Friday, November 29, 2013


Today as I perused my usual blog sites and facebook feed,
I was struck again by how much struggle there is in life.
From overwhelmed military wives carrying the weight of the world from their kitchen sink,
to grieving parents who are spending their first holiday season without that precious child,
to broken homes and separated families who live in different places,
to ailing friends,
and dying friends,
and the people taking care of them.
Not to mention typhoons, tornadoes, and mass scale trauma not so very far away.

Someone dumped a pile of broken rubble on my chest.
Tears trickled out my eyes and down my cheeks and onto my neck.
I nervously hoped no one would come into the room and find me like this.
At odds.
Stuck and sad and confused to my core.
At moments like this, I do. not. get. The Plan.

So I mentally create my own plan.
When I ask myself how I would run the universe, my mind swirls.
Would I create people with free will?
Would I allow the free will choices to accumulate into tragic consequences?
Would I allow the wildness of nature and its harsh upheavals?
Would I allow broken history to go on as long as it has?

And the world I create in my mind is admittedly a blandly pastel Pleasantville.
No conflict. No pain. No sorrow. No loss.
A place where nothing hurts and nothing happens.
Which also means:
No stories, no heroes, no victories.
No art, no music, no humor.
No invention, no research, no solutions.
No achievement. No celebration. No gratitude.
No true love.
All that is born of struggle.
Strangely, suffering somehow seems to be the necessary prerequisite of better things.

And even though there are so many mysteries and questions,
I am glad again that I am not God.
And acknowledge that God may know something I don't know.
And hope that He has a better plan than I can imagine right now.
That there may be a magical purpose in all this suffering and struggle.
And a bigger story to tell than my pea brain can conceive.
And of course a beautiful world to come where overcomers will tell stories and celebrate victories.
I hope so.
I am counting on it.
That there will be answers.
That there will be a fix.

For now I open my hands and willingly give it all back to Him,
breathe deeply, refill my heart with hope,
thankful that He
has the whole messy confusing tragic world
in His hands.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

40th Anniversary Party

In Munich last summer, we got the idea of hosting an Oktoberfest party for our big 40th anniversary. So out came the blue and white checked banners and fall decorations. 

We built a stage out of one of our tractor trailers. 

These are our great caterers who served delicious brats and beer, pretzels and strudel. 

Here is the work crew taking a German beer break after setting  up everything. 

The tables were set with steins full of flowers and apples and pumpkins and fall leaves. 

I think we are looking a bit like a German beer garden. 

The flowers came from the cutting garden and around our property. 

The bar was stocked with imported German-made beer and wine. 

Beer steins with fresh flowers were scattered around. 

The buffet line with a big pile of hot pretzels and cheese sauce. 

The sign was made by Crystal and is in traditional Bavarian style. It says "Happy 40th Anniversary". 

The beverage and dessert table is ready for treats. 

German Chocolate cake, Black Forest cupcakes and apple strudel and ice cream will be here soon. Yum! 

Crystal was my right hand, with her generous help and creative ideas.  

Sharon flew in for the occasion and she helped too. Her dirndl apron tricks the eye. 

Hubby and I are enjoying this wonderful day that we waited forty years we are waiting for the guests to arrive and the fun to begin. 
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rainy Heart

It's Joey's 6th birthday in Heaven. It pains me to write the words. It's also a rainy gray day at the beach, which somehow seems entirely appropriate. 

As do the broken bits of shell in the sand and the stranded jelly fish. 

But in spite of the gray, the sun breaks through, and strangely, that too, is a reflection of my heart today. 

Somehow I have found light in the midst of my sorrow. 

Not at first. It took years to find it. It was often a cold, lonely, aching journey. 

But it was there -- undeniable incomprehensible hope in the midst of something terrible. 

Little bits and pieces of hope all around me. Almost negligible, but together they amount to enough for each day. 

I have had signs. Here and there. Reminders. God holds my hand. 

I know I will see my son again. I can feel him. 

And it keeps the darkest darkness away from my heart. 

And makes me want to leave a mark of hope on those around me. 

Not despair, emptiness, discouragement. 

But hope that there is help in the storms of life.

That God's care is bigger than my loss. 

That there is a future where all my tears will be gone. 

If I can just hold on through the storm. 

There is enough of what I need. 

His eye is on the sparrow...maybe it's on me too. 

I love you beautiful son.
I miss you so.
Thank you for taking me on a journey deeper and harder than I ever wanted.
 Thank you, Lord, for leading me to higher ground.

Matthew 10:29
When birds are sold, two small birds cost only a penny. But not even one of those little birds can die without your Father knowing it.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Best Picture Ever

Rachel, our daughter-in-love, just found this picture in her archives. It's an old one, when my hair was still red and our youngest grandchild was only 2 years old. Almost a decade ago. On beautiful Keanae Peninsula on the island of Maui. We'd been hiking as a family, and  my dear son-in-law and grandson are in the picture too. We all stopped to look at the breathtaking ocean before us. We were in awe and I was wrapped in the kind of hug you will only get from a son. 

I could die happy in that embrace. 

In a week it will be his 34th birthday. I take this as a gift from Heaven. 
I love you, beautiful boy. Thanks for all the love and happiness you have given your mama.
I miss you more than words.

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big Graduation and a Luau

Our grandson graduated high school. This was the proud crowd who came to witness the big occasion. Okay, yeah, there were a couple hundred other graduates. The convention center handily packed all this pomp and circumstance into one enormous room. 

I wasn't quick on my camera, but my zoom caught the handshake...

and the diploma safely in hand. 

I also caught the proud parents and other grandmother at just the right moment. I loved that his parents were holding hands. An 18 year job well done!

The graduating class's patience was rewarded with a delighted cap toss.

Outside in the beating son, this kid in a gown and several leis, bore up patiently as numerous photos were taken. 

The whole family. 

The Uncle, Auntie and cousins. 

The Nana and Papa. 

The other grandmother, Chu-Chu.

The best friend (in a respectful suit no less. )

All the grandchildren together. 

Sissy and Bro. 

The whole fam damily!


A week later we had a luau for him at the farm. The guys cooked a pig in the ground for 16 hours.

Here they prep it for cooking.

Here they are at midnight, the night before the party, loving every minute of this new experience. It takes a lot of hands to get a pig in an oven.

It's going in this underground oven they built, now filled with firewood.

Imu pig Hawaiian style--you fill the pig with hot rocks and wrap it in banana leaves. Then bind it all together in chicken wire, and place in the underground oven, already full of more hot rocks. Bake for 16 hours.

Cooking away, all night long. 

This is the men unearthing the pig the day of the party. 

Kahlua Pork---funny looking, but incredibly delicious!

The curious crowd.
The graduate with a lei sent all the way from Hawaii by dear friends.
Let the eating begin!

The Hula Hoop brigade provided entertainment.

Grandpas in leis congratulated each other.

Luau decor just makes everything taste better.

 Real banana leaves on the tables.

Proud mama and dad. Chief Pig Chef and Hostess with the Mostess.
It was a lazy fun afternoon celebrating a wonderful kid and a great milestone.