Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Story of Shay...

One of my fav pics of Shay
  Shay DaSu Greenawalt Nothstine.  Today she turns 40 and I wanted to celebrate her in one of my favorite ways - telling stories.  Stories of my Shay are in another post, This Mother's Day so I will try not to repeat too much.

Shay is my number one - the first born child.  I have said often that God knew what He was doing making her the first, as she was pretty much a breeze her first few years.  Had she been more difficult, I may not have ventured a second and third time into motherhood :)

I was just a kid when Shay was born - 14 years old.  That's a long story - we call it "The Wilderness Story”, because it starts out with her dad and I running away to live in a tent for almost a month in a southern Indiana forest.  The story of her beginnings is amazing and still humbles and inspires me all these years later.

The odds were stacked against us.  But as I have learned, betting on the long shot is what gives you the greatest return.  Looking at us today, you may not see the evidence of the rough beginnings - or do you?  Certainly the evidence of the miraculous, the beyond our belief and great redemption is there - it has made us who we are.

To recall her rough beginnings 40 years ago may seem silly to some - why don’t you just celebrate?  But it is vital to me.  Because who she is today, who she will be tomorrow, stems from the awesome story of her beginnings.  Beginnings that defied the odds, the naysayers and a million obstacles.  It is a part of the celebration.

The truth is, I may have birthed Shay, but she gave me life.  Her life started at a time when I had lost my way, my sense and thought very little of myself.  The choices I was making were leading me from bad to worse.  But from the moment I knew she was a part of me, that all changed.  The new life that had been created became my focus.  Protecting, nurturing and providing were now all that mattered.

I can remember laying in bed the week or so before she was born.  We had a bassinet set up in our bedroom and as I looked over at the bassinet this thought came:  “Next week there could be a live baby in there".  It excited and frightened me all at the same time.  Her creation gave me inspiration to be a good mother, but I had no idea if I could pull it off.

Shay came into the world spinning - literally.  In the delivery room the doctor thought her birth would require a few more pushes on my part and almost did not catch her as she rotated with my last push and shot out like a spinning football.   She came out dancing.

Just born

Black hair, large brown eyes, a flat little nose - I memorized her face because I had heard of babies being switched after they were born and I did not want that to happen to me.  In those days (1973) mom's hands were tied down - yes, yes they were - and so I could not hold her or count her fingers and toes until I was out of the delivery room.

What to name this little 7 pound bundle?  I knew “Shay” was going to be her first name from early in my pregnancy.  I had seen it spelled differently and decided to spell it Shay.  Her middle name?  Well, her Aunt Patty helped us with that - it is a combo of her parents - Dave and Sue.  We thought we were cool.

Is it Shay or a Cupie Doll?
The name Shay, while made up on my part because I liked the way it sounded, became evidence years later on just how involved God was in every part of her beginning.  When Shay was about 9 years old, my niece Cathy was using my concordance to look up words and she found the word “shay”.  It is a Hebrew word meaning gifts.  The inference is not a gift from God, but a gift TO God.  Something I thought I had made up had been around thousands of years.

In the beginning, we had people telling us we were doomed to fail.  Shay's dad was only 17, so not much more experience in adulthood there.  But we had gotten ourselves into the adult world quickly and we embraced it.  With my dad’s help, Dave got a job - a terrible job in a factory making fiberglass sousaphones.  But, it was a job.  He worked there many years, hating every second of it, but it supported us.

Shay and her daddy
So, that's the short background. Shay was the first born of 3 children.  There are so many stories to tell, but I will pick a few that I believe describe her well. 

It seems Shay was born loving God and loving people.  She always had a heart for the down trodden and neglected.

When she was about 7, we saved enough money to go visit Dave's brother Larry in California.  He lived in the Bay Area and we went to San Francisco for a day.  I remember thinking how large the city was and so full of things and people.  One thing I had never seen before was there - homeless people.  At least, we assumed they were homeless.  People gathered in spots all through the city, leaned up against buildings, fountains, walls.  Little bags of "things" next to them.

One lady in particular caught Shay's eye.  A woman with no shoes and green feet.  It was awful - they were swollen and discolored and I am not sure if she could even walk on them.  She was sitting leaned up against a fountain I think.  We got a few feet past her and Shay started to cry.  "Whats the matter?" I ask.  Shay responds “That lady doesn't have any shoes.  We have to buy her shoes."  She was heart broken.  Knowing that any money we would give her would probably not go for shoes, I tried to make some excuse.  But Shay would not be silenced and played the Jesus card - "Jesus would give her shoes."  Oh my.  Now, we had committed to the Lord not long after we got married and raised the kids to believe in God.  This is the dream right?  Your children bearing the fruit of Christ.  So here is the scene - six of us (Dave, Shay, Job, Larry (Dave's brother) and Marge (their mom) standing in the middle of the sidewalk in San Francisco, hundreds of people bustling by.  Shay is crying, her heart broken for the woman with green feet.

What to do?  Even if giving her money was a good idea, I had little money.  We bought our tickets to California by scrimping and saving for a year and using our Kroger receipts to get some deal on plane tickets.  I said to Shay, "Lets pray for her".  She thought that was a good idea.  So, we stood in the middle of the sidewalk praying for the woman with green feet.  It was enough and we moved on.  Shay would regularly bring home kids from the neighborhood and school that were rejected, beat up or treated poorly at home.  Her heart was huge.

Fast forward to teenage years and she decides to go on a mission trip (one of many).  Jamaica I believe it was. Not the tourist part of Jamaica, but the part where real locals live.  She came back full of fire and very aware of the excesses we Americans enjoy.  When her brother Job complained about mowing the lawn (with a gas powered mower), she lit into him about how kids in Jamaica cut grass with sickles and blades by hand!

High School graduation
After high school she joined "Teen Mania", a group that travels the U.S. and other countries preaching the gospel.  She was gone for a year.  At that time, they were based in Tulsa, OK. We rented a van and packed up her stuff and took two days to drive there.  This was my first child "leaving the nest".  I was a mess.  Oklahoma was so far away from South Bend, Indiana!  I was so depressed after leaving her there we drove straight home and I cried most of the way.

In July of that year, Teen Mania organized several mission trips and they needed parent volunteers to help in Miami, the hub for many of the out of country trips.  I volunteered and flew to Miami, in July.  I will never do that again!  There is no air to breathe in Miami in July.  The humidity stagnates everything.  We ran from the doorway of the hotel to a taxi!  Anyway...

It was just a couple days, but I got to see Shay and her room mate Angie.  They were going to drive from Florida back to Oklahoma with their Teen Mania crew.  (They traveled the country in vans and "box trucks", illegally sleeping in the back.  I don't think I knew this at the time...but I digress)  So, I am leaving for the airport to return to South Bend and I want to say one more good bye to Shay.  It was an odd feeling that I had that day; I did not just want to say good bye, I HAD to say good bye.  I had this sense that it might be the last time I would see her.  I was almost in a panic because I could not find her amongst the throngs of teenagers in the hotel.  I looked in several places but no Shay.  My ride to the airport was about to leave and I saw her friend and room mate Angie.  I grabbed her, hugged her and tearfully told her to tell Shay I said good bye and that I loved her.  I left thinking she probably thought I was nuts, but I needed a connection to Shay.

Shay and Angie
On the plane ride home I had an uneasy feeling.  I could not shake the sense I may never see Shay again. So, of course I did the only thing I could do - I prayed.  I prayed for protection, I rebuked the devil, I pleaded the blood.  I was compelled to pray.

I got a call from Shay early in the morning after I got home.  Their caravan had been in an accident.  She had been asleep in the back of one of the trucks when they went off the road and from what I remember, into a ditch.  Everyone and everything went flying.  Suitcases and supplies tumbled and covered her.  She was trapped inside, in the dark.  Thank God, they unburied her from the truck and she was unharmed.  She told me another kid's mom was also taken to prayer for them that night.

If you know Shay, you know she loves to dance.  She started young taking lessons - she was still in diapers.  I took dance lessons throughout my childhood and loved it, so wanted her to experience that as well.  She is incredibly gifted and to see her dance is to be taken to another world.  She and her sister Anna danced their hearts out at our church for years and brought something that can tend to be very boring (worship dance) to another level.  Shay’s passion for dance and gift of choreography transformed us from earth to heaven.

Dance recital
Dancing with her cousin Vaughn
Shay is a mover - not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.  About 20 years ago, my niece was pregnant and planned to move in with us.  The house we lived in was in the hood, not in the best shape and did not have room for 2 extra people.  I had just gotten a job as General Manager of a new restaurant, so financially we were doing better.  We decided to move, but really had not begun looking at houses.  Shay’s dad and I were at a stalemate as to how much we would spend, so with no budget we could agree on, we did nothing.  Well, this did not sit well with Shay at all and so she started looking.  

She told us about an open house that was happening.  The house was way out of our price range, but she said “Lets just look!”  So we did.  We did not end up buying that house, but it broke the stalemate we had and got us moving.  Not long after, we found the house of my dreams and purchased it.

Shay is someone who is never satisfied.  I don’t mean that in a negative way - it is one of her greatest strengths.  Because she does not want to become stagnant, or settle or become lukewarm.  There are those who have failed to recognize this as an asset and can become irritated at her “pushing”.  It is such a great loss for them.  What many don’t understand is that when you start from behind, you get ahead by building momentum. Momentum requires strength and force.  Staying ahead requires endurance.  Shay possesses those qualities.  I say if you have Shay in your life pushing you, you are blessed indeed.  Chances are you will not get lazy and will see things change for the better.

Shay is a fighter yet full of compassion.  She demands much, but gives more.  She is beautiful not only outside, but inside.  She steps in where others run, she sees possibilities instead of failures.  And even though her hurts run deep, her heart remains open to love.

There are so many accomplishments to list when I think of Shay - her missions trips, career, mothering to both Ashton and Kristin, dance, design - these things are so much a part of her.  Of course when I think of her, I think of her most as my daughter.  And she is a fine daughter indeed.  We have our fights, but we make up.  She is one of my favorite people to spend time with and we share many common interests.  

Chicken and Waffles in Times Square

Tender moment at church

At this point I struggle with what more to say because there is so much more!  It is hard to condense all that is in my heart to this one blog post.  Because Shay’s birth was so life changing, I look at my world as “before Shay” and “after Shay”.  Her birth was the beginning of a grand journey that has been a great adventure and still has lots of road left to travel!  She is a precious soul that I am so very proud to call my own.

My Shay.  I am forever grateful you are in my life.  You mean more to me than these words can express.  There is so much more ahead of you.  Embrace it, don’t fear and be who God made you to be.  Your times are in His hands and His love for you will never fail.

I love you Shay baby.  Thanks for being mine.


This is my Shay - laughing - seeming to say "I am 40 and I don't care!"

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This...

“I have some bad news for you Sue.”

That's how the phone conversation started when my dear friend Janet called to tell me her husband Dave, also my dear friend, had died.

I was so shocked by her news I totally forgot I was speaking to his widow and focused only on me, the friend - questioning her, making sure this was not some sad joke, wanting to know details of what happened.  It took me a couple minutes to realize my error and come back to her and begin to offer comfort and help.  It still hurts deeply when I recall it.  And quite honestly, I have talked to God on many occasions regarding Dave’s passing, as it was very difficult to make sense of and accept.  But, God is God and I am not.

Dave Norris left this earth on April 9, 2011.  He and Janet were moving their daughter into a friend’s house in Indianapolis.  While there, he noticed the lawn needed to be mowed and decided to mow it.  That was so like Dave - he had a servants heart and never walked away from hard work.  He suffered a heart attack while mowing and could not be revived.  In an instant he was gone - only 60 years old.

We had just celebrated his 60th birthday in February.  We went for a walk in Pokagon State Park (in northeastern Indiana) and then to dinner.  Yes, it was February - but we were outside.  Its where he loved to be.

Dave's 60th
I have wanted to write a piece about Dave ever since his passing, but have held back.   Because to write about Dave would be to talk about my pain, my missing him, the impact he had on my life.  Realizing the pain Janet was going through as his widow it seemed best to put mine on the back burner as it cannot compare to what she has gone through.  But, its time.

Dave was a man of many talents and abilities.  He had several careers.  He had many accomplishments.  To list just a few:  Singing, writing, hiking, caring for the environment, loving husband, father and grandfather.  He was a city planner and Res Ranger.  He worked tirelessly in developing, maintaining and supporting the Mishawaka Res. The list could go on and on.

I met Dave through the church I was attending.  Gosh, its gotta be close to 20 years.  I have known Janet for over 25.

From what I remember, Dave started serving in the church pretty early on.  He eventually worked his way to becoming head usher and also head Elder.  This is worth noting, because if you know anything about the church I was attending, you know that ushering was not just handing out bulletins and passing a plate.  We were a group of hoopin’ and hollerin’ Pentecostals that were serious in our singing, dancing and praising the Lord.  Services were rarely quiet and sedate and ushers were kept busy handing out tissues, moving chairs to allow for more dancing and many other things.  Our Pastor was liable to do anything during a service and ushers had to be alert to what he needed.  Not going to preach today and just pray for people?  Ushers needed to keep order and direct people to the prayer line.  Because people were liable to fall out in the spirit while being prayed for, ushers had to be there to catch them.  Someone getting their praise on and their dancing getting a bit too crazy?  Ushers were dispatched to make sure no one got hurt.  It took special discerning to give people space to express their praise, but also know when someone was just trying to be crazy.  Uh oh, the oil vial is empty and it is needed to anoint someone - shame.  Those ushers got a look from the pastor that would have melted most of us.

There is so much more I could say about the role of an usher (my husband eventually took Dave’s place as head usher). Just trust me that they had to be special people.  They worked hard.  Sunday was NEVER a rest day if you served in our church.

Dave led by great examples of being on time, being respectful, working hard and meeting the needs of those he served.  So, from the get go, Dave was giving of himself.

Eventually, he and Janet started dating.  He was older than her and very different from other men she had dated.  First off, he was white and she was black.  He was pretty quiet and Janet was not.  Janet had two young kids and he never had any.  But it worked.  Long story on their courtship - they dated for years.  Dave struggled with depression and alcohol - but overcame them - I believe very much due to his great love for Janet.  He wanted to be the best man he could be and did not want to live without her.

He treated her with respect.  He opened doors, paid for meals, bought flowers, loved her children.  Encouraged her.   Believed in and supported her.  Treated her the way she should be treated.  It was amazing to watch their story develop.

One of the greatest memories I have is being privy to the day he asked her to marry him.  He decided to do it at church, during a service and he needed help pulling it off.  He asked me to be a part of it.  What an honor.  He knew I had fierce love for Janet and I would do anything I could to help make it go off without a hitch.  I can’t remember all I was in charge of, but I do remember having to make sure a bouquet of flowers got to him at the right time.

Janet was sitting in the front row.  He had arranged for a pause in the service and he walked up to her, got down on his knee, in front of the church and declared his deep love for her and asked for her hand.  Many of us knew the journey it took to get to this place and very few could contain their emotion.  Here was a man not afraid of showing the world just how much he loved Janet.  Oh, he set a high standard for the ladies in the church that day.  I for one never forgot it.

Together, they just took off.  Janet is a singer and her song got better.   Dave was a dreamer and started implementing those dreams.  Dave convinced an inner city girl to live out on a nature preserve and take trips to East Glacier, Montana.  They grew in their roles in the church and both became elders.

The Family
When I started dating Bill, we gathered our friends together to let them know that our relationship had gone from “just friends” to what we called “other than”.  Those gathered who had been my long time friends were a bit hard on Bill, wanting to make sure he was not just taking me for a ride or something like that ☺  I can see it now:  Marce, Pam and Jolene sitting at my dining room table, all of them leaning in as they spoke to Bill, reminding him of the hurts I had from the past, reminding him that if anyone dared to hurt me like that again there would be consequences.  There were strong words, there were fists pounding the table for emphasis. There were those who stuck up for Bill, but the ones that just were not sure yet of his intentions were pretty loud.  And there was Dave, who sat at the head of the table and for sure identified with Bill (since some of Janet’s friends - me included - grilled him a bit when they started dating) and he brought some balance to the table, insuring that no one got injured that day.  I recall that it was the first time I really saw him “elding”, taking on the role long before he got the title.

Bill took it all like the man of God he truly is, willing to endure some scrutiny to win the woman who would eventually become his bride.

In fact, when Bill asked me to marry him, he followed Dave’s example and did so at church, in front of many of our church friends and Pastor.  We were rehearsing for a play, where I had the role of the Virgin Mary, (funny huh) and I was called to the front of the church by the play’s director and there Bill got down on bended knee, recited a poem he wrote for the occasion and asked me to marry him.

We loved getting together with Dave and Janet and had them in our home often.  Dave was grand to cook for as he loved a good meal.  I don’t think I have ever cooked for someone who enjoyed it as much as Dave.  His signature expression “It doesn’t get any better than this” was most often heard by me in the presence of food.

A Huckleberry Delight in East Glacier
The other place I heard that expression was in the outdoors.  He loved nature and we were fortunate to go to Glacier Park with he and Janet.  He had been there over 18 times and was phenomenal in his knowledge of the place.  You name a trail and he will tell you how long it is, the elevation and the time it would take to get there and back.  And he always had a story about it.

He planned our trip out almost by the hour, especially the train ride.  He had taken the 36 hour train ride for all his Glacier visits and knew the scenery we would pass and at what time.  We had dinner at the second seating in the dining car so we could see the sunset.  We sat in the observation car at a certain time because we would be passing the sunflower fields.  Miles of bright yellow sunflowers, waving at us in the wind as we passed. Oh, it was a sight to see and well worth planning for.

As we were hiking through the trails, Bill and Janet would often go faster and get ahead.  Dave always walked beside me and never let me walk alone.  I would tell him he could go ahead, I would keep them in my sight (one of the hiking rules he taught us was to never lose sight of your group) because I thought for sure he was going slower for me.  But he said “No Sue, I always hike at a slower pace” and I believed him.  He took the time to enjoy the journey, smell the fresh air and notice the smallest details.  On a particularly difficult trail that had a lot of uphill climbing I stopped as we stood before yet another climb.  As I caught my breath I asked him if our destination, “Hidden Lake” was worth it.  Because at that point, I was ready to just find a rock to sit on and let them go ahead.  With great sincerity in his voice, he said it was.  I trusted him, so I pushed on.  We got to the higher ground and were greeted by mountain goats and the beautiful view into the valley where Hidden Lake was.  A small, beautiful lake surrounded by trees and mountains.  It took my breath away, not from exhaustion, but from the beauty.  I had never seen anything like it and treasure the memory.

Hidden Lake

East Glacier with Dave and Janet - not Hidden Lake, but another beautiful one

Walking the trails with Dave meant you got to see things that your inexperienced eyes would have surely missed.  Flowers, animals, streams that were hidden.  Dave knew they were there and it helped to keep you going.  Sitting on rocks near crystal clear waters of streams tucked away in a place it seemed only Dave knew about.  Dipping your hot, tired feet into the cool stream was like a piece of heaven.  The sound of the water lulling you, pulling you into its spell of wonder and contentment.  It was hard to get up sometimes and move on.

One day we were walking the trail past a small body of water and Dave stopped us and pointed - there was a moose almost completely covered in water, but he had seen just a part of him sticking out.  As we watched in silence, this huge moose lifted its head and body out of the water.  For a girl who’s picture of a moose was “Bullwinkle”, this large creature was unbelievable and beautiful.  Of course we just watched from our place on the trail, as clearly the moose could have run us over without batting an eye.  Priceless.  Dave was a wealth of knowledge and it was fueled by his love of this place.

East Glacier
East Glacier
East Glacier
We have trails that wrap around foothills near our house in Escondido.  Not quite the massiveness of Glacier National Park, but beautiful still and I would have loved to share them with Dave and whenever we walk them I think of him.  Bill reminded me that when we walk them, Dave is there with us.  I believe that.

Dave was pretty quiet in his manner until he laughed.  Wow.  His laugh was loud and boisterous - almost sinister - I loved it.  But when you saw his smile as he laughed you knew there was no darkness in it, just joy.

None of us are perfect and Dave was no exception.  He was human and struggled as we all do.   He tended to “brood” about things at times and it was hard to get through when he felt that way.

One of those situations was when some things were changing at our church.  It was a transition in pastors, in leadership and direction.  To explain it all would take away the focus from my intent, which is Dave, so I will be brief in my description.  I mention it because it happened in the last years of his life and I believe it to be very significant.

This part of my story is the one I struggle with the most.  Because it affected me so deeply, I know my view is biased.  Honestly, there are some things that still anger me about what happened. I have had several re-writes on this part, and hopefully I have curbed the anger enough to allow the heart of the matter to come through.

I had been a part of the church for 20 years, Dave not far behind.  It was a crazy time of deception, lies and coverup.  Certain leaders felt they were accountable to no one and many were unwilling to confront them.  Those that chose to were labeled as traitors.  Now, some of our core beliefs were transparency and shared leadership, so when the deception came to the surface, it was a huge blow to the church.  Scripture was cast aside as were the teachings that came from our pulpit over the years - all of a sudden, certain people did not have to follow the teachings of Christ.

Dave was head elder, so these things impacted him in many ways.  I know there were many hurts during this time for Dave and he took it hard.  Lots of people behaving badly and treating the people who loved them badly.  He took a sabbatical from church.  It was a dark time for us.  We went to Dave and Janet for direction.  They opened their heart and home to us - something we needed desperately.  I talk about it in more detail further on. After a time, he ended up leaving the church and a few months later Bill and I did as well. 

Dave moved on, but many of the hurts and misunderstandings remained hanging out there unresolved.  Stubbornness and pride I guess kept people from doing what should have been done. Thankfully, I know he came to much peace about it all in the last year or so of his life.  But to me, it remains grievous that he died so soon after all this.  My point in sharing this?  You never know when your time is up my friends.  If there are hurts, try hard to correct them.  If there is offense, make a move towards reconciling.  You may think you have all the time in the world to make amends, but the reality is - we don’t.

Around this time I found out that Dave was a gifted writer.  I hosted a couple open mics in the lodge at “The Res” in Mishawaka, IN, the nature preserve that he and Janet were caretakers of.  Woops, let me get it right - Rangers.  (Ranger Dave and Ranger Janet beautified this place and took care of it with great love)  Dave read some of his work at one of these open mics and amazed us once again with his depth and beautiful words.
Dave's open mic performance

The last time I saw Dave was on his 60th birthday in February 2011.  We walked through Pokagon State Park and then went to dinner.  Janet and I walked and talked about where do we go next, what is God saying to us.  Dave and Bill walked not far behind talking about what men talk about.

We went for dinner at a favorite place of theirs not far from the park.  We had a great time and Dave seemed very much at peace. He talked to us about some ideas he had for the future and was designing a backpack for hikers that he wanted to market.  We were surrounded by great food, laughter and dear friends.  It just does not get any better than that.

60th Birthday dinner

I shared this at his funeral: 

There Is No Better Man

When we speak of Dave Norris, I must say: Where is there a better man?  Can you tell me?

There is my wonderful husband who stands above the rest in my eyes – but I am biased.

No, outside of my husband, of all the men I have ever met that walk the earth, there are few that could hold a candle to my friend Dave.

Dave set the standard for men when he courted his bride Janet. When he proposed to her, he did so in front of his church, on bended knee for all to witness.  He wooed his bride the way Christ woos me, with persistence and passion. I knew from that moment I would settle for nothing less than that kind of fearless love and devotion – he set the bar high.

And the wooing never ceased as whenever Janet would walk into the room, a grin from ear to ear would be on Dave’s face.   And if she was singing - if you were wise, you never tried to speak to him as all his attention was turned towards her, admiring the woman who was his queen.   And don’t let him catch YOU talking – you ran the risk of seeing the OTHER side of Dave as he gave you a look that made you know, you don’t want to mess with him.

Janet and Dave unlocked the treasures in each other that seemed to be held captive while they were apart.  Their joining brought to light all that God put inside them.

Dave was an elder, father, servant and friend.  He has been all those things to me at one time or another and I am a better person for it.

I have so many stories of Dave; From their wedding, trekking through Glacier Park, years of going to church together, and the many meals we shared – and I can’t even get started talking about the love we shared of coffee…its hard to choose just one. 

I share one that changed my life and encompasses who Dave is.  A couple years ago my heart was broken in ways I never imagined possible.  At the time, Dave and Janet were elders at our church, as well as our friends.  We sought Janet and Dave out for direction and wisdom.  They welcomed us into their home, and as I sat before them, broken, hurt and confused, Dave said, “Let’s talk about things not as elder and congregant, but as friends, because that’s what we are”.  He had no idea how badly we needed to hear those words.  There was no “posturing” in Dave, no invisible rules to follow because he held a title.  He never chided us for questioning, but understood our pain and offered comfort, support and prayer.  Dave saw our need and tended to it.  His tender heart, which had also been broken by the circumstances, helped mine to stay tender and not get bitter.  Even in his pain, he pointed the way toward Christ.  For that, I am forever grateful.

There is no better man.

April 2011

These writings offer just a glimpse of this man’s story.  Dave Norris was a complex man with wonderful gifts and they live on in us.  He was real.  He was fun.  He was caring. He was a great man.  He was my friend and I loved him.  He is in my heart still and I miss him.  I thank God he was in my life and I carry a part of him always.

Till we meet again Dave; till we meet again...