Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cedar Point and a "New Normal"

This past week was a good week finding a new normal. It was nice to be home the whole week and getting caught up on website work, uploading large files for that at the library, cleaning my much needing attention craft table, working on my ministry, my Paul work, and helping with the family bakery. I really enjoyed being home more and with my family.

Then on Sunday, a friend from our congregation, Joseph, and I went up to Cedar Point. For those of you who have never heard of Cedar Point, it is a large amusement park about 2 hours from my house. We drove there Sunday morning, had a picnic lunch, and then spent the entire day in the park. I don't like roller coasters; however, we found plenty of other rides I would ride such as the Scrambler, Super Himalaya, Cedar Downs, and Dodgem. I haven't had so much in such a long time! I can't wait to go back again sometime soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A New Normal

My family has been adjusting to a new normal. It still seems like the phone should ring and it should be Nana. I'd love to go watch a movie with her or eat dinner with her. Or just sit in her lap. But I can't do that now, so I choose to treasure those memories and live a life that would make her proud of me! And I can help take care of my Gaga to the best of my ability to honor both of them.

As we have adjusted, we have had a lot of catch up with our family bakery to play. We took that whole week off which put us behind, but by working together, we are getting more caught up and doing well these last couple of months of the Summer Farmer's Markets. Now to just find Winter outlets to help expand our reach in the Winter as well as to begin working on our website to be able to offer online orders for local pickup and mail order.

I enjoyed getting back into my cleaning jobs and getting my schedule fully situated to being away from home less. I'm now cleaning on Mondays for a weekly job and one Thursday a month for another job. I have a third job that is for an older couple who spends their summers here and winters in Florida, so they have already returned to Florida and that job is on hold until their return.

We had our Shabbat Gathering this past Shabbat, and it was so nice to once again gather with fellow believers. Almost all of our regulars were there as well as two new families. I shared about my trip to Camp Yeshua, and two of the families who have 16 year old sons hope to be able to send them this next year as well. We then discussed Sukkot and made more plans for that. It is hard to believe that in exactly one month from today, Sukkot will have started! Then we enjoyed a midrash on Who Owns It? We discussed how YHVH really owns everything, and we are the stewards. It was interesting how we were each able to bring out different insights from the various passages.

And today our house smells heavenly as we have baked Apple Pies, Peach Cobblers, Cinnamon Rolls, Orange Rolls, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, and Challah. Plus I've even gotten some work in too! :) Now, I'm off to finish my ministry newsletter!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What a Week It has Been

What a week it has been. I'm glad I did not know what this week held a few months ago. YHVH provided the grace I needed as I needed it. And his timing was absolutely perfect in so many ways. Nana graduated to her heavenly home just a little over a week's still hard to believe...and I miss her so much! Yet her homegoing was so peaceful. She knew us when we got there to the nursing home and told us she loved us. She stayed alert and was asking for my dad. Once he got there, she told him "take care" and he couldn't understand the rest of what she was trying to tell him. Her voice was getting so weak, she was hard to understand. What she always told him when we went to leave was "take care of my girls", so we know that was what she was trying to tell him. After that, she began sleeping much of the day.

She was alert enough to know us only two more times and very briefly. The first time, she knew both Momma and I...the second time was very brief when some of the staff were checking her condition. She gave me a very special gift. She wasn't responding to the staff, but when she heard my voice, she quirked her left eyebrow, then opened her eyes to look directly at me. She wasn't able to speak at that point, but she gave me a smile. I knew that she knew me and my voice and that I loved her very much.

Interestingly enough, my Gaga (grandfather) who has Alzheimer's wasn't understanding and accepting that she was dying. Around 4:15pm, it began to hit him. He went out of the room for a little bit crying...then he came back in. He gave her a kiss, told Nana he loved her, then sat down and began crying. It was as if Nana knew that he was accepting the physical loss of her and was going to be okay as she went to Messiah at 4:23pm. The nurse had been in with us for about a half hour and explaining everything that was going on. We had also had a very dear friend, Daria, with us. Daria is like a sister to my mom and an aunt to me. She too has walked this road as she lost her husband right after Sukkot two years ago. Her being with us and all the support she would provide over the next week was a total God send.

That evening, we went down to the internet cafe there in the nursing home and had supper with my Gaga and enjoyed some was a good mental distraction. My friend, Nicole, had also come to be with us and stayed for quite a while.

Then Shabbat was a down day at home as we began to let people know that Nana had passed away and think through arrangements. Then Sunday, we were surrounded by friends. That morning, we met with and made the arrangements with the funeral home. Then Uncle Mark and Aunt Debbie came over and brought lunch. Then we were joined that afternoon by Daria and Joseph (a young man from our congregation). Joseph came bearing supper. Monday, we went up to order the family flowers, check on Gaga, and then came back home for lunch. My friend, Nicole, had called wanting to bring lunch over...and from my favorite restaurant (Chick-fil-A)! She was able to stay and visit until we needed to head back up to Gaga's as my uncle (by blood) was coming in from Georgia. He's my mother's only brother...the rest of my "aunt's" and "uncle's" are of the spiritual family and adopted in. :) Uncle Bobby and his oldest son, Shannon, were coming in for the funeral and came to meet us at the nursing home where Gaga lives. After visiting there a bit, we all came out to our home for supper. Joseph brought in another delicious supper. Eddie came in about 8pm, and our neighbor across the street, Annie, brought over food and fellowshipped for a while.

It was a total answer to prayer as to the timing and that Eddie was able to come and do the service. He and I had spoken about it back a while; however, since he is on the road so much, schedule can sometimes become an issue. YHVH worked it all out perfectly. The funeral home told us to plan on a Tuesday or later funeral by the time they got everything ready. Eddie was flying home and getting in Monday evening from speaking in Tulsa, so he literally flew in and drove straight to our home. He was with us Monday evening and all day Tuesday. It was such a blessing, comfort, and strength to us. And even though Eddie didn't know my grandmother personally, he had encouraged us to talk about her with him Monday evening and Tuesday morning, so when he gave the message Tuesday morning at the funeral, he did a wonderful job of incorporating things about my the time she gave away her Bible to one of the aides in assisted living.

Tuesday morning, we had the funeral there at the graveside. One of the Mennonite families with a lot of children blessed us with some of Nana's favorite hymns. Eddie gave the message, I shared a few of my favorite memories, and Clyde (our previous Mennonite pastor and good friend) gave some closing words of encouragement. After the funeral, we all came back to the house where our congregation had brought in food to feed us all...we had a delicious meal of chicken, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, salad, bread, and brownies. Special thanks to all who brought!

We then enjoyed fellowshipping, talking, showing family pictures, and relaxing. It was so good and healing for us as a family to be surrounded by fellow believers who were seeking to encourage us. I enjoyed playing some Phase 10 with some of the other young ones...then David, Eddie, and I played a round. Poor Eddie got quite well beat, but he had a blast at it! Then Eddie and I played a board game called Paul's Journeys. It was mid to late evening when everyone left.

Wednesday was a quiet day when we were all recovering physically from all the going and doing. Thursday the emotions hit us as we were physically recovered and could not really feel the emotions. I went up and spent some time with Gaga that evening, and it just didn't seem quite right to not have Nana there. Friday, Daria and her grandkids came over and helped us put up relish from the cucumbers our neighbor had let us pick from their garden which was a huge help. Then yesterday was a Shabbat...and Shabbat we did! Then I enjoyed a nice long conversation with my "sister" was so nice...we had a great heart to heart girl conversation. :)

Please keep us in prayer as we adjust to a new normal...