Sunday, July 29, 2012

Until Death

Until death

Those two little words seem so out of place at a wedding, don’t they? Until death. Who wants to think of death when the bride and groom are celebrating the beginning of their life together. Death is the last thing on their minds. But there it is, that word “death” is spoken during the ceremony. But it is spoken as a promise to be faithful to marriage vows until death. As out of place as it seems on that day, it is the basis for all of their life to come….until death.

On my birthday in 1983, I was preparing for our wedding day the next afternoon. I turned 28 and was ready for all that God had ahead for us. The summer before in August Bud had taken me on a picnic to Harris Hill near my home in Horseheads, NY. While we were there he proposed to me and slipped a diamond on my finger. Our relationship had begun 3 years earlier while I was teaching school in Rochester, NY. He was a student at BBC and began writing to me. So for three years we wrote letters (no e-mail or cell phones in those days) and tried to see each other as often as we could work it out. Oh how precious those letters are to me now!

July 30, 1983, dawned bright and hot! No air-conditioning in the little country church in Breesport, NY, but that did not matter. It was our wedding day. As a surprise to Bud, I wrote new words to a melody, recorded my voice singing the song, and had that song played as I came down the aisle. Tomorrow I plan to go find a cassette recorder and listen to the ceremony. To hear his voice say our vows will bring me to tears, I’m sure. But I need to hear those words of love and commitment again. Especially now. How thankful I am that we did our best to keep our vows. Yes, we failed sometimes, me more often than he. And sometimes most miserably on my part. But we did strive to keep them through the almost 29 years God gave us. I know I am not bound to those vows now that death has separated us as Bud slipped into eternity on April 14,, but I will continue to honor him and his memory by my actions, how I speak of him, and as I continue to minister to the children God gave us. 

Our vows were written by us and are as follows:

Bud’s –
Sandy, before God, our family and friends, I commit myself to be your husband, promising to love you unconditionally and sacrificially, to honor and cherish you, to share with you my dreams and ambitions, as well as my burdens and disappointments, to be your best friend, your provider, your protector, though we may experience illness, hardness or affliction, according to God’s holy ordinance. I love you, Sandy.

And mine –
Bud, I commit myself to you to be your wife. I promise to honor and cherish you above all others, to obey you, to comfort and encourage you through whatever we experience in life. I will support your endeavors as you seek to serve the Lord. I will be true and faithful to you according to God’s holy ordinance until we are separated by death. I love you, Bud.

God is in Every Tomorrow

Recently I was going through things in Bud's office and packing it all up. In the next few posts I want to share some special things I found in his desk, on his clipboard, in his files. They speak of his faith, his confidence in the Lord, his love for his family. These little tidbits speak of the legacy he has left behind. The poem shared below was in the top drawer of his desk. He was not a poem person, so it surprised me to find it. Perhaps someone gave it to him and it touched a spot in his soul. Today it gives me comfort because it is truth.

God is in every tomorrow
Therefore I live for today,
Certain of finding at sunrise
Guidance and strength for the day;
Power for each moment of weakness;
Hope for each moment of pain;
Comfort for every sorrow;
Sunshine and joy after rain.

God is in every tomorrow
Planning for you and for me;
E’en in the dark will I follow,
Trust where my eyes cannot see.
Stilled by His promise of blessing,
Soothed by the touch of His hand,
Confident in His protection,
Knowing my life-path is planned.

God is in very tomorrow,
Life with its changes may come;
He is behind and before me,
While in the distance shines Home!
Home where no thoughts of tomorrow
Ever can shadow my brow;
Home in the presence of Jesus,
Through all eternity now!

Author unknown

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Father's Day blessing for my kids - June 2012

My Father's Day blessing for my kids yesterday:
Many many years ago, almost 400 years ago in fact, three Spencer brothers and one sister crossed the Atlantic from England to settle near what is Boston today with the first wave of the "Great Migration" of 1630. One of those brothers, Gerard Spencer, is the line through which my father came. Gerard's brother, Thomas, was a furniture maker - a trade my father has taken up in retirement. In 1686, just before Thomas died in Hartford, Connecticut - a town he helped establish - he wrote his last will and testament. The last part of the will is what I read to my children around the dinner table on Sunday afternoon, " Finally I leave all my children with the Lord and desire his blessing may be their portion, that they may love and serve Him, and live in love and peace one with another when I shall be gathered to my fathers....." I feel that would have been Bud's last wishes for my kids. I'm so grateful for the godly heritage in my forefathers. I pray that legacy will continue into future generations.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Recently I've been going up to church during the week just to be alone for a little while in Bud's office. I go in and check the mail, answer phone messages, tidy up a bit, and just sit in his chair to think, to cry, to pray. I love it there. It's his place, his place to study, to pray, to think, to work. I find comfort there. As I'm there, I'm starting to go through his personal things and bring some of it home now to save. I found one of his posters that he loved. On it is pictured a rust-colored rocky cliff and two men rock climbing on it at dizzying heights. Also inscribed on it are the words, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2." Bud loved that poster.

It all started back in 1986 when he and I and little Jeremy took a trip to Yosemite National Park in California. While we were there for the week, he took rock climbing classes. I would wheel Jeremy in the stroller to the base of the cliff, look up at my husband way up there hanging only by ropes, and pray! On Saturday his dad came up from San Francisco to climb with him. That was the beginning. He went on to climb in many other places. Also he loved the challenge of hiking mountains. From the Colorado Rockies climbing peaks over 13,000 feet, to the autumn Catskills ablaze with color in every direction, to the blustery heights of Mount Washington. He loved the mountains. I used to ask him why? Why do you do this? It's a lot of effort. It's not safe." And he would say, "Because it's there." Not what my safety-loving heart wanted to hear. I like my feet on solid, low lands!

Seeing that poster again helped me to understand why Bud loved the mountains. They pictured for him his eternal God. Psalm 90:2 says, "Before the mountains were brought forth or before you had formed the earth and world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." The mountains reminded Bud of his own mortality. God was eternal, existed before those mighty mountains He created. The psalmist said he looked to the hills from where his help came. The mountains reminded Bud that God was his help, God was eternal, and His creation of the mountains declares His majesty to our own feeble minds.

Mountains....mentioned many times in the Scriptures. The mountain on which Moses received the ten commandments; the mount of Transfiguration of Jesus; Jerusalem on the mountain; the Mount of Olives on which Jesus prayed before His crucifixion.

The mountains....I'm glad Bud climbed them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Occupation....Bus driver

The Evangel bus! I wonder how many miles Bud drove a bus or van full of teens? Has to be over 500,000 in the 22 years of being a youth pastor. Trips to Lake Ann Camp, all over the state for quiz meets and retreats, to Long Island and back many times for mission trips, out west with vans full of kids, to Arkansas to run a camp several times.....He loved it! On the long trips, he enjoyed chatting with various kids who would come up front to talk. Good times! I am just so thankful for the safety on the roads for those many many miles.

Algonquin - Father and Daughter

When I was pregnant with Janelle, Bud took his first Algonquin wilderness canoe trip. He went with people from North Baptist Church in Rochester, NY. When I went to drop him off to go with them, I got to reconnect with two former students of mine - Jay and Suzanne Hamilton. Fun! I found out they had married. Oh my, who would have dreamed that when they were my 6th grade students! After that week in Algonquin, Bud took many more over the years. He took teens, young adults, and even older adults like Everett and Elayne Biielby, Paul and Faith Harold  and others! It was a great week of canoeing about 80 miles, away from the trappings of life at home. No phones, no fast food, no media. Time in God's creation. Time alone with God. Great times with others, learning together. This picture is Janelle and Bud sitting alone by a lake there. A special time with Daddy all to herself! How I wish I now had a recording of their conversation!

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalm 90:2

If you went on an Algonquin trip with Bud, please feel free to share something God taught you through that experience and perhaps how that lesson is still helping you in your walk with God today. Thanks!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


There's a peace I've come to know

Though my heart and flesh may fail

There's an anchor for my soul

I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome

And the grave is overwhelmed

The victory is won

He is risen from the dead.

From "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin