Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The GGC (Gisel Girl Cousin) Escapades

I think sometimes I am better at poetry than prose. I was trying to think how I could capture the memories of our cousin trip to St. Louis. But my sister, Brenda, has already done a great job, so I think you would enjoy reading it at Brenda's blog. Also, Amy, my niece, who served as our guide, wrote her reflections. However, I did write a little poem, so I will share it here.

It is very special to be a Gisel Girl Cousin,
We number just 2 more than a dozen.
We get together each year,
And one thing is quite clear,
We laugh and laugh till our heads do spin.

St Louis was full of fun things to do and very busy,
Going up in the Arch actually made some of us dizzy.
At Zia's we had pasta galore,
Fitz's root beer floats were to die for!
At the brewery, the Clydesdales did impress me.

The Metrolink was truly an experience to share,
The Jewel Box was peaceful with beautiful flowers so fair.
We love to eat--can you tell?
The Boat House bill of fare was swell.
So much to see at Forest Park, we split up there.

Talking and laughing and sharing is what it's all about,
We look forward to these times, without a doubt.
Many memories to treasure,
Give us much pleasure,
A place to meet next year we must now scout out.

( I tried to upload my picture of a Clydesdale horse, but for some
reason it didn't work) You'll just have to use your imagination)

The Jewel Box

On our recent trip to St. Louis with the Gisel Girl Cousins, we visited a place called The Jewel Box. It was sort of like a green house, but it was arranged so well and with so many different flowers, greenery and trees. I really enjoyed this experience. When we went inside it was so quiet and peaceful. They told us that people often had weddings there. They even had chairs placed around the room in various places so you could just sit and enjoy the beauty and meditate. Of course, having a lot of places we wanted to visit that day, we didn't stay a real long time. (For one thing, the next item on the agenda was lunch, and believe me, food is always a top priority with our group!)

Ok, Ok!! I know I got a little bit carried away with my pictures of flowers. Since I'm retiring soon I thought I'd practice taking pictures, as I might want to do that as my next career!

Seriously though, I really was impressed with the beauty and serene atmosphere of this little place. It was just sort of a refreshing interlude in our day. We did take a couple group pictures there. I hope some of the others enjoyed it as much as I did.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cousins by the Dozens

Catching some sun

Woman overboard

Sunset Cruise

The lake house

Once again we enjoyed what has become a bi-annual event--The Rupp girl-cousin Reunion. This year we were graciously hosted by Lester's Ladies at the Lake. We were treated like royalty! Did I mention--there were 29 of us there!

The first night we took a sunset pontoon cruise. It was lovely, until we got into shallow water, hit a sand bar and got stuck. Three of our brave ladies went into the water to push us to deeper water. However, at that point, we still couldn't start the engine. We couldn't call anyone because as impossible as it may seem none of the 16 ladies on board had a cell phone with them!
My sister Brenda has described this experience in a much more colorful manner so I'll let you check it out on her blog. Lester's Ladies

Suffice it to say, the pontoon adventure got us off to a great start! We had so much food that some of it got sent home without even being touched! What makes these events so great is just getting to know our cousins better and catch up on what's going on in their lives.

The weekend was somewhat bittersweet for my sisters and I, as we were dealing with the fact that our dad was very ill in the hospital. However, it was great to have the support of everyone there and to know they would be praying for him.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Jo, Carma, Wanda and Janna for all their hard work, and for the great welcome gifts! An absolutely wonderful time was had by all!

Friday, July 4, 2008

In Loving Memory -- A Father's Love

It is almost impossible to portray in words just how much Dad meant to me. I think there are 3 words that would aptly describe him--Upright (integrity), Loving, Friend of God.

Dad accepted the Lord when he was 19 years old, and I believe from that time on he always lived by his convictions. He was honest, just and fair and always wanted to do the right thing. Whether it was a renter, a pastor, or people that worked with him he made sure he treated them fairly. There was never any doubt--his word was good!

"Loving, kind, generous, sweet spirit"--these were words I heard over and over again as I talked to people who came for visitation at the funeral home. He loved the Lord, his family, and his church. Dad had a great smile, and his face always lit up when we would come to see him. He had a great sense of humor, and loved a good story or a quip that could make us laugh. We all remember how he would cut articles out of a newspaper or magazine and send it to us, saying, "I thought you might be interested in this". His latest quip that we heard him say was "I walk pretty slow; my right leg is crooked and my left leg is almost 90!"

He loved our mother and they gave us a wonderful example to follow for a great marriage. After she died, he found love again with Kay; they had more than 19 years together and loved each other very much.

He really loved his grandchildren and faithfully prayed for them. He would write each of them a letter on their birthdays. It got so that we sort of had to interpret his handwriting for them, but it was always special to get a letter from grandpa. When ever I was having challenges with my kids, I always knew their grandpa was praying for them.

In a tribute to dad at his funeral we descibed him as having a humble walk with his God. And that is so true. He lived simply, but he served in many different areas in the church. He gave generously of his time, his talents and his resources and was a "good and faithful servant" for his Lord.

We will miss our dad so very much. In the last weeks of his life he experienced pain and suffering and we are so glad that he is now free from all of that and enjoying life in the presence of the Lord. We are so blessed to have had him as a father and we know we will see him again one day.

Proverbs 20:7 "The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow after them."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Journey is Over

My Dad has been struggling with health issues the last month. Prior to that, he was able to be mobile and was alert. He even spent a whole day with all of us kids on the farm for a work day on May 21. He began to have some breathing difficulties and went to the hospital. From there he went to rehab at a nursing home. He just didn't progress like we expected, and he really didn't like the nursing home. He got worse and went back to the hospital. On Tuesday, June 24th we met with the Doctor, and realized that there was really no chance for him to recover enough to ever come home again. He was so sick, that we just wanted him to be as comfortable as possible so we made the decision to move him to a hospice house. It was a wonderful facility! However, we moved him on Wednesday and he passed away Thursday night at 10:00 pm.

My Dad was a fighter, and always wanted to be active and independent, and did exactly that as long as it was possible. In II Timothy 4:7 it says "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness..."

Dad walked with God, he was a good and faithful servant and he finished the race extremely well.
What a heritage we have, to have had such a wonderful example of a christian father who loved God with all his heart,and who gave of his time, talents and money generously in service to his Lord and Saviour. We are truly blessed.