Sunday, May 31, 2009

Of This I Am Sure...

The time is drawing near that Tim will have his PET scan. That is THE test we have been waiting for. It is the one that will show if there is any active cancer lurking inside of Tim. It happens on Friday, June 5th.

Needless to say we have concerns. I have pushed it out of my mind over the weeks hoping never to to have to face the fears that are in the shadows of my mind but the date is approaching and it feels as though I have a knot in my stomach that gets tighter with each passing day. Oh how we pray the news will be good.

I have had a lot of thoughts of faith and fear lately. It has been suggested to me that you can't have faith and fear at the same time. I am told that if I have faith then I wouldn't fear because I have faith. I use to agree with that. It was that easy to put the faith/fear issue into a nice little box, tie it with a bow and set it aside -- all neatly packaged. Yup, never have to think about that again because I have faith -- not fear. Then introduce public enemy number one (in my book) -- cancer.

How does my faith/fear issue stand up to that? I'll tell you, it doesn't. That nice little box it was put in has the bow cut off and the lid lifted and is exposed. So how can I feel like I have faith but yet feel afraid of what is ahead?

As the days have worn on I have returned to my faith/fear issue countless times. It wasn't until a few days ago that I could put words to what I am feeling about the implication that I don't have enough faith. And that is the implication -- if I just had enough faith then I wouldn't fear. I have realized that it is absolutely offensive to me that someone would imply that I don't have enough faith! I feel as though my faith is much stronger today than it was 5 months ago when this nightmare first began! I feel the love of Heavenly Father and the love of my Savior more than ever. I am not mad at Deity for what has come on our path through life. I think that many people confuse the issue of faith to mean that if they have enough faith they can change the will of God. I know that my faith cannot change the will of God but my faith can help me limp through the trials and adversity that are present in life. I have never prayed for anything but that it was the will of God for Tim and I.

So am I afraid? Yes I am. Do I have faith in God's will to be done? Yes I do. His promises are sure...and of this I am sure.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jordan....

Today is Jordan's 19th birthday!
It is so hard to believe that he is that grown! For his birthday we all went to see Night at the Museum Battle at the Smithsonian. We got up to about the last 15 minutes of the movie and the sound went out! We sat for a few minutes being entertained by making up what we thought they were saying in the movie but then they turned it off and gave us a ticket that we could come back and see another movie another time so we are guessing it had a happy ending. :)

I did get to laughing at Jordan's luck. Seems like he's had just a lot of weird stuff happen to him lately.
  • He had a positive TB test (He was rechecked by the health department and it turned out it was negative.)
  • Once he tested negative for TB he could then go to get the shots he needed to get ready for his mission -- tetanus, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. The nurse gave him tetanus and Hep B only to have the doctor come in an announce that he didn't need to have Hep B after all so he got the extra shot for nothing!
  • Then he applied at a temp agency to work for a short time until he will leave for his mission. They ran his social security number and told him it showed that it is also registered to a women in Missouri! We had to go to the social security office to get a paper from them showing that he is the only one that they show that has that number. The mistake is in the data base that the temp agency uses and now his paper work has been held up for a few weeks.
  • And then the movie losing the sound today on his birthday!

We love him in spite of his bad luck! :) Happy Birthday, Jordan!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mugs and Thugs...

Sometimes when we are in the car (and Tim is driving!) I like to aim my camera at the kids in the back seats and take pictures. I don't look to see what the shot looks like and I don't know what kind of mugs the kids are sporting but that is the fun of it! I just hold up the camera, count slowly ONE-TWO-THREE and click. They do whatever strikes them and we get some pretty fun pictures for posterity! These are some of our better ones! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sundaes and Steam Rollers....

This is the sign that we saw when we went to get sundaes from McDonald's last night...

What a bummer....what if you are the second car in line??? ;)
Then Jacob was playing in the parking lot where they were repaving and the steam roller was closer than he realized!!
Poor Jacob......... :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and a Glimpse of Summer...

Today we went out to Camp Nelson Cemetery. The cemetery was begun in 1863 and contains the remains of 1,600 Camp Nelson soldiers, including some 600 African-Americans. In 1868 this cemetery was designated a National Cemetery and over 2,200 Civil War dead from several Kentucky Civil War sites including Perryville, Richmond and Covington were reburied here. The expansion of the cemetery was made possible by a 10 acre land donation in May 1975. Today veteran's are still buried here.

On this Memorial Day I was hoping for a sunny day but it was cloudy and overcast. It was a good to be there among the graves of so many that have served to protect and defend our great country. On Saturday the Boy Scouts put flags on all the graves and today there were other volunteers putting a red or white carnation on each grave. They did one row with all white carnations and the next row was red so the rows alternated white and red throughout the cemetery. Next year I would like to be a part of placing the carnations on the graves. I think it would be an honor to do that.

When we first arrived we saw this woman who was talking to someone that there was not a flag on the grave she was there to see. Since the flags were put out on Saturday by the Boy Scouts there were no flags available to put on the grave today. Both Abigail and Annah brought with them their flags that they got from a program that they participated in at Camp Nelson last year on Flag Day. When I heard that the lady was missing a flag I asked the girls if one of them might be willing to give the woman their flag to place on the grave that she was there to visit and Annah volunteered. What a nice thing to do and that really made that woman's day!

After visiting Camp Nelson I took the girls to the pool for their first swim of summer. They were so happy to be able to go swimming and they have such a good time together! I am so looking forward to summer vacation starting....8 more days of school! WOO-HOO!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Forget To Be Kind...

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~ Marjorie Pay Hinckley~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Life Is But A Weaving....

I have loved this poem since the first time I heard it used in a lesson years ago by my friend Diane. Thank you, Diane. From the first time I heard it it spoke to my heart but I had no idea it would be even more meaningful with the passage of years.....

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me
I let Him choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He worketh sorrow
And I, within my heart,
Forget He sees the pattern
While I see only part.

The dark threads were as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He had planned.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

Monday, May 18, 2009

True Love....

No matter how bad of a day you are having, how can you not smile when you see your toilet paper roll sporting a heart??? No kidding!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Enter By Way of the Porch...

Nothing much can top Tim being a guest blogger on Loretta's Little Life. There are many little things in my life but my love for him is anything but little. :)

I found something in the scriptures today that made me smile....
Ezekiel 44:3
"...he shall enter by the way of the porch..."

It made me think of how much I do love the entrance to our house in the springtime when the roses say welcome to all who enter.

I have to enjoy them while I can as there is a frost warning tonight and I don't know what the light of day will bring. My roses, who have been saying welcome, may be bidding farewell. I will hope they will linger a little longer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Of Woolly Worms and Fu Manchu...

Filling in at Loretta’s Little Life today is… well, it’s me, Tim. Being a guest writer carries a lot of responsibility. What if I mess up, or what if no one visits again because of being let down? Should I try to be funny, or go serious? Religious or spiritually non committal? Let it be known that I have no plan, I shall forge ahead knowing that if this is really, really bad… it will never see the light of day… or the blog page!

I could not have survived the past 5 months had it not been for the incredible efforts of my beautiful wife. Her Little Life has saved me. Through waking up and waiting up at night, pharmacy trips, measuring medicines, doctor’s appointments, endless note taking, tears, more tears, sacrificing her own schedule, her work and a thousand others things, well, it makes “Little Life” sound a bit non descriptive, doesn't it? I am amazed by her willingness to do all and still be ready to do more. Recently I sat next to a friend who noticed that Loretta, who was sitting a short distance from us, was concerned that I had entered the room without my cup that I must carry with me constantly. When he noticed her concern he leaned over and said, “You've got a great wife”, to which I readily agreed, followed by “the best!” And she is.

About this whole cancer thing… Never in my worst dreams did I think I would be facing this at this time of my life. It’s amazing how fast it came upon us, how fast the treatment was able to start, how fast the different feelings and emotions swept over us, and how fast the people around us came to our side with every kind of support imaginable. I have often wept as I looked into the face of someone who extended a hand of help, service, love, or concern, and could only utter a barely audible “Thank you”. I could not have understood the depth of my feelings for them without the past months of our trials and pain. What changed? Was it our realization that they cared, or how much? No, it is something deeper than that. There is a spiritual connection between people when things are done out of love, without words even being spoken. So when I look at you, with tears in my eyes and see something deeper than our outward appearance, know that I feel for you more than what I could before, more than I can describe. How could I ever curse God through the things I suffer?

**Religion Alert** If you tend to shy away from spiritual things, please don’t do so for a moment, there is something I must say. During my time in the U.S. Navy I had the great good fortune and privilege to be a part of the Submarine Service. I have seen many different nations, many different people, different faiths, different reasons for believing in God. I have seen a few who hid behind it, many who hid from it, a few in it for show… but others who believed, prayed and worshipped because they truly knew that God exists, who felt an eternal obligation and sense of reverence that faith in Him was necessary and desirable. Not as a crutch, but as a strength. It was during my time as a sailor in the sea that I came to know that God does live, and that I would be accountable to Him for what I did and did not do with my life. A particular scripture became my own:

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:9-10

So these past few months have found us not in the depths of the sea, but in the depths of sorrow, and the scripture that so often comforted me then is a strength to me now. I testify to you that God has sustained me, he has sustained us. I have called out to him for very specific blessings and they have come. I do not know where or how this experience of cancer will end, but through it all I know that it is His hand that holds us. Others may doubt, but I am only responsible to God for what I know to be true. I stand as a witness of Him to you, that he lives. He is our Heavenly Father to whom we will all one day return.

And now… the title of this blog. Before all this radiation thing happened I could barely grow any hair at all under my nose or on my chin. What did grow was all but invisible. But now… and I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but NOW I have this wonderful growth that is a dark color that NEVER graced my face before! We joke that it looks like a bit like…

a Woolly Worm. If that’s the case, and coloring is relevant, we're in for a hard winter this year. There is another theory about the mustache. Kind of scary actually, because it looks a little like……….

Yes, Fu Manchu. I am probably a relative. Electrolysis maybe?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sometimes I Forget...

Over the months since Tim's cancer diagnosis there have been so many feelings and emotions that have been swirled into each day. Some days felt crushing; some felt paralyzing; some where filled with despair.

Then there were days that gave us a glimpse of angels, days that just seeing the sun brought hope, days that we smiled...even through tears.

Some of those days felt like they were so long ago even though, according to the calendar, it has been nearly 6 months. In the span of a lifetime that is not long at all, but in the throes of cancer the passage of time seems to shift, making days feel lengthened beyond their 24 hours and time is blurred.

When Tim's diagnosis of cancer came in December, the winter felt like it would be never ending. It felt impossible to think that by spring Tim would be on the other side of radiation. It seemed too far away to even feel like it could happen. Sometimes in the throes of winter, spring feels as though it will never arrive but when it does the warming sun reminds us it was waiting in the wings to make its appearance although we forgot it was there.

So now it is spring and Tim is mending slowly and most days our life seems almost "normal", making us able to occasionally "forget" we have cancer. It is such a blessing to be able to have moments to be able to "forget". Of course, there are things that are a part of our "new normal" and may well be for a long time but even those things don't scream "CANCER" anymore..they just are. And accepting that is one more blessing on the broken road we are traveling. Thankfully we are traveling that broken road together and it is together that we can sometimes forget that we have cancer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Derby Day....

We had a couple of excited girls on Derby Day. Before we moved to Kentucky we couldn't have even told you when the Kentucky Derby took place. But now Derby Day is forever etched in our minds
-- always the first Saturday in May. :)

In honor of Derby Day Annah's class made Derby hats!

Annah and Abigail pulled out their "vintage horses" (a.k.a. old horses they've had for years!) for a prime seat to watch the derby! :) Then they took a 20 minute video of the horse race from the TV (with commentary!), plus a bunch of other shorter video clips. They made so many videos that they maxed out my mega memory card on my camera! It sure was cute though! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Do you see the frog in this picture?

Do you see the horse in this picture?

It's the same picture just turned a different way! How can that be? It's quite amazing no matter how many times I see it. How can a picture of a frog suddenly look like a horse by a simple rotation?

Weeks ago my sister and I had a conversation about perspective. As we talked, this picture of the frog and the horse came to mind. I thought about how it compares to the perspective we each have.

We each view our experiences from our own perspective -- we come with our own set of "glasses". Depending on how we rotate the picture some of us see the frog, some of us see the horse. Or perhaps some see neither.

I believe it is that same with our lives.....

Every life has its trials and challenges, its problems and disappointments. It would be so nice for certain parts of life to have an "opt out clause" -- you know, a place where you can say "I don't agree to that part of the deal -- take that out!" We could just pick what parts we wanted and what parts we didn't. Life would be good then, wouldn't it?! ...or would it?

I began to wonder what I would opt out of. What experiences would I decide held so little value that I would conclude I could do without? What experience hasn't taught me anything of worth in the span of my years?

My answer to that is that there was nothing in my life that I would take a pass on. Even the most disagreeable of ordeals in my life have still shaped me and molded me into who I am and who I continue to become. And by the very fact that I have come through other soul-trying experiences in my life is what helps me with the next challenge. Because I know I survived things before I also know I can do it again! Our life experiences will teach us if we allow it -- if we don't kick and scream and constantly fight against what is. While we all have challenges and trials, we don't all view them with the same perspective. I like to think of trials as opportunities for growth!

As much as I've thought about it, I cannot figure out what makes the difference in the varying attitudes and perspective. I don't know what shapes us to be pessimistic verses being optomisitc. I do not know WHAT makes one person look on trails and adversity as stepping stones to something more in life verses looking at life like they fell in a well and will never see daylight. What makes the difference? I do not know.

What I do know is if my life is looked at one way it looks like adversity reigns but if looked at another way there are rich blessings....all by simple rotation.
Psalms 31:7
"I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities"