The first half of 2019 (and the end of 2018)

Once again, time has flown and our family website has not gotten much attention.  My last post was in September of 2018.  About that time my dad was hospitalized for a week.  We were glad he was able to go home, but within a few weeks, he was back in the hospital, this time in the cancer ward of the university hospital in Hamburg.  He stayed 4 weeks and although the doctors did not want to tell us that Dad was dying, it was obvious his condition was getting worse.

Kassandra had decided to move to the States in December.  I wanted to do one little trip with her before she left.  We ended up getting a super good deal on a trip to Paris and enjoyed 4 days of seeing the sights and experiencing new things.  The Eiffel Tower was by far the most impressive although Notre Dame was a close second.  We both cried when we heard Notre Dame was on fire this April.          

For two years, we had been praying and planning a trip to the USA for Christmas.  We saved extra gifts, had a family paper route and worked on coordinating everyone’s schedules.  On December 20th we flew to Washington DC, spent a few days in Winchester and then drove to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  It was a fabulous week of having our family together.  We ate and played and talked and cried and just enjoyed hanging out together! 

On the last evening, Aaron asked Fred for Kassandra’s hand in marriage.  There is a funny story there, which I love telling!  On January 1st, Aaron proposed and Kassandra accepted!  So, the next wedding is coming up!

My men flew home the beginning of January.  Kassandra and I flew out to Minnesota and enjoyed visiting two of my brothers and their families.  It was a super special time.  I realize at times like this how terrible I am at taking pictures.  I don’t think I have any pictures of our time in Minnesota.

I arrived home on January 16th.  The following day, Travis passed his test to be a licensed electrician!  On the Sunday the 20th, Mom called and needed help taking care of Dad.  Fred drove me over and I spent the following few days helping care for Dad.  We were so thankful for the great care we received from the Palliative Team since  neither mom nor I are good at the nursing thing!  On Tuesday, the 22nd, Erik passed his test to be a bicycle mechanic.  On Thursday morning, mom woke Fred and me to tell us Dad was no longer breathing.  We sat around the bed, crying but also rejoicing that he was no longer in pain.  What a crazy week–great rejoicing over the success of our boys, and great sadness over the loss of Dad.

While I was in Minnesota, my brother Mark bought tickets for his family to come see Dad one last time.  They arrived 2 days after Dad went home to be with Jesus.  Although it was sad for them to miss seeing Dad, I was so blessed to have them here to walk with us through the difficult week of planning the funeral and for the funeral itself.  We chose to have a graveside service just for the family.  Our 6 men carried the casket and laid Dad to rest here in Barmstedt.  We stood around the grave crying and grieving and tried to sing. The following day we had a memorial service in the church Dad had pastored and given his life for.  The fact that we buried Dad on the day our grandson, Nekoda, turned 2, did not go unnoticed.  Life should be cherished, every day, every minute.

Since I have never dealt with the death of someone close to me, I was shocked, and I mean SHOCKED at how much paper work there is to deal with.  Looking back over the last few months, I know God has carried us and given us all we need.  The beginning of April, we moved mom to a cute apartment just a few blocks from our house.  The mounds of paper work are dwindling and hopefully the sale of the house will soon be finalized.

May 21st while I was at the hospital waiting for Fred to get testing done, I had a call from Julianna that she was in labor.   A few hours later, Uriah Dean Christianson was born!  So adorable–I can’t wait to hold him!

And, now we turn our energy to wedding preparation.  While we flew out to Minnesota, Kassandra and I made a list of things we needed to pray about for her wedding preparation.  At the time it seemed overwhelming, and even more so after Dad died.  But, God has graciously answered most of the requests so far.  I will start on the flower girl dresses this next week and make Kassandra’s dress when I fly over the end of July.

So, there we have it!  A few months condensed into a few paragraphs.  One thing that has stuck out through all of this:  God’s grace has been full and overflowing!  Grace upon grace upon grace!

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