Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Phil's Eulogy

***Poster's note:) The following is the eulogy that Derek gave at his Dad's funeral. I am so proud of who Derek is...and I know his dad was too. Lydia

When Pastor Randy asked me if I wanted give a eulogy or have someone else give a eulogy I didn’t have an answer for him.

My Dad wasn’t a eulogy type of guy and to be honest I’m not much of a eulogy guy either. But after thinking about it I’m certain that we both needed to be more like eulogy guy. For me Pastor Randy’s question really wasn’t about a eulogy at all, it was about me having the courage to be vulnerable and express my emotions and say what needed to be said about my Dad’s story. Because that’s what a eulogy is. It’s your story and while it may not be read after you die, it is still written.

First, I want you guys to know who my Dad was to me. My Dad was as cool as they come. The first apartment I remember him living in had an actual bear skin rug and a bonsai tree. His hair was always perfect. As a young boy I saw this Herculean type outdoorsman. He always seemed to have a big fish on the line. The stories and photos of the back packing trips across Canada still seem epic to me. I wanted to be just like him. Even after deteriorating in the hospital for four months his hands still seemed thicker and stronger than mine. He was also a goof ball. Every night I stayed at his place he would wake me up in the morning brushing his teeth stark naked singing elvis songs. He loved to tease me but had the ability to do it with out cutting down my confidence. I think above all else my Dad was a master at building relationships. And while he was a gifted barber his ability to make friends and build relationships are what set him apart. As a young boy I was never very confident. But after I got a fresh cut and left the shop not only did I feel better about myself but my outlook on life always went up a notch. I think there are a lot of folks out there who have experienced this.

The following is an email my step-mom received from one of Dad’s customers responding to the news of Dad’s passing.

There’s no way to adequately prepare for moments like this. Words escape me. I tried to share the news with my daughter Annie last night, but couldn’t because every time I tried, my emotions overwhelmed me.

As you know, Phil and I go back to the early ‘70s. He became an important part of my Homecoming tradition when I moved to California in 1989. I’d begin mapping out my haircut schedule as early as April/May so that I would be due for one on Homecoming Friday. When he was cutting my hair in October of 2010 and told me he was on the transplant list, something told me to savor that moment because it might be the last time we see each other. I remember holding back tears because I was afraid this was our last haircut.

It always touched my heart how Phil would be sure to send me home with a Tootsie Roll Pop for my daughter if she wasn’t with me. Annie came to Homecoming every year till high school, then sporadically after that. We always updated each other on our kids. He always remembered Annie and said to be sure to say hello to her for him.

Lou and I will keep Phil’s and my Homecoming tradition going for as long as possible. If you’re around next Homecoming (October), I’d like to stop by and meet you.

Please accept Annie and my condolences. Every time I get a haircut, I’ll be thinking of Phil.

Deepest sympathies,

Bob & Annie

Of all the things my Dad was this is the one thing I hope to be. A man able to make other folks feel loved and special. It’s a legacy I want to teach his three grandsons.

No matter what my failures were, and there were lots of them (like getting fired from three jobs two of which I got because I was Phil’s son or getting my high school sweetheart pregnant or being ineligible to play football and basketball or losing my drivers license after crashing two cars) he was still the same Dad. When I sat in his chair to get a cut it was like a time machine. I was transported back to being 11 years old and the guy who didn’t get mad because I broke his favorite fishing rod was still there and in anticipation of me catching the next big one.

Through all my failures and shortcomings he still believed in me and that I could do and be something great. I think it’s very easy for me to see a God that believes in me because my Dad did that. As a man I have come to rely on my love and faith in Jesus so much that I know that no matter how much I fail and fall short God is constantly pursuing me to redeem my failures and sins for His glory. You see what I didn’t realize was that my Dad was too.

I’m not telling all this to you guys so we can grieve or as a tribute to my father. I want Dad’s death to be a tribute not to him but for two very important things. The first is Fathers, pursue your sons and sons pursue your Dads. Have an adventure together. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or extravagant. It can be as simple as feeding fish at a pond or tracking down that elusive Andre Dawson Rookie card (that’s really worth nothing). But above all, be two guys who love a good eulogy. Have the courage to express your feelings and the grace to forgive your hurts. I know its not possible to be a father who causes no pain in the life of his son and it’s equally impossible for a son not to wound his father. But, it is possible to have a love that is unconditional and surpasses understanding. It is possible to learn about life and each other through adventure and shared experiences.

The second is that in the same way we should pursue our sons and fathers, God pursues us. I’m convinced the reason God gives us children is so that we have a glimpse into the love he has for us. My Dad shared with Sandy a few weeks before passing that he had asked God into his heart and asked he be allowed into his kingdom. And that is fantastic news. The sad part is that God’s love and promise for us is not just a key to heaven. He wants for us to have life to the full here and now. He wants us to give everything over to him so that we can live life here as he desires for us. I wish my Dad could have experienced that 30 years ago.

Fathers and Sons your life is a story. God is desperately chasing after you and wants to be the author. What will the next chapter hold? Is it the last one or is it the beginning of a new plot twist? My prayer and desire for you is that your story is an adventure together and penned by our heavenly Father. May your eulogy be a story full of laughter, tears, fear, courage and incomprehensible love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Hello from the RAINY Dominican Republic!! I just posted some photos to facebook and thought I would share them with you all too. There are too many to put on the blog, so click the link below and it will direct you to the album:)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our First Few Days

Hello friends. We wanted to give you all an update on our travels and first three days here. My favorite memory of the entire week was just as we started our journey. The car was packed up with our 16 bags and we were loading the kids. Isaiah was still in the backyard playing all by himself. I walked out back and told him it was time to go. He looked at me with a disappointed face and answered with a sassy, "Where are we going." I responded "The Dominican Republic." His face lit up and he hopped off the play set and sprinted to me. Isaiah looked at me and said "You mean it's time to start our adventure." "Yeah, it starts right now!" I responded. A huge smile came over his face, he squealed with excitement and took off for the van.

We arrived in Santiago, DR safe and sound on Tuesday night. Tim Krauss, G.O's Executive Field Director, has been gracious enough to host us at his home while we have been working to get our apartment set up. In the States, getting an apartment ready to live in isn't that big of an ordeal- here it is different! Everything moves much slower here and seems much more complicated, but then again that could be a result of being completely dependent on someone else. Our past few days have been spent in what could be referred to as an infant state. We have to learn a whole new method for doing things. Staying at Tim's house with his wife, Samira, and their two kids has been such a blessing during this time. We have someone available to answer our questions immediately. Although we will enjoy emptying our suitcases and having our own space, we will really miss having someone around to pepper with our queries.
We have also had the opportunity to test our abilities to function on our own. We went shopping for all of our household needs...with no translator....and our four kids. That was an experience! Derek's spanish was stretched to it's limit but it was a great experience. We had to buy anything and everything you can think of, including lots of buckets. Buckets for the shower (in case we have no water) and buckets for washing laundry by hand.
The kids have done well in this early transition time. Macy loves the scented bug spray and is constantly asking for more of it. Isaiah has really embraced learning another language. It is fun watching kids who can't communicate because of a language barrier play with each other. Pastor Felix, who works in the Hole, brought his son over yesterday and there were light-saber duels and ninjas everywhere. Last night we ended the week with an awesome treat. Twelve of us went out to a Dominican pizza parlor. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and delicious food.
Today we hope to completely make the transition to our apartment. If the rain holds off we can finish drying our sheets (whoo hoo!). The electricity is supposed to be turned on today and our camp stove should be hooked up to a gas tank this afternoon. Over the next couple days we will continue delving into learning more about the culture and our roles while we are serving this summer. We really appreciate your prayers during this transition time.
We love you all
Derek and Lydia (& kids)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Partnership by the Poolside

One of the many benefits our family has received from my time as a director at the YMCA was the opportunity to participate in all the programs the Y has to offer. From basketball to gymnastics to summer camp our boys have done it all. Although the children typically have been able to pick and choose what they want to do, we did have one mandatory program- swim lessons.

All of the boys have taken to the water in different styles. Logan was a bit reserved at first but soon came to the conclusion that swimming was fun. Isaiah attacked the water from day one. Even now his motor goes into overdrive when he jumps in the pool. Simeon, however, has been a different story. This past summer, we had a frightening experience at a public pool. From across the pool, Lydia and I watched as Simeon hopped out and took off down the waterslide into deeper water. I started running around the pool, a close friend heard Lydia yelling for help and began splashing through the water towards Sim, while the lifeguard continued to sun herself just five feet from where Simeon was struggling. Simeon was probably under the water for about ten seconds before we finally reached him. Needless to say, he was a mess. He wanted nothing to do with the pool for the rest of the day and wouldn’t leave Mom’s side.

That experience validated our desire for our kids to learn to swim and respect the water. So, as in the past, we enrolled the kids for swim lessons. To Simeon’s credit, as we prepped him for lessons in the fall he really didn’t show fear or trepidation leading up to the beginning of the session. That all changed when we got in the Y and walked to the pool. Simeon began to cry, he desperately clung to me and begged not to swim. I quickly informed him that he would be safe and that he had no choice because boys in our family need to know how to swim.

Two seven week sessions went by and our thirty minute lessons were still full of tears and fear. As parents, Lydia and I were struggling to be encouraging and yet still instill a sense of determination. At the start of the third session the lesson schedule changed and it wound up that Logan’s class ended at the same time Sim started his. After his shower, Logan sat down next to me. He wasn’t there for ten seconds before he asked if he could go down and sit next to Simeon. What happened next was one of those moments that, as a father, I will never forget.

Logan sat down and got as close to Simeon as he could. He put his hand on Simeon and began to encourage him, make jokes with him and act goofy. It was amazing, thirty minutes of love from his big brother and Simeon was having a grand time. That moment was a turning point. Since then there literally has not been one tear shed by Simeon in the pool.

As I was thinking about this moment the other day I realized how much Logan’s spirit reflects how we want to approach partnership at G.O. Ministries. You see, Logan wasn’t a great coach or instructor but he had a desire to see his brother succeed. He gave what he had to help Simeon. Logan gave encouragement, laughter and love. At that moment and time it was perfect.

When we look at ourselves and it can seem we don’t have much to offer. The truth is that in Christ we have all we need. For us, a partnership is just an investment in the life of another. The formation of a relationship based in Christ’s love where two or more are working towards a common goal. Because of the incredible partnerships that exist between North American individuals and churches and their Dominican or Haitian counterparts, many children and adults are finding hope daily to strengthen and further the Kingdom.

As I look back at my life, there have been quite a few times when I was the one in the pool crying. Fortunately, there always seemed to be a big brother on the deck telling me I could do it. I hope and pray that when you are in the pool crying, a big brother comes along to partner with you. And, may you be blessed to sit at the side of a pool and pour out love to a little brother who is convinced he is drowning.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge 3/15

This past week has really been about love for me. I don't know about you but I want to love God more! I want to be so deeply and passionately in love with our Savior that he is ALWAYS on my mind. Yesterday, on the way home from CrossFit at 7am, I was praying that God would show me how to love him more. After Logan got off to school and while Macy was eating breakfast, I sat down to do my reading for our small group. Our group is currently working through "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Wouldn't you know that this week's chapter is "When You're in Love"? More than just a coincidence in my book:) In the book, Francis Chan includes an excerpt from "God is the Gospel" by John Piper. It reads:

"The critical question for our generation- and for every generation- is this: If you could go to heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"

Wow. That's a good question. It reminded me of another similar question I read just last week in "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver.

"A Test of Love

St. Augustine once preached a sermon in which he proposed a kind of self-test to see if we truly love God:

'Suppose God proposed to you a deal and said, "I will give you anything you want. You can possess the whole world. Nothing will be impossible for you...Nothing will be a sin, nothing forbidden. You will never die, never have pain, never have anything you do not want and always have anything you do want- except for just one thing: you will never see my face."

Augustine closed with a question:

'Did a chill rise in your hearts, when you heard the words, "you will never see my face?" That chill is the most precious thing in you; that is the pure love of God."

Again, wow. I hope you felt that chill. That you desperately long to see the face of Jesus.

As I read further into the chapter "When You're in Love" Francis Chan offers this encouragement, "The fact is this, I need God to help me love God........It is a remarkable cycle: Our prayers for more love result in love, which naturally causes us to pray more, which results in more love."

...(Deep breath)...

I don't even know what to say....

I guess that leads me to my next verse. I have chosen to memorize Ephesians 3:17-19. I have loved this verse for a long time and I pray it for myself, Derek and our children. But, as I memorize it over the next couple of weeks I am going to pray it for you too. I pray that you may fall deeper and deeper in love, and that you will be filled with the fullness of God.


Ephesians 3:17-19 (New Century Version)

17 I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.18 And I pray that you and all God's holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ's love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is.19 Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge 3/1

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV).
I love this verse. How many times do we feel weary or burdened? I know I often feel like I could use some rest!! But, this scripture reminds me that our rest (& strength) comes from being yoked to Christ. When we are close to him and allow him to guide our steps, we will find everything we need.
Stay close to him and allow him to carry the burden!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge 2/1 & 2/15

Can you believe it is the middle of February?!?! This year has flown by and there are no indications that it is going to slow down:) As I was preparing to post my verse for 2/15, I realized I hadn't posted my verse from 2/1. Oops.

Matthew 6:33 (NCV)
"Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well."
I picked this verse because it is so easy for me to "present my requests to God" without really asking God what he wants. I want to remember to "Seek first God's kingdom AND what GOD WANTS" because at the end of the day, I just want to be smack dab in the center of God's will for my life.

Psalms 119:11
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
I chose this verse because I have been talking to our kids about the importance of knowing God so that we can discern what is true and what is not. I told them that one of the ways we can know if something aligns with what God says is to know the Bible. So, I am hiding God's word in my heart so I can recognize sin and stay away from it:)

I hope you are memorizing scripture too!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge 1/15

Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)
But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried & upset over all these details! There is only one things worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."
I chose this verse because at this point in my life it is so easy for me to become distracted by "all these details"...and I love details! This verse is helping me realize that sometimes all the details keep me from the "one thing worth being concerned about". I am focusing on making sure I have the ONE THING, fellowship with Jesus, and trusting that all those fabulous details will fall right into place.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tony's Story...the long version:)

I have to take credit for the long delay in between blog posts. I know that thousands of you....maybe hundreds....errr more like dozens?....ok, just my Mom, have been eagerly awaiting our next post. I have been formulating a great post and story about how much our 3 boys and one special little girl have been an amazing blessing and continue to teach and humble us daily. This post is not that (don’t worry Grandma and Grandpa more to come on that at a later date).

We (mainly Lydia) have been preparing our first newsletter to send out to all our friends and supporters. We wanted to include a piece about someone who has had a meaningful experience on a trip to the DR that prompted them to make a significant change in their life when they got home. Tony jumped out in my mind because of some great conversations we had while in the DR together. We asked if he would share his story with us and below is what he sent us.

I was baptized when I was younger around the age of 10. Early last year I made a decision to rededicate my life to Christ and was re-baptized in March. This time was different then when I was younger because I did a lot of thinking, studying and soul searching about what I actually believed. After changing jobs and moving to a new city, I attended a church in Madison, IN and knew from the first moment that there was a reason for everything and that God had a plan.

As a part of my evaluation of where I stood in my faith, I realized that I needed to do something different. At church we were doing a series based upon the book titled “Crazy Love”. The message in the book about being lukewarm as a Christian and how that makes God sick kept going through my mind. About that time, I was asked by a good friend that I had coached with if I would be interested in going to the DR to help put on a basketball clinic. Without thinking, I said yes because it seemed like something that God had kind of put in front of both of us.

The trip was just an amazing experience. You saw God at work in everything that you did. To try and run a basketball clinic for 40 youths with one court, 2 baskets, not being able to speak the language, and having to bring everything with us for the clinic; I would have thought was impossible. But God made it work and made the clinic a success.

I was also amazed by the other opportunities to see God in action. I think being away from our hectic routines gave each of us the opportunity to see God working in so many different ways.This includes the feeding centers, bible schools and the construction that went on while we were there. I was inspired by the actions of our other group members. Whether it was the time they sat aside for bible study or the way that they played with the children, it was a great example for me.

I am a control freak in everything I do, whether I’m coaching, or acting as the Dean of Students at work, or in my personal life. From the moment I arrived in the DR, I realized that I was not in control and would not be able to get through the week without God’s help. I literally laid in my bunk the first night scared, crying and praying for God to get me through the week. It was the first time in my life that I really felt like I was totally out of control. Learning to turn things over to God was the most valuable lesson I could have ever received. I truly got so much more out of the trip than I was ever able to give back to the people of the DR.

I also got to learn so much about what it means to serve and to love others. The trip forced me to get out of my comfort zone and to just dive in to help someone else, whether it was doing the clinic, helping with the bible schools or playing with the children around the church.

I came back from the trip with a couple of goals in mind. One of my goals was to continue to stay close to God by reading and studying my bible. The other goal was to look for other ways to serve God and others.

The idea of starting an FCA huddle came up a couple of different times and I have always been involved in sports as a coach. I asked a couple of athletes at the school if they would be interested and they both seemed excited. It was very much the same feeling of the trip in that it just seemed like something God was leading me to do. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have never of done this had it not been for the experiences of the trip to the DR. The thing I love about the group is that it provides me so many opportunities to share my faith, helps to keep me on track by reading the bible and researching topics and allows me to work with several athletes for a much greater purpose than just winning a game. It is similar to the trip in that by serving others you are really helping yourself.

Our FCA huddle is continuing to grow we have a pretty strong core of 15 members and are looking forward to growing a great deal between now and the end of the school year. Currently we are holding weekly meetings that primarily focus on bible studies and group discussion. With God’s blessings and guidance we hope that our group can continue to grow and become an active presence on our schools campus.

Story’s like that of Tony’s are the reason why Lydia and I are so excited about our journey into ministry. God is using Tony to write an amazing story. It was a joy to be in and share his story. Francis Chan challenges us not to live “lukewarm”. I hope your story is not lukewarm. May your story be full of laughter, tears, fear, courage and triumph. Most importantly let your story be written by God.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge

I am taking part in a Scripture Memory Challenge through the Women's Ministry at Pathway Community Church. The goal is to memorize two verses a month in 2011. We are supposed to pick a new verse on the 1st & 15th of the month. I have decided to share my verses on our blog and my reason for picking that verse...or maybe just what I am learning through memorizing the verse.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (The Message)
"God is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you. Don't be intimidated. Don't worry."
I love how active the verse is. God is striding ahead of me. He isn't sauntering. He isn't strolling. He is striding. And, he is ahead of me. As I was spending time meditating on this verse a picture came to mind. A month or so ago, Derek and I were watching Mythbusters. On that particular episode they were trying to find out if there was any truth behind the theory that if you follow draft a semi-truck it will improve your gas mileage. After a lot of experimenting, they discovered that if you follow VERY closely to a semi-truck your gas mileage does show significant improvements (but you had a follow at a distance that was not safe). Back to the verse, I was realizing that if God is actively moving ahead of me, the best place for me to be is right behind him in his draft. And, the closer I am to him the easier my journey will be. Wow. Isn't that so true?
Stay tuned for my 2nd verse (sometime around 1/15).