Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Little and Powerful Tuesday Prayer and Thanks

Understanding and compassionate God,
thank you for hearing my prayers,
even when I come with so little faith.
Increase my faith and allow me to surrender to your loving embrace.
                                          - Don Saliers

After years of advocating for Molly, my prayer today is for my mouth to stay still and to only advocate if Jim asks.  This change is challenging for me.  I'm a woman - women like answers.  Immediately.   We want our family to be healthy -  for these are the people we love.  As the last line of St. Michael's prayer says "and keep me out of the way".  (paraphrase).  

Do you know we have the best friends/family in the entire world?  We do.  We stand back in awe of your care and concern...and for making us laugh.  How precious you are.

love you so, kathryn

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Resting, Relaxing, Reading & Weeding Weekend...

Jim has been resting today.  He's had some tremors today.  We have had a lot of sofa time at our house in the past year and a half.  I've pulled weeds, watered, read, tried to nap and moved a bit of furniture around. 

It's time for spring flowers.  Last week the roses were brilliant; they need a little break and will be brilliant again.  So we'll go for geraniums and a real live sweet potato I grew in the house this winter.   

Yellow Coreopsis - It has some growing power!

I moved the wicker chairs to the front and found chairs for the patio. 

Just a little welcome at the front door.
And that is all for today.  A cool breeze started blowing in the
back window.  Always welcome.
Scout and Coco have found something else to bark at.  Birds singing, winds blowing or a noise at the neighbors.  Ever on the alert.  For those who can handle it, I found our two dogs and the cat having a morning snack on Friday.  The bird was just not quick enough to get away.
I can barely handle it, but they are hunters, however, they do not waste what they kill.
Life is always changing; always challenging -- we are always called upon to
rise to the situations we face.  We want to face them with grace and courage.  We
know so many who are facing many things and they show grace under fire.
No matter what you are facing - do not forget to smile or better yet - laugh
out loud.  It makes you and everyone around you feel better...most of all it
makes you feel you can stand up and get moving again.
love kathryn

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Call Me "Ned"

Went to see my oncologist today.  Everything is looking good.  My blood work (that had come back) was very good.  "Great, great, great".  We talked about scans in the future.  The next one is in July. 
I said I want to be "NED".  Dr. Clark said, "Your are NED...Today."  Yea!!!!
NED=No Evidence of Disease.  One day is better than no days.  : )
We who have cancer know cancer is never cured.  It's always hanging about, but the goal is to keep it from becoming active.  You may say it as you wish, "NED" (no evidence of disease) or "Cancer: Inactive.  Both are correct.  What is incorrect is the word: Cured.
But I can tell you - it felt wonderful to hear that.  Made me want to jump up and down like a little kid - wheeeeeee!!!!
The downside of this day,  Jim is in the hospital having some tests run.  He had an MRI on Tuesday and it revealed some irregularities.  They are running some of those "ruling out" tests.  Your prayers are always coveted and I am asking for prayers for Jim.
I hope this find your day going well and the weather simply beautiful as well.
love kathryn

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just On My Mind: From the What It's Worth Dept.

My nighttime dreams have been of the shattered variety.  Dreaming of a friend who provides daily care for a mother - a lonely and tiring job but one she fills tirelessly with love and tendercare.  A phone call came from her about an hour ago, hospice has said her mother does not have long to live on this side of heaven. Tears flow easily and the hurt of losing her mother weighs on her entire body. We have known one another so long, we stand together in this passing hour. How hard it will be when that time arrives. How wonderful it will be when her mother is reunited with her family again.  I'm dreaming of a family who is struggling with a future; dreaming of a place with doors that lead out and not in.  Dreams without connections to anything in particular; jumbled and speeding through my brain - like a night train from the past.  I wake wondering what these dreams are working out in me.  There is a great deal of processing is going on inside this mind of mine.

Going back a couple of weeks.  Jack, Jim's brother brought fresh coffee beans.  I pulled out the coffee grinder, filled the container with beans and hit the start button.  Nothing. I finally found that the piece that turns on the grinder was no longer working.  I jiggled the beans around and pressed the start button.  Beans went flying everywhere.  Surprise!  I had forgotten to put the lid back on.  Beans half ground beans plus very fine grounds had flown everywhere around me.  I took a picture of the mess on the counter and the floor and laughed while cleaning up the mess.  I looked at that picture later on and felt a very close kinship to it.
My life.
Parts of me are whole, but scattered.  Parts of me are in pieces, half broken - the rest of me is a great mess -  laying on the counter and all over the floor; waiting to be brushed into the dust pan to be tossed in the trash
Like those grounds, we've been ground into the dirt as if our lives have no worth or value.  Simply something to be ground into the soil by the heel of someones boot. 
Friends and their families are suffering losses; unkind words being dished out on facebook accounts with little or no regard for others.  Half truths and lies, how easy it is to swipe at others via the internet.   Others are using their accounts as a way to avenge wrongs they feel have been perpetrated on them.  Interpersonal relationships are dying.  In the past we have felt anger and frustration with others - and have lashed out - face to face.  But the feeling of speaking "our minds" face to face was not easy nor was there any satisfaction in our anger.  Most of the time, it brought us back 'to ourselves' and we needed to make amends. The way to mend was by speaking face to face,  by picking up a telephone or writing a long letter.   Writing, in particular, provided an outlet to express our hearts longing for healing.  Written words were turned over and over until we found what we felt was just the right word or phrase.  It took time and effort on both sides to build bridges back to one another.
 This is a rare event in our day. If we do not like what someone has said to us,we cut them off of our email account or deny them access a FB account or ignore their calls on our cell phones.  The destruction of relationships continue.  Some are slicing the air with their swords only to find there is no one fighting them on the 'other side' - but the fighting words continue.  We are eating one another up - alive.
It is frightening sometimes to write on this blog of mine.  It's an easy place to hide and not reveal the hours that I struggle with.  I do not believe you or I need to reveal every inner thought (speaking of frightening).  Many things are better left unspoken.  You cannot see my face, you only read words that are flat, there is not the normal give and take in a face to face conversation.  There is not a person standing across from me praying for me to be wise in my words.  Most of all - there is no way  for me to assess how words are being taken.
Proverbs 10:19  When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
God said, Love One Another and forgive one another as I have forgiven you.
This has been tossed out the window without a thought or a care.
This is weighing on my heart.  It has been weighing on my heart for a long time.  Who doesn't speak of the refiner's fire working in their lives.  I know it this fire is working deep in my life. 
There is deep hurt and yet I am finding deeper trust and faith that God is real and is the keeper of promises and sings over us in the night especially when our hearts are troubled and the darkness overwhelms.  
To lighten this up - here is one photo of the spilling of the beans!  To bad you could not see the floor - it was covered.  Thanks Jack for the coffee.  ; )
i love you, kathryn 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day To Family and Friends

"It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding."

                               ~Erma Bombeck

Mother's Day rarely finds us nothing to do but lounge around the house.  However! it is a day to get things we never knew we wanted.  We receive these gifts with smiles and hugs and treasure these gifts forever.
             Love to you all, kathryn

Flowers: brought to you by two rose bushes in our yard!
(ok 3 posts in one day....you can spread them out as you wish....kas)

The Stephens Brothers Three!

Jack and Jeff en route to Albq via: Red River, Angel Fire, Taos...in the

Jeff, Jack and Jim

The other side of the story....

Scout and Coco
Their favorite place - snoozing while Jim
read the Sunday paper.
Jack and Jeff - a wonderful time had by all.
So glad you were able to go through all of the
family photos and papers.
Thank you for making the long trip.
Thanks for the laughter you brought along.
(special thanks to Cathy and Rita - who were left at home
w/work and dogs to care for.)

Saturday's Reflection from Upper Room

I WAS NEVER astutely aware of my surroundings. A “head in the clouds” kind of person, my family would say. But an encounter with cancer changed all that. As happens with most any traumatic, life-changing event, I came out of that cancer experience with a new appreciation for the people, places and things in my life—and for life itself.
In the midst of it all, when I could do little else but sit on the couch, I often prayed for the strength to get through each day. I was existing in the present, but I was hoping and praying for the future. When the chemotherapy was over, it seemed important to discern the gifts that came from that experience. Of course, the gift of healing came to mind. And after that, the gift of being able to live in the present—to take in the world around me and savor it. To live a life of gratitude.
- Lynne Deming
Alive Now, Jan.-Feb. 2011

I am not a "heads in the  cloud" person. 
I am intense; yet love to laugh and look at the world through that lens (most of the time).
I enjoy being with people; usually one on one is best - but a small crowd is good too.  Yet I need a lot of quiet time and space.
I love God and have doubts and fears.  My mighty Father has proven himself trustworthy over and over this past year and a half.  He is leading me closer to Jesus and my true self.
 The old song "None of Self, But All of Thee" is the direction He is leading me.  To be filled with his Spirit and yet to live firmly in the place I am...I'm not yet at the place.  I can fully express  I may never be at that place.  Feeling his Loving Presence is recreating me.
Trust. Hope. Resiliance. Release. Renewal. Thankful. Grace upon Grace.
I am grateful to be vertical most all of the time (daytime hours!) and to sleep well at night.
 I am working in our yard which is great.  Using my muscles is wonderful.  Tiring - yes.  And a wonder after a year of being unable to do these things.  My first geranium is planted in a large pot out front.  Beautiful.  I've never had white geraniums before.
I've quoted this often.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   Phil 4:13. 
I am going to have another surgery in August and will post about that later.  For that is in the future.  Today! I am off to buy tomato plants and some other things for our smaller garden this year. 
Scout is playing with a piece of wood from the yard.  Coco is sound asleep, laying behind me.
Thank you for reading a long post today. 
You hearts and lives have touched me deeply.  I am filled by your grace and your love. What a great cheer leading section I have!  Wow! 
love kathryn
The proverbial lamp post shot by Jack Stephens.  Last weekend.