Archive | July 2014

“Family”

Mim and Marian eating lutefisk dinner at St. Olaf College about 40 years ago.

Mim and Marian eating lutefisk dinner
at St. Olaf College about 40 years ago.

About 40 years ago, I went “home” with Mim for the first time. We drove from Chicago to Kenyon, Minnesota, at least a seven-hour drive, the first weekend in December. In Kenyon, we picked up Mim’s mom, Selma, and drove another 15 miles to go to the St. Olaf College Christmas concert. Mim’s mom, who worked in food service at St. Olaf, was able to get us tickets for the concert, a major achievement for a very popular annual concert.  That was the first of many St. Olaf Christmas concerts I went to with Mim and her mom.

That was also the first time I went with Mim to her home church, Gol Lutheran Church in rural Kenyon. It had been Mim’s family church on her mom’s side for four generations, ever since they immigrated from Norway. Also, Mim’s dad had been the pastor at Gol for 20years.

Mim - Selma outside church 125th adjMy first reaction to Mim’s church was – what a beautiful old country church. I was a little frustrated with trying to follow the liturgy, which was much more structured than I was used to, having grown up a Methodist. Mim’s mom was proud to have her daughter and her roommate home for the weekend, so we stood around and talked to a lot of people after the service. That was not my favorite part of the weekend! Making small talk with strangers has never been one of my strengths.

Over the next 20 years, Mim and I went to Kenyon to visit Selma one or two weekends a year, and we always went to church with her. Gradually, I got to know a few of the people in the church and I started to feel a little more at home there.

Mim - Selma by organ 125th cropped

Mim and Selma at Gol’s 125th Anniversary

In 1989, Gol celebrated its 125th anniversary in style. Mim and I joined Selma for the whole weekend, and we all enjoyed lots of music, lots of eating, lots of picture taking, and an original play that taught us lots about Gol church history.

Twenty-five years later, last weekend, Gol celebrated its 150th anniversary. Mim really wanted to participate in the celebration. I was considerably less enthusiastic about spending a whole weekend in Kenyon, Minnesota with a couple hundred people I didn’t know.  At best, I might know two or three people. But, I figured this is one of those things you have to do for family. So we spent the weekend in Minnesota.

Much to my surprise, I had a great time all weekend. “Family” really is the key word. As Philip Yancey, one of my favorite authors, has said, “I go to church as an expression of my need for God and for God’s family.” We spent the weekend with one particular branch of God’s family. We were with about 250 of God’s family members – almost all of Norwegian descent. I think everyone had great appreciation for Norwegian-American church history, food, and music. Of the 250 people, I recognized about a dozen of them from my previous visits to Gol. Mim introduced me to about another dozen of her old friends. All 24 of them were people I enjoyed visiting with. I’ll have to admit, it was kind of fun to get together with this big extended church family.

The Rev. John Hagen, a former pastor of Gol, preached briefly from the steps of the farmhouse where the congregation met before the church was built.

The Rev. John Hagen, a former pastor of Gol, preached briefly from the steps of the farmhouse where the congregation had met before the church was built.

Finally I’m beginning to understand that my extended church family is growing bigger and bigger. It started with the church of my childhood  – Willerup United Methodist Church in Cambridge. Even though Willerup is no longer the church where I regularly go to worship God, I still feel connected to some of God’s family members who worship there. I also feel connected to the building itself where I spent literally thousands of hours (on average 4 hours per week, 52 weeks a year, 18 years plus 4 summers during my college years) learning about God. I also feel a connection to the cemetery next door where my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and other relatives are buried.

My growing extended church family also includes members of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago, Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, as well as other churches I have been a part of over the years. And since Gol is a big part of Mim’s church family, it has also become part of my church family.

The more I think about my extended church family, the more I realize how big it really is. Beyond all the church family members I know personally, God’s family is described in the Bible this way:

Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian. What a foundation you stand on now: the apostles and the prophets; and the cornerstone of the building is Jesus Christ himself! We who believe are carefully joined together with Christ as parts of a beautiful, constantly growing temple for God. And you also are joined with him and with each other by the Spirit, and are part of this dwelling place of God. [Ephesians 2:19-22 The Living Bible]

Spending last weekend with all the people celebrating the 150-year history of one small branch of God’s family in Minnesota reminded me of the Bill Gaither song, “The Family of God.” Here’s the chorus:

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod;
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.

Gol Group Picture 125th

“Part of the family, the family of God”

What a Gift!

My kindergarten picture.

Sometimes I still grin like I did in kindergarten.

It happened again Saturday morning. It doesn’t happen very often. But every once in a while I hear something so beautiful in a fantastic sort of way, that I can’t help it. My mouth forms itself into a huge smile, and it stays that way so long that my facial muscles begin to ache. That happened Saturday morning at an organ concert at the Overture Center in Madison.

The organist was Ahreum Han. She was born in Seoul, Korea. Her family immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia when she was 16. She has earned advanced degrees in organ performance; she currently performs recitals worldwide; and she has won tons of awards. She is presently the Principal Organist, Assistant Director of Music, and Artist-in-Residence at First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa. She also is the College Organist at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

What was so great about her concert Saturday morning that I had to over-exercise my smiling muscles? Three things:

  1. Her varied selections and her skillful performance of each piece
  2. Her attitude
  3. Her response to a noisy “bird” in the hall.
Ahreum Han

Ahreum Han

The concert opened with Han’s own transcription of Jacques Offenbach Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld.” The style of that piece was as far removed from a stereotypical organ work, such as a Bach chorale, as possible. Think of a bawdy chorus line doing the “Can-Can” dance. Then think of what it would sound like played on a huge pipe organ. See why I couldn’t help smiling throughout the whole piece!

The next piece was a Bach. Really – a giant change in mood. Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29. Also beautiful, but in a very different way. My mouth was still stuck in a beaming smile.

That piece was followed by a modern piece called Three Jazz Preludes by Johannes Matthias Michel. The three movements were titled Swing Five, Bossa Nova, and Afro-Cuban. After that was a beautiful, melodic piece – My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice from Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saens, followed by two powerful pieces by Louis Vierne.

She played all this music with both hands and both feet flying all over the organ, without a single sheet of music in front of her.

Han introduced each piece before playing it, and with a smile she always said, “I hope you enjoy it.” It was clear that she was really trying to give us a good time by what she played. With her enthusiasm, how could we help but share her wonderful attitude!

Bird Singing in tuxThere was only one thing wrong with the concert. Maybe it was a bird inside Overture Hall. Or maybe it was a bug somewhere in the organ or somewhere else in all the systems that usually work together flawlessly in modern buildings. Whatever it was, it chirped throughout the whole concert. I first heard some squeaking during the Bach piece, and I thought maybe one of the pedals squeaked. But the gremlin even had the nerve to chirp when Han was standing at the microphone introducing the next piece. Han was not distracted in the least by the chirping. She somehow managed to block it from her mind so that all of us could focus with her on the incredible music she was creating.

Ahreum Han completely deserved the standing ovation she received at the end of the concert. And then she rewarded us with more “Can-Can” to send us home with great big grins on our faces.

Alfred BrendelAs I was thinking back on how wonderful this concert was, despite the “bird” in the room, I remembered another concert I attended about 30 years ago. I was living in Chicago at the time, and Mim and I had season tickets to a Sunday afternoon piano concert series in Orchestra Hall downtown. This particular concert was in the middle of winter, and at least a quarter of the people in the audience were sneezing and coughing. The pianist was Alfred Brendel, the biggest name pianist on the series that year. I don’t remember what he played, but I do remember that after the first movement, he stood up, faced the audience, and said in total seriousness, “Will everyone who is coughing, please do it now and then stop.” He walked off the stage for a few minutes, then came back, sat down at the piano, and continued the piece.

The audience was stunned. All the coughers and sneezers were embarrassed. A few people left. I think everyone felt bad and uncomfortable. It was hard to really enjoy the rest of the concert. There was less coughing, but it was nearly impossible to get lost in the music – what if I would have to cough or sneeze?

Attitude. When I compare Han’s attitude toward the chirping to Brendel’s attitude toward the coughing, I’m inspired by Han. She really wanted us to have a good time enjoying her music. That’s all that mattered.

Thank you, Ahreum Han, for the beautiful music, and for the lesson in life.

Ahreum Han 2

Blessed are the Arrogant

God in the form of the Holy Spirit came to chat with me while I was in the shower this morning. The hot steaming water was pretty noisy splashing on me and on the shower door, so I’m not sure I heard absolutely everything the Holy Spirit said completely right, but here’s the gist of what I heard. She told me about a recent conversation in heaven by the three members of the Trinity – Dad, Jesus, and HS (herself, the Holy Spirit).

coffee - 3 cupsDad, Jesus, and I were sitting around the kitchen table in our home in heaven the other day, enjoying some mid-morning coffee, and our conversation turned to the Bible.

Jesus said, “I can’t believe how many translations of the Bible the people on earth have made. I understand that they just want to be sure THE WORD is as easy to understand as it can be. That’s good, but I’ve lost count of how many translations in English alone there are.”

I said, “Some of the translations – or “paraphrases” as they call the more creative ones – are really very interesting. In THE MESSAGE the writer compared the Old Testament Law to a Band-Aid [Romans 8:3]. Obviously, that may be meaningful to some people today, but I expect it will become outdated quite quickly.”

Dad laughed at that. “Well, if the word “Band-Aid” helps them understand why Jesus went to earth to heal them of their sinful nature, I guess that’s good.”

We all laughed. Then I added, “But speaking of becoming outdated, I wonder if we need to add a few more lines to “The Beatitudes” as they are recorded in the New Testament. One of the newer translations lists “The Beatitudes” this way:

bible-stackGod blesses those who realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.

God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are gentle and lowly,
for the whole earth will belong to them.

God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice,
for they will receive it in full.

God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted too.

[Matthew 5:3-12 New Living Translation]

Jesus said, “Hey, I kind of like that translation. It expresses our values very clearly. But, what’s missing, HS?”

“Well, Jesus, I’ve been watching all of our followers on earth very closely. Some of our most vocal followers hold a few more values, and perhaps these new values should be incorporated into The Beatitudes. For example, how about adding:

 God blesses those who are arrogant,
for they shall receive even more blessings as they deserve them.

“This value is especially prevalent among young and middle-aged adults,” I explained. “They really believe that they are better than others because we have blessed them with more and better gifts.” Dad and Jesus looked at each other with some alarm.

homeless man w dogI continued, “Or, how about adding one that says:

God blesses those who refuse to give handouts to the poor,
for their wisdom in demanding that the poor and sick be forced to learn to work for a living will eventually be appreciated by the poor, sick, and elderly.

Dad spoke up right away about that one. “Oh, I don’t know about that one, HS. What about their children? I don’t want to see any children suffer. I don’t want to see the elderly suffer. I don’t want to see anyone suffer.”

“Just hear me out, Dad. I have two more Beatitudes to propose. Then we can consider all of them together before we decide what to do.”

“Okay, HS. Go ahead. What other Beatitudes do you want to propose?”

Blessed are those who make laws
for they shall be rewarded for their restraint in passing as little legislation as possible.

Jesus responded to that one. “On the surface that may look good, but what about passing laws that will help people? Our law makers should at least do that. But, go ahead, HS, what’s your last one?”

“Well, Jesus, this is just my last one for now. I may come up with others as I think more and more about what I see our followers on earth doing. But here’s the last one on my mind right now:

God blesses those who carry guns
for they shall be called peace makers.

“You’re kidding me!” said Jesus. “They use guns to shoot the people I love, don’t they?”

“Well, sometimes they do, Jesus,” I responded. “But it’s necessary to have our followers carry guns so that they can threaten other people who carry guns, to keep the bad people from killing the good people.”

???????????????????????????????????????Jesus just shook his head.

Then I added, “Oh, yeah, I just remembered. There’s one more potential Beatitude we need to add to the list:

God blesses those who protect their nation’s borders from illegal immigrants,
for they shall keep their race pure and worthy of God’s love and riches.

Dad stood up when he heard this one. He walked to the counter to get the coffee pot. He refilled each of our cups, without speaking. There were tears in Jesus’ eyes. I looked down into my cup, embarrassed.

Finally, I spoke again. “Sorry, I didn’t think this through first. Not one of these proposed new Beatitudes is about love, and that’s what the Beatitudes are all about. That’s at the core of all of our values. I need to go back to earth and start softening some hearts.”

3 children and sunset

UFF DA Revisited

Wisconsin ID

A few weeks ago I blogged about taking “Mary” (one of the people we care for) to the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles to get an official State ID card. She may need the Wisconsin ID to vote, but more urgently, she needs a State ID to cash in a U.S. Government Savings Bond. As you may recall reading in my May 20, 2014 blog post, we were unsuccessful in getting the ID. We needed to have a certified birth certificate. Mary didn’t have one. We walked away from the DMV with the web address for the official Illinois state website where we could obtain information about how to get an Illinois birth certificate. (Illinois is where Mary was born.) Keep in mind that Mary is 92 years old – will turn 93 later this month. She is not computer savvy.

I had titled the May 20 blog post “UFF DA” (a mild Norwegian expletive) because I had started the day of our visit to the DMV by reading the following prayer:

Grant me the grace to look with respect
upon all I will meet this day
and upon every event I encounter.
Mindful that I am a pilgrim,
may I treat each and every one with reverence and love,
as a manifestation of you to whom I journey.
[from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Edward Hays]

Uff daI was anticipating some frustration in dealing with the state, based on prior experiences I’ve had. (Perhaps that will be another blog post sometime.) I wasn’t looking forward to treating “with reverence and love” anyone who would be hassling Mary and me with bureaucratic rules. UFF DA! What a prayer to begin that day with!

When Mary and I got home from the DMV, I immediately logged onto the Internet to find out the process for obtaining Mary’s birth certificate. I printed out the official Illinois form to request a certified birth certificate, and I worked with Mary to fill it out. We almost couldn’t complete the form because Mary couldn’t remember her mother’s maiden name. But then she thought of a cousin who might remember the name. We called her cousin, and fortunately, the cousin remembered the name. After completing the form, I made copies of Mary’s Medicare card, old Illinois ID card, and a bank statement showing her current address. We enclosed a check for $15, and sent everything to Springfield.

About three weeks later we received a letter from Springfield with an interesting enclosure – NOT a birth certificate, but instead a different document, “State of Illinois – Certification that record was not found.” The cover letter explained that Illinois does not have any record of Mary’s birth and that this certificate, along with one or more other documents that “prove the birth facts,” can be presented instead of a birth certificate for all official purposes.

At 9:00 Monday morning, June 23, Mary and I walked through the door of the DMV in Madison, armed with her “Certification that record was not found” document, her official Illinois ID which included her birth date, her social security card, and a bank statement showing her current address.

Waiting in Long LineI was a little alarmed to see that the line to check in stretched all the way to the door. There were at least twenty people in line ahead of us. I asked Mary if she needed to sit down while I stood in line for her. It was early in the day, and this little 92-year-old lady said she thought she could stand in line okay. Hopefully, the line would move fast.

By 9:17 we were at the head of the line. I explained to the clerk what we needed and gave her the Wisconsin ID application form, which we had already completed. She asked for a certified birth certificate. I gave her the “State of Illinois – Certification that record was not found” document and Mary’s Illinois ID. The clerk looked confused, and I explained that Mary had been born at home and that there was no official record of her birth. According to the letter Mary had received from Illinois, this should suffice. The clerk was satisfied with the explanation and asked Mary to sign her name on one of those little digital boxes like you sign when you use a credit card in a store. Mary had never used one of those before, and the stylus she had to use was as blunt as a pencil eraser, and the image on the screen was a little distorted. The clerk patiently cleared the screen for her so she could start over, three times. Finally, there was a satisfactory signature, and the clerk asked her to “click on the OK button.” Mary had no idea what she meant. I pointed to the OK box on the screen and asked Mary to touch it with the pen. She did that, and then stepped over to the wall opposite the camera to get her picture taken. The clerk snapped her picture, verified the picture was okay, smiled at us, gave us our paperwork, and told us to sit in the waiting area until our number was called.

By 9:30 our number was called. We walked to window #8 and handed our paperwork to the clerk. She asked us what we wanted. I replied that we were there for a Wisconsin ID. She asked for a birth certificate. I pointed to the “State of Illinois – Certification that record was not found” document and the Illinois ID that I had given her already. She had no idea what to do with that response. She asked the clerk working in the window next to her what to do. That clerk said to talk to their supervisor. So, our clerk left us, and went to get her supervisor. About five minutes later she came back with her supervisor.

frustrationThe supervisor asked for Mary’s marriage certificate. We didn’t have that with us, and Mary didn’t even know if she still had that document. I pointed out to the clerk that she was 92 years old and that she was from an era and culture where husbands took care of all family records, and her husband was deceased. The supervisor still wanted us to go home (20 miles away) and look for the marriage certificate.

We discussed alternatives for the next twenty minutes. During that time, Mary was getting more and more frustrated. At one point she said, “The damn thing’s not worth it. Let’s go home.”

I think her language surprised the supervisor. I persisted, saying, “It shouldn’t be this difficult. She just wants a Wisconsin ID to cash her savings bonds and maybe vote. I doubt very much that she will be able to find her marriage certificate. The documents we have provided should be sufficient to prove she is who she says she is.” I also pulled out a copy of the completed request for the birth certificate that we had sent to Springfield, which had prompted her receiving the certificate stating there was no birth record. That request provided her date of birth and connected her maiden name to her married name.

After more exploration of alternatives, the supervisor finally said to the clerk (not to us), “Well, this is quite a stretch, but use the ‘State of Illinois – Certification that record was not found’ document, Illinois ID, and Social Security card to process the request.” The supervisor walked away without looking at us.

The clerk, without saying anything to us, keyed a lot of keystrokes into the computer, and finally handed us a sheet of paper. She said, “You can use this paper as an ID until your card arrives in the mail. You should receive it in a week or two. If you have not received it in two weeks, you can call this number on the top of the page, but DO NOT CALL before two weeks!” It was clear that she was not happy that Mary was getting a Wisconsin ID without providing more documentation. The clerk had a very stern look on her face. She looked back at her computer, expecting us to leave.

I started to walk away, but Mary stepped closer to the counter. “May God bless you, ma’am. Thank you for helping me. And may you be truly blessed, and may you have a wonderful day.”

The clerk looked up, stunned. I was a little surprised, too. Obviously, Mary is living a life much like the prayer I read a month ago:

Grant me the grace to look with respect
upon all I will meet this day
and upon every event I encounter.
Mindful that I am a pilgrim,
may I treat each and every one with reverence and love,
as a manifestation of you to whom I journey.

UFF DA! I guess there are still more things I can learn by example from our elders.

"May you be truly blessed,  and may you have a wonderful day."

“May you be truly blessed,
and may you have a wonderful day.”

 

Abbey’s Dream

Abbey Profile 2Abbey came running to see me this morning. “Hey Mom, I’ve gotta tell ya about the dream I had last night. You won’t believe everyone who was in it!”

“Really, Abbey. Who was there? Tell me all about it,” I replied.

“The dogs who used to live with you – Megabyte and Maia were in the dream. Aunt Marilyn’s cats were in it, too! I can hardly believe it, Mom. Grandma and Grandpa were also there. The dream was so vivid. Now I know what everyone looks like, even though I haven’t seen anyone face to face – yet. The whole dream took place in heaven…”

Megabyte (left) and Maia

Megabyte (left) and Maia exploring CamRock Park about 12 years ago.

The dream began with Megabyte trotting home to her dog mansion on the banks of the little creek in Dogwood Estates. (Yes, Mom. There are lots of smaller settlements throughout the “Holy City.”) Maia was lying on the front step, just waking up from a nap. She looked up at Meg and asked, “Where have you been, Meggie?”

“I’ve been visiting with Grandma and Grandpa over at their house in Peaceful Prairie. Did I ever have an interesting afternoon! Too bad you didn’t come with me. I decided to go over there to ask Grandpa to throw some tennis balls for me to catch. I didn’t ask you to come along with me because I know you’d rather play herding games than catch a tennis ball.”

“That’s right. But if you had an interesting afternoon, you must have done more than catch tennis balls. What happened?”

“Yup. Grandma had some visitors. Cats! You remember Spiffy and Kimberly Katt, don’t you? They were Aunt Marilyn’s cats when she lived in Wheaton and Chicago.”

“Of course, I remember Spiff and Kimberly. We get together to play stalking games sometimes, but we haven’t seen them in several months. What were they doing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?” Maia asked.

cat talking“They were bringing a new cat, Millie, to meet Grandma. Millie lived with Aunt Marilyn for the last 17 years, and she just arrived in heaven a couple weeks ago. Spiff and Kimberly were taking her around to meet some of their favorite people. Grandma made them all some catnip tea. They were having a good time! When Grandma saw me coming, she dished up some ice cream for me. We all sat around and visited for a long time.”

“What did you talk about?”

“That’s what was so interesting. The cats took turns telling us what they each had taught Aunt Marilyn. They were actually bragging about the wisdom they each had shared with her. To hear them talk, you’d think cats were the smartest creatures God ever created. But I’ll admit, they did teach Aunt Marilyn a lot.”

“We taught our moms a lot, too. But what did the cats teach Aunt Marilyn?

“Well Spiff talked first, as the eldest. He had only five years to teach Aunt Marilyn because he died young of feline leukemia. He taught her how important it is to go on adventures, to stalk for prey, even if it’s imaginary.”

Maia smiled. “I like Spiff. He’s always ready to go on an adventure. We need to hike over to Cattail Land more often to play together.”

“I agree, Maia. I especially like to play with Kimberly Katt. In our conversation at Grandma’s, Kimberly said she taught Aunt Marilyn to play catch, to take time to play, to not be too busy to enjoy life.”

“Yeah. Kimberly is right about that. I’ll never understand why it’s so hard for people to learn that. They always think they have to be so busy.”

cat talking and smiling“From this afternoon’s conversation, I think Millie taught Aunt Marilyn more than the other two cats put together. Maybe it’s because she lived with her the longest. Or, maybe it was just that Grandma encouraged Millie to talk the most because she was new to heaven, and Grandma wanted to make her feel at home.”

“Yup. Grandma would do that – want to make her feel really welcome,” Maia interjected.

“Millie described herself as an engineer. Her favorite game was to watch Aunt Marilyn pull a string under or through something. Millie would calculate where it would end up, and that’s where she would pounce. However, on the rare occasion that she miscalculated a jump, the lesson she taught Aunt Marilyn was that it’s okay to make a mistake, but then it’s important to get right back up and try again. Millie talked about other lessons she taught Aunt Marilyn, too, but I finished my ice cream and wanted to go play catch with Grandpa, so we went outside to play ball while the cats kept on talking inside with Grandma.”

Meg w tennis balls

Megabyte resting after retrieving two of her favorite tennis balls.

“Well it sounds like you had a good afternoon. I had a good nap. I think I’ll go down to the front gate for a while to see if St. Peter needs any help keeping the new arrivals in line. See you later, Meggie.”

“Bye, Maia.”

Abbey was quiet for a minute when she finished telling me her dream. Then she looked up at me and said, “You know what, Mom. I think when we get to heaven, we’ll get new healthier bodies, but we’ll still be the same inside. Megabyte is still a golden retriever at heart. You can tell by how much she loves to catch tennis balls. And Maia is still a border collie who lives to herd anything. She loves her job helping St. Peter at heaven’s entrance gate.”

“I’m sure you’re right, Abbey. Hey, thanks for sharing your dream with me. You’re teaching me a lot of things, too. God had a really good idea about placing cats and dogs in human households to teach people about what’s important in life. I’m not sure we would have ever figured it out on our own.”

“You’re welcome, Mom. I’m glad God brought us together, too. And just think, some day we’ll all get together in heaven, just like the song says.”

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

[When We All Get to Heaven by Eliza E. Hewitt, published 1898]

sunset-with-dog-picture