Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grandma Sally

My mom's eulogy about my Great- Grandma Sally:
          "Let me start by saying Pastor Greg asked me to share a few stories about my grandma. Hesitantly, I wanted to say no- but really, how could I not? 90 years, really? So here are a few memories.
          My earliest memory of my grandma was the special drawer of her china hutch that held the fruit candy slices which I loved! We could have any except the yellow ones as those were her favorite!
          My grandma served as a nurse for over 40 years. When I was a young girl, on special weekends I would get to go with her to ARC where she would pass meds and care for the handicap. Oh how they loved her and she them.
The year I got my driver’s license was the same year that my grandfather got cancer- the freedom to drive then just seemed like an excuse to go somewhere but I see now that the Lord already had His hand on what I was watching. You see, I saw a wife caring for her husband. I watched her be love to him as she cared for and watched endless Harry Carry games with him even though she hated baseball! I now have also seen my mother model that same love for my father through his illness. My grandparents were married as many years as my parents are now; 42 years of precious love. My grandmother would describe Howie as “fresh.”
           She was an amazing seamstress. She made endless things from wedding dresses to many of her own clothes. She made beautiful satin pillow cases which we all have- she claimed this was how to keep a good hair do all week! She taught many to sew, including a special friend Judee. Judee says that it was in my grandmother’s home that she learned not only to sew beautiful things but how to love and be loved.

Her faith was something she stood firm on, and it was her home that I saw prayer modeled at every meal. As a wedding gift, my grandmother received a picture of Jesus looking down on the world over her bed. This stayed over her bed everywhere she moved until her last breath. That picture was very special to her and I would often talk with her about the comfort that praying brought her. Both of my grandmothers modeled the importance of church to me but growing up my parents really only went on Christmas and Easter- Chreasters, sometimes mother’s day too so we did not let grandma down. At this time I did not understand that I needed Jesus as my Savior. It wasn’t until 30 that the Lord called my name loud enough that I finally listened! My grandmother got to watch my conversion from just going to church to falling in love with Jesus. She saw that the words from my mouth, especially in the beauty shop where she would often say, “Tami, don’t say such things!” had truly changed. The language I used to speak- swearing and using the Lord’s name in vain had now completely changed to praise for His name and His death for me. The Lord in His divine plan left her with us for her to see an entire family changed for the glory of her Savior! She has seen her son in law, daughter, and grandchildren come to fall in love with her Jesus.
One day in the beauty shop years after my grandfather had died she had started going dancing with her friend Choc. She informed us all that if he wanted anything more from her that he needed to marry her. This chick was not ok with sex outside of marriage! Just as she did not know what would come out of my mouth, we never knew what would come out of Sally’s mouth either! She was our every Thursday morning entertainment in my beauty shop from when she drove herself and shouldn’t have been, always late and always some old persons fault as they drove too slow, to coming on the mini bus and they driver never drove the right way! It has been my most precious privilege to do this beautiful woman’s hair for 22 years, and to do her final one yesterday. She never missed a week of getting her hair and nails done. One day in the nursing home I asked her if the other ladies had someone come and do their hair to which she replied, “No, just the ritzy people!” For her 90th birthday I brought purple nail polish because she liked the color purple. She was really hesitant to let me put that on her nails as she was very worried it was too bright and inappropriate! My, how generations have changed.
I am sad to say that there have been many days I prayed for the Lord to take her home and out of her suffering. She survived so much- had one kidney, two times cancer, buried two husbands and a son, along with a very crooked spine with painful arthritis. She lived on her own until 89; still cooking, or as we would say, “regularly poisoning herself,” as a woman from the depression era who would never throw anything away. I am thankful the Lord did not answer my prayers because the years that He has left her here has shown me a soft side of her as she really finally allowed others to care for her and she was no longer in constant back pain which left her very short and snappy. I would regularly find her in her room in the nursing home staring at her picture of Jesus and she would say to me, “His eyes are amazing!” One of the many times she was very sick I had written a verse from Isaiah for her and put it on the wall next to her bed where she left it. Isaiah 46:4- Even to your old age and grey hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
It gives me such comfort to know my grandma understood her rescue came from Jesus’ death for her. He rescued her from this life into eternity on Sunday but not until she had completed all He had for her to do. Friday, the last day she was really awake, I went to be with her. As we had some precious time talking about what the Lord had waiting for her, she told me that she had suffered this long because He still had something left for her to do here. We prayed, we cried, and then her door opened. It was Patti the cleaning lady, to which she said, “Hi Sally, it’s just me Patti the cleaning lady.” My gram said, “Come here, I want to scold you.” She grabbed her hand and continued, “Every week you come in and say “it’s just me the cleaning lady,” but I want you to know you are not just that, you are my cleaning lady and I love you.” To which Patti replied with, “I’m sorry Sally, I won’t say that anymore.” My grandma then responded with, “and I am sorry I have not told you that. I have wanted to tell you for a while.” We were all in tears and as I told her goodbye, I said, “Gram, maybe that was the last thing here the Lord had for you to do.”
I could only pray that I will obey Him, be a faithful, loving wife and leave this legacy for my children and grandchildren and finish as well as she did.
I will be forever grateful to the Lord for Hospice and the staff at Luther Manor who were Jesus with skin on to my Gram when we could not be with her. Also to her incredibly faithful, patient, granddaughter Arianna who was a constant companion to grandma. They will never know how much this helped my mom when she could not be there.
I read this saying and it reminded me of her life, because her room could not have fit one more loved one in it as she passed away. This is what she passed down-
We’re a flash in the pan, all of us are, but once we are a mother we never stop reflecting God, mother love, the way we go to them when they call, the way we pass it down.
I tell you about it so you remember to watch how God presses into our lives with these children, children show us faith in our capacity to love.
Sometimes there is so much mess in the journey that we can’t see straight but even in the blur, even in the doubt, there is glory!
She is in glory today!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

through sickness and in health

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed by own body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. -1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Papa was 16 and Mema was 15 when they started dating. They fell in love and got married at 18 and 19. Birthed two babies, my mom and uncle. They had their ups and downs, like everyone. When the grand kids came along, they spoiled us like crazy. Jesus ruined and saved their lives in their early fifties, making their love so much stronger. Now in their 60s and more in love than ever, they are teaching, showing, and counseling others how to love their spouses. The past four years have been a constant battle for Papa's health.

My sweet Papa was admitted to the Iowa City Hospital last Tuesday, February 21, due to his fight with pancreatitis. The doctors put in a feeding tube on Thursday, which he will use for four to six weeks. He has been in constant pain and agony; from headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, and more you don't want to hear about.

God has been visually showing me what Love is this past week.

Mema has been sleeping (if you can call it that) in a hospital "love seat" for six nights now, and will continue to until they get to go home; eating hospital food for every meal unless someones in town to bring her something different; she's been offered a hotel room to stay in but refuses because she won't leave her husband alone. When he's in pain, she's in pain. You can see it on her face. Whenever he needs help getting up, wants more water, has to use the bathroom, needs the bucket, she is the first one to stop whatever she's doing to help. I've seen the promise "through sickness and in health" more clearly this past week than ever in my life. This is love.

The thing that amazes me the most is the joy that fills room 6087. Despite all the pain, misery, and long days, we've had so much joy, silliness, and laughter. The intercome came on today and the voice asked if we needed anything. Papa answered with, "A cheeseburger, french fries, and a malt, thank you!" We got no response back, but oh boy we laughed and laughed. Jesus is pouring out so much grace upon us, helping us trust that this is happening so He can be most glorified. That this is His plan.
For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.
-Romans 11:36

I wonder what the doctors and nurses think when they walk in and see us all holding hands, praying; when they see the love between my beautiful grandparents; when they see friends driving an hour and a half to go sit with Papa for an hour; when they look at smiles and hear friendly voices, instead of scowls and grumbles; when they hear praises to God rather than curses. I wonder.
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. -1 John 2:6

Someday, I want to love like they love.

They are my favorite.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Well, we've been home for almost two weeks and I'm still missing Haiti like crazy. And not adjusting very well. Life here is so different from there. It's fast. When you're there, you take the time to see the beauty of the people, mountains, and stars. Here, we don't do that. We do now, since it's kinda hard to miss the leaves changing colors but do we do it everyday and do we do it in more than just our surroundings? Do we look at the beauty in each other or the people we drive by on the street or our family members? (which that one is probably the hardest to see) We're made in God's Image! We SHOULD see the beauty. Every day.

You must not make for yourself an idol of
any kind or an image of anything in the
heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You
must not bow down to them or worship
them, for I, the Lord your God, am a
jealous God who will not tolerate your
affection for any other gods.

-Exodus 20:4-5

I'm very thankful to live for a God who will fight for my wandering heart. This verse applies so well to my life lately. God's been showing me the idols in my life, then stripping me completely from them. You see, these idols aren't bad things. They become bad when you put them above God. When you look to them for joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Relationships- family and friends, is a big one for me. That's where my joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment were coming from; not all of it, most of it was from God, but some of it wasn't. God cares about your whole heart; He wants all of it. Even if the slightest bit wanders, He will go after it. He will do anything to get it- until He has it all. Until you only have Him to look to for joy, satisfaction and fulfillment. To be filled with Jesus and only Jesus: true joy. true satisfaction. true fulfillment.

He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
The balm of His breath has not healed.
Oh, tender and true was His discipline sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried,
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We're heading out today. It's now a lot harder to leave here after spending time with Wilson and Julie. But God will take care of them. Last night I was on the deck of the guesthouse star gazing. When I first got out there it was all cloudy, but as I watched, the clouds slowly drifted away revealing a sky completely covered in stars. That is such a great picture of how God works. He may bring clouds in your life, but He is always faithful to bringing everything back to His glory and to our good- to something beautiful. Rest in that today.

See you all soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011


I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
-Psalm 140:12

I am just overwhelmed with how good our God is. In April 2010 when I first came to Haiti, there was a little boy along the mountain that we would see every day. He never had pants on so we named him Baby No Pants. He stole my heart the first time I saw him. Ever since then there has been a picture by my bed and I've been praying that he would get a chance to go to school and that he'd be told about Jesus. Today I walked up to the preschoolers to see the little girl our family is sponsoring, and I see him on the play ground with the school kids! He is in school getting an education and being told about Jesus! Now through sponsoring him I get to write him letters, send him things, put him through school, give him a meal everday, and give him a chance to hear about Jesus because of what Mountaintop Ministry does. God is so good and faithful- answering prayers you never thought would be answered. He is so powerful! Oh, and his real name is Wilson Louis. God, you are good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This mornings service was awesome. It gave us just a teeny glimpse of what Heaven is going to be like.
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9
What a beautiful picture! That will be one glorious day, being in heaven and worshiping Jesus with people from every nation and tribe and people and language.

After church we took a tour through the village of Gramothe where the church and school are. We went through peoples homes, saw some old voodoo temples, and got to see what life is like for them. They are so joyful and appreciative, that blows me away.

We got to visit the orphanage where the Lance's and Schumacher (friends from dubuque) families are adopting. We got the chance to snuggle with and love on their soon to be kids, it was so hard to leave them there. They probably don't get barely any love, and I'm complaining about missing Lillie, Titus and Toby. We complain so much.

Prayer requests: God's power to keep breaking our hearts, we'd see as many patients as possible tomorrow, and God's will.

PS. If those of you who don't have facebook want to see more pictures, here's the link to my album: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150382088508000.406002.749417999&l=b8bf8d5489&type=1


Yesterday was a crazy day in the clinic- many sad stories, God showing me I have nothing to complain about. He is just stripping my heart from all my comfortable life. We could have it so much worse in America, but God has blessed and cursed us by putting us there. Blessed because we have nothing to worry about compared to the rest of the world, and cursed because we don't appreciate or see what God has blessed us with. Start thinking about all God has saved you from and blessed you with. It will blow your mind.

We saw Baby No Pants on the way home- Anna stopped so I could get a picture (above). He is so big and precious! I want to just take him home with me, he's so cute and joyful. We're heading off to church, I'll try and update later today. Sorry I didn't get to last night, we haven't had any power the whole time we've been here so we're trying not to suck the power.

Prayer requests: our last day of clinic (tomorrow) would go well and we'd be able to see the rest of the patients with no turning people away, safe travels on the way home, and God's will to be done. He is good!