Friday, July 27, 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

This morning in my One Year Bible reading, God gave me this:

Take courage as you fulfill your duties,
and may the Lord be with those who do what is right.
2 Chronicles 19:11

I thanked Him for giving me strength to forge ahead with each new day, doing what needs doing.

And then God gave me this:
Which I wasn't very happy about and I haven't thanked Him yet.

Did I mention that when we discovered the back bathroom shower leaked and the long and torturous repairs began, the six of us began showering in the front bathroom? And we then discovered the front shower leaked as well? Again, it was the smell of mildew in the hallway, in the closet, by the front door. So as soon as we could, we all moved back to the master bathroom and had the front bathroom looked into.

Today, I had Nate empty the hall closet (no small feat),
and pulled up the dismayingly wet carpet and pad. The closet contents will go to storage asap, and I still need to unload the shelves by the front door to check for water there. (Drover is helping by smelling everything.)

This is not fun. I don't like these duties.

The good news is that so far the only thing ruined by water damage is a box of unread, disposable books. Everything else in contact with the carpet was in plastic. Hey, I can thank God for that!


It's not your grandma's purple.
But it's just right for Karis and Meg.

Monday, July 23, 2012


One of the beautiful and unique ways my sister Gayle cared for Mom in her last days, poorly captured in a fuzzy phone camera pic.

Mom had told Gayle, "I am glad you are here to help Gwen when I die." (Told her each of her last visits, I think, but this time it took.) Thank you, sister, for taking care of Mom, playing beautiful music, and helping me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

After the Deluge

So, this is what was facing me after the flood.
You can see how the water pushed everything over.

Yes, that's the third seat of the suburban. Gah!

Now after a week of sweat and muck and mosquitoes, the garage is cleaned out from the floor to two feet up. I am sorry to say we lost some things we would rather have kept. But a lot of what we found was years and years of my parents' junk and trash. There was plenty of in-between stuff that I hauled to the curb to find new homes. And some fine new yard art.

One of my favorite finds, safely preserved in the boat, is a quintessential Dad item. Mom and Dad's house number has always been poorly marked. They would never pay to have someone spray paint their number on the curb. The house numbers they do have are right by the front door and cannot be seen from anywhere but the front porch. When someone tries to find the house, especially at night, we just have to walk outside and flag them down. So when I found this,
I knew I had found Dad's solution to the house number deficiency. Lesser men might have gone to the hardware store and purchased numbers to attach to their home, but not Dad. In his neat script, he wrote his house numbers on a file folder which he then attached to a frame he constructed from scrap lumber. Problem solved, Dad-style. And now it is a lovely addition to our growing collection of yard art.

There is mucho mucho mas to be done in the garage, namely everything from two feet on up, but I am leaving it for another time (maybe a cooler time?) and moving on to other things that need tending to. One of my biggest disappointments in the cleanup was that we could not get the boat to budge. I was really looking forward to seeing my childhood boat everytime I looked out the kitchen window. Oh well. I can always visit it in the garage.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Resting Place

Meg and I stopped by to see Mom's new place yesterday. It was beautifully done, with thick full sod and what was left of her lovely flowers. Mom would be pleased.

And someone had cleaned up Dad's marker and laid some of Mom's flowers there. So nice. We added a sunflower.

It is sweet for them to be side by side here. And I am happy knowing they are together again forever, loving each other perfectly.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Insert Clever Title Here

Yesterday was good and hard and sweet and sad and dear. I will have much more to say about it, I'm sure.

Last night was scary. It rained six inches and the creek rose, but it all happened so quietly we almost missed it. I'm convinced God woke me at 4:00, just in time for us to rescue two dogs and two cars from rushing debris-filled brown water. Today is a mucky, soaked mess with many aggravations and lots of unknowns, but I'm so thankful for the happy, living doggies. The alternative is just too heartbreaking to consider for long.

That's all I have brain cells for right now. Thank you all for love and prayers and care.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Let's All Take a Deep Breath

The obituary ran in the paper today, instead of yesterday like I had requested.

Let it go.

Someone cut off the top of Mom's head in the picture.

Let it go.

Some of the wording in the obituary was changed, and not by me.

Let it go.

Paragraph breaks were deleted.

Let it go.

Workmen are here putting the shower together. They'll be here for "I don't know, four or five hours."

Let it go.

Reading from the one year Bible today:

But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down.


This ship is sinking, but we'll be okay.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Here it comes. That point where either my brain shuts down or my head explodes.

Today I ran errands. Tomorrow we clean house and wait for the incoming relatives. And Wednesday we bury my mother.

I don't like this part. Could someone else do this part, please?

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Tonight my sister asked if I had told a sweet neighbor about Mom's passing.
And the answer is no.
I haven't contacted any of the neighbors.
I don't know why, but I just don't want to.
Really don't want to.
But I've got it to do, so I will.
I will.


Wings Like Eagles

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?

God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.

Isaiah 40:28-31, The Message

Really, I could leave this post with no other comment, because God's Word is just that powerful. It speaks for itself and needs no explanation from me.

I do think it is significant though that in Mom's last weeks here, she thought a lot about the eagle scene from The Return of the King. As she got closer to the end, she couldn't remember details like Tolkien's name or the name of the book/movie. I overheard her trying to tell an old friend who had stopped by with homegrown tomatoes and love. She couldn't come up with the words she wanted so Mom said, "You know, it's written by that mathematician and the story is a myth, but it goes along with the Bible." She explained to me that she was thinking of after Frodo and Samwise had disposed of the ring, and had run outside on Mt. Doom, and the mountain was erupting into rivers of lava, leaving the hobbits exhausted and stranded on an island of rock. Then the eagles came and carried them to safety, just like they had rescued Gandalf before.

Of course, Mom was dreaming of the end of her own hard journey, when she too would soar like eagles. And God is faithful and kept His promises to Mom. She did finally fly away. But this passage reminds me that God is faithful to me too. He doesn't lose track of me. He doesn't come and go. He lasts. He gives fresh strength. Thank God.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Anna Adaline [maiden name, last name]
January 14, 1921-June 30, 2012

Anna (Ann) Adaline [maiden name, last name], age 91, of Conroe, TX, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Beloved wife for 62 years of William J. [last name]; loving mother of Bill (Cathy), Gayle (Mark), Ruth (Richard), Loren (Carrie), Gwen (David); grandmother of William IV (Kay), David, Joel (Alecia), Daniel, John, Jonathan (Cassi), Caleb (Ruth), Lydia, Paul, Anna, Rebekah, Matthew, Elizabeth, Luke, Esther, Zane, Leah, Karis, Meg, Nate, Evangeline; great-grandmother of Andrew, Caris, Tobia, Gabriel, Sabbath, Evangeline, Johanna, Lacey, Nate, Emrys.

Ann was born January 14, 1921 in Geary County, Kansas, to the late John and Minna [maiden name, last name]. She was the youngest sibling of the late Helen [maiden name, last name], Bill [last name], and John [last name]. She was raised on the family ranch near Manhattan, Kansas. She attended Kansas State University, where she was a Purple Pepster, and received a degree in Home Economics in 1943. Ann taught school for two years, then opened and ran her own diner, The Yucca Inn, for a summer. She returned to Kansas State for graduate studies in dietetics. She married Bill [last name] when he returned from serving in World War II, and then stayed home to raise their five children. Bill and Ann first lived in Coffeyville, KS where Ann taught school. The family lived in Tulsa, OK, and then Conroe, TX since 1974. She was a long-time member of Conroe Bible Church, where she served in many capacities, from teaching 2- and 3-year-olds to cooking for the homeless. Ann was an expert baker, an excellent cook, an avid reader, a proficient gardener, a talented seamstress, an unflagging patriot, a lifelong student, a lover of God and nature.

Private family viewing at 8:00 a.m. and private family graveside service at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11.
Public memorial service at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11 at Conroe Bible Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Conroe Bible Church.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's Not to Love?

Ev was pulling games from the hall closet to put in her grandma's room in case any extended family members would like them. It's a little confusing with our stuff mixed in with my mom's stuff, and I thought consolidating might help. And that's when Ev cut loose with what might be the quote of the week:

"I think we should take the clothes off the dominoes before we put them in Grandma's room."

Aaahahahaha! What?

So she pulled out seven dominoes that have clothes and hair taped on. Oh my gosh. I love this kid.

How Are You Doing?

That's the question of the hour.

And the answer is: Okay.

I'm kind of in a fog. I keep thinking of things I forgot about. I'm still predominantly happy for my mom to be in heaven; it certainly outweighs any sadness at this point. I understand the sorrow will come and I'm waiting for the shoe to drop, but right now I'm not even weepy. I feel borne up by the prayers and love of others. Friends and family are feeding us, checking on us, helping us with all the family arrangements surrounding Mom's service. I find care and concern on all sides. I've been sleeping well except for last night.

(In an interesting side note, Dave has poison ivy, my stomach is giving me fits, Nate has a sore back, and Ev has a summer cold. Gah!)

And of course I'm busy. I'm trying to consolidate Mom's things into her room so family can look through when they come. The stupid shower remodel is happening and it revealed a lot of structural damage which means more work. I went with Karis to get her tattoo in honor of her beloved grandma. I found a dress for Wednesday. Dave and I met with the funeral home. Wrote an obituary. Looked at casket sprays. Went to the church's 4th of July celebration. Made a punch list for the lake house. Had lunch with Dave. Watched movies with the fam. Laundry, cleaning, shuffling.

Once again, I'm glad for the breathing space between death and burial. It is good to be with my family. It is good to hear what my mom meant to so many different people. I have time to gather my wits and make some plans. And family members have time to make arrangements in order to gather next week.

So really, I'm okay.

Monday, July 2, 2012


We have landed on Wednesday, July 11th for Mom's services. We'll have just family early in the morning for a private viewing and graveside. Then at 10:30 we'll have a public service at the church, with lunch afterwards.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Minutes after I decided on the right version of Jackson Browne, posted, and closed Karis' laptop, Mom's breathing began to slow significantly. As I sat holding her hand, I counted the seconds between breaths. And then I kept counting. There wasn't another breath. At about 9:50p on Saturday, June 30, 2012, our mama flew away to Jesus. Incredible how quickly she went after such a long hard struggle. The fight is over and she is finally free.