Until then…

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My Grandpa Brubacher passed away this morning at 8:15.  His life knew many trials and heartaches.  But, he lived with a beautiful song in his heart, and a peace in his soul as one who knew his Savior  intimately.  and now, he’s home.

On Friday, I’ll play this hymn at his funeral.  I can say with confidence, he lived the words to this song. May we all live facing eternity with that same joyful confidence in our hearts..

Until Then…

My heart can sing when I pause to remember
heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.
The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for awhile;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile.

This weary world with all its toil and struggle
May take its toll of misery and strife;
The soul of man is like a waiting falcon;
When it’s released, it’s destined for the skies.

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But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

the finish line…

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Friends,  I crossed the finish line on Saturday.  It was the finish line of a 10K race.  More than 6 miles, I ran, and I did not walk one step.  To say that I’m proud of the accomplishment is an understatement.

I could look back and tell you the things I wish I’d done differently, but that’s for a different blog post.  There’s more training to come!

What I can tell you is how it all went down.

At the 5 1/2 mile mark I knew I was going to need to focus if I wanted to finish. My sweet running partner knows this is how I roll, so in went my ear buds.  No more conversation, no more chit chat about life in general – only me, my music and the finish line in the distance.

In the past, my life has been mostly about music, and my work and efforts as a musician.  Everything was viewed from that perspective.  And so, I don’t always equate God and life with running. But, the first song that played as I stepped off that last mile was, “Every Praise is to Our God” and I immediately realized : every pace that my foot met the pavement was praise to God.

Every bit of life is about worshiping Him.  And, in this case, crossing the finish line was such a miracle in my mind, He deserves every ounce of praise I can muster!  It all belongs to my Heavenly Father.

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(This is me, with my dear Grandma and Grandpa B. just one year ago.)

Truthfully, this is what my Grandpa Brubacher would say too.  He’s been running the race, following Jesus, for a long time.  Any day now He will cross the final finish line.  All of his training and running in this lifetime will be complete.  But, I know for sure that He would testify, if anything was done well in His life it is to the praise and glory of his Savior, Jesus Christ.  I’m positive that would be his testimony.

His verse was Philippians 1:21 – For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Grandpa lived his life for Christ.  He ran the course well.  I’m confident that when He passes into eternity he will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

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Heavenly Father,    May I give you Every praise – with all of my life!  Let every training effort, every step of my race be in worship of You – the Giver of all strength and life!  amen.

humor, the welcomed guest

When feeling loss deeply, each of us processes differently.  Personally, I enjoy laughter.  I am aware this is not always the most appropriate solution.

However, today I am in need of levity.  As I’ve been reminiscing this morning about my life, and how I’ve been affected by my Grandpa, there are many.  But, there’s one memory that sticks out.

At age 5, I remember my grandparents venturing south of the border to visit us in Danville, Illinois.  Staying with us over a weekend, Pastor Stuermer, the pastor of our church invited my grandpa to preach on Sunday evening.

What may be important for you to know is that I dreaded Sunday evenings when I was 5.  The daughter of the youth and music minister, we were required to sit up front, and be still.  The sermons were intolerably long, and there was no escape such as children’s church.

When the time arrived and I realized my Grandpa was preaching, I decided to have a chat with him.  Surely he could help his granddaughter out, maybe make things quick and painless.  I was straightforward in my approach.  “Grandpa, you’re not going to preach as long as Pastor Stuermer does, are you?”   He laughed and leaned in, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to see how the Lord leads.”

It wasn’t looking good for me.

Even worse, when he stood up in the pulpit, he began his sermon by sharing our short conversation with the congregation.  And everyone laughed.  a lot.

Okay, so, I didn’t laugh back then- I think I may have tried to hide under the pew.  I can laugh now, grateful for my good-humored Grandpa.   And certainly happy to laugh, rather than cry, for a bit.

 

the joy of sadness…

We’ve had a busy week around here.  VBS has kept us on an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of schedule – with lots of activity in between.  And, I’d say we loved every moment of it!

I didn’t realize  how much we did love it, until this afternoon.  My sweet Emily, who normally is an introvert, came home sad.  Sad that it was over.  Sad that we wouldn’t be with all of our friends every day.  Her usual response would be relief, happy to have her space.

I found myself trying to encourage her up and out of the dumps, and sitting on her bed, I said something like this, “Don’t you realize how lovely it is that you are sad?” and she frowned at me with those sad eyes, but I continued.  “Last year this time we were praying you would find a friend – and here we are now:  God has provided!  Sure, you will miss them, but we can be grateful for those friends in the mean time, right?”

Even as those words escaped my lips, I knew the sentiments applied to other places in my life.  See, my Grandpa Brubacher will be crossing over into eternity soon. Similarly to my daughter, I can’t seem to figure out just how I feel about it.

The truth is, I am the granddaughter of Reuben Brubacher and that is a treasure not many have been given.  Being a part of his family is a gift for which I’m thankful  – I can’t even really express it properly.  But, I’ll try…  He is a man who loves Jesus and served Him with everything he had. He loved his wife and family deeply.  He knew God’s Word and he prayed more than anyone I know.  He had a great sense of humor; I can hear his laugh ringing in my ears.

Many do not know the joy of having a grandpa, let alone one like mine.  Alongside this grateful and joyful heart- there is also sadness knowing it must end for now.  At first I struggled to resolve them –  the joy and the sadness – but Ive decided maybe I should let them mingle together in my heart.

I’m trying to realize just how lovely it is to be sad about something so wonderful…

sunrise, sunset…

I recently came across this photo, and remembered this blog entry from 2 years ago.  I didn’t realize that I actually had caught the sunset in a photo… such a special moment that I treasure, my Grandma B, holding Mackenzie at age 1.  

(originally written July of 2010… )

My little family of 5 recently made the road trip to Grand Rapids Michigan to visit my parents. But we didn’t stop there, we continued on to the Georgetown Ontario area for a family reunion. It was a journey of epic proportions and we all are slowly recovering.

On returning to our little house here, I’ve been able to reflect on our trip. There were so many moments filled with emotion and wonder, I wish I could find a way to put them in a capsule and keep them for the days when I need them. But there is no way to make those special times tangible and so I know the memories will fade over time.

One of the reasons we really made the trip was for my grandparents. They hadn’t met Mackenzie yet and while they do have more than 25 great grandchildren, I really wanted them to meet all of my children. This is not an easy task because they live in Huntsville, north of Toronto which is very very very far from Chattanooga.

It seems that one isolated incident from our trip has carved a place in my heart and I will not forget it soon. We had arrived at my Aunt Sharon’s home in the evening and just finished sharing a delicious meal – my grandparents, my uncle Harv and Aunt Sharon were there as well as cousins Brent and Stefanie. As I stood at the sink with my Aunt working on the dishes, she commented on the sunset which we could see out her kitchen window. It was beautiful, reaching across the sky for miles – hot shades of gold, fuschia and tangerine.

By this time, my parents had arrived and were sitting in the family room, within view. My mom and dad were chatting with grandpa and grandma, who happened to be holding Mackenzie. Briefly there was a catch in my throat because I know that the chances of us all being together again before Heaven are very slim. We were 4 generations all in the same house – and I was blessed to see it happen.

Like a slow motion picture, I saw my precious Mackenzie, at her sunrise – bright and full of life. I saw myself in the noon day heat – hot and hazy with that big ball of fire high over head. My parents were into the late afternoon now, a bit of shade, maybe even rest once in a while. My grandparents were now living at sunset.

Eventually their sun will set, most likely sooner than later. And even though I’ve known this as long as I’ve been able to understand matters of life and death, its still hard. They have lived full lives and have blessed so many. They are an inspiration to each of us and yet the future is a struggle for me at times.

But, from God’s word there is encouragement that lifts my spirit. There will be a day when the sun will not set. Each of us who know Him will live as eternal beings in the presence of a Holy God. Truly, this is the hope that gives me peace, for now, and for the future.

“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (Isaiah 60:19)

I’m hoping to make it back to my Aunt Sharon’s for another sunset by her kitchen sink. In the meantime I will look forward to the land of no sunrises or sunsets where I will live in the bright light of a risen Savior. Until Then…

My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a path that’s winding always upward
This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then my heart will go on singing
Until then with joy I’ll carry on
Until the day my eyes behold my Saviour
Until the day God calls me home.

The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for a while
And things of earth that cause this heart to tremble
Remember there will only bring a smile.

run together

There’s something about having a running buddy.   This is me and my running buddy, Patti.

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She knows how to run.  She has experience.  She’s already run races the distance we’re training for and much longer.  Her words of advice are significant because she’s been there.  But her encouragement bolsters my faith, because when she says, “You can do this!” I’m confident she actually knows  if I can!

And she knows how to run with me.  She runs with a spring in her step, and cheery words coming from her lips.   Attentive, she can tell by my breathing whether I can converse, or if I need to just answer yes or no questions.

For a long time, before she and I teamed up, I thought I liked running alone.  As a terribly independent soul, I was prepared to take on long runs alone.  But, I’ve quickly learned:  I need my running buddy.

This lesson I’ve learned is true in my life as a believer as well.

I love what Paul says in Ephesians 4:1-3 (the Message)

 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Could there be more accurate words when it comes to training for running or for real life?  Run, together!  Keep each other on the right path, with discipline!  Love one another!  All of us running, we need each other.  

Heavenly Father, Give me the grace to live in community this way; with love and humility – pouring myself out for those you’ve put on the path beside me!    Let me be a “running buddy” for those who are running the race too.  amen.

 

 

the great cookie mix-up of 2015

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Well, there’s been some confusion in my kitchen.   Actually, a major upset in my baking life.  And I knew you’d want to know.

My whole life I’ve eaten oatmeal cookies, fresh from the oven, that my mom made.  On the recipe card that she used, the cookie recipe is titled “Grandma Gingrich’s oatmeal cookies.”  This has been the go-to cookie for as long as I can remember.

You may remember that last year my cousin and I completed a huge project:  a family cookbook entitled “The Brubacher Family Table.” In that book we made sure that Grandma’s oatmeal cookie recipe was included.  Our conversation went something like this:

Ang: No one’s submitted the oatmeal cookie recipe yet.  I’ll make sure it gets in the dessert section. 

Me: Okay. sounds good.  And  I’ll be sure Aunt Kay’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is included.  That’s the other favorite we can’t forget… 

It was that simple.

Until I opened our family cookbook the other day, and looked up the oatmeal cookie recipe so that I could make Grandma’s oatmeal cookies.  Do you know what I found? Well, I’ll tell you. The recipe in the cookbook was different than the recipe my mom had written down for me,  which we both have been using for time and eternity. And I realized for the first time…

There are two “favorite” oatmeal cookie recipes in our family!  And the one that I thought was the favorite all this time wasn’t even in the book!

It was a cookie scandal, I tell you!  I was out of sorts for quite some time over the whole ordeal!

Okay, maybe its not that big of a deal to most people, but still… I didn’t know what to do!  Which recipe should I make?  What if I like the new recipe better?  What if my old favorite isn’t the real favorite?

After some thought, I decided to make the new-to-me oatmeal cookie recipe and do you know?  I did not regret it one bit!

They were sooooo good. No wonder half of my Brubacher family thought that recipe was Grandma’s favorite.  I may not go back to the old oatmeal cookie recipe…

Obviously, you’ll want to try these cookies.  soon.   They are fantastically delicious!

PS: one quick note:  I used 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup crisco.

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