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Monday, December 31, 2018

Mary Ellyn Remembers Her Mom

My mother-in-law, Marilyn Winsand, passed away on November 1, 2018. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Link to Marilyn's Obituary
Marilyn's Memorial Service was held on December 1, 2018 at Troy's Lutheran Church of the Master. My wife Mary Ellyn delivered one of the eulogies for her Mom at the service. Here's Mary Ellyn's eulogy...
I’m Mary Ellyn. It’s hard to choose a single story about my mom because there are so many things! Last spring, I couldn’t figure out what kind of birthday gift to give my mom. So, the last present I gave her was a letter I wrote telling her how she impacted my life. I took her out to lunch at Bonefish Grill and read it to her. That letter is where I found what I wanted to share.

Mom was crafty and that impacted our family greatly. Every summer we had mystery crafts up north on our family vacations. Yes – we all vacationed together for a week for many years. Everyone participated in the mystery craft! The mystery craft happened early in the week and involved a major unveiling as no one had any idea what we would be doing. Mom and Dad had their big supply box with paints, glue, brushes, etc and additional boxes with the crafts. They always made a sample before we arrived up north. Mystery crafts included flower pot lighthouses, lamps, clocks, baskets, thermometers, corner tables, candles, candle holders, baskets, paintings, lip gloss, birdhouses, martinis glasses, coffee mugs, cork trivets, kites, word signs and probably other crafts I’ve forgotten!

One mystery craft in particular stands out for me – the baskets! They were so hard to make. We moaned and groaned as we made them. The first and hopefully last time we made baskets was in 2011. The baskets turned out pretty good. But then in 2015 – the mystery craft was another basket and we almost mutinied the project. Those baskets turned up pretty cool too.

Each summer we used the same large table covering for the mystery crafts. Mom named it in 2015 --- the Jammbellmack which are the first initials of each grandchild. Mom said “Jammbellmack” means ‘one of a kind family painted table cloth’ and then added “It was created during Family week at Paradise Lake, when the clan gathered for good food, good wine, rendezvouses around the fire pit, and camaraderie.” For Christmas 2015 Mom cut the Jammbellmack into 8x10 pieces and framed them for each of us.

We Five were incredibly blessed by our mom as children and as adults. Over the years Mom wrote many books for us. One book in particular is titled “Reflections and Impressions” which she wrote in 1994 and then she wrote a second edition “More Reflections and Impressions” in 1999. I want to read the final paragraph from the 1999 edition. These words of comfort are from the pen of our mom to all of our family. I quote from Mom “My gratification….As I look at my hatchling, my progeny, my brood I feel overwhelmed with tremendous pride. You are all more than I had ever hoped for or expected to be blessed with. You are the convictions, the hopes and the waves of the future. We are all tied together through blood and love, we know to enjoy a glass of choice wine, cruise on a luxury liner, bounce around in a blow-up raft, cook on a Coleman, dine in style, play a game of euchre, eat brown rice, look for Petoskey stones on the shores of Lake Michigan, and have lots of conversation anytime, anywhere.

Everything is not perfect, but close. My fullness and blessings are overflowing and my complaints insignificant and trivial. You are like works of art in progress – with each stroke of life you get better and the small imperfections self correct or are unimportant in our transitory existence. I treasure every moment we share, even the wild and crazy ones.”

Mom died on November 1st -- All Saints Day! My devotion that day included a reading from Luke 23 which is when Jesus is on the cross between the two thieves: “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Just as Mom treasured every moment with each one of us I treasure the moment when I stood with Bill, Amy, Bobby, Nancy and Dad as Mom took her last breath and entered paradise at 7:09pm. She has given us a lifetime of memories and love that can’t be measured! I look forward to the day when I too will be in paradise with Jesus and I will see Mom again!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Coffee with David Pietrusza

Last Sunday (12/23/18), I had the opportunity to meet and talk with best selling author David Pietrusza at Troy's Starbucks at Rochester & South Blvd. A noted presidential scholar, Pietrusza has written or edited over three dozen books. Check out his web page at DavidPietrusza.com.