I see that my last entry was about our time to mourn. Losing Danny's dad was a sad time for us all but he had lived a full life and was in such misery that we couldn't help but rejoice for the freedom he gained.
I don't know why I haven't been able to add a new entry since then. It could be that we have been super busy but I think it was more that my heart has been so full of so many different emotions the past few months I just could not focus on anything to share. Graduation, concerts, recitals, the wedding -- too many things happening one right after the other.
This week was the last of the "big" events we have planned this year. Andrew and Heather were married Monday morning. It was a beautiful wedding. We thoroughly enjoyed being with her family and friends in Minnesota. The best thing was that for the first time every, our entire family was together. It was such a special time for me and Danny. It didn't last long enough.
On our trip home, while our hearts were full of happiness for Andrew and Heather, we were faced with the tragic news that a young friend (only 18 years old) died instantly in a car wreck in Lufkin. Our joy was now mixed with sadness. Sadness for the boyfriend who was driving the car, sadness for her parents who have already buried a daughter previously and now are left with just one living child, sadness for the grandparents, and most of all, sadness for her 2 year old little boy.
A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance...
Here are some pictures from the wedding:
I'm sitting in a Holiday Inn somewhere along I-10 in Mississippi. We are headed home from the lectures a day earlier than expected because we got THE phone call this morning from Danny's sister -- his dad had only hours left to live. We were 17 hours away. Just before leaving campus, I was able to give Joanne one last hug. I had never met her face to face until this week but have enjoyed getting to know her online for several years. After telling her why we were leaving, she said something today that I have been thinking about all along our trip. She said that it was good we are in the states and can make it home.
It wasn't until we were on our way out of town that the impact of that statement hit me. Yes, we could make it home. We might not make it home in time to say good-bye to him but we would be able to lay him to rest with the family. We are driving 17 hours in a dependable (well mostly dependable), air conditioned, very comfortable vehicle. If we get hungry, we have our choice of foods at just about any intersection we come to. If we need to relieve ourselves, there are clean, safe rest areas just about every hour. When we get tired, we stop at one of the many hotels along the way for a comfortable, clean, safe night's rest.
I thought about Joanne's situation. Her dad is aging and experiencing fragile health. She may not get to see him after this trip. Why not? Because she and her husband have devoted their lives to teaching people about Christ -- not in the comfort of a small East Texas town but in South Africa. I have read her posts about the difficulties that arise when traveling from village to village. I have seen pictures of the conditions that the people they work with consider comfortable. I see the smiles on their faces as they eagerly learn about God. I am humbled.
The work Joanne and her husband are doing in South Africa is amazing. I know they would love to live closer to their children and be able to be a larger part of their grand children's lives. I know they would love to be near aging parents and comfort them in their last years. I know that they know they are doing a work that desperately needs to be done. A work that is far more important than the comforts of home and family. I am humbled.
I am so thankful to have finally met Joanne. She is such a sweet, humble person who has made a profound impact on my life in just the few short minutes we were able to visit this week. I'm honored to call her a friend.
UPDATE: Danny's dad died just as we were crossing into Texas. We were able to go to the nursing home and see him and visit with family before the funeral home came to get him. The funeral will be at 10:00 AM Monday at the Shady Grove cemetery near Gilmer.
Last night I stayed up way too long. I got started writing an article for my blog and it led to one thing and then another. By the time the night was over, I had made two new blog entries and organized some files on my computer. The first blog entry is called Organic Soul Food. It's a topic that has been weighing on my mind as I see people reading and viewing all kinds of information. The ones that really bother me are the ones that are disguised as religious/Christian/inspirational. I recently looked up the author of a book a young friend was reading. It didn't take me long to see that he was not an author I cared to spend much time reading. I'm sure he had some good things to say but that's always the way it is. There's enough good to get you hooked and then the rest is either twaddle or downright error.
After I finished, I started organizing my files and found one in a most out of the way place. I decided to post it on my blog so I would always know where it was and you could enjoy it as well. It is a song written and sung by Andrew about 5 years ago: I'm Bored by Andrew Dow
I have made it a goal to add as many of my file folder games as I can to my website. I have created many over the years but was always in such a hurry, I didn't take the time photograph and create pdf files. I added the first two recently. If you're on the Sunday School Teachers group, you've already seen them. If not, here they are:
John or Jesus File Folder Activity
Jesus, Name Above All Names File Folder Activity
We had a great experience in Austin last night. Timothy's piece, An Evening Storm, was rehearsed by the Austin Symphony in preparation for their tour of high schools in the Austin area later this week. The picture below is Timothy introducing himself to David Mairs, the conductor. Click on the picture to visit my blog.
Jonathan has really grown up the past several months. He's not big in stature but he is sincere and has a tender heart. Tonight (actually last night by this time), he was baptized. We are very proud of him and look forward to seeing him grow and mature as a child of God. I wrote a little about it on my blog: My Son Became A Saint Today