Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear Friends,

On Saturday, January 24 Norman Goehring went to be in the sweet arms of His Savior. I cannot even begin to describe the journey that he and his family have had to face. But this I DO know: the Lord never once left Norman's side. And if he were here today, he would tell you the same.

Norman was a loving Husband, a wonderful father, and a dear friend. His laugh could be heard wherever he went; that deep-down, contagious laugh that could brighten the darkest place and put a smile on everyone's face. No one who knew Norman could help but love his laugh. When I was younger I used to spend the night a lot with his daughter, Ariel. Many times we'd wake up in the morning to the smell of pancakes or waffles and we'd shuffle our sleepy selves into the kitchen and receive not only a plateful of good things but the biggest, warmest smile. He put up with a lot from the two of us and, more often than not, would end up laughing in the background as we (literally) buried our faces in syrupy pancakes or made ridiculous home video "commercials" advertising that mornings milk: *hoity toity English accent* "It's like Orbit.....Orbit gum. It's good for your bones" *giggles in the background.* I still remember the way he would look at us with a gleam in his eye and say, "Oh, Brother!"

Norman was also a very faithful and caring elder in our church. His sincere love was a blessing to many people. Even in his last days on this earth, when his only form of communication was though letter charts and blinking, he ministered. To hear Philippians 1 read at his request was like hearing Norman speak again. He loved that passage and would very often ask people to read it out loud. Through that and other Scriptures, he'd counsel, admonish, encourage, and build people up. Probably, for me, one of the most memorable and faith building things about Norman was that (according to Debra, his wife) he never once ventured to accuse God or ask why he had been handed such a hardship. Instead he'd say "Why not?" Only faith that comes from the one true God could have produced such a response. If Christ were only a "good teacher" (as some might say), Norman would not have been able to say that with such peace in his eyes. Now that is a witness. In fact, on the very day that Norman went to be with the Lord, a few who were with him happened to notice that some workers in the facility came across my dad's bible lying in the hallway and stopped to page through it for a while. Based on previous conversations they were probably looking for what is was that made Norman and his family tick. They couldn't understand how Norman and those around him could have so much peace about his situation. They looked in the right place. Even though Norman is no longer here in person, the memory of his faith and his steadfastness will stay for a long long time.

If you would like to attend his memorial service, it is being held at New Hope Community Church in Clovis at 1:00 pm this Friday (the 30th of January).

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~ Ephesians 3:20-21


Friday, January 9, 2009

day by day...

Just a post about life.
There have been EVENTS, and they're worth a post, too.
(We've got some fun photos from New Year's Day with our friends at the Lichti's home.)
But, I've got to leave something for Kaylee to post.
(And I won't show you her teeth-whitening photos. That'll be up to her. Or not. Betcha she'll choose "not.")

"Doing school" (as if all of life isn't school?!) in the living room, near the woodstove.
Connor with the Logic book.
(The Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle gives me pause as I step on the scale post-holiday.)
Kaylee working on the muscles section of her anatomy book.
(The other night as she crawled into bed: "Mom, would you rub my back?... That's the trapezius. Could you move to my deltoid now?" Sure Kaylee. Whatever. :-)

And as Cuddles joins them, she's greeted with, "Dog, you SMELL!" So Kaylee announces that after anatomy studies, she's giving Cuddles a bath.

And we even have doggie deoderant.

She looks ashamed, doesn't she?

Oh, the things a dog must endure.
No heat lamp or flames from The Inferno
(tho Cuddles may have been expecting Virgil to pop in and witness her circle of torment).
Just playing around with Picasa tints.

Quick! Grab the towel before she SHAKES!
Meanwhile, Connor has headed to the garage to work with Dad and David, a friend who wants to start a wood project with Tim.
Showing David how to use the power tools.
When David was just 5 years old he lived in our neighborhood - and he remembers helping Tim build some furniture for our home. (See the cupboard in the top photo of this post. David remembers helping to make the heart-cutout on the front of it.)
We're glad that he's back in our lives after all these years.(Uh, oh... you can see all the STUFF we've got stashed in our garage.)

And when Tim's not doing other things, he's often studying.
(These next 2 photos were taken about 2 years ago, in Lawrence, KS. Tim was giving a seminar, and the church there put us up in a beautiful historic hotel.)
Tim's a good man. I love him.
And I really like these photos of him that I just rediscovered.

And then there was a quiet Sunday afternoon.
I just finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe it was my first time straight through. I'm not sure. But I think it's time to start it again.

And Kaylee tried to rally the troops for a round of Dutch Blitz. But the woodstove worked its powers on us all. Took Kaylee right out.
(Yes, that's aluminum foil covering up the big missing chunk of glass. Right next to the top-to-bottom crack. The foil's cheaper than the $140 it takes to replace the glass.)

New helmet and goggles.And Connor's constant pre-occupation: Snowboarding.
He's at Sierra Summit right now trying it for the first time. Last year he skiied and loved it and couldn't wait to go again this winter. Tim, who loves to ski, is trying out snowboarding with him, too. Kaylee's sticking with skiing for now and hoping to get more comfortable with it. She did way better than ME last year. You'll notice that I'm NOT skiing.

And there's always the sweetest of pastimes:
holding Graham.
One final word about what's filled our thoughts lately.
Our dear brother, Norman, and his family.(Sorry these photos are a couple of years old, girls. You're probably mortified that I'd post such long-ago ones of you! Caitlin doesn't always look like this, either -- she was in costume for Pilgrim's Progress in this picture above.)

We all love you and can't begin to understand all that you've all suffered during these 2 years since the ALS diagnosis. These are rough days and nights, I'm sure.

Here's something I came across the other day. Norman got it for us.

Our copy of the Heidelberg Catechism, now sitting out in our home (little green book below) to remind me of its words (Norman memorized it in his growing-up years).

Question #1- What is thy only comfort in life and in death?

That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto Him.

Question #57 - What comfort does the "resurrection of the body" afford thee?

That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head; but also, that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ.

Question #58 - What comfort hast thou from the article of "life everlasting"?

That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, I shall after this life possess complete bliss, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, therein to praise God forever.