Monday, April 29, 2019

Where I've Been

After a two month absence from the blog, I thought I'd share a little about where I've been, why I haven't posted any new content, and the reason I've been terrible about answering your emails and inquiries.

In early March, my 57-year-old otherwise healthy mother developed a bad cough. After spiking a fever, she was diagnosed with bacteria pneumonia and sent home with antibiotics. Less than 48 hours later she was rushed to the ER and admitted to the ICU in full ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) due to H1N1 Influenza.

She fought hard for 24 days, and I and my family were with her every day. She celebrated her 58th birthday on March 29th, and welcomed her fourth grandchild on April 2nd. And the morning of April 6th, she peacefully passed away.

My family and I are coping, but are wrecked and still in shock from such a terrible loss. I've shared a little on Instagram if you follow me there, and was going to stay quiet here on the blog, but changed my mind. This blog isn't about me, it's about Religious Education for homes and classrooms, but along the way so many of you have become friends. I've met you in person, you've send the kindest emails, and we are united in this kinship of evangelization and catechesis.  I'd like to ask for your prayers for the repose of my mom's soul as well as your prayers for my family during this difficult time.  You can visit her Caring Bridge site here if you'd like to read more about our journey.

Thank you for your support.  I hope that you've been able to find activities for Easter and Divine Mercy in the archives, and I'll be back in May with some new ideas and reviews.  My Etsy Shop did reopen yesterday with some new products as well as some sales.  As always, I'm grateful for the community of believers united here.
~ ~ ~

Mom's Obituary:

Rebecca Sue Bogner, 58, of Sparland passed into eternal life on April 6, 2019 unexpectedly from a respiratory virus. Cherished wife, beloved mother, and adored Gigi to four grandchildren, she has left an indelible mark on the world that words would never do justice to.

Becky was blessed enough to always call the countryside her home. She was raised in Wyoming, IL, born to Harold and Betty Wilkinson on March 29, 1961, and was a 1979 graduate of Wyoming High. She attended Illinois Central College. She and her loving husband, Steve, were married in 1983 and resided on their family farm in Sparland for more than 35 wonderful years of marriage. Their love for each other and for their family is undoubtedly Becky’s most impactful legacy.

Becky devoted herself to raising her three daughters, instilling in them through her actions a love for radical hospitality, gracious generosity, and service to others above self.

As they grew, Becky was employed with the Midland School District as an administrative assistant. She worked for the district for 22 years, and greeted everyone with her kind smile and willingness to help without hesitation. She loved her daily interactions with her coworkers and the students. She was an involved parishioner at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where she and Steve attended their entire marriage and made many lifelong friends.

Becky was known to her friends, family, and community through countless ways. She was part of the Sparland Mothers Club when her girls were young, a 4-H leader and volunteer for many years, and a proud supporter of the Midland FFA. She baked cakes for every special occasion, from birthdays to weddings. She renovated and decorated their 140 year-old farm house, making it both beautiful and a place to call home for her girls and their friends. She was always elbow deep in craft projects and ankle deep in her garden. Her generosity could not be exceeded through her cooking and baking - there was always enough food for one (or five) more at her table. She would cook a several-course meal and still ask for requests for your favorite pie to whip up at the end of it.

She leaves behind the love of her life, husband Steve, her three daughters, Katie Bogner of Chillicothe, IL, Stephanie Zimmerman of Colchester, IL, and Emily Werner of Fort Riley, KS, beloved sons-in-law Steven Zimmerman and Luke Werner, and the little lights of her life - four grandchildren, Violet, Oliver, Evan, and Theodore. Out of the countless hats she wore throughout her life, Gigi was the one that brought her the most joy.

Services for Becky will take place at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Lacon. The visitation will be held Thursday, April 11th from 5-7PM. The funeral Mass will be Friday, April 12th at 10:30AM with luncheon to follow. Memorials can be made to the Midland FFA or Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

The joy and memories she leaves behind for those who loved her and were loved by her far surpass the great sorrow we feel. We rest in the hope that she is in Heaven in the presence of our Lord, and that she already knows what kind of pie to make for Him.

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her.

~ ~ ~

And this is the letter we shared at the funeral:

Dear Family and Friends,

“...We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance; endurance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit...”~Romans5:2-5

Hope- the word that has forged our path and guided our steps on this journey.

For much of these past weeks, the word hope has rung in our ears and pressed into our hearts. We rested in hope on the better days and clung to it on the hard ones. We lived in hope that mom would heal, be made well, and return home to us.

Instead, we walk this path, the one we would have never chosen but ultimately was God’s will. In such a time as this, it would be easy to question - what was the purpose of all that hope? What is the purpose of this suffering? And we have received this answer in Truth - our hope is not of this world, not of our own plans or desires, no matter how good. Our hope is in the Lord, ever gracious, ever merciful, ever loving. Our hope is in Heaven.

Our mom emulated this same hope and love in the way she lived each day of her life. She gave her time, her gifts, her kindness, and her smile to everyone she met and poured herself out in service to others. She loved as Christ loves us still - completely, selflessly, and unwavering.

Over the last few days, we have often spoken how people are grieving for us - losing a beloved wife, a cherished mom, and an adored Gigi too suddenly and much too soon has been the greatest tragedy we have ever faced. But also, there are so many who are grieving with us. Many of you feel your own loss of Becky so acutely. When you live the way she did, overflowing with love for others, it’s hard to not be touched by that love. We are all marked in some way by Becky’s life. We honor her by honoring you, her family and friends - thank you for sharing your stories, your memories, the places in your heart where she will live on forever.

In gratitude, we offer you the same thing that has been offered to us - hope through Christ. We do not despair. We rejoice in hope and persevere toward our ultimate goal - a life in Heaven with our Lord. We hope for happier days on earth, that the stories and memories we share will come with both laughter and tears, knowing they are made sweeter from the suffering. We hope for all of you who are hurting today to be comforted and for peace to wash over all of us, leaving only an ache for our true home, where there will be no more pain or sadness - only joy.

In mom’s kitchen, there is a sign that hangs on the wall stating, “Home is where your Mom is.” These words have never been truer. Our home is where our mom is. Our home is in Heaven. May we all one day be Home, together again once more.

With hope -
Steve, Katie, Steph, Steven, Violet, Oliver, Evan, Emily, Luke, & Teddy


  1. Katie, may God bless you and your family during this very difficult time. And my family and I will remember your dear mother in our prayers. May eternal rest grant upon Rebecca Sue Bogner, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. - Laura G.

  2. I am heartbroken to read this, Katie. May God bless your family and may your mother rest in peace!

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, Katie. Praying for the peaceful repose of your mom's soul (it truly sounds as if she "went straight up") and lifting up your family in prayer. May our loving God hold you all close to his His Heart.

  4. So sorry for you loss. Prayers for peace and courage for you and your family during this difficult time.

  5. Oh, Katie! My heart is breaking for you. I will pray for the repose of her soul and for your hurting heart. May God grant you peace in this difficult time. ❤️

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know first-hand how devastating it is to lose "Mom". My heart goes out to you and my prayers will be with you and your family. May God Bless You all. <3

  7. I don't often comment but your site has been a huge help to me in homeschooling my youngest kids and teaching them about the faith. I am so sorry to read this news about your mum, you must be devestated. Praying for you all as you contemplate life without her xx

  8. Prayers for you and your family.

    Eternal rest grant unto her, oh Lord, and perpetual light.

  9. So sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family. May God bless you with many happy memories.

  10. I just amazed while seeing your content!
    Keep Posting like this stuff
    Ramadan Wishes Images

  11. Oh, Katie! I am so very sorry for your loss.

    I didn't know your mom at all, but I'm struck by how many people her faith has affected like ripples in a pond. She was obviously a big influence in your life, and now you are sharing your gifts in a way that is impacting the faith of so many families and classrooms. What a legacy!

    May your dear mother rest in peace.

  12. Dear Katie, I am so saddened to hear of the sudden loss of your dear mother, You are one of the examples of the amazing legacy she has left behind. My heart aches for you and your family for the loss of this beautiful woman of faith. May she rest in peace.

  13. I am so very sorry for your loss. You are all in my prayers.

  14. Thank you for sharing with us. I'm so sad to hear of your mother's death. Your reflection was beautiful to read. May your deep faith continue to comfort you during this time.

  15. Peace be with you! It is hard. Yes, but you do not walk alone. Thank you for sharing your faith journey.