Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sources of Joy - Remembering Grandma Arlene

Sources of Joy - Inspirational Thoughts by Arlene Luell- Stephan

In 2002, my Grandma Arlene put a book together that contained a variety of writings she has done over the years. From her memories of times at Loon Lake to her love of picking wild flowers to life lessons learned by riding her bike - Grandma left this precious book for us all to be inspired by.  The title alone is inspiring to think about one's life and what are your own sources of joy.  

My Grandma Arlene passed away on Friday, May 23, 2014 at the age of 82.   Family and friends have been digging out their own copies of Sources of Joy and reading Grandma's writings.  In one story called "From Sunrise to Sunset", Grandma writes, "Life should be full of love - the main ingredient of living - love of God, love of family, love of nature, love of people."   This is truly how my Grandma lived out her life.  Such a loving soul who could make a new friend anywhere and everywhere she went.  She never forced her religious beliefs onto anyone, but rather lived her life as an example: Love each other.

For such a special Grandma, we tried to find ways to honor her life through her visitation and funeral - however, Grandma was still trying to take care of us and had left a very detailed folder of how she wanted everything to be in case of her death. From the type of flowers on her casket to the type of food after the funeral service - little sandwiches, Jell-O and cake (such a Lutheran :o).  

What Grandma didn't have planned out was for my cousins and I to read from her book.  Amy, Renee and I sat down and picked various quotes and stories to read aloud.  I'm so glad my cousin Renee suggested this, because it added just about 10 minutes to the funeral service.  When the service was over and we walked out of the church and the elementary school across the street was on their lunch recess, which may not have been happening had we not done the readings.  You see my Grandma Arlene was a school teacher in a variety of settings from Kindergarten, to Sunday School to story time at the library - so to hear the kids laughing and enjoying the warm spring sun, we all smiled ( and broke out in tears) because it was just the perfect background sound as we said our last good byes to Grandma. 

My Grandma Arlene had such a deep love for the sunrises and sunsets.
On the day of her funeral, I was awaken suddenly around 4 am and felt the urge to watch the sunrise. I'm so glad I did and captured the picture - I truly believe it was Grandma letting us know that she was in heaven and smiling down on us.  In a special letter she wrote she tells us it's okay to be sad but only for a little while. She wants us to continue to find our own Sources of Joy and to love each other.  
Grandma Arlene was a very special woman that I will be forever grateful to call her my Grandma. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Last Week of School!

YAHOO!!!! We completed our last full week of school and with just 4 days next week with students and then Friday is check out, it's really feeling like summer already.   We are looking forward to June - just doing our thing while Papa works summer school, and then July heading to a Jacobsen family reunion in Montana.  Promises to be a busy summer, but a fun summer!

Mother's Day at Eklutna Lake

Just about 45 minutes from our back yard is this beautiful place. Eklutna Lake is a glacier fed lake - so that water is VERY cold - but the sun was shining and we enjoyed our day.

The kids (yes all 3 of them) had a great time throwing rocks into the water.

After our trip my Mother's Day request was that we stop for ice cream at Cold Stone. 


We grilled some chicken for dinner and then took the kids out for their first bike ride.

It sure was a wonderful day - being out in nature and enjoying time with my family - couldn't ask for anything more.

The end of the school year is always such a stressful time - between making sure students have missing work in, to finalizing my special education paperwork, to just the craziness of the students behavior.  SO - Tuesday nights a ladies hiking group from church meets at 7pm to do some of the local trails.  I need to decompress and since Leif is done with track now and home in the evenings, I decided to go for a hike with the church ladies.

The trail head was just about 15 minutes from Eagle River called Mile High.  We didn't really climb a mile high, but the views were spectacular!

This was one of my favorites because you could see the south side of Eagle River and then all the way to the City of Anchorage sky line.  It was breath taking.   I love that this picture is at 8:30pm! We are having such an amazing spring here in Alaska!!

Update on Grandma Arlene:  They ended up transferring her to Duluth to be closer to specialist.  They had to put her on a ventilator to help get her vitals under control.  They did determine that her pancreas is inflamed but the doctors are not sure what's causing it.  Grandma was able to breath on her own for a couple hours at a time yesterday, so they are hoping to remove the ventilator soon.  My mom had a few days left to finish at her job, and then she can give 100% of her attention to helping Grandma.  Again, thank you for your prayers and continued prayers!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mother's Love

Happy Mother's Day weekend!

This Mother's Day weekend, my thoughts and prayers are with my Mom.  You see, her mom- my Grandma- is in the hospital with what they think is pneumonia, but are in the process of doing more tests as I write this blog because she continues to spike a fever and the doctors are not sure why.  If you are the praying type, I ask that you would lift up Grandma Arlene in prayers for healing and for my mom Julie and Uncle Dave as they care for her. 
 I'm so thankful that my mom is in a place in her life where she does not have to worry about a job and can focus solely on being there for her mom.  I'm thankful that my mom moved back to the town my Grandma lives in to be there for her.  I'm thankful that my Dad supports my mom and encourages her to do whatever she needs to for her mom.  I'm thankful for my Uncle who is also in the same town to help support my mom.  So, while seeing a loved one ill is never any fun, you can see many blessings in the situation - the greatest is the love my family has for each other.  I'm so blessed to be apart of this family.  While I wish I could be closer to be supportive in person, I know that my prayers are being heard. 

Happy Mother's Day to my mom - a woman who has taught me more than I could write down.  The greatest lessons so far: love your family - find special little things to let your family know that you care and love them - find your interests and make time to enjoy them, from hiking to fishing to knitting - that it's okay to make mistakes, recognize what went wrong and do whatever you can to make things right again - to keep your faith strong... I'm sure I will learn many more lessons from my mom as my role as a mother continues to grow and change. 

    As for my own family - this Mother's Day weekend we don't have too much planned.  A lunch date with an expecting mother/friend from Cordova, possibly look at new vehicle for me, maybe hiking... we'll just see what the weekend brings.  The promise of sunshine and warm temperatures, has me wanting to be outdoors as much as possible!  
Whatever this weekend brings, my hope is that who ever you consider a mom in your life, that you would tell them how much you love them and find a way to do something special.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Momma, I don't feel so good...

We kicked off last weekend with Brother being sick.  Feverish all weekend and just not himself by any means.  I took a sick day on Monday to take him to the doctor. Turned out that he had a double ear infection.  So, we got the meds and figured things would turn around.  Stayed home on Tuesday as well because the kids have to be fever free without using any medicine for 24 hours before they can return to day care.  So, Brother was a little bit back to himself on Tuesday morning- he was at least interested in playing with toys for a few minutes at a time.  But, after lunch fever returned and a horrible cough started.  We knew that he has cold induced asthma.  So, we gave him an Albuterol breathing treatment - expecting him to respond as he normally does - but no response.  Poor kid... So, I took Wednesday off as well and we headed back to the doctor.  The doctor decided to give him an oral steroid medicine to get his lungs opened up. When we went in his oxygen level was 92% - not good.  We were back up to 95% by the time we left office- so the medicine did the trick.

Poor little guy was so tired - he just slept the morning away.  By Wednesday afternoon- he was back and I mean back in full force!  While I don't like to see my kiddos sick - it was sorta nice to have a break from the 2 year old temper tantrums.  Oh boy - did we have a temper tantrum Wednesday night - thus, I knew he was feeling much better.

I felt so blessed when I returned to work on Thursday.  One of the classes that I team teach with created Lukkas a get well a card - complete with a puppy sticker on the inside!  -Completely driven by one of the students with a very precious message inside -it just touched my heart. 

So, with Brother on the mend, we were looking forward to enjoying a beautiful weekend.  The warm weather has set in and the long days make it feel like summer is here.

Our sun setting at 10pm! 

However, the sickness continues...

Now Sister has the fever and a horrible cough.  Sigh.... looks like we'll be resting up and disinfecting everything in the house this weekend.  Papa and I are also coming down with the cold... so the Jacobsen house is officially quarantined until we are all healthy again!