Sunday, August 4, 2013

She Saved My Life...

She saved my life.  I was there, of course, but I was only an I don't remember much of the event.  As the story-telling temperature escalated to a point that I actually had a convulsion.  My grandmother noticed it and they subsequently rushed me to the ER, where I was quickly placed in an ice bath. To make a long story short, I survived with no apparent side affects, and have lived almost 5 1/2 decades since. She always took credit for saving my life.  On July 27, I delivered my grandmother's eulogy at her funeral...


My grandfather (her husband of 74 years) passed away just 8 months earlier in November 2012. They married when she was 15, and had been together almost 3/4 of a century since. When they passed, he was 96 and she was 90.  I suppose that when they first saw each other in heaven, he might have said to her, "Hi there beautiful. What took you so long?" Until the very end, they had actually never spent a night separated. They were always together, and now, will continue to be so.

Marvin & Mary Thomas

They were the last living grandparents that I had.  A generation is gone. We were fortunate to have been able to capture a 5-generations picture before they passed. It's a rare and priceless treasure for me to keep.  Our 4-year old granddaughter, Savannah, is in the generational picture. My 90-year old grandmother passed on Savannah's birthday.  Such timing and coincidence does not go unnoticed.

Five Generations

My wife, Tami, and I really enjoyed talking with my grandparents about their early lives. They were both born into quite a different world almost a century ago. They've had experiences, hardships, and a lifestyle that I can only barely imagine.  Their stories are not so different from others who lived back then, but hugely divergent from the experiences and conveniences from my life and my kids lives.  In some ways, listening to them proudly speak of their past made me appreciate my lifestyle, yet made me feel a bit guilty for all that we have.  For that, I count their stories as priceless.

My grandfather continued to drive his car well into his 90's, albeit very slowly. Several times, younger/faster drivers would get caught behind them on the road as they made an occasional trip to their local Walmart in Elizabethtown, KY.  Once a frustrated driver behind my grandfather, finally passed him and shouted, "Hey old man! Speed up or get off the road!!" My grandmother was reported as saying, "That driver made me so mad when he yelled at us that I just felt like flipping him 'the THUMB'!".  She may have confused the Finger vs Thumb usage, but she got the idea right... This was not her usual nature, but I appreciate her spunk...

They were wonderful relatives to 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.  Thanks for savings my life, Memaw.  I look forward to see you both again...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zapped by Lightning

This came to mind last week: But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. (Ecclesiastes 2:11 NLT)

On Thursday, April 11, a severe storm passed over North Alabama and left a reminder of this verse for me. We were out of town attending our daughter's wedding in KY when I received a call from a kind neighbor. He said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but your security siren has been going off for the last couple of days...". Bother me? Really? I am so appreciative of this man, whom I hardly even know. Why I wasn't notified by our security system monitoring company is another story. As of this post, they have already been replaced.

We thought it may have been a power surge that caused the alarm, as our neighbor said he peeked in the windows and didn't see any unusual evidence of a burglary. But upon our return four days later, with two granddaughters in tow, we discovered that our roof took a direct hit from lightning, leaving a softball-sized hole, shattering a 2x6 rafter stud, and damaging electrical components throughout our home.

It's stunning that our house did not catch on fire. Stunning! We came home to many inconveniences...phones dead, refrigerators not working, security systems...TVs...DVD players...routers...modems...etc. - not to mention the hole in our roof. But, how much worse it could have been if a spark had ignited...

As thankful as we are to only have the minor inconveniences, honestly, I's all "just stuff". We had family around us and I just recently handed my daughter's hand to a young man who is now an additional member of our family. The stuff can be replaced...but not our family.

It's a great reminder for me to not get hung up on the stuff of this world - it really is meaningless. Instead I need to keep thinking and focusing on the things of eternal value. Thanks for the reminder, God.... And, I'm also grateful for the lack of a spark....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To My Daughter, Caitlin...

You're only a "Bolte" for a few more days... but you'll be my daughter forever!  So many memories... so many laughs... so many arguments... so many unanswered phone calls... so many delicious cherry pies... so many reasons to love you... so many smiles... so many decisions in the past, and in the future... so many years as a "Bolte".

But as of Saturday, April 13, 2013, you'll become a "Burchett".  We've prayed for you so much throughout the years... for many reasons.  One of the most important topics was your future husband.  Michael is a wonderful young man from a wonderful family. We already count it a blessing to have him as part of our family.

So, on Saturday, I will count it my honor to have you on my arm for our walk down the aisle toward your new husband and future life.  You are the last of our three children to wed, but the wait will be worth it.  Michael and you will be a beautiful addition to our family.

May God abundantly bless you as you strive to seek and follow his will for your lives with a laser-like focus.  Please remember that we're always here for you both, during good or tough times.  It doesn't matter if you're a "Bolte"... or a "Burchett".  Caitlin, we will always love you.  Please know how proud we are of you.

Love, Dad