Monday, May 24, 2010

Our baby is having a baby

I believe that the Lord places certain “markers” in life that are, kind of, little fluorescent flags remembering special times or reminders of significant events of our journey. One of those happened a couple of nights ago. Our younger daughter, Kelsey, and her husband, Zach, live in southern Oregon and are expecting their first child . . . a daughter. We’ve not seen them for about 5 months, and in that time Kelsey’s pregnancy has progressed swiftly and nicely. This past Friday we traveled to Portland, Oregon where I had a concert commitment with Steve, and Kelsey and Zach made the 3-hour drive up from their home in Roseburg. Kelsey is in her 28th week of pregnancy and when she walked into the room where we were, my eyes went immediately to her very expanded waistline. After greetings and hugs, I took both of my hands and just HAD to feel this basketball-sized belly. Oh, my. Our baby is really having a baby! !

Later in the evening just before Zach, Kelsey and (a very happy grandmother-to-be) Mel were about to head back to Roseburg, I felt this large belly again and this time, the baby moved! Not just a little . . . A LOT! I leaned over and put my face right near my granddaughter and said, “Hello, little one. This is your Grandpa. I was the one at the piano tonight.” (What a silly thing to say . . . like I was hoping that she liked the concert . . . ) In an instant the Lord impressed upon my heart that there is significance to generations – that all of a sudden I’m the patriarch and there are now 2 generations that have come behind me. I never felt this way on behalf of my now 81-year-old father when our first little one was born nearly a quarter-century ago. Our baby is really having a baby!

The following morning I woke up in my hotel room and my thoughts went immediately to our growing family. In about 75 days there will be a new addition, a granddaughter. What do I want her to know? What will she look like? How will her interests and abilities take shape? Such an exciting season for all of us. Those few but significant movements of Kelsey’s belly that I felt with my own hands were indications of a life to come.

Several years ago Mel and I were privileged to be the worship leaders for a series of women’s conferences called “Heritage Keepers”. In pondering the new little August arrival, an additional generation to our family, my mind went to the passage of Scripture that was the over-arching theme of HK, Psalm 78. First, a little parental perspective. This Psalm was written by Asaph, who was by Scriptural account a Levite, church musician and songwriter. He was one of King David’s three chief musicians, authored Psalms 50 and 73 through 83. According to 1 Chronicles 16 he was appointed to “minister before the Ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” He led the worship by sounding the cymbals and was actually the scribe when King David gave his psalm of thanks to the Lord that begins in 1 Chronicles 16:7. Asaph was the leader of generations, and the authorship of several more Psalms were attributed to his sons.

Back to Psalm 78 – give a listen to these verses penned by Asaph through the eyes of a grandparent-to-be: “I will utter hidden things, things of old – what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He has decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then the would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”

We are very excited for the arrival of our new granddaughter. As one of my friends has frequently stated, “Grandchildren open up a piece of your heart that you didn’t even know was there.” I think it’s fair to say that after feeling the little one move in our daughter’s womb, that piece of my heart is beginning to open. Our baby is really having a baby!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


In recent weeks we've been asked about some of the ongoing scenarios of life, so we thought we'd give a few updates. Many of our friends have prayed with us through some joys and some struggles. The lesson we continue to learn is that God is good, faithful, wise, just, and loving. And He can be trusted, even in the midst of waiting for answers.

Here's a quick rundown:

Dick's dad: Although his doctors have said he will potentially never be "cancer free", he is back to a place of stability and health. All of his "numbers" are good, he's feeling stronger and he came through the radiation treatments well. There are only a couple of additional therapies that will be ongoing. Early next month he'll celebrate his 82nd birthday!

Mel's dad: The struggle continues for Broadman Ware, as he recovers from the chemotherapy and the radiation treatments. He still takes most of his nourishment through a feeding tube, although occasionally he can handle some ice cream or pudding. He's also challenged with some additional repercussions of the treatments. Prayers are still needed and much appreciated.

Mel's brother, Jeff: Jeff is back home at the O'Berry Center, and so far seems to be settling in well. His healing will be slow, but we continue to pray that he will walk again at some point. We're going to try and make a trip to see Mel's dad and Jeff, hopefully sometime in June.

baby bohler2
Our first grandchild: Kelsey is now in her third trimester! Unbelievable how fast it has gone (easy for us to say :). She really has had an enjoyable pregnancy and we're so grateful. Friday night of this week, Dick is in concert with Steve Green in Portland and Kelsey and Zach will be there. Mel will then go on to Roseburg to stay with them for a few days. Highlights of that trip? A baby shower on Sunday and a doctor visit with Kelsey on Monday. The baby is due in August. Oh, by the way, it's a girl!

Jobs for Whitney and Shawn: Whitney is taking some prerequisites that will enable her to begin nursing school at Belmont University in January. Because this will be an additional bachelor's degree for her, the nursing program will only be for 16 months. Sixteen intense months, but 16 months nonetheless. Whitney is also working at a wonderful place called Sips and Strokes, where she is teaching painting classes. I (Mel) am one of her favorite students ~ ha! Shawn has 2 jobs these days. His full-time job is with a title insurance company and his part-time job is as the student ministry Worship Leader for FBC Columbia. This past Sunday, since it was Graduation week, Shawn was one of the worship leaders for the morning services. How fun to see him in his element!

Our songwriting: So far in 2010, we've spent a great deal of time writing together, and we're very excited with the new songs God is blessing us with. We're learning to actually schedule writing time as life can get moving a little too quickly.

Our concert/worship leading calendar: Dick continues to enjoy being a part of Steve Green's ministry, traveling many weekends around the country and internationally as well. We were thrilled to be a part of a life-changing trip to Israel earlier this year with Insight for Living. And the two of us have been privileged to lead worship for national events with Community Bible Study, FCA, and Christian Leadership Alliance. The summer and fall have filled up with more exciting conferences. Mel is also excited about doors that are opening for her to teach and lead worship at several women's events next fall and spring.

The end of John 10:10 says "I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly". A pastor friend of ours explained this verse by saying that abundant life isn't just the good stuff. It's high highs and low lows. And it's full and rich and plentiful. A great picture of where we're living these days. Thanks for your prayers and love.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


The repercussions for the flood our area experienced this past weekend continue. I heard about one particular family who really didn't have any damage until the following Monday afternoon, a day with no rain, when the river finally reached it's peak and began to fill their home.

Watching the community rally around others has been so inspiring. Several verses have shed new light in my heart:

James 2:15-17 ~ "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

Or this one:

Matthew 25:42-45 ~ "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'"

Yesterday morning, Dick and I responded to a request from a teacher at Brentwood Academy, where both of our girls went to school from grades 6-12. This teacher's mother-in-law was a victim of the downpours from the weekend. She lived in a condominium and her home and car were a total loss.

I really don't think the severity of the storms had hit me until I walked into where she had lived. Initially, I was so stunned as we waded through mud and began helping to remove her belongings, rip our carpet and pad, pull off wet drywall and insulation, and gather most everything into trash bags. It brought tears to my eyes as I pulled photographs from mud-soaked albums and tried to dry them in the sun. I tried to picture the main floor of our house filled with 9 ft. of water, and it helped me put myself in this homeowner's shoes. (By the way, in this woman's house the refrigerator finally settled on its side after floating around in the floodwaters).

The last week for me has been a bit difficult, and honestly I can't put my finger on all of the whys. Some reasons seem legitimate ~ this will be the first Mother's Day since my mom passed away last June, my Dad and Dick's Dad are still dealing with a lot of health concerns, my brother Jeff has been heavy on my heart . . .

Other reasons are not so legitimate, and I would embarrass myself to share those. Some of them are ridiculously trivial in light of all that's going on around me. So my prayer today is, "Lord, give me perspective. Help me see life through eternal eyes. Help me recognize what really matters, and what really doesn't."

I'm posting some photos I took with my phone of this dear lady's house. May we all view our circumstances through the lens of 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (from the Message). "So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."










Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring rain

(photo by Shawn Newby)

"Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn. He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:3)

For the past 2 days the rains have come down, in historic amounts, throughout the Nashville area. In fact, it is only May 3rd and this is officially the most rainfall this area has ever had in the month of May ~ ever! There are still people stranded in their homes, power outages, abandoned vehicles . . . everyone is astounded by the severity, intensity, and quickness with which this came. I'm beyond grateful that our house, Whitney and Shawn's house, and my sister's house were basically unaffected.

All of the churches in our town were cancelled (as per the Mayor of Franklin) because of the danger in road travel. For the first time in many, many, MANY years, I stayed home from church yesterday. I began the morning asking the Lord to help me have my own "house church" and speak to me in a new and fresh way in my solitude. Ask and you will receive . . .

God led me to this verse in Hosea 6. What an amazing passage this is! Here in May of 2010, I'm at a place right now where I am so aware of my desperation in wanting to know Him. Really know Him. To know His plans for my life. To know His heart ~ His goodness, mercy, justice, compassion. To just simply know HIM. Let us press on to know Him.

And then comes the amazing part of this verse. HE will come to US like these showers we've experienced. Flooding over us, covering us from head to toe. Watering us, helping us grow.

A favorite song of mine says it this way:
Holy Spirit rain down, rain down
Let Your power fall, let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts as we stand on Your word
Holy Spirit rain down

Bring on the rain.

(I want to add here that in this post, it was not my intention to take lightly all of the devastation that has happened, and continues to happen, in our area. There are many who have suffered catastrophic loss because of these storms. Please pray for God's healing, comforting touch in their lives. And pray for those of us who were more fortunate ~ that we would reach out and tangibly meet needs we see around us.)