Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Has it Really Been Ten Years?

This photo of my brother Tim and our niece Jasmine was taken on Thanksgiving Day 1994... a much happier, healthier time. I still remember the day - we were at the home of our cousins - Eddie and Janette - and I took "family portraits" of EVERYONE. I have some great pictures from that day - wonderful memories of a great day together.

Today marks 10 years since we lost Tim to liver failure. Jasmine is grown now and many of those I photographed on that Thanksgiving Day are now in Heaven - my dad, Tim, cousins Betty, Leo, and Eddie, and my Aunt "Babe". This was the daily "devo" I sent out today. I wanted to post it here, too, in memory of Tim - and our friend Aaron - and so many others we have loved who are now in Heaven. I hope it blesses you to read it, and that you are inspired to be joyful and happy in the Lord today and always. May God Bless Your Day... DR

September 23 ~ Psalm 67
1-7 God, mark us with grace and blessing! Smile!
The whole country will see how you work,
all the godless nations see how you save.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Let all far-flung people become happy
and shout their happiness because
You judge them fair and square,
you tend the far-flung peoples.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Earth, display your exuberance!
You mark us with blessing, O God, our God.
You mark us with blessing, O God.
Earth's four corners—honor him!

(Scripture quotations from The Message. © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene Peterson.Used by permission of NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. For copies of The Message call (800) 366-7788.)

Ten years ago this very day, the morning dawned like many others in late September … humid, with the prospect of a bright sunrise. I watched out the window of my brother’s bedroom as neighbors dashed out in bathrobes to retrieve their newspapers and those who had to be at work especially early pulled up the street in front of my parents’ house. Shortly before 7:00 a.m., I woke my mother and my dad, and together with my sister and my brother’s Hospice nurse (and close friend) Ginger, we surrounded Tim’s bed and said “Goodbye.” Gently he slipped into heaven, where I know angels ushered him into the presence of God. I can still picture the events of that morning vividly… and especially the nights and days that filled the couple of weeks before Tim’s death, and it seems like they happened yesterday, not a decade ago.

So what does this have to do with a Psalm about the joy of the Lord? I’ll tell you! Recently, a childhood friend died from brain cancer. He was a brilliant surgeon – only 45 years old. At his graveside service, a dear Christian lady I know leaned over to me and said, “What a waste! I just don’t understand this.” My comment to her was this… “Take a look around at all of the people who are here to celebrate his life. Think of the countless people he touched with his surgical skills. Look at his children and his family and the legacy he has left.” Yes, it was a sad day. Yes, we will miss him and my brother… and countless other loved ones who have preceded us to heaven.

But look at the words of this Psalm again… “the whole country will see how You work, all the godless nations see how You save… You mark us with blessing.” I can’t count the people who were marked with blessing because of my brother – his engaging personality, his loving care as a registered nurse, his kindness and acceptance of others. Ten years later, God is still using him to bless others, through memories and the legacy he left us. Fellow nurses tell me that not a week goes by that they don’t refer to Tim in some manner in their conversations. And they will do the same with our dear friend and his family – and countless others. Even death cannot diminish God’s glory and His blessings. Even grief cannot hold up to the joy of God’s promises, His mighty works, and His amazing grace and power!

Please understand me… grief is not a bad thing, and I have grieved the loss of many. God understands we will be sad and ache for our loved ones… He knows what it is to suffer loss. But GOD is never lost to us… He never stops blessing… never stops working in and through us and those who have already gone to Him. He continues to mark us with His grace and blessings. So today, I will celebrate my brother by enjoying God and His awesome goodness. I will think of Tim and others who are in heaven and I will thank God and shout in my heart with happiness… and I will SMILE! Let ALL people thank and enjoy God today… and I hope you are smiling, too.

©2008 Debbie Robus

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ada Jane and Bonnie!

Saturday was Ada Jane Choate's first birthday. Her first cousin, Bonnie Fagan, turned one year old the day before! A joint birthday party was held on Saturday at the pool. Kids, cake, ice cream, gold fish, Capri Sun juices, hot sun, and a pool full of water. What more do you need?!

Baptism at the Beach

August 17th, eight children from our church were baptized at Sandy Beach. I have known some of these children since they were merely an "idea!" Those baptized included Waren Thomas Olmstead, Savannah Duncan, Kate Reese, Colin Shearer, Caitlyn Crowder, Marissa Holland, Paige Fisher, Carly Fisher, and Shayne Fisher. I would guess at least 75 people gathered for the event. The pastor asked each child's parents (and a few friends and other relatives) to "say something nice about your child," and one by one, they did just that. It was really a great time and a beautiful, breezy summer afternoon to be on the beach for such a special reason.