Strength. Determination.Love…my girl!

January 2018

Yesterday, we celebrated the anniversary of our daughter’s entry into the world, where she showed us her strength and determination to come 3 weeks early on her brother’s 2nd birthday, fighting the odds….breach, back labored and early! Today, that same strength, motivation and determination saved a small dog’s life.

She was walking her dogs through a woods to the Sandy River where they’ve walked many times, and came upon a situation where a small dog had slipped off the 10-12 feet of ice along the shore into the river. The dog’s owner was already suffering hypothermia from trying to save the dog to no avail. Amy began hammering the ice with a large stick/small log for 20 some minutes trying to break a way. It didn’t look like it would break so she began pushing the ice away. Eventually, weakened by the hammering and pushing, it broke apart making way for the small dog to swim back to shore. Poor thing couldn’t stand up. Amy, along with some bystanders, wrapped him in jackets and began rubbing him to warm him. She told the owner to run back to the car and get it warmed up, as he was pretty much in shock and not thinking straight. Then she ran holding the dog back to the car. Her dogs, thankfully, did not venture out into the water – Blue watched wondering how he could help, and Koda just wanted to play with the stick!

Before she left, she saw the dog stand up in the car and shake it off! She said…mom, I could not watch a dog die. I had to save him! That’s my girl! And…lucky dog!

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Hostess Amy

Thansgiving 2013:

I’m thankful today for my beautiful, creative, fun and lovable daughter Amy Stewart. She’s always been a free spirit and so very different from me, which makes her so delightful! She will try anything and her sense of adventure is unending. She throws herself fully into everything she does. After not celebrating Thanksgiving together for so many years, she has created her own tradition including her many friends who are also “Family-less”! It’s not a surprise that she and JF hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving Day yesterday, starting with soccer warmups in the backyard, a football game in the park, warming up to mulled wine after and then a Fried vs Roasted Turkey Cook-Off. We were exhausted after dinner so we missed the bonfire and desserts and music! Thank you,Amy, for staying in town and making our first thanksgiving in Portland wonderful. (She even brought tears to my eyes setting her (my mom’s) dining room table with mom’s tablecloth, butter dish, song bird plates and antique gravy pitcher). I thank God for you everyday, and for allowing us to live close now. 💞

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Kevin – he’s why we are here!

Many of my friends may not know that this young man is the reason we live in Portland. He is the reason our grandkids were born here. He is the reason our son, Jonathan, moved here about 20 years ago. He is the reason Amy moved here shortly after. If it wasn’t for his deep friendship with Jon, we all wouldn’t be in the Pacific Northwest. Kevin Rauch (the Rauch Factor!) and Jon were best friends since High School, roommates in college at Western Michigan University sharing not only their rooms, but also their degrees! Both had a Bachelors Degree in Field Hydro Geolology. Kevin and Jeanean moved here, Jon visited them, then settled here shortly after. The rest is history. Kevin also was instrumental in getting both our kids to Rock Climb, which is where his first symptoms of ALS were made apparent. Kevin leaves behind his wonderful wife , Jeanean and son, Andrew, who we are happy to have the title of surrogate-PNW grandparents! His own grandparents, Tom & Judy Rauch, live in Michigan. We are so proud of how Jeanean keeps his dad alive for him and how he honors his father daily. He is an extremely gifted young man and loves music, singing and acting! If it weren’t for Kevin, I wonder where we would be?

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Bittersweet Fall

I have always had a Bittersweet, Love/Hate relationship with Fall. The warm colors of the leaves, Sunflowers, crisp, clear air, gorgeous blue skies and clouds draw me in like a warm comforter. .I remember the aromas of Cabbage Rolls and Chili Sauce as I walked home from school…. a block away from our house as mom would be cooking from the fall harvest for us, the family she loved! Oh, and let me not forget her Apple Crisp, the traditional fall dessert that I will keep making, hoping to instill sweet fall aromatic, culinary memories in my kids and grands! That’s the Sweet of Bittersweet!

The bitter part comes with the proclamation that summer has ended, and winter is ahead: my favorite season being wiped out by my least favorite. With it comes endless hours of football on tv (tho when it’s UM, I don’t mind!), cloudy skies and rain, staying indoors a lot (for a sun worshipper, that’s the toughest one!). But I’ll have to admit, going to the Pumpkin Patch with Lilia’s Kindergarten class, Saturday’s at the Farm Markets with all the fall bounty, and day trips to wine country is bound to lift my spirits! As well, a trip to the “canyons and Vegas in November, a possible trip to somewhere warm in mid winter, the fact that Portland is beautiful even in the rain…and sometimes, especially in the rain, the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas with family….will all make the gray skies disappear, and the forecast of a Spring and another Summer Season will get me through! Happy Fall, and I’m reminding myself to find and enjoy the beauty of it all while it’s here!

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This Day! Right Now!

This day…right now….is why I am here! What is happening with you right now? Does it describe why you are where you are…and what you’re doing, and what your purpose is?

Amy and John just left our home after a delightful, spontaneous dinner, on their way home from the beach to pick up her car! Which was here because I spent two days with her, Sophie and her dogs at Cape Lookout, then drove it home! (Longer story!) We had such a lovely time at the beach, the dogs ran circles around each other as the sun set on the beach and a fantastic seafood dinner together as well.

This morning, we met Jon to deliver Lilia after a spontaneous sleepover where I got to do mani/pedis with her, dance at a concert with her, take her to the library, go swimming – and play nonstop at our home for the previous precious 24 hours!

If we still lived in Michigan, none of this would have happened! The moments with family, the new community of friends, the brief moments shared with Amy and Mary, my neighbor, who together share more than you would think a 93yo and 42yo would!

I feel so content, just knowing that I am where I need to be….this day….this moment….right now!

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The Dollhouse Story

The Dollhouse Story, with Amy Stewart!

Once upon a time, there was an 11 year old girl who didn’t want us to sell her house and move to Grosse Pointe Park from St Clair Shores! She set out on a mission to keep her parents from selling their house, like flushing the toilets constantly so we couldn’t afford the water bill, turning on all the lights so we couldn’t afford the electricity bill, and packing her entire closet to “move” to grandma’s house so she would “show us” she wasn’t moving with us! (She unpacked, tho, when it was time for dinner!).

Then, one day in Royal Oak, her momma found this antique doll house that needed a lot of attention, bought it and hid it until moving day (somehow sneaking it into the basement of the new house 🏡 ). All the while tell the 11 yo there was a HUGE surprise for her at the new house! She was SO excited she couldn’t wait for us to close on the house! When we got the keys, she grabbed them and said, “I will be the one to unlock the door when we get there!”

After her excitement of the discovery, the FIRST thing we HAD to do, of course, was go to Ace Hardware and buy paint, and paint it on the picnic table out back, while the moving van and men were moving us in!! Priorities, of course!

The END of the story: the Dollhouse moved with us to Portland, but is no longer a member of the Stewart family. Sadly, there was no room for her in anyone’s house. And at that time, there was no little girl to enjoy it. I hope someone’s little girl is decorating it and playing with it happily, because we now have a little girl who I know would love it.

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You’re Not There…

I Glance for you in the Garden…                                                                                                                       …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I reach to Pet you on the Patio..                                                                                                                       …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I see a “Blob” of Black in the dark…                                                                                                                 …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I look to See your Soul in your eyes…                                                                                                             …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I Feel for the Fluffiness of your  Fur…                                                                                                           …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I look to not Trip while you Trail me…                                                                                                         …you’re not there.                                                                                                                       I walk a mile All Alone…                                                                                                                                   …you’re not there.                                                                                                                     I want to Snuggle while you Sit on my lap…                                                                                                 …you’re not there.                                                                                                                       I Feel for your Fluff by my chair…                                                                                                                   …you’re not there.                                                                                                                       I want to Cuddle on the Couch…                                                                                                        …you’re not there.                                                                                                                                 I want to Hold you in my Heart…                                                                                                                     …and there you are!                                                                                                                                                                  …where you’ll always be…..   


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….You’re Not There

I glance for you in the garden…                 …you’re not there.                                    I reach to pet you on the patio..              …you’re not there.                                     I see a “blob” of black in the dark…      …you’re not there.                                    I want see your soul in your eyes…                                         …you’re not there.                                  I want to feel the fluffiness of your fur…                                               …you’re not there.                                     I walk a mile alone…                             …you’re not there.                                     I want to snuggle while you sit on my lap..                                                                                                  …you’re not there.                                  I reach for your fluff by my chair… …you’re not there.                                  I want to hold you in my heart… …and there you are!                                       …where you’ll always be….. 

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Lessons from a Rose

Life’s lessons from a Rose bush! 
There is something very spiritual about pruning roses! One must cut off the dead blooms so the new buds and blossomed can thrive; when the dead wood is removed, the bush becomes beautiful again; you may get hurt or scratched while pruning; pruning dead flowers and barren branches gives more energy to the new buds; the beauty of a blossom is glorious when new, but doesn’t last and will be replaced with something new; many branches have no buds on them – prune them; once all the dead blossoms and barren branches are pruned off, the lovely new bud is exposed, can see the sun, and thrive!  
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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One year House-iversary! 

It’s been ONE YEAR already since we moved in here!  I can’t believe it!!  It’s the second chapter of our life in Portland! 

We now live an extra 15 minutes’ drive away from the Jon, Lindsay and the grandkids (depending on traffic, it could be an hour!), but are in some ways closer to Amy! 

Repairs, Renovations and Yardwork are our responsibility!  It hasn’t been too bad….we updated the kitchen somewhat, still need to do the bathrooms and landscaping in the back. For now, we are loving our HUGE yard, maintained by the golf course!!  

It is quiet out here, nearly to a fault! I’m loving the. It’s sounds, bullfrogs and geese noises! It’s quite a change from the rattling of the streetcar, sirens and traffic of downtown.  I have learned I can handle and love both!! 

I can see the sunrise and sunset in a much different way here, thankfully, and I would miss the views of each from our balconies downtown terribly if we didn’t !! I do miss the mountain views daily….but they are very much appreciated when we get to see them when we go downtown these days!  

We are much more relaxed with the lower energy-pace of the us community!  Downtown was loaded with the bustle of students, professionals going to and from work, the food carts (yeah – do miss them for a quick easy meal), and transients. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the fact that we have EVERYTHING here!  It is very much like suburbia, with all the convenience stores and big box stores right around the corner, that we had to get in the car to drive to from downtown. We were able to walk or streetcar nearly everywhere for what we needed downtown – coffee shops, entertainment, movies, restaurants and more.  Here, we really DO have to drive just about everywhere. 

Within about a 5 minute drive, we can be driving in some beautiful countryside, farm areas and vineyards!  We really love that! 

We have been able to join the 24 Hour Fitness center which is great for both of us!  And we can bicycle here – as the streets are less congested and bicycle friendly! 

While we need to join more in the social activities, we are slowly getting into a groove here, and meeting our neighbors, who are more like-minded to us!  I am playing piano for our community choir, Jim has golfed some (needs to do more I think ;)), I go to Women’s Club activities and we have joined in some of the other community events, like the Silent Auction and New Year’s Eve party! I love that! 

We are very happy we made this move, and are looking forward to becoming more melded into the community here!  Nicky is learning his boundaries and doing well with home ownership as well!! There are lovely places to walk, gardens to enjoy and friendly neighbors!  Yup! Glad we came here to Claremont Village!!

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