Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve


Though we usually spend New Years Eve with our friend's, the Briggs, we found that as the holiday got closer the day was just too steeped in tradition and memories for us to be able to do the same thing this year.  It was also a little different because we had family visiting.  So, in the end, we decided to stay home, grill out, and light off fireworks with our neighbors.  This was the first time we have fired up the grill since Rob died, and it was good to have my brother here to cook the meat and help us over that hurdle.  We settled on a menu of steak, salmon, fettucni Alfredo, and steamed broccoli. 
Earlier that day Suzy helped me and the kids take down the tree and pack away all the decorations.  They asked me what I had to do with the tree, and I told them that Rob usually cut the tree up and would burn it throughout the next year during our frequent cook-outs.  Rolf and Suzy took that information, and after dinner they proceeded to cut up my tree and  burn the ENTIRE thing on New Years Eve.  Many jokes were made about the ceremonial burning of the Christmas Tree on New Years Eve.  S'mores were cooked over the burning pine.... It was funny.  I'm thankful, though, because it's one less thing I need to figure out.
  We lit off a few firecrackers and sparklers during the evening, but went out front with our neighbors and some friends that stopped over to light off a BUNCH around 11 PM.  Then at midnight we toasted and watched our entire village light up with






Sunday, December 30, 2012

castle

spent the day at Burg Lichtneburg near our house.  It was rainy, but mild.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Strasbourg, France

 We spent the day at the Strasbourg Christmas market.   The weather cooperated and we had a nice time walking around the city and exploring the shops and stalls.
The cathedral there is one of the most remarkable in all of Europe.  We took LOTS of pictures, especially Suzy who's never been to France before.  

 (above) Gluhwein
(below) one of the shops had these CUTE pinecone people



  "Alright. Hey. Alright. Good job, guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day. Have you ever tried shawarma? There's a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don't know what it is, but I wanna try it." - Tony Stark

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

and the next thing you know.....

   Christmas night, when all the presents had been opened and the food had been eaten, we were finishing the evening by playing games.  The boys were all playing Monopoly and Sarah, Suzy, and I were sitting in the living room (Sarah was trying out her new Wii game).  A heated argument was brewing over some property at the monopoly table and someone exclaimed, "ALL I KNOW IS....." and I quickly replied, without even thinking about it, "there were rumors" (and this is where I probably lost most of you, except, of course, Kraig) - and just as though it was expected, my brother replied, "So, I applied basically.  I went out for the team."
  and that's when I knew.  Rolfy, who knew Rob since we were all in school and grew up with him, got it.
   What we recited, so automatically, were spoken lines from the beginning of a Pixies song (Brick is Red).  There are 1,000 different things like that.  Lines from movies, songs, instances - that we (Rob and I) would automatically say if certain words came up in conversation.  And, not having my sidekick, I didn't realize how much I missed that until my brother stepped in without missing a beat and followed my train of thought.
  There are few that "got" Rob  In fact, I thought it was really only Kraig and me.  And being with Kraig - when he and his wife came to visit us here in Germany, and then in Waukesha for the funeral - was bittersweet because it was comforting, but at the same time heartbreaking.  After the "Pixies" incident last night I realized that my brother got him, too.  They had similar tastes in music, movies, pop-culture, etc.  And Rolfy knew most of our jokes, because he was there and lived it, or just spent so much time with us.  THAT, more than anything else, made my holiday.  Because for the first time in a long, long time I didn't feel so alone. Because of Rob's absence, yes, but more that that... alone in missing who he really, REALLY, was - and all that he was to me.

With the help of my parents I now have a brand-new, shiny iMac, Merry Christmas to me.  I have been able to upload pictures that have been stuck on my camera for months and so I am working on catching up on a few blog posts from different times in 2012.  It's going to be slow, because it's emotionally draining to blog about anything this past year, but I am anxious to have some of these blog posts done before we move on to the New Year.  I have also deleted Rob's facebook account.  It was sad, but he was never on there much at all and I thought that it was time.  I don't have a facebook account right now, either, if that's how you usually keep up with me.  If you have my email address then you can personally connect with me that way.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas


our Christmas morning was quiet, but festive.  The kids were pleased with their gifts - above they are each opening one from mom, a video game.   Some time ago I received these sweatshirts (pictured left) in the mail - with no idea where they came from.  I wrapped them and put them under the tree, my boys truly do have a secret santa, because I still have no idea where the sweatshirts came from.
  We spent the rest of the day hanging out. playing games, putting together Lego sets, and watching movies.  I made Irish Stew and we had lots of snacks.  All in all, it was as good as it could be - made so much better because of Uncle Rolf and Suzy being here.
 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve


on the menu for Christmas Eve was grilled cheese sandwhiches and tomato soup.  Rolf and Suzy agreed that I do, indeed, make the world's greatest grilled cheese sandwhiches, thus I get to keep my title and reign on through the new year.  We got cleaned up, took some pictures, and then headed to our church for the lessons and carols service.  Sarah's friend joined us since his family was away for the holiday, but he couldn't leave because of his work schedule.


(above) pictures in front of the tree before leaving for church.  (right) the kids at the church service.
after church we came home, and our tradition is to open our stockings on Christmas Eve, then watch "It's a Wonderful Life".  The kids get the same thing in their stockings every year, a Hallmark ornament that usually has some sort of individual meaning about their year.  This year, though, they all got the same ornament - a picture frame - with a picture of each of them with their Daddy in the frame.  It was a sweet moment as they opened their frames and smiled at the pictures.
our tree with all the gifts underneath

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Uncle Rolf is HERE

My brother, Rolf, and his girlfriend, Suzy came on Thursday and will be here through the New Year.  We are so happy to have them here. We've been getting them out to a few local sites, though the weather hasn't been cooperating - but mostly just hanging out and playing games, cooking good food, and watching movies.

(at the Christmas Market in Bernkastel)

 trying Gluhwein for the first time
 teaching them Carcassone

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grief

      Shortly after we first moved to Germany in 2005 Rob was deployed to Kuwait where he would be traveling on convoys into Iraq.
      After going through 8-weeks of combat convoy training in the states, being in Kuwait for a few months, and experiencing convoys into Iraq first-hand, one of the trucks on such a convoy was blown apart by an IED. Rob was not on this particular convoy, but he knew the guys that were, worked with them, ate with them, lived with them. Two were killed - security forces personal that had families back in Alaska where their unit had come from. In those moments Rob knew grief like he had never known before. I can remember him calling me (on one of those horrible connections where we're only allowed 15 minutes to talk) and he didn't say anything except hi. We just sat and listened to each other breathe until he said he had to go.
      I, too, was shaken after the deaths of those airmen. I can remember driving home from a kid's activity and seeing the Chaplin and someone else standing on my doorstep. I didn't stop, I just drove by. I drove around for hours avoiding their news, protecting my young children. Maybe there really was someone on my doorstep when I drove by, maybe there wasn't. When I finally returned home there wasn't anyone there and, thankfully, I had an email from Rob waiting for me - so I knew that he was ok.
      I thought about that story as recently as this past August - after the cancer had metastasized to Rob's brain and the doctor's prognosis changed to "immanent" - when someone asked me if I thought it would be harder to lose Rob to war, when he was deployed, or if it was harder to watch him fight against an illness for which there is no cure.
      I thought about that question last Friday when watching the news unfold from Connecticut. I also thought about that hospital room where I watched my husband take his last breathe. When we, he unconscious, sat silently and I listened to him breathe. I try not to dwell on those images, they haunt me enough when I am sleeping so I push them aside when I am awake. But I was thinking a lot about that room, and those last hours, on Friday.
      The truth is, when I was asked that question back in August I couldn't answer. I only know what every military wife does when you send your loved one off to war: sometimes young men die. I lived with that fear through all his different deployments. Maybe, I even had a taste of what someone would go through - when those boys that Rob knew died - and I imagined those men on my front porch. But, he came back. Not ever the same - that experience changed him forever. Shaped who he was from then on and redefined his commitment to God, to his family, and to his chosen profession in the military. but he was whole. so, I don't know. I still can't answer if it would have been harder to lose him then, or watch him slowly lose everything about himself and waste away to a devastating illness.
      On Friday I caught myself comparing my grief to those effected by the shooting. "My grief is easier because.... their's will be easier because....." But the truth is: Grief is Grief. I have no conception of what those families have lost or what they are going through, just as they could never understand the depths of what I, what my kids, are going through - have been through. But we do know about grief. A grief that changes us forever, shapes who we will become. Redefines our commitment. I know about that. My kids KNOW about that.
      I have no advice. there are no words of wisdom I could ever offer to anyone grieving the loss of their child. Or even their spouse. But I can understand grief. Raw. Real. Tangible.
      I have received books, blogs sites, pamphlets, videos, etc. on managing MY grief. This seems so selfish to me because I find that I am most sad for the things that I think Rob is missing. Stupid stuff like the new Star Trek movie or stuff I wish I could just talk to him about (that all 3 kids made the honor roll, or Noah was chosen as assistant senior patrol leader). There's important stuff that I think he's missing, too, like dance recitals, piano performances, camping trips... But then I realize feeling like that is really selfish, too. Rob, resting lovingly in the arms of his Saviour, no longer longs for this earthly place. It is only MY desire to have him here.
      A lot of the Bible verses that I am drawn to lately, the ones that I recall from memory in quiet moments, have to do with seeking God with your whole heart. When I am not, that is when I selfishly long to have him back with me - in any way, at any cost. When I AM, I know that this is part of a bigger plan than me and that he truly is not suffering anymore. I'm not saying that it makes sense. Nothing about this makes sense to me. Nothing about what happened to those kids on Friday can be explained, justified, or made to make sense. I'm also not saying it's wrong to miss him. Or to mourn for those lives lost so young. To seek him with my whole heart means to know there is a God who cares so specifically and individually for me, for my kids, that I don't have to make sense of it.
      I can't compare my grief. I can't imagine your loss. But I "get" GRIEF, I am (we are) changed forever by it. and I'm starting to "get" seeking God with my WHOLE heart. 
     I don't think I'll figure it all out, but I'm also starting to get that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Irish Dance Christmas recital

Noah on piano -
Sarah with her open (championship) leave dancers after their performance

anytime there's a recital, performance, ceremony, etc. it calls into sharp contrast the new life we are going on with.....  I was especially sad because this was the first time I was able to see Micah dance and I wanted Rob to be able to share that - he would have been so proud.  The kids, all 3 (Noah on piano) performed well and I sneaked back stage to grab some photos of the dancers with their classes.  I don't think it will ever get easier.  
 Micah with his class after their performance (I like how Sarah is in the background, back-stage, photo bombing)
sarah's other performance, with the intermediate class




Mary Sweeney, their beloved teacher

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heidelberg field trip


Micah's 4th grade class went on a field trip to Heidleberg.  Mom went along as a chaperone.  We walked around the Christmas market, ate some yummy food, and had a good time even though it was below 20 degrees!!  Micah's favorite thing was ice skating.  It was his very first time.  He was a little timid at first, but caught on after a while; especially since one of his best friends from class, Joe, used to play ice-hockey and was helping Micah learn a few tricks.  I didn't bring my camera since we were traveling to and from by train and my camera can be cumbersome.  I caught these 2 photos with my iPod.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

since there's no place to go......


There were whispers of snow on every one's lips at the beginning of this week. By Thursday all the signs were there and warnings were being issued. The storm was supposed to start mid-morning on Friday and we were excited, despite ourselves.
Our family, all of us, love snow - always. As hard as it has been to handle the approaching holidays, we could not keep the smiles from our lips as the flurries teased us all day Thursday.
The snow did hit today, not as much as they were predicting, but enough. I picked up a tree last night, while getting all my errands done in case the coming weather turned nasty.
The kids came home from school on Friday and the four of us set out to try and figure out how to string lights on a tree. It was a tedious job, made more so because we were jumping a hurdle..... learning to do a job that was not ours......
As we fought against the scratches and pine-needles, it was one of those moments, where his absence screams so loud everything else gets fuzzy. Yet, at the same time..... the snow, the lights, the smell of pine..... we were feeling accomplished as we slowly figured out how to get the lights just so. And I knew. this small step. we were moving on.

While I didn't want to get a Christmas Tree, the kids insisted, and rightly so. I wanted to do it this weekend since all the kids will be home (a rarity!), but the weather forced my hand into picking up the tree on Thursday rather than Saturday morning. And because everything is Providence and God's timing is perfect - you'll want to read on.
When I was on base today I checked mail and there was a package from my cousin Tammy with an ornament for our tree.  It seemed fitting that this be the first ornament on our tree. The kids and I admired the tree, with its one ornament, feeling those rush of conflicting emotions. But God knew. God knew. And when I went to grab my iPad to take a picture of the tree, I noticed I had several new emails (it's rare that I go so long without checking my email in the evenings, but I was busy being attacked by branches). One of those emails was from the Customs Law Specialist assigned to my family's case. My request to the German gov't has been approved and we have been granted permission to remain here in Germany through the school year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kyrie eleison

While staying in Beatenburg, Switzerland our chalet's balcony looked over the town of Interlaken and Lake Thun. In the distance we could see Jungfraujoch, one of the highest points in the Swiss Alps. Remembering this breathtaking view, the scene fits on a postcard in my mind. There, the extensive and vast mountains seem to rise one on top of the other. In reality, from our vantage point, we were seeing hundreds of miles. Ranges that were separated by vast canyons, fields, rivers, lakes, and smaller mountains.
I heard a sermon at our church this past week, by Pastor Rob Rayburn, and he used the same imagery (only with the Colorado Rockies) to talk about the Prophetic Foreshortening. He was preaching about the coming of Jesus as told in the book of Zechariah. He said that the prophet's prophetic perspective of compressing great events into a single glance is because God sees that thin blue line on the horizon. The point at where it all seems to meet and there is no distance.
I've compared Rob's fight to standing at the foot of a mountain - and I've thought about the kids and me, now, and how far we have to go - the distances we face. The mountains to scale, the deep lakes to cross, and the endless fields to tread. It's as though, at times, we lose sight of the horizon line. That sovereignty of God.
It's hard to focus when everyone seems to want to know the plan, the plan, the plan. Sarah's plan for college. When I am moving, what kind of job will I get.... It's easy, then, to only see the impassable next canyon and not even able to look up and find the horizon. To forget that God already knows and I need to trust more. Whether I'm only shown a few steps at a time ("life in the fog") or whether I can see 100's of overwhelming miles, there is mercy for one more step, eyes on the horizon or trusting its still there when it's hidden from view.
 
The cookie-open house was a success. I like that it gave people the opportunity to check on us, to know that we're approachable. We also learned, though, that despite my constant updating on this blog EVERYONE wants to know what's to become of us (I don't think a lot of people actually read this blog). ........ Mostly we know that it is out of love and concern that people ask, mostly. But, to tell you the truth, sometimes it feels as though people are saying, "so, now that he's dead have you figured out your life?" It seems time, like that of the old testament prophets, might seem different to people looking in from the outside. Well-meaning or not, asking us to figure things at this point (it hasn't even been 2 months yet) is like asking us to stop expecting him to walk in the door any minute. To forget. I KNOW that's not what they mean - but it feels that way when it's all day, everyday, everyone.... We DON'T know. But, because what we do know isn't widely known I will tell you. If I know something new I will post it here.
We are trying to stay here, in Germany, until June. We've submitted paperwork to the German gov't and applied to remain here, it is not up to Rob's command, or even the base, but Germany. We need to have the logistical support of the US base to allow us to stay here. We lost those things when we lost our active-duty military sponsor and are now living on a 90-day grace period. The only other way to be covered under this NATO/SOFA agreement would be for me to get a job that comes with those privileges. Prayerfully, we (my kids and I) decided that me getting a job would not be worth it for the six extra months we'd like to remain here, mostly because the jobs that I could get would be nights and weekends taking away from the precious little time I have with my kids already. Rob's life insurance and our savings will provide the means to be able to stay without me needing to support us. It will mean using some of the resources that I have to start over when we do finally leave here. Everything that I am doing has been prayerfully considered. My kids have been involved in the process of praying, discussing, praying, weighing the options, and praying some more. We are only doing what we've determined to be God's will, and only as far as He's shown. We don't have it figured out, and we only know THIS step. IF the gov't grants my request to remain here with the logistical support, then the kids and I will stay here until June; the kids can finish the school year and Sarah can graduate high school. If they say no then we HAVE to leave here the beginning of January. I *think* that we will be staying. BUT, I've been so very wrong about some of the things I thought God was doing, especially in this past year, that I hesitate to even guess God's will. We are hoping to know before December 17th, but that is just a time-frame estimate given to me, not a NLT date.
WHEN we leave here - in January or June - we will be moving to Wisconsin. We will start out by living with Rob's Dad and step-mom, Bob and Elaine. They have agreed to allow us to stay with them as little or as long as we need. Help us figure out the next steps. They've already done lots of leg work finding out about schools, scouts, dance, music lessons, getting Sarah a license and a car, etc - but they only tell me when I ask, knowing that too much information overwhelms me. With Rob sick for such a long time, and being diagnosed as terminal, we had time to pray and talk about what kind of plans would be right for the kids and me. Where Rob would like to see us live. It was comforting for him to know that this is where we would go, with his Dad. If we choose to stay and make our life there, then my parents plan to move back to WI as well, and move to that town, which is also an easy driving distance from where my brother lives.
So, NOW you know as much as we know. I don't have answers about what I will do for school or work for me, what Sarah is going to do about college, if I will buy a house, stay in that same town...... but God knows. God provides. God sees that horizon and if my focus is on HIM then I can trust in that point. The point where everything comes together seamlessly, makes sense, and the distances are unseen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

sincerely,

we woke up to a blanket of snow this morning, almost enough to sled. It's night now and the house is so quiet and clean - it feels almost eerie. The kids and I worked hard to host the cookie open house today and they're all in bed early - exhausted after the weekend's activities. I'm watching some silly movie on TV with the dog sleeping next to me. I have a cup of hot tea and some cranberry-orange bread left over from this afternoon. There's still some of your favorite cookies left over, too. I think you should come home now........

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas recital


The boys Christmas piano recital was held in Landstuhl tonight. I didn't record their pieces this year..... it was enough that we made it through, right?
The boys played really well and always enjoy performing. This year they looked exceptionally handsome in their matching bow-ties!

Friday, November 30, 2012

chocolate chips

There are 7 different varities and over 400 cookies in my house right now.  I sure hope someone shows up on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

long division

I've meant to post for the past couple of days - but it just hasn't happened. Either I find myself busy or when I have a quiet moment I just don't know how to put 'it' into words. Every day is its own, new special kind of hell with something or the other. *Like long division with no solution that will play without a remainder.
I've been thinking, praying, about the decision to try and stay here in Germany. I can make lists upon lists about why it makes sense to try and stay here through the school year. I've jumped through the necessary hoops, logistically, to remain here until June. I've prayed and prayed about where I should be and what I should be doing. Doors have opened leading me to the paperwork that was submitted yesterday - and should my request be granted I am trusting that it IS what I am supposed to be doing.
After all, I have lists. upon lists.
Every single bullet explaining why staying here is worth it - for my kids.
But what none of my lists have on them is this: I'm scared to not be a housewife anymore. Stay-at-home mom, homeschooling mom, domestic engineer. Whatever it is you call what I do. It's all I've ever known. It is what I was born to be. Staying here, I get to hold on to that piece of my life that isn't anymore. I've been thinking about it a lot this week. I've been cleaning and baking because of a cookie open house the kids and I are hosting this weekend as a way to thank the local community for their unbelievable support over the last year. As I am going about scrubbing toilets and mixing ingredients, I catch myself happy for a moment. Happy at the normalcy. THIS. this is what I know. and it's all changed now.

*it's from a Death Cab for Cutie song, just thought I'd site that lest anyone think I was trying to take credit....
     

Friday, November 23, 2012

thankful it's done

It's not hard for us to find things to be grateful for, really, it's not.  It was HARD to have a holiday without him.  Our family, the 5 of us, so very close and steeped in traditions that we created over the years.  So much a part of the preparation and planning, it was hard not to miss him every single second of the last week.  To make an apple pie again, his favorite. 
    The day was fine, the food was good, but we were the most thankful last night about 9:30 PM when the pie was eaten, dishes were done, the movie was over, and we could all just go to bed and be DONE with THAT first. 
  I think, I believe, it was the best it could have possibly been just 6 weeks after losing him.  It was good to be here, in Germany, and in our home -without a big fuss or a lot of guests. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

life in the fog

   As autumn tip-toes toward winter Germany has become cold, wet, grey, and foggy.  The nights dip down to the point of freezing, but it can still warm up to almost 50 degrees some days, this means we’ve been treated to some very dense fog in the mornings.  The dog and I take different variations of the same trails that we’ve always run.  I know these paths well.  I know the dips in the concrete along the paved bike trails; I know the roots in the paths when we veer off through the farmer’s fields.  I know where my dog will go off exploring, and he knows the points to wait and I’ll catch up. The other morning when the fog was so thick I caught myself comparing the soupy, white mist to my life in this haze of circumstances. 

      We are not standing still; we are going down paths we know so well we could do it blindfolded.  It’s more than just “going through the motions” because we aren’t numbly functioning, but rather just doing what we know – avoiding a root, side-stepping a puddle.  The kids may be new to the school routine, but it has become comfortable and familiar to them.  They have their extra activities, their chores, their friends – and they just travel along, sure of their footing, doing what they know to do.  Day by day, moment by moment.  I have my routine as well, though it’s changed a bit, I can settle in and make it through each day.  It’s acceptable.  It’s sufficient. 

     That same day I ran, lost in thought about the fog I also had to drive the dog to be groomed.  The breeder that we bought Phantom from is the same person who grooms him.  She lives in a small village about 30 minutes away.  These are roads I only travel every 6 – 8 weeks when Phantom needs a haircut and only for the last 10 months since Rob used to shave him.  The way is windy, hilly, narrow, and unfamiliar to me.  The fog was thick and so I was driving very slowly.  I noticed that I wasn’t aware of the curves in the road until I was about 50 – 100 yards away from them.  Since the streets are unfamiliar to me and look completely different masked by fog there were points when I had no idea where I was (depending solely on my GPS).  There was construction at one point and I had to back track about 10 minutes to find the detour because I had missed the sign in the fog. 

 This is what my future feels like to me (and the kids, too) right now.  The destination is unfamiliar.  The roads are unknown.  And I’m only privy to the next small portion of road directly ahead of me.  If I try to look ahead, or go too fast, the way is too clouded and I might end up taking a curve too fast.  I’m only sure of what is right in front of me. 

      I think of God as the fog and the GPS working together.  I trust only Him to guide me to the place I’m eventually going and He only reveals to me the next 50 yards at a time.   Traveling everyday life through the fog without a GPS (because we know the roads so well) doesn’t mean that God isn’t there, but that He allows the routine to carry us forward and the everyday steps toward another day when maybe another portion of the road will be revealed. 

      Being here, in this house, in this community that we know best is a gift.  In the schools that my kids have grown to love and found kindred-spirits.  With the same coaches, teachers, and mentors that they’ve known for years.  This is a good place for us to stay the same, but at the same time a good place for us to learn how to begin to go on.  The way forward looks totally different, masked by fog, but day-to-day is much the same for us.  It works.  We can sometimes walk blindly and just trust the way we know so well and the things we’ve always done.  At the same time I know that we cannot stay here forever and there will come a time when moving on, leaving this place, will become necessary.  I don’t know yet when that will be.  I’m prayerful the kids will get to finish this school year and we can move on after Sarah’s graduation, but I don’t know.  God has only shown the next 50 yards.  Thanksgiving is next and that’s all I’ve been allowed to see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

high honors

Noah receiving his high honors certificate at a ceremony held at his school. Way to go Noah!

Weekend with Heather

This past weekend my friend, Heather, came to visit us with her youngest, Titus. When this family lived in Germany they were among our closet friends. Their latest assignment has them stationed in England - so a few months ago the whole family made the trip to visit with all of us, including Rob.
Heather so wanted to come for the memorial that they held here, in Germany, for Rob. Her husband's work schedule and kids' health wouldn't allow it, or the week after - but in God's perfect timing things worked out so that she could come and spend the long Veteran's Day weekend with us.
The community blessed the kids and I by making sure we had dinner for TWO WEEKS after we came back from Wisconsin. I can't tell you how helpful that was, how welcome, how needed. It allowed me time to not have to think about it and be distracted by 1,000 other things. As the second week was coming to a close I began to realize I was going to have to think about cooking again. And it was harder than I thought. Everything I thought to make, every item in my kitchen holds a memory of a life I don't have anymore. Maybe it's different because being a housewife for 17 years, cooking was something I excelled at and always enjoy. But I couldnt' think of a thing to make. or that I wanted to make. It actually overwhelmed me.
Heather and me at a housewaring party we
 attended on Monday afternoon
The meals stopped on Wednesday of last week and on Thursday we managed with leftovers. So, Friday was the first day I actually HAD to have a plan. And it was time. Knowing that was the day Heather was arriving made it so much easier to HAVE to come up with a plan. Using her as an excuse made getting back in the kitchen SO MUCH easier.
Not only that, but Heather brought some new (to me) cookbooks and the following day we shopped together, cooked together, and enjoyed a meal that was completely brand new to me - that got me excited about cooking again and preparing meals.
Titus "helping" Noah practice the piano
I am thankful for the visit and the sweet time I got to share with my friend. It is amazing to me that God cares for me so powerfully and so intimately that He was aware of an area that I would struggle before I even realized it - as simple as cooking a meal, and with all that is facing me you'd think that would be the least of my concerns.
They left this morning and I am blogging the couple of pictures that we captured along with a sincere thank you to the whole family. For her husband who took time off work and kept the older two so she could come - and to Heather. For lots and lots, but mostly for just being there.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why, yes - yes, that is cardamom chicken, basmati rice, and HOMEMADE nann!  It was delicious!


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