Happy Birthday, Bill


It’s a bitter-sweet day for us. Seventy-three years ago today both you and Mother weren’t expected to live. You weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Both of you lived! Two years ago today, on your 71st birthday, Mother died at 7:00 AM. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????  This picture was taken at her 99-year birthday party in March 2013!

She was 99 1/2 years old when she died! I was with her, having stayed with her overnight. When I called to tell you she was gone…you told me you had expected her to die on your birthday! Somehow you had expected this for about a week! So you took the news very graciously.

I’m wishing a good day for you today.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Bill. Bless him today on his birthday. Please touch him, both physically and spiritually. Keep him safe and well. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin,  friend, and neighbor. I love Bill so much and You love him even more!

My Dad…Part IV

Summer of 1948. A moving van was hired to move our belongings from Covington, Oklahoma to East Peoria, Illinois. It was a sad day for the family. So many good friends were being left behind. But for Dad and Mother, it meant being together again as a family.

The last thing Dad said to the truck driver was, “You can deliver our furniture any day but NOT Sunday.” When the family arrived in East Peoria several days later, Dad was told, the furniture had arrived and was unloaded on Sunday! The parsonage was connected to the church! East Peoria FMC and parsonage.  The furniture and boxes were stacked in the annex, the room between the parsonage and the church. This is a picture of the church and parsonage back when we lived there. A new church has since been built. I don’t know who took the picture or who the people are in this picture. There was a very high hill directly behind this property! I loved hiking up the hill! I doubt Dad ever climbed it!

Dad’s mother, Rose Williamson, died on October 5, 1948.

That fall, another person, loved by our family, died. Those were the years of the terrible epidemic of Polio. Eddie Pennington, a young boy from the Des Moines Free Methodist Church died of polio. He was the only living child of a prominent family in the church. It was a blow and tremendous loss to the family, to the church and to our family.

Dad and Mother, both,  enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course. They both enjoyed it and did well.

Dad was the pastor at East Peoria for just one year, it was a congregation pledged with problems. The family moved back to Waterloo, Iowa and Dad went back into evangelism.

He was a very much-loved evangelist. His sermons were right on target. He included stories which held folks attention and served to illustrate the point he was making. I have a few cassette tapes of his sermons. Resurrection.  Fervent in Spirit. We Have An Advocate. Witness of the Spirit. Let Your Light Shine. Rejoice Evermore. More Blessed to Give. The Roast Pig Story was a favorite of everyone. He tells of a true experience during his ‘chef’s helper’ days. My Brother Roy, plus a few more.

Scan_Pic0106 The next few years were unforgettable for the family. First we lived with Grandma Aanas, Mother’s mother, for about six months. During that time, Dad’s nephew, Roy Gray, was remodeling, a never-used building meant to be a chicken house, on his acreage, into an apartment building. Dad was the first one to rent an apartment from Roy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is a recent picture of the apartment building, still in use today! Dad bought a lot from Roy where he built a small house for our family while we lived in the apartment! That is, he built it in between holding revival meetings! He hired some friends to work on it. Richard, also worked until he became ill with meningitis. I remember Bro. Arms and Nate Olson working, and Bro. Rasche painting the living room.

While we lived in our little house, Richard went away to a high school in with Wessington Springs Jr. College in South Dakota. It was expensive, but Dad and Mother felt it was important. A few days after Richard left someone in our church gave the money for Lorraine to also attend the school. Life at our little home in Elk Run Heights, sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa was never the same! Mother got a job as head cook at the school Billy and I attended.

It was also during those years that Dad became the cook at camp meetings! He and Mother loved cooking and they were very good Dining Hall Worker's Manual (2)at it! They cooked at the Iowa Camp Meeting and Conference and at the Wisconsin Camp in Oregon, Wisconsin. Dad even wrote a book about cooking at camps. I have a copy of it and treasure it. Illustrations were drawn by Richard! This picture, on the cover, is of the crowd of hungry folks at the Iowa camp. I recognize many of the people!

We only lived in our little house in Elk Run Heights, Waterloo, Iowa for about three years. Then the conference asked Dad to once again pastor the church in Des Moines. Dad and Mother prayed about it and decided, yes, we should move back to Des Moines where he would be at home again with the family and pastor the church they loved and the people loved them.     Scan_Pic0105

In 1956, Dad was asked to join Lyle Northrup in Winona Lake, Indiana in the Office of General Evangelism. Bro. Northrup was General Secretary of Evangelism. Dad became his assistant.

Family life was changing.  Richard was in the army in Augusta, Georgia. Lorraine was married and living in Wessington Springs, South Dakota. Anita was now attending high school at Wessington Springs Jr. College. Bill was living at home.

Life as Assistant Secretary of Evangelism was very busy. Mother also worked in the office. Dad was doing a lot of speaking and writing, promoting evangelism across the church. A Free Methodist school in Shreveport, Louisiana came to the forefront. Dad was very busy promoting the school. He made many trips down to Shreveport and was 100% behind the school and it’s directors. He even made a movie, “It Took A Miracle” about the school to be shown in the Free Methodist Churches all over North America to raise funds to help the school. It was a very prestigious school in Shreveport with a good reputation.

Dad then became Secretary of Interracial Evangelism along with being Assistant Secretary of Evangelism. He was very busy but a happy busy man.

Family life was also booming! Grandchildren were coming along and increasing the family. Richard, Lorraine and Anita each had three children, at this point. There were more added later.

Dad was a proud grandpa! When he saw pictures of his grandbabies he saw a great way to show off his grandbabies and to raise money! Who could say no to a beautiful baby asking for money for a good cause?  Dad promotes TEL '60 (2)   Dad promoting TEL with Pammy 1960 (2) Dad promoting TEL 1960 with Pammy (3) Dad promoting TEL with Pam 1960 (2) Dad promoting using Teddy 1962 (2)

A new chapter of his life came when he was asked to be Conference superintendent of the Colorado Conference. A move was made to Canyon City, Colorado.

He was also writing books. The first was a biography of  Julia Shelhamer “Julia, Giantess in Generosity.” He Book Julia  dedicated the book to Mother. “To Corina, loyal companion, without whose gentle prodding and unselfish assistance, the story of her good friend, Julia, would never have been written.” This is copyrighted, 1969, published by Light & Life Press.

To be continued…














Old Year – New Year

2014 is over.

IMG_0417 (2)  Two of my granddaughters, Sydney and Bella, and myself on the last day of 2014 at the ice skating arena! They skated, I read a book on my Kindle.

The year went so quickly! I have so many memories and I’ve written most of them on here over the year. I’m a lover of traveling and went on three significant trips last year: South Carolina, Colorado, Iowa. I live in Michigan.

I had my share of illness, nothing serious, thank goodness.

I had company, which I love!

2015 is just beginning.

A whole new year! What will take place this year? I wonder… Some plans are already being made:  a trip to Haiti in July with granddaughter, Haleigh! That will be exciting!


Graduation, with two grandchildren graduating in June, is presenting a dilemma.


Miller in South Carolina… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  How do I go to both?

I’m contemplating a slight change in the newsletter I’m editor of…more on this later.

What else will the year hold? I have no idea! I’m trusting God for whatever happens…good or bad. He is my Rock.

Happy Birthday, Richard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Happy Birthday, Richard! I can’t believe it…!  Mother and Dad both reached this age but I didn’t think my brother ever would!  Oh, I don’t mean I wanted to lose you before now…I just mean, where did the years go? How can my brother be eighty? Yes, really…we’ve almost lost you three different times in the last couple years! The last time was just a few months ago. A horrible sore on your foot! It could have taken your life! One surgeon said, “We need to amputate his foot.” Another surgeon said, “If given the chance I think I can save his foot and his life!” The go-ahead was given to that surgeon! Before going into surgery, the surgeon asked you if he could pray with you! He prayed for God to guide his hands and fingers and to be your strength!

I had the privilege of going to Colorado to be with you and Cookie for a week.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                        I had planned on going to visit for this birthday! Because of your serious illness I went early. It was a very good week! This picture is you and me.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Richard! Thank You for Your Healing Touch on his body, once again. Please continue to touch him both physically and spiritually. Watch over him. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and neighbor. I love Richard so much and You love him even more! 

Saying Good-bye

20130904_105106  It’s never easy to say good-bye. One year ago, today, we said good-bye to my mother. I think it was a beautiful service and I think she would have liked it! We truly honored her.

My brother, Bill, has a son, Chris, who is a minister. We asked him to officiate at the service. He did a fine job! I’m proud of him. Both of my brothers and I each gave a tribute to Mother. Vel, Bill’s wife, also gave a tribute. Richard’s daughter, Susan, sang by means of a tape since she couldn’t be there. Richard’s other daughter, Heidi, played the piano. Three of my children, who were there, Pam, Tim and Christy and Lisa, Bill’s daughter, read scripture.20130904_112050 (2)    Lisa is a State Park Ranger and she ate lunch with Mother every Wednesday. She always had her ranger clothes on so she wore them to the memorial service. You can see her in the picture. Each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were there, took a red rose up to lay on the table. The chaplain from the nursing home played his Native American Flute again.

I have copied and pasted my tribute to Mother here.

Mother and Me

I was born in the time when the three words I Love You weren’t  used in everyday conversations. Love was shown but not verbalized. I knew, without a doubt, Mother loved me, even though she never told me. One day this was put to the test.

I was home from school for the summer. The youth group from our church were going on an all day picnic to a state park and invited me to join them. A car came to pick me up early on Saturday morning. They insisted I sit in the front seat! That seemed strange but I got in and off we went for a fun day!

It was getting close to lunch time and I was very hungry. I looked in a box for a snack and saw a small piece of paper with my name on it! Oh, what was this? I read it in shock. It was written to the leaders by one of the girls in the youth group. “I’ll ride in any car but not in the car with Anita Williamson.” What? Why? Oh, that explains why I had to sit in the front seat… The girl who wrote the note was in the back seat! Somehow we had ended up in the same car!

Oh, what to do…I had no idea I wasn’t liked. I couldn’t  stay here. I’d better leave. Where should I go? How could I get home? There was nothing I could do except walk away. Yes, that’s it. I’d simply walk away and not come back. I’d become a run-away.

In my mind I saw someone calling the police. Then calling my parents. Oh no. Mother. I’d hurt Mother. She loved me. Oh, I couldn’t just leave! I would cause terrible pain to Mother. I couldn’t do that. Mother loved me and I loved her…

Years went by. I finished school, got married, raised five beautiful children. Times were changing, it was now near the end of the 1990’s! We talked on the phone occasionally. One day at the end of our conversation Mother said to me, “I love you.”

What??? I’d never heard those three words, come to me, from Mother before! I stood there not knowing what to say… Finally I said, “ Okay, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” For the next couple of days all I could think of was Mother telling me she loved me! It meant so much to me. I knew I’d have to say it too! Could I? I didn’t know. But finally I made up my mind that I would say it the next time we talked on the phone and I did.

I’ve  been saying it to her ever since. I love you, Mother.


After the service everyone was invited to Bill’s house for a luncheon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We brought flowers, pictures, and all from the church and arranged it all on the Baby Grand piano. Then, as folks visited and ate music could be heard as Chaplain played his Native American Flute again, at our request. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It was a long day, but a good day, in loving memory of Mother.


Happy Birthday, Cookie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Happy Birthday, Cookie! You’re a super sister-in-law! Having, just recently, spent a week with you, I know that’s true! With Richard’s health causing crisis times and your dad in his 90’s, living alone, you deserve a special jewel in your crown! You will  be getting a crown, one day! (I hope it won’t be for a very long time though!) I enjoyed my week with you and Richard recently. I wish for you a very special, fun, great day today!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Cookie! Please give her a good day today and a great year ahead of her. Please guide her. Watch over her as she works, plays and drives. Keep her safe as she drives to South Dakota to care for her dad. She’s a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and neighbor. I love Cookie so much and You love her even more!

Happy Birthday, Bill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                                                                                                                      Happy Birthday, Bill! My little brother is 72 years old! I can’t believe it!

I imagine today and probably every birthday for the rest of your life is and will be bitter/sweet. Our sweet mother breathed her last breath on your 71st birthday. It was interesting, when I called you last year, to tell you Mother was gone, you said you’d had a feeling for about a week that she was going to leave us on your birthday!

It’s also very interesting that she died exactly 71 years, to the day, that the doctor told Dad that the baby would be born on that day but that neither the baby nor Mother would live! Seventy-one years later, to the day, she died! And now you’ve turned 72!

I don’t know how you’re feeling today but I’m feeling very lonely. I wish for you a day of reflection and of celebrating.  Happy Birthday, Bill!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Bill! Life is not easy when pain is a constant companion. Please touch his body, give him some relief from his pain. Watch over him  from day-to-day. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin,  friend and neighbor. I love Bill so much and You love him even more.