Monthly Archives: May 2013

Why I’m 1inawesomewonder

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Remember – Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! (Reblogged from last year)


This weekend is the unofficial American kick-off to summer. With the weather we are getting here in the Northeast, it feels like summer already. It’s Memorial Day Weekend. So, without further adieu, I will get to the point. As we get together with friends and family this weekend and enjoy the extra day off from work, please take a moment (or several) to remember why this weekend is so special. This holiday is defined by many as, “a day, the last Monday in May, on which those who died in active military service are remembered.” Imagine, or better yet, try not to imagine what this weekend, or what any day might look like, were it not for the amazing men and women who gave their lives for the greatest country on the planet. They are among the biggest reasons why the USA is the land of opportunity. This weekend, so…

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Find Our Way

Tuesday morning, May 21, 2013, I was in New Brunswick, Canada to say good-bye to my Aunt Janette one last time. Since I was staying within 20 miles of the old homestead, I took a drive. I always try to get out there each time I am in New Brunswick. This time, I literally had only minutes to spend while in the area, but that drive, and those minutes are always worth it.

Between the old homestead, where I stopped to stand in The Spot for a moment, and my Uncle Lloyd’s farm, I ran across this youngster. I stopped alongside the road in a low-lying area that’s just a few feet north of the brook that crosses Charleston Road. This little fox was so small, so young, that it hopped more than it ran. I talked to it quietly and waited for a moment to see if it would come out from hiding. I looked around for the momma fox but did not see any sign of her, although I am sure she was somewhere close by. Then the little fox showed itself and I snapped a few pictures in hopes that I had something worthy to show for it.

As I drove back to Woodstock, NB to get ready for the funeral, I thought about this little fox, and I thought about my Aunt Janette. I was going to celebrate my aunt’s life and say good-bye to her while this little life hopping across the road was just beginning. As I drove the old country roads battling both the rains falling from the heavens and the tears flowing from my eyes, I realized that both that little fox and I were just trying to find our way.

This baby fox caught my attention out by the old farm.

This baby fox caught my attention out by the old farm.

This little fox is easily lost among the burdock leaves.

This little fox is easily lost among the burdock leaves.

We all just need to find our way.

We all just need to find our way.

My Aunt Janette – The Poem

I wrote this poem the morning after my Aunt Janette went to see our Lord. I woke up on Saturday morning and had these words in my mind, waiting to be written. So I sat and I wrote them.

Then on Thursday of this week, I decided to see if I could find the pictures we took at Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Janette’s farm last July. I opened the folder on my computer and I burst in to tears. Because, there she was, my beautiful Aunt Janette, right in front of me. Furthermore, there were pictures of her holding the child’s hand, pictures of her lifting the frail to new heights, and pictures of her happy, healthy, and completely at ease in her element. So I decided to pull a few pictures and put them into a post here including the poem. I took some of these pictures and my daughter Erin took some too.

Where’s that woman who used to embody farm?
She would work and still pull off that striking charm
There’s an empty spot in the garden over there
 A place vacated by the mother with golden hair
Aunt Janette leads Jacqueline up to see the calves.

Aunt Janette leads Jacqueline up to see the calves.

Can I walk for a while where she would tread?
O’er the grounds many visitors she had led
That child’s hand isn’t held walking next to us
It would’ve been by the girl who grew up in Texas
This is how I remember my Aunt Janette. Strong enough to walk alone, but always looking to see who else might benefit from a little help.

This is how I remember my Aunt Janette. Strong enough to walk alone, but always looking to see who else might benefit from a little help.

May I enter her home and just sit for a while?
I can smell the bread and still see the smile
The room is full but something’s out-of-place
There’s a smile missing, absent, a friendly face
With a little boost from Aunt Janette, the frail could fly.

With a little boost from Aunt Janette, the frail could fly.

Can I say a little something to remember her by?
How she’d reach for the frail and let them fly
There are stories shared, each must be told
Recalling the wife that never did look old
Always happy to see us, my Aunt Janette, and my two daughters, Jacqueline and Erin. 7-25-2012.

Always happy to see us, my Aunt Janette, and my two daughters, Jacqueline and Erin. 7-25-2012.

Is it just me or is there happiness found here?
“…there am I in the midst…”; He is near
Gathered there is strength, and even more love
Missing here, we need only smile and look above

The Spot

This is the spot where I used to stand. How I wish I could see it again as it was 30 years ago, the views, the fences, the lay of the land.

Minutes turned to hours here, even an afternoon. I would day-dream, swing a bat, or throw rocks. It always ended too soon.

The fence is gone and the road now paved. I miss the way it was, the cows, the dirt, the rocks, you know, back in the day.

I’d wait here to see Dad return from Al’s Diner in Mars Hill. The cloud of dust appeared a mile away and I’d hope there’d be a donut for me still.

The gullies are gone and the road is wider now. But I miss the rush of water from heavy rains or melting snow. Cleared by the grader’s plow.

I would play in the streams that might be gone the next day. The water wore away at the road, but in the trickle of water was a great place to play.

The pole on the other side was always my aim. From snowballs I’d pack, or stones I hit with an old bat, but mostly to throw rocks in one of my games.

I walked the line where the clover and the dirt met. And I spent hours out there letting my mind race, creating fun, wishing now never to forget.

I could see my uncle’s farm from here. And often times only the dog would beat me in announcing that someone was drawing near.

Behind me the tree was growing tall. The birds would holler. But often a brother or cousin would climb while those inside worried they’d fall.

This was my spot where I often played. This is where memories were made for me, and I could be there for hours, never afraid.

I drove out here before the service on Tuesday. I had only a moment, but I stopped and stood again in this place, I wish I could have stayed.

From my favorite spot on the farm

The Spot, out by the road at the front of the farm.

The day after

The day after; it’s been just a day, a single day. I went to bed early this evening because I was completely wiped out. Exhausted. All I wanted to do was to lie down, close my eyes, turn my brain off, and drift off to restful slumber. Well, I got some of it done, but the brain just wouldn’t quit. The last few days have been overwhelming for a number of reasons. And after a brief stop on the couch, I find myself here, in front of the keyboard with a headache and nothing specific to write. I have been praying for words over the last two days, and I trust they will come.

Before I go too far with this piece of writing, and I honestly don’t have an idea where this is going to go, but I have a hunch it’ll drift towards an area some 350 miles northeast of here before I get done, I wanted to say a few words to a whole lot of people. First, I am my mother’s son and there was no way my mother was going to miss the remembrance and celebration of Janette Peterson’s life. Second, I am Lloyd and Janette’s nephew and there was no way I was going to miss the remembrance and celebration of Aunt Janette’s life. Third, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you all for the support, for your kind words, and your encouragement. Fourth, I am honored. It is my honor to share the thoughts, memories, perspectives, and principles I have accumulated through the observance of, and interactions with, the tremendous family I have been surrounded by for my entire life. Fifth, I am humbled. I am taken aback, and deeply humbled by the outpouring of comments, thoughts, words, thank you’s, hugs, and encouragement I have received in just the last few days regarding the words I share through writing. I came to New Brunswick like the rest of you, to celebrate and remember Janette, and maybe be the help a friend or family member needed in the moment we were with one another. I struggle to find myself remotely worthy of the praise and the many kind words I have received in the last several days. Finally, I am proud to be the son of a Beal and a Peterson. Biased, I am sure, I don’t think I could have asked God to do me any better than He did. I am the first person in history to be born of both these Beal’s and these Peterson’s, and I couldn’t be more proud of the family members that came before, or since, my existence began.

Since I have started writing on a fairly consistent basis, I find that words often come more easily to me than I ever would have guessed. I mean, when I started writing I laughed at myself (often times, I still do) because I wondered who in the world would ever want to read anything I ever wrote unless it was something about their kid playing in a game or something. Then I asked myself, what on earth would I ever write about?  I feared I had nothing to say. Now I find things I would like to write about quite a lot. Then there’s tonight, when I feel like I could take the next two months and write non-stop about the things that have crossed my mind since Friday evening, but I can’t focus in on a single word, let alone a single thought. So, my head just hurts, in part from fatigue, in part from scrambling thoughts, memories, emotions, smiles and fears. Mostly I wonder about my 6 cousins who just lost their mother, and the husband, my uncle, who lost his wife.

I hurt for them. I think of them. I pray for them. I wish myself useful to them. If I could be the door that they all could walk through and be with Janette again, I would pursue each of them and allow them passage again and again. If I could be the last thought in their mind ensuring they drifted off to sleep I would be a memory of Janette that cannot be pondered, ever, without bringing a smile to their lips. If I could be the thing that let them finally expel that deep breath, that let them drop their shoulders, that allowed them to release the tension in their necks, and fondly remember Janette, now at His table, I would be there at the ready urging them to indulge. If I could be the example to them, the one that answered all of life’s questions, or at least gave them proper direction, I would defer, and ask that they just remember Janette, and truly understand all that she was, and for all that she stood for. And if I could be their sincere, silent prayer that ensured that any of them, or their families, could forever be at Janette’s knee, I would be bowed in focused reverence before my Lord whispering the words for them to follow right into salvation.

Well, I wasn’t expecting this to read the way it does, but here it is. I sit in the dark at my computer, wishing I was physically closer to the family in this time of need. Before I head off to bed I just need to say again, Uncle Lloyd, I love you. You know how I felt about Aunt Janette. I love your family, and if I can be of any help, just ask. I miss you all. I pray for all the Peterson’s often, and when I am not praying, it’s quite likely that I am still thinking about you all. It’s been a single day, the day after.

My Aunt Janette.

Family Support

After getting through emotionally packed calling hours, a tearfully blessed funeral service, and more than 800 miles on the road in just 38 hours, I woke up a little bit mentally fatigued today. I’m so very thankful for the time I spent, with the quality of people I wish were around every corner, over the last two days. I’m a fortunate man. So, when my thoughts were scattered, out of focus, and drifting to the hurting ones back in New Brunswick, I asked for a visit to Mom and Dad’s. Normally I don’t ask, but Mom and my Aunt Barbara made the trip back with me and I knew there’d be some exhaustion there too. But, on we came, the twins and I seeking strength in numbers and support in family. Somber as it was, it helped. I hope it helped them too. It was nice to remember those we left back in New Brunswick. It was comforting to shed tears and hear my voice crack among loved ones. To a person, we each wished to be back in New Brunswick, collectively in fellowship, grieving, consoling, and rejoicing; as a family. I’m so thankful for the support found in my family.