Mom

With Mother’s Day just a couple of days away, I have been thinking a lot about my mom.  About the influence she had over my life and what she and daddy did so many years ago to drastically change the lives to two little girls.  They truly were amazing people.  What many people may not know, is that my mom was a pillar of strength and courage.  She went through things in her life that would have broken many others, but she choose to use those experiences and setbacks as even more fuel for her desire to succeed and be her own woman.  By the way…….you might as well go get a cup of coffee, because I suspect this is going to be a very long post……

My mother was born in 1915…….a time when little girls were taught to be young ladies who got married and took care of the home.  My mother did not get that memo!

My mom faced adversity very early in life when she contracted polio as a toddler.  She didn’t talk a lot about that time, but did tell us that she had to relearn how to walk all over again when she recovered.  She carried some of the effects of her battle with polio with her through her entire 93 years of life.  I loved hearing mom tell stories of you younger years and teen years.  She definitely had an adventurous spirit and her stories about riding ponies in the mountain, being chased by Indians (no joke) and more tell me that she loved life and lived it to the fullest.  After my mother graduated from high school, she decided to attend college and off to Washington State College (later named Washington State University) she went.  She was the first woman to take an agriculture class at WSU (this was in the 30’s).  Unfortunately my mother’s college days were cut short when she contracted Tuberculosis in her early 20’s.  This is something else that she didn’t talk about a lot, but I do know that she was in and out of the hospital, battling the disease for much of her 20’s and was finally sent to Portland for a radical surgery to collapse one of her lungs in order to save her life.  My mother lived most of her adult life with just one lung.

My mom and dad met shortly after she recovered from TB and he was a patient at the VA hospital in Walla Walla (he was injured in WWII).  It didn’t take them long to realize that they were made for each other and they got married on August 15, 1945……..VJ (Victory over Japan) day.  My mother did NOT fall into the traditional role of most wives of that time.  She was an equal partner with my dad in pretty much everything they did.  She and daddy had two girls, Linda and Molly, just 13 months apart.  They also raised daddy’s two children from a previous marriage, Ginger and Max.   Both of my parents had a deep love of children…….and throughout their marriage they had approximately 25 foster kids in their home, choosing to adopt my sister and myself when our biological mothers’ parental rights were terminated.  During this time of raising kids, running a farm etc., my mom finished college and became a elementary school teacher.  She actually was my 2nd grade teacher.  The woman was driven, and once she set her sights on something, she went after it.

Mom

I often tell people that my mother was my coach and my dad was my cheerleader and this is so true.  I didn’t realize it when I was young, but my mother started teaching me at a very early age, that I could do anything I wanted to do in life and be anything I wanted to be.  She is the one who got me started in competitive public speaking.  She is the one who would stay up many late nights with me helping me write my 4-H demonstrations.  She is the one who made the coolest “Little Bo Peep” consume for me to wear for one of my demonstrations on caring for a bummer lamb.  Yep, I had a real live lamb up there with me and yep, there were times when we needed the clean-up crew after the demonstration was complete.  It is because of her support and coaching that I  competed at the State competition every year that I was eligible.  When I decided to join FFA, it was my mother who said “ask them if they have any public speaking competitions”…….and I still remember asking Mr. Clark that very question and having him hand me the FFA manual and turning to the FFA creed, he said “memorize this”…….I remember when I decided to attend WSU and major in Ag Ed…..mom didn’t say anything, but I could see it in her eyes…….she KNEW that as much as I loved FFA and everything that organization did for me, that my passion wasn’t teaching.  She was so happy when I decided to change careers and go into TV/Radio broadcasting.  I don’t think she expected me to go into sports broadcasting, but it was because of her that I did.  I loved sports and even though more than one professor told me that he’d “never seen a woman go into sports broadcasting” (remember this was in the 80’s), I had a stubborn determination to do just that.  My mom is the one who gave me that determination…..because of the example she set for us girls.  She really was all about ‘GIRL POWER” before that phrase was popular.  She was a woman who knew who she was and wasn’t afraid to “break the mold” and do things her way.  She was an amazing mother and I miss her greatly.

One thing that I realized during my Wings experience is that even though my parents are gone, they are always with me.  They were absolutely amazing people.  Were they perfect?  NO.  Nobody is perfect. But they did their best, and their best was pretty damn amazing.

So…….mom as you look down from Heaven, I want to say “thank you” for loving me unconditionally.  Thank you for giving me the tools to face this life with all the joys and sorrows that come from a life well lived.  Thank you for being a trailblazer and teaching me that I could be one too.  Thank you for being you.  I love you………Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom and Dad

Wings

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog.   THAT is about to change.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Wings PES Seminar and it was an eye opening experience for me in so many ways.  There is so much on my heart right now that I don’t even know where to start.  What I do know is that I learned a lot about myself and the baggage I have carried around for much of my life.  Baggage that I have allowed to weigh me down and create much self doubt and a lot of insecurities.  If you were to ask me today the number one thing I learned in the seminar, I would say “I am uniquely and beautifully made.  I am ME”.  That verse popped into my head early into the four days and it has stayed with me since.  It has become my motto and I am committing to myself that when self doubt creeps into my mind again, this will be the first thing I think of.

So, many of you are probably wondering “what happens at Wings”……I honestly can’t put it into words, but it is an amazing time that I will never forget.  If I absolutely had to put it into words, I would say, it is a  time when I was able to strip away the walls and allow the true Ginny to shine through.  A time of total acceptance when I didn’t care what others thought and shared my heart and soul.  Much of the weekend, I felt like my heart was bubbling up through my eyes and down my cheeks…….and that happened in front of other people and that’s ok.  It was a time for me to deal with some things from my past that have been with me for a long time.  A time for me to let go of that scared little foster kid who was told by classmates that I was in foster care because nobody wanted me.  I was able to realize that it was way back in grade school that I the phrase fight or flight took root in my soul.  I have spent much of my life doing just that……you mess with me and my first choice is to flee…..avoid any type of conflict.  You back me into a corner and I will come out fighting……and it isn’t pretty.  This is something that I now realize and am working to change.  Something else that I have really struggled with since my time in foster care, is that feeling that what I bring to the table just isn’t good enough…….that I am not as smart as others……that I’m not as pretty as others.  I’m constantly seeing where I fall short.  That is something else that I’m committing to myself that is going to change.  Remember “I am unique and beautifully made……I am me”.  Yep, that is definitely my new motto!

I am fully aware that change isn’t instant and I know that I am going to make mistakes.  But you know what, each and every one of us is human, and we ALL make mistakes.  That’s something else I’ve struggled with for a long time.  I hate making mistakes and it is very hard for me to let go of past mistakes.  Again, something that I got out of the weekend is that the past is just that, the past.  I can’t change it and the only thing I can do is learn from it and move forward.  When this topic came up, the MercyMe song “Dear Younger Me” just started playing through my head.  If you have not heard that song before, look it up on YouTube.  It is very powerful and every word of it is true.

I have so much more to share, and so many words just running around in my head right now, but I’m going to stop here.  I need to organize my thoughts and words and then will share more.  I will say this.  I am so excited about the future.  I am so excited about finding Ginny again, a Ginny that has gotten lost over the years of trying to be what others wanted me to be, and not just being myself.  I am me…….and I can’t be anything else but who God made me to be and that’s ok.

To be continued…..

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When Cancer Strikes

As I sit here looking over the past 8 months, I think I am at a place where I am more willing and able to talk about cancer invading our lives.  I have learned that when you are in the middle of the battle, it is just plain hard to even talk about, let alone write about……so I did the bare minimum.  Updating Dave’s Caringbridge site was about all I could handle, and even then, many times I did so with tears running down my face.

I am not going to try and fit everything into one post, I just can’t.  For one reason I just don’t think I can handle writing it all down at once emotionally and second…….there’s just too much in my head for one post.  So for this post, I am going to start at the beginning.

During the spring and summer of 2015 Dave had several different symptoms.  He was having trouble singing like he was used to and he also felt like he had something in his throat all of the time.  He said he felt “gaggy” most of the time.  He was also snoring like a lumber jack.   Three years before he had been to an ENT in town and had been diagnosed with an “over sized uvula”…..and acid reflux.  They put him on reflex meds and a few other things and it seemed to help.  Fast forward three years……to last summer.  Dave once again went to the ENT and explained his symptoms……and once again he was told that he had an over sized and inflamed uvula caused by acid reflux and once again he was put on meds and told to come back in a month.  There were no test, no “scope”……just the doc looking down his throat.  Fast forward a month.  Dave returns for a follow-up appointment with the doc and explains that there has been no real improvement and he STILL feels like he has something in the back of his throat.  Again the doctor does not scope him…….instead he tells Dave that he has “post nasal drip” and puts him on a nose spray and has him doing nasal rinses and sends him on his way.  About a week later, Dave was sitting at his desk at work and stretched……putting his hands on his neck…..and that is when he felt it.  A lump.  A BIG lump.  When I got home that night Dave showed it to me.  Those of you who know me know that I can be a bit of a Polyanna……..I look at the glass half full……so I told Dave that it was probably an inflamed lymph node because he had some type of infection.  Oh how I wish I had been right……..

It just so happened that Dave had a dentist appointment the day after he found the lump.  He asked our dentist about it and Dr. Timm did a lot of probing and took x-rays etc. and finally told Dave that it was not an infection and that he felt that Dave needed to follow-up with the ENT.  Dave called the ENT’s office and was told by the nurse that the lump could be a result of “stuff” gathering in the lymph node from the nasal rinses, but that she would schedule an appointment for the following week.  The doctor Dave had been seeing was out of town, so he was to see one of his partners.

Fast forward another week………and the day that the big C blew into our lives like a hurricane.  Dave went to his appointment and I anxiously waited at work for his phone call.  I had convinced myself that it would be nothing.   Just an infection…..oh how I wish I had been right.  Dave’s appointment was early in the morning and my phone rang about 9:30 AM……I picked it up hoping to hear “it’s nothing”…….instead I heard “they think it is cancer”.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a whole lot immediately after he said those words.  I do remember getting up and going outside so I could talk in “private”.  I remember sobbing and not much more.  I remember Dave telling me that they were scheduling a CT Scan and needle biopsy ASAP.  I remember him telling me that the doctor “scoped” him (finally) and that there was a large mass on his tonsil.  I remember just crying and trying to assure him that everything would be ok……trying to convince myself as well.  After we finally hung up I remember walking……walking…..walking and crying.  After I semi pulled myself together,  I went back into work and just sat staring at my computer trying to keep myself from falling apart all over again…….and then a co-worker came up and asked me if everything was ok……and she touched my shoulder.  Poor Sheila……the tears started again.  We went outside and I remember her just hugging me while I sobbed.  I couldn’t even talk……just cried and finally I just blurted out THEY THINK DAVE HAS CANCER.  After what seemed like forever I was able to pull myself together and explain what was going on to her.  Sheila if you read this…..please know that you were my angel that day.  I don’t know what I would have done without your listening hear, loving heart, and sweet spirit.

I tried to go back to work but know that I didn’t get much done that day…….and then Dave called to say that they had scheduled the CT scan for that afternoon.  I sent my supervisor an e-mail explaining what was happening and left……..

To be continued…..

 

 

 

 

Jumbled Thoughts

I have had a post brewing in my head for about a month now (ever since Dave’s surgery) but don’t think I am quite ready to post it.  To be perfectly honest my feelings are two raw right now and I fear that I putting those thoughts in writing could leave me a crying mess……..so I am going avoid that for now.

Today was Dave’s third radiation treatment and the first one where I was able to go back and see them fit him with the mask and “snap” him into place.  The ladies at the cancer center were wonderful and offered Dave a warm blanket which he said he didn’t need.  They allowed me to snap a couple of pictures which Dave wanted and then shooed me out before the treatment actually began.  Let me say here and now that I am extremely claustrophobic and watching them bolt Dave to the table may or may not have caused a few tears to fall (stupid tears).   After he was done with treatment, we met with the doc.  We both really like her.  She can be a bit “awkward” when talking but she doesn’t hide anything and is very straight forward.  She showed us the computer generation of where the radiation beams are aimed at and hitting and talked with us about the potential side effects.  They are zapping the left side of his face where the tumor and affected lymph nodes were with a higher dose than the right side.  The appointment actually went very well.

It is still just to hard to say the words “Dave has Cancer”.  After he had his surgery, I found myself saying “Dave Had Cancer” until we started meeting with the docs over here and realized that they still consider that he has cancer, even if the tumor and lymph nodes have been removed, with the  chance of some microscopic disease in there, they say there is………not so sure I like that.

As I look ahead to the Holiday season, I want so desperately to find joy among all we are going through.  Joy in a baby who came to earth to save us from our sins that grew up into a man who died for our sins.  The joy in being with my family and celebrating the season.  The joy that we have medicine that can cure diseases like cancer (coming soon my thoughts about this horrible beast called cancer), and the joy that Dave is here with us and that doctors have used words like “curable”.

Many people have reminded me to take care of myself through all of this.  I am trying but it is hard.  Any time I feel like I am tired or frustrated, or don’t feel well etc., I feel like I don’t have any room to complain because Dave is going through much worse.  It is just a difficult road and I have no idea how to walk it.  I’m doing the best I can but if you happen to see me stumble, please feel free to lend a helping hand.

Well, I’d better close this for now.  Thanks for coming here and reading my jumbled thoughts.

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About “The” Picture

So……nothing like having a picture that you took going viral to push one into a blog post.  So I thought I would share how “the” prom picture came about.  Over 3 years ago our daughter Kaylee was a senior in high school and looking forward to her senior prom.  That same weekend we had a house full of body builders as my best friends’ son and his buddies needed a place to stay when they were in Bend for a body building competition.  My best friend was also here to watch her son compete and be with her buddy Kaylee as she got ready for her senior prom.

When the dates arrived and it came time for pictures, the prom kids and several of us headed outside to get pictures.  As I walked by Ryan (the body builder on the left in the yellow almost not there speedo) and whispered in his ear “I dare you”.  Now when I whispered those words, I had a visual of Ryan alone coming out and disrupting the pictures…..oh boy was I wrong.  About halfway through the pictures the three body builders literally burst out the door and started posing with the prom kids.  Poor Kaylee (the one that looks like she has a seatbelt on) almost burst out in tears.  Take a very close look at her face.  The other kids had a blast with it while Kaylee remained mortified the entire time.  The “exorcism” taking place behind the kids are my two sons Connor and Reuben who photo bomb any picture they can.

There is actually more to this story than just that picture.  It just so happened that the prom and body building competition were actually held at the same venue (one upstairs and one in the basement).  The body building boys decided that they also needed to visit Kaylee and her friends at the prom.  Thank God they at least put pants on for that.  They did almost get themselves thrown out on their ear by a very feisty and SMALL principal (female).  So, that is the story of “the” picture.

The Ultimate Prom Picture
The Ultimate Prom Picture

 

Everyone Has an Opinion

I have been pondering this post for quite some time and have held off because I am one hundred percent sure that I am going to offend someone with this post, but oh well, here goes.

Over the past couple of years, as social media has continued to grow so has the willingness of people to judge others and put them down for everything from whether or not a mother breastfeeds her babies to whether or not a young pregnant woman has gained too much weight or not enough.  Everyone has an opinion and is more than willing to judge others for their choices.

Recently a photographer in Washington state posted a picture of a young military father dressed in his fatigues holding his newborn baby swaddled in an American flag.  I was one who thought the picture was absolutely beautiful.  After all, this young father is fighting to preserve this amazing country for his little baby.  There were so many people who did not feel the same way.  They felt that it was disrespectful of the flag and many were not nice about it.  Really?  So, having an athlete who has just won a race running around the field with the American flag draped over their sweaty body is ok, but this is not?    Really?

I have also seen young mothers post picture of their kids only to be blasted in the comments because their child doesn’t appear to be buckled into their carseat perfectly or their baby is drinking from a bottle and others feel that babies should be breastfed. Then there are those who are body shamed……they are too skinny.  They are too fat to be wearing that!  People have posted pictures of their beautiful tattoos only to have others tell them what bad people they are because they have a tattoo.

Then there are the incidents when people speak their mind, take a stand on something and because their opinion may not align with others, they are put down and judged for standing up for what they believe in.  The last time I checked freedom of speech was still one of our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.  We all have a right to our opinion and we have a right to speak what we believe and what we feel.  Others have a right to their opinion too, but we do not have the right to put others down and judge them just because their opinion may differ from ours.

Over the past couple of years I have watched more and more people say horrible  things about people on both side of the gun control debate.  And then there are politics.  Oh my gosh.  I tend to lean toward being conservative and more times than not will vote republican, but I am about ready to disown a lot of friends and family who are passing around horrible, horrible Facebook posts about President Obama.   HORRIBLE things.  I agree that Obama may not be the best president we have ever hard, but some of these “cartoons” and far right Facebook posts are just not right.

We all have a right to our opinion and we all have a right to express that opinion, but why does every little thing have to cause controversy?  Why are people so willing to judge others?  Why can’t we just respect our differences?

How many people remember Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes?  I wonder what people would do to him today if he were still alive?

 

Signs of Spring

The signs of spring are definitely all over the high desert.  Today Dave and I took a drive out to Camp Sherman and Suttle Lake and of course, I took advantage of this little adventure and got some great photos that show spring blooming here in Central Oregon.    Check out the honey bee on this beautiful yellow wild flower.

DSC_0440These flowers were growing close to a little creek that feeds into Suttle Lake.

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Green leaves are starting to appear…..

DSC_0390Just about everywhere…….

DSC_0389While the campgrounds were pretty much empty, there were some folks who decided to take advantage of the wonderful spring weather…..

DSC_0418At Camp Sherman, we saw a guy heading down the river in a rubber raft……and he was going FAST.

DSC_0376Yes……spring is here, but after 15 years in Central Oregon, I know that Mother Nature probably still has some cold weather up her sleeve so I am going to savor every single beautiful, warm moment of this weekend!

DSC_0454Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I haven’t written a whole lot lately, but I do have a post brewing and am hoping to get it up tomorrow.  I will give you a glimpse into the topic with this simple statement.  I am so tired of how judgmental our society has become.