Kevin Bromund (10/23/72 to 8/18/17)

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Kevin Bromund was a badass. I’m sorry, but I don’t know of a better way to describe him. And, if you knew him, you would say the same thing. Ever since I met Kevin he possessed this quality.  He was 16 years old when we first crossed paths–I was dating his older sister. He looked like a young Tom Cruise. He had a VW beetle and was getting into this new sport called snowboarding. Long before there were runs on ski hills for snowboarding Kevin and his friends would make them up on the backside of ski resorts in MN.  They would also bring their boards to a local sand mine and board down them like hills. Like I said, badass.

As he got older, his confidence grew. He wanted to be a pilot. He longed to fly at fast speeds across the sky with 2 miles of nothing between him and the ground. He lived a lively, raucous life and no one could stop him.

It was during a physical for this pursuit that he found out about his heart defect. His heart was flip flopped. It’s called a transverse heart. It is a rare condition and one that would change Kevin’s life forever. Because of his heart’s design it would have to work harder, which caused it to enlarge. The enlargement caused his valves to leak, which caused Kevin to receive his first open heart surgery when he was 25 years old. More sobering than the surgery is that Kevin was given a timeline on his life. He was told that he would probably not live beyond his forties.

Did he crawl up into a ball and cry? Did he sit home and watch TV for the rest of his life? No. He traveled, He built homes. Drove motorcycles. Caught lunkers, Drank. Smoked. Got married. Had kids and settled down. Kevin was not the type of person to be told what to do, even by doctors. He gulped life as he desired and made the most of every opportunity to try every flavor, aroma, experience and sight.

Kevin died yesterday. He valiantly fought for 34 days at the University of Minnesota’s hospital to continue to live the life that he wanted to live, and not the life that people told him to live. His family is  going to miss him, so will his friends. Not just because he carved his way into their hearts, but I think they will miss him because deep down they liked knowing that there was someone who did as he pleased and made the most of every opportunity of the life he had on this earth. Most of us don’t know when we will pass on. Perhaps we shouldn’t see this as such a gift. Our ignorance of our own death makes us passive in life. There is always a tomorrow. There is always another day to procrastinate our humdrum nature toward. Kevin was given a gift. He was told that he had to make the most of his years on this planet–and he did. For that, I will miss him.

Barbara (Hilligoss) Taylor

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From the Quad Cities Times

June 3, 2017
CLINTON — Barbara Kay Taylor, 71, of Clinton, Iowa, passed away at the Clarissa Cook Hospice House on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Honoring her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 17, at 3 p.m. at Lemke Funeral Homes – South Chapel (2610 Manufacturing Drive). A visitation will occur one hour prior to the memorial service from 2 p.m. until the time of service at the Funeral Home. Lemke Funeral Homes assisted the family with arrangements.
Barbara was born November 27, 1945, in Aledo, Illinois, the daughter of Clyde and Kay (Beard) Hilligoss. She was a graduate of Aledo High School. She earned a specialized two-year degree from AIC college. Barbara worked as a secretary at both St. Ambrose University and Clinton High School.
Barbara was united in marriage to Terry Taylor on September 18, 1981. Barbara was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Barbara enjoyed sewing and cross-stitch. She also enjoyed reading and watching movies. She loved observing animals, nature and loved watching the passing of time through the changes of the season. Early in life, she enjoyed taking trips with her husband, especially to Minnesota. She loved her family very much and enjoyed socializing with them — she will be sadly missed.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Terry, of Clinton; two sons, Brandon (Karla) Barker of West Des Moines, Iowa, Nathan (Courtney) Barker of Rosemont, Minnesota; one step-daughter, Dianne (Dan) Piercy of Thomson, Illinois; two step-sons, Terry Taylor of Clinton, Iowa, and Joseph Taylor of Preston, Iowa; two brothers, Charles (Sharon) Hilligoss of Silvis, Illinois, and Daniel (Connie) Hilligoss of Aledo, Illinois; 14 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; two aunts, June Brewer of Silvis, Illinois, and Margaret Creiger of Branson, Missouri; with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Preceding Barbara in death were her parents.
Memorials made can be directed to the wishes of the family.

Charles H. Horn

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June 06, 1921 – April 29, 2017

CHARLES H. HORN, 95, of 500 S. Jackson Street, Morrison, IL, passed away Saturday April 29, 2017 at Resthave Home in Morrison.

Chuck was born June 6, 1921 in Garden Plain, IL, to Henry Charles and Eva Mildred (Knapp) Horn. He was educated in the Garden Plain Grade School and was a graduate of Erie High School in Erie, IL. He married Betty Jane Hetz on May 13, 1944 in Cordova, IL. Chuck engaged in farming in the Newton Township area in Whiteside County. Later he worked as a truck driver for VanZuiden Trucking and Farm Supply and Cardox.  He was a member First Baptist Church in Morrison and the Fulton City Lodge #189 AF & AM. Chuck enjoyed memorizing poetry, playing the guitar and keyboard, and telling funny stories. The greatest joy in Chuck’s life was travelling and spending time with his family. Chuck never met a stranger.

Survivors include his wife, Betty; twin daughters, Linda (Dick) Adams of Morrison and Rita (Donnie) Barker of Davenport, IA; one son, Robert Horn of Conroe, TX; nine grandchildren, Randy (Deb) Adams, Rick (Stephanie Mason) Adams, Kathi (Mike) Krall, Tim (Teri) Adams, Terri (Oliver) Stanford, Brandon (Karla) Barker, Tom (Michele) Barker, Nathan (Courtney) Barker, Lori Olea; twenty-six great grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Paul Horn.

Psalm 38:9

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All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. Ps. 38:9

The number of hairs of my head are known to God. My soul He knows. My sin He knows. My pain He knows. My repentance He knows. My longings for renewal He knows. God reads me like an open book. He is not shocked or surprised. He isn’t amazed at my sin. I cannot hide anything from Him.

David’s cries in Psalm 38 are vulnerable. He is weak. He is fragile. I weeps for God’s protection and love. Who on earth wants anything different, really? God does not hide. Though we feel far away–He is close. He is the sun rising in the morning, the breath in our lungs, the song on our lips, the hope of a better tomorrow. God is always there.

I, on the other hand, stray. I turn my back. I walk away slowly at times, and sprinting at others. I feel the pull to connect coming from him and I hesitate. I pause. He sees me though. He knows me.

God, all of who I am lays open before you. I cannot hide from you. Forgive me when I try.

Psalm 37:23-24

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The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;  though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Ps. 37:23-24

Though he may stumble? Of course there will be stumbling. Life cannot be lived without stumbling. The key to this verse is that the “fall” is covered. God has taken the necessary steps to make sure that we cannot be impacted by the fall. We need not worry about it. We need not be afraid to take a step.

His hand is a hand of support. It is a strong hand that can hold us in even the worst of terrains. My path is treacherous, but God holds me with His hand and so my steps are not filled with peril. There has to be cycle of delight in this as well. When I put my trust in him, He shows that He is trustworthy and deserving of my faith and hope in ALL areas of life.

Psalm 36:7

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How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭36:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I used to refer to this verse to show people that the Bible uses metaphor at times to describe God. “God doesn’t have wings” I would say, proving that there is room for creative liberty in God’s Word. But, today this passage has a depth of meaning for me that I treasure.

God’s love can be used as a protective, secure state of presentness. The immenseness of God allows for a shadow to be cast that covers me. It is something I can take refuge in. I can be protected like a young one under the wing of my protective Parent. 

Dr. Russell Moore Symposium

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I recently was able to attend a symposium hosted by Cornerstone Church in Ames with Dr. Russell Moore.  Dr. Moore is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, or ERLC, the moral and public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Cornerstone Lead Pastor Jeff Dodge hosted the conversation with questions for Dr. Moore before opening the floor for questions from the audience.

I was drawn in by his compassion for people that he doesn’t agree with, and his highly intelligent arguments to modern ethical issues.  For anyone interested in engaging culture with the Gospel, I highly recommend watching.  He has also authored a few books which can be found here.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

 

Prayer of the Distressed

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Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling like you’ve been swallowed up? Here is a prayer of someone who felt the same way.

Jonah 2:2 NIV. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

There is no depth you can be at that God cannot hear you…or reach you.

People Pleasing

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Yesterday was President’s Day.  It doesn’t mean much to people anymore. It’s a holiday invented to honor our supreme national leader (and give government agencies the day off).  I was reminded, however, of something that President Abraham Lincoln said:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

These words, by poet John Lydgate, were used by President Lincoln to talk about the demands of leadership and meeting people’s expectations. Recently, I have had a lot of expectations to consider.  Due to stressful circumstances in my life, I have been forced to look at who I am and how I do things. This isn’t something that is new. In fact, this is how people grow in maturity. We adapt. We grow. Yet, in this phase of my life I am realizing that the path isn’t always clear. The “grey areas” of life seem to grow and I have been stuck wondering, “where do I go next?”

This is when people give me their thoughts and ideas, and I am brought to wonder how I-and if I-should meet the expectations of those looking into my leadership. The more people I ask, the more opinions and directions I am given and the more convoluted the way seems to be. Who do I listen to? Who do I ignore?

Here are a few questions that run through my mind as I seek to meet the expectations of some, and try to lead them all:

  1. Who are my “Arm Lifters”?  In Exodus 17 Moses and the Israelites are in a battle with the Amalekites. Moses is told by God to go onto the hilltop and raise the staff of God above his head. When he does this the Israelites are victorious over their foes. But holding your hands over your head is hard to do for an entire battle–and Moses wasn’t a young man. So, Aaron and Hur sit Moses down on a rock and lift his arms for him. The hold his arms up. We all need people like this. These are the people we need to listen to and trust.
  2. Am I being asked to go against my character or nature?  Sometimes people expect you to be someone else. In this world of cult of personality it’s easy for someone to put the expectations of another leader onto you. “That church has 1000 people” they may say. Or, “this author has a different approach”. I’m not saying that these are bad things (how could I?). What I am saying is that some of the expectations that leaders encounter are due to unrealistic expectations that are put on them because of some persona incognito. We must ask ourselves if the expectations being placed on us are unrealistic for who we are and what we know we can accomplish.
  3. Why do I want to meet these expectations?  Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book The Power of Other, talks about the human’s desire to please others. That sometimes our drive to please them causes us to make compromises in who we really are.  As a leader it is important to understand why you want to meet an expectation of the people you lead. Do you desire to be accepted? Are you trying to please them so they will do your bidding later? Our motivation to meet expectations should be considered. Sometimes leaders have to make decisions that will be unpopular, but they are the right decision. Sometimes we move people to a place that isn’t easy. A strong leader knows what is motivating them to meet the expectations of others.

President Lincoln was wise to point out the obvious. We CANNOT please everyone…not for very long that is. So, we must know why we make decisions. Why we listen to some, and ignore others. Why we stand for something that others might not. That is leadership.