Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Remembering in Song

I would like to take today to remember my Gramms with music. Music touches me deep in my soul and heals me like nothing else. At Gramms' funeral the background music will be handpicked by our family. Much of it will be worship music that she loved. When she was still well enough to go to church she would get so excited when "Shout to the Lord" was on the worship roster. At first I got to enjoy this with her by her side but eventually I became part of the worship team and would be so excited when we would sing it because I knew she would be so happy. The look of joy on her face was awesome!

One thing about Gramms that I will never forget was her deep and abiding love for Jesus. The woman rarely grumbled during her illness and when she did, she rebuked herself. Until her last moments here, she still believed in God for healing and a miracle. Well, she is healed now, she has flown home to be with her Jesus. When the angel standing by her side in her last moments told her gently, "Come to Jesus" I know she went as a child to Disney Land.

She is there now and what a reunion it must have been. Not only with Jesus, but with all those who have gone before her; her dad, her mom, her Aunt Fern, my grandpa Phil and my baby boy Spencer and so many more that I cannot begin to name. And while she knows that we all have our time left here on earth, I imagine that her heart does cry "I Wish You Were Here".

One of my all time favorite gospel songs is "I Can Only Imagine". For those of you who do not know the story of that song, it was written by Bart Millard of Mercy Me shortly after his father died. In his grief he was able to reach out to the One who wipes away our tears and write a WORSHIP song about his father's passing. The line "...will I dance for you Jesus..." makes me weep tears of absolute joy. I remember gatherings when I was a child when Gramms would get up and dance. Her illness robbed her of that joy but now in Heaven she CAN dance for and with Jesus. What a blessing!

Hope you all enjoy my "listen" down memory lane! Oh! And let's not forget the one song that she specifically asked to be played at her funeral, one that she danced a favorite routine to ... "Tea for Two".

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sometimes Somebody Else Says it Best

Today I am grieving the loss of my Grandmother, one of the most amazing people I have ever known. My cousin, Mindy, wrote about her on her blog today and I think that I will just direct you all there. She captured her beautifully: Ladybug Farm

Although we are saddened, we are also singing praise, knowing that she will never struggle for one more breath and that she is in the presence of her Jesus. She will be greatly missed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11 Days

Well, here I am now, just counting down the days. Most of our things are still packed since we never made it as far as getting our own place, so what little packing there is can wait until the last few days. So, it seems that all there is for me to do, is to count the days.

I have been in touch with an elementary school for Kylee just a few blocks from where we will be living and know all that I will need to get her enrolled. Her current school has also been informed. She is bummed mostly that she will not get to see her classroom's baby chicks hatch. The first day back from Christmas break, "Mr. Andy" delivered 7 eggs to her classroom and told them all about egg fertilization and how to care for the eggs in the egg incubator. They are keeping a daily journal as well. Unfortunately for Kylee, we are moving a little less than a week before they hatch.

It seems that there is nothing really important to say. On top of preparing to move back, my family at home is going through the struggle of watching what appears to be my Grandma's last days. She has battled Emphysema for the last 10-11 years and has done it with such grace. We nearly lost her on her 72nd birthday, Halloween of 2007, but we were given the miracle of one more year with her. She has done remarkably well during this last year, but suddenly last Friday took a turn for the worse. Saturday, in her typical fashion, she seemed to rally, but today is far worse than she was even on Friday. My heart is heavy with the knowledge that I can't be there to say good-bye or to help carry the load. I wonder if she will hang on until I get home. I wonder if I will get home in time for the funeral if she doesn't, which seems the most likely scenario. I long to see her face one more time, to hold her hand, just to be in her presence. But, if it means that she would suffer just one minute longer for me to have just one last moment with her, I would gladly give that last moment up. It is my prayer and hope that she moves gently from this world to her home in Heaven and that she has no regrets for her life well lived.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Travel Details

Okay, for those with inquiring minds, and so that I know that I have told you all and don't tell any one of you 26 times...

We are planning to leave Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, January 22. My Uncle is flying down from Montana to drive back with the girls and I. Honestly, I am super relieved about that. The trip itself doesn't worry me, it's the trip in the winter with possible crappy roads and a U-Haul trailer hooked to my car that worries me. So, I feel better knowing that we will be in Uncle's capable hands. He and Aunt lived in Seattle, WA for several years, so any big city driving that we have to do won't bother him in the slightest!

As far as where we are going to live? We will be in Butte, or the "little B" ;). I plan to finish my nursing degree at MT Tech. I should have my associates degree, a full blown RN, by spring 2010, but will stick it out for one more year to get that bachelors. I've been working too hard and too long to settle for the associates. I eventually want to get my masters and become a Nurse Practitioner. That will most likely wait 'til both girls are in the double digits!

I can't wait to be back home. Maybe you could all call in a few favors for me to keep the temp at LEAST above zero? :~) I mean, honestly, our "cold" day yesterday was in the sixty's and I didn't even have to wear a jacket. So...it's going to be a bummer to have to be all bundled again. But, on the bright side, it sounds like there is more snow than there has been in years and I can't wait to see how beautiful it is! I also can't wait to see those big pointy things off in the distance that look so amazing covered in snow...Oh Yes! Mountains!!!!

All that said, we WILL miss it here. The things we will miss are many and strangely vague. I can't even quite put down on paper - or computer, or whatever - what they are. It is deeper than "the weather" and the nearness of the ocean. I guess, in part, it is a sense of belonging and a feeling of home. There will be people I will miss greatly, not just M and T, but friends I have made through work. Kylee will miss her friends as well and Laynee will miss her "people" at daycare. We have been truly blessed to be here. Still...I can't WAIT to come HOME!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Yes, it's true. We are returning to home, sweet home. Montana. Freezing cold, snowier than in many years past, Montana. As it turns out, my uncle - who is flying down just to drive back with the girls and I - has to be back in Montana on January 27. For those of you whose bell doesn't ring when hearing that date, it is my birthday. I can think of no better way to spend it than at HOME!

Now, don't get me wrong. I have been drawn towards Florida since my first trip here almost 4 years ago. Since that very first time, it has also felt like home to me. It is so hard to love two places so much but only be able to live in one at a time! And though these 5 months in Florida have been filled with almost nothing but struggle, heartache, and many times a sense of being lost, I wouldn't have traded them for the WORLD. I still love it here and the knowledge that I am leaving is VERY bittersweet.

Here in Florida I have been able to nurture a friendship that means the world to me. My sister-in-law, "T", and I had pretty much an instant connection when we first met 3.5 years ago. We have continued to grow closer in spite of the 2300 miles that separated us. But being this close and spending every day with her has been a blessing that I cannot even begin to express. I will miss her more than anything else. (Well, except maybe the weather...lol) T is like a sister to me.

Of course, I will also miss my brother, M. Even with all of his rough, and I mean VERY rough, edges, he is absolutely wonderful. My girls think he hung the moon and stars and he never fails to be able to get them to smile or laugh even when they are most determined not to.

I have been struggling to figure out exactly what lessons I am to hold onto from this time in my life. I've been told that there have been changes in me and while that's great, I don't see them or even know what they are. Apparently they are positive changes, so I am thankful for that. However, as I am writing this post today, I am wondering if part of this journey was just God giving me one of the desires of my heart - the chance to live in and experience Florida. And, now that my "free" time is almost up, it is time to return home, finish school and prepare for whatever He has in store for us next. I have to be honest, I'm kind of excited (for the first time in my life) to NOT know what is around the next corner. For a control freak, that's a pretty big step! The best part though, is that I am free from fear in just letting God take over and lead the girls and I where He would have us go. One of the lessons I have learned these past few months I guess!

So, while I know that there will be those who will view this time of many, many, many changes in a very negative light and will question my "rightness" in "doing this" to my children, I also know that I can hold my head up high because I am a daughter of the Most High God and am following His will for my life. Apparently, it's just not always supposed to make sense to we silly little humans!

I also want to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for us through all of this. Certainly, it is those prayers that have seen us through. Please continue to pray as we plan a trip across the country in the MIDDLE OF THE WINTER! And for my sanity as I do one of the things that I like the least...packing!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Highlights from 2008

Hello all and a Happy New Year! I was asked several times at work New Year's Eve day if I was ready for the new year. I replied that I was ready for anything new and still feel that way. I believe that this year is going to be awesome even as our nation faces some huge and frightening changes. I know that when Mr. Obama was elected president this last November, I was pretty emotional about the whole thing. I wondered what we (as a nation) had gotten ourselves into and felt a great deal of fear and uncertainty. However, as I began to process this great change by talking to friends and just thinking it out myself, I realized that God hasn't forgotten or forsaken us nor is he punishing us. He knew this would be the outcome before we even knew who Barack Obama, Senator from Illinios, was. I began to get excited and realized that with Obama's different ideas and desire for radical change, God could do some really amazing things in the next four years! So, please continue to pray with me this year for our leaders as we prepare to face a year frought with change and "firsts".

Okay, now that I have gone off on my unplanned little rabbit trail, here are some photo highlights from this last year. I thought that this would be a fun way to look back over 2008. Unfortunately, I don't have access to my photos from early in the year, but many of our adventures really took place late last summer and fall...Enjoy!

JustWe3 was so excited this April when Roxy had her first, and sadly last, litter of puppies. This here is Milly, short for Milagra which is Spanish for Miracle. She was the C-Section puppy that was born not breathing or moving. I got to assist with the surgery and part of my "job" was to take care of the puppy when it was born. So, I got to resuscitate Milly and now she is a very healthy happy little girl. What a great time those puppies were!

Summer, or late spring rather, came with my brother and sister-in-law, M and T, visiting MT. We visited Glacier National Park, where my Mom, a MT native had NEVER been before, and Yellowstone National Park as well. The above picture is myself, T, Mom, Laynee and Kylee at our cabin in Glacier.

M and T at McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park. M hadn't been to Montana for 20+ years and this was a FIRST for T. She loved it and was thrilled to be able to see every type of weather MT has to offer.

This day started out sunny followed by wind and rain which turned into a full blown thunderstorm, complete with hail. As we headed deeper into Yellowstone National Park towards Old Faithful Geyser, the weather further disintegrated into sleet, ending in a mild snowstorm. T was fascinated by the snow and couldn't get enough pictures! This one is truly awesome, it looks like the majestic buffalo is wearing a crown of snow.

Princess Kylee and I. We had just walked down to get a closer look of a black bear and her 3 cubs. What a treat! Though I have been to Yellowstone more times than I can count, this was my FIRST wild bear sighting!

Here are two of my girls just waking up from a nap on our looooonnnnnggggg trip to FL.

Here is Kylee on that same trip.

Laynee lounging in the pool...now honestly, what better reason is there to move to FL?!

Kylee's first day of 2nd grade, new school, new state.

Lawnmower rides in the backyard.

Halloween, Laynee as always soooo cooperative when it comes to taking photos!

Laynee turned TWO years old and got her first "bike".

Kylee in her elf hat at her Christmas program.

One of my favorite pictures from our Christmas photo shoot OUTSIDE in December!

Wishing all of you a very happy 2009 filled with many blessings and adventures~

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Finally, Christmas Pictures!

Kylee in the kitchen (day before Christmas) helping me bake my favorite "Christmas" cookies, Russian Teacakes

Scoop up the dough, roll it in a ball then roll in powdered sugar

Christmas morning began at a fairly reasonable hour with both girls opening gifts

Kylee holding up her new nightgown from Nana with a bathrobe hanging limply in the other hand! Contrary to what the picture may show, she LOVES them both!

Laynee in her "ballerina" dress-up dress holding the Mega Blocks her Daddy sent...she hasn't stopped playing with them since!

Roxy in her bells eating her Christmas cookie and LOVIN' it!

So, in a house full of females and only one male, do you see anything wrong with this picture? Apparently, my brother - who actually knows at least a little about a lot of stuff - is the resident wiggery expert. He is seen here helping Kylee apply and brush her brand new Hannah Montana wig. He is also filling her in on the proper way to store and care for her wig!

Roxy, chillin' after all that Christmas work on Laynee's new cuddle bear, also from Daddy. Sissy was also the proud recipient of an identical bear. Both girls just love them. These bears have foux fleece lined pockets so that they can keep thier hands warm when cuddling with their bears. What a great idea!

Beach babies, beach babies, here on the sand

They were so thrilled with the holes they were digging and this one was the best yet, big enough for them both to stand and splash in! When I wasn't taking pictures of the girls, I was looking for some fun shells to use in beading. I have discovered that I can make some pretty fun jewelery with the shells I pick up and regular beads. I'm still working out a few little glitches...

Hope you enjoyed our Christmas photo gallery as much as we enjoyed our day. Check back tomorrow for a 2008 review in photos!