Thursday, July 23, 2009

Great day when your dad dies?!

It may seem a strange title and possibly disrespectful for some but....
Dad has been ill for some time and died late last night but I/we had a great day.

Dad had been moved to from hospital to a hospice at the start the week, and Karen and I visited him on Tuesday. Although breathing was hard he was able to communicate with the aid of a laptop and keyboard I rigged up. His first question being "where is the red wine". No change from normal.

We got a phone call Wednesday morning to say he had taken a turn for the worse so all four of us went over. We arrived just as my mum arrived to visit him. This in itself being a big job as she is house bound. My brother Graham had arranged a disabled taxi and got her there in a wheel chair. Although by this time dad could not communicate, he opened his eyes and recognised us there, especially mum, wanting to hold her hand. He even waved to her when she had to leave. Soon after that he went into a sleep.

We (me, karen, sarah and peter, my sister val, ivor, phil and ruth) spent the next 8 hours or so switching between sitting by his bed, spending time in the glorious chapel, or walking the grounds. Graham stayed with mum until she went to bed and joined us again about 8pm. Many of the hours were spent talking about things we remembered about dad.

No one wanted to leave, thinking we were in for a long night we settled into the relatives room, with an ajoining room with a couple of beds. Just as karen and sarah were settling down to get a short sleep Ruth ran down the corridor to tell us his breathing had stopped. We all ran back to his room and were gathered round his bed as he took his last couple of breaths.

Yes there were tears, both than and earlier in the day, but he got time with mum, mum had a chance to say good-bye. We all had a great time laughing about things we remembered. The place was glorious, not just the building but the wonderful grounds and views (top of a hill looking in a direction without towns/factories etc.). He was peacefull throughout, not in any discomfort or stress. We could not have asked for a better way for him to go. We have a loving God who understands exactly what we all need.

That's what I mean when I say great day. We used to say it wasn't a good party unless he went to sleep, and that is what he did at the end.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Year Resolutions?!?!

I know it is July, but on Sunday I was talking at Godzone about God's Plan and Journeys, and in the afternoon we had a tea for New Wine, where we get together those who are going and give the first timers some useful hints etc. and now I am really excited about going to New Wine and wondering what God has in store for me this year.

All this got me thinking about things I have learnt in the past few years, at New Wine, our Men's Weekends etc. and promises I have made on what I will do, and I realise that so often we come away from these things with good intentions and so often we fall short, much like new year resolutions.

Well for the record, I have succeeded in some areas, my daily bible reading and quite times with God are better than they have been in 35 years!! I'm not saying they are perfect, but I rarely miss my bible reading (jet lag and ill fathers don't help) and actually really look forward to them. Prayer time does vary depending on how much is on my mind, and how far I have to drive! I find times in the car to work great for talking and listening to God.

I have been losing weight (although 3 weeks in the US has set me back a bit), and I have been exercising to get fit.

What is not so good, is God spoke to me about the poor a couple of years ago and I still have a yearning for this, but still can't quite work out what I should be doing. Also Karen and I have tried to have a regular prayer time together, but this is sposmatic and something we both need to work on - watch out Karen!

So what does New Wine have in store for me? I don't know, but on past experience it will be something I am not expecting. I pray that other who are going to New Wine or other conventions will also experience God in a new way and will also take it back into their daily lives to make a difference. I want it to be real, and not just another new year resolution that falls by the wayside.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friends and Family

I wasn't sure how I was going to continue this blog post my US trip. Would I have anything to say that was worthwhile? Should it be topical? Should it just be what I have been doing (which it mainly was)? Should it be things on my mind? or what?

Well, I am hoping it may be some or all of those things, depending on what is going on in my head. I don't intend it to be a micro blog with just short snippets on what I have been doing just to keep it going though.

So why the title Friends and Family, well that is what last weekend was all about. On Saturday we went over for my great niece's birthday. I can't beleive she is 2 already. We popped in to see mum and dad first, and although dad appeared better than he had on Tuesday in that he was talking more whereas talking had been difficult on Tuesday, he is still very much in decline and hanging on in there.

Lunch and the afternoon though was spent at Shelby's birthday which was a BBQ at their house. It was great just to relax and be with family, seeing my sister Val, her children and now her grandchild (opps, I forgot to call her granny while I was there!). At one point I popped into the Kitchen and saw Dean (Shelby's dad) sat alone in the lounge. I thought about going and talking to him, but realised that actually he had taken himself out as he struggles with crowds, and I thought it was really nice he felt he was able to do that, and actually me intruding would be the last thing he wanted. So often in today's society we see breakdown in family life it was good to see a family enjoy being together.

Sunday we had a BBQ at our house for all the GodZone leaders (well those that could make it). Having been away for so long it was great for me to catch up with my friends. Also with the talk turning to New Wine and the fun we will have there, although having been talking to Clive on Sunday, I know I am going to miss him at New Wine this year. I really look forward to us chatting about the seminars and what we have learned etc.

After everyone had gone on Sunday, PJ and Hannah ended up in the garden playing bat and ball (for want of an expression). It was really nice to see them enjoying just playing in the garden and having fun together.

This weekend has reminded me how lucky I am to have such a great family and lots of good friends.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Brain Dead!!

I don't know what it is this time but the jet lag has really hit me today. So much that even I am noticing how much I am not with it. I know Kal will say this is usual, but I don't remember me being as bad as I have been feeling today.

Still it is good to be back with everyone, even if I don't seem to be with it much