Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hayin' in Heaven - A Tribute to My Grandpa Fay

I'm so blessed to have had my Grandpa Fay in my life for over 38 years. We've always been close, even when we didn't live close to each other. He made time for us. Always greeted me and said good-bye with a hug and a kiss and an "I love you".  I remember going to his house for a week at time during the summers as a kid. Then he and my Grandma Mary would watch us after school when they moved near us. 
 His growing up years were hard. He helped take care of his brothers and sisters during the Depression. This little house is the one Grandpa's father moved the family into when the bank foreclosed on the Wisconsin farm. As a result, he was very close to his siblings. They all worked together to survive, especially when his father died when many of them where still at home.
Grandpa Fay often talked about his grief at not getting more schooling. He passed into the eighth grade, but never went a day. He took over the farming, his father was sick and they needed Grandpa to help out. He never had a chance to go back to school. But the school is still there in Wisconsin, covered in brush and about to fall down.

During WWII he tried to join up as a soldier, but was turned down several times because he is severely color-blind. He did his part by farming during the war, which was badly needed since so many of the farmers were off fighting. He married my Grandma Ellen and buried twin baby girls when Grandma Ellen accidentally fell off a hay wagon when she was nine months pregnant with them. They lived three days.  Here is their grave back in Wisconsin. They're deaths effected them both deeply.

He and Grandma Ellen went on to have five more children (my dad was the baby). He eventually left for Oregon, taking three of the younger children with him. Grandma Ellen passed away from breast cancer when my twin sister and I were babies, so I never knew her.
(left to right: Uncle Bert, Aunt Ada, Russell (Dad), Uncle Amos, Uncle Herbert)

Many years later he married the Grandma I remember growing up. I didn't realize she was a "step" grandma until I was a teenager. She treated us grandkids as her own and I love her for it still. They were very happy together. He took care of her the last ten years of her life and missed her terribly when she passed on. She was Catholic, he was Baptist, but they made it work. I never remember them quarreling about it, even though they where both very strong followers of their faith. He and my Grandma Mary introduced my sis and I to the "Grand Ol' Opry". 
He changed living locations almost as much as he traded horses. Seems like he would trade horses until he finally got a good one, then he would get bored with it because it didn't have enough spunk, and then it was back to horse trading again. My dad's friend, Duane, is a Cowboy poet and in this picture he is reciting "The Horse Trader" poem to my grandpa. You can see the big grin on Grandpa's face. 

When my Grandma Mary died, Grandpa grieved terribly. Regina came into his life (she helped take care of Grandma) because of mutual interests. The last thing they both thought would happen is that they would fall in love. At first I didn't understand it because there was a huge age difference, but after I met Regina, I totally understand how compatible they were and they really did love each other. Regina and Grandpa had 8 years together. I honestly think she helped keep Grandpa young and staying active. Thanks to her, he was able to live his dream even into his twilight years. She took care of him until the end and for that our whole family will forever be grateful. God bless you, Regina!

Grandpa's first love was driving horses, although growing up, I mostly remember him always riding saddle horses with us on cattle drives, parades and horse camping trips. He grew up farming with horses and was still using them for farming/hauling brush up until this Easter when he had a horrible horse driving accident that resulted in a broken neck, back and terrible road rash. He recovered fully to the surprise of many. That is why we were all shocked when we found out he had undetected colon cancer that had spread to his liver. The picture above is one of many parade pics I have of Grandpa. His favorite parade was the Pendleton Round Up, where he had the distinction of being the oldest teamster driving for many years. The Round Up Parade will miss you Grandpa. I will always remember you when I see that chuck wagon go by. He passed his love of driving horses on to my husband who hopes to have his own team someday.
Here is a picture of my Grandpa holding Josiah for the first time. He loved to hold his grand and great-grand babies! Grandpa had so many grandchildren and great grandchildren that I can't count them all off the top of my head. He loved each one, just as he loved his children. Many of his great grandchildren are young adults now and almost all are old enough to remember him. 
Grandpa and Regina greeting my SIL, Sonya, and their great-grandbaby, Elijah, last year at my Dad's 60th.
This is a picture of Grandpa snuggling with Hailey while horse camping at the beach a few years ago.

Often times if you stopped by for a visit, you'd find Grandpa under his trees, sittin' in his chair, and stayin' cool. I can't tell you how active he was though. He even had a heart attack behind his horses while he was working them in the field a few years ago. He thought he was a goner then, but God had other plans and we got to keep him on this earth awhile longer.

Love the smile on his face as Hailey pets the milk cow's huge (overly-friendly) calf as it wondered into the shady spot, too.

This was taken a couple of years ago at Thanksgiving. Love that twinkle in his eye. 
This picture of Grandpa, Michael and Hailey was taken the day before Easter, just before his horse accident. I love the young and the old takin' a breather after the hard work of pulling down some big trees in Grandpa's yard. This picture is so precious to me. I love Grandpa's smile. Michael and Grandpa had a special connection. 

Was Grandpa perfect? He would be the first one to tell you he wasn't and that he had made some pretty big mistakes in his life. But he KNEW he was forgiven by his Savior. I loved what my cousin, Kim, wrote on my FB page, "He was such an incredible man. Critical and impatient, but loving and sensitive, all wrapped up in a hardworking crust."

I went back home for a week so I could visit with Grandpa and say good-bye. Every time I saw him, he would tell me he was ready to go and he wasn't afraid. He knew Jesus was waiting for him on the other side of this earthly life. It was such a comfort to all of us to see him facing death head on, confident of where he was going in the end. 

As I held Grandpa's hand and stroked his forehead one last time before I had to say my final good-bye, he said to me, "You are doing a good job raising your kids. Keep raising them up for the Lord". After one last kiss good-bye, tears were streaming down both our cheeks and as I was walking out the door, he said, "Live a good Christian life, Honey". I was able to choke out, "I promise I will, Grandpa".  And so I shall continue to strive to do just that, despite my imperfections and human frailty. 

"Thank you, Grandpa, for passing your faith down from generation to generation. May you always have descendants living for Christ until Jesus comes back for all of us. You will never be forgotten by me, Michael or my children. Thank you for all the wonderful memories and love you bestowed on your family."

Forever Your Loving Granddaughter, 

My little nephew, Noah, made up this song (with a little help) that I just had to add as a postscript:

"Happy heaven day to you,
 Happy heaven day to you.
We'll miss you great papa, 
Happy heaven day to you, 
Happy heaven day to you.
We'll see you in heaven, 
Happy heaven day to you."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Winners Circle - Fair to 5K

Josiah did it again! He made an angel food cake from scratch and I almost didn't let him enter it into the fair since I didn't think it was fluffy enough. To our utter amazement, it ended up with first place, best in class and he got the Jr. Division Cooking Championship for the second year in a row. It tasted great! Josiah also received first place on his bread, cookies, hand-tanned hide, homemade candle, quilted place mats and herbs. He made a total of $47 dollars. 
Josiah also won first place on this portrait he took of Hailey and I a few years ago.  

Hailey won $16 in first place ribbons. She got champion ribbons on her "Impressionist Painting" where she mixed the colors herself, and on her homemade egg noodles. She also won 1st place on her bear track paper quilt block, paper woven place mat, homemade candle, herbs and mammoth sugar melting pea pods. 

Josiah was finally able to enter the Lego competition. They give you a couple hours to build something with their Legos. Josiah came up with the Black Gate complete with the "Evil Eye" from "Return of the King". He got first place and was thrilled.

"Nesting Places"
I entered some pictures and got first place on all of these except the last one. I got second on the black and white with the pink tea cup. I made $32 in first place ribbons. I'm saving it for the upcoming Celtic Festival.

"Reflections at The Wall"



"Teasel and Milk Can"

"Afternoon Tea"
Right after the fair, I decided to sign up our whole family up for a local race. I  ran the 5K and Michael ran with the kids in the 1 Mile race. Josiah hated it, but Hailey said she would do it again.

Huffin' and puffin to the finish line. I was so happy I beat my time last year by 3 seconds. My time was 29:59. I was very happy to get under 30 minutes. Was shocked when I learned I received 1st place for my age group. When my step-mom called me to tell me I thought she was kidding around with me. It pays to get older I guess, LOL. Less people to compete with ;o) I had such a fun time running with my friend, Stephanie.

Michael got 3rd place in the 1 Mile race for his age class. Of course he could have done much better but I was very proud of him for running with Hailey. She loved running with her daddy and wants to do it again next year. As for me, I'm still paying for that 5k, LOL.

Hope you are all having a great summer and having fun at your local county fairs! Next big event is the La Grande Celtic Festival coming up Aug 24th and 25th. We can't wait to don our tartan! 

God Bless,

Monday, August 5, 2013


I've been meaning to post this for awhile. I graduated from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) this year. I was in MOPS for about 5 and half years. I'm a huge fan. It got me through the tough early years of raising babies and toddlers and gave me a support system of awesome mommy friends that I will always have. I learned so much from being a table leader for three years. 

I think MOPS is especially helpful for military moms, single moms and moms that don't live near family. That support system you create through MOPS is vital.

Many people don't realize that when your children reach 1st grade you graduate from MOPS. MOPS has a MOPS Next group for moms with school aged children, but I haven't found the need for that since we have found such great support through our local homeschool group (many of those families I met through MOPS). 

At my last meeting it was so cute, the leadership put on a little graduation ceremony, complete with hat and "diploma" had a hand-written tribute poem to each of us, written by my creative friend, Laurie. The diploma said this, 

By Laurie Delaney

I think I shall never see
A lady as lovely as Jackie.

For who can single-handedly give away 
Every MOPS business card that comes her way?

As a Table Leader, she's given 3 years
Through ups and downs, and sometimes tears.

Her MOPS table is rarely empty,
For all her friends, she has plenty!

Jackie always supplies a listening Shoulder
And offers prayer and support to those who know her.

A passionate speaker; a constant student,
Dedicated wife, mother, sister; interesting and prudent.

Her zest for life runs far and wide
Gardening, cooking from scratch and homeschooling fill her time.

Many years Jackie has given to MOPS
We will miss our graduate - we think your TOPS!

Poems are written by sillies like me,
But only God can make a Jackie.

*Adapted from the poem "Trees by Joyce Kilmer

Not only that, but they gave each of us a hand made gift that represented our personalities. They know I love aprons and motorcycles, so Laurie sewed this sweet apron for me. 

Here is a close up of the material with vintage motorcycles all over it. How cute is that? We all felt so loved and appreciated by those wonderful poems and gifts. We will cherish them always, just as we will continue to cherish the wonderful friendships we have formed that will last a lifetime. I'm so blessed to have been a part of this awesome group.

Thank you MOPS for all I've learned and most of all for drawing me closer to my Savior, Jesus the Christ! If you are anywhere near a MOPS group  and looking for some great "mommy connections", get thee to a MOPS!

God Bless,


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