Saturday, June 24, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday Anneka!

Today we celebrated my God-daughters 5th birthday with a Trolls themed party at the YMCA.
 Anneka was a colorful bundle of joy!
 She had many friends there to celebrate with her, dance, and play! It was a wonderful day!
 It seems that she has grown in the blink of an eye.
I can still remember that hot day in July, when I held her for the first time, and now she is about to start kindergarten!
The next year will be filled with fun, learning, and new experiences. Grow with grace my love!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Anneka's Preschool Graduation

Today our sweet girl graduated from preschool. I thought about holding her that hot day after she was born, then again the day she was Baptized. I cried on my way, in the car, remembering our first sleepover.
 I was good at the program until Anneka went and took her parents hands to dance, and then I cried again. I am just so incredibly proud of her wonderful parents! Way to go Mom and Dad you are raising a kind, smart, friendly young girl!
 I cried once more during the drive back for good measure! Congratulations Anneka! You are going to be a Kindergartner! Todd and Claudia,  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for letting me be a part of your family. You make me feel incredibly good, when you invite me to things like this. It gives me purpose. All my love!  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hats off to Jade!

This weekend we celebrated our wonderful niece Jade as she graduated from high school. She is a great blessing in our lives and we are so incredibly proud to call her our niece. She is filled with kindness, generosity, spunk and nurture. She has all of the qualities that make her a prime candidate in a helping field if she should decide to go that route. 
 Jade, wherever your path may lead, know that simple character traits that you already display will set you apart from the rest. Kindness, integrity, and perseverance, are qualities that cannot be purchased and will follow you regardless of where your career may go. Focus on your character, and become the person you desire to be, lead by example and others will always remember the way you made them feel in your presence. Now is when the real growth begins! Enjoy your journey, and know that we are here to support you!






Friday, March 17, 2017

Eulogy: Uncle Daryl

Thank you to everyone for coming to celebrate the life of my Uncle today. I read the following eulogy and avoided too personal of stories to ensure that my family and I were able to make it through with composure. I will say now, that I was able to have a wonderful last visit with my Uncle the Friday before he passed. I was able to give him a hug and kiss and tell him I loved him. He was telling jokes when he could find the strength, and offered his love in return. I feel incredibly blessed to have had this time with him before he left this world.


On behalf of my family, I would like to begin by thanking all of you for coming here today to honor the life of my uncle Daryl. We have received countless phone calls, flowers, meals, thoughts and prayers. They have offered us comfort and also served as a beautiful reminder to the impact that Daryl had on so many people.

For those of you who don't know me, I am Sarah, Daryl's, favorite, and only, niece. As you can imagine, Daryl was the coolest uncle around. He loved his sports, he loved the outdoors, he was always cooking new foods. He always drove sporty cars, he had done more traveling than anyone we knew, and had impeccable taste in food, music, and movies, and it seemed he knew a little about everything. But more than anything Uncle Daryl had the most incredible sense of humor. Nobody could beat his one-liners and witty comebacks, he made it a habit to tell jokes and spread laughter wherever he went. My Uncle Daryl was full of life and always fun to be around.

I was blessed when my uncle finally joined Facebook, and was able to share his sense of humor with me on a regular basis. A couple months ago he sent me this gem of joke and I was inspired to share it here today after the movie, Forrest Gump came on at 1:00 in the morning while writing this eulogy.

Forrest Gump passes away and is met by St. Peter himself at the Pearly Gates."Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you," St. Peter says. "I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we've been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven."

"It shor is good to be here, St. Peter, sir," says Forest. "But nobody ever tolt me about any entrance exam. Shor hope the test ain't too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.""Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions. First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T? Second: How many seconds are there in a year? Third: What is God's first name?"Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up and says, "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers."

Forrest says, "Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begin with The letter 'T'? Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow."The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, "Forrest, that's not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I didn't specify, so I'll give you credit for that answer. How about the next one? How many seconds in a year?"

"Now that one's harder," says Forrest, "but I thunk and thunk about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve."
Astounded, St. Peter says, "Twelve? Twelve!? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?"Forrest says "Shucks, there's gotta be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd---"
"Hold it," interrupts St. Peter. "I see where you're going with this, and I see your point. Though that wasn't quite what I had in mind, I'll have to give you credit for that one, too. Let's go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name"?

"Sure", Forrest says smiling, "it's Andy.""ANDY?!" exclaimed a frustrated St. Peter. "OK, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name ANDY as the first name of God?""Shucks, that was the easiest one of all," Forrest replied. I learned it from the song, "ANDY walks with me, ANDY talks with me, ANDY he tells me, I am his own."St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates and said: "Run Forrest, run.

Spreading laughter was truly one of the gifts that Daryl possessed up until the very end. CANCER, KIDNEY FAILURE, or STROKES, no trial stopped Daryl from joking. The ability to smile or laugh in the face of adversity is the true definition of courage and strength. He set his pain and fear aside to put a smile on the face of everyone around him.This quality defines my uncle more so than any disease or illness ever could.

Along with his ability to laugh, my Uncle Daryl also knew LOVE. He loved his family whole heartedly. He was an amazing brother to my mom and uncle Don, who have shared countless stories of his love and protection. He loved to care for his daughter, his grandchildren, and his mother especially. As a person grows and settles into life, they find their true passions and I believe this to be true for my uncle as he settled into his role as father and grandpa. He kept every picture his grandchildren made him; he saved every photograph of his daughter and was happy to send me a message late at night last June saying that Stephanie was engaged. My uncle had a beautiful and generous heart, giving what he could to anyone in need, always showing utmost thoughtfulness. My family is blessed with so many memories together with my uncle, memories of Christmases filled with laughter like the year my Dad pretended to be uncle Daryl while working at a Christmas tree farm, or the year Uncle Don came home from Montana surprising us all, we share memories of yard work, memories of pool parties, memories of birthdays, memories of babies being born, memories of good times, and memories of heartache.

When faced with the end of life, there is a painful beauty in reminiscing.  The memory jogs through years of files, recalling conversations, words left unsaid, vivid moments, and those we long to recall more clearly. Throughout all of the pain it still seems that the good memories always trump the bad. The moments of love always outweigh the times of loneliness. And no matter the pain or suffering, we always seem to recall Daryl's vibrant smile. Greater than the sorrow from his death, is the joy he spread in life. This leaves me with HOPE. The gift of God's love in our heart will always bring light to any darkness.

To my dear uncle, may you rest safely now in the arms of God, alongside grandpa. Thank you for always bringing a warm smile to our hearts, and may you continue to smile down on us from above. Though you are physically gone from this world, we will carry your memories with us wherever we go.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Adeleena Mae Van Donsel turns ONE next month!

Next month my baby nice Adeleena Mae turns one. This weekend we made some time for one year old photos but my darling girl had other plans. She ONLY smiled when the camera was put away! Stinker! We had a wonderful weekend loving on this sweet bunny and cannot wait to celebrate with her next month.