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Thompson Home Going, a set on Flickr.
This past month, we were blessed to attend the home-going service of Reverend George Thompson. Papa George married Lydia Miraflor 32 years ago. Sis Lydia was like a second mom to me when I first moved out to California over 33 years ago. She has always called me her adopted daughter and been such an example of a godly woman of faith.
What an honor to have known Brother Thompson, a faithful man of God, pastor, minister, and soul winner, who has gone onto his heavenly reward and is now part of the welcoming committee.
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It is with deep sadness that I write of the sudden passing of my brother Tom in October of this year. Tommy, as we affectionately called him, was the first son and the 2nd child of six children born to our Italian parents. Tom and I were about 14 months apart.
A flood of memories assail me as I recall growing up with my brother. Tom was pleasant, and always giving and generous. I remember when Mom came home from the hospital after giving birth to Johnny, 8-year old Tommy gave his last dollar to Mom as a mother’s day gift. He was always kind and easy to get along with. I never heard him speak a harsh word to anyone.
Tommy was so smart that he skipped a grade. And from 4th grade on, he and I were in the same class together all the way through high school. What fun we had learning French together and doing skits in class. When Tom was 18, he, came to California for our wedding. And while out here, he repented, gave his heart to God, was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Ghost. His life was forever changed. From that moment on, he had a deep love for God and would read the bible and pray regularly as he grew in his newfound faith.
He graduated with honors and a Th.B. in theology from Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tom was regularly involved in his church as a Sunday school teacher, song leader, bible instructor, and a friend to many. Our son Jeremy always loved when Uncle Tom came to visit. Tom lived with us for a few years, and he would often take Jeremy rollerblading and do other fun things with him. He always made us laugh with his antics. In later years, I saw Tom’s faith and service to God deepen. I recall many times at church, hearing Tom let out a loud shout of praise and thanksgiving, with his hands raised high in the air. Yes, we laughed, but Tom had good reason to praise the Lord. For he had drunk deeply from the well of God’s forgiveness and mercy. The Bible says he who is forgiven much loves much. And Tommy surely showed his love for God.
While going through his belongings, I found copies of letters he had sent to family, and friends; telling them about God’s plan of salvation. I also found a 14-page prayer list he had typed. It listed all our family, relatives, friends and church members in detailed order. It even had names of different people he had met at the store or at a restaurant. I’ve seen Tom weep for lost souls. He had a genuine love for people. It showed in all he did. Tom believed that we must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come. Tommy, thank you for being a big part of our lives. While we miss you, we know that you are with the Lord. We look forward to the day when we will see you again on that great triumphant morning when Jesus calls us home.
Hawaii 2011, a set on Flickr.
Here are some pictures from our recent trip to Hawaii.
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Through the busy-ness of the Christmas holiday, I neglected to mention that our eleven-month old grandson Malachi (Kai), played baby Jesus in the Sunday school play at children’s church last month. Dressed in his little white homespun robe, he looked like a sweet, baby angel.
He was in the scene where the wise men came from afar and presented Jesus with their gifts (Matthew 2:1-12). I was mildly concerned how Malachi would do in his role since he sometimes cries when placed in unfamiliar surroundings. However, I should not have worried. Without any practice whatsoever, Kai did great! As he sat by Mary and Joseph (played by Angel and Joey Ladd), the wise men entered the dwelling and placed their gifts in front of Malachi. He looked at them and gave a big smile, his blue eyes just beamed with joy. My heart soared! I was so proud of him.
And so, Kai’s grandpa jokingly stated that his acting career was launched and ended in one day. After all, he played the best person in history. What else is left for him to do? After the play ended, all the kids swarmed around Malachi, trying to touch his head and hold his hand. Without trying, he had won their hearts.
It was a special day that we will always remember.
Today, for the first time, our grandson Malachi James Mester climbed out of his crib. One minute, his daddy heard him over the monitor contentedly babbling and saying, “Da Da Da, and the next second, there was a thud and a cry of distress as if to say, “Help me, I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into”. When Papa Jeremy walked into his room, Malachi was no longer in his crib, but sprawled on the carpeted floor. A pretty amazing feat for an eleven month old who does not yet walk or stand on his own. Thank God he wasn’t hurt, but his little world and ours had been forever changed.
You see, from the moment a baby is born begins the long, arduous process of breaking him/her from dependence on mommy and daddy and eventually becoming a mature, responsible adult. Malachi is one baby step closer to that after today. In escaping the safe confines of his crib, he had entered a new world; one which isn’t as secure as his cradle.
Now Mommy and Daddy will have to lower his crib mattress to prolong the inevitable as well as childproofing not only his room, but the entire home. For with each new feat of independence comes a whole new set of risks and ensuing safety precautions to be taken.
My grandmother heart beats bittersweet today. I’m already missing those early weeks and months of caring for Malachi and feeling so needed when he was a helpless newborn. Now he feeds himself, crawls, drinks from his sippy cup and performs a whole host of other skills which he has learned in such a short time. The songwriter Wayne Watson summed it up in his song Watercolor Ponies, “Oh the pleasure of watching the children grow is mixed with a bitter cup, of knowing the watercolor ponies will one day ride away.” I guess that’s how I’m feeling today.
But at the same time, my heart beams with gratefulness for what happened today. As much as I would like to keep my grandson little and dependent and protect him from all harm, I would never want to deprive him of the potential to grow and dream and experience all that God has for him in this life.
So tonight Malachi, as you’re sleeping and dreaming your baby dreams, know that your Grandma Kiki loves you and rejoices with you in each new discovery and victory you attain to in life. I am here to support, guide, and augment your parents’ training. You are always in my heart and in my prayers.