Justine's Reflections
April 14, 2003

My husband Michael was so unique. I wish everyone could have known him better. If you attended our wedding or visited our house you would have a glimpse of how patriotic he was. During this latest war with Iraq, he was not only fascinated and glued to the Fox News, he truly and deeply wished he was over there doing his part as a soldier to protect our country for future generations. His heroes were the founding fathers, and he loved telling Alden about George Washington and John Adams and others. Michael was extremely generous (a trait that runs strongly in his family) and loyal. He was an avid sports fan and supported his beloved Twins, Vikings, and Corn-Huskers through both the good seasons and the bad. He taught me to love baseball and football and was hoping and praying for a major-league soccer franchise to come to Tulsa.

Michael was extremely focused and efficient, forgetting to eat and sleep when working on a project. He could accomplish more in two hours than I could in two weeks. Of course, sometimes there would be more than two weeks between his "projects," so it all evened out. Of course, focused when taken to the extreme becomes just plain stubborn and opinionated, which Michael definitely was, as any of his friends and family could attest to.

Michael was a good husband and my best friend. Even after nearly five years of marriage we could stay up most of the night just talking. He was an incredible father. He adored Alden, and the feeling was mutual. Alden's favorite thing was to help daddy fix things. Michael loved this and got Alden a little toolbox and real tools to use while he was helping him. Michael was so excited about Lillian that he was telling virtual strangers that we were going to have a baby when I was only seven weeks pregnant. He often would talk to my belly telling Lillian how much he loved her, and sometimes they would play a game where he would talk and she would kick back at the sound of his voice.

Michael loved his family, although it was hard for him to tell them. His dad was his hero, and he always counted on his mom's love, support, and listening ear. His older sister Laura was truly one of his best friends, and he was so happy to be getting closer to his younger brother Markus over the past few years when they would talk until the wee hours of the morning during Christmas vacation. He really loved his baby brother. Family games of ring toss and frisbee golf will never be the same without Michael to brag and gloat when he is winning.

Michael truly loved God. His spiritual life opened up to him during Dr. Hall's Inklings class at ORU, and he loved being fed the Word by Pastor George at Church on the Move. Just last month he told me that his favorite part of the church service was the altar call. He loved seeing lives changed, because he had seen his own life changed.

Our dream was to have a lot of children, move onto some land in the country, have a huge garden and some animals, and live frugally enough so Michael would only have to work part time, and we both could homeschool the kids in our own unique way. One of my first thoughts upon Michael's death was that these dreams were dead too, but God led me to Jeremiah 29, and I have the peace and assurance that God is still leading me and fulfilling my and my children's lives.

I know that right now Michael is up in heaven, praising God, and quite possibly working in a heavenly garden where there are no squash vine-borers to kill the pumpkins, there is no need to ever weed, and every seed gives a 100-fold return.