Our third daughter, KP, turns three today. So big, so fast. So blessed to have her.
On this day set aside to be thankful, I want to review the events of the last six weeks, because they give me so much to be thankful for. Some of you have watched these things unfold in real-time on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s worth summarizing here.
Oct 3 – My parents and grandma came to visit. Grandma hadn’t been here to visit Iowa since Laura (now 7) was a baby. It was great to see her.
Oct 3 – The insurance adjuster called and told me that we had hail damage and that insurance would pay for a new roof for the house and garage.
Oct 4 – My sister Rebecca, who had recently rescheduled her wedding from next summer to Nov 5, called to ask if I would play music for the wedding, if Becky would be the matron of honor, and if our girls would be flower girls. Wedding would be held in Seattle.
Oct 6 – While doing some shopping for dresses for the wedding, Becky gets a call from her sister that her Dad has been admitted to the hospital with intestinal issues.
Oct 7 and following – Frenetic planning ensues. My brother Aaron is the master carpenter and construction guy of the family, so I contacted him to see if he had a weekend free to help me re-shingle the roof. He had one weekend free: Oct 14-15. I’m thankful that Aaron and Emily were willing and able to come and help. We couldn’t have done it without them.
I’m also thankful for the patient customer service rep at Nationwide Mortgage who walked me through the claim process and got a check out promptly so that we had time to purchase roofing materials in time for the appointed weekend.
Oct 14 – 15 – Aaron and Emily come down from Wisconsin to help do the roof. We got the house and garage done between Thursday afternoon and Saturday night. Thankful, too, for my buddy Mike who provided a burst of enthusiasm to our roofing project on Saturday morning the 15th. We wouldn’t have gotten it done on Saturday without him. As it was, we finished the ridgeline of the garage roof by flashlight on Saturday night.
Oct 17 – Somewhere around all of this activity, we managed to find a dress for Becky for the wedding at the first store we looked, and we found dresses for the girls within about 2 stores (and a lot of online browsing).
Oct 20 – The prompt mortgage folks sent the check for the remainder of the roof work. The money we saved by doing it ourselves paid for our tickets to fly to Seattle for the wedding.
Oct 22 – Becky’s dad, still in the hospital and trying to recover from two surgeries, had a really good day, and Becky was able to video chat with him in the hospital.
Oct 24 – Becky’s dad passed away. Thankful for our friends Mike and Kirsten who first offered to bring over dinner. When we told them thanks, but that we already had dinner planned, they stopped over unannounced with a half gallon of Coldstone ice cream.
Oct 28 – Becky was able to fly out to North Carolina to be with her family, and all of her siblings were able to be there. I was able to be away from work and stay at home with the girls.
Oct 31 – Becky’s dad’s memorial service, and I took the girls around trick-or-treating… such fun!
Nov 1 – Becky got home… for which we were all very thankful.
Nov 2 – Packing like crazy.
Nov 3 – 9 AM flight out of the Moline airport. Thankful for the friendly guy we met in the terminal who was flying with two dozen Casey’s donuts and shared a few with us. Thankful, too, for the friendly airline agent who got our seats rearranged so that we were all together on the plane.
Nov 5 – Rebecca’s wedding. Beautiful. Sounds funny to say it, but thankful for the Unitarian Universalists whose standards were low enough that they would let my sister have her wedding there on short notice. (She imported a Baptist pastor to do the ceremony.) Beautiful little chapel. Also thankful that KP the grumpy flower girl stayed quiet on my lap while I played music in the middle of the ceremony.
Nov 7 – Thankful that we got to hang out with Andrew and Heather for a day before we all had to go home. We don’t get to see them too often.
Nov 8 – Flew home. Again, the flights were super-smooth. Thankful for a kids’ play area at the DFW airport right next to our gate on our layover. Also thankful that we could hit Cracker Barrel for dinner after getting in to Moline.
Nov 9 – Back to work.
Nov 19 – Thankful for a pastor who read my blog post about being brain-full and soul-hungry, and rather than preaching at me, bought me a book by one his favorite contemplatives. I’m going to read it this weekend.
Nov 20 – Back on Worship Team, with a good new song that we got to do again as the post-closer. That last time felt like it was just for us, the team. It was amazing.
Nov 24 – at home with the family for Thanksgiving. Thankful for a couple of weeks where we’ve been able to catch up and recover a bit.
We’ve been so blessed by God’s faithfulness to us. For each thing listed here there were a dozen little things that I’m forgetting. He is good, and I am thankful.
My wife’s father [Yes, that's right - Becky's maiden name was Hubbs, my last name is Hubbs. It's unusual, and we've heard all of the jokes.] (“Bob” to his friends, “Pops” to his grandkids and his kids-in-law who couldn’t quite come to call him “Dad”) passed away this morning after a short illness. I’m sure I’ll learn much more about him through the stories of family and friends over the next few weeks, but I wanted to get a few thoughts and memories down now while things are fresh.
Pops was a man of quiet faithfulness. After serving in the US Marine Corps he followed God’s call to go to the mission field, taking his family through language camp in south Texas (resulting, among other things, in his youngest daughter having her father’s name listed as “Roberto” on her birth certificate) and then to the jungles of Indonesia. When health issues forced them to come back to the States, he and his wife served with JAARS for another 20+ years at the US headquarters location in Waxhaw, NC. He worked in the Construction and Maintenance department as a buyer, and he well knew his projects and materials. He was a fixture as an usher in his section of the Calvary Church balcony, and was a regular participant in a multitude of bowling groups, Bible Studies and prayer meetings.
Pops was a meticulous, detail-oriented man. When there was a job to be done, there was a correct tool to be used for it. Better to take more time and do it right than go for half-measures. He perpetually carried a notebook to record daily expenses. He always wanted to make sure he took care of any costs he incurred, sometimes to a hilarious extent. (Just last week we deposited a check that he sent to replace a lawn chair after one of ours tore slightly when he sat in it during his last visit here.) He was an extraordinarily generous and giving man; a trait which was passed down to all of his children in delightful ways.
I first met Pops in 1995 as an incoming freshman at LeTourneau University. At the time it was mostly a novelty, since I’d never met another Hubbs that wasn’t a relative of mine. (I took care of that 3 years later when I married his youngest daughter. Now I still haven’t ever met a Hubbs that I wasn’t somehow related to.) During the past 13 years as his son-in-law I got to know him better, and was regularly challenged by his patience, his faithfulness in service, and his disciplined consistency in the Word. (You could find him every morning up early reading his Bible and praying. Every. Single. Morning.)
Pops’ greatest gift to me, though, was the 20 years that he invested in his youngest daughter before she became my wife. Becky’s detail-oriented brain, her love for God, her consistent, faithful service, her enjoyment of travel and adventure, and her love of softball were all inculcated by her loving father in a way that all daughters deserve and very few actually receive. Our three daughters and I are all the richer thanks to his faithfulness.
Pops will be greatly missed, but we do not despair as those who have no hope. We look forward to the day when we will again laugh, run, bowl, and play softball with him in the resurrection. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Today we had the chance to enjoy what is an increasingly rare occurrence: all four of my siblings and my parents were here in Hiawatha to visit, giving us the whole family in one place at one time. (Well, almost the whole family: Andrew’s wife Heather had to stay back in Washington and work. We missed her.)
I have such a great bunch of siblings. Three brothers who are godly men, working hard and making their way on both ends of the country and in the middle. (Andrew & Heather are in Washington; Ryan is in Brooklyn, NY; Aaron and Emily are in Wisconsin.) One little sister who is just a shade (OK, maybe a little more than a shade) spoiled by her big brothers but who can keep up with all of us, anytime, anywhere. Mom and Dad came down from Wisconsin for the day, too, so we had lots of fun and frivolity and food. Much Mario Kart was played, many hot dogs were consumed, and much shrieking was heard from the girls as they ran between parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunt.
Clever and cheesy wordplay seems to be a hallmark of our family gatherings. We have a predisposition for puns and a love of mangling phrases. One such highlight from the visit is worth repeating, if only as an illustration.
Andrew, talking to Ryan, mentioned something about a “love cube”. I have no idea what that meant. However, it immediately made me think of the song “Love Shack”, so I started singing a twisted version:
“The love cube is a polygon where… we can get together…”
OK, yeah, cheesy. They indulged me with a chuckle. But then Ryan, per usual, came up with a retort.
“So, if you were involved in that love cube polygon thing, would you be… a… ‘polygonist’?”
Anyhow, it was a great blessing to have everybody under one roof, if only for a day. God is good.
Top row, L-R: Andrew, Rebecca, Ryan
Middle row, L-R: Dad, Mom, Chris, Katie (being held), Becky, Aaron, Emily
Bottom row: Addison, Laura
(click to see a bigger image)
June 26, 1998, on a sweltering night in Charlotte, NC, Becky and I made vows, exchanged rings, and began our life together. Twelve years, three kids and one cross-country move later I am still so thankful that I can wake up every morning next to my best friend. She is a faithful companion, loving mother to the girls, tireless gardener and homemaker, and I am blessed to have her as my wife.
I love you Becky! Here’s to the next three dozen years!
I’ve taken plenty of pictures the past few days, but the dial-up internet connection here at the folks’ house isn’t up to uploading them, so they’ll wait until we get home on Sunday. (To be quite fair, my folks aren’t Luddites in the least when it comes to the internet; they simply live so far out that their only options are dial-up or ridiculously-expensive satellite. But I digress.)
It’s such fun to have the whole family together again for a weekend – Andrew and Heather are in from Washington; Ryan is here from Chicago; we’ve come up from Iowa and the rest are, for the moment, locals of Richland Center, WI. I have a feeling these full-family gatherings will be fewer and farther between as the years go on, so we need to enjoy these when we have the chance.
New Years’ Eve we celebrated Christmas as a family, exchanging gifts and eating rather too much. I was blessed with a case for my iPod and a copy of N. T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God, a lengthy volume that will likely keep me busy for a long while this upcoming year. (Thanks, Ryan!) New Years’ Day was rather uneventful; much decorating was done at the church, and it was concluded by my brother Aaron’s bachelor party – a party much unlike what typically comes to mind when you say “bachelor party”. Let’s just say it was attended by nearly 20 men who carried Bibles and weren’t afraid to use them. It was a good, encouraging time, enjoyed by all.
Yesterday, though, the preparations continued in earnest for Aaron and Emily’s wedding. Final decorations were hung; we walked through the rehearsal; finally, we ate a LOT of tasty catered Mexican food for the rehearsal dinner, and celebrated Aaron’s birthday. Oh, and Rebecca made the cakes, and whipped up a LOT of frosting. (Pictures to follow.)
Now it’s Saturday morning and we’re praying that the freezing rain forecast for late this afternoon holds off for a few extra hours so everyone can make it to the wedding. The big event is at 4:30 this afternoon, with dinner and dancing to follow. Big congratulations go out to Aaron and Emily on this landmark day in their lives. Now if you’ll excuse me… I think I have a shirt to go iron.
Nothing like a holiday and a week off work to slow down the blog posting.
We started our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve, attending the service at Stonebridge. While it was a bit longer service than I expected, it was quite good, and the girls managed to sit through it (a whole hour!) without making too much ruckus. Then we made a quick trip down to the Fedex office to pick up the new laptop that had made it as far as the distribution office but not actually delivered.
Christmas morning we opened presents. Highlights for the girls: Addie got a little tent and sleeping bag; Laura got a scooter and a “spotting scope”. (It looks like a pirate spyglass to me, but Diego calls his a “spotting scope” and that’s all that matters to Laura. ) The girls also ended up with a multitude of puzzles and DVDs. I got some good stuff, too: some gift cards to my favorite local fast-food places (guilt-free eat outs!), a new fountain pen (OK, I’ve had it for a few weeks, but it’s a Christmas present none the less), and a couple of CDs. I got Becky a new jewelry box and a Baby Blues book; she appears to be enjoying both of them.
On Wednesday we’re headed up to Wisconsin to see my family; Andrew and Heather are in from Washington; Ryan is in from the other Washington (DC), and Aaron and Emily are getting married on Saturday! Exciting times for the Hubbs family. Then next week “real life” starts again and I have to go back to work. I am thankful, though, for this Christmas break. A week and a half off of work is such a lovely thing this time of year. Happy New Year to you all!
It’s my mother’s birthday today, and out of respect for her (a respect that I wasn’t prone to show in my younger years, but that’s another story) I won’t mention her age.
However, I will mention that she has accomplished much in her years, raising and schooling five children, serving and caring for friends and family, consistently modeling Christ-likeness to those around her, tireless for nearly 37 years as a wife and nearly 32 as a mother.
Today, this son rises to call her blessed.
Happy Birthday, Mom.
Lately I’ve had a quote from Chuck (a rather fun TV show on NBC Mondays) set as my IM status message. (Oh, it’s also at the top of my blog header.) In the show, Chuck complains that it’d never work to have a relationship with his hot love interest Sarah, because she’s a CIA agent, and he says he’d try calling her, and she wouldn’t be available because she’d be “off somewhere in Paraguay quelling revolution with a fork…” I loved it. What a great line.
So it’s been my IM status for a week or so now. And every time Ryan starts a chat, he starts it out this way: “viva! viva! viva!”. (The first time he followed up with “fork that!” )
For Ryan, I have but three words, and I’ll even make ‘em Spanish: ¡Si se puede!