Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Walk - Or The Thanksgiving We Were Attacked by the Blond Alien

I remember that one Thanksgiving, in 2000.  It was the year my parents went back to North Carolina to have Thanksgiving with my sister and her family.  I always hate when they are gone during holidays and this was no exception.  We had it at my daughter's house and at the start of the afternoon, it all seemed like everything was going smoothly.  She had the table set up in the living room and ready for food.

Jack, Claire and Dave, innocently waiting...

Little did we know that we were about to experience the most bizarre Thanksgiving of our life.  Thanksgiving, 2000, the attack of the blond alien.

Connie was trying to save Jacob as it did a mind probe on him.

Poor Michael, he's scarred for life!
At first, it just attacked the smallest members of the family.  If you look closely, you can see the sheer horror or Michael's face.  It tried probing their minds to get the information it came seeking.

When this creature saw that it wasn't getting what it came for from the babies, it went after the older ones.

Paige is frozen in fear!

Crystal was in panic mode!  She was so scared she couldn't move her mouth!

Jared never saw it coming and Cole was praying for God to save us all!
The kids weren't talking, or they couldn't give the blond alien what it wanted.  So it went for the older kids...

This was a nail biter for Cole.
It scarred Adam so much he had to go shave his head, cover his body in tattoos and pierce holes
all over his face.  He's never been the same.
The older kids weren't talking either.  So it went after the big guns!

Connie is trying to be brave.  Adam thought he could scare it away with his tongue.

Kerry is looking for a way to escape.  She doesn't know which way to turn. 

Michelle thought she'd pretend she was Cleopatra but the blond alien wouldn't give up.

Claire tried talking French to see if she could communicate with it. She even pretended she
 was a princess and tried to make it obey her.
I was so frightened I couldn't move.

Jeremy tried to cook it on the grill but it wouldn't get off his head.

It tickled Jack until he couldn't take it any more.
And finally, after paralyzing the whole household in fear, causing us untold nightmares for years to come, the blond alien found the one who could give it the information it was looking for...

We have communication!
THE DOG!!!  

Yes, the dog finally was able to communicate with the horrible blond alien to find out why it showed up at my daughter's home, Thanksgiving Day, 2000.  What evil purpose could it have had.  Why, oh why, did it come to her house and attack such a peaceful family on a cold, November day?  What could this family possibly offer such a vile creature. What?  What???


The Turkey!!!

Well, I am here to tell you, that horrid creature was not going to ruin our Thanksgiving dinner by stealing our turkey!  We fought with all we had to keep that thing from taking it.  And it took all of us to do it, but we did.  We chased that blond alien away and it's not been seen since!  And we ate that bird!  We ate it with every ounce of energy and passion we had.  And it was good.  It was so good!  And my mom and dad missed the whole thing.

Tomorrow, while you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner, be careful.  It's been ten years since the attack of the blond alien...and you never know.  I mean, IT COULD HAPPEN!!!  Right???

Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you all,

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Transplant Day - Part 3

I am sitting beside my husband's bed listening to him snore.  The Foley bag is filling up nicely and I honestly never thought I'd be so glad to see someones urine!  They are flushing fluid in him as fast as he is voiding it. The nurse said it is a bit of a challenge to keep up, but that's a good thing!

He is in so much pain.  I tried to tell him he was going to be in a lot of pain, but he didn't believe me.  It's probably just as well that he didn't....he might not have agreed to the surgery if he knew what was ahead of him!

The morphine is making him a bit psychotic...which I knew it would.   He told his sisters and our daughter that he helped deliver a baby today.  I'm sure he'll not remember this story in a day or two and I haven't got the heart to ask him to explain what he meant right now.  I'd rather let him snore.

Every few minutes he'll moan and I hear the morphine pump beep.  He'll complain that it's not enough, but the nurse just told me he is using quite a bit of it.  He is probably using it more than he needs it.

I went around the corner and down the hall to visit Christina for a little bit.  She looked great but is also in a lot of pain.  We were told that this surgery is actually harder on the donor.  She said she didn't know that, and said she doesn't feel like such a baby now for telling the nurse she hurt so much.  She will probably get to go home tomorrow.  Jack will be here until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, depending on how he is doing.

Trying to tell Christina, "thank you," just doesn't seem like enough.  I told her it's like trying to tell God "thank you" for His Son.  The words seem so paltry.  I hope if she reads this, she knows how much we love her and are forever in her debt.  The words of the song by Bette Middler keep running in my head.  She is our hero!

Another thought that keeps going through my head is the scripture, John 15:13;

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

And while Christina didn't actually lay down her life for Jack, she gave a part of herself to him.  She is an incredible blessing.  

So, until tomorrow....

Be blessed,


Transplant Day - Part 2

Christina's surgery has been done for about an hour and she is in recovery.  George is waiting to see her still.

A nurse just came and told me the kidney is now in Jack and is working great!  I can't even begin to say how thrilled I am.  How thrilled the whole family is!!!  God is being praised all over the world right now!  Jack and Christina have been lifted higher than high to the One who holds them in His hands.  God is good all the time!!!

More soon!

Be blessed,


Transplant Day - Part 1

It's hard to believe today is really here.  Two years.  Two very long years of waiting for a kidney for Jack.  I have to admit that I really wondered if today would ever arrive.  We've been through so many ups and downs on this adventure (if you really want to call it an adventure...), and we weren't sure where it would take us.

Jack's sisters either had the wrong type of blood or their own kidneys weren't healthy enough to be transplanted in someone else.  We knew two of them couldn't donate for health reasons, but we had such high hopes that one of the three could.  Each time we got so excited, only to have our hopes dashed by that one phone call from them telling us they were not accepted.

His children also offered to be tested.  We flew his daughter Angie out and she spent a week with us while going through all the tests.  She was so hopeful, as were we.  We waiting all weekend long knowing that the transplant team would meet on Tuesday afternoon.  Jack's hopes were so high.  We just believed that she would be the perfect match.

Angie called late Tuesday afternoon in tears.  She was turned down.  The Mayo doctors told her she had the diabetes gene and they wouldn't take her kidney because she might need it someday.  They also said that most likely all the kids had the same gene but if they wanted to be tested, they could go ahead and try.

Jack made the decision that he couldn't put himself or the kids through this again so he told them not to bother.  It was too depressing for him.  So at that point we made the decision that there was a kidney somewhere and God would bring us to it in His way.

That was two years ago.  A little over a year ago Jack and I started looking for a new small group in our church.  We had a conflict on the night our old group met so we decided to find one close to our home.  Since Jack felt lousy most of the time, he didn't want to go too far from where we lived.

I had befriended a gal on Facebook, Christina, because she also goes to our church.  I really liked her positive, uplifting status comments and we started an online friendship.  When the church had it's Small Group Fair, I grabbed a catalog.  When I saw that Christina and her husband led a small group near our home I got so excited.  Then I saw it was a "marriage" small group.  Exactly what we were looking for!  So I asked Jack if he wanted to try it and he said yes.  I emailed Christina and let her know we'd be there at the next meeting.

Immediately upon visiting the group, we knew we had found our new small group family.  We loved the couples that attended and felt right at home.

During one of our meetings, George and Christina asked each person to share something about themselves that nobody else might know.  We all went around the room and shared different things.  Then it was Jack's turn.

Jack first shared that he wanted to get back into leading worship.  He told the group how he'd given it up when he started getting sick, and his prayer was that someday he could get back to it.

Then, while he was talking, he said, "Now that I've got your attention...I also need a kidney.  So if you know anyone that wants to donate, have them talk to me."  We all laughed about it and then the next person in the group shared.

After the meeting, Christina asked him who to call at Mayo Clinic if one wanted to be tested.  He gave her the information and thought nothing more of it.  (Many people that we know have asked us for the information so that they could pass it on to others, so that was why we thought she asked, since she is a nurse.)

Several months went by and we never thought anything more about it.  So I was quite surprised when Christina sent me a text to tell me she had started the procedure to be tested.  Knowing how badly Jack handled it when his sisters were turned down, I decided not to say anything.  I felt it was better to just wait.  So I prayed God's will be done and left it at that.

A few weeks later I got another text from Christina.  She told me she had passed all her tests and had one more to go, and that was the psychological test.  She wasn't worried about it and felt pretty confident that she would be the donor.  So I decided it was time to let Jack know what was going on.

A couple of weeks later we got word that she was a perfect match, but her liver enzymes were high.  They wanted to run more tests.  We again prayed God's will be done and not ours.  It turns out that her liver was fine, but she needed to cut back on some of the nutritional supplements that she was taking.  Shortly thereafter, the surgery date was set.

At small group Christina and George decided to put Jack and I in chairs and have the group pray over us.  I looked at Christina and said, "I think you and Jack need to sit in the chairs and let us pray over you!"  She agreed and they sat down while the rest of us gathered around and laid hands on them.

If I was to search the English vocabulary, I am certain I could not find the words to describe how I felt at that moment.  They always say that in small group, we are family, but I never felt more like family than I did at that moment.  And the thought of it gives me Godbumps just typing this!

Jack had to come to Mayo last week for final testing and thankfully he passed with flying colors.  Sunday and Monday he had to go to dialysis so they could be sure and get all the toxins out of his body.

We got up at 3:00 this morning and arrived at Mayo at 5:00.  They took him back to surgery around 8 this morning after finally getting the IV's (3 of them) in him.  He has two in his neck and one in his foot.  They had to be done with an ultrasound machine because he has such small, rolling veins.

And now I sit and wait.  I have my daughter Connie and Christina's husband George sitting here with me.  All three of us are on our laptops!  (What did we do before internet???)  Many, many prayers are being said on both of their behalves.  It is so amazing that God has done this.  The gift Christina and George have given us is incredibly awesome and there are truly no words to say that could express how utterly thankful we are to them.

More later...

Be blessed,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I've been busy with life, so haven't been able to post on my blog.  We had a huge birthday party for Lillian today at her other grandparents house.  There was a lot of people there.

Grandpa Love got a bouncy house for the kids.  Sandy ordered a Tres Leches cake.  It was amazing, and delicious!

I used my FxCamera application on my cell phone.  I love playing with the different settings and different camera types.

SymmetriCam application makes it a mirror image
This is called Fish Bowl
This application is called Polandroid 
I wanted to bring my real camera, but forgot it so I didn't get to take as many pictures as I had wanted.  I am hoping my daughters and mom took some good ones as well.

It was a beautiful day for a party.  the weather was perfect.  Jeffrey grilled chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.  His mom made potato salad and the best chili I've ever had.  I would love to get her recipe but then, that would mean I have to cook.  She adds a jalapeno pepper to it but just one.  Just enough to go, "oh yeah..." but not so much that you are running for your bottle of water.

There was a lot of kids there.  They aged from 3 months up to 19 years old.  The bouncy house was definitely a home run for the kids.  They spent most of their time in there jumping and bouncing around.  It was loud and the kids were laughing and screaming and just having the best time.  But it was loud!  I had a great time, but all good things must come to an end we headed home.  Where it is quiet.  Blessedly quiet.

I've been so busy these past few days.  I haven't had a chance to do my online Bible study.  And it bothers me because I need to be more disciplined.  I just get so busy with everything in life and don't do what's important.  I am reading my Bible, but not studying it the way I want to.

I need to get back to journaling and that was why I decided to do the online study.  I've never journaled in a blog, just in my journals.  It's easy for me to sit with pen in hand and start writing.  But I seem to struggle with it when it comes to typing it.  *sigh*

I think on Monday I will find out which office I am moving to.  I will go up and do some measuring and hopefully have a diagram of how I want it set up while I am gone.

It's hard to believe it is less than two weeks until Jack's surgery.  I would be kidding myself if I said I wasn't worried.  We've lived with this for so long that I don't even know what's normal anymore.  And while I realize he will still have medical issues to deal with, he's going to feel so much better.  Maybe he'll have energy and actually want to do things again.  He's lived on the couch for so long, just sitting there doing nothing, that I forget what it was like when he had energy.  He forgets what it was like when he had energy!

I better go eat.  I'm going to finish my left overs from last night's dinner.

This is a cheese crisp with sour cream, guacamole and green chili on it.  It was so, so good.  In fact, it is my new favorite dish at Don Ruben's Mexican Food Restaurant.  If you live in the Phoenix area, they are located in Glendale at 43rd Avenue and Cactus.  They have the best Mexican food in town.  And they are always busy.  The manager sits and talks with you and the servers are always nice.  The prices are pretty good too.

Well, dinner awaits.  Be blessed,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday's Walk - Sandy

Each week I will be posting a memory about my children.  When I get done with them, I'll do ones on my grandkids.  I'm sure eventually I'll get around to memories about my own life, but those will require much thinking on my part. I figure I have enough kids and grandkids to keep me busy for a while though. And I also want to do an individual Wednesday's Walk on my two older girls.  I combined them into one post two weeks ago because growing up, they were most always together.  But I have some wonderful memories of them as individuals as well, so will do those in the future.

Today though, I want to take a walk down memory lane and tell you about my daughter, Sandy.  She was, is, and always will be, my baby.

When Sandy was born, she had a head of hair that had four different colors to it.  All the nurses would come to my room from the other floors just to see it.  It was shades of red, blond, white and auburn.  One nurse told me it looked like she had a paint brush in my tummy and just streaked it all these colors.  It looked like what we would call today, a weave.  It was beautiful.  And to top it all off, she had a tail. It was long and curly down the back of her neck.  It was almost like a pony tail.  With her sandy colored hair, her button nose and dimpled chin, she was the cutest baby in the hospital.  No, really. She was.

Sandy knew as a small toddler what she liked and didn't like, fashion wise.  If it wasn't cute and girly, she would refuse to wear it.  Understand, there was 7 years between her and Connie.  All my baby girl clothes were long gone.  I had tons of overalls and jeans from Adam that she could have worn because they were for boys and girls.  But not her. She would scream if I tried to put "those uggy clothes" on her!  Now tell me, how can you argue with a face like this?

The answer to that one can't!  I lost that war a long, long time ago.

Sandy's crowing glory when she was growing up was her hair.  It was long and curly.  I remember when she was around three years old, some lady at the grocery store asked me if her hair was permed.  Um...hello?  She's three years old!  Of course I didn't have it permed!

It was curly and it was also thick.  Trying to get a comb through it was a nightmare.  But I didn't want to cut it, so every day we would go through the painstaking task of brushing it out.  It was worth it though, because it was beautiful and it made her feel pretty and girly, which is what she wanted.

As Sandy got older, her hair got thicker.  The one good thing about that was it was not as curly.  But it was still hard to brush out.  So I tried to keep her hair braided or in a pony tail as much as possible.  I am sure she still remembers the night time when I would have to brush it out and braid it.  She'd cry and cry, but she still wouldn't let me cut it.

It was around this time when Sandy's two older sisters got pregnant.  At.the.same.time.  Oh, and let's not forget, they were still teenagers living at home.  And also at this time, I was newly married to Jack and had full custody of little Jack.  So my household numbers went from just the five of us to nine of us. And also at this time, I went from being a SAHM to working full time.  (Good time, good times!)

Poor Sandy kind of got lost in the shuffle.  I sometimes wish I could get those years back for her.  She was so good about it though.  She was a happy kid in school, got good grades, and kept her room spotless. (Wait...what?  What happened to that Sandy?)

We used to go camping a lot when the kids were growing up.  Oh, I loved camping.  I mean, I really, really loved camping.  I mean, in a tent, out in the woods type camping.  One year we went camping almost the whole summer.  We took the kids to Carlsbad, CA for a week and camped by the ocean.  Then we packed up and headed up to Santa Cruz for a week and camped in the woods.  We came home and headed to Roosevelt Lake for another four days of camping.  The kids finally begged to go home to their own beds and a real shower.  I on the other hand, could have gone another few days. (Did I tell you that I really love camping?)  My poor kids hadn't had a decent shower since we left Carlsbad.  But hey, we had a great time.

When we were in Santa Cruz we were by the beach and Sandy was going to take the left over hamburger and hot dog buns to the trash.  She asked if she could feed them to a few of the seagulls that were flying around.  I told her to go ahead.

Well soon, those "couple seagulls" soon became around forty or fifty seagulls.  I have a picture somewhere but can't find it of her standing in the middle of the drive with all these seagulls on the ground around her.  She was in her glory! (I wish I could find that picture...)

My battle with Sandy's hair began to get ugly.  She didn't want me brushing it, but she wouldn't brush it either.  Soon she got a big knot in the back of her hair (I mean a HUGE knot!)  I finally convinced her to let me take her to get it cut. Well, the gal who cut it took way to much off.  My little girl was broken hearted.

I know she didn't look so sad here, but that's because it was her birthday.  She loved birthdays and getting gifts. But trust me, she hated that hair cut.

I know you can't tell it from these pictures, but trust me. She cried and cried. For a long time she walked around with her hands on her head.  And it took years to grow back.  She made up her mind that she would never get it cut like that again.

I had to do a bad hair day for her since I did a few on her brother last week!

Finally, after several years, Sandy's long hair came back.  It was long and thick and she still got knots in it, but at least now, it was her problem, not mine.  But let me tell you, I broke a few vacuum belts and beater bars because of all that hair!

I have to share this picture of Sandy also, because I did do several on Adam.  She had me braid her hair one day.  This is what it looked like...

Sandy grew up and soon got her first job.  She got a job at a pizza parlor.  She was so thrilled to finally be earning a pay check. All I could think about was, my baby is growing up too fast.  She loved her job though, and they loved her.  Of course they would!  She came in on her days off and worked overtime whenever they asked her, which was all the time!  Like I said, she loved her paycheck!

About this time, Jack's eldest daughter's husband walked out on her and her three year old.  Having no place to go, and pretty much homeless, she got on a bus and came to Arizona.  So now Sandy had to share her room with two other people.  Those were not the best of times...let me tell you.  About this time Sandy went from keeping a spotless room to a messy room.  Well, with two adults and a three year old, it was kind of hard to keep it clean.

Sandy moved out when she became an adult and got her own place.  She came back at one point because she needed to save money.  She moved out again when she got married.  Sadly, that marriage was a huge mistake and didn't last six months.  Actually, not too sad because he turned out to be a real jerk and a huge liar!  At the time, she had a huge settlement from a hit and run accident (they had to use the jaws of life to get her out, and she was in the hospital for a few days), and he managed to run through it all before she had a chance to stop him.  It was a shame.  But she is so much better off without him.

Then she met Jeffrey.  We thought he was going to be just a phase.

Don't let the mean looks fool you.  He's not so tough. I think I scare him way more than he scared me!

Well Jeffrey turned out to not be a phase.  This picture was taken almost seven years ago and they are still together. Today they are the parents of four of my grandchildren.  Lilly will be six in a few days, Desi is almost five, JJ is one and a half, and Aubrianna is two months.  They make beautiful babies!

Sandy and I are very close.  She calls me every day to check in and see how we are doing.  I am proud of the fine woman she has become.  It is hard for me to believe she has four kids! I mean, she still is my baby and all.  She tells me she is finished, and I hope she's right!  Jeffrey is a great daddy and loves his babies.  I would not want to be the guy that asks one of those girls out though...He is a very protective papa bear!

Next week I will probably do my son Jack.  I don't have memories of him before he was seven, but I do have his baby pictures so I will post some.  He was a cute, cute little boy.  And now he is such a handsome man. I can't wait to share my memories of him.  So till tomorrow,

Be blessed,

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Packing the office

I've been packing up my office over the past couple of weeks. Not a lot, mind you, but a little here and a little there.

I don't know when the actual move will be, but I am pretty sure I won't be here to supervise it. With Jack's surgery on the 23, I don't know when I'll be back. Plus, with him at the top of the waiting list for the dual transplant it also means it could happen any day. I definitely don't want anyone else having to pack me up so I am trying to get as much done as possible. Besides, a lot of what I have is breakable, and even though our Pages are a great group of kids, they are young and are moving a whole lot of offices at the same time.

On top of all this, I am not sure where my new office will be. All that is still being decided by leadership. I would like to know where it will be before I move, just so I can start planning how I'd like to set it up. But, I'm very flexible and can work with anything, so if I don't know till I come back, I can deal with it.

I've been finding things I forgot I had and that's been fun. But I need to decide what I want to take and what I want to get rid of. I've been spoiled by this huge office and I am sure I've added stuff to it over the past couple of years. I may not know where my new office will be, but I do know it will be much smaller than this one. (Oh the benefits of being in a leadership office!) I figure if I find something that I haven't seen in a few years and haven't missed, then I really don't need to keep it. 

I do try not to stress over the simple stuff, and maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of it than I should, but I worry that some of my important stuff will get lost (or break), and I won't know about it until it's too late.  I also worry that I will get the castoffs left-overs after everybody else has grabbed selected what they want. 

So if you are reading my blog (all 11 of you), and you think of me, please say a prayer for me.  My plate is already full and I really don't need to worry about this.  But I do worry.  A lot.  A whole lot.  Way more than I should.  (I am talking to a Paige about this very thing as I type this.  She totally understands, but she's 19, 20?)  Oh Lord, I really need to stop stressing!

OK, OK.  This is not what God would have me be doing.  But I had to get it out there so I could get prayer and even if no one else reads this, God does!  So He knows my concerns too.  (Like he didn't before I typed this?  Seriously?  Seriously?)  I know, I know.  You don't have to say a word.  Seriously!

Tomorrow is Wednesday Walk and my goal is to do a post on my daughter Sandy.  I still have pictures to get scanned into my computer, so hopefully I'll get that done tonight.  Fingers crossed on that!  So , until tomorrow...

Be blessed,