Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Past

"This blessed night may the cadence of Christmas carry glad skyborne hallelujahs to our Father who still fashions grand cathedral windows from the shattered fragments of our yielded lives."   ~ Dorothy  Purdy

On December 19, 1986 I copied this quote and I have always loved it. It seems that I am often a 'shattered fragment' but I don't want to stay in that place; I want to become the cathedral window that reflects God's light on a dark world.

The Wedding countdown continues inexorably downward, the clock is ticking, the finish line is almost here. I hope and pray that it will be a day that honors God and two young adults who have waited on the Lord to bring them to this place.

I know the day is bound to be laden with conflicting emotions, despite that I want it to be a day of joy that is only minimally seasoned with the bitter-sweet that is inevitable later. Carlie will only have one wedding day to remember and it should be a joy-filled memory.

I wish my my mom could be here for this special moment in Carlie's life, but I know that she is in heaven, pain-free, and will be looking down on Carlie and whispering, "Happy Wedding."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wow, sometimes there is just no way to downshift fast enough for your life circumstances.School was such a pressure cooker and then mom died, school is over and I am at a loss to know what to do with myself. It isn't as if there aren't a million things to be done and yet somehow, I don't have the heart for any of these things. I am staring down the barrel of Carlie's wedding and moving out of state and I feel as if someone has torn out the place my heart used to be. It never ceases to astound me how the grieving process is messy, painful, and leaves you gasping for oxygen.
I understand intellectually that I need to marshall my emotions and energy  to the tasks that need to be done, I have not yet been able to do this.

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to share a Diet Coke with a dear Christian friend who sat and simply listened to me cry and pour out my heart to her. It is such a gift to give to someone, to listen and never say "It will get better." You are a gift from God Sonja and I love and appreciate you so much!

Meanwhile, today is another day and I have to get on with life and the things that are required of me. It still seems so odd to me that the world keeps turning even as my world seems to have crashed down around me.

So for today, I will plant my feet on the Rock, look upward, and belive that the sun will once again shine on my face,the dark days will recede, and I will find joy in the moment. Mom would have wanted it that way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Although this isn't the best picture of my mom I chose it because she loved Janzen, and even as she lay in the hospital she asked for him, more than once. She loved that little guy all to pieces, she delighted in him and she was so proud of the outstanding job Andy and Heather are doing with him.

Today is really the first day I have had to process my mom's leaving this earth for her heavenly home. She died during my first week of finals and I just never had a chance to breathe or let myself think about what had occurred on any more than the shallowest level, I had to go to school and I needed to be able to function.

I am thrilled for her to be pain-free and with her Lord and Saviour, not to mention all the loved ones that went before her, however, the pain of her being gone and the enormous hole that is left behind is nearly  incomprehensible.

Mom loved God and people and she made no distinctions as to what kind of people. She loved them all and longed for them to know Jesus.  She lived to serve other people and she was always the first one to jump up when something needed to be done.

What seems strange to me is that the world continues on as if nothing happened. Life continues on for people and yet I feel as if life has stopped moving. It is surreal. I spent most of this past week feeling as if my head were filled with cotton, it was the strangest sensation.

I love you mom, I am thrilled that your faith has become sight, I just wish it didn't hurt so much.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Carlie-Rose Cooks

This is a picture that warms my heart, Carlie is cooking a Mexican dinner. She has been taking lesson's from Sam's mom, Eleanor, and we have been the oh-so-willing guinea pigs (and pig is probably the appropriate word here...)of the most delicious fare. Almost very time she cooks she makes a batch of salsa; around here chips and salsa are their own food group!  I guess I should probably be learning along with Carlie for the day that is bound to come when she is no longer here to cook for us.

Here is a quote that I found in a book I purchased recently: "Being a writer does not necessarily mean being published. It's very nice to be published. It's what you want.  When you have a vision, you want to share it. But being a writer means writing. It means building up a body of work. It means writing every day. You can hardly say that van Gough was not a painter because he sold one painting during his lifetime, and that to his brother. But do you say that van Gough wasn't a painter because he wasn't "published"? He was a painter because he painted, he held true to his vision as he saw it. And I think that's the best example I can give you."   ~Madeleine L'Engle~

And that, in part, is why I created this blog. I need to write on  a regular basis and this is one kind of outlet that provides the opportunity. Hopefully, the reader will bear with me as I continue the writing journey.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Last year JJ was too young to get a lot of enjoyment out of the Easter egg hunt, but this year he got quite the kick out of it.  He would find the egg drop it into his basket and scurry off to look for the next egg. He had his share of plastic eggs with candy in them, pretty sure he got a sugar buzz because he was pretty "animated" when his Papa was opening belated birthday gifts.
He would throw his arms in the air  and yell, "BIRTHDAY!" and then shriek with laughter when we laughed at him.  Funny how children become the focus of family gatherings, they are just so much  fun to watch as they experience things for the first time or learn something new.     
We played a new game that Heather brought over called Banana Grams, it is like Scrabble only each person plays their own game. We only played one game as it had grown late for  JJ, besides we wanted him to come down from his sugar-high at home...


Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme..."

Believe it or not, this is my rosemary bush, it is about five feet tall and probably healthier than I am! I love fresh herbs, I have grown oregano, basil, mint, and sage with  great success in the past. However, I inherited this rosemary when we moved into this house and it appears to thrive on benign neglect, an apparent necessity for living under my care, if you are of the plant species. I have wonderful intentions but too often they do not come to fruition. I tend to begin gardening projects with great gusto and finish with little fanfare, sad but true. Last year I grew tomatoes, the plants themselves were huge and put out tomatoes at an astonishing rate, we ate a LOT of tomatoes but by the end of the season they had become so out of control that I couldn't even get to the tomatoes to harvest them.  Lesson learned, this year I will put my tomatoes in a different location. The garden I had last year was also far bigger then I wanted to keep up with  so the end result was a very weedy patch with a lovely fence around it. We did have some amazing green beans and yellow squash out of it; but really there was a lot of work that went to seed, pun intended. Note to self: CONTAINER gardening on the deck.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

These miniature daffodils have come and gone now, but they were the brightest ray of sunshine as you came up our front walkway. It was especially nice because they were blooming at the at the point in the quarter where I wanted to bang my head against the nearest wall and cry like a baby.
But all of that is over now, grades are out and I maintained my 4.0 GPA. Yes! I actually received an 'A' from my English class. It was so totally backwards all quarter long, Math was easy and English was tough, really tough. I am very thankful that all my hard work paid off, there never seemed to be a guarantee of that.
I remember the first day of the quarter (and this should have been the writing on the wall) the professor's first words to the class were, "Pick up your homework on your way by my desk." She followed that up pretty quickly with, "After my class, all your other college classes are going to be easy." She was not kidding. But I lived, hopefully learned, and added more layers to the part of my character that needs to practice staying with something even when you can't see the end result.
On another note, it is Easter week (how did this happen?!?!) and I am looking forward to having the whole family here for Easter dinner. It will be fun to watch J hunt for Easter eggs this year. Pictures to come!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yesterday JJ came over to play. He is a precious bundle of joy and nearly unending energy. We went outside and saw a very hefty black and yellow bumble bee lumbering through the air; I was left to ponder aerodynamics, J wanted to follow it around and touch this fuzzy ‘fly.’ We watched in wonder as a helicopter (just like the ones he sees in his books!) moved across the sky with its distinctive 'thump, thump thump' sound. Like most kids, ‘ou’side’ is J's favorite place to be. Viewed through the wide eyes of a 22 month old child it opens up a world that tends to be forgotten once the vestiges of childhood are behind you. Soggy grass, rain, and chilly winds pose no deterrent, as a child you are completely unaware of these elements. ‘Outside’ is a veritable wonderland of delight with infinite possibilities for the imagination. J loves to watch the birds at the feeder, in the brambles, in the yard, anywhere they can be watched. He knows the names of the Junco, Chickadee, and seagull. It is so much fun to see knowledge upon knowledge being added to his information bank and amazing to think of all there is yet to learn! I am so grateful that I have a grandchild, it is an extension of having children and yet it is so profoundly different.

Friday, March 26, 2010

So, I made it through finals and lived to tell the story. It was a tough quarter but I made it. I was surprised to find that I was utterly exhausted the first day of Spring Break. I felt like I had run a marathon, and in a way, I guess I had. I feel a bit disoriented without the endless litany of classes, homework, and more classes.
Yesterday, Heather and I spent a significant amount of time trying to finish our 2009 scrapbooks. She finished, I didn't, but I am oh so close! I plan to finish before school starts up again on April 5th.
I am keeping JJ this afternoon so hopefully I will be able to get some good pictures and enjoy him without the guilt of feeling like I should be studying!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I needed to add something that made me smile for this particular day. I am in the throes of trying to complete my essay and I am a bit lost in Algebra. I hate having issues with Math, it makes me feel the frustration I had back when I was a kid. We are only spending two weeks in Algebra so I need to garner all I can from it. I am just frustrated, this too shall pass. I think that I am also feeling the pressure build as finals come closer, I don't want to stress, I just don't know how to avoid it completely.

At any rate, JJ makes me smile. I had him all of Saturday afternoon and into the evening, he is such a ray of sunshine! I was bummed because he doesn't call Maverick, 'Manic' anymore, which I always thought was adorable. We played hide-n-seek, played with his legos, went outside and picked up sticks and wondered around the yard. He loves to be outside and it was such a glorious day!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The picture on the bottom is the one I woke up to this morning around 6:45 am. In reality, the sky was a lot pinker, but this was the best one of the few I took. I should try taking one with my new Eris HTC Droid phone, it probably takes better pictures than my camera! The picture on the top is my flowering quince thicket, it is so beautiful as the pink blossoms open up. I am excited to see every new sign of spring. Officially, spring is still 21 days away but unofficially it is here. Everywhere you look flowering trees in bloom, rose bushes fully leafed out, and of course, I have the requisite dandelions in full bloom too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

For better or worse, these pictures depict a large portion of my life. When I am not at WCC, I spend a great deal of time, seated at this table, studying. Will it be worth it? I hope so. It will certainly be worth it in terms of me, proving to myself, that I can study hard and get good grades. The level that worries me is more at the employment level. Medical Assistants start out at lower wages (in Whatcom County) than I was earning in my last two jobs. My hope is that the payoff will come in terms of truly loving my occupation; there is much to be said about the satisfaction of a job you love. It won't be a necessity for me to work full-time which will allow me to spend time with my family. This year has been a major adjustment and very hard, on many levels. Next year will be even more intense as I take on quarters that will have 18, 19 and 20 credits. It scares me a little but I am very thankful for the grounding I am getting this year. Next year, this years "nose to the grindstone" will become "whole head in the grindstone!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another day in the life

Here we are with our feet in the Gulf of Mexico, a beautiful day, but the wind s a trifle chilly on the water. This was our trip to Florida in November of 2008. We did the whole Disney World thing and some exploring with MB and Ed. I enjoyed Florida but it is never going to be my favorite place, that spot, I think, will always be Tucson, Arizona. I think the ultimate thing would be to spend from November through April in Arizona and the rest of the year here, coming home for Christmas, of course. I need more sunshine in my life, I get very tired of the persistent gray, cloudy days in Washington. But enough complaining already, I believe in blooming where I am planted and for this stage of my life it is here, in beautiful Washington state!

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's gonna be a bright sunshiny day!

I chose this picture for t0day because it was also a bright, clear day and JJ wanted to be '
'ou'side.' I love the connection that kids have with nature, they love everything about being outside. It is unfortunate that so few parents these days seem to understand that connection. Even as adults we have a bond with nature; I find that for myself, when I am overwhelmed with life or I just need to be alone, the great outdoors calls to me like the Pied Piper. There is something magical about nature, particularly when you are a child. I can remember when I was a kid, I couldn't bear to be inside, rain or no rain. It was an exquisite day when I was finally allowed to be outside sans a coat or even a sweater. If you allow yourself to enjoy nature through the eyes of a child you will begin to find that place in yourself that finds excitement over a spider building his amazing web, the fun of running your fingers across a pussy willow, or the thrill of stomping through mud puddles just because you can. There is much to be learned through the eyes of children if we can let go of our adult world long enough to explore and reawaken our curiosity and rediscover the joy of the ordinary.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This was my idea of an artistic arrangement of my latest knitting projects. These days I have traded in my hat making skills for making bags. I found the pattern in a knitting book I received as a Christmas present. This picture shows three projects in various stages: the one with the bamboo handles is done, the purple one on top of that still needs to be sewed together, lined, and handles put on, the last one is merely a tidbit of chenille yarn knitted enough to see if I would like it as a bag (I would). It's kind of hard to see what all it is but it might be enough to give a person a notion.

The first bag was a learning process. I often find that patterns tend to assume a basis of knowledge: say, for instance, that you will actually know how to line a bag.I found that the 5 1/2" bamboo needles aren't big enough, it's the biggest size I could obtain locally so I will be ordering 9 1/2" ones on line. The pattern wasn't specific about which end to sew up, so I sewed the smaller end closed, but I think I would prefer the end that stretches out as you knit. At any rate, I learned from the process and I am hoping that I will like my second bag more than the first.

I love knitting, it is my obsession, particularly when my brain is overloaded and I feeling weary and worn out with school.

Janzen Seth Breakey

I got to keep JJ for a couple of hours yesterday and we had so much fun! He absolutely cracks me up, he walks around and plays and the whole time he gives a running commentary of what he doing, it is too cute. He loves to be outside, so we went outside and watched the birds, I showed him some ants working industriously, he ran and picked up leaves and grass and I let him pick a small bouquet of blooming rosemary to bring into the house. He is the light of my life. The thing about grandchildren is that you enjoy them in ways that you most often didn't, with your own kids. There is something about the freedom of not having the ultimate responsibility that enables you to let loose and enjoy these tiny humans beings that God has placed in your life. It literally takes my breath away to be a part of this circle of life. I can't wait for the next addition, and no, that isn't a hint in any way!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


March 21, 2006

" A man ought to read just as inclination leads him, for what he reads as a task will do him little good." ~ Samuel Johnson ~
The observation of people can be a fascinating way to pass time. I have always enjoyed sitting at the mall (airport, or anywhere people gather) and just observing people. The following are some of my observations and for "convenience sake" I will put it in the form of a LIST:
1.) Most people have no idea of what clothing flatters their body type. (HINT: If you are of the female persuasion, vertically challenged, and over the age of 35, NO mini-skirts allowed).
2.) Hair is another ominous black hole for many people. The clue here is that if your hairdresser recommends it and you hate her hair, ignore her.
3.) From all appearances, people are sadly lacking in the knowledge of how to raise well-behaved kids. (Anyone who knows me very well will be proud of my restraint here). Hey, if your kid is a brat and you don't want to listen to him then feel free to assume that I am going to feel the same way.
4.) Crowd control, is anyone in charge? I absolutely despise it when large crowds of people stand in the middle of aisles, completely blocking traffic, leaving you no recourse but to barge through or go around. And while I am at it, my pet Costco peeve: people who block the aisles so that they can eat the free samples. This is not a buffet people, it is intended that you try a sample and then actually buy the product, not eat the sample and move on to the next grazing station. (END RANT).
5.) Self contol, does anyone have it anymore? I aboslutely hate it when people fight and argue in public, it is so embarrassing. Do they really think that everyone wants to hear about thier lack of checking account balance? On the other side of that same coin, neither do I want to see obnoxious PDAs.
. 6.) Please for the love of all that is sacred, don't subject the whole world to your cell phone conversation. Many times we are captive audiences and we don't want to hear the saga of your entire pitiful life. Here is an example of what I mean: When I was still working at the Merv, I once had a woman come to the cash register, on her cell phone, and words were flowing like Niagara Falls. She had a huge stack of items she was purchasing. So while I stood there and rang up her purchases she talked on her phone the entire time, she never once uttered a word to me. I had completely finished ringing, bagging, and processing her credit card before she got off the phone. When she got off she then proceeded to inform me that she hadn't wanted some of the stuff. It's so annoying when you don't know you are supposed to be using your crystal ball.
8.) Manners, don't leave home without them. Some people seem to think that when there are large lines no one will notice or care if they cut in front of them. Are they nuts?!? I figure it is the fastest road to an old-fashioned lynching.
If you aren't in the habit of observing people, may I recommend it as a fairly cost effective form of entertainment. But always remember that when you are in stores (and places like that) there is usually someone observing you and they can see everything, they could literally count the hairs in your nostrils if they wanted to.

Life in the past

June 9, 2007 - Saturday

"All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, what they lived, we dream."
~ T. K. Whipple, Study out the Land ~
One of the things you get to do when you get to be as old as I am is reminisce…the kids hate it but it's a fact of life.
Today my ruminations are of that far-off land of Grade School. Here are some things I remember:
 The long paper with lines on the bottom and blank space above to draw your perspectives of the world. Remember? The line of blue at the top that was supposed to represent the sky; the strip of green at the bottom for grass; the cheerful looking sun that was usually in the top right corner, complete with artistic rays. In the writing section there was invariably a torn part where it had been erased one too many times.
 The paste that came in the plastic jar that had an applicator-type thing attached to the lid, this was supposedly to keep your fingers out of the paste which would have defeated the entire purpose of the paste, which was to be eaten. I loved that stuff.
 I was also inordinately fond of the fat pencils with equally fat erasers that came in a variety of pretty primary colors. I was sad when I had to start using those skinny yellow pencils, they were so ugly.
 The tablets that were used after you graduated from the aforementioned long paper. I remember one time I had to use notebook paper because we were out of tablets at home and my mom wouldn't "go to town" for just one item. I was so embarrassed; I thought we were too poor to afford a tablet.
 Those awesome desks that had the top that lifted up. I LOVED my desk and it was always painfully tidy or looked like Hurricane Gertrude had just passed through there.
 The brand new eraser at the beginning of the year, it came in the beautiful designer color of Petal Pink…until you spent the whole year erasing all those awkward looking letters you were trying to learn; then it was more of a Grunge Gray.
 Saddle shoes. For those of you too deprived to experience saddle shoes that were brand new at the beginning of the school year, there is no consolation I can offer you.
 Recess: The entire point of attending Grade School, (other than eating lunch) Playing Squareball (or Four Square as some poor saps referred to it) Hopscotch, the Jungle Gym, all the different monkey bars. Parents didn't realize what a danger zone the "playground" could be.


April 16, 2007 - Monday

Daisy-do. Dolly. Doll-face. Doll-doll.
These are a few of the nicknames we had for our much-loved family dog. None of them really embraces what kind of a dog she was or the unconditional love she offered us on a daily basis. She loved us and trusted us with her very last breath, which came last Friday.
Daisy was a pound puppy. Not the first one we looked at nor the second or third. She was a very thin black dog with white feet, white tip on her tail and a bit of white on her face and chest. By the time we took a closer look at Daisy we had almost given up on finding our dog that day. She was pretty much the only dog in the cacophony that was lying silently with big brown eyes pleading for us to take one last look. We did and it was love at first sight. We took Daisy home that day and she was instantly a part of our family.
There was nothing she wasn't willing to do with the girls, with the exception of bathing; she may have been part black lab but she was not a water dog. Daisy was dressed far more often than their dolls, she was a faithful partner in many outdoor adventures, she provided a listening ear for the angst of their early teen years, and she loved them with every breath she took. Daisy was better at playing checkers then they were but we suspect that was because when they weren't looking she cheated. She was more patient then they were and often smarter.
There was no adventure that Daisy wasn't willing and ready to participate in. She adored camping and endured being drug around on her leash by many an eager child at the SBCC campouts.
Daisy loved everyone she met and when Andy came into the family he was no exception, she always knew when he was coming by the sound of his car.
Patience probably should have been her middle name for she had that character quality in spades. She endured the addition of a little black toy poodle who she thought was a small rat when we brought him home. She also endured the addition of her two nephews Castor and Camber with lady-like dignity.
Daisy was a grand dog, the finest you could ask for and royalty in her own right. It is with fond memories and sad hearts that we say good-bye to our companion of thirteen years.