Sunday, November 16, 2008
For years I have raised not only my own kids but foster kids too. When I was orinally married it was tough and it was also tough when I became a single mother doing all the same things.
My daughter grew up going to Goodwill for our clothes shopping and even doing some Christmas shopping when she was very young. Through the roughest times, we still managed to have wonderful and fun Christmases and we learned to share with those around our little world.
Each year, since Amber was born, I have bought or made each child a new Christmas ornament and put their name and the year on the back or bottom. This tradition came to me because my first Christmas away from home was my most lonely and forlorn.
We had no money, and had just moved to a new community up in the mountains. We lived in a very small basement apartment, and had almost notfurniture. Our couch was an army cot with a large pink pillow my husbands old girlfriend made for him (fun for me). Our bed was a single mattress on the flour and we had no dining room chairs, just two yard sale bar stools.
We had no Christmas tree or ornaments or decorations at all. I made a construction Christmas tree with curled paper for the branches. It was 1 and 1/2 feet tall and I cut out pieces of some old wrapping paper I'd kept, into stars and lamenated them with clear sticky shelf paper.
My new husband at the time had to work all Christmas day and I was alone, sitting infront of my little tree and I cried. Coming from a large family (I was the oldest of 7) I was used to lots of commotion, people and excitment surrounding all of the holidays. This was such a culture shock I didn't know what to do. I didn't think of calling home to my family because I didn't want to barge in and bother them during their celebration. I was under the wrong assumption that once we left home we should not bother our parents for piddley little things like being lonely.
I decided when Amber was born that none of my children would leave home without some special Christmas items to remind them of home and their childhood and so the tradition began. As each of my children and foster children reached 18 or left home or went home to their families, I gave them all the Christmas ornaments that they had been putting on the tree every year they grew up. I am still carrying on the tradition with my grown children and all the grandchildren as well.
Anyway, doing without did help me to desire to reach out to others after that, so when my children reached toddler age and on, we also made special little baskets of fruits or nuts or some other munchy and we made noodle angels that we painted gold and put on strings for ornaments. We made styrafoam popcorn stringers for our tree and construction paper chains too.
Over the years we did such things as baking bread together and pies and pumpkin bread and we made wood crafts we painted or whatever. We gave them out to relatives and to older neighbors we met, even the mean old lady that lived next door that always yelled at my kids for who knows what. My very young daughter (at that time) learned that everyone needs to be cared about and deserves to receive a gift, even grouchy ones.
The foster children I cared for enthusiastically got involved and made something special for their parents and they were so proud. I think it is very important that children learn to care about other's while they are very young and that feeling will carry on into their teen and adult lives and as parents themselves.
I had guardianship of a boy with cerebral palsey in a wheel chair and mental age of about 2 or 3. He was 17 when I got him and he lived as part of our family until he turned 21. He also got involved and did his best to paint a craft for his mother and he laughed with the glee he felt for being involved with the whole family.
My daughter, Amber, began to carry on the tradition of giving homemade love gifts with her children since they were very small. It is something they look forward to and they love bringing Grandma and Grandpa something they made especially for us. It is really true that what we give to other's will eventually come back to us in some form or fashion and what better way to see something we have begun being shared with so many other's.
Amber may post on her blog about how she and her little brownie scout troop that her 7 year old daughter is in, gathered food from family and friends and delivered it to Care and Share last week. They collected 96 pounds of canned and dry foods. They helped the workers stock the shelves while they were there. Now, her daughter Mariah wants to have her birthday party there next summer and have her friends bring food and help stock their shelves.
When taught how to love and share, children are the most selfless people on earth. Not many grownups can say they would just love to celebrate their birthday party at Care and Share working!
Yesterday Amber and I, along with her baby, Evan, went to the baby shower for her stepsister who is having her first baby in January. She decided to have it extra early since the holidays are upon us and she will be due mid January. As a first baby there is always the chance she could deliver early too, making it too close after the holidays to have a shower with a time safety margin.
She already knows it'g going to be a boy so everyone knew what kinds of things to buy. Amber made a very warm baby blanket for her and I pitched in with the material. Her own kids all have one and they still use them all the time since they are really nice and big. Here it is below. the back has teddy bears and the front has fire engines and police cars etc. so it should be good for many years.
Today I had my granddaughter and neice, both close to the same age, and we went to the western 'Ghost Town' museum here in town. We had a great time. They especially loved the old western jail with a jailbird included.
The stage coaches and first motorized cars were so cool.
They saw a mercantile with the types of things people could buy back in the 1800's and there were no racks of cute clothes or shelves of games and toys or anything especially colorful but it was definitely a peek into a past they just couldn't imagine. I took several pictures of our fun.
There was even a bent mirror that made them look especially tall or extra short and they even got to pan for gold.
Well, last but not least, news about David that everyone has been so loving to think about and pray for. He chose to skip the PET scan appointment and said he didn't want to know. Actually he does but he is afraid they might say it's not all gone and they would have to do it again. He doesn't always think past today and when he is emotionally caught up in other issues he can't face this too. Not the wisest choice but he's 18 and want's us all to know that.
I am hoping and prayers are still needed that he will see the wisdom in getting this taken care of even if he does have to do the chemo one more time to be sure it's all gone. He still hasn't grasped the reality and the seriousness of his situation but I hope he will not let time pass much longer and will try to resolve all the effort that has been put into his getting well. He is so lucky so far and just doesn't get it yet, so please keep remembering him until he get's back to the doctor.
p.s. My husband, my brother with his 3 boys and my father, all went rabbit hunting today and got nothing. Are they bad hunter's or where have all the bunnies gone? At least they took their fishing poles and tossed their lines in the river and resevoir awhile too but not much luck there either.
I think those guys just go out there and sit around a little fire and roast hotdogs and tell tall stories all day. I may have to go along and make sure they are doing their duty out there. I told my husband I wanted some hosenfeffer for supper but nothing but an old beaver head skull did he find. The grandson liked that though.
Moral of the story? The more hunter's you send out, the less likely they will hunt!! Ha!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My hunter came back home last week safe and sound and nary a rack in sight. Of course he didn't have a license this year since he didn't get lucky in the state draw, but never the less he did see some deer. My dad did get a buck after all, so at least someone will have some good eatin meat on their table. Maybe we'll be more lucky next year.
Halloween candy still permeates my house and in fact I'm munching on some of those sour little things I love right now. I sure don't need them, but since they're sitting right here by my computer...(don't know how that happened), I might as well enjoy them until I'm all puckered up. Maybe then I'll go find my hunting hubby and see if he can pucker too!
I thought it would slow down once the weather cooled but not so. Between trips to Denver for my son's chemo treatments, my own doctor appointments, hunting season on top of Halloween and playing with the grandkids then of course walking Myrtle at the park, I've been pretty busy. That's not counting taking my car in for a new starter and then for a door replacement after a lady backed into it, and writting some more for my book.
I have also been creating some word puzzles for all my grandkids and young neices and nephews for Christmas. Then there's cooking for my love, and trying not to over do myself to boot. I haven't done any painting since last spring, but I plan to start that again too. It's hard to keep balance in my life but that's how I've always thrived in the past. I don't let things keep me down any longer than I can help it and I can't help but look for more to do than I can actually do.
Even as I am writing this, I'm still not doing enough. See how Myrtle looks so dejected?
That's because she brought me her ball to play a few minutes ago and I told her I would play with her later. Now doesn't that sound just like all us mother's and father's when our little one's come along and want to play?
You will be happy to know that I took a break to play with Myrtle just now so she knows that even she is important enough for me to put what I'm doing down and spend a little time with just her.
I guess that can be my main point tonight. It's not how much we do or accomplish, it's who we spend our time with and how we do it. Do we rush our time with our loved ones or do it with half our attention? Are we invested in our relationships with other people and especially our children enough to pull away from our own hustle and bustle to really see them and hear them and hug them, and play with them? That can go for our husbands and wives just as much.
As the holiday season get's going, how are you going to be sure you have enough time to spend with those you love most? I know I will definitely have to cut out some of the busyness and even fun projects that can run my life if I let it.
Since I have been so ill, and even before things got really bad, I had to learn how to say no to things. Things someone else asked me to do or things I put on myself when I did what comes naturally to me, and that's to over schedule my time and energy.
I am hoping for a peaceful holiday season sprinkled with enough energy to have fun with those I love. I wish the same for you!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Well, sort of anyway. He went hunting for the weekend and will be back on Monday. Unfortunately he didn't get a buck or elk license this year but goes for moral support and cooking and just to be part of it.
Hightailing it for the hills
All of my family has hunted for many years and in fact the place they are hunting at right now is where my Dad and his Dad and brother's have hunted continuously for almost 50 years. I used to hunt but of course I can't now so I'm glad my husband get's to go and hang out with the other guys.
Our family has always used the buddy system so no one has to go up hunting by themselves. The unlicensed people go with the rest for fun and for safety. It has been used for good several times when someone has been injured or has become sick.
Several years ago, my husband and my dad were hiking along the hills when Dad became very tired and lethargic. His limbs were heavy and he just couldn't go on. His lips and hands began to feel numb and tingly too. He was about 70 at the time and is like a mountain goat when it comes to hiking in the hills but this time he was in trouble. My husband left him on the hill and hightailed it back to camp for the truck. He picked Dad up shortly near the trail where Dad managed to climb down to and waited on a rock. Rick and my brother's loaded up camp double time and headed back to town with Dad.
He has had 2 previous heart attacks and has some stints in his artery's so they were worried it was his heart. When they got back to town and got him checked out they eventually found out it was a reaction to a new medication the doctor gave him just before leaving for hunting. Once he quit taking it he cleared up in a day or so thankfully.
Dad is 76 this year and doing quite well and is having a great time. This morning he was the only one that got lined up with a buck and he almost got a five point. (In Colorado when we say a 5 point, we mean the buck had 5 points on each side, not altogether).
Now for the holiday of the month. Halloween!
What a beautiful Halloween we all had in Colorado. The weather was perfect and I looked forward to having kids come by for treats knowing that they weren't freezing or bundled up in coats and gloves over their costumes. It was great to have all of our grandkids come by for something special from Grandma and Grandpa. I even took the time to make a bunch of homemade popcorn balls and some caramel covered apples for them.
I was a little surprised that we didn't have more trick or treaters come by, not even the teenagers that invariably come looking for something sweet. Even with good weather I guess most kids go to family or friends parties or go to the spook houses that are so much fun. I loaded all the kids down with a toy, a handful of candy and a home made popcorn ball on a stick.
One of the scary items I had for kids to feel in a pot!
For the older kids and preteens I had a pot inside of a black bag. Inside were some items that felt like eyeballs, liver, and a brain. they loved it and I supplied hand wipes for clean up. I think most kids like to be grossed out and maybe even a tiny bit scared, which is what makes Halloween so fun. I don't believe that having fun in this way is somehow going to bring evil into a childs mind. I always did however forbid my kids to wear witchy or devil type costumes and had them choose fun or funny costumes. We usually made them up at home anyway.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My sister shared with me this cute award. Thank you! To claim my fabulous prize of four cyber coffee cups full of mysterious liquid, (I'm hoping mine is hotchocolate)I must answer the following questions and provide links to my unsuspecting victims:
1. Do you have the same friends since childhood? No. I did keep in touch with 2 for years, but I haven't been in contact for years now. I would like to again sometime though. I have a few really special ones that I've known for 20+ years now.
2. What do you value most about your friends? Being able to share good and bad experiences and feelings and knowing we will still be loved and accepted. A good ear is a special gift.
3. Are your friends your sounding boards? Many times, especially when all of our kids were still at home.
4. What is your favorite activity to share with your friends? Phone talk and getting out to eat a bite and just see each other. A good old ice cream sundae or bananasplit tops it off.
Since there are 4 cups of liquid, I'm keeping one for myself and passing the others along to....
1. My Daugher, Amber
2. My New blogging Mr. Friend, Putz
3. Positive thinking friend, MeMe Lorie's
who talked about coffee on her blog this week.
I am also updating on my son David's situation. I went to Denver to visit him in the hospital on Thursday as he underwent his 4th round of biochemo therapy for his stage four melanoma. Since, after the first two rounds, his body responded well to the chemo and the cancer was greatly reduced and in fact gone from his lung, the doctor's have had positive hope that this will actually beat the cancer. We won't know for a few more weeks yet, after they do another PET scan to see if it is all gone. I sure hope so. They usually never do more than four rounds since it is so hard on a person's body, but if there is a need and it will finish off any little bit left, the doctor could opt to do a 5th and final round. My prayer is that this 4th one will do the trick and it will all be over for David so he can get on with his young 18 year old life.
Thank you all who have kept him and our family in your prayers because I know it has helped. I will update again after the PET scan report is in. Thanks again!
Well, I'll be checking out my blogging friends sites and keeping in touch soon. Enjoy your Day because it is a gift to you and you are a gift to those who love you!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
(I'll stop when I'm tired and finish another time)
1. Mother of Many; I bore 2 (one died at 22 months, adopted 3, had guardianship of 3, fostered many and did childcare for years, took in 3 other teens (one my kids friend, one run-away, one cousin, oh and one other adult friend)
2. positive thinker; there's power in being positive in all things
Cottonwood Pass, Colo.
3. I love camping, fishing, hunting, outdoors and travel
4. I enjoy all animals, including nonvenimous snakes
5. I don't like conflict; I'm usually a peacekeeper
6. I have artistic ability; I can draw, paint, do crafts, photography, sewing (I sewed both my wedding dresses and have made several wedding veils for others. I used to be a seamstress at a drycleaners store
7. I like word and number's and other types of puzzles and I create crossword and word search puzzles for family and friends
Some of my favorite people:
8. I am currently writing a novel about 2 girls, growing up in parrallel lives, living real life issues past and present
9. I love to read
10. My favorite authors are: Catherine Coulter, James Patterson, Robin Cook, Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, John Grisham and of course Louis L'Amour and I've read every one of his
11. I love movies
12. My favorite movies are: Posideon Adventure, Sound of Music, The Notebook, Lonesome Dove, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss and other romantic comedys
13. My favorite place: high mountain trails by streams and ponds
Elevenmile Resevoir, Colo.
14. My favorite vacation destination: Cancun and Jamaica (been both places and loved it)
15. I don't like politics or politicians. But I am watching this race closely and hoping for stability and safety for our society here and in foreign affairs. We can't afford to pussyfoot around with terrorists. We will recover from the financial issues but it will take time and belt tightening for all (hey, maybe I'll lose a few pounds??ha :)
16.My favorite color: a mixture of mauvey pink, steel grey blues, and soft lavenders
17. Favorite food: Mexican - 'hands down!'
18. Favorite icecream: sudae with LOTS of hot fudge, strawberries and nuts. No whipped cream or marachino cherry
19. Favorite pie: Cherry
20. I have my own strong Christian Faith. But, I can't stand religeous (taker) preachers on TV that just want our hard earned money. A lot of talk and lot's of guilt ridden listners with their arms being twisted for money. I want those preachers to offer phone number's for the poor to call and GET some of that offering money. Not just some book either, something concrete like a local assistance number or someone to follow up on the callers to see how they are doing.
Well, guess I've preached enough on that subject. I'll post another set later when I figure myself out a little more.
By the way, I went to the specialists in Denver today and had yet another echocardiogram done and it looks like the right side of my heart that has been all stretched out and hardly beating at all is finally showing a tiny bit of shrinkage and a little stronger beating function. YEA! Who knows how much more it can improve but anything is sure hopeful since it hasn't visually shown any real physical difference in 2 years. Time, rest and prayer, what a combination.
Gotta go and see you all in blogland!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Fall comes to our special pond
The heat of summer is slowly losing it's sizzle and winter ice has yet to appear. It somehow brings sighs of relief and for a moment in time we can revel in the last vestiges of green and outdoor activities.
I just returned home from a walk today at the Fountain Park near here with Myrtle, our bully dogge.
Slow ditch water along an old dusty road
We walked along a ditch, full of muddy water that flowed along an old dusty road, shaded by large cotton woods and Elms.
An inviting perch to watch time flow slowly by
It was like a step back in time, when life was so much simpler and kids and adults alike were familiar with walking along in the heat and warm breezes and letting their minds wander and wonder.
I felt like I had stepped through a portal, back and away from the hustle and stresses of big city life.
My Portal into a simpler time
Away from our nations Wall street financial woes and from the worry of what is to happen in our lives in the next few years. Everything fell away for awhile and even though I carried an oxygen bottle on my back and I heard the familiar 'swihffft' sound with each breath I took, I felt the freedom even from my health issues and those of my son.
Myrtle and I walked totally alone for quite awhile, and then we suddenly saw a large, bushy, white feather or fluffy cattail waving along on the other side of the ditch in the tall grasses. Then as I paused and followed it with my eyes, it suddenly stopped and turned back and looked at me.
White Tailed deer watching us watch them
It was a white tailed deer with it's friends, curiously checking us out as we did them. I didn't even know white tailed deer were in Colorado, unless they've been transplanted. We have mule deer here, so I was not expecting to see a very large fluffy tailed deer prancing around our trails. I tried to get a picture but it was difficult, untangling it from my shoulder and removing the cap. The deer waited paitiently for me to get my camera open and on and almost focused, and then it suddenly took off. It was a nice surprise and made the walk even more enjoyable.
Ivy with berries and leaves
turning maroon colors
I enjoyed a big sigh, on our walk, from the stresses at home and I heartily encourage everyone to find an opportunity to get out away and as alone as possible to gulp in some of God's most beautiful handy work. It doesn't even matter if you are in the mountains, or on the plains or on the beach. Just breathe in the air and the sounds of nature and I hope you see some of the wildlife in your area while you walk or sit still. It is there, we just have to wait and listen and watch.
Roses cool and refreshed in my front yard today
That reminds me of some of the messages I grew up with in church. When we want peace in our lives, just find a quiet place and wait and listen and we will hear God speak to us in some way. Maybe we have woes and want his help, but many times it is good just to wait for him to offer us his peace. Then our problems will work themselves out because we will learn to step back and let him (God) do his part so we won't feel like we have to do it all ourselves.
Last new roses shading old fallen petals
One thing about that time alone in the outdoors... I like to think of someone who isn't able to get out there on their own, like I was, maybe friends or family that can't drive, or walk by themselves. Maybe they are in a wheelchair or on oxygen or whatever.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone took the time to take them out somewhere and let them experience what they probably haven't in years?
Fields of the last sunflowers of summer
I remember looking out my hospital windows when I spent three months there and other times for a month or weeks at a time and seeing people coming and going and wishing I could be there too.
I felt like I had been there forever and I doubted I would ever be out there in the 'real' world again. The four walls around me were all that I knew and the air conditioned air just didn't compare to nature's own air conditioning and cleaning system (the wind). I felt like a prisoner and even though the doors weren't locked, they might as well have been because for a time I couldn't walk or even stand up from weakness and 'drop foot' which required many many hours of physical therapy to learn how to walk again and to strengthen my legs and feet. I couldn't do even the most basic self care needs for myself. I was a prisoner of my weakened body.
Autumn still gives life and reaches for the sunshine
During my longest stay in the hospital, my youngest brother came with his four lively and beautiful children one day and they got me in a wheelchair and took off with me. We left the hospital, into the sunshine. I felt like an excapee from prison. He wheeled me across the street into a park and out onto the bumpy grass. The kids ran and played and I turned my face to the sun and breathed in the fresh air. What a joy! I was too weak to do anything but watch but it was the best day of my stay. My nephews took turns pushing me on the sidewalk and eventually along the hospital hallways and back to my room. That was the best gift anyone could have given me.
When I couldn't excape, my grandchildren loved to take turns pushing me or riding in my lap in the wheelchair. Children don't know it's not cool to ride in a wheelchair until someone tells them or other kids make fun. What a blessing children can be.
Later on, I got a pass and my husband absconded with me and we went to a resturant to meet more family member's for my first meal outside the hospital. My family were wonderful and I think it was the first time any of us thought I might actually get better. I could barely eat, but the excitement of eating at a table out in the 'real' world was so new and so wonderful I just wanted to fully experience it all.
October sunshine on a summer rose
I feel like this rose. I may be in the October of my life but summer's sunshine still feeds my body and especially my soul.
I have had a special heart for the elderly ever since I was a teenager. As a young mother, I enjoyed taking elderly relatives with me and my small children on picnics or rides in the nearby hills or even just to my house to make Christmas cookies. What a relief it was for them to be out of the house and with children again. I loved my time with them and felt so close to each of them. I feel I was so richly blessed by knowing them and my children loved the gentle and special relationship they had with elderly relatives.
Sunlight through leaves along the trail
These were thick along the trail we walked last week, usually considered weeks, but beautiful when in flower
Ever wonder what a mountain man in training might look like? This is my nephew trying on my brothers new animal skins he cured himself. (As hunter's, we have our own sense of humor)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
That is until Myrtle decided to take her for a ride...
Grace making chocolate chip cookies
Mariah taking her turn to stir
Time for beddy bye little bears
The girls had a sleep over and made some chocolate chip cookies. They played all evening and then carefully put some stuffed bears to bed. Hoping that they wouldn't have to follow suit too soon, I'm sure. They hoped their cousin, Savanah could join them but she was sick, so maybe next time.
Now, for the GOOD NEWS!
In Denver this morning, David had a PET scan done to check on his melanoma. Afterwards we had a consultation with his Doctor. The verdict was that the biochemotherapy is actually working! The spots in his lung are completely gone and the areas in his neck and the lymph nodes there are much smaller.
David and his birth brother Bill at Balancing rock in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs this last weekend. Bill was adopted by his grandma (who also adopted both boys birth dad) and we adopted David. We have kept an open adoption in regards to his brother, so this was a good weekend visit for them to get to know each other more.
The Doctor said that they have a real chance of curing this for him which is FANTASTIC news!! I was very excited. I don't think David is quite sure what to think and isn't realizing what a wonderful thing he is being given. He is not happy right now that he has to continue with more chemo and I fully understand why. But he will soon settle down and be ok once he has a chance to absorb the news today.
David and big brother Bill (note) they haven't seen each other since they were both about 5 and 6 yrs old
He will be going back up next Tuesday for another round of the biochemo therapy. It takes 5 days to administer while he's in the hospital and then 2 weeks at home for recovery. I am so
glad he has such a good chance for a cure.
Brothers again at last
Dr. Gonzales said that 50% of patients with stage four melanoma don't make it past 9 months and none of them make it past 5 years. When I talked to the doctor 2 weeks ago, he still gave only 10% chance that this would work and that being young and healthy wouldn't affect the outcome. Other than possibly recovering quicker after each chemo session.
David last weekend
So, this is really amazing and such extremely good news. He's not cured yet and still has a ways to go, but at least there is real hope for his full recovery. Can you believe it? Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers and please keep them coming.