Monday, January 23, 2012

Gifts, Among Other Things

Other Things. There have been a lot of Other Things since this blog began. Vespera's adoption and our subsequent journey to Juarez to claim her freedom. Niteo's entrance into our family, fraught with trepidation, wonder, grace and joy. Graduations. The Wedding. My appendix and carcinoid tumor. Mane's sleep (or general lack, thereof). Car crashes. Homeschooling. The death of my high school friend in Colorado.

And now there is another Other Thing. My Mom. My mom has Merkel Cell Carcinoma. It's a rare, aggressive skin cancer (just quoting wikipedia there). I'm not here to rewrite the details. It's the fact that it's here, as one more Thing. It's the thing that follows us all around now. The shadow that casts before or behind, depending on whether we're facing the sun this day or not.

The flurry of tests and doctors appointments are over for the moment. This week is the calm before the storm. She begins chemo next Tuesday. And radiation next month. And there will be blood draws and scans and many, many more appointments.

So, this Other Thing is here to stay for a while. And I turn slowly toward the sun, toward gratitude, because when we face the sun the shadow falls behind us. I know I can't always look this way...away. And sometimes all we can do is look the shadow in the face and try to remember that the sun is there...behind us. Today, though, I choose to face the sun, if only for these few respite moments.

Forty-Nine. Yes, Janis. :) And all the other friends, who may or may not want their names mentioned on my blog. So, I'll keep them nameless. I am thankful for the love and hugs, the listening ears, the offers for tangible help, the SOUP...

Fifty. Crocheting is a gift, and friends who share the joy of crafting with. Crocheting is my anti-anxiety, anti-depressant drug. It gives my hands something to do, and it brings me the satisfaction of creating. I get the rush of finishing something and the joy of giving things away.

Fifty-One. Found a tunisian crochet hook at the thrift store! Score.

Fifty-Two. Last night, while blogging for Peregrin House, I saw how much Mane has learned in the last month, even with the Other Things happening around us. I am so grateful for the moments when I really see this.

Fifty-Three. Cooperation from Mane on math homework. (Yes, I bribed her with Brie cheese.)

Fifty-Four. Irish cheese (since I won't touch the Brie).

Fifty-Five. A keyboard for my tablet so I can sit here at the kitchen table and type this while Mane studies history!

Fifty-Six. Stickers (also used for bribery).

Fifty-Seven. I am grateful that Mane is so pleased with the little stickers :) I have worked hard to raise a child, who is satisfied, who doesn't demand more all the time. And I see today how much the little things please her, and I'm so grateful.

Fifty-Eight. Telephones. Amazing how much technology shows up in my list of gifts, isn't it? I am grateful for the phone that lets me have an hour conversation with my mom, even though she lives an hour away.

Fifty-Nine. Snow. Yep, I think the little snowflakes are gifts. I love the rain more, but in January I can settle for a little bit of snow.

Sixty. Getting out on Saturday by myself to go to an event where JANIS was speaking at one of my favorite little local stores.

Sixty-One. Netflix documentaries.

Sixty-Two. Crayons. Colored pencils. Oil pastels. All the options!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - Beginning with 32

Thirty-Two. Lunch with friends. That's what I'm doing today.

Thirty-Three. Vespera's cooking. Yum!

Thirty-Four. Homeopathy.

Thirty-Five. Grandpa Upstairs, who is working hard on the basement project for Vespera & Niteo.

Thirty-Six. Grandpa Upstairs, who will spend time with Mane pretty much whenever I need him to.

Thirty-Seven. Grandpa Up North, who can laugh in the middle of crisis.

Thirty-Eight. Grandpa Up North (my dad), who takes such good care of Grandma Up North (my mom).

Thirty-Nine. Having parents that stayed together and set an example of making marriage work.

Forty. Having in-laws that stayed together and set an entirely different example of making marriage work.

Forty-One. Mango, who will stay up until 1am (or 2 or 3), if that's what it takes.

Forty-Two. Books. I have a lot of them.

Forty-Three. A sweet back yard with a tree that Mane can climb.

Forty-Four. Mane climbing the tree in her winter duds in the rain/snow yesterday.

Forty-Five. A flexible job.

Forty-Six. People who tip generously.

Forty-Seven. Places to swim in the winter.

Forty-Eight. Books that Mane loves to read, namely the Harry Potter books.

This post was inspired by Ann Voskamp at:

holy experience 

It's not here to stay

...the new template, I mean. It turns out that the beautiful chocolate beach template that I've used forever has its photos hosted at photobucket and has exceeded its bandwidth. Apologies to those of you who logged in to see the ugly bandwidth exceeded message while I've been away. I guess it's time to get Mango to design me a real template...