Tim – Random thoughts distorted by tears

The following are excerpts from my journals and writings I discovered while going through my notebooks.

March 10, 2017

My son is dead! My heart is broken in two! I cannot breathe.  I cannot think.  Why God? Why now? He escaped death 3 times, but not the fourth.  My worst nightmare has come to life. My rainbow baby is dead!

I found this note I wrote 8 years ago.

For my son.

Oh, Timothy!  When they came and told me it was you in the accident and that you were gone, my heart nearly stopped beating. I thought I could be dispassionate about it – that I could accept the facts when the news would someday come – but I cannot.  I can’t stop weeping.  My son, my son!  If only you had listened to the call of God!  You picked your name at birth, I heard you!  Timothy means honoring God.  I thought you would someday find your way and repent, turning towards God and away from the call of Satan.  But it looks like time has run out.  I so hope that in some last minute way, you encountered and bowed at the cross!  I will spend the rest of my days grieving you on this earth and I will never on this earth be as happy as I have been.  This is too much for a mother to bear!  I keep remembering all the unique moments of your childhood – the sweetness of your breath as I nursed you, your independent spirit, the quickness of your mind.  I regret so much my inability to be the right mother for you as a teen, to prepare you spiritually to step into accountability and to be a good mother for a budding adult son.  I don’t know what I could have done differently, but I wish I had known and could have done it.  I will always love you and hold you in my memory and cherish every moment we had together as mother and son.  You are special to me now, even though you are gone.  I love you so, so much.  I would give anything just to see you once more and to know that you were safe in the arms of Jesus! 


4/16/2009 3 AM

I can’t find the poem I wrote you at birth. But I did find this, a letter I wrote to you after the demise of your marriage.

Dear Tim:

I’m sorry you are having to go through this.  Cops love (sometimes) to attack people with long hair.  Not that all cops are bad – but it is NOT a high-paying job, so why do people do it?  Sometimes it’s because they want to serve people.  Sometimes because it gives them power.  Power is I think more of a motivator than money for a lot of people.  Or maybe I’m thinking about control.  That’s why we have to have checks and balances in the system – and we need lawyers to help in that.  Any profession that has power is subject to corruption and greed  – so much fraud exists because of that.  Even true Christians must be constantly on the guard of the lure! 

As far as the “shakes” go – you get that probably from me.  When I have high stress, I get them too.  Yesterday for instance, I was audited at work.  The auditors stood over me while I was trying to add up 4 pages of numbers.  I was trembling so bad – and I wasn’t doing anything wrong – I finally asked them to go into another room so I could finish!  And if I’ve had a lot of coffee, you can COUNT on it, I’ll shake.  I did it in labor with all you guys – you can ask your dad if he remembers, I shook like a leaf!

As far as new relationship goes – I pray you are fishing in the right pond.  I met someone who told me that when she met her husband to be – she asked 3 questions – does this person have a good character, does this person have the ability to commit, and does this person have a track record of consistency.  THEN she told him up front what she was looking for.  She married him within 12 weeks of meeting him and has been extremely happy ever since!  I think you are the kind of guy that can answer those questions positively when you meet the right gal.  You need to ask them of yourself and of the person you meet. 

You KNOW I am praying for you to come to a place of submission to God and Christ.  But it’s got to be in the right order, I think.  It’s not just about faith – although faith is important but it has to be more than that.  I think if you are asked to put your head to sleep, you have a small god.  God accepted the challenges of Job and Jonah and Elijah and didn’t flinch.  He showed himself to Elijah and Moses (in a small way) and didn’t kill them for asking!  And actually rewarded them for their questioning!  First you have to get it in your head that God created the world in all its order and beauty.  Then you have to look at the evidence of Jesus – did he rise from the dead or not?  Then you have to look at the Bible and ask what is the evidence that this is a God-inspired document written by a bunch of different guys that somehow got miraculously preserved and put together and is a reliable source of understanding God’s character and intent.  Then you have to deal with the question: is life eternal?  Then you have to deal with how were we intended to be – relational or alone?  How do we find significance and where?

I’m going to share with you – I have struggled my whole life to not be a loner.  My heart wants relationship but I struggle with trust issues and self-control.  I have difficulty with significance too, feeling confidence in what I do or say.  I constantly question myself.  And that too is selfish and self-centered and evidence of pride!  I want my kids to have great lives – but sometimes they have to go through horrible stuff to refine their gold.  Am I thinking that I am smarter than God to know how much suffering is required – or how much gold there is?  Do I think I can do a better job than He of bringing circumstances into their lives that bring them to their ultimate place of joy? 

I pray for you – I love you so much – I want you to be all that God intended for you, to be fulfilled in all the wonderful capacity that you have.  You have a marvelous mind, a strong soul, a rich field for growing relationship, a deep ability to love and be loved.  Some day I will share with you the poem I wrote for you before you were born.  Keep up your faith, look to God and others for help.  Call me sometime. 

Mom   9/30/06

I found this in a composition book I gave you in October. I know you found this note and read it, because there is a notation in your handwriting below it;


I don’t know if you’ll ever open this notebook up or use it but if you do — I want you to know how much you mean to me. Someday we will say goodbye on t his earth.  When that happens, my prayer is that the “goodbye” will just be “see you later” and that we will someday sit and tell our stories of God’s redeeming, relentless, reconciling love.

I know the story isn’t over. I know that God is sovereign but He limits Himself to the threshold of your heart. May you find light. May you thirsts for truth. And may you find it when you meet the real Jesus.

Mom, Sept 2016

And here is the poem I wrote for your funeral:

To Tim

 It was inevitable  you’d be a dancer.
I danced through the night as I worked,
Trying to stay awake, fueled by coffee
And in the down times, loud music.
 You came so quickly,
Holding back, then rushing out to meet the world.
I stared at you and wondered,
What’s your name?
 And Timothy it was.
Curious and independent,
Grasping the ungraspable,
You challenged me and the world.
 You approached the world on your own terms
As I look through your memories, I see.
You were never quite satisfied
With a riff, with a thought.
Jazz suited you.
You loved a challenge
You never stopped challenging me.
In the end, I pray,
You met the One who answers all.
And have found – peace.
Jane March 18, 2017

May 22, 2017

I’ve received your things from your dad.  Going through them, I’m tasting a little of your college and high school life when you were still growing up but away from me. I see your angst showing through even then. And your creativity and expressiveness. You always wanted to do things your own way, it seems. You challenged your teachers and helpers, even trying to fool them about your real intelligence and abilities. What was that about?

My questions have changed from “why did you die” to “why did you live”. I am searching for answers. I see you cherished a few things I gave you – a book, the wedding Bible, a notebook with my letter of hope to you. There’s even a picture of me holding you as a baby.

May 26, 2017

Last night I got a report as to the cause of your death. You didn’t take your own life. You didn’t want to die. You were surprised.  A genetic tendency combined with other circumstances formed a Bermuda triangle that you could not escape. And God called you home. I am looking at your life through tears.

Looking at life through tears changes your view. Tears can distort, and yet magnify with great clarity, the little things. Refraction can give a rainbow effect to certain aspects – but magnification only occurs on a small scale. I will forever look at you through tears. I will remember everything I can about your life – helped by some photographs, some videos, some messages from your Facebook messenger.  Last night I memorialized your Facebook page. Soon I will finish your scrapbook – just can’t bring myself to do it yet. Monday I will visit your graveside and fix up your flowers. When I can bring myself together enough to go back to painting, I will paint a memorial painting for you, just like I did for my dad.

As time goes by, who will remember you? Who will celebrate your life? Will you have made any lasting impact on anyone? I will spend the rest of mine using whatever lessons I can glean from our relationship to help someone else – whether it be someone suffering from loss, someone who struggles with faith versus reasoning, someone who struggles with purpose or relationships. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only cure for the malady that besets us all is seeking, finding and submitting to our Heavenly Father and allowing Jesus’ work of redemption to be accomplished in us, and receiving the Holy Spirit to live and work through us. You tried to make it through your own efforts, your own reasoning. You had to lay it all down at last, when you met Jesus in person. I pray that your legacy will be lived out through me, your brothers and sisters and their efforts to carry the Gospel to others so they may have a legacy. It is my only hope that makes sense out of the tragedy of your death.

Goodbye my sweet, loving, gifted, beautiful, talented, amazing son. You loved with a fierce, loyal love. I know you are amazed with the magnificence of God and the unfathomable love of Jesus. I will see you soon (in God’s timing).



Thoughts on Religion VS Relationship

Ezekiel 36:25-27 says this: “Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

There are many scriptures in the New Testament that speak of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who teaches us and guides us into truth. Our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I just a couple of weeks visiting my kids in Italy and visiting cities where Christianity has been established, grew and has now waned for the past over 2000 years. What I observed there has further confirmed my assessment and observation of many lives. I see (and saw) evidences everywhere of the attempts by man to create a posture of religious compliance: Churches designed to raise thoughts to the majesty and holiness of God, rituals designed to conform to an appearance of holiness, rules to enforce behavior and appearance to that which seems to be godly, a culture of lip-service honor to the past and surface graciousness.

But history reveals what happens to external controls designed to impose a standard on the created world – it all falls down under either active or passive entropy. Rebellions cause resentment and traditions are torn down by the new authority. Laziness fails to maintain and keep up the requirements for matters that fall in the presence of relentless time and gravity. Like the lobsters I saw in the restaurant windows with their thick exoskeletons, once pierced, the innards fell quickly to the devouring conquerors. To me, so many structures developed in our society are like that lobster – they only work when they are in the right environment and protected by a majority.

But a relationship with Christ is different. We exchange our works for His, our sin for His righteousness. Our flesh is vulnerable and subject to failure, but His righteousness forms a firm interior that cannot be easily injured. We nourish that spirit within by listening, by action inspired by His voice, by communicating and feeding on His Word.

Some day, I will escape “these mortal chains” and be with my Savior. I have a lot of questions now. When I see Him, will my questions even matter? In the meantime, I must press forward, and remind myself Whose child I am.

Italian Adventure Summary

I never travel anywhere without learning something new. In our travels, I saw reinforced, God’s hand in our lives and choices. So many incidents could have been disasters, so many opportunities could have been missed. We met a wonderful couple. We saw disappointments turn into joy. We saw we could do more than we thought we could at our age. We are so glad that wherever we go, God is with us. Not something we have to remember to bring along, but living in us through the Holy Spirit.  We are SO thankful for our children who are walking in the Lord. We pray for them daily.

Flying over the Alps on our way home.

I will be back to visit the kids in August when our newest grandbaby is born. Family time is awesome.

Our next Old People’s Adventure will be Western USA. Stay tuned!

Vicenza to Venice 5/16-17/2017 – Last Tour

We rested on Monday and packed for our return to USA. Our last tour planned was to Venice. Venice is not a super kid-friendly place, so Judah went to school for the day.

We walked to the train on Tuesday and took the local to Venice. When we got off the train, this is what we saw.

Venice has a lot of water. Lots of surrounding islands too.  We took a water bus to the Island of Murano, where glass is made and blown into all sorts of items, beads, sculptures, decorative glass ware etc.

Getting around in Venice.

Water bus

Packed in like sardines is the way of life.

Traveled to Murano.

Our beautiful, patient daughter-in-love Paige (with Baby Cooper in tow).

Wearing my souvenir from Venice.

We made it to St. Mark’s Square.

Romantic views – but it’s time to go home.

And then once again back to Vicenza.



5/12-5/14 – Germany – Garmisch and Mad King Ludwig

Jesse and Paige had a nice plan to accompany us to a place they had not been either. The weather threatened to be cold and rainy as we set out Friday morning for Garmisch with the plan to see Neuschwanstein castle in Fussen.  The drive through the Alps was astounding! Such beauty and majesty with castles sprinkled all along the way.

We took a tour which included stops at a wood-carvers shop.

We stopped at a country Church where a famous statue of Jesus is located.

Here is the church.They say the Jesus statue cries tears.

At last we arrived at the castle. Only four rooms are finished inside. No pictures allowed.

Beautiful view from the long climb up to the castle.


Judah enjoyed freedom of wandering in the square in Garmisch

Flowers to smell and running water to play in.

More Alps outside our windows.

We ate some German food.

Judah found some play activities.

Castles all along the way.

Our adventure was over Sunday and with the start of rain in the Alps, we headed back to Vicenza. It was a lovely time with our son and family. They are such amazing people!


Rome – Day Three – To the Vatican and Beyond

We had a perfect plan for our last day in Rome. We’d get up kind of early, take our backpacks to the train station and stow them for the day, take a subway to the Vatican, do our tour, eat lunch, grab the subway back and hop on the train for Vicenza. Perfecto.  Not.

Our tour was scheduled at 9:30. That went well. First we toured the Vatican Museums. Not the whole museum, just a few rooms. It would take days, maybe even weeks to view the museum in its entirety.

Part of a painting by Rafael.

Door near the Sistine ChapelCeiling of the Sistine Chapel – illegal photo

The Pieta by Michelangelo – Mary’s face appears as a young girl, about the age she was when she gave birth to Jesus. The body sizes are out of proportion too. This is symbolic (according to our guide Stephanie) as it depicts Mary holding baby Jesus but envisioning him as the suffering Savior. Paintings and sculptures had multiple meanings. Often characters in the art were given faces of actual people the artist knew. Rafael often did this and even painted himself into some of the large frescoes.

Pope John Paul is entombed here. And all the other popes beneath in the crypts below St. Peter’s.

St Peter’s Basilica is a HUGE place. People wait 5 years to be married here!

Not a very good picture but the body of Saint Peter is supposedly in here.

Saint Peter’s Square. This is where the Pope addresses the people sometimes.

The Swiss guard.

After nearly 4 hours, we said goodbye to the Vatican, made our way to a McDonald’s (I know!) to have a hamburger, and then back to the subway. UNFORTUNATELY, the subway workers had gone on strike that afternoon and the subway was closed! EEEK! Only 40 minutes until our train would leave without  us! We ran back to the Vatican cab stand. A kind Italian woman who spoke English helped us hail a cab and explain we were in a hurry to get to the train. He got us there and with a lot of running, we claimed our backpacks and made it to the train JUST as it was starting to pull out of the station. WHEW! Too much fun for old folks! Back to Vincenza and the end of our independent adventures!