Monday, June 27, 2011


This year has been one of many ups and downs. Frankly, from a human perspective it has been one of the worst years of my life. Things simply have not gone well at all. The beginning of the year outwardly was the hardest with so many things happening to my family that it appears terrible. And it was in one sense, however, when it comes to Spirituality, it was the closest, most sweet time I have ever had with my Lord. I was at a point in life that I had to fully rely on God to get me through each day. I drew close to Him as I spent much time in His Word and on my knees in prayer. Every new day brought more pain and anguish, and each day I learned more and more how much I needed my Savior by my side. It was a time of sweet fellowship with God, and great learning of God. I learned to have sweet peace even in the midst of great adversity. I felt the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and I felt a true sense of joy that went through my entire being.

Recently, on the outside life has calmed down. It has been quite some time since an "emergency" has struck my life. It would seem like right now I would be using this time to discover more about the greatness of God. I hate to admit it, but this time right now I find it more difficult to focus on God than I have in a very long time. Now, instead of outward, visible struggles, I have deep, inward struggles. Although not evident, these seem to be worse than the outward hard times. Rather than depending on God, and trusting Him to see me through, I catch myself trying to work everything out on my own. Doing this causes me to lose focus on the important things of life, and instead concentrate on the parts of life that I have no control over. Rather than spending time reveling in the goodness of God, I find myself fighting Him over minute details that really don't matter in the end. I keep forgetting that God has plans for my life, and those plans are meant for good, not evil, plans of hope for the future. (Jeremiah 29:11).

I would greatly appreciate prayers as I try to refocus my life by truly depending on God and trusting Him for all of my needs.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Month of Weddings

This month alone I have attended three weddings of good friends of mine, and had several others that I could not be at! In two of those three weddings I played my cello and/or piano.

*~~Cody and Grace~~*

*~~Jon and Heather~~*

*~~Alex and Amanda~~*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Aaron Williams: December 7,1972 - June 22, 2007

Editors note: This is a repost from June 22, 2009

"To Where You Are"'

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory, so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love and you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on
and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

~Josh Groban

Today is the two year anniversary of the home going of my hero, Aaron Williams. Some of you may know his story, but others of you may not yet know it, so I will at least attempt to explain the type of man he was and what he means/meant to me.
Aaron was born December 7, 1972, I think he was the 4th of 9 children, but don't hold me to that! All of his life he was ajokester! He loved to make people laugh and feel comfortable around him. Aaron was one of the few people who had no enemies!! He was a friend to everyone.
I'm not quite sure of his entire timeline, but I do know that he joined the Marines (sometime when I was pretty little), and HE LOVED HIS COUNTRY! My favorite thing in the world used to be to tease Aaron about being a "Jar Head" in which he would always reply "I'd rather be a jar head than a squid like your dad!"
My mom is Aaron's dad's secretary, I remember the day that the office got the discharge papers from the military for Aaron. I can remember wondering who was going to have to hand those papers to Aaron, I wasn't there when that happened, but I can only imagine the look on Aaron's face when he was given those papers. I know that was one of the hardest things for him over the entire duration of his sickness.
In 2004, shortly after completing special forces training in the Air Force, Aaron was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and told that he had 6 months to live! Thankfully, God gave him to us for 3 more years. Those were years full of sorrow and tears, but also full of laughter and joy.
Throughout those 3 years Aaron had his ups and downs. He had to have surgery and something went wrong when they put his scull back together so his head was sunken in! That didn't bother Aaron, he used to make jokes about his head. He often would forget things, yet another thing that didn't drag him "down in the dumps" he made jokes about that too.
There was never a time when you were with Aaron that you weren't laughing. I have so many memories stored up inside that would take forever to write.
Probably one of my favorites is a phone call I got from him about a month before he died. He was driving to his home in PA after spending several times in IN with his family. I had asked him when I saw him at church the day before to stop by the office on his way out of town to say good bye, he had assured me that he would. Well, he forgot. I really wasn't surprised, or hurt because I knew that most of his short term memory was gone. Several hours later, I was at home when I got a phone call. It was this guy who had a strong Kentucky accent claiming that he had just moved to the Warsaw area and he had a teenage son who went to school with some friend of mine and this son had a huge crush on me and he wanted to take piano lessons from me. I was freaked out! I had NEVER had anything like that happen to me in my life. We spoke for about 5 minutes about how I taught piano lessons and what I required, etc. I finally got him off the phone and immediately called Mom. She calmed me down, and then said not to worry about it. A few minutes later my phone rang again. It was Aaron, laughing hysterically! He had made that whole thing up and had figured that I would figure out his fake accent like I always had before. He had seriously called to say that he had forgotten to say goodbye, so he was calling to say bye. That was the last time I had a coherent conversation with Aaron. From that time on he went down hill REALLY fast, it was about a month after that that he died.
The following month or so was very difficult on Aaron. It included a trip to Mexico, grasping at last straws, hoping that maybe something would work. Finally it was obvious that he was not going to make it. So he came back to Indiana to die.
I remember going to see him soon after he came back. I went into his parents home, and was SHOCKED!! Aaron had always been a strong, physically fit, healthy, big Marine, in fact that is why doctors think he lived as long as he did, because he kept himself healthy. Anyways, he was sitting on a recliner, and he looked awful! He was pale, and weak, and his memory was shot. He didn't even remember a lot of his family members. My family walked in together, Aaron thought my dad was one of his brothers, but other than that he remembered the rest of our names. We spent a few minutes talking, then he some how remembered the whole piano lesson thing! That was amazing, even his family was surprised that he remembered that story. The two of us went back and forth about it for a few minutes, before deciding that I would bring a keyboard in and teach him how to play! :P On the outside I was laughing with Aaron, but on the inside my heart was breaking. I finally had to leave so I gave him a hug (which was the last hug I ever got from him) and went for a walk, I hated seeing him that way!
I think that was on a Friday or Saturday. The following Wednesday we got a phone call from his mom, Aaron wanted to see my family. We went over, and he was in bed, which is where he had been for several days. By this time, he couldn't talk, and he kept his eyes closed for the most part. The only response he would give to someone was to open his eyes, or briefly squeeze a hand. When I walked in the room, death was almost a tangible feeling. My family each took a turn holding Aaron's hand and talking to him for a few minutes. My turn was last. I walked to his side and gently picked up his hand, it was so pale and weak, and clammy. I just stood there for a few minutes, the realization that this was probably the last time I would ever see him on this earth alive was sinking in, and my tears flowed. I told him who I was and he slightly squeezed my hand. After just standing there for a few minutes, I told him that he was my hero and that he was my favorite Jar Head and he always would be, he opened his eyes and squeezed my hand. That squeeze continued for almost 5 minutes, and there was no way I was letting go! That was the last time I saw him alive.
At approximately 12:30 AM on June 22, 2007 Aaron Andrew Williams went home to be with his Lord. He had fought a good fight, he had touched so many lives, and now it was time for him to go home. In his short life, Aaron touched more people than most people who live to 90 touch. He was amazing!
At his funeral so many people came who loved Aaron. Some had met him, others had not, but all were drawn together because in some way Aaron had shown them love, and in return all loved him. I really don't remember much about the viewing and funeral. I do know that he was the first and only dead person that I've ever touched. :) The funeral procession from the church to the cemetery was almost a mile long!
Aaron's life brought so much glory to God, and when it was time for him to go, there was no fear in his heart about dying. He was very peaceful. The tears that I shed were not that he was going to Heaven, but that he was in so much pain, and also that I would be losing a dear, dear friend, and my hero.
I feel so blessed that I knew Aaron for the first 16 years of my life. His memory will live on in my heart forever!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcoming Them Home

Saturday I attended the ceremony in Leo that welcomed home a local hero, Brandon Long. Brandon is a young man who, for whatever reasons, chose to join the Marine Corps. He was sent to Afghanistan and it was there that in December of 2010 he stepped on an IED which cost him both of his legs.

Although we had only a brief conversation and a quick chance to snap a picture, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to meet him. I was in awe of him. He is young, only my age or maybe even slightly younger, yet his bravery, confidence, and tenacity go beyond that of most people I know. I don’t know much about his past, but I do know that the day he signed up for the Corps was a day that America gained a hero. Along with many others, he bravely answered the call of his country and went to war. There he saw things that no one should see, yet he did it with a strength that blows me away. There, with others, he fought his hardest and for us he sacrificed not only his limbs, but life as he knew it was dramatically changed.

I have a friend who has been deployed in the mid-east multiple times. He’s over there again. Honestly, I am awed by him, mainly because I could never imagine doing what he does. This goes for every single man and woman who gives of themselves to serve in the military. The courage and bravery that they have are more than I can imagine.

When these brave people come home we ought to use every chance to welcome them in the biggest ways possible. Whether it is lining the dive way of an American Legion to welcome home a wounded veteran, standing in an airport with signs, balloons, and patriotic t-shirts as a military person walks off a plane, or standing in a cemetery paying our final respects to one who has paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we ought to give some of our time and effort for these dear people who have given so much so that we can live in the greatest country in the world.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Welcoming Home a Hero

Yesterday a hero came home. He was alive, yet would never, ever live life the way he had in the past. You see, Brandon Long was in the Marines and deployed in Afghanistan last December when he stepped on an IED and both of his legs were blown off at the knees. Amazingly he survived, and yesterday he was welcomed home with a hero's welcome. The festivities began at the airport where he was welcomed by his high school's marching band. There was a huge procession of motorcyclists and emergency vehicles that led a 30-some mile procession to the Leo American Legion, post 409 that hosted a huge ceremony for him.

I did not go to the airport, however, I did go to the American Legion. Click here for some pictures from the ceremony at the airport. Below are some pictures that I took.

~Flags lined both sides of the driveway~

~Motorcycles starting the procession~

~A bagpiper led Brandon up the driveway~

~Sweet Marine hummer~

~Here comes Brandon!~