Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Found my calling!

Yep I did it! After years of wondering what I should do when I return to full time work, I have finally figured it out. Of course, it will involve several other people uprooting themselves from their full time positions. It wasn't my idea though, so I'm just going to go with it! You know, tag along. Go with the flow. Ride on the coat tails. And see where it takes me!

Rock Band.

Beatles Rock Band to be exact.

Beth, Darin, Paul, Allison, Brian and I. We are going to travel around (from one karaoke bar to the next--locally at first of course) and we'll be the next Beatles tribute band.

Now, I'm not talking real guitars and drums either 'dontcha know'. I'm talking Xbox 360 style. We're good. Beth, Allison and I sing in perfect harmony whatever pitch our voices can find. Darin does a bang up job on the drums while Paul and B rock out on guitars.

Many of these folks have solid incomes using their vast educations, but we all agree--we ROCK! So who needs steady work and real income? When you have a dream you have to pursue it right? Not sure if this is really anyone's dream, but it could be fun right?

When did I figure this out? Tonight. We've rocked together several times before, but never with the Beatles Rock Band, and never with 3 part harmony ummm singing--kinda. Actually, I bet we won't even go on the road. I bet we won't even leave the living room. And it is probably for the least for now. For now, we'll keep rockin out, lego style, beatles style, 80's rock style...whatever style we grab first!

It's good to be in the company of awesome people when the tough get going isn't it. It's good to know there are people out there who have your back. Today started out with some tough news, and only continued to bring more unhappy news. I'll share more, when I know more. Tonight though? Tonight was great! Great food, great drinks, great tunes, and great company!

***still no camera cord, so no photos to show...

Likely won't post again before the new year, so my best wishes to each of you. Have a happy and safe new year, and I'll see you again in 2010---Thanks Jim!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What am I grateful for in 2009?--in bullets

Not all inclusive of course...but I could go on for days if I went into detail. Our Savior tops any list I could make about gratitude. Always. He is the beginning and the end. Awesome.
  • I am ever so grateful for my husband, Brian, who loves and respects me. I am blessed to have him in my life as a partner, best friend, and bed buddy (yes I said it GASP! shock and awe...are you done yet? Get it out of your systems. Ready? Good.) I look forward to sharing many more moments big and small, good and bad with him. I do I do.
  • I am grateful for my sons who bring laughter, and life into my world. I am in awe that I get to be their mother, and I cherish every moment we have together. Thank God for choosing me to be their mother.
  • I can't believe my dumb luck that I have the book club that I do. The women in my BC are supportive, funny, charismatic, educated, and an absolute joy to be around. I look forward to spending time with them every month--sometimes more! Thank you ladies for loving me and helping me bring the book club in my head into real life! Thanks WINOS (Women In Need Of Sanity!)
  • Gratitude for our GIFT group is essential to this list. Meeting with these people every week, sometimes twice, is a blessing I sometimes take for granted. Another group of extremely educated people from various backgrounds with kids of all ages, and all terribly funny and enjoyable. Brian and I stumbled upon this group years ago and haven't looked back. Christian's teacher, as well as a few friends from high school are included in this group and I feel ever so fortunate to be able to be with each of them in a place where we get to praise the One who brought us all together. The support I have been given time and again from this group is immeasurable, and for that I am grateful. I also feel fortunate to be one of the people they look to for support...awesome people, awesome group.
  • Lincoln K-8. This school not only provides top notch education for the boys, but is consistently reaching to new heights to improve their curriculum. InSciEd-Out is the newest science program being taught through Mayo Clinic, breakthrough science right in the classroom. Laptops for each students, multi age classrooms, technology offerings that no other school has and a staff that is dedicated to helping students succeed. The school was a grassroots effort by parents many years ago that has allowed for parents like me to have a choice and an impact in our children's education. Private school w/o the price. It's an added bonus that it is my Alma mater.
  • The friendships I've made through the school. Wow. Priceless. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful the people at this school are. I've made life long friendships with many people through volunteering and being involved. I am even fortunate enough to be able to work in the school from time to time. I am definitely grateful for these people and the time I get to spend with them in and outside of the school.
  • WT--if and when you read this, you know who you are. I am grateful for your wisdom, your understanding and your encouragement to make uneasy choices in a time where things are uncertain. Your confidence and knowledge and extensive experience are essential and I thank you for being on my side.
  • Blogging friends. Yep, you guys are definitely on this list! You are the only ones bold enough to leave your comments where people can read them rather than emailing them, and you have continued to fill me with your grace, your support and faith. I am enriched when I read your blogs, and I am blessed to call each of you my friend. Thank you thank you.
  • Brian's job. While it has it's rocky moments for him, and we wish we could adjust his schedule to meet his sleep needs, I am grateful that he is in a position with work that he likes and with people that he likes. It is an income that has allowed for me to be able to work part time and still be available for the boys. He is secure in his position in an economy where things are not guaranteed, and we are grateful for that too. He enjoys his job good bad and ugly. It has provided a home for us that we can grow old in, and that can't be measured by words.
  • My family. We don't always see eye to eye--so much so that sometimes people (including my family) wonder if I was adopted-- I am learning that it doesn't matter if we agree or not. I love my sisters, my niece and nephew and my parents. I look forward to spending more time with them in the next couple of months while we make preparations, and hope that we will continue growing our relationships no matter what the future holds.
  • Jill, Eric, Bonnie, Mike, and sweet Callie. Each of you hold a special place in my heart, and I don't see any of you nearly as often as I would like. I wish distance didn't play a part in our friendships, but I love each of you and I praise God for each one of you. I think of you often, and hope that the new year will bring us more time together.

I think that wraps it up for now. Of course like I said, this is not all inclusive. I am grateful for many things that have happened in 2009. I've had some hurdles to climb this year, and I believe they are only making me stronger. I have a lot to learn, and more hurdles to go over, but I am up for the challenges that I face--largely because of the aforementioned bullets. Thank you. Here's to a fantastic 2010!!


Do you ever just want to shut out the noise of the world?

Surprisingly, even with the volume of noise I have going on right now, I am sticking in.

Of course, I couldn't be in the peace of mind I am w/o the support of so many. Professionals, teachers, family, friends, GIFT members and church leaders. I am blessed beyond my words to have each of you in my life. Your prayers are working wonders--keep 'em coming please!

We've been uber busy, and uber relaxed all at the same time, I've got lots to say, and lots o pictures to post.

Remember back when I couldn't find the cord to the camera to upload pictures? Guess where it was back then? Exactly where it should have been! In the drawer where it belonged. I didn't look there because I assumed that with the move it was somewhere else.

This time? It isn't there. I can't find it. But when I do, I have some goodies from Christmas to show, and a cute video of the cats!

BTW we had an amazing Christmas with my family. Dad was there, but left in the afternoon because he wasn't feeling well-- and was clearly in pain, it was quite visible in his face and in his movements. That wasn't easy to see, and even harder to not rush to him and hold him as if it were the last time. Later that night Benjamin shed tears over Papa. He is scared. So am I. We're adjusting.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Now That was depressing...

Yikes! I just read my last post, and honestly I considered deleting it! How depressing.

I'm trying to accept the news that I have been given. But what I am failing to do is accept it as a possibility, even a likelihood but not a guarantee.

I'm not God. Nor are the doctors at the VA Hospital. So, while they are certainly more qualified than I to make a diagnosis for my dad, they are not more qualified than God.

I don't know what to do right now. I don't know if putting on a brave face and holding out hope that this too shall pass, and pray for a miracle is the strategy to have. Obviously last night I was feeling sorry for myself and had practically killed my dad off....and that is worse than having false hope that he'll come out of this. It's a tight rope, and I am afraid of falling off.

Having faith is growing more difficult as the days tick by. Wondering, and waiting, and hoping, during these next few days, weeks, and months, is not going to be easy. So, I pray. And I ask for your prayers. And I lean on those who want to be leaned on. And I stop killing off my dad before he's even made a decision on his treatment from here forward.

I'm feeling better today...can you tell? I've had the Christmas music on, and I've been wrapping presents..I got several deliveries today of gifts that I ordered online, and I was able to organize myself for cookie baking tomorrow. I am super bummed that we are missing out on an AWESOME holiday party tonight, but I'll hold out hope that we'll make the next get together!! New Years?

Have a happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Make no mistake

The dam has not broken yet.

How to you plan for your dad's death? I have heard the words, I've read the notes, and I've seen my sister's faces. This is no joke. This is no accident. This is no mistake. My dad is dying.


I haven't had my breakdown yet, but I almost did this morning. One of my dear friends from middle school, who also happens to work at our church, accidentally** intercepted me on my way into the building to see my Pastor.
**let's be real--it wasn't an accident or coincidence, He was in complete control of our meeting.

Anyway, I was on my way in to talk with my Pastor, while on the phone with her (she didn't know I was coming in so she called to check in on me) and when I got to the parking lot she was there. What a God send. I adore my Pastor Vogt. I really do. He has been a prominent figure for our whole family ever since we joined our church, and I know he is someone I can turn to, but Lisa was exactly what I needed today. She knew just what to say-and not say. She helped me work through some of my feelings and best yet she reminded me that my relationship with God does not always have to be sunshine and roses. I don't have to feel guilty about being mad right now. Adding guilt onto the feelings that I am having is unnecessary. He knows I'm angry. He understands, and He loves me enough to let me be mad. Just like a parent with our kids. The boys get angry with me sometimes, but I love them no matter what. Always. Forever. He loves me. Even though I am angry. I don't doubt His ability to take care of my dad. I'm just having trouble accepting His plan.

I saw him today. My dad that is--not God--although I did feel Him in many of my conversations and situations today. Praise Him for that. Anyway, I saw my dad today. It's funny because I just saw him 2 weeks ago in his house, and last week in the hospital, but suddenly he looks weaker, and more fragile. He has narcotics and drugs up the wazoo--because people who are dying should not feel pain, say the doctors. Again, I just want to say "but we aren't talking about someone who is....the 'd' word...we're talking about my dad." Turns out I could say it...but he is the 'd' word.

I ended my day with my book club ladies. We went out this month instead of having it in one of our homes...we ate at a wonderful restaurant and ate some delicious gelato and ended our evening--where else but a bookstore! It was a fantastic distraction from how I have been feeling all day. But eventually I did have to say good bye to them, and my family is sleeping, so now I sit.

A blob again. Numb. No direction, no clue how to spend my day tomorrow. No ambition. No holiday spirit.

My dad is going to die. Make no mistake.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What do you do?

What do you do when you get bad news?

I got bad news. Today I got very bad news. 3-6 months. WHAT?! Are you kidding? There must be a mistake. We wanted my dad's prognosis, not someone else's. There is still some info gathering to be done. But it doesn't look good. They aren't optimistic.

That is all I can say for now.

What do I do when I get bad news? Well, let's see. Today, I nearly broke. But I was at work, so I maintained myself. For awhile. After trying and failing to reach my husband at work I called my dearest friend Jill and cried. Then pulled myself together. Then talked to B, and cried. And pulled myself together. Then went to the school to pick up the boys, and while trying to keep it together, I began to cry. Gratefully, some of my dear friends were there to be comforting. Then pulled myself together until the boys and I got home. Didn't quite make it. One of my friends nailed it when she said I was leaking. I was a dam that just needed to burst, and I couldn't let it go until I got home. But by then, I had held it for so long that I haven't quite burst yet. Instead, I'm just leaking. Telling the boys was terrifying. But like I was told, they'll know something is wrong, so hiding it would be futile. They were right, I was a mess coming home.

And now? I'm falling apart--inside. I am having trouble comprehending this. Really? I mean really? How? HOW?

I need the dam to break. I need the boys to go to bed so the dam can break. Better yet, I need to wake up and find that this is all just a dream.

Pinch me please.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Bells are ringing.

What bells?

The potty bells.

What the heck are potty bells?

They hang from the handle of our front door. They are the ones our sweet Yoshi rings in order to go outside to go potty.

Each time.

It's awesome!

Best part? We didn't intend for the bells to be our signal. He did that all on his own. And it's great.

So smart that Yoshi pup.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Try to stay with me - I'm not makin' sense (with an update)

I am angry.

I am hurt. I am sad.

I am so frustrated right now.

I haven't lost my faith. I still believe, and I know - in my heart - that HE is so fully in control of all of this, and that it is not my duty to know the answers.

That is incredibly hard to know in my mind.

We went to see my dad this weekend. I had to. It is nearly all I can think about. We had to uninvite our Saturday afternoon/evening guests in order to go to the VA. I am endlessly grateful that our dear friends understand my need to see him over my desire to have some child-free time with them in our home. This is consuming me. I want to weep. I want to take my sons into my arms and make promises to them that Papa is going to be fine. Because maybe if I can convince them I can convince myself.

I saw the lump on his chest. People, it is huge. The size of a golf ball. Sticking OUT of his chest. That is only one spot with the cancer. There are at least 2 others. He has a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) on Wednesday. This test will give the doctors a complete picture of my dad's condition and allow them to make a better diagnosis to come up with a plan of action. As of right now? There isn't one.

I'm crumbling folks. I've got my game face on. I'm rolling with the punches. But I am having a hard time turning to prayer. Right now, that is what I need the most, and it is the one thing I am having the hardest time doing.

I am so tired of hearing about biopsies, and radiation, and surgery, and we're only on day 3 of this round. HOW am I going to get through this. And that brings me to my next frustration--I know that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with me. Nothing. Not in the least. How selfish of me to be focused on how I feel. I'm angry at myself for being selfish.

Why is it so so SO much harder this time? Why is this news so devestating to me? Is it fear? Is it instinct? I have for awhile felt so good about trusting in God's ability to control the things that only God can control. So why can't I do it this time? Why can't I just trust that this isn't surprising to Him?

Because I'm selfish. I want dad to stay here. Healthy. I want the kids to have their Papa. I want my husband to continue to grow closer to him. The dynamic of our relationship with him has changed. And it has been intimidating to some degree since we are unable to have a typical conversation--instead we have to decipher his handwriting (no easy feat I tell you!) But B has done it, and it's working. In fact I think he is better at reading my dad's hand gestures than I am. They just click. And I want that to continue. I want him to come to our home on Christmas Day.

I want my dad here. Alive. Healthy.

So that brings me back--WHY oh WHY can't I do the one thing that I know will help? Why can I do it for others? What happened? It was like a switch flipped overnight. I went from trusting, and completely turning my life to Him one day to being so hurt and disappointed that I can't bring myself to do it the next.

Not that I have lost faith mind you--because I haven't. I know absolutely w/o question that He is all knowing, and has not made a mistake. I know that should the cancer not be treatable--my dad will live on with our Father. And that is good. So good.
I also know that if the cancer can be removed, and treated, that there is a reason for that too. Again, I KNOW this.

But I'm having a hard time praying for the peace to accept it. I'm having a hard time accepting that MY dad is the one to carry this burden. That he is once again sitting in a hospital hooked to a feeding tube while cancer wreaks havoc in his body.

I'm not dealing with this well. I'm just not.

It's too close to home. It's too personal. It isn't someone else's dad this time. It isn't just someone I know. This is someone I love. Someone I admire. Why does he have to go through this?

I'm not dealing with this well.

***I wrote this before I went to church this am. I woke up with an insatiable desire to write. So write I did. But then I went to church. And listened to the sermon. And umm, can I just say that I heard Him talk to me? Just me, as if I was the only person in the sanctuary. Pastor Vern put on an impressive sermon as though he was Zacariah (John the Baptist's father). I considered spelling out what happened in the sermon...because frankly I was glued. But then I realized that would lose some of the impact that I had. The actual words he said, and costume he wore wouldn't impress upon you the epiphany like moment that I had.

Instead, I will relay it to you in another way. Say you are talking to your kids about where you'll take them on vacation. It's 30 below outside, and you've booked a vaca in Hawaii right? Stay with me. You ask your kids if they wish it were warmer. They giggle and shout yes, and discussions begin about the temperature, and days of summer and swimming. Then you say "If you could go to either Alaska or Hawaii...which would it be?" Well, of course they scream together HAWAII!! Right? Because you've already hyped up how great it would be to be in a warmer climate. And then you talk about how relaxing it would be to not have homework, or housework, or any work at all. Now their mouths are practically watering to go somewhere warm. And then you lay it on them....We're going to Hawaii!!! Imagine this. They've been hungering for it, they started envisioning it, and then it became true!!! They're thrilled! In tears! Disbelief and amazement!

That is how I felt listening to the pastor this morning. I wanted to trust, I wanted to have faith, I wanted to believe that what happened to Zacariah was much like what is happening to my family. And then the clincher was at the end when he asked us if there was ever a time that we had a plan, and then it changed? Just because it is our plan doesn't mean it is God's plan.

Sound familiar? Yea, I've said it before. I've believed it before. But for some reason it wasn't working this time around. But now? Now it clicked. I'm on board. I prayed for myself. I cried, and I thanked our Savior for speaking to me today. I am grateful for ministry and for the little things. Thank you to Pastor Vern for unknowingly striking a cord with me.

I'm still upset, and I know I need to just have my breakdown. But at least now, I can pray. I'm trusting a little more now.

It feels good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Plan

Dad is in the VA Hospital again. Far away in the cities where we can't just drop in to visit him after school for a little bit. We'd like to call him, but given the fact that the LAST time cancer attacked his body he had his voicebox removed along with lymph nodes and anything else that looked like it could carry cancer. So, no talking to him on the phone. Just go up this weekend and visit him right? Oh, yea that would be great if the boys were going to be home, and if they didn't have their Christmas program and several practices taking up the next couple of days. Take a day off work and drive up to visit. Yep, great idea, except that B has had some health issues of his own as of late, and needed to take several days off of work to do testing, and now he is a little behind, and is unable to take anymore time off right now.


What is the Plan?

The Plan is to remember that Someone else is in control of this. Whether I see my dad in the hospital, or not, He is taking care of him.

The Plan is to keep focus on the other things going on right now, (cuz by golly, life doesn't stop just because there is a crisis) and know that God has my dad so firmly in His hands and that anything that happens from here forward --and backward-- is part of His plan.

The Plan is to put on a brave face even when I want to curl up and cry.

The Plan is to know that even if that dreadful C word has taken over my dad's body, and worse case scenario, they can't fix it, he has our Father waiting for him.

Am I getting ahead of myself here? Maybe? No one - including the doctors - really knows right now. We still don't have many answers. Will the doctors cut and tuck and remove and replace, and whatever else they do to make my dad better? Possibly. Maybe even likely.

But we don't know.

I'm home alone for the first time in...I can't remember how long. So after doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, straightening our bedroom, ignoring the dog, and surfing the net, I have finally settled on the sofa because I have been unable to take my mind off of this matter. So maybe my faith isn't as strong as I want it to be. Maybe I am not able to just give it over to Him, and know that He is in control. How do I accept that this is happening to MY DAD. My dad. Again. I'm so sad right now, but I'm trying to hold it in. I'm trying to be brave. I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm trying to do all of the things I just wrote about. I'm not doing very well.

So what is The Plan?

The Plan is to pray.

Because really, right now, that is all I can do. I could cry. Will that heal him? I could curl up and ignore the world. Will that heal him? I could stomp my feet and get mad at God. Will that heal him? I could ignore the rest of my life and put everything else on hold. No holiday parties, no Christmas programs, no work, no household duties--all of the things I'd like to postpone right now. Will that heal him? I feel like a cloud is over my head. I feel selfish for feeling this way. There are many people going through MUCH worse than this. So I should just buck up and be grateful that it isn't worse. Or is it? We don't know.

So I'll pray. I'll pray to have the strength to give this to Him. I'll pray for peace over my mind. I'll pray for the earthly ability to remove the cancer from all of the sites that it has come back to. (yep, there are more than one this time - 3 so far. 3 very different spots. Not close to each other spots)

The Plan is to pray.

Thank you to all of you who have facebooked, emailed or left a comment with your support. I am grateful for your prayers, because I'm pretty lousy right now. I'm trying. I'll keep trying.

And I'll keep praying.

Because that is The Plan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm not ready

I'm not ready to get disturbing phone calls from my sister while I'm baking with a friend during a snow day that I was wishing for. I'm not ready to pretend that this isn't happening and that all is going to be fine. I'm not ready to let go of all of the emotions that I am feeling. I'm not ready to hear these words, and go through the roller coaster. I'm not ready.

It's back. That yucky word. Cancer. It has taken over again. In different places this time. Prognosis? Not sure. Game plan? Don't know. Emotions? High. Frustration? Higher. Anger? Highest. I'm not as strong as last time. Last time I didn't panic. I didn't cry, I held my faith and I gave it all to Him. Sure, I had my moments. One in particular happened to be in the middle of the night when I just broke down. Gratefully B was an amazing support, and my breakdown didn't last long. My dad had his surgery, he followed through with radiation, he went to all of his appointments, we all prayed, and he got better. We did what we were supposed to do, and it came back anyway.

This time? I'm not ready.

Wordless Who am I kidding? Wednesday

No, I did not pose him...he always looks that thoughtful. Wow, I love him!

Our winter evening view...exactly what we wanted. Perfect.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seize the day

The snow day that is! Yep, I'm counting on a snow day tomorrow. And even better, so are many of the other moms! We've already made plans with several families know, when it is a snow day! Of course, none of our kids know, because it would make for a big fat bummer if school does not get cancelled. I'm choosing not to think that way though, instead I'm counting on a day to spend with friends doing all of the fun snow day activities. What are snow day activities? Well, lets see. Baking, hot chocolate-ing, puzzle building, snow man building, fire snuggling....basically the same things you do any other day of the week, but it is that much better because it is almost like playing hookey. I love them.

If we are not graced with a day off of school tomorrow, our evening is jam packed with things to do! We have GIFT, Benjamin has band rehearsal for the church services on Sunday, Christian has his school production, Benjamin has BC (before Confirmation for the 6th graders at church) AND I am scheduled to have a PPT planning meeting that I will have to miss. There is only so much a person can do in one night!

Anyway, thought I would seize the moment to write while B is snow blowing, but now he is done, so I'm off to snuggle. Cross your fingers for us will you? We sure would like welcome winter with our very first day of snow....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Umm Hello?

I know I know. I haven't been keeping up. I told you I was done subbing and I would stay caught up, instead I have taken more subbing positions and have fallen behind--again. I am so fortunate to have been asked to fill in for all of the paras at Lincoln in the last couple of weeks, so I have still been in the school. But least as of now...I work tomorrow and will have some time off. So lets get brought back to speed shall we? Our family has kept so so busy with holiday festivals and preparations.
Here is just a taste....

First, our stop at the tree farm. We weren't willing to get a tree unless it was perfect, so here are their "Oh well, better luck next time" faces. We left this tree farm empty handed, but with frozen feet and a wet dog!

Then, we went to the Peace Plaza to light the Christmas tree and enjoy some holiday cheer. We ate cookies, drank hot chocolate (with Baileys for adults!) and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas which was being projected up on the wall of the building. It was chilly but oh so fun!

And lastly-- for those of you who have the volume on when you visit our blog, you are graced with 2 of my favorite songs. One is by Bebo Norman. We played this song during the lighting of the Unity Candle in our wedding, and the second is Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World."

The last pictures are of the boys and me when good ol' Louis's song came on the radio. Benjamin got up from the table where he was doing his homework and asked me to dance.

Christian joined in. Awww right? Right. For many many many years---ok, since they were born-- I have loved to dance with them in the kitchen. Fast, slow, jiggity, salsa...doesn't matter, we like to dance together. It's our thing. For just us to share. Just mom and her boys. We rarely get a picture to capture it forever, but the memories are there. And I cherish them.

Dinner is beeping, all my boys have come home, more updates to come!