In spite of my slight anxiety over what the Christmas holidays might feel like this year, we had a wonderful time as a family. Yes, we missed my dad, and yes, the first part of Christmas was more quiet, with just me and Mom to fend for ourselves (we had lots of fun things to keep us busy). But God was so faithful and gave us lots of joy throughout the entire Christmas season and into this new year.
One cool thing is how we included Dad in our Christmas, even in his absence. One serendipitous thing that happened was on Christmas Day, when Mom and I went to brunch at Joel and Patty Anderson's house. They had invited several families to come and when it came time to pray before dinner, Joel had everyone join hands and then suggested that we sing The Doxology. I just turned to Mom and squeezed her hand extra tight, because this was something that my dad would have done. Unknowingly, Joel helped us give a tribute to Dad that warmed both of our hearts.
After Christmas, when Jeanette and family, as well as Daniel, got back to Nashville, the quiet side of Christmas was over and we got to celebrate as a family. During our gift-giving time, Jeanette and Mom each had some special tributes to Dad/Grandpa that made it feel like he was still a part of the festivities.
First, Jeanette had made some special gifts for me and Mom: framed 12x12 layouts with some pictures and words of wisdom from Dad's emails to her in the past. Jeanette got a little help from scrapbooker extroidinairre, Barbara Tenpenny, but put together very meaningful mementos that Mom and I can put on the wall. Here's a photo of the one she made for me and below it is what is written:
Dad's WisdomMom (Grandma) also had some special Grandpa-related gifts for Daniel. One thing she put together was a photo album of photos of Daniel and Grandpa together through the years. Daniel was the first grandchild and was almost three years old when GM and GP moved to Nashville, so they had many photo ops during the past thirteen years. Some of the photos made me laugh, some brought a little tear to my eye, but all of them showed the special relationship that Daniel and Grandpa shared.
11/18/96 Be encouraged today
"From Proverbs 3:5-7 (CEV) "With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Don't ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil."
God can bring order out of chaos and good out of evil, as shown in the OT story of Joseph and his brothers. They put him in the pit and sold him to foreigners, but years later they needed him in time of famine and Joseph said: (Genesis 50:20-21, NEV) "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he (Joseph) reassured them (his brothers) and spoke kindly to them."
Remember all day today that your parents love you and are proud of you.
The other gift for Daniel was very unique and will be a treasure for Daniel to keep for years to come. Grandma gathered up many of Grandpa's personal keepsakes (medals, cuff links, buttons, etc.) and made a shadow box for Daniel. She included a list of each item and what its significance is. I'll include this list after the photo.
Memory Items from your Grandpa DeLane Ryals
(October 19, 1936 - October 13, 2011)
"A Father's Love"
Home Mission Board Medallion
Home Mission Board Years of Service pins (10, 15, 20 years)
Stonewall Jackson Jr. High Oratory Award
Metropolitan NY: United Nations pin
"I Love NY" button
Baptist Convention of NY 25 pin
NYC subway token
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1958-1962) cuff links
DeLane's dog tag made in his dad's (M.D. Ryals) machine shop
Oklahoma Baptist University 50 year pin
1936 silver dollar given to DeLane by his brother, Dean
"Striving for Excellence" Capitol Hill H.S., Oklahoma City, OK (1950-1954)
National Honor Society pins
Capitol Hill H.S. 50 year reunion pin (1954-2004)