February Photo Challenge: Love

photo blog challenge

Well, I had visions of wonderful “Love” photos for February’s photo challenge from our winter vacay to Mexico. They were going to be fabulous. And then this happened. 

The month became a blur and now it’s time to share……and I’m literally putting this together the afternoon of February 28th. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my five for Love.

Love #1
Twix turned three years old earlier this month….back when life was more normal than it is now. As tough as it sometimes is to keep her mind stimulated, she’s such a delight to have around every day. It goes without saying that the grand girls are right at the top of the Love List.
twix-3yrs

Love #2
Along those lines, Twix loved getting a birthday phone call from a set of great-grandparents who sang happy birthday to her. When asked how old she was, she was happy to show them.
twix-bday-phone-call

Love #3
In this part of the state, everyone LUVS Central Dairy ice cream…from a local dairy that made its mark in middle Missouri back in 1920. A second location was established in 1934 and included an ice cream parlor, which is still in operation today.
central-dairy

Love #4
I love it when our family is all together…wherever it may be. This is a feeble attempt to maneuver a selfie-stick at a local restaurant to commemorate the occasion.
family-2-2017

Love #5
And why, you may ask, was everyone together in middle Missouri in the middle of February and not on a Caribbean beach? Well, in case you missed the link at the beginning of the post, it was because of Entrepreneur’s recent brain surgery…on the day we are suppose to celebrate Love….February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Not exactly the way I’d intended to spend the day, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned crisis to bring together those you love most. And it drives home the importance of those Love vows we took 36+ years ago.
entrepreneur-surgery

There’s my February Five. I hope you find time to make your way over to PJ’s place to share in some more blogging love. 

Thirty-six hours

Thirty-six hours.

That’s all that stood between us and our family vacation to Mexico. Luggage is packed. House sitter scheduled. Last minute cleaning in progress. We were leaving for the airport about 2am Saturday for a 6am flight….on the beach in a short 48 hours.

And then this happens.

Entrepreneur decides he needs to go to the ER. A nagging headache that had been previously dismissed as due to stress, sinus or seasonal changes took a massive turn for the worse. Coupled with nausea and the belief his head would explode, we head to the ER. Oh, and he’s got the flu.

And then this happens.

With a four hour wait ahead of us in the ER, docs send him for a CT scan to try and narrow down the cause of his headache pain. I head to teach my class at the university, thinking I’ll come back to take him home with some meds for his headache. We’ll resume the Tamiflu regimen and be good to go later on Friday.

And then this happens.

He texts me and says it’s not good and is being admitted to the hospital. “We see what looks like blood and a mass in the right temple area of the brain.” I hear phrases like aneurism and brain tumor. I hear the words I never wanted to hear again…..renal cell cancer met. I hear these words, yet they don’t really fully register.

I’m numb and my brain is in a fog. Somewhere in the cloud the word surgery is spoken.

Surgery. Brain surgery. This coming Tuesday. Valentine’s Day.

So not how I’d planned to spend that day. In four hours, we’ve gone from eagerly anticipating a relaxing tropical family vacay….to surgery for a hematoma or possible brain cancer.

All foreseeable plans cancelled. He’s admitted and taken to his room. MRIs and more scans are scheduled for the morning. But those are only to help determine how to proceed with the surgery. He’s in severe pain as we settle him in for the night. The next day will be filled with neurologists, neurosurgeons, oncologists and other medical personnel. He settles into the bed, a nurse finds him some food. Pain meds follow.

I retreat home and begin sending updates to family and friends. No sleep ensues.

So, now, it appears we’re going down this path again. A path I knew might be a possibility but never thought it would ever be this soon,,,,or in this form. Odd how two words can shake me to my core….brain surgery.

Thirty-six hours.

quotography-thankful 72

Quotography: Quiet

Quotography-Quiet 72

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only is a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.
~Hans Margolius

This past week has been quite the roller coaster. Just when you feel like you can catch a breath, another jerk, twist or drop occurs. This week, the mind has been assaulted by tragic events both home and abroad.

If you didn’t hear, Missouri’s flagship university in Columbia made national news when a group of students demanded the resignation of the president of the school and provided a list of “demands” to, in their mind, offset the racial imbalances they’ve experienced over the years at the hands of those of “white privilege.” One black student’s hunger strike brought mixed reaction when it was discovered his family was worth more than 20 million in net assets. Numerous stories of inexcusable racial discriminatory treatment came out from both students and faculty alike. The First Amendment was tossed around like a tennis ball on both sides of the issue. The football team threatened to boycott the upcoming football game. At the risk of it all turning into another Ferguson debacle, the university president and chancellor resigned, but the tension in the city is still high.

The University of Missouri’s head coach announced he is stepping down at the end of the season for health reasons. He has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

On the heels of this, a suicide bomber killed 43 people in Beruit. The next day, France experienced its own tragedy with terrorist bombs killing 123 people and injuring many more. France’s response was quick with the launching of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. More will probably follow.

Which brings us to the Syrian refugee crisis and fears that among the relocated refugees will also be terrorists masquerading as those fleeing the violence. Governors of more than half of nation’s states are refusing to take this risk by accepting them.

So much juicy fodder for social media, traditional media, talk show hosts and water cooler gossip.

So much tongue wagging. So many reactions without pausing to engage the brain.

So much noise.

I’m just as guilty. Many times this past week, my thoughts and words were fueled by the hysteria and hoopla I read online and watched on TV. Were they justified? I’m not sure.

What I do know is I engaged my mouth (and fingers) before my brain in some instances. I let in the noise and allowed it to set my course.

Regardless of how we feel about certain issues, we all should pause before striking and evaluate all sides of a situation. If, after quiet reflection, we feel strongly about an issue, we should respectfully make our case for or against without compromising core values. But it’s only in quiet reflection will we see things undistorted and can intelligently respond.

Best advice I heard this week. Two ears…one mouth. Use them proportionately. 

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
~James 1:19

Participating in Quotography and Life Through the Lens.

Putting everything in perspective

Christmas 2014
Texture by Kim Klassen; wonderful magic scripted
100% screen, 100% soft light, selective masking

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have,
you will never, ever have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey

It’s been a helluva month.

1. The university, in its infinite wisdom, decided if an instructor hasn’t taught in 26 weeks, they need to go through the entire hiring process again. Since my adjunct gig is only from January until May, all my access was suspended until I could be re-hired. Criminal background check…check; application complete…check; present identification in person at the HR office….

2.  ….present identification in person. Who puts an HR department office in a parking garage? Almost impossible to find. Then, I can’t get out of the garage in any efficient manner. And it is past nap time for Twix.

3. The top strand of Christmas lights on my tree is out. Not the entire strand…just the last half of the last stringer. The top of the tree is dark. Not cool.

4. Entrepreneur is diagnosed with kidney cancer…metastasized to other organs.

Number four…making the first three null and void on any scale of importance.

Oh my. Cancer. I can barely say the word. We received the diagnosis shortly after Thanksgiving. Surgery needed to remove the kidney. We’re talking about aggressive treatment options for the other areas.

I’m numb. I’m terrified. And in complete shock. My emotions are reeling. My head is swimming in what ifs. This isn’t happening.

But it is.

My faith will now be tested beyond anything I’ve experienced so far in life.

I look at him….my husband of 34 years….the epitome of good health…on the outside. And I realize that, while there are volumes of things he does that irritate and infuriate me, there is absolutely nothing he has done or will do that I cannot forgive. The thought of living without him isn’t even on my radar. I realize how unappreciative I’ve been in the past. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Memories fly past my eyes and the preciousness of time weighs heavily on my heart.

For better or for worse…in sickness and in health……My priorities have been shifted into perfect vision. And as my head swims, photos are taken, and unmentionable details are finalized…just in case.

As I sat in the surgical waiting room last Friday waiting for news, I’m surrounded by Entrepreneur’s parents, my mom and her husband, JW. And I find it amazing what gifts presents themselves in a crisis. Meals are provided. Dear friends of great faith surround me…physically and in spirit; he’s on prayer chains from coast to coast. The outpouring of care and concern has moved my heart.

Stories of hope are shared.

One diagnosed with cancer that invaded lymph glands. Multiple physicians concur twelve to eighteen months to live. That was 12 years ago.

Another of an unexplained regression of Parkinson’s symptoms.

Two of many stories of hope that have been shared.

Stories of miracles.

I hope and pray we are the recipient of one.

He sends forth His word and heals them
and rescues them from the pit and destruction. ~Psalm 107:20

Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
Texture Tuesday texture-twist