The Lenten Season

It’s hard to believe that we are less than 5 weeks away from Holy Week which means we are well into Lent already.  I love that the Christian calendar has “seasons” of preparation…the Advent Season to prepare for Christmas and the Lenten Season to prepare for Easter.  As I grow older, I appreciate more and more the discipline of setting time aside to prepare for and anticipate the beauty of these bookend celebrations in the life of Christ…taking time to prepare makes them so much richer.

BUT as has been the case with ALL the holidays that have come and gone so far this first year without Rudy, Surprise!  Surprise!, Lent feels different this time around too.  A week or so before Lent began, Rolf and Olivia were discussing what they were going to “give up” until Easter (as is tradition) when I blurted out “I’ve given up enough this year.  I’m going to pass.”…I said it in jest, initially, but the thoughts behind the words lingered which led me to reflect on it a bit.

The truth is, my sassy remark is exactly where my heart is…I do feel I’ve been in a looooong season of being forced to give up quite a bit…not only Rudy and a daily life as our family knew it but also my own physical abilities in recent months and things I love to do and certain dreams for my future.  Granted, these are not things I willingly set aside for the purpose of focusing on and drawing nearer to God (which is the purpose of fasting from something meaningful during Lent) but the result has been the same nonetheless…to a comforting extreme.

The thing that strikes me the most in the snapshot of my life today is that as my world has gotten smaller and smaller over the past 7 months, God’s presence has gotten bigger.  One of the primary purposes of both the Advent and Lenten Seasons is to make room for God in our full, cluttered lives and I’ve experienced over and over again that He will fill whatever space we allow Him to occupy…and given what I’ve experienced the last several years with Rudy and in the last several months mired in my own disease, there is great comfort in knowing that God is big enough to continue to fill the empty spaces left by my shrinking world.

I shared about my journey at a Westmont Chapel several years back and how at every significant crossroads in my life, I was led down a path that seemed to narrow my world and my impact on the world compared to what I planned when I graduated from college…it sure isn’t lost on me how the events that unfolded just weeks after Rudy passed away are a continuation of that same journey.  I remember saying to God at some point during Rudy’s life “How much smaller can my world get?”.  Are you kidding me?  It feels like such a foolish question now!  What a strange journey this is…but it is proving itself consistent in many ways and God has been consistently present in it all…filling spaces and bringing life to hardened, dead places of the heart along the way.  Thankfully the reflections I shared that day at Westmont still ring true for me today, especially this prayer:

My prayer is that you recognize God’s grace in your life and experience the power within it…providing us hope in all circumstances, blanketing us with peace in all circumstances, enabling us to love one another in all circumstance, bringing purpose to all circumstances and allowing, at times, for heartache and joy to coexist in difficult circumstances. 

My friend Emily sent me this amazing book of quotes she compiled over the last year organized in 40 daily readings to be read over Lent…this is her 9th book!  (What a gift…thank you Emily! )  If you are a person who participates in the Lenten tradition, consider this from Emily’s forward:

“Ruth Haley Barton says, ‘unfortunately, most people reduce the Lenten season to the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?”.  The real question of Lent is, “How will I return to God with all my heart?”.’  Along those lines, my friend Susanne talked about Lent in this way ‘it is not about becoming lost in feelings of brokenness but about cleansing the palate so that we can taste life more fully.'”

Now, that is rich!  I love that and I look forward to exploring that some more in the weeks ahead.  Blessed Lenten Season Everyone!




AUTH in Hand

We received the authorization paperwork we’ve been waiting for in the mail yesterday.  PTL!  It’s a relief to finally have it but it does feel a little anti-climatic…particularly, I think, because UCLA still can’t see us until November 9th.

Unfortunately, the momentum we initially felt with Cedars Sinai has faded too.  They needed to review my MRI images and medical notes before they’d set an appointment… we’re waiting to hear back from them.  Rolf and I would still like to go to Cedars as the more input we can get at this point, the better but it doesn’t look like we’ll be heading to the hills anytime soon.  It’s disappointing.

So, we sit and wait.  We’re good at that.  It’s unfortunate this step in the journey has taken so long and it’s unfortunate Rolf and I are left feeling wiped out by the process but we’re positioned, now, to move forward.  On a practical level, I guess our prayers are shifting from the acquisition of the authorization to a smooth 2nd opinion process, quick answers and OPTIONS!  It would really be nice to have some options.  🙂

‘Looking for lifelines,  Trish


Clinton Rudolf Geyling (10/1/2008-7/25/2017)

Beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, student, robot and pig, our Rudy’s joyful and miraculous journey with us has come to an end. 

Even knowing that he would face enormous challenges before he was born didn’t prepare us for the magnitude of the battle that lay ahead. While acute medical issues were ever-present in his life, Rudy will be remembered more by his ability to overcome limitations and embrace life with joy and abandon. Against a backdrop of uncertainty, heartbreak and occasional terror, Rudy’s life gave us glimpses of God’s goodness and beauty we never conceived this world could hold. 

Rudy leaves behind a family that loved him deeply: parents, Rolf and Trish, the siblings he adored, Wilson, Max and Olivia, grandmothers JoAn Wilson (Lawrence, KS) and Helga Geyling (Auburn, AL) and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family across the U.S. and Europe. 

One could live 100 years and not experience the depth of love Rudy received in eight and a half years. We are grateful for people near and far who poured such incredible love into Rudy including: the family of Coast Community Church of the Nazarene, Mountain View School and dedicated professionals in the Goleta and SB County school districts, gifted doctors and compassionate medical providers in Santa Barbara and at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, the caring community of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, our courageous cadre of special needs families and countless neighbors, friends, blog readers and even perfect strangers–all of whom discovered that even the simplest care extended to him was reciprocated with an uncannily disproportionate outpouring of his unique brand of Rudy-love. 

Viewing and visitation will be Sunday August 6th from 3-7pm at Coast Community Church of the Nazarene (4973 Via Los Santos, Santa Barbara, CA 93111). Funeral service will be on Monday August 7th, 11am at Living Faith Church (4597 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93110–carpooling recommended). Burial and family receiving immediately to follow the service at Goleta Cemetery (44 S San Antonio Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110). All are welcome wearing bright colors, especially Rudy blue (aqua blue).

Memorial donations in Rudy’s honor can be made to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (535 E. Yanonali, Santa Barbara, CA, 93103), a very special place to Rudy and our family. 

Service Information


Rudy’s service and burial information:

  1.  We will be having a viewing at our home church on Sunday August 6th from 3-7pm.  Address: Coast Community Church of the Nazarene at 4973 Via Los Santos, Santa Barbara, Ca 93111
  2. Rudy’s service will be at a different location on Monday August 7th at 11am. Address: Living Faith Church at 4597 Hollister Avenue,  Santa Barbara, CA 93110
  3. His burial will immediately follow the service.  All are welcome to attend.  The Goleta Cemetery (44 S San Antonio Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110) is located across the street from Living Faith Church.

For those who are able to come, we look forward to being together and celebrating this life that was dear to us all.  For those unable to make the trip, we hope to live stream the service through the church’s system or on FB so stay tuned for more information regarding that.  We’re encouraging everyone to wear bright colors, especially Rudy blue (aqua blue).

There is much to celebrate as we deeply mourn the loss of Rudy.  Thank you, in advance, for helping us lay our boy to rest with your remembrances, your prayers, your presence at the services and with your love & hugs from afar…it all is profoundly meaningful.

Something I want to remember

Dear friends,

So much to feel and so much to sort through in our heads and hearts. Much as I want to start this off with assurances that we’re all right, that’d be lying. We are crushed and aching. Most accurate to say that we have some “OK moments”. We are grateful to be together as a family and with extended family.

We’ve so appreciated all the posts and messages–more than we could ever respond to. Such care for our family and a testament of the love that marked Rudy’s life.

As I’ve got a moment where I feel clear-headed enough to write, I want to remind myself of the beauty of Rudy’s last moments. The long-awaited family adventure driving across the southwest to Kansas. In his trademark relentlessness, for weeks there was the daily barrage of “I go Grandma’s house now?” several times an hour.

Travel day started with church, where Rudy felt so safe and loved. He chose to go sit with some teen boys. Having gotten the usual “Go away, Dad!” I sat by myself while the musically talented members of the family (everyone else) led worship. Was so touched to get glimpses across several rows of attentive pats on his back, kids familiar enough with his O2 setup to be adjusting tubes and keeping it from getting tangled, whispers and gestures to keep him mostly quiet.

Then the van adventure was on. Time together seeing new places, laughing and dozing in the van. Deploying in and out of rest stops and hotels–with the rotating care for Rudy that’s just been part of life for our family.

We didn’t know Monday was going to be our last day with Rudy, but so glad it turned out the way it did. At our quick stop to see a corner in Winslow, AZ, Rudy was giddy to pick out a shiny blue truck. As the clerk picked up on his enthusiasm for Cars and Lightning McQueen she gave us directions to the Wigwam Hotel up the interstate in Holbrook–the inspiration for the movie’s Cozy Cone Motel.

Even as it was happening, I knew I’d never forget it. Our little boy squealing as he scurried around the muddy gravel parking lot of the kitschy little place with its eclectic assortment of cars. Many of them didn’t appear to run and most barely looked anything like the movie characters but that didn’t stop his identifying them as such. “Look! Hudson! Doc! Sarge! Fillmore! Ramon! Mater!”

He would run himself breathless, ask to be carried and just as quickly demand to walk again. A maid even let him go inside one of the rooms to check it out. Heard his newest expression “I’m so excited!!!” many times. The big sibs entered into the experience like they always do, taking turns holding his hand, the oxygen concentrator and carrying him when he needed it. Gave Trish and I the chance to have one of those “Did you ever think we’d see our little boy doing this?” moments.

I’m so glad we were aware of this and so glad that this was what marked Rudy’s last days with us: being immersed in the love of the family smitten with him and being rendered breathless by his ability to extract more joy from a moment than any of us ever could.

We’ve seen things more beautiful than we ever knew existed. The weight of losing this is unbearable. So grateful for people who’ve walked with us and trusting that this will be what God uses to lead us from here.

More when we can.