Monday, December 24, 2007

And Love Me, I Pray

It had been nearly five years since Stephanie had seen these streets. The last fifty-eight months had been a constant struggle, full of pain, prayers and progress. Just weeks after her encounter with Farrah, Amed and her family, she had been a victim of the same type of violence as that family. However, almost no memory of that time in her life remained. After this long period of recovery, she had been encouraged to travel with her new husband, Vince, to the country where she had previously served in the military.
The neighborhood looked vaguely familiar as they traveled by taxi. But, something was very different. Beautiful flowers were in hanging planters on street signs. Families strolled along the clean streets and the buildings had that freshly remodeled look. She almost wondered if they were in the correct location. Suddenly, her gaze was directed to a specific location ahead on the right.
“Vince, I need to get out here,” she said.
The taxi driver was asked to pull over to the side of the street. As Vince helped Stephanie out of the car, a strange sense of peace seemed to envelop her. Then, they saw the small building just a few yards from the street, nearly hidden in the dusk. A sign at the front of the property, written in English, asked the question, “What Is Christmas?”. At the sight of those words, a bit of Stephanie’s memory which had been seemingly non-existent for nearly five years came to life.
She had been to numerous specialists in the states over the previous months. They had helped her adjust to living in a wheel chair, but no one could seem to help her recover from the memory loss that she had encountered. She had received occasional letters from someone she could not recall knowing. They were always signed by someone named Farrah, and she knew they came from the country where she had served. Something would not allow her to respond to the letters, although the person seemed to think that Stephanie had been some type of heroine in her eyes. Then, her doctors, almost as a last resort, had encouraged her to travel to this foreign country and here she was on Christmas Day.
When they had arrived at the airport, it was almost as if she and Vince were royalty. The officials, and for that matter, everyone they came in contact with, seemed to be in awe of the Americans. It gave Stephanie great pride to know that she had done her part to liberate this country. The last few days had been a breath of fresh air to her, and she had begun to regain some of her memory from years ago. Could she take that final step tonight?
She seemed to be drawn to the little building. As they approached, it became obvious that it was a small church. Stephanie became aware that their taxi driver had joined them as Vince pushed her wheel chair up the walk to the front door. Their driver opened the door and Vince pushed Stephanie’s chair into the small foyer. As they entered, the small congregation began singing a beautiful Christmas tune. It was unmistakably “Silent Night”. The words were sung in the native language, but it had been a long time since Stephanie had heard a song so beautifully sung. They found a place to listen from the back of the room. When the song was finished, the preacher made his way to the podium.
The preacher had the full attention of everyone in the room that evening. He spoke in English from his wheel chair, and that fact alone was enough to keep Stephanie’s eyes glued to him. There were huge amounts of her memory returning as the preacher spoke on the topic “What Is Christmas?”. Yes, she remembered relating this same story in this same country to a little girl and then to a family and that family had a father who had no legs! The preacher had finished speaking, and now he announced that his daughter would be singing the final song for the evening.
When beautiful, dark-haired, seventeen-year-old Farrah, in a flowing white gown, entered from a side room, the journey was complete for Stephanie. As Farrah’s mother played the small organ, Farrah sang the three verses of “Away In A Manger”, in English, just as she had been taught five years ago. When Farrah was partly through verse two, her eyes locked onto a person sitting in the back. The audience watched as Farrah walked slowly to the person, never missing a note in her beautiful rendition of this well-loved carol.
She reached Stephanie as she sang the last words of verse three, “and love me, I pray Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care And take us to Heaven To live with Thee there.” There were no dry eyes in the little sanctuary that evening. The two were lost in each other’s embrace for what seemed like hours. Farrah’s father dismissed the service, making a statement that they had all found out a little more of what Christmas really means this evening, or something to that effect, as emotions had overcome him, also.
Much later that evening, as Stephanie and Vince visited Farrah and her family in their modest home, they were told that the little church where they worshipped was built on the site from which the grenade had been launched that had changed Farrah’s family’s life forever. Oh, it had caused pain, but it also had brought them to a place where they could minister to others in their neighborhood.
“Come and see my room,” Farrah begged Stephanie.
Stephanie allowed herself to be pushed down the hallway. At the first door on the right, Farrah opened the door. Stephanie looked into a small, neat room. She noticed the walls were full of pictures. Smiling boys. A singing group. Pictures of their quaint little neighborhood. The little church where her father was pastor. Then, her gaze was drawn upward. On the ceiling, directly above Farrah’s bed, was a picture of a little girl in a hospital bed. Beside the bed was an American soldier. The two were holding hands.
Closing the bedroom door behind her, Farrah spoke, “Every night, before I go to sleep, I look at that picture. I have prayed for you every night that I can remember, and, now, you’re here! Will you sing that song for me again?”
In the living room, the rest of the family and Vince could only listen in awe as two angelic voices joined together to sing the song that had helped to change lives in that part of the country over the last few years.
As the last notes of the song were being voiced, Farrah pushed Stephanie back into the living room. When they finished, Farrah’s father announced loudly, “It is officially CHRISTMAS!”

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to my wife, Rena. The post dedicated to her is called "We Have A Heavenly Father Above". It is published, but out of order on the blog, due to the fact that it was written and saved a week ago. So, check it out and add your comments to her if you would like to.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Close By Me Forever

It was December 24, but in this war-torn country it was hard to think of it as anything out of the ordinary. However, this night was destined to be anything but ordinary. Specialist Stephanie Rose found herself on patrol in a dangerous part of the city. Earlier this very day she had walked these streets and given candy to eager young children. Now that darkness had fallen, it seemed that it had become a completely new world. She thought she detected some movement several yards in front of her. She began moving in that direction, while speaking quietly into her radio, asking her fellow soldiers for back-up.
Twelve-year-old Farrah and her six-year-old brother, Amed were riding with their father in the family car. It was only a short drive to the little shop where they were going to purchase a small gift for Farrah’s mother, whose birthday was tomorrow. She peered out the window and saw an American soldier on foot patrol. She was still half-frightened due to the constant barrage of anti-Americanism that she encountered at their mosque and from other acquaintances. Still, sometimes she saw the soldiers giving candy and small gifts to children. Her father had told her to stay away from the foreigners, so she obeyed. In the next instant, her world was changed forever. She saw the flash of an explosion and then a rocket propelled grenade slammed into the driver’s side of their car. The door was peeled away as if a giant can opener had been used. Her father took the brunt of the blast, but both she and Amed were badly injured.
Specialist Rose was an instant too late in bringing her M16 to her shoulder. She saw the so-called “freedom fighter” - how she hated that label - launch his grenade, a split second before she fired the bullets that would prevent him from any more of his murderous activity. But, the damage had been done for that evening. She was the first to the scene and seeing the driver, she quickly went to the two small ones in the car that she knew she would be able to help.
Many times during training, they had been warned not to become personally involved in the tragedies that they were sure to encounter. But, tonight Stephanie was breaking all the rules. She had ridden in the Humvee with the injured children back to her fortified camp. She had personally helped the medics transport the two children into the hospital. Now, it was almost midnight, an hour past the end of her shift. She found herself by the bedside of a twelve-year-old girl whose name she did not know.
Farrah lay quietly in this strange bed surrounded by American soldiers and medical personnel. She was frightened, yet something told her that she was safe. Then, she heard a quiet melody being sung by someone sitting in the shadows beside her bed. She had studied English since she was six, but she had never heard such beautiful words sung so sweetly.
“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever and love me, I pray Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care And take us to Heaven to live with Thee there.”
She stirred and the person sitting there leaned over her bed. The soldier looked to her like an angel, and she asked her for her name. The reply came, “My name is Stephanie. What is yours?”
“Farrah. You are the one who helped me out of our car, aren’t you? Will you stay with me forever? My daddy was in the car with us…” Her words trailed off.
Stephanie spoke, “I know someone who can be with you forever, Farrah.” And in the next few minutes, Specialist Stephanie Rose was able to lead a precious little girl to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. So much for not getting personally involved , she thought.
“Will you sing that song again for me?” asked Farrah.
“Away in a manger no crib for a bed The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head The stars in the sky looked down where He lay The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky And stay by my bedside ‘til morning is nigh Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever and love me, I pray Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care And take us to Heaven to live with Thee there.”
Farrah lay back in her bed and whispered, “I wish my daddy could have heard that song. Do you suppose I will see my daddy in Heaven?”
Stephanie had no answer for Farrah, so she just encouraged her to rest for now. It seemed that only a few minutes had passed when Stephanie awoke abruptly. It was 7:00 A.M.! She heard noises at the door. There were people coming into the room. Farrah awakened to see an American doctor at her bedside. Behind him was her mother, smiling at her.
Farrah asked, “Why are you smiling? I lost my father and maybe Amed last night. I have something now that I so wish I could tell my father…” Sobs came from her small frame as the grief poured out of her.
The doctor spoke, “Farrah, I have a surprise for you.” He motioned to someone at the doorway and the next thing that Farrah saw filled her with joy that she did not think she would be able to contain. It was her Father! Sure, it didn’t look much like him. He was in a wheel chair, and it looked as if his legs were gone. Bandages covered much of his head, but there was no mistaking, it was him! And, behind him was a nurse holding Amed.
Her world had come back to close to normal now. She said, “Oh, Father, I have something to tell you and I have found a professional singer who will sing for you and she will give you a story that will change everything…”
The doctor interrupted, “Farrah, we will have time for that later. For now, you need some more rest and so does your father.”
The room had quieted down. She looked at Specialist Stephanie Rose, the tough, young soldier who was not allowed to get personally involved and who now had tears streaming down her face as the night’s memories flooded across her.
Farrah turned toward her and asked, “Why are you crying? Aren’t you happy, too?”
Stephanie could only nod. Then, she found her voice. “Merry Christmas, Farrah.”
“What is Christmas?” queried Farrah.
“Oh, no, now I’m going to be here all day,” Stephanie said with a smile. When Farrah grinned back at her, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
LJL 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We Have A Heavenly Father Above...

It's that time of year again. Twelve months have passed. She has added another year to her age. Sometimes, at our age they are just another bump in the highway that we have to endure. This one's a little different. Special. 'Cause, less than a year ago, no one was certain that Mom was coming home to us. I wrote this short story for a writing contest early in 2007. It won nothing, but it gives a little glimpse of what transpired in late December of last year.

It was an uneventful evening. My wife of twenty-six years and I shopped at Wal-Mart and then stopped at a fast-food restaurant before driving home. After watching a movie, as my wife turned over to switch off the bedside light, she grabbed her chest and said, “You need to call 911!”
She had undergone surgery about a week earlier to repair a hiatal hernia. She had been experiencing shortness of breath and pain, but her physician had attributed it to normal recovery from that procedure. Little did we know that her problem was much more serious. The next few hours and days were a blur of doctors, hospitals and family.
Nothing gets your attention quicker than the love of your life asking you to call 911. Rena is a registered nurse and when she knows something is wrong, you act! The dispatcher assured me help would be there soon.
Rena was holding her chest in severe pain and losing consciousness. I called for my daughter, Ally, to come to the bedroom. As Rena struggled to breathe, Ally climbed onto the bed, held her hands and tried to keep her mom talking, while I felt for her pulse. We watched helplessly as her face became gray. We assured her help was on the way.
The rescue squad arrived at our country home in about twenty minutes after making a wrong turn. Rena fainted as they loaded her on to the stretcher. After a quick drive to the hospital, she was rushed into the emergency room where they found a feeble pulse and dangerously low blood pressure. After a few moments, a grim-faced doctor informed me that it was not looking good. Their plan was to take her by helicopter to a larger facility to treat what they believed was a blood clot in the lung. However, after determining she had a collapsed lung, they quickly changed their mind and took her by ambulance.
One day later, she underwent major surgery. The surgeon removed two liters of blood from her chest cavity, some of which had clotted and collapsed her left lung, impeding the function of her heart. He also removed an unnecessary blood vessel which had been oozing for several days and repaired her damaged aorta. After several hours of nervous waiting, we were privileged to see her again.
Now, eight weeks later, she is on the mend and back to work. When I look into her face now, I recall that frightening night, and realize how quickly the ones that we love can be taken from us. Hold your loved ones a little closer tonight. I will be doing the same!

She did this once before, you may recall. I was at school teaching when a man stopped in to inform me that my wife had been in an accident. I asked if she was okay, and he said that she had cut her lip. A sigh of relief. Then, I drove to the scene. Ambulances. Fire trucks. Long backup of traffic. Never mind the relief. I parked and ran. When I got to the crash they were loading her into the ambulance. It had been almost a head-on collision. I met her at the hospital. She had a broken wrist, injured knees, a hole in her chin and a nearly severed tongue. So much for a bloody lip!

So, she has a history of not being very nice to us. Nevertheless, I am wishing her a very special "Happy Birthday" today. I love you, Rena.

Not eveyone's story ends with everyone living happily ever after. Some of you reading this may have stories that didn't end happily. God alone knows how to run this world. Here's the song that has been running through my mind through this past night. Maybe it helps to explain why Momma is with us today!

Verse I
Consider the lilies they don’t toil or spin
Yet there’s not a king with more splendor than them
Consider the sparrows they don’t plant or sow
But they’re fed by the Master who watches them grow


We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes full of mercy
And a heart full of love
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low
Consider the lilies and then you will know

Verse II

May I introduce you to this friend of mine
Who hangs out the stars and tells the sun when to shine
And kisses the flowers each morning with dew
But He’s not too busy to care about you

Monday, December 10, 2007

Top Ten

Here's a nice Top Ten list for anyone Connie Hilligoss's age or higher.

Top Ten Hymns For People Our Age

10. "It Is Well With My Soul (But My Back Aches A Lot)"

9. "Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seeing"

8. "There's Something About That Name (But I Can't Remember What It

Is At This Moment)"

7. "Just A Slower Walk With Thee"

6. "Count Your Many Birthdays, Name Them One By One"

5. "Go Tell It On The Mountains-And Speak Up!"

4. "Give Me That Old Timer's Religion"

3. "Blessed Insurance"

2. "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (I've Forgotten Where I Parked)"

And the number one hymn for people our age is...

1. "Nearer, My God, To Thee"

(Found these on a birthday card-probably sent to me from someone like Dave Hilligoss)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hey Hey Hay

For those of you who know Ally, you know why she is nicknamed Fat Albert. And, you know why it's Hey Hey Hay. She is a horse person - always has been. I think she was born on a horse. Even my good friend, John Hinker says that Fat Albert has special abilities as a horse rider. As you know, if you read this blog, she just won the All Around Youth Contest a few weeks ago.
There are not a lot of hilarious memories of Ally that come to mind. She did provide us with a couple of funny incidents on vacation, though. In Branson, probably while waiting for Regi to finish her laps on the go-cart track (see blog entitled "The First One"), Ally was leaning against the railing that was probably about chest-high. She was about three at the time. Losing her footing, she found herself suddenly flipping over the metal rail and upside down, swinging by her little arms, head just barely missing the cement. We should have gotten the camcorder before rescuing her!
On the way to Virginia Beach via USAir, we had a layover in Pittsburgh. With a little time to wait, we were going to explore a little. Fat Albert and the other kids were starting to leave Mom for a little bit and Albert had her trusty Rabbit (which slept with her for years). She didn't want to drag it with her on this particular walk, so she took it back to Mom. It took her longer than expected, so I asked her what took so long. She said in her two-year-old voice, "I had a little trouble with Mom. I threw my rabbit on the floor, and Mom made me pick it up!"
Mom remembers when Fat Albert was learning to swim. When she was about to drown, she was to lift her hand up for Dad to save her. All Mom can remember seeing was one pitiful little index finger sticking out of the pool while her little baby struggled to stay afloat. Now, she can swim almost as fast as me! lol
She loves her little dog, Dudley. He sleeps with her every night. She got him for her sixteenth birthday, and they have been pretty much inseparable since.
Well, that's Fat Albert for you. She's spoiled, she's silly, sometimes she's serious and, oh, yes, if you don't know her, she's called Fat Albert 'cause she's about 5'3" and 105 pounds!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Coming Soon

Just a quick announcement that the last LavyKid, Ally, will very soon be featured here on the blog. Also, anyone who reads is more than welcome to comment. It is always nice to know if people are reading and/or enjoying the site. It takes a while to get all the information processed that will be used to describe Ally! But, she'll be on soon.

I have written a Christmas story for 2007 that will be posted before too long.

Upcoming features are Ally, the Christmas story entitled "Close By Me Forever", Dudley(the superdog), and then finally Jason, the first son-in-law.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Special Night-A Story of Christmas

It was the brightest night that Joshua had ever experienced. The tall, lean youth was sixteen years of age. He was proud to work in the barn behind the inn where he lived. Even now he was thankful for his distant cousin who had taken him in some five years ago. Tonight, with the moonlight streaming in the open window at the end of the barn, he felt that there was something special, magical about this night. His mind wandered back to his early childhood…
Joshua had always been slower than his playmates. His parents called him their “special” gift from God and he always knew he was loved by them. But, there were times when the other kids made fun of him and made life unpleasant for him. When those instances occurred, he could run to his parents who would comfort him and tell him he was special and that God had a special plan for his life. His father would read from the writings of the prophets and tell him that one day a Messiah would come that would save the people from their sins. Joshua could comprehend enough to know that this would be a wonderful time!
Then, one day when he was eleven, his world came crashing down around him. His parents were tragically killed in an accident. He was never told what happened. He only knew that the two people he could truly trust were gone. A distant relative, Zebulon, an innkeeper, was kind enough to allow him to stay with him. When he grew older, he became the “keeper of the barn”…
Tonight, as he finished his chores, he couldn’t shake the feeling about this evening. He heard some folks coming toward the barn. This generally made him upset for he could never speak to strangers without getting his words all tangled and twisted. He quickly climbed into the hayloft and hid as he normally did when strangers came into the barn. He was distressed to see a man and woman come in the door. The woman appeared to be in discomfort. Still, the feeling about the evening persisted.
Unable to climb down the ladder without being seen, Joshua decided to sleep in the hay as he had done before, rather than be humiliated by having to speak to a stranger. Too many times before people had laughed at him when his thoughts and words had become a tangled mess. He moved in the hay to where he could be comfortable and saw that the man and woman were in one of the stables and it appeared they were staying for the night!
Much later, Joshua was awakened from a deep sleep by the sound…of a baby?! Never before had there been a baby in this barn! He peered down into the stable, and there in the manger was the little child. The moon was now lower in the sky, and its light had flooded the stable. The beams seemed to be shining directly onto the infant’s face.
Something happened inside of Joshua at that moment. A voice seemed to speak to him that sounded like his father’s voice. The thoughts in his mind seemed clearer than ever before, and the voice seemed to say, “This is that special one that the prophets foretold”. He climbed quickly down the ladder and made his way to the stable.
The man seemed surprised to see him appear, but he did not mind as Joshua made his way toward the baby. The woman took the child into her arms, and the moonlight bathing the mother and child appeared to be straight from Heaven. Joshua had never approached a stranger before, but he knew there was something different about this family! He asked the woman, “What is the baby’s name?”
The answer came in a hushed, reverent tone, “Jesus”.
At the mention of the baby’s name, Joshua felt his thoughts become completely rational, and while he did not voice them, he had the understanding that millions of people still do not have today - the realization that those radiant beams from a holy face brought the dawn of Redeeming Grace!
LJL 2006

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Why'd They Have To Build Missouri So Far Away?"

The house sat at the dead end of a lonely country road. 'Most anything could happen there and no one would even be around to know about it. The young girls huddled together in their room as the intruder slammed into their bedroom door again and again. They could only imagine what would happen to them if he broke through their door. Not the type to cry, they waited until it seemed that the person had stopped, realizing that the hinges were going to hold. They slowly opened the door, seeing that the hinges were almost torn from the door. One of them spoke, "Brent, you are going to be in big trouble when Dad finds out you almost broke our door down."

Sure, you know him as a fun-loving, laid-back gentleman, but it has not always been so. Once, he was a fun-loving, excitable little kid. But, that's Brutus for you. He spent several hours trying to fix the damaged hinges when Dad did find out. Of course, there was no fixing the black plastic nose that came off of his pound puppy after bashing it against that same door.

Brutus was never the bravest of the brave. One dark pre-Halloween evening, Dad took the four young LavyKids into the orchard for a story. It was about an old woman who still roamed their haunted orchard at night, doing dastardly things to young kids who were unfortunate enough to be out in the orchard in the dark. As the story came to an end, behind the kids came an apparition seemingly floating through the darkness toward them. Their mom had consented to dress in a flowing white sheet and it looked much like a ghost in the pale moonlight. When Dad told them to look behind them and began screaming for them to run to the house, Brutus took the command seriously. At one time there were five rows of apple trees at the Lavy orchard. After that fateful evening there were only four, as Brutus mowed tree after tree down on his flight to the safety of the house.

One year the Family Vacation took us to Branson, Missouri. We started from our house in Pleasant Hill at about six in the evening. Many hours later as we travelled through the night, little Brent asked sadly, "Why'd they have to build Missouri so far away?"

Any way you look at it, Brutus is the number three kid out of four (or five, if you count Dudley, which I guess we must do) and we would be in big trouble with all girls. So, let's all give a big "HOORAY" for Brutus.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

G,G,S,P,R,G,D,A,D,L,R,J and D

Just a quick note about Saturday, Nov. 24. The Lavys had a mini-get-together at Grandpa Lavy's new room at the Brethren's Home. Grandpa had a full house as Grandma, Stephanie, Paul, Roy, Geneva, Danette, Allyson, Dudley, Lowell, Rena, Janet and Don all came to visit at once. It was really Stephanie's fault for all the commotion. She drove up from Florida to visit and wanted to see the rest of us. We did not get to see her ferocious cat, Boo, who travelled with her. It was neat to see Stephanie again. She reminds me a lot of her mother, who we lost several years ago. I could make Marilyn laugh easily, and Stephanie has a quick laugh, too.
When you get a chance, go see G and G. Next time we visit, we plan to meet BRUTUS!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ode to Belle or A Mouse in the House

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving
When all through our house
The only thing heard
Was the squeak of a mouse
Belle had reclined
On the couch by a chair
In hopes that a fair prince
Would notice her there
When out in the kitchen
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
To see what was the matter
Dudley had charged
From out of Al's bed
His ears at alert
On his magnificent head
To the cabinet he ran
Where the cereal boxes were
And waited by the door
For the adventure to occur
The mouse had no clue
Of the danger in the air
While Belle stood nearby
Way up on a chair
I opened the door
Dudley crept in real close
His eyes were quite focused
Alert was his nose
The mouse must have thought
He was safe as could be
The next thing that happened
Surprised even me
The dog took a leap
By a Raisin Bran box
And his jaws snapped shut
Like those of a fox
He backed from the cabinet
His mouth full of mouse
And walked with great pride
Through part of our house
The rodent then dropped
On our nice kitchen floor
While Belle was threatening
To go through the door
Then Belle came down
And stayed at our house
She said, "Thank you, Dudley
For killing the mouse"
LJL 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

"My Name Is Not Danette!"

It was 2:22 a.m. on 2-22 several years ago. Mom was ready, the baby was ready, but the doctor was not quite ready! So, she waited until 2:26 to make her entrance. Bellehog had arrived and she seemed to cry for the first ten weeks of her life. Of course, when your sister wants to name you "Pignail", you are probably going to have a rough time of it!
Belle is the number two kid of the family, and we would be much poorer without her. She arrived in Anderson, Indiana, becoming our only Hoosier. Now she lives in Kentucky, so perhaps living in Indiana, Ohio and now Kentucky has contributed to her becoming the person she is today.
Once while driving on the interstate, she was involved in an accident. She was hit from behind. When she called to tell me, she said after being hit she steered her car off the roadway to avoid hitting the car in front of her. I asked her if she went into the median, and she replied, "No, I drove into the grassy area in the middle!"
Our family has a tradition of going on Family Vacation every June. Our most cherished memories come from those times together. Our lowest rated vacation was probably when we went to Mackinac Island a few years ago. It was a little too chilly to receive a high rating in the Family Lavy Actual Vacation Official Rating System (FLAVORS). However, that week gave us two anecdotes that have helped us to remember Belle in a special way.
We were walking on the island and viewing the remains of ancient Fort Mackinac. High above us, the wall of the fort was visible on a steep cliff. Thorny bushes covered the hillside. Belle remarked that the attackers would have had a terribly difficult time navigating through all the "sticker bushes". We reminded her that the arrows, musket fire, cannons and maybe even the occasional cauldron of hot oil poured over the side might have been worse than the brambles.
Finally, we took a carriage ride around the island. (I might add, this is a beautiful island, especially when the lilacs are blooming. If you don't mind a little chill in the air, I recommend Mackinac Island as a vacation spot.) We were able to rent a carriage and actually drive it with a team of calm horses. The girls took turns driving while Brent and I said prayers and hung onto whatever was available. Belle eventually took the reins and apparently did something which Mom did not like. Mom said, mistakenly, "Allyson, watch what you are doing!" Belle replied indignantly, "MY NAME IS NOT DANETTE!"
The lesson we have all learned from Belle is this: if you are going to have a second kid, you will want one exactly like our dear Bellehog!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The First One

Dec. 27, several years ago was cold and wintry. I was in bed eating cashews and minding my own business at about 11:00 at night. My peaceful evening was shattered when Rena announced it was time to go to the hospital to see about getting our firstborn kid. I drove to the hospital hurriedly not knowing that I would have to endure more than eight hours of labor before I got my first kid. I guess it was probably a long night for Rena, too.
Finally, at 7:46A.M. on Dec. 28, The Hedgehog arrived. Now, I have no idea where the Hedgehog came from. Well, I know where she came from, but how she got the name is beyond me. All the kids have nicknames, as you will see in the coming LavyKids stories. She was Redgehog the Hedgehog and greatly loved. And the first thing I noticed about her were her long, purple fingers!
Let's fast-forward eighteen months. In the tub is Regina shaving her legs and bleeding all over the place. She wasn't trying to be like me, I can tell you that!
She was strong when she was little and still is. I could hold her by placing my hands on her calves, raising her above my head, and she could hold her body straight, parallel to the ground. I could also hang her by her hands on the back of the pew in front of us at church.
Finally, we find ourselves in Branson, Mo. on vacation. Regi is racing go-carts around The Track. When it was time to come off the track, she did. The accelerator and brake were both mashed to the floor. Into the pits she raced and knocked about three parked carts out on to the track. She still drives a little bit like that.
There is just not enough time or space to tell all about the Hedgehog. There may be some other memories that her sisters or brother or even her cousins can dredge up.
Guess which kid is going to be featured in our next visit. Yep, here comes The Bellehog!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Special Announcement

Springfield, Ohio 11-10-2007

Allyson Lavy, eighteen-year-old daughter of Rena and Lowell Lavy of Versailles, Ohio, was named the All Around Youth Winner of the Central State Horse Show Association at Courtyard by Marriott here on Saturday evening. Ally is a 2007 graduate of Old Paths Baptist Academy, Covington, Ohio. She showed her horse, Dandy Asset, this year in the All Around classes, ages 14-18. She was president of her 4-H club, Boots and Saddles, for the last two years. She was first out of five contestants, winning four out of six divisions of the contest including Best Costume, Horsemanship, Interview and Sportsmanship. Ally received monetary gifts, several horse-related gifts, a new saddle and a sizable scholarship toward college for her efforts. Congratulations to Allyson for her hard work toward this goal.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Aug. 2,1980

Without Victor and Doris Lavy, there would have been no 8-2-80. Without Ray and Billie Collingsworth, no 8-2-80. 'Course, I guess Adam and Eve were important, too. Actually, there would have still been an 8-2-80. (Well, maybe not without Adam and Eve! )It just wouldn't have been an important date. Maybe it would be important to someone. As you can see, sometimes I get what is commonly called the "Allyson Lavy Syndrome", where a person just blathers on and on before getting to the point.
Aug. 2, 1980 dawned clear and hot. I awoke in my room at 9163 Neff Rd. and prepared to go to Dayton, Ohio to be married. Sometime in the forenoon it was time to leave. My father, good old Vic (Blinkle, as I affectionately called him) hoisted my 165lb frame onto his shoulders, and hauled me to my beautiful, blue 1976 Chrysler Cordoba, in which I would be taking my last drive as a free man.
To make a long story short (of course, this goes against the Ally Syndrome) it was`hotter than blue blazes at the Air Street Church where Rena and I were wed. You would think they would have had "air" at Air Street, but believe me, there was no air. After about an hour and a half, all the formalities were over and we could get on to the reception and then on with the show! However, no description of the wedding would be complete withhout reminding everyone that there were two little girls who noisily told all who would listen that the wedding was taking too long. By the way, those two girls were almost exactly the same age. They looked just alike. They still look very similar. One lives out west somewhere and one lives in Ohio...Oh, well, that's OK, I thought it was too long, too.
After the reception it was off to Georgetown, Kentucky(you thought that was just where the Bengals practiced) and then Gatlinburg, Tenn. We loved Gatlinburg so much, we have been going back for years, sometimes even taking the kids along.
Next time we visit,the Hedgehog arrives.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Phone Call, An Offering and A Massage

Before I get to deep into the LavyKids stories, let me tell you about three memories. In the 70's and 80's, I was privileged to teach in a small Christian school, Tabernacle Christian School(TCS). Not every memory from there is pleasant, but that is not what this is about.
One day while at school, I called my mother for some reason. In those days, we had a party line (three or four neighbors having the same phone line is probably the best way to describe it). When I called her, the phone somehow rang at our next-door neighbor, Margaret's house at the same time as it did at our house. Both Margaret and Mother said hello at the same time. I spoke with Mother for a minute and then hung up. Apparently, they spoke after that for several minutes, both wondering why the other called. I don't think either ever figured out what happened, but they still had a nice conversation without even meaning to talk to each other that day. Old country we don't even know our neighbor's names, it seems.
While teaching at TCS, I had occasion to have all of my nieces and nephews in school at one time or the other. That is a fond memory for me. Soon before my marriage to the former Rena Collingsworth, I asked Paul Lavy and Kevin Lavy to ask their fathers, Merrill and Don, to be ushers in our wedding. One of them ( not sure which one) went home and proudly told his father, "Uncle Lowell wants you to take up the offering at his wedding." That would have been very nice of them if they had passed the plates for us!
Here is one final memory for you from my teaching days. In her English PACE, a student of mine was required to write a thank-you note to the pastor. When asked to check her writing, here is the note that I found. "Dear Pastor, Thank you for the massage on Sunday. It was very good. Love, Debbie."
Well, there you have some of my memories. See you next time when we may remember Aug 2, 1980. That's Wedding Day if you didn't know .

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Regi Insisted

Regi insisted that I begin a blog so here it is. It may be the most boring blog in history. We shall see how it goes. In the coming days I will relate to you some of my most prominent memories of my kids. If you are a Lavy Kid and there is something that is not allowed to be published "Speak now or forever hold your peace". 'Course, it probably wouldn't matter any way, it would probably still be published. Once again, if you are bored beyond belief here at, BLAME Regi!