Sparkle in a Jar

A couple of years ago, there was a big craze with jars. Dried cookie ingredients in a jar, put gratitude on pieces of paper and stick them in a jar, salads in a jar, mason jars as gift holders, and more.

Yesterday, I received one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever seen! A ‘plant a bulb’ in a jar.

Like a flower bulb.

In a jar!

I’ve never heard of such a thing. Planting bulbs in the ground? Oh yeah, done that. In a jar? How fun!

Christmas was looking to be a hard one without my momma. So guess what one of my besties did? She found out that Amaryllis means ‘sparkle’ and she sent the bulb jar to me.

How sweet is that?

Because honestly, I haven’t felt very sparkly lately. Crying takes the shine right out. And, I’ve been doing my share of tear dropping recently.

Sparkle in a jar?

That grows and blooms into a gorgeous red flower?

I

am

in!

Thank you, SanDee, for the pick-me-up. It makes me want to plant sparkle bulbs all around my ten acres. What a beautiful show that would be.

Love when friends ‘show up’ on days- well, on any days and all days. The ones in the beginning, the messy middle, and whatever kind show up after.

She’s been there for me and with me through so-much-stuff. Buckets full. Before my momma went in the hospital. During the devastating 10 days of tough diagnoses and all the days since my momma made her heavenly trek.

Sometimes, being in this, this parent loss thing, some things feel like an end. The thing I love the most about her gift?

It’s the beginning

of a life

tucked up in a bulb.

I took some pictures of it so you can see. The directions say that the roots take 2 weeks to develop, then in 6-8 weeks it’ll bloom. Then, the flowers are said to last 2-3 weeks.

Perfect timing.

That’ll put it blooming on the year anniversary when I lost my momma. She passed away March 26, 2022 at 11:11 pm. It’s already making a hard day better. In March!!! ❤️

Here’s to flowers and friends and things that show up and work out when we aren’t even looking for them. I’ll take those sparkles- now and in 3 months!

Thank for being here!

Jessica

gift from my friend
bulb and growing medium
instructions
planted

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

Birthday Love

Well, there’s about fifteen minutes left of this first birthday without my momma. It was a spotty-teary-day, with the biggest amount that came this morning.

This afternoon, we shopped for bowling shoes. Found a pair and two bowling ball bags, so that was nice. We had our Birthday Bowl-a-thon at two different bowling alleys. It was very fun.

Birthday dinner took us back to the restaurant I wrote about a couple of times in the past several months. One post was about crying at the table. The other was about crying and smiling when a Stevie Nicks song came on while there.

Tonight I did quite well at our table. That is, until an old beloved Christmas hymn came over the speakers.

The part of a song that got me all choked up this time?

“Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Cue the waterworks…

Gratitude of my day of birth:

  • that I had a momma who loved me
  • that even though today was hard, I made it
  • being with my son and husband
  • hearing from my dad and siblings
  • getting texts from friends
  • two delicious meals out in one day
  • candles, cupcakes, and party decor
  • nice people who bowled next to us
  • the five friends who remembered me on social media today
  • the pre-birthday blogging wishes I got- thank you
  • I appreciate all the birthday love

Thank you for reading.

Jessica

our birthday cupcakes

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

Kindness In

Today I’ve been thinking about kindness. Sure, the world catches holy heck for all the negativity, but I still have faith in all the glorious goodness out there.

For instance, today one of my friends asked for food to help some families out and let me tell you, people stepped up!!!

Even with groceries being incredibly high priced, many asked what was needed. I looked in our cupboards and will be making my donation tomorrow.

On a bit of a different note, I was also thinking about all the kindnesses extended to me during this weird year since I lost my momma. Initially, it was the cards, flowers, showing up, meals, etc.

But since then, my blogging friends have stepped up. Writing about loss is not easy and writing about parent loss is jaw-dropping hard. You all have been super supportive in offering your insights and support.

Another sort of kindness was given to me today that on the surface may not seem as profound as feeding someone who’s hungry or helping someone through loss, but I believe it’s monumental just the same.

You know I’ve been struggling with my bowling and I almost quit. It’s supposed to be fun, but it was stacking up to be annoying and frustrating…

In bowling and just in general, it seems like we can get a lot of advice about what we are doing wrong and sometimes it’s hard to feel good enough right where we are.

I am in touch with this. I get the last place score A LOT.

I’d seen online that there are bowling coaches. Like, that’s a thing. At a bowling alley about an hour and a half from here, I asked about coaching, then I went there today.

The beauty and the best part of the whole bowling coach experience was, I was being met where I am. The tips weren’t ‘change this, this, and this.’ In fact, it wasn’t any ‘change this.’

It was about adding to, not taking away. I love that on about a billion levels.

No one asks anyone to change in order to feed them and fill their fridges. No one asked me to change in order to support me in my momma loss. And, I didn’t have to take apart and put back together my bowling steps, throw, or swing.

These situations are not the same, of course, but the feeling of being able to stay authentic in any of them is pretty huge.

It’s like, judgment out, kindness in.

Love when that happens!

Hope you have a great night!

Jessica

at the river last week

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

However Long

A few weeks ago, I shared one of my posts about my momma on my social media timeline and wrote at the top, “I know loss gets old…”

My point was that:

  1. I understand that my momma passed months ago.
  2. I understand that I’ve already talked about it.
  3. I understand people have already read about how this feels.
  4. I understand that in a world full of ‘lots of sad’ no one wants to be reminded of sadness, grief, and loss. I get that. Who wants to be reminded again?

I wrote that at the top for a couple of reasons. It was a heads up for what followed or an ‘I know you probably don’t want a reminder of my momma’s loss.’

It was also a buffer for me, in case not one single person wanted to read it. If I warned them about what it was, they wouldn’t have to start and stop reading, like it’s old news.

As a writer, who is knee deep in trying to keep my sails straight in this momma loss thing, there seems to be this fine line: write about it, but don’t write about it ‘too much.’

So, what constitutes ‘too much?’ Honestly, I have no idea. And, who’s fine line is that anyway? I have a feeling it’s mine…

A friend commented on that social media post. Her response was simple, but huge:

“Loss never gets old.”

Wait, what?

Loss never gets old? As in never? What about next Thursday? Will it be old then? How about 5 weeks from now? Will it be old then? Two years from now? Will it be old then?

Not with her! Is that testament of true friendship or what?

And, we do that, don’t we? We drop the anchor when our friends and loved ones are going through stuff. We stick around for them for however long.

And, I tell you what, for the person on the other end of ‘however long’, that is pretty monumental, you know?

‘However long’ allows some wiggle room. Not healed yet? Take your time. It is open ended. Expectations are dropped in however long. And, there’s no cap on the amount of support or the time of support.

However long, may be exactly what someone needs.

This summer, we’ve been in a drought, aka, loss of rain. Our yard was brown and crispy. There was no need to mow and no weed eating was needed. Did the trees and grass give up? No, they stuck it out for however long.

The trees didn’t uproot themselves and say, “forget it, I’m going somewhere where there’s less crispy and more rain.” They stuck it out, however long.

The healing of the drought rains came. Lots and lots of rain. And, with them, our trees bloomed.

Thank you, Melanie, for “loss never gets old.” I will remember that always and carry it forward for someone else.

Thank you for reading.

Jessica

blooms after a drought

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

On Showing Up

There is this song that I love by Bon Jovi and I listened to it a bunch last week. It’s called “The Last Night.”

It talks about stepping up for somebody. Showing up. Being there, when things are tough. I love that on so many levels.

My parents were “show up” people. When I was suddenly in an ambulance and at the hospital in 2015, my dad left a meeting in Iowa at six o’clock the next morning, picked up my momma, and drove 5 hours straight to come to the hospital.

They modeled how to show up my whole life. When we had track meets, football games, basketball tournaments, band competitions, etc. all through school, they were in the stands at every one.

One time, a family friend was getting married and I didn’t want to go to the wedding alone. My parents drove 4 hours to meet me there.

They showed up. They were show up sort of people.

We had five years of infertility and baby loss. Guess who held my hands the entire time? That’s right, my parents.

When I finally got pregnant and stayed pregnant, I was put on bedrest. My momma came and stayed with me so my husband could work. I’m sure my dad missed her, but they showed up for me in that way.

March 16 this year, my momma wasn’t feeling quite right. They took her to her local hospital. We got a lot of big, devastating news when test results started trickling in.

Two days later, after being told to stay put until they had more information, I sat in my house, thinking about how my parents always showed up. So, what did we do?

We showed up for them.

My husband rearranged his work schedule. We packed bags quickly. We drove nine hours. We showed up at her Nebraska hospital room and we stayed for three days.

I have often heard that kids model what they see their parents do. I’m so happy my parents were show-er upp-ers. They were a team. They just came.

I’ve carried that with me through my life. Friend having a hard time? I show up with food. Someone sick? I try to support them in some way. Friend have a baby? I send gifts.

When my great aunt Esther turned 100 and 102, my boy and I drove eleven hours to be at her parties. Guess who else was at those parties! My parents!

Last week at my dad’s, I told him about how much it’s always meant that they showed up for us and for things, just because that’s what they did and that’s who they are.

The next day,, while there, I found a letter that my grandpa had written them in 2007. It was about how happy he was that my parents showed up for him and took care of him when he was sick.

When he had a sale before he moved, he talked about how my parents helped him. He goes on about how he noticed that when he needed them, they came. He wrote, “it was Diane-Lyle all the way.”

I can’t even tell you how much that makes me smile and how much I love that.

What a legacy to carry forward. They showed up for me. I show up for my son and someday he’ll show up for his kids. How cool is that?

Thank YOU for being here, too. You’ve shown up for me through my rambling posts about travel, sprinkled with crying posts about my momma. You comment on my carefree posts and on the tear-jerkers.

You don’t waver. You show kindness and compassion. It’s noticed and it’s not forgotten. Like I appreciate my parents, I appreciate my readers. With all my heart, thank you.

Jessica

part of grandpa’s letter:
“Diane-Lyle all the way”

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys