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THREE GOOD MEN – PART 3

On February 17, 1986, my husband and I found out whether our first child was Michelle or Eric.  That morning, our 8 lb. 9 oz., 21 1/2 inch Bundle of Boy took his first breath.  They tell new moms to rest and sleep during the hospital stay, but who could sleep when the most amazing thing ever had just occurred?!  My mind kept replaying the entire event during those first nights.  When Eric was born, my first words were, “He’s so big!”  Today I dug out his baby book to find his first word – duck.

Opening that book began a sentimental journey that was surprisingly eye-opening. The many little stories, facts, and quotations from Eric’s earliest years hinted at the personality, interests and talents which resulted in the Good Man he is today.

  • By age three, Eric was using words like “particular” and “actually” correctly and impressing the oral hygienist by being so “articulate”.  He went on to deliver the commencement speech at both his high school and college graduations.
  • At 22 months, Eric was learning and singing songs, and by age three he was determined to be a drummer.  He completed his college degree in Percussion Performance and has been leading worship in churches and teaching music in camps since his teen years.

  • Speaking of leading, my notes in Baby’s Milestones indicate that Eric was a born leader.  In play, it seems that he like to make the rules and expected the other kids to follow them.  The world needs Good Men with God-given leadership skills to be great husbands, fathers, employees, employers, etc.
  • When we took our toddler out, he exhibited keen interest in other people.  During his first trip to the zoo, he gave some notice to the elephants and giraffes, but mostly watched people.  To this day, I am impressed with how much interest Eric has in what is going on in the world.  He has concern, like many in his generation, for the well-being of those who are oppressed and keeps a close watch on goings-on in the news.
  • My accounts of Eric’s early Christmas celebrations reminded me that by age three he was curious about Jesus.  Nativity sets at churches or in yards fascinated him.  He loved singing Christmas songs and now plans and leads Christmas Eve services, along with weekly worship music.  I also made note of the fact that at age four, Eric was in Sunday School and wanted to go every week so he  could earn an attendance pin.  As he grew older, his interest in church only intensified, and we began having what we call our “deep theological discussions”. He has been dedicated to studying the Bible for many years. As Eric celebrates his 31st birthday, he is in his first year of seminary studies with the goal of becoming a pastor.    Our discussions are getting deeper and I learn something every time.

I am proud of  my son.  I know that many people, events, and trials have shaped him and that God has been working out His plan for Eric from before his birth.  When adversity has come, I have admired how he came through it with deeper faith, maturity, and compassion.  I appreciate his viewpoints and advice, and look forward to what these next years will bring. And I celebrate with him as he anticipates his marriage to sweet Amanda.

So there you have it!  Three Good Men – Part 1, Three Good Men – Part 2, and Three Good Men – Part 3.  All of them are men of integrity who love God and fill my life with joy.

“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,and continues to do this,

not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”  James 1:25

 

 

 

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THREE GOOD MEN – PART 2

Part 1 of this series was written in September about my youngest son to honor him on his 27th birthday.  As the year 2016 ends, I celebrate by honoring my husband, David, who was born on New Years Eve.  I mention him often in my writing because we share so much of life together.  Describing what I love and admire about Dave in about 500 words is possibly impossible, but here goes.

Of course, Dave is not just my husband.  He was a son and brother for over 20 years before I met him, and he picked up his great work ethic, value of faith, and love of family from his farming parents and six older siblings.  I have great admiration for the way he helped and cared for his aging mother as she lived as a widow and experienced Alzheimer’s Disease.  His example certainly demonstrated to our school-aged sons what honoring a parent can look like.  It takes self-sacrificing commitment to be a good son, a good husband, and a good father simultaneously.

When Dave and I met, he was living at home and finishing an accounting degree, while I was already working and living on my own.  He was brought up in Catholic traditions, while I am from a protestant background.  Once we married and decided to have children, this 25 year old man began facing and making decisions about how to provide for and lead his own family.  I so appreciate the way he has considered my opinions and feelings in each step of our married life.

Dave and I shared the blessing of having had our mothers at home during childhood, so when we had our first child, we decided that I would stay home.  Dave took part in raising our sons by being available for doctors’ appointments and school activities, taking us to church, and leading the boys’ Cub Scout groups.  He put aside his love of farming for a career in newspaper publishing and passed along his strong work ethic by helping Eric and Kyle with paper routes.  He has rarely missed a day of work and has earned much respect from employers and co-workers, but has also been faithful to be home at dinner time and to spend weekends with us rather than at work or on a golf course.

Father’s Day 2008 at Eric’s graduation from Otterbein College

My husband has shown his love for me by supporting me in my volunteer work and interests.  When Eric and I were involved in the church praise band, Dave learned to run the sound board.  When I have come up with a creative idea, he has helped me track down the supplies and make it happen.  When Kyle wants to talk, his dad listens and encourages him.

I am so proud of what my husband has accomplished and so blessed by his strong Christian values that permeate every area of his life.  Dave has become a role model and mentor, not only for our sons, but for other husbands and dads and for people with whom he works.  He is at the top of my list of Good Men.  Happy Birthday, David!

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THREE GOOD MEN – PART 1

I have been the only female in my household for all of my adult life.  Despite the wishful thinking that I would be a mother of girls, my husband and I are parents of two sons.  But, don’t feel sorry for me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Those who know me well have heard me talk, and possibly brag a little, about my boys who have both become very honorable men.  Well, this proud mom has decided to put in writing a few of my favorite things about each one, as well as their amazing father.  Three good men.

Choosing to honor each man on his birthday, I begin with the one I have known for the least amount of time.  My younger son, Kyle, will turn 27 in a few days.   When I think of Kyle, it makes me smile.  And when we’re together, I’m almost guaranteed to end up laughing.  I treasure the nickname his Grandpa Frisch bestowed upon him – “Smiley”.  Kyle has always smiled not just with his mouth, but with his “really cool eyes”.  His optometrist called them that, and he knows eyes!

I find Kyle’s sense of humor to also be really cool.  In a quick search, I found a list of 20 different kinds of humor.  I have heard Kyle say that his is self-deprecating and that he likes slapstick/physical comedy and satire.  Reviewing the list, I think he would include screwball humor.  What I find admirable is that my son does not appreciate off-color/blue, dark, mordant, or juvenile/sophomoric comedy.  This is, unfortunately, what is so often used in today’s entertainment.  I’ve often seen those eyes roll in the movie theater when potty humor brings giggles from the kids.

This good man has a keen interest in children’s entertainment, believing that kids deserve the very best, and finding it frustrating that excellence is not the norm.  He is a fan of Jim Henson, Walt Disney and Phil Vischer and loves to perform his own hand-made puppets for kids and adults, making our family reunions unique and joyful.

Kyle is a gift-giver.  He has been known to bring a treat to his co-workers when stress is high or morale is low.  Using his God-given creative talent, he creates greeting cards, caricatures, and carefully crafted models of favorite characters for people he loves.  His purpose in life is to bring joy to others, and I am a lucky recipient.

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Kyle is compassionate.  Not wanting anyone to feel bad, I have known him to purposely lose a game!  Strangers also benefit from his caring.  A favorite annual activity is purchasing items for a Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoe box.  Compassion can be intense.  On the day fifteen years ago when the World Trade Towers fell, Kyle was in middle school watching the day’s events on TV.  Later he told me with tears that his thought was, “What if you were running with a friend from that huge cloud of dust and you got separated and never saw them again?”

My admiration is deepest when it comes to the serious side of my son.  He is honest, hardworking, and full of faith.  Kyle is able to quietly observe situations and wisely analyze motives and moral questions.  He, more that most people I know, recognizes our Good Father’s work in his life and trusts God for guidance.

Happy Birthday, Kyle!  I hope your day is full of smiles!

Me

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Out With the Old?

I don’t like to throw things away.  At Christmas, we received a new Coffeemaker and an Electric Skillet.  While the old ones look old and barely work, I didn’t feel right pitching them in the garbage. So with two items that someone else might squeeze some use out of, I began planning this year’s garage sale!  Over the years, my husband has been amazed to watch people purchase and carry off what he would have thrown away.  And the end of each sale, he helps me discard or donate the left-overs rather than store them for the next time.  I appreciate that help.

Preparing for a garage sale entails countless hours of work and innumerable decisions about what to keep, sell, donate, recycle or throw away.  It means revisiting possessions that I held onto before and determining whether this is the time for them to go.  Clothes are easy to deal with. If I don’t wear them and they’re not stained or worn through, they get donated.  A few get kept even though I don’t wear them – a formal dress that I made for a fancy event, shirts with original designs by son Kyle, and a couple of pep band shirts from high school and alumni band days  (it may be time for them to go).

When we run out of hangers, it’s time to purge!

Books are hard to part with, but new ones are coming in, so some have to go the sale box.  I will scrounge up a few more kitchen items to accompany the outgoing skillet and coffeemaker.  One day I’ll feel motivated to work through my “craft closet” again to throw away a few things, designate some to the sale, and reorganize the rest.  (The “craft closet” has been a prerequisite of every house we have purchased.)

Closets and drawers might hold a few treasures that will catch someone’s eye.  Will I really ever exercise on that Denise Austin foam step again?  Is it worth keeping sofa pillows that I’ve already replaced?  What about music CDs, cookbooks, and jewelry?  An upcoming garage sale inspires a pretty major purge that I feel is necessary when one lives in the same house for more than a decade.

In 2015, during the season of Lent, I came across 40 Bags in 40 Days on Facebook.  40 Bags is a challenge to declutter one area of your house each day until Easter and to bag or box up items to be removed from your home to the curb, to someone else who can use them, or to a garage sale.  I enjoyed my first 40 Days journey and used it to work through not only my stuff, but many of our sons’ possessions that have remained in our house.  Sifting through the memory-laden projects, toys, and memorabilia begins a sentimental journey that rivals last week’s peek into Eric’s baby book (See Three Good Men – Part 3).  It seems more difficult for me to part with 4-H projects and works of art than it is for them to do so.

One box of treasures leads to another, and I may even find myself looking through my own keepsakes from school, our wedding, and my days as Sunday School director.  I won’t find any garage sale items of course, but there may be some papers or seashells that can go into a recycling or garbage bag.  It wasn’t that long ago that I disposed of the unopened can of Tab that we brought back from our Mexican Honeymoon in 1984!

This year, I’m doing a more casual 40 Bags type clean out – not charting every accomplishment, but seeking to part with Christmas decorations, extra towels –  whatever is taking up space and unlikely to be used.  Not even my old crocheted projects are safe.  Eric and Kyle don’t need to worry about the penguin and giraffe pillows that I made for them when they were kids. But yesterday I became aware that a favorite organization, Warm Up America (more on them another day) is collecting handmade afghans for kids in Eastern Kentucky who will soon be receiving newly built beds.  With no time to crochet one by the deadline and my heart aching for kids in Appalachia that sleep on cold, hard floors, I prayed.  Jesus, the lover of children, reminded me that stashed in closets and under our beds were four of my crocheted blankets.  Certainly I could part with one of them and take this opportunity to bless a child.  The Red, White, and Blue afghan was stitched twenty five years ago during Operation Desert Storm, but had only been displayed – perfect.  Before I could change my mind, I washed and dried it, put it in a box, and shipped it off to Warm Up America.

It still looks new!

Now lets see…what’s next?

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