Archive by Author | Norma

I didn’t think I cared, until she was forgotten.

Originally posted on Through storms and over rainbows:

There are so many times I’ve come to write, so many times I’ve wanted to, but the words just don’t come. Why? Because there are no words that can even come close to explaining this pain. No words that can make anyone who has never been through it understand.

Everything should be different. Nothing that is happening in our life right now should be, because we should have a 5 month old baby in our arms. We should not be wanting for a baby, hoping every month and being disappointed month after month after month. None of this should be happening! But it is and it makes losing our daughter so much harder and the healing so much longer. Everyone else has moved on, it’s a distant memory to them, to us it was yesterday. The memories of her face, the feeling of her in our hands, the smells of…

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21 And Counting

Right after our morning chores, just like every morning, Mark and I walked out to the shop, started a fire in the wood stove and made a pot of coffee.  We are never alone for long,  our son Bryan and other employee Nathan join us and soon the truck drivers show up with the first trucks to be serviced.  We have an assortment of chairs circling the wood stove and everyone visits for a few minutes and drinks a cup of coffee before the guys start their day and I head back to the house.  I had just settled down with my coffee in one of the rocking chairs when my phone rang.  It was our youngest child, son Kyle, calling to say he and his wife Dani were at the hospital, she was dilated to an 8 and they wanted to know if I could come take pictures.  Of course I said I was on my way, I just hoped I made it in time as the hospital was over thirty miles away and we had received more snow overnight.  After getting instructions from Mark about driving on the snowy roads and Bryan pretty much telling me I was an idiot for going on these roads (He does not understand the necessity of a grandmother seeing her new grandchild at the soonest possible moment) I headed north.  Here’s a picture of the roads I slowly drove on:

snowy roadI didn’t speed because I knew that would make me an idiot, but I sure prayed I would be on time.  I needn’t have worried.  As they sometimes do, the epidural slowed things down, and even though I got to their room about 8:30, the new little Miss wasn’t born till 3:15 in the afternoon.  But I didn’t mind.  It was nice to have nowhere to go and have nothing to do but sit and visit and catch up with one another.  Here she is, brand new Ella Kay, about five minutes old:

EllaAnd here is the happy family, joined by new Big Brother Noah.  Yes, she was grandbaby #21!  But it never gets old.  In the blink of an eye, you meet a new person and you can no longer imagine life without them.  God is Soooooo Good!


What Are You Doing To Her?

We have one turkey hen named Gertie who just loves us.  She follows us everywhere we go.  This weekend Mark did some much overdue trimming on Liddy the goat’s hoofs.  As usual Gertie was right there by our side.  She got her face right down by the action as if to ask, “What’s going on?  What are you doing to her?


Snowy Chores


Even though it takes forever to get all my clothes on, to walk through the drifts, to break all the ice, to haul extra straw, etc, etc, etc………………there is just something very fulfilling about doing chores in the snow and cold.  Making sure the animals have plenty of food and water and a warm dry place to stay just gives me the warm fuzzy’s.  It is one of my favorite things to do!  In fact it is on days like this when I linger a little longer, talk to each animal, stop to pat a head, gaze on the mamma’s and babies, look out on the beautiful white scene around me and listen to the silence.  God is good!

New Babies!

Last July when Mark and I were feeding, he made the comment, “I didn’t know Rambo wasn’t cut!”  I said, “No, he isn’t.”  You see we had gotten Rambo, a little male lamb, at the Amish Chicken Auction a couple-of-months earlier, planning on raising him to butcher.  Mark thought he had been castrated and I guess he finally got a behind-the-scenes view of him and realized he was still “intact.”  He then said, “Let’s see if we can find some little ewe’s for him and we’ll raise our own lambs to butcher.”  Well, I was all over that!  In less than a week I had some found and off we went.  We ended up with six young ewe’s and of course, Rambo in our little flock.  Our efforts paid off – two days ago we went out to feed and this is what we found:

20150225_072529  Two adorable little girls!  Last night, the temperature was supposed to get down into the single digits, so Mark and I separated the other Mamma who was close to lambing and put her into the shed alone.  Sure enough, when I opened the door this morning, look what was waiting for me:

20150227_084200Two little bucks!  How fun is that?!?  No other mamma’s look close so we will have to wait for the rest of the gang to come along, but we have other newbies coming to make the wait go quicker.  Our goat Liddy should have her babies sometime in the next couple weeks and most important of all, grandbaby number 21 is due any day!  That should keep me occupied for awhile!

Away for the Season

It is January 22nd.  And I just took down my Christmas tree.  I wanted to take it down sooner, but the end of the year/beginning of the year book work for our business just didn’t let me get to it.  Today was the first time I’ve been caught up on all the paperwork so I tackled getting the tree down along with all the stockings and all my manger scenes.  Which got me to thinking…

Since we gave up buying our big family Christmas gifts and go on a “Family Fun Day” instead, I always contemplate not putting the tree up.  I mean after all, a Christmas tree with no gifts under it seems empty as can be.  But, so far, I still put it up, and once I do, I’m really glad I did.  Every morning, the first thing I do when Mark and I walk into the living room with our cup of coffee, is plug the tree in.  The white twinkling lights just add a warm glow to the room.  I notice each little ornament that represents a different interest in my life.  There are chicken ornaments, tractor ornaments, lots of snowmen (I love snowmen) and others given to me by my children or dear friends and even ones I just purchased at one of Mark and I’s many garage sale runs.  My all time favorites will always be the ones made by my children when they were little.  popsicle sticks made into a red sleigh, paper Santa Claus’s with cotton ball beards, and now my grandchildren are adding to that collection!  Each year I get a homemade ornament from one of more of them.

But once Christmas is over, for sure New Years Day, I no longer plug the tree in.  I no longer wish to see the warm glow from the twinkling lights.  That tree that brought me such joy for a month or so, is all of a sudden an eye-sore.  It is a reminder of yet another thing I need to do.  I’m done with it!  Which like I said, got me to thinking – that’s kind of the way we treat baby Jesus isn’t it.  We take Him down for a month, let the celebration of His birth bring us joy.  We let His light bring a warm glow to us and hopefully to others through us.  We get mad that people say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, we sing songs about Him and what He means to us, we give gifts in His honor.  And then January rolls around, and all of a sudden we are done with Him.  He becomes another reminder of something else we need to do.  (I really should start reading my bible.  I should send a card to that person.  I shouldn’t talk about this but…)

I think I need a reminder.  I think I’ll change one of my decorations


A New Hero


I’ve collected a few hero’s on my life’s journey.  Author and Missionary Elisabeth Elliot is one, Alveda King and Glenn Beck are two more.  I have never met any of them, but I have learned so much from these three people about life, about following Christ and doing the right thing, even when it is hard.  I’ve learned it from reading their books and seeing them on TV.  But now, I have a new hero, one who I have most definitely met and have always admired, but now is truly an inspiration to me.  That new hero is my sister Carolyn.

My mother, who will be 101 years old in March had always seemed ageless.  She lived by herself, drove her car up until  four years ago and is the most fiercely independent person I have ever known.  Slowly over the last few years and especially the last several months, it became more and more apparent that she shouldn’t be living on her own.  Her hands, twisted by arthritis, don’t work very well anymore.  Dressing herself had become an hour long chore because of those hands.  Ever so resourceful, she took an old embroidery hook that belonged to her mother, pushed it through the buttonhole to eventually grab the button and pull it through the hole.  Her eyesight is virtually nonexistent and her hearing is becoming that way.  Although her mind is sharp as can be, because of her lack of sight and hearing it is becoming harder and harder for her to follow conversations.  She gets so frustrated when she can’t think of the words she wants to use.  We have to explain who someone is, because she no longer immediately recognizes names of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Carolyn had always said when the time came, Mother could come and live with her and her husband Jack.  The second week of October, that time came.

I, Carolyn, my brother Steve and other sister Mary, were very relieved when Mother finally came to that decision because frankly, we did not know how she was living by herself any longer.  (Reference above where I said she was FIERCELY independent!)  We encouraged, encouraged, encouraged her toward moving in with Carolyn, but she was determined it would be her decision, not her children’s!  Finally, because of the impending winter, she decided it was time.  What a relief to no longer have to worry about something happening to her in her home by herself.

I have been to see Mother probably five or six times since then and try to call and visit with her a couple of times a week.  After only a week or so, I could not believe how much brighter and cheerier her voice was and how nice she looked!  Her fingernails are always painted a bright color thanks to Carolyn’s daughter Marcy, her hair always looks nice, thanks to a weekly salon visit and she is always dressed so nice and fashionably!  I’m always struck by how soft her hands are when I hold them.  When I told her that, she said, “Well Carolyn always rubs some kind of lotion on them for me.”   Every time I see her, she bemoans the fact that she can no longer do anything, she so badly wants to be able to help and to be busy.  She always lets me know, “I still do the dishes for Carolyn!”  Carolyn always smiles and winks and I can see in that wink (as well as past experiences in my home when Mother was here) that those dishes are done over again when Mother is out of eyesight!  But it is so important to her to feel useful and needed.

But, I can also see the aging process has not stopped its cruel march.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I can tell, she has slipped just a bit more each time I see her.  And I can see how it is a full-time job for Carolyn to give her such wonderful care.  It is like having a baby in the house.  She has to help her with her baths and bathroom needs, help her get dressed, undressed and ready for bed.  She takes her to the hairdresser, to the doctor and on outings.  Mother’s every need is met quickly and cheerfully.  Carolyn’s day is filled with meeting those needs and keeping her entertained with conversation, audio books and Mother’s old records playing loudly in the background.  All of this is done so cheerfully and without a single complaint.

My brother Steve and sister Mary do what they can to help Carolyn out.  Steve brings Mother down to see her friends and attend her old church occasionally.  He picks her up and takes her to his house on Thursdays.  Mary is going to have Mother for the next two weeks while Carolyn and Jack take a much-needed trip to visit Jack’s family.  But, as is typical for people of that age, she has become extremely dependent on Carolyn.  Last week when Mother was at Steve’s house for only three hours, she told him she wanted to go back to Carolyn.  And she confided to Steve and Carolyn that she “Didn’t want to ruin Carolyn’s trip, but she didn’t think Mary would be able to take care of her the way Carolyn could and she didn’t think this was a good idea Carolyn being gone for two weeks.”  They assured her Mary was perfectly capable of giving her just as good of care as Carolyn did!  (Mary and Carolyn are both retired registered nurses.)  Carolyn’s house has become home to Mother and Carolyn has become her caretaker and her crutch.  And as I said, Carolyn and Jack do it all with such love, kindness and good humor.  What an example of living for Christ!  Now, I have another hero.   I can only wish to ever emulate any of them!

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his own life for that of another”

  John 15:13