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Sunday, December 29, 2013

A third Christmas celebration, and Smoke is still blessing us with her presence.

     Saturday December 21st, my oldest brother's birthday, we hosted Gleason Christmas here in our home.  This house seems much smaller when there are 16 family members inside, but it was fun & cozy.  LOTS of great food, an always fun guys & girls gift exchanges, Brandon & Wesley exchanged gifts (Wesley made out BIG time, receiving the bow that has been passed down from Justin & Jorday to Brandon, and now Wesley!), a bit of drama, but lots of love.  Since Annetta provided the meat, I felt obligated to do dessert BIG!  We had a dessert BAR: Lemon Meringue Pie (Leon's fave for his birthday), Cherry Pie (Robert's fave for his birthday on the 10th), Cherry Cheesecakes for all of cheesecake lovers & January birthday of Justin, Wesley, Grandma Ruth & myself; Chocolate Fountain & lots of goodies to dip, ice cream sandwiches with cool whip..... ahhh and lots of color-coordinated candy too (My color scheme this Christmas was jewel tones, specifically Pink, Purple & Teal with Silver).
     On Monday December 23rd we learned that our beloved Smoke, our 11 1/2 year old fur baby has a large tumor in her abdomen, as well as fluid around her lungs.  I had begun creating a post to be published at a later date, expecting to lose her before or on Christmas day.  Through the tears and several attempts to save that post, it never came to be.  Smoke is still with us, still has an appetite etc, and I pray several times a day that she does not suffer, passing away comfortably in her sleep.  It has been 6 1/2 days since we got the terrible news and I keep praying for her.
     On a cheerful note, we were able to have our first Christmas gathering with our friends, the Davis family.  Pork loin dinner, a few gifts for the children, CHOCOLATE and hours of chatting..... the kids had a sleepover here, including HOURS of sledding in the 36 degree, partly sunny weather, and even some fireworks that night.  We also had our neighbor and his nephews over for the dessert bar as well, earlier in the week.
    Today they went sledding in town but gave up after only 15-20 minutes of bitter winds, continuing on to Pizza Hut before Wesley headed home with them this time.  Ahhh, the quiet!  And some MUCH needed playtime for Wesley.
      We all need more social time and I pray that this is a beginning of that... onward and upward.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Health Scare, & "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

     Most of you don't know much about my health history, or that of my family members.  When I was 11, my mother passed away of metasticized breast cancer.  I originally thought that her breast cancer had been completely removed during her mastectomy, and that she had passed away from a brain tumor that hadn't been detected until her autopsy.  My father didn't share a lot of information with me, and I was not allowed to visit her in the hospitals due to my age.  This all occured in the mid-70s, with visitation being more limited, technology not as advanced or commonly available, etc.  When I was 35 my sister-in-law told me that mom's breast cancer had returned, spread to the left breast, and during her autopsy, they discovered that it had spread throughout her abdomen and may have also created the brain tumor as well.  There is also cervical & ovarian cancer on my mother's side of the family as well.  Fortunately, both aunts survived, which is an extra special blessing considering that ovarian cancer has a lower survival rate.  I've had several 'bad' pap smears in the past, including a 'pie biopsy' of my cervix back in the 90s, but all have ultimately been normal in the long run.
     So.... on to my physical last Monday.  For some reason, which I suspect to be the fact that I was having multiple ct-scans for my sinus infections and was trying not to accrue more medical payments, I missed a physical during all of 2012.  Due to my mother's health history and the fact that I already had a lumpectomy performed when I was in my 20s (thank the LORD it was benign), my physicians have ordered Mammagrams each year since I was in my 30s, and twice each year since I was 40.
     I will be 50 next month, and my physician found a new lump last week and when she touched it, it was painful.... She is also concerned about what she felt below/around my lumpectomy scar on the other breast.  We are both assuming/hoping that it is only scar tissue that has increased at the sight of the incision.  Off for not only a Mammogram, but also Ultrasounds.....
     Neither the Mammogram nor the Ultrasound technician could find a lump on the right side, and hopefully the left side is only scar tissue.  One of the ladies said that just because my mom had breast cancer, that doesn't mean that I will, and both told me not to worry about it, but it's hard not to when it's yourself or a beloved family member or friend.
     LOTS of extra prayers for health or quick and complete detection, removal and treatment have been made in the past 8 days.  I am trying not to dwell on it, but it keeps popping up in my mind, especially when I feel pain around the recently detected 'cyst'.
     Needless to say, I have been a bit distracted this past week.  Along with preparing to host my family for Christmas this Saturday and having been working on 3 projects to submit for a design team application, I've been a bit flustered.
     I will continue to pray for the health of ALL my family members & friends, as well as a SAFE, fun-filled MERRY CHRISTMAS to all.  Thinking good thoughts...........
     I am ENJOYING the beautiful snow we have been receiving, and looking forward to warmer temperatures (it's averaged 16 degrees here for about a week now) so that my outdoor decorating will be much more confortable and easier this week, but some forecasts are predicting temps in the UPPER 30s or warmer for the rest of the week.  NOOOO I need SNOW for Christmas celebrations this weekend!!!!  "LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET  IT SNOW " and NOT melt!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas decorating continues, and two of my favorite pages.....

   Merry Christmas  & happy decorating, shopping, & crazy rushing around in preparation for all!
   I think I am finally done with our large tree.  I have 8 others that I have decorated,  of various sizes and color schemes (some are monochromatic in one of the 3 main jewel tones we are using this year), to be displayed throughout our home.
  I have finally submitted my 3 projects for the design team and anxiously await the news.... even if I don't qualify, I hope to join the team in the future!


 While deciding which projects to submit for the team, I came across 2 of my (older) favorite layouts, posted below.  I believe that Skylar's precious page was posted here earlier, but I still LOVE this one!
     I try to post my favorite projects as often as possible, but the beach layout from Father's Day weekend 2012 somehow slipped through the cracks!  I love how it shows Wesley's activity & joy for Lake Michigan, one of our finest natural resources. 
     Yes, these may be 'older' layouts, but they are still some of my favorites! Scrap on!!!!