Friday, July 8, 2011

Monkey Monkey Underpants

It may sound strange but if you read my very first entry She Started Writing Again you'll understand when I say that in the midst of my current grief I want to keep writing, I just can't stop. So tonight let me just explain what the process of writing is like for me. It can best be explained in the following clips.

Sometimes it's like this....

But other times it's more like this...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stuck in a Sweaty (but beautiful) Sea of Humanity

Well we did it, we made it to downtown Philly and found ourselves in the midst of the largest crowd I have ever seen in person! It was amazing seeing people of all races and backgrounds gathered fairly peacefully, dancing, eating, and celebrating. Here are some pics of the day...

Our friends Kim, Emily, and Anthony (not pictured) joined us for the festivities

We found our spot and the crowd began to grow...

And grow.... 

Until people were literally, EVERYWHERE! 

Apparently this guy had special VIP privileges as he made his way through the crowd

He looked oddly familiar...Hmmmm

This was the "real" photographer of the day, my friend Kim,  soon you'll be able to check out her pics from the day at If you take the time to look through her blog you'll find   my birthday, Thanksgiving, and many other's good to have a professional around!

The concerts were awesome! Though she didn't play for long, I loved seeing Sara Bereilles...ok seeing her on a very large screen (that's her on the screen wearing red) but I heard her live, 
and that was good enough. 

The Roots kept the party going strong, especially with the crowd gathered just behind us...

This was Anthony's unfortunate view through part of the night

The fireworks were the real show stealer, by far the best I've ever seen, far exceeding even the show in Washington DC a few years back and that's saying alot!

My favorite part of the day I have to admit was the surprise performance by Boys To Men, that's right, my 8th grade dreams came true! I can check that off my bucket list! Unfortunately I was so excited that I never even thought to pick up my camera.  The day/night which ended very late with delayed trains back  home was time well spent reconnecting with friends after a very difficult two weeks. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Philadelphia? I think we will!

This afternoon we're hopping a train in Trenton and heading to Philadelphia with friends for this...

I'm so excited to see Sara Bareilles (I absolutely love her!),
The Roots,
and yes Jazzy Jeff (a throw back to my youth)
perform for FREE!!!

Let's just hope we can actually find a good spot in this crowd...

Happy 4th of July! 

Antique Books & Butterflies: My Dad's Memorial Celebration

It’s been a little over a week since the Memorial Service and so much has happened yet it feels as if time has stood still. It was a beautiful night filled with tears and laughter, just as Dad would have wanted it. The theme for the service was the phrase we often heard Dad say, “God’s not finished with me yet!” We decorated the sanctuary with butterflies and covered the alter in flowers/plants and stacked Dad’s old antique books with vases of flowers on top. I wish I had taken photos but who takes photos at a funeral-right!? I should have. It made us chuckle just thinking how Dad would cringe at a vase full of water on top of his precious vintage books, but it just looked so right.

It wasn’t a typical “funeral”. We purposely had the burial earlier in the day so that the service could truly be a time of celebration and remembrance, it was a celebration of resurrection. It was very important to us that Dad be remembered for more than just the last 16 years of illness and disability, but more importantly for a lifetime of servant ministry and joy! I know people often talk about their loved one looking down on them during the service, but I really don’t believe that. The bible talks about heaven being a place of eternal worship, so I know Dad was too busy singing God’s praises to pay attention to what we were doing. I am certain our worship honored him, and more importantly honored God.

We had a praise band led by my brother & sister-in-law and all the musicians were close friends of our family, practically family members to us. We also made sure to sing the traditional hymns and follow the UM liturgy by the book just as Dad would have wanted. It was totally him all the way down to his close pastor friend who was set to lead part of the service having to sneak in late because of traffic-of course the three other pastors leading covered for him, and we giggled as we saw Tom peak his head in from the front and then quietly make his way up through the back of the sanctuary without anyone noticing aside from our family. One after another we listened to people talk about how Dad impacted their lives as Christians, as pastors, as individuals.

Believe it or not, I was composed enough to speak, something I knew Dad would want. It’s pretty long on paper but I’ll share with you now the words I shared that day. Thanks for taking the time to read…

For those of you that don’t know me I am Harold’s Daughter and let me say on behalf of my Mom Trudy, brother Eric, and our spouses, just how overwhelmed we have been by your love and support over the last several months. Thank you for checking in on Caringbridge and going along on this roller coaster ride with us. The ride is over and here we thank you for joining us to celebrate a man who lived his live in service of others in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For years Dad has told us that when he passed away he would want the words, “God’s not finished with me yet, on his tombstone.” He said those words nearly 17 years ago before he went into his first brain surgery and continued to say them until unable to communicate. This week, I have to be honest & say that I’ve really struggled with what that means, I mean, it kind of seems like God is finished with Dad now, right!? But as I sat on an airplane on the way here, on Father’s Day, thinking back through my lifetime of memories of my father I realized, God is not finished with Dad yet, because his legacy lives on, through his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and all the lives that his ministry touched. Today we hope to share with you a bit of how God has used him to change each of our lives for the better and how his legacy lives on in us.

For me he was Dad, not Rev. J. Harold Coomer. He was the man that after I learned to drive instructed me never to wave my hands in the air in frustration toward another driver, reminding me that you never know what the other road raged driver might do. Wisdom that has come in handy now that I live and drive in New Jersey! He was the guy that on the rare occasion that he took over the cooking for mom, always imitated Julia Child as he cooked whatever simple meal he was capable of whipping up. He passed on his love of writing to me and an appreciation of nature. He would often take me out to the woods with a notebook and pen, and we would sit beside a creek or lake for hours and just write whatever came to mind. He opened my eyes to big world as a child, allowing me to stay up late the night the Berlin Wall came down watching all the TV coverage explaining every detail of why that was such an amazing mark in history, and of course, then we wrote poetry about it. He let me question and explore, I remember telling him probably around the age of 10 that I wasn’t sure if I was really a Christian, I wondered if I was just born into Chrisianity or if this faith really was my own. He went and got me a stack of books on Judaism, Budhism, and every other religion he could find and he said to something to the effect of, “I believe in the end you’ll see the difference, that we serve a risen savior” Truthfully, I think he just knew I hated to read and I’d never crack a single one of those books. He taught me to love Mercy and hate injustice, and I loved to ask him to tell the stories over and over again of when the KKK threw rocks through the parsonage window, because he refused to stop preaching about Martin Luther King Jr. I also loved to get him to tell the story of when he actually talked a gunman down and got the gun out of his hand and kept the bullets. It was an unspoken joke between Dad and I that when boys who wanted to date me came over we would mess with their heads as I said, “Dad, show him the bullets!”

He told me nearly every day of my life, I love you, I’m proud of you, and you are beautiful. I knew my Daddy thought I could be or become anything I dreamed of, and he taught me to align my dreams with God’s will for my life. It may sound shallow to some to say that a little girl needs to hear she is beautiful but I will never forget as a youth minister, I was sitting in a hotel room on a retreat weekend after hearing a speaker talk about his love for his daughters. The high school-aged girls were so down, some in tears, and these intelligent leaders in their youth group, all admitted their fathers had never told them they were beautiful! Smart yes, strong yes, capable yes, but never beautiful. It was at that moment I felt so grateful for a father who built my self-image up, both inside and out.

The legacy of the life my parents built for my brother and I go on through the ministries we both have been called to. The lesson he taught me that I want most to leave you with is a memory of walking through the woods one day as a small child with Dad. He was towering over me behind me and I was carefully watching each step my feet took, being careful to not trip over tree roots and rocks. He stopped me & said, Look up! Look around! Don’t pay such close attention to the path in front of you, you’ll miss all of God’s beautiful creation all around us. That’s become a message I have passed on to youth in my ministries and with campers at Loucon not only while hiking but for life. It’s become my outlook on life, so often I find myself paying attention only to my to-do list or things I have to get done that I miss the beauty of God in the people and creation all around me, and then I hear my Daddy’s voice, saying STOP, look up, look around, don’t pay such close attention to the path in front of you, you will miss God all around you! As we move forward without Dad in our lives I hope we all take time daily to look up look around and recognize that God is still at work all around us!