Tag Archives: saying goodbye

A Rich History

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Today we honored a man who has provided such a rich history for our extended family. A husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend…a man who touched many lives. And yet this man, deserving of honor and praise, wanted those attending his funeral to know that it wasn’t about him, but about Him.

His greatest wish in leaving instructions about his service was that the message be about the God that offered immeasurable grace to him. The God that poured out His blessings on my extended family. My grandpa wanted everyone to know his Savior. THAT was what is most important about today.

The message shared was filled with hope. Hope in the eternal life offered by trusting in Jesus. My grandpa was able to see God’s hand throughout his life and while it wasn’t always easy…he trusted God.

What an amazing legacy he left us.

The committal ceremony was at the cemetery across from the church my grandparents were married in. We had an opportunity to go into that church after the ceremony and see where they had exchanged nuptials a little over 67 years ago.

My great uncle Al, who grew up in the church, told us a few stories about the history of the building. Re-built in the early 30’s after a fire destroyed it, the church that stands today looks just like the church before the fire. They rebuilt it exactly the same!

The walls were lined with huge stained glass windows. Windows that apparently cost $66 back in 1932. Cheap in todays standards, but in the Depression it was a lot of money.

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The original organ was destroyed in the fire and a new one was placed in the balcony. It was HUGE and apparently made beautiful music.

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Al told the story of when the church was on fire all the farmers from around the area were called and they worked to save as much as they could before the fire destroyed it all. The pews were screwed to the floor and somehow in the fight to save them, these men ripped the pews out of the ground without unscrewing them! They also worked to save the alter before the rest was lost.

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The wall behind the alter was destroyed but then rebuilt. The stunning beauty of all of that woodwork was amazing.

Apparently earlier that day a couple had exchanged marriage vows, just like my grandparents did 67 years ago.

I felt very aware of the juxtaposition of one new life full of hope and promise just beginning and another life lived so well, ending. 

67 years ago I would guess that my grandparents exchanged vows filled with excitement and hope. Promising to love one another until death would part them, they stepped out in faith and trusted God with their new life together.

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They would face heartache yes, but also experienced years filled with the blessing of family and God was with them through it all. My grandpa loved his community and worked to serve others. He volunteered on different boards and committees. He gave generously in so many ways. He sought to share the blessings God had given him. He had a true servants heart.

Some of those very things that are a part of my natural makeup come from him. What a rich history he left me.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home. The legacy of faith passed along from generation to generation will make an impact that even I can’t fully appreciate right now. Just like the beauty in the walls of an old church, we each have a story to tell.

I think that is one reason I love to write and tell stories, the good and the bad. When I share all that God has done in my life, I am establishing that rich history. There have been fires at times, situations that felt overwhelming. But as I look back at all the ways God has been with us, I can see how He made beauty out of ashes.

Yes today we remembered my grandpa and celebrated his life, but even more so we praised the God that offered grace to each one of us by sending His Son. My grandpa wanted everyone to know that peace. To experience the full life that can be found in a life lived with God. I am honored to have had him as my grandpa and grateful that his faith will live on in my life and my family.

A rich history indeed.

Saying Goodbye

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I have always said that I believe that God brought us to this house.

During the transition time that Dominic was living in MN and we were still back in SD, we made several trips to Marshall to look at homes. Our Realtor (and now neighbor) 🙂 was patient with us and showed us a bunch of homes.

We weren’t sure when we were going to be moving so it was hard. We would see and fall in love with a home and then it would be sold. This went on for 5 months. We finally came to a point that we knew we needed to take that leap of faith and put our SD home on the market and just see what would happen.

It sold in 4 days after 1 showing with a 45 day closing time.

Oh and I we had just had a new baby a few months before. It was a crazy time. And we needed to find a home fast.

I saw a house online that I loved and sent Dominic on a late night, last minute trip to see it. It already had an offer on it but there was a possibility to make a counter offer. While he was there Molly asked if she could show him 1 more house.

A home that had been on the market for a long time, and the sellers were motivated. So Dominic went to see it and I remember the call he made me that night on his way back to his rental. He just knew it was “the” one.

He was giddy and I was too, we made an appointment to go and see it as a family that following Saturday. My parents came along and we even looked at a couple other houses. But we knew that house was the house God put in our path.

I sometimes forget, but really we are all so grateful for the gift that house has been to our family. We don’t deserve it and yet we recognize the blessing it is for us.

One of the first things that I fell in love with when we drove down the drive was the beautiful birch tree in the front yard.

In the mornings when I would get up and have my quiet time I would sit in the front living room and the birch was my view. It has inspired a couple of different blog posts, most recently where I wrote about how God was peeling away some of those layers that had been holding me in bondage.

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That tree and I have a history in just 3 short years. It has been a powerful and beautiful representation of God’s work in my life.

We had a tough and very cold winter last year. We started noticing that a large part of that old birch wasn’t healthy. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. But a few days ago our neighbor had a tree service company over and we stopped to talk to him.

Brian and his wife attend our church and we knew if anyone would be helping us with our tree issues, it would be them.

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He was over again today and confirmed that our tree was at least 2/3 dead. He could take down 2 of the 3 main trunks, but the reality was it wasn’t going to get better and we would likely just have to call him back out again next year.

So at lunch today we made the decision to have that tree removed.

I cried a little on the inside.

I know, I know it is just a tree, but it has been a part of our family the entire time we have been here. It is hard to make changes some times isn’t it?

I ran outside and took a bunch of pictures. I am just a little sad that it was so grey and dreary for her last photos, but I knew the front landscape of our home would drastically change and I wanted to document it.

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And so we went back to work and when I got Gabriel from school we came home to this….

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Amazing difference isn’t it?

I do like how you can see the entire home now, but I am going to miss my early morning views…

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Now all that remains is this stump. We decided not to remove it at this point (I didn’t want to deal with the large landscaping issue we would have with a hole there right now) so for now this will be our reminder.

Our views will constantly be changing. I am coming to appreciate the changes even when I don’t like it. I am hoping that I am able to see the view in a new light…different but not bad, and a new opportunity to see in a way I haven’t before.

I am grateful that an old, dying birch tree can continue to teach me so much about life. May I always be seeking to recognize the beauty that is around me.

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