Happy Birthday, Joell!

Today is a very special day in our family. Our oldest grandson, Joell, turns twelve today. It is so hard to believe! He is in sixth grade, which is middle school where he lives in Maryland. We visited in May, 2019, and were present for his Promotion Ceremony from elementary school to middle chool. He has attended a Spanish Immersion program since first grade, and the school is pretty amazing. He will continue the SI program until he graduates from high school, I believe. His mother’s family is Puerto Rican, so it is good that he can practice the language with his mother and some relatives.

No More Elementary School for This Guy.

I hope Joell realizes how special he is to us. We talk about you a lot at our home. We are getting better at texting you and communicating since you now have a phone # of your very own. We love you for a lot of reasons, one being your big heart, so full of love.

You have been taught to share from a young age. Sometimes, when we have been visiting you for Thanksgiving/your birthday, we have seen your parents take boxes of hot meals they have shared from our dinner table to downtown Washington DC and you have helped give them away to the homeless. You were with your Mama on Thursdays to deliver Meals on Wheels. You saw many older people who were lonely and couldn’t afford nourishing meals. You and your mama took food to them and visited them. You helped them be less lonely. You think about other peoples’ feelings. You are a generous young man. I remember when you, your parents, cousin Addison, Grandpa and me, and Shucks from South Dakota went to Puerto Rico.

You were happy to show cousin Addison the places your family loves in Old San Juan. You and Addison posed for photos at the ruins there, and flew kites as your mama did as a little girl when she visited her Grandma who still lived there. And when you and Addison came upon the man who sold ice cream from a cart on the street, you pulled out your wallet so you could treat your cousin. What a generous soul!

Through the years, we have seen you have parties with your school friends, and were happy with all the good friends you have made. You will continue to be a good friend to many people who will continue to meet and get to know. It’s part of a balanced life. Your parents have taken great pride in making sure you learned from an early age about the important things. Family. Friends. Faith.

Last Day of Safety Patrol, May, 2019

You are an accomplished world traveler! You have been many, many more places than some adults have been in your life. You and your family were in Hawaii for a couple of Christmas’, have traveled to Europe and seen good and bad parts of world history. The beauty of Rome and the horror of Auschwitz have made impressions in your young mind. You are curious about things like this, and make it a point to learn the lessons the world needs to learn about such events. You have learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and saw where many of the slaves crossed into Canada. Your experiences have been very rich, thanks to your parents. What a lucky young man!

At the Vietnam Wall, Summer, 2019. You are helping your Grandpa heal.

Your dad took this photograph at you and Grandpa at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, his summer. It is a perfect reflection of the two of you, a first and third generation of males of this family, and signifies your importance in Grandpa’s heart, and mine too. You can learn about Grandpa by knowing what experiences he has had in life, just as we learn about you by going to swim classes and competitions with you. You are an incredible swimmer! It’s something I never learned because I was too scared. You have mastered something that is a real accomplishment.

One day, we hope we can all go on a trip through South Dakota, so you may learn about the family and surroundings Grandpa Dan had as a boy your age. We look forward to spending more time with you, and would love to show you Mount Rushmore, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life. The Black Hills played a huge part in Grandpa’s life. We’d love to show it to you. Great camping, but we will probably stay at a motel. I think our camping in a tent days are over. Yours are just beginning. You have been to many National Parks in your area, which is rich in history and stories.

So Happy Birthday, Joell. We hope you have a year as incredible as you are to us, and that Grandpa gets better so we can visit again. He is feeling much better, thank you. Don’t forget how much we love you, and remember, you can text or call us, too!! Love you, Grandpa Dan and Miss Kathy.

To my regular readers, I hope you remember the $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Like the post, comment on the blog, you can have two entries per day during the month of November. If you haven’t read all the blogs, catch up during the Thanksgiving Days off! Read while you’re in the Black Friday shopping lines. I’ll be cozy at home, writing. Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow!!

The Day After

Yesterday, my adrenaline must have been excessively high. Today, I’m wiped out, but very happy inside. The family wedding was beautiful. In the words of my late Aunt Carol, ” It’s just so fun to see a young couple so in love with each other, who have plans for their life together.”

Yes, it is. I had a blast sitting with my brother, eating cake and drinking ice water, watching the crowd of friends and relatives. Dan wasn’t feeling up to attending, so he stayed home.

The girls and young women who appeared single were belting out magical, love charged songs. You could tell they were wanting what they were singing about.

There were very few young men actively dancing. One young black fellow could really move with the groove of the music. The others were standing about talking, some were in line at the bar. My brother is going to take dancing lessons when he feels ready to meet some ladies again.

I have to say, he is a catch. Good job, devoted, reliable, gentleman (like our dad), and an all around good man. He lost his wife to oral cancer. We could feel her presence last night. He misses her terribly, and I do too. He finished raising her youngest two sons after her death, and he haalways been so good with all four of them.

Yes, I’m a bragging big sister. More than that though, he is a very good friend. I used to help our mom with him when he was a toddler. Yes, he was the pesty brother I wanted to make vanish when I was in high school, but no matter what, we would always be friends. And it’s such a gift.

Sitting with him at midnight at his wife’s bedside, we had some very deep discussions. I was honored he shared his thoughts with me. As I reached for his hand, I remember thinking, “when did he get into our dad’s hands??”.

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Since that night, I’ve many times felt him reaching out to care for me. Life has taken us both to the place where I may need his help some day. We share a strange sense of humor, and many folks may not understand, but we are family. I tease him and tell him, “You’re the sister I never had!” Well, at least I had my own room!

Tim, left, Don, right.
My brother and nephew.

As unhappy as I was when he was born, I’m so very happy to have this great guy for my baby brother.

Hope you all had a good Saturday! Leave a comment, like my post and follow my page. I’ll enter you in my giveaway. $50 Visa Card Giveaway. Drawing held Dec 1, 2019.

A Wedding Kind of Friday

Looking forward to going to a wedding later today. My nephew Don Kraft is marrying Carrie Grinnell. I would be correct in saying she is the love of his life. They have known each other since high school.

When Don’s mother died of oral cancer, it was a few days before Don’s birthday. She didn’t make it to his high school graduation because she had a terrible bout of being very ill that day. Don never complained, or acted out because of that. He just made his life plans, and set about completing them. And boy, did he have plans. And perfect execution. He deserves all the great things that come to him.

After starting at UNO, Don entered the USAF shortly thereafter. Talk about a man with a plan! He has always been a fabulous student, every teacher’s dream I would think. He planned to commit to the Air Force and planned to have them pay for his schooling later on. And after leaving the service of our country, he went to nursing school. He excelled at all of it. He had a very good reason and inspiration to go into nursing. His mother, Laura. His mom fought hard against a cancer that plagued her family. There is no better profession for a man like Don. He is very caring, attentive, and acts purposely. He gathers information, assesses, and makes a plan of action.

Don (right), what a great experience for him.

And so today, after waiting for each other since high school, after each becoming successful people in their own areas of expertise, after getting a house, planning their future, and working together, he is going to marry Carrie. After all, he proposed in Italy last year, where they went on holiday. You can bet he had it all planned out.

Carrie and Don. Congratulations!

Don and Carrie, Dan and I wish you every wonderful thing in life that you can imagine, and plan for. You will weather the bad things, you already have. The whole family is happy for you, and know you will be best friends forever, and an example for young or old people. Seriously. Keep loving each other more every day. The rest will come in it’s due time.

Much love,

Aunt Kathy

In Sickness and in Health

For everyone who takes these vows, many are young and vibrant, some are mid-life and still doing well. And then there are those of us, who in middle age, meet and marry the loves of our lives but . . .

But we know full well that both our spouse and ourselves have some health issues that may loom at any moment.

The happiest day ever. Still an honor to be this guy’s wife.

For us, Dan has ischemic heart disease. That comes with a lot of ups and downs. By the grace of God, he has not had a heart attack.

What he has had is a roller coaster of procedures and scares. What WE have had. We are equals and partners. We are here for each other no matter what. Much easier said than done.

Two weeks ago, Dan had a heart cath to see if he had any blockages since the quad bypass five years ago. No blockages, yay!

However, two weeks later, after too much tenderness at the site he returned to the doctor. Ultrasound reveals a psuedo aneurysm. Since the site was bleeding internally, it required surgery to get the bleeding stopped and clean out the area. More recovering for a guy who’s already been through the mill.

Last summer, he had a stroke followed by an left carototid endarterectomy. That was very scary. His stroke was at the base of the brain, causing a visual field blackout. This healed and recovered about 95%, so he can drive again.

It’s been one thing after another, and men may have less patience to recover. Their pride is hurt. They are slower to admit they’re scared or apprehensive. They may not want to be patient while recovering. They may be so angry they’re not 100%, a normally upbeat person could become a crabby old curmudgeon. It happens.

That’s where that vow comes in. A little complaining is normal, but no one can be verbally abusive and be normal. Abuse is never acceptable. Ever. A reminder is in order about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Encouragement and positive reinforcement of the patient to recover is vital. It’s exhausting for the caregiver. Take care of yourself. You cannot give when you are tapped out. Take time out for you.

It’s not all been Dan’s issues. I’ve had a bunch. Orthopedic, cancer, a lesion on my spinal cord in the neck area that could have been MS but wasn’t, and he has given care beyond what I could hope for.

We’re good together. I’m praying it will go on for a very long time.

He’s only a dancer once in awhile.

Thank you for reading. I’d love your comments, we can encourage you as well. That’s why we are all here, to be kind to each other, and help each other, within respectable boundaries. Have a happy Wednesday!

Eye of the Beholder

Dan and I have loved this little old couple since before we got married in 1998. We were still relatively young, 46 and 48. And poof! Here we are now, 67 and 69.

We have lumpy, bumpy bodies that ache where we never knew existed, one of us doesn’t hear too well (ahem!), neither of us see that great (but cataract surgery helped greatly), sometimes young drivers get impatient following us (they have a lot to learn), and we don’t have to hurry to get anywhere.

Nothing is too urgent anymore except health issues, we have learned the fine art of spending time together while not doing a lot, and we love spending time with our kids and grandkids. Money cannot buy any of that because it is all priceless.

Best friends and love of each other’s lives.

I’m thinking a lot about my grandmother’s now. Grandma Bobell kind of always smelled like cigarette smoke and Grandma Jewell always smelled fresh and clean. Grandma Bobell knew a lot about many things she learned by reading and doing. She taught me to sew by hand. Grandma Jewell was very aware of the world and the vast changes that happened during the 97 years of her lifetime. She is the person who is most beautiful to me. Her spirit was strong and gentle.

She loved her children fiercely. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren gave her great delight. Her deep faith in God carried through the years. She was crushed when my dad, her oldest child, died of cancer when she was 95. He was only 64. I’ll never forget her words when she found out Dad died. “This is the worst shock of my life”. Nothing else can be said after that.

I can only pray that I never lose an adult child. I nearly did, a son drowned and his brother had a burst appendix. I still thank God every day that they both survived and we’re normal in every way. Yes, life would have gone on, but it would never be the same. A sister in law lost a toddler and an adult son. That was so devastating to her family. Prayers continue for her family.

You have no choice in circumstances like that. You just go on, it’s never up to you. Still, it has to take more than we can imagine just to get out of bed after losses like that.

Hug your kids, be they toddlers or adults. Hug your spouses, sisters and brothers. The ones that are your people need you in their lives, too. Be there for one another. And be kind.

Who is/are your favorite older people?? What makes them so? Leave comments, please, along with a like. Come back again. Thank you for reading.

The last few days

After writing a blog every day for 32 days, I played hookey the last three days.

Wednesday was our twenty first wedding anniversary. Lots of beautiful memories and challenges along the way. We went out to dinner and had a nice, quiet time.

October 3, 1998

We were in our 40’s when we found each other, and were married a couple of years later. We are perfect for each other. If everyone could feel this level of contentment and respect, I think there would be more happy marriages.

Oh I’m not saying we don’t have issues. We do. Lots of times. And we talk. We both know which battles to pursue. Many little ones aren’t worth the fight and we learn the art if compromise.

I used to look at compromise as having to give in or give up. I was very wrong about that. It is the art of working together for the best outcome. It’s what the partnership of marriage is built on. It doesn’t allow for a dictator to rule on everything, although some are like that. Not a good idea.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

Despite trials like heart disease, cancer, broken bones, loss, paying off debts, and early retirement, we are so grateful and blessed. I am so looking forward to the next twenty one years!

Have a beautiful Saturday. Let me know what you’re up to while I’ve been playing hookey. Take some time to comment. And don’t forget to like my blog. It helps with the stats I’m supposed to be looking at.