May

May Day. The day when we sneak flowers onto the porch of our neighbors and enjoy surprising them. It’s not a tradition of my generation, but my mother shared her experience with it. How I would like to get back to the simpler times in life.

Yesterday  was a fun, yet emotional day. Gary picked us up from the airport the night before. We got to visit with him, Delanie, Ernie, and Ginny. All of whom have been important parts of our lives for many years. Yesterday, though, Gary, Patrick , and I went to Green Lake. I don’t believe Patrick had been back since he was there with Logan. He has a really hard time going to places in Seattle that remind him of Logan. After we dropped him off for his meeting, Gary and I went to see Samuel at the UW Hospital. Today is his bone marrow transplant day. Samuel looked good and healthy and I prayed over his recovery. I wanted to go see Ronald McDonald House again. I felt like I needed to see the brick we bought Logan to honor him. It was very emotional for me and I sat on the steps crying- wondering why I am alive and he is not. I remembered the fun times there with Casey and Meghan, and wished I could go back in time. My heart is broken, but this morning we fly to Reno to spend a few days with Meghan, Kirk, and the girls. Spending time with them will help.

5/2/18

The girls were ecstatic to see us. They didn’t know we were coming and when they saw us at the airport, they stopped in their tracks. Then they ran like crazy into my open arms. My heart was full and at that moment, all in the world was right. They still don’t know they are coming home with Papa and me. We keep telling them we are leaving Saturday and we will miss them so much. Baby Boe is adorable. She is a happy baby with a touch of Red hair- but no temper to match. We have missed the last four months of her life and it’s good to squeeze her.

Today we went to Virginia City, Nevada. What a unique old mining town. I found a Wonder Woman tin sign that I am going to hang in the girls room at home. I also found WW coasters and Scooby Doo coasters. Logan loved Scooby Doo- he was always my favorite, and now the girls love him! This is a way for me to get in touch with my childhood again.

I have had to take naps the last two days. I’m walking easier, but the fatigue still overwhelms me.

5/3/18

We went to Lake Tahoe today and had a wonderful time playing with the girls at the beach. Unfortunately, I seem to have some sort of stomach bug. I’m very nauseated. I don’t want a repeat of last time I visited the girls when I ended up in the hospital. Sometimes I just get frustrated because I always seem to have some issue.

The big girls love helping me check my blood sugar. They are quite good at it just like their momma was when she was their age. They check on me frequently to make sure I am okay. Some day I hope to be completely well and just be the “fun Grammie”. 

I am waiting to hear if the Regenerative Clinic will accept me for either a stem cell injection or PRP- platlet rich plasma injections. Both should help my torn muscles and help me to walk and sleep without pain again. Dr. Hogan has no objections which makes me very happy. I don’t like the  fact I will have to go back to Mayo soon, but I relish the idea of no pain!

5/6/18

We made it home with the two big girls. Three flights, spilled juice, shedding of clothes due to being wet, multiple bags, sleepy kids, me with no sleep for about a week and we are home! We arrived home about 0300 after collecting luggage, installing car seats, and driving to Wasilla. This morning the girls were enthralled with all their toys they have here. We visited Granny and then they went to see Grandma Jane. They are spending the night with Auntie Kate and I miss them already.

I look forward to Meghan and Boe arriving on wednesday. I wish they didn’t live out of state. I’m still nauseous and Patrick has body aches and nausea. We are quite the pair.

5/7/18

I spoke with a woman today that I had met only once before. She had responded to one of my bone marrow registration announcements on a Face Book site before I met her the first time. It is really funny how God puts people together. She recognized my name and told me she was the one who had responded to my post about the drive.  I got to talking to her and found out her adult son has a bone marrow disease and needs a transplant. Unfortunately, he has no insurance and because he works full time, he can't get on Medicaid. She said his medication costs $90,000 a month! It's absolutely crazy how people in this country suffer from the high costs of medical procedures and medications. I pray they figure out how to get him insured so he can get the help he needs.

She also shared that she has a nephew who is a drug addict. He is currently living on the streets of Anchorage. She has a very similar story to another friend whose nephew is also living on the streets of Anchorage. My heart breaks and the tears flowed steadily as she shared her story.

I also talked with another mother today whose son is in prison. She thought he was doing better, but things came to light, and she found out he spent all the money from his tax refund and the job he had before he went to prison. She assumes it was spent on drugs.  He denied it of course and told her she is insane and tried to divert the attention to the fact she opened his bank statement. She said her heart is broken and she wonders if he will ever really change. I have just about had enough of drug addiction and pain. I just wish Jesus would come back and take me home so I don't hear or feel anymore pain. Hearing about all the sadness just drains me emotionally.

I will end on a positive note. A cousin shared that she spent some time listening to worship music before going to work. She has a difficult job working with people with disabilities. This young lady suffers from extreme anxiety. She shared the time she took to listen closely to the words of the songs and the earnest conversation she had with God helped her get through her extremely difficult night. I was so encouraged to hear this and happy for her.  I must remember that God is here for us. I will praise him in the storm. Even though it still rains, I will praise him.

5/9/18

My mind and body are both exhausted, but my heart is happy. Olivienne and Ailynn are simply wonderful and I have loved caretaking for them the past few days. I can’t wait for Meghan and Boe to get here tonight. All is right with the world when the grand babies are here. Today I took them to see their auntie and uncle at the greenhouse. Mark and Sharmin helped them plant a flower basket and an herb basket. So sweet! The girls had a fantastic time.

5/11/18

My mother‘s Birthday is today. This should be a national holiday . My mother is an amazing Gidly woman and I am so thankful for her. She invoked wisdom, honor, and love into every person she meets. She’s one of the very first people I turn to when I need comfort. I have so many friends who have lost their mothers or have terrible relationships with them. i am truly blessed to have my mom. She lost her own mother when she’s was only eighteen and that loss left a permanent hole in her heart.

Sunday is Mother’s Day and we will be honoring not only our mothers, but my Granny too. Granny is ninety and still going strong. Granny has also experienced a lot of loss in her life. She continues on and encourages me to be a better person.

I think about all the people who lost children to death and how difficult Mother’s Day is for them. I pray everyone finds compassion from others on this day. I pray for their hearts to be comforted. The loss will always be there, but I pray the pain lessens a bit as they remember good things about their child.

5/13/18

"You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you" declares the Lord.:  Jeremiah 29: 13-14.

How many times do we seek him wholeheartedly?  If we truly seek him with all our heart, we will find him and we will have peace.  In a world filled with turmoil and uncertainty, it's the peace of Jesus that gets us through the difficult moments, the stress, the disappointments, and the hurt we feel.  Don't call a friend; call Jesus. Search for him and find him, and be filled with his presence.

"Trust in him at all times O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8

Yesterday I got to visit with two friends. The first, is a friend who I have been communicating with for a couple of years. We were "introduced"by her step-mother when Renee was diagnosed with AML. We have talked, texted, and messaged each other on FaceBook and have shared our stories, trials, tribulations, hopes, and dreams. It was delightful to finally meet this amazing woman of God in person.  She loves the Lord and she never feared death. I was thrilled to see how well she is doing. I was really worried about her as she had a rough, rough time.

The second person is a dear friend I haven't seen in a few years. Marianne is a very busy lady. She was at the book signing for her latest book. She asked me to endorse her book and my comment and "credentials" are on her back cover. I was so excited to be part of her book in this way. Marianne has been such a big supporter and encourager for me. I am grateful God put wonderful people in my life.

5/14/18

Happy third anniversary to me!!!! Three years ago I was weak sick, skinny, and overwhelmed with the process of a bone marrow transplant. Today I am feeling much stronger, a little bit heavier, and more in tune with what is going on with my body. I have good days and some bad days, but mostly good days. I still am fatigued much of the time, I still suffer from nausea from time to time, I still have the bad hip pain, but overall, life is good! I am so thankful to God for bringing me through this process. Three years. How can it be? I remember it just like yesterday. Just like I can still remember Logan's and it's been twenty years since his. (in August anyway) It hasn't been an easy journey and I haven't bounced back as quickly as I expected or had hoped, but all in God's timing.  I have to think about every movement I make so I don't hurt my hips anymore than they currently hurt. I don't like to be limited; I don't think any of us do. It is a hard thing to accept- these limitations, but we must do what is best for our bodies to heal. I appreciate having a husband who is still so supportive and continues to encourage me and cheer me on. He always says that my job is just to get better. After three years I really expected to have been back to the person I was before. Bone marrow transplant survivors call this "the new normal." I think all of we survivors detest that phrase, but it really is true. Most of us never get back completely to the way we were. I must admit I envy those who do, but I'm also happy for them.

It's all okay and I'm thankful to be here. I'm thankful to the mom in France who donated her baby's umbilical cord after birth. He saved my life.  God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.

5/15/18

This morning was one of those "wow moments!" Something happened to make me realize that "all good things come to those who are called according to his purpose." I was on my monthly volunteer call with Be the Match when a lady introduced herself and said, "my donor lives in Wasilla, Alaska." Of course I asked her who her donor was. It was none other than Macaela Wolfe who goes to Church on the Rock and the young lady who registered at one of the drives held to help ME find a match! I know Macaela well and she's an amazing young lady and happens to be one fo my favorite baristas.  It's truly a small world. I love how Macaela (and others) registered for Be the Match bone marrow registry in hopes of finding me a match, and then went on to match someone else. A life was saved because Macaela chose to help someone. Now her recipient is helping others through the process of bone marrow transplant. God is so good and he orchestrates things perfectly. I am simply in awe that I talked to Macaela's recipient!

5/17/17

I am tired and I do not want to be up. But, there is a cute little girl named Ailynn who insisted I get out of bed. She insists I must sit right next to her on the couch while she watches cartoons. She is two and adorable, so how can I say no? This cute little girl got into my Synthroid pills yesterday and had a mouthful of them when her mother found her in my room. Thankfully, she caught her before she swallowed them. This morning Ailynn asked about the pills and said, “I won’t do that again because next time I will get really sick.” She really scared me yesterday. This morning she asked, “Can I help you check your blood sugar?” She and Olivienne both love to help me stick my finger. These kids fill my heart with joy. I will miss them this weekend when we go to the cabin. We need to go down though because it has been over a month since we have been there. I sure miss it!

Last night we all went to the Palmer Alehouse and listened to some music. A few of Meghan’s friends were there, and my friend Dorothy came with her daughter. Afterwards they came over and visited at my house. I haven’t enjoyed an evening that much in quite awhile. I’m thankful for good friends.

 5/18/18

Cabin life  is awesome. I’m getting much needed rest. I did attempt to take Ringo for a walk, but kind of already regretting it due to the soreness. I’m fed up with the limitations. The fatigue seems to be getting worse, as do my hips. I’m 51 years old. What am I going to be like at 60??

I have many friends going through treatment right now and am mad at myself for complaining. One is leaving the country because American doctors can no longer help her. Another turned to immunotherapy because chemo stopped working. The immunotherapy made his body be full of inflammation- his cancer tumor markers doubled in a month. They took him off that and put him back on chemo. I’m so fed up with cancer and the destruction it causes. It’s like a hurricane roaring over the land and causing destruction. Or I can compare it to the volcano that’s currently erupting in Hawaii. Just as the volcano spews lava over all the land, is what cancer spews over the patient and the family.  No person is untouched and the destruction is overwhelming.

Sometimes life just sucks. Patrick encourages me to focus on what I CAN do and not what I can’t. I can’t helo but wonder if he regrets marrying me. I sure have  lot of problems. I’m thankful to have him by my side.

 5/20/18

Marriage... I got to watch a live FB wedding ceremony yesterday. My young friend got married in TN and I couldn’t attend in person so it was wonderful I could see it online. It was a beautiful ceremony and I listened carefully to the words of the minister. He emphasized how important it is to put God first in their marriage and how they need to truly love each other and let nothing come between their love. It was sweet and true.

The royal marriage ceremony was also held yesterday. Prince Harry married Megan Markle an actress. I didn’t watch the ceremony, but heard from many they did. We women are fascinated with the thought of marrying a prince. We love our pretty gowns, our servants, and being looked upon as a beautiful princess. It’s a fairytale come true for a select few in the world. Often when we first get married, we think WE are going to have a fairytale life. But reality quickly sets in and the woman realizes she did not marry a prince and the man’s eyes are open and he sees his wife’s is not the princess he thought she was. Sometimes he might say he married the wicked wife from the east instead. Or was the wicked wife from the west? Regardless, the scales quickly fall from our eyes and we see the real person- a man or woman who is not perfect.

After watching my friend’s wedding, I saw a post on my AML support group from a lady who is being treated for leukemia. She just found out her husband of twenty-five years has been cheating on her and he left her and their children for this other woman. Here she is- fighting with all she has to live, feeling ugly, helpless, and weak, and he finds someone else. The vows “in sickness and health” seem to not apply to him.

But recently, I have talked to other wives who are having problems in their marriage. One has a husband who loves God and they are leaders in their church. However, shortly before she was diagnosed, she discovered he had an addiction to pornography. It obsessed him and she was shattered. While she fought her hard battle to live, he seemed to put it on the back burner by ignoring the addiction and focusing on her. Now that she is improving, she is recognizing some of the same behaviors emerging. 

Another lady confided she and her husband have been having a lot of marital problems over the years and it’s getting worse. Her husband simply doesn’t care about her, she feels. He does his own thing week after week. She is lonely and he just drinks his problems away. But drinking only makes things worse.

Yet another confided she is not heard in her marriage. She’s been married for a long time and her husband just stopped listening to her. He doesn’t appear to hear anything she says because he fails to respond. When she tells him things, she assumes he heard her, but several days later he asks her about the subject acting like he’s never heard it before. She said he doesn’t ever want to sit and talk to her unless he’s drinking. she said he’s turned into a sloppy drunk and she doesn’t even want to have a conversation with him because it grosses her out to talk to a drunk.

Someone else confided in me her young friend,who has young children, has acknowledged she’s is an alcoholic. She wakes up most mornings not remembering what she did the night before. 

Lately I have been hearing more and more about alcohol destroying lives, jobs, and marriages. I have been so busy focusing on the Opioid crisis, that I havent paid attention to what alcohol is doing to our loved ones. Alcohol is legal so we fail to attach the stigma to that like we do illegal drugs. Two years ago my cousin died because he drank himself to death. Over thirty years ago,another cousin was killed in a drunk driving accident. Both he and the driver were drinking. 

Life is difficult sometimes. Sometimes we don’t get the things we want, we may not like our jobs, and maybe our desires have changed. But, the day we choose a substance over praying to God to help us with our problems, is the day we chose to dance with the devil. The devil appears to want to help us forget our problems- escape from reality, but once he has a hold on us, he’s hard to escape from. He fills our minds with lies, and tricks us into believing we aren‘t doing anything wrong. 

We must get a handle on this and fight back for the jeopardized marriages and for those who struggle with their drinking. Alcohol should never be used as a crutch to survive. Recently I was in an airport and took note of all the wine bars, sports bars, and otherl restaurants that served alcohol. We have become a nation that accepts and expects us to drink all hours of the day and night. It’s socially acceptable to do so. People who don’t drink are sometimes scoffed at for being “better than everyone.” It’s not that the non-drinking person thinks they are better than the drinking person, they just choose not to make it the highlight of their day or life. When are we going to find a commonality with others without drinking? And when are we going to put GOD before alcohol? It’s time to remember to the words of the minister who performs marriage ceremonies . Put God first and let’s no man divide your relationship. Let no man tear apart what God had joined together. Honor one another and be respectful. Listen to each other and above all, love deeply and kindly.

5/22/18

My parents come home tomorrow!!! Yeah for them!  They won't like the terribly disappointing spring we are having, but hopefully they will be happy to be around famlly again.  Yesterday I changed the sheets on their bed and emptied out all the rotten food in their fridge. Oops....Mom forgot that!  I'm going to stock them up with a few things so they won't starve Thursday morning. Today I will vacuum and sweep their floor up in anticipation of their return. I'm very excited if you can't tell. My cleaning will never measure up to my mother's, but hopefully she feels like she can relax a bit and not start scrubbing.

I just wrote two more appeals to my insurance company for claims being denied. I have this ongoing problem with them and it's really frustrating me.  Most of the time they eventually pay it, but I have to work very hard at it to get them to do so.  I had a mammogram at Providence Hospital. I checked on their website and Providence Hospital is an "in network" facility. Mammograms are paid at 100%.  They processed it out of network TWICE and didn't pay it.  I verified again today that Providence Hospital is covered. They tried to tell me that certain departments at Providence are not in network. I call ***** on that one. So the appeal is written and I will send it off.  The second one is for Orthopedic Physicians. If you remember, their office is not in network- but NO office is in the entire state of Alaska, except for offices that see Native patients. I appealed that last year and they agreed to pay it, but then they process it out of network. After arguing with them to reprocess it, they did, but only paid 37 % of the claim. So once again, I have had to write out an appeal to reprocess it and pay 100% as I was told they would do. I'm so fed up with this. I know they have a goal to have people get frustrated and give up. But they don't realize how stinking stubborn I am!!!!

Finally Mayo clinic called me back only to tell me the person in the Regenerative Medicine clinic would call me today or tomorrow..... I have been trying for three weeks to speak with someone about the potential hip procedure. They just don't care that I hurt all the time. On Saturday we went to an estate sale and I bought a walker. I just don't know if that's what I'm going to end up having to use when the pain is unbearable to walk without something. I'm just so tired of all this "recovery" stuff. I don't feel recovered. I want to be normal! I'm too young to struggle to walk or move. Now I have something odd going on with my neck. It's sporadic, but feels like an electrical current going through it. Patrick thinks my vertebrae is twisted. I have an appointment with a chiropractor tomorrow to check it out. I'm a walking disaster. At least I can walk!!!!

5/23/18

Do you ever have days when you feel like you are batting a zero all day long? This is one of those days! I have four refunds supposed to be credited to my credit card. None of the credits have been applied. The skin care company I ordered from said they "can't find" the return. I had to return it because it made my skin turn red and I got a rash.  Then I used my cell phone insurance to pay for a new phone, but then mine started working again. I sent the replacement back. UPS Wasilla told me they would scan it immediately to show it was received and processed. But guess what? Asurion (the insurance company ) said it doesn't even show it was dropped off!!!! I have to look for that receipt. Then I called MIcrosoft to ask them why they haven't credited me for my Office 365 return. (I had already purchased another copy for five computers with my new laptop purchase) They said their computers are down and I would have to call back later. Then to top it off, I have something I'm supposed to do by next Tuesday. It's online, but the link is not posted. I have emailed the person in charge two days ago and she has not responded. I have looked to others for help and no one can help me. I'm just about fed up with this day.

The nurse with regenerative medicine called me. She said, "The doctor said it's a flip of a coin if he can help you." She went on to say that they would only do one hip at a time, which means two additional trips to Mayo this year with no data to back up the Tenex procedure on my hip. So why would I want to go all that way with a 50/50 chance of it working?? I called our insurance company and got a number for someone in network in Seattle. They won't even schedule me unless they view my medical records first. I'm not a happy gal today!

Wendy Hale and I had an appointment with the Mayor of Wasilla today regarding the Garden of Reflection. If you don't know about it, it's a beautiful section of the big park in Wasilla. It was created as a memorial garden for those of us who lost loved ones who had no cemetery to go to. I walked in to his office and promptly threw his couch pillow on the floor. I didn't mean to, I am just not skilled at holding something in my hand and trying to move something else. Thankfully he broke the ice by insulting me which cracked me up. He said, "Wendy told me you were a klutz!" She really didn't say that, but it was a good attempt to make me get over my embarrassment.

Casey finally got into the court ordered inpatient treatment center today. Please pray with me that he stays there till he is officially dismissed and he learns new coping mechanisms to conquer drug addiction once and for all.

5/25/18

I went to Friday Flings today with Meghan, the kids, and others. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone on a sunny day. I went for a couple walks in the last couple days and my hips are in pain. I found a poem yesterday that helps with my emotional state:

LETTING GO

 

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring,

It means I can’t do it for someone else.

 

To let go is not to cut myself off,

It’s the realization that I can’t control another.

 

To let go is not to enable,

But to allow learning from natural consequences.

 

To let go is to admit powerlessness,

Which means the outcome is not in my hands.

 

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,

I can only change myself.

 

To let go is not to fix,

But to be supportive.

 

To let go is not to judge,

But to allow another to be a human being.

 

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

But to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

 

To let go is not to be protective,

It is to permit another to face reality.

 

To let go is not to deny,

But to accept.

 

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,

But to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

 

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,

But to take each day as it comes.

 

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,

But to try to become what dream I can be.

 

To let go is not to regret the past,

But to grow and live for the future.

 

To let go is to fear less and love more!

Author unknown..

5/26/18

I slept in until 0800 this morning. Yes, I woke up during the night as usual, but this time was able to go back to sleep. At one point I was sure I was going to have to leave the room to get any sleep. Ailynn got in bed with us in the middle of the night. She would not stop rubbing my stomach and back. She loves to feel skin. It is an adorable trait-it's how she falls asleep. But I was so tired I was prepared to find another bed just to sleep. I got up to use the restroom and she crawled next to Papa to rub his back. I could then sleep away! Grandchildren are the best. Last night I got out their Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann dolls (two of the biggest ones) and read them a chapter of a very old Raggedy Ann & Andy book I have had since a child. I read all of them to Ollie via Face Time when she was younger, but she didn't remember them. Meghan says I am collecting the dolls for me- not for them. Perhaps she is right! I think they are adorable and I want them to love them as much as I did.

I was visiting with a friend the other day who has hip problems like me. The same tears even! Although, her labrum is completely torn from her hip socket. It was so nice to talk wtih someone who understands the pain. She is having a second opinion done next week to see what to do.Surgery has been recommended for her.  She also lost a child and she wondered why some people have so many bad things happen to them. It's not that I can explain why I've had all my issues;  serious health issues at the age of six, twelve, eighteen, and then being diagnosed with leukemia in my 40's. I lost my firstborn child. I have another child who has fought substance abuse addiction. I'm having issues post bone marrow transplant. Yeah, when I say it all out loud it seems like a whole heck of a lot. But I don't really think of it as the "big  picture.." I tend to break it up into manageable smaller pictures. A lot of that is over. Now I just have to focus on my hips and my son. I can do so through Christ who strengthens me. When the going gets tough, I run to Jesus. Actually, he and I talk every day. We understand each other. :)

 5/27/18

Last night was one of those nights when I was awakened a gazillion times. This time due to a sweet little girl named Ailynn. She started off in our bed and when she fell asleep, Papa took her to her bed. It wasn't long before she was waddling back to our bed. She gets as close to me as she can, and strokes my stomach and back over and over. I kept pushing her over because I had about six inches to lie in on our king size bed. Then Ringo kept getting on and off the bed, wanting out, wanting in, all with the scratchy sound of his nails hitting our laminate flooring. Actually, both girls wante to be with us last night so the four of us PLUS Ringo started out in the bed. I wouldn't have traded the night for anything.

I did some work in my gardens yesterday preparing them for flowers. I dug out a ton of weeds. I was exhausted so I took an evening nap. Patrick and Roy took the girls fishing. They were so excited when they got home. Ollie caught a "huge" fish on the very same pole Logan caught his first fish on. She then told me Ailynn caught two fish, but whispered they were just litte fish, Grammie and mine was really big. I love how patient and kind Patrick is to our granddaughters, just as he was with our own children. He was born to be a father.

Father's Day is coming up and I hope every single man who is a father appreciates what he has. Childen need the guidance of an earthly father. Sons need a man to teach them how to be a man and daughters need their fathers to teach them how a husband should treat his wife.  Fathers are so important and my heart hurts for all those who don't have a good earthly father. My prayer is that a good man takes on that role as a mentor, and also that each child knows the love of our heavenly father.

5/28/18

KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school. (This was copied and pasted from Facebook)

This below is also copied and pasted from Facebook. I do not have the rights to either story.

“If you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home.
I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up. 
But remember, your Daddy is not gone. 
I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.”

That’s what Lt. Todd Weaver wrote to his little girl and his wife before he left for Afghanistan.
He was killed by an IED on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2010.

I just happened to stumble across his story in the Daily Mail.
And I felt compelled on this Memorial Day to post about it.

Lt Weaver actually wrote two letters before he left for duty.
He wrote them in case he didn't make it back. 
One was to his wife.
The other was to his young daughter.
They are both heartbreaking.

Here’s is a condensed version of what he wrote to his daughter:

Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:
Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.
I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old. 
Leaving you was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. 
You are so very special to me sweetie - you are truly a gift from God.

The best day of my life was the day you were born. 
You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you. 
Have fun. 
Enjoy it. 
And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.

You are and will always be my sweetie.
With very much love,
Your Daddy

I told you it was heartbreaking.
And it's the same with the letter he wrote to his wife:

Dear Emma:
Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.

Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.
I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit.

The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life.

I lived a life that most can only dream of. 
I married the perfect woman. 
I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.

Be strong for her. 
Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. 
Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day.

Never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. 
It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life.

You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.

I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Todd

This to me is why we have Memorial Day.

For people like Lt. Weaver, Emma and Kylie.
And I can only hope that Emma and Kylie have been able to move on with their lives. 
While at the same time never forgetting about "Daddy."

And I will assume that if you want to hit “like” that you feel the same way.

Here is a link to the entire article will the full copy of the two letters:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Soldiers-messages-love-baby-da…

And here is a link to a page that was created to remember Lt Weaver:
http://1lttoddweaver.org/1lttoddweaver.org/Welcome.html

5/30/18

I am on my fifth person with AT & T.  I have spent well over two hours on the phone trying to get things figured out between my replacement phone I sent back when my own phone started working again and the Direct TV account I just got suckered into. Yesterday I spent about an hour on the phone with Medtronic because I couldn't open the reports on my downloaded insulin pump. They couldn't figure it out either and said someone would call me back within two days. I don't know how I managed to do all I do and work. I'm going bonkers.

I feel like I can't get anything done. What I do do, I don't seem to be doing well. I'm not sure what my problem is but I hope I snap out of it soon! I need to accomplish something! Something tangible so I can sit back and say, "I did it!" Maybe I can get a sticker board or something. I did make a list in my phone and checked off a few things to show Patrick...... I have to figure out what I am making for dinner. Last night I tried a new recipe in my pressure cooker- meatloaf and potatoes! It actually turned out really well. Maybe I can use that again. Not much effort to it which I like. :)

Mom and I went to see Casey on Monday. He seems to like the center and he was busy grilling for the residents. We continue to pray he does well and completes all requirements. Yesterday I was at a support group for families of addicts. We discussed the need for an "operator's manual" for parents. I suggested each week we work on one until we have a book! It would definitely be unique.

I saw the two big girls today and took them to story time at Fireside Book Store. They even got to make a "spider".  After that, I took them to Granny's house. I was so worn out and dropped them off, finished my errands, and came home and took a nap. I slept from 5-6:30 so now I'm going to be awake for awhile.

Aillynn is so cute. Every time she sees me she asks, "Are your hips hurting, Grammie?" Then it's followed by "carry me!" They leave Tuesday night! We are going to be devastated when they leave again.Broken heart

5/31/18

The last day of May. It's almost sad to know another month is ending because with the ending of the month comes the realization I will never see that day again. There are no "do overs." What happened that day is final. Did I make the most of it? Did I give it my all? Did I enjoy fully? I recently watched a video of people in Hawaii. Now it's easy to make the most of your day while in such a beautiful place, but the point of the movie was to make the most of every day no matter where  you are.  The movie stressed to be "all you can be" and to never forget to live up to your potential. I loved that. How many times do we just dread our days? We dread doing our chores, going to work, writing papers for school, doing our errands, etc. But if we count our rainbows rather than our thunderstorms, EVERY day would be a great day. Make yours great today. 

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning

I lay my request before you and wait in expectation."

Psalm 5:3

 
 6/1/18
 
It is 0229 and I am sleepless in Wasilla. Between pain and my darling husband’s restlessness, sleep eludes me. I have a confession to make.

Last night I insisted I could mow the yard myself. I must have sounded like a two year old - saying “me do it!” I refused Patrick’s wise offer that he do this beloved chore of mine. I started with the backyard and was about halfway done with it, when I realized the foolishness of my emphatic declaration I could do it myself. I was too stubborn to quit, although I began to move slower than before. There were frequent moments when I was convinced I was going to simply collapse if I took one more step. The stubbornness in me continued as I went to put away the mower. All the sudden, I didn’t care anymore about admitting my weakness. I left the mower and collapsed into a chair. The weariness overwhelmed me and I was exhausted- I hit the wall. I went to bed with agonizing pain in my left hip and upper back. I actually texted Patrick and asked him to bring me Ibuprofen.  Each time I woke up from trying to reposition myself I heard myself crying out. 

Mowing is a favorite chore of mine. Maybe next time it won’t hurt so bad. Despite the pain, I want to try again. I despise losing my independence. I know “me can do this!”

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with three incredible women- all who survived cancer. Anita had colon cancer, Mom had breast cancer, and Lynda recently completed treatment for Lymphoma. We have known each other for years, but the four of us have never gotten together. Four strong women who relied on the strength of God to make it through. We didn’t just make it through though; we are thriving! We each continue to have “things” to deal with, but we are strong, determined, and content . We each use our experience to help others going through a similar battle. Lynda summed it up well when she said we went through so much so God could use us more. We had to experience Hell to describe Heavenly intervention.

The night before last, I had a disturbing dream I am still trying to decipher. My three children were young and getting on my nerves.Logan had just miraculously showed up- he had been gone and I thought he had died. I missed him, but I needed time for myself. I gave them a paper bag full of things to go play with in the woods.i was not aware there as an explosive device in the bag.  There was an explosion. Casey and Meghan came back. Meghan was fine, but Casey was burned. His face had the skin texture of a cartoon monster- it was bubbled up and I knew he would be left with significant scars.  I kept stroking his face and apologizing for his pain. I didn’t know there was an explosive in the bag and I blamed myself for his injuries. Logan was gone. I screamed his name as I ran down several hallways- looking in rooms as well as the woods. I knew he was gone again; this time lost forever. My heart sank as I realized my oldest had died again, my middle child was scarred for life, all while feeling grateful my youngest was spared. If I were to attempt to interpret this, I would say the loss of Logan is still hard for me to accept. He has been gone almost twenty years and I still search for him each day. I want to see him so badly that I conjure him up in my dreams, but the reality of his loss controls my dream so and he is always taken away again. Just one time I would love a dream where he is not sick or dead. One night I want to just enjoy him, hug him, feel him, and have a fun adventure with him.

Casey’s injuries I believe stem from the realization he has a lifetime worth of scars. All the poor choices he had made have permanently scarred him- he doesn’t feel “normal”, nor does he act “normal”. His scars are felt and visible to both he and others. Although I believe God can restore him fully and use him, I sense Casey has more stubbornness like me with the mower. Part of him wants to hang on to his damaged life. He is comfortable with it because the chaos is familiar to him. My grief of seeing his scars was overwhelming and I was torn between helping him and searching for Logan.

Meghans was fine and I knew it. I didn’t have to worry about her and I knew it. It was strangely accurate to reality. She has always been stable, healthy, and self sufficient. I thank God she brings such great light into my world.

Yes, my boys have taken years off my life from stress and have caused many gray hairs, but I love them. Life would be so much better if Casey would surrender all his baggage. I know he can do it. He is smart, compassionate, and capable. Life would be so much better for us all if he gave HIS all. If HE did the work rather than relying on us to help him through it. He’s pretty independent right now and I am enjoying the freedom of standing back and watching him grow.

There was a bright light for me earlier yesterday morning as I got to spend over an hour with Baby Boe all by myself. She and I understand each other. Her interactive gazes remind me of Olivienne’s looks when she was a baby. The look of wiseness, comprehension, and intelligence as they acknowledge what is around them. She’s as cute as can be with her red hair and blue eyes.

6/3/18

Patrick and I had the pleasure of escorting Olivienne and Ailynn to a beautiful wedding. Meghan and Kirk were both in the wedding party of Meagan and Kale VanBuskirk's wedding. It was a perfect ceremony in an exquisite location with a dynamic 365 degree view of the mountains. The bride was gorgeous. People even clapped when she made her entrance. Kale was emotional and the look on his face when he saw his bride was precious. My eyes tear a lot since I had my tear ducts plugged, but I am sure the tears that rolled down my cheeks last night were real tears of joy for them.  They have a beautiful baby boy and to see this family become binded by the laws of marriage was touching. They have a true love and commitment to each other and it's wonderful and special.  Her aunt is a minister and she performed the ceremony. Her words were perfect and they reminded me of how important it is to put our partners first and to never stop trying to make marriage work.

Today is yet another perfect weather day. I think we are at five in a row. Alaskans seem amazed to have good weather and most people in other states take it for granted. We enjoy every second of a warm sunny day.

Today I'm going into Anchorage to visit my boy and then help out at a bone marrow event. There is a man running throughout Alaska to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow registration. His father died from leukemia. His goal is for 3,000 more to register. What a fantastic goal!

 6/6/18

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I spent as much time as I could with the girls. We dropped them off late last night at the airport.Poor little Ollie was so sad. Her shoulders were shaking with sobs as she walked through security. She is four years old and very sentimental.  "Her people" are here in Alaska.The people that cater to her every whim and desire. She is blessed to have an abundance of "people" in Alaska who love her and her two sisters immensely. Ailynn put one of her boarding passes into Papa's pants so he could go too. She is a sweetie too. I got a big sloppy open mouth kiss from baby Boe to top it all off! They have an EIGHT hour layover in Seattle! Thankfully Meghan got a hotel room so they can all rest.She is also spending some time with Delanie, my "other daughter" and Meghan's childhood best friend. I'm so glad they are spending time together as it's been a few years since they have even seen each other. Delanie lives in Washington now. I have been fortunate to see her a few times as I have passed through Seattle.

The other day I was sitting on the couch with the two big girls. I had my legs curled under me which is always a mistake. My hips started aching and I said,"Oh no. I am not going to be able to get my feet on the floor." Ollie said, " i'll help you Grammie." She carefully took each of my legs and slowly lowered them to the floor and then with both of her tiny hands, she helped me up. I grabbed Grandpa Marvin's cane I have and used it with my right hand as she grasped on to my left hand. I had taken but a few steps when Ailynn comes flying at me declaring, "I want the cane!"She pulled it away from me leaving me to Olivienne's devices.  I couldn't help but laugh. Once I got going, I made it to my bedroom okay.

I found a doctor in Seattle who is going to examine my hips and tell me if he can help me. I am praying he can. I'm fed up with waking up all hours of the night in pain, of not being able to get up and down to the floor to play without help, of not being able to exercise or walk well. I'm too young to be walking like I am one hundred. Sometimes I can walk normally for awhile, but it almost always hits me and I start limping and straggling behind. Patrick and I were celebebrating the other night that it has been six months since I have been in the hospital! My immune system has improved incredibly, but my physical condition has worsened. The Fibromyalgia diagnosis I did not want to own is at it's peak. Every point of my body that is touched hurts. Those nerve endings are firing off.

We finally got the rain I was wishing for. I wanted it to rain so my flowers and grass would be happy. Unfortunately, it's still raining this morning and we are scheduled to plant a bunch of flowers at the Garden of Reflection at 10:00 am this morning. I would prefer not to do it in the rain, but I will suck it up.  Wendy and I have many volunteers coming to help. Many are moms who have lost children.  Some are people who need to do community service hours due to criminal charges. We should have plenty of help so it will probably go quickly. The Garden of Reflection is just that; a place to reflect. This one was specifically designed for parents and family members who had a loved one die and no gravesite to go to to reflect on their lives and "visit" with them. Logan's "31st" birthday is coming up on the 24th. I cannot fathom a Logan at 31. He will always be 11 to me. I miss my freckle face little boy. I find such similarities in he and Ollie. Ollie is also a very mature child who is senstitive and able to "read people", just like Logan could. She loves deeply and also hurts deeply for others. She is full of compassion just like Logan was and I can see her living Logan's dreams of helping the needy in our country. I remember walking the Heart Reach Pregnancy Walk with Logan when he was 6 or 7.  He was determined to save the lives of unborn babies. He also wanted to save the lives of children with cancer. He wanted to be a research scientist. Treasure what you have in your children, because you never know what is going to happen. If only I could go back and redo my parenting with all three of my children and once again wrap them all up in my arms. I realize now I have to wait for Heaven to do so. I never want to be apart from either of them, or from anyone I love, again.

I read this on a website I'm subscribed to. I love it.

Separate the person from the act. Now, look at the act and look at the person. The act will never change but that person ALWAYS can. Be kind to each other and above all LOVE and then FORGIVE. Do not label them someone a person who can never change. For that is a unloving false fact. Do not label them someone who is narcissistic. Because addiction is a behavioral act NOT the person who was created in perfect love. For we all were created in the image of God and God loves us all. 70 x 7 Jesus tells us to forgive. The healing is not for them the healing is for Us.
Today I forgive, today I let go and surrender my unforgiveness. I am taking the act and setting it apart from the person. Now I will look at them through the eyes of God. I allow the breath of God to fill me today and renew my heart. Today I will forgive and #JustBreath (Christy Carmen, author)

6/7/18

Tonight was the 100 Plus Women Who Care meeting.  One meeting- four times per year- one hour each time- $100 given each meeting.  That's a $400 investment into our community by each woman each year. Over the course of eleven meetings, these women have given over $64,000 to our community! Is that not amazing or what! $64,000! Set Free Valley Oaks was the last non-profit awarded to. Sherry spoke of some of the things Valley Oaks purchased with the money. One incredible purchase was a fantastic swing set and play house for the children of the mothers who go to treatment there. Valley Oaks is a women's residential treatment center. The women are allowed to have their children. This organization not only educates the women about sobriety, but it also incorporates sewing, art, painting, and more into their curriculum. They offer multitudes of classes and support for these women, including mentorships with community members. What a fantastic place to be healed. I will be doing my practicum/internship there this fall and I can hardly contain my excitement to work with these women.

I stopped by my parent's place tonight and was amazed at all the work they have done in the short two weeks they have been home. They got a bunch of pictures hung up in the living room, and Dad started some brick work outside. They are such hard working people.

Tomorrow I get to see Caitlin, a young friend of mine. She used to be in my daycare and she's Delanie's sister. She was a good friend of Logan's. Caitlin was a successful bone marrow donor several years ago and she has a master's of social work degree. She's a true champion for many. I can't wait to see her and I regret we will only get a short time together. I have to go into Anchorage tomorrow to meet Patrick. We are going to the cabin and I'm very excited to finally rest. I have been overdoing it and have paid for it by experiencing tremendous pain in my hips and an extreme amount of fatigue. I slept in until 0830 this morning! Rest is what I need.

6/7/18

"Piglet?" said Pooh.

"Yes Pooh?" said Piglet.

"Do you ever have days when everything feels... Not Very Okay At All? And sometimes you don't even know why you feel Not Very Okay At All, you just know that you do."

Piglet nodded his head sagely. "Oh yes," said Piglet. "I definitely have those days."

"Really?" said Pooh in surprise. "I would never have thought that. You always seem so happy and like you have got everything in life all sorted out."

"Ah," said Piglet. "Well here's the thing. There are two things that you need to know, Pooh. The first thing is that even those pigs, and bears, and people, who seem to have got everything in life all sorted out... they probably haven't. Actually, everyone has days when they feel Not Very Okay At All. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.

"And the second thing you need to know... is that it's okay to feel Not Very Okay At All. It can be quite normal, in fact. And all you need to do, on those days when you feel Not Very Okay At All, is come and find me, and tell me. Don't ever feel like you have to hide the fact you're feeling Not Very Okay At All. Always come and tell me. Because I will always be there."

#mentalhealthawarenessweek

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Today i I went into a library that I hadn’t been to in eleven years! The librarian said , “Hi Kelly!” Did I ever feel special! She said she had kept up with me via this blog. My heart was touched. She told me how impressed she is with my good attitude. I told her there are days when I feel depressed and depleted and she acknowledged she could tell that. I then went on to complain about my hips. I have to stop complaining and simply say, “I’m doing fantastic!” Maybe if I have a more positive attitude I will feel better. I must let go of the negative. I want to be known for positivity, not negativity. I want to be known as a happy person and not an Eyeore. Patrick was talking about someone we know today and he said he calls her Eyeore because she’s always negative about all her physical problems. I don’t want to known as Negative Nilly or an Eyeore. I also don’t want to be known as “Happy Hippo”. How about “Kind Kelly”

6/9/18

The sun was shining and the temperature was warm. Patrick was prepared to start his “cabin chores” when I threw him for a loop. “Let’s take the pontoon boats out on the lake”, I suggested. He was so excited and surprised “I” suggested fishing together. “Why not“, I said. “Right now I have energy .” 

I went to the Tesoro station in Kasilof to get a fishing license. There was a grumpy man about sixty behind the counter.  He growled, rather than talked. He barked at me and a couple other customers. Instead of getting upset; I chose to pray for him to have joy in his life as it seemed he had none. When I got back to the cabin, I shared my experience with Patrick. He laughed and said “he’s always that way but he likes ME”. Of course he does, Patrick. Everyone likes you!

We drove the whole 1/4 mile to the lake. Patrick had to carry the boats and the fishing poles. He wouldn’t let me even carry a paddle. We argued about me insisting I was going to weed eat when we got back to the cabin. He said absolutely not, he would do it and then he would chop down trees and drag them out of the way. I guess I’m supposed to just “sit there and look pretty....”

Once we were finally out on the water, I stared with envy at how Patrick simply glides through the water. I struggle to paddle and go in a straight line. I fought the winds kicking up as I paddled to where Patrick insisted the fish would be. At one point I just put the paddles down and looked at the beauty surrounding us. I turned on my praise music and I thought about the difficult times we sometimes have just paddling through life. Sometimes the winds kick up and it’s hard to fight the currents- even on a lake. Sometimes the paddles get a little hard to handle and come out of the oar locks. Sometimes we seem to paddle for hours and it seems like we never move. Sometimes storms may come up and toss us around and we are frustrated, frightened, and despondent. Sometimes we wonder if anyone is listening, watching, or willing to help naviagate the boat. I thought about Jesus on the boat and how he was sleeping when the winds kicked up. His disciples were frightened, but he took care of the storm.

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24  And behold, there arose 1a great storm on the sea, sothat the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “ASave us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26  He *said to them, “Why are you 1afraid, Ayou men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and 2it became perfectly calm. 27  The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obeyHim?”

I began to compare my difficulties maneuvering the pontoon boat to the difficulties I have in my life. I thought about all the things I successfully conquered with the help of Jesus Christ. I knew at that moment, I would be okay and would weather all the storms in my life. My commitment to fully trust Jesus was put to test when I suddenly got “sea sick” on the lake. I have always gotten motion sickness and it’s not the first time I have gotten sick on this lake. Once again, my strong, loving, devoted husband used his rope to connect to my boat and he paddled us both to shore. All the while he paddled, he told me how sorry he was that I got sick and how he felt responsible because he suggested we go further out and the winds were blowing more over there. Never once did he act disappointed in me nor did he act upset that I ruined his fishing trip. He got me back to the cabin and tucked me into bed. He showed me great love, concern, and compassion. God gave me an amazing husband and I am so thankful I have him to be with me as I weather the storms of life.

He went back out fishing while I napped so don’t feel too sorry for him!😅😂

6/10/18

Tomorrow is Patrick's birthday. He is out fishing right now. I left him a note in the lunch I packed for him telling him he's the best fish I hever caught!  We are going to go fisihing tomorrow on the river for rainbows. It's the opening at the upper river. He's pretty excited that is taking place on the day he celebrates being born. He is obsessed with fishing, but better than obsessed with other women and bars, right?! I have been busy cleaning and studying. A nap sounds really good to me, but I want to take Ringo for a little walk.

6/11/18

Patrick and I had a fun day today fishing. Well he fished, I mostly read but the important thing was, we were together. I had to work on my attitude though. i had asked Patrick a couple times to purchase the annual boat launch pass we get each year and he forgot. He said he knew where the office was in Soldotna. Unfortunately, they told us that wasn’t the right place and the building was on Funny River road. Well we drove for miles and couldn’t find it. I called and the lady who answered and said, “oh, you can get it right from Bings Landing where you are launching. Just ask the camp host. Well we couldn’t find the camp host. I got out my phone and tried to do it online. I completed the process, but it would not accept my “accept” on the agreement to the rules. I tried five times. I was completely frustrated. It didn’t help that Ringo was barking and crying in excited anticipation and was grating on my nerves. I said, “forget it! We will just pay for a day launch.” I had no cash so I went to wrtie a check. I had no pen. Patrick found one on the boat, I walked back to the fee station wearing my waders. The pen did not work. I walked back to the boat and got the key for the truck. I got to the truck (walking in waders isn’t fun) and found another pen. I started writing the check and it also quit working. I found another pen. I then accidentally set off the truck alarm. I tried every button I could think of and it wouldnt stop. I walked back to the boat (in those darn waders!) and told Patrick that was HIS truck going off. I was pretty grumpy and then I remembered it was his birthday and I needed to be nice! I thought about all the errands and things he does for me and I felt ashamed I let a few things get into the way of our happy day. I changed my attitude and we had lots of fun. He went back out to fish in Johnson Lake tonight.

Yesterday I was walking Ringo and once again observed him jumping up and down like Chester used to do when we went for a walk. Ringo never did that until Chester died.  In fact, he has taken on a lot of Chester’s characteristics. Chester was the alpha dog and they lived together for several years. When chester died, I assume Ringo felt he had to be the alpha dog and he more aggressive like Chester was. I got to thinking about that and realized that the people we hang out with rub off on us. Sometimes that is not good. Often times we think we can be a good example to someone and maybe even witness to them, but that’s  not always the case. Our good intentions may fail as we spend more time with them. What we observed to be poor habits and characteristics before, we tend to overlook or excuse them the more we are exposed to them. We must be on guard at all times to ensure our good values remain intact and WE are the ones rubbing off  on others In a positive way. You are what you eat and you become who you hang out with. Make the best choices!

6/14/18

This is one of the season's of life when everyone seems to have something tragic or greatly concerning going on. This is supposed to be the "happy season" as it is June. The sun has been shining often, after a long hard spring.  Flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the crisies are increasing for many of my loved ones.  

One friend, who has Parkinson's Disease, is being tested for ovarian cancer after a mass was found on her ovary. Another friends just had her second back surgery and is having a few complications. Another friend had another foot surgery- she has had multiple spine and bone problems over the years. To complicate the matter, she is single and currently not working so financial distres is elevated. Another friend has been unemployed for over a year and is waiting to hear if he got an entry level position- anything to bring income in and get some health insurance. Another friend is struggling because she has multiple health problems and has limited mobility. She feels like she wasted her life and isn't good enough for anyone. Finally, my niece is having the hole in her heart repaired today and I'm concerned about her.

I texted her husband Jimmy today checking on her. He is the most amazing husband and caregiver. I watched him with her in the hospital and found him to be Superman. He researched her condition and challenged the doctors to keep digging until they found the cause of her stroke. Jimmy is a devoted husband who is holding it all together while worrying about Michelle's health. He said the Serenity Prayer helps him to focus on the here and now and not worry so much about what he can't control. I thank God for his devotedness to my sweet niece.

I saw a video today about a young man who was given a death sentence for lymphoma. He went in for a problem with his tooth and they found this mass. He was at Stage 4 and given just a few weeks to live. He summed his story something like this, "I was dying for the weekend, dying to go somewhere, dying to ........ but I learned to live to be grateful for each and every moment. To not wish away the day, but to appreciate each moment I have.  I think we all can learn a lesson in this. How many times have I heard (or said) someone say, "I can't wait for the weekend! I can't wait for my vacation. I can't wait......." Well you have no choice but to wait. While you are waiting, take a moment to appreciate what you have. Take a moment to appreciate those beautiful flowers, the lovely birds, the green grass, the warm sunshine, the friends and family in your life. Don't waste your life away by wishing it to be something else. Have no regrets. What you've done is done. It's finished. It's never too late to pick up and start over. It doesn't matter how old you are or what your financial situation is. You have the ability to change YOU. By changing your heart and attitude, you will learn to enjoy life again. We have one life here on earth, live it well!

Tuesday night I was part of a special moment- a congratulatory moment for Marcos, who is from the Canary Islands. He came to Alaska to run to bring awareness for the need for bone marrow donors. The last leg of his journey, he teamed up with my friend Christy Youngbood, a marathon runner, to finish the race.  What's spectacular about them running together, is just a little over a  year ago, Christy was diagnosed with lymphoma!  She was strong and determined to run those last thirty miles. Her determination and grit inspire me. Christy could have said, "I can't run because I'm still rebuilding my body after chemo", but she didn't. She put her brave hat on and ran those miles even though it was difficult and challenging for her. She ran 30 miles in one day! My hat is off to you, Christy. You are simply amazing.

6/17/18

Father's Day is a happy day for me as I have my father, Gary Oathout, just down the road and my husband, Patrick by my side. At a time of my life when many friends are losing their fathers, my heart is thankful and appreciate for having my father here with me today. I love him so much and it's great to see him a little less stressed since retiring. I think once his house here and the house in Texas are basically done, he will be even more relaxed. My dad is amazing and so considerate of others. I love his giving heart and I appreciate all the values he instilled in me.

LIkewise, I am appreciative of my husband, the father of my three children. So many in the world are divorced and raising children without both parents in the home. I am thankful my husband has walked the road of parenting alongside of me.  He is fishing today with our nephew, Kyle. He has no children here with him today and I know that makes him sad. I'm glad Kyle loves to fish as much as his Uncle Pat. Hopefully he fills a hole that is missing today.

My heart goes out to the fatherless; for those who never knew their fathers, and for those whose fathers are not involved in their lives.  I think about a gal in her mid-20's. Since she was a small child she expressed an interest in knowing her biological father. She saw her friend with her father, and longed to have a man to call "Dad" as well. That longing stays true today. There is still something she feels is missing. She grew up without the unconditional love of a father. Her father had many mental health issues and a drug addiction that precluded him from being the daddy she needed him to be.  I think about another young lady- a 17 year old who was adopted into a loving home. Her parents subsequently divorced and her adoptive father left state. She has expressed a great amount of hurt and pain with his departure. She feels abandoned and unloved by him and my heart simply ached when we talked the other day. How I longed to stand in front of this man and shake him into realizing what he has left behind; what damage he has done to this child.

Yes, I pray for the fatherless, for the healing of those who have hurt because of their fathers, and for the fathers today I pray that each father knows the importance of being emotionally and physically present in their children's lives. I pray that each one of them values their child and teaches their sons how to respect a woman, and teaches their daughters how a man should treat them. We can learn a lot from our fathers. They have a huge responsibility and I pray they honor that responsibility and exceed all expectations.

6/18/18

I leave for Seattle tonight; that dreaded midnight flight. I hope and pray I sleep on the plane. I see the doctor on Wednesday afternoon in hopes he has a plan for a pain-free life for me.  I get to Seattle at 0800 tomorrow and look forward to spending the day with our friend, Gary, and also visiting our friend Samuel who recently had a bone marrow transplant. The weather is hot and sunny in Seattle and it's expected to remain that way all week. Since it's been terribly rainy and windy here, I am more than overjoyed at the thought of some precious sunshine. I find the sun lifts the mood.

Some of the many things I feel especially grateful for today:

1.  I have a loving husband who supports me in all I do.

2.  I have two wonderful parents in reasonably good health and they are close by.

3.  I have my granny and can spend time with her as often as I want.

4.  I have a large and loving extended family.

5.  I have survived being diagnosed with Leukemia and survived a bone marrow transplant.

6.  I get to help others in similar situations.

7.  My husband willingly allows me to heal at my own pace.

8.  Casey is in a treatment center and his counselor is so supportive and he is working on the underlying issues that caused his addiction.

9.  My daughter is married to a responsible man and they have a beautiful family.

10.  I get to see my daughter and granddaughters in another month!

There are so many more things I'm grateful for, but I will stop writing for now. In my head, I'm praising God for so many other blessings.

Seize the bull by the horns today!  Never let a moment go by without learning a valuable lesson from the experience. Give it all you have and be encouraged. Focus on the good, not the bad. Use your experiences to help others.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has

stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that

God has promised to those who love him."

James 1:12

NEXT SECTION IS AFTER PICTURES 

Seattle Doctor Trip was a BUST!

I arrived home at 12:50 last night. Ringo was in the same place I left him Monday night. He was standing on his back paws and his front paws were peering out the window so he could see me. I have never had a dog more devoted to me than Ringo. He follows me everywhere. Monday brought anxiety to him when I pulled out my suitcase. I tried to assure him I wasn't going to be gone long; not like before when mommy was really sick! Poor dog. I would say he has some PTSD from being abandoned by me when I was out of state for chemo. I love my dog so much.

When I drove over the Flats Monday night, it was 10:30 p.m. and the sun was shining brightly over the water on the flats. The view was mesmerizing as were the surrounding mountains with minimal snow on them. I looked around in wonder of how ANY one could say there is no God.

Gary picked me up and I tried to stay awake for breakfast. I hadn't slept but a little bit on the flight and I was exhausted. I told him I "had" to have a biscuit for breakfast. It's a running joke between us because the last time we were there he took Patrick and I to one of his favorite places assuring me they had biscuits. They did not. Okay, yes, I may be obsessed with biscuits, but I love them.  So does Gary, so don't let his casual attitude fool you. We were driving to a restaurant he assured me "most likely" had biscuits when I spotted a restaurant sign, "Biscuits & Beans." Biscuits and beans?? I didn't want beans. Gary explained to my tired and feeble mind that "beans" stood for "coffee." Oh, I said! We must go there! I ordered the one thing on the menu that did not come with a biscuit. So I paid $3.50 extra for my biscuit. It wasn't like any biscuit I had ever seen. It wasn't fluffy and airy. It was crunchy and kind of squished. I looked closer at it and could see the burned grill marks on it. There was no butter. No butter? I must have butter on my biscuits! Lots & lots of butter. I walked up to the lady behind the counter and asked if I could have butter for my biscuit. She looked at me blankly and then seached around. Searched around for butter? What kind of establishment was this? She asked the cook and he handed her one pat of butter. I looked at it like it had wings.... "Uh, I'm going to need a few more. A couple for me and a couple for my friend,", I said. She said, "you can only have one. We charge extra for two!" Well I was waiting for the price. I would have given her a dollar for another butter. No nogotiation was thrown out there. I finally replied, "Okay, I guess I will have my friend come up and get his own butter then!" I ate one-half of the biscuit and took the other one to Gary's. It was my mid-afternoon snack. He had "fake butter", but it worked out okay. Next time I go there, I'm bringing a stick of butter with me.

The doctor...... Mayo Clinic never sent the x-rays of my hips to this doctor as requested. I forgot to bring my MRI from Alaska. At least they did have the chart notes I copied and Patrick faxed to them. I was able to pull my hip x-rays up on their computer by logging into my Mayo account. (after I had to call them to reset my password as it wouldn't open!) To make a long story short, I expressed my pain and limited mobility to the doctor. He examined me and about brought me off the table with one of his maneuvers. It hurt so badly. His conclusion? Take Lyrica. Your pain doesn't match your MRI report or x-rays so it must be your Fibromyolagia. I had tears in my eyes and tried not to fall to his feet and sob while begging him to help me. Perhaps the only thing that held me back was knowing I couldn't get off the floor when I was ready. It would be humiliating to ask for help up. I have a hard time buying this "diagnosis". Firbromyalgia would cause me to not be able to move? For my hip to go out of place and then click back in? For my gluteal region to burn each night so badly I have to continuously roll over by contorting my body in a strange way just to turn over because I can't do it like a "normal person." I'm devastated and feel like know one believes me. I felt like he was saying I'm making it up. There are times when I can hardly walk. There is something wrong with me and I need someone to figure out what it is! I do not want to take another pill. A pill that touts 80% of those taking it are affected by dizziness, sleepiness, and aren't clear headed. Well, because of my orthostatic hypotension, I am already dizzy. Because of chemo, I can't think as clearly and words escape my vocabulary. I don't need to get any "dumber." I don't know what else to do. I don't want to try the Tenex Mayo suggested. I don't have the money or the time to keep leaving Alaska searching for answers. If I can hang on for two more years, Mayo will do PRP on me. They won't do it until I am five years post-transplant. I feel like an old southern woman as I cry out, "Lord, have mercy!". I think it sounds more like "Lawd, have MERCY!"

6/23/18

I haven't slept much. I'm all alone in the house and you would think I could have slept, but my mind couldn't rest. I had to create a PowerPoint yesterday and submit it electronically. Let's just say it took about nine hours to create and the entire night to figure out how to submit it. Technology is for the millenials and the generation (whatever they are called) of my grandchildren. Can you really teach an old dog new tricks?

I sent Patrick to the cabin alone. I simply have too many things I have to do this weekend. But I do believe I'm going to do some self-care today and go to Palmer for a bit. There is a big event at the Depot and I need to buy a bridal shower present for the party I am going to tomorrow.  There is nothing wrong with self-care, I just have to keep reminding myself that it is permissible and acceptable to take care of me.

Tomorrow is Logan's birthday. He woud be 31. It's really hard to imagine a 31 year old Logan since I only knew him until he was 11.  I didn't get the pleasure of watching him change as he grew up. The boyish charm would have turned into "manly charm", his likes and dislikes would probably have changed. But I know, I simply know, that his loving and sweet heart would remain the same. I just know he would have grown up to be a faithful man of God. I love my son so much and I miss him more than I can ever explain. There is a permanent hole in my heart that can never be repaired. There is no heart surgery, no comforting words, no prayers that will truly fill that hole up. It shouldn't be filled up anyway. To deny the pain of loss, is to deny the value of his life and his important part as a member of this family. I will ache, cry, and miss him for the rest of my days; until we are reunited in Heaven. He's my first-born, my baby and my love. Until I see you again, baby boy, enjoy that fishing in Heaven. I am sure you are playing many childish pranks on your friends and family. You got to meet your maternal grandparents way before me. I can't wait for the day when we are all together and catching up while praising God for his gift of eternal life.

6/24/18

He turned 11 on his last birthday. We came home before transplant and we celebrated a little early since we had to be back in Seattle for chemo. We had a party at Matanuska River Park.  His aunt and uncle bought him a nice bike- an adult size bike he was so proud of as he rode it all around the park. Many friends of his and ours were there. We tried to make it a special and memorable day for him. We thought the next year when he turned 12 that we would be joyously celebrating his miraculous recovery. We believed he would get through it all. When we were back in Seattle, E.J.Bartells employees through Logan a nice birthday party. He got to go to Toys R Us and pick out things he wanted. They bought pretty much all on his wish list! That night we took him to see a movie at the drive in theatre in Auburn. We didn't know it was going to be his last birthday. If we had known, we would have held him a little tighter, told him a few more times how much we loved him, and maybe even bought him everything he wanted! You know, spoil him rotten..... He wasn't rotten though. He was so appreciative of all he had. His one desire was to see all the children healed. His precious little heart broke over those children. He loved children. They loved him too. He was always the superstar when kids were around. I know he's rocking those babies and taking care of them for their mama's. Happy birthday baby boy. I love you so much. The day I found out I was pregnant with you was the happiest day of my life. I'll see you again.

Lyrics
God sent his son, they called him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives.
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because i know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives,
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain day because he lives.
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because i know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives
And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know he reigns.
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because i know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives
Songwriters: Matt Maher / Jason Ingram / Ed Cash / Chris Tomlin / Daniel Carson / Bill Gaither / Gloria Gaither
Because He Lives lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc6/25/18
 

6/25/18

Nothing ike a late afternoon nap to rest my weary body. I have a feeling I will still be in bed by 9. I'm overtaxing myself mentally and it wears me out physically. My body is still recovering from mowing the other day. I decided to convince myself the pain was all in my head. I mowed and then slept for a couple hours. I woke up and couldn't move. I hurt all night long. Horrible pain. I keep trying to convince myself I don't hurt and I can move just fine, but that trick doesn't seem to be working.

Ringo and I leave for the cabin tomorrow after my oncology appointment. We are going to rest, sleep, and read! I'm sure he'll convince me to take a couple of short walks with him. They make him so happy, how can I say no?

6/28/18

Happy 32nd anniversary to us! Patrick got here this evening and made me a great dinner. He brought his cat down. She just rode in his lap! Now she’s on my pillow disturbing me. It took me a couple of hours before I realized it was okay to move her over. I'm such a ridiculous animal mother.  asked Patrick to go sleep in the loft because he’s snoring. Ringo is also snoring, but he can climb ladders.... my hip hurts badly and I am sleepless in Kasilof! I want sleep. 

6/30/18

The sun shined brightly today and I insisted we go to Homer and have fun. I had been writing non-stop for days, and Patrick had been doing lots of chores around the cabin. We took Ringo and walked the beach. I kept telling myself the pain and stiffness was all in my head and to suck it up and walk. By the time we were done, I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I wistfully gazed at the two women ahead of us. They were overweight and older, yet they effortlessly glided along. I asked Patrick why I can't keep up with heavy older women. He reminded me it's not about weight, it's what I have been through. I responded in frustration that it has been three years. I just want to be able to move!  We did have a good time though.  I'm glad we went. It's good to have fun and not just work all the time. We ended up doing some wine tasting at Bear Creek Winery which reminded me of when we did that in Australia.

On the way to Homer, Patrick shared a fantastic Alaska fishing adventure with me. He went fishing on the Kenail last night. He hooked a fish and a bald eagle came swooping down trying to get the fish. But then another eagle swooped in and they competed to get the fish. Neither bird accomplished its goal, but they sure put on a show for Patrick! He also had a bull moose swim near him and managed to capture that on video.  Alaska life is not for the meek! We have exciting wildlife adventures. I just don't want to run into a bear when I am on a walk!

I have had two book signings while down here and I've met some wonderful people; fellow Alaskan writers. Each person I met is unique, friendly, and compassionate.  Most of them knew each other, but they accepted me into their unofficial writing club with open arms.  I would love to finish another book.  It's so funny how I turn each thought and experience into a short story. I can't paint with a paintbrush, but I love to paint a story.

I spent my morning planning out the menu for the middle of July when we will have plenty of company down here. i also completed my grocery list. Now I just hope I don't leave all i buy in Wasilla instead of bringing to the cabin!

Tomorrow is the first of July.  Before we know it it will be winter again. Wow