Search This Blog

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Goodbye, Grandpa B

On Monday, my Grandpa Bodensteiner passed away after a period of failing health and dementia. We celebrated his life this weekend, and it was wonderful to be together with so much of my amazing family.

Grandpa B was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and he made it the age of 97! I'm sure it's sad and strange for my parents to no longer have their parents here. For me, Grandpa was the last person I really knew from the greatest generation. That alone is a loss. My grandparents all weathered the hard times of the Depression, World War II, and raising large families with little money to spare, and they did it with grace and good humor.

I think about how my generation talks... We're always "freaked out" or "ticked off" or "over it." We're crass and impatient. But none of my grandparents talked that way. I love hearing my mom describe Grandpa B's reaction to a bad shot at the golf course: just a simple, "Well, I'll be darned." Of course, it isn't just their civil speech that set that generation apart, but for some reason it's been on my mind.

At his funeral, Grandpa B was described as a "gentleman and a gentle man." I will miss the gentle steadfastness of the greatest generation, and I'm sad that younger generations won't really get to know them.

Here's a Proverb that came up this week on my Bible app:
The righteous who walks in his integrity— 
blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7, ESV)
Again and again this weekend, I got to hear about Grandpa's integrity. He was a hard worker (Dairyman of the Year!), a loving father, a devoted husband, and an honest man. I found a note my mom had written to her parents on their 60th anniversary praising their integrity. She said that when she was growing up, if she told someone she was one of Linus and Rita's girls, they always had wonderful things to say about her parents. She was proud to call them her mom and dad. In their old age, Grandma and Grandpa B's unfailing kindness made an impression on the staff at their assisted living home and then nursing home.

Ninety-seven years of integrity is an incredible legacy. Not only are Grandpa B's children blessed after him, as the Proverb said, he also left 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren with the example of a life well lived to the end.

We have many stories of answered prayer in my grandpa's life over the last five years, and even in the last few months. I'd love to share them with you and praise God for His faithfulness.

For now, I'll leave you with a few favorite photos.

Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, with Grandma in her original dress!

Grandpa watching me and my brother, who were recovering from chicken pox

Grandma and Grandpa holding the three newest granddaughters with the rest of the clan at the farm in 1989

Dancing with my sister at my aunt's wedding. I was just told he danced with all his daughters and granddaughters that day.

My all-time favorite photo of Grandma and Grandpa B, polka-ing in their basement.

My brother playing cribbage with our two grandpas

My mom and her dad. She said he had just made a rare sarcastic comment and it cracked them both up.

My dad and Grandpa B, both veterans

Another favorite photo: Grandpa B on the farm with me and a few cousins

Goodbye, Grandpa B.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 Reviewed.

I've always loved reading Dave Barry's annual Year in Review. So I decided to write a review of my own year, and here it is! Considerably less funny than Dave Barry's, but with considerably more gratuitous photographs.

In January, I had a birthday, tried out contra-dancing with my boyfriend, and hung out with some Chinese friends.

Alas, this was the last semester that I had Chinese friends in town. Hope to meet more soon!

In February, I got a new nephew! I call him Little Benny Boo, and I trust he will let me continue to call him Boo until he's at least 18.

Andy and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together with Salvadorian pupusas and a trip to Wal-Mart to buy chocolate fish labeled, "You're a Keeper."

Also on Valentine's Day, Andy got a haircut and took a secretive trip to see my dad that determined the course of the next few months.

In March, I took a quick trip to Iowa City with my grad school friends. Below you can see the little classroom where I did my first speech therapy session ever, working with a little 3-year old that couldn't say her "k"s. That may have been the only time I worked on speech articulation with children in my whole career since.

In more life-changing news, Andy and I got engaged!

April and May were a whirlwind, and I don't really know what happened when, so I'll present these months together. April was our one-year dating anniversary, which we celebrated with a failed hunt for morel mushrooms. In other news, we applied for a marriage license, I had some showers (both the bridal sort and the regular sort), we planned our wedding, and we searched for a place to live. This might have been the busiest spring and summer of my life, but God answered tons of prayers and we had a lot of help from the people we love.

Ah, June.

In the first week of June, we finished our pre-marital counseling, hired a UHaul, moved my stuff and Andy's to our new apartment, and finished up our wedding planning amidst piles of boxes. Andy came over to the apartment almost every evening that week and we sat on the only seats we owned (at the dining room table) and powered through final tasks like making our programs, confirming final numbers, and mapping out table alignments.

Then we got married! Then we went to Hawaii!

Another highlight was returning to our first home together and having our couch delivered the day after our return. We sat on our new couch and opened wedding gifts and read every word on every card.

In July, it appears that the only photo I took was this one, of Andy and a little kitten that is not ours.

But it was a lovely month nonetheless, as we participated in an international outreach training at our church, unpacked our stuff, and settled in as husband and wife.

We also went to our jobs once we realized that married people actually do have to go to work. (Our first week of marriage, in Hawaii, had led us to believe otherwise.)

In August, the photo record indicates we went to the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. According to the photo record, that's all we did, although I felt pretty busy this summer, so I'm guessing there was more.

In September, things settled down a bit and we returned to our regular routine of church, work, and having a birthday (Andy). Little Benny Boo remained as cute as ever.

A highlight of October was taking my parents to the High Trestle Trail. We stayed at the amazing Two Bears Lodge in Madrid (Iowa), and were mentally planning many more such getaways before learning that the lodge was closing the next week.

It was on this excursion that we learned how to beat the crowds at the High Trestle Trail: Go at night. In the rain. Still so much fun.

November gave me my first trip to California, where Andy's brother and sister-in-law have a beautiful house right by the beach. Best Thanksgiving ever!

December was dominated by Christmas cheer. I would like to thank the Craigslist sellers in Pella who provided us with our first tree, and my family for all coming home so we could spend Christmas together with my parents.

2017 was a year filled with blessing and change. The last day of the year was one of our favorites: We woke up to host a few friends from our community group for an early breakfast, spent the day with just each other at home, feasted on an Iraqi dinner with our neighbors upstairs, and ventured into the cold to a New Year celebration with some friends.

As you could probably guess, the big stories of my year were Wedding and Marriage. I've never discovered anything that better demonstrated to me my own immaturity and selfishness. (Thanks, Marriage!) I also can reflect on many instances of God's faithfulness and direct answers to specific prayers. (Thanks, God!)

Thanks for reading along. If I hop on this blog again one day, I hope to see you here!