Beauty is not so much what you see, but what you dream.
~Old Proverb~

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ah Christmas


Christmas. It came with so much excitement. The second Saturday in December a large bushy fir tree was brought into the house. With it came all the smells of the season. Aimee-Jane was estatic. She couldn’t be contained. She was joy and thrill and energy personified. It bubbled from every part of her. There were candy canes and ornaments that glittered and the tinsel shimmering by the light of the homemade brown candles that Grandma had lit in the sconces on the wall. There were so many sparkling lights and soon the whole house sparkled as Aimee-Jane traveled eagerly here and there with bits of tinsel and glitter following her, attached to those tiny busy feet. Each day became a holiday as Aimee-Jane woke and found that the Christmas tree needed to be lit and every evening was eagerly to be looked forward too when a little girl would sit in wide eyed wonder on Papa’s lap and gaze at the lighted eaves out the window and jabber, nearly endlessly, about their “shine”.

  Merry travels commenced as we went to see dear friends in Sisters for a few days. Snowy passes and icy roads made for quite the adventure. Aimee-Jane woke along the way and was all wonderment. Her first ever snow!  New friends were made and the practice of falling asleep in a new house with new friends was almost more than could be born by one so young and full of curiosity. Simply too much excitement! We slept in a fabulous bedroom with a perfect view of the mountains and a log bed that was apparently the BEST EVER to climb onto and bounce on. We were fed all kinds of amazing food and scrumptious treats and the whole experience was such a sweet one!!  Miranda and Alan if you read this, we love you so much and thanks for having us!!! One afternoon we were able to go for a walk in the snow. A first walk for Aimee-Jane! She was bundled in camo and tiny furry boots and off we went. The going was a little timid at first, but once she got the hang of it it was basically full speed ahead. At one point she dove in head first and came back up with the cutest snowy nose I have ever seen.

   A few days later we were “over the river and through the woods, to grandmother Starr’s we go.”  There were all kinds of fun things awaiting there… Aimee-Jane went for her first horseback ride. She put up with it for about seven and a half minutes and then started to sob as though the world might end! I pulled her down and held her close while she glared at the horse suspiciously.  

     She got to have lovely long baths every night given by Gramma Starr and then romped on the big bed with her cousin Kellen whom she soon discovered was quite the best of pals. There was a particular very large, white cat that they both doted on and followed everywhere they could. You really have to hand it to that cat. It was tirelessly patient and pleasant the entire time.

  Christmas Eve arrived with a flurry of activity. Aimee-Jane adored it. She helped me scrub the floors and clean the toilets and sinks. She bustled around with a duster and followed me and Gramma around as we moved furniture and rugs to vacuum. That evening half of the aunts and uncles and cousins arrived and all the ladies gathered in the kitchen to start the cooking. A prefeast (Is that a thing?) was laid out on the table amidst sprays of cedar and spruce and the munching commenced. There was so much laughing and talking. Aimee-Jane was everywhere with her Jack and Johnny and so excited that she couldn’t seem to sit still long enough for even a cracker! Precious little eating was accomplished I'm afraid to say!  As bed time got closer it was finally time to open Christmas eve boxes. Oh the thrill. In Aimee-Janes box was the Cat in the Hat (OH JOY for we love DR. Suess), but as soon as the book was safely out of the box and set in Mama’s lap, well then it was best to be about the business of helping everybody else open their box, for that IS what you do, is it not??? The cousins mostly thought not, but Papa was ok with sharing his unwrapping privelages.

  Once this bit of excitement was over, baths had happened, and tiny tots had found their way into flannel Christmas Jammies it was time to wind down for bed. It is hard when you are small, to wind down. Quite hard in fact. Especially on Christmas Eve, when so much excitement, in the form of all things merry, awaits you on just the other side of the night. A Christmas movie was watched, stories were read and finally little eyes closed and little bodies lay snuggled about the house just as Papa and Gramma slipped the scrumptiously dressed turkey into the oven about midnight.

 The next morning arrived with sleepy parents, breakfast casseroles, cranberry Christmas cake and the beautiful blue eyed cousins. There was also a sparkling tree in the corner that had at some point become surrounded with tempting parcels. To try and describe the excitement would be impossible. Aimee-Jane spotted what she knew simply  MUST be hers, right away… A tiny red Radio Flyer Trycycle. Oh the thrill. She sat patiently on my lap for only a few moments and then was off scooting that trike about for the next ten minutes. I would like to say that she paid attention to her other gifts, but honestly I could really only get her to open about one other. The rest of the time she was oohing and ahhing over someone else’s new toy or back on that trike chattering happily away as she scooted all over the dining room and kitchen.   

  The rest of the day was the best. So much laughing and the sounds of all the beautiful babies as they played with their new toys (ok there might have been a squabble in there too, now and then). The guys all sat at the table playing new board games and discussing politics and solving the worlds problems, in no particular order. A foot ball game had been planned for the afternoon but after a feast had been enjoyed and every one was sitting about feeling gloriously full and contented it was too difficult to even imagine running about in the field and the game was forgotten for this year.  Little ones went to sleep in the big bed at the top of the stairs or toppled onto pallets on the floor for some much needed rest and the rest of us… well… lets be honest. We did the dishes, then we sat down and said to ourselves, let there be pie. And there was. Way too many different kinds.  Oh and it was a happy Christmas! As the evening wore down and we all lingered not wanting it to end we were reminded how blessed we are to have each other and to have a Savior that came to this Earth for us!  And I missed Andy as I always do on the holidays, especially when it seems as though he is missing the tiny blonde haired, sea eyed child, that is so much him, experiencing all the joy and the excitement of Christmas. Then I remember where he is and to Whom he belongs and I know he isn’t missing a thing.  Merry Christmas everyone from us to you!
Me and the sisters and some of the babies :)












I had to add this photo of bug and her Auntie Jesta... I can find her up on Jesta's bed almost daily, blessing her with warm hugs and snuggles as only a little person can.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Almost Valentines and Musings abour the man who loves me.

Life never does turn out how we expect it to, does it? Today on a trip back from Bend, Andy and I were talking a bit about our first year of marriage. It certainly has been a wild ride so far! At the end of this month we will have been married a whole year already. I cant believe how quickly it has gone! What a learning curve it has been for us both!
   About five minutes out of Bend, Andy fell asleep in the passenger seat beside me and I was left alone with my thoughts. I got to thinking about how we always have such big plans for our lives. What they will be like, what we will do, and so on. I know I certainly did. I never could have imagined my life being filled with days of medical calls and doctor visits, driving all over town to different therapies. Not to mention that the afore mentioned town is one that wasnt in the least familar to me, and is all kinds of difficult, with its mazes of one way streets and roundabouts (hateful things! ) Needless to say, google maps and I have become dear friends in the last year. :-) But, honestly, despite all the trying things of this year, I dont wish it away. Oh I certainly wish that My Andy never had cancer, that we were spared that...many times I have wished that, but the thing we have both come to embrace is that God always has a purpose for things. He tells us that His ways are not our ways and I think thats what makes it difficult when we go through tough things...we, in our finite minds, just simply cant understand! We are confused, bothered, even appalled at times, by the things HE sets u before us. Trusting him is one of the hardest things Ive had to learn this year. Trusting is NOT simple or easy for me! It is HARD HARD HARD! Im not gonna lie. But I am so deeply thankful that he has given me this man that loves me so much. A while ago Andy and I were talking about the Honeymoon phase. You know that period of your life after your first married. It's all mushiness and bliss and you believe with pretty much every fibre of your being that your other half is pretty perfect. (Insert huge grin here). Maybe it was because we got hit pretty hard, pretty quickly with a boat load of not so honeymoon - ish things, but Andy remarked that he thought our honeymoon phase was way past... that was a few months ago now amd we haven't even been married a year! It was news to me because I hadn't really thought about it. With all that had been going on wether or not I was still honeymooning seemed so beside the point, you know?  BUT. Also Andy, dear man had never made it seem that way. If our honey moon is over and this is the man I am getting for every day life than I'm pretty dang content. This man is crazy loving even without the mush. He's the man that writes love notes to me on my bathroom mirror. They remind me of a teenager and make my heart skip a beat. He reads me funny stories while I work on my knitting or fold laundry and buys donuts at five am while I'm still I'm bed. He makes the best hot chocolate in the world and brings it to me in the biggest mug, giving himself the smaller one (ok so maybe we have exactly 3 mugs in our house, who cares )  He let's me pick out movies to watch together and never complains about them being corny or chick flicks. He let's me take the first shower in the evening knowing I'll inevitably forget to hurry and run out all the hot water. He vacuums and does dishes and takes out the trash even when he doesn't feel good and should probably be laying down. He isn't perfect, I know, but he's so wonderful even in his imperfection. He's the man that I wake up to find is on the deck reading his bible or laying beside me smiling and waiting for me to notice. He prsys for me and baby every night before we fall asleep. He opens the door for me and is so pleased about the simple things like finding chips on sale or getting a good deal on tire chains. He may be goofy but he is my favorite person in the world and I thank God for him and for THIS life. The one that God has given us. He is the one I want to wake up beside every morning and the one I want to kiss goodnight every night. The one I want to make scrambled eggs for and mess up hair cuts. The one I want to raise the little person in my tummy with and love and be loved by until death does us part.  He is the man that loves me. The man that God gave me. And I am so thankful I get to be his wife, partner in crime, best friend and fellow soldier for Christ!

****just found this in my drafts from only weeks before Andy died. Edited to say
 "And if not, HE is STILL good."
Daniel 3:17-18


  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Summer

Our summer was kinda crazy busy and full of so many wonderful things! We got to celebrate the weddings of two dear, dear friends about a month a part and were honored with the privilege of being a their bridesmaids. So much traveling and a little stress but tons of fun. Thank you to Hannah and Laurie for making us part of your special day!! We love you!

Hannah's wedding. She was breathtaking. The ceremony was beautiful and Christ centered and there was dancing and lemon cake and the newlywed game! And then the bride and groom drove away in a big souped up pick up truck. So perfect!




There was quite a bit of business going on and this small person may have slept though quite a bit of it.
We went to Oktoberfest for the first time since I was a kid! So much fun! I may or may not have come home with an exquisite Bavarian style dress for my baby bug.



Johnny taught Aimee-Jane how to ride his trike... Or at least how to hold her own when she got a chance with it. :)
We spent a week camping up at Little Lava Lake

And went swimming in Bull Praire Lake when we went camping over by Spray

And here is little smiles at her Uncle Ryans Wedding. That began at 7. 7 am. That was perfectly gorgeous and so special and Ill have to download a picture sometime to prove it. :)

And that was our summer friends! We're thankful for the cooler weather of Fall that has been descending at night and running for the hills as soon as the sun comes up. ;) We have been crafting and baking scrumptious pumpkin things. Aimee-Jane learned how to paint one day when my back was turned. It was a fabulous creation of splotches on my newly stenciled garland. Woohoo. I hung it up anyway. :) We are still staying with my parents for now. Loving their little cottage home. I have had so many fun days helping my mom redo different things and adding d├ęcor little by little. I appreciate the times of fellowship with she and my Dad while we're having dinner or drinking coffee/tea in the morning before the sun comes up. I appreciate their help with Bug and all the things they are teaching me. I won't sugar coat it and make it sound like everything is always just so so. That would simply not be true to life. We have our ups and downs with the best of them. Some days I am just so thankful to see bedtime roll around, hand the day over to the Lord and sleep until the freshness of the new one begins. Sometimes life is hard! Lets just be honest! But with the hard times there are good times and there is grace. Still.  And as someone else put it better:
       "...you don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will."
                                                                                                          John 13:7
      "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him."
                                                                                                          Psalm 62:5
And to that. Amen. <3 strong="">

Monday, May 25, 2015

Aimee-Jane's Almost a Year








I cant believe its almost been a year since my sweet bugaboo was born. I can't believe how fast she's growing and how smart and sweet and personable she is. Im so in love with her dimpled hands and tottering feet and those kissable cheeks. I adore the way she runs to me with her arms outstretched saying "ma ma, ma ma, ma ma" and the way she falls asleep at night with her precious tiny arms around my neck. I love waking up to her cooing in my ear and filling the bath while she squeals and makes bubble beards and blows me bubble kisses that land in a soapy mess all over the bathroom. I love that her eyes are delight and awe for all that is new and that is everything. I love pots and pans covering the kitchen floor and the wooden spoon that completes her drum set. I love the sound of feet snuggled into tiny sneakers, plop plop plopping across the tile to me. I love her five tooth grin and the way she smiles with her whole heart. I love it all. I love being mama to her.




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Monday, February 23, 2015

Remember That One Time?


Remember that one time when I married my favorite person in the whole world? That was today...Two years ago. In some ways it feels ages ago and sometimes seems like yesterday. It was glorious and I think I'll miss him forever.
A month before the wedding at a park in Albany

Rehearsal Dinner and Dad praying for us

My beautiful friend Alyssia fixing my hair

Getting ready

Emmy love hanging out with me while we waited

Signing the wedding license... this pic reminds me of how I used to lean on him :)


We ate beautiful sparkly pink cake that my friend Amber made


***big sigh***
And it was an okay day... because God is still faithful. I remembered every crazy detail from a rip in my dress last minute, to the way Andy smiled at me when I realized I had forgotten to give the rings to the Maid of Honor/Best man. Oh it was so perfect in all its imperfection and I did love him so. I guess it really was only 363 days, but they were OUR days and I am so thankful I got to be his wife.

Monday, February 16, 2015

So those days when I thought I knew best :)

Ever had one of those days that just weren't your day? Or maybe it was a month? Or a few months. A year? It makes me smile to think about it that way because sometimes, in all honesty, that's just how it feels. It feels like everything that can possibly go wrong, most certainly will. I look at it all and the discouragement kinda crowds around my heart and leaves me wondering how this could possibly work out to be anything other then miserable. Its hard to stay focused isn't it? Well maybe its not for you, but it is for me. Maybe that's a little more truth than what you want on a Monday, but thankfully that's not the end of story.
  One morning this weekend, during devotions this bit from Isaiah stopped me:
"This is what the Lord says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. "           (Isaiah 48:17)
  Wow. Just wow. It was hope all fresh and new to me. It was so much joy that filled me up because suddenly life seemed conquerable again... He had it all figured out. He was leading and growing me even when I couldn't see it and that was refreshment. You know on those really rainy days when It feels like it has been raining for exactly a year? We get those a lot here in Oregon, it seems... but sometimes right after a huge storm there's this really wonderful little break... the clouds clear and let the sun out and you just want to crawl up on a rock like a lizard and soak it all up. That's how that verse felt. I wanted to soak it all up. All of the truth and comfort of knowing that HE really did still have a plan in spite of everything... that he was in charge and that he was going to show me what to do if I would just listen. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at things objectively. I don't know about you, but I can be awfully good at messing things up. Sometimes I get distracted and in my pride and selfishness I think that I know exactly what's best and what's to be done. Oh what a humbling experience when the Lord reminds me that it isn't so. Aren't you glad that's he's sovereign? In our womens biblestudy at church we have been studying just that. Even when we cant see the good that comes of something or understand the pain, God knows. He sees the ultimate, big picture.... all the missing pages to still be written.  We think that if we could just see it all that it would make life so much easier! But then we wouldn't need our faith, would we? We wouldn't need to rely so much upon him as he desires us to. We wouldn't have any need to fall on our knees and be comforted in the way that only he can. We wouldn't grow!!  And that's the point, isn't it? Its trust. Its trusting our life to him. Not just our life either but in fact, the lives of every person that we hold dear. Sometimes I think to myself that Aimee-Jane is mine... I catch myself saying that even. Not really purposefully, but because that's just how my mind works ...in reality though... even though she is my daughter... she is not "mine". She is God's. The life  of every single person that I hold dear on this earth belongs to the Creator. Thankfully he did give us each other. He did give me Aimee-Jane... two years ago he gave me Andy. And then he took him away. Recently a friend told me that the only medicine for loss is trust. Trusting that God knows best and has the best plan. I could have sat and listened to him all day, because yes. That is the best "medicine". Maybe the only medicine at the time. The only thing that hangs hope in the darkness and points our eyes in the direction that they should always be, but instead, often seem to need pointing back to. Isn't it astounding how quickly we get distracted?!
    So really, in the end... it all came down to the fact that I needed a reality check... a spiritual reality check. I didn't like the misery of how it had to come about, but then do we ever? Here I sit wondering what to expect next and how it will all come together, but as another friend pointed out this week... "God has all the details worked out: Trust HIM!" And isn't that the truth. CS Lewis once put it this way:
  " The best is perhaps what we understand the least"
And so we can say as David did:
 "Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you"
                                              (Psalm 116:7)
And he has! And if I just calm down and look at life through the lense of scripture like I should be, I can see it. Blessing upon blessing and SO many good things. And that's part of the adventure isn't it? Because its not over and the story isn't done and if we live our lives for his glory and go in the direction he points us, it is an adventure! A beautiful story... all if its hard parts with everything glorious. Its life at its best because its given to Him. :)

Oh that smile and those dimples

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Beautiful Moments

 

 
Been trying to be a bit more faithful about writing... I've feel like I've been so tired lately and it feels like scrambling madly to catch up with life and still having that kinda overwhelmed feeling of taking one step forward and two steps back. But ultimately that's okay! Right? Because who came up with those rules anyway! :)
       I woke up this morning in the wee hours and this time I couldn't even say it was baby girl's fault. I was back in the hospital for some reason. It hasn't happened much these days. Like a dream in that early morning fog before you open your eyes. So much real and so much still heartwrenching. I was remembering the helplessness and the worry. The way the nurse came in every fifteen minutes. The horrible beeping monitors and alarms. The sickening feeling of having part of your heart slip away. It all crept in... so many memories... that whole lifetime that passed in just one year.  So short... I felt that mix of sadness and then thankfulness that the Lord did orchestrate it and bring it about! It really DID happen! With all of its aching and beautiful parts, it happened. Sometimes, in those early morning fogs, I wonder? Did it? Did it really? 
  I rolled over in bed and there was proof... little fingers, little toes... isn't that how that song goes? Its those eyes! And the way her hair curls into two perfect little curly cues at the back of her head...  When I watch her scramble across the quilt in the morning to greet mama, sparkling grin and eyes glowing with delight...such a promise from the Lord that life is so precious and that HE is in every detail!
  In other news we are moving again! I am excited because the house is much newer then my dear little cottage which is nearing its 100th year, and I'm certain it will be MUCH warmer.  Certainly, the new house lacks the charm of glossy wooden floors and the fabulous raw wood and beam ceiling, that I have been enjoying here, but I am determined that we will  be happy anywhere. Lets see how that works, shall we? Happiest news is that the new house puts little Jane and I in the pleasant situation of being right next door to my sissy and her littles. Which is all of splendid, because the perfect accompaniment  to little people sounds, we have found,  is, if course, more little people sounds! If you know what I mean. :)
 Lately, my sisters and I have been talking a lot about REALLY enjoying the little years... its such a challenge because we get so caught up in society's busyness and the hectic mommy schedule.  My sisters all have more children then me so their schedules are even busier than mine and we all find ourselves, often, at the end of our ropes and wondering how we got there.  My sister Sarah has the best advice EVER... Lets forget about the house work and go to the beach! Lets chase our kids along the shore and eat chowder out of bread bowls on the bay front. Lets stand gawking at the sea lions for twenty minutes with four beautiful tots in tow and stop at the toy store just because... And so we did.
  And it was kinda the perfect day... and on the way home there was no more sound... just sweet, content and sleeping babies and sunshine memories and heart bonds, because mommy ran up and down the beach with me and swept me up and smothered my face with kisses. She knelt down beside me in the sand, and we got sand in our hair and under our fingernails and ground into our clothes, and it was okay and I knew how much she loved me. I ate sand (oops!) and mommy laughed and wiped it away and nuzzled my sandy chin with her nose.  This day we weren't home cleaning or running errands... maybe we should have been. But this day?  we weren't. And it was just right. :) 




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