We know many of you loved our Dad and were not able to make it to the service. It is our honor to share it with you here.
As always, we are still taking orders. Please have all Christmas orders in by Friday of this week. Don't forget that HARD TO BUY FOR person in your life! Grillin' Magic is the perfect solution!
If you are making a Christmas bird of any kind....don't forget the Grillin' Magic! You won't regret it!
To View the Service:
Our Dad went home to be with Jesus at 7:15pm this evening. He is in no more pain...No more suffering... Our hearts are broken but we are comforted in knowing that God is close to the brokenhearted.
We will continue to honor him with our lives as we serve each other and the Lord. Please continue to remember our Mom, Cathy Jo, in your prayers. This was the love of a lifetime.
We will be holding services most likely next week. We will post details once they are public. Thank you friends.
You are all very important to Dad. We are so grateful for you! We will continue GM in his honor and memory! We will make sure to get all orders out for Christmas!
I will sign off by telling you that Dad would want you to get up for church in the morning and spend some time with Jesus, and enjoy a pork chop or steak for lunch!
Sometimes there are no words to say or hear that make hurting hearts feel less pain. Better...what is better? Okay...will we be ok? Everyone says we will. Deep down, I know that and I believe that...but in the meantime....Okay seems so very far away.
It has been a blessed week here in MN. We arrived just as Daddy was transitioning to home. I was able to make Dad his Mom's famous Poppyseed and Nut Rolls. I even made him Devil Dogs. While he doesn't have much of an appetite, he has loved those precious bites. Rachelle cooked a pork roast this week (with the help of um...Grillin' Magic) and was elated to receive Dad's approval! Those were special little wins for us both!
We have had several moments of grace. Several moments of clarity. When Dad is clearest...he is telling anyone who will listen about Jesus. Anxious moments are driven away by him expressing his love for the Lord, explaining what Jesus did for all of us, and how we can be sure of an eternity with God in Heaven.
We have enjoyed sharing memories with each other. Tonight, Bob and I reminded Dad, who was wearing his World Series t-shirt that we just watched our beloved Cubbies win the World Series. We have talked about baking our favorite Christmas cookies. Sang a few favorite songs. During one song, "This Could Be The Dawning of That Day," Dad wanted to know who heard that song. We explained it was just Bob, Mom, and myself in the room, with one hospice nurse standing near. He was adamant that she come over so that he could explain the song, explain Jesus, explain Salvation. We all were blessed to hear that she already knew Jesus and were touched at how much she allowed Dad to pour out his love for the Savior in that moment.
On our most recent Daddy/Daughter date, about 3 weeks ago, I took him to see Hacksaw Ridge. We watched as the hero single handedly saved 75 men from being slaughtered, by dragging them to safety and lowering them down a cliff. The hero cries out to God after each man is lowered, "Just one more...give me strength for just one more." I know that is Dad's cry too. He wants to see as many people come to Jesus as possible.
Friends, we are still believing for our miracle. Dad has coined Remission By Christmas. We know that there are two kinds of healing...healing here on Earth - that is what we long for so deeply....and our Ultimate Healing to be with Jesus in Heaven. Dad explained to a slightly overcome grandson, Dominic, how wonderful it will be to someday receive that healing! In the meantime, he wants to still be a Grandpa, Dad and Husband. He still has souls to reach, college students to teach, fish to catch, and grandsons to mentor.
Honestly, the last 3 months have been a blur. According to our very loving and caring hospice nurses, the progression of this illness is steadily increasing. They no longer feel that we are dealing with months or weeks, but rather days. The last two days have been exceptionally stressful and painful as we see signs that the nurses are more than likely correct.
Mom (Cathy Jo) faithfully remains at his side, loving and caring for her best friend - her love. Bob and I are struggling to balance time with Dad, our spouses and kids. We don't know really what is the right thing at any given moment.
What we know...Jesus loves us. We are loved by a Good Good Father. We rest knowing that a healing will come. We trust that God knows what is best and remain faithful in our pursuit of Him. We look to Heaven for our Miracle. We know it will come.
Please continue to pray for the Bernard Family. Now more than ever, we need to bombard Heaven. I know Mom and Dad would love to hear from you! Feel free to send an email of encouragement to email@example.com. We will be sure to read each one to Dad and let him know how loved he is by so many of you!
On behalf of the entire Bernard family, we want to extend our deepest gratitude to all who attend the benefit at the Clarissa Ballroom today. Mom and "Bobby" are home in Rochester and were overwhelmed with all of the love and support they received. (He mentioned that he hasn't been called "Bobby" or "Little Bob" that much in a long time. ha!) Over 300 people came to show their love for Bob and Cathy Jo. Your gifts, prayers and attendance only help to remind dad and mom of the influence they have had on so many lives.
To those who coordinated this event, we couldn't offer enough appreciation. You knocked it out of the park. Martha DeGary (Aunt Beth to us) and Kristy Brown...your efforts will never be forgotten. We only wish Dad could have been there to see it with his own eyes. If any of you were there and have pictures of this wonderful day, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to show dad as many as possible.
Now an update:
Dad has been struggling with pain control for many days. He has been in the hospital since last Saturday and it seems like each time he gets close to coming home a new roadblock presents itself. We covet your prayers during this time because we know that dad wants to be home with is family over the holidays. In order for that to take place the doctors need to help us find the right pain control and manage his symptoms steadily over a period of a few days. Please pray that over the next days we will see enough improvement for us to move him home and enjoy thanksgiving together.
Please continue to pray for Cathy Jo. She has shown so much strength and I'm blessed to have her as my mother in law. She is going through the unimaginable every day. The ups and downs of dad's symptoms weigh heavily on her. I believe I can say that she has more faith than many people I know. I know God is going to bless her for that. Pray that she can rest and that her mind and heart find peace in the middle of all of this.
Donna, Josh and the boys will be arriving in Rochester tomorrow. The Thanksgiving groceries have been purchased. The Christmas decorations are up. We will enjoy each moment that the Lord gives us together. We will find peace in the midst of an unexplainable storm. Our hearts are heavy but our hope is in Christ Jesus. He is the only source for us and that is exactly the way it should be. We'll keep leaning on Him and know that His way is the only way.
Tonight when I was putting Jackson to bed he asked me about Papa. He said..."Is papa going to come home soon?" He thinks it is pretty cool that he stays at our house. I told him that God is the one who is in control of that. His reply was..."God is the Boss. That makes him like a Daddy." I thought that was pretty cute. (Bob Bernard III...you must be doing something right cuz he knows that daddy's are the boss. :-) It was a good reminder to all of us that God is our Father. He wants the best for us. He wants the best for Dad. And he's a GOOD father even when our eyes aren't seeing good things at the moment. So the Bernard family will continue to rely on FATHER GOD to guide each step because HE is in control.
I know you're not reading this tonight and I know you are so uncomfortable. But, know that there are people all over the world who love you and are praying for you. May the peace of your FATHER in heaven surround you tonight. We are praying for an infusion of that peace and grace to give you the rest and strength you need to come home. I know night time is hard, especially in the hospital. Your GOOD FATHER is right there with you and your entire BERNARD/FALVO team will be here soon.
I'm writing to give you an update on Dad. Dad has dealt with nausea and vomiting quite a bit in the last few weeks. However, it has been progressively worse in the last few days - enough for the Drs to postpone his chemo treatment by a day. They were comfortable starting the treatment yesterday and were confident that the nausea and vomiting could be controlled by meds. Yesterday, dad began his second round of chemo treatment at Mayo. All went well and he arrived back home late afternoon in time to watch the Cubs play the first game of the World Series. That game was terrible enough to make anyone feel ill. :-) Around 9pm things started to get worse and Dad was up all night with uncontrollable symptoms. He was brought to the ER this morning around 6am and they have now admitted him to the hospital. They have placed a NG tube through his nose and down his throat to keep his stomach clear as he is unable to do this on his own. They are now checking for potential blockages that are causing these symptoms. His chemo treatment is still running its course and will be disconnected tomorrow.
We are back into the unknown. Actually, it seems like we have lived in the unknown since diagnosis. We aren't sure how long he will be in the hospital or what the steps are moving forward. We're trusting God. Your prayers are so important right now. Please be praying for Dad to get stronger and to respond to the treatment. Pray for Mom to get rest. This is an incredibly hard road for her. Your prayers for the Bernard and Falvo families are coveted as well.
Dad is especially sad to be missing the Pastor Appreciation service that they were planning in Eagle Bend for him this Sunday. His heart is there, but for now he has to remain in Rochester.
Thanks for praying.
Today, Dad begins Chemo Round 2. It is slightly less aggressive than his previous dose. It is our hope that his body receives it without the extreme side effects of the 1st round. Please continue to pray for him in that regard.
I wanted to share just a bit of joy that we are experiencing this October while we are all on this journey together. As I write, it is Tuesday, October 25th and tonight the Cubs will play Game 1 in the 2016 World Series. While he has lived in MN and been a Twins fan his entire life, the Cubs play a significant part of in our lives. We moved to DeKalb, IL straight out of Bible College (I always say that I went to North Central twice, the first time - well, I was a toddler! lol). We lived in the Midwest our entire growing up years. There were so many times - we would be given tickets to a Cubs game for one reason or another. Mom and Dad would pack a bag of snacks (including hot dogs with the fixins!) and off we would go! We would park in someone's converted yard and walk into Wrigleyville. (This part always brought such angst to our protective Mama Bear! I get it now, btw.) Bob and I always thought this was the grandest adventure. We grew up watching the Cubs of the 80's. My first school girl crush - Ryne Sandberg. Bob learned to read by reading Cubs baseball cards. As a 3 yr. old, he would even introduce himself to new people as "Jody Davis!" - the catcher for the Cubs.
I can't tell you the amount of games we went to, the amount of times we walked around Wrigley just to take it all in, or how many times we have all sung, 'Go Cubs Go!" Far too many on each account to tell. It was a beautiful way to grow up. Wrigley is a place that you can go - and many of the troubles and worries - get set aside for a few hours - while you watched the greatest game being played by the greatest team on Earth. Baseball and the Cubs - bring us all to a place filled with joy and great memories.
So, while you go about your week and you see World Series news, or maybe you even watch a game or two, please remember Pastor Bob. He is cheering for the Cubbies this week!
Thank you for your Grillin' Magic orders! Each one is so encouraging to us all! Don't forget us as you start your Christmas Shopping! GM is the perfect gift for that hard to buy someone in your life - or the Dad, Son, Brother, Nephew....basically, anyone that EATS!
Continued Prayers appreciated for...
1. Dad - as he continues Round 2 this week and for a peaceful recovery next week.
2. Mom - that she can rest, has strength, and peace in her heart.
10/15/2016 0 Comments
Just realized I can't define normal any longer, or at least not in the way I used to. All is well here, or getting well. After ten long days, I was released from Mayo, but have now become their patient in every area. Dr. Heller in Melrose has been my primary physician for seventeen years - the friendship will remain for much longer! We're camping out at Bob and Rachelle's home in Rochester. They have been an incredible help and strength for CJ and me throughout the past couple weeks, the past month!
We're on the road to our next round of chemo . . . next Thursday thru Saturday. I'm supposed to be resting from last night's blood infusion. On Tuesday, my wonderful uncle, Clyde Masters - Bud to those who love him, is coming for the week and we're heading up to Eagle Bend for a couple of days of visiting and face time with my beloved congregation. Then back for the chemo. Rest the next weekend, and then home to my pulpit for Sunday, October 30th.
A word about the Lord . . . He's the One who drives me! I mean drive, as in motivates. In reality, Jesus doesn't drive us, he motivates us, he moves us, He's "Savior, like a shepherd, lead us!" He's been very precious in the night time. Little moments of his presence get me through the night. My friend wrote about the darkness of the night, like walking in the fog. Yep, I'm in the fog, but I do feel Jesus' presence. I long to be in a worship service. Last Sunday I was working through the whole hospital thing - endless days and nights with busy nurses coming and going . . . if it hadn't been for the visitors, the Lord's day would have been empty. People actually brought in to my room the presence of God last Sunday. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to be resting from the blood infusion . . . but rest will include being in Bob's church in Rochester, Mercy Hill. I'm going to teach Bob's adult class. Our passage is from Hebrews 4. Entering into God's rest! But aside from the opportunity to teach the Word, I am most looking forward to the praise and worship. Anyway, God's been good to me this week, even through the pain and the other issues. God is Good, all the time!
A friend of mine just text me, told me he was cooking ribs for supper. Mind if I share my rib technique with you? I boil a thawed rib rack in water for about an hour . . . with a generous portion of Grillin' Magic in the water. The flavor of the meat is enhanced by the magic seasoning. When the meat is nearly ready to fall off the bone, I take them out of the water and spread them on a cookie sheet for the oven, or foil for on the grill. I know they're about ready because I see the meat separating from the bone. Ok, shake a couple or three shakes of GM on the rack of ribs, both sides, and give them another hour very slow, very low heat. You are now prepared to be amazed by your creation! You can add your favorite bbq sauce for that last hour on the grill or in the oven if you want to . . . CJ likes them with only Grillin' Magic . . . I like a little sauce. Enjoy! Give me a little warning and I'll be at your house for supper!
Just a quick word about nurse CJ . . . other than her wheel chair pushing talent (or, non-talent, in her case) she's doing a great job taking care of me! Only Jesus had done a real good job taking care of me better! (that's a song title by Levoy and Cleon Dewey, by the way). Pray for her. I'm wearing her out, for sure!
Well, I need to get this off.. Stay in touch. Thanks for all of you who are new to the website, new to Grillin' Magic, new to the Bernard family . . . Keep your eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before him, despised the cross, endured the pain, and is now set down at the right hand of the Father in heaven making intercession for us!
It has been a few days since we updated our family and friends on how dad is doing. Dad came home from the hospital on Thursday evening. He was so glad to be able to get some fresh air and a little bit of freedom. We ate dinner together and lit a fire in the fireplace. It was a good way to celebrate the Lord helping dad through a pretty tough time. We have started to settle mom and dad into our house for the time being. So many great friends have helped us get our house a little more comfortable and safe for dad. We could never say thank you enough.
Today they met with the oncologist. Dad is having a blood transfusion and will come home late tonight. They feel that this will give him the boost he needs before starting the next round of chemo on Thursday. The pain has been pretty steady so a few days of recovery will be key. Please pray with us for the following things...
1. That Dad (and Mom) will be able to rest at night without pain.
2. That Dad would be able to enjoy some days of recovery and make it back to Eagle Bend to see their church family on Tuesday and Wednesday.
2. That Dad would be able to tolerate this next round of chemo without infection or too many side effects.
I want to say how proud I am of my Bernard parents. I know how many emotions Bob and I have circled through in the last few weeks. We've pretty much hit them all. Mom and Dad have had all of those same emotions - and much more intense. But, they faced each of them with such a reliance on God. There's not an anger in the prayers, but a sense that God will provide for them just like He always has. I'm learning a lot from a front row seat.
I think one of the hardest parts of all of this is that you never know what the day will hold. For people like me, who like to plan their lives to the "t", something so unpredictable can take you into a tailspin. It's a complete lesson in trusting God. Dad wakes up each day (no matter how hard the night was) and finds the strength to call a few of his pastor friends and share a few words. He finds the strength to pray with my boys before they go to school. I know that each day God will give both mom and dad the strength to do what that day requires. When things become day by day you draw on the years of God's faithfulness to get you through. And that is all you need.
I'm trying to find scriptures that I can lean on and pray when my mind begins to get the best of me. This one has been important to me. Maybe it can encourage someone else who is going through a battle and reading our family's blog.
Psalm 62:1-2 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We'll update again soon.
P.S - Thank you SO much for your Grillin' Magic orders. They bring a smile to our faces to know that so many people are enjoy dad's seasoning. It's a cool way for us to support mom and dad while giving a back little bit of our family. Thanks for your support!
Sunday dawned bright and sunny in Rochester and in Room 411 of Mayo's Methodist Hospital. Dad woke up having slept 7 hours straight through! He showered, spent time with Jesus, and began calling friends to pray prior to their services. He has taken several walks today , eaten 3 small meals, and "bathroom issues" have also begun to slow down.
Personally, we have watched both Cubs games together. Much shouting and singing have resulted in their wins! Several nurses are fans and watched with us! Such fun! Over the last several days, we have been blessed with many doctors and nurses who share in our faith, that have joined us in prayer. Also, we have prayed over many staff members. (Several have even been blessed with some Grillin' Magic!)
Each visitor has prayed for Dad and been prayed for by Dad. He continues to be Pastor Bob. He speaks life to every visitor and has enjoyed sending texts and emails to many relaying his love and affection. The Glory of the Lord has truly filled this place. We are hopeful with Daddy's progress. At this point, he has at least a few more days in the hospital. Other decisions will made closer to discharge.
I leave for Pennsylvania in the morning. I leave knowing that Daddy is getting the best care available. Love for my Daddy runs deep... so I know there will be tears. But, I know Jesus is holding him. I trust in the promises of the Lord.
Bob and Rachelle are being wonderful in opening up their home for my family, Mom, and Aunt Beth. We so appreciate the gift that is their beautiful home! I have included some pictures of several friends, some beautiful pastors, and some favorite staff members that have all been a blessing over the last several days. Thank you for all the wonderful prayers and well wishes that have come through this past week. They have been rejuvenating to Daddy!
Finally, we continue to believe REMISSION BY CHRISTMAS!
Friday update... Around 3:30 pm today, we met with the oncologist. The oncologist has consulted with the gastric and medical teams. As it stands, Daddy will stay in the hospital until he is able to eat solid food, drink, and not have consistent diarrhea. They are not convinced that the current bowel issues are not chemo related, as there is signs of colitis. He is currently being treated with many meds to treat hiccups, antibiotics, etc, as well as the obvious fluids. They believe this process could take several more days. No further decisions will be made until he is significantly improved.
We appreciate continued prayers and support. We need it more than ever as this is starting to become very taxing for Daddy and everyone else. Our belief is strong, but frankly these last days have been so hard. We are resigned to continue to look to the Throne of Grace for our relief and comfort.
We appreciate your prayers.
You'll see articles from all of the Bernard family here. Maybe even a grandson will post now and then!