He works,
pouring in healing oil and gently closing more gaps.
He reminds of His goodness and love,
His mercies new every morning
and whispers He has not forgotten.

With time and His touch, the heart will continue to mend,
but the scars and memories will always be a part of it.
While they look painful to most,
they also tell the story of the Mender
and his gentle touch on a heart.

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Christmas Now

It is Christmas time, all merry and bright,
carols and bells are ringing,
glad hearts are singing with cheer.
Thoughts turn toward home
and good memories are stirred,
chasing warm circles around the heart.
It is family time, reunited once more,
laughter, conversation and happiness galore.
There are lights twinkling merrily,
woodland greenery strung ‘round the house,
and good food always abounding.
It is Christmas time.

But amid the merry,
deep down in some hearts,
Christmas time does not bring
all the joy and gladness it once did.
An irreplaceable one, gone forever,
a hole in the heart, an ache in the soul,
always abiding and touching
each part of this favorite season.

A sadness fills the air
when a song is heard loud and clear.
The silver bells don’t ring so cheerily
as they once did in the past.
The joy around seems dampened
by the loss felt deep inside.
It is a silent night in the depths of the soul,
there is an ache no one on earth can fill.

The usual jolly has lost its appeal,
the laughter is quiet when thoughts
turn to family gatherings and
we think of the one who is missing.
The emptiness hangs heavy,
tears swell to near overflowing,
and our hearts ache for what we had.
Every moment that was
is now a memory worth reliving.

Our minds turn toward heaven
and know imagination cannot begin to tell,
all the beauty and glory that is Christmas there.
The story retold here on earth,
is alive in heaven today.
Hallelujahs ascend, praises without end,
a glorious resounding of song.
The Christmas story unfolded from beginning to end,
the reason for the songs we sing.
We know without a doubt
that the Christmas we love here,
holds no candle to the one that is there.

While our hearts long for your presence,
to be there with you now,
we will smile for the children
and tell the stories for their memories,
for we want you alive in their hearts
as much as you live on in ours.
We know you would tell us to go on and enjoy,
to smile through the tears and
remember the reason for living.
But in our heart of hearts,
we hang on just a little bit longer,
because Christmas just isn’t Christmas
without you.

Christmas Star

Two Years

Two years ago the shrill ringing of the phone
broke the silence of a peaceful night.
Quiet words were spoken and heart-wrenching sobs
came welling up from deep within.

Two years.
What are two years in a lifespan?
A minor drop in the bucket.
What are two years grieving a death?
The feeling of a lifetime.

T 3-07

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.
So much remains the same,
so much about us has changed.

We still congregate at Mom’s
because we love to be together.
We still sit around the table and talk,
catching up on each other’s lives.
We still sit around the fire outside,
but now we watch the sky, the moon,
knowing you are somewhere out beyond.

T 5-14

We still speak your name,
in a good memory, a loud story
or something we know you would love.
We laugh more, cry less,
but miss you just the same.
The ache in our hearts is still there
because you are still missing.

T 4-12

The children are growing, changing,
getting taller without permission.
They miss the kickball games, roasting marshmallows,
playing in the shop, and long bumpy jeep rides with you.
Tyson has a little girl now.
I know how excited you would have been for him
and all the advice and comments you would have had.
Your two girls are growing up, tall and sweet,
becoming beautiful little ladies.
And your son, He is so much like you in so many ways.
I know you would have laughed
and loved to see him in action like we do.

T 7-14

In the middle of missing you,
we are so grateful and thankful.
It was our privilege to have you
as part of our lives, our family.
We are so thankful to be the ones
who knew you best, the real you.
We smile when we remember your laugh
and are thankful for all our conversations.
Our lives would be so much less
if we had not had almost 33 years with you,
and for all those years, we are grateful.

T 6-15

Time keeps moving along,
often with us dragging our feet.
Some days it feels like we never move,
others we look back to the beginning
and see the far distance we have come.
We would not be where we are today
if it were not for Jesus.
He gives us grace to face each day,
courage to rise on the next,
and strength to put another foot forward
to keep walking this journey.

T 11-12

Two years ago our hearts were broken,
never to be the same again.
As we knelt at the side of that upturned dirt
we whispered, “Good-bye for now,
we’ll be there soon!”

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.

Christmas ’16

Christmas this year bounces around in my brain as having hit every emotion in the playbook. There are sometimes in life that words cannot accurately describe and this is one of them.  So, it shall stay like that for you and continue bouncing around in my brain until I get it figured out.

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The grandkid status at Mom’s hangs heavy in the 3-7 year range and they are often B-O-R-E-D! We talked Madison into playing a game with a few of them.

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Mr. Jaxon was happy to eat instead of play!

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He is at a fun age right now and Dakota got a kick out of playing with him.

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These two goobers, they found my grandma’s old glasses and tried them on.

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Waiting. Maybe patiently, maybe not.

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A new Jeep shirt! We’re all about Jeeps around here.

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We had Katelyn’s name and about the time we started searching for the perfect gift, Sarita told me she had Reagan’s name and she had just bought her a vest. So with Reagan’s help, we “came across” this vest that was almost too wonderful to behold.  We bought it for Katelyn and when it came in the mail, she was just beside herself in love. We were all grinning when we watched her open her own gift to find a matching vest.

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Sometimes people open their mouths and say a lot of things and then get mysterious packages with no name attached. 🙂

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Tristan’s favorite song was “The Old Rugged Cross” and this song came true for him when he exchanged the cross for a crown.

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There were two oddly wrapped boxes with Sarita’s and my names on them. One was heavy and one was light. We had our guessing game going and found out that almost everyone (but us) knew what was in these boxes. In a weak moment, due to some well-asked questions, Nick opened his mouth to tell me but Max shut him off just in time. 🙂

Tys went above and beyond and made both of us something special. A camera for me and a little tricycle for Sarita! He is a welder by trade and it carries over into his hobbies. He turns out some pretty cool things from his imagination.

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The wheels roll, pedals turn and it’s just as cute as can be.

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The lens turns for a little manual focus and the front has a jeep grill and a cross in memory of Tris.

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The chain around the edge comes from a dirt bike and he listed all the other parts and where they came from, but I can’t remember. The flash on top pops up also.

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I don’t know what it’s called, but the round thing inside on the right rolls with a little push. I guess it’s a modern/antique and you use that to wind up your film roll.

Stop in sometime and I’ll let you touch it. 🙂

christmas-16-13

I had Tyson’s name and wanted to buy him something in memory of Tris. Anyone who knew Tris knew that Jeeps were his hobby. He often roared around in an old red Willy Jeep, usually loaded with kids. I looked for a little jeep like this everywhere on the www. Everything was either over my price range or not very nice. I was almost ready to give up when this one popped up on eBay at just the right time and price. It felt like God had gifted me with this and in the end, it meant more to me than if I had found it as soon as I started looking.

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Later we all took a splat to the face with a little pie face game.
Well, maybe not quite all of us. 🙂

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We inhaled much good food, had lots of good conversations and all the while dealt with kiddos that kept passing the stomach flu around.
We talked about Tris, retold his favorite stories and missed him so very much!

~~~

My thoughts for 2017 …
“With God’s daily supply of grace, I am able.”

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Our Silent Companion, Grief

Things are different now. We are missing a family member, one has gone before us leaving an empty spot in our home and hearts. Yet, we have gained an extra member, one that we are not so excited about having along side us for the rest of life. Our new family member’s name is Grief.

Grief likes to reside in the corners and at the most unexpected moments, he will tap you on the shoulder to make sure you know he is still around. He is not a friendly sort of fellow and he chooses the least appropriate times to show up. He likes to come along to church and torment you in public. Sometimes it’s the oddest places, when you pass a certain vehicle on the road or when you see an item in the grocery aisle. He is especially bad when you think you are home alone and in his quiet little way he will usually come around. Grief follows our footprints everywhere we go, at home or abroad.

With the changing of seasons, Grief always comes to life. Christmas is just around the corner and you can expect that he will appear for that too. When we pull out the boxes stuffed with decorations and lights, Grief will sneak up behind us and remind us of the one we are missing who loved Christmas so much. Grief digs up the memories of years gone by, reminding us that Christmas will never be the same again.

When the carols start playing, bells begin ringing and a quiet Silent Night is heard, Grief begins to play his own tune in our hearts. He stirs in the soul reminding us of the love of singing and carols. A tear makes its way down our cheek because singing just isn’t the same anymore, the carols have lost their sweet chime.

The names have been exchanged and we are off to do shopping, but sure enough, he sneaks along for the ride. Sometimes we could almost forget that he‘s there, then we glance at our list and wonder, “Why are there not enough names?” And there is Grief, tapping our shoulders to make sure we remember there is nothing to buy them this year, all of our gifts for them have been given.

We cook and we bake and all the while we are thinking about which person likes these desserts and who likes those sweets. Pretty soon Grief starts stirring and our minds go to those special cookies, the ones he loved so well, and the desire to bake anything just disappears.

Members of different families gather and happy chatter fills the room, people calling hello and catching up. We look around and wonder who is missing and suddenly Grief reminds us, it will always be this way, there will always be someone missing.

We call our family together, the children rustle and squirm in their seats. We look around the circle and each one is there, save one empty chair. Grief wails loudly, bringing attention to the spot, the one who is missing, yet forever in our hearts.

This member called Grief is like a needy child, constantly wanting our attention, crying to be heard and acknowledged. At times he hangs out in the background, quietly allowing some peace, but relentlessly he will surface, unable to let much time pass without a reminder. We can refuse to listen to him when he starts calling, or tell him to be quiet, but he will eventually become persistent enough that we have no choice but to acknowledge him.

Grief is now our ever-present companion, always tagging along. Not only is he with us over the Holidays, but we will live with him for the rest of time. Each time the season changes, every birthday and each beautiful fall day, he will be there. With time, we will get used to having him around but we will always carry Grief’s weight. Carrying him is the price of love, all because someone we loved so very much is missing from our life.

grief

One Year Gone

One year ago, early in the morning,
had one stood still and listened,
they would have heard
the whisper of angel’s wings
passing through the dark clouds.

You were awake,
ready and waiting,
pacing back and forth,
wondering what it was
you were feeling.
Something was happening,
you felt a tug, a pull,
a pounding heart,
but what was it, really?

Suddenly you realized
it was the voice of Jesus calling,
“Come home, my son!”
Lifting your face to the sky you replied,
“I’m coming, Jesus, I am coming!”

As softly as a feather
they lighted beside you
lying prone on the floor.
Lifting you gently into their arms,
with a soft flutter of wings
they took flight,
rising through the clouds,
whisking you away
to meet the One
who had called your name.

It was at that moment,
time stood still.
For you and for us.

I have no doubt the last year for you
has been so much better than ours.

Yours has been a day that has only begun.
Beginning with that flight on angel’s wings,
bursting into the golden light surrounding the city
and passing through the gates of pearl.
What a beautiful sight
your blue eyes must have beheld.
The streets of gold, the mansions glorious,
such beauty of which has never been told.

And there before you stood Jesus,
his nail pierced hands outstretched,
waiting for your entrance.
He had been watching you,
waiting for the moment of your arrival.
His eyes shining with love,
He reached and with a single touch,
you were made whole.

Falling to your knees,
you worshiped in praise and adoration,
in a way our finite minds cannot imagine.
Your day of glorious praise has only begun.

On that morning,
our day began completely different.
Bent low with grief,
our hearts were racked with pain.
Our beloved Tris had flown away
and we were left behind.
We cried out in anguish,
“Why Jesus, Why?”

We have spent the year
fighting for breath,
wondering how we will be able
bear this pain another day.
Tears have flown freely through
many sleepless nights,
we lie wondering,
“Will we live to see the dawn?”

We have spent the year
in awe of our faithful God
and his ways of carrying us through this.
The comfort and prayers of friends,
calls and whispered words.
Sweet peace in the middle of the storm,
which one knows only comes from above.
Days of weary battle
end with a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Quiet moments, verses of Scripture,
a message just for us.

We have spent the year
missing you dreadfully.
The ache, the hole,
just gets bigger and bigger.
So many memories you have missed,
so many family times
when we longed to see you walk in.
Birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s day,
all passed by missing you.
You lived life so big,
so loud, so full,
and you are missed
in the very same way.

If I imagine you today,
it’s standing on those golden streets,
dressed in a glorious white robe,
praising Jesus.
Your arms lifted high,
you sway from one foot the other,
singing at the top of your lungs.

I imagine when it is our time to come
you’ll be right behind Jesus,
waiting at that gate to welcome us home.
Until then, we’ll keep fighting.
See you soon little brother.

He has achieved

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