Dearest friends across the board, thank you for all your love and support these intense days and moments. The children thoroughly enjoy opening mail, we have been greatly blessed and humbled by all your contributions.
Surely, Daniel, the father of my six little children was the love of my life, and much more deeply so, than I could ever tell. Never, in a hundred years would I have chosen to not have him. I admit, there were times I wondered what God has in store for him. Like the times he would so fondly speak of heaven, and how he can’t wait to grow older, so he’d get closer to heaven. Then there were those times where he said, ”I want to stay here to care for you all, but if God would take me home, He would most certainly take care of you all! There’s no doubt, I know He would take care of you!” Still, I didn’t know, he didn’t know; certainly, for the deep love he had fro each of us, he would’ve done all in his power to stay with us.
There are so many things I’d like to share with you all this morning, but for a lack of space, “I’ll pick several aspects, then next week I’ll be sharing more of the actual events of that one and only Monday.
You know how passionate he was about family and doing all he could for his family in future years. Thus, his vision of planting over 1,000 chestnut trees was born. Last fall was an all-time blast as we all worked together as a family. Now this spring when Daniel purchased a big track hoe, it was to all of our delight, especially to the little boys. After several weeks of working on clearing the edge of our 85-acre woods, definite progress could be seen, he was getting ready for his little family to help him plant more chestnuts. But while working on removing trees with his backhoe and chain saw, there was a freak accident, causing him to be pinched between a giant tree and the hoe.
There were few things we enjoyed more as a family, then only two days before he went to be with Jesus, he took all of us out to the chestnut field with our little antique tractor and a small trailer he had made. There were happy shouts of delight as the children ran hither and yon, putting extra ties on tree shelters that had come loose, and doing whatever needed to be done to keep things in good shape. Several times, Daniel beamed at me where I sat on the trailer holding Joshua. He knew how much I relished these times. “Life is just about too good!” I told him.
Now I look at so many, many little things we did as a family or discussed as a couple, that I will forever be thankful for, such as our weekly date that last week. Our usual 30 minute date, stretched to more than double that time, as I sat on the floor by his feet, as he told me many things that were on his heart, and his vision for various aspects of life.
Then there was the devotional he shared on Sunday night at our hymn singing (the evening before he went to heaven). I could tell that the subject on his heart lay heavy upon him as he told me what he plans to share about. “You know in Jeremiah 17, verse 8, it talks about trees planted by the waters, and how they do not shrivel up and dry out when their roots go down deeply into the rivers of waters. And the verse right before that explains that trust and hope is what it takes to make those roots go down deep…”
That evening just before the singing started, he would go to his office time and again, to pray and meditate. Half an hour into the singing, he got to his feet. Looking across the people gathered there, I could see the conviction in his eyes, and the passion in his heart. It came from deep within. I listened intently, “…you know, I tried to come with something that compares with trusting God, thus allowing our roots to go down deep. There was nothing that I could come up with that even closely resembles the deep absolute trust we can have in our Lord.”
Little did I think I’d find myself in a hospital in Evansville the following day, as he hung between life and death. Little had I imagined how I’d grasp to these words. Still today, little am I able to really grasp the wonder of God’s provision, as we do just that- trust. His provision has no end.
Never before in our lives, have we cried so much, and never before have we seen him so faithful.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support- it all makes a difference! I’ll leave you with Daniel’s all-time favorite, underground ham casserole. When our dear neighbors, who hosted the viewing with 850 people, and the funeral the following day with a count of 700. Underground ham casserole was one of the dishes served,.I was filled with emotion. Imagine eating underground ham casserole (which I used to call Daniel’s love language) without Daniel! But then of course, it was so healing as well. Underground ham casserole is like a ham and mashed potato casserole, it is called “underground” because the ham is buried under a layer of mashed potatoes.
Yes, the children and I talk about Daddy a lot, jotting things he said and did, into a special tablet, as a keepsake of our beloved Daniel.
HAM & MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE
· 2 cups diced ham
· 2 tablespoons butter
· 1 /4 cup onion
· 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
· 1 can mushroom soup*
· 1 cup melting cheese such as Velveeta
· 1/3 cup milk
· 2 quarts mashed potatoes
· 1/2 bacon bits, opt
1. Combine ham, butter, onions, and Worcestershire sauce and sauté till onions are soft.
2. Put in a baking dish and spread evenly.
3. Heat soups, cheese, and milk.
4. Pour over ham. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Put potatoes on top of ham mixture.
6. Sprinkle bacon bits on top and bake 20 minutes longer.