Monday, December 31, 2007

Moving so quickly!

We'll they had beautiful dog beds on sale at Costco so I had to buy one. And then when I got home the tiger man had called and he needs to get rid of this puppy! Joey is going to flip! I'll keep everybody posted. I haven't been this anxious and jittery since we bought our home. And now we sometimes regret that. But anyways...
And I've thought of some killer names:

Maybe The One.

It's Monday morning and I am loving it. Loving the fact that all I have on the list to do today is Costco and dinner with grandparents. I am in my new white, ultra soft robe and my hair doesn't look too bad despite the fact I just woke up and I feel rich. Plus, Ethan is sleeping in.
Also my little sister and her very hot, older, Mexican ethnicity (I think he was born here though) boyfriend Chuy are driving up. They left at three in the morning. They are nuts like that and that's why they are so adorable together. On our family vacation they drove ten hours in a Honda Civic packed full of not only suitcases but bikes (two, old school, banana seat style), long boards, and other hip, Southern California things. They are a little crazy in a very good way.
OOOOOOOOO! I can't believe I almost forgot! I found a puppy! Well, not on the street or anything but in the paper. Maybe he's the one; he's got a rather interesting story. I called the lady in the paper and sure enough she had just sold her last puppy. But then she said that one guy just called her and told her he couldn't keep the puppy he'd taken because-now this is what's interesting-he was the trainer of that tiger who attacked and killed that boy in San Fransisco and he has to move back east. Nuts, huh? So she is going to call him and maybe we will end up with that puppy. Maybe he's already to trained him to be tigerish or something. Or at least potty-trained.
We wanted a girl dog (for smaller size) and this one's a boy, but if I like the looks of him I don't care. I'm ready to have some serious protection around here. I hate coming home late, like last night for instance, and wondering if some wacko is hiding in the spare bedroom, or my closet even. I am still afraid of the dark. At least a dog would be going nuts if someone was in the house and I wouldn't have to wonder.
So now, names. I had girl names picked out-Riley or Roxy-but I've not put much thought into boy names. Any suggestions? I'm at a loss. All I can think of is Butch, and that is a horrible name. I like Boomer, but I stole it. I need something original, tough but not too tough; it has to have a friendliness to it but still be mean sounding if need be. For instance, Duke. But I stole that one too.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What I See Looking in the Rear View Mirror.

Yesterday as I was driving to Wal-mart I glanced in my rear view mirror and there was Ethan, all strapped in to his new, beautiful midnight blue car seat. It complements his eyes. His head was straining forward, like he was trying to see something outside, and as I kept watching his head began to relax and his eyes shut-once-then twice-and then for good.
Can I begin to describe the innocence that I witnessed driving around McCarren as Ethan fell asleep? What a moment to see. Dashboard Confessional was in my CD player at the time singing as if planned, "You have stolen my heart..."
For all the frustration, for all the whines, for all the ten minute power naps instead of a good three hour one, Ethan has stolen my heart. Sometimes I look at him and think, Where did you come from? And then a lot of times I look at him and I see myself, just small. I see my own insecurities lived out in Ethan when he cries when people are too rough, or even just to forward with him.
We need our space, our time to get to know you.
What I see looking in the rear view mirror is absolutely breathtaking. A gift from God symbolizing the gift of Love He has given Joey and me. A new little soul, with markings of my own soul too. It's indescribable really.
Like so many things heavenly, it is too great for me to understand; I look in the rear view mirror and I am overwhelmed.
All this-on the way to Wal-mart!

Friday, December 28, 2007


I'm sleepy guys. Could somebody else take over opening presents for me?

Now, that's hot, cuz. No touching.

Auntie love.

That's a sweet pickle Ethan is sucking on. It took him fifteen minutes to finally eat it.

A new Tricycle! And Nemo!! What could be better??

Holiday chaos. It was so amazing, felt so right to be with family who is usually is hundreds of miles away, despite the craziness of trying to fit twelve people around my mom's new dining room table. The table really isn't the problem, it's the size of the room. Once everybody sits down it's like, ok, nobody move until everyone is done eating, because if one person has to get up at least the two people on either side of them do too to let them out, and then it's a domino effect from there. But hey, what's wrong with being cozy?
Joey and I managed to make it through the celebrations without too many "discussions"-our parenting style is quite different and this difference seems to magnify during family gatherings, such as birthdays and Christmas. For instance, if Ethan is being a poo and won't sit in his high chair to eat, I calmly take him into the time-out room and tell him he may sit on my lap-BUT-he must be a good boy. Joey hears this little pep talk and about goes ballistic because I am bargaining with a two year old. I don't really realize this is what I was in fact doing. I more look at it like doing what works in the present moment so I can eat.
But I see his point.
Joey is about RULES. Rule number one: You sit in your own high chair to eat.
We had a couple other issues but I am learning this about my husband when he gets angry with me: LET IT GO. Because he certainly does. Not only when he is voicing his frustrations but even more importantly afterward, while I am seething and slamming mugs on the counter and thinking this marriage thing sucks, he is completely over it. Give him five minutes, fifteen if the argument escalated to curse words, and he is ready to give me a hug and call it good. I, on the other hand, have this amazing ability to save every ounce of frustration I feel for my monthly cycle week when all the frustration I've been harboring finally erupts.
Poor Joey.
Anyway, how the heck did I get writing about all this??? This was supposed to be about Christmas and Jess' wedding, which was so amazingly adorable. Jess, if you are reading this, I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU RIGHT NOW. And I had to physically hold my hand down from reaching for the phone and calling you this morning. Because I didn't want to disturb you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Deana and Andrew

It's been so fun to get to know little Andrew. He is a sweet boy with hardly any social awareness, yet. He likes to give very wet, open mouth kisses-when he's in the mood. He follows Ethan with his arms outstretch trying to give him a "hug" which is actually more like fast little swats. But we understand his intentions (Ethan is starting to, too.)

New Friend.

Last night a woman who I met at Joey's work Christmas party came over. When we met we said to one another, "Our husbands are both gone at the same time. We should definitely hang out." And so a couple days later she called me and then I called her back and invited her over to my house (because Ethan is always a wonderful excuse to be at my house) and we said Saturday night a little after six.
Then as it kept getting closer and closer I was thinking, jeese, I hope this works out. I mean, I don't even know her, what will we talk about?? So I suggested we maybe watch a movie or something but we never did because we talked until midnight. Like we had known each other for years only there was no baggage at all, just brand new communication. We talked about family and work and our husband's work and getting together with other wives and church and sex and dogs. In fact, I can't think of anything of significance that we didn't cover.
She lives out here, something (duh, now that I think about it) I have been praying for for over a year.
Thank you Jesus.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I am so happy.

Today I woke up and as I was putting on my very pink and purple robe Grammie gave me last year for Christmas I thought, I'm happy.
Now, this is a strange strange thing, as most of you humans out there know. We are not usually a happy bunch. I mean, even us semi normal ones still fake the smiles half, no probably 70% of the time because its what is expected.
So anyway, I woke up this morning and I didn't want a different house or a different husband or bigger boobs. I woke up and was imagining being pregnant again, and how wonderful that felt last time (I am not being sarcastic here) and then Joey came home and I was still in bed-it was almost nine-and as he crawled in bed he said, "Man, it's nice and warm in here." So I said, "Yeah, that's why I stayed in bed, so it would be nice and warm for you." And then he busted up into the sweetest giggles I have ever heard. When Joey laughs my heart relaxes. But then he said, still laughing, "That had nothing to do with why you stayed in bed." Oh and, "You should see your hair-do right now (more laughter). You should wear it like that for Jess' wedding. It's got so much natural body and curl" (He was being sarcastic here. Very sarcastic). And then he turned over, let his giggles subside and put his green spongy earplugs in his ears and his royal blue sleeping mask over his eyes (he looks like superman). I laid there for a second before I couldn't resist any longer and snapped the band around his head. I learned he doesn't like this.
But it didn't ruin anything. We laid there together for a while, a luxury in this house, and then I got up and went to put my robe on and had my happy thought.
I think Paul really had something going on (like the Holy Spirit maybe?) when he wrote that he had learned to be content in all circumstances. Rich, poor, hungry or fed.
Also, all good things come down from the Father of Lights. My "good things" are changing from my expectations of perfect to actually what is before me: a hard-working husband who giggles sometimes, a sweet, sweet little boy named Ethan, and an extended family whose love reaches deep and wide.
I'm recognizing the goodness in what my Father of Lights has given to me. And it changed my world this morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watching for Airplanes.

Deana and little Andrew fly in today. Our eyes are on the skies. They are going to stay for three weeks!
We are going to make cookies and popcorn balls. And go shopping with/and for mom because mom has never really liked to shop (I know, I's crazy).
Also, I took my last final today at the glorious hour of half past seven. I swear people. Finals at that hour should be banned. I mean, half the world's population are "Owls" not "Sparrows" -something I learned in my six years at the university-so why make all the owls suffer and demand they think their absolute best at an hour most of their brains are dead? Hmmm?
I mean, common, what's wrong the nine?
So now it is officially all over and I can do anything I want, which today means watching for airplanes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Big sleep in.

This morning I slept in until 9:15. I haven't done that since, I donno, high school. My body is so exhausted from all the parties this weekend; exhausted in a very good way. We even have another party to go to tonight, without Ethan, for Joey's work.
I love Ethan with every ounce of my being but it has felt soooooooooooooo good to go out without him.
Which reminds me of a quote that was read at Angel's baby shower whose main idea went something like this: there are two births happening during labor; the birth of the baby and the birth of the mother. Before this time, the mother never existed. The woman did, but not the mother. When a baby is born, a mother is also.
Anyway now I can't remember how that connected to going out without Ethan but maybe those of you who aren't quite as out of it as I am can make a connection of some sort.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dance, Baby.

Last night Brian and Jamie were married. They are so beautiful together! The reception was an absolute blast and I am smacking my forehead with my hand right now because I didn't take any pictures to show you all.
I am so happy for them, so happy for their future together in Christ. Being reminded of the basic truths of marriage given by God was uplifting to me too. It would have been easy after four years of marriage to be cynical at their union ("Oh you two just wait"), but that would be because I wouldn't be believing, trusting, hoping, in Christ for my own marriage in this moment as well as for Brian and Jamie's.
Not to say that makes anything easy. But trusting in Christ, being reminded of what a miracle marriage is, does take the feelings of complete discouragement away, replacing them with a bright hope.
Also, Joey can dance.
I had no idea before we were married that this boy could dance. I would have thought it insignificant anyway, much to my own detriment. In all the 'day to day'-ness of marriage, dancing at weddings or parties has been one of the rare times were Joey and I are completely carefree together. We are eighteen again, swinging and twirling and gett'en down. His smile wraps around his face, and he laughs.
Uncle Johnny once told me that dancing with his wife saved his marriage and I smiled and thought he was joking. But as I dive deeper and deeper into this mystery, the simple act of letting go and dancing your heart out with your spouse does have a unique healing quality to it.
God's grace come down to us in so many different forms-including loud music, high heels, and a dance floor.

Friday, December 14, 2007


This is a poem I started two Sundays ago after a little breakdown. It's a little pessimistic itself; I don't normally feel so low about Joey being a cop, but sometimes I do.

A year, almost.
An empty beside, sheets cold as snow on my skin,
and a bulletin to sit by at church.
Learn to be alone, I hear whispers from somewhere.
A Glock 23, lying
dark and heavy in my pajama drawer like a stranger,
who I don't trust completely.
Day after day, invading my home with reality.
Heavy black boots,
a creased uniform and a hard vest underneath demanding
obedience given by the power of a silver star.
Shortness and anger,
trustlessness and pessimism
invading my home with aftershocks of his battle,
night after night.
Learn to be alone, I hear whispers from somewhere.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shopping Spree--Yip-eeee!

So I got a gift card to the Summit Mall and just bombed through three hours of shopping. I could have spent another couple of hours there for sure, but at eleven (when I was supposed to be home) I called Joey from the Customer Service desk (because-gasp!-I don't own a cell) and he was like, Come home, now. I told him I needed to try on another pair of jeans and I would be on my way. An hour and half later...
He is sleeping and must just be absolutely fried at me right now. Maybe not. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Oh yes. Shopping.
So I wasted a lot of time out there because first of all, you end up walking for MILES to go from store to store. Then, after spending a good forty-five minutes in Abercrombie for the first time, I finally asked the sales girl, what's up with your sizes? I assumed because they were Abercrombie they just did weird sizes and only sold clothes for the extremely tiny. She explained to me I was in the children's store.
Ohhh. That makes sense. She said this happens all the time. That made me feel a little less like a complete idiot.
So then I looked for jeans at Dillard's but wasn't sold because what if I could find a better pair, cheaper, elsewhere? So I went to Old Navy, debated over an extremely soft and warm jacket for fifteen minutes before I finally put it back. I think I did that (debated over some pants of shirt) about sixty trillion times this morning.
There is a lot of stuff going on in a girl's brain while she shops. For instance, Is this the BEST pair of jeans on me in this entire mall? Or will I walk into a different store and find an even better pair, for less money??? Why does a size four fit me here, and an eight over there? Am I getting fatter this very moment? Jeeze, I love these sweater, but if I buy it, then all the money is gone...maybe I'd better wait....Good gracious I wish I had more money-wait, should I be spending this on myself?and on and on and on. I feel like my brain has been on crack for the last three and half hours. I think it's better if I go with someone. Then I don't talk myself to death.
Also, I forget to eat, so on the drive home I felt all shaky and like I could eat a horse. Or a gigantic bowl of warm oatmeal.
Which is what I am eating right now. Ahh oatmeal. I love to shop but it puts me in a tissy. Oatmeal is helping.
I think my buys are winners though. The worst, I mean the WORST, is when you get the amazing sweater you just bought home and then two weeks, or even two hours later it's just lame. I don't think that's gonna happen this time.
I'll let you know if it does.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Moments like these.

Ethan has a thing with my shoes. He wears them around the house, usually on the wrong feet. How he manages to walk, I don't know.
Just minutes ago was such a moment: mama's shoes on (on the wrong feet) as he "fixed" his toy airplane with a plastic tag thing from a shirt I bought him yesterday. He looked up at me, so proud and said, "I fixed it! I fixed it!"
He looked so ridiculously adorable in those huge shoes, his voice so triumphant. It's in moments like these that my heart breaks because I don't ever want him to grow up, don't ever want him to be alone in the world. Don't ever want him to be laughed at or made fun of-even if he wears his shoes on the wrong feet.
It reminds me of what Marlin, Nemo's dad, says to Dori when they can't find Nemo:
"But I promised [Nemo] I would never let anything happen to him!" and Dori says, "Well, that's a funny thing to promise." (Questioning look from Marlin). Dori explains, "Well, if you never let anything happen to him, then nothing's going to happen to him. Not much fun for little 'Carpo'."
It's probably one of the harder things of being a mama, watching when your children mess up or get hurt or even get made fun of. Learning what it means to be a refuge for them, a place to return to no matter what where they can be as silly or dorky as they want.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cold. Shopping. Joey. St.Bernard's.

Brrrr! It's like ten degrees outside. My poor little ears feel like frozen vegetables as I walk all over campus today. My hair is not quite long enough to be able to wear a hat without looking like a total dork, but I am almost ready to give in it's so dang cold.

Today is my favorite day of the week: Tuesday. I wish I had Tuesday panties. Tuesday is the day Ethan is at Grandma Patty's all day and Joey and I meet on campus for lunch and then go hang out a bit before we pick the little Bubba up. It's a heavenly day (when we aren't fighting).

Today we are going to finish our Christmas shopping. I love shopping with Joey. Probably my favorite thing in the world, even though he is always rushing me to "Common!" by the end. Whatever. It's still the best.

Maybe because "shopping" was one of our first official dates as a bonafide couple. We went to the Gap and bought him a blue collared shirt for Angel and Logan's wedding. I think we held hands.

Or maybe it's just because I love to shop.

I made a master plan of all the stores we are going to go to and in what order and what we have to buy there. This is Joey's influence in my life. Having-no, writing down, a plan for shopping. If you think about it, it's not a bad idea. Getting the the most shopping for your time.

So now I wait for Joey.

He's so cute today with his pokey face because it's his "weekend" and he doesn't want to shave; his dark beanie and black sunglasses and smokey blue jacket.

We talked yesterday again about dogs because I saw a St. Bernard FREE TO GOOD HOME.

I have a great home.

And I really want a humongous dog. Joey says a medium size dog. I know I will probably kick myself if I ever talk Joey into a humongous dog, especially a huge dog who drools. But the idea of such a dog is so romantic, if you know what I mean. I have rose colored glasses on; I just see that huge, cute face and want to wrap my hands around those jowls and give it a big kiss.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Happenings.

A little golf, a little baseball. In mom's shoes.
Oh and a little devotional, in the nude.
(He peed as I was taking this picture).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Graduate(ED). Yay!

Yesterday we endured the graduation ceremony. It wouldn't have been so bad except that I wore a dress AND shoes that should not be worn when there is snow everywhere and your breath looks like a cloud of smoke when you talk. Anyway, I was freezing so the hairs on my legs were growing at an extraordinary rate, I was sweating like a pig (Joey insists this is an impossibility but I can't explain it: I sweat profusely when I am COLD), I was afraid my breath was getting raunchier by the second because all I had for breakfast was a short, extra hot carmel macchiato, and I was getting major hat hair from that stupid hat. Oh, also my back was killing me from standing so long in my high heels. It's enough to throw any girl over the edge and into a seriously crappy mood. Which is exactly what I was in after the ceremony.
Before the ceremony I was happy as a clam. It was Joey that was stressed. Do we have everything? We are going to be late! Where's our directions? The cameras? Danae, common!
Three and a half hours later, Joey is relaxed and in a great mood because he just graduated, and I am about to rip somebody's head off because I'm paranoid my dress has BO stains on it and we are about to go see EVERYONE I have ever known at our party.
Occasions such as these are the backbones of life.
I finally relaxed once I saw that my dress (God bless it!) had absorbed my sweat beautifully, I remedied the bad breath problem, got some deodorant, and hairspray from Patty's bathroom. Nothing I could do about my legs but common, nobody noticed.
I gave more hugs yesterday than I have in a while. A hug hello, a hug goodbye. Three minutes later, a hug hello, a hug goodbye.
I had wanted to give a speech at some point, a toast per se, to all our friends and family for their AMAZING support and love to us throughout this incredibly difficult and crazy time in our life. But it never happened. I'll just have to do it in their thank-you notes. Or maybe in a full-page add in the Gazette.
Still, it was touching to see all of our friends and family come to support us. We have the best community in them in the world. I could not be more blessed-despite all my bodily woes.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Saudade" (Intense Longing).

So today at work I had a mob of Brazilians invade my little Welcome Center and I loved every second of it. Their weird fitting jeans (especially on the males) and their dark eyes and easy smiles.
I get a lot of Brazilians at work who come as employees at the ski resorts. They always walk in confused and frantic, the outcome of landing in a foreign country with no connections, no home. They always need to use the Internet, and when I ask them, "Onde voces estao?" (Where are you all from) they about fall over in surprise.
"You speak Portuguese? No! But how?" It's as if I pull bunnies from empty hats.
Whenever they come I get a pain in my heart as I think of my families so far away in Brazil; the strangers who took me in and treated me as their own.
They use "saudade" in Brazil to talk about missing someone. It's a beautiful word, full of love and longing.
Six years ago when I left Rinopolis they said that I would forget them. That I would return home and start a new life and their faces would fade.
The truth is I have started a new life but their faces have never faded. I think about them daily, not in an intense longing way, more in a casual, "Oh this reminds me of Silvia," or, "I wonder what Cristina is doing today," type thinking. Like I think about my own sisters, also far away.
But then something little (or big, like twelve Brazilians all around me) will set off that deeper feeling, the one that is overwhelming, and all I think about are the faces of my families, intense and clear as if we were together only yesterday.


Fridays. Wonderful Fridays.
I woke up this morning and our backyard was a winter wonderland. It is so beautiful. For all my griping about winter, this is my favorite part: soft, quiet snow. It's one of the most peaceful things in the world, right up there with watching a baby sleep.
In other news:
Ethan Michael Lear has made the train of the year. This award has been given to him by his mother because she was absolutely flabbergasted that he could make this on his own.

When asked if this creation was a boat, Lear answered definitely, "It's a train." And then gave his mother a look like, DUH.

And still in other news...
Joey and Danae are graduating tomorrow so that their full attention can now be on this new little mascot.
Goodbye UNR. Hello Full-Time Ethan. I love you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Swivel hips.

So I put on my favorite jeans today. The ones I got from Old Navy at the beginning of the semester. When I got them, they fit perfectly. In fact, I can remember thinking as I inched my rear into them, Gosh I better not put on any weight.
Then on Thanksgiving day (prepare yourself because this is NOT normal) I weighed myself after eating TWO Thanksgiving meals and the scale said I weighed seven pounds less than I have for the last two years.
I know, some of you women out there want to shoot me right now. I too was shocked but then secretly happy because losing weight is very arguably never a bad thing (unless you are sick or anorexic).
And you're thinking, well, was it the scale? Was it off?
After seeing the numbers, I remembered the last time I looked at my body in the mirrors at kickboxing I had thought, Goodness I look thin--and it wasn't really a good thin. It was a, oh-there-are-your-chest-bones thin. Not exactly sexy. But I thought it was maybe just the mirrors.
And then of course the clothes. If there is no spandex in my pants or shirts, they hang on my body, lower on the hips, major saggage in the rear. Again, not exactly sexy.
But, like the typical American woman and post anorexic that I am, I was mostly happy about all this. The only downer was that now I was concerned about my weight, because of course I didn't want to put that weight back on after I lost it so effortlessly. So I have been thinking a little before I eat my extremely processed white bread bagel and deliciously whipped cream cheese. Just thinking. Not exactly changing anything. Just thinking. And I'll tell you what, one of my most annoying things in life is thinking about food on a "this has the potential to make me fat" level.
It took me years to learn how to eat and enjoy food and reverting back to "anything that is not fruit, water, or gum is bad" mentality is not where I want to go.
All of this came to a very sharp point today when, like I said, I put on those favorite jeans, which now hang on my hips and sag in the rear. I also put on my most favorite little heels. And then I went to school.
Joey and I met up after class and walked to Starbucks. We found a table and then I walked back up to the counter to get my drink. When I returned to the table, this is what Joey says.
"Do those shoes mess with the alignment of your hips?"
"Um, I donno..." I'm speechless. And confused.
"It's just that when you walk it looks like your hips are out of whack." He's trying to sound nice, but I know he's not really saying what he was thinking as he watched me walk. He tries to explain himself more, probably because I was giving him a somewhat dirty, confused look. A look that says, "What? You don't like how I walk?"
"It's just that with those shoes, it looks like your hips and back hurt."
Great. So I look like a flipping invalid in my favorite jeans and shoes.
I try to explain that maybe with the combination of my too big pants (which, by the way, aren't Joey's favorite) and the heels my hips look weird when I walk.
We drop this horrible conversation by starting to talk about some stranger who has a funny hair-do. Then we move on to some girl with boots that Joey doesn't like. He tells me he would never let me out of the house in boots like that.
"Well, you don't like the clothes I wear now anyways." Suddenly our conversation is serious and you can feel in the air how much is hanging on Joey's response. I feel about as vulnerable as a new butterfly right now.
"I do like your clothes." He does really good. His eyes are looking at me and he even reaches out and touches my arm. "You are beautiful."
Oh boy did I need to hear that. DING DING DING, Joey is the winner!!!
I say thanks, like it's no big deal. Like I wouldn't have gone into the bathroom the split second Joey left for class and bawled my eyes out if he hadn't responded exactly like he did.
So anyways. Back to the jeans. And losing weight.
I guess all I can do is eat normal and maybe get some new, smaller jeans. But then I will be paranoid if I grow out of them, even if it means growing back into the one's I'm wearing, which I never had an issue with before I suddenly lost this weight.
I will have to fight that. Curves are good. Bones are bad.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Well, the Lord sure does have a sense of humor because I didn't have a wacko in my house last night so much as a stranger. Still it was nerve racking, even if she was seventy or so.

I met her at work last night and the poor thing wanted to find a hotel room in Reno for about twenty bucks on a Friday night during the holiday season. Fat chance, but I didn't tell her that. Instead, I looked on the Internet and through the phonebook and every brochure we had in the place trying to get her a bed for the night. This was her story.

She left Finland in a rush hearing that her aunt (who lived in Gardnerville) was sick. She wanted to spend time with her before she passed away. On the trip over, her sister called to tell her that her aunt had already died.

She had no place to go; my cop's wife judgement prolonged me inviting her to stay at my house until the last possible moment, after we had called every hotel even remotely stayable and she had invited me to stay with her anytime in Finland (hint hint). There was nothing else to do except to say, "Well, you can stay at my house if you want," as if that was the first time the idea had entered either of our brains over the last two hours.

She about toppled me over with hugs.

First we went to my parent's house to pick up Ethan. She said she loved children. My cop's wife instinct told me, "Great. That's what all the child kidnappers and killers probably say. Oh, I LOVE children." I gulped and thought of Joey and how he was going to kill me as Aila and I walked into my parents house.

We had a late dinner of left over sloppy joes which was not that great, but Aila ate every last bite. Another reason to be suspicious. Why is she so hungry? Is she homeless? Has she been lying to me?

I am such a spaz.

Joey did about kill me later on the phone when I told him she would be sleeping at our house.

"She's just an old lady," I said. "Like Grammie."

"It's the principle of it Danae! It's the principle!"

His worry got me worrying even more. After we made her bed on the couch and I said goodnight, I went into our master bedroom and contemplated staying up all night to make sure I knew what she was up to. While thinking about this I was trimming my cuticles and instantly thought what a great idea it would be to keep the cuticle cutters on my bedside table in case she came in in the middle of the night wanting to kill me. I could just see the headline, "Little Old Lady Brutally Murders Young Mother and Child in Their Sleep." Yes, something like that.

I got too tired to stay up all night but my ears were perked to her every sound like a hound's. When I did go to bed I left my cuticle trimmers in the bathroom. I got out my Bible expecting to open it to a verse like, "I was hungry and you fed me," but instead it was just Ephesians. I read a little. The Holy Spirit reminded me I am no less safer tonight than I was last night with no one in my house because God is the same: all powerful, all knowing, all loving.

It still was hard to fall asleep, but I did.

It makes me sad this was so hard. I want to help people. I want to take every person in need into my home, feed them coffee and bagels with cream cheese.

By the end we were good friends. Like a grandmother she was telling me that I am too skinny and that I needed a warmer coat before I went outside. When I hugged her goodbye, I sincerely hoped she would be ok. Like I would if I were leaving my own Grammie.

She blessed me beyond measure. Complimenting my relationship with my parents ("It's so vonderful tat you love your mutter!") and my mothering skills with Ethan and our home and my approachablness.

She may have been just a needy old lady, willing to say anything. But I think she was sent by God to make me trust Him more and to bless me like crazy in the process.

Thank you Aila.