Thursday, June 30, 2016

In Loving Memory

I haven't wanted to post this. But the month is about gone and I want this to be in the correct month. We aren't in shock any more but we haven't really accepted it either. He will be missed more than I can express. 

Geoffrey John McRae, 29, returned home to his Heavenly Father on June 17, 2016 following a traffic accident at the hands of a drunk driver.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Saginaw Ward Building located at 300 Ridgecrest Drive, Saginaw, TX., 76179. The family will be present to receive friends on Monday, June 27, 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Biggers Funeral Home, 6100 Azle Ave., Lake Worth, TX., 76135.
In lieu of flowers please consider sending donations to support his family financially during this difficult transition
Geoff was born October 15, 1986 in Provo, Utah to David and Anne McRae. He grew up in Southern California where he developed a zest for life. To sum up Geoff's earthly existence, he was beautiful. He was loving, kind, funny, and helpful. He was a faithful husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was fiercely loyal to his friends and family. On more than one occasion, he could be found putting aside his own projects to help a friend in need. Geoff was a lover of life, an example to many, and a man amongst men.
Geoff was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served an honorable two year mission for the church in Fort Worth, Texas. Geoff truly loved missionary work and serving others. All that he came in contact with felt his love for his Savior Jesus Christ. He loved to serve and he loved those that he served. After his service he returned to Fort Worth to marry his new love, McKinzie. Geoff had met his match, his equal, and his challenge. Someone who was more stubborn and appreciated his need for friends and could match his sarcasm and moods. They made a great couple and were perfect for each other.
Geoff enjoyed working with his hands and creating complex wood working projects for their home. Most of the furniture in his home was built by his creative hand. He was very talented and if he lacked anything in talent, he more than made up for it in determination to get the project finished.
Geoff was a registered EMT and studied to become a Firefighter/Paramedic for a time in Fort Worth, but ultimately chose a different path when he began working for Rio Oil and Gas. He loved what he was doing as an analyst and loved everybody that he worked with.
Geoff was taken too early.
He is survived by his wife McKinzie; his sons, Adam (6) and Dexter (2 months); his daughter, Harley (3); brothers, Joel McRae and Austin Rowe, sisters, Aubrey Kleinschmidt and husband, Michael and Cheyenne Rowe; parents Bill and Anne Rowe, and David McRae.

This picture was put on the program. Bill Rowe did the life sketch then Dave McRae spoke for a few minutes to share some memories. Barrett and Charmain Runyon sang "Be Still, My Soul". Barrett struggled during the first verse but it was very touching. They both have amazing voices. The final speaker was President Thurston, Geoff's mission president. For the family meal we had tacos. Evidently that was his favorite food, I had no idea.

On the inside of the program are the words of a song that made a difference on his path back to the Gospel.

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow
Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men  

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone
Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow  

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

McKinzie asked us to share a memory about Geoff to be added to the life sketch. Here they are in no particular order.

The first time Geoff and Elder Davis were coming to dinner at our house, as I was washing my hands at the kitchen sink, he leans over the bar by the family room and sorta under his breath says, "So...does your sister come here often?" It was right then I knew they were getting married.

One of my first memories of Geoff was when he was a missionary in our Ward and our then 5 1/2 year wanted to know if missionaries were Super Heros. The next Sunday we asked Elder McRae, I held my breath as he answered, Yes! Elder McRae told Carson that the best superpower is the priesthood! From that moment on Carson loved the thought of being a missionary and he loved Geoff.

Another memory is shortly after McKinzie and Geoff were married I was watching Adam on my usual Friday. One Friday we went to run a few errands and Adam was acting different. Instead of riding in the cart or staying close he was playing and hiding in the clothes, running down the aisles. Geoff had ruined him. Geoff played in the stores with Adam. Geoff made EVERYTHING fun.

One day, in 8th grade, I got off the bus to see Geoff walking across my street to get my brothers from a friends house. I ran down the sidewalk to them and, as a greeting, he picked me up and spun me around, like a big brother you hadn't seen in a while. He then asked us for our permission to marry our sister. I was so excited. For as long as I could remember I'd wanted a big brother and now I'd get one!

Very recently, I saw a glimpse of the sibling relationship moments I cherish. I was supposed to send a recent picture of myself in a long with a thank you letter for a scholarship I'd been awarded. Geoff immediately thought of some picture he claimed he'd seen on Facebook somewhere and set off on a search. Somehow, he found it and got kinda excited. I suggested another photo and he told me, "No, I like this one more. You're hair looks better. You look so good in this picture." And i know it seems trivial, but he helped me find this random picture that months before he'd taken notice of. I wasn't just this irritating irrational teenage sister-in-law that came along with the love of his life. I felt like his little sister, and I felt I had that big brother I'd forever dreamed of.

Whenever I think of Geoff, I think of two things. I think that Geoff was like a Boy Scout, he was always prepared for anything and always had his pocketknife with him. Once on a family reunion we all went to a lake in Nebraska and there was this part of the lake where you could jump in the lake and be surrounded by fish. Well, I wanted to catch one. All that I had was a water bottle with a hole that was too tiny to catch a fish in. But Geoff pulled out his pocketknife and cut it open so I could catch a fish in it. I was so happy. But now that I had the tool to do it, I realized that I was not good at catching fish. I never caught a fish that day.

The next thing I think of whenever I think of Geoff was that Geoff was like a big brother to Adam and Harley, and to Mason and me. He always played with us and he was really fun, but still very protective of all of us. I think that Geoff was more of a big brother to Adam and Harley than a dad.

The first memory is shortly after he arrived as a missionary in our ward. He bore his testimony, I remember him saying, "The book is blue, the Church is true, and Jesus loves you". I thought cute but not very reverent- how did this guy get out of the MTC? But how he could connect with people, he was genuine and people felt it.

The second memory was the day he asked me if he could marry McKinzie. I knew it was coming but as we walked around the block near our home, he expressed his love for her and Adam and I knew without any question that he would love my daughter as much as I do.

Sometime after McKinzie and Geoff were married Geoff would spin me around in the laundry basket in our entry way. He would spin both Carson and me. It was fun. Geoff made most things fun.

Monday afternoon we had a "popsicle party".  We all ate Geoff's favorite popsicles while we shared happy stories. McKinzie said that no tears could be shed and no one could say they miss Geoff. It was a success!

 Geoff looked good. Although they did use a lot of makeup. Earlier in the day, when I trimmed his hair, he wasn't looking so good. Such talented people to help Geoff look presentable.
 On his casket there is Superman, of course, a drill, his missionary scriptures and name tag, a Grateful Dead bear (from his dad), and his old ratty vans that he LOVED!

Adam, Retta, and Carson wrote something to put in Geoff's casket, to be cremated with him. 

Michael's brothers made this for McKinzie after Geoff is cremated. It's so cool! The tall rose symbolizes McKinzie, the three smaller ones are the kids, and the rose resting on the box is Geoff. Notice how the stem from Geoff's is wrapped around the others? They did an amazing job.

Geoff recently finished this table that was displayed at the viewing.

 The pallbearers were  Scott Clawson, Nick Forrest, Cale Hornsby, Tim Lester, Joel McRae, Carson Shuldberg, Mason Shuldberg, and Michael Witkamp.

 As the hearse started pulling away Retta says sweetly, "Bye Daddy." There was an audible gasp then sobbing from everyone.

 Cousins and Adam ;)

 Lots of family and friends.

McKinzie received these flowers through the funeral home. She also had 8-10 delivered to her home. Instead of flowers we gently asked for people to consider a financial contribution as Geoff was the bread winner for the family. People have been extremely generous. It's caused me to think how I give. I need to do better that's for sure.

We are so grateful for McKinzie and Geoff's Ward, our home Ward. They have been amazing with helping with food, mowing her yard, their willingness to help with her kids. You name it they have offered it. Plus the community and our friends have reached out to help financially. I'm so humbled by all of this compassion.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

blessing day

We've had such a fun weekend. We arrived Saturday morning and started to play. I made a bag of sticks for Retta for church and she's been loving them at home as well. I made Adam a bag with laminated word searches.  
Here they are at church playing with them. I think Adam left his bag at home.

I got a picture of the two littles in Primary. Adam was prepared to give the talk in Primary for the very first time. We all went in to watch. He was VERY nervous. He ended up not doing his talk... Geoff tried and tried to encourage him to do it but he just couldn't.

Dexter was blessed today! He was so cute in his little tux. He did great during the blessing. Geoff's gave such a heartfelt blessing. I think it surprised many people because Geoff doesn't show this tender side very often. It was touching.

Here's the crew that came!

The picture below is with Dexter's namesake, Cale, and his family.

This afternoon we turned on the first Harry Potter movie for Adam. He hasn't seen any before. He was eager to watch but I don't know if he understood it.  

I think this is the first picture of Carson with Dex. He didn't need to hold him long.

Monday, June 6, 2016

resident discount

Today was resident discount day at Shedd Aquarium. The girls and Brian were working today so I took the boys. The discount was free for general admission. It would only allow us to see 3 exhibits but I was ok with that. 

Bailee dropped us off at the train at 7:30. These boys looked as if they ride regularly. :-) We rode all the way in and still had a 2 mile walk. I didn't mind, I needed my steps since I didn't run this morning. The walk to the aquarium seemed longer for the boys than our way back, but isn't that how it often is?

We're trying to get a picture with the skyline. Carson struggles with the sun. 

When we get to the counter they have an even better deal for residents. It's normally $39.95 to see all the exhibits. Today it was $15! Sold!! The boys were ecstatic! Me too. 

We saw a 4-D show on Sea Monsters plus an Aquatic Show with Beluga Whales. So cool!

We were also able to touch/pet stingrays. We could stay as long as we wanted. We stayed longer here than most other exhibits.  

Our walk back to the train was quick and beautiful. Mason was determined to make the 4:11 train but I wanted pictures too. 

Carson struggling again with the sun. 

We did make the 4:11 train. We didn't sit by each other for the first few stops though. We didn't get on the train till 4:05. We cut it close. Bailee picked us up and the boys fell asleep on our 15 minute drive home. Does that mean they had fun? I'll take that as a yes!