And your whole world changes…


You know those times in your life when you get a call and you know the information you are about to hear is going to change your life.  You know you need to get to your destination to hear the news, but you want to find something, anything to delay hearing what you have to hear, because you know once you hear it, you can’t unhear it.  Your whole life, your whole world view will forever be changed.  Your destiny, your plans will be altered.  Your foundation will be shaken.  You know you won’t shatter, but you’ll wound and need to heal and forever you’ll be a different person.

I got that call 16 days ago.  It was from my dad.  I needed to get to my parent’s house now.  I knew instantly that what I was about to hear wasn’t going to be good.  I could feel it in my heart.  It wanted to jump in the car right away and I equally wanted to shampoo all my rugs and then clean out the closets, anything to delay the inevitable.  I looked at my husband.  He told me to get in the car and go.  I told him I would.  Then I stood there, trying to come up with a good excuse to waste time.  I has none, so I got in my car and started to drive, ticking off the miles and landmarks.  That’s the last time I’ll leave my house in this reality.  Another street light, another crossroads.  I’m getting closer.  Wanting to turn back, to stop myself from having to hear it, knowing I couldn’t and that I had to keep moving forward.  I parked outside my parent’s house and turned off my truck.  I’m here.  This is it.  Once I walk in that door, my life changes….


My mom is and always has been my best friend.  Not in the “let you do what you want, I’ll even sacrifice teaching you responsibility and how to be an adult,” type of way.  No, quite the opposite.  She was the right type of best friend.  She was always a mother, always a parent.  I had rules, boundaries, and limits balanced equally with listening, patience, and love.  I could go to her with any concern, any question.  She was there for me at anytime, for anything.  If she was ever disappointed in me, I never knew, and I felt the appropriate amount of guilt to get me back on track.  She only showed love and support, care and encouragement.  My childhood is full of happy memories wrapped around my mother.

Every Sunday my mom and I would scan the ads and go shopping.  We would tell my dad that we were just going window shopping, but that never happened.  We would always end up finding something we couldn’t live without and have to sneak it in the house, convincing my dad that “this old thing” had been around forever.

To remain “hip” or “rad” to her children, she would make up her own slang.  I secretly think she just messed up the real latest slang, but she always played if off as the latest phrase.  Did you know that things could be “Hot Dog Good!”?  Or that sometimes people should just “cool out!”?

I bought my first cell phone in college, back when they still sold 200 minute plans and you paid by the minute through the nose if you went over.  For my 200 minutes, I paid something ridiculous like $30 a month.  (I know…$30 a month!)  I thought that there would be no way that I would go over my minutes, I mean, seriously, I was only going to use this phone for emergencies, like car trouble or being chased by a serial killer.  Then I got my first bill.  I nearly died.  I had gone over my time and owed extra per minute.  As I scanned the bill, I noticed all of my calls were to my mother…who I still lived with and saw every morning and night.

About 14 years ago, by husband took a job out-of-state and we attempted to move away.  We backed up our belongings and moved across the country.  Mom went with to help us move, planning to stay a week and take the train back.  She helped us pack, drive, move in, and unpack.  Long story short, we didn’t stay and moved back within a week.  Mom canceled the train ticket and helped us re-pack, drive back and re-move into the place with left a week prior.  She said that was the last time she went on vacation with us, our cats, and our furniture.


I walked into my parents house and was told the following words…. Your mom has cancer.  I can’t have heard that right.  My mom just turned 60, she can’t have cancer.  She just can’t.  This isn’t happening.  Life changed.  World forever altered.

The following two weeks were a whirlwind of worry, questions, waiting, hoping and praying.  Waiting for the oncology appointment.  Waiting for the surgery date.  Worrying about what the surgery outcome would be.  Worrying about what the future would hold.  Being afraid…so afraid of all the questions, that unknown.  There were just too many possibilities.  Wanting to hope for the best.  Praying for the best.  Praying that you’d done enough right in your life that you could trade those good deeds in for a big ol’ miracle.

Yesterday was the day.  Surgery day.  The day when we’d start to get answers and begin the road down one path or the other.  Best case scenario, the surgery gets all the cancer and mom just has to be monitored for make sure it stays gone.  Worst case scenario, it’s spread already and then the future continues to change.  I wanted so bad to say that we were going to hear good news, but didn’t want to tempt fate by verbalizing it.   We smiled, we hugged, we tried to ease each other’s fears.  The prayers had been put out into the universe and the rest was out of our hands.  They wheeled her down the hall to her future.

After what seemed like both and eternity and the snap of a finger, the nurse moved us to a private room to meet with the doctor.  The cancer was contained to the organ.  The cancer had not evaded the organ wall.  He was confident he got it all.  He has no reason to believe there will be the need for additional treatment.  He believes that got it all.

And then we all let out the breath we didn’t know we were holding in.

Our prayers were answered.

My mom has had cancer.

I know that she deserved every answered prayer and miracle she was given.

I’m not so sure that I did, but I’ll live the rest of my life trying to prove myself worthy.



Boy, Oh Boy

My kids participate in our neighborhood pool’s summer swimming league.  Neither one of them have aspirations of being in the olympics or breaking any world records.   They see it as extra pool time and a chance to be silly with their buddies.

Before every meet, the kids write all over themselves with sharpies.  I think it’s supposed to be motivational, but it just turns out being funny and a pain to scrub off later.  This is my daughter, Paige.

I still don’t know what “Eat My Bubbles” is supposed to mean.  If you eat the bubbles, don’t you really swallow water and drown?

Now, my son also had the weirdly drawn fish and the eating bubbles line, but he took is a step further…

Yes, that is drawn on armpit hair…..

How do you spell fun….


I love camping.  I always have.  I come from a camping family.  Between vacations, quick weekend get-aways to a local park, or boy scout and girl scout adventures, we used to haul out the tent numerous times a year.  I love everything about camping…sleeping bags, flashlights, bug spray, tangled fishing poles, playing card games on a picnic table, messy smores, the smell of campfires, endless stories, laughing til your side hurts and the peace of an early morning campground.  What I might like better than all of that, is the lack of schedule.  There are no ‘to-do’ lists, no places you have to be when you are camping.

Lucky for me, I married a man who likes camping too.  Since we’ve been married, we have taken our vacations on the open road to campgrounds far and wide.  When the kids came along, we just got a bigger tent and brought more food.  Our favorite place to camp is in the mountains, in particular, Grand Teton National Park.  It’s beautiful, it’s God’s country.

Now this weekend, unfortunately, we could not get away to the mountains, but we did manage to escape to a local state park for fun time with some friends.  It also happened to be my baby boy’s 10th birthday on Saturday.  (Double digits already!!!  That went too fast!)  He’s such a camping fool, he jumped at the chance to go camping with friends for his birthday.

Here’s some snippets of our weekend….

We have recently decided that we are too old to sleep on the ground, so I give my parents my puppy dog eyes (Yes, they still work on my daddy) and he will haul out their camper to save my back and give us running water.  Unfortunately, this only works locally.  I haven’t yet figured out how to get him to take it to Wyoming for us!

The birthday boy tried his hand at the grill for the first time.  He was a natural.  A future grill master is born!

The Birthday Boy got a Pogo Stick for his birthday.  Before you ask…Yes we are crazy.  We figured, what the hell, our deductible is already met for the year, why not!

Beach time.  Not a ‘real’ beach, a sandy beach on a lake, but the kids could care less.  They ran, jumped, made sand castled, and buried each other up to the neck.  I read a great book!

We go fishing a lot in this family.  The one thing we never do it actually catch fish.  My son took a different approach this time.  After using minnow after minnow to no avail, he decided to keep one as a pet.  Meet bubbles!  That’s one way to catch a fish!

True peace and quiet.  When you can walk silently to a lake, hearing only the sounds of crickets chirping and campfires popping and then witness this…. well, it’s just the reason you go camping.

What I think I like even better than the peace and quiet, and even the lack of schedule, is the chance to be flat out silly with my kiddos.  I hope these are the memories and times they will look back on and treasure forever.  I know I do!

Let them eat cake?

My daughter turned 12 on April 18th.  We, of course, had cake and parties and festivities.  It was all lovely.  As with most birthdays, there was cake left over.  There was a small wedge piece left over from one of her birthday cakes.  (Yes, I said one of her cakes.  She ended up with two this year.  One on her actually birthday, because it’s not really your birthday if you don’t have cake.  And one on the day of her party the following weekend.  I love baking and who doesn’t love cake!)  Anyhoo…. I shoved the leftover wedge piece of cake and the box into the garage fridge.  We had the party, life got crazy busy, and the cake was forgotten.

Three days ago, I was cleaning up in the garage and opened that fridge to see what could be pitched.  Hello old cake!  Goodbye old cake!  In it went, box and all, into the trash can for curbside pick up later this week.

Cut to last night.  After doing a little weeding and watering the flowers and garden, I pulled out the trash cans to haul to the curb in the morning.  I went around to the back of house to grab something, and, as I come around the corner, I found my darling son with lips and fingers smeared with frosting.

“Trystan!  That cake is a month old AND I pulled it out of the fridge three days ago!” 

“I was just trying it.”

Sure, just trying it.  Just trying month old, rotten cake to see what food poisoning is like.  My guess… it will be like a belated birthday present you don’t want and can’t return!