Category Archives: Family

A Poem for Eisley and Noelan and Ava

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Sweet Grandchildren lost to me

for a season, but not forever

My arms are full, yet empty

because you are missing

Last night I saw you

in the eyes of another

running with play, squealing with delight

cooing, crying, alive with being

Know you are missed

Know you are remembered

No-one could ever replace you my darlings,

my little ones who still live in Grammie’s heart.

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Happiest of New Year’s to You!

Hope, Joy, Peace, Love – These are the four Sundays of ADVENT that we just celebrated.

Over the years our family has lit the candles and tried different devotionals. The past five years we have been at a church that lights the candles each Sunday and the sermon will often focus on that week’s word.

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Wikipedia says- “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. “Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time.” The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

So even though the word means “coming” it involves “expectant waiting”. I now realize this expectant waiting seems to be part of everyday life, not just the for weeks before Christmas.

This hoping for good times to arrive, for the storms of life to settle. Yet it often seems that just when one storm is settling that another is brewing on the horizon. Such is life.

2016 was a good year for me. Looking in from the outside one might not think so as 2016 has brought my share of storms and I’ve had to learn to wait as never before. I’ve been brought to a place of letting go, of surrendering and riding out the storms and that’s what’s been good.

I see a subtle change in me, one that involves more Hope, more Joy, more Peace, and more Love. I have better perspective and more emotional well being. I realize this life is much like the weather, as much as we try to predict it, as each day dawns we really don’t know what it holds.

So for 2017 I’d like to embrace what each day holds and live in the advent way where I have Jesus ruling my heart daily and I am being “alert for his Second Coming.” I want to be anticipating his return for us with hope and joy, peace and love.

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I think this will give me a needed perspective when my prediction of life is “clear and sunny skies” and the day proves to be “drizzling with drama”.

Hopeful that 2017 brings you personal growth, that you might find Joy in the simple things, that you would worry less and have more Peace and Love others the way you desire to be loved. Happy New Year. ❤️

#MinistryoftheMundane

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I would not want to be anywhere other than where I am right now. Not even on a cruiseship with my beloved, not on a plane to Paris, not anywhere else. I’m in Eastern Europe and in the past four years this is my sixth visit!

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I am not a big time traveler, but you wouldn’t know it considering my history here. I’ve come to Eastern Europe three times with Danny, once with Cacey and kids and twice now by myself. Note “Eastern Europe” because there is a big difference between that and going to “Europe”….which by the way… I’ve never seen normal Europe, but everyone tells me there is a big difference.

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I was that child who was happy as a clam playing dolls in my tidy bedroom, my first little nest. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have never left my present nest located on American soil had Marie not left. My love for her and her family pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I remember the lyrics of the song “Oceans” that originally confirmed to me I was to courageously go.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

With such a strong conviction that God was calling me to go I had so many ideas of WHY I was to go…To share the good news of Jesus? To work in the baby hospital? To share with the teen girls on Friday night? So trip after trip I came and I did many things, but I always left thinking my being here feels really small. Physically I couldn’t do what I had imagined, like daily going to the baby hospital. However, clarity came before I left on this trip. I’ve been called to the ministry of the mundane.

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This is a good thing….yes it is ordinary and unexciting, but I excel in the ordinary things of this world. I am slow and meticulous, that’s how I was designed by my designer. I thrive in unexciting…at home I still opt out of the Demolition Derby at our little Gold Country Fair. I guess that’s why as a child I loved my quiet room and my dolls. I still remember being scared out of my wits when everyone would holler at the TV with the Super Bowl on. Nothing has really changed.

I am a teacher at heart, so with the ministry of the mundane I can invest in my granddaughters, helping them with their English. They actually listen to me right now at their ages! We read together, we color together, we do puzzles together, we journal together, we eat together, we connect.

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I know I am helping their parents by loving on their girls, plus I love doing it! I also love doing the ordinary, unexciting, mundane job of dishes and laundry and if it gives both Marie and Christian a break then I’m thankful! You see, on the other visits I did many of these mundane things, but I always tried to weigh it against the cost and came up what appeared unbalanced.

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That is how things are in God’s economy. What I see as small, He values. I see through a glass darkly, but one day I shall see face to face. Until then I’m just your average lover of Jesus who happens to also be a late-bloomer!

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Are You a Nester or a Wanderer?

Are you a nester or a wanderer? This journey of trying to sell our home and move has been rough on me, for I am a nester. Like a bird, gathering items from my travels, I bring them home with the sole intent to line the nest with them. I think I am married to a wanderer. He loves to travel and if possible drags (oops, invites) me along. I’m pretty agreeable as long as I have a firm date to return to the nest.

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Last night my wanderer challenged me that I need to stop looking at possible new homes until our current home is firmly in escrow. He thinks it is making me anxious. The idea of having no idea where our next nest is doesn’t bother him at all. He has faith that God will provide. I do too! However, I don’t seem to be able to relax like he does. I lay there in bed beside him and prayed, “Lord help me understand what he is trying to tell me.”

I knew that looking at houses didn’t make me anxious, in fact it actually helps me relax somewhat – “Oh this could be my new nest!” “We could afford this little nest!” What was my wanderer trying to get across to me? I wasn’t getting it. He knows me better than anyone on this earth. Then my silent prayer was answered and I understood. I have been reverting to my childhood ways….

When I was a child and Christmas season came, my mother wrapped beautiful gifts and arranged them perfectly under the tree. It looked like a magazine. Daily I would sneak in there and lift each one carefully out and analyze it. I would turn it and listen, gently shake. What was it? Did I ask for it? Could it be such and such that cost so much? What if it was that thing I didn’t really want?

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When I went to bed last night I thought, (spoiler alert – this  might offend some) “Is God like Santa Claus?”. Does my heavenly father have a good gift for me and can I trust him to bring me what I need and want? A new nest to enjoy and keep ready for when my wanderer returns from his sales trips? Do I need to tell Him what I need or want, like writing a letter to Santa?

We raised our children without writing lists to Santa, but rather writing lists of how they would give to others. We never had wrapped gifts under the tree but rather the nativity, to help them focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The gifts were there under the tree when they awakened on Christmas morning.

We were trying to encourage their focus. I think that is what my husband was trying to help me with when he was talking to me last night. My focus. Quit shaking and analyzing the real estate market. Quit trying to figure out where my new nest is. I hadn’t even wanted that nest, but maybe this is it! Quit being scared my new nest is something I didn’t want or need.

This morning one of my favorite songs, “Good, Good Father” came on and it was a lovely confirmation to me.

Oh and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you can provide
’cause you know just what we need before we say a word

You’re a good good father-
It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you- It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.

So like an old fashioned Klein Family Christmas, I am going to focus on the now and the gifts He has given me today…my life, full with family and friends and His love and grace….and Watson.

And when that gift of a new nest comes, I’m going to just love it! I know I will, because He’s a good, good Father, it’s who He is.

 

 

 

 

The loss of another child…

My life took an abrupt change in 2012. In January, my oldest daughter and family moved to Eastern Europe to work with unwanted children. In February, my mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s came to live with me. God used both of those events as a catalyst for change in my life. Part of that change has been to embrace how I feel and to be perfectly honest, I feel very deeply, so this is hard for me. I have had a lifetime of denying feelings, so it’s always hard to choose to embrace and move through them.

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Right now I am feeling very sad. Our family is experiencing child loss again. It’s only been 13 months since we lost Eisley. This time it is a failed adoption, because the family that begged so desperately for our help to readopt this child has now changed their mind and refuses to sign the relinquishment papers. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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Our family has spent countless sacrificial hours and monies on behalf of this sweet little boy, only to be led on and used. Sarah and Tanner, Danny and I all together did emergency respite for eleven days. Marie and Christian hurriedly came to the states to come and start the expensive adoption process. Some would think them trusting and foolish, however this couple asking for their help were their close trusted friends. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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We will have a long road to healing. Betrayal begets hatred and cynicism. We will have to go through the pain of watching Addy and Mercy devastated when on Sunday they are told that their little shadow affectionately called “bro bro” will be leaving for good on Monday. When someone hurts your children or your grandchildren it’s hard to think straight, the anger is so intense. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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Probably what hurts the most though, is what this selfish choice will do to a little boy whom I have come to love and call my grandson. In late January he came to this country from Africa, from a secure foster parent situation, into an unstable home, where after two weeks they demanded for him to be removed from the home.

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So we took him and loved him and he has thrived. He loved being the youngest with sisters Mercy and Addy doting on him. Marie and Christian were loving, sacrificial parents to him and he has indeed attached to them. We know this by his desire to be close to them and his interaction with them. Whenever one is gone he is asking- “Where’s mama?” or “Where’s daddy?” I can’t think too much about how it will affect him, my righteous anger quickly morphs into losing it. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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This morning I wrote in my grateful journal – “I am grateful that God’s power and willingness to answer prayer doesn’t depend on me in my weakness.” This recent journey has been an emotional roller coaster of being led along and lied to and to be perfectly honest I’m exhausted. I believe in miracles, but I also believe that God has given mankind a free will on this earth for a season. So sometimes we see horrific things happen to children because of mentally unstable people consumed by their own selfish desires.

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This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, I do. However, God is not the author of evil as so many try to make Him out to be. He is the one who brings beauty out of ashes…He is also the one who will rightly judge each one. In this I will choose to rest. Each day, as I wade through my sadness and bitterness I will also cling to the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 6:36 where He tells me, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

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I also will pray that God would have special grace and mercy upon Nolean Truth Klein Burtt, my sweet grandson for three whole months. Please join me in that prayer when you think of him.

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Dear God, I’ve become my mother…

Why is it that women fear we will become like our mothers? I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is the struggle for identity as we are growing up that we try so hard to be different.

We look at things we missed in childhood and desperately try to make sure we give our children these same things we feel we lacked…yet we don’t realize the things we had.

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I feel like I’ve taken a lifetime to grow up… Or perhaps it is better to say a lifetime to shed my cocoon. And in shedding it I’ve discovered my mother in me.

At first I was appalled and now I’m delighted. I always thought I looked like my dad. I did get his nose and larger frame but as I’ve aged I look in the mirror and at pictures and I see my mother. I have her eyes, both shape and color. Her best friend saw this photo of me helping Spencer drive our boat and commented, “I see Bethany there.”

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Not only do I also see her, but I hear her too. Words come out of my mouth that I swore I’d never say. Thoughts go through my head that I remember her voicing when she was sixty. Its just plain weird. So on the brink of my sixtieth birthday I’ve decided to embrace it because my mom is a part of me, a very good part of me.

I’m grateful for her instilling in me diligent hard work. I’m grateful for her smile and ability to laugh, even at herself. My silly sense of humor comes from my mom. I’m grateful for her example of devotion to her family and friends when they were sick or hurting. She gave me that and people admire it in me. I learned it from my mom.

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However, she also gave me her moaning gene. I think it came from her mom. I think one of my daughters got it. Every time I moan, I think, “Oh my goodness! I swore I would never do that like her!” My mother also taught me to be a strong woman, and I in turn raised strong daughters.

One of my favorite adult movies is Spanglish with Tea Leoni, Paz Vega and Cloris Leachman. The main reason I like it so much is the mother/daughter dynamics throughout it. They are so complex and it shows how these dynamics can be so confusing.

The movie ends with an adult daughter writing on her university application essay about a crisis moment with her mother when she was young. Her mother said she had to ask her a very difficult question even though the daughter was such a young age. The question was this – .

“Is what you want for yourself is to become someone very different than me?”

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In hindsight, I realize that for most of my life I did want to be very different than my mother. We had a hard time connecting for a variety of reasons, one being my lack of understanding of who God created me uniquely to be.

At the end of the movie Spanglish, the daughter concludes on her university application essay that she hopes she is accepted but regardless of acceptance or rejection she knows this one thing- “My identity rests firmly and happily on one fact, I am my mother’s daughter.”

I get this now. I still miss my mother, I have days that I ache for her. Next month will be two years since she left this earth. I feel like I understand her better each day. She told me I would understand her when I’m older. She had made the same discovery with her own mother.

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I’m thankful for the thought of a future opportunity to really get to know my mother better and to listen to her without any of these earthly struggles. I’m thinking that we will have a chance like never before to connect and understand each other.

All things will be made right, because that’s the promise of heaven.

And because I am my mother’s daughter.

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The Dance of Grief

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oh the dance of grief

it’s music washes over me like a wave from nowhere

i am compelled to dance or die within

i’m scared i’ll forget you sweet baby

as much as i’m scared of being forgotten.

i dance alone, as those i love hear their music at different times.

it is a solo dance.

i look at your picture, sweet eyes open

and realize i missed this

as I was on waves of another kind…

dancing another type of grief

of missing your first moments,

moments like this, eyes opened peeking

at the unknown world beyond your mama’s womb.

Letters to Eisley #4

Dear Eisley,

I feel like if you were here life would be settled, steadfast. With you gone, I feel shaky all over and unsure of myself. I think I am doing okay and then I hear sadness in the voices of those that love you or watch another gut-wrenching story on the news and I get so overwhelmed. I used to shut down or smother the feelings with food. As I have tried to stop doing that the feelings hurt so much. The smallest thing can be a trigger. Oh Eisley if I could just hold you over my shoulder and hear you let out a burp and say “Good job!” like I have always done with your cousins, I think life would be okay.

Your Grammie just realized I having some form of panic attacks. They are not stress induced…I take it so easy it feels ridiculous. They are feelings induced…these smothered stuffed feelings are coming out of I don’t know where and they choke me, they get bottled up in my chest and it is so physically painful, I think I am having a heart attack, and the pain scares me. The pain makes me miss your great-grandmother, my mama, the one you were given her middle name – Hope. She was so good to me when I was hurting. She took care of me Please tell her thanks for me and that I really do miss her and I’m sorry about Debbie, that there’s nothing I can do. I tried so hard, she knows I tried, she saw that I tried.

I’m scared I realize. I’m scared that our family will never be okay again.  Sometimes I just want to die and go with you. When I was in the ER, I thought about you and if it wasn’t for your pops I would have gladly gone. Maybe this is why I want to now move to Auburn, maybe in reality I just want everything tidy for Pops so I can join you. But I don’t think Jesus will let me yet. There’s been too much pain for this family, your pops, your mama and daddy, your aunties and uncles and your cousins. We all are hurting without you. We feel broken and shaky and unstable. Okay baby girl, Grammie is making a concerted choice not to swear in my letter to you, but let me just tell you it is the pits without you and it’s really scary.

But then there are good days and we smile, like on last Sunday there was a party at the Vaughan’s (Oh you would have LOVED being held by Jeanne) for our 40th anniversary and everything was so nice, and just the right people we needed to not feel overwhelmed…. Aaron and Cacey, Your mama and daddy, Jeanne and Bob, my friend-in-law Jennifer and hubby Jim, my friend-in-law Christine and hubby Johnny, Pastor Greg and Laura, Pastor Lorin and Starla and your Auntie Sheri. That was a run on sentence baby girl, but I don’t care, because this really is written just for you and for me. You don’t judge your Grammie’s grammar. I don’t have to be perfect.

And you know what Eisley? You didn’t have to be perfect either. We would have gladly welcomed you and made you a part of this imperfect family had God allowed you to live longer. And I’m sobbing baby girl because your Grammie is so sad for so many reasons, losing you being just the tip of the iceberg. So much loss in this world baby girl. And God made me sensitive so it hurts really bad to see little refugee Syrian boys like 3 year old Aylan washed up dead from the sea.

For years Pastor Dave told me thick skin, tender heart. It seems everything is tender about me, Eisley Hope. I will no longer compare myself to others and tell myself I should be doing better. I will just be who I am, hurting how I am. I will work on letting these (&%#^*#! feelings out of me (That’s how you swear in the presence of a little one my love). I’ve had a lot of loss these past years and there’s a lot of feelings I have been stuffing that I guess need to come out.

So let me turn my thoughts to you. I’d like to think of your cleft palate healed with the tiniest of tiniest scars so we can remember His healing in your new body. I’d like to think that he has allowed your unique extra fingers and heart shaped big toes to remain because we loved your uniqueness. I’d like to think that you helped welcome Aylan into heaven and you are showing him the ropes. I’d like to think that Ted is playing grandpa with you and telling you stories of your mama when she would visit his family in New York.

I see sunshine and flowers when I think of you. Blue skies and mountains and lots of green….oh the drought here has made most people quit watering and there isn’t much green. I would think there would be water in heaven, maybe a beautiful rippling stream that you can stick your toes in and giggle. Tell Aylan that the water is safe there!

I’m hoping you get to read these. I believe anything is possible with our God. If you do then you will get to know me a little better until I come. Tender everything and missing you, but one day reunited face to face.

Love you my sweet Eisley,

Grammie

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Letters to Eisley #3

Dear Eisley Hope,

Grammie is staying at your mama and daddy’s house for a few days. Pops and I are getting a new roof on the house and it’s very messy and loud. Grammie isn’t real good with messy and loud, especially since you left us. So Watson and I came here to have some peace and quiet.

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I miss you so much. At first it was hard for me to stay here, I didn’t realize it would be….but you are everywhere in this home. We so desperately had hoped you could live here for a little while. After you left us, your Aunt Marie was careful to help pack all your things away before she returned to Romania. But I guess there are certain things your mama chose not to pack away.

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My heart gave a leap when I saw the quilt I had bought you this last Christmas. The cheerful yellow color peeked out at me as it is folded sweetly in the drawers of the dresser in the guest room where I stay. Maybe I will sleep with it tonight. Maybe I will feel closer to you. Maybe I will christen it with my tears. So many dreams we had for you baby girl. So very bittersweet.

The hardest part for me is your mama’s empty arms. The empty rocking chair. Your mama is such a natural mama, you might not realize this Eisley, but not everyone is. There were babies in your NICU with no mama around. However, your mama was created to understand little ones and she was beside you every moment she could be. She often noticed things before your NICU nurses did. I just wish people were more merciful with her.

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Mama’s are meant to fix things. Many things can be fixed with a kiss and a band-aid. I look at your mama and I realize there is no band-aid big enough to fix this pain. It is only something that Jesus can heal. The same was true for you. Your mama and I have walked a similar path. We both have beloved daughters with needs only Jesus can meet.

You are perfect now with no pain. For that I am thankful. The few times we could tell you were uncomfortable were unbearable. Your silent little cry coupled with our helplessness was almost too much to bear. Maybe that’s why Grammie desperately needs peace and quiet more than ever.

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I miss you so much Eisley. There will be more grandchildren…. Teddy is coming soon! But please know that no matter how many grandchildren Pops and I have, you will never be replaced, ever. Not only is your name tattooed on my foot, but my love for you Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson is tattooed on my heart.

Until that day you run to greet me,

Love, Grammie XOXOXO

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Letters to Eisley #2

Dear Eisley,

I miss you. I’m wondering about heaven. Will you always be a tiny one? In my mind I see you running and greeting  me one day, like Mercy would. A couple weeks ago I was in the hospital with chest pains. As I laid on that table I was very peaceful. I thought of those I know who love Jesus and have left this earth and now are with Him.

There are many I long to see,  but no one more than you. I want time with you, time to get to know you with your little unique personality that God gives to each one and gave to you. One day I will have an eternity with you, but not yet. My physical heart is just fine.

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Last time I wrote you I told you several times that Grammie is trying to trust God. I try to search for joy each day. Most of my joy comes from looking at God’s creation.  Pops and I spend a lot of time on the boat we named after you. We go to Lake Rollins and just look at the beauty around us. The majestic ponderosa pines surround us and reflect in the water.  It comforts me to know in all it’s beauty,  it is just a faded glimpse of the beauty you dwell in right now. One day we shall join you.

This Saturday will be one year since your Grammie and Pops got in a horrible car accident. It has been a source of much confusion to me. When it happened our car was spinning in circles and I found myself crying out the powerful name of Jesus over and over. When it all stopped this thought went through my mind – we shouldn’t be alive, but we are!

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So this Saturday on August 8, 2015 we are having a Thanksgiving dinner to thank God for sparing our lives in that car accident. I realized something this last few weeks and it is this –  the enemy of our souls was trying to destroy us and God intervened.

I always thought of the car accident as a physical thing…..a person not paying attention and rear ending us and causing us to jackknife and roll. You are probably so much wiser than your Grammie in this area as you know about the spiritual kingdom, but I now know that it was a spiritual thing and God intervened.

“The God-begotten are also the God-protected.

The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them.

We know that we are held firm by God…”

1 John 5:18

But when it came to you Eisley Hope, I have thought, well God could have intervened and He chose not to. He took Eisley home with Him. As I have struggled to trust God in this situation, I have realized that I was wrong about Him and that He did intervene on your behalf several times. So this Saturday we will also be thanking God for your life.

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God gave you life, and in the brokenness of this world as a result of the fall, you got an extra chromosome. You should have been miscarried, but God intervened. You should have been stillborn, but again God intervened. Your fragile body would have died in labor, but God intervened. His Holy Spirit inside of your mama prompted her to go to the hospital nine weeks early. How thankful I am for that and how thankful I am that she listened.

“Since ancient times no one has heard or perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

who intervenes for those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 64:4

God intervened by giving your mama a wise doctor who knew you needed to come out early and you did! Our world was turned upside down, and to be honest sweet baby girl, it’s not upright yet…but you lived and we loved you for twelve precious days. I am so thankful to have met you Eisley Hope. Your short life has made me a better person.

My friend Denise made ornaments for your mama and daddy and both sets of grandparents as a keepsake of you. Your name is on one side and an incredible truth on the other –

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The Bible tells us in Psalms that our days were appointed before we left our mother’s womb. Your 12 days + Eternity equals a whole and perfect Life. It’s been a blink of the eye since Pops and I raised your mama and our family – and it will be the blink of an eye until I see you again sweet baby girl.

Run to meet your Grammie on that day and we will have an eternity to get to know one another. Until then I will write you letters as I purpose to trust our Creator and Savior.

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