Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Before anything else, I want to thank you for your prayers and encouragements. I've received such supportive comments, emails, and letters. They are very much appreciated. Indeed, sometimes a fellow blogger offered such insight that I was able to use the information shared to better help and protect my family.
Sometimes Real Life and Blogland walk along harmoniously, but in my world Real Life has become something of the proverbial "train wreck." For that reason, until things calm down again, I am taking a extended break from blogging. I have even considered tiptoeing gently away forever because I simply no longer have the time for blogging or for visiting, which is by far the thing I most miss.
I will share an upbeat thing with you today and then some fine day, when you least expect it, I'll catch you again I hope. Nan, my grandmother, was coming to live with John and me for a season when last we chatted. We still hope for that, but she was hospitalized with a fracture in her back that radiated such pain that for several days she was misdiagnosed with a pancreatitis attack. After five days or so of being in the hospital and having to say goodbye to my mother who was herself heading off to the hospital for cancer surgery, my grandmother was transferred to a nursing home.
It may be that there are wonderful nursing homes, but the one where my grandmother stayed had both John and me concerned. There was a lack of staff and the facility was not clean. My grandmother suffered through over a week of that. Sometimes we were there three times a day just checking. I'm sure that the staff became very weary of our actually taking them up on their 24-hour-a-day policy. There were some wonderful people there, but all it takes is one bad nurse or CNA to negate it all. Nan kept going by looking at my mother's picture above. (I think my mom was about my age now when that photo was taken. Noooo, not the baby picture. Gheesh, you guys are a tough crowd. ;> )
In the meantime, my mother was enduring her own struggles and it soon became apparent that she would be unable to go home without further care and assistance. She was released from the hospital and admitted to a rehabilitation center. She had been there a few days when they told her that there was an open bed if she would like my grandmother to go there. Oh yes, she would. Oh yes, Nan would love to go. Oh happy day. Until...
Friday found us at the car with everything packed and Nan in her wheelchair ready to get in. We heard a call, "Wait!" Apparently, the nursing facility had hit a snag and didn't feel able to deal with my grandmother's needs over the weekend. Unbelievable! I felt my heart sink and a cloud descended over my grandmother that we could actually see. The Word of God says that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." Oh so true.
By Saturday, Nan had been returned to the hospital because her right side was weak. My sister went to be with her while John and I handled yet another family fire. The doctors couldn't find a thing wrong with her and though my sister practically begged them to hold onto Nan over the weekend knowing that she'd be transported to the new facility on Monday, she was released back to the nursing facilty from whence she'd come. Ackkk...
We encouraged Nan to be ready for Monday...eat, get lots of rest, keep her spirits up because then she'd be reunited with my mother. She smiled at us weakly. Her vocabulary dwindled to nearly nothing. Her eyes didn't sparkle anymore. We worry. We pray. John prays for her every time we leave and she thanks him with a tear.
Yesterday morning I made a call to the receiving nursing facility...everything was a go. I called the releasing nursing facility...problems. My grandmother would be evaluated before they could release her and since she appeared to be "unstable" it didn't look good. When I got off the phone, I think I must've looked like a wild woman. My one mission in life was to get two of the dearest women in all the world to me back together again. John was so supportive and he began immediately to pray. Calmness descended and clarity reigned.
I knew exactly what I would say and do with firmness and kindness: Yes, Nan would be leaving their facility. In fact, we would be leaving at 11 sharp. I had already signed release papers on Friday, there'd be no need to sign again. No, she would not be transported by ambulance. We could make her very comfortable in the car. Lots of sweetness and thank yous (even if I didn't feel so much like being sweet nor saying "thank you.")
So we left before 11 am. We drove the 15 miles to the new facility under clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Nan commented on the vividness of the dandelions, the beauty of the lupines, and the fading of the rhododendrons.
Fast forward to her being settled in her room. Lunch had arrived and the nurse was helping her with that. When the nurse stepped aside, there was my mother standing with her walker wearing a big smile. As recognition dawned on my grandmother, her face began to glow and she lifted her arms to gather my mom in. John started to cry. I was crying. It was worth it all for that golden moment.
The last thing I told my grandmother yesterday was that I was taking the first break in a few weeks today. She said, "Why? What are you doing tomorrow?" Cracked us up!
You take care of yourselves and create a wonderful day...
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. -Psalm 143:8
Some nights are so long, but His unfailing love is always with us. Have a blessed day...
Friday, May 29, 2009
About the "incommunicado." I've been thinking about stress a lot. Many of the stressing things are beyond my ability to change; however, I can and am changing my internet service provider and my telephone service. It is being cancelled today. My new provider will be up and at'em by June 3rd or 4th so I will catch you all on the flip side. There's one post in the can, but that's all until later.
Take care, Dear Ones...
(Image removed for lack of a source)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This little quote has brought much comfort in the past few days...
Although it seems safe and logical to be in charge of your life, being in charge becomes a heavy, lonely responsibility. Your Father graciously offers to take your life, protect you, strengthen you, and comfort you on your journey. You need not fear relinquishment, for it leads to freedom, security, and the real you. ~Cynthia Heald
Doesn't Cynthia have a great surname? ;>
Somehow abiding on a rainy day seems more cozy. Perhaps I'll bake.
Create yourself a wonderful day...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In spite of the weekend's busyness, we still did our flea market rounds adding a new one to the mix. Sadly, the "new" one is going out of business as even the flea markets feel the pinch of the times. Our state levies particularly heavy taxes on businesses and many are not able to hold on. (I won't launch into political commentary here, but I could and how.)
So we found two very large BALL jars (I'll be using them in the sewing room), another teacup and saucer, vintage hankies, two doilies, and this wonderful old frame! I'm in love with that vintage frame made of cherry. Shhhh, don't tell John.
This is what I'm going to do with the frame:
photo courtesy of Dawn at The Feathered Nest
If you do a search of "old window project" at Dawn's, you'll come up with all the posts referrring to this project.
Oh, the first photo was taken in the corner where I will hang the project below the clock and where the branches will provide a natural veiling of sorts. I hope it turns out well, but either way, I'll show you.
In the same way that I missed Mosaic Monday with Mary, I have been missing out on "Thrifty Treasures" at Southern Hospitality. Hope that I may connect one of these days. You may visit Rhoda right
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I missed Mary's Mosaic Monday yesterday, but I finally learned how to do a very simple mosaic using Flickr and Big Huge Labs. You can find all that information right at Mary's as she's been so good to share. Perhaps by next week, I'll have taken another babystep. ( *Here* is one of the loveliest mosics I've seen lately.)
Has all of Blogdom gone a bit whacked or does it just feel that way? Everywhere I go visiting blogs I am having trouble. I'm not the only one. One suggests that it's a problem with the followers gadget, another that it is a problem with counters, another that it happens when a blog has too many graphics. I don't know. This I do know: things like this get my knickers in a knot. I know what you're saying out there... "Vee, just chill." ;D
And I really do have bigger things on my plate. My grandmother was supposed to have moved in with us on Saturday except that she has been in the hospital since Friday and it doesn't look as if she'll be ready to come home for a few more days. I told her last evening that she could officially now consider herself in a race with my mother, who'll be in the hospital soon, to see which of them arrives home first. It's going to be interesting to see which hospital I land at on any given day. (They're forty miles from each other.)
So, once again, if you don't see me around, you'll know where I am. Take care now and have a wonderful Tuesday...
Monday, May 25, 2009
Red Azaleas in My Garden
Flags Wave on Main Street
Flag Flies Over "the Ponderosa"
Civil War Monument in the Town Square
Soldiers Row in the Local Cemetery
by J. A. Williams
In Flanders field the poppies bloom
Above your lowly, hallowed tomb.
That your brave deeds shall never die
The torch of freedom lifted high
Shall shine forever where you lie.
No more in Flanders fields will grow
The crosses, endless row on row,
For crushed and conquered lies the foe.
We kept the faith—We've seen it thru,
Our myriad brave lie dead with you
In Flanders fields.
Sweet be your rest! Our task is done;
The tramp of armies, boom of gun
And furious cry of savage Hun
Are silent now. The victory's won!
Peace to your souls! The victory's won
In Flanders fields.
This poem was written during the Peace Conference in 1919. It is the fourth poem to be written in response to John D. McCrae's In Flanders Fields. Some day we will see an end to wars. This poem looks forward to that ultimate day when wars will end and no more will die. Amen!
With heartfelt gratitude for every sacrifice made to keep us free. Thank you.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Update: June 19, 2009
Update: July 2, 2009
Because of a bout with cellulitis in her leg, my mom's release date has been set back to July 15 or 16. (My grandmother's has as well.) So there they sit, albeit quite happily, in Rehab getting stronger and hanging out together. I visit them every other day for several hours at a time. They have had lots of company, for which I am grateful. It certainly helps to pass the time.
Update: August 3, 2009
Mother has tolerated the chemotherapy last Thursday very well. We are all praising God for His goodness in this and thanking everyone who lifted her in prayer. She knows that she is being carried on prayer...says she can just feel it. God bless you all!
Update: August 23, 2009
Mother has completed her radiation therapy without too much difficulty. We are so grateful that that is behind her now. She had her second chemotherapy, which thus far has not given her too much trouble either. She has medication for both weariness and pain, but doesn't have to use it more than a couple of days following treatment. She did lose all of her beautiful white hair. My grandson upon seeing her said, "You had a bad haircut, Grandma." She asked him if she could borrow his baseball cap and he said, "Sure." That's all that she's using for right now...a baseball cap as she fears anything else would be too uncomfortable.
Update: October 7, 2009
So much has happened making describing it a real challenge. A week ago, we were planning hospice care and a funeral. Today, the world is ever so much brighter.
My mother finished her third chemotherapy and became intensely ill. She was taken to Portland where she has been hospitalized for three weeks. She was placed on massive amounts of antibiotics to fight infection. Her doctors told us to prepare for end-of-life. At one point in the first week, the doctor thought of doing surgery but decided against it saying that my mother's intestines would "disintegrate" in his hands. By the second week, fearing that the cancer would "blow through" the abdominal wall, he was now recommending surgery. She had that surgery a week ago.
Though we were told that there was a large cancerous mass on her left side and that her intestines would be coated with a frosting of cancer, the doctors found none of that. Instead they found a hole in her bowel, which is now in the process of healing. All biopsies came back clean. The doctor never says "healed;" nevertheless, we are rejoicing today. I can't think about it without becoming amazed all over again. My mother is expecting to be released back to Rehab this week...the same home that she went to to recover from her earlier surgery in May.
December 18, 2009
Mother was finally released from the nursing facility this week and is happily staying with my sister. We were delighted to all be together for a chicken dinner one evening this week where my mother declared how tasty the food was just because it was so nice and hot ... a rare commodity in her recent world. She has lost a lot of weight, but is happy and doing better all the time. We continue to praise God.
April 29, 2010
Last October, my mother was given a second lease on life. Because of infection in her system, she was given an ileostomy. Unlike a colostomy, an ileostomy is an opening in the small intestine for waste. I'm not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that it is not something anyone should have to endure. My mother never tolerated hers well, which was why she was on hydration and nutrition therapy. In addition, the opening never properly healed and it was quite painful.
Yesterday, the entire process was reversed. Because of the length of time in surgery, my sister believed that our mom was having a colostomy performed. It had been explained that if the surgeon couldn't reconnect easily, he would do a colostomy. (It is preferable by far to an ileostomy.) So my sister and I were very pleased when we learned that he had been able to reconnect...with great difficulty because of adhesions and mesh material used for a former hernia repair that had become infected. Oh my! More medical stuff than some like to read. My daughter would be white as a sheet by now and quaking. Anyway, we are more than thrilled for the return to "normal" and that this phase is behind her.
I've just been able to talk to Mom via the phone and she sounds tired and in pain and hoarse. So any and all prayers are always welcome. Thank you!
May 7, 2010
Mother called yesterday from my sister's home. She's been home since Wednesday so that was just a week in the hospital. We were getting concerned that the time would be longer because of those complications during surgery. As it turns out, my mom can be most forceful. She wanted to go home, straight home, no rehab, no delay, home. She wanted to tell me that she had just spoken with her doctor and all the tests came back negative — no cancer. The doctor does not say "healed" nor does he say "remission." Just that everything is all clear. I told my mother that I was delighted to hear it, but not surprised to hear it. When God does something; He does it all the way. Now it's hers to hang onto. There are challenges ahead, but we shall cross those bridges as we come to them. As always, thank you for praying!
May 8, 2010
Mom looking lovely at our Mother's Day Tea
Love this photo taken of my daughter and my mother on
Christmas Day. I can't believe how much alike they look...perhaps it's the weariness for both were very busy over the holidays...
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thanks to Linda at *Restyled Home,* I knew that a trip to the Christmas Tree Shops would be in order, too. You can read about her purchase if you follow the link. I purchased an even less expensive version...$19.99 for what will be my grandmother's beside table/bookshelf. It's a little cluttered with her lotions right now, but we'll be switching to books.
This pillow was also at the consignment shop. I thought I was getting it for $7; I got it for $9. Guess everything balanced out in the end... The lamp was also a Christmas Tree Shops find. Nine dollars and ninety-nine cents including the shade. It's so cute. I just love it and now wish that I had purchased a couple more.
Though I'm not a fan of plastic (except I do love plastic bags from the grocer for the *obvious reasons* ), I really like this tablecloth for the deck table. That metal can get pretty hot and the table is easier to clean.
These were the not so fun items to purchase, but necessary. John took the first shower using the hot-stop-safe-water-temperature-every-time-hand-held shower and had trouble getting the temperature that he likes. I'm not sure if anyone'll ever be able to take a hot shower again. Nana won't like that.
Just tossing in these kitty photos. She used to be fed in that corner and hasn't adjusted to the fact that her feeding station has moved. It has taken me weeks to capture these two rather poor pictures. Every time I get the camera, she steps out of the frame. Ha!Hey! Wait a minute, I think that I've been framed!
Finally, this message is for Carol and anyone else who has seen me pop in and pop out on your blog. What in the world can this mean? I think it means that my service provider (Fairpoint) is on the fritz. I'll have to Google it if IE will let me. Don't worry, Carol, I'll find my way back as soon as I can.
Have a wonderful Friday!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
For today, let's focus on the mini-driveby and our time at the ocean. The mini-driveby was really a walkby. Such a cute little cottage on a city street corner across the street from the shop where I found a lovely tea pot. I digress...
Isn't it darling?! Can you see the starfish along the check rail? Here's a closer look...
And here's a closer look at the left side where you can see a model masted ship in the window. I saw that decor at least three times today.
Then it was off to get John's state park pass, but no one was manning the gate when we arrived. The first sign we saw after parking the car was this one warning about rogue waves.
Then we had a bit of a climb...
Our first view of the water...
We enjoyed sitting on this bench overlooking the rock formations...
I took lots of photos of flowers, but these were the only ones that turned out...
I hope to add a video of our time there. (See sidebar) You can hear the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and see them, too, of course. I only wish that I could share the smell of the Atlantic Ocean. It's unlike anything else. I understand that the Pacific doesn't have much aroma...is that true?
Ackkk, do you suppose that John is too close to that rogue wave? Have a great Thursday and bye for now...
P.S. All photos may be enlarged.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In a moment of delicious serendipity, I just so happened to be visiting Alison at Brocante Home when she mentioned this book all about blogging by Tara Frey.
Tara has a blog called Typing Out Loud. Guess what? It used to be known as Bella Pink, and, in fact, the addy line still has that title. Then it was known as Bella Cafe for a while. I can see how I might've become confused. So, do you suppose that if we read the book we'll find some results of that survey? Hmmmm???
Still gotta wait until August 4...
Just had to share...I do love a tidy ending. Have an excellent Wednesday!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Blogger and Blog: *Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife*
The Frosting: Buttercream Tea Frosting
The Blogger and Blog: *Marye at Baking Delights*
When Suzanne shared this recipe, I knew that one day I'd be baking it because wouldn't it be cool to bake such a cake for the local Historical Society? Ours is called the hysterical society, but that's another story. Anyway, that day was last week. No, I didn't bake it for the Historical Society unless you call two aging folks living here at the Haven and one visiting 99-year-old grandmother a "society."
Sadly, the baking of said cake didn't work out as well as I'd hoped because I made a mistake that is embarrassing to confess. First a picture showing how thick and dense this cake batter was. I think I'd use extra liquid next time.
(John calls the above picture Owl on a Perch.)
This was my big mistake...I didn't check the cake. I set the timer and left to work in the yard. Not good. Now I had an overbaked cake with 19 seconds left on the clock.
I used Marye's frosting recipe substituting almond tea to infuse the cream. The frosting was yummy!
The cake had a mild almond flavor. Should I try it again, I will use almond flavoring in addition to the vanilla and almonds for some added flavor, and I will start checking at 35 minutes for doneness. Live and learn. Still, we've managed to eat it...just two pieces left for lunch today.
Have you ever tried baking a vintage recipe?
In other news, things are getting quite hectic here. My mother's surgery is scheduled for next week and my grandmother is coming to stay with John and me for a while. This means that we are busily making a place for her and hoping and trusting that she'll feel at home while she's with us. If I don't visit as often or if I skip a day or two here and there, don't worry, I shall resurface soon. And, though it may be selfish of me, I so want to take my groom off for a day this week knowing that time alone will become precious indeed after the weekend. Thanks so much for all your prayers, support, and concern.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Confession: I have cheated. I looked at the participants' offerings last evening and oh.my.heck. what am I doing here? =D They're beautiful!
But I have been practicing. I grow better by
For my first entry, I decided to do a mosaic focused around this blog. I had fun doing it and perhaps that's more important than being my usual perfectionistic self.
If you should find your way back for tomorrow, I'll give you the lowdown on Mrs. Lincoln's cake. Have a great day...
Sunday, May 17, 2009
At long last we have finished The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. We use such texts as part of our morning devotions. There were days when I was quite sure that I'd toss it into a corner and start something new. I didn't always like it; I didn't always like Yancey; but it always made me think.
Perhaps we read it because there were some rich nuggets in amongst the things we found unsettling. (We found it unsettling to read that Yancey doesn't believe that anyone should be a patriot or concern himself with politics. He says that God doesn't care about countries, He cares about people, that the only nation He cares about is Israel. I disagree. I think God cares not only about people...all people...He cares about nations, too...all nations.)
Anyway, back to the nuggets. There were enough to keep us going. I want to talk about two of them today. One of the final ones concerns that Saturday between Good Friday and Easter morning. Yancey says it is an unnamed day and that we are living in that Saturday right now, metaphorically, of course, until the Lord's return. Well, not quite, because we know that we know that we know that Sunday arrived and Jesus arose and we have been sent the Holy Spirit. But there are still qualities about that day that we are experiencing until His return. I'll allow you to ponder them. I've been pondering them at some length.
The second nugget I'd like to share is a story that Yancey tells about being in an airport for five hours because of a flight delay. Fortunately, he was not alone because a companion was on her way to the same conference. They had plenty of time to discuss all the disappointments of life. He described feeling melancholy and anxious about things. When the waiting was almost over and the discussions had ended, his companion asked him this question: Philip, do you ever allow God to just love you?
Now that question will sit with me for a long, long time.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8
God bless your Sunday...