Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Homegoing, Teresa!

Yesterday at 3:30 pm, my dear friend Teresa lost the battle against brain cancer, but she did NOT lose the war! She is in Heaven safe, whole, and happy!!! I wanted to write something special, but her daughter's last update on carepages was so beautiful that I asked to put it on my blog. We shall miss you Teresa.

and now...Eternity!

It's hard to begin to tell about the events of today.... Mom went to be with the Lord at 3:30pm. She was surrounded by her family, and she went quietly and peacefully, just as we had prayed. Mom never suffered pain, and we are thankful that the Lord was merciful! Now, though sad, we get to rejoice that she is in her new home in Heaven!

I could tell you how it happened and share the precious details, but I choose not to do that here. If you'd like to know, then you can ask. I don't mind, really. I don't think any of us do. I'm going to post here a copy of her obituary as it will appear in Thursday's Daily News.

I thought Jodie at Brigham's did a lovely job on the obituary. It sounds so formal, but I think it reflects Mom's life well. I know the funeral isn't far off and that it didn't give much time, but I hope that some of the family from Indiana can come. It would be nice, so nice, to wrap my arms around them. You are so important.

As for Dad, he's doing fairly well, all things considered. He and Mom were "attached at the hip" as my Dad told his dear friend, Dale. It will be so hard for him, but he has family and friends to help him through this. Some of you have begun to help already with meals and tasks. Thank you for that. Also, some have parents did not have insurance, so there will be a significant financial burden. But God is good...always! We will trust in Him for our needs.
Well, it is very late as I write this, and there is much to do. Time to sleep if we can. I don't know what I'll do with this CarePage after today. Maybe nothing. We'll see. Take care, and as my mom would say...

"I love you sooooo much!"

Six Lakes - Teresa Annette Harkness, age 58, of Edmore; passed away Wednesday April 20, 2011 at her home with family by her side. Teresa was born August 28, 1952 in Noblesville, IN to Bradley and Anna Grimes. She was raised in Noblesville and attended Hamilton Southeastern High School. Teresa married Edward Harkness on October 5, 1968 in Lapel, IN; they spent forty-two wonderful years together. Teresa worked as an elementary teacher for Lakeview Baptist Church for fifteen years. Her many hobbies included sewing, reading, cooking, spoiling her grandchildren, and being involved with church activities.
Teresa is survived in death by her husband Ed Harkness; four children Angela (Jeff) Moore, Christina (Steve) Miller, Nathaniel Harkness, and Adam (Katherine) Harkness; ten grandchildren Michael, Justin, Joel, Emily, and Kai Miller, Bradley, Scottie, Jenni, and Dylan Harkness, and Reece Carson; four siblings Jeanie (John) Blazier, Larry (Mary) Grimes, Charlotte (Joe) Ridgeway, and Jeff (Jodi) Grimes; as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Teresa was preceded in death by her parents Bradley and Anna Grimes; and one baby boy Joel.

Funeral services for Teresa will be held Friday April 22, 2011 at 2:00 PM at the Brigham Funeral Chapel in Six Lakes with Pastor Zane Abberger officiating. A visitation will be at the funeral home one hour prior the service from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. A luncheon will follow the interment (Hillcrest Cemetery in Six Lakes) at the Lakeview Baptist Church. Memorial contributions in Teresa’s memory may be made to the family.

Happy Birthday, Christa!! Our Darling Daughter!!

What can I say that I haven't said or thought a million times!  How BLESSED we have been since Christa came into our lives.  Her joyful spirit are so very encouraging in good and bad times!  She truly loves the Lord and though she is not perfect (she has us as parents afterall!), she is about as perfect a daughter than anyone could ask for!  Today she is a 1/4 century old!  So hard to believe that she has been on this earth so long!  Where did the time go? 

Christa was not "born" into our family, but the Lord placed a special little girl into this mother's lonely arms many years ago and I am forever grateful!  There is a plaque that has hung in our children's rooms since the day they came into our home.  It contains this beautiful sentiment:

Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.

I love you, Christa!!! 

I'll bet you can tell that one of Christa's greatest assest is her wonderful spirit!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday a Minha Madrasta!!

Proverbs 18:22  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

Every morning I read a Psalm and a Proverb for the day.  As it is April 18, I read Proverbs 18.  How fitting the verse above is for today, my Madrasta's birthday!  I know my father was truly blessed when he married, Annetta.  Over the years Annetta has been there through the many struggles of my father's health.  He has had some major heart issues since 2001 and she has been there all along.  My father's stroke in July started a new trial of fire.  Life will forever be changed for them.  Annetta's role has gone from lover to caregiver.  My Madrasta does have struggles and discouragements, but she keeps going.  She finds creative ways to work through the many difficulties and she has made a way for my Dad to have rehab, which gives him some goals to work towards.  I appreciate and love her!  The last verse in Proverbs 18 says:

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

A very fitting verse to describe Annetta and her love for our family!  Happy Birthday, Annetta!!!



By the way, I LOVE YOU!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

Isaiah 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

If you have known the Johnson Family through the years, you know that we have had a few trials, a few heavy burdens!  Quite honestly there have been times that I have said with Job, "My soul is weary of my life."  I praise God that He understands our humanity!  One trial that came began last July.  It was one month before we were to travel to the States for our medical furlough.  I will never forget waking up that Sunday morning and my husband calmly telling me that my father had just had a severe stroke.  The next two weeks were frantic with a trip to the States and back to Okinawa.  It was touch and go, but my father made it through.  A miracle from the Lord!  As we travelled the long journey back to Okinawa, I will tell you that I wondered why the Lord had just not taken my dad on to Heaven.  My dad was athletic, in great shape, and young in his spirit.  Now, he was most likely going to have to live in a nursing home and have to be helped with almost every daily task.  Time has passed and my father is living in a nursing home and has to be helped with many daily tasks.  He is making much progress and even though he is paralyzed on his left side, he still has that athletic attitude, is in great shape for one who has had a major stroke of life changing proportions, and still young in his spirit.

Now for the whole point of this post,  the verse above is really for the Israelites, but it is such a beautiful passage and aptly describes what the Lord has done through the trial of my father's stroke; "beauty for ashes"!!!  When my dad was in the ICU, the doctors couldn't get over how great his speech was.  He was talking so much and even cracking jokes.  For the doctors it was a wonderful thing, for his family......... we weren't sure what alien nation had abducted our father and husband!  Prior to my dad's stroke, the title "Great Communicator" would NOT have been attributed to him. 

This last week as we journeyed back from New England after three conferences, we passed a bus.  Randy said, "Honey, that bus said 'Kerkhoven, Minnesota' on the side."  I was soooooooooooo excited as we pulled into a rest area and the bus pulled in also!  I ran over to the bus and talked to the people coming off.  You see my Great Uncle and Aunt had a farm in the tiny town of Kerhoven and most people, even people in Minnesota, have not heard of the town!!  We spent many happy hours at the farm and I have wonderful memories of it.  As I talked to the tour guide and told him why I was so excited, he told me that he helped put a roof on "Kenny's barn".  I was so thrilled!  What great memories the Lord brought to my mind as I talked to those people from Minnesota!  After I climbed back in the car, I had to call my dad and tell him about the gift the Lord gave me through sweet memories just moments ago.  He answered the phone and proceded to tell me that he was in the middle of a pedicure and manicure!  He is so funny!  Then he said, "I was just telling the lady about you kids and what all of you do and how proud I am of all of you.  You do know that I am proud of you, Kelly, don't you?"  What could I say???  The new Great Communicator had spoken.  I could only whisper, "Yes, Dad."  I got passed the lump in my throat and told him about the bus, which didn't seem nearly such a big deal anymore.  You see, "Beauty for Ashes" is what I received that afternoon on the Ohio tollway.
What's your trial and what is the "Beauty" the Lord wants to give you through that trial?  Ask Him for it, Wait for it, Look for it!!!  Don't let the "Beauty" pass you by due to the bitterness you might feel because of the "ashes".