Sunday, January 31, 2010

Caring Bridge

Anniversaries. A year ago on this date my husband was lying in a hospital bed. We had just been told that he has leukemia and he was being transferred to Cleveland Clinic.

It's a funny thing about these types of anniversaries. It is almost as if your body has a built in signal. My wedding anniversary I might forget- but on this weekend- one year later- my membranes recall the fear.

I won't go on and on here- I have to get my family up and out the door to church, Dan included. He continues his treatment, is doing well and we are very thankful.

Let me just say 2 things. 1) Looking back- it was a year in which we were blessed over and over and over I still cannot believe the way we were loved and cared for. 2) If you find yourself in any similar circumstances- consider (for us )

Finding a way to stay connected, to feel the prayers got us through this last year. Remember -

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


May I say that I just love Facebook.
My boys roll their eyes... "MOM....on facebook?" but they don't seem to mind that their "friends" are my "friends" also...

I stopped in for a quick peek tonight and learned that my BFF from high school will be coming home from Germany for a visit to her parents- bringing her lovely daughter and 3 grandsons (she was Much older than I)

and that my nephew and his beautiful wife had spent the day snowboarding in Truckee (Calf). They started (she said) with their heads in the clouds and ended each run in a circle of sunshine.
What a great image- and how wonderful to have a glimpse of their lives. I lifted this picture from their facebook page- the view from their deck (hope they don't mind :) )

Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks.... and facebook makes me feel like a pup again

Are you a facebook fan? Check it out!

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Saturday, January 23, 2010


He inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3)

I was so blessed this week by an elderly gentleman who took my hand and said "I pray for you Sally, I pray for you every day" I barely know this man. Faced with his own trials and tribulations- it humbles me beyond words to know that he stops and prays.... for me....

I have been thinking about it ever since- wondering what prompts us to pray...... and wondering what the effects of those prayers really are. Something changes when we pray.

So much is happening in the world around us- so much seems out of our control. Yet every where I look, I see people trying to reach out- trying to help other people.

There are ladies who knit or crochet the prayer shawls like the one pictured above. As their fingers form the patterns, they pray for the person who will receive them. They don't know what the need will be.... they simply trust that their Father will know.
Wrapped warmly in the shawl, it almost seems that you can feel the prayers that formed it.

Say a prayer for someone tonight..... something changes when you do.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sara's Smile

These are Sara's hats.

Sara was my grandmother- and I was named for her.

The Sara I remember jammed one of these hats on to her head every Sunday or for every special occasion. Her lips were drawn in a straight line- I'm not sure that I ever remember a smile crossing Sara's face. She lived in impovrished Harrison County- once beautiful by all accounts, but stripped of it's coal, it was a barren wasteland when I visited there during my childhood. Although my mother was raised on the family farm, by the time I knew Sara, she lived in a dark little house in a little town.
She could answer every Jeopardy question-like a machine. She taught Latin and any other subject that might be required. By all accounts, she worked hard, going back to teaching during the war because there was a shortage of teachers, continuing her household duties, fed every
hobo that knocked on her back door. My cousin remembers Sara substituting as a teacher in his classroom and rapping him sharply across the knuckles with a ruler.

My mom remembers a Sara who laughed- a lot. My mom remembers that she was funny, that she joked often with her husband George, who was by all accounts a hardworking "horse-trader"- never without a story or a helping hand. She remembers that Sara loved to dress up.

She played basketball in her youth- oh how cool those uniforms were, and was the first female in her family to attend college.

She was a writer. I know this because we have stacks of compositions, on yellow paper, written in a careful hand, excellent penmanship. They are interesting- full of details and insights. They stop after her college years.

We learned, long after she was gone from us that she had a first love who died tragically while they were engaged. My aunt knew of this, though my mother did not. We found this picture not to long ago- in an album full of black pages, carefully labeled with white ink.

While my eyes still see a certain resemblance to the wicked witch of the west- I love the smile on her face.
I wonder when she lost that smile? Perhaps after my grandfather died? Perhaps life just got difficult and began to overwhelm her? Perhaps when the dementia that defined her later years began to creep in ?
I have been wondering about Sara lately.
She left a legacy - a family of hardworking individuals, who all seem to remember to laugh frequently. I feel badly that she lost her smile. I wonder if she ever remembered the swish of a basketball? I wonder if she remembered the self who loved easily and laughed often. I wonder if she remembered pouring her soul out onto a piece of paper? I wonder what she might have done to stay connected to that part of herself.
The world seems to be a difficult place lately. Let's not forget the things that make us smile.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Just read Jody Hedlund's excellent post "What is keeping you from writing?"

Have been loving reading blogs about writing- I find that these writers/authors keep me thinking- teach me something every day.

Here is the thing I find about writing: it changes how I live my life. It gives me something to be absorbed in, something that is not dependent upon others, something that makes me sit up and pay attention- and something that allows me to privately withdraw to my own little world, even in the midst of a crowd.

There was alot of discussion in our writing group this week about goal setting- what do we want to accomplish in 2010 (-doesn't 2010 have a nice ring to it?)
There was a fair amount of discouragement among us... things not falling into place as rapidly as one might have hoped.

Jody helps me realize- again- that the process must be as important as the "product". There is something about getting in the button chair (butt in the chair) that is honored. Doing our part must allow God to do His...

One of my fascinations with the world of hospice is noticing when those who have lived well. It try to carry their lessons with me. Writing, I believe, helps me do that.

Does writing change the way you live your life?

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lovely, dark and deep

The woods are lovely.. dark and deep... but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep...

Loosely quoted- I hope I'm close- but those were the words that rang through my head as I forced myself to leave the woods.

It was almost dusk when the dogs and I finally arrived last night- and as soon as we arrived I regretted that we had not come out earlier. Once there, with the trees standing out against a backround of white- I felt that I never wanted to leave- wished that I could walk forever in the silence. So beautiful... so still....

So many things in our lives push at us. So many things pull us away from our center.
I am grateful for the moments that I find in my life for silence. Somehow- those moments expand in my memory- giving my mind a place to go back to.

Is there a place where you find rest?

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Thursday, January 7, 2010


I had a hard time leaving today- each and every home that I visited.

Hospice caregivers are my heros. They give up huge pieces of their lives, simply lay them aside, to care for the folks that they love. They offer dignity, peace, respect and reassurance. They give those people the greatest gift by allowing them to remain in their own homes, surrounded by their own things and with the people they love.

They take on this task with trepidation. They take it on with fear. They take it on with faith. They take it on with love, and time after time, I watch people rise to the occasion and get through things they never would have thought they could do.

Today the snow was falling, and it is predicted that much more will come. Although I checked every medication, although I tried to prepare them for every event that might come, although I left written instructions and reminded them that we are just a phone call away.....still, I sit here in the middle of the night and pray.

I've done this job for more than a decade now, and I Know that things work out. I know that people do rise to the occasion and time after time I have seen that the people who are needed show up at just the right time.

Still, as I left each house, I prayed for protection and for peace. I imagine that no matter what else we do, those prayers are the best thing that we have to offer.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm going to the YMCA (sing along.... )

Up early this morning to be at the Y by 5:30am. I've been doing this since November- so it doesn't have the feel of a resolution- more of a routine..

Love getting up early in the morning, when no one else is stirring and the world is peaceful and still. The snow outside is beautiful- the dogs have been loving having the whole world to themselves to frolic and sniff. The youngster refuses to come in- she is the spoiled child of the family. I watch from the warmth of the house as she pushes snow with her nose and dives at imaginary prey.

Started the morning with a book of Psalms. Now that is something I hope to have the discipline to do everyday. It sets my mind.

I've noticed something at the Y, watching the weight lifters. Don't laugh- my favorite machine just happens to face their space. Anyway- I have noticed that these incredibly buff individuals spend a heck of a lot of time.... resting. I never knew. They lift, they huff, they puff, and then they..... rest. They take time to what? recover? prepare? I don't know, but I've been thinking about that as I go about my day. See a patient- give myself a little time to "rest" Put on music while driving, stop my mind from whirling long enough to get quiet. It's helped my days. I hope it will help yours.

I'm off...

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Friday, January 1, 2010


We attended silent communion last night.

Of all New Year's tradition- this is my favorite.
There is just something about it that seems to set things right.

We enter our church and sit quietly. Others are sitting in pews, but there is no music, no talking, no laughter. Sitting in the pew, you can be as alone with God as you chose to be.
It is a time for reflection, for confession, for thanksgiving, for petition. It is a time that always, in some way seems to set the tone for the year ahead.

When we left the church, I chose to walk home. Lately I have been learning a great deal about the benefit of solitude- even in the midst of a crowd. I was so glad I choose to have a few quiet moments, just myself and the darkness. The cold air on my face. The muffled footsteps. The big dark sky, the moon peeking from behind clouds.

The lights in my window felt like a beacon, welcoming me home.

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