Faith

With a Heavy Heart I Celebrate

On October 14, 2015, my Great-Grandmother went to be with the Lord.

Ina J. Whitley was ninety when she passed away. She was born on June 21, 1925. In death, she was reunited with her husband, Ott, whom she married in 1945. Ina left behind a legacy of family members who loved and adored her: two children, seven grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren. Her life was celebrated on Monday, October 19, 2015, by all of her family and friends. I have been blessed by twenty-five years with a woman so full of love and faith. Great-Grandma’s legacy reaches beyond the realm of memories to eternity with God. It is because of her that so many people have come to know God on a deeper level or to know Him for the first time. I am forever thankful for the miracles that God performed in the life of Great-Grandma and the extended life he allowed her to lead. Most people don’t get that chance to really say good-bye the way our family had with Great-Grandma. (For more on my miracle reference you can read last week’s post, Five Minute Friday: Family Miracle)

Grief is a strange thing. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. We all react differently to the circumstances which warrant grief. Oftentimes there is a subconscious awareness of being left behind. But as I’ve been dealing with the ever-present heaviness of heart I’m continually reminded of the good things that happened in those last weeks. I celebrate those final days and the privilege of having my Great-Grandmother’s influence for so long.

Memories are what bring those of us stricken with grief through the rough days. The chaplain at Great-Grandma’s service reminded our family that as we experience a longing to be reunited with one we love we can cling to the memories. Death cannot steal our memories. A part of myself may be gone with Great-Grandma, however the memories I have of my twenty-five years with her will fill that void.

As I move forward in life I am reminded of the Twenty-Third Psalm. It’s one that has comforted me many times before in my life, and it was a fitting passage to be read at the funeral this week:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

for Thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil:

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen.

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The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 4 (Daddy’s Birthday)

Is there a better way to spend a Monday than as a family celebrating a birthday? I think not. Today was my husband’s 27th birthday and we spent the day doing some of his favorite things. We slept in, had brunch at Waffle House, visited one of his favorite parks, purchased a book at his favorite bookstore, and had dinner at a great restaurant. We ventured to historic German Village. This is one of our favorite destinations in the Columbus area. The atmosphere of this village is nostalgic for my husband, because it reminds him of his childhood in England. The houses and roads are brick, people are walking everywhere no matter the weather, and there’s a coffee shop on every corner. He loves to slip into this small neighborhood in south Columbus when he needs a little reminder of home.

We spent the day eating and playing (a divine day according to my husband). There was no plan in place when we left the house this morning (which put me a little out of my element), but that’s exactly the way my husband likes it. As we left the house this morning we knew only that our stomachs were growling and the weather was predicted to be beautiful to which it lived up to its forecast.

My husband made the decision to visit a Waffle House in Grove City, a nearby suburb of Columbus. I can’t recall the last time I ate at the good ole Waffle House, but I know it was before the birth of our daughter. In our early days of marriage we lived near a Waffle House and occassionally visited it for cheap diner-style breakfast when we were in the mood for brunch. There is nothing healthy about the place, but birthdays are cheat days, right?

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By the time we finished brunch it was after noon. My husband was in the mood for basketball (which is actually a state of being, not a mood in his world) so we headed toward a park in German Village, Schiller Park. This trip allowed my husband a chance to “ball” with the locals while my daughter and I enjoyed some time at the playground across the way. Everyone got a chance to get some exercise in the beautiful outdoors. It really was perfect weather for a park trip.

About half a mile from this park is a unique and trendy book shop called The Book Loft. This complex maze of books is a 32-room building in the middle of German Village. Each room is divided by genre. This is one of our favorite bookstores ever. (It helps from my perspective that it sits atop a lovely coffee shop) Each of us got a chance to explore our favorite rooms and no trip to The Book Loft is complete without getting lost at least once. So yes, that happened.

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Next, we walked another couple of blocks down the narrow brick street and ended up at a cute French bakery, Pistacio Vera. This bakery is famous for their macaroons, so of course we had to get a box. (Like I said earlier we basically ate and played all day)

On our way back from the bakery our daughter literally fell asleep walking. I didn’t know it was possible, but apparently there is such a thing as too much fun. She hit her limit and my husband and I took turns carrying the sleepy one during the half mile walk back to our car.

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Any parent of a toddler can attest to the fact that once the child is asleep they must not be awakened. Instead of letting nap time get in the way of our spontaneous day in German Village we decided to enjoy this time by letting her sleep in the car while my husband and I each cracked open a book. It was so unbelieveably nice to sit in the car with the windows down and do nothing but read for an hour. Some of you may be laughing at our idea of fun, but it truly was one of the better parts of the day. We find it romantic to sit beside each other reading.

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After an hour or so our daughter began to wake up in the backseat. We were on to the next phase of the birthday shenanigans: dinner. My husband chose to eat at Schmidts, a world famous sausage haus in German Village. They have an autobahn buffet where one can eat sausages and german potato salad until they explode. It was so delicious.

It was with full stomachs and no energy that we mutually decided to leave German Village and head home. My husband’s big birthday gift this year was a new television that he has been wanting for a while so we ended this perfect day on the couch watching Netflix on his new tv.

It was a great day with great people. Our daughter is a trooper. She genuinely loves to be a part of our Date Jar activities. As parents, we find “dating with our daughter” to be rewarding and so much fun, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I must say that my husband also did a pretty good job with this unplanned day of celebration. He’s such a great guy and deserves to have a fun and relaxing day.

Happy 27th, Babe 🙂