Thursday, March 27, 2014


Happy 69 years to the Herttenbergers, my in-laws

Wow!  69 years together.  So here is my tribute.

They are one of the greatest testimonies, witnesses, sermons for marriage ever.  They married when they were kids (16 and 17).  They fuss, fight, and squabble just like any married couple.  But they love, pray, read the Bible, and take care of each other.

They have had their share of tough times.  Health issues, kid trouble (including their son-in-law), money struggles, church spats... well, just like everyone else.

But they have always held on to their God, their faith, and to each other.

There is a great lesson there for all of us.

But here is the best picture of their marriage I could give.

Granny was in the hospital for five weeks just a little while ago.  Every night we brought Don up to the hospital where he settled in for the night.  They put his cot right next to Jean and they spent every night together.  Holding hands, talking, praying.

It calmed her fears.  It gave him peace of mind.  They were a whole lot better together than apart.

They have an incredible legacy of faithful kids, grandkids, and now great-grandkids.

Love God, love each other.  Pray hard.  Work hard.  Take care of each other.

That is the marriage God intended.  What a great example for Marsha and me.

Exactly what I want for Julie and Bobby, Joe Don and Jamie.

The kind of marriage I pray my grandkids have.

Thanks God for Don and Jean.  You did a good thing when you put them together.

Take care of them until you take them home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Julie, Bobby, and a hard year

Well, last week Julie (our daughter) and Bobby Gilbreth had their 9th wedding anniversary.  And to be honest, it was a hard year.

Their son Jake had Kawasaki disease and it was a long week in the hospital.  Julie endured her third year of hard health issues.  Jake is evidently doing well, tho he will have to have annual heart tests for a few years. And Julie is doing better and better every day.  Finally found a Dr. who could diagnose, treat, and offer real hope for a healthy future.

But that made it a hard year for Julie and Bobby.  Long and tiring.  Money pressure.  Stress on their relationship.  Not really what the signed up for.  Not what they expected after year 8.  But it is real life in a hard world.

They made it thru year 9, and someday they may look back at this year as a defining moment for their family. So here are some of the things I think -- and hope -- they learned this year.

God is the only one you can depend on.

You better lean on each other.

Kids are a precious gift.

Prayer works.

Family is the best thing in this world.

Church family is next.

It does get better.

Someday we will all be together in a better place.

Don't take things for granted.

Because if they learn these things, someday they will look back at 40 years together and marvel at what God has done.  Just like Mimi and Pops do.  Or they will see 65 and 69 years anniversaries like the grandparents. And we all had years like they did last year.  It's life.  And we all made it thru.  Just like they did.  

So I pray for a better year this year.  A year of love, health, joy, peace, and hope.  But you made it.  You survived it.

9 years and counting.

Thanks God.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Happy 65th to Mom and Dad

Today my Mom and Dad have been married 65 years.  It is bittersweet.  My Dad won't really know it.  His  body is still with her, but his mind left a year or so ago.  And today I marvel at their life together.  I mostly think about how much they have honored Jesus.

You have to love God to make it 65 years.  That's tough.  Raising kids, economic pressure, the grind of everyday life.  But what a testament to faithfulness.

They passed on their faith.  Kids and grandkids that believe.  Getting to see great grandkids taught to follow Jesus.  I cannot even begin to know all the lives they have impacted for the Kingdom.

They taught me to share Jesus.  They have been talking to people about Jesus as long as I can remember.

They taught me to love God's Word.  It has been read, studied, and taught in that house.

They pray.  For the church, their kids, lost people, their grandkids, their friends, their great-grandkids.

They were servants.  I lost count a long time ago of people who mentioned things my folks did to help them.

And they are still together.  My Mom is going to take care or him -- or die trying.

When he is agitated, she can lay beside him, or hold his hand, and it calms him down.  Because they have 65 years of history laying beside each other and holding hands.

So I am still learning from my folks.  They are still showing me how to be faithful.

And I am eternally grateful for their example.

Thank you God.

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