My life - from the impact of great loss, to a refreshing new take on life and a place where I now share ............... my favorite Plant Strong recipes....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thankful in the Midst

Well, I guess I haven’t been very chatty lately. It’s been a rough week with both my head and my heart. Physically I’ve been fighting the migraines again - I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with my treatments in July (hmmm… imagine that. We were a tad busy here.) I’ve been on it better now though and am hoping that things improve soon. I hope so, this is my 3rd week and I’m tired.

But then again, I am so thankful that they are only hitting me now instead of in the last 7 months when I needed to be able to function at 100% for my girl. Considering all the stress and sleepless nights, my head should have been much worse. God is good. For it to hurt now doesn’t matter so much, because it’s so easy to just relax with Kati. She’s addicted to cuddling these days, which I absolutely love! Life has certainly become more simple, and again, I am thankful.

As for my heart, I miss my girl bad. All this “back to school” commotion has been much more difficult than I anticipated. If this is this difficult, I can only imagine what the holidays will be like. I know she is in a better place, and again, for that I am thankful. But our home is just so different now without her. Adjusting is hard…. excruciating even. However, we do have much to look forward to ourselves - football games, getting plugged back in at church with familiar and new ministries, another camping trip before the summer is over, Kati starting preschool, Kati celebrating her 4th birthday... this list goes on. God is faithful. I hold tight to His truth.

I never did figure out a way on blogspot to have email notifications be available to you. I think there is something you can download, but I wasn’t able to get it working myself. So I am considering doing my own updates, simply by creating an email list. I’m assuming that this will work fine as long as I don’t end up with too many addresses (and therefore appearing as a “spammer”). If you are interested in being on my list, please email me at with “BLOG NOTIFY” in the subject line.
We have a pretty busy week ahead of us, but I will try and have it up and running asap.

With that said, I’m off to bed.

Did I mention that I am thankful for you? For those who care, for those who pray?
I hope and pray that you all are doing well. Thank you for your love, prayers and support.

Unless the LORD had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence.
If I say, “My foot slips,”Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.
Psalm 94:17-19 NKJV

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Isn't She Beautiful?!?

Beautiful, Isn't She?

Here it is, the gorgeous portrait of my baby done in oils! This photo portrays the painting well, but I wish you could see it up close - the details, the color.... how it goes perfect in our living room. I don’t think artist Lynee Sapere could have done a better job! The frame chosen is perfect for our home as well. A special thank you goes out to the Engineering Department at Comcast for this beautiful gift. It will be treasured for years to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To see more of Lynee’s work, you can go to Her homepage has a beautiful picture of the kite boarders on the Columbia River (Gorge) that I had mentioned in my “Simply Gorge-ous Weekend” post (a much better portrayal of the sport and beauty than the little photo that I tried to use). I love her work, and I love that she’s from the Gorge. I guess maybe I’m biased these days. Hmm.

So we had a wonderful time on Saturday at the “Love FROM Lexie” Celebration down in Brownsville. I was delighted to have that sweet bundle of joy all to myself for about 20 minutes - not long enough, but there were many wanting some of that love. The location in the park was perfect, and it was so nice to just hang out with the “cancer community”. To see Madilyn, McKenna, McKayla and Kennedy with smiles on their faces, outside in the fresh air, was very good for my soul. To connect with their parents again and just hang out was also good - for the last couple of months we had been feeling somewhat disconnected from them. I don’t want to be disconnected. God has allowed all this to happen for some reason, and even though things have changed, I sense that my time within this community isn’t over. I don’t know what my role is, but I hope to love on these families (and more!) for years to come.
Please keep Lexie and her family in your prayers. Her mom and dad are facing things that no parent should have to face, and at the same time sharing their sweet Lexie with others. Pray that Lexie remains comfortable and that the Lord’s peace cover and carry them all through this. He is faithful, we know.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God,and I trust him.
Psalm 91:1,2

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Riding on the River

As Salt Creek Falls plunges 286 ft over a cliff at a velocity that could crush cars, so do my emotional breakdowns. Lovely of me to share, don’t you think?
I have recently been inspired by my friend Lori’s transparencies on her blog (The Next Chapter) and they hit so close to home. Actually, it was somewhat relieving to read her post, for here is this wonderful woman, who seems to have it all together, and yet she struggles just like me. God is good to have brought us together.

This week so far has been difficult for me. Physically I feel as if I have been hit by a bus. Emotionally I am on that never ending, twisting, turning, rising, falling rollercoaster… or I should say river - and just when I get comfortable I go plummeting over the falls, crashing on the rocks below.

Little things set me off. Last night, I couldn’t even manage to ride through the McDonald’s drive through when my friend wanted to grab me an ice tea, before we headed to her boys' football practice. She completely understood, but I felt so pathetic. The idea of shopping at Walmart makes my tummy flop, for Chelsea loved Walmart. I cry at glimpse of an HGTV commercial and find myself constantly “sniffing” things hoping for a small whiff of my girl. The other night, I found myself standing in her doorway desperately trying to just imagine she was there in bed and I was simply doing my nightly check. She loved to be checked on after she went to bed. The list goes on and on.

I am tormented by those things that I want to forget (the struggles), and yet already forget those things that I want to remember. But I know this is normal. This is part of the process. My aunt so sweetly gave the picture of how Spring always follows Autumn. I love that.

Yet as hard as this is, I also recognize things that bring JOY as well. Time in prayer and in the Word bring JOY. Worship brings JOY. Being in a van with Jr. High football players, an elementary cheerleader and my friend bring JOY (even with a migraine if you can believe it!). Cuddling with Kati brings JOY. Hugs from Chelsea’s friends bring JOY. Knowing that I am loved and supported through this with no expectations brings JOY.
And with the JOY, also comes PEACE.

And the Lord whispers, “Just rest, I’ve got you.

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,A very present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear,Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us;The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,Who has made desolations in the earth.9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us;The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Monday, August 13, 2007

Simply Gorge-ous Weekend

After somewhat of a rollercoaster week, Jeff and I headed to one of our favorite locations to reconnect and relax. Hood River is a quaint little town in the Columbia River Gorge, nestled between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. The weather was perfect - we started out at the Saturday Market where there is always something of interest. Years ago, this was the first place Jeff had ever tasted “real” kettle corn, so of course we had to continue the tradition. I had fun trying to sniff out the best lavender lotions and finding that perfect pair of earrings. Then we hit my favorite shop - a French country boutique that always soothes my senses as soon as I walk in the door.

We spent much of the afternoon lounging at the outdoor pool and walking along the Columbia River where there was plenty of kite boarding and windsurfing to keep our eyes entertained. It was beautiful! Our dinner, also on a deck overlooking the river, was fabulous with some of the best sourdough bread and lobster tomato bisque (and the only lobster tomato bisque) I’ve ever tasted. Jeff isn’t a bisque man, but was well pleased with his french fries! The breeze wasn’t bad (as you might expect on the gorge) so we hung out and watched the evening turn to night - and just as we were ready to leave I saw the most amazingly close and big shooting star ever.

It was good to be out and about, doing something.
The next day was a bit more difficult emotionally (my moods can change like the tides) and it was more work to stay distracted. Though we did find a great place for lunch that we want to return to in the near future with friends and Kati - A great pizza joint with wonderful salads, open air seating above the sidewalk, fun atmosphere (relaxing and playful at the same time), great food and a movie theatre. Since Hood River is only about an hour away, this will be something easily accomplished. Our last stop in town was at a local toy shop where we found the perfect gift for our Kati.

We decided to take in some views on our way home, and the views of the Gorge, Mt. Hood and the falls were wonderful. We loved Rowena Crest - a viewpoint similar to Crown Point, but facing the east end of the gorge. And with vacationing on the brain, we found a campground that we might spend some time at next summer. Close to home, yet a beautiful location. That’s what I’m talking about!

We even had a few moments of adventure when we spotted this remote camp on the Washington side of the River. My uneasy feelings were dismissed by Jeff who was sure it was public property since there were lil’ campsites, restrooms, a boat ramp and even a fish cleaning station…. A couple of run down residential campers didn’t phase him as odd… until we saw the NO TRESPASSING - FEDERAL LAND sign when leaving. We had been trespassing on federal Nez Pierce reserve land unknowingly. I have to admit, the sign was small and easily missed coming in…. and they sure had a great view of the mountain!

Soooo….Kati did great and greeted us with some of her and Grandma’s delicious choco chip cookie bars. She was thrilled that she was able to keep in touch with text messaging (with Grandma’s help of course!).

As I reflect on my last post, I am reminded of His promise from Psalm 37:4 -
“And He shall give you the desires of you heart”.
Truly we were blessed this weekend.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pondering on Psalm 37:4

To delight - to take great pleasure or joy.

Today, this is my focus. To delight in the Lord. I find that I have no other choice. To focus on me only causes me to get lost in the jumble of feelings and emotions that seem to overwhelm. To focus on my loss only causes an ache that goes deep - so deep that I feel as if I will drown.

But how do take great pleasure or joy in the Lord during such times? Simply by trusting Him every moment... or even every second. Each day we have choices - to choose God or to choose the ways of this world which revolve around ourselves. My past experiences make this an easy choice. When I choose to focus on me, what I want, what I think I need.... I am always left unsatisfied and miserable. It never fails, and the pit of depression that follows is dark to say the least.

Yet when I focus on God and His truths - I am filled with that peace that surpasses all understanding. Where I disregard common sense for spiritual sense. Where God guides, God provides - He always has, He always will. Just because times are hard right now is no reason to forget that truth. He is faithful - even when my faith is small.

So there are times these days where my faith is small. I can't say that I'm very fond of the grieving process - and this is by far the most difficult grieving I've ever faced. But God is good - He has surrounded me with loved ones who are eager to come alongside. I know we are not alone, and I know in time I will look forward to what the future holds.

....And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

For now, I will try and gain just a simple sense of normalcy. Bit by bit we are getting our home back in order. I even enjoyed going through Chelsea's clothes from her shopping spree to send with the Youth Group that headed to Mexico this last week. Chelsea had wanted to contribute part of her wish to charity, but didn't ever find one that seemed right. Little did she know that she was hand choosing those sassy clothes for those in need. This definitely would be what she would have wanted, and I smile as I consider that God knew - even as she was picking out each item - where they were going. She was contributing, she just didn't know it.

So there it is. My first blog on here. For those of you who choose to endure my ramblings, please feel free to comment. They won't post right away, so don't be alarmed (Aunt Kari) if it takes a while before you see it. I haven't determined how to receive email notifications when I post a new blog, so if this is something you are familiar with, please leave a comment for others who may be interested. Until then, just keep the link and check back.