Saturday, July 31, 2010

A day to remember

Ten and a half months after we said good-bye to Gail many family and friends gathered at Resurrection to share, see the monument, pray and say perhaps another thank you and good bye to Gail. 
It was a good time, a sad time and maybe, just maybe for me a time that I needed so that I can continue to bank those wonderful memories and admit in a new way that Gail is gone physically from us forever.
I will not say much but I will write what I ended our gathering with today. 


There she was
Her radiant smile
it seemed to be
so bright

I was mesmerized
by it as she stood
there in the kitchen
she seemed so natural

She said good morning
In return
I took her face in my hands
Gentling kissing her lips

I knew that this day
It would be fun
It would be full
Full of life

As I slipped out the door
She followed as
Well she always did that
To say one last good bye

Of course I looked
As I drove away
I knew she was watching
I knew she would miss me

The kiss that she blew
It never grew old
It seemed to remain
There in the air each day

At school I was busy
Yet she remained
There in my thoughts
Almost by my side

As usual
I waited for the end
The end of another day
Home to her again

As I drove up
There I saw it
The kiss from this morning
Still in the air

Hurriedly I went inside
And there she was
In the kitchen
The same smile

Hi honey
I missed you today
She said that
Every day

But I knew
She meant it
Yes there was no pretense
Everything was real

But of course
It is no more
The image is vivid
But the presence is gone

No more hi honey
No more I missed you
No more wind blown kisses
Just memories

The memory of
Of happiness
Of times past
Of love so real

I can't forget
Her face was radiant
Her spirit was real
Her love unsurpassed

So today it is final
She is here yet
She is not
But her memory is forever.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Those goofy kids

Here are Audrey, Faustina, Henry and Liam in the crib.  They get bigger and more goofy each day.  This was taken at our brunch Sunday.

Camp time continues barreling towards August 8!  Yesterday and today I got water ordered, shirts ordered and paper work done.  It continues to be an emotional struggle to fully engage but things are coming together and it will be good.  I think God will be up to big things.

I have been doing well lately.  This camp time of course is a challenge but I knew that would be the case.  Someone asked me at the community meeting how I was doing and I said on a scale of 1-10 I think I am about a 7:32!!  How I came up with that I do not know but I think it is pretty accurate. 

The temp hit 95 today and I did not get on the bike.  This morning it looked like rain so did not ride.  In fact my bike is still in the car from Monday when I took it to Cannon Falls to ride a bit on the Cannon River Bike Trail.  Never been on it before and it was really fun.  However I need to get the bike out and ride tomorrow if possible.  I did find out that when I lay the back seat forward I can get it in my car so maybe I will not get a hitch for a carrier, not sure.

This afternoon I took two roses out to the grave site.  It certainly is nice to have the monument in place.  I put a glass vase, with sticky tape on the bottom, on the bench.    I am not sure a person can put glass out there but I did.  Will see if they find it and say no.  They would like you to buy a brass vase that goes in the ground and of course they sell them for the bargain price of $600!!!!  I could do a lot of flowers for that.

I have been so busy it is difficult to get to the blog each day but hope to do that after camp again.  I continue to find that I enjoy writing. 

Enough, it may be Advil PM time and to bed early.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Here is the family!!  Cynthia/Mike hosted a brunch for John/Mary and family this morning.  Of course we missed Aaron/Amy and family but everyone else was there.  We will again be together next Saturday as we dedicate the monument but today was perhaps the last time we will be together for a meal for some time.  Sure, there will be visits etc but that is not the same!!
  • Wish them well and we will miss them living here
  • We are so excited for John and his new job
  • We hope their new home is all and more than they expect
  • May all the thousands of details in their move be taken care of.
  • We hope their new schools and neighbor are wonderful
We thank:
  • Cynthia/Mike for a great brunch today
  • Lizzia for coming to be part of the day
  • Travis for being such a great uncle to the kids
  • The Lord for being so present and good to us all
It was a good day.  The brunch, the legal papers for the will and trust were all done, some camp work was done, camp staff assignments were mostly done at my camp meeting tonight and the list goes on for some time.
Our weather has been perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold and enough rains scattered so that no watering is needed.
We we enter the last week in July so a week from today is August 1st, hard to believe.
May August bring much happiness to little sister Helen!!!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I was shocked

John Krause and I drove to Resurrection this afternoon to look around and John wanted to know where Gail was buried.  As we approached from afar I stopped.  There was nothing there yesterday and there it was.  I was humbled, sad, happy and shocked.  It was emotional.  I am so happy with how it looks.  I am so happy how Gail's writing of our names look and the bench is wonderful.  I also like the granite better than I thought I would so thank you Lord for your goodness.
Not much else to say, just thank you Lord.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It can be confusing!!

Here is an accurate picture of me for the last few days.  Try answering your land line phone and your cell phone at the same time!!!!  I have been working at honing my multitasking skills but the phones are just too too much.

I can not believe that picture.  I have been trying to lose weight but that neck is too ugly.  It looks like it is not meant to connect the head to the body!!

Camp is now in full swing.  We had our first camp meeting last night and that always gets things going.  The excitment is in the air, anticipation is there and it seems that God may be up to something big.  I can hardly wait.

I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention that I, and many others, miss Gail so so much.  I miss her smile as we worked, her sensational organizational skills, her unbelieveable attention to detail and perhaps most of all her never failing effort to cover my behind to the point that I had most people believing that I had things under control.  Now it is eat humble pie and "sorry" again and again and again but what can I say, it is what it is and God is in control.  Seriously this camp has been a challenge without Gail and I know it will be to the end.  God will be there as he always is but oh my one of God's beautfiul and wonderful servants is missed BIG time.

I took most of the day off as it is Friday.  Camp can be, if you let it, a 24/7 deal so I have always tried to take Friday off and regain my focus and rejuvinate my batteries.  It does help but the battery may be on low until camp is wrapped up.
 I am going to get outside a bit and see what I can do.  The weather is perfect.

Don't forget about little sister Helen.  The count down is now 15 days until the BIG DAY.  Better enjoy life while you can Helen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A morning in the park

Jude had a dr appt this morning so I arrived at Cynthia/Mike's at 5:45 to watch Faustina.  She woke at 8:10 and about the first things she said was let's go to the park!!  So a bottle of milk later we were at the park.  We played for about 45 min and then we went to see Wallace.  Jude arrived home by 11:15 and the dr said things went well.  They will have his kidney checked in a month or two to see if it is working correctly.  Lord come and heal it now.
A busy day.  Running around a lot and getting ready for our first pre-camp staff meeting tomorrow.  Lotz to do!!
I did not feel well at all this afternoon.  Very severe stomach cramps for much of the afternoon and evening.  I did not go to men's group because of that. 
Tomorrow will be more camp.
It now looks like the monument will be up early next week.  I went to look at how the writing

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No pictures

Camp continues to get more busy each day.  So many details to take care of and maybe not enough time to get all done.  I am sure when August 8 comes we will be fine and God will work in a powerful way but sometimes it seems like that is so far away!!
I went to look at the granite for the monument today.  They will do the writing on it this week and it is scheduled to be installed early next week.  I think it will be kind of a big thing with me when it is finally in and done.  Gail's writing on the stone will look nice. 
Not much else.  The whole family minus Aaron/Amy went to the Twins game last night compliments of Travis.  Being together was fun but the game was long long long.  We left after 3+ hours with the Twins way behind and still almost 1/3 of the game to play.  Wow
I had better get some sleep as I will be baby sitting at 5:45 AM tomorrow as Jude has an appt with the dr.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I think the rose bushes that Gail so dearly loved say it all.  God is good, he is love and his world is beautiful.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh My

I was not ready for this picture.  A friend of Travis' did a fund raiser for cancer and did this in Gail's memory.  I totally lost it when I saw the picture and still as I write this I have tears.  I guess it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words.  It is hard to believe but to this day I often think about Gail and say is she really gone?
The last few days have been interesting.  I don't think I have seen family in the last 4 days.  I know that has not happened since Gail died and for many many months before that as well.  I am not saying it was bad or anything it just was so so different and I found that I got very lonesome.  I did drive past John/Mary's place and it looked like they had company from out state, perhaps Mary's family from South Bend.  Cynthia/Mike are still on vacation and I have talked to Travis a bit but not seen him.  So it is what it is but very very different and I guess I may get used to it as soon there will be less family close.  As I have said before I really do get lonesome and that is some thing I did not think would happen to me.  I guess it is never to late to learn something about one self.
I had a nice phone conversation with Gail's mother and sister yesterday.  Grandma is so busy now, at the age of 89, that it is often hard to call as she is not home much.  I would say that is good.
The weekend so far has been hot and slow.  Not much happening but I have gotten work done around the house. 
Some probably have noticed that I now do not blog everyday and I mention Gail less.  I am trying to do that as at this stage I sometimes feel that talking a lot sends me into a downer.  More and more I try to recall the happy memories and then get on with my life.  I try and sometimes do well but it still is so hard.  I am very very surprised at my emotions.  Sometimes they seem so out of control I get mad at myself and sometimes I do OK. 
With the hot weather I am using this time to do somethings in the basement where it is cooler so will return there to throw, recycle, keep and wonder!!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A hot day

Here are Aaron and Amy on our family camp out.  They look both serious and busy and like they are having fun. 
A hot hot day.  I spent time outside hanging clothes, washing the car and a little biking and it was sweat weather.  Hard to keep enough liquid in the body.  I think it is supposed to be about the same tomorrow so the air will be off tonight but go on early tomorrow and stay on most of the day.
The latest word on the monument is that I will go to see the granite on Tuesday and they say it will be in within a week after that.  That means that it should be in place by July 27.  I was hoping that it would be in place before John/Mary go to South Bend and that should happen.
I am finding that more and more and more I am becoming the single guy.  I don't really like that idea but given my life situation right now it is what it is.  I am finding that even though I like to be alone some of the time I have found out that I would not be a good hermit and I really do need people in my life.  I am not so sure those people need me as much as I need them.  I am finding that nights are not so bad and I can and do function fairly well in the "alone/I" mode.  Today I washed a load of white clothes and hung them out on the line and it was not so bad.  I will never get to the place that Gail was and that was really loving those clothes hanging on the line but it is OK.  That reminds me that I do need to get them in before dark so they stay dry.  Now I just need to get into the place of not only bringing them in but folding them and putting them away.  I have come to believe that I never will learn how to keep white clothes white.  It seemed that Gail could put white clothes in the machine and like magic they would come out and look snow white.  Well my socks and T shirts are FAR from that but if they look OK and are clean I will be fine with that.
I continue to get some exercise in and watch fairly well what I eat so I have lost some weight but I do have a goal for this fall and hope I can meet it.  Like so many others perhaps I have a fist full of pants etc. hanging that I want and need to get into and I do think that can happen. 
I need to put an egg dish together tonight as there will be 5 men here at 7:00 tomorrow and they will be needing something to eat.  I will be using a dish that Aaron's Amy gave me and it should be pretty good.
I was able to get the car washed today and it looks nice.  It is amazing how fast it gets dirty.  Now that has not been a priority for a LONG time but now it is kind of fun to vacuum and wash it so that it looks nice. 
I have not seen John/Mary for a few days but as I drove past their house today I think one of her sisters is there. I t will certainly look funny the first time they come to visit and their plates on the car are either IN or MI,  I think I have those letters correct. 
No here it is past 7:00 and I told myself that I would try to watch some of the Twins game so will close for tonight.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The three guys

Here are Leo, Henry and Liam in that order during our family campout July 4th weekend.
Not too much to say tonight. 
Camp is seeming to close in on all fronts as it is so close now and so much to do.  I am sure it will all get done but there is MUCH to do.
We had another rain today with .35 inches in a short time so the grass continues to grow so fast and stay so green. 
I feel that I am getting behind in many things as the yard, the garden the camp and other things seem to all peek at this time of the year. 
I did not sleep well last night, which is unusual now.  I actually have been sleeping pretty well for some time now.  I will try to get in early tonight as 6:00 AM meditations will come soon.  Those Thursdays are really good by they seem to come around very fast.
I have missed Cynthia and family as they are out of town on vacation this week and now am looking at only really 2 weeks and John will be in South Bend so time flies, life changes and who knows what is around the corner.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Glory glory glory

Here is Leo at our family camp out.  We stayed at the Red Barn Camp Grounds and they made it very kid friendly.

The Glory is about my bike ride today.  For the first time in about 10 days I was able to get on the bike and go for a ride.  The smell of the air, the feel of tired calves, the bugs in the air and the sweat on my forehead were so welcome and fun.  I only rode for about 8 miles but my back did fine and it was glorious.  I so so need to get out of the house and get some exercise in daily.  It helps me feel alive, it helps me sleep better, it helps me know that there is more to life than work and it just is so good.
Those grand kids are getting so big it is hard to believe.  Here Leo seems to be enjoying feeding the pony some hay.  Of course I missed it all as I was mostly in a chair or bed at the cabin but I am so thankful that my back is almost back to normal and now I should get into the habit of doing something to make sure it stays good.
I have been doing much better in the last few days.  I want to so much to be at a good place so that I can not only help others but be there for family.  It just is such a challenge to be strong, be brave and put the "Gail/Carmen/ life in the memory bank and move on with life.  To be really honest I don't want to but to be honest I want to, how about that.  It is such a strange thing to be alone after so long.  I have actually had good days and then as I lay in bed ready for sleep feel guilty about it.  I know and everybody knows that is crazy and not right but it is also real and it happens even though it makes no sense.  I want to be happy, I want to be in a good place but then sometimes I say how can I leave Gail behind and have her in my memory only??  We all know that is OK but in reality it does not always work that way. 
This journey of grieving, of losing, of moving on and rebuilding one's life in a different way is almost too much, too complicated, to confusing for some one like me.  BUT here I am so I best do what I can do in the way that I know best and see what happens.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kind of the same

Another day of no picture, not much happening and a peaceful day.  I don't ever remember a weekend like this for many many months.  There were some things happening but for the most part it was home, a little work, some rest and some alone time which for right now was most welcome. 
I did get some camp work done and it had better get done as 5 weeks from today camp 2010 will be history.  That is hard to believe but it is true.  I did get some of my data base up to date and plan to finish that tomorrow which will give me a good idea of numbers which I suspect may be down a bit.  What ever happens I have no complaints as God will do what he wants to do and he will, in his way, use people to get it done.  I guess if I knew what he wanted to get done we would not need God so best be tuned in, ready for what ever he wants.
An interesting thing has happened this weekend.  I have been able to some degree to change some of my thinking.  I can feel and sense a change in that it seems I am better able to focus on a task and when I think about Gail I am better at keeping it in memory terms and not so much saying I miss her so much.  That is a good thing and I pray and hope that it can continue.
That actually is enough for tonight.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A slow and peaceful day

I may becoming lazy as another day with no picture. 
A Saturday with few things that had to be done and it was so welcome for some reason.  I missed a wedding but with my schedule this week and my back the way it has been I felt I needed to stay home and relax.  I think it was good. 
The day was fairly quiet and peaceful, a welcome day for me.  I did some things around home and for camp but really my pace was slow and my mind was at rest.  My home seemed to be a heavn for me with the stillness, the warm comfortable couch and few phone calls to stir the mind.  As I thought about it the day was much like the few days Gail and I had where we could relax, do some work and enjoy each other.  I don't really know if I have had a day like this since we said good bye to Gail.  I can only hope and pray that it is the beginning of the future, maybe just maybe. 
God seemed to be near and my mind seemed to be able to focus on the good, the positive and the hope of things to come. 
I enjoyed a call from Helen, the baby of the family.  It is hard to believe that in less than a month she will be wildly danceing and celebrating the BIG BIG birthday.  I promised that I will not take up more than a week on my blog to remind her and the world that she too could be close to SS benefits and to AARRP!!!  My suggestion is that all who know her send her a card that arrives close to August 7 and wish her the best in these declining years----well I did not mean declining but rather deciding years.  Anyway we had a nice talk and of course she again mentioned her very stressful and tiring job at the golf club where she works and one of her jobs is to keep the old men who play golf  away from the younger ladies all the time.  Really it was fun talking to her but it did fire me up a bit for her upcoming big day.
I will be taking my last meds for my back tomorrow and then the test comes but I am expecting my back to be good to go soon so Thank you Lord.
I will try to get a picture up tomorrow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not yet

I have been in one of my down times for a while now.  I keep saying Lord enough I want to move on, I want to live life in a normal way, I want to be able to focus on what lies ahead but.....   It seems that the more I say that the more difficult life becomes.  In the last couple of weeks things seem to have fallen apart in so many ways.  I also fear that if I write about it I may just write myself in deeper but it seems I need to write. 
Life seems to be something that I am currently going through but really not living.  Some of the things I have been fighting for some time now are: There seems to be no point in doing things if it is just for me, I am tired of being in a state of emotional turmoil much of the time, there seems to be no joy in life, I have difficulty in focusing on a task as my mind seems to wander any place at any time, and I think I could make the list much longer if I wanted. 
So the question is what to do and for that I have no answers.  I fight against and pray against despair, sadness, complacence, discouragement and more.  I say I need to pray more and that perhaps is true but it seems that there most be more that I can do.  Maybe I have not given Gail's death to the Lord, maybe I have not accepted it yet I am not sure but I do know I do not want to be in this state for ever, please Lord help me move on to your work, your plan, your will for me. 
I will say this in a place that I can be held accountable so I say, Lord I give you my life, I give you my dreams, I give you my time, I give you my possessions.  All I want is to follow you, to love you and to be at your feet to be your servant. Come Lord in all your majesty and love and pour your Holy Spirit into me in a new way that I may accept the path that you have given me and I may rejoice in the place you have put me in.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not much new

Not much new today.  I think my back is a bit better each day but still is very sore and can't really do much.  I have been good about taking my meds for the back and I think they give me a dry mouth and make me tired.  I will be finished with them in a day or so.
I went to the wake for 16 year old Alex who died in a one car accident this week.  I could not stay for the prayers and slide show.  Just to close to all of that for Gail.  I will go to the funeral tomorrow too.
I think the whole thing kind of put me in a down kind of mood.  Going to things alone is difficult but going to those kind of things is double trouble.  I got offers to go with people but really that does not help so I did go alone. Lots of thoughts today, lots of memories and lots of "if only" kind of sentences but I know it is all part of life and one needs to move on to what God has. 
I have gotten some camp work done and much more to do so maybe I will do some of that tonight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This gets old

I have not done much for the last 2 days other than ice my back, take my meds and sleep a lot.  It is getting kind of old but I do think my back is getting better.  The pain meds will be out in a day and then I will see how I feel.  I have been able to get some camp work done which HAD to be done and so that is good but the absence of walking and biking is not good.  I don't know when I will be able to get on the bike again but I hope it is not too long.
I have enjoyed Cynthia/Mike coming over the last 2 days to watch the semifinals of the World Cup but today I slept through much of the game.  I am a bit jealous of them as they will leave on vacation in a day or two. 
The summer is just flying bye.  Here we are finished with a week of July already and before I know it camp will be here.
We got another inch of rain today and that was after 8/10 of an inch a day ago.  I am thinking that all the rain will help with the shortage we have had for some time.  I could look but I think in the last 2 weeks we have gotten at least 6 inches of rain.  The grass continues to be so green.
I went out to Gail's grave site today.  I put down some weed killer on the site and am hoping it will make the grass look much nicer.  I do not know if a person should do that and maybe I should have asked.  Each time I go out there I have hope that the monument will be up but not yet.  They called to say it would be delayed 10-14 days and that was 2 weeks ago so it should be soon.  There is a new monument up right near where Gail is so that is nice.
I continue to struggle with what to do with all that needs to be done.  Actually I guess the struggle is how to live a happy life alone.  I think it is slowly coming but oh so slow.
Tomorrow I will be going to the wake of a 16 year old boy who was killed in a car roll over a few days ago.  Those times are still so hard for me.  I have learned that a person can not ask the "why".  There just is no answers to that so one must believe that God is always in control and understand that he always loves us in all situations.
No it is time to get some sleep.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I was not motivated by much today.  I am keeping on my meds for the back and they keep me kind of tired so I slept this afternoon.  The back seems a bit better but has a long way to go. 
I did some sit down work for camp and also I did some shopping for snacks etc.  I did not buy anything as I do not want to lift.
More at a different time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


The Lee Family left camping a day early as heavy rains came in this morning.  We decided that a day in the tents with 7 very lively little kids was not much to look forward to so home it was.  The Red Barn Campgrounds was very kid friendly and a wonderful place to keep those little ones busy.
For me the campout was a BIG disappointment.  Friday morning, at home, I woke up with a sore back and I said to myself I better take things easy.  Travis and I were the first to arrive at the camp grounds so I thought it would be a good time to crawl into the pickup and take a nap.  An hour later as others arrived I woke up and got out.  As I did so the pain in my back was so great that I almost passed out and I could not see clearly for about 30 min or so.  I ended up in the hospital, got a shot and some meds for the pain.  I knew I could not sleep in the pickup or on the ground but the camp owners said we could use their cabin which was a very short way from the camp and right on the lake.  So that is where I spent all my weekend.  It never ceases to amaze me how God provides in our times of need.  I am now praying that my back heals quickly as this has happened once or twice before and I really don't want to spent several weeks being careful. 
I will work on camp things the rest of the day and then prepare for a camp meeting tomorrow night.
I do think the kids had a great time canp

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy July

Things have been kind of crazy.
Travis will be over this morning,  We will pack and then be off to Red Barn Camp Grounds in Shell Lake WI for a 3 night family vacation.  It has been some time since EVERYONE in the family has been able to spend a vacation together and of course it will be the first since we lost Gail.  The memories of all of our New Year vacations are so wonderful and now we will start our "camping" memories as a family.  The next time we do this it will be different again as John/Mary will be coming from IN so as we all know life marches on.
As I pack(for the first time)  for camping the question I have is how much will I forget?  I have my list and will check it off as I put things in my plugger truck. What ever I forget we will have to camp without and have fun anyway.   
I will not be at the computer again until Monday afternoon when I return.