Prov. 31:25

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

Hi! My name is Jenny. I have been married to my best friend for 33 years, I have two wonderful children and on June 30, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am determined to get well and I know that with the strength my Lord provides and the love and support of my family and friends, that will happen. The road to healing is a difficult one… however I strive to be thankful for the blessings I have, to find joy in every day and maybe in some small way be a blessing to those I come in contact with. The support and encouragement that I find on this blog makes my heart smile and helps me to realize that I am not alone. All of you are so much appreciated and help me more than you will ever know. So thanks for stopping by....if you would like please leave a comment after my post....I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

And The Greatest of These is Love…..

Hello Dear Friends,

Scott's Confirmation

Scott's High School Graduation

Did I Mention She Could Draw?

Welcome back to my blog. I cannot even believe it has been almost 5 months since I have posted. The last time I posted we were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and now Spring has arrived. To be honest a lot has happened during these last 5 months. My Mother~in~Law needed me during this time and I gladly stepped in to care for her as she battled Pancreatic Cancer. I am still battling cancer of my own so between my battle and hers I had little energy left to do anything else. And that is ok…. because I loved her, she needed me and I was there and there was no place else I would have even wanted to be. You see my Mother~in ~Law was a very special part of our family, she was a cherished Mother and beloved Grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and to many a dear friend. Last Sunday, May 6th, she changed her address to Heaven and I know she is in the presence of Jesus right now and to me that is an amazing thought! Yet even as I rejoice that she is free from pain and suffering, that she is with our Lord and Savior, that she has been reunited with loved ones who have gone on before her and that maybe now she has finally met her biblical hero Noah,  if the truth be told I am feeling sad, very sad, and I miss the woman that I have called Mom for over 33 years. So feel free to pour yourself a cup of coffee ( oh how she loved coffee) and share a simple moment or two with me as I remember this woman who has taught me so much and welcomed me into her family not so very long ago.

Her name was Patricia but to Scott and I she was Mom, to Andrew and Emily she was Grandma, to her sister she was Patty ( and believe it or not I just learned this these last few weeks…lol) and to her friends she was Pat. I remember the first time I met her. Scott and I were still at college and she had driven up to help him drive his belongings home for our summer break. We went out to lunch, had a nice visit and as I stood waving good-bye to Scott and his mom I remember thinking “ I don’t think I am exactly the girl that his mom hoped he would fall in love with.” LOL! For you see, it was just Scott and his mom. She had raised him all alone and she had done a wonderful job. They both loved the mountains and camping and fishing in the lakes of those mountains was a favorite pastime. They were also very athletic! Pat was a great bowler and had won many awards for her skill, both she and Scott loved to play golf and during the summer months they could be found cheering on their San Diego Padres both at home and at the stadium, and when Fall came around the San Diego Chargers took the front seat and football was life! And then along came Jenny…. who loved the beach, walking along the shoreline and collecting shells. She wasn’t all that thrilled about camping and “breaking up fish families” as she lovingly called it, she was happiest sewing on a quilt, stitching a sampler, crocheting and reading one wonderful book after another. And she was from Los Angeles……the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego’s biggest rivals during baseball season. Oh my! You know what? It all turned out just fine. Our mutual love for her son brought us together and I learned so much from her. I learned that spaghetti sauce doesn’t have to come out of a jar, you can make pancakes from potatoes and they are absolutely delicious served with polish sausage and applesauce, a lake is just as beautiful as the ocean and relaxing with a good book while they fished was just as enjoyable, flowers no matter where you live makes a house a home and tending them and watching them grow is a wonderful pastime, it was just as much fun to cheer on the Padres as it was the Dodgers and on cool, Fall evenings, on our weekends home to San Diego, it was particularly cozy to watch the Chargers and stitch a sampler or quilt during the game! Love! We were growing as a family and while this was happening I noticed something else. She treasured the little sampler I made for her, she adored the sweatshirt that I had cross-stitched darling little seals on and the granny square afghan that I crocheted for her in her favorite fall colors? She used that every day of her life! Love!

Now here I was thinking that everything was going along just fine! And then I had Andrew and 3 ½ years later I had Emily and things got even better because being a Grandma was COOL! Oh my goodness showing off her grandchildren to her church friends and golfing buddies was even better then Charger football! And it even got more exciting because as our children grew they loved sports!!!! We started with miniature golf and soon advanced to Little League, soccer, horseback riding and bowling! I treasure the memories of her and I sitting side by side cheering on one child or another, laughing, sharing stories about when Scott was a little boy and played Little League and would win free pizzas for dinner every time he hit a home run! The day she gave me his Little League uniform was a special day in my memory book…. And yes I still have it! We started attending Padre games with the kids and oh the fun we had with Grandma cheering right beside us! She bought Andrew his first Charger sweatshirt and he still has it to this day! Emily has a few stuffed animals wearing a Padre T-shirt, thanks to Grandma…lol! She was so very proud of her grandchildren!  Love!

The years crept by, the children grew up, but we were still a very close family enjoying simple pleasures that Pat had shared with us. Christmas, birthdays, feeding the ducks at the lake all become extra special to us now. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer she was there encouraging not only me but Scott as well every step of the way. I remember coming home from an emergency room visit and calling her to let her know I was ok and she just started crying, so thankful just to hear my voice and share a minute with me. Love! Do you remember the wooden hearts and pink bracelets we sent out to family and friends when I first learned I had breast cancer? She wore that bracelet every single day until a few days before she passed away. Every single day she would look at that bracelet and pray for me! Love!

Christmas came and went this past year and Pat was not feeling well. She didn’t have much of an appetite and she was saying that she had pain in her stomach. We went from one doctor’s appointment to the other, one test and then another all the while her symptoms getting a little worse each day. Worry became a constant companion and soon the mass on her pancreas was discovered. I cried…. she was strong. She was determined to fight, to try and beat this awful thing that had come to live in her body. More bad news… it had metastasized and there was nothing that could be done! There were more tears and then determination. I was going to be there for every minute, for every day, for every memory that she had left. She was not going to battle this alone….our family would rally together and care for her and make whatever time she had left on this side of Heaven full of love. I have many priceless memories of our time together these past weeks but two memories I hold especially dear. It was Good Friday and I was spending the day with Pat. Scott and Andrew had to go out of town so it was “just us girls.” The pain was really bad that day and she was just so very sick so I made the decision to call an ambulance and get her to the hospital. I rode in the ambulance with her, stayed with her through everything and just held her hand and prayed. The doctors let her go home later that evening and she was feeling better because her medications had been adjusted. When we arrived back at her house I got her settled back in her bedroom and asked if she wanted anything to eat. Cold cereal was her answer so cereal it would be for dinner. Her and I sat side by side on the edge of her bed eating honey nut cheerios and she told me how thankful she was to have had me in her life all these years, how thankful she was for all I had done to help make her feel better and most importantly to tell me how much she loved me! Later that week she would be back in the hospital only coming home under hospice care.

I have had the privilege to call this woman Mom for over 33 years and even in her last weeks here on this earth she continued to teach me things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We talked a lot during this time and probably became closer than we had ever been before. She didn’t want to leave us and we certainly were not ready to let her go. She shared with me how worried she was about leaving Scott. After all he is her baby and always will be. I promised her that I will always love her son, that I will be there every step of the way to make sure that he is ok, that I will cherish him forever and that even though I could never in a million years take her place I would be there with love! Forever! But I needed her to do something for me as well. You see Scott and I have a baby up in Heaven, a baby that I wanted her to love and cherish for me. So with tears spilling down both our cheeks we promised each other that we would watch over and care for the babies that mean so much to us, the ones we hold close to our hearts, until someday when we all will be together in Heaven!

The days became harder. She was still in pain and often confused. She slept more and didn’t always know we were there. But we were there anyway….talking to her, caring for her and loving her. Love! The most important gift that we have! The most important gift we can give! As her time on earth was coming to an end we noticed something. She couldn’t use her smart phone anymore, she couldn’t move around her house, she couldn’t drive her car or pick out her own clothes and she couldn’t wear her jewelry because it was too heavy. And none of it was important. The only thing left that she could do was love her family and she did that very well. With every hug, with every smile, with every conversation, with every squeeze of the hand she gave love and received love! I remember the last time she told me that she loved me….a treasured memory for always….to carry in my heart. And the greatest of these is love! And so it is!

She entered Heaven early on Sunday morning…. just in time for church we say! On Monday Scott gave me an early Mother’s Day present. He gave me her gold locket, in the shape of a heart. I feel the need to keep this locket close to me now, as a way to keep her close to me. I was not ready to let her go and I still need that little something to hold on too. I know I really don’t need to carry it with me because she is in my heart where she has always been but for now it brings me comfort. Every time I look at this locket I feel her love and I am so thankful for every second of every minute of every day that I was able to spend with her and call her mom.

And the greatest of these is love! And so it is!

This Sunday we will be celebrating Mother’s Day here in the USA. I am not sure what my family will be doing on that day but I do know this. Whatever we decide to do we will all carry Pat with us in our hearts. We will talk about her life and how blessed we were to have her in our lives. We will express to each other how much we miss her and I am sure we will all cry… as we have been doing all week. Because if the truth be told we never have enough time with the people that we love and our time with her was just too short. There is a piece of our hearts that are in Heaven now and someday that empty place will be filled, after we are together again in Heaven. You know what I wish? I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven, I wish for one more hug, one more conversation and one more I love you. I know one day that will happen but until then……

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you and miss you more then you will ever know but this is not good-bye….this is just see you later! I will see you again someday and what a reunion that will be!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

.....And That Today We Are Together

Hello my Friends and Happy Fall! I hope as you read this latest post you are doing well and that you are enjoying some lovely Fall weather where you are!

I love all the seasons but to be honest Fall is my favorite! I remember the year that Scott and I moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and the first time I saw the magnificent colors of the leaves as they changed. I remember driving down country roads and being surrounded by absolute brilliance….the beautiful colors of these tall, majestic trees. I had never seen anything like that and I was so very impressed by the artwork of God! The cooler temperatures, the smell of wood fires burning in peoples fireplaces, the wonderful cozy feeling of drinking hot chocolate while watching the leaves as they blew gently down to the ground. I remember the pumpkins sitting on front porches surrounded by the leaves as they fell. I can to this day still hear the “ crunch, crunch” as we walked over these leaves while attending Fall Festivals and buying delicious apples to take home and bake into a pie or fruit crisp! I cherish these memories and I think that is why I have always loved this sampler! It brings to mind all those happy Fall days and every time I look at this sampler I smile!

This week here in the United States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. We will be setting aside this day to give thanks for the many blessings that we have been given and for all of the people in our lives. To be honest I don’t want to wait until Thursday to tell all of you how special you are to me and how very thankful I am to have each and every one of you in my life.  You have touched my life in a very special way whether I have known you for just a few weeks or all of my life! I am so thankful for all the joy you have given, for all the smiles and tears that we have shared, for the memories we have made and the small moments that have made each day more special. Each and every one of you have helped me through this journey and I am forever grateful for that wonderful gift!

But why today you might ask? Well I think my answer encompasses a lot of things. First and foremost it is because I am truly grateful for all of you! I have tried to let the people that I love know that I love them a lot! I have tried to do this all of my life not just since I was diagnosed with cancer and began my journey to live. Life is a precious, beautiful gift that we have been given and I try really hard to live each day with LOVE because that to me is what is most important! To simply love! I do not accomplish this every day….I think most days I fail….but I try and my prayer each morning is that I can be a blessing to someone today. Most days I am given so much love….from my husband, my children, my extended family and my friends and my prayer is that I share that love with all of you! That is important to me.

Today I said good-by to a friend of mine. We met in the chemo room just a few short weeks ago! We laughed and visited and formed a friendship. We shared a little bit about our journey, we laughed over the trials of losing our hair, we talked about our fears and our favorite childhood books but most of all we just talked about us and how much we wanted to win this battle. Kim may be losing her battle but my friends she will win the war because she will live on in the memories of her family, her friends and me!  She reached out a hand of friendship that day and I will be forever grateful for the way to short but oh so special small moments we had! I am so thankful for the time we did have and I am so thankful to realize yet again how each and every day does count! No day is ever wasted, no smile is ever meaningless and no act of kindness, however small it might seem, is ever worthless! Love does matter….Love does count…and when it comes right down to it….Love is what is so very important.

And so my friends….let us take one more look at the sampler that I love. The last line has always been my favorite…. And today, just for a few moments as we share a small moment on this blog, I am so very thankful because “ today we are together” and life doesn’t get any better than that!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy!

Love and hugs to all of you!

Love, Jenny

Monday, July 10, 2017

Just A Moment

Hello my dear friends. I know you are probably very surprised to see another post from me! Shocked might even better describe what you are feeling…LOL…but I hope you can take a deep breath….there aren’t we feeling better already?….maybe have something cool to drink if it is hot where you are….and believe me it has been HOT where I live….and share a simple, quiet moment with me. I so enjoy your company. Are we ready? Ok then here we go……turn on the music, scroll down through the pictures and Carolien? If you are like me you might need a tissue or two….winks.

One of my very favorite quotes states that “ Time is not measured by clocks but by moments.” I have always believed that the simple little moments, the big moments, the sad moments, the happy moments and the moments filled with love are what make up our lives, help define who we are and give us lasting memories that last a lifetime. I treasure all the moments that I can spend with those I love, and I love to remember them at later times. Last night I had just such a moment. It was completely unexpected, one that actually took my breath away and made my heart smile. It was just a quick little moment, probably going unnoticed by the others in the room, yet to me it was so very special. It was early evening, the sun had not quite set yet, but its hues were the soft darker colors, you know, the ones where it looks almost golden, like it is tucking in our little corner of the world all safe and cozy before it goes and shines brightly on the other side of the world. The air conditioner was still on because it has been so very hot here these past few weeks, dinner was simmering in the crock-pot, the smell of fresh baked bread and lemon cupcakes still lingered in the air, and if you happened to open the door you would smell the beautiful smell of freshly cut grass, because that is what Scott and Andrew had been doing. Andrew was taking a short break before he went out to finish up the front grass and was visiting with me. Tiffany our white, orange and grey calico cat started playing the funniest game and we were laughing so hard. We called Emily in to watch and she started laughing as well and she was smiling and at that very moment as I was watching her it was as if God reached down and very gently pulled the veil aside and what I saw was this beautiful young woman, who is so very special to me, who brings so much joy to so many people’s lives and all of a sudden I knew how blessed I was to have her as my daughter! My daughter! What a precious, no words could ever express, gift!

Emily was born in the spring of 1995! It was such a beautiful time of year with the flowers blooming, the grass and hills all green, little birds singing in the trees and a new baby sleeping in her cradle at our house. She was Daddy’s Little Girl and Mommy’s Little Pooh Bear and Andrew’s Little Playmate right from the start. She was an easy going baby who slept well, ate well and adjusted to our busy lives. She smiled first for her Daddy which brought tears to his eyes and always needed to have Mommy around or , you guessed it, the crying would begin! She would laugh at Andrew, love to read stories and loved to hear music playing. She loved to be rocked to sleep and “You are My Sunshine”, “ Hush Little Baby” , “This Little Girl Of Mine” and I Love You from Barney were her favorite lullaby’s. She cherished the white blankie that I made for her and she had to carry two pacifiers with her at all times. She took her first steps on her first birthday, going to see the balloons, and she loved to give “backward hugs!” As she grew she loved to play with her dolls, whenever we had to drive somewhere we had to wait until her “kids” were buckled in too…grins…and keeping up with Andrew was her only goal every day! She loved to do art projects which she proudly shared with me, just ask her about her cow head someday…lol…she loved to have stories read to her on our white bench, play with her little friends, and oh what a great day it was if we went to McDonald's for chicken nuggets! Before I could turn around she was riding a horse like she was born in the saddle, loving to play soccer but don’t be deceived….she could and still can hit a softball like you would never believe…just ask Scott who has had two pairs of sunglasses broken and has had to duck quickly to avoid being hit while pitching to her! All you have to say is “Blue Jay” to make her double over with laughter and if you are ever looking for Emily just follow the music playing. She makes the most beautiful jewelry and plays the guitar effortlessly….she is such a natural with music! She loves animals and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she lives on a ranch some day .  She is very artistic and can draw and paint just like her Dad! She loves the beach and everything having to do with it…just like her mom…coffee at Starbucks is a Father Daughter tradition and she has been spoiling us all with all the lovely baking she does! Emily is smart , has a wonderful sense of humor, and most importantly she shines brightly, every day for our Lord! She has seen me through this journey with love and I never would have made it this far without her love and support! Looking into my daughter’s eyes I see strength and she has shared that strength with me, I see hope and she has in turn shared that hope with me and given me a reason to keep on believing, to believe that tomorrow will be better, that dreams do come true.  She loves without holding back and because of her I am the woman I am today!  She is an amazing young woman who I am so very blessed to call not only my daughter but my friend! I love you to the moon and back a zillion times and then some, Emily and I always, always will! So just keep on dreaming, singing your song to the world and loving all who you come in contact with! You make this world a better place, dear Emily, and you certainly make our corner of the world brighter and filled with more happiness and joy then we could ever have imagined! Thank you for every hug, every kindness and every bit of laughter that you have shared not only with us but with all you know! You are truly a gift from God!
Love~ Mom

I just thought you might enjoy seeing some of our family pictures and getting to know my daughter a little better! I for one am smiling from ear to ear!

~A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous~

Love, Jenny