Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

 
Last fall (2012) I had to make a choice to put more money into my 11 year old car, or buy a new one. I made the decision to buy a new one with the idea that I would pay for it by getting a part-time job. I had already tried working at Little Sisters of the Poor but I only succeeded in progressing my spinal osteoarthritis. The job lasted about 6 months before I realized it was not worth what I was making. So, for the past year I have been searching for a job that would fit with my back and knee disabilities. Easier said than done. I applied for several part-time receptionist positions only to have them not return my call or, I received an email or letter of rejection. I am no dummy, who wants a 70 year-old lady working for them when they can hire someone much younger. Age discrimination would be hard to prove when there are so many people applying for the same positions.

A couple of weeks ago I was downstairs talking with my Resident Service Coordinator when she asked what I had done in the past. Turns out that we had both worked for the same Sunrise Assisted Living facility but not at the same time. She said that she had heard about me and the position that I had there as Activity Director. She said that Day Spring Villa had a part-time Activity Aide position open. I went right over and talked with them, filled out an application on-line to the main office in Wheaton IL and then waited for a phone call. After the phone interview from Wheaton and personal interview here, I had to wait on a decision. They had told me what they would pay but when I was finally offered the position the pay had increased considerably. What a blessing. God knows when I am at the end of my rope and once again answered prayers. It took over a year but this turned out to be my Christmas present from God. I started on Friday the 6th of December.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Highlight of 2013 (in earlier postings) - My celebration of LIFE and thanksgiving to God our Father. What fun we all had at the celebration. And then, the cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. I am so blessed.

Ember, my little cat,  was very sick with Renal failure this past year but with an excellent vet and a lot of TLC she came out of it. This was a surprise to all...but I knew it was a blessing from God. "He is in control." (in earlier posting)

It is now December 20th and I absolutely love my new job. God knew what I needed and when I needed it. All I can say is that I am very blessed and thankful. It is so good to get back to work after a five year layoff. I am a changed person.
 


Monday, September 2, 2013

I will be 70 years old

I do hope that my celebration never comes to an end. God has given me so many blessings that I cannot possibly list all of them. All of my family and good friends are a true blessing from our Father above.


 
How can I ever thank everyone for the beautiful gift that they gave to me. When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer five years ago - I only had about 24 months to live. God chose to keep me around because He decided that I was not finished doing his work. I do have momentary lapses of exactly why I am still here on this earth and not in heaven with my Father. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

About six months ago I decided that I would throw myself a party to honor what God has done for me and also to celebrate my 70th birthday, which I was not going to see with my original diagnosis.
As I planned my celebration I knew I could not do it alone so I asked Rebecca to help me,  she did - most graciously. However, she also decided that I should have a money tree so that I could take another trip to Hawaii. (Many of you know how much I love Hawaii.) But, I had told her (and kept repeating) that there would be no gifts - that was not why I was having a celebration. Needless to say there was a money tree and the donations that were given allowed me to take a cruise to my beloved Islands of Hawaii. I never thought that I would get another chance.

There really is no way to thank all of you who gave so generously. It was decided rather quickly (because the price of the cruise was right) that there was enough money to take a cruise. If I did not do it right away, and use the money for its intended purpose then it would gradually get spent on something else and I did not want that to happen.
My celebration was on July 13th and Rebecca and I left on August 17th for Honolulu to board the ship, "Pride of America". Rebecca had never been to the Hawaiian Islands so it was such a treat for me to watch her taking pictures and loving every minute of being treated like royalty on the ship.

 
When we returned on the 25th of August, we were both exhausted after being up for 36 hours straight. We had to be off the ship early on the morning of the 24th and our flight did not leave Honolulu until 10:20 pm. Yes, we flew overnight as most of you know who have been to Hawaii. Then on Sunday we had a five hour layover in Phoenix. We finally arrived home at 3:00 pm MT but we were still on Hawaiian time so it was 9:00 pm by our internal clocks - jet lag - big time!

I had a worse time getting over the jet lag than Rebecca did, but I am also older than Rebecca - good excuse, right! I became a little depressed and grouchy for the better part of last week - I just did not want it to be over with so soon and I was so tired! Someone sent the "Breaking News" posted below - how appropriate.

 
All-in-all this has been the most marvelous year of my life and I would not trade it for anything. God is good - All the time!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Celebration to God


The party is over, however the celebration will go until my days are over and I go home to be with my Father in Heaven.

The morning of the 13th I woke up and just stayed in bed for a few minutes remembering what day it was. I asked myself, out loud, "What in the world are you doing?" I had been planning this celebration for months and all of a sudden I was just a little panicky - not sure why - except what if no one showed up. I got ready and went to the church where Rebecca had everything under control, as I knew she would.
I did make a serious mistake on the invitation - I put 1:00 to 4:00 pm. This gave people the impression that it was like an open house which it was not. I did have a program and had Marcus to go ahead and start at 1:30 so that we could eat. Guest did continue to come after the program started but it turned out okay and there were about 90 people in attendance.
Cake made by Rebecca Turner
We had a very good light dinner, pina' colada punch to drink, and a beautiful cake made by Rebecca Turner. Natalie and Marcus Allen and Phil Fortenberry sang two of my favorite songs, "He Is In Control" and "For I Know" (Psalm 29:11).
Natalie Allen, Phil Fortenberry, Marcus Allen
My concern was that as the program went on I realized that I did not get around to seeing everyone that was there. I had family members there from California, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. I just felt so blessed that came all that way to celebrate with me. I felt so blessed and it was so much fun.

I had my birthday celebration on the 13th because that is the day I could reserve the Fellowship Hall at the church. My birthday is actually on the 18th. I had Marcus (MC) recognize others that were there that also had birthdays. On the 18th, beside myself, was Mike Reed, Nadia Solorio, and Diane Murphy. On the 16th, was my friend, Ruth Ann Bradshaw, and my cousin Glenn Hedges who is just 2 days alder than me. I loved being able to celebrate with him again, it had been a long time. And on the 13th was Karen Johns birthday - she asked me not to mention it. Sorry Karen It really was your birthday.
Marcus Allen, MC
Marcus had a friend set up his photo booth and everyone was able to have their pictures taken in crazy glasses and hats. It was a huge success.

The purpose for the celebration, well, five years ago, the month that I turned 65 (July 2008) I was diagnosed with a rare terminal endometrial cancer. It was determined that the doctors really did not know how to treat is so I refused further treatment after the fifth chemotherapy. I also had breast cancer at the same time which they would not treat until the endometrial cancer was under control. You see, the cancer was still in the para aortic lymph node that could not be reached because it was behind my lungs and my heart. The cancer continued to metastasize to yet another lymph node and to my liver. After I refused further treatment I was sent home with no further treatments available. I wanted quality of life over quantity of life.
I changed my diet to the Acid/Alkaline diet. Cancer cannot live in an alkaline body - it can only live in an acid body and my body was extremely acid. After less than a year on this diet my oncologist told me that my cancer was not active. "You are not in remission, it is just not active." I will take that and Praise the Lord for everyday that He gives me. You will notice at the top of my blog is "One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus" and that is exactly what I do - take it one day at a time.
 
I wanted no gifts at this celebration but Rebecca decided that financially I would not be able to make a trip to Hawaii. Everyone knows how much I love Hawaii and would move there in a heartbeat - but that requires $$$$$$. So she put a note in with the invitations that there would be a money tree at the celebration so that I could make another trip to Hawaii. WOW!
Money tree made by Bill Turner
The purpose of my wanting to share my celebration with you is because in July of 2013 I turned 70 years old. At 65 my life expectancy was 24 months. Only my God can do these miracles. And yes, I do consider myself a miracle of my Lord.
 
For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let's Celebrate


In July of 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare terminal endometrial cancer. I turned 65 that month. I did do five treatments of chemo therapy and decided I could no longer live that way, especially since the cancer was still in the para-aortic lymph node. I also had breast cancer which they decided not to treat since there was nothing they could do for the endometrial cancer which had quickly spread to another lymph node and to my liver.

I was told about the acid/alkaline diet. I researched it and decided that I had nothing to lose and started eating properly. Cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline body. Cancer cells live rampant in an acid body. I wanted to follow the progression of the cancer so I continued to have PET scans every six months. In February 2010 my doctor called and said, "The cancer is not active!" I have been cancer free since and continue eating an alkaline diet.

This July (2013) I am turning 70 years old. I have decided that five years is worth celebrating and I am throwing myself a "Birthday Party". Everyone is invited to celebrate with me.





Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.





  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Journey is on a new course

 
I have wanted to get a job, needed to get a job financially, and applied for an "almost" perfect position about a month ago. A friend called and said that they were looking for a part-time receptionist where he worked. It is an assisted living facility and right up my alley. I did go right over and applied for the position. Turned out that it was a part-time position but it was three, ten hour days. Not exactly ideal but I would have taken it. Oh well, I never even heard back from them. It is obvious that my age gets in the way.

It is so amazing that God knows what we need and when we need it more than we do.

On April 16th I took my little Ember (cat) to the vets because she had not been eating for a couple of weeks. The vet was so impressed and what good health she was in, and the dentist also, that they did not draw blood which is what I really wanted. The not eating continued and I tried one cat food after the other to include baby food (chicken). I could get her to eat a bite but that was all. Then I realized that she was not drinking that much water either. I found a vet near where I live, Planned Pethood Plus, and I took her there on May 13th. My vet, Dr. Ivan Ivanov, was wonderful. He took the time to get to know Ember and her history of idiosyncrasies, she is a very different little cat. She had lost 2 lbs and weighed only 8.6 lbs. He checked her over, drew blood, gave her fluids and said that would call me in an hour with the results of the blood work. He determined that it was not liver failure but thought it could possibly be pancreatic. When he called he told me that she was in renal failure and that we could work with this. I took her back in the next day and learned how to give her the infusions of fluids. She will be on them the rest of her life, every third day. She did start eating and drinking water immediately after the first infusion. However, the problems came when it was time for me to do it. Between the two of us we became so upset that I could not infuse her - she would squirm and the needle came out. There was more fluid all over the room than there was in her. I tried several times and finally called some friends and they came over and we got it done but she was so stressed out. I decided that I would just take her back to the vets to let them infuse her. It works out so much better. They are only a couple of miles from the apartment.

This is where God comes in once again. He knew that I could not deal with a job of that many hours and take care of Ember also. As far as the job that I need desperately - I will continue looking for something where I can work from home.

When God closes one door I shall pray in the hallway until He opens another door.

Monday, April 22, 2013

On this trail called life, all of us are following someone’s directions. None of us are really blazing our own trail. We all follow a path that’s been laid out for us by someone claiming to know the way. The question is: whose directions are you following? What path are you on? ~Completely Committed Follower
"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Short Trip to Kansas City

I finally made it to Kansas City. Rumor has it that the third time is a charm. Rebecca and Bill were going on a 3 week vacation to Chorpus Christie and Bill was in Kansas City on some other business. Rebecca wanted to meet him there and continue on their vacation.

I had been watching the long range weather forecast to make sure the weather was going to be okay - all showed good weather so we took off after lunch/staff meeting on Thursday afternoon on the February 14th. By the time we all finished having lunch for Rebecca's birthday, it was snowing - hard! We did finally drive out of it and it was a beautiful day. We did not get away until two o'clock so we stopped in Hays KS and stayed overnight. On Friday we arrived in Kansas City around the lunch hour so we had lunch before I dropped her off by the Country Club Plaza where Bill was staying. Three weeks is a long time not to see Rebecca.

Since Kansas City has changed so much in the 17 years that I have been gone, Bill loaned me his GPS - it was a life saver. They both have GPS on their phones so they did not need it.

When I got to Betty's house (my cousin) we just talked and talked for the rest of the day. Lisa and Darin, Reagan and Roman, stopped by to say "hi" - Betty's daughter's family. So long since I have seen them.


Betty, Sister Johanna
Sister Johanna was going to come down from Omaha on Friday afternoon but at the last minute found out that she had a meeting Saturday morning that she had to attend. She did not get there until Saturday afternoon and had to leave Monday morning but at least I got to spend some time with her since I did not go to Omaha this year for Christmas.


Me, Shalom, Cheyyenne, Callie, Felicity, Brooke


Saturday
Betty and I went to Shalom's house. I met Kevin for the first time and of course Callie. She made up with me right away. She is so much fun. Brooke and Felicity have met me before but I don't think they remembered me. I have not seen them for many years. My niece Cheyyenne, who is 16 now, was coming up from Oklahoma just to meet me - for the first time. Cheyyenne did not get to Kansas City until late so we will meet for breakfast. She is so pretty. I must say I have gorgeous nieces. Valetta had to work and was not able to come up. Hopefully, I can see her next time. Yes, I plan on there being a next time.

Sunday - a very busy day! We left early in the morning and got back late at night! Betty, Johanna and I went to church. Then we went to have breakfast with Shalom and her girls and to meet Cheyyenne.

Me, Christopher, Kimberly, Hannah
Then went to see my nephew Christopher Crofford and his family. I finally got to meet Kimberly who is an absolute delight and so good for him. He makes a wonderful daddy to his one year old daughter Hannah. She is so precious and so photogenic. It was so good to see his mom, Tammy. It has been a very long time since I have seen her. She is fighting a battle with cervical cancer and I pray for her daily that she is winning.

Johanna, Me, uncle Larry
Then we headed for Kansas to see my uncle Larry and Johanna Schwed. We met at Houlihan's and had a wonderful dinner. Uncle Larry is 94 years old and sharp as a tack.

Melissa, Jillian, me, Stevi
Monday
Betty and I went to Independence to meet with Melissa, Jillian and Stevi. My first meeting with Stevi - she is now three years old and Jillian is five.

Tuesday
Had to cut my trip short because of the snow storm coming into Kansas City so I left a day early. I was supposed to meet with Connie in Salina to have lunch but since I had to change my date of departure she was not able to meet me because of a doctors appointment.

Once on the road I heard nothing but bad weather report from every direction. It was a beautiful day otherwise. I made it to Goodland KS and decided to stay overnight there. When I left the next morning I turned onto the wong highway and did not realize it until I got to Limon. It might have saved my life in one way - there was zero visability and there was not much traffic and no big trucks. When I got to Limon I stopped to relax for a minute and that is when I found out that I was not on I-70. When I left Limon it started lifting and it was clear sailing on into Denver. I stopped and had breakfast and went on home. I was there by 10:30. I did not sleep very well the night before worrying about the weather so I took a short nap and when I got up it was snowing and I could not even see the lake a couple of blocks over.

All-in-all it was a fast trip but I got to see all my nieces (that were in town) and my nephew. And that was really my intent when I left. The time I spent with each of them was so short but I would not trade it for the world. I love them all so much and miss each and every one of them.

Save the dateJuly 13, 2013 - my 70th birthday party here in Denver. Everyone is invited. I am going to try and make special arrangement with LaQuinta (for those coming in from out of town) over by the church so that everyone can stay in the same place. Please come and share my joy!  More information to follow.

"A joy that is shared is a joy made double."  ~Anonymous



Friday, February 1, 2013

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

This amazing story was originally posted on Facebook. It is a touching lesson on being patient - you HAVE to read it, it'll change how you think.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
 
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated. 'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'  'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse. 'Nothing,' I said, 'You have to make a living,' she answered. 'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.' I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped
in what others may consider a small one..'