Friday, April 24, 2009

Irregularity Explained

Don't call Jamie Lee Curtis-Activia will not help! Don't bother going to Walgreens for an EPT. It's not that kind of irregularity I am referring to! I have had so many people this past week ask me why I haven't been writing the "regular" features on my, I thought I'd explain to you why I'm irregular : ) First, the reason most personal bloggers don't do regular, recurring posts is because it's nearly impossible to do so unless you have no discernable life at all. Eventually, you just can't keep is unpredictable to say the least and some days and weeks are so hectic that it's a challenge to even collect a coherent thought much less write it down! Here's the status of my "regular" features:

The Path I Walk: This one is alive and well, however, I'm much more motivated to write it when I can actually go outside and take pictures of paths. That's my deal. I love getting out and walking, running or biking in nature. When I can't do that I get bummed. So, when I get bummed, no column. I always write about my spiritual journey and reflections in this regular feature. I always have material for that. A seeker is who I am and that's what I'm about-it's what I dig and what makes me tick. Sometimes it's what's going on in Life Group, sometimes what's going on at VPM, and sometimes just my own personal devotions or a combination of any or all of the above. But it really is contingent on my getting outside to go hiking. That's what lights my fire. So, you can look for this feature to occur more often as I am able to be outside.
A Pound of Cure: I am still working on my weight and doing Weight Watchers BUT I have been stuck at about 30 pounds for the past 6 or so weeks. Not very exciting to report. Family Fitness closed on March 31st and I haven't rejoined another gym. That has taken the momentum out of my exercising. I will be walking, running, swimming and biking this summer so I will probably be able to get off the plateau sometime after I return from vacation. I know better than to think I'm going to lose weight while I'm hanging out with the fam in Oregon! When I have more exciting news, trust me, I'll post it!
Running Toward 50: Plantar fascitis definitely has had me sidelined on my running goals over the winter but I have not given up entirely! I still have a marathon as a goal. It's just not going to happen by my birthday. The boys and I are training for a 5K on or close to my 50th birthday and the plan is to keep increasing mileage from there on...You will see this feature again. Probably photos from the 5K in May. Watch for it.
Now you know. And I am hoping to once again be regular in the very near future!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Most Amazing Person: Joan Anderson!

It was a gift being able to spend an hour with Joan Anderson on Wednesday~the coolest lady ever! Absolutely one of the biggest thrills and highlights of my almost-50 years on this planet! Joan Anderson has written five best-selling books: A Walk on the Beach, An Unfinished Marriage, The Second Journey, A Weekend to Change Your Life, and A Year By The Sea. Joan has made many media appearances, including Oprah-TWICE! I can hardly believe that I met someone who knows Oprah! She was in town for several speaking and teaching events including a fundraiser for Center for Women in Transition. When you first meet Joan, you are immediately touched by her warmth and powerful yet down-to-earth presence. We talked like old friends. Kindred spirits. Joan is open and deeply interested in the lives of others. She is a mentor, an intuitive, and a cheerleader for other women in their quests for self-realization and empowerment. She is very generous in sharing from her personal experience and heart. Joan's story and the insights she has gained are very impactful and moving. I felt lifted up and enriched by sharing time and space with her. Joan is making a huge difference in the world by her participation and contribution. You owe it to yourself to learn more about this phenomenal woman:
Joan also does seminars, workshops, retreats, classes, speaking engagements, and other events~which I intend to take in at the first possible opportunity!
I am also making it my goal to read her books while I'm on vacation the next two weeks in Oregon!
Thanks Joan, for coming to our area, and for lending your support to the Center for Women in Transition~We appreciate you so much!

Doggie Lookalike?

They say people pick dogs that look like themselves. What do you think?

I've also heard it said that after awhile together, dogs and their owners begin to look alike...

My dog, Gunther, has his own dog! Do you think his dog, Patches looks like him?

I think this is all just bullshit~but I do sure love my dogs no matter who or what they look like!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CAPTURED! Sanchez~fugitive from justice!

There's one in every crowd. In this case, out of 7 cats and 2 dogs, Sanchez is the smartest and most devious of all the pets. If you go downstairs and even rearrange the cat carriers, he hides! He knows that this activity is the forerunner of a trip that he does not enjoy. Last year when it was everyone's time to go for shots and checkup at The Ark Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic, Sanchez was on the last installment of pets to be seen. It's like a military maneuver. Everything is timed down to the minute. I take the two dogs in, then return to the house for four cats, drop off the four cats, take the two dogs back to the house, get the the other three cats, take them in, take the previous four back to the house. On the final run, I return for the remaining three cats. The Doctor sees other pets while I'm running the taxi service so I have to stay on schedule. So, on the last run, Sanchez was supposed to go...but we couldn't find him. We had to disassemble two couches to find him. By then, we were irretrievably off schedule and the whole works was fouled up! This year he wised up even more. He found a new hiding spot~apparently better than the couches! He was MIA. So, we left the cat carriers out for a few days so Sanny would be used to seeing them out and not suspect anything(can you believe we're even having this conversation about a cat?) Anyway, we had to ambush him first thing this AM to get him in for his checkup and shots. He was plenty displeased by the turn of events, too. It was actually a near miss as it was. Trev left a window open downstairs and a number of cats were missing and when I caught up with Sanchito he had wet fur~busted~he had been outside! So, finally, we get the little rebel taken care of! Notice how wonderful Dr. Wilson's office is. He and his staff go out of their way to cater to their furry little clients, no matter how uncooperative!
Now the whole crowd is set for another year, barring any unforseen events. Next year, Sanchez will be the first cat to go! We've learned our lesson. Stay one step ahead! Hopefully, we can be smarter than the cat!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Feet for Traveling Shoes

Believe it or not, this is a strategic planning meeting : ) Actually, I gave Rach a gift certificate for her 50th birthday in March (at her surprise party ,which was a blast!) for a pedicure, knowing full well that we'd be doing this together before leaving for Oregon~we planned our trip while soaking and downing a couple glasses of White Zin (helps us think!). Now our feet are saying, "Ahhhh" and they look fantastic, too! We opted for wild colors to reflect our personalities-hehe!
I went for the orange poppy color to match my Aura-lol!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some days are diamonds~

I was "on" this Sunday, meaning, I was teamleader for the First Impressions Team this morning at church. I've had to do a lot of trading around lately because of my erratic schedule, upcoming vacation(s), and impending internship : ) The up side of that is the opportunity to experience working with all of the other teams that I normally don't get time with. I've been on this team since 2001 or 2002. The hospitality aspect is one of my spiritual gifts and so this area of the ministry at VPM has been a very good fit for me personally. I am always struck by the opportunity we are given to have a part, however small, in the bigger picture. No matter if you are greeting at the door, working at the information desk, handing out programs, ushering, or running the kitchen, this is a ministry and I have been challenged to do the best possible job. We are in service to others but we are working for God and His Kingdom. After 7 or so years, it is easy to get complacent, careless, and stuck in a rut.Take things for granted. Forget the importance. These past few months I have been trying to reframe these tasks in light of our mission at VPM to love God and love people and to make more and become better followers of Christ. I was very blessed today in working with my team and seeing all of my VPM family.
After church I met my dear friend, Michelle, for lunch at TGIF Rivertown. We don't see each other nearly often enough. When we do, we pick right back up where we left off. It's always a fun and meaningful time. We laugh, we cry, we analyze everything, we talk in circles until we arrive back at square one, we listen deeply to one another, we vow to do a better job of getting together more often...yeah, right! We are planning to go to the same nursing home someday so we really get time to visit! It's always so great to be with friends like that who remind you of who you really are~and they love you anyway! We are both making good progress in our lives and both of us chalk that up to our walk with God. I can't believe it, but we talked for 3 1/2 hours! And got in a little exercise walking the mall!
Then, when I got home from visiting Michelle, Tyler told me that all the girls at his work were wanting to see Jayden and that it was very quiet there tonight so we should go to Brann's together for dinner. And that's what we did:

We had to watch Elmo's Dinosaurs DVD before bed and pop popcorn to eat in Granny's bed...Jayden is the only one who can get away with this!He makes a terrible mess and I find popcorn in the sheets for days! He gets "Gunfer" and Patches up on the bed to share our popcorn and we eat popcorn, talk, and cuddle until he falls asleep. In the morning Tyler and I take him to school. Life is good. Days like this I realize how truly blessed I am.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So it begins...

First ride of the season is in the books. I started at Helder Park, made one loop around, then down Quincy to 96th, across to Zeeland West and made a loop around the entire campus plus through the tunnel and all around the practice fields and wetland area, back across to Zeeland East and made a loop, back onto 96th to Roosevelt and all the way past Creekside to the street the football stadium is on. From there I turned right onto Riley (and I still say I'd rather go skydiving than cross Riley on my bike!), back to 96th, then Quincy back to Helder Park where I did another loop all the way around the baseball and soccer fields. Not sure how far that was. I was out on the bike about 45 minutes. I am always appalled at my own fitness level the first ride out. I know that by the time I have to put the bike away again, this same ride will seem so easy. For now, I am breathing hard and sweating under my helmet! Gotta start somewhere, right?!

Love, Sex, and the IRS@Holland Civic Theater

Returned home in time to catch Charles Barclay giving us political advice on Jay Leno~I don't think so! Does he think we're all turrible knuckleheads or what? Well, anyway , had a very fun Friday night out with the gang from Singles by Design. First, we went to see the Holland Civic Theater production of Love, Sex, and The IRS. Very funny show! The cast did a superb job. My personal favorite was Eric Hatch who played the cross-dressing Leslie Arthur. He made a very sexy girl. I especially liked the hairy midriff scene, hmmm. I don't think I've seen a play there since the year Marcee came to visit for Tulip Time and we went there to see Nunsense. That was maybe 1992 or 1993...I had forgotten how tiny that little theater is. And once everyone gets in there, breathing in and out, it is hotter than bloody Hell! Not the best environment for the perimenopausal types. But the quaint little place has a lot of history-49 seasons worth-that's as old as me, currently, until May, that is...and they do a nice job of making a social event out of it. Lots of volunteers help out and add the personal touch. They serve refreshments to the patrons at intermission. Small town stuff that makes it very homey and unique. It's obvious that Holland is a very supportive city when it comes to the arts. I think we have access to so much good stuff here. Art, music, theater, family events, food, and outdoor activities. It's a great place to live. Afterwards, most of the group opted for martinis and appetizers at 84 East. But us mavericks opted for the New Holland Brewery. Had to have my Mad Hatter! It's nice to see so many places open downtown on the weekends and busy...Lot's of people out. Seriously, it has been a LONG winter and I think everyone is just thrilled to be able to get out without mucklucks and snowpants! Thanks Diane for getting things together, as always! Thanks Jayne for being my chauffer! Deb and Carol~enjoyed the witty, lively conversation. The "man stories" were very entertaining! Fun ones, you are! We'll have to do this...or something like it...or something completely different (hehe!) very soon! Til next time :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Prophetable Experience

On Monday, Tyler, Trevor and I had a unique experience. We visited a man named Ed Lixey, who has a spiritual gift is in the area of discernment and words of wisdom. The last time I experienced this sort of ministry, I was still living in Oregon, preparing to move to Kentucky, and a prophet came to the Newberg Foursquare Church where I was attending. This man had no idea who I was, had never met me, had never spoken with me before, and people were allowed to just randomly approach him during the service for a word-meaning, he had no way of knowing who might come forward. He gave me two scriptures that God had laid upon his heart for me that confirmed that the move was part of God's plan for my life and then proceeded to tell me about things I would encounter on my journey. Everything that he had told me did unfold the very way that this man had shared it. That was 20-some years ago. A lot of things have transpired in my life since then. In times of great change and transitions I think we do often look for a significant message from God to help us navigate the unfamiliar territory. All three of us have been feeling this lately. So, when our friends, the Collars, let us know this man was available for appointments at their clinic this week, we jumped at the chance to hear what God would have to say to us~individually and as a family. I am giving you the Reader's Digest version that I transcribed off the tapes made for us by Ed Lixey.
Prophetic word for Lana as spoken by Ed Lixey on April 13, 2009:
"What I hear the Lord saying for you is 'well done' because you have had your ups and downs and a lot of disappointments but you kept pressing toward the mark of the high calling Of Christ. You have that drive in you to see excellence in your kids. You are in that season where God is going to bless you. You can have some of the things that you have been believing for. You have been standing and believing. Your faith is way out there like Peter when he walked out of the boat. He had to stand on the water by faith. Peter made a mistake by taking his eyes off Jesus but you still have your eyes on Jesus.You have not been moved. You have stood firm. I have heard the Lord say, 'Now it's time' . I hear the Lord saying from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, there's a healing going on. Everything is being put in its proper order. I also heard the Lord say that there is a lot of teacher in you and you will be a teacher to the next generation. I also heard the Lord say that there is much provision coming for you. You have planted a lot of seeds. Now God says, 'Be expecting a large return'. Where you've been having faith in the area of jobs, expect not just to get by, but to prosper. Believe for better jobs. I heard God say that revival is coming to your family. One that is close to you that you want to see a touch from God will be touched. God says watch what I do. Move out of the way and let Me do it. My glory and my power is going to touch, deliver, and set this one free."
What really floored me about this was that this is not the way I see myself at all! I view myself as a very imperfect person who screws up a lot!Basically a decent person, a person who means well, but a person with a long way to go... I found it truly remarkable that God sees me so differently. I got a little taste of this last year when I read the Ragamuffin Gospel and then yesterday when I finished Captivating. God is crazy about all of us just how we are. He has a special place in his heart for us women-yay! I was so encouraged to know, that in spite of all the things I feel I get wrong, that God could still say "Well done" to me. Especially about my kids. Sometimes we, as moms, feel like we've failed our kids. We take their struggles so personally. I can't tell you how encouraged I felt after I received this word! At least in God's opinion, which is the only one that really counts, I have done some stuff right! Good things are ahead!
I will only share a few things from Tyler and Trevor's word. I don't want to invade their privacy too much because some of the things that were revealed were more personal. The Lord specified that Trevor and Tyler both have a lot of business on them. They both have callings on their lives to do much for the Kingdom of Heaven. Trevor will be getting an opportunity to do a lot of traveling in the next few years and Tyler will be coming into some property. God specifically spoke to Trevor about the fact that he has not allowed himself to be bitter about events of his past and God is going to lift him up and restore some things to his life that he did without and/or had taken away from him. God is working out things in both Tyler and Trev's lives in the area of bondages being broken and wounds of the past being healed.
We were all very humbled, touched and encouraged by having these words spoken over us. I know a lot of people wonder about things such as this, but the Bible does speak about those who have these various gifts. I felt privileged to have this opportunity to experience this spiritual gifting for myself and to share that with my sons. It had a profound effect on all three of us. Not something we will forget any time soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Done Different

It all starts here...

Leave it to the Baker/Wieds to come up with a "traditional" Easter celebration.
The traditional Easter meal~Chinese with beer and tea. Remember, I gave up beer and Jay Leno for lent? Well, as of today, both have made a comeback!

Here's the foursome at Winding Creek

This is the way we get onto the green!

Getting out of the trap...Tyler's specialty!
Mom cleans up...Shocker!

Taking a break from the hard work of golf

Trevor provides comedy relief

Tyler and Caz

Discussing strategy

Such a beautiful day! Made it nearly 60 degrees. All the turkeys were out on the course!
Another traditional Easter past. Plans in place for next year already. Church, Chinese, and tee time @ 4pm!
Hope yours was happy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Road Ready

Jim Degracia of Jade Cycles made a house call for me this am. Jim, also a client, was nice enough to take my bike into his shop after his massage this morning and returned it to me this afternoon on his way home from work. Now that's what I call customer service! It was a very reasonably priced tune up as well. And Jade is located close~in Zeeland. Shop local, I say! Jim and I have something else in common besides an interest in massage and biking. We are both West Coasters. Jim has lived in all of the states referred to as the Pacific Northwest: California, Washington, and Oregon. In fact, Jim still has business connections through his cycle business in the Seattle/Puget Sound area where he lived for a number of years. He also has relatives in Oregon. Specifically the Cornellius area. Jim is planning to return there some day...he even suggested we might form a convoy going that direction :) Hmmm! Interesting thought. Anyway, I just want to give Jade Cycles my personal word of endorsement. Anything cycle related, I'm calling Jim! If you'd like to check out his websites:
Thanks, Jim! I am now road ready for the 2009 season. Out to get more miles in this year than last! My goal is to ride at least every other day~anybody out there up for putting a riding group together? Let me know...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Path I Walk: Holy Week

The path I walk is not covered in snow as predicted~even though it's cool outside, we have blue skies and sunshine! And I am looking up this week. It is, after all, Holy Week, and as Matt Yount reminded us this past Sunday, Palm Sunday, no matter what our schedules have on them this week, it is nothing compared to what our Lord went through during the last week of His life~what a perspective!

Matt did a great job of reminding us, through scripture, songs, and visuals the events of Holy Week, leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. I love the stories. Stories I have listened to since my childhood. Especially the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. Remember when, in Sunday School, we'd make those palm leaves and wave them around? The best part, for those of us who have accepted the sacrifice of Christ for our redemption, is that this story is REAL and it ultimately has a happy, victorious, triumphant ending!

My evolution in faith tradition has gone from growing up in what used to be termed a Holy Roller church(Charismatic), all the way from birth until after I married and moved to Newberg~I was saved in a Foursquare Church in Oregon City at age 14~attended Open Bible Church and a Foursquare Church in Newberg. When I lived in Kentucky I first attended Cornerstone Community Church in Paducah but later became a member of the Sharpe-Little Cypress Baptist Church close to my home in Possum Trot! Since coming to Michigan, I tried a number of churches initially but could not find a good fit until Victory Point Ministries. Started attending there in December 2000. Even though I said I would NEVER be part of a Christian Reformed Church, I am happily a member in good standing of Victory Point Ministries and the Christian Reformed Church of North America! I didn't realize Victory Point was CRC until I was sitting in the membership class. By then it was way too late. I was already in love with the faith community at VPM. The love continues...Lables don't really matter anyway. It's what's inside that counts. So what! I'm now a recovering Catholic~I love it! Who cares? From time to time I still love an old hymn and the liturgy of the "old school" church. I can be very reassuring and healing sometimes to return to some of the ways of the past. It's good not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Integrate the old and new for the best of both!
During the past couple of weeks anyway, because of my dad's passing I suppose, my thoughts have been more focused on the importance of relationship with God and with family and other people. For Jesus to be so sure about suffering on the cross to reconcile us means that people are definitely the top priority with Him. The thrust of Matt's message was that it was time for Jesus to do what He knew was the will of the Father. He willingly took it on. It is time for us to consider what that means for us. Time to step up into the life that was won for us because of the way of the cross. I know I am feeling like it's time for me, in many areas of my life, to really grab hold of the life God has in mind for me. To let go of the life and future I had planned for myself and be willing to submit it all to God's will. Which, in the long run, will be better than what ever I had in mind anyway! I know that I am on the right path with my Counseling aspirations. I am called to that. As for the particulars. The details. Nope. I don't have a clue. As I have said before, and I'll say again: I don't know what the future holds but I do know who holds the future! And it's doubt the fact that I'll be 50 in May is adding to my sense of urgency! That'll light a fire under you for sure!

Just when I think Victory Point can't get any cooler...they go and come up with this Journey to the Cross event for Good Friday. It's a do-it-yourself, self-guided "stations" experience through the walk and events that Jesus took on His way to the cross. I can't wait! Normally I have to miss Good Friday service because I work late. This is from 4-8 pm. If you don't have plans already, feel free to check this out. It's sure to be moving and meaningful. You can find out more about VPM by clicking on the link on my sidebar under i likes it, i likes it alot! If you don't have a place to worship on Easter, please consider yourself invited by me to join us at VPM also. Services at 9am and 10:45 am.
Whatever you do, where ever you do it, I hope you take time to think about the true meaning of Easter beyond the bunnies and Easter eggs, peeps, and other trappings of contemporary celebration. It is my wish that you are very blessed this Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Prayer: A Fond Farewell

WARNING: This is the longest post ever! I was away from my computer and out of my routine and in a heightened state of emotion for most of last week. So, I had a lot to say-as always-but it was stuck inside me for awhile! I have finally settled in, back to my life in Michigan, and the floodgates have opened!
The Prayer:

Before I left for Oregon, my friend Pat, at Spring Arbor University, prayed with me and said a very special prayer over me and my family. First, he prayed for our comfort and strength for the road ahead: visitation, funeral, and committal. He prayed that I would have traveling mercies and that everywhere I went on my travels that God would bring special people across my path. Then Pat asked that any unfinished business would be wrapped up in a positive way, that any relationships that needed mending would be mended, that the Baker family would be united in a way that they have never experienced before and that there would be blessings and miracles that would come into our lives during this otherwise bittersweet time. All of those things came to pass.

The Travels:
On the way to Oregon I sat next to a man from Palestine. His name was Sammy and he sat and visited with me all the way to Minneapolis/St. Paul about his former life in the Middle East. He explained the basics of the Muslin faith tradition. He talked about the discriminatory treatment that is part of his everyday life in the United States because of his race and faith. It is so interesting how much we have in common with one another when we meet one on one. Lack of unbiased information and opportunity to meet people of diverse backgrounds really does contribute to the prejudices we hold. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Sammy and when we parted I felt that I had been enriched by hearing his story. The next leg of the flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul, I sat between two ladies and caught a quick nap~woke myself up snoring~and they said it was ok as long as I didn't slobber! I then spent the majority of that flight visiting with a lady from Mulino who had a similar background as me and we compared notes about the counseling field, our experiences with marriage(mine with divorce), and the ups and downs of childrearing. In the process, the two ladies behind us got involved in our conversation as well. Turns out both of those ladies are writers and we talked about books and blogging. Two of my fav topics for sure! One of the ladies, Susan N. Terkel, shared some beautiful thoughts and memories of Passover from her Jewish heritage. Again, it boiled down to the priorities we hold in life. Especially God/Faith and family. This is a message and theme that would be woven throughout my entire visit. Susan's book is called Small Change: It's the little things in life that make a big difference. I'm planning to read that as soon as I can. Probably while I'm on my trip to Oregon in about three weeks. I'm leaving my textbooks home! Anyway, on my flight home I sat by two delightful younger women who had been visiting friends in Portland for the week. These ladies had been best friends since middle school. They are currently in their early 30's. We discussed everything~I mean it! We had the Ya-Ya Sisterhood going on! A scene right out of Sex and The City! At some point in the girlfest we decided to celebrate: to celebrate my dad's life and to celebrate that Carrie had sold her house and was moving home by Nikki after a number of years living away! At some point this celebration involved vodka and cranberry juice...The flight attendant even bought us a round...unbelievable! I loved that conversation. It was fun, touching, meaningful, motivating. Carrie and Nikki, stay in the loop girls! I hope we meet again. Oh, P.S. and do more celebrating! You girls are soooo fun!

Arrival on Friday:
Whenever I come to Portland, and the plane touches down , I immediately feel that I have come home. The familiar sights comfort me and make me feel whole again. One of the most poignant moments came for me when I got to my mom's apartment. Outside was Old PaPa's "cart" that Jayden loved to help him push. I couldn't help but cry. I could just see my dad walking down the hall pushing that cart. It really hit me hard in that moment how real and final it was that my dad was gone. That night I took Mo-Mo and my sister Marcee out for dinner. One of my dear clients had given me money in lieu of flowers with the instruction to do something with my mom. Thanks, Marcia! It was a wonderful time of fellowship. Through the years you have always been such a thoughtful friend.
The Visitation, Funeral, and Committal:

Here's the "big auditorium" of the church my dad pastored and his father before him. I was first baptized here and later walked down the isle of this church for my wedding. I spent hours and hours for years and years right in this sanctuary. On Saturday morning, Mom and I, Marcee, Karlee, Andy, Sister Kathleen, Brother Pat, Sister Mary and Sister Bonnie gathered to practice the music for my dad's service. This ended up being one of the most healing experiences of the weekend. We all sat and sang many of the old hymns together. There were times for all of us that we had to stop singing because of the overwhelming emotion that swept over us. Music is such an anchor to our past. It really takes you back in time. The practice turned into an impromptu worship service. I could feel my dad there in the midst. I could see him in my mind. Hear him in my memory. He had a beautiful, strong singing voice. I could hear the sweet sound of his violin. We left refreshed in our spirits for the visitation at Hillside Chapel.

Here Sister Bonnie practices "How Great Thou Art" for the funeral the next day.

My brother Andrew played his guitar, helped with the songs for the worship service, and was the Master of Ceremonies for dad's funeral. Andy did a phenomenal job! Way to go, big Bro!

Sister Mary, or Aunt Weezie, as we affectionately call her, is at the piano once again to honor my dad during his service. This is a post she has occupied for many years. I do not recall anyone else being the pianist in the church. Aunt Weezie is now 88 years old. God Bless her! We love her dearly!

Karlee played the organ for dad's service. Here are the sisters three: Marcee, Karlee, and Lana. Once a Baker, always a Baker! We got that Baker nature, don't we ladies?!
Dad was well remembered at visitation. Hillside Chapel did a wonderful job in all respects. There was so much more to my dad than just the fact that he was a minister. He loved to play his violin, hunt, and fish. All of those interests were represented in the viewing room which was lovely and held many floral remembrances as well. The white spray was from my bosses and the girls at Body Perfections. The red and white spray came from my former spouse, Lewis. The spring arrangement was from my cousins on the Mills side: Maureen and Duane, Gloria and Larry, Mel and Eileene and their families.

Spray from Don and Joan Terry

The casket piece was collectively a tribute representative of the Baker family~absolutely gorgeous with the sentiments: Beloved Husband, Father and Grandfather inscribed on the ribbons~ and it followed him all the way to Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City for the final committal.

We did not take pictures at the funeral with the exception of these couple photos. The church was filled with many church members, family, and friends of many years. It was wonderful and very comforting to the family to listen to all of the great stories about my dad~some of them very funny!

Lana and her big sisto, Marcee.

Here's the little group of "kids" I grew up with from nursery on through high school. All us "kids" are now 50ish...Seeing all of them meant so much to me after all these years. Some of us have not seen one another for nearly 30 years! Definitely time to catch up!

Family time after the funeral at Tebo's. Dad had requested that whatever money he had in his wallet at the time of his passing, his wishes were that we would all go out to eat together "on him". So, that's what we did and it was a very bonding and close time for the Baker clan.
Karlee, Mo-Mo, Kim, and Kelcee Beth. Someone looks a bit unhappy...

On Monday morning we gathered, family only, at the cemetery to say our final farewells and speak the last tributes amongst ourselves. It was a bittersweet time. I had to leave for the airport right after committal. A very hard thing to do.

Final Reflections:
It's not money or possessions, education, success, or physical beauty that make a life. It's loving God and loving people~especially family~that really matters. That is true success. To be well loved in your circle and to have abiding faith that anchors you in your life. My dad was blessed to have all of that. Plus a fair amount of fun along the way. And time for his interests and hobbies. He did it right. For all the failings and faults common to us all, my dad was a very rich and successful man in all the ways it really matters. I would say that he passed that along to all his kids who are, in turn, leaving the legacy for the future generations in our clan. Andy said it well at the graveside service, "I'm proud to be a Baker." I'm glad we've come to a point where we can all say that and mean it. As a sidebar, we also talked about the fact that nothing is important enough to fight over long-term or to hold grudges. None of us know how long we will get with those we love. Life is too short to allow ourselves to be separated from those we love. We also spoke about how, even though we'd have preferred dad to stay here with us, we didn't want suffering or compromise of quality of life for him. So we thank God for his mercy towards our Dad. We thank all the many folks who called, emailed, sent condolences to the online guestbook, came to visitation and the funeral, sent cards, sent flowers, sent meals. You all blessed us so much. We can never even express with words how much comfort that gave us. We also were so thankful for all the church people at Christ Church and at Victory Point Ministries in Michigan for their prayers and support of all kinds! We thank Hospice for their wonderful love and care during the final journey of our dad. We think the world of Samantha and David from Hillside Chapel in Oregon City who really held our hands, gave us hugs, words of encouragement, and took all the worry off us by attending to the details. Yes, I know it's their job but they did it with such heart!
For me personally, this was a time of tying all the fragmented parts of my life together into a cohesive experience that makes sense. My dad was the common denominator for all of it. Your parents are there when you take your first breath and they walk with you through every life event. Dad was my compass point, my North star, the steady rock I leaned upon. I've now gone full-circle. I'm at peace with past, present and looking forward to the future. A future that is brighter because I was given the life skills I need to be successful anywhere I go and no matter what I do. Dad showed us all how to mix with people and get out there and make our way in the world. All four of his children have this trait. I owe that to my Dad. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude for my Christian heritage. That foundation was laid by both my dad and mom and the people I grew up with in my church. I would never have survived the ups and downs of my life without such a strong faith. I also left Oregon with a stronger resolve to stay more closely connected with those I love and to cherish and build those relationships day by day and never to take them for granted. The people in your life are a gift. Too bad that sometimes it takes a catalyst like a tragic loss to see this so clearly. Try not to let any opportunities go by when it comes to fellowshipping with those who mean something to you. You might not get the chance again to show someone how much you care. We ALL need to know that!

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed