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Monday, May 22, 2017

Our Spring Surprise

Earlier this spring, when I took the kids to school one morning we saw a male mallard duck in our yard. There are parks around us that have water and trees and perfect places where ducks could live. Our yard was not a place where I expected to find a duck!

We giggled about it on the way to school and Dawn snapped a picture.  Fast forward about two week to the week after Easter. Matthew was out front on the sidewalk with two white eggs in his hand.

The kids have found a nest in the bushes out front with eggs in it. I scolded Matthew for picking up eggs from the nest. He had asked me if they were left over from egg hunting and that he didn't take them out of the nest but they were laying on the sidewalk in front of the nest.

I came out and looked and sure enough there was a nest with ten more eggs. There she was in the middle of the yard quacking at us. I told everyone to get away, put the eggs in the nest and let her get back to her babies. So that was the beginning. For three more weeks, we watched out for her on warm days in the 80's and rainy cold, and wet days in the 40's.

She would leave at about the time the kids were out of school and be back before bedtime after finding something to eat. She would cover the eggs with her down and we could not even tell there were eggs in the nest. She did a good job because at the end of those weeks one afternoon we saw her with ten babies in the front yard. 

The mama duck took them around the house with eyes watching and following all the way. She ate some of the dropped bird food on the ground under our kitchen window bird feeder. On their way back she hopped over the downspout that was on the corner of our house. One by one eight of the babies followed her right over. Two of them however, had some trouble getting over. We stood at a distance watching and the two babies kept on trying to jump and couldn't get over.

Funny thing is, if they would have just taken a few steps to the left, they could have gone around. But they were following their mama. They just keep peeping and jumping, trying to get over. Soon, mama turned back and sat herself right on the other side of the spout with a low toned slow quack, letting them know that she was there. Eventually the one got over and then shortly after that, the last one was over and they were on their way.

Not a couple hours later I walked past the front door and looked out to see a big white pick up truck stopped in the road. To my horror, she had taken her babies to the road and had started to cross. Thankful that the truck had stopped. I watched as she turned sideways and started heading down the middle of the lane until a car coming from the other direction startled her back in the direction of the other side of the street. She backed up traffic four vehicles on one side and three on the other.

The man in the truck had his phone out and was taking pictures. She got the babies safely across and headed behind the houses on the way to the creek in the park. We would like to think they are living happily. I am sure that the very next day their mama taught them all to swim! We are sad they have left but we are happy we got to host mama and see the babies she so faithfully tended.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Giggle Down Memory Lane

So today I turned 47. As my brother and I chatted on the phone we decided that yes, now I have come out of the mid 40's and into my late 40s. I felt him hesitate a bit when he was about to say "late". Age has never been a big deal to me. Life is too short to worry about getting old.

I am actually glad to be entering my late 40''s. My mid 40's were definitely not the best ones so far, so I am happy to have them behind me. I have slowly been getting back into my life the past couple of months and it is nice to feel better.

I was sitting at the computer this afternoon buying shoes with my 25% off Payless coupon. Looking at so many shoes I was remembering a pair of sandals I had when I was a pre-teen. I was trying to describe them in Google to see if there were anywhere I could see a picture of them. Well, as I have been known to do, I went off on a few rabbit trails until I found myself on a walk down memory lane. Of all places, I ended up in YouTube looking up The 20 Minute Workout videos!

Well, my doctor has said I should try to be a little more active each day and I have to admit, I haven't been very good at it. Now two months after starting the hormone pills I have been dealing with a lot joint pain. I keep hoping that it will level off but it keeps getting worse. At my appointment on Monday I told the doctor I would try to do something more active each day and see in a couple weeks if the pain levels off or gets a little better. There are a couple of other hormones I can try if this one keeps causing me grief.

So, since I need to be more active...yes, you guessed it, I cued up a video and found a place on my bed where I could put my computer and still see the screen. I put on my tennis shoes and did a 20 minute workout. I remember when I was growing up it would come on television. It actually is a pretty good "do it yourself in the privacy of your own home" aerobic workout. I have to admit, I am in no shape to be doing all 20 minutes, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I could keep up. I will work on my form as my endurance builds.

I giggled in my head as I was going through it, how silly it seems now. The true test will be if I can move tomorrow or not. I actually loved it. It is simple and can be easily done at different levels. Tonight I did just the arms sometimes or just the legs others. It was a good, quick workout. Just about what I can do for now.

And while we are talking about 80's...

P.S. I never did find a picture of those silly shoes!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Some New Little Friends

This spring in our circle of friends, there have been a few new babies. I found a really cute pattern for a baby quilt that I really wanted to make.

The fabric stash challenge I made with myself last fall is still in effect. I wasn't able to plan out the color schemes based on what was in the fabric store, but instead what is in my fabric stash.

It wasn't very hard. For my new little friend Hannah I had some very fun fabrics in the pink/green/brown family and I was super excited about how her blanket turned out. I even had enough of the same colors in my ribbon stash.

This pattern is great because it included different types and textures of ribbon/trim that is sewn into the squares for some texture for babies during tummy time. Totally loved how it turned out.

I was a little leary about Joshua's blanket. I had fabric that I wanted to use right from the start but then to find coordinating fabrics is not my best talent. I had a charm pack with what I would call more "manly" fabric but in a fun way it worked really well with the other fabric I had.

I did pick out a couple of new ribbon/trims to sew into the seams of this one because I didn't have as much in my stash from this color palette.

When all was said and done I ended up really loving this one too. It turned out kind of looking like a "little man" quilt. It makes me smile. Dawn was able to give it to him when she went to babysit Joshua's big brother and sisters.

I am working on one more baby quilt and have the front done. I will share when I get it done. What started out to be a pile of baby flannel has turned out better than I could have wanted. I have the back and quilting to finish. The great thing about baby quilts though is that they are small. Hopefully I can get back into the sewing room this week. Last week was crazy busy with four full days of work!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Oyama's for Mother's Day Eve with my favorite people in the whole world! We usually go out on Saturday night before Mother's Day to avoid the crowds. 

Next year we will check the prom schedule for the city to be sure that it isn't a night we need "reservations". Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long for a table. It was the beginning of a beautiful day!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Help, Please!

This is my jade plant. It is actually several that have been growing together in this very small pot.

I can't even imagine the roots under that dirt. Dawn and I have talked for awhile now about transplanting it. So, my question today is do we just take the whole thing out and plop it into a bigger pot where it would have room to spread out?

Or, does anyone think that we could try to separate it into the three smaller plants? I am really thinking separating them would be harmful.

Not at all a jade expert, I need a little help in this. We would like to separate and let them each grow on their own but if the roots are to tangled with each other we are figuring that we will just move it to a bigger pot.

Anyone have suggestions?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Sweet Surprise

What a super great and pleasant surprise I got today when I came home from work! There was a box from the Craftsy company (which if you have been following me much, you know that the name of the company alone makes me giddy). I wondered "what could this be? I haven't ordered anything from there have I?" I opened it and was so grateful to my dear friend Brooke McKenzie.

There was a letter inside that said this:
"Recently you were nominated by your friend Brooke McKenzie to receive the gift of craft  that's why we've sent you this special package! At Craftsy, we believe crafting is a gift. Maybe that means crafting your way through an illness or tough life transition. Maybe it means discovering a new creative outlet. Or maybe crafting is simply just something you can count on for a bit of daily calm. Whatever it means to you, the process of making is something special, and your friend thought you could use some of that special in your life."
So, thank you to the Craftsy company for allowing people to nominate those that they know who could use encouragement. It sure has encouraged me (and brought a few tears to my eyes). The gift in the box is two skeins of blue and two skeins of cream, access to a free tutorial in the form of online class, circular bamboo needles, a clipping scissors, a tape measure and...MY VERY FAVORITE yarn needles that have a little bend in the end for hiding all kinds of yarn tails on numerous projects! In fact...I have a huge stack of granny squares that need to be cleaned up and tails sewn in right now!

Brooke...I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am not only that you nominated me, but that I am in your thoughts and prayers after and through all of these years. I really cannot wait til we can get together with Tricia and talk about the old days...baby days, toddler days, (the days when our living rooms were Romper room and we had to put play gates around the Christmas tree) when our kids had playmates that they probably wouldn't even recognize today. I am sure without you and Tricia in those early triplet days, life would have felt much more isolated and alone.

I love that after all these years I receive this package and automatically start thinking about how in the world we could get together and spend time catching up in real life, not just stalking on Facebook. What a blessing to have you in my life. THANK YOU so much!

The instructions for my free tutorial "Learn to Knit: My First Scarf" has instructions to follow to pull it up on my computer. The fourth point says "If you're not already a Craftsy member..." HA! HA! Of course I am a craftsy member, silly!

Brooke, Me and Tricia (back in the days we had cameras
that printed the date on our pictures!)
What a sweet sweet friend, what a wonderful gift. I have crafted for all of those reasons that were mentioned above in the letter and I am grateful for that outlet so that when I feel like screaming or depressed, my fingers can create and something is made right before my eyes.

Thank you Brooke, for still knowing me and thinking about me and being my friend after all of these years. We really need to get together so that we can update our picture that is now almost 13 years old!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Feeling My Feet

Today I drove down to PCI for my twice a week appointment for acupuncture which is starting to help a little. As has been my routine, I walk in at the ground level. There are days when I walk a few extra steps to get to the stairs up to the second floor where the cancer center is located. Then, there are other days when I catch the elevator because it is right there when I come in and it is quicker.

To be honest, some days I just don't have the energy. That was the case today. You see, I have been back in the classroom a little these last couple of weeks. I have done three half days and yesterday was my first full day back. I took the sub job at the last minute when my plans for the day changed. It was at our school here where Matthew attends. He broke his arm last week at the top of his humerus and has just a sling because they can't cast it up that high. My thoughts were that I would be in the building for him since he was a little nervous about bumping or hurting his arm.

Well, lets just say a room full of kindergartners did me in. I spent the day on my feet wiping tears and hearing all of the tattles they had to tell. We were also "blessed" with indoor recess! Yippie! I was glad to be there but I was sore, all over when I got home. So, that being said, this morning when I arrived at PCI, I took the path of least steps.

Just in case you wanted to see what my feet look like when I am getting
I got into the elevator and there was an older woman standing in front of the door. She was looking down the way and since she didn't come into the elevator with me, I figured that she was not going up. But right before the door started to close she stepped in followed by another woman. The woman I didn't expect would ride up with me took her spot standing behind me and said matter-of-factly "Well, we are sure being lazy today. We should all be taking the stairs!" (and she did emphasize the "all")

Hmm...I wondered why she would say that "we" should be doing anything. She didn't know the "me" part of that "we" enough to know if I should be walking up a flight of stairs or riding the elevator. I knew I had made the perfect choice for me for this day. I wasn't being lazy, I just didn't have the energy today. It just struck me as odd. The more I thought about it the more I wondered if she has ever offended other people that she didn't know.

I could have very easily been offended by her statement but instead it got me to think. I wonder if I have ever said something to strangers not knowing their story. I sure hope not.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

So I Put Myself In Time Out

Sisters after our Good Friday service
Sometimes you just need to step back in this age of photographing every single thing that you do and enjoy the "undocumented" life. I have done a little of that recently and I can say that it has been nice. I can also say that a couple weeks ago I hit a place that was a little overwhelming and so I just put myself in bloggers "time out". I didn't plan for it to be that way so much, but sometimes life just happens.

It also works to my advantage because a few things have happened around here so I have plenty of blog topics for future posts. One of which I will say was our Easter celebration last weekend. We went to Good Friday service which was really amazing. Very moving. I left there in awe of what Christ has done for me. I don't know why, but it is one of my favorite services of the year. We went to the early service on Easter morning and then home to start cooking bacon, sausage and pancakes for our annual family brunch.

We didn't get a picture of the whole family this year. By the time everyone arrived at brunch a couple of the smaller people in the family had gone and put on play clothes.

I debated whether I should wear my wig or a scarf but ended up with a headband and hair. Now that I have officially been in public in my own hair, it is hard to go back to wearing a wig. I love feeling the wind blowing through my own hair. Weird but it is something that I have missed. We had some awesome pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and every kind of breakfast meat you can think of (which is David's expertise).

After the meal was enjoyed we moved out into the backyard on the beautiful sunshiney day that was Sunday. The yard was a little mushy from the Saturday night rain but we found some higher ground. There has been basketball in the afternoon with the cousins for the past couple years as they have gotten older. This year we also added some yard dice, a gift I got after the benefit from my friend Jen and her husband who make these cool sets of dice for playing in the yard.

I started out the scorecard asking who would play and by the time we got going, there were nine cousins playing Yahtzee. It was a great two hour game and so much fun! Nine of them played and some of them learned how we score Yahtzee as they had to decide which way to go with the second and third rolls. Then there were a few of them who liked to find interesting and funny ways to roll the oversized dice. There was also a great game or two of lightning on the basketball court (otherwise known as my patio). It was fun to just be out in the backyard enjoying the laughter and fun with our nieces and nephews.

We eventually moved to Mom and Dad's next door. I had asked Zachary if he thought he may be too old to search for eggs. He told me that he thought he would be good for one more year so I had a couple of the kids hide he and Matthew's eggs in Grandpa and Grandma's backyard. It seems that they were hidden a little more than other years. Matthew needed some help and Zach found all but one until he needed a hint. Dinner followed with good food and conversation. I am thankful for our family traditions.

There were a couple of times when my mind wandered back to last year at this time. Easter 2016. I sometimes find myself doing that on holidays. I love the celebrations that come around each year on the calendar. This Easter though, as I stopped to think of all that has happened in my life since last Easter it is overwhelming. It was last year at this time when I knew that this strange lump that had grown to the size of a marble was something...not long after there would be two marble sized lumps and a great deal of pain. The rest is history.

I am more than thankful to my God for walking me through this past year. Walking beside me and those who love me as well as the times He carried me through the physical exhaustion of cancer treatment and the mental and emotion load. I am thankful for the lessons He has taught me through the emotions experienced in full color. There have been things I have had to repent of as well as things that I have overcome as we live day to day. I am thankful to Him for the friends who surround us with help for the physical needs as well as my coffee buddies who give me a good reason to get up out of the house every so often to drink coffee, talk and laugh. I am here, still here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just Look Up? What?

It happened again...I recently heard said from the pulpit, from a pastor speaking to a crowd of people that depression happens when we look too long at ourselves, that somehow depression means that we are selfish and not thinking about others enough.Somehow, focusing inward on ourselves, we are depressed. If we would just look up, we could stop being depressed. That is actually a lie from the pit of hell that will never help a person struggling with depression to "get better". God has taught me the best lessons of growth in the darkness.

I have heard quite a few messages lately where like the television sitcoms that have become more and more obsolete, we can wrap up solutions to my "Christian life problems" in an entertaining and engaging little 30-40 minute talk. It doesn't work that way. Sometimes life gets worked out day by day, hour by hour, or moment by moment. We receive our daily bread and if this day is not very bright, He has given me what I need for the sunshine and the rain. I am His but yet, where I am is not my home.

If my depression is because I am not looking at Him enough, why is He there with me in that very blue, darkish gray, or black place? My God is with me there just the same as He is in the brightest of sunshine. I actually see Him brighter in the dark. In fact, by His Spirit, He has taught me (in the last 30+ years that I have lived with depression) that it is okay to be there for today. I don't have to "try" to work my way into the sunshine. Some days just are not sunny.

I love my God and that He gave us all David's words in the psalms to read and digest. He must have looked at himself a lot in the mirror based on some of those words. He was depressed, but ALSO focused on God. (Click here if you want to read more about that) He knew where his help came from. He had questions and experienced every emotion and turned out to be a "man after God's own heart". You don't get that title by looking at yourself too long in the mirror, by loving yourself too much. But yet, some of his best writing is where I go when I need the reminder that God is with me here whatever shade this day may be.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Update...How is it Going?

We were sitting around at Mom and Dad's last night and my sister pulled up an email from the high school principal. He was talking about coming back from spring break and finishing the year strong. We were actually giggling about some of the wording but it was the main point of the email that hit me. We are closer to winding down this year than we are from the beginning.

I was just at registration wasn't I? Didn't I JUST pay the textbook fees and the instrument rentals? Didn't we JUST buy school supplies? Not fair...this year flew by. It flew by while I was busy taking care of me. That is by far not my favorite thing. I think of last year at this time...a bomb was ticking and ready to go off. This was about the time when I knew something wasn't right. I just wasn't convinced yet that it could be something all that bad.

But let's not focus on all of that. Here is the good news if you want a few tidbits...

  • I wore my wedding ring yesterday and today for the first time in months. I still have to take it off at bedtime because of the claustrophobic feeling it gives me, but I will take it!
  • Piggybacking off of the first point there, the swelling has gone down a lot and I really only feel extra fluid in my right arm where the lymph nodes are gone.
  • I walked up the huge staircase from the basement to the main floor of our church this morning after I taught KBF (Sunday school) and only had a slight stretching feeling in my legs and did not feel like I couldn't catch my breath or that I had to sit down and rest. I am thankful that I have been able to teach most of this year despite the chemo and radiation. I love the little people who come see me each week!
  • Matthew has changed his bedtime prayer once again. Now he no longer prayers "God, please help Mom with her radiation" but instead prays "God, please help so Mom doesn't have cancer EVER again!" I can definitely say a hearty AMEN to that prayer each and every night. Zachary is praying "help Mom feel better from her radiation". Another hearty AMEN.
  • Speaking of Zachary...he let me take off my scarf Saturday night during prayer time and he saw my head without a covering. I have a good bit of hair growing back and although it is not at a length where it can be styled, he approved. For those who didn't know, he has not seen my head without a wig or other covering since we shaved it back in August.
  • My fingernails are slowly growing back! Woo Hoo!
  • I have been on my new hormone pill for well over a week and received my first injection last Thursday and so far no hot flashes or anything troubling. I hope it stays that way...that would be a plus!
  • How is the armpit you may ask? EXCELLENT in comparison to the last time I talked armpit! I am sure that there will be some more peeling over the whole area but for now, it is just the scar area that is peeling, burning, raw and hurting. I would like to thank my sweet friend Jayna in second grade Sunday school who has had a year and a half of her own surgeries and healing after major burns (in her armpit area too) for testing all of the possible burn creams. Her mom has given me a couple of samples and recommendations that have worked for her and they are helping me a lot too! The area of major peeling and pain currently is my cleavage where the 7" scar is that was treated the last week of radiation.

Ready to put away for good the "doctoring" supplies on
my bathroom counter!

Let's just take a minute for a funny story here now that I have mentioned the burn cream. I have a prescription from radiation for cream. The pharmacy gave me three little tubes. There is a lot of area to cover so I slathered it (because it feels really good) in the morning and before bed. I went through a little tube every day and a half. So last week when I went in to refill it they said "you can't get a refill until the 17th" Ohhh! They wanted me to use it sparingly. Hmm...so you are saying that I have "overdosed" on steroid cream? At the time it was six days before I could get it refilled and I used it twice as fast as I should have! So, the sample creams came in handy. All last week I used them and felt better. Friday I got my refill. My rationing skills are much better this time around. (Love my steroid cream at bedtime!)

I am closing my post with the happy thought of less posts about me to come. Sitting last night with my calendar going through the numbers of email reminders of this, that and the other coming up in the next couple months of school (and now even into the summer), I am blessed. It is crazy the difference a year makes.

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chicken Tetrazzini and Dodgeball?

I forgot how much I loved to make chicken tetrazzini. Not only making it, but how the whole house smells like yumminess and then the taste...that yummy taste. My mom taught me how to saute with this recipe. You saute the pepper/onion/celery/mushroom mixture in a huge skillet. I made a regular batch and a gluten free batch and boy did it ever feel good to start with a clean kitchen and "clean as you go". To just be in the kitchen was nice. Slowly, I am reminded of my life in the kitchen. But I digress...
On  our way

The tetrazzini making is a full day/afternoon event. You put the whole chicken in a pot and boil it for an hour or two (I suppose you could use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken from the store but where's the fun in that?) One of the eulogies read at Marcia's service yesterday mentioned her lasagna. The trick to hers is to let the meat and tomatoes simmer all afternoon. I smiled when I heard that because that is the way my mom taught me to make it too.

Lasagna and chicken tetrazzini. Growing up, those were the two meals that were actually "events". I guess those and potato dumplings but when Dad was making those we all stood clear of the kitchen! The thing about Friday is that there were going to be three extra kids for supper. I was chauffeuring a dodgeball team to the annual NCBC spring break dodgeball tournament. It has become a thing now for the middle schoolers. Ryan and Dawn had put together a team and it added a little fun to a spring break that we had to spend here at home.

A couple weren't too fond of the tetrazzini after making an attempt to pick things out and that is okay, a couple of mine don't love it either. Something about cooked peppers I hear. It was so great to be in the kitchen and make the house smell amazing! If you have read the blog very long you know that I feed my family in my kitchen but don't find it to be my favorite place. I often say I wish I liked cooking better. I am afraid that most of the blessings I give to my family come from other areas of my house.

I am not a terrible cook. In fact, I am pretty great with a recipe and the proper tools. Thankfully, the kids got fed in time to get them on the road to the tournament. Middle school kids filling my van although very loud, is something that I love. It is fun to be a little bit privy to their discussions and interests. You could say that I enjoyed my part on the winning team.
Designers of the awesome matching t-shirts!
Waiting for a little bit of action

Oh...did you see that, I gave it away. The Smurfs (in the blue shirts specially designed) won the tournament with a record of 7-1. What can I say, I was proud...not a bad way to spend a Friday night. Life gets too serious sometimes!

Waiting to start at match
Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! (oh yeah, they already
had the chicken dinner...if only there weren't the peppers!)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Blessed Hope

I forgot how much I love chicken tetrazzini. That, and how good it feels to bawl your eyes out. I end this day extremely full and although I had a great Friday "heart" kind of post in my head for yesterday, the events of the day did not allow me to sit down and write. So today, having a chance (although it is ten p.m.) to sit and type, it is not the ideas that were floating in my head yesterday that will give this post a heart-like feel.

Today my day started with piano competition (but that is fodder for a totally different post). I got to deliver a meal to friends who had a new baby recently, I got to bop around town with my daughter which is always fun because her favorite place to be is "out and about" so she was happy. I also got to attend the "celebration of life" service for an amazing woman of God with that same daughter.

I know Marcia through her nieces Kristen and Melody mostly. I remember her fondly when we and a few other friends wanted to get together for scrapbooking. Marcia offered their house to meet in which was more centrally located for everyone. We had a wonderful Friday night and Saturday. The food was yummy and the atmosphere in the house was cozy and inviting. We also shared time together in a Bible study this past year.

What a celebration it was. She is with the Lord and she wanted everyone to know Him. There was singing and sharing of stories. There were tissues and tears. Marcia battled breast cancer twice in the last thirteen years. It was what opened the door to heaven for her. Don't think that has not sat heavy on my heart because it has. There are a couple others recently who have also gone before any human mind would think it was time. But then, it isn't our time to keep.

There were way too many reminders today of the trust and the hope and the sovereignty of our God to camp in the worried or fearful. I was thankful of those reminders. Many songs that were part of the service were songs that I have played from my playlist over and over these past few months. So yes, there were a couple of times I remember telling myself "a month ago I wouldn't be worried about my mascara running". I am thankful for eyelashes once again.

I was wondering all the while how things were sitting with my daughter who was next to me. She wanted to come because she babysits for Maricia's great-nieces, one of which is in my Sunday school class and has for the last few weeks had her aunt on her mind during prayer time. Last week she raised her hand "my aunt died". There were hugs and prayers.

On the way home, as it usually happens, we were discussing some pretty heavy things as we drove into the garage. Not getting into many details of the much postponed conversation (since that would be her story to tell), I will say that we sat in the garage in the van and talked about some of life's HUGE questions. She shared how she didn't want to tell me her troubles when she knew I wasn't feeling well (she said I could share this if I wanted to). Already starting to cry, I grabbed her and hugged her as she said through tears "I am so glad you are still here".

And there it was...I bawled, I sobbed. Ugly crying, so that the mascara that was left was all washed away. All of those yucky blue feelings of late came out in a waterfall of emotion. These are the things of life. The things of this broken and sin-filled life. These are the things until He comes back for us. I loved that Marcia's celebration today began in 1 Thessalonians 4:13...the blessed hope. There are many that I know and love who will be at the front of the line as "the dead in Christ" who will rise first.

Something that this life has taught me is that we are best to live it one day at a time. It is all that we can handle as humans. It was an "ah-ha" moment in my time with Him one day studying the Lord's prayer. Many people may have gotten this much earlier in life but I would say it has probably been no more than 15 years ago when I saw the words (of the prayer I had memorized as a small child) "give us this day our daily bread". DAILY...it is not mine to ask for tomorrow's or the next day or five years from now. Jesus gives what we need for today so why fret about tomorrow when I don't have what I need for that today? Oh so much easier said than done isn't it?

I remember my grandma used to sing along to a song when it played on the radio called "One Day at a Time" by Merle Haggard and I had no idea what a great lesson that is until years later. I thought of her today too while we were singing "I'll Fly Away". That was another she would hum along with. She'll be one of those firsts in  the front of the line too.

"One day at a time, sweet Jesus. That's all I'm asking from You
Give me the strength to do everyday when I have to do
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never me mine
So for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time."

(I guess I will have to talk about chicken tetrazzini tomorrow)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Arrow of Light

Arrow of Light:

The highest rank in Cub Scouting is the Arrow of Light. Earning this rank prepares a Webelos Scout to become a Boy Scout. Scouts must complete four required adventures and three elective adventures to earn the Arrow of Light rank. For each adventure a boy completes, he receives a pin to wear on the Webelos colors or on his hat.

The Arrow of Light Badge:
The Arrow of Light badge is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform when a boy graduates into a troop. Adult leaders who earned the Arrow of Light rank when they were young may also show their achievement by wearing a special square knot on their adult uniform.

It has been a couple of weeks now since Zachary has received his Arrow of Light at our cub scout pack's annual Blue and Gold banquet last month. We are so proud of the work he has done as a scout through the years. He is continuing on with his scout friends and has become a boy scout.

I could kick myself for not videoing when Rob, his den leader spoke of the things he saw in Zachary in the last three years as his leader. Did I get teary? Yes! I think that at each level when I see that another milestone has been reached I am so grateful to the people who have shared in the process with us.

It was a great day as we celebrated Zachary's accomplishment. It has been a big year for this mom. He has successfully tackled middle school and is amazing in his classes and extra curricular activities. He has finished up his time in Webelos and now has an Arrow of Light hanging above his bed like big brother Ryan.

Leader Rob said some pretty great things about our boy

The cool thing that Zachary received from one of his new Troop leaders is the patch for his new patrol as a boy scout. How fitting that he is in the pirate platypus patrol!

We are now on to new and bigger things. Ryan went into Troop 42 from the pack he was in while we lived in Cedar Rapids. Ryan is now working on his Eagle and so instead of joining him in his troop, Zachary decided to move to the troop where his scout friends were going here in Marion. So there will be a little bit of time to learn how the new troop works. New and bigger adventures ahead and are we ever proud of this boy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday From the Heart: Done

I just hit Ctrl A and delete to get rid of the last 30+ minutes of typing for me. You all don't need to hear my whining but yet, I feel like that is all I have been doing in the last 24 hours. You would think that the day after my last day of radiation I would be throwing a party and celebrating but yet, when I left the office yesterday with my certificate and bottle of sparkling cider it was a darkening shade of blue that was hanging in the air.

It makes no sense to me. And to those of you who have also suffered with anxiety or depression it may sound all too familiar. My first anxiety attack started in the salon when I was getting my nails done. Who in the world is anxious when they are getting their nails done by the same person who has done them for you for four years? It was my most peaceful place back in 1997. But yet, I was trying to decide on my way home if I should take the exit to the hospital (I thought for sure I was having a heart attack), or just go home and lie down.

Last time donning the pink backwards gown!
It is like you get through what would seem to be the most anxious times on adrenaline and then when you least expect it BAM anxiety comes to disturb your peace. My blue times when the depression hits are like that too. Why in the world should I be discouraged and depressed when I am DONE with all the intensity that has been cancer treatment in the last eight months? I have no idea. God is still HUGE and is still over all. It isn't like there is some kind of shaking of my faith. I am just blue. At the end of my radiation, I am blue. Go figure.

Despite that, the kids are home for the beginning of spring break and I am so glad to have them. The busy-ness and noise of people in the house makes me happy. They know that I am not moving at full speed and are good to help when the stretching of the burnt and peeling skin is too much. Laundry is the worst. There will be no posting of the current look of my armpit but as I compare what I see in the mirror to what I posted it is no comparison. I have determined that some of my blue comes from ever present discomfort of my upper right quadrant...with every move. The best time of day is when I have slathered all the reddish/purplish skin and gotten settled in my bed with comfy pillows and blankets. For about an hour I can lay there reading and almost forget what it looks like and feels like under my pajama top! I look forward to that all day.

I do have to say that a box full of fabric from my aunt in today's mail definitely cheered me up! A couple days ago she said she was going to send some to me when she had a chance to get to the post office so I wasn't expecting it two days later but YAY! I am looking forward to some time with my machine this evening after supper. I have a couple of quilts in the works and a few more in my head. Tomorrow I hope that I can jump into some serious work in my bedroom. I think part of my problem is that my room has been such a mess lately that I can't go back there and just rest for a little bit. I think focusing on some clutter areas, ironing some clothes and vacuuming will do me some good.

I am blessed beyond what I deserve to have the husband and kids that I have. A special word about David...this time around things have been so different than last time. I sang his praises back in the days when he was packing daikon strips into open wounds as I cried with the pain. He was doctoring at every turn, whatever the doctor's instructions were, he was either doing them or making sure that I was taking care of the things I could do myself.

This time around though I have had a hard time really including him in the actual treatment. He works during the day and so he certainly didn't have to come to chemo with me every week. He came once when I was afraid of the new Taxol protocol and possible reaction to it. He was the one I wanted there in case anything were to happen. It was awesome to have him in the ER waiting room while we waited to get in last fall when I spiked a fever. He got me settled in the ER room but had to get home to be sure that the household ran smoothly in the morning when everyone else had to get to school. My job was to stay in the hospital and get the rest I needed. He came with me to radiation once to see how it all worked but there was no reason that he had to come every day with me and I wouldn't want him to.

Things have just been different this time. Almost like it is "old hat" for me and so I didn't want to bother him to have to be there with every appointment or treatment. So now I sit here at the end of the treatment period and feel grateful for all he has done while I have not been able. Then I wonder what our new normal will look like. Thinking of our 25th anniversary coming up in August and all that "marriage" has meant to these two...him and I. I look forward to talks that don't include "how was chemo today?" or "what did the doctor say?" What was that like? To be honest, I look forward to finding out.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Medically Induced Menopause...Bring it On!

The number one question that I have had in the last week is "what is next after radiation?" Until today I had a very vague idea of what was to come. Today I had a two month out check up and we got the run down of what will be my next step on this road to be diligent that I do everything I can do to keep that cancer away.

One of Matthew's friends at school went home this week and told her mom "Matthew's mom is done with cancer on Thursday"! It makes me smile that Matthew is sharing this great milestone and is excited to spread the word. Yes, done with radiation and the worst of the cancer treatment. (I will not talk about my armpit today...I only THOUGHT it was bad last week!) Now, it is tricking my body to do what we need it to do so that it doesn't feed cancer.

I am what you call "in the middle" of perimenopause. Not at the young end, not at the old end. The average age of women who begin menopause is 51. Chemotherapy stops the monthly cycles of women who are on it. Sometimes it stops it permanently and sometimes the ovaries wake up and start back at it. Most of the time that is determined by a woman's age. Since I am in the middle of the range, we need to continue suppressing the production of estrogen in my ovaries since my cancer is estrogen driven.

There will be a monthly injection of lupron for awhile until we see how my body responds. If all is good, eventually I will be able to cut that down to once every three months. I will also be starting an oral hormone on Friday (not wasting any time) the day after radiation. This will be a daily pill that will be monitored for a couple months to make sure that I am tolerating all of the "menopausal" side effects. Joy!

Once we get everything working and good I have the opportunity to jump into a trial if I want which I think I went into a little bit last week in my post. It is a 50/50 chance I would be on the drug and for ten years I would be closely monitored no matter which group the computer puts me in. I kinda like the idea of closely monitored since this is the second time around with cancer for me, this time in stage 4.

So, we will see what happens. Bring on menopause!