Monthly Archives: April 2006


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Parina Cota, Chile (Northern Atacama Desert, Andes)

Click on photo for a close up

A little history: The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world and ranges from the northern tip of Chile down to about Vallenar. I spent 1 1/2 years in this region serving a mission for my church. This is a very old community, consisting of an old church and a few houses, pictured here, that we stopped to see as we traveled to the northern most lake, Lake Chungara. As far as I know it is still occupied.
For a little more information (and additional photos) about Northern Chile you can read this previous post: Phenomenon.

(also, I posted late in the day last week, so if you didn’t see the pic and want to, just scroll down below the pics of my daughter and you’ll find it. Or you could just click on silly in the recent posts over on the sidebar, heh.)


Filed under Chile, Photography

The Ballerina

It sits upon a shelf. I grasp it delicately to lift down lodging dust free that tickles my nose and teases a sneeze. It is old, once a gift to my mother from my father. The cracks are still visible from many breaks caused by little chubby fingers unable to resist its enchantment. A fine porcelain music box, “The Ballerina” as we always called her. Arms arching gracefully her head tilted, delicate, refined. She is on Pointe and wants to draw me to my toes. Her white tutu is speckled with gold and seems to shimmer as she dances across the pond. A swan sits by her feet as she skirts the floating lily, the flower now all but gone. Etched in white waves circle the base. I twist it ever so gently, one, two, three times, and then a few more. As I release the girl, captive in my fingers, she begins her dance in a stationary circle as the haunting melody of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” fills the room. It washes over me carrying me back to days of pigtails and my own red tutu. My feet wish to take flight, but not knowing the steps I step back to enjoy the ballet before me of a little girl’s dreams.

I never took ballet, though I believe my sisters did at one point. They, mainly Heidi, took it upon themselves to teach me, and even their unwilling brothers some of the steps. I liked the leaps. I would leap across the room as my sister in exasperated tone, would chide me, “Not, now Julia, why must you forever be leaping. This is the part where the princess must swoon.”

“I am not the princess, but the prince, leaping to save her from the knights!” and I leap across the room once more falling into battle with my brothers as the clashing of invisible swords fills the air with chaos and laughter.

“You must be the princess, you are the smallest and easiest to lift. Now, Kimball pick her up and spin her this way.” She demonstrated a delicate turn as Kimball grasps my hand and begins to spin me wildly around the room, our laughter infectious. My arm flung wide, faster and faster, until my hand connects with a million sharp needlepoints of pain. My eyes grow round and wide, my mouth forming an “O”. Lisa gasps an “oh dear!” and Heidi an all knowing, “Well, you’ve done it now.” Paul begins to laugh as worry creases Kimball’s brow.

“I’ll pull them all out, J. You won’t tell mom and dad on me will you?”

It had been an accident. I wouldn’t tell, though I cringed for the better part of an hour while Kimball pulled cactus spine after cactus spine out of my hand with a teeny pair of tweezers.


Filed under Farm Stories, Goofs, Memory, Writing

I am – a meme

I saw this on Perpetual Chocoholic’s site and thought to myself, “why not, it’s been ages since you did one of these meme things anyway . . .” 🙂 (Then I saw it on Sariah’s site and it made me smile)

I am: slowly going crazy, if I am not there already! 🙂

I want: my children to listen to me for one whole hour, but in the event that that may never happen (heh) I’ll take financial stability. 🙂

I wish: I had time to do and accomplish all that I want to do

I hate: hypocrits, spiders, and brussel sprouts

I miss: my brain. I figure i’ve syphoned off a quarter of it to each kid and that leaves me with zlich! heh 🙂 Having it all together, I seem so scatter-brained of late and forgetfull.

I fear: strange noises at night when nobody is home and I’ve only my imagination to keep me company and silence when all of my children are about because I know that someone has hatched a new plan . . .

I hear: music wherever I go unless it is drowned out by screaming children

I wonder: if I am really doing my best at mommyhood, why drivers feel the need to drive 10 miles below the speed limit, and if I would make a good pirate. Arrr!

I regret: flying off the handle when a certain child is cutting hair, spraying pam, eating tums, playing with diaper cream, snitching food . . . (the list could go on and on and on and . . .)

I am not: all that and a plate of cookies, I’m not even the plate of cookies. 🙂

I dance: with my husband in the kitchen

I sing: when no one can hear me (except family that is)

I cry: when I am spent, frustrated, and lost and in private (that public crying thing just doesn’t work well for me)

I’m not always: kind and considerate to those who mean the most to me, but I’m trying 🙂

I make with my hands: music, and a bunch of other stuff too

I write: when I need to escape

I confuse: my children’s names constantly

I need: to get my brain and sanity back (heh. maybe that should be under “I wish”)

I should: quit procrastinating and write my writing assignment for my writing group tonight, and clean my house, and finsh my laundry, and . . .

I start: a lot of things, but mainly the car when I have to run everyone in ten directions.

I finish: doggedly when I have my mind set on it

I tag: my kids in the back yard, if I can catch them that is! 🙂


Filed under Meme


Weekly Anamnesis #20

I looked down in horror at my hands, every finger bent and crushed beyond recognition. I would never play the piano again. Never feel the music course through my body as my soul soared and my passion consumed me. The weight of my emptiness pressed down upon me, suffocating, hot, I couldn’t breathe, and darkness was pressing upon me from every corner . . .

I ripped the covers from off my face and sat up in my bed, gasping for air. The memory of the dream quickly receding into nothingness, and yet I quickly checked my fingers to be sure that they were in tact. I am sure every pianist has a dream similar to this at least once in her life.

I have never broken an arm or finger; I have never had any injury that stopped me from playing the piano. Except tendonitis, and I just take my brace off and play anyway when I feel like it. That is why the enormity of this week’s accident didn’t register with me until long after the event.

It was Elizabeth’s birthday and we decided to have a special birthday trip up the Columbia River Gorge. We drove with my parents, and my brother and his family came along as well. It was a beautiful sunny day and we hiked to numerous falls with the children, their giggles and chatter dancing with the breeze along the trails. Jacob soft babble tickled my ear from his perch in the backpack. We arrived back at the cars after our last hike and were trying to get everyone loaded. All the doors were open, and placing my hand on the narrow part of the van between the open driver’s door and the open sliding door, I leaned in to check on Emily and Elizabeth’s progress and to be sure they were getting buckled in.

It didn’t register when it happened, though an “ow!” escaped my lips when I heard dad hop in and shut his door. When I tried to move to see what was going on my hand was stuck. I just looked at my hand, all the fingers disappearing under the edge of the door. “Umm, dad? My hand!” I spoke so calm, he didn’t comprehend what I was talking about until he saw my hand. With an exclamation of horror he flung his door open and my husband came running to inspect the damage. I should have been scared to death. I should have felt pain and been inspecting each finger for breaks. But I hadn’t felt any pain. In fact it had felt like my fingers had been trapped in pillows. They had escaped completely unscathed and I felt no pain as I flexed each finger in turn.
“There will be bruising for sure,” my dad said as we all realized with dismay that I was to play a piano solo the next day in church. “They feel fine dad, and they don’t even hurt to touch!”

My fingers were and are fine, and I played my piano solo without a hitch. A miracle to me, and a realization that my talent and love for the piano is not just important to me, but important to the Lord as well. Oh, and I will watch where I put my hand from now on too!


Filed under Anamnesis, Miracles, Music, Writing


Weekly Anamnesis #19

I loved to draw as child, though much of my drawing was simply a copy of already existing cartoon characters. I was confined to what I could see with little creativity to add. I could not figure out how to take the same character and orchestrate their bodies into a different pose, which caused much frustration to my young mind. My father is a spectacular artist through natural talent and ability and really never had any classes on art, somehow I just missed that particular boat (along with singing).

I decided to take an art class in high school, hoping for some guiding hand to show me the way. My teacher, unfortunately, was mediocre at best and we were confined to drawing and rather middle school level at that. I do remember one illustration I did. We had to find a house in a magazine and draw it in ink. I called mine “Haunted” as it was mostly black with a rather eerie air about it. It is not fantastic or perfect or incredible. In fact I hated it, though my parents argued vehemently that it was quite good. But they are parents, and prone to love our creative endeavors. Some one must have liked it though. It ended up somehow in a highschool art show at a library 20 minutes away. That town’s newspaper put it in their article about the show. I had no idea until one day a letter showed up from a church member in my mailbox.

He had included a copy of the article and my illustration, with a hand written sticky note attached, “Great work!”

Maybe some day I will finally take that art class or have time to sit idly trying to draw, but not at present. I still have that newspaper somewhere, and maybe even the orginal. I didn’t keep them because they were great, but more because some cared enough (who wasn’t related or obligated in any way) to encourage me.


Filed under Anamnesis, Memory, Writing, Youth

Elizabeth is 7!!

We had a rip-roarin’ birthday celebration today for our oldest girl. We spent a fun filled day hiking in the Columbia River Gorge (I’ll have to post pictures tomorrow or Monday) and the took the kids out to see Ice Age the Meltdown, what a hoot! The years have flown by so fast it is hard to remember when she was actually this small!

I remember holding you when you were first born. SO delicate, so tiny. I had never held a baby so new from God before. My heart was filled with awe and amazement that you were mine. I held you so close that first night and you snuggled in my arms. Falling asleep to the beating of my heart. You enchanted me and made me yours.

Quiet and refined, yet charming and playful your personality was shines.

Lover of giggles and lots of flowers .

There’s that tongue! The real reason you are nicknamed Lizard. 🙂

I love this picture it seems to capture your soul.

There’s mischeif in those pigtails!

My little lady.

Grown so big! It is almost impossible to believe! Happy birthday! 🙂


Filed under Children, Lizy, Poetry, Writing


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I’m posting late today, be were celebrating Elizabeth’s birthday and this is my first chance to get to the computer. 🙂 I had a hard time choosing and finally settled on this one of my hubby. He was playing dress up with the girls. 🙂


Filed under Photography

Pixie? or Puck . . .

What a gorgeous day! Spring has sprung, it was warm, sunny and the air smelled of cut grass mingled with daffodils and tulips. I sent the kids outside to play and enjoy the fresh air. I just didn’t see the kid scissors that Dot smuggled outside with her. She proceeded to chop off all of Emmy’s hair (all those curls I adored!) and hacked away at her own:

I’m afraid I was just a tad bit upset. Heh, more like a screaming, raving, lunatic. LOL! The kicker is that we have pictures scheduled with my photographer friend next month. 🙂 Thank goodness for hairdressing friends. 🙂 She came and fixed it all up for me. End result: (sorry the lighting isn’t the best, we had to use the video camera)


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Goofs, Parenting

Solar Flare

Fists pound the empty air;
Defeat entwines with chords that bind.
Silent hours of repair

Do not exist where
Exasperation and distress find
Fists. Pound the empty air!

Anger licks a solar flare.
Sparks erupt when spirits declined
Silent hours of repair.

Petulance ebbs to despair,
And upon the weight in one’s mind
Fists pound. The empty air

Falls heavy. Hearts are aware
As souls are chastened and aligned.
Silent hours of repair

Ameliorate through ardent prayer.
Chasms bridged; no more do blind
Fists pound; the empty air
Silent. Hours of repair.

-J.H. Schmidt

(This poem is a form called a villanelle)


Filed under Poetry, Writing


I must say, this Easter was much happier than last Easter. Though it was well past the anniversary of Jacob’s surgery (if unfamiliar and would like the story they can be found in my heart links section, top two links), the holiday will always be the day we remember little Jacob’s heroics. I love Easter eggs and bunnies and all the yummy food that has to do with Easter, but I find myself even more drawn to the miracle of Easter. This year as we remembered Christ who was risen on that Easter morn so long before, we also celebrated the life of our son who was saved on Easter day.

We drove up to the hospital to help our church serve the Easter dinner prepared for the Pediatric floor, PICU, NICU patients, families, and staff. We had been up on past holidays since Jacob’s surgery, but this was our first Eater. A flood of memories hit me as we saw many of the same people giving of their service and I was overwhelmed by gratitude. Not just for their service the year before, but to have come so far and reached this point where we were able to give back to others what we had received so generously. More than serve food we talked. We talked with a couple whose infant son was experiencing similar things we had the year prior and tears were shed as we understood each other and they left feeling stronger because of it. To make a difference awakes in me a realization that I have a purpose of importance.
We talked with others and helped cheer the spirits of children worried for family members. It was a miracle of a day filled with joy and gratitude. A true Easter, celebrating God’s love for all of his children.

One other thing that was special is that we popped our heads into the ICU to see if there were any nurses we knew. We hadn’t expected to find anyone really, not on a holiday, but we were greeted with our favorite nurse who changed our lives so much during the experience, and four other wonderful nurses, one of which works in our hometown ER as well and was in the ER the day we brought Jacob in. It was an incredible moment for all of us to see how far Jacob had come and how big and grown-up he was getting. Just another reason for rejoicing.

Things were busy enough however that we didn’t have a chance to get all of our Easter festivities done, so we get to celebrate all the funness of the holiday this evening. We are grateful for amazing miracle and an amazing year. 🙂

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Filed under CHD, Family, Heart, Jacob, Religion, TGA