Category Archives: Something Special

Here, Let Me Just Clean Out the Cobwebs on This Blog

Yeh, five and a half months in between posts a great blog will not thee make.

ūüė¶

I know, but let me show you¬†what I’ve been up to.

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Remember the little art studio I had built last August? You can check out that post here if you want to.

Well,¬†when I’m not home schooling, cooking, and all the regular stuff around here… I’ve been working on the art studio.¬†Loosing my Dad¬†left a HUGE hole in my heart, so the making of this studio has been VERY therapeutic for me.

I just love my little space! Let me give you a quick tour.

This is my work table (craigslist), and what you see when you walk straight in the double french doors. The awesome triple light over the table is an old chicken brooder light I found at an antique market. I just love it.

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Turning to the right, I have a lighted hutch (craigslist) to display some of my work.

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And further over, a stand up desk (craigslist) that I painted. The old industrial stool was a birthday gift from my friend Maurene.

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Turning a little more to the right, and looking back at the doors, this is on the left side. A little tribute to my loving Daddy, who made this possible in the worst way possible.

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Now, standing back in the doorway and turning left is my sink and counter area.

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The brick behind the counter is the faux sheet brick stuff, screwed onto the wall, and then I dry brushed white over it. The cabinets, counter-top and bookshelves are all from IKEA. (Love the products, hate the store.) The water dispenser (hot and cold) was another craigslist find. Best 50 bucks in the room! The big thing next to the water dispenser is the standing air conditioner. I may come to like it later on in the summer.

Turning more to the left…

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My little sitting area. The love seat & ottoman are off craigslist. I did order the white cover for the love seat from JCPenny. The old ladder, flea market. Oval tray on ottoman, antique store, and another gift from Maurene. The shabby shic quilt on the back of the couch is from Target, and my friend Branndan made me the patchwork pillow. I painted the canvas over the couch a couple weeks ago. The words “I Come To The Garden Alone” are from a lovely old hymn. It was sung at my Dads funeral service.

And this is looking out the french doors into our backyard.

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The last detail was finally finished this week, so, this weekend I had a little dedication service & party to honor my Dad, and to commit my artwork to the Lord. It was a wonderful evening.

Our good friend Matt did the service. It was beautiful. Perfect.

Here are some photos from the Dedication.

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My friends Ralph and Tina brought me a hand-made sign. Ralph and his son-in-law James are the ones who did the drywall, insulation, wood ceiling, plumbing and various other things in the studio.

Dedication 5-3-14 301

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My husband cutting the ribbon.

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Image (these two teal chairs are also craigslist!)

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Maurene and I made these little roses out of clay (on green pencils) to give out as favors.

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 Thank you to all of you who came and helped make it a very special event.

My Dad would have loved it.

‚̧

hi-d

 

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The Roughest Fathers Day Ever

I had so much planned to say. So many great stories to share about my dad. But now, as I sit down to write this post, it seems all jumbled and pointless. I miss my Dad. That’s it. What more is there to say really. I don’t feel like being clever, intelligent, witty or even nice. I’m so sad.

However, I do want to honor him on Fathers Day. If you didn’t already know him, by viewing these photos you will get an idea of the kind of man he was. It’s evident that he loved kids, life and family.

He is missed so much.

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HAPPY FATHERS DAY,

I LOVE YOU DADDY.

hi-d

 

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A Little Black Pony and A Cemetery Angel

On May 17, I headed back to California to help my brothers go through some of Dad’s stuff and to take care of the business end of things.

My husband had rented (on-line)¬†a compact car for me to pick up at the Sacramento airport. When I got up to the counter the little man on the other side said, “OH, you TOO TALL for a compact car… you too tall. You not fit in a compact car. Why you rent a compact? You too tall.”

I said that it was only for a couple of days and that I’d be fine. He kept shaking his head and saying, “Oh no, you too tall. That not be fun. You need bigger car.” I tried to convince him that I’d be just fine and I fold easily, but he insisted that I was “too tall for compact” as he busily worked the keyboard of his computer!

Finally, he looked up with a gleam in his eyes and said he had a black Mustang for only eight more dollars a day.

“You like Mustang?”, he asked.

Hey, I’m easy-going. For eight more bucks a day? Sounds good to me! I LOVE to drive, and driving a fast, powerful car is even better. ūüôā

“Sure!”, I said.

So, after I PUT ON (as I say about getting into it)¬†the black Mustang… I sped away a happy camper. He was right… me like black Mustang!

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After a quick-lunch date with my youngest brother in Elk Grove, I raced headed down to Lodi for a nail appointment. An hour later, it was clear to me that I had to get on the road and see what this pony could really do. ūüôā After a quick call to my Mom, I headed to the Napa Valley to take her to dinner. It was about a two-hour drive, give or take, depending on traffic. I never got the chance to “let loose” with the car much – due to having to share the road ūüė¶ – but I did enjoy its “get-up-and-go” abilities.

Mom and I had a wonderful time together and a good veggie burger & sweet potato fries at Gotts, in Napa. I also had the opportunity to show her how quick my little pony could get-up-and-go! I think she preferred a slow trot to the all out gallop though. ūüôā

Back in Lodi, I was up early (still on east coast time) the next morning. After having some coffee, I was ready to take a drive. I had about an hour and a half before I was to meet with my brothers and step mom.

Bored of driving the same country roads around Lodi, I decided I would drive down to French Camp and go see Dad’s grave. It was a spur of the moment idea, and I didn’t really even think about being able to handle it yet.

After an enjoyable thirty minute drive I arrived at the cemetery. I drove around the back to where we had just laid Dad to rest not four weeks earlier, took the Mustang off, and walked to his grave. The dirt was fresh. And so were the emotions.

I wept.

I could not control the tears. I could not stay standing. I could not see. I could not understand why my Daddy was under this dirt. I could not understand why God allowed him to leave me.

After a bit, a hand rested on my shoulder and squeezed. A soft sweet voice said, “Let it out. Just let it out.”

I couldn’t even look up. I just hugged the ground and let this person talk softly in my ear. She hugged me, told me how it would one day get better, and then as the tears eased up, she asked me about the person of whom I mourned.

I told her. I told her all about my Daddy. I told her how special he was. What a great man he was, and how he died. I told her how much I missed him. How I still pick up the phone to tell him something, and how my heart hurts so much that I don’t know if I can take it anymore.

She listened, hugged and comforted me. She shared her own pains, and how she has been able to cope… and even move on. She cared. She really cared.

Finally, she told me to stay as long as I needed and to just let it out. She said she was going to leave me to be alone with Daddy, and that she would be praying for me.

I wept some more.

When I finally pulled myself together, and got my legs underneath me, I headed to my little black pony. As I slowly drove away, I saw her caring for her loved ones headstone just a ways down from where Dad was. She lifted her hands to wave, then with both of her hands made a heart… the prayer sign, and then pointed to me.

And again, I wept.

Such love from a stranger. Such tender love.

Thank you Jesus for sending her to me.

Thank you my cemetery angel.

Thank you.

I wish I had gotten her name. I wish I could thank her.

My cemetery angel.

Thank you.

hi-d

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Angels Are All Around Us – II

Continued…

Yolanda was there almost every morning to greet me and make my “veggie” sandwich. She’d see me walking in and start on my order without me even having to say anything! She called me her “vegetarian friend“! One morning, she slid over a comp card, and slid it back to the register and said, “there… all set!” SO SWEET! And every morning, asking how my Dad was doing.

A couple of times during the week, I had to extend my stay at the hotel. Two beautiful angles at the front desk, named Dee Dee and Cheryl¬†(a new employee – in training), helped me and they were so patient and kind. They¬†gave me a book on God’s Promises, and inside wrote a message, signed their names and email. It was just so thoughtful.¬†They also gave me hugs and said they were praying for my Daddy.

My brother Jon stayed a couple of nights with me there as well, and was treated the same way. They all gave us both hugs, and said how sorry they were about the condition of our Dad.

They were all there for me, the morning after my Dad passed away, to comfort and console me.

Of course they didn’t know that they were making such an impact on my life at the time. They were just being themselves, I’m sure. But this is my point. When we open ourselves up to allow God to work in us… He does… whether we are aware of it or not!

I had the pleasure of being able to stop by the Hotel last week, when I was back in the area, and take them a thank you card and flowers. Dee Dee was the only one working at the time, but it was so nice to be able to give a hug back to at least one of them!

So, thank you Hotel Angels. Thank you for being open to God using you for the good of others. Thank you for your hugs. And thank you for being there when I needed you.

ūüôā

hi-d

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Angels Are All Around Us

It is so easy to believe that our world is full of evil. Mostly because, well…it is! If you spend any amount of time in front of the TV, you know it’s rampant out there. But good people ARE out there as well.
Satan is no dummy. He’s been around a long time and knows the weaknesses we will have in our personal makeup, long before WE do! After all, he has been witness to generation after generation of our ancestors, and has a full history of how “the sins of our fathers” will affect us. All he has to do now, is to rub on and poke at that irritating/weak/hurtful/ugly area in our lives and give us major head cases to distract us from what we should really be focusing on… Our Loving Father, Jesus Christ, and how He can work in our lives to touch others.
Well, throughout this whole sad journey, I have been extremely blessed by several people. Some of them total strangers. All of them allowing God to do great things through them. All of them making a conscious choice to do a good, kind, loving thing for someone else. And in some cases…a total stranger! All of them showing me how God can use hurt and damaged humans to nurture, comfort and care for other hurt and damaged humans… if they will but allow Him to.
I want to tell you about some humans who allowed God to use them, and how they became angels in my life.
(Since I was in such a fog…I may not have all the facts exactly right, but this is what I can remember…and the gist of story is exactly as was!)
I checked into my hotel on the evening of April 15. While most of America was battling to get their taxes in on time… I had just come from seeing my Dad battling for his life. I was numb, tired, jet lagged and everything was covered in a dense fog as I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning came quickly, since still operating on east coast time, and anxious to get back to the hospital, I pried my swollen eyes open, got ready and headed down to the lobby to get some coffee. I didn’t feel like eating, but knew I should, so ordered an egg sandwich on an English muffin – hold the bacon! (my stomach couldn’t handle it.)
I don’t remember if it was that day or the next, but the sweet girl behind the counter asked some questions and we somehow started talking about my Dad. I shared with her his struggle and my fears. She asked if she could hug me, and that started my encounter with one of Gods “care taking angels”… Her name was Yolanda.

I will return to continue the story…

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Filed under Something Special, Thoughtful Reflection

Some Stories Beg to be Told

The evening before my Dad passed away, we had him¬†anointed. The pastor came to the hospital and all the relatives were gathered to go into his room together to pray, sing and anoint his head with oil. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. My son Gerrit was anointed before both of his brain surgeries.¬†It is very clearly stated in the Bible to do this for the sick¬†and I am all for it. However, in this situation I just couldn’t be in the room.

I was torn. Can’t go into all the reasons for this, it just was what it was. I couldn’t handle it physically or mentally, and so, chose to take a walk instead.

The entire time I walked I prayed (begged really). I asked God to please heal him or take him. Over and over I asked Him that. Dad was suffering. I knew it, and I wanted it to stop.

Of course, if it were my choice, I would have rather He heal him. But I knew at this point that Gods will is what needed to happen, not mine.

After some time, I got a text from one of my brothers that said it was over and that I could come back to his room. So I headed back into the hospital.

As I was coming through the lobby, about to go around a corner into the long hallway, I just begged God to do one or the other. I pleaded over and over again (in my head) “Please, please, please, please…” and before I stopped saying the pleases… I heard a gentle, sweet, calm mans voice say… “It’s okay, Papa’s coming home tomorrow”.

¬†I¬†immediately¬†felt comforted, and burst into tears at the same time. I felt as if God was speaking to me. I began to repeat it in my head. “It’s okay, Papa’s coming home tomorrow… It’s okay, Papa’s coming home…”

As I rounded the corner, it was actually a father comforting his two little boys with the news that their Papa was going to come home from the hospital tomorrow.

For me, however, it will always be Gods comforting voice… answering my pleas for help.

And Papa did go home the next day.

hi-d

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Stay Sweet

One of the biggest blessings during this whole ugly ordeal was that all of the siblings got along and agreed on everything, every step of the way.

We have heard many stories since then about siblings (even just two of them) that didn’t agree on anything, and made the whole experience that much worse.¬†We were blessed. From the moment of that first big decision of whether to take him off the¬†respirator¬†or not, to picking out the music for the service, we were in harmony. I have come to see what a huge blessing that is. I love every one of my brothers, step sister and mom, and it would have been¬†extremely¬†heart wrenching to have had to argued over any of it.

We leaned on each other, and supported whoever was having a hard time at that moment. It rotated around to all of us at different times. Maybe that is Gods way of spreading out the anguish and thereby diluting it a bit. I don’t know. At least that is what I’d like to think.

One of the neatest things we did at the service was to have all the guys wear one of Papa’s ties. (A sister-in-law and I wore one too.)¬†We also all wore bright colors to celebrate the fact that when he will no longer be colorblind!

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(in order of age – from left to right – Harrison-12, JJ-15, Sawyer-16, Guy-16, Colby-18 and Darren-25)

So much of those two weeks are still a fog to me. I hope that I can sort some of it out soon. My brain is still not fully functional, but I am grateful for every new day that it has a chance to try. I have recently decided that any day which ends in me being dressed, and the kids being fed was a good day.

They say that time heals. They say that the pain will diminish. They say that life goes on.

I get it. I just don’t want it to.

I don’t want time to go by… I want it to stop. I don’t want the pain to diminish… I want him here to help me with it. I don’t want life to go on… because he’s no longer in it.

The only thing that keeps me going some days is the fact that my Daddy would want me to. He’d want me to keep my chin up. Teach the boys. Take care of my family. Keep in touch with my brothers and sister, and take care of Mom Carol. He’d want me to live my life.

So… to honor him, I will.

The last thing he was able to say to me that Saturday night, the 13th of April… the night before he went on the respirator, was… “Stay sweet”.

I’m trying Daddy… I’m trying.

I love you.

hi-d

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