Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow, another great day!

The picture on the blog tonight is another one I took at the Grand Village shops in Branson. This is Brian's dad, Dorrel sitting with Don as Ethan looks over their shoulders. That's Kyle in the back on the right sliding down that banister; it wasn't steep enough for him to slide, but he sure gave it a good attempt.

Today was another great day here. The wind wasn't brutal and it was in the 60's so it was really nice for walking. We got some sun in the yard, again, too. My face is even pink; I'm so glad to see some color! Woo-hoo! I'll have to get Don to take a picture tomorrow; I've already had my bath, so no makeup, hair's a mess, etc. No pictures tonight! I sure thank God for the sunshine, and light breazy wind, though. What a great opportunity to get into shape for lots of hiking, walking and sun in Hawaii.

I did ALL my exercises today for the first time since we went to Branson for spring breaks. There was just never time to get it all done. I did really well without everything, and I got a good mix done all the time, but I just didn't get it ALL done. I didn't even take the jiggler with me because we didn't have room in the car. I won't take it to Hawaii, either, so it was a good time to see how it works without it. My back hurts without it! I can get by, though. If I lay down for the same 15 minutes, that's a big help. Mostly my back just needs rest, I think. I'm never good at resting. I just keep going. I'd better remember to rest, though. I don't want to have to face chemo again to learn the skill of resting. I'm preaching it hard to myself. I feel so good that it's easy to slip back into my old patterns of going until I fall.

I'm pretty pleased that my arm has done so well with minimal exercises. It helped to have the massager that Gina gave me. I'll take it to Hawaii for my arm and Don can use it on my back if I need it. This lymphedema has been another learning experience. I've learned to sleep with my arm elevated and that seems to help.

So, that's how it goes with us. We are catching up around here from being gone so much. On the other hand, as we go through each day, we think what we will be taking to Hawaii, in one suitcase each, that will allow us to live somewhat like we normally do. It's good exercise for my brain!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pictures on the new laptop!

Tonight's picture is one I took the last day we were in Branson. This was at the Grand Village Shops. This is a cool rocking chair that was fun for climbing and photos. This is the three levels of excitement: Kyle, asleep; Elise, taking it or leaving it; and Ethan, can't get it quickly enough! They were goofing off, but it's really fairly true to their character!

Today was another beautiful day. We walked and even got some sunshine in they yard this afternoon. I love that kind of weather! A front came through after supper, though, so we're back in the cold for a day or two.
Bruce has ballgames in Chickasha this weekend; we sure hope it doesn't rain so we can make them! I can hardly wait! I thank God for the skill and health that Bruce has, and especially for the support he's had from his family. Davey and Susan and his sister, Erica, have been totally commited to the travel they've had to do for Bruce's tournaments. It's been a big commitment for all of them, and it's been such a great opportunity for Bruce to have great coaching and play with a great bunch guys. I love to see them play and it's been so fun to watch them grow and mature over the years. I always love to be any part of it.

I finally figured out how to download pictures to this computer. That was a big deal for me. It was beginning to look like I was going to have to take the other computer everywhere we go just to get the pictures! This was a big break through for me, and I'm so pleased!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Surprise at church.

The picture on the blog tonight is Elise in front of the elevator at the convention center at Big Cedar. I think those doors are so beautiful! Notice how Elise is petting one of the deer. She's such a sweetheart.

Today we were so shocked when we came out of Sunday school and found David and Dorothy coming into the worship service! It was really a big order for David, but he managed it. I know he was exhausted, but it was so good for them to get dressed and get out of the house.

It was warm today, but the wind blew brutally! Don and I walked in shirt sleeves, but the wind blew so hard it was a struggle to walk! When we got home we felt like we had sand in our eyes. There are still piles of snow around; I guess it drifted to those places since it's taking so long to melt and it's up in the 60's. It's supposed to be 72 tomorrow; I hope the wind doesn't blow so hard! We had a couple of inches of snow when we got up yesterday morning, but it melted pretty quickly. Surely, winter is done and we can welcome spring, now. I'm so looking forward to my irises blooming. I had a couple of stalks up, but the wind has broken one of them. What a bully that wind is. I'm sure God has a purpose for it, so I need to be patient with it. In the summer it keeps us from suffocating out here, so I'm thankful for it then!

I so thank God for giving David the strength to bounce back from his pneumonia one more time! They didn't come to play cards with us last night because we thought it was too much for him. They're hoping he'll feel like playing later this week. OOOO, that'll be sweet!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The picture on the blog tonight is Gave showing trout to Raynie. Gabe is 14 and Raynie will be 2 in July. I love this picture because you can see how crazy they both are about each other. She so totally trusts him. Speaking of Gabe, Trish had to pick him up at school the other day and take him to the ER because he had twisted an ankle in wrestling and was in a lot of pain. They said they didn't see an obvious break, but it may have a hairline fracture, so he's in a splint and on crutches for a couple of weeks. Nothing has ever hurt him before; he's been as tough as a tank, so I know he's really hurting to even complain.

We played cards at our house tonight. Don didn't want to miss the college basketball games, so he didn't play; Joan came and played in his place. It was too fun, even without him. I thank God for good friends to enjoy sharing fun times.

I thank God for all the kids and their health. Gabe will come out of this fine; actually, I'm recalling a couple of years ago when he broke his thumb, come to think of it. I guess we're blessed that he's never broken his neck or been gobbled up by a lizard or snake since he chases everything that lives under a rock. We are blessed to have 'Ba.' Raynie calles him 'Ba,' because all the other kids call him Ga-BA. They call him that because it's always noisy with 6 kids around and he never answers on the first call of Gabe; they have to say Ga-BA! I think it's so cute that she calls him 'Ba.' Maybe another reason they call him Ga-BA is because he's tormenting them and won't quit with a simple, 'Quit' or 'Don't' . . . it takes Ga-BA! (He loves to tease.) Then there is Grace who goes to Gabe whenever something isn't suiting her; she'll hollar, Ga-BA! And then site her case for him to defend her position. Kids are just the best, aren't they?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hawaii is a deal!

The picture on the blog tonight is Ethan, Kyle and Elise sitting on the curb in front of the gift shop at Big Cedar. That's a Japanese magnolia in bloom right behind them. Notice that cupelo; there is a spiral stairway up to the top where they have lots of different displays, like a stuffed fawn, some animal skins, some butterflies, etc. It's cool to go up there and look out the windows, too.

Today we got to go out and visit a bit with David and Dorothy. It was sure good to visit with them at home instead of in the hospital! I had gotten a can opener for Dorothy in Branson, so I put it on the wall for her. She used to have one and it broke years ago. Since her macular degenertion has gotten so bad she has really wished for a replacement for her can opener, so it was fun to be able to do that for her.

We are under a winter storm watch and they are threatening us with 3 inches of snow! It's been sleeting or hailing or spitting something all day as the temperature drops. It's interesting weather! We'll see what is here when we wake up in the morning.

We're committed to the Hawaii trip, now! That made today very interesting, too! I've been on the computer nearly all day trying to make our tickets happen. How many people get a chance to spend two months in Hawaii? Yep, that sold us. This is just too good to let slip through our fingers. We are blessed to know 2 people who want us to come and take care of their place. Now, if God will just give us the energy to do it! He will. He blesses us greatly. What a blessing to have this opportunity and we thank God.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


We made it home in great time. We didn't stop in the City; it was sure hard to go through without stopping, but we did the smart thing and came on home. I had a salad supper to do at church tonight, so I needed to get home and get busy. I did and just got home from it. I hooked up the new laptop and the picture from last night went right where it was supposed to go. Woo-hoo! True high speed!

Elise, Ethan, and Kyle are in the picture tonight in front of the huge bear at the Big Cedar Lodge. They couldn't resist the dramatics; I mean who wouldn't be scared if they saw a bear that size? Wow; it feels so good to have the picture post first thing!
I woke up early this morning with a sour stomach, so I slept most of the way home. That was good for me. As soon as we got home I went into unpack mode, so I got right back into 'home mode' and felt pretty good. I got my bath before I left for the salad supper, so that helped me to feel better, too. I'm going to bed early. Most everything is put back into it's place, but I've got some more to do before morning.
I have a new lady coming to clean the house tomorrow and have high hopes for her. I just need to be ready with everything unpacked! They are predicting SNOW for us tomorrow. It's hard for me to believe, but maybe it will happen. I'm glad I didn't get my okra planted before I left! I'll plant it this weekend. Even if it snows, it won't last long.
I thank God for a safe trip home. I thank him for a wonderful home. Every time we come home I like it even better. Home is so sweet!

headed home

I can't get a picture to post for last night's blog (or THIS one). Maybe I can get it to work once we get home. Our connection here is so very limited. Plus I don't know how to download pictures to this computer. I downloaded them to the old laptop and emailed them to this computer. That may have corrupted them or something? I just don't have the setup here to really figure out things. Home is sweet, you know. Here I'm sitting at the kitchen table with the laptop. No phone line near, so I can't do dial up and have only the free WIFI. The free part of the WIFI is good, but the limited availability is not so good. They say I'm connected, but most of the time I get a message that 'This page cannot be displayed." It's a wonder when I get any post made or send or receive any email. When we get home we'll have true high speed and I think that will help a lot with all my computer ills. Once I get this new computer set up with all my old files, and have the high speed, I think I'll be in good shape.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don said, "Is it the cards?" Nope, it's just the numbers.

If I ever get the picture to post it will be Elise, Ethan and Kyle sitting on one of the porches at Big Cedar. See the redbud in bloom behind them? It was really beautiful out there. Those are in bloom all over Branson, along with Bradford Pears . . . beautiful treat from God!

What a full day this has been! We got a call this morning from one of our friends in Hawaii, who needs a house sitter for a month this summer. So I called our other friend to see if he has a trip planned that we might sit at two places in one trip. You know how greed works! He does, indeed, need to make a trip, so he's going to check on getting tickets, scheduling, etc. Needless to say I spent a lot of time today checking out frequent flyer miles and flight schedules. I'm kind of drooling; don't know if it will happen or not, but it's fun to dream.

This afternoon we watched and took pictures while the kids did the race track thing. Then we all went over to the Grand Village and shopped (didn't buy anything). Then we finished the day off with dinner at Mel's Hard Luck Diner. It was fun. The waitresses and waiters sing! Two of the waiters have been finalists on American Idol, so they were all really good. It was like dinner with a show. We're packed and ready to go early in the morning.

A couple of weeks ago our friend, Jo Ann (of the card playing group; you've read about her before and seen her picture on this blog), had a mammogram that revealed need for a biopsy. She had the biopsy last week and saw the doctor today to get the results. She does, indeed, have breast cancer, but it is self contained and early, so they aren't going to do chemo or radiation. Her choice is to have a double mastectomy, though, so they will do that around the middle of April. I tell you this because I want you to realize how frequent breast cancer is. I know that we all know the numbers, but if you feel it better because it has happened to me and a very close friend, then it's good. I thank God that hers has been found early and they really don't feel threatened by it, I'm sure, since they aren't doing chemo or radiation. Of course I'd feel better if she were going to MD Anderson, but this is not about me. We will be with her every possible step of the way. She'll do just fine. She teaches school and her school year will end the middle of April; a sub will finish out the year for her. Please add her to your prayer list.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rain comes to Branson.

I took this picture last night at the landing with Gina and Brian and the kids. They were all sitting there watching the fountain show; I thought I'd rather have the picture of them than the show.

This morning we went out to Big Cedar and made pictures with the bear, fish, deer, etc. It was right up Brian's alley; he and Kyle love hunting. The Bass Pro Shop atmosphere was great for them. We were just finishing up our tour out there when it started to pour down rain, so the timing was perfect.

I think back over the last couple of years and am so grateful. I've been through a lot and I feel that I've been so blessed. I thank God for the use of my fingers and toes and feet. It was scary to have that peripheral neuropathy, especially when they said that sometimes doesn't repair. I'm so grateful that mine did. I hoped the hair wouldn't come back on my legs, but it did. That's okay; I'm accustomed to shaving that. I'm grateful for hair on my head. I'm thinking that I won't leave it long. I don't like it much. I think I'll look like something out of the '60's if I wear it long because I'll pin it up. I just know that I have to let it grow and see what I can do with it. I can always cut it, but I would always wonder what it was like to have long curly hair. I sure thank God for the options! Isn't our God interesting to give us options? He could just have us the way He wants us, but he gives us options. I stand amazed. I think He's not a bit concerned with how we look, but He's concerned with our heart. He's willing for me to have long or short hair; whatever it takes for me to get past myself and think of others.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A fun day.

Whew! Today has been another whirlwind. We had breakfast here and the Gina called and they were headed to breakfast, so we went to join them. We didn't eat, we just visited. After breakfast we all went out to the fish hatchery as they had never been. I thought we were just going for breakfast, so I didn't wear my knee bands, take my cane or my camera! Gina will share pictures with me, but it took a lot more energy to walk without the help of my bands or cane. They were going to supper and the Surrey's owner party, so we came back to the condo. Don worked on the computer and I took a good nap. Somewhere in there we had lunch/supper. After their owner's party we all met at the Landing for the light and fountain show and a bunch of walking. I took my cane, camera and bands, so I did okay. I'm exhausted, though.

Add Image
The picture on the blog tonight will be Trish and the little kids, plus Sadie (she's one of the big kids) last week when they went down to the landing.

Tonight I'm giving special thanks to God for my knee bands and my cane. They sure help me to walk and conserve energy. I sure thank Him for a great bed for a great nap, too! We so take things for granted, but these things sure make my life easier!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grace at the trout hatchery.

The picture tonight is one Rob took of Grace with the trout behind her. If you look closely you’ll see all the trout in the water.

We had an easy day around here. We napped and watched basketball on TV. I went and did some shopping and we walked around the property. Gina and her crew arrived around 8, which is 9 their Indiana time. We talked on the phone and we’ll see them tomorrow. It was a long trip for them; about 10 hours, I think.

I’m working with the computer and getting more and more familiar with it. It’s a dream for me, although the other one is coming in handy when I get stuck with this one. I thank God that I can still think and my fingers work good. It would surely have been a bummer if that peripheral neuropathy had not corrected itself! I sure thank God for fingers that work!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The red-winged blackbird.

I love this picture. I was so pleased to be able to get this close to this bird. There were about 4 of them in this tree and I was sticking my head right up there with them. They were singing beautifully and didn't seem to be bothered that there were lots of people around them. It was at the fish hatchery, so I guess they are accustomed to folks being around and paying attention to the fish rather than them. Anyway, I love that the tree is budding, too. I read about the red-winged blackbird, though, and learned that they will show off those red patches. The red patch can hardly be seen above this yellow patch, so I guess he was being pretty smug by not letting me get a good picture of his red patch. When he flew it was gorgeous, but I couldn't click quickly enough to capture that shot. Steve would have gotten it. I made this picture earlier in the week when we went to the fish hatchery with the kids.

The kids went home today and made it just fine. We sure miss them. The rest is good for us, but it's sure quiet without them! I've been working to find a cable to transfer files from my old computer to the new one; I found one (online) and it should be home soon after we get there. I can get the new computer all set up by next week, I think.

We moved to a little unit with only one bedroom today. We had originally planned to go home, but when we learned that Gina and Brian are coming tomorrow, we got 5 nights in this smaller unit so we can be here while they are. We're looking forward to seeing them. Their kids love cards, too, so maybe we can get in some time playing cards.

We thank God for the opportunity to get to spend another spring break with some more grandkids! Woo-hoo! We wonder what people with no grandkids do for this kind of fun! God has sure blessed us with grandkids!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Whew, barely in time!

Guess what! I’m working from a NEW laptop! Trish and Rob and I went to the new Wal-Mart super center on Tuesday and I bought this laptop. I sure appreciated their input! I didn’t have time to work with it until yesterday, and Nate helped me to get it set up. It sure feels good! Whew! The old one was so badly limping; now I’m spinning with this magnificence!

The picture on the blog tonight is Raynie in her favorite hiding spot: a spare cabinet in kitchen. We don’t have such a thing at home, but we had this one after Raynie took the sacks out of it. She’s a character!

I barely got this posted in time for Saturday, hence the hurried title! I'm up late again, but I'm headed to bed!

Don and Gabe played Nate and I at lots of Rook today and tonight. I’m not sure who won, but we are all exhausted from it. It was so fun, though! Everyone is in bed except me and I’m up late getting ready to move out of here in the morning. We’re moving to another unit in the same building and Trish and Rob and the kids are going home. Gina and her crew will be here with Brian’s parents on Sunday.

It’s been a whirlwind week, but it’s been great. I thank God for the opportunity to spend this time, for all our safe traveling, and for the health to enjoy it. Thank you for keeping up with us.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don is back in the real world!

Woo-hoo! Don is all better and nobody else is sick so far. Whew. My hip is still sore, but I expect it will take a few days to get over that.

Today’s picture is Mason and Raynie on our hike the other day. You can see the back of Gabe ahead of them on the trail. Raynie was a great little hiker for 18 months.

Today was cooler and Don and I stayed inside. He was still feeling off this morning, but he came back to the real world around 4 this afternoon. Rob and Sadie golfed today and Trish and the little kids did some shopping while Raynie stayed with us. Nate and Gabe and Don and I played Rook this afternoon and tonight while the others went swimming. It’s been a fun day.

I thank God for a good place to get away and share some time with the kids. I sure thank Him for all our good health!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

off day

This is a picture I took yesterday at the fish hatchery. You can see the fish roughing the water as they get the food Grace and Raynie are throwing to them. In the front Trish is down on her knees with Raynie; then Sadie and Rob and Grace is down on her knees to feed the fish. Then Nate; then Don and Gabe; Mason is behind Gabe.

There is nothing showy about the fish hatchery, but it was way fun for us. The price is especially right: FREE! We saw trout from the size of little minnows to 30 pounders. There must have been 50 anglers in the water fishing where they release them, too. After we toured the fish hatchery we hiked along the water.

Today Don and I took the day off. Don had an upset stomach all day and hardly ate a thing; that was a sure clue to us the he wasn’t feeling good when he didn’t eat! Trish and Rob took the 4 younger kids to the Landing tonight and Nate and Gabe were here with us when Don finally lost his cookies. He’s feeling better, now. I hope it’s not something the rest of us will get! Nate and Gabe and I left him alone and played canasta. (Nate whipped us.)

I guess I hiked too much yesterday, or it might have been that time I came up to the fifth floor by the stairs instead of waiting on the elevator. Anyway, I’ve got a sore hip. Today I thought of all the precious people I know who have broken hips (Ann, you’re the most recent) and I’ve gained even more respect for them. Mine is just sore and it’s making me think seriously about Don always telling me how serious it is to fall! (He read recently that more women DIE from complications from falls than from breast cancer and ovarian cancer put together!) I’m getting around, but just not at my usual clip. It’s not as bad as a bad knee, but a day off was good for me.

I did take Grace and Raynie to the playground while Trish and Rob took the others off shopping and miniature golfing, so we had plenty of fun. Raynie is such a cutie and Grace is a great big sister. I thank God for precious little people to brighten up our lives so much and for the opportunity to spend time with them! (Even the precious "little" people who are nearly as tall as Don and 17 or 18! We have two granddaughters who are 18, and 9 of our 15 grandkids are as tall or taller than me; they are all sunshine to us.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grammy and Poppie shirts.

Gabe took this picture of Don and I with Nate this afternoon after we got back from a big hike, so we're pretty tired even though we're still standing. Trish and Rob found these shirts for us yesterday on one of their shopping sprees. I'm so amazed at how tall Nate is.

Today we went to the fish hatchery and then did the hikes along the lake nearby. It was really fun and I got lots of pictures I'll be sharing on the blog in the future. Raynie was a really good hiker. She walked a long way. She's a real sport! All the other kids did really well, too. I nearly wore out, but I made it. I forgot to take my cane; I picked up a little scraggly stick that helped, but I missed my cane.

After our hike Trish and Rob went out to eat and I fixed hamburgers for the rest of us, here. Then Don, Nate, Gabe and I played Rook while the other kids watched TV. Nate and I actually beat Don and Gabe, which was quite the feat as we were way in the hole for a while. It was great fun! I'm so tired I don't even remember who won last night; must have been them or I'd remember winning, surely! Really, I think it might have been Trish and I that beat Nate and Gabe. That would have been quite the feat, too, since Nate is the one who really knows how to play. Anyway, it's been great fun.

God is so good to us. The weather today was gorgeous; perfect for the hiking. We saw great birds, too. It's so great to spend this time with the kids! We're in a unit just like the one we had last year when Gretta, Joe, Garrett and Elena were with us, so we're sure missing them. We keep recalling fun times with them. Gretta and Joe have to work and Garrett's spring break isn't until next week, so they couldn't join us this time; we sure miss them.

Happy Birthday, Nate! 17

This is a picture of Nate as we were playing Rook tonight! Today he turned 17, so we celebrated by playing Rook! It was so fun! He has learned to play Rook at school (he plays on his lunch break). I played 35 years ago, and it was so fun to play, again! Donna and Pamela, were your ears burning? We were thinking of you! I had to take NINE pictures before I got one of Nate smiling; he has that Civil Air Patrol look down so pat!

It was a beautiful day here today. The kids all did a lot of shopping and Don and I did our update thing with the Surrey. They had an owners’ party tonight where we had a buffet dinner, and there were entertainers from Branson who came in and did little bits from their shows. It was okay, but I was glad to get back and play Rook with our grandson who’ll be grown and on his own before we know it!

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be pretty and we’re going hiking. I’m excited about that, too! So are the kids. They love the outdoors and we’ll find all kinds of cool things. I’ve got to get new batteries or I’m not going to get pictures, though!

I so thank God for Nate and all the joy he has brought to us! He was Tricia’s first baby and it was our introduction to home birthing. Wow. He started a legacy. He’s been a great big brother to the other 5.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

David is better!

(I got this all ready to post last night and thought I had posted it. Then I went to post tonight and saw that it wasn't there! I think when I post it tonight it will show last night's date, because that's how the blog works. It was only in draft form and not ever posted. I guess I was so tired I just didn't get it all done. UGH! I was really tired and I had to dig up that picture of Dorothy and David and Joel. I guess when I got it all put together I thought I was done. I'm so sorry if I worried anyone. I'm FINE, just way rattled; how Trish keeps up with 6 kids is a mystery and certainly admirable to me! I'm loving this time, but I am so close to the 'chicken running around without it's head!)

This picture I took a year ago when Joel was here, but they all look the same today. Except I think they look happier today because David got to go home this afternoon! Last year, they just stood together for the picture; I imagine if I were there taking their picture today they’d be grinning REALLY big!

We’re having a great time here, but I didn’t manage to get any pictures today. I did get some cooking done that won’t have to be done later in the week. I also got in a good nap. We got in some games and the kids all went shopping and swimming. Raynie is amazing. She sure is good at making us know what she wants. She does LOTS of sign language and she talks a lot, too. She’s very persistent until we figure out what she’s telling us.

We’re celebrating Robert’s, Nate’s, and Sadie’s birthdays this week. We’re having cherry pie and ice cream instead of cake. I love it! I thank God for this opportunity and for everyone’s health. I so thank God for David’s getting to go home to enjoy a couple of days at home with Joel before he has to go home on Tuesday. I’m so happy that he is regaining his strength; he’s a tough one! PTL!

How it really is . . .

This picture is how I must look tonight. I'm exhausted. However, this picture Grace took of me when we stopped at their house on our way home from Branson the 18th of February; I had on the same shirt (I must like traveling in it) and my hair was down. I think I'm more tired this time; it's been a big day, but it's been WONDERFUL! People are so kind to say how good I look, and the truth is that I always have Don take 2 or 3 pictures because, half the time I have my eyes closed or something. Anyway, I pick the best one to put on the blog. Well, Grace so wanted to take a picture of me with her little bear that Jack had just given her for Valentines Day, so she got this one with some of me and some of her little dog. There's a great story about Grace and Jack.

Jack is Grace's age and lives a couple of doors from Trish and Rob. He works from home, so he was available to drive Jack and Grace to preschool last year and also pick them up and bring them home, so it saved Trish from having to get out everyday and bundle up Raynie to take Grace to school. One afternoon Trish had to to to school for something with one of the other kids, and she had Grace and Raynie with her. She had Raynie in her arms and got Grace out of the van and then closed the sliding door. Just as she did, Grace reached back into the van for her toy and the door hit her in the head! Her head was bleeding a lot, so Trish took her to the emergency room. The doctor was being so nice to them and Grace was being very calm and grown up about the whole thing. The doctor said, "I'm Doctor Smith, and you are?" Grace said, "Grace." Dr. Smith said, "Hello, Grace, are you married?" Grace said, "Yes." Doctor Smith (and Tricia) raised his eyebrows and said, "Oh? What's your husband's name?" Grace said, "Jack." Trish was quite the basket case, already, but that pretty much relaxed her. We've got lots of laughs about that one, and Jack and Grace are still great friends.

So, back to today. We stopped in OKC and picked up all the kids except for Nate. Trish and Rob stayed to see him be the drill sergeant for the Saint Patrick's Day parade and they followed us. They got here around 8:3o and once they got all their stuff unloaded Trish and I went to the grocery store for about an hour and a half. It's not like we got that much stuff, but we didn't know where anything was in this store. (Don and I spent the winter here, but we're buying lots of different things for them that we don't usually eat.) We got back and put away all the food and then it hit me: the blog! So everyone else has gone to bed and here I am writing the blog. It's going to say it's tomorrow, and it really is, but it's still Friday to me.

All I know is that I thank God that we all got here safely. We're looking forward to a way fun week. We've got a good start on it, but I've got to go to bed. Sorry if I worried anyone who was looking for this into the wee hours Friday night. I'll do better next posting. Maybe I'll get something current of some of the kids.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Packed and ready!

This is a fun picture; can you find the tufted titmouse in it? I think it’s so cool how this little guy can hide right in front of us. If you don’t see it, click on it and make it bigger and you’ll see it, I think.

Well, David didn’t get to go home, yet. Last night his chest started tightening up and he wasn’t breathing well enough for the doctor to feel good about him being home, yet. He is still doing very well, though. They just don’t want him to go home too early. I’m glad they’re being careful. I thank God that David seems to be getting stronger and that their son, Joel could be here this week.

We’re all packed. We have everything in the car except our toiletries and stuff for the ice chest and whatever I’ve forgotten. Surely we can get by for a couple of weeks without whatever I’ve forgotten.

I have all my exercises yet to do, so that means the exercise stuff has to go in the car. I’ve gotten plenty of exercise getting everything ready, but I still have to do all the stuff to keep my arm from swelling. The card gang are playing cards without us tonight because we thought we ought to take it easy and get to bed early before taking off tomorrow. It hurts to miss, but I think it’s smart. It’s better to get a good night’s rest and start out fresh in the morning. I’m taking the cards with us and we’ll get to play cards while we’re there. We’re all hooked on cards.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Double the pleasure.

The picture tonight has TWO birds in it. It was such a breathless moment when we had these TWO birds within the range of our cameras. Even I got these two birds with my camera, but Steve has the clearest and best pictures. If you’re having trouble seeing them, the eastern bluebird is sitting almost in the middle of the picture. Behind him and up a little at the hole in the tree is the nuthatch, upside-down! Remember, you can click on the picture and it should get bigger for you to see the details better.

I’m eager to get back to Branson and look for birds, again! We’re leaving here early Saturday morning and we’ll stop in Oklahoma City and pick up 5 of Tricia’s kids. Nate is the drill sergeant in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, so Trish and Rob will stay for the parade with him. It’s going to be cold on Saturday, so the rest of us aren’t going to brave the parade; we’ll wait and see the video that Rob makes of it. We’ll go ahead and set up ‘camp’ at the condo in Branson. I’m getting so excited; I can hardly wait. I’ve been getting things ready all day. Tomorrow I’ll pack the suitcase and load everything into the car. Woo-hoo! Here we go!

David is doing better and better every day. Praise God! Thank you all for the concern that you’ve mentioned to me in emails. The doctor took him off all the IV’s today and is giving him medicine in pill form. If he handles it okay, then he can go home tomorrow! He seems to be doing very well, but his ankles are swollen. I think the doctor will think that is because he’s not up walking around, but he may feel that he’s retaining fluids and be concerned about fluid collecting on his lungs or heart. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes tomorrow. He’s breathing, though! It’s so much better than it was on Sunday and Monday when he went to the hospital! We thank God for His care!

I am doing great. I’m finding ways to massage my arm and shoulder so that I’m better able to control the lymphedema. It’s a constant thing, but it’s manageable. I thank God for that, too! He so richly blesses us with everything from health to family and birds, even! PTL!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The mockingbird medley.

The bird tonight is Tennessee’s state bird, the mockingbird. The mockingbird is one of my favorite birds because he makes me smile. I absolutely love his repertoire! The bad thing about mockingbirds is that they are territorial and they will run other fun birds out of the area. At least their songs make up for all the ones who left because of them. When Trish was pregnant with their second baby they had a mockingbird that started with his incessant medley at about 4 a.m. He about drove her crazy. I hated that experience for her, but I still love mockingbirds. They are just rascals, but I can’t resist their songs and smile whenever I hear one.

Today has been such a good day for David and Dorothy. Their son, Joel being here seems to lift everyone’s spirits so! Of course the antibiotics are working on David and that helps him to feel better, too. Also, they moved him out of the heart monitoring room into a room with an extra bed, so Dorothy has a bed, now, so it makes it lots more comfortable for her. Man, it was good to visit with them today and David felt like joking and talking! Their daughter, Stephanie, lives here, but her job has had her in Chicago for the last 3 days. She was coming home tonight, so things will be really good for them by tomorrow when we see them.

I put our corporation’s tax return into the mail today, so I feel very relieved at that. We are still waiting on one bit of information for our personal taxes, but we have everything else all turned into the tax people, so I feel relieved about taxes. Whew.

It turned cold here, yesterday, so we’re all wrapped up in warm clothes, again. I thank God that we have plenty of warm clothes, and a warm house, with power and running (even filtered!) water. We are so blessed, and I am so grateful.

We will leave Saturday for another 2 week fling with lots of our grandkids. I’m so excited; and I’m already working on my list of menus and groceries. We’re missing Bruce’s first baseball tournament of this year, though. I hate to miss any of his games. I guess we’d freeze this weekend, so it’s better that we aren’t going. I can hardly wait to go to his games, though; I am greedy for them. We’ll make up for it with fun with the other kids in Branson.

My hair has grown enough that I’ve been wearing it in a French twist all this week. It’s easy to do and it’s out of my face. It feels like there is a light at the end of the hair tunnel. I’ll get Don to take some pictures soon, but the birds are better. Watch for these birds where you live! We don’t have all these birds, here, so it always thrills me to see them. We do have mockingbirds; there is one that sits up on our chimney and sings and it sounds like he’s right in the living room with us; I love him and thank God for him!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good news for David and Dorothy!

The picture tonight is of the red bellied woodpecker. Look how he blends with his environment! It’s so fun to bird with Steve and Mary because they hear every sound and have eyes like hawks. Then Steve is really good at getting the pictures, too. The week before they joined us we hiked all around these places and never saw the birds we saw when we went hiking around with Steve and Mary. Too bad we couldn’t get a shot of the red spot on this bird’s belly; you’ll have to trust me when I say it’s there. These bird pictures are all here, thanks to Steve and Mary, but I'm posting them in honor of David and Dorothy who would love so much to see them as we have. David loves to sit out and watch birds and Dorothy loves to hear them sing and hear us talk about them; she'd give her eye teeth to see them, too. (She has macular degeneration and can't see much at all.)

David got good news this morning. He doesn’t have a pus pocket on his lung, after all. It’s only pneumonia. Everything is relative, huh? It’s not often that it sounds good to have pneumonia! He can treat that here, but he would have had to go to Oklahoma City for treatment for a pus pocket. It would have gotten pretty complicated because he’s not a good candidate for surgery at all, but he has to breathe! Anyway, he and Dorothy are very pleased with how things are going. Their son, Joel, is coming at any moment from California. That’s a good lift for them, too. Linda asked for David and Dorothy's address, so here it is for anyone who might like to send them a card. I know I speak of them enough that you feel like you know them, too.

David and Dorothy Rule
Rt. 2, Box 9
Hobart, OK 73651

Today has been interesting. We were out of water for about 6 hours. We are really spoiled to things like water! I was so goofy. I went out and cut all my daffodils because I didn’t want the freeze to get them tonight; like they could live without water! I had a bottle of water in the fridge, so they will survive, but I felt so silly! Don took me to the Mexican restaurant to eat, so that was a nice treat. We could have eaten here and drank tea, but cleaning up would have been a trick. The water is back on, now, so I could have cleaned up the kitchen, but it was nice of him to take me out. We hadn’t had a chance to go to the Mexican restaurant since before we went to Branson, so it was a real nice treat.

They tell us it will get down to 28 tonight. It was in the 70’s when we walked. I may get out the chili makings to see winter out, again. We leave Saturday morning for spring break in Branson, so I guess I’ll be packing a pair of long pants and a jacket and sweater. The rest is going to be shorts and short sleeves; I’m determined it’s going to be spring. I may have to wash clothes and wear the same thing every day. What I wear won’t matter so much. What matters is we’ll get to spend some great time with two of our girls, who have most of our grandkids ( 9 of the 15). I love this time and I thank God for it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The picture tonight is another of Steve’s from Big Cedar. This one is a pretty awesome hawk. I’m sure Steve and Mary know his specific kind, but I don’t remember any more than the simple hawk. I’m just amazed at his beauty.

Today has been an interesting day. Dorothy had to rush David to the hospital this morning because he was having such difficulty breathing. After some tests they believe that he has an abscess on his lung. They are giving him some strong antibiotics in hopes that they can shrink it without surgery. We took Dorothy out to her house to pack for them in case they sent them to OKC for surgery. It appears that he won’t be going right away; I just pray that the antibiotics work because he’s not really a very good candidate for surgery. His son is planning to be here from California tomorrow evening, so he will be great support for them. He also has an issue going with his heart because his echocardiogram score was 19 and it should be 60. The doctor today explained that his heart is failing. His not getting enough oxygen to his heart is likely the problem, so he really has to get all this corrected as soon as possible.

I sure thank God for good people in our lives like David and Dorothy. I pray that we can support them in every way that we can. We sure pray that David can recover from this challenge and regain his strength. David is also an avid birder, so he would love to be seeing these pictures.

My allergies have been much better for the last couple of days. I’m using Benedryl to keep them under control and it’s working. I’m not digging at my eyes! Thank you, God!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Breast cancer survivors stick together . . .

Tonight’s picture is one Steve took of a chickadee. This is a sweet little bird that is often found nearby a tufted titmouse. These make a lot of noise, too, but I love them.

Today has been a busy day, but it was beautiful. We had a fellowship dinner after church and then Don stayed for a men’s meeting while I went visiting. I took lunch to Dorothy and David from the dinner and then went to the hospital to visit a couple of ladies from church. I enjoyed the visiting. When I got home we scurried out for our walk, and it was a perfect day for walking.

Tomorrow I have a lady coming to interview for cleaning the house. The last lady wasn’t who I needed; she cleaned the house in less than 2 hours. I could work for 2 hours; I need someone who will do a better job than I can do. I’ll never have anyone who can measure up to Angelica, the first girl who was so fantastic. I’ll find someone who can do it better than I can, though.

Today one of the ladies I visited is in the hospital because of terribly degenerated back discs. It was such a good visit for me, though, because she told me that she had breast cancer 10 years ago and we visited and compared notes about that. Ten years ago she lived in a nearby town and went to church there, so I was unaware of her breast cancer experience. I’ve only known her for about 8 years. It was really good for me to compare notes with her. She’s a really sweet lady, who I admire a lot. I thank God for her good experience and for her sharing it with me. I pray that she can get some relief for her back misery.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Remember the time change!

Tonight’s picture is the Tufted Titmouse that Steve stalked at Big Cedar. This is a really cute little bird that may be in your yard. I remember when we lived in Springville we had some who scampered around on the banister of the back porch and chattered at our cats. They are bossy little rascals, but I loved them. As far as I know our cats never got one of them, and maybe it’s because that were warning the others that the cats were there. I always wonder if two of them become titmice. My good friend, Vereal, may set me straight on that; he’s so good at details.

Today I took a 2 ½ hour nap! I feel fine; I’m just so sleepy from taking antihistamines. I gave up on the stuff that’s not supposed to make me drowsy because it doesn’t do the job. The netti pot is great to keep me from coughing, but I need the antihistamines to keep my eyes and throat from itching when it‘s peak season like this. My eyes have been much better today since I’m back on antihistamines for the second day in a row.

Tonight the time changes, so I lose an hour of sleep. That means I’m going to bed early. I really think I need the sleep and the antihistamines demand it. Sleep is what I do best, so I’m going to really do a good job of it tonight. If they gave out medals for sleeping good, I’d have a great collection. I guess my reward is that I feel really good. I thank God for the gift of sleep and rest. I thank Him for all these great birds and other wildlife that He so abundantly gives to us; I feel richly blessed to get to observe them.

Friday, March 6, 2009

God has a plan!

The picture tonight is one Steve made of a downy woodpecker when we were at Big Cedar. I love going over these pictures because it brings back the great adventure we had. I love seeing all these magnificent birds that God made and their environment. It leaves me breathless and I love those moments. You know if He went to the trouble to make so many different birds, just think how He made us all different and beautiful in our own ways and perfect for our environment. We pass by so many details like this and never notice, let alone appreciate them. That’s why I love it when we take the time and opportunity to explore and appreciate things like these birds that I’m sharing with you. They are more than pretty pictures to me; they remind me that we have an awesome God who cares enough to know the number of hairs on our heads. I imagine He gave me this curly hair on purpose, so I thank Him and love Him.

Tonight we went to a legislative dinner. The Farm Bureau hosted a dinner and invited folk from this county and a couple of surrounding counties, and there were two house members and one senator there, as well as the Farm Bureau’s lobbyist and a couple of field representatives. I found it so very interesting. It’s another example of how different people are because God made us all different! We are in rural Oklahoma and all the people at this meeting were so in tune to rural needs. When we lived in Oklahoma City, I was very involved with the insurance business and even became a registered lobbyist for our agents in the state. I knew all about our issues, but I had no clue about rural issues. As I sat there tonight my heart shifted into gear with our rural interests. I was reminded, again, that we get so wrapped up in our own little world that we let the rest of the world pass right by us. Sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes we might miss something we don’t want to miss.

I look at our country and the mess it’s in and think we must have let a lot slip by when we were in our own little world. How is it that we are now rewarding failure and punishing excellence? Let me NOT get up on a political platform, but I do challenge you to watch what is going on around you, whether it be beautiful birds and sweet bunnies or politicians spending our money. Let’s don’t let slip away from us what our forefathers fought to build and leave to us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

This little guy is the nuthatch. He’s one of my favorite birds because he’s always so busy. Usually when he’s seen he’s sideways or upside-down. I think Steve must have been standing on his head to get this shot! This is the only bird I ever see working all around a tree. Other birds come a sit a spell, but the nuthatch comes and works the tree.

Today has been another beautiful day in Hobart! It was 91 today! We had a great walk and Don even dug some dirt from the back flower bed to fill in a few holes in the front lawn. I love working outside!

David is doing a little better. He felt like letting me trim his hair today, and I cut Dorothy’s so they are set for a few weeks as far as hair goes.

I washed my hair and let it air dry and I look like Little Orphan Annie! I wonder what it will look like in the morning after I sleep on these curls. I’ve been rolling it to straighten it; it was too cold to let it air dry. Curly hair is a new trip for me; I learn every day. I guess it took me about 50 years to figure out how to deal with straight hair; now, I don’t have that kind of time to learn this curly business!

My allergies are still awful, but I’m managing. I just have to manage it closely so that I don’t get too out of shape. My eyes are the worst, but this will pass. It’s not breast cancer or anything more than a nuisance. I thank God that allergies are the only health issues that I have these days!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday David Sweeney!

I remember when David (Ruthie and Phil’s son) was born! Ruthie and Phil lived in California and I was in college in Nashville. I went to college straight through, but I had a month off between summer and fall quarters. I flew out there to see him (I could hardly wait!), and I worked through a temporary agency the whole time I was out there to pay for my plane ticket out there and back. I made some extra to take back to college, so that as good. He was a precious, precious baby. He’s still a super guy, but he’s a grandpa, now; how time FLIES!

Today’s picture is one of the bunny we came upon on one of our hikes with Steve and Mary. Steve got this shot. The shot I got was a blur of the bunny hopping to safety. I sure thank Steve for all the great pictures he got; they bring treasured moments to mind.

I wish my eyes looked as bright as this bunny’s do, but they are still griping about spring. They’re much better than they were since I discovered the drops, but they still itch.

I spent a couple of hours outside working in the yard today. That probably didn’t help my eyes any! I couldn’t resist it. It was 72 degrees here! Woo hoo! I love that kind of weather! There were leaves piled up in my flower beds that had to be bagged. There were last year’s stalks in the flower beds that needed to be bagged. I was the bag lady for the job. Woo hoo! Man, I loved it. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be even warmer. This weather is spoiling me. I won’t like it when it turns cold and I have to drag out the long sleeves and pants, but it will probably happen. I’m going to hide and watch for a cold day and make one more pot of chili to celebrate it; maybe that’ll make it more fun to have it be cold.

I thank God for hair to blow in the wind! I have a little tiny pony tail that only looks about an inch long, but it’s really about 3 inches long. It just hangs in a tight little curl. Then all the rest of it blows everywhere in our wind. It’s pretty funny. Some of Steve’s pictures probably have that little pony tail and all the escaping hair, so you’ll see a shot of it one day. I thank God for the energy and strength to work in the yard, too! PTL!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thank God for eye drops!

The picture today is the yellow rumped warbler. This little guy posed for Steve when we were in Branson. I’m sure I’ve seen these birds before and thought they were sparrows. You have to catch him still for a picture with a good camera, which Steve was able to do. They flit around so quickly, it’s hard to see those yellow spots on them without the camera! Thank you, Steve!

Wow! I am doing SO much better today! I had a horrible day. My eyes were itching SO badly and I was rubbing and scratching and digging at them. I knew better, but I couldn’t keep my hands away from my face. The itching was horrible and scratching didn’t even help! Finally, I got on the computer and did a search, thinking, “Surely they have some drops or something.” Sure enough! They DO! I called our Wal-Mart to see if they have it; they do! I drove right over there and got them; came right home and put them into my eyes. What a relief! There are actually a couple of brands of these drops and Wal-Mart has their own copy of it, so I got it for a reasonable price, even. Right there in the eye care department. DUH. One time in high school I rubbed a blister on my eye scratching it. I wonder if they had this stuff back then??? That was in spring, though; this is way early to be having these problems, but I’m ready for the season, now! Thank you, God!

Monday, March 2, 2009

God is so good!

This picture is such a treasure to me! It is my sister, Ruthie, our brother, Jim (seated), and Ruthie’s husband, Phil.

Ruthie started dating Phil when I was 13 or 14, so I’ve known and loved him almost all my life. This picture holds three of the people I’ve loved all or nearly all my life and they mean so much to me. I’m so thrilled that Jim is doing so well after having his surgery for NPH (water on the brain) just a little over 3 weeks ago. I talked to him on the phone Saturday while Ruthie and Phil were there visiting him, and he sounded so great. Ruthie said that he looks and seems so very good; very improved over the last times we’ve seen him. Praise God, and, thank you all so much for your prayers for his recovery. Thank you, Ruthie and Phil for sharing this picture with me and for going to see Jim!

From here things are pretty good, too. David got to go home from the hospital today. He is struggling to breathe, but we know that he doesn’t have pneumonia or anything else other than advanced COPD. It’s good that he can go home and be more comfortable.

It’s bitter cold here, so we haven’t walked since Friday. It’s warming soon, though, so we’ll make up for it. I still feel really good and thank God so much for that. It’s giving me time to get caught up on some bookkeeping and details that need to be done around here. We do have daffodils in bloom in the yard, so I’m enjoying some cut daffodils in the house. I thank God for them, too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A moment in the big fish at Big Cedar.

This is the big fish that is a part of the miniature golf course at Big Cedar. It's also a great photo op; I couldn't resist.

Today has been another technical challenge. I input all of the tax information today and then when I went to make copies, my printer decided to be offline and it has to be online. I spent the WHOLE afternoon getting nowhere with it. It's a printer. I won't let it win. I'll keep working with it until I get it right. This is the kind of thing I absolutely hate, though.

I learned at church tonight that a lady passed away who I met during my chemo. She was at about the same stage as me in this breast cancer journey; we were bald together. She lived in Amarillo and her parents live in a nearby town, Lonewolf. She was here visiting them and we met her at the Mexican Restaurant. In November after she and I both had good reports in our check ups. Then a couple of weeks after that she thought she had a bad cold and learned when she went to the doctor to be checked for pnuemonia that her cancer had come back in her lungs. I've talked to her a couple of times since and sent her a couple of cards. The last one came back, but I figured I'd addressed it wrong. I can't believe that she died so quickly. It's another reminder to me that I am so richly blessed to have lived this long and to feel so good. It helps me keep things in perspective like the printer not working. That's nothingl! I'm alive and healthy and for that I thank God! I know that He has a plan and I'm so glad that me being alive is part of it. Thank you for holding my hand all the way; it helps to have lots of support.