Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the Midst Of An Ongoing Miracle

Hazel sitting up nice and tall.
This picture was taken 8 days post op.  

Some of you readers have known of Hazel's story since before she was born.  For those of you that are new you can read it here if so inclined.  Hazel's Story    The post from 2009 has some cute photos of her when she was very little.

Nine days ago she had the first of her surgeries to improve her posture due to severe curvature of the spine caused by Spina Bifada.  The surgery is called a VEPTR surgery (Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib).  This device is used over time to separate and lift her ribs and straighten her up.  It is in some ways comparable to Orthodontics.  In six months she will have another surgery to crank her ribs open a little more.  This will be repeated as necessary every six months until the desired effect is achieved and she no longer has undue pressure on her right lung.  From the days I worked in surgery I know that titanium is the only metal that does not cause scar tissue to form at the connection between the metal and the bone.  Thus it has the least likely chance of rejection.  It is a rare surgery but the hospital has a surgeon who specializes in the procedure.  That in itself is a miracle.  It helps to live within a few minutes now of the one of the best Children's Hospitals in the nation.

This is an x-ray of another patient who has had this procedure done.

This was a very serious and invasive surgery for a little girl weighing 32 pounds as of today. She's just barely seven years old.  Jen said they haven't actually measured her yet but we know she's a couple of inches taller already.  She was around 33 inches tall before the surgery last week. Maybe she'll hit three feet!

When her sisters and Grampa got to visit on day three,  
she was one happy little girl. 
Grampa snapped this picture.

Of course her Mom or Dad was with her all the time both day and night. Grampa was going to take a night shift on Friday but she got to come home that afternoon.   So he was spared from "sleeping" on those unlovely hospital chairs that supposedly convert into a "bed".  Oh, Jim just corrected that for me.  They actually had a better bed than the last time I was there.  Still it is nearly impossible to sleep with all the commotion.

This is day 4 and Hazel is beginning to look like herself again.  They let the kids order their own meals.  She got to call the kitchen and tell them what she wanted for breakfast.  Her choice was bacon and...not eggs or oatmeal, but mac and cheese!  She thought that was pretty fantastic.  Grampa was there that morning and said,  "Hazel don't you want something that is more like a breakfast food?" 
"OK Grampa I'll order an apple then too!"  I've never seen Hazel eat any fruit but I'm pretty sure I do know who did eat it.  Grrrraaammppa?

Julia and Hazie

Hazie was quite perplexed by waking up with a newly reconstructed body.  The first few days she did not want to move and getting her to want to get in the wheelchair wasn't easy.  We all felt like the changes were much more drastic than expected.  No one felt prepared and so days of adjusting and learning began on day two.  Learning how to hold her and even pick her up were needed.  Grampa said she felt heavier and with a different center of gravity and balance.  Coupling that with medications, etc. one might only imagine how she felt.

I was so happy that Grampa was there to help them with all the extra work and cooking and transporting of the other girls and doing the laundry.  I stayed here and fulfilled our duties and responsibilities and helped with a wedding that I had happily committed to long ago.  Dividing and conquering sometimes is needed to get it all done.  I'm glad he is such a great helper to them.  As for me if I had been there, I'd be the hugger and chatter with the girls.  The white tornado leaves very little room in his wake for an assistant.  He can run circles around most people.  He runs a pretty tight ship but he does allow Chloe to help him cook!  Now that is another sweet story for another day.

So yesterday Hazie had her first outing with Mom and things started to begin to look a little more like normal for them.  Her poor Mommy had a five day migraine almost immediately following the surgery.  There had to be so much stress and concern over this whole thing for her as one might imagine.  Thank heavens everything is going better now.  Slowly but surely the new things will become the new normal. 

Here at the park Hazel wanted to swing but it was too soon.  So her little doll, Ruby, is going for a ride.  Hazel is learning for the first time that she can use both her arms together more without tipping over or having to use her right arm for support while sitting up.  Miracle!

I like this quote but it doesn't fit Hazel exactly.  She is the farthest things from an ordinary individual I've ever known.  She is angelic, happy, determined and adaptable and full of love.  She loves her life and everyone she meets.  She does find strength to persevere and endure and progress in spite of overwhelming obstacles and she is a teacher to us all.  She is adored by all of us in our family.  Having her as our beautiful granddaughter does, indeed, place us squarely in the midst of an ongoing miracle.  Thanksgiving is everyday for us!  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~November 8, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Saturday, November 8, 2014
Outside my window...It's 5:15 am so pretty dark and chilly outside right now.  Lately I have been having trouble sleeping on some nights so rather than just lie there I get up and do things.  I think it has a lot to do with the time changes.  I wish we didn't do that.  It like having jet lag without going anywhere!

Restless sleep or lack thereof makes for a long day that usually then requires a nap, or riposo as they call it in Italy.  Most of the world naps so I figure...why fight it?  It pretty much all evens out in the end.  One thing I have learned is that what you don't get done today will be waiting for you again tomorrow.  That is life unless you have a maid, a chef and a personal assistant to help you out. So what I am trying to learn to do is to just go with the flow.  It is what it is!  

I am thankful for....this time of year and the cooling off from the summer, the beautiful fall colors that are so enchanting and that never get old and the month of November where gratitude is even more on my mind that usual. 
I see Christmas just around the corner.  The decorating, the festivities, busyness and the joy.  Not a moment to be bored that is for sure.  Jim and I will be taking off for a few days in December and I am looking forward to that and thankful for it.

From the learning room...I have known for a long time that a grateful person is a happy person.  Everyone has their trials and tribulations and challenges but a focus on what we do have as opposed to what we lack is a healthy way to live.  It is win/win for everyone around us as well.  No one wants to be around someone who can never see the good in things.  The other things about a grateful heart and happiness is it can be attributed to knowing and praising God from whence our blessings flow. 

To just be grateful in general, is not the same as being grateful to our Creator and our God.  The latter leads to a greater sense of purpose and peace and a desire to uplift and help others.  The minute we begin to think that our blessings come from ourselves or that we're just lucky, or deserve what we have because we are somehow more important than someone else...we are in trouble. There is a difference between making good choices for better outcomes in our lives and taking the glory upon ourselves.   Everything, every breath we take is a gift from our Father who loves us.  May we never lose sight of that.  As we recognize and acknowledge that we will have true happiness in our lives.

I am reading...This wonderful book entitled The Godfrey Genealogy sent to me by my second cousin, James Godfrey, as a copy from his personal genealogy collection.  He received the book from someone else working on the Godfrey lines and he was generous to share it with me at no cost.  I treasure this story and the information about our common ancestors and that through my family history work I have met Jim on  That in itself is a miracle.  I use to go to his Grandparents' house when I was a little girl visiting in North Dakota. His grandfather and my grandmother are siblings.  But without our common interest in preserving memories of our family and the Internet we never would have met.

From the kitchen...Well in reality not much is happening but I did watch a bunch of episodes of The Pioneer Woman on Netflix the other night and I totally got motivated.  So we'll see.  She makes it all look like such a delightful adventure...I need an attitude adjustment!  She made it such and act of service and love to others rather than mundane shopping and chopping.   I need to get back to that kind of thinking...Working on it.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...just how grounding the foundation of faith is in our life.  How much I love sharing it with people I love and watching the way faith works in their lives and ours is totally uplifting.  It keeps us going no matter what.  I love the fact that faith in Christ's love is stabilizing.  That it never changes, bringing such peace. That is so important in a world that changes daily and with traditions and standards being is tossed to and fro by every wind and whim of this group and that group. 

It is not that we shouldn't question and progress but certain things being maintained creates security in living that we all need.  I find the endless debates about every little thing so tiring.  People want to create a God to suit them, instead of acknowledging Him as our creator!  So weird.  And paradoxical.  As for us, we are staying squarely on this path.  We like His plan and that is our choice.

Someone I am praying for this week... our Hazel who is having a major back surgery on Monday morning, Susan who is recovering from hip surgery after a nasty fall, Stephen almost mended from his surgery and also for Ben Terribilini who is 11 and struggling with leukemia. He has been running high fevers this past week.  Several times getting up to 108.7 in the night when he had to be packed in ice.  No child should have to endure that and no parent should have to helplessly stand by watching it.  I didn't even know a person could survive a fever that high.

I am missing...everybody who isn't here tonight.

I am hearing...Max Raabe, love that funny man and his music.

One of my pleasures...Honey crisp apples.  They are in a class by themselves.

Pet Peeves...well this is gross who spit.  I saw a guy do it right out in front of the grocery store the other day and think nothing of it.   It was beyond disgusting.  It made me shutter.  Ick! Who would ever think that is OK?  It's just plain wrong.

Past Remembrance...Being in Rhode Island a few years ago for the Fall Colors.  Oh my was glorious.  And going to Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts too.  Then visiting a little place called Sugar Bush Farm where they make their own maple syrup and cheese. It was just so country and wholesome and fun. That was one of those trips that should not be redone.  It was so good the first time.  That memory cannot be improved upon so it is wrapped in glittery paper and stored deep within.

I am quoting...Pinterest...

If I could change one thing it would be...that little Hazel would be miraculously relieved of her problems and could run and play and jump like the other kids.  Thankfully one day that will be a promise  realized in the next life.  I am so thankful she is blessed with a patient and happy spirit and she loves her life just as it is.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Maleficent. Jim and I just watched it the other night and it has a great message.  I usually don't like those fantasy movies much but this one I did.

I am curious about...the rumblings about the next Presidential Elections.  Is it even possible that he might run again?  Something to hope for anyway.

Plans for the rest of the week...I have work and lots of cleaning at home. Getting ready for the holidays.  Possible lunches or two out with dear friends and hopefully making some real progress on my current genealogy challenges. Working on a wedding reception set up on Friday.  Oh it is just one big eventful week in the offing.  And writing, I want to get a lot of writing done.  We'll see how much determination I have to get it all done during Grampa Camp.

One of my favorite things...chilling.  It is my natural way but having been married to a non-chiller for so many years I realize that I complete adopted his way of living. Running constantly.  Now I want to step back from that sometimes and just be.  It is such a struggle to find a way to create new habits.  But for me personally it is more healthy to have a better balance.  Work hard, play hard, rest as needed. Sounds simple but not really after 4 plus decades of the frantic pace.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...Being able to buy Hazel a few little warm cuddly things for her recovery.  I  got her a little cushy puppy to snuggle up with and a toasty warm nightgown with leggings.  Grampa gave them to her already and she face timed me on the phone and I could tell she liked them.  I asked her if she was all ready for her surgery and she said, No Gramma it is not today as though I had gotten the date wrong.   I love that child with all my heart.  She is the very definition of precious.

The most surprising thing this past week...Receiving a that wonderful gift from my cousin as I previously mentioned.  Then realizing gain how much I really love my cousins.  They can be so totally wonderful and usually are. 
A photo I am sharing this week...

This is a most magnificent hydrangea  growing on the Oakland Temple Grounds.  Jim and I noticed it the other night when we were there so I took this photo in the pitch dark with a flash.   It is the size of a dinner plate and right at eye level on this gigantic hydrangea plant near the gate to the inner courtyard.  I have never seen one so big and perfect before.  It is in the process of blooming as you can see so I plan to keep an eye on it this week and watch it open up.  I'll try to capture it on the camera as well.   I love hydrangeas, my favorites are the lavenders and purples.          

This is Hazel on her 7th birthday in September.  Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am she is having the first of her big surgeries to straighten her back and give her more lung capacity.  It will be a tough one.  Any prayers on her behalf would be most appreciated.  Thank you friends! 

 Love from her Gramma and Grampa


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nourishment to Body and Soul~Thanksgiving Thoughts

It has happened...once again we are in the midst of the holiday season!  How does the time pass so quickly?  I love the holidays but I do so wish time would slow down just a little.  I was looking for something to post this morning that I wrote a few years back.  I decided on this one~I think it has a good message.  I hope you like it.

Our ward has a unique tradition. We have a Thanksgiving Devotional every year on Thanksgiving morning with a very light and healthy refreshment time afterwards. It is fairly short, the program consists of prayers and songs and one speaker. Some times it is a ward member and sometimes we get a speaker from another ward or stake. I have done the talk twice over the years. It is a fun assignment.

The second time was about four years ago and that was when I started my favorite things list to help me think more about the big and small things that I am grateful for. Then I challenged the congregation to do the same. I don't know if they did, but I have been doing mine ever since and update it a couple times a year. It does tend to make you so much more aware of your blessings.

From the website

The speaker this year told about the history of the first Thanksgiving and then talked briefly about the concept of Getting To Do Something as opposed to Having To Do Something and how when we consider what we have to do as an opportunity and a privilege and not an obligation and duty we are much happier. We can then eagerly look forward to the things in life that are ahead of us. It was a simple talk but very thought provoking. If you thought this way it could make a big difference in your life and how you live it.

I thought about how changing this one aspect of so many things could make me feel happier about the daily tasks I get through so I can then do something I enjoy more. The key word there is "enjoy" I need to try to enjoy the mundane a little bit more..for it is a big part of daily life and we should be thankful for it too. We like the concept and practice of feeding our spirit as well as our bodies on Thanksgiving.

Debbie and Judy did a wonderful job on the feast. We had a great time and enjoyed meeting baby Colton who is now 15 months old and a barrel of energy. None of the photos of the family turned out well.

I do have this one of Judy, Mickey and the baby.
He had just taken his first header on
the pavement
 so it kind of skinned up.
Colton is adorable.

And this one of Grandma Gloria and Josh
waving her Italian hands like crazy!

And Lastly, The Thankful Ones that Got Away

They have been hanging out in our yard all week.
They find it a safe haven apparently, just as we do!
No Black Friday shopping for us 
we are hiding out in our own wildlife reserve.

And that is a wrap on Thanksgiving~
(the Holiday) for 2011!

Thanksgiving will continue on everyday around here!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

All About Autumn At The Cottage

The Scare Crow I've had half my life I think!

The Back Porch
Where All Good Friends Enter!
(I don't think we even have a key to our front door.)

I Love These Old Black Crows
I Can Relate!
In their Fashionators
Norma Can Relate!

Kitchen High Shelf

Pears, not really that reminiscent of Fall
 I guess, I just like them!

Do You like my witch's broom?
Someone who shall remain nameless
Asked me if I ride it!

What is Halloween without a black cat?

The Dining Room Mantel
A little bit of Halloween soon to disappear
Then my beloved pilgrims will take center stage.

A close-up with an antique filter
Which is more the true color.

I did some bowls of this kind of thing~
not too big on Halloween perse!

I do like this Old Gnarly Goblin 

A few little things added in the bathroom for fun!
This guy look a little "Carnival" for our Italian Bath.
If I was really clever I'd make him a little black mask!

This little guy needed a tiny pumpkin 
and probably some clothes!
This hangs on the pillar between
the two big windows over the tub. 

An Acorn for the soaking tub tray.

~Safe Halloween Candy~
You eat die, it's glass!

The cheapo Pumpkins we spray painted copper!

Fun fake candy and acorns!


I have these on an antique marble top chest
in our bedroom. They are ceramic leaves. 

We've Got Our Share of Turkeys!
Inside and Outside!

Hall tree in the backdoor entry way.

~Would love to have you come by~

It's not spooky, I promise!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Serendipity Full Circle~Beyond 5

Connie and Julia

Yesterday when I wrote my Daybook entry ( found one post below this one) I told you a little story of serendipity.  I love that word it means a "happy accident"  has occurred.  Well I truly don't believe in accidental happening but I do believe in happy.  And this is such a cool story and as I said, I do love the word serendipity...So here goes!

The entry from the Daybook asks about something that surprised me this week... here is that answer updated.

It was being able to meet a wonderful a lady from Utah on Pinterest, sending her a comment about her amazing pin boards and then becoming friends on Facebook a few weeks ago. Then having her post a status update on Facebook about a Private Beyond 5 Concert that she was organizing for 100 lucky kids.  These guys are good, this was a big deal!

Well, our granddaughters are big fans so I tried to arrange to get two tickets and surprise them on Mom's approval and agreement to get them there.   Of course she said YES!  I got to call and tell them about it on Wednesday night after everything was securely in place.  They were so excited!  But I'm not sure who was more excited, them or us?

Ammon, Tanner, Zach, Patch, TJ
Beyond 5

Two of the five boys are going on a mission soon so the group is disbanding temporarily.  One is serving in Texas and the other in Scotland.  It will be about three years until they are back.  That is a long time for kids. Especially teenage Fan Girls as they call themselves.  Although they support the boys in their choice to be missionaries there has been some melancholy lingering about our Fan Girls.

These great YouTube videos came 
from Piper's Pinterest Board!

Piper and Ammon

My new friend, Connie, then sent me a picture of her granddaughter with three girls in it from a previous concert.  She said, "My granddaughter is on the right! To which I replied...and my granddaughter is on the left!  How amazing is that?  Considering there are millions of pinners on is quite astonishing that I met Connie.  Julia and her daughter already know each other!  

Beyond 5ers

Piper had not sent me her pictures when I was doing 
this so here is an older one. Her hair is longer and
 darker as you can see in the group shot above.
(It is such a sweet picture I decided to leave it in.)
She's always beautiful and such a 
carbon copy of her mother at this age. 

Oh this just arrived!
Piper and Zach
The girls report having a great time at the concert and private party with the Beyond 5 Stars afterwards where they could chat, have pictures taken and get autographs.  Piper just got her photos to me but Julia has been on it since she got home last night!  They are so adorable!  It is so nice to see them having a fun time with good people.

Here are Julia's photos:

Jewels and Tanner
He leaves for Texas in January

The Fan Girls...well some of them!
Piper and Julia on the left end standing

Julia and Ammon

Jewelz and Patch
Heading to Scotland!
(Not Julia she and Piper 
have already been there!)
He's going on a mission!

Julia and TJ

Julia and Zach
Three years will go by in no time!

This is the very best long distance Gramma and Grampa thing we have experienced in a very long time.  Heaven only knows how much we miss these good and sweet girls.  Whatever we give them they give it back tenfold to us.  Just look at that look on Julia's face. That is one big heart print for me.  Look for it on Pinterest on my "Hugs" Board.  Love you sweet girls!  Beyond Infinity!  

Miss you...Gramma and Grampa

P.S. Connie, "Beyond Grandmas"right?