Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Year

This day, June 30, 2013, marks a year since my mom crossed over into heaven. I know, her grave marker and all official documents call it July 1, but that's just because we were so slow in calling hospice after mom passed. Dave and I wanted to give all our kids time to see their grandma and say a final goodbye before her body was taken away. Karis and Meg were out babysitting, so by the time they got back and the hospice nurse made it to the house, one day turned into another. But we know. It was June 30, 2012 when Mom took her last labored breath here, then took her first free breath on the other side. Way to go, Mom! You fought the good fight, finished the race.

And us? We're still fighting, still running. Ev said the other day, "A lot has happened in just one year." Yup.

Family converged and honored Mom. The garage and car flooded.
A new school year started. Ev returned to homeschooling. I got sick.
Karis stopped eating gluten. I stopped eating gluten. Ev stopped eating gluten.
Nate played football. We all cheered.
Dave and I enjoyed a respite in Montana. Nate got the flu and we got bumped.
Karis unexpectedly lost a job, then found a few more. Meg worked two jobs. They both took college classes.
I worked. Dave worked. And Dave worked on his doctorate.
We celebrated holidays with Dave's family. Ev turned 14, Nate turned 16, Karis turned 20, Meg turned 18.
Dave and I may have grown older as well.
Meg graduated from high school. She'll finish up her two year degree next spring.
Karis took summer classes. She'll finish up her two year degree probably this fall.
I got iritis. Meg got glutened. Nate got a job at the city aquatic center.
We put the lake house on the market. It is under contract.
Dave declared Friday nights to be Family Night, and it is fun. I love these peeps.

One of my sisters is looking for my mother's grandmother's last place of employment in Switzerland, where she was a servant before running off with a stable boy to the U.S.
One of my brothers is preparing for his son's wedding in August.
I couldn't tell you what my other sister or my other brother are doing, because we don't keep in touch. I figured that would be the case with my sister, but I did not see it coming with my brother and it is a punch in the gut every time I think of him.

But the person I think of most is Mom.
When I go to the beach, I think how she would have loved walking along and collecting shells.
When I see her azaleas, camillias, magnolias bloom, I remember her delight.
When I pull up dead brown plants from her yard, plants that died on my watch, I am thankful she is happy in heaven.
When I ride in Karis' car, I think how proud Mom was of the Crown Vic, especially the cold a/c. (Especially notable here is that the '98 Crown Vic is the only car we have with working a/c right now.)
When I sweep the porch and sidewalk, I recall how important that task was to Mom.
When I stir up instant mashed potatoes, I know she does not approve.
But when I make the roux for Grandma's Gumbo, I think of her great love for good food.

And I wonder: How long does it take for her to fade? How long until all these sights and smells and actions are not saturated with memories of my mom? I know my mom missed her mama until the day she died. How long? Longer than a year, I guess.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Thing I Learned About Easter

The miracle of Jesus' power over death is magnified when you know what a terrible foe He overcame. Death is relentless, inescapable, overwhelming, no matter how hard you try, no matter who you are.
Unless you're Jesus.
Thank God.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Sweet sight on the dining room table this morning:

Karis using Grandma's Bible for her quiet time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Memory Lane

It's been about a year since my family moved in with Mom. I think we have all been thinking about her. Karis said something that was very Grandma. Nate said he was hungry for one of Grandma's hamburgers. (No one makes them like she did, but Karis comes closest.) Meg noticed Grandma's beautiful pink camelia blooming. Ev wore Grandma's shirt to class.

I went back in my blog last night to find the entry for the day we moved in. I found it, and then read through the rest of January. And February. And March, April, May, June. I think I gave it up somewhere in July.

Oh my. The sweetness and sorrow.
The regrets.
I wish I had been kinder and gentler.
I wish I had started slipping Mom medication sooner. She suffered so and was unable/unwilling to ask for help.
I wish I had gone for a walk every day.
But mostly, I wish my parents weren't gone.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mama

Today is Mom's birthday.
A year ago, her five children gathered to celebrate Mom's 91st year.
This year, I like to think my Grandma Minna whipped up one of her famous towering cakes in honor of her girl's 92nd. Maybe they even hopped in the car for a road trip to celebrate.
Happy Birthday, Ma.
I love you and miss you.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Santa brought me David Crowder Band's Church Music in my stocking this year. (Thank you, Santa!) I love this song called Shadows.

Life is full of light and shadows.
Oh, the joy and oh, the sorrow.
Oh, the sorrow.
And yet will He bring day from night.
And yet will He bring dark to light.
When shadows fall on us,
We will not fear.
We will remember.
When darkness falls on us,
We will not fear.
We will remember.
When all seems lost,
When we're thrown and we're tossed,
We'll remember the cost.
We're resting in the shadow of the cross.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I've been thinking about 2013.
I am not sorry to see 2012 go.
2012 was hard.
It was sad.
I long for better days. For happiness, health, and sparkle.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that even though I can say goodbye to 2012 and know I won't go through that again, there is no guarantee for sunshine and light in 2013. I can long for better days, but the only sure thing I have is God's promise to work all things together for GOOD for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Well, that's me. I love Him. I'm called according to His purpose. So as we begin the new year, instead of fixing my hope on an easier life (which I still would really, really like), I'm going to look for the GOOD in each day.

I think that is my word for 2013: GOOD.

As in, Be the GOOD you want to see in the world.
And, Surely GOODness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
And, Be GOOD to yourself.
And, Overcoming evil with GOOD.
And, Is this GOOD for me?
And, He isn't safe, but He is GOOD.

A friend posted this prayer from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions on her blog. She gave me permission to share it here. Thank you, Nikki! I think it is a powerful benediction to 2012 and blessing on 2013. God is GOOD.

Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.

Thou hast loved me before
the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me
during another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
with thee as the blessed Pilot of my future
as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes
to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution
and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.