Sunday, July 27, 2008

3 weeks....

We've been on somewhat of a rollercoaster with my Dad.

Just three weeks ago - we were all getting some good news about my Dad's cancer. His PET scan showed that his tumor was shrinking. The chemo had worked - and surgery was scheduled.

How quickly things can change.

My Dad felt a lump in one of his original tumor sites, and some pain along with it. Another PET scan was done - with bad results. The cancer had returned in the site that was previously removed - and the other tumor had grown.

In just three short weeks, we've gone from success to sadness.

I spent some time with my mom yesterday - and I asked her how she was feeling - where her mind was at. Now - my mom is a very strong woman - very rational - often lacking in emotion - but not in a bad way. She is just a very logical thinker. So - to see her cry is hard for me. It is not a common sight.
Her answer to me was that part of her is thinking about what is coming next and planning to go to Houston for surgery. The other part of her is (and this is where her voice choked) thinking about how her life will be without Don.

It made me so sad to hear that - to imagine how hard it will be if we lose my Dad. My parents have a very deep true love. They've been together for 41 years. I can't imagine my mom having to live her life without my Dad. Who will she be if she has to live without him?

These are thoughts I don't want to have. I don't want to imagine this as the result.

Last night my mom and I talked about how to be realistic while at the same time how to have faith that he'll beat this. It is a hard balance to try to find. It is a conversation I believe we'll have many times...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The poem - the basis of my father's life

Here is the poem I mentioned in my spiritual moment story. Whether you are Christian or not, please consider its meaning. We can only help others by taking action - doing something to make a difference.

Listen Christian
By Bob Rowland
(from a poem in WITNESS magazine
Circa 1972)

Listen Christian,
I was hungry
And you formed a humanities club
And discussed my hunger.
Thank you.

I was imprisoned
And you crept off quietly
To your chapel in the cellar
And prayed for my release.

I was naked,
And in your mind
You debated the morality
Of my appearance.

I was sick
And you knelt and thanked God
For your health.

I was homeless
And you preached to me
Of the spiritual shelter
Of the Love of God.

I was lonely
And you left me alone
to pray for me.

You seem so holy;
So close to God.
But I’m still very hungry,
And lonely, and cold…

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A spiritual moment

I had a spiritual moment today. It came as quite a shock to me, as I have not been actively pursuing my faith and have actually really been struggling with my basic belief in God. I've not prayed in a very long time and have been focusing instead on sending positive thoughts to others when they are needed.

A little bit of background.... I've not felt comfortable at my home church for over 2 years - almost three now. But, I continued to attend for the benefit of my big girls. They'd formed lots of relationships there and it is the only church home they've known. They continued to attend church even when I stopped, getting rides with various friends. I supported their beliefs and appreciated that they respected the space I needed, even though they had no real knowledge of why I wasn't attending church with them.

So, yesterday, my dad mentioned that he'd be preaching today. For those who don't know, he is a retired ordained minister. I haven't heard him preach in quite some time, and I miss it. It is one of the primary reasons that I've struggled with my faith as an adult. My faith was always associated to my father, and after his retirement - it was difficult for me to find my own path.

I decided to join him at church. He attends a very progressive church that is more open and affirming then any church I've visited. I attended alone - I wanted a chance to really pay attention to the service without the distraction of my children.

His sermon was wonderful. He preached on a topic that I've heard him speak on many times, as it it was the true basis of his life-long ministry and my upbringing - the importance of fighting for social justice.

Then it came time for the communion. I immediately noticed that this church did communion different than anything I'd experienced. When they offer the bread and juice - the place it in each person's mouth, lean forward, place their hands around the person's shoulders and pray with them. Each person is prayed for individually. It is a private prayer, only those in the immediate group can hear the words. It was special - it was clear to all who participated. My dad expected me to go with him. I got nervous at the last minute and told him I'd not be taking communion. He had an expresion on his face that I can't quite explain. I'm not sure what the emotion was- surprise, disappointment, sadness? I saw him walk up there on his own. And this is when the beginning of my spiritual moment occured. I looked at him - and had the strongest urge in my gut to join him. I heard a message - I'm not sure exactly what it was - it could have been "you need me" or "he needs you" - either way - I knew I needed to be with him. I jumped from my seat and hurried up to him. Thankfully he caught my eye and saw that I asked him to wait.

I've never had someone pray over me in quite this personal of a way. I've participated in many prayers - I've offered prayers - but never has someone touched me so tenderly and held me while praying over me. I cried - and cried. I had my arm around my dad's back - and just held on to him. I let the tears flow freely. It was a freeing experience.

Since then - I've wondered why this meant so much to me, whether it was my Dad's cancer - and the seriousness of this week as he plans to journey to Houston again for what we hope is his final surgery. I'm trying not to over-analyze this - as I tend to do. So for now I'm just enjoying this beautiful moment I had with God, my dad, and some very loving strangers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I'd heard wonderful things about this documentary and finally had a chance to sit and watch it.

It is such a wonderful feeling to finally have a documentary that is targeted towards the mainstream that confirms all I've known and experienced about my own childbirths.

I love seeing Ina May after being such a fan of hers and learning so much from her experiences.

It was awesome to hear other women who've had natural births talk about hitting the wall - the fear that you can't do this - and then being able to push past that and do it anyways. And the extreme euphoria after birth - the empowerment - the feeling that I could do anything, I'd never give it up.

If you have not yet seen this film - you must. Take the time. Even if you aren't planning children or planning on more children. Arm yourself with the information so you may share it with others.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The most beautiful Bride!

My best friend of 21 years married an amazing man on June 28, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Here are some photos of the wedding day. Enjoy!

The Bride and Bridesmaids, in the Bride's dressing room right before the wedding.  

Here I am, walking down the aisle.

The Bridesmaids:  Me, the Groom's daughter, the Bride's Sister, and the Bride's Cousin.

Here is Linda - full of energy and excitement!

The Beaming Bride, with pastor Rudy looking on.


The newly married couple!  

~~ The new family ~~

The Wedding Party

~~ The Happy Couple ~~

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where does she get this stuff?

I thoroughly enjoyed Alaina today. Her little mind just amazes me. I can never figure out where she learns the stuff she knows. It just cracks me up sometimes watching her brain work.

So, today we talked about vacation we are taking in August. We talked about the drive, who was going with us and who we are going to visit. She was so excited! I told her all the names of our friends we'll see on the way... Corey, Rhetta, Willon, Whit, etc etc and with each name she repeated it with this high-pitched voice, almost a squeal. She was so excited.

So, I told her we were going to Corey's house and she promptly said "That'd be fun! I'm gonna camp out!"
Hmmm - we've never camped out before, nor did we talk about camping at Corey's house, so I was curious where she got this. I say "What do you know about camping out?"
Her response....
"Hmmm... Let me think." I'm driving and can't see her expression in the mirror - but I can just imagine her finger on her chin with the Steve from Blues Clues thinking look.
Then she states "I need to camp to look up at the stars and see what they are doing."

Oh my sweet girl. She has her own ideas about beauty and I love it. At two years old she is excited to camp and look up at the stars. So - that we will do! We'll lay on blankets in Corey's yard at night and look at the stars so my little girl can see what the stars are doing at night.

The love for a man

I sit here with tears in my eyes. I'm reading the guestbook of my Dad's Caring Bridge journal that he uses to share with friends and family about his journey with cancer.

This man means the world to me. My father is an amazing person. I've known this for as long as I can remember. But somehow I'm just so touched tonight by all the other people in his life, most that I don't even know that care about him.

He is my Dad. I'm supposed to love him, understand him, and appreciate him. But seeing all of the other people in his life that care about him so deeply and are joining him on his journey is just very touching to me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In honor of the 4th of July

What These Fireworks Say About You

You are deeply passionate about a few things in your life.

Everything else, you couldn't care less about.

Your passions tend to hold steady over time. If anything, they intensify.

Once you hold on to something (or someone), you don't let go!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What this vacation has taught me....

I don’t like being away from my family - As much as I thought that a break would be lovely – it just isn’t. I miss them. I miss the hugs and cuddles, and just the day-to-day activity

I’m not a city girl – that city was just too busy for me. Too much commotion, too many people, too much partying, too many lights and noises. I was very much over-stimulated.

Rudeness in other people brings out rudeness in myself and I don’t like that – When we first arrived, I commented on how rude people were. Not paying attention when they walked, barging onto an elevator when the passengers hadn’t gotten off, encroaching on my personal space. What I didn’t like is that by the end of the trip, I’d developed my own rude behaviors. I felt as though I’d never catch an elevator or get through a crowd if I didn’t get rude right back. I didn’t like this – but I was in survival mode.

I’m in awe by scenery, of any kind – I had a beautiful view from my hotel room. I was on the 27th floor – and my hotel room had ceiling to floor windows along one wall of my room. My favorite spot was in a chaise lounge which was right in front of my window. I enjoyed that spot both day and night. During the daytime I could enjoy the mountains in the distance and at night, it was the lights of the city.

I don’t like to splurge money – Man that city is expensive!!! I hate throwing away money on food – why do they have to charge that much, just because they can?

I don’t like the manipulation of the casinos – Just because it was a casino, it seemed like standards in the hotel industry like free wi-fi, coffee in the hotel room , and a TV guide went out the window. Instead the hotel wants you to go down and stand in line to buy coffee in the morning, because after all – the coffee shops are on the casino floor. (insert eye rolling here). And why would they want you to watch TV and surf the internet in your room when you can be downstairs gambling?

I can live without APU – While I missed it – I certainly lived without it. I havce never taken an official break like other members and I probably would never have taken a purposeful break on my own – but the forced breack by my previously mentioned cheapness and lack of free wi-fi led me to an unforeseen APU break. I missed it – but managed.