1. God’s love has never been more real…through these last few days, he has continually dropped/ brought exactly the right person with the right talents at the right time. I am encouraged by the family of God and all of your prayers. As Lauren Daigle says in one of my favorite songs, Rescue, “I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkest night, it’s true. I will rescue you.” God has sent out an army for us, people who have been praying encouraging and helping us. All of you are part of this, and we thank you so much for all your love.
We know that he will continue to rescue us in our need.
2. Craig and I were a team, we balanced each other perfectly. I told him one day that together we were like a balloon on a string. He was the bright balloon with the big fun plans and dreams and I was the string that kept him grounded by asking him silly things like, “How will we pay for that?” He never worried about those little details. He saw past them to what could be. An example of this was when we went to the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. This was all Craig’s idea and working. A year prior, he entered the lottery for tickets and won them not only for his favorite sport of hockey, but for mine as well, pairs figure skating…which was even better. When there were no affordable hotels, he found a church connection to rent a little house in Vancouver and used airline miles to get our tickets. It took hours of work and planning but he did it because he dreamed of what could be, instead of believing what couldn’t be. We got to travel all over the world with Craig, including Australia, England, Kazakhstan, Germany and Canada. We had one of our best vacations ever as a family in Vancouver and is a memory we will all treasure. Because of his dreams, we have tons and tons of wonderful family memories.
3. Craig was 100% all in when he got into something and photography and videography were no different. He left us with thousands of pictures and videos. Every vacation, he carried along his big heavy camera bag, with the best lenses and equipment you could buy at B & H Photo or Samy’s camera (two stores the kids and I hated to go in with him). Craig had so much stuff in those bags that he was even unaware that it was a little heavier because of 240 rounds of live amo that he had picked up in San Diego on a trip down for Karimy’s basketball game. He was reminded of it, when going through TSA at the Denver airport, where he was promptly detained, his amo confiscated but worse of all… his treasured TSA pre-check status was removed….making his life imminently more difficult with all his traveling for the next 3 years. And despite all his charm and excellent writing skills, he found out that TSA would not budge on his “penalty” He could win most anyone over, but not the TSA folks…apparently they didn’t share his sense of humor.
Craig’s massive collection of pictures and videos will continue to make us laugh and bring him back to us when we are missing him most.
4. Over the years, Craig became an avid journalist: first in his Ghurka, then in his Mole Skins and most recently on his iPad. He wouldn’t start his work day without getting into God’s Word, reading and meditating on His truths and then journaling about them. While preparing for his service, Alec came across these two 3x5 cards with encouraging verses that I had given him 10 years ago, when he was going through his darkest days. Let me read them to you..
We will follow in his footsteps by leaning into God and drawing our strength from His truths and that is how we can have confidence in our darkest days.
5. Craig loved me and the kids big. He told us every day that he loved us but not only that, he lived love in his actions. He spoiled us with gifts, especially this last Christmas, where I kept trying to be the string, but somehow we ended up completely out of budget…however, each of the kids had special gifts so we could do more things together as a family. He and the boys went to Santa Cruz to pick out their big gift “scuba diving equipment” and we had plans to go to Hawaii in June. He loved Scuba Diving with the boys and was working his magic to convince Karimy and I to get PADI certified so we could all go together. I could not tell Craig no for very long and he knew that if he just kept “working me” he would get his way (some of you may have also experienced Craig this way). Recently, he had been trying to convince me that we needed a boat, so we could go crabbing on Whidbey Island and “Dive” off the back of it and the string on the balloon was just barely holding on.
6. It’s probably not hard to see how our kids take after Craig. There is a piece of Craig in each our children. Cameron with his ministry heart and love of adventure. Karimy with her initiative and love of sports. And Alec with his writing abilities and love of learning...
My children give me the confidence that together we will be okay.
7. On Holidays, he took the time to find just the right card for me and I have stacks of those to go back and read through. But this year was different. On Christmas morning, I called everyone to breakfast and he said, “But hun, I’m not done writing your card.” And I said, “It’s okay. You can do that later. Let’s eat before everything is cold.” So we did and then continued on with all of our Christmas traditions and activity and had a wonderful, fun day together. Virendra and his family came over and we played games and challenged the Vase Family in a game of Code Names. The kids put the dads on the hot seat, meaning they had to give the one word cues to their team, without any facial expression or reaction to us. Well, as you know, Craig was not a one-word expressionless person. In fact as a speech pathologist, I used to tease him about his word-finding problems. Couple this with the fact that he was a huge competitor and our family’s honor was on the line and you can see the pressure he was under. His last clue “stuffed 2” brought home the victory as we correctly guessed “olive” and “duck” To which he sighed a huge relief and teased the kids, “GEEZ! Your mom was right every time! You should have listened to her!” We packed for our early morning ski trip and left the next day at 4am for South Lake Tahoe so we could squeeze in a full day of snowboarding before Cameron left for Hawaii. On the long drive home without him, we sat in stunned silence beginning to process through our shock and grief and regrets and one came to surface in my mind. The Christmas Card…why didn’t I let him finish it? I prayed, “God please let him have written something on it and let me find it.” After being home for a few minutes…Alec came and found me in our bedroom and said, “Mom come here. I need to show you something.” He walked me into Craig’s office where I found this card sitting in his antique typewriter, just waiting for me. I opened it to find that he did write in the card words I will always treasure. The picture is of a husband and wife holding hands walking through a snowy forest towards a shiny city with the caption, “Side by side.”
The journey of marriage is like our walk of faith. We may not know exactly on earth where it will lead or when it will end, but we do it side by side. My challenge for you today is to cherish your spouse and family and walk with them side by side.