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A Tribute

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

– Psalm 100 (KJV)

Phillip L. Carlson | 1929-2015

I praise God for his faithfulness throughout generations.  I praise God that he has shown his unfailing love to my family and I.  I rejoice knowing that God’s love cannot and will not fail and that his promises are sure.

Phillip Carlson was my grandfather, or as I called him, morfar (which is Swedish for grandfather).  I had a lot of great memories with my morfar.

One of those memories was observing him and helping him reinforce our dining room chairs.  I was a little kid then, but I can still remember the difference in the chairs by adding a piece of wood underneath.  I remember how careful he was to make sure each piece of wood was cut just right for each chair.  He wanted to make sure these chairs would stand the test of time, and they sure have – they are as solid today as they were when he fixed them.  In this way, he was an example of diligence and pursuing excellence in what he did.  He showed me how doing things well the first time pays off in the long run.

He would always start his day off on the right foot.  He would eat his breakfast, have his devotions, and pray.  He knew that spending time with the Lord each day was just as important as eating breakfast.  Now, what was not so important was his “enjoyment cookie” that he would also have in the morning, but I guess that was just his little special treat.

Of course, many would know how much he loved music.  He loved playing his instrument – whether it was his tuba or his bass guitar.  He used it as a way to praise the Lord.  It was his way of worshiping the Lord and sharing his love of the Lord with others through music.  His passion for music rubbed off on me.  I can’t even count how many great conversations we had surrounding the topic of music, and he was always supportive of my cousins and I in our musical endeavors.

I also remember his love for the outdoors.  He loved to fish or go to the beach or be on the boat when he lived in Sweden.  One of my favorite outdoor memories with him was driving the boat on Hven.  I remember a few times where he would let go of the steering wheel and I would feel a mixture of excitement and anxiousness, but I knew that he was sitting right there ready to take over when needed.  He loved to spend time outside and soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

I think one moment in particular that had the most meaning to me was just last year.  As I was getting ready to head to the Training College, he pulled me aside and gave me some great words of wisdom.  He told me how he was proud of me and what I was doing and how he would be praying for me.

I tell you that I am proud of what my morfar has done in his life.  I am thankful for the example and the legacy he has left in the lives of my family and I.  Most of all, I celebrate that he shared the faithfulness of the unfailing God from generation to generation.

About the author
Blake Fewell
Blake Fewell is a Salvation Army Lieutenant serving as the Corps Officer in Marion, IN. He grew up in Rockford, IL attending The Salvation Army all his life. Blake is passionate about Salvation Army theology and ministry. Other passions include running, brass band music, social media, reading, writing, and preaching. He holds a Bachelor's degree in systematic theology from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and is working towards his Master's degree at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.