Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Unexpected Treasures (9 months)


Today held an unexpected treasure! Last night I received a text asking if I wanted to meet a friend before co-op. This was perfect timing. Laura and I met for quiche and tea at a little cafe down the road from co-op. We keep TALKING about doing this - it was good to actually do it. We did it with another co-op friend over a year ago. I can do better at connecting. 

Co-op was long and wild, but we got it done! LOL I haven't been buying much at all lately, but it's always good to spend time with this group. 

Nine months.

I had been home about 5 minutes when CoRielle showed up. They were coming to help us prep for Thursday. What great "kids" we have! Stacia was eating a bite and heading into Eagle River to spend the night with Josiah's girls so she can watch the girls tomorrow while Carrie is at work. We enjoyed a very brief conversation. Stacia has just moved her counseling to every other week! A great step for her. I had forgotten Allie worked 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 today.  She took over prepping a quick dinner for her and GG. 

Arielle cleaned the RV. Cory and Michael, and I emptied the longish chest freezer into the squarish check freezer so we can move the longish one into the RV for fish camp.  Cory and Michael began working on hooking up batteries and discovered they aren't charging...Michael ran out to try to find golf cart batteries that will fit. Cory grabbed the weed eater and trimmed up under the garden fence. 

Nine long months. 

Arielle and I chatted a bit with Allie and played with Ellie. What a precious smile. Check out the curl in the middle of her head! 

Bre called with promises of her famous cookie to take to Fish Camp. Danny fell and was nervous about coming into the house because Millie was upstairs. I went and got him...and enjoyed my Danny cuddles. They aren't as frequent as they used to be. 
📷by Danny

The boys informed me I had a LOT of peas in the garden. Translated: "Come on Bachan! Let's pick peas in the garden." We went out and they each picked quite a few....their 3 buckets probably equaled one bucket. 

I also picked some head lettuce. I have discovered I love having a crisp head of lettuce fresh from the garden. Allie already packed the peas in her lunch box.

Nine gut-wrenching months. 

I have been needing to cut back tomatoes. All my attention has been on paperwork since the 7th...and so...today I just went in and cut back everything that was green and leafy but had no tomatoes. I did the 3 big plants. I have 4 more I can trim after fish camp and 3 or 4 more than are even smaller. They look funny, and I may well have done it wrong, BUT I see tomatoes on those plants. 

I've got to figure out what to do with the pile of greenery. The chickens can't have them. I may dump them into the bed that is 1/2 filled with dirt...let them compost as it doesn't look like I'll be planting this year....well...maybe some more lettuce.....

We had six  helicals placed. IYKYK. Excitement will soon be coming our way. Flowers are starting to bloom...I hope they keep blooming while we are gone. 

This fireweed came up in a broken pot left by the previous owners 7 years ago. I let it grow in there as our own winter predictor. The legend says when the fireweed blooms to the top and then flames out...we have six weeks until winter. It hasn't reached the top yet. 

The awareness that nine months have passed since our life was upended ran through the day. Nine months. Unbelievable. 

The day was filled with unexpected treasures...lunch with Laura, time in the garden with the boys, smiles from Ellie, a chat with both Bre and Arielle...

Monday, July 22, 2024

Considering the Dash (and more)

 "Victims for Justice is an independent non-profit working to ensure Alaskans affected by violent crime get the support they need and deserve..."  The memorial can be viewed at Hostetler Park in Anchorage at 3rd and L Street. 

Photo found online at Facebook 

One service Victims for Justice provides is an annual memorial service as well as a memorial with the names of those who were victims of homicide engraved on it. At the service each year all the names are read aloud. 

This was our first year to attend. Obviously, we expected it to be emotional. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. Many of our family gathered. 

Noah, Larissa, Stacia, Arielle, Jenni, Cory, Charles, Jared
Nolan, Jamin, Allie, Benny and Danny -several not pictured

Noah wore crocs in honor of Uncle Josiah. 
📷by Larissa

Our van arrived early, and we walked around the park in search of Josiah's name. I wasn't prepared for the impact of seeing his name engraved in stone...birth and death date. It's the first time I've seen it so permanent... it stung. 

A couple of people shared...names were read...I reflected while people spoke...tears rolled. It's still unbelievable our happy family life is now interwoven with words like murder, homicide, victim impact...

Josiah was so kind and gentle. He loved family, friends, and tenants. Dropped into any work situation - crew member to general manager at Chick Fil A, store manager at Walmart or community director at his last job - he would immediately build community. Before long there were BBQs, softball games and fishing trips. He was murdered at work. Work should be safe. He shouldn't be a victim of violent crime. It's not "right" or "ok" that Josiah is gone. I do believe that good can come from it, but no, it's not "good." 

I miss everything about Josiah. I miss his smile. I miss his BIG laugh. I miss his gigantic hugs. I miss his voice calling out, "Hey, y'all." I miss his unassuming wisdom. I miss hearing about his dreams and watching him plan and charge towards those dreams.  I miss him bouncing kids on the trampoline and leaning down from his great height to talk with a young nephew or niece. They loved to ride on uncle's shoulders. He loved us well. 

I heard the concept years ago that between birth and death is the dash...the dash represents all of life lived between the moment of birth and death. The poem, "Live Your Dash" by Linda Ellis, is not where I originally heard the concept to consider how I lived my "dash," but it captures the concept well.  When I looked at his precious name etched on a memorial to homicide victims, I immediately noted the dash. Thirty-four years.  It feels far too short. 
📷by Arielle

Josiah lived his "dash" well.  I find myself considering how I will fill the remainder of my dash. I'm doing much less than I have in years - by design.  I'm prayerfully evaluating the things I've given my time to in the past and the most important ways to be investing my time in the future.  However it ends up looking, I will attempt to fill my dash with the love, laughter and community Josiah displayed. 

I came away from this day knowing I need to focus prayer and energy towards the trial. Hearing the details of his murder and the defense for the taking of his life is going to take more grit than I currently possess. Pray for the grit of the Goeckers. 

Sunday was a busy day of church, Red Robin and Costco. Nolan walked in the door in time to discuss the political news with me - proving a liberal and a conservative CAN have an honest conversation while being polite and loving to each other.... just saying.  ::snort:: Nolan went on to play a game of cribbage with Stacia, while Allie slaved away on her summer class. By the end of the evening, she'd gotten this upcoming week's work done! She's getting ahead so she doesn't have to worry about school while at Fish Camp. She'll have 9 classes left before she can apply for her cohort! She's ticking them down. 

Today, I finally got all the paperwork I've been working on completed and faxed off. Now, we wait. Jamin came over and helped Michael work on changing the oil in the RV and other such RV prep things.  I threw together a quick dinner. He stayed for dinner and Jenni came and joined us.  When the conversation has been so wide-ranging no one but GG has pulled away from the table at 8:30 p.m. it's a good night. 

  • Community resources to help us walk uncharted paths
  • Leisurely conversation around the table with adult children 
  • I am reading "Practicing the Way" and it's a breath of fresh air! 

Friday, July 19, 2024

Grands, Dip Netting Prep and Memories

It was my joy to hang out with Liv and Josi today!  This little gal is developing quite a personality! 

We did some chores, we visited, we ate, we played. 

Liv is QUICK at make bracelets...she's making a LOT of the just now. 

Our biggest accomplishment was keeping Josi awake until 6:50 p.m. Our goal was 7 p.m. She's slept through the night the last two nights if she goes down at 7. It took both of us to do it! 

I certainly look sleepier than Josi. 

While I was away, Michael was busy with CoRielle. It was probably good I wasn't around as I burst into tears and had a mini "session" in the driveway when I saw the dipnets all lined up. This shelf broke last week. I know Michael was happy to have Cory stop by to help today. They rebuilt the shelf, and we now have power in the RV again. 
📷by Arielle 

I'm not sure what they're doing, but I do think Benny and Charle's haircuts are adorable. Today marks one year since Charles' adoption...how fun it is not to put smiley faces over his face. 
📷by Arielle 

📷by Arielle 

The nets are repaired and ready to go. It's time for me to make time for a Costco run and to outfit the RV... and clear out a freezer to take with us. We've already determined this year is more about "getting through the first," being together and remembering and honoring Josiah, than it is about fish. None of us are going for our limit this year. I envision much more time simply being together.  

As we prep, I can't help remembering Josiah in the midst of all the prep, driving, set up, arranging parking, schlepping coolers of fish and gear up and down the beach...and this iconic photo from last year. We would not have made it through this year without our relationships with Jesus. We just wouldn't have. I suppose we would have - but I sure wouldn't have wanted to. 


A day with Livie and Josi. 
CoRielle's help with prep. 
Late night talk on the deck with Michael. 

Thursday, July 18, 2024

When a Spreadsheet Makes You Cry

I have been slow to plan dipnetting this year. The reservation was made before we left camp last year, but by this time I have usually updated the spreadsheet. This spreadsheet contains a list of everyone coming, when they arrive and leave, where they will be sleeping, and which meal they will be providing.  From this I shop for groceries and snacks, prep the RV, and clear out the small freezer and move it to the RV. While I do this Mike, and Josiah, usually repair nets, check all the equipment and do essential guy stuff. 

It's true I have been busy with a ton of paperwork in the past weeks. It's also true it's been raining. We simply haven't embraced the planning with our usual gusto.

Arielle and the kids came over today with the express purpose of helping me prepare for dipnetting. We pulled up the 2023 spreadsheet to update for 2024. Staring me in the face was a reminder of joy and sorrow. I had to remove Josiah's name. I cried. The hallmark of 2024 are moments of joy graced with grief. We are so blessed to have loved this boy/man. We are blessed to be Josiah's parents. It does slap one in the face from time to time and hurts in this season. 

I now have a clear picture of who is coming, what I need to buy and what I need to prep.  Unfortunately, I will be screaming busy until Monday, but I will be ready to execute the plan come Monday. We leave to dipnet on Thursday. 

This will be Josi and Ellie's first year at fish camp. 
Ellie Rae 

Benny ate strawberries to his heart's content and then picked a few to take home.

SWEET extra hours of solitude with Jesus this morning.

Fun visit with Arielle and kids.

Dinner and an episode with Jenni.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Midnight Walks

I took a couple of breaks from paperwork and bureaucracy. 

Stacia and I went school shopping and filled a couple of backpacks. It was fun for this retired homeschool mom to revisit the school supply aisles.

I didn't quite make it to baking...oops. The starter is alive and well! 

The highlight of the day was a midnight walk with Michael. The detours are a pain and add travel time to every drive ...but there is no traffic on our road these days, and it makes for a rather relaxing walk. 

Yes, it's still light...check out the road. They are making progress.

Each of the aforementioned things are also Grace Notes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tuesday - CHECK.

 A lot accomplished today - another long day of paperwork. LOL  

  • I got all the auto pays which were coming from the out of state account moved to the local account.
  • I copied and sent a power of attny to above vendors. 
  • I tracked all checking accounts - waiting for statements to reflect accurate balances so I can submit paperwork. 
  • Sent paperwork for Dad to a lawyer in WA via certified mail. 
  • I picked up Dad's medication. 
  • I bought a few things Dad needed. 
  • I talked to Dad's Care Coordinator several times today. 
  • Michael helped me reset the soaker hoses in the greenhouse. 
I stopped on this overcast, drizzly, gloomy day to get a drive through chai. I've not done this in months!!!! In addition to the cute little Mae West quote I scored a long streamer that reads "You're my sunshine on a cloudy day."  It's the little things that perk me up. ::snort:: 

I got home in time to hear from Dad's care coordinator again. It appears I will need to totally redo the application and documentation rather than just submit updated statements. The plan has been for me to send all to her, and she checks and submits the paperwork so she can track it. She's had a family emergency and will be leaving the state on Saturday. I will most likely be submitting it all myself. Yikes.  I will rework it all tomorrow and then just wait for the verification I need before submitting. 

I paid a few bills of OURS since I was in paperwork mode. 

We met at a local restaurant for dinner with Krista, Nolan, Stacia and GG, Michael and I. They alternate between the valley and Eagle River or Anchorage. It is nice to have Krista home from traveling. 

I rounded out the day by filling out some paperwork the girls' need for college. 

Have you gathered I don't like paperwork nor talking on phones? I'm a face-to-face gal. 

  • A chai break on a cloudy day. 
  • Much accomplished in the realm of paperwork and bureaucracy.
  • Dinner with adult kids - really is one of the best things going these days! 
  • Nice conversation with Michael. 

Monday, July 15, 2024

Ah, Monday.

I was going through some of the organic produce from the co-op and a sweet ladybug climbed out. I have been wanting to order some for the greenhouse - which has aphids. I have been longing to get into the garden, so I took her out and placed her in the greenhouse. I hope she thrives. I must order more. 

I took a quick look around and found more peppers....and little tomatoes. I must get out there and do something about the tomatoes, soaker hose placement and aphids. The neem oil doesn't seem to be helping much. 

I didn't blog last week because I spent every spare moment, the entire week, working on an application packet and financial paperwork, which needs to be completed. I turned it in Thursday afternoon and had one day of relief before hearing I would need to do a bunch MORE financial stuff and turn in the application again if I didn't want it rejected out of hand. Ye GADS. Concise instructions about requirements would have saved me hours of paperwork. 

My early morning tea in the garden, the hour of weeding and yardwork - gone! For the entire week. The garden is a mess. I need to get out there. I have to finish this application.  

I spent a couple hours at home making calls and reworking numbers. I went into the bank and funded a trust. I came home and spent more hours trying to get things to flow from a current account hosted out of state to the trust...much more work to do. I crafted a new cover letter and collected papers to send off tomorrow to a lawyer. In the midst of all this we discovered Dad's wallet was missing. This is not the first time. We searched everywhere - then we thought to ask our Facebook community to pray for grace and sanity in our home and for us to find the wallet. I can't even begin to explain the hours it takes to replace things when he loses his wallet.  I vaguely remembered seeing the wallet by his seat in the van....we searched and didn't find it. Tonight, as we headed to dinner at Nolan and Alex's...I began to just go through the cubbies in the van...and FOUND the wallet.  I am getting SMART this time. I am making a copy of all the important cards in his wallet and keeping that in his file. I'm also probably going to pull some of the essential elements from his wallet and keep them in mine. Maybe. I'm usually the driver and that way we'll not have big panic. I already keep his Medicare cards in my wallet. 

In any event I did not make it out to weed the garden today either. 

Allie was at work. Liv seemed to need a visitor today and so Stacia went in to Eagle River and spent some time hanging out with her. I spent a total of 6.5 hours working on this finance/application mess. I suspect another 3 hours tomorrow. We'll see. I tried so hard to be polite but by the end of the day I found myself telling a state bureaucrat (not one of ours) he was less than helpful, and I would be contacting a lawyer. Which I did. They only asked me to send them a couple of things and THEY will deal with said bureaucrat. They knew EXACTLY what I had experienced and said I'm not the only one who has had this experience. She will handle the matter for free. 

Our surprise invite to Nolan and Alex's home was such a blessing. They fixed a yummy dinner and we watched Hoodwinked. Stacia, and then Allie, both arrived to share dinner and a movie. It was a good ending to a rather unenjoyable day. 

I haven't made it to the garden, but others have. Check this out! I was trying to find netting to cover my berries and couldn't. Michael made this. It's far fancier than anything I imagined. A quick look tells me the new strawberry plants have gone WILD. They are already creeping out of this space.

He thought of EVERYTHING. It has hinges and little legs and a handle so I can flip it up and weed and pick berries. 

Cory has also been in the garden. He extended the height of the pea's trellis. The beans are still not growing. 

And so, I've blogged, and yes, there's more....it's this ongoing sadness...I don't like it. I'm not a sad person. I'm the cheery one that keeps the rest of the family's spirits up... I AM doing well - and yes, I'm sad and I'm tired of saying it over and over...so I took the week off. This flannel Monday I'm reminded the grief journey is not a race. What happens, happens...and God is still good. God is still with me. God carries me along and he's not upset at the pace. 

At least the paperwork is distracting...

  • That which was lost, Dad's wallet, is FOUND! 
  • An invite to dinner at Nolan and Alex's. They put out a good spread. 
  • Helpful women at the bank and the lawyer's office.
  • I found a ladybug which gave me an excuse to get near the garden. 
  • Check out that lovely cover - the next step in the competition with the birds over the berries. 

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Rain Can't Dampen Our Day

My heart woke up this morning longing for and missing Josiah. Yes, we miss him every single day.  However, the emotions are more intense on some days than others. Ironically, I can trace this to several things about to happen, or having just happened, which I know Josiah would have LOVED to be a part of...in other words joy led to this morning's melancholy.  Once again, I'm learning to allow joy/grief...joy/sorrow to exist in the same space. It is sacred. God is good and God meets me so intimately in the place of honesty. 

Yesterday, many of us walked in the Bear Paw Parade on behalf of Jared's campaign for Alaska State Senate. Josiah was such a rock, one of those always cheering in the balcony of our lives, regardless of what we were attempting. He would love to be a part of Jared's race. He would have been in the midst of the parade with his big laugh, and quick comments. As I walked yesterday, I teared up a few times... and realized it wasn't a bad reaction to the rain...I was taking immense joy in the family all together supporting Jared, and yet I missed sharing the day with Josiah.  Yeah - dip netting plans are switching into high gear and that is another space Josiah filled with such joy. Much to feel and think through...

The day began EARLY. Michael left the house at 0700 to meet the guys in Eagle River. I got GG up and ready early. We had thought he would enjoy the parade, but it was raining, HEAVY, and it seemed best to have him stay home.  No one wants to be sick this close to fish camp. Arielle, Ellie and Charles arrived around 0845 to stay with GG.  One of my fun memories of the day is Charles bursting into the kitchen exuberantly declaring, "Grandma, I'm baaaack!" 

Nolan showed up around 0900. We grabbed rain ponchos, candy and the girls, Nolan and I headed to meet up with everyone else at the staging area for the parade. Our gps' were "somewhat helpful" in finding the staging area.  We eventually found everyone.  Larissa and Noah got back to town Friday night, and it was great to see them! 

Carrie ended up with the day off and she, Liv and Ellie (her niece) and Josi joined the parade. 
Carrie and Josi 📷by Carrie

This was Josi's first Bear Paw Parade - and her second parade to "walk" in in her short life. LOL 

Allie and Nolan were all able to join us for this parade. The rain ended up just not making much of an impact. LOL 
Nolan, Stacia and Allie form the umbrella brigade

Some of my gals!

Due to Krista's job she isn't allowed to walk in partisan parades. She DID meet us, stay on the sidelines, take some photos and enjoy lunch with us. She was back up if any of the kids got tired of the parade. 
Parade route 📷by Krista

📷by Krista

Such a great campaigner!
Jared's Bear Paw Team - 📷by Larissa

Mike - our fearless driver. 📷by Larissa

📷by Larissa

Nolan, Jamin, Stacia, Allie 📷by Larissa

📷by Larissa

We headed over to the after party at ACF. There were food trucks, a live band and fun. We arrived early and grabbed some chimis and pizza. Michael left with Jared to set up the parade sign in a gentleman's yard - along the busy route.  The girls and Nolan headed back to the valley. I went with Krista to the base. Jenni met up with me and we went and retrieved her car. I drove Joelle's fancy van back to her house. Jenni drove me back home and we visited a bit. 

I looked out the window and noted Danny with a wagon in the garden. LOL Cory was extending the height of my trellis as the peas are going crazy. The beans - not so much. I can't seem to figure out the secret of beans. They aren't doing well in the beds OR in the greenhouse.  Benny and Danny were excited to show me peas and zucchini. I knew both those were there but then they led the way to the greenhouse. I knew a bell pepper was growing but lo and behold. WHERE did our first sweet pepper come from. I had to send both home with Benny. He was so excited. Danny took home a loaf of sourdough. 

It was a great day and I know today will be too. It will be another day of learning how to authentically accept all life is just now...the joy filled and the grief laden.  

I saw a line of this song posted online...and the rest of the lyrics are instantly with me...Yes, I will make room for what Jesus is doing - when it's joyful, when its sorrowful, and when it's unexpected. 

Make Room 

Here is where I lay it down

Every burden every crown 

This is my surrender

Here is where I lay it down

Every lie and every doubt

This is my surrender

And I will make room for you 

to do whatever you want to

Shake up the ground of all my tradition

Break down the wall of all my religion

Your way is better

Grace Notes: 

  • Fun in the rain at the parade. 
  • Moments of time snatched from a busy weekend to be with Krista, Jenni and Joelle. 
  • Arielle, Cory and family helping out on the home front in so many ways. 
  • No need to water the garden.