Friday, February 26, 2010

A Few Things In My House

Jae and Casey made these in Vacation Bible school one year. They are some of my favorite kitchen decor items! :)

Notice Jae's girl skier,..she made her hair appear to be flying back because "she's going so fast"!

This was not one of my better ideas. Each daughter had their own jar with marbles representing a week of their life until they turn 18 years old.

I should have never started it.

This note was taped to my work computer during the first few months after Jae's accident.

It's still a good reminder so I moved it to my fridge!

A bathroom portrait!
What fun times we had in those caps in the tub!

Above is the message Amanda left me tonight when she picked Abby up. Amanda is competing in a dance competition. She's the best dancer I know.

Good Luck darlin!

Speaking of sheep,....this is a lamb which we had "preserved".

Below is Abby's red bedroom. I resisted this for years, but finally gave in to her request for this color. I do believe I will have to re-sheetrock the walls when we finally decide to cover it with another color.

There is also no-tellin what Abby Rae will fasten to her walls. You will notice ticket stubs, photos, letters, fruit roll-up wrappers, flowers, old person snap-on sun-glasses (the kind you get at the eye doctor), etc,.... And this is just ONE wall.

Here is Mousey looking all sad beside Jae's picture.

There were a million hours spent sitting in front of this doll house.
The windows near the ceiling of my bathroom.

Below is Jae's bulletin board.
Note three things that she kept on it:

Lauren's t-shirt
A story about Sam.
Kyle's picture and funeral program.
All 3 were friends she lost.
She mourned them every day until she joined them.

Below is, by far, one of my fave places in my house.
Abby loves how the plants get all in the water. Abby frequently makes me go shopping in her favorite store,..Saver's!
It was a good find when I saw this
hand-stitched quilt for
Where would Ralph's hairy daughter burrow if we didn't have this quilt on our couch?

My childhood doll, Thumbelina.
You can tell I loved her.
All three girls used to argue over who would HAVE to take her in their portion of their inheritance. (sniff)
They just don't see the cool treasure of my

If I had a motto,.....

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I found some old pictures of the other day which got me to thinking about our years
when the girls were small and
we were covered up with farm animals.
I've reprinted below an old post from a couple of years ago
that talks a bit about those fun days....

The Shepherd and Sheep

A few years ago we had a herd of sheep.
The idea was to get the girls involved in 4-H.
It was a good idea.
We never went to a single 4-H meeting.

However, sheep stories and lessons number in the hundreds. I can not describe how the Bible came alive for our family as we made a stab at being shepherds.

There was Adam. And as his name suggests,..he was our first male.
He was big, lumbering and quiet. Sometimes he was mean and sneaky. We used to think Adam was useless to our 5 ewes, but a year later they all had twins.
Go Adam.

Then there was Friendly. A good momma to her lambs. Friendly ate out the girls hands, let us pet her and even ride her. Sweet and trusting. When she lost her lambs,..we always knew it. She would be forlorn and inconsolable. I think of her often and now know why she cried all day and night. I couldn't hardly sleep listening to her bleat on those terrible nights.

Meet Crazy. She was skittish, irritable and would run right over her lambs in fear. A leaf would fall off a nearby tree and Crazy would tear off frantic down the hill. She always frustrated us, mostly because of her poor mothering skills. Sometimes she bumped us in the butt when we passed her by. We would turn around to see her cowering in the corner like we were going to hit her. ?

Introducing Timmy. He was our first lamb that lived to sheep adulthood. Timmy's problem was that, as a lamb, he was viciously mauled by a neighbor dog which left him emotionally scarred for the rest of his life. In spite of his physical strength,..he was a major wimp.

Once, a group of dogs chased and scattered our beloved sheep from one end of the farm to the other. Over the next couple of hours,..we gathered them all up, but couldn't find Timmy. We searched high and low but assumed he had been dragged off to his death.

The next day,..we continued our search and finally found him lying under the edge of the little barn panting, filthy and near deaths door.
As we began to treat his thirst, remove the briers and debris from his wool and comfort him, we also began to search for his injuries.
To our surprise,..he had none. Not a single scratch or bite.
We think Timmy became so scared during the chase that he simply gave up fighting and running.
He chose instead to lay down and die.

It's a good thing for Timmy that he was loved. We loved, coddled and coaxed him back to life and within a few hours, he was back grazing among his sheep family.

Our family's few years as shepherds made us all know why Jesus referred to us as His sheep. It may not seem like a compliment for us,..but the description says much about the shepherd's great love and understanding.

I'm grateful to be so known and loved.
God loves me when I'm good and friendly.
But God loves me as I run in fear, cower in corners, do my share of butt-bumpin, act mean and sneaky and cry through the night.
God especially loves to pull me out from under my issues and coax me back into into the life He wants for me.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"(NKJV)
"The Lord is my Shepherd,I shall not be in want (NIV)
"With God as my Shepherd, I don't need a thing" (The MSG)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Loving Jae's Soul

I still love Jae Lynn even though her body no longer lives.

How can that be?

When I think of all the wonderful lovely things that I loved about her, I would usually describe her actions, her appearance, her expressions or her whimsical personality traits.

I used to tell her that I knew her better than she knew herself. Us mothers are blessed to be able to truly know our children's heart and soul. However, the truth is, that all of those things were then expressed through her physical body.

I loved her body.
The way her mouth would become crooked when she sang.
Her squishy little muscles.
Her thick blond hair.
Her voice,..ah,....her voice!
I could go on and on about what I love and what I miss.
That, in fact, is so much a part of the pain of grief. We lose the ability to have that precious person with us in our daily lives.

On that terrible day, I lost the ability to care, nurture and love her body.
I faced a unimaginable dilemma:
How do I love Jae Lynn when she doesn't have a physical body?

I am better at it now than I used to be, but I struggle with separation of her body' death and the life of her soul.

I know what made Jae Lynn so wonderful was her soul and it/she/that will live forever.
But I want her body.
I loved it dearly.
I want to see, hear and hold her.

I love her soul.
It lives.
Just as surely as I live and type this post.,...Jae Lynn lives.
In fact, she is probably more alive than I.
But her "soul" doesn't fill her chair at our supper table.
Her soul does not sleep in her bed under my roof.
Her soul does not make an appearance at our family gatherings.

Or does it?

I wish I understood.

Monday, February 8, 2010

An 85 Year Old Blessing

85 years ago today, my mom was born.

I don't know why, but this milestone for her has become significant for me. I think back to so many years ago, and it occurs to me that my present is so wrapped up in her past.
She was raised by Leslie and Mary Bushey in East St. Louis before it was named the most crime-ridden city in America.
She has told me stories of dances with young soldiers, cross-country trips as a young woman, dates with my daddy, farm life as a city girl and teaming with dad to raise a family with very little money.

Growing up in the Jeffers home left me with memories of a stay-at-home mom, lots of free play time, being cared for when I was sick, visitors coming in and out almost every single day, observations of parents who were madly in love, open displays of physical affection, dancing in the kitchen, moral absolutes, devotion to the local church and most of all love, fear and reverence for the Lord.

Mom buried an infant son between David and Bobby. We often wondered what impact this brother of mine would have had in our family. I miss his presence, but not, I'm sure, as much as mom does.

I observed her 45 year-long-distance care for her weaker older sister in Dallas, Texas.
Another aunt of mine, daddy's sister, was brought into our home for recuperation after the ravages of a stroke and alcoholism.
For years.
Then there was dad. His stroke was the one thing he feared the most and mom faced it as if it had happened to her.

She told me once before that losing her mother was the hardest day of her life. To this day, she still expresses regret that she was not at her side during those final moments. That was decades ago and it still pains her.

She also is tormented with dad's final hours. She left his side at the insistence of all of us as well as the ICU staff. Thankfully, we were called back in time and she was able to hold his hand as he entered into Heaven.

I'll always remember one time after I gave a series of lessons at church on "Finding our purpose in Life" that she mused to me ..."I don't know what my purpose is. I just don't know." Besides the fact that my wise mom was asking my opinion about her spiritual life, I was struck by her train of thought that she considered her life as one with very little impact.
Her life-time of caring for others and taking such wonderful care of daddy after his stroke had limited her Independence and maybe in her mind removed her opportunities for service?

Our culture today places importance on making a difference on a large scale. Touch thousands of people and then you are "successful"....touch only a few and you are only "average".

Mom has an intelligent alert mind that is limited by an aging body. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be.

In this world, my 85 year old mom has probably touched several hundred people directly, but though her husband, children, friends and students of her Sunday school classes her influence reaches well into the thousands. She has not won any awards or prizes to speak of here, but she knows that her real reward is not of this world. She told me just the other day, that living with an eternal perspective makes living here more meaningful.
I see it.

My mom is a living testament to agape love.
Isn't that exactly what God wants us to do with our lives?
I have not always been the best daughter,..but she has certainly been the best mom.
I am rising up today to call her Blessed!

Happy Birthday mom!
I will write you another letter on this blog when you reach 100!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A risk-taking Leper

Abby and I are going to study the gospel of Mark for a while. Our pastor preached in Mark the other day, and I realised I have virtually NO handwritten notes in the margin! That my friends, is a sure sign that I don't know much about the passage there.
It's a way big pity that I have no notes in the margins of several other books of the bible as well!

Mark 1:40
The leper knelt down in front of Jesus and whispered,..
"If you are willing, You can make me clean."

This man was physically devastated, socially ostracized and emotionally bankrupt.
Yet,..he had had knowledge and hope.
This leper knew that Jesus could heal,..but he doubted if He would.
His history told him that he would be rejected again.
Reason told him to not bother.
Yet, was worth it to ask.

He took a chance with his life by even coming near enough to kneel in front of Jesus.

Some people get abused by life and are eaten up with bitterness.
Not this man.

He still had hope.
His life was meaningless without healing and he risked his life to ask for it.

Against all odds,..he was still a risk taker.

He's a picture of what I am to be.
"Lord,..if you are willing, you can __(fill in the blank)___"
Heal my broken heart?
Bring my church to life?
Protect my children?
whatever else is keeping me up at night?

I know in my head God can do all things, but I am not convinced that He is always willing.
Lack of Faith?
Absolutely not.
Take, for example March 18, 2004.

How do I know what His will is?
His ways are not mine and He specifically tells me to not lean on my own (pitiful) understanding.
Still, I know I am to hope for the good things I desire and to have the boldness to ask for them.

I want to be a hopeful risk taker.
No bitterness, no regrets.