9/23/2011

Cancer Could Have.........

 



It could have spread through my body,
It could have left me hurting and in pain,
It could taken away my believe in God,
and it could left the fight to life in vain.

And yes there were moments,
When I surely wanted to die,
There were days when I lost my faith
And asked God repeatedly “Why?”

But each and every time,
The visual images that helped me get through,
Were the pictures in my head,
and surrounding my bed,
The hopes and dreams of a future,
and little ones I could nurture.

See when I think of precious little flower buds blooming,
On the lowest of days in treatment and death was a fear
I knew that my grandchildren deserved a loving grandmother
Who would forever treasure and hold each of their lives as something dear.

And so as I live now
Each day as if it is my last,
I never keep cancer out of prayers,
Or forget the role it played in my past.


My grandchildren are symbolic,
Of God’s grace of new life He gives to this earth,
For each one He takes from us,
He proceeds by giving us a new birth.


We are meant to live life with humility, faith and passion,
We are meant to die in much the same fashion.

We are indeed blessed people.

9/21/2011

Two Special Boys



No matter where you go,
No matter where you land,
Please know my darling grandsons,
I will have an outstretched hand.

I see in you a light that shines,
I see hearts that are so true,
I see the prove of God's existence,
And it awakens my faith anew.

Please know a day never goes by,
Without one of the last things I do,
Is ask the good Lord for his mercy,
To fall like raindrops on both of you!


The bond between brothers is like no other.

Jake & Ty Ryan Glasmeier

9/18/2011

Pathway to the Future


History truly does repeat itself, even in the homes of America. More specifically, in my immediate family, a tradition has been started. One that has been carried down and lives on.

When I was in 5th grade, my father sat me down one night, after dinner with some exciting news .He told me that he was taking two years off of his current job at the Air Force Base he worked at to pursue his Doctorate. He felt this was something that he had, for far too long put on hold. He stressed to me the importance of a good education, the virtues and the ability to be a better provider and the personal enrichment of more education. Consequently, we would all have to make some sacrifices. The cost was worth it because of the benefits. I could, even at my young age, see that clearly.

The lesson stayed with me throughout my youth into my young adult hood years. When I found myself pregnant unexpectedly and having to bypass college plans at the traditional age, I was quite taken back. I vowed to one day make that degree, the education my father preached about, a reality. It took several years, but two kids later, and off I would go. I attended part time at first and then switched to full time when my youngest began kindergarten. Even on the heels of a divorce, I was not deterred from continuing my pursuit of the degree. In fact, I was so driven, I carried two majors in college, held down a house, sole custody of two children and worked part time as an assistant editor for a book publishing company while carrying a full course load in college. Friends thought I was crazy. No one told me I was amazing, intelligent or courageous. I think then many thought I was just plain nuts.

Two people thought I was brilliant. The two people on earth that mattered to me most, my motivation for moving forward also, my children, Mike and Christina. I believe parents are strong role models, when they choose to be. My kids sat with me while I studied and did their homework too. When they didn’t have any to do, I did all the normal things mothers do with their kids. After they went to bed, I stayed up till well past midnight studying and started the day all over again, but dreamed during the night of providing them and myself a better life.


I finally did graduate. I could not attend a graduation ceremony. I had no money to get a cap and a gown. I needed the money so my children could get off of free lunch programs and start buying lunch again. We were all sick of Taco Bell’s specials as our only nights out for dinner. I grabbed the first job I was offered even though it was not the dream job. It was one that had a paycheck attached to it and had required a bachelor’s degree and that was good enough for me and for my two children. And better off we were! And we never looked back again.

Just a few months, my daughter completed her Masters degree in Nursing and passed her accreditation to be a Nurse Practitioner. This was done while balancing her career in Nursing working full time at a Children’s Hospital being a mother to a small infant son. She is married so has a strong support system in her husband but none the less, attending school and studying while working full time is not easy. But yet, I think having had a mom that accomplished this , my daughter knows she can do anything she sets her sights on! She did it with flying colors and is now working as a nurse practitioner at a clinic and putting her husband in school so that he has the same opportunity she had. I am proud of her and her grandfather is even prouder!

On the other side of the coin, my son married a woman that fits right in to the family dynamics. He went onto straight from high school to college and then to get his PhD in Dentistry. He then served a few years in the Armed Services and obtained further training and additional credentialing. Him and his wife have three small children. After having left the military, she has decided to pursue her education! With three children and all that entails, being married to a professional man with a full time demanding career, she is managing this. She is realizing her dream amidst a lot of controversy as folks sit on the sidelines thinking she is plain nuts. Even with a nanny, three children is no easy feat. There is a never ending list of to do things at that house and items to juggle on the household calendar. Yet she does it will amazing skill and still gets the best marks possible in her classes. And my son is as supportive as he can possibly me. He knows women deserve educations.

I thank my father for teaching me that the value of an education truly starts in the home. It is taught by one’s parents that it has a priceless value. His talk to me was passed to my children. My children took it to heart and both went further with their studies than I and are living proof the message landed on receptive ears. Both of my children’s spouses are currently enrolled in college, attending full time in spite of the fact both have small children in their households. I am one proud mother in law!

Encourage your families to push for additional education, in any method they can. Learning can come about in many ways, by attending seminars, from watching the learning channels, from reading, from conducting research on line, from staying informed on current affairs. Our youth need to consider higher education more seriously. We cannot overcome our weaknesses as a nation and our lack of overall unity by being ignorant. We all must be educated and teach each other every chance we get. Ignorance breeds contempt and loathing. Be open minded, read, listen to others and teach young people to continue to want to learn. Someone once said the best thing college gives you is a well rounded eduction. The curriculum is designed to do so. A nation of educated peoples will help build a future with promise. Seek education in any form you can get it, with it you gain power and wisdom. Without, you are lost at sea.

9/12/2011

Here the Comes Sun




“Here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right” and she sings gleefully as she spins around and around and then races in a circle as if she is a dog chasing her tail. But it is simply little Ava singing her new favorite song from a movie. The movie has not even ended yet but, in anticipation, she is up already from her seat off the couch, dancing and running in circles singing as loud as can be for all the world to hear about the sun coming out and I can’t help but laugh out loud as she sings “Little darling.” To hear this line sung by a little three year old wearing a shirt that says “Thing 1!” Oh, what would Dr. Seuss have to say about that?

I think this song is just a classic because of what it says. No matter what is going on in the world, what tragedies befall us, the sun will eventually break through. Amen for the sun’s ability to do that. Amen for God willing it to be so.

This weekend was a walk for Autism and we were participating for my grandson Ty. Autism is something that will affect my grandson Ty Ry for the rest of his life and our entire family. It has heightened our awareness keenly of the need of family support systems. We need to be there for Ty and for each other as he journeys through life. How appropriate that on this same weekend we have this walk, my nephew would choose to come to Nashville for the first time ever and participate in this walk. What a beautiful thing to show, even in the years of absence he remembers the bond with his cousin, Mike that he began playing with at about the same age Ty is now. It was also a chance for us meet his son Dominic for the first time.

Dominic had begun living with his father in the past year more often than not. However, I am not sure he really knew much about us, the extended family. So I am certain, when he learned of this trip, he was probably quite nervous, excited and apprehensive also as most little 3rd grade boys would be. We were strangers to him. And yet, he came here shy, full of apprehension and left here after three days, full of smiles, laughing and good memories. He left us with quite a few of him also!

Dominic was forewarned about a little boy with autism who would not be able to interact with him at all. And yet, on Sunday before Dominic left, he marched upstairs to the playroom/family room to say good bye to his cousins. The last person he reached was Ty. Being only 2, and small for his age, Dominic had to bend over at the waist to get closer to Ty's level. It is hard also to get Ty's attention as he is known for being unfocused and not having good eye contact. This day, I saw something amazing between these two boys.

Watching, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dominic lean down and address Ty saying "Hi little buddy, hey there. I am going now and going to miss you Ty. " Ty immediately responded to him by listening. Dominic went on to say,"You are a special little guy and I really like you. I really want to hug you so bad. Can I hug you?” Dominic knew better than to try and risk Ty having a fit so he just stood there staring at Ty expecting nothing. What happened next was simply inspiring. My little grandson threw his arms around Dominic's legs to hug him. And then, as Dominic thanked him, Ty looked up at his face and smiled. It was a special moment representing a special unspoken bond, I could see it clearly. I looked over at Dominic and said “I can’t believe what I just saw.” He played it down and just said that it was nothing. "Me and the little guy just hit it off."


A short time later, I watched my sister’s car pull away with my nephew and his son Dominic in the car heading home to another state. I hoped and prayed they would be back sooner rather than later. I felt that these two boys, perhaps, needed each other. There was something divine I had witnessed. It is in the small moments of life that God reveals Himself and His ability to draw folks towards each other. He put these two together at that precise moment in time. How he would use a little boy like Dominic to touch a little boy like Ty is something even I can’t even begin to understand. But I do know that Dominic will never ever forget Ty. My grandson has touched him, I could see it in his eyes.

As I walked back upstairs to Ava, I was met with another chorus of “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun…” and I could not help but wonder if these two boys were possibly the sun for each other. I know for me, I saw something far greater than the sun come out that day.

9/06/2011

Solo Time


My doggie lost his privileges. We picked him up from boarding school, better known as doggie camp and the usual report card accompanied him. Unlike past stays when we received a stellar report, this report card one was loaded with comments about his apparent need to dominate members of the opposite sex. In fact, he was indiscriminate in his tastes. I chose to think my dog embraces diversity.

This type of behavior by Charley was strongly dealt with when he was in obedience training years ago when he was just a young pup. Even then, he had this overwhelming urge to let everyone know in the class who was boss. And it most definitely, most evenings was not the person holding the leash. Unless the leash holder was the top trainer leading the class, who whipped the collar with no mercy. She could snap that chain with her wrist and bring our 100 lb lab to his knees screaming, in doggie language, “Uncle!” But as soon as the leash was handed to us, the best we could do was throw Cheerios at him! This was our feeble attempt to get him to listen to our commands of “No humping Charley” followed by “We do not sniff other dogs butts Charley!” No amount of Cheerios in the course of the evening seemed to dissuade him from this beastly behavior and make him act like a boy we could be proud of.

Fast forward to today. We pay extra to have Charley attend Pal Time when we go out of town and board him. We want him to have play time with other dogs so that he does not spend 24/7 in a cage when he is use to having the run of our house. The only other time he gets out of the cage is to urinate if he was not granted play time. Granted we always request the suite for Charley. I mean he is worthy of deluxe accommodations, naturally, because of his large stature. Hence his cage is a mere 8 x 8 foot cage, larger than some prison cells, I dare say, complete with TV in the cell block tuned in and playing to the Animal Channel for his viewing enjoyment during his stay. He even has a doggie bed. Unfortunately, the doggie bed is made for more of a doggie about the size of a cocker spaniel, thus, it only accommodates Charley’s head and possibly his front paw.

In the past, Charley has gotten to enjoy Pal Time every day. We have the bills to proof it! He spends a few hours with a few other dogs his size just playing out in the fenced area wearing himself and the other canines out. This is his social hour and the time for him and the other dogs to network and make connections, and build friendships. Charley has made several along the way. His trainers have been good about keeping us posted on his friendships that have developed during his stays there. We have received comments on the report cards such as , Charley and Peter the Poodle hit it off real well this visit or Charley and the Golden Retriever Lucky had a gay ole time indicating this lab was possibly male also.

Imagine our surprise then, when this week, after four years of visits there, things have permanently changed, and not for the better! He was picked up and the report card that accompanied our dog/child was a bad report. It felt like our son flunked a grade after making straight A’s all the way through. It came with no warning. There was no change in his behavior either,preceding this report to indicate a change was coming. He was not acting moody, depressed,or more barky. But yet, right there on the report, in pen was clearly written, “Charley is no longer allowed to attend Pal Time during his stays here at My Second Home.” Not a word was said when he was picked up to us. We were simply told here is good old Charley and here is your bill and we loved having him. Perhaps they were concerned Charley would be embarrassed if behavior issues were addressed in the lobby with other parents in the area to overhear and other play mates of his But, I would have preferred some advance notice, a parent/trainer conference would have been nice!

Forgo the formalities, the time of subtleties is gone. The verbiage on the report was not left to the imagination at all! It painted a very clear picture. Our dog had routinely, during Pal Time, insisted on trying to mount all his other play mates. This was considered unacceptable behavior. In fact, I think it might possibly be grounds for sexual harassment of the other guests. Forget the fact these are dogs, humping is not allowed. It was stated that our dog could get hurt by humping other dogs. Somehow our 100 lb dog might hurt himself doing what dogs do naturally. Apparently, even with the one on one trainers that are assigned to each dog that boards, restraining Charley from this behavior is too hard to do. On the good side, there was no mention of him trying to mount any 2 legged characters in the camp. God knows how that would have turned out or what would have been stated on his report card had that occurred. Charley could have been banished for life from doggie camp! Imagine his disappointment!


So it is with deep regret that we are faced with yet another setback in our life with Charley, he has been barred from Pal Time at My Second Home now. He is only permitted Solo Time where he can get out and roam the grounds all on his own but with no one to play with. I am disappointed for him because I know he will lonely and will wonder why he is being ostracized like Rudolph at camp. I am disappointed for the other doggies also for their loss because he is a loveable dog that I think other dogs will miss playing with because he is a character. No longer will there be a chance for their report cards to say what probably many have said in the past, “Made a great friend with a lab named Charley this stay.”

9/02/2011

God's Angels May Be Your Friends




Some friends come into our life and are just passing through. They are like ships that come into the harbor. You hear them in the distance, and see them through the fog. If you stand on a dock, you can get a better glimpse of their majesty and be touched for a moment in time. Then, you turn and walk away to go on with the rest of your day or your life with a wonderful memory.

Then, there are other friends, oh they are the very few and far between. These are the ones that make up friendships that are lasting, bonding, and withstand the test of time. These are the friendships that endure the test and trials of our lives. I like to think these are handpicked individuals God has interwoven into the fabric of our life knowing that, to reach our full potential, we must have these people as part of our chosen circle.

Both types of friends are indeed blessings.

Last night we gathered for a dear friend’s good bye party. A group of women that meets periodically of cancer survivors has become quite close over the years. We all met during recovery, which for anyone who has never experienced cancer, it is an ongoing process, in actuality. Patty came into all our lives seeming to be like a beautiful rose that never saw its own beauty. We immediately sensed in her a soft delicate soul, a woman with a heart of gold and spirit so vivacious that, when unleashed, we knew she would be a force to be reckoned with! Without a shadow of a doubt, not one of us ever doubted why God chose her to be a survivor! She is undeniably blessed.

When I sat down to try to write something today about Patty, words escaped me. To try to capture Patty in mere prose is impossible. She has a spirit that is uniquely Patty. She has an energy that flows out of her being and she is like a magnet that draws people near her but yet, she is the type of woman that never really seems to sense those qualities about her, always remaining humble with humility. She never really sees, either, how beautiful she looks to the rest of us gazing back at her.

Her life has forever been changed by cancer. I think it was only fitting that she is clearly seen in Martina McBride’s latest video with her husband, so the world can see what those of us that call her friend see. PattyMac is the face of women everywhere that have battled breast cancer and won. Patty is a fighter and victorious, but it is a hard won fight!

And now, with happiness and sadness, as with all changes in life, is the time for her to move on and turn the pages of her life and start a new chapter. So, with mixed feelings last night, we met Patty and her husband Paul for dinner to commemorate our wonderful friendships. She will soon leave her residence of our Volunteer state with her dear husband Paul. But, it is with sheer gladness we celebrate that God has a strong hand on her shoulder. We know His design must surely be to move our dear friend forward away from a place that brought her so much sadness and yet so much growth and understanding about life. Patty is moving out of a place of darkness, into the light of His love and He is taking her and her soul mate Paul back home. May we all learn to trust in God that the path He takes us on will surely take us where we need to go.

Some friendships last forever, some will fade away. But all will serve a purpose. The distance is far but we are always near where it counts! We love you Patty, now and ever more.