Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Fall...

It's Fall and the colors here in Michigan are just beautiful!  Even on a grey rainy day, the colors still show God's beauty on earth! Now it is evening and the skies are clearing and I can still see the nice  leaf colors and lit up buildings on medical the mile where I live right now. I enjoy walking the halls while I have the energy and without the need for a mask.

A week ago, Jeff and I were packing and getting ready for our whirlwind trip to Oklahoma to see Matthew and two shows put on by the OU School of Drama. I was so excited to see our boy I could jump out of my skin, Unfortunately, I caught a cold that routed itself into my sinuses and ears too. Thankfully, I made it through the plane rides without pain. All three of us enjoyed ourselves immensly. We were in OK for less then 48 hours and did all of the following!:

  1. Toured the School of Drama with Matthew and saw where most of his time is spent. We met his friends and teachers, who were all very nice.  It seems that many people like Matthew. I can understand why...
  2. When Matthew reported to work in the eshop (electrical shop) Jeff and I checked into our hotel and took a two hour nap.  Afterall we were up late packing and up early to get to the airport. A nap felt good.
  3. Thursday evening started with all you can eat ice cream at Diamond Dawgs but I didn't get m cap'n crunch hot dog.  Boy that is so good. Something for next time. Then we went with Matthew to check the lights at the sooner theater for the rehearsal. It's very interesting to me to watch Matthew at work and how much behind the scenes preparation goes on.  Very Cool.
  4. Dinner was at our favorite Burger Place- O'Connell's. The ranch hand burger is soooo good! I didn't like the steak fries so much.  Matthew's regular fries looked a lot better.  After dinner we went to the contemporary dance rehearsal.  It was contemporary but some very good talent was scene.  I kind of felt like I was a judge on "so you think you can dance". I am glad we went.
  5. Friday Matthew was busy until 3 pm so we slept in. When did that happen last?  Jeff was working on getting a new rental car, since our red Ford Focus lurches, lunged sputtered when we accelerated. We were walking the outdoor track waiting for the new car when Jeff got the call.  I kept walking and charted one mile!  Jeff told me our new car was green!  I Kia Soul.  It looks like a box, but it ran so much nice. It purred.  Jeff took another lap on the track and then a swim in the inviting pool.  I can't swim, since I have a PICC line, otherwise I would be in the pool for sure. I took a little nap, after calling Dr B's office about my cold symptoms.
  6. We took a trip to the downtown to take pictures of the Sooner Theater during the day.  We got pictures of the inside too.  Later in the evening there would be a fall festival too. 
  7. Matthew was ready at 2:30 pm and we took him shopping for some clothes (I got some too), and had dinner at the Interurban, another favorite.  Then we rushed over to the Sooner Theater for the show.  Matthew took me with him to check lights while Jeff parked the car.  Remember the fall festival I mentioned? It was in full swing. I sea of people. I would have believed that every Norman resident was out for fun.  The weather was sure perfect for it.  It was in the 80's that afternoon.  No coats necessary. It was fun to see all the families with their kids all dressed up.  The band from the show came outside and put on a concert in front of the theatre.  It was great. Just as the play was too. The show was Our Time and it was well done.  
  8. Then we were off to get some pumpkins for Matthew. He loves to carve pumpkins and was excited to get them. We enjoyed some Braums Ice Cream and then went to get my antibiotics that Dr B called in to Walgreens in Norman. At the end of that night, it was good bye.  We were sad, but realized just how much fun we had in a short amount of time.  It was a wonderful trip! We were happy to get to Oklahoma.
Each day that I walkaround the hospital halls, I peak out the windows, the fall colors are still there.  It won't be long though, and all the leaves will have fallen and winter will be here. It snowed around lunch today on Halloween!    My chemotherapy for this round is just about done. All the chemo bags will be down by bed time.  Then I just have one little IV line for my nausea meds. 

I will welcome November here with my hospital family, whom I have grown to love and share time with.  It's nice to have some interaction with people during the day, even if it is just a how are you today?

Trying to keep a happy face while waiting for healthy stem cells.

Happy Fall!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick Update

Here I am back in the hospital.  Most of my blogging is done on my care pages. Thought I needed to update you on the rest of the family too.


  • Has a lot on his plate to keep up with.  Church work, housework, paperwork for insurance and quickbooks and coming to see me every day at the hospital.  What a star!
  • Slowly getting things put in their place at her apartment.
  • Busy at her new job at Lumen Cristi Catholic High School as the Athletic Trainer.  Football season has started.  Getting organized and learning the kids and coaches!
  • Started her first year as an English teacher at James Jordan Middle School in Los Angeles.
  • She likes her kids and they like her too.  Of course there are some challenges in middle school but she is handling it well.
  • Doesn't like the traffic driving home.
  • Back at the University of Oklahoma beginning his junior year in the school of drama.
  • All drama classes this semester! 
  • Working in the electric shop this year rather than the scene shop for his work/study and at Regal Cinemas in Norman on the side.
Great report, isn't it?  I am keeping up with posting pictures, so check out the family photo album frequently.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where's Waldo?

Sarah contacted me this morning letting me know she is now on her employer's website.  She said, can you find me?  Of course, I plug away until I found it.  Now I am sharing it with you!   

See Sarah here.  You will have to scroll down a little bit, but she looks great and has a nice bio to go with it.

Weather in Michigan is beautiful.  Wish I had gone for a walk, but I have had another stupid headache this afternoon, and I worked at church this morning.   Since my PET scan is tomorrow morning, they said no exercise.   Just walking gets me all sweaty.  So I am playing it safe.

Now it is time for Tiger baseball and So You Think You Can Dance.  Let's hope the Tigers can win today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Month Gone By

Woke up early and couldn't sleep, so why not update the blog? Life keeps humming along and by the time I sit down my creative thoughts are not flowing and frankly, I have been battling some increased fatigue.

While Sarah was still at home, she came to a few orthopedic doctor appointments with me.  The hand doctor was first, and after an xray and exam it was confirmed that I have arthritis in the base of my left thumb.  He ordered a thumb wrap that helps immobilize it when the pain flares up.  It has helped tremendously.  Then I went to get my shoe orthotics.
It didn't take nearly as long, and they haven't had as much success in the long run for my foot pain caused by a falling arch. Later in the month I saw my orthopedic surgeon who ordered physical therapy, otherwise the treatment is much  much more invasive. That was that.  So I baby my older joints along as best I can.

Sarah's ice cream sundae send off went well.  Everyone that came had fun and enjoyed ice cream with toppings.  Then two days later we headed to Jackson to get her moved and settled in her new apartment.  As you  might know,, moving can be quite stressful. So we stuck with the basics.  Her work start date got moved up too, so she had only 2.5 days get some things put away and be ready for an 0600 start time on Monday.   While we were there, we were able to find the local stores in the area, pick up needed items to help with the move-in, and even ate at a good Mexican restaurant.  She had here cable TV/WiFi installed and her daddy put things together and threw away a few things that broke (on the final leg of course!).  Since then she has enjoyed her new job and has finally visited Lumen Christi, her new school and even some of the students. Football season is almost here!

Mary has finished her training with Teach for American by teaching summer school.  She is off for the rest of this week and then officially starts her job at James Jordan Middle School.  California has been great for her and Brandon. They have been getting out on the weekends to places like San Francisco and Laguna Beach.   Mary has taken advantage of her two weeks off and been cooking up a storm, preparing some pretty awesome meals like our favorite Korean meal and an Olive Garden inspired meal including a dessert!

Matthew has been happy and healthy in Wichita, working hard on scenery for Muscial Theatre of Wichita and there quick turn over of shows. While we don't talk very often, there has been nice pictures posted of his work and also having fun with friends.  They are working on the final show of the summer, 42nd Street.  After the strike in a few weeks, he will head back to Norman OK for his junior year at OU.   

Over the past 3 weeks or so I have been increasingly tired, having more GI problems, constant headaches and finding bruises on my arms and legs.  Naturally I called Dr. B's office and he brought me in the following week.  At this point it is time to re-stage my cancer to see where we are and what sort of treatment is next.  My blood counts are down and proteins are up. So I have had lots of lab work drawn, 18 x-rays taken of my long bones and later today a bone marrow biopsy. I only worked one day this month!  That isn't good.  Makes me wonder if I will be able to return any time soon if at all. We will know more later.

Jeff has been great through it all, moving, health concerns and keeping up at church and home.  We even threw in a week of VBS!  I don't know how he keeps going, but he does, just like the energizer bunny!   We went to a whitecaps baseball game where we met Mickey Stanley and got his autograph and enjoyed an evening out at golf benefit for myeloma. We didn't golf, but enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Well, I am still not feeling the best, took some nausea medicine and think I will lie down.  Need some sleep.  

Keep your eyes open for updates on my caring bridge.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

 Jeff, Sarah and I had a nice 4th of July weekend.  I baked some cupcakes and brownies to take to the cookout at our friends the Olivers.  There was yummy pulled pork, homemade Bar-B-Q sauce, salads, chips and of course, dessert.  It was fun to spend time with friends from church and meet new friends too! As it got towards dark,  we sat around the campfire, had marshmallows and s'mores.  The neighbors lit off fireworks followed by fireworks in the yard.  They even released mini hot air balloon type or floating air lanterns. It was pretty cool.  Tried to watch some TV afterward to keep the fun going, but we fell asleep.

Saturday proved to be another fun day.  Sarah and Jeff went tubing down the Flat River with some of the same friends from the party the day before.  They were on the river for 4 hours!  Both of them had some sunburn, but are doing fine.  I stayed home and worked on my list and watched a movie.  Then picked up the river riders up in nearby Belding.   Mitch got some leaches on him and Sarah helped get them off. Dinner was back at the Olivers for Hot Dogs and Sausages.  We had a nice time.  

In just a few days we are throwing a send off party for Sarah with Ice Cream Sundaes.  We have most of the yummy things, but still need to pack up some of Sarah's things here at home before officially moving her to Jackson on Friday.  Breaking News:  Sarah starts work 7/14 instead of 7/21.  Exciting times ahead!

Tomorrow I will see the hand surgeon about my ongoing pain in my left thumb joint.  It is painful to write, grab and hold onto things and occasionally I can  feel things "catch".  I hope that he can help me, especially since it effects my dominant hand.

I will keep you posted either here or on facebook.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Farewell Toledo!

Sunday after church, as usual, Jeff and I both had an afternoon nap.  Jeff had to cut the grass and I watched the Tigers lose, cleaned the kitchen and finished the laundry.  Then we packed up and headed to Toledo to help Sarah move out of her apartment and head to Jackson, MI.

Since we didn't arrive until after 2130, we didn't get too much packing done.  But we did enjoy some down time with Sarah before she and I packed up her books and some clothes. There was lots of work to get done the next day!

Monday morning came early and packing was put into high gear and pack up the rest of her household items including the kitchen.  Two of Sarah's HS athletes came over at 1100 to help with the packing of our U-Haul truck that we picked up earlier in the morning as well.  It took about 2-3 hours to have it packed and another 2 hours to pack up our cars and clean the apartment.  Moving is such hard work and so tiring! The hot and humid weather didn't help either.

We arrived at our hotel in Jackson, MI around 1930 and even though we were tired, dinner was in order. Red Lobster was right across the street!  Gotta love those cheddar bay biscuits!  The rest of our food was good too.  Since there was still a little light after dinner, we drove around Jackson and saw a few of the apartment complexes we were going to check out and Sarah's new high school, Lumen Christi.  Nice. By the time we got back to our hotel, there was still time to make use of the pool and hot tub.  It felt so good after a long day.

Tuesday was certainly a God Sighting Day.  Sarah completed all her paperwork for her new job and we met her at the first apartment complex after breakfast.  It was nice, and the only one bedroom left and available. The manager was very nice and welcoming. We spent a few more hours looking at 2 other places and calling other complexes that were appealing.  Very few seemed to have one bedrooms available and the nicer ones had waiting lists. God was opening a door in front of our eyes.  It was pretty obvious where He wanted Sarah to live.   So after lunch, we headed back to apartment #1 with filled out paperwork and Jeff headed to the storage unit.  We wouldn't be able to move in for another 24 hours at the earliest.  

This is where the God Sightings start popping up everywhere.

  • This was only apartment that was move in ready and available now.   The other one bedroom wouldn't be ready for a few weeks at the earliest and was more expensive and up three flights of stairs rather than a half dozen steps down.
  • While Sarah was turning in her application and paying her deposit to hold the apartment, Jeff called and asked if we could store Sarah's things in the empty, move-in ready unit. After all, this was the one she would be moving in to the next week any way?  Unbelievably, she said yes.  It isn't done routinely, but she understood that we would  have to unload the truck into storage, then load a different truck next week and unload it again into the apartment.  We were so happy and thankful.  God is good, all the time!
  • It was a lot of work for the three of us, especially with Sarah in her long summer dress she had worn to her employer that morning.  Who would have known that she'd be moving into her new place that afternoon. It was such a blessing to unload the truck only once! Sarah won't sign the lease until next week, but it is officially hers and the rent will be pro rated so she will save some money too. 
  • But the biggest sign, at least to me, was that we learned that Sarah's apartment had already been secured by someone else but at the last minute decided to upgrade to a 2 bedroom instead. It became available late Friday afternoon.  This apartment was arranged just for Sarah, a gift from God. 
  • The apartment faces a lake away from the parking area and the street. It is in a nice location and only 10 minutes from her new job. 
Now we are back home and catching up on things. I took Sarah to my yoga class yesterday and then met Jeff for dinner at a favorite place- Brann's. Tomorrow we will be spending the 4th of July with the Olivers.  Jeff and Sarah will be tubing down the Flat River with them on Saturday.  I am just not ready or brave enough to do that yet.  I would probably end up a lobster and be stressed most of the time.  I hope to work on writing another chapter in my book.

Mary called this morning and things are going well in her classroom. She is proud that her students are learning and that over 50% have met the goals set by Teach for America just half way through summer school.  The students like their teachers, including Mary of course, and have learned to like English because of them.  She and Brandon are spending the holiday weekend in San Francisco. Matthew has texted me on and off over the past few days and he is doing well too.  I have enjoyed some pictures of him at work that were posted on his face book.  

Jeff saw an orthopedic doctor on Wednesday and had a cortisone shot to help with the inflammation around his rotator cuff.  His MRI and x-ray show that his shoulder is sturdy and wouldn't require any surgical repair. Whew.  Should the pain and weakness continue into next week, the pain may be related to the chronic cervical stenosis he has had for years. This would mean a trip to a back specialist instead of the trauma surgeon we saw this week.  I would remiss if I didn't mention that the doctor was quite impressed with Sarah.  Once he found out she was an athletic trainer, he did some quizzing and her answers were spot on.  They were throwing around all the names of muscle, bone processes and nerves.   It was pretty impressive.  Instead of sending Jeff to therapy he asked Sarah if she could get him started with the proper exercises.  No problem.  I am sure the doctor was impressed too.

I will be seeing a hand specialist on Tuesday to find a reason for my ongoing left thumb pain.  My other docs (and Sarah) have all said it is arthritis.  Boo.  I have to do something though since it affects my daily living in a  big way.  I have pain when I sign my name, grab a water bottle and will occasionally feel the bones click.  Sometimes the pain is almost bad enough that I want to take my pain meds from my cancer treatment.  After doing some reading about my doctor,  I am confident that I have the best doctor. Hopefully I can fill you in soon after my appointment.  I will also get my orthotics Tuesday which I hope will help my ongoing right foot pain related to tendonitis that affects the insertion point in the arch of the foot.  Boy if it isn't one thing it's another.   I am so thankful for my continued remission. It's a big blessing. Each day is a gift!

Well, that is all.  Normally I would be working tomorrow, but since no surgeries are scheduled for the 4th of July, our department is closed and most of us enjoy the day off.  In the hospital business, even if the department is closed, someone is always on call.  I am on call for 4 hours Wednesday morning and work Thursday next week.  Then it's back to Jackson to get Sarah settled in her new place at Alpine Lake Apartments. It will be a great day!

Now I had better get some sleep!  I shouldn't stay up so late, but I am not tired.  Might as well get some stuff done.  I've always been a night owl. 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July. Happy Birthday America and God Bless the USA!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another Move in our Future

It has been one month since we returned from Los Angeles. While we miss Mary very much,  she is doing well.   Teach for America has had the new teachers training and teaching summer school since June 10th.  She updates us each week and sounds very happy, although she does get a little frustrated with the assigned lessons/teaching plans and prefers to write her own.

We don't hear from Matthew too often, but when we do,he sounds happy with his job and life in Wichita this summer. Here is a cool coincidence.  Jeff did his ROTC summer training camp before his junior year at OU at McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita, KS!  Like father like son!  Different professions same place to train!

Jeff and I have settled back into the empty nest.  I am working one day a week, and like it very much.  I am starting to pick up an extra day of work here and there. So far it hasn't been to hard on my body. Sarah was able to come home for Father's Day and we enjoyed dinner and a movie. Jeff just returned from four days on Mackinac Island with our high school youth for the Michigan district HS Youth Gathering.  From what I hear, it was great. 

Sarah has a  job. She will be the Athletic Trainer for a high school in Michigan.  We are all very happy for her. Tomorrow Jeff and I will be driving down to Toledo to do some final packing and loading up the U-Haul on Monday to move her things to a storage unit near Jackson, MI until she finds an apartment. (We hope that happens this week!)

The weather here is warming up and our fans are going full blast part of day.  I wonder if  we will need to put in our air conditioner this summer?  

That's all my news.  Have a great week! Stay tuned for more news after the move.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another Birthday in the Books

I had a very nice birthday.  First off, after several days of not feeling too well, I woke up without the vice on my head and the phone rang. The clinical coordinator at work gave me the first four hours of work off.  That gave me some extra time for rest, which did me a lot of good.  My blessings continued later that day when I was given the last four hours of my shift off as well.  Thank you!  In addition the weather was nice and I got a lot of fun things on my to do list done.   

Jeff took me to dinner at Red Robin followed be going to see "God's Not Dead". It was very good that confirmed my need to share my story with the writing of a book and increase a caring ministry in our community, hopefully through a support group at our church.  Since it was national donut day, we went to Krispy Kreme for our free donut.  I got two extra, one for my birthday and one with the coupon I had for joining the Donut club.  

Doing a lot of walking this week,  Easter Seals at the Zoo (Wed),  Relay for Life at the high school (Fri), and Alpha Family Center's Life Walk in Greenville (Sat).  There is a Ca Survivor party open house on Wednesday, SCT patient support group on Tuesday and lunches with buddies on Mon and Tuesday.  Thursday is work. Monday and Friday are doctors' appontments. 

Heard from all three kiddos on my birthday. Mary called early and is doing well. Got sunburned at field day at her new school.  They invited her to attend and they even had a catered lunch for all the teachers.  She is excited.  Evidently she and Brandon went to a comedy club and met a"star" from the SURVIVOR show. Yay!

Matthew called me just before our dinner and he is happy with his job and life in Kansas this summer.  That makes me happy too.  We have tickets to go to OK in October to see a show at OU and of course have a little time with Matman. :) 

Sarah has more questions to answer this weekend for the potential job in Jackson MI.  These are the 4th set of questions she had.  These are all, What would you do if... kind of questions.  We are all hoping that she will land the right job soon.  We are moving her out of her apartment June 29th- ??. More importantly it's where will be moving her.  Home?? To a nice new safe apartment?? Only time will tell.  She has been so happy working at her high school.  At the awards night, everyone stood and gave her a standing ovation. She received multiple gift cards, letters and notes, a memory photo album and even an honorary varsity letter.  She was overwhelmed with joy!

Look for updates during the week.  Thanks for everyone's birthday wishes. <3

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fun in Los Angeles!

Our time in Los Angeles was simply marvelous.  We were happy to help Mary and Brandon set up the apartment, shop with them, dine out with them, and see and do lots of sightseeing.  I can't wait to return and hope that I can see the Price is Right and maybe a whale too!

Sunday 5-25    
  • Jeff and I checked out of our hotel, now that the apartment is ready for visitors.
  • Jeff moved the truck which left me driving Mary's car in LA. I survived, but of course I didn't need to go on the freeways.
  • Went to Westwood, saw UCLA Law School and the campus.  Ate at a yummy and affordable burger place, In and Out. 
  • Went to a LA mall where the halls are outdoors, like a terrace. Can say I went to Bloomingdales. 
  • Went to the LA Dodgers Baseball game. The traffice was crazy, the weather was hot but we had a good time!  I love baseball!
  • Finished with dinner at "The Humble Potato" an cool place with American food and a Japanses twist.  I had a Curry Dog.  It was delicious!

Tuesday 5-27
  • Housekeeping and lunch.
  • Back to Westwood to clean up Brandon's campus apartment followed by a delicious meal at Kushi's, specializing in Korean and Japanese food.  
  • Got on a bus for the Billy Joel concert at the Hollywood Bowl!  It was an awesome concert.  He is a great entertainer.  So glad we went.   However, the ride home was certainly memorable. When we arrived at our bus, it was broken. We waited 45 mintues for a new one, while watching eveyone else leave on time.  Needless to say there were several unhappy customers.  We got back to our car late, so I said, "let's go to Randy's  (24 hour) Donuts!  When we arrived, they only had 3 kinds of donuts.  We decided to all get the same two and perform a taste test.  We all picked the same winner!
Wednesday 5-28

  • We really enjoyed trying the local (non-chain) restaurants around Mary's apartment, which is just across from LAX.   Today's lunch was BBQ.  It was very good and reasonable for the amount of food.
  • Walked off all those calories in Hollywood, walkin the  Stars and Hand Prints in cement.
  • Back in the car,  we drove up to Mary's school, James Jordan Middle School. It reminds me a lot of my middle school, St Marks in Hollywood, FL.
  • Last stop was Santa Monica Beach.  I was sure to get sand in my shoes to make sure that I will be returning. After all, we were leaving in the morning.
Thursday 5-29
  • A quick ride to the airport from Mary, stood in a slow line to check our bags, and then a quick trip through security.   
  • The plane was packed and there was quite a bit of coughing and sneezing.  I was wearing my personal air purifier, but decided on wearing a mask as well.  
  • Had a nice lunch at the STL airport before boarding our slightly delayed flight to GRR. I missed Mary a lot, but was happy she has her best friend out there with her, we didn't leave her out there alone.  I was also glad to sleep in my own bed.
It was a really fun time.  Why not take a trip out to LA and vist Mary and Brandon.  They will show you the sights.

My Awesome Oncologist

Cancer and Hematology Center of W. Michigan

Click on the link to see a three minute video.

From a happy patient!

California, He We Come!

Well, I will be 51 before I am done writing this entry, so I am determined to catch up our life story before more celebrating.  Life at the Wilhelms sure has had lots to celebrate over the past few months.

Now on to our story...

Day 1:  May 20
We headed out of Greenville toward California as soon as everything was packed, bills were paid and the GPS's programmed and synchronized.  We stopped frequently, as the truck had no cruise control and frequent leg stretching is necessary.  Stopping point for the first night on the road: Hannibal, MO home of Mark Twain and Col. Sherman T Potter from my favorite shows, M*A*S*H*.

Day 2: May 21
McDonald's was a lucky stop for us.  Mary's phone had decided to stop working and needed to be restored.  That was no simple task.  Mary had to get her computer from the car and spend 45 minutes with a verizon person to get her phone working again. Thanks Mickey D's for having great wifi!

Our destination on this day was Wichita, KS, Matthew's summer city.  It was great to see him. We walked around Old Town and had pizza at Old Chicago and ice cream at Coldstone Creamery.

Matthew needed to stop at wal-mart so we tagged along.  After saving for a long time, he finally bought himself a new TV.  It is quite nice and makes him happy.  His old one is an old honking big one! We are happy for him.  We took him our inflatable queen size air mattrass for him to use this summer, so we also got him a new sleeping bag to lay on top of it. On the way to see his summer house, he took us by the Musical Theatre Wichita, where he works as a carpenter.  He likes it very much. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodnight.  It was a wonderful time together.

Day 3: May 22
Started with a delicious made to order free breakfast at our hotel.  The rest of the day we spent driving and driving and driving. We drove through several storms that seemed to be around us, yet only driving for a short time in the rain. Saw some awesome lightning too. We all the driving, Mary didn't want help driving her car, not because she was afraid of my driving, but because she wanted the bragging rites to say she drove the whole way.  I told her I would support her endeavor!  We stopped in Albuquerque to sleep.

Day 4: May 23
Grand Canyon Day. We couldn't drive so close and not see this wonder of the world.  I had seen it back in 1972 with my fmaily and grandparents, and was more than happy to see it with my honey and sweet sunshine. Although there wasn't much around, some of the rock formations God created were spectacular.

We parked the moving truck in Williams, AZ so we could driving up to the Canyon together. It was just as wonderful as when I saw it before. A little more commercialized, but you can't change the Grand Canyon. Again, there was rain all around, but we managed to see it and get on the road before it could wash us out.  LOL.  Saw some Elk along the road back to Williams, so of course I had to have some pictures.  Our smart phones have been a great camera for us too.  We had dinner back in town at Pancho MCGillacuttys Cantina.  An Irishman in a poncho and sombrero.  Interesting.  Still it was good food and we had a good time.

Our night didn't end there, we had another couple hour drive to Kingman, AZ.  Our hotel was older, but acceptable.  The next morning I noticed that they took great pride in labeling gues rooms with names of rodeo riders. That's something I hadn't seen before.

Day 5: May 24
Mary was looking forward to this day for the whole trip.  It was the day she would arrive home.  After driving in the desert all morning, driving in LA was a big change. We arrived in time for a late lunch after meeting Brandon at the new apartment, welcoming Mary home. It is a nice place with a few pools and all new appliances. It is right across the highway from LAX. So quick and easy pick up and drop off.  All of us worked hard getting  her belongings up to the apartment and it virtually filled it up to almost no walking space. Lunch was at a local mexican place with authentic food.  We made it across the country from Grand Rapids, MI to Los Angeles, CA.

Look for the next addition....Fun in Los Angeles. Coming soon!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

MAY...What a busy month!

Life is busy isn't it? I only work at the hospital one day a week and I still don't get everything done.  Journaling has been on my to do list for a long time.  So without getting too wordy, I will tell you just what we have been up to since Easter.

I went to my very first Katie Conference with two friends and also pastors wives. I had a great time and enjoyed meeting new people and even a nice comfort dog, Faith. The theme this year was "Identity Check".  We had good speakers leading bible study.  One of the leaders writes a devotion every day.  I liked her very much and found out later that it was her husband that sat with us at a Pastor's Conference and has been praying for me since my diagnosis.  Wish I would have known that during the conference.  I look forward to attending next year back in Bay City.

Both Mary and Sarah completed their studies by the end of April and were anxious to graduate and move on to their careers.  Jeff's mom flew up to Grand Rapids and spent a few days with us before heading to the "thumb side" of Michigan and met up with my mom, brother and sister who flew in to Detroit and spent the morning visiting Evergreen Lutheran Church (my home church growing up).

Friday, May 2, Mary graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Arts in English.  She minored in history and music and obtained her teaching certificate in secondary education. Whew!  That's a lot!  Our family, Brandon, and his family were all in attendance to celebrate her achievements. Graduation took place in the Michigan Theatre in downtown Ann Arbor. Afterward, we all enjoyed an authentic German meal at Metzger's. Mmmm.  It was an appropriate place to dine, since Mary had two years of studying german and became proficient in the language.

The next morning, we were up and at the University of Toledo for Sarah's commencement.  In addition to parents, grandmas and a sister, my cousin Virginia, Kathy and Charlotte came to celebrate with us.  Sarah graduated with a Masters of Science Degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Athletic Training.   She completed her thesis after many hours and revisions. Jeff and I were lucky to be there when Sarah defended her work.  She wore her green hood with pride at graduation, of course we are all proud of her too! The whole gang had a nice lunch together and visited for a couple hours.

What's next?  Mary has moved to Los Angeles, CA where she was placed to teached 7th grade English with Teach for America for the next two years.  Her school, James Jordan Middle School, has the option to keep her on board in 2016.  Mary's boyfriend, Brandon will be done at UCLA Law School at that time as well.  Do I hear bells?? Sarah has been interviewing for Athletic Training positions at high schools and small colleges.  She has an interview this Tuesday for a high school position.  Sarah has a certain fondness for the high school athlete.  The athletic director, coaches, students and parents at Summerfield High School (her graduate assistant position) love her and are so sad to see her leave. Both girls supervisors only had great things to say about Mary's teaching skills and Sarah's professional and competent care.  Can you tell I am a proud momma?

I scored a hat trick on Mother's Day having all three of my wonderful children home with us. That is the best gift ever!  We enjoyed eating together, watching TV together and taking a walk together. What a great day.

Matthew arrived the day before Mother's Day and stayed a whole week. Sophomore year at OU is finished. He had another good year with lots of good compliments from his professors. Matt always brings a certain happiness to our house making us smile and laugh.  He also takes on chores like mowing the lawn, doing yard work, cleaned up the basement, helped Mary clean out her room (the attic), hauled donations to Goodwill, and did many chores with me like getting the car washed, shopping and vacuuming. We did manage to do fun things together as a family too. He went to Tai Chi and Yoga with us, played board games, watched movies and made a trip to Toledo to have lunch with Sarah and visit her school.  Several girls walking down the hallway wanted his number!  Before he left, I made sure we played catch, something we loved to do since he was a small boy.

Just before Matthew had to return to Oklahoma, We celebrated Mary's 22nd birthday. I made some brownies instead of cake.  Then we ate dinner at Jimmy's in Newaygo (Brandon's Dad's restaurant). Dinner was delicious.  The main event was in Grand Rapids at the DeVos Concert Hall.  The Glenn Miller Orchestra was absolutely awesome. All four of us really enjoyed it. My brownies were quite yummy.

Two days later, we had a farewell party for Mary.  Tacos, Chips and salsa and Sarah's yummy taco dip was the menu.  I made a devil's food cake that turned out to be one of my best in a long time.   Mary likes to bake and did most of it for me.  Guess I will be baking more. Anyway, we had a lot of fun.  Mary created a home made photo booth where all the guests took pictures and enjoyed some silliness. Here are a few taken that night.

Well, time to sign off for now.  Part II Coming Soon!  Be sure to check out Family Photo Album for lots and lots of pictures!