On Tuesday, I got to hang out with one of my favorite guys on the planet. I don’t see him very often, but when I do, it makes my day. His name is Phil and he’s the dad of my best friend, Emily. She’s pretty crazy about him. Sometimes she almost can’t stand how precious he is. It makes her heart nearly burst. If you knew Phil, you would understand.

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Whenever I’m around Phil, he asks me lots of questions about my life and listens to my answers intently, a trait I appreciate in a man. His favorite thing to ask, with a twinkle in his eye, is, “How about your love life??” Emily says that when I’m not around, he will ask her for updates and she’ll fill him in on what she knows. This cracks me up. I think it cracks them up too.

As much as Phil enjoys the stories, he always maintains a protective stance, wanting to make sure I don’t settle for something less than I need or deserve, and applauding me when I don’t.

He might not ever know how much that blesses me. To feel seen and pursued and cared about by him. To know he’s in my corner.

On Tuesday he showed me this beautiful picture of himself and his new bride, Jane, taken a few years back by a friend of theirs.

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I know, right?

How sweet is that?? An incredibly handsome and lovely couple, at the very start of their journey together. No idea what lies ahead, but ready for what may come.

Across the room from that picture, on the opposite wall, hangs this one:

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That’s Phil and Jane, right there in the middle, surrounded by all their kids and grandkids.

There is so much story in between those two pictures. Good, and hard, and brave, and silly, and sacrificial, and ordinary parts to the story – and all the rest of it too.

Look what their love turned into.

Even the hospice technician who showed up to assemble a special bed in the living room – the kind that comes with a remote control and a rolling bedside table; the kind you need when your life is transitioning onto a new, sacred, and still somewhat uncertain path; the last bed you’ll probably ever use – even that guy commented on the picture with all the kids.

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It’s striking.

And it’s even more striking if you know the loving, funny, genuinely amazing people in that picture.

What a legacy.

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What a gift.

What a man.


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    March 24, 2014 - 10:07 pm
  • Rodney Johnson

    Friends in Christ, God bless you during these difficult days preserving His peace, comfort and love in your hearts and lives through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Brenda Niemela

    My Uncle Phil and Aunt Jane have always been in my corner and have rescued me several times when they thought I needed some guidance in my life. They have always been straight shooters and are genuine, true, loving and appreciated by many others in my family. We treasure the talks and good times spent with them and their family. I love them beyond words and pray they are taking this tough time in stride like they have taken many tough times in stride on this journey called life. Thank you, Phil and Jane, for lifting up me and my family through many struggles in our lives too. You will always be treasured and remembered for your spirit and strength.

  • Pat Schauer

    We miss you in Kingston. You have brought us so much joy. Hospice is a wonderful organization and they will take great care of you. You have made a wonderful life together. It makes me smile when I think of you both. Sad times are not so bad when our Lord guides us through them. I look forward to spending eternity with both of you. Love from the Schauers.

  • Barb. Lehto

    Phil is a legend – well known for his personality. We can count on him being up front with things, honest – terribly honest, sincere and yes, genuinely interested in everyone he’s with. I’ve always looked forward to times with him, but sadly, I haven’t made them happen enough. My loss. He was blessed with the perfect wife and mother for his children. Jane is a remarkable person with the same qualities! Most of all they both have such a deep and genuine relationship with God and their Saviour, letting the Holy Spirit always show them the Father’s love and care, and not being hesitant to share that precious grace!
    Love you both and hope to come and see you soon! Barb. Lehto

  • emily

    Treasure you are Julie. Gifted and loving. He is something to enjoy. If you know Phil, you know him. He let’s that being known happen. Glad to be still getting visits and chats. It is a sacred space indeed. Love you Julie – appreciate this gift so much.

  • Deb Erpelding

    Beautiful words put together for a fabulous man and his loving family!


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