Friday, February 26, 2010


In January, Andy's grandmother passed away. She was 92. Alzheimer's disease had been stealing her away bit by bit for a few years. Her passing seemed gradual, like she was fading away. The goodbye was gentle. Expected.

In January, our friends had a beautiful, perfect baby. She was born still. Silent. This tragedy was unexpected. Unpredictable.

Today Andy is attending a funeral. The wife of his dear friend passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She leaves behind an adoring husband and three beautiful children and many, many friends and loved ones. She leaves behind a legacy of cheerfulness and smiles and faith and hope.

And so death has been on my mind lately. My mom has spoken at several funerals (she has a knack for it) and she always shares this poem by Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933).

Parable of immortality ( A ship leaves . . . )

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!'

This poem is so comforting, and I feel the truth in it. Death isn't the end of these lovely people.

I have birthed three beautiful children, and when they arrive, I am always amazed at the recognition I feel. I know them the instant they appear. I know them from long ago... we are familiar friends. And those beautiful infant faces always have some ancient wisdom mingled with the freshness. Birth is a bit like death. It's the ship just appearing on the horizon and saying "Here she comes!" And a joyful arrival into the arms of loved ones.

I like to think about the happiness and celebration on the other side. Just as these people slip away from us, they make their arrival into the arms of those who have gone before. Families are forever. And there is much joy and love on the other side.

And just out of our view, Janet is remembering every detail or every story she told, and Olivia is giggling and wiggling like a baby should, and Catie continues to smile.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

sugar and spice and trouble

One of June's favorite things to do is climb up on the little rocking chair and stand and sway back and forth. She squeals with delight. It makes me nervous. She also loves to empty laundry baskets... especially ones containing clean, folded laundry. She pulls out one item at a time and tosses it over her head. She is talking more and more.
One of Ruby's favorite things to do is stick a pom pom or rhinestone onto her nose (think Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer). I have many varieties of adhesives, and she knows which ones work best for this. Ruby is into not wear clothes very often. I spend a good part of my day picking up clothes she has taken off, trying to convince her to put something on, wrestling clothes onto her so we can leave the house (I think this may be a sport at county fairs), and my favorite, putting clothes on her while she simultaneously takes them off. (When I was little, I was a panties-only kind of girl for a few years... early years. I sort of get it.) Ruby has a favorite hiding spot in our new house. She swipes snacks from the pantry and hides under the chair in the great room. Very sneaky.
Miss Alli got too much candy for Valentine's day, and she is good at finding excuses to get some... and she is good at just getting into it herself too. Sometimes she shares with Ruby... but I think she shares so Ruby won't tell on her. Nice, huh? Alli loves to take pictures, so downloading the camera is always a treat.

These girls are keeping me busy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

this is it

I downloaded the memory card from the camera today. There were about 100 pictures on the camera from two little girls. Real gems. Like this one...

And I was going to upload a bunch more of these exciting pictures on the blog, but I am out of photo/video storage space on Blogger! Gasp!