Monday, April 28, 2008

Dad's Birthday

I was surprised at how my emotions were fairly controlled yesterday. The first thing I thought about when I woke up was that it would've been his 56th birthday. I continue to do my best to give thanks to God for everything and seek His peace to carry me through these days. Rod asked me at breakfast about Dad's birthday and that created some tears. Still, it wasn't necessary to focus on that. I choose to focus on his life. God blessed us with so many wonderful memories with Dad and I am so grateful for the time God gave me with him. I'm blessed beyond words to have had Will R. Tuttle as my Daddy.

Mom prepared roast and mashed potatoes with some frozen vegetables from Dad's garden yesterday. As I mashed the potatoes for the meal, I recalled how Dad would serve them up with the potato masher. "Trist, ya want one slop or two?" he'd always ask. I'd have to take two because in a family of six, with two growing boys, there wasn't much opportunity for seconds.

As I was focused on the mashed potatoes, Mom asked everyone what they were thankful for before we ate lunch. I am forever thankful that God has given me the hope and peace that I will see Dad again in heaven. Without it, I just don't know how people go on living with the pain caused from the loss of a loved one.

Later, Traci had brought a balloon over for the kids to let go into the sky in honor of Dad's birthday. Mom attached an index card to the string which she put verses from 1 Thessalonians 4 on. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." And so I find some comfort.

I miss having conversations about God and the Bible with my Dad. Those were some precious moments that I was privileged to share with him. I remember when Rod and I were dating. Rod would come to pick me up for church on Sunday mornings. Dad would be sitting at the dining room table with his coffee and Dunkin Donuts (one of the very few sweets he allowed himself to indulge in) reading his Bible. As we joined him at breakfast, we would talk about God and the Bible.

There was also a time in our past when Dad and Mom hosted a Bible study in their home. I'm so grateful that Rod and I were there at that time. I was not always with for the Bible study time because there were some teen girls I had a study with. Still, I treasure being able to worship God together through hymns and praise songs prior to the study. And he would discuss the Bible further after study or prior to with me as well. I can't wait to get to heaven and do all that again with my Dad and everyone else.

I think if I had to choose one thing to remember about my dad, it would be him sitting at the dining room table on Sunday mornings reading his Bible. For this, I am most grateful because He taught me the importance of checking everything in my life against God's Word as well. God's Word is the only place I find peace here on this earth.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Life is Short"

"Life is short" is a phrase we hear often. However, I don't believe we truly understand the message behind it until we experience the brevity of life personally.

There have been people I love that have passed away at different ages. With each of them, however, their death did not have a daily impact on my life. There are constant reminders of my dad every day. Many days will leave me in a downward spiral that I create on my own. A memory will be triggered and I will pull out pictures or allow myself to dwell on other memories.

Since Dad's death, I've been thinking a lot about some verses in 2 Samuel 12. The child that was to be born to King David and Bathsheba as a result of their sin against God was going to die. Verse 16 begins,

"David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate." David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead." Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

I've been thinking. Dad is no longer part of this life. It's just a fact. We still share memories of his life. He is a part of who we are. As for the future, there are no more memories with him. Eternity will be shared with him but as for this life, he is no longer. It does no good to continually sit around and cry. Yes, I will miss him. Yes, I will cry. It's human. I don't mind crying but there is no reason for me to "wish" that this wasn't true. Because it is. "Wishing" is not going to bring him back. Nothing will. I need to accept this and live life. It's what he'd want and it's what God wants. I miss him in a big way but I will not sit around any longer and say, "I wish it wasn't true" because it is.

This Sunday would have been his 56th birthday. We lost someone who had a huge impact on our lives and I will always have a piece of me missing because of it. Unfortunately, death is part of life. We don't get to celebrate another year of his life but we can celebrate his life every day by living ours and remembering him. Afterall, this earthly life is short.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Radiation

Dad Carlson is supposed to begin undergoing radiation once again today. After further review, doctors determined that there are tumors pressing on his vertebrae and they are hopeful the radiation will correct this. As for the slightly cracked vertebrae, doctors are deciding not to fix that at this time. It sounds like there is more concern with the surgery that would be required than without.

All this being said, he has not begun chemotherapy. He is not in quite as much pain because they have him on morphine now. Although I am still dumbfounded as to why they've allowed him to suffer this way for quite so long. I realize morphine is not a drug you want to be on for an extended period of time but still.

Rod is able to take his dad's mind off the disease for a little bit as he makes some repairs in their bathroom. I know this has been something his dad has wanted to do for quite some time. It's good Rod can take that off his dad's shoulders.

We have to focus on today because the unknown future is scary. I don't want to have to think about it. Living this way is Biblical and it worked well in facing everything with my own dad.

One thing I know, we want to help as much as possible and visit with his dad as much as possible. It's one thing I look back on in my dad's life with fond memories and no regrets.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NO RESPECT!

Whatever happened to the days when people respected one another? I am so tired of this world! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

My mom called me today to tell me that some lovely neighbor along the side of their property decided they didn't like where my parents fence has been located (for more than 20 years) and took it upon themselves to remove my parents fence! Further, they placed a cast iron fence on my parents property where they felt it appropriate.

There are so many things wrong with this scenario to me. Having worked for a real estate attorney, I know things can get pretty ugly but this is up there on the list! Really!? The neighbors, the fence company, everyone involved. I cannot believe the guts and ignorance involved here.

So as my dad dies from cancer and we attempt to move on with our lives, these people take advantage of the privacy and peace my dad attempted to create with his property. It's not enough that these people have their property nicely backed up to a 5-acre parcel of peacefulness with a fence and a row of trees. They just decide to be rude and arrogant and do what they feel is best for them. It is one thing after another. There is just no peace and no justice found here on this earth.

Everyone believes they have their "rights". When you try to do things the appropriate way, though, you just end up getting stepped on. It's exhausting to continue fighting all the selfish people out in this world.

The tax situation was finally corrected for the past two years. Still, it will continue to loom over our heads for every year in the future. We can only pray and wait.

The farm has had trespassers coming and stealing fish, taking down our "no trespassing" signs and leaving garbage all over the property. They even took a nest of goose eggs and threw them all over the property.

I'm thankful my dad isn't here to experience all of this. It would've saddened his heart deeply. He worked so hard for everything he had.

I'm just venting. Thankfully, this is my blog and I can.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update on Dad Carlson

My father-in-law (his name is Rod also) was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He had finished up the radiation treatments last week. Chemotherapy treatments were to have begun yesterday morning.

When he went to be weighed prior to the treatment he was in a lot of pain standing up. He informed them that he thought he should go to the hospital and they agreed. His doctor thought it was a good idea for him to be admitted. They believe the enlarged spleen was hiding another cracked vertebrae that they are talking about fixing. They are also running other tests to see what is going on with the leukemia.

It's hard to watch him this way. He wants to be doing and just can't. His body won't allow him to get things accomplished that he's been planning on completing. Still, he is a fighter and we are hopeful that being in the hospital can help him.

Please pray for him as he battles this terrible disease and all of its side effects.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Cookie Monster eats our groceries

Nikelle has been telling her little sister the the Cookie Monster eats our groceries on the way home from the store. Jaycie enjoys playing along with this game now.

I wonder if Nikelle came up with this idea as her solution for why certain groceries that we buy disappear before she gets the opportunity to eat them! The last time this happened was with a bag of chips. I informed her the other day that we couldn't buy any more chips because mommy will eat them all.

The Cookie Monster eating our groceries is a much better excuse if you ask me!

Potty Training and Grocery Shopping

As I thought about what I would give the girls for lunch yesterday, it was obvious that we were in need of a trip to the grocery store once again. There weren't any options to give them for lunch.

I decided to stop at McDonald's before the grocery store because it would help make the time in the store a bit easier. The girls and I ate lunch there but I should have allowed more time. Just as we were about done eating, Jaycie decided it was the appropriate time to identify her bodily urges.

"Mommy, JayJay potty," she informed me. "Seriously?" was my first thought. It has been a battle to get her to inform us of the need to go potty BEFORE she actually goes. Tempted to just let her go in her pull-up so we could get on with our errand, I made the decision instead to be a good mom. I cleaned up our table and took the girls into the bathroom. Surprisingly, she didn't yell when I lifted her above the big toilet. Her pull-up was dry and we quickly heard her say, "Jaycie did it!"

It was a good start to our trip to the grocery store. Looking at my watch however, it was now almost noon. We had less than a half an hour to obtain everything on the grocery list and still get Nikelle to Kindergarten on time. Informing the girls of the need for their cooperation, we hurried through the store.

They both reminded me of their "need" for Pop Tarts, as well as other items they like to have at home. For the second grocery shopping trip in a row, they were very well behaved. We even had Nike to school on time!

Thinking back on these last couple of trips, there may be a couple factors that helped make things a bit smoother. First, I shopped off of a grocery list rather than wandering down the aisles. Second, I had both of them helping in some way, shape, or form. Third, I didn't deny much of what they asked for. This third factor, in and of itself, may just be the key to grocery shopping and avoiding problems with the kids!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fighting the Cancer Giant

For the past couple of weeks, Dad Carlson has been undergoing radiation. He has also been continuing the dialysis for his kidneys. Radiation occurs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dialysis is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. His only day off is Sunday. To say his body is exhausted would be an understatement.

At church yesterday, I heard our Pastor say something like this: "You may die fighting the giant, but if you don't fight the giant, you will surely die." That made me think of my dad as well as Rod's. Dad Tuttle would have died a year earlier had he not underwent all the battles to fight the giant of cancer in his life. God blessed us with the additional year with him. Dad Carlson is facing a similar situation right now. He has to undergo dialysis and other treatments in order to continue fighting.

It's hard to see what these different treatments do to a person. I know he is anxious for the radiation treatments to be completed. He's hopeful that he will be able to do more in life when chemotherapy begins as the treatments won't be as constant as the radiation. He is weak and thin. His back has been his main complaint and continues to be. Today he is meeting with doctors and we are anxious for some reports.

I'm grateful research has come so far and they are able to treat so many different diseases. At the same time, it's disheartening that diseases attack and that there are so many lousy side effects to so many treatments.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where'd my mornings go?

I've always been a morning person. I think that I still am. I just wouldn't be categorized as an early riser anymore. Most mornings, I lay in bed drifting in and out of sleep because I just don't want to get out of bed. Possibly, this pregnancy makes it difficult to pop out of bed in the morning. It could be that losing my dad has brought a bit of depression with it adding to my lack of desire to start my day. At some point, I hope I'm able to get back to my morning schedule where I have time by myself. Without my morning, I have no time of day wherein I am productive. It's been proven over and over again that I'm not a night owl. Often, I'm asleep by 9 p.m. (if not earlier). These are just the thoughts going through my mind this morning. It's 7:00 a.m. and I just recently woke up. Most mornings I'd at least have had some quiet time by now. We'll see if this changes after the baby is born (likely it won't until the child sleeps through the night, though.)

Comments

To those of you who have had problems commenting on this blog, I apologize. I have no idea why some can and some have difficulties. Comments or not, I appreciate your reading and attempts at communicating.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Dad can fix it

Throughout these past weeks, many of my thoughts have been filled with my Dad. I've struggled to experience much more than sadness, pain and confusion. Honestly, there have been some truly tough times since I've lost my dad. It was never something I could imagine...until now because I have no choice but to face the reality of it all.

Lately, I've been thinking about the way God gifted my dad with so much wisdom and skill. If something was broken, we'd call Dad or take the item to him. Even as he battled cancer, he replaced our front window as well as a sump pump and dryer vents. Now, as I experience life and come across items needing repair, I cannot help but think of how easy it would have been to turn to my dad.

All of this has turned my thoughts to the brokenness inside of me. Despite the wisdom and skill God provided my dad, he would not have been able to fix this. I cannot fix my broken heart either. So, I prayed to the only Father who can.

"Lord, only you can make me whole. I know I'm fighting everyone on everything. My heart hurts and I simply do not want to feel. Still, I want You to fix this brokenness inside of me. I want to be able to feel more than hurt, pain and confusion again. I want to experience love, joy and peace. Open my mind. Soften my heart. Change me."

I know He will heal the brokenness inside of me. He simply needs me to be willing to accept the change and allow Him to work in His timing...now matter how long that might be.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I might just be able to handle three...

Ordinarily, I despise going grocery shopping with the kids. They generally start fighting over some silly thing. Whining and complaining are far from absent on our trips as well.

Today, I absolutely had to go to the grocery store. We were running out of food. Rod has had to be creative with what he's taken to lunch this week. Milk and bread as well as other staple foods have been depleting quickly. All that being said, I put grocery shopping at the top of my priority list this morning.

The girls were so well behaved. I wasn’t amazed by any means although pleasantly surprised might be an appropriate description for my response. Jaycie sat appropriately in the front of the cart as Nike stepped onto the back, holding on and enjoying the ride. (This was the first time she attempted to experience grocery shopping this way.) I cannot think of one time I had to lecture them or give them "the look". For the first time, I think I might just be able to handle shopping with three kids in the future. I believe it might just be possible. The girls were even rewarded with Bubble Tape at the check-out line.

Feeling generous as I was, we headed to McDonald’s to take home some lunch. As I was praising the girls on their good behavior, Nikelle spoke up. “We’re probably the best kids you’ve ever had."

I think that just might be true.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Critters in our Yard

There are few things I find more disgusting than an opposum. I don't know why, I just do.

While vacuuming the family room, I looked out the back window to see a huge one. "Nike, look out the back window. There's a huge possum out there. It's really gross." "I don't want to," was the response I received. Not really sure why the enticing words I spoke wouldn't have encouraged my little princess to go running to the window as I look back on it now.

I assured the dog that she was not going to be let outside to play at the moment and went to vacuum again. I heard a little voice inform me, "Besides Mom, they're nocturnal. It wouldn't be outside right now." Funny. That didn't even come to my mind until the educational reminder came from my Kindergartener.

It seems like our yard is a place for all the animals to come these days. Skunks come for the grubs. The possum came for whatever reason it decided to. The birds like the bushes as well as the water from our sump pump. And after reading Dennis' blog lately, I've figured out why the squirrels keep coming back as well.

I've been shaking my head over why the dumb animals keep coming to our yard when Pup has actually killed a couple of them. Now I know that these little rodents are being delievered from Channahon with free transportation from my pastor. Can I just ask, Dennis, if you don't want them, what in the world makes you think we do? Honestly, are you bringing other critters to Joliet as well or is it just the privileged squirrels? Here's a big thank you from our dog.

As I conclude this post, our disgusting gray friend just made his trip back through our yard once again. Pup's whining alerted me to it. Maybe our yard is just a convenient way for the animals to travel after safely crossing Larkin.