Monday, August 31, 2009
If you aren't familiar with the Varsity, it is an Atlanta legend and landmark. The original location is close to the Georgia Tech campus, and over the years it has been visited by celebrities, politicians, athletes - you name it, they've been there! They are famous for their chili dogs and their onion rings, and if you need a good lube job - well, that's the place to go! Yes, it's a bit greasy, but it sure is good! They also have a location in Alpharetta, which is just a few miles south of where my dad is staying, and only a couple of miles from my aunt's home.
Well, today my aunt came and she brought his chili dogs, and was he happy! He's eaten very little solid food over the last two to three weeks, but he ate almost a whole dog and several onion rings. We put the leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow.
My mom, two aunts, one uncle and myself were all sitting there watching him enjoy his food, and I snapped a few pictures of him. Once he had finished his meal, he grabbed his bag of chewing tobacco and put a big chew in his mouth, and sighed with contentment.
We sat there a good while, just chatting and catching up on things, and after a while he called my aunt who brought him the goodies and crooked his finger for her to come closer. As she stood over him, he grinned and said "I think your hot dogs are done now". An indication it was time for us to go outside and say goodbye to the sisters while the CNA cleaned him up.
Little moments like these - seeing him content for a little while - make up for the times he is confused and angry. We will give him anything he wants to eat or drink - at this point it doesn't matter any more.
And before I go, here's a picture of Sasha, the 'hospice puppy'. I spent a good bit of time 'puppy sitting' today, and we've kind of bonded. I took her outside for potty breaks, and she sat in my lap a lot, and I played with her and her stuffed dog toy. But if her 'mama' comes by - forget about it! She's off following Anna, the housekeeper who cares for her and who she lives with at night and weekends.
She's a tiny little thing, but full of spunk and spirit, and in the months and years to come she will become really special to the patients at the hospice house. Oh, and she's a licker, so if you come to visit - watch out!
Blessings folks, I'm off to bed. Becky
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This afternoon my mom and I were sitting in the 'parlor', which I call the kitchen, eating our lunch. A lady came in the front door and looked around like she was lost. I asked her if I could help (there was no one there) and she said no, she was waiting for someone, and went into the family room and sat down. When I finished lunch I headed back outside to the porch. The long front porch has big 'Cracker Barrel' rocking chairs all along it, and it has a tin roof above, and it was raining, and there's not much that's better than a rocking chair on a porch with a tin roof in the rain, now is there?
Anyway! The lady was going outside at the same time, and we both took a seat a few chairs apart, and gradually started talking. She had been 'stood up' by some of her fellow church members - they were coming to visit the patients of the hospice house. Well, she moved down closer to me and we talked about my dad, and when her dad passed away and I told her a bit about how my dad, brother and nephew needed to have some time to make peace. My other nephew had told me they were all three coming, but his track record wasn't so good, so I wasn't sure, especially if my brother would come. We talked a bit about other things and I asked her questions about her church and liked what I heard. We need to find a new church home, and when all this is over, I'm going to visit them.
She asked me if she could put my dad and our family on her church's prayer list, and of course I said YES! I know that the prayers of many of you is the reason I have such peace throughout this journey. So she asked me if she could say a prayer right there, and I said yes. She took both my hands in hers, and prayed the sweetest prayer, and I thanked her and hugged her and we talked another few minutes. Not ten minutes after she'd asked God's blessing on our family, my younger nephew called and said they were all three coming. Praise the Lord! I told my new friend - Grace - and hugged her again and told her that God answers prayer - every day!
Well, she left and I sat there and waited, and waited, and waited, and finally called my nephew and they were less than 10 miles away. I'm tearing up now, so bear with me, please. When they got there, I hugged my brother and younger nephew, but the older one . . . well, let's say there's history between the two of us, and he really doesn't like that I don't like how he treats my parents . . . didn't hug me. We went inside, showed them around the 'house' and on to my dad's room. My dad cried when they came in, and we all started talking about old times - many older than my nephews. - what is it about young people that they don't think that life existed before they did!?! We laughed, shed a few tears, and my dad had a few minutes alone with each one of them.
We all left together, leaving 'Papa' to rest, because he was getting very tired. Once again we all shared hugs, and this time the older nephew reached over and hugged me, and I told him I loved him, and he said he loved me too. How amazing! And they are coming back tomorrow. AND, my dad's two sisters will both be there tomorrow. One lives here in the area, but has another home in Connecticut and has been there a couple of months, and the other lives part of the year in New Hampshire and part in Florida. The one who lives here left this morning coming home and will be back tomorrow afternoon, and the other is flying into Atlanta tomorrow. All his immediate family will be there together for the first time in years.
Then, a little while ago I was in the bedroom with the door closed and happened to hear my cell phone ringing in the office. It was my brother, and he and my nephews had stopped for dinner and he ran into an old, old, friend, who is the son of one of my dad's oldest friends! My dad, this man, his brother and their cousin had grown up together and the 4 of them were mean as snakes! You should hear the stories I've been told! :o) Or maybe not, lol! Anyway, none of them knew about daddy - we've not been close in years, since all of the kids grew up and lost touch, but some of that family may come tomorrow, too. Two of the original '4 musketeers' are gone now, so maybe the other two can talk for a while.
Blessings are abounding, friends!!! God's timing is just right, and He makes no mistakes. He is softening hearts and touching lives, and in great part I attribute that to the prayers of many people - some who are dear friends, others who I've never met, but hope to meet someday either here or in heaven. I cannot tell you how full my heart is right now! You all know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! It's amazing that in this time, despite knowing I am losing my dad, I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you! Becky
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Apparently one time when the 4 former neighbors and 1 current neighbor were there, the nurse came in to check on him because they were laughing so loud! The hospice has only three patients right now, so they weren't really disturbing anyone.
Anyway, this afternoon I ran up to the new shopping center right up the street and visited Barnes and Noble, where I got a new book that I hope to start reading tomorrow, and a pretty journal book that has bible verses on every 2 or 3 pages. I wrote a nice note in the book asking visitors who came to leave a note for us so we would know they had been, and left it on the TV armoire in the room.
We left kind of early because he was exhausted, and we thought he would rest better without disturbances. I really think he was alert and talkative with his visitors by sheer will rather than any physical strength, and that should tell you something about my dad. He is very strong willed, stubborn, determined, and that is what has kept him going this long. I'm much like him in that respect, but not quite as strong as he has been.
Tomorrow could be an eventful day. My two nephews are coming, and my brother may come, but I'll believe it when I see him walk in the door. My brother and older nephew really need to make their peace with Daddy as they've had some hard feelings for a long time. It could be kind of rough, but it's something that needs to be done. I'm going to make Mama let them have it and take her outside or into the parlor. We'll tell the nurse what is going on and she will keep an eye on things, but I think this is something each of them must do on their own.
So, I guess the news for today is that he is holding his own, and we are seeing just how well loved he is by the number of people who are visiting him. His youngest sister will be back home in Georgia on Monday afternoon, and she will be visiting him regularly, and can even run my mom home a few times so she can check on things and give me a break from time to time.
I want to say a special thanks (once again) to Dothan Fay, Tara, Aimee, Mildred, K-Sue, Sue and each and every one of you who have commented or e-mailed me, but more for your prayers. They are precious to me, and so are you! I have such a strong peace these days, and I truly believe it is the prayers of my friends that are helping me have that peace. You truly are the best, and I love you for being here! Many blessings, friends! Becky
PS - If you are interested in paying a 'virtual visit' to the hospice facility where my father is - you can click HERE, then scroll down to where you see the Cumming facility on the far left side. There's a link to a virtual tour.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Anyway, back to my dad. Once they got him settled in, we went in to see him and he was mad as fire! He wanted to know why he was there and he wanted the truth! So I told him. We've told him a lot of half truths in recent months, but I will not out and out lie to him if he asks a point blank question. Nope, can't do it. So he knows that he will not be getting better, and he had a few moments today when he cried a bit.
He ate a few bites of soup, and some ice cream, almost 1/2 of a milkshake, drank some diet cokes and water. That's the most he's eaten in DAYS!!!
But he had some fun, too. He got to sit up in a chair and enjoyed that. He loves talking about his younger days, and remembers them better than more recent ones. He got to talk to one of the CNA's about his and Mama's honeymoon, and some of his times in the trucking business, and he got to watch Sasha playing with her little bear, and he laughed at her. I'll be remembering those moments, not the others so much.
As I said before, the facility is very nice -oh, and they have a living room and kitchen for family, and a lovely patio in the center of the building. We can come in and out 24/7 and stay all we want. It was very peaceful, and yet you could hear laughter across the building and Sasha's bell as she ran up and down the halls.
I don't know what tomorrow may bring - he may be back the way he was yesterday - confused and often unresponsive - but it will be okay. He is being kept comfortable and out of pain, and he can have all the chocolate milkshakes he wants. What a deal!!!
Blessings friends, Becky
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We knew that both his heart and kidneys were in bad shape, and that if they treated one too much it could damage the other -like walking a tight rope and if you leaned too far to one side, you'd overcompensate and fall off the other side! Anyway, treating him for the heart failure has caused his kidneys to be worse. Both are in failure now. Because of his weakened state, and because his heart is just working so hard to keep pumping, he's losing oxygen to his brain, and he's very confused and doesn't know much of anything any more. And that is such a blessing! My dad, if he were 'cognizant' would be very upset to know he will never go home again.
My parents have lived in the same house the entire 59 years and 2 months of their marriage. That 'home' has been my dad's favorite place forever.
Tomorrow he will be transferred to a hospice facility in the town in which I live. It's fairly new, very (very) nice, and has only 15 private rooms. That is where he will spend the remainder of his days, and it's not likely that there will be many of those left. He is dying, and I am glad, because he's not been living for a long time.
My dad is a living legend. He has far out-lived his life expectancy. He has had several heart attacks, open heart surgery, triple bypass, aorta bypass, multiple stints and angioplasty, prostate cancer, a stroke, and more. He is tired, and it's time for us to let him go.
Oh, I will grieve my loss deeply, and I will miss him like crazy. You know how little girls and their daddies are! But I have such a sense of peace, because I know he would not like living like this, and he made it clear to us that he did not want to be kept alive by artificial means. We are honoring his wishes.
I am a Christian. A born-again, baptized, believer in Jesus Christ. So is my daddy. I believe - no, I know that when he dies, he will be made new, and he will be living like he's never lived before. He will be walking without pain, and his heart will be whole and he will be - probably - tending a garden somewhere in heaven. He loved tending a garden! And I will see him again, and we will walk those streets of heaven, and talk, and never be apart again. And I am joyous at that thought!
We (my mom and I) have done our best. We have taken care of him, even when he didn't appreciate it, and now he is in God's hands. And my God doesn't make mistakes, and He doesn't hurt those He loves (which is all of us) and He will hold me throughout these next days, and I will cling to Him and His promises.
Thank you each and every one for the prayers and good thoughts and comments and e-mails. Special thanks to Fay-Fay, Sue, Nancy, Jane, Tara and K-Sue. You are the best! Blessings, Becky
Right now he is confused and very weak. The doctor who is treating him wants to send him to rehab to try to get his strength back. I think that is a good idea except he's going to hate it, and our fear is that when we tell him about it he will get so upset that he has a heart attack or something. Of course if the confusion is still a factor, he may not realize what is going on.
We are back on our way up there in a while,and I want a private conference with the doctor. I want to know what his outlook is - I know he will never get well, but will he get any better, will he ever go home, etc. My fear is the answers are no, but I am prepared for them - I just need to know so we can be ready for whatever happens.
One thing that is making this harder on me is that my mom is exhausted, and she gets kind of confused about what's going on with him, and she refuses to see things as they really are. I keep trying to make her understand that he may not go home, that this could be it, but she just chooses not to see it. And I totally understand that, but being the realist that I am, I think she needs to be prepared.
Anyway, any prayers are appreciated more than you know. I will keep you posted, but it may not be every day. Blessings friends, Becky
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
We are taking each day, each situation as it comes. I am impatient, and while I am praying for God's will, I want it now! But I am also praying for patience and wisdom and grace for this journey I'm on these days. I read a couple of posts today HERE and HERE, and if you have a few minutes, please read them. They both spoke to me in different ways. The first is someone in a similar situation to mine, the second in circumstances much different, but no less stressful and difficult. They are both so much farther along in their walk than I feel I am, but I keep praying for patience, wisdom and love for my parents. Those three will see me through.
Any prayers or positive thoughts you choose to lift up for us today and in the days to come would be most appreciated. Blessings, Becky
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This is a real oil on canvas painting. My mother worked to earn it at an antique shop owned by some friends of hers, and gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. It was painted by a Mrs. Hardy, and is an old farmhouse with quilts for sale hanging on the porch. I love it, and always remember my mother when I look at it. I cried when I opened it, because I couldn't believe she'd worked for those ladies just to get it for me because she knew I loved it.
I just recently rearranged my china cabinet, and added this corn stove set. I remember my paternal grandmother having this on her stove from my early childhood. I believe it's McCoy and if so, valuable, but to me it is priceless!
I have a thing for anything clear glass or crystal, and especially clear glass pitchers and cream and sugar sets. I bought this cream and sugar set at a yard sale for about 50 cents years ago.
I believe it is bisque, and is by Royal Vienna. I've never been able to find another one like it to get a decent idea of the value.
This is a print by Butch Hodgkins of a church in Cades Cove, Tennessee. We've been to this church numerous times, sat in the silence for a while or walked around the graveyard. It's such a lovely place! I saw the print at a shop in Rugby, TN but didn't like the frame, so later I got online and found a copy of the print and had it framed to match my dining room. I also have a print of a farmhouse by him on the other wall, but couldn't get a decent picture of it.
Another treasure from my mom. She can't really afford to buy me the gifts she would like to, and feels I do so much to help them that she should do something to repay me. I've told her many times I'd rather have some of the treasures, and now she is giving me things from time to time.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I had an e-mail from Norma, and she chose B - the sachet from the vintage fleur-de-lis fabric. But instead of me sending it to her (she must really be a special lady!) she wants me to sell it on Etsy and use the proceeds to buy dog food for our local shelter. And I will do that as soon as I start loading things into my shop. Thank you, Norma, for reading my blog, and for being such a sweetheart!!!
Thanks so much for all the sweet encouragements that I got to THIS post from earlier this week. It has been so nice to be creating again, and to have my projects so well received has been wonderful. Thank you all for your comments.
AND, as I said, I'm giving one of the sachets to one of you who commented. Once again I got hubby to help me by drawing from these entries . . .
And the name he drew was . . .
Norma, thank you so much for commenting! Please e-mail me by clicking the link to the right, and I'll mail the sachet of your choice from the ones in the pic below, early next week. Just tell me if you want A, B, C or D.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This is my next to mostest favorite! It's vintage 1950's chicken feed sack fabric, homemade ruffles, vintage and new buttons, ribbon, ric-rack and a cowboy boot charm that I got at an estate sale for a whole 25 cents! Gotta love those bargains!
And this is my favorite one so far - I truly love it! Made from more vintage 1950's chicken feed sack fabric, homemade ruffles, buttons, a dragonfly charm, and yellow polka-dotted ribbon. It's gorgeous!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
First, because it's so easy! A graham cracker crust, three ingredients and some whipped cream or 'topping', and you are good to go! It's creamy, sweet, tart, tangy and really, really delicious! The bottle of juice will make probably 3-4 pies, and costs less than $3, and it will keep in the fridge for about a month, but you could measure it out into 1/2 cup portions and freeze it, and it would keep for much longer. You would just take out one 1/2 cup 'chunk', let it melt, and make a pie!
Here's what you need:
- One pre-made graham cracker crust
- One 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
- Three eggs, separated - you will only use the yolks for this recipe
- 1/2 Cup Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Chill until cold through. Serve with whipped cream.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Last year, I was in a truly crazy good creative zone. I made mostly greeting cards, with a little scrapbooking and other crafts thrown in for good measure, and all the 'stuff' didn't seem to bother me so much. But after Christmas, I couldn't seem to get back into the swing of things, and then in February we almost lost my dad and I spent the better part of 2 weeks at the hospital or going back and forth between my home, my parents home and the hospital. And since then, in just 6 months, we've been back to the emergency room at least 10 times, and admitted into the hospital at least 6 times. Then add to that doctor's appointments, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and caring for my own home, husband, doggies and once in a while myself, who has the time or energy to 'be creative'???
But somehow, this past weekend, I feel like I turned a corner, or a light switch was turned on, or something like that! Saturday and Sunday I could feel the wheels turning, and every time I went into the office/craft room, I would start fingering fabrics and looking through the ribbons, just wondering how I could use them. And Sunday evening I got out a piece of cotton fabric and just started experimenting with stamps and inks and seeing what might happen if I tried this or that, and that first picture up above is the end product of my experimenting.
But I didn't stop there, OH no! And I didn't make two, or three, but four lavender sachets - all different, but made similarly. The two distressed/stamped cotton sachets are about 6-7 inches long by about 2 1/2 inches wide. The pink one is about 5 inches tall by 3 1/2 - 4 inches wide, and the red and turquoise sachet is a bit larger than that one. The top of each sachet has some decorative stitching, too. Each one has a bit of long grain rice in the bottom for a bit of weight, and good healthy scoop or two of organic lavender.
And I had such a lovely day! Not only did I finish one, and totally make three sachets, I also washed 4 loads of clothes, one load of bath mats, got them all hung up, folded and put away, and made dinner. Crazy! The last few weeks I haven't been able to even do all the laundry in one day, and then I got even more depressed! (That 'd' word is a vicious, vicious circle once it's got you!) And by the end of the day I was beginning to recognize something I hadn't felt in a while - it was a tiny glimmer of JOY! Delightful!
Friday, August 7, 2009
First up, a visit to my aunt's home about 20-25 minutes from here. Now, my aunt is in Connecticut for a few weeks, and I thought they might want to have some pics of their garden here to see how things are going. They really love their garden, and for good reason - it's beautiful! The front is manicured and full of cottage-y type flowers, and the back is a little more casual, but still beautiful. I took a bunch of pictures, and still need to e-mail them, but I thought I would share some with you. You'll be seeing them throughout this post.
Then I left their home and went to my parents, about 10 minutes or so from them. My mom had some veggies she wanted me to have from her garden, so we visited a few minutes and off I went, meandering through some of the pretty country roads in the area. My destination was a new shopping center about 15 minutes or so from our home. It's called "The Avenue" and has all kinds of neat stores - almost all of them way beyond my budget, but that's where the theater was, but more about that later!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So, congratulations to Teresa, and many heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to enter my first ever giveaway! Love to you all, Becky