~Far Far Away II quilt completed and I missed you~

It is fall all the way here in Memphis.  This is my time of the year. I love the fall season so much, but something has certainly been off… I miss you.  Maybe I will stop by from time to time to check.  Perhaps share a little of  this and a little of that.

 

I thought about starting a new blog, but it did not feel quite right.  My heart lies here I suppose.

Here is a little quilt I’ve been working on the past few months. Yes, months.  It was a slow process because I worked on it in small stages.  Piecing the blocks, framing them in the linen. I really wanted to hand quilt the whole quilt but my technique is not quite up to par.  I decided to go with a whimsical loopy scroll.  I really like it. 

What I  like the most is that I have finished something, took pictures and more importantly felt as if I had something to say. This is huge I tell you.

Here’s to a happy and warm fall, and a full heart.

*Better pictures in Flickr  and here’s hoping Santa brings us a new camera this Christmas!!

~Happy Easter~

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right…
~Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”

We sat underneath the oaks..

gazed upon the garden view…

~sat together and swung on our old friend the swing..

~we brought a meal to share together…

Great granddaughter’s loving their GG…

Young and old spending time together.  Talking, sharing, and laughing with little women…

fresh air on our feet….

What could be better on this beautiful Easter day?

I hope whatever your day brought you today was just as wonderful as ours.

Happy Easter!

~7 already~

~Emma Rose Stark~

How in the world can  you be 7? I remember as if it was just yesterday.  I let your dad take me to the hospital late one Friday night, very begrudgingly. I did not think I was in labor until  I was standing at the counter checking in.  The lady just kind of smirked saying we’ll see if your really in labor, your too calm for that.   I just laughed to myself.

Yes, you were born just about and hour and a half later, by caesarean section. You were breach and just determined to come out your own way.  You do things your own way even to this day.

What a pleasure it was to meet you and hold you and call you our own.  We waited so long and you  filled our lives with such joy in these past seven years.

You are our littlest angel.  You are the little sister that Sara prayed many years for.

You are joyous and full of imagination. You play and play for hours with games you make up yourself.  You are never bored.

 

You are a driving force in our family. You have expectations that must be filled. You insist we have tea parties and celebrations. You insist on beach parties in the back yard. 

You love all animals, especially our doggies. You grew up right in the middle of them and they are your constant  companions.

You are always ready for an adventure.

You love to be playing outside.

You have spent endless hours creating fairy houses. Decorating them and watching and waiting to spy a fairy. Even at seven you like to create little special places and your own little games.

You are such a special person and you have such a special place in our little family. You are a gift that we treasure.  We are richer for having you in our lives.

~our littlest angel, your growing up so fast.

Never lose your wonder little girl.

Or your joy~

We love you!

~Quiet Moments ~

This holiday season is going so fast. I have so much I want to do, but sadly I am not able to do it all.  I feel fine with this. Tis true.

I am going to slow down and enjoy each moment that comes my way.

  ~literally~

This has been a hard year for my family, but one thing I know for sure is that it is the little moments of complete joy and happiness that sustain me.

How is it possible for one little girl to have so much excitement??

Her joy reminds me to be present,  right here, right now.  

~ I hope you enjoy these holidays with the ones you love~

~Peace~

~Remembering my dad~

img023  ~ my family at the beach, dad in red shirt~

When  I started my first blog back in  June 07 it was mostly  a way for me to deal with my grief over losing my little brother Robert.  I had never blogged before and looking back over some of my early posts, they are quite silly.  Through the first yearI worked through much of my grief and I moved on to other share other parts of my life through this blog. I really try to focus on good things here.  I try to keep things light and cheerful even when I am struggling with other issues in my life, but yesterday I was brought back to a sorrowful place… I need to try to begin to understand my feelings of loss and desperation, and the overwhelming sadness that has once again returned.  So please bear with me…

This post is for my dad~   

Robert Joel Benn, Jr.

 

On the very same day my sister had her first baby, my father was killed a few hours later by a drunk driver in Austin, TX.  He had just flown in that evening for work the next day.  He  picked up his rental car and was heading to his hotel.  He never made it there.

here is what happened  ~ you can listen to the video….

Apparently the wreckage was so bad, they could not identify him at first, they did not notify his wife until the next day at work – of all places.  How horrible for her to recieve the news over the phone by a complete stranger when she was all alone.

 

  (my dad with his wife Sherrie, & the girls-  Katie & Peggy Sue)

My dad was a very kind and gentle man. He was not loud, he rarely raised his voice. In times of chaos he would remain calm.  He was always on your side.

 

I remember growing up  my mother would often  say “Your dad always helps the underdog” or something to that effect.
I was not always certain why she would say that, but thinking back it is a very true statement.  That is one way to describe my dad.
He always felt the need to help those who were in need or who were having a hard time.  If someone was down, he would try to  help them to help themself so they could find their way back up.  He was a teacher, he always tried to find a way to encourage your to do your best.  If you were sad, or stressed or mad he would find a way to make you feel better.

He was an encourager, he was an inspirator, he was empathetic and he would always try to get me to see the other side of a situation and he would ask me - what do you think you would do, if you were that person.  He would ask me how do you think that other person feels?  He would force you to examine an issue from all sides.  He would always tell you that you could do whatever you set out to do.

I remember when I was 18 or 19 not long after I had graduated from high school,  feeling that I was not smart enough to go to college, and I felt  my parents did not really have the money to pay for me to go to school.  Whether that was really true or not, I am not sure, but at the time this is what I believed.  They just finished going through a stressful divorce and all I really wanted  was to be on my  own.  I remember as I was working my first full time job that it did not take too long to feel a bit down and discouraged.  I felt like I was going down a career path that I did not particularly want.   While I was grateful for the opportunity it was not exactly what i wanted.   I knew I wanted to do something I thought was  important, something that I felt would matter in the bigger picture. I wanted to make a difference.  You know, I wanted to “help” people.  I began talk to my dad about my feelings (as he worked at the same company.)   He began to encourage me, little by little I began to listen to him and to believe in what he was saying.  I started very slowly one class at a time but eventually I reached my goal and I graduated from nursing school in May 1993.  I made it because he believed in me (as well as my mom.)  Now it is 16 almost 17 years later I am still a nurse.  I know without a doubt I have provided care to people who were in great need, and I know I have made a difference in many lives.   I know this because many have come back and told me so. Which obviously is very gratifying to me.

Thank you Dad.   You believed in me and you knew I could do it even when I was very unsure.  I don’t know if I ever actually told him thank you. 

  ~Dad with Ginger~

When I was five yrs old my dad walked me to the bus stop on the first day of school with our dog Ginger. I remember getting on the bus and some mean boy said, “Cute dog but not a cute  old man!” I was so mad and upset I am sure I cried because that boy said something mean about my dad. Of course I never said a word about that to him I did not want to hurt his feelings.. He probably would have just chuckled about it really.

    ~my dad with Sara 94~

 

I remember another time when my dad found out that my husband and I were preparing to pack up and move to Portland, OR with his 2 1/2 year old granddaughter he came dashing over to our house, he sat at our kitchen table and as he put his hand down on the table he set it in a little  glob of jelly ( it had fallen off the toast my daughter had been eating) and he kind of shook his hand and as he looked down at he said without missing a beat, “Look if this is about money, I will give you whatever you need, you don’t have to go all the way to Oregon for money..”

It was very sweet. Of course we went to Portland, because we wanted to move there. It was a beautiful city and  we have beautiful memories of our time there. My dad and his wife actually came out and visited us, and he LOVED it there. He really dug that city.

This morning as I was driving  I remembered  a time was really young maybe 2 or 3 -I remember  we were either driving to my grandparents house or driving home from visiting them, I was so sleepy and I  had laid my head on his chest while sitting in his lap as I began to fall alseep  I remember  listening to his voice while he talked.  It was way down deep in his chest and  it was musical  It put me right to sleep.  I clearly remember feeling very safe and warm at that time.

 

Some of my favorite sayings come from my dad..
“The waiting is the hardest part” (told to me by him as I waited for my turn to have my tonsils/adenoids out as I was the last of the 3 kids to take my turn, my mom had us all go at the same time!!)
I have told that to so many of my patients I don’t even know how many times it could be.  I have empathized with my patients many a time as they waited scared for their procedure.  I always think of him when I say that.

He also told me after my brother died, “It is always hardest on those left behind.” That is so true.
Of course I have many other wonderful memories but these few have crossed my mind today as I have been trying to absorb his loss.

My dad was devastated when my brother died and he was very sad for quite a long time.  I know he held his grief close to his heart. He kept it inside himself.  He withdrew for a time.  Over this last year or so, he really seemed to find himself again. He seemed much more at peace and more content. He began a mid century modern redesign of his home, he dearly loved that time period. He sought out specific pieces of furniture that would fit and he drove all around to find them. In fact he drove to Chicago to purchase a chair, brought it home and said, “I wish I would have bought that other chair he had for sale, I am going back.” And he did, he drove right back up there and got that other chair all in a week’s worth of time.  My dad was always working on something, he always had projects, he was always looking for his next interest.   That sounds a little familiar actually..

The  part that is hardest is that he was a road warrior, he spent years driving  for his work. We moved to TN in 1979, so he could go to work for my uncle, and he drove back and forth each and every week. He drove all over  Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  He traveled all the time and was always very safe.
He was laid off from his job in December and this was very hard on him.  He loved to be busy and he loved his work. He had just started working for a Canadian company at the State of TN.  Then  they  sent him to Austin, TX for another project.  He was very happy to go. He was doing what he did best… however he never got the chance.
He was killed by a very senseless act of fear and despair.  A young man thought it was better to run from the police and in the process killed my dad. He was observed throwing beer bottles/cans out of his Lincoln Navigator. My dad was t -boned and he never stood a chance. I fear you can see his blood on the front of that man’s Navigator.  They will not release that man’s name… there is talk that he is influential or something of that sort.   As much pain as all of these details cause, it is a small thing compared to our great loss.   Edited to add: they did release the man’s name and it turns out he has 3 PRIOR convictions for driving while intoxicated.  3 are you kidding me? They have charged him with 1st degree murder.
I am praying for peace .  I think the worst is knowing when I got into bed Monday night after having so much joy for my sister, about 10pm, at that very time my father was brutally killed and destroyed and I had no idea. I did not know. I could not feel it and that just saddens me so much.
I pray he felt no pain, and had no idea of what happened to him. I pray he knew what to do, and I pray my brother reached out his hand to him and said “Come on Dad, let’s go!”.. and I know that somehow the boys are back together again.

~(one of the few times we where ALL together as a family…(my dad is the one at the end..)~

One thing is true, my dad was very traditional, he loved his family and was very diligent in honoring his commitments to his parents, wife and family.   I have many things left to talk to him about. I was not ready. Of course you never are.. I am praying for grace for myself and my family to get through this time.   We really need that right now.

Please keep us in your thoughts and if you have made it this far.  Thank you..

Prayer’s for Missy….

  Prayer’s for my sister’s dog are needed.  She is the pretty dog on the right.. She has been very ill.  She is a sweet and loving dog. 

 We pray for her body to heal and to recover from the pain and the strength to fight off the infection… We pray for her to be able to return home where she will be loved and cared for by the ones who love her most.

  We pray for you Missy and we love you…

Getting Well and best wishes….

Surprising turn of events…

Mom was rushed to surgery Friday for emergent surgery thanks to a ruptured appendix. It has been very trying for her and us. She is improving everyday but it is going to be a long road back.  Totally doable, but she feels a little low right now. Bless her heart.

 On the other side dear hubby is to have a  hernia repair today.. Our fun has only just begun.. When life comes at you fast… I guess you better hang on tight.

Thoughts of love and best wishes to us all..Since I don’t have too many roses blooming now, I have to dig deep into my photo’s from Spring to find some blooms..

 Hoping for speedy recoveries and strength through our valley’s.

 New peaks will come….

 With grace and courage to continue on our journey.