Saturday, August 20, 2016

Still thinking about my dad (on what would be his 103 birthday!)

I decided to begin this blog with this not-so-good and grainy picture of my dad since it is a sort of follow-up picture to my last blog.  This was my dad, at the microphone, at his retirement party from Montgomery Wards.  I found this picture today while looking for some photos of my dad for this blog!  Here are the others I decided to include today...
This is a very early picture of my mom and dad.  I'm not sure when or where it was taken but I know it was possibly even before they were married or just after they were married. I would expect that this was taken around 1935 when my dad was in his early 20's.  I just love how young they both look! I just noticed that my mom is NOT wearing a wedding ring, so I know this was before their marriage.  
Then I decided to add these two photos....

These two photos represent my dad's happy place.....Lake Maud.  I know I have blogged about this before, but it is fitting to add these photos on his birthday.  Oh how he loved this place.  He had built this entire cabin by hand - pounding every nail by himself (or almost).  He loved being in his work pants and a tee shirt, just puttering around and he usually had a beer in his hand!  In the last years they actually purchased a pontoon - something he had been wanting for so long.  Sadly they waited so long to get this that he didn't live long enough to really enjoy it.  My mom was rather scared of the water and never swam so she was reluctant to go in a regular boat.  My dad always thought that she would be happy on a pontoon - and she was.  Sitting in her lawn chair and going rather slowly, touring around the lake.  I never really got to enjoy the pontoon with my dad and mom during the years following his retirement since my kids were born during those years.  My dad retired in 1978, Gwen was born in 1979 and Doug in 1982.  Sadly my dad died in 1985.  His last three years were not very good years, since his health was bad and he was on dialysis.  Yes, those years of always having a beer in hand caught up to him and he experienced kidney failure.  It is so sad that my kids never got a chance to know their grandpa.  

Isn't it interesting how, looking back, you can see yourself in your parents?  It gives you such a better idea of how our parents shape us.  Mom always said that I was a lot like my dad.  He was not afraid to get up and speak in front of people.  He usually had something to say and people always seemed to listen to him.  Mom was much more a behind the scenes kind of person.  She never wanted to speak in a crowd and would never consider teaching or leading in front of a group.  My dad had lots of ideas.  He was always coming up with some new thing to try or a new or different way to approach a situation.  That is why he was so successful at his job.  He loved talking to people.  He loved meeting new people and sharing what he knew.  And I have to say that some of the best times of my life have been when I have been speaking and/or leading and teaching others.  So I guess mom was right.  I do take after Dad.  

After dad retired, they moved back to Minnesota to be closer to the Lake.  One of the best parts of this move was the church home that they found.  For the first time in my dad's life, he attended a weekly Bible Study.  My mom and dad formed a close relationship with their pastor and his wife.  It was such a blessing for my mom to have these friends to support her during my dads long illness.  My mom always talked about Pastor Bode visiting my dad in the hospital on the last day of his life, and reading Psalm 121 to him....

I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber.
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber not sleep.
The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Through that weekly Bible Study my dad had found such a comfort in reading the Psalms.  And this was his very favorite Psalm.  Mom said that after Pastor Bode read that Psalm to dad, he smiled.  After a few moments, he was gone.  What a fitting way to die.  Knowing and being reminded that Jesus is watching over you.  And He knows the coming and the going for each person.  This Psalm was such a comfort to my mom for the remainder of her life.  There was an assurance for my mom that she would be with Dad again.  And there was the reminder for her that God was taking care of her.  

There is so much contained in the Psalms.  Several years ago a good friend suggested that I read the Psalms of the day (on the lst of the month you read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 - then on the 2nd of the month you read Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122 and so on).  In this way every month you read the entire book of Psalms.  This has been such a huge blessing for me.  If you have never considered doing this, I encourage you to try this out.  The Psalms are usually a very quick read.  And it is amazing how you can see a pattern as you read through them with this method.  I can't imagine starting a day now without doing this.  I have changed translations now (I usually read my Psalms from The Passion Translation) but there always seems to be a message for me as I read each day.  

As I was remembering my dad today, I added Psalm 121.  And I felt myself relax and take some very deep breaths.  Yes, it is good.  It is very, very good to know that the Lord is watching over your life.

Jesus, thank you for memories that help us keep our loved ones close even after they die.  Holy Spirit, remind us of the comfort that is contained in the Psalms.  Thank you for keeping watch over us.  Help us all to cherish every day.  Thank you for mom and dad and all that they sowed into my generations.  Amen

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