This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day

My dad, Horst Bruenjes

If you’ve been reading my blog since its beginning just a few months ago, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting at least once or twice a week, and that my last post was over 2 weeks ago on May 28th.  Why does this matter?  I want to tell you a little story about my fathers in Heaven and God’s perfect timing. 

Over the past two weeks, every day I’ve been receiving e-mails about Father’s Day specials and coupons.  I’ve been blessed with 20% off at Books A Million, savings of 60% on the list price off… at Amazon.com, Sportsman’s Guide Specials, Best Father’s Day Gifts Ever specials at Shopko, and the like.  Will the savings ever end!?  Yes, at least until the next holiday.  Anyway, I love coupons, I love shopping.  The only thing is… this year is the first year I don’t have a father to shop for.  I never thought that getting coupons in my inbox would be a painful thing until two weeks ago.


My father passed away on May 30th, 2013.  He had kidney cancer and we knew that without God's intervention it would only be a matter of time, but it was still a shock for him to leave us so quickly.  We celebrated his Birthday on the 22nd, a Wednesday, and the very next day had to take him to the hospital.  The day of my previous blog post on the 28th was the same day he came home.  On that day the doctors had told my mother he would only have about 2 weeks left to live, it was only 2 days.  Oddly, I think this 2 weeks’ notice was the most shocking for us and in a way it helped to prepare us.  Looking back now, there are so many little things that God has done for us to prepare us and comfort us in dad’s parting.  I knew the instant he left us he was with Jesus, and now I have two fathers in Heaven.  I think about God the Father and my own father enjoying the company of family and friends long gone, but not forgotten.  For some, that may sound like a romantic notion, but I know it is reality.

My mother and I were with dad when he passed away and God was with us too.  We were praying for him, asking for a miracle until the last moment, knowing that if it was God’s will to heal him, he would, if it was God’s will to bring him home, he would.  God chose to bring dad home, but not without great compassion for mom & I.  It had been so quiet and still as we sat by dad, holding his hand as his breathing grew shallower, then suddenly, loud and clear we heard a beautiful bird song.  I knew that was the instant his soul left us.  Mom noticed a last tear in his eye and as we cried, God sent the rain.  I know that at the same time He was so glad to bring dad home to Him, God was also feeling our sorrow at parting with him.  The rain was God’s tears for us.

I did a series of drawings (including this one) of my dad from photos for one of my grad classes.  I'm so glad I did!

 Although I miss my father more than words can tell, having seen his struggle with cancer, I would not wish him back in this world to suffer more.  It’s an amazing thing having the assurance that dad’s pain has ended and he is, right now, in a place filled with joy.  Although I still cry and miss my dad terribly, God has not abandoned me and I have living proof of the many ways he’s been letting me know this.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  -Deuteronomy 31:8

On the 28th, I finished my post about “A Noble Groom.”  Reading this book made me think of my dad.  He was born in Berlin, 100% German, and immigrated to the United States where he became a citizen, served in the Air Force, and married my mom.  For her, he was a noble groom.  Also on the 28th, I received a package with 2 copies of the first children’s book published with my illustrations & name on the cover.  I had worked on this project a few months ago.  A referral from a friend, the project was a rush job that needed to get done within a couple weeks.  When I learned the title of the book and the story behind it, I couldn’t refuse.  “When My Daddy Died, I…” is the title.  God’s timing is perfect.  “When My Daddy Died, I…” is a true story written by K.J. Reider, a 9-year old boy who recently lost his father.  Now, here I am 21 years older and missing my own father no less than dear K.J. misses his, but with the same knowledge and hope that they are both with Jesus in Heaven.  God’s timing is perfect, but sometimes bitter sweet.


I am so thankful.  So very thankful to have had the father God gave me.  Thankful still, to know that I have two fathers in Heaven now, the one that raised me, and the one that hears my prayers.  I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my dad, that I was with him until the end of this life, and thankful to know I’ll see him again someday.

The above link is my father, Horst Bruenjes’ obituary.  Obituary.  What a grim word right?  Yet my father’s life was anything but.  My mother, brother, aunt & I wrote this to celebrate his life so other than it being a “death notice,” I promise it’s really not grim at all!

K.J. & his dad, p. 11 from "When My Daddy Died, I..."

If we’re here on this earth, we’ve all had a father.  Some of us have had the benefit to know ours many years, some just a few, and some not at all.  No matter what your relationship with your father on earth is, know that you have a father in Heaven that loves you.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” –Psalm 68:5

Dad & I at the airport in Japan, 2004

Now for some Father’s Day recommendations:

“The Nobel Groom” is a great story about fathers, and for the main character Carl, a lot about “manning up!”


“The Shunning” by Beverly Lewis.  I admit I haven’t read this book yet, but I just watched the movie (in prep to watch the sequel “The Confession” today) and I have to admit I’m hooked.  The father-daughter relationship of the main characters is great.  Really tugs at the heart strings.

“Finding Nemo,” one of my dad’s favorites.  If you’re going to watch an animated movie on Father’s Day, make it this one!



  1. This is a beautiful post, Monica. Sorry we won't get to see you on Sunday.

    1. I'll miss you too my friend, I'll see you when you get back!

  2. Much love to you today and prayers for your family. What a nice thing to have that illustrated book of yours done exactly at this time.

  3. Oh, Monica, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. But how wonderful to know he is celebrating in heaven now and you will see him again.

    I don't know what happened, but I stopped getting notifications of your posts. I've missed so much!

    Looking forward to catching up. :::hugs:::