Tag Archives: 6 Looking Back // Memories!

Elise-the-Niece is Leaving Us

Elise Rachelle Moslander.

A year and a half ago Elise moved to Denver.  I don’t think her parents, my brother Joe and his wife, Robin, of Aberdeen, were as excited as we were because she’d been in Hawaii with YWAM for over 2 years.  But we were very happy to have her near.


Elise smiles…these photos swiped from her Facebook…

And Elise has been a joy to have (“ketchup” with her here).  She roomed with a childhood friend and about 17 other college girls most of the time and has been crashing at Stef  and Wrex’s for the summer, but she infused herself into the life of our family from the start.  We’d never lived near Elise, only seeing her at family reunions and occasional visits and the veeeeeeeeeery rare photo her parents might send, but it was as if, when she arrived, we’d always been together.


Elise is taking a leadership position, once again, at the YWAM base in Hawaii until the end of the year and then moving back to Aberdeen to help develop her local church mission focus (where her daddy is the pastor).  She is leaving us and Colorado will be a little poorer for her absence.  Colorado will be losing a truly genuine, loving and sweet young woman with an easy laugh, a room-lighting smile and a helpful spirit.  We will lose a girl who loves God and is devoted to family.  Little children all over the metro area will miss her (she has nanny-ed for several families during her time here and her 2nd cousins, my grandbabies, all find her quite delightful).


“Engaging” is the perfect one-word description of Elise.  If you have ever had a conversation with her, you know that she speaks very pronouncedly with a slight lift/lilt to the end of all sentences.  Every story, every word, every sentence becomes, yet stopping just before, a possible question or response-requirer.  Brother Joe told me at reunion that she learned when she was four to be able to talk for 47 straight minutes in a way that simply made it impossible for the hearer to disengage.  He said it had become a lifelong art for Elise – the ability to keep you in because you might be called upon to answer…but then again, you might not.  So, she has this beautiful set of pearly whites and the full, shapely Moslander lips and she is simply fascinating to listen to and to watch.  And every word she says is all the more interesting because it comes from her.

Elise with the orphans of Honduras

I will miss you, Elise.  I will miss your enthusiasm about life and your commitment to family.  I will miss your loving ways and involvement in our lives.  I will miss your cool sense of fashion and your heart for missions and travel.  I will miss having the treasure of my brother Joe’s heart here close to me.  I will miss your love for my grandchildren and the happy dances you do with them at family gatherings.  I will miss your Holy-Spirit-given Gift of Faith and your childlike belief that everything will work out (and hasn’t God proven Himself to you time and again!?).  Never give up that kind of trust in the Lord, Elise – it will serve you well.

I don’t think Aberdeen is big enough to contain you, because you have sufficient personality to fill so much more, but that is probably why God has called you to the world and given you such love for people.  And today, knowing you are leaving and knowing our sun is losing some brightness, I just thank God for the time He allowed you to be here blessing our lives and infusing our family with joy and delight.  We will cherish it always.  We will treasure the memories and never forget you were sent as a gift for this time.

I am so proud I can say you are my niece.  You are a beautiful girl, both inside and out.  I am so proud for the choices you are making in your life.  I am so pleased to see you follow the call of God on your life.  You are loved and you will be so very much missed!  Be blessed when you go out and when you come in.  Be blessed in the country and in the city.  May your enemies be defeated and may everything you put your hand to prosper and be blessed!

I love you, girl, and I miss you already…Aunt Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Learn to smile with total abandon like Elise does.  Can that be learned or will it require surgery?

Where everybody knows your name…


in this world

of strangers

and new-found friends

and doubtful dreams

and demands

and responsibilities

and troubles

and fast moves

and worries

and insecurities

a person wants to go seek out

the people and places that

knew what he used to be

what he dreamt

and what he hoped for

what he was and how he grew…

Sometimes a person just wants

To go home.

 -Rhonda K Langefield



“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…”  The Cheers theme song

pictured: google snapshot called “forgotten”

1723 York Street

About once a year  I dream of my childhood home – at least one of them.   We moved quite a bit, so there were many “homes.”   But there is “the one.”   It is the one I lived in from the summer of 1965 through  early September  1970.   It was my parent’s first home purchase so it was a big deal.   It is the one that was only 4 blocks from Wallace Elementary, where I attended school from Kindergarten through 4th grades.   It was just 4 blocks from Grandma’s house and a couple of blocks from my cousin Diana, who would drop by and “pick me up” on her way to school.  

I loved that house.   There is no explanation for the value I place on it except maybe: It was green grass and having a best friend just across the alley and lilacs and long summer days.   It was a rusty old swingset on which I spent hours singing my heart out to the heavens.   It was neighbors who paid us nickels and quarters for rocks and shells we took door-to-door, us thinking we were giving them a real bargain,  kind people knowingly supporting our adventure, divining we really just needed some penny candy money for the corner grocer 5 blocks away.   It was neighborhood relays with homemade ribbons and paper drives and screen doors that slammed musically to the cricket’s songs as we ran to capture lightening bugs for jewelry.   It was innocence and family, it was friends and church.   It was my mom on the piano teaching us to sing gospel for all we were worth.   It was the safe place.

Several times over the years I have been moved to send Christmas greetings to the current inhabitants of the house at 1723 York Street in Des Moines, Iowa wishing them all the joy and love and peace I experienced there.   They have never replied and for all I know there are restraining orders on file concerning me.

So, occasionally I dream about it and have googled the address from time to time.   Last week  I did so and was overwhelmed and delighted to see that “my house,” my place of nostalgic extravagance, was up for sale.   My parents bought it for $12,000 in ’65 and sold it for $17,000 in ’70.   It is listed at $110,000 now, which seems an amazing bargain for such a magical childhood palace.  

There it was.   My 1723 York Street house!   I have actually always daydreamed about owning it now.   And there it was on a real estate site – with pictures!   And even though the colors are different (the woodwork is painted now), it has not changed much at all.   It seems smaller.   It’s old (built in 1913).   The old-fashioned 3-car garage with swing-open doors is long gone, replaced by a nice new 2 car version with an overhead like everyone else.   But it is my house, my home, my street.   That is my grass and enclosed side porch (lots of Barbie time there).   My trees are gone, as is the sidewalk that once went straight from the front stairs to the public walkway.   But it is my house, my home, my street.

The other day, I went “thrifting” with the girls and made 2 totally fruitless purchases, except that they gave me something tangible to remember those years there.   I got an over-sized, burnt-orange Haeger pottery ash tray just like my grandma used to have in her house (there are slots for at least 9 cigarettes!).   So 1960s!   And, I got an old black, rotary, wall phone by Bell – one exactly like the one that hung in our kitchen at 1723 York Street when my phone number was 266-7121.   These are worthless artifacts except to look at and recall a time and place and the innocent girl who skipped and romped through it.


I am somewhat war-damaged now.   Time has taken it’s toll on the body.   Circumstances have wreaked havoc on the heart.   The innocence has been lost and lost again, but finds repair and healing in the heart of the Father.   I can’t help but believe that my address in heaven will be 1723 York Street, for I am that same girl yet, beneath this outer crust, but there, I will never grow old.

Forgive my indulgent reminiscing…Jeanie

NOTE TO READERS:   Two days after I “found” it, the listing (www.dsmhomes.com)  seems to have been removed, which I can only assume means it sold.   I think finding it was a gift from God to help me update my dreams…

pictured: the house at 1723 York Street in Des Moines as it currently looks and the dining room; a couple of shots of the kitchen at the York Street house; the York Street living room – it’s windows are it’s true glory; the old Bell phone and Haeger ashtray I just got while “thrifting” with the girls; the girls in Olde Town Arvada; a cute bakery sign in Olde Town.

Grace Notes

Life’s Grace Notes: Unexpected moments of perfection, the  tiniest shimmer  of  beauty  piercing your heart.   The I-was-made-for-this minute; the unscheduled, fleeting, almost-unnoticeable events that make the life you have more valuable than you can imagine or could ever have hoped or asked for.

Grace note:   Daughter, Tara, sitting in the chair in the family room, singing the new song she has just written to the Lord.   The song is breathtakingly beautiful, outshone only by the  clarity of her voice,  striking and true.  

Grace note:   Rocky & Jovan drawing us all into a game of murder and angelic rescue and accusations called “Mafia.”   We laugh and turn on each other like there is no tomorrow, in the spirit of friendly, family  competition.   Laughing our heads off, we wonder why we don’t play games more?


Grace note: Stormie and Tredessa coming home from Venezuela after almost two weeks.   When Steph and the kids show up to see them, an impromtu weekday afternoon pool party ensues on a sunny, summer day.  

Grace note: Tredessa deciding to hang out here at our house for a few days following the trip.   Regular life gets placed aside because of our special “house guest,” and that is sweet.

Grace note:   Stormie, frustrated that the new card trick she keeps trying on everyone isn’t really that good.   The odds, which are supposed to be in her favor, keep landing in ours.   Fun for us.


Grace Note:   Gavin’s hair carefully self-styled – with gel, no less, for his Back-to-School night, which is really his first-ever night at school.

Grace note:   A God-appointed few hours with Stephanie, just the two of us and me so enjoying our conversation, I don’t notice that just one side of my face is getting burnt to a crisp, just one side.

Grace note:   Dave studying for a class he’ll be teaching…in the pool.   He is getting paid for it.   *smile…

Grace note:   Hunter pondering the Home of Refuge Orphange in Venezuela.   When I tell him, “They don’t have a mommy and daddy like you do.”   He tells me wisely, “God is their daddy now.”

Nothing earth-shattering.   Nothing you’d necessarily plan for or schedule in, but sweet and harmonious, the very sound of heaven, “the music of living.”   Extra notes and embellishments make the song all the sweeter.   I hum along.

It is unmerited, I assure you.   Are you hearing yours?…Jeanie

NOTE FO SELF:   Listen for the moments.

pictured: Stormie and Tredessa with the orphans; Gavin smelling a dinnerplate Dahlia; Hunter in his jammies, making me laugh  as the sun was setting one evening;   Dave on the clock.

The Case of the Misdirected Sunflower

Facing est  

Dave and I met and married in North Dakota, where we both attended Bible College.   ’81 was our summer of love.   Our first date was 5.26.81 and we married on 7.23.81.  

The summers in North Dakota are spectacular.   It is a shame you can’t bottle that.   The sun takes almost forever to finally fall from the sky at night and is brilliant throughout the day.   North Dakota is a little, plain, shall we say, in some ways?   And flat.   Conservative.   And there are lots of white houses.

But one thing you see there that is better than anywhere else?   Fields of sunflowers, faithfully and brilliantly holding their gorgeous yellow-orange heads high and seemingly following the sun. True.   In the morning, their little faces facing east, then, operating in heliotropism, they would “follow the sun” until they were facing west by evening.   Sometime during the night, in anticipation of the next sunrise, they’d be facing east again.   A wonder to behold!

I threw a few sunflower seeds in the yard this year and have watched over the past few weeks as the unblossomed buds have heliotroped about, back and forth, east to west, daily.   But when the first 7-foot-high bloomer occured: nothing.   Nada.   It has faced the east and moved not one iota.   “What is wrong, tall flower?” I’d ask.   “Look this way, come on, look over here.”   No response.   It has fixed it’s gaze on my neightbor’s back porch and she rarely comes out.   True, her overly-zealous, fence-jumping  sprinklers do provide the needed waterings, which is why I decided to plant them in the awkward behind-the-pool space anyway.   Still, I am being ignored in favor of a woman who does not care.

Dave asked me if I planted the seeds backwards.   Har-dee-har-har.

In desperation, I Wikipedied this problem and am dismayed to  learn that sunflowers in the blooming stage (maturity, it seems)  are no longer heliotropic, but frozen in one direction, usually east, meaning all of my sunflowers will benefit some one else, as I will only get to gaze on their hinder parts.   This is indeed disturbing and so unlike, I am quite certain, their North Dakato fields of cousins.

But the case is solved.

I love the backyard, though…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:   Next year-Cannas!