The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, January 31, 2015

note found in my boot when I pulled it off after my class
... sweet to find notes from my kids

new straps in and the new burlap is already layered over this
new comes the old horse hair and the new cotton
then the beautiful new fabric can start going on.

Woke up today knowing that I could ... sleep in, or get up and go for a long walk, or make delicious coffee and start working on my chairs .... or ... . That is luxury. I feel happy about today.  That also is a luxury.

I am back to teaching ground school for the local aviation program.  That's two sessions a week.  I enjoy it (mostly).  My little part time sales job is beginning to pick up and I am grateful for that, for both the job and the glimmer of hope that I won't be a complete failure at something I'd like to do well with.  Shoes were on sale this week and I found a super cute pair of black boots ... and my hair cut lady put me back in bangs this week.  That's the big news here.

Today I'll paint the front door trim an off white color that will look a bunch better with the turquoise door ... probably change the wreath or whatever to something different.  Then ... that chair I'm currently on.  (!)
seat not stapled yet
back ready to go on
good place to stop for the day

Friday, January 16, 2015


When by brother ... ummm, at my brother's funeral services ... I thought of myself as "representing our family", as "representing him".  I expected to hug his friends ... I expected to offer them words of comfort ... I expected that I would (from my perspective) get through it.  I thought (and still do think and feel) that grieving the loss of my brother is a private thing - not because I'm so very private, but because the moments of grief come unanticipated.  As with my birthday ... he has been a consistent wisher of Happy Birthdays.  It was weird knowing that the call wouldn't come.  There wasn't a particular moment of grief, rather the acknowledging that the familiar sound of words and the sweet sentiment conveyed would come never again. I smiled to remember the fact that he always covertly reminded Momma ... and she always began, or ended the birthday call with ... your brother said ... . "What makes you think the old girl didn't remember all by herself?" he'd asked when I'd thank him for reminding her ... She always gave him away.  Momma wasn't good at discreet.
I am fortunate ... I have the family I made ... and friends.  This year's birthday was a good day.

I was taken completely by surprise when a good friend of mine from little girl days walked up to me with a hug at my brother's service ... I didn't expect anybody (my husband yes, absolutely yes) to be there for me.  It was very touching.  It felt like God's touch.  My close friend from way back in the day surprised me by being there also ... with her husband.  It's a long drive up from South Texas.  It never crossed my mind that any of my friends would be there.  So many of brother's old friends were there too ... guy's my brother played ball with, skipped school with, fished with ... didn't join the Navy with ... his guys ... old guys who've been all over the world now ... in my mind's eye they were still sixteen ... the goodness, the solidness of them was ... sweet.  It helped me on a day that I wasn't hoping for help (except from my husband).

And today ... at my front door after work ... a box with a note inside:
Dearest DeAnn,
Since this is your first birthday without your mom and Tommy,
please accept this box of goodies to warm your heart and soul.
Much love to you and wish we were closer - CJD

Words can sometimes, 
in moments of grace, 
attain the quality of deeds. 
~Ellie Wiesel  

And what then when those grace filled words accompany a deed ?
It feels like love.
It feels like God's love, like a hug from God.
The deed ... a hand-knit scarf from the friend who taught me how to crochet, some hand lotion for hands that need a rest ... coffee (and it smells how heaven might smell) ... a bracelet
 ( it to know your heart is forever entwined with your family and loved ones...) 
to remind me of how it feels when someone does God's work ... sends love to fill those cracks ... it's sweet.  Precious really.

                         The way to love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul until you find a crack, 
and then gently pour your love into that crack. 
~Keith Miller

Monday, January 12, 2015


I like the perspective that fog gives.  
I was surprised today when I left my house for work.  I haven't been paying as much attention to the weather, the forecasted weather, as I used to.  Lately I've been looking at only what I can see, well actually not quite accurate, but I've been almost that tuned out ... almost that oblivious - I look at what the weather is in the handful of places where my people are (for sure) and I make a cursory glance at the class B airspaces (but only radar for those places).  This morning I asked my phone to dial up the local ATIS and learned that we were below 1/4vis and OVC ... less then 200' ceilings ... and it was so for the most of the day.  Calm and cool all day, the moist air had no reason to go anywhere so it didn't.  It's great fun to fly IFR but driving  in that low a visibility became interesting.  I made a trip which had me driving in it for several hours today.  Because I wasn't with traffic it was a lot of fun - just me and whatever Pandora's idea of Hozier radio would be (heard a couple of new to me songs which were screen shot worthy).  I was sorta out in the middle of nowhere and I noticed my google map app becoming confounded (another screen shot of the blue line to my destination just in case).  Mostly I thought over and over again about the many truths of fog.  Fog is low clouds, clouds which have a base within  50' of the ground ... and these were at the surface becoming denser at the higher places along the highway.  I even went the speed limit most of the time though I usually like to fudge that just slightly.  (I'm working on that.  It's just that in Texas there are tons of place where one may legally drive 80mph and this 65 stuff feels a bit lame.)  
At some point above the mess the sky was beautiful blue.  And the sun was definitely shining up there.  Nothing, not even the tiniest patch of clear indicated that truth.  On the ground it was low, stayed low, deviating occasionally from thick to thicker.  I observed that the iPhone camera app could see farther and more clearly then what my eyes could collect studying the same view.  Neat right? Filters.
I can't see stuff that I know beyond any doubt is there.  My inability to see it doesn't make it less there or not there at all.  I love that.  The strength of my faith does not distort the object of my faith.
I also like a couple of other ideas that fog encourages me to consider.  Because I know I can't see very far ahead (for example because aft visibility is hampered too but ... who ever really ever looks back?) ... looking ahead ... I did begin to exercise caution.  It would have been fun to fly through there hugging the road but ... deers. Deers or who knows what.  Life has stuff that jumps out of nowhere too.  I think sometimes I underestimate the potential for weirdness which could (and lately has) happen(ed).  I'm thinking there must be a way to slow life down just a bit when visibility is squirrelly.  Maybe.  I don't know what it is, but I think thinking about that is worth my time.   

taken at a red light - first day back at work in a while

just because I thought it was interesting

I stopped in the middle of nowhere and snapped these from the car

what's immediately ahead...
couldn't see very far
and in a way it made the journey a lot more interesting
in the sense that I focused more intently
on my immediate surroundings

“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog -- the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” ~Corrie ten Boom

I like this:  2 Timothy 2:13 ... If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


This is what I'm working on.  I am soothed by the silence my house offers ... sorta silent ... the music I'm choosing is cranked up.  I'm listening to the stuff that takes me to church.

Picked up this pair (yeah, there are two of them) of chairs in Texas and brought them over here.  I didn't really need another "project" ... there are two big chairs in the line up out in my garage (where the car should be) ... and truthfully, though I'm trying to pretend it's not so, two of my girls have chairs out there waiting on me too.  
I was attracted to the lines on this classic dining room chair.  Both seem to be solid ... desperate for some TLC, but worthy of the time and expense of cleaning them up.  I'm not a fan of the synthetic fiber that they were last draped in.  It's been dirty work pulling out the cheap staples that hold the veneer, top coat, what meets the eye, in place.  It's actually pretty gross prepping these things for "better".  There was a good bit of "icky" which had slid down between the folds where vacuum cleaning nozzles should go as often as possible.  Basically ... avoidable filth.  It doesn't look that bad in the picture does it?  I was surprised (and delighted) to find horsehair trying to work its way out where the burlap sags, brittle with age.  The springs, manufactured when metal was still really metal, are in great shape. Practically everything else needs to be reinvigorated.  I don't know how old the chairs are.  I don't know where they have been or who has sat in them.  I can tell that the last person who worked on them hurried through leaving  a trail of nails rusting in place.  As I gently work them out I wonder if it might be best to leave them alone ... the scars will always be there ... little holes compromise the structure of the wood ... you can't "unnail".  

(I'm remembering this story:
Author Unknown
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.)

Not sure what to do about that right now.  The nail holes probably aren't the worst of it but I'm confident about how to repair the rest of the messes.  I guess that's part of why working on this sort of thing is therapeutic for me.  I can fix this ... these.  It's a lot worse then it looks at first glance but once the update is done they'll be good serviceable pieces again ... they'll do what chairs are supposed to do and I'm certain that I  will be delighted with the results ... useful art. I think I'm going to take the time to "pour some love" in to those oowie spots. I know what I have in mind for them.  And it's gonna be fun to get them there. 

Projects like this support my hopefulness.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Last year ...

18 April 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry for the group note, but it is the best I can do for now.  I send it with my most heart felt thanks for your concern, also for your prayers ... I can feel the loving presence of our Father and I am truly grateful!

Momma has been moved to the Hospice House as a way of providing rest for me, also so that she might be observed and her condition accessed by health care professionals.

Yesterday, after having the first full night of sleep in weeks, I toured a very nice nursing home/memory care  facility and set things in motion for Momma to be admitted there once she is released from the Hospice House.  I feel very good about the conditions she might expect to  find herself in once she adjusts to the loss of independence.
Though I constantly have to point out that "this is your apartment, see your furniture, etc" she does seem to find some comfort in her own surroundings ... and the absence of that will likely be be a great source of agitation for her.  So ... when she is at home, she doesn't know where she is until I soothe her in to recognizing her things ... she frequently doesn't have a clue who I am though she does know she has a daughter named DeAnn ... it doesn't seem like a move to a care facility would be that big a deal, but for her it is. While I sat with her last night she told me that she saw  many of our family member who have already passed ... she named them as they appeared to her.  She was amazed to see Kenneth  ... . Mostly her hallucinations are pleasant.  She was getting a nice back rub when I left last night and was happy to kiss me goodnight.

Later in the night she refused to take her medicine (stating, "I take NO medicines!!), and insisted she wanted to go home, claiming she has rights one minute and in the next claiming that she is "healed of liver cancer/heart disease/dementia by the stripes of Jesus" and therefore no longer requires any help with anything ... she has enough "umph" to push/pull herself up in the hospital bed, swing her feet over the side and scoot off in to a free fall.  She has fallen several times and her breaking a hip or something worse is one of my big concerns.  Those of you who know her well can imagine how she is reacting to this perceived loss of control.  She is so loud and disruptive that I was told last night that the nursing home is sending people out to re-access what they may be getting in to (my words, not theirs) ... it's a real problem because I don't want her heavily sedated as she transitions towards what comes next.  My hope is that the pain can be controlled and that she can be otherwise pampered ... catered to during these last days or weeks ... . 
After I got back to her place late last night I opted to skip all the getting ready for bed and just fell into bed ... then Hospice called saying my mom needed to talk to me.  I spent an hour cajoling her in to cooperating with the nurses, assuring her that her stay with them was very short term.  As she generally sleeps most of the morning, I thought I would check in on her and then possibly get a walk in around the State capital building.  I haven't been there since Texas Girl's State, my junior year of HS, and it is an interesting building.  Instead, I find myself with time to sit with my laptop atop my lap.  I am outside Tommy's room at his home.  My sister in law had to go to her office today and he needs someone on hand just in case.  The "just in case" weighs heavy ... he is not passing food through his gastro tract.  Last time we were here he spent a week in the hospital with a tube inserted through his nose to his stomach "sumping" the contents out to relieve pressure above the blockage (a nice way to say tumor ... one of them ... today he told me that there are a series of them that the food must make it's way around/through).  He is resting now, later I am tasked with cleaning and re-dressing the incision site for the device that carries pus away from an infection inside his stomach.  He says the chemo is making him stinky and he wants to shower before we address the bandage ... then new pain patch ... then maybe a sip of soup.  I believe that he is actually just trying to get to the next moment when maybe he will feel slightly better.  He is very concerned about what the next trip to the doctor will entail.
This morning as I prayed, I realized that "this" will eventually be over for me ... Momma will pass, and hopefully, Tommy will battle his way to remission and survive to fight another day ... eventually, I will  ... what? ...  How does one say it?  I know I will return from these front lines ... .  I am exactly where I want to be under these circumstances.  As do each of you, I wish "all this" wasn't happening, but because it is I am so very glad that I get to be helpful.  Larry and the kids seem to be bearing up well in my absence.  So glad.

Today is Good Friday.  I am grateful for what Christ has graciously provided for each one of us.   God is good.

Love to all - DeAnn

Momma's wish to not go to a "nursing home" was granted due to her passing on the 22nd ... just a few days after this letter was written.  My brother was in the hospital (again) by then.  That day I woke up at the hospice house and drove over to the hospital to be near Tommy for a little while.  We knew he would be having the colostomy surgery later that day and I was anxious about the risks.  I made a quick visit with him and stopped by the grocery store for a few items to make the stay at the hospice house more pleasant.  My phone was ringing with a call from them when I eased Tommy's big truck back between the lines in their parking lot.  Our momma passed quickly after I got back to her.  I remember sitting there looking at the flowers I had just bought for her. It was ... surreal ... I really expected more time for/with her and had already made arrangements to keep her apartment for the summer.
That night I spent with Tommy at the hospital.  I had the alarm set on my phone to ring every ten minutes in sync with the pain med push on his pump. It was a horrible night.  Sometime the next day he realized that I wouldn't have spent the night there unless Momma was already gone.

Now ... I am back home from his funeral. He passed the day after Christmas.  It was a pain-filled time  for me.  He was Tommy ... gracious, courageous, strong and kind hearted in his ways right up to his last words to me among which were, "Get ready for the (wife's name) show which this will be from here on out - sorry to leave you with that".

refuge - a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.
shield - protect (someone or something) from a danger, risk, or unpleasant experience.
rampart - a defensive wall - fortify or surround with or as if with a rampart.

I'm thinking of myself as "in God's hand".
My husband thinks I should take the week off from work and he's probably right.
My family has been incredibly helpful this year. L has shouldered  a lot of the load making it possible for me to shift my focus towards first Momma's and then Tommy's needs ... or perhaps better stated, my need to tend to them as best I could.  The girls have looked after one another and "home" things in my absence and in my absent-mindedness. I am glad to be home.  I am fortunate.  I am thankful.

This week I plan to ... drink as much coffee as I might want to ... read a few books (next up, GEORGE MACDONALD by C.S.Lewis) ... not make myself walk (in the cold) ... nap extensively ... and basically do whatever seems nicest to do.  We did Christmas this past weekend ... I'll take this week off ... my birthday is next week and by then I 'm pretty sure I'll be ready for a new year.

Friday, January 2, 2015

We pass now quickly from each other's sight; 
but I know full well that where beyond these passing scenes you shall be, 
there will be Heaven. 

~J.L. Chamberlain

I keep on telling myself to think about how truly wonderful it must be in Heaven.  I can almost imagine the peace of it, the no pain of it. 

I sure will miss him.  

"And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind."

~ Pablo Neruda
100 Love Sonnets

Thursday, January 1, 2015

“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate the ground for the vision-place of the soul. And reverent men and women from afar and generations that know us not and that we know not of, shall come here to ponder and to dream and the power of the vision shall pass into their souls.
~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914)