We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How we are...

Well, I am finally in the land of the living after being sick for over 10 days straight. I'm not completely well yet, but I feel so much better than I did! I actually went outside last night for the first time in a whole week. Of course, a wall of heat met me on the other side of that door and I quickly got into the air conditioned car. Ahhhh, life in Florida! It's kind of like life in a Montana winter. You go as quickly as you can from your door to the car and vice versa.

I thought I would update you on how our first weeks home have been. John has been very busy. He still doesn't have a full load of work yet, but somehow he has been completely busy. There have been some side jobs and a few new accounts that have filled in a lot of the gaps for him. And then there are things to finish off and settle in the house and shed. I think that it's safe to say that John is very overwhelmed right now.

Somehow Ethan has jumped right in to life in Florida with a happy heart and just a peaceful sense of contentment. I truly expected this to be harder on him, particularly the fast pace and difficult nature of our first couple of weeks here. But I've seen God undertake for Ethan in a most amazing way. Ethan's first week was a blur of excitement and activity. He bounced around from house to house - often without us - visiting grandparents, cousins, and friends. And then he spent a week cooped up in the house with a sick mommy. Even then, Ethan was quite content.

So, the most common question on everyone's mind these days has been how I am doing living back in our old house. It's a good question. I was so overwhelmed and tired that first night and I felt a little emotional. But then I went to the hospital immediately the next day and spent the better part of that first week and a half away from home. And then I spent a week sick...

Today, as I sit here and think about it, I've discovered that being back in this house and living in Florida again after being away have brought some interesting emotions and sensations. Generally when I have gone back and forth between locations I've lived, it feels like no time has passed and I've just stepped back into life like I left yesterday. It doesn't feel like that this time. In many ways, things still feel foreign to me. But not in a bad way... just different. I don't feel overly emotional. It's more like being in a fog. Everything is kind of fuzzy and unclear. At the same time, it does feel as if Ellie is just a bit closer to us in this house. In day to day life, I get the sensation that she might pop around the corner and ask me a question. In Montana, the memories that lived with me were those of Ellie's last year or so. But here the memories of Ellie go farther back to a time when she was healthy and childish. John brought home Chinese takeout the other night, and it was the same food from the same place that Ellie loved. Those memories came back in a flood and we choked back the tears as we ate our sweet and sour pork without her.

For days I've been seeing the photo John has set to his desktop on the computer and I can't remember if I ever posted it on the blog. I could go back and look, but I figure that it doesn't hurt to re-post photos from time to time. These photos are from when we took Ellie out to a fancy dinner on our way to another round of chemo. We were literally on our way to the hospital, but we got all dressed up and went to a very nice restaurant where they serve organic food. Ellie was beside herself with the joy of it all. She was in a beautiful black dress, complete with jewelry. The lighting in the restaurant was soft and everything sparkled from the glow of the candle at our table. But I vividly remember that nothing sparkled more than Ellie's eyes. She took turns sitting next to her daddy and me, and she could not stop hugging and kissing us. We finished the night off by ordering her a little dessert. For a kid who had been mostly off of sugar for months, it was heaven. Ellie took one bite, and her eyes rolled back in pure pleasure. Some of the photos are kind of blurry because we didn't use the flash, but we still love them. (The last one is the one John has on his desktop.) They capture such sweet moments of pure joy. I think that this is one of John's and my very favorite memories of Ellie. It was one perfect night.







Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Montana Service for Jared

I have just received word from family in Montana that they will be holding a memorial service to celebrate the life of Jared Skees. Anyone in the Kalispell area who knows the family or knew Jared are welcome to attend.

Saturday, June 27
1:00 p.m.
Central Bible Church
902 1st. Ave. East
Kalispell, Montana

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A day of rest...

Thanks for all of your prayers. Jared's service yesterday was just beautiful. His life was honored well. As we all know, now begins the truly hard part for the family. My heart breaks for the road they must travel...

One of the special things for me yesterday was the chance to meet several people who have been following this blog. I had never met Michelle's family before this, but they had known me through the blog. So getting to meet them was such a blessing to my heart. There are so many of you that I've never met, and getting to put a face and voice to the comments that are left brings me such joy! And then another sweet couple pulled me aside as I was walking by because they recognized me from the blog. The same thing happened at a church in Montana, and I have a new and good friend because of it! (Yes, Jewel, I'm talking about you.) It never ceases to amaze me what a small world this is - and how much smaller the internet makes it.

The only thing on the agenda for me today is to rest and do laundry. We have been running a hundred miles an hour since we arrived, so John is just now able to hook the laundry machines up. It's sick how big the pile of dirty clothes is... Somewhere along the line I started catching a cold, and I ended up loosing my voice. I've been croaking and squeaking for days and when the whole big group of family gets together, I've had to yell just to get enough sound out to be heard. This morning I woke up with only a whisper of a voice, and the feeling that this cold has decided to settle in my chest. Good times. Needless to say, rest is definitely a priority for the day!

As for my house... When we first got here, John, Stan, and our friend Roger unloaded the U-Haul into the house while I was at the hospital. I spent days running back and forth to the hospital with utter chaos in the house, but I wasn't worried about it because I figured it would get done eventually. On two different days, Belinda and her son, Neal, came over. While Neal played with Ethan, Belinda hit the house like a tornado! In the course of one evening and one afternoon, Belinda had my furniture moved into place, containers emptied, and things to be stored sent to the shed. I've never seen anyone get so much done in so little time! Everything that is left to do, is very manageable.

So that's the scoop for now... I'll be back in touch soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Thank you all for your prayers! I'm sorry I've not been able to post these past days. I've been at the hospital a lot, and very busy in between times. As of late last night, Jared is home with Jesus. It has been an incredibly long, hard week for the family, and as you all know things will be terribly difficult for the foreseeable future. Jared's wife, Michelle is so grateful for all of the prayers, and even in the midst of the heartbreak she has seen the hand of God at work. She has seen so many ways in which God has set up things to meet her needs even before the accident. The family is now preparing a memorial service to celebrate Jared's life, but some of the family and close friends will be unable to attend because they live in Montana or other far away places. Some of the Montana family who were here during the hospital time had to return. Please continue praying for all involved. And thank you for caring so much! I will be incredibly busy over the next few days, but will be back in touch when I can.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Prayer Request...

Thanks for all of your well wishes for our arrival in Florida! We are happy to be here and have hit the ground running...

I am writing tonight to ask for your prayers. John's cousin, Jared, was in a terrible car accident. I spent the day at the hospital with the family. Jared's wife, Michelle, two of his brothers, and his parents were all there, as well as much of the extended family. His other brother and family are arriving from Hong Kong tomorrow. Some of the family came in from Montana. His injuries are very severe and the family is waiting to see what each day will bring. I would so appreciate your prayers for strength and peace for the family, and that God would heal Jared. My heart is just breaking for them all tonight... Thanks so much!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm sorry I didn't post last night. We drove until nearly 3:00 a.m. and then slept at a little motel that didn't have internet... not that I would have been able to think well enough to get on anyway! We got a decent start this morning, and then got home by about 9:30 p.m. I can't even tell you how tired I am! I'm sure John is much more tired, though. He was amazing! He drove that rig for something like 19 hours straight yesterday with very few breaks. I will have more to tell soon, but tonight I am just so overwhelmed with being here. I wouldn't say that I'm sad or happy really. The best word is simply overwhelmed. Ethan was more specific. As we pulled in to the driveway he said "Ohhhhh, I missed that tree. I missed this house!! I think I want to cry." When John asked if it was because he was happy, Ethan nodded his head and said "yep" in a very small voice. Of course, the moment we opened the door he was off and running. I do believe that he pinged off of every single wall in the place!

Monday, June 08, 2009

The adventures of a man, a boy, and a rock...

Today was a long day of driving, and I made the rather humbling realization that on this trip I have the equivalent usefulness of a rock. I can't drive the rig. I really stink at navigation... I mean REALLY stink. I get carsick if I look anywhere other than straight ahead for more than a few seconds. And I fall asleep nearly the instant the wheels start moving. For all intents and purposes, John is making a very long cross country trek with a small boy and a rock. Unfortunately it's also a rock that needs to eat and have potty breaks. But the man is so hopelessly in love with me that he's not even upset about it. He just looks over at me from time to time, smiles, and says "isn't this fun?" Yes, it really is fun, but somehow I think I'm getting the nicer end of the bargain!

Sorry, no photos tonight. I'm having technical difficulties in that department. See, I told you... a rock!


All of the bad weather preceded us through the park, so we had very cool, but wonderful weather! We had such a fun day. It was worth every bit of the next three grueling days of driving we will have to do to make it home on schedule.

Click HERE for photos of the day, and Ethan's own unique observations.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Day One

Tonight we are staying in Butte, Montana. We did not get an early start, so we are not all that far from home. Unfortunately, Ethan is already asking when we will get there. It's going to be a looooooong 5 days. :-) But we are armed with a portable DVD player that Ellie got as part of her Make-a-Wish shopping spree and I have a few movies Ethan has never seen, so there's still hope. Tomorrow we have to drive a little while to reach Yellowstone, and we hear it's supposed to snow during the night! And tomorrow there is a 70% chance of rain. In any case, we will have a grand adventure. Ethan will deem it a success if he gets to buy a stuffed animal. He has his heart set on an elk. (On the way to Montana a year and a half ago, he got a buffalo. Buffalo is still well loved!)

Click HERE to see a rather unexpected sight in a small town in Montana.

Our hotel tonight is wonderful. It is not expensive and fancy, but it has comfy beds and soft white bedspreads instead of the plasic-y floral ones that make my skin crawl because they look like they were purchased in 1980 and haven't been washed since then! Ethan jumped from one bed to the other and gave his enthusiastic stamp of approval... until I made him lie down. Then he decided that this is an awful and ugly place!

I'll be back with more updates as long as I have internet access.

Have heated toilet seat... will travel.

We have finished loading the truck and will be pulling out of Stillwaters Ranch shortly. While Loretta has been helping us load our stuff in the truck, Reni has been worth her weight in gold entertaining Ethan and making us huckleberry pancakes. We will be sad to say our goodbyes. Maybe by the time we reach Yellowstone I will have dry eyes... maybe.

Click HERE for the latest photos.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Plan

Well, as expected, the packing of the truck has taken all day and is not done yet. We decided not to push to leave tonight, but stay over and have a relaxed last evening with the family. This feels just right. John and I enjoy the whole process of working together (even though I still don't like packing) and it is nice not to have to rush around like crazy and leave in a hurry. Ethan has been happily playing over at the other house. I was afraid that he would be clingy and nervous, but he seems quite content and relaxed. So all of the pieces are falling together nicely. I will be in touch as I'm able...

Farewell to Montana...

The day has arrived. I think. We had decided to leave today instead of tomorrow because we would like to spend a little time in Yellowstone. But we haven't packed the truck yet. We had some technical difficulties (boring stuff... blah blah blah... trailer hitches... brake lights...) and then we wanted to spend some time soaking in the beauty of Montana. So we will pack the truck today and see what happens.

I wanted to share the photos of our day in Glacier National Park with you, and I've decided to try a new method. I'm going to post a link to a photo album on my facebook page. I'm hoping that anyone can click on it and go to that album. I've never tried this before, so let me know if you can't see it.

Click HERE to go to the photo album. You can click on the photos to see them larger and read the captions I've written to explain them.

I will try to post some messages along the way, as I have internet access. For now I need to get to bed and try to get at least a few hours of sleep before daylight.