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Stage One

Stage One of Grief: Denial and Isolation;  Stage Two: Anger;   Stage Three: Bargaining; Stage Four: Depression;  Stage Five: Acceptance.

That’s what the specialists tell you. Stages of Grief. I’m past that. Waiting took so long. It’s just get through each day doing what I need to do. I do know these stages and I think you should pay attention to that in the event you may need something to revert back to. People die every day. You never know when it is going to be someone you love. I’m tired. I’m not sleeping. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t really want to eat. I don’t think I brushed my hair today.

If you are following my posts then you know what is going on. I’m afraid this has left me in complete shock. The next thing to do is to notify family members That is, the ones I know where they are. Oh my gosh, I just feel sick inside but I must carry on.  You, all of you out there  can get a first hand story of what to do in a case like this. We are trying to get my brothers remains home and we are looking to the military to help us with that.  My husband just, a few days ago, read an article where the service person was a marine and they pony Expressed the remains across the United States to get them home with the family. I don’t have the papers or information yet myself but both my nephew and the Sheriffs office reach out person are telling me that my brother was a hero and that he received many medals. They are sending me the information. I have to start thinking of writing an obituary. I wrote my mom’s and my dad’s but I’m not sure here. I need more information to write about him. No one in the family has seen or heard from him since 1998. I think I knew at that time, as he looked out the bus window at the station in Seattle back at me, that he would never return again. I told Steve it would be our last visit with him. I had forgotten that but not the feelings it gave me to think it. It’s 2:34 am, Tuesday morning. I haven’t been to bed yet, again.

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Life As I Live It

A brief recap for those unaware of the situations in my life at the moment. I just posted, “Waiting” Waiting…and to read that post will answer any question you might have. I’ll try to do the thing about connecting this post to that one but I’m not sure I have any idea as to how to do it.

However, part of the wait is over. I got a call from the Neurosurgeon’s office today and I finally have a date.  I’m happy, although still very apprehensive, to say the surgery is scheduled for May 5. The surgery will be to put screws in four of the vertebra in my neck. Numbers  two, three, four, and five are quite severely effected, pinching my spine, irritating, rubbing and deteriorating  the sheath which should be surrounding it but is severely compromised at this time.   This has been going on for evidently a long period of time but despite my complaints to Dr’s along the way no effort has really been made to correct the situation. Actually, I knew I had degenerative disk disease but had no idea this was taking place in my neck and in my lower back. That will require another surgery down the road. I also had no idea that at some time in my life I had fractured my low back. I have had pain for as long as I can remember so guessing when that might have happened would be useless.  Add arthritis to what I have just explained and you have a pretty good picture of what has been going on.  Oh, no, wait, …I don’t believe I ever mentioned the fact that I also have Fibromyalgia.

I was going on with things doing most of my usual activities the best I could do them until I fell out in my yard late last September.  Who knew, what I thought to be a simple “Ooops, that was clumsy of me,” fall down pretty much on my face, and then up again without too much effort, would turn into the months of agony that I have gone through. Then, about a month later, I turned around while vacuuming to retrieve some cord, lost my balance and fell again. Just another “Oops,” but this one did require my husbands help in getting up. It was after this that my doctor decided things needed to be looked into. Two falls in a months time didn’t set well with him. Tests were begun and over the next couple of months I took two more falls. This was not a usual thing for me. At this time besides the surgery I have orders for an x-ray on my shoulder and my elbow due to the last fall at which time I also jarred something in my vision causing double and triple vision. I had to get new glasses with a prism in them to try to pull my sight back to normal. Now, like I was saying, simple falls, nothing to be alarmed about, or so I thought. I am now using a cane and sometimes a walker. I’m not allowed to do any vacuuming, reaching, lifting or walking in my yard. I don’t drive partly due to taking medications and partly because I don’t trust myself to be fully capable and aware.

I am not old. Never thought of myself as old and did fairly good at taking care of most things in my life including gardening, walking, playing with my dogs and grandkids, and doing all the household chores. Now, I can do very little.

I guess this is where I say to you, one reason for this detailed post on these injuries, is don’t ignore these kind of things if they start happening in your life as you move gracefully into your later years. Also, if you have a physician that does not take these complaints seriously, find a new one.

I honestly believed everyone had pain, lived with pain, dealt with it and that I was just being a whiner until today, when a friend told me she didn’t have any pain to deal with. I said, “You must have something, somewhere.” She replied with a definite , NO. That is really a concept  I find hard to believe.

Not as briefly as I had figured on, that is my update on life in general around here for me. Hopefully, by Monday, I will get an answer on the DNA results. I don’t know how I’m going to handle that one if it is a positive match. All I can do at this point is continued prayer and prepare for my upcoming procedure. One good note on this is that all my girls will be here for this.  I am thankful for that.

 

Note:  Well, how about that. Adding the “link” up above in my post worked. I guess you can learn something new everyday if you just give it a try.

Donuts or Simply True Love

Finding something to post about lately hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve not been well and I am not the kind that likes to talk about it much. Posting when you are feeling at your worst, worse than you have ever felt in your life,  is just not acceptable. However, the Doctor finally hit on a medication that helps and I have made a big change for the  better today. I finally was able to tie my own shoes and brush my hair, and I can turn a door knob. These are just a few of the things I’ve been unable to do for quite some time now. Hallelujah for this much. I think we are on the right road now. Tests have been ordered and we will find the root of my problems hopefully soon. In the meantime, I have finally found a little relief.

Now let’s get back to why I really sat down here to write. Since I am feeling so much better I wanted to do something with Steve and since he has wanted to make donuts and donuts sounded good to me, I told him to go ahead and as soon as I finished taking care of the dogs I would be there to help. I have four dogs of my own and babysitting my daughters two for the weekend, so needless to say, it took a few minutes to get them all petted and loved on, fed, put outdoors and back in again with treats for their good deeds and then tucked in for a morning nap all in their respective areas. Wookie and Mo sleep in the guest room where our daughter came home to stay with us just until she could get on her feet a little better, which was supposed to be about three months in her plan of things and its now been about seven but that’s another story in itself so again, back to my original subject of  Steve’s donuts.  After finishing the dogs I mosied on into the kitchen where Steve was hard at it. He already had the dough for the cake donuts in the fridge in a waiting stage and was mixing the dough for some raised donuts which we were going to do maple bars out of. My job was to make the glaze for the cake donuts and the maple icing. I guess this is about where I should tell you, we have never made donuts before. What the heck. We are both good cooks and can follow a recipe, right?  Well, I hadn’t looked at the recipes that Steve had picked or I would have known right from the start that this wouldn’t be some that I would especially like.  Not knowing that, I followed along listening to his instructions to use the additional recipes that went with the donuts we were making. As I put the ingredients to the glaze together, I thought to myself,” I’ve never made glaze like this before. Oh well, time to learn something new.” I went on to the icing and as I got the ingredients all rounded up Steve was ready to cook the cake donuts.  He carefully put them in the hot oil and we both watched them closely to make sure we got them out in the right time.  While I watched him pull each one up out of the oil and placed it on the cooling rack, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. “They look too done.” I said, as nicely as I could.  ” I think we are cooking them to long.”

“Yes, I think maybe you are right,” he replied with a true frown, a look you rarely see on his face.

We tried getting them out of the oil quicker but something still wasn’t right.

“The oil isn’t hot enough.” I told him. “I’m sure of it, it’s just not hot enough.”

We placed the last of the cake donuts on the cake rack and stood staring at them as if they were some strange object dropped in front of us out of no where. I was the one to speak first, breaking the silence, as I picked one up and told my husband.

“Only way to know is to either break it in half and look at the inside or go all the way and just taste it.” I smiled and held it out to him. We both laughed as he took it and, after waiting another minute with one of those, I don’t know about this looks on his face, he took a bite. He chewed, I waited. No comment.  He held it in his hand looking at it then handed it out to me.

“You try it.”

I reached across the island to take it and said,  “Well, what do you think?  “Is it okay?”  “Do you like it?”

“Just try it and tell me what you think.” he replied,  and at that, I laughed, and took a bite.

“Cooked to long in the oil, no, I think the oil just wasn’t hot enough. They taste like the oil.” I said to him.

“That’s what I thought too but it was up to the right temperature so how does that happen? Steve was looking at the temperature dial as he spoke to me. As he looked back up with that frown on his face  I, just as perplexed as he, said quietly,

“Maybe we should check the oil temp with a thermometer, thinking to myself , “why didn’t I think of that before we started cooking.”

As we both suspected the temp was low, the oil wasn’t hot enough, and the donuts soaked up oil as they cooked. Yuck.

I began dipping the donut’s, or “Doughnuts” as they were originally spelled if you want to get particular about it,  in the glaze I had made for them exactly by the directions on the recipe. My thought was it was too thin and so I double dipped hoping for better coverage but still not getting the desired effect. We laughed again.  At least we were having fun, I think partly just because we were both happy that I could take part in something again. It was nice just being together, doing together and enjoying it. It’s hard on a couple who have done almost every thing together for twenty-five years to suddenly have one unable to take part. Not only that, the other one has the responsibility of taking care of you as if you were a child which is just frightening to them, as they think that this could be a permanent situation. Not that either wouldn’t do it for the other but it is still a very frightening thought to both of you.  So you both do what needs to be done, but don’t talk about it much because neither wants to upset the other. However, today was good.  We were together, we laughed a lot just like we always have and it really doesn’t matter about the donuts.  Now, it was time for another taste with the glaze on them.

“You go first,” he said.

I broke off a piece of one and slowly put it in my mouth. I chewed and tasted slowly. I took one more bite, you know, to make sure of my, well, my taste buds I guess, and again chewed slowly as Steve watched and waited.

“Seriously, they still taste like oil and my gosh the glaze is awful but you have to taste too. I did, so you have to,” I blurted out not holding back one bit.

“Okay, okay you don’t have to be so truthful you know. Just give a guy a little break.” all said as he took a bite. “Okay, you are right, that glaze is awful.  I’ve got to get the raised dough out and cut out the other ones. It’s past time.” was his next remark as he quickly got the dough out of the warming oven. Moving swiftly with purpose and speaking not a word he went to his business of rolling the dough and cutting the donuts, placing them carefully on the pan and back into the warming oven to raise for the last time before cooking. Watching the care he took in every step made me happy.  He has always put all his effort into what ever he does and takes pride in his work be it working on the car, building a piece of furniture, making the yard look as if a professional landscaper had been there, or yes, making donuts for the first time.   I got out some ham and eggs. We had worked all morning and hadn’t had anything other than our coffee and a bunch of tastes of some really not so great donuts. It was time for food. Steve cleaned up some of the mess,  I cooked and we sat down at the island to eat.

“I wonder if these are going to turn out any better,” he said looking across the island at me with a smile on his face.

“Probably they will,” I said, and then added quickly, “didn’t this book say they sold these donuts every where and that they were in big demand?  You followed the recipe and have done everything just like they said so why shouldn’t they turn out?”

“Yes, and I followed the other recipe too, didn’t I?”   We ate the rest of our eggs in silence but each of us could see the laughter in the others eyes.

Now we’ll cut some corners here and just tell you, no, these raised ones didn’t turn out as hoped either and to me, they had a funny taste. As I surely must have had one of those looks on my face as I tasted, Steve looked at me and said, ” Well, give it to me straight. What’s the outcome?”

“Well, not raised enough for one, still taste a bit like oil, and then there’s a flavor I just don’t know what it is or how to explain it.  It’s just weird and not a flavor I like for sure.”

“Maybe it’s the mace.”

“Mace! The recipe called for mace? That’s it then because I just don’t like mace or nutmeg.” I said.

“Well then that explains part of your dislike to the other batch because it had nutmeg  in it and I don’t care for either of those myself.” Steve said as I brought the icing over for this new batch.

“Taste this. I don’t like it so see what you think.”                                       scan_20170114-donuts

“Nope, you’re  right”

“Mind if I try a little of my own ideas for maple icing?”

“Nope. You have at it and do what ever you like. Can’t make them any worse.”

So I whipped up a little icing the way I know how, simple and easy, and went back to Steve for another taste test.”

“Go for it babe, put that on them. That’s pretty good icing.” he said and he helped me pour it into a flat bowl for dipping the donuts.”

“Okay, babe. This is it.  One last taste before we toss it all.” he said as I finished the last one. I cut one in half, and we each took a bite. We decided the mace took over all the flavor and they were not good. We’ll let  our daughter Mary, who lives next door, try one in the morning, but we are pretty sure she will be in full agreement with us. However, we also agree that there are probably some little raccoons or squirrels and birds out in our woods that might like the flavor. We also agreed that we’ll just call this a learning experience, neither of us care for nutmeg or mace, and practice makes perfect. So Steve is going to be up early in the morning and will be off to the grocery store to buy another jug of oil. We have everything else all ready to start over and give it another try.  He came in a bit ago, kissed me, and said he was off to bed. I told him I’d be there just as soon as I got my computer shut down, knowing that all the while I had this in mind to write about. I think he knew it too. My minutes sometimes turn into hours and I believe that’s just about how long I’ve been at this. My dog Ziva  is laying faithfully here at my side but has sighed several times in hopes I would say  “let’s go to bed girl” because she won’t go without me. I guess it’s time.

I don’t know if this post was all about donut’s or more about

two people (and a couple or so dogs)

who love each other dearly.    s-s-donut-fun-1-17Either way, it was about fun, laughter, sharing and love.

What is better than that and with that, I’ll say, ” Goodnight folks and I hope I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Too many days gone by

Yes sir, just too many days. Too many since I crawled into my little nook here and took pen in hand. Too many since I even felt like putting anything on paper. But today I finished a blog I started months ago and published it. Today, I hope I’ve regained the desire to write. It’s funny how life can affect us so drastically.  Who knew the degree to which one can withdraw within themselves and not want to come back out. I have found out, not by choice, but by circumstance, just how much one can hurt. I’m not going to complain  here in this blog but rather than that, I hope this can bring someone some understanding.

We all have losses in our life at one time or another. We all feel grief. We all react to that grief differently. Some can take it in stride and go on about their lives as if it were an ordinary day. Others cry and carry on and include everyone around them in their grief. I guess they are probably the lucky ones. The ones that let their feelings out for all to know. People respond, listen, console, and pamper those that are in a tender state of mind. Perhaps it helps one move on to be able to vent freely to others. Then there are those of us that mourn quietly, withdraw, ask questions only of ourselves, try to understand without seeking help and basically quit living. All these methods are normal and all are acceptable ways of handling events beyond our control. However, if you are one of those who keeps things inside, to yourself, you must be aware of what you are doing and why. You must control your emotions and not let them control you. Don’t withdraw to the point of severe depression. Understand what you are feeling and admit to yourself that you are in a fragile state. Pamper yourself a little bit. Give yourself permission to be, out of sorts and in a delicate state of mind. If you can’t do that on your own then you do need to seek help. Talk to someone. It is imperative to your own well-being to open up to at least one person. Maybe it is a friend or maybe you need to actually go to counseling. If you are still on top of the situation, you will know that you need to get help. You may not do it immediately, but you will know. Those who are in complete denial will say to themselves, “I’m okay. I’m handling it fine. I don’t need anyone.” These are the ones who need it most. If you are that person, go, now, as quickly as you can and find someone to talk to.

I have worked through my grief and depression mostly on my own. I didn’t do it well and most certainly should have sought out the help of a professional. But, I knew I was in that sort of state. I wasn’t denying it. I wasn’t hiding it. I did, withdraw from life to a certain degree. I stayed at home, not caring to see many people and I let most of my phone calls go to voice mail. I didn’t go outside. Some days I didn’t dress or comb my hair. All these things, I knew were bad signs. I have worked through all this and am finally taking an active part in my life again. I do still feel though, that I should make an appointment and talk to a professional about much of the stuff that has been keeping me in that state of severe depression. I believe it will help to talk and have someone listen. That is what I am here today to tell you. At some point, even though you have gotten through the rough times,  even though you are feeling relatively normal again, go get help. Talk, and let it out. It won’t hurt you and in the long run should give you some peace of mind about your feelings. I’m going to. eventually. Writing helps, but cannot serve as my only means of release. I’m back to gardening, and doing crafty things, even going to a few of my favorite second-hand stores and now, possibly, hopefully, back to writing. I’ve missed it. I haven’t felt whole since I quit publishing. Obviously, as I look at the length of this, I’m regaining my desire to share with others, to evolve, to move on and yes, to feel the joy and fulfillment that only writing can bring to those of us who try to succeed in that field.

After the Fire Breathing Dragons and Demons

Steve and I were married in 1991. We started married life with six children, six dogs, and a prayer, well actually, a lot of prayers.  We really wanted to get married much soon than it happened but with barely a nickel to our name we couldn’t afford to rent a building, we didn’t belong to a church, and we really wanted more than just a quick, “She does, I do, Here’s the Ring, How Do you Do.”   We told friends. After all the calamity, the hugs, the kisses,  and the , “We’ve all been wondering when you were going to do it,”stuff was over, things started happening. Our then leader of the 4-H group our kids were in and her sister said they would make our cake, another friend volunteered supplies for decorations, others were pitching in right and left, but we still needed a place. Then it came to us, why not out in the barn where we train the dogs. We asked the trainers and they were delighted at the idea. Last but not least, we needed a minister and as luck would have it, Steve’s brother-in-law fit the bill. Steve and I quickly made invitations and got them in the mail.

The barn was cleaned from top to bottom. Janice, our dog trainer, even dusted the rafters and another friend leveled the dirt floor with his tractor. Steve built two lattice arbors for the ceremony. His dad carved a cross to hang in the one where we would say our vows.The feed store just down the road hauled in a huge load of hay bales for our guests to sit on. A fire was blazing in the huge old wood stove that resided in the barn. Decorations went up, and while that was going on we had a “Rehearsal Dinner.” Everyone brought food, we ate and decorated and then ran through the ceremony a couple of times. Music was organized, we danced, we played, we laughed,  and everything was set. We were actually getting married.

Now this wasn’t one of those, “We fell in love a first sight” love affairs that one hears about. No, to the contrary.  We had been friends for more than twenty some years. We lived in different towns and our families only saw each other now and then but the friendship held. Both of us had good lives, good families, good ‘SPOUSES.” Both of us saw the devil open the gates of hell and turn loose fire breathing dragons and demons beyond belief or imagination.

Devastation. Nothing else could describe it . Left, after twenty-two years, with three children at home ( our oldest was away at school on the other side of the state) , a mortgage, a non-working furnace, a pile of wood which I was physically unable to cut, and more, but I believe you have gotten the picture. Who did I have to turn to? My friends were his friends, they stayed away. No one even came from the church to see if the girls were okay. I was alone, until I finally told my parents.

At the same time, in another town, the same sort of scenario was happening to Steve.  She was leaving, him and the kids, and there was nothing he could do about it. She had made up her mind and that was that.  He’d been blindsided and broken all in one quick statement, her words echoing off the slamming door as she left him standing there, middle of the kitchen, in disbelief.

Some time passed for both of us. I had taken a sales clerk job at a local department store and was trying to figure out how to sell a broken house because, as it was put to me, “he wasn’t  fixing anything and he wasn’t making any payments.”  My dad helped where he could with some of the work.  The girls and I spent our time in the living room with blankets over the door ways to keep the heat in from the fireplace which dad had cut some wood for.

Steve, born and raised in the same town I had lived all my life in, knew of my situation. It was now Christmas time. He had made a couple of trips with his children to visit his parents. His family and my family were both well known in our little town and we both had been the subject of numerous conversations as the “grapevine” would tell it. He stopped by on one trip to see how we were. He and I in unison, put on our happy faces and told each other lies about how well we were managing. We spoke awkwardly as our friendship had always been a family thing.

He hesitated as he left, saying, “Sandy, if you ever need anything, call me.”

Obviously, I must have needed something because, if you remember, before I started telling you about devils and demons, Steve and I were getting ready to be married. It hadn’t been an easy decision to come to. To get married, that is. After all, we were friends, best friends by that time and we had been friends for so long. We had, a while back, joined forces, me and my girls moving to his town, his home, as a move of convenience . My house had sold. I had nowhere to go. He needed help with the kids while he worked. So did I.  I was able to transfer my job to a store located in Auburn. We set up work schedules so that I was home on his work days and he was home on mine. On our days off, we were each, respectively, responsible for the children, all of them. By this time my second oldest, who had moved away from me, lived with her father briefly, then ventured into a hair-raising lifestyle, out on her own, moving from friend to friend, and sometimes just living hand to mouth on the streets with like friends, had now come back to me needing a place to live, a home. As things turned out, she was pregnant. The father of the baby didn’t want her and her own dad said “no ” to her coming back there. We couldn’t do that. She had made some questionable decisions. She had lived a life that the thoughts of, put a deep, sad, fear in my heart. But she was back. She needed compassion, not judgement. She, and her soon to be born child, came there to live with us. Chrissie was born in November 1990. We were all thrilled. She brought so much joy to the house hold.  Another Christmas was rolling around  and the feeling engulfing all of us  was like getting renewed hope, a new beginning. That was when Steve first asked me to marry him.

But as I was saying, before I filled you in with our history,  there was a knawing question in both of our hearts that had to be brought up and would have to be answered.  What if we get married and it doesn’t work? Would we each loose our very best friend in the whole world. We brought it up and then, let it go, each of us pondering the possibility in the back of our minds, and not having too much conversation for the next several days. We went about our daily activities, glancing at each other now and then, touching little, polite conversation, and each of us wondering what life without our best friend would be like.

It was a Tuesday, Steve was on the last day of his shift for the week at work. I had just gotten home from picking kids up from activities. He called.

“Hi, I miss you.” he said quietly.

“I miss you too.” I replied, as I wondered what was coming next.

“I’m off in a half hour. Can you get the kids fed early? I want to have a quiet dinner with you alone tonight, if that’s okay?”

“Yes, of course. Dinner is ready so I’ll just get them fed and on to homework and stuff right after. Are we eating here? There is plenty you know. I was planning on us all having dinner together.” I said, still wondering about his intentions.

“No. Tell Dani we are going out for a bit and ask her to watch the rest of the kids, okay?” he answered.

“Sure, I know she’ll be fine with it. I’ll see you soon. Are jeans and a t-shirt okay or do I need to clean up more than that?” I had no idea where we were going.

“Jeans are fine.” see you in a bit. “I love you.” and he hung up.

Before I could even reply, he hung up.

Steve came home, briefly cleaned up a bit and changed to an everyday shirt. We gave brief instructions to the kids and let them know we wouldn’t be gone long. We left, holding hands as we walked silently to the car.  Once inside, with the car started,  Steve said he thought we’d go into Enumclaw to the Chinese restaurant that we liked. I agreed, that would be nice. It was a twenty-minute drive, mostly in silence. We got there and I found that Steve had called ahead making reservations. We were seated, ordered a drink, and we both began to speak at once.

“I want to get married,” he said without hesitation.

“Me too. We won’t ruin anything. It is possible to love each other and be best friends. But there is one more problem.” I said.

“Problem? What other problem could there possibly be?” he questioned me with a look of surprise on his face.

“Well,” I hesitated, but then decided just to let it all out. “It’s not really a problem, just something we need to talk about.  When we first started thinking of marriage, it was you , Andy and Becki, and me with Emmy and Dani.”

“So what’s the problem?” he looked ready to jump out of his skin.

“Chrissie!  Not that SHE is a problem. It’s just now we have a baby in the house. I’m sure Dana won’t stay settled with us long. She’s just not ready to be responsible so I can see her leaving. She can’t move around freely and irresponsibly, with a baby in tow. That means, we would have Chrissie. We’d have a baby. And I just couldn’t, wouldn’t,  send her away. I’d have to carry that responsibility. I love her and  just am not going to let anything like that happen, you know, hand to mouth, on the street. I couldn’t take a chance of her being in harms way. If I had my way, Dana would stay too but I know, in my heart already, she’s on the verge of going. ” There, I had said it. When it happened, when Dana felt the need to go,  and it would happen, I planned on taking on the responsibility of my grand child, after all, we were doing most of her care as it was already.

“So where’s the problem?” Steve asked.

“Well, you signed on in this deal with four kids. Kids that are half-grown. You didn’t have a baby in mind. A baby adds a whole lot to the picture.” I told him and then added, “What I’m saying is I really don’t expect you to follow through with this plan of marriage, now, with this change. It’s your chance to re-think this and really get a perspective on it. You can change your mind and I won’t blame you for anything. I love you. I don’t want to ruin that. As it is, we can still be friends, helping each other, but limit it to that.”

“Listen, I don’t care if there are ten kids involved, baby or no baby. Dana and Chrissie are part of our family. We do what we need to do to take care of family.  I love you and I want to marry you.” he said without pause as he got up from his chair. He shifted and suddenly there he was on one knee, holding my hand, at the side of the table. “Sandy, I love you, I want to marry you. Will, you please say yes? he pleaded, sincerely, and the look in his eyes told me this was not a time to argue.

“Of course, I will, as long as you are sure.”

“I’m sure,” he replied as he got back up, and everyone around us clapped. “Hey, she said yes!” he said to the crowd. Imagine that!” and they all laughed.  But, he didn’t finish there. “And all you folks here, I want you to witness this. Sandy, this is forever. No if’s ,and’s ,or but’s. Forever, do you agree?”

“Yes, of course!” I replied, laughing as I did, because everyone in the restaurant was in an uproar, laughing and pointing, as they witnessed Steve’s commitment to me and me to him.

So now you understand how we went from best friends to the point of marriage and though the decision seemed difficult at that time, I guess it really wasn’t. Now, backing up in my story.  I had left off at, “we were actually getting married.” Yes, the next day after the rehearsal dinner party we would become man and wife and family.

That morning, Saturday March 23, 1991 everyone went in different directions to get done what each had to accomplish before noon rolled around. The wedding was set for one o’clock. The kids with friends all headed out early, early morn to place signs, like old Burma Shave signs, all along the highway leading those who didn’t know to our destination. They read something like:

Steve and Sandy

are getting married today

keep on going

you’re headed the right way.

three more miles,

you’re almost there

when you see the big dog

turn right, park, and walk to the barn

there we’ll watch them walk down the isle

arm in arm.

The signs came both ways, out of Auburn and out of Enumclaw,  along the Auburn/Enumclaw Highway. (of course coming from Enumclaw the read, turn left.) and the kids planted them at the appropriate spots on the highway and decorated them all with balloons and ribbons.

Not only were our friends giving us this wonderful wedding, they made it a pot luck, so everyone was bringing food. Dani was in the Junior High School Choir and they had arranged to bring risers and the whole choir showed up to sing for us with Dani having a solo part in the song one of the songs. As the wedding began, our children went before us, walking to the song “The Rose”, by Conway Twitty.” They all parted at the first rows where our parents sat and gifted their grandmothers with a bouquet and hugs all around. After that, they returned to their place at the make shift alter ,turning to us as we started our journey together in life and love. The music started. We proceeded to the tune “Love Can Build a Bridge” by the Judds. By the time we got to the children and our minister, Walter, the entire congregation was in tears, even Walter, who said at that time, “I’ve performed a lot of weddings and I’ve seen many tears of happiness, including my own, flow at these weddings. But…this is the first time, I’ve cried, and witnessed the whole congregation in tears before there was even one word spoken. I believe folks, this is truly a match made in heaven. We shall begin this ceremony with a prayer.”

Well, there was just no topping that. Our ceremony was perfect. We included our children, who, by the way, all said family vows together. We had included our parents, who I think maybe still had a few doubts when the day started but those doubts were now probably put to rest. Our friends and families were all present and involved. It just doesn’t get any better than that, except, of course, when we turned back to the crowd and started our “Recessional” to the tune of ” Two of a Kind Workin’ on a Full House, by Garth Brooks.”  We danced our way back down the isle way with kids, family and friends following. Everyone was in stitches as they kicked up their heels to the tune. The rest of the day was just as perfect, lots of food, dancing, talking, toasts, and hugging. As we cut the cake and toasted each other everyone cheered.

While all this was going on inside the barn, the kids were having quite a time outside. They decorated our big ole Black and Red Ford F 250 long bed truck with enough balloons and streamers to do a cruise ship and filled the inside of the truck with the same. When it was time for us to depart it took at least fifteen minutes to get enough of the balloons and other decorations out of the cab to even get in. What a delight it was for the kids to take part in all of this.

Finally, at day’s end, we hopped in the truck, waved with tears still flowing and headed down the highway. We lead a procession all the way back to Auburn before they started departing to their own destinations.

It is now coming up on March 23, 2016. That means twenty-five years. Twenty five years of ups and downs, joys and hardships, times of plenty and times of none. Yet, through it all, we have survived. We have thrived. We have grown. We’ve learned what kind of people we really are and what is most important to us and who. As in the beginning, friendship is and always will be our number one most important need, followed with love, family, friends, a sense of humor, humility, truth and togetherness. With these things on your side and in your heart, you can’t lose.

In celebration of this milestone, our Children are giving us a twenty-five year wedding anniversary party. We’ve been told we can input if we wish, but…they are doing it. They are making the decisions. They are in control. All we need to do is sit back , ride the wave and enjoy. I do know, the colors are, Red and Black and the theme is Flannel and Lace. That, sounds just like us.

 

Our Wedding

We start our journey of friendship, marriage, and family.

S&Swedding20004

Going to the barn, and we’re going to get married.

Author

Sandra Lea Rogers

January 12, 2016

 

Twenty five years and still going strong.

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Now that we’ve made it this far, watch for our 50th. That should be quite a love story.                    Steve will be 95 and I will be 93. So make a toast to friendship for us folks, as we                                                         continue this one, as long as God will allow.

 

 

 

I’m A Foster Mom

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the fact in any of my writing here on my “Blog” that I am a foster Mom. Yes, a foster mom and so blessed. But this foster story is a little different. My fosters are dogs. At this point in my confession of this fact, people usually ask, “How can you do that?” “How can you take them in and then give them up again?” Then they add, “I just couldn’t do that.”

That’s what I thought at first too. In fact, our first attempt failed. By failed, I mean, we ended up adopting the first two little ones we took in. At three and five pounds they became “Pinch and Pebbles.” We adored them. We already had two dogs. Brussels Griffons, both of them, and so dear.  Rosie, we got at seven weeks, only to find out she was extremely ill. Another story there, but at least you know at this point ,she survived. The other one at two years old, having been born and raised in a puppy mill  then shipped to various rescues, never having had a home during those first two years. I fell in love with her at first sight and immediately set forth to make her ours. Okay, now we had four dogs. But, the need for help is so bad. There are so many homeless and abused dogs everywhere. I couldn’t ignore it. I set out to prepare my home to take more. Before I was ready, two more were brought to me by the rescue group I was working for. Babies, at least that’s what we thought. Two little Pits. However, it was discovered they were nine months old instead of the four we were told. They had been starved, abused, never been outside, bathed or anything else that one would do with their dog. They were fearful of everything. So the bonding began. Every day, each morning, I took them out on a leash and walked with them. Coaxing, encouraging, enticing them with treats. Then it was back inside to their playpen, which I crawled into with them and hand fed them from their bowls, petting and talking the whole time. The goal was to teach them, the food was there for them and wouldn’t be taken away. Also trying to avoid food aggression. By touching them, putting my hands in their bowls, being close, yet never removing the food from them they were learning it was safe to eat with others at hand. The training continued from there. Basic obedience commands, then socializing and lots more.

Since that time, I think we have taken in about twenty-five or so dogs. We’ve seen cases of filth and severe abuse. Dogs afraid to even look at us. Dogs we were unable to even touch. Each time, each case, it broke our hearts. But with time and patience, each one of these innocent little beings, eventually came around. Each of them learned, in their own time, love was real, love was good, and love has no conditions. Some started responding right away, with in just hours or days. Others, well, we had one for nine months before she was ready for adoption. Then, there was Rita, who had been so severely damaged physically, even after seeking out the help from the best specialists, we were unable to save. Yes, it’s hard. Some cases almost unbearable. However, mostly, you do as much as you can for them, they respond, and they move on to a “Forever” home with in two weeks to two months, usually the shorter of the two. You hug, you cry, you see them off. Then you remind yourself. You did what you could do. You helped them become adoptable. You brought them out of horrendous living conditions and sent them to loving,caring homes, forever. You know, you can’t keep them all yourself, but you can help them find that perfect someone who will love them forever. That is my reward in all this. I have made a difference. I have helped where once there was no hope.I have saved lives and I have held, comforting and caressing, whispering softly until the end.  I have taught love and companionship. I have gained much more than I have given.  I, have been blessed.

Just a few of my foster babies…..

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Sweet Lucy  …Unwanted                     Tippy …Elderly owner couldn’t keep.

004 Snickers, rescued from a high kill shelter. His time was up. How he loved his morning rock and nap in my lap.

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Baily Boy, Angel, Kory Ann and Kipper. This litter was thrown out in the cold December weather at 8 weeks old and left to find their own way. They came to us afraid of everyone, hungry, un-trusting. Eventually they got better. Angel took a full nine months to rehabilitate and become adoptable. But they all did find homes with loving, caring families. These, all of these, were some of the lucky ones.

Take Time To Smell the Roses

Roses climbing an old arbor in our back yard.

Roses climbing an old arbor in our back yard.

Today, was shopping day. We, Steve and I, had a quick cup of coffee and cereal for breakfast then I headed for the bedroom to dress and get ready to go. The last time we went I had a panic attack in Wal-Mart. I sat on the pharmacy bench, counting product on the shelf, the rows, the number of bays, then went to reciting the names of my children in my head and then the names of my dogs. Familiar stuff, recall familiar things.  Breath. What was my name, where was I at and why was I there. Did I have a list? Breath.Concentrate on breathing.Slowly, deeper breaths, relax. There were simply too many people  that day and too much noise. Hey, try that breathing thing again. You have to breath! The sounds all ran together and made a horrid roaring in my head. faces were blurry and getting distorted. I hated this. Even as I sat, the sweat poured off my brow.I continued counting and practicing my breathing.  It finally eased up and I was able to move on but I think it took at least twenty minutes to a half hour before I could function again. Today would be different. I was feeling stronger, more focused. Today we weren’t pressed for time or on any kind of schedule. So as I reassured myself of these facts I grabbed a cap from my hat holder, formerly a shoe bag, you know one of those that hold twelve pair of shoes and hangs on the back of a door,  of which I had every pocket stuffed with a baseball cap of some sort. I love hats, and have many. Today’s was adorned with fake rhinestones spelling out, “Got Money, Lets Shop.” Yes, along with hats, I love glitz and glitter. You’ll probably find out more about those traits later, in another post somewhere down the road, but for right now, back to today. I exited the bedroom announcing to Steve that I was ready as I stuffed my notebook, phone, sunglasses and camera into my over-sized, purse of sorts. Steve swears I need one with wheels. We headed out the door, double checking with each other that we had taken care of everything that needed our attention before we left. I had fed and put the little dogs out, he did the big dogs and fed the cat. Coffee pot off, lights off, doors locked, yep we were ready. First stop, his pharmacy. Done. Next, my pharmacy. Done. Okay, to Costco to get bread. Just bread. It comes in a two loaf package, bigger loaves, and half the price a one single, smaller loaf at any other store. After almost being run over in the cross walk we entered the store, headed down the main aisle and, “Oh my, look at the beautiful jewelry!” Twenty minutes later after viewing every piece and drooling over the gorgeous, red, Coral, three hundred dollar necklace, we moved on. Alright, Olive Garden salad dressing, two bottles, less than the price of one at the other store, good deal. Down the next aisle, another, “good deal”, and so our shopping went. We stopped to look at some small appliances. Another lady, Marsha, was looking at the same mixer we were. We were just looking because of the difference in the mixer, a Bosch, six and a half quart, eight hundred watt and we were liking the way it was set up. Marsha actually needed a new mixer and I think when she gets ready, partially due to our “comparison sales pitch” between the Bosch and the Kitchen Aid, she’ll be choosing the Bosch. Now, this conversation included much more than selling her on the mixer. We shared several stories with her. She was a Critical Care Nurse at one of the hospitals where Steve had heart stuff done so they talked about the Dr’s, surgeons, and procedures around heart care, hospital policies came up, as did the food served. Of course she learned of the moth in Steve’s salad at one of the hospitals and then we all got into crafts and hobbies, pictures included. Since the pictures came out, there was also discussion about kids and grand kids. We shared with her our story about our VW Bus, neon glasses, and Jive Bunny, which I’ll share with all of you another time, and of course, how we, using our aliases, “Bert and Lonnie”, still, yet another story, got through a couple of rough spots.  Marsha, whom we had never met before was so extremely nice and we all had such a wonderful conversation, probably forty-five minutes worth of conversation, and even hugs between her and I before we said our good byes. She was off to meet her daughter and attend her grand daughters soccer game and we, with our two loaves of bread and  almost two hundred dollars worth of other  “good deals” were headed for Wal-Mart. It was really a good thing we weren’t in a hurry or on a schedule. That bread stop turned into a two hour, very enjoyable, so consequently, worthwhile, stop. Finally, Wal-Mart, we were there. Steve’s insulin, me a blood pressure cuff, a bag of salad, you know, not too much stuff, and then on our way again. He got his, I got mine, then back to the photo department to have a couple of prints made that I wanted to send off in the mail. After doing the pictures, he was reading magazines so I quickly grabbed some dog shampoo and returned. Hearing my name I popped back over to pick up the pictures. “Hi, I think mine are ready.” I said to the clerk. “Yes, Sandy, right?”

At that point the man behind me, looking at the pictures he had just picked up, said to me, “Yes, he tried to give yours to me. Your name is Rogers? I’m Larry Rogers. Do you think there is any connection?”

“Nice to meet you, Larry,” I replied as I held out my hand to give him a hand shake. “I think maybe my husband could answer that better. He’s coming right there.  Steve, this is Larry Rogers.”  and the conversation began.

It turned out that the three of us were all born and raised in Port Angeles, went to the same schools, attended some of the same functions and frequented the same restaurants and stores around town. Larry has a brother, Nick, and Steve had a brother Nick, who has gone on to be with God. Our Nick was the same age as Larry. We had a wonderful conversation about Port Angeles in the “old days”, the rivers, the parks and campgrounds, walking to the movie theater as kids and getting periwinkles (my job when my brothers would take me with them) while fishing in Tumwater Creek and so much more. Larry seemed to be a lover of nature and I could tell he really loved the area we all came from. He had worked at the Sol Duc Hot Springs as a young man and knew all the fishing areas around. Steve had hiked all those areas so they both were very  at ease their conversation. We knew all the places he mentioned and he had also been every where we had been. It was a great place to grow up. Our parents had all spent at least their entire adult lives there. His mom, still living at at the age of 99. He had just been there and took her out to dinner last weekend. And of course you would know, at the same restaurant that Steve and I ate at once a week when we were remodeling my Mom and Dad’s house back in two thousand and five.

So now, let’s see, a very enjoyable hour spent with Larry reminiscing about all our favorite haunts as kids , off to grab that bag of salad, and I guess a couple other things because we finally got back out of the store with only the diminishing of a hundred and twelve dollars from our pockets.

Shopping, it’s a good thing we don’t do it often. A lot of time, although very enjoyable, and we met two really nice people. A lot of money, not intended but needed, and back home again and gee, it was one o’clock when we left home and we just walked in the door at nine twenty. Now you do have to take into consideration it takes an hour to get to and from any of these stores from out place so two hours of our time was spent totally in travel time.

Our dogs were so excited to see us and get their dinner. The little ones acted like had

we torchered them by leaving them out for the day. But hey, it was seventy degrees, they have a covered patio, beds, water and toys plus a well fenced yard so nothing can harm them so they can accept being out there for the day from time to time.  The two big ones were just happy we were home. Ziva wanted to come in and sit in Steve’s chair and Lollie grabbed a toy and followed Steve around, pushing it at his leg wanting him to throw it for her. She wagged her tail so big she could hardly walk. We threw some left over homemade mac and cheese in the microwave, put groceries away and called it good. Another day, another adventure. We didn’t get everything done that we intended which I realized as I picked my “list” up off the dining table where it sat the entire day. Oh well, time and money can’t compare to the conversations with the people we met along the way. You all know the old saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” These two new acquaintances were the roses in our travels today, unexpected, unplanned, but two beautiful people. It was a good “feel good”  day.

Older, But Not Old Yet!

Just a note on daily life around here. Of course by now, if you are following my blog, you have realized that life at our house is usually not what one would call normal for most people. There is always something happening. Lately, it has been very challenging. So to update you, first, let me tell you that my husband Steve, having had open heart surgery, a four-way by pass, in January,  is doing well since he had the “by pass of the by pass” a couple of weeks ago. He is still getting quite tired in the afternoons  but has had no pain or problems.

For the moment, the focus has been on me. We’re dealing with a couple of health problems but are slowly ruling out the horrid possibilities and aiming at finding a simple answer to all. In the meantime, I’m hanging in there and doing it fairly well. Patience is not my strong point. One thing to understand is that Steve and I are not young anymore.

For those of you in that “beginning to show your age” group of older but not old seniors, like we are,  I’m here to tell you some days just aren’t fun. How do you feel when you get here? Well, last week, I felt my physical age and my mental age were in sync and I was ready for anything. I wasn’t in that “older generation” group but felt more like maybe a forty something. How wonderful it is to get up feeling great. The birds singing, the sun shining, wild life roaming in the yard and you sitting with your coffee on the patio watching it all while figuring out your work plan for the day. Eagerness overwhelms you. Before your second cup, you’ve pulled out your garden tools, gloves, a sun hat and have it ready to go in your garden wagon. Your dear spouse brings you another cup of coffee and together you plot  your day. Then, you actually accomplish what you set out to do.

Now, it’s a week later, the sun still shines, the birds still sing, and all else described above is still in play. But, your bones hurt, your muscles are stiff and aching and your mind is just kind of floating in oblivion. You want to do something but the energy just won’t come. You go back in, wash your face again, have another cup of coffee but this time,  you doze off in your chair. The dogs wake you because they want to go outside and you failed to take care of that when you were up and moving earlier. You feel like you are at least a hundred years old and thank God, it is finally ten am and you can take a little nap.

Yes, it changes that fast, and faster. Sometimes it changes like that from day to day, or morning to evening. I know there are so many of you that know exactly what I am talking about. You too, know about set backs. You have been witness to what stress does for you. You’ve learned how to handle most problems but some days it takes so long to get them handled. Yes, you know where I’m at.  So at this point you are praying for last week to return. And it will. Well, not actually, but the feeling will return.

Yes, we all have these days. It’s all about now, how you deal with it. I’m trying to learn, still, one day at a time. How long have I been working on that lesson? More years than I want to say but since I have admitted to being in that senior group you know it’s a fairly large number. Will I learn. Probably not but I’ll never give up trying.  I tend to work under the premise that if you feel good today, get it done today. I try to pace myself but often find I’m working harder than I should be, longer than I should be, and not asking for help when I need it. I always have a number of projects going. Right now, for instance, I’m plotting, planning and puttering in my, someday it will be beautiful, garden area. I’ve laid out where my little shed will be, some of the beds are in, and I’m collecting. There are windows, watering cans. boards, garden figurines, old tools, pots and planters. I’ll be so ready when the building gets built. I’m actively looking for free building materials every chance I get. I’ve had a little old door for at least ten years that will be my front door to the shed. There are two wicker chairs and a table in my storage shed that need to be painted and the seats recovered that will be just darling in the covered sitting area. We have to have a covered sitting area because we have so much rain here. I have light fixtures for outside that I picked up at a yard sale years ago, knowing that someday I’d find a place for them. They are tarnished brown and green and I love them. That is my main day time activity right now but as I come in for the evening, my paints are ready and waiting for me. I’ve been working on flags. I love what I call “Americana” stuff. My flags are made out of recycled materials. Steve cuts the boards and wire, then I paint. I have several other things I’m making under that category too. I’m also sewing. Right now, baby things. I’ve made the cutest, most darling little booties you ever saw. They will go with a dress, coat and probably a bonnet. This particular outfit is all in lavender and white and is newborn size.  I’m trying to learn to play mandolin and have dedicated one half hour every evening for practice.We have a “Jam Session” at our house twice a month for any friends that want to come. We play and sing and just have a good time. We have (Steve plays)guitars , and drums, which our grand son andgrand daughter both play. For Jam night, they get a real work out from our friend Johnny. Anyone who wants can sing. There are other instruments for anyone who can play. Oh, we aren’t really what you’d call talented or even really good. But, we have fun. We share stories and music and good times. This time is important to us as it’s very relaxed and spent with friends. It is down time uncomplicated with worries. It is necessary to have down time  if you want to stay sane. We are also still, and will be for a long time, working at remodeling, on a zero budget, our kitchen. I won’t even get into the plans for the back yard. So I guess you have figured out that the way I handle this getting older stuff is by staying busy. Moving, planning, thinking and doing almost constantly. This, I hope, will help keep me a viable, active, person. Possibly this will keep my mind from getting slow and stale. I often find myself laughing at my attempts before moving on to a better way. Humor, I use it generously. I have many things to accomplish and not so many years left to do it. The last thing I will mention at this time, but certainly not least in importance, of those things is my writing. I’m now trying something I’ve never tried to do in my writing. I stated that I write from memories and experience on my front page. I’ve never done fiction. My stories are short and my writing is simple. But, I decided to try writing a story, maybe a book and yes fiction. I didn’t exactly decide to do it, it just happened one evening. I was thinking about writing about some things that happened with myself and a couple of friends from high school back in those high  school days. The thought grew into more and now I’ve completed chapter one. I hope there will be more.  I’m also hoping to leave behind when my time comes to leave this physical world, worth while information, knowledge, humor, joy and the desire in others to live, love, and create. Do something important for yourself. Make your life important to others. Share your talents, thoughts and feelings with the world. Never say never. Always say can, not can’t. Keep doing, don’t stop. Most of all, believe in yourself and never stop believing. Make today worth while, because you never know when there won’t be a tomorrow and just ask yourself, seriously,…….will I be remembered? This is what keeps this older, but not old yet, lady on the move, reaching for one more day and one more accomplishment.

My Flag, 7-4-15

My Flag, 7-4-15

Forever is A Long Way Off

ForeverSeveral days ago I posted a short post which I had titled, “A Poem, A Prayer.”  That was exactly what it was. Prayers for my husband. He had open heart surgery the end of January. It was a four-way bypass. It failed. On Friday last week he was taken to the ER by ambulance. I prayed, our family prayed, our friends prayed. He has a twenty-six year history with Heart Disease. He’s had the same cardiologist that entire time.  He’s also had somewhere in the neighborhood of six angiograms, five angioplasties, and he’s  up to nine stents in his heart and one in his groin. Now we can add the bypass and the bypass failure to that. We were told, “He’s running out of options.” by the doctors. However, for now, once again he’s back in good repair. Thank God.  The Doctor’s went back in doing a double cath. One in each groin. The upper portion of the bypass is what had failed. During the time that he spent, recuperating from it, some of the medications he had been required to take, helped clear out some of the arteries that had been blocked.. The Doctors decided to bypass the bypass.  By putting in three stents they were able to use one of these arteries to go around the back of the heart, joining into the lower portion of the bypass which was still working. They also opened up another artery that had previously been completely blocked. It was a long surgery, over four hours. but that had been expected. Not expected was the complications afterward. Immediately following, the cath site on the left wouldn’t stop bleeding. Applying a pressure bandage seemed to be helping, so they decide to leave it on a while. Steve got visitors. Some of his buddies from the plant that he used to work at.  They talked, going over numerous old stories about when they had worked together, fishing trips  and riding their motorcycles, Steve’s blood pressure was slowly, gradually, climbing. I don’t know if it was from the fun and the stories or just what. The nurse came in to check vitals. Blood pressure was up, and he was running a fever. Then she checked his cath sites. Now, he was bleeding on the right side, a lot. There was a sudden flurry of action and soon six nurses were surrounding and working on him. They were able to stop the bleeding and avoided another emergency. Ahhh, we could relax again. The rest of that evening went well. The morning though, brought forth other problems. New medications presented new reactions. Reactions indicating an allergic response. Ants, he was seeing ants. Crawling up the walls, all around him, up his legs and across his bed. Tubes, huge tubes were threatening to fall upon him. His sheets had ever-changing colors and textures. Thankfully, he was aware enough to know  he was experiencing hallucinations. Another medication was administered to counteract the first one. Finally, all was well. He was stable. Now the problem was me. I had hit the stage of total exhaustion. I had been on my way back to the hospital.  Overwhelming tiredness came over me and I simply could not drive. I called my daughter. She came from work to take me the rest of the way. We waited with Steve for answers most of the afternoon and had been there much longer than we expected we would be, with all the complications. She had to get home.I still didn’t feel safe to drive. They still didn’t want to let Steve go. He needed to be watched longer. We made arrangements with his friend, Johnny, to come get him after John got off work. That allowed me to leave with our daughter. I went home, called Steve to check in, and crashed. Six thirty p.m. rolled around and Steve was walking in the door. That’s what woke me. What a day. What a week. I thank God it’s over. I thank God for the end results. Steve is good. We are both getting rested. All is well and will soon be back to normal. Well, as normal as it ever gets around here. Our life has always been anything but normal but the Lord has watched over us well, getting us through the difficult and the even more difficult times. We  have learned to keep a sense of humor. We have learned about survival. We have learned true, absolute love. Together we can handle anything and we will. Me and Steve and God. Our faith in each other and God is what keeps us going.

Why have I shared this story with all of you? Because it’s real. It’s real feelings, real emotions, real happenings. It’s the un-ordinary part of an ordinary life. Also to share with you the miracles that are being made in the medical world. Every time something has happened with Steve’s heart, we hear about new methods, new findings in heart care, new medicines. And every day we are witnessing miracles being granted by God. Through his help and the doctors we have once again moved forward, gotten through a really difficult procedure and an extremely stressful event.  It’s something that many of you may have been through and many more of you might have yet to go through. It’s just a brief description of how a problem was laid upon us and how we dealt with it. How about you. How would you cope? How would a face, “You’re running out of options?” We choose faith. Faith in each other. Faith in God. Faith in prayer and faith in our friends. Sometimes getting through something like this is just knowing that someone else has been there before you.  I, as I had been many times before this, was filled with fear. Fear of loosing him.  Our life together, I felt, was not near over yet. He promised me, twenty-four years ago that, if I would marry him, he’d give me forever.  Forever, is still, a long way off. I pushed the fear away with prayer.  Relief came. I knew, deep in my heart, I knew, all would be fine.  Still, I prayed more, our family and friends prayed with me.  I hope you have taken a moment to think about what you would do in an emergency situation. How would you handle a health set back. Do you have options set in place to handle emergencies. I know we need to recoup now. We need to get funds set aside again for health affairs. We need to plan what kind of spiritual needs we will call upon if there is a next time. We need to have plans in place so that we are not taken by surprise.  I hope you all are planning your own defense for a bad situation, no matter what it may be. To be prepared is to be in control. Take that control now and prepare. Remember too, to include God in your preparations. No one can help you more than he.