Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Don't Know What to Say

Almost three weeks has gone by since dad's accident.

People ask me how I'm doing. I don't know what to say. I'm fine? (flat out lie)  As good as can be expected? (how is one expected to be?) I'm functioning, but feel like I'm walking through a haze? (partly true.)  I'm completely overwhelmed at every turn? (now we are getting closer to the truth of it.)

I'm overwhelmed by all the people.
There were people at calling hours whom mom and I had never met. The funeral was packed with family and family friends, many whom I haven't seen in years. Many of whom drove hours to come, and had to turn right back around and leave after the funeral. Neighbors and people from business' dad frequented came. The UPS man that used to have our route even came. Hundreds of people, on a week day, came to say good bye to dad.

People have watched the kids, help fix things, taken care of animals, planned farm work days, made us meals, brought us groceries, stocked my freezer, given us money, prayed, hugged, and shared fond memories. I am pretty sure there have been more people here in the last three weeks than there have been in the entire five years that we have lived here. I could count on one hand the number of days no one has come for a visit and there were many days I couldn't count on both hands how many people did come to visit.

I'm overwhelmed by all the people. Sometimes I think I may hide if one more car drives into the driveway, but I don't like it when no one is here either. Doesn't make sense does it? Having people around keeps me busy. It keeps my mind occupied. It often gives me a chance to think and talk about something else besides dad's death and the after shocks of it.

When there is no one here I feel like I'm walking through a haze. I do get some things done, but I have mommy disorder times 1000. I can't seem to complete any task on the first try. I come back to find something half done hours after it was begun. My brain is clicking at about half speed, and I can't remember anything lately. We have spent countless hours in front of mindless entertainment these past weeks, and none of it has been enjoyable. I'm not even close to fully functioning yet.

I'm overwhelmed by all the things that need done.
Even before this happened I was feeling a lot of pressure from the amount of things on my plate. I was feeling the need to downsize and focus on the things that are most important to our family. I was feeling I had too much going on, and really wasn't able to give my best to anything. I hadn't exactly figured out to how to fix that, but the pressure to downsize was already there.

My dad was the main farmer here. He put in a full work week and then some on the farm. There is no way we can keep up with all that he did. We know that, and we have plans to downsize some things and eliminate others. The problem is none of that is done instantly. Almost everything has several things that need done first before we get to the goal. There are things that need fixed and sold,  animals grown, weaned, sold, and processed, and things that just need arranged. In the meantime, everything that normally goes on here needs done and maintained and projects that were started need finished. Trying to get all that done under the time crunch of Tim's busy season of work (which is already starting,) school season (and the activities that go with it,) and the coming winter months (which add increased responsibilities for animal care) while Tim and mom work full time, and I work part time is just overwhelming. 

People have been very generous with offering their time, and we will be taking them up on the offers. August 7th there is a work day planned here, and we have lots of work to do. But even trying to get a list of projects together is a little mind boggling for me right now.

I'm overwhelmed by the emotion.
I'm not generally an emotional person. I often do not really know how to handle highly emotional things. I've certainly done my share of crying these past weeks, but mostly I'm just numb.

So, how am I? I don't know what to say.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paul Miller, Dad, 7/30/49 - 7/9/2010

My dad was a man who met life full on. He was a risk taker whose head was full of ideas and plans. He enjoyed taking on new things and he enjoyed a good challenge. He completed these thing with a super human amount of hard work mixed with a good old fashioned dose of bullheadedness. He didn't back down from the challenges, and quitting was not an option.

I think I was in grade school when I first realized how hard dad worked. His insurance business was in its infancy. We lived on my gradparents' farm. They both were fighting losing battles with cancer. He put in an incredible amount of hours in his own business, and was running grandpa's farm. I'm honestly not sure when he slept those years.

I remember going out on the corn planter at night with him. He would plant the corn by the headlights of the tractor. I would ride along, and always fell asleep while he went back forth through the field.

Over the years he had a lot of different jobs, but he did every one of them with the same attitude; full on. 100% effort was put in while completing the work to his own high standards.

Though he did not play nearly as much as maybe we all thought he should, when he did play it was with the same force. I remember long Sunday drives, Monopoly games, euchre, back packing, camping, softball, and just horsing around with kids.

He had a huge soft spot for kids. It could be seen when he was a youth pastor and foster parent, but I've seen it most in the last five years here with his own grandchildren. The grand kids were always tagging along with him to work on fence, run to the feed mill, feed the animals, or just watch him work on whatever project was occupying him that day.

I am so incredibly grateful for the last five years of living and work beside him on our little farm in the woods. What a precious gift it is for Tim and I and the kids. I can't really begin to fathom what life here will be like with out him. We all ready miss him so much. But he taught us how to face this challenge. We will meet it with hard work mixed with a good dose of Miller stubbornness. All the while remembering to, "Consider it pure joy. . . " James 1:2.

Paul M. Miller, 60, of Ona, WV, formerly of Fredericksburg, OH passed Friday, July 9, 2010 from injuries sustained in a farm accident. He was a generous man who freely gave of his time and resources. He met life's challenges with a sense of adventure and perseverance. He encouraged others around him to do the same, often using his favorite verse, James 1:2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." He touched many lives, and will be deeply missed. Paul was a successful business man, a youth pastor, backpacker, spelunker, bus driver, wrestling coach, foster parent, but spent the final years of his life doing what he loved best, tending to the land and animals and spending time with his family. He was born July 30, 1949 in Millersburg, OH, a son of the late Melvin B. And Mary P. Miller. He is survived by his wife, Linda Franks Miller; one daughter and son-in-law, Stephanie and Tim Appleton of Ona, WV; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Eric Miller of Oak Hill, WV and Jake and Delilah Miller of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; sisters and brothers-in-law, Sara and Paul Mast of Apple Creek, OH, Clara and Andy Troyer of Millersburg, OH, Amanda Raber of Holmesville, OH, Katie and John Erb of Walnut Creek, OH brothers and sisters-in-law, Eli and Verba Miller of NY, Roy and Lovina Miller of Holmesville, OH, Pete and Anna Miller of Coschocton, OH and Abe and Erma Miller of Danville, OH; and ten grandchildren. Visitation will be Tuesday from 6-9 pm at the Wallace Funeral Home, Barboursville. Funeral services will be conducted at 10:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at the Wallace Funeral Home & Chapel, Barboursville, by Paul Richardson. Burial will be in Barker Ridge Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Samaritan's Purse, Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607-3000. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.timefor

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Blackberries are Here!

Here we are the first week of July, and as if on cue, the blackberries are ready. They are just about to peak, but we've already picked so many. I think the kids and I have picked at least 8 quarts this week. Mamaw has picked a bunch, and so have Miles and Ashley.

Pies, cobblers, dumplings, and jams are being made, and the kids have already sold a few. They hope to sell a lot more. Picking and selling berries has been their summer money project for several years now. They sell them for $8/quart.

We literally have blackberry bushes on every scrap of land that gets a little sun. They are everywhere. Did I mention that we live on Blackberry Lane? Yes, we have so many blackberries that we named the road for them. They are wild, and sometimes a little challenging to get to, but that is half the adventure isn't it? The blackberries must love the humid heat we've had this summer. The plants are loaded this year with big and juicy berries.

The weather this week is a bit cooler, and I plan to take full advantage by picking berries like crazy. I have lots of things to make.

Here are some links to my favorite blackberry recipes:
Blackberry Shrub a drink concentrate
Blackberry Freezer Jam
Boiled Blackberry Dumplings
Blackberry Syrup
Blackberry Vinegar
Blackberry Cordial