Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Office (fans)

My nephew, Matt Bobb, made a commercial for Heinz ketchup -- I think it was a contest. But it turned out parodies weren't accepted. Otherwise this would surely have been the winner. Click here to have a look and a laugh. You'll get a chuckle even if you aren't an Office fan.

The "Jim Halpert" character is not my nephew. The kung-fu guy is.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oh Baby!

My friend Lisa had her baby. I figured if I posted a picture on my site she could copy it and post it on her site. Good idea? We'll see. You're not getting details from me--just that Mom, Dad, big sisters, and sweet baby girl are all doing fine.

Oh my, the joy of new life, a baby to hold and cuddle, sometimes all night long. What better way could there be to spend the wee hours of the night? Except maybe sleeping, that's nice too. There will undoubtedly be plenty of time for sleep in the future. Shhhh, Lisa's rocking her baby and babies don't keep.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


He Arose, He Arose, Hallelujah Christ Arose!

That's the crux of our faith. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead we have no hope. Some people tried to prove that it just wasn't so. No one succeeded, ask Lee Strobel, who in trying to find proof that the resurrection was a scam, instead found a personal relationship with a living God. This is a Happy Day for believers. After a week of solemnly reflecting on what Jesus endured for us -- was crucified and died -- today we celebrate because the grave could not hold Him.

From a human standpoint it's unbelievable. "But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8) I know love. I have children and I love them with a fierce unconditional unstoppable love. Would I ask one of them to die for you? No. Would I ask them to die for me? Never. Yet God the Father asked his son to die for us. The perfect sacrifice, to put an end to all sacrificing. How could it be??? God the Father and God the Son knew what was coming.

Jesus willingly endured pain, suffering, and death on Friday...because He knew what was coming on Sunday. The resurrection! What kind of love is that? Perfect love.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1986 -- A Very Good Year

So were 1973, 1975, and 1980 -- the birth years of my boys, very good years. But today is David's day. Named for a King, a man after God's own heart. He's been a blessing for all these 22 years.


Was it really 22 years ago my last baby was born? What a memorable time! During those couple of weeks around David's birth, I had a brush with death. That sounds dramatic, and it may or may not be an exaggeration. But I was awfully sick. It hurt too much to keep breathing and the effort was nearly beyond me. That was the only time in life that I thought I was going to die. And you know what I thought about it? That it would be just fine. I was ready, even eager, to meet God face to face. But then I thought of Tom and the boys and my brand new baby. Even that didn't make me sad. After all, people die. Kids lose parents, husbands lose wives, and though it's hard for a season, eventually it's okay. Tom was (is) a great dad, the kids would recover, and my dear friend Nadine would be there to help out with the newborn. She always wanted another baby. Honestly, that's what went through my mind.

Then I got better. And then I got worse. I rallied for the baby's birth and then did a nose dive. The pivotal upswing came one night, right about 9:00. Nadine (afore mentioned friend and everyone's favorite labor and delivery nurse) came in early for her night shift. She had been trying to tempt me with good things to eat, but no, no, thanks anyway. I had a sore mouth, violent cough, couldn't breathe, my lungs hurt like they were on fire, no food thank you. But that night she brought me oatmeal cookies and warm cocoa. It sounded wonderful. It tasted wonderful. I could chew and swallow and the monitor that repeatedly screamed at me to breathe! breathe! breathe! never went off once while we were snacking. I slept better that night. I ate cream of wheat with raisins the next morning. It was a miracle.

I found out the next day that many of my friends from church and the Christian school had a concert of prayer for me at 9 o'clock p.m. One family even woke their little girls, who had 8 o'clock bedtimes, because they wanted to pray for me at the same time as everyone else. That still brings a lump to my throat. How precious the prayers and faith of children! Was that really 22 years ago?

Well Nadine didn't get to be David's mom. But she did indeed bond with our little baby boy, and she will forever be his second mom. She called me this morning to ask what I was doing 22 years ago today.

My thoughts as I mentally skip down memory lane...
There are hard times in life, some real hard times. But forge ahead...the good stuff is coming!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Second Harbinger of Spring

MUD. Yes, that's right, wet dirt, soggy ground, tire ruts. We have a big long driveway full of holes -- holes brimming with muddy water. How are you supposed to know which ones will swallow your car or which will simply jar your teeth? With little Audrey as my passenger, secure in her car seat, I bobble up the driveway hitting every hole. She teeters from side to side and happily sings "Whoa". Who needs amusement park rides when you can tool up and down the Henning's driveway in springtime?

There's still plenty of snow, but it's old snow. It's dirty and crusty with patches of field, grass, and mud showing through. And sticks, don't forget the sticks. Where did they all come from? They fell off trees, snapped from limbs, broken under the weight of snow and ice accumulations all winter long. Strewn around by winter gales, they poke up through the last (I hope) vestiges of snow.

I can't wait to send the boys out there to pick up the sticks and clean up the yard. Oh wait, there aren't any more kids here. Tom? You get the wheel barrow, I'll get the rake. We'll be needing boots too...the yard is squishy with mud.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blue Bird!

Something caught my attention in my peripheral field of vision. It was outside the window in "my space". There on the wire, not three feet away, sat a blue bird. We were eye to eye for just a moment. I was gazing at his spectacular blue feathers, fluffy orange breast, white underbelly, and little beady bird eyes. He was gazing through the window at...most likely his own gorgeous reflection. But, just for a moment I thought he was admiring me. Me, with eight digits and opposable thumbs, diligently typing...nah, he was enamored with himself. And when I moved it startled him and he flew away. But not before I caught his picture in my mind. I've been feasting on that image all day. A simply beautiful harbinger of spring.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

28 Years Ago

That's how long ago my third son was born. 28 years! Spring is a wonderful time to have a baby. I had three of them in the space of one month with years and years and years in between.

Adam, the planned child, precocious, perceptive, philosophical, poetic, a promising artist, and a praise worthy person, young man, our son. Happy Birthday to you with love, Mom and Dad

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dreaming On

I can only imagine how lovely my sister's spa, I mean rehab center is. She's recovering from her second knee surgery and this is her second stay at Le Normandy. Here, you read the description in her words and decide, spa or not?

I am back at "Le Normandy" - the rehab center
here on the beach and my private room is even
more splendid that the one I had before, with a
beautiful, panoramic view of the ocean through a
door-window onto a balcony (although it is a bit
too cold to spend much time out there, I can
still go out for a breath of fresh sea air!) The
second operation seems to be a success, I'm
hobbling around on me 2 new knees, or rather on
me 2 legs that are now straight and me 2 knees
will be getting stronger and stronger and I'll
probably go back to work in April and this is
still such a great rest I'm getting! The
physiotherapy is excellent, I'll be starting the
sea-water pool therapy this week, the staff are
incredibly kind and caring and the food is still
wonderful. My goodness, do I feel lucky and privileged.

Okay, so the place sounds like a dream come true, BUT there is that little matter of major surgery which is a requisite for getting a room there. If you don't know, my sister Kathy lives in France. They have socialized medical care there. Yeah, so I get a little confused...sometimes paying more taxes so everyone can get good health benefits seems like a good idea to me. Forgive me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Scott!

My brother keeps trying to catch up to me. But everytime he gets within a year, six months later I pull ahead again leaving him not one, but two years behind -- number wise that is. My parents have four kids in their fifties as it is. In April they'll have 5 kids 50 and over. Welcome to the club, Joan -- start getting used to it now. April 13th will be here before you know it!

Back to you Scott. Happy Birthday! The card's in the mail.

Love, Bets

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Tribute

Memories are good, comforting, and healing. My dad wrote a few memories of growing up with his sister Helen. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing.

A tribute to his sister, by Dick Bruce

Helen was "one of a kind"..............As my big sister we were very
close when we were young. She was a "tom boy" and took care of
me. (She had to because I was a wimp!) We had our own scraps but
if anyone picked on me, she would be there to finish my fights. Did
I tell you, she was the toughest kid in town!!! I was there when she
got her arm broken in the wringer, when she smashed our back door,
chasing me, and another time she was chasing me and I bounced thru
our living room front window. I was there to watch her become a good
piano player, and singer. We ice skated together and did a lot of
dangerous sledding on the highway above the school house----where we
were not supposed to be----and, ta dum*** she taught me to
dance. Later on her independence got her in a lot of trouble with
Mother and Dad but she made up for it by being a devoted caretaker
when needed. I envied her free spirit and I'll miss her.

I didn't know Aunt Helen played the piano and sang. (Oh, that explains the enthusiasm for karaoke at our family reunions.) I didn't know she broke her arm in the wringer washer. (One of my brother's got his arm caught in a wringer too. His arm wasn't broken, but I remember it turned purple. Child eaters, those things were.) Dad introduced us kids to ice skating on the Stoney Creek River too...such fond memories, and some that make me shudder.

I don't believe the part where Dad says he was a wimp. And, he certainly downplayed crashing through the window at 4 years of age. Helen chased, he ran and jumped on the couch and, oh no, bounced out the window. The lower part of his face was bleeding profusely. Grandma had to scoop him up and run to the nearest doctor. With a gaping hole in Dad's chin the doc had to work fast. He flapped the torn skin over the hole and sewed it up. It healed, but it was, and will forever be, distinctive. I still remember when a little friend asked me why my dad had a scar on his chin. I looked at her quite puzzled, "What scar?"

Grandparents, Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, family. They are so familiar to us we don't see their blemishes. Their presence is taken for granted, and we don't anticipate them leaving us. But when they leave they take all their stories with them. So, go sit at someone's feet and ask for a story. If no one is coming to ask, go write down your own story. It'll mean a lot to someone someday. And while you're at it, tell someone you love them. That will mean a lot right now.

Thanks, Dad, for sharing a little bit of life with Helen. I love you...and Mom too!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Moving On

My Aunt Helen passed away on Friday, just short of her 80th birthday. We got the news that she was taken to the hospital while we were in Florida, and that the situation was dire. Somehow it's easier when you get a bit of warning. And then again, it's harder.

There seems to be no good way of leaving this world and making it easier on those left behind. An accidental passing is such a shock. A drawn out illness, even with a peaceful passing at the end, is heartbreaking. Watching someone lose their mental faculties is probably the worst. An older gentleman from church passed away the same day my Aunt Helen did. He's been in a nursing home far too long. It was difficult for his children when he didn't know them, but it was devastating when, toward the end, instead of asking "Who are you?" he asked, "Who am I?" Jesus answered that question for him on Friday. He surely told him, "You are Art, my servant and my son. Welcome home."

But what about those who never sought Jesus out during their busy lives? I believe in those last days He gives them one more chance to reach out and take that gift of eternal life. That's how I comfort myself when someone lingers through the last stages of a terminal illness. Because...when my brother was dying and I felt hopeless, God comforted me. There were no audible words, but His Spirit communed with my spirit and told me, "It's okay." My overwhelming sadness dissipated because, hey, if God says it's okay, who am I to question that? I found peace. I believe without a doubt that my brother did too. I still miss him, but I have confidence in a grand reunion...beyond the horizon...over the rainbow...out of this world.