We sang that song in church yesterday. You know the one...Some of the words are:
"Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name. Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name."
"You give and take away, You give and take away. My heart will choose to say; Lord, blessed be Your name."
That's an emotional song, no matter when in your life you sing it. Everyone's had blessings from the Lord, and everyone's had hard times where they question how this can be God's will and where you just don't feel like saying "Blessed be the name of the Lord." And yet, when we can make the choice, to just trust, to just praise, no matter the circumstances, it's an affirmation of our faith and what we know to be true. God is good. All the time.
I was particularly moved by the song yesterday, however, because of the things that happened in our week. My last blog post was about some of the little things that "made my week". Shortly after I posted that, we found out that Ed's Aunt Joanne is dying. She has been battling pancreatic cancer for almost a year and the treatments are no longer effective. Hospice is caring for her now and she & family are saying their good-byes. It is so heart-breaking for the family, and for us. Aunt Joanne is the oldest sister of Ed's mom, who passed away a little over a year ago of cancer. They also had an older brother who died of cancer in 2001. Their father died of cancer in 2002. Anyway, singing that song in church yesterday, I was emotional. "He gives and takes away."
Aunt Joanne was one of my MIL's main caregivers during her treatments and time of illness. During that time she was also like a grandma to my girls whenever we saw her and Uncle Gordon. We are so thankful to her for that. She made it so much easier on Ed & I and on the girls, when Ed's mom couldn't be the grandma she wanted to be because of her brain tumor. We are so thankful for Aunt Joanne and for the life she lived and the testimony she gave and the example she set. "My heart will choose to say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.'" One more picture - this one of Ed's mom, Aunt Judy, and Aunt Joanne (the 3 sisters) at the big family reunion in the summer of 2005. We were so thankful to be a part of that reunion weekend.
The day after we heard that Aunt Joanne is nearing the end, we found out that Ed's brother and his wife are expecting baby #4! Again, part of the : "He gives and takes away."
This is a picture of our picture frame (sits on the mantel) containing the pictures of the "other Ball family", as we like to call them. :) (It's OK because that's what they call us.) Anyway, these pictures are over a year old, because the baby in that picture is Rowan and she turned one in September. So...I need some new pictures of them, I know, but I'll get some soon! They bought tickets yesterday to come visit us in June and we are so excited! The cute boy on the top left is Connor and he is almost 3 1/2. The little girl on the top right is Kennedy and she just turned 5. Baby Ball #4 is due in late October, so traveling shouldn't bee too hard for my sister-in-law Jacqueline in June. Again, "My heart will choose to say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.'"
So, those are Friday's pictures of the day.
Saturday, Feb. 21 was this cute little guy's birthday:
My little nephew Josh is 3 and I can't believe it! This is one kid who absolutely loves life and lives every moment to its fullest! He is in love with both his parents and has the best giggle in the world. He is a blessing and he is going to be a big brother in just a few months to another little DeJong baby blessing. Josh, we love you and your mommy and daddy and the new baby, too!
Sarah also had her last basketball game on Saturday. She didn't score a lot (2 baskets, I think), but she played good defense and her team won! Hooray! Here's a picture of her fending off some defense while dribbling:
Yesterday was your typical church and Sunday lunch day, complete with some family Wii time in the afternoon:
Gotta love Mario Kart!
I have to make one other comment about this last picture. See how Becca's hair is totally in her face? For some reason, she likes it like that and no matter what I do, it always ends up in her face like that. Whenever we visited Aunt Joanne, she and Uncle Gordon would tease Becca about that. Whenever she had her hair in her face they would say, "Oh, here's Pete! Don't know where Becca is, but Pete is here!" To this day we still call Becca 'Pete' when her hair is in her face. Thanks, Aunt Joanne and Uncle Gordon for the memories.