Thursday, July 31, 2008

ROADBLOCK ON THE FULLER WARREN BRIDGE

Milton, here for Kristy:

It was the summer of '71. It was hot. I was doing a summer internship in Columbus, Ga., and Kristy was feverishly planning a wedding. Letters were daily landing in Columbus and Jacksonville that were to hot to touch. We were too far apart.

The pastor I was working with was kind to give days off to make a fast run to see my redhead so off to Jax I flew in an old un-airconditioned Ford Fairlane. It was a gift for college graduation from mom and dad. Dad said a poor ride was better than a proud walk so I drove it with no shame and with thanksgiving.

The church I worked at told me I could fill my car up anytime it was empty so off the their designated station I drove to fill her up before leaving town. The gas tank was full and now off to see my redhead I sped.

It was late Friday night as I am getting closer to Jacksonville and it dawns on me I have no money, no change, no credit cards. There are no phones, gas stations, or friends on my side the St Johns River and I have to pay a toll on the Fuller Warren Bridge to cross the St. Johns River to get my kiss from Kristy.

The Fuller Warren Bridge was turned into a road block to my soon lover to be.

Now, I know what you are thinking. This man has to be smarter than this, doesn't he? Well,,,,young lovers aren't always known for brilliance. What is the saying...deaf, dumb, and blind,...add sometimes stupid. How could I have left Columbus with not one red cent in my pocket or a credit card?    

How can I get to my sweetheart tonight? How can I pass this toll to steal a kiss? There has to be an answer.

I've driven I-75 South and I've turned East on I-10 with about an hour to the roadblock to Kristy.

Maybe I can swim the river. Is there a ferry? Maybe I'll make like a movie chase and crash through the toll. Handcuffs come to my mind. Bridegroom goes to jail. Kristy would not like that. My ministerial credentials would be delayed and I would not be able to get a job and we would starve. Kristy would not like that either.

Oh, that redhead was calling me. No, not on a cell phone. It was 1971. The call was in my heart. I had to get through that roadblock. There was no stopping me.

Ah, blessed idea. My car was a grey government surplus car that dad had bought at a good price and all the seats were removable.

Idea! What was under those seats?

Idea! Old men drop coins out of their pockets.

Idea! Remove the seats. Find some coins.

Idea! Get through the roadblock to my beloved.

I pulled off I-10 and lifted up the seats. There is a dime, a nickel, two quarters, a few pennies.

The bridge is safe. The City of Jacksonville is safe. I won't have to crash through it to get to Kristy.

I dropped my coins in the bucket and sped just a little faster to steal a kiss before Grace and Udell caught me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A GOD MOMENT ON AN AIRPLANE

Milton, here for Kristy:

George B. sat down in his seat on the airplane for his flight out of Jacksonville last Friday the day after Kristy's celebration service. The lady sitting next to him was writing in a new looking journal and these two strangers struck up a brief conversation.

"What were you doing here in Jacksonville," she asked?

"I attended a friend's funeral yesterday," George said. "It was Kristy Dykes' funeral service."

"You attended Kristy's funeral? I didn't know her, but I read Wednesday's feature article about her in the paper and went to her blog and wept as I read it for several hours. She has changed my life.".

The young woman is a golf pro and has faced a serious bout with cancer. Kristy's story gripped her heart and she bought a new journal. She was inspired by Kristy's writings and story to start writing again, and she was writing her first entries as she sat on the plane.

"Kristy was quite a lady," she added.

George told me that he and the stranger talked the rest of their flight. 

"This woman's life was changed by Kristy's story," George said. "I didn't know about the article about Kristy and still haven't read it. This was a God moment. It was unbelievable."

***

George told me this story over lunch on Tuesday. I wonder. I just wonder. I really wonder how many lives did Kristy's life touch and change?

God put George next to this lady who had just been impacted by Kristy's story so he could connect with her, and she would learn more about Him.

The woman was right. Kristy was quite a lady.

6:42

Milton, here for Kristy:

Every place I went Monday people expressed sorrow and sympathy over Kristy's passing. Tellers at my bank, a waiter where Kristy and I often dined on the river, a druggist where I purchased her prescriptions, church members, and the list goes on were all sharing their love and concern.

I received phone calls, emails, cards, flowers, letters, and other communications that let me know how much Kristy was loved and missed and that let me know people were praying for me.

The one that stopped me in my tracks was a text message on my phone which was received at 6:42 PM expressing love, prayers, and concern from my beautiful sister Tricia. She was so kind to check in on her big brother.

I heard my phone buzz at 6:42 and looked down to check it and saw the text message. The message and time marked by it will always be marked in my mind. It was one week ago on Monday at 6:42 PM that my beloved Kristy left this world.

What were you doing at 6:42 PM, Monday, July 21? That was a significant moment in my life. It is etched into my memory.

I was standing by my beloved and was cheering and applauding her as she crossed over into heaven.

6:42, 6:42, 6:42, 6:42, 6:42, 6:42

That time is marked in my mind. She left in a moment, and in the twinkling of an eye she entered into the glory world.

I wonder what are the dates and times that each of us will see Jesus?

Monday, July 28, 2008

A BRIGHT SHINING LIGHT

Milton, here for Kristy:

Kristy's light always outshined the darkness. No matter how dark the place would be, her reflection of a Greater Light illuminated the environment. At gas stations, and with store clerks, and large speaking assignments, and through her writings, and with untold acts of kindness she let God's light shine through her. She never covered the light or was ashamed of the light.

One of the most wonderful witnesses of Christ through Kristy and through our family was to the CNA, Donna Jo, who cared for Kristy during her 3 months of illness at home before her passing. Christ's love touched Donna Jo over and over and Donna Jo renewed her commitment to Christ one Sunday while I was at church preaching. Kristy's friend, Sandra, led Donna Jo in a prayer of consecration and surrender to Christ. This Sunday Donna Jo was in church sitting on the fourth row.

I had Donna Jo stand so our people could see her and they applauded her for lovingly caring for Kristy. She wiped tears. We all wiped tears knowing what Kristy's love had meant to Donna Jo and how Christ had worked in Donna Jo's life and all of our lives.

When Kristy was so ill, we prayed, read Scripture, sang, told jokes, held her hands, comforted her, played soothing music and loved her every way we could think. Norma had a great idea and that was to read Kristy a novel so she went into Kristy's office and looked through all her books. She found an autographed copy of Robin Lee Hatcher's book, Loving Libby, and Donna Jo read it to Kristy over a period of a couple of weeks before Kristy passed. Norma randomly selected this book not knowing that Robin was one of Kristy's many writing friends. That's neat to me.

I bought another copy of this book and wrote a thank you to Donna Jo in it, and all of our family wrote similar thank you notes. I hugged Donna Jo Sunday morning in church and gave her this book along with other gifts.

Kristy enjoyed this story and smiled over and over at the hero. Norma said she was sure that Kristy thought the hero, Remington, looked like me. Kristy was warmed and comforted hearing a beautiful romance story as she was slipping from this life.

Thank you, Donna Jo, for your loving faithful care of my beloved Kristy. I look forward to your being in church soon when I preach so you can hear more about the love of God from our family.

PRINCESS AND PIRATES

Milton, here for Kristy:

I have determined to celebrate Kristy even through the tears. Tears come in waves as memories flood my mind. If I allow them to, they become bitterly brutal very quickly. Darkness tries to settle in my spirit with gloom and despair. But there is a way out and that is to release all those feelings and turn to the sweetness of our memories and then celebrate.
video



I'm a gourmet cook of the finest cereals.
Aren't kitchens hallways that lead to dining tables?
How did all those groceries turn into delicious meals?
How do you polish this furniture?
I'll ask Kristy....oh
Where did she store that.....?
We did that together when we were there....
Where did she keep the Thank You cards?
Go ask Kristy......?
She be back in a minute.....?
I'll call her....


Every thought could be pain or they could turn into whatever I choose them to become. I choose the celebration of life.


Our master walk-in-closet has two parts. As you walk into the closet, you find all of Kristy's clothes hanging, purses, shoes, etc., Then you pass through another door to my side of the closet. I have to walk past all her clothes every time I go get dressed. Our closet is neat, organized and efficient. That's Kristy. But right now, it is a closet of pain.

She thinned her closet of clothes months before her passing. She began giving special pieces of her jewelry to her sister and sister-in-laws. It was awful to watch this process. Terrible! I begged her to wait.

"Your going to get better," I would tell Kristy. "Wait and we'll give that to our children years from now," I hoped and prayed.

This past Friday when I returned home from taking the kiddies to the zoo, I walked into our master bedroom closet to change. I stepped through her closet toward my closet and the pain began to pulse through my body. "I can turn this into celebration or allow brutal pain to rule," I thought.

I got the girls and Sis and the sister-in-laws and they went on a free shopping spree. Purses, shoes, belts, robes, sweaters, all were flying around in that closet. It was better than a "blue light" special at Walmart. Tears turned into celebration as they helped each other choose items they liked.

"Get her jewelry," I told Julie and Jennifer. "Finish picking out what you want and then give the pieces you know your mom wanted her sister and sister-in-laws and my mother to have." Necklaces, bracelets, rings, ear rings, were selected with everybody choosing there favorite remembrance from Kristy. The jewelry department opened for a day in Kristy's bedroom.

Now the jewelry was alive and shining on necks and ears, and wrists and fingers. Joy was flowing through hearts and minds and memories. We were celebrating her life and memories were sweetly flooding every heart.

"Separate the nicer costume jewelry from the lessor pieces and go get the grands," I said. Claudia, Lorenzo, Nic and Alex came into the bedroom. I told my daughters, "Help them pick out things to enjoy." They began to go through the remaining jewelry and place them on fingers, ears, and necks. The older boys wanted to wear it, but they're boys and boys don't wear "girly" jewelry.

Norma said, "Alex. Nic. Don't you remember how the pirates wore the jewelry that they captured?"

"Yes," they both said as smiles lit their faces and necklaces, bracelets, rings, and ear rings were put on. They were pirates of the Caribbean and they looked around for their swords.

The kiddies were having a ball. There were no tears. It was celebration. In a few minutes the kiddies were all leaving. They have all cried and cried in recent partings, but this time the pirates and little princess eyes and faces were all gleaming. The princess and pirates loaded up with jewelry and swords headed toward home celebrating Nana, Nana, Nana, Nana.

Brutal tears were turned into celebration and sweet memories.

Can you see that necklace Norma is wearing? That's Kristy's. She was special.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON JESUS

Milton, here for Kristy:

My heart is full, yet broken. I am a blessed man. God has been so good to me--beyond words. I am finding daily that He doesn't fail even though we don't understand all that is happening around us. I am totally dependent on His mercy and grace. I stand only through His grace and strength.

I feel all the effects of all the prayers from around the world for me, my daughters, my grands, and my family. There are more people praying for me right now than have prayed for me my entire life. Prayer works! Your prayers are lifting me, steadying me, holding me up. I have met God and He is my helper.

Within my spirit there are songs that continually are playing. I can't and don't want to turn them off. The songs from Kristy's celebration service play over and over and are so comforting. There is a song of praise that is flowing out that is beyond my ability. It is a song of the Holy Spirit and it releases strength and health within my hurting mind and body.

I could write about going to Kristy's grave just hours after her funeral. I will at a later time. God met me there and I didn't face that alone.

I could write about the comments of my huring daughters and grands as they deal with the loss of their mother and Nana. I will at at later time. God has met them and they aren't facing her loss alone.

I could write about laying down to sleep where Kristy has slept. I will at a later time. God met me there and I am not facing that alone.

I could write about receiving letters addressed just to me that normally would be sent to Kristy and Milton Dykes. I will at a later time. God helped me deal with those moments and I am not facing that alone.

I could write about.......But God is there too. I am not facing any of this alone. God is with me.

***

My father, Rev. Oscar Milton Dykes, officiated at Kristy's graveside committal service. These are the words he shared.

He read I Corinthians 13:

1 Corinthians 13

The Greatest Gift

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Dad said, "Kristy Roberts Dykes was the human personification of love. She lived it, she shared it, she taught it, and she wrote about it. Now she is dwelling in its fullness."

Rev. Joe Peterson prayed to conclude the service

Friday, July 25, 2008

IT'S THE DAY AFTER

Milton, here for Kristy:

It's the day after--a hard day but with sweet memories and new challenges. I have been numb since Kristy's passing trying to get all the details in order to honor her in her celebration service. I believe Kristy is proud of the way we lifted up Jesus and remembered her. It was a grand celebration.

There is no way to describe the hurt of her loss. We loved too big, too large, too wonderful. It will take time and a lot of God's grace to make it through.

Thank you dear loved ones, church family, precious friends, Kristy's writing buddies, and those of you I have never met who are now part of our family for all of your prayers and kindness. You have and are helping us cross through a terrible storm.

I will continue to share this journey on Kristy's blog. It is not over. There is more to tell.

Today for lunch all of our family who are still here are going back to the church and eat delicious leftovers from a fabulous meal our church provided yesterday. Hey gang, the last one there is a rotten egg.

After lunch, the grands and I are going to the zoo, zoo, zoo how about you, you, you? They are leaving tomorrow and I want a little time with them doing something we all love. I will get rest tomorrow and the days ahead. Today I want to be with the daughters and grands.

Kristy is in heaven laughing, dancing, and helping get everything organized and decorated for the rest of us. When you get to heaven, look out! There is probably some wild whimsy she has put in a hidden spot all ready to leap out and give you a jolt and a smile. That's Kristy and ain't she something!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WATCH KRISTY'S FUNERAL LIVE VIA INTERNET

Milton, here for Kristy:


Thanks to some very creative volunteers in our church we plan to offer a live feed from Kristy's Homegoing Celebration Service tomorrow at 1:30 PM. This can be viewed via the internet at the following address:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/southside-assembly-services


The service will be recorded and can watched at later time for those who cannot watch it live.

God bless you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CORRECTING NEWSPAPER MISPRINT

Milton, here for Kristy:

There was an unfortunate misprint in Kristy's obituary in today's Florida Times Union concerning the time of the funeral service on Thursday. The correct time for the funeral is 1:30 PM.

We do appreciate the fabulous feature article on Kristy in today's Florida Times Union, Section B, Page 1. Also, Kristy won many awards for her writing but was not nominated for a Christy Award as printed in this feature story. We are proud of thankful for all God's blessings on her.

YOU DID GOOD, KRISTY, YOU WIN


Milton, here for Kristy:

Plans are being made for Kristy's Funeral Service to be podcast live on the Internet. I will post that site ASAP for those who are at a distance and cannot attend the service.

Please note the previous post for funeral arrangements.

Thank you for your continued prayers for Julie, Jennifer, Javier, our grands and family and me.



***

I had dreaded the prospects of standing with Kristy and holding her hand when she died, but the Lord had spoken inside my heart to "not miss the moment." It was a mental alerting to pay attention for there was going to be a "moment" a "special moment" and I was not to miss it.

When was the moment going to come? She had stood at death's door over and over and I wondered if each time this was the moment or was it another unknown moment?

Monday afternoon I felt something fill the room covering me, cocooning me, surrounding me and surrounding Kristy. It came ever so slowly and more gently than gentle could be.

As Kristy lay there moving toward death's door, I began to sing to her, "God is so good, God is so good......" I began to make a worship song from my spirit and began to make a song to the Lord, "Holy is the Lord. You are righteous. You are faithful. You are good. Holy, Holy, Holy, We sing praise to the God of our fathers, we sing praise to you, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord."

Then a prophetic exaltation began to come from deep within my soul. It was a prophetic exhalation proclaiming the virtues of Kristy, "You are pure, You are holy, Your gifts bring glory. They are precious, excellent, and loving. For you have been a blessing to all those who know you. You have shown the goodness of the Lord. The Lord is pleased. The Lord is gloried by your life. For the Lord is Holy, Holy, Holy."

I told Kristy that Jesus was soon to open heaven's gates for her and she would be walking on streets of gold with her mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all those who have gone before her. I told her to ask Jesus to send me some help to fulfill our dreams. I told her that I would be coming soon and that I was going to take care of our daughters and watch over our grands and that I would be OK.

All during this time Kristy is struggling with breathing and cannot respond. I could tell she was hearing what I was saying, but there was never any response.

I stepped out of the room to take a call and she was stable. The nurse said that Kristy would not pass until the girls arrived from Orlando, but she was sinking quicker than we thought.

Rebecca called, "Milton."

I leaped and turned to go back into her room. Her breathing was harder. I told Rebecca, "We are losing her." I told Kristy again that Jesus was opening the gates for her so she could walk on streets of gold and see her family. "It won't be long and you will be in heaven,"

Her breathing was becoming even harder. Her neck jerked slightly. She was still with us and I said, "Kristy. You did great. You did good. Good job Kristy!"

The room was filled with the sacred, holy presence of God. It was awesome, but there were also some distractions that were competing for my attention. I was struggling to stay focused. Because of the word the Lord had given me, I determined to ignore the distractions.

Kristy was almost gone, but as she looked at me one last time I said, "Good job, Kristy. You won. You won. You won. I'll see you soon. The gates of Heaven are opening for you. And when you get inside, find Jesus and ask Him to send me some help so I can complete our dreams. The gates are open. You can go in. Jesus is waiting! Good job, Kristy, you win! You win! You win!" and Kristy left my hand and took the hand of Jesus as we cheered her into the gates of heaven an on to streets of pure gold."

At 6:42 PM on Monday and Kristy was gone into the glory world. She won! She won! She won!

These were the most sacred moments of my life next to my salvation and marriage ceremony to Kristy. It was glorious, holy and awesome to escort Kristy and cheer her into the gates of heaven. Kristy is whole, well, and healed. There is no more pain. She is walking on streets of gold.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR KRISTY

Milton, here for Kristy:

Kristy's homegoing was glorious. In a future blog I will share a more detailed account of how she went to heaven. Thank you for your continued love and prayers for Julie, Jennifer, grands, family, and me. Here are the arrangements.

Visitation and Viewing: Wednesday, July 23, 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Southside Assembly of God, 2118 Kings Ave, Jacksonville, Florida

Funeral Service: Thursday, July 24, 1:30 PM at Southside Assembly of God

Interment: Greenlawn Cemetery

DANCING ON STREETS OF GOLD

Kristy Dykes
August 2, 1951 ~ July 21, 2008
My beloved is healed and is dancing on streets of gold. I will share soon about her glorious transition from my hand into the hands of her Lord and Savior. She is rejoicing with her mother, father, and dear loved ones in heaven. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Her Hero

Monday, July 21, 2008

TOO MUCH TO TELL

Milton, here for Kristy:

From the beginning when Kristy asked me to write for her as she recovered from brain surgery, I have felt words pushing out my fingers. There are too many stories to tell. Kristy's gifts excel.

Several older ladies of respected life experience have told me that they had never known anyone as multi-talented as Kristy yet with such a gracious and serving spirit. Now, I know I'm romantically biased, but that is what has been said over and over by different people from different places who did not know what the others had commented.

For thirty six years we have shared life, romantic moments, children, family, special holidays and celebrations and parties and dinner engagements, bored trials and resisted temptations, failed and forgave and tried again, laughed and wept and worshipped and grown in His knowledge together, enjoyed church ministry, fun trips and vacations, countless walks and bike treks, ventured into off the road places, met and befriended unlikely folks, picked up the fallen, pointed young and old toward the right direction, team spoke and preached, overseen untold banquets and seminars and varied church events, built homes and churches, counseled couples and mentored younger preachers, co-hosted radio and TV programs, written hundreds of published articles along with all Kristy's novels, supported each other's visions, driven hundreds of thousands of miles together to advance the Kingdom, flown thousands of miles together across America and overseas, camped, hiked, gone to the White House for a small group meeting, entertained untold numbers in our home, sacrificed and given over and over, pastored congregations and helped oversee the planting of some 100 new churches, supported missionaries and church planters, dreamed and dreamed some more, and this paragraph could go on and on........

Now I hold her hand longing for more....more moments.... just a few more words, a whisper....looking for a weak smile....a kiss....just a glimmer of assurance that I'm known and that she feels my love.

The meds are working and she is not in pain but it comes with a price for me....and for her. The price of distance and forced separation.

The tears have streamed. This is hard to write or describe for my feeble fingers ache as they push the words out, but I know that I will write more for there is more to be said. This lady's life will yet go to unseen places.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A HOLY, SACRED CONSOLATION

Milton, here for Kristy:

Suffering is not a pleasant topic. Who wants to suffer? Who has the answers as to why?

But Kristy suffered terribly Saturday. Just to move her slightly was painful even with all the meds in her. It is heart breaking to watch anyone suffer but especially a dear one.

This wonder of humor, this zealous optimistic enthusiast, this pursuer of wisdom and knowledge, this creative wiz, this organized genius, this detailed planner and farsighted task completer, this passionate composer of words, this woman of heart to bless others, this homemaker and kitchen delight, this designer and decorator with whimsy and excellence, this lover of family and friend and the one who is down, this kind and helpful soul, this teacher, mentor, speaker, this joy giver, this precious model and pattern to follow, this extra miler, this Christ seeker and God worshipper, the star of my life, my partner and my dearest friend, and my lover wilting in pain before my very eyes.

In September of 1995 I gave Kristy The Full Life Study Bible New International Version. We have used it together for morning devotions and Kristy has personal notes in it. I use it now for early devotions and as I read through it I occasionally see something she has underlined or put a sticky note to mark a personal interest or thought. Her handwriting and thoughts obviously have dear and intriguing interest for me.

Today I found a small pink sticky note at the bottom of the page in her hand writing and on it she had simply written "Ps. 94:19 NIV". That was all that she wrote. I looked up the page and found the verse. It reads:

"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." (Ps. 94:19)

I paused and meditated.

Anxiety great within her? Me? What about Questions? Fears? Uncertainty?

Yes I feel that, but I do have His consolation.

His consolation bears the fruit of joy. Unexplainable, unspeakable joy that comes even yet when there is sorrow, grief, and pain beyond words. God has brought consolation to Kristy's soul and to my soul. We know the truth of His Word. It is marked within our souls. It rises up with a shout of faith, "Our redeemer lives! There is promise! There is a hope! This is not the end! There is a Victor and A Mighty Conquerer! He is The Lord!"

Kristy has always had a high pain tolerance. She is not a weakling. She has shown unbelievable courage standing strong when the diagnosis and prognosis of this GBM brain tumor was given. Through brain surgery and recovery, then radiation, and pain, misery, grief and sorrow, she has kept her praise. She has proclaimed the goodness of the Lord.


An anonymous post reminded me of one of Kristy's writings from this past March:

Anonymous said...

On March 12 of this year, Kristy wrote an entry that ended with this:""Lord, the day I was diagnosed GBM stage 4 brain cancer, You dropped a cloud of peace over me, and it hasn't left, and just as You did that for me, I know You will do that for everyone involved in this journey. I have confidence in You, Lord. The same day You dropped that cloud of peace over me, You slid a large "chair" under me, and it has held me up ever since.

"Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on me."

She has remained faithful throughout this trial, and what has blessed me most is her faith in God's plan. She doesn't know when or how he will heal her--here or in Heaven, but she knows that he will. Praise God for his presence and provision. Without Him, our hope tank would be running on empty.

***

But as I stood by her bed Saturday, her pain was becoming increasingly more severe. Every movement tore into her body. We gave her more medication but that didn't stop the pain of slight movement.

The Book of Job has never been a favorite preaching spot for me. I like the ending but everything before the last chapter requires some discipline for me to read. There is too much loss, sorrow, death, and questions in Job's writings to attract me.

But Job 6:2-3 leaps off the page, "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas..." I understand those words better now but Kristy understands these words far more than me.

Anguish and misery tipping the scales and outweighing the sands of the seas on the other side of the balance. I know that feeling.

But then Job 6:10 comes to the forefront, "Then I would still have this consolation--my joy in unrelenting pain--that I have not denied the words of the Holy One."

Unrelenting pain!

Can there be joy in unrelenting pain?

Pain in every movement.

Pain of thoughts of separation.

Pain of warmth and closeness slipping away.

Pain of unfinished dreams.

Can there be joy?

Where is the consolation?

There is this consolation--we have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Our breaths reach and long for life beyond this world.

Friday, July 18, 2008

FOUR HUNDRED CRAZY TEENS WHO PRAY

Milton, here for Kristy:

Giving Kristy her medicines is a tenuous task. Our family has so graciously and lovingly cared for Kristy and I have not dispensed any of her medicines since the day she went into the hospice center and returned home almost two and a half months ago. They have been so kind to help.

So when I helped give them to her for the first time the last couple of days, I will admit that I was a little shaky. Some are given in pill form but several are given orally by syringes that gently push the liquid into her mouth. She is the best sport in taking all this as it is a repeated process over and over throughout the day and night. It isn't easy for her and it is challenging for the care giver.

As I attempted to squeeze one of the doses into her mouth, she said with lips tightly pressed around the tube and teeth gritting together, "You're pushing too hard...."

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Kristy," I said, "I didn't mean to."

Even with that she had a good attitude and grinned and bore my ineptness. I was trying so hard to do the best I could for her. I guess that is what we do in marriage. We sometimes have to grin and bear each other's ineptness.

Rebecca is here now and she will do better with the meds.

***

As I sat in our office Friday afternoon, Jennifer came in and prayed the most beautiful prayer for me. I had opened several cards that came in the mail and was overcome with the love of so many toward us and the stress of seeing my dearest friend suffer.

God knows what we need and is faithful to lift us up by His love which flows through human vessels. Word can't express how much it meant to hear my sweet Jennifer praying for her Dad.

***

Friday evening Mike and Dana, our music directors, came by and sang several songs for Kristy. Mike is a fabulous musician and they have great voices--more importantly they have servant hearts. We always enjoy their anointed ministry and one of the songs was a good old one with words that are our prayer.

video

(Double click on the arrow to play video.)

***

Every comment that is made encourages us. Thank you for all the cards, letters, and and uplifting expressions. This one from Friday night especially blessed me in that Kristy loves children and youth. She has led just about every ministry in the church including children and youth. I was thrilled to hear that 400 crazy teens were praying for her.

Summer camp as children and youth was a big deal and a super spiritual blessings. Both Kristy and I enjoyed going to summer camps--she attended in Florida and I went to Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama when my Dad served as the state youth director. Boy those were the good ole days for sure, but it sounds like today's teens are having a good time too and are committed to prayer. May God bless them all.


Anonymous said...

We have been praying for all of you every service at our church and in our home. Our 12 yr old son just came back from youth camp and told us "Guess who we prayed for at camp? Kristy Dykes!" He thought it was so cool cuz we are always praying for her! So just to let you know you guys had 400 crazy teens praying for you at the Pen Fl camp!! We will continue to pray as you all fight this battle!!


Yvonne Clanton

***

How is Kristy?

Friday was a blue day for her. She struggled with confusion and pain. The Lord is helping her and we sing to her and speak love and sweet words to comfort her. She is weakening and not rebounding as quickly from her low points.

We are learning more about the daily grace of God. He is able. His grace is sufficient.

Jennifer is healing faster than the doctor said she might. She definitely has a breakout of psoriasis from the strep throat. Two doctors have confirmed it. This is rare, but I guess our family is going through a rare time.

Julie is better.

SACRED DREAMS IN THE NIGHT

Milton, here for Kristy:

One morning Kristy told me she dreamed in the night she swallowed a giant marshmallow.

"That's an unusual dream," I said.

As we were getting out of bed all of a sudden she said, "My pillow, my pillow, it's gone!"

Ha!

That didn't happen, of course, and it certainly isn't sacred, but Kristy loved telling that joke and she does believe that some dreams of the night have significant, sacred meaning.

The Bible teaches us that dreams can have meaning, and I believe that they can have meaning and bearing on our lives today. I'm not saying every dream as meaning, but there are times they do.

Several people have called or sent word to me that they have had dreams about Kristy. I will not go into detail or share them, but I would like for you to pray specifically about a dream a dear friend of almost forty years expressed with tears over the phone that he had Wednesday night that included Kristy and me. I believe it has sacred, spiritual meaning.

Again, I will not share the details but just to say that he felt, and I agree, that Kristy is experiencing a spiritual, oppressive attack. That might seem to be the obvious, but without going into detail I felt that I should ask for prayer over this matter for Kristy and for me.

Pray that I will be strong to withstand the enemies attack against her. This isn't about Kristy giving any place to the enemy or whether she receives healing or not in this life. It is about the peace and grace of God abounding totally over her and our home. Reading her past posts will testify to the peace of mind and strength of faith she has. There is a cloud of peace over her and a chair of strength under her.

I do not care to get into a theological debate in my mind or with anyone over this matter, but I know that we do need much prayer. God's grace through the Holy Spirit will give the victory over any work of the enemy.

God is able to break every oppressive spirit for "greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world." (I John 4:4)

As I sat with Kristy Thursday night, she asked out of the clear blue, "Do you believe?"

"Yes, I do believe, Kristy," I said. "We believe together."

I whispered sweet prayers of God's love into her ear.

***

How is Kristy?

Thursday was a restful and sleepy day for Kristy. She had some pain but no hallucinations.

Julie came back Wednesday evening without her boys but came down with strep throat and is aching all over. She is staying away from all of us, but I am helping care for her.

Jennifer was diagnosed Tuesday with psoriasis. She has a bad rash on her legs up to her hips that has been like fire on occasion. Thankfully she appears to be getting better. The doctor said it was a rare reaction from strep throat that she had.

I am taking care of Kristy with help from our friend Sandra and our CNA.

Rebecca is coming to help today for the next days.

God is our strength and refuge. He is present with us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

REMEMBERING SACRED MOMENTS....

Milton, here for Kristy:


Kristy rested Wednesday night well after a very hard day on Wednesday with pain, confusion, and hallucinations. We are doing everything possible to comfort her and Thursday morning as I write she is not hurting and is calm.

Jesus is the Lord of our lives. He never fails, and Kristy and I trust Him with everything.

***

Kristy's blog has 660 posts. Just six more and that dreaded number comes up.

666

I had that number as an employee for Sears while in college. I almost quit over it, but then what's in a number as long has it's not on your forehead or hand? That was thirty years ago. Is the tribulation over yet? Just kidding. I didn't take a mark and I don't have any tattoos.

Well, anyhow, Kristy has been busy on this blog. Kristy posted the following on Friday, August 18, 2006. I had to share it again and the special comment that was written.

Kristy, here on August 18, 2006:

MARRIAGE AND THE QUESTION GAME


So Milton and I are in Savannah celebrating our anniversary this past Monday, and of all the restaurants in that charming city to eat in, we choose…tah dah…TV cook Paul Deen's The Lady and Sons. They only take reservations for parties of 10 or more. Otherwise, you wait with 200 other people for a chance to get inside. But when I tell the reservations host it's our anniversary, she says with that lovely Georgia accent, "I'll reserve a spot for you."

So we're sitting there in The Lady and Sons, eating our fried chicken and cracker salad—we chose the country-style buffet over the menu items—when Milton says, "We're going to play a game."

"A game?"

He nods, a mischievous look in his eyes. "It's called The Question Game. I ask a question. You answer."

"Okay," I say hesitantly.

"What's the funniest thing that's ever happened in our marriage?"

This is really neat. I feel like we're on our first date, trying to get to know each other, and a doodad crawls down my spine. "My 'I See Somebody Story.'" (Note: This is a hilarious thing that happened to me; it was published in the book Help! I'm A Pastor's Wife.) A look of recollection fills his eyes, and he smiles.

"And another funny time was when I said _________________." (Note: This is none of your business; but a clue is, I'm noted among our family and close friends for saying innocent faux pas that crack everybody up.)

"I laughed harder than I've ever laughed when you said that." He's laughing now. "I almost fell on the floor, I was laughing so hard. The rest of the guys were too." I roll my eyes, remembering the awful moment when I felt like sewing my lips shut.

"What's the funniest thing I've ever done in our marriage?" he asks.

"Way back, when you were a real young preacher, and you were trying to get a Bible college professor to attend our church, and he and his wife finally came to visit one Sunday, and you preached on the man that was borne of four, and the Bible says he was a paralytic, but you had him having leprosy, and you described leprosy in gory, intricate detail, how it eats your fingers and toes off, and how you used to see missionary films about leprosy when you were a kid, and I'm sitting there squirming, knowing how mixed up your sermon is…"

We're laughing pretty hard now.

"I don’t know why in the world I did that," he says. "I knew as sure as I'm sitting here that that passage in the Bible was about a paralytic not a leper."

"Maybe you were nervous that this well-known Bible scholar was visiting that day."

He shrugs. "Okay. Time for the next question. What's the thing you love the most about me?"

I don't have to think about it. "It's when you're tender to me, and patient with me, for example, that Saturday you helped me move our wall unit, and it took you three trips to the hardware store to get the right size of those slider things, and yet you were so patient and kind and tender. That just thrilled me. And then when you wrote that article about me in last Sunday's bulletin, well, it made me love you so much.

Okay," I say, "let me ask you that question. What's the thing you love the most about me?"

"When you show respect and support and appreciation for who I am and what I do…and when you express confidence in me."

He pauses. "Next question. What can I do to make you happy?"

"I'll tell you when we get back to our room." His eyebrows go up and down over eyes oozing sensuality.

He's got this half smile, and his eyebrows keep going up and down. It's an endearing mannerism I've grown to love. I know if I were sitting close to him, I'd feel his heart pumping hard. I feel that shy, new bride feeling sweeping over me.

"In our room, huh?" he says. (Milton, here again. We were celebrating our 35 wedding anniversary at a B&B in Savannah, Ga. In a past post I wrote about Kristy and the window shade falling in our bedroom at the B&B where we stayed.)

"Not that," I exclaim, knowing full well what he's thinking, and knowing what I'm thinking, that I have a sweet article on marriage I want to read to him. And what I'm thinking and what he's thinking don't match up, and it tickles me, and I laugh, and then he laughs, and a few heads turn our way. "'Course that's not all I have in mind when we get back."

His eyebrows do their little trick again. "Let's go now."

We laugh again.

"Next question," he says, when our laughter subsides. "What's meant the most to you about our marriage?"

"That you've always been faithful to me, and that I can count on you to be there for me, and that I never have to doubt you, and that I know that you're true to your word.

Now, let me ask you. What's meant the most to you about our marriage?"

"It's two parts. The love and commitment and faithfulness you've shown to me, plus the fact that it hasn't been all about us, that we've spent our entire married lives helping others. We did it together, our ministry, helping people, our television ministry together, our pastoral ministry, writing articles together, speaking together, helping pastors when we were in denominational leadership work…"

A memory washes over me, and I see people parading across my mind, all the individuals we've comforted down through the years and encouraged and helped and consoled. I see the family we comforted when their teenage son was killed in a car accident, and I see the young 20-something mother and father of the baby we buried, and I see the elderly lady whose house we re-roofed, and the single mom whose siding we repainted, and right there, in Paula Deen's restaurant, I start crying. Tears stream down my face, and at that moment……the waiter appears.

"Would you like some more sweet iced tea?"

###Shortly, another waiter comes to our table. "I understand you two are celebrating your anniversary?"

"Yes," we say.

"May I sing a song for you?"

"We'd love it," we say.

He takes a singer's pose, neck extended, hands clasped in front of him, and strikes out. It's a fairly good rendition of I Can't Help Falling In Love With You.Lyrics:

"Wise men say, only fools rush in. But I can't help falling in love with you. Like a river flows, surely to the sea, darling so it goes, some things are meant to be. Take my hand, take my whole life too. For I can't help falling in love with you."

***

The first comment on the day of this post was from our....

Jennifer said...

Mom, For sure you two are the most amazing people in the world! You both are truly my heroes! What an amazing example of all I ever dream to be, right in my own parents! I'm so proud you are my mother and feel so blessed. You are so special, do you know how rare you are??? You surely are a great treasure to the King! I love you.

***

Milton, here again:

When I read this a few nights back while scanning through Kristy's writings, I was overwhelmed again with the sacred moments of life we have shared. Life is sacred and so is marriage. We have been blessed with God's joy, peace, and fullness as we have journeyed together.

Kristy so wonderfully captured so many of our life experiences in her writings. I cherish them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I SEEEE SOMEBODY!

Milton, here for Kristy:

Kristy had a very good Tuesday. She was able to enjoy going into our family room in her wheelchair and watch more HG TV. Kristy loved designing and decorating. We have built two homes together and decorated many more as well as built several churches and decorated them too.

God is faithfully adding days to her life. Every moment is sweet and romantically special.

The following is a "family" story that has been told on occasion at family gatherings. If you think you're family, then continue reading. Really proper people might rather desire to go read a book or do something more spiritual.

***
Four year old Julie was posted at the door to watch.

"If you see somebody, tell Mommy," Kristy said.

Prim and proper Kristy was pregnant with Jennifer and we were at church. Our church was meeting temporarily in an old armory building while our new church was being completed. The armory wasn't in the best of condition, but we were only going to meet there a few weeks.

It was an evening service and dark, and I didn't know the lights in the upstairs area where the ladies restroom was located didn't work.

Pregnant Kristy had to go and the only alternative was to use the men's room downstairs and the lights didn't work there either. She didn't have a choice except to quickly use the men's room.

"Stand at the door and watch," Kristy said again. "Tell me if you see somebody."

Kristy goes into the dimly lit room to the first stall and prepares.... without listening to jabbering Julie. There were no doors on the stalls.

Finally Kristy tunes in...

"I seeeeee somebody.....I seeeee somebody....I seeeee somebody....," Julie is repeating over and over while keeping the door open just enough to let a little light into the room.

Kristy looked down to her left under the stall. There, unexpectedly, shockingly were legs, a man's legs with trousers....and .....and....he appeared to be sitting....and.... and....and....

And Kristy runs out of there as fast as a pregnant lady can run and grabs jabbering Julie as she flies out the door.

After church as we sat in the armory parking lot, Kristy told me what had happened. I almost fell out of the car I laughed so hard. Oh my, that laugh did me so much good. I laughed until I cried and hurt.

"Hurry get home," Kristy pleaded, "I still need to go."

Oh, have we laughed over that one!

Kristy is one classy lady who doesn't let life or embarrassing moments get her down.

Who was that man next to Kristy? Thirty-plus years have passed and he remains a mystery.

Ron M., our brother-in-law, said the man was probably sitting there with his finger to his lips whispering, "Sshssss....sshsss," to Julie.

(Kristy actually told her version of this story in the book, Help! I'm a Pastor's Wife, which she wrote a chapter entitled She Who Laughs, Lasts.)

***

Smooch, smooch, kiss, kiss, kiss,... on Claudia's little neck. "I got your kisses," I said as Claudia giggled and giggled. I would surprise her and steal them before she knew it. Then she would get my kisses. It was a fun game.

Over and over I stole her kisses. On the phone I would kiss, kiss,kiss and say, "I got your kisses," as she giggled from way down in Puerto Rico.

But one day, without me looking and seeing her, she snuck up to me and kissed, kissed, kissed and giggled and said,"I got your kisses." She was so proud and gleefully giggled more.

I looked at Jennifer who was watching the fun and said, "I have been waiting for almost a year for her to get me first. Today she did."

And almost everyday since Claudia has been here, she has stolen my kisses as I have smiled and laughed.

Months of patient planning paid off.

Four year old granddaughters make Papa's feel really special.
Last night I tried getting two year old Lorenzo's kisses. He loves his Papa, but that wasn't his kind of game.

***

Tuesday night Claudia sat with me as we stole Nana's kisses together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SACRED MOMENTS THAT MATTER

Milton, here for Kristy:

There is an unusually holy awareness of the presence of God in our home. From the beginning of our relationship Christ has been the center, but there is something very sacred happening here. It is hard to describe.

Some have said they have felt angels were present in our home and bedroom. Well, IF you believe the Bible then that's easy to accept.

Some have walked past our house and said they have felt God's presence.

Visitor's have come and gone saying that something is different here.

Daily we have welcomed The Holy Spirit of God into our lives and home. Kristy's praise and declaration that God is good welcomes His presence.

Even as we hold hands and enjoy sweet kisses there is a sacredness that is felt.

The Lord has been speaking to me deep within my spirit not the miss the moments of God's visitation. I have tried to keep my heart open and my ears attune to the voice of the Holy Spirit. As I have written these posts, I have listened to the voice of the Spirit to guide what I should write.

For some, because I have not written a lot of Scripture or spoken "faith" words over and over in these writings, there might be some question as to if God's Spirit has guided my thoughts or not. I have written about real life and real occurrences--the romance, the humor, the flaws and weaknesses, the family, the sorrow, the wonderful memories, and the special moments. I have written to the best of my ability in the manner I felt Kristy would have me share. It comes with a bass voice but it is harmonizing with her. Not a lot of frills, just the facts, Mam, just the facts.

But I know down deep that He is working, and speaking, and moving in some very unusual and sacred ways. I know He has moved my fingers and guided my thoughts. I know He is speaking to someone reading this now to encourage you and let you know He is the mighty God of your life.

He is a Holy God. He works in holy ways. He is righteous and just. He is faithful. He has not failed Kristy and He is alive in her and in us.

Let Him be alive in you today.

Monday I was extremely blue and down. I have felt weak and helpless. I will admit it, but there is something sacred happening even in the sorrow and brokenness. God is at work. We haven't given up and we have felt His grace and mercy. It is just hard.

These are sacred moments. Oh, I pray that we will not miss what He will do.

***

How is Kristy?

She was up to going into the family room Monday afternoon and we watched some HG TV together. There is more confusion but there is also real faith in the face of this adversity. She is still spunky. She didn't say "Yes sir" to me today. I really didn't think she would say that again.

Oh, this woman loves me and I love her.

Monday, July 14, 2008

KRISTY IS REMEMBERED AT THE CHRISTY AWARDS

Milton, here for Kristy:

You should have seen the smile on Kristy's face when I read the following comment by Deborah Rainey on Kristy's blog from Sunday morning to her. It reads:

Deborah Raney said...

Milton and Kristy, oh, how I wish you could have been at the Christy Awards last night. Donna Kehoe gave a lovely tribute to you both in her opening remarks, mentioning the testimony your journey has been to so many. Then she shared how so often she received a sweet note from Kristy with her typical opening: "Greetings from sunny Florida!" She had us all laughing with how that greeting affected her when it wasn't quite so sunny in her part of the country. : ) Know that your Kristy was being thought of and prayed for by all at the Christy awards last night!

***

First, congratulations to all the nominees and winners for this years Christy Awards. This is a very prestigious event where the top authors and publishers are honored.

And, thank you Deborah for sending this sweet comment and letting us know and thank you Donna for honoring Kristy by sharing about her. Kristy loved going to the Christy Awards. This annual awards banquet honors the top writers in Christan fiction. Her love for fiction and especially christian fiction moved her to support it in every way she could.

We were at the first Christy Awards and didn't miss one until last year. Kristy wasn't up to going and at the time I really couldn't understand why. Looking back I know that this tumor was already at work in her brain making things harder for her. She always had such energy and push, but last year she wasn't able to zip around as fast and was slowing. We didn't know why at the time.

Kristy loved applauding those who were being honored and I dreamed of one day seeing her nominated. It just seemed that Kristy winning a Christy would sound right.

We have been blessed to have so many friends of faith around the world. It has touched me personally to read Kristy's writing buddy's comments as well as read the encouraging words of our precious friends and family. You have blessed Kristy and me immeasurably.

I pray that none of you have to walk through a similar valley, but, if you do, I pray that you will be blessed to have the loving support that has been given to us. May God bless all of you for standing close.

***

How is Kristy?

She had a good Sunday and is resting Monday morning as I write. Once she tried to get out of the bed without us watching. Sadly she can't do it. She loves being with us and wants to get up and out. We help her into the wheelchair every day that she feels up to it.

I told her, "Kristy, please don't try to climb out of the bed."

She meekly said, "Yes, sir."

I promise that is the only time in our marriage she has ever said, "Yes, sir," to me.

She is a model wife, but "yes, sir" to me wasn't part of her spiritual vocabulary.

HA! Maybe we're moving into a higher level of relationship.

Probably not!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

SUNDAY: A VERY MIXED DAY

Milton, here for Kristy:

Today has been mixed with high and low emotions.

My Mother is OK. She didn't have a heart attack but is still in the hospital. Hopefully she will go home on Monday. I thank God for being with Mom.

I enjoyed being in church as I have not been able to go the last two Sundays. Terry preached today and blessed our church and me. The worship and singing were exceptional. God's house is a place of renewal.

Norma left for her home and Julie and her boys had to go back to Tampa. The house is too quiet now and we really miss Norma. Terry, Jennifer and her husband, Javier, and their children are still here.

That meant that Alex and Nic had to tell their Nana goodbye again. It was so hard for Alex as he is the oldest. He just couldn't bear leaving his Nana not knowing if he would see her again here. I told him that the most important thing I would ever say to him would be for him to live for Jesus so he would see his Nana and be in heaven with Jesus and all his family. I remember when my grandparents passed and it was so very hard. My heart aches for him.

Kristy looked into Alex's tear filled eyes and weakly said, "Alway remember that I love you."

Kristy asked Terry and me to anoint her with oil and pray for her late this evening. We continue to pray and believe God to restore her health. Victory is assured if we know the Lord whether we live or die. That is our blessed hope.

We are grateful for God's faithfulness to our family.

ANOTHER UNEXPECTED LOSS

Milton, here for Kristy:

I received word by email that a college friend and classmate I graduated with in 1971 passed away Friday. Eric Thomas was the SGA president at Southeastern University our senior year while I served as the Missions Board president. He had a massive heart attack.

This was shocking news that saddened me. Eric had great vision and commitment to the Kingdom, but now his work on earth is completed. My prayers are with Shyrl, his wife, and their family. Eric had served the Lord with excellence in many capacities and was presently planting a church in South Florida.

Paul T. sent an email and told me of Eric. Paul said that they had been reading Kristy's blog and following her story. It is uncanny that now they have to deal with unexpected loss. My prayers and love go out to this family. I emailed back to Paul to give my love and prayers and wrote that eternal purpose was all that really counts. Eric's passing confirms that again.

Wasn't it just yesterday that we sat in classes together, roomed down the hall from each other, played football, and graduated from SEBC, now SEU? It seems that way. No, it was 37 years ago.
We graduated with dreams and visions of making a difference for God. Life is brief and fragile. Living for Him and doing His will is all that matters.

Well done, Eric, you've gained the reward.

***
My mother was taken to the hospital in the night with chest pains. She is 81. We're not sure yet exactly what has happened. Please keep her in your prayers.

***

How is Kristy?

She rested all Saturday. Her words are clear and then very confused. We had a powerful time of prayer with her late in the afternoon. Prayer has been a primary force in our lives. Prayer still works.

Terry came Saturday morning and is preaching for me today. Our family has blessed us beyond measure.

Norma flies home today. She has done a fantastic job lovingly caring for Kristy and our family. Other family members are on the way to help. God is good. I'm am grateful for all their love, care, and support. Kristy always went beyond the call of duty for her family in every way possible. They, likewise, have done the same.

Please keep Kristy and us in your prayers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

WHO DID IT?

Milton, here for Kristy:

"Come here, Milton. I need you." Norma called from the kitchen Friday evening.

"I was sitting by Kristy in our bedroom and responded back,"Just a moment. I'm giving Kristy a drink of water."

I walked into the kitchen and Norma pointed toward the coffee maker. "That's the ugliest bug I've ever seen. It's nasty."

Before I could look closely, I thought how could this be? We just paid for major pest control and we've only seen a few bugs in the almost four years we have lived in this house.

But it was ugly and mean looking. I reached for a paper towel and slowly creeped up to it and quickly I had it in my hand. Norma was watching at a distance and I'm trying to squash the bug. It wouldn't squash. I twist it. I smashed it. Nothing happened. I looked closer. It was rubber.

"Someone has played a trick on you," I said to Norma. "Somebody is trying to act like Kristy."

"It wasn't there earlier. I've been working in here," Norma related.

The girls and grands were gone and it was just Norma and me and I didn't do it.

"I've about had a heart attack," Norma says. "Who would did this?"

In a matter of minutes the phone rang and the Julie was on the line. "Somebody just about gave Norma a heart attack," I said. Julie died laughing and told Jennifer about the bug and now both were laughing it up. "Jennifer put it there," Julie said.

In minutes, they all came into the house and we were laughing about the bug incident. Kristy had the biggest smile and grin. The girls were dying laughing and the grands were enjoying the moment too. They had all just returned home from Chick-Fil-A where the kids had their faces painted by a clown.

"Where did you get the bug," I asked Jennifer?

"I found it in the tool box in the pantry," Jennifer answered.

"How did it get there? I didn't put it there," I said.

Jennifer said, "I don't know. Mom must have put it there to try to scare you."

We all looked at Kristy and she had another big smile and grin.

Kristy did it. We asked her how long ago she put it there? She couldn't remember, but it had to be there for months waiting to get me.

Now that is Kristy at her best--make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.

***

Footnote: If someone had played that trick on Kristy instead of Norma, all of you would have heard the scream. She has scared the wits out of me squealing about a bug or spider. HA!

***

How is Kristy?

She rested most of the day. I was away at the office for several hours and running errands. She smiled so big when I returned. It made me feel great.

This is one special lady. Please keep praying for her and for us.

Friday, July 11, 2008

LET EVERYBODY SING!!!

Milton, here for Kristy:

Kristy heard music coming from her piano in the living room Thursday morning and asked the nurse, "Who is that playing the piano?"

"It's Norma," Donna Jo said.

"No that can't be," Kristy replied. "Go see who it is."

Donna Jo returned and told, "It's Norma playing."

In a moment Norma came into Kristy's bedroom and asked, "Did you like my playing?"

"Oh, yes," Kristy said. "I needed that." She could hear the music flowing into her room and it cheered her spirits. Kristy loved to sit at her piano and play. She often would play a song or two just before we would leave the house to go to some appointment.

Norma told her when I returned from the church that we would take her into the living room and she would play more. Later I came home and went immediately to check on Kristy not knowing what had happened earlier and asked Kristy if she would like to go into the family room. She was ready to go. After eating lunch together we moved her into the living room and Norma played and we sang together.

Doesn't music have a special way of lifting your spirits. Kristy loved being with us and we were all blessed. God is good!

Over and over we have been amazed at Kristy and how God has helped her. She has a faith that faces the facts and then still trusts in God. Wow! We all need to learn that lesson.

Watch the video below. No, we not quiting our day jobs to get a bus and go on the road, but we do fulfill the Biblical standard of making a joyful noise unto the Lord. God is faithful. Over two months ago Kristy was in a hospice center and not expected to return home. Thursday we enjoyed singing praises to God together. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.


video

(Double click on the arrow above.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

VANITY. VANITY. IS ALL VANITY?

Milton, here for Kristy:

Wednesday was a better day for Kristy. She wanted to go into the family room and so we put her in the flying trapeze and onto her wheelchair and off we go. It was a change of scenery and a morale booster.

I read more of her beautiful cards that have come from all over America. She loves hearing from dear friends that they are praying for her and for us. Every card has been a comfort and faith builder for us.
***

Kristy motioned with her index finger bending it to note she wanted Norma to come to her from across the bedroom.

As Norma approached Kristy asked, "Have I ever asked you if you think I am beautiful?"

Norma responded, "Would you like a handsome man to tell you the answer."

"That would be nice," Kristy said.

"I'll see if we have someone to tell you," Norma told her as she left the room.

Norma finds me and repeats, "Kristy needs a handsome man to tell her if she is beautiful. Let's see if you qualify."

Well, being the holy, humble, salt of the earth kind of servant that I am, I volunteered for the handsome man job.

We walked to Kristy's bedside and Norma said, "Will this man do?"

Kristy looks up with the biggest smile and said, "Ooooh yes. He will do just fine."

I told her you are beautiful and gorgeous and have the smoothest skin and most radiant smile and have the prettiest red hair in the world.

We all had a great laugh and felt good.

VANITY can be fun. Everyone needs to be told they look good and are special. It helps life go better.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

our christian love STORY continues

Milton, here for Kristy:

Someone said, "Great stories are written about life with all the dull parts taken out."

That may not be an exact quote, but it is close. We have had some dull patches in our lives, but neither Kristy nor I wanted it that way very long. Even in our differences there has been some fun moments.

Kristy tried many novel ideas to train me. You know, to get me to do it her way. I will admit that I was slow to grasp many of the changes she thought I should make, but we always found a way to work through the issues.

"Please hang your clothes up. Don't leave them on the rocking chair by the bed," she used to say to me. I wasn't a slob, but she was just neater and more efficient than me. I would take my clothes off and lay them on the rocking chair next to our bed with the intent of hanging them up later. Over and over we dwelt with this issue.

One day I came home from church and went into our bedroom to change clothes. "Where is the rocker? That's the rocking chair my Mom rocked me in when I was a baby. It's gone. Who took it? Why did they take it? Where can a lay my clothes?"

Then it hit me.

This is Kristy's creative manner of speeding the learning curve. She has moved the chair and now I will have to immediately hang my clothes where they belong. This woman is brilliant. She moves everything faster. Or does she?

I smiled and looked around the room. There wasn't a chair to be found. There is no bedpost or anything to hang my clothes. Or is there?

Yes, I could see a place to put them. There is a ceiling fan with four blades which has just enough blades to hang clothes. My coat goes on one blade. My tie fits on the next blade. My shirt hangs well on the next one, and my trousers fit the last one. This will prove my point as the "head" of this place.

Now, that ought to do it and the day continued.

No one mentions the clothes. The dinner hour passes and no one discusses the new arrangements for hanging clothes. The day is ending and still all is quiet.

Then the laughter starts, and a lesson is learned. I learned that hanging them once where they should go is actually a more efficient use of energy than doing double work. I learned that fans don't work as good with clothes flying around the room. I learned that when momma ain't happy then nobody is going to be happy.

I can still see the clothes hanging there, and I can still hear the laughter.

Great christian love stories have some bends and turns along the way and the dull parts are taken out of the story.

***

How is Kristy?

Kristy was restless on Tuesday. She hallucinated thinking that she had been kidnapped. She asked Jennifer what could be done to change what was happening. We do all we can to comfort her and to help her know that she is OK.


Julie, Jennifer and I are doing better. God is with us and we feel your presence too.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

our christian love STORY

Milton, here for Kristy:


our christian love STORY has been blessed. Our goals, our dreams, our ideals, our strengths, our weaknesses, our destiny, our commitment were united from the very beginning. We had so much to learn from each other and life. Obviously the learning curve continues.


Watching over Kristy. Holding her hands. Standing by her bed. Pleading for her healing. Reflecting on memory after memory. Describing these weeks and months is beyond my poor abilities.


All these years we have worked with some of the dearest, kindness, most generous people in the world. Our lives have been filled with church and more church, weddings, baby dedications, building programs, TV programs, radio, conventions, meetings and more meetings, water baptisms, church parties, growing, learning, rethinking, learning some more, counseling, praying, listening, instructing, restoring, church planting oversight, speaking, preaching, writing, traveling, fun, fun, fun, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, reward, reward, reward.


Now in a few weeks we will be married 37 years. I will write more about our christian love story. I will fulfill Kristy's wish to continue her blog through this journey. It won't be preachy. It might sound mushy. The stories may not mean much to some, but they mean everything to us.


***

How is Kristy?

She had a good day Monday. Today looks like another rest day with more slept.

Terry and Sandra stopped by and spent Monday night. We have people everywhere. This place is alive. It helps.

I am much better, but I still can't kiss Kristy. The reward is about to overpower the risk.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

SHE IS MORE THAN SUNSHINE

Milton, here for Kristy:

We're open for business again.

Saturday and Sunday I was too sick to get out of bed with fever, chills, aches, and an upset stomach. I was in a bedroom on one of the the house and Kristy was on the other end in our master bedroom. Saturday was the first day in her sickness that I haven't been able to hold her hand or be close. It was just to risky as sick as I have been.

One and a half days in bed with aches and pains for me seemed like an eternity, but Kristy has been bedridden for weeks. Her spirit has stayed up and she still has her spunk. It is hard to comprehend all she has faced.

Friday night we went to see the fireworks and Tricia stayed with Kristy. When we returned Tricia said that Kristy wasn't happy about being left behind. Kristy looked around the room with everyone gone but Tricia and said to her, "I need a grown woman to stay with me."

Ha! Tricia is fifty, though she looks like a young girl to me and I guess to Kristy too.

Tricia returned to her home Saturday evening and Norma is here now along with Julie, Jennifer and the grands. We have a house full. Tricia and all of my family have carried us and loved us. We have been blessed by so many even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Julie is feeling better, but had a scare with some tests that initially didn't look good. Now she seems to be doing great.

Jennifer is battling strep throat. She has been sick for two weeks and has been to the doctor three times for it. Now she has a reaction to the meds. She needs prayer.

Our daughters and grands along with Stephanie went to the zoo, zoo, zoo on Saturday and left our place with peace and quite.

Sunday I was still too sick to be around anyone so I wasn't able to go to church. Julie took the kids to church and they all spent the afternoon at a local park we all have enjoyed in times past. Kristy loved going there to ride bikes, walk the beach, and camp with our friends.

Before they left for the park, the kids were singing, "You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine".

One of the kids said, "Nana is our sunshine."

Another said, "No, she is the whole sky."

***

How is Kristy?

She is doing amazingly well. This past Saturday a week ago, one of the hospice nurses said she wouldn't be surprised if Kristy passed in a day or so but would be very surprised if she would need hospice in a week. She keeps on rallying and we are trusting in One who is able to restore her completely. Today she is active and wants to get out of bed. Maybe later today or tomorrow we can make that happen.

I am much better, but still not getting too close to anyone. Norma said that if I gave Kristy what I had she would lock me in the room with Kristy all by myself. That wouldn't be good for Kristy or me.

WE'RE STILL SICK

Closed. Will open soon.

Kristy is resting and holding her own. I have a terrible bug. Aren't you glad this virus doesn't travel over the Internet?

Milton

Saturday, July 05, 2008

OUR ROMANTIC CHRISTIAN LOVE STORY

Milton, here for Kristy:

Kristy had a good day on the 4th. She has always made this a special day with celebration, but yesterday she relaxed and enjoyed some of the food.

I have been very sick in the night with chills, fever, aching, and upset stomach. We both need your prayers today.

***

Friday I asked Kristy if she loved me?

She whispered strongly, "You better believe it!"

Of course I knew the answer, but I just wanted to hear her express it.

If you go back in her blog, you will blush when you read about her "fireworks". Kristy got rather bold in expressing her feelings about romantic love. Too many christians have prudishly allowed the world to define romanticism. Christians have often yielded to a carnal, fleshly model to be held as the standard, and Kristy just couldn't stand it. This has been part of her passion in writing. She longed to fill hearts with tender, sweet romance that God intended.

When we did marriage seminars, the ladies always came out of Kristy's private sessions with a twinkle in their eyes and a smile.

The next day the men always returned to the seminars with a twinkle in their eyes and a smile on their faces. To be honest about it, she always kept a smile on my face so I knew what she was teaching the ladies. She taught them Biblical principles of love that were fulfilled in the sacred bed of marriage.

Romance is more than giving flowers, diamonds, sweet cards, a dinner at a fancy restaurant, or a vacation get-away. Romance goes beyond the physical, sexual union of a man and woman.

Romance is a dancing of hearts, a blending of spirits, a rapturous glow, a sharing of dreams.

It is giving and forgiving.

It is sacrificial and self-denial.

It is a smile that says come to me.

Romance is a long look across the room filled with people and seeing only the one you love.

It is a naked transparency with no shame.

It is knowing and then doing.

Romance is popcorn, a good movie, and a warm fireplace.

It is riding bikes or taking long walks holding hands.

It is lov'n music in motion.

It is refusal to belittle, be unkind, or betray.

Romance is visiting old, historic churches and kneeling together.

It is not knowing, but finding out and then doing.

Romance is caring and listening.

It is waiting, watching, and wanting.

It is time. It is talk. It is tenderness.

Romance is a sweetness that will not die.

It is a commitment that will not break.

It is bowing before your marriage bed your first night together and asking for His love to fill your lives.

It is two hearts with one love.

***

Friday night we went down to see the city fireworks display. As I drove the grands and my two daughters, my mind went back to the trips Kristy and I had made downtown for past fireworks. She wanted to go this time and asked to go. It was hard leaving her and I didn't want to go, but the girls begged me and they needed me.

I watched the fireworks explode into the night. All the colors were brightly filling the darkness. They reflected off the tall buildings and danced in our eyes. My mind went to the last time Kristy and I were watching them together. The fireworks ended with a bang and a big kiss.

Kristy's fireworks were the best show of the night.

Friday, July 04, 2008

OUR CHRISTIAN LOVE STORY CONTINUES

Milton, here for Kristy:

I am typing at Kristy's computer. As I sat down to write, I felt her fingers on the keys where she has typed and shared so much of her heart in writing. Her fingers were reaching up to me through these keys. Her presence is marked at this spot. Oh, how I wish she were here sitting by me.

Her blog has over 600 posts and she has typed many books on these keys. She has ten works of christian fiction published, several completed and not published, many others in various stages of development, and over 600 articles published.

These keys know her touch well. They have felt her warmth, her energy, her desires, and passions. They have partnered with her in her dreams and desires. They are her friends.

We have sat at this computer together with me working with her or she would sit with me on some project I would be working to complete. We have so many common interests, but writing is one that God put in both of our hearts.

Back in the middle '70's the Lord spoke to me that God would use Kristy in writing and that we would write together. Her burden to write began to develop right during that time even though we never discussed what was in our hearts. Later she told me she felt the same.

She has taken the lead in writing and I have supported her all that I could. I bought her one of the first apple computers, and she was scared of it. She really didn't want me to buy it. I told her that she would thank me many times for buying that computer, and she has.

As years progressed she had a desire to go to writer's conferences and go back to college to get a degree. I told her that she had done everything in her power to help me and I would support her dream. I have prayed, believed, encouraged, gone with her, and stood with her as she as done the same for me all these years.

That's what our christian love story is all about. It is about two people loving God, yielding to His will, and striving together to bring glory to His name. We have complimented and completed each other. That is what is so hard about the possibility of losing Kristy.

I feel as if one hand is reaching up to God pleading for her healing and the other hand is struggling with letting her go. My body feels like it is being pulled apart.

My heart breaks that she is limited in fulfilling her dreams--our dreams. No, I haven't given up, but it is beyond my ability to turn this situation around.

I will rest and trust in our Lord. He has made our christian love story.

***

How is Kristy?

Thursday she rested and slept. Her communications are weaker. This morning she greeted me with, "I love you." That is all that matters now.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

OUR CHRISTIAN LOVE STORY

Milton, here for Kristy:

The header for Kristy's blog tells everything about our marriage. It has been a christian love story. Christ has been the centerpiece of everything. We both accepted Jesus as our Savior as very young children and have tried to honor Him all our lives. Neither of us are perfect by a long shot, but our goal has been to put Christ first. Jesus has and is the difference maker in our home.

Kristy oozes romantic dreams. This is her passion and heart. Does every woman have these feelings? I am more factual, boring, systematic, but she has changed me. Thank God I didn't make her boring.

Our marriage has been filled with fun, wonderful stories, deep commitment, and continued growth. This blog could never hold all that could be told. We have been blessed.

As I have read her novels, every so often I would catch a phrase or a scene that was a reflection of our lives together.

Sometimes it was something as simple as me telling her how much I loved her hands. A few years back the Lord opened my eyes to the power and ministry found in her hands. I would look at them and hold them and express how beautiful they were to me. One day she told me she included that in a story.

At others times she would pull out a notepad after I had done something or said something or given her a look of love. She would write it down or pull out the recorder she always kept with her and make a brief reminder of what had just occured. Then I would read it later.

She has been jealous for me. She didn't have the green-eyed monster kind of jealousy, but the godly jealousy that He has toward us. I am hers and she is mine. We are bound together with a sacred love that has been committed beyond the fleshly feelings that we all have.

Wednesday afternoon I kissed her and asked, "Do you like my kisses?" I wondered if I was becoming a physical nuisance in her illness.

She looked at me clearly and quickly and said, "I've always loved your kisses."

Oh, that made the day.

She is very ill. This is terrible beyond words. Yet, the holiness and purity of Christ's love overshadows all.

Our christian love story isn't completed nor have we covered all that has happened.

***
How is Kristy?

She is a spunky fighter. Over and over she has amazed us as she has rallied, but she is getting weaker. She isn't recovering to where she has been. Wednesday morning she ate and whispered her love.

Thank you for your prayers for her and for us.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

CUDDLING NOSE TO NOSE

Milton, here for Kristy:

I wrote the following on Tuesday afernoon.


When talk turns into whispers

When dreams glimmer with dimming future

And reflections loom larger

Then hearts beat closer.

When longings grow bigger

And hope seems faint

When eyes cannot stay open

And hands weaken

When sharing is strained and

When thoughts wander

And kisses are no longer

Yet our love is far more stronger.

Then nose to nose we cuddle

Gently, without words,

Sweetly, tenderly

As close as lovers share,

Nose to nose remembering

With smell

And romantic wonder.

Nose to nose cuddling with

Hearts forever bound together.

***

Today I drew close and lovingly cuddled Kristy's nose and asked, "Do you mind if I do this?"

She responded, "It's OK for us to do this."

***

How Is Kristy?

Tuesday Kristy was sleepy with brief communications. She drank more fluids and seems to be holding her own. Behind all that daintiness and lady-likeness is one tough little cookie.

Please keep praying for Kristy and for us. Remember Julie in prayer especially. She is having some physical issues and is not feeling well.