Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Deanna enjoyed her Birthday, and you all made it very special for her. Thank you so very much for this. It lifted her, more than you know.

In deciding what to write about, I realized that I had not shared any of Beej's writings in awhile. We all struggle with sin areas in our lives. There are those sins that we seem to return to over and over. The kind Paul wrote Romans 7:7-25 about. Sin is generally a pride issue, at some level. Something we insist on doing or participating in, because of the gratification we get. It never lasts...actually it fades immediately. Still we return to it. Here is what Beej wrote:

"All sins are attempts to fill voids"

"Throughout our lives we are marching, searching for something- our goal- but as we do not want to step into the light or stand up on the hill due to our deep-saturating shame, we remain helpless, hopeless, slaves in time, slaves to time. We wait to begin our search, as we hold out on ourselves, merely holding on to existence, groping blindly in the dark for something, some clue to tell us where we are, and if there is something to go to. In our emptiness we search for a reason for this void, and in our ignorance try to fill it with something- anything- and so, with trash.

And as we strive to fill ourselves, the garbage with which we have become consumed disintegrates as we pour it into the infinite void- as these simple and evil "pleasures" do not last, but leave as we continue to search for substance and for subsistence.

Our emptiness resounds in the darkness, echoing, revealed in the distant light, and we try to hide from it, ignore it, and consume ourselves with the garbage of evil, temporary "pleasures:" sins. We carry through our lives asking questions of why we are so empty, becoming all the more aware of our emptiness and all the more empty. Where is fulfillment? Where is escape from our darkness? In the last place that it would be looked for, though often the most obvious. God. Christianity...The light. There, with God, for in God you will find purpose and subsistence. There, in the light you will be filled and your darkness will be driven out.

Sins are attempts to fill voids, and ironically, they are also what make voids, or rather, eat away at the little substance that people have. They are the antithesis of what they are trying to accomplish"

He wrote that 2 years ago. I think he had a very strong grasp on sin. I continue to praise the Lord that Beej wrote as he did. His words are very true for us right now. Be encouraged, and as Christ said, "Go and sin no more."


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Today is Deanna's Birthday. She is $^ years old. She is every bit as beautiful today as the day we married. She has invested so much of herself in our children. They each are much of who they are because of their mother. On a day that is a celebration, it is tarnished a bit, because Beej wasn't here to bring her breakfast in bed (remember our tradition?).

Parents and siblings birthday's were days he not only didn't mind getting up early for, he did it pretty faithfully. He liked to "make" breakfast for us. Okay, so "making" breakfast meant pouring cereal, or toasting the bagel and smearing cream cheese on it, but in today's world that still counts.

We have certainly become an "easy cheese" society. And that was one of Beej's favorite foods. Deanna would buy it at the grocery, and he'd find it upon her return home. Later, he would put it on the shelf...with just enough left to not throw it away, or to allow him to say, "I didn't eat it all" (I can't tell you how many almost empty cans I found on the shelf through the years).

He enjoyed putting thought into gift buying. When he bought you something, you knew he hadn't just picked something up. He looked for just the right thing... at least in his mind. Yes, I got a pink shirt for Father's Day. Not something I would have chosen, but something I now wear proudly, because Beej thought it was a good idea.

Deanna has been suffering from not knowing for sure how Beej viewed her. She knows that he loved her, and that as his mother, there was a bond there. But his absence and corresponding silence causes each of us to wonder from time to time where we stood, with one we loved so much.

Beej treated his mother with the utmost respect (well, most of the time). He freely hugged and kissed her in public... never shying away out of embarrassment. He was sensitive to her feelings, and wanted to make her happy. He strived to please her, and found joy in her compliments. He had a much better relationship with his mom than many of the friends or acquaintances he spoke of. He was thankful for her. He looked up to her. He carried a glow with him when he talked about her, just as she did for the nine months she carried him. Plus the almost 16 years she molded him.
He often accompanied her to the store, or movies, or King's Island (they both loved roller coasters). He gave more love to her in those years than some mother's see in a lifetime.

It's just that she wants...more. I wish I could give her the more that he cannot. She deserves it. Believe me when I say, she has earned it.

I honestly believe that the Lord Jesus will fill that seemingly unquenchable and abiding ache, in a way that only the (a) Son (son) can.

Happy Birthday my love! I am so thankful for you and your influence on our children.

I love you more than words can convey,


Please know that we continue to lift up the requests that you post on this site. We are humbled and blessed that you would share them here.

Please pray for Lauren as she is having one of her most difficult weeks at school, to date. So much due, still behind and playing catch up. She covets your prayer support.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Isn't it funny how when you think you are going to "serve" you end up feeling like you've been "served" instead? Three hot meals a day, toiletries provided and lots of smiles and expressions of appreciation. I liken it with this website: We know it's been therapeutic and encouraging to us, that's a given, yet you tell us of how you are blessed as well. I am assured again of how mysterious and wondrous are God's ways.

Going to Louisiana did not in the least feel like a sacrifice, quite the contrary, it was a great time of fellowship and community with believers and an opportune time to reach out to non-believers. The sense of accomplishment we felt as we helped clear out yards (the work seemed unending but we made a difference to individuals) was satisfying, yet we know it was a small part of the effort.

Continue to pray for those who are still there especially and for those who are lost: Maria and a teenage boy several in our group had conversations with. His grandmother is a believer but the young man did not join his father and the group in prayer before our workers left.

I am thankful that we were healthy enough to participate (the work was very physical) and no one got hurt - we were using chain saws and clearing tree debris. It was a very productive way to spend Thanksgiving with the added bonus that I didn't have to cook - ha ha... The lesson for me was that in any kind of loss, God is with us and you can find something to be thankful for. It seems there is often the temptation to fall into self pity and despair, which is understandable in tragedy, but our Father assures us of His care and love and gives hope, providing a way out of despair.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 "We have this treasure [Jesus' light in us - previous verse] in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."


Sunday, November 27, 2005

We are home safely! We are all four headed off to worship together! Something we seldom get to do. Praising Him for His guidance on a continued journey...


Saturday, November 26, 2005

The pastoral staff, and church body of First Baptist Slidell, have spent themselves providing for workteam after workteam that come in. They arrive very early, and stay very late to meet needs. What a blessing they are.

The home we worked at yesterday had 90 trees down. Many were enormous in size, and some seemed to have fallen in a domino pattern. You could scarcely reach the house. Amazingly, it had only been hit by one tree. We spent most of the day, 35 of us, cutting pathways, and trying to relieve ground clutter.

The homeowner, Maria, was tremendously appreciative. Conversations with her revealed one who believes there are many ways to heaven. I know she was moved by the days activities, but she needs our prayer support, as she seeks Truth.

Deanna, Lauren and Whitney worked very hard. The days close brings a weary bone-tiredness, but the Lord provides renewal as needed. Today is our last day of serving here. There is so much that needs to be done. Miles and miles of stores, stripmalls, and malls that are closed, and may never reopen. Homes gutted with all belongings piled along the streets, awaiting unknown entities to come and haul it away. The folks that remain here, have a fighting spirit, but need much prayer support.

We return home overnight, and may make it to services in Indiana tomorrow. That remains to be seen. We continue to praise our Lord and Savior, amid the storm. Have a blessed weekend!


Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day!!! Our family was afforded the opportunity to serve in Slidell, along with 30 or so others who were friends and family from NBC- Indy, and FBC- Mooresville, and family from Indy and Deer Park, Tx.

We worked with chain saws, rakes etc., clearing up the properties of 3 precious families who have endured the tragic effects of multiple hurricanes. Each was so very gracious and appreciative. We were afforded the opportunity to pray for each of them before leaving them.

Afterwards, we shared in Thanksgiving dinner together, at First Baptist Slidell. They were prepared to feed 5,000, though less than that came. Next we traveled the area and headed toward New Orleans. The devastation is beyond description. Miles upon miles of lost homes, cars, and all belongings, begs our intercession! It is truly a moving, and disturbing experience to view.

One gentleman we assisted today, Harold, said that we can expect more and more storms like Katrina, because the Word tells us it will be so. Harold is right. We must be diligent in our efforts to share the love of Jesus, so that others may know Him before He returns.

We concluded the day with praise and worship, and I was privileged to lead devotions for the trip. It was a blessed time in the presence of Jesus, as Lauren, Whitney, and friends led worship.

Thank you all for your prayers!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

As I write this, a meticulous blanket of freshly fallen snow has blanketed His creation in winter white. How beautiful. Perhaps none have celebrated the cold of winter as I have. It has been my favorite time of year. The promise of warm, fragrant fires, the welcoming draw of baked goods, and the anticipation of family gathering to celebrate together.

These things have always warmed me beyond winters chill. Getting out and playing in the snow at any age, keeps you young and vibrant. The times we spent building snow forts, having snowball fights, and making snowmen, especially when the kids were younger, dance back through my memory. Today these memories try to warm what the hearth cannot.

As I survey the beauty of creation out a window which expands to reveal His attention to detail, I am moved that He would care enough to send His one and only Son to endure a cold beyond a deep-winter arctic night. To give up the only son you have is a precious price indeed. To know that many are brought to Him through His death somehow makes tolerable what no parent ever wants to experience.

Being thrust into a fraternity that noone wants to be a member of, is pacified by a peace that only He precipitates. Who can know the pain of this loss, but my Father. His Son died, that my son might live, that my son might die, to bring Him glory.

Father, on this day when we pause to bring you our Thanksgiving, know that though we often visit our grief, we know that You know our loss, and that You have provided for our pain, by the warmth of Your embrace, through the arms of brothers and sisters around the world, and in this place. Glory to You my King. You are God alone.


(no it didn't snow in Slidell, this was written while still in Indiana)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This past Saturday, I visited my mother. While there, my brother, sister, and brother-in-law raked my mothers yard, which is always densely covered with leaves this time of year. We worked together, laughed together, and made the work fun.

We discussed the fact that when my children were smaller, we had a tradition of coming to Grandma's and raking her leaves. The kids enjoyed it for two reasons. One they got to rake leaves into piles and then jump or hide in them. Second, my mother always provided donuts, cider and/or hot chocolate. She would bring it out on a tray to us after we'd been working for awhile.

We have pictures we were reviewing recently which reflected these joyful times. In one, Beej is standing in front of a pile of leaves, with his legs spread wide, and the rake held like a rifle across his body. Behind him, in the pile, you can just barely make out two faces peaking from under the leaves (Lauren and Whitney). Even then, he was acting as a protector, and he was only 5 or 6.

They worked hard on those days, but have fond memories of the times we had. As they grew this tradition faded, as schedules no longer allowed for it.

I often wonder what family traditions Joseph and Mary celebrated with Jesus. Were they similar to the ones we enjoy? I'm sure they involved family. Perhaps then, it was an even bigger deal when family got together, as they had to travel by foot. I suppose they could have had donkey races, or camel carriage rides around the town square.

Whatever they were, they were important. The family unit struggles to stay together in our day. It isn't often that children report having sit down meals with their parents. Schedules get so busy, and we often fail to make time to celebrate the fact that we are families, for no particular reason. If we don't take time to eat together, it isn't likely we take time to pray together. If we don't pray together, seldom will our children have the positive influence they really need.

We told our girls this past weekend that we intend to begin a new tradition this Holiday Season. Haven't decided what it is yet, but it is important to do something together that we can look back on fondly. We will miss celebrating this with Beej, but it will happen in his honor.

Celebrate with your families! Let them know how important they are to you. Establish new traditions, or continue with old ones. It is something they won't soon forget... even if it is a small thing. Take pictures. Make copies and send them to your loved ones. Celebrate the fact that we have one another to enjoy...even if it is for a short time!

Be Blessed!


will try to write while in La., but am unsure of internet accessibility.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Heaven continues to be on my mind... The thing I find the most comfort in is that we will know each other in heaven. We will still be ourselves, we won't "morph" into something or someone else. Relationships here on earth MATTER and will continue in heaven! God originally made us for companionship, and fellowship with friends and family will be deeper, sweeter and more joyous in heaven. Why wouldn't they be? It's heaven! Thank you Kristin for the reminder of our discussion. Often we feel so limited by time constraints and want so much to spend more time with our family and friends. Just think, in heaven, we'll have all the time in the world, and Beej will be waiting to greet us. A quote from Dr. Alcorn "God is our father, and fathers delight in their children's close relationships."

My mom was telling me about a pastor who was killed instantly in a car crash but came back to life when a minister stopped to pray for him. It's a book called "90 minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper. He waited two years to share his experience partly because it seemed too sacred to put into words and partly because he thought people would think he was nuts. Even though his experience has been well received, he continues to feel the vulnerability in sharing and we can definitely relate with that.

Still considering all the things we can know and think about heaven, what a great place to look forward to for Christians, yet it feels so far away... I still want to argue with God and be mad at times, our lives are forever changed with the loss of BJ. He had so much potential, we need him, his boldness was so rare and on and on. Sometimes I'm still tortured by "what ifs" and "why didn't we," when the bottom line is that God had the power to save him, no matter how sick he was. We believed. We definitely had adequate prayer cover. Don Piper only had one person pray him back to life, so the power lies with God. All of you and your responses have really helped us know "why" all this happened. It doesn't bring BJ back of course, but to see a purpose in the grief, to see how God is working in so many other lives is good. This thanksgiving, we can be thankful amid our grief.

When I got to school yesterday, I found some very thoughtful things on my desk: A gas card, a Starbucks card, a CD and a "sharing your heartache" card. Friends continuing to reach out and care and I am so appreciative.

"These three remain: faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13

For such a time as this, my friends.

(AweStar reports that the Memorial DVD's have all been shipped. They are still available to all interested.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Yesterday we had the opportunity to spend time with our daughters, my brother, and our church family at First Baptist Church of Mooresville for Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a precious time of food and fellowship. What a blessing!

Lauren escaped unnoticed, at one point, so I went to find her. It did not take long as I quickly heard the passionate way she was playing the piano in the sanctuary. I arrived to hear her lifting her praises to the Lord...alone, in the dark. I paused at the front for a time, and then joined her. It was sweet communion with our Lord, to be able to sing love songs to Him. She is so blessed and gifted.

This week as we travel to Louisiana, Lauren and Whitney will be leading worship for our team of 35(ish) people. I cannot wait as Lauren plays keyboard (Yes, even on the bus) and Whitney plays guitar, to give praise offerings to our Father in Heaven! We are heading to Slidell (sp?), across the lake from New Orleans. We will join family from Texas and our team will aid in the relief effort with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are excited about being there, and look the distraction of serving. This is an opportunity Beej would want to take part in. I am glad we will be together in this way.

This morning, Deanna conveyed to me how sad it is that she never has to clean toothpaste splatter off of the mirror anymore. I don't think I ever thought she would say anything like that. I mean, pools of congealed hair gel on the vanity... globs of dried toothpaste in the sink... damp, crumpled towels piled wherever he was when it fell out of his hand... stinky sox under the couch, kitchen table or his bed. I never expected to think that the lack of these things would be anything but, well, great! After all, that's why we tried to get him to stop doing these things.

My how perspective changes. It is amazing to stop and consider what you would be willing to put up with, when it's no longer an option.

As Thanksgiving day draws near, we are each incredibly grateful to our Lord and Savior, for the years of precious time we were afforded with Beej. He touched us so deeply, and he made a difference in the lives of so many. How can we not be thankful for a life that was so well lived! Praise Jesus, that we had him for almost 16 years. Thanksgiving without him will be different, but we are blessed and even more thankful!


Saturday, November 19, 2005

We have been given many books to read which we appreciate very much. I've looked over most of them but one stands out that opened my eyes up to the possibilities of heaven. Simply titled "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. Actually, a Zionsville parent gave me a booklet on the subject and I enjoyed it so much I went out and got the hard back, a 500 page book. Thank you Brad. I have been in church and in Bible studies practically all my life and I don't believe I've ever studied scriptures concerning heaven. So many put off thoughts of heaven because it's beyond our imagination, which is true (thank goodness), but I'm relishing the scriptures that give us glimpses into heaven. We can know something of what heaven might be like.

Revelation 22 "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve Him."

One of Dr. Alcorn's chapters is entitled "Is Heaven our Default Destination... or is Hell?" So many Americans think they're going to heaven which is NOT what Christ says: Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter throught it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

"You will seek Me and find me when you search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13. "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 (Jesus' speaking) "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12.

In short, Jesus is the answer to all of life's questions. If you don't believe it, Hell is a brutal alternative for that most important decision you'll make here and now... and not making a decision is your rejection of Christ.

The story of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 gives us a glimpse into Hell - a place of torment and agony, utter misery with no hope of relief.

I pray today that we will open our eyes to the truth of the scripture and feel an urgency to "get the Word out." People are dying in need of the Savior. I pray personally for more boldness in bringing the things of God up in conversations. I want to echo my son's prayer yet I know I am not as bold as he.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Some of my favorite pictures of Beej are when he was worshipping Jesus. You could see on his face that he was fully in the presence of God. You could see in his body language that in those moments, nothing was between him and the Lord. He loved to worship. Though I know that people worship our Savior in many different ways, I am often saddened at how clueless many of us seem in our efforts to worship our King.

We are supposed to bring Him our best, give Him our all. If the farthest we are moved is to stuff our hands deep into our pockets, and refuse to sing or even read the words...where is our worship? Too often, we then head off to a sporting event, and let loose for our team. Whoop, holler, scream, yell, howl. We don't hold back.

I am not suggesting we do those same things in church, I am suggesting that worship is a requires action. Where is our action? Why do we save it for ballgames? Is our relationship with our Lord so dead and boring that we will not budge for Him? If we have no more to offer God in our worship than a handful of pocket lint, then what in our relationship with Christ would anyone be interested in having? Are we the reason others won't come to Christ? Do they watch us and say if that is a Christian, I want no part of it?

A relationship with Christ is dynamic, exciting, two way, brimming with enthusiasm that draws others. If ours is old and dead, are we sheep or goats? Do our lives point to the King of Kings, or declare that the walk of a believer is boring and empty?

This past Sunday we had two sisters from another church give their best for Jesus. One sang, while her older sister did ballet for our King. It was precious, and I have no doubt that it brought a smile to my Saviors face! I found myself wondering if many of our churches would feel the same way.

I know David danced for the Lord...he did so with all of his might, according to scripture. How would David be received today if he ate bread from the temple when it wasn't time for the Lord's supper or danced before the King of Kings?

I do not expect everyone to agree with me on this, but at least we need to think about what our worship looks like. Are we giving our best, our all to Jesus, or are we thinking about lunch?

When I was nearly finished writing this, I got so antsy I had to get up. I went into Beej's closet. High up in a deep corner, buried under other "stuff," I found a notebook of compositions written two years ago. As I began to peruse its contents, I found this writing. Usually, he was given a topic, on this day it was a "freewrite"... he got to choose. Here is what was on his heart.

"What is of Great Concern to You?

The inauthenticity of people in general. It really bothers me how conditional people are. If it takes a great effort to keep a friend, something is wrong. Friends are supposed to be loyal and unconditional. Also
[what concerns me] is the fakeness of many people who call themselves Christian. So many believe in a religion. That's the problem, and when others see it and how boring it is, they find themselves more confident and less guilty than the people who just do religion to reinforce or encourage themselves. No, religion is too boring, too requiring, too fake. People now say "I'm not religious, so I don't have to go to church." Two things: One, religion stinks, I don't blame you, but Two, God is more important than what you are and aren't. So why am I saying religion stinks while saying God is all important? Because God is not religion, He is reality. God did not intend for us to be religious, He intended for us to follow Him. All of these traditions, songs, and religious things are of humans and are worthless unless used in true authenticity to worship God. And what is worship beyond singing? Well, first singing isn't even worship. It is what is authentically felt and convicted of in the heart that is true worship. People think that singing loud, being in a choir, droning hymns, etc. is worship and is enough. It is not. You can worship anywhere. Anyway, back to what I was saying before, God doesn't intend for us to be just "religious" or have our attitude be of an exclusive (to other people or judgmental) one or a "Holier than thou," or a legalistic type of attitude. Instead, we should just try to get to know God, not just follow meaningless rules. We should also try to show others that God is far beyond these religious traditions, and droning sermons. We should show them and be an example to them about how truly fulfilling, satisfying, amazing and real God is when He is known and worshipped in true authenticity."

The picture in my mind of Beej praising Jesus with all of his might surely falls woefully short of the reality in heaven, but comfort flows from that mental snapshot!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

One of the primary ways we could show affection for Beej while he was in the hospital was to stroke his hair. There was little else we could do as he was hooked up to so much medical paraphanalia. I know some of you recall the story about how Beej reacted to that, written back in August or September.

When your child is in this situation, you are so limited in what you can do to express yourself. The sense of touch communicates volumes. Unfortunately, some use it or should I say abuse it, and leave hurt and broken people in their wake. This was nothing like that. This was our way to say, "Beej we are still here, and we love you so very much." I do believe there were times that he was aware of that message as we tried to convey it.

I look forward to one day finding out from him what he was aware of during those long six weeks. What an amazing battle he fought. The most remarkable non-verbal reaction we saw was the day someone Beej admired dearly came to visit.

Beej was heavily sedated throughout his fight. On this day, while he was on ECMO, and had tubes entering and exiting his body, he rested six feet up in the air on his bed. The bed was supported by a motorcycle jack to raise it that high. It needed to be elevated for gravity to maximize return blood flow to the ECMO pump.

We had to ascend a ladder/platform to get up to his bedside. When his special guest arrived, I climbed up and told a normally sedated and medically paralyzed BJ that Dr. Walker Moore had come to see him. His legs came up into the air, and his left arm rose, all in an effort to get up and see Walker. Never before or after did any visit evoke such a response. I was stunned. I didn't think he could do that if he wanted to. Beej's reaction showed us how much he loved and looked up to Walker. Especially since he was not conscious, even then.

I often reflect on those last six weeks and can still feel his hair passing between my fingers. Even after he left us, that was the only way to feel him close... a new way, a learned way, but it brought a small sense of comfort. I remember having to take turns with Deanna, Lauren and Whitney, as we all wanted to remember...

Not long ago, I was talking to my sister Lynae. She shared with me something that was both comforting and emotional. She conveyed that as she was grieving and praying for us, she received a very distinct picture from the Lord. Jesus was seated, and was holding our heads (Deanna and mine) in His lap. He was stroking our hair.

We could so closely identify with this visual. It stirred so much inside of we longed to feel His touch and comfort...How we longed to feel Beej's hair pass through our seeking fingers just one more time. Oh what a blessed picture, and it was healing as well.

It reminded me immediately, and specifically of Revelations 3:21
"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."

I was comforted by two ideas. The first, that BJ was seated with Christ on His throne. How awesome and powerful is that? Second, that as they were seated there, Christ's activity in those moments was bringing comfort to us by holding us near, and letting us feel His touch in the familiar way we had come to so dearly understand in BJ's last six weeks.

What a God of Comfort we serve. How worthy is He!


Just to let you know, for Thanksgiving, all four of us are heading to Louisiana to take part in the relief effort. We are looking forward to serving.

Also, if you are planning to attend the Christmas Dinner Theater at Christ Wesleyan Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. tickets must be purchased by November 25th. They will not be available at the door.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

We found a picture we hadn't seen in some time, hidden among other things in BJ's room. Some of you are wondering how we keep finding new things. When we first got home from the hospital, we didn't touch or disturb much of anything. As time passed, I began to investigate his room a bit. I could only go so far, because the memories would flood into my mind, and I'd have to stop. Every now and then, I return, and dig a little more. Soon there will be little left to discover, but for now, I treasure each foray into his room.

There are things we look for that we cannot or have not found yet. This often brings grief by itself. There are things we do not know what to do with, and would struggle to part with, if we did. I know in time we will figure these things out. I am just tired of being hijacked by emotions.

Anyway,...the picture. It is of my dad, Beej and me. Dad is sitting in a chair, Beej is in his lap, and I am standing beside them. Three generations of Higgins men...well two generations of men, Beej is only 4. I remember looking at that picture many times after my father died (in 1994). How he loved his one and only (at that time) grandson. How Beej loved him. They had so much fun together.

Nestled near the picture I found an autobiography that BJ wrote in 2003 (for school). I'll let him tell you about their relationship.

"Oh no! You have a fever! Now you're going to have to get some shots!" I said excitedly to my grandpa as we played doctor. He and my gramma were visiting from their home in Marion. I always had an abundance of enjoyment when my grandpa came over, and he was always met with excitement and anticipation of the fun-filled activities that were ahead. When he came over, we would play games like doctor, cars, and "Lincoln Logs." One thing that I especially remember and enjoyed is how we would switch places in the car, and I would "drive" him around for awhile. Anytime we were together, fun was to be had.

Unfortunately, one day even my amazing junior doctoral skills couldn't fix his "fever." When I was four, he was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, and was too far along for surgery. Without undergoing any kind of treatment, he went home after recovering from a coma and was just waiting to die. On August 26, 1994, around 8:00 P.M., while my sisters and I were at a friend of the family's house, he passed away.

Looking at that picture in the days after this caused me to wonder at times, what Beej's son would look like? What games would we play together when I was grandpa? When would I go home to be with Jesus? How would Beej handle that? Of course, I never wondered aloud, just some of the secret thoughts I'd keep to myself.

Now as I look at this photograph there are only memories. Lives well lived. Two men who served the Lord their God with all of their hearts, with all of their souls, with all of their minds, and with all of their strength. And they each truly loved their neighbors as themselves. One man who longs for their company, but strives to serve as they did.

A grandfather who committed his life to Christ, and spent it meeting the needs of children, to serve his Lord. A grandson who committed his life to Christ, and shared the gospel with all who would listen and gave up his life for the cause of Christ. Their son/father who remains behind, who committed his life to Christ, and seeks to assure the next generation of missionaries are allowed to serve.

Things did not turn out the way I expected. They often don't. As I look once more at that picture I am aware the Lord Jesus has filled my life with the grace to endure such journeys, and the peace to know that though I feel alone, He is there!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Beej wore a pair of shoes to Peru that were in good shape when he left. Somewhere on his journey in South America, they crossed the border from good to, well... disgusting! It got so bad that he had to buy new black tennis shoes. These old ones of like color, were fine as long as he kept them on his feet, but when they came off, so did any chance he might have hoped for to keep the conversation spiritual.

One night his teammate DJ was awakened four times because of the pungent odor. He begged for mercy. Somehow they worked it out. Deej can tell you more about that.

Beej began wearing his new Peruvian purchased retro Converse All-Star knock-offs. All was well...until he arrived home. He had a habit of not unpacking promptly. Somehow the saga of the shoes had preceeded his return could have been the smell, I don't really remember. What I do remember is poor Deanna's reaction to "helping" Beej unpack later, and being overcome by the vile, foul odor emanating from his backpack as she opened it. It threatened to turn her stomach.

What was in his mind? Why would he bring something this filthy home with him? Did he fear hearing us ask, "What happened to your black tennis shoes? When you leave for missions, one thing you are usually short on is space. Beej was no different. Fortunately, the articles of clothing that resided near his shoes in the cramped pack were washed clean after a time or two through the laundry. The shoes? With pinched nose, and body contortions reflecting a cat trying not to get wet, the shoes were carried to the garbage. I guess there are no garbage cans in Peru, because I'm quite sure Beej would have thought to throw them away otherwise!

Non-believers can deny many things that they choose not to investigate or believe, but they cannot deny the sweet aroma of Christ that permeates a life surrendered to Him. One can deny He exists, but not what He has done in my life, Beej's, or that of my family.

The foul, vulgar odor that clung to me before accepting Christ, was washed clean by His blood...shed on the cross. I am free and forgiven. I do not have to cling to what others can or cannot prove, because I have Jesus Christ, and He has changed my life.

Read the book of John in the New Testament. I dare each doubter to research for yourself and see if He is Truth! Praise God that He forgives the vilest of my failures, and will yours as well.

Beej may have brought home the smell of disgust on his feet, but his heart was pure because of Christ, and noone could remove that from him!


We will be joining my cousin Beth at her church... Christ Wesleyan Church, 2390 Union Cross Rd., in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for their Christmas event on Dec 2 and 3 at 6:30pm each evening. Tickets for their banquet and program are (I believe) $5.00. We will also be sharing in their Sunday morning services on the 4th. Whether or not you can attend, please pray for the Lord to move in these services. You can reserve tickets or get additional information at or or call (336)788-8813

Monday, November 14, 2005

I do not mean to tease, but I am sitting here listening to a new song recorded by MercyMe. A song that Bart wrote, inspired by BJ's life and death. They were in the recording studio when BJ died. Bart and I had spoken early in Beej's journey in the hospital. He ministered to me deeply that night.

God laid a song on his heart that was quickly, recorded. It is an Anthem to the chosen of Christ. It is called "Die for You" (the release date is April 2006). It is an inspired song that I believe will motivate a generation of students to follow Christ onto the mission field. The proceeds of the song will even fund a scholarship named after BJ, which will send one student a year to the mission field.

Bart, Mike, Jim, Robby, Nate, Barry, spouses and families, thank you for your prayer support, for lifting us to the Father through this difficult time, and for the way you bless our Lord through your gifts. You have been a significant blessing to our family! I found a new journal of BJ's Sunday night, and in it, he wrote of his love for your music, and ministry. You truly inspired him as well as generations of people.

I would like to share an entry BJ wrote when he was 9 years old. I've corrected his spelling, but that is it.

"I feel like I have failed with explaining your word to my unsaved friends. I never understood the true meaning of when the thief accepted Christ on his last chance and last moment of his life he made his best decision of his life. I feel like I failed to tell my friend Kenny the word of Jesus and help him understand what it means to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and give his life to him. Now Kenny's moved and I never took any opportunity that was given to me and now I regret it, it wasn't a good decision to make. I never really understood what it meant to actually accept Christ and give him everything and sometimes you have to die just to follow Christ in his steps.

I thought this up on Saturday of Disciple Now during the fourth and last session and I really felt more convicted than I ever felt in my life. Even though I'm not in the youth I still listen to the sermons and sessions the youth have. I know God can do radical things through children and I don't mean to brag but God has done radical things through me and my family. To be in Disciple Now you have to be in 6th grade. I can't wait until I'm in the 6th grade but now I'm in the 3rd grade and 9 years old.

I was leading a Disciple Now group, and BJ was with me. He drank in those experiences, and grew more than many of the youth. He was writing of dying for Christ at the age of 9! Lord Jesus, I thank You, and am in awe of how You worked in his young life!

In 2003, Beej had to do an autobiography (just found this too!). I want to share the final page with you.

In life, I already know the gist of my future and the calling of my present: to be a servant for God, to glorify God, and to reach out to others so that they may know God. Though I definitely see these callings as truly inspiring and enjoyable, further into my future is where my truest happiness will be experienced. Without giving a mere "Sunday School Answer" I will try to convey the awesomeness of the joy that is to be experienced in my future. My brightest moment, which will be beyond anything that anyone in this world can imagine, and also that will last forever, is spending eternity in heaven with my Lord.

Beej the future is now, and I am so proud of who you are in Christ! My son, you finished the race and won the prize! I love you.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tears have new meaning to me. Several people have said "Oh, I didn't mean to make you cry," but you need not say that. Instead, offer a hug. You and I cry because we're moved by a situation or what someone said or did in light of our experience. It's not a reason to apologize or feel uncomfortable. It IS a reason to feel a kinship with the person you're sharing them with. The day of the calling, I was surprised my heart was warmed when my friends (some who didn't get to know BJ in person) came through in tears, unable to speak. Words are so inadequate (and unnecessary) in loss. Tears are a very tender way of showing you care.

In the hospital I would cry when someone offered me a chair or some other small act of kindness. I loved so many of the nurses and I will never forget them, but Diana was very special. She and her husband are strong Christians and her card to us was filled with prayer, scripture and healing words. We shared a "cry" one day. She was talking about our family in a very kind way, how we were "dealing" with everything and I just lost it in tears. She felt badly that she "made" me cry, but by contrast I felt her sincere expression of love.

Sometimes our initial reaction when we're hurt and lost is to hurt back: Make others hurt as much as we do. If someone tailgates you, put on your brakes, instead of getting out of the way. Fight back. Be mad. Be angry. Don't talk to anyone. Why should I be "her" friend, she's got all her children close by? Let the resentment build up. Yes, this is the path the Great Deceiver would have us go down. Like Darth Vader (BJ would relate to this one - he used it in his journaling), "give in to the dark side." When we realize we're only hurting ourselves with this line of thinking and living, maybe we can let ourselves trust God a bit more. God is looking out for us. His Word makes so much sense. He can be trusted completely. His ways are true.

Giving into the hurt, anger and bitterness only brings more tears. Tears of defeat, hollow, gnawing emptiness...more entry point for Satan and sin. Tears of sorrow and loss (for the believer) can bring to a conclusion the debilitating ache in the stomach, that wrenches your physical, mental and emotional anguish without the bitterness that begs to abide within your soul. At least for a time...until in this case, it returns again in a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. Regardless, tears are such a blessed and needed outlet, and I praise the Lord once again for His provision, even in the cold shadow of perpetual pain and loss.

Psalm 56:8 & 9 "You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle - Are they not in Your book? Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; This I know, for God is for me." (Amplified)

Mom (and Dad)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Recently, Deanna, Brad (my brother) and I were at a Christian bookstore. It was one of Beej's favorite places to frequent. He enjoyed pouring over their books, cd's, Bible translations, etc. I remember taking him to that same store before he left for his Peru trip this summer. He was asking for 2 cd's. I compromised with him, and got him one, and told him upon his return we'd get the other one.

While in Peru, someone took all of his cd's...yes, including the new one. His attitude about it was encouraging. He was unconcerned, though disappointed. He knew why they were there, and wasn't going to be distracted by something as petty as losing material possessions. He knew he could begin to rebuild his collection when he returned home.

He did just that. He had begun to pull together, through various means, his favorites. He had grown very fond of Billy and Cindy Foote's "Not a god." He listened to it a great deal while he worshipped in the quiet of his room. Interestingly, while we were in the hospital, and once again his cd's were taken, this one had been left home in his stereo.

We have been ministered to so deeply by them, through their cd's and their leading worship at his "Celebration of Life." It is so amazing how God is in the small, seemingly insignificant details of life. Lord, I praise You for caring about the "little things."

While wandering somewhat purposefully through the aisles of the Christian bookstore, I tried to remember what the second cd was that Beej wanted...but I couldn't recall. Frustrated, I returned to where Deanna and Brad were. Looking at "Willow Tree" figurines.

Our friend Carol collects them. While in the hospital, people started giving them to Deanna as a gift. She was enthused about it since she had seen them at Carol's. Deanna's favorite is called "Heart of Gold," which was given to us in BJ's memory. You see, it is a young lad (who resembles Beej) holding a gold heart up to his chin, in both hands. It was very moving when she received it (Thank you Michelle K).

While standing there taking in all of the different figurines, I was moved by the emotional tug of each one (not a bad marketing strategy). Then my eyes found one high on an upper shelf. I strained to see (yes I am short) what it was called. When I saw the title, I cannot explain what happened other than to say I had a physiological reaction to one of those "little things." It was titled "Mother and Son."

Oh, how much we miss him!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

I have been holding this letter and praying for the right time to share it. It is the last thing (to my knowledge) that Beej ever wrote. It is a letter to his Mission Board and Partners (those who supported him financially, as well as prayed for him on his recent Peru trip). He never got to send it to them (I trust they understand).

As with his other letter I posted, I believe this one speaks to many of us, and shows us once again, what is important.

"August 4th, 2005


First, I just want to thank you so much for supporting me financially and through your prayers for my mission trip to Peru. I really appreciate your support more than you know. I pray that God will bless you abundantly as you have blessed me.

On my trip, I was able to see God work in INCREDIBLE ways. As we shared the gospel in many of the areas, we could see God showing these lost people that there is something more than the empty life that they had been taught to live. You see, these people have been lied to with these false religions for so long that they are just so hungry and anxious to find the Truth. It has been amazing to be able to go and show them that they can have a personal relationship with the one and true God. It was so moving to see so many of them drawn to tears upon at last finding the truth, love, and fulfillment that they have been searching for. I was able to see all kinds of people, from gang members to transvestites to policemen and government officials to our bus drivers, to even the headmaster of a Catholic School come to know Him!

However, God didn't just work in the Peruvians, He really challenged my team to truly lay down our lives for Him. He taught us that all of our lives are for His glory, so we must be willing to give up all of our comforts and desires and possessions and just follow Him. As Jesus said in Luke 14:27 "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."

Also, we learned that being a missionary isn't just going to a foreign country every once in a while, but that it is a lifestyle that ALL Christ-followers are called to. We realized that as Christians, we must lay aside our dreams, and out of love for God and for the lost peoples of the world, commit our lives to spreading the gospel to the world. In the next eleven months, we know that we are on just as much of a mission trip as we have been during the last month. We believe that our current mission is to share Christ with those in our own hometowns, and to encourage others to get involved in being the lifestyle missionaries that we are called to be.

Another thing that God has challenged me with is the call and opportunity to go on yet another foreign mission trip with AweStar next summer. While I was in Peru, I felt God calling me to go on another five week trip to a closed country in North Africa. Right now I'm brainstorming for new fundraising methods and preparing to begin that process about six months early (this trip will cost around $4,000 and upwards), so I would greatly appreciate your prayers for that.

I just want to thank you again for supporting me. I know that I couldn't have seen God move in such ways if it weren't for your donations and prayers.

In Christ's Love,

BJ Higgins"

As the Lord made it abundantly clear to Beej, Deanna and me that He wanted this, we as his family (Lauren and Whitney too) are praying about going in his place. We would appreciate it if you would join us in praying.

Thank you,


A doe and her fawn returned to our front feeder last night!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Since moving into the country, we often have the opportunity to see wildlife up close. I have made it a habit to feed the deer and birds...of course that also means I am feeding raccoons, opossum, moles, shrew, and other small scampering animals that were not invited to dinner. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them come within 15 feet of our house to eat. We can view them through our picture windows in both the front and back of our camp provided home.

We have watched fawns grow up, bucks sprout antlers, and two doe stand on their hind legs and wail on each other with their front legs over whose turn it is at the feeder. It has been very educational and entertaining.

One of my favorite verses is from Psalm 42:1 "As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee..." The idea of being so thirsty for God resonates within me. We have all been at that point where we are in dire need of a cool drink of water, so it is easy to draw into view the idea of our desperation for Christ (plus, I have always enjoyed watching deer, and so was drawn to this verse).

Last winter, after watching the bucks feed on occasion, I noticed when they were antlerless. Two sores resided in their place. So, I went hunting...for shed antlers. BJ went with me. (I think he thought I had lost my mind, and was more interested in seeing if I'd find that.) I taught him how to set up a grid pattern for searching in the clearings where we knew the stags often visited. They tend to shed in clearings, often beside trees or thickets. I know what your thinking.

BJ thought it was a pointless pursuit as well. He came along just to have some "father/son time." I am so glad he did. I could tell he was not into the hunt, but it gave him a chance to share as we looked. His well for sharing ran sooo deep.
I am thankful that he had so much to say. In the quiet of the woods, where there were no other distractions, he would share his heart.

During the 6 or 7 weeks we were on vacation, and then in the hospital, the deer did not get fed (well, God fed them, but we did not). Now, they don't come around. I am faithfully trying to lure them back, but they seem uninterested. I miss them.

Today at work Jan (my co-worker) and I went to the valley to visit our waste water treatment lagoon, to assure it was working properly (one of the 'glorious' tasks of operating a camp). On the way, we saw a buck, and were both excited. We proceeded on through the 8 foot fence around the sewage pond, and were circling around when we witnessed a strange sight.

We encountered a buck and doe who were inside the high fence. Spooked by our truck, they panicked, and tried to get out. The way they tried to get out was sad and disturbing. They ran along the fence and jumped into it, only to fall clumsily back to the ground. They did this over and over until they finally found a weak spot and fell through to their escape.

First, I don't even like thinking about the fact that they may have been drinking from that water, or what it may do to them. Then the Lord showed me that we often drink from the wrong source, and pay the penalty for our poor judgment.

Next, the relentless jumping into the fence, and falling human. We run headlong into the same sin patterns over and over, even when the result is that we are humiliated. Sometimes I wonder if the Father looks down and shakes His head and thinks, "you know better, I have taught you wiser ways." Yet the dog returns to his vomit.

God did not create deer to reside inside fences, and He did not create us to see how low we could choose to go. We are created to bring glory to Him. Let us drink deeply from Emmanuels veins, for behold, the river of life is yours and will set you free.

Have a blessed day!


(Yes, I have found shed antlers...No, it isn't a worthwhile venture)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I have not had the opportunity to fly much in my life, but I just LOVE it! Small planes, big planes, it matters not to me. What I can't get over and what I keep telling my friends is, the perspective from up there. It's awesome. I wonder "Is this how BJ sees us now?" First the cars look like match-box toys, (BJ loved 'em, he has quite a collection from his Uncle Brad mostly) then as you continue ascending they get even smaller. Even the boats in the lakes look like dots. The landscape is so interesting, everything kind of in squares, you can see roads for miles and neighborhoods in their entirety. The fall colors, the clouds, the sunset, I take it all in and have a new sense of appreciation and admiration. How creative is our Creator! So much variety in His intricate designs. On our way home, the lights of the city were incredibly beautiful as well. I never have been able to concentrate on reading material as I fly, I'd rather watch the majestic scenery. It reminds me of a Psalm, of course...

Psalm 104 is long so I'll just retype portions: "O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters. He makes clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind... He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of His work... The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious... the ships go to and fro... May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works - He who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord all my life... May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord."

I know we will forever have a new perspective on life and death and about everything in between. A new perspective, but with new mercies, new grace, and new blessings. Thank you Father for your faithfulness in every step of the journey.

We received a letter today from BJ's "Uncle Jeremy" that touched me very deeply. He says "BJ had an innocence about him that enabled him to look past sins and find the value of each person. This (among many other factors) probably made him a good evangelist - there is no one who is not worth saving! ... There are lots of things that we are going to do on earth (good and bad) that men will not see, but God does. You have raised your son to serve our Father. BJ is with Him now, but his legacy continues..." Thank you Jeremy for those healing words.

So often we misjudge people on first meeting; either by their appearance or a perceived attitude problem. Only until we look deeper and perhaps listen (?) do we see them for who they really are. I pray for God's perspective to see the value of each person.

Love to you all who are still reading and blogging!

Monday, November 07, 2005

What an amazing Spirit filled weekend we experienced. Spending time with students committed to Christ, at the Awe Star leadership training weekend was such an enormous blessing to Deanna and me. We had a couple of opportunities to sit with them for 2 or 3 hour stretches, and talk about the things of the Lord, and Beej.

It was an emotional weekend for all of us, but the Lord was glorified, and drew us nearer to the hem of His garment. It was a truly precious time, and was over too quickly! Do you think in heaven we will finally get the time to sit, and share our hearts without time constraints?

I wish you could have heard Deanna sing! Oh my goodness, it was not to be believed. Her song selection was from Casting Crowns - "Lifesongs". The song was "Praise You in the Storm." I don't know how she could sing it, that song was intertwined with our hearts while in the hospital. She was amazing.

It was such a blessing to meet some of you bloggers. Unfortunately, we had little time to talk to you...especially Sunday, as we had to leave almost immediately after finishing the 3rd service to catch our flight. (Linda R. I am sooo sorry that I missed out on getting to share with you and your husband on a more personal level. I did not realize who you were, until Deanna told me on the way to the airport! I am so disappointed that we had to hurry. The quilt is gorgeous, and we cannot thank you enough...we have enjoyed the cd's as well!)

The Awe Star staff (family) were relentless in their efforts to make the weekend all that the Lord wanted it to be and more! You are to be commended. Take the day off! You need it. Ken and Nancy you were such a blessing to us. Thank you so much.

Our Lord moved in the services, and it was such a blessing to be able to share. Thank you Parkview Baptist, and The Church at Battle Creek for allowing us to speak. What wonderful bodies.

We met so many new people - both students, and adults. It was just an encouraging time in the presence of the body of Christ. Thank you to all of you who were in prayer for this weekend. The Lord heard, and responded, and we were the beneficiaries of a huge outpouring of His love.

The final leg of our journey home from Tulsa, found us on the left side of the plane. I only mention that because we had been on the right side for all 3 of the other legs. What we viewed out the window was spectacular. In the fading light of day, where darkness begins to splinter in, we saw a gorgeous sunset. We watched it for as long as we could (we could not have seen it out the right side of the plane). Guess what color it was?.....Yep. Pink!

Keep your faith and sharpen your swords, for the revolution is at hand!


Sunday, November 06, 2005

We're home safe and lovin' on our daughters! Will write more tomorrow!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Good afternoon from sunny, windy, Tulsa!!! Airplanes are toooooo small, but they are fast. We arrived safely, and had a great day with Awe Star staff. It is so good to be with family.

Walking through the airport yesterday reminded us of the time we dropped Beej off for his '05 Peru trip. Deanna pointed out the bench where we prayed with him. Just that simple act, brought other believers into our midst who wanted to join in prayer and fellowship. It was a sweet always is.

My friend Jan (a guy) shared with me recently his last memory of BJ. He is a co-worker, and comes in and out of my camp owned home on occassion. This day, Deanna was leaving as he arrived, so she sent him on in. He entered, and saw Beej on the floor of his room. He was kneeling on one knee with his back to the door. Jan asked, "What are you doing?" BJ replied, I'm studying my Bible!

This ordinary exchange is only memorable because it was such a common occurrence. Beej read and wrote as he studied his Bible. God spoke to Him so clearly at times. His Bible studies were precious to him, and he would often exclaim, "Dad, guess what I read"... then proceed to share in vivid detail about his forays into the Word.

Jan stated he would enjoy that memory, his last of Beej, for a lifetime. So will I Jan, and thanks for sharing it with me. I can still see him in just that posture, kneeling in his room, sharing with the Lord. Today, he is doing the same thing, from a better home!

Serving the King beside you,


Thanks Rusty, Michelle, Bart and Shannon for spending last night with my Whitney! You have blessed us!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

In a couple of hours, Deanna and I will leave for the airport to catch our flight to Tulsa. We look forward to this with great anticipation. We look forward to seeing our Awe Star family, to meeting more of them, and to meeting many of those of you who have supported us in prayer.

We are uncertain of our ability to "post" while we are there. It is our intent to keep updating, so please check in when you can (the schedule may be different).

When I was little boy I began measuring myself against my father. I would ask to see his hand, and put my palm to his, to see if my hand was nearing his in size. I remember how I wondered if my hand would ever get that big...I just seemed to grow too slow.

I remember how thick and dark the hair on his hands were...and how mine were "bald"
(the interesting contrast is that he was bald, and I had a ton of hair...but that was then). I noted every crease and wrinkle and thought of them as uniquely "my dad." No other dad could have hands this huge, this handsome... there was a fondness to just looking at them.

I don't why, but I was so surprised the first time Beej came up to me, and asked for my hand...and did exactly what I had done. He continued comparing his hand and mine for size, the rest of his life. Not daily, weekly, or even monthly...but every so often, he'd check in to see how much growing he had left to do. And he'd take my hand in that same caring fashion and inspect it.

On the morning that Beej passed, nurse Nadley asked if we'd like to have his hand print cast into plaster. We did. (Nadley was not working that night, but came in only to support us, as Beej was dying)

The other day, I got out that plaster memory. I compared our hands... at least one more time. His hand should have been able to reach the size of mine, I thought. Then my breathe left me, as I realized that the footprints he'd made in life were much bigger than mine, and I still had some growing to do.

Father God, please let Beej measure his hand with Yours. It's a familiar tradition...I think we learned it from You, for I am always measuring my life with Your Sons. I love you.

brent (dad)

Lori, we certainly are praying for you! Jesus loves you so much. Have you surrendered your life to him?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Last fall, BJ was looking for an outlet to express his 'manhood,' and work off some frustration. He asked me if he could chop down some trees with an axe. When I was his age, I wanted to do the same thing, but had no outlet, no place to do this. I was quick to put an axe in his hands, and point him towards a grouping of trees at camp that all had to come down.

He was uniquely motivated. There is something within a man that needs to express itself when you reach a certain age. I believe part of it is the desire to no longer be a teenager, but to truly make a difference. Simultaneously, his pent up frustration was going to be spilled out with each blow of his axe.

What developed was not surprising, but nonetheless interesting. He started on a big tree. He quickly found that he did not have the stamina or skill to bring down that giant. He asked for permission to move to a smaller tree without finishing the first. I granted his request. I continued about my day, and would check on him from time to time. Pretty soon, there were trees that bore the scars of his visit, but all still stood. Each was seemingly an advertisement for his failure.

I'll never forget when a co-worker later asked me what happened to that stand of trees. I told him, "BJ happened to them."

Eventually, BJ asked me if there wasn't a small tree somewhere that he could cut down. I took him to a different area, and he quickly had success. His posture stiffened to a most erect pose as he had finally filled that need within. That was the last time he carried an axe.

I'm afraid I am often that way in my spiritual life. Carrying a genuine desire to make a difference, but lacking the patience to hone my skill, and leaving scars as I go. Finally, I defeat a small foe, then drop my weapon. Having tasted victory, I am finished, just when I am finally ready to begin.

Oh body of Christ, how we need to develop our skill, and let our Jesus use it. So much can be accomplished from the way He has gifted us, if we will but let Him teach us.

Fortunately, Beej did not use a spiritual axe in his encounters. The precision he developed was God-breathed, and fruitful. Let us go and do likewise.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I want to share a letter I found that BJ wrote to a friend. To be honest, I am trusting that under these circumstances, if she reads this she will be alright with my sharing it, since it reveals no confidences. I truly have a sense as I read it, that BJ was speaking to more than one person, trying to bring comfort, and Truth to those who need it. Please be encouraged as you read.

Remember who you are. Who you are in God's eyes-the true you. The daughter of the King, the princess made righteous by Christ's forgiveness and the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. We have to remember, as Paul stated, that it is our flesh that sins- that doesn't talk to people when it should, or that says the wrong thing or that allows Satan to gain strongholds--and not ourselves. Remember that your life is a battle between your flesh and yourself.

As to "why do people like me" comment which has come up before several times-- well, you're a cool person, whether you think so or not, a loyal friend. Truly caring, poetic, I could go on, but I doubt a flatter fest would really help any... Anyway... Remember who you are in Christ-- nothing but a vessel-- a vessel of Christ. What's not to like about that? Obviously, we all make mistakes in our friendships and in our lives, but that doesn't mean that we're bad or unlikeable. Remember the true you is Christ in you.

Strive to live that out, and don't concern yourself so much with the opinions of others. If you value God's opinion more than the opinions of others, then you wouldn't have to worry about being a bad friend or being unlikeable, because God sees you as His wonderful daughter, and completely accepts you. If you get more caught up in others' opinions, and let it affect how you act, well, that's valuing their opinions above God's...which is idolatry, is it not?...

...But you know all this... I'll be praying for you. Sometimes (and I struggle with this too... in fact, I am right now) we just forget who we really are, what we're really doing, and more importantly, who God is and what He has done for us, what He is doing, and what He will do for us. A mentor of mine once said "Faith is believing that God is who He says He is and is going to do what He said He is going to do." I pray that I have been at least a little helpful...Much love and prayers!

In Christ's love,

Again, as I read this, I just sensed there are many who need it. Since Beej resides with the Almighty, it is truly a letter to us all. It is precious to me! I trust the Lord will bathe you with His grace.

So many are under attack! As I read the comments from the past couple of days, I am moved to prayer, and am thankful that so many of you are as well. We must reread Eph. 6, and don our spiritual apparel. Yes, the battle belongs to the Lord, but we are His warriors and have a responsibility to serve.

Please know that we do not intend to end the blog, soon (unless the Lord dictates otherwise).