Preparing for Mayo visit- Indiana trip ending

It's our last day in Indiana. How quickly the trip has gone. As usual, it was a whirlwind and we didn't see everyone we wanted to see. However, I am very thankful we did get to see as many people as we did. Hoosiers are genuine people who truly care about one another. I am proud to be a Hoosier AND an Alaskan.. I guess you could say that I have dual citizenship.😊

Our trip from Salem to Greencastle was interesting to say the least. We missed our initial turn off on the highway. Our GPS told us we could go an alternate route. We were optimistic and ready to make the best of an unfortunate delay. We went through MILES of road construction. Our computer navigator informed us we could take a shortcut and we readily accepted the alternate route. Off we went on the country roads following the winding curves with hopeful anticipation of  a shortcut.  After about ten minutes we stopped and stared in dismay. Another road was covered in water. You see, we already had this issue happen the night before after our family get together in Surprise Indiana area. But I will get back to that.. Anyway, as we stared in horror (not just dismay) at the sight ahead of us, we witnessed a large truck trudging through the deep water that covered the road. The driver motioned for me to roll down the window. He very matter of factly told me that there was NO way we could make it through the washed out road. I asked for directions to Greencastle and my eyes glazed over as I listened to his directions. We didn't have a clue about all the roads and highways he was talking about. I made a u-turn on that very narrow country road and headed back to the highway. I'm not going to tell you how I went on a different road and how much I prayed we would find the highway again..... but I can say our 1.5 hour trip did end after about 4 hours. And I will tell you that my bladder hurt so bad. What I can't tell you is why I didn't use the "facilities" out in the middle of nowhere. I sure do in Alaska! TMI, I know.

By the time we arrived, my right hip was in agony. I'm not sure if it was because I sat so long in the car, or what. All I know is it's hard to walk and it hurts. It's different than what I have had going on with my hip popping out of place. But that's nothing compared to what my friends are going through.

Just tonight, I found out the wife of a friend has breast cancer, another friend is having transplant complications and her release home has been delayed, and yet another friend found out spots showed up on his lungs and liver after chemo, radiation, and surgery. My heart is heavy. I feel like my experience was inconsequential compared to everyone else's and feel I have NO right to complain or act like my path was rough. It was so easy compared to others.

Being in my aunt's house brings me many memories of my Uncle Terry. Uncle Terry is my mom's youngest sibling, and her only brother. I loved my Uncle Terry. (I still do) I remember him calling us at Ronald McDonald House when Logan was sick. He told Logan to massage my neck when I had a headache one day.   It was a thoughtful suggestion, but Logan didn't seem too enthused. πŸ˜‹After Logan died, Uncle Terry became a huge support for me. We emailed all the time and he became my confidant and encourager. I was devastated when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was optimistic to the end and determined to beat it. I came to see him about three weeks before he died. He was in the very room I am in right now and my heart hurts, thinking about how frail and sick he was. Uncle Terry loved his wife, Sally, his daughter Laura, and his three grandchildren. He would be thrilled to havea great granddaughter and so excited that his daughter now has her very own pond with fish in it. I suggested she get a sign by the pond that says, "Terry's Pond." He would be honored.

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Sunday evening at my family's home was awesome. I got to see many cousins, and had my own family book signing event. I believe I signed about 25 copies. I always get a little embarrassed about the attention and the compliments, but I am truly honored.  We got to see two women who absolutely adore my granny. They are both very good friends of hers and about the age. Both were in tears and telling me how much they miss Granny. Family and friends mean everything. Thank you, God, for my family and friends.

And about those roads I'm Surprise, Indiana?We might have missed the turn there too.... washed out roads due to the terrible storms just added to the stress.😝 I still have hair- I didn't pull it all out.

5/2/17

We had a great flight to MN from IN. So much traveling this year. I am so ready to be home and stay home.. I'm so tired. My hip is still bothering me. I don't know who is more handicapped, me or Mom. We both struggle with walking; her because of her foot and me because of my hips. We must be amusing to others as we fight over who is going to lift suitcases. She wants to take care of me, and I have always been taught to take care of my elders. When Meghan is with me she takes over and I let her because it's easier than arguing about it. I wish Mom would let me do things for her. It's a shame we both have physical problems. In my head I am still healthy and 20.

Tomorrow I have ten appointments at Mayo beginning at 0700. I am so very tired. It's time for bed.

5/3/17

Ten appointments down,five more tomorrow and one on Friday morning. The positive news is my blood tests look fantastic. I saw the endocrinologist and he helped me adjust my insulin pump to hopefully avoid all the lows. I had another low last night before bed. We did that adjustment, and then I forgot to bolus after lunch. A few hours later, my blood sugar was over 300. He gave me some tips I hadn't heard of before. I have a new determination to check it more frequently. I was excited when he told me my A1C was 5.9. That's a great level for a diabetic. Or so I thought.... he said mine is that low because of the lows I have been having, so that means it's NOT good. Sometimes I feel like I just suck at being healthy.

For the less than positive news..... I have had a lot of joint and muscle pain for quite sometime. My hips have been giving me lots of trouble, and my shoulder has been freezing up on me. It seems that I have three different issues going on. Tomorrow I am getting a cortisone shot in my shoulder. He believes that I have inflammation in there and it should help. If it doesn't help, I could have a torn rotator cuff. Tomorrow I am getting an MRI on my hips. He feels it may be a problem with my bursa. For the joint and muscle soreness, he believes I have fibromyalgia. This news kind of blew me out of the water. I have been experiencing severe tenderness all over my body. It hurts to touch pretty much all of me. He handed me a couple of pamphlets and my symptoms were right there in black and white. Mom and I will be going to a class Friday morning to learn more about it. He said he believes it was caused by my transplant. I don't want to take medicine for it. He said to stay physically active and it will help. I don't like this latest diagnosis, but it could, and has been, worse. One of my friends was just diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. That is FAR worse and my heart goes out to her and her family. It's important to rememeber how blessed we all are. There are so many people way worse off than me. What I went through is so insignificant compared to what others have been through.

Two more nights and I get to go home. I miss my husband and family. I don't have to come back for six months, unless another issue comes up.

I watched a video on FB tonight. It was a video about this very talented and famous violin player. She was "undercover", so to speak- ina subway station playing her violin. The music was beautiful, yet no one was paying attention. People were ignoring her and staring at their phones. They didn't take time to enjoy the moment and enjoy the beauty. How many times have you ignored the beauty all around because you are "too busy and in a hurry?" I know I am guilty of this. The chores can wait. Take time to enjoy what's around you. Open your eyes and your heart. God created a beautiful world. Enjoy it.

5/4/17

My throats is sore.. guess I need to make another run up to Charlton 9A and be checked OT before I leave tomorrow. We certainly don't want to ignore this and send me back to Alaska on the weekend. A simple sore throat  isn't always simple for me. I am a complicated kind of gal. 

Besides all my medical appointments today, I have a meeting with a Be the Match employee and the bone marrow transplant social worker. This is part of my volunteer duties and I'm excited for my first campus educational meeting. I love volunteering for Be the Match. I am excited to host another bone marrow drive - I just have to get one lined up. My goal is to register 1,000 this year, but so far, I have only 49 signed up. Let's get working on that!

5/5/17

I was put through the ringer yesterday. First up was the bone marrow biopsy. I had somewhat of an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. I woke up confused and groggy and nauseated which doesn't normally happen with the "white stuff" Logan liked so much. I have never had that happen before and I didn't like it. Usually I wake up feeling great. After that, I had to lie flat on my back for a 45 minute MRI of my hips. I learned so much yesterday and none of it's  good. I need some time to formulate all this in my head before I write about it. The good news is I am sure my bone marrow will be free of leukemia cells. That's not the concern. I am glad we are going home tonight.

5/6/17

The trip home yesterday was not smooth sailing. Both flights were delayed which meant a lot of time sitting and doing nothing. I met an interesting 91 year old man on the first flight. He is a retired pediatric neurologist who consulted for presidents from Truman to Bush on the healthcare system. I asked him what he thought about Trump's new health care plan and he said "it's a disaster". I do not disagree with that statement. I fear Trump has been too eager to replace Obama, in all aspects, but the result means the American people will suffer greatly. What about the people with preexisting conditions like me?

In 2015, I was diagnosed with autonomous neuropathy. They determined this by testing and from an evaluation from a neurologist. My symptoms all but disappeared for a while. Now I am exhibiting further symptoms. But along with that, I am exhibiting symptoms of fibromyalgia, which is a condition doctors diagnose you with when all other testing is negative- for example, rheumatoid arthritis. I know people with fibromyalgia and I believe it's a legitimate condition, but it's not one I am willing to take on without seeing a neurologist. Then there is my hip issue. I have certainly complained about my limited physical movements and pain I have had. When I walk, my hips seem to catch and it stops me in my tracks. after a few seconds, they seem to "pop" back in and I can walk again. It happens in one hip at a time. Then there is the burning issue. Mostly it's a burning sensation on my left side that is quite painful and wakes me up at night and makes it difficult to sit during the day. I had an excruciatingly painful pelvis MRI and found that I have tears in my gluteal muscle and tendon, arthritis, and bursitis, and some other things that explain the pain. I also heard from the pulmonologist that I have nodules on my lungs and most likely mild GVHD in them.

I shared this information with a good friend. She's wisely asked me how I am feeling about all this news. I summed it up by saying, "I am pissed off. I am relieved they finally found an answer for all my symptoms, but I am sad because I am limited in playing with my grandchildren because I can't run and participate in activities like their other grandparents can. I just want to be normal. I am thankful I am alive and thankful the bone marrow biopsy came in free of leukemia cells. " Life can be difficult and our path may not be easy or fun, but our attitude about it can make or break us. I have had my moment so of pity and anger. Now I going to continue to strive for strength and healing.

5/7/17

Self pity has continued today. I woke up all night long with several corneal erosions. This morning at 0430 was the worst one of all. The pain was debilitating. At the same time as the erosion (or abrasion), my leg started cramping. I gave up and got out of bed. Thankfully the Muro 128 drops stopped the eye pain so I could start working on paying bills and sorting out tax information that I keep track of monthly.

I have complained too much lately. I get irritated when I go on Face Book and see one complaint after another about phsyical or emotional issues someone is experiencing. Yet here I am whining and complaining about my issues. Please accept my apologies.

Let's talk about praises.  In my book "100 Things God Loves About You" # 39 says, "God loves to hear your praises."

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1

There is none like you. You alone are God. Psalm 86.8, 10

Yesterday I got to be there when Olivienne woke up. She spent the night Friday night and of course was asleep by the time I got home. I heard her morning yell and went in and rubbed her back. She looked at me and gave me a precious hug. I praise God that I am here, alive and well, and can receive her hug.  When Meghan brought Ailynn over, she gave me a big hug too. We babysat while Meghan went shopping. Truthfully, I napped for part of that time and Patrick played with them, but I did get to enjoy them. Ollie and I went for a nice walk with Ringo and we had a wonderful time just chatting. She is my little buddy and I'm so grateful to be here with them.

"Jesus Today" says, "Hope in me, for you will again praise me for the help of my presence.  Sometimes-especially when you are feeling downcast or disturbed, it is hard to continue hoping in me.  At such times, it is important to remember that Christian hope is much more than a feeling.  It is confidence in me, who I am (your savior God),and what I promised to do."

Truthfully, I feel like weeping. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and have a good cry. I ran into a friend/former co-worker yesterday. As we were chatting about her recent promotion, my gut just hurt. I thought about all I have lost and how much I miss the excitement of my job. Now my excitement is going to medical appintments to find out the latest problem my leukemia treatment has caused me. I have lost so much. BUT I have gained so much too. I have gained an understanding of what cancer treatment does to people. I have gained sympathy and empathy for others. I have gained compassion and love for others. Sometimes my heart hurts so much for others that I just can't stand it. But I know who holds my future in his hands and I will always have hope.

I have much to be thankful for. My sweet husband loves me so much and he never acts angry or disappointed about my lack of energy or abilities. He accepts me just as I am. My mother takes such great care of me and I always choose her to go back to Mayo with me. I have a son, daughter-in-law, daughter, son-in-law, and 2.5 grandchildren to enjoy. I have my grandma, my father, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. I have my church family and my volunteer work. I have GOD.  I have it all.

Ollie and I talked about Heaven yesterday. She talked about going to see Uncle Logan there someday. I told her I was excited about going to Heaven to see Uncle Logan, but for right now I want to stay here with her and Ailynn.  I told her whenever I do get to go to Heaven that I will be very excited. I hope she remembers this conversation and never feels afraid of departing this earth. We all die on earth, but thank you, Jesus, that we can all live in Heaven with you if we believe that Jesus is the son of God and we have asked forgiveness of our sins. I repent to you right now for my doubt, my unbelief, and my crappy attitude. Thank you, God for everything you have done for me and for all you have given to me. I will serve you however you desire me to serve.

5/9/17

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) I am mourning. Yesterday I learned my friend Terri lost her battle with AML (same kind of leukemia as me) after she developed an infection in her blood. Oh how I grieve the loss of this brave, sweet woman.  Terri and I connected via FB after I learned of her diagnosis. I reached out to her and offered to support her through her journey. She eagerily accepted my offer and we exchanged many phone calls, text messages, and FB messages.  A month ago I stopped by her house and gave her a card and signed her copy of my book.  I was delighted to give her a big hug and spend time in her glowing presence. She simply glowed. She was very excited to meet me in person. She held onto my hand as if she never wanted to let it go. She introduced me to her husband, her son, her daughter, and her daughter's care giver. I think I gave her hope of a life free of leukemia. She saw me leukemia free and she hoped for the same outcome for herself.  Terri went through so much and it hurts me to even think about what has happened to her. A couple of months ago, her prosthetic knee was removed and a cement spacer was put in it's place. She had had multiple infections because of that knee. She was home recuperating, but went back into the hospital for more chemo. She needed to stay in remission so she could have her bone marrow transplant. The lifesaving medical interventions took her life and I am so very saddened. I didn't get to say goodbye to her and I feel like a terrible friend because I didn't know she was at the end of her life.

1 Peter 1: 3-9 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revelaed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold which persishes even through refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpresssible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Terri went through such terrible trials.  She shared with me that the pain from her knee procedures was excruciating.  She shared with me the many, many months in the hospital drained her emotionally. However, she shared her bubbliness, her hope, and her desire to keep on fighting. Her son said she shared with her family that she was ready to go to Heaven. How happy Terri must be right now. When she left this earth, she was in a wheelchair and/or a hospital bed. Now she is flyng free of all pain.  I am sure she has met my son, Logan, and told him about our friendship. Although my heart is grieving, I am so happy for Terri that she is finally free.

Yesterday I also found out a friend has spots on his liver and his lungs and the doctors fear his cancer has returned. As you can imagine, yesterday was a very difficult day for me. I was filled with the same question, "Why did I survive and am doing reasonably well, but Logan, Terri, and so many others didn't survive? Why am I cancer free when my friend was just told he likely relapsed Why, God? What is your plan for me?"  In 2016, 19,00 were diagnosed with AML and 10,000 of them died. I'm one of only 25% that survived. I want to celebrate, yet I feel so guilty after losing so many friends. I know I am here for a purpose and I desire to make the most of my life and never ever give up the fight.

5/11/17

It was a warm and sunny day yesterday. Patrick and I ate our yummy stir fry out on the deck while we soaked up the May sunshine. May has always been my favorite month in Alaska. It's a month that shows the promise of new growth, warmth, and upcoming summer fun. I remember homeschooling my children in May. We would sit on the trampoline and do school work while basking in the glory of the warm sunshine.  This May started off a bit dreary; it was windy, gloomy, and cold. Not yesterday though! It was simply perfect. Debbie and I went hiking earlier in the afternoon and I continued my appreciation for the weather on the deck with Patrick.

If you know my husband, you will know that when he feels the sunshine, he thinks about fishing. It wasn't long before he asked, "Do you want to take the boat out on Big Lake? Remember, I caught a pike there last year and you have been asking for pike." This was his way of making it "my idea". I thought about it for about two seconds and told him no. I knew I would get too tired and it would make us both miserable. I told him to go without me. A second later he mentioned Roy was going. I laughingly accused him of having that plan all along, but he adamently denied it. (I'm not sure I believe him)

I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30. I woke up an hour later to a blood sugar that had dropped to 49. This was after it had been high all day. I treated my hypoglycemia and went to bed. I was in a deep sleep and then Casey called. We chatted for a bit and back to sleep I went. I won't go into all the details, but I will say I slept poorly. My hips hurt most of the night and I kept waking up. I was groggy when I got out of bed to make Patrick coffee and breakfast. Thankfully I had prepared his lunch the night before. I did not have it in me to do much more than the little I did.

I had the presence of mind to ask him about his fishing trip. I swear he and Roy need their own TV fishing show.  They got to Big Lake and the lake was still partially frozen. They were able to get the boat into the lake and happily set out fishing.  Then it started lightening and thundering!  They scrambled out of the boat and hunkered down in the truck for safety. They waited till the storm passed and went back out into the boat. The weather became cold and windy, yet they fished for hours. They did not catch a thing and had a blast. And he wonders why I often say no to these late night fishing trips..... Thank goodness he has Roy to go on these wild and crazy trips!

Today is my mother's 75th birthday. My mom is the epitome of goodness. She is a saint on earth. She's loving, kind, thoughtful, caring, intelligent, beautiful, and all around wonderful. I am grateful that God chose her to be my mother and I'm so thankful for her. She's the first one I want to call when things go wrong. She is my rock, my confidant, my friend. I love my mom and I thank God that she survived breast cancer.  Almost her entire family has died at an early age from cancer. Mom is tough and I am so happy she is here.

5/13/17

We had a wonderful time celebrating Mom's birthday and my niece Melissa's high school graduation.  It was nice to take some time to be with family and friends. My brother made a beautiful speech- he certainly takes after our father in his ability to speak eloquently.

This morning I reflected on what tomorrow  tomorrow means to me. Not only is it Mother's Day and I am feeling grateful to have a mother and grandma, but I am also thrilled to be a mother and grandmother myself. I am thankful God blessed me with three beautiful children. I am thankful I had Logan for eleven years. I am thankful I have so many precious memories of him. I am thankful I have two other children and I love them so much. I am thankful I have two granddaughters and will soon have a third.

But with all of these positive and happy moments, I am thankful that tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my transplant. When I reflected on all of this happiness this morning, I broke down in tears. Tears of gratitude. I am alive! I all here and I am able to help others and be be a friend, a mom, a daughter, a granddaughter, a wife, a niece, sister, aunt, and cousin. I am incredibly grateful and happy.

Tomorrow, Channel 11 news plans to come out to to Granny's to interview me. It is a follow up interview to the one they did about me needing a bone marrow transplant. What better day than Mother's Day and the day of my 2nd transplant anniversary?! We will have five generations there to show people that sometimes miracles do happen.

5/14/17

Happy 2nd anniversary to me. I am honored to celebrate life today. I feel blessed and fortunate to have survived a very ugly disease and a very ugly recovery. Out of the ugliness came beauty. Not my physical beauty, but the beauty of the Lord upon my life.

This morning I woke up and decided to go for a walk before church. It was 39 degrees and rather dismal out. It had rained all night long and stopped for a brief time before the it resumed. When I walked outside, I could smell the after affects of the rain. You know, that pure spring smell where the promise of green grass and blooming flowers await. I noticed that the rain washed away all the ugly debris and dust in my yard and in the road. I noticed that my grass is already looking greener- just from one rain! I thought about how God uses the rain and the thunderstorms to cleanse our lives.  He washes away the ugliness and makes us clean again. He gives us the promise of a new day filled with hope for the future. God's love is like rain and it brightens our world.

God never fails us. My brother shared with me his disappointment about  a virus that took over his tomato plants. Mark has a commercial greenhouse and depends on a certain percentage of plants to produce enough tomatoes for restaurants and markets. He lost almost all of those plants. It's a financially devestating loss for a small business. He had a great atttitude about it though; he shared that he has learned from his mistakes and will be more dilligent in his procedures so a virus will never again attack the fruits of his labor.  He said if he didn't have tough times, he would never appreciate the good times. He doesn't want to ever take anything for granted.   Our failures change us and should make us want to grow and be better people.  The thing about God is- he is always there when we fail and he's ready to forgive us and help us be better.  As I reflect on Mother's Day, I think about all the times I failed as a parent. It's not too late though. I can continue striving to be a better mother and grandmother.  God has given me another chance and I don't want to lose out on opportunities to grow and mature in him.  Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers.

Mother’s Day Thoughts
By
Kelly Marre

Mother’s Day is a day of honoring our mothers just like Christmas is about honoring the birth of Jesus, and Valentine’s Day is about honoring our true love. All the holidays we have created have a purpose-and that is to bring attention and honor to a special person or group.

But Mother’s Day can also bring pain to a woman who has been unable to conceive or carry a child to term, or may have lost a child in a stillborn birth. We must be sensitive to others on this day. Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring joy; sometimes it brings pain. If you are a woman who longs for a child, but hasn’t been able to have one, I encourage you to reach out to your own mother, grandmother, aunt, or a mentor and celebrate them. I can’t understand your pain, but I can pray for the hurt in your heart to ease.

For those who have had a difficult relationship with your own mother- perhaps they were abusive or neglectful in raising you, I hope that you can find joy in honoring someone else or yourself on this day. Forgiveness is not easy to do, but it will set you free.

For those of you with small children- we honor you today. It’s no easy task to raise children. They are busy little bees and you are exhausted. Whether you work outside the home or not, it’s not easy to find time for yourself. The saying, “They grow up so fast’ is so true. I blinked and mine were grown. How I long to return to the days when they were small. I would relax more, enjoy them more, hug them more, and appreciate them more.

For those of you with teenagers, I feel for you! Raising a teen is not easy. They can be difficult, moody, or angry at times. Hang in there and try and find a common bond with them. Show them you love them by showing them how interested you are in what they are interested in. Teens can be a lot of fun and it’s wonderful to see them develop their own thoughts and ideas.

For those of you who are older and you still have your mothers. Oh, how fortunate you are! Love them, spend time with them, and help them whenever you can. Our mothers want to know you still value them. Enjoy them as they have lived a long life and can offer great advice. Take the time to listen.

For those of you who have lost a child to death and have other children, I know your heart is torn. You want to feel joy on this day, but your heart hurts because you miss your deceased child. It’s okay to show your children you are feeling sad, but make sure they know you still love them just as much. On this day, be kind to yourself. Be careful not to be too hard on yourself for crying on a day that everyone assumes is supposed to be a happy day. Your child is still your child, no matter if he or she lives here or in Heaven.

For those of you who have adult children who have turned their back on you because maybe they are mentally ill or have an addiction, my heart hurts for you too. It must be painful to be ignored by your own child. Don’t ever estimate the prayers of a praying mother. Pray each day for your child without ceasing . Have hope and stay strong.

For those of you who have adult children and grandchildren- enjoy this day. You have earned the opportunity to be honored on this day. Enjoy this new phase in your life and be an example for your children and grandchildren.

For those of you who are single mothers- you have a huge task and I am sure it’s not easy. Stay strong and keep striving towards the goal of successful parenting. You can do it because you are an amazing woman.

For those of you with life threatening illnesses- I know you are scared that you may be taken away from your children. Enjoy each moment you have and never give up hope. Make memories each day so that you may always live on in your child's memory.

For those of you mourning the loss of your mother- my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine a day without my own mother. Cherish those special moments and let your mother's gentle encouragement whisper in your ear each day. Feel her arms around you as she celebrates the woman you have become. Strive to be like her.

For the husbands- I hope you can express how much you value the mother of your children. She needs your encouragement, your love, and your support. Treasure her not just this day, but all days. Support her as best you can.

May you each have a blessed day.

5/15/17

If you click on the link below and choose open video, you can see the TV interview we did yesterday about Logan and my story and about the need for bone marrow donors, and my next book signing- which is at Annabel's Books Carrs Mall Wasilla- May 20th from 11-1.

http://www.ktva.com/valley-woman-celebrates-bittersweet-mothers-day-anniversary-lifesaving-transplant-889/#.WRqCIWD16fQ.facebook

5/17/17

The sweetest moment happened this morning- I got to cuddle with my youngest granddaughter, Ailynn in the wee hours of the morning. The girls spent the night with me- alone, with no one else here. Patrick is in Seattle, he's coming home tonight. Meghan put them to sleep before she left. She's flying to California to meet Kirk so they can drive their truck and trailer back to Alaska where they will stay all summer long.πŸ™πŸ˜

Ailynn slept in bed with me and she stayed in one spot all night. This morning she whimpered, scooted over, and wrapped her arms around me. Ringo, of course, couldn't be left out so he snuggled up behind me. I was wrapped in a sandwich of love... Of course I am now wide awake, and was shortly before 0500, and am trying to keep the dogs from clicking their nails all over our laminate flooring. The last thing I need is for the dogs to wake the girls up this early. 

I am thrilled and grateful that I have enough energy to take care of the girls. I am thanking God in advance, hoping he will replenish me with energy each day. I want to do a good job with the girls. I want to be a regular Grammie, not one who is deficient compared to their other grandmothers.

While I wait for the girls to wake up, I have been reading news articles. I read about a young mother who died of a heroin overdose while pregnant with her second child.  Her parents were brave and courageous and put educational information in her obituary because they want to prevent other deaths. How incredibly difficult for them, yet such a loving act.

I read about a boy who just graduated from an Anchorage high school after having a heart transplant many years ago. He was the recipient of a seven year old's heart. The child had died from an anyeuris. The deceased child's parents came to this boy's graduation. How special!

I read about an Eagle who got a 3-D beak after his was destroyed. Now he can eat, live, and thrive.

There are many good things that happen in the world. But we seem drawn to the ugliness of the world. I hope we all make more of an effort to find the beauty in the world.

*****

About 0700, I decided to sneak a quick shower in. I took a fast one- probably 5 minutes long. When I got out of the bathroom I looked at the bed. There was no baby.... I ran into the living room and there she was riding on her pony. She didn't make a peep when she woke up. It was so sweet. Last night I set the alarm in the house just in case Ollie woke up in the middle of the night and tried to go outside. I'm sure she wouldn't do that, but I don't want to take any chances.

We had a fun day playing on the swing set, reading stories, and building with legos. Ingrid's daughter, Emily, came over to visit me. She is such a sweet girl. Ingrid passed away back in February. I reached out to Emily and to my surprise, she accepted my invitation to come over. She is so much like her mom. She is poised, intelligent, and so sweet. Emily mentioned she is the shopper and chef in her house now and I offered to help her plan menus. She said she would love to. She is my kind of girl! I look forward to spending time with her again.

Tomorrow we are going to the library story time up in Sutton. Miss Nancy loves Olivienne and Ailyn.  The girls will have their cousins, Kaycie and Kalen there too. Afterwards we will go to the park. By the time Meghan gets back I will be in need of a long nap. I am enjoying the time with my grandbabies though.

5/18/17

Celebrating each moment was the message I heard today on Joyce Meyer's show. We spend so much time focusing on what is wrong, what we don't have, or how bad we feel that we don't celebrate the little moments that are meaningful and indeed significant. A man on the show shared about his 24 year old daughter who contracted mono. It spread to her brain and she could no longer talk, walk, read, or even watch TV because of severe nausea. I have been nauseated a lot after transplant, but that is far worse than anything I ever experienced. Each day her parents would celebrate each minute improvement. They would say, "this is going to end good." After three months, this girl is back to 90%! They never gave up and they celebrated each moment. They didn't focus on all the bad, but they focused on the good they knew was going to come. They believed God in advance for her healing. Their faith was rewarded.

I feel I must offer a caveat here. We all know sometimes we believe and trust God and sometimes the desires of our hearts are not fulfilled. I know that first hand as I lost my first born child to a disease I have been healed from. But despite that, I still have faith and still encourage you all to BELIEVE God has a miracle planned for you. Appreciate the little things, for someday, they will become a BIG thing. Focus on the positive and don't complain about everything thats not fitting your plan for your life. Be cautious of complaining.

5/20/17

How do you see yourself compared to how others see you? That topic was brought up a couple times today during my book signing. I keep hearing people say, "you inspire me. You are so courageous and I am so impressed with how you have handled your situation." Then there is me, at times saying, "Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? What can I do better?" Remember all the times I wrote, "be kind to yourself" while chastising myself for not being kind to me?  Someone said it well today- "We are identified through what we do." When we fail to meet our own expections, we have failed in our own eyes. But how does God see us? Does he see me as a failure because I contracted leukemia, had a transplant, and have suffered multiple complications? Thankfully, NO, he does not see me as a failure. He is molding me into something new.

I received the most thoughtful thank you note today from a friend. I mailed her family a book to thank them for their care of us. Erin wrote "My 14 year old daughter actually took the book before I had the chance and read it in a couple of days. She loved it. Thank you for having the courage and discipline to write and share all that you did. I hope and believe that Camilla will be a better friend, a better mother (someday), and a better person for reading it. If our story makes a difference in the life of one person, than I completed the job God designated me for. But I believe he has more for me to share. I must get out of my comfort zone and be bold in sharing the miracle he has provided for me. I must share about Heaven and how happy Logan must be. 

#24 in "One Hundred Things about God Loves About You" says, "He noticed, you know.  What you did, he saw.  What you said, he heard.  You gave your lunch to that homeless guy, your time to that hurting friend.  You stooped to lift up, you stood up for, reached out a hand.  " God sees all of our actions. "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40.

He hears all of our thoughts and whispers.  He feels both pain and happiness we have in our hearts. Isn't amazing that God cares about each of us? And that he doesn't care if we can walk, talk, or sing. He made us. We have a purpose and that is to show others the love of God. Some show love through works.   Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast." Verse 10 goes on to say, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." I find it amazing that God knew how my life would turn out. He knew the struggles I would face. He knew the shear grief that would wash over me like a ferocious tidal wave. He knew. He is here for me.  

God knew my journey way before I did. Before I was even formed in my mother's womb. He knew he would mold me into a person who shared his love with others. He knew that he wasn't giving me more than I could handle. He knew I would continue honoring him by sharing Logan and my story with others. I share it not to gain fame or fortune, but to share the love of Jesus with others.  May my faith be tangible to them as they read about our journey. May I be kind to myself as I continue to heal.  What have YOU done today to show kindness to yourself and others?  That is a question I ask myself every day.

********

We have had the girls for four nights now and are truly enjoying them. Everyone thinks their grandchildren are the most special and beautiful of all and Patrick and I are no exception to that.  Today Kirk's dad and step-mom are watching them because anyone over the age of 50 needs a break sometimes. :)  I am about ready to drive up to Lazy Mountain to pick up the little cherubs.  Meghan and Kirk are in Montana now so are making good progress on their road trip. I know they miss their babies, but I am delighted they trusted us with them.

Last night I hear about severe flooding in my hometown of Salem, Indiana. I saw pictures on FB of places I had just visited a few weeks ago. My heart hurts for my friends who have had damage to their cars, businesses, and homes. It's a devesating national disaster for sure. We experienced some flooding while we were there at the beginning of the month, but nothing compared to what is going on right now. I am praying for them all.

5/24/17

My baby girls went back to their parents last night. My house is empty and quiet and I'm so sad. I loved having them. Their sweet little smiles, precious hugs, and energetic little bodies are so precious. I am feeling pretty proud of myself for making it seven nights without asking for too much help. It's a feeling of accomplishment for me. My friend Annette told me I didn't have anything to prove- yet competitve me disagreed. I needed to prove to myself more than anyone that I am still capable of taking care of my granddaughters and my house. Yes, I was worn out and relieved when Patrick got home each night. Just taking 15 minutes by myself rejuvenated me. I don't remember being so tired when I had my own children. Of course I was much younger, but I still think it's the consistency of it. Back in those days it just was chaos 24 hours a day for 5-6 years. To go from solitude to chaos again was a bit stressful, but oh so much fun.  I miss them. Now I feel comfortable enough to have them both spend the night from time to time. I was afraid of having Ailynn because she's so young, but now we know she's quite capable at staying without her momma and daddy. Fun times to come!

I am doing my substance abuse counseling training with one client. This week's lesson had to do with control. I realized that I truly do have a problem "letting go". I have to be in control all the time. I did the lesson on myself and found that my thought process is, "If I'm not in control, I will worry that things will go wrong. If I don't know everything that is going on, I can't stop the bad from happening." The truth is,  I can't stop the bad from happening. I have to let things go. I get irritated with the saying, "Let go and Let God." Yeah, I agree with it, but it's an overused saying. I need to remember that I can be happy and have peace even when things are not going the way I want them to go.   I  have looked at my calendar and see that I have committed to so many things this summer. Many volunteer projects, training, and meeting. I keep saying yes to each "little thing."  The little things are adding up to big things which doesn't help my control issues at all. I am a perfectionist and I want to be the best of everything.  When I commit to something I want to give it my all. When I can't fulfill that role I have failed. (in my eyes) Another cliche, "Slow down and smell the roses.". Ugh..... I'm working on it. God is molding me. About the time I am 90 I will have figured it out. :)

5/26/17

We arrived at my favorite place last night; our cabin. Tonight I flashed back to those endless nights in the hospital where I pined for this  special place. My heart is full and happy. Life is good. I have worn Patrick out with my "five year plan." My goal (God willing) is to get accepted in the Social Work graduate program next spring and begin classes next summer. In three years from now I will have my LCSW degree (God willing) and I can return to work full time. Two years after that, Patrick can retire and we will move down here permanently. We can rent our Wasilla house out for extra income. That's MY goal. Let's see what God has in store  for us.  I feel lighthearted and hopeful for the future. I just know my Leukemia is gone forever and I can stay here and give back to my friends, family, and community.

We are fortunate to be down here for four nights. Memorial Day is Monday. If I hear one more person say, "Happy MemorIal Day", I am going to scream. What's "happy" about our Veterans dying?  This "holiday" is about remembering the sacrifices they made for our country and for us as individuals. God bless America and God bless our Veterans. I thank each and everyone of you who served our country. This weekend, I remember the ones who died and my heart feels for the family members left behind. Thank you.

Our little Ailynn baby is sick. I face timed with her and Meghan tonight and my heart broke as I stared at the lethargic little baby. She's so sick. I worry about her and pray she gets better quickly.

Enjoy life to the fullest. Appreciate the bad things in life because they open your eyes to the good things you didn't see before. I am glad I got Leukemia. My life wasn't going the direction it should have been going. I wasn't but where I needed to be spiritually and I didn't appreciate my husband as I do now. God opened my eyes and my heart is filled with gratitude. All things happen for a reason. It's up to us to use our circumstances for greater good.

5/28/17

Although we can all get a little frustrated on technology taking over our simple lives, sometimes it's a good thing. This morning I took Ringo for a walk in the woods- 200 plus miles from my church, and I listened to a sermon on my phone through FB Live. Now if that's not cool, I don't know what is. Here we were, Ringo and I, traipsing through nature while listening to a sermon about priorities.

The simplified version of the message was this; every part of our lives is a season. There are some things we cannot change when we are in a season. We are there for a reason. There's a reason for the season! But what we can do is live fruitfully - making the most of the season we are in. We can prioritize our activities. We can cut out the meaningless things and focus on the things that help us grow spiritually. It's great to plan for the future, save money, enjoy our leisure time, have nice things, etc., but all we do should be spent glorifying God. Don't be stingy with your time or your resources. Share your blessings. After all, the most important thing is we will one day live eternally with Jesus. We can't get to Heaven by good works, but to honor HIM, we do goodworks. Prioritize and make good choices.

The messages made me think about marriage. Sometimes marriages last for "just a short season." What began with the hope and promise of two people sharing a common goal and priorities, changed into two individuals- no longer United, and looking out for their own best interests. What changed? At what moment do you stop and realize your marriage is no longer a union between two people with common goals? When is it too late to start over? Is it ever too late? I pondered this question as I I stood in the kitchen washing dishes after cooking Patrick a big breakfast. I love cooking for him and keeping the house clean and organized for him. He loves building things and making our home (and cabin) better and more efficient. It's a give and take relationship. I reflected back to our earlier years and inwardly groaned. Marriage was tough!! We had three small children under four and our priorities were different. He wanted to have fun all the time and I felt the pressure of being the perfect mom. I didn't know how to have fun. There were times when we truly didn't like each other too much. We definitely looked after our individual interests for a long time. There was always love, but the friendship disappeared for awhile.  We could have given up, but we are  both too stubborn.  Plus, there was undeniable love between us. We had been through so much together. No one else would ever understand the loss of Logan like he and I did. No one else would stand beside me like he did as I fought cancer with everything I had. He loved me. He simply loved me. I in turn, will do anything for this man I married. Our marriage isn't a "season", it's forever. I will never love another man like I love Patrick.

I will also never love anyone as much as I love God. God gave me this life. He gave me everything I have. I will use my seasons to serve him. I will learn to be better at prioritizing my schedule.  It is up to us to learn to dance in the rain. It's also up to us to prepare for the storm. Dont let life blindside you. Write your short term goal out, your long term goals out, and make plans. Don't go into life blindfolded. Enjoy every single moment.  

5/31/17

The last day of May. As usual, time gets away and seasons change, priorities change, plans change. Are you ready? Yesterday was finally a nice day outside. We have had the displeasure of cold, windy, rainy weather for quite some time. Yesterday we were able to bask in the warming glow of the sun. I think it even got up to 59! Meghan and Olivienne helped me pull some weeds and plant some flowers. Ailynn helped Papa plant a shrub. She thought she was the best little helper. It was the first time in a week since we had seen the kids and were we ever missing them! Ollie spent the night last night. She said, "Grammie, can I sleep with you? I just love you so much Grammie!" Of course I kicked Papa out and said yes. But she kicked me ALL night long!! I have a king size bed and she took up 95% of it. I hardly slept. But she was happy so all is good. :)

Today is a busy day with finishing the yard work and then volunteering at Thrifter's Rock. After that I have my substance abuse counseling to do this evening. We have my cousin's wedding in Crow Creek this weekend and then back at the cabin. Summer promises to be busy yet enjoyable.  Now excuse me while I go get my chores started. It's 0620 and there is no time to waste.

6/2/17

What a beautiful two days of "real summer" we have experienced! It was 77 last night. When I compared my weather app to all my favorite places in the US, we were actually the warmest. Of course tht was about 7 pm AK time so much later in the lower 48, but still impressive.

I left off at 0620 on May 31st. I have a funny story to share about that day. I went out into the yard and watered, finished my mulching, and planted all my flowers.  Ollie finally woke up around 0830.  I took a shower, made her breakfast, and around 10:30 we decided to walk to LIttle MIllers. We took Ringo with us.  It was hilarious! She is three so her little legs just don't go that fast.  It took quite awhile to reach the coffee stand.  Their lobby didn't open until noon (which I did not know) so I had to tie Ringo up on the deck and we had to stand in line with the cars. They were quite busy. Ringo has severe separation anxiety from me. He pitifully cried as if he had been abandoned by his mother.  Ollie wanted me to hold her so she could see into the building. She is quite heavy at 37 pounds! Finally, we got her dipped ice cream cone and a coffee for me. She immediately dropped it on the pavement and said, "Oh I am so sorry about that." I said, "no harm done", picked it up, brushed it off and handed it back to her. Five second rule applied..... It was a VERY slow walk home because she needed to take care of that ice cream cone. I tried to stifle any impatience because there was nothing in the world more precious or important to me than being with her at that moment. We talked about anything and everything. She's quite a conversationalist for a three year old!  When we finally got back I finished my outdoor chores, made dinner for Patrick, and then went to Thrifter's Rock to volunteer from 1:30-4:30.  At 5:00, I was at my client's house to work with her on substance abuse/Genesis Process counseling. We ended up going to a park and I sat on the ground. That was a mistake because my hips  haven't stopped hurting. But for a time- I was just a normal little old grammie doing things with my baby girl, taking care of my yard, and volunteering my time. :)

Today is the wedding in Crow Creek. It starts at 3:00 p.m. I have so much to get done before I leave. I must water the lawn again because it's so darn hot. I already swept and mopped the upstairs last night so I'm good there. I need to finish packing for the cabin and go to the store. I have got to learn to stifle the impatience and the "rushing" feeling inside of me. I want to enjoy my life- not dread what all I have to do. Every moment can be enjoyable and I need to remember that. We all do.

My mom had foot surgery yesterday and Meghan and I went out there to remove the rest of her things from their house. I stayed until Mom and Dad came home. Mom was doing really well thankfully. Of course today may be a harder day. I wish her the best recovery possible. She deserves to be able to walk normally. She has suffered for years and it makes me so sad.  At her age she should still be able to enjoy doing every day things and she hasn't been able to for so long. She puts a valiant effort into everything she does. I am fiercely praying this surgery was successful.

The lesson I have for you all today is to take time to enjoy your life. The old saying, "Stop and smell the roses" is a really important saying because it's a really necessary saying. Stop and enjoy the beauty around you. When you tense up and focus on your "mission" , you forget to enjoy the ride. There's beauty in everything. There is good in everything. You may have to dig deep to find it, but it is there. Don't let a moment be wasted.

6/5/17

Oh my soul, why are you in despair? I cry out for relief, yet the desert remains dry. My soul is weary, my body is weak, and my hope is gone.

Thats how it seems today for so many- perhaps myself included. So many lives lost to sickness, to addiction, to senseless acts. Murders, car accidents, and poor choices. Overdoses. 

A close friend called me today and told me he got fired. He's in his mid-50's and should be thinking about retirement. Now he's wondering how  he will make his house  payment and pay for groceries. A website I am on for loved ones of addicts, had post after post of bereaved parents waiting by the phone for a phone call from their addicted son or daughter. Many spoke about being completely financially drained by their addicted children and they are wondering how much  more they should sacrifice for them. A cancer support group site I am on had posts from family members saying their loved ones had  passed away, or news that's things aren't going well. Posts of children critically ill with cancer- their pictures posted, bringing back memories of Logan's fight.

A friend is dreading the upcoming birthday of her deceased son. More friends have chronic illnesses and are in constant pain. My friend John goes back to Arizona tomorrow for treatment- his cancer metastasized. 

For those of us who are close to God, we can lean on him for support. For those who don't know him, there is utter despair. Oh, Lord, we call upon your name and pray for physical healings, emotional healing, restoration of finances, restoration of healthy marriages, release from the strongholds of addiction,and many blessings upon our earthly lives. Help us prioritize our goals and plans. Let us lean upon you fully. Jesus, please walk beside us and never leave us.

Years ago I went to Haiti as a missionary- my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I prayed for God to give me a burden for the hurting.  Sometimes I almost regret that prayer. My heart hurts for so many.  I have such a desire to help so many different populations of people.

But tonight I am angry. Patrick's phone was stolen out of Casey's truck that he was using. He went inside for just a few minutes and left the truck unlocked. I have repeatedly told him I never ever walk away from my vehicle without locking it. Not for a single second. Sure enough, a drug addict came along and stole in. Yes, I am sure it was an addict. Such irony because I have spent hours and hours and my own personal money helping people with addictions. I feel betrayed. I called his phone over and over until someone answered. The guy who answered told me he just paid $50 for it. He bought it from a scraggly looking guy who gave a sob story that he needed money for his wife and kid. I am so angry. It costs us the $50 to get it back. WHO buys a story like that? Good grief! I would have known right away that it was stolen. 

I am searching the Bible for verses about peace.  Romans 12:17-20 helps a bit.  

"Do not repay ayone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right into the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with eveyrone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath for it is written,, It is mine to avenge.  I will repay says the Lord.  On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head."

This world is being overtaken by evil. As a kid I always heard, "the end times are near." But I truly believe we are close. Children are stealing from their parents. Children despise their parents and are cruel to them. Parents are neglecting children, neighbors are stealing from neighbors, drugs are overtaking our country- just today I heard over 800 overdose deaths took place from drug overdoses in Arizona just last year. Alaska has called a state of an emergency because of drugs. We are an earthly mess and God isn't allowed into our schools, our businesses, and sometimes even our homes. 

God have mercy on our souls.

6/7/17

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful woman who has an extremely compassionate heart. Several years ago she was watching TV and saw a commercial about the need for bone marrow donors. She went right to her computer and ordered a kit to be mailed to her. Last fall she was contacted and asked to go in for additional testing as she was a preliminary match for a young man. She ended up being a perfect match and in April, she completed the process to be his donor.  He is 25 years old and has AML. She said she actually gave bone marrow that was extracted from her hips. Normally, they will take it peripherally nowadays, but in this case, they needed it right from her bones. She was funny- she was lamenting the fact she has gained weight, but God had a plan for that weight gain as they were able to extract additional marrow from her which this young man desperately needed. Isn't that something? God knows our weight, our need, and everything about us.  She said it was an experience she would do over and over again. She was enthusiastic and I am honored to know her.  Her story is amazing.

After our meeting, I voluntered at Thrifter's Rock for two hours. I was so exhausted I had to keep sitting down. I went straight from there to the Opioid Task Force meeting. It was informative and good, but I had to fight to stay awake. I just overdid it yesterday. I learned my lesson. Today I cancelled two classes I was going to attend so I could take it easy this morning. I have some errands to run, then am babysitting the girls. We will be visiting Granny and then my parents. This evening I will be doing my substance abuse counseling. I am trying to not do everything in one day, but it seems I keep stacking things up.

Ringo and I have gone on a walk the past two mornings.  I added a big hill in today. My lungs were feeling it and I was so tired when we got home, but I'm glad I did it. I need to increase my exercise per my doctors. More walks!

6/9/17

Ringo and I walked yesterday, but we didn't go today. Last night our carbon monoxide detector kept beeping because the battery needed changed. I hadn't bought the battery yet, so I listened to it from about 0200 on... I got up before 5 and finally removed the blasted battery. Of course by then, sleep was going to allude me anyway, so I just made Patrick's breakfast and read for a bit till I felt more awake.

I went to the store and bought batteries to replace all detectors downstairs. Then I went to visit my parents and dust the upstairs for them. Mom had surgery on her foot a week ago. I figured it was probably bugging her that she couldn't clean. I planned to go home and clean my house but I got overwhelmed with fatigue on the way home so I decided a nap was a better idea. But alas, that was not meant to be. Casey texted me that he was broke down. I had to go pick him up. I decided to mow my lawn since my plans got interrupted. He was borrowing my car and I knew he would wake me when he returned so it seemed to make sense. The yard got mowed and watered and looks good. My new friend Sandra came over and we discussed our plans for a bone marrow drive. We have some exciting opportunities and I can't wait to see our numbers for the year!

I got sleepy again and turned Meghan down when she asked me to babysit. I felt like a loser Grammie. It's almost 10 and I can't sleep. What is wrong with me??? I wish I had said yes to the girls. I did say we would keep them tomorrow. Patrick wasn't here and I was afraid I couldn't give them the attention they need and deserve. I am happy I am meeting them to watch the Colony Day parade tomorrow. That should be fun.

6/11/17

Happy birthday to my sweet husband. He is the best man for me. He loves me and he has stuck by me despite all the difficult times. I love this man. He used to believe he wouldn't live past 25-30. His dad died young from a car accident and I believe Patrick thought he was cursed. It always bothered me when he said that because I couldnt imagine  a day without him. He is 51 today and going fishing of course. It's a beautiful sunny day. God is shining his light on Patrick .

We kept the girls all night yesterday. I prepared by taking a long afternoon nap. I'm not sure if that helped or not as I was up till after midnight. I ended up having to sleep downstairs  because of Patrick's restlessness. He had gotten the girls to bed just before midnight. It was late for all of us! They also took afternoon naps.

Ollie and I went to the store and we started talking about Logan. I was in tears the rest of the evening. I felt like my heart was going to simply give out and quit because it feel a so broken. I tried to remember that we have three granddaughters (soon 3) to focus on. I tried to think about our relationship with Meghan and how much she cares. I tried thinking about Casey and how he still struggles and needs us to be strong. I'm trying not to be sad, but Logan's 30th birthday is coming up on the 24th. Truthfully, I am sad. But today, I am celebrating the birth of Patrick and our two little granddaughters.

I am making a big breakfast for my husband and the next giving him the cookies Ollie and I made for him. We had so much fun working together.

6/12/17

Today I am struggling to find inner peace. Logan's 30th birthday is 12 days away. My heart is grieving. I am worried about several things and feel so anxious. I know that anxiety is not from God. This morning I have been reading about peace. How I crave peace!

 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 35-6

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30

I don't want my bones to rot. I don't want to look at other people's lives and covet what they have or their health, their children's accomplishments, or anything else. I want to be satisfied in what I have. I want to feel peaceful in all things. There are things I cannot control. Things I have held on to for so long. Things I worry, fret, and cry about. But worry gets me nowhere! 

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not mure valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27

I wish it were just simple for us to turn off the worry switch. We humans tend to hold on to everything. We want to solve our own problems. But what does God want from us? He wants us to surrender fully. What does surrender mean?  The definition of surrender is:  to yield something to the possession or power of another.  To give oneself up.  To give up or abadonon or relinqish. Who better to surrender all to than Jesus? I sincerely miss those days when I was first diagnosed. All I had to do was walk the halls to keep my strength up and praise God. I was never as close to him as I was in those early days of diagnosis. I surrendered my life to him. I accepted his peace. I WAS at peace even though I knew I could die. I was okay with that. I just focused on him.  I have let the world interfere with my peace. I have gotten too busy, too committed, and I take too much control over things. I surrender all, Lord, I surrender all. All to Jesus, I surrender, I surrender all.

What a great song this is.  Lyrics by Israel Hougton

All to Jesus I surrender

All to him I freely give

I will ever love and trust him

In his prescence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender

Humbly at his feet I bow

Wordly Pleasures all forsaken

Take me Jesus take me now

Wouldn't it be amazing if we all spent time with God each morning- immersed in his word, listening to music singing of his goodness, and honoring him.  What better days we would have if we honored him. What would Jesus do? What would Jesus say? That's what we really should ask ourselves before we respond to anything that is said to us.  Cruelty is found in circumstances and people can be cruel. How we respond can make or break our spirits. Do you want a spirit of hate, fear, and jealousy? Or do you want a spirit of hope, love, and contentment?

I want a spirit of hope, love, and contentment. When my heart hurts too much, I think God hears my prayers through my spirit. Sometimes the words just don't come out. All I can say is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Right now that's all I have. But I have hope because Jesus promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. I am his and he is mine. 

***

I walk by faith, live in grace, and grow in love. That is what is on a beautiful sign Kelsey gave me tonight. It was my belated birthday present and she made it. She also gave me a beautiful Mother's Day card. I feel loved.

6/13/17

I had a wonderful telelphonic support meeting with Be the Match today. Several of us survivors got together to talk about wellness. "What does Wellness Mean to You?" was the topic. I said "Wellness is a combination of body, mind, and soul.  We have to nourish and exercise our physical bodies, work on keeping our minds sharp, and appreciate and grow spiritually.  No matter how difficult things get, or how many complications we have, we must continue striving for improvement each day. One man discussed how before diagnosis he would bike 100-200 miles every couple days- at the age of 70!!!!! Now he's doing half that amount and he is beating himself up. Seriously???? We place too many expectations on ourselves. One person summed it up by saying, "I may not be 100 % of what I used to be, but I can be 100% for today." I love that.

An on-line support group I am on discussed a topic transplant patients often hear, "You have a new normal". That's a statement most of us dislike immensely.  What does that mean? Well to me it means adjusting to what we can and cannot do post-transplant. We are not the same. We are different. We may not be as good as we used to be, but we are grateful to be alive and we are grateful to thrive despite our cirucmstances. A new normal is accepting what IS, not what used to be.  It's not crying about what we can't do, but celebrating what we CAN do.

This morning Joyce Meyer spoke about peace. How wonderful it was to receive God's words through her today.  In all things give thanks. Celebrate the life you have been given. Give it all over to God.  Remember how sneaky Satan is. He didn't come blazing through the Garden of Eden announcing he was Satan. He didn't force Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. No, he was deceptive. He lied. He tricked her into believing him. He is subtle. He is everywhere. He is the little voice whispering, "You are a failure, you can't do it, you are worthless, no one loves you." Ignore the slimy sneaky snake! When I as a kid, my favorite song was "Sneaky Snake" by Tom T. Hall. Oh how I loved that song. But Satan is the sneakiest snake of all and I despise how he preys upon the hurting and the wounded.  Don't let him come in. He tried to worm his way into my mind the past few days,but thankfully, so many people came into my life and breathed God's words into me. I choose God over the slimy, sneaky serpent.

I had the pleasure of volunteering at Thrifter's Rock today. I always enjoy my time there- the praise music is playing and so many volunteers are present. It makes my heart soar. Meghan called me while I was there and I told her where I was. After we hung up, Ollie asked her what I was doing today. Meghan told her I was volunteering. Ollie asked what volunteering meant. Then she said, "Oh I know, it's how Grammie loves." Oh how my heart soared when Meghan shared that with me. At the age of three, Ollie knows her Grammie's love language- serving others.

I had a great conversation with my friend John today. He is doing more chemo at the Cancer Center of America in Phoenix. John has gone through a lot these last several months, yet he has retained his sense of humor. How necessary that is to be an overcomer.

6/15/17

She is the calm presence in the middle of the storm. She is knowledgeable, intuitive, intelligent, and steady. My mother is the epitome of comfort. She knows when to step back and wait, and when to step in and give advice. She's quiet- sometimes seems introverted. She's cautious to engage in close knit relationships because she has been wounded by so many losses.  Women are drawn to this sweet, deep thinking woman because she represents a wise woman of God. They long to be her daughter and they covet her friendship. She doesn't have any idea how much love people have for her. She doesn't understand the impact of her life on us all.  She is a woman of courage. She is braver and stronger than any woman I know, besides my grandmother, who also suffered many losses.  My mother lost her father to Lymphoma when she was four years old. When she was eighteen, she lost her mother to brain cancer.  In her 40's, she lost her sister to breast cancer.  Twenty years later, she battled breast cancer herself. Not one time did she complain or cry about her losses or the unfairness that she too contracted cancer. She didn't complain about the loss of one breast or the chemotherapy. She went to work every day and quietly vomited in the restroom in between work duties. My mom was a steady presence during Logan's illness. I recently looked at a picture of her and Logan that was taken after we were given the news that he was going to die. My mom's eyes were dead with grief, but she smiled for the camera because she was sitting beside her precious oldest grandchild.  Another loss for my mom.  A few years ago, Mom lost her last sibling- her brother Terry, to pancreatic cancer.  Yet my mom continued marching on without shouting at God for the unfairness of it all.  But the story doesn't stop there- my brave, courageous mother had to hear the words again, "Your daughter has leukemia." How much more can one person take? My mother proved that people can have multiple traumatic events in their lives and still remain courageous, strong, and hopeful. My mom is the first person I turn to when I am hurting. She's thoughtful before she speaks. She carefully listens and often says little. But I know what is going on in her head. She's processing it all. I know that when I leave, she has a long talk with God. She takes my problems to him and asks him to take care of me and the issues I have brought up. She trusts him to hold her close and comfort her as she relives the pain of so many great losses. She does so privately without fanfare. My mom may be a quiet presence, but she is a powerful presence in my life and the life of so many others.  My mother is a "behind the scenes" kind of lady. She is the one cooking and cleaning for everyone who has a need. She often ignores her own needs and has trouble accepting the same kind of help. She loves through serving.

My dad...... My dad is the opposite of my mom. He is so outgoing and is comfortable being in the limelight. I don't think he realizes the impact he has on others either.  He is so gregarious and happy.  His joy is tangible and he brightens the mood of others by acknowledging them and showing them that they are important to him.  My dad was the oldest of four.  His father wasn't emotionally present for him which left wounds that have never really been healed. Yet despite the lack of a father who was "present" for him, he had an innate ability to understand how to be a father to his two children.  He was fun and loving all while sharing the love of Christ with my brother and me. He taught us how to love, how to be brave, and how to share compassion with others.  When his father became ill with Alzheimer's, my dad brought him to Alaska to live with him.  Despite the hurt he felt at basically being emotionally abandoned by his dad, he showed the love and respect that he knew God wanted him to give his father. My husband grew up without a father and my dad quickly stepped into that role and gave Patrick the fatherly love he needed.  My dad is quick to drop everything to help anyone who needs asssitance.  He freely gives his time, money, and energy on others. He regularly puts himself last. He is selfless. He's an honorable and kind man. He has always been my hero- his physical and emotional strength are both impressive.  Losing his oldest grandson just about crushed him. Thankfully he has Jesus to comfort him. He has used his experience to offer compassion to others as they go through the devestating experience of losing a child.  Like my mom, my dad never let his traumas break him- they both became stronger because of their experiences.

Today is their 54th wedding anniversary. How I love them and how grateful I am to have two wonderful and strong individuals as my parents. They have been such a Godly example to so many who are married. The strength of my parents is incredible. Their love for each other is incredible and impressive. My parents have blessed me and so many others. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

6/16/17

Yesterday I walked over six miles between two walks! I actually put in seven miles when you consider the walking around I did for chores. Today I am going on a hike with Debbie at Hatcher Pass. Truthfully, I feel more like taking a nap..... I didn't sleep well last night. But I am going to force myself to do this. I met up with John today for breakfast. We talked about our common lack of energy and the effort it takes to get things done. He's still going through chemo and I am still recovering from transplant. It's so nice to talk to someone who "gets it". Someone who gets the mood ups and downs, the physical limitations, and the emotional turmoil. John is a strong man of faith and we both expressed how grateful we are to be alive, to have God leading the way, and have each other to talk to about these issues.

Peer support is a necessity. I have been noticing how much need there is for peer support. Of course the first person we need to "call" is God. He should be number one. But we also need our brothers and sisters to lift us up by their words, actions, and prayers.  Be a friend today to someone who might be having a difficult time. Send an email, text, or pick up the phone just to say hi. You never know how you might change someone's life.  Be the change.

6/17/17

100 Plus Women Who Care- what a fabulous organization! I have been part of this "club" for over a year, but attended just my second or third meeting on Thursday. (I always mail in my check even if I don't attend)I can best describe it as a philanthropic group of women- average women who are active and community driven advocates for change.  Anyone who represents a non-profit that has been vetted, can put their name in a hat.  Three non-profits are drawn and we, the audience, hears three presentations, we then vote on who receives the money that quarter. (Meetings are quarterly) Thursday we heard from three wonderful non-profits. We first heard from Sherry at Set Free. She spoke about their new women's substance abuse residential treatment center opening up. Women and their children will be allowed to live there while mom is getting treatment. Their need was for bedding and art supplies. Next up was the manager of the YAK, which is an after school and summer youth program, in Palmer. It's similar to the Boys and Girls Club. They offer a safe and healthy environment to children in the 6th-12th grade. Lastly, Dawn from Beacon Hill spoke. Their organization has two faith based programs, the first is called "Safe Families." This program keeps children out of foster care. Carefully screened couples take the children temporarily while the parent is getting medical treatment, having another baby, going to treatment, etc.  The second program they offer is assistance with adopting children who are currently in foster care.  All are  wonderful organizations that protect our children and families. The audience voted to give The YAK the money this quarter. The hope is that each quarter, 100 women give $100. If all participate, that means $10,000 for the chosen non-profit! 100 Plus Women want to be the change! I hope you will seek out this club and participate.

We kept Olivienne and Ailynn last night. Oh how fun these girls are! They stayed up so late. Ollie always wants to play Words with Friends with me, I like to think I am helping her learn to read. She is so quick and smart. Ailynn is too- both are very smart little girls. Ollie wanted to go through  my pictures on my I-Pad. She saw a picture of herself as a baby, wearing the same pajamas that Ailynn was currently wearing. I thought it was pretty cool that she noticed that. I saw all the pictures of me so sick, weak, tiny, and bald. I got tears in my eyes as I looked around and saw my home, my husband, and our granddaughters, and my dog, and realized how blessed I truly am.

Patrick is going fishing today so I am making him a big breakfast to celebrate Father's Day since I leave at 0200 tomorrow morning for Mayo. Time to get answers and solutions to all my symptoms.

6/18/18

I have arrived in Rochester and am I ever tired! My flight left at 0200 this morning and I couldn't sleep. I got a little bit of sleep from Seattle to Minneapolis. I'm trying to stay awake to go get something to eat, then will come back to shower and go to bed. Tomorrow will be an early morning start to a very busy and filled day.

I visited with my parents yesterday. They are so stressed out. They just put their house on the market and still have a few things to work on. Their deck needs painted. I wanted to do it before I left last night but Dad wouldn't let me. I hope Patrick helps him tonight. Mom is still recovering from foot surgery. I vacuumed and dusted for her. I don't feel like I do enough for them. It makes me feel awful. I have to start spending more time with them.

I celebrated Father's Day with two of the most important people in my life on Saturday, since I left for MN Saturday night. My dad has always been a heroic icon for me. He was so strong, courageous, kind, and smart. Well he still is, but as a kid- he amazed me! He was like Superman. I remember one summer day when he spent countless hours trying to teach me how to do an aerial backward summersault. He could do it perfectly, but I chickened out every time. I wanted to be like my dad. I am so thankful I still have my daddy here. He is a good, good man.

I am also thankful to have another great man as the father of my three children. All three of our children love their father and were always close to him. He used to take the three of them camping to give me a break. He never wanted to just do his own thing, he always included them. He has taught them so much and I am so proud of him. He is a wonderful father.

I learned that the father of my friend's son was killed in a motorcycle accident On Father's Day. Oh the pain the son must have.

6/19/17

The looks on their faces are familiar. They look scared and wounded. Some sit in wheelchairs and the weariness is present in their eyes. Many are bald and obviously fatigued. The bald lady with Down Syndrome sits next to me and she lays her head on her mother’s kind shoulder. They are warriors preparing for battle- the mighty battle they charge into to slay the demon called cancer.. The lab work is the way they start their days. It's the way I am starting my day. I flash back to the daily visits here and I shudder with memories that resurface. I spoke with the lady wearing the dreaded mask. She is 40 days post transplant for AML, just like me. She feels good, but she's tired. The sheer weariness is exhausting.

I tried to divert my attention and looked at my online support group page.I read posts about cancer returning after multiple years of being cancer free. These soldiers have to brush the dirt off their old warrior armor and prepare for battle again. They are going into this battle with eyes wide open, unlike before when they were surprised by the sneaky attacks of the enemy we call cancer. No surprises this time. Is that good or bad? Only time will tell. Sometimes it's easier not knowing. Will that be me? Will I get overly confident and then it comes out of nowhere and ambushes me? Should I always be on guard and anticipate? Or should I try to forget and just feel myself with hopeful peace? Memories stay with soldiers who fought in a mighty battle. It s hard to forget.

 Today began more testing for me. I had forgotten how discomforting the autonomic testing was. It felt like 100 bees were stinging me  for the whole five minutes the receptors were firing. My blood tests look great. I see my oncologist and neurologist today and hopefully will have some helpful information.

6/21/17

Yesterday brought no real answers for me, unfortunately. The neurologists said I have mild neuropathy- not bad. She agrees with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Dr. Hogan still is pushing Celebrex and I am still saying no. The orthopedic doctor suggested cortisone shots in my hips for my chronic hip pain. Unfortunatel, they had no appointments until July 5th and I am not flying back again. The doctor's office in Alaska said their doctor would have to evaluate me himself to determine if i really need those shots... evidently the doctor at Mayo Clinic can't be trusted... irritating. And this doctor in AK can't even evaluate me until the middle of July . I feel like this was a wasted trip. Except, the part that was good was when I got to meet patients and caregivers and share my story as a patient ambassador for Be the Match. I met with one couple, two wives whose husbands had transplants, and one woman with AML. I love this volunteer role! I was born to serve.

I am heading into Minneapolis soon as my plane leaves late afternoon. It will be good to be home.

6/22/17

My plane was delayed and I got home about 0130 this morning. I was so tired and almost had to pull over and sleep. It was really hard to get out of bed this morning. I definitely didn't get up and make Patrick breakfast, coffee, and lunch. I did make him a really nice dinner tonight though and have breakfast pre-made and will just need to put it in the oven. He brought home a business associate/friend, so I had to come home and clean and change bedding after vacuuming for Mom. Mom still is recovering from foot surgery and I am trying to help her out so she doesn't overdo it and hurt her foot worse.

I ran into an old friend today. She shared with me that her daughter is still having chronic pain and problems from the cancer treatment. She had a bone marrow transplant and the radiation she had before transplant really messed her body up. I feel so bad for this girl. I think she's just about 30 and has suffered for many, many years as she was diagnosed when she was a teen. I can't imagine living in chronic pain like that and feel bad for all the times I have been complaining about my hips and other minor issues.  We just never know what someone is going through. Sometimes they may look healthy, but it's not for us to judge them if they have a handicapped sticker on their car or get in the line at the airport to get on the plane first. I have to do that sometimes. My hips hurt so bad when I pull luggage. I still have to disinfect my seat, tray table, and seat belt. Getting my carry on in the luggage compartment is difficult. I feel anxious because I don't like holding up the line. Yet I look healthy. I wonder how many stare at me and think I am just trying to cut in line. Two elderly ladies and I were talking about this yesterday as we stood in that line. We talked about feeling guilty for being in the line, yet we knew we needed a little extra time. We just never know what someone is going through. We don't know if they just had a family member die, their spouse left them, their pet died, etc. Let's not be so quick to take offense when someone snaps at us. We don't need to return that snotty attitude. Be the bigger person and make someone's day by showing them the kindness they need.

6/23/17

I finished my test for the Genesis Process training today. If I passed, I will be ready to start a substance abuse group at our church in the fall. It is becoming apparent how many, many families are affected by drug addiction throughout our nation. I regularly hear stories from people I know. I can't go anywhere without someone telling me about another person who has a drug addiction.

Sherry (not her real name) told me about going into a Hallmark store to buy her son, Jonathan (fictious name to protect privacy) a birthday card. She was looking through all the cards and was dismayed to find all the ones addressed to "son" had words on it that didn't apply to her son.  Most started with, "We are so proud of you, Son, for the man you have become." How could she get this card? She's not proud of her son; he is a heroin addict, doesn't have a job, and is abusive to his wife.  He stole from his own mom, his grandma, his aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. What is there to be proud of? Her heart sank as she found more of a generic card that was more appropriate in the circumstances. She longed for the day when she could buy the best card for her son; the one that spoke of how proud and delighted she is to call him son. She sums it up as this: I don't know this stranger. I don't recognize the the boy I raised.  I don't like this person and long for the day when my sweet boy returns.  Is he still inside?  Can he crawl through the trenches of addiction to find safety and freedom?  Will the enemy capture him forever and destroy the one we love?  Will he ever be free from the demonic hold?  I fear he is lost forever.

 She spoke of listening to many friends talk about their wonderful sons and daughters; children who had college degrees, high paying jobs, had their own children & devoted spouses, and were involved in community projects that benefited others.  Sherry's son? She describes him as narcissistic- only caring about himself and his next fix. He doesn't care about his wife having to work extra shifts to pay for his drugs, his debts, his vehicle, their house, utilities, etc. Her heart is broken and she is not alone.  There are many like Sherry out there in our communities.  Sherry is your neighbor, your friend, a parishoner at your church.  You just don't know her struggles because she is afraid to share the truth.  Will you judge her? Will you blame her? Will you shake your head in disbelief?  Will you eagerly wait to get awayfrom her so you can call others and share her misfortune? Will you gloat because your child is emotionally healthy?

Do you understand that addiction is a brain disease? Yes, the addict made a choice when he took that first pill. But after that "choice", came dependence. It is no longer a choice. It is a disease and they can't control their actions.  Their brains have been hijacked. They no longer are in control. The demon drug is.

It's time to stand united and pray for our nation. We are truly in crisis. Families are falling apart and God is not welcome in our homes.  Let's band together, support one another, and find a way to help people like "Sherry & Jonathon".  Be a friend. Be the Change.

6/24/17

30 years ago, I gave birth to our firstborn child. Logan Joseph Marre came into the world after 24 hours of difficult labor. He was the best thing that happened to us in our young lives. I was barely 20 and didn't really understand what being a mother really meant. He brought us such great joy. He was a beautiful child with a beautiful and compassionate soul. He loved life. He loved God. He loved his family. He loved his friends, animals, and home. He fought a valiant battle for so long. He wanted to stay with us. We wanted him to stay. But he is now in Heaven, walking the streets of gold, and celebrating eternal life. I try to envision him there. I see his sweet freckled face and sparkling joyous eyes. I know he is happy and content. I am not content. I miss him and I long for the day when I am with him again. Life is no longer complete and my arms are empty. Empty arms and a broken heart. How I miss my baby boy.

6/25/17

About 11:00 pm Patrick and I were standing in the backyard with heavy hearts. I looked across the yard and saw a tree my brother planted on Logan's birthday, many years ago, was vibrantly blooming with lilacs. It's never bloomed before. God made the flowers bloom to celebrate Logan's birthday. What a special gift.

6/28/17

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. I don't need today to remind me of how wonderful and devoted my husband is. I love him so very much. He's been an amazing husband; so supportive, encouraging, and loving. I am so incredibly thankful for him and I look forward to 31 more years with him.

The day is shadowed by some things and I am trying to remain strong and hopeful. Sometimes we all have issues in our family that we have to work through. I have a family member that is desperately needing help and I am trying to offer all the support they need. It's tough and I am weary.

I had a dream the night before last and woke myself up crying. I dreamed I had a blood test and blasts showed up in my blood. I knew I had relapsed and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that I would have to go back through treatment. How thankful I was to wake up and know it was just a dream. I am sure I dreamed that because I am often reading about people who have relapsed on my bone marrow online support group. I immerse myself in it and try to encourage those who are battling leukemia again.  

I am learning that I am overdoing my "helping" work. I have taken on other's personal battles as if they were my own. I am tired. I am weary. I have to figure out how to balance everything in a healthy way.  I pray God directs my path in a way that is obvious to me. Somedays I think he needs to just hit me over the head for me to know when to stop trying to take care of everyone else but myself.

Feel free to send me a note of encouragement. I sure could use it. :)

6/30/17

This week has truly been exhausting. If all goes as planned (and this week has gone completely unplanned), we will leave for the cabin this afternoon for several glorious days. I hope the weather is decent as I would love to join my husband one day on the boat. I am a sissy. I won't go if it's cold, rainy, or windy. Some call me a princess. I call myself "practical".

This week I have learned more about the importance of "letting go and letting God" than I ever had before. Someone wise said the words, "Do the right thing and God will take care of the results." Wow! I love that and am trying to remember that each day. I also heard the coolest analogy spoken to the family member I previously mentioned. He was asked, "If I gave you a brand new car- any car at all, what would you choose?" The man responded with, "A corvette". The professional said to him, "You went out to get into your Corvette and found it has a flat tire. Are you going to have it taken to the junk yard?" The other man responsed with, "of course not." He was asked why he wouldn't have it taken to the junk yard.  He responded with, "it's still good. It just has a flat tire." The professional said, "exactly! And just like the Corvette- you have a flat tire. In fact, ALL your tires are flat, including your spare.  But you aren't worth junking. You are still valuable because you are a child of God." How I loved this! This makes total sense to me and I am here to tell you that I will be using his example to others I work with. We are all valuable. Sometimes we think we aren't because of our poor choices, but God is not one to measure our worth by our choices and accomplishments. He is a God who loves us no matter what we do. He loves us ALL. It's up to us to accept that love.

I am so exhausted this week. I have been taking naps. Today I slept in till after 0700. I don't feel rested and just want to sleep more. Hopefully I will wake up soon.  The girls came over last night. Meghan, Olivienne, and Ailynn were here for three wonderful hours. I received sweet hugs and kisses, played legos, and carried Ailynn around at her request. I was content.  The other day when they were here, Olivienne kept rubbing my cheeks and saying, "Chubby, chubby grammie". Then we went to sit on the teeter-totter and she told me she didn't think it would hold me. I proved her wrong and she exclaimed, "I can't believe this can hold my heavy grammie!" Wow! Maybe I should get on the scales and see what I weigh. I must appear HUGE!

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.  He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

"While in the light of my presence, rejoicing in my name all day long, exulting in my righterousness.  This world is increasingly dark, but the light of my presence is as bright as ever.  In fact, my glory shines more vividly against the dark backdrop of evil.  When Christlike goodness collides with worldly vileness, be on the lookout for miracles!  This collision of spiritual opposites creates atmospheric conditions that are conducive to my powerful interventions.

No matter how difficult your circumstances may be, you can still rejoice in my name.  The essence of all that I am is distilled into this one word; Jesus.  You can use my name as a whispered prayer, as a praise, as a protection-and it never loses it's potency.  Even in the darkest situations, you can exult-rejoice jubilantly-in my righteousness! Nothing can tarnish this righteousness, which I have woven into shining garments of salvation for you to wear forever.  This is how you walk in my light by making full use of my holy name and by wearing the robe of righterousness joyfully." "Jesus Today" by Sarah Young