Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Sweet Mom

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My beautiful mother is gone. 

She passed away Friday, May 19th at 2:30 in the afternoon. 

My heart is broken. I cannot seem to stop crying. But I know she is rejoicing. She is free. And hovering above our mourning, I know there were shouts of joy as circles of loved ones surrounded her.

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She was courageous to the very end, hanging on until my sister Deb could arrive and we were all there. We had spoken with my brother Dave, who lives in Houston, on the phone about an hour earlier and it pained us not to have him with us. 

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While we gathered around her bed in watchful reverence, holding each other, and my Dad holding her hand, she took her last breath. My beautiful, brave Mom.

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Doug noticed soon after her passing that the birds were singing. We opened the window wide and listened. Birds were her favorite. And we knew they were singing for her, singing her home.

Watching her body fail those last two days was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. That moment, that moment she left us, was a moment of sorrow unlike anything I have ever known. So devastating but so very holy.

All kinds of words, emotions, last moments, and memories, are swirling in my head. I am scribbling them on bits of paper here and there for now. And when this week is over, I will take time to share with you all that has happened. 

My Dad and I finished her obituary yesterday morning. You can read it here. So much to love and admire about her. 

What an honor to say I am, and always will be, her daughter.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mother's Day Giveaway from Barnacle Designs!

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Life has been full of emotion this last month. Deep, tender, even mournful in many ways. 

So... something different today. Something light and happy.

A little giveaway to welcome May and get us thinking about Mother's Day!

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Look at these cute bundles tied with twine!

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I mean seriously, who wouldn't love to receive a package like this in the mail?

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Last Summer, my friend Shelley, made (then mailed) my girls these darling packages. 

Shelley and I met in Virginia, Years later, we both ended up moving west. I landed in Utah, Shelley in sunny Cali.

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Inside the beautiful wrapping? An array of darling zipper pouches! Hand-made by Shelley. Who used to walk the hallways at church with me, bouncing one of these twin girls in her arms!

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Aren't they adorable? 

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This typewriter pouch was love at first sight for Liza!

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Shelley even included one for me! 

And I love it. 

I put jewelry in it then tuck it into my suitcase when traveling. I put pens in it and little notebooks for quick access in my purse. 

Her pouches come in all kinds of sizes so you can use them for makeup, electronics, iPhones, wallets, knitting... basically anything you want to find quickly in a purse, diaper bag, backpack, or suitcase so you don't have to dig for it! 

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She can even make you a laptop cover like this one! ⬇️  Swoon!

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Shelley's zipper pouches come in all kinds of cheerful fabrics.

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Now for the fun part...


Meet Shelley! 

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Shelley is a beautiful mother of four kids (mostly grown up) who sews like the wind, designs all kinds of pretty things, is a DIY junkie, loves sushi, travel, and her sweetheart Marc of 27 years. She serves everyone she knows and wherever she is, the world just feels brighter. 

I don't do giveaways very often. But when Shelley reached out to me, I thought it would be fun to do a Mother's Day giveaway, send Shelley some traffic, and offer you not only a chance to win some pouches, but a Mother's Day discount at her Etsy shop!

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Her pouches make the perfect Mother's Day gift!

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Starting NOW, get 20% off Barnacle Designs Etsy Shop with the CODE: MOM20

Offer good through May 14th, 2017! 🌸

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(Her rifle paper fabrics are the cutest.)

AND if you'd like to WIN one of these sets of pouches:

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Rifle Paper Company travel print. 🍍 Two sizes: 9 x 6.5 in. - perfect for an iPad mini or other travel essentials. And a 9 x 4 in. pouch for makeup or other items.  

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Or this Linea Blue set. 👠 Same sizing.

... Simply follow Shelley on Instagram @barnacledesigns  or like her Facebook page, BarnacleDesigns, then leave me a comment here, at the end of this post, telling me you started following her or liked her page. That will give you an entry into the drawing.

Now, in case your curious, here's the story behind Barnacle Designs.

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And a word from Shelley about why pouches make the perfect Mom gift:

"The absolute best way to keep your purse, diaper bag, or gym bag organized is with smaller bags so you can keep similar items together. In my purse I like to keep three main zipper pouches. One is for "fixing" myself on the run. I keep a powder compact, a mini hairbrush, some elastics and bobby pins, a couple of lip glosses, and a roller ball of my favorite perfume, Tocca Florence. I think of the second pouch as my "first aid kit," because I keep a few bandaids, a small tissue pack, a bottle of Advil and Tylenol (yep, they are mixed together in one bottle), eye drops, some of those toothpick harp thingies and a small hand lotion. Maybe hand lotion should be in the beauty bag but by the time I notice my hands are all dry and yucky it seems like a first aid emergency. I keep the last bag for colored pens. This is just my personal happy bag because I love opening it and seeing all those pretty pens when I want to make a note in my planer or when I need to take notes at a meeting. It's a small pleasure, but being able to easily find what I need in my bag gives me a little feeling of control that I really enjoy."

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Zip right over to Barnacle Designs and order some pouches! Code: MOM20. (I just ordered mine!) And don't forget to enter the giveaway by following @barnacledesigns on Instagram or liking her Facebook page, BarnacleDesigns, and leaving me a comment here! 

Happy shopping for those special Moms in your life!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holy Days

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These are holy days, sacred days.

And not just because it's Easter. 

I am at my Mom's, sitting with her. And while her decline has been consistently slow, the changes this week are significant.  

My youngest sister, Rachel, her husband Eric, and their little Emma, moved into the basement. So we could have full-time hep for my Dad. My entire family will be forever grateful to them for doing this. Rachel has been amazing, so selfless and strong in this caregiving role.

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This is Emma, making my Mom smile.

It is impossible to move Mom without two, even three of us, helping now. She cannot support her weight or balance herself, even sitting. She has not answered any of my questions today, and her eyes have dimmed. She knows I'm here, but it's hard for her to raise her head. She is sleeping almost the entire day, eating less, and the steroid is becoming ineffective. I can tell things are shifting. 

As I put up Easter decorations though, I am happy. Happy that I know the Easter truths. 

Know them in my marrow.

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Christ is our answer for peace. 

The Easter truths teach us this, and they are everything to me. I am counting on His promises. Promises of resurrection, renewal, of grace through every difficulty, and reunions beyond now.

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Sweet Amy, who lives a few streets over, brought me this darling garland today. 

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She has a popular Etsy shop called The Bees Knees where she sells felt ball garlands, felt banners, canvas pennants, and other cute decor for special occasions. Take a look! Or find her on instagram @thebeeskneesshoppe.

Thank you for this gift of home-made love, Amy.

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Yesterday we cut peach boughs and Eliza decorated our Easter Tree. 

We didn't do it on Palm Sunday because we had a surprise snow the evening before. Heavy and wet. Bowing tree limbs to the ground. Ours bent so far it snapped - severed one third of our black cherry. We found it like this Sunday morning.

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Sad to lose part of our tree! But grateful it didn't hit one of our cars. Doug sawed it up and within a day most the snow was melted.

We will move forward with our regular traditions as best we can this week. I know you're probably familiar with what we do. (I looked back to see how long we've been doing our Holy Week traditions and it's been five years! Hard to believe.) But for a quick reference, see links and resources below:

Palm Sunday - Make Easter Tree. Read about Triumphal Entry. Watch video of Triumphal Entry (link to all videos below). 

Monday  - Read about Jesus' second cleansing of temple. Watch video of Jesus cleansing the temple.

Tuesday - Attend temple or walk around grounds. Read some of Jesus' teachings during the last week and watch videos (The Greatest Commandment, The Widow's Mite, Ten Virgins, Parable of Talents,Ye Have Done it Unto Me).

Silent Wednesday - Easter Walk. Read about Jesus raising Lazarus. Watch video.

Holy Thursday - Passover/Seder Meal. Read about Last Supper and Gethsemane. Watch videos.

Good Friday - Make Hot Cross Buns. Read about Crucifixion. Watch videos.

Saturday - Easter Lanterns. Read about Jesus' burial and preparation. Talk about this day of waiting and anticipation. Watch video.

Easter Sunday - Church, Easter baskets, family dinner. Read about resurrection. Watch videos.


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After doing my Mom's nails and feeding her some soup, my Dad and I decided to take her outside. It's been weeks since she has been out of doors. But we put on her jacket, hoisted her into the wheelchair, and pushed her outside. I wanted her to see the tulips and daffodils Dad planted for her in the fall. Daffodils are one of her favorite flowers. First flower of Spring. A symbol of hope.

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So down the hill we went to the western end of the yard to show her the new flower garden. Won't it be gorgeous when all those bulbs spread and grow in colored bunches?

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My cute parents. It was such an effort to get my Mom to hold her head up, but bless her heart, look at her trying to smile. 

Since her last major surgery, she has had homonymous hemianopsia. A loss of vision to the left of the vertical midline of each eye. So she misses things right in front of her and things to her left. Can you imagine? And she's never complained! We've had so many good laughs when she missed food items, like two strips of bacon that were sitting right in front her on her plate. (Some time I'll have to write up that story from our girls' trip with all the hilarious details.)

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Then we walked her up the hill to see the crabapple bedecked in blossoms. Isn't it glorious?

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My Dad pointed out everything in bloom. He's been working so hard to keep her gardens going. I picked a hyacinth for her and we swooned over the scent. Then I picked this orange tulip for her, and we made our way inside.

I spoke with the kids tonight about the changes in their Grandma and how things will be different the next time they come with me. How she will be in a hospital bed instead of on the couch, so she can sleep in the main family room. How... we have to start tapering her off the steroid... and letting her go. 

There were tears and questions and hugs. But every conversation led us back to Jesus. How His gifts make everything right.

"I do not understand the mystery of grace. Only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us." - Ann Lamont

Enjoy your Easter week. May you gather light and love. And may you share it with others. There is so much angst in this difficult world, so much rending and aching of the heart. No doubt you have your own hidden sorrows or worries that are bending you low - maybe to the point of breaking. Hang on. There is One who knows precisely what you need. He is waiting for you, and for me. And He offers us peace. 

Blessed holy days, my friends.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

While You Are Sleeping

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Mom, it's a Wednesday afternoon and I am sitting in your wheelchair, bumped up against the couch, watching you sleep. A spring rain is speckling the cement of the back patio. Dozens of tulips that Dad planted for you are just starting to show their green bulbs, the fireplace is warm behind me, and the house, this house in which you raised six rowdy children, is quiet.

I am listening to you breathe, watching your eyelashes tremble, as you drift even deeper. Into sleep that will rest your body and brain, renew where possible And maybe, after you nap, I will be able to sit you up and feed you lunch, talk to you for a few minutes.

You don't say much these days... your smiles are infrequent, your laughter less, and our conversations mostly one-way...

More at Segullah today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cabin Days

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Snowmelt is filling the canyon streams. Our tulips are poking through the leaves. And even the cherry trees are starting to show their pinkish petals. March is proving to be warm, windy, and happy. Makes me feel like summer isn't too far away.

In looking through drafted posts, I discovered this treasure that never went up. For some long-forgotten reason, I didn't get around to it. 

It's from Summer 2015. When we spent a few days up at Kara and Dave's cabin. The pictures are so delightful, I just can't delete it. So... I clicked "publish."

Even though everyone is older now and so much life has happened in between, it's good to look back and remember how luxurious it is to have seasons. To live in the mountains, to have good friends, to share good food round the table. 

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The photos (mostly) speak for themselves.

Kara and Dave, we love you. Thanks for sharing your piece of heaven with us.

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When Kara and Dave's twinnies were still teeny. 

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Sami is still our best babysitter.

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Dave's handiwork.

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Darling Caleb.

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These two are still the sweetest BFFs.

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Sami's face. 😂 Nothing like a horse nuzzling (slobbering) you on the neck unexpectedly.

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Love her dearly.

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Katherine ☺️

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Parker and his mama.

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Calvin and Hobbes on every lap.

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Full moon over the mountains. 

Nothing like these kind of days at the cabin. ❤️

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