Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend - Thankful for God's Promises through Christ's Resurrection

This year, God's promises realized in Jesus' sacrifice & resurrection, were highlighted even more for me.
The services of Maundy-Thursday, the overnight prayer vigil at the Altar of Repose, the Good Friday service, and Stations of the Cross, the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday were a bittersweet time, as my family mourned the death of Dad, yet as we were reminded of the promise that we WILL see Dad again, in heaven.

My sister, Chellie and I, along with a friend Mary, from Church, had been decorating the Altar of Repose in the Chapel with the Easter flowers, on Wed., when we received the news that Dad had died.  We had just finished arranging the flowers, so to come back to the Chapel in the early morning hours of Good Friday, was, for me, a kind of memorial set up not only to honor Jesus, but a reminder of my Dad too.

As I sat and prayed, listened to the soft sounds of nature, the music playing, and smelled the sweet frangrance of the flowers, I  could truly feel God's peace fill me.   I had brought along my laptop to do Dad's funeral bulletin.  I think it was a good place to be, doing Dad's funeral service bulletin, looking up the scripture passages the family had picked out, and feeling God's presence.
I stayed over two hours and it seemed like it was only about 30 minutes, and, surprisingly, I wasn't even tired, even though it was 3:00 a.m.!

On Good Friday, we had a noon service, and the veneration of the cross.
This scripture passage stood out for me ...
1 Peter 2:24  "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."

After the service, we moved the flowers from the Chapel, to the Church altar, getting ready for the coming Easter Services on Saturday and Sunday.
It was nice having quite a few people help with the decorating and other arrangements to do.

Later that night, I participated in the Stations of the Cross Service, which was one of my Dad's favorite services.  Every Lent, Dad faithfully was part of that service each Friday evening.  It was sad to not have him there with us for it.

Fr. John and Deacon Bill lighting the
Paschal Candle from the "new fire".
On Holy Saturday, we had the Great Vigil of Easter, starting with lighting the "new fire", and from that lighting the paschal candle, and then there is a procession into the darkened church, where individual candles held by others are all lit, as well as candle sconces.  The Easter Vigil service has such powerful symbolism, and the readings all proclaim promises of God to His people.
The Altar at the Easter Vigil

Sunday morning - Easter - was also a blessing to me.  I know that Dad was sure having the very BEST Easter EVER!!  And for that, though we miss him so much, I am very thankful.

Deacon Bill (my BIL), Fr. John,
and Henry, acolyte.

So, our singing, our "Alleluia's", our prayers, our worship, and our thanksgivings this morning were even more for me than any other previous year... ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!  THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!  ALLELUIA!!

Kasey K Photo taking some
pictures following the service.

Music Ministry at Christ Church
Dan, Elizabeth, Susanne & Ron.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Dad died.... a couple of days ago...

Dad and Me
My Dad died on March 27th...unexpectedly ...even though he'd been in the hospital after an accident where he slipped on the ice and hit his head hard, developed a blot clot and some brain bleed, and had to be transported to a hospital in Milwaukee, where he underwent brain surgery to remove the clot, clean out the blood and cauterize the vein that was bleeding.   It all seemed to go very well, and we were so thankful, and looking forward to Dad coming home around April 4th.

But either Dad's heart gave out, or some kind of complications from his accident happened, and he died. :(   We are overwhelmed with sadness and grief...but, although we know we WILL see Dad again, and we do NOT mourn as those without Hope... we are very sad beyond belief... worried about Mom... and just busy doing funeral things, being with family, crying together and taking care of Mom too.

I have so many other posts on my blog to catch up on ... and hope to do so sometime... but for now, I remember my Dad, and what a GREAT Dad he is!!  Someone admired and appreciated, not only by the family, but from the hundreds of comments and cards and greetings in person, by so many, we realize we are not mourning his loss alone, but together.

Thank you to all ...words can just NOT express our thankfulness as a family, as well individuallyfor so many kind acts, sentiments, hugs, prayers and love given to each of us (over 70 people in my immediate family) ... May Dad's soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, to the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Dad's visitation is Thurs., April 4th at Christ Church from 2 - 6 p.m.  His funeral is Friday, April 5th at 10:30 a.m. with a luncheon following at Christ Church.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ECVA Exhibition * Holy Women, Holy Men

I'm happy to be accepted into the latest online exhibition at Episcopal Church and Visual Arts.
Thank you ECVA for including my assemblage "St. Thomas, Didymus".  I'm honored to be included with such other wonderful pieces of art!  Check out the link at ECVA Latest Exhibit and check out all the other entries as well!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Jorden's Birthday Weekend... Fun, Fun, Fun!

It was really great to have Jorden here for her birthday weekend, and her Daddy, Kaine, too later on Saturday as well to celebrate!

Dad, Jorden & Me

After picking Jorden up on Thursday, we stopped by the hospital to visit Papa (my Dad), who is recovering from his accident and brain surgery.  Jorden (and all of us) think Dad is our hero, in so many ways, and so Jorden presented him with a "super-hero" cape, with a Jesus logo.  He thought it was pretty cool too, and was going to have all the doctors, nurses and aides sign it when they came in to take care of him while he is there.  He had just gotten moved from ICU to a regular room, and he was pretty tired, so we didn't stay long.

Mixing it up
So on Friday night we made some cakes, using a premade mix adding blueberries to white cake mixture, Jorden helped, and the next night (Sat.), when Daddy arrived he helped make her the castle cake she wanted too.

Adding to pans to bake.
Finished pieces after baking, waiting
to be assembled into an awesome cake!

Of course Jorden had to
taste-test one with
whipcream & berries!

On Saturday, we had a birthday party planned...Jorden has been waiting for months to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for her birthday party with us.  Uncle John-John, and cousins Jeff, and Josh also came along, and Aunt Kasey as well as me and John. (Aunt Janel had to work, and Jake was sick and couldn't come unfortunately.)

Josh and Jorden

It was a madhouse at Chuck E Cheese's, but the kids all had fun!

Uncle John and Jorden

Jeff redeeming his tickets for prizes.

Someone loves Chuck E!

After games, pizza and fun,  it was time to come home and see if Daddy was home from work yet!  And he was... Jorden had to change into her princess finery to help Daddy make her castle cake!
The birthday princess
and Daddy.

Whip cream between layers.
The castle is taking shape.

Adding cherries & blueberries.


Blowing out the candles.
Can't wait to eat it!
It was a fun birthday cake making, and eating time too!
And then on Sunday, time for the palm procession, and making an Easter Basket of Meaning with the other kids at Sunday School before heading back with Daddy upnorth. 

Palm Sunday with the kids class.

Jorden in her sparkly
blue birthday shoes
with her new doll.

Wishing you many MORE Happy Birthdays (((Jorden))), love you!!

Sunday School making Easter
Baskets of Meaning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Not a good day... Dad's accident

My Dad slipped on some ice on the road this morning while walking the dog.  He hit his head very hard, so hard that it caused a vein to bleed, and a major blood clot, besides hitting his elbow as well, and he has a huge swollen bump on it too, but they will deal with that after his head injury they said.

Dad said he passed out for a bit he thought, from the fall, but Lady, his dog, stayed by his side, and even licked his face, maybe helping him come to from the fall?  Dad took Lady into the house, and then drove himself to the local hospital (not a good idea to do it!).   He was x-rayed and had all sorts of tests, and they discovered a brain bleed and a blood clot, and transferred him by ambulance to St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee.

I, and several of my sisters went to the local hospital, then drove to Milwaukee and spent the day and evening there.  He has some great doctors, who have done a good job of reassuring Dad, and us, regarding the surgery he would be needing immediately this afternoon, which he did undergo.

This is one of the xrays they showed us of his blood clot ... the white area is the blood clot, and is growing, so surgery was very much needed.  The doctors said it was pushing the one side of his brain over into the other side, and it would be causing major problems.  They also indicated that there was still bleeding going on, and they needed to stop that.

Keeping Dad warm while waiting for

Dad was alert, and talking (a lot!), and seemed in good spirits.   He was joking around a lot.  The only complaint we heard him voice was that his head was cold.. they did have some kind of fan or AC on, and so we took advantage of the sheets and blankets they had there and covered Dad up... he joked that he looked like a nun or something..*L*  I think Dad often jokes like that to ease the anxiety of the situation, which we all had much of, worrying about Dad and all.

 Unfortunately, Mom, who had an important meeting with her doctors today regarding her tests for cancer she had last week, couldn't be here before the surgery happened.  Mom found out good results, that the cancer had not spread, and it was a blessing to Dad to hear too, as he talked to Mom on the phone before he went in for his brain surgery.  Some of the other sisters, and brother, along with Mom, came to the hospital before Dad was out of surgery and we all waited together.

The surgery went very well, and within 2 - 3 hours after it, Dad was back to his room, he was alert and talking some, but tired.  We are all so thankful, and Mom too, especially for the prayers we knew were coming for Dad from all over!

We left around 8:30 p.m. so Dad could get some sleep... prayers for Dad are very much appreciated, and more updates will be coming in the next few days.  Doctors say Dad will most likely be there for at least 5 days or so.  Lord, in Your Mercy, hear our prayers!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Art as Prayer * Meditations and Art Show

"Even the Stones Will Cry Out"
and "It is Finished" assemblages

A collage of some of the art pieces
in the Art as Prayer Show
by Kasey K Photo.
My Dad (Jerry) with his walking stick art
and an oak carving of Jesus by Jonathon

 This weekend was the Art as Prayer Show ... Check out some of the great art pieces we were honored to have as part of this show at Christ Church!  Each piece had a meditation and prayer to go along with it as well...thanks to the artists and all who came to see the art too!

John Mayer with one of his great paintings.
Now the Green Blade Riseth...
Dad's Walking Stick Art Table Display

Redeemed * St. Kateri
Bob Biesel with one of his wonderful
art pieces!
"Artist's Muse" by Roberta Karstetter. "Everything we see with the eye of our being, everything we read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest, everything we experience, and dream, throughout our lives, are what influences the muse within us."
Kasey with her Mystic Multiplication
and more from Kasey K Photo.

Kasey - charcoal and acrylic on wood,
Pat and one of her paintings.

Art sponored by Susanne, a wood craft
"Sacred Heart of Jesus" by Sister Wagner.

Jerry Gifford.. A paddle made from a shoulder
blade of moose remains
 found in the woods
in NW Ontario.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Annual Chili Cook-off and Dessert Contest

David, Ed and Chellie "hawk" their entries.

Tonite was our Chili Cook-off and Dessert Contest at Church... a fun time of taste testing various kinds of chilis and desserts and enjoying the competition too!

Dessert Taste Testing Line

Going thru the line first to taste test.

Me, Ron, David, Dad, Ed and Chellie
Chili Contestants.

Dad (Jerry) and Ron.

Voting for the favorites!

And the winners were.......  Jerry (Dad) 1st Place for his moose chili, and sister, Chellie, 2nd Place.

And for the Desserts...1st Place Jo and 2nd Place, Me!
Guests enjoyed the fun!
Dessert Contestants: Pat, Susanne
Jo and Me.

My cookie creation, sugar cookie
with lemon pie filling, pineapple
and cherry on top!

A Fun Nite, and Good Food too!