September 4

September 4 was an important day in my life three times. I’ll write about two of them here.

September 4, 2012. My phone rang late that night. I gladly answered it, knowing it would be Lorraine, my sister. We often talked late at night because there were no interruptions! We could talk as long as we wanted to and we often talked for a couple of hours or longer! We talked about our childhood, our parents and brothers and sisters-in-law, our grandchildren, our feelings, our belief in God…and sometimes, non-belief. We both felt better when we hung up, knowing we both had shared our true feelings, knowing we both understood where we each stood on issues, and feeling a little closer to each other and to God.  Lorraine

But this night when I answered with a cheery hello, it wasn’t Lorraine. It was my brother, Richard! Well, that was a surprise, but I enjoy talking with him too. Then he told me why he was calling. Lorraine had died that day! No! No! It can’t be! What? How? When? Why? No! Not Lorraine!

How many times had we laughed about the longevity in our genes! We both hoped we’d keep our good health and clear minds as we aged. Our parents did so we should too! She was a widow and one year she flew from Oregon to Michigan to visit me! I was thrilled as we had a great time together.

We’d been so close as children but had grown apart when we were teenagers and then as young wives and mothers we were so busy and so many miles apart we just didn’t keep up with a close relationship, like we should have. I’m actually ashamed…

But now we were both retired and had time and needed each other so we spent hours on the phone late at night. We sometimes talked about death. I assured her of my relationship with Jesus and my belief in God. She had many questions and I felt her belief begin to blossom again. We even talked about death but it was a long way off and we needed to have a close relationship with God as time was going by so quickly. She told me she had forsaken her faith years ago and I assured her I’d be praying for her because God loved her. Then one night she told me she believed in God again. She felt Him with her. She wanted to be even closer to Him. I continued to pray for her daily. Now, suddenly, she was gone. But our conversations and prayers were not in vain. I believe she’s in heaven and I’ll be with her one day.

September 4, 2013. Mother, who had died on August 25, at 99 1/2 years, was buried beside Dad, in Stanwood, Washington. We struggled, debated, questioned and finally decided to have Mother’s ashes buried on September 4. Lorraine had died one year earlier on September 4. It was a distance from Castle Rock, Colorado where she’d been living and had died. Everyone had a distance to travel to get there and then to get back home, for some many hundreds of miles. Lorraine was also honored in the short burial service for Mother. It was a painful day.                                                                                                            Lorraine & Dog       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     6038 (2) (1)

September 4, 2018. The pain is still in my heart. It hasn’t gone away. It’s just as vivid as in 2012 and 2013. I loved Lorraine and I loved Mother. Someday I’ll be with both of them, when my day comes to leave this earth. I love you, Lorraine! I love Mother!

 

 

My Great Haiti Experience Part II

There were 142 people on this trip to Haiti! That’s a lot of folks! My granddaughter, Haleigh, and I were the two in the 142! Haiti team 2015   I entered Haleigh’s name in a drawing at our family camp last summer. Her name was drawn! So her way was mostly paid for! Haleigh is the first one standing on the left! I’m not even in this group picture because it was taken after the goat team #2 left. But that’s okay, we were here in spirit!

I have so much I want to write about that I’m having trouble sorting through my mind to make this meaningful! I think I’ll start with the Haitian people. They are wonderful, by the way! I have so many great Haitian friends! But even the ones I didn’t know always had a smile for me! Way back in 1971, when Jerry and I were there, Jerry named it the Land of Smiles! And it still is that today! Haitian people have the brightest smiles, even though many are hungry, many are sick, many grieve because of losing a loved one or more than one in the earthquake, five years ago.

Speaking of the earthquake, two friends from Michigan, had gone to Haiti to work on some projects. Two hours after they arrived at the guest house the earthquake happened. They were both killed along with a missionary and a Haitian watchman. They are all buried at the mission compound. I was honored to visit their burial site and take a few pictures. 100_5798  Jeanne Munroe, Merle West, Eugene Dufour, Sr., (I have forgotten the watchman’s name, sorry.)

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We visited two orphanages. The first one is in Port-au-Prince. It’s a fine orphanage, doing good work with lots of support. 100_5815  Girls were given sewing lessons. Their first lesson was to make the cushions you can see on the chairs! They did a good job! 100_5816  This was a class outside for the older kids. When they turn 18, by law they must leave the orphanage. These kids are being well-trained! I don’t know the name of this orphanage.

The second orphanage was in the mountains. Heart of God – Haiti Orphanage. 100_5818   100_5820  They weren’t expecting us and weren’t quite sure what to think of us! But these kids are fortunate to have a place to live. They used to have to walk down the mountain on a trail and then carry pails of water up the mountain to the orphanage! How clean was the water??? Now, thanks to some generous folks, they have a water system with a faucet! Running water…clean water! 100_5822  These children lined up to sing for us! “Jesus Loves The Little Children, All The Children of The World. Red and Yellow, Black and White…” “Our God is so Great, Our God is so Good, There is Nothing Our God Cannot Do…”

We were taken into their bedrooms. 100_5825  They do have bunk beds, but little more.

I, personally, know of eight different orphanages in Haiti. There are many more, thank God. There is still so much need. As we were riding, a pastor was riding with us. His English was very good, thank goodness. We had a good visit. I told him I hadn’t seen evidence of Voodoo this trip like I had on my two previous visits. He, sadly, assured me Voodoo is still there. He pointed to a man leaning against a building and said he was a Voodoo priest. Then he smiled and said the priest’s young son is being sponsored by a family in the Free Methodist International Child Care program! That means, besides receiving financial aid, his son and probably the whole family, including the priest, is being prayed for regularly! God answers prayer! I’m now adding my prayers for this man and his family!

We drove into the mountains to treat goats owned by Free Methodist families. This was our goat team, plus our good Haitian friend, Julo, who was taking this picture! Bonnie, Anita, Lars, Linda, Ali, Marv, I can’t remember the last man’s name! I’m so ashamed! Second goat team  IMG_1021  IMG_1017  IMG_1023  This goat didn’t like his hooves being trimmed!  IMG_1028  We gave each of these girls a cloth doll!  IMG_1027  IMG_1009  The goats were brought to an area behind this Free Methodist Church. 100_5838  Inside the Free Methodist Church.100_5839  This smiling man is the pastor of this church.

There is so much more I could write about, but this is getting long so I’m going to just stop! This ends my second installment of my unforgettable trip to Haiti.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day. “Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.” Wikipedia.

??????????????  This is my second cousin, Louis Hood. He proudly served our country in World War I, over in France. The story is that on the last day of the war, he was killed. In fact, I’ve heard the war was actually over that day but the men out in the field hadn’t gotten the news yet. How sad. My dad was a young boy at the time and was waiting anxiously for his cousin to come home from the war. The news was devastating to the family.

I would love to go to France and search the war cemeteries for his tombstone. But whether I ever get to do that or not, I honor Louie as my dad called him. I’m proud to be a relative of his.

 

 

Final Good-bye’s

Putting a person’s body, or in our case, ashes into the ground is really the final good-bye. Today was our final good-bye to Lorraine, two years ago today. Her ashes are beside those of her husband, George. They are in the most beautiful and most well cared for cemetery I’ve ever been to! It’s a veteran’s cemetery, only for military personnel and their families. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On September 9, 2013 we buried my Mother’s ashes in Washington so on our way we stopped in Oregon at the cemetery to visit Lorraine’s grave again and put fresh flowers on it. ??????????????

Lorraine’s name had been put on now so I was glad to see it finished. The three words at the bottom are: LIVE LIFE LARGE! That describes Lorraine well!

We also looked for the grave of my brother-in-law, Bob.???????????

Then on to Washington to bury my Mother’s ashes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She was buried beside my Dad. The next pic is my nephew, Chris, officiating.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy brother and his wife, Cookie. Richard, talked about our sister, Lorraine, and her untimely death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bill and Vel, my younger brother and sister-in-law. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My daughter, Pam, son-in-law, Gene and my husband, Jerry. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cousins who attended: Rhonda, Chris, Pam, Sonja, Austin, Taylor and Mackenzie.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A  few of my parents friends came to pay their respects. Most of my parents friends are gone now. This is Beth, Gene and Harold, such good friends.

We stayed all night so in the morning we went back to the cemetery to see the grave with the stone placed. We arranged the flowers again.

????????????????????????  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I don’t know of any way or time I can go back out to the west coast to visit these grave sites again. I treasure these pictures.