Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I dreamed of Stacey last night. Like I often dream of Bill Joe... while we are talking, I enjoy the visit, but at the same time know they are dead. They know they are dead as well... but dead doesn't mean they aren't still in existence. It means they have moved out of their fleshly body on to the realm of the Spirit. In our visit last night, Stacey showed me that there is a doorway, or gate if you prefer... between this life and the life with the Father. The gate is always there, but our mortal eyes cannot see it until it is time to decide- Do I want what is on the other side more than I want my life here?
  In my dream, Stacey told me she was given that choice... stay here, or go through the door. She told me she saw so many people who loved her, waiting there to welcome her. She saw the Lord standing by the path- not rushing her. Did she want to come now, or stay longer in her mortal body? She laughed and said that this was what she had waited her whole life for- meeting Him. She told me grieving is for those who stand on this side, but one day every one she left behind will understand- there is no sorrow on the other side of that door.

I woke up with less grief. If it is only my mind putting these so-real encounters into my dreams, I would rather keep on dreaming them. It shortens the time until I see Bill Joe, Roger, my Grannies and Papa. I awake feeling as if I HAVE visited with them awhile, and now have to go on with my job here. Our time on earth is short in comparison to the eternal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Not my Normal

We got a phone call this past Thursday evening. No work on Friday- the restaurant would be closed for a few days.
 It was easier to get that out up front, because the force of the following words drove every other thought from my mind. Two of my co-workers had been in a tragic car accident.
One does not use the word "tragic" lightly. I must of gasped at the word, because before anything else was spoken, Mr C and the Individuals were looking at me with questions in their eyes. One of the young women, Stacey, had been killed in the accident.
As it turned out, the young women were on their way to a farewell dinner for Stacey- she was moving to another state this week. Instead, she takes up residence in her heavenly home.

  Daniel and Sam and I attended a dinner before the "visitation" Sunday night. We wept with Stacey's many friends and family members. I couldn't go in to the visitation. I sat in the car while the boys went on inside. They didn't stay long. The funeral was yesterday. Stacey was prepared to make her journey from this body. The message centered around her readiness. I wanted to scream and scream, and scream some more. I saw her death as a robbery. Stolen from those of us here- not me so much as her family and friends. (We were acquainted through working together on Friday nights.) I kept my mouth shut, because I would not disrespect her beliefs, their beliefs.

As the funeral drew to a close, her casket was opened. I didn't want to walk by her. I didn't want to see. But I looked. That wasn't Stacey. That wasn't her. It was empty of all that was Stacey. I wanted to grab her Mama and hold her. I went to the car. I couldn't attend the burial. I was barely holding together as it was. It was a ceremony of farewell, for the comfort of those close to her. Not about me, and I was too close to "losing it".

It seems like when I think I have finally gotten a handle on my own grief, some small thing can set me off anew. And this wasn't a small thing.

I sat in the car, and "got a grip". Deep breaths, think of something else. I thought of ceremonies.

People need ceremonies. We have births, followed by a dedication or baptismal ceremony. Most of us honor birthdays with ceremonies. Graduations, award presentations, weddings. Sometimes engagements. New years' celebrations. Many cultures have coming of age ceremonies. A formalization and acknowledgement of some deed, done before man and God. And funerals. The last goodbye, where we formally recognize our earthly separation.

Funerals are the ceremonies that start our journeys of grief. It starts in a deep pit on one side of the tallest mountain you can imagine. You have no choice but to climb from the pit and up the mountain. There is no place else to go. No one can climb out of the pit, or climb this mountain, but you. God's grace helps carry our burdens, but it is still you who must climb.
  At times, you think, "Oh yes, I can see the top of this mountain! I will soon be beyond Mt. Grief!"
It takes as long as it takes to get to the top.
For awhile, you think, "I did it! I am over grief!" Then, the clouds around you part for a way... and you see you aren't conquering one mountain. An entire range of mountains stand before you. There are more peaks ahead... and the valleys below. You hand your burdens back to God, and keep going.

(I know that once I have given a burden to God, I shouldn't take it back. I don't know many who have succeeded in not grabbing that pack back and rummaging through it again, to see if there is anything in it I "need".)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Command Center!

OK, here it is. Since we moved into this house, I have been intending to have a "command center". A place where we could put keys and cell phones when we walked in the door. A place to put incoming and outgoing mail. A place where we can find a charger for our devices.

The basket holds incoming mail. Outgoing mail has a clothespin on the outside of the basket, to hold it up and in view.
The key holder Becky made at a VBS when she was in grade school is on the side of the shelf,and down between the desk and the shelf is a power strip so that multiple devices may be plugged in.

Do you see the keys in the bowl? The bowl is an antique that had been my step-Grandmother Ruby's. The keys are in it, because Mr C doesn't trust hanging keys on the key holder hooks. He is afraid they could fall down and be lost in the nether. It is far more likely they would land point down in the power strip, causing a nasty shock. Or a short. Or a fire... Oh wait, there I go with my worst case scenarios. Sorry.

I certainly hope to have no more repeats of this morning... First of all Mr C couldn't find his coat. A very specific work coat. For some reason it wasn't hanging up in the coat closet. Nor was it tossed on the back of the couch. Or across a chair. Or on the bed.  Or any other likely place one would expect to find ones coat. Especially since we have a COAT CLOSET and I am adamant about people hanging up their coats!
I asked if perhaps he had left it in Sam's truck? We had driven Sam's vehicle yesterday, based on other vehicles blocking the truck in when it was time for Sam to go to work. (It had also snowed during the night, and I felt safer with Sam in a rear wheel drive car, than in the truck. Especially since Mr C had lots of fun scaring the bejeebers out of me sliding the truck around on the roads when we did go to get groceries!)
Tom said he didn't see his coat in Sam's truck, and with no time left to search, reluctantly put on a different coat. Moments later he was back inside... he HAD found his coat, in the back of the seat of the truck. (His second choice coat was tossed onto the couch as he left.)
 So, Sam is preparing to leave for work, with school tonight. A long day ahead of him... where are his truck keys? Tom couldn't remember where he had left them. The second crisis of the morning was escalating, as we looked the house over and over again. I suggested perhaps they had been left in the truck? Sam was horrified at the thought, and took the car keys out to start warming the car. Dan woke up, and I warned him that the keys being found was about to become HIS problem... so he began to search as well.
Sam decided to grab a juice from behind the seat of his truck, to take with him. (He keeps a supply there for work and school.) And there he found his keys. He was able to take his still cold and frosted over truck to work. HOW Tom mislaid the keys there is a mystery.

But now... the Command Center is put together. Nicely organized. Room to lay out those things that need to be remembered when leaving the house. I just have to train three guys to put their stuff there so it won't be mislaid!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oh boy, a fresh new year!

I am trying to get new habits going in the new house. The kitchen stays clean. Beds made, bathrooms presentable. Laundry washed, folded and put up on the same day...
It isn't always all done. But I am trying. Even the guys are trying. Most of the time.
We had a great visit with Becky and Tommy and 3/5 of the grands. 6 out of 10 were here for at least a few days together. We didn't get too stressed, even though everyone was cooped up in close quarters, due to record breaking rainfall.
There are some new pictures up at Moocrew3 .
Tom had a nice 60th birthday, very low key. We made a pumpkin cheesecake. He had already found his guitar, so played that awhile, and was thoroughly clambered on by grandkids.

This past week, he had off on vacation. With no place to go, he worked on the garage. He built a storage shelf from scrap lumber. We unpacked lots of boxes, and have been dropping items off at the local thrift store so often, I am pretty sure they should assign us our own place to park.

Today is my first day home alone in weeks. I got my basic chores out of the way, and have spend a good deal of time working on the pantry. We have been living out of the boxes in it, for the most part. I got in there and unpacked boxes and did re-arranging.   
 This is the pantry at the moment....
And the next picture is taking a step back from the pantry... all of the non-pantry items that have been stowed away in it since the move. Mostly DVD's and a few VHS cassettes.

I got a good sale on ham at Aldi last week. Tonight, ham and beans. Since Sam has class tonight, he will get leftovers of his choice for his supper. Believe me, ham is never a leftover of his choosing. (That Sam I am, he doesn't like ham!)

That pile of stuff is just going to keep sitting there, mocking me, until I go deal with it. So I will say, have a blessed day and Thank you for reading!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Good Morning! A Blessed day to All!

The house is coming along... Unpacking, unpacking, and more unpacking. And hanging pictures!
 These two water color prints were done by Tom's sister Angie. They have been packed away for several years- waiting frames.
 They hang near the china hutch!
This very pretty lithograph has been boxed up and moved several times... always waiting for me to get it framed. This move, I was determined to finally do so. I measured it, and carried the measurements AND a small tape measure with me! I visited several thrift stores, and found this beautiful matted frame holding a lithograph that I thought was really awful. It was the perfect size... and $5.00. The peaceful shepherd scene looks like it was always intended for this frame. (Unfortunately, it did suffer a mishap. I broke the glass in putting the back onto the frame. The new glass was $23!)

I am so excited... Becky and the kids are headed this way today. And if Mr C has learned of it, he is keeping quiet. He does know Tommy is coming up for a few days, tomorrow. Tommy had planned to ride with Becky. Becky had planned to arrive Sunday. But there is a major storm system that is threatening to drop 3" to 11" of snow over the weekend across the route she will be driving. Her sweet hubby encouraged her to come early... and that interfered with a commitment Tommy has tonight. Still, we shall have four of the kids here for his 60th birthday! (Ben couldn't get off work, but he and Paula may get to come next month.)

Mr C discovered the guitar before we moved, so has had that part of his birthday gift presented to him already. I have quite a bag of smaller gifts collected. Two of his sisters went together and sent him a gift card, which arrived yesterday.

When he got home last night, he mentioned that he had forgotten he needed to take a covered dish to work today, and had thought of running to WM for something. However, it was 5:58pm. WM closed until 7:00am Saturday at 6:00 pm. Even at a scant mile from here to there, 2 minutes just wasn't enough. I was going to send some "sweet and sour" green beans. Tom was reluctant, and said he would just not take anything. Turns out he doesn't LIKE my S&S green beans, so assumes no one else would either. I got up at 5 and made some scalloped potatoes that he took quite willingly.

 I have stuff laid out thawing now, to make a lasagna. Becky is doing Trim Healthy Mama, and Tom and I are attempting to get back on plan with THM... so I am going to use zucchini instead of pasta in the lasagna. I can make a big pan of it up, and it should be ready by the time Becky arrives. Depending on how early she starts this way- and how often she has to stop-  she could be here before dark. And dark sure comes early!

On the downside of this visit... it is supposed to rain for the next three days straight. Local weather guessers are predicting a record breaking amount of rain. So the kids will be trapped inside a vehicle for nine or so hours, and then inside the house for the next several days. Last week's rain had us worried that water pooling in the yard was going to run over the foundation and into the house... and that wasn't record breaking rainfall.
Guess I best be getting on with the unpacking + laundry + sweeping, mopping, and general clean up + guest set up! Have a blessed day and Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

One week in the new digs....

Progress is being made daily in getting unpacked and settled. We have now actually cooked and consumed three or four meals here. Some pictures are hung. Some curtains are up. Since all the bedrooms had blinds, curtains aren't an absolute necessity. The back door  had no coverings, so I got magnetic curtain rods and ordered some sheer panels. The back door faces a field, so sheers are good enough to prevent folks seeing inside, yet let in enough light that perhaps  my plants may live.
There are FOUR windows in this place- not counting the back door (French doors). Dan thinks we should count the peephole in the front door as a window.

Yesterday, I got the box of bathroom stuff unpacked. I noted that the little hanging cabinet was held to the wall by a single screw- but that screw went into a stud. Two hours later... a mighty crash- sounds of breaking glass. The  cabinet had fallen from the wall, taking out the poorly placed TP roll holder in its descent. The lone screw remained in the stud... The plastic L bracket had broken. I cleaned up the mess, re-boxing everything for now. My losses included a bottle of essential oil, a recycled cat food dish that held the bottles of oil, and a recycled candle jar that held Q-tips. (As well as the Q-tips, being covered in glass fragments.) I have stuff on hand to repair the wall where the toilet paper holder had been placed. Tom and I had previously discussed its poor location in regards to use... it was already pulling loose through the sheetrock. The cabinet just finished the removal.

We finished clean up of the Vaughn house. Yard and all was looking quite well when we turned over the keys. Or, sort of turned over the keys. Former landlord was supposed to have met us there. When they didn't show or call, I texted them. They called to allow as they had had a change of plans, we should just leave the keys in a designated location, and they would mail us our deposit. Saturday was the final page to that chapter of our lives.
The Vaughn house was where son Chris got married. Where Bill Joe called to let us know the tornado was bearing down on us, from his vantage point at the XNA security tower. (missed us by 1/4 mile!)
It was where Becky found out she was pregnant with Tyrel, on a visit to see us. It was the place where I got the terrible calls about Bill Joe, and about Roger. It's where several pets passed on.
It was the only place any of our grandchildren remember us living. A place full of good and bad memories.

We are looking at this house as a temporary measure, while we continue to house hunt. But Sam and I have decided to treat it as if it is long term. To be comfortable here. To bloom where we are planted, even if it seems like just being uprooted and over-wintered in a garage. Thus, curtains are going up, pictures on the walls. The dining room table placed where we can (and do) actually eat on it.

I have gone through some long packed boxes. One was packed back when WalMart bags were blue! I tossed many items I had held on to... time had cured the sentimental issues with many of the items. I uncovered some things I had wondered where they had ever gone- I found a little knick knack that had been given to me when I was at the hospital birthing Christopher... I discovered it on his birthday. (He turned 36 a few days ago).
Speaking of birthdays, our "LG" Becky will be 30 tomorrow. Wow. Happy Birthday to Becky!
I suppose I best hit "publish" on this post, and get busy. I still have so much to get done.
Thank You for reading!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Here We Are...

If there is no other place around the place, this must be the place, I reckon.
Or so Curly said.
There are other places around this place. For the first time in more than 20 years, we have a house in town.
I had expected/ hoped for a slow move, taking the week. Instead, I got a wham bam/ here I am move.
With the exception of hauling off trash, and a few items in the well house, and the canoe... we are all moved. The old house is cleaned. If I were moving to it, I would take a look and not need to clean. It is nigh spotless. (Unlike what might be said of our new digs).
So now, the unpacking begins. Lots of elimination still to do. I am trying to bear in mind, we are downsizing not only in physical space, but soon in number of people. We moved to the old house with six people, and that was a few months after having eight people at home.
Ten years there. Wow. That was as long as we lived in our Marlow home... maybe longer by a few months.
We have a new phone number as well as a new street address. Contact me if you need it. Blessings... ~Tammy~