Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Wrandom Wrambling (debbie downer style)

*Feel Free to click mark as read....just voicing some thoughts and feelings*


It's almost December.  As in, TOMORROW!

What the crap happened to 2011?  It seems one big, blurry bad dream.

Thanksgiving was nice.  Not what I expected, though I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it was nice.  Loved family coming in from Vegas and spending time catching up.  Love the positive vibes my SIL brings with her.

And now, everyone expects Christmas.

Can't do it.

Just can't do it.

I did hang the wreath on the front door so it wouldn't look naked there, but I really have no desire nor ambition to put up the tree, decorate the house or buy a single gift.    I really want to just take my tree and ship it to my kids in Cali.  Splenda wants it to stay here and get put up and decorated.  The idea of it makes me want to crawl in bed.

Scrooge much?

I have been excited for Festival of Trees.  Spent a little time there on Monday finishing a few last things for my bestie and watching the decorators set up their things.  Made me realize that if I had planned a little better I could have done a tree this year.

Instead, I have determined that I will do one next year.  Dedicated to Jill and Suicide Awareness and Prevention.  I am still pondering a theme for it.  Something she loved, her hobby, her passion.  All I can come up with is that she loved her daughter.  More than anything she loved Chloee. I think I will go with a Mommy Angel theme.  Thoughts?

For those of you new to my blog click here to get the back story  There are subsequent posts and videos that further tell the story.  But you get the gist.

I think that is why I am struggling to really get into Christmas this year.  Memories are painful.  I can only imagine her own parents.  If my heart hurts, then they must be in agony.  And whether we are friends or not, I feel sad for them.

I think doing the tree will be a good thing.  Starting with the day after Christmas this year and all the sales, I will be looking for ornaments and decorations to fit our Mommy Angel tree.  I will be stepping out of my comfort zone and approaching a business to see if they would be willing to donate something like a TV or other hot ticket item that will attract a bidder.   I will try and get Chloee out here next year so she can help with the tree.  I'll be tracking down pictures and special things to go with the tree.  I am concocting a plan and that feels good. 

The healing properties of doing something for someone else can never be underestimated.  And if I haven't mentioned it before, every single thing for Festival is donated and all the money, ALL OF IT, goes straight to the Primary Childrens Medical Center.  No admin fees or skims off the top.  Every last cent.  So many good things to be involved with.

And yet, I am still so sad.

I have an exit interview with my previous employer on Monday.  That closes another chapter in my life.  A chapter that once was so happy and fulfilling and cruelly twisted to a sour ending. Even though I know I made the right decision and am happy about starting a new chapter in that area of my life, it's still a little sad. 

Change is hard.

My house is empty.  My sons have their wives and lives. 

Change is hard.

Still not able to run.  So frustrating.  I think if I could just get a good 10 miler in, I would feel so much better.  For now, I am stuck on the bike, in the pool and satisfying my running needs by smelling the new shoes, checking out the gear and mingling with other runners at Wasatch Running Company.  That's cool.

Got a flight booked for SoCal in a couple of weeks.  Makes me uber happy!  Now just gotta figure out how to get all the kids' Christmas down there.  This is pretty cool too.  Happiness is seeing Chloee all settled in with her Daddy and her Mommy.  Their little family is so amazing.  Watching Corb being such an awesome father and Karalee love Chloee as if she were her own and Chloee loving the fact that she has a family.  A mommy and a daddy.  A family.  The sweet lil punkin is THRIVING!  That makes me happy!  For those of you who have married children who are parents, nothing brings you more joy than seeing them become great parents themselves.  Some call it a parent pay-off.  I don't know what I call it, all I know is that it brings a smile to my face and a lift to my soul.

And yet, I still feel sad.

Memories can be hard.

Change can be hard.

Wow - this really did turn out to be a debbie downer eh?  Sorry, if you made it this far.  Just processing some thoughts and feelings.

Really, life is good.  Life is damn good.

Peace Out

**PS  -  if you are lurking, which I know you are, and you feel inclined to leave more anonymous mean comments, please refrain. It didn't get you anywhere last time and won't this time either.**

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving day 2011 - Wrap up

HAH!  Since I did no Halloween post, I felt the urge to include theeee Cutest Care Bear in all the land!

So, when Corbin got married and had Chloee, and Luke left on his mission, I decided it was time to break off from the extended family dinners and do our own.  Since we all know, I don't cook very well and I am usually doing some sort of Turkey Trot the morning of the big day, I voted we make a new tradition of....wait for it......The Golden Corral.

I knew Corb, Kar and Chloee wouldn't be coming in for Thanksgiving, Tuffy and 'Tana would be going to her family so that left Luke, Splenda and me.   Splenda's family was having the HUGE get together since fam from LV were coming.  I succumbed to the peer pressure and so that's where we ended up.

I made my famous pumpkin dessert, baked a Marie Callendar's frozen pie and whipped up a huge batch of mashed potatoes.  I grabbed some boxes of Stove Top stuffing since I heard a rumor that it hadn't been assigned and since we all know how high class I am, the boxes were on hand in case, indeed the rumor was true.

(I'm tellin ya - that the real shiz right here.  The!  One of the very few things I can make and am proud of!)

Splenda's sister reserved the local LDS meeting house, and between her and his Mom, they had the place all decorated and looking nice by the time we got there.

And to start it off right.......
Any guesses where my place is?  Thanks to my SIL from LV!  She had my back.  Yes, she did!

I don't know about your family gatherings, but this group can never start on time.  Dinner was set at 2pm, but we didn't eat until 3:30.  Which, in part is frustrating, but does allow time for chatting, laughs and a lot of screwing around.

I was glad that Tuff and 'Tan were able to join us for a little bit.  By the time we actually ate, they were scarfing and hustling off to her family.


And where's the stuffing?  Splenda took matters into his hands and got those boxes whipped up!

After sufficiently feasting on yummy, traditional food, it was time to bring out the desserts!

Oh mama - there was some good ones!

My funny nephews (and a niece)

And then, if you can believe it, Jan asked for some help making some snowflakes for her RS activity.  After Splenda made me pee a little by asking if it required ovaries, I decided to give it a try.  That's right, I actually attempted to make a 'craft'

Let the record reflect that there is indeed some Christmas foil in my hands, WITH SCISSORS and I am cutting a snowflake. 
I only could manage three of them, but hey - I consider it a Thanksgiving miracle

After cleaning up, we headed to ANOTHER local LDS meetinghouse and joined 'Tana's family just in time for a rousing game of dodgeball! 

EVERY family should play dodgeball on Thanksgiving -!
Luke and Tuffy discussing strategies

The other team in action

Jumping and dodging and huckin balls - all fun stuff

Making another run for it!

Dayton's team had everyone out but him.  He had all four balls so he was lining up and deciding his best strategy.  The fun rules were that if you actually shot and made a basket with the dodgeball, your entire team could come back in.  Made for some dang good fun! And the best line of the night?  Poor kid takes a ball in the face, some quiet tears as he heads off to the sidelines, a shout from the other team "It's okay, I hit him, but it's okay, he's my kid"
I don't know who that woman was but I fell in love with her.

Later at my house, Splenda, Luke, Mike, Rosa, Robert, Ryan, and eventually Tuffy and 'Tana came over.  I forgot to get a picture but imagine if you will - all 8 of us, plus 3 dogs packed into my bedroom, on the bed, the floor and chairs watching the Thanksgiving episode of Modern Family.  SO FUN!

After our guests left, Luke pulled up the movie Memento and amazingly I was able to stay awake for it.  I didn't get it and it had to be explained, but overall - good film.

What a great day it was.  We got a few minutes on Skype with our SoCal kids, lot's of time with Splenda's side, and then family time with just my kids. 

Best part?  I slept in while Splenda hit the Black Friday doorbusters  - perfect ending!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I've been punk'd - all in the good name of Bill Walton

I should get the ultimate award for being a good sport.  Or for being gullible.  Or for having no shame whatsoever.

Okay, so here's the downlow.  My bestie Tiburon is in Tucson doing the JDRF Ride to the Cure.  It tags along with Tour de Tucson.  It's her big event of the whole year, and this was her first year as coach of the Utah chapter.  So of course, we been in contact back and forth as she kept me updated on all the fun stuff.

Turns out Bill Walton is the celebrity rider for the Tour de Tucson!  Okay, while we all know I am a HUGE Yankees's fan, I am also a fan of basketball and some of the great legends.  Bill Walton is big name.  A college championship, two NBA championships, a hall of famer, and then overcame a stuttering problem and became a great color analyst.  Anyone who knows NBA, knows who he is.

So when I hear that he's there at the ride, I am ORDERING Tib to get his autograph for me.  I know if the opportunity presented she would do it, she's not afraid to approach people.  I had full faith in her.

Sunday, she posts on Facebook that she is sitting in a hot tub with Bill Walton!  WT FLAGNON?!?!?!  I am madly commenting telling her to get a autograph!  Some back and forth, some other friends jump into the conversation, and it is apparent that there are some who are fans and some who dislike him as a person.  I only knew GOOD things about him, and I WANTED AN AUTOGRAPH!  Of course, Tib is in the hot tub so no pen and paper handy, but I warned her with EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING, that if she ran into him again, I didn't care what she pulled out of her purse, a receipt, scrap of paper with her gum in it, a spare tampon......I didn't care just get his autograph!

I leave it at that, and continue on with my normal Sunday morning,  Facebooking, pretending to care about football, reading blogs  etc.  I stepped away to shower, and when I check my phone next there is a text from a number I didn't recognize:

"Hello Melissa.  I have a friend of yours who insists I say hi to you because she doesn't have a pen and paper.
All the best, BW"

Holy mother of NBA!!!  I start screaming at Splenda!  "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!  Bill Walton JUST SENT ME A TEXT!!!!!  Holy freak!  I am beyond giddy, literally shaking with excitement. I could picture it.  They are standing there and with Tib's wit and humor gets him to send the text.  He uses a phone (not his own cause I could be a crazy) and sends a simple text for fun!  Giddy I tell you!  I was beyond excited!!

I send back a message:
"Thank you!  I am seriously peeing with excitement! The famous Bill Walton!  College championship! Two NBA championships!  Amazing color guy!  Thanks!"  Yes, I said peeing myself with excitement to an NBA legend. Count them SEVEN exclamation points.  Gushing much?

After I sent it, and I was patting myself on the back for having a text convo with THE Bill Walton, I decide to call Tib and just make sure it wasn't a hoax.

I get her on the phone (not even saying hello)
Me:  "Tell me that wasn't a hoax!"
Tib: "Wha?  What are talking about?"
Me:  "You know!  The text - tell me it wasn't a hoax!"
Tib: "I have no idea what you are talking about"
Me:  "You didn't just have Bill Walton text me?"
Tib:  "NO!  I'm waiting for a friend to pick me up for lunch!  I don't even know what you're talking about you dork!"

Huh.  Strange.  I start racking my brain as to who was a part of the Facebook conversation and suddenly my mind turns to a certain feisty, diabolical red head who would pull this kind of an evil stunt.

I dial Chief and get her on the phone (not even saying hello)
Me: "If you sent that text, I am gonna kid your redheaded ass down the street!"
Chief: Howling with laughter.  Can't speak. Snorting, chortling, and basically rolling all over her bed in hysterics.  And not just her, but her whole family is having a grand time laughing their arses off at how I fell for it all!

I give her props.  She got me.  Hook,line and sinker!  And of course, I find it hysterical.  Okay, a little sad that it wasn't the real deal, but honestly a great prank.  I was punk'd!  And punk'd good!  I wish I could think of something that clever!

The only thing that could make this any better is if I trip over myself while climbing the podium, with my skirt tucked into my nylons, to claim my trophy as the Most Gullible Girl of the year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Red Corner China Diner (and check out Wasatch Running) GIVEAWAY!!!

Do you remember when I raved about this place?   I still love it and is one of my favorite places to grab some great chinese food.

So, as it happens that while I was cleaning out my wallet (trying to get it back to a normal size) and amongst an old library card, receipts from 2009, and an outdated Living Planet aquarium membership card, I stumbled upon TWO 10.00 gift certificates for Red Corner China Diner.(click over there < to check out their website).  I had forgotten that Sam had given me another one to do a give away and then one to me for helping promote his business.

Well, it is Thanksgiving time, and I am more than thankful for all my friends both IRL and via the internets.  So, I am going to give away BOTH of them in one swoop.  Which means, for my mathematically challenged friends, you could win $20.00 in gift cards to the awesome chinese diner!  Dude!  That is a dinner out for you and a friend while starting the Christmas shopping season!!!  Yeah, I's pretty cool.

Rules?  Of course there has to be rules, because it's a giveaway after all, and I DO NOT BELIEVE in getting something for nothing.  Remember that principle kids - it's an important one.  Another important principle?  Support small businesses.  Guys who take their passion, make it a business, provide jobs, and a meaningful service.  That's what this country is founded on people!! So as we are in the season of expressing thanks, I want to include my buddies at Wasatch Running.(click < over there to check out their website).

So here's the deal.

1.  Leave a comment = one entry

2.  Come into Wasatch Running, make a purchase.  ANY purchase - even socks, a gu or a gel, running tights for the winter, shoes, jacket, hat....ANY purchase.  Tell them I sent you. = one entry.  If you happen to come while I am there and can practice using the cash register on you = two entries.

The contest starts Monday November 21, 2011 at 10:00am and ends Friday December 9 2011 at 10:00pm (mtn time).  That gives you 3 weeks.

For my friends not along the Wasatch Front?  Sucks to be you.   I wish you could be here!  But I will make you this promise, you make it out to Utah, I will personally treat you to dinner at the Red Corner Chinese Diner and bring you into Wasatch Running to see how fun of a place it is.  And if you come during the winter, you get to experience the greatest snow on earth!  Win-Win for you!

Alrighty then kids..... let the contest begin!

**PS - you can find both of these businesses on Facebook - which is AWESOME!**

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday Wrandom Wrambling - Friday night edition

I know right?

That's just kinda been the whole week.  It's like, whoa - what just happened?  Oh, FRIDAY happened!

Not that it's a bad thing, quite the contrary.

Contrary.  Who really uses that word anymore anyway?

Sooooo.....I guess I should finally announce it formally and for realsies. 

I retired. 

EEEEPPP!!!!  (if you don't know what that means - it's me squealing with delight)

I know right?!?!  Dream come true. I submitted my letter of resignation/retirement and wrote a kind email of how much I have appreciated my time at Intermountain.  Earlier this week, Splenda and I went in the evening and cleaned out my desk and cubicle.  It all fit into one box.  My entire career of 24 years with the same company, in the same business all amounts to one little box.  Yep.  My official last date it 12/1 so in the meantime, I will be moving all my 401k to an IRA, which actually might make it safer, and then enjoying the freedom that is now mine. 

Maybe I should use it to buy gold.  Hmmm....

 I've started hanging out at Wasatch Running Center.
I've always purchased my running shoes there, except for the one time I won a free pair from a place in St George, and most of my gear.  I did the Grand Slam with them last year.  They are an awesome business.  We are working together as I train in the business of running shoes.  I wouldn't call myself an actual employee yet, but if over the next week or so, we both mutually agree that it's a good fit, I will pick up some part time hours there.  All perfectly suited for a retired grandma who just wants to support her habit.  Straight from the dealer no? 

There is a lot to learn.  They don't just let anyone fit and sell you running shoes.  They only hire experts.  They only trust experts.  Great guys who run the place and go ahead and ask me how much fun it is to walk around trying on different shoes, learning their technical differences, the pros, cons, and features of each shoe so that you can figure out which one is best for a particular person and their gait.  Very cool stuff.  I am learning a TON!  I just hope I can retain it all.  I am kinda wicked old after all.

And smelling brand new running shoes for hours at a time is's bliss.

Tuffy and 'Tana got a new puppy.  I KNOW RIGHT?!?!?!  Gosh he's cute.  Jace.  Little black mini schnauzer.  And what is fun, is he comes over to be babysat and entertains Jack.  Win-Win!!

Having some serious Chloee withdrawals.  Like for real serious.  Like, I kinda want to just get in the car and drive there.  I guess it's good that I have made some commitments here so that I can't do just that. 

What would I do without skype?  And even then......not the same.   Achey heart here.

On the bright side.......they have less than 3 years of active duty.  So there's that.

Okay kids, enough rambling thoughts, I think I'll finish watching Rick Perry bumble around on the O'Reilley factor.  Serious - dude is kind of a joke.  Perry not Bill.

Peace out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An open letter to Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow MD.........

Dear Glenn and Keith,
(yes I am using first names, we ARE that close now)

I feel compelled to issue a heartfelt thank you for the collaboration of your efforts and the resulting book

I realize it's been out for almost a year now, but I've always been a little slow on the uptake and didn't actually pick up a copy until a week or so ago.  I picked it up at the right time of my life, for the right reason, and I don't chalk it up to coincidence.

A more personal email will come your way, with direct expressions of gratitude for the specific lessons I learned, or rather, was reminded that I knew already but needed them in print and in someone else's words so that they would stick.  You need to know that your hard efforts weren't in vain.  At least in the life of this lowly little lady.

For anyone else, I cannot emphasize enough the need to read this book.  It doesn't matter if you agree with Glenn politically or even religiously.  That is NOT the point of the book.  Ignore everything you have ever heard or read about him.  Good or bad - ignore it all and take this book at the face value it offers.  And if you aren't a fan of "self-help" books?  Well, neither am I.  I was prepared to get partway through, get bugged and put it down just like every other self help book I have ever read.  This is NOT in the same caliber.  Not even close.  I didn't even find it in the self-help section of the library since I won't go there, so don't dismiss it as that genre.  It's so much more than that.  So much better. 

As someone who recently confronted some life changes and decisions smack in the face, it served as a conduit to reinforce my decisions and to remind myself of the most important things in life.  The real things that are of true value.  And, then to take it further, reminded me how to be the REAL me.  The true mCat.  The genuine article.  I was able to put the last several years and particularly the LAST one and put it into a different perspective and then apply that perspective to my life.

I have always admired Glenn for not just his former TV show on Fox, or his radio show (which BTW - I find his, Stu and Pat's sense of humors right up my alley so I am always entertained as I am enlightened), or even his new GBTV adventure, I like them all, but once you understand his life story, how low he sunk, and then how he found his way out, well it's just plain inspiring.    The guy has a story that if read carefully, non-judgemental but with an open mind and allowed to sink in, can help others understand their own value as human beings.

Please don't dismiss it because of something negative you may have read or heard or previously believed about Mr. Beck based on politics.  This book has NOTHING to do with politics.  Absolutely NOTHING.  Instead, it has everything to do with providing tools, reminders, instructions, inspiration, advice on how to create your own happiness.  How to stay true to that happiness and then show others the way.

Please find it in the bookstore, online, or even the old fashioned way like I did, in the library.  Take the couple of days it takes to read it.  If you have your own copy, highlight the sentences that stick out and ring true.  Allow Glenn's story and Dr Ablow's insights to trigger something inside yourself that motivates you for good.  It will, I promise it will.  And then, when you are finished, you will turn the final page, close the book and be compelled to think long and hard about yourself, your relationships, and the deeper meaning of it all.

Back to the authors, I again cannot thank you enough gentlemen.  I wasn't ready for this book in January of 2011, I was too raw.  Too injured.  Too much in shock, grief, anxiety and quite frankly too full of adrenaline.  But I thank God, that I found it on November 1, 2011......I am now very much the same person, but happier. More inspired to do good, be good and live good.  More authentic and genuine in all my relationships.  More compelled to release the toxic people in my life and fully embrace those that bring out the best in me and I in them.

Please keep collaborating your fine efforts.  There is more to say and more people to inspire and influence for good.  You have the voices to articulate it, and then the means to get it out there.  Keep it comin baby!

Sincerely and will all my very best regards,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spiritual Sunday......reminder in kindness

I read a blog post of a dear friend the other day, and I have been thinking it over for the past little while.
A clear reminder to stop judging and to extend more understanding to others.

The often quoted adage "Be a little kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle"
Wouldn't it be nice it we really practiced that?  Instead of assuming we know the story, how about giving the mercy of the benefit of the doubt and if we must assume something - assume another's best intents.

**Comments are off....if you have anything kind to say - leave the love and encouragement for Debbi**

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Wrandom Wrambling

Oh my.......
Oh my......

Okay, first off - google changed their reader format, and with all my genius dinking around have managed to screw it up and now I get NO updates to ANY of the blogs I read.  And I just got caught up yesterday.  If anyone would like to hold my hand and get it fixed.... well, that would be cool.

Proof that I shouldn't be allowed to "dink around" with anything.  I break it.

I'm really behind on posting.  Like all of Halloween.  More wedding pictures.  This week.  For sure, this week.

I just realized that my blogiverary is this week.  On the 12th.  I should do something special.

Or not.

Seems like blogging 3 years ago is certainly different than it is now.  Many of my favorite bloggers have stopped altogether.  Like bell bottom pants, it seems to have gone out of style.  Facebook has exploded.  Google + tried to explode but there are still crickets chirping over there.  People move on. 

I'm still here.  Mostly because I need to journal.  I need to document. 

"gimmee gimmee gimmee....I need...I need...I need..." (name the movie)

I thought I would have a lot of free time lately.  Thankfully, it's filled up with all worthwhile things.

The newlyweds are happy.  They are so damn cute, I can hardly stand it!

My SoCal family is happy.  They are so damn cute I can hardly stand it!

My college student is happy.  He is so damn cute I can hardly stand it!

I clearly am crazy about my family.  Completely head over heels in love with them.  Every last one of them! 

I really need to do something about Jack the dog.  He's wearing on my very last nerve.  Jump roping with it!  If the weather were warmer, we could do more walks outside and work off his energy.  Right now, the thought of being outside makes me cringe.  So I just keep throwing the stupid toy down the hall and he brings it back.  Again and again and again and again.

Might be getting a rotater cuff issue with all the toy hucking I'm doing.

It looks like my tradition of Thanksgiving dinner at the Golden Corral won't happen this year. 

Tired of politics already.  Tired of the posturing of the candidates, the allegations, the finger pointing, the bickering.   
And the Dem's are bugging too.  But then, they always bug sooooo......

Still having a little right calf issue.  Running hasn't been happening.  Makes this Ironman challenge I am doing right now a leeeetle difficult.  See, you do an Ironman (1800 meter swim; 112 miles on the bike, and 26.2 mile run) but you have two weeks to do it.  My "running" is more of a brisk walk.   Takes a long time to get mileage.

I just realized that perhaps this seems like a whiny post.  Accept my apologies.  Actually, I am happier than I have been in a long time.  Yes, there are issues that bug, but deep down inside, I am damn happy!

Except for this friggin dog and his friggin toy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cancer Sucks

Plain and simple.  That dreaded C word sucks rocks.  It affects babies, small children, teens, young adults, people in their prime, middle age and sunsets of their lives.  It's no respecter of person's.  It doesn't discriminate.  Anyone can be it's target.  In fact, who knows?  You may have the big bullseye on your own back right now.

It's been about a month since we got the news that one of our bestie bonco friends was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  After a biopsy, it has been labeled:  High grade Glioma - 4th stage.   Don't google it, it's disheartening.  They have been told it's inoperable.  They can do chemo and radiation to attempt to abort it's growth, and buy some time, but the time they are talking is anywhere from weeks to 9 months.  As you can imagine, watching our friends, ones that we count in our bestie circle, go through this is hard. 

These guys are in their mid 50s.  Their children are grown and they are now enjoying their grandchildren.  Certainly too young to be handed a death sentence.  Especially one that came at them seemingly out of the blue.

Splenda and I have been processing it all.  Doing what we can to serve and help them.  Imagining what it would feel like to be in their shoes, but most of all - appreciating life.  Why is it that it takes someone close to you, or even a family member face their own mortality to force one to look a little deeper at their life, their contributions to society, and their own meaning and mission? 

Have Splenda and I been more introspective?  Absolutely.  Have I re-evaluated my priorities?  Most certainly.  But more than anything, my heart breaks on a daily basis for my friends.

But let me tell you this.  I cannot come away from their home after a visit without smiling and laughing.  Rob hasn't lost a bit of his wit, charm and sense of humor.  Debbi is still her positive, upbeat and optimistic self.  She still finds time to serve others, write our ward missionaries and serve in her capacity on the board for Festival of Trees.  I am in awe of them.  Both of them.  They are facing this trial head on and with both barrels loaded.

I am learning from them.  Not just to appreciate life, cherish every moment, express my love more openly, prioritize better, but their examples of strength is absolutely inspiring to me. 

When we first moved into our home over 22 years ago, Debbi was one of the first neighbors to reach out and welcome us.  I will never forget her standing in our living room with a pan full of goodies, introducing herself and apologizing she couldn't stay long.  She had just suffered a significant accident and was burned over a good portion of her arms and legs.  AND YET SHE BROUGHT US GOODIES!

Over the years, our friendship has developed.  20 years ago, we started a bonco group with some other couples in our ward. We actually played the game for the first year and then got bored.  Since then we get together every month for dinner.  We have had some amazingly fun times together.  The fun bus to Wendover, the mock trial for two guys turning 40, the overnnighter at a bed and breakfast for my 40th.  The long nights talking and laughing and sharing our lives.  We've been through kids, marriages, parents dying, grandchildren, a divorce in the group - we've done it all.  Not only is our bonco besties been a huge support network for us all, but Rob and Deb in particularly have blessed my own life in too many ways to even count.

She has hosted more showers, did most of the work on Corbin's first wedding, brought treats to my kids, and made sure our bonco group adopted a family every year for sub-for-santa.  My loyalty to her was sealed several years ago, when one morning I awoke to see flowers planted in my flowerbed and a love note left of the door.  I was going through a particularly hard trial, she knew it, and at some point in the early morning hours, got down on her hands and knees and planted flowers in my dirt.  I will never forget that as long as I live.  It was the kindest, most generous thing ever done for me.  A friend, in my dirt, helping to give me something beautiful.  So illustrative of true friendship.   My loyalty and love for her was sealed that morning.  I will defend her, help her, love her to my death and beyond.  And even then, no matter how I help her, I will always feel like it's never enough.  How can I ever demonstrate how much I love these too?

 You can imagine then, the heartache that Splenda and I are feeling for them right now.  BUT - not anything compared to their own emotions.  I don't blog this to focus on my feelings, but rather, to extend a plea for prayers for my dear friends.  Prayers of comfort, peace, health, and for the pain to be minimal.  Prayers for their sons and grandchildren.  Prayers for Debbi for the strength to do all that lies ahead of her.  Prayers for Rob that, God willing, will grant him as much time as possible.  Prayers for those of us that love them so, will know what we can do to best serve them, help them and support them.

And to Deb and Rob - if you happen to see this.  I love you.  Splenda loves you.  More than words can ever express.  We are learning so much from you, and will never be able to reciprocate but know that we will do whatever you need or want us to do.  You have our undying love, respect and loyalty.

May God grant them as much time as possible with peace, comfort and serenity.

(this was taken at last years Epic Christmas party)

 I love Deb's email auto signature that contains this:
What Cancer Cannot do...

It cannot invade the soul
suppress memories
kill friendship
destroy peace
conquer the spirit
shatter hope
cripple love
corrode faith
steal eternal life
silence courage

I can only hope that if I am ever faced with a similar trial, that I will have half the strength of my dear friends.  They are quite simply.......inspirational!


An mCat family Christmas letter?

Oh, yeah - it COULD happen.  But only if this funny lady writes it.

Click here to check out this post.  Donate 5 bones and then maybe mention that I sent you there.  Maybe she'll give me another entry.  Or not, but it's worth a shot right?

And then, if I do happen to win (that would be a MIRACLE), then I promise to send EACH of you a copy of the letter.  It will be EPIC!!!

Go - GO!  Click up there and get on it!

**comments off - go leave them with DeNae**