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Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Quiet Celebration

Thursday was our 55th wedding anniversary.  That is a long time.  That reflects so many ranges of emotions and life.  The early years were our building years.  Within three or four months of getting married in the summer of 1967, we purchased a 1.8-acre lot in a development 'way out in the country'.  We worked together to save money as well as pay off the property.  Living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture were purchased in 1968 when we moved into an unfurnished apartment.

By the spring of 1969 the house was being built.  We chronicled the process by having Hubby stand next to the fireplace area.  I would stand at the kitchen window. Not only did the house grow, but Hubby and I seemed to have added to our girth. 





Work progressed through the summer and we moved in the first week of September 1969.  The nearest house at that time was about 1/4 mile away.  As the years went by additional homes were built on the next-door lots.  Through the years we would drive by our first home when we were in the area visiting my folks.

February 1970, just a bit of snow.

Chuck and Billie's home with our house on the left of the photo

Over the six years we lived in that home, we hosted family gatherings, youth group functions, baby showers, brunches, and one family camped in the back yard.  One member of the family that camped with us visited Sis #1 the last week of June.  Sis #2 and I make the trek to visit with Patty.  Patty was around 6 when she visited for the only time.  Sis #4 arranged for us to once again drive to the area so Patty could see if the place was like she remembered.

The first thing I saw was Chuck and Billie's home had been torn down and a new home was being built.  The empty lot that they used for their two horses had a home on it that appeared to be occupied. 


House on an previously empty lot of Chuck and Billie's

The empty hay field across the country lane was having homes built on it.  Our home was still there as well as the Lawson's to the north.


We are pretty sure that we would not be able to afford the taxes on our old home if we still lived there.  Taxes are horribly high in Texas.  Regardless, here is our home that is now 53 years old.  Even though we have not lived there since 1975, we will think of it as our home.


Cousin Patty said the house was familiar.  She remembered flowerbeds as they were during their visit.  Those beds have been long gone.  

It is good to see that there were several other homes still standing.  A few had been remodeled to add features including our home.  Garages converted to living space.  A new wing had been added to a couple of the others as well as outbuildings.

Life moves forward.  We had our dreams.  Folks dream bigger now.  The new homes are four and five times larger in square feet.  As we age we find we can do just fine with less and less.  But every now and then I remember all the joy we had living on Route 2, Mckinney TX.

Y'all take care out there.  My FAB family has had two more cases of covid.  It's still out there.

Peace and love


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Not Just Another Month of June

June 2022 visit of Brax to Sis #1
With Sis #1 slowly descending in her health, she is being blessed with visits from loved ones.  Sis #1 had been having a bad week with the beginnings of delirium.  She had been loopy, seeing fairies and other hallucinations.  Sis #1 came to life when our great-great-nephew, Brax, came with his Yaya (Sis #2) and Nana (Niece #2) for a quick visit.  Sis #2 noted that Sis #1 broke into tears when she saw Brax and he teared up as well.

Sis #1 had visited Sis #2 in Oklahoma frequently enough that Brax and she had a fun relationship.  Brax is a young member of our family that suddenly developed autoimmune encephalitis in October of 2019.  Aunt MakMak spent time with Sis #2 as a support during the days when Brax was hospitalized.  Sis #1 was still recovering from two knee replacements done in the winter of 2019.

Aunt MakMak at Brax's bedside, Oct, 2019


Many, many other of our relatives have visited Sis #1.  She has battled with such courage, openly sharing on Facebook her battle with colon cancer over the last 20 months.  Her many Facebook friends have showered her with bouquets of flowers that have arrived from all over the US.  Today cousin P from California is to arrive.  Even though it has been just two weeks since I was at Sis #1's bedside, I will return.  Cousin P wishes to see as many of the family as possible.

The family has been told at least 3 times Sis #1 has only 3 - 4 weeks left.  The first of those predictions was about 3 months ago.  And so she battles on, beating the odds, hoping to see one more July 4th.

Peace and love,

Janice


Sunday, June 5, 2022

A Thought About My Nation

 

In the USA the flag not only flies over official buildings but where ever someone wants to display the symbol of the nation.  It is a sign of patriotism.  A sign of how much the person loves the USA.  The flag is even at the altar of most churches.  

So many people believe the major problem with our nation is the lack of God and Jesus in schools.  Many say the demise of our nation is a direct result of no Christian prayer in school.

IMHO, the commitment to God and Jesus isn't about waving a national flag.  It is not about standing the public places and giving long prayers.  It isn't about buildings or worship services in churches, either mainline or the popular Cowboy churches.  Nor synagogs.  A nation, a world that is so distracted by the glamor and glitz of this world has lost its compass.

I agree our nation, and our world needs to return to one simple basic teaching.  That teaching is not unique to Christianity.  Love others.  In an authentic way.  

Nuff said.

Janice

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Been A While, Again

Graduations, doctor visits, shopping for a different apartment, car repairs, PEO meetings, and luncheons that is what I've been doing.  These activities evoked various sets of emotions.  Joy for the graduation of our bonus grandson.  Fun developing new friendships through the PEO organization.  Stress over auto repairs and apartment shopping.  

Scripture says, as noted in the last post, to not worry and The Creator will take care of problems.  For me, that means evaluating the various situations using the good sense The Creator gave me.  The biggest of the challenges is the search for a new apartment.  Once again a spreadsheet has helped to sort out what besides a considerably lower price we would like to have in a different location.

It is really strange the conveniences we find would be essential to our living situation.  Size, storage, hopefully, covered parking, dishwashers, washer/dryer connections, and number one, distance to our doctors.  We would prefer not to have to change our health professionals, again.  In addition, we want to stay close to our son for his convenience as we continue to age.  I mean, it is either age or die.  I prefer to age, thank you.

There is one other huge stressor.  Sister #1 is still battling every day.  She can sit for only short periods of time due to pain in the area of the tumors.  She recently advanced from codine-based pain medicines to morphine.  She is tiring easily.  Everyone wants to visit her.  She has asked there be a day in between for her to rest.  That is except for her sisters.  Next week #2 and I will each travel the 200 miles from our homes and meet at #3's home.  From there we will go to be with #1 in her bedroom.  No strippers this time.  Only gentle talk with some laughter and tears in the mix.  Sister shirts are required.



Janice



Saturday, May 21, 2022

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Several years ago our apartment complex moved from a grassy yard to a rock yard.  No more daily watering was the thought.  Tons of rocks were spread across the areas where the grass once grew.  The workmen planted an extensive number of drought-hardy plants.  As the men were working, one noticed a patch of daylilies and a patch of Stella D'ora lilies.  The young man smiled and me and nodded.  Pointing at the plants, he let me know he was leaving them.    
           
Unfortunately, the manager of the complex did not know the first thing about gardening.  Instead of continuing to water the new plants, she stopped the watering.  The plants were never able to establish roots that would allow them to survive the hot, dry Texas summers.  There were a few hardy types that did survive in the shaded areas.  Mostly now the yards are a sea of rocks.  That's not bad as it still conserves the precious water supply.

Recently I have allowed concerns to develop into full-fledged worries.  Sister #1 continues to suffer increased pain.  More pain pills are needed.  There is absolutely nothing I can do about this except post funnies for her to laugh at.  I did enjoy a good visit with her last weekend.  I have lost count of the number of friends and cousins we have lost to mostly the ravages of old age.  This is if you call a 67-year-old person an old person.  Only two friends passed from covid.  

In addition to these things that were on my mind, it appears our apartment rent will be increasing up close to $250 a month at the next lease renewal.  That is a budget buster.  My car needs shocks.  Another $800 most likely.  The car is 8 years old and has 80,000 + miles.  We have always driven our cars until they have at least 150,000.  Some over 200,000 miles.  I did a bit of simple math and figured in about 8 years we will need to be replacing our Icie hybrid.  It hit me that I would be 83 and Hubby would be 90.  A replacement car may not happen in this lifetime.  Yep, worried.

If you know me, you know I am a person of faith.  I have made vain attempts to not worry about all the above-mentioned things.  I would give the worry to the Creator but I take it back.  I looked out my window this morning and saw the daylilies in bloom.  

From the book of Matthew:…28 And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 30 If that is how The Creator clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will The Creator not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?…Berean Study Bible

Peace,
Janice

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

As Promised

It has been too long since my last post.  Life continues to go on for Sis #1.  I visited with her this past weekend.  The previous week, May 5,  she had to be taken by ambulance to the hospice center in the hospital.  Fortunately, antibiotics fought back the life-threatening infection that was causing extreme fever and pain.  Sis was able to return home on May 10.  Sis #2 came from Oklahoma to visit for a short time with Sis #1 at her home.  Sis #3 lives in the area so she visits often and keeps us two that live 200 miles away apprised of Sis #1's condition.

Sis and I had time alone on Sunday, May 15.  We had that deep discussion about how we are feeling about the prognosis following the hospital time.  The timeline due to the probable recurring infection is maybe 4 more weeks.  Of course, no one knows for sure.  Sis #1 told me she puts on the best face possible for everyone.  When alone in the night she lets herself feel her emotions.  Some are extreme anger, others are deep sadness, and sometimes it is just sobbing and worrying about her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. 

The next day I had the opportunity to speak to my niece in private about the general plan for a service.  Sis #1 wishes to be cremated and her memorial at the Chambersville United Methodist Church.  Our Mom was on the cradle roll of that church.  All four of us sisters were baptized in that church.  The building was built the year after I was born.  The 75-year-old building is being renovated due to wind damage as well as the ravages of time.  Completion is expected this summer.

Enough of this talk.  Here is the promised Video of my son's and DIL's gift to their Aunt MakMak.


I did not edit this in any way.  That is Hubby at the beginning.  Mr. Stripper came as a policeman to be a set up pretending another oops 911 call from Sis #4's phone.  Sis #4, Hubby, and I were the only ones that knew what was happening.  Sis #1 had started defending Sis #4 and Mr. Fake policeman took her by the shoulders and made her sit in the chair.  Sisters 1 and 2 were clueless until music and clothing started.  Just listen to Sis #2 squeal like a little girl when she realizes what is happening.  

So there you have our March Sister Time in all its glory.  Mr. Stripper gave back $60 to Sis #4 and told her to buy Sis #1 flowers.  "She is the sweetest person I have ever danced for."  Once he left Sis #1 returned from a bathroom time and told us she had asked God for just one more dance.  None of us knew this.  So the two dances with Mr. Stripper were an answered prayer.  Now go get your hankies.

Y'all all take care.  Enjoy every day of your life and the lives of those around you.

Janice






Monday, April 11, 2022

This Is Hard

You know it will come.  You just do not know when.  Each day you look on Facebook to see the morning sunrise posted by her.  It is still being there.  Sis #1 is hanging tough.  She is mad as she can be at having this demon child of the devil eating away at her insides.  Quietly stealing the anticipated joys from her.  But not just her, her two remaining children.  They are not young children, 62 and 60.  That does not make it any easier.   Especially since their dad died in 1999 at only 65 years old.

Sister #1 being placed in hospice care brought the reality home.  With Niece #1 being the primary person to be with her mom she is not handling the end-of-life issues at all well.   Something about being told how to help her mother pass in less pain has actually made her ill.  Neice #1 is sensitive mainly because she is so full of love for my Sister #1, her mom.  Niece #1 is torn, though she has not said it aloud.  She wants to spend as much time with her mom as possible.  But to be there, alone, in the final moments is just too much for her to even consider.

Since death would most likely give a warning, Niece #1 would probably not have to be alone.  Her brother, his family, her husband, and some of us sisters would be nearby.  There would be possibly some of the grandkids and maybe a great grandkid or two.  That is just how our family works.  At least that is how it was when our Dad passed.  Kids, grandkids, wife, sister, and a SIL were standing vigil.  Watched machines recording his last breaths, heartbeats, and finally a flat line.

Relaxing in the sun during sister time
I was alone with my mom when I found she had passed while I stepped out for a potty break.  That is not the same as administering the final doses to reduce pain for a loved one.  Not even in the same world.  So Sister #1 is discussing where she can spend her final days and lessen the burden on her children.  Her final act as a loving mother.  Because this is hard.

If there is a time in the next month we sisters and our daughters plan a get-together, Sister/Daughter time.  We originally planned to do a short cruise or something like that.  Then cancer reared its ugly head.  And that is only one of the reasons for us beating and breaking things during our recent sister time.



There you have the story behind the photo of four sisters standing holding buckets of breakable and not-so-breakable items.


All you folks take care out there!

Janice