Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Day Is Every Man's Birthday

Into the New Year
Friday’s Reflection

TAKE ME INTO A NEW YEAR, Gracious God. Help me to continue looking for meaning, seeking peace, praying for light, dancing for joy, working for justice, and singing your praise. I go into the new year filled with expectations, a touch of worry, and a bundle of hope. I do not journey into the new year alone but with you as my guide, with a commitment to my disciplines, with a community of family, friends, and faith. Take me into the new year, Creator of beauty and wonder. Bless me with the companionship of Jesus, and gift me with the guidance and power of the Spirit. Amen.
- Larry James Peacock
Openings: A Daybook of Saints, Psalms, and Prayer

It is 16 degrees, wind chill - cold.  It is so brilliant - so eye piercingly clear outside this morning.  A perfect ending of mornings in the year 2010.  The sun is basking this valley for all of it's might, but warmth will not be found outside today.  There will, however, be plenty of warmth indoors. 
Pancakes and bacon for breakfast with dear, dear friends this morning.  Jeff and Lisa came to our house to spend time. How mighty is their gift of love and friendship!  So far, I've managed to scare the pants off of them - I turned left on a red arrow.  It was completely clear you must understand....and they said in some form, you MUST understand you scared the bejeepers out of us!  I will leave the driving to Jim or Lisa and Jeff for the remainder of their stay. 
I may or may not have night time asthma.  Albuterol helped tremendously, so I'll stick with it for a few days and see how things go.  My breathing has been labored, however, my pulse/ox levels are amazingly high.  So we muddle through these little mysteries. 
Again, I want to say thank you to all of you - for your comments on the blog and off the blog, for your love through prayer, through means I have no clue about, for your beautiful bounty of cards and calls.  For laughing with me/us, for sharing a load of heart ache this year.  For standing in the gap, for reminding me how much God loves and cares for all of us and for being my friends.  What a bounty.  When Jesus told the disciples to throw out their net on the other side of the boat - their net was so full of fish, it snapped.  That is how I feel about you.  My net is full and overflowing.
Thank you for being a part of a year that is still filled with mysteries and tears, love and laughter.  I hope you will continue on with me.  My journey in this land of cancer is not over.  Year 2 of colon cancer is a year filled with tests and concerns.  For this is the year colon cancer seems to like to find a new place to hang out.  I pray that I have not hat pegs for it to hang it's hat on and that God is in the process of healing me fully.  Our Father does hear our pleas and knows the hidden places in our hearts. 
"O the Fount of Every blessing, fill our hearts...".
Happy New Year - with love and prayers for God to fill every corner of your lives. 
Love and Best Wishes!
kathryn
(title quote: Charles Lamb)

Monday, December 27, 2010

That Post Christmas Shopping....Bleah.....

Not a post holiday shopper....it's a rare day for me to arrive on a big shopping day and I dash in and dash out.  (call me Dasher). 
Today, Jim MUST have some dress slacks and jacket for Leah's wedding.   Is anyone counting the days with me?  Am I the only one?  13 days.  13. Thirteen.  2 weeks and 1 day. I'm so thrilled and excited for them and filled with GLEE to get to be there and dress up and feel happy and giddy and celebrating a wonderful couple.  Wheeee!
Christmas 2010 is past.  What a year.  What a year this has been.  Still mulling this over.  What a year.  oh yes, I AM HERE!  "O! The Places You'll Go", seems very fitting.  I'm ready.  My body isn't quite ready.  A lot of post chemo "slo jo".  But soon and very soon, I hope to be mopping my own floors, making our bed on a daily basis, cooking, cooking, cooking and enjoying bring people into our home to celebrate what they have done for our family. 
Goodness....the "i owe" list is very long.  And I'm thankful to have such a list.
Have a warm day - enjoy your time off if indeed you have some time off, enjoy your family and friends and eating too much good food. 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to The Entire Fenno Family and Bill & Donna....more to follow.
"And now let us welcome the New Year.  Full of Things that have never been." 
                                                                                                   ---Anonymous
O Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Being A Child Tonight

Christmas Eve

IF WE WOULD see the Child on this Night, then we must be prepared perhaps even to be a child on this Night, to let our imagination and our hope and our faith carry us to some new way of seeing, some new way of hearing, so that our eyes might be opened and our ears might be too, so that our hearts might be quickened and our spirits might be touched.
In the end, we must be willing to believe in the Promise that Immanuel will come, we must have faith to believe that the Promise will be kept, and we must hope that we too will be willing and able and childlike enough to recognize the face of God in the face of the Child.       - Robert Benson, The Night of the Child
Merry Merry Christmas! 
Love, Kathryn and Jim
Sophie, Coco and Scout
(photos tomorrow; dogs are asleep all over me)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ninja Fever



I was having a difficult night last night.  I got out the magnets that friend's shared with me and put on the headband that holds the magnets.  Jim thought it photo worthy.  I ended up at the ER again!!!!!  Again?!?!?  I am healthy....simply worn out by chemotherapy.  I'm up some and down some (physically).  I had acupuncture this a.m.   It helped quite a bit.  I was told no corporate worship for a couple of weeks.  Too many germs?  Too many opportunities to fall?  Too little time to sleep?  Ok, I will mind and rest and read a bit.
Behold The Lamb of God, He came to save us from the sin of the world!
Happy Christmas Eve Eve.
Love and thanks for your wonderful encouraging comments. 
love to all, kathryn

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

These Boots Are Made For Walking....Walking......not Falling

“Alice falls down the rabbit hole and her dress poofs up like a parachute.
Alice: Well, after this I should think nothing of falling down stairs.”
Yes, I fell down on Sunday.  My boots simply didn't want to grip onto the linoleum floor beneath me.  Off I went, banging my head on the wooden part of the back of the pew.  I hit my hand and leg - leaving some small bruises.  God had it all set up....3 nurses were right around me.  You do realize you must go to the ER.  The week before we had called the EMTs.  They were the same crowd.  How to convince these people I am not a frequent flyer??
I did have some takers on my boots.  They are pretty cute and I got them at a steal so that makes them cuter still.
An all day in the ER found me rattled up a bit, but nothing serious.  Anemia was discovered - ah! the fatigue is caused by chemo and anemia.  More tests are being run this week.  I swallowed a pill for a sitz marker study.  Full of white, little elastic bands.  Very tiny rubber bands - all in white.  I got 3 times for xrays to see what is up with this non functioning large colon of mine.
A lazy day for me and the dogs.  We needed one.  I am hoping to get a call to come in for acupuncture.  I will probably have to wait for my real appt on Thursday.
Why do I keep hearing "the theater, theater" running through this rather tangled brain of mine?  Explanations welcome.  Be sure and say, "theater" with a rather barmy English accent.
Is that "Funny Girl?"  I don't remember.
Happy December 22.
love to all, kathryn
 
King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  His name be praised - today and forever.
 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ah, Home!

I am getting my feet under again.  I am moving slow.  Even fell at church yesterday just to make sure I got ample attention.  A trip to the ER for the day.  Brain, chest, neck - all good.  Great ER dr and staff.  They do need a couple of ER dr and nurses to open up and empty space.  Any takers?
Good night from here.  More when my fingers are cooperating again.  Neuropathy has me on a short leash right now.
love you kathryn
The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength!

Cancer Center Art Work, Now Owned By The Stephens

the funds go to support those who are in need.  This is called Cat Dreams.  I love helping and I love the artist.  Thank you!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

and further more....

1.  Not getting "real" food - remaining on liquids.
2.  Test is tomorrow. Red tape and we definitely need a technician here to DO the test (this was the tech's day off).  I'm giving my doctor a break.  He's writing for some high tech tests and he doesn't know if someone is here or not.  All he wants - get the tests completed.  I am on his team and he's a great and fully competent coach.
3.  My Coco and Scout will be very sad.  Becky, neighbor who is a one in a million, is in charge of Sophie, Coco and Scout.  All is well, all will be well.
4.  Great nursing care continues and someone is walking by with a well mastered whistle.  Whistle on. 
5.  We're going to have to bundle up here in NM after 60 degree days.   A temp drop of 30 degrees is forecast.  Just a bit on the chilly side.  For normal folks, an evening such as this would require soup, chili, Mexican food, or stew and homemade bread (Whole Foods constitutes homemade) or cornbread, particularly Bill Kolb's cornbread.  Yum, yum!!
Good Night Chet, Good Night David.

love to all again, kathryn

Yesterday Was A Skuvala Kind of Day

They have me bound and gagged in the hospital....not really, but those who have been hospitalized know...you only want to go home.  Though I realize I'm not quite ready, my little dogs are now entering a neurotic state of being.  Bless their little doggie hearts.

What? no novella today?  Nope, but I am getting REAL food.  I'm going off of "liquids".  That is a grace that I am thrilled with! 
I am doing better and the doctors, nurses and staff are more than wonderful to me....God's hands and feet at their best.  I am amazed at what they have put up with from my body and how loving they are.  They set aside their families and their problems to assist us.  God bless them, everyone.

Now, to figure out exactly what is going on.  I am staying tuned.

Love to all, kathryn

Psalm 37:5.
Much love and get well greetings to Jeff - love you so.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas.... Around the Corner

We are planning a trip for Christmas this year.  A dream come true for me.  I'd much rather take a trip than buy gifts.  Time to be together, time to see new areas of the country, time to drink too much coffee and relax, spend time with dear friends...and eat too much rich food.  It's also one of the best times to reflect on the birth of Jesus.  Much time has been given to when Jesus was born - probably springtime, as the shepherds were out in the fields.  But in our very secular, post-modern society - Christmas still creates in us a time to reflect and remember why Jesus's birth still touches people's hearts with kindness that is often not available the rest of the year. 
So, as I learn to steal other's material quite well, I wanted to print this very old poem - it is so appropriate for this time and actually all the days of our lives.
We cannot know the grief
That men may borrow
We cannot see the souls
Storm-swept by sorrow;
But love can shine upon the way
Today, tomorrow;
Let us be kind.
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are broken,
So may our love with tender words be spoken.
Let us be kind.                                 ---author unknown
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love."  Romans 12:10

I am learning the slower graces of knowing God.  He has slowed me down, sometimes to the point of dead stop this year.  I've had a great deal of time, when I was not asleep, to think through a good many things.  I suspect whatever you have been through this past year has given you a time to "take pause" and reflect on the many graces of God through this past year.  May the time you spend shopping, eating, having coffee/tea with dear friends, gift exchanges, dinners with family and friends bring you a moment of awe and wonder --- a reflection time on how very good God is to us.  And how really it doesn't matter one bit if they are "colored twinkle lights" or "white twinkle lights".  Whatever makes you smile.

Ok, now for a pretty decent cookie recipe. 


Giant Ginger Cookies
Prep time: 30 min  Total time: 50 min

Makes 12 - yes, worth it

2 l/2 cups all purpose flour
2 l/4 t. baking powder
l/2 t. salt
l T. ground ginger
l/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. ground pepper
3/4 c (l l/1 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
l/2 c. packed light brown sugar
l/2 granulated sugar, plus l/3 cup for coating
6 T. molasses
l large egg

Preheat over 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside
Whisk together all dry ingredients.
With electric mixer cream butter, brown sugar, l/2 c. granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and molasses.  With mixer on low, gradually beat in dry ingredients.
Flatten dough, wrap in plastic, freeze for 20 min.
Divide dough into 2" balls.  Place remaining l/3 c. granulated sugar in bowl. Roll balls of dough in sugar, place on prepared baking sheets.  Flatten into 3 inches rounds with a bowl works best.  Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake until brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 12 to 15 min.  Cook on racks.
Yum.
Store in container with parchment or wax paper between cookies. 
Martha Stewart "it's a good thing"

Friday is here again.  Jim's Friday off...a little chance to hang out, read the paper and enjoy a beautiful day.  60 degrees here today.  (apologies to those freezing)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This Resplendent Autumn Day...

I pulled out a dear book from the bookcase yesterday.  A book that still motivates me.  Words written on the everyday'ness' of life.  This particular book is about Jacob and his jaw dropping dysfunctional family - a book that reminds me we are all closer to Jacob and his family than we might care to admit. This mystery of God's vast and wondrous family.  Dysfunctional as we are, God delights in us - we are threads in God's sewing basket.
So, I'll pirate some one's words...
"What makes sense of my journey - the everyday experiences as well as the passages --- is God.  The providence of God means that God oversees me and my life is not a bundle of accidents.  The pursuit of God means that God engages me for a compelling, world-transforming mission.  And the welcome of God means that I know continuously and deeply that God accepts me, approves of me and - most amazing of all - finds pleasure in me. 
Do you recall Jacob and the heavenly ladder? Some have believed we too are climbing "Jacob's ladder" to perfection.  That isn't true.  Jesus came down that ladder to meet us right where we are.  "Come unto me" is spoken by Jesus from the bottom of the ladder. 
I've met Jim at the bottom of the ladder as well as my dad.  What is it about meeting someone as they bounce off that bottom rung?  There is a hug, there is a smile, there is solid ground under their feet, there is forward motion - even if it it means returning to the top of the ladder again.  Perhaps you will think of Jesus being at the bottom of the ladder next time you heft yourself onto the ladder and make your way down.  Jesus will meet you there.  Dirty shoes, rough hands and all. 
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Matt 11:28 The Message
One of my favorites from The Message.
Love and blessings on this Sunday afternoon, kathryn







Sunday, November 28, 2010

Flash:Born: November 29, 1952, Little Rock, Arkansas

A note from South Vine to the girl born November twenty-nine:
Just pretend that you feel fine, that the sun was hired for your day to shine;
Because it's your special day--November twenty-nine.
Enjoy plenty of hours simply supine, then select a delectable place to dine
To celebrate that special day--November twenty-nine.
You could even wear crinoline and dance in a line
To show off on your day of November twenty-nine.
Or make your dress all out of twine, or of any crazy design,
Perhaps a large sandwich sign, if you feel such an incline,
To scare all the people on November twenty-nine.
And even if you did (scare them i mean), they may not cry or whine
Or do anything inappropriate on November twenty-nine
For everyone & thing must happily align or felicitously entwine
For the special day for that Katherine (sorry for the intentional misspelled pun)
Happy Birthday, Sister of mine, born on November twenty-nine. --chuck parker

My brother just sent me a birthday poem of his own design.  Thank you for your kind and whimsical birthday wishes.  I'll be working on the dress of twine...by finishing this scarf o' mine.  (it won't be twine, but yarn didn't rhyme).
A delicious Thanksgiving dinner here, and a great time to have 4 days of nothing much that needed to be done.  We both found time to nap (too often) and read some books and watch a little football as well as Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.  Thank you Jane Austen and Peggy Lee.
Good night from this cold enchanted land.  Still humming the "Hallelujah Chorus"...will pass it on.
love kathryn

Thursday, November 25, 2010

THANKS GIVING!!

I can still cook Thanksgiving dinner!  : )
First time we have had a chance to sit down since coffee
this morning. Coco and Scout were thrilled and put up with
a little photo shoot...that took 20 minutes to
get them to this point.
Beautiful, cold.  The perfect Thanksgiving
Snow, which is almost all melted and sun.
We wish you a wonderful relaxing evening.  Pumpkin pie,
pecan pie, leftovers, a game of cards or Scrabble, movies,
whatever. 
To God of All Blessings we say Thank You!
love kathryn and jim
coco and scout
sophie otherwise disposed

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something Worth Sharing This Week

Monday’s Reflection


“WHERE DID I GET THE IDEA that worship must always
be restrained, quiet, and dignified?
Throughout my long life, you have showered me
with blessing upon blessing.
Today I will not withhold the praise you deserve.
Awaken the passion that I’ve kept tucked away for
a rainy day.
It’s all about you, Lord. Not me — but you.
Before I get out of this chair, I will lift my hands
and say aloud the Lord’s Prayer. Today I will
consider what all those words mean.
I will sing a hymn of praise while I comb my hair
and put on my socks.
I will not wait for another day.
I will make a joyful noise!”
- Missy Buchanan

Wild winds blowing; leaves dancing on the streets until they are scooped up and flung into the air. I believe the winds and the falling leaves are also making a joyful noise unto the Lord!
 I love fall.  love you too,
kathryn

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marshall's and Moments of Grace

After the last doctor's appointment, I got into the car.  Sat there a moment, took a deep breath and looked across the Sandia Mountains; another gorgeous fall day.  Sometimes just a moment to breathe in and out,  look up with a thankfulness for this day, gives me a boost of energy. So with that little shot of energy,  I went into Marshall's.  I've been looking for a coat...not a heavy coat, not a puffy coat, not a car coat, just a short coat; minus the weight. I do not want a coat that makes me feel I'm carrying the weight of the world...just a coat to block the winds. Struck out on that mission.  I love to wander through the food aisle.  While enjoying looking at all of the jars and boxes,  I overheard a couple swapping the name of jams and jellies. He looked at me and said wouldn't it be great if there was a tasting table?  Yes! Cream cheese, crackers and an assortment of jams? Yes, let's do that! He started telling me his very eventful past couple of weeks.  About 2 weeks ago,  he had an MRI.  Lower back pain. He called for the results.  The would look for them and call him back.  The office called back and told him what was wrong with his back.....however, the bigger issue was an aneurysm in a vein in his upper leg - it was dangerous and it was leaking. Off to the vascular surgeon's office.  After a Doppler test - yes, there was an aneurysm and he had to go to surgery immediately.  He's now put back together with Gortex.  I said, WOW, you look great!  Look at you, you look wonderful. Wow! He said God is so good...I'm here.  I said I know, I have cancer. He and his wife looked at me with disbelief.  YOU look SO GOOD.  While we were sharing the "wow's" and sharing our thanksgiving to God, I noticed a woman standing looking at the tea...only she wasn't looking for tea, she was eavesdropping. 
I know you would really have to be there to enjoy the moment of God's grace in the food aisle at Marshall's - but I wanted you to hear it.  To remind you how these accidental meetings are actually rare gifts - gifts of grace -  from strangers, meetings in the oddest of places.  I hope you will recall these stories in your own life and smile - God loves you and includes you in stories.  Stories you have no idea others are sharing about YOU!
"Oh, how I love all you've revealed;
I reverently ponder it all the day long."
from Psalms 119
The Message

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking A Nap and Cancer

I was, as usual, not very clear when I made the comment on my partial thyroidectomy.  That particular tumor on my thyroid was benign. 
Colon Cancer:  I still do not have answers.  I finish my chemo regimen this week.  I believe Dr. Clark said I will have my PET/CAT scans in Dec.  I will also have to undergo some blood work, which is always ongoing. Perhaps by January, I will have the results and information on that cancer.
I do find my energy levels are at an all time low, however, Jim sent a devotional re:  napping. 
A great storm was about to engulf the disciples fishing boat.  The disciples were in a panic, they turned to find Jesus...napping.  Jesus knew ruled the storm and who was protecting them.
Another lesson.  I do not have to calm the waves and try to control anything going on in my life. You know something? Though I've spoken a lot about Jesus' balanced life, I've reached a point in time that talking about his "balanced life" has past.  Actually reaching out and grasping onto a corner of living his calm and rest, is comforting.  Do yourself a favor; take a nap. I am on my way to do that now.
Be Blessed my dearest friends and family,
kathryn

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!!

The heater went out on the bedroom side of the house.  Fortunately, it was just a disconnected wire.  That set us back about $88.00...for about 5 minutes of work. However, we are grateful for the heat to be back on, for a warm house, warm beds and a place to enjoy life and good food - so many, many GOOD things.
I've been looking at stacks of family photos for the past couple of days.  Memories flood in, sometimes tears flow and other times, laughter at just the thought of the "good ol' days".  Just a warning to Phil & Tina, Chuck & Patty and Teresa & Dan....photos will be coming your way.
I've mopped the kitchen floor, made a rustic apple pie and am resting (blogging is on the list of "how to rest" - I'm just sure of it).
This is my last week of chemo.  There are a lot of emotions running around my mind. I'm not sure that I've got that all sifted through so will wait on further comments.
I am grateful for this past course of treatment - more to the point, for the blessings of God's Spirit and for the faithfulness of prayers of "the many".  For my card warrior, Tina, you've lifted my heart so many times....sharing your days and making me laugh.  You have such a talent for sharing your 'ordinary' (is there such a thing as an ordinary day?!) 
Right now, Coco is playing with a squeaky toy in the living room, Sophie is hopping from chair to chair, trying her best to avoid Scout (aka: Pe Pe Le Pew).  It's a love/hate relationship - I've seen Sophie standing alone in the kitchen, bawling and making such a fuss - no dog in sight. 
I enjoy "real time" (not daylight savings time, I should move to Indiana).  Evenings fold around us, winter recipes calling me.  Sort of calling...I have days I want to cook and do and days that take out or a bowl of cereal is quite enough.
The past round of chemo (3 pills 2x a day) made me so sleepy...like putting a record on the record player and turning it to 33 l/3 or lower.  Only people my age and older understand this.   Sometimes the neuropathy is very bad and other times I am left with just a very low buzzing feeling in my feet and hands.  As I write this, I have not one thing to complain about.  I know others who are suffering so and are working so hard to stay 'in the game'.  God bless them and keep them all.
I need to get out some plates and make a pot of tea.
Enjoy your evening of good food, good company - either people or a good book, a quilt on this very cold night. 
Now as the sunshine pours into the back window, I am seeing a lot of dust that needs to be Swiffer'd away.  I am thankful to be upright and able to whisk it away!
love to all, kathryn

Friday, November 12, 2010

While Piled In Among the Quilts and Dogs.....

Do you enjoy a good quote?  I have them stashed in journals, I write them on an old chalkboard that hangs in the kitchen, on bits of paper, placed behind old windows that hang on my walls.  They touch my heart, remind me I/we are never alone.  An ordinary  person, strikes into that vein of genius and with such economy of words - they are discovered, landing squarely into my heart.  On occasion, quotes come at the perfect moment.  Written with such succinct precision, I find myself glued to their thought - kind of in awe of how THIS quote found me at just the right moment.
The best finds are very funny quotes.  How I miss Erma Bombeck.  We were kindred spirits, me and about 2 million other women.   
Today's stolen quote came from a precious friend from East Tennessee (Go Vols).  Thank you Norris, it came on the wings of angels.  At this writing, they are working missionaries in a province in China. Sometimes you just gotta love the Internet : ) most of all, I love my friend, Norris and his wife, Sallie.  Thank you.
Mike, I loved the song you sent today.  You never fail to say and send the best things.  love to you my dear friend.

When God is about to do something great, he starts with a difficulty. When he is about to do something truly magnificent, he starts with an impossibility.
                                                        -- Armin Gesswein

It is a chilly night in Abq.  The dogs will be running in and out quickly to do their business.  Enjoy your Saturday -- may it include just a bit of extra sleep and a good breakfast to follow!  love kathryn



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Storms!....Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Typhoons

First the best news of the year.  No Cancer!!!  I had a benign tumor removed nearly 2 weeks ago.   I take heart in this great news and Praise God for his tender and kind mercies.

O! how I love a good storm.  Growing up in the heartland, rain, sleet, snow, hail, and of course, gorgeous sunsets 'across the fruited plain', made up the tapestry of daily life and continue to this day.  Then as now,  there were those, thankfully, rare events - tornadoes. 
David and I were talking about storms this morning.  A friend of theirs from Singapore was driving through southern Tennessee, when a sudden rain squall came up; driving horizontal rains so fiercely, his wife couldn't see him from inside of the station.  They did see the storm, but were far enough ahead, they remained out of harms way, however, he was soaked through. 
I told David some stories when an F5 tornado hit Jackson, TN in the fall of 1999.  South Jackson was just annihilated.  Overturned semi tracker trucks, stores and homes leveled; stories of survival were told with the state of shock etched into their faces and several people lost their lives as well. 
When I was in the 5th grade, eating a homemade hamburger, the skies were turning that very strange color of green.  My dad stepped outside and I went with him.  (if other members of the family were outside with dad, please tell me, as this is what I remember).  My dad counted off 8 'tails' of tornadoes, coming our way over I-35; east to west.  My dad pulled the car in the detached garage.  We went to the basement and listened as those winds screamed.  A huge explosion tore through the noise of the storm.  I remember my mom saying, in that detached, calm (shocked) manner, 'well, there went the house'.  Suddenly, it was over.  I believe there was a little light rain but the skies were clearing.  Our barn and a chicken house were leveled....the garage? The walls had collapsed and the roof was setting at an odd angle damaging the car beyond repair. If these tornadoes had hit the ground, there would have been nothing left of our little community. 
The house was not gone.  The explosion was from a closed window in the den, located in the front of the house - glass was found all over the house.  One post was knocked loose on the front porch.  We were alive, we would clean up our property and our lives would go on.  Though it would seem these particular storms are very frequent, they aren't.  But they are incredible in their power. Sparing one building and destroying another, driving straw into telephone poles and leaving a pan of cookies untouched,  making these storms all the more memorable. 
Like physical storms, there are storms of enormous magnitude in our personal lives. Waking to a perfectly 'normal' day and that night, way past normal bedtime, we are bathing in our tears, shivering at the thoughts racing furiously across what is left of my mind. Oh, that brain? It has turned to mush.  How? When? Where? Why? WHY????  Upon waking (if there was sleep at all) there is that moment of calm.  However from the look of dry, bloodshot eyes - there is an announcement in the brain - THIS is reality. 
Where do I go? Who do I talk to? How can I explain this? How do I escape? I can't.  I cannot.  I look around and everything looks the same and yet everything is changed. I am angry, sad and paralyzed. Food is not important, clothes - whatever I wore yesterday would be fine for the day ahead. I'm freezing and yet the day is very warm.
Storms, both physical and emotional, bring shock and destruction.  There is unleashed fury; a tornado, a hurricane or some other storm, destroying property or at least throwing power out for days on end.  On the emotional side there is bad news, difficulties that don't fall into a category; exploding, destroying everything, decisions made, leave us as "a cork in a storm on the sea".  And like those harsh winds and relentless and blinding horizontal rains, this storm reshapes whatever it strikes. Not unlike ocean storms, slamming into coastal areas, etching their calling cards into rocks and shorelines, we do not know the toll from this storm.  How far reaching is the damage it will do? Who has it affected?  Is there anything salvageable? 
We still have days of looking out the window; seeing calm skies, but after being slammed by this storm, we still are on the lookout for those blustery, angry clouds on the horizon.  This is a private storm.  Gratefully  this song stays in my heart as I again, reach out and keep a firm grip on hope.
love kathryn

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables, passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy that blast, thro’ strength divine.

It will surely hold in the Straits of Fear—
When the breakers have told that the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
The city of gold, our harbor bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
With the storms all past forever more.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Musings From A Late Fall Day.....

Me, The Weenie and Scout are snuggling under a pile of blankets this morning.  The sun is out and the winds are up a bit early today.  I am not ready to give up sandals...I usually wait at least until the first and second snowfall to give in to shoes.  I've bought 3 pair of shoes in the past couple of weeks.  Two have been returned.  The last pair I chose may find themselves back among their friends at the shoe store.  Perhaps another pair of Converse is waiting for me : )
I saw Dr. Clark yesterday.  He counted, recounted and counted again the number of treatments I have had since March 16.  During the month of November I will move up to 3000mg of Xeloda and will finally - 9 months and a "little summer vacation" later,  finish my chemo regimen. 
Yes, there will be a lot of follow up appointments and tests, but I will not have to take anymore rat poison.
Since I already wrote my "final report" - I respectfully ask you to return to my post of "Happy Trails" to read how deeply I feel about each one of you and your tremendous support.
There are many others things going on in our lives at this time.  I am looking forward to the time when we can get out of town and breathe some fresh air (yes, there is fresh air outside of Albuquerque...really, trust me, there is) take some time to see some sights and not think for a bit....other than what sounds good for breakfast. 
Everyone believes it should be the most exciting time.  Believing "this person has been cured!"  That is not true.  I have, as scores of others have, completed one chemo regimen. Cancer is never done with those of us who have had this visited upon us.  It doesn't rule your life; but it is always lurking - maybe to never rear it's ugly head again or waiting to launch a counterattack. 
So on the flip side, there are a lot of deep feelings.   There is great comfort in knowing you are "being watched over ever so carefully".  There is this amazing bond built during these months with your doctor, nurses, and their incredible staff - pharmacy, technicians, even the people in the lab.  They have been my guardian angels.
I am still here.  Some of my recliner mates have not survived.  Thankfully I only know one 'for certain' who did not survive.  The rest, I just keep in my mind they too have finished their treatment and are living their lives....even though I know this is not the case....some denial is ok in this particular journey.
  I do not know nor will I never know why one lives and one dies.  Until you live through cancer, come close to losing your own life, stripped down and raw, putting yourself fully God's care and keeping, and come back to the land of the living is not something any human being - anywhere understands.  There are a lot of philosophical reasons (my very least favorite of all of these is because I "had a positive attitude" - bunk), there is a lot of talk about passages in the Bible or other sources to read - all religions think they can explain the secret things of God.  I can assure you and will state very strongly; we who live on this side of heaven, DO NOT have a clue about the mysteries that belong to God.  How many mysteries of God are there? I'm clueless.  Prayer and intercessory prayer is certainly in the top 5.    If someone claims to be able to explain this to you or claims to understand it him/herself, grab your bag,  dust off your feet and walk away.
 What I do know, is God is a keeper of all of his promises.  When we see the sun; feel the wind on our skin and in our hair (those who still have hair), and see the handiwork of his good pleasure all around us, having faith in something far greater than ourselves, perhaps we do not have to "fully know" or comprehend.  "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so".....and those who 'have the faith of a mustard seed" - this is sufficient for the day.  His Grace.  However, as humans, we will keep reading and searching to reach understanding that 'gets us through the day'.  He says to 'study to show yourself approved" - it is a call to know Him and his will for our lives. He commands that we gain wisdom - but only God's wisdom is to be sought, wisdom cannot be found in anything or anyone else. 
  I have a great many questions - and they all begin with "why?...." and even though I want answers, I will not get them. I might get a slight glimmer and think, ah! yes, that is why - but it's only my human insight or POV.  It's not God's. 


’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”


Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood


Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.


Refrain
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.


The hymns of days past speak to my heart in a new way.  I hear the words; the tune or lack there of no longer matters.  I am so grateful for those who sat and penned their soul's hurts and praise to paper.  Likewise Streams in the Desert.  Words leap off the page and embed themselves into my heart - they are testimonies by humans, thoughts and faith sharpened by winter's blasts and Satan's never ending weapons thrust at our hearts, minds and marrow.  God's word is the foundation; He has provided for every storm that comes our way.  Trust Him, He is worthy to be praised and worshipped.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.


I'll be back for more......if you care to join along.  love kathryn

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Excitement before the Calm

Worth noting:  This week in our readings, two passages have been mentioned:  "Do not fret" and "Be anxious in nothing."  I think of those passages several times during the day.  Apply as needed.  Hourly is a good idea.
After many years of listening to Molly talk about "what she is going to be for Halloween" - there is silence on that front.  Still, as I mentioned earlier, I do love to buy pumpkins and set them around the house and on the front porch.  I believe our present porch looks much better with an entire congregation of pumpkins.  This year, it's a small congregation.  But the congregants are interesting looking. TJs buyers did a great job.
Love the Fairy Tale pumpkin and the nubby gourd like pumpkin. Cool.
There have been some moments this week.  Jim has been through what I'll term the "vertigo flu".  Believe my chemo is creating some good ol' fashion aching joints.  A little Tylenol, some down time, hopefully ease that pain. 
I stuffed my chemo pills in a little skinny pocket on Friday.  I was doing some laundry and putting things away and glanced into the dog bed that sits under a bench in the kitchen.  Coco's face was right next to a chemo pill.  aaaack!! Genius (see bottom of page).  I asked her if she ate the other one.  "if you want me to have eaten it, I did".  I persisted, looking frantically for the other pill.  "Did you eat the other pill?" The face showed a definite "no". Her last fast was "if you wanted me to, I did; if you didn't, then I didn't."  She remained unnaturally calm.
My voice was raising as I was still crawling on the floor, then running down the hall, looking in their regular places they 'stash' their stuff.  Scout, did you eat a pill?  Blank face.  I called the vet - which I should have done the moment I saw the pill.  'Bring them in immediately.'  Talk about a rough moment, they were given a drug to make them lose their breakfast.  No pill.  Perhaps it had already gone into one of their systems.  Infusions, IVs.  oh my word.  I was sent home.  Again, down on my hands and knees.  In the darkest little corner under the cabinets, set that 'other pill'.  STOP, don't do another thing.  I found the pill.  Whew!  My heart did not slow until late in the day.  Lesson learned  No stuffing pills in pockets until I'm hungry.  Eat anything, take pills. Later that same day - a lap and sitting with the safer member of the family  : )

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. ~Christopher Morley

love kathryn







Saturday, October 16, 2010

Publishers Retraction.....

I didn't know what I was thinking!  Perhaps I was hasty, perhaps I was thinking this particular chapter was completed.  Perhaps I was wrong.  I have received kind emails wondering why I was going to close my blog at this particular time.  You do know this is me, Kathryn, I do have my own brand of logic.
Posts and emails are welcome as always. 
Have a wonderful weekend.
love kathryn

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Trails To You - Until We Meet Again....

The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart. ~Alan Alda
Growing up in the generation of long good-byes, usually beginning at the kitchen table, strolling through the dining and living room, out onto the front porch. Last but most important, was the folding of the arms, while leaning into the car window, for the last goodbye.  The best comes last.
I've been re-reading some books that hold a special place in my heart.  Books on "places" are personal favorites. 
God is a God of places.  He created the earth.  He wanted us to have a very special place.  He created the universe and the deepest oceans.  He likes places that speak not only of majesty and mystery, in his infinite love, he wanted us to be "blown away" by His creation.  These places prove His abundant and overflowing love for us!
This blog, has been a different sort of place.  Technology allowed me to share some of my journey with cancer.  Some rough days, things that made me laugh,  things I was mulling over.  By virtue of cyberspace and regular mail,  I received many notes of encouragement.  Thank you!
 Today, I'm closing this place; my blog.  I've looked around, dusted off a few things, smiled and shed a tear or two. I have enjoyed 'this place', but it's time to turn out the lights, grab the door handle, take one last look around and close the door.  As I said in my opening, the next chapter is unfolding.  Like all of you,God only knows what will be written next.
My blog provided a place for people to walk along side of me.  Your prayers brought me through deep waters.  My heart is full of remembrances, cards, food, emails, visits, tears, love, and laughter. You provided a sanctuary for me. I am here because of your precious prayers and support. 
I have lived in the Psalms.  I continue to live there and am seeking a deeper dependence on God.  The words of David and others have spoken when I couldn't think or pray.  Though these were people like me - like you, they spoke boldly and fiercely and thousands of years later, we are comforted, startled and encouraged.  God can withstand our anger and hurt.  Though sometimes we find we are in places we didn't want to go -  He is Jehovah-Jirah.  He Provides. 
 "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
To my dearest friends and family.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing in the gap, not only for me, but for Jim and Molly for many in my extended family.  Thank you for being here, whether in person or in thought, for walking so faithfully with me.  Thank you to the many I do not know personally; for being so generous in your prayers.  Blessings!
Most of all, I thank you God, for being so ever present, so mindful of me. He is my mighty rock and my refuge!"    
I love you all, kathryn
and now from Lake Wobegon --
"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."
  ~Garrison Keillor
 





Friday, October 8, 2010

This little surgery....

will be performed on October 29.  She said plan on staying overnight.  So with toothbrush, toothpaste,  hairbrush and pillow in hand...on your mark, get set, GO. 
O! it's just a perfect day.  72 degrees, sunshine and no clouds.  Time to get out of the house and savor this autumn day.
 I'm on the hunt for cheap pumpkins.  Whew! I was shocked to read $10 on a medium sized pumpkin.  I may have to just have one - the one  I already have.  Next year I may plant my own.  I've never grown pumpkins...the only thing I know is they need to have space to grow.  I'll have to read up on this.
Take good care and enjoy the weather!
love kathryn

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Gorgeous Fall Day

I tried, no ethanol.  Dr. M. said it is used and can be successful but not often.  She sat down and said, now, let's talk about your surgery.  A partial thyroidectomy. She went through the entire procedure and asked if I had any questions.  I've read a great deal regarding this surgery, so I think I'm ready.  I understand the risks etc. The next day,   I ran into a patient at the cancer center.  When I mentioned Dr. M's name to someone, she turned around and said, 'she's very good'.  I pray she is.
She said I will go in in the morning and if all goes well, I go home that evening.
All I need is a day and time.  I vote no more surgeries after this. 
I also know, I have no control over anything.  Ok, I can control how much apple pie I consume...sometimes.
Aren't these fall days just lovely?
love kathryn

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Next On My Agenda....

Next:  A little right side thyroidectomy. Time and date not yet determined.  The surgeon will consult with my oncologist.  Though it's not "day surgery", I will get to go in and come home that evening.  I like that.  I've spent quite enough time walking the halls of Presbyterian Hospital.  
So much for my dreams of a 'little ethanol...
Enjoy this beautiful day!
love kathryn 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Post It Note of Sorts...

Medical Front or Back:
I took my 1500 mg/day of Xeloda this past week. I am off this week, except for routine blood work to see how things are going. Next week, 3000mg/day. The worst of side effect is still neuropathy. Hands, legs, feet. I must say, it is beyond strange to not be able to feel the bottoms of my feet. I massage them, but the feeling is weird - to say the least. I take medication which helps in terms of pain, but the 'pins & needles' & numbness sensation is always present. (for those of you medical junkies, this is absolute! layman's language).
Next on the agenda. I think I mentioned I have a complex cyst on the right thyroid. I've been through two aspirations, both times, the cysts has returned within hours. First biopsy: benign (thankful!) I see the surgeon tomorrow afternoon. I have been reading about the use of ethanol (via shot) to get rid of recurring cysts. I hope this is THE option. My first thought at reading "ethanol" - I could pull up to the gas pump and say 'fill 'er up'. I will know the game plan by late afternoon.
On a very serious note: The impact of the two well known and skilled balloonists, who were caught in a storm over the Adriatic Sea, widens. Molly received a call from her photography partner (from HSC), her uncle is Richard Abruzzo. She asked for prayers for their family. And the family of Carol Rymer Davis who resides in Colorado Springs.
Time to take a Sunday afternoon nap. Thank you for reading along. I'm very, very blessed. I've done so well on this drug and remain so very thankful. Life is good.
love kathryn

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday In Albuquerque

A friend sent this quote the other day.
“But I remember more dearly autumn afternoons in bottoms that lay intensely silent under old great tree. '
When he posted it, this statue in Washington DC came to mind. When we lived in Northern Virginia, we would go downtown on those rare fall days with blue skies and crisp fall air. We'd take in the museums and mosey around the District drinking in the scenery. Washington is beautiful in any season, but most certainly fall takes the cake for me! There are statues all over the city. However, Mr. Einstein is still my favorite. No tall edifice, no grand towering pillared memorial. Mr. E is sitting on a retaining wall made for sitting. He looks a bit tired and disheveled, and has an open book on his lap. Like no other statue in Washington DC, this says, 'come sit a spell'.
As I was searching for a photograph of this statue, remembering that particular fall day. There were children were running and playing, climbing all over "him". They had no clue who he was or what he had done in his lifetime, but they knew this was very cool statue. AND! their parents were allowing all of this, no one had to "behave and get down". Best part, "he" is fully accessible and has a very large lap.
Though there was no room close to Mr. Edison's lap that day. If there had been no one around, I would have pulled out my book and spent the afternoon with Mr. E. It was a place I could easily get lost - not quite the wheat fields of Kansas kind of lost, but you go with what you've got.

I will never understand quantum theory/physics, nor can I comprehend God's ways. But I do know, we are all God's children. Thankfully, He is a living God, not a statue. He loves it when we come and sit in his lap. He doesn't mind when we are crying or all messed up; or have sticky hands and faces, or stumble right into him with runny red noses, blinding tears and a why? on our lips. That's when he begins his work in us. He cleans us up, blow our noses, hold us tight, helps us see ourselves through his eyes. He wants us to see the beauty inside ourselves as well as the beauty of the seasons.
Fall. Crisp air, cool nights and mornings, time to pick up a bag of apples and bake something apple filled, go to a fair,, (or the Balloon Fiesta) prepare hearty soups and muffins that only taste good this time of year. And marvel in the beauty of this season.
love to all,
kathryn

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rain, Rain So Glad You Came!

Still a little drizzle outdoors. Lovely, cool, first day of fall. Fall simply goes too quickly.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta kicks off next weekend. Without fail, a balloon or two or three flies over our house. I've scared more than a few balloonists, running out in my robe and my hair sticking in many directions. It is great fun - even at the crack of dawn. And no, I do not have any inclination of going up in a hot air balloon. I prefer to eat breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls - still in awe of these large balloons, sail off into the morning splendor. It's a day you are like a kid again. It's magic!
For me, there has been some empty space around here. Time has been full for many years and that has now shifted. When I was on the first two rounds of chemo, it robbed me of time; I had no concept of time. I only wanted to be able to eat and be somewhat mobile and independent. Eventually this summer, those things were reduced a great deal. So many people helped me. Cooked for us, drove us places, sent wonderful notes of encouragement and called and made me laugh. Now that I'm on round 3 of chemo, I've felt better but am not quite back to my regular life. I'm very grateful to be up most of the time and being able to do things I enjoy. However, my feet/hands bother me a great deal of the time. I dreamed last night my fee turned a dark black/purple - and were so very swollen. They looked like those big animal house shoes. I had forgotten to ask for a drug that helps with these symptoms at my appointment yesterday - my night was invaded by weird dreams - focusing on "that" drug"
Saturday, I begin on 1500mg and 2 wks from Saturday, I will take 2000 mg.
7 days on/7 days off. At that rate, I will finish chemo on January 8. That will be a FULL day of celebration. My niece will be getting married and I will have completed 7 or 8 months of chemo (depending how you count).
So on those good days, when I'm not sure what I should be doing; resting and focusing on getting well - which seems boring and mundane. It is important work. Just in a different way. It is internal work right. I like that external work and I do what I can - for it feels so good. I like to see someone accomplished.
This period of time has taught me to slow down (it's ok), to meditate, (it's healing and restorative), to listen to good music that heals my mind and soul. To think without doing 40 other things at one time. For the first time in my life, I've actually done one thing at a time. Even reading books is quite different now. I couldn't read for some time and it's a gift to be able to grasp words of an author and let them sink into my mind - thinking and enjoying their writing.
I found this in the book of common prayer (thanks to another author).
"And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly."
--Book of Common Prayer
It is most appropriate and perhaps I will never rise to the level of being gallant, I hope to do this with some measure of Grace.
I am still focused on "today" and what "today" brings. But at this point in the race, I can see the finish line approaching. I'm looking forward to once again being a part of the bigger picture of living. Dare I say, normal?!? (who me?)
I've been treated like royalty; good drs, good nurses, incredible people at the cancer unit at Presbyterian Hospital. I've been a "strange case" yet they have fought valiantly for me. That's very humbling and very much appreciated.
God works in very mysterious ways. I am more often than not, questioning Him. Where he is and what he is doing and is that "enough". I have a hunch reading through the Old and New Testament, many people had those same questions. I know they did. I'm presently reading and listening to Job. This same God is one of power beyond our capability to grasp and his compassion and tenderness still grabs me by the heart. Job hung in there, never cursing or denouncing God. Job's losses are almost beyond comprehension. God's restoration brings tears to my eyes. God is the God of restoration - in bringing rain to a dry part of the country, in redeeming our time, healing our bodies and deep hurts and restoring relationships with one another.
love and goodnight, kathryn

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Poetry: Couldn't Have Been Better Timing

I opened the family Round Robin letter today. I wish I could remember how many years this letter has been circulating. Since I don't know exactly, I'll just say it's been around for many, many years.
I was skimming through the letters and saw a peach colored envelope. Since envelopes just asked to be opened, I pulled it out and read it first. A letter and two poems, written by my great aunt Vivian were waiting inside. I'm going to publish her poem on this little blog of mine...for it fit right into the last topic.
About Me
I looked in the mirror
And what did I see?
But a very old lady
Looking back at me.
And I asked myself
Could that possibly be me?
For I don't feel as old
As that lady looks to be.
But wrinkles have come
And baggy eyes, too
Hair not yet white
But eyes sill blue.
As the years have come
And taken their toll,
It's the way of life
As we all have been told.
I'm one hundred three
As I write this rhyme
But I never thought
That age would be mine.
Vivian Burch
born August 7, 1906
No matter your age, no matter where you live or what life brings your way, you are never prepared for this thing called age.
Aunt Vivian is 104; sharp and 'with it'. Though her handwriting is getting a little more difficult to read, she still writes her own letters and poetry - which she has written for many years.
Her words always leaves a smile on my face. When she questions why she has lived so long, her family knows exactly why. Her letters and poems travel to her extended family, far and wide, bringing each one of us a smile, joy and hope. I am grateful I found her envelope in the stack of letters today.
love kathryn

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vanity, Vanity......

It's a kitchen morning. Reading some email, writing a couple of emails - enjoying a cup of coffee. I love cool fall mornings, even if I'm jumping the gun on the calendar, these mornings feel like fall. The dogs running about the backyard, Scout chasing Sophie, Sophie getting all huffy about it, yet she comes back for more, laying at Scout's feet, ready for more "abuse". Hard to feel sorry for this cat - she complains and yet puts herself right in line of "fire". They remind me of the monkeys at the zoo. Picking and nipping and Sophie swinging from one high place to another only to swing back and pick up where they left off.
I was talking to a friend this morning about this issue of - vanity. I certainly have those issues. I thought I would be 30 forever. No raving beauty here, but I just didn't think about wrinkles and crepe like skin.
Looking into the face of my maternal grandmother when I was 20, should have been a clue. Now to all in the Bullington family, do not take offense! She had a beautiful face; the lines and the wrinkles bore witness to her life; each one had a particular story. Some stories were exciting (she loved horses) and other stories spoke of years of hard work, raising 7 children, laughter, hurt, pain and grief. When she laughed, all of these lines and wrinkles joined in the laughter and moved in (remember I was young) in mysterious ways. Did my grandmother ever sit in front of her mirror at night, brushing her hair, saying, my goodness! where do these wrinkles come from? Did she care? I cannot know the answer to those questions. I have 2 aunts and my mom who may shine a light on these questions - or they may just say, how silly, we have more important things to think about.
After a couple of rounds of chemo and a stint in the hospital, I have lost a lot of weight. One of these days, I'll wake up and I will once again be able to wear the clothes in my closet.
I'm fascinated with how our brains work. After recovering for this past couple of months, I look in the mirror, finally seeing a semblance of "self" again. Then I walk into the bathroom with the sky light or am out walking, and glance into a plate glass window and wonder who that very skinny, crepy skinned woman is? And what's up with that neck? It looks like a harp, tendons bursting forth so proudly. Yipes, that's me. Add to this, age spots and should I mention these purplish veins etc etc. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude - this aging process. We "boomer" people who have lived in Peter Pan's "Never, Neverland" are making our way into Reality Land. ouch.
It is not a surprise the amount of money spent on cosmetic "readjusting". We cannot purchase more time, but we can purchase a way to makes us believe we are 'forever young' - however, this endeavor is like stopping a tsunami. Time, gravity, genes, all get their way sooner or later.
Joan Rivers face makes me uncomfortable. In my opinion, her face looks like it's screaming to get out. It has been stretched to it's outer most limits. She looks nothing like the Joan Rivers of my youth.
So as we were talking, we both could hear our mother's words - "pretty is as pretty does"; "beauty if only skin deep"; "true beauty lies within", "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity".
Fortunately, for all who life in the Lord of Heaven and Earth and wrinkles and the rest - in the twinkling of an eye - we will be changed - we will have no wrinkles to discuss, whether or not our necks have turned us into turkeys or not. "Should I have my eyes done?" It won't matter. However, for today, I will hang out with a jar of good night cream and try to age with some grace and recall how my grandmother's wrinkles rolled with her - literally....through some very intense storms, but most of all through the laughter.
Speaking of laughter, I'm reading Betty MacDonald's books (of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fame). The stories of her own life are laugh out loud funny and many parts of her life were not laugh out loud funny. Though she has been gone for several decades, she still brings a smile to many faces. As these wrinkles and lines continue to appear - o! so quickly, may these lines be created more from laughter than tears.
May your day be filled with joy and laughter!
love kathryn

Saturday, September 4, 2010

While We Were Sleeping.....

I check our one zucchini plant(yes, one zucchini and one yellow squash plant) every morning. Yesterday, I didn't see anything; perhaps that eye exam is more necessary than I was thinking...for this morning, I saw this! This baby weighed in at 9 pounds and is 19 inches long. It's Mrs. Green Thumb's baby. Photo below. Perfect stem, perfect color and shape - just the right size to carve out a sailboat. The only place it could possibly sail would be on the Dead Sea.
Things have been quiet. On the health front - blood counts "perfect". Just the normal 'pins and needles' and numbness but am still upright, trying to remember my feet need a little vacation.
Football season is here. I miss the days of being able to watch the marching bands (looking for anyone turning the wrong direction). Now days it's just beer or Taco Bell commercials. A little marching would be a nice break.
On another note, read Nehemiah 9. It quite possibly could change the way you think about praying. Nehemiah knew God's heart....he knew God was above him yet he knew God stood beside him, went before him and was most certainly right in the moment with Nehemiah.
It's been rather an upside down week in my thought world. Nehemiah was next on my reading list. I've read it all week. (yes, I do skim those names).
While you are sleeping - those of you with gardens may be already producing your own green giants.
Love to you all, kathryn

Friday, August 27, 2010

Late Friday Afternoon

Liver scan - all is well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

I should have added in the last blog - the person I mentioned (blog) is the mother of dear friends during our time in Augusta GA. Praying for you and for your family today and everyday.

I've been reading and meditating for several months on "living in the moment". Illness may be troubling and difficult, but there are these jewels, these things that open your heart and eyes for this person who suffers with severe multi-taskingitis - like learning to pay attention 'to the moment'.

So I'll close with a partial poem: (thanks to Kathleen Norris)
I rub the dark hollow of the bowl
with garlic, near to the fire enough
so that fire reflects on the wood,
a reverie that holds emptiness
in high regard.
--margaret gibson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Extremities

Neuropathy has settled into my feet. It feels like I am walking with someone else's feet. Constant tingling and buzzing, sometimes painful, involving my lower legs. Same with my hands - the answer to my clumsiness. While this is nothing compared to what others are experiencing for there is always someone sitting nearby who are coping with very difficult and series matters. However, this is ever present". Comfortable shoes, epsom salt soaks, tylenol & sitting with your feet up is suggested. I find those things help a bit.
My thinking for the past month: "tomorrow I'll sit and put my feet up"...next day, "tomorrow I'll put my feet up for a bit"....next day, "tomorrow, I'll sit for an hour with my feet up." Sooooo, "that tomorrow arrived" (yesterday). My body and brain came to agreement. "This is the day, THIS is the day you WILL put your feet up, sleep and deal with the nausea. I couldn't "man up" any longer. I am better today.
I read to help with symptoms, you need to sit, "even when brushing your teeth and cooking." I am still mulling over "sitting & cooking". Sitting & brushing my teeth is realistic. I will put wheels on my kitchen stool, introducing my own "Meals on Wheels." : ) A very minute problem in the grand scheme of things. I'm am going to heed the advice, to keep this minute.
Lightening whipped and cracked across these NM skies a couple of nights ago. If we had been in Oklahoma, I would have been looking for the "fraidy hole". The color of the sky faded into "that" greenish copper color. In a moment, it melted into an orange sherbert colored sky - the trees and bushes, black against the orange backdrop. A "Gone With The Wind"sky. The last scene before intermission....Scarlett returning to Tara. Great storm; ushering in the first cool front of the season. Earlier in the day, I read an article on varieties of apples in New England. Yesterday evening was a Rhode Island Greening kind of evening. A perfect mix of cool and crisp. A thought: I CAN make an apple pie sitting down.
One of my online friends, someone I have never met but am a faithful reader of her blog, is struggling today. Her most recent tests have revealed the chemo she was taking wasn't effective. It was also revealed the very tumors she was undergoing chemo for have grown and there are new tumors. I've written about neuropathy and as I said, here is the 'person sitting next to me' - dealing with very serious matters. She has lifted my spirits with stories of her past and her family; sharing her brave journey through cancer and most of all, being such an encouragement to her precious family and friends. She is a passionate follower of Jesus. Continuing to pray for a deep and abiding peace as decisions are being made. She and her family are praying some "isometric prayers"; God is at work.
"I am the Lord you God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Ps. 48:17
love to all, kathryn

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Again

Home.
Molly is settling into college life. LCU has a 3 day orientation program. They meet and greet and do all of those silly things to break down walls and help everyone get assimilated. They also take tours and learn about all of the things available to them while they are in school.
We ate breakfast with Molly this morning. She looked very much at ease. We pray all goes well for her.
Just a quick note tonight. CAT scan of the liver/abdomen tomorrow morning. I get to drink my barium "shakes" tonight and in the early a.m. I'm ready to get this test done. We all agree this is probably nothing - I am not concerned. When I was in the hospital, one of the CAT scan reports indicated a "spot". At that time, no one could make a determination about it.
Next on the agenda - slowly, slowly begin pushing up the dosage of Xeloda. I'm on a small dose at this time to see how well I would tolerate the drug. I am tolerating it well. Since I had 9 lymph nodes involved, it's good to get out the biggest "guns" I can tolerate.
Praying for all who are sending your children off to college - either for the first time or their 4th....5th....6th....
You may be surprised I was not a "shoulder shaking, sobbing mom". This morning was very similar to her first day of kindergarten. On that momentous day, her words were, "do not come in, drop me off at the curb" - off she went. We parked our cars and went in - she was already busy; we watched a few minutes and left. The difference this time...she said, do not be a shoulder shaking, sobbing mom. I didn't even cry in the car. She's ready.
I heard another page turn.
Scout is now hanging out with us. She's eaten a dried zinnia and a pine cone is in crumbles on the floor. She's had her bath and clean bedding. She too will be going to school. Miss Manners for Dogs. It will do me good. : )
Blessings and deep appreciation for your many prayers and support. We are just so very grateful and so blessed!
love kathryn

Saturday, August 14, 2010

College - Already ? How Can This Be?

Tis the weekend before college around here. Though Molly does not live here; she still has a stack of stuff to pack up and stuff into a very full car. I assume she will quickly learn what she really needs and wonder why she thought she needed so much stuff?!
The empty nest. This nest is not empty. There is a weenie dog, a Norwegian forest cat and next week, Scout The Energizer Dog arrives or Minnie the Muncher. Of course, Jim and I still live in this nest and have become accustomed to the slower pace after Molly left. We will return to our roots - we spent 12 yrs together before Molly came along. Though we're slower than we were pre-Molly - we'll find our way to the next road (I remember seeing pavement somewhere...)
and yes, there have been some soggy days on my part....it's hard to say "so long", it simply goes by too fast.
I started Week 2 on Xeloda today. My hair is still leaving its home of origin. Experiencing some of the hand and foot syndrome. (neuropathy symptoms). I saw a PA who tried to convince me I needed real shoes and socks. It's nearly 100 degrees and I'm not to wear anything that creates friction or puts pressure on my feet. I think I'll stick to sandals and flips flops. Sometimes we have to figure out what works best for us. What with hot flashes making an appearance on a regular basis....having air conditioned feet seems much more sensible and appealing than soggy cotton socks tucked inside squishy shoes.
There are obvious reasons for college: attending classes sometimes in your pajamas, having a lot of fun, eating unhealthy food, and meeting a lot of great people. Learning how to set up your own schedule, make it to breakfast on occasion and being responsible for getting your work completed with out mom and dad breathing down your neck.
While hanging out with friends, drinking overly caffeinated drinks, absorbing brilliant thoughts, checking out the scenery..an important matter is pending -- doing a personal archaeological dig , discovering who you are, because when you know who you are (and I will add, AND who you belong to) you will know what to do. What arrives next is the beginning of peace in your life Identity is important and knowing where we draw our identity from even more crucial. Ok, back to College Algebra and another Starbucks.
"Trust in God and trust in me." John 14:1 (that is for me and I'm sharing it with you.)
Good evening, love kathryn

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The New Kid on the Block - To Arrive Soon


'I just like wood, I like the taste of wood.' Scout (full name: Jean Louise Finch) will be joining our family very soon. She keeps the yard clear of all things related to wood...chips, sticks and pinecones. She is 9 mos old, about 8 lbs and keeps herself very busy. She even smiles. She is energetic, loves to be loved on, enjoys cornering the cat, (Sophie is capable of beating her soundly). She will add another dimension to our lives. Welcome to our home, Scout! kathryn

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stop Counting.....

Hair.
I've thought a lot about it today...as I keep running my hand around the sink, this hair o' mine is heading down the drain.
Of course, we can all (well, some of us can go back in time) to "Hair"...give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair...you children of the 60s - I'm handing it off here...you are able to finish the song...
How our hair defines us. In my case, I have enough hair stories to fill a book. Having lived in a multiple places, the biggest stress upon landing in a new land...who will I trust my hair to? Even my own hands have done some pretty evil things to these locks of mine. The burgundy: a strong memory. When a room full of preschoolers run up and shout, "We LOVE your purple hair, Miss Kathryn!". Though they were thrilled - it was not my look.
In this time of giving up all of my control (thank you Amy Grant); I got it. God is my hairdresser. God is at work. He numbers the hairs on my head; he is able to keep up with the numbering. I can get out of the way. I am in the hands of a master hairdresser. Another temporary matter to set aside....but I will continue to fluff and pouf - as long as I have a something to fluff and pouf!
(to think; I spent over 2 years "helping" my hair "go gray"....I think the joke is on me!....'gray hair is splendorous; so is gray, thinning hair : )
kathryn