Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did you sleep good last night???

I think I felt the earth tremble again...but this time is was from the stock market taking a nose dive, & not another earthquake! Did yesterdays happenings rattle your cage any?

We do not play the stock market, but we are self employed. And being in the new home building business, the economy can greatly affect our personal finances. I can remember the time back in the 1980's when we were having to get construction loans and pay over 20 % interest! That certainly ate into our profit rather quickly. Those were hard times, but we survived.

I try not to listen too much to the news, but yesterday I could tell that the House vote on the "bail out bill" was something big. Bigger than I understood. And my first thought was that I hoped it passed. After all, our President was pushing for it! And then when I heard our own Congressman was not voting for it and the more I listened to the talk show hosts...I began to reconsider. It would be so easy & safe just to pass the bail out bill & let us go on with our lives. Bailing out is not the answer.

I'm not into politics. You can tell by the layout of my blog that I am a Republican, and a very conservative one at that. I make no apologies for it. But I do not keep myself educated on politics, never have, and probably won't change. I can hear the winds of crisis in the air and know that now is the time to sit up and pay attention. We may have to change our priorities & life styes in the not too distant future. Whatever comes, we too can survive. We are Americans!

I didn't sleep very well last night. Our son and daughter-in-law are building a new home and have yet to finalize the mortgage. Needless to say, this mess could affect them. I want them to be able to enjoy their new home and have the security of keeping their jobs to make the payments. And our daughter & son-in-law also have a home that really isn't very many years old, but they someday would like to have more room.

My brother lives in California & sells Mercedes cars. Even they are not selling well now. He has been in a financial crisis of his own during the last few months & I keep wondering what this will do to his business.

My sister has a daughter in college & two more that will be there before we know it. Living is expensive anymore, let alone paying for our children's education.

Just letting these things run through my mind made for a night of tossing and turning.

I want this to be a time when I am conserned for our country, our President, our Congressmen & Senators, the ones campaigning & running for office...I want them to be at the top of my prayer list. The next few weeks choices are going to be made. And even though the votes may not go just the way I want them to, I'm praying that the right man or woman will be elected to help our country during this critical time. I will vote!!!

My flag is waving from my front porch and sometimes when I'm laying in bed I can see the shadow of it's movement. I want it to continue to wave. I want to live to see my grandchildren to be able to grow up and enjoy the freedom and economics that we grew up in. Oh I know it may never be just like is was when I was a girl growing up back in the '50s & '60s...but it doesn't have to be just like that. It can be better.

I didn't sleep well last night. I cannot imagine how much sleep Our President has lost in the last few days. My complaints seem so trivial...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wedding Bells...

I just love weddings...and this afternoon got to attend one! This time it was one of Bob's friends & I wasn't very well acquainted with the bride & groom-but didn't let that keep me from going!

It was an outdoor wedding to top it off! The chairs were set up in a circle around the archway and the minister even mentioned the "circle of family & friends". Programs were printed on tulip shaped fans in shades of pink. Everything was pink! Even the brides dress had
a tinge of pink in it.

Congratulations to David & Robin!!! May they have many happy years to share together. We wish them the best!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thirteen Days in September...

Note: This entry is recalling some events from my journal during Dad's final days. Some of you may not care to read this....it's for my loved ones, but you are welcome to listen in if you wish:
It has been a day of reflection for me...bringing back some memories that I would rather just stay in the recesses of my mind. Four years ago early this morning, Dad slipped away from us.

Carol was getting ready to celebrate her BIG 40th birthday, Bob had a car convention scheduled in North Kansas City, so I was home for both big events. I flew in to Kansas City a few days before Bob made the trip to Kansas so I could help Garry surprise Carol with a party. And the day that I got there, Dad ended up in the hospital.
Steve & Dad...no denying the family resemblence!
Those memories have been racing through my mind all day long. During that time I bought a notebook and spent many hours sitting in Dad's ICU room, journeying with a vengeance. A few months ago I got that notebook out, read through it, then put it safely away...not wanting to read it again for a long, long time.

Dad & his girls...

With the love of his life...
in Kennebunkport, Maine...I'm so glad we made the trip!

But the dates are there. The day Dad entered the hospital, September 13th, the day before Carol's birthday. The 14th...the day we went on & celebrated Carol's 40th birthday. The 15th...the day Bob got in town, came to visit Dad late at night, not quite understanding that Dad really was very ill... The wee hours of the early morning on the 16th, the day Dad was admitted to the Intensive Care Floor--and the day that the doctor mentioned the word "ventilator"--and also the day Dad asked for Steve to come home...The 17th, the morning I got the call that it was time for Dad to be put on the ventilator, and also the day Steve arrived--The 18th...the morning I remember being alone in the waiting room when the doctor told me that Dad had ARDS--& I had no idea what that was--& sometime that day my children & grandchildren all arrived from Indiana...The 19th--the day we celebrated Parker's 2nd birthday in the hospital's dining room...& while we were there, Dad miraculously woke up just long enough for Steve, Karen & Jeff to rush back to the room to see him once again...& then he drifted away...The 20th, the day Bob headed back to Indiana, followed later that afternoon by the rest of my family...The 21st...waiting, knowing the doctors have warned us that Dad won't get any better after he has been on the ventilator for 10 days...& Steve needed to get back to work in California...The 22nd--the day Steve went home & we tried to go on with life. I insisted that Carol do some things for her own family...The 23rd...trying to keep in touch with family & letting others know...The 24th...the day we are warned again by the doctors that decisions will soon have to be made --and the day several friends came by, just when we needed them (I'll never forget Don & Fayerene Walden walking into that room when I felt so all alone...)--And the 25th...there is no entry in my journal for that day. I could never bring myself to write about those last few hours.

Thankfully, my brother & sister & I never had to make the decision of when to take Dad off of the ventilator. I don't know if I could ever have done that. Mercifully, God knew the time to take Dad on to Heaven...the answer to my prayer.

There was a beautiful garden at that hospital where one could go walk, meditate, pray, make phone calls, or just get away by ones self. I used that garden several times. If you received a phone call from me during that time, I might have been in that garden. And there was a bench just outside the ICU unit door where we would sit & talk or make more phone calls. I remember sitting on that bench that Saturday morning with Carol. And finally the time came for us to walk away....we no longer had a reason to re-enter those doors. It was time to walk to our cars and go home. It was one of the saddest walks I've ever made.

Walking in the garden at Menorah Hospital

with my grandsons--Parker & Carter

But it was time to go on with our lives, make arrangements for a Celebration of Dad's life, and reflect on the good times. He would want it to be a happy time. And I think in it's own way, it was. I still remember man after man telling me that my Dad was the best friend they ever had! He would have liked that.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Sunday afternoon we made the six hour round trip to Ft. Branch in order to pay our last respects to Alan, Bob's first cousin.

Alan was 59 years old. It was only nine months ago that he was diagnosed with lung cancer, having never smoked a cigarette in his life. He endured the treatments of radiation & chemo therapy, and perhaps extended his time on this earth for a few precious months. He left behind his beloved mother, Donna; wife, Carol, daughter Heather & her husband David; son Lance & his wife Amy; and the delight of his life...his two grandchildren, Chase & Ashlyn.

He loved his career as a teacher & coach, which was made evident by the necessity of a two day visitation at the funeral home. We saw dozens of people pour into the home on Sunday afternoon. You could tell that their lives had all been touched in some way by Alan. There was a large table displaying many trophies that had been won by either Alan or the teams he coached. Photos lined the walls & were displayed through two DVD presentations, showing us his journey through life.

As a first cousin, Bob has many wonderful childhood memories of Alan. Aunt Donna worked so Bob's mother, Bonnie, was Alan's babysitter for a while. Bob & Steve both enjoyed the company of their cousin, making him feel another brother in their family. Later, the Thompson's moved away from the little hometown, but Alan was always a part of the family gatherings when they returned on vacation or for Christmas time. I remember meeting him on my very first visit to Washington, & knowing that he was an intricate part of their family.

Bobby Gene, Alan, Sherry Ann, & Stevie Joe

Alan was an only child. Later on his parents divorced but he remained close to both of them. His father, Russell, died 15 years ago, also from lung cancer.

notice the sideburns on these two cousins!

Somehow it doesn't seem right for a child to pass on before the parent. We have seen it happen more often than we want, and now we see Aunt Donna left alone in this world, without her son to be there for her when she needs him. She is a survivor and will no doubt come through this just fine.

Alan & his Grandma Wininger

During his sickness, Alan had a friend that came to pray with him & encouraged him to read his Bible. Alan said all was well with is Soul & in those last hours let his mother know that he would "see her later". Once again, we have a loved one "Safe in the arms of Jesus"!

Lance Donna (& Feller!), Heather, Carol & Alan
at a family reunion many long years ago...
at a Colbert Reunion, 2005
the last time we saw him...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthday Celebration!

Can you believe that a 6 year old requested to go to The Texas Roadhouse for his birthday dinner? I thought sure we would be dining at McDonalds. Great choice, Parker Man!
The birthday boy & his Papaw... above...sporting his new shirt!

The stressed out parents of the birthday boy!

Paige-ee & her Uncle Jeff

April & the spitting image of his daddy "Carter Man"

Brycen..enjoying the end of the table all by himself!

Double trouble & best buddies--Carter & Peyton

Sweet Kerrigan & Grandma Sheila

Parker & Kerrigan...sharing the birthday treat!

We had a delicious meal & survived the commotion of 6 kids & 6 adults trying to eat together. And amazingly, all of the kids were actually on pretty good behaviour. Either that...or it was so noisy in there, I couldn't tell who was misbehaving!

Next up....Jeff!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Parker Man---and other tales---

I can hardly believe that today is Parker's 6th birthday! He has brought so much joy, sunshine & laughter into our lives. Parker was meant to be....he came at a time when I needed a new beginning in my life.

Happy birthday, Parker Man!!! We love you so much and want you to keep Jesus first in your heart. You are my laughter!

Parker came a few days earlier than expected and upset all of our schedules. Just so I wouldn't forget, I wrote a few things down that happened that day. I don't think I'll ever forget...

Parker wasn't due until September 30th. Mom was going through chemo therapy and I was trying to travel to Kansas every month. Karen's doctor didn't see any reason for her to go into labor early so advised me to go on and visit Mom. I flew to Kansas on the 17th.

I knew when I got there that Mom wasn't doing well. Steve had surprised us all and moved back home so was there also. He was into fishing at Shawnee Mission lake even though the days were hot for September.

Which reminds me of a side story.....

Dad and Steve went fishing at the Lake the second day I was there. They were fishing on a rocky shoreline, the sun was beating down and Dad found one of Mom's scarves in the glove box of the car, and tied it on his head. He later told us how he was trying to sit on the rocks, keep the scarf on his head, hold his fishing rod, when all of a sudden he got a hit on his line---and as he was trying to keep the scarf on his head---away went his fishing line, pole and all!!!

He came in telling that story, but for some reason he kept laying down on the couch which was unusual. I finally asked what was wrong gettin the response that he wasn't quite sure.

Early the next morning the phone rang and it was Karen. After working a 12 hour night shift she needed to tell me that she thought just maybe her water had broken...and she was cramping!!! Not news I wanted to hear over 500 miles away. She would keep in touch...

Mom was sick. And about that time Dad asked if I could go find his nitro-glycerine pills. What??? You can't have a heart attack now! I'm going to be Grandma!!! (We later learned that he did have a heart attack that day...but refused to go to the doctor at that point.)

Carol was at work,too busy to leave.  Steve was sitting in a rocking chair taking in my dilemma, and Karen was calling back saying she they checked her out and she wasn't going to get to go home. I immediately ran to the computer and booked myself on the next flight out of Kansas City!
I remember being in such an emotional upheaval! My Mom was wasting away from cancer before my very eyes, my Dad was having severe chest pains and refused to go to the doctor, and my daughter was miles away and in labor. I wasn't sure what to do. My heart was pulled in all directions. Dad told me to go home.
Too make a long story short...since I had booked a one way flight on short notice, red flags waved at me all through the airport. My luggage got pulled and thoroughly searched, I got pulled out of line and was even frisked! Couldn't they tell I was just a nervous ole granny trying to get home?

I remember standing in line, talking to Bob on my cell phone, him telling me that the baby was going to arrive before I did. Shortly after 12:45, he called to tell me I was officially a Grandma and it really was a boy! I can remember being so excited and overwhelmed, standing in that busy airport, yet not being able to tell anyone what had just happened in my life. I wanted to shout out "It's a boy!!!" 

I had to switch planes in Chicago--our flight got delayed because of a storm--then we had to switch gates as there was something wrong with that airplane--and we finally landed in Indianapolis to find my luggage didn't make it on the same plane as I did.

We raced to Columbus, me wanting to get there as fast as possible. I'll never forget walking into that room...and it seems like it was completely lined with people--all visitors waiting to see my reaction when I first saw Parker. I wanted to turn around and run.

Someone handed me a bundle of blankets, and for the first time I saw my grandson. And I instantly fell in love. I thought he was the most beautiful, most wonderful baby that had ever been born. At least in my eyes he was.

But that isn't all of the story. The Walden grandparents had also taken advantage of a few more September days before the baby was due and they headed to Michigan on a fishing trip. That same day that I was struggling to get back home, no one could even reach them to tell the news. It wasn't until the next morning that they learned that Parker David was already here. They quickly loaded up and headed to Indiana.

And if you remember the tornadoes of September,2002, the Waldens had to drive through that storm system to reach Columbus. It wasn't until late in the afternoon when they arrived at the hospital where Karen was waiting, ready to check out as soon as possible! The Walden's got their first glimpse of Parker and we all loaded up Karen and the baby and headed home.

Someday Parker will have an exciting story to tell about the day he made his grand entrance...when his grandparents were least expecting it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brunch Bunch!

This past Saturday we were invited to a Brunch at our friends house, Bob & Mary Ann Williamson. They had decided it was time for our group of old car cronies to get together & rehash the '60s. Well...at least get together for a time of friendship.

Mary Ann surprised us all by having her friend, "Karen the Caterer", fix our meal. It was delicious! And what a great idea...for someone else to do all of the food preparation, come to your house & serve it...& she even cleaned up! What a way to entertain! The food really was delicious--a braided bread egg & ham casserole, cinnamon-raisin muffins, a wonderful fruit bowl, punch with a kick! (I had more than my share....), and to top it off, a delicious pumpkin cheesecake.

Bob & Mary Ann Williamson

After stuffing ourselves, we waddled out to Bob's car shop so the men could oooh & aaahh over the beautiful beasts displayed in the Williamson's museum like "car barn". We ladies even enjoyed looking at the old Chevy's--& a GTO. There was lots to look at as Bob & Mary Ann are quite the collectors of memorabilia of the 50's & 60's.

Bob-Kenny & Arlene Graham Vickie- & Carl Turner Mary Greathouse & Mary Ann

We left the guys to talk the car talk & we women went back to the house to settle in for a long visit. Our gab went from cemeteries in Crab Orchard, Kentucky to Hurricane Ike and on to Johnny Mellencamp! We found plenty to talk about! Much to our delight, Mary Ann even came up with a story of someone just recently telling her that they had dated Johnny Mellencamp & went into a few details! :) (I won't tell who or she might not get her free tickets to the concert at The Crump!!!)

The Gray-Haired Gang scrutinizing Bob's '65 Chevelle that he bought new...& is in the process of restoring

It was a most enjoyable Brunch...that lingered on into the afternoon, with Bob & I being the last ones to leave around 3:30. No doubt, we had worn our welcome out! Our group of 10 is aging, some having what could be serious health problems, & Mary Ann decided we really needed to get together. You never know what the future holds.

Thanks for an eventful Saturday!!!

After thought...

I really am going to have to check out how to upload pictures to Picasa. I worked & worked at this, & when I view it...it doesn't look at all like I wanted it too. :(


And another thing--Mary Ann is my gardening friend & I cannot believe we didn't wander around her gardens & I didn't taken one picture outdoors--except for the Host & Hostess. Maybe the horribly hot 93 degrees temperature had a little something to do with it. We were just enjoying being indoors!

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Tells on Herself!

Yesterday afternoon, Karen & I were trying to catch a little nap & Paige just didn't want to settle down. She didn't want me to rock her, she wasn't content to sit & watch a video...she just wouldn't settle down. So, we let her roam around & play a little. Peyton was keeping himself entertained with his little cars & Parker was upstairs playing a video ballgame.

I think Parker came down for a drink & then was shooed back upstairs so Mommy could get some rest. Paige decided she wanted to go up there too but Mommy told her in no uncertain terms to stay downstairs!

In a few minutes I heard a little voice & it sounded like it was coming from the stairway. Paige just couldn't help herself & decided to risk the consequences & climbed the steps. I could hear her keep repeating "I'm a bad girl...I'm a bad girl"! I thought it was so cute that she was telling on herself.

She should have kept her mouth shut though as Mommy heard her also...& Paige landed in bed with her Daddy--& we didn't hear another word out of her!

Ahhhh....the quietness of the house when everyone is resting on Sunday afternoon. Zzzzzzzzz......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Little Sis

Most families don't have quite the gap in ages that ours has, but some know what I'm talking about.

I was 15 years old when my Mom took me aside & told me that I was going go have a new sibling! We were all so excited about our new addition to the family, and needless to say surprised. (Well, except my 12 year old brother, Steve. He wasn't too thrilled with the whole idea at first!)

I was home all that summer but soon my heart was torn when it was time to decide about the next school year. You see, I had already attended KCCBS for my Freshman year and had loved all that went along with it. But now, things were changing in my home, and if I returned to Kansas City, I wouldn't always be at home to be a part of the new chapter of our lives. It was quite a hard decision for a 15 year old to make, and just maybe if Mom or Dad had encouraged me to stay home, I might have done so. But they made it be my decision, and I do remember it being hard to leave home for school...with my Mom expecting a baby in just a few short weeks.

Just a couple of weeks after I returned for the fall semester, the common phone in the dorm hallway rang early one morning. It was Dad telling me that I had a new baby sister!!! Carol Jean had made her entry into the world the previous day, but when Dad tried to call me, I was out on babysitting duty & didn't get the message. I wanted so badly to be there in that hospital about 150 miles away!

Of course it all worked out, I went home on weekends as often as I could bum a ride, I spent all of the time there I could, and I was kept in the circle of the family. And the summer before my Senior year, my Dad transferred to Kansas City and the family moved just a few blocks away from my dear old school. I was able to live at home and enjoy my home life once again. I was a Senior and had a two year old baby sister!

Carol was not quite three when we got married and was the flower girl in our wedding. She loved to come visit us on Saturdays and always wanted us to come home with her when we made it to church on Sundays. I'm sure as she grew up it seemed strange to her to have a brother & sister so much older than herself.

Carol was nine years old when Karen was born. Since we had moved to Indiana, she eventually came & spent a week or two with us each summer. Then when our kids were old enough, they would go to Kansas each summer to enjoy family time with Grandma & Grandpa Brown, & of course, Aunt Carol!

Ready to ride the "Maid of the Mist"

at Niagara Falls

It was later in life when Carol & I really became "sisters". We always loved each other but I think I was more like an aunt to her during those first years. Over the years we have become best of friends and I really do mean it when I say, I don't know what I would do without her.

Garry & Carol on their first visit

to Indiana as newlyweds!

God makes no mistakes. And Carol, being born when Mom was 39 years old & Dad was 40, was no mistake. Yes, a surprise to us all...but not a "mistake".

Carol with her babies...

Kelcie, Jacob & Kylie

God could see that we would need a "Carol" in our lives on down our road.

After our family moved to Overland Park, I began dating Bob & in just a few short months we married. So I only lived in the house on 77th Terrace for 1 year. And Steve was at home--then he moved out--then he moved back--etc., etc. Steve & I didn't stick around very long. Dad's job would take him out of town frequently during the week, and Carol was just what Mom needed...to keep her company & to keep her busy.

Mom & her little shadow!

Later the time came when Bob & I would move to Indiana, over 500 miles away. Steve moved to Colorado & eventually to California. But Carol stayed in Kansas. She was there to share the good years after Dad's retirement. And then she was there for the bad times, to help Mom & Dad when sickness came their way. And she was always there for me. I couldn't even begin to imagine how many hours we have spent on the phone over the last seven years.

Today is Carol's birthday! Sometimes it is hard for me to imagine that she is a grown up lady with grown up children of her own. Somewhere in the back of my mind, she will always be my baby sister.

Happy Birthday, Carol Jean!!! May you have a beautiful day with your family. Wish I was there to share a piece of cake. Angel food???

Way back in 1964, the Heavenly Father could see down our long and winding road that we were going to need a Carol in our lives....and I'm so, so glad He sent you our way. We love you so much!!!

Love, Big Sis!!!