Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas gifts

The greatest gifts of Christmas.  This year they'd be mostly intangible.  Oh, I know people say that and there are many gifts that don't have a price tag that others seem to value, but one month ago, I didn't know if I'd even be able to have a regular conversation with my husband again.  I wondered if he'd be able to walk or be able to do anything for himself.

We've been given the gift of some time.  And with time together there are lessons that I learn.  About life.  About myself.

I learn that love is often uncomfortable.  It is often hard work.  A family member of Edd's said to me over the weekend, "I am so impressed with you.  All that you do.  You've been given something you didn't sign up for."  I guess none of us really know what we are signing up for when we take those vows "till death do us part".  Do we?

I learn that some things relating to humility and innocence bring me to a weak and vulnerable place and just break my heart.  Like when I see Edd unable to do something very simple... and he's confused...  But thankfully he seems to be unconcerned and peaceful.  I'm glad of that.  I'm learning and experincing a level of compassion I didn't know existed.

We watched Meet Joe Black this afternoon.  Hoo boy.  Some scenes, especially those between Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, were hard for me to watch.  Some dialogues brought on the waterworks.

Joe Black: I don't care Bill. I love her. 
William Parrish: How perfect for you - to take whatever you want because it pleases you. That's not love. 
Joe Black: Then what is it? 
William Parrish: Some aimless infatuation which, for the moment, you feel like indulging - it's missing everything that matters. 
Joe Black: Which is what? 
William Parrish: Trust, responsibility, taking the weight for your choices and feelings, and spending the rest of your life living up to them. And above all, not hurting the object of your love. 
Joe Black: So that's what love is according to William Parrish? 
William Parrish: Multiply it by infinity, and take it to the depth of forever, and you will still have barely a glimpse of what I'm talking about. 

I was given beautifully wrapped gifts that mean a lot too.  Things I can hold in my hand.  The date book I wanted.  The angel ornaments.  The beautiful flower arrangement.  Other things I treasure because they were thoughtfully and lovingly given.  They mean a lot because of the giver's love.

As the day ends, I am luxoriously exhausted and can't wait to slip into warm PJ's and then into my comfy bed and think on the many blessings I DO have.  Life is bittersweet.  Without deep love there'd be no real grief at its loss.  I'm thankful for all the love in my life.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

christmas this year

Christmas.  What is it about anyway?  It means different things to people.  This year mine is not like those I've experienced in the past.  It's lonely. It feels cold. I feel vulnerable... fearful... and weighed down with responsibility...  sad even.  Where is the joy?

I open my Bible. The first Christmas is in there.  Somehow reading the story makes me feel less alone.  Like there have been many, millions, of people down through the ages who have felt like me.  Who have felt kind of lost.  Alone.  It makes me feel like maybe God is there. Here. With me. Immanuel.

I think of Jesus. Leaving heaven. Leaving the glory and security he had. I don't think I could have done that. I know I couldn't.  I don't like to leave places of comfort or safety or security. I don't like to feel vulnerable or scared.  But he did.  For us.  For me.  

I'll think on that this Christmas.  Try to dwell there.  Because I can't quite wrap my heart and mind around all the glitter and lights and Christmasy stuff... the packages and bows.  The merry-making and singing.   I have an emptiness that needs filling and I need to let God in.  Let him fill me.   I feel in need of a spiritual Christmas.  One where I reflect and find joy and peace in the depth and the breadth of God's love... his plan for the human race.  For me.  For my broken heart.  It certainly needs healing... and strength and courage.  I know He can do it.  He's done it before.  He can do it again. 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:8-11 ESV) 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


He filled the empty places I had. The places I didn't even realize were empty. My needs.

The need to be seen.  

The need to be loved.

The need to feel like a woman. And be wanted. Really feel wanted.

The need to be heard. And feel like someone really "got" me. Understood me. Heard me.

He was always in charge. Wanting to lend a hand.  Planning. Always planning.

The happiest times were when we did things TOGETHER.  Cooked dinner together. Went on a walk together. Had coffee together. Drank wine together. Went out to dinner together.....

I remember one wonderful dinner out he told me he used to have a recurring dream for many years before we met.    He dreamed that he was out to dinner with a wonderful woman. They were having a conversation that gave him happiness. It was fun and completely enjoyable and satisfying.  Fulfilling. He said this dream would come back to him over and over.... But he could never see the woman's face.   He always wanted a woman he could really talk to... and just enjoy BEING with.  And then he met me.

And he never had the dream again.

He looked me in the eye and said I was the his dream.

I'm glad of that.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Edd

Today is my husband's birthday. The best, brightest, most loving man I've ever known. He is true

 blue all the way through. He gave my heart peace and rest when I needed it most.  ALWAYS made

 me feel SAFE.  I am honored and happy he chose me to be his wife. I love him with all my heart


 always will. I hope you will forever feel my love Edd. Happy Birthday.

Hold onto each other.... 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Been in the hospital with Edd for over a week now.  He had seizures and his cognitive skills have been greatly effected. Though I have not the strength or will to write all the details I would like to just write some thoughts and express the depth of my heartbreak, my numbness. I am somewhat on autopilot, just doing what needs to be done. I guess that's good for now.

I walked out of Edd's hospital room last night to get another blanket and unexpectedly encountered his nurse outside the door with tears in her eyes. The hall was quiet and we talked. Even she had personal pain. She told me her mom was dying too with a type of pulmonary disease. As I expressed compassion she apologized for showing that emotion knowing I already had enough of my own problems.  I told her it was somewhat comforting to know I was not the only one with grief.  She also said there was a woman in a nearby room, like me, going through the same type of hurt... And would I like to talk with her. She said she'd also ask the woman if she'd like to talk with me.... She did... So maybe we will meet at some point.

I don't know if this is permanent, but scrambled thoughts and confusion is now the norm.  Somewhere between reality and random unrelated ideas in his mind.  The heart is still gentle though. This conversation occurred this morning.

Him: That's so nice. You're here with the captain, your baby and your husband.

Me: Huh? Who is my baby?

Him: (smile) Kristen

Me: Who is my husband?

Him: (thinking) I don't know.

Me: Edd is my husband. I'm Kathi.

Him: (smiling ...and staring at me with tears in his eyes) He's a lucky man....

Me: She is a lucky woman too.

We smiled a long time staring into each others tear-filled eyes.

This love has changed, but it is still there.

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

being a daughter

We've had lots of company during the last month.  It's been good.  But now that they've all gone home it seems extra quiet around the house.  I'm feeling a sense of peace that can only be explained by the fact that others are praying for us... for me.

Having my parents visit was extra special because I felt like a little girl again in some ways... and loved... and totally accepted.   You see, it doesn't matter how old you are.  You still need your mom and dad. 

I always feel so responsible with the need to be strong.  It was nice to be a daughter again.  I sometimes forget.  I feel like a mother often.  A wife ... for sure.  But not always a daughter.  I have the best parents in the world.

Last week I got to relish in it again though.  We had so much fun even in the midst of serious health concerns.  

Hanging out having coffee

Mom making a wonderful pork tenderloin dinner!

Jenni popped in from time to time too.

Nicky liked that!

A highlight was going to The European Bistro.  Authentic Hungarian food.  The owner, Anna, is from Hungary.   She kind of flirted with my dad, but Mom said she didn't mind.  Edd said if someone flirted with me, he'd deck him!  :-)

Dad with the Hungarian owner.

They had Bull's Blood, a Hungarian wine Dad enjoyed when visiting Hungary a few years back.

and a Hungarian white wine ... 

Freshly baked bread with a cream cheese, feta cheese and paprika spread.

The desserts were super deeelish... 

We even put up the Christmas tree though it's not decorated yet.

The week is over, but the memories are still with me.  I felt like I was nurtured.   I remembered that I am a daughter.  I remembered that I have the best parents in the world and that I am loved.

Monday, November 14, 2011

one day at a time

It's been a rough few weeks.  After the cyberknife and continual chemo Edd's side effects were brutal.  His mouth sores were over-the-top severe and others got really bad too.  So much so that we called his mom to help and she came to visit from the Houston area.  He developed a sore (hematoma) on his abdomen that got bigger and bigger, needed surgery, and is now a large wound needing care. 

Went to the oncologist this a.m. and he'll stop chemo for a while.  The wound is beginning (fingers crossed) to heal.  I am doing the wound care… told the doctor there that I could get a job with them now!  … nice people… We have encountered wonderful people all along this journey.

I know we will need to stop chemo for good eventually.  For now though we take one day at a time.  We talked today about how even though it often feels like too hard a road to travel, God has also been beside us all the way.  It is interesting the way it has changed us. In some strange way I feel as though God is molding me and making me a better person though the experience.  It is also interesting the way I can go from a strong, pragmatic, courageous, intelligent in-charge woman ....  to a fearful, weak, totally-drained little girl who wants to cry and is unsure of what to do next.  One who has lost herself in all of this.  The little girl comes out every once in a while.  Most of the time I have confidence and a "one day at a time" attitude that serves me well.... and gives both of us strength.

But when the little girl needs to come out... I let her.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I looked at fall a little differently today. I usually love to see the colored leaves and feel the cool air and I still see its beauty and richness, but today I also saw its coldness. It looked and felt lonely to me. It signaled the end of growth and new life. The opposite of spring.

Since living in the south I have probably loved fall more than ever because I welcome the end of hot oppressive summer temperatures, but fall is the transition into winter... and in many parts of the country winter can be brutal and harsh, long and frigid.

I looked at pictures of autumn and got a deeply lonely feeling. I felt a sad sort of longing. Maybe the feeling came from deep in my past memories when autumn ushered in cozy times of fireplace warmth and mugs of hot chocolate.... Or maybe the feeling was one of endings and change and moving on... which are things that have never exactly come easy to me.

But change comes. It is one thing we can always count on. Things don't stay the same. Just when you think things will always be just the way they are now life does a flip flop....autumn comes and then winter and ..... changes come ever so slowly... but surely.

So autumn seems bittersweet to me. Sort of how life has felt lately.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I can do this

Today Edd is getting his second cyberknife treatment. The doctor will zap a few more tumors in his brain.  They make it all sound like routine, these doctors, nurses and technicians, but geeze, the brain! There is nothing casual or routine about it.

Edd is acting a little bit different. A little bit ... off maybe.  A little more emotional, a little more, in his words, fragile. He really needs reassurance ... And a lot of affection and love.

I can do that. I can give that.

He has always been the strong one. He was the one in control. I need to be that now.  And I will.

This man is my hero. He is like a good soldier going off to battle day after day. Standing tall.  He endures each new thing, each new development, each new procedure like a strong warrior.

He is my hero.

My tears are not flowing at the moment. There is too much time now for caring and holding and reassuring and sharing and expressing love. So much love.

I can do this.

Friday, October 14, 2011

keeping on....

This has been quite a week.  When it was still all in front of us it seemed liked a mountain to climb and even though we are not out of the woods yet, it's clear we are moving ahead one step at a time.    

Edd got the planning scans done for the cyber knife brain radiation he will be getting next week.  It is all very amazing what doctors can do these days.  Kind of scary... ok, very scary, but also great that there are more options for people than ever before.  We have encountered people who really care... or they sure act like they do!  

The week was one filled with many unknowns.  We still don't know what will happen with Edd's employment status at his workplace which was just bought out through a hostile takeover.  He's now on full time disability, but is still in transition and this takeover adds to the stresses that arise from unanswered questions.  We still remain hopeful though that after the dust settles we will be okay.  I am so grateful for those who lift us up to Heaven in prayer.  Boy do we need it.  Times like this you realize just how little power we have over situations that come up in our lives.

It was nice to make dinner last night with Jenni.

Nice for me to get out in my garden this morning and get my hands dirty.... (manicure this afternoon)....

There will be fears I'll most likely succumb to again (drat). Things I'll worry over.  Some things will come our way, and some things won't.  Some good.  Some not so good.  But I'll just keep trying to remember that God has a plan and I want to be a willing participant instead of a resister.... keep the line of communication open and keep trusting He'll take care of us.  And just keep loving each other through whatever comes.

Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow -- perhaps it all will.
-- Albert Einstein

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
-- Margaret B. Runbeck

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. 
-- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, October 10, 2011

thoughts for today

Why NOT us? Why not a big fat miracle? We aren't that different than anyone else who has asked God for healing.  We know he can. I am asking. Why NOT us?

I've been changed. Totally. I'll  never be the same. Did He have to completely break my heart into thousands of tiny pieces? Is that how hard I had become? Or was in danger of becoming? 

Appreciate. Don't take precious times, moments, for granted. Never feel entitled to anything. So much in life is a precious gift.

What if?  Just musing.  But what if what everyone believed DID come true? What if you believed in God and had faith he would bring you to heaven some day and He did! And what if you had no faith, no trust and believed in nothing... and you got... a great big NOTHING. What if you believed you'd be a star up in the sky... and that's just what you became.... I choose to believe in Jesus and his redemption.  I choose to believe God is real and loves me and has a bigger better brighter more fabulous future for me and my loved ones. Bigger than I could ever imagine.

It was a tough day. Sometimes we just have to be strong for someone else. Helping them to have the faith and hope to go on. And sometimes someone has to believe for us when our strength and hope is  hollow.  I am so glad for those who stand in the gap for me... It renews my faith and gives me strength to not lose heart.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

happy moments

I wrote this back in July. Exactly three months ago. I never posted it. I don't know why, but I will today because it made me happy to read.


I love the mornings when I stumble out of bed to click the coffee maker's "on" button. I enjoy the quietness of a new day beginning. Sometimes I begin the day alone sipping my coffee as I read or consider the day's "to do" list, but more often Edd and I drink coffee in bed and slowly wake with groggy conversation. It is a time to talk over silly dreams of the night, anything... and everything.

The end of the day though is equally nice. I love to prop myself up in bed with pillows and read or write and mull over the day jotting down some of my thoughts till I'm so tired I just can't keep my eyes open a second longer! I look forward to this peaceful time too.

Sandwiched in between these two events is the substance of the day. Today was full of.....

......Moments. Snapshots.

A call from Edd's me...asking how we were. It was nice to be able to say "very good!"

Special fun time with Jenni and Matthew feeding our faces with barbecued brisket, sausage and ribs...and Jenni's chocolate dream pie! Delish! How I LOVE those two!

Playing a fun dice game with them  ... And savoring family time together... my favorite.

A morning run to the store for some needed groceries and flowers for my outside planter.

Watching Wimbledon tennis and mopping the floor.

Somewhat worrying about Edd (as I made my macaroni and cheese) when he drove for the first time in six months to shop for bikes he wants to get for us! I never would have thought he'd be doing that a week ago as he was sooo sick in the hospital. Amazing.

Giving our beloved, old dachshund a warm soapy oatmeal bath.

I love you's said... many are said... but they are not just words. They mean "you are important to me" and "I am here for you" and "I am committed to you".

And many more moments too numerous to list.


“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family” Thomas Jefferson

“Use your precious moments to live life fully every single second of every single day.”
Marcia Wieder

“Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you're waiting for don't pass you by.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

ways to simplify

I am feeling like I need to get rid of excess baggage from my life so I'm looking for ways to simplify today.  To rest.  It was kind of a sad day.  Edd began full disability from work.  It was a day of thoughtful ponderings.   There are way too many things I have no control over so ...

I'll pray.  God wants me to.  I think He sometimes limits Himself based on my prayers.  So it's a privilege to pray and a responsibility.  But most of all it should give me peace.... But I'll have to ask for that too.

I'll cook a delicious but simple dinner of steak, baked potato and edamame.

I'll throw some things away or bring them to goodwill.  I can purge unnecessary gadgets that accumulate in junk drawers that are never used.

I'll read.  Not on the internet.  But a book I can hold in my hands and focus on.  And not be so distracted.

I'll stop comparing my life to someone (anyone) else's.

I'll cherish time spent with people I love whether in person, talking on the telephone or writing a letter.

I'll be cautious not to over-analyzing myself and everything and everyone. It's one thing to have self awareness.  It's another to be self absorbed.

I'll be grateful.

That ought to be enough for today.

Friday, September 30, 2011

cold front?

"As October arrives Saturday, Central Texas will see some of its first fall-like weather, with highs barely reaching 90 and lows in the low 60s."
That was a sentence taken from an article in our Austin newspaper today referring to a cold front that supposedly arrived last night.
 Cold front?
Not like the ones I remember from days gone by.
It'll be nice for sure to get further away from 100- degree heat so I don't mean to be ungrateful, but calling this "fall-like" is a bit of a stretch to me!
I remember my New Jersey childhood ... and our 60-degree nighttime lows here in Texas were often the autumn highs up North. I do miss it.
But I guess there is a trade off ... I know I don't want to deal with weeks or months of snow and sleet and icy roads either. I like the milder Texas winters. 
The cold evenings are coming here too. Soon enough I suppose. 
Tomorrow we kiss hot September goodbye. I'm hoping for good things to come in October. Maybe even a REAL cold front.

Monday, September 26, 2011

finding the words

Anyone who knows me personally knows I am struggling with and perplexed by certain aspects of life right now.  When you love someone with an illness it's difficult not to get lost in it all.  It's a time when you feel all kinds of crazy guilt as well as helplessness.

I began reading the book that will be part of a ladies' study group I am involved with and sure enough the first chapter began with a man who was dedicated to praying for a woman in a coma who had brain damage and was not expected to ever recover.  He prayed for hours and months ... and committed himself to praying for this woman and she recovered... fully.  It was a miracle.  That happens I know.  But wrestling, pleading and begging God doesn't seem to be any more a sign of faith to me than getting on my knees and sincerely asking .... with the belief that God could heal if He wanted to.   Trying to convince God to act as though my many words would somehow catch His attention more adequately seems less about Him than about me.

I pray.  I ask God for healing.  I will not stop, but I don't want my faith in God to rest on whether He decides to heal my husband or not.  Whether my prayers "work" or not.

I think I need to come to terms with the fact that I cannot... and will not... be able to know God's will and purposes completely in this life.  I need to rest in the knowledge that that's okay.

I talked to a kindred spirit today.  It healed my heart some to get together with a woman who really understood how I felt.   She said, "What cancer is doing to your husband's body, it is doing to your heart and soul."  Yes.  Someone who really understands.  Sarah lost her soulmate to cancer over ten years ago.  She shared some personal stories that made a huge difference in my perspective.  

So grateful for that.  For people who are lifelines to us.

Sometimes my faith gets lost in the shuffle.  But... 

.... A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

a nice Sunday

It was nice to sleep late this morning.  Late for us is 8 am.  The sun was up ahead of us, but even Nicky slept in.    Edd wanted to make Migas (his version) this morning for breakfast.  Why is everything better when someone else does the cooking?

fry up some corn tortillas and onion

potatoes and bacon

shredded cheese for the top

cook eggs with the corn tortilla

served with potatoes... oh, and salsa!
If truth be told Edd may be the better cook out of the two of us... and he definitely makes less of a mess!

It's almost afternoon "coffee time" but already we've gotten a lot accomplished on this day that should be one of rest.  

I washed the car, moved the furniture around in the family room but then realized it looked better the way it was so changed it mostly back again.  It was still a success though since I got to vacuum underneath.   

After a few more chores we drove to Edd's office to bring home some boxes of books that were on shelves in a filing cabinet.  I saw book after book with titles like Integrated Electronics: Vector Mechanics for Engineers, Circuit Design for Electronic Instrumentation, Macro Electronics Circuits & Devices, Delta Sigma Data Converters.  

Eee gads!    I asked him if he actually READ all these books and he looked at me like I was from Mars ....  Some were college textbooks.  

We then tried out a restaurant I had never been to and I discovered I like Vietnamese food.

And now for that coffee ....  Mmmm.....

Edd reading Time magazine..... (yeah, that's Rick Perry's big face!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

things I'm lovin'

I'm lovin' taking pictures ... especially with the zoom lens.

I observed activity in the garden this morning.  This was one busy bee!

Nicky is a favorite subject!


I'm lovin' my new iMac

and learning new stuff.


I am loving that I'm making the effort to exercise again.  I didn't entirely stop.  I use our elliptical machine from time to time, but I began strength training too.  And boy do I need it.  Where did my muscles go?  

I made a list of "to do" exercises and also put an electronic sticky note on my computer to remind me to do squats and lunges.

   I can't accomplish anything anymore without a to-do list telling me what to do!  Really.  

Today I can hardly walk down the stairs!

And sitting down in a chair makes my legs give out.  (Yes, it looks very graceful.)  It's hurting more as the day goes on.... but I'm lovin' that too!  I woke up some sleeping muscles!

I'm not into beating myself up anymore.  Not even close.  But I do know sometimes there is pain involved with growing stronger.  And I'll just accept that and keep moving forward a little bit at a time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


What a summer it's been.  The days have been hot and dry.  One after another.  Seemingly endlessly the same.    There is a drought here.  Still.  And there has been a bit of a spiritual drought in my life as well.

This summer has often mirrored my inner feelings.  The sun has unmercifully dried our land and it's a struggle to not let it dry my spirit of hope as well.

I am comforted by the thought that the rains WILL come.  The parched land will drink up the nourishment and come to life again.  Refreshment is sweet... and often comes when we think we just can't hang on a moment longer.

It's been a challenge not to complain about the scorching heat.  God wants me to trust him in the dry times.  Oh, how hard it's been though.  I hate the thought of complaining about LIFE ... meaning ... any day that God gives us to live and breathe.  Because life is a gift.

I'm learning it's important to be true to myself.  Even in my blogging.  The moment I write to simply please someone else my words become hollow.  Saying what you think and feel and getting out of your comfort zone leads to a satisfying life.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.  ~Eleonora Duse