Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

The picture on the blog tonight is one Don took a couple of days ago when I was working on the computer. Our connection from here is dial up, so it’s very slow. Ugh; that’s one of the bad things about traveling, but I’m so glad to be able to connect at all.

Today I’ve been looking for a friend from days in Chattanooga. I have her snail mail address, but the phone number I have is not current. I guess I’ll have to break down and send a snail note! I’ll find her!

Today has been a busy day. I ground chia seeds, made hamburger patties with chia seeds and made a jello salad, jello pieces, a pasta salad and chex. We were out of ground chia and the hamburger was waiting to be put into patties. The rest I just did because it seemed like the time to do it. I walked by myself because it was too cold for Don. He’s so funny; he’s only good for great warm days. It was only briskly cold; the wind wasn’t bad, so I enjoyed it.

We have a couple of ponds by our room and there is a fountain in each one. For some reason neither fountain has been working since we’ve been here. I asked a couple of people about it and called about it yesterday. Still they weren’t working today. I climbed up onto my soap box and called them, again! Everything I see about this place shows the fountains and then we get here and they aren’t working! I took that to be false advertising, so I called for a second time and asked if they could turn on the fountains and told them this was my second time to call. About an hour later they turned on the fountains. I felt like a baby who just threw down my toy and someone picked it up . . . you know? I made something happen. That, plus I cooked up everything in the condo. Ha! It’s been a fun day. Don is up to his ears in football and I’m headed to the Jacuzzi.

I thank God for a great year of healing and repairs. This year has been a financial disaster, but we have love and health and that’s what really matters.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank you, God, for working in our lives!

The picture tonight is me after we just got back from an owners’ dinner. I know better than to ever let Don take a picture when I'm standing; that double chin looks so bad, but check out those 'boobs!' At the dinner they serve dinner and 3 different acts from town came to give us highlights of their shows. I was VERY impressed with the Hughes Brothers! Today we hiked around this hill for an hour and we are both exhausted from it. You know when you go down you have to come back up; wow, that was hard, but invigorating. I thank God that we can walk AND climb! (I also thank Him that we didn’t have to RUN and for fake boobs!)

You know how you put your coins into a drink machine and you know immediately that the coins were accepted, even as the drink tumbles down the chute? In our house we call that ‘going clunk.’ Today our preacher (and neighbor and friend, and handy marine who keeps watch on our house) sent a devotional that went clunk with me. I know some of you who read this blog already got the devotional, but most of you didn’t get it, so I’m repeating it in hopes that it will go clunk in your life and help you to smile, gratefully, through difficulties instead of despairing. I am so grateful and comforted to know that God is at work in my life.

Phil 2:12-13
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

The builders and decorators of a great cathedral made the mistake of admitting visitors while the work was in progress. They heard nothing but criticism. Finally they had to close the doors and admit no one but workmen. When it was all finished, the exquisiteness of the structure was universally acclaimed. The previous judgments had been premature. When we are tempted to judge people, let's recognize that just as in our own case success comes gradually as a rule, so it does to others. Let us not dishonor God by attributing ugliness to Him in any of His works in nature or humanity. He is not through yet. God is in the process of perfecting much that we see now as unfinished and imperfect. Don't judge Him prematurely for permitting the sickness, accident, deformity, and seeming injustice of this world. Wait. Exercise patience. He is still at work.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Off to the pool!

The picture on the blog tonight is me, right here in the condo. I’ve done all my exercises today and we walked all over the resort. That was tough because it’s hilly, but it was a beautiful day for it. This hairdo gets my hair off my face and my neck. It’s so funny how curly it gets in this humidity; rolling it only lasts for about a half hour and by then it’s all drawn up in tight curls again. (Well, all except the sides.) It’s some trip for someone who always had hair that fell flat and went straight when it got humid. But, what a wonderful trip for someone who was BALD this time last year! Woohoo! Last year I couldn’t dream of swimming. It’s so wonderful to be warm and alive! Thank you, God, for today!

We took a little walk last night and when we came back a big old possum ran under our car and then up on our porch! I wanted to tell you that I ran and got the broom and beat him to death so we could have possum gravy for breakfast, but he was really running! I would be kidding about the possum gravy, but I have been known to beat a possum to ‘death’ with a broom. Of course that possum was playing possum and was gone in the morning. Trish and Gretta probably remember how I used to get after the possums that would come and steal our cats’ food. I had flashbacks of those years (over 20 ago!) of those times when we saw that possum last night. That tells you how in the woods we are, but we can see the Branson strip from up on this hill.

This afternoon Don came in to tell me there was a heron out on the pond right outside our condo. I went out and took 13 pictures of him, but none of them were good enough for the blog. It was just at dusk and he just didn’t show up well enough to use. When we had those possums that swiped our cat’s food we lived on a creek in Oklahoma City. In those same years we had herons that came and fed in the creek and we’ve loved them since. A thing we love about Branson is the wildlife and especially bird life that we get to watch.

So, it’s been the perfect kind of day that we love. Don is enjoying football and I’m headed over to the indoor pool. Our unit is right across the street from the pool, so it’s handy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All settled into 'home' for a month.

Tonight’s picture is Elena ‘feeling’ her way through a book. She is something else. She doesn’t do anything a little bit; she does it with intensity. She doesn’t just look at a book, she looks, studies it and feels of all the pages. She’s an interesting little person! See that push toy under the window? She works that thing like a professional. I never saw a child get more use out of her toys!

We got moved into our home for the next month. It feels good! I’ve got a load of clothes washing already. That always makes me feel at home! We’re all unpacked and put together except I’m washing our sheets and will put them on the bed. Of course they have sheets on the bed but we always use our own because theirs are washed in some detergent and Don is allergic to detergent. We use laundry discs. Besides, I have T-shirt sheets for winter and we love those, so they’re in the wash. Once the bed is made we’ll be set.

Well, I’ll make something for supper. Then THE BUCKET LIST is on TV tonight! Everyone but us has seen it, I think. It’s on at 11, so we might not see it all tonight. It’s on again Wednesday morning at 7:30, so we can watch the rest of it then if we can’t stay awake for it all tonight. Everyone tells me we should see it, so I’m looking forward to it.

I haven’t done any of my exercises today, so I’ve got to get them done. We did some shopping and went out to eat lunch while we waited to check into our unit. That walking is going to have to pass for my walking today and I’ll make up for it later this week. It’s supposed to be warm for a few days.

Bill and Olya, our neighbors from home are coming later this week for just a couple of days. We’re so excited that they can come. They have Sonia and Sasha, who will give us a grandkid fix. Bill is also our preacher; he’s also the ‘marine’ who noticed we had a burglar and called the cops when we were gone to Vegas. They are the best neighbors ever, so we’re really excited that they are coming. We sure thank God for them in our lives and to have them join us here is a special treat.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

'Bridge day' between condo weeks.

The picture on the blog tonight is Don and Elena having a storybook time when we were there for Thanksgiving. He’s feeling good enough to be back to smiling like that. Probably he needs a grandbaby fix; don’t we all! Elena absolutely loves books. Her daddy says she’s so irresistible when she brings you a book and then turns around and back up to you so you can pick her up, and he’s so right! She loves turning through every single page. When she sees something that doesn’t look right, she FEELS of it; she’s so funny! Her aunt Tricia has made her a cloth book with something to feel on every page. I’d sure like to be there the day it gets there. I know Elena will love it. Notice the shiny silver streak on the back of the sofa behind Elena? That's the remote out of her reach. It's always hidden from her or out of her reach, so 'find the remote' is a common game at their house. If she finds it, she'll turn it into someone and say, "Hi," with a big blue eyed smile. Precious memories!

Today we moved out of the condo into the motel part of this resort. They give us some free rooms when we pay our maintenance fees on time, so it’s handy to have them to use when we need a ‘bridge’ between condo stays. Our other one doesn’t start until tomorrow, so we’re hanging out here for this one last night. It’s a letdown after the condo to come into just a motel room. The game Don wanted to watch on TV isn’t on the TV in this room, so he’s out in the common area watching it. I’m going to bed early. Oh! Maybe not; I just saw them say The Notebook is on next. I might have to watch that. It wasn’t nearly as good as the book, but it was good. I get so sleepy watching TV, though. I really never learned to sit still. I have a little sign at home that says: "When I works, I works hard. When I plays, I plays hard. When I sits I falls asleep." That is so me!

I sure thank Linda for telling me the neti pot would help me with allergies, so I’m not going around in a sleepy stupor from anti-histamines! I sure thank God for good friends and family who care enough to keep up with us and offer suggestions. We are so very blessed. Linda and Tom will be here in a little over a week, so we can hardly wait to see them. God so richly blesses us; thank you, God!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A year ago today I had my last chemo treatment! Woo hoo!

The picture on the blog tonight is me doing my pulley exercises. It’s not very entertaining, but it sure helps my arm. I’m not crazy about any of the exercises I do, but I can sure tell the difference that they make, so it motivates me to do them without fail. I didn’t comb my hair before Don took this shot and the humidity here makes it really curly. I look in the mirror and it looks like Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo is looking back at me. I’m not crazy about this hair at this length, but I’m hoping to get through this stage and make it until it’s long enough to put into a ponytail or bun. I’d just like to have it out of my face and off my neck. I liked it better shorter, but I figure I should take this opportunity to have it be long since I don’t really know what to do with it. I’m really so grateful for hair and the curls are sure interesting.

It was funny: On Sunday we went to church where Max, the brother of a dear friend in Hobart goes to church. When we’re here we always sit right in front of Max and his wife, Melba. We’ve been here for weeks at a time, so we’re pretty good friends with Max and Melba. Max’s sister had told him that we’d be here last week, so he was looking for us. We got there before him and sat about 6 feet to the left of where we usually sit and he didn’t even recognize us. He said he was looking for us, but when we weren’t there he thought we weren’t going to be there until next week. He didn’t recognize my hair! I guess it really is a different look. It sure is for me!

Today Don has felt pretty good, again, thankfully! It was in the high 60’s today, so we walked over to the outlet mall and walked around for exercise. We also did a little shopping. La Moyne, I got my body creme at Bath and Body Works at a great sale and thought of you since you hooked me on it.

Our week in the condo is finished tomorrow, and we don’t check into the next one until Sunday, so we have to stay in a motel room here tomorrow night. So, we packed up everything we won’t need until Sunday today and loaded it into the car while it was warm. It’ll be nice to check into Westgate on Sunday; it was the first timeshare we bought and we really like it there. Tom and Linda Rose are coming to join us there on the 7th, so we’re looking forward to beginning the ‘tours’ with them. I graduated from high school with Tom and Linda and they joined us in Hawaii. We love ‘touring’ with them. Tom and Linda, if you can leave sooner, come on!

I thank God that Don has felt better for 2 days. I also thank God for this opportunity to take this getaway and have some friends and family join us.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas 2008!

The picture on the blog tonight is one I pulled out from our Thanksgiving trip when we were at Gretta’s house. This one is Elena sitting in the chair Gretta sat in when she was a baby. Lots of sweet memories!

Today has gone great for us. Trish just called because she was worried that I hadn’t posted and the last she heard Don wasn’t feeling good. I hope we didn’t worry anyone else! Don’s had a much better day. In fact we went walking this afternoon in the sunshine. Then tonight we went down to Branson Landing and walked to see the lights on the landing. That’s way good for him to feel like walking! We were blessed with him feeling good for Christmas!

I’ve been watching movies tonight, so I hadn’t gotten around to the blog yet. I’m so sorry if I worried anyone. There was no football on, so Don went to bed about a half hour ago, and I’m headed there as soon as I get the blog posted.

We thank God for so many wonderful blessings. It’s been a wonderful year and the holiday season has been great, too. We thank Him for the safe travels of our family and friends as they go about visiting with family. God is great.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The picture tonight is one I took of Kyle and Brian playing for us (Brian was taking a break here) when we were there before Thanksgiving. Elise was helping by holding the music for Kyle. She is a wonderful sister; she has that helping attitude that makes us very proud of her. Kyle really impressed us with his ability as he just started playing this year. Of course Brian does everything he does, well; it’s his classy style. Ethan was helping by letting Kyle have the attention right then. He’s pretty good about sharing the lime light, but they are all stars to us.

Three of our kids and 7 of our grandkids will be at Gina’s house this week, so that dining room is full of folks right now. We’re proud of all of them and so glad they can get together.

Don felt better this morning and then the icky feelings hit him again for all day. Now he’s feeling a bit better, again. Football is on TV and that’s like good medicine for him. We’re watching him closely for some symptom that will clue us in to what may be his issue, but for now he just has these waves of feeling icky. Hopefully he will outlast it and it will go away as mysteriously as it came.

This time last year we were looking forward to my last chemo treatment on the 26th and then a trip to Branson with 2 of our kids and 8 of our grandkids. Then we were looking ahead to my surgery and radiation. We made it through all that and here we are in Branson again with all that behind us and a full head of curly hair for me. It’s been a great year. Thank you for sharing it with us.

We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a great 2009. Count your blessings all the way; each day is a gift. Cherish the good times and memories of them. We thank God for each day, for family and friends, for health, for sweet memories, and for you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giddy up go!

The picture on the blog tonight is Elena riding her horse. She doesn’t do anything barely; she gives it her all.

We are snug as bugs in a rug in Branson. I did go out once today; we needed a couple of bananas and some vinegar. Some recipe, huh? Actually we eat a banana a day and I didn’t count out enough when we went to the grocery store the other day. I wanted to get enough to get us through this week before we move to the next condo. Don has not felt good since we’ve been here, so we thought maybe a little apple cider vinegar would help his stomach. It always does if he has indigestion, but it hasn’t helped today. He doesn’t have a fever or any real symptoms to give us a clue, but he just doesn’t feel good. He’s had this off and on since we were on our Thanksgiving trip. We chalked it up to travel, being out of his routine, etc. The last 4 days it has been pretty solid, so we’re really puzzled. Well, now I said that and he’s laughing at something on TV. He hasn’t laughed all day, so maybe he IS feeling better.

I am so grateful that we can stay tucked in for a while. Branson is a great place to spend the winter. I thank God that we can get away this close to home. We have friends and family coming to join us, but not until the holidays are over. It’ll be fun to have company.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Keeping warm in Branson; a nice get-away.

The picture on the blog tonight is another one that Gretta sent. I think it was probably taken when Gretta threw a surprise birthday party for Joe. He’s a great sport, so I think he took it really well and enjoyed the fact that some of his buddies from New York even came down to Kentucky for his party. You can look at this picture and then look back at the pictures of Elena and see who you think she favors. I think she’s a real mix of both of them. Sometimes I think she’s Gretta made over, but then I look at her again and she looks just like Joe. There’s no doubt she belongs to both of them.

I feel so blessed to be relaxing here in Branson. We look at the news and see people freezing in lots of places. We’ll miss the family over Christmas, but I’d hate to be worrying about them all trying to get somewhere in this weather. Some of them are traveling and we sure pray for their safety. It’s a good time to snuggle up at home or in Branson!

I’ve walked the halls of this resort today and didn’t have to get outside in the cold at all. I thank God for that! It’s great to have a place to get my exercises done. My arm does so much better when I get lots of exercises done. There is a Jacuzzi tub in our unit and I will enjoy that tonight. I have to be careful to not get it too hot, though. Lymphedema doesn’t like heat; that’s a challenge for me because I DO like the water hot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brrr; cold in Branson, but warm inside!

Tonight’s picture is one that Gretta sent since we’ve been here in Branson. I don’t know what the circumstances were, but I can just imagine Elena is thinking, "So, I’m looking for the cool thing here . . . the colorful circle is okay, but have you got some corduroy or something I can FEEL? In a minute I’m going to have to pull this clippie out of my hair; it’s just too bright in here." I could nearly never get a head on shot of her before she got her clippie pulled out of her hair or turned around so that I got the back of her head. I’ve got a million shots of the back and top of her head. Thanks to the digital people for the digital camera, so I can take all those shots until I get a good one. Thank you Gretta for sending me the ones you get!

Brrrr it’s cold outside. They said the wind chill factor is 1. YIKES! That’s why we’re INSIDE! We did go out to church this morning and it was good to see people we see here when we come every year. It’s been 3 years since we’ve seen them, so it was good fellowship for us. We didn’t go back out tonight, though. It’s just too cold to go drive in the dark and unfamiliar places. They’ve redone lots of roads here, so lots is new to us. We’ll stick to day driving until we’re more familiar with all the changes.

My preparations of the last couple of days paid off. We ate all our meals at ‘home’ today and it was good. The fridge and freezer are full, so we don’t have to go out until it gets warmer. We don’t have anyplace we need to go. I’m able to get all my exercises done here, including the walking.

I thank God for this opportunity for us to get away and have a place as good as home to be. It’s a good relief for us. Soon we have family and friends joining us, so we look forward to those days, too. God blesses us so richly. I continue to feel really good. Wow; what a blessing!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big brothers are even cooler than horsies!

Today’s picture is Elena riding her horse with big brother Garrett overseeing her. He sure is a good big brother and she keeps him busy. She keeps whoever is with her busy! He tells me she’s better when someone is there because if nobody is there she gets into all his stuff. He is such a delight to her. I remember growing up with a big brother who was 8 years older than me and I thought he was just the n’th degree. I guess that’s how it is for Elena, only I really think Garrett pays a lot more attention to her than Jim ever did to me. I was just in awe of him. Probably Elena is in awe of Garrett, too.

Today has been a more relaxing day. We got up and ate breakfast at Denny’s since we had to get out and go to Wal-Mart, anyway. We needed just a few things from Wal-Mart so that we can be holed up here when it gets cold. We’ll go out for church tomorrow if it doesn’t snow, but we’ll stay in except for that. The halls here are very wide and long, so I can walk inside. I’m going to go do that when I finish this post.

We came home and I made the chili for this weekend. I cleaned the turkey breast and put some in the freezer for later. I enjoyed being able to stand and do such a thing, but it was tiring to stand there. I’m looking forward to my walk in the halls. It’s better than just standing!
I talked to Ruthie and we were recalling last year when we were here. I wasn’t really able to do much at all. This time is so different. It feels so good to feel good!
Thank you, God! Last year I couldn’t go to church, either because I couldn’t get exposed to germs. Man, I thank God for freedom and for feeling good!

Friday, December 19, 2008

First day is busy in Branson!

The picture on the blog tonight is Raynie, sitting beside her Mommy, Trish, when we stopped by their house yesterday. I usually get pictures of the grandkids and their parents don’t get in the pictures much. Trish was relaxed when we came through the other day, as all the other kids were at school. We hated to miss them, but it was fun to see Trish and Raynie.

Today had been fun. We got to move into the condo a day early. We were early, but nobody was in it, so they let us move on into it. It’s good for us to stay in a motel every now and then because it really makes us appreciate the condo when we get into it! We went shopping and got groceries, so I’ve been cooking to get things ready to fix quickly the rest of the time. When we were at Ruthie’s after Thanksgiving, she spoiled us with turkey breast she had cooked, so I’m cooking a turkey breast in the oven. On top of the stove a pot of beans is cooking, so we can have chili when it turns really cold this weekend. I made hamburger patties and put them into the freezer, so I can fix a quick burger. It feels good to get organized. I washed veggies for salad, too. Now I’ve got to do some exercises and get to bed. There’s a ‘Jacuzzi’ tub, here, so I’m going to get a good bath tonight, too. I’d better get busy or I’ll be up till midnight.

We had a beautiful day, so we got to walk, too. I needed that stretch! I sure thank God that I’m feeling so good and am able to do all this. It is way fun and I know that I am so very blessed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Safe and sound in Branson.

This is a picture Don took today of Raynie in ny lap. How sweet it was to see her and Trish!
The trip went well. We had heavy fog the WHOLE way, so we didn't get to see much scenery, but the sun wasn't in our eyes! If it had been just a few degrees colder we would have been stuck in a winter storm, because it drizzled all they way. We were blessed to have an easy trip.
We are blessed again because we're supposed to have WIFI in the common areas, but our room is right next to a common area and we can get it in our room! That's nice!
We went to eat supper at the Cracker Barrell, so we're happy. I've got to jiggle and get a bath and then we'll be ready for bed. Almost nobody is in Branson at this time of year. We love it like that! We'll drive around tomorrow and see what's happening, but we were too tired tonight.
I'm thanking God for a good trip!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Looking for a volunteer!

This picture was taken at the retreat when we had the chuck wagon dinner. I climbed up into the wagon and Don is in the back on the right. We had such a wonderful time! This is all of the patients and caregivers and all the staff who was there with us. What great memories we have. I thank God for the wonderful staff who wrote the grant that made this possible and for their creative love that made this retreat so wonderful.

We are all packed and ready to leave in the morning! I have a few exercises to do and then a bath before I go to bed. It’s nice to be done.

Jane, who is the daughter of Dot, who posts from time to time on this blog asked me to do her a favor. A friend of hers has a grandson who is in the 6th grade and has a school project going. Each student sent out a journal asking those who receive it to write in the journal and then send it to someone else. I accepted the challenge and am writing for the journal tonight. I need to put my writing into the journal and add some postcards and information about Hobart and then pass it on to someone else. I’m looking for volunteers! Anyone out there who would like to add to this 6th grader’s journal and make your town known to this group of 6th graders in Indiana (or is it Illinois? I’ll have to check that!). It doesn’t take long to do and I think it’s a chance to touch some lives you might otherwise not touch. In May the journal is to go back to Ian’s school and the class will read all the journals. In the meantime each person sends a postcard from their town to Ian’s school and they find us on the map. I think it’s cool. If you’d like to be a part of this fun journal, please let me know. I’ll be glad to send it on to you. I need to send it to someone in the next couple of days so it can move right along. I picked it up right after Thanksgiving, so it’s time to move it. Someone please volunteer!

I thank God for Ian and his grandma, who is also a breast cancer survivor. 6th graders are so cool; we have two grandchildren who are 6th graders and 7 more who have been 6th graders before; they turn into 7th graders and keep on until they graduate like two of our grandkids are doing this year. We are blessed and I know that Ian is a blessing to his family, too. I want to add some sunshine to his life and I hope someone out there wants to help get this journal moving.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another day closer to Branson!

The picture tonight is more examples of the paintings we did at the retreat. Isn’t it wild how we perceived the directions differently or how differently we produced what was instructed? I think that is so wild. I mean, you tell someone something and you assume that they get it just like you said it. Duh. As if we were all on the same page. I think we have a lot to learn about communication, patience, and flexibility. I know I SURE DO! I learned so much from this painting exercise!

I am so DONE with all I’m doing for Christmas! Tomorrow we’ll get the last ones mailed. Then we’ll take Tricia’s family’s things to them on our way Thursday. Tonight I’m washing and finishing up my exercises, getting a bath and falling into bed. Whew.

I’m tired, but I feel so great! I thank Linda Rose so much for releasing me from the antihistamines! I love this being awake! It was freezing cold here, again, today, so I didn’t walk. That saved me some time to get the gifts ready to mail. I did everything else, though. Maybe I can walk tomorrow; I think it’s going to be warmer. I’m not bent out of shape over it, though. I’ll get plenty of exercise while we’re in Branson. There will be fitness rooms there, so I won’t have to freeze.

I learned today that a good friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer is only going to have to have a lumpectomy and radiation; no chemo! What a blessing for her! I so thank God for this relief for her. I had my hats all packed to send to her, but she won’t need them. Woohoo for her!

I thank God to be able to be so busy and so tired. I love being tired because I DID a lot! This time last year was sure a different picture for us! I was counting down for my last chemo treatment and praying that my numbers would be good enough so I could do it. We were looking forward to going to Branson, but only for a week. I’m so ready to go for 8 weeks! Woohoo! Thank you, God!

Monday, December 15, 2008

She didn't get it from me!

This is Elena and Ashby. Elena chatters a lot but we have no idea what she’s saying. There are a few things she says very clearly and one is, “AAAW!” That’s what she says whenever she sees a dog and right before she gives them a big hug. She didn’t get that from me! It’s precious, though!

Today has been really busy. I got up at 5:45 just because I woke up and didn’t feel drugged! I was so excited to get up and get busy with all I have to do before we can leave Thursday. It feels so good to be ‘on’ the neti pot instead of antihistamines! I don’t feel sleepy all the time. I wake up ready to go. It’s wonderful!

I got all the rest of my herbs and vitamins done today. That was a big project. Now I’m working to get all the Christmas stuff ready and mailed. I’m sending mostly money, but the few things I’m doing seem to take me forever. I’m still foggy; just not sleepy.

It’s so cold here. I didn’t walk today; only an idiot would walk in this weather! I did everything else, though. I thank God that I can walk most days and that I still have the sense to stay in when it feels like 10 outside! I also thank Him for His son, who is the reason for this season; it’s a wonder for us!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thank you, God, for so many blessings.

Today’s picture is of our Thanksgiving Tree at the retreat. I loved that concept and modified it to my thanks box in my kitchen. It’s one of the wonderful things I brought from the retreat.

It was SO windy here today! I went out to walk and got about a block and came back! I was on my way to visit a friend in the hospital, but I came back and got the van! I still did some walking into the hospital and back to the van. That’s not much, but in this wind it was admirable, I think! I’m patting myself on the back with my good arm; ha!

I learned today of a fellow breast cancer survivor who was given a clean bill of health on November 8th (my last good report was on November 4th); less than 2 weeks later she went to the doctor with a fever and what they thought was pneumonia was the cancer again. It’s also in her liver. She is already back on chemo. So, that’s how it works. I pray for her strength to fight this as she did with the first round of chemo. God’s timing is the best; we have to believe that. I mention this so that you know this is part of the breast cancer experience. This ‘girl’ is my age and she was going through the whole ordeal about the same time as I was. She is from a little town near here, but she lives in Amarillo. I met her last fall at the Mexican restaurant when she was back visiting her family and before we were both homebound due to low blood counts. We were both very hopeful. God bless her. I will be writing notes to her, hoping to help her keep her spirits high and I will be keeping her in my prayers. Her name is Lana if you want to pray for her, too.

Again, I thank God for the strength He has given to me. I thank Him for Lana’s support of me as well as all of you. I ask Him to bless Lana, me, and you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oops! THIS is Randal's painting!

Oops! I thought that picture last night was Randal’s but this one has his name on it. I didn’t know anyone else did butterflies. Man! I’m going to have to go back to the retreat again and learn how to paint butterflies! See how much fun we had! I wonder whose picture that was that I thought was Randal’s on the blog last night? Some other precious person, no doubt! Man, we had fun and have great memories.

Today I’m exhausted, again. We got up early and met David and Dorothy at the Kozy Diner for breakfast. Then after we got home Dorothy called to say they were going to Altus to buy a new heater for their living room and did we want to go with them. We were thinking of getting a Slingbox, so we went with them. They left me off at Wal-Mart to check out the Slingbox while they went on and got their heater. Altus is the ‘big’ town around here, but they’d never heard of the Slingbox. The Slingbox is a ‘gadget’ we could attach to our router here at home and program our TV at home into our laptop as we travel. That sounded good to us, but the message came loud and clear that we aren’t supposed to do it. Wal-Mart is one of their retailers, so the fact that they didn’t even know about it told me that it’s out of our league. We’d better put those dollars onto the new laptop that we need, I think.

While we were in Altus we ate at the Western Sizzlin buffet, so we all came home stuffed. We sure enjoyed the day with David and Dorothy, though. We took the back roads and it was a beautiful day, so it was wonderful. We also stopped to see Don’s second cousin, who lives in Altus. She’s a long time friend of Dorothy’s, so it was a good visit.

We’re watching the Heisman Trophy awards and then falling into bed. I didn’t get to walk today, so I had to come home and do exercises to compensate here in our ‘gym.’ They aren’t so fun, but there was little time to walk today; I did walk after I learned that there was no Slingbox at Wal-Mart, but that wasn’t my hour. Anyway, I’m worn out and will go watch the rest of the Heisman show from the tub. Wow! I just saw they announced Sam Bradford from OU won the Heisman! A proud moment for us Okies.

I thank God for the opportunity to be exhausted from activity rather than ailment. I am so very blessed. This time last year I was exhausted, bald, and missing social times with people I love. This year is wonderful and I thank God for it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you, Linda!

The picture on the blog tonight is one painted by one of the guys who so impressed me at the retreat. Bless his heart, he even did butterflies. In our class we never got to the butterfly instructions. This guy had leukemia and had either a stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant. I’m not sure how all that works, but I know he had a transplant and is very weak. He has such a wonderful attitude, though! I loved him and his wife, so much. He said he is a handyman and he’s gone through life making people happy because he fixed things for them. Now he isn’t able to fix anything but his challenge is to make people smile. He’d go in for chemo and look to see who looked dreary and do his best to cheer them. I was so impressed with that because I always went to chemo so self absorbed I barely even noticed the other people. Most of them looked pretty gloomy, but I figured I should leave them alone and not bother them; it didn’t occur to me that I might cheer up someone! Duh. He met one girl who was so down in the dumps and he cheered her up; they got to be close friends. She got better and even invited him to her wedding and even to the rehearsal dinner. He was a special guy and I love this painting because it is so like him to go the extra mile. Isn’t it amazing how different our pictures look (mine was on the blog a couple of days ago), and yet similar.

Tonight we’ve got the card group coming to play cards, so I’m working to get ready for that. I want to have the blog done already, so I can just go to bed when we finish. I’m baking cookies (ordered some frozen dough from a kid in the band) and popping popcorn for snacks while we play.

Thank you, Linda Rose for suggesting the neti pot for my allergies! I used it this morning and haven’t had an anti-histamine all day, nor a coughing fit! I’ve been alert and things are working smoothly for me. I feel so much better! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I thank God for old friends and new friends. Today my old friend, Linda, sure came to the rescue. Today I am recalling my new friends Randall and Anne from the retreat. God blesses us with family that is awesome and then the opportunity to make and keep good friends, too. Tonight our good friends are coming to play cards with us. We’re richly blessed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cousins are the best!

The picture on the blog tonight is Elise, holding Elena and Ethan joining them. Elise and Ethan belong to Gina and Elena belongs to Gretta. This was taken the first night we got to Gina’s and Gretta brought Garrett and Elena for a quick visit and dinner. We were way surprised and it was fun to see the kids play together.

Today has been a day of confusion for me. It seems like everything I did I got confused. I stumbled through the day, but I hate it like this. I was sleepy all day and finally took about a 20 minute nap. That helped. I was so sleepy because I’m taking anti-histamines to keep allergies from making me cough. It’s the lesser of evils. I don’t like coughing, so I have to settle for sleepy. Mix sleepy with chemo fog and it’s not efficient! Oh, well, nothing was critical today.

Tomorrow night we’re playing cards here. I’d better get THAT right! Ha! I’m feeling fine and plugging along. I’m ready for a couple of months in Branson. Well, mentally I’m ready, but I’ve got a lot to do to get ready to go. We moved our leave for Branson date up two days, so we’re leaving a week from today. I’d better get in gear and get ready! I did do a couple of loads of laundry today and didn’t turn any whites pink; that’s a thing I got right! I thank God that I’m able to do anything around here and even have company to play cards! This time last year I had to avoid everyone because my immune system was so low. I really know that I’m blessed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sons-in-law make me happy.

Tonight’s picture is Elena, in her daddy’s arms. Son-in-laws are important because they make daughters complete and they are the daddy’s of the grandkids. I thank God for great sons-in-law! Joe is an awesome guy; we love him and thank Gretta for bringing him into our family.

We made the trip to Oklahoma City today with David and Dorothy. It was a wonderful day. Yesterday Oklahoma City had lots of weather problems with freezing rain on the roads and lots of accidents, but today it was sunny and we had no problems! David had a good visit with his heart doctor and then his pulmonary specialist was able to work him in, which saved them making another trip on the 31st of this month! Both doctors were pleased with his status and say that he is doing as well as they could hope, considering he has COPD. We ran into some other good friends in the doctor’s waiting room, so we got to have another good visit. Dorothy, David, Don and I visited with each other all the way there and back, so that was a really good time for us, since we miss them so much when we’re gone so much.

We got up at 5:45 this morning to get ready in time to leave, so it’s way past my bedtime. I got most of my exercises done today, but I’m going to finish them and go to bed. I thank God for a wonderful day of visiting and for our safe traveling.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yeah! We love haircuts and big brothers!

Tonight’s picture is Gabe holding Raynie as she claps in delight. What would we do without these babies? They delight us all. It seems like just yesterday when Gabe was Raynie’s size, and here he is 14! Time sure flies!

Today was way too cold to walk, so I did exercises in our ‘gym.’ It works, but it’s no fun at all. I like walking outside lots better, but it was cold AND windy. I had to wimp out, but I did plenty inside.

Tomorrow we’re going to Oklahoma City with David and Dorothy. David has a check up with his doctor to be sure his pacemaker is working like it’s supposed to work. As far as they know it’s fine, but they can’t take any chances with David. COPD is not the least bit simple or fun! He has a sleep test to complete tomorrow night at the hospital, here, so we’ll be back in time to check him into the hospital here. It’ll be a long day, but I’m so glad we’re here to go with them.

I got most of my taxes done today. I only have a few more details to do and I’m done. I’ll take my Christmas list with me tomorrow and work on it. Hopefully I’ll everything ready to mail this week. I’m not doing Christmas cards. I just can’t go there; it’s too big a project. I haven’t done them for the last two years, so I think I’m just done with Christmas cards. I’ll do my best to keep up with people through the year, but Christmas is too hectic a time to take on a major card project.

I thank God so much for the energy that I have and that I feel so good. I think back to this time last year, and it makes me so grateful for what I have. I got a quote today that said:

You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.

~Arlo Guthrie~

So, I thank God for the dark to help me appreciate the light, and I sure thank Him for the light. I thank Him for your dark and light, too.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Raynie has a haircut!

Haircuts are running in our family. Trish saw the pictures of Elena with her little bob haircut and decided Raynie needed a haircut. She’s always had so much hair, but she decided it was time for a cut. I’m amazed that someone could do such a good job on a little 17 month old, but I think it looks so cute. I wish we could get the girls together. Maybe they will all join us in Branson, but that’s a dream. In this picture her older brother, Mason is holding her.

We had another great day for walking and Don walked with me, again. It was 70 in Hobart, today! Of course, we had winds gusting at 50 mph, so keeping our balance was interesting; it helps to hold hands!

I worked on taxes today. Don wants me to be ready except for the last month’s numbers before we leave for Branson. Things are looking pretty good. I did a good job last year, so it looks like I can do it pretty quickly. I had worked on it some before we left on our Thanksgiving trip, so there’s not that much left to do. It’s just details and I hate details. I can’t believe I did such a good job last year; I thank God for Don’s patience in pulling me through it. I’m so thankful for his patience in everything; I’m blessed with a wonderful husband.

We are taking David and Dorothy to Oklahoma City for David to have his pacemaker checked on Wednesday. Dorothy needs to stop by J.C. Penney’s and we may shop for a new laptop, so I’m doing research on what I need and what’s available. We’ll see. It’ll be so nice to have computers that are up to date and working. If I can’t get my research done we’ll keep limping along with what we have. More details. Ugh. I thank God that I can at least keep up with the computer age and that I can read and think even if it’s hard to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Artist? I don't think so, but it was fun.

The picture tonight is me holding my painting from the retreat. In case you’re wondering, it’s flowers. It was good for all of us to have that experience. One guy even learned to do butterflies and he really did beautiful ones! We didn’t get that far in my class. Ha!

Today was a beautiful day here. It was so warm that even Don walked with me this afternoon. After church Dorothy and David ate with us at the Mexican Restaurant. Jo Ann and Frank were at their daughter’s house visiting their grandson, Jacob who is home for Christmas. He is stationed in Germany after doing a year in Iraq and they were so thrilled that he could come home for Christmas. He’ll be here until the first week in January. We had a baby shower at church and then there was the tour of homes that a sorority in town does each year. It was a great day for all of that! It was 62 when we went to church tonight. The weather man is threatening us with snow for Tuesday, so this weather won’t last.

I’ve got 10 stalks on my rebloomers, though! I’m so excited to think I might have irises even in December! Woohoo! I think I’ll have to cut them before it freezes, again, but it’s already frozen, so maybe they don’t mind! I’m so pleased with them!

I thank God for flowers that will bloom even at this time of year! A lady in town was impressed with a project our ladies Bible class has done for new mothers in town, so she bought poinsettias for all the members of the class. I haven’t been active in our class for the last couple of years because of my cancer and treatments and I haven’t started back lately since we’ve been traveling so much. They had an extra poinsettia, though, so the preacher’s daughters came bringing one over to me tonight! I love poinsettias, so I’m delighted. I thank God for poinsettias and generous people who brighten my life with one, too. I’ve tried to keep them alive before, but I always manage to kill them. I sure enjoy them through the season. The poinsettia was one of my mom’s favorite flowers, so I’ll think of her as I enjoy this one. I thank God for a wonderful mother and treasured memories of her, too. I’m richly blessed.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Memories from our retreat.

The picture on the blog tonight is from the caregiver/patient retreat that we were able to attend when we went to Houston for my last check up. That retreat was so wonderful! The people were so wonderful! The staff was awesome. They even took pictures and made a cd for us which arrived in today’s mail. This picture is one from that cd. We had a painting class and they actually made our paintings look pretty amazing! We scratched out some stuff and then the wonderful teacher made a few strokes and made it look decent. Then she stamped a seal on there and glued a mat onto it and it really looked amazing for a bunch of absolute amateurs! Someday I’ll have Don take a picture of me with my painting and you’ll see that it’s pretty amazing what a real artist can do with someone as clumsy as me. We were all amazed and it was good for us to do such a thing.

The women in the picture with me are a really amazing women. The one with the really short hair had leukemia and had bone marrow transplant in April. They say when they have those transplants their life is really starting all over because they may have different tastes for food, etc. It’s like they wake up from the surgery feeling much like someone else. Her caregiver’s brother died the morning they were to come to the retreat, so she had to come alone. We first met her when she was asking for someone who could give her a shot. There was nobody around who felt comfortable doing it, so I told her I had given myself allergy shots years ago, so I could do it. What an introduction! I don’t even remember when I gave myself those shots, but I think it must have been over 40 years ago. I guess it’s like riding a bike; one of those things on never forgets? Anyway, we built a quick trusting relationship!

The girl right next to me was such an example to me! 4 ½ years ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The prognosis for her was 3-6 months, but she is still alive and doing beautifully. She now has cancer in her bones, her adrenal glands, both lungs, her lymph glands, and her brain. Those are all the places that breast cancer tends to metastasize, so her attitude and behavior was such a boost to me since she has everything that I could face. She looked at everything and loved it; I shake my head in awe just recalling her. Every time I face any challenge I remind myself that she faced everything with love and looked for the good in it. I thank God for making that weekend possible for us and for giving us the opportunity to meet those awesome people.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gretta can straighten my curls.

Gretta really worked to get this hairdo out of my curls. She blew it dry and got it this straight. It felt so good, but I can never do that much twisting of the wrist to straighten all that curl. It was fun to wear, but it curled up a bit every day. She and I went shopping one day that it rained and that gave it a good boost of curl. HA! It’s fun to know that it can be straight, but it’s real to know that I can’t make it that way! When I washed my hair, I washed off my eye makeup, so the hairdo was on it’s own to make me look alive in my pjs.

Today I had the house in order so that the cleaning lady could come and clean. I keep thinking, ‘Surely I could do the cleaning,’ but, my back would kill me if I did the rest of it. It’s all I can do to get it all in order for her to do the rest. I still thank God that someone else can do it and I don’t have to do it all.

We’re going to the Rule’s house tonight to play cards. We haven’t played in what seems like forever, so it’ll sure be fun. I’ve got all my exercises done except for the jiggling and I’m going to go do that as soon as I post this blog. Then we’ll eat and be ready to go play. It’ll be bedtime when we come home.

I thank God for some ‘normal’ time. I love it when we travel, but home is sweet and our routine feels good, too. We’ll be in Branson long enough to have a routine, there, though. It feels like home away from home when we go there. We leave the 20th, so I’ve got a few things already packed for that trip. I’ve got to face Santa and work out some deal with him for gifts for everyone before we go. That’s a big job. I’ll get it done soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Keep on celebrating, Garrett and Joe!

The picture on the blog tonight is Kyle (Gina’s oldest and he’s 11) and Garrett, (Gretta’s oldest and he turned 12 the day before yesterday). Garrett and Kyle are great buds and cousins. Gina and her family live barely into Indiana, across the river from Louisville, Kentucky. Gretta and her family used to live in Louisville, but they’ve moved to Lexington, Kentucky, so they are a couple of hours apart, now. It’s not too far; they can still get together plenty. When we arrived at Gina’s Gretta, Garrett and Elena surprised us by coming out for dinner and a visit. It was a great surprise!

Garrett shares his birthday with his step dad, Joe. Joe will be 30 something until he decides to be something else. 30 something is good; that way I don’t have to be so old, right? I hope he and Garrett are still celebrating.

It was cold today, but the wind was only 15mph versus yesterday’s 50mph, so I walked my whole hour in a wind chill that felt like 32. It was still cold, but I did it. I woke up several times last night with my arm hurting, so I was determined to do all the exercises today. My arm didn’t bother me any more than common today, so I hope tonight will be better. Maybe I just didn’t sleep as deep as usual, so I noticed it hurting and I usually sleep through it? I don’t know. All I can do is do all the exercises and wear the sleeve. It’s not any bigger than usual; I just felt it. I’m not complaining; I just want to report how it really is.

Besides that I’m really tired. Besides all the exercises I went through all the mail that came while we were gone. Don did his already, but my stack was haunting me. I put too much into the shreader and jammed it. UGH. Haste makes waste. How many times did Mom tell me that??? So I spent a couple of hours this morning taking the shreader all apart and putting it back together. Daddy would be pleased that I could do that. It works and I learned another lesson that I should have already known: don’t put too much into the shreader! At 60 you’d think I’d know these lessons, but I’m getting them real clear, now!

1. Always check SNOPES.
2. Don’t overload the shreader.

I thank God for letting me live to learn these lessons and I thank Him for His patience with me. I shouldn’t be so hard headed and need so many opportunities to learn, but God is so good to give me chance after chance. I thank Him for wonderful family and their patience with me, too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't break into a 6 volt battery!

The picture is what I found when I stupidly opened up a 6 volt battery, believing there would be 32 AA batteries inside. DUH. I know to check everything at SNOPES, but I forgot this time. It’s a good lesson for me; don’t you fall for that battery thing! Don says the people who make 6 volt batteries sent it out; they also make AA batteries, so they win big on dummies like me.

Well, I fall for some dumb things, but I thank God that I find good things to read, too! A dear friend sent me a link to Weyman Tisdale‘s story about cancer today. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve read about attitude and cancer. I love basketball, so Wayman Tisdale is a hero because of basketball, but I sure love his attitude toward cancer and loss.

“You can never give up because quitting is not an option. No matter how dark it is or how weak you get, until you take that last breath, you must fight.” Wayman Tisdale

If you want to read his story and see a video about him, use the following link.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Work is never done at home!

The picture tonight is one of Don and Elena doing one of their favorite things: reading a book. Precious memories of a wonderful visit!

Today has been so busy with all the exercises that I'm really supposed to be doing plus all the unpacking and washing, etc. I did three loads of clothes, but I still have all the clean stuff to unpack and put where it belongs. I made a pot of chili because it's getting cold here. Today was a nice day, though, so Don walked with me. It felt good to be able to get all the exercises done. I've still got to jiggle, though and the tub is calling me. We rearranged furniture in the living room because we'd taken a couple of chairs to Gretta and the room was all off balance. It never seems to be easy here!

I'd better get with the program so I can get to bed soon. God is so good to me. The least I can do is get the rest I need! I sure thank Him for the ability to do 3 loads of clothes and all my exercises! What a difference in this year and last! God is great!

Monday, December 1, 2008


This is a picture Phil took in their kitchen while we were visiting; you can tell I was so at home there! It's great to be home, though. My memory foam on the bed is calling me!

We left at 7 this morning and got home at 10 tonight, so that's a 15 hour trip for us. We stopped to eat 3 times and stopped at Tricia's house for a couple of hours, so it wasn't all driving time. The visit with Trish and her family was great. Rob was home, so we got to visit with him, so that was nice; often when we stop he's working. We got to see all the kids and that's unusual because someone is usually off visiting or working or at school. Gabe made my day when we pulled up and he said, "Hey, Poppy, who is that pretty woman with all the hair you've got with you?" He's such a charmer and it works for me!

We're headed to bed, but I wanted to post right quick. I so thank God for this trip and for safe traveling. All the people we visited are such blessings to us and it was wonderful to see them!