Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seeds sown in the generations.....

When I got to Gwen's house on Tuesday morning, the first thing that Zeke asked me was "Where are your Grandpas?"   Now this was a strange question.  So I tried to do some investigation to find out if he possibly was talking about HIS grandpa (Ken).  But, no, he was quite sure he wanted to know about MY Grandpas.  I don't know where this question came from, but Zeke really wanted an answer.  So I told him that both of my Grandpas had died.  Then he asked about my mom and dad.  I told him that they had both died also.  He stopped for a moment and then said "Are they in heaven with Jesus?"  When I answered yes, he smiled and said, "Okay, that's good."  And that was that.

Accept that I could not get this conversation out of my mind all week.  And then tonight I found this picture.  On the right is my "Grandpa Johnson" (my dad's father) and on the right is my "Grandpa Toensing" (my mom's father).  Included in the picture are my sister Karen and brother Jerry.  This photo was taken when my dads parents visited just before he went into the Navy in WWII.  My mom had moved back home with her dad and aunt since my father was shipping out.  I believe that  this might be the only photo of these two men together.  It was taken in 1943.  Shortly after my father returned from the war, in early 1946, my Grandpa Johnson died.  This was years before I was born.  Yet, this week I have been thinking about him and piecing together bits about him that I have heard over the years.  Here are a few things that I know about him...

1.  He came to the United States as an indentured servant from Sweden and worked on a farm as a farmhand.  He met my Grandmother (who had also come from Sweden as an indentured servant) in the United States and actually completed her term of indenture so that they could get married.
2.  He had a farm and really believed that farming was the only valuable way to make a living.
3.  He did not want my dad to go high school (he didn't think it was necessary) and he really did not want my dad to go to work with Electronics (radios and other new inventions).
4.  He spoke very little English and only read the Swedish newspaper.  He was not happy that my mom could not speak anything except English!  (He felt that if she was Norwegian and German, at least she should be able to speak one of those languages)

I can't help but feel that I missed out on so much because I never really knew my grandpas.  I so wish that I had gotten to know these two men.
This is Ken and Zeke last weekend at the waterpark.  I think that being with his grandpa is what brought the thought to Zeke about my grandpas!  It was so fun to see Ken with the grandchildren.  I love that Ken and I have the chance to really sow into our kids and grandchildren.  We are blessed to be able to see them often and spend time with them.  And I love that I get to have conversations with each of them that remind me of this special relationship.  Just like this conversation with Zeke about grandpas.  Later in the morning, Anna was sleeping and Zeke was sitting next to me.  I asked him to tell me about his grandpas.  He smiled and then started to tell me about "Papa" (Tim's dad) and "Grandpa" (Ken).  He told me that Papa played ball with him.  And that he took naps on the couch.  He told me that Grandpa laughed a lot and went in the lazy river with him. Also Grandpa has a car just like daddy's (not really, but close) and that Papa has a BIG van!  Isn't it interesting that at 3 he is already noticing what car they drive???  Boys!!!!  He talked for some time about each grandpa and it was so fun to listen to him.

And then, just a bit later that day, Zeke played and sang to me (which I already blogged!).  I am so thankful for the chance that I have to not only give to my grandchildren, but also to receive from them.  Yes, I missed out on many things because I didn't have my grandparents in my life.  But they both sowed seeds into my father and mother that were then planted into my life.  The most important seed is the one that assures me that they are together in heaven with Jesus.  What a precious gift it is to know that my Christian faith is part of my lineage.  And I love that I can see those seeds growing in my grandchildren.

So follow my lead today.  Take a moment and look back.  Look at your grandparents and see the things that have been planted in your family tree.  Look at your family now and see the evidence of things that you are banking for the future.

Jesus,  thank you for reminding me that your plan is for each generation to sow into the next.  It is an honor and privilege to be able to have an impact on the future.  Thank you for my generations and all that you have given to me through them.  Family is such an amazing gift!  Help us all to look deeper into our generations to see and appreciate each leaf on our family tree.  Amen


  1. Lyn, I believe that dad didn't come back to Watertown with mom and the kids. She had to deal with "a couple of sick kids" and getting furniture redirected from Omaha to Watertown since dad was already inducted in the Navy. So this picture is probably when mom got back to Watertown, but after dad was already gone. At least that's the way I've heard it in the past.

  2. Thanks for the update Jerry. I really didn't know the story behind this picture. I only knew that is was from 1943. I only found this picture recently and don't remember mom ever talking about this visit. Good to have the clarification!