Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hard to say

Carolyn passed away Friday around 12:45 pm. Thankfully, she was surrounded by those she loved most.

Thank you for the love and kindness you showed us through praying for Matthew and the family.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Update

I wanted to give you an update on what's going on with Carolyn.

Matthew received a call from his dad last Thursday night saying that things had gone downhill quickly. Carolyn was being admitted to the hospital soon after they got off the phone. Matthew made flight arrangements and went to St Louis Friday morning.

Thursday night/Friday morning, the doctors discovered a tumor on Carolyn's spine. While the treatment worked really well on the bone cancer, a very strong treatment has not worked on the cancer in the liver and during that treatment cancer was able to form on her spine. In talking with her doctor, Carolyn decided to stop any and all treatment over a week ago. Her health has been declining since that time.

Matthew, his dad, and his sister met with the doctor yesterday. She told them Carolyn could pass this week or she could surprise everyone and last another month. She does not appear to be in any pain at this time, but they want to find a facility where she can be placed in hospice care so she can be as comfortable as possible during this time. While in the hospital, they have to continue to draw blood to see how she is doing and continue to wake her up and bother her.

I joined Matthew in St Louis yesterday. Today he and his sister are driving around town looking at facilities where Carolyn can be placed in hospice care.

This is an extremely difficult time for everyone. I have heard several people mention regret for not spending more time with her when they could. No one knew the end was so near or when the last good day would be. I think there will be more family and friends coming into town in the coming days.

After hearing the news of the finality of everything yesterday, I believe everyone is starting to think about a future without Carolyn around. It is difficult to say the least.

I am not sure how to ask you to pray, but I will ask that you continue to pray for the family. God is good all the time and He provides strength and peace. His mercies are new every morning. He knows us best and is able to provide what is needed at just the right time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Max!

Max is one today! I have tried to make it a fun day, but it is never as fun without Matthew around (he is out of town spending time his family). I couldn't get a picture of Max today with a hat on so I am posting a couple I took a few months ago. I think he's such a cutie.

  • While Matthew is gone, I think Max gets spoiled even more than normal.
  • I bought him this HUGE bone at Wally World on our way home from the airport Friday. It is definitely an outside treat, and it was fun that Max wanted to be outside (even by himself) for longer periods of time to chew on this bone.

  • We have played fetch for hours and hours (I'm not exaggerating).
  • Max has been sleeping on the bed so far this weekend.
  • Today I took Max swimming at the pond. Oh how he loves to swim. I wish you could all see it.
  • Max got a cupcake for his birthday and a new toy octopus (against my better judgement). After about 20 minutes of playing with the octopus, it no longer has any stuffing in his head (of course).

Happy birthday Max!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Days

After several gloomy days (due to weather, sadness, and bad attitude), I would like to report I am have had several happy days.

God is so good and has blessed me in so many ways. Early this year I happened upon this blog where Ann wrote about a thousand gifts and recognizing every day things to be thankful for. There are things all around us every day that are blessings from God. I often do not slow down or pay attention to recognize these blessings for what they are...blessings from the very hand of God.

Once I read her post, I started a journal where I record what I am thankful for. There are days when I will list 10 to 12 things. There are days and sometimes weeks that go by where I don't write anything at all. I have been very sporadic in pulling out my journal, but it is something I want to continue to work on.

This weekend was full of happy days. Friday I ran fun errands after work. I went to a new (new to me) scrapbook store and was so inspired and excited to get started on something crafty. I have been lacking that inspiration for quite a while. Saturday Matthew and I went to see Wall-E. Then I came home and got started on a scrapbook. I have really enjoyed looking through old pictures and putting them together in a way I have not done so before. I have felt creative. It has been refreshing. Sunday was a wonderful day of worship at church. Matthew and I both came home very thoughtful about the sermon. Our pastor has been at the church a year and has recently been sharing his vision for the church. We are both excited about what is coming.

Tuesday evening I had dinner with a girlfriend. I hope this relationship will develop into a treasured friendship. This is the first time I have done anything with a friend since I've been in Colorado. Isn't that sad? It has been very difficult and slow to make friends here...that is the understatement of 3 years (we've been here 3 years!!!). I was so excited about this dinner. I called Matthew beforehand squeeling because I was so excited. I believe the Lord really blessed our time together. We had some really meaningful conversation about what's going on in our lives. All I can say is that is was so wonderful...I am thankful for that 2 1/2 hours this week. I hope it will happen again. I have been treasuring that time all day today.

Sunday, Monday, happy days
Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days
Thursday, Friday, happy days
Saturday, what a day
rockin' all week with you

There's a new saint in town.

As of Monday, we are now only 9.6 miles away from the closest hospital. This hospital will be a trauma center unlike the hospital we visited with the chainsaw injury. Who knew that all hospitals are not ready to handle trauma situations? I sure didn't, and I still don't understand that either. Oh well. I am thankful that Penrose St. Francis is now open very close to home. I hope we never have to make a trip there but am glad to know it is so close to the house. Isn't it pretty with the mountain backdrop?
When we started building our house in August 2006, this hospital had only barely begun. There was a huge cement stairwell and that is all that was on the land. And this week it opened. It's amazing to me that something so intricate and big can be built so quickly. Matthew and I both drive by this hospital on the way to work each day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Conversation about a puppy

I thought this conversation was funny and wanted to share it with you (obviously). In the following conversation, Ma is Matthew and Mi is Mindy.

Mi - "When I got to work this morning, I saw a posting someone had put up for free lab puppies that were found. They are cute!"

Ma - "Are the puppies there?"

Mi - "No. There are some pictures and a note posted in the break room that the puppies had been dumped by someone and found by someone else. They are free. Why is it that puppies are so darn cute?"

Ma - "Puppies are cute, and free is a good price...I'm tempted, but I fear vet bills and puppy shots, etc. And - what if it's a disaster? I think we have the best dog in the history of dogs - what if we get greedy and wind up with satan-dog?"

Mi - "I agree with you. It is tempting, but just think about all the potty training all over again. That was a mess! On the other hand, it could work out perfectly and Max would have a friend all the time. On the other hand, he could hate having another dog and not getting all the attention. It's probably best to stick with things the way they are, but puppies are fun."

Ma - "Yeah - I'm sure they will go fast, but if they don't we could take one. Do you know who it is who has the puppies?"

Mi - "I don't know who it is, but I do have the contact information. They say the puppies must go by Saturday."

Ma - "Just keep the info and call on Sunday. If they weren't able to give them all away, we can consider taking one."

For some reason I continued to crack up during this email exchange. You see that I am not the only one who is crazy about Max. We both seriously think he is the perfect dog. I'm so glad my first experience with a puppy has been so good. He is very well behaved and very affectionate. I wish you all could meet him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Carolyn's Health

Shannon (Matthew's sister) has set up a website to keep everyone updated with what's going on. I thought I would add the link to my blog since so many people continue to ask me how she's doing. I added this link under "People I Know."

Thank you to Shannon for keeping everyone in the loop.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Decorating Woes

Have I mentioned that Matthew and I have completely different ideas about decorating. This is one of the factors that contributed to hanging something on the wall almost a year and a half after moving into our house. Does that mean we're slow to compromise? I hope neither of us is that stubborn.

Anyway, we have had no idea what to do with our sliding door into the backyard. The only thing I was sure of was that I did not want vertical blinds. I've only had them in apartments and I don't remember them being that bad, but it seems that everyone recommended we not buy vertical blinds. So we didn't. For a year and a half, we had nothing covering the sliding door. We have always wanted something but either didn't know what or just couldn't decide. Recently when I finally got some inspiration to do a little decorating, I decided to just buy a sheer curtain until we could decide on something else. It is amazing how something so simple has made such a difference to the look of the room, the sunlight hitting the hardwood floor, and the temperature upstairs.

I would like to hang some kind of curtain either around or over the sheer curtain, but that could take another year and a half at the rate we're going. I want something that will tie the dining room into the living room since they are right there together. I also want to add some color to a currently very neutral room. There is nothing wrong with khaki and varying shades of brown (in fact, khaki is one of my favorite colors), but we need at least a splash of color in this room. I would like to hang a curtain with some kind of pattern and a couple of colors while Matthew would like a solid color. We haven't been to look at anything yet, but while my mom was here last month we went to look at fabric samples. I ended up finding something I really like from a Smith+Noble catalog. I don't think it's too matchy-matchy, but Matthew doesn't like it at all. He thinks it matches too closely and is too busy. I've never thought that stripes could be too busy.

Please excuse the darkness in these photos. They were all taken at night so the room looks pretty dark. What do you think? (Not that your opinion is going to change mine or Matthew's taste, but at least I will know if I'm completely off my rocker or not.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rain, rain, rain...and even more rain

It has rained at our house at least 7 of the last 8 days. Some days it has been a lot of rain and other days just a sprinkle. It has been wonderful as this is really the first rain we have had all year. I love the rain. I like the coolness it brings to the day here. I like the way it makes everything green. I love the loud thunder and bright lightning…the sound of the rain on the roof and windows…the smell of the rain. I haven’t enjoyed the muddy mess our yard has been or the water that has been standing in parts of our yard for what seems like at least a week. Nor do I like the mess Max makes in the muddy places of the yard or how much work it is to make sure he is clean before coming in the house after playing outside. But I still love the rain.

Life has been rough lately. From the outside looking in, and even sometimes from my own point of view, it doesn’t seem rough but it sure has felt that way. I remembered yesterday a camp t-shirt we had when I was in high school. It read, “Life is tough. God is good. No fear.” At the time, it was just a catchy t-shirt to me. Remember the “no fear” craze? Now I recognize how true that statement is. Life can and will be tough. But God is always good. How thankful I am for that.

Like the ground has been thirsting for this rain, I think my soul, my very being, has been thirsting for something of the same. Something to come in, make some noise, flash some bright light, wash away all the dirt and grime, and leave the sunshine in its place. I have been needing to release some tension…stress from work, frustration and sadness about my dreams of being a mother at least for now not being met, and weariness just from dealing with life right now. Stress in one area of my life often leads to stress in all the other areas. (How in the world I think I could handle a bigger family is beyond me at this point.) While I have SO much to be thankful for, for the last several days I have been thinking mostly of what is not going my way.

I tend to compare what is going on in my life to what is going on in the lives of those around me. I do this when things seem to be going really well in someone’s life and I am envious of things like what they have, how they live, what their faith looks like, etc. However, when I feel like my life is really tough, I tend to also realize that so many people have bigger problems than I have. That humbles me. I don’t think I’m supposed to compare my life to others in either of these ways. My life has been put into motion by a loving Father. He alone is in control of all things. He knit me together in my mother’s womb, knows all there is to know about me, and even gave me the ability to feel (even to feel sadness). He has blessed me in many ways…maybe not the ways you have been blessed with talents, children, wisdom, etc. But He has blessed me. And how disappointing it must be to Him when I compare all that is my life to what is the life of another.

Today I read the following quote on a blog I check often. Since I do not believe in coincidence, could it be that God laid this on this woman’s heart just so I would read it today? I don’t think that’s out of the question, but I’m probably not the only person who this applies to today either.

“Give up the bitterness, the anger, the sadness for what isn’t, that you wish you had. And embrace the gift of what you do have. For therein is really what you want more of: Joy.” -Elizabeth Elliot

Yesterday was a sad day for me. Everything just added up to roughness in my view. I went home looking for comfort from my hubby. He basically told me exactly what the quote above says. While what he said was completely true, it was hard for me to hear. At the time, I was just looking for comfort and for someone to share my sadness.

Today is a new day. I am finding that each day I have to give my desires, wishes, dreams, and ideas about what should be over to God…each day. While I don’t think some of my desires in and of themselves are bad, they become bad when I obsess over them and forget the bigger picture. I want to desire what God desires. I must remember to ask Him for those desires…to ask Him to change my heart so that it reflects His heart. That’s a tall order, but “He who began a good work in me will continue to its completion.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

No more excuses

I have no more excuses for avoiding a regular workout (I didn't really have any good ones before, and I'm very good at making up excuses). We had the opportunity through a guy at Matthew's work to purchase this equipment back in February for a very good price. It is in good condition and appears that it was not used much by the previous owner. Three guys from Matthew's office helped him disassemble the equipment, carry it upstairs from someone's basement, haul it over to our house, and move it into our garage where it sat for several months. At the beginning of July, I finally decided where I wanted it to be set up and Matthew and a friend moved it into our basement. Carrying anything that heavy and awkward shaped is quite an ordeal, but they did it without creating any holes in the walls or flooring. I call that a successful venture. Yesterday, Matthew finally put it together for me which also proved to be a lot of frustrating work.

After all that time and work, it is now ready to be used. In fact, we both used it this evening. My hope is that I will begin to work out more regularly and maybe even be disciplined enough to do this before work each day. I have the hardest time getting out of bed in the morning, but I know it would give me a great start to the day to get my exercise in first thing. Something about starting the day out that way helps me to make better food choices during the day. I know that it's completely mental, but that is just the way it is with me. We'll see how it goes. Isn't it nice?

This weekend we also finally painted the frame that Matthew made for the basement. We hung it yesterday, but while Matthew was putting the exercise equipment together it fell off the wall and came apart. Hopefully, he'll fix it this weekend and we'll have it back up on the wall. He isn't thrilled with this style of letters, but I think this looks very nice.

The Maxster

Max is still as fun as ever so I owe you an update about him. What's new with Max?

  • He's still as crazy as ever about fetching/retrieving. I don't understand how a dog can be bread to retrieve, but I guarantee you that he is a great retriever.

  • We have one racketball that Max plays with. It is the only thing so far that he has chewed on and not destroyed. He likes to chew on it I think because of the way it feels in his mouth and the squeaky sound it makes. He puts it on the side of his mouth to chew and without fail it pops out. EVERY time that happens, I giggle. It is the funniest noise.

  • If we are not throwing the tennis ball, Max will chew on it. You can see below that he is quite talented in his chewing. The green fuzz layer of the ball is still one piece, but the insides of the ball are missing. (Please ignore all the dog hair on the ball, I know it looks gross but it is everywhere.)

  • Max did something new while playing in the pond on Saturday. While waiting for Matthew to throw the ball, he would run in the water and stand there waiting for the ball. He really enjoyed the water this weekend and didn't want to get out.

  • We've been giving Max adult dog food for about the past month. We haven't had to add water to this food for him to eat it...maybe because it's something different. I have been adding a can of no salt added green beans to his dinner every once in a while. It gives him a little more food without additional calories. He gobbles it up every time!

  • He's also been a better eater since getting neutered. I'm not sure if the two are related, but it's nice either way.

  • Max was sick on Friday. Matthew got home from work and found that Max had puked on our bed and had the runs in the basement. Poor Matthew had to clean it up with no help from me (I had to work out of town and got home late). Matthew said it looked like Max had eaten a dryer sheet. That's all we could figure made him sick. He seemed fine when I got home. And after Friday night he was fine thank goodness.

  • Even though he's over80 pounds, Max is 100% a lap dog. He is quite the cuddler when he's tired or no one's playing with him. While watching the Olympics Saturday night, he climbed in my lap and went to sleep. He's a very sweet boy (even when all 80 pounds is sitting on me).

  • In case it isn't obvious to you, Max has to be one of the cutest and most fun dogs ever. What did we do before he was a part of our family?

Trip to St. Louis

A couple of weekends ago we went to St. Louis to visit Matthew's family and attend the nephew's 3rd birthday party. We arrived Friday afternoon and Matthew's sister picked us up from the airport and took us to her house where everyone was waiting. We stayed there for about an hour visiting and playing with the nephew and niece (who turned 9 months old while we were there). We then went to the condo where Matthew's parents are living while in St. Louis. Everytime we approach the condo, I have the theme of the Jefferson's in my head. Before I realize it, I am humming or singing the song ("movin' on up...)...I don't even know all the words but the music still plays in my mind. I've never known anyone before who lived in a high-rise.

The nephew ended up getting sick Friday night so we didn't make it to the birthday party or even get to see that part of the family the rest of the time we were in town. We can't risk bringing germs into Carolyn's world. Carolyn rested the whole weekend getting her body ready for her chemo treatment the next week so we had a very low-key weekend. I had hoped we would make it to a Cardinals game (I love to watch baseball and any opportunity to visit a new stadium), but that didn't work out. I hope to do that sometime while my sister-in-law lives in St. Louis.

It was really nice to see everyone...and to appreciate how great the dry Colorado weather is during the heat of the summer. Please continue to pray for Carolyn. Obviously, the poison used to fight the cancer is hard on the rest of the body.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 2008

It's hard to believe this is the same Max we have today. He has grown so much since we got him last October. This picture was taken the day we brought him home.