It’s a Wonderful Life

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Today is the third anniversary of the death of my brother-in-law, Dr. Marvin Leibovich. Because I was the only boy with four older sisters, the addition of each new brother-in-law was a welcomed event. He and my sister had three sons, whose ages closely mirrored my own daughters. Consequently, there was a close connection between our families. Here is my oldest daughter’s expression of her special memories of Marvin on the day of his death on October 5, 2015.

My uncle died early this morning, and while I said my tearful goodbyes to him in August, still nothing can prepare you for the finality of life.

I’ve been thinking on his life for the past month as we knew the end was near and even though his obituary is FULL of his amazing accomplishments on this Earth, it is the little things that I will miss and cherish and learn from, as his niece.

Continue at It’s a Wonderful Life

To My Teachers

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As  I looked out my window on this rainy Sunday evening, I saw cars in our church parking lot. No, I’m not skipping services. The cars represent the teachers who are spending another evening in preparation for the students who will be arriving at Mayflower Heritage Christian School on Tuesday. They are a dedicated lot and strive to ensure that their students master their course work as well as develop a Christian worldview.

My daughter, Anna, relates her gratitude to those teachers who made a tremendous influence in her life through their “asks” and affirmations. To all my teacher friends, let me suggest these encouraging words to you at the following link: To My Teachers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

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The Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines was recently refurbished, including the regilding of its dome with 23-karat gold leaf. Built between 1871 and 1886, it is the only five-domed capitol in the country.

Iowa State Capitol Building

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary – (Tree Blossoms in the Fall???)

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My neighbor’s row of flowering crabapple trees are truly extraordinary when in bloom in the spring. However, after already having our first fall frost and lows in the 30’s, it was EXTRAordinary to find blossoms on the trees this morning.

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These blossoms and new growth remind me that we can experience newness of spiritual life in Christ at any season of life. Years ago, I was serving in my first church and had a conversation with an older adult, who became a Christian in his 70’s. While he was now happily following Christ, he regretted that so many years had been wasted in not knowing and serving his Savior. I think God led me to encourage him, though, by letting him know that God can strategically use us at whatever time our salvation occurs. We all come to Him at different ages and stages of life. The very fact that he came to Christ in the “fall of life” was a sign to his contemporaries that it wasn’t too late for them to come into that relationship, either.

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

(2 Corinthians 2:17, NASB)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

Weekly Photo Challenge – Happy Place

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This week’s challenge highlights our family’s annual pilgrimage to Florida, having just returned from that restorative retreat. Our time at the beach always increases our happy quotient, especially as we watch the grand kids enjoy the sand and surf.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

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Jen Hooks makes this challenge by saying, “A powerful monochromatic image is composed of a gradient of a single color, and has an emphasis on texture and composition.” Sitting in my living room yesterday afternoon, I was intrigued by the sun’s illumination of the tree leaves and the lawn across the street as viewed through the window’s patterned sheers – the exterior, green hues causing the interior, white sheers to appear green.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Monochromatic.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Connection

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I didn’t think long about the most appropriate pictures for this challenge. Two weeks ago today (August 24) my mother graduated from this earthly plain to the heavenly realm. Over the next week we gathered in three locations – three significant places of residence: Creston (IA), Benton (AR) and Memphis (TN) – holding two memorial services and the graveside service.

We gathered as a family almost 10 years ago at the First Baptist Church, Benton for my father’s memorial service. Mom stood on the bottom step in purple in this photo.2005.10Almost 10 years later I updated that picture, connected by event (memorial service), place (church steps) and family (the growing and older connected progeny of Charlie and Grace) in grief and celebration that our matriarch is with the Lord, my father, a granddaughter, my grandson (who I didn’t meet in this life), and many other loved ones who have preceded us.

Family at BentonLooking at the photo with all the smiling faces, you might think we had just attended a wedding. Rest assured, we are grieving, but with hope!

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NASB*)

And who couldn’t smile at the sense of humor of a 95 year old woman’s final wish to have this picture and caption on the back of her memorial folder!

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Connected.”

*New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

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My mother continues to be cared for in the local hospice home and every day my feet pass over brick pavers as I arrive and leave. On each brick is the name of a donor or an individual memorialized by loved ones.

IMGP8014Every block represents a significant contribution that helped to build this facility which is staffed by a competent and caring staff.

IMGP8015So, every day these bricks, which are beneath my feet, cause me to be grateful for those who saw the need and helped fund this homey setting for those who are facing an end of life illness.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

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I have one apple tree, but it is prolific and drops more apples than I can keep up with. They are usually picked up, placed in a bucket and composted. Last August, I was fascinated by the flies, being attracted to a bucket of the fermenting apples.

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While following a fly deeper into the bucket, I saw antennae emerging from a leaf among the apples.

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Finally, the grasshopper emerged for a better look.

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Not sure if it was the same one from the apple bucket, but a month later, I found this guy sunning himself on the underneath side of our deck steps.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Close Up.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: ROY G. BIV (II)

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I didn’t plan to submit another post this week, but it is not often that you have the opportunity to view the rainbow of the night. When it was reported yesterday that there was a high probability that the Aurora Borealis would be visible early this morning, I was determined to stay up, travel a few miles north to get away from light pollution, and try capturing this rare summer sight in southern Iowa.

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This is only the fourth time I’ve seen the Northern Lights. The previous times have been during the winter and the hues were visible to the naked eye. This morning I could see what looked like clouds rising vertically on the northern horizon. It was only after a 30 second exposure that the colors became visible.

While I was waiting on each shot to complete, I was also watching the southern sky as a thunderstorm was lighting up the sky about 100 miles away in Missouri. First time I’ve seen Northern Light and Southern Light on the same night.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.”