Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today{Being Real}

I am so sad. I keep swallowing it down because there is so much going on around me.  It strikes me when I'm walking alone into an office building or when I have a moment of complete quiet.  When it hits me, I don't want to feel it so I engage my mind somewhere else, anywhere else but where my heart is.  My heart is in Idaho with my family. My heart is in a little house on a peaceful  lane with my Mom as she listens to the quiet of her home and adjusts to the way things will be now.  My beautiful Grandmother passed away a couple of days ago and I am heart heavy.  I rejoice in the knowledge that she is with our Savior and I praise the Lord for the comfort of music and sweet family that she had in her last hours.  If I told you of all of the ways that He answered our prayers you would see that it couldn't have happened any other way than it did and she couldn't have walked into Eternity more perfectly.

When my parents were here, my Grandma had them bring me one of her Bibles.  I keep touching it.  My Mom also gave me a bag of doilies that my Great-Grandmother made.  My Grandma wanted me to have those, too.  When I open the bag, they smell like my Grandmother.  The way she always had her things scented with sachets.  I keep smelling them.  I wish that I could have held her hand one more time, but I will treasure our last conversation forever.  I was able to tell her I loved her forever and always just one more time before she passed and I am so grateful for a Mother who understands the special relationship between a granddaughter and her Grandma.  I'm so grateful that she understands what it is like to be trapped by distance and how much just one more phone call would mean.

I was talking to my husband this morning and I told him that we were so blessed to have a Grandmother who saw her grandchildren.  She had 14 children and so many grandchildren come with that many sons and daughters and then their children, her great-grand children.  I know for a fact that I am not the only one she made feel so special.  So loved unconditionally.  We had so many conversations over Jelly Belly's.  So many moments of laughter and love.  I will miss her smile, her laugh and the twinkle in her eye.  I will even miss her mixed up conversations.  I am so grateful that my children got to spend time with her again and that my Gracie-girl has solid memories of her Great-Grandma Grace.

I am so glad that she is not suffering anymore and that she is at peace.  I know that that should be enough, but today it just soothes everything a little.  I feel like I can't dwell in my sadness because of some things going on here.  My husband has a very sad duty right now, and it makes my pain seem minuscule.  I give him a pep talk every day so that he can stay positive and moving forward to help this young widow and her children that he has been assigned to.  I can hear my Grandma saying, "Get it together, girl!".  I just want to have one big emotional moment and get going, but I feel like I can't just yet.

Then there is the paperwork I had to take in today for Leif and Grace.  I almost turned around and didn't take it in.  It makes it official for my daughter and I just don't want it to be.  I don't want to accept it.  Can I throw that little tantrum yet?  I don't know why everything seems to be piling up at once, but I know that I can carry it all because I'm not carrying it alone.  There is something exciting on the horizon and I am looking forward to sharing that with you soon.  I know that my life isn't all gloom and doom.  I know that I need to focus on the blessings and the answered prayers.  I know that I know that I know.  Truly, I just want to sit in this place and cry until it's all cried out.  I want to wallow for a moment.

It will have to wait another hour or two because we have a ceremony to go to for my husband's work.  Always smiling, being an example and showing support.  Today, it makes me weary, but like any good Army wife I will march on despite my emotions, despite my exhaustion, and I'll do it well for the sake of the one I love.  I'm being dramatic...it has to come out somewhere doesn't it?  Maybe I can have my cry during the ceremony and they'll attribute it to patriotism as they case the colors for the deactivation ceremony.  I better quit while I'm ahead.  You can see why I haven't been blogging.  I'm a bowl full of laughs!

Thanks for putting up with my blubbering.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Welcome to...
Outside my window...the grass is SO green this year. Everything is so much greener than last year.  We have had a lot of rain.  Yesterday, as I was driving towards a part of the mountain, I told the kids that it looked just like a painting.  The range was different shades of green and the sun was filtering through the clouds.  I used to call it the hairy mountain.  It had been through a terrible fire and the tiny trees look like sticks, or stubble, that needed to be shaved.  Now, it is overflowing with new life! 

I am thinking...about many things.  Trying to still my mind. I am working on not letting other's thoughts become my own.

I am thankful...that Lance is coming home tomorrow!  I miss that kid so much.  I am looking forward to his hug.

In the kitchen...I have to bake some bread today.  I also need to straighten up my pantry. Fun times!

I am wearing...a dark blue jean skirt and a very thin and light lilac tunic type shirt. Bare feet of course!

I am creating...a little bit of this and that.  Nothing spectacular with my hands.

I am going...maybe fishing today.  Doug has most of the day off.  I think we need to just get out of here and into nature.  I want to find a Mountain Bluebird.  They are so pretty!

I am wondering...why people that are so curious about each other won't directly communicate with each other.  I really think it is much better to just speak to the person!

I am reading...my Bible. My husband and I are going through TULIP  Those are John Calvin's five points in an acronym.  It's a whole new "language" for us and we are struggling with some of it.  I'm grateful that we are doing this together and that it's okay to have a million and one questions.  It is taking us for quite the ride!  One of the most positive outcomes is that it is grounding us in our own faith.  We are more sure of what we believe than ever before.

I am hoping...that we can move past this point and find a way to settle into where we're at.  I know that we can!  I don't think that accepting all of the points determines our salvation.  That's all I'm going to say about that!

I am looking forward to...Saturday!!!  Lance's hugs and hearing all of his stories and seeing his photos.  I can't wait!

I am learning...that I don't have to let what other people say paralyze me or keep me from doing what I long to do.  I am also remembering that, because I am a new creation in Christ, there are things that I don't ever, ever have to bring up from my past.  The old has gone and the new has come!  If Christ has thrown them away, why can't I?

Around the house...Leif and Grace are still sleeping.  Benny is waiting by the front door for his man to get home.  Yesterday, I caught Benny and Posie laying together.  I didn't dare move and disrupt this union of cat and dog.

I am pondering...hard things.  I am looking forward to just thinking about vacation and friendship.  My mind is tired!

A favorite quote for today...The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly. {William Woodsworth}

One of my favorite things...visiting daybooks and getting a peek into my friend's days.

A few plans for the rest of the week...since I am doing this so late in the week it's easy! We have piano lessons this morning, then fishing.  Lance comes home tomorrow and we have church on Sunday.  

A peek into my day...


This was from my parent's visit.  We went on a fun little candy tour!  Yum! Lance was taking the picture.  I miss my boy...did I say that yet? Here he is:


Please join us over at Peggy's:  The Simple Woman's Daybook.  It's simple, fun, and a relaxing exercise in journaling.

Have a lovely day~

Jhona O.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Rattled Heart and Limp Sails

This is on repeat at my house.  I just can't stop listening to it.  I keep figuratively falling to my knees.  In the middle of these moments there is normalcy.  Summer activities and drop-in visits from friends.  A new reality is setting in as I struggle to accept what is. Through the struggles and through the confusion, the Lord is constant.  My Lighthouse.



Our middle son is away on a mission trip and I miss him so much.  It was so difficult inside for me to let him go.  The only reason that I could was because I know that God's ways are not my ways.  Lance had such a burning desire to go.  He worked to earn the money for the trip and on memorizing scripture.  He was very focused!  When he was very small he would draw me the same picture over and over again.  It was of a church with a house up on a hill.  I would ask him to tell me about the picture and he would say that this was the church he was going to preach in and the house on the hill was the house for all of the children.  I don't know what it means, but I have no doubt that the Lord is going to use this young man's willingness to go where HE wants him to go.  I won't stand in the way of that.  I only cried a little when the van pulled away.

Last week, we had VBS at our church.  It was a full and wonderful week with many happy and fun kids! Our church's theme was International Spy Academy.  The songs were so fun.  I had a group of 12 girls and 2 boys.  CRAZY!!!  Again, so much fun!  There were some struggles with that many girls and I found myself exhausted at the end of each day.  Not from physical activity, but from keeping everyone together and remembering that they were a team.  On the second morning of VBS, we had two appointments.  One for Leif and one for Grace.  They were appointments that we had been waiting for.  I'll admit that I was scared to go.  They were at the Autism center and were evaluations.  I knew where Leif was at and that it was just kind of a check up.  I wasn't sure where we were heading with Gracie.  I know what I know and, as her Mom, have had "red flag" moments for a very long time.  Some I would take to the doctor and they would be dismissed as shyness or learned behaviors. I took her because we have a son with Asperger's.  I've been on this wild adventure since he was 18 months old. I was not blind to the symptoms and signs.  I was quick to accept what the doctors said because I thought it was plausible.  So, we've bumbled along for as long as we could.

Our daughter was formally diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I knew it was there, but I didn't quite like hearing the words.  I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it all. I led my group around in a functioning fog as I tried to keep the tears back.  The psychiatrists words kept echoing in my head, "So, Mom, how are you doing socially? Are you able to have a life outside of these kids?"  I wanted to scream at him.  I politely nodded and said that I would have no other life than this one.  I told him that I'd been traveling on this Autism road for nearly fifteen years and that we had a pretty good handle on "socialization".  Yikes...I'm sure he wrote down "combative", ha ha! Actually, he paid us a very nice compliment and the Lord answered prayer by providing us with professionals who are pro-homeschooling.  We left feeling encouraged.  I suppose it's good to have a diagnosis.  It just rattled my heart a little.  Two.  We have two children on the spectrum.  It kind of knocks the wind out of my sails.  Thank goodness my Lord controls the wind.  He has been gentle with the breeze this week.

I was so glad to have my husband by my side.  We are both just kind of...overwhelmed. TWO.  I just can't wrap my mind around it yet.  I trust in the Lord and know that it's all going to be okay.  It is all working out and I just keep thinking, "Lord, really?!"  Then, I feel the, "Yes, really."  Here I sit in the stage of acceptance. I'm not ready, nor am I willing, to have discussions with people on how they don't see it.  I guess, we have learned from our years with Leif, that we don't have to defend this.  I remember feeling like it was necessary to convince people with lists of what would be deemed his weaknesses.  We're not doing that this time around.  Please, just pray for us as we decide which steps to take next.  Please pray for Doug and I as we navigate through paperwork and new thought processes.  Please pray for us as we help our daughter understand what all of this means for her.  Please pray for her as well!  Thank you so much for caring enough to pray and read this rambling post.

We have so much to be grateful for.  I know that, in the scheme of things, this is something small.  I'm so grateful for our church and the youth group.  Sometimes, it's hard for me to watch Leif and Grace with their peers.  Total honesty here:  I walk away in tears a lot of times(I'm obviously a cry baby).  It isn't because I see anyone being mean to my children.  It's because I see the differences and I see how much it doesn't matter to this great group of kids. I so want them to be able to just be who they are without my interference.  As a Mom, it's hard for me to not want to redirect them when I notice that their Asperger's is showing.   I see them swallowed up in acceptance and friendship and I am overwhelmed at how God is so good to us and answers our prayers. I see that He has provided Christian friends for all three of our kids.  Great, great, great leadership and a place where Bible learning happens...and sticks!!!  We are learning so much at this church and digging deep into the Bible to learn just what it is that we believe.  God's word, friendly faces and so much more.  We are in a good, good place.

Still Smiling~

Jhona O.

PS.  If you are my family, please don't take offense to the way that I've chosen to share this.  It isn't because I didn't want to take the time to tell you individually.  It is just much easier for me to do this one time.  Thank you for understanding.  Lots of love to each of you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baptism Day{Pictures}

My sweet Mom and I.  She really helped me organize the picnic. 
 So grateful for her gift of hospitality!

My friend and neighbor, Jasmin, was there with her family as well. 
 Two of her precious children were baptized on this day with Gracie.  
We also had our friends, The Pontons, celebrate with us.

Before we went down to the reservoir, because I couldn't find a suitable creek, we listened to my Dad talk about the importance of Baptism and what it all means.  He also shared with us that over 40 years ago he started his ministry in this very town and how special it was that God had brought him back, full-circle, to baptize his grandaughter.  I thought that was really neat and special, too!  

 Look at those beautiful smiles!!  JOY!




 I know it's a little blurry, but I love to see their smiles.  Such a joyful day!

 Even though it wasn't what I had planned, it was still a beautiful place with a beautiful day and obviously right where God wanted it to be.  I love when things like this happen and we get to learn why the Lord shut all of the other doors.  

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  {Phillipians 4:4}

Thank you for sharing in our special day through your prayers and encouragement!

Because of Him~

Jhona O.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chasing the Grumpy's Away{Wednesday Hodgepodge}



1. What news story are you following right now?

I am still following the story of the kidnapped girls from Nigeria.  I, like many others, pray daily for them and for their families.  I pray that they will all be found and allowed to go home safely.  I am also following the story of the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith.  I was relieved to read that they allowed her two years with her newborn daughter and will continue to pray that there will be a change in her sentence during that time. And the 100 lashes she is suppose to get...oh, I pray and pray that that won't happen to her either.  Unfathomable!

2.  What's the last thing you wanted but didn't get?

I was hoping that something would work out, which would have made a situation so much easier, but I kept running into roadblocks.  I think that the Lord must have kept stopping things from happening and I will just have to wait and see how it all turns out.  I know that's vague.  I think it's a matter of praying for what I want, but getting what the Lord knows I need.

3.  May 28th is National Hamburger Day...when did you last have a hamburger?  Other than your own kitchen or BBQ grill, where is your favorite place to go for a hamburger?  And for all you non-meat eaters out there...when you're invited to a cookout what is one dish you hope is on the menu?

I love a pub hamburger.  Greasy and delicious...so bad for me.  I like it simple!  Ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and pickles!  No cheese, please.  I think I had a hamburger a couple of weeks ago. If I am at a BBQ, I will most likely NOT eat a hamburger.  I have a thing about under-cooked meat and a lot of people think it is a travesty to cook it to my burnt specifications.  So, I eat a lot of the sides instead.  I would hope for some sort of Tabbouleh Salad.  Yum!

4.  How have your priorities changed over time?

My goal is to put my family first(after the Lord, of course).  I feel like I'm fighting that here lately.  Fighting to get people to understand that I am a homeschooling mama and that, just because I am here at home, it doesn't mean that I am sitting on my duff and at their beckon call.  We have quite a schedule!  I changed my answering machine and voice mail with times and all.  I've made a sign for the front door.  I don't know how to be more clear.  Seriously!  We also school year round.  That's something that people gasp at, but it's our way and lots of people do it.  Putting my foot down and my family first is not so much a new priority as it is a renewed priority.  Also, my house looks the way it does because I work hard at it.  I am blessed in that my whole family pitches in and does their part.  These things don't just happen and I'm not doing it to make you feel bad. Oh, and please, don't tell me that I only have three kids and they are older now so it's easier.  We trained these three kiddos to be happy-hearted helpers.  That also didn't just happen.  We have had, and still have, our messy days.  I'm doing it because I want to and because I enjoy my sanity.  Can you see my eyeballs bulging and my hands thrown in the air yet?  I feel like I could scream.  But, I won't.  Next priority:  not absorbing all the negative junk as I put my arms down, close my eyes and breathe deeply.

5.  What's a favorite memory with your grandparents?

Singing with my Grandpa H., cleaning out my Grandma H.'s cupboards for her, living with my Grandparents G. and listening to their daily banter.

6.  On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at multi-tasking?  Give an example.

I am okay at it, but not super.  I have a little brain injury from a car accident when I was much younger.  I get easily overwhelmed when there is too much happening at once.  That is getting worse with time.  I need a list, big time.  I would say it is easier for me to multi-task if it is within a theme.  I cannot multi-task while on the phone, reading, or typing anymore.  I have to be focused on those things singularly, or I won't retain a thing.  On Sunday mornings, I have a notebook that I take sermon notes in.  Almost word for word.  It is the only way that I can retain what has been taught by the preacher.  I could keep bits and pieces in my mind, but when I listen and write then it is good for the day or two after.  I am happy to go back and read the notes I have which jog my memory.(I should try this on the phone come to think of it!)  My family says I just get more fun as the days go by.  I told Grace and her friend to go upstairs and get their towels out of the refrigerator the other day.  We stood there blinking at each other.  Tyler was trying not to giggle as Gracie patiently waited for me to recall the right word.  I said pantry, then cupboard, and finally closet.  Gracie told Tyler not to worry about it and that her Mom does it all the time.  Ya gotta laugh at yourself!!

7.  How would you summarize your highs and lows for the month of May?

My highs:  pretty great!  This month has been full of activity and we've had lots of time with our soldier. I do not take that for granted.  I know a busier time is coming!  My lows:  ugly.  I mean, I just spilled a little of what's weighing me down.  I wish I could just shake all those lows out and they would wash down the street with the rain water.

8.  Random:  

My grumpiness is a struggle this month.  I am so good at plastering a smile on and just charging on.  I am overwhelmed with the extra.  I am looking forward to next week and having my parents here.  Grace's baptism is coming up and I'm still trying to figure the final plans out.  It hasn't been easy to find a place at all.  So many places around here are water sheds or private property.  The place we have finally found is bound to be crowded, but we will do the best that we can.  I am just happy this day is coming and that we get to spend it with Gracie's best friend and her family and some of my family!

Although the grumpy's sometimes get to me, I am actually very happy.  This has been a nice month and I am looking forward to June!

Have a Happy Day~

Jhona O.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...I woke up before my alarm because the sun was shining in my eyes.  I love that!  Not the sun in my eyes, but the sun waking me up.  It's so natural and much easier to wake up this way.  I thought I slept past my alarm until the canon went off and Reveille sounded.  Nothing like that jolt in the morning!

I am thinking... how simply wonderful this first cup of coffee in the morning is.  It's so hot and delicious!  It's a little delight!

I am thankful... for my sweet husband and that he has the coffee pot all ready to go in the morning.  All I do is push a button and in a minute or two it is there.  I sold our Keurig at the yard sale we had the other day.  We drink far too much coffee for it to benefit us.  I have ladies who come over often and, while it's so easy to pop a K-Cup in that machine, I felt like it was wasteful in more than one way.

In the kitchen... I tried putting a gate up to keep Benny out of the kitchen.  It isn't that he does anything a dog shouldn't do.  He just gets his hair everywhere!  We have old tile floors in there and it drives me insane. We're all working on getting him to stay out of there.   He's just confused because we took the gate down. I'm sure he thinks it means his "punishment" is over.  I kept tripping over the gate in my skirts and it was such a pain!  We have a swinging gate at the top of our stairs.  It would be nice to have one of those for the kitchen area.

I am creating... I keep trying to plant a row of sunflowers along our fence.  Benny keeps digging it up.  He is a work dog!  He loves to help us outside.  If he sees us digging then he starts digging in the same hole or right beside us.  When we go camping Doug has Benny dig the trenches outside our tent.  I did not have Benny help me plant these sunflowers.  Perhaps that's why he keeps going back and undoing what I've done. As long as he stays out of our garden!

I am going... to be waiting all day for the plumber and repairman to show up(because that's how it goes when you live in military housing).  Our outside faucet is leaking into the dining room.  I discovered this at 10:30 on Saturday night.  Half of my area rug was soaked and my book case was absorbing water.  Thankfully, that water had just started to absorb into the top of the bottom shelf so none of our school books were damaged.  I unloaded the books onto the dining room table and turned the book case upside down in hopes of drying it out.  Then I folded the rug back and over the top of a couple of chairs when I discovered that the paint on the wall was bubbling and the baseboards are separating.  Wow!  I also found that the area rug inside of our doorway was wet and followed the trail.  It's all the same water mess.  Our front yard is a flood of a mess which we discovered on Friday morning.  We called housing because it's a sprinkler problem.  They're suppose to come fix that today as well.  Of course, all of this happened because Doug went away for the weekend, ha ha!

I am wondering... how to help my daughter.

I am reading... Little Women with Gracie and my Bible.

I am praying for... upcoming appointments, the girls and their families in Nigeria and all involved in trying to rescue them, and my friendships.

I am looking forward to... my parent's visit!

I am learning... to be firm in my boundaries and not feel guilt about it.

Around the house...  it's a typical Monday for us with school and daily life.  We do have to wait for the workers to come.  I am really grateful that all we have to do is call.  It is definitely a practice of patience!

I am pondering... Sunday's sermon about these three verses:  Be joyful always;  pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}

A quote for today... There is no condition placed on joy.  Joy is not based on our circumstance.  Biblical joy is deep-seated contentment. {Pastor Dane}

One of my favorite things... Recently, Sunday mornings.  I really am enjoying going to church again.  I can't wait to hear the lessons and listen to the choir.  I love to see our beautiful Organist and how she fairly flies off the bench when she plays.  This past Sunday, she and her husband had the music special.  He sang and she played the piano.  She is very tiny and he is very tall.  They both have snowy white hair and I just love to see them every Sunday!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  music and art lessons, youth group and a work day and it's time for a new ID card.

A peek into my day... I can't stop listening to this(I like to just play his list while I'm working in the kitchen):





Thank you so much for visiting with me today!  If you would like to participate, or read other daybooks, please visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.  

Have a Happy Day~

Jhona O.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Like a Milkweed Travelin'"{Wednesday Hodgepodge}



1.  It's still May, right?  When were you last in the middle of something that might be described as mayhem?

Yesterday morning.  I wrote about it here:  Just a Little Bit of My Crazy{Age Spots}

2.  When did you last feel dismayed?

Again...yesterday.  Not one, but two age spots...TWO AGE SPOTS.

3.  What's a food combination you like, but other people may find strange?

I really love a good egg salad sandwich with avocado slices on top.

4.  "It is never too late to be what you might have been."  Do you think that's true?  Why or why not?

I think that there are some things that I could still accomplish.  I think I could still write the book I thought I always would or play the piano as well as I want to play it.  There are things that I have sacrificed in my life because I choose to have a marriage and children.  I don't feel that I've lost anything though.  I feel like I have gained more than I ever could have dreamed or hoped for.  I think it is important to keep looking forward and to learn about the person you are now and still becoming.  I think that, if we were meant to be the person we might have been, we would be that person.

5.  US News and World Report listed the best historic destinations in the US as follows: Washington D.C., Philadelphia PA, Williamsburg VA, Charleston SC, Boston MA, Richmond VA, Savannah GA, Santa Fe NM, Yellowstone, San Antonio TX, San Francisco CA, New Orleans LA, and Charlottesville VA.

Of those listed, how many have you seen in person?  Which two sites on the list would you most like to see in person?

I have seen Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Charleston, Boston, Santa Fe, Yellowstone, San Antonio and San Francisco.  Because I am not sure if I've been to Richmond and New Orleans I will go for those places.  My parents took us on great vacations as kids.  Sleeping in rest areas and on the beach...fun times!

6.  May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.  If you had to participate in a single fitness activity for the next half hour, which would it be?

Volleyball!!  I have been wanting to play a nice, friendly game for a while.

7.  What did you like best about the city, town, or neighborhood where you grew up?

The very thing I couldn't wait to run away from is what I like best about Lander, Wyoming:  It's size.  I long for the simplicity and the quirks of small town living.  You had what you had and you made due with what it was.  People are friendly and look out for each other(for the most part).  The views are spectacular, too.  Every time I go back it takes my breath away!

8.  My random:  

I love the library.  I check out plenty of books, but I love going through the CD racks and picking up random music.  This time through I brought home New Kids On The Block, Gotye, Gordon Lightfoot, Chess In Concert, and Acoustic France.  My favorite:  Gordon Lightfoot.  What is happening to me?  My grey hair must be mellowing me out.  Or it's this Colorado air(wink, wink).  Actually, I love his style of music.  Always have been a fan of folksy music. My sign off is going to be a bit from his song River of Light.



Like a June Bug travelin'~

Jhona O.