Thursday, October 18, 2012


Today we pulled the kids out of school a little early for another surprise adventure...I'd better slow down otherwise they are going to expect this way too often.  However, I could not pass on this incredible opportunity!

Just over a week ago, my Aunt Anitha sent me a link to a blog from the News Tribune about sailing aboard the Thunderbird #2 sailboat, the Pirouette to be exact.  There were several chances to sail for free this month. This happened to be my great uncle's boat (Admiral James Russell) and then my Uncle Ken's boat.  (Anitha's late husband).  Anitha wrote, "This was our boat for many years. I spent my honeymoon on this boat and we have many wonderful memories of vacations and relaxing and exciting times in all kinds of weather". This boat is now owned by the Gig Harbor BoatShop.  Volunteers spent over 2 years renovating this boat (labor of love I might say) and thousand of dollars restoring her to her original condition.  In fact here is a picture of Jaime Storkman, one of the men that made this possible.  (So sad I didn't get a picture of his good buddy Ed Josberger who together took us out into the harbor)

We were able to take advantage of a cancellation and go sailing today!  Jaime and Ed were amazing, letting the kids move around the boat freely and even allowing Daniel to steer with the tiller.  They are Thunderbird owners and are experts in my opinion about these beautiful boats.  The boats were designed in 1957 to be both a racing and cruising boat, to sleep four, be capable of being built by reasonably skilled amateurs, to be powered by an outboard auxiliary and outperform all other sailboats in its class.  The challenge was that the boat had to be built of plywood, a concept that was virtually unheard of at the time. (excerpt from Gig Harbor BoatShop flyer)  Ed Hoppen built this boat, sold it to the Thorpe's, then my great uncle purchased it.  It was in our family for about 30 years. It was really fun hearing Jaime share fond memories of my Uncle Ken. He was an adventurous, fun loving, family man. I got a little sad as I envisioned him out here sailing with Jaime and Ed.

I cannot express what a treat this was (Did I mention, these men are still volunteering?  They did this for FREE?!) I never would have dreamt for a chance like all know my passion for the water, add family history and my husband and
I must add that Dave said this was the most relaxing 90 minutes he's had in weeks.  This was the icing on the cake.  Dave's really been struggling, working long hours, in constant pain, wondering if the cancer will return.  For him to have this afternoon was priceless.
(Look ~ he's smiling!)

And so are we!
 It was smooth sailing, way to go buddy!

Isn't she beautiful~
 (Thunderbird #2 - yes, the second one built, amazing right?)
Well done Eddon Boat Company and thank you Jaime and Ed for a fantastic and memorable day.
We'll be back for sure!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Closer Look

We went to Spooner Farms last Friday.  We thought we'd take advantage of a day off of school and officially welcome the fall season in the NW by going to a pumpkin patch.  (We have had an unusual and wonderful fall...sunshine for weeks!  Finally the cold and rain have arrived.  You just can't go to a pumpkin patch without cold weather and boots can you?)  I purpose to have "family time" for many reasons.  First, it is good for us!  But also, I want my children to have memories of the four of us adventuring together.  I can't put my finger on it (or I don't know that it is even right), but besides enjoying the present, I want our kids to have good memories and fun stories of their past.  Anyway, I posted some of our pictures on facebook and thought, wow...we look like a totally normal family. 

I love this picture of this path (shocking, I know) made me think of our lives right now a little.  It looks neat and tidy, it's green and growing, there is a path before us.  What you can't see are the black little bugs on the corn or that some of the branches are broken and left limp on the stalk.  You don't notice the grey clouds hanging in the sky.  I'm sure to some our lives look pretty neat and tidy, green and growing.  What you don't see is Dave limping through the cornstalks in pain from his neuropathy, wanting to find every check point so his kids can get a prize.  What you don't feel is the sweat forming on his brow as his heart starts racing with the sense of the rows closing in on him, anxiety taking over his normally steady mind.  We had to practically make a beeline for the truck so he wouldn't totally lose it right there in the middle of giant spiders, wheel barrels, caramel apples and bunnies.  We did make it to the truck and safely home...with two perfect pumpkins. (actual pumpkins, not our kids...they made it too though)  This is what you don't see from facebook photos, or even maybe from seeing us in person.

So I thought I should share a closer look.  Many of you have been asking about Dave and this seems to be about our new normal.  Figuring out the effects of the chemo and how to adjust our lives until another new normal sets in.  Dave is often tired, forgetful, anxious and in pain.  The doctor said this is all typical and not surprising (to him maybe....).  Dave is pressing on though, working hard and trying to make it through the day and looking forward to better days ahead.

I'm very proud of him as this has not been what we expected for 2012.  Psalm 20:7 says, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  We can't put our trust in human hands, in treatments and diets, in time lines and deadlines, (though those are good things), but we can put ALL of our trust in the Name of the Lord our God.  So we will trust Him and thank Him for the good, the bad, the normal and difficult. And we can thank Him for family days in the cold and rain and for the memories these days forge.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weep and rejoice?

My fingers have sat motionless on this keyboard for several's been so long since I've blogged and I have so much to say, I just don't know where to start.

I don't think I can possibly catch up the last few months in one post, so maybe I'll tackle that on the next post.  I am just so compelled to process through yesterday for now.

Two events collided last night and left me quite emotional.  Romans 12 is so rich with wisdom for daily living, verse 15 says "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."  Well, that is what I did all in about 2 hours.

One of my favorites with Kim in California.
I blogged about my niece last August.  She had sent us a book, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen.  She had begun her journey with cancer just months ahead of us and was a great encouragement to us in those early days.  She lived in Hawaii with her husband and 3 beautiful daughters, near to my brother and his wife.  Long story short, her breast cancer metastasized to her brain this year.  She had been hospitalized and then was home with hospice care.  My sister Lily called weeping last night, dad had called and told her Kim had passed away.  He was so emotional, he couldn't call his other two daughters at that moment, so asked Lily to call us.  I was able to have a sweet conversation with both of my sisters and finally my dad.

Dad, Kim and Nancy (isn't she adorable!)
I experienced a new emotion as I processed through what had just happened.  Survivor Guilt.  I don't really know if that is what it is called, but Dave has been given life, and Kim death.  How is that right?  I quickly tried to combat any feelings of guilt or unworthiness with truth, with a grateful heart.  We don't know, this side of heaven why up is up and down is down.  We don't know why He gives and takes away, what we can say is Blessed be the Name of the Lord. 

So that is clearly my weeping that happened last night.  Weeping for my family, her family.  Weeping for dreams that will go unrealized for her children, all the firsts and lasts she would have experienced with them.  You all know, you have experienced loss, maybe not by death, but in other ways.  It changes us. It hurts. Yet there is healing...sometimes it's slow, but I believe it is promised.

One of our first of many times together.  Sorry about
over exposure! Yikes ;)
So the rejoicing piece.  I have another niece (I am blessed with many actually), Stephanie.  When Dave and I got married she was about five.  She has always lived in Texas and we have always lived in Washington.  Thankfully, her parents have done a great job about coming to the Northwest to see family.   Since we've met, I've always felt a connection to her...not sure what it is, but it's there.  Then Julia came along and I think Stephanie felt that connection with her.  Steph has come and stayed with us and even vacationed with us when we went to Texas a few years back.

Vacationing with the family at the beach,
french braiding Steph's hair.
Great little hotel by the River Walk.
Stephanie just got engaged a couple weeks ago and we are so thrilled.  She told Dave she was sending Julia something in the mail about the wedding (at least that's what I remember him telling me).  Yesterday Julia got a pretty pink envelope from Stephanie that says, "Julia there is no one else I'd rather have by my side, will you be my Bridesmaid".  She hand wrote a sweet note on the back.  Julia read it intently as I was begging to read it.  Her eyes seemed a little glossy, and when she finally handed it to me, I cried.  (Rejoicing tears this time)          

I had NO idea she was asking her to be a bridesmaid.  What an honor and gift for Julia, thank  you Stephanie!  I realize it's not about her, it's YOUR day, but this really is a sweet gift to our daughter. Julia and I both got to talk with Steph and get even more excited.  Julia mentioned something about getting your nails done together? : )

Cousins!  Or Bride and Bridesmaid :)
I am giddy with excitement for this couple and yet I am grieving for my other niece.  How do these two emotions reside in the same heart at the same time?  As I thought about sharing these two events, I didn't know which to share first, wanting to honor both families.  Is it okay to rejoice when another is it okay to weep as another is rejoicing?  Yes, yes it is.  This is life...and death.  He gives and He takes away, sometimes it is over the course of our lives and sometimes it is over the course of 2 short hours.  My heart can still say, blessed be the Name of the Lord.