Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Time for Everything

Thank you, Lord, for introducing me to Ken.  Because of him I have had the opportunity to live an amazing life! He was my best friend of my youth. We attended the same high school, got married, finished college together and then lived in a variety of wonderful
places in IL, MO, MI, TX and WI.

Ken was lead into the ministry which took us to the other side of the world and back.  He served churches in Almaty, Kazakstan; Townsend, WI; 
Washburn, IL and LaRose, IL. 

We were blessed with 25 years of marriage and three great children.  He imparted wisdom and truth unto them and through them, his legacy will definitely live on! 

This week we said "See you later" to a wonderful husband, father, pastor, and friend.  Words cannot express the impact that his knowledge and wisdom has had on so many people all across the world.  
He will be missed but never forgotten.  

We are comforted knowing that his faith was in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are comforted knowing that he fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.  His body has been healed and he lives eternally in God's presence. 

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
time to be born, and a time to die. . ."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Time for Comfort

Do you know people who must have all of the details before making a decision?  It sure can be annoying when you are waiting for THAT person to decide so you can get on with whatever you were deciding about - especially if it is Friday night and you are trying to decide what to do, where to eat or what movie to watch!

Well, I am normally that kind of person - one who collects information so I can make an informed decision.  This makes total sense to me and many others with a similar personality, but I can also admit to making several VERY naive decisions in my life.  I did not have ALL of the information before getting married, but I did it anyway.  I did not have ALL of the information before having children, but had them anyway.

This week I made another naive decision.  I had a general idea of what hospice was but found there was not time to gather ALL of the information.  We knew that Ken's health was failing fast, that he was not going to be able to fight for a liver transplant any longer so we decided to learn more about hospice services.  In less than two days, I met with three different hospice representatives.  I learned that hospice services can be offered in the hospital, in a nursing home, in a special hospice home or in your own home.  I naively chose our own home.  We home school, so why not do hospice at home too?

I have always said that home school is not for everyone.  I can honestly say the same about hospice care in the home.  It is not for everyone.   Shortly after we got home from the hospital, a hospice nurse met us at our home to make sure we had everything we needed.  Ken was very tired and went to bed.  He got up a few times in the night but by the next morning he was unable to get up any more.  I was overwhelmed with his care wondering if this naive decision was a very good one.  I did not have ALL of the information but am doing it anyway.

Just like getting married or having children, I have found that hospice care in the home is very similar.  Marriage and giving birth were definitely overwhelming at some point.  Both being married and raising children involved a learning process throughout each stage.  There is also no way to be married or to raise children without selfless acts of love and service to another person.   The past two days have been very difficult but our whole family is learning as we go.  The process of passing has begun and everyone in our family is finding ways to serve, love and care for Ken. We will learn through each stage, for however long that we need to learn.

We already have so many people to thank for being there for us, for setting up meals, for listening, for encouraging us and for praying. We appreciate it all very much!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Greatest Tool of All

Although my husband is a pastor, I am not claiming that what you read next will be the greatest analogy or that I will have the best theological explanation for what I am about to say but it was on my mind to open up that tool box and show you a little of what was inside.

We are under a lot of stress right now as we think about all that life is and all that life is not.  And there are tools in our toolbox that truly help us get through each and every day.  These tools come in all shapes and sizes but have helped us live a life of purpose and a life of peace.  I believe many of the tools are meant to be shared and talked about.  That is one of the purposes of this blog - to write about ALL THINGS IN LIFE as we are LIVING them, to talk about the tools that we have been given and been using, hoping that it helps you live the life you were meant to live!

Most of the time we have a smile and a sense of peace about all that we have been through in this life and all that we must still go through.  Yet there are times, like right now, when it feels like the burden is too heavy to carry and the pain is too much to bear.  That's when we open up our tool box and use what is in there to get us through. 

The greatest tool of all in our "tool box of life" is God's Word which was a tool given to us as a gift.  I was very blessed to have found this tool in my tool box because my parents placed it there when they placed me in the hand's of God through Holy Baptism.  That gift was shared with Ken many years later and he too began to access this tool in his daily life. 

We had to learn how to use this tool but as we learned to use it we grew as friends, we grew in marriage and we grew in life with this being the greatest tool of all!  This tool is the one that brings us comfort when we are stressed, that breaks us when we are needing fixed and that fixes us when we are broken.  It is also capable of making all of the adjustments necessary to get us back on course and point us in the right direction if we were to get lost.  It is the foundational tool through which all other tools are made.

It is our prayer that God's Word is in your life too -  serving you, fixing you and comforting you as you experience ALL THINGS IN your LIFE.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How Do You Do It?

After spending the past two months at home, Ken was readmitted to the hospital.  Due to the concerns and symptoms it was decided that going to a local hospital in Peoria was best for Ken and our family.  Our goal is to get several things back under control so that he can return home soon.

Our family has been through some good times and some "not so good" times, especially during the past eight years.  A question that I have been asked often this week is "How do you do it?"  or put another way, "How do you live with all of this stress and still smile?"

 In reality, we have been married 25 years . . . 

. . . for better and for worse and for more worse!

We have talented kids that appear to be well adjusted!

Yet this week we face the reality that Ken's chronic illness is really a terminal situation.  So, yes, there is a lot of stress!  Yes, there are decisions to be made.  BUT yes, thanks to God, there are tools in our "toolbox of life" that have helped us all cope with the stress.  Next time I will show you what is in our tool box!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Mystery is SOMEWHAT Reavealed!

In an earlier post, I shared that our son was invited to participate in a "Mystery Mission Trip."  We have taught our kids that it is important to serve others so it was not a surprise that our son was excited about going on a trip with his track coach even though he did not know WHERE he was going or WHO he was going with!

The leaders of this trip work through Youth For Christ and none of the youth knew where they would be traveling to.  They just knew their group would be going SOMEWHERE to do SOMETHING. The YFC leaders wanted to instill upon this group that serving is more about the people than the place.  

Our son joined this smaller group from a town nearby.  They headed south to meet up with a couple of other youth groups from Central Illinois. This was the first mystery revealed ~ several groups would work together for the entire week SOMEWHERE. 

I asked our son where they went for the week and as it turns out - he still has no idea where they went!  He just knows they went SOMEWHERE down south and did SOMEWORK.  So, here he is with a shovel in his hand.  I would say this looks like evidence of hard work!

Here he is with a rake.  
"How do we get him to do this at home?"

In addition to working, there was a historical lesson based upon where the group was for that day.  These lessons took place in museums, parks and homes.  It looks like they also had SOMEFUN!

We did hear many stories from our son and I SOMEWHAT figured out where they went by visiting the Metamora Campus Life Facebook Page.  There are several hundred pictures posted here by Christian Papach, one of the leaders who happens to be an outstanding photographer.  I am very thankful to have a better understanding of the trip through Christian's pictures and appreciate his permission to post a few here. 
It seems that many friendships were formed and many things were learned as these youth experienced history lessons, life lessons, teamwork and the blessing of serving others.  Perhaps SOMEDAY we will find out exactly where they went!