Well, I wanted to come back and give you some more info on Anna's service. Alissa is hanging out with her family while I'm home with Isaac, who is safe and sound in bed, sleeping quietly and cozily. Isn't that a fun word? Cozily. Anyway...here I am. I'm figuring Liss will show up here pretty soon, and hopefully I won't be distracted too much when and if she does.
I'm still amazed at how incredible Anna's service was. There was lots of sniffling, tear falling, mascera running, and even a bit of sobbing here and there. My little nephew, Drew (age 7 or 8 or something like that...), apparently started sobbing during Anna's slideshow. How sweet is that?!?!
By the way, the slideshow was an awesome tear-jerker. Did we mention the song that was written by a fellow church member? I think so, but if not, I'm sure I'll hear about it and we'll have to explain. Well, Alissa pre-recorded the song, and used it during the slideshow. Yes, it was pretty amazing that she could get through the song at all, but she did. She'll say the recording wasn't that good, but since most of us are non-music geniuses, we wouldn't ever know the difference.
But I'm getting out of order...
Our pastor, Bill Bowers, opened the service by welcoming everyone and offered a prayer. Our good friend, Art, led everyone in a couple of songs. By the way, if you were at the service, you might remember Pastor Bill mentioning that the Freeby family (that's Alissa's side...) was very musical. He also mentioned that the Peppley's were not, which is pretty true. So don't think he was being mean, he was just being honest!
The tributes came next. My sister, Heidi, started them off with a kind of poem, where she and her sister-in-law took comments that Alissa and I had written on this blog. They then compiled them into a form of poem, and she read them off. That was pretty cool.
Pastor Dave then read his letter, which was already posted. So no need to retread that old path, right? And no, I'm not referring to Dave being old...
Next was my brother Joe, and he commented on putting on the full armor of God. Normally, he would have been the one to be a blubbering fool behind the podium. But for some odd reason, that fell to one of my other brothers, Tony, who came after Joe. The funny thing is that Tony started his tribute out by saying he thought he would be able to get through it easier if he just stuck with facts and figures. Well, he did, but he also got choked up quite a bit. Nice work, T.
I think Alissa's Uncle Doug came next. It's possible someone else was in there too, or I got someone out of order, but I'll let Alissa correct me if I'm wrong. And I'm having a blond moment, cuz I can't remember what he talked about specifically. It's possible it had something to do with how strong Alissa and I were through the whole ordeal. And - well - no one likes to hear their horn tooted, right? Well, except maybe celebrities and politicians. So I probably tuned out a little bit. But I digress...He also read a few words from his wife and one of his daughters. Regardless of what he said, it was special.
Anna's grandpa (affectionately known as Pabba...) got up and read a card that he gave to her on her birth day (as in the day of her birth, not birthday...). Pabba gives all of his grandchildren a nickname, and all of them have "bug" in them. For example, he calls Isaac Doodle-bug. Well, he reveals the nickname in the birth day card that he gives to the kids when they are born. So he let everyone know that he was to call Anna Bella-bug. Bella means beautiful. Yes, we all cried.
Alissa went next, and she poured out her heart to her little baby girl. I went last, and after I got done the crowd started to applaud. Since I'm a guy, and guys are all conceited, I initially thought they were applauding because mine was the best and most touching. I eventually realized that the applause was for everyone who had given a tribute. They all were spectacular, and all were so heart-felt that there wasn't one that was better than the rest.
...Meanwhile, Pastor Bill sat on a stool, perched kind of back and away in a far corner of the platform. I think he thought the tributes were going to be pretty quick, so why not stay there on the stage? Well, they weren't quick, so he just sat there and enjoyed watching the backs of our heads. Thank you, Bill.
Well, we all cut into his time too much, so he had to remove a lot of what he was prepared to say. However, his words were direct and full of passion. He spoke of how Anna came into this world with half a heart, but made a significant impact on this world just by simply being herself. Then he directed us all to consider how we are living our lives. Are we living whole-heartedly to God? Or are we living with just half a heart? Like I mentioned last night, I think his one quote summed up Anna's story and message to this world. It was certainly tragic that Anna was born with half a heart. But what is even more tragic is a person who is only half-heartedly living for God. He challenged us to consider our place in God's kingdom, and asked us if we would do what we can to be like Anna, and live whole-heartedly.
All in all, the service was a tremendous time of celebrating Anna's life. Alissa and I would like to once again fervently thank everyone who came to Anna's service in person and in spirit (what does that mean anyway..."in spirit?" can a person really be somewhere else as a spirit? I think not...whoa - strange tangent! sorry). I'm thinking I would like to get copies of what everyone said for Anna, and put them in a post (or posts...). That way, all of you who couldn't be at the service can get an idea of how it went.
Well, it's 11:30, Alissa is not home yet (they must be having fun! luckies...), and I'm getting tired. Of course, I'll probably stay up reading, or playing some stupid computer game, but I really should go to bed. After all, there are some very important activities happening tomorrow, namely some good football bowl games. I gotta rest up so I can watch them, right?