Monday, April 30, 2012

Life...It is so Precious

The nurse was leaning over me.
Through my foggy brain I saw the concern on her face.
A gentle hand touched my forehead to check
the fever and then her head shook in frustration as 
there was no improvement.
Then I drifted off again.

In my dozing I remember the distinct point of decision.
Would I stay and fight to live 
or would I let myself drift off into eternity?

It only took a second.
But in that moment I knew that I was ready to fight.
Fight for more days with my husband and children.
Ready to continue being my mother's friend and daughter.
I knew that I needed to come back but
to do so would take more strength than I could muster.

It had been something like two weeks since the original surgery.
Just that weekend we had been out of town where I began 
a decline.  There was pain and I was so tired.
I remember laying in the recliner that had been my Dad's and 
just feeling so sick.

By the time we returned home I knew I needed to get to 
the surgeon.  I thought I would be able to drive myself but as soon
as my neighbor heard how I was feeling she insisted on taking me there.
Good thing, too, because the road across town has many bumps on it.
You and I may not feel them in our day to day routines
but when one is in the condition I was in it is excruciating.

By the time we arrived at the doctor's office and took the elevator
upstairs I was in tears and begged the office staff to get help for me quickly.

When the surgeon came into the room all I could do was sob, 
asking him to help me.....just help me, please.
Over and over again I desperately repeated those words.

The next thing I remember is shaking violently from head to toe
and being taken to the CT machine where just moving from the wheelchair
to the machine was like horrible torture.

A mass was discovered and a condition called ileus.
My insides had ceased working.
At all.

I was admitted to the hospital where the next ten days are not much more than 
a blur in my hazy, drugged memory.
I know that my Mom came frantically.
I know that people paced.
I remember the surgeon looking at a loss and very confused.
Then the day that really took the cake,
It was the day that they took me for an ultrasound.
I was on a tiny little bed while two young techs ran the transducer
over my hyper painful torso.
They became excited by something they saw and then 
excused themselves and ran from the room.
The pain continued to grow worse as I lay there, 
in spite of all of the pain medication that had been constantly 
injected into my hips.  
First one, then the other alternating with each dose.

Finally it was so severe that I was once again shaking
and crying.  
I yelled for help.
Screamed for someone to come....
yet, no one came.
I was helpless to move because of the mass 
which caused pain of extraordinary proportions when I 
attempted to move.

After what seemed forever someone finally rescued me.
I don't think it was the same young girls who so rudely left
me alone.....The reason I think this is because I believe
I would have let loose on them.
I was really angry.

The news came back that the mass had grown to 
the size of a grapefruit ....or more.
This was what had so excited the techs who rushed
off to find the Radiologist.
Additional surgery would be required.

I don't remember whether the surgery was done that day 
or early the next....
all I know is that at that point a second doctor became a 
visible part of my treatment.
He was talking to my family.

My next clear memory is of the poor woman who would 
come and take my food order every day.
She offered me the same thing every time.
I now despise red Jel-lo.
Other flavors are fine.
I didn't like her very much.
But it wasn't her fault.
She was just following orders.

Gradually the surgery and the three
antibiotics being pumped into my system began doing the 
job of clearing the toxins that were poisoning me.
My thoughts began to clear and then they made me 
begin to walk.  
To build my strength, they said.
I hated that too.
Yep!  There is a theme here.
Not much made me happy during those days in the hospital.
I've left a lot out.
Some by choice and some from lack of memory of the events.
My husband and mother could tell you much more.

But after ten days I convinced the surgeon that I should 
continue my healing at home.
He bought it.
I was most likely wrong.
I still had no strength.
Simply sitting up in bed made me bone weary
and out of breath.
Nevertheless, I came home.
To the loving arms of my children and the care 
of my supportive friends and family.

Our church family and home school friends had been
bringing meals for more than a week.
They continued for some time after.
Again this is all pretty much a blur.
What I remember from that time is that my IV's wouldn't 
stay open and the antibiotics that I was supposed to inject
wouldn't go through.  
I had to call in home nurses nearly every dose until there were 
no more veins.
Every one had collapsed.
I cried and cried.

A decision was made to finish my last two days on oral medication.
Thankfully it was enough.
I slowly regained my strength and my life.

My wonderful life.
With so much to live for.

I am grateful that God granted me the will to live
on that fateful night.
I delight in all that God has blessed me with.
A husband who loves and cares for me.
Children who share their hearts and their love with us.
A Mother and Mother-in-law who are a part of our everyday life.
A brother and sister-in-law who are our friends.
A church family who truly cares.
So many more family members and friends who are always there.
Supporting, caring and loving.

I'm so glad I got to see my kids grow up.

Of course Heaven will be wonderful when it is time.
I now have an appreciation for how easy it will be when the time 
comes to just let go.
To rest in His arms as He carries me there.
But, for now, until that day comes
I will treasure this life,
serve my Heavenly Father as well as I can...
And be thankful.

Over the years that I have been blogging, 
Some of you have made comments as if to wonder at 
my thankful spirit and rosy take on life.
It is because of what HE has brought me through.
I know that I have faced death.
I have felt pain that I never knew existed.
Forevermore when they ask for a measure of pain
from 1-10 I have a new measure of what that means.
Internally many scars remain and cause pain nearly daily.
They remind me of those dark and frightening days 
in March 2006.

But I also have joy.
Joy in the knowing that life, this life 
is so very precious and so very fragile.
It is to be treasured.
Truly treasured.

All of this came to my mind tonight 
as I saw a preview for something on television where the 
woman said she remembered distinctly coming to a point 
where she had to decide to fight or live.
I knew precisely what she was speaking of.
I thought it was time to tell you.
And to rejoice!
Life is good.

Don't miss my ongoing Give Away.......
I'll pick a winner on Saturday, May 5th!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time For a Give Away

There is no occasion....
It is just time to gather friends and family together
 in one spot here on the blog 
and give a sweet candle away.  

The winner will receive a 

The lid is Bronze Daisy cut, 
which allows you to burn it with the lid on, 
if you like. 
 This keeps little fingers away from the flame....
although the lid does get hot so they shouldn't touch it either.

You will receive one entry for a comment left.
You may comment once per day until next Saturday
when the give away ends.

You will receive two additional entries if you grab either of my 
links from the side bar and put them on your blog.
Leave a comment telling me if you do so.....
or if you already have one of them
on your blog.

You will receive three additional entries if you pin any of 
my candles in Pinterest.
Leave a comment telling me which candle you pinned.

Saturday, May 5th will be the end of this give away and 
I will use a random number generator to choose 
a winner.

Maybe it will be you!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Swan Photos ...Raw and Edited

 One of my regular readers turned really great friend has
been telling me for a long time that she wants 
Note cards with a swan on them.

Finally, I was in the right place, 
at the right time....
with my camera and time to wait for Warren
to meet me.

Look down...see the ducklings and their Mama?
So cute!

These are the totally rough, 
unedited versions of the photos I took.
Next on the agenda is an editing session to make then 
We'll see how that goes.

My question to you is which one(s) should 
I work with?
A multi card pack or is there just one that stands out to you?

I know this one is blurry but I threw it in any way.

Warren and I were having a debate about geese and swans.
I said it was a swan, he wasn't convinced....based on the tiny 
photo on the camera screen.
We showed it to our server at Pizza Hut who confirmed that 
this was, indeed, a swan as she made the motions for the long
graceful neck.
That was funny.

Thanks for the challenge, Vee.
I adore you, you know!

And now for some of these after editing....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dogwood 2012

 Every year I attempt to find a new way to present this beautiful tree. 
I mean dogwood blossoms are pretty much the same year to year.

This morning I stepped out on the front stoop to call the dogs inside.
I looked to my left and there she stood.
Her pinks all gorgeous in the sunlight and against the light green of the new 
leaves of the tree behind her.

I think the shape of the branches is pretty.
You've seen them before in my note card of Oliver.
But never from this angle.
I'm very thankful for this lovely tree.
It is so close to our house that at some point it may need to be replaced...
but not yet.

Monday, April 23, 2012

We Had A Ball

 At some point I have to stop saying we had an unusual day at church.
I think they are all unusual at this point.
We have way too much fun together.

But yesterday was definitely up there on the different scale.

The men got together and organized an event in which we remembered the Titanic.
Not because of the fact it sunk....but for the heroism and chivalry of the men
aboard the ship on that fateful day.

While the men organized it, 
the ladies had plenty to do.

But before I get to that you should meet the cast.

Meet the Captain....played by Joe.
Everyone had to get their photos taken with him.

Pastor Mike rented the costumes from the drama department at 
Millersville University.
They were perfect.
 The purser - Daniel.
So handsome!

I just had to throw this photo in.
Katie and her Mama.
Remember those photos of the early days after 
Katerina joined this family?
Amazing progress and joy now surrounds this child.

A series of speakers and video clips set the tone.
Understanding that many of the youngsters there would not be familiar with 
the history celebrated it was very good to take the time to tell the story.

The entire church was transformed......
how convenient that we have a ramp.
This was where we "boarded".
 Our ticket to the Voyage.
Heads of households filled in the names on each boarding pass.
Then we assembled in a line to board the Titanic. 
This was surprisingly emotional.
Pastor Mike took our boarding passes and welcomed us 
aboard in such a realistic way that you found yourself in the 
place of those who had been so oblivious to their impending doom.

Having the knowledge of the end result I was moved to 
tears even while just waiting in line.
I swallowed hard and waited my turn.

The purpose of this event was to encourage our young men,
and the old ones too,
to remember that chivalry is not dead.
On its last gasp, maybe, as so many are only out for themselves,
but not dead.
We all kind of chuckled at one point in the video as the captain
instructed his crew to "chuck" the ladies and children into the lifeboats
if they resisted.
There was just no question that it was ladies and children first.

There were not enough life boats for everyone because for the sake of 
looks they had only put about half of the life boats on the Titanic.
Remember, the ship was "unsinkable".

 After a short lesson in etiquette which reminded the men that if a lady at their
table left for any reason they needed to stand in respect for her.
Also a quick tip as to how to know which bread dish and cup was yours.

I had to chuckle as I looked down the line and saw everyone holding this pose.

 Garden salad, fruit salad and bread were the first course.
Followed by chicken poppyseed casserole, green beans and cake with ice cream for dessert.
Several young people served everything as a few of us plated it quickly in the kitchen.

After lunch came an English Country Dance in the sanctuary.....
I love seeing the moms and sons, 
fathers and daughters, 
wives and husbands, 
brothers and sisters,
friends and family of all sizes 
enjoying this fun and very energetic activity.
Such laughter and craziness.
I only danced one particular dance but I really enjoyed it!

Our dance was rudely interrupted by the sound of ice scraping metal.
Chaos and tears broke out as the men settled their wives and children in lifeboats 
and then left the room.
No, really, tears broke out.
Some of us were pretending to cry and scared some of the youngest ones.
We had to reassure them that we weren't really crying.
If you could have seen the sheer joy on one young boy's face as his 
dad came back into the
But the dads took the opportunity to remind all in attendance that we got to be 
reunited.  In real life that was not the case.

Later the dancing resumed......

Don't you just love this trio?

 Our afternoon came to a close...
in the early evening.
We concluded with the rest of the story in 
presentation and video
and then we all sang
Nearer My God to Thee as two young men 
played their Violin and Cello for accompaniment.
So touching as this was the last song the 
musicians played around 2:00 am before they lost their 
lives in that very dark and cold ocean.
Having found out that the RMS Titanic was indeed 
NOT unsinkable.

The roses from the tables all ended up 
being sent home with various ones of us.
I have three...
they are gorgeous!!
A wonderful reminder of a meaningful event.

 I love this photo of a very happy Pastor Mike at the end of 
the day.  He is such a great leader.
Quiet strength.
Yep!  I like him a lot.
It is so neat to see him come behind the vision of those in the congregation
and support, love and encourage.
Every church should wish for such a pastor.
Just sayin'.
He doesn't normally read my blog so I feel pretty safe

Hey!  Have a great day!!
I'm making candles (surprise) and then spending some fun 
time with my sweet girl.

To read and see more about this amazing event you can
visit my friend, Creekside Cottage.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last Sunday afternoon found me in my 
Happy Place!

Mom blessed Warren and I with tickets to see 
The Gaither Vocal Band
in concert.

 We always get a chuckle out of the fact that we are 
the youngest fans when we go to any of these
events.  But other than the fact that I worry about their fan 
base over the next 10 years I don't mind being younger 
than everyone around me.

This was my first time to see this group in person.
Of course, we've watched the Gaither Homecoming Videos
many times and we saw Mark Lowry a couple of years
ago when he visited Lancaster.

Bill Gaither must be pretty persuasive to gather this 
kind of talent into a group.
Every one of these men could be out on their own.
They have the talent and following to be solo artists.
It is totally special that they work together and offer
up such praise blended with humor.
I mean that you actually have to laugh out loud
or you will hurt yourself.

Mark Lowry gave an outstanding message.
I won't try to tell you what he said because 
I would butcher
it for sure.

David Phelps....
ahhhhhh.......................that voice.


Thanks, Mom!
We enjoyed it soooo much!!

It has been a very busy week.
This weekend won't be any better for all of that 
but it will be good. 
Kicked off a fundraiser for a church group
headed to Haiti to do mission work yesterday with a new 
group and have a couple coming today to discuss 
a fundraiser for their upcoming mission trip
to Africa.

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day with five 
very wonderful children.
Their Mom is going through a very hard time
right now as her Dad has terminal cancer.
The kids and I laughed and laughed as I just 
about stepped on a snake.
The oldest boy said in a very serious voice, 
"I just had to chuckle."
I think he thought I might be upset if he laughed 
at me...but instead we just laughed together.
I'm sure it did look and sound funny to see me 
jump and scream.
It was just a garter snake and very easily 
identifiable so I was never afraid, 
just startled.

I enjoyed seeing their new fluffy yellow chicks.
You know how we used to enjoy getting ours
each Spring.  But now we just let our chickens 
reproduce naturally since we don't need lots and lots
of chickens.

The kids were too smart to fall for my suggestion that 
picking all of the dandelions in the field would be a great
activity and challenge.
I was sure that they would want to do that one!

It's been a while since I've spent 
quality time with the younger set 
and it was good!

We ended the day by prepping English Muffin
Pizzas to be ready for dinner when their Dad got home.
Molly was a big help.
She put the sauce on the muffins and then added 
pepperoni, green peppers, cheese and cooked onions.
Well, in theory they were yummy.
I bugged out of there to get home and cook 
quesadillas for my own gang.

Hope you are well.