Friday, December 22, 2017

Mom's Life Story

Janice was born in Hardin, MT on Feb 10, 1941. She joined two brothers Bill and Jim - 9 and 17 years older than she. 
Mom, Bill (L), Jim (R)

Hardin, MT is directly outside the Crow Indian reservation. Growing up in a diverse culture played a part in awakening her heart to the needs of other cultures.  Across the street from her home was Dick's Drive-In - which featured a walk up window which served ice cream. Her mom would save the spare change and allow Janice to walk across the street for a daily treat. Thus began  mom's life-long craving for ice cream and other sweets. 

Her father died when she was 16, a heartache mom carried all her life. It also contributed to her certainty of the importance of investing in family. A heart for the nations, an insatiable sweet tooth and a love of family were to characterize Mom throughout her life.  
Mabel (Grams), Mom, Sim (Grandpa)
1944 - Hardin, MT
 From an early age Janice was "spunky."  Part of her early years were spent living in a hospital  where her mother, Mabel Simmons, served as hospital manager and head nurse. Mabel loved to tell a story of Mom at 3 years old. They heard clomping down the stairs. Mom entered the room, put her hands on her hips, and declared, "When you hear me coming down those stairs, I want my breakfast on the table!"

Gram's replied, "You don't say? Who says this?"

To which mom replied, "I AM!" As you can imagine, this exchange did not end quite the way Mom had intended. 

Mom eventually grew up and headed to Eugene, OR where she attended Eugene Bible College and met and married, Dad, Paul Townsend. The rumors "we" hear is they were known for pulling pranks in those years. They made life-long friends during this season in their life, many are here today, and we thank you for the parts you've played in Mom's life and in our family's history. One man, Walt Olinger was driving a car one night in 1961 while Mom and Dad rode in the back. Dad mustered up his courage to propose to Mom. She didn't answer... He asked again; she sort of mumbled and WOKE UP! Yes, she'd fallen asleep during her marriage proposal - or maybe she just wanted a couple of proposals.  Friends like these were treasured by Mom throughout her life.

Nov 17, 1962

In front of the barn where they had their first date - 2012

 Mom and Dad along with De'Etta and Will served as Open Bible Missionaries in Liberia, West
1968 - family photo 
Africa. The family lived on a compound that included a clinic, school, church, several mission houses and dormitories for students who came to the compound to be educated. Their water supply was collected in barrels, the electricity was supplied by generators, and motorcycles and small airplanes provided their transportation. They had monkeys and raccoons for pets and traveled in canoes on rivers said to be populated by crocodiles. There were also snakes - lots of snakes.  Mom hated snakes. Part of Dad's ministry required him to make overnight trips into the wilderness of Liberia. On one such evening, when mom and the kids, were alone the night erupted with gunshot. Boys and men came running from all corners of the compound to check on us fearing what they'd find. They found mom standing on a chair. She had unloaded 6 rounds of buckshot into an unsuspecting 2 1/2 foot snake. The boys from the dormitory were disgusted she wasted so much shot on such a "small snake."
Cess River, Liberia, West Africa
 After an interval in the states, Mom and Dad moved to the Philippine Islands where they again served as missionaries. They spent the next  22 years ministering in the barrios and jungles of the Philippines."Ma'am Jan "taught Bible college classes, INSTE and Bible studies during these years.  By this time, Nate had joined the family.  They continued to have unique pets. It was during this time Mom, unknowingly, first sampled ground hog, dog and monkey. She was not impressed. She loved to snorkel in the ocean and collected some impressive shells. She continued to love riding her motorcycle around the barrios.
Teaching in Mindanao, Phillippines

Pastors, Dad, Mom and Nate on a trip
 At the end of their missionary career, Mom and Dad settled in Springfield here at Calvary Open Bible. Mom worked as a one-on-one aide at Springfield High School and loved all the kids she met. She was known at the Coffee shop for her love of hot chocolate - with LOTS OF WHIP CREAM. On days when Sherri wasn't in the area, she'd even get refills.

We have many ice cream stories about mom.  All the grandkids remember Grandma's order of two medium vanilla - cherry dipped cones with extra dip on the side from any given Dairy Queen. She explained, "You get more dip with two mediums than with one large." A routine meal included a THICK malt, fries and an ice cream cone. In recent years, Mom was not supposed to drive and was supposed to limit her sugar intake. Her granddaughter, Bre, was out with her family and was surprised to find GRANDMA at Dicky Yo's...with a big dish of ice cream...alone.

"Don't tell your Grandpa or Lorri!"

We didn't tell Grandpa - until we were sharing stories after Mom passed away.

 Mom loved her church family and treasured the friends she had here. Many of them were friends dating from the 1960's.  (Kathy - Mom's friend from college, and Bev - Mom's neighbor after college in 1965, were second mom's to me). 
Mom and Dad on far left, Kathy playing accordian
Mom & Bev at Bre's bridal shower
Mom realized she was "getting close" to aging around 70 and compiled a bucket list. Michael had recently been deployed to the middle east and sent home photos of himself riding on a camel. She decided she HAD TO ride a camel.  Opportunity presented itself when the 49'ers group from Calvary scheduled a trip to the Wildlife Safari. Mom promoted camel rides for our younger kids. As we waited in line, she said, "I'm going to ride a camel today, too." 

 She would not be dissuaded. She tried to talk De'Etta into getting on the camel with her as the operators were allowing two on a camel. 

Also on Mom's bucket list was riding a zip line and sky diving. Mom asked Dad if he would go sky diving with her. He said, "No! Why would I want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!" Somehow she convinced John Simmons to jump out of a "perfectly good" airplane with her when she was 71 years old. The funny thing is that she took a selfie of herself in front of the building and texted it to her grandsons. The next one they got was a photo of her in the sky with her hair flying...

   Maybe God set up a zip line for her near her mansion in heaven.

Mom loved family. It was a driving passion in her life to have the entire family over, sitting at one table, with fine china and a big meal. This didn't happen nearly often enough for her liking. The last time we all had dinner at her home, the one table morphed into four...I'm sure Mom has already begun planning the big dinner she is going to have one day in heaven with all her family around one very big table.
Entire family (at that date) at Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Celebration 

 Mom loved CHRISTMAS! Boxes of nativities line her garage wall.  It's fitting  she would finish her race and enter heaven at Christmas time.

Her legacy is her love for others and her willingness to share Jesus and to give to others.  Even at the end of her days while her pain levels were beyond excruciating, her heart's desire was to be a good witness in order that others might know Jesus. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.  

Note: This was read at Mom's memorial service. If you missed the service and would like to view it, it will be archived here for another week or so.  Click "Memorial Service for Jan." 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mom's Obituary

      Janice M. Townsend, born in Hardin, MT on February 10, 1941,  went home to be with the Savior she knew and loved well, on December 12, 2017. We thank the medical team of the River Bend Comfort Care wing for the excellent care she received.
                Following Jesus led Janice to Eugene Bible College, where she met her life-long love, H. Paul Townsend. They were married on November 17, 1962.  Together, they served as missionaries in Liberia, West Africa for 3 years and the Philippine Islands for 22 years, before settling in Springfield.
                She loved Jesus, friends, Christmas and family. She collected nativities, tea cups, china and elephant figurines. Janice is truly home for Christmas this year.
                Janice is survived by her husband, H. Paul Townsend; her children: De'Etta (Michael), Will (Sherri) and Nate (Heather); 14 grandchildren: BreAnne (Izaak), Krista, Josiah, Jamin, Jared (Larissa), Arielle (Cory), Nolan, Alex, Stacia, Matt (Lily), Andrew, Amy, Mikhail and Nadia; and 4 great grandchildren: Harmony, Bella, Gideon and Bennett and several nieces and nephews.

                A service will be conducted at Calvary Open Bible Church on December 22nd  at 4 p.m. and will be live-streamed under the media button at

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday in the Hospital

I'm not ready to write about a few days in here...but this was a great day. By 9 December, Mom was on comfort care. She was finally getting some relief from the pain. The boys took the red eye flight from Anchorage and arrived early Saturday morning. They spent the day at the hospital and with Stacia. Matt, our nephew, flew up from California. It was special to have them all there.
Cy, Jared, Mom, Jamin, Stacia

Dad with Will and five of his grandsons
We had been restricting visitors due to mom's pain level. Now that the pain was under control, people came to visit. Each visit, hug, tear shared was a blessing. It really was. I didn't take many photos - but knew Bre would want this one. (Note Pastor Gary over my shoulder.LOL )
Me and Grandma Donna ::grin:: 
A hospital with a seriously ill loved one is surreal. We experienced such joy and love....while also experiencing such sadness and pain.....bittersweet memories of my 3 weeks in Oregon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Stacia's New Dress & Mom Update

Stacia took her material and pattern, as well as a cookie cookbook on our trip.  Lorri and Stacia spent a day putting together her dress. 

 And, here is the finished product! 

Mom was still aware of who we are today. She was agitated and determined not to eat. We aren't forcing her to eat. Her pain is still not 100% controlled - even with all the meds. Though I didn't realize it - this was to be the last day that I got the "stink eye" from Mom, or her wry, "Just try to make me look."  She did NOT want to eat - not pudding nor even ice cream. The one mouthful she did eat - she spit out; forcefully. 

At this point mom kept trying to get out of bed.  Throughout the day we sat with her and blocked her exit. She would take hours scooting down so she could attempt a getaway. At one point she got clear to the end and looked at Will and I and said, "SO THERE!" The nurse wanted me to sleep, and so she and Dad took over watching mom. Mom scooted to the end of the bed and went over the end....Mom has always had a fighting spirit - and she kept it to the end.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Visiting Mom in Oregon

I am going to be back posting about a month worth of posts - from this date until mid-January. The tenses may get mixed up, you may read yesterday and it happened a month ago, bear with me. I'll try. 

Early on Sunday Morning, the 3rd of December my brother called. I could hear Mom moaning and talking incoherently in the background. Stacia and I had planned the first of three winter trips for 4 December.  Mom and I had talked daily. We'd texted and shared Polo's on Marco Polo, but shortly after Thanksgiving this all changed. I suspected she'd taken a turn for the worse. She had just had a biopsy earlier in the week. She hadn't seen the doctor to discuss the results.  I only talked to her twice between Thanksgiving and December 3rd and both times she wasn't herself. This was attributed to drugs and pain. 

Will called because he wanted me to be prepared. Earlier in the week we'd talked about a tea party with Stacia, Me, Mom, Sherri and Lorri. Mom had planned to move back home for the week I was there. She insisted we have a "normal" visit this time. There was no way this was happening. 

It was apparent Mom needed to go to the hospital. She didn't want to go, but we all made the decision to take her. Her pain was out of control and there was just no way to keep her comfortable or safe at home. She had been staying at Will and Sherri's since Thanksgiving. I think we suspected they'd get her pain under control and come up with new a new med cocktail and we'd take her home. Mom seemed to know if she went to the hospital, this would be it. She had quit eating on Saturday and we hoped she'd begin to eat as they got her pain under control. 

We had been told Mom had 7 months - 2 years to live. I didn't really think this was "it." This was to be the first of several visits to see her in the upcoming year(s). Michael and Will had both warned they didn't think it would be years. I'm not sure any of us envisioned how quickly she would go - she passed away just 6 weeks and 1 day after being told her cancer had returned. 

Tired and worried - in  a hurry to get to Oregon and River Bend Hospital....
Stacia is wearing our 2017 Family Shirt - Strong.Courageous. 

A word of thanks to Josiah, our eldest son. When he heard I was going to visit Mom, he paid for Stacia to come along. We all wanted her to get to see Mom while Mom was still in a good place. This is one of the things I worried about. We debated about Stacia staying in Alaska - but in the end, Lorri, my cousin, agreed to make sure Stacia was busy,  had a good trip, and visited Mom when she wanted to, while having an escape when she needed it. It worked well and Stacia is glad to have been able to see Mom when Mom still recognized who she was.
Seats together - SCORE 
 I am glad Will called to be sure I understood how much mom had failed in the week before we arrived. She recognized us. She held us, cried, kissed us over and over...and it's been a long time since I've been called, "My baby," so lovingly.   It was good to be with family.
Will, Dad, Stacia and Sherri 
 This turns out to be the last photo the three of us have. I know some wouldn't share it - but it's priceless to us.
Stacia, Mom, Me

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Number EIGHT!

Our 8th moose this month. We may not pass 8 as the month is nearly over. Yes, he was the best excitement all day.  It warmed up the mid-30's today. We are expecting more snow later in the week.

Stacia and I trekked through a pre-algebra lesson. I think we've finally gotten the concept!

Nolan, Alex and Stacia had Japanese lessons.

I went shopping at the town across the highway.

Michael led Life Group tonight. The kids had fun at Youth Group.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Grandblessing Therapy!

Michael had swallow therapy today. I SWEAR all the neurologists and therapists in town got together and decided it was time to have, "face the facts," talks.  Personally, I think waiting until after Christmas wouldn't have hurt anyone at all. LOL  It is rather depressing. 

We had scheduled lunch with our new pastor after the appointment. I'm glad we did. It was good to process a tiny bit with him, and then to focus on possibilities for NOW and what the POTENTIAL is in the PRESENT. 

Best of all....Cory was running errands, and Arielle wanted to walk around the yard. I got to cuddle with Bennett - the best therapy of all is snuggling with grandblessings. Bennett will be two weeks old tomorrow - and it takes no time at all for a baby to become indispensable in a family's life. 

Auntie Stacia gets to hold Bennett for the first time. 

Stacia is making Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, Michael is busy with home projects,  I'll make dinner, we'll read a few chapters of Narnia and is good.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mooseday Monday

Look who came to visit. 

And hunkered down for a nap before sauntering up the road. 

These are numbers six and seven that we've seen in November. That's less than the eleven we saw in October and more than we saw in of our other yards in any other state.....HOWEVER, we are quite sure there were more who came without us noticing them.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

OUR Quirky Tree

The last several years we've lived in an RV. We purchased a live table top tree, used it for Christmas, and then planted it. We logged it's geocoordinates so we could re-visit it in years to come.  We decided we wanted to do the same after moving into our house. We'd buy a tree and plant it on the property in the spring.  It was a lovely plan. The problem turned out to be the varieties we find in stores will not survive the winters here if we plant them outside.  It doesn't make sense to us - but we were told - "Folks just like to have them on their desks." Hmmmm.....

Michael found an online nursery that will ship to Alaska. We looked at ones they said would survive up here....but it wouldn't arrive until Dec. 20th. That's a bit late for this year.

We plan on planting a lot of seedlings and a few potted trees this spring. We have a row of trees along the road and along the back (huge ones). We have a couple along one side of the yard.... The electric company contracted to have someone come out and top the trees along the road. We had thought to use one of the 3 foot tops - but we weren't here and they took them all - left other brush, but I guess those were cute. We talked with the company and told them we'd like to plant a row further into our yard...and they agreed to give us time for them to get established. They'll cut the trees down in 5 - 7 years because they are inside the fifteen foot utility easement.  When we get a new privacy barrier growing, we plan to use those big trees for Christmas for a few years.

We thought of going to cut a tree in the forest. We researched. They seem to be further off the road than we wanted.  Nolan and I went out to see if we could find a tree on our property that wasn't in a place where we wanted it to stay.....

We discovered where the moose are getting in - though I suspect if they want in - they'll get in. 
Wire should be attached
We got our hopes up here....this one looked great....on further inspection we suspect it's on our neighbor's land. It doesn't seem neighborly to their tree.

We walked all the way around the yard, back into the didn't look promising. They are either HUGE or where we want them to be....except the ones along the road....we didn't want to cut down our privacy hedge....

We had looked thoroughly and so we came back to the front. This little one is nestled into the big one. It doesn't provide much privacy...the big ones would still be there. It is at least 6 feet tall as it's taller than Nolan.  

We went inside and showed Michael the photo. It was either this, buy an artificial tree, or buy a cut one.  He agreed with us we should cut this one. It will be cut in 5 - 7 years anyway. We will cut it within 5 - 7 years, anyway.

Alex cut it down.....

We've decided it's not a Charlie Brown tree - but it IS quirky. Josiah and Jamin were over this evening and THEY immediately said it was a Charlie Brown tree - after establishing we didn't pay good money for it. ::snort::

It IS taller than we expected. We cut off the top....and put lights on it. The bottom is much fuller than the top and it has odd angles here and there....but we like it. It's real, it's bigger than the RV trees, and it's from OUR property. 

Michael fixed this shepherd's hand....

I love the pine cones still on the tree. 

Our kids are too old to play with this nativity this year, but I can't wait for Bella to discover it. 

After we got the lights on the tree, we settled into our next Christmas tradition - we watched the Muppets Christmas Carol.

We decided to hang ornaments after the movie. We had to use only light ones....and is a really quirky looking tree.

But it's our quirky tree. 

We plan to plant trees each year, and choose one each year to cut. For next year, we'll probably try to keep a potted one alive through the year.....

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tale of Two Tablecloths

For over 20 years this simple white tablecloth has been at all our Thanksgiving meals. It is our habit to have everyone who attends the meal, sign the cloth. We then embroider the names. Above is the signing of 2014 - and then it went missing. We did not have it in 2015 and 2016 - we were full timing in the RV and it would have turned up if we did. LOL 

I have looked EVERYWHERE and we can't find it.  I can't even get old photos from the blog as Photobucket has changed their policy and I need to pay to have those photos released. In one of our many computer crashes we lost the photos that Photobucket now holds hostage. We're going to have to pay and print all those years in one year of paying for Photobucket....or download them all and manually add them to the blog....we plan to print all the guess we should pay and do it. It's my need to go through each post and edit, gussie them up that has slowed us down. I just need to print them mistakes and all. 

ANYWAY - this year I needed to find a tablecloth as none of them fit our current table.  I ended up finding some  - bought one for both tables......As I'm somewhat thrifty, I didn't want to buy one that could only be used for one holiday - and I'm still counting on finding the other one anyway......

I bought these. They are shimmery and have gold and silver snowflakes on them  - which match the rim of both my china sets.  As I set the table yesterday, I realized, it isn't very fall like at all......

I commented at dinner that Alaska may be the only state  where I could get away with snowflakes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. To which someone quipped...."Probably get  Easter too."