Mom with her  puppy  Bonita
Someone recently commented about my blog “you inspire me and make me feel not afraid to get older”.   Aging gracefully and embracing our days is within our reach and defined by the choices we make. However, there may be a day when we do not have that choice.  Grace we hold for ourselves and the simple dignity to be independent, can be suddenly taken from us. We may find ourselves depending on the mercy of our loved ones.  My mom has recently experienced this. Though she was in physical pain, it was evident that the pain and humility of having to depend on someone else was even more difficult to deal with. Independence is so easy; you know you can trust yourself to do whatever is needed to get through a situation. We take pride in our independence and it is an innate part of our growth and tied to our self-worth.  The real challenge is when we are faced with having to be dependent. It takes much more faith and trust to be dependent than independent. It can be very scary to realize you are no longer in control and have to rely completely in faith and trust.   I do not fear age, but I am fully aware that our days are numbered.  What matters most, what has eternal worth, and is the core of our existence, is relationship. It is a simple foundation from which everything else branches.  We were created for relationship. We thrive because of and extend ourselves through relationship. Relationship holds us together as partners in life, parents, friends, our community, and our environment. Even how we relate to, either at peace or at war with ourselves. Our greatest joys and our greatest pains are the result of the depth of love invested in our relationships. Preserving and caring for those relationships goes beyond self preservation.   It is a selfless devotion.  I have no better example, than my mother, who may not got have gotten everything right, but  got everything love. There was never a moment I felt unloved. She invested all she had to give, and I am all the richer for this mantle of unconditional love. 
Little did I know when I was drafting the post above for this week would hold. That our family would be faced with the tragedy of not only losing our niece Bethany, but  also losing another dear friend to our family, Danny. This has been a devastating hurt for all, but especially for my children, who not only lost a close cousin, but a close friend all in a 24  hour period. It seems so surreal and unbelievable. We are just stunned. I was going to write more about Bethany and Danny. Instead, Tori has already eloquently put it in words and I could not have said it better.  This is from Tori and Daniel’s blog.
Heavy Heart
The title says it all. My heart has been so heavy over the last 24 hours. I woke this morning to hear more bad news. That one of my many adopted brothers, Danny, had also left us. Both much too young. But God has a plan, and he is working through every heartache right now. They both were amazing people and I was so privileged to know them and spend time with them.Danny could make anyone laugh on the spot. He was always quick with a witty response, and may have left you wondering “Should I really be laughing at that right now?” I won’t mention that he still owed us a new couch after New Years a couple years ago…

 Danny….unique, funny, brilliantly offensive….at the core, simply a gentle soul


Bethany’s life was a testimony of God in every single aspect. I have always looked up to her as my closest girl cousin for all of my life. She was so beautiful and lit up a room every time she entered. She always had a joyful spirit, and everyone could tell why. Bethany certainly fought the good fight and was so strong through all of her heart struggles. I’ll never forget Grandma Wyns always getting our names mixed up.

Bethany…Radiant and beautiful in every way possible

Death is so harsh and leaves a painful void as we miss the fellowship of loved ones.   On this subject of “growing older”  …it is a gift, many are denied that opportunity. All we have is today, right now. That is where we live. The past is behind us and there is no promise of tomorrow. We may walk from earth to eternity in a moment.