Hudi Turns 19

It can be argued that his birth seemed like yesterday. And at the risk of sounding boring, that statement cannot be dismissed. But interestingly, it feels as if we’ve been together forever. I cannot fathom life without our kiddos — Hudson and Zebulon and CJ. What joy and inspiration they bring!

Many parents worry about the teen years, but Hudi took them in stride. When he was in tenth grade he insisted on being in charge of his own virtual homeschool education, pacing himself in his coursework. At 16 he decided to go to college, and now, at 19, has his degree, his own apartment and a great job and a wonderful young woman in his life. It’s enough to make any parent proud.

It does take me a bit aback to realize this will be the last year I will have with a child in their teens. Remember the excitement of hitting double digits? Then teen years? Good times. Good times, indeed.

Still, it’s fun to look back to the past. Here’s a video I found of his 9th birthday party. And another of his college graduation. He’s changed a bit over the years 😉

Hudi’s 9th Birthday
Hudi’s College Graduation

I’m not saddened by the path of continual growth. And no parent could be more proud of their progeny.

Hudi, you are rockin’ life. Being real with it and taking on its edges with determination and class. Your dad and I are so proud of you!

It’s kind of fun having you live so close to where you were born now. Who would have thought that 19 years ago?

I asked Mollie for some current pics of the birthday boy, and I love this celebration of life I received in return:

I see he is still somewhat of a goofball. This is good.

We love you, Hudi, and wish all the blessings of the world on you and your future. God did an amazing thing creating you! You are a true gift to the world.

Papa Doug

DougIn a world where families are constantly ripped apart, I was blessed with three, yes three, amazing grandfathers.

Leon and John were blood grandfathers who died several decades ago. And Doug, the third one, and technically a step-grandfather,  died this week. I learned about it on Facebook when my cousin Audrey wrote:

Papa told the doctor he was going to go to heaven today … and that’s just what he did. Dearly loved by so many. Patriarch of an amazing family. Leaver of a wonderful legacy.

The image is from Audrey, too. And she is right. A legacy it is. One of faith and love. Our family is humungous. And really confusing. My dad seriously is his own cousin. Yet Papa Doug and my Grandma Joy took it upon themselves to travel around to visit everyone for as long as they were able. When I had surgery, they were there checking up on me. They called and messaged my kids, and I know they had an extensive prayer list they kept up even when they were physically no longer able to travel.

I loved family reunions where I could witness the love not only between them, but also for the extended family.

They were/are great role models, and I hope I am like that for my family. Papa Doug will be missed by so many. Yet I know he is happy beyond all happiness in Heaven. The crowd of people I love is getting bigger and bigger in that alternate dimension.

I hope I leave a legacy of faith and love like Papa Doug.




Nothin’ Like a Good Book

You know those books that haunt you for days, weeks, months, even years after you read them? I finished one of those a few weeks ago. A recommendation from my friend Kelley. The problem is that I would really love to talk with a group about it and get a discussion going, but nobody in my local circle has read it. Yet.

The book I read is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I have so many mixed feelings about it. The summary on Amazon doesn’t do it justice, but I guess it has to go light since saying more would give away too much of the conflict.

Not wanting to give you any spoilers, I won’t say too much, either. But I will tell you that the writing, in my opinion, is strong and engaging. All the characters showed growth and were relatable. Reality smacked the reader and characters in the face, and responses were genuine. It was particularly poignant for me since one of my favorite friends ever was a quadriplegic.

This isn’t a great summary or post, I know. But the book has really been on my mind, and I just had to state that publicly. I do highly recommend it. In fact, I’m going to sign off now to read the sequel – After You: A Novel. Thanks for suggesting it, Kelley!

If you’ve ever read these books, please let me know what you think. And feel free to suggest other fabulous books that get you pondering. ‘Cuz there is just nothing like a good book.

Caring for Others, as we all Should

The kids in my world are very inspirational. I was reminded of this as we packed up three vans and drove a group of teens to the west side of Buffalo where they joined other kids for a week of helping others. It was a church project, and it’s something that has happened annually for years. This year Chris and I got to go for a few days as well. The kids grab a breakfast at 8 am and by 9 they are in the vans heading off to worksites where they scraped and painted and got some houses ready for our harsh winters. In the evenings they ate together then had a service.

Yes, it was fun. They got to be together for a week, staying in a hotel. But it was also some pretty grueling work. The cool temps and torrential rains the first day didn’t pull the smiles off their faces, though. And they were raring to get back to the sites the next day.

In a world where the people in churches often make poor choices and where kids are seen in a negative light, this week was extremely refreshing. And I know from past experiences that the beautiful spirit of these kids thrives even after they are home. Truly inspirational.

While I was there that week, I read the following blog post that pretty much summed up what these kids were doing. And it reminded me of what I need to work a bit harder on:

This is a re-blog of a post from a blog I really enjoy following. It’s beautifully written and highlights one of my favorite songs. Thanks for posting it, John.