Wednesday, November 25, 2009

50 Things to be Thankful for on My 50th Post :)

It's a tradition :) And who couldn't be thankful?
This year, I'm thankful for...

1♥ Jesse--for the way he cherishes me, puts up with my dorkiness, and makes daily life such a joy
2♥ my family--knowing that I can be near any one of them in 2 hours or less, for how involved we all are in each others' lives even though we're spread out.
3♥ my friends in Oxnard, my friends in Glendora, my friends spread across the world
4♥ the internet! Bringing people together :)
5♥ our college and career Bible study group at Hope
6♥ flowers
7♥ tea
8♥ strawberries
9♥ crafts
10♥ the church family in Oxnard that still holds me up
11♥ my dear old lady friends at Hope
12♥ music
13♥ trees
14♥ slippers
15♥ sleep
16♥ our beloved little rented home (and our landlords who have blessed us so much!)
17♥ aprons
18♥ laughter
19♥ pansies
20♥ herbs and spices
21♥ fireplaces
22♥ avocado trees
23♥ blogs that uplift me, make me laugh, and inspire me
24♥ teapots (they're so cute)
25♥ geraniums
26♥ hot chocolate
27♥ hugs
28♥ baby giggles
29♥ photos
30♥ cellphones
31♥ freedom (and the soldiers who protect it)
32♥ devotionals
34♥ my harp teacher, Suzy
35♥ friends who know what I'm talking about before I finish the sentence
36♥ the way my siblings make me laugh
37♥ strawberry yogurt
38♥ smiles
39♥ good books
40♥ ice cream
41♥ that Jesse doesn't take advantage of my extreme ticklishness (too much)
42♥ rainy days
43♥ that Jesse likes to eat as much as I like to bake (it's our type of happily ever after!)
44♥ rubber stamps
45♥the ocean
46♥ good movies
47♥ smoothies
48♥ playing board games
49♥ road trips
50♥ waking up in the morning curled up in arms of love

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happiness is...

Happiness is...
♥ taking a day to recharge
♥ conversations with dear friends I haven't spoken to in a while
♥ cleaning the heck out of the house
♥ unpacking my suitcase (...just in time to pack a bag for tomorrow's trip)
♥ baking my very first chocolate cake from scratch (yummmmm)
♥ knowing that Jesse will also enjoy the country-style chicken strips on the menu tonight
♥ a sit-down dinner with my prince charming that has been weeeeeeks in coming
♥ figuring out how to make an important Christmas present
♥ yummy house smells
♥ dancing with Louis and Ella on pandora
♥ waiting for a hug at the door ♥

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


My goodness, what a whirlwind the last few days have been!

I typed my last post as I was waiting for my friend Emily to come get me. She is the sweetest thing! She is a respiratory therapist, and knows all about DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate forms which patients can sign). After my mom called me on Monday, I sent a quick text to Emily asking her to pray for my Papa. She called me back moments later and said "Where are you? I'm coming to get you."

There was no arguing with her, and two hours later, she was here straight from San Diego. We got in her car and drove up to Oxnard, enjoying each other's company and a few tears along the way.

We stopped at my parents' house to get the latest update before going over to see Papa and Ami, and then headed over with dinner for Ami and bits of food to entice Papa to eat.

When we got there, Papa was asleep in his chair. He has had very little energy lately, especially since he really hadn't eaten in four days.

Ami was glad to see us. She cheered up right away with our presence, and happily went around the house showing Emily all of the fun little things I enjoyed as a child. As we were looking at her musical carousel, I heard a cough and looked over to see Papa smiling and waving from his chair. He is deaf, so I pulled a chair next to his and sat, typing away on the laptop so he could read my words. He was very tired, and didn't talk to me, but he enjoyed reading stories that I wrote out about our trip to Kansas and our friend's wedding in San Diego last weekend. His laugh is weak, these days, but it still warms my heart!

Emily and I heated up soup that Mom had sent with us, and though we couldn't get Papa to eat any soup, we sneaked him pieces of a crescent roll, and he ate most of one.

He was tired, and Em and I were exhausted emotionally and physically from our trip, so we said goodnight and headed back to Dad and Mom's for the night.

In the morning, we went back and spent time with Papa and Ami. He was more alert and had enough of an appetite to eat half a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. Praise the Lord! As long as we can keep food in him, I'm praying his strength will return.

Around 2:00, Em and I said goodbye and headed back home. I'm still so exhausted from all of our travels, and just need to be home to recharge before anything else happens.

Emily dropped me off at church where I was greeted by all of the kids who were in School Age Care waiting for their parents. Their hugs are such morale boosters! And they were all very concerned when they heard that my papa was sick. It really touched my heart to hear them say "I'm so sorry! You get an extra hug."

I'm reveling in being home for the next few days. Kate and I are heading up to Oxnard on Friday to see Laura's opening night of Pirate's of Penzance. That girl is living and breathing theater these days! It will be a lot of fun--especially since Dad has a part in this play too! I love that even with as busy as things are on the homefront right now, between church and the ceramic studio, Papa's health, and everything else, that he's making time to be involved in something that Laura is passionate about. I can't wait to see them together on stage!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm going up to Oxnard this afternoon to be with my Papa Chuck. He hasn't eaten since Friday, and his doctor says that's a sign that his body is giving up.

He's supposed to start chemo this week. I wish they weren't even talking about it. He's so weak, why take what's left of him?

My mom has been their constant caregiver for about two months now. She goes over there three times a day to feed and take care of Papa and Ami. She's been so strong. But today, there was urgency in her voice.

How do you prepare to say goodbye?

He has been one of the strongest, most constant people in my life. When I was a child, back when they were both strong and healthy, Papa and Ami used to come visit us almost every week. It felt like they lived with us, we saw them so much.

Waking up to the sound of Papa's laugh as he played outside with our dog in the morning is something I came to expect growing up. I love my papa's laugh. Rich and full, whole-hearted, splitting his face from ear to ear.

Papa would sit and eat breakfast with us in the morning--always shredded wheat or corn flakes--and then we'd follow him outside while he found something to keep him busy. We would watch as he repaired a fence post, or sit on the driveway "keeping him company" as he slid under our car fixing the transmission, changing the oil, or putting in new shocks.

There was nothing Papa couldn't do.

He has battled cancer for longer than I've been alive. In and out of the hospital, he's always had a fighter's attitude. "When are they going to let me out?"

He's been to the hospital five times in the last two months. The second to the last time he was there, his physical therapist told him he couldn't go home until he could walk around the ward twice with his walker. Dad says he got out of bed, picked up the walker, and carried it the first lap around the ward. They let him go :)

He and Ami have been married almost 60 years. March 26th will be their anniversary. Their love is so beautiful. Last time I was there, Ami went in to wake him up and let him know that we had to take him back to the hospital, and the way she leaned over him and kissed him, the way his eyes fluttered open and lit up with love shining through his weakness, was enough to make me cry. She crooned to him and asked him if he was ready to "go back and see the pretty nurses?" He waved off her question and said "What do I need them for when I have you?"

We celebrated his 85th birthday last month, and even though he was so sick that day that we ended up having to take him to the hospital, he told us he was planning on "15 more."

My papa has always been determined to live to [at least] 100. I remember him telling me all growing up that he was planning on living forever.

It's hard to convince a guy who's not planning on dying that he is in dreadful need of a Savior. All my life, I've talked about Jesus with him, sent him Bible verses, prayed for him. All my life, he's told me he doesn't need a god.

It puts such a pressure on my family. We have a limited time to continue to share God's truth, and now, he is too weak to hear.

My best friend Em is driving up here today so that we can go see him together. There's so much to pack (I've barely unpacked from our vacation! We just got home Saturday night.), so much I was planning on doing today. I don't know what the days ahead look like, and for little-old-planner-me, that's a struggle.

Be still, and know that I am God.

It's ringing in my ears today. But how can I be still? So much to do...

Be still, and know that I am God.

I know, Lord, I'm trying. How do I say goodbye? I've never lost anyone I love. How do I stay strong?

Trust Me.