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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Lilia is no longer two and a “hop”!

Lilia the Little Pot Licker cleaning up after making her birthday cake!! Today is the big day, baby girl, when you turn ThREE!! Little did we know when you were born in the 5 pound range and we spent all our energy making sure you were eating and sleeping and thriving what a big personality you would become! You love to sing, constantly (grandma loves that part), you always hold our hands when unsure, you know how to “get” your brother and don’t let him “get” you, you love to play tea-party and you always make us smile! We love your version the ABC’s and Baa Baa Black Sheep bitty bitty boo!! While I can’t wait to see what a lovely version of yourself you will be when you grow up, I’m perfectly content to keep you at 3 for a long time!! You are no longer “two and a hop”!! 
We love you, snug-a-bug-a-wug-a-bug!! (And she can even say that!) 


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True Story! 

Grand kid Update: 


When we have both kids at the apartment, Jim takes Benjamin on a Streetcar Adventure (usually to Target for a toy!) during Lilia’s nap. So yesterday they head out and Benjamin says, as they see a streetcar car pull up in front of the building,  “Grandpa, is that the Streetcar we are supposed to take?”  Grandpa says,  “oh no… We won’t make it!”  With that Benjamin yells, “Run, Grnadpa….RUN!” And with that he takes off!  (I would have loved a video of this!)  So …… grandpa runs yelling, “Don’t get on without me!”  They get to the door and it closes in front of them.  And the next second, it opens again for them!  High fives around!! 


I’m noting the date – two weeks ago Lilia started to say, Ben-Ja-min, instead of the cute, sweet little baby word, Bam-mem.  There goes baby talk, one word at a time! 

And look at how this 2 yo holds her crayon!! How ’bout that!!?

Yeah! These two!

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Happy New Year 2015!

We hope you had a lovely Christmas Holiday celebrating the birth of our Lord with family and friends.  And ….. wish and pray for you a healthy and happy New Year.jiim me dec 14

Amongst our travels, Jim and I  were able to spend some time on Vancouver Island, Canada this past summer,  and later we visited Astoria, Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Amy and I took a fantastic Alaska Cruise this past summer as well (we got in on a great friends-and-family deal).  It was absolutely breathtaking…..and spending over a full week with her was incredible!hot tub me and amykayaking

After a year and a half living here in Portland, we finally feel like residents, having experienced our 2nd Christmas here.

I’ve asked myself…..What makes it feel like home?  Well, Jim is here 🙂  The kids include us in their lives and it just feels like family; We get to see Benjamin and Lilia 2-3 times per week – and when they come to the apartment, they walk in like it’s their home too! (You’ll have to get Benjamin’s permission to use “his” room if you come to visit!);


We have a “home” church and are getting to meet some people there;  I joined the gospel choir and that is quickly starting to feel like a musical family to me;  I have a couple of new lady friends that I’m anxious to get to know better;  We had a “Penthouse” Party the first weekend of December and 16 people showed up!!!  People here are starting to know us because of Nicky!  The Office Manager knows us by name and chats with us all the time!  Portland has become “home”!me and bjamin

Jim was able to go to see his team (MSU) play against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene. The outcomewas not what he would have liked, and they really need to get a handle on how to handle traffic around here….but it was great being with Jon & Lindsay all day!

msu game vs ducks

I started a new home business in Direct Sales this year with Jamberry Nails and it has grown like CRAZY, as I am now a Team Manager of 27 lovely ladies!  It’s an online Facebook business, and as Amy puts it – I’m on FB alot, so I may as well make some money at it!  It’s fun for me, paid for Christmas, and keeps me busy….busy enough so that Jim is learning how to cook much better and with a greater list of “go-to” meals than he had before!

me Nov 14

We are also blessed with wonderful “out-laws”!! Jon’s in-laws are lovely people who opened up their home to us in Rogue River to join them for Christmas this year.  It is the first time in about 16 years that we were able to be together as a complete – (and even completer family with Joe and Penny Carstensen) – family for Christmas!

We send prayers with this greeting for a wonderful year ahead and hope to see you somehow along the way!  You are always welcome here!



Lamplugh Glacier, Alaska

Jim and Jan Stewart

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Cameo of Lilia

Lilia loves to look at the crystal and Lladros and Lenox vases in my glass footed China Cabinet in the hallway. One time she came to me, Lladro in hand, and I had to tell her…those are grandma’s… And put it away.

The other day I saw her lurking around it and looking wide-eyed again at the cabinet. I think she was waiting for me to go somewhere to make her move!

Instead I came over to her, crouched down, and asked, “Do you want to see Grandma’s pretty things?” Big smile and a yes head shake was her reply.

I opened the glass door and one by one took each figure out, and let her touch them gently, and put them away. She was very gentle and I wish I could have captured the look on her face! But that will stay in my memory. We closed the case, and as we walked away she pointed to a cobalt glass vase with 18k gold etching, as if to say, “We didn’t look at THAT one!”

I said, “Next time!” She was good with that! I think we will be doing this often! After all, one day they will be hers.

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Miss you Bonnie!

We are blessed!

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Remembering Mom – one year later


Remembering Mom today. A year ago today, she passed from the earth to her Heavenly Father. The evening before, I found out she was failing fast, made my flight plans for the next day to get to her to say goodbye. I didn’t make it. She breathed her last breath while I was flying. She was not alone though. Erin Smith, her girls and Glenna Wotherspoon made sure of that. My dear friend Glenna held her hand till she was gone.

She was loved while she was here, and loved as she passed. Tammy Fluegge, my niece and Mom’s granddaughter, too, was hoping to say goodbye, but arrived later that evening. But she was by my side the rest of the week as we made plans for her Memorial Service.

I love you, Mom, and miss you. I learned SO much from you and see you in both of our children, and all your grands, and even in Benjamin and especially Lilia. Amy is having her own little private memorial for you today since she was unable to be there last year….so look for her.




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