Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas (a.k.a) Fire Avoidance

We're going to Spokane for the holidays but my cousin is staying at our house.

This is the email I wrote her.

I think it boarders somewhere between psychotic and humorous:
i was going to leave you a long-winded letter about stuff about our house.

but then i remembered that you're 30 years old and have lived on your own for 12 years.

so here are the things i'm OCD about, and we'll leave it at that:

1. when you leave the house, check to make sure the garage door is down. it's best to check 5 times, and then turn around twice in your car as you drive away. if you need to check one more time because you're not quite sure if it "popped" back up - you can drive around the block and do a drive-by check.

2. make sure there is water in the tree before you turn the xmas lights on. this is my new holiday OCD that is revolved around the house burning down - a new OCD characteristic that has formed since we decided to get a real tree this year. i know - special.

that's about all. not to bad right!?!

oh wait, i remembered another one:

3. when you use the downstairs fireplace, take the stockings down first. it gets too hot for them to stay up there. you know - fire and all and house burning.

should i seek counseling? this isn't healthy. is it. DANG IT! i need house-burning-down-fire-related therapy.

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great time. Mi casa es su casa. Did I get that right?!? Call or text if you need anything.

Merry Christmas.

Oh - the sheets (on our bed) and towels are all clean for you guys.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Love your soon-to-be-in-therapy friend,


And though it pains me to put this picture up,
this is literally what I visualize:
And now I have it up on my blog as a reminder of my worst fear.


Ugh ... I need help.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I have officially found a remedy for my NON-Morning-Person grumpiness.

Especially track #6

Ironically, The E.N.D. stands for "The Energy Never Dies."

Which is just what I need in the morning.

I DARE you to listen to it without dancing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


For our creative writing yesterday, I asked my kids to write a story about a giraffe who tries to sit in a human chair.

Here are the various spellings for GIRAFFE:
  • chraff
  • draf (two kids spelled it this way)
  • jrafe
  • burat
  • darafe
  • graf (the "g" was backwards)
  • greft
  • gfaf
  • jraf
  • graf (three kids spelled it this way)
  • gurraf
  • grath
I love 1st grade.

The End.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pure Heaven

I have always loved nativity scenes.

I have fond memories of playing with our nativity scenes we set up every year around Christmas time.

My mom had a wooden "kid friendly" set that my brother and I could play with to our heart's content.

But it was always the fancy ceramic set that my Grandma Jackie handmade for my mom that I wanted to play with.

To rub my finger over their glossy faces was heaven.

To touch their silky, shiny robes.

To look at baby Jesus in his manger.

To see the joy in Mary's face looking down at her baby.

Pure heaven.

Knowing how much I loved nativity scenes, my Aunt Patty gave me a full nativity set for a wedding present in 2004.

I set it up each December with the same joy and exuberance as my 6-year old spirit did.

Carefully taking each figurine out of it's individual wrapping is like a yearly gift I never tire of.

The same gift ... every year.

But each year, a bit different.

Jaded by time.

Confident in life's journey.

Learning from experiences.

Healing from wounds.

Eager for the future.

Excepting of the present.

So this year, I added a special angel to my nativity scene.

If you look at the above picture, you'll see on the left-hand side, that one angle sits atop a riser.

A special angel.

An angel that looks over the nativity scene.



And so, I gave this angel to Jay today.

The Angel Of Remembrance.

For our sweet baby we lost this year.

Another way to heal.

Another way to remember.

We cried painful, healthy, hearty, healing tears as we placed her atop her mighty stand.

The nativity scene feels a bit more complete this year.


And protected.

Pure Heaven.

Love you baby.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Panic: An Update

So here's the deal.

I survived through my ketchup drought.

But I'll tell ya ...

meatloaf sandwiches without ketchup are NOT that great.

Reeeeal meaty and bready.


Anyone have some water I can drink?

In A Panic

I'm in a panic.

I brought left-over meatloaf to make a sandwich for lunch ...


I've been thinking about it all morning.

Seriously ... ketchup is consuming my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

From Jay & myself ...

And from my parents ...

I hope your holiday season is filled
with wonderful memories and time spend with family & friends.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LIFE - Like A River

My mom shared this with me today.

I thought it was really symbolic or things that have gone on in our lives lately ...

Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers.

We are born somewhere small and quiet and we move toward a place we cannot see, but only imagine.

Along our journey, people and events flow into us, and we are created of everywhere and everyone we have passed.

Each event, each person, changes us in some way.

Even in times of drought we are still moving and growing, but it is during seasons of rain that we expand the most - when water flows from all directions, sweeping at terrifying speed, chasing against rocks, spilling over boundaries.

These are painful times, but they enable us to carry burdens we could never have thought possible.


This is hilarious ...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Grandpa's Funeral Today

Today is Grandpa's funeral.

I cried all night.

Barely slept.

And work up early with a stomachache.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Half Mast

Our school's flag pole.

For the brave officers who protect us.

For those who have fallen during their duty.

Most recently at the hands of a very sick man.


Talking to my students:

Me: Ok, you have three minutes to finish up your art project and then it's lunchtime.

Student: Mrs. Stookey, how long is three minutes?

Me: Three minutes long.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Facebook Buddies

This afternoon, I told my students that my Grandpa passed away
and that his funeral is this Saturday.

We've lightly talked about death and funerals lately
due to student's questions about great-grandparents and pets getting old.

When I was done telling the kids,
one of my students quickly raised his hand and said,
"I already knew that your Grandpa died because my mom is your buddy on Facebook."




The World's School

A good friend of mine gave me THIS book a few years ago and I just love it.

If the World Were A Village: A Book about the World's People.

Here is an excerpt about the world's school:

Schooling and Literacy

A school bell calls young people of the village to school. But for some children, there is no school to go to, or they must work instead, to help feed their family.

How many people in the village of 100 go to school?

There are 38 school-aged villagers (ages 5 to 24), but only 31 of them attend school. There is 1 teacher for these students.

Not everybody in the global village is encouraged to learn to read, write and think. Of the 88 people old enough to read, 71 can read at least a bit, but 17 cannot read at all. More males are taught to read than females.

So sad.

And it's so sad because its realistic.

And true.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's OK

I'm having a rough emotional week.

I continue to be deeply saddened by my miscarriage.

Not so much mad anymore.

Or asking why.

Just sad.


Hard to see pregnant women.

I want to be pregnant too.

I was pregnant.

I want to still be pregnant.

And I keep getting weekly pregnancy email updates.



Your emails are like salt in my wounds.

And so I have changed my due date (on those websites) back to "Trying To Conceive."

And well ... that just sucks.

My time will come.

I know that.

This time wasn't right.

I know that.

But still ... sadness persists.

And that's just OK.

And this too ... shall pass.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grandpa's Tribute Banner

My brother made this beautiful banner as a tribute to my Grandpa.

It will be displayed at Grandpa's funeral this Saturday.

Danny, your talent continues to amaze me.

Thank you for this thoughtful and heartfelt gift.

You can check out Danny's company
and more of their work on their website HERE.

Or stay up-to-date on their latest projects
from their blog HERE.

A Global Look ...

at the HIV/AIDS pandemic ...

Lord help Southern Africa.

World AIDS Day Info

Today is World AIDS Day.

Join us at OCC tonight at 7:00.

You'll hear stories and learn how you can help.

On a related note ... a mission team left for South Africa early this morning to help in Durban at iThemba Lethu ... and their other website HERE.

The same mission I went on exactly a year ago today.

Wish I was going with them.

I chose not to go this year because I was pregnant.

... I will be praying for your effectiveness as you make a difference in hundreds of young lives.

I will be posting pictures this week from our mission trip a year ago, in honor or World AIDS Day, and for the team that is down there now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Sights of San Juan Island

We spent Thanksgiving weekend up at my Aunt and Uncle's house on San Juan Island.

It was a relaxing weekend of hot-tubbing, shopping, movie watching, eating, and napping.


My Aunt & Uncle's house

Sights around the island

Sights around Roche Harbor

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend
filled with family and friends.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Grandma's House We Go

While my kids were in Music yesterday, I visited my teaching partner's classroom to chat with her kids.

One of her students came up to me and said, "I'm going to my Grandma's house for Thanksgiving!"

And because I'm a smart aleck, I said, "Oh, is it over the river and through the woods?"

Without getting my joke at all ... her sternly looked at me and said, "No, it's over the lake, on the road, through the woods, and down a gravel driveway."

Love that kid.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thankgiving

We are heading up to my Aunt & Uncle's cabin on San Juan Island
for the Thanksgiving weekend.

It will be quiet, relaxing, and perfect.

My dad, mom, Jay, Danny, and my NEW sister-in-law Erica.

Feeling thankful this year for our health.

Looking forward to some good news and happier times for our family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

James MacMillan Piper

James MacMillan Piper
March 9, 1923 - November 18, 2009

Grandpa's obituary:

James MacMillan Piper passed away on November 18, 2009 with his family by his side.

Jim was born in Spokane, WA on March 9, 1923. He moved to Seattle and finished his senior year on Broadway High School. During his senior year, he got a job at Swedish Hospital, where he ran the elevator. Since he needed a place to live, he slept in the mattress room at the hospital.

He was a soldier in the 84th Infantry and served our country in WWII and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return from the war, Jim attended the University of Washington, where he met his first wife, Jackie Elliott. Jim graduated with a degree in Zoology and was a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity.

After college, Jim worked for various companies in the transportation and equipment industries. He quickly developed relationships with the major railroads by salvaging cargo from rail derailments, which then led him to found MacMillan-Piper in 1969. Under his leadership, he built MacMillan-Piper into the largest transloader and container freight station in the Pacific Northwest. Today, MacMillan-Piper is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in global trade.

On his daily trips to work from Bainbridge to Seattle, Jim noticed the homeless that were present on the Seattle streets. He took note of them in the mornings on his way to work and again on his way home in the evenings and he knew he wanted to help. He got support from Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge, and Jim and a small group began handing out sack lunches to the homeless. His efforts grew into donations of clothing and blankets and hot dinners. People outside the church began to help as well. The program "Streets of Seattle" continues today with many people lending a hand from the Seattle area.

Jim and his wife Zona, made their home on Bainbridge Island, as well as their most recent residence at Aljoya on Mercer Island. Together, Jim and Zona were founding members of Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. Over the years, Jim made many lasting friendships playing golf at Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge. Jim and his family were enthusiastic skiers, and Jim had many happy memories of skiing up at Stevens Pass.

Jim was a man of many gifts. It gave him great pleasure to quietly do things for others. He made friends easily with people of all ages, and his choice to treat all people with dignity and respect brought out the best in everyone he met. He had a terrific sense of humor. He not only enjoyed telling jokes, but he had perfected the fine art of "pulling your leg." His love and appreciation for music led him to take violin lessons as a boy, and in his late 60's he took mandolin lessons.

Jim passed away hearing the voices of his family as they joined together at his bedside to sing his favorite song, "Edelweiss."

He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Zona, and their children: son Jim Piper and wife Suzie, daughter Mary and husband Steve Diederichs, daughter Sue and husband Dave Lindsey, daughter Janet and husband Tim Jorve, son J.T. Kearney and wife Tamme Bosler, son Jack Piper and wife Jinks, and daughter Patty and husband Steve Stivala.

Along with his 7 children, and his many years running MacMillan-Piper, Jim was most proud of his 14 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island, Saturday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Bainbridge Island Fire Dept., 9985 Madison Ave. NE Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, or Grace Episcopal Church, 8595 NE Day Road Bainbridge Island, WA 98110; or Operations Nightwatcch. P.O. Box 21181, Seattle, WA 98111.

Grandpa ... you will be missed.

I will show my love for you and honor your memory
by how I live my life.

I love you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Movie Craze

Like every hormone-driven teenager ... I may (or may not) have seen New Moon twice this weekend.

Oh wait ... I'm an adult.

Oh well, no shame.

And to whomever the director is ... I'd like to thank him or her for the 1-2-naked men who phase into wolves.

The Eye Candy was awesome.

And thanks for that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Africa's Beauty

I want to share this beautiful picture
taken by Scott Harrison of charity: water.

charity: water does life-changing work.

I am proud to support them however I can each month.

This is a picture of a girl in Central African Republic
as she carries clean water to her home.

A new charity: water well was drilled in her village.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Gift - $$ Update

Want to know what happens when we all come together
and donate $10 for fresh water wells?

In 24 hours, $10,000 dollars was raised.

Proving life-saving, clean water to over 1,000 people for 10 years.

1,000 mothers and children and brothers and grandfathers.

And boys like these ...
(Liberia photo courtesy of Jody Landers)


Thank you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today has been a rough day.

They can't all be good.

I'm sad and overwhelmed.

I'm juggling to many things.

And then not in my control, many things in my personal life.

NOT fun.

This is never a good time for teachers (report cards), and adding things to my plate is what I do best.

Or shall I say worse.

So apparently I'm just writing this blog post to complain.

To tell someone else that I'm sad and overwhelmed.

A LOT going on.

A lot of heavy things.

A lot of accountability.

Perhaps it will make me feel better now that I've written this.

We'll see!

A Holiday Rap

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, November 13, 2009

We're Buying Water Today

Today is the day to buy your first Christmas present of the season.


For millions of people.

For 20 years.

$10 is all it takes.

How good does THAT feel!?!
Click HERE and use the yellow DONATE button.

Let's make water erupt from the floor of Africa.

And give men, women, boys and girls the gift water.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Gift

Last year, we encouraged people to give $10 on Fridays.
This year, we are only doing it once.

One day.

24 hours.

So this Friday, November 13th, we are raising our voices and buying water.

Let the first gift we all buy be life.

It's going to be a big day.

We would love for you all to join us.

$10 will give one person clean water for 10 years.

Collectively, the impact could be huge.

As always, all donation go directly to charity: water, are tax-deductible,
and 100% goes directly to CLEAN water solutions.

First Gift.

$10 viral campaign.

November 13th.

Consider yourself invited ...

Click HERE to donate using the yellow donate button so we can keep track.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jody in Liberia

Jody Landers recently traveled to Liberia with a couple charity: water and Water For Christmas workers & volunteers.

Enjoy some of her breathtaking pictures from various townships ... and be sure to check out her blog for more coverage & details.

New well ...

Old water source ...

Jody with a new friend ...

This is what optimism and joy in the face of adversary looks like ...

Thank you Jody.

Thank you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Priceless Picture

Do you know what I absolutely LOVE about this picture one of my students colored?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prince Caspian, How I Love Thee

I've been totally obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia series the last couple of weeks.

I know, I know ... I'm like 23 years late.

But seriously.

It's so good (please use a 10 year-old's voice when reading this).

So I couldn't help but laugh when I woke up yesterday ...

And realized I had KISSED PRINCE CASPIAN in my dreams!

Don't judge me.

It was a really good kiss.

Besides, look at that adorable smile. That hair. That medal armor.

Could YOU resist?