Monday, November 2, 2009

Changes and then some.....

This last year has been eventful to say the least. I feel the need to write down the major events of the last 15 months. It's almost hard to believe the changes that have occurred in our lives.

It began August 5, 2008 when Edd's doctor's appointment revealed colon cancer. We were in a daze as we considered all the implications of this news. At this time we weren't even living in the same city together. We knew that needed to change quickly. Soon after that life-altering news I was laid off from my job. There were months of radiation, chemotherapy, major surgeries, infections, long hospital stays. After surgery more chemo for six months. In the midst of all this we sold a house in San Antonio, bought a home in Austin, and moved to Austin. Sold a condo in Lakeway where Edd lived before we married. We even went to Hawaii for the first time in our lives during a relatively peaceful time. Both daughters were engaged, one of Edd's sons graduated from college and another graduated from high school and began college. My life consisted of feathering our nest and striving to be a consistent source of encouragement and stability as life's changes occurred. This was no small task. The more I think about it, the more I see the deep value in working to make our house a home and being a source of consistency during an emotionally charged time.

I really hope our lives will begin to be less worrisome and more fun. In spite of all the ups and downs of the past 15 months, the buying and selling and moving, the health scares, months of recovery and healing, big life changes.... I still have a heart of contentment most of the time. There are just too many things to be thankful for. So many things... people mostly... family ... who bring me joy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Flu... and the best meal I've ever eaten....

If we have our health we really don't have too much to complain about. But we do anyway. I know I do... Edd had a work trip to Ontario this week and told me about a story that was in the news there. A 13 year old boy had died of H1N1 Swine Flu. He got the flu and was dead less than 48 hours later. The dad said his son was his best friend. The family is completely grief stricken. The dad is clearly in shock. Death from the swine flu is a rare event, but why the same strain of virus can cause mild symptoms in one healthy person and be lethal in another is a mystery. Its newness may be a factor. How very sad....

I recall my own experience with the regular flu while we lived in Germany. It was somewhere around 1995. I was never prone to illness but this time I couldn't get out of bed for two days. I felt bad that my daughters, Kristen and Jenni, had to fend for themselves although they were 9 and 11 years old. Their dad was on an assignment with the Army. I don't remember ever feeling so weak and sick. Staying in bed for me was way out of the ordinary. It just never happened.

After two days my fever broke and I was beginning to feel better. I vaguely remember the girls checking up on me while I was sick but now I was starting to become clear in my thinking again and I expressed an interest in food. It was at this time I ate the best little meal in my whole life! My thoughtful daughters went into the kitchen, heated up a can of minestrone soup, and brought it to me on a tray with some tortilla chips, a spoon and a napkin. It was so thoughtful it brought tears to my eyes and tasted better than anything I ever ate before. I will never, ever forget that meal prepared for me.

I've had many good meals since that simple one but none compare. I know it may sound silly but it's true. I've eaten at magnificent restaurants in Las Vegas and oh, ... how about III Forks here in Austin where we ate filet Mignon, magnificent off-the-cob creamed corn, duchess potatoes, superior wine, and a to-die-for dessert. Edd and I talked about that meal for a week afterwards! But no.... it doesn't compare with how good that simple little meal made me feel. The one my daughters brought to me. The one that really did seem to taste better than anything I've ever had. The one I often talk about when reminded of the best meals I've ever had in my whole life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Finding... when ceasing to seek....

Sometimes we seek and seek and seek .... and we do not find. Sometimes we find when we aren't even seeking. That's sometimes even more fun! ... and that's what happened to me over the weekend.

Some days are etched in our memories forever. These are days or moments that have made a big impact on us, and we remember details as though they happened yesterday. That's the way I feel about October 31, 2008.

It was the day I packed up my car and moved from San Antonio to Austin. A stressful day yet a fun day! Edd and I had just bought our first house together and it was my last day of work in San Antonio after getting layed off. I was on my way to officially live in our new home. Edd and I had been married over a year, but until this day we lived in separate homes and commuted to both. I was excited... and it was Halloween. We bought lots of candy. I bought a witches hat and we had dozens, probably hundreds of trick-or-treaters! Moms in the neighborhood introduced themselves and welcomed us to the neighborhood. Everyone was very friendly.

Afterwards Edd suggested we do something crazy like go down to 6th Street and see the Austin scene on Halloween night. So we did. It WAS crazy, but we had fun (won't do it again on Halloween night though!). I grabbed my contact lenses because I couldn't find my glasses, and we hurried out the door ....and... I never did see my glasses again.

I had them on when I drove into our garage upon first arriving and never left the house with them. I knew they were in our home somewhere and I often told Edd over the last year that they would turn up some day!!! I looked high and low never finding them... but held out hope they'd turn up... They had to be ... somewhere. Didn't they?

Well they appeared this last weekend! Almost a year later. I was taking out the fall decorations and lifted my witches hat from the decorations box and there they were ... tangled in the long black hair attached to that hat!! As soon as I felt something stuck in the hair the thought of my long-lost glasses popped into my head and I just knew what I had found before even seeing them! I was especially excited because the glasses I bought to replace them months ago recently broke... and I never did like them as much!

Life's Load

I can't get a story out of my head that I read in the newspaper this morning. It happened a few weeks ago, but today I read more details about it. It's about as sad and tragic a story as could be imagined and the grief experienced by the participants boggles my imagination. My heart is broken for this couple... you see, their 18-month-old son died in his car seat as his dad went to work, forgetting to drop him off at daycare that morning. It was a hot August day in Austin.

When first reading the story weeks ago, I thought, "No, way. How could this happen?... Impossible..." but as the details were revealed I now see how it happened... it was a tragic, horrific accident of the very worst kind. It's in the category of Heaviest of Life's Loads to Bear For the Rest of Your Life. The couple still have not told their family back in China this horrible reality. When the grandparents call from abroad they load DVDs of Daniel playing onto the computer and crank up the volume so the toddler's playing is heard in the background.

It made me think and continues to make me think how thankful I should be, and am for the life I have. This couple, this father, will carry this burden, this enormous burden for the rest of his life. Yes, we all have loads to carry, but some are much heavier than others. My burdens are feather light compared to this one. I can be unfortunately quick to judge, but as I read this story I was moved with compassion and felt the intense grief that this man will live with for the rest of his life. Without God there will be little hope and no peace. My best guess is that if this couple doesn't have a relationship with God now, they soon will. To survive this kind of pain and grief they will HAVE to. Burdens such as these bring death to the soul quickly unless the healing power of God is allowed to take over.

Today I will breathe deeply, look up, and thank God for the peace and hope and rest in my soul.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Plowing through life....

Today I find myself wanting to begin to touch the creative part of myself again. To express. To think. To analyze. To question. To learn.... and ultimately to grow and feel more alive. I have been shuffling along... physically... emotionally... spiritually... and I want to quicken my pace... step it up a notch or two... or three. At 48 years old I'm feeling like I need to start anew. I want to explore life and see where my passions are and pursue them. I want to matter ... and DO something that matters. I feel fulfilled... in my marriage, my home, my family (I have the most wonderful daughters on the planet) but I'm sensing a tug, that's getting stronger to pursue, reach out, expect more from myself... and not grow stagnant....

I feel as though I've been climbing uphill... a lot has happened in the last couple of months, no, couple of years.... no, 10 years.... okay yeah, my life has been slipping by. Things have occured that have zapped my strength and put me on "just put one foot in front of the other and keep on going" mode. Not so different from others I presume, but I'm feeling the desire to take better control and actually set the sails for a course. After all....

An optimist expects the wind; A pessimist complains about the wind; A realist adjusts the sails.

We'll see.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Home. Most people love the word. And what it means. And how it feels. It is where you should feel most comfortable. Most protected. Most loved. Most accepted. I can't even imagine what it would be like to not have a place to call Home. Homeless. Could there be anything worse?

I've lived in very small homes. Medium. Large. In the country. In the suburbs. I'm not sure it really matters much. What matters is who you are sharing it with. Whether there is peace and love within the walls and in the rooms. A house is just a shell. A home is entirely different. It is what you make it. It is what you give to make it full of life.

Let's face it. Life is often hard. But home is a place where we should strive to lighten the burdens of those we love. Never add to them. I've always loved the thought of home being a refuge. A place of shelter, protection and safety. A place of escape.

Home. My first home was on a dirt road in the country. On top of a hill. In the woods. Which is why I'll always have a feeling of nostalgia when walking through a wooded area. My heart is drawn to it. I'm a little girl again. Free. Without a worry in the world. With the knowledge that all will somehow be okay.

Yes, life is hard sometimes. It is unpredictable. Sometimes the rug gets pulled out from underneath us. Sometimes it's stormy outside. But I will strive to make "home" a word that will always bring comfort to myself and anyone who comes through my door.