Days Like This

This early October day was blooming more beautifully than the weather people said it would. From my bedroom window at 8 o’clock this morning, there were some clouds but a blue sky and the sun fell across my bed, waking Beanni and me at the same time.  It’s so good to see the world from our perch every day.

Beanni uses it to oversee the safety in our tiny neighborhood. I use it to launch my morning prayer as I stretch and thank God for saving me from the life I once lived. Today, my front yard maple bashfully showed us a few of her beautiful colours. We are privileged to have first look of autumn from our magic window that no one else can see.

Early Autumn Leaves

And then…

My neighbors have been kind, generous guardians taking care of me for the last six years. My lawn gets mowed, my driveway gets plowed, my trash mysteriously gets moved to the curb, weeds disappear into bags, mulch appears miraculously around the few hardy plants that still persist despite my best efforts. On Sundays a wonderful meal appears, often off the grill with fresh vegetables. When I bump my medical alert they’re called. It might be 1 AM or 2:30 PM, but they find time to come over and check on me. They find my dog, Beanni, when he’s wandered away and I’m barefooted, crying and calling his name when he sneaks out.

And then…

You find out today the husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that is spreading everywhere. And even though he knows it, he goes outside to bag weeds. He sees me trying to figure out how to install a Progressive insurance Tool in my car. Comes over to help, and tells me his news. And he pulls out his wallet, right after he tells me he is most likely dying, and shuffles through everything until he finds a Business card of someone he respects, who can mow our lawns and plow our driveways this winter. “I don’t think I can do this anymore” he says. “I have to go comfort my dad right now” he says. “But I’ll be here if you need me.”

If I need him.

I need him! We need him! We need all the warriors who are making our lives better while fighting a huge war inside their bodies. Like my cousin, Jay Mathews. Or my mom, Bev Wells. Or Janet Pahssen who has been fighting, and winning, the ugliness of cancer, never giving up.

Our mommas told us there would be days, no, lives like this. And as the sun sets, I see the stars of warriors of my past and the new warriors, who gather up their armor each day, and say “There will be days like this.” And just keep going on.

With love & blessings, V


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This is Jim writing (I don’t want you to blame Vicki). I love to drive! Growing up in metro Detroit I was immersed in the auto industry – Detroit was the Motor City. I’m not a “car guy” who can fix things under the hood, but I am a “driving guy” who has changed my oil and tires from time to time.

The car

It’s been an unusual summer for me because of two emergency eye operations I’ve needed in June and August. Since I’m still in recovery, I haven’t been able to drive – and it’s driving me crazy! My biggest disappointment is not being able to drive the few hours to Vicki’s for a visit. We stay in “touch” via text and occasional phone calls, but it’s not the same.

I lightheartedly titled this post Parallels because Vicki and I are having similar experiences, one of them being eye surgeries. The timing’s a bit off – I’ve (hopefully) finished mine and Vicki’s should be happening any time now.

A second similarity is that my car battery has died a couple of times since I haven’t been driving. It’s a minor inconvenience except when someone needs to borrow the car. Vicki’s car battery troubles must have found me.

Please keep Vicki, her family & friends, and her health care providers in your prayers. Join me praying that her medical procedures and recovery go well.


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Cherish – and Make – Valentine’s Memories

How I loved Valentines Day. Always symbolized by my Mom as meatloaf, the moldable meat. On this day it was a heart. Mom had scalloped potatoes and wiggly jello as a side. But I amped it up with Bunny Milk as the house beverage, and pink mashed potatoes as I grew into being the mother, finishing with strawberry shortcake, just like she did.

There was nothing I loved as much as being a mother and a wife. And Valentines seemed to bring it all together. Tucking notes into pockets, candies under pillows. Little drawings in lunch boxes. Love notes. Of course, candy necklaces and lipstick on their plates. Candles!!! Linens on the table, music on the hi-fi, and dressed up for the occasion. And what would Valentines be without their dad grinching about commercialism, but dutifully producing that Hallmark moment, and a rose representing each child. And then… The dancing.

These days the time between one Valentine’s Day and another go by in a blur, always startling me, like being awakened from a nap. But there are other memories that extend the premise of a day to show love.

Waking up from surgery and seeing my children, now all grown, around me, touching my forehead, holding my hands, telling me jokes that hurt when I I laughed. Half asleep, hearing them whisper, sometimes hearing them start to cry. And then giggling as another family story came to mind. Our ability to laugh was the balm that healed everything. It is our love story.

From feeding them to them feeding me, as my mind and body was too crushed to even think. Bedtime lullabies became karaoke sessions on some TV game. Long trips to Grayling, as visits to Granma and Gumpsy, and an even longer trip moving back, no longer married. Future trips that took me completely away from their lives. And God’s grace that found a way to bring me back to them.

Valentine’s will always be in my heart. It may not be February 14th when it happens, but I know when it is here. Friends – fremily – who mow the lawn, carry the trash out and bring the mail in. Sort out my meds, chauffeur me to appointments, battle the crowds of Meijers and Sam’s. A card or letter in the mail. A poem.

And tonight, a knock on the door, and in my dear friend’s hands… A meatloaf dinner!!

Find a Valentine moment whenever you can. Cherish that love of surprises, or a setting you’ve been gifted with. Create moments for those you love to tuck in your memory. May I suggest moldable meatloaf?

Love and blessings to you all,

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Good Days

Thank you, Papa, for a wonderful weekend. Good days don’t come often enough anymore, and two in a row is a very special gift.


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Signs of Spring

Looking Glass River, March 12, 2015

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think Spring is coming. It’s time for Winter to move on. The sun is shining more, snow’s melting, and the hibernating lawns will start growing and turning green again. 

Winter is a hard season with it’s grey skies day after day. Friends and family bring bits of sunshine when they visit, but the days are long in between. 

We can’t wait until Spring is really here. 

Thank you, Papa, for letting us make it through another Winter.


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