The Piano Guys - The Sweetest Gift
I'm not gonna lie Christmas really hurts this time
Cause you're not here to celebrate with me.
Tears fill my eyes
The memories flood my mind
As I place your ornament upon our tree.
Although this year I have a broken heart
It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are.....
You're with the Son of God,
You're with the Prince of Peace,
You're with the one who's celebrating
And that thought amazes me.
Sometimes I still break down
Grieving that we're apart...
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are
You're with the Son of God.
Merry Christmas, daddy!
Miss you so much,
Your Punkin xoxo
On this day, I lay my precious daddy to rest......
I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact, that when we go back to Florida in a few weeks, he isn't going to be there waiting for us, with those twinkly eyes and mischievous grin.....
Sometimes, life really stinks.
I wrote a tribute to my dad, he asked both my little brother Chad, and I to speak today, at his celebration of life.
I'd like to share it with you now........
“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. His eyes light up like Christmas when she comes around. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, to forgive the mistakes she would no doubt make, and to love her without limits…….she is daddy’s little girl.” Anonymous
My dad was strong, big and powerful, in my little girl eyes. He opened jars of pickles when no one else could. He was the brave one to go to the creepy basement storage room, all by himself, or head out front to investigate a strange noise in the darkest of night, and in just an opening of my bedroom door, could scare away the monsters I was sure were lurking under my bed. I remember thinking that nothing could ever hurt me when my daddy was around.
He cut himself shaving nearly every Sunday morning and would come to breakfast with little bits of toilet paper stuck to his face to prevent anything getting on his Sunday shirt. He could build a bowl of cereal like no one else, layers of bananas, cookies or cake, then cereal and milk to the top, almost overflowing….one of the few tasks he could handle in the kitchen.
Dad could sit on the handlebars of my mom’s bike, and ride backwards, all the way down the street without crashing. Well, without crashing very often, and going around town, he often had us kids in tow, one on the front handlebars and one on his back.
Even in the midst of going back to school, he always took the time to throw a softball with us, high high up in the air, or go on a family bike ride every evening.
Dad was a hard worker and a HUGE dreamer! He had business failures and he had business successes, but the best part was he boldly faced the next challenge with excitement, and a WHOLE lot of napkins full of ideas over dinner. The guy could draw up an incredible house remodel, or business plan, and magic would unfold, on that little white square. I learned to just let him talk and dare to dream BIG with him! I find myself today, a bolder, bigger dreamer because of his love of it.
We are here today to celebrate a LIFE well lived…..Dad made sure of that. He took every moment and used it to the FULLEST. He wanted you guys to smile today. To tell stories of the good ol days, and to LAUGH. This was to be a CELEBRATION!
For the past 3 years, daddy has been the 5% survivor of many different medical problems. He was the one to walk away the VICTOR from various forms of cancer, surgery, and counter effects to all the above. His FIGHT never wavered, and neither did his SPUNK. The man just kept on LIVING well…..Traveling, working and enjoying his life. The doctors were always shocked at how well he was doing.
Did you know he walked himself out of ICU, 3 days after major brain surgery, when a nurse and wheelchair were nowhere to be found?
He just took off on his own. Drea had gone to pull the car around to meet the nurse, and when she pulled up to the door, there he was standing alone with his bags, just waiting for her! You couldn’t keep the man down if you tried.
So let me take a moment, and tell you the life lessons I’ve learned from the man who called me PUNKIN…..
Proverbs 15:1 says A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The man NEVER raised his voice! Literally. He, like a calm before the storm, got reallyreally QUIET, not loud, when trouble was amuck….. It probably would’ve been easier if he would’ve just hollered at us when Chad was in trouble!
Dad always taught me that “Laughter is the best medicine” (side note: Have you heard a Bontrager brother giggle? Best sound in the world!)
Dad practiced this moto everywhere he went! Fresh out of major brain surgery – the room is silent barring the beeping machines. Dad is propped in his bed with tubes and wires coming out all over. Nurses are slipping in and out to check vitals, and on the way out, one accidently kicks the metal trash can with a BANG. Dad, eyes not even open yet, says
“WELL, at least HE kicked the bucket and not me!!!!!!!”
My daddy, he taught me to be brave. To face adversity with a smile.
He taught me that “not all who wander are lost”. I am honored to have “wandered” across the US with him several times now, and it was he who cheered me on the loudest, when we made the decision to sell everything, and travel full time as a family.
He taught me to work hard for my dreams to make them reality.
That it doesn’t matter how you finish the race, as long as you just FINISH.
He always encouraged me to live out my truth, even when it’s ugly. Allowing my Heavenly Father to make a MESS into a MESSAGE.
He showed me how to lead with a smile and make lemonade out of life’s lemons.
Dad had people in stitches everywhere we went! Either that or screaming and jumping in the air from his GYNORMOUS sneezes! (If you have ever been around my dad during a sneeze, you KNOW what I am talking about!!!!)
He showed me that we GO BIG then go home. My Dad literally just lived that out in front of my eyes.
A few years ago, dad had a dream. He told us later, he saw Nora, his mother, who passed away when he was young, on the other side of a fence. She was young, beautiful, smiling and waving at him. As he moved towards her she said,
“Not yet, Clarence. Not yet.”
I know a joyous reunion just happened in Heaven this past week: mother, father, brothers, grandchildren, family, friends, race fans, a stranger, who was touched by dad’s life and laughter…...
And I know, one day when I walk through Heaven’s gates, I’ll see those twinkly eyes again and that big smile and hear, “Hey PUNKIN!”
Oh, what a glorious day that will be!!!!
Until then, I have to teach my heart to just keep beating. My mind to house the many memories I have with him. To tell my ears to hang on to the sound of his laughter, and my arms, the feeling of his, wrapping me tight in a warm hug, as he brushes a kiss by my ear……
And I‘ll just keep smiling and laughing in honor of his sunshine-y ways.
My daddy gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me, even during times I didn’t believe in myself. He always knew I could, and so…
I can’t say good bye today, I won’t, although it’s easy to feel the sting of loss. There is SUCH finality to this day.
But, with Jesus, we know this isn’t the end, it’s merely the beginning of something quite unimaginable……something breathtakingly beautiful.
So instead of goodbye I say,
So long for now, daddy, so long for now.
I sure do love you.
Please cover us in your prayers today, we need strength, peace, courage....Jesus knows.
You know how you know something might be coming, and think you are at peace and prepared for it, and then it wallops you upside the head, and you realize there is literally, absolutely, no way to ever be ready for these moments?
So its very very very hard to find a place to stay in southern Florida in the winter....we knew we might have to do some RV Park hopping. Not the end of the world, but annoying none the less. And the next closest RV park with openings can be hours away, not condusive for running over for a quick minute to help with dads care.
And the Lord moved mountains again, for us to stay at the RV park closest to my dad's house for the next MONTH straight. Thank you, Jesus! We are less than 3 miles away!!!!
I really really love the setting!!!!! This place rocks!
We always put out this sign my dad made us, but everything becomes more special at a time like this, right? Sigh.
I had to take a photo to share.
The kids FAVORITE part is that we have 2 perfect hammock trees right outside the door. They read out there for hours!
The RV park itself is really nice too. We do family walks at the end of the day and swim most afternoons at the nice pool. We go see Papa as much as possible, while also allowing them their own schedule and time together.
We are making ourselves right at home, putting out a jar for sun tea, and Avery decided our RV number pole needed some Christmas Spirit. Look closely, there are antlers too! Clever girl.
We spend a lot of time out front under the awning, just enjoying the nice weather and some family time after school.
Uncle Chad and Lauren are coming down each weekend, this time kidless. Uncle Chad played so Battleship with Pax and he loved that.
The kids talked me into a $10 ginger bread kit. What a joke! They sure don't make em like they used to,
Did I just age myself? Hahah ;) Its so gross, they used to at least be real cookies, now its like cardboard.
We had Brie Arugula Burgers for dinner, yummo!
When the kids get antsy, we head the 5 minutes to the beach and RUN EM HARD. I still forget sometimes, we are so close to the ocean. We usually winter 3 hours north of here!!!!
I'll update you on dad soon.....the time is drawing near for his homecoming.
3 years ago, in the peak of his cancer battle, my dad felt like the Lord gave him a verse about allowing him 15 more years. He read it in his quiet time, and could never find it again, but it encouraged him and give him fight when he needed it.
The other day dad said to me, I wonder why He changed his mind????
OH my word, break my heart.
I said, Daddy you can still believe for 12 more years! We need our faith to be STRONGER than what our eyes can see! (some great advice from some awesome friends)
I think life can be a little discouraging when your two main things you love are taken from you - your ability to move and your ability to speak and joke as you are accustomed.
I hate seeing my daddy like this, and was praying and praying for a Word from the Lord, not only for him, but for ME too. This is the most discouraging situation! And no answers. So I needed SOMETHING, a nugget to hold on to the the Lord was with us.
And He ALWAYS answers!!! What a blessing!!!!!
Our awesome prayer warrior friends, Pastor Jesse and Edith, often call with a word from the Lord for us. I love when He speaks through them to me!!!
This time, the Lord woke Edith up in the middle of the night with a message for me to give to dad.......
These 2 verses! The very ones he had read years before....
She also said if my dad wants to go home, that its ok for him to want that too. Paradise awaits him. I asked daddy if he wanted to fight for life anymore and he said he wasn't sure.
I know that whether Jesus heals my daddy here on earth, or heals him by taking him to Heaven, that we can rejoice that there is life and hope and healing for us all.
Here and on the other side....
Update: 3 days after I made this post, dad stopped wanting to get out of his bed and sit in the chair. Hospice is saying 3 to 7 days. I almost didn't post this, but somehow, somewhere, this all fits into the story and I need it to be here to read later. xoxo
So you have a WEE bit of homework to do before joining our class.
Wait, don't shut off this blog post yet, it's EASY, I promise!
Watch these 3 minute videos......they are AMAAAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! And important for you to watch before class if at all possible please :)
Then, PRINT OUT, or download, a digital copy of this class on a second device, for you to follow along with on Saturday! You'll want to take notes.
Natural Solutions Hand out
See you then! I am so excited to teach you more about these oils that have radically changed our lives! I am also giving away great prizes to those participating LIVE.....
It all takes place on our event page:
What a treat to get to have a Girls Day OUT! Well, a morning out anyhow. Dale and the boys stayed home with Papa, and the girls slipped out for farmers market, and a wonderful brunch at a darling old train station building.....
Flokie, Aunt Torreys sweet puppy, came too. We may or may not have tempted him with some french toast bites.... ;)
Look at that SWEET WITTLE FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out these dishes!!! I am such a foodie. I appreciate fresh ingredients, yummy food and attention to detail. This place had it all!
Smoked salmon eggs on a brie smothered bread
Cinnamon roll pancakes
We hit the farmers market, no pics, but I did buy cucumbers for gyros and tomatoes and sweet onions for sandwiches for school lunches that week. YUMMM!!!!!
Sweet sisters, love them and their relationship!
We shopped a specialty grocery store and bakery and headed home to the guys....
It was time to call in a day......Flokie was PLUM worn out!
After having LOOOONG hair most of my life, like to my waist long, cutting my hair was always scary to me. However, having 10 pound babies in August is a pretty motivating reason to go into at least a bob hair cut. Haha, my ponytail always gave me SUCH a headache before that!
So in the hair world, cutting my hair into a short pixie was the BRAVEST thing I have ever done. We were moving into an RV, and everything else in my life was changing, so why not hair too? I was always scared of letting my ears show, but went for it........AND LOVED IT!
So after 3 years of varying pixies, I find myself in a pickle.......
In order to try out some of the new hairdos I have saved, I must first GROW OUT my current pixie a bit.
That is SO boring!!!!!
I can only imagine the look on my face when my hair dresser sent me home with the tiniest of trim, instead of a cool new do.
She is so darn sensible and totally right.
So here we grow......
4 weeks later, I found I had to stop parting my hair all the way to the back, and had to change the direction and make a little "Bump"......
About a week and a half after this, I am so hairy I cannot even take it!
I am sorry but when you get used to short hair, you cannot stand how long your neck and ears feel when they grow a quarter of an inch even. EWWWW!
So bring on the headbands to hide behind.......
I found these on amazon and super love them!
Here is what I am hoping to grow to:
Something like these with a sneaky undercut shave!
This is pretty bold and scares me, but I suppose if I got hot, it'd feel good!
And if I am REALLY feeling the grow out, I can just do this instead........its very very similar to what I have currently, bump and all......just longer.
What would you do if you were me?
I'll keep you updated with pics as we go, er grow......