Archive for the ‘Marriage and Family’ Category


A light, little romp today… a bleed over from a currently popular Facebook meme:  “Name three fictional characters with whom you identify.”  I pass this along here because someday my posterity may not know or remember me, but they will surely be able to find these three characters in literature to piece together a fairly accurate sketch of me.

My choices?  Miss Bates (from Jane Austen’s Emma), Puddleglum (from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair), and Miss Caroline Bingley (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice).  I desperately wanted Joe Gargery (from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations) for his simpleness, but alas, I know I am not that good.

My reasoning?
1) Miss Bates for her social awkwardness;
2) Puddleglum for his rare mix of pessimism and faith; and
3) Miss Bingley because, well… Hamlet expresses my thoughts in all ways but one; unlike me, he seems unable to answer his own question:

“I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?”

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

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To My Dear Father
1 August 2016
Hi Dad,
I wanted to take the time to wish you a happy 76th birthday.  I recently had the opportunity to go through some old photos and I was reminded of how grateful I am to have had you and mom as parents and the good home and upbringing you both made for us girls.  First and foremost, I’m so grateful for the value of love for God which you both gave us.  It must have been difficult to meld your two denominations, especially in a time when those things were more strictly divided. But I always knew that Saturday night we’d be settling into our preparations for the next day and that Sunday morning, without fail, we’d all be going to church.  That rhythm you set, despite going to two different churches, let me know that our time set apart to reverence our Lord was not going to be negotiated and it established a pattern in our hearts from an early age.
Although Holly was too young to remember, Heide and I have warm memories of living in town.  But I want to thank you, too, for all the opportunities you made for us when we moved out into the country (hard to believe that was “the country” once, isn’t it?) You instilled in us an ethic of work (with the morning to-do lists you’d leave us girls) and of doing a job well.  You gave us opportunities to enjoy the fruits of our labors by allowing us to earn money with the gardening and our chickens or pigs.  And you gave us the privilege of knowing that we were contributing in our small way to the family good, whether it was helping to set fence poles or harvesting vegetables or taking care of the animals or hoeing the shelter belt.  I (we) didn’t always like those jobs, but amazingly we all look back now with fond, funny stories of those tasks and we’re so glad they were a part of our childhood.  Work wasn’t the only opportunities you provided for us, but it’s surprising how warm and fuzzy that forced labor seems to us now.  I also thank you for things like your work at our lake cabin, 4H, a playhouse, time with our larger family and cousins, vacations, as well as showing us how to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, etc.
Lastly, thank you by leading us in good character.  As a man of routine, we watched you go off to work each day (even when office politics must have made things difficult at times) and come home on time.  You’d enjoy a very s-l-o-w-l-y eaten supper (while we cleaned up dishes around you) and then you’d have a bit of a rest on the couch before heading outside to do your “putzing and tinkering” (often with Jim, a.k.a “Elmer Fudd”).  Your willingness to help others in need, your honest work, moderation in everything, and your steady approach to almost everything you’ve ever done, really defines you.  Thank you for letting us grow up seeing that played out in your life.
So, on this, your 76th birthday, I pray you will know that we hold you very close in our hearts… as we do each day.  Thank you for everything.
Lots of love,


Dad and Kim - snip

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Lucy, Calvin, Lewis

Welcome to our very blessed family, sweet little Lucy Grace, born May 26th at 9:59 p.m., 7# 9 oz. and 20″ long.

You are named after one of my favorite characters in literature – good Lucy Pevencie.  May you live courageously and nobly as Lucy does, and find Aslan ever your hope and joy.

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college II

This is an open letter to my nieces and nephews who are attending college this fall (Curran, Charlie, Peyton, Noah, and Morgan). I just wanted to let you know that you’ve all been on my heart as you make your way to classes this year. I carry such good thoughts about my college years and even still both Uncle Dana and I would readily join Courtney at school if we had all the freedoms in the world – ha. I hope that you will always love learning even beyond these years in college – it adds so much richness to life!

Even more than your schooling, though, I wish for you to finish your years there with a growing, vibrant faith in the Lord Jesus. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses or forfeits himself? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Jesus asked. You must vigilantly guard your heart for, I dare say, you will find a very different worldview promoted from that in which you were raised – a view which reflects a world without a God. You will find this worldview to be, not only ambivalent toward God, but vehemently opposed to God. As others have characterized the new atheism, they do not believe that God exists… and they hate Him. I am most certain, you will encounter the evangelists of this worldview on campus.

College is a hotbed that Satan desires to use to divide young people from the mooring of the teachings they have received while they were growing. Let me warn you that each day you must enter the battle for body, soul, and mind – a battle for your body (against sexual sin – active or visual), a battle for your soul (against the abuse of drugs and alcohol), and a battle for your mind (against a worldview that denies God… and hates the name of Jesus).

(Of course, Curran, you’ve been doing this for some time), but in college, one begins to stand independent of your family… but not alone. The prayers of your family precede you, but even more immediate, our loving Father offers life and hope and peace to those who are His. Sexual sin, chemical abuse, life empty and bereft of any connection to our Creator – these are only impotent substitutes that our enemy can conjure to distract mankind from true joy and peace and a meaningful life and future, which is only found in Jesus Christ.

I’m sure you’ll be aware of your academic GPA while at school, but, even more, I would remind you to guard your heart and be protective of what one author calls your spiritual GPA (God, Peers, and Authorities). If you determine to make your personal relationship with GOD through Jesus your priority, you will need to have some key PEERS who are seeking to do the same thing so you can walk together, and you will need to cautiously select the AUTHORITIES to whom you grant the leadership and mentoring of your mind and spirit. I would warn you against any who would divide you from the loving-kindness of God, be they peers or the teachers and mentors that are academically over you.

That’s all… I just wanted you to know you go through these years with your family rooting for you and waiting and watching to see what wisdom will be formed in you, but above this, we pray that Christ will be formed in you in these key years.

Blessings, dear hearts.
Love, Auntie Kim

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Seth & Joy - kissing
Dana and I are so pleased to welcome a new member to our family! Our son, Seth, recently married a kindred spirit, Joy Schneider. We are glowing in the aftermath of our trip to Joy’s Oregon home for the wedding. We found a house to rent in the Portland area, so in those precious days before the wedding, our whole family was under one roof – Dana and I, Seth, all of our kiddos and grandsons – what a gift!

We spent our days in praise and worship. We joined the Schneider family Sunday morning at Pastor Jeff Lacine’s Sellwood Baptist Church. We relished the fellowship of family and friends at the Groom’s Dinner – it was amazing how many of their friends made the trip from the Midwest to help us celebrate and we were blessed to have family from home and Michigan with us as well!  And, as He did in Cana, the Lord attended the evening garden wedding which was bathed in God’s Word and followed by a happy reception of joy and laughter.

Our prayers for this new family envision a joyous household leaning heavily on the breast of their heavenly Father and spreading the fragrance of Christ to all they encounter.

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Bryce with Kim and Dana I
Congratulations to our dear son, Bryce, as he graduated last week with his B.A. in History of Ideas from Bethlehem College and Seminary. Bryce’s first year of college was at the local university where he was a percussion major. With his hard work ethic and God-given ability, it’s likely he could have distinguished himself in that field.

However, the Lord got a hold of his heart mid-way through his freshman year and called him away from that to a Christian college and most decidedly to Bethlehem. What a blessing to watch his spiritual growth that first year as he developed a gravity and intentionality about his faith. It was also a joy to find him in a program that really challenged him for once with its stringent demands and Socratic wrestlings. Bryce not only rose to the occasion, but excelled.

God, alone, knows his plans for this young man of character. Bryce is submitted to God’s leading and there is no other place we’d want our boy. Seminary graduate, John Norris, addressed the others in caps and gowns that day, “No part of our lives is unclaimed.” I know this is Bryce’s heart.

Congratulations to our funny, earnest, talented, dedicated, hard-working, submitted son. Joy to you in this moment, direction throughout your life, and Victory in the end!

Great love,

– – – – –

Education is not the mere transfer of knowledge.  “Education is the instilling of habits of mind and heart that incline and enable students for the rest of their lives to:

Observe the word and the world…
Understand what they observe…
Evaluate what they have understood…
Feel that evaluation [own it]…
Apply their discoveries to all of life…
And express these discoveries clearly and accurately and creatively and winsomely…
for the glory of God and the good of the world.”

~Chancellor John Piper, articulating the driving vision and standard of a BCS education as he addressed 2015 graduates and family at the President’s Reception earlier that evening.

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Dad and Kim

With Valentine’s Day approaching a couple of weeks ago, I picked up my dad to go out with him to look for a gift for his wife. It’s probably safe to say that gift-giving is not one of my dad’s love languages, probably because material goods mean so little to him, personally. Although an exceedingly generous man at heart, his generosity would likely be expressed in gifts of his time and help; say, help in moving into a new home, or in putting the heart pine flooring in said home, or in moving all your basement possessions to a higher floor and sandbagging around, you guessed it, said home when floodwaters threatened, etc.

I remember while I was working at Sears during college, my dad would come in on Christmas Eve day needing advice and help on picking out some gifts for my mom. [In fairness to dad, the store was primarily visited by men on that day… and I don’t mean just a few.] My dad is twice a widower and has been blessed to find a godly third wife who brings a richness to their union and Dad is a better person for her in his life.  So, although admittedly challenged in the gift-giving department myself, I have been glad to revive our old shopping relationship, helping him look for that just-right gift for their special occasions. Thankfully for both of us, we are usually helped by advice from my two distant sisters, who must have received my mom’s genes in this area – ha.

In the past few years the family has begun to notice some difficulties my dad has been having with his memory. I know this bothers him and I regret that he cannot always recall the history we both share. Here’s what I’ve observed, though, on our hunting trips. Although shopping for a woman is still foreign territory (“I don’t know what they like”) and Dad is more likely than ever to second guess his judgment these days, even in little things; when given the time to make his own selection (with a little of my input), he still proves himself to be the kind-hearted person I’ve always known him to be, taking in his choices and doing his best to give sober consideration for the person for whom he’s shopping. He may not always remember later what gift he purchased or where he put it, but in the moment, in the day he made the purchase, his thoughts are toward the person and toward expressing as much care as he can in getting them something they will like.

I am reminded of a true love story I read of Ian and Larissa. This couple met and fell in love in college. Both loved the Lord and each other and were making plans to be married when Ian suffered a major head injury from a car accident which left him sick and disabled. After waiting four years, Ian and Larissa renewed their plans and were married with eyes wide open. It’s definitely a story worth reading.

In a follow-up to their life, I remember Larissa talked about all the lessons she learns from living with her disabled husband. One lesson had to do with the fact that Ian struggles with his long-term memory. She said that as much as she would wish for a husband who remembered along with her, she has learned from Ian to live in the present and to be mindful in the present. Ian never holds a grudge or nurses a grievance.  It is impossible for him to keep a record of wrongs. This reality has taught Larissa to live more in the moment, to enjoy the pleasures at hand when they come, to take what Ian can offer in the moment, etc.

I am grateful for the example my dad is setting for me through his losses and struggles, whether he realizes it or not.  More and more, when we are together, we may only have the present to share and, really, isn’t that all any of us are promised?  But even though things have changed, I am grateful for the many presents that we are still able to enjoy (and yes, there is a double meaning in that).

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