Friday, March 27, 2015

She swept

They pulled into the yard,
with that long black car.
She nodded her head
and then she said,

I just need a little more time.

Without a word
they stepped out of the way
folded their hands and
bowed their heads

She whispered soft
words only for him
I’m not quite sure
but I think she said

I just want a little more time

She left the room
as they carried him out
I followed behind
but stayed out of her way

She grabbed a broom
and swept invisible dust
faster and faster,
until the floor was wet.

She swept and wept
but couldn’t sweep
the hurt away

All she wanted was a little more time.


I'd love to hear from you, pray for you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Divine Timing of Ma’s Promotion

Ma's promotion date was more telling than we realized.

Her departure date was the Divinely inspired grand finale and declaration of her Lord. 
Today, as we celebrate the second anniversary of Ma’s first breath of Life. The heavens celebrate as well with a total solar eclipse and a super-moon which lands in the middle of a tetrad, (four blood moons). Books have been written about this event.
This first day of spring…two years ago today our Ma met her Jesus face to face.
Mary Gertrude DeVlaeminck, born February 4, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to John J. Rewa and Ida May Shawl. Mary passed away at eighty-seven years young into the open arms of her Lord on March 20, 2013, at Madelia Luther Memorial Home surrounded by her family.

3.3.13 we flew north—3.20.13 she did too, only a bit further.

We were met by a Minnesota wind that bit clear through the skin. It didn’t matter how much you wore, the cold cut to the core.

A prelude to that which was to come

For seventeen days subzero winds blew harsh and hard, mirroring death’s attempt to create a ground zero before the princess finished her course.

At first, she was only There for a visit…

“Come in, Sweet Princess Mary.” His Voice echoed from everywhere.

Princess? She thought and took a step and stopped. I can walk? She took another step and then another—quicker—and then she skipped and twirled like a school girl. Her blue dress billowed. I know I’m dreaming. But it feels so real. I love this. I love this place.

“This is no dream.” He smiled.

“I feel so free” she jumped, hands over her head. “Like I’ve been released from a lifetime in prison—I’m free” she sang. 
She liked the sound of her voice, no longer a whisper, no longer gravel.

His eyes danced. He laughed. It was a good laugh—like parents laugh watching children open presents on Christmas morn. “You’re in your new Home, Sweet Princess Mary.”

Princess? My oh my…I feel like one. “It’s not a dream? My new Home? It’s beautiful, I’ve never imagined anything so wonderful—ever. I love it.”
Suddenly, she stopped. Her eyes grew wide—even wider than before. “You…You must be, Jesus.” She squeaked and her hands flew over her mouth. “I recognize You from my dreams”

“Those weren’t dreams—and yes, I AM.” His smile dropped a bit. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

“You, have a favor to ask, of me? Who am I?” She bowed her head. “How can I do anything for You?”  She lifted her eyes ever so slowly. “But I will, anything for You my Lord.”

HIS eyes softened, “Will you return?”

She remembered life on earth. The weakness. The pain. Her failing body. Back to prison? No, I can’t do that. “Oh my…please no. You don’t understand—it was prison.”

His smile returned creased with compassion. “My sweet princess, I do understand. You won’t be alone. I’ll never leave you.”

She looked at His eyes and saw Love so deep it made her weep.

Nail scarred hands wiped tears from her eyes.

“For a little while? I have a special day appointed.”
She nodded.
He held her close and looked her in the eye. “The enemy will try to take you too soon. Just like he did with Me, when I walked the earth. But hold fast. I won’t let you go.”

“Oh my Lord, is there any other way?”

He wrapped His arms around her, kissed her forehead, and made a soft laugh. “I tried that prayer too, remember?”

“Yes, I remember” she whispered.

“And…?” He whispered back.

“You said in the garden, ‘Not My will but Yours be done.’ ”

“And what do you say?”

“How will I know, when I can return—” she looked up at Him—"to You?”

“When you see your special messenger, then you’ll know.”

She remembered another Mary who faced a difficult decision. She smiled, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.”

In that instant death pierced an icy blade—she winced and her eyes squeezed shut. She was back in prison.

She willed herself to stay, one more second, one more minute, hour, day. She pushed toward the finish—even though she didn’t know when that would be.

Death blew cold and hard. “Give up and go home” it hissed.

She squeezed her eyes shut in pain, too weak to speak.

“Think of your kids. They don’t want to see you in pain. Let go, curse God and die.” The serpent would sting.

She wanted to go. To be free of this prison. She missed her husband and would whisper, “Hank.”
Her kids told her it was okay to go and be with dad. They prayed the Lord would take her Home if it was her time to go.
But the words of her Lord echoed in her soul. “When you see your special messenger, then you’ll know.” So, she held on, and longed for the day her special messenger would arrive.

Death pierced.
She persevered.

The coronation celebration was set.
The Book of Life was written.
The enemy of her soul did everything in his power to squelch her life—to get her to throw in the towel. But she willed her heart to beat, until her final hour.

Death hissed, “What are you waiting for? There’s no special time—no special hour. It’s time to go.”

“Dear Lord is it time?” she’d ask in her heart.

“Not yet…but soon.”

For seventeen days she pulled each breath through fluid filled lungs, like sucking mud through a straw.

Against death’s taunts, she willed her weary heart to beat…until the day she saw him. And at that moment she knew.

“Time to go” he simply said.

His words shook her soul.
She choked out three short coughs her eyes popped open and fell shut again as she sprang from her body.
Her heart stopped…her face went pale.

She floated on air and touched every child in the room as she whispered, “As ever, forever, I love you.”

“We’ve lost her” echoed between sobs around the room.

She turned to her special messenger, “I’m ready.”

As they were about leave the special messenger said, “You may have lost her, but she’s not lost.”

None of us heard his voice, but all of us knew the message I punched into the phone…
“She’s Home.”

As they traveled from this realm to the next the princess turned toward her special messenger—such a handsome escort he was. “What’s your name?” she said.

He smiled at her, with familiar eyes, “You always called me Hank.”


The first day of spring the angels did sing

Come forth Sweet Princess Mary

Your day has come

For you have won

The first day of spring she sprung free of life’s shackle into God’s tabernacle.

God’s declaration from the Home Coming Coronation of Sweet Princess Mary:

“Enter into the joy of the Lord my Sweet Princess Mary. This first day of spring represents a new season for you and your children who are left behind. I wanted them to remember this day as a day of new beginning, not ending.
And you, My sweet precious child welcome to your new Home where there is no sorrow or pain. Only, as ever, forever, Love. ”

God’s specialty is bringing life from death. And He’s done it again.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My daughter had a baby…I had a book.

Yesterday our youngest girl had a boy. Congrats went all around. Thank you.

After thirteen grands and one great, more than ever, this time I can relate.

It came hard, like giving birth (as much as a man can know about such things). But, it had to come. I woke with words and scenes pounding for release. And when it was through, I realized, I hadn’t just written a story…

The other day a lady stopped by our house. My wife attends her Bible study. When she asked for me, I was a little surprised.

“Doug, I read your book,” she said.

I smiled, nodded and invited her to have a chair.

She sat down. “At the end, you ask for feedback…good or bad.”

I sat down.

“Did you mean that?” She looked me in the eye.

I pulled in a deep breath and nodded. “Yes, especially from you.” She knows her stuff. I respect her opinion, just wasn’t sure if I wanted it.

I just wanted to go on believing that I wrote a best seller. Why must my bubble pop so soon? Please…just let me wait a little longer before the weight of reality crushes my dreams. Please?  

Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Besides, if it’s too good to be true…

“Well, first let me say, I read a lot.” She spread her hands out indicating, A LOT. “Not just one subject either, but all sorts of things.”

Oh boy, just let me have it, I can take it, no matter how bad it is. Why’d I ever think I could write a book in the first place? Who do I think I am? Why would anyone want to read anything from me? I nodded, and swallowed the frog, that somehow got stuck in my throat.

She shook her head.

I sank a little deeper into the couch.

“I have to tell you—” she looked at me and took a slow breath—“nobody can read your book…”

Is it hot in here or what? How come the clock is ticking so loud?

“Nobody can read your book and not hear.”


“It’s all in there.”

It is?

“It’s more than a story…it’s a message. It’s all in there. Nobody can read it without hearing…”

“The Voice? HIS Voice,” I whispered.

She nodded.

My lips wanted to smile. “Every day, I pray for readers to hear.”

“You’ve shared things, deep things, that need to be said.”  

I knew what she meant. But until someone acknowledges the feelings of your heart, they just don’t seem real. Woven through the tapestry, is a message. Everything I’d want to say, every sermon I’d want to preach, all I’d want my kids and the world to know about how to live here, prepared for There, plays out in the scenes and characters of the story. The scenes have purpose—not just idle filler. It’s entertaining, but not just for entertainment. I believe, God has given me the honor of giving birth. He formed words from the dusty soil of my heart, and shaped them into a story. His story, bled through the pain and sorrow of my dead and broken past, into something life giving, something worth reading, useful for His good purpose and calling.

I stared at the floor and then out the window.  

She smiled.

“I’ve got to tell you…I think it’s the best book I’ve ever read.”

I passed out. Not really, but my eyes got blurry and that frog came back. I think I might’ve felt what a woman feels just after giving birth; elated, exhausted, exposed...

I thanked her then, and I thank her now. And not only her—but you. Because she’s not the only one, so many of you have sent your, congrats. I can’t tell you how much it means to a soul that just gave birth to a baby...or a book.

Thank you.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Here he is...

Whew…feels like I’m trying to catch my breath. Maybe, it’s all that coffee.


Friday, at my friend’s Memorial Service, I stood behind a pulpit—something I thought I’d never do again.

Three grandkids spent the weekend, that’s always a whirlwind or two.

Saturday I went sailing. Now, that was breathtaking.

Sunday my daughter went into the hospital and it was a hold-your-breath-day waiting for the call that her son had come…he finally did at 12:34 this morning. (3.16.15)

Do you wanna say, ‘hi’?

Okay… let me introduce 6lb. 9oz.  Mr. Stefan William Gronewold.

At first he didn't cry and needed a breathing tube, but now, all is well. 

Mommy and daddy are exhausted, (mostly mommy). 

We won't be able to see him for another month or so...hope I can hold my breath that long. 

Thanks for your prayers and for stopping by. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Small seeds grow big trees

Trying to read a text message on my ol’ flip-phone is like trying to gallop from a car-seat, where a saddle oughta go.

But it was good. The message—not so much the mode.  

She texted a few words, quiet and simple. Not flashy with photos on Facebook or Google. But, quiet and simple, private and personal. 

Like a friend on the back porch, with a cup of soup on a cold day. Or better still, a pecan pie fresh from the oven. 

With time and effort, punching the dial pad one number at a time, multiple times, to create each letter, I texted her back and told her thanks. I told her, life’s like fishing. Cast and cast, and wonder if there’s any fish out there. But now and then, you reel in a keeper.

That’s what your text meant to me.


Small seeds grow big trees

Thanks for sharing... you just might, make someone’s day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Listening to God talking

Two hundred miles round trip, on two hours sleep, made for a long day. The car was acting strange, like it had caught my cough. Almost home, one last stop. I pulled in the drive with my eyes still open…barely open.

Alexander Scourby’s voice echoed through earphones as he read to me all the way there and back. I shut off the mini talking Bible, pulled the plugs from my ears and placed it on the passenger seat.

Grandkids poured from the house like they usually do with hugs and hellos and kisses. It was nice, but I was tired.

I shuffled into their house and found my favorite rocker, the kids were kind and their chatter floated away. Only once—no twice—did they return. Once to cover me with a blanket and flip out the footrest, and again, to offer me a big glass of ice water. I smiled and nodded and sipped the water before drifting off to sleep.

My mind complained.  I hadn’t slept because I coughed most of the night. A few days before, I spent the night cleaning up a mysterious mess, which was followed by a sleepy day that devolved into chills, a headache and a sleep-robbing cough.

I was beat.

Two hundred miles I listened to the Word of God and at that moment couldn’t remember one Word that was read. My mind spinning, my throat burning, God where are You? The news is awful, innocents are slaughtered, my friend has died, my dad’s health is failing, the prayer list grows longer, the vehicle is stalling…and I can’t hear You for this stupid coughing.

Just then, I felt a hand rest on mine. I opened my eyes and my little five year old buddy, Peyton, stood smiling with earphones stuck in his ears.

I wanted to tell him that wasn’t a toy. I started to scold him for getting into the vehicle without permission…

“How do you listen to it Papa?” he said.

What could I do? I showed him how to turn it on and Alexander Scourby started reading The King James version of the Bible into the young boy’s ears. I knew he wouldn’t understand a word that was being said. I didn’t tell him who it was or what was being read. I just closed my eyes and he walked away. I figured he’d get bored in a minute or two and toss it aside.

I’m not sure how long, but after awhile I woke, there were a few more shadows in the room and I wanted to get home before it got dark. As my wife and I said our good-byes and got in the car, we wondered about Peyton, he was nowhere around.

Someone called his name, and his voice rang out from the front porch where he was sitting…listening with earphones stuck in his ears. “I’m listening to God talking” he smiled and said.

All my frustration melted.

The world was still a mess, my cough still lingered and the car still sputtered…but through the world’s noise and chatter, I knew HE was there all the while, lifting the footrest, covering me with a blanket, offering me cold water and speaking in the voice of a listening child.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Doin' Love means...

I woke around 1:00 a.m. and noticed the kids had left on the television. When I went to shut it off, I stepped in a puddle of something. Something wet. Something wet in the middle of the living room. The living room with the new carpet. The living room where the kids had been told—a hundred times—not to eat or drink.

I spent the next two and a half hours, ten bath towels and one roll of paper towels blotting up something that, when my wife finds out she’ll tell you, had absolutely nothing to do with her grandchildren—those precious little angels. She’s such a granny.

I thought about waking them. All of them. Making them blot and blot and talk and tell why and what they had done. Who made the mess? Who broke the rules? Someone has to pay for this sin! I looked at them sprawled on the couch and another upside down on the recliner. I carried wet towels to the laundry room and spread them out over the washer and dryer. I wanted to get the shop vac and make some noise, suck it up quick and noisy and with obnoxious behavior. I listened to them breath. Softly snore. I blotted some more, real quiet and silent, in the dark…and wondered why I wouldn’t wake them.

Somewhere between one and four, headlights pierced the night. The neighbor’s kids were headed north. They’d driven hundreds of miles from other states just to stay not much more than a day. Why? I wondered as I stepped on the paper towel and felt the carpet pad give up its liquid. Why’d they spend so much and sleep so little just to say a few simple words of hello and goodbye? To see their dad…one last time.

The whole neighborhood rallied to bring them food. Plate after plate, platter upon platter, neighbors lined up to feed this family and meet their need. Why? Why would they come with arms full of dinners and desserts?

I set up fans and hung up towels and tried to sleep but it wouldn’t come for my wandering mind, wondering why.

Why’d I not wake them?

Why’d the kids come?

Why’d the neighbors rally?

The words softly whispered from FATHER to son…

LOVE woke and slipped in while you slept in the dark.

LOVE cleaned up the spilled and broken mess you’d made of your heart.

LOVE let you rest until you woke in the Light.

LOVE rallied to meet your need.

LOVE drove the distance, pierced the night with Light.

Sometimes…doin’ LOVE means doin’ what’s hard.

Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)