Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today I Love Tenacity...Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge

Today I am joining the folks at Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge...come on over and check it out! Thanks, Ruth and Stacey!


                                   Today I Love tenacity.
This is my cousin, Blaine.  

      I know he looks like a grown man, but scientifically he is an infant.  He now considers May 14 his new birthday.  He has been fighting Multiple Myeloma for several months now, and is just heading back to work this coming Monday.  I am so proud of him and his entire family for how hard they have all fought this battle.  I will allow him to tell his own story, and fill you in on why he is an "infant".  Friends...even if you don't read the whole thing...please know that tenacity counts.  It is what keeps your head above water when it seems you are ready to drown in whatever it is life has tossed your way.  No matter the situation you are in right now, dig deep and keep fighting!  You can do it!  Here are his words, which are much better than mine today:

Overcame Multiple myeloma            
May 14 with Alice Keener-Williams in Hollings Cancer Center at the               Medical University of South Carolina
Received Stem Cell Transplant. May 14 marks my new birthday. It was the day of my stem cell transplant. They call it this because so many things in your body are killed off by the chemo and must start over, they much like a newborn baby.

I came very close to dying after this procedure. I had an infection that the doctors could not locate. My temperature exceeded 104 degrees. They had me packed in ice and it still would not come down.

A new doctor took over my case and it made all the difference in the World. He is the head of the cancer floor at MUSC. His name is Dr. Stuart and he too is a cancer survivor.

The first thing he did was remove my central line. That is where the infection was. Three days later I was almost fully recovered.

Living through an event like this gives you a totally new perspective on life. You realize that life is precious and should not be taken for granted.

The intense chemo treatment they give you caused me to lose all my hair. When it started coming out, it came out in big clumps. I pulled most of it out and then my mother shaved the rest off. (See Picture)

I want to thank my mother for the loving care she provided me while I was going through this process. I couldn't have made it without her.

I ant to thank my family for their perseverance and tenacity through this. Especially my wife. She had the arduous task of maintaining the farm and taking care of our daughter. This was complicated more by the fact that she also had to work.

When she worked on the weekends, my daughter stayed with friends. It was especially tough on her to be stuck at home while I was going through my most challenging times. She stayed in contact with the doctors and nurses during this time and prayed.

My son stayed with my Sister in WV. He enjoyed his stay so much he didn't want to come home.

Now that we are back together as a family, I thank God that we are together again.

When you go through an experience like this, you cannot do it alone. You learn that it is not you alone who is the cancer survivor... We are all survivors.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today I Love A Full House!

     It's been a long busy week, preparing for Darling Daughter's graduation party.  This morning I woke up to the very nice surprise of this very nice t-shirt waiting for me on the kitchen counter with a very nice note of appreciation from that Darling Daughter.  
(She knows I would buy stock in the Life is Good company if I could!) 

This turned out to be a very prophetic t-shirt.

As we prepared for our traditional family graduation photo, taken before the Boy Man had to leave for work, we were kept inside by the wind and the rain.  Welcome to Madison County!

 And so...the t-shirt spoke, and we indeed had a VERY full house!  

There are MUCH worse problems to have than a house full of folks who love you and want to wish you well.

There are much worse problems to have than a house full of food and good friends to help you keep dishes attended to and full. 

A few people tried to brave the elements and ventured outside, but had to stay under the eaves. 

But, by and by, as will happen on a rainy day, the wind pushed the clouds away and allowed the sun to shine through after all.

More traditional photos were taken...  

with the grandparents...

 And now we are relaxing around the house, enjoying the messages that teachers, coaches, family, and friends wrote in her Oh! The Places You'll Go! book.  From Kindergarten all the way through High School, she got nuggets of wisdom from so many caring individuals.  She asked me not to repeat the "Read Aloud and Cry Like a Baby" debacle of the Boy Man's graduation, and I honored that wish, but made her promise me that she would take the time to read the words in this book on a regular basis.  There are so many wise bits in it that I hope she will remember as she travels to all those wonderful places. 

Yes, today I love a full house, 
and a full heart.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Today I Love Earworms...Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge

Today I Love Earworms!
Over a rare family (all four of us together at one time!) dinner tonight, I just happened to ask, "Is today Tuesday?" 
to which my son answered "Today is Tuesday."
The rest is history...and now I gladly pass our misery and remembrance of his first grade tradition on to all of you.  
You are very welcome.  
Go ahead, son of mine...go ahead, friends...click this link.  I dare you!  

Today is Monday
Monday -- string beans
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Tuesday
Tuesday -- spaghetti
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Wednesday
Wednesday -- soup
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Thursday
Thursday -- roast beef
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Friday
Friday -- fresh fish
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Saturday
Saturday -- chicken
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!
Today is Sunday
Sunday -- ice cream
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today I Love Hope...

Today I love hope. 

A few weeks ago I posted a bit of verse written by Emily Dickinson...
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,
And sings the tune - - without the words,
And never stops at all."

Today my baby girl graduated from high school. 

As the tears came and went through the day I was reminded again and again how much hope I have for these young ladies and gentlemen…not only my daughter, but also these classmates of hers, many of whom I have grown quite close to over the years through either Girl Scouts, school events, sports, or teaching. 

I listened to the choir sing about "rolling down this unfamiliar road" and listened to my father-in-law hum the tune in front of me and was reminded of that bit of verse above.  I was reminded of a lot today.

I was reminded of the love, blessings, and acceptance this class showed for a member now lost, as the mother who accompanied her wheel chair bound son to school every single day through all 13 years that this class was together, and was in essence a member of their class, delivered the commencement address…through tears of her own.

I was reminded of the times they struggled, then set goals, worked hard, and succeeded. 

I was reminded of the tears they shed in grief, and the laughter they shared in celebration.

I was reminded of the hard work, the late hours, and the day to day grind that 13 years of school can be.

I was reminded of their little boy and girl smiles, tucked away and peeking out from under their eighteen year old graduation caps.

I was reminded of hope.

I not only have hopes FOR them, I have hope because of them. 

I know that our world will be a much better and brighter place because of the difference they will make. 

As they venture forward to be physical therapists, members of the military, dental hygienists, computer technicians, marine biologists, psychologists, engineers, or (be still my heart) teachers…I have hope.   They will make a difference in this world.  They will create hope.

This evening, as the day winds down, I hope that as the verse says, they will never stop singing their tune…for this dear Class of 2013 will be forever perched in my soul.