Tag Archives: mom

So kiss me and smile for me

So kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go*

My mom asked me a few months ago, having watched a documentary about the late John Denver on PBS, if I would maybe “go in” with my siblings and buy her a John Denver CD for Christmas. She didn’t want to tax me too heavily, lovely woman that she is. <3

jdenver leaving

So, Dave made a CD of John Denver songs from his iTunes and I took it to her when I went to visit 2 weeks ago. She was so surprised. She barely remembered the documentary, if at all, and certainly didn’t recall asking for a CD, but she was happy to have it.

My visit this time has a musical soundtrack. And it is the sound of John Denver music drifting from her corner room, from a little CD player she can no longer remember how to work on her own, even though my sister painted “play” in large white letters.


My sweetest mamala is suffering dementia, being treated for Alzheimer’s Disease. And the changes are so gradual if you’re in the room with her, that they’re much less perceptible. But I am not there, so when I visit, changes are glaring, and I lose my breath for a moment when I see another part of her gone. My dad always asks me what I see as different because he is “in the room,” day and night, night and day.

When I visited 2 months ago in August, during our family reunion, she kept asking me what words were on a stitched pillow her best friend had sent to her. “Friendship,” I’d tell her. She’d look intently at it and then say, “Oh right, there is the ‘i.’ Oh, and that’s ‘f’.” Then she’d say, “Friendship.”

15 minutes later, she’d pick the pillow up and ask me again. Everyday I was there, several times.

I asked my dad, “When did she begin to lose reading?” He was so surprised, he had been wondering why she wasn’t reading her Bible each morning like she always has. Reading is not totally lost to her yet. But it mostly is. She still keeps her Bible and her beloved dictionary close by at all times, but they are rarely opened. Sometimes she has to really focus her gaze for a long time to make out what the newspaper article is about. And if the article is continued in another column, or heaven forbid, on another page, she thinks they somehow just quit writing and finds it foolish for them to have done that.

This time, my most recent visit, she couldn’t sing Mairzy Doats, a beloved song from her childhood, with me anymore. Wherever it is she is going, down whatever hall dementia is taking her, that song doesn’t make sense and those aren’t real words so she cannot remember them at all. And she has no desire to recall them. My mom sang that to me my whole life. Then she sang it to my children. She and I sang it to some of my grandchildren. She always thought it was so funny and delightful, singing those tricky words that were really other words. But now it’s just “nonsense” to her, which it really always was, I guess. But still.

mom laughing oct 2015
My main goal, when we are together now, is to laugh with her. Laughter is so good for the bones.

So she wanted to listen to John Denver’s soothing beautiful music. She particularly loves Rocky Mountain High and Sunshine on My Shoulders. And the song all our family legends are made of was on repeat one day, Back Home Again. She had to call to play it and sing it for her best friend in Tennessee. She mostly hummed, unable to recall words she has always loved. And she’d comment to her friend when a line of the song said something sweet, like, “…the light in your eyes that makes me warm,” She’d say, “That reminds me of you, Ronnie!” It was sweetness.

mom at sundown

But all week, Whenever the song, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” began, she’d come and hug me and say, “Oh, I don’t want you to go…how many more days do I have?” And I’d usual just say, “I’m here for a whole week,” even as the week was moving along. Because it would put her at ease and she’d say, “Oh, good.”

Then we’d giggle and sing along with John Denver, mom mostly humming and inserting comments.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I’m standing here outside your door*

“Oh no, Jeanie. Here let me help you un-pack your bags!”

I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.*

“Don’t wake me up for that!”

‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again*

“You better get back here again quick!”

That is so true, mamala. I know you won’t see this blog (computer navigation was one of the first things to go), but we’ll laugh about this in heaven…

A couple of days before I had to leave, three of us were sitting on the love seat singing together, my mom, my little sister, and me. It was hard finding songs my mom could recall the words and following lyrics on the computer was’t working either. I went to a karaoke site and pulled up “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” We started singing away, getting that tight 3-part harmony from heaven found among family members alone.


But as we came to the words, “So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me,” I had to look away and I couldn’t sing. A catch in my throat and the tears began, because I heard her singing the words, but I knew, she won’t be waiting for me. She is going to keep walking this path and each time I see her, there’ll be a little less of her there.

I have heard Alzheimer’s called The Long Goodbye.  And so it seems it must be. My sorrow at watching her have to endure not just the memory loss, but the confusion, the frustration, and the growing inabilities to do what she loves is compounded by living over a thousand miles away. Knowing my time with her will be so limited by the miles between us, I will take every possible second of this long goodbye to hold in my heart.

Every chance I get, I will go to her and bless her and praise her for the woman she is and hug her tiny self as long as she wants (and she loves long hugs). I’ll massage her shoulders and brush her hair and stroke her face and let her curl up on my lap like she is my little girl. There is so little I can do, but I’ll hold on as long as she needs me to….

Hold me like you’ll never let me go*


Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!” Proverbs 31.31 The Message

Learn more from The Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death and is not just about having a diminishing memory. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s loses their ability to walk, to sit and eventually to swallow.  Please pray for my sweet mamala, if you will. *Norma Jean*

*Lyrics to Leaving on a Jet Plane, John Denver.

Sometimes a girl just needs her mom

I love my mom.

The mamala…the older my kids got, the more of my best-friend-ever she became.

I was the one who turned her into a mom.  Every year she gives me kudos for that.  :)  As the years go on, I am trying to figure out how to honor her more.  I SO wanna be more like her when I grow up!  I doubt I can ever hope to attain it, but her love (in spite of anything I ever put her through) just remains.  “And when the day is done, my mama’s still my biggest fan...”  -from a song that makes me cry every-time.

I love the children who made me a mom.

I may have mentioned it before on this very blog.  But I am crazy about my kids.  Honestly, when I go to their blogs or check out their Facebook pages, but especially when I get to be in a room with them – I just cannot get over what cool people they are.

The Kelley Fam has the most creative photographs.  Captures my grandbebes!  :)

Omygoodness.  These kids, well, they have turned out.  And I find it amazing and I am filled with gratefulness for them, for a loving God who created them right there in my womb.  That is crazy grace!

A forever fav photo of Ryan and Tredessa, even though you can’t see her face – it was all pure joy!

Tara, Stephanie, Tredessa and Stormie: each so unique, each ravishing in beauty, each creative and passionate and successful and interesting.  They are just so interesting as human beings.  They are colorful and talented across so many boards it is crazy.  And the boy, Rocky.  Well, he is the most handsome, zealous, straightforward, protective young man ever.  These five.  My universe.  My past, my future.  My pride.  My joy.  I am so pleased that God was somehow able to make these…from me.  Like: speechless awe.

The Powers fam=fun always!

But if I have to add speech, like Buddy-the-Elf in the department store when he hears Santa is coming and starts screaming: “Saaaaaaaaaa-anta!!  I know him!”  I could do the same of mine, Tara!  Stephanie!!  Tredessa!!!  Rocky!!!!  Stormie Dae!!!!  I know them!

Stormie posted this on FB this morning.  Awww.

I love that the children I birthed have brought along their loves and I get to be the {dreaded} mother-in-love to them.

My kids have chosen well – just the right people for the family.  I am so blessed.  The main thing I love about Tristan, Dave, Jovan and Ryan is how they love my children.  They are all familia.  They were born to be one of us.  I am so lucky to just get that role by legal default.  But also by the ordination of God, favored, blessed!  I don’t take it lightly.

Rocky and his girls.

I love that God has made me a spiritual mom to his Bride.

I cherish the people He surrounds me with.  His word says He puts the lonely in families.  I know this is true.  For when my physical family is so far away and when life gets hectic for the growing families my own are raising, no matter where I go, I find myself surrounded by family – and am honored more than I deserved, and received with love.

I love that I got to be the mom to Dave’s children.

Because he said that when he proposed: that he was choosing me to be the mother of his children.  What an honor.

He wanted to buy me some crazy-great camera to replace my lost one today.  And I would not let him.  Although I did allow him to get me the next step up from my last one since it was on clearance at Target (Kodak Easyshare Z5010).  I just wasn’t ready to spend the time figuring out a real-live wonderful camera.  That is a life investment and Stephanie and Stormie have that covered for me.

From the new cam, a peony after a morning rain

And I asked for a new carpet cleaner.  With the same operator {Dave}.  He complied.

Dave would buy me flowers and jewelry.  He wants to do that.  He would bring me breakfast in bed.  He would give me the moon as a thanks for the kids we share.  But they are the reward.  Having them with him is the reward of my life.

Still much to learn about mothering.  So glad God trusted me to be a mom.


Happy Mother’s Day to my friends and family far and wide.  May your husband praise you today and may your children go all out to call you blessed!


This one is for Stef, who can appreciate my momma stories.  :)

About a year ago my mom and I were reminiscing on the phone about the great time we’d had at the Phipps farm during the Moslander Family Reunion of 2009.  Stef and Wrex set up a roping activity and lots of yard games, brought out the horses for riding and baby goats and cows for petting.  My mom was particularly thrilled when Wrex gave her some tips on roping.  She was able to dead-aim her pvc-pipe “cow” with ease under his tutelage and reflected how great it would have been in life to have known this stuff sooner!  There she was, a 70-year old woman, roping away!


We enjoyed a big barbecue on their spacious property and to my mom’s utter delight, we got a big game of horseshoes going before the sun went down.  She has always loved a good game of horseshoes.

As we were talking about it on the phone last summer, she just started joking around and being silly about it, like she sometimes does to make us smile.

“I didn’t do too good at horseshoes in Colorado.  That ground was so hard those horseshoes just got up and galloped away.  They wouldn’t even stay by the pin.  They even tried to chase Joe down.  He finally climbed on one and rode away.”

Yes.  I wrote it down for future joy.  Just like she used to do with our words when we were little.

Who Loves Investigation Discovery? I do! I do!

ID: Ivestigation Discovery, just another Discovery cable TV channel among, how many now, 37 or 152?  Ah, but this one is great.  All unsolved crimes and crime mysteries and FBI and CIA and Paul Zahn-On the Case; there are crimes and I-almost-got-away-with-it cases and pretty clever criminals, but some hero-type officers of the law who investigate and solve tough situations.  It is my one TV potential-addiction.  I know this because I have already plotted, should I break a major bone and have 7 -10 days where I have to just be on the couch, I will watch ID around the clock.  It is weird to know that, but I like to plan ahead.

Last night I didn’t get to {really} watch any ID, but I did sort of land on it for a few minutes while waiting for the Papa Murphey’s pizza to bake.   What I was able to surmise, in this particular show about the FBI in Carroll Parish in Lousiana, was that some crazy alligator-wrestling swamp-guy did some bad stuff (like shooting & killing a man outside a bar while some one hed him down and claiming self-defense), but escaped from from the courthouse after sentencing and they could. not. find. him.  Why?  Because he knew how to live in the woods and the water and the swampy areas.  Even when his feet were chained and the sheriffs came out with the dogs, he knew to bury himself into wet marshes and the mud, allowed the soaked earth near the water’s edge to come up around him and they say the dogs walked right over him and couldn’t even pick up hs scent because he was covered, face down,  in the mud and water. 

Life-Changing Moments with God, Praying the Scripture Everyday by Dr David Jeremiah

My mom gave me her copy of her favorite-ever devotional book by David Jeremiahwhile I was there visiting  in January.  I love it because she jots little notes in the margins and notes family milestones.  She’ll add a song she is singing that day and definitions to words that stand out.  It is sort of her journal and very personal.  She got herself a new copy and let me have the one with the real treasures.  I pick it up periodically so I can see what my mama has been meditating on on any given day. Each page starts with a scripture, then a prayer made up of scriptures, then the scripture references are noted.  For today ~

April 16, page 119

I said in my haste, ‘I am cut off from before Your eyes,’; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.

Lord, I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters where the floods overflow me.  Waters flowed over my head; I said, ‘I am cut off!’  I called on Your Name, o Lord, from the lowest pit.  You have heard my voice. ‘Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.’  You drew near on the day I called on You and said, ‘Do not fear.’

Lord, will You cast me off forever?  Will You be favorable no more?  Has Your mercy ceased forever?  Has Your promise failed forevermore?  Have You, Lord God, forgotten to be gracious?  Have You, in Your anger, shut up Your tender mercies?  I said ‘This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most high.’  I will remember Your works, Lord God; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see Your goodness, loving God, in the land of the living.

Great is Your faithfulness, Lord!  I will remember Your works and Your tender mercies.  Praise Your name!**


I had one of those days.  You work hard, really hard, for a long period of time.  And suddenly, you are overcome, overwhelmed, at your end.  There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no relief in sight.  You have done all you know to do.  You have done as much as you can and suddenly the ground seems unstable.  You sense you are sinking into the mire.  Nothing is working as it should.  Wait, what?  How did I get here?  What happened?  Did I take a wrong turn?  What is going on?

Yep.  I had one of those days.

And in reading this this morning, and having watched the FBI show about the swamp-guy, I realized it is ok, sometimes, to just surrender to it.  Burough down into the mud and let the waves and water surround.  The promise from God is that they will not overtake me, anyway.  Yes, it is a pit, but from there the Lord still hears my cry.  The Faithful One is on it.  But the enemy won’t be able to find me, hidden in the land, the land of the living.  The enemy may prowl, but I’ll be where only God can find me.

That is where I may be reached at this time.

**Psalm 31.22, Psalm 69.2, Lamentations 3.54-57, Psalm 77.7-11, Psalm 27.13 (from the book, page 119)

I Love My Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing-sweet-godly-warm-









I wanna be just like you when I grow up, Mama.   I love you!  Happy Day!

*Norma Jean (Allison) Moslander, currently residing in Springfield, Mo.  Everyone should have some one like her in their lives!  Truly.  “Then the world would be a better place!…”  Pictured: my mom beside my dad – where she has been for 51+ years, faithfully and with great love and devotion.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamala!


Happy, joyous day to you, Norma Jean Moslander, my sweet mom!

Oh, my mamala! This is me…rising up…calling you blessed, calling on the world to festoon you with garlands of celebration, for you have exceled them all.  You did it – you raised us: Jeanie, Joey, Timmy, Tami and Danny – and we all probably think that you like us best, for that is your gift (but of course, in my case – we know it’s true, but fear not, mamala – shan’t tell the others!).

A Happy Mother’s Day to my good friends and the MOPS mommies I love so dearly.

Remember this: where God has called you – He has equipped you.  YOU are the woman for the job.  All the seeds planted, all the tears that fall and water those little seeds – you will see the fruit.  they will rise up and call you blessed!


And Happy Mother’s Day to me

For I am blessed beyond measure.  God, You gave me gifts for which I can never repay You: Tara, Stephanie, Tredessa, Rocky & Stormie – mine all mine.  And then You added on and I got Dave and Tristan and my newest daughter, Jovan.  And then Steph & Tris gave me my first grandson and first granddaughter: Gavin and Guinivere.  And then Dave & Tara blessed me with Hunter Magoo (who greeted me in church today with a big Bible under his arm – exactly the way I was carrying mine), and…and…and…the gift goes on

Thank-You ,Lord.  I am grateful that You trusted me with these people, I am truly grateful.


Blessings on you today, all the moms I know and the people who love a mom or have one… Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Enjoy the ones who are already here today – and keep a lid on the excitement for the new granddaughter due any moment now…

PICTURED: my mom and me when I was about 9,
me and the Rhoades kids, 1998 or so
the whole fam, 4.15.07

Top 10 Reasons I’m Blogging

I am blogging now!  My amazing son-in-law, Tristan Kelley, got me set up, so with a nod to David Letterman for the use of his format, I’ll tell you why.  Here goes:

Top Ten Reasons I’m Blogging Now

10. This is a way to record what is happening in my life in all different areas.  I stunk at keeping diaries when I was young (always lost the key), and my journaling has been sporadic, but if I think some one will discover I’ve been neglectful, I am motivated to do it!

9. Bad memory.  This shall be a record of my journey for everything I may forget as the days and weeks go by.  And the kids can tell you, that could be a lot!

8. Because I said so…and I’m the mom! :)  This is a chance to speak into the lives of my children (I hope to inspire and encourage them) and other friends and family and tell them things I want to make sure they know.  And they can even talk back (through the use of “comments”).  It’s your chance, kiddos!

7. I LOVE the site Tris set up for me!  My girls found this stock image of the red-head and Tristan made the fall leaves swirl.  It makes me laugh every time I see it.  So, for that reason, I will be here blogging! [update: this was in reference to original header gif]

6. It’ll help me process what I am thinking and learning and, as I write,  help me figure out who God intended me to be.  “I think, therefore, I blog.”

i think therefore i blog jeanierhoadesdotcom

5. Because I just know everyone will adore all my grandkid-stories and pictures!

4. You’re so far away: hopefully, I’ll get comments from friends old and new, near and far. And those letters that never seemed to have been mailed will morph into shorter, but more steady contact! HOPE-hope-hope!

3. I have soooooo much to say!  Ask any of my childhood school teachers! But I hate talking on the phone. So. Blog.

2. Really cool, intelligent people seem to have blogs.  I am hoping to become one of those.

And the number one reason I am now blogging:  1.  My mother will like it!

Blessings! Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Ask Tristan where spellcheck is on this thing???