And A Little of June

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June, in all its glory, is a blissful month for many reasons. Warmth, sunshine, greenery, no school, water time, family time, birthdays, longest days of the year, no snow, fresh veggies, strawberries, raspberries, ball games, and a million blades of grass to mow. I won’t list all mine, make your own list of loveliness.

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Amazingly, they have become friends. He is more gentle with her than any of us. Not amazing at all is the fact that my relationship with him is still a little rocky. Days when he plays with the kids and they love it, I’m all cool with having him outside my door. Other days when I find half of the front porch chewed up in the driveway, I am not cool at all.

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As far as weddings go, this one was fun. I’ll now suggest a fun golf course with carts to any bride, so long as the men leave the clubs at home.

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We have formed our own little biker gang and we all ride together. Grandma’s lawn usually receives top-notch care until we get started, after that it just kind of looks like a race track. There are a few rules to the riding and so far everyone has stayed safe. The biggest casualty is running out of gas and having to walk back to the house.

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This is the spot where memories are made. There were sleepovers, fires, marshmallows, hotdogs, bike rides, stories, more stories, and lots of laughter and fun. Years from now I hope this little gang will look back and say, “Remember one time at the cabin when…”
My siblings and I grew up with a cabin and pond farther back in the field and we have lots of good memories playing there.  Although Tristan never lived to see this cabin, he is very much a part of us when we are there. Invariably when the kids all pile in for a sleepover and I am trying to get them to settle down, one will say, “Tell us stories, stories about Tris.” and so I do. We take walks down memory’s lane and recall all the things we did when I was a kid. My memories come alive for them and he lives on in them through me. Tell your children your stories, keep the memories alive.

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I do believe she wouldn’t mind having more than one birthday a year so she could dream up and create another cake. She spent the entire day doing what she loves, stirring around in the kitchen.

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Only go camping on the hottest weekend of the year if you have a huge fan!

There are times in a person’s life when events unfold that directly affect them, yet it is not their story to tell. Such is the case in my life right now. I have not told you, simply because it was not my story to tell.

Since Tristan’s death, you have followed along with my life and the journey of grief I have been on. What you are not partial to is the rest of my family and their journey, their story is not my story to share.

In 2015 our family lost a member, this year we gained a new one. It was a bittersweet day in June when Lisa married Laverne. The mixture of emotions is something that you cannot explain. There were tears for the past and what all we have been through, yet there were also smiles and joy for the present and the future. We are happy for them and we welcome Laverne into our family.

Our grieving is not over just because of these changes. Grieving changes along with you and hangs around for the rest of your life. In some ways the weekend was hard, we missed Tris so very much, yet we can also say the weekend was good.

Through all this, all my mind continually went back to a song I heard about God writing my story. “Is there room in my heart for God to write His story?” Am I willing to allow Him to orchestrate my life in a way so my story will bring Him glory?

Life may not turn out exactly as I had planned, but if I allow God to be the author of my story, life will turn out exactly as He has planned.

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These are the Days

And then there was this one May we barely kept our heads above water but in the end, we did. Or I think we managed since we still have one more day to go.

I am always so ready for May. I imagine school functions, school ending, relaxed schedules, and warmth, but the craziness is almost more than can be handled at some points.

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These are the days when:

  • There are appointments for this, that, the next and everything.
  • School consumes your every waking moment and then thankfully it is over.
  • You celebrate Mother’s day in a whirl and then again the next Sunday.
  • You sleep in every morning all summer. ha. Only in your dreams! 
  • You settle more fights then you eat bites of food in a day.
  • Your child smashes his big toe and you earn a medical degree caring for him.

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  • Your family comes and you have fun together for three days.
  • You unintentionally recreate a Norman Rockwell painting at the supper table.
  • Everyone needs something. all the time.
  • Food, food, food is what’s on everyone’s mind. all the time.
  • You remember your serious diet while shoving a bite of cake into your mouth. too bad.

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  • You send a child to the basement for french fries and she comes back with no fries but looking like a 99-year-old Grandma! (permission was not granted to share this photo)
  • You make a batch of protein balls and in a few hours, they have almost all disappeared.
  • You drill certain small persons on the etiquette of burping or farting and then laughing about it.
  • You write “Call the dentist” on the weekly to-do list for an endless amount of weeks.
  • You take a pair of boots away from Rocky the dog 98 times a day only to find out they were gifted to him that morning by a worker over at the shop! !!

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  • You spend quality time involving food with your friends and youth group.
  • You go to the library and in so doing create quiet time and work for yourself. They will all sit and read for hours, but when you want them to get up and work….
  • You come home from town and write something on your grocery list for next week.
  • You set the grocery bags on the floor and they eat the food right out of them.
  • The strawberries you dreamed of all winter are ripe!

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  • You stand beside Lake Erie and watch the sunset and wonder what it looks like from heaven’s side.
  • You look through pictures on Memorial day and remember.
  • You celebrate your husband’s birthday and are glad he was born.
  • You sit around a fire with family.

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  • You mention something coffee to your daughter and it appears.
  • You stay up late even when you are dreadfully tired, just because the house is quiet.
  • The next day you consider going to bed early that night. but you don’t.
  • After approximately 325 days with paint-samples splashed about on the bedroom walls and no plans of picking up the brush, you finally paint it.

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  • And then there was the weekend when you walked into your husband’s family reunion and 3 people said… Noooo, not “Hi, Shannon, how are you?” Nor did they say, “Hey Shannon, good to see you again!” Neither was it, “Shannon! So glad you’re here!” But rather their welcome greeting was, “Hey, how is Rocky?”
    After a momentary mental freeze at that question, the reply was, “The dog in question is lucky to be alive and doing well considering the fact that the kids left the front door open for 2.5 seconds and he ripped in, grabbed a pillow off the couch and went hauling out and around the house before he was caught!”
  • That is how Rocky the dog is.

These are the days!
They tell me I’ll wish for these days someday.

A Cushion of Peace

Far out over the ocean,
the night is a deep dark,
the moon covered in thick clouds.
A sharp wind blows in with a howl,
fierce and tumultuous it roars,
whipping and tearing the waters.
Billowing waves mount high,
cresting and breaking fiercely.
Rising swells heave and toss
and with fury, thrash in desperation.
The tempest sweeps over the deep,
turbulence swirls through the waters
and the ocean rolls with foam.
A storm roars with a vengeance.

While the winds and rain rage on,
deep down at the ocean’s greatest depths,
far beneath the agitated waters,
there is a sweet and peaceful calm.
Completely undisturbed by the wind and waves,
a quiet stillness reigns under the cushion of the sea.
Plants and vegetation float quietly,
shipwrecked parts lodge still,
a fish swirls in the deep.
There is quiet peace below
while the storm rages above.

Life brings storms raging,
gusts of wind push and shove,
knocking us to the ground.
Torrents of rain beat,
crashing our soul and
threatening to drown our spirit.
Turbulence is all around,
our heart cries out with pain,
fears assail and doubts abuse us.
We wonder if God cares,
will we live to see the end
of this fierce storm,
so weak and battered we are.

However, deep inside,
down in the inmost part of our soul,
beyond the raging and howling storm,
there is peace.
In our uttermost heart of hearts,
we know God really does care.
He loves and cherishes us
and has our very best in mind.
Rooted firmly inside we know
without a shadow of a doubt,
He protects, He shields,
He gathers us under His wings
and gently holds us close.
Deep down, we believe,
we know and we trust,
He is just, He is good,
He is faithful, He is love.

While the continuing storm rages wildly,
so high above on the ocean waters,
deep in the heart of our soul,
there is a cushion of peace.

peace

Rocky

Rocky (3)

Hi, my name is Rocky. I hear you have been wanting to meet me.
The people of this house are tired of other people asking them what my name is, so they informed the mother she needs to let you know.

I am having a fine time here. I’m fed, watered and played with on a daily basis so I call that a good life. The boy usually comes to visit me in the morning before school. One morning he didn’t come and I overheard that he didn’t want to because it was snowing. Not a good enough excuse in my book.

Rocky (1)

I’m not sure what is wrong with the little girl. While the boy is at school, she will stand outside my pen and hand me treats and dog food through the panels. But when they let me out and I try to play with her, she just runs away yelling and screaming and climbs up something high so I can’t reach her. Puzzling.

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The boy is my favorite. We have a great time together. He doesn’t care if I jump or climb all over him.

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This sister takes me on long walks and we go exploring. I behave pretty well for her because I like to go along when she heads up the path into the woods.

The big sister, well she says she likes me but I don’t see much of her. She mainly stays inside and bakes while sipping iced coffee.

Rocky (4)

The Dad and I, we get along pretty good. Our only run-ins are during the night when I see a raccoon or something and can’t contain my barking.

The mother, you ask? Well, she and I have a rocky relationship, hence my name.

The other morning when the boy was getting my food I squeezed into the garage with him. I picked up his hat in my mouth and we raced in circles. He grabbed it from me and stomped up the steps into the laundry room, so I went along. Before the mother knew what had happened, I was rolling around and doing donuts on her living room floor. What a party! They were yelling and hollering but I refused to listen so she had to pick me up and carry me out. Oh, lands what a howl it was. I don’t think she liked it so well, but I sure can’t figure out why not.

I heard her say she fears for the life of her plants and flowers and everything on her porch. I have no idea why she worries so much, it’s like she thinks she knows what’s coming this summer or something. She’s full of barkus!

Rocky (7)

I’m still planning to befriend that little sister. I know she likes me because she talks to me all the time she feeds me treats, but she just refuses to play with me when I’m out.
For now, life with the boy is good!
-Rocky

P.S. I’ll let you know if the mother ever comes around and decides to like me.

Rambings and A Question

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” -Eyeore

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The same could be said of winter. Eventually.

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I know we all want to react and shake our fists at this never-ending winter, but really, it is God who we are complaining about. And remember, He has promised that the seasons will continue to change, so I keep looking forward to it.

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Imagine how much we’ll have to smile about this summer.

Be optimistic, like the child living here who is wearing her swimsuit and sandals this morning.

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In the meantime, we are just over here pretending it’s the 106th day of January while we bake and sing.  {maybe}
I’m not doing the baking, I’m eating, and I’m not really singing about it either, just trying to calmly endure to the end.


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Yesterday we celebrated Madison’s public declaration of faith with her baptism. It was a joyful occasion and truly a pleasure to see her growing in her walk with Jesus.

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Grandma and Grandpa came for the weekend.
Grandma is playing Old Maid with these two, but she hasn’t yet realized she is playing with a cheater who keeps looking in the window to see her cards when she holds them out for him to draw. Guess who won!


Now, my question for you.

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Recently, a vote was taken by the people of this household and the mother was overruled by the majority. Okay, so maybe the entire lot of them voted against me, but anyway, soon thereafter they became the owners of a new dog. After days of discussion, I told the man of the house I sure am glad we didn’t have this many opinions when it came to naming children. It was hard enough with only two.

So back to my question, what would you name this big black Lab?

The suggestions here have been numerous, yet no one can agree. Dakota suggested naming him after the guy we bought him from. For some reason that guy wasn’t thrilled about that for fear I would take his name in vain.

And the first person to tell me that every boy needs a dog does not win first prize!

Of Spring, Vaction, and Grief

Winter seems to be struggling to allow Spring take over. Like a post I saw, “Winter keeps sticking its head back in the door and yelling, “And one more thing…”
I am not a fan of being cold, but what can I say? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”  He’s taking it away today and hopefully soon it will start warming, but for now, we are surviving this “Sprinter.”

Winter D

I feel like I’ve been struggling too. Winter blues kind of had/has a grip on me and I can’t seem to shake them. I have a myriad of things that are calling my name but I can’t seem to accomplish any of them. Painting. Sewing. Spring cleaning. << whaaat is that?

Confession: That last one, Spring cleaning, my house doesn’t even know what that is anymore.  It seriously does me no good to clean the entire house from top to bottom. By the time I get done with one end, the other end is hosting eight-legged creatures building new webs. It works better to do one room at a time and stretch it out over the entire year. At least I always have at least one clean room this way. maybe. kinda.
So there ya have it. I don’t Spring clean.

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We attended a few Florida sunsets for Spring Break. It was nice to feel warmth when you stepped out the door. Warm being a relative term while we were there. To the Northerners, it was warm but to the natives, it felt coo-oold.

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Life at the beach has changed. It used to be awful. Little kids crying and rubbing sand in their eyes. Carrying a ton of things in while urging a toddler to keep moving. Digging holes in the sand, carrying water, building a castle only to watch them smash it. Someone usually cried from lack of sleep, someone was cold, someone was hot. Food, food, food to drag along, well that one still remains, but for the most part, going to the beach is a lot easier then it used to be.

We take as little as possible. I unload the vehicle and by the time each kid has something to carry, there is very little left for me. Granted, this time we did have my sister and her little tribe along, but it still went very smoothly and I could tolerate a few hours sitting there. I am not a beach lover in case you wondered.

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The days we weren’t at the beach, this guy spent hours here. Toward the end of the week, the weather cooled considerably, but that didn’t stop him. One morning he was swimming and the air temperature was 59 degrees. The water was pretty warm and he claimed as long as he didn’t get out to jump, he was fine. But he still kept getting out to jump…

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It felt so good to spend time with these two ladies in Florida. Yes, we did all the usual kid-care, meal stuff, and laundry while on vacation, but still, to stay in the same house and spend a week together was just good. I value times like this so much.

It wasn’t that we were all there and he was the only one missing, there were others back at home, but still, we all missed Tristan fiercely that week. He would have loved to hear what all was happening, he would have probably been calling in the morning before we were out of bed and just been a big part of the trip, even from home.  It’s time like these that realize you will spend the rest of your life living with this grief. Yes, it changes, it ebbs and flows with different feels, but it will always be there.

My first choice would have been to live life not knowing what this feels like. Since that is not an option, I am glad to carry this weight, to live with this grief, because feeling this means I was privileged to know and love him. I would not trade the years I spent with him to live without this grief.

Grief-love

Live your life so you will long be remembered with love.

In Sickness

The eleventh commandment: Take not thine health for granted.

But if thine health should fail thee:

  • Buy stock in your favorite tissue brand.
  • Invest in earplugs for the long minutes of honking noses.
  • Have trash cans beside every single person for dirty tissues.
  • Make hot or cold drinks, depending on the temperature, wants, wishes, needs, and desires.

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  • Round up enough blankets to keep fighting to a minimum.
  • Prepare to pile blankets on or take them off, depending on the feelings of the inner core.
  • Stock up on any and all meds and overspend on vitamin C.
  • Hand out meds and use force if necessary to ensure the consumption thereof.
  • Wish for a hazmat suit when you hear the honking and barking.

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  • Do copious amounts of homework when meds kick in.
  • Resolve to ignore all moaning and groaning.
  • Do more homework the next day.
    and the next.
  • Know immediately when a certain one is feeling better by the rebounding energy and frustrated sounds emitted from the sisters.
  • When one begins to mend, wait for the next one to fall.

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  • Hand out drinks and give food pep talks to get them to eat.
  • Think about how good the food sounds.
  • Make and consume some of the said food.
  • Warn everyone who comes close to the house that it is contaminated.

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  • Call your Mother and thank her for the flowers. They may have been for Valentine’s day, but they do well for sick days also.
  • Hope that if this plague would happen to get you,
    you would at least lose weight over it.
  • Ignore feelings of illness creeping up on yourself.
  • Take some meds, buck up and keep working.
  • Succumb to the dreaded illness and lay on the couch for a (Sun)day.

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  • Enjoy holding the little one who does not take naps anymore.
  • Try and get a little reading in since you must sit anyway.
  • On a bright, sunshiny and most lovely warm day,
    invest in Clorox wipes and kill every germ in sight.
  • See them getting better, see the end in sight,
    and know spring will surely come one of these days.