In My Heart This Birthday

All the nostalgia of Iowa (my momma was born in a farmhouse near Ricketts, Iowa) and the date on the calendar have me thinking about a few things.

It’s now December and my birthday is approaching quickly. Since my momma passed at the end of March 2022, I have been pretty sad over my upcoming birthday.

Why?

The day itself has some big meanings.

She and dad were high school sweethearts. After dad graduated, he and his twin brother went to Texas on football scholarships. After she graduated the next year, her and her best friend hopped a bus to Colorado, got apartments, jobs, and stayed.

True love won out. A year later and my parents reunited in Iowa. One time she told me that at that time, they really wanted a baby. They got married and the baby came.

Guess who that was…

Me!

In December, the year they were wed, I made my appearance in an Iowa hospital. Mom used to tell the story about my name. They didn’t have a name picked out quite yet. Then, they chose Jessica and a nurse named Jessica thought it was after her.

Is that sweet or what?

Fast forward to my husband and I. Finally, after 5 years of infertility and baby loss, I was able to get and stay pregnant. My miracle baby was born a month early.

You’ll never believe what day it was!

My birthday!!!

I had been on bedrest for weeks and guess who came to take care of me so my husband could work?

My momma.

Her and dad were at the hospital when I was almost lost to high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. They sat in the waiting room with my husband, thinking I wasn’t going to make it, while I had an emergency c-section. And, they welcomed our beautiful baby an hour later.

And, do you know what my momma did? She showed up with a gorgeous chocolate birthday cake that the bakery made out to me and baby!

After a week in the hospital because of complications for me, we were finally released. I have never been so happy to go home. When we got there, she had the front porch all decorated up with ‘Welcome Home’ signs and a big teddy bear in the outside rocking chair.

She stayed and took care of us for two weeks. She did the meals, laundry, walked the dogs, and loved on the baby.

She rocked him in the recliner, danced with him to James Taylor in the living room, and even gave him his first bath. They were instantly bonded.

She spoiled us and we saw her during a bunch during the year/ years, but she showed up especially strong on our birthdays.We’d always get a birthday box in the mail from her and dad.

Last year she asked me what was something I needed for the kitchen that he and I could use together. I suggested mixing bowls and measuring cups. A set of beautiful Pioneer Woman mixing bowls and some measuring cups showed up at our door.

So…………….. I’ve been crying and sad for months over a birthday that hasn’t even happened yet because a big part of it is gone: she’s gone.

Her asking is gone. Her sending is gone. Her celebrating is gone. Ouch, that’s a bit hard to handle.

But, you know what?

A few nights I had this huge revelation:

Yes, the days of her sending us gifts are done, but, what if I got us gifts in honor of her? Like what if I picked out something to add to things she’s gotten us?

Because, here’s the thing. Trying to get through mom/ parent loss has a learning curve that you wouldn’t believe. (Unless you’ve been through it.) Mostly, it’s the ‘how’ in figuring out how to go on without them.

First holidays, regular days, birthdays, and just days in general can feel like huge mountains. And, quite honestly, they can feel a bit impossible. Back in March, I never thought I could do my birthday without my momma, but here I am putting one foot in front of the other.

Would my momma want us sad on our upcoming birthday, a day that meant so much to her and us?

Absolutely not.

She’d want us celebrating.

So, I ordered myself some Pioneer Woman measuring cups and bowls I think she’d like. and we’re also going out of town for the night for something fun to do.

In five days, probably through tears, I am going to celebrate two babies who were wanted so much, me and my son. She may not be here, but she’s definitely going to be in my heart this birthday.

Appreciate you reading.

Jessica Lyn

(I was named Lynn, after my dad’s twin brother. But, they changed my Lyn to one n.)

a bird feeder she loved

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-PHOTO BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Commenting Issues

One thing I love about blogging is being able to read and comment on blogs. I’ve had this blog for seven years and have never had an issue being able to comment on other blogs until recently.

I’m not sure what’s up, but I want you to know, that I have been reading and commenting, but when I go back and check later, my comments are gone!

I don’t get it!

In fact, yesterday, I did test comments on a friend’s blog. They did post. One even showed for 4 minutes… then was gone.

Guess it’s time to figure it out.

Anyway, just thought I’d tell you in case it appears that you’re commenting often on my blog, but I’m not commenting on yours…

Also, several comments on my posts keep going to Trash. If you have any solution ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

flowerbed rocks

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-PHOTO TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Vintage Windows Iowa Style

On my walk around Ricketts, Iowa last Sunday, I saw some cool windows.

front view of the gas station windows
windows through windows behind the pump

Up the block from the gas station, I saw a reflection in this window.

scene in the reflection ~ Ricketts, Iowa
small windows in the mini train station ~ Ricketts, Iowa
church window~ Ricketts, Iowa
reflections on a window of windows in the mini train station and old gas station ~ Ricketts, Iowa

Window are so cool, aren’t they? They allow us to see in, see out, and even see behind us sometimes. I always watch for reflections in windows because it’s fun to get to see something more than once.

And, completely off subject, oh my gosh, you guys! This morning, I was researching the old gas station in Ricketts, Iowa and the town itself.

While looking through internet images, I saw my photos on the internet search! The ones from ‘New Favorite Building’ are on there!

I about fell over! Ha. I’ve never seen my photographs on there before!

Here’s the screenshot of it. How cool is that?

screenshot of my photos on an image search of ‘old gas station Ricketts Iowa’

Thanks for joining me on my Iowa trip recently. I had a wonderful time there.

Hope you have a great day!

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

** screenshot taken by me of my photographs that were in an image search

New Favorite Building

I have a new favorite building. It’s in Iowa. After filling up on potluck food, I went for a walk in Ricketts. This is the last building going out of town, or the first building coming in.

my new favorite building~ Ricketts, Iowa
a rainbow roof~ Ricketts, Iowa
not sure if it’s still a business, but I love the sign
windows that don’t see out or in~ Ricketts, Iowa
vintage door~ Ricketts, Iowa
on the building’s window reflection, I could see the mini train station and gas station down the block
back end of the building ~ Ricketts, Iowa
sliding door~Ricketts, Iowa

In this age recycle, recycle, recycle, this building models using what you’ve got. That’s my favorite thing about it.

Thanks for being here. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Family Potluck in Iowa

We had a family potluck in Ricketts, Iowa today. It’s a tiny town, in the midst of corn fields and farms. Seriously, I saw two streets in town that ended right in a corn field, with no dead end signs even.

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a farm not far from there. I spent a good amount of time in town, at my cousin’s house. There used to be a tiny bowling alley we went to. These days, the bowling alley is long gone.

A walk around town this afternoon led me to some pretty cool opportunities for photographs. Thought I’d share some of Ricketts with you.

old gas station~ Ricketts, Iowa
a mini train station ~ Ricketts, Iowa
Railroad Street~ Ricketts, Iowa
bell in front of the fire station ~ Ricketts, Iowa
Ricketts, Iowa post office, love how the sun tossed the trees on the side of the building
remnants of the old bowling alley ~ Ricketts, Iowa
church on a hill~ Ricketts, Iowa
a town I love in Iowa

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This and That of Home

More pictures of things around my parent’s home. Although my momma passed, it’s still their place, you know?

I took these photographs yesterday evening after I walked 44 laps up and down the driveway. Because of an aching blister, my shoes got tossed and I walked it barefoot.

For northern Missouri in late November, my time outside was pretty decent. If there was an invisible scale of “too cold to be out,” I fared quite well. The wind froze my cheeks, but the sun warmed my toes. Seems like a pretty even trade for winter.

field corn
sunset across the field
walking laps barefoot
old trailer handle
garden gate
a couple of inches
rain gauge
walnuts
a bunny on the porch

Tonight I think we’re going to have a big bowl-a-thon at the same spot my dad has bowled at for 40+ years. Sounds like a fun, memorable way to spend the 2nd day after Thanksgiving.

Hope you have a nice Saturday, too.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Tractor and a Sunset

Whenever I come to my parent’s house, I always wander around and take pictures. It’s in the country, with corn fields all around.

Thought I’d share some, just because.

Hope you have a great night.

Jessica

tractor frame
tractor parts
tractor key
tractor seat
tractor pedal
a sunset

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Some Laughs and More Tears

Grateful for:

  • siblings
  • my dad
  • nieces and nephews
  • my husband and son
  • an Iowa farm
  • a giant meal
  • 2 fuzzy dogs
  • a crumb patrolling cat
  • a giant hike
  • a chit chat next to a tree, under a sky of blue
  • music on a hill
  • tears that streamed several times
  • memories of days gone by
  • my momma’s carrot cake and jello dessert
  • feathers
  • geese calling
  • a sunset that spilled across the horizon like berries that tumble from a too full bowl
  • 2 friends reached out even hundreds of miles away
  • more tears
  • some laughs
  • some stories
  • more tears
  • hugs goodbye
  • gratitude expressed
  • more tears
  • more tears
  • more tears

The first Thanksgiving without my momma was exactly that: without my momma. I missed her like crazy. One big holiday down, in this year of firsts. My birthday and Christmas are left.

To those who offered kind words, thoughts, and hugs, I thank you.

Jessica

sunset Thursday night

Distractions

Sometimes distractions are a good thing. Since losing my momma this spring, the upcoming holidays have been like this flashing, looming billboard, off in the distance, but somewhat visible. It says:

“Hey you, in case you forget, Thanksgiving, your birthday, and Christmas 2022 will be without your momma.”

Perhaps it’s because everyone says all the firsts of the first year after loss are the hardest. I’m not sure who made that up, but so far it’s been spot on. So, for months, I’ve been sad over holidays that haven’t even happened yet. I doubt I’m the only one.

Remember that song- ‘Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go?’ I was thinking about it this morning.

If you’ve lost your grandparents like I have, hearing that song brings memories of childhood trips. I was in my 20’s when my first grandma passed and my 40’s when my second one passed.

My kiddo didn’t get a lot of years with his grandma (my momma) like I did with my grandmas. This will be his first Thanksgiving, birthday, and Christmas without her, too.

Distractions lately have been good. Clubs, bowling, art, new booth. Now here it is, two days before Thanksgiving. It’s a bit surreal, really.

In the beginning, people always said to me, “I can’t imagine” as in what it’s like to lose their mom. Sometimes, my big sister-ness in me wants to protect people from what it feels like because it is flat out heartache.

Other times I feel called to say what it’s like, because sometimes we don’t see the loss coming and sometimes they’re too young and sometimes we are not prepared and sometimes the shock stays around a long time and sometimes there are no manuals for this.

This Saturday, November 26, it will be 8 months since my momma passed away. My how I miss her every single day. The shock that it happened, comes and goes, and I still catch my breath when I realize she’s gone. Crying has lessened a bit, but it still happens a lot of days.

We’re going ‘over the river and through the woods’ on an 8 hour drive to have Thanksgiving with my dad and siblings. It’s going to be really hard to not hear my momma’s whistling and laughter that filled up 3 counties. She so loved the holidays.

If you are in similar shoes this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. Truly.

Distractions are good… until having to face what we don’t want to see. I may cry the entire meal on Thursday. And, that’s ok. She knew I was a heart on my sleeve cry baby and if it were somebody else’s empty seat, she would’ve handed me a Kleenex.

Hugs, if your holidays look or feel different, too.

Jessica

I think these look like angel wings

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO IS BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Booth Update

Just got home from checking on the booth. Before going in, I asked my kiddo how we’d feel if we sold nothing. He replied that we’d feel great! Indeed!

The doilies, potholders, hankies, and books seemed to fit right in. They sure give it a warm ‘pull up a chair and we’ll drink tea while visiting’ feeling. Sort of rooted, in a way. Not quite how sitting at a grandma’s kitchen table feels, but down home.

I thought I’d show you how it’s coming together.

new things in the booth
books I added
I got some magnetic hooks to hang the vintage pieces on
added potholders and hankies
flower face potholder above the trinket boxes

So fun!

P.S. We’ve had the booth one week and a piece of my art made it into the world!! How exciting! I’m so grateful!

Thanks for reading!

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOS MINE- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Kindness Kick

Feels like I’ve been on a bit of a kindness kick this week. It feels nice to share stories about when someone extends a kind hand.

Last night I received a bit of that myself. As you know, I’ve been ordering some things on eBay to put in my art booth. One of my orders for two used jewelry books came last night.

When I opened the package, I was so surprised! The seller had wrapped it and included a sweet thank you card!

some jewelry books came wrapped by the eBay seller
an eBay seller wrapped the books I bought
one of books I bought on eBay
the other book

Yeah, well, so what? What’s the big deal about getting books wrapped from a seller?

They were 99 cents each. Less than a 2 dollar sale and I got a fancy wrapping and a card.

I thought that was so cool!

Hope you have a great night.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-PHOTOS BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Original Red Shoe

Last night I wrote a post called ‘Vintage Red Tennis Shoes.‘ After I wrote it, I went to the basement to see if I could find the original red shoe.

I found it. It’s so sweet, I have to share.

Here’s what I love about it:

  • it’s so small
  • no shoe strings
  • somebody wore them
  • that I kept it for 10 years and counting
  • it’s not much bigger than a crayon
  • there were other treasure inside
the original red shoe
the bottom says Made In U.S.A.
size comparison
treasures tucked in it were 3 gold dollars from my kiddo’s Easter egg hunts and part of a butterfly wing
from a baby I once knew

All of this nostalgia was prompted by a search on eBay for items for my new art booth! How fun is that?

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a great day!

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOS ARE MINE- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED