489 Days

June 13, 2016 | My Jottings

I woke this morning around 4:00 a.m. to the sound of thunder and heavy rain. Stormy weather is a comfort to me, which hearkens back to my childhood in Southern California, where rain was a happy, special thing to be celebrated. At least that’s what my mom thought, and she instilled it in me.

I turned on the fire in the dining room and started to prepare breakfasts for my fosters. There’s nothing better than a cool, gray, blustery day at home with a heartening little fire in the center of one’s home, don’t you agree?

My sister-in-law Christy told me it’s 92 degrees where she is. Inside her house. Because her air conditioning stopped working. I almost swooned just reading about her plight, and am praying she’s able to have it repaired soon. I am deathly allergic to heat and humidity and I keep hearing other 50ish/60ish women say the same thing.

Today will be a blessed and busy day at home, because tomorrow is the first day of my annual summer Bible study. I think I’ve been hosting dear friends in my home for 12 or 13 years now, and it’s the highlight of my summer. We’ve done some Beth Moore studies, some Priscilla Shirer studies, one by Mary Kassian (one of my favorites, called Conversation Peace), and this year we’re doing something different. We’re reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, and will use a homemade workbook I’ve put together for our study questions. What I wrote is nothing like a Beth Moore study, but it will give us something to record our thoughts and prayers in for these next eight weeks.

Yesterday I thought I would check elderly Edith’s nails because she is clickclickclicking with every step she takes all over our hardwood floors, and it finally occurred to me that her doggy Morse code might be saying, “helphelphelp — dot — dot — dash –checkmyfeet — helphelphelp!” I felt awful when I put her on my lap and inspected her furry old paws. Her black nails had grown in a circle and were almost pointing back toward her paw pads. I hate trimming my dogs’ nails because they hate it, but it had to be done. Sure enough, I made one of them bleed, and felt I almost couldn’t continue, but I kept on, very carefully. It turned out fine, but this morning I can tell I need to take a look at Edith’s feet again, because as she walks through the house I hear “puff, puff, puff, click.” Three soft paw sounds, one paw with nails still clicking away.

It has been 489 days since Michael died. I don’t watch the wonderful slideshow with music about his life as often as I did a year ago, but at least once a week I still watch, and smile. And cry. If you are new here and haven’t seen it, click here. I don’t think I’ll ever hear the songs “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “You Put This Love In My Heart,” or “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” again without instantly going to a Michael place in my heart and mind.

I wish I could go to a real Michael place.

Here’s what an earthly Michael place used to look like:


He loved the rugged beauty of northeastern Minnesota. He loved our lakes, our trees, our challenging seasons. He loved being outdoors, fishing and hunting and marveling in the wildlife, especially the birds.

The photo above was taken up the north shore of Lake Superior in 2011. Michael had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s for seven years and things had started to really change. When I saw this photo recently I was struck by the way he walked by himself on the uneven rocky terrain. It’s easy to forget how strong and capable he once was, because Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia just sort of swallowed everything up and dictated how we would live every single minute of every single day, for over three years.

But even as I just typed that last sentence, I’m reminded again that while illness can certainly call the physical shots, it can never separate us from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35-39). What a gift that our souls and spirits are protected from the ravages of this world and the devil. There is indeed a hiding place for Christians, and Michael knew how to take refuge there.

The north shore of Lake Superior was once a Michael place, but he has moved on. The new Michael place is heaven, which is so glorious we can’t even conjure up its wonders with our limited human minds. One of my fosters often says, “I’ll bet Michael is bowling in heaven right now.” Or “I think he’s four-wheeling today.” To her, that would be the ultimate for him, but while I smile and outwardly agree with her, I’m trying to imagine what wonders and joys he’s really experiencing.

I want to go there.

But I woke up today on this earth, so I will do some laundry, fluff some pillows, get books and workbooks ready for ten expectant women, shake rugs, shine sinks, wipe counters, and then sit down to pray. I hope God is making me ready for His place. Which is also Michael’s place now.


  1. GinnyC says:

    I groan and moan and grieve with you, my Jewel…

  2. Ganeida says:

    489 days closer to joining him than you were. 🙂

  3. Just Julie says:

    I thank you Ginny. xoxo And Ganeida — yes, I love that way of looking at it! Thank you. xoxoxo

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.