But Joy Comes in the Mourning

…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5.

Eleven years ago – a lifetime ago – Chuck died.

Initially, the anniversary of his death tore through me. But as I have healed and new life has blossomed, the anniversary of his death has become a sweet day – a day spent celebrating him – his life – his outrageous antics – and the thousands of ways he touched my life. It has been a day of basking in gratitude.

But this year is different. It could be the evidence of the passing years…faint lines around my eyes, darkening spots on my hands, shiny silver in my hair. It could be the new season of life – plans for retirement…dreams of life on the road…all reminders that I am living life without him. Where the hell is he? He promised to be here for all of this.

Or, it could be nothing at all, because grief is funny that way.

But this year, I am feeling the weight of the loss of Chuck. And I can barely breathe. At some point in grieving him, the pain was swallowed by the beauty of life with Phil and the girls…Chuck’s fingerprints sweetly evident on every surface…though smudged and faint. And somehow I forgot that one day, life went terribly wrong.

In the days leading up to August 20th, I’ve remembered. I’ve remembered the sweetness of giving oneself over to the sadness…losing oneself in the weeping…and the peace that follows. God is indeed close to those who are crushed in spirit.

And so, for this anniversary, I am sad. And I’m gonna sit in my sad. And remember Chuck. And I’ll give thanks – cause all this grief was so very worth loving him.

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Travels with Harvey – the Prep

We are T-minus however long it takes…til blast off! Most likely, we will leave tomorrow around noon – most likely. But then again.

Today has been a flurry of activity: me, pinging from project to project; Phil, steady and focused. All in all, we are making progress and I, for one, am starting to get giddy thinking of sunsets by a campfire, cups of coffee in the morning watching the sun rise, walks in the woods.

Here is Harvey today:

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Phil’s domain… creating order and packing the belly of our beloved beast.
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Pretty sure this is a death trap. It’s our dashboard…today. Likely, this will be the last piece put into place, as Phil is still tweaking our boy.
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Tee hee – starting to pack the essentials = books, puzzles, and a toy or two (or twenty.)
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This is one of my babies. Painted the table and the wall, pulled down the valance. It’s coming together. (Check out those windows!!!!! Love them.)
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Hours and hours and hours here…painting the walls and cabinets AND hinges AND screws AND handles, creating a faux marble countertop (oooo la la!)
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Uh, yeah. Not so much work done here…at all. Still, we love it!
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No, the kids will NOT sleep in the kennel. However, they will sleep on cots…in the closet.

Travels with Harvey

So, we named our RV! She turned out to be a he, which is great news for Phil. Harvey the RV is set to depart on his maiden voyage in ONE day. (I don’t know if a male gets a “maiden” voyage, but we’re going with it.)

Is Harvey road worthy? We’ll see. Are the Tessiers road worthy? We’ll see. Can three introverts, one extreme extrovert, two dogs and Two Madagascar Hissing cockroaches live in harmony within the walls of Harvey? We’ll see.

So. Many. Maybe’s. Good thing I love adventure…and that I lack “common” sense. Wee!

Hold the Presses!

This was it for me. THE moment. Walking into our home late at night, carrying a sleeping child to her bed, and catching a glimpse of this out of the corner of my eye. It’s our playroom after a hard day of play. All and all, pretty typical. Except for this – I, me, I live minimally…on purpose…so that I can spend my life LIVING, not managing my stuff.

But I have never shared my passion, my wisdom, my joy with my girls. In fact, my beloved Phil – truth-teller-extraordinaire, mentioned that the reason our girls have so much stuff is because I bring it home. And it’s true. There’s this canyon between my beliefs and my actions…when it comes to the girls. It’s like I’m sprinkling their Cheerios with crack. And my girls are HOOKED on stuff. And WE are not living in accordance with the truth my heart knows = own less, live more.

And so, I am sharing my heart with them. Sharing my joy. Wondering how in the world to move forward SLOWLY, gently, firmly.

Here’s to living!

Giddy Up!

Be still my heart. Where to start? Recently, we have closed our home to fostering and opened it to respite. (The girls are naturals at loving on kiddos.) Anyhoo, we have been watching a sweet girl while her mother re-ups for foster training. And we heard of something new and glorious last night…a training. Adoption agencies are now teaching foster parents how to partner with bio parents!!!!!!

Every once in a while, something so beautiful and complex and good takes place in this old world – and this is one of them. When it is safe, cause Lordy, sometimes it ain’t, but when it is safe – adoptive parents are being encouraged to reach into the lives of very broken people and offer beauty…and tears…and joy…and love. And changing families. Forever.

Rest for the Weary

This week Phil and I officially closed our home to fostering. I did not expect closing to hurt. Not at all. “The littles” have been gone since August, and we’ve not taken in any other kiddos. So I thought closing would just be a formality. But the tears came as soon as I hit “send” on my email. Phil must have sensed my panic. “Jan, it’s not forever. It’s just for now.”

Anyhoo, because I have a heart for “the cause” = helping foster children heal by placing them in families, I signed up for a babysitting collaborative. And really, I need to do a single post on this beautiful and brilliant opportunity. But this is not that post. This post is about another cause that has become near and dear to my heart = loving on foster families.

You guys! Being on the inside looking out, I had no idea that the struggles Phil and I faced as foster parents were not unique to us! Foster parents are a special type of crazy, which makes supporting these wackos REALLY important.

Some facts I learned today:

  • Most foster families bail within one year due to lack of support. This compounds the trauma that foster children face. If children are moved AGAIN, it slows down their healing.
  • Foster parents are notorious for NOT asking for help. Many reasons for such. Personally, I think one of the main reasons is emotional exhaustion. Receiving rejection, and/or failing to find help just adds heartache to an already tough livelihood.

As you can see – fact 1 plus fact 2 make for a perfect storm. Foster parents need support. Foster parents need someone to jump in and say, “I got this. Go! Go see a movie. Go to Target. Go!” ❤️❤️❤️ There are very few investments that require so little but pay such dividends as babysitting for a foster family. You want to make a HUGE difference in the lives of foster children? Then babysit for their foster parents! ❤️

What My Girls Don’t Know

Grandparents Brunch for the girls at school. I just got the notice, and thought nothing of it.  But driving to school one gloomy morning, I started crying and just couldn’t stop. My mom would have LOVED attending a grandparents brunch. I mean LOVED. Cause that woman…she was fierce with her affections. And I am just so sad she missed the whole grand-parenting gig. I am sad for her. I am sad for me. But not so much for my girls. They don’t know. They don’t know that their grandmother would have made a bazillion ten-hour trips to see them – to be with them – to breathe them in. They don’t know that she would have made sure they had a softball, or basketball, or tennis racket in theirs hands as soon as they could walk. They don’t know that she would have brushed, braided, curled, and styled their hair. They don’t know that she would have played and played and played with them. They don’t know that she would have rocked them endlessly. They don’t know that her laughter might have frightened them because it was so full, robust, and LOUD.  They don’t know that she would have danced and danced and danced with them. They don’t know that she would have hummed them to sleep as she lovely gazed upon their faces. They don’t know that her hugs would have left them breathless. They don’t know that she would have loaded them up in the car and set off on adventure after adventure. They don’t know that she would have fought for them. They don’t know that she would have loved them well…so very well. They don’t know. But they will. One day, I will tell them. And we will laugh. And cry. Because right now…childhood…they are unaware of what they are missing out on. They don’t know.