Dick Baumhauer – Celebration of Life – October 9, 2021

For those who could not join us in person, here is the full service from Dad’s “Celebration of Life” at Heritage Church in Sterling Hts, MI.

You’ll need to turn up the volume for the first few minutes when I start reading my blog (“Dick and Judy” – see below), but that is corrected shortly when the camera angle is also changed.

There is an open mic about half way through the service where several people share. One of those people is John J. Cowall (CVOA President) and you can read his full tribute to Dad at the end of “Of Puppies and Celebrations” (see below).

Obituary: https://www.gramerfuneralhome.com/obituary/richard-baumhauer

Dick and Judy: (married 29 years, divorced 12 and re-married for 16 years)

Father’s Day without Dad (the story of what happened):

Of Puppies and Celebrations (including John J. Cowall’s tribute):

If you were able to join us in person, you know that the lobby was full of what I called “The Dick Baumhauer Museum.” Mom had curated a lovely collection of items that were important to Dad, including 10 poster boards full of pictures. There were even 2 Cosworth Vega’s in the parking lot to join in the celebration.

Mom and Dad (high school graduation and wedding)
Family photos, old and new
Many different sides of Dad
More family photos, old and new
Just a sampling of the cards he gave to Mom over the years
Mom and Dad visited every state except Alaska
Dad loved his cars
Building our house in 1984 and car memories
Cosworth Vega Owner’s Association (CVOA) Detroit Round Up
More car memories
Joshua admiring his Papa’s old Cosworth Vega (thank you, Paul, for everything!)
John Cowall Sr’s Cosworth Vega, In Loving Memory of Dick Baumhauer

Here’s a link to the pictures that my brother, Rick, took while he was in town for the celebration: https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/0b85fb8eb18e403a9af0d12cb6175f71

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in person. It was lovely to see such a nice crowd paying tribute to my Dad. And thank you for visiting this blog.

Please continue to keep Mom in your thoughts and prayers, especially tomorrow (October 12th, which would have been their 46th wedding anniversary), Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond. I know grieving is a process and Mom so appreciates your support.

Dick and Judy

He gave this photo and frame to her in 1962

He was born May 11th, 1945 and she was born August 5th, 1945. They met in 2nd grade and went to school together until she moved in 6th grade. He kissed her in the lobby of the school during one of those elementary years. Fast forward to 1961. She was one of the speakers during the Christmas Eve service and she saw that he had come to church with his Mom. She walked up to him after the service and said, “I bet you don’t remember who I am,” and he replied, “I don’t have a clue.” She later called to invite him to go ice skating, but she was so embarrassed that she had called a boy on the phone, she never went. I guess we’ll never know if he showed up or not.

But he did keep coming to the Methodist church, they started dating and they both decided to be baptized by sprinkling. He spoke at church for a Thanksgiving service in 1962 and there was a newspaper article written about it:

Student Speaker — Although not a minister, Dick Baumhauer, son of Mr and Mrs Richard Baumhauer, 1250 Albany, Ferndale, will be the speaker at 7am, worship service Thursday conducted by the senior and junior Methodist Youth Fellowship groups of the Campbell Memorial Methodist Church, Ferndale. A senior at Ferndale High School, Dick will compare the present day with the conditions that the Pilgrims experienced. Dick said: “There always will be a mixture of blessings and worries whatever the age be in which we are living. If the Pilgrims could say “brown bread and the gospel are good fare” we today ought to be able to find many things for which to be grateful. Our need is to look for the good in things and minimize those which trouble us.”

This article was tucked into the back of the frame shown in the picture above

Such wise words from a senior in high school. Turns out that wise young man married that bold young woman, right out of high school in 1963 at the same Methodist church, and they began their lives together. But that life together was threatened when he found out in 1966 that he was to be drafted by the Army to be sent to Vietnam. Instead, he showed up at the Air Force enlistment office, hoping that his electronics job experience could be put to good use there. However, with no openings in electronics at that time, he was put on a waiting list. God had other plans. By the time there was an opening for him, they found out they were pregnant with their first child and he was exempt from going into the service. Richard Norman II was born in April 1967. Rick to the rescue! Then, in 1970, hoping to expand their family, but without success, they looked into adoption. God had other plans there too, and Beth Suzanne was born in October 1971. I’m Beth Suzanne and this is the story of my parents, Dick and Judy Baumhauer.

If you knew them during the first 29 years of their marriage, you would say they were a pretty typical middle class family. He was climbing the corporate ladder in his field of electronics, and she was working at the local elementary school so that she would be on the same schedule as me and my brother. Our parents were Christians, but they were very quiet about their faith. They had both of us baptized in the Methodist church as babies, but at some point stopped attending. Rick and I had Detroit News paper routes from 12 years old through college and Dad would drive us on our routes every Sunday, because Sunday papers were much too big and bulky to fit on our bikes. Occasionally, Mom would talk about going back to church, but we always had our paper routes on Sunday mornings. Actually, I’ll let Dad tell this story. This is what he wrote when he and my Mom were baptized in July 2005:

“I was raised in a home that was based in Christian values, but a personal relationship with Jesus was something that was not discussed. When I was a Junior in high school, I started attending a new church and every month the youth group attended The Voice of Christian Youth (VCY) services in the Masonic Temple in Detroit. During the January service I accepted the invitation to come forward and let Jesus Christ come into my heart. Judy and I were re-introduced during this time, dated and were married within two years. Our home was a quiet, introverted Christian home and we slowly grew away from church. Divorced after 29 years, life was certainly different. During the 12 years of separation, which included daughter Beth’s finding Kensington Church and Jesus, I rededicated myself to God, found a renewed Christian faith and He brought Judy and I back together. We were re-married by Steve Andrews this March 24th. We want to publicly recommit our lives and Love to Christ by baptizing each other during this Kensington Church service.”

Dad, Mom and Pastor Craig at their baptism at Stony Creek Metropark

The early 90’s were hard years. I had met my husband, John, in 1990 while we were both attending Wayne State. John’s parents divorced in 1991, my parents started the divorce process at the end of 1992, my brother and his wife broke up at the end of 1993, and John and I were getting married in January 1994. What in the world were we thinking???

Well, as my Dad mentioned in his story above, thankfully I found Jesus in May 1994 at Kensington Church. If you don’t know that story, you can read about it here: Joshua the Prophet

My Mom had married a Christian man named Ken in 1994 and they were married for 5 years. Ken decided to go back to his first wife, the mother of his three grown boys, and Mom found herself single again. I remember asking my Dad at that time if he ever thought about getting back together with Mom, and he simply replied “No” and that was the end of that conversation. When Dad said said “no”, he meant “no.”

Mom didn’t like being alone, so when she met a nice man named Jim, they started dating. During that time, Dad was living in California and dating a woman named Beth. Beth wanted to get married in the Catholic Church, but in order to do so, Mom and Dad’s marriage would need to be annulled. Mom received annulment papers and went through the process of answering all of their questions, a long and heartbreaking process that absolutely tore her up inside. How in the world could anyone annul a marriage of 29 years with two children? It just didn’t make any sense. And, as it turned out, it really didn’t make sense to the Catholic Church either and they denied the annulment. Thank. You. Jesus.

Dad thought that he and Beth would simply get married in a different church, but Beth took this to mean that God did not want them to get married and she broke up with him. And back here in Michigan, after dating Jim for about 4 years and figuring out that Jim wasn’t the “marrying type”, Mom eventually broke up with him as well. Remember the last time my parents were both single and I asked Dad about getting back together with Mom? I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. This time, instead of asking him over the phone, I took another approach.

It was the summer of 2004 and I had a computer with internet and email. So, I sat down and wrote Dad an email. I wish I had a copy of that exact email, but I’ll try to reproduce it to the best of my ability. It went something like this:

“Dear Dad, I’m going to ask you a question, but I don’t want you to answer right away. Please take at least 24 hours to pray about this before you get back to me. I know you’re in California without a job and you need to sell your house. I know that the Catholic Church said no and Beth is gone. And I know you’ve looked all over the country for a church like Kensington and you can’t find one that you’re happy with. But here in Michigan, you have the home that you and Mom built together in 1984 (God bless Mom for keeping it up over the last 12 years), Kensington is here, John and Joshua and I are here and hopefully another grandchild soon if God agrees. Mom would like to make you an offer. She is retiring from the school system a year from now. She would re-marry you, even just as friends, so that you could have health insurance. There is plenty of room in the house for both of you. I do hope you’ll consider her offer. Much love to you, -Beth”

He replied back, “Thank you, my dear wonderful daughter.” And that was it. Over the next day or two, he told me he decided that he would take Mom up on her offer and I encouraged them to start talking to each other instead of talking “through me”. He called her on her birthday, August 5th, and he kept calling. He would call every day when she was home on her lunch break. And soon, his house in California sold, and he came home to Michigan. This picture was taken here in Michigan on October 1, 2004:

Joshua, Dad (Papa) and Mom (Ma)

Thankfully, Kensington required premarital counseling, and they had many, many hours of it. I know that it was difficult, but absolutely necessary, to dig through years of hurt and too many things that had been left unsaid. And I know that whole process made them stronger, closer and so much better prepared for the years ahead.

On March 24, 2005, exactly 12 years after their divorce was final (March 24, 1993), they were remarried. And not just as friends. Their love for each other grew and they had, in my Mom’s words, “16 wonderfully amazing years together.” And those 16 amazing years included a little dog named Elvis.

Dad and Mom remarried on March 24, 2005

When my brother and I were growing up, Dad always wanted a dog, and we tried on three separate occasions. But 2 kids + dog + clean house = does not compute. And if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, so each time the dog had to go. But when Mom and Dad got back together, they were empty-nesters and a dog made much more sense. With Mom’s blessing, Dad searched the internet and found 2 male Maltese-Poodle mix (Malti-Poo) puppies in Coldwater, MI. When Mom saw that their birthday was January 8, 2005, she said, “That’s our dog and his name is Elvis”. Mom was a huge Elvis fan and his birthday was January 8th. Perfect.

My brother Rick took this picture of Elvis and Dad, Christmas 2008

And he was the perfect dog for them. Dad, Mom, Joshua and I went to see the puppies in Coldwater when they were just a few weeks old. Joshua was only 2 1/2 and he thought the puppies were wonderful. Mom and Dad picked up Elvis after their honeymoon in April 2005 and he was immediately a part of the family. They even bought a motor home so that they could easily travel with him and went to visit my brother and his wife, Rick and Delia, in Connecticut.

Back row: Delia, Rick, Dad, Mom; Front row: Joshua, John, Beth, Jordan, July 2015

Mom and Dad were curious about who owned the other little male puppy, and the breeder was able to connect them with his owners. Turns out John and Mikki didn’t live far away, so they came to visit. That’s when they found out that they also attended Kensington Church and they named their dog Jesse, which means “Gift from God.” John and Mikki didn’t know that Elvis Presley had a twin brother named Jesse. Jesse Presley didn’t survive, but the Malti-Poos named Jesse and Elvis lived to be 15 and 16 years old, respectively. A ripe old age for 2 dearly loved little dogs.

Elvis and Dad, Christmas 2008 (also taken by Rick)

It has been said that God gives each of us Time, Talents and Treasures and hopes that we will share those gifts with others. Mom and Dad had always been generous people, but something about their new marriage brought that generosity to a whole new level. I think that had a lot to do with what the Apostle Paul instructed in Hebrews 10:24:

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Yes, sharing household expenses helped to free up their finances, but sharing a common vision and mission to help others lit a fire under them that truly spurred them on. God saw their generous hearts, took their modest income and He literally multiplied it so that they always had something to share with anyone who had a need. They gave to their family, churches, interns, mission trips, global partners, child sponsorships, Embrace the Truth, Hope Water Project, 100 Faithful Friends, and so many others, and they even helped two brothers go to college. Their vision was the same as King David’s vision as he prayed for his son Solomon who would build a temple for God:

14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. – 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV)

God gave to them and they in turn gave it away. And it wasn’t just Treasures that they shared. They shared their Time and Talents as well. They were a part of, and eventually led, the Kensington Troy Saturday night usher team for 9 years and built many friendships there. John and Alison Gavel were two of those friends. John volunteered as head of Security for Kensington Troy when he suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk or talk or care for himself. Dad, along with Bob Marshall, and many other people, took care of John Gavel for 4 1/2 years until he went to be with Jesus. Dad also supported Mom as she took care of her friend Nancy, coordinating her 24 hour care, until she passed away in November 2020. Nancy’s caregiver, Maya, said that Dad was always able to fix anything at Nancy’s house and called him “the man with the golden hands.”

I wonder what that was like for Dad to see John and Nancy again?

Dad loved spending time with his grandchildren. Joshua John and Jordan Rose were his pride and joy and he cherished every moment with them. Yep, I know we all love our children, but I’ve heard there is something pretty special about grandchildren. Whatever any of us needed, he was always right there, right away, ready to help, however he could. Always. I could go on and on, but I think I will share some pictures instead.

Papa and Jordan Rose, November 2006
Joshua and his Papa, April 2007
Papa, Ma, Jordan and Joshua, after their K-Rock performance, Thanksgiving Eve, 2011
Papa, Ma, Joshua and Beth at Embrace the Truth (Alethia Intl.) fundraiser, March 11, 2013
Papa and Jordan, Ottawa Elementary Art Show at the library, May 1, 2014
Father’s Day at church, June 15, 2014
Joshua took this picture of Dad at the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village, September 2018
Jordan and Papa, Christmas 2019
Papa, Joshua and Ma, Easter 2021 (the last picture I took of him)

When Joshua was a part of the Easter service at Kensington’s Clinton Twp campus in 2014, Mom and Dad knew they had to move to the Clinton Twp campus, even though they lived in Clawson, much closer to Troy. Pastor Chris Zarbaugh had stolen their hearts. They became very involved with the Clinton Twp campus, attending every weekend and ushering every other weekend. And when Chris Zarbaugh moved to Heritage Church in October 2020, they were right there with him. My Mom always says that Chris is just like a son to her (so he must be my twin since we’re both 50 years old this year).

Kensington Clinton Twp usher team, May 2018

I know that Mom and Dad could have used another 16 years together. They could have blessed so many more people if they had more time. But that was not to be. I am thankful that my Dad was healthy almost every day of his life. His mother died of Alzheimer’s, but his mind was sharp right up until the end. Mom said, “HE WAS AND IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.” And we are thankful that this life is not the end and that we will see him again. We take comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Dad passed away on June 10, 2021. That story is posted here: Father’s Day without Dad

Dad and Elvis, May 2012

We will be having a Celebration of his life at Heritage Church on Schoenherr on October 9, 2021 at 1:00pm. All are welcome. More details can be found here: Of Puppies and Celebrations

Update 10-19-21: Here is the link to the video of the entire “Celebration of Life” from 10-9-21 along with pictures of the 10 picture boards that Mom put together over the last 4 months. It was a lovely day and turned out exactly how Mom wanted it:  https://bethbac.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/dick-baumhauer-celebration-of-life-october-9-2021/

Mom’s next door neighbors had this lovely memorial made for Dad

Of Puppies and Celebrations

Mom and I picked up Dad’s ashes today. A simple oak box, engraved with his name, date of birth and date of death, to represent his 76 years on this earth, is now safe at home with Mom and the puppies.

Oh, those puppies. 🙂 Many of you have asked for pictures, so I wanted to include some here. I also want to announce two upcoming celebrations. If you’d like to scroll down, here is what this post will include:

  1. Puppy pictures (they are Mini Australian Shepherd / Mini Poodle mixes)
  2. UPDATE (7-14-21): Celebration of Baptism (including Jordan Rose Bacarella) on Wednesday, August 11, 2021
  3. Celebration of Life for Richard Norman Baumhauer on Saturday, October 9, 2021
  4. A lovely tribute to my Dad written by the current President of CVOA

Update 10-19-21: Here is the link to the video of the entire “Celebration of Life” from 10-9-21 along with pictures of the 10 picture boards that Mom put together over the last 4 months. It was a lovely day and turned out exactly how Mom wanted it:  https://bethbac.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/dick-baumhauer-celebration-of-life-october-9-2021/

  1. Puppy pictures 🙂
Beau (which means “handsome”) at 6.5 weeks
Toby (from Tobias, which means “God is good”) at 6.5 weeks
Toby and Beau on the ride home from up north (7.5 weeks)
Toby and Beau fast asleep after their big day of travel (7.5 weeks)
Beau and Toby settling into their new home (8 weeks)
Toby and Beau running the other way (12 weeks)
Beau at 12 weeks
Toby at 12 weeks
Beau and Toby at 12.5 weeks (Toby has one ear up and one ear down – so cute!)
Beau and Toby at 13 weeks (3 months)

2. Celebration of Baptism

UPDATE (7-14-21): Jordan has decided to be baptized at Kensington’s Troy Campus on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 7pm. Jordan co-leads a Breakaway Middle School small group and then attends an Edge High School small group afterward every Sunday night, so getting baptized on a Sunday night would be a conflict for her and for those who would like to attend her baptism. And Jordan has grown up at Kensington and has many, many people there who love her and would love to celebrate with her. More details are available here: https://kensingtonchurch.org/ministry/baptism/

I’m equally as thrilled about this decision, as John and Joshua were baptized at Kensington’s Troy campus back in August 2009. I love this picture:

John and Joshua’s baptism (with Clint Dupin and Chris Zarbaugh) on 8-12-09

UPDATE (7-14-21 – see above): You are still more than welcome to attend the Heritage Church baptism service, but please note that we won’t be there. Thank you! Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 5pm at Stony Creek Metro Park (4300 Main Park Dr, Shelby Township, MI), Heritage Church will be holding outdoor baptisms. My dear daughter, Jordan Rose Bacarella, has decided to be baptized that day. There will be food and fun activities, and everyone is welcome, whether you just want to come and watch or if you decide to jump in and get baptized as well. Please join us if you’re in the area! All of the details will be posted here shortly: https://heritagechurch.com/upcoming-events/

I’m just thrilled that Jordan has decided to be baptized at Stony Creek, as my Mom and Dad were baptized there shortly after their re-marriage in 2005. I absolutely love the look on my Dad’s face in this picture:

Dick & Judy Baumhauer with Pastor Craig Mayes at Stony Creek Metro Park in 2005

3. Celebration of Life

Mom wants to have a “Celebration of Life” memorial service for my Dad closer to the date of their original wedding anniversary, October 12, 1963. Please save the date of Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 1pm at the Sterling Hts campus of Heritage Church (44625 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights, MI 48313). Chris Zarbaugh will be leading the service, but we invite anyone and everyone who has a story or memory to share about my Dad to please come prepared to share. We truly want this to be a celebration of his life, full of joy, laughter and great memories. We hope you’re able to join us. We plan on creating a Facebook Event for his celebration as well, but for now please save the date. Thank you!

Update 10-19-21: Here is the link to the video of the entire “Celebration of Life” from 10-9-21 along with pictures of the 10 picture boards that Mom put together over the last 4 months. It was a lovely day and turned out exactly how Mom wanted it:  https://bethbac.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/dick-baumhauer-celebration-of-life-october-9-2021/

4. Tribute to my Dad, Dick Baumhauer

As you think about what you might like to share about my Dad, I wanted to share a lovely tribute written by the current CVOA President, John J Cowell. John posted this on the CVOA (Cosworth Vega Owners Association) Facebook page on June 11, 2021 to announce my Dad’s passing. My Mom and I loved it and wanted to share it with you:

It is with an extremely heavy heart and tear in my eye that I have to post this. Dick Baumhauer, CVOA Hall Of Fame Member, Former CVOA President, CVOA Historian, CVOA VP of Merchandise, CVOA National Roundup Concours Award Winner and CVOA Speed Event Winner has passed away today. He is survived by his wife, Judy, two children (Rick and Beth) and grandchildren.

Dick was so much more than an accomplished CVOA Member. He was a friend, a part of the Family. He will be missed. Dick touched many people’s lives in such a positive way. His laughter, stories, friendliness, and so much more will be missed for years in so many ways. He had wisdom, character, integrity, and a gentleness about him. I can say I was always in awe to be around him, and in awe to be honored to be his friend.

Many of you have been around Dick with the CVOA. He went to National Roundups, Regional Roundups, and helped to create an image of what and how a CVOA Member should be. I know his presence will be missed by all of you. I hope that his Memory and Spirit will be remembered and felt in the CVOA for a long time to come. I am honored that I was able to induct him into the CVOA Hall of Fame in 2020, so that he could understand how much he meant to our Organization. I will absolutely miss him greatly this summer at the Car Events we had planned to attend. 

I have been entrusted by Dick to get CV #3136, The Golden Eagle IMSA RS Series Race Car back to road-worthiness. And, in his Memory I will do all I can to get that car back on the Track. Dick was a racer, a tinkerer, a speed demon. And this car will be a tribute to him, from me.

There is so much more to say, feelings to feel, and heartache to endure with Dick’s passing. He was a Great Man. I hope you all will share a Memory of how Dick touched your life, whether in the CVOA World or in the World at large.

He was just such a Great Man. (I know I have used that term a bit here, but he really was!) I will miss him tremendously. He had such a great impact on me in many ways, within the CVOA and outside of it. Heck, he was my Dad’s boss for a while! I am just so sad to have to pass this news on. 

You Will be Missed Mr. Baumhauer!

John J. Cowall, CVOA President

Last but not least, I wanted to post a link to my previous blog:

And a link to Dad’s obituary: https://www.gramerfuneralhome.com/obituary/richard-baumhauer

If you don’t know my Mom and Dad’s story, you can find it here (married 29 years, divorced 12 years, back together for the last 16 years): Dick and Judy

May God bless you all and may you know the love of Jesus, His Son. Dad would want you to know how very much Jesus loves you and wants you to be a part of His Family.

Father’s Day without Dad

My Dad, Richard Norman Baumhauer, known to his friends as “Dick” and to his grandkids as “Papa”, passed from this earth on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Through the last month, I’ve been sending updates to about 40 people and I wanted to compile them and share them here. C-VID took Dad, but miraculously it didn’t take Mom. So, I would like to begin this story on June 14th with some very good news.


Mom tested negative this morning!!!!  🙂  We just got to see her and hug her in person for Joshua’s 19th birthday today.  🙂

We’re no longer waiting for the hospital to call with a report on Dad and there is comfort in that.  We know that Dad is now perfectly perfect in every way, in Heaven with his Savior.  It seems so surreal, though.  We feel like he’s on vacation (or at a CVOA round-up) and he’ll be home soon.  We will join him “on vacation” some day, but in the meantime we will sorely miss that sweet, dear, kind man who I had the privilege of calling Dad.  

May his death not be in vain and may we save others through what we have learned.  Please share:

1) Take Zinc, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Quercetin daily to boost your immune system.  We believe this is what saved Mom.
2) Get the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion as soon as you test positive (whether you feel sick or not).  Your doctor can order this for you.  Mom did this too.
3) Contact Front Line Doctors to get prescriptions to keep on hand in case you develop symptoms.  Early treatment at home could have saved my Dad’s life, but we simply didn’t know.  Please do let others know.

4) If you don’t own a Pulse Oximeter (to check your O2 levels), you can get one at any pharmacy. They’re under $30 and worth their weight in gold.

If you would like more information or links to any of the above, please email me at jbjbac@gmail.com and I’d be happy to send everything to you.

Ok, now back to the beginning.

5-28-21 – 1:45pm

Please keep my Mom and Dad in your prayers.  Dad has had C-VID for over a week and he went to urgent care today to see if he could get some kind of treatment (just because he’s weak and has chills, but a very low fever) and his oxygen was much too low, so they put him on oxygen and took him by ambulance to the hospital.  Mom can’t go in to see him and that upsets her very much.  She’s at home with the puppies now.  I’m sure Dad is fine and that his faith in God and his always positive attitude will serve him well.  I’ll keep you updated as I find out more.  Thank you so much!!

Here’s some background. Mom and Dad’s 16 year old Malti-Poo Elvis (born on Elvis’s birthday) passed away on April 22nd and they went to look at a litter of Mini Australian Shepherd / Mini Poodles on May 8th. There were two little boys still available and as Mom tried to decide which one to take, Dad said, “Let’s get both” and Mom was shocked. But certainly they could handle two puppies together, so on May 15th, they went and picked them up.

On Monday, May 17th, Dad called to tell me that he had a low grade fever and thought he should stay home from his men’s group Monday night. He wanted me to let John know that he wouldn’t be there. The fever went away, but then came back again on Thursday, May 20th. When it didn’t go away by Saturday, May 22nd, Dad went to get tested for C-VID.

On Monday, May 24th, Dad received an email that we was positive for C-VID. He called me because the email said that he should ask his PCP about an antibody treatment and he didn’t know what a PCP was. I told him he didn’t have a Primary Care Physician, but that it would be good to do a little research on the treatment they referred to. Dad was always doing research on this or that, so I knew that would be an easy task for him. What I didn’t know at the time was that he never did look into it and neither did I.

Dad continued to rest at home, taking Tylenol and going about his business. Mom kept asking him if he was having trouble breathing and he kept saying, “No, I’m just exhausted.” On Friday, May 28th, I was talking to Mom on the phone and I heard her ask Dad if he was ok, and I heard him say, “I just need to catch my breath”. That was odd. We hung up, but a few minutes later, Mom called back because Dad wanted to ask me if I’d ever heard of chills with no fever (his fever was basically gone from taking Tylenol). I thought that was also odd and I remembered the antibody treatment mentioned in his email. It had said that if you didn’t have a PCP that you could go to urgent care, so I encouraged them to go to a local urgent care.

Mom couldn’t find phone numbers on-line and ended up at the CVS Minute Clinic asking about the antibody treatment. They recommended a few urgent care clinics where Dad could get blood work done to determine his eligibility for the antibody treatment, so off they went. But when they arrived at urgent care and they took his vitals, his pulse OX was 53% and they immediately loaded him in an ambulance and took him to the hospital. That’s where our story continues.

5-28-21 – 4:45pm

 I talked to Mom.  Dad’s doing fine, but needs to get his O2 levels back up.  They don’t have any regular rooms left, so they put him in ICU where he’ll get excellent care and he has a phone.  Jesus is with him for sure.  😊  He called her  and it’s hard to hear him with the O2 mask on, but she said he sounds good.  And Mom sounds much better.  She was not a happy camper.

5-29-21 – 9:15am

My Dad just called my Mom and he sounds pretty good.  He is still on oxygen and he will get a cat scan to make sure he has no blood clots.  Thank you again for your prayers!

5-29-21 – 7:30pm

Mom has talked to Dad a couple times today and he continues to sound good.  The cat scan showed no blood clots, thank you Jesus.  🙂

5-30-21 – 11:15am

Mom talked to Dad this morning and it was really hard to hear him and she was scared.  She just talked to the nurse (Dan) and he said they have him on a BiPap machine (to get more oxygen into his lungs), so he has a different type of mask on.  Dan said that he’s still doing fine, but I’m thinking his O2 isn’t going up as well as they’d like or they wouldn’t have put him on the BiPap.  Thank you again for your prayers!

5-31-21 – 9:30am

Good morning.  Mom talked to the doctor this morning and Dad had a rough night breathing last night.  Sounds like he was off the BiPap, but is going back on it and they’re also going to tube-feed him to get him some nutrition.  He’s on 2 different C-VID treatments and still in the ICU, so I know he’s in the best place he can be.  Mom is pulling her hair out chasing the puppies around the house, but at least they’re adorable (and hopefully a good distraction).  Thank you so much for your continued prayers!

6-1-21 – 5:25pm

 Just talked to Mom.  She’s heard from the nurse and the doctor today and Dad is still plugging along on the BiPap.  John and I did a video call with him yesterday afternoon, but it was very hard to understand him with the BiPap mask on, so we didn’t stay on the call long.  He HATES the BiPap, but if they take him off, his O2 goes down too much.  I’m sure he stayed at home much too long and now he’s paying for it.  God bless that dear man.  

6-2-21 – 12:30pm

My dad is not doing well.  I’m playing phone tag with the Dr.  He wants to discuss options.  Please pray.  Thank you!

6-2-21 – 1:45pm

I just talked to Dad’s doctor and they’re considering putting him on a ventilator.  Dad is still lucid and can make that decision with them.

6-2-21 – 3:40pm

Well, my Dad just made that decision for us.  He took off his BiPap (which I just learned he has done several times), but this time his breathing did not recover and they had to put him on the vent.  The doctor said that, as a C-VID patient, he has about a 50/50 chance of getting off the vent and the biggest thing is praying that other systems don’t start to shut down (like kidneys).  He’s in God’s hands.  God bless him.

6-3-21 – 3:35pm

I talked to Dad’s doctor this afternoon and they’re getting him stabilized on the vent.  He has a secondary infection that are culturing for and giving him 2 antibiotics while they wait for the cultures to come back, but the doctor felt this was something manageable.  They’re keeping a close eye on his kidney and liver functions and they’re also now tube feeding him (they never were able to while he was on the BiPap).  And because he’s sedated, he can’t pull his vent out, so he’s not a danger to himself.  God bless my dear Dad.  Thank you for your prayers!!

6-3-21 – 7:45pm

My Mom’s test came back positive, but she still feels the same.  She’s trying to get a hold of her doctor to get the monoclonal antibody infusion, as that is only supposed to be effective in the first 7 days, but it’s supposed to be really good.  Also, earlier today I contacted Front Line Doctors with a telemedicine call and got my mom prescriptions in case she comes down with symptoms.  My friend’s 73 year old uncle did that, took the meds at home, never went to the hospital and is now fully recovered.  But the hospitals won’t give this particular med because it hasn’t been studied enough for them.  😟

6-4-21 – 3:55pm

Update for today.  Mom got the monoclonal antibody infusion this morning and that all went great (and she still feels fine).  I talked to Dad’s Dr this afternoon and Dad is stable today.  He does have a staph infection, but they’re treating that and his kidney numbers look good.  They’re going to lay him on his stomach tonight so that they can reduce his O2 to 60% for the night and then bring it back to 80% during the day.  This all sounds like good progress to me.  😊

6-5-21 – 10:15am

Early update today.  😊  Papa’s doctor said he’s holding his own today.  O2 still between 70-80%, mild blood pressure meds (to keep it up), kidneys no better but no worse, still treating staph infection.  We’ll take that all as good news.  Dr said this could just be a long haul, but we know we can be patient.  😊  Ma still feels just fine, thank you Jesus.  Puppies are keeping her entertained.  😊

I just realized I left the update with “Papa & Ma” (that I send to the kids) instead of changing it to “Dad & Mom”.  Well, I guess everyone will figure out what I meant.  😊

6-6-21 – 10:35am

Dad is doing better today.  😊  His O2 is down to 60% (he was at 80%), kidneys are stable and I can probably visit him on 6/12.  😊  Mom still feels the same (just fine), praise the Lord.  Dad’s Dr was very happy with his progress over the last 24 hours.  😊 Thank you for your prayers!!  

6-7-21 – 1:50pm

Dad had a collapsed lung this morning, which they quickly remedied with a chest tube, but now he has a hole that needs to heal, so that set him back a while.  They’re now having to give him 100% O2, instead of the 60% that he was down to yesterday.  The staph infection is in his lung and blood and the culture says that will respond to common antibiotics, so that is good news.  Mom continues to feel good.  Thank you Lord that she got the monoclonal antibody infusion right away, as that is so important.

6-8-21 – 1:25pm

Dad is doing better today.  😊 O2 back down to 70% and O2 PEEP down from 10 to 8, which the doctor was very happy about.  Also a lot less leakage from the chest tube.  Other numbers remain stable or slightly better, thank you Jesus.  Mom and the puppies continue to do well.  😊  And it turns out that my kids know the doctor’s daughter from church, so we both had a good chuckle about that.  We’ll take it as a good sign.  😊  Super nice people are working on my Dad, thank you Lord.

6-9-21 – 10:20am

Another good report today and early too. 😊 As stable as can be for a C-VID patient and numbers just slightly better than yesterday. 😊 O2 still at 70% and PEEP still at 8. They were able to take him for a cat scan of the brain and chest yesterday (blood pressure was stable enough to move him) and the brain looks good – no concerns. He does have bacterial pneumonia in one lung and they’re going to scope it and flush it today so they can see if it’s a fungal infection and they’ll put him on anti-fungals while they wait for the cultures. They’re also waking him up briefly today to see how he’s responding, so I will most likely send another update this afternoon. Mom and the puppies continue to do well, but Mom needs your prayers to keep her thinking positively, as she’s so scared. Bless you all!

6-9-21 – 1:40pm

Just talked to the doctor.  Dad’s leak has gotten much worse and he’s now back at 100% O2.  They did wake him up and he was responsive, but very upset by the vent and they had to knock him right back out again.  They also did the scope of the lung to do the culture and they’re putting him on anti-fungals now, but the doctor is very concerned that his lungs may be past the point of no return.  He is in God’s hands.

6-9-21 – 3:10pm

They’ve approved my Mom to come see him, so she is on her way now.  They said this is NOT “end of life”, but that he is not good and they want her to be able to see him.

6-9-21 – 5:35pm

They gave approval for my mom to come see him and she’s been there for a couple hours now.  My brother in Connecticut and I are on an app with my mom and dad at the hospital.  🙂 It’s so good to see her with him.  🙂 She’s rubbing his chest and rubbing his hair.  She’s talking to the nurses and having a blast.  She’s SOOO happy to be there with him.

6-10-21 – 8:30am

Heard from the doctor early this morning. Numbers are not improving and he is worried about Dad.  My brother Rick is flying in from Connecticut.  Dr expects that Dad may only have hours or days.  A miracle is still possible, but his lungs are so badly damaged from C-VID and the staph infection, which is still positive.  We are preparing ourselves to let him go.  Please pray for peace.  Thank you!

6-10-21 – 9:40am

Just heard from the hospital. They have to put him on the max blood pressure meds to keep his pressure up and think he only has a couple hours. My brother’s flight wasn’t coming in until 8:10pm and they don’t think Dad will make it that long. Mom just found out that her neighbor CAN watch the puppies again today, thank you Jesus. She’ll be heading to the hospital soon. She will most likely have them take him off the vent, stop the meds and make him comfortable and let him go. Rick, Mom and I had such a nice visit over the iPad last night, we feel fine letting him go, but wanted someone to be there with him and Mom is that person.

6-10-21 – 10:30am

Chris (our pastor) is going to meet Mom at the hospital.  She is SOOOO thrilled that he’s coming.  Chris is like another son to Mom and Dad.  He just had knee surgery on 6/1, but he’s coming anyway, God bless him.  This is very good news.  Thank you Jesus!

My dear friend Laura came over after she got this last message. The hospital called while Laura was here and said that Mom asked if I could come. Chris was gone and Dad was still with us, so I got ready and Laura drove me to the hospital, God bless her.

6-10-21 – 4:30pm

Dad is gone.  Suited up in PPE, Mom and I talked to Dad’s doctor for a bit and then started the process of taking him off meds and vent.  He went peacefully at about 2:30pm.  He is home with Jesus.  We’re going to have a “celebration of life” for him, but not until Mom tests negative.  Dad is being cremated, so timing is flexible.  Thank you again for all of your prayers!  It’s been such a comfort knowing that so many people are praying.  Mom is trying to decide if she’s keeping the puppies or not.  They are a huge commitment and not yet potty trained.  I’m sure God will let her know.  Bless you all!

Mom is keeping the puppies. I think somehow God told Dad that Mom would need two puppies to entertain each other and to sleep nicely together so that Mom can get her rest. They are a blessing in so many ways.

Mom would like to have a “Celebration of Life” for Dad closer to their wedding anniversary of 10-12-63. Here is that info:

In the meantime, here is Dad’s obituary:


Philemon & Quezia’s baby was born during C-VID and Mom and Dad had gone to visit them after church one day (outside only).  The other picture they grabbed off of FB from Christmas 2019.  I was so thrilled that they made this and sent it to us.  😊

If you don’t know my Mom and Dad’s story, you can find it here (married 29 years, divorced 12 years, back together for the last 16 years): Dick and Judy

Update 10-19-21: Here is the link to the video of the entire “Celebration of Life” from 10-9-21 along with pictures of the 10 picture boards that Mom put together over the last 4 months. It was a lovely day and turned out exactly how Mom wanted it:  https://bethbac.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/dick-baumhauer-celebration-of-life-october-9-2021/

6-14-21 – 2:00pm

Mom tested negative this morning!!!!  🙂  We just got to see her and hug her in person for Joshua’s 19th birthday today.  🙂

We’re no longer waiting for the hospital to call with a report on Dad and there is comfort in that.  We know that Dad is now perfectly perfect in every way, in Heaven with his Savior.  It seems so surreal, though.  We feel like he’s on vacation (or at a CVOA round-up) and he’ll be home soon.  We will join him “on vacation” some day, but in the meantime we will sorely miss that sweet, dear, kind man who I had the privilege of calling Dad.  

May his death not be in vain and may we save others through what we have learned.  Please share:

1) Take Zinc, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Quercetin daily to boost your immune system.  We believe this is what saved Mom.
2) Get the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion as soon as you test positive (whether you feel sick or not).  Your doctor can order this for you.  Mom did this too.
3) Contact Front Line Doctors to get prescriptions to keep on hand in case you develop symptoms.  Early treatment at home could have saved my Dad’s life, but we simply didn’t know.  Please do let others know.

4) If you don’t own a Pulse Oximeter (to check your O2 levels), you can get one at any pharmacy. They’re under $30 and worth their weight in gold.

Thank you again for everything!

If you would like more information or links to any of the above, please email me at jbjbac@gmail.com and I’d be happy to send everything to you.

Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan

I donated my hair today! What fun!! Jordan donated her hair back on 9-30-20 and mine wasn’t quite long enough yet, so I waited another 6 months.

Jordan and I both donated to Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan because no child is turned away and no family ever pays. They’re also very close to our house, so we could go to their salon and have them cut and style our hair as well.

The first time that I donated my hair was back in 2012. My hair was color-treated and most organizations won’t take color-treated hair. I had searched the internet and found a woman who was more than thrilled to take my colored hair to help make a wig for one of her adult clients. So, don’t think that if you’ve colored your hair that you have no donation options. Search and I bet you’ll be surprised by what you find.

I thought I would post pictures of my donation today, Jordan’s donation last year and my donation back in 2012. And I hope it inspires you to donate your hair as well.

“Before” at the Go Green Salon
Ready to cut off 9.5 inches all around
After 🙂
“After” at home with no mask on

Easter services were just a few days ago and you may not have been able to go to service in person. Since I’m wearing my Heritage Church t-shirt, I thought I’d take this opportunity to include a link to services. Chris Zarbaugh’s Easter message was excellent and, as Chris mentions during his Good Friday service, celebrating Easter without celebrating Good Friday is like walking into an action movie in the middle without seeing the beginning, so I would highly recommend that you check out both. Enjoy!

Jordan’s hair mid-cut at the Go Green Salon. Sara Jean does such a beautiful job.
Jordan’s donation 9-30-20
Jordan “after” at home with no mask
My crazy colored hair “before” back in 2012
Ready to start cutting 2012
My hair mid-cut 2012
“After” 2012

Help Save Miller Brothers Creamery

Miller Bros. Creamery, 149 Dickinson St, Mount Clemens, MI
Miller Bros. Creamery, 149 Dickinson St, Mount Clemens, MI

I wrote this blog six years ago (Dec. 2014) as “Thanks for the Laugh!”.  I’m reposting it today because I just found out that the new owners need our help.  Please check out their GoFundMe page and share, as the fundraiser may only be up until the end of 2020.  And if you’re local, please stop in for a visit.  Thank you so much!

We walked into Miller Brothers’ Creamery last night at 4:55, not realizing that they close at 5 o’clock.  Quickly, we got to the business of ordering ice cream to bring to the tackle shop to share with John.  One more customer snuck in behind us, looking for two scoops of chocolate ice cream.  Irene, the 89-year-old store owner, lifted her right arm with a bright pink cast on it, and politely asked him to wait his turn, as she would not be able to scoop his ice cream.  I smiled at Irene, held up my purple-casted right arm and said, “We’re twins!”

While the gal scooped our ice cream, Irene and I proceeded to commiserate about being right-handed with casted right arms.  Left-handed eating, teeth-brushing, face-washing,  showering, dressing, etc.  We also shared how thankful we are that we have friends and family to help us.

As we left with our ice cream, I said goodbye to Irene, and she said, “Thanks for the laugh!”  Walking out to the car, the kids asked me, “What did she mean by that, Mom?”  I explained that knowing that someone else is going through what you are, and being able to laugh about it together, certainly does ease the burden.  Reminds me of the quote my friend Rita just shared in her blog that I read yesterday:

“Friends multiply our joys and divide our sorrows.”

The last 11 days have been full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows.  Thankfully, there have been a lot more ups than downs, thanks to the wonderful people that God has surrounded me with.  I  apologize in advance if I miss your name, but I specifically want to thank my mom, my dad, John, Joshua, Jordan Rose, my brother Rick, the roller rink manager Cheryl, the doctors and nurses I’ve seen, all of the K-Rock families, our waitress at Louie’s Ham, Rita and her friends, Laura who called and chatted and laughed this morning, and of course Ms. Irene from Miller Brothers’ Creamery.  You have all multiplied my joy and divided my sorrow.  Thanks  for the laughs!

Miller Bros. Creamery's owner, Irene, with a very happy customer on his birthday (courtesy of Facebook)
Miller Bros. Creamery’s owner, Irene, with her young friend on his birthday in August 2014 (courtesy of Facebook)

In case you’re reading this after the GoFundMe page has been taken down, here is the story behind the fundraiser (written in October 2020):

Hello everyone. My name is Amanda Herrmann and I live down the street from the iconic landmark, Miller Brother’s Creamery in Mount Clemens, Michigan. A week ago, I learned that the business was in danger of closing. Covid-19, Road Construction and dishonest contractors are some of the obstacles that this family has had to face and is unable to pay their bills. My disabled veteran father has gotten to know the owners & the staff since taking it over 2 years ago. He asked me a week ago if I could set up a go fund me and help them. I said I would talk to the owners and hear their story. Tuesday, I met the owners, Glenn & Tiffany and they told the story of how they bought the business 2 years ago and why. It touched my heart. 93-year-old Irene, who spent 63 years of her life in that store, approached them to buy the iconic Creamery after turning down a handful of offers. These offers came with a price. They wanted to tear the landmark down. Irene couldn’t bear the thought. She approached Glenn and Tiffany who had become like grandchildren to her. Tiffany resisted. They had a successful business and four kids to take care of. Irene whom they now called “Oma” made an impact. They sold their transportation company that bussed kids to many of the private schools here in Macomb County and took a leap of faith. Glenn had a vision for the business to start selling food to help the business increase sales and to help survive the slow winter months. To start selling food though, they would have to renovate a building built in 1937 and bring the building up to current health department codes which has been a long and costly endeavor. They’ve kept a positive attitude and pitched in as a family. With their faith, they were going to get through this. Since Covid hit, sales have been way down and the funds to finish the upgrades have been low. Glenn & Tiffany tried to get help in every way to save their business. They even applied for the Covid relief loans and grants. The small amount they qualified for was astonishing to me compared to what other small businesses received. In early September, road construction started. It’s still going. Their business is RIGHT in the center of it and has brought already slow sales to a crawl. If you ask them about it, they’ll tell you it’s in God’s hands. They’ve gone through so much themselves but they are still helping people who can’t afford to pay for their own groceries. These are really great people! I asked them some really deep questions and God is putting it on my heart to help them. I’m setting a goal for $10,000.00 to help them get caught up with their business and personal bills and to help finish the renovations to get the food started which will help them sustain themselves. Even though our world seems so dark right now, I know that there are more good people out there than bad. I know that I live in a community where people support small and local businesses. A community where people want to see others succeed. I have faith that this go fund me will reach many people and will touch their hearts, as it did mine. I am asking all my community members for help. Even if you can’t donate, please share this post. I know there are people out there looking for places to give money to for charity. I believe in my heart that these people deserve it. They are kind-hearted and hard-working. God bless you all❤️
Miller Brothers is located at 149 Dickinson in Mount Clemens if you would like to stop in and support!

And here’s an update from owner, Glenn Deceuninck, posted on 12-18-20:

I would just like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everyone that helped make this go fund me a success. This go fund me is the only reason that our doors are still open. We have accomplished a lot and our food should be starting by the new year. Although this money had helped us stay open we are not totally out of the woods yet, so I will leave this page up until the end of the year for the folks that would still like to help. The best way to help would be to visit the store if you can, we would love to see you. Merry Christmas to all and God bless!

A “Middle Years” Mindset

God is so smart.  He knew exactly what He was doing when He chose to teach us about boundaries with sleepovers and birthday parties at a Growing Families International (GFI) conference back in 2009.  I had no idea how this one teaching would shape our family over our kids’ combined 8 years in the Middle Years (2010 to 2018).

At the conference, during a “lunch and learn” breakout session, the couple teaching asked if we would like to hear their family’s perspective on sleepovers and birthday parties.  We enthusiastically agreed.  Their family decided that birthdays were special, but that they wanted to celebrate them at home as a family without “inviting the neighborhood”.  They also decided that play dates should end before bedtime and sleeping should be done at home.  They had several reasons for making these decisions, including their children’s safety when not under their supervision, the financial strain of numerous birthday parties, and the time involved.

As we drove home from the conference, with so much new information in our “parenting tool box”, we decided that we needed to pick one topic to focus on.  This was the topic we chose and it was an easy one to implement, since our kids were only 3 and 7 at the time.  Our son had a best friend since kindergarten, who he was already spending a lot of time with, and we made an exception for them, as we had a close relationship with their family.

What I didn’t know in 2009 was that we would open our first fishing bait and tackle store at the end of 2011, and that I would have a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter when Joshua was 9 and Jordan was only 5.  Keeping our children close to home, close to our business, and not “shipped off” here and there was so important.  In the beginning of this crisis, we were fortunate to have friends help with public school drop off and pick up, but as I got healthier, I realized that part of my healing included taking over those tasks.

The fifteen hundred days of preadolescence are all the time you have to prepare your kids for the nearly thirty-seven hundred days of adolescence.  Let’s make the most of every minute.” – Robert Bucknam, MD, from the “PreTeen Wise” foreward

I wanted to make the most of every minute.  John was extremely busy with his full time job and with the new tackle store and, whatever time he did have available, needed to be with me and the kids.  Building our family identity happened in large part because we were always together.  If our kids weren’t at school or at a church activity, they were most likely at home.  Yes, Joshua spent time with his best friend and Jordan spent time with my parents, but these were all like-minded influences.

If the terms “building family identity” and “like-minded influences” aren’t familiar to you, I would highly recommend that you take the Middle Years class (ages 8 to 12).  If a class isn’t available right now, Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, MD have a whole series of “On Becoming” books (think “On Becoming Babywise“) and “PreTeen Wise” is the book you’re looking for.

Leading your children from your authority is critical when your children are young and you’re establishing first-time obedience.  But it definitely works against us when we get to the Middle Years.  Moving from “leading from your authority” to “leading from your influence” could be the hardest task you’ll ever face in your parenting, but it pays such dividends.  You’ve spent years “filling your child’s moral warehouse”, and now it’s time to see what’s really in there.

Think about this.  God doesn’t ask His children questions because He doesn’t know the answers.  God asks us questions to pull out of us what is inside, clarifying for us what we really believe.  Just as God plants seeds of wisdom into us as we grow in maturity with Him, we as parents also plant seeds of wisdom into our children (“filling their moral warehouse”).  It is our job to ask questions of our children, pulling out of them what is inside, clarifying for them what they really believe.  If we’ve done our job well (with the Lord’s help, of course, as none of us are perfect parents), those seeds of wisdom grow over time and our children will be able to verbalize what they’ve internalized, further solidifying their beliefs for themselves.

We don’t want our children to act a certain way because “Mom said so”.  We want their behavior to reflect what they truly believe inside.  And the only way to do that is to pull that back out of them time and time again, just as God does with us.

Now that our kids are 14 and (almost) 18, they fully participate in family decisions and we consider their input carefully.  We have made conscious decisions together to allow a sleepover or a birthday party here and there, allowing our kids to give their reasons, cite potential issues, and explain what they will and won’t participate in.  It’s put the responsibility for their behavior in their court, not because “my parents said I can’t”, but because they’ve thought through the consequences of their actions ahead of time.  Owning their own behavior has made all the difference.

**Having a middle years mindset begins by starting early, taking an age-appropriate parenting class and seeking advice from those who’ve gone before you.  Thinking through and explaining the “moral reasons why” a family decision is made will help your kids to want to follow your lead.**


Costa Rica 2020

Update 4-13-20:  Unfortunately, all Kensington Church mission trips for the remainder of 2020 have been cancelled due to COVID-19.  But feel free to read about our 2013 trip below.  Thank you!

In 2013, when Joshua was 11, he and I were blessed to be able to go on a mission trip to Costa Rica with Joshua Expeditions through Kensington Church.  I’m thrilled to announce that we’re going back in 2020 and bringing Jordan Rose with us.  🙂  I see this as a “launching” trip, as Joshua will have graduated from high school (18) and Jordan will be heading into high school (14).  Joshua will be able to put all of his engineering and woodworking experience into helping the construction team build a house for a local family.  And I’ll be blessed to be able to watch Jordan use all of her childcare experience while we both work with the kids’ camp.

Here’s how you can help.  First, we would love your prayers over this trip, the participants and the people we’ll meet there.  Your prayers are powerful and effective.  Thank you!

Second, if you would like to make a financial contribution to our trip, we would be so very grateful.  Simply click on the following link, scroll down to click “Donate to a Participant” and you’ll find our names alphabetical by first name in the drop-down menu.  If you don’t already have an account with Kensington, you’ll need to create one (user name, password, email, pretty basic stuff) and then your gift will be tax-deductible.


And here’s the blog I wrote in 2013, each night from our hotel room, in its entirety.  This was also posted in 2016 as “Costa Rica 2013“, so it’s entirely possible that you’ve read this before.  If not, it will give you an idea of what we’ll be doing in 2020.  Enjoy!

Beth on the catamaran heading to Tortuga Island

Joshua at sea
Joshua at sea, heading to Tortuga Island

All 57 of us in front of the church - 57 Heinz Varieties
All 57 of us in front of the church:  57 Heinz Varieties

Friday 7-5-13 @ 10:24pm

We’re at the Marriott by the airport, getting up at 2:45am to catch our 6am flight to Costa Rica.

Love, Beth & Joshua

Some of our 11 year old boys at the airport in Costa Rica
Some of our 11 year old boys at the airport in Costa Rica

Saturday 7-6-13 @ 2:30am

Got 2 hours of sleep, woke up, got ready and now I’m sitting here drinking coffee waiting for time for Joshua to get up.

Blessings to you!
Love, Beth

Joshua drinking Costa Rican coffee at the hotel with his buds
Joshua drinking Costa Rican coffee at the hotel with his buds

Saturday 7-6-13 @ 9:42am

Good morning!

Feels like afternoon, but it’s 8:25 in Houston CDT.  Costa Rica is on CST, so we will be 2 hours behind you.  Our flight doesn’t leave until 11:30 (about 3 hours from now).  We just found bacon and eggs for $14 for the 2 of us.  Yikesters!

Love this Logitech keyboard.  🙂  Happy Mother’s Day to me.

Love you and talk to you soon! -Beth & Joshua


Saturday 7-6-13 @ 10:31pm

Good evening!

We are home from a lovely dinner and settling into our rooms for what will hopefully be a much longer night sleep than last night.  🙂  Two hours was not nearly long enough (nor was Joshua’s 3 hours), but I did manage to sleep on both planes (Joshua didn’t – he was too busy visiting with friends – can you imagine?).

Country Inns & Suites - home base
Country Inns & Suites – home base

We are at the Country Inns & Suites, so any contact info you had for the Radisson is not correct.  That was a mix-up of dates.  They had plenty of room at this hotel for this week and it’s the hotel they’ve stayed at all 7 years, so it is the natural choice.  

You are all on the blog list, so you should be receiving a blog update each night.  Now that we’re here, Joshua and I plan on putting our electronics away for a few days.  It was great to talk to Ma, Papa, Jordan and John on Facetime tonight and also to Rick on iMessage.  I’m glad we got to connect with you.  But don’t be concerned if you don’t hear from us for a few days (other than the blog).  I’m so glad that Rick was able to help Ma & Papa get Facetime working.  Great job, Uncle Rick!!  🙂

Have a good couple days.  Much love to you all! -Beth & Joshua

Beth and Joshua in front of the church Sunday morning
Beth and Joshua in front of the church Sunday morning

Monday 7-8-13 @ 12:42am

Good evening,

Or really good morning, as I think it’s 12:30 am your time.  Getting out my iPad to set the alarm for the morning, and thought I’d send you and update.  I don’t think a blog post went out last night and we just got home from dinner, so I don’t know what their plans are tonight.  

Lunch! They fed us so very well every day. Yummy!
Lunch! They fed us so very well every day. Yummy!

Today was a great day.  Long, but wonderful.  The food here is so fresh and delicious and I had no idea that rice, black beans and scrambled eggs taste good together, but they’re fab!  Joshua mixed his together too and agreed with me – yum!

Counting and sorting pills for the medical clinic
Counting and sorting pills for the medical clinic

View of San Jose lights from the restaurant up on the mountain.
View of San Jose lights from the restaurant up on the mountain.

We went to church where we’ll be working this week, they fed us lunch (delicious again!) and we started getting ready for the medical clinic tomorrow.   SOOOO many medicines to unpack and repack (we could only take sealed containers through customs), but we got a big chunk of it done before it was time to go.  We traveled all around San Jose in our 2 tour buses, briefly stopped at an open air market and road the buses up the steepest hills I’ve ever seen to get to our dinner destination.  The view of San Jose was incredible – so many lights going on and on, twinkling and dancing in the distance.  There was beautiful dancing at this restaurant and we didn’t leave until about 9:30.

We’re up at 6am tomorrow to meet with everyone at 7am, 7:30 breakfast and on the bus by 8:15, so I better sign off.  It will be a busy day getting everything finished and ready to see 400 patients this week.

Love you all! Beth & Joshua

Part of our medical team and patients patiently waiting in our hallway "waiting room"
Part of our medical team and “patients waiting patiently”  🙂

Monday 7-8-13 @ 11:47pm

Good evening!

I got to Facetime with Dad and Jordan for a few minutes before we left for dinner tonight.  I tried John, but he had already left the store (it was 8pm your time).  Jordan got to say hi to lots of people on our team of 57.  

Started out the morning with a small stomach ache (I’m sure I ate some hidden gluten yesterday, but not much), running a few minutes behind (really tired still from getting home so late last night and not getting enough sleep), and a bit unsure of what our day would look like.  

So many flip-flops waiting for new owners (thank you to all who donated them!)
Flip-flops waiting to bless some feet (thank you to all who donated them!)

Our day turned out to be wonderful.  I am on the welcome team for the medical team and our plan was to wash people’s feet and offer them a pair of flip-flops and maybe paint their nails if they wanted while they waited to see the doctor.  We weren’t sure if anyone would let us wash their feet, but out of the approx. 50 people we saw (34 adults plus children), all except about 4 let us wash their feet.  A couple women cried and I got to hug almost everyone.  They don’t just give you a hug and a pat.  They REALLY hug you and squeeze you.  Really, I was the one who got to receive the hugs.  It was just beautiful.  I told them “Christo te ama” which means “Jesus loves you” and they all said “Amen, amen”.  They were so sweet.  

Painting nails in the hallway waiting area
Painting nails in the hallway waiting area

We spent the morning finishing up our 400 first aid packets, counting out pills and putting Spanish labels on everything.  The first patients started coming around lunch time, so we stopped for lunch so that we could see them at their 1pm appt times (they were an hour early for the appts).  Our original plan was to wrap up around 3:30pm, but it was just after 5pm before we were done with the last patients.  Off to the hotel to freshen up quick before dinner (that’s when I tried Facetime) and then off to the restaurant.  Everything is so fresh and wonderful.  And when they say “fruit punch” it’s REAL fruit blended into a punch.  Or they serve a wonderful peach tea that everyone loves (especially Joshua).  

We arrived home about 8pm and shared together as a group until about 9pm.  It was really neat to hear about everyone’s experiences on all of the different teams.  The construction team got to meet the family today who is receiving the new house.  We all get to go see the finished product on Thursday before we head up the mountain to go ziplining.  

I better get to bed.  They need us to come earlier tomorrow, so we need to meet at 6:45am.  I got up too late this morning (too rushed), so I’m setting my alarm for 5:15.  

Love you all! -Beth & Joshua (who is asleep up in his loft bed – hopefully he’ll get a full 9 hours tonight, from 9pm to 6am, as he was REALLY exhausted tonight.  He even laid his head down on the dinner table when he was done and almost fell asleep there).  🙂

Beth and fellow foot-washer Rosemary
Beth and fellow foot-washer, Rosemary

Wednesday 7-10-13 @ 12:10am

Good evening!

Started out the morning taking pics around the hotel and posting them on Facebook.  I told Joshua he should be very proud of me for getting so much done on the iPad so quickly.  🙂  I tried to Facetime Mom & Dad (but I think I was too late – it was already 8:30 your time and I’m sure Jordan was already off to camp) and tried John, but he was probably busy with customers.  Tried again tonight, as well as Rose & Mr Dean, but no answers.  Thankfully, when we tried Rick & Delia, they were there and we got to chat for a few minutes before leaving for dinner.  Tomorrow night we won’t be coming back to the hotel before dinner, so we probably won’t be able to Facetime at all unless we catch you early enough in the morning.  

Me and my Sister in Christ
Me and my Sister in Christ

Today was a great day.  We saw about 50 patients yesterday and I believe we saw 101 today.  I didn’t wash nearly as many feet today, as I wanted to give other people a chance to experience it (VERY emotional for some people), but the couple people whose feet I did wash were very impactful.  One dear woman kept crying every time I looked at her.  We hugged a lot and one of our team members who spoke some Spanish came just in the perfect timing for me to ask her how to say that I am this woman’s “Sister in Christ”.  When she told her, the woman’s face lit up and she grabbed me and hugged me even harder.  She was so sweet.

I ended up making number tickets this morning and gave them to each adult as they came in to keep everyone in order better today.  So, my job revolved around welcoming people and getting them set up with clipboards to start giving us their medical info.  I also picked out a lot of flip-flops (matching up shoe sizes to what we have) and painted some nails.

Some of the medical team - love these ladies!
Some of the medical team – love these ladies!

Oh, Rick, I think the picture you saw of me in the blog was of me helping a woman pick out nail polish after having her feet washed. Our welcome area is a hallway, so it’s a bit crowded, but it works.  

Our meals were all great again today and Joshua’s highlight of his dinner was having a lizard of some sort (which was on the ceiling in the restaurant) poop right onto his hand and his plate.  🙂  He laughed so hard that the tears were running down his cheeks.  They offered him a new plate of food, but he was already done.  And it rather spoiled his appetite too.  🙂  He wasn’t nearly as exhausted today as he was yesterday.  He did manage to get about 9 hours of sleep last night, so that was great.  My body just really wants to wake up at 4:45 (6:45 your time) and I don’t have time to fall back to sleep again, so I just get up.  Makes for a more relaxing morning too having extra time.

We should be able to go see the completed house tomorrow after 4pm.  It’s up and the roof is started.  Our biggest challenge tomorrow is going to be something we have absolutely no control over – if people come on time for their appts.  We are praying that they will come on time or early and that we’ll be able to see everyone before 4pm so that we can head to the construction site.  I know we all want to meet the family and see the house.  We haven’t finished until after 5pm today and yesterday, so we would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow.  Thank you!

Sharing at our debriefing each night has been really special.  And spending time with everyone through out the day has really bonded us all together.  I really feel like we now have 55 more people in our family (plus Beth and Jimmy from Joshua Expeditions).     

Mom – Beth is Beth Andersen, the sister of Don and Dennis Andersen.  She looks just like Don when she talks!  And Jimmy is from Costa Rica and tells us all about the country.  We have decided that Jimmy’s bus (the smaller one) is the best bus and we all try to get on his bus whenever we can.  No offense to Beth Andersen.  🙂  She’s great too.

Ok, time to go to sleep.  Love you all! -Beth & Joshua

Joshua and Seb, having fun at the kid's camp
Joshua and Seb, having fun at the kid’s camp

Thursday 7-11-13 @ 12:32am

Good evening,

I feel like these e-mails are getting later and later each night.  And we just found out that we might be back REALLY late tomorrow, so don’t be surprised if there is no e-mail at all tomorrow night.  Maybe I’ll just write quick to tell you we’re still alive.  🙂

Today was another amazing day.  I spent most of the day charting kids’ heights & weights on growth charts.  It was more relaxing that doing the welcome/intake/feet washing/flip-flop fittings and a lot of other people still wanted the opportunity to wash feet, so I was good with that.  Later in the morning I had a chance to go up to the kids camp to see well over 200 kids in all different activities that our kids’s camp team had planned for them.  I also took my camera today, so I got lots of great pictures of the kids and of people back in the medical clinic.  I was really happy that I had waited to take pictures, as I really got to capture quite a bit of what I really wanted in a short amount of time.

Later in the afternoon, I got to go help out where the doctors work, filling prescriptions and saying goodbye to people as they left.  Some of them had seen me at the beginning and the end and they looked confused – like I had a twin or something.  🙂  The pastor taught me to say “God bless you” (Dios te bendiga) the other day and I got to say that a lot as people were leaving, as well as “Christo te ama” (Jesus loves you).  We’re all slowly building our Spanish vocabulary and it’s been really fun.

The boys with their new buddy Joan
The boys with their new buddy Joan

Sonja (our trip leader) and the camp director (Flory, which means “flower”) were leaving to go to the kids’ camp over in Guarari about 3pm and Nancy, our medical team leader, said I should go with them, as I was done with my job.  Thank you Nancy!  What a wonderful opportunity to drive over with a small group of women and one little boy from the neighborhood who Flory watches.  We also called him Flory’s GPS, as he tells her how to get around that side of the city.  🙂  Joan (pronounced “Joe-an”) was his name and everyone loves him.  When we got to Guarari, Joshua said, “Joan!”  He was very happy to see him.  What a special little boy.  We all prayed for him later at the construction site, as Mariela really felt that he is going to make a huge impact in his life.  He’s just that kind of kid.  It was beautiful to hear Joshua join in on that prayer for Joan too.

I love this picture of our team leaders, Sonja and Dean, in a huge embrace after a long day of hard work
I love this picture of our team leaders, Sonja and Dean, in a huge embrace after a long day of hard work

We were only at the Guarari kids camp for a few minutes before it was time to head over to the construction site.  The kids had been there since about 1pm and their time was up.  We did get a few pictures before we left, but I can’t share them until I get home and can download them on the computer.  When we got to the construction site, we were all overwhelmed by the fact that people live in these kind of conditions.  Susan shared tonight that she’s been in a lot of proverty-stricken places in her life, but that city poverty feels much worse.  Being in Africa out in the bush, at least you’re surrounded by nature.  But in the city, it’s just filthy.

The construction team getting ready to present the family with their new home
The construction team getting ready to present the family with their new home

Setting the table, waiting for the family to arrive
Setting the table, waiting for the family to arrive

What a bright spot in the middle of all of this to see the newly constructed home.  And we got to completely surprise the family with the furnishings.  They had no idea that the house wasn’t empty.  After everyone on the construction team had a chance to share, and the pastor prayed for them, they got to go into the house all by themselves.  They screamed when they saw the inside.  Screams of joy.  We let them have some time and then came and knocked on their door as their first visitors.  But it had rained through our whole ceremony, so our feet were pretty muddy and we didn’t want to dirty their brand new house, so just the construction team went in and the rest of us took pictures from outside.  I’ll share those after we get home.  It was just beautiful.

Waiting outside with the pastor while the family sees their new home for the first time
Waiting outside with the pastor while the family sees their new home for the first time

We went directly from the construction site to dinner and arrived back to go directly to our debriefing.  Lots of people shared tonight and it was a wonderful meeting.  The kids and teenagers commented that these people have so little, yet are filled with so much joy.  Joshua agreed – why are they so happy?  He concluded that it could only be the love of Jesus that fills their hearts with joy.  I completely agree.  Our “stuff” weighs us down, but these people are free to be generous with whatever God brings into their lives.  It’s really beautiful to see.

They've got the "joy, joy, joy, joy, down in their hearts"
They’ve got the “joy, joy, joy, joy, down in their hearts”

Tomorrow is our last morning at the church and Beth Andersen warned us tonight that it will be very emotional saying goodbye and that we need to leave plenty of time to do so.  She said “Saying goodbye takes a long time in Costa Rica”.  🙂  We have to leave the church no later than 1pm tomorrow to get to the zip-lining mountain on time.  But God completely answered our prayers today and everyone who wanted to see a doctor got to see one and the rest of the medical team was on the bus by 4:05.  Whew!!  I know He will answer our prayers again tomorrow.

We got to talk to John on Facetime this morning and maybe we’ll have a chance to try Mom & Dad & Jordan again in the morning.  We’ll see how it goes.  

Love you all! -Beth & Joshua 

Joshua and lots of new friends
Joshua and lots of new friends at kid’s camp

Beth & Joshua with "poor man's umbrella" leaves behind us in the rainforest
Beth & Joshua with “poor man’s umbrella” leaves behind us in the rainforest

Friday 7-12-13 @ 12:27am

Good evening!

As promised, I am writing to tell you that we are alive.  🙂  We did all 12 zip lines today and they were AMAZING!  We finished up at the church this morning with a very emotional send off from the pastor and were off to the zip lines.  Then we went from there to dinner & shopping and this time we managed to buy a few things (no bargaining this time).  

Beth & friends after zip-lining through the cloud forest
Beth & friends after zip-lining through the cloud forest

We have to be on the bus at 6:30am, so I am going to bed now.  Figure I need to get up at 4:45 to be ready on time.  We take a tour bus 1.5 hours to the catamaran, then eat breakfast on the dock and then take a 1.5 hour catamaran trip out to Tortuga Island, where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.  Tortuga means turtle.  🙂  We’ll be on the island for 5 or 6 hours and then we take the 3 hour trip back to the hotel.  I’ll try to send another quick “we’re alive” e-mail tomorrow night.  🙂  We have a 6:30am flight on Saturday morning, so we’ll want to head straight to bed tomorrow night.  

I just gave my SD card to Sonja for her to use pictures for the blog, so check it out Friday.  You may see some of my pics from Thursday (the only day I took pictures).  Just go to Sonja’s e-mail from a couple days ago with the link to the blog and then click “home” to get to the home page (which will probably show you today’s blog once it’s done).  Please pray for Sonja.  She looks exhausted.  Too many late nights up working on the blog, thank you cards, and other trip details.  No rest for a great leader.  

Sonja and Joshua hanging out after dinner - this place was amazing!
Sonja and Joshua hanging out after dinner – this place was amazing!

It was great to talk to Mom, Dad & Jordan this morning on Facetime.  I don’t think we’ll be Facetiming again until the airport, if I can find a wifi signal.  

Love you all!
-Beth & Joshua

Hello from Joshua, Tortuga Island
Hello from Joshua, Tortuga Island

Friday 7-12-13 @ 11:55pm

What a day!  On the bus to Tortuga Island at 6:30, breakfast on the dock at 8:30 and to the island by about 10:30.  Took more pictures today on my camera, so I’ll download those when I get home.  The camera battery is now dead, so I’ll charge that at home too.  It lasted just the perfect amount of time.

Joshua and Jack kayaking off of Tortuga Island
Joshua and Jack kayaking off of Tortuga Island

We snorkeled in the ocean (lots of beautiful fish!), road on a banana boat being pulled by a fishing boat (with a 75 HP Yamaha, may I add), ate a lovely 4 course meal on the beach (in the shade – very nice), rented a 2 man kayak for an hour so that the boys could paddle around and it ended up being used by about 6 people, which was really cool, played in the water, and watched as 9 people from our group got baptized in the ocean.  Wonderful! 

Dean Maletta, Joshua Bacarella and Beth Andersen enjoying lunch on the island
Dean Maletta, Joshua Bacarella and Beth Andersen enjoying lunch on the island

Joshua on the catamaran ride back to the main land
Joshua on the catamaran ride back

Then we got back on the boat for another 1.5 hour ride, which was really nice, and a 1.5 hour bus drive during which most people slept (you guessed it, I was talking the whole time).  🙂

 Dinner, shower, packing and now heading to bed.  Joshua was so exhausted that he took his shower and went right to bed with no dinner (he wasn’t hungry).  I could only eat veggies, as we were having pasta tonight, but it was the perfect night for it.  I wasn’t really hungry either.

Taking a picture of myself up in the loft before bed. Capture the moment.
Taking a picture of myself up in the loft before bed. Capture the moment.

Joshua fell asleep on my bed, so I’m up in the loft tonight.  I just posted a quick pic on Facebook.  Bittersweet tonight – happy to be going home, but really sad to leave.  It’s been an amazing trip for everyone. 

Should be home in about 24 hours if all flights go well.  We should get into Detroit about 8:30 tomorrow night.

Love you all and see you soon! -Beth & Joshua

The One Thing I Know

Riding on the back of a motorcycle is a lot like life.  You have to hold on tight, stay steady, keep your eyes forward and don’t panic.  If you freak out and cause the bike to crash, not only will you cause serious injury to yourself and the driver, but also to everyone around you.  It doesn’t matter how scared you are, just keep looking forward and hold on tight.  Don’t make any sudden movements.  Don’t start crying.  Just breathe.

I rode on the back of John’s motorcycle during the Blessing of the Bikes at Kensington Church several years ago.  John decided to sell his motorcycle that day.  Not because I freaked out (because I didn’t), but because Michigan roads, and people who text and drive and don’t pay attention, could all too easily take him away from his family.  Thankfully, we walked away unharmed that day, but we really didn’t enjoy the ride.

I wish I knew then what I learned on Labor Day 2019.  It would have been a much more enjoyable ride.  Josh Isenhardt spoke at Kensington Church on Labor Day and his message was called “One Thing“.  He encouraged us to add one thing, one small habit, that would change our lives over the course of the next year.  Here’s that message:

And here’s what I wrote to Josh 18 days later:

Hi Josh, I wanted to thank you for the message you gave Labor Day weekend at Kensington CT. “Discipline” is one of my top 5 strengths on Strengths Finder, so I couldn’t imagine what small habit I haven’t already incorporated into my life at 47 years old and 25 years following Jesus. So, as you walked off the stage and the band came up, I asked, “Lord, what’s my action step?” And clear as a bell I heard in my head, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” And then the band started singing “Jesus, I will trust you. I know you never fail”, which I took as confirmation that I heard Him correctly. So, since that day, every time I start to get anxious, even just a hint of anxiety, I repeat to myself, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” and it’s made such a big difference. I know I would have been in tears many times over the last 18 days, but because of that little sentence, He takes the fears away. Thanks so much!! -Beth

In Josh’s message, he recommended the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and I bought it.  I’m about 1/2 way done, and it’s so good that I keep wanting to quote about every other page.  Instead, I’ll just quote one thing and let you buy the book (or grab it from the library) and read it for yourself:

“Small changes often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold.  The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed.  You need to be patient.” – Atomic Habits by James Clear, Chapter 1 summary (pg 28)

We need to keep on keeping on.  If we do, we will hit critical mass and we will break the plateau.  But we have to keep moving forward.  “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” actually works out to 4 or 5 steps back because we’re erasing the power of compounding.  Think of it like taking money out of your IRA instead of keeping the money there and letting the interest compound.

Beth Moore’s 2019 Simulcast, called “Strong Sisters” was on September 28th.  If you know Beth, you know she had a whole lot to say that day, but one thing really stood out.  I’ll paraphrase her:

“At what point will we stop doing what keeps un-doing us? … If we’re about to freak out again, are we grabbing hold of what Christ died to give us?”

Wm Paul Young, the author of “The Shack“, said something similar when interviewed by Chris Cook on his September 18th podcast of “Win Today“.  Paul said:

“Who am I without my brokenness?  I’m more comfortable in the prison that I know than the freedom that I don’t know that Christ offers me.”

I immediately asked myself that same question.  Who am I without my brokenness?  Who am I if I don’t freak out when I’m overwhelmed?  What would it look like to be okay?  To move on?  To hold it together?  To press on?

Last week the toilet overflowed twice in 12 hours.  The only reason I wasn’t freaking out was because I kept repeating one thing over and over again, out loud, as I cleaned up the mess:  “Thank you Jesus for indoor plumbing.”

When I woke up the other morning, this song was running through my head.  I’m so thankful to Smile.FM for playing music that stays in your head and pops up at just the right time.  Guess what the song is called?

Here I am
In a river of questions
Can I pour my heart out to a listening ear?
I see this life
Its valleys and mountains
And I think of all the roads that brought me here
I’ve questioned my reasons
The life I’m living
I’ve questioned my ability
To judge wrong from right
I’ve questioned all the things that I’ve ever called certain
My race, my religion, my country, my mind

But the one thing I don’t question is you
You really love me like you say you do
You really love me like you say you do
Hold me
Hold me

I’ve questioned significance
Meaning and relevance
Does the work I’m doing really matter at all?
Well I’ve questioned my friendships
Alliance, dependence
Who will still be here when I fall?

Only one thing doesn’t change
Only one thing stays the same
All I know at the end of the day is your love remains

-Paul Colman, The One Thing

October 19th is my 48th birthday, but I’m no longer on Facebook, so I won’t be posting this there like I have for the last 5 years.  It’s funny.  I found that Facebook was one thing that I really didn’t need.

Jesus is my one thing.  He doesn’t change.  He stays the same.  His love remains.

New Online Parenting Classes

It all started with a little boy named Kyle.  His parents had asked me and John to babysit, even though we had no children of our own and had no idea what to expect.  They explained that Kyle was very predictable and assured us that it would be an easy way to earn a few bucks.  They were absolutely correct.

Kyle’s parents laid out the whole evening for us when we arrived.  We would give him his last bottle of the night, keep him awake to play for a while, and then when he got cranky, it was time to put him down for the night.  They explained that he would lay in bed and cry for just a few minutes and then would fall asleep and we probably wouldn’t hear from him again.  We could spend the rest of the evening watching a movie, and that’s exactly what happened.

How did they know this about their son?  Were they just incredibly “lucky” to have been given an “easy baby”?  Or was it something else?

Turns out it was a program called “Preparation for Parenting” (aka “Babywise”).  And when we found out that we were expecting our first child, we knew that we would be signing up to take the same class.  And when Joshua was born on 6-14-02, we applied the same principles that Kyle’s parents had and Joshua turned out to be another “textbook” baby.  He slept 8 hours at 5 1/2 weeks and 12 hours at 8 weeks (and still does, at 17 years old, when given the opportunity).  🙂

We went on to take “Preparation for the Toddler Years” and “Growing Kids God’s Way” and then started leading classes at our home.  We were surrounded by like-minded parents, not only those who came to our home for classes, but also with fellow class leaders who got together once per month for dinner, training and fellowship.  Everyone’s kids played together at these monthly gatherings and our community grew stronger together.

Jordan Rose was born in 2006 and she was not the “textbook” baby that Joshua and Kyle had been.  However, the fact that she wasn’t sleeping helped us to figure out that she had food allergies.  If we hadn’t known what was “normal”, it would have been much more difficult to figure out that something was “abnormal.”

In 2007, we moved from Clawson to Clinton Township and continued to lead classes.  But it seemed that it was getting harder and harder for families to find babysitters, carve time out of their busy schedules and fight the traffic to get to weekly classes.  In 2011, we opened a bait and tackle store and it became impossible to keep leading classes with John working two jobs.  So, we stopped leading, but we kept applying the principles we had learned and occasionally we were able to attend National Conferences held by Growing Families International.

2018 National Family Camp. So thankful for all that we have learned from Gary and AnneMarie Ezzo. Our family wouldn’t be who we are without you!

In 2017 and 2018, we attended the National Family Camp in Carlinville, IL.  In 2018, they announced that all classes would now be available for free on their brand new website:  https://growingfamilies.life .  That was a beautiful step in the right direction, but something was missing.  Watching videos from the comfort of your own home is great, but what about the community of like-minded parents?

Well, just 2 weeks ago that issue was solved.  Now you can join a Growing Families class from the convenience of your home (or anywhere you are) using a phone, tablet, or computer:  https://growingfamilies.life/find-a-class-home?rq=Find%20a%20class

“Participants watch each week’s video lesson prior to class time and then come together online using the Zoom® group meeting platform.  Class time is dedicated to discussion, questions and answers, and additional teaching from experienced, certified class facilitators/mentoring coaches.”

Yipppppeeee!!!  No more issues with babysitters, busy schedules and traffic!  🙂  Below, I’ve listed upcoming classes available as of today, 8-20-19.  Please use the following link to find the most up-to-date class info:  https://growingfamilies.life/on-line-find-class-by-course?rq=On%20line%20Find

And while you’re waiting for your class to start, check out the on-line videos here: https://growingfamilies.life/parenting-video-master-page

Scroll down that page to get to “Most Popular/Viewed Short Segments” for information on  the interrupt courtesy, couch time (preventing childhood insecurities), the five minute warning (encouraging first time obedience), gaining self control (folding hands), emotional touchpoints (love languages), choice addiction (“Red cup, blue cup”), bribing, threatening and repeating parents (“Are you listening to me?”), encouragement for dads, potty training and much more.

Here’s a little preview of what you’ll find there:


Blessings to you and your families.


Preparation for Parenting

  • Thursdays beginning October 17, 2019 at 7pm EST

Babyhood Transitions

  • Tuesdays beginning August 6, 2019 at 7:30pm EST

Toddlerhood Transition

  • Tuesdays beginning September 3, 2019 at 8:30pm EST

Tree of Life, Part 1

  • Sundays beginning September 8, 2019 at 5:00pm EST
  • Mondays beginning September 16, 2019 at 8:30pm EST

Growing Kids God’s Way

  • Tuesdays beginning October 15, 2019 at 7:00pm EST