Friday, September 25, 2009

Visit with Dad.... No2

Dad seems to be perking up a bit since we first got here.. that doesn't mean that he is getting any better, just that he doesn't seem as tired, and he is full of some extra random converstations.
He has lots to say, just none of it makes any sense. He will start a converstation and then he cant end the sentence.... most of his conversations are random, and have nothing to do with any topic that is being discussed. Mom though, listens to him with rapt attention, as is he is telling her the most important story. It is so, so sweet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Psalm 23....the jc version

Yesterday i put Psalm 23 at the end of the post.... I got to thinking about how sometimes i like to re-write the Psalms. Not in a way that is sacrilegious or sanctimonious... because i do not intend to add to, or belittle the Bible. I have just found that sometimes i understand a passage of Scripture better when i place myself directly into it. The Bible tells us that it is sufficient for all things, and sometimes it is neat to look back on times in your life and see how a portion of scripture "spoke" to you at one time, and how it "speaks" again, but differently to you in a different season of your life.

It is quiet here now, dad is resting, mom is catching flies in the chair next to him, Jeremiah is blissfully napping.... So i will pause, and recharge my own soul, with God's Word.

Psalm 23
Lord, you are my leader;
because of Your care for me, I have no cause to worry.
You remind me to rest;
You bring me to a quiet place to drink.
You repair, refresh, and soothe, my soul;
because of this I will follow you always.
You are my God.

Even now, as there is a shadow of death about me,
I am not afraid, instead I hope.
Why? Because you are HERE... with me now, in this very moment.
All of who you are, is a comfort to me.

In the midst of life's chaos, when I focus on You, I can rest and eat;
be reminded of how You chose me......and I know, just know.... in my soul, that Life is good!
Viewing life as you want me to, lets me focus on my hope....Living FOREVER with you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Visit with Dad.... No 1

Well, can i just be candid for a moment? My dad looks like crap.

That out of the way, let me try to explain to you what everyday around here is like.

He wakes up around 8 or 9 am. We get him up, and help him shuffle to the bathroom. Hopefully he can go........ if not we shuffle back to the bed and dress him.

......He needs a diaper full time now, he can not adequately express to us sometimes how he needs to get to the bathroom, consequently... he has many more accidents. This is frustrating to him, because he would like his bathroom time to be much more private than it is... but with the fear of him falling... or the need to clean him, alone time on the potty for him... is a thing of the past.....

After getting dressed. we shuffle to the kitchen for breakfast.

.........the shuffle is a walk that is fully supported by my mom in the back with her arms up under his arms...and with someone in the front supporting his arms and encouraging him to walk forward.....

Then we get to try to have him take his pills. This is a challenge... today we spit out 6 different ones..... so we gave up. At least the important one went down... his Coumadin (blood thinner).... anything past that important pill is gravy.
Some days he can feed himself, others he needs to have someone help. Along with cereal, he has a protein shake. He will sit and watch some TV for awhile, and then he gets tired... so shuffle to the bathroom, and then back to bed by 12 for a nap that is 2 to three hours long.
repeat the breakfast process minus the pills, and you now know what dinner is like. He is in bed by 8 or 9 pm. Sometimes earlier. There is usually now a middle of the night accident. So mom is up and cleaning him once or twice a night.... and she is so tender and sweet when she does it. Those cleanings require someone else to get up and help, because she can't move him and remove the pads and such alone.

Walking in to this life........ so drastically different than when we were here in May.... was hard to see.... It is exhausting work. There is never a moment alone, never one with out total vigilance, never really a time to even sleep without one ear or eye open for fear he will get up, and hurt himself.

Awhile ago, i posted about how we try to define "fine" when talking about dad.... in my opinion.... this doesn't even come close to "fine".... this is bad.
Yet, this is where we are......... and care for him is what we must do. It is our turn to give back to him all the love and generosity that he has shown to us, and others all his life. Our chance to be tender, and show him Christ's mercy, as we care for his most basic of life's needs. Pray for us all as we walk through this valley of life with dad.... knowing that not for one moment are we alone.... Our Shepard is with us..........always.

Psalm 23

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

pre family visit

First, let me get something off my chest..... Does anyone out there read this stuff i send off into the great electronic void? Just wondering, because if you all do... then why are there no comments? I know, you are all laughing so hard at what i say it is impossible to type... BUT there is a little thing at the bottom of these posts, that says "comment"... if you click on it... this whole blog thing becomes interactive.... and well... more fun. And everyone likes fun? right?

Now to the meat of it. I am preparing to head South to help mom for a few days and visit with Dad and the rest of the family. I do this with a mixture of emotions. On one hand i am very glad to see the family, and to be back in CV and all that..... but seeing Dad is harder and harder to do. Each time we come back for a visit, the changes in his mental state are more and more evident. It breaks my heart to watch it happen. In photos and in person he looks sooooo good! It is where you can't see, that he has the problems.

When we were kids.... my dad would always ask us the names of people and the names of their kids before he would call them to talk to them about a job. That way when someone answered the phone he had a good shot of getting the right name. He always liked to remember things and people. When we were cleaning out the garage this May, we found lots of Memory Booster exercises, "10 easy steps to never forget".... all that sort of stuff. Mom said that even way back, he had told her he didn't want to be "old and forget things" ... It is ironic to me, that the one thing he didn't want to have happen, is the one thing that has been taken from him...
The other part that makes these visits suck... ( yes mom, i used the truck driver word again ) is that i have to leave. I get there, and get into a routine, and i can clearly see how much help mom and amy need, and then i have to go, and i feel like i am deserting them all when they need so much help!..... And when i go, i never know if the next time i see MOM or AMY on my cell phone, if it is going to be the call that tells me dad passed away... and that i missed it. And then i will have to get on a plane or pack the car and go down to a house without him. And somedays, i am not sure how i will be able to do that. When the time comes, it is going to be hard to wait until heaven to see him again.

My dad is HUGE.. larger than life, a great teacher and a consistant disiplinarian. No matter what i did in my crazy life. Dad was always a constant. He is so much of the reason i am who i am today. When i was in the midst of living my own life, and failing at it miserably, i might add.... I will never forget what i stumbled across one day. I was a bartender then.... drinkin and partying, well... just cuz i could. I knew my parents didn't approve of what i was doing.... but it wasn't like there were arguments about it... One day i stopped home for a visit... and dad had been doing a bible study lesson. It was about teaching a child in the way that it should go, and they will not depart from it..... and softly written in the side margin was... "i am praying this for Julie". even then it jumped off the page at me. It didn't make me change anything.... i went back to the bar that night to work, ... still did stupid stuff.... LOTS of stupid stuff. It probably took 15 years for his prayer to be answered... but i am glad and grateful that he prayed it in the first place. That he knew his daughter, and that he loved me enough to pray it. As i sit and write this, i realize i never told him that i read that paper he had set aside when i came to visit that day. I never thanked him for that display of unconditional love.... I am just glad that he DID get to see his prayer answered, even if he wouldn't understand the thank you if i were to tell him now.

Well that certianly came out of nowhere.... now i am sitting at the computer with tears streaming down my face and a snotty nose.... eeewww....
WELL.... i need some tissue... so i will leave you now, and keep you all posted on my visit to CA.

Friday, September 11, 2009


It was 8 years ago.........
I was driving to work. I was a Bus Driver then, working for Redwood Christian School. The radio station was KFAX's foray into FM Christian Pop Music. The DJ was Amy. I remember the color of the sky as dawn was breaking.... I remember the smells and sounds my little Mazda MPV had. I remember thinking.... really this wasn't happening.... someone was playing a serious Orson Wells type joke here. But there was something chilling in the way they spoke about what was happening, so chilling you had no other choice but to believe it was true.

That day was an act of senseless terrorism. Once small group of people's stab at taking down a giant. Instead of crippling our Republic, or toppling our economy, they brought down some steel..... and more tragically hundreds of lives of people that were just going to work that day. People who had in no way directly injured the people that attacked them.

For a time, our country was galvanized. We rallied the troops, and we waived our flags..... and as time marched on.... we began to forget. The flags were put away, we began to wonder why OUR boys had to die on foreign soil.... we became apathetic.

I won't forget. I can't. My husband serves his country with a courageous zeal. He loves what this country stands for, our freedoms, our rich heritage of God given rights. He has volunteered to give HIS life....... for YOU.... for me, for our children... should the need arise. It is people like him... who volunteered to dig out the rubble of the twin towers. Who put in long hours at work and then leave their families behind so that they can train, and be on the ready should their country need them. Who are willing to leave, for sometimes a year, and miss milestones of children, births and deaths of loved ones. The are willing to not hug their wife or husband... not kiss and hold their kids...but to drive on a street that is rife with landmines, be shot at with rockets, and bullets, and to dodge tossed grenades.. all to protect the right to freedom.... for US... America, and for those who live elsewhere and need our assistance to help protect and defend, when they can not.

Thank you to those who walk where I can not.... so that I can walk safely where I am.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I have mentioned before that my dad says some pretty silly things these days...
Well today... I was the subject of his hum-dinger...

It all started with them sitting down to watch a movie. I guess for some reason they stopped to see what one was... and it was Flash Dance... the one with Jennifer Beal.... So the camera is on her as she is dancing with her leg warmers and taped feet.... and it goes up to a butt shot... and down to the feet, back to the butt and sort of lingered there on her ultra tight high cut leotard.... (sorry i digress... anything named "tard" AND rides up your butt.... well.... it is aptly named.) as the camera shot seems to be stuck staring at her rear forEVah... my dad squinches up his face and says.... " that looks like it is really sticky" this produces gales of laughter from my mom and sister amy.

The movie moves on.... and now she is dancing doing some "floor" work ... up and down... ( well this is a PG blog... so lets just say it is a repetitive motion that shouldn't have been in the movie in the first place...) and this is when he decides to bring ME into it......... he squinches up his face again... and says.. " Oooohhhhhh Julie....." in this sad.... sort of embarassed for me way.
HELLO!!!!!!!!! dad it isn't ME!!!! she and i may both have curly hair... but um... oh well... he wouldn't remember if i told him.... Besides... half the time he calls me Kelly.... so maybe he really thinks that Kelly is me.... ya.. ya.. that's it! Anyway... upon hearing him say ooooohhhhh julie.... amy and mom were crying they were laughing so hard.... Amy called me to tell me and i thought she was sad crying for a minute.... they were talking over each other to get out the story... it was pretty funny. Oh well, at least we can laugh at it.... I am sure he will have many more moments that will keep us in stitches for the months to come...

growing up fast

I am not sure when I gave my kids permission to go and get so big so fast.
I just got off the phone with my daughter. She is off visiting her Dad in Tennessee. I called her to see if she read the ark post... she said she did we laughed a little bit at the silly rat chase.
She then informed me that she is cooking dinner. Red beans and Rice. So we discussed the recipie and a few tricks for her to use if it wasn't coming out exactly like she wanted....
I hung up and was struck by the thought of how grown up she is... and how someday, she will be calling me from her house to ask me about a recipie, so she can make it for her family.
.....sigh.... they grow up so fast.

See auntie rene......... it happens to us all. ( not all of us do it when the baby is 5 days old like mom did with ) We all have moments when we get a little misty-eyed, about how quickly they grow up and out on their own.... and generally it is followed by the hope that we haven't screwed them up so bad that they never

Friday, September 4, 2009

life in the ark

My house is becoming either a domesticated animal shelter.... or we are working toward a re-enactment of Noah's Ark, I'm not sure which......
We have 2 cats
2 dogs ( three now with the addition of mr puppy)
and 2 rats

yes... rats.... I did not want the rats.... but my daughter pledged I would never have to feed them or clean up after them. She has been very true to her word.... until she left for Tennessee last week. She placed our 7yr old in charge of feeding aforementioned beasts... and showed him how to clean the cage. Dutifully he has trudged down to feed them every morning.... last week he assisted me in cleaning out their cage. (yes I had to touch them.) Today around lunch time I reminded him that he needed to go and feed the dogs, cats, and rats. He went downstairs..... and came up rather quickly.......

"MOM!!! I don't know how this happened ( the sentence that strike fear in every mothers heart ) but I shut the door to the cage last night.... and somehow they opened it and got out!!!!"

Not believing for a SECOND he closed the cage tightly.....
I sent him down to look for them, while I tried to remove from my mind, visions of them residing in my walls and never ever finding them.... he came up saying he looked EVERYWHERE.... and he didn't see them...
Not finding this even REMOTELY acceptable.......
I went and found a box to aid me in the capture.... and headed down to catch the varmints....

Rats, while given a reputation for stealth... are really quite noisy when you listen for them... so that is what I did... into her room... and stood still... true to form... I heard rustling... and began to gently pick up things in the area of noise.
I found the first one fairly quickly... it was under some clothes on her bed.... and it nearly gave me a heart attack because I almost set my hand on it.... I snatched it up and put it in the cage....

Now for number 2... the squeeker... this one actually sqeeks when you try to pick it up.....

I continued in the general direction where I found Number 1.... and was soon staring at it. This one was faster tho... under the bed... down the wall and to the closet... so I chase it back the other direction... it pops out under her nightstand... and on top of a sleeping bag there.... hunter who is now helping me, and finding this portion of his day wonderfully fabulous.... moves to one side of the stand... I stay in the middle and use my box to block the retreat back under the bed... Hunter moves in.... rat freaks out... and smacks into the sideways box... lift box up.. grab rat.. rat wiggles... and jumps... and is under the bed before I could even process the transaction.
Ok... I will not let the rat win... I will not let the rat win... is becoming a mantra....
Hunter is on the bed.... poised to catch it if it runs back near him... it has retreated to the safety of the closet. I slowly remove the basket it is hiding behind.... and plug up the space under her door should it get past me... at least I can keep it in the room!... so as I move the basket it retreats under the dresser.... then heads for the bed... I hear.. "ooo darn"...from hunter.... he missed. He is asking me to scare it back... he is almost fully wedged behind the dresser and can almost reach the varmint. we take turns shoo-ing it to each other, missing more than we want to...
I finally cornered it in the closet, and just slowly moved in for the grab. Took me two tries, but I got it.
They are both back in their happy metal home... as we were walking back upstairs.. Hunter was telling me how much fun that was......I told Hunter if he let them out again I was going to cook him and eat HIM for breakfast. Suddenly he was seeing the great rat chase my way...

Tay.........I love you, but, you owe me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

death and life on the "farm"

Yesterday, a whole lot of death and a little bit of life passed through our home.
Our dog, Brownie, whelped her puppies. She had a litter of 4 (3 girls and a boy ). The first one was dark brown with light brown jowls and white on the chest... light brown inner back legs... a real cutie. Number two came out lighter brown over all and with the white chest markings of dad. Number three was daddy's girl, all black with white chest markings. All three girls were still born.... despite my quite heroic efforts at puppy CPR.... We thought she was done.. so we weren't really expecting pup number four... in fact i would have missed it entirely, if i hadn't heard a noise outside that registered as familiar... and ran out to check. I grabbed # 4 and rubbed... and he took a big gulp of air... i can not tell you how cool THAT was.... As of right now... he is still hanging on... if he is a fighter we may have ourselves another dog... not sure how to give him to another family when you spend all this time listening for him... and walking by and looking to see if he is eating or breathing even....

Hunter and Jeremiah saw girl2 born, and they both thought it was pretty cool. Hunter said that it was taking way to long.... he said the Lion he watched have babies on TV had them in like 2 minutes.... why was brownie taking FOREVER????
He seemed fine with the puppies not being alive until it came time to pick a spot to put them in the ground.... He and daddy went out to the backyard... and had a discussion about death, and they way sometimes babies, from humans... to birds come out this way. He came in for dinner and was a bit wrung out... full of tears that he had to put the puppies in a box and bury them. Right about that time #4 came and was a ray of hope for a sad little boy. He was so sad that he almost didn't want to pray for his dinner, until we told him that God is the best person to talk to when your heart is heavy.... so his prayer over dinner was that we would have a good day tomorrow, and that please could brownie have a puppy that stayed alive.... it was very sweet.

Last night late... he went outside with daddy to be a little man and bury the pups.... he went out in his tennis shoes and his underwear. It was hot.... and he had gotten "ready" for bed... what can i say... He did notice that he was awkwardly attired... and told his dad "it is not likely that you would find many little boys in their underwear burying their puppies" to which daddy replied.."probably not sweet boy, probably not"

I think that God gives us the ability to grieve over something we barely knew, so that when time comes for us to grieve something we have known our whole lives... we are prepared, even just a little bit, for the pain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

daddy love

I was just looking at my youngest son's bed... it was so sweet.. i had to run in here and share it.

I love... love .... love the way my husband puts the kids to bed. It really showcases his soft nougat center.

Last night i was at a bridal shower and he was home with Jeremiah, they played, got ferociously dirty, had a baff, got fwesh n keen, and then got tucked in.... Tuckin time with daddy is something special. It beats mommy bed time by a mile. You see mommy is OVER the kids by bed time... it is a peck on the cheek.... a hug and I love you... and out the door. Daddy... well Daddy hooks you UP!...... he will make you up a soft pillow, and covers it with an even softer blanket... he will cover your bottom sheet with a soft flannel blanket, all tucked in so it doesn't bunch.... then he lifts you gently into the bed, makes sure you are comfy... and then gets a snuggly blanket for the top... he tucks you in "like a ba-beeto" strokes your hair and tells you how much he loves you, prays with you, and tells you ni-night.

Nothin beats Daddy love for settin your night right......
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