May 10, 2015
April 8, 2015
This past Sunday was Easter Sunday when we celebrate our Lord's Resurrection. The truth is that every day of every year, we can celebrate the fact that our Savior not only died on the cross for our sins, but rose again and is alive today!
Today is the birthday of Lauren Michelle Kelly. I would like to thank all of my friends on the Xanga and WordPress blogs who prayed for her. Today she is spending her first Birthday in Heaven with her Lord. The following is the obituary that appeared in the local paper... and after that is the birthday remembrance card that I made and put up on her FB site. Please remember her family in your prayers.
Just after midnight on Thursday, March 26, 2015, heaven’s gates opened for a very special angel, Lauren Michelle Kelly. At her bedside to say good-bye were her parents, Loren David Kelly and Debbie Lynn Kelly, her brothers Steven (Jennifer), Jared Brooks, and her sisters, Tracie Eilerman (Mike), and Mary Beth Pagano (Matt).
Lauren was born on April 8, 1991, with a devastating genetic disease, cystic fibrosis (CF). In spite of her serious health condition, Laurenaccomplished many things in her brief 23 years. She played softball and was the Red Birds 1999 Batting Champion. She had a short stint playing soccer, but had breathing difficulties due to all the running. She participated in gymnastics and dance through Showtime Productions.
Her greatest passion, though, was riding and showing paint horses. In the summer of 2010, she was named the winner of the American Junior Paint Horse Association Youth Member of the Year. She won a Gist belt buckle and a $1,000 scholarship.
She did not start showing horses until she was 13. She had allergies and due to her respiratory constraints, she was told that it was not wise to be around horses.
Lauren’s life mission was to make sure no one would look at her and say, “Yeah, that girl has CF.” To her, riding symbolized freedom and victory.
Lauren ran her own graphic design business, LMKdesign.org, which she founded when she was 13 years old. Many of her ads were featured in equine magazines.
She was a finalist in novice youth HUS at the APHA Youth World Show in 2008. Her last year in youth, she and Chaps (Sheik Sock Broker) were #5 in the nation in Youth 14-18 HUS.
As her health deteriorated, she focused on academics. She graduated from the Dental Hygiene Program at Lewis and Clark Community College in December 2014 and was President of her class. She passed both her clinical and written board exams. She was a peer mentor to many students through both the Dental Assisting Program and the Dental Hygiene Program.
Her motto has always been to say, ‘I can do anything I set my mind to.’ She believed the only real barriers in life are ones that you put up for yourself. How high you have to climb to get over those barriers differs, butLauren believed it could be done. Sadly, cystic fibrosis provided an insurmountable barrier and Lauren’s lungs failed before she could receive a lung transplant.
March 12, 2015
It's been awhile since I have posted (again)! So much has happened... and continues to happen.
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest - and one man who did just that is Tom, the husband of our dear friend Gracia - a.k.a. - Ata_Grandma went Home to Heaven on Friday, Feb. 27th. My husband Mike and I had the privilege of meeting Tom and Gracia in person one summer day in August of 2011. What wonderful, gracious people they are! My prayers are with Gracia and the rest of the family at this time of great loss to them, and great gain for Tom as he has joined the Savior Whom he served while here on earth. So today I want to celebrate this friend who will have his next birthday (April 7) in Heaven.
The next person that I want to celebrate is a friend who many of us know here on Xanga... Michel Fauquet. He has become such a blessing to me just by knowing him. I appreciate his stories, art, pictures, musical abilities, his family, and his knowledge & wisdom.
Another friendship that was first made on Xanga has her birthday today as well. Sara - who has had several Xanga names over the years. She was my first friend from Australia, and over the years our friendship has grown by leaps and bounds. She doesn't blog anymore, but via Facebook we continue to build our friendship. Here is a picture that I put up on her FB page this evening (her afternoon). It is a collage of two other people that both of us know from Xanga days. One time when Paula visited me (from Texas to Ohio), we met with Chris (also from Ohio). So I just added Sara's picture into the collage with the rest of us.
Life continues as I learn of friends I've known through the years whose lives have been changed by critical illnesses, divorce, and more. These things have burdened my heart... yet these too are a part of life. One of my friends, Debbie needs a kidney to be able to live a full life. Another of my friends is a young lady in her 20's who has Cystic Fibrosis. Each day and throughout the day, I look for updates from her mom - a dear high school friend of mine. Her daughter Lauren needs two lungs in order to live. She is in ICU at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis on life support, waiting for those lungs. Please pray for my friends, and for the needed life-saving organs. As I write this, I am making a plea for people to sign up to be organ donors (if not already). I thought that I had already done so, but I made sure of it on the evening of March 11th. Hopefully one day when my life is transferred from earth to Heaven, my body parts can be of some use to others - such as these friends of mine. This reminds me of the approaching Easter season, so I close with one final picture with the timeless message of love of our God for this fallen world.
February 25, 2015
I don't have a lot of news to report, all though I am doing better than I had been physically. Pain is just a part of life, but I'm so thankful that it isn't as bad as it had been.
Sometimes Xanga friends become WordPress and Facebook friends too. One of those was John Childress - "Inciteful" -- whom I know that some of you others knew as well. John is no longer with us; and my heart goes out to all of his family and friends who were especially close to him ... he was a real family man, and in the short time I became acquainted with him, I grew to appreciate his posts and pictures. I had gone to his FB site to wish him a "Happy Birthday" on February 18th, only to find that he had died on the 8th. Here is his obituary. John, you will be much missed.
I read a good devotional called "A Godly Touch" - an excerpt from Max Lucado's book, Just Like Jesus. The devotional was based on Matthew 8:3 - "Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man and said, 'I will. Be healed.' " Excellent! Here it is:
Oh, the power of a godly touch. Haven't you known it? The doctor who treated you, or the teacher who dried your tears? Was there a hand holding yours at a funeral? Another on your shoulder during a trial? A handshake of welcome at a new job? Can't we offer the same?
Many of you already do. Some of you have the master touch of the Physician himself. You use your hands to pray over the sick and minister to the weak. If you aren't touching them personally, your hands are writing letters, dialing phones, baking pies. You have learned the power of a touch.
But others of us tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it's just that our memories are bad. We forget how significant one touch can be ... Aren't we glad Jesus didn't make the same mistake?"
Over my lifetime I have blessed with many of those godly touches ... they often come when least expected, and from all sorts of places. Many of you my friends and family who will see this are among those who have touched me in special ways. Thank you. It is not way past time for me to come around and visit all of you NOW!
February 1, 2015
Can you believe it? As I write this, and I look at the time on my computer, I realize that we have already just said goodbye to January, 2015! Where has the time gone? I've decided to show where my time has been going via pictures.
Preparing meals, baking (different recipes for) bread on my breadmaker, reading books to both Mom and myself, correspondence, and I am starting to have the ability to get out a little each week (usually every -other -day) to visit with friends, do errands, etc. What I cannot do: drive too much, do too much in a day, being on foot (or on chairs) for too long, shopping for very long (i.e. - a full grocery trip is still a no-no), etc. Having said that, here are the pictures with short captions.
Have a wonderful February! I'll be seeing you around at your blogs. Until later ...
(picture lost with the quote).
January 8, 2015
This pretty much tells it: My thermometer is telling me that it is 1º below zero! It is warm inside my home, but I still am feeling a bit of that chill. Time to fix a hot cup of tea, and then I'll come back for a brief chat with you ... ahhh... that's better. A cup of chai!
I've been helping my mom get things transferred to a new email service. It takes time to learn new things, and new ways of dealing with email is one example. I am so impressed by her willingness to continue to learn! She puts up the "bar" ... things to accomplish when (if) I get to be 90!
Here is a picture of Mom in a new sweater that she got for Christmas from my younger sister and her husband. We went out to eat at Red Lobster the other day, and have some pictures of that delightful meal, too.
Here's an appropriate quote to end to this post: "As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night." (Genesis 8:22, NLT)
And a final p.s. - It is now -3º !! Time to get under my electric blanket!
December 31, 2014
Christmas was lovely! We always celebrate with our adult children and their spouses, my brother, my Mom, and our grandchildren. The youngsters make it a fun time for all.
My favorite "holiday" of the year is that time starting with Christmas and into New Year's Day. I enjoy the Advent season with the emphasis of remembering the first coming of Jesus. Then from Christmas until New Year's Day, I do a lot of meditating, private journaling, and praying as I consider the past year & look forward to the new year. I don't make "Resolutions" per se; but I make goals that I'd like to try to reach throughout the year. I generally choose a theme, and Bible verse(s) that I memorize and try to use to guide me in meeting the goals of the year.
This year my verses are from Ephesians 5:15-17, Psalm 90:12, and Hebrews 13:15-16 (I still need to memorize the Eph. verses; the others I memorized last year.) I memorize normally from the KJV, because that is what I've used since my early childhood to memorize; I read and study in all types of versions, however. When I read through the Bible, I enjoy using a different version each time (sometimes I've read all in one year; other times I may take two or three years to read and do a deeper study). The last couple of years I was using the New Living Translation; this year I am planning to use the New Century Version.
Here are the verses for this year, from the NCV, given in the order they were listed above.
So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. / Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise. / So through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise, coming from lips that speak his name. Do not forget to do good to others, and share with them, because such sacrifices please God.We are in winter .... no snow at all, but this week we are experiencing temperatures in the 20's and 30's, with bright shining sun on several of the days.Here is a picture taken of us by my former student, Nicole, who was married this year. She is a professional photographer, and she came to our home to take pictures of the four of us in the first of the three pictures in the last post. Signing off for this time ~ Carolyn :-)
December 21, 2014
Each Christmas, we put out a Christmas letter. Sometimes my husband writes it, other years I do. Since this year has been such a very different one - especially with my physical problems - I took up "the pen" and wrote it. I'm not the best correspondent, as people are finding out, but I hope to do better in this coming year. With that being said, I thought I would copy our letter here for those who want to read it. God bless you in this Christmas season... with love to my friends here on Xanga/WordPress ~ Carolyn
CHRISTMAS, 2014 : A Year Full of Changes
I (Carolyn) began having severe back pain back in June, and beginning July 27th with a trip to E.R. through Nov. 29th, about the only trips away from home were those taking me to doctors for pain treatments, or P.T. Changes mean learning ways to deal with the chronic conditions of spinal arthritis & stenosis added to the post-polio and other chronic pain. Mike and Mom took great care of me throughout the worst of the time, and we all continue to help each other. During this time God has proven Himself to be faithful, as always! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Mom has generously provided a lady to help with cleaning, physical care if needed, driving, and other projects that either of us may need help with due to our pain and mobility issues. Darlene has been a real God-send to us, and has become a good, trusted friend to us as well.
Brother Don has been so attentive and has been there for us continually by going to pick up groceries, taking Mom and me to appointments, etc. It’s great to have him so close by … less than five minutes away! We enjoy sharing meals and other family times with him, often two or three times a week.
Mom and I had begun going to a weekly Bible study for women at our church, but once I could no longer go to the studies, Mom began going with one of our dear friends. I would read the lesson to Mom, and we worked on the study on our own. Mom had been alternating attending Sunday services with Don one week, and then with us to ours. Thankfully, during this period that I've been housebound, she’s been able to attend faithfully with Don. So although Mike and I were housebound, we have enjoyed precious times in the Word both individually and together, and have enjoyed times of fellowship with family and friends who came to see us. “God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' " (Hebrews 13:5b)
Sunday, November 30th, we finally were able to go to our church, and I was able to make it throughout the entire service (with a break to walk); but it was so good to be back in church with other believers again. While I still am dealing with post polio pain in my feet & legs, the back is doing much better than it was, and it’s good to get out some now. Thank you to all of you who have been praying faithfully for me.
Our grandchildren provide us with such enjoyment … no, that is not a change at all! J But they are continually changing! Tristen is now 10, and is such a big girl, helping and playing with her siblings. She loves taking piano lessons, is quite gifted in karate, enjoys reading, and loves most of the things that pre-teen girls enjoy. Brogan is 4, and no longer the toddler… but a big boy! He loves Super Heroes, karate, playing games on his Kindle, as well as playing with his siblings and other friends. Quinn has changed so much in this year! She turned 1 in June, and walks, runs, and climbs, and is starting to talk. She loves playing with her siblings, and enjoys being a very active little girl!
Speaking of ages, this year we surprised Mom with some special things for her 90th birthday. We had a card shower, and Sister Ruth contacted many of Mom’s friends– from nursing, church, relatives, missionaries, and other contacts. My part was to hide her cards as they came in the mail, until about one week ahead, when I started reading a few to her, so she wouldn’t suspect anything. The week of her birthday, I did a LOT of reading!! We’d hoped for at least 90 cards; she received over 110! J We had a family party for her on her actual birthday, Sept. 18th – with those who could make it – Don and Shaun & his family. Then on the 20th, we had an open house for Mom. Lots of friends dropped in to visit with Mom, to share cards, some gifts, lots of hugs, and enjoy some of the delicious cakes – a white cake & a Texas cake, made by our 13-year old friend from church - Rylie who is a prize-winner at fairs, and is beginning to earn money with her great talent of making and designing cakes.
One huge treat was having our Indian sister, Kailas visit for about one week! I had worked out her agenda for her week stay in Ohio, but when she wasn't busy going to spend time with other friends or meeting with others about her ministry, we had wonderful times of fellowship with her!
Over the years, God has blessed us our home with many family and friends living with us for various amounts of times – months or years. Kailas was one of those who lived with us for a year, before heading to India. So people come and go, and as you know Mom moved in with us a year ago, and this year our older son and his wife moved from our basement apartment.
We look forward to having family together this Christmas – our Marci & husband Gary, as well as the rest of the family! Speaking of Marci – she has had an extremely busy year! While holding down two jobs – one with environmental concerns and one with teaching at a college, she was able to get her Master’s degree! Our son Shaun managed to get his Bachelor’s degree while being overseas on the last two of his three deployments, working to support his family, and more. His wife Melissa had been so supportive of Shaun as she ran the household; so it was only fitting that when he received his diploma that she be the one who went with him to spend an enjoyable couple of days together in Minnesota.
One thing that has not changed is our interest in reading and studying. Mike has kept busy writing Bible studies, and he enjoys meeting with other men from church for a weekly Bible study. I have read more books since retiring – both to myself and to Mom. We really enjoy that special time together!
We wish for all who read this letter that each of you will remember that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:20b-23)
With prayers for a year full of God’s blessings to each of you from ~
Mike and Carolyn
(Captions for pictures below: Brother Don, Mom, Mike & me/Quinn & Brogan/Tristen, Quinn, & Kailas)
November 20, 2014
I guess that I have disappeared for quite a long time. I have just not felt like posting ... but that is no excuse to ignore my friends here on Xanga. I have through December to remain on Xanga before my membership runs out. I started a site on WordPress... my blog name is carojesu. I haven't posted there in an even longer time, because I couldn't keep up with both blogs, and wanted to stay here as long as possible. Thank you for caring, praying, and being my friends.
REPORT RE: MY BACK: As I put into my last blog posting, I had my first treatment for pain on Sept. 11th, for the costochondritis. Within one week, it was much improved. The stenosis pain wasn't really helped by the three pain treatments that I had ( & each of the four treatments were 2 weeks apart), so I talked with my pain doctor about discontinuing the treatments. I checked back with my family doctor, and he got me started with physical therapy ... last week being the first. I'm very pleased with my PT person, and while I am not sure at this point how much these will help, but at least I feel that I'm getting to do something to help with the pain. I now know that the stenosis is apparently genetic to some degree (Dad had it, & my younger sis, too ... I hadn't known this before), & that it is mine now to deal with from now on ... so, I shall learn to deal with it! One thing ... I try to space out things so that I can do something more each week; and new ways to roll over in bed, get up, bend over, etc. I am hoping that soon I will be able to be handle going to church again. It's been since July 20th. Thankfully, I've been much blessed by reading my Bible, reading and listening to good things on my computer, and enjoying some visits from folks from church.
O.K. -- Here are some pictures as promised from the open house for Mom's 90th, our time with our Indian sis. I haven't been taking pictures much -- my camera isn't always reliable. So ... most of the pics have come from other people. The first 2 collages are from Mom's actual birthday - the 18th - when we had family together to celebrate. A few pictures of the grandkids - of course! Our Indian sis Kailas arrived in time to celebrate with the rest of the family. It was her first time to meet Mom, & Shaun's wife & children. The last two collages are from the open house two days later. The two cakes were made by a 13 year old girl from my church who is very talented! I told her some things I wanted to be on the cake, and so she came up with the crossword design. The other cake is Mom's favorite kind -- Texas cake. The decorations were simply the sign on the wall, and the balloons that were everywhere.
There is one more collage to share at this time: That gift from Shaun and Melissa to Mom was a beautiful display of family pictures that Melissa had made for her. This set of pictures will give an idea of the gift. Shaun was so proud of his wife (rightly so), and she was so happy that Grandma liked her gift! Shaun held up each of the three parts of the wall hanging for us to see. He sat next to his Grandma with his arm around her, telling her that he loved her throughout the evening. His birthday was on the 3rd, and so we also gave him gifts and the one picture is of his Grandma showing him the Bible Story book for him to share with his family.
October 5, 2014
Dear Xanga Friends (I've decided to make this a letter format)...
I'm sorry that I've been so long in updating. Pictures aren't all done, so I'll have to share more once the pictures are finished. But regarding my physical situation. First of all thank you, especially Carolyn & Michel for asking me, and for sharing your prayers and encouragement with me.
Treatment #1: Sept 11 ~ Under sedation, I received 12+ shots in my right side. It took a few days to get over the pain from the treatment itself, but within about three days, I was definitely starting to see some relief from the sharp pains in the side.
Treatment #2: Sept 25 ~ Under sedation, I received an epidural steroid shot in my lower spine. This time I didn't have nearly the pain that I had with the first treatment, and within a few days I was feeling some improvement. I believe that I'll be seeing my doctor on October 9th to see what's next.
The pain -- while much less severe -- is ever present. On Monday, I took a shower and dried off completely by myself. Later ... in the afternoon, I had a friend drive me a few blocks away to our IGA, & while I rode in a cart, she put items into it as I pointed them out. She loaded up the cart, unloaded it, brought stuff into the house, and helped me put things away.
That little bit of activity, and while I am still better than I was, I have had more pain after that. My post polio problems are causing some / most of the problems. My right foot has been hurting greatly, which makes me limp, which causes my whole right side to be hurting more.
Having said all that, I am still so blessed to be having less pain, and to be able to do more around the house than I had been for a couple of months. I have been able to do more cooking and baking, as long as I pace myself. My husband continues to take great care of me & to do extra things for me, and my mom (when she isn't having too many pain issues of her own) has shared in the kitchen duties. I still haven't been out of the house except to go to my treatments at the hospital ... other than Monday's trip.
So ... what are the pictures all about? Well back on my post on Sept. 2nd, I talked about some special events coming up. Our dear sister from India arrived at our home on the 18th; then, our son Shaun & his wife, & our 3 grandchildren arrived to enjoy a meal prepared by my brother for our Mom's 90th birthday. We had a grand time together celebrating Mom's birthday, & enjoying the children's activities.
There had been 2 surprises that we had been planning for Mom. One was a "birthday card shower" -- which I began reading all of them to her on her birthday - and through the weekend. We had thought it would be fantastic if she got a minimum of 90 for her 90th... but she ended up with close to 200!! (Yes, I did keep busy with reading to her!)
The next afternoon, I told her about the next surprise that was coming her way. . . on Saturday, the 20th, we had Mom's open house. We had about 45 people come to wish her a happy birthday! Well, that is it for tonight. I'm still putting together pictures from all of the events.
How was all of this possible in spite of my pain problems? 1. I was better. 2. I had lots of help from friends & family. 3. I worked through some of the pain, and tried to let others do as much as possible.
Throughout the time -- from the 18th through 23rd -- our dear sis Kailas was with us ... or out to meals with friends, or at meetings, as I'd arranged for her. When she was with us (usually every night) we enjoyed catching up... for even when there are years in between seeing each other, we keep up via the internet as much as possible. But HUGS & some things are so much easier to enjoy in person!
Thank you for all of you who have been praying and concerned. I shall keep working on the pictures, and hopefully will post them next week.
Love ~ Carolyn
- Soon saying goodbye . . . May 10, 2015
- Resurrection Reality April 8, 2015
- LIVE LIFE March 12, 2015
- Goodbye to a Friend ... and Thoughts on Being Used to Give a Godly Touch to Others February 25, 2015
- And on we go . . . February 1, 2015