Hello again at last

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 2:00 pm by Libbie

I haven’t written anything here for more than a month, although I have wanted to at different times and have frequently felt badly that there has been such a long silence. This afternoon I have a little time, so I’ll write as much as I have time to.

Where to start?

It has been a month of seeing the Lord be faithful and good to all of us and of knowing his nearness. It has been a month of missing Al. It has been a month of walking one day at a time and of handling whatever comes at us with faith that the Lord will work everything out. It has been a month full of little, personalized blessings straight from God embedded in our days to remind us of his love and care. It has been a month of alternate laughter and tears, often intermixed, and of being thankful for each other and for the many people around us who love us and hold us up—in prayer and otherwise.

We are discovering the obvious truth that there is no short cut through grief, no “efficient” was to grieve that minimizes its pain, and that if there is a temporary way “around” it, taking that path is unwise and only postpones having to eventually, inevitably deal with the pain. You just have to walk through it. So we are doing that, one day at a time. And the Lord is walking with us.

There have been some minor logistical bumps along the road, sometimes clustered in such ridiculous concentration that it becomes comical, but it has been good for me to have to deal with them. It forces me to (a) trust God that he will sort out the snarls, presumably each one before it compounds the next, (b) find out that I can in fact organize and handle the financial/business/administrative details of life that have never been not my strong suit, even when they are out-of-the-ordinary and a bit complicated, and (c) know that we have a myriad of friends with an array of skills who can help me out if I need it. There is no doubt that I am growing stronger in the midst of this, which is a good thing. (Lest you worry, Al had good life insurance, and Westminster has been very generous as well. Even after Al is gone, he is providing for us!)

We drove to Florida the week before Easter to be with Al’s family, and it was great to see them, as always. Alden got to go deep sea fishing with his granddad, he and Eowyn got to spend time with their cousins who are roughly their ages, and we got to see two of Al’s siblings and their families, including a great-niece who is a year and a half old and cute as a button.

I think we all wondered whether it would be hard or just odd to be there without Al. There were a few times that we were acutely aware of Al’s absence, like when we took a picture of the whole family as Al always insisted that we do. [Side note: actually, taking pictures and movies now is consistently a pinch of grief for me. That was so important to Al, and he did it so incessantly that one time when the kids’ friends came and stayed with us they commented that it was like living on “Spycam”! So now when I take pictures I instinctively do it for Al, momentarily thinking that it will be fun to take them home and show them to him. But then I remember that he’s not here to see them, and then I have to re-think why I’m taking them—for posterity, of course, as he always did.] But mostly it was just good to be there with family.

The drive, while long, was good too. Honestly, we really like road trips. They are a good time to be together without other things interrupting or competing. Everybody brings some favorite music and we get some interesting mysteries on CD to listen to, and it’s just fun to be off on an adventure together. Plus, this time around Eowyn had her driver’s permit, and all the states between here and Florida except South Carolina said she could drive in them, so she got in about 20 hours of highway driving experience, which she was very excited about. I have to say, she’s pretty competent now at the whole business of on-ramps, changing lanes, etc.

The weekend before we went to Florida our daughter-in-law Lauren’s family invited us to to stay with them in Vermont and use some passes they had to ski at Killington. We usually ski once a year in the Poconos, but I had always hoped that someday Eowyn and Alden could ski together with Alasdair (who LOVES to ski) and maybe someday they would even get to ski in New England. Both dreams came true at the same time. What fun! That’s what I mean by the Lord placing personalized, tailor-made blessings in our days. It was a great time with Lauren’s family (who are delightful people that we love) as well, and we were able to stop and see my parents on the way home, which was a special treat. So, we skied on 3 inches of fresh powder one Sunday and swam in the Florida warmth the next. What a life full of blessings!

Eowyn is still digging out of make-up work. Only the two term papers are left, and she’s making progress on them. Last weekend she spent 10 or 12 hours on Saturday on one of them and can see the end of that one in sight. Hallelujah! Hopefully in the next several weeks she’ll finish them both and be free of that weight. We can’t wait!! It was definitely a thorn in her side (and her cousin’s) that she had to spend parts of several days in Florida working on schoolwork, and she was becoming a little bitter as well as discouraged. But when that state of heart reached a crisis the following week, Alasdair was an invaluable help in talking things through with her and helping her bring her heart issues to the Lord for forgiveness and healing. His helping her was such an incredible encouragement to me and a perfect answer to prayer. Again, the Lord’s individualized care for us was so precious to see.

This weekend both Eowyn and Alden are participating in a 30 Hour Famine organized by World Vision to raise money for and awareness of kids around the world who are literally starving. Alden got fired up to raise funds for the famine and has been tireless at it. I think he ended up raising over $500! By tonight all the youth group will be very hungry and tired, but it’s a wonderful project that both Eowyn and Alden believe in very strongly.

Alden has been enjoying winter and spring soccer too. Last week he scored 4 goals in their indoor game (which is unusual for him), one of them a header, and last night he had a really pretty goal too. He is starting to feel more comfortable, I think, although he still occasionally has down days when he doesn’t want to go to school or anywhere. This summer he has the opportunity to go to Spain with a friend and his family, which should be very exciting. Eowyn will be going to Guatemala with Food for the Hungry, which she’s pumped about too.

There are just a couple weeks left of the term at Westminster. It will be nice to have that behind me. The course I am taking and the one I’m auditing have been great, though. In one, the professor reminded us that when Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…?” he was asking the wrong question. The real question was “Who was God?” And the answer was that he was the I AM, the creator of heaven and earth, the self-sufficient, independent God who had all the power in the universe, and also “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” who committed himself to his people and made and kept covenant promises to them. If THAT God was with Moses, he could do anything that God called him to do. That has been good for us to remember on days when things seem hard, or discouraging, or overwhelming. All he asks us to do is walk with him, and if we’ll trust him in that, we cannot fail.

Another time the professor was talking about the Trinity, and the two natures of Christ—human and divine—and other things we can’t quite wrap our finite minds around. Even in heaven we probably won’t fully be able to understand how those mysteries work, but I assume they will at least be clearer. I was musing about what it will be like to actually see God on his throne, to look at Jesus close-up, human yet exalted and glorified… And then I realized that Al is already doing that. He always loved things that were big enough and deep enough that you couldn’t exhaust your exploration of them, so I know he must be endlessly delighted in standing in God’s presence and just taking in his glory.

Anyway, I find that an awareness of Al’s absence is always there in the background of my mind, even when I’m not specifically thinking about it. It’s sort of like a large piece of scenery on a stage where you’re acting. You might not always be looking at it, or interacting with it, but it’s always there, giving a certain cast to the scene. The only time I completely forgot about Al’s death was when we were skiing (probably both because it was so much fun and because I’m not a great skier, so I have to pay attention to what I’m doing!). I was surprised at one point to realize that I hadn’t thought about Al in a couple of hours.

What I pray is that in the same way that a constant awareness of Al not being here anymore stands in my consciousness, alternately more and less forcibly, an awareness of God’s love, and care, and majesty, and holiness, and kingdom purposes for this world will be constantly present in my mind and heart. I want that to be THE piece of scenery that gives the definitive cast to the stage I live my life on and that colors everything I do, and say and think as I go through any given day.

Well, I’ve run out of time. I hope this finds you well and enjoying the blessings that flow from the empty tomb. Thanks for checking in on us. Sorry it took me so long to get something posted here.




Hello Again–

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 5:53 pm by Libbie

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here. I have wanted to again and again, but one day after another gets away from me.

It’s been more than five weeks now since Al died. We are taking one day at a time and finding the Lord faithful and with us. School has been hard for Eowyn and Alden, with the difficulties having different foci for each of them.

Eowyn has struggled with feeling overwhelmed and discouraged with all the schoolwork she has to make up. The week before Al died she was physically present in school but not able to concentrate much and definitely not working on long-term assignments. Then she missed two weeks completely, and the first two weeks she was back in school she had no oomph or emotional energy to dive into schoolwork. She made as much effort as she could to attempt some of the current assignments of those two weeks, but she kept falling farther and farther behind. So by the beginning of March she basically had a 5-week slide to try to reverse. That was so discouraging that it was disabling, and the more the work piled up the more discouraged she became. You know how those downward spirals go. Eowyn’s teachers have been understanding about giving her time to make things up, some of them have written off some of the assignments, and some of the them have been extremely supportive and encouraging, which we appreciate so much. But the volume of work, which includes two term papers (remember how mammoth those seemed in high school?), still seems daunting.

But we’ve tried to map out a plan to chip away at the pile in manageable, if not very fun, chunks, and in the past two or three weeks she has made progress in getting some assignments handed in, tests taken, etc. Every little bit helps. I think maybe that encourages me more than it encourages her, but she’s been a trooper. She’s plowing into her term papers, she’s trying to get on top of trig and chemistry concepts that she missed that affect what the class is learning now, and sooner or later it will all be behind her. She can’t wait. Last week she got her learner’s permit to drive, which she is enormously excited about, and the “upper” of that has come at a good time to offset some of the drudgery of work. Thank you, Lord!

For Alden, who didn’t have too much work to make up, the biggest challenge has been dealing with junior high life. It’s hard to know how to comfort a friend who is grieving at any age, and it would be unreasonable to expect junior high kids to figure that out at 13 or 14. No one has been intentionally mean at all, but they do sometimes say and do things that end up being unintentionally hurtful. Jokes that make fun of “your mom” or “your dad” are probably harmless enough, but when your dad’s just died, they’re not very funny. However, that may not occur to the eighth grader making the joke. Or there’s the girl who asks, “Who do you like? Who do you like? Who do you like? You have to like somebody; everybody likes somebody. So who do you like?” and keeps it up for 20 minutes without a break. Or if Alden has heavy things on his mind and therefore gets quiet and doesn’t join in whatever silly stuff happens to be going on, kids (probably meaning very well) ask him if he’s all right and keep asking him until he does join in just to get the spotlight off himself. So he feels as if all day at school he has to pretend that he is happily part of whatever inanity is going on and that everything is fine, nothing is wrong and nothing is on his mind. That is wearing. Plus, a teacher that Alden really, really likes was recently promoted to a new job (which he will excel at—he’s great), so today was his last day in class.

I dropped one of the two classes I was taking this spring, which I have no doubt was the right decision. I had figured I would just move ahead with both classes, see how that went, and adjust as necessary, trusting the Lord to make the way clear one way or the other, and he did. I am slowly learning this business of living life a day at a time and trusting the Lord to guide me when I don’t have all (or maybe even any of!) my ducks in a row. It became obvious that keeping up with other things in life right now was going to preclude being able to get to the reading for the one class, so the clear choice was to drop it. I had a midterm in the remaining class this week, and that course will keep me plenty busy.

Last Thursday I had minor outpatient surgery on my wrist (to remove a cyst—no big deal), and that is healing nicely as far as I can tell. Our church and some Westminster students are continuing to send meals while my hand is in a splint/cast for two weeks, and that is getting me out of washing dishes as well. I’m going to be completely spoiled…

On Tuesday I went through Al’s clothes in preparation for a clothing collection. I wasn’t sure how hard that was going to be, but it wasn’t too bad for the most part, and I came up with a neat idea for what to do with some of them. There were two hard parts, though. One was when I found something special Al had made for me that he had tucked away in one of his drawers so that I would find it whenever I eventually went through them. Thoughtful to the end. The other was a collection of photo album pages in his closet that held pictures from 30 years ago when we were dating and first married. Remembering those early years and seeing the pages of pictures of me that Al had amazingly cherished made me bawl. When I came through the living room Eowyn saw that I had been crying and asked why. When I told her, she settled herself in “the snuggle chair,” made me come sit in her lap, and put her arms around me and comforted me. I am so loved!

So we walk on, one step at a time. We miss Al terribly, but we are certainly glad that the Lord is here with us, and we’re glad for Al’s sake that he is in heaven. It’s sort of like getting to graduate early. High school and college can be fun, but if you know what you want to do with your life, then being allowed to leave school early to go do it is supremely exciting, even if you’ll miss your school buddies. It’s a bummer for them to be left behind, but it’s fantastic for the early graduate. That’s how I think of Al’s death in some ways. He would have chosen to stick around longer with us and with all his buddies here, but since he got tapped to jump ahead now and start on the real business of living Real Life, I wouldn’t want to wish him back here in training camp.

Last Sunday in church as we worshipped I felt intense emotions in three different directions at once, seemingly conflicting and yet all true. First, as I often do, I pictured all of us in the congregation standing before God’s throne, worshipping the king. I think that is really what’s happening when we worship. As I stood aware of that, I realized that Al is standing, worshipping before that same king, just more real-ly than we are. So it was almost as if I wanted to look around the throne room of heaven and see if I could pick him out in the multitude. Being part of the same throng praising God together—those on earth and those in heaven—I felt so close to Al.

Second, and at the very same time, I missed him so intensely that my eyes were like faucets.

And third, I realized how very much Al had longed all his life to be exactly where he is right now, and I was SO GLAD for him. Back when Al’s grandfather died in 1979 Al felt first sadness that he wasn’t going to be able to see him as planned (we were about to leave on a long trip to go visit him), then confident that he would in fact see him again in heaven, and then envious that his granddad was getting to do something that we would have to wait many years to experience—seeing Jesus face to face. Al was not surprised at the sadness or the hope, but he was surprised by the envy. I think it was the first time he became aware of what a longing he had to go home and be in God’s actual presence. Of course he enjoyed all the big and little things in life while he was here, people most of all, but that longing to be with Jesus was always there underneath. And now, there he is! He is lifting his hands and probably dancing with abandon before the Lord in freedom, health, Life, and triumphant joy, as his heart longed to do for so many years.

When Al and I were dating we liked to sing a song from Psalm 27. It’s the only song I remember him harmonizing to, and the harmony he sang was beautiful. The words are:

One thing have I desired of the Lord;
that will I seek after–
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.
One thing have I desired of the Lord;
that will I seek after–
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and inquire in his temple.

That is where Al is now and what he is doing, and I can only imagine the joy he is experiencing in being there and doing it.

May we all look forward to joining him…




Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 7:35 am by Libbie

Yesterday the kids had a meltdown day, and both Eowyn and Alden stayed home from school. That gave us a chance to step out of the pressure of make-up work, etc. and just talk, and grieve, and cry, and comfort each other. 

We miss Al. We are so glad to know that he is enjoying the glory of heavenly life in God’s presence, which he had longed for for years, and that knowledge does bring great comfort, but at the very same time his absence here is felt pretty keenly. He was an integral part of the warp and woof of our lives, and now that fabric has a big hole in it. We just plain miss him. The Lord doesn’t promise that he’ll make that ache go away, but he does promise that we will see Al again, and he does promise to be here with us each moment as we live our daily lives with the ache in our hearts. He is steadfastly faithful to his promises, so we know he will see us through, and we are grateful for that.

Please pray especially for Eowyn and Alden as they are back in school today that they would be very aware of the Lord’s presence with them.




Joy and Grief

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 10:40 pm by Libbie

[The following reflections may be a bit hard to read without tears. I think it only fair to warn you of that ahead of time. This note is one that Al initially wrote last May, but we didn’t post it at the time for a number of reasons. Al thought of putting it on the blog in the late fall and so added a sentence of introduction at the beginning, but somehow we again hesitated. Maybe the emotions were too exposed, too tender, and we needed to check with the other people involved to see if they minded. I have done that now, and all have said that they are happy to have Al’s reflections shared. So here is a note that Al wrote about a very wonderful, very joyful and sad, and very special weekend last May.]

From Al:

Many ask how we are doing spiritually, in our hearts. This is a good question, perhaps the best question to ask us. To that end, here is something I wrote last spring but didn’t post at the time. It contains some reflections on the joys and griefs of a special weekend in May.

In May, Becky, my oldest daughter, came home for 36 hours in a weekend to be in the wedding of her dear friend, Lisa Welch. On the Friday before the wedding on Saturday I was admitted to the hospital with a very painful blood clot in my right leg. Because it would take at least three days in the hospital to be sure that the medication for thinning my blood was properly regulated, I would not be able to attend the wedding. Nor, as a result, would I see my daughter—I had been in either the emergency room or the hospital since she arrived and she had wedding related activities in the evening on Friday. She would have the wedding on Saturday and then catch a 7am flight Sunday. This was all disappointing to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »


First Day Back

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:44 pm by Libbie

Thank you for praying for Eowyn and Alden today. They both found that the first day back to school was hard but bearable. We are grateful for your support and for the Lord’s presence and help!



Update and Reflections 2.19.07

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 10:32 pm by Libbie

Hello. We had a great time away last week, Tuesday through Thursday, and now we are gearing up for the kids to go back to school tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb 20). Likely enough that will be a bumpy experience, and this whole week may be something to just get through with the Lord’s help. They are not looking forward to it, but we’ve talked about things to anticipate, possible ways to handle certain situations, and that the Lord will be with them. If you think of praying for them tomorrow and the rest of this week, I know they would appreciate it! Read the rest of this entry »


Thank you

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:53 am by Libbie

Thank you to all of you who came to the service on Saturday, as well as to those who would have like to come but were not able to. and to all of you who joined us by webcast. Al absolutely loved people, and I know that each of you blessed him by your presence. Certainly you blessed us!

All last week we looked forward to Saturday’s memorial service. We knew that the burial would be both sad and joyful, but perhaps with sadness having the edge. As one of the kids said, “The focus of the burial is more on the physical body and the death part of dying, but the emphasis of the memorial service is more on the joy of heaven and the eternal life part of dying.” The burial service was wonderful, and contained the hope of the resurrection, but it was certainly also somber. The body that served Al so well–the feet that ran mile records and the hands that shot baskets, and wrote articles, and served us all so well–we committed to the earth with honor and dignity, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Read the rest of this entry »


One week later…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 9:13 am by Libbie

Dear Friends,
What a week it has been. A week ago we were watching the sun come up after a sleepless night, surprised that Al was still with us, although he had slipped into unresponsiveness, and wondering how much longer he would have to wait to go home.

It was hard to see him suffer. In some ways it was merciful that he was no longer conscious. The previous day he had been so thirsty, and we had only been partially able to quench his thirst, because it was hard for him to swallow, and more than a drop or two of water at a time tended to make him choke. For me, that was one of the hardest things in the whole process. So I think we were relieved that around 2 a.m. on Monday he passed beyond consciously feeling that thirst.

At about 10:00 Monday morning Al began to struggle to breathe. I had the impression from books or movies that when that characteristic breathing (what used to be called the “death rattle”) began, it was a matter of just a handful of minutes before the person passed away. But for Al it went on for ten and a half hours. We kept praying that the Lord would take Al home and end his suffering right away. And we kept waiting. We sang, we prayed, we talked, sometimes we laughed, and we waited. The hours rolled by, the nurse and others came and went, and still we waited. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Notes

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Updates at 7:31 am by Libbie

Here are two notes relative to the memorial service on Saturday, one for those who cannot come, and one for those who can:

If you cannot attend the service, experiments are underway to try to film it in such a way that you can watch it live on this blog site. If the technological wizards who know how to do such things succeed, that will be confirmed here so you will know ahead of time. Al was always fascinated by developments in technology, so we know he would get such a charge out of this.

If you are planning to come to the service, I thought I would let you know how the children and I are planning to dress. We will wear black because of the deep sorrow and terrible loss that death has dealt us. But we will also be wearing colorful clothes to celebrate the fact that death is defeated and Al is now enjoying Life, and health, and beauty and color that we can’t even imagine. You may feel free to wear strictly somber colors, if you prefer, or to join us in including splashes of bright colors of victory if you are comfortable doing so. We look forward to seeing you there!




Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Reflections at 10:14 pm by Libbie

Here is the obituary that was sent to the Philadelphia paper. If they print it at all, they will probably shorten it, so I thought I’d just put it up here as well. [UPDATE NOTE: The Philadelphia Inquirer obituary is now online here.] If you are interested in an account of Al’s more academic life, there is one on the Westminster website.

James Alan Groves was born December 17, 1952 in Springfield, Missouri to James and Jacqueline Groves. He was later joined by brother Warren, sister Jill, and brother Bryan. Their family lived in Springfield, Missouri; Bartlesville and Cushing, Oklahoma; Mankato and Rochester Minnesota; and Aberdeen, South Dakota, where Al graduated from high school in 1971. Read the rest of this entry »



Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 7:01 pm by Libbie

If you are coming from out of town for Al’s memorial service and need a place to stay, our church family has some space available in their homes. Here is the info from the church: 

New Life Presbyterian Church of Glenside has rooms in people’s homes if you are coming from out of town and need a place to stay.  Please contact Peggy McManus at:  pmcmanus@cheltenham.org , or call her at:  215-885-7888 or 610-613-3643.  

There are also a few local hotels, and if you need assistance in contacting them, please call the New Life church office at 215-576-0892 between the hours of 9:00am to 3:30pm to receive a listing of near-by hotels.



Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:16 pm by Libbie

Al is home with Jesus, safely through the Valley of the Shadow, and he has woken up in the glorious sunshine of heaven, face to face with the savior he has loved for 44 years. We are so glad!!

Al slipped mostly out of consciousness during the night, maybe around 2 a.m., and starting around 10 this morning he began struggling to breathe. We thought that meant that he would pass away soon, but he remained with us for ten more hours, laboring to breathe all that time. We kept talking to him, singing, reading Scripture, praying, touching him, and visiting around his bedside, occasionally laughing–even uproariously on two occasions. He was there in the midst of us, very much a part of us, even when he was to all appearances unresponsive. They say that people in that state can hear what is being said, so we kept including him in our conversations. We kept telling him how much we loved him and were thankful for him, and we kept telling him how thankful (and even envious) we were that he would soon be seeing Jesus face to face. Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried, and often we sang songs of worship.

Our hope from the beginning was that we could all be there at the moment that Al actually died, but after a mostly sleepless night last night we realized that we would need to sleep tonight and that probably we would not all be awake when it happened. That was okay, because we had had so much wonderful time with him in the past several days. Each of us let go of that expectation with peace.

Yet the Lord graciously arranged it so that in fact we were all there in the room with him when he died. Some of us got there only a few seconds before, but we were all there. Al simply took his last breath, his heart slowed down, and he was gone. We cheered, we cried, we hugged each other, we practically literally danced with joy at the sure knowledge that Al was free–from pain, from exhaustion, from labored breathing, from the fibromyalgia that has pummeled him for years and years, from cancer, and from death itself. There just weren’t enough ways to express the joy we felt. The best we could do was sing with every bit of gusto in our souls the song “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand.”

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
and cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

O’er all those wide extended plains
shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
and scatters night away.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

No chilling winds or poisonous breath
can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
are felt and feared no more.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

When I shall reach that happy place,
I’ll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father’s face,
and in his bosom rest.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

What a celebration! No doubt the sadness will set in, perhaps tomorrow, but for tonight we can feel only joy, intense and exhilarating. And relief. We have all been walking around since heaving sigh after sigh of relief and feeling the tension, and concern, and adrenaline drain out of our bodies.

Since we had been praying over and over for two days that God would come and take Al home and waiting and waiting for him to answer that prayer, we yearned for that release and homecoming more than anything. So when it finally happened, there was nothing left to feel but joy–no regret, no wising for more time, no vestiges of wanting to hang on. Perhaps that was God’s gift to us in making us wait. His timing is perfect.

I have to go, as there is still lots to do, but I wanted to let you know that the Lord’s faithful servant is home at last in his Father’s house. Hallelujah! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!


Still awaiting take-off

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 7:27 am by Libbie

Al is still with us this morning, for how long we don’t know. We will let you know here on the blog when the Lord has come to take him home. Meanwhile, we’re surrounding him, singing, praying, talking to him, worshiping. It’s a precious time.

We appreciate your prayers for strength on little or no sleep,


Still Here

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 12:04 am by Libbie

Al is still with us. Just wanted you to know.

It’s like waiting at the airport with someone who is about to embark on a fantastic trip…


A Matter of Hours…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 4:19 pm by Libbie

A hospice nurse was here today and thinks that perhaps Al will pass away in the next little while, maybe tonight, or this afternoon, or tomorrow.

We are having good times of worship around his bed. What an amazing thing to be just hours away from heaven! We can almost taste it for Al.

Will keep you posted.




Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 12:57 pm by Libbie

Al’s strength is quickly declining. On Wenesday the hospice nurse guestimated that he might last 5-6 weeks. Yesterday, as we expected, she said that the time is probably much shorter than that. For myself, I’m expecting him to slip out of consciousness any time in the next hours or days.

It’s hard to see Al so weak and sometimes uncomfortable. As his condition has worsened drastically in the past week, we have begun to make the shift in our thinking and praying from asking the Lord to prolong Al’s time with us to asking him to shorten it. It will be a mercy to see him free from this suffering and winging his way to heaven. Read the rest of this entry »


A Better Day

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 9:37 pm by Libbie

Again, this will be brief. Wanted to let you know that today was better than yesterday. We got some stronger anti-nausea medicine that seemed to curb that problem, and feeling less nauseous helped reduce the pain as well. Hallelujah!

Al is very weak, and we’ve see a little disorientation in the last 24 hours too, but he is still himself, if slightly fuzzy. It’s made for some good laughs that he has been able to join in on.

Off to bed. Bless you all, and thank you for so many kind and encouraging notes. Sorry I’m not writing back…



Long Day

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:23 pm by Libbie

This will be brief, because I need to get to bed a.s.a.p.

Today was a hard one for Al. He is experiencing constant pain and nausea. The hospice team is working competently and professionally to determine the right medicines to help bring both under control, and I’m sure they will be able to do that, but during the process it’s hard to see Al suffering so.

Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for your concern and prayers–



Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 6:17 pm by Libbie

Hello again after a few days.

The kids are feeling much better and are back in school now after both of them being home sick on Friday and then lying low over the weekend. Alasdair’s bronchitis, which was, as usual, pretty bad, is on the mend in time for the start of the semester on Thursday. And so far neither Al nor I have caught any of the above. Thank the Lord for that! Becky has had more car troubles, but our mechanic has again gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us out and keep her on the road. If anybody in the Philly area needs a mechanic, call us for his name–he’s amazing! Read the rest of this entry »


From the sick ward…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 3:18 pm by Libbie

Well, today Alden is finally well enough to be back in school (hopefully, since he’s feeling neither terrific nor strong), but last night Eowyn woke up in the middle of the night with chills and fever, so she’s home today. (And coincidentally Alasdair has developed bronchitis.) Please pray that Al will not catch any of the germs in this hive of sickness!

Al felt a little better yesterday than the day before, it seemed to me, which was great. Today he’s pooped and not feeling great. He is increasingly unsteady on his feet and lacking in any kind of energy, and typing is becoming extremely difficult. But he’s a tough old guy, and he keeps on truckin’, if you’ll pardon a 70’s expression. Read the rest of this entry »

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