Monday, February 27, 2012

Aunt Sis

Today is my Aunt Sis' birthday.  Aunt Sis (Marilyn Mitchelle Edwards) is my Mom's sister and best friend.  Can you imagine growing up with your best friend and always having them around?

Mom and Aunt Sis spent most of their birthdays together.  As a matter of fact, we spent most of our birthdays with Aunt Sis and Uncle Virgil.  It was never anything fancy or expensive.  Just an awesome home cooked meal and home made cake with a few gifts to open.  Just being together was enough.  Knowing how far Virg, Sis, and their boys traveled to be with us (or vice versa - we would drive to them) was enough to make anyone feel special!

Family was important to Mom and Aunt Sis and each one of us kids were made to feel so loved!  I cannot imagine growing up any other way.

When my kids were growing up, Aunt Sis and Uncle Virgil made time for them as well.  Taking them fishing and just hanging out.  Their time spent with us was precious!  I am so grateful that they valued us enough to take time out of their busy schedules to get together.  We never did live close to them mileage wise but that did not matter.  Our families made time for each other.

What a wonderful legacy I have!  If you have not seen your family or spent time with them lately, drop everything and go see them!  Make time!  None of us have any promises of tomorrow.  Do not take today for granted! 

2 Samuel 7:28-29 (The Message)

"And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You've already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!" 

I love you Aunt Sis!  Happy Birthday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Memorial Service

We had a memorial service for my sweet sister-in-law, Kate Willingham Wednesday.  What a beautiful celebration of Kate's life!  Kate's daughter, my beautiful niece Vanessa, danced beautifully with Margaret Wagner and Erica DeCoste.  They danced to a IHOP version of Jesu of Man's Desiring.  It was the song Kate walked down the isle to when she married my brother, Stephen over 25 years ago.

I was honored to speak at the request of Kate herself.  As usual, God was so good.  He gave me the words to say and the strength to say them.  Pastor Kathy Melson offered a hope-filled prophetic message.  At the end we sang Amazing Grace - My Chains Are Gone.  As we were singing Margaret and Erica danced around the church.  As they went by me I literally felt a breeze from heaven!  It gave me such a feeling of peace!

Last Thursday and Friday I kept thinking that if only Mom and Dad were here they would know what to do - what needs to be done.  I hope I was able to do a part of what they would have done if they had been there.

I am so thankful I went to be with my brother and his family when I did.  As soon as my plane landed it began snowing and snowed over a foot in Denver.  Many flights were cancelled that night and the next day.  God is so good!

Thank you to everyone who have been praying for my family and me!  I can feel the prayers and they are so appreciated!  While we are grateful that Kate is no longer suffering, she will be greatly missed!  Please continue to pray for my brother, Stephen, nephew Daniel, and niece Vanessa. 

John 6:35-40 (The Message)

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don't really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don't let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

"This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time."

Kate is on her feet dancing on streets of gold - whole and complete!  I love you, Kate!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I would be remiss if I did not tell you about my nephew Daniel.  He is the son of my brother, Stephen and his wife Kate.  Daniel is very special but not just because he was born with a severe form of cerebral palsy. 

Doctors did not give Daniel much hope when he was very young.  They said he would never be able to walk, communicate, or basically function.  Boy, did he prove them wrong!  With supportive loving care and a lot of determination at the age of 23 not only does Daniel walk but he was an amazing caregiver to his mother as she lost the use of her muscles.  When Stephen was at work and Vanessa was at school and work Daniel took care of Kate.

Daniel is amazingly spiritual as well.  He has an incredible faith and more Biblical knowledge than many people I know who have been Christians all their lives!  He loves to listen to praise music and sermons.  He constantly has his iPod or CD player going.  And he doesn't listen passively.  He worships! 

Daniel is also a prayer warrior.  He can bring down the power of the Holy Spirit.  He loves to pray for people.  He knows how to pray in different situations to bring the Holy Spirit in and make a huge difference.

It breaks my heart that kids have bullied him because of the way God created him but he is a prime example that God doesn't make mistakes.  God doesn't look on the outside but rather His main concern is our heart. 

I am SO proud of you Daniel!  I have a lot to learn from you!  I love you!

Psalm  40:1-3 (The Message)

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
   He lifted me out of the ditch,
      pulled me from deep mud.
   He stood me up on a solid rock
      to make sure I wouldn't slip.
   He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
      a praise-song to our God.
   More and more people are seeing this:
      they enter the mystery,
      abandoning themselves to God.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


My sweet sister-in-law, Kate, went to be with Jesus tonight.  I am so grateful that I was able to make it to Colorado in time to talk to her, hold her hand, and brush her hair out of her eyes. 

I first met Kate in 1985 when she and my brother became engaged.  We bonded instantly.  Even though we lived nearly a 1000 miles apart and didn't get to see each other often we had a special connection that I cannot explain but one that I am very blessed to have experienced.

Kate was so compassionate.  She was always more concerned about me than she was about herself.  I know she endured so much pain for many years as the disease progressed.  She lost the use of her arms and legs - her entire body betrayed her!  Yet her mind was still sharp right up to the end. 

When I would call to talk she would never complain but she would ask about me.  She would tell me she was praying for me.  I complain about the least little thing!  I certainly didn't deserve her prayers but when I would say that she would brush me off.  She kept praying.

Oh that I could have her faith and her attitude!  Tonight as we stood around her bed trying to keep her comfortable it hit me that I should ask God to allow me to have her spirit.  As Elijah passed on his spirit to Elisha, I asked God to pass her sweet spirit onto to me.  Oh that He would so bless me!

I will miss you Kate but we will spend eternity together!  We will swim in the Emerald Sea and dance on streets of gold!  Enjoy your party with Mom & Dad tonight!  I love you!

Psalm 91:14-16 (The Message)

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
      "I'll get you out of any trouble.
   I'll give you the best of care
      if you'll only get to know and trust me.
   Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
      I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
   I'll give you a long life,
      give you a long drink of salvation!"

Friday, February 3, 2012


Ok, I bragged on my brother.  Now I need to brag on my niece.  Vanessa is so good with her mother.  She has constantly been by her side through this entire ordeal.  She wipes her face, soothes her hair, pats her hand, reads Scripture to her.  When Kate tries to tell us something - which is quite difficult with the multiple tubes running down her throat - Vanessa is the one who can usually figure out what she is trying to say.

It is obvious that Vanessa loves her mother dearly.  She is learning some very tough lessons at the tender age of 20.  Through it all, Vanessa's faith is strong.  I can learn so much from her.  While she is still hoping for the miracle of all miracles - her mother's complete healing here in this life - she seems prepared to accept that God may call her mother home and give her a perfect body in heaven.

Obviously, that is not an easy thing to accept at any age.  Please keep Vanessa and the rest of our family in your prayers.

I love you and am so proud of you Vanessa!

I Corinthians 1:4-9 (The Message)

Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There's no end to what has happened in you—it's beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

Just think—you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.


My brother, Stephen, is an amazing man!  The things he has been selflessly doing for his wife Kate is nothing short of saintliness!  Because her muscles have deteriorated so, she has to be turned 3-6 times every night.  Stephen does this.  If she needs to use the bathroom or get a drink, Stephen helps her.

Then he gets up around 3:30 a.m. to begin getting ready for work.  He has a long commute and he gets Kate cleaned up, fed, and situated for her day before he leaves.  While Stephen is at work my nephew, Daniel, takes care of his Mom.  Daniel is 23 with a severe form of Cerebral Palsy.  He's loving, kind, and strong - in many ways!

When Stephen gets home from work, he prepares dinner and then does all that needs to be done for Kate.  Around 7:30 or so, he gets her ready for bed.  He tends to her during the night then gets up about 3:30 to start his day all over again.

On his days off he does the grocery shopping, cleans house, mows the lawn (or shovels the snow!), fixes whatever needs fixing, prepares meals, gets Kate ready and takes her to church.  He does all that needs to be done for her, day and night.  He then gets up at 3:30 Monday morning and starts all over again. 

I read a study recently (and I wish I could remember where I read it) that said when a spouse becomes severely ill and requires much care, a very high percentage of the time (again, I can't remember the exact number) men are more likely to leave their wives rather than stick around to take care of her.  So much for "in sickness and in health" huh?

Not Stephen.  He selflessly and cheerfully cares for Kate.  He dotes on her.  He jokes with her.  He prays with her.  He includes her in as many activities as he can.  He tells her how much he loves her!

He has laid up his treasures in heaven and put his faith into action every single day.  Kate is on total life support now.  Stephen and Kate face a very difficult decision now.  I am so glad I am here for them.  I love them both so much. 

Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

   I was hungry and you fed me,
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
   I was homeless and you gave me a room,
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
   I was sick and you stopped to visit,
   I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I am flying to Denver tomorrow to see my brother Stephen and his family.  I have been wanting to visit them for some time now.  I was hoping that I could take Stacie and her kids with me when I went.  Maybe next time.  For now it will just have to be me. 

I wish I were going under better circumstances.  Stephen's wife, Kate is very ill.  She has ALS.  It is a very cruel disease.  Kate is slowly becoming trapped in her own body.  So many people have been praying for her healing.  The last time she and I talked about it she said that she knows she will be healed.  It may be that she will be healed while she is still on this earth but if not, she knows that when she gets to heaven she will have a perfect body.

And that she will.  No more pain and suffering when God decides to call her home. 

I love you, my dear sister Kate! I will see you tomorrow!

2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:5 (The Message)

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. 

 For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.