Monday, November 30, 2009

Opened Doors

To try to sum up the recent events, our lives have been a roller coaster ride these past few months. We know for certain that God works in mysterious ways. He’s opened doors that only He could have for us. We are living proof of this.

Eric’s health has steadily been getting worse over time and his physicians told us in January 2009 they believed because of the stage of his disease he had approximately 18 months left to live and the clock was ticking.

We knew that at our hospital in Philadelphia, Pa there were over 500 patients on their transplant list and over 250 patients with Eric’s O+ blood type ahead of him. And his specialist explained they would never be able to get him a transplant in time, and for us to consider options of other hospitals as they did less than 100 transplants a year.

I was not going to give up on my husband’s life that easily. We prayed about it asking God for guidance and to show us what to do. We were clueless how to do this. There were so many questions that we were concerned about, like what would we do with our home, Eric’s work, our children, and grandsons who lived nearby.

After discussing it I contacted Aetna and found other transplant hospitals they were contracted with and I began my intense homework of delving into each transplant center’s statistics, reputations, and best patient survival rates.

It was during this research I found out about the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis. I found it was nationally recognized for its outstanding work and was listed as a center of excellence with Aetna. Once again I started making numerous phone calls to our insurance company, the doctors, and finance department and made the arrangements for Eric to be evaluated in Memphis.

If this hospital was good enough for Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs then it would be good enough for us. So I made an appointment for Eric to be seen by Steve Job's surgeon.

Immediately his current specialist helped by staying on the phone all day making phone calls personally. We made the 10 day trip down to Memphis to meet with the specialist and after tons of tests each day, the doctors gave us the thumbs up that they could help. This was sweet music to our ears, such a huge blessing!

His physician in PA has since transferred Eric's health care to the transplant center in Memphis where we’re expecting for him to get listed soon for a liver transplant hopefully within the next few months if all goes well. His MELD score (blood tests) have took a huge jump in the past two weeks, and this isn’t good news. It is good in the one sense that it moves him higher up the transplant list, --- but it also means he’s getting worse. Time will only tell. But we have faith.

Once again God has answered prayers, and opened a lot of doors for us that we could not have done on our own. Within one months time Eric has officially retired, we have put our home on the market for sale and had numerous friends and family helped us packed up our belongings, rented a 26’ moving truck and moved 1,000 miles way on Thanksgiving Day from Pennsylvania to Mississippi. The best part is that we’re now living only three short hours away from my whole family instead of 18 long hours away and can see them often.

Moving was bittersweet, saying many tearful goodbyes to all of our friends, church family, and leaving our other family members was heart wrenching, especially to leave our two grandsons five-year old Zachary and six -month old Owen. That broke our hearts leaving those two boys.

There have been so many highs and lows we’ve experienced this past year, and it’s brought us closer together and we are celebrating every day we are given. We have so much to be thankful for, and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Sweetest Gift

If someone asked you, what was one of the kindest, most thoughtful things that anyone has ever done for you that you have never forgotten, what would come to your mind?

A memory of this came to me as I was going through the contents a box of items I had stored away, I began reminiscing through the memories years ago, and a treasured reminder came back to me.

As a timid child, in the first grade my teacher was Mrs. Nicholson. She made it a point to assign each of her student's seats in the classroom alphabetically. My seat was the last one on the last row in the very back of the class, and her rule was there would be no changing of seats.

Our art and coloring activities time were immediately after lunch each day. Mrs. Nicholson would call us forward, row-by-row one at a time to select our crayons of choice from the large plastic gallon ice cream bucket that served as a communal crayon container. Because of the appointed seating arrangements, I was always almost the last child to choose mine.

Imagine the disappointment day after day when I selected my crayons knowing those of us who were the last in line only got the leftover broken crayons, while those who went before us always got the better ones. It hardly seemed fair and I felt deprived. I asked our teacher if she would consider reversing this order to let the last row go first occasionally but she held steadfast to her strict way of doing things, and wouldn't budge at my suggestion.

I soon began disliking coloring class because I never got my favorite colors, which were shades of midnight blue or navy blue. The only blue crayons I ever got lucky enough to pick out were short nubs, broken ones with the paper peeled off them. I managed to pick out the best I could of any leftovers blue ones. Blue was my favorite color back then, and still is today.

About thirty-five years later I received an unexpected package in the mail and as I began to unwrap it I was surprised to find huge boxes of crayons-- hundreds of crayons. I thought to myself, what will I ever do with all of these crayons. It was when I opened up the individual boxes the tears flooded my eyes, inside of each box revealed only blue crayons -- not another color -- only beautiful, brand new, never used perfect blue crayons with the wrappers still intact.

How my heart sang at 41 years old to receive this thoughtful gift, and read the touching letter that was enclosed. Surely no one else in the world could ever relate to this special gift.

Years earlier, I had told my then fiancé about the story about me disliking to color in elementary school, and he remembered this and took it upon himself to make sure I would never have to use another ugly broken blue crayon ever again. My sweet Eric went out of his way to buy up tons of crayons and hand pick out all of the blue ones to give to me.

When I asked him what he did with all of the other crayons, he laughed and replied, "I gave them to a daycare center, and apologized because there were no blue crayons in the boxes".

That was one of the sweetest, most romantic things anyone has ever done for me. I will cherish his kindness forever. Even today, when we take our grandson with us out to eat at restaurants and Zachary is given crayons and paper to play with while waiting for our food, Eric sometimes will reserve the pretty blue crayons just for me to save.

I can never look at another blue crayons again without remembering this precious memory of all those beautiful new blue colors my wonderful husband gave to me many years ago.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Singing with Delirious

My life as of lately has been somewhat chaotic, and filled with multiple hurdles to overcome. I haven’t wanted to chronicle all of the tremendous negative emotions I have been experiencing, instead I chose not to write anything.

I won’t bore you with details of the past few weeks suffice to say it’s been filled with doctor appointments, my extended 8-day hospital stay, and numerous obstacles with the Transplant center instead I want to focus on how good God is and the more positive things that have happened.

Eric and I were blessed to go to a Christian Conference again, and we thoroughly enjoyed the messages taught. We left with our souls refreshed, and with our faith increased. Even through all of our trials, we both know that God is Sovereign and will see us through this.

We sang along with the Christian praise and worship group Delirious? with lead singer Martin Smith. This group is incredible. We were blessed to be sitting on the sixth row, and was very close to the stage. It was so exciting. This was the eighth time we've seen them.

Over the past few weeks Eric has had his share of ups and downs, and when he felt up to it, he has been busy working on his novel. I can’t wait to read his final draft, and see it finally published. It’s quite interesting.

Now that our summer is winding down Autumn will soon be upon us and we will be enjoying the beautiful colors of the fall foliage and all the many daily blessings we receive.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Battlefield of the Mind

A recent event caused me to take a step back and re-evaluate things as I had perceived them. My thoughts had been mentally distorted about a particular matter. I was negatively thinking with my emotions about a burden and wasn’t able to be open-minded.

It’s so easy to lose yourself to cynical thoughts and have poor perception about things when your life is filled with chaos, anxiety and a lot of uncertainty. Yet, as a Christian, I know that I should leave all my burdens in God’s hands. When will I ever learn God sees the big picture, and that His timing is always perfect?

It’s when I am feeling helpless in the middle of a trial and facing difficult situations that I tend to ask, "Why Lord? Why are You allowing this to happen?" God doesn’t mind me questioning, He understands my fears.

It’s fair to say I should not be worrying about the future, but rather focusing more on the present. Regardless of the situation, I have repeatedly seen God's gracious, protecting, and loving hand working in each and every circumstance I have encountered in my life. He isn’t going to change today. He remains the same, and will always be there for me, I can depend on Him. God has demonstrated to me over and over again that His way is the best way, even though I can’t always see it.

I had been praying about this particular issue when I got a gentle reminder from God revealing His truth to me, opening my eyes. He knows what is best for us, and immediately upon acknowledging His truths, I felt a shift in my attitude and my thoughts completely changed and I was able to see things clearer and felt a calming peace about my burden.

This is the times that I can tell I am growing in my spiritual walk, this reminds me that I need to be constantly re-evaluating things in my life, and I pray I never stop doing this.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Odd things happening at home

No much to report today, other than there is never a dull moment around our home -- only a dull looking flower bed now.

We live in a suburban area that is inundated with groundhogs and Whitetail deer and it’s not uncommon to see them in walking through our yard late in the evenings year round, more especially in the wintertime.

Never have we experienced a problem with either of them until recently. I have found evidence of hoof marks inside my now flowerless flower bed. The deer have obviously visited our yard during the night and had a feast from all of my flowers as a midnight snack.

All of my beautiful stargazer lilies blooms are now gone, nibbled up, with only stems remaining. I salvaged the last few blooms and put them in a vase on my table so that we could get a little enjoyment out of them. Other foliage has been torn and my azalea blooms and buds stripped, gnawed and sampled.

The deer completely ignored the green plants that I wasn’t fond of, leaving everything appearing as if it was all shrubs and weeds now.


Something strange happened the other night. My son Adam was over for dinner, and as he was helping me set the table with the dinnerware, he also lit a candle as he knows we sometimes enjoy having candlelight with dinner.

Within minutes the three of us were eating and sharing conversation, when unexpectedly the overhead light went out leaving us with a dim flame produced by the burning candle. Our first thoughts were that the power was going out, but then we noticed the lights over the island bar a few feet away were still on.

Within two minutes the lights came back on again. We were all intrigued by this and discussed how odd that only one set of the light fixtures in the kitchen went out and then... it happened a second time.

This time we were laughing at how eerie this was. Of all the lights in the house that were on at that particular time, the only one to go off was the one that was above our heads.

Do you ever have problems with animals in your yard, or strange things happening in your home?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Birthday

It seems the older we get our birthdays tend to come around much quicker than when we were young children and we were looking forward to them. I feel blessed to have been given another year. I was never one who needed a big birthday party to celebrate, instead I prefer the quieter times doing things with my loved ones to make my day to feel special.

Eric has made sure that my birthday has been a fun day for me. The day started out with phone calls with birthday wishes from several family members, and friends. Later my oldest son, Adam and Eric took me out to lunch where we all stuffed ourselves, and I enjoyed a slice of delicious chocolate cake.

After returning home to open my cards and gifts of a pretty bracelet, a nice wall plaque, and two books, Eric and I spent the whole day at two places that we love to visit. The Chester waterfront is located underneath the Commodore Barry Bridge and the other is Bartram’s Covered Bridge. Coincidentally on the day we got engaged we visited both of these places, so there are lots of great memories for us at these places.

The scene of the waterfront is now changing as a new Major League Soccer stadium for both the men and women’s teams is being built on the grounds and much of the former park area and many of the trees have now been removed. The existing boat landing, short boardwalk and fishing pier and places to picnic will remain. We enjoyed strolling along the waterfront spending time on the pier watching the numerous boats go by and children playing.

Bartram’s Covered Bridge is another very special place to us for several reasons mostly because that is where Eric proposed during a romantic summer picnic. This place is hidden off the main path, and it's a picturesque setting complete with an uninterrupted creek flowing underneath the bridge that travels downstream for miles. We have spent many hours talking while having picnics and skipping rocks across the brook while making plans for our future. We love this place so much we have a photo of it above our fireplace mantel.

I think all couples have “their own special place” they like to call theirs and visit frequently. Where are some of your special places?

Doing the simplest things with those I love at memorable places make the best memories on special days for me. I am already looking forward to turning 50 next year.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Special doctors and hospitals

Do you have confidence in your health care team?

Having trust in your physicians can make all the difference in your recovery as you should be partners in your treatments especially when you have a chronic medical condition. We have been blessed with have a special team of doctors, and an excellent hospital treating Eric.

Eric had an appointment today with his main Hepatologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). His doctor gave us some much needed encouragement and some good advice for his complications from the cirrhosis. We felt her aggressive cutting edge expertise, and experience in the liver disease specialty field is without question. We left feeling more hopeful that we normally do. Perhaps it was due to her kind emotional support from a physician.

She gave Eric the approval to once again be able to add meat back into his diet, and hopefully with another change in his medication he will soon start to feel better. She is genuinely concerned about Eric’s condition, and has given us her private phone line to call her personally with updates on him whether he is experiencing a good day or a bad day. This only adds to our trust in her medical care.

We have every confidence in HUP, their staff, and the transplant team as they have an extraordinary reputation as a world-renowned clinical and research hospital. It was ranked as the # 8 Best Hospital in the United States out of thousands by U.S. News & World Report. HUP has a Level 1 Trauma Center and a fleet of 6 helicopters called PennSTAR used to transport critically injured patients to the hospital. It has 697 hospital beds and a team of 1,663 physicians on staff, in addition to being the nation’s first teaching hospital.

Eric’s doctors are located in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. It is a state-of-the-art, 500,000 square foot facility that’s attached to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania through a glass crosswalk. This outpatient center cost $302 million to build, and is very impressive.

The professionalism shown by the staff is overwhelming. The staff is especially helpful to keep families updated on patients who are having surgery as they update the boards every 20 seconds on a television monitor of the patient’s status. It reminds me of the airport terminal boards and waiting for a loved one to arrive. It shows the patient’s pre-op status, what time their procedure began and ended, what time they were moved into the recovery room, and their destination if the patient is expected to be released to either go home or if they are to be admitted. Now that's pretty cool to a small town girl like myself.

If you ever need an excellent hospital, we highly recommend this one, but be prepared the valet services are not cheap, expect to pay around $15.00 for your visit.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Falling in love again

I’ve fallen in love all over again this past week. I’m not sure exactly how or when it happened I just know that I’ve caught myself staring and smiling at my husband more than I have in a long time. Perhaps it is just from spending quality time with the one you love and this has made a difference in my attitude.

We have been dealing with Eric’s illness on a daily basis for months now, so it’s only natural for it to create some tension within our relationship. Yet, through it all it’s important we remember what our priorities are and to not lose sight of them and deal with the stress productively.

We have felt blessed as Eric has felt a little stronger, and had a little more energy than usual for an entire week. We have taken advantage of this time and were able to do several enjoyable things together that we’ve missed doing. It’s the simple physical things that we take for granted and we realize this when they are removed from our daily lives.

Some of the things we did this week, in no particular order were.

Another cookout – or as some northerners call it a BBQ with lots of good food.

On the 4th of July, the weather was absolutely perfect so we bravely decided to spend the night out under the stars since we hadn’t done this in ages. Instead of camping out in the woods in sleeping bags on the hard ground, we brought outside a mattress, bed sheets, and blankets and slept on the deck next to the burning firepit. This was my idea of roughing it.

Eric kept the fire stoked as the temperature dropped down to 58° by early morning. It was a miracle in itself there were not any annoying bugs out that night. As we lay warmly snuggled up in our covers, staring at the northern sky in search of the big dipper, we noticed the constellations of stars in view were dimly hiding behind the clouds. The noises we heard were very faint in the distance. There was a low flying jet overhead, some late night firework displays, and a barely noticeable motorcycle sound. A few crickets chirped softly nearby, singing us to sleep. It was a fun night, and we’re looking forward to doing it again, but only when it gets warmer as Eric claims.

We’ve spent several late night hours watching the first season of the China Beach series cuddled up on the couch. I never watched the show when it was originally aired, but I’ve come to enjoy this series now and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

On another night, we had the pleasure of entertaining six young men from the Christian Academy of Arts as our overnight guest. This was the second year they have stayed with us. What a blessing these talented guys were, and the play they preformed was awe inspiring.

Today was an adventuresome day as we went to the park with our 4 ½ year-old grandson Zachary, and we took our three bikes to ride on a bike trail. I’m looking forward to riding the entire distance of six miles one day soon. We couldn’t complete it today as unfortunately one of our bikes got a flat tire.

We also visited a historical site in our community of an enormous 400 + year-old Weeping Beech tree that was incredible. We never knew existed until now.

There was something very special about this week, yet I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I just know that God had his hand in it and tonight as I lay my head on my pillow I will be counting my many blessings and thanking him for my handsome, wonderful husband and the love we share in addition to the time we have to cherish together each day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Walk In the Park

For such a long time I have not known how to deal productively with the raw emotions that have overtaken and plagued my mind. Instead of expressing them in a positive manner, I’ve internalized and repressed them. It’s easy to do when you are faced daily with all of the unknowns and the uncertainties that occur from living with my husband’s Cirrhosis. This disease is something I will never understand.

I genuinely want to change these negative feelings and be able to vent to get them out in ways other than tears. I realize this isn’t healthy, and its taking its toll on me emotionally. I know that something has to change, I can’t continue like this. Perhaps this is why I’ve not even had the heart to blog.

It’s been an especially difficult week physically and emotionally for both of us. I have spent numerous hours in prayer seeking God's guidance.

I am grateful that today we’ve turned a corner and have been able to get out of the house, and have some fun together. Escaping the sadness and trying to temporally forget about Eric's illness was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Eric and I went out to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and spent some quality time adventuring around the park overlooking the waterfront and sightseeing. The weather was perfect as the sun was shining and a cool breeze was blowing as the sailboats sailed smoothly down the river. The view was extraordinary and relaxing.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the adventures in our lives it will bring.

The Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia is beautiful at night time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pieces of me

What are some words that represents you and your life?

Go to to create your own words.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A strong faith

I wonder if those two woodpeckers ever worried Noah.
I highly doubt it.

I pray that one day I will have faith as strong as Noah had.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

May each of you fathers out there have a very Happy Father's Day, and this goes for those mommies who have to be moms and dads both. You deserve an extra special day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It is sooo me

It is sooo me. Don’t you just love the looks of my new blog? I do too. It’s soooo “me” with my pink laptop and cup of hot coffee. :-)

I have to admit, I cannot take the credit for this awesome makeover, as I am not the talented person who created it. I only selected the image that I wanted put on it. My sweet friend Danielle designed this for me.

Yep, anyone that knows me, this design fits me to the tee.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saying I love you

I don’t really forget to tell my husband that I love him, in fact I tell him many times each day. I just thought this was a good time to tell him again.

Saying I love you, and letting him know just how special he is to me is very important to me.

Do you tell your loved ones that you love them often enough?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Family United

If you were to think of some of your most treasured objects what would they be? What material items holds special meanings for you?

I am a sentimental person, and could think of many things that I value. I cherish my Bible, my wedding rings, our families photo albums, old love letters these are all things that are near and dear to my heart. Another item I especially love is the Unity Sand vase that my husband and I along with our children created at our wedding that now has a place of honor on the fireplace mantel.

At our beach wedding less than two years ago down at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Eric and I decided we wanted to have a Unity Sand ceremony as a very special way of blending our two families together.

We began the ceremony by placing a small rock in the bottom of a glass vase to represent our religious beliefs as Christ is the foundation of our family, and then we each poured a small amount of colored sand from our separate containers on top of the rock in the vase. My sand was blue, and Eric’s was green representing us as individuals.

Then, one by one, each of our children added their own sand of five different colors on top of ours signifying the blending our two families are now one creating a beautiful colored layering effect. Lastly, Eric and I poured the remaining parts of our sand into the top of the vase together, mixing our blue and green sand together to symbolize that we could never be separated.

As you can see today our beautiful vase sits next our wedding photographs on the fireplace mantle with a candle in the top section.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heal the wound but leave the scar

Today is a very emotional day for me and I’m struggling to put into words what my heavy heart is feeling.

I created this blog as a place where I can express my feelings and yet, I don’t know how to do this, I don’t understand what is preventing me from purging my thoughts into this blog.

I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning earlier today trying to sort out these emotions and failed, all l I could do was weep and pray in the darkness. God alone knows what is best for me, and I know that he has a reason for the pain my family is experiencing.

My loss of self is unexplainable and still I question, is this our destiny?

I feel broken today, like no one else understands how I am feeling. I have such an open bleeding wound inside my heart, yet there is a deeper scar that remains.

My head knows that God is gracious, and he understands the depths of my pain, but today my heart doesn’t feel comforted. I keep remembering a song and it's message speaks volumes to me.

"Heal the Wound but Leave the Scar"

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering.

Maybe this is what I am seeking today… a reminding scar from a healed wound.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are You a Coffee Snob?

Do you have one particular drink that is your ‘go- to drink’ when you need something to quench your thirst that you are a snob about? Are you one of those who insists on having a certain brand of coffee?

It’s no secret that I am a not really a Coffee Snob, but sweeten Wawa coffee is my drink of choice, and an ice cold bottle of Starbucks Vanilla frappuccino® is my favorite cold drink. I enjoy it morning or night.

I especially enjoy Vanilla and Mocha frappuccino's.

I usually enjoy at least two cups of coffee each morning before beginning my day. I like the quickness of tossing a pod into my Keurig and less than 30 seconds I have a steaming hot cup of coffee perfectly brewed because I am usually in a hurry each morning running out the door.

What is your favorite drink, what satisfies your thirst?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Opposites attract

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who is a complete opposite from yourself? My husband and I are this way. We've found it can be interesting, challenging, and even frustrating at times.

He likes the Discovery, National Geographic, and Sci-Fi channels.
I prefer to watch the news, drama and comedies shows.

He’s more into rock and roll, and sings loudly to Bob Dylan.
I'm a little bit country and hum softly to Carrie Underwood.

He listens to the radio.
I am an iPod fan.

He is a night owl, and prefers to start his day at 9 AM.
I am an early riser, and try to get up earlier.

He reads spiritual, historical nonfiction, and things about nature.
I prefer spiritual, inspirational books, and romance.

He favors his quick warm showers.
I love a long hot relaxing bath.

Our list of opposites could go on and on with our different tastes in movies, hobbies, room temperatures, our preferences of driving stick shifts vs. automatic vehicles, truck vs. soccer mom SUV; to him being a proud Yankee, to my southern pride.

One might wonder where the common ground we meet is. First and foremost Eric and I meet over our love for God, secondly our committed love for each other, our families, being one another’s best friend, special fleeting looks, pillow talks and shared laughter only we understand, singing along with Bruce Springsteen, watching Eagles football games, cooking dinner together, romantic walks on the beach, serene picnics at covered bridges, and playing with our precocious grandchildren.

What makes a relationship work when couples appear to be completely opposite from one another? That is a question has been discussed and debated for centuries, and yet I'm not sure there is a single correct answer. However, I genuinely believe that these types of relationships can and do work.

Even though my husband and I are extremely opposite in numerous ways, we feel our strong differences compliment and balance each other out. We each have own diverse characteristics and traits and we often pull strength and learn from the other.

So how does a couple like us, who are so very different, stay happily married? It takes work and we respectfully encourage each other’s differences in our likes and dislikes. Often there are situations that require us to make an effort to view the others opinions with open-minds and be willing to respectfully compromise when the need arises. After many trials and errors we are now better able to express our own thoughts as complimentary attributes.

We have learned to find value in and embrace our differences. Our love allows us to acknowledge each other’s strengths, and overlook flaws. We build each other up to bring out the best in one another mainly through our unique sense of humors and laughter.

We try to give the other enough space and independence, which in turn fosters our feelings and emotions. We try to resist the temptation to be judgmental, and it's not always easy to do when we're both headstrong.

My husband and I share the same dedication for our marriage, and to us, the most important thing is the way we communicate with each other. This doesn’t mean we always understand each other completely or can even see things clearly through the others eyes. There are times when we simply cannot agree on the issue at hand. Yet, neither would ever want to be married to someone exactly like ourselves. We need this variety to nurture and help us to continue to grow closer in our relationship.

Eric said it best when he said, “we are each weaker without the other, and combined our strength exceeds what either could accomplish on our own”.

Many times it’s been said, "Opposites attract", and that old adage may still have some truth to it, but even so, these opposites continue to love each other deeply and wouldn’t change a thing (much) about our mate. I’d say we were well-balanced loving partners who are committed for life. Most importantly we recognize that it is God’s love and blessings that holds us together.

What about you and your partner are you more similar or opposites?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Creature of Habit

I have discovered I am a creature of habit. I have adopted certain good habits that I practice routinely, and yet I have developed others that do not benefit me. I am not someone who resists change, nor do I encourage it. Some of my behaviors I have no desires to change, although I realize I need better discipline in changing some of my more unhealthier habits. My will power is often weak at best in the self-improvement area.

Daily rituals are an essential part of maintaining a consistent lifestyle for me, and I’ve found that if my weekday routines are altered it seems to temporarily throw me off the course of my day. I am similar to Bill Murray’s character in the Groundhog’s Day movie in that some ways it appears I’m reliving each day repeatedly, and that’s not always a bad thing for me. I wonder if others live their lives by habitually repeating the same things day in and day out as I do.

I usually try to wake up by 8:00 each morning, brush my teeth, and take my medications. That is the first two important things I must do upon awaking. I spend the first hour of my day enjoying my quiet time in prayer and my daily devotions while enjoying my morning cup of WaWa French Vanilla coffee.

Later I typically can be found munching on a bowl of breakfast cereal while reading the news online, answering or writing emails and commenting on blogs and facebook. Then I face the challenges of the day whether it is laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, appointments, or whatever it may be for that particular day.

Some days there isn’t a lot of excitement, yet I especially enjoy those quiet days at home and it’s important that I set aside some time just for me at some point in the day.

My evenings are always spontaneous, and I prefer them this way. I am against strict dinner schedules and I like to just go with the flow or whatever the mood is at the moment. I enjoy spending quality time with my husband relaxing watching TV, reading, writing a blog, and winding down from the day’s events before bedtime.

For my everyday life, I’ll continue puttering along with my daily rituals that work fine for me, while singing my own silly songs, and feeling grateful to God for having another day to share with my family. Most importantly, I’ll just continue to not dwell on the negative issues of the world that I have no control over, and just be appreciative of the things that enrich my life.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gone but not forgotten

On Saturday morning May 30, 2009 our family lost our beloved “Mom”, she was 85-years-old.

We had a beautiful life celebration service for her. She was a huge part of our daily lives, and we're going to miss her terribly. Pastor Buddy gave a lovely memorial tribute to mom, and our friend Steve sang two of her favorite songs. Our church family has been so incredibly supportive throughout her lengthy illness. The outpouring of love, encouragement, food, and flowers from everyone has been overwhelming.

It’s been a continuous whirlwind with lots of friends and relatives visiting. It was great having all of our family here to remember mom. And yesterday the last of the kids have flown back to their homes, and our home is now very quiet.

As I was preparing my morning cup of coffee getting ready to do my daily devotion today, I realized my faithful prayer partner won’t ever sit with me again to do this as we had done so many times in the past. I felt a profound sadness come over me, yet I know that the grieving process will take some time to work through.

It’s difficult to put into words what mom meant to me, she was so much more than just a mother-in-law she was one of my closest friends who blessed my life. I loved her dearly, and cherish our short time we had together.

Although we may feel sad by our loss, we know its heaven’s gain and she is looking down from there watching over us. We have the reassurance that we will see her again one day, and that is comfort enough.

And God shall wipe away all tears of their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

Rest in peace mom.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Compassionate and caring people

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I have two of the sweetest girlfriends. They know how busy I have been lately, they kindly cooked us a delicious dinner and baked us a friendship bread loaf. I love them to pieces Cindy and Angela, you girls are the best. We really enjoyed your kindness, and greatly appreciated it.

It’s been another chaotic week around our home as our days have been spent at the rehab center, the hospital and the doctor’s office while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy around our home.

My sweet husband, Eric was feeling extremely weak from the Hepatic Encephalopathy, and because he was lightheaded, he took a nosedive and fell hard onto the hardwood floor causing him to injure his ribs, knee, and right side. Thankfully no ribs were broken, but were bruised and his pulled muscle is very painful. He isn’t one to complain often. But I can clearly see he’s hurting from the look on his face.

He’s struggling to function on minimal sleep. Last night was no exception as he had another sleepless night. I try to stay awake with him whenever possible. There are some nights when we’re both up all night long.

It’s obvious the cirrhosis is progressing, and is taking its toll on his body and his doctor has recommended he purchase a walking cane to assist him. He also has advised against him driving for the time being until his ammonia levels are stabilized into a more normal range. Recently his blood test showed these levels were five times higher than they should normally be, thus causing the sleep deprivation, and light headiness.

I am praying that he will soon get a liver transplant and will feel like his old self again. It’s painful to watch the one you love suffer. The emotions we deal with are all over the place. One doctor has suggested we write about our feeling about his disease, and thought that blogging would be a good release for us. So we're going to try to take his advice and let our blogs be an emotional outlet for us.

Eric's blog can be found at...

We really like his liver specialist he is such a caring physician. He genuinely cares for his patients. Each month when see him, after he has completed his physical exam on Eric, he invites into his office. There he usually spends about an hour with us discussing Eric’s disease and what we can expect, etc. Most doctors I have seen haven't typically spend this much time with their patients.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Writer's Block

I have Writer's Block with nothing much to say at the moment. I suppose its mainly because my sick family members are my main prioriety at the moment, and my blogging will have to take a back seat for today.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Update on My Mother-in-Love

I have waited for this day to come for such a long time, it has rained for weeks. Spring has finally found its way to our area this past week, and I savored my time outdoors in the sunshine, the temperature finally reached 90° for a few days.

I took advantage of it, and spent an hour relaxing on the riding mower while cutting the lawn. I enjoy doing this task. I had a lot on my mind and needed some alone time to think. Plus there is something gratifying about seeing the end results of your work in the neat straight lines cut in the grass, and beautiful flowers blooming across the yard.

As I was zooming across the backyard on the mower, I thought about my sweet mother-in-love (law) who always enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching me. She always reminds me that she loved the smell of fresh cut grass.

I wonder if she will ever get the opportunity to smell fresh cut grass again.

Mom is still in the rehab center undergoing physical and speech therapy due to her recent stroke three weeks ago. Unexpectedly, her health has rapidly declined she is very frail at only 90 lbs.

We were told by her doctors that she is no longer physically able to do the therapy, and will need to go into hospice care somewhere very soon. They believe she only has a matter of a few days or weeks left. This was painful for us to hear this news, and breaks our hearts.

We are selfish and are not ready to give her up, and we’ve all decided we want to bring mom back home. This is the one place where she was the happiest and at peace. Mom lives with us, (independently) in an in-law suite that is attached to our home. She loves spending her time with her cat, putting puzzles together or quietly sitting in her chair looking at her family photographs. She also she enjoys looking out her large bay window, or slider glass door across the deck to see her bird houses, and enjoys the squirrels playing in the yard. This is where she belongs.

Lately mom has been sleeping day and night, and hasn’t always recognized us, and sometimes she thinks that we are someone different from her past, people that we do not know. She refuses to eat most of the time, and has been in a great deal of pain from her arthritis in her hip and leg.

Today was a good day as she ate plus she even remembered us. We actually had a nice conversation and she was fully aware of her surroundings.

We took her outside in a wheelchair yesterday to feel the warmth of the sunshine and she gave us a beautiful little smile, and after 10 minutes she asked to be put back into her bed. It was too much for her, she is so weak.

We’re just hoping for as many good days as we can possibly get with her and pray for her daily.

She is more than just a mother in law she is one of my very best friends, and a faithful prayer partner.

I thank God for allowing me to be a part of this special ladies life.