Friday, June 27, 2008

Prayer Request

Hi all,
My Uncle Keith passed away this morning. The girls and I are going to stick with part of our original plan for the weekend and go to Dallas tonight for our Team Tiara social, then to Waxahachie tomorrow for Kodie & Kamy's birthday. We'll probably drive to Snyder on Sunday morning.

Please pray for safety for all of us as we travel this weekend.

But more than that, please pray that kindness and love will prevail this weekend. Our extended family is one with some very strong personalities and very passionate people. And I love that. When you need them to go to bat for you -- those are the kind of people you want on your side.

But at the same time, when you have such strong spirits, we tend to clash now and then -- especially when we're grieving and don't know how to deal with it.

So please pray that everyone has a sweet spirit -- one of love and support.

Big Hugs,
d.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books for Boobies

Hey Gang!
One of our team members is a real, live, published author -- and she has launched a new blog called "Books for Boobies." http://www.booksfor boobies.blogspot .com/

Check it out. And be sure to click the Google ad on the right. She's already made $15 off Google ad clicks for the 3-Day!

Silly Cancer, Boobies are for Boys!

This is so cool!!!

Team Tiara's goal has been to reach $38,000 in donations by the end of June. That's the total we raised last year -- and to accomplish that in just six months would be so cool!

Right now, Team Tiara is at $37,538.74.

But....

My sweet friend Nichole pointed out -- if you add in our California Dreamin' team from the San Diego walk, that adds an additional $11,876.65.

That brings the "Tiara Footprint" to $49,415.39!!! And it's just June! We still have five more months to go!

How cool is that???

Monday, June 23, 2008

When Mammograms Aren't Enough

Biggs just sent me this article:

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB121424766186097419-lMyQjAxMDI4MTI0MzIyNDM3Wj.html

While I'm on here, please continue to pray for my Uncle Keith's family. The brain tumor has now taken his sight. His blood pressure is very low. He doesn't have much of an appetite. And his breathing is now taking these 30-second breaks every so often.

Big Hugs,
d.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Silly Cancer, Boobies are for Motor Boatin'

No post, really. That quote just popped in my head this morning while I was out walking -- 15 miles between yesterday and today. In the get-in-shape realm of things, I'm in 2-a-days. Yesterday I did my bikini class, walked a total of 9 miles and did my weight training. And grand-total-wise, I've lost 18 or 19 lbs. since March 2007. Still working on it!
- d.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh my Goodness!!!

I totally forgot to share the most "out there" part of this weekend's trip to the Creek.

Saturday afternoon, the guys took the three "big" girls fishing. But they were headed to the Bay, and that was a bit much for Kassidy. So we took her for a treat -- snow cones!

There's this little Snow Cone shack that I'd been to before. It's really a little travel trailer with a cover built over it. To the left of it there are several picnic tables with a carport built over them as well. The travel trailer is rather ancient, run-down and painted red, white and blue.

The guy who runs it serves Mexican food on Fridays and Saturdays "until he runs out." Gumbo, too. And just about anything cooked in grease. As you step up to the window to order, the smell of old grease pretty much overpowers you.

I've not tried the food. Just the snow cones.

So we order three snow cones. You don't pay up front -- you pay when he serves them?? Anyway, we move over to the picnic tables to wait. It's so calm out there. And quiet. Really relaxing.

In a second, he comes over to say he's out of ice... He's catered (yes, catered!) the women's auxiliary luncheon and a wedding reception that day, and it appears someone from the wedding reception made off with his big ice chest of drinks -- something that seems to be a common problem in Sargent.

So we wait as he drives to the Texaco to get ice. And we take in our surroundings.

Across the canal, there's a really run-down house with a boat pulled up to a ramshackle dock. There are laundry lines hanging up, filled with what appear to be burgundy sheets. And a bunch of clothes.

As we sit there, a rather large, scruffy dog attacks one of the sheets, pulls it off the line, and drags it across the yard.

In a little bit, an equally scruffy old man comes out in his Tidy Whities!!! to retrieve the sheet, rehang it and putter around in the yard -- as if he wasn't in full view of God and Everyone.

It was a hoot!!! We ended up getting free snow cones and a free show!

Monday, June 16, 2008

More Creek Fun!!!

The really cool boats have Mermaids on them. We got Jake, the Wondermutt. He did pretty good in the boat -- but one quick stop and he would have been swimming!! Jake really loves the Creek. There, he can be a REAL DOG. He chases boats up and down all day. And he has "Creek Buddies" -- Griff & Gwen, two chocolate labs next door.


Here are Kait & Kassidy on the tube. It's easy to do "no hands" when you're only going 5 mph!


I love this look on Kait's face!



Abs has gotten really good at going out of the wake. She gets really ticked when she can't get out there.

Katarina was in Abbie's class last year!

Whew! Still makes my heart sing after all these years!!


Abs & Kat on the tube...


Kait & Kass on the tube...


This is my desperate attempt to keep Abbie from sunburning. Once the summer is done, I plan to confiscate this hat for the 3-Day. Isn't it a doozy???




Abbie's Kneeboarding!!

video

Can you mount a tripod on a boat?

If so, I need to figure out how! I know this is hugely jumpy, but I was doing my best to hold the camera still. If it makes you seasick to watch it, I apologize!!! The backstory: We met a boat decked out with wakeboards and pulling two kneeboarders while we were pulling Kait on the kneeboard. She loved it and rode it like a champion!!!

video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Update on my Uncle Keith

Please continue to pray for my Uncle Keith and his family. I just got this update....

"The doctors have said the tumor is a stage 4. Right now it is looking like they won t be doing any radiation or chemo. He will be at the Hendricks Rehab a few more weeks and then if she (Aunt Carol) can at all she will take him home and try to keep him comfortable.

He is very confused and too many in the room at one time adds to his confusion so if you go visit just know he probably won t know you.

This is really hard on her and Sid , Jason and the grandkids."


I know that all the cards we got last year were a boost to Mom and to the rest of us. I know you don't all know them, but if you want to send a card to them, their address is: Keith & Carol Lloyd, 700 S Kindred, Loraine Tx 70532.

Thanks for your prayers.
- d.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wanting to do "More..."

I was talking to my friend Kelly the other day. Although I can be quite persuasive (read: pushy) when it comes to getting friends to walk in the 3-Day, Kelly just can't do it. For a lot of reasons, she just can't make it work. And she was lamenting the fact that she wished there was a way she could do "more."

I know how she feels. Even with all that I do to help raise money for breast cancer research, I'm always looking for ways to do more. Not just in this, but in everything.

So I got to thinking.... My "big" fundraising letter went out this weekend -- if you didn't get it, it's only because I don't have your address. I pretty much send it to everyone I've ever known. But even in that, I have my limits. Right??

So I was thinking that there might be some of ya'll who would be up for mailing letters for me. Kind of like the American Cancer Society has people do. So I put this together.

If you'd like to send it to your friends, please feel free to edit it as needed. It always helps to personalize these things. You can just cut-and-paste it into a Word document, print it out and send it on. It'll be interesting to see how it works!

I'm going to keep thinking of other ways ya'll can help. I'll let you know!
- d.


Hello Friends,

My friend D'Lyn is a little bit crazy. She's never been one to just sit around the house, but these days she doesn't sit much at all. She's busy training to walk 60 miles in Komen for the Cure's Breast Cancer 3-Day.

That's right. Sixty miles. In three days. See? I told you she's crazy.

D'Lyn's path the last few years hasn't always been easy. First, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a double, radical mastectomy Sue was pronounced cancer-free. But her kidneys were failing, and she couldn't get a kidney transplant because of her breast cancer history.

To support her Mom, D'Lyn walked in the 3-Day in Dallas in 2006. She and her friend Lisa raised over $6000 for breast cancer research, awareness and education. D'Lyn was hooked.

Last June, Sue was diagnosed with a tumor at the base of her skull. Everything started to fall apart. She passed away July 21.

In October, D'Lyn walked in the 3-Day again. This time she walked as the captain of Team Tiara -- a team of 17 women who raised over $38,000.

Then, in a surprising twist, D'Lyn and her friend Suzi were included in a group of 17 walkers flown to L.A. to shoot the print, radio and TV ads for the 2008 3-Day series. Their commercials are airing nation-wide. She's the “Crazy Beautiful” girl in the one that starts with, “If walking 60 miles is crazy, I don’t want to be normal.” You’ll have to look quick – she's not on there long! If you haven’t seen it, you can find it online at: http://08.the3day.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Videos#crazy

Now it’s time for the next chapter…. This year, Team Tiara already has 52 walkers signed up to walk, and they have raised over $32,000 so far. When all is said and done, their goal is to raise over $125,000. They will be walking November 7-9, but need to have their fundraising completed this summer, before the longer training walks start taking up most of their spare time.

D'Lyn's goal is to personally raise $20,000. She knows it's a big number. But this is a big disease. And it’s going to take a lot to stop it. Statistics show one out of every three people will face cancer in their lifetime. One in six women will have breast cancer. They need your help – and your continued prayers.

You can walk with Team Tiara – As a walker, you will be introduced to many “firsts.” You’ll sleep in a pink tent, take showers in a converted semi trailer, dine on peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwiches and become an expert on blister care. You will laugh at the kind of jokes only breast cancer survivors can come up with. You’ll cry over people’s stories and share your own. And in the process you’ll help raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education. You can check out the Team Tiara website at http://08.the3day.org/goto/dlynbiggs. On that website you will find a button that says, “Join D’Lyn’s Team.” Just take it from there.

You can donate to Team Tiara -- The money you donate goes directly to research, education, awareness and services…. You can donate online at http://08.the3day.org/goto/dlynbiggs. You can donate by phone – just call 1-800-996-3329. D'Lyn's walker ID number is 1434066. If you prefer to donate by check, you can make it out to “Breast Cancer 3-Day” and send it to D'Lyn Biggs, 15802 Applerock Trail, Cypress, Texas 77433. She will attach one of the new donation slips and send it to the 3-Day bank! And of course, all donations are tax-deductible.

Along the way, you can find training updates on D'Lyn's blog at www.everyonedeservesalifetime.blogspot.com

Before I go.... I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to “check your chi-chi’s” and make sure the women in your life get regular mammograms! Breast cancer knows no age or gender boundaries. You are your best defense!

Many Blessings,

Monday, June 9, 2008

Horse Camp Pix!

Here are pix from Abbie's Horse Camp last week. She had a blast!

Of course, they put her on the biggest horse -- Sancho (her favorite!)




And on the smallest horse -- Belle.


Hair On Fire and What???

Okay. I have to say, I don't know that I've ever posted anything that generated as much interest as my stay-at-home Mom post. Oh my goodness! The discussions it's brought about have been great!

The best is this email I received from a friend....

"you don't "stay at home" you are "on the go"
If you could just "stay at home" your job might be easier... but you can't stay at home... you have to be on the go... its part of the job requirement....
So down deep you have this internal struggle that is causing you pain...
I am called a stay at home mom but I don't stay at home... I am living a lie.. therefore I must justify my position...
Think about "on the go mom" or 90 miles an hour and hair on fire mom or hair on fire and ass is catching mom or busy busy busy mom... just staying at home mom would be easy.... call it what it is... hard. "

Friday, June 6, 2008

Praising God in the Midst of Grief

It is so hard to praise God when you're grieving.

Today was my Uncle Keith's biopsy. I may not have all the details straight -- but this is what I've gleaned.

The tumor is inoperable. It is fast-growing. He won't be able to begin any treatments for at least two weeks -- until he heals from the biopsy. His time here on Earth could be weeks. Maybe a year.

The pain I feel for Keith, Carol, Sid, Jason, Clay, the grandkids... it's palpable.

But in the midst of this, I know that I have GOT to stick to the one thing that has been my glue for the last year. My faith. And I know that I have got to praise our creator, because only in His infinite wisdom can He make sense of this.

And I can praise Him.

I can praise him that Mom didn't know any of the confusion that Uncle Keith has known. I can praise Him for the fact that right up until the end, if she was at all alert, she knew who we were.

I can praise Him for the wisdom of Carla Sandusky, who reinforced my sense that Abbie & Kait didn't need to see Granny after she landed in ICU. That their last memories of her needed to be of the happy Granny. That even though at MD Anderson she was surrounded by machines and such, she was sitting up in bed, Kaitlyn was crawling all over her, and they were filling her in on everything they had been doing in their new house. That is the memory they needed to have.

For Biggs, who told me to Go. Stay as long as you need to. Get a hotel room. Don't worry about what it costs. Make sure Milton gets a room at the good hotel. Don't worry about here. Be with your Mom.

For my cousin Gary, who called from Iraq in the wee hours of the morning to tell "Aunt Sue" he loved her and was praying for her.

For all the love sent via email while Mom was sick -- especially the jokes!

I can praise Him for the kindnesses that still blow me away nearly a year later. For the "Walking Around Money" that made staying in the hospital a little easier on us. For precious Paige, Nelva and Carla, who took Abbie & Kait in, so that I could be with Mom as much as possible. For God's arranging it, so far in advance, that Carla would be in Lubbock for a conference that week when I needed her the most -- and for her taking me to dinner away when I needed it the most.

I praise God for having Suzi Bruin right. here. in. my. neighborhood. For her taking Jake at a moment's notice and walking with me each and every mile. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

For Nelva making sure Abbie rode in the Grand Entry -- something she knew I wouldn't miss for all the world. And for all of Snyder who realized that I was just barely holding it together -- that I had a very limited amount of courage that I could muster -- and that sitting in Max's box at the rodeo was all I could manage -- and for honoring that.

And I praise God for Cindy Nix and Volley Ship meeting me at the concession stand and letting me know their hearts were breaking right alongside mine.

For Donelle wanting to keep the girls, even if Randy got sick and she didn't get to.

For quick flights when I called Biggs and said, "I need you here. NOW."

For the steady stream of family and friends that were in and out of that waiting room. And who, even though there wasn't always a reaction from Mom, took the time to visit her in the ICU. Because they knew she'd be really pissed if they didn't.

For the blessing of M'Lys finding a new job in the midst of all the heartache. For A'Lise calling security to alert them to that BIG WOMAN who was ready to whip my butt. For my waiting room buddies who, even in their own grief, watched out for me and made sure I had a couch to sleep on.

I praise God for sending humor -- and knowing when we needed it most. I praise God for a certain "hottie" nephrologist that could make Mom smile. And that we had family working right there in the hospital.

I praise God for the mounds of food that landed at Mom's and at Nelva's. For the fact that when something happens out there, everyone turns on their stoves and serves up the best love they can. I praise God for Marge Toombs' Chocolate Cake and Dewey Faye Miller's Pecan Tarts and Sandra's brisket and potato salad. And I praise God that I finally lost all the weight I gained in the process.

I praise God for Anthony and Cheryl, who couldn't be there for the funeral, but came in just to spend time with us the day before. For Wes & Stephanie who drove all the way from Plano with three kids to be there for us.

And Man, do I ever praise God for Kayren Babcock, who was in Nashville when she heard the news. And immediately changed her travel plans, booked a ticket to Lubbock and rented a car, dragging that precious boy with her. Kayren knew when I was doing okay. And she knew the exact second I lost it. And she was right there, right then.

I praise God for the hundreds of people who showed up at the funeral home and the funeral itself to say good-bye to my Mom. And for all the family that showed up from far and wide to hold us up. For running into Janice Ingram in the restroom and being so awed that she was there for me. For Penny Beaver -- who I would have known anywhere. For Mrs. Pat -- the "other mother." Patty Hamilton. Keitha Hopson. Gail Gray. Monte, Larry and Tim. All staunch friends, family really, of Mom's who would not have settled for being anywhere else that day.

I praise God that the Lloyds were all together at a family reunion in Ruidoso when Mom passed away, so Aunt Vell and Aunt Gale were able to be there -- when otherwise they might not have been.

I praise God for the guys Mom had chosen as pall bearers -- who were so moved by her request. And for the guys at Bell, Cypert, Seale who loved my Mama and took good care of her.

For Mandi Campbell, who realized postage stamps were as good as gold.

I praise God for all the beautiful flowers and plants people sent -- Mom would have LOVED that. She would gone on and on for weeks about it. And the thousands of dollars donated in her memory to The Breast Cancer 3-Day, Relay for Life, The American Cancer Society, the Fluvanna Cemetary and the Missions Fund.

I praise God for the opportunity to share Mom's story with untold numbers of people across the country through the 3-Day and this blog. For letting me tell them about her courage that was built on faith. And for letting me share how very much I love and miss her.

For Tobi and Sam and Annette, who have been there. And the support only someone with that in common can give you.

Most of all, I praise God for Milton, who was her rock through everything life threw at her the last few years.

So it is possible to praise God in the midst of grief. And I know that down the road Uncle Keith and his family will be able to look back and praise God as well. But in the midst of what their treading through, it's so hard to see that.

Tonight my prayer is that God will bring a flood of blessings to my family -- right there in the hospital in Abilene. A flood of blessings that, no matter what the future holds, they can look back on and see that God sent them as proof of His love and faithfulness -- even in their darkest hours. And that He used the precious details of this experience to show them that love. And that they will be able to praise him for that.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Prayers Needed

You know, there are so many people out there who need out prayers right now!

Soleah, a friend's daughter, who has Trisomy 13 and is in ICU recovering from surgery to put rods in her back for scoliosis.

Uncle Don is back in the hospital -- needed some "pumping up" via IV.

My friend Szalan, who has a needle biopsy scheduled for Thursday -- she was a fellow AFC'er at A&M, a bridesmaid in our wedding, and has a son who is autistic. Her plate is full already.

And then there's my Uncle Keith and his family. This is part of an email I received yesterday: Told him last Wed. (About his brain tumor.) He said he is really getting worse fast. They will go to Abilene to do blood work Wed. and if the time stays the same he will have that biopsy about 1030 Fri.

There's little Elise Goertz, who we've been praying for for so long. She's finally gotten her appetite back but is back in hospital with complications from her chemo ports.

And Amy Martin -- She had a port put in which will make the chemo process much easier for her. Please pray for abundant energy for Amy as she juggles getting well with being a Mom to three precious children.

And Milton -- who had a stint put in last week. Praise God they caught the blocked artery before it reached 100%!!

And I'm sure there are tons others that I could list. But it's so overwhelming. Please continue to pray for all of these.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Just" a Stay-at-Home Mom

Okay. Here's the deal. I broke the riding lawn mower. You might remember that in the early days of my blog, I broke the push mower. That wasn't such a bad move, because it brought about the purchase of our riding mower. Wow. What a dream. But then last weekend I broke the riding mower. So now I'm back to mowing with the broken push mower that no longer has the self-propelled mechanism. Have you ever tried mowing St. Augustine grass without the self-propelled part??

So anyway, tonight I had a lot of mowing time to think about being "just" a stay-at-home Mom. Something brought that to my attention today, and I really don't know why I felt the need to justify my stay-at-homeness. But I did. Maybe it has something to do with PMS. Maybe it just has something to do with my deep-down insecurities.

But yes, I'm a stay-at-home Mom. It's a choice Biggs and I made before Abbie ever got "started."I will stay at home as long as I need to. And you know what? I think my kids are the better for it.

I'm not discounting anyone who works and juggles laundry and kids and all that jazz. I just know that in my household my having a career would not work.

I will admit that there are days when they just get to me. When I'd give just about anything to be anywhere else. And there are days when I Google the names of old co-workers or other people and find out that they're Vice Presidents of their companies or Senior Editors of their publications.

But most of the time I realize I'm incredibly lucky to do what I'm doing.

What is that, you might ask? Well.... I can assure you I have no idea about what's going on on Days of our Lives. And I didn't see Ellen announcing her upcoming marriage (YIKES!!!) on national TV. And there's no danger of me falling into Oprah's "cult following" because I don't have time to even turn the TV on during the day. I assure you I don't sit on the couch and eat Bon-Bons.

Let's see.... From last August until about two weeks ago, I spent five days a week driving Kaitlyn to preschool. Twenty-five minutes each way. Including drop-off / pick-up time, that was two hours out of every day.

And don't think I didn't want to put a movie in the VCR and tune her out. But that wasn't an option. We spent many, many, many mornings sounding out words and reading books. Now I have a pre-kindergartner who can read my emails over my shoulder. YIKES.

I have a great deal of respect for my friends who work outside the home and are raising children. They have to cram so much into evenings and weekends that they don't get to do some of the things I do.

In the last couple of weeks I've had a blast helping at Abbie's school. Last week Kait and I read to Abbie's class. The Friday before, I helped paint pillowcases. Both things I might not have been able to do if I had a J.O.B.

I'm able to spend a lot of time at the Creek. Here's a shot of sweet Erin Venette last Memorial Day weekend.
And here are Erin and Kait checking to see if we've caught any crabs.

I'm sure having his picture taken with a bunch of GIRLS was right up Sam's alley.

Oh. Here's something I accomplished as a SAHM. Until Memorial Day, Abbie had never had a sunburn. Maybe a little pink at times, but never an all-out, peeled-like-crazy kind of sunburn. This, of course, happened while I was working on the house -- and not being the sunscreen Nazi.
If I worked outside the home, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to dedicate FIVE weekends this spring to painting the creek. If you've ever been there, you'll know what a radical change this has been.

If you've never been there -- just wait! This is the "front" guest room.
Living Room...

Front Bathroom. The handprints on the walls will eventually be fish. Oh. That reminds me of something else. I got the handprint fish idea from Emler-- the swim school in Plano Abbie & Kait went to. Because I was a SAHM, I was able to take them to weekly swimming lessons beginning before Kait was even born. Both my girls were fish by age 3. Abbie knew all four strokes by age 5. Just one more example of my children have been blessed by my being home to drive them all over creation.
This is the kids' room. Word has gotten out around here that I'm looking for good deals. We just bought both sets of bunkbeds off friends in the neighborhood. That's going to be a huge improvement. This room is lighter than the bathroom. It just doesn't look it in the pictures.



The kitchen -- kind of a medium green.

The dining room. A deeper, mossy green. The fishing poles / holders really stand out against this paint and look awesome.

Another view of the dining room / kitchen.
And now we come to today. One of those perfect days that's possible because I'm at home with the girls. I left the house right at 7:00 this morning. I got a sitter for a couple of mornings this week so I could work out.

I had my bootcamp class from 7:15 - 8:15. Ran home. No time for a shower or shaving legs. Threw on clothes. Got girls at 8:30. Drove Abbie to her DREAM -- horse camp!!!


Dropped her off. Drove to the Galleria to exchange a running shirt at New Balance. No luck. Back out 290. Stopped at Old Navy to buy Abbie some jeans -- none of hers fit. (Ones in picture were borrowed from our neighbor.) Back by Academy and then onto Sam's to stock up on groceries to feed these bottomless pits this summer. Back home for all of 10 minutes to unload the fish from my ice chest before it even thought about thawing. Picked Abbie up at 2:00. Tried to arrange afternoon playdate -- no luck. Had to go to office to get Biggs from work b/c his transmission is going out on the Honda. Came home. Dinner with family. Mowed lawn with broken push mower.

So now that I'm back to where I started this email, I don't know that I feel any better. And I don't know that I've really made sense. But if I've done anything, hopefully it's to show you that Stay-at-home Moms have a true value.

Sure. We're not out there earning an income. We chose this life, and we chose to make the sacrifices that go along with it (career, financial, etc.)

BUT just because we're at home it doesn't mean we aren't "working." I assure you, I work my tail off. If it's not with my kids and house, it's working on yearbook for school or building a fundraising team that will raise $125,000+ for breast cancer research this year.

And just because we aren't in the "working world," it doesn't mean we don't have to work with people. Ours just may be shorter.

So please.... If there's a SAHM in your world.... Please be an encouragement to her. Please offer to take her kids off her hands every once in a while this summer. Please remember that she has value and that even though it shouldn't, it hurts a bit when people make comments about her being "JUST" a stay-at-home Mom.

p.s. I could do a whole flip-side post for my dear friends who work and Mom. But you know what? I'm tired. But seriously, you've got to watch what you say about those Moms as well. They bruise, too.