Monday, December 29, 2008

Good-bye for now Zak!

Zak Dievendorf, a 13-year-old boy with a brain tumor passed away this past Friday morning. Some of you may remember that Evangeline and I did a benefit concert for him this past June (check the June posts). Please pray for the family, as it is a very hard time for all of them! (Above is a picture of us with Zak this past August, at another benefit held in his honor.)

Last Christmas our family started a tradition where each of us three girls would write a story and then read it to the rest of the family on Christmas day. This year all the other girls had written one, but I just couldn't get inspired. So I kept putting it off, and putting it off until Christmas morning when the story kinda' hit me. I honestly can't remember what inspired me to write this, but this story line just unfolded, and it ended up being with Zak in mind. I emailed it to the family Christmas night - I just felt I needed to send it to them then, and not wait. Little did I know Zak would pass away the very next morning. (The story is at the bottom of this post...)

This has been such a hard time for everyone who was blessed to know him....

Zak's obituary:

December 26, 2008 Zachary Dievendorf, 13 years old, of Fulton, lost his battle with cancer on December 26. Having been diagnosed with pon-tine glioma, he was an inspiration to all who knew him. Zachary passed quietly at home in the arms of his family. On May 14, he was called to the mission field with an inoperable brain tumor. This mission took him to St. Jude Children's Hospital, where he received inspired treatment and support. Research associated with Zak's illness was carried out with the hope that it will help other children afflicted with this disease. Over the course of his seven-month battle, Zak demonstrated a strength and faith that belied his age. His sense of humor helped all around him to see the silver lining every day. As Zak's cancer progressed and it became clear that his time on earth was limited, he began reaching out to others with hugs, smiles and words of comfort. It was this giving spirit that will be a part of Zak's legacy to family and loved ones. Zak is survived by his parents, Jennifer (Brown) and Timothy Dievendorf; his sisters, Sarah and Victoria; a brother, Joshua; maternal grandparents, Keeno and Deborah Lampman of Phoenix; and paternal grandparents, Fred and Carol Dievendorf of Fulton. Calling hours will be 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, with an 11 a.m. celebration of life on Wednesday. All services will be held at Fulton Alliance Church, Route 48, Fulton. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Zachary Dievendorf Benefit Account, c/o Key Bank, 121 South First Street, Fulton, NY 13069 to help cover expenses. Notes to the family may be left on www.caringbridge. org/visit/zacharydievendorf, as well as view pictures and see Zak's story. Foster Funeral Home, Inc.

Zak's mom writes about his passing:

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 04:47 PM, CST
I started out journaling this morning and it kept erasing, I guess it was becuase Zak wanted me to wait a bit. I woke up from sleeping all night with Zak at my side at 7:30am. By 8:30 he began to breathe differently. By 9am his breathing became very soft and quiet. Tim and I sat by his side for a long time just watching and waiting. Finally we decided to call the gramas and the grampas and they were there quickly. Just about 9:45am Zak had taken his last breath. It was very peaceful. His fight is finally completed. He is the victor. I truly believe he has won and is now celebrating with our Lord and Savior Jesus.
It was very hard to watch him go. We spent a couple hours with him before we called for arrangements. We got him dressed and removed his cathedar and port and saw him as Zak with out all the tubes and stuff. He is now whole.
We have all along believed that Zak was destined for Heaven and we still believe that. I feel he waited to go today so he didn't take anything away from Jesus birthday. He was thoughtful like that.
I am glad it's over but I'm so lost without him. It just doesn't feel real. I am relieved but heartbroken at the same time.
I will leave you all with that for now. Arrangements have not been made yet. We are meeting with the funeral director tommorow morning. That too will be painful I know. It was so hard to just watch them take him today. I couldn't watch and now I know his body is at the Funeral home in waiting. When they came I had to leave the room and not look back. His room was empty and it was the strangest feeling.
We will let you know what happens next as soon as we make plans. We are blessed to have you all praying for us. If you can recall any one liners you remember from Zak please share it here. Zak became quite the comedian over the last 6 months. I will miss that humor. He made us smile and laugh so many times during all this sadness. I just can't believe this is going on. AGGGGGGG!
That's all,
Kicking holes in the kingdom of hell,
Jennifer, Tim and Angel Dizz-zee Zak

2008 Christmas Story)
(It was Christmas morning and everything was covered in white. Delicate snowflakes, both large and small, danced with the swirling wind as if in celebration of this great event.
It wasn't just Christmas, it was the long awaited day when the Railway Express came through the little prairie town. The train made brief stops at every railroad station as it chugged on to "the destination". If a person had enough money to buy a ticket they could get a ride.
Zack stood off to one side of the platform, leaning against the wall of the building, hands shoved deep in his pockets. A crowd of people had gathered to see this magnificent event. No one had seen or ridden on a train before, and how fitting that it should be on Christmas day, the most exciting day of the year.
Zack looked around him. The familiar setting hadn't changed-----rolling prairie hills, as far as the eye could see, were decked out in white as pure and undisturbed as it had ever been. The small depot platform was a bustle of expectant and excited villagers, all hoping their savings would be enough to earn them passage on this great new machine.
Eternity seemed to pass before Zack finally heard a faint rumble. He listened intently, and knew the others did too, by the hushed silence that fell over the chattering group. He listened to the chugging which seemed to continually grow louder and watched with keen interest that small speck in the distance as it grew larger and larger. If only , only he had some money, then he would be able to experience the thrill of riding on that train. Zack knew he hadn't a penny to his name, but his child like faith kept him from loosing hope in Christmas miracles.
The ground began to rumble as the Glory Train Express came chugging up, now a massive bulwork, almost seeming bigger than life. With two loud "toot- toot's" and a screach, it finally haulted to a stop. A cheer errupted from the crowd. "Hip-hip hurrah, hip-hip hurrah", the shouted, as men tossed their hats and women waved and clapped their gloved hands. The long awaited moment had finally arrived.
Swinging down from the front cab, the conductor raised his right hand for the noise to subside.
"Thank you all for greeting the train and me with such a warm welcome. This great beauty behind me represents a sacrifice of time, love and involvement. For the right price I present to each and everyone here the opportunity to ride this magnificant contraption".
He paused and looked into the expectant faces of the townspeople. Everyone held their breath. Who, if anyone would have enough money to buy a ticket?
"For just twenty dollars a person......." and that is as far as he got. Some became angry, but more remained speechless. Zack's heart fell with a thud to the bottom of his socks. No miracle this season, not even the wealthiest person in the entire region could afford a ticket at that price, much less to get one for a young boy. Zack turned away in disappointment, not caring to see anyone.
Then, another voice caught his attention. It wasn't that of the conductor, but yet it still held a note of authority. He paused a moment and glanced back over his shoulder. There standing next to the train was a young man, about 30 years of age, with a countenance remarkably like that of the conductors. Zack had never seen him before, but he didn't have to wait long to find out just who he was.
"Father," the young man began "Let me account for these people's passage. Today, in all honesty, is the day that the greatest gifts are given".
With a solemn nod and "very well" from the elder, the son turned back to the crowd.......
"My gift to you" was all he said before turning back to the train, and opening the passenger car door. He motioned for everyone to step up.
At first everyone stood still, seemingly glued to their spot. But all it took was for one brave soul to step forward before a trickle, and then a stream of passengers began to board the train.
Zack watched all this with amazement. He had never seen anything like it before, in all his born days. He was still standing bewildered by the depot platform, when he roused himself to hear a voice speaking to him.
"Zack", called the conductor's son, holding out his hand. "Come- this is also your time to make this great and wonderous journey."
He was a little afraid, but wondered more at how this man knew his name. Regardless, he was happy to know miracles still happen. With a few shy steps Zack was standing before the young man next to the conductor.
"Up you go" he said, helping Zack reach the train car step. When he did this, he slipped a card into Zach's shabby shirt pocket and motioned him inside. Once inside the car Zack pulled out the little card and read:
"To Zack
The Glory Land Express.
Where miracles are eternal,
and disappointments are unknown.
Price: Paid in Full"
All my love,
Zack quickly turned back to see the man who paid his price in full. He was nowhere to be seen. The conductor, seeing his disappointment, smiled and called out, "One in the same, one in the same".

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Concert update...

Hello everyone!

One thing you have to worry about in New York is - yes, you guessed it - snow storms! Much to our utter dismay we had a big storm last night and had to cancel our concert. I cried for a good bit of the afternoon! However, we were able to reschedule it for tonight, so it's not like all of our efforts were in vain!

So anyway, if anyone is interested, it will be held tonight (Saturday) at the Fulton Christian Missionary Church at 6:30 PM. Hope to see some of you there!

The dejected little performer,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2nd Annual Christmas Concert

Hello everyone! Here is a picture of the poster I did for an upcoming Christmas Concert. If you think of it, say a little prayer for us - we're both having trouble with tendonitis, so we haven't been able to practice . With the concert only about a week away, I'm getting worried.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Elseys

We also spent Thanksgiving day in Meadville with the Elsey clan at Jonathan and Madeline Elsey's house. There were 27 of us there and we feasted sumptuously. (Daddy has been friends with the Elsey family for 35 years). We are pictured here with Grandma Elsey, who was going to be leaving on Monday to go live with son Stephen in Missouri.

Thanksgiving Eve in Meadville PA

Thursday evening we met with Dad's friends, Dan and Janis Seely for supper in PA. Prior to our trip Mrs. Seely had asked us to come over to her church, which was not far from the restaurant and play the piano for her. We agreed, not realizing that we would be performing a mini-recital for many more people than just Janice. She jokingly said she had invited 25 people to come, completely in jest. However, 'so-and -so' told 'so-and-so' who brought 'so-and-so'. We ended up having quite the little audience! We had a nice time, though!

Dan and Janice Seely with our mom and dad.

Us twins with two 'blog fans', Steve and Leslie Blackwelder who came to our mini concert. :)