This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Overwhelmed with everything....

So after my long difficult December and two severe winter storms starting off the new year, it was already the middle of January and I had still had to prepare for my mother's memorial which was to be held January 22, 2017. I found myself completely overwhelmed with grief, memories, emotions, sadness, pressure, planning and work to do.
Oh my gosh, I'm so stressed. I know God will give me strength. I felt like falling apart, but I had to be strong. My sisters and I divided up the work, Kelli took care of the church, pastor and musicians, Kathi was in charge of coffee, cookies and flowers and I was in charge of the slide show. I also wanted to give a tribute to my mother at her service and I still needed to write it.
Getting the photos together for the slide show was all consuming and not only was I still working at my job, but they upped my hours from 20 a week to 32.
On my day off I watched my grandson, which actually is such a blessing to me, but he keeps me busy!
The task at hand was to go through six bins that look just like this and find photos of my beloved mother to put in the slide show for her memorial. These are all the photos that we found at my parents house when we cleaned it out. Not only did we have all these loose photos, but we had slides from the late 60s and 70s that my son, Mackenzie, scanned for us, as well as my own thousands of photos to go through and photos that my siblings sent me from their collections. I was absolutely overwhelmed. Thankfully my best friend, Shannon, came over on Saturday the 14th to help me go through them all.

I should mention that I know I could have been working on the photos through all our extreme weather, but unfortunately they were all stored out in my cold garage and I just couldn't face this huge task. I kept putting it off until I only had 10 days to do it.
This process was very difficult. I mean how do you try and express a person's life in a 20 minute slide show with just 200 or so photos? Especially when you are starting with six bins full of them! I found this process was not only physically challenging, but emotionally it took it's toll as well. Seeing all of these old photos brought up so many memories (good, bad, happy, sad). It was also difficult because I often times got sidetracked as I went down memory lane. I wanted to share with you just a handful of some of my favorite pictures of my Mamma and tell you a little bit about her.

I love the photo above, she's so beautiful. She was often told she looks like Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
 What a precious little girl she was!
She was the second born child to Irving and Josephine. Dorothy was born in 1935 and little Shirley was born in 1937.
 Sadly, at the age of 3 my Mamma's mother died. Irving was suddenly a widower and single Dad.
He later met and married sweet Margaret.
Margaret was a wonderful, sweet, Godly woman who was very good to the girls.
Both girls grew into beautiful young women.
 Everything changed for my mother when she met her precious Leonard! Here they are on their first date, aren't they cute! He's a cool 1950s dude and she's a bobby-soxer. He had just gotten out of the Navy and they met at church. He was 24 and she was 16.
 They were married two years later.
 She was a happy housewife! They had their first house built using Daddy's VA loan.
 She worked at an insurance company.
 Their first Christmas.
 Mamma loved fashion.
 She was always dressed impeccably and Daddy always took photos of her, always. He was absolutely devoted to her.
Then came the babies! Here she is in their 1956 Chevy holding baby Kelli in 1958. They had four babies in four years! Kelli in 58, Kathi in 60, Sharon in 61 and Wade in 62.
Here she is feeding me and she's pregnant with my brother Wade. I love their cute 50s table, the highchair, coffee pot and coffee cup.
 Such a good little busy mother!
After four babies, she still had her amazing figure.
After baby Wade came along, they realized they had outgrown their first home, so they had a larger home built in a brand new suburb. Our home was the first one built in this neighborhood.
Breakfast time for our little family in the brand new house. They would live in this house for 52 years and that wallpaper never changed!
 Our sweet little family walking into The Church of the Open Bible. Church was always important, we went faithfully my entire life.
 Mamma always cut our hair.
Mamma busy in the kitchen. I see four little cups at the back of the sink, they were color coded, one for each child. Mine was yellow. I also see cough syrup in a glass bottle from the local pharmacy and my Daddy's lunch pail in the corner.
 Mamma reading us a bedtime story.
She always had us kids dressed so nice. Here we are one Easter Sunday in our little dresses that she made.
 We had an idyllic childhood.
 She made me feel loved and secure.
 They had a storybook love.
 This was our family Christmas card one year.
 She was there for all my big events. Here we are at my wedding shower.
 This was taken just two nights before I was married. Eric and I got married in their backyard and my Daddy and Eric made this stage. Such exciting times!
 Of course she was there for the big day!
 And two years later she was there when I delivered my first born child, my son Mackenzie.
She was a wonderful grandmother and she taught me so much on how to take care of my babies and how to be a good mother. Here she is with baby Mackenzie... Cameron.... Grayson....
 ...and last but not least, baby Hayden.
 We did lots of things together as a family. Here's Eric and I and the boys hiking up to Silver Creek Falls with Mamma and Daddy.
 We were 80s ladies! These were such sweet times. We shopped together, went to lunch, went to movies and always had so much fun!
 I loved this day when she hosted a mother/daughter brunch for us girls.
 Our family grew so much!
 Family gatherings were always so special!
 What great memories!
 Her and Daddy gracefully grew old together! They were so cute!
 We invited them to stay in a vacation home with us for a weekend. We had a fun memorable trip with them.
 Having watermelon in the hot tub!
 My mamma was my best friend. I loved talking with her on the phone and getting together with her. She was a  great example and wonderful role model.
 She was my confidant and I could tell her anything. She always gave me such wise, Godly advice. I didn't know it at the time, but she was slowly disappearing in this photo.
Dementia took over her mind and she just wasn't the same anymore. In the beginning we didn't understand and I got hurt because she quit calling me. We soon found out she had a form dementia. She had the kind that she couldn't take care of herself, but thankfully she always remembered who we were. I my really miss my younger mother, but I also miss the sweet elderly Mamma too. All the way up until she passed away, she still had her great since of humor and was always delighted to see us. I am so sad that she's gone.
So getting back to the pressure I was under, thankfully with the help of my friend Shannon, I finished going through all the photos and picking the best ones. Sunday morning, one week before the funeral, I put them into piles of Mom as a child, Mom with Dad, Mom alone and a pile for each of my siblings of Mom with us and our families. There were probably 800 photos and I needed to get it down to around 200. It was Sunday morning and I realized there was no way with my busy schedule that I would be able to finish this project on my own.

I put out an SOS to my sisters and my sister, Kelli, was able to come help me. She helped me narrow them down to the very best from about 800 to about 400. It took us a long time as there are so many wonderful photographs, but we got it done. After she left I started taking photos of each photo (I don't have a scanner), uploaded them to my computer and started the editing process. I still had to narrow the 400 photos down to 200. I worked every evening on this and finally got it done on Thursday night. This was such a relief because I had to give them to my son, Mackenzie, on Friday when he came to town from Colorado and he was going to put the slide show together for us.
This encounter was a triple blessing! I got to see my son and grandson met me at my office and I handed off the CD with all the slide show photos. Now Mackenzie will do his magic and turn it into a wonderful show for the memorial. I had not seen Mackenzie since September. It was so, so, so good to see him. I love him so much.
Meanwhile, I had a little crisis. Several weeks prior I picked out this cute outfit to wear to mamma's memorial. I wanted to wear something that looked like her, something she would have worn. I thought this jumper was perfect with the big pink roses. I bought the outfit and brought it home, but when I tried it on again two days before the memorial, I didn't think it was flattering at all! Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?
 There was no time to shop, so I shopped my closet and came up with this outfit. It's not my favorite, but it will do. I just wanted to look put together the way my mother always looked.
I had one last task to do before the memorial. When we moved our parents from their home of 52 years, I saved a whole bunch of special things for my brother's daughters. I have been saving these things for a year and a half out in our garage. The girls were coming to the memorial from California, so I decided to give them the treasures at this time. I got three boxes and started putting like items in each box.
There were teacups, crystal, doilies, jewelry, kitchen items and ceramic figurines. This little ceramic doll is an example of the sweet things my mother collected; she loved all things feminine! Once the boxes were filled, I closed them up and mixed them up. I didn't know which was which, I wanted it to be fair and random.
I finally was done with that, but still needed to write my tribute. Early Sunday morning, I sat at the computer and felt like God gave me the words. My tribute to my mother just flowed out of me and I got it done in an hour.
The girls came over for brunch the morning of the memorial and we had such a great visit. We then sat down and I had them each pick one of the boxes. One at a time they opened their boxes and looked at every item and I was able to explain to them what things were and why they were special. I told them they are free to trade and mix and match items if they wanted. The girls were so thrilled and grateful to have special things that they remember from their Grammie's house. This was such a very special time that I will always treasure in my heart.
After that we all got ready and headed to the church for the memorial service to honor a very special lady.

As we drove to the church, I was very sad realizing this is what we were really doing; we were saying our final good-byes to my mother. I was also a little anxious hoping that the memorial would all go perfectly as planned, but I also had a huge sense of relief that everything was done. I am so thankful that God was with me through all of this and that He gave me strength.

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word."
Psalm 119:28

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