Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Few Of His Favorite Things.....

Joe has been enjoying his new home in heaven for nine months now. He started on that journey October 22nd just about now. A Saturday, such as today at 1:42p.m. My heart was broken, I thought beyond repair. But that wasn't true. I'm slowly healing. I have times when flashbacks of him being so sick overwhelms me and the tears flow freely. But a trusted friend said when that happens, think of happy times we had. Sweet, funny and treasured memories. In doing that, there are more smiles than tears now.  One of our favorite movies was "Sound of Music" and the song My Favorite Things. And today I chose to show pictures of some of Joe's Favorite Things.

A vehicle that was spotless inside and out. For our RVer friends, Yes that's a bottle of the Solution in his hand.

He loved working in the yard. Our landlord told him one time, "Joe you can be gone six months at a time and your yard looks nicer than someone who is home every day"!
A yellow rose bush was always his favorite
He loved pitching horseshoes

And participating in tournaments

Pickleball was another of his favorite things.
His happy place was behind the wheel
And sunshine always put a smile on his face.
who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much:
who has gained the respect
of intelligent men
and the love of children;
who has filled his niche
and accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better
than he found it,
who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had........
That was my Joe.

Bye for now.

I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beautiful Day For a Family Reunion

I spent a very enjoyable week at The Multnomah Holiness Campground
To the very far left of the picture is the side entrance to the very large tabernacle. The campgrounds is a 20 minute drive from my home. I went each morning,came home at noon then returned for the evening service at 7:00PM. 
Friday I got to care for two special little grandsons. They just happened to love VBS (Vacation Bible School) And wonderful for Grandma Betty because the campgrounds had VBS all week. Here they are waiting for the doors to open.

After I checked them in I took a few pictures. They fit right in. They have been to VBS at their own church before. It worked out great for me because VBS is the same time as morning chapel.

Today was the Tarr Family reunion. Tarr being Joe's mom's maiden name. What was so special about the reunion this year was where it was held. Clackamette Park in Oregon City. Which just happens to be where Joe's Horseshoe club meets, practices and holds tournaments. I knew it might be tough for me so I took care of that as soon as I got up this morning. I prayed. It will sound familiar to those who read this blog regularly. "Dear Lord, Thank you that you will give me the strength, courage, peace and comfort as I need it to get through the day today."

If I counted right, over the years, Joe's name is on here three times.

This is Joe's daughter Kelly. When her dad died, I gave her his horseshoes, and hook and other horseshoe memorabilia. Keeping in mind the prayer I prayed earlier. When I saw that gray bag, and that red, white and blue hook, that pain came back that I experienced the day he died. The ache, the broken heartedness....... I tried to choke back the tears  but I couldn't. The shoes were there, the hook was there, but my Joe wasn't there.But the tears didn't last long. Then the second part of that prayer came into being. The comfort, of those around me who understood, (I call that Jesus with skin on) and then the peace. 

The rest of the day was filled with joy and peace watching the family pitching shoes,

Enjoying the fact that Julie and Bob won the tournament (and Julie's name will go on that trophy board yet again) .

Some of the family members had to leave early but this is a photo of the majority of those attending the reunion.
When the Lord provides the comfort and peace, He does a REALLY good job of it!  This is Carmen Rose McMenamy meeting her "Auntie Betty" for the first time. 

When I decided to keep blogging I changed the title from Joe and Betty's Adventures to The Journey Continues....documenting the many firsts that happens when the love of your life dies and you journey on as a widow. My prayer was that my sharing would help someone on this journey. 
It was another first today. First Tarr family reunion without my Joe. I didn't really want to go. So many memories, all good.  It was just a gray bag that held Joe's horseshoes, and  a hook painted red white and blue. But it really wasn't just a gray bag.... I bought him that bag when he became a member of the Oregon Horseshoe Pitchers Association. He was so proud of it. And the hook..... I remember when he painted it. It was a very special hook. A friends dad made it from an old golf club. And a wooden clothes pin with his name on it ....Kelly wondered what it was for. "just part of the uniform" He would clip it to his score card and clip it to his cap so he wouldn't loose it. I never know when my emotions will rear their ugly heads and the tears will come. But it isn't as often as it used to be.  
Bye for now,
                          I'll love you for ever and for always
                                                                                Your Betty Girl

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Special Friends and family, Special Gifts

Early Saturday morning my friend Ruth and I set out for Bend, Oregon. I was at the wheel. I had a goal to accomplish. Driving there and back myself. Ruth is very familiar with both Bend and my car and if I felt I had driven enough she could have easily finished the trip home. Besides that, she's great company. My reason for going to Bend was Oregon State Doubles Horseshoe Tournament.  Joe's Horseshoe club was participating in it. I made many friends in the years Joe pitched and I felt it was time to go back and say hi to those I didn't see at a tournament in Oregon City a couple weeks ago. Quite a few of them were at Joe's Celebration of Life but at that time I wasn't in any shape to visit with them.
I titled this blog "Special Friends, Special Gifts". Ruth has been my friend for nearly 20 years.  She was with me when Joe died. The Lord brought her into my life  at a very dark, difficult time in my life. We have prayed together, cried and laughed together and traveled together. And when I married Joe.... she was my one attendant.  She has a giving, compassionate heart. A true and safe friend the Lord gave me in a time when He knew I needed one the most.

But that wasn't the only reason I wanted to come to Bend. My friend Sandra took time out of her busy schedule to come to Juniper Park where I was to visit for a while. I I first met Sandra at a craft Sale in Bend at the Thousand Trails Park. She was promoting and selling her books. You see....she is one of my favorite authors. Here is a link to where you can see Books Sandra Has Written. I love her books because she researches the history behind the stories. Once I start a book she has written, it is hard to lay it down until I finish it.  But the story only gets better. Sandra and her husband Ed are pickleball players and Joe played pickle ball with them.  After pickleball one morning, Sandra came riding up on her bike to our motor home and we had a nice visit and have continued that friendship via notes and letters. Sandra has sent me a beautiful card/letter every week since Joe died. Notes of encouragement. "Newsy" notes sharing with me what she is up to.  I look forward each week going to the post office to see what  news or words of encouragement she sent this week. She encourages me in my writing. Now coming from a professional writer, that just "blesses the socks off me" Even though I knew she was going to meet me at Juniper Park that day, there were tears as she walked across the grass to give me a big hug. Tears of thanksgiving for a friend such as Sandra.  The Lord has placed many friends, each with their own special talents and gifts in my life to help me on this journey of learning to live life as single person again.Thank you Sandra. Thank you for your part in the healing of my broken heart. 
Sunday, July 9th Camp Meeting started . I grew up going to camp. Kids Camp, Girls Camp, Teen Camp, and a week of good old fashion Camp Meeting. I love it. For many years in my adult life, I wasn't able to go. Camp Meeting is in Portland , Beautiful Grounds, Big Tabernacle, and Dining Room, facilities for those who want to stay on the grounds for the full week, activities for the kids and teens, morning missions and Bible teaching, and each evening an evangelistic service. Sweet memories of years past. It's been a crazy busy week but so far I have only missed one morning and evening service. I drive back and forth from home but it's only 20 minutes. 
Meet Daisy Mae. I was visiting my daughter out in the country not far from where I live. Sheila was showing me her garden. Beautiful flowers and vegetables. Daisy is a virtual lawn mower.  When I looked up she was laying in the cold ashes of the fire pit, but jumped up before I could take the picture. 
Sheila has something I have always yearned for. A butterfly tree  AND Monarch butterflies. Do you see the beautiful Monarch on the tree? Sheila has always loved animals. At the moment she has Daisy the goat, chickens, dogs and a cat and unlike her momma,  she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. Thus the beautiful garden. 

Meet my friend Nancy. She is also a blogger. That is how I met her. We met her in person the last year Joe could travel. I learned from her blog that she was in the same RV park we were. So before we headed home we contacted her and told her we were in the park and would like to meet her in person before we left. I have to tell you this lady has an adventurous spirit! She lives in the Merced, CA area and Tuscon, AZ but in the summer time it is way to hot to stay in either place. I'm in awe of her. She drives a 40' Class A RV and tows a Jeep behind, and travels with two dogs and a parrot. Her last long trip was to Alaska and back. She did travel with another couple for that trip. She is going to spend a couple of months on the Oregon/Washington Coast.

Her rig is the black and silver looking one.  I love it when she pulls that huge machine up, backs it in to a spot only as big as her rig!! Joe loved it too because that's the size the Greyhound buses he drove were. I tell you Nancy is one classy lady. The only thing I did was sit in the drivers seat of our little Class C 23ft rig. Nope I never did drive it...... I didn't even drive the car except to the grocery store or Post Office. Joe's happy place was behind the wheel and I wanted my Joe happy!!! That's why it has been difficult for me to start driving long distances... but as you read above, Saturday the round trip to Bend was 360 miles.  My goal is to get on the freeway and drive to my sisters home in Bonney Lake, Washington. In time I WILL do it. There is just so much traffic on the freeways.

Cooper loves his "momma" He hopped up on Nancy's lap and sat there the whole time I was there. I was sitting on her couch petting her other dog Jesse, who decided my sweat jacket would make a wonderful, comfortable place to rest on and besides I was rubbing her tummy. So she didn't get her picture taken this time. She is an adorable Jack Russell. I also didn't get a picture of Jonathan the parrot. He was so funny. He kept saying phrases like he was being part of our conversation. 

I failed to tell you earlier that I didn't drive to Seaside. At this point in time I can't even begin to imagine ever driving through Portland, Over the bridges, through a tunnel, 95.7 miles to Seaside. I was bemoaning the fact to my son David how I wished he didn't have to work on this particular day and how I wished I was brave enough to do that because I had a blogger friend there that I would like to connect with.  He called me back in a few minutes and said he took the day off  ( operates Max train for TriMet) After 23 + years with them, he has five weeks vacation and can take a day off now and then. Lucky me huh? Anyway, so he said we were going to Seaside but we'd have the little boys, 7 and 10 ( his step sons) and 19 year old step daughter with him too. That's ok with me. I love all three of them. Besides, more people more fun right?  So off we went. While I was visiting with Nancy he took the kids and Cassie to the beach. After an hour he came back and picked me up and off we went to find a place for lunch. Are you ready? We ate at the Crabby Oyster. Great menu and the food was good and the service was great even though they were busy and training new servers. 

After lunch we took a couple of chairs and  the three adults enjoyed watching the boys play in the sand for an hour before heading back to Portland. It was a beautiful day. Thank you David.  Tomorrow I look forward to spending time with my oldest son Mike, and granddaughter Heather.He's coming over to take some measurements for something he's building for me. But he won't tell me what it is. I asked Heather to bring her Ukulele so I can practice a few more chords on my Ukulele. Special family, special gifts.
 It's a full morning. Routine Dr. appointment  followed by morning Camp Meeting services, then a visit with Mike and Heather, followed by going to Phil Knight Cancer center to meet Barb, the creator of the  Joe Bear's.For those of you who don't know what "Joe Bear's are, please refer to the previous blog. They needed a couple of adjustments. I'll get home just in time to take a little nap,grab a bite to eat, water my flowers and head out for evening camp meeting. 
As I said earlier, It's a crazy busy week. But I see growth in my "new normal" life. More smiles less tears. It will soon be nine months since Joe died.  I still have a rough time in moments of being alone. Not lonely. I see growth in my wanting to expand my borders as far as driving. It makes me feel more independent. I want to keep my independence as long as I am physically able to do so. And when the time comes if/when I can't. the Lord has already made provisions for that time.  
I grew up singing an old song. But the words are still good for today.
I Don't Know About Tomorrow
Click here

Bye For Now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Treasured Gift I Will Cherish Forever

During the time Joe was having chemo we spent a lot of time on the third floor of the Pavilion at Portland Adventist Medical Center. It's  leased by OHSU Phil Knight Cancer Institute.  The Oncology team became like family to us. After Joe died, I would stop by now and then to say hi. The lady in the pictures is Barbara. When Joe would come in, it was her responsibility to take his vitals, weigh him, and take us to a room to wait for the Dr. When the Dr. visit was finished she would get him settled in his recliner and give him a warm blanket before the nurses came to start his infusion.  Barbara can do "magic" things with material. Including articles of clothing for preemies, quilting etc.  Months later, after Joe was gone, on one of my visits, I had learned she made a teddy out of a man's shirt for the son of one of the nurses.  The wheels in my head started turning.  I asked her if I could hire her to make me a couple. ..... I just happened to have two of Joe's shirts hanging in my closest that I couldn't let go of. The following pictures are of the first "Joe" Bear. 
When she pulled him out of her bag, yes, I couldn't hold the tears back. One of the nurses happened to come around the corner just in time to take some pictures on my iPhone. Because we weren't posing, some are blurry but thank you Janet for "capturing the moment"

A close up of Mr. Joe Bear

The Patch on the back of Joe Bear's Vest is one of his horseshoe championship patches.
 Tomorrow we are going to have dinner together at a new hamburger place in Happy Valley not far from where I live. Killer Burgers. There, she will give me the other Joe Bear, made from the 2nd shirt. I can hardly wait to see it. Two Shirts, Two Bears. No, she refused to let me pay her.....A treasure I will surely cherish forever. From the deepest part of my heart Barbara, thank you.
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl