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Treasure Revealed

November 11, 2012 — 3 Comments










I am re-posting this in honor of Veteran’s Day and my Dad’s service to this country!



They came into my possession after my mom and dad had both passed away, and had been sitting on my desk for almost 2 years. I sat down, took them out of their ivory-colored, faded post-marked envelopes and gently opened each one. The sight of his handwriting pulled on my heart and the words on the pages told his story, thereby revealing some facets of him I had never known, yet others I had experienced and now understood with clarity.

The earliest letters dated 1942 and revealed a homesick young man learning the ropes of his responsibilities and duties, with the hope of remaining stateside during World War II. He included detailed descriptions of his life on base and sad commentaries about pilots he had been training who crashed their planes. However, the underlying theme was his love and care for his younger siblings and parents back home. In one of his first letters he stated, “I know more than ever that a fellow never appreciates a home or anything as he should until he has to leave and can’t get leave when he wants to.”

The fifth oldest of twelve children, he often wrote about sending major portions of his pay check home. With force he stated his next check was to be used for the little girls snow suits or clothing items they might need. When he learned he wouldn’t be home for Christmas in ’42, he wrote, “I’m also writing Lois (his older sister) and going to have her send you that money for Christmas presents, and by God don’t use it for anything else. Cause I want all of you that are home to have some kind of present from me. I’m also going to have her get the dolls for the kids out of the money that she has of mine.” He asked only for underwear and warm socks for himself that year.

At one point he revealed his deep concern for his little sisters who had contracted the measles. He scolded his mom for not writing, while at the same time expressed understanding of how busy she must be. The following letter found him apologizing and admitting his anger was born out of his deep concern for his “little girls”.

In later letters he often mentioned his desire to come home on furlough, his longing to see them (especially his little sisters), his love for each one, and his concern for his three brothers also serving in the war. He wrote to all three regularly and expected replies from them. If he hadn’t heard from them in quite some time his letter carried a fearful tone to it. He noted that one brother had written trying to let him know where he was stationed, but the information had been scribbled over and was not legible. The military hadn’t allowed his brother to disclose to his family his overseas location.

While awaiting orders of where he would be stationed permanently, he said, “And don’t worry about me cause no matter where I go I’ll be ok.” When at last he received orders, he found he would be stationed stateside as a flight instructor for the B-24 bombers heading to Germany.

While reading through these “treasures”, the core values of my dad’s heart rose from the pages like mountain peaks on a clear day. Deep love for his family, expressed through his yearning to be home with them, and his continual commitment to sacrificially provide monetarily, were his top priorities throughout the entire tenure of his three-year service. His commitment to serve and do his job thoroughly and with excellence poured from the now-yellowed pages.

Once finished I returned the letters to their envelopes and found myself with strong feelings of deep respect and honor for this devoted young man who later became my father. I considered how my siblings and I each have some resemblance of him in our physical features, and how my exposure to his letters now revealed how deeply he had shaped the features of our hearts to carry the values he had lived!

When he was a young man writing home to his mom and family, he never would have dreamed that 67 years later, his words would reveal to me the core values of his life and that his life, lived by those values, impacted my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren! I am grateful to have been given the treasure of these letters, but more importantly, to have received the treasure of his life!

Benchmark Day!

March 5, 2010 — 6 Comments

Waking in the pre-dawn hours with excruciating contractions I knew I was in trouble.  Knowing our twins due date was almost 11 weeks away fear shot through me as another rugged contraction came and went.  It was March 5, 1982, and was also my husband, Don’s 31st birthday.  This day would become a benchmark day in the chronicle of our life.

After being flown by air ambulance to Denver, CO, our twins were born in the mid-afternoon.  Luke David had gone to heaven while still within me, Paul Donald cried as he was delivered, and the whole medical team cheered as they heard his tiny cries!  He came out fighting for his life, and the battle raged for many weeks to follow.

As the day unfolded, we said good-bye to Luke while  at the same time welcoming our son Paul into our lives.  I remember thinking Don’s birthday would always be marred by both sadness and happiness.   Somewhere in the struggle for Paul’s life, the truth began to infiltrate my heart, that neither Paul nor Luke were ours.  They were designed and created by their loving heavenly Father and were entrusted to us for whatever length of time He deemed necessary.  Although, I wouldn’t be able to know Luke here in this life, there came a confidence — a knowing — there would come a day when I would be with him in heaven, and I would be able to wrap my arms around him and know him for who he is.  Though difficult to embrace, this truth helped me come to the place where I could release Luke and find peace.

Looking back from where we stand today, each birthday has been filled with gratitude to God for Paul’s life, for seeing him healthy and whole (even though his prognosis had not originally been such), and for the fun it has been to have celebrated father and son birthdays for 28 years!

Here on planet earth, Don and Paul celebrate the years of their lives on their joint-birthday.  And . . . I like to think that Father God and Luke David are celebrating the incredible, joy-filled life they live together in heaven!  For everyone, it’s a day to rejoice!

Don & I at the European Leadership Conference last month. Happy Birthday Don!

Paul, with his beautiful wife Revonna and their son Luke (we love that they named their son after his twin brother), and their little girl Rhythm.

“Mom, can you write a note that says, ‘I think you’re a great person’, and put it in Dan’s lunch box for me?”

“Mom, can you help me get the red plate out that says You’re Special. I want to put it at Sissy’s place tonight, but I don’t want her to see me putting it there.”

These were the kind of comments that were heard in our home during the Christmas Season each year. At the beginning of each week of the month of December we would all draw names and then we would try to do secret acts of kindness every day for the person whose name we had drawn. We called it Christmas Secret Pals!

The children loved it, but Don and I loved it even more as we watched our children consciously focus on the rest of the family and do something kind for them each day. We started it when they were very young, so sometimes the little ones needed our help to write notes to their siblings, or to pick up their Dad’s favorite candy bar at the grocery store. But watching them deliberately think up ways to bless their secret pal and observing how their hearts were attune to the other person’s likes and dislikes was something we will treasure in our hearts forever. It touched us to see them care for other family members, and it also caused their hearts to be knit together in a deeper way. It was a Christmas tradition that held great purpose and brought great results!

What is a Christmas tradition you did/do in your family that was or is meaningful to you? I’d love to hear them! Please share!

After we finished signing papers, our new friend walked to the door and thanked us for doing business with him. As he opened the door to leave, he made a statement I have never forgotten. He said, “Your home is very peaceful.” Then he asked, “Have you ever thought about the word home, and all the emotions and thoughts it evokes inside a person?” He concluded, “I once preached a sermon on just the word home, maybe you should too.”

This conversation took place 25 years ago, but still today I remember the connection our hearts made with his words. It was as if God was speaking directly to our hearts. Over the years his comments have continued to come to mind and given me cause to ponder. He was right. The word home causes all sorts of emotions and thoughts. They range from positive to negative, depending on one’s experience. When I think of home I think of a place where I feel safe and secure to pour out my heart, a place where I feel a sense of belonging, and where I connect with those I love. I, like Dorothy in Oz, would agree, “There’s no place like home.”

Lately I’ve been reading The Chronological Bible and came across a scripture I’d never seen before and it caused my mind to again remember our friend’s comments. In this Bible the chapters are sequenced by time not by book, consequently it has surprised me with a new glimpse into the old stories. Another feature is that it occasionally makes short statements prior to introducing a portion of scripture — which is what drew my attention to this particular section near the end of Deuteronomy.

Here it suddenly inserted Psalm 90 prefaced by the statement “Moses probably wrote this psalm near the end of his life.” Then it jumped directly into the first verse of the Psalm which said, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home.”

The whole thought jolted me with all kinds of emotion, but especially in regard to the word home! I considered how Moses had built a home where God could dwell with His people, how he had led Israel to the threshold of their future home, and yet had never built himself a home throughout the 40 years in the wilderness.

Here at the end of his life I find him declaring to the Lord “You have been our home.” He makes no mention of being disappointed in not being allowed to enter the Promised Land, or regret about years lost in the wilderness. No, it’s evident by his words his heart had found it’s home in the presence of the Lord! It would seem, he had found his security, his safety and his place of belonging in God’s Presence, and not in an earthly dwelling. He would soon pass from this world to the other side, but I have a feeling he had already experienced eternity while traversing the wilderness of this life!

My heart’s response to all of this is a deep desire to touch the reality of Moses’ words and to pray . . . “As I live my everyday life, may I continually experience You, Lord, as my home!

When I was a young mother of three boys and one daughter, I used to wonder what type of girl each of the boys would pick to marry. To be quite honest I would worry a little, wondering if their wives would like me or if they would think of me as the meddling mother-in-law. Two of the three are now married and I can happily report my relationship to them is something I treasure.

When our oldest son, Dan, fell in love with Felicity, my fears were immediately calmed. Here was a young woman I knew would not only love Dan, but would also love his family. When our son Paul lost his heart to Revonna, I was indeed happy. Having known her from toddlerhood, we had developed a special relationship . Undeniably Dan and Paul have married well!

These two cherished women are now the mothers of my grandchildren and looking toward Mother’s Day I want to make a few statements to give honor to them! They are godly women who love their children deeply, who train them to be followers of Jesus and who instill dreams into their little hearts.

Felicity writes a blog called Rare Rocks. Here is her own description of a Rare Rock.

In real life a precious stone has three distinguishing characteristics: 1) they are strong, 2) they are beautiful, and 3) they are rare. Men and women who live authentic lives of transforming faith would fit into each of these categories!

Both Felicity and Revonna are strong, beautiful and rare! Both live authentic lives of transforming faith! I find my heart grateful and overwhelmed by God’s goodness in giving me a treasured relationship with these priceless gems .

Felicity and Revonna I sincerely mean it when I say you are each a lovely Rare Rock!

“Please couldn’t we do some creative writing instead of an opinion essay?”

This frequent plea comes from the heart of my beautiful niece Julia after hearing the announcement of a writing assignment that won’t give place to her creativity. As her Composition Teacher I have completely enjoyed watching her ability to write increase and expand over the past few years!

Julia delights in putting her heart on paper and expresses it exceptionally well for someone receiving her driver’s license in about a month. At her young age, everyday life often feels similar to a pendulum swinging between adulthood and adolescence, yet she captures in words amazing revelations regarding these experiences and the questions of life. She brings to her writing a fun-loving, creative, magical energy, coupled with her desire to know and follow Jesus.

Her great love for writing moved her into the blog world this weekend! So if you want to read some amazing insights and revelations seen through the eyes of a godly young teen, head on over to Through My Eyes .

I can testify her posts will be refreshing, unique and challenging! Please leave her a comment and cheer her on in this new endeavor!

A Glimpse of Reality

April 13, 2009 — 4 Comments

While raising our children, I would occasionally catch a glimpse of them as they would one day be. A familiar Proverb states, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The word “way” actually means “bent” — or the gifts and interests God has put inside him. When each of our children were very young, my husband and I would ask God to show us the bent of each one in order to help them fulfill the destiny God had placed inside them.

Very early in our oldest son’s life, his love for music manifested. We would find Dan sitting right in front of the speakers from our stereo, listening to every word of the music while drumming a perfect rhythm on the carpet. When Dan was two years old his dad sang a solo in church, and part way into the song Dan began to weep from way down inside his heart. He crawled into my lap and asked me why he was crying. I told him it was because he was sensing that Jesus had come into the room while his daddy was singing.

These continued occurrences caused us to realize the depth of his sensitivity to God through the medium of music. Therefore, we began to provide opportunities for his “bent” to be nurtured and disciplined. Of course that included drum lessons, piano lessons, piano recitals, leading worship from the piano, along with a plethora of other musical and worship experiences.

Many evenings, just around bedtime for his siblings, Dan would sit down at the piano and begin to play. It was a nightly treat for all of us as his music filled our hearts and our home. One night in particular as he played, I was tucking his youngest brother into bed. He mentioned how much he liked hearing the music and told me the name of a song he wanted Dan to play. In that moment, a picture flashed through my mind, and I could see Dan as a daddy, sitting at the piano and filling his own home and the hearts of his children with the music God had written in his heart.

Yesterday when I clicked on Dan’s family blog and this picture came up, I wept. Though this darling little granddaughter wasn’t in the mental picture I had years ago. This was it! This was what I glimpsed that night so long ago. There he was worshiping at his piano, touching the heart of God and the heart of his family! The glimpse had become reality!


To catch a glimpse of Dan and his son Jesse singing on Easter Sunday Morning 2009, go to