Saturday, August 25, 2007

One Amazing Night

The crudely pasted panorama you see above was taken a few weeks ago, before the reality of aging parents and the downside of the circle of life took over. In fact, it was just a few days before that all happened. August 7, 2007 was the second (and final) day of our church's leadership conference. Over the two days, we had awesome teaching from John Maxwell, Matthew Barnett, our own Kevin Gerald, and the awesome United band from Hillsong Church in Syndey, Australia. Then, to wrap things up on Tuesday night, we headed out to the Puyallup Fairgrounds and had a Night of Worship with United.

Now, I had been a little nervous that we wouldn't fill the place up. I know that most churches that feature contemporary music do a lot of Hillsong songs, but would the general public come out to the fairgrounds? Well, my fears were very unfounded. We drove out there, and before we even got to the parking lot, we could see a huge crowd of people lined up outside the gates. Excitement! Extra cool because as conference delegates, we got advance seating. Walked right up to the gate, flashed our badges, and were whisked inside! Once inside, we heard that the people outside had been lining up since 11:00 that morning!! There were already way more people inside than I thought there would be, and about half an hour later they opened the floodgates and the place filled up. Completely. Look to the left and the right in that pic at the top, and you'll see it! We were so thrilled to be part of a church with the vision and ability to put on something like this. I don't know the exact capacity of the grandstand, but it had definitely been met. And when the music started, everybody was swept up in worship and praise, and it was an A.MAZ.ING night.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Family Reunion

Tuesday was quite a day. It was the day my siblings and I bid farewell to our father, lent support to our mother, and it was also the first time since 1991 that all eight of us have been in the same place at the same time. Even though we had an official family reunion two years ago, only seven of us were there. This time, everyone made it, and it was great to have all of us together. To celebrate the occasion, we got together for a group picture. First, just the 8 kids and Mom, then one with our respective spouses. (All except for Kathy, whose husband Tim couldn't make it) Here's a slideshow of the group shots, as well as others from the day.

Cindy and I would like to thank all of you for your incredible support over the past week. We feel truly blessed to have so many people in our lives to care for us. You're all awesome!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jesse Reed Brinkerhoff, Rest In Peace

Yesterday, August 11, 2007, my dad passed away. (at 11:48 am, to be exact)

We hadn't always had the closest relationship, but it's still very hard to wrap my brain around the idea that I don't have a father here on Earth anymore. I'm sure after enough time, it will become normal - God built us as amazingly resiliant beings, who can absorb the shock of life's events and keep on going. Definitely one of my favorite design features.

Dad had been sick in some form for nearly a decade. It started with a surprise announcement that he needed to have a quad-bypass open heart surgery. But while the surgery was called a total success, it took several weeks before he regained any sort of normality to his life. After what seemed like an endless battery of tests, an in-operable brain tumor was discovered. Sadly, that brain tumor pretty much defined the last years of his life. It had pushed up against various glands in his brain, throwing off the delicate balance of chemicals, amino acids, nutrients and minerals. For the most part, he rode the wave well, and even the most shocking downturns were quickly followed by a nice, comfortable "back to normal."

But last Wednesday I got a call from my sister that things had taken a bigger nosedive than ever before, and immediately I could feel that this one would probably be the last. Still, we debated wether to head over to the Tri-Cities right away, or wait it out... As of Friday, we had decided to wait. Saturday morning, I woke up with a feeling that I needed to be there, so we hopped in the car and headed east. About 90 minutes before we got there, the call came in that he had passed on to be with the Lord. Odd silence for the next few miles, accented by tears... Then gallant attempts to put it in perspective and be happy that he's not suffering any more... By the time we got to my parents' home, his body had already been taken out. The funeral's this Tuesday.

Please pray for my family. Particularly my mom, who is lost and alone, without her husband of 53 years. Pray for me and my siblings, that we will have peace in our hearts and remember that he IS in a better place now, with no pain and is finally rid of that tumor!

Finally, I'd like to say that my dad was brilliant. He was an ingenious inventor, who developed a sonar system for the navy back in the '70s, and in the mid-'80s, a dimming system for fluorescent lights, which was impossible up until then, but is now in use in supermarkets, warehouses and office buildings all over the world to save electricity by not running the lights at full power during the night time when you don't even notice that it's not as bright. He also could fix ANYTHING with some duct tape and a few paperclips. Yesterday as we looked around his home, we saw countless items that had been enhanced by my dad's inginuity. We're hoping to get a photo gallery, and if we remember the camera, you can be assured that some of the best examples will be showing up here!

Love you, Dad. Hope you had a great trip!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Funny!

OK, so I've known for a while that there's a BBC America cable network... I've even caught a few episodes of the import version of "Who's Line Is It Anyway", but they've always been already in progress. Since I've never actually set out to tune in at a set time and watch something on BBCA, I've missed this little gem that was brought to my attention by a friend with much more refined TV viewing habits.

It's nice to see that they admit they talk funny, and their futile dig at reminding us that they were once the boss of us just gives me an extra chuckle! You Go, Britain! You SO used to have power and stuff! =)