From Space

This looks absolutely amazing.  $65 is a bit more than I want to pay for a book right now but I'm pretty sure it's going on my Christmas wish list...

Gaia Book by Guy Laliberte

Of course, if I had a family of really rich people who didn't mind spending a ton of money on a book, I'd go with this version:

Gaia Ultimate Edition Book

I look at these pictures and I think...if I only had half the imagination God has...



I've always wanted to go.  I really intend to go (hopefully our 10th anniversary trip).  However...nothing has made me drool over going to France quite like the pictures my son took for me while he was there.

I have to give him this...he really knows what I like...

I know - you're wondering - why does a French cafe, some old doors & a bike advertising a cafe have me drooling over France?  Can't you feel it?   See it in the photos?  Imagine the romance... the blissfully peaceful walks all over the city, discovering beautiful little corners and amazing architecture just...everywhere? 

I can.


Hi, Mom

Dear Mom,

It's been three months since you went home.  I know it's a blink of an eye where you are, for me it has felt interminable.  Incapable of being terminated (obviously) and unending (at least until I get to join you).  If that's three months, what will 6 months be?  One year?  Two years?  After...

Saturday, too, marks 6 years since Nan passed away.  Perhaps it is that milestone, mixed with your recent loss that is the source of my melancholy because there really is no other word for it.  It's not just a sadness, it permeates.  It embarrasses me a bit, too because it is so strong right now and I feel like I should be stronger.  I don't want to talk about it too much, I don't want to sound whiny.  I've said it dozens of times and I'm sure I'll say it dozens more - I'm not the first person to lose my mother and I won't be the last.

Yet.  You were MY mother and I lost YOU.  At least here.  And I know - I get to see you again and you are with Jesus.  All of that brings me peace and comfort.  It really, really does.  But...and there is always the but.  I think about you at least two thousand times a day.  Some days 3000.  Since there are only 1,440 minutes in a 24 hour period, what does that tell you?

That peace and comfort?  While being the only thing that keeps me from falling into some abyss, it doesn't always remedy the grief immediately. 

For instance, it doesn't help when I'm reading two recipes for baked beans and neither one of them sounds quite like Nana's, I can't find Nana's recipe and I just want to ask you if you have it somewhere. 

It doesn't help when one of the guys at work says or does something funny - or stupid - or worse - and we can't head out to Olive Garden to giggle our way into being late back from lunch.

It doesn't help when I realize that one month from now would be the time for our annual trek to Leavenworth, stopping at The Alps to pick up Bavarian creme for Uncle John and then meandering through town for an entire Saturday, eating lunch at whichever random restaurant we wanted to try and dinner at The Bear. 

It doesn't help when I go through Christopher's pictures from France & England and know (with a knowing that aches) that you would have absolutely loved to pour over those pictures, detail by detail, with Christopher.  Asking him about each place - what it looked like, smelled like, what the people were like.

It doesn't help when I pass your picture 10 times a day at the office.  They hung it on the side of the refrigerator until someone bought a frame.  Every time I'd get a glass of water, I'd see you up there.  The guys were supposed to be buying a frame.  I gave up today and went shopping.  It helps in fighting the tears when I'm at the fridge.

It doesn't help when L and I try to communicate at work.  She doesn't always understand me.  You did.  Sometimes we didn't even have to talk in complete sentences.  I miss that a lot, several times a day.

It doesn't help when I'm out shopping and I see something I think one of the girls might like but I don't know if they have it already.  I go to call you and...

That Friday, that day when I tried to tell you just how big a part of me you are.  Did you grasp it at all?  Because, honestly?  I don't think I did you justice.  I don't think even I realized just how much a part of me you were.  If I had had any idea I was going to be this turned upside down, I don't think our conversation that last day would have gone quite the same.  The words "excruciating pain" would have been an understatement.

Mom, people tell me it gets easier.  I love you more than I can ever say and I don't mean any disrespect when I say this but I really hope they're right.  I'm not a very patient person, though and I'm also intensely selfish so I want to feel better NOW.  What I want is to always experience sweet memories, not this overwhelming wave of aching pain that washes over me whenever I see your picture or your handwriting or whatever else happens to come my way in reminding me you're not here. 

However did you survive losing Nan?  What was your secret?  What did you do?  Did you have a favorite memory?  See...questions only you can answer.  And yet...you can't.  Now I know why people say 'Come, Lord Jesus, Come.'  He is the joy and you... well... you are the added benefit.

I love you, Mom.  More than I ever got to tell you.  And I miss you.  More than you ever imagined I would.

Love always,


Sunday Strength

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? 
            Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

*Daily Drop Cap provided by Jessica Hische



Balloons we released after Mom's funeral
Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about my mother.  Mom passed away in May and I did a pretty good job of holding myself together through everything - the funeral, wrapping up her "business," cleaning up her closet & room.  They were in the process of painting the house when she died, her room was going to be emptied for the painting anyway.  I think, though, that's where the first chinks in my armor came into play.  I wasn't ready for that job, would have loved to put it off for another month or two, when things weren't quite so raw but my father had other plans. 

Too many things were buried in that closet.  My mother wasn't a  hoarder but she was a bit of a pack rat (not sure there is a difference to the rest of the world but there is in my mind) and sentimentality is big in our family.  She saved some interesting stuff. 

Today I feel a bit like a wind-up doll that needs a strong winding but there isn't anyone good enough to do it.  To add to that, Mom & I worked together for 15 years so here I sit, in an office filled with memories after having left a home filled with memories...  I have no place to hide.  Top it off with missing so much work because of my back problem, I don't feel like I can take any time off to run away for a bit.  There isn't anyplace I really want to go, either.  What I'd love is a room, a dark, comfy room with a big couch and lots of tissues.  I want to be where no one knows how to find me, stashed with a supply of flavored water, my Bible, my journal and just... me.  Where God and I could spend some time alone, hours really, and He'd show me where my head is wobbly and get me put back together properly.  I'd love to make that happen but I don't know how.  Even if I crawled into bed at home, the guys are still there and I'd be worried about them, outside the door, worried about me. 

Do I sound like I'm whining?  I'm sorry if I do...I don't mean to.  I feel more like someone who knows she's coming to the end of her rope and I'm trying to come up with a solution to avoid falling into some sort of abyss.  When Mom died I described it as feeling like I'd suddenly discovered I was standing over a hole I knew nothing about and someone just yanked the rug out from under me.  I'm falling and I have no idea when I'll stop...  I think I'm looking for a ledge to rest on.

Praying God provides a ledge soon...  I would love to just have that good cry and function again.  I say function because I am never, ever going to get used to having Mom gone.  I look to my phone a dozen times a day to call her and I get that punch in the gut feeling every time I realize I can't reach her.  It may get easier and I may only look a time or two a day but I'll never get used to her not being around.

Oh Jesus...come soon...  pain just plain... stinks.



Christopher arrived home, travel-weary, on Saturday afternoon.  I'll be posting a few pictures he took as soon as I can get them somewhat organized.  683 pictures is a lot to go through and since I can't sit up in my chair for too long, I'm going to be working on them for a while, I think.  I can't really work on the laptop when I'm in bed, either - the angle is wrong.  Talk about frustrating.

However.  That's about me & this is supposed to be about him.  He has made a few comments about the last two weeks being the best of his life.  These are words that make my ears sing.  I am so incredibly happy for him!  He saw so much, learned so much... now he is filtering through it all, writing it down so he can remember the details and trying to get back to normal.  Jet lag is a bit of a butt kicker...

Above all, I am so glad he was able to have this experience!!  What an amazing thing for an eleven year old boy to experience.  I can't wait to see how it affects him overall.

This trip was the highlight of our summer.  We've been laying low - between my back & still grieving Mom.  This is enough, though, seriously.  It did my heart so good to see him on that escalator at the airport on Saturday.  I knew Aaron had made the right decision in making sure we sent him.  What an awesome experience.