About Me

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I have spent a great deal of my life battling illness. I suffered from Crohn's Disease and eventually had abdominal surgery, thwarting the Crohn's and budding cancer cells. Since my surgery in 1995 I have been relatively free from Crohns', although I had several subsequent surgeries related to my ileostomy..When my disease was in remission, I don't think my husband realized how bad it could get, but he has stood by me. I also have suffered from various autoimmune disorders and am diagnosed with Stage IV Kidney Disease. Fortunately, I am maintaining and do not need dialysis at this point. We adopted our son and later found out he had cerebral palsy, so he became my career. Dan has had two surgeries and tons of therapy and is able to walk because of it. He is a college graduate and is employed as an Information Specialist. We are very proud of his accomplishements. I am now part of the retired generation and still getting used to the idea. I do enjoy crafting, traveling and being with family and friends. I am active in my church and feel that the hardships we endure are there to build our faith. I like to live life in the "now" as we never know how much time is left.

Friday, December 23, 2016

You'll Always be My Friend

I wasn't quite ready to write this.
My dear friend of 26 years has left this world.  Several times she had heavenly visions.
Even her husband, who has not always been the most spiritual person, saw an
apparition bending over her bed.  When he got up to look there was no one there; no one in the hallway.

Linda's husband Kevin, took very good care of her.  When he had to work, he made sure that one of her friends was with her over lunch time till she was ready to rest again.  When he had off, he was there from morning till night.

Last week Friday, she took a turn for the worse.  Kevin was called from work.  He stayed with her
all the time, even overnight, barely sleeping but went home a few times to shower and get fresh clothes. 

Kevin had told me that the time was close for Linda. I had not been there since last week Tuesday, but on Tuesday the 20th, I asked my husband to go with me to the nursing home.  Jim is also Kevin's friend. I thought it would bother me, but it didn't.  She was resting and at peace.

 I held her hand while I was there.  Kevin and Jim talked about everything under the sun.  I think it did Kevin some good.  We stayed a few hours, so Kevin, too, could rest.  Later on his sister and her husband came to keep him company.

I received a call later that night.  Linda had passed around 8:30pm.  I have been crying off and on, but I have been in mourning over our loss for a long time.  That is the thing with cancer.  The person you once knew is not the same anymore, but somewhere in that frail, failing body, was my Linda!

Oh sure, we had our misunderstandings, but the important thing is that we always made up and in the end we had resolved any hurts, holding on to one another and vowing to always be friends.

I prefer to remember the strong, laughing Linda!  Memories of our walks, going to Bible Study together, sitting next to each other in church, road trips, retreats, stamping, scrapbooking, thrifting, so many adventures!

Even with the chemo, Linda loved to sit on her deck and enjoy the sunshine.
Now she basks in the light of our Lord!

Linda, I love you!  You'll always be my friend!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Some Memories of Linda

I had to write this while I am still calm.  Some are excerpts from my posts in Facebook.

My relationship with my best friend goes on for 26 years. Linda's husband, Kevin, was married to my younger sister who passed away from metastatic cancer. I didn't want to like Linda, but for the sake of Kevin's kids, we would make the best of it. We had things in common and became good friends. We were ying and yang in our personalities, but yet, complemented one another. We have had our ups and downs, our rough spots, but like many relationships, we have always managed to get beyond them. Many times Linda has been there for me through my illnesses, and now I can only do my best to be there for her.

I wish I could go all the way back to Linda and Kevin's wedding (but where ARE those photos?).  All pre-computer, and all in boxes and a mess!

In 1995, I had abdominal surgery.  Linda was
my sub for me when I had it so I could keep my
thriving Avon business going!  Here we are
enjoying a pontoon ride after one of our Avon
dinners.

In 1995, Linda decided that we should have a Red Hat
group and I should be queen of
The Royal Purple Belles!

We enjoyed our trips to Florida to visit cousin,Shirley.
This time my sister came with, and we enjoyed a
tour with our cousin's Red Hat Group!


We enjoyed traveling and loved our trip to New Orleans!


Linda invited me along to meet up with her friend
from Ohio.  This was shortly after her
breast cancer treatment.


Her hair grew out a beautiful blond with a hint of red. 
I was invited to her oldest grand daughter's confirmation.

Celebrating one year cancer free with the Cancer Survivor's walk.


Celebrating together with her other good friend
at her wedding anniversary!

                       
Linda wanted an ugly sweater contest for our
Christmas party last year.  Of course, she knew
she would win!

We enjoyed going on retreats together, whether it was
a spiritual retreat or a crafting retreat.  This was our
last trip together in September.


Friends Forever


I can feel the love and prayers of others. Linda is ready to meet her Savior and I'm at peace with that. She wants me to think of the good times. I am still sad cause I will miss her when she is gone, but I know I will see her again and she will have that glorious smile in heaven!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Life is Like a Bad Dream

I tried going to Silver Sneakers, our exercise class at the Senior Center, but it is difficult to go without Linda.  Also, I need the time for her or for myself when I am not with her.

On November 4th, Linda, my sister, and me went out to lunch.  Linda was having trouble with her balance, but if she walked slowly, she could do it.  A little over a week later, everything was different. We had a nice visit, although she could no longer be trusted to walk on her own.  It was good.  We held each other and cried.  Said we would always be friends.  The next day some of her grandkids came to visit, and that, too, was an eye opener for them.  Still, it was a nice visit, and the kids were glad to see Grandma, and she, them.

 She had fallen twice, the last time ending up with her in the hospital.  She had just gone limp in her husband's arms, and he called the ambulance.  That was in the wee hours of
November 15th.  Her husband called me that morning.  She stayed in the hospital until that Friday and began her radiation treatments.

On Friday she was moved to a group home.  On Kevin's days off, he is with her from about 9:30 till bedtime.  I have been there most days.  She always has a friend or relative accompanying her in the van to radiation near the hospital.  We stay until after she has eaten lunch.
She no longer goes on her phone or laptop.  Mostly she just rests.

The goal for Linda is to stay strong enough to be able to go home on Christmas Day.

My Thanksgiving was a lot of work, and hardly seems worth it for the few of us.  I did have my nephew, Linda's stepson, here for the meal.

I do not feel like crafting, like making cards, like socializing.  I want to crawl in bed and have this all be over with.   It is like a really bad dream from which we cannot wake up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hard for Me to Blog

I don't feel like uploading photos.
 
I am so tired.
 
My best friend, Linda, is in the hospital.  In one week's time, she lost her ability to walk on her own and has difficulty speaking.  I saw her Saturday (and Sunday) and I was in shock.  I can't tell you how many tears I cried.
 
We each forgave one another for the hurts we caused ..  Said that is behind us.  We held each other, cried and promised we would always be friends.
 
This last week, Linda fell out of bed, then Monday night had a horrible episode where she went limp, passed out, and possible seizure.  Her husband called the ambulance.  She went to ER and was admitted to the hospital.  I spent most of the day there.
 
Today she is starting radiation.  Hopefully it can reverse some of the damage to her brain, buy her more time to be spent with her loved ones.  She is fighting this for her grandkids.
 
Much has happened since my last blog.  I went on a scrapbooking retreat with my cousin as she was visiting me from Florida.  Everything seems like small potatoes now.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

And That's All that's New!

 
This was just another week in my life. 
 
On Monday, I ran some errands.  I had to pick up plastic rolls of table cloth and napkins for our church's Golden Anniversary.  When I dropped them off at church, I had a brief interview with the paper for the article they were doing on the event.  You can read about it here:  Shepherding the Flock for 50 Years.  I have a small blip in there.
 
 I am really enjoying my Tuesday morning Bible Study with the ladies!  In the afternoon, I had an appointment with our local gastroenterologist.  He wants me off of the pain pills and we are going to try a medication that blocks the neurotransmitters.  I'm not quite sure how it works, but if it helps, hey!
 
Wednesday was a busy day for my husband and me.  I decided that before my cousin visits, I am going to get this house fairly cleaned.  I cleaned the bedroom GOOD and removed the five layers of protective dust.  My husband put on his knee pads and refinished all our vinyl  flooring in the kitchen, dining room, and halls.
 
Thursday morning I volunteered at the senior center.  It wasn't as busy as it has been lately.  Okay with me!  In the afternoon I met my brother Stan and his wife at his urologist appointment.  I wanted to know what exactly is wrong with him.  He has lost so much weight; he is skin and bones.  He had no appetite, can't sleep, and was also experiencing urological symptoms.  Apparently, his last bout with cancer and radiation damaged his bladder and created a lot of scar tissue too.  The bladder has shrunk and cannot be stretched as the tissue has hardened from the radiation.  He has to get up all the time to void and had little to pass.  My brother also wasn't drinking enough liquids as the doctor had advised him to.    The physician explained it like this:  A car needs oil to run properly.  Water is our oil.  If my brother would drink more liquids (anything decaffeinated), he would not be so constipated, would have more energy, a better appetite, and when he goes to pee, he will have something to pee!  After the first day of drinking more fluids, Stan said at least when he went to the bathroom, he had something to go.  The doctor said this will take weeks and also prescribed him a different medication for it.
1980 - Stan walked me down the aisle.
 
2015 - Cousin Shirley, Stan, myself, and sister, Connie.
 















On Friday we went to one of our last remaining aunt's funeral. When we left home it was sunny and comfortable outside, but when we got to the country, it had dropped about ten degrees and was so windy. (Auntie Em, Auntie Em!)   My aunt had one daughter and one son, both married, both without children.  It was a small funeral, and other than my cousin's son who is in his 40's, I was the baby of the bunch! 

The country church is over 100 years old and is small but oh so ornate and beautiful!  I took a couple of pictures for ideas for our church.

  We stopped where my mom is buried for a brief time.  It was still quite windy.  We then went to the  funeral luncheon at a nearby supper club.  It was nice visiting with our cousins, but a heck of a way to have a family reunion!

Today, Saturday, I have to go to church to help set up for anniversary dinner.  It is also Apple Fest in Two Rivers.  I would like to go briefly, but we'll see.  I wanted Jim to go with me, but he has a hard route this weekend at work.

....and that's all that's new!
 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

No Place to Rest!

 
 
I'm sorry I haven't posted lately.  Last weekend I went on retreat with my bff.
It was a three hour drive (but of course, we stopped for lunch).  As usual, I woke up way too early that day and also didn't get a nap because of the drive.  My friend had a very bad cough (on top of her cancer), and was trying to rest.  She was chilled, so I thought I will let her rest.  I went to check us in at registration, and they gave me my own room, so we both would get some rest.  Some friends I had made last year helped move my stuff down the hall. 
 
That night I did not get a good night's sleep.  I didn't know if it was my interstitial cystitis or what, but I got up at least five times to go to the bathroom which is down the hall.  Not a good start!  Again, I woke up way too early.  We are eating breakfast by 8am and getting on with the day's activities which include Bible Study, worship, crafts, etc.  The study was about visual faith, and Bible journaling....how even when we highlight our Bible, we are making it visual.  We might make notes in the margins, date it, or get more elaborate and draw a picture of what the verse means to us.
 
Psalm 121
Add caption
 Well, I did these quite a while ago.  I was busy with our church scrapbook, and didn't realize that I don't have to be elaborate to do my Bible journaling!
 
Anyway, I regress.  I was having a very emotional, weepy time of it.  I really think I was overtired, but it was also the retreat center itself. I kept thinking of times when my friend and I were both more vibrant and energetic, without all our medical problems.  Different people reached out to her, and different people reached out to me.  We really weren't there for each other, but that's okay.  Sometimes you have to let other people into your life. 
 
We had a craft that was just totally frustrating for me and I never finished it.  Next, I went horseback riding.
 

Nervous.

It was not a good experience.  The horse kept taking me up against the trees, and when we got back, I had difficulty dismounting.   The horse decided it had enough of me!  (No one was hurt in the process, although I still have a bruise.

Then, I bumped my head on the top bunk.  Rough day.  Weepy.  We did a study on The Lord's Prayer with stations for different parts of it.  I tried to do most of it, but finished it in my room.  I just needed solitude.  I know it's hard to believe, but sometimes I need alone time!  I finished the study, got ready for bed, played on my Kindle, read and had a GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP!

Sunday morning I felt like my old self again! 


 
Newer friends

 
Old friends.

We drove home in the rain, but God was good and kept me safe.  It even quit raining before I got to the busy part of the freeway!

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Always good to be home.  The bladder issue got worse and for now I am on antibiotics.  The abdominal pain is at times, just awful.  I will find out on Monday if I need further treatment for IC and on Tuesday will see another gastroenterologist for my abdominal pain.
 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Log in My Eye

Venting Part 2
 
Well, the person who I felt criticized by read my blog, and it just got worse from there!
 
Never argue by text or try to resolve an issue!  The texting just went on and on, until it did get worse!
 
I read this chapter this morning:
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye
 
We all have our imperfections.  We all have our own logs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Needing to Vent
 
Old insecurities are difficult to get past.  Growing up, I was
too skinny, cross-eyed, "bug eyed," and wore glasses.  My hair
wasn't as pretty as others, my clothes were not as nice. I envied others.
Others whose fathers didn't drink or quit their jobs, others whose mothers didn't have to work.
 
My mom was very reserved with her emotions.  She was used to hiding her feelings
and protecting us.  But, she was also like her mother, in that she didn't display that much affection
or give praise.  Any praise given, was followed with a "but," or someone else did or had something better. 
 
Fast forward to today.  I am super sensitive, always have been.  It hurts, when someone tells me
they don't like something about me, or "why don't I wear .....(fill in the blank),"  I am "too negative,"
I think wrong, and I could go on and on.
 
I can only be the person that God designed me to be, and not who someone else thinks I should be.
 
Please accept me the way that I am.  I don't need your criticism, just your love.
 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

So Much Busy-ness!

I have been doing things other than retreating within myself the past few weeks. 
 
I went to a one day crop on August 27th.  These are from 9-9 and surprisingly, I get a lot done!
I didn't take photos of my scrapbook layouts, but did of this card:
 

 
I like the idea of using fun foam with a peel off sticker on my Cricut to cut out the image for the shaker card, then do the same with card stock for the top.
A simple card I made for a friend who was recently
diagnosed with cancer to let her know I am praying for her.
Modeling my paper flowers in my hair. 
It was a challenge to create something with our paper flowers, so I made a hair pin.  The Crop had a Hawaiin
theme, can't you tell?

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On Sunday I went to the county fair with my sister.  I really don't see anyone that I know, well, maybe a few gals.  I danced in the "old rock" pavilion with the other old ladies.  At first, I was hesitant, but thought, what the heck, they are all older than me or my age, so what!

My sister and I both bought a Lu La Roe legging and top outfit.  Lu La Roe is the latest rage in leggings and home based business, and NO, I am not going to sign up!

My sister wore hers on our Red Hat trip.

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On Monday I got my hair cut even shorter!   I got sick of using the curling iron.

 
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On Wednesday, August 31st, my sister and I joined other Red Hatters on
a trip to Rawhide Boy's Ranch.  It was founded in the 60's to provide a faith based
home for delinquent boys, providing them with life skills and love.
 
We were provided a HUGE buffet lunch.  You know, teenage boys
like to eat!
I forget how many acres of land are on this ranch, but it is virtually impossible for a boy to
run away.  The boys live within a family structure with a married couple and no more than eight total people in a house. There is equine therapy, a school, chapel, and they learn how to
repair and restore old cars and boats that are donated and then auctioned off.
This is the door to the Bart Starr Museum there.  Bart Starr is a famous quarterback
for the Green Bay Packers and has supported this organization from the beginning,
offering it creditability and opportunity for large donations.
Aren't my sister and I just lovely?...LOL!  She is wearing her leggings
with all the important parts covered!

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On Thursday morning I worked the desk at the Senior Center.  Saturday was my husband's birthday so I baked a cake.  We went out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  I like that place, but our family has a rule.  NEVER LET ANYONE KNOW IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!  None of us wants the embarrassing ""Happy Birthday" song!

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On Sunday, I joined my bff and family for Kite Fest.  You can read about it on her blog.
Linda Loves Chocolate

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On Wednesday, September 7th, I had to work the desk again at the Senior Center.  We were really busy that morning and the morning went fast!

In the afternoon, I had a church committee meeting to plan the grand finale for our church's golden anniversary.

I was the only one signed up for the evening stamp class, so the consultant came over to my house.
I got a head start on my Christmas cards, thanks to a kit from last year's Stampin Up.



 
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ONE MORE THING
 
I saw the nephrologist and my kidney disease is a stable Stage IV.  No worse, and a bit better.
I also know someone else who has this and has the chronic fatigue.  Guess I just have to live with it.
 
Prayers always appreciated for the chronic abdominal pain I have been experiencing this week, along with urinary discomfort from IC.  These are issues I just have to learn to accept and live with and make the best of life, no matter what.  I have learned that very well from my friend, who has terminal cancer.  Bless her.
 


 



Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Musings

Cancer and other Ugly Stuff
 
I decided that I don't cope with cancer very well.  My bff is the one who has this awful disease.  Another friend was also recently diagnosed.
 
I try to put my head in the sand, to retreat, to distance myself.  It is for my own self protection, but not always the kindest thing to do.
 
I wish I was stronger, a better friend.
 
I have had many ailments since my bff's diagnosis.  I know it is the stress.  That is just the way I am programmed.  I internalize things without realizing it.
 
All I can do is try to do better on both ends. It is easier for me when she is feeling good, but that's not the way to be.  Prayer would be good.
 

I love this picture of us.  We were both relatively healthy.  It was shortly after I had my Ileostomy.  Linda was such a help during that time.  She ran my Avon business for me while I was hospitalized, treated me to little gifts every day that I was in the hospital (and there were a lot!).  She has always been so supportive of me.  I am not so great.
 
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Church
 
To me it's more that a building to worship; it is a large part of my life.  In the past I always had a good friend at church with whom to do "church things" with, whether it was a Bible Study group, a potluck or whatever.  With my bff''s  illness, this has been missing in my life.  It is not her fault.
 

Our church has an aging congregation.  I am 64, but still, don't feel THAT OLD!   There are no church retreats of interest, no small Women's Bible Study groups.  Some of it is because of our pastor's view on Bible Study and women having a Bible Study group.  (We have one, but it is run by our deaconess in the evening).  I just want something informal with a couple of Christian like minded women and it doesn't matter to me if it is ecumenical.
 
I have missed what my pastor refers to as "happy-clappy" church music.  I am not saying the hymnal has to be thrown out,  but I do like contemporary Christian music and find it uplifting. 
 
I plan on trying out a Bible study at a different church.  I might also attend a service here and there, but still remain an active member of my home church.  I hope I can do this.
 
 



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sitting by God - NOT What you Think!

The big event this week, was my second trip to a pre-season game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
 
We went a few years ago, but that was with tickets from our brother-in-law.  This time, we used our new season tickets!  Jim had been on the waiting list for 27 years!  We are in section 740, way up by God!  (it is noted that we are interested in an upgrade).
 
We started our adventure by going to Kohl's Department Store.  It was raining there; so much for fixing my hair!  The customer service department was holding an NFL Green Bay Packer polo shirt for my husband.  We picked that up, then went to Walmart to pick up some meds, ate at Sub-way, picked up our son from work, went home, quick changed and left for the game. 
 
Jim has a co-worker who owns a field near Lambeau for parking.  It is only about two blocks from the stadium, but our gate is on the opposite end of the stadium, so it was a bit of walking.  I wore my #12 Rogers jersey, and told Jim to hold my hand or he would be going home with the wrong #12!
 
We started ascending the escalators.  After two, I was getting dizzy, so we took the elevator.  Level seven is as high as it gets.  I am afraid of heights!  It was a steep climb up the steps to our seats, lucky row number 13!  As I got in my seat.  I hung onto the arm for dear life, kept my eyes closed and as I imagined  being stuck like this for the next three hours, a few tears rolled down my cheek.  Jim kept saying that I would get used to it, and after some time, I did.  Phew!  One poor lady left, walking sideways down the steps with her eyes closed, hanging on tightly to the railing, while her friend led her down.  I guess I'm not the only one who is afraid of heights!
 
Up by God!
Sitting with my honey.
 
The thing with a pre-season game is that it doesn't count!  It consists mostly of third and fourth string players that are applying for a job with any team from the NFL, so I didn't know the players.  I also don't know much about football, so kept asking Jim questions.  It was difficult without having the TV or radio announcer giving you the play by plays.  (You mean I have to pay attention?).
 
Still, it was an experience.  My favorite part of the game, was when a college grad sang The Star Spangled Banner and the fireworks went off from the stadium!





Sunday, August 14, 2016

Things Happen in Threes

Wow!  It's the middle of August already!   I have been a busy girl.
 
We had a wedding late July with a Hawaiian theme.  It was a second marriage and quite sweet.



We then went to a bar reunion of sorts.  I used to hang out in this bar in my early 20's.  Well, everyone is older now, I don't drink, so it was kind of weird.  Not only that, but the bar had burned down, so the reunion was held somewhere else.














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PACKER HALL OF FAME
and Home of the Green Bay Packers,
LAMBEAU FIELD!

Vince Lombardi


Curley Lambeau




The big G on the top of the Stadium

On the VIP Terrace

 
Clay Matthews doesn't scare me!




 
I really enjoyed the tour of the Stadium!  The best part was going through the tunnel the players go through on the way to the field.  They had sound effects of people cheering that got louder and louder as we got closer to the field and the door opened.  The Hall of Fame itself was interesting, but did not have any of the Superbowl trophies, but did have the rings.
 
 
The Packers are the only team who has the tradition on their first practice day of riding a kid's bicycle to the field, most of the time, either carrying the child, or the child running next to them.  They look pretty funny on those little bikes, but to the kids it's an honor!
 
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First our bathtub drain broke.  So, I had to get a plumber to fix that so our son could take baths!  Did you know that one of those rubber circle things that are used to open jars works pretty well as a stopper?

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One weekend the tall ships (schooners and the like) were sailing the great lakes and docked in Green Bay for the Tall Ship Festival.  Well, we had to check that out!









Took a tour of The Galeon from Spain



World's largest rubber duck?
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In the middle of a heat wave, our air conditioner decided to bite the dust!  As they say, "it isn't  the heat, it's the humidity!"

 Fortunately we had two fans, and opened every window in the house!  Still, some days we just couldn't catch a break and the breeze was not with us.
 
We called our usual heating contractor and purchased an AC, furnace, and humidifier.  All were pretty old (30?) and just easier to replace them now than when it is the middle of winter and we have no heat!
 
 
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The third thing that happened was my wash machine died!  I had piles and piles of laundry!  Jim went to the laundromat one day to wash his work clothes.  He said it was not a pleasant experience as the place was filthy!
 
In the midst of all this, I was trying to plan a rummage sale.  It was so hot and humid in the garage, I am always so tired, and all I could do was work on it a little at a time.  Finally, after about two weeks, I was ready to open.  That Friday, during the garage sale, my washer was delivered!  Yeah!  We worked around everything. So happy to have my new washer.  This time Jim bought the pedestal for it so I wouldn't have to bend over.  When the dryer goes (knock on wood), we will get a pedestal for that also.
 
I wish I could say my garage sale was a great success, but it was just okay.  I didn't have any really cool stuff to sell.  My son made more than I did with video games and the like. 
 
The first day, someone walked off with my ring case full of rings!  That was discouraging to say the least.  My bff and I had stamping and scrapping stuff for sale.  I probably could have priced my stuff a little higher.  It seems like the single stamps went better than sets!  Women's clothes doesn't go to well...waste of time and space!  I told my husband we are going to do this every year until we get rid of some of our junk, I mean treasures!
 
 
So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!