Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In the Good Old Summer Time

Last July, as I recall it, was hot. Looking at my calendar from that month, I see that Mom was in the thick of doctor appointments and chemotherapy. She was committed to the chemo, but Iwish she hadn't done it. It made her so sick and SO not herself. When the cancer was discovered, the lung tumor was quite large and it had spread to her liver and bones. She was in a lot of pain in her back, and I'm glad her doctor was committed to providing her with all the pain relief she needed, but the chemo didn't make anything better. I hope I have the courage to ask my doctors the difficult questions should I find myself in a similar situation.


The highlight of last July was the trip to Salt Lake City with Olivia to participate in a week-long harp intensive. I LOVE driving trips and I adore one-on-one time with my kids! Olivia was performing in a summer theater production the weekend before the harp institute, so I drove first to Colorado Springs to stay a couple of days with my dearest and bestest friend ever, and then on to Salt Lake City where I collected my girl from the airport when she flew in ALL BY HERSELF. Well, of course, there was a pilot or two, some flight attendants and assorted other personages, but MY BABY GOT ON A PLANE BY HERSELF. She flew as a 'UM', unaccompanied minor, so she was shepherded and supervised by airline personnel, but, when she got off the plane, you'd have thought I was snatching her from the jaws of death the way I grabbed her and kissed her whole face. Which, as you can guess, she LOVED. Or not.

The Salt Lake City trip was a really nice time for us. Olivia spent her days playing harp with girls from all over the country and we spent our evenings with some generous family friends who showed us around and kept us company. Some of the highlights:

Driving to Colorado Springs and then to Salt Lake City by myself was one of the coolest things I've ever done. I think I need to do something like this once a year or so just for good measure.

Olivia got permission from her father to ride on a DONOR CYCLE with his childhood friend Hoss (who goes by Andrew and is now a Utah Highway Patrol Officer. Whatever.). I followed them in my 4-door, fully enclosed CAR all the way to The Great Salt Lake, and then to some canyon. For the record, the mama in this scenario was not in favor. Not that it mattered.

Most of our days were spent in rooms that looked like this:

The concert on the final day looked like this:
80+ harps on one stage. It was beautiful!

We took the southern route home from Salt Lake and stopped by a little crack in the ground

And then we were home. And then things began to unravel at an alarming pace. How kind of God to give me a week and a half of calm and beauty and rest and peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

June, 2010

Last June's page on the calendar is pretty bare. We made up a couple of missed parenting classes for our foster care certification. I took Mom to her doctor appointments and the older girls' mother/daughter book clubs each met that month. The main even of June, 2010 happened on Sunday the 27th when we went to Dan's hometown to celebrate his grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary.

I am blessed to have married into a Christian family. I am grateful to Harold and Dorothy for the heritage of faith that my children enjoy. I know that they pray for each member of their (now quite large!) family by name every day. To my great shame, there are days that go by when I don't even pray for my own children by name. It is humbling to think of these two believers, now in their 90's, holding us up in daily prayer. Lord, may we walk worthy.

We don't see Dan's extended family much any more. I'm really glad we took to opportunity to be with them last June. It would have been even better if I'd taken even ONE stinkin' picture. Missed photo opportunities are the bane of my existence. That and people who say "nuke-yew-lur".

Looking back. Again.

May, 2010 was a busy month. Beginning with the last week of April, we had the Oklahoma Homeschool Conventions. Plural. As in, we did TWO of 'em. Dan and I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Oklahoma Christian Home Educators' Consociation which has as its mission to equip and encourage current and potential home educating families in Oklahoma. Way back in the summer of '09 it sounded like a good idea to host a satellite convention in Tulsa during the week preceding our usual OKC event. By spring of '10 that idea was beginning to look a little overwhelming, but we did it. Set up in Tulsa on Monday, Convention in Tulsa on Tuesday and Wednesday, take down on Wednesday night to set up in OKC on Thursday and have Convention in OKC on Friday and Saturday, take down on Saturday and collapse into a heap by Sunday.

Guess what?

We're doing it again. This time the midweek event is in OKC (whoa, Nellie! the pushback we got for moving the OKC event!) and the weekend event is in Tulsa. We have just over a month until the conventions and the amount of administrative and logistic work that remains to be done is daunting to say the least. But, you know what? It will all come together. Or it won't. Either way, the sun will come out and the earth will turn. We will work and plan and fix and pray. We will plant and water and trust God for the increase. It won't be perfect, and people will complain to us about the most inane, unchangeable things, but we will enjoy each other and learn some stuff and resolve to make it all even better next year.

Lots of changes in the convention format this year, but my favorite one is that first-time adult attendees can come for free! If you live in Oklahoma and you've never attended an OCHEC homeschool convention, please come as our guest. Details are on the OCHEC website (link above and in the sidebar). Even if you're just curious about homeschooling, we hope you'll pay us a visit and give us a chance to answer your questions.

I'm particularly excited because I invited Mary from Owlhaven to speak to our attendees about all the stuff she's so good at and SHE ACCEPTED! She's doing two workshops at each Convention! I'm working on arrangements for a blog meetup or two just for folks who love Mary and love blogging and want an excuse to get together. So whether you're coming to the convention or not, if you're in Tulsa or OKC and would be interested in a meetup the last week of April, let me know.

In other year-old news, we began our preparations to be certified as foster parents last May. In October, I brought 8-day-old baby J home from the NICU. He's still with us and is a pure joy! His life is very complicated, but he hasn't the faintest notion. He just coos and squeals and grins his way through every day being the darling of the household. We wait and pray for God's provision of a forever family, grateful for the opportunity to love and nurture this delightful boy. He's a little under the weather these days, so this mama needs to get to bed in case the wee one needs attention in the night.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wonder if I should just wait another couple of weeks?

Hello. I'm Dana. This is my blog. I last updated it 50 weeks ago. Part of me thinks I should wait another two weeks to blow the dust of the old thing, but the other part of me is sitting in the comfy chair in the bedroom, feeling the effects of a looooong Sunday afternoon nap. So, fueled by the two Braum's ice cream sandwiches I had for supper (not with supper, FOR supper), I'm feeling chatty.

Now, while I guess I don't really need to account for the entire YEAR that has passed since I wrote last, I think I do want to do a little catch-up just to get some things down in writing. Let me see now...I last posted in April, 2010. A look at my calendar and photo folder for that month tells me that we were just living life...planning the homeschool convention, going to birthday parties, winding up our homeschool year...the usual.

The thing that sticks out from that month happened on April 24. I'll get to that in a minute.

If you go back a post or two here on the blog, you will read that Mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer last winter. While it made me very sad, I must say that I expected it. My mom began smoking at age 17 or so. When I was 18, Mom's dad died of emphysema. We literally watched him waste away and essentially drown. When Mom continued to smoke after Grandad died, I knew that something similar lay down the road for her, and that my future children (there would be three, all girls, with rhyming names) would likely someday watch their grandmother die a horrible death. Have I mentioned my adolescent proclivity for the morose?

Fast forward 25 years, and there we were. The day Mom called with the definite diagnosis, I clearly remember thinking, "Okay. It's happening." When we hung up, I prayed, "God, please let this be the thing that causes Mom to fully trust in Your saving power. I can live 40 years here without her much easier if I know she's eternally Yours."

Back in 2006, my stepdad died suddenly. Mom came home from work to find that he had passed away at some point in the afternoon. In the weeks that followed, we had some good talks. She told me that she regretted that she'd never been baptized and asked if a certain pastor friend of mine might talk to her about that sometime. I spoke with him and of course he agreed to meet with her any time. I gave her the number, but she never used it. She didn't bring the subject up again until after her diagnosis. This time, I made the call for her. As I spoke with our pastor friend, I gave him some of our family history and what I knew of my mom's spiritual history. He went to visit her and found no reason that she shouldn't be baptized. I so appreciated his faithfulness to the Lord and to his calling; I knew he wouldn't just go through some motions to make a sick lady feel better for a moment.

On April 24, 2010, surrounded by several believing members of our family (some who had come from out of state!), my sweet, sick mama was tenderly baptized by our dear family friend.

This is Mom in December, '09. She came with us to see Santa and help the kids pick out their annual Christmas ornaments.

And here she is just 4 months later, on the day of her baptism.
She died just four months after that, on August 8, 2010. I miss her every day. The rest of my days here will be a little lonesome, but that's alright. They are nothing more than a vapor; my real life, and my sweet Mama, are with Christ in Heaven. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.