July 17, 2016
Joys and Sorrows in Life--Like a Bowl of Succotash

The memorial service for my sister Janet was held on Monday evening, July 11. With all of us brothers (and some of our children) arriving from Texas and Illinois on Sunday, we met at an informal family potluck at the home of my youngest brother Leon.

several persons sitting at one table for conversation

David, Jim, Bo and Others (Not Shown) Sat, Ate and Talked (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dad enjoys a good conversation

My Dad, Leroy, Was at the Table (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dale and I sat next to each other at the table

Dale and I Were Also There (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Sydney is enjoying the pool

Our Granddaughter Sydney Enjoyed the Pool (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Holden holds a happy Kiara

Daddy Holden Holds Their Youngest, Kiara(10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Jim and Lin oversee Agnes getting into the water

Grandparents, Jim and Lin, Help Agnes Get Wet (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a hot air balloon rose over the tree as a symbol of Janet's spirit rising to be with God

Was the Floating Hot Air Balloon a Reminder of Janet's Spirit Rising to God? (10-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The following evening was the memorial service at Janet's church just east of Washington, DC. First we brothers and dad met for a country breakfast. There will never again be six siblings at a table with Dad. A sadness to contemplate. 

breakfast with my brothers and dad

Bo, Dale, Me, Leon, Dad and Jim at Breakfast (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dad at breakfast

In the Midst of Sorrow, Dad Smiles (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

my brothers Leon and Bo

Leon and Bo Make Their Food Choices (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

After driving from the Lancaster, PA, area to Lanham, MD, we arrived in time for the time of visitation with the family and to hear and share condolences with others. 

entrance to Capitaal Christian Fellowship

Welcoming Entrance to Capital Christian Fellowship (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Janet's children had just finiooshed greeeting people

Andrew and Maryam Williams and Sanaa and Andrew Myers (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Sanaa gave a eulegy to her mother

Sanaa Shared about Her Mother's Life (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

close-up of Sanaa at the podium

Close-up of the Podium from Where Sanaa Shared (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Pastor Caleb led us in singing "I'll Fly Away"

Assistant Pastor Caleb Kaye Led Us in Singing "I'll Fly Away" (11-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Heidi, Holden, Sydney and Kiara stayed overnight in the Hampton Inn in which we stayed. In fact their room was right next to ours. Fun for all! So the next morning we had a slow start to our day, and Holden, Sydney and Elsie seven got some swimming done in the outside pool

eating breakfast with the Bylers next morning

We All Filled Up at the Hampton Inn's Breakfast Buffet (12-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

So how do parents carry their small children these days?

a mother's hold on her baby

Mother Heidi Sometimes Uses the Football Carry with Kiara (12-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a father's hold on his baby

Father Holden Makes His Arms into a Baby Seat (12-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

everyone watches a kid's cartoon back in the hotel room

How to help kids not be too engrossed in TV? Watch it with them and talk about it. (12-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

I am sure that it will seem very strange to all of us for days, weeks, months and years ahead as we notice that Janet is no longer with us. But we pray that God will give a gift of grace to all who interacted with her to live in peace with her death.

July 9, 2016
Celebrating Grandchildren and More

On Monday, June 27, after visiting with my sister Janet for an hour and a half, wee drove from outside of Washington, DC, to the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania where three of our children and their families live . We spent the next week living in the three different homes and having many good conversations with the adults and children.

These are our children and their families from the oldest to the youngest. Todd and Maria Bowman (Leah, Nathan, and Jared) live in Lancaster. Jonathan and Beth Bowman (Caleb and Naomi) live in Landisville. Jennifer and Matt Sauder (Maya, Ty, and Luke) also live in Landisville. Heidi and Holden Byler (Sydney and Kiara) live outside of Harrisonburg, VA.

eggs and sausage patties for breakfast

Jennifer Fries Eggs and Sausage Patties on Our First Morning with Them (28-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

flowerrs on the deck 

Jennifer Planted Many Flowers on the Deck and around the Yard (28-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ty with his long leg cast 

Ty's Full Leg Cast Did Not Stop Him from Swinging (28-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Maya shows me a lightning bug 

Maya captured a Lightning Bug on Her Arm (28-Jnl-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Leah has grown 

Thirteen-year-old Leah Has a Ready Smile (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Maya on the swings 

Maya Clings to the Swings (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Jared ponders something 

Jared Seems to Ponder Something (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Luke samples a snack 

Luke Checks Out Some Food (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Nathan sees me from a distance 

A Long-shot of Nathan in the Yard (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Naomi gets some lunch 

Naomi Appears Ready for Lunch (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ty eats his lunch 

Ty Tackles His Lunch (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Elsie and Todd relax after the kids are in bed

Elsie and Todd Relax at the End of the Day (30-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Nathan is engrossed in a book

The Next Day Nathan Is Engrossed in a Book (1-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Jared peeks to see I notice him

Jared Checks Me Out (1-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

me, Leon, Dad,, Jim

Three Brothers (Me, Leon, Jim) and Our Dad (Leroy) (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

ketchup on sale is an eyecatcher?

How Does a Sale on Ketchup Get Us to Shop in a Grocery Store? (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Luke is explaining something

Luke Considers Something (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ty is listening

Ty Also Ponders (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Caleb in a large lawn cchair

Caleb Weighs a Subject (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Naomi listens, too

Naomi Is Also in a Daze? (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ty and Caleb--two peas in a pod

Ty and Caleb Are Often Two Peas in a Pod (2-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Maybe the Saturday lunch and sunshine made all of the kids a bit loopy.

 Sunday was a relaxed day with church, lunch, and naps.

Toddd leads worship at Rossmere Mennonite Church

Todd Leads the Worship at Rossmere Mennonite Church (3-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Naomi swings at her home

Naomi Monkeys on the Swings (3-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Caleb and Naomi work on projects

Naomi Models Her Brother Caleb Working on a "Project" (3-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Jonathan assists Caleb with his "portable" post

Jonathan Assists His Son on the Project (3-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Pennsylvania offers two free days of fishing each year when no fishing license is required. So I was eager to take advantage of the free day on July 4 with some of the grandchildren. (Matt, Jennifer and their family and Holden, Heidi and their family were away on vacation.)

Todd,, Jared and Nathan hishingt

Todd and Sons Jared and Nathan Try Some Fishing (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Naomi inspects her fishing line 

Naomi Inspects Her Bait-less Line (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

my dad fishing (I) 

Great Grandpa (My Dad) Concentrates on His Fishing (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dad, an Avid Fisherman, Enjoys His Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Nathan reels his line in

Nathan Is Intent on His Fishing (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Todd watches out for the kids

Todd Enjoys Fishing, Too, But Keeps an Eye on the Children (4-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

While we did not catch any fish on July 4 at Grub Lake, we all had a fun two hours together.

Elsie and I appreciate all of our friends even if I do n ot have photos of them all to put in my blog. Here are just two samples.

Paul Kratz watches as I take his picture

Paul Kratz Watches as I Take His Picture (8-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Nate Yoder seems to be oblivious to my picture taking

Nate Yoder, on the Other Hand, Seems Not to Notice my Picture-taking (8-Jul-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

While my sister's death has reminded us of how short and uncertain life can be, our time with family and friends reminds us of how blessed we are with God's gifts of supportive relationships. 

July 8, 2016
Sadness and Hope Merge in Life

Thursday evening (one and a half days ago), my sister Janet Elbalghiti died from breast cancer that had advanced to her lungs. At 62 years old, she was five years younger than me--too young to leave us. She was a sister, a woman, of deep character, courage and faith in God through Jesus Christ. Here are some pictures from 2010 and when we visited her a week and a half ago.

Janet wlking with some family members in San Antoniio

Carla, Elsie, Sanaa, Andrew, and Janet in a Mall, San Antonio, TX, USA (4-Apr-10; © Richard L. Bowman)

Here is a short video taken in April 2010, from which the above screenshot was taken, showing Janet having fun telling others to ignore the photographer (me). Next to Janet is Sanaa, her daughter married to Andrew Myers. They now have two children--Janet's only grandchildren.

me and Janet on June 27

The Last Picture of My Sister and Me (27-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Sanaa's and Andrew's son, Clive, is the youngest progeny in my dad's line and the youngest grandchild of Janet. 

Janet and Clive

Janet Shows Her Caring as Grandma and Her Years of NICU Experience (27-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Elsie and Clive

Elsie Shows Her Experience as Grandma and Nurse, Also (27-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Recalling our time with Janet, Sanaa, Clive and Conrad, reminds me of the blessings God has granted us in the lives of our 10 grandchildren. Here are photos of Heidi's and Holden's two children, Kiara and Sydney.

Elsie and I arrived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA, early (12:30 a.m.) on Thursday, June 23. That evening Heidi, Holden, Sydney and Kiara came to visit us and to share supper. It was truly fun to see all of them again.

Kiara in her high chair

Kiara Puzzles Oveer Who I Am (23-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

another photo of Kiara 

Kiara Also Let the Smiles Emerge (23-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

close-up of Sydney 

Exuberant Sydney Is What I Would Call Her (23-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Two days later we again met with Heidi and Holden and their girls and with Jonathan and Beth and their two chhildren. It was great to see that Kiara had warmed up to Grandma.

Kiara and Grandma Elsie 

Kiara Is Happy in Grandma's Lap (25-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Caleb plays with Kiara 

Caleb Came Over to Say Hello to Kiara (25-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

It was also good to be worshipping back at Mt. Clinton Mennonite Church again. 

Dick Good led our Sunday school class 

Dick Good Led Us in Our Sunday School Discussions (26-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

the prelude to our time of worship given by Eli and granddaughter 

Eli Miller and His Granddaughter Provide the Prelude Music (26-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

the bread and grape juice awated our time of Christian communin 

The Bread and Grape Juice of Holy Communion Join a Lit Candle (26-Jun-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Communion reminds us of Christ's suffering and death on our behalf. While we often do not understand death and evil in the world, remembering Jesus' suffering and resurrection helps us to put our pain in perspective.

--©2014-16, Richard L. Bowman)

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