Monday, October 8, 2007

We should all live like our loved ones have cancer...

When the cancer hit, one of the things I told Daryl was that I was not going to patronize him, and that when I get irritated with him, I will treat him just like normal, and not tip toe around like we can't disagree anymore. I figure life as normal as possible is good.

One event, however, has taught me that we should all live like our loved ones have cancer. The results are really pleasant, and, I suspect, pleasing to the Lord.

There is a picture that is a treasure to Daryl from his childhood. It was an expensive picture for the times, and his dad (who we have always jested could squeeze a penny till Lincoln yelled "Uncle!") bought it over some cheaper, less appealing pics, especially for Daryl's room when his older brother moved out. It is nicely framed, has a gold plate with the title of the picture on it. It is also not particularly my taste, and I was dreading finding a place to hang it.

Daryl also told me that he enjoyed looking at it while he had rheumatic fever as a child, and had to spend a lot of time in bed. It's a train station, and I can just imagine him thinking about places to go, and imagining stories of where he went and what he did.

Sooooo...this time, I did let cancer influence me, and determined that regardless of my personal dislike for a train pic in my pretty blue living room, I was going to find a place of prominence and defer to my dear husband's preferences. The story surrounding it was just too sweet to do anything else.

Well, I truly believe God blesses good attitudes, and I figured I'd get the attitude in line, and trust God to make the feelings follow along. I should not be surprised that God led me to the perfect spot for the pic, a spot where Daryl spends time listening to his music, a spot in the living room, and a spot in which the picture not only looks nice, but fits in with the decor. It's in what used to be a conversation pit, where we have a music entertainment center. On top of the center, we have an old chiming clock from his Dad, a collection of old books, and a pool ball in a wooden triangle from the folks pool table. Even the smoky coating from the old stove in the folks garage looks good on the pic now, giving it an antique haze. I love the way it looks. A warm connection to family and good memories.

So, I contend that we should all defer to one another occasionally in areas we would rather not, and take those emotional plunges on a regular basis that we normally reserve for loved ones who have cancer. It might be a nice way to live!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lion King

Daryl is always coming up with fun things to do. His latest was Lion King. (Okay, the latest was No Time for Sargeants at the local play house, but unfortunately, I fell asleep through most of looked hilarious, and the actors were well cast.)

King was an incredible feast for the senses...the music was, of course, the standard Disney music, but live music is so much richer than recorded music! You already knew the music, and the story line, so you could just sit back and be amazed at the costuming and the actors plying their trade. For instance, the elephant was composed of 4 adults moving as the legs, with the rest of the elephant above them. You had to take your field glasses just to see the details (okay, we decided if we sit in nosebleed sections, we can justify going to more means you take your binoculars!).

Daryl, during intermission, while I was being herded through the ladies room, was making friends with the kid in front of us. It was interesting...the parents sat in two different places. We think they got good seats for two people, and the other three sat in nosebleed section, where we were. There was one younger kid who wouldn't have settled down for a nearer location (this was the one Daryl connected with). The two older boys took turns sitting with Mom in the nicer before, one after intermission.

Anyway, Daryl connected with the younger, more active kid. I had had fleeting thoughts of sharing my binoculars with him, but dismissed it...his brother had a pair he could have shared, and Daryl spent good dollars on me having a great time. Which meant, use the glasses myself. By the time I got back from the ladies' room, the kid had Daryl's glasses around his neck. (predictable, I might add!) Daryl was jabbering away with the kid. I quietly let Daryl know I was not sharing my glasses with him, and he ought to get his back for the production. (uncharacteristically uncharitable of me, but it was the only way to see the costumes.) Of course, Daryl chose the high road, and let the kid keep the glasses. His reward was that when the kid laughed, instead of turning to his Dad, beside him, he turned around and gave Daryl grateful grins. Daryl won on that one!

Everything is not as it seems....

Life isn't always what it seems to be on the surface. We think we're in control. We think we know what's happening, and more or less, what's going to happen.

Then God shows us He is in control, and we had no idea what He was up to, and it's magnificent.

Daryl has Multiple Myeloma. Now, while that certainly isn't what either of us would have chosen to deal with, it is what God has gifted us, and it is good. (Disclaimer: I'm not the one with it, and we're in the easy part now. I reserve the right to not always feel that it is good, but I hope I will always know that God is doing something good with it!)

God has taken a shy, quiet man (okay, my kids don't know him as shy or quiet, but He is!) and given him a voice, a platform with which to converse with people. I can't remember how many times I have realized that someone thinks we have this perfect, trouble free life. Every person has struggles and hard things to deal with, but it doesn't always show on the surface that you arrive at pleasant places through work, prayer, struggle, and sometimes, sheer determination to do right. Now, however, we suddenly have visible credentials, Trouble with a capital T, and people relax around us.

My prayer is that Daryl will be healed, and if God says no to that, that the Myeloma will not be wasted, and that in either case, God will be glorified.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

God's not done with Grandma...

Here we see Uncle Jimmy, Dad, and Vanita (notice the phone in the front area? That's Vanita talking to Mom) enjoying Grandma's 88th birthday. The other pic is Uncle Rocky pestering Grandma. We had a wonderful time. You know what's incredible? Many would question why God has left Grandma alive. She isn't in a nice place (there is no such thing as a nice place when it's a nursing home!) She is unable to converse normally, or take care of herself. Yet, think about how God has used Grandma. She has kept Daryl, Jim, and Vanita in touch with each other, pulling together, enjoying times together. Her life has cemented the next generation together as friends, not merely relatives. Her life has give us memories of times spent together. The way Daryl, Jim, and Vanita have worked together to share their folks possessions is a testimony of God's grace in a family.

Beyond that, Grandma is a cheerful, content lady. She laughs to communicate...I am convinced there are thoughts there that simply cannot come out, yet her laughter communicates as speech for her. How many people with good minds are always cheerful, and communicate with laughter? Lessons to be learned....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Skiing in Arkansas

Hi, all! Doesn't Dad look cool driving a ski boat??? We had a great trip to Arkansas. It was also Grandma Bennett's 88th birthday on Saturday, so there was a serendipity there.

We learned that as old as Granddaddy's water skis are, they are probably the best one's any of the skiiers have used, which we found out because the rental ones weren't very useful. We had a great time anyway. Emily had a great time on a ski tube, which worked great once you got on was huge!

Dad obviously liked the ski tube, too, once he was able to get on. It kept flipping and rolling while you tried to get on...Emily offered to get in and help, but again, we're talking little light Emily.

I'd say a good time was had by all, and I barely was nervous at all. For some reason, I was in the mood for a boat on the lake...Dad is so happy on a lake. It was a nice ski boat, which Dad says is the cheapest way to own a boat. Clouds started rolling in soon, and we had to abandon ship (or at least return it) when the lightening started approaching. We moved our picnic from a rock in the lake to a picnic table on shore, and had a fun rest of the weekend. Will post pics of Grandma's birthday later.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Anjelah Johnson: Nail Salon

Girl Time

Grandma and Grandpa were visiting a couple of weeks ago, and Grandma decided we girls needed to do something together, and she thought it should be a pedicure. Now, only Daniel will be able to understand my reluctance...I am a bit of a germophobe. I also had attended an Environmental Health conference in February in which we saw some slides of tatoo parlors, tanning parlors, and, I think, nail spas. Needless to say, these were worst case scenarios, and purposely warning of inspection things to watch for, so having the courage to DO overcome my knowledge and do such a deed took great love for Grandma, indeed.

In fact, when we left home to find a nail spa, I had effectively passed off my place to Emily, having inside knowledge that she actually WANTED a pedicure. When we got there, unfortunately, Em had found a place with plausible pricing, so I went ahead and took the plunge.
As the three of us sat in very nice chairs being soaked and filed and clipped by three very nice young Vietnamese girls, the owner occasionally wandered over.

Owner: "Don't you want a manicure too?"
Me: (seems that she targeted me as either the verbal spokesperson, or the best target, I'm not sure which) "No, thanks."

(5 minutes later)
Owner: "Are you sure you don't want a manicure, too? Only 8 dollas more!"
Me: "No, I don't think so, but thanks."

(5 minutes later)
Owner: "You really should get a manicure to go with your pedicure."
Me: (Actually having a pleasant time by now, having endured the nailfile without completely comign out of my chair, and thinking I should spring for some of the fun, since Mom was paying for the pedicure) "Only 8 dollars more, you say?"
Owner: "Yes, only 8 dollas more!"
Me: (looking at Mom and Emily, who probably would have caved after the first inquiry if I hadn't said no.....) "Okay, I'll pay for the manicure, since Mom paid for the pedicure."

I'll post a video Emily found on You-Tube

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Daniel (a son who loves me and calls himself my favorite son, who also posted a hello to me...) wrote me a greeting that reminded me of how all this "You're my favorite, but don't tell the others" got started.

Erma Bombeck was my hero. She was a mother a good bit ahead of me, and had forged the territory of motherhood with bravery and humor. She didn't pretend that every moment of mothering was a perfect moment, and brought a fresh honesty to the honored task of mothering. She made me feel like I wasn't alone. She made me feel like it was okay to be weary, and that it didn't mean I didn't love my husband and children when I had thoughts of running away from home. When she died, I cried with the personal loss. She was a lifeline of perspective for me!

Sometimes her columns was less humorous, and more serious. One of my favorites was the story of a mother who had passed on, and had left a letter for each of her children. Each letter began, "You were always my favorite..." and ended with "but don't tell the others I love you best." I began saying that to my children, privately. I thought it was such a sweet sentiment. I knew they knew I said it to them all, but I hope they all knew I always meant it!

Each of my children and in-love's bring something special to my life. Each has gifts that make our family function well. Each makes my heart light up with joy. Dad and I rejoice so much over our children.

I love you best, but don't tell the others!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hi. My name is Carol, and I'm starting a blog to keep up with my kids and family, and have some fun. Also, to see if I can do it. Monday - Friday, I work as an Attendance Secretary at a Junior High, which will lend itself to some fun stories. We are watching Night at the Museum. It's a great movie, and fun to sit with Emily and Daryl and watch it. Remind me to stay out of a museum at night!