Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clear, sunny day

"You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you."
- Psalm 86:5

During the past two trips back to Baton Rouge, I have been listening to Tony Dungy's book Quiet Strength. Tony Dungy is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, last season's Super Bowl champion. Prior to his team's victory, he had recently experienced the loss of three very important people in his life. His mother, a public school and Sunday school teacher, passed away after a long debilitating battle with diabetes. She inspired him as well as her students to reach their GOD-given potential by motivating them with her selfless and loving attitude. As a young man, Tony even recalled the first time he ever beat his athletic mother in a race around the yard as an example of her encouragement for him to become involved in athletics.

Following the death of his mother, Tony's father passed away only a couple of years later from leukemia. He recalls how his dad taught him to be a man of integrity and strong Christian character throughout his lifetime. His dad, a science professor1 and former WWII Tuskegee airman2, spent quality and quantity time with his kids which Tony stated has shaped him a coach and a father.

As I've listened to the attributes of Tony's parents and how they've shaped his life, I'm reminded of the attributes of my own parents and grandparents. As a kid, I spent many summer vacations over at my grandparents' house and enjoyed catching lizards and bugs. Some of my fondest memories of my MawMaw are when she would take us to the dollar theater in town and spend time with us during vacation Bible school at Goodwood Baptist Church. By collecting coke cans and visiting the food bank, she taught us how anyone could give to those in need as long as they had the desire and heart.

My PawPaw enjoyed tinkering with various mechanical and electronic parts to build his inventions; which were usually geared toward keeping squirrels out of this bird feeders and fruit trees. He was a man that stood firm on his statements, yet also only made them when he was fairly certain he was correct. He spent time in the Navy during WWII, yet it wasn't until the past few years that he began to recall to us the events that happened during his time in the service.

As his grandson, I knew he loved me as well as my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Most of the time when I stopped by his house, he would tell me to wait a minute as he retrieved an interesting gadget or LSU memorabilia gift that had made him think of me while looking through a garage sale, one of his favorite hobbies. During the week, my uncles and aunts would often stop by his house for lunch to spend time with him and talk about LSU sports or old times. Even in his last months, he enjoyed having the family sit in his room to talk about their childhoods looking to affirm their memories by a nod from PawPaw.

When family wasn't around, he spent most of his time gardening. His fruit trees and flowers where always so unique and colorful that most people would ask what his secret was. His usual response was that he did nothing extraordinary, but just the ordinary things well.

In saying that, we thought it was fitting that yesterday was such a beautiful day for his funeral service. Tuesday night, during his wake, it rained but still many people came out to visit the family and catch up on the relationships that were only made possible through my PawPaw. Even as I write this today, it's dark and pouring down rain outside. Yet following yesterday's chapel service, the Lord showed us favor by providing a clear, sunny day for our family and friends to give final respects in memory of my PawPaw, Emile Adolf "Slim" Cancienne.

Service Bible Readings:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
1 John 4:7-15

1 - JCC, Dungy Endowed Chair Dinner & Auction 2006
2 - Dungy's upbringing was super solid

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Passing of a Legacy

"My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
- Psalm 34:2,18

As some of you may have heard, my PawPaw passed away early yesterday morning. I know many of you have been praying from him and I have to believe this was in the Lord's timing. My Uncle Bill had just flown in from California, so all of his children where
the previous night.

Please accept a heartful 'Thank You' from all of us... especially me. I know that your prayers where heard and it made a difference. The Friday before Christmas I
met my PawPaw in the hospital as I've told most of you. He didn't think he would make it to his next birthday (January 15) or even Christmas day. He had told most of us this and normally when my PawPaw said something would happen, you could guarantee he would be right on the mark. But this time, our prayers were heard and he not only made it through Christmas but even into his 88th birthday!

Since he came home from the hospital he was mostly bedridden, but as you can see in the picture to the right... he was able to sit in 'his chair' on Christmas day to read the newspaper just like old times. This really meant alot to me and the family. Praise GOD!

Also, I wanted to include a link his obituary. My PawPaw has had a diverse life and touched numerous people's lives in various ways as we have seen by all the people that have visited his home in the past weeks. He was an accomplished horticulturist as well as an entomologist and has written a number of articles and co-authored books. You can just do a google search on E.A. Cancienne which reveals a number of links to his works that have been imported into the internet including his book Beginning with Bees. He was humble on most of his work in these areas although if anyone ever had a question on growing anything, PawPaw would give you the best advice (it always worked) and even the scientific names of the insects you may have been fighting. He will be missed. (Link to Obituary and funeral times)

I also would like to thank everyone for the support you've shown me since yesterday. My trip home was a bit eventful, but I was sure the Lord was with me. About halfway into my drive, a deer ran into my truck around dusk. (see pictures below) All I remember seeing was a deer head show up in front of my headlight before I hit it. I didn't even see it run across the road or have a chance to brake. But thankfully, I was able to make some slight modifications to my bumper and drive the rest of the way home with no mechanical problems. Praise GOD!

Please continue to pray for my family through this time.