Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good morning! I have been gently reminded, that in my last couple of posts, I have not really given any information on how I am doing with the "cancer walk". Today is a wonderful day!! I am finally over the hump of extreme fatigue. Yesterday, I actually got up, and all by myself, drove my car the 45 mile trip to my mom's. It is so hard for me to accept the whole "not have enough energy to do what I want to do" part of this. I shared with my sisters, and maybe a couple more, about my trip out to take pictures of the snowfall recently. We got about 7 inches of snow, and it transformed my farm into a winter wonderland of beauty. During the winter, farms are a muddy mess most of the time. And, is always amazes me how a fresh blanket of snow, can "cover" all the yuck mud, and make everything so beautiful. Having spent several days in my bedroom, alone, while all my family were outside in the snow, sledding, building snowmen, making snow cream, I got up, got dressed in warm clothing, found my boots and gloves and outside gear, grabbed my camera, and walked out the door. Keith, who was outside, moving snow around with his skid steer, saw me, came over to the door and said, "what's up?" I said, I want some pictures!! He said, give me a few minutes and I will thaw out the suburban, and take you for a ride down the road. So, I came back in, and waited for him to whistle, teehee. When he did, I walked outside, got in the burb, and he locked it in four wheel drive and away we went. First, we went straight up through the field, and I took some pics of my house down in the valley. But the reason I am sharing all this, is because the lack of strength surprised me. Once down on the road, I asked him to stop here, so I can take a picture of the snow covered lane. I stuck one leg out, and was going to use just one leg to lift my body up to stand on the running board. Bad idea. It was like I had no energy and strength at all! I nearly dropped the camera, trying to grab the door, to keep from hitting the ground!! Keith reached for me, screaming, "BABE!!" Between Keith and I, I didn't hit the ground, but it was a scary moment. I collected myself, and turned, and with both legs, stood up. What a difference two legs make!! Anyway, I keep saying, I am learning the rules, when I learn them, I will follow them!! Teehee! Yesterday, i drove up to mom's and spent some time with her. It was a beautiful day, sun was shining, and my friend, Susy Allen came by to bring me a meal for my family. It was closer for her to meet me at mom's so that was the plan. She saw the snow on mom's driveway and sidewalk, and offered to "help me" to do it. She said, don't you do it, just hold the shovel, look like your helping, but I will do it!! So, together, we made mom a path to the mailbox and back! Then we sat in mom's swing, and enjoyed the sunshine. This is my neutropenic time, meaning, no infection fighting white blood cells at all, so I am to stay away from crowds and anyone who has been sick within the last two weeks. Which is hard to do, considering, I don't "feel" sick. But, my mouth, has the little sores that pop up during this time, which is my signal that I am there. I am doing the routine of swishing the salt water several times a day, to manage them. But, other than that, I am walking the walk, with not much trouble. Thank you girls for bringing the meals! Lynn Messer twice now, and Susy Allen. I do appreciate it, and so does my family. I shared the chicken and dumplings with my mom as well as one loaf of the pumpkin bread. They were both nummy!!! Thanks!! It looks like I am going to be making a trip to Memphis next week to take my mom for a visit to a dear friend's house. She is also a hair dresser!! She came to my wedding to do my hair for me. She has been a dear friend for years. And, at this point in my mom's life, is about the only one mom will let give her a perm. So, we combine "fashion and function", and go visit a dear friend, and my mom gets a hair cut and perm!! Pray for us folks!! I am glad to be at the point in my "between treatments" to actually have enough energy to get up and do things.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My friend, Paula shared an article with me on "Me Time Myth". I then shared it with several others. We then all began to share our thoughts on the article. It has been challenging, thought provoking, and I have so enjoyed it. I was enjoying the whole, bouncing ideas and perspectives on the article she sent me. When she sent it to me, the first time, it was basically, "thought you would enjoy this article". That was it, nothing on her thoughts. So, after seeing both of my sister's responses, it has been sorta growing. This is fun!! So, anyway, I wrote Paula back and said, ok, now, your thoughts. I have so missed this. I do remember the times in our lives, that we did hold each other accountable for what we did, the kind of mothers we were, the kind of wives we were. We would ask each other our thoughts on this or that. I so miss that. One of us was having a hard time in our life, or our marriage, or whatever. And we would feel the need to come together, support each other, bond, and remind each other what our Godly roles as wives and mothers were. We always laughed, supported, and built up. What fun times. Miss them. I do know that we are older and wiser now. I have heard the phrase, "we all have issues" way too many times, and know what it means. I do too much "reading between the lines", I know this. But, that is the way I am. In my marriage, when I want to do something, whatever, when I approach Keith with it, I listen to voice inflection, tone, watch his face, mannerisms, whatever, trying to listen more to his body language?? than what he actually says? Because I do take my calling seriously, at this point in our marriage, that I do not want to give him any reason to be frustrated with me, disappointed in my choices, whatever. Even if his motivation for not wanting me to do whatever it is, is purely selfish on his part. That doesn't matter to me. I want his "clear and direct" feelings of me to always be pleasing. That is not to say that I won't sometimes discuss and beg, teehee, try and get him to see how strongly I want this, but most of the times, I just lay it out there, and watch his response. If there is hesitation, at all, I withdraw the question, and tell him it is not that big of a deal. So, yea, sometimes, I submit, without discussion at all! Because, I am raising a house full of children, that I want them to see, "daddy rules". Right or wrong, agree or disagree, daddy is the authority in this house. If I hear them mouthing about what daddy said, or did, and it is in a negative way towards him, I quickly, reprimand them for it, and remind them, he is way wiser than them, that we were not born 50, we have been down more roads than you will ever understand, and just because you can't see the "logic" in his decision, does not mean you have the right to question it!! That teaches faith........without question, I hope. Trust, without question. Things don't always need to make sense, or look right, or anything. But, to the kids, there always always needs to be "united front". Especially teenagers, are quick to pick up on cracks in the foundation, and will quickly try and work that to their advantage. And in this society, more moms and dads are trying to be friends to their kids/teens, trying to keep the peace, they run "interference" for their kids. And I have done this in the past as well. I will ask "daddy", bring it up, whatever, prepare the ground, so to speak. Mainly, because of my feeling the command, "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath", is there for a reason. That was a command to FATHERS, not to mothers. Why?? God knew men are more prone to authority and submission for the sake of being in control?? I don't know, I just know that I do try and be peacemaker, when it comes to Keith, and how he handles the issues with the teens. I don't interfere so much with him and the boys, but with the girls, I do. And he will tell me, he appreciates it, because he says, hormones and girls are a scary thing. He says, I could have said that to Adam or Ethan, and bam, it's done. But he says something to one of the girls, and geez, tears abound. And it won't even be a big deal, or a harsh tone!! He will look at me and say, "what just happened?" So, yea, it is a hard complicated thing to be the mom of many, and a Godly wife. But, that is why we need God and his daily inspiration, through His Word!! Seriously, I feel like I can't deal with life, if I haven't done my Bible Study!! It puts my mind in the right place, before it's challenged!! I heard recently, a girl tell me her mother was a "hypocrite". I was taken aback!! I know her mother!! But she went on to say, she will get on to me for dressing immodestly, and then go out the door, basically the same way, or worse!! What I was getting from her? She sees the inconsistency in what her mom does and what her mom says. She sees the way her mom talks to her dad, the disrespect. Obviously, in that home, there are some serious issues going on, and not just with the raising of that daughter. I think I am safe in saying, that her mom was a far piece from setting a Godly example for her daughter. And lacking in teaching her daughter proper respect for her or her dad. Apparently, according to the daughter, the mom puts the dad down constantly, therefore allowing her daughter to see the lack of respect she has for his God given role in the family. So, yea, I get constant reminders, we are being watched, and some are taking notes! And I want my kids to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I respect their dad and love their dad, and submit WILLINGLY to their dad. Not out of some fake sense of duty, and certainly not resentful of his God given authority and right to tell me what to do. I do joke some times, and say, "I am not the boss of me!" But the truth is, it is freedom to know that all God asks from me is to make my husband happy. If his reasons are not biblical, or don't make sense, or are purely selfish, doesn't matter. He's my husband, and therefore, he will answer to God for whatever decisions he makes in allowing me to do this or that. That is my protection. I freely, gladly, accept it. But more important than that, I want to serve the Lord, with all my heart, and to do that, I believe the Bible teaches me to at least try and be a wise woman, not a foolish woman. In this society, to even admit that my husband has the right to tell me what to do, is crazy. I have heard all the comments, "submission is for slaves". But, I believe the Bible is the true, Word of God. I believe every word of it. No matter what society is spewing. God's word is true, and clear. Ephesians 5:22 - 24 says "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." You can read it for yourselves, in your own Bibles. There is no room for misunderstanding in those verses. No rationalizing of whether or not the husband merits your submission. My counsel to my friends, when they have come to me with problems with their husbands, or their discontent in their marriage, or whatever, my advice has always been the same. If you are a Christian woman, if you love the Lord, then you must submit to your husband....flat out. No ifs and or buts. There are verses that go on to say, the man can be lead to the Lord, by the actions of his wife. So, even if the husband is not a Christian, it does not relieve the wife from the command to submit. It is Biblical. It's the right thing to do, if we want to please the Lord.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good morning out there! As I write this from my warm and cozy home, it is 18 degrees outside, and we are in the middle of a huge weather mess. So huge, in fact, that the news crews from St. Louis are sending crews to Festus City Hall to "monitor the impending 6 - 8 inches of snow" they are forecasting! Down here in the country, we have a layer of ice and sleet, and are now getting some snow on top of that. And they say, round 2 will be here around noon or after today! Woot! Woot! What can you do? Settle in, throw another log on the fire, and enjoy it. In my recent days, I have been having some troubling conversations with some friends regarding the role of women these days. As I pointed out yesterday, in my blog, after listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio program, as I often do, I discussed this subject further with close friends. Way back when, when we all began to brave the un-marked trail of homeschooling, it was not so widely accepted as it is today. Just to put it in perspective, my son, is going to be 27 this year. He was home schooled. Today, he is married to his first girlfriend. Our first pastor when we moved down here to the country, had a beautiful daughter! They were both about 14 then. Today they have been married 4 years, and have a beautiful son, Ruger, who turned 2 in November. Back then, when we all got together to "socialize" our children, we all were so very conservative. If you have been around for any length of time, you should smile when I talk about our home school uniforms of long denim skirts with flat white tennis shoes. We were easy to pick out from a crowd. We wore the uniform proudly!! We wanted people to know who we were, and what we did, and why we did it! And that was just homeschooling! I am not going to paint the perfect picture of my son's marriage, it has had it's rocky times. Anytime two people come together to join their lives, they come from different back grounds, different perspectives on the roles each of them will play in the marriage. It is so much deeper than those that will try and say, "he squeezes the toothpaste wrong", or "he leaves the lid up", etc. The differences that tend to cause cracks in the foundation of a marriage are way deeper than that. Like how they both feel about the role of the wife, and the role of the husband. The first really really big crack in my son's marriage came last year, around January, I think. They were going through the motions of the "happy marriage", because of all I was going through with my dad, and the leukemia walk, they were not going to let us, their parents, know what was really going on. When it finally reached a point, they could no longer hide the tension, I questioned my son. He confessed he did not want to lay that on my plate, along with everything else. Without going into too much detail, I just want to share some of what I learned through that period of their lives. Older women are not teaching younger women to be keepers at home. The stay at home mom is not honored by many these days. Not even in the churches! Another example of deception. Titus 1:16 says, "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." That verse speaks volumes. They profess that they know God. Does that say, for instance, they talk the talk, but don't walk the walk? While trying to counsel my son, and his wife through that, I had the opportunity to have a very lengthy conversation with one of my daughter-in-law's family members. I was not very far into the conversation, when I realized we did not agree on very basic beliefs of what the Bible teaches on submission to authority of your husband. The conversation lasted well over an hour, and the more we talked, the more nervous I got. I finally did my best to end the conversation at a point, that would allow us to continue to be "family" and civil to one another!! It is all so connected to the whole deception theme. This society we live in today, is doing it's best to drown out submission to authority of any kind by women when it comes to men. That is just not gonna happen! We are equal! Who says they have the right to have the final say-so on anything we do? Well, God does. Just another example of what you won't know if you don't research the scriptures. Don't take my word for it. Read it for yourself. Unless you are busy doing other more important things. Read down through 1 Timothy 2, slow down around verse 12. None of us are comfortable with people being able to tell us what to do. That is our sin nature. Submission is hard. But faith in God, makes it possible. I have failed many times in my married life to properly honor my husband, properly submit. But, having the relationship I have with my God, He never fails to convict me of that. And I will re-focus. It's not enough to just re-focus. I have to allow my husband to see that I am re-focused, and allow him to see God's love and honor working through me towards him. Sorry, that does not allow room for resentment, or a false sense of "duty". My sister, Beck, shared with me once, that her husband told her, that you don't get credit for submission if your fussing the whole time! I have never forgotten that wisdom! Thanks Buck! I do admit, that I do try and give my opinion on a given subject from time to time, sometimes louder than others, to my husband, when we are discussing something. But, when it comes down to the final decision, I know, it's my husband's to make. God will hold him accountable for however it turns out, not me. All God asked me to do was love my husband, submit to my husband, be his helpmeet. In real words that means, do whatever I can to make life easier for him. Do whatever I can to help him not feel stressed. Do whatever I can to make him happy. That is not being taught by the older women to the younger women!! But, I am going to try and change that............

Monday, January 26, 2009

I know I already wrote today, but I had to share some things I got today from Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio program. She is doing a series on Deception and Discernment. Man oh man, it's good stuff. I listen to it on my laptop, through That is how I listen to all my radio preachers/teachers now days. That way, instead of missing it at the time it is actually on the radio, because I am asleep, or whatever, I can go there, type in the speaker, and voila, I can listen. She sucked me in by talking about the Trojan Horse. We have done a study on that in our school, so I have always enjoyed listening to some one's idea's on that story. She starts out in Genesis, about the serpent deceiving Eve, and why the serpent went to the woman in the first place, even though the man was there, it was the woman that was deceived. He enticed her with promises of knowledge, promises of wisdom....promises. Something that sounded good, sounded good for her. But Nancy goes on to show in the scripture how we cannot blame Satan for deceiving us. God holds us accountable for what deceives us. We are deceived because we choose to be. She calls attention to what the serpent says, when he says, "Did God really say .......?" People still do that today, you know? When they are discussing something they are doing that they know is wrong, they will question it, with something like, "did they do that in Bible days?" As if the Bible is not relevant to what they are doing now! That is why so many people turn their backs on what they know to be right. Not because they don't believe it to be wrong, as much as they enjoy what they are doing and don't want to give it up!

As Nancy points out, people still will ask "Has God really said that marriage is a permanent, lifetime covenant between a man and a woman, regardless of what Supreme Courts in our states may say to the contrary? Has God really said that sex is beautiful in marriage, but not to be participated in outside of marriage? Has God really said? That seems so strange. That seems so outdated. That seems so unfair. That seems so limited. That seems so exclusive. Has God really said wives reverence and submit to your husbands?" No way! Check out Titus 2!! "What country are you from? What generation, what century are you from? This is the 21st century. Get a life! Has God really said? Has God really said if anyone sins against you, forgive him?"

In order for us not to be deceived, we need to be so filled with the spirit, that when something is wrong, it sticks out to us!! As wrong!! Which means, people, we need to be reading the word of God on a regular basis. If we are not, how can we catch the deceit? Where's the filter we run things through? OK, so you don't read alot. Do you make an effort to listen to good teaching?? At least one radio preacher? TV preacher? Anything?? The bottom line is you are responsible for your delusion. If you are not making an effort to grow in the word, God says he will turn you over to delusion. “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing [look at this] because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). Look at verses 11-12, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” There you have it folks. You can't blame anyone for your own delusion!! You choose the pleasure over what is right, and you will be held accountable. You can't be playing the blame game here. You want to live your life the way you want to live it, no accountability. So, it is easier to say, "where is that in the Bible?" If the truth was known, I would venture to say, that most folks know that what they are doing is wrong. But to admit they know, well, that is a bit harder, and would mean accepting responsibility for what they are doing. They would rather live their life, make their choices, "have fun". I'll get right with God later, maybe. We are choosing deception, over truth. We have all seen it. People make jokes about it. "Come on over to the dark side.....we have cookies!" The truth is, people are still living the "if it feels good do it" philosophy, and trying to rationalize it. I say, read the bible folks. Read it enough to know what it says about things, so that when the latest media celebrity comes out and says "my bible says this", you will know if he is actually reading the bible!!
Hello there! This chemo round has been different. The last time, it hit me on the way home, and I was down for like 4 or 5 days. This time, I have been "weak", "tired", but I wouldn't say...down. I have been up, downstairs, helping the kids with their school work. I even have made breakfast twice, and a big pot of onion soup. And it has not been a week yet. But, my daughter, Jen came home this weekend, and brought a friend, (Galina!!). They spent the greater part of Saturday up here in my room, sitting around my bed. Her car has been broke down for a couple weeks, and she finally decided that if it was going to get fixed, she was going to have to bring it to her dad, LOL. She drove it down here, finally. While we were all sitting around chatting, the plan began to come together to get my kiddos up there to the Family Arena, in St. Charles, to the Winter Jam 2009. For those of you not in the know, that is a Christian Concert. With Toby Mac, Hawk Nelson, New Song, plus others. It was only $10 at the door. Jen's room mate, Amanda, is a single mom, with a 10 year old daughter, Jill. She wanted Jill to go to that concert, and was wondering if my kids could come go with them. So, we made arrangements for Jen and Kate to take the burb, which was the needed vehicle to haul all the kiddos to the concert. They took everyone!! Except Ethan, he decided to stay home with us, for whatever reason. Jen kept Emma and Kassy at her apartment, and had movie night, while Amanda and Kate took all the rest of the kiddos to the concert. The rest of the night, my phone was lighting up with pics of my Emma Jean doing this (eating with chop sticks), or that (playing Rock Band). They left Sunday morning around 9:30am, and didn't come home until like 11:30pm. Keith tells me that I pretty much slept the day away. If you ask me, I am gonna say that yesterday was my worst day. What time I was awake, I was nauseated, so he was poking pills down me. Which in turn, sent me back into the sleep realm, because they all cause drowsiness. But today, I got up and took a shower, put on my hair, and tried to look normal, teehee. I don't mind telling you, I am vain. I do not like the way I look in the mirror now. I avoid the look in the mirror. Don't get me wrong. I have never been the kind of woman that fluffs my hair daily. I have told you that already. But, I do like my hair!! I do like the fact that I have hair!!! And now, I don't like the fact that I don't!!! It is like a huge reminder of CANCER. The reflection in the mirror now, is the one you see on all the posters for breast cancer. The bald headed woman. And although I appreciate all the kind words from all my friends, about how beautiful I am, blah.....I don't feel beautiful. But that is just one of the lessons the Lord is teaching me through this walk.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I need to start out by apologizing to all who read the post that I wrote yesterday. Yes, I was discouraged, and let that come blaring through in my post. I should not have. I should have been still and waited upon the Lord to calm those fears and discouraging feelings. You know, sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes HE calms the child and lets the storm rage. My impatience got the best of me, and I didn't wait to see what HE had in store for me. I let my emotions do the talking. That is never a good thing. It must be the chemo, or the fact that I am just tired. I usually don't let my emotions get the best of me. Oh well.....I am truly sorry. Today, is a better day. I have been up, taken a shower, put on my makeup, and my "hair", and I feel closer to my normal self. And yes, I have been talking to my Lord. The verse that was brought to my attention today, was Ephesians 4:29, "When you talk, do not say harmful things. But say what people need--words that will help others become stronger." I love to read Barbara Johnson books. That lady has been through so much in her lifetime, and yet stays true to God's word. She has such strong faith, it amazes me. I am reading through one of her books that I have read many times. I keep coming back to it. It is called "Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life". How's that for a title!! In this chapter I am in now, a few sentences caught my eye, and I have to share them. "Nothing comes into our lives by accident: and no matter how bad it makes you feel, it didn't come to stay---it came to pass! The hard part is dealing with being alive while waiting for whatever it is to pass. When pain and grief capsize your life, it sometimes seems that all you can do is sink. " She always seems to find the joy in the journey. I know God has got this. I just sometimes get tired, and therefore, let my defenses down, and my daddy used to say, our greatest weakness is an unguarded strength. Ouch. I wasn't guarding my "faith", and gave the devil the opportunity to sneak in there and plant seeds of doubt and discouragement. I know the people are praying for me, and I appreciate it, I do. Please pray that I won't fall short again, and I won't let discouragement and frustration win, that I won't let my "always wanting to protect and fix" get in the way of God's plan. I know God has a plan. Please, Lord, don't let me get in the way of YOUR PLAN!!! I do trust you! I love you and am thankful for the friends you are putting on the front lines. Thank you Paula, for going by and having breakfast with my mom this morning. Thank you for the phone call to share that with me! Thank you for the uplifting words about how upbeat she was, even though she did ask you about my treatments, she seems to be accepting the fact that this is different, and we are dealing with it, and gonna get through it, with the help of all my friends filling in the gaps. I love you all!!!! More than you know......

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hi there folks. Keith took me to get my chemo yesterday. After scaring my daughter to death last time, I guess he felt he should make the trip this time. They were extremely backed up, and there was a lot of waiting time in between appointments. I always have to go get blood work done first, that was 9:15. Of course, they didn't call me back until 9:45. I was supposed to see my oncologist next, at 10:00. They didn't call me back until 10:45. He said everything seemed to be right on track, and that he felt the lump was shrinking, and the sore looked like it was healing. Yes, this is day 2 after chemo, and I have to admit it is going a whole lot better than it went last time. Of course, it helps when you know the rules. This time I took an anti-nausea pill before I left the hospital, instead of on the trip home, while lying on the side of the highway! This time, when it hit me, I was already laying in my bed, ready to fall asleep, which I did. My voice is still here, I feel that is an answered prayer. I was able to call mom last nite, as well as this morning. However, this morning, although she sounded good, she did ask me a very strange question. She said, "Are you at the hospital getting treatment today?" I said, no mom, I am at home. It just caught me a little off guard, that's all. I thought I had completely bumped the whole cancer thing out of her mind, but apparently not. But, never the less, she did sound like she was doing ok. She mentioned that she had talked to Paula Koranda this morning, as well as my sister Becky. She told me she had gone to bible study yesterday at FBC Festus, and she had gone to Wal-Mart while she was out to get a few groceries. Then she quickly added, don't ask me what I got, because you know I don't know, but I do remember going, and I know I got some food in the house. We both laughed. She cracks me up how she remembers what she remembers, and knows what she doesn't remember. She told me she had walked over to visit Ada, her neighbor, and she gave her a "to go plate" of whatever they had for dinner. She also told me that Bob and Pat Southard had been by to visit with her. I am feeling extremely blessed at this moment to know that all the people are stepping up their game at this time in my life. Thank you so much. Well, my husband just walked in and he says it is time for him to give me a shot so I guess I had better wrap this up. I will write more later, assuming that I can stay awake long enough to do anything else today. I have several things on my mind, that I would like to share, but they will have to wait.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hi there folks! I so enjoyed spending last evening with my girlfriends in my Home school group. The meeting started at 7, and we meet in a meeting room at the local hospital in Festus. Last night was "Book Report" night. That's the meeting where we all share what we, as mom's, read in our free time. It is always a fun meeting. It gives us all a little insight into each other. Beyond our common interest of teaching our children at home, we all do teach biblical curriculum, it is commonly known as a Christian group. This has been, for as long as I can remember, my Christian support group. Yes, we do talk of teaching our children Godly principals at home. We do all feel strongly, that it is our job as Christian, Godly, mothers. We all share our struggles, as well as our accomplishments. But more than that, the women that have been my closest friends, all the women that have been in attendance at all my home-births, came from this group. These are Godly women that mean so much to me. We hold each other accountable on a regular basis. We question each other when we do something "out of the box". We all have that kind of relationship. So, as the date for my second round of chemo quickly approaches (tomorrow morning!), it was this meeting that I looked forward to attending. I didn't wear my wig. I went, with my thinning, shedding real hair. I showed them how easy it was falling out. I did take my wigs, both of them, and let them vote. They prayed for me and my mom and my family, as we walk down this very long and new path. Then we went to Steak N Shake, as we always do, to share food and fellowship till the wee hours of the morning. Because of all that is going on in my life, I did leave early. I got home at midnight! I know, that is not considered early by many. But trust me, there have been many times we have all talked way way past that, and I got home at 2 or 3am! This morning, in my morning call to my mom, she mentioned her TV was again messed up. I tried to walk her through the normal fix, but she kept saying it wasn't working. So, knowing what my next few days are going to include, I figured this was something that needed to be done today. I can't leave my mom without TV for the next week! So, I loaded up my two little girls, Kassy and Emma, and we went to see Grandma! We went in, I fixed her TV, then I fixed us all lunch. And, her hair still looks great!! It was not as curly as it was when I curled it on Saturday, but it still looked great! So, apparently, I didn't mess it up as bad as I had worried about!! Once I cleaned up the lunch mess, put everything back like we found it (or better), we loaded up and headed home. I will call her tonight, put her to bed, so to speak. Then in the morning, I will call her and remind her it is Wednesday, remind her it is the day she goes to FBC Festus for Bible Study, then I will get hooked up and start my chemo. From there on, the plan gets a bit sketchy. I will be playing it by ear, or, walking by blind faith.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It has begun. This morning, as I was brushing my hair, I noticed it. I had to clean out my brush, more than once. Being that my hair is blond, I was wondering if I would actually be able to see it on my pillow, or in my drain, as they said. Well, yes you can. Blond or not, you can't miss the wad that is in my brush. If I run my fingers through my hair, and then type on my laptop, you can't miss the hair laying on my keyboard. Oh well, yet another "self image" bridge to cross. I am trying not to focus on the self image part of all this. That is an exercise, let me tell you. This world is way too image oriented. If you are pretty, you get noticed. If you are physically fit, you get noticed. If you are tan, you get noticed. You get noticed in a positive way. If you are not all these things, you still get noticed, it is just not in a positive way. So, I am trying to find the lesson. I teach my children, look for the lesson. In every challenge in life, there is a lesson to be learned. God is working on you, look for it, learn from it. Accept the challenges as learning experiences. I hate to repeat myself, but it keeps showing up in my life. We all will experience pain in this life. At some time or another....PAIN. But misery is optional. As Christians, who have HOPE and FAITH, we can't stay there. We can't, or shouldn't dwell in the pain, dwell in the negative. One of the other things I say to my kids a lot, is "If you can't change the people around you, then you should change the people around you!" If all those around you are bringing you down, keeping you from being a positive person, keeping you from being able to see the good things in your life that God is allowing to cross your path, then walk away! One of the things that really gets me going these days, are those people that tend to jump on the "troublesome times" bandwagon. There are plenty of them. You have heard them, "we are going to see the worst depression in our history!" "It's going to get worse, not better!" When the naysayers on TV start that garbage, I can turn it off. When the radio starts it, I can turn it off, or change the channel. But what do you do when your friends and acquaintances start it? Standing in the vestibule at church, a banker, a lawyer, a retiree, a farmer, etc. All engaged in conversation that is not "uplifting", but adding to the gloom and doom the media is spewing. I walked away. I went on in and found my seat. Was that rude? I just know that this is the one place I should be able to come and NOT hear that perspective. I prefer to believe that my life, my finances, my health, are not in the control of the banks, or wall street. I put my faith in God, not interest rates or gas prices. A couple days ago, I shared the fact that my husband has not worked as much this year as in the past. But you know what? He is working. There are so many of our friends, in the same business, that are not. They are selling their trucks and equipment, and getting jobs working for the bigger construction companies. There are some out there that still have money, and yes, they are buying their equipment. The bigger contractors are "helping them out", by buying their equipment at huge discounts. We are not getting rich. We are not even working enough to put any in savings. But hey, we are working. We are working enough to keep moving forward. Our bills may be late, but we are paying our bills. Some of our extra activities have been cut out. I can name on one hand how many times my kids competed in rodeo last year. Between entry fees and fuel costs, we just couldn't justify the expense. But we are gaining more family time at home!! And that has it's advantages!! It helps for my kids to see how mom and dad handle tough times. My daddy use to share the "parable" of the Kool-aide in the Tupperware cups sitting on the table. All the Tupperware cups lined up on the table, all had something in them. Kool-aide? Water? Tea? My daddy used to say, they all looked the same from outside appearances, maybe different colors, but other than that, cups. There was no way of telling what they had on the inside, unless you shook their "foundation", the table. Then, and only then, would what they had on the inside, coming spilling out. I have never forgotten that illustration. I use it on my kids all the time. When someone or something shakes your foundation, rocks your world, moves your cheese, pay attention to what comes spilling out. Because that, folks, will say more about who you are, than all those other days put together. It never fails. You can live all your life, trying to convince people you are a good person, a Christian, and have one major break down, one public meltdown, and that is what people will remember about you. That is what people will talk about and share with their people. How you handle disappointments speak volumes of who you are on the inside. The real you. I have heard it said that church people are people who bury their wounded. When someone fails, falls short of the perceived Christian walk, others are quick to form their opinions of their relationship with God. Let's use David, for an example. He lusted after Bathsheba. He crossed the line. Several lines, if you get my drift. You can read it for yourself. Yet God loved him and pulled him back to him. Accepted him back into his arms, forgave him. Can you imagine David in today's church?? How would your church members accept someone, if they came and wanted to join your church? If everyone knew, if it was public knowledge that he had committed adultery, if he had made arrangements to have her husband taken out of the picture. I heard someone once, compare the church to the local bar. The reasons why people are drawn to the atmosphere of their local hang out/bar. Their opinions were that people in the bar accept each other, all walks of life, all their differences. People are free to talk of lost jobs, financial difficulties, their problems in their lives. And the bar people don't judge them for that. They pat them on the shoulder, offer support, in turn, share their problems as well. People feel they are not alone out there. People feel they are not the only ones having these problems. Then, they get all dressed up, go to church on Sunday mornings, and go through the motions that all is well. Life is good. We have all heard the jokes about the prayer requests, where someone will ask for prayer for such and such, then begin to share the details about their life. It ends up being very close to gossip. So, in fear of becoming the next prayer request, people don't really share the details anymore. Except in very very very small, intimate gatherings. And, I am as guilty of that as the next person. I doubt that anyone at my church is aware how tight our finances are. Or, how hard it is to juggle my responsibilities with my family, my homeschooling, our business, our farm, and my mother, who lives 45 miles away. How many people actually put 100 miles round trip on their vehicles, twice a week, in addition to their normal running of grocery store, pay bills, etc. It's just life, my life. I love my church, and I am making that my new year's resolution. To be more open with my Christian friends, about the path I am walking daily. I am going to share how my faith muscle gets exercised daily, and I am going to share the God moments in my days with my kids. I want my kids to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this girl, this woman, this mom, this wife has enough faith in God to trust HIM. Even when I can't see the path. Even when I am not driving this vehicle of life, I know who is. I don't have to know the plan, I can just walk by faith, trusting the ONE who has the plan.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

As children bring their broken toys
In tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my Friend.
Instead of leaving Him,
In peace, to work alone
I hung around and tried to help
In ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
"How could You work so slow?"
"My child," He said,
"What could I do? You never did let go!"

I received this little poem from my mom's Cousin Bill. Thanks, Cousin Bill!! This morning was so emotional at church. It was the first time I have actually worn my wig out in public where people actually know me, so yea, I was a bit nervous. During the music portion, the Lord began to move people. First one went up, and after sharing something with Bro. Carl, he would hand them the mic, and they would share with us. Then, another, then another. One of the girls that gave her testimony, was the girl I had lunch with on Friday. Before Friday, I didn't know her that well. I mean, I knew who she was, but not much else. She is way younger than me, so we don't exactly run in the same circles. But, because of my cancer, because my name is on the prayer list at church, because her mom owns a wig shop, for whatever reason, the Lord laid it on her heart to call me and encourage me. She shared with the church family, that her intentions were to encourage me, but she shared that we didn't even talk about cancer, or anything else that she knows that I am going through right now. We just talked of kids, homeschooling, husbands, work, just normal girl stuff. She said, I left there encouraged!! I was just crying, I am telling you. I so enjoyed getting together with her, and her step mom, and her real mom. Just us girls, laughing and cutting up. It was a wonderful afternoon. I definitely was encouraged. These ladies are amazing. And this morning at church, she brought up other lady friends of hers, and introduced me to them. But, I have gotten sidetracked. I was telling you about our service this morning. So many people began to share their testimony, that Bro. Carl did not get to preach! I love my church. So many people came up to me after church to ask about my treatments, find out how they were affecting me, when I go back next, etc. It is such a loving church. The girl that leads our Beth Moore Bible Study on Daniel, offered to come to my house to help make up any of the lessons that I have to miss because of my treatments! Of course, I told her that was not necessary. I can do my own bible study at home, I don't need a leader. The "draw" for me, was joining other ladies to hear their perspectives on the verses, their interpretations, their thoughts. Not to mention, the incredible bonding that always happens with ladies in your bible study group.

I did call my mom this morning, to see if she mentioned anything about her hair, or how short I cut it. She didn't, but then, she admitted that she had not done anything yet, she was moving slow this morning. I asked her if she was planning on going to church today, she could still make it if she picked up the pace a bit. She laughed, and said, I'll pick up the pace. I did call her before our church started, like 10:15 or so, and I got the answering machine, so I guess she did. I haven't called her yet, this afternoon to find out what others said about her hair. But, I feel the need to share the difference between my mom now, and my mom, say, last weekend. Remember, last weekend, she was in "lock down mode". I couldn't make any suggestion at all. She was going to make all her decisions, no matter what. Friday night and Saturday, she was back to her easy going self. If she doesn't feel threatened, she can take suggestions, and even agree with you on something. She is much easier to get along with. I am still praying about the plan to get through this next round of chemo, without sending mom into a pit of depression again. I know the Lord has a plan, He just hasn't shared it with me yet, LOL! And, I am trying to put it in my Jesus Box.........and leave it there.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Last nite I drove up to Herky to spend the night at my mom's house! I stopped on the way up the hill and picked up a couple of cheeseburgers and fries and drinks. We sat and watched TV, and ate together! She talked of her friend in Florida, and gave me updates on Mrs. Gwen's life. She then told me of her recent chat with Mrs. Thelma, her friend who recently lost her husband to cancer. Finally, around 9:30 or so, we decided to retire for the evening. This morning, mom got up first, and got in the shower. After breakfast, I offered to "trim" her hair, and roll it on curlers for her. She agreed to that, so I sat her in the chair, put a sheet around her and began to trim her hair. Now folks, I am not a beautician. I knew it was a risk, but decided, I would risk it. I trimmed alot off of it! I then quickly swept up the hair on the floor, discarded it, and began to roll her hair. While I was sweeping up the hair, she kept saying, look at all that dark hair! We had better keep that, in case we need to tape it back on!! She was laughing, of course. I said, mom, it will grow back in no time. The whole time I was trimming, mom was telling me not to cut too much of her perm off, she was not planning on getting another one until spring. For those of you who don't know, the last time she got a perm was in June, 7 months ago. So, seriously, she didn't have any perm left. Her hair was long and straight. Several "well meaning friends" had called me to share that my mom needed a day at the beauty shop, LOL. I had been trying to talk her into it, but all I was getting was how it was winter, and she wasn't going to cut her hair off short in the winter. Long hair keeps you warm in the winter! Nothing I could say was working. I figured I would give it a shot. If I messed it up, then what....we would have to go to the beauty shop to fix it! After it was dry, I took out the curlers and fixed it pretty, and sprayed it. It looked great! She looked in the mirror and said, "it looks so much shorter when it is curled!" I don't know how it is going to look in the morning, once she sleeps on it, but today, it looked great. I guess I'll find out in the morning, when I call her, if she even remembers that I cut it. She probably will be mad at me, if she does remember, and thinks I cut too much off. Oh well, I will try and be patient. Before I left, we went over her bills, wrote out the last ones that were due in January, and put them in the mail box. She's good to go, until February! We ate lunch together, then I loaded my overnight bag in the car, and left to go pick up Kate. She had come up to attend the ski trip with the Festus FBC Youth Group at Hidden Valley Ski Resort. Once I collected her, we headed home, since she had to be at work by 5. It is Saturday night, which means, bath night and laying out Sunday clothes around here. Finding matching shoes, is always best done on Saturday night, without the stress of Sunday morning! Oh yea, I forgot to tell you I wore my wig up to mom's. She said, "I like your hair! It's a new style? And lighter?" I said, yea, they told me it would make me look younger to wear this style. I never told her it was a wig. When she turned out the light to get in bed last nite, I just pulled it off and laid it on the floor by the bed. When she got up in the morning, she went straight to the shower, and I got up, got dressed, and put it back on! She never even noticed. Of course, I still have my hair, so to her, it was just messy bed hair and slightly dark in the room at 7am, the time she got up. Once the lights were on, and I was dressed she didn't say anything about it. Oh well, gotta go. I am planning on going to church in the morning!! I couldn't go last Sunday, because I was neutropenic.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brrrr, cold outside. With his little fists clinched, and held close to his sides, he is pretending to shiver. That would be my little grandson, Ruger Cole. My son works with my husband in our concrete flat work construction company. Except, of course, when it is 6 degrees outside. This is Friday, and they haven't worked a day this week. My son called this morning, and asked if he could bring Ruger over for a few hours. He was needing to get out of the house, so he and a friend are going to the local indoor shooting range and shoot their bows for a couple hours. When I hung up and told Emma that Ruger was coming over, she squealed with delight! She quickly ran upstairs and changed from her pj's into her sweatshirt and jeans, complete with her socks and boots!! An hour later, Ruger was here. In that hour, she asked every 5 minutes, when Ruger was coming, LOL. Today, I got up, showered, dressed, and fixed my hair. Always before that was such routine. Hardly even gave it a thought. But these days, 16 days into my chemo treatments, when I have been told by the docs that my hair will begin to fall out somewhere around day 15 or so, maybe sooner, maybe later. I find myself scrutinizing my pillow, my hairbrush, my sink drain, etc. Looking for the signs that it has begun. So far, so good, though. It seems to be still hanging on, LOL! And yes, I find myself hanging onto the hope that maybe I won't lose my hair? That makes me feel somewhat vain. So much about this cancer thing in my body is connected to self image. All of this makes me over analyze everything. When people say to me, "you need to concentrate on you, you don't need to worry about all this other stuff, like your mom, or your finances." That is so easy to say. Words. Well, folks, my husband worked a total of 120 days in the year 2008. This economy has definitely affected us, therefore, our finances, and yes, the finances of my son and his wife, not to mention the families of my husband's crew of guys. I know God is in control of that as well. But when creditors are calling and not so gently reminding us that we are past 30 days on this or that, and "is there a reason why you are not able to make your payment?" or "When can we expect a payment?", it just gets frustrating, that's all. And, because we have been self-employed for over 20 years, I am better at it than, say, my daughter-in-law. When I get my focus blurred, I know what to do in order to re-focus. "Keep it spiritual". I put it in my "Jesus box", LOL. I talk to my God about it. It's what I lovingly refer to as exercise for my faith muscle. In our years of being self employed, we have had our faith exercised more than most. And yes, it is a muscle. The more it is exercised, the stronger it gets. Although we have been late many times, we have never had anything repossessed, or never had our electric turned off. So, yes, the Lord has always provided for us. And, we have had exceptionally "fruitful" years. So, it hard for people to fathom how bad this economy is affecting us, when you are driving a 2004 King Ranch Dually 4X4, 4 door truck. We can't be that bad off. Yea, whatever. We have had that for sale many times, no takers. With fuel prices being what they are, not many people are lining up to purchase a diesel truck that gets 12 mpg. So, it stays parked most of the time. But we do live on a farm, so occasionally, we load the bed up with the gas cans, and head to town. And yes, we did use it to haul our bull down to our neighbor's. But this winter will pass, and the grass will turn green again, and my husband will begin to work more often, and things won't be so tight financially. In the meantime, with all my extra doctor's appointments, and stuff going on right now, my husband is available to be with me, and go with me! Go figure!! So, the fact that I am going through all this in the winter, is at the very least, convenient for my husband's work schedule! And, as word is getting out, more and more people are calling to ask "what can we do, if there is anything, just ask". If they are from the Festus-Crystal City-Herky area, I am asking them to go visit my mom, fix food and take it to her house. I can pick it up there, which makes it convenient for them, and gives my mom some company! Thank you Karen and Charlie Vaughn, and thank you Paula Koranda!! Karen and Charlie went by and visited with her, and took her some Circle The Word books. Paula went by and picked her up, took her to lunch at Cracker Barrel, then took her with her to drop off library books, and a couple other errands. Mom got good company, and got out of the house! Today I went to lunch with my friend, Rachel Erbland, from Calvary Temple. We met at her mom's wig shop, Incognito, where they picked out a wig for me, and after sitting and visiting for quite a while, Rachel and I went to lunch with her step mom. It was a wonderful day. Tonight, my daughter, Kate is going skiing with the youth group from FBC Festus-Crystal City! I drove her up to the church, dropped her off, then went to my mom's to spend the evening with her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Harry S. Truman said: "A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties." Yes, I have decided that is how I am going to handle this experience. I am a person who is living with cancer, not dying from it. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I remember seeing someone walking down the hall outside my daddy's hospital room, and they had on a jacket that said across the back, "I have Cancer, but it doesn't have me!" I may not be in control of this cancer, but I am in control of how I live my life with it. I choose to live each and every day God gives me to the best of my ability. I bought a key chain, while daddy was in the hospital, it read, "Every day is a gift from God". I still feel that way. Some choose to waste that gift, by feeling sorry for themselves. We have too much debt. We don't have enough money. My house is not big enough. My car is not new enough, or fancy enough. I read in a book recently, about a "Something for Jesus to Do" box. Whenever I have a problem I feel I couldn't handle, I put it in the box, and let God do His work. There is a letter in the box, folded up neatly, that reads: "Good morning. I am the Lord your God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE IT. Kindly put it in this box. It will be addressed in my time, not yours. Once the matter is placed in the box, do not attempt to hold onto it, or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it is a situation that you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to assure it is the proper resolution. Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest my child. Should you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away. Love eternally, The Lord your God. While my daddy was in the hospital, I read a book called "A New Kind of Normal". Daddy would joke about everything being his "new normal". We were all changed by dad's leukemia, I think. Our perspectives on normal things, normal problems, normal people. I remember going to Wal-Mart at 9:30 at night, because that was the only time we had time. And seeing other people there, that we knew! But more so than not, I caught myself looking at all the other people, seemingly walking through their normal lives. How strange it felt, that we were dealing with such a crisis, while others were just doing normal things. Life was just continuing on, normally for others. Life just goes on, with or without us. I catch myself feeling those same feelings now. Life is just going on, in other peoples lives. I catch myself feeling sorry for myself sometimes. We live in such a breast-obsessed society. Every movie, every commercial, every pretty dress, etc. I am well aware that before this is all said and done, I will lose at least one of mine, if not both. Yes, they are saying that there will also be reconstruction done, but not for some time after. There will be some time that I will have none. Dresses don't hang right, when you don't have anything there, let alone swimsuits. So this summer is going to be fun. My next trip to our timeshare in Daytona Beach is gonna be way different for me this year. I have always heard that if you breast feed, that you have very little chance of having breast cancer. Well, hmmm, I have breast fed 10 children. So, I think that "theory" just got blown out of the water. I know I am not supposed to analyze this either. It's all part of the plan for my life, and God is not surprised. But I sure am. My cancer is HER2 positive. Approximately 25% of women with breast cancer or HER2 positive, meaning they have an excess of a protein known as HER2 and this makes the cancer spread quickly. But there is a promising new drug on the market, Herceptin, that is working very well for women that are HER2 positive. I would like to think I am going to kick cancer's butt. But, in reality, none of us knows. I could be hit by a bus on the way to the hospital. My new normal is about today. Today is the only guarantee I have, so I am trying to make it count. Before cancer, I thought my plans. In 5 years.... In 10 years.... Retirement..... In the past 2 years, since February 8th, 2007, I have been taught a huge lesson, we are not in control. It does no good to worry. If we can change something, change it. As for the rest, I give it up to God. Put it in the box, so to speak. Everyone encounters bumps in the road of life. My daddy said to me, when talking of his leukemia, "this is just a bump in the road". We can react one of two ways: We can feel sorry for ourselves, be angry, and spend all our energy asking why. Or we can take control of how we react, accept that obstacles are part of life, and be happy anyway. Life is about choices. As part of my new normal, I choose to be happy. I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and live my life. I will continue to call my mom every day, twice a day. I cherish her laughter, her "good days". I will love on my Emma Jean, who, when I heard her playing today with her baby doll and her sister, I heard her say, "don't hug me on this side, that's where my booboo is", I wanted to cry. She is already making all this part of her normal. She still comes over and asks to see my booboo (my port). She wants to feel it. It's part of my new kind of normal........

Alice Ann and her brother, Shorty!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today it started out 50 degrees, and now it is 10 degrees! Ethan and I went to town to get the laundry detergent and milk. Kate was just getting off work, so she walked around with us in the store. My daughter, Jen, sent me her latest blog entry. She has a website, and apparently she wrote me a note. She's a sweetie. Today was mom's "double dip" day, in her "double dip" week. Once a month, two churches have senior luncheons. FBC Festus-Crystal City has theirs on the second Monday of the month, and FBC Herky has theirs on the second Wednesday of the month. So, this week, she has two senior luncheons!! And last month, she went to the senior luncheon at Herky church from 12-1, then hurried over to FBC Festus Crystal City for her Wednesday Bible Study lead by Bob Vittoe. Not today. She said, I just saw the people at FBC Festus, so I just stayed and enjoyed the fellowship with the people at Herky. I was teasing her because she was so cooped up in her house for so long, and now all of a sudden, all this running around, getting out every other day. Right quick, she came back with, "I got out yesterday too!" I said, really, where did you go yesterday? She laughed and said, I got outside, walked all the way down to my mailbox and back! I said, MOM, unless you talk to someone other than me, it doesn't count!! We both enjoyed a good laugh. It is sooo good to hear her teasing and laughing again. I got a card in the mail today, from my mother's Cousin Bill. He had been going through some old photos at his mom and dad's, and found one small black and white photo of two small children. A small boy that looks to be about 18 months old and a small blonde headed girl that looks to be about 4. It had written on the back, Alice Ann and Shorty. That would be my mom and her brother! I can't wait to show my mom! I think before I give it to her, though, I will take it to Wal-mart and try and make several copies of it for my siblings. Thank you Cousin Bill!!! It is a priceless gift. Thank you so much. In the cancer walk, I still have my hair, and it is not even thinning yet. We are nearing my second treatment date, which I don't mind telling you, gives me a slight anxious feeling. It is just the fear of the unknown, I know this. I don't know if it will get progressively worse with each treatment, or be the same as the last treatment. Or will it get easier?? Once I have 2 or 3 treatments under my belt, I will relax I guess, because I will know what to expect. I did leave a message on my oncologists voice mail today, with a couple questions. Hopefully, they will call me tomorrow and I can run a couple things by them. My next treatment is a week from today. My how time flies..........

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I am sorry my last post was so incredibly long!!! Keith said he had to hit page down like 12 times!! Teehee. First let me start off with telling you about my morning yesterday. My phone rings, and it is a girl from my church, telling me she wanted to do something for me. Her mom owns a wig shop and she would like to give me a wig! She had already talked to her mom, and has it approved. She said, my mom can come to your house, bring all her stuff, if you would like. I said, that is not necessary, where is her wig shop? She began to tell me where it was in Farmington! I said, "Is it called Incognito?" She said, YOU'VE ALREADY BEEN THERE??!!?? I said, yes, and I already bought a wig from there, but thank you anyway. She said, you can have another one!! Please!! Let me do this for you! So, I said, well, sure! I told your mom I would be back, because I am woman, and I will want a different hairstyle every now and then. So, how wild is that? The place I have already been, felt so comfortable with, finding out she is the mom of a friend of mine from church! When girls get married, change their names, how can you know? Anyway, we are having lunch on Friday, and going to her mom's shop to have another wig day! I can't wait! And the kids say I need to share my "chemo brain" moment. I was fixing myself a baked potato yesterday, and after I got it out of the microwave, I sliced it open, then went to get the butter and sour cream from the fridge. I saw this Ziploc bag with what looked like a stick of butter in it. I got it out, sliced several little thin slices of butter onto my potato, then added a dollop of sour cream, salt and pepper and went and sat down. As I was mashing it all up, I did notice the butter was not melting as quick as I thought it should, but paid no mind. Now keep in mind, that I have had chemo, so my taste buds are screwed up. As I was eating the potato, I also noticed that some of the inner pieces of the potato were a bit spongy, but just wrote it off as the potato wasn't quite done. Anyway, fast forward to this morning. Someone was looking for butter, and I offered them the baggy with the butter I used yesterday. They all just hit the floor laughing, saying mom, that is not butter! Have you used it as butter? Did you put that on your oatmeal? I said, uh, noooooo. I put it on my baked potato yesterday! And since my taste buds are screwed up, I didn't really notice the taste of MOZZARELLA CHEESE on my potato. LOL! But hey, in my defense, we use real stick butter, so it is lighter in color than say that yellow margarine that some mistake for butter. But now it has become the game to tease the mom, the "chemo brain", asking if she wants some mozzarella cheese on her roll, or oatmeal, or baked potato. Oh well, we are having fun with this. On another note, I have talked to mom several times, and she is laughing and is back to normal!!! Monday, she went to her Senior luncheon at FBC-Festus Crystal City!! It was 30 degrees out, and she got out and went somewhere. Which means, she put on make-up, fixed her hair, hopefully, teehee, and went somewhere, at a specific time, and then came home. Not only that, she told me about it. Details, like who she sat with, what they talked about. Yes, she told me again this morning, but hey, she is not crying, she is laughing, she is talking normal stuff. Thank you Jesus!!! I truly think I have bumped the "cancer" out of her mind. I may not be able to keep it bumped, but for now, life is good. And thank you, Karen and Charlie Vaughn, for going by and visiting with my mom, and taking her some circle the word books. I love you guys. This morning when I talked to mom, we got into a discussion about discipline and children, because my kids did something while I was on the phone, and I rattled off the verse. Mom said, is that in the Bible? Where? I said, well, I don't know mom, but I will find it and call you back. It was Proverbs 22:15, and I did call her back. But it was good to be talking to my mom, and her actually be able to follow the conversation, and keep up. Everyday is a different day, but I so appreciate her good days. And arguing with her about translations, uh, I mean, discuss translations with her, well, that's just priceless. Keep on praying, folks, it's a daily walk.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good Morning folks! Today is Sunday morning, and the sun is shining again!!! I love the sunshine. Somehow it just makes everyone feel better, don't it? Never mind that it is 18 degrees out there, according to my thermometer on my deck. So, yea, the sunshine is a bit deceiving, but still, from inside my warm house, there is a fire in the fireplace, Ethan is cooking breakfast, Dr. David Jeremiah is on the TV, and coffee in my hand. The TV is paused, so that when we get done with breakfast, we can worship. For the next couple days, I don't know exactly how long, I am to "avoid crowds", because I have no infection fighting cells right now. I have to share with you my day yesterday. One of my prescriptions in the stack they gave me, one said "cranial prosthesis". I laughed, and said, "now I have seen everything". That is two fancy words for a wig!! When my daughter, Kelly, was with me up at Barne's, we did go into their place where they told me to go and look around at all the wig choices. But on that day, nada. It was just too overwhelming, I think. So much to "process". So many choices, so many decisions to make, all in one day. So, I took her free turban, thank you very much, and her brochures and catalog, and papers to fill out so my insurance would pay for the "cranial prosthesis", and walked to the car. I am not in denial, folks, just trying to take it all in! I mean, I am not used to having to make these kind of decisions at all, much less, feeling like I need to make these decisions against some imaginary clock. So, we have a small wig store in Farmington, called "Incognito". So, I looked up their web page, (yes they have one), and read about the owner, and thought, ok, I can go there and look at what she has. It is small, no crowds, and I can be incognito, teehee, as I try and grasp the fact that I will eventually look like Yoda. After a morning of working cows, getting up our bull into the catch pen, so we can sell him to our neighbor, my son and grandson stopping by, Keith came in and said, "You want to ride to town with me? We need gas in all the jugs, you don't have to get out of the truck, just go for a ride." So, I rode to town with my hubby. Once the jugs were all full, he looked at me and said, do you want to run by that wig place and just look?" I said, sure, let's go. So, we made our way to downtown Farmington, found the place, and parked the truck. Inside the store, there were walls and walls of fake hair. Everything from hair clips with hair attached, to full fledged wigs. Short spiky hair, long straight hair, short curly, long curly, geez, every shade imaginable. The owner was in a little side room styling the hair of an older woman sitting in a hair stylist's chair. Her daughter came out and said, you may try on any of these if you would like, help yourself. Keith picked out one and said, here, baby, try this one. I did, it looked like I just flopped someone else's hair on my head, LOL! We did that two or three times, just laughing and playing. In the meantime, the owner was finishing up with the lady she was working on, checked her out, and then came to join our party. She said, how about if I play awhile!! She said, pick out a couple, and come with me. She took us into the side room, put me in her chair, put a wig cap on my head, tucked all my hair up in it, and the fun really began. She gave me her best sales pitch, about not making this about chemo, or losing my hair, or breast cancer. She said, this is about you, as a woman, being able to look how you would like to look. If you have ever thought about putting highlights in your hair, or wearing it in a totally different style, here, you can do that!! If you have ever even thought about changing your hair color, just to see how you would look, but have always been afraid to take that chance, because of, you can do that!! Have you ever wondered how you would look in really really short spiky hair?? Let's see!! So, yea, the fun really started! The trip that I was dreading, turned into a wonderful day! It truly was fun! That woman is very good at what she does. She was so very caring, comforting, sensitive, all the qualities you need to do what she does. She admitted most of her customers were cancer patients, but not all of them. She said, some are just wild, spunky people who like to look different sometimes! I feel certain I will go back to her shop many times. The wig we finally decided on, was just a little over $100. Ouch, yea, but think of the money I am going to save on hairspray!! LOL! I have to turn in the receipt to my insurance carrier, which just happens to be medicare. I am not even sure they cover expense of a wig, but my oncologist said, give it a try. So, they gave me the prescription, and I have the forms, so I will send it all in, and wait and see. In the meantime, I can have instant "good hair day"! I don't mind sharing that the whole looking like I just left the beauty shop, everyday, is not really my comfort zone, but I guess I can get used to that. You know me, sometimes I curl my hair, sometimes I just sorta brush it through, and it is somewhat curled. Aren't we all like that? Some days we are dressed "fit to kill", and others, well, jeans and tennis shoes, and our everyday look. Ok, Ok, maybe not Lois, but the rest of us, teehee!! JUST KIDDING!!! I LOVE YOU SIS!! Well, I'm not kidding about the looking "fit to kill" about Lois. She is my sister, and she goes all out everyday of her life. She looks great everyday!!!! And I admit, when she is here, I try and "step up my game". I will wear an extra necklace, or maybe a bracelet or two, and even wear something besides tennis shoes. LOL! Just so I can try and look half as beautiful as my sister, who is several years younger than me to start with! I still have such precious memories of our last sister retreat in Colorado. Where her and Beck both went to work on me. They had my hair so spiked, and styled different, that it was hilarious!! They were telling me I always wore my hair in "old lady" styles, and they were gonna fix that. I left it that way to fly home, and as I was walking through the airport in Missouri, I had forgotten what they had done to my hair, and therefore, my whole appearance. Until Keith saw me! He went "what in the world have you done!! I mean, you look great, don't get me wrong, just......different!" He then reached up to touch it and said, "Ouch!! Wow! Your hair is ...hard!!" We laughed, and I still laugh to this day. Precious memories...... I love my sisters. I feel so blessed that we have such a close relationship. I used to take that for granted, just enjoyed it. Not any more. I treasure it. Of course, my whole outlook on life has changed slightly. It started in February of 2007, this change in perspective. How quickly the things in our lives that seem so important, can suddenly be just clutter, not important at all when compared to the truly important things. Funny how perspective is always being affected by outside influences. Like this blog, for instance. For the year after I lost my daddy, I used it to "vent". I never really cared what I said, or how I said it, because it was private, nobody even knew it existed. Now, I have made it public, and now, I am more careful with what I say, and how I say it because I know others will read it. Hmmmmm. But, I am going to try and keep it just as I started it. It will not always be about my cancer walk. Sometimes, it will be about my walk in this world that is so very much involved with Alzheimer's disease. My mom has had memory issues for several years. My dad just covered for her. We all saw it. But it wasn't that big of a deal, daddy was there. Daddy used to say "it is very much related to her stress level or how tired she is". So, even back then, we all knew the rules. Daddy made his decisions on where to go, how long to stay, etc., based on mom. If he let mom make those decisions, then his life was easier, if you get my drift. If he kept how this would affect mom in mind, they could still go and do, but their travel got more and more limited. They never missed their Florida Timeshare though. That, was part of mom's routine. They had been going there for so many years, that to mess with that, would have been messing with her routine. But even that, he would say, their first few days down there, mom was more forgetful, because she was tired. But he would give her a few days, and then she would be wanting to go here and eat, or go there and eat. But, the point I am trying to make is, he let momma decide when she was up to this or that. And that made momma maintain that sense of normal, that sense that she was ok. We knew she wasn't "ok" totally, but it was more important for her health, for her to "feel" ok. Fast forward to now. Daddy has been gone now for over a year. Yes, it was a year in December. There were those who, the day of the funeral, and several days after the funeral, felt like mom couldn't live alone. Lots of hurtful things were said by all of us to each other. The motivation was the same in all of us, regardless of what we said, or how we said it, or who we said it to. We love momma. We all had very different plans of how to carry out daddy's wishes of "taking care of your momma". But regardless of our motivations, or our plans, or our intentions, momma is still very much a force to be reckoned with. I would like to share daddy's very own words, when talking to me about momma. "You need to try and make it your momma's ideas, anytime you have something in mind to do. There is a thin line between helping your momma, and taking away her independence. Trust me, if you push her, if she begins to feel that you are trying to take away her independence, she will dig in her heals, and you will have a fight on your hands." Man, the wisdom in his words. It still makes me smile, as I think of all the times he tried to get her to do something, and could not get it done. Momma is a spitfire! I am gonna go out on a limb here and share some of my life with my momma since daddy, the peacemaker, is gone. It has been an inside family joke for quite some time, that daddy was the peace maker, and momma was the trouble maker. LOL! It's the truth!! Daddy would pick his battles. Some were worth "fighting" momma about, and some weren't. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying my mom and dad fought all the time or ever, for that matter. They didn't "fight" like you are thinking, but they did disagree from time to time about what to do, how to do it, when to do it, or where to do it. Daddy had to convince momma they needed to pay the extra $30 or so, back when he wanted DSL! Momma doesn't compute, and she didn't understand anything about computing, and certainly didn't understand why he needed "faster" Internet. She didn't understand why he needed Internet at all, much less understand how or why it could be faster. I remember when I was putting all their banking stuff on my computer, so I could do their end of the year tax stuff, and daddy was trying to explain all that to momma. Daddy told her, "she is putting it in her computer", "well, how are we gonna get it out of her computer?" "she can print us a copy", "why do we want a copy, when we have the originals?" Trust me, she has come along way today, since then, in her understanding of computers and Internet. She still doesn't compute, but at least now she knows, you can get email, talk to people live, etc. Since momma has been adamant about staying in her home, I have resorted to calling her everyday, twice a day. I go and stay with her at least once a week. Sometimes more, but always at least once a week. She has very good neighbors, Lloyd and Ada, that check in on her often. Ada will take her some of whatever she is cooking, be it soup, or cookies on a regular basis. God is so good to have put momma in that subdivision, surrounded by such wonderful caring neighbors. If you walk across the yard straight out from her garage, she can walk to her other neighbor, that is a member of Herky church. Mrs. Harvey has, in the summer, walked across the yard and visited with mom as she sits in her swing. At least once a week, momma will drive down the hill to visit with Ms. Annie, at the assisted living/retirement home. And has, many times, informed me, that when it gets to that point, that is where she wants to go. Mom is still driving, when she wants to. She will not go out at night, or if it's raining, but if it is a pretty day, she will occasionally drive somewhere. Mom knows she has memory issues, and therefore, right now, is still very careful about what she does. I know that there will come a time when that ability to decide if it is safe or not will no longer be there, but right now, it is. And I am grateful for it. I will try to allow my momma to maintain her independence as long as she can. Which means, as some of you know very well, that does allow for the fact that at some point, momma may fall and hurt herself, or worse. But God has not given us a spirit of fear. We all are in God's hands, daily. Some of us live a more dangerous lifestyle than others. With some of us, there is a constant danger, daily, of us getting hurt some way or another. Yet, we don't NOT drive a motorcycle. We don't NOT drive on the interstate. We don't NOT race horses as fast as we can. We don't let the fear of the unknown stop us from living our lives. We trust God, we pray for safety, and we live. A friend of ours had their house burn down Friday night. It is so sad. But they got out safely, no one was hurt, other than broken glass in bare feet, as they scrambled to get out. Things happen. We don't understand them, or why, but they do. We still went to bed, with a fire in our wood stove last nite. There is nothing we can do in this world, that will guarantee us that no harm will come to us or our loved ones......ever. If something happens to my momma, it will not be our fault, because we didn't contact somebody to come into her home daily and check on her. If momma decides she doesn't want to cook, or make a mess in the kitchen, so she just eats cereal all the time, that is not our fault either. We all have regrets in our lives. I regret now, to this day, that I didn't have a video camera on my daddy every time he began to preach to us in the hospital room, so that I would forever be able to share that wisdom with my kids and grand kids. My sister Beck, says she regrets that she didn't take a notebook, and ask him, "what do I do when this happens with my teenagers? What should I do when they do this, or that?" So, that, in the future, we could grab the notebook, and still have some of daddy's wisdom to look to. We just want daddy back, with all his laughter, all his wisdom, all his quick witted comments. We miss him soooo much it hurts. But we can't change things. What is that little saying? God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. That is pretty much where we are with momma. Wisdom to know the difference. Until the Lord lays it upon my heart to do something different, mom will stay right where she is as long as she wants it that way. Today, right now, I am at peace with that decision. It is a daily battle not to let Satan, the Father of Lies, whisper fear and doubt into my mind. It is way too easy to have a melt down, worry about momma, and then think, I can fix that, I'll take control, make decisions, that way I won't have to worry about her anymore. But in my heart, I know, that if God does not protect her, we labor in vain. These days, it is relatively easy to keep momma happy. And when momma is happy, everybody is happy. We all have told our kids that from time to time....if momma ain't happy, nobody is happy. If I had not told momma of the breast cancer, she would not have had a melt down, crying for several days, not putting on makeup, not fixing her hair, not even getting dressed out of her housecoat and gown! She would just be sitting in her chair, watching Murder She Wrote, circling words in her word book, and all would be well with momma's world. Which in turn, would carry over into my world, my sisters' worlds, etc. Everyone that lives here, knows how momma is, knows about her "memory issues", and knows the rules. I knew for a while about the breast cancer, and so did lots and lots of people at church. But no one told momma. No one talked about it around momma. They knew. But, just in case, others in the community, like the banker, or checker at Wal-Mart, or whoever, might mention it to mom, I told her. She seemed fine with it, when I told her, and she was for several days after that. I don't even know when the crying started. I don't know if someone talked to her about me, something they said, convinced momma I was dying?? Maybe it was my voice, after the chemo?? I don't even know, but something made her snap. It sent her to a different place in her mind, a pit of depression, that was scary. The chemo did knock me down for a few days, but once I got up, began to move around, my energy came back, and I felt totally normal. I packed a bag, drove to moms, and spent 3 days with her. My main mission was to prove to her that I was fine, I was normal. My voice is normal, my energy is normal, NORMAL. But it was a job, let me tell you. Although, she wasn't crying anymore, she was for sure in lock-down mode. During my time of being "down and out", others had tried to convince her that the best thing to do was to pack up and go to Beck's in Colorado. And apparently, in the trying to convince momma, they had pushed momma past her point of no return. She came out fighting!! No one is going to tell her what to do! No one is going to make her decisions for her! Whoa... OK, momma, just calm down. So, in that 3 days, I let momma make the decisions. I went up on Wednesday. Our dear friend, Bro. Freddie's funeral was Thursday at 1pm, in P'ville, 2 hours from mom's...south. I sat down, and asked mom, when are we going? You want to go this afternoon? tonight? in the morning? Because it doesn't matter to me one way or another. Mom decided, we would go in the morning. As I began to just be there, she was able to see me be normal, therefore, relieving that stress from her. I let her make all the decisions, therefore, she felt empowered again, making decisions again, therefore relieving that stress from her. But I truly did, slowly begin to see momma get more relaxed and begin to calm down. But, I am telling you, it was a job. Even, when I knew the decision wasn't quite the best, or better on time or, whatever. I let her make it. When we left the burial of our dear friend, it was on a small two lane road, hwy 25, Bloomfield MO. According to the map, we could go south, for about 5 miles, then get on a major interstate, and make better time going north back home. But, according to momma, it just didn't make sense to go south, at all, when this map shows this road will come out up around Jackson/Cape Girardeau! So, yep, you guessed it. Picking the battles. I turned left, and we traveled hwy 25, through farm country, sight seeing! The sun was shining, I was on a road trip with my momma! But I decided, at that moment, it was more important to my momma, that she make a decision, and for me to make it look like a good decision!!! A smart decision!! I stayed with her that night, when we got back. Friday morning, we ate breakfast, we watched some TV, and then we got up and got dressed, and went out to do some running. Again, she decided where we went first, second, and third. She would tell me, get in this lane, turn here and you will miss all the lights up there. She was doing fine. Until, at the bank where daddy had a safety deposit box for all the important papers. Momma had gotten some notice that it was $30 for the year, and it was time to renew. While I was over talking to the teller, doing my business, I noticed momma talking to the lady about the safety deposit box. I could hear momma saying, I just need to get in there, get that stuff out of there, I am going to just take it home, and close out this box, what do I need to sign? I looked back around to the teller, who was counting out my cash back, and she said, "do I need to count it again?" She had noticed I was more than a bit distracted, and not paying attention to her counting my cash back, LOL! I said, just put it in the envelope, give it here, I need to go see what is going on over there! So, I joined momma, as she was empting her purse on the ladie's desk, looking for her key to the safety deposit box. "Deb, do you have a key, where is my key?" I said, momma it is on your key ring, for your car keys. I could tell mom was flustered, and therefore, repeating herself alot, and in front of everybody, she was losing it. The bank lady kept looking at me, and with my eyes, I was saying, it's ok, do whatever momma wants. Momma found her keys, and signed the paper, and into the vault we went. I tried to tell her as gently as I could, how important it was to leave these papers here, in a bank, safe. These were important papers, deeds, original copy of the trust, etc. She said, in a very stern voice...."Debra Faye, your daddy is not here, I am. I don't see any need in keeping these here, I can put them in my office and they will be fine and that is exactly what I am going to do." She turned and marched out. I closed the box, took out her key, and followed her over to the bank lady's desk. Momma signed the exit paper, and put her key in her purse. I said, momma, if you are closing this out, then you need to give her your key, you can't keep their key. She tossed/threw the keys to me, and said, take it off of there. I took the key off! I then asked the bank lady, is there any way I can keep that box? She looked down and said, why yes, your name is on here as well. I said, I would like to keep it please, and bring up my stuff and put it in there. She said that will be fine. So, we said our goodbyes, thanked them for their help, and momma and I exited the bank. She put the package in her lap and we drove from there to the next place on the stops for the day. When she got out, she laid that package in the floor and closed the door. I waited in the car while mom went into State Farm, alone to do her business. As we were driving away, towards the next stop, Eagle Bank, mom said, Deb, I can't remember where the bank is, I know where it is, I just can't remember right now. Tell me where it is. I said, momma, it is right down here at the bottom of the hill, you will remember as soon as we get to the stop sign, just relax. What are you stressed about? You know it gets worse when you are stressed, what are you stressed about? She said, I remember! Turn left!! I said, see, when you calm down, you can do it. I again, said, momma, did I upset you in the bank just now? Are you upset with me, did I make you mad at the bank? She said, no, I think I am just worried about doing the right thing. (Bam! it was bothering her. She did it, just because she could. She was making a stand. Not because she thought it was the right thing, just because she was making her own decisions and now she was having second thoughts.) We pulled into the parking lot, I locked my car, and followed her into the next place. While we were standing in line, momma saw someone she knew, so they came over to talk to mom while mom was in line. My phone rang, so I told mom I would wait for her outside, and I walked outside. As I walked to the car, talking to Keith, I sat down in the car to wait for mom. My gaze fell upon the package from the lock box. Instantly, a plan began to form. I picked up the package, and laid it in the back seat. If mom asks me about it, I'll tell her the windows are tinted, and people can't see the back seat, but they could look in and see that package laying on the front seat and we have several stops to make. She came walking out of the bank, walked to my car, got in and we pulled away. She didn't mention the package. From there we went to Wal-Mart for mom's list of groceries. We parked, went in, and began to make our way around the store. I basically just followed mom around. As we were looking for toothpaste, she said, where is the toothpaste, do you know? She was only about one aisle over, but I said, this is your Wal-Mart mom, not mine. Mom quickly saw a blue shirted employee, and said, excuse me, where is the toothpaste? The lady said, next aisle over. Mom thanked her, and wheeled into the next aisle. She said, you stand here by my purse, I'll get the toothpaste. Yes mam. As we made our way towards the grocery side, we passed the coffee. I said, mom, here's the coffee, isn't coffee on your list? She looked at her list, looked at the coffee, said, yes, but I don't want that kind. Okay, I didn't say anything. Just thought, mom, it's Folger's, the same kind of coffee you have been buying for 30 years. But, remember, she is still in the mode of "I'll decide what I want, not you". After we did that a couple more times, about the lunch meat, the cheese, I finally said, mom, I have to go to the bathroom, I think I'll just wait up there by the check out. She said, yea, just wait up there for me by the check out. So, I walked away, and waited up there on the bench by the check outs. Pretty soon, here came mom, and there in her cart, was her Folger's coffee, her lunchmeat, her cheese. What was different? She had decided that is what she wanted, without my help, thank you very much. We checked out, put it in the car, and drove towards her home. We were done with our errands. We talked of weather and sunshine. Once home, we unloaded the groceries. After putting the groceries away, I sat down, and we just chatted about the different things we had done the last 3 days, Mrs. T being a widow like her now, my sister, Beck and her family, just talking. Letting mom lead the conversation. Occasionally, when she got stuck on negative stuff, I would try and change the subject and take it a different direction. After about an hour or so, I said, mom, I need to go, it is already 3:30, and I need to head home. I gave my momma a hug, and left her sitting in her chair, watching the game show channel. When I got in the car, I drove straight back to the bank, and walked in with the package. The bank lady smiled, and said, I knew you would be back with that. I said, well, I didn't know that!! But it worked out, so here I am. I followed her to the vault, put in the key, put the package back in the lock box, and left. That night, when I called my momma, she said, "I keep thinking I left something in your car, but I can't remember what it is now, I'll think of it later." I said, "momma, I think the kids brought everything in, but I'll look in the morning." The next morning, I called her and she said, "I can't find that package I got out of the lock box. Did I leave it in your car?" See, once out of what I have called the 15 minute box, she will begin to remember the events of the day. It may be the next day, but with time, she does recall. She can't tell you what she had for breakfast, or lunch, but that doesn't mean she doesn't eat. It just means she can't remember what it was or if she did. Well, I deceived my mom. When she asked me about the package, I lied to her. I said, mom, it is not in my car. You probably put it in your office. She said, where at in my office? I said, I don't know, I didn't follow you into your office, but you did carry it down the hall and went into your office. Just go in there and look in your files and your drawers. It is bothering me bad. I don't like lying. I don't like liars. I have raised my kids with the story of Ananias and Sapphira....YOU LIE, YOU DIE! But, I have been told, when dealing with alzheimer's patients, it is not considered lying. Sometimes, in order to keep them safe and healthy and happy, you must deceive them from time to time, for their own good. I do attend a Christian Alzheimer's Support Group. Therefore, I am learning how to best help my mom, in a Christian manner. I am learning how others, who are dealing with the same things I am dealing with, do it. Those in my support group, are all at different stages. People way way further down the road than mom, are still living alone, and managing. Because, a big piece of the puzzle with alz people is their perception of safety and security......their home. And it has been proven over and over, when they were removed from their home, from their security, they went to a different level of confusion, and were not able to recover. So, the ALZ Association suggests you do whatever it takes to allow them to remain in their home. Where things are familiar, routine is familiar. When mom is left alone, allowed to make her own decisions, do her own routine, she is way closer to normal. Yes, she still repeats herself over and over. Yes, she still will tell you the same story for the umpteenth time. But mom feels safe and secure. And when she feels safe and secure, when she feels she is still making her own decisions, she is more pleasant to be around. That makes it easier on me, in my efforts to help mom do what she needs done. Three months ago, when I would take mom to Wal-Mart to get her groceries, she would not have a problem with me picking up the coffee and putting it in the cart, no problem at all. She did not perceive it as a threat to her ability to make her own decisions. She did not look at everything as one more step in us trying to take away her independence. But right now, she is looking at everything through that filter. She is feeling very much like she needs to prove to everyone that she is still very much capable of making her own decisions. Which if you analyze that, means, deep down, somewhere, she is still worried about losing her independence. She is very much worried about getting to "that place" where others make all your decisions for you, whether you like it or not. And that is not a place any of us want to be. Although we all know, we all very well might end up there, unless we die instantly. But that means we are OLD!! ELDERLY! And, we all would like to put that off as long as we can. I remember when my Grandma Amy was finally at that point in her life, when she had to go to "the old folks home". She cried. It broke my daddy's heart. She wasn't mean about it, she just cried. But one day, while out on one of the home's outings they took them on, they were all in wheel chairs, lined up at the curb waiting for the bus to come pick them up and take them back to the home. Grandma Amy heard someone say something about waiting for the bus to take them back to the old folks home, and she wheeled her chair around, and moved away from the curb. Someone asked her why? what are you doing? She said, I am going to the Retirement home, not the Old Folks Home, those folks are waiting for a different bus than me. LOL! My Aunts had told her she wasn't in the Old folks Home, she lived in a retirement center, an assisted living center. That was totally different!!! She accepted that, and didn't mind being there. So, it was all in her peception of where she lived. Momma will be difficult, no doubt. But the longer we can keep her routine.........routine, and her peception of independence intact, it will be a much easier road for all of us. Any help with that, I am always open to. Oh, and just a side note, my mission next week? Get my mom to the beauty shop!! She needs a haircut really bad. She keeps saying, this is winter, you need long hair in the winter to keep warm. Hmmmmm, ok. Mom, seriously, you would look so much younger with a shorter haircut. Not to mention the ease of fixing it daily. Of course, now that I typed that, I smile, because I know what your thinking, "she ain't fixing it!!" You gotta love momma. I didn't mean for this to be sooo long, I am sorry. I just seem to have so many feelings and emotions inside me right now, I just needed to share apparently. Sometimes, when I share them with others, they are taken the wrong way. Please, don't let anything I said here today, Lord Jesus, offend anyone, or upset them, or hurt them in any way. I love my momma, and want her happy and healthy, and I may not always make the right decisions when it comes to helping her or taking care of her. Lord, please, you are always with her, even when I am not. I trust you to take care of my momma. Amen

Pray for me folks as I walk this path.