Saturday, July 30, 2022

Memories: First Half of 2022

Our retirement from Cru began exactly two years ago, in July of 2020! And though we love to communicate with our friends and family here, it has been pretty quiet on our blog! We are definitely loving retirement, and also are finding that even retirement life can be quite full! For us, it is wonderful with many restful, peaceful moments, and time for many (unending?) projects.  Also with many sweet connections with family and friends, and then, of course, with the realities of the daily responsibilities of life!

We'd love to share with you some of our memories and highlights from the first half of 2022. Here are a sampling of our digital scrapbook pages from the past six months, giving a glimpse into the joys and trials of our wonderful retirement life together. The year started out with 43 days in a row (weekdays) of treatment for Gary's prostate cancer. You can read more in the journaling above on the scrapbook page. We are so grateful for excellent results from the 9 weeks of treatment!

The page of photos above shows one of several trips we've made to McCook so far this calendar year ... visiting Carrie & Tyler & family. We're so thankful they live just a 4 1/2 hour drive away, and always love our visit with them. It is hard to believe that our youngest grandchild, Eva, is now 10 years old, and older brother Cruz is 13 already!!

It was such a joy to have Amy & Joe, and also Sara & Sean, and their families, here for Easter! Both families live nearby, which makes it possible to see them often! Levi is in college now, and Ali finished up her freshman year of high school (Amy & Joe's two children). And Sara & Sean's two sons, Jake & Cole both finished up 7th grade. Our grandkids are all growing up too fast!

Family nearby means that we get in a fair number of sports events ... soccer games, and baseball games throughout the spring/summer. Also, we are so very blessed by the close friendships within our CityGroup, a small group within Citylight Midtown. it is a special gift from God to do life with these friends, in the same empty nest season of life we are in, and also retirement season for some of us.

Oh, how we love springtime! We both enjoyed the planting of our veggie garden, herb garden, and various flower spots in our yard, and also on our patio. We're so very thankful for the two lots that our home is on ... a source of much joy for us.

In June we had a special treat ... our daughter Amy (& Joe) asked us to "cat sit" for them when they went on a vacation trip to Colorado. Of course, we were delighted, and therefore had our own week-long "vacation" at their beautiful home right on Beaver Lake, just a 45-minute drive from us. It also happened to be during the week of Father's Day, and Gary's 78th birthday!

Many, many more highlights occurred during the first half of 2022 ... too many to be shared. Of course, we are missing being with the other half of our family (in Texas, and in New York), and have loved every bit of communication we've had with them from a distance. 

Thanks for your friendship and prayers! And above all, we are so thankful to God for the gift of each day, and for His Love and Presence through all of life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Twenty Years Ago ... Remembering a Very Significant Day

Yesterday, 2/22/22, was a day for us as family to remember the same day of February twenty years ago, 2/22/02. And those of you reading this who were well acquainted with our family twenty years ago, also may remember the significance of this day.

Family gathered for the emotional moments when Gary was allowed to come off of sedation
 three days later, following the accident and surgery on Feb. 22, 2002.

Yesterday marked "20 years" from the date when Gary was involved in a horrific accident, when he was backed over by a trash truck right by our home. He was taken by lifeflight helicopter to UNMC in Omaha. After receiving 14 units of blood that day, and going through a  5 1/2 hour surgery by an expert surgeon, he (together with our whole family) began the long road to recovery. His story of recovery is covered with big and small miracles. Yesterday, we as family (long distance, over multiple states), had a very special time sharing our memories together, and giving our thanks to God for preserving our beloved husband/father's life that day. 

Another precious photo during the weeks of recovery,
with our third grandchild, Luke, just 2 months old.

It was a miracle, by God's grace. The road was difficult, with questions if he could even be stabilized for surgery, and then during surgery, if his right foot could even be saved. The expert surgeon made the decision to try to save his foot, and continued to caution us in the following days that he may still need to amputate. By God's grace and mercy, things turned around! And the injuries in his right leg improved, as well. 

There was a two-week stay at UNMC where Gary graduated from the ICU to a regular room, and then he was moved to Immanuel Hospital for two weeks of rehab. Back home, there were trips back in for more rehab, and continual changes of dressing at home for the wounds on his right foot, and left leg. He progressed from wheelchair, to walker, to crutches, and to using a cane over the following months.

Our family was amazing throughout the days and months of recovery -
here with our youngest son, Lance, at DeSoto Bend.

His progress was quite amazing, as initially, the doctor had told us that if all went well, Gary would likely be able to stand on his own in a year after the surgery. But just seven months after the accident, we were able to leave on a two-week roadtrip with our two sons, the two of our six children who were still living at home at that time. We had a walker and crutches along, and by the end of that memorable trip to California, he was using a cane! How we thank God for this amazing recovery!

It is sobering to think how close we came to losing our precious husband, father, and grampa that day in February 2002.  And how close so many, many friends came to losing someone who had great impact on their lives in many ways. We are filled with thanks for the miracle of these past twenty years. 

And also, we will never ever forget the prayers, the visits, the cards, the care in so many ways that were extended to our family during those days, weeks, and months of recovery twenty years ago. You all were so amazing, such precious tangible touches of God's love and care for us in our time of great need. Thank you again. We will never forget, and never stop thanking our loving, faithful God! 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Happy New Year 2022!

We are now at the one and a half year mark since our retirement from Cru in the summer of 2020! Retirement life has been wonderful, and we are thanking God for His care and help as we have made this big change in our lives. We'd love to share a few of the highlights from 2021 with you ...

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration

Twenty-one members of our family gathered at a rental home in Missouri the end of July to celebrate together! Our six kids and their families gave us the most memorable 50th Anniversary celebration! And what fun it was to spend several days together in a big spacious home with its own little private lake.

Our 50th Anniversary Trip

Shortly after returning home from the most wonderful time together with our family in Missouri, we left on a ten-day trip, just the two of us. This trip was extra special, as we used the money gifts that our family had given us over the past two years (for significant birthdays 75 & 70 for us, and also for our retirement) to fund the trip! We especially love to be by water, so drove down to the southern part of TX, and stayed on Galveston island.

On our actual 50th Anniversary Day (August 14), we were at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. We are thanking God for the joy and blessing of sharing life together for 50 years now! 

After being together with our wonderful family during the summer, we did not even entertain the idea that we could be together again for Christmas. But before we even left the rental home in Missouri, our two sons (the ones who live the farthest away from us), told us that they wanted to come home for Christmas, too! 

Family Christmas 2021

It was a blessing beyond measure, the icing on the cake, to be together with our family twice in one year. Especially after the very unusual season due to pandemic when we had our longest stretch ever when we were unable to all be together.

We were 25 precious family members around our dining room tables, with everyone home except very two loved family members who are in Japan (our oldest granddaughter and her husband). With each year that passes, we are even more in awe of the priceless gift of family. 

Mixed in with the joys of being with family in 2021, we also hold so very many memories of times with our friends, special gifts from God in this season of life that we are in. We are grateful for many memories made, especially with our CityGroup (small group), a special trip we took in the fall with close friends, and so many connections we made with others throughout the year.

And overarching all of the gifts of 2021, we treasure most of all the Greatest Gift of all ... Immanuel: God with us. Through all the joys and trials of life, we sense in even deeper ways than before, the nearness and presence of our Lord and Savior.