Monday, December 27, 2010

Jae Lynn's New Quilt

These pictures show Casey's gift to me:

She cut, pieced and stitched together a quilt made of Jae's t-shirts

I recall telling her she would regret writing on the one above.

I was amazed.




Is it not amazing?

We've still go to get it quilted, but it looks to me like that will be the easy work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pigs and Angels

I do SO love Christmas trees which are coordinated.
Especially Blue and Silver ones.
and Red and Gold.
Never got into the feathers, but love the ribbons.

The Russell tree however,..will never be coordinated.
The kids have picked out a hodge podge of decorations and ornaments for the
past 20+ years and I love the memory of each one.

That's partly the reason my Christmas decorations
were left up in my Attic for years after Jae's accident.
Ya'll were right there with me when
and then you were there
But for the past several years, I've noticed a trend in my tree decor:
It has become full of
Pigs and Angels.
How wonderfully odd......

The one above was actually the first one ever bought.
I found it in Branson as we escaped there on that terrible 1st Christmas without her.
I was sobbing at the checkout.
Below, will note Rudolph's replacements

Love the boots...

These crocheted angels have been on our tree for 15 years.
Handmade by Mrs. Nellie Fielder, a precious lady in my church.
Of course, I've one for each of the girls,
(and Mrs. Fielder's church directory obviously has holes in it!)

I've seen this look/pose from Jae a hundred times.

One of the gifts my fabulous sister Susan gives each year
is an ornament to each of the girls.
We have three of these on our tree...

I love this darlin hanging on the letter "J"
And then,....
Here is an odd saying for a Christmas ornament.
Jae Lynn,
The answers continue to elude me.
I think that you are not too far away, but I just don't know.
The mystery of Heaven leaves me wanting more.
More of what?
All of those things, yes.
But the bottom line is that I want it all.
I want the reunion with you that is promised to me.
I want no more Christmases without the ones I love.
I want an end to Bereaved Parents groups
and cemeteries in general.
I want to know my purpose.
The answers continue to elude me.
I think that you are not too far away,...but I just don't know.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Night of Russell Comedy

Tuesday night was our traditional North Pulaski Band Christmas Concert. Since yours truly is the band booster President, I wanted to support the program and our fantastic directors by being available for any all things.
Ended up I was not needed at all.
I sat in the auditorium and enjoyed our 6th grade band. (see my big eyed expressions here?)
I sat through the 7th grade band.
Then the Middle School Jazz Band. (I'm beginning to smile now)
Then the Middle School Concert Band which meant that Abby's band would play next!

Let me pause here and say: The progress from a 6th band to a high school band is nothing short of an incredible miracle. Props to all the kids who stick it out as well as to the band directors who dream big and inspire teens with raw musical talent.
You know how great musicians are made? Someone, usually a teacher,...endured, persevered and developed these kids when they were not great musicians.

Anyway, as I'm sitting in the audience, my cell rings and Abby is hysterical on the other end as she relays to me that she forgot the dress code for the night was a black and white affair and she was in a green short scoop-necked sweater dress.
This friends, is a wardrobe, social as well as an academic disaster.

I exit the auditorium and realize that I am wearing black and white.

We meet in the bathroom where 5 minutes later she exits in my black slacks and white tee and I head straight for my car in a short scoop necked green sweater dress. (I just happen to have boots on under my slacks.)

*Ralph loved my outfit and couldn't understand why I would leave.
I think he now has an idea of what to buy me for Christmas.

*I left because I was afraid that suddenly our band director would need an announcement from the booster president and I'd have to get on-stage wearing a green sweaterdress miniskirt with boots.

Later that night, I am on YouTube looking for a song to place on this blog.

I thought I typed in the "The 12 Days of Christmas".

Instead, I made a typo and accidentally went to this:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Lot's of memories of being overwhelmed with emotions at this time of year.
And for various reasons too:

1980: My first Christmas with the love of my life. We had zero money and not a single decoration. Not a single one I tell ya!
Ralph somehow found this huge box of decorations by the side of the someones driveway that they were throwing away so he loaded it into the back of his truck and brought it home to his bride.
I felt like we had won the lottery! Garland, candles, colored lights, red satin balls and tinsel.
You know what?
I still have many of those items in my collection of Christmas decor!
Overwhelmed with good things.

1981: Remember I said we were broke? Well a year later, we were even more broke.
Some people claim to day about how broke they are (me too) and yet they have a beautiful home, enjoy nice cars and go on vacations.
The Russell's however, were not that kind of broke.
We were not broke from debt as there was no one in their right mind who would have lent us money. Ralph's income was a whopping 4 figures!
We drove old gross cars, lived in a house trailer and had to get food out of my mom and dad's freezer. We camped in a tent for our only vacation.
We made our gifts that year because we had no money.
Homemade gifts from us is not a good thing. Neither one of us has the talent for making things. (Wait,...I take that back,..Ralph can make a mess!! hee hee)
Overwhelmed with poverty.
We even got a Christmas basket from the church.

1987: I could not stop weeping from joy. Jae Lynn had been placed into our arms just 3 months before and I felt as if the world had suddenly changed from black and white to technicolor.
The meaning of Christmas was more real as I reflected on Santa Claus, children but also on Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Overwhelmed with an unexpected love for a baby.

1988: Wonder of all wonders. Two children does not divide a mother's love, multiplies it? I had no idea I even possessed such a capacity for extreme devotion!
Overwhelmed that God loved me enough to bless me with two daughters.

2001: This is the the year which holds the distinction of being the best GIFT I ever gave!
Since 9/11 had just recently wreaked havoc within the travel industry, we were able to secure cheap arrangements for a trip to Disney. You see,..we were still very broke :)
Overwhelmed with excitement.

2004: Christmas Eve almost saw me have a screaming hissyfit in my parents yard as we exited the car and walked into the traditional gift swap and family time. I wanted to be in bed with the covers over my head.
The pain of Jae's death was never so acute as it was that night.
Overwhelmed with despair.

2007: Shouldn't things be better?
Actually they were, but you couldn't tell it from this post.
Overwhelmed with feeling a constant pain that ebbs and flows.

2010: Guess what? No overwhelmed feelings this year.
I've got decorations.
I'm not broke.
I've not cried but a couple of time in the past month.
I'm feeling joy again.
I'm blessed with the love of my extended family.
Abby has one of the sweetest hearts of any teen I know.
Casey has put up our tree for the first time in 6 years.

God is so good to me.