Friday, March 23, 2007

The Lord Taketh Away...

Last Saturday morning as our family was pulling out the driveway on our way to a wedding, we received the news that Mr. Kelly was dying. He had a previously undetected ulcer in his stomach which had finally made its way through a major artery. He was hemmoraging severely and we were told it could be five minutes or five hours. Dad stopped the car and ran in the house to get keys to the other car. Kelly and I were soon on our way to the hospital, while Dad and Mom went to the wedding, as Dad was to be a groomsman.
Mr. Kelly was in ICU. His son, Paul W., and daughter-law were there with a few other extended family members and friends. When we arrived, he was in a very poor state, unable to communicate as he had been given morphine to ease his pain. It was said at his funeral that at one point the previous night, the doctor had stated that he had 3-5 minutes to live. He continued to fight, however, living 12 more hours. I can only imagine that though he could not communicate it to the rest of us, inwardly he was grieving for the dreams he would be unable to live. Especially the ones he had for his students. When we were visiting him in the hospital and caring for him at home, he would tell us of plans he had made for us when he was well again. He was quite irritated and impatient to be sitting there convalescing while there were things to be done. Mr. Kelly lived on purpose. He always had a plan and goal in place when we arrived at our lessons. No matter how long it took, he would gently push us until we reached the goal he had set for us.
As we walked into that little room in ICU, he lay struggling to hang on to life. He would open his eyes for just a few seconds before again being overcome by the morphine and physical torments. You had to shout in order for him to hear you. His breathing was loud and labored. At one point he opened his eyes and it was evident that he recognized Kelly standing there, but he quickly relapsed. It was heartwrenching to watch him struggle so. We stayed but a short while, then with hugs and tears left the room to wait outside. They said it could be several more hours.
As we sat in the waiting room praying that the Lord would be merciful to take him soon, more and more of his friends began to arrive. We watched the Perez family pass by. Shortly thereafter, part of their family came back out and when we ran over to talk to them, they said Mr. Kelly had asked, by signaling with his left arm, for violins to be brought in. They made a quick trip home for the violins and when they arrived again, we followed them back to Mr. Kelly's room. By this time, that little room was packed wall to wall with teary eyed and grieving family, friends, and students. One young man stood and played a song that Mr. Kelly had made him play an innumerable amount of times, but Mr. Kelly continued to struggle.
Next, one of the Perez girls stood up and began to play Amazing Grace. As soon as he heard it, Mr. Kelly relaxed and his breathing became calm and quiet as he began to acquiesce to the will of God. She finished the beautiful tune and her sister stood up to join her in a duet of hymns. As their father stood at the foot of the bed and held their music, the girls began to play. When they reached What a Friend We Have in Jesus, a peace came over Mr. Kelly's countenance and he quickly began to slip away. As Paul W. stood by the bed holding his father's hand and carressing his face, the girls steadfastly played on. I saw them glance up at their mother for encouragement and she signaled them to play on. Everyone was watching the monitors and someone soon said that Mr. Kelly was gone. As the room erupted in the sobs of those clinging to one another in grief, the girls played through to the end of the song before giving way to their own grief. Words can't express what a beautiful picture of Christian fortitude, love, and unashamed faith it was to watch those girls stand with their father and minster to a dying man. The Lord had sent them on a mission and they were faithful to complete it. It made me joy all the more to be a daughter of my own father. These beautiful scenes are indelibly etched in our memories and we are exceedingly grateful both to Mr. Kelly's family and to the Lord for allowing us to witness them.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." Psalm 28:7

Monday, March 12, 2007

Encore!

This evening while feasting on dinner, our family also enjoyed a feast of auditory delights. What was the source of these delights, you ask? Well, today upon opening our mailbox, we found a copy of the latest work of the Genevan Foundation for Cultural Renewal. Hymns for Kith and Kin is the title of the cd and on it Miss Rebecca Serven provides beautiful piano accompaniment for eighteen hymns, masterfully styling the accompaniment to the text of the hymns. Hymns for Kith and Kin allows those of us families suffering from an acute lack-of-pianist to enjoy rich musical support while singing a wonderful selection of hymns. It's also great for simply listening to as background music while carrying out your daily tasks. Be sure to pick one up for your family, we promise you won't be disappointed.


Hymn selections are:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God; Amazing Grace; And Can it Be; Be Thou My Vision; Come Thou Almighty King; Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing; Doxology; For All the Saints; Great is Thy Faithfulness; Hallelujah Praise Jehovah, O My Soul; Holy, Holy, Holy; How Great Thou Art; Immortal, Invisible; Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners; O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus; Praise to the Lord, The Almighty; Soul Adorn Yourself with Gladness; When Peace Like a River.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Off to Missouri

Our family recently journeyed to Missouri where our father attended the Men's Advance hosted by Covenant Family Church and featuring Pastors Kevin Swanson and Marcus Serven. We gals were delighted to be able to tag along in order to visit with the ladies of the Serven family.
We were able to visit two states we hadn't previously seen, those being Arkansas and Missouri, and also drove through a bit of Oklahoma and, of course, Texas, but not Kansas. :)

"Pilot to copilot, I think you dropped a stitch."

Keeping busy while listening to some good audios.

This important picture captures us passing through the town of "Kelly"ville, Oklahoma. Being that it was 10:07 PM, you can't exactly read the sign.

A unanimous shout was raised along the way, "A hill!"

Both Arkansas and Missouri were full of beautiful scenes. Quite a welcome site for those who are accustomed to an abundance of flatness and buildings all around.

“Buy land, they're not making it anymore” Mark Twain

The concierge

Rush minute in Troy, MO

The lovely and hard working kitchen crew for the Men's Advance:Rebecca Serven, Madeline, Mrs. Lokke, Marissa, Lydia Serven, Beth Serven, and Sarah Serven.

Each of these ladies labored and served joyfully through long hours, little sleep, and a thousand and one important details that come with catering a conference.

Beth, who was the head cook, and the rest of the kitchen crew graciously allowed us to sneak in and join the fun in the kitchen.

"How much time is left??"

Dinner preparations-the making of Parmesan Chicken...Mmm!

Marissa was ever the exuberant servant.

The menfolk during the fun and games.

Most of our time was spent back in the kitchen, but every once in awhile when things began to sound uproarious, we had to peek out and see just what was going on out there.

Mr. Swanson and Dad enjoying one of the games.

We also were privileged to spend the Lord's Day in fellowship and worship with the members of Covenant Family Church and very much enjoyed meeting many sweet and wonderful families.


Self-Help


Psa 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
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