Merry Christmas Judy

When out of nowhere yesterday, I found myself flooded with tears as I was SHOPPING. I was at Mardel (Christian bookstore) and probably saw a little angel or scripture that triggered it.

But it was a wave of incredible grief.

It was for my birthmother, Judy.

In a previous post, I eluded to this love story that happened in my life in October. It's a long story ... well, not so long in telling, but long in emotion. I can't write it yet.

My search was tentative but once we started, it took only a few days to find her. In one phone conversation with a volunteer researcher, I learned her name, the day she was born and ... the day she died.

The teenager who selflessly let her child go to a family with a mom and a dad, grew up, suffered through failed marriages, addictions, abuse and had two more children. She was funny, a free spirit, vulgar, a great friend, adventurous and beautiful. She beieved in God. I would say she was also hopeful. And she waited for me to knock on the door the minute I turned 18 years old.

She died at age 43. That's when I was a young married 26-year-old.

The whirlwind of finding her also led to a half-sister that I have met and am getting to know. That is so so wonderful. And we both admit, is strange. But I'm sure I'll get to all of that later.

It might seem strange to mourn someone I never met. But I was part of her. And in all of my years wondering about her, and thanking God for her, I never dreamed she would not be here anymore.

She died without knowing I was okay, which was one of her wishes and mine.

She died?

Lately, when all of this floods over me ... all of the new history of myself that I have, concern about my family and letting them know I love them, getting to know a new sister ... I just wish it wasn't me, not my story. Too complicated. I'm too busy. Yet, I trust God in it, and thank Him for his timing. He knew.

I'm okay, Judy. Merry Christmas. And thank you. I love you and will see you in heaven.

Peace and Fun

Here it comes. Christmas weekend. The long Christmas weekend. Lots of activity ... lots of cooking, traveling and being nice to family. (and lots of fun).

Still, I tend to veer close to meltdown.

The kids and I came up with a plan. If they observe me being stressed out, they are going to say, "Mom, I love you. Peace and Fun."

They practiced it several times yesterday while they were standing on the couch, pounding on the piano, fighting with each other, chewing their food too loudly.

It works.

Limb envy

So I encouraged Giles to help pick up the limbs at a neighbor's house. Their mighty oak suffered mightily in the ice storm. Husband travels, they have a toddler ... so we thought we'd help a bit.

G started dragging the limbs to OUR curbside. He was embarrassed by our wimpy limb pile from our one tree that actually survived the storm pretty well. And Stan cut up a lot of those branches to keep for future camping trips.

G wanted to beef up our limb pile.

It's all about status ... and being one of the "haves."

It is so difficult to be among the have nots.

Okay, sweetie, drag those limbs ... but you'll have to figure out how to be content and grateful when you open the NOTS in the packages under the limbs of our Christmas tree!


Guess I should update to say we are now warm and toasty in our own home. It took four days and just as we were getting the hang of how to live life away from our house (with awesome meals prepared for us, other people's towels to use, and wifi), the power returned.

Giles cried. His cousin Chaney just got home for Christmas break from college, and they were having a blast.

But it's good to be home. The limbs are sort of cleaned up, except for about two million tooth pick sized twigs from the neighbor's oak. The fridge is sparkling clean and refilling. The freezer is full of venison (I'm cooking up a stew for Stan's fam this weekend). The laundry is caught up. The fish survived. And being away from my home computer and forced to check my webmail prompted me to trash more than 5,000 accumulated emails. That felt good.

It was a weird week. It was kind of tricky to handle the "out of power" life and related chores with the normal life. I never do that well anyway. I got one of the biggest shocks of my life when I discovered the world did not stop when I had my first baby. Everything went on ... and we were expected to truck right along. It took to the third kid to realize, no, we can get off the truck and live life differently ... slower.

It was a weird week and a weird year. Weird. Good in so many ways. God has revealed much. He's stirred up much. He's helped us grow. But it's been, well, weird.

I blame a lot of that on some of the books I've read this year ... books that challenged my thinking (or challenged me to think) on such topics as home educating, immigration, taking care of the poor, sweat shops, whole foods, slavery, war, civil rights, Jesus, his apostles, and more ...

Someone ... get me a dimestore novel.

Warm and toasty ...

at Stan's sisters house where we slept in a warm house, after two nights building our character in our cold house. Hot baths, warm beds, lights, tv ... and this morning, hot breakfast, not made by the mother! We are living large.

Things we miss about electricity, (contributors G, L & G and mom).
1. heat
2. webkins
3. lights
4. video games
5. freezer that protects our food, including our venison!
6. blow dryer
7. clean underwear
9. Reading lamps

The bright side of no electricity
1. At least a dozen offers of places to stay from family and friends! (blessed!)
2. eating out nearly every meal
3. laundry vacation
4. another cooking vacation!
5. appreciating excesses of our spoiled lives
6. singing Christmas carols by candlelight
7. batteries for flashlights
8. candles
9. It could be a lot colder
10. It's not The Long Winter
11. Dad's job where he is presently, and unable to contribute his two cents to this post!

That's all for now. Time to play Monopoly.

Ice Tour

Thank you for the ice ...

It's a sad commentary on our lives that I hardly ever see "Stan's laugh" anymore. The kind where he shakes and cries. He laughs so hard it looks painful but is contagious. We don't laugh that way very often ... and I'm not sure the kids have ever seen it.

Oh that is sad. Where has the mirth gone?

But they saw it last night immediately following the evening prayer. Lydia volunteered to pray, and we all threw out prayer reminders to her. One of us said, "remember the ice."

So she thanked God for the ice storm.

He held it together til after the amen and then dear Stan, the one who took the bus to work because we couldn't even crack into the 1/2 inch ice shell around our vehicles, the one who has dragged our crashed limbs and the neighbors' crashed limbs out of driveways and streets, has checked on the powerless (electricity wise) ... lost it.

Laugh. Shake. Tears. Compose. Laugh. Shake. Tears. Compose. Laugh. Shake. Tears. "Lydia, please come back to the table." Laugh. Shake. Tears.

She initially got her feelings hurt because we laughed "at" her, but we coaxed her back to the table. She just couldn't miss this mirth ... even if it was at her expense!

While we were explaining how we were not "laughing AT you" we all came up with reasons to thank God for the ice storm. Because she is right, and we thank God for all things.

We were thankful for the moisture that our state needs ...
We were thankful for the beauty ...
We were thankful that our power has held ... (that sounds so selfish given all those whose power is out)
We were thankful for fun outside observing all of the God-made ice sculptures.
We were thankful for his care.
We were thankful for the day when mom didn't make us do math
We were thankful for the laughs!


Need to update that Stan the Man fixed the range in about five minutes. On his birthday. With assistance from Giles. Saved $350. Cooking vacation is over. We were going to bake his birthday cake today to celebrate, but didn't get to it. So I baked fish for dinner instead!

Coconut cake coming soon.

He fixed the washer too. The usual method for that is to bang around some hoses, but mostly pray, we pray over it.

The Deerslayer

Tricky business to share this news with anyone who reads who doesn't, er, uh, share the same verve that a certain someone in our house possesses for deer hunting. It's not for the squeamish.

Nevertheless, much hoopla around here about our oldest son and his first deer.

Here is how Giles told the story in an email (with an attched picture that I'm not posting here) to a fellow hunter ...

behold my spike once in the back leg and once in the
shoulder 54,field dressed-2 from his head pounds but he is mine!!!!!!
antlers were about an uncle rick couldn't believe I shot it
we had just gone out for lunch. and we decided to stalk hunt for
awhile we had just crossed over
a fence 3 minutes before I shot it was 30 yards we thought he
didn''t see us because away about a 100 yards and it right by us I
pulled the trigger at 12:45

This was an 11th hour deer. Last day of the season. Our whole family was thrilled because we did not want to imagine the next year living with him as he lamented his misses.

Hunting is his passion. So, we cheer him on. I am grateful we don't have to mount anything or need to reserve any wall space for a trophy! We do have a little meat for the freezer and an upcoming feast.

Way to go Giles.