Tag Archives: Mom

A prayer for those with hurting hearts this Mother’s Day

A wonderful response and also preparation for Mother’s Day… Especially for those who find pain in this day. I didn’t write it, but I think EVERYONE ought to have a chance to read it!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I see you sister. I hear the pain in your voice, I see the tears welling up in your eyes. As we are approaching a holiday that celebrates mothers, your hearts are in mourning. There is darkness, ra…

Source: A prayer for those with hurting hearts this Mother’s Day

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mother, Virginia Milne, was born on this day 68 years ago. She died on August 8, 2008. 

In honor of Mom, and my step-father, Norm Milne, I share this picture from one of the weddings our family has celebrated through the years. (Of course, Mom has her eyes closed!)

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Another New Chapter…

My stepdad got married last night.

Mom died two years ago after 33 years of marriage to my stepfather, Norman Milne. She was 64 at the time and he was 61. Their marriage (like most of our marriages) had its ups and downs. I was there for that wedding in 1975, and through “better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” they stuck with each other. Norm grew into the kind of husband I still hope to be.

But those vows I heard in 1975 were “until death do us part.”

Mom died. Death DID part them.

And Norm, very sad and very lonely, met a beautiful woman, who was also alone, and became friends. They actually laughed together during a time when he wondered if he’d ever laugh again. They talked. She understood the sadness and the loneliness.

They fell in love and on August 28, 2010, they were married.

I have some relatives who were upset that he would marry again. Others who just thought it was “too soon.”

I have to admit, it was a tough day for me as one who had been invited to the wedding as part of Norm’s family. (It was the first time I’ve ever cried at a wedding, in fact.) Was it too soon? Was it wrong? Was it disrespectful to my mom?

And as for wrong, his marriage to my mom ended when Mom won her battle against cancer and received the never-ending prize of total and complete healing that can never be taken away. No temporary remission. No short-term healing that would then just make her go through the end-of-life battle again some day as she then lay dying. Mom won! Mom is even now enjoying the presence of Jesus Christ and the eternal life she received when she trusted Him as her Savior and Lord. “… until death do us part.” Norm has done no wrong.

In fact, Mom had said before that she was pretty sure Norm would have to get married again some day. (As I recall, she also added something like “He HAS TO have a good woman just to keep him in line!”) So it was no disrespect to Mom.

As for too soon, of course it’ll always feel too soon! We humans, in our grief, want to hang on to the “way things were” as long as we can… and thus you find some families that can never repaint a deceased’s room and end up making a shrine to the dead in their home. It will ALWAYS feel like ‘too soon.’ But that’s just a feeling, not a fact. There is no listing of when would NOT be too soon.

Which of course means that the sadness and overwhelming feelings are mine… and my relatives. WE miss the way things used to be. And I suppose the men in white coats might need to take us away if we didn’t. And I know that Norm has many of those same feelings. (It’s amazing what you can learn when you stop guessing and gossipping and actually talk face to face with someone!)

Norm has repeatedly talked about NOT trying to replace Mom, but simply to have someone who can be a friend and a companion as he continues to walk on in this life. We haven’t ‘lost’ Grandpa Milne and he hasn’t tried to replace Grandma Milne. Instead, he has added a Grandma Becky to the list of people who love us and we too can love!

My presence, in many ways last night at Norm & Becky’s wedding, was also a “giving away of the groom” on my part. I acknowledge that Norm is not MINE and required to fit into the box of my expectations and memories of the past. He is his own man. And just as free to live and love as I am.

Was I sad? You betchya! But I was also overjoyed! I am excited for Becky & Norm! May their marriage be happy, honest, and long-lasting!

May God bless, protect, and preserve this new marriage! AMEN!

I have posted pictures (best as I can get on my little Palm Treo and its ‘photo/video’ features.) Unfortunately, the video has a hyperactive photographer who never did figure out how to sit down and document a wedding, but other than that, the video records the important parts.

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From the Pastor’s Wife… May 2009

My wife, Gay, penned this month’s newsletter article for our church…

It’s Mother’s Day time again. This time last year, I was doing everything I could think of to honor and care for my mother in law, who was dying with small cell lung cancer. Cooking mostly, since that’s one thing I can do well when I am stressed, and she sure did like my soups.

I can remember a time in our marriage when I was afraid to have a relationship with her. We were so different! She liked to smoke; I did not. She liked to drink coffee and talk; I preferred to be alone and play my piano. But we did eventually find common ground. Things like a mutual love for auctions, antiques, and the restoration of furniture, the shared love of Dayton, Michele, Sarah, and Josh. And I came to have deep respect for her ability to paint and to wallpaper. She could turn any home into a world of well matched colors and designs. Although she could not see it in herself, my mother in law had a lot of artistic talent and style.

In that first year, I realized that although I did not have need of another mother, I wanted to have a good relationship with this woman who gave birth to my husband. And in order to do that, I had to learn to respect her ways of looking at life, and seek to understand her perspective when it differed from mine. I learned to drink coffee and to talk! And at times, I simply listened as she shared her sometimes very strong feelings about life and family.

I cannot say that these stages of growth came easily. But I found my role model and inspiration from the book of Ruth. Ruth was the daughter in law of Naomi, a sad woman whose husband and two sons had died while living in a foreign land. Naomi had turned bitter with grief. But Ruth showed to her the meaning of love and friendship as she left her own mother and homeland to travel back to Israel with Naomi, and worked in the fields to provide for her.

It’s never easy walking through the paths of grief and poverty for ourselves, let alone with another. Ruth didn’t have to do it. Her covenant of marriage to Naomi’s son had ended with his death. God blessed Ruth’s choice in the end of the story by providing another husband for her through Naomi’s kinsman Boaz. And through this union came a son, Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David, who was the forefather of Jesus.

As I have traveled through 17 years of our marriage , I have had the awesome privilege of seeing her grow into a beautiful Christlike mother who prayed for her children and grandchildren, faithfully attended her church, and enjoyed having deep theological discussions with her son. Though her body grew more frail through cancer, her spirit and zest for life got stronger with every passing day.

Thanks, mom, for teaching me how to sit, talk, listen, live, die, and hope in Christ for the life to come.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

During our first year of marriage, I found a picture with a poem, and purchased it for her, hoping that she would feel honored:

You are the other mother
I received the day I wed your son;
and I just want to thank you,
Mom, for the loving things you’ve done.
You’ve given me a gracious
man with whom to share my life;
you are his lovely mother, I am his lucky wife.
You used to pat his little head
and now I hold his hand; You raised in love
a little boy, and then gave me a man.

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Remembering Mom’s Final Chapter

We buried Mom on Friday at the Myrtle Cemetery just outside of Shinglehouse, PA. She had always wanted to be buried in a place where there would be shade… and she is literally under the boughs of the only tree. Josh is standing in about the spot where she ended up being buried. Many of my father’s family (on my Grandma Mix’s side) are buried throughout the cemetery, including my little brother who died at birth back in 1968.

Mom’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Norman Cox, of the Rixford Evangelical Church in Rixford, PA officiated for most of the service and I preached the eulogy (or message or sermon or naming or witness or whatever you want to call it!) Here are my notes…

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Memorial Service for Virginia Milne
August 8, 2008 11:00 a.m.
Howard’s Funeral Home
Shinglehouse, PA
The Rev. Dr. Norman Cox
The Rev. Dayton D. Mix

DAYTON’s Notes:
When a loved one dies, we expect there to be hurt, and loss, and deep pain. But as Christians, we do more than just grieve and bury our departed loved ones. We don’t just gather to “pay our respects.”

Sure, that‟s a PART of what we do, but as Christians, we deliberately gather together to do more than that, don’t we?

As Christians, we come together to praise God for His promise of new life from death and for His promise of comfort and hope even when we walk through the darkest valleys of life, even the ones that are filled with shadows of death itself. And we celebrate the good life of the one who has departed from us.

This day, in this place, we are gathered because of our mom, our wife, our grandma, our great-grandma, our sister, our aunt, our neighbor, our friend: Virginia Pauline Peterson Milne.
We gather together because of her death, but not really. Because it wasn’t in death that we loved this woman, was it?

The reason each of us is here today, for this time, is a reflection of her LIFE, not her death.
In her life, she touched us. In her life, she loved us, she cared for us, she prayed for us, and she gave to us.

These are issues of life, not death. These are the reasons we are here…

Because of her life.

SO I propose we acknowledge that she is gone from us, that she has “died” as they call it, but then let’s move on to the reasons we are here. Because Virginia Milne’s living out of her life affected us.

With that in mind, the Scripture text I share today is a little different than you might have heard at a funeral before… And yet, as I prayed about how Mom fit into the grand scheme of the Biblical story through the ages that continues right up to now, THIS is the passage that I believe God Himself shared with me about this remarkable lady we are here to celebrate.

READ: Hebrews 11:1-2 (NCV)
“Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even when we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past.”

Did you catch that?

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even when we do not see it.

Mom had a HOPE stone… a token that reminded her that even in the midst of the lousiest circumstances, God never leaves us alone and He offers us HOPE… no matter what.

Even when things got bad towards the end, Mom never lost her hope… She constantly was heard saying, ?It’s gonna get better… one way or another… It’s gonna get better!?

She was SURE that there was HOPE with God… and she knew that healing and hope were real… even though she couldn’t see it right then.

Sort of like being stuck in the cold drizzling rain at noon… You may not be able to see the sun… but the very fact that you can see the rain means that the sun IS out there somewhere on the other side of those clouds.

Well, Hebrews 11 goes on and talks about all of these heroes of faith throughout the Bible… Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses… and more.

So how does this relate to Mom?

Just this, every single one of these people listed in the great Hall Of Fame of Biblical Faith… was messed up…

Look at the people that God called great heroes of faith… Noah (who was a drunk), Abraham (who was a liar), Sarah (who laughed when she heard God‘s crazy plans), Isaac (who picked favorites between his sons), Jacob (who was a manipulative schemer), Moses (who was a runaway murderer who repeatedly let his anger get the best of him), Rahab (who was a prostitute), Gideon (who was a scaredy-cat), Barak (who hesitated when God said to do something), Samson (who was distracted by his temptations), Jephthah (who came from a ‗ad‘ family), David (who had an affair with another man‘s wife and then had him killed), and Samuel (who was great in the church, but didn‘t do very well in raising his kids).

GOD ALMIGHTY lists these same people who messed-up, as being the men and women of faith that we are supposed to look up to, and remember, and follow their example of faith.

If THEY are in that list, then today, as we remember Mom, who would NOT have claimed that she was the most religious person in the world and didn’t always make perfect choices, DEFINITELY fits there too!

Because Mom was a REAL person wasn’t she?

She was quick to share her real feelings… with pretty much ANYone… She could get angry in a moment‟ notice. She could come up with some pretty down-to-earth commentary on the world around her… whether it be a comment about doing what you sat down to do or get off the pot OR whether it be an exasperated exclamation, something like: WELL, DANG!‟

And if she was particularly animated, she would start pointing a finger at you… with that one sort-of-off-center pointer finger…

John Paul and Laura love telling the story of a time when they had argued or disagreed or something, and Mom kept getting more and more frustrated… and, somehow, as she got madder… they got her laughing… which made her madder still…

Mom was a woman in touch with her feelings. She wasn’t perfect… but she was real.

And while we could probably all look back and tell each other some way that she wasn’t what we expected or how she somehow disappointed us, we choose to offer our forgiveness for her failings… because she was simply human… just like ALL of us are.

She wasn’t perfect.

But like those people in the Bible who were full of problems and mess-ups, and yet turned in faith to God and would later be called a hero of faith… So I believe Mom was as well. We can look to the Bible and read about all those people’s real, everyday lives and the way they messed-up and yet still turned to God. Mom may not have been perfect, but there is much that we can learn from her as well.

It took me years to recognize it, but Mom knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. She had a deep spiritual hunger that only He could satisfy. She knew Him as a friend she could talk to and as someone she could go to for help. So she wasn’t religious… that’s OK, neither were most of the people on that list in the Bible either. They weren’t considered faithful because they had done a bunch of religious things…

They were considered faithful because they knew God personally. That was Mom. She wasn’t perfect, but she knew Him. And because of that, the Bible assures us that she will be with Him forever in Heaven…

And the Bible also says that any of us, who trust in Jesus Christ and allow Him to free us from our past by admitting we‟e messed up and asking God to forgive us, will know Him too!

Mom didn’t have it so easy… she once told me that by the 11th grade, when she finally quit school, she had been in 17 different schools in her academic career. Between children’s homes and foster homes, she had endured the chaos of constant moves and transitions… so she finally just said, enough. Years later, it would bother her so much that she had never graduated that she would go back and get her G.E.D. and celebrate her completion of high school the same day John Paul graduated from Demopolis High School. I can look at my mom and learn a lesson of going back and finishing the things I gave up on.

Mom taught us that family is a relative term. You choose to be family as much as being related to your family. As a foster child, she had learned that being part of a family wasn’t dependent on sharing the same blood in your veins. Her final foster family, the home of Herb & Beulah Fuller, was to be the place that finally felt like home… Grandma Fuller once told me that my Mom had so become a part of their family, that Grandpa Fuller had worked things out to be able to claim her as a part of the family even on the tax forms… but then she decided to get married.

But the Fullers were family now… And Grandpa & Grandma Fuller, along with Uncle Calvin & Aunt Pat & Uncle Roddy & Aunt Wanda, and their families, were some of our closest friends and most faithful visitors. It didn’t negate the relationships with the other relatives we were actually biologically related to… we simply had MORE aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents than most of our friends.

Mom also taught us a lot about believing in someone. I remember the early years after Mom & Dad separated, and then divorced. Not everyone she picked to hang out with had their act together very well. Even when Norm finally came on the scene, he… well… still had some rough edges. But Mom had seen the kind of man he could, and would, become… and she believed in who he was becoming… She saw more… She saw the HOPE… And this woman, after three marriages that hadn’t worked out, showed us what it means to be committed to someone and stay with them “through richer or poorer” and “for better or for worse…”

And Norm in turn, has taught us what it means “to have and to hold…, in sickness or in health…, till death do us part…”

And I can look back on their marriage and pray that my wife and I can be as absolutely consumed with each other and dedicated to each other as these two have been for more than thirty-three years.

Mom has taught us how to face adversity and sickness as well. She was the most positive person I have ever known in the face of cancer. She faced this disease not as a death sentence, but as one more obstacle that just needed to be overcome. And like Job in the Bible, the disease never did overcome her… She was still who she was inside… No disease could change her.

And Mom knew the God of Hope had promised healing… and she hoped, and she prayed, and she trusted, and she believed.

Some might say, but she died! How can you talk about her hope and healing?

Let me use the words of Hebrews 11…

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live in this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
–Heb 11:13-16 (MSG)

Her hope wasn’t just in doctors and medicines… Her hope was in the God of healing behind those doctors… And just like there are times that a beginning pianist can really nail a piece of music, there are some musical works that only a skilled and practiced pianist with years of experience can master.

Mom knew that the doctors and medicines we have available are like that beginner musician… pretty good at what they‟e mastered so far… and WAY OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE when it comes to some of the harder and more complicated sicknesses, illnesses, and injuries that the Devil Himself tries to throw at us.

Like those people in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, Mom knew that ultimately the healing she would have to have would be from God Himself. And there was a possibility that the earthly physicians wouldn’t be able to do everything that she would need in order to be healed.

She knew that she knew that God would heal her… and she hoped it would be here, through earthly doctors… but she was just as certain that even if it wasn’t that way, she would STILL be healed. Her faith never waivered on that point. The Great Physician had promised… and therefore she had something she could HOPE in… Someone she could Hope in!

But one last thought, before we finish… In the Bible, it says that for all those people who had received the promise… but hadn’t seen it completed yet, it also goes on to conclude:

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. –Heb 11:39-40 (MSG)

Mom’s promise of hope continues in those of us here today… Hope for our marriages, hope for our families, hope for our healing, hope for our eternity… Let’s take what she learned by trial and error and through struggle and pain and let’s use that which she learned to help us in our lives… because, as Scripture says, we are part of the legacy of her life because we are part of the promise she saw and hoped for.

If we KNOW God like Mom did… if we have admitted that we have had messed up lives and need God to forgive us, then we can know Him! THAT’s what we mean when we talk about having faith… or being saved!

It’s simply knowing Him! That’s faith!

Let’s put her faith together with our faith… her life together with ours… and let’s see the completion of the promise…

For those who know Jesus as Lord & Savior, we WILL see Mom again…for Heaven is offered to all who ask Him for forgiveness and allow Him to be their Lord.

I look forward to that day when I get to see her again…

For this woman WAS, without a doubt, one of the heroes of faith… Her life, and her faith, have been used by God to form me and help me grow up in as a Christian… and make me who I am today…

and I’m going to miss her…
(PHOTO: My wife, Gay, and my Mom, Virginia, at her church’s Mother-Daughter banquet just a couple of months ago. This is about the only picture she ever liked that showed her in her wig)

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Follow Up for Mom

My mom died this morning about 6:20.Obituary info will be in the Times-Herald, Olean, NY; the Bradford Era, Bradford, PA, and the Demopolis Times, Demopolis, Alabama. This is the rough draft WE wrote… We’ll see how it comes out in the newspapers.

(PHOTO: Mom, October 2003, first meeting my son Joshua)

Virginia Pauline Milne

Virginia Pauline Milne, 64, died today (August 5, 2008) at her home, Eldred, Pa., following a lengthy illness.

She was born February 13, 1944, in Cuba, N.Y., to Harold & Hazel (Baxter) Peterson. On January 25, 1975, she married Norman L. Milne, who survives.

She lived most of her life in the areas around Eldred, Pa., and Demopolis, Alabama. As an adult she returned to school and earned her G.E.D. She had worked as a sewer, cleaner, furniture restorer, and as a bookkeeper. She attended the Rixford Evangelical Church, Rixford, Pa. She enjoyed fishing, tending her flowers, refinishing furniture, and spending time with her family.

Surviving in addition to her husband, are three children: Dayton D. Mix (Gay) of Reynoldsville, Pa., John P. Mix (Judy) of Duke Center, Pa., and Laura M. Rutherford of Montgomery, Ala., along with 6 stepchildren, 6 grandchildren, 21 step-grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, 5 step-great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Also surviving are two brothers, Melvin Peterson of Hume, N.Y., and Calvin Fuller (Pat), of Shinglehouse, Pa. and a sister, Mary Essler (Jake) of Nunda, N.Y.

She was predeceased by her parents, along with her foster-parents, Herb & Beulah Fuller; two brothers, Harold Peterson and Roderick Fuller; three sisters, Nancy Bentley, Bella Snyder, and Judy Peterson; a son, Aaron D. Mix; and a grandson, Aaron D. Mix.

Visitation will be Thursday, August 7, 2008 from 2-4 and 7-9 at Howard’s Funeral Home in Shinglehouse, Pa. Funeral services will be conducted on Friday, August 8, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home by the Rev. Dr. Norman Cox and the Rev. Dayton D. Mix.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rixford Evangelical Church, Rixford, Pa., or the American Cancer Society.

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Mom just died

My mom just died… about 6:20 am.
It drives me a bit crazy to not have my cell phone or computer work here…
No arrangements yet, but the funeral home will be Howard’s Funeral Home in Shinglehouse, PA.

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