Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Today I got a phone call from the director of radiology of the center where they did the wire placement without numbing medicine. The doctor I saw yesterday did as he said he would and passed my letter along to those who need to read it. I was very pleased that my doctor did that, and pleased that this director took it seriously.

Tonight I am going to bed very early, it is just after 8:00 and I am ready. Tomorrow we have parent-teacher conferences in the evening and that will make for a 12 hour day. I am tired just thinking about it. Good news is that we get off early on Friday.

Today I had multiple pain issues with my shoulders, and my neck, and foot, so I am ready for bed. Silly me, I still cannot believe that I did that to my foot. It is just going to take some time and I am becoming an impatient person.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No news is good news...

Or so they say.

I am beginning to think that must hold true for me, if there is no real news in my department it must mean no new medical crisis. Seems that is the only news around here lately.

Well, I have little news, or information, but not much.

Today I went for a follow up appointment with the surgeon that did my breast biopsy. While there, I hand delivered a carefully thought out letter that let him and everyone else for that matter know that I did not appreciate the painful approach to wire placement. He was quite understanding and I really felt he understood. He had nothing to do with that barbaric practice of gouging me with a needle and wire and not numbing me first, so I had no problem letting him know that I really did not like that practice. He also took a look at my foot that was attacked by my treadmill and told me in detail how to care for the wound. He would have referred me to their "wound care" specialist if I had wanted, but you know, I have enough "specialists" right now and prefer to go this one alone. he did tell me that this will take a long time to heal. My sister went with me today and I must say she was shocked by just how bad that treadmill incident was. I chose not to post a picture of that lovely wound, and you probably should thank me, it is not a pretty site.

I will make this a short post tonight because I seem to have a zillion things to do around this house and must accomplish at least 2 or 3 of the zillion.

Catch you all later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Not to do on a Treadmill...

Okay, so a heart atack, cancer, and another cancer scare must not be enough to keep my pain level up, evidently I need to self inflict an injury to sustain my pain.

Case in point: Last night friends came to see us to celebrate my birthday. I decided to show them my new treadmill. First mistake, I got on with just socks. Don't do that. I was walking along at .5 miles an hour though, not enough to cause harm and everything was fine. Until, I decided to show the husband some of the wonderful treadmill features, like the incline- no problem. Then I wanted to show him that it can go really fast for those interested in running (he is an avid runner). Only problem is that I did not really mean to push the 12 mile an hour button when I pointed to it. Whoa Nellie. It started going very fast, very fast. (get it, like .5 to 12 mph in two seconds.) I felt like George Jetson screaming, "Jane stop this crazy thing!" Only Jane did not come to my rescue. I panicked and forgot how easy it is to kill the thing by pulling that little saftey rope, and instead started trying to reduce the speed as I normally do, in .5 mph increments. Not near quickly enough to prevent a potentially serious accident.

All of a sudden my husband stopped it for me, but not until my left ankle decided to fly off the back end and lay across the belt while it is spinning out of control. New words for my vocabulary -- road rash. OUCH. I am left with a half dollar size angry, nasty, oozing rash and an egg size swelling across the right side of my left ankle! Luckily I can walk, and even found shoes to wear today that seem to work. I am not really in too much pain, which is surprising when you see my ankle.

So, I think I have learned my lessons. First wear shoes, then pay attention and do not try to show off. Also, I now know that the controls are sensitive and have saftey features built in for a reason!

My adventures continue!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday Gift

Today is my birthday...I MADE IT !

Here is what I want.

I want you !

It is time to de-lurk, that means it is time for you to tell me who you are and just who reads my blog. You do not have to send flowers or gifts (unless you want to), but please just tell me who you are!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Wonderful Day!

Good news!

My pathology report came back today and I do not have any cancer in the specimen! I am to see an oncologist because I did have those atypia cells in my initial biopsy and they will discuss my risk factors and the possibility of being put on medication. I can handle that.

This was also just a very good day all around. No shoulder pain, no real neck pain, no other pain and pretty good stamina. I put in a full day at school and came home and got right on the treadmill. I feel wonderful. Let the praise begin!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Taking a Break

For those of you who of know my addiction to coupons, you will be surprised to know I am not buying newspapers tomorrow. I have already found what coupons will be in the fliers and I decided I can easily pass them by. I am actually slowing down on my shopping in general right now and not just due to health issues. I have a great stockpile and I am able to comfortably live off of it for a while. I may pick up some free things here and there if they come my way, but there is not much we need and when I check my surplus I would not want to pay much out of pocket for anything right now, knowing what I have on hand. I mean, paying even a quarter for a lot of things right now would be foolish for me. This is the beauty of the stockpile system, buy low, buy lots, never pay full price, and live off of it when you want to. When the time is right I will replenish certain items, but everything is pretty well stocked at this point. I need to take full advantage of the meats and items in our freezer before adding to it. So, sorry stores you might miss me for a while,

Two Posts so far Today...Maybe more to Come

I must be really pensive right now, either that or just suffering from insomnia, but I have been wondering something...

I know that everyone who reads my blog does not share in my faith, but I have a question. I would love to know the honest answers to these questions, but I don't know if I will really get answers. That is okay, it is just that these questions have been rattling around in my head for a while now and it is time for me to get them out. I have seen those 'man on the street" type of interviews, and I really do not want to pose these questions in that manner, and this is my other best option.

Here goes.

First question: Do you consider yourself to be Christian, atheist, or agnostic ?

Second question: At time of deep stress, or deep sadness in your life what do you do, do you cry out to anyone, God maybe, whatever your concept is of Him, or do you basically suck it up and go it on your own?

Third question: If you do not consider yourself to be a Christian, do you pray?

With all I have gone through lately I have mentioned that I wonder how people who do not have a true relationship with God handle these things, but the more I think about it, I really want to know.

I wish I could have a heart to heart talk with those who do not believe as I do without them thinking I am being preachy or judgmental, I just really want to know how different people handle stressful times.

My enquiring mind wants to know.

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to

Well, it was bound to happen. My post surgical pity party. It seems like I have had one with each surgical or major medical event in the last 5 months. Maybe it has something to do with anesthesia leaving my body, maybe it is hormonal, maybe it is just to show I am human and not able to be completely positive all of the time. I usually do not invite anyone, which is a good thing. I think my husband and my boys time have each attended one of them, but I don't know if they were actually invited. Strange party to crash, huh? It happened last night after I took a short bath. I just lost it for a while. To be honest I am sick of pain. I don't like living my life in a "complaining" mode. I don't like not knowing how to answer people when they ask how I am. That is a question I have to process every-time it is asked. I wonder if they want the short easy answer, which lately has just been, "I'm getting there." Or, if they want a longer but more truthful answer. That answer uses words like pain, hurting, sore, and tired. Not too many people really want to hear that when they ask. Some do, my closest family and friends really do want to know, and they really care, but in general it seems people want the short answer. Funny, I just thought about tele-marketers, too bad we blocked them, because I could sure give them an ear full when they ask, "How are you today?" It would make them block ME!

I KNOW all of this will pass, that the stiff, compressed feeling in my neck, the uncooperative shoulders, the swollen sore body part, and the lack of true, restful sleep (hence the time of this post) will all be a thing of the past and I can have a real party! It is just hard to get from here to there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chalk This up to Experience

I have been asked why I did not stop the doctor yesterday and insist on numbing medication, and I have given that question some thought. I believe it is due to the old "fight or flight" mode that your body goes into at times of great stress. Some would react by announcing their dissatisfaction and insisting things change (fight). However, my reaction was to escape the situation in the way my body told me to, just try to pass out (flight). I guess we truly do not know which of those modes our body will go into until the time comes. I have decided though that now I will fight, I will my doctor that this has to be changed and that if I ever have to have his done again that I will not do it without medication.

Warning***Actual Graphic Medical Procedure Description***Not Kidding.

Today was my surgical breast biopsy. Prior to the actual biopsy I was subjected to another procedure which helps the doctor find the area needing the biopsy. This was truly an experience:

Imagine if you will, one particular body part placed firmly in a vice grip. Add to that picture a needle being poked through it like a nail through a brick. Add to that no lidocane, none at all to ease the pain of this nail going through a brick. (If any of you who are reading this have any influence on medical practices, would you please make it a law that certain body parts must have numbing medication prior to anyone poking and prodding? Thank you.) Imagine now a wire being poked through said needle into said body part. Now, here's the kicker, imagine passing out while you are in a vice grip with a needle and wire sticking out of your body part. Very interesting. I told them I was feeling faint and luckily they believed me, but they continued on their quest to get the needle into the brick. Then I told them I was really going to pass out. I had that strange tingling feeling in my hands, then the immediate profuse sweating, then that ominous sinking feeling. I could hear her say, "Stay with us"--easier said than done. I could hear her say breathe deep breaths and blow them out. By this time she is behind me supporting me and trying to fan me with her hand. The doctor however is hammering away. She asked if I was still with them....then I mustered up everything I could to pull words out of my mouth, only I felt like I had to pull words from my toes. It was that hard to choose whether to speak or succumb to the darkness. She asked again if I was still with them, and I used my slightest inside voice and said, "A little". I remember her repeating the question and me struggling again to answer. I am convinced that if she had not kept asking questions and requiring an answer that I would have been gone for sure. I am deeply grateful that I was sitting at the time and not standing at a mammogram machine (oh, I mean the vice grip). Once that was over I needed to go to the bathroom and it must have been a funny sight, my entourage of 3 nurses and I parading down the hall to the nearest bathroom. I was clutching a blanket around my waist to hide my backside due to the lovely hospital gown, one nurse was toting my IV pole, and two nurses were perched at my side like columns for support. Due to these events the surgical time was delayed by about 40 minutes. However, by this time I was just glad to be in the OR and put under anesthesia.

From what we know the biopsy went well, but it will be a few days before we get the results. The anesthesia was handled well, and I arrived home about 5 hours after surgery. I went straight to bed though with my familiar bag of frozen peas (same bag--my new best friend). A wonderful supper of homemade vegetable soup and all trimmings was brought to us by a friend from church and I am doing well.

Tomorrow I will stay home and keep the frozen peas handy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Say a Little Prayer for Me

If you read this on Thursday then please say a prayer for me as I go for my biopsy. I would like to say I am totally okay with this, and I think I mostly am. I would be lying though if I said there is no concern. I just have not had the best track record lately, so I cannot help but be a bit apprehensive.

I have no idea when the pathology report will come in, hopefully soon.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I cooked! (and other random thoughts)

I can count one one hand the times I have cooked in the last month. Between delicious home delivered meals, left overs from those delicious meals, take out, and few nights out, I have just not had to cook. Tonight I made chili. It tasted delicious. I must have been craving it. It is a pretty easy meal, a bit of prep in the beginning, then it basically hangs out in the pot and gets better and better. I made a big pot too, so there will be leftovers, and possibly some for the freezer. It felt good to cook something. I will get oldest son to help clean the kitchen though.

When the mail arrived I was greeted to a wonderful surprise. A beautiful necklace with an equally beautiful note to remind me that my scar is a reminder from God of how He worked in my life and that this scar can be considered as a necklace from God given to a child He loves. I am so blessed.

I am pretty tired tonight. I battled a headache most of the day, and it got pretty bad at times. There are just a few drugs I can take right now with surgery coming up, so I pretty much had to deal with it. The thing that has helped dull it was a walk on my treadmill. That must have gotten the blood flowing.

I do think I will make it an early night though. I do not want that headache to hang around tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Love Coupons

Do you throw them away?
I love my coupons.
Today I went to WalMart for the first time alone in over a month, I also hit another store on my way home. I had a whopping stack of coupons that needed to be used (53 coupons to be exact). I pretty much only purchased what I had a coupon for with the exception of 2 gallons of milk, some eggs, and a couple of other items. I bought a lot of food items for the stock pile, and for the church food drive. My total for both stores would have been $161.15, but the coupons totaled $97.39, so I spent a total of $63.76. That is more than I usually spend for a week, but remember, I have been to the grocery very little lately. I am set now for the week, for the food drive, and for keeping the stockpile stocked.

The good thing about coupons is savings like this, the bad thing is keeping them organized. I am behind in my clipping and filing. Lately I have only been cutting out the particular ones I need for a current deal or a planned trip to a particular store. I hope to get the rest filed soon.

The shopping trip did wear me out though. I was actually very tired when I left and almost turned around. When I got home and put everything away I did snooze in the recliner.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy Weekend

It has been a busy few days. As I said, youngest and one of his roommates were here this weekend. Sometimes I think of how nice it would be to be in his shoes food, free laundry, free haircut, dinner out, a fresh baked pie...Oh, wait a minute, I pretty much have been in those shoes lately as much as I have been cared for!

Now I will explain a bit. He did most of his own laundry, I did help fold a little, he cooked some of that food himself, I did very little cooking this weekend, and I had help baking that pie. One of "my girls" came over and asked what she could do, I mentioned how I really had wanted to spoil youngest with a homemade pumpkin pie, and she said she would help. I made the crust and she put together the filing. It turned out wonderful.

I also had a friend (her mom by the way) who called on Saturday and asked if she could come and help me clean house. It was an offer I could not refuse. It seems that since I moved from the heart attack to cancer so quickly, that some things have just been ignored completely, or just about. My bedroom was a mess. You know, kitchens and bathrooms are always a priority over the bedroom and when company is here, I can shut the bedroom door. Let's just say it really needed attention. She helped me to clean it properly. I did what I could and she did the rest. I hope she does not clean and tell though because if truth were to be told, it was much worse than I will describe.

Today after church, and after a nap, we left town to go purchase a treadmill. I have not been able to return to cardiac rehab, and I need to remember that I did actually have a heart attack. My heart needs a workout and I do not like to walk outside alone. I have been looking at treadmills for a while and studying them online. I finally found the one I wanted and we tested it out last week. Today a special sale was posted so we went to get it. Assembly was easy and after about 30 minutes or so, I was walking. I have to practically start over, because everything I built up to at cardiac rehab is gone. I went slow and easy tonight, and even worked in a few neck exercises while I was walking. Pretty coordinated I must say.

Tomorrow I hope to go to the grocery for the first time by myself in over a month and do just a couple of household things. I do not want to overdo it though. Thanks to Mr. Columbus I have the day off.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Round Three

Today was another day of pre-op appointments, including seeing a nurse, anesthesia, insurance (they must get paid you know) a pre-op physical, and lastly another blood draw. I am surprised they found any blood. I wonder how much I have had siphoned out since my heart attack in May...
First a heart attack, then thyroid cancer, now my breast biopsy. ( I am still not really saying, "Bring it on")

Next Thursday I will have my surgical breast biopsy. I am not expecting any bad news here, ( although I have said that before)
I guess though I would rather they do this surgical biopsy and find out for sure whether or not there is anything bad sneaking around in there. I will be off work the day after as well.

Something else happened today. The rest of my steri-strips were removed. I am not real pleased with what was revealed. I know that scars improve greatly in time, and I will certainly use my share of scar improving medication. (not using a brand name here, last time I did I had a comment from someone in the company, and it was much like a huge free commercial endorsement, which I deleted by the way) The fact is though, that to be really really honest, which I always try to be, it is a bit depressing. I know you all will give me lots of encouragement, but please at the same time take a moment to validate my feelings, and agree with me that it is okay to be a bit depressed, as long as I do not dwell on it. I have to brag again on my husband, because that is exactly what he did, I told him afterwards that the scar was a bit depressing, and he said it is okay to feel that way, and that it is normal to feel that way. He said for me not to feel bad about that, just do not dwell on it. I love it that he didn't immediately say that it is silly to feel that way. He validated me, yet helped me put things in perspective at the same time.

After all of these appointments we enjoyed a delicious dinner out together at one of our favorite restaurants. Nice ending to a busy day.

On an exciting note for me, youngest is coming home later tonight. I have not seen him since he went back to school after my first surgery and I miss him. I will not get to spoil him quite like I want to, but I will try to find someway to spoil him while he is home. Surely we can find another favorite restaurant to eat at this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This song makes me think...

By now, most of you have noticed the music on my blog. Some of you probably love it, some of you, not so much. Perhaps you even mute it as soon as you arrive on the blog. Well, those of you who are astute at noticing differences, ( and actually listen to this music) may have noticed that I have added a song.

I recently added, "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me. This song has been like a splinter to me lately, I just can't seem to get it out of my mind, my being, or my soul. I have to say though that I am troubled by it. I mostly agree with it, in that I know that the fact that I have been a Christian for a long time has definitely helped me with my recent bout of "rainy" days. However, here is the I able to say, "Bring it on" ? I am troubled by that. I know I have great faith, I know I am confident in God's protection for me, and I do want Him to be glorified through any of my recent health problems. I just don't know if I am really able to ask for problems just so that He can be glorified. I want to be there, where more than anything else I want situations to be revealed in my life just to give Him glory. I just don't know if I AM there. How about you? Have you been there, where you really felt like you actually asked God to bring the rain in your life?

This blogger is curious.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Slowing Down

Have you noticed that I am definitely slowing down in my posting? Also, my posts are growing shorter. There are a few reasons that I can think of:

1. No one wants to check in just to read about my whining. A sore shoulder only gets so much attention, then it is like, "Okay, it hurts, get over it."

2. I am back to school (although today I only made it half a day). There just is not enough time to collect my thoughts, process them into an interesting post and then actually type them.

3. Not much has changed.

Perhaps soon I will come up with an interesting post, however, today is not the day.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Short update

This will be brief because more than anything I want to get to bed early tonight (even more than my love of blogging). School went okay today, not perfect but okay. It was actually good to be back and good to teach my groups. I really didn't realize how much I missed that. The teacher I work with is wonderful and she truly looked out for me today, so that made it easier. I did have considerable pain in my shoulders by late morning, but I came prepared with my microwaveable hot compresses. I wore them most of the afternoon. They take the edge off of my pain. I was glad to get home today though and have taken it easy all evening. We were fortunate to have supper delivered to us so I did not have to cook. Tomorrow night I will heat a meal from my freezer. I have some delicious stuffed manicotti that my sister made and we will eat the rest tomorrow night.

I have more upcoming news to explain, but I will wait for that. A warm bath and soft bed are both calling me right now...

Back to School...

Report to follow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2 Outta 3 Ain't Bad

Okay, so I only accomplished 2 of the things on my list. I drove, and did okay. At first it was a bit strange, and it is not completely easy. I cannot just turn my head to check traffic, I have to turn my whole body. I did manage. The worse part is that tonight I am suffering. I am hurting, bad actually. The problem with my shoulders is becoming more than just a nuisance, it is excruciating. I have "Googled" a lot tonight to see if I am completely making this up. Good news, it is not all in my head. It is indeed due to the trapezeius muscles which runs from the middle of your head, down your neck and into both shoulders. Bad news, "Googling" is not encouraging. Severe shoulder pain after a neck dissection can be quite common, quite painful, and can last for months. I am already praying that this will not be true in my case. I need my prayer warriors to get mobilized and be on this for me. I do not do well with intense pain. Typing is okay as long as I keep my elbows next to my side, once they move away from my body my shoulders hurt. This is by far the most pain I have had in my healing process, even when my neck blew up like a balloon it did not hurt like this ( I just could not breathe). I do not want to be wimpy. I am just not handling this very well. I worry about Monday. I will have to write low on the chalkboard and may be taking hot compresses to work with me.

So the other thing I did on my list was to stay awake. Yesterday must have been just an exception due to lack of sleep the night before, because today I did fine.

I did not touch my closet. It will have to wait, I do not have the strength in my arms to sort through clothes, I will figure it out day by day until I can do a proper job in my closet. Maybe I will just wear the same thing every day and call it a uniform.

Works for me.


1. Drive
That is something we take for granted. Today I will attempt driving for the first time in nearly a month. My sister is coming for a visit and she will ride along with me on a few short errands so she can make sure I can handle it. I need to take my return to work note from my doctor to our school's administration building, then I need a few things from the grocery. Since I have not driven I am glad she will be along. The issues to address are my still very stiff neck and my quite sore right shoulder. If those two body parts cooperate then I think I can handle it.

2. My Closet
Another thing to accomplish today is my closet. Our house is very old, and closets in its day held 3 dresses , two blouses, and one skirt. I have a few more items than that, so I must rotate clothes in and out of suitcases. The weather has changed in this last month and I probably will not be wearing many sleeveless tops next week. I need to pull some fall clothes out. To do that job well takes nearly a half day, more than that if I choose to iron everything. So, I will probably only get enough ready for next week and make the entire switch when my arm works better. My sister is great in the ironing department...

3. Stay Awake
After yesterday I am wondering if maybe the permanent thyroid drug I am now on needs tweaked. If I have another day like yesterday I will call the doctor to see if we need to monitor my levels now. It was a struggle to stay awake yesterday.

That is about enough on my list for one day, if I really accomplish each one I will feel pretty good. In case you are driving in my area today: You might want to watch out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Well, I did not pass the stamina test. I was exhausted for some reason after being at the funeral home for about an hour, so instead of staying for the remainder of visitation, the service, and the family dinner, I had a friend take me home. We got a quick lunch and made a few stops on the way, but I still got home in time to collapse in my recliner for a few hours.

Tonight we are going to husband's folks to spend a bit of time with his brother and sister in law who came for the service.

I am wondering about Monday. I can hear the kids...."Wake up Mrs. W." we will see.

A bit more of my steri strips came off today which makes the scar a bit more visible. Not too awful, but not pretty either. Time heals all wounds, right?

Testing my limits

Today will be a test of Anita's Stamina System. Today I am going to be gone most of the day. Husband's first cousin passed away Sunday evening and I will be attending the visitation, service, and funeral dinner along with most of husband's family. Unfortunately, husband cannot attend. He has taken so much time off lately, and his boss is out of town. Since it is a very small business, that puts them in a bind, so husband must work. I will represent him so to speak. I think I will be okay. I have a few pills in my purse just in case, although I am trying to do without them.

This will help prepare me for work Monday, or let me know if that is going to be difficult.

Getting ready for anything takes so long. I will have to get up much earlier on Monday to get ready for school, everything takes longer.

Well, I must finish getting ready.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My brother Carl

The fact that I will soon turn 52 and the fact that my oldest brother passed away at that age is a bit erie to me, especially given the fact that this has not been the most stellar year for me health-wise. It has caused me to think about him, a lot.

I have mentioned before that I come from a big family. I am the youngest of 9 children. This made the family dynamics a bit odd because we never ever lived together for any long period of time. By the time I was born, my oldest brother was 21 and soon to be married. The next two brothers, twins, entered the military about 4 months before I was born, so they were already out of the house. One of them made the military his career so he was only officially home when he was on leave. He and I never really lived together. It was strange having a brother who you only saw when Uncle Sam let him come home.

Back to the oldest:

As I said he was 21 when I was born. This picture puts that in perspective, although I am not sure how old I was here. I remember that my mother did not like to look at this picture because she said I was "sick" then. I suffered some strange anemia back then that made me very weak and caused me to pass out while trying to walk.

I don't have many memories of him until I was a bit older and he was married. I remember my sister and I staying all night at their house, that was fun. I remember eating "Chicken and Stars" soup and homemade banana bread at their house. I remember their big dog , Queenie, which I was terribly afraid of. I remember that with his daughters, my nieces, my relationship was closer to that of siblings than it was of an "aunt and nieces" because of the small age difference. His oldest daughter and I could fight like the best of rivaling siblings one moment and be best friends the next. He was a collector. He loved finding unique items at yard sales and thrift stores. He found my cast iron dutch oven in a thrift store when he knew I wanted one to put back in my "hope chest". He loved books. I barely saw him without a book in his hand. He would decide to learn about something and would go to the library and check out books on that subject and consume them.

His knowledge amazed me, but I never really knew his heart until much later. I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I don't feel like I ever really knew him. After his marriage ended he moved away to start a new life in the state our youngest brother lived. They had a unique relationship despite their age difference and it was good for Carl. In some ways he blossomed there. He began a new hobby of carving ducks, geese, and shore birds. I am the proud owner of his first attempt, and while it is crude in some standards, it is one of my most precious possessions. His later carvings were amazing, the feathers on these water-fowl were so lifelike you would want to pet them. He loved this hobby and mastered it early on. It was during those years that he became a Christian and our relationship took on an entire new meaning. Although we had a few different views about our doctrinal issues, I knew his heart was right and that he loved God with every part of it. I know he still struggled with demons of the past, as we all do, but he was forgiven and he cherished the grace that was given to him. He and I wrote many letters back and forth in those days to discuss our faith and to attempt to persuade each other to see our side of different theological issues. Since I was a former Bible college student, I thought I had all the answers, I am not so sure now.

The next picture was taken after my grandfather's funeral. All of my siblings were there that day.
Funerals were sadly the only time we all got together back then. We had already lost both Mother and Daddy, and the sting of death had hit us pretty hard. In this picture, I can see this sting in my grandmother's eyes. She had already lost her daughter, (my mother) her son in law, (my dad), many siblings, and now the man she shared her life with for sixty-nine years. Carl is the one in the front. By this time his health was seriously compromised. Rheumatic fever as a child had left his heart wounded. Two surgeries had already been done to repair damage left from that awful disease. I am standing behind him, next to my grandmother. I was pregnant then with our oldest son. Attending that funeral was in question for me because I had had early problems with my pregnancy which had me on bed-rest until just before his passing.

Carl only lived about 5 more years. His complications from years of heart damage, plus strong medications taken for years had taken their toll. He slipped away one evening in his own home and was found the next morning in a kneeling position at the side of his bed by a neighbor and the police, whom she called when she could not get him to answer his door.

At that time I thought 52 was too young to die. His children were all much too young to lose their father. As I approach that age I don't just think it is too young, I absolutely know it. I love that I am from a large family. I love thinking back to all of the noisy family dinners, the attention I would get just for being the baby, and the support a large family brings. To this day, we all love each other and are there in our struggles. My family has surrounded me with so much love and concern during my recent health issues. I am so glad that I have so many siblings to lean on. On the down-side, the age difference between some of us has made natural divisions within the family unit, which is natural that certain groups of siblings would have closer relationships than other groups, I just wish I could have the same closeness with each of them.

I miss my brother Carl. Much like I feel about my parents, I miss the years we have not had together as much as I miss those that we did. Being the oldest and youngest gave me a unique relationship with him. I just wish I was able to fully develop that relationship. A few more years would have been nice.

Here's to you Carl.