Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Signs of Spring....

This past Saturday the weather was so beautiful -- sunny, breezy, and warm but not too uncomfortable. We ran some errands, took care of a few things around the house and I sat with Tim while he had his lunch on the patio :) and he dozed off in the breeze. It was such a lovely day.

Adding to the loveliness of the day was seeing my first Lily of the Valley bloom. I had been waiting for them. Their slender, brilliant green leaves have been above ground for weeks now and I worried that the flowers decided to take the this spring off but to my surprise the lone Lily of the Valley was triumphant!
I do cherish the signs of new life..and the sweet smell of Lily of the Valley. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mercies and Miracles...

"I delight in the Lord's mercies and miracles. I know that His tender mercies and His miracles, large and small, are real. They come in His way and on His timetable. Sometimes it is not until we have reached our extremity. Jesus's disciples on the Sea of Galilee had to toil in rowing against a contrary wind all through the night before Jesus finally came to their aid. He did not come until the "fourth watch," meaning near dawn. Yet He did come. (See Mark 6:45-51.) My testimony is that miracles do come, though sometimes not until the fourth watch."
~Susan W. Tanner~
"My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord," Ensign, May 2008, 83

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quite Certain....

"I'm quite certain that given a cape and a nice tiara I could save the world!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Hopeful Addendum...

With the waking of the day came the anxiousness over Tim's pending doctor's appointment this morning. It felt like a long night. If I thought too much about what was or wasn't said yesterday the tears would start. Not that it was bad news but I wanted a "Wow! The cancer is gone!" Anything short of that felt like a major blow. I know, those unrealistic expectations creeping in.....

But today did bring my heart to a better place --a happier place. We went to see the radiation oncologist and he looked at the CT images. He declared that things "look good", that there was "no measurable mass" and that it had been "reduced significantly"! That is really good news!

Tim is healing really well but still has a really raw throat (nothing Tim didn't already know!) and the sides of his tongue are taking a prolonged time healing. But other than that :) things are good!

Other good news....Tim's gained a little weight back! He's now only down about 7 lbs. from where he started! Must be all that delectable Ensure Plus he can't seem to get enough of! :) As far as food, the doctor told him that he needed to start trying to eat things by mouth. It's hard to make yourself eat when your throat is raw, your tongue is sore and your taste buds packed up and went south but he will still need to do it. He will begin with broth and work his way to puddings, eggs, noodles, mac and cheese....sounds like a diet any kid would love! :) I told Tim that I could cook broccoli so it was so soft he wouldn't even need to chew it but he still declines. I say if he can't taste it why should it bother him that it's something he despises and shuns? :)

The next wait is for a PET scan. That will be scheduled to be done in about 5 weeks ~ we will get the appointment for that come Monday when we see the regular oncologist.

Another wait but this time it is wait that has a very hopeful addendum!

"In every thing give thanks..."
~Thessalonians 5:18~

Staying Afloat...

I can relate to this plant being engulfed by water and hanging on by its roots.

After yesterday's CT we are still afloat and hanging on by our roots.

Much to our dismay, the results of the CT were not as cut and dried as we had hoped. We go to see the radiology oncologist this morning and hope to know more by later today.

More waiting.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In the Wake...

This week we hit the magic number...6 weeks.

It has been six week since Tim finished the grueling radiation treatments meant to eradicate the cancer from his body. In many ways it has seemed so long...I think that Tim might agree.

But, the wait is over and today is the day. It is the day that a CAT scan will give a us a glimpse beyond all outward appearances to see if the radiation did the job it was slated to do. A machine will peer into Tim to see if all evidences of cancer are gone.

While technology can peer into the body to see if all is well, what it can't detect is what is left behind in the wake of Tim's cancer. I have peered beyond Tim's armor and seen the unfailing courage he has brought to the fight, his enlarged soul as his dependence has been completely on the Lord, his strengthened faith that is more than can be imagined, his grateful heart for all that has steadied us in these trying times.

"Behold, we count them happy which endure."
James 5:11

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Scratch Paper...

Over the past months as we have dealt with Tim's cancer diagnosis my mind has been taken again and again to thoughts of service. It has been astounding to me that so many people have done so much to help us limp through this very traumatic time. We have never been on the receiving end of service before -- not really. We've had some meals brought into our home when I've had a baby and maybe a few minor other things along the way but never anything like we have experienced since cancer turned our lives upside down 5 months ago. This whole experience has given me a truly different perspective on service.

My mind has worked and worked on thoughts of service ~ what it truly is, what it surely isn't, the blessings of giving and receiving service, the differences in the attitudes that I had of service and how they have changed through the acts of service extended to us, etc. And there is a lot of etcetera...a lot more.

So my mind and heart have been at work reflecting on my new found observations, lessons and attitudes. Then I got a phone call asking me to speak at a Single Adult Fireside in May. For those that don't know me well, the thought terrifies me! Me speak? To adults? For how long? To add to my terror, they are letting me pick the topic! They must not know, KNOW me or they would have assigned the topic and asked me to share a scripture and sit down!

As I have mulled over this talk assignment I have wondered if it is a coincidence that service has been so much in my thoughts. As I've prayed to know what to speak on, service comes to mind over and over again. Okay, I can live with the topic but if I can't verbalize all the mulling over my mind and heart have done, how can I speak on service?

So my blog is my sounding board, my pad and pen, my scratch paper.

My first thought was that talking on service would solicit eye rolling from my audience. Haven't we heard it all before? Is there a more exciting topic I could talk on? Perhaps the answer is yes to each of those questions but they did ask me to speak..they just don't know what they've done yet! (rolling my eyes!)

So I began to think. I thought about attitudes in which we approach service. Do we feel it our obligation? Do we do it begrudgingly? Do we do it because we "have to" or feel guilty if we don't? Or do we do it because we desire to truly be as the Savior and offer help where we can, to lift where we stand, to show love and compassion to our fellow brothers and sisters? If I am honest, I can admit that my attitudes about service have fallen into each of those categories at least a time or two. Sometimes it's obligation, sometimes it's the "have to" syndrome, sometimes it is truly for what I consider "the right reasons".

Okay...if I have done service with a wrong attitude does that make me a bad person? Am I flawed because I have failed to extend a hand to those in need with the wrong attitude? At first I thought yes but then into my mind came a thought that helps me frequently. It is a quote by Maya Angelo that simple says, "When you know better, you do better." I can tell you that after this diagnosis of cancer and seeing the Christ-like love and service that has been offered, I now KNOW better. I have seen the blessings at the hands of those who KNOW BETTER and they DO BETTER -- better than I've ever known to do....until now. In many ways I feel like cancer has been a gentle taking of our hands and showing us the way -- the way to better serve, to better love, to be better people. That is the irony in cancer -- a terrible thing has brought such sweet and rewarding life lessons.

A thought that has been rolling around in my head is there is a huge difference between "service" and "compassionate service". When compassion is added to service it is like a multi-faceted prism. It radiates concern, sympathy, kindness, understanding and love. It is the offering of comfort in its many different forms. THAT is what we have felt as the hand of fellowship, care and concern has been extended to us. It is so far removed from obligation.

What Tim and I both know is that we cannot have experienced the Christ-like example of compassionate service and NOT be changed by it. It has changed our attitudes, our view, our lives, our hearts.

Isaiah 66: 14
"And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice...and the hand of the Lord shall be known..."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Standing Still...

"...let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17

Oh I like this scripture! I love the image of cheerfully doing all we can and then standing still, waiting on the Lord until His purposes are seen.

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tim Enjoys...

Emma, our feline....

Relaxing during dinner... :)

Playing his guitar....
(I love this picture!)
....And having his friends in to visit,
play guitars and sing!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chump Change.....

Just let me say.........


*Oh it's a good thing that we have a good sense of humor..and hopefully they will too!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Night At the Museum...

This is my lovely new alabaster cat made in Egypt. Yup, I bought it at the art museum the night we we went to see the Excavating Egypt exhibit.

I didn't plan to buy the cat but you know the rule that says 'you break it, you buy it'? The cat is now mine.

All I did to own the cat was to pick it up, admire it, look at the price tag, read the "made in Egypt" sticker on the bottom and said, "I like that cat".....then I promptly dropped it as I tried to place it back on its block pedestal (that was hidden under dark fabric for an elegant display)! So much for elegance...the "block pedestal" was really nothing more that an empty gift box under cloth and not even weighted down! So when I set the cat down on the box, it slid causing the unfortunate demise of the cat's ear!

All the kids thought it was so funny that MOM broke something when I had been periodically telling them to be careful not to break anything!! BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I took the cat to the checkout and told them that I would purchase the cat since I broke it and they thanked me for being honest about it. Did I even have a choice??? After the big "CLUNK" that cat made when it fell on the counter there was NO WAY I could deny it. I was sure that everyone there not only HEARD it but then they all turned to see WHO broke it and I swear they stared for an inordinate amount on time...or so it felt.

So we laughed all the way to the van where Tim was waiting for us (while having an after dinner snack of Ensure). We all piled in and told the tale of the Egyptian cat that we now claim as ours. I showed him the cat's ear and the missing piece that I was carrying in my pocket so as to not lose it between ancient Egypt and home. We agreed that we could glue the cat's ear back in place and because it was a clean break, no one would ever know. Tim then added, "It will match everything else we have!" BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He speaks the truth. I've lost count of the things that have been pieced back together and glued in our home. I am sure it's the natural progression of life -- marriage, kids, super glue -- in that order...till death do us part (the super glue anyway!)

Fast forward a few days...to this morning, in fact. Jacob, in a hurry to leave for seminary, had his headphones in and his iPod in hand when he whirled past a table in the entryway with breakable things on it. The cord from his headphones caught a plant, that caught a picture frame, that caught a candy dish, that caught two ceramic Easter eggs, that caught a small ceramic rooster -- a lovely ceramic rooster, I might add. That small ceramic rooster hit into a chunkier rooster who stood firm so that none of the items tumbled to the floor. That was the good news.

Jacob was quick to assure me that "Nothing broke!"...too quick I thought. When he went out the door I went to straighten the table from the quake it had just experienced and there it was....my small ceramic rooster had it's crown snapped off.
I didn't even have time to be mad before Tim's words echoed in my head, "It will match everything else we have!"

Excavating Tim...

Last Friday night the family went to the UK Art Museum to see the traveling exhibit called Excavating Egypt. It showcased the finds of archaeologist Sir William Petrie in the Nile Valley between 1880's and 1920's. It was so fascinating to see these artifacts that ranged from things of royalty to that of the commoners. One of the most fascinating to me was a rare beaded-net dress from the Pyramid Age, circa 2400 B.C.! And of course the mummies! It was amazing that things seemingly so fragile are incredibly intact after the passage of so much time.

As I shuffled through the exhibit that night it was striking to me how careful archaeologists have to be as they unearth the past. It is the care they had that led to their finding objects from this ancient civilization that were fully intact. I found myself telling the girls how careful archaeologists are when excavating -- using soft brushes to sweep fine particles away gently and slowly, a little at a time, to reveal the treasure that is trapped in the ground by the passage of time. Slowly and methodically they work to bring to light the secrets of the past. Of course not everything is whole as it is unearthed. In many cases, pieces are broken but those pieces may lay in such close proximity to the once whole object that you can see they fit together. So some things were ever so carefully put back together again so that to the unknowing eye it looked as though it was always whole.

I can't help but to think of our experience through cancer as an excavating mission. Much like the mummies and the artifacts we saw that were painstakingly unearthed and brought to light, so it with Tim. He was once whole and then broken by the demands of the prescribed regimen. His broken pieces lay in close proximity to him that you can see they fit. Much like the archaeologist, he is carefully being put back together again so that to the unknowing eye it looks as though he has always been whole.
And so his pieces are being put together again, slowly. Gently and carefully Tim's life is being excavated and salvaged a piece at a time -- his sense of humor, his guitar playing, his interaction with us, his return to work later this week..piece by piece his life is being excavated, reawakened, revived and made whole. What an expedition!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Season of Hope and Renewal...

"Yes, Jesus is the Christ! He broke the bands of death. He is our Savior and Redeemer, the very Son of God. And He will come again as our resurrected Lord. That day is not far distant. It is evident to all who accept the Savior’s literal resurrection that life does not end at death. Our Lord promised, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19.)"
~President Ezra Taft Benson~

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! (D&C 76:22)

In recognition of the Easter season, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following Easter message:

"At this Easter season of hope and renewal we testify of the glorious reality of the atonement and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The empty tomb brought comforting assurance and provided the answer to the question of Job,
“If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).
Because of the Savior’s resurrection we will overcome death and become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace fills our hearts and eases our minds. Jesus is in very deed
“the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
We give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. To each member of the human family He stands as our Advocate,
our Savior, and our Friend."
President Thomas S. Monson
President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Easter Message 2009

All I Need To Know...


Don't put all of your eggs in one basket

Walk softly and carry a big carrot

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears

There's no such thing as too much candy

All work and no play can make you a basket case

A cute little tail attracts a lot of attention

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits

Some body parts should be floppy

Keep your paws off other people's jelly beans

Good things come in small sugar-coated packages

The grass is always greener in someone else's basket

An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare

To show your true colors you have to come out of your shell

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey

Friday, April 10, 2009

More Glorious Than Spring...

In the springtime nature holds so many magical things! Birds make their appearance and begin to whistle their happy songs; trees burst open with flowers full of color and new life and in a short span of time the flowers fade and petals are blown by the wind, giving the ground below them the appearance of snow. Suddenly the trees turn into statues that are colored in the greenest of greens. Plants spring from the ground in their excitement to live. Each day is breathtaking; each day a gift.

....and so it is with healing. Although not as glamorous as the displays of spring, healing is breathtaking, it is a gift and it is magical!
Tim and I both have experienced the breathtaking, the gift and the magic.
Sometimes magic takes time -- the very thing you don't want to give. Time is a precious gift and one that should be savored...except that in the face of healing, time feels too long. But as surely as the glories of spring follow the bitter cold of winter, healing follows damage.

...and so it is with Tim. The day he asked about "testing the waters" by driving again it was as if a new tree had flowered! It was the day that life was shaken awake again. In his sleepy slumber the world changed from winter to spring and spring is soooo welcome! In his awakening Tim has attended 4 sessions of General Conference and the Priesthood Session (all via satellite, of course!), he has driven and he rode to Louisville and back with me to pick up young Tim and Lisa. Tonight we will go to the University of Kentucky Art Museum to see the Excavating Egypt display that is there. And at the end of next week Tim is going to try to go back to work (part time) again! All of these things are firsts as Tim makes a come back that I think is more glorious than spring!

The Rules of Life...

This is a dry erase board that I found in the "playroom" where Abigail and Annah like to hang out. When asked what these "rules" were for neither of them remembered.

*I* think they are the rules of life..... :)

1. Can't marry unless 20+

2. Can't use magic to go back in time or to the future

3. Only wizards can use magic

4. Can't have babies unless 20+

5. Don't jump out windows

6. No ditching classes

7. Cannot date unless 16+

8. .... (blank) I guess you can fill in the blank! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Girls in Glasses...

Both Abigail and Annah recently had to get new glasses. They are right on track with each other...if one is having trouble seeing you know the other is not far behind! They had some fun while at the eye doctor....

Thankfully these are the glasses they finally settled on.... :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back in August...

I love this picture of Tim and Lisa. Tim (the younger) is our oldest son who just turned 23 a few days ago. They were married in the Louisville Kentucky Temple back in August 2008. After the wedding they moved to Provo, Utah and we have not seen them since that time, almost 7 months ago. :(

Tim and Lisa are coming to visit us, arriving today and staying for a week. It is a special visit as it will be the first time that we will see them since Tim's cancer diagnosis in December.

It is amazing to me to see how things began to be set in place for this visit back in August. Yes, August.

Things began to be set in motion back then when Lisa's grandparents traveled from Canada to Kentucky for the wedding. They flew into Cincinnati and were to fly from there to Lexington. Something happened (that I don't even recall now but I am sure they do!) but they ended up taking a taxi from Cincinnati to Lexington -- an 80 mile trip! What an inconvenience for them! To compensate them for their trouble the airline gave them two tickets to use at a later time. Because they did not plan to use the tickets, they gave them to Tim and Lisa and that is how these young kids are able to make this trip to Kentucky.

I know that it means a lot to Tim that Tim and Lisa are coming. What a great blessing to us, and to think that it all began to take shape back in August! We just never know the purposes for the things that happen when they are happening! What a beautiful life lesson.

Thank you Lisa's grandparents! I am so sorry things were so difficult for you back in August but thank you for enduring so that young Tim and Lisa could come to visit. We are thankful for all that happened...back in August.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Progress... it is such a hopeful thing. I am seeing a lot of progress with Tim. I am not sure that he sees it as much as I do but it is there.

Yesterday marked three weeks since the end of his radiation treatments and there are a lot of things that are different compared to three weeks ago. There is a quote that I like but Marie Curie that says,
"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy."

I think that Tim would wholeheartedly agree with that. The three weeks have felt, at times, that they have dragged by and it was for certain not an easy time for him. But, it is the sluggishness of time and difficulty of the incline that has brought new appreciation for both. While it has been lingering and wearing, it has brought a stretching and a reaching of our hearts and souls...a reaching that brings us nearer to Him.

As time moves on, so do we. We either fight time or we embrace it. While I cannot say I do not fight it, I do long to embrace it and look ahead to what lies beyond this trial of our hearts.

"...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before," ~Philippians 3:13~