HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME: 2017 UPDATE!!

 

     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Eleven years ago, Easter Sunday was April 16. Visiting daughters tricked me (they lied, actually) into my truck and drove to the small local hospital. After a CT scan, the emergency room doctor delivered the findings, prefaced by the words “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everybody’s Easter dinners. Two days later, Tuesday, April 18, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he delivered the news that the tumor they had removed was malignant and I had a fairly virulent form of brain cancer. 

     Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given the information and the stats were not great; conventional medical prognosis for that cancer is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

     Those plans included handling that tumor and eleven years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I  have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last two years and the other five years ago, the day after my  survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

     I wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asking the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What is the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but in my heart of hearts, I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about eleven years ago when I was diagnosed.  

     My friends are gone, their families grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this warm April morning in South Carolina, that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God has still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

     As I say repeatedly in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you. Share with me, please, my joy that eleven years later I am alive and well!  Thank you for joining me in in giving thanks and celebration; be blessed 

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A Noteworthy Day Addendum

I do not believe I’ve ever done this before, but then my mom is a fairly new blog subscriber, and that should explain what’s to come. Having located the “Noteworthy” post yesterday, she called with a few corrections, or should I say clarifications, which I asked her to email rather than just tell me over the phone.  Now, I could  list them, but why not copy/paste Mom’s email and give the voice to her?  I think that would be more fun.  Keeping in mind that I asked for this email, here goes and please note, the italics are mine:

“FYI—

We did not have the plumbing in until during the summer after we got back to WI.  We lived on the farm in the home with Grandma, Aunt Arlene, Uncle Elmer, Jane, Janice and Roger.  The twins were 11 years old.  Art Gast and his father (another story) put in the bathroom, etc.  It took us 8 days to travel to Europe on the SS America.  Dad had the church service on the boat on the way there.  Billy Graham had the service on the SS United States on the return voyage.  We did not fly all the way home, just from Frankfurt to Paris.  We spent several days in Paris.  I think that’s when you acquired your love for the city and its language (I was a precocious baby).  We took the boat train to Le Havre, then boarded the ship.  Our return trip to NY took only 4 days.  However, you were correct in saying that you were the youngest baby to fly Lufthansa after it was reorganized after WW2.”

There we have it, straight from the source.  I’m pleased to post these clarifications and make sure the information you find in these pages is accurate!  And now y’all know where my French fascination may have originated.  Big smile here, Amusez-vous avec ça!! 🙂

Is there any chance for me to pull a lesson out of today’s efforts?  Of course, you know I will find one.  The lesson is that we all make mistakes sometimes, some more public than others 🙂 However there is grace enough for any of us, as the David Crowder Band sings; just follow the link and sing along.  Au revoir…

 

 


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Choices !!

Don’t you love choices??  Today, after a really tough week, is turning out beautifully and it’s not yet noon.  Today is my Meghan Lee’s 25th birthday.  We spoke early, I waited for her call – I’m learning, didn’t want to wake her too early on her birthday.  I sang to her, not the traditional melody, but the Beatle’s rendition favored by my sis, Joanne.  I cannot hear that song without thinking of Jo, nor can my daughters.  Meghan and I shared a laugh and she went off to work.  I went to the Internet, knowing I’d find the song out there somewhere.   Here it is, shared with you – crank it up and sing along!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztoSUhbNntQ Wasn’t that fun?

About those choices – having completed the research papers, I’ve got another song in mind, my next choice.  Enjoy this one, too, and picture me singing along with Daltrey and the London Symphony Orchestra 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4zufwCudU0&feature=related

Do you get that I’m having a ball, all by myself, sun shining in every window, my newly seeded indoor garden sprouting in the southern exposure?  Life is good and I am so blessed; thank you, Lord, for this marvelous day!!

On to the next item, two finals by Friday as this term ends.  After those papers, let me tell you, two finals, while not exactly a walk in the park, will be almost a walk in the park.  So here we go – enjoy the day, celebrate the victories and tell the people  you love that you love them and sing and dance in the sunshine – that’s what I’ll be doing!  Au revoir and the happiest of birthdays to my precious Meghan Lee!!



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Bon Voyage, My Friend

I spent two hours yesterday with an amazing young woman whom I’ve come to know and love.  She’s smart, funny, musical, bilingual, beautiful and though she’s young enough to be my daughter, I call her Friend.   As I’ve told her parents over the years, she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  And in a few days her life takes a new turn as she heads to Europe. I’ll miss her, became teary-eyed during our goodbye hugs; I am so very proud to know her and so privileged to be part of her life.

We shared a sandwich, talked and talked and talked some more – about the world in which we live, goals and dreams, family, mutual friends, politics, you name it; we covered a lot of ground as we always do.   Thankfully we have the Internet and she’ll be blogging, so I can track her experiences. And I am certain that she will absolutely thrive and return to us an even more beautiful person than she is today.

We share important characteristics – our faith and the fact that we are both pastor’s daughters – for starters.  While we have a fair amount in common,  as women of different generations – very different life experiences.  It is so inspiring and encouraging to observe her moving confidently into a world substantially different than what was available to me 30+ years ago.  And she’s made wise choices.

As I think of her now and reflect on our time together, I’m hopeful.  The future is bright with young women such as my friend – women who’ll be the mothers and wives and leaders of tomorrow.  So as she goes off to foreign lands to live and learn and grow, I pray she soars like the Biblical eagle lifted high on the wings of the Lord.

Travel well- Godspeed.  And I say with love, Bon voyage, my friend!




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Pickin’ Up the Trash

How’s that for a post-Thanksgiving title?  Literally, though, I awoke to the unpleasant surprise that an animal had not only gone after my trash, but pried the cover off, despite the bungee cord attaching it to the can and to the porch railing, tipped it over, ripped open the bag and spread the contents all around.    And while this occurred in the night, I didn’t hear a bark or growl from either of my ferocious guard dogs, not even Shadow, who sleeps in the back porch with the mission of guarding the back entrance.  Makes me wonder …

So dressed for the “wintry mix” that was falling, I picked up the trash I had thrown away over the last week and a half.  The bag didn’t get to the road on Wednesday because I missed the deadline.  Yes, folks, where I live if the trash isn’t up to the road by 6 a.m. on pickup day, at noon, the pickup guys slap a big orange sticker on it and leave without it.  I have yet to figure out how they know if it’s out there by 6:00.  Does our county pay someone to drive around and take notes?  Photos maybe, and then relay that information to the pickup guys? I don’t get it.  Sounds like one of those “rules for the sake of rules” things to me.

At 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning I was working at my computer and apparently not thinking about trash.  Thus there was a bag in the trash can just waiting for whatever animal strolled in overnight.  Possum, coon, feral cats?  Who knows?  Seeing as Shadow the ferocious guard dog didn’t sound an alarm, I didn’t see the intruder(s).

The point?  In this greatest nation on the planet, we sure throw away a lot of stuff.  With Thanksgiving and Black Friday dominating the news, we’re seeing evidence of plenty and the grab for more.  I know “commerce makes the world go round”, am involved in it myself as both buyer and seller.  But the magnitude bothers me.  With all we have are we a thankful nation, instilling the value of appreciation and thankfulness in our children?  Hard to tell.

Just looking at my trash says I am, no doubt, a consumer, minimal compared to those with children at home, perhaps, but still, I was out there this morning, picking up trash.  And it gave me lots to think about.

How about you?  If someone rifled through your trash, what would they learn about you?  And if some animal spread it all over your front yard, would you be out there fast, before anyone could see?  Pickin’ up the trash – food for thought ….



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Short’n’Sweet

Another week has flown by.  The weekend with old friends is already a week in the past and  the first week of a new adventure is now history!  As my Meghan would say, “Holy cats!!”

The four days up north were wonderful.  Good friends, lots of laughs, fun in the sun and GREAT food.  We do know how to eat very well – as in good for you and just plain good.

I came home and started school.  You bet, after over 30 years I’ve returned to school – college  – online no less.  Last time I went off to college with an electric typewriter and that was high tech.  This time I’m not even physically going anywhere thanks to the Internet.  It’s been a fantastic, fun, challenging and funny week.  I’ve written two essays, taken four quizzes and one exam. Had to e-mail professors with numerous questions, mostly tech-related and then negotiated my way through a Help Desk and “met” all kinds of new classmates from all walks of life.  All without ever seeing a human being and often in the comfort of my jammies 🙂

Moving into Week Two and my first major paper.  I have much of it in my head, but getting it into a Word document, properly formatted, now that will take time out of each of the next several days.   So true to the title, this is short and sweet because at 1:30  a.m. I do need to get some sleep.  Bonne nuit….

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