08 December, 2014

Editorial: Life, Death and Chickens

  Death is part of life.  As profoundly painful as the circumstances sometimes are, death is part of life on earth.     

    I really appreciated Don Christie’s article in the Crookston Times last month on grief - dealing with loss. I have come to know death and grief intimately this year.   

    Death is real, and it is something we will all experience.    

    Elizabeth was a healthy growing, and vibrant little spirit.  Nearly 2 years old, she was bright eyed, yet had a peace about her that was soothing.      

    A few months before she died she came down with a common cold.  Ruby Catherine, my 4 year old asked me…”Is Lizzy going to die?”   

    We had had a chicken die months before.  We had a little family funeral and buried her in the flower bed in the back yard.  This was Ruby Catherine’s only experience with death.  I didn’t think much about my answer, I simply rattled off - “Oh no honey, Lizzy is not going to die - people aren’t like chickens.”    

    How wrong I was.   

    The week before Elizabeth died we hatched 19 beautiful fluffy baby chicks.  The kids loved watching them hatch, holding them, hearing them peep. Every little sign of life was magical, these eggs had transformed into living birds


    There were, however, 6 or so eggs that simply did not hatch. After giving them a couple extra days in the incubator it was apparent that they were not going to make it.  So, I put on my latex gloves and we had a science lesson. The kids gathered around and I opened each egg.  We noted the growth and development stage in which each bird stopped developing.  We examined their wings, feet and beaks.   

    And then we did something really special.  We talked about heaven.  We talked about what the little chicks might be doing in heaven. We discussed what we think heaven is like.  I saw my 4 year old and 8 year old wrap their head around life and death.  I saw them begin to understand spirit.  It was a beautiful moment.   

    Little did I know that in one week my baby girl would also be in heaven.  It was so unexpected.  Friday evening she was dancing to the music of her daddy’s banjo.  Saturday morning I went to wake her up and she was gone.  Just like the baby chicks.  No life in her tiny body.   

Her spirit lives on. This I know.  She continues to bring peace to me when I need it most.   
    That dreadful Saturday back in May - police and investigators were all over the house, my kids were frightened and confused.  My husband and I in shock, not really knowing what to do.  Ruby Catherine came up to me and wrapped her arms around my leg, looked up into my eyes and said. “Mom, it’s okay, Lizzy is in heaven with the baby chicks.”   

    I fell to my knees in tears.  Wrapped my arms around Ruby Catherine.  She was profoundly correct.  We find peace in our belief that Lizzy is in a state of peace.  She is often near us, and brings us the gifts we need.  Peace, Love, forgiveness, kindness.  And even as we celebrate her gifts, we grieve.  What an immense loss.   

    I thank God for the tender mercy of the life and death lesson with our baby chicks that helped my sweet little children to better comprehend the difficult experience that lay ahead.      I didn't share the experience with anyone for months after Lizzy died.  Unknowingly a sweet friend from church Rachel, who lost her baby son a few years ago made a donation to Heifer International for baby chicks in Lizzy's name. Lizzy lives on in many ways.
    As painful as it is, death is part of life.  We will all expire.   I believe families are forever  and I am so grateful for the Good News, we will be together again. 
This is the last picture taken of Lizzy.  We were getting ready for church.
Elias had put his vest over the top of his suit coat.  I was trying not to laugh, but I wanted to capture the moment.  

11 July, 2014

Memorial- Madison Elizabeth Castle- Thank You PHS Class of 1994

My graduating class Pocatello High 1994 put funds together to
buy this park bench and memorial in honor of our Lizzy.

You're teaching us to honor our dreams,
Your light within burns with hope.
Reminding us that Jesus redeems,
It is only through Him we can cope.

My girls-   Whitney, me, Natalie, Teresa, Kristen  20 year class reunion-  Missing Sarah, Melissa, Molly  Love you guys!

07 July, 2014

Ruby Catherine in Idaho

Ruby Catherine shows off her new tattoo-  so proud.

Ruby Catherine in her princess dress from Grammy-  Getting ready to meet Elsa next week.

30 June, 2014

Family Fun in Utah

Eric helping Annika take her fish off the hook.   Ashton holding his newly caught fish. 01 July 2014

Elias,  8 years  Ashton 6 years, Annika 7 years-  Fishing in the Uintas. 01 July 2014
Done fishing, now its time to swim.  Lincoln, Elias, Landon, Colter 01 July 2014
 Family night hike to This is the Place in SLC- 30 June 2014

 Grandma Wendy reads the kids Not Even Once Club. 30 June 2014

Cousins and Grandparents  30 June 2014
Lincoln, Landon and Lalo- Board gaming.  

Kembree and Ruby Catherine with their new face paint 28 June Cedar Hills Days
Happy 4th of July from Ruby Catherine! 

Elias had a nice visit with Alex-  and another visit with Annika and Ashton.  

27 May, 2014

Sad Isn't Bad

Today we read the book "Sad Isn't Bad".   We miss our little Lizzy.
We are learning to live with a missing piece in our hearts.
Ruby Catherine is a rock star.  

I took out Nette's weave- and we celebrated a moment during Mustache May.

RuCat and Lalo hanging out on the couch.

24 May, 2014

Happy Birthday Elizabeth! We miss you~


We had a party at Castle Park in honor of our Elizabeth

Eric and his friends played music-  One of Lizzy's favorite things.

18 May, 2014


Madison Elizabeth Castle

I had  looked for you, waited for you.
I just didn’t know this was your part
A huge role you are playing baby girl
Although your time on stage was short

I found you Elizabeth, 
My wise Oak Tree
Now, with your help,
I am finding me.

You are helping me find my missing parts 
and making me complete
Showing me the best things of life
honoring what’s most sweet

Living life with No Regrets
Making the most of each day
Elizabeth is printed on my heart
And there you always will stay.

Reminding me to live in the moment
To soak up the light when it shines
To brave the darkness, allow the hurt
This little little light of mine~

You’re teaching me to honor my dreams
Your light within burns with hope
Reminding me that Jesus redeems
It is only through Him we can cope

To make the most of what we have
To honor each moment we’re given
You bring out the best in our family
You are Peace, Love and Forgiveness

With the ones I have now, I will treasure my time 
Your memories I will keep alive
Knowing one day, there will be no more pain,
When Jesus will finally arrive.

When living seems too painful 
Will you bring me the gifts that I need?
After the rain comes the Son
To Him we are blessed to concede.

Jesus Lives. 
My baby does too.
With me for just a short while,
You came and brought your gentle peace.
Your gift makes all the pain worthwhile.

I know now, the question I wondered…
Is it better to have loved and lost?
Absolutely yes Elizabeth!
You are worth the cost.

Sweet Dreams my child.
My little girl.
You are in my heart to stay.
We’ll be together again, this I know.
For God has planned it this way.

Love, Mama

~Heidi Lamb Castle

13 May, 2014

Thanksgiving Point~ Utah, Fun with Cousins

This girl loves pony's and purses.   So, she is pretty happy at this moment.  

Culvers Ice Cream

12 May, 2014

Idaho- Grandpa and Grammy

Riding around the farm with Grandpa.

Hiking in the mountains behind Uncle Bret's house.
Picking wild flowers for Lizzy and Mom.  (Mother's day was yesterday)

03 May, 2014

Heart Shattered

Shock, fear, deep raw pain is in my heart today.
Sweet baby Elizabeth died in her sleep last night.

I can't believe it is real.  My baby is gone.

Heaven help me.  Please send Angels.


29 March, 2014

Officially a Cub Scout

The big 8 year old!  Elias is such a good boy.
  He is smart. He is a kind, sensitive soul.  I thank God for him everyday.
I love you with all my heart Elias Jay Lamb Castle.

He had a lot of fun at the pinewood derby.  His car was super fast.
He took 4th place overall out of both wards.

22 March, 2014

Amish Road Trip-

Heidi, Ruby Catherine, Elizabeth and Grammy Lamby 
visited a number of Amish homes on our trip in 
Mississippi, Florida, Missouri, Kentucky and Georgia.   
It was a great experience.  
Who knew there were Amish communities in all these states?

Randolph, Mississippi-  
The only Amish settlement in the deep south. 
(sans the Sarasota, FL Amish community, but is Florida really in the South?)

Ruby Catherine and Elizabeth had fun with the Amish children- 
sand boxes, swings, and lots of warm outside time!

Logs from the Amish sawmill.

Handmade Amish rugs

Handmade Amish Rolling pins.

We visited 4 different Amish farms in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Amish settlement we visited are considered Old order Swartzentruber the most conservative of the Amish.  They are noted for their restricted use of technology, lack of SMV triangle emblems on buggies, and particularly plain lifestyle.  As is common for Swartzentruber Amish, those in the Randolph community permit only metal rims on buggies, and do not allow propane or gas lights.  They don't like pictures taken of their faces or to be identifiable in photos, but they did allow me to photograph things in their hose and on the farm.

The kind family we stayed with provided us with a delicious breakfast.
Scratch made biscuits, jams, eggs, home made cereals, farm fresh jersey milk-
A vegetarians delight!

Think these type of Milk cans are out of date?
In Clark Missouri- the Amish utilize them daily.

Death is part of life on the farm.
Ruby-Catherine stopped to pray for this fallen bird.
We have funerals for our small flock of chickens when one dies too.   
Ruby-Cat has a heart of gold- she honors life.  

Spring plowing in Missouri. 

 Ruby Catherine slept by Momma every night on our trip.  :)

The girls liked this swing so much -
Grammy is going to have Grandpa Cory build one for their house in Idaho. 

Ruby-Catherine, Amy and Elizabeth in Clark, Missouri.

This Amish store in Randolph, Mississippi made and sold Amish hats.  

Enrique Nacho Tigre Fernandez Castillo de Jesus

I love this cat.  So much.   He is our family therapist, our entertainment, and my mid-life motherhood fulfillment.  And he is naughty... ...