Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Mama's Hands

Yesterday Gabriel said to me,
“Mom, I love your hands, they never change”.
I said,
“That’s because they’re the hands that have cared for you your whole life.”

That was so sweet to me. We talked about how much his hands are growing and how much more they’ll keep growing. I love my children, they’re my Happy Thoughts!

Then I was remembering how much I loved my mom’s soft hands and playing with her wedding ring during church when I was a kid. She's nurtured us and loved us with those hands our whole lives. As I went to title this “Mama’s Hands’, thinking only about Gabriel’s comment, the timing was ironic because my mom injured one of her hands the other day and has been really sick with an infection in it. This is probably the longest we can remember her needing care and not being the one taking care of everyone else. As bad as we have felt for her though, we don’t mind caring for her a bit—it could never compare to the years of her caring for us—holding our hands, cooking, cleaning, everything.

As I grow older and my hands get more wrinkly I don’t want to be bothered by it, I just want to remember, these are the hands that my children love. Now if I could just come to terms with going gray… maybe that will be my next topic!

Rebeca read this and just sent me this beautiful picture of our mom's hands. (photo taken by Erik)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I just started my first knitting project. Jessamyn has been making beautiful scarves for a couple years and I decided to join her in a class this term. It’s been fun and a learning experience ( I don’t like getting it wrong, I want it to be perfect on the first try, I want the end result without the practice…) Knitting, like life, goes much better if I relax my shoulders and take a breath once in a while, and like a good habit, soon becomes automatic and I can do it without thinking.

It’s been unexpectedly fun to be doing it in a class. The teacher has been so encouraging and it’s inspiring to see how everyone’s projects are going each week. Moms and girls together , both learning and teaching, as it used to be when people had quilting bees, etc. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors from down the street, as well as meeting up again with a family we hadn’t seen for years. I think I’ll miss it when it’s over.

And all that gorgeous yarn they have now—it’s so hard to choose! I guess I’ll have to keep finding projects when this one is done.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gloria's Wedding

Gloria and Okon’s wedding (from my view as Big Sister and Coordinator of Glamour)

The wedding was so Beautiful. Gloria was glowing beautiful and it was beautiful how so many family members and friends go to be involved in making the day special from start to finish. Lots of work, but it made it really special and meaningful to all of us. Our mom made Gloria’s dress and veil and worked hard to get a custom fit and the design even evolved as she went. All us girls got to join Gloria on shopping trips (yeah Christmas clearance!) and every time we got together we were updating her on the perfect candle holders we got at the goodwill, or the sugar calla lilies Beca found for the cake, the hunt for more Michael’s coupons, lace and cranberries. We soon realized a small wedding doesn’t necessarily mean a simple one, but then again, who in our family has ever kept anything simple (ok, maybe Dad, once when we let him). At our house, we took Gloria’s decorating ideas and for a couple weeks, we had tulle and lights and cranberries in glasses and candles all “practicing” around our house(my kids are creative, but opinionated!) we got free samples whenever Beca tested a new cake (3 decadent flavors-chocolate-hazelnut, lemon and chai) and Peace was thrilled to spend a morning as cake helper. Then whirlwind picked up pace when the 3 J’s arrived form Alaska—more shopping and a fun shower for Gloria, all fueled by coffee and chocolate, of course Jacob and Dad labored over carnitas and enchiladas (the best) for the Mexican dinner. Gabriel painted a painting that we turned in to a card. That was special because he loves to paint with Gloria. Peace also got to help Gloria make favors and Gloria was remembering how she had done that with me for my wedding when she was Peace’s age. So we all got as ready as we could and the big day arrived, the first non-rainy day in a long time. We shared a breakfast and presentaion of gifts (evolution of the toolbox) and words of encouragement and blessing. Then it was a rush of activity, Beca had the most beautiful cake ever to assemble, we needed to create a breathtaking atmosphere in the cottage (thankful for the women who beautified and the men who engineered the lights, etc) and there were 3 year olds needing naps and everyone needing showers and mirrors….

Between our family and Okon’s and friends we pulled it all together by 3:00, candles lit along the fireplace, lights all around and overhead, quiet music by Margaret and Natalie, a very handsome groom… and then we waited.. and waited… ( well, she had said it would be her Moment of Drama) and waited, then there they were, teary parents, beaming Gloria, with her Spanish lace veil and bouquet of dark callas and peacock feathers. And the wedding began. It was short and simple. I like when people write their own vows. Everyone cheered as they had the first kiss as husband and wife and then they went off to take pictures by the river (great photos by Erik) and the rest of us made coffee , set tables, heated up dinner and visited, and took family pictures. The dinner was delicious—how can you beat home cooked by the 2 families? The atmosphere was so magically pretty, and they looked so happy. There were toasts (especially meaningful was hearing Okon talk about when he met Gloria and also what his sister said about our two families) and laughter and celebration and kisses and gifts and CAKE.

When it was time for them to leave, we lined up on each side of the side walk and help up lit sparklers for them to walk through (Scott was in his element as head of pyrotechnics) and we sent them on their way (in their “glass slipper” with Just Married sign by Jessamyn in the back window and baskets of goodies for feasting on their honeymoon) We started cleaning up and though we were tired, the feeling of celebration continues with dancing ( Okon’s taught the girls the Electric Slide) Gabriel drove JoJo around on the cart and we blew out the candles.
It was emotional for me. I remember when Gloria was born. I remember helping pick her name and how the northern lights danced for her that night. I remember her love of purple and changing her clothes fifty times a day and her homemade cabbage patch doll and her being a wild and strong little girl in her white nightgown and her long hair. I remember braiding her hair and creating some great 80’s choreography with her! How she thought I was just too lucky to be real and she was my great excuse –to watch her instead of sitting in church or gardening or (Lord help us) cutting up a deer. I hope that as she starts her family, time will only bring all of us sisters even closer.

It was a special day for everyone and I think we’re all glad to have been a part of it. It was really a beautiful , perfect day and I love my sister and welcome Okon to our family and wish them a long and happy life together!
pictures by Erik Groomer 2-5-06

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


This morning it snowed here, a rare and unexpected treat. It was falling down so gently and in such big fat flakes. What amazes me about living here is that we can have snow like that in the morning and this afternoon be admiring the pink blooming trees in the bright sunshine. Peace has been so excited about the signs of spring, crocuses, and daffodils already. I love that she loves gardening and growing flowers so much.

I realized yesterday that writing this blog has really helped me to be thankful for the rich blessings in my life. So much joy and beauty that i don't always take the time to experience. My personal journal contains my late night and early morning scribblings and is so much more filled with my feelings that aren't the ones I readily want to share-- all my frustrations, overwhelmedness, indecision, fears and prayers that cry for help fill the pages. My resolutions to be better, do better, cope better...the circle of thoughts that lead me back to Truth and peace. Just whatever's in my mind and heart that needs to pour out. I do write about good things as well, and I don't want to only put those things in my blog, I want to be able to share my struggles as well. But it's been good to start with writing about my blessings because that's what's come to my mind, even taken me by surprise. When Rebeca started her blog and it was full of beautiful and encouraging insights, I was inspired to write, but felt I would need to warn everyone that when I write, it's either newsy and silly or it's crazy and rambling and honest and depressing. It feels good, it gives me perspective to be able to write about both the dark and light of my life(and to read about others)I guess that's what any kind of art, including writing does, it expresses something you didn't even know was there. Now if i would just let go of my fear of what would happen if i starting painting ....

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I’ve been aware that Valentine’s Day is coming up for a while now. Not just because of all the candy and junk at the stores (since when did valentine’s day become an occasion to buy stuffed animals and plastic toys for your kids and pets???) but because whenever I look out our bedroom window I see my neighbor’s decorations. This is the first year this lady has been in this house and we to enjoy each holiday to the fullest, complete with flags, banners, window clings, garlands, and ribbons. There was a blow up haunted house at Halloween, complete with howling sound effects. Santa’s on the chimney and large turkeys… probably every neighborhood has a house like that. Anyway, I looked out my window a couple weeks ago and thought the red glow was emergency vehicles, but it was just the beginning of the valentine’s season and the red light was from the flashing neon sign the said LOVE in their window. So we have love outside our window and romance is in the air—well, the heart shaped banner are streaming ion the wind anyway, and I’ve been thinking about it….

I guess what’s really romantic are the things that are special to your relationship. The things that are anticipated traditions, and the things that catch you by surprise and make you remember why this is the one you loved and still love and will keep loving year after year. I like how Scott calls me outside, or on the phone, to look at the moon, or the sunset, or the rainbow, or to see the snow because he knows I’ll be excited about it. How he always watches for the first rose to bloom and he cuts it with a long stem and takes all the thorns off of it and hides it behind his back before he presents it to me. How he has so much excitement about my birthday and Christmas present and wants me open them early. How he loves babies. How we can still laugh at the same jokes that are just ours from years ago. How we can get talking and not realize it’s one in the morning. Our lives are really busy and full with our children and although we plan dates sometimes and are able to get that time away together in the classic romantic sense—I think it’s these little things woven in our lives and appreciated in our hearts that keep our love alive. It’s going through life together, facing some hard things, but knowing we’re in it together. I’ve heard several people give him compliments lately –he was dependable, a willing servant, he’s working hard to deal with unexpected difficulties and I see him through different eyes and don’t want to take him for granted.
So, Valentine’s day… I have many memories come to mind. We don’t usually celebrate it on the actual day, sometimes Scott’s had to work. Our trip to New York, the first year we were married he gave me the Bible I read everyday. A spagetti dinner with friends, special menus planned by the kids, little letter of love to eachother, flowers that brightened up the house for weeks until spring arrived, decadent boxes of Euphoria chocolate. I always find myself thinking, Valentine’s isn’t that big of a deal, we always love each other, it so commercial…..But then I’m glad it’s a holiday because it’s good to celebrate love, romantic love and all kinds of love that we’re been given. And with that light outside our window flashing LOVE LOVE LOVE there's no way we could ignore it.