Monday, June 30, 2008

Family and friends are precious.

I can't get the picture to post, but I'll go ahead with the post and add the picture tomorrow or as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience and love.

The picture on the blog is one we took last week at Gina’s house. Elena was being entertained by her older cousins, Elise and Kyle, or was it the other way around? Tonight Elena is spending the night with Gina and Brian, so they’ll all have a big time! Wish I could be there!

Today I got a package in the mail from Astra Zeneca, the company who makes the high dollar drug I’ve been taking. It’s a great packet of information and tools for me to use. I’m still going through it all. They have a lot of good information about breast cancer and hormone treatment afterwards, so I’m finding it very appropriate for me. I appreciate their sending it, but I don’t feel bad at all about moving to the generic pill. I used their drug for 3 months, so I’ve paid them enough to cover this nice packet. It’s been a good study for me, today.

I’m also reading two very different books. I don’t usually read two different books at a time because I get confused, but these books are very different, so I’m not likely to get confused. One is “Uplift” by Barbara Delinsky. It’s contributions of many breast cancer survivors put together to support women with breast cancer and their friends and family. It’s not about medical issues except to the extent that other women experienced them and how they handled them in a positive way. It’s VERY good, and I read some from it every day. My good friend, Amanda, sent it to me. The other one is “The Shack” by William P. Young. It’s a fictional book, but I believe it may have the potential to bring me even closer to God. I’m really enjoying both books and surely treasure the precious women who sent them to me. My baby sister (adopted in my mind and hers), Terri, sent me “The Shack.” Thank you Terri and Amanda for finding the books that speak to me right now. I enjoy reading whenever we are in the car or whenever I can at home. I find some time every day. I used to feel guilty when I read, but not anymore; I think I need the rest and relaxation it provides. These books provide both as well as encouragement.

Thank you, God, for precious family and for precious friends who feel like family. I trust you to put the people we need in our lives when we need them, and thank you for it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sweet, sweet memories.

The picture on the blog today is Elena at the family reunion. She was such a hoot! She was ‘crawling’ around on both feet and hands; no knees! It was such a hoot to watch. She’d go lickity split to someplace and then sit up and grab her toe! It was hard to catch a picture of it because, she’d tear off again before I could get a picture of it. Notice how dirty her feet were. They got even dirtier! By the time she’d spend a day or two with Raynie, she noticed her walking and the light came on for her. She’d been walking a few steps at a time, but she was so fast on all fours that she wasn’t willing to transition over to walking. It looked so right on Raynie, though, so she took off walking, too. She still went back to crawling from time to time, but by the end of the week they were both mostly walking. It was so fun to watch it happening. Elena was a hoot holding that toe up in the air, though. Sweet, sweet memories! God is so good to give us precious memories!

Today has been a nice day. Dorothy even made it to church today! She was so happy to be out and she looked beautiful. She was so weak, though. It was a hard outing for her.

After church we ate at the Mexican restaurant and then came home and got some sun. I had walked before church. That’s probably why I’m so sleepy! I forgot that I got up and started my day at 5:30!

I’m amazed at how stiff my muscles get. The doctors told me I’d have to exercise for the rest of my life; there’s no danger of me quitting because I get so stiff really quickly. It makes me know I’ve got to keep moving! It really amazes me how little time can go by before I feel like I’m shriveling into a knot. I’m sure able to do the exercises, though! I feel really good and thank God for my health, our family, our friends and so many other blessings.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

God provides all our needs.

The picture on the blog is one I took of Elena and Raynie when we were at the park in Gatlinburg. After we went to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park we stopped back in Gatlinburg and ate lunch. After lunch Gretta and Don and I took all the kids to a park to play (and catch salamanders in the creek) while Trish and Rob shopped a little bit. The park was way cool for the big kids to play in the creek and Elena and Raynie had fun, too. In this picture we had them sitting on a picnic table and they were adjusting to the new surroundings.

Today began with rain, so we couldn’t walk early. Later it was cloudy, so we walked, but by then it was HOT. There was no wind, so it was down right steamy. It reminded us to give thanks for Oklahoma’s usual wind! After our walk it was the perfect time to pull all the larkspur out of the garden since the ground was soft. The larkspur were through blooming, so it was time for them to go. It was a thing I could do, so I sure enjoyed it. After that I shelled pecans in the sunshine for about an hour (The wind was back by then.). God provided for a wonderful day with varied weather and reminders that we have so much for which to give thanks! Cancer doesn’t like heat, so all the heat I can take is good for me; the wind helps me take it!

I made a correction on last night’s post about my drug savings. I fumbled with the numbers; the pills only cost me $10 a day, but I got the new ones ordered last night for $2.50 each, so I’m still overjoyed! God is great and He provides everything from wind to cheaper drugs and that’s just the small stuff! He’s so great!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prescription costs are out of control!

This is nearly all the kids on Sunday morning after breakfast in Pigeon Forge. The sun was in their eyes, so they were struggling to sit for the picture. Sadie is holding Raynie, then Mason, then Garrett, Gabe, and Grace. Elena had left early with Gretta, so she didn't get in the picture.

Our housekeeper got a job at the prison not far from here, but her mother-in-law has agreed to clean for me once a month. She is so busy that she couldn’t do it more, but I can keep up if she’ll do it that often. I thank God for this blessing! She will come the first time next Tuesday; I will greet her with a HUG!

We played cards here tonight after meeting at the Main Street Grill for a quick dinner. (The Mexican Restaurant was closed for some reason and some of the gang wanted fish from the Main Street Grill.) The family who owns The Main Street Grill used to own the place where I tanned, so I loved getting to see them.

Since we had company coming tonight I did a quick house cleaning today. Man, it made me so glad that Isabelle agreed to clean for me. I don’t mind the quick stuff, but I sure was reminded that I don’t want to get into the heavy cleaning, again! God has sure blessed me with people who will help me out with my chores!

I had discovered that there is a generic for the $30 pill I have to take for 5 years. The generic costs $2.66 per pill! I had to jump through some hoops to get it, but one of our card playing friends knew of a pharmacy where I could order it online. Good grief; that’s too big a savings to miss! The cost of health care is so out of control, but don’t let me get started. I just thank God that I could take advantage of this savings! God is great and takes care of us.

***CORRECTION: The pill I have to take for 5 years is NOT a $30 pill! It's only a $10 pill. It's a numbers thing, so I got it wrong. Even $10 is out of sight for me to take everyday; I actually got it last night for $2.50 each, so the news is still good, just not as dramatic as I thought.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Technical difficulties, but I finally win.

The picture on the blog today is Elena last week when Gretta was reading a Dr. Seuss book to her in the car. She was loving it! (Thanks for the book, Aunt Diane!) We have so many precious memories from our trip! (Look at that chubby little hand!)

Last night for some reason the blog wouldn’t take a picture. I finally got it on today. Today we couldn’t get access to the Internet all day until I finally figured out the problem! What a bummer that is! I had an SBC tcch coming tomorrow, but I finally figured out it was the filter on the dish phone line. I hate technical stuff, but it felt good to finally get it fixed. That’s how most of today went: technical junk.

Joan came and cleared all the weeds out of the gardens yesterday and today. What a blessing to have a wonderful friend who will do the yard for me! It was more fun when we used to work in the yard together, but I’m so grateful that she’ll do it for me, now! She wanted to do it for free; that’s how good a friend she is! I wouldn’t let her do that, though. I pay her the same as I pay our housekeeper, so it’s good for both of us. I thank God for her! She’s the jewel who got me started with the rebloomers and she sent starts to Ruthie and Gretta, too. It was fun to take lots of bulbs and irises when we went back east. I loved digging them and taking them. The gardens got away from me while we were gone, so I sure loved it that Joan would clean it all up for me. Our housekeeper, got a job at the prison, so I’m doing the house for now and the yard was more than I wanted to tackle. The house is, too, but I’m doing it until I can find someone else. God will provide. For now, He had provided me with strength. PTL!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Chris Highwalker!

The picture on the blog tonight is one I took of Nate when we came by there on our way home and dropped off Sadie. I love his regulation haircut; he had to have it for his Civil Air Patrol encampment. I guess the military brat in me loves those short haircuts! We sure missed him on our trip without him, but he had a great week. I realize that he is on his way out of the ‘nest,’ and it's scary!

Today I gathered flowers to take to one of my good friends at the nursing home because I heard on the radio that today is his birthday. Chris Highwalker is one of the most positive people I know and I hope today was one of his best birthdays. He turned 37, so he has lots more to celebrate!

I also got to visit with Dorothy and David, again, today. Dorothy is doing better each day. It’s tough coming back from surgery, but she’s really a trooper and is working to regain her strength.

I’m still working to get everything put in it’s place from our trip. I always have a hard time with this when we come home. There just doesn’t seem to be time to read all the mail, the email, get all the laundry done and put everything in it’s place. I’m kind of a slug when it comes to that. I’m working on it.

Thanks for keeping up with us. I hear from lots of you by email and I thank God for so many people in my life who care. God is great through you (as well as on His own!).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Love that puppet!

Sadie made this puppet at one of the activities at the resort in Pigeon Forge and Raynie LOVED it! It was so fun to play with it with her. She was giving it a hug in this picture of Sadie holding her. Notice that curly gray hair (straight on the sides, but I'm so happy to have it!). Memories are precious, aren't they? God is great to give us memories; it was so sad when Don's dad lost his and we pray that we can keep ours!

Today has been a wonderful day at home. Home is great! We got to visit with Dorothy and David and I've talked to her two times since on the phone. It's great to be close to folks we love. It was wonderful to be with family, but it's so good to be home. I'm still putting things away from our trip. It always takes me days to get back into the swing of things.

Thanks for checking on us. We're doing great and giving thanks for all our blessings!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Whew! We are home, safe and happy! The picture on the blog tonight is one I took of Gina’s kids playing on their ‘pirate ship’ with Sadie. It’s too far away to tell too much about them, but they are Elise, Ethan and Kyle with Sadie in the front. They had such a blast playing together. Kyle will be 11 this month; Elise is 8 and Ethan is 5. Kyle and Sadie are the same age, so they play well together. Elise is so glad to have a girl there that she and Sadie easily get along great. Ethan can get along with anyone, so it was a great mix.

We left this morning at 7 their time, which is 6 our time. We drove hard all day and got home about a half hour ago. We stopped in OKC to take Sadie home and to collect hugs, but came straight home. Home is so sweet! It was good to see Daniel and the house in one piece. They had one tornado scare, but it didn’t hit, so that’s great!

I called Dorothy on the way home and she’d doing better and better. It’s hard to get her strength back after being down for so long. We’re going to see them in the morning after breakfast and she feels like sitting up for a haircut. A haircut will surely giver her a lift! It always does me.

Don drove all the way. Sadie and I played cards all the way. When we were pulling off the interstate to take her home Don said, “Do you realize you’ve played cards for 10 hours?” We both had a nap for a while this morning. Other than that nap, we did play all the way. It made the trip go fast for us and we had a blast. I love to play cards with anyone, but it’s special with the kids. My mom played cards with us, so I feel like it’s a continued connection with her for all of us. I thank God for precious memories and for the opportunity to make more. I thank Him for my ability to pick up and hold the cards; I couldn’t do that when I had the neuropathy, so I’m so grateful to have that ability again. I thank Him for the ability to count, although I ask Him to help me with that as I struggle with it. God is great!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quick post on the road.

This is a hurried post. We are on our way to Gina’s house and we’re stopped at a McDonald’s to have a quick supper. We ate a big lunch at a Mexican restaurant with Joe and Gretta, so we aren’t hungry. We just had to have something for me to take my herbs with and to tide Don over for the evening. We get WIFI here, so it’s a good time to make a quick post.

The picture on the blog is Grace, Mason, and Sadie the other day when we went up to Newfound Gap in the Smokies. You can see the mountains behind them. They were having fun with a rock that had a hole in it big enough that Sadie could put her arm through it!

We’ve been to Gretta’s apartment in Lexingon; went to lunch, then out to see Joe’s barn, and then out to see their property. Their lot is beautiful! We could see where they have the ground dug and it’s ready for them to pour the footer, but they won’t pour until tomorrow, so we missed that. It’s going to be a big house. They’ll love it!

I’ve talked to Trish and Rob; they are stopped in Jackson, Tennessee to eat supper and give the kids a chance to walk around and stretch. I’m sure they will, too. They think they’ll drive all night. Ugh. I remember when we used to do that. We were young once, too, but we’ve sure gotten over being willing to do that! I thank God for their energy and safety for all of us!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Winding down.

The picture on the blog today is one Don took Tuesday. I was fixing sandwiches for everyone and Raynie and Elena both wanted to ‘help.’ Of course, that’s when the phone rang. So it goes around here; it’s been GREAT!

We are winding down and getting ready to leave tomorrow. It’s been a great time! Sadie is going to go home with Gretta and we’re going to follow them and see them pour the footer at Gretta’s new house tomorrow. Then we’ll go on to Gina’s house. Sadie will stay with Gretta until Sunday night or Monday morning. Gretta will bring her to us and we’ll head home early Monday morning.

This week has flown! We’re looking forward to seeing Gina and her family! Then it’ll be great to be home, again. We’ve been blessed with such great weather and great traveling. This is a long trip and we’re grateful to have been able to make it. It’s great to have kids with us, too. Sadie and I will enjoy playing cribbage all the way home!

I will take a vacation from the blog until we get home because I don’t think I’ll be able to have internet access along the way after we leave here. If I get a chance, I’ll b e sure to post. Hang tough with me. I’ll be back as soon as possible. We are doing just fine!

Oh! Gretta cut my hair today! It was very uneven, so she shaped it up for me. I had trimmed on it, but I had no idea how to cut these curls, so it really needed her skills. Soon I’ll have Don take pictures to show the new ‘chic’ style. It has style, now! Gretta does a great job!

I thank God for this wonderful trip and the memories we’ve made to treasure!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Great Smoky Mountain day.

The picture on the blog today is one Don took today at an entrance to the Appalachian Trail. We were at Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountain Park; I figured this is as close to the Appalachian Trail as I’ll ever be. Later there was another entrance and I walked on it a ways, just so I could say I did it.

We went up to the park today with Trish and Rob and all their kids. Gretta and Garrett and Elena stayed in Gatlinburg and went to the Aquarium. Then we took the kids to a park with a stream while Trish and Rob shopped a little. All together, Gabe got 11 salamanders and a crawfish today. They are such hunters! It was too cool when Gabe got a salamander at the bottom of Clingman’s Dome. He was standing there showing it to me and a group of guys gathered around to take pictures of it! I took a picture of that scene; maybe I’ll put it on the blog one day. We all made it to the top of Clingman’s Dome, which is about a half mile, mostly up. Trish carried Raynie in a sling. I think Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains; anyway, it’s a favorite lookout. We had a great, clear day, so it was a great day.

The kids have all gone to a luau that the resort is doing tonight. We’re resting! It was a BIG day for us. I thank God for it and for our safety as we climbed. (The traffic going up to Gatlinburg was AWFUL. We came to a complete stop several times. That’s just to warn any of you who may be thinking of going to Gatlinburg.)

Tom Warmbrode, are you at home, reading this? Call me if you are! 405-823-6453

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thank you, God, for joy, joy, joy!

The picture on the blog tonight was taken yesterday. The girls went somewhere with the big kids and left us with the babies. The babies took really good care of us, but they won: THEY got the nap! Seriously, they were perfect and they fell asleep at the same time. They are just such dollies. Pop and I decided all we’ve ever spent on timeshares are worth it for moments like these. Don is holding Raynie and I’m holding Elena.

We got up and walked early today. Tomorrow we’re going up to Gatlinburg and the Great Smokey Mountain State Park, so we figure we’ll get in plenty of walking. We are really having the time of our lives. Surely we’re getting enough exercise, chasing babies and bending over a million times to pick them up or hold their hands to walk. They are so cute toddling around on their own. They crawl some, but they are walking more than crawling, now. It’s wild how they can both crawl out to the middle of the floor and then just pop up and take off walking without even pulling up on anything. What a joy! Thank you, God!

I should report that we got to stop and see Dorothy and David on Friday before we picked up the kids in OKC to leave for Tennessee. Dorothy was looking great to us! They got to go home on Saturday! I talked to David today and he said she was in the Hobart hospital getting some IV vitamins and fluids, hoping to build her strength. David says she’s very weak and not able to eat much to help her build back her strength. She’s taking Lortab for pain from the surgery, so I imagine it is making her stomach sensitive. When I took it after my surgery, they insisted that I eat crackers before taking a Lortab or it might make me sick. I imagine Dorothy just isn’t eating enough with her pill. It’s hard when you don’t feel good to eat. She’ll get past this. Thank you, God, for her successful surgery and please help her to continue to gain strength.

Bill (our next door neighbor and our preacher) called last night to tell us that he and his family and Dorothy and David and Hazel (across the street neighbor) were in our basement with Daniel due to storms. I thought it was pretty good that Dorothy made it down to our basement and back out! Thank you, God, for a place to be safe in storms and for mild storms! David said there was some wind damage around town, but they were just straight winds, no spinning winds and not tornado touchdowns. You never know at this time of year and in our area, so we love the basement! We dearly love our neighbors and friends! Thank you, God, for them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pigeon Forge is too much fun!

Wow, it’s just too much fun. I can’t even remember all we’ve done today. There was swimming. There was walking. There have been kids, kids, kids. It’s just been so much fun!

The pictures on the blog is Elena and Raynie looking out the door at the reunion. I went around to get them from the outside and they wanted to follow me out the other door. They have been so cute together from the moment they spotted each other. For you dial up people, please pardon the 2 pictures, but they go together so well.

Trish and Rob took the kids out to the Krystal for their notorious burgers. Mason and Raynie stayed with us. Mason was wore out from the day in the pool. Gretta and Elena are hanging out with us, too. It’s a great party. We’re enjoying America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I’m so thanking God for recovery to experience this precious time and for precious family! These babies were taking a step or two or maybe 5 or 10, but they’re walking all over the place, now! It’s too cute! Thank you for keeping up with us!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Family is precious.

The picture on the blog tonight was taken of my sister, Ruth, my brother, Jim, and me at the reunion yesterday. It was so good to see both of them. Everyone liked my hair and this is a good shot to show all the curls. I’ve learned that I can make it do anything IT wants to do, but it keeps me warm, so I love it.

Last night when we got here we had dinner with Donna and Hank , who came down from West Virginia to see us. How awesome is that to have friends come that far? It was great to see them and I’ll put pictures of them on the blog soon. They had come on Friday and had to leave this morning after breakfast. Bless their hearts, we were all so exhausted that we slept until the babies got us up this morning. We ate a late breakfast at Mel’s Diner and they joined us before they had to leave to go back home. It was another great reunion after the family reunion yesterday!

After breakfast Rob took the kids swimming and Trish and Gretta and I went to get groceries for the week. Gretta and Elena are coughing and have some congestion happening, so Gretta called their doctors back home and had prescriptions called in for them. Elena did better as the day wore on, but Gretta went to bed with a headache tonight. I sure hope she gets better. This humid air is hard for her breathing.

All the kids are having fun and the grown ups, too. Even Gretta is having fun between naps and when she’s not dragging. I hate for her to be sick, but she snaps back pretty well, so I hope she can this time, too. Elena and Raynie have so much fun playing and we all really have fun watching them. They are just about the same size and both are really walking a lot just since we’ve been here. Both could walk before, but they seem to be encouraging each other. Maybe they’re finding that exploring new places is better walking than crawling? They’ve done plenty of crawling, too, and sure get dirty doing it!

I keep thanking God for our family and friends and this opportunity to spend some time with them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Saturday, June 14.

The picture on the blog tonight is one I took of Gabe this past Tuesday. He was leaning back, resting while Nate got ready for his meeting. I figure Gabe is going to look something like this on Saturday when we get to Pigeon Forge. NOT! He has as much energy as anyone in the world. He takes time to rest, but he's full of energy. He is the 'nanny' of Tricia's family. All the kids are a big help, but Gabe is usually the first to come to anyone's assistance. He's the one all the other kids go to for help when Trish or Rob don't satisfy them. I remember when Sadie was born; he was just 2 1/2 and he went to all the neighbors' front doors to tell them, "We have a baby sister!" Since then there have been two more baby sisters and a baby brother. We look forward to having him ride with us along with Mason and Grace; I know he'll be a big help. He likes to read my books, so I'm bringing a couple to share with him.

I love it when the kids grow into big people! Gabe also loves to play hand and foot canasta with us. Nate and Sadie are more hooked than Gabe, but he's a card player. I'm taking the cards so we can play this week while we're in Pigeon Forge. I imagine there will be more things to do than we have time to do, but I'm taking the cards just in case.

This is a big day. The Fox reunion is my mother's family reunion. We are all proud to be a part of this fine family and love it when we can get together with them. It's a quick reunion, but it's a great one. My brother and sister should be there. Ruthie is not feeling her best, but I hope she'll make it. I'll report as soon as possible about the reunion.

I thank God for placing us in families. He could have made us all strangers. Ick! It's wonderful to have people who love us unconditionally! It's wonderful to have been raised in a family that knows and loves God. Everyone didn't have that good fortune, but it makes us rich, and I thank God for such a gift!
Quick note as I post this Saturday night: We've had a WONDERFUL time, so far! The drive was mostly wonderful. We drove through a nasty storm today and Trish and Rob had about 6 hours of horrible storms in Arkansas last night. God blessed us with safety, though. I taught Gabe to play cribbage on the way, so we had a great time playing that. My mom would be so proud! Cribbage was probably her favorite game, only rivaled by Scrabble. She would also be so proud that 17 of the people at her family reunion today were from her family; 12 of us were from mine! My brother looked so much like our dad; I couldn't believe it! Ruthie and Phil looked great. I got lots of pictures and will share them on the blog as time allows in the future. We got to Pigeon Forge and are split up in 3 different units. It'll be a trick to do this week, but it'll be fun! So much for which to be grateful; God is great and blesses so abundantly!

Traveling, Friday, June 13.

The picture on the blog tonight is Nate, with Rob getting him ready for his Civil Air Patrol meeting earlier this week when we were in OKC. Gabe and I were sitting there watching and Gabe said, “Look how much taller Nate is than Dad.” I thought it was a picture I should get. I noticed later that Raynie is right down there beside them; wherever the action is, there is Raynie!

I’m writing this post before we leave, but I know we’re going to be missing Nate so much. When we count people someone will be missing and it will be Nate. We’ve never taken a group trip together without him, so I know we are really going to be missing him. He’ll be having a great time at his encampment with the Civil Air Patrol group, though. I’m looking forward to hearing all about his week!

This post is for Friday, the day that we will really be traveling. I doubt if I’ll have time to write and post, so Trish will post this for me before she leaves tomorrow. I thank God for Trish, who backs me up in every way, as if she didn’t have her hands full with 6 kids and a husband!

Last week my friend Wendy passed. A few days before my friend, Amanda’s (foster) mother passed. It’s so hard to give up people we love and who mean so much in our lives. In times of death I’ve leaned on the following quote: “How long does a man live? Is it as long as you can touch him or as long as he touches you?” (Author unknown.) Amanda posted on her website ( a quote from a headstone in Ireland that is thought provoking: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Thank you for your love! Thank you, God, for your love and for our family's safe traveling!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ready to go to Tennessee!

The picture on the blog tonight is Gabe, holding an airplane he made and painted. He didn't make it from a kit; he made it from scratch. He is riding with Don and I and Mason and Grace tomorrow. We'll leave OKC at 8 and drive to Jackson, TN, where we're spending the night. Rob will work as long as necessary and then he, Trish, Sadie and Raynie will follow us. We'll be staying the night in Jackson and then we'll get up the next morning and drive to Lebanon for the reunion. After the reunion, we'll head for Pigeon Forge. Woo Hoo! I hate to fly, but Gabe will probably be wishing we were flying! (Gabe is 13.)

I continue to feel so good; I thank God for all these good days! I am so much back to like I used to be. I even shave my legs with a safety razor; yep, the hair came back in full force. Radiation took the hair forever out from one armpit, though. Maybe that's gross to report, but it's how it is and some of you may need to know that's how it can be. I wear these strap on boobs whenever I clean up; otherwise I don't. It's nice to be versatile! My chest feels tight all the time (which I never expected), so it feels like I'm wearing a bra even when I'm not. I don't even feel it when I'm wearing the bra and boobs. I mention all this so you will be prepared if you or someone you know faces breast cancer.

All the horror stories I've read about the side effects of Arimidex are not hitting me, yet. Maybe I'll never have a problem with it or maybe it happens after use over time. I just learned today that there is a GENERIC form of Arimidex and it costs $2.69 a pill instead of $9.50! Duh! I learn that $600 into this! I'm going to investigate it when we get home and, hopefully, save us a ton of money! The doctor told me I would gain weight through all this. So far, I haven't. Maybe she didn't realize I would walk an hour every day. I'm sure that's helping me to keep the weight down. I'm sure it helps me to feel good, so I'm not quiting for anything; God made me able to walk and I'm not leaving that gift on the table!

I'm writing a post for tomorrow and Trish will post it before she and Rob leave tomorrow. I may write one for Saturday and post it when we get to Pigeon Forge. Bear with me if I'm not totally up to date, but I'll catch up with pictures of our trip as soon as possible. I'll get a post on here every day because I appreciate that you care and that you read. I thank God for all of you who read about us and pray for our health and safety.

Raynie's always busy.

The picture on the blog tonight is Nate, getting ready for his Civil Air Patrol meeting. I think it’s too cool; see Raynie in the background? She walks everywhere and everything is her business, it seems. She’s just like a cat; whatever is happening she gets right into the middle of it. If you aren’t paying attention then she gets right into the middle of something else. She’s such a cutie. She walks everywhere, but if she needs to hurry she hits the floor and crawls. She hasn’t discovered running, yet. That will be soon, no doubt. This is the top and the bottom of the range of their kids: Nate is 16 and Raynie will be 1 on July 10th. Life is rich at their house!

I threw herbs for the first time in months today. I have been too confused, so I didn’t even try such a thing. I only did 22 days for Don; I still have plenty left over that I threw for me before they made me quit taking anything but chemo and radiation. I still have to pack them in bags, so I’d better get with the program. I want to get them done tonight and be done with it.

I’ve talked to Dorothy 3 times today and she is doing better and better. She is on only pain pills for the surgery and only has pain related to the incision. She has no pain down her leg or in her hip anymore! She is shaky, but we think that is from all the pain medication she’s had over the last few weeks. I think that will get better and better. I can tell a real improvement since this morning. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for her. She appreciates it and so do I. PTL!

We’re getting closer and closer to Friday when we will leave for Tennessee. We’re very excited and thank God for this opportunity to see lots of family.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dorothy is doing great; thank you, God!

The picture on the blog is Grace, always ready to pose! We stopped to see the Oglesbys today on our way home from Dorothy’s surgery. That was a great way to top off a good day!

Dorothy did very well in her surgery. They did whatever they do to ruptured discs and removed a spur. I don’t know what all that means; I’ve got to do some research. But, she’s feeling less deep pain already. She came back after the recovery room very alert. The doctor said there was more repair to do than he expected and he wants her to stay in the hospital until Friday or Saturday. Since she was staying that long we decided to come on home instead of spend the night. We thought she might come home tomorrow and we might be able to help with that transport. Since they’re staying that long, we came on home.

There was quite an entourage at the hospital. Two of Dorothy’s sisters and their husbands, David’s daughter and son-in-law, Dorothy’s grandson and his wife, three of us couples from church and an elder from Dorothy’s sister’s church were all in the waiting room when the doctor came out to report. I think that is 15 besides David. There were all great people and we had a good time visiting while we waited. She was in surgery for about 2 ½ hours. On our way home we were stopped to eat dinner and she called us! I think that’s a pretty quick recovery. She’ll be coming around more and more over the next week or so as she is able to not have so much pain medicine. I imagine she’ll have some for a while due to the surgery, but the deep pain is relieved, she said. (That might be because of the pain meds from surgery, though.) I know we were all thrilled that she was talking, moving, and alive, so she beat the odds of the bad stuff happening. We thank God for her a successful surgery and for giving us all safe travels up there and back home!

We have an extra day to get ready for our trip to Tennessee since we came home tonight, so that won’t hurt us any. It was sure good to see Trish and Rob and the kids. We’re all excited about leaving for Tennessee on Friday!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gap closing.

The picture on the blog tonight is a crop of one of the shots Don got of me the other day with the bulbs and irises. I don’t have anything new for the blog, so I thought I’d use this one to show you how my gap is closing. I’m pleased with my bands. If you look closely, you’ll see them on my teeth, but the main thing is that the gap is closing! This hair is what I call chemo pixie; Tricia's Nate calls it microwave hair because I've been nuked. Grandkids are something!

Things are good here. We had almost an inch of rain this morning, so we didn’t walk early. We went to breakfast and then I went over and spent the morning with Dorothy getting her all ready for surgery tomorrow. She’s clean from head to toe and ready for relief! We’ll leave the hospital with her at 6 in the morning, so it’ll be another early morning for us. We’re used to it from getting up early to walk.

We were able to walk around noon because it quit raining and it’s been cool (only 80) today. We walked around the lake, then down to the Kozy Diner for lunch, then back by the hospital to check on Dorothy and David. I am so grateful to be able to walk!

This past week when we had such big winds, the big town in the area, Altus had 20 million dollars worth of damage done! They had winds up to 90 mph, but they were straight winds; thank God there were no twisting winds or it would have wiped them off the map. Altus is about 35 miles from here, and has Altus Air Force Base; I think their population is about 25,000. They lots of things we don’t have, so it’s our closest ‘big town.’ We thank God that no lives were lost and that we managed to get by with winds that were 50 – 70 mph. We’ve lived here 12 years and feel so blessed to have escaped any major storms.

We will spend the night in OKC tomorrow, but I’ll take the laptop and post to the blog. I thank God for the blog and the Internet to keep us in touch; what a blessing!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's always time to give thanks!

The picture on the blog today is the Audubon Clock that Trish and Rob brought to us. We are having so much fun with it! Actually, this is a clock I found on eBay. (I didn't buy this one; I just borrowed the picture.) So, there are some out there, Ann, if you’re still looking.

There are storms north of us, but we are safe, so far, tonight. We’ve been blessed with a good year for us, relative to storms. The wheat around here has been wonderful and the farmers got it out without worry of rain and hail. PTL!

Dorothy is hanging tough. I spent a couple of hours with her while David went home to shower and we both slept! God bless her. This morning she was feeling nauseated, so they gave her phenergan. It was wonderful because it made her go right to sleep and she has slept peacefully all day. Tomorrow I’m going up to help her get her shower and wash her hair so she’ll be all clean and ready for surgery on Tuesday.

Tomorrow I’ll get up early and walk, then go over and get Dorothy ready. Then I’ll spend tomorrow getting us all ready to go to Tennessee on Friday. I want to have as much ready as possible so that I don’t have to worry about it while we’re gone to OKC for Dorothy’s surgery. We’ll have to come home Wednesday; I hope she can come home that day, too. If all goes well, her pain should be greatly relieved after surgery and she’ll only have the surgery healing to do. God is wonderful to give us the opportunity to heal. Aren’t we blessed to have options to fix our problems!

I continue to feel so very good. Someone asked Dorothy, “Does Jo really feel good or is she just putting on a good front?” If you all are thinking that, believe it! I feel great! I don’t go like the Energizer Bunny, but I feel good. I’ll be 60 this August, so I really think I feel good for 60 with back and knee problems and bouncing back from cancer, chemo and radiation. I’m so pleased to be walking an hour every day. God has blessed me abundantly with health and love of many folks. I could ask for no more.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Love of flowers runs in the family.

The pictures on the blog tonight are a couple that Gretta sent from their friends’ wedding. You have to see both pictures; I love the expressions. Elena was reaching for the flowers in the first one. The second one I think she got into a verbal battle over the flowers while Gretta bites her own tongue. The love of bouquets must be a genetic thing.
Dorothy and David are surviving, but waiting is so tough. This is hard on both of them, but they are tough people and treasured friends. We thank God for taking care of them and for putting them in our lives. Thank you for caring about people we love.

Don's heel is better as far as walking goes. I think it may be black for months. He's seeing great. Thank you, God, for the miracles of modern medicine.

Today I was so saddened to learn that a dear friend on this breast cancer journey lost her battle. She was only 36. She had the same kind of cancer and treatment that I had, only she was about 6 months ahead of me. Generally cancer is much more aggressive when it strikes the young. I found her on a site called

I wrote and asked her questions, and she was so gracious to take me by the hand and lead me through unknown territory. When we were in Houston, she called to tell me that her cancer was back and she has only lived this long (less than 4 months). I talked to her about a week ago and she was very content and at peace even though she new her life was nearing it's end. She knew that she had done all she could do to live, so this must be the plan for her life. She left her body for research in hopes that it will help others in their fight to live. God blessed me with her friendship and her leadership and He has stars in her halo. Thank you, God, for Wendy Cooper.

God blesses; don’t leave any of those blessings on the table. By that I mean see it all and enjoy it all; don’t save it for later because life is uncertain.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The picture on the blog today is me in the garage beside all the flowers I’m taking to Ruthie and Gretta. I’ve been having such a great time digging up these irises and daffodil bulbs! I’ve done a few here and there and finally finished them today. It feels good to be done, but I enjoyed doing it and love being able to share them. Notice that I have enough hair that it nearly loses my sunglasses and the gap in my teeth is not so noticeable.

Today when we came in from working in the yard we had a message on the machine from David that he and Dorothy are back in the HOBART hospital! They came home because they could stay in the ‘swing bed’ portion of the hospital until her surgery on Tuesday. We really freaked! That was a really hard trip for her, but they’re here and doing okay. We’ve been up to see them twice. This is so hard for both of them. Since they are here we decided to stay home this weekend instead of going to the tournament near Dallas. We really need the time to be getting ready for next week’s trip to Tennessee, so it’s smarter for us to stay home. Tomorrow Don and David will go to breakfast and then to Altus to get more oxygen for David while I help Dorothy get her shower. I’ll get up at 5 to walk and be done to go to the hospital, so I’m going to bed as soon as I get this posted.

We had winds here over 50 mph all day yesterday; I think the highest was 72 mph. But they weren’t spinning! We didn’t have any tornadoes! Some folks lost power but we didn’t. Neighboring towns had fires and severe power outages, so we had lots of visitors in town today filling our cafes. We are counting our blessings that all we had were a few blinks of power so that we have to reset lots of clocks.

I have to tell you the funniest story. Tuesday when we were in OKC we stopped by to see Trish and the kids. I thought Mason said to me, “Grammy, are you wearing boobs?” I said, “Oh, yeah, but these aren’t real; they’re just like shoulder pads, only they’re boob pads.” He said, “No, I said, ‘are you GROWING boobs?’” I thought that was so cute! I gave him a big hug and told him I wouldn’t be growing any more boobs, but I had these fake ones I could wear whenever I wanted to have some. Out of the mouths of babes! I just love it. He says that Raynie is ‘growing teeth’ so it makes sense that he thought I might be growing boobs. I guess that says something for the fact that they are small, huh? They are just my size, I think! (By the way, I don’t wear them to garden; I cleaned up for the picture.)

Thank you, God, for tremendous people in our lives!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Life is good.

The picture on the blog tonight is one Trish sent Monday so we could see Grace’s current work. It’s interesting to me because Gabe won 1st place at the state fair for a painting he did of irises back when he was 7 or 8, I think. (It’s hanging on our wall, but we didn’t think to date it.) I guess a love of irises runs in this family. Certainly Robert’s artistic ability runs in their family. I think the picture is precious and it reminds me that life is good.

Our good friend, Steve Crawford, was in town to do a magic show for kids at the library this morning. It was great to see him. We used to work with him, so it’s great to get to see him once a year when he comes to do magic for the kids.

We learned today that Dorothy had to be moved to her sister’s house (Ada) in Oklahoma City today. Medicare wouldn’t pay for her to stay in the hospital. We are concerned that they won’t be able to manage her pain without using IV painkillers, but if they can’t, then they’ll take her back to the hospital. She only has to survive until the surgery, which is scheduled for next Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. If she can be comfortable, I know she’ll enjoy being with Ada.

I got the dreaded call from Angela today that the prison offered her the job she wanted. That’s wonderful for her, but it shatters my housekeeping plan! Angela thinks she’ll be able to clean for us once a month on her time off, but I don’t want to take her time off. We’ll see how it works. We’ll be gone a lot this summer and by the time we get to the end of summer she’ll know if she’s going to like working at the prison or not. If she’s happy there I’ll look for someone else who can clean for us. Daniel is a neat guy, so he’s not going to be an issue! We can make it through the summer. When she first called I had to really talk myself into believing we could survive this. Don was a big help! She’s been such a dream come true, but we’ll work through this.

Don’s eyes and back are doing fine from his procedures yesterday. I continue to do great. Keeping the house clean is an issue we can manage; it’s not anything I need to let stress me. It was good for me to concentrate on Grace’s picture. It reminds me that simple beauty can be so refreshing. Love is so refreshing. We have lots of both and that is what is important. Tonight the picture went onto the blog right away, as did Don’s picture for last night’s blog. When the pictures don’t post I get stressed and have to remind myself not to stress. What a challenge. God is still working on me; that’s for sure! He’s so good to bless me with health and love!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Patching Don.

The picture on the blog tonight is the man of the day, everyday! This morning we went to the eye doctor in Lawton and he verified that his eye was blurry because of the haze that sometime develops after cataract surgery. They removed it with a simple procedure in the office today. He had to have both eyes dilated for the exam and procedure, so he had to put up with me driving after that. The dermatologist’s office is in the next building, so we went there after he had his eye done and asked if they had any cancellations today so that he could see the doctor this afternoon. Sure enough, they saw him right after lunch and the doctor removed a cyst from his back. We were so pleased to get both of those things fixed today.

He has a bandage on his back and we’ll clean it twice a day for two weeks. Then we’ll be gone to Tennessee, so I’ll remove the stitches (2). I’ve done that before when he had a cyst removed from his back. We take turns doctoring each other.

This morning we walked to town to have breakfast at the Kozy Diner; then we walked home. This was his first day to walk and he did really well. That blood blister is a lot better. It’s still visible, but it’s not puffy or sore. We thank God for taking care of us and for giving us the strength and energy to heal.

Daniel left tonight after church for a week of a campaign with his church at home. He’s had this planned for some time. He’s going somewhere in Texas; we’ll miss him.

We are exhausted from our day of driving and procedures, but we are fine. Don is already in bed and I’m going there just as soon as I get this posted. Thank you for keeping up with us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dorothy's surgery scheduled for next Tuesday.

The pictures on the blog were taken last September when we went to OKC with Dorothy an David and we stopped by for a brief visit with Trish and the kids. Raynie thought Dorothy was really something, just like all the rest of us think! I should have taken my camera today, but I forgot it. Ugh.

Raynie is walking a few steps at a time, but she’s such a pro crawler! She’ll take about 7 steps and then take off crawling. Grace, Sadie and Gabe have great new haircuts; it was the perfect picture opportunity! Sadie’s hair is still real long, but it’s layered and she looks 15. Grace’s is in a cute bob like she had it once before; it’s so her! Gabe’s is shorter than he’s had it in years and it is so him, too. Wow; they all looked great!

Dorothy rode in the ambulance to OKC and it was a very hard trip for her, but she managed like a real trooper. Don drove David’s car with David, and I drove our van. So we came home in the van and David has his car there. They did more x-rays on Dorothy’s back and determined that they will do surgery on her back next Tuesday. They would do it sooner, but she had Plavix yesterday and they want her to be off that for a week before they do surgery. Dorothy’s pain was getting out of hand today, but they did a good job of getting a handle on it. She’s not excited about surgery, but she is so ready to be done with the pain. She has 2 sisters who live near OKC, so they will be in good hands this week. We’ll go back for the surgery next Tuesday.

Tomorrow we go to Lawton to get don’s fuzzy eye fixed. Then we’re going to rest until the weekend. Then I’ll be getting things ready to make our trip to Tennessee next week. I want to be pretty much ready for that when we go to OKC for Dorothy’s surgery. Then it won’t be stressful if I have all the plans made.

We are tired from getting up early forever to walk and then all this traveling, but we know we are so blessed. Don is going to walk with me tomorrow. His foot is lots better. God blesses us so abundantly and we are grateful.

Monday, June 2, 2008

BIG day! Thank you, God!

The picture on the blog is sweet little Raynie last week when they were here. I put this picture on the blog then, but she was sitting in my lap; I cropped just her for tonight. Today she had tubes put into her ears, so it was a big day for all of us. Trish says she acts totally normal as if this was no special day. Blessed, again! Thank you, God!

I got up at 5 to walk this morning so I could be ready to go help Dorothy shower at 7:30 and then we were planning to take her to OKC around noon. Raynie was to be at the doctor’s office at 6:30. Well, at 6 I came back by the house from my walk and Dorothy was on the phone wanting me to come over and help her with her shower then because the aid was there to get her shower done. We live a stone’s throw from the hospital, so I just rushed right over and did that. Then I came home and finished my walk and got my bath. Dorothy called then to tell us they had changed all her plans! She wasn’t going to OKC today at all because of a medication snafu. David had gone home to get his breathing treatment done, so I called him to let him know about the change in plans and we all met up at the hospital to get the plans straight. It seems the doctor in OKC had seen a copy of her MRI today and thinks that surgery is going to be necessary. They had given her a blood thinner that she normally takes, so there was no need to take her to OKC today. We’ll go with them tomorrow. They will take her in an ambulance because they are transferring her from one hospital to another. I will drive our van and Don will drive David’s car since David has been getting so little rest the last few days that Dorothy has been in the hospital and in so much pain at home before that. We’ll go up and make sure they are all settled in and then we’ll come home and David will have his car so he can come and go if he needs to. They likely will do pre-op tests on her for a couple of days and then do surgery on Thursday or Friday. Meantime, Dorothy is doing very well as long as they are able to keep her pain under control with meds and they do a pretty good job of that in the hospital.

Yesterday when we were sitting out on the deck Don was trying to see a bird and he said, “Uh oh; I can’t see.” CLUNK! After I picked myself up off the deck I asked what he meant. He couldn’t see out of his left eye; he could see fine with is right eye, but the left eye was all blurry. I vaguely remembered that such a thing happens after cataract surgery and it can be pretty easily fixed. Sure enough, I called the doctor’s office today and they said that was probably it and made an appointment for us to come have that fixed on Wednesday morning. Wow! How great is THAT!? Sure enough; she pulled his chart and they already fixed his right eye a couple of years ago. His cataract surgery was done 3 years ago. It’s wonderful that this is something that can so easily be fixed! So, this is turning into a very busy week!

We’ll go back to OKC when Dorothy has her surgery. Then we hope to go to Bruce’s last big tournament this weekend near Dallas. It’s the Texas State Championship, so this is a big one that we’d like to not miss. It’s his last tournament before the world series in July.

Now that was a long post, but it’s how today has been. Well, the rest of the story is that Don wanted to go to see Indiana Jones tonight, so we did. Ick. He liked it, but if I live to be 800 and never see another one it’ll be okay with me. I had way more fun this afternoon thinning out irises. I’ve got 66 ready to take to Tricia’s friend tomorrow when we go to OKC. It was fun and I’ve got way more to thin to take to Gretta; I’ll do that NEXT week. God is great to give me energy and healing solutions for all of us.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

End of robin saga.

The picture on the blog is the last I saw of life in the robin nest. Yesterday the mother kept such a close vigil over the babies. I was out in the yard a lot and she was just fine with them. Today the nest is empty. I know the babies weren’t ready to leave the nest. They had grown and were fuzzier, but they weren’t ready to stand up, let alone fly. Something got them. As Don reminded me they are part of the food chain. I think God provides such to help us keep perspective, too. We’ve enjoyed them and appreciated them, but I can live without them. I’m so grateful that it’s not some of my family or friends that just disappeared! They were God’s birds and they fit into His plan like everything else. But the saga is over and this will be the last of the robin pictures.

Otherwise today has been a fine day. I got up early and walked, so it feels like I’m walking in my sleep sometimes. I get really sleepy, but haven’t had a nap. We went to Mr. B’s for breakfast and that is becoming a Sunday morning habit. After church one of the deacons took Daniel to dinner so Don and I ate a frozen strawberry waffle with peanut butter because it felt like the right thing to do. It worked fine and we went out and got some sun after that. It was too hot to nap, so we just visited. Then we went out on the deck to enjoy watching the scissortails and chats while we cooled down enough to get baths. Here I am on another 2-bath day; I think that may be the norm for the summer.
I've talked to Dorothy on the phone and we are going over to visit on our way to church. We've got to figure out the plan for tomorrow.

I haven’t told you about the clock Trish and Rob brought to us. Instead of numbers it has birds on it and on the hour a bird calls out his own song. I LOVE it! They had it in their kitchen until they brought it to us, so I know they are missing it! I’ve decided I’m going to take it back to them to have for a while when we go to Houston in July. It’s such a cool clock. It has a light sensor on it so that if it’s dark you can only hear it if you’re standing right beside it. It’s the greatest! My friend Joan loves it like I do. When we were out in the yard working the other day, whenever we heard a bird call we’d look up and ask what time that meant. It’s been a hoot.

It hurts to have lost the robins, but I thank God for the lesson. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t someone I love that we lost! God teaches us and is wonderful to us.