Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Matters of the Heart (an update from the girl who's had open heart surgery)

     Seems a good time for a blog...
     I am happy to report I am home from the hospital, new ticker in tact...resting and on the mend.
     I am sad to report that, best efforts aside, I am worthless right now at managing things...Things like pain...Things like energy levels...Basically any things that have to do with the left half/linear hemisphere of my brain.
     File it under "Gosh darn...Who knew?" but may I take this moment to say ~ "Everybody check your hearts, OK?" I dare say most of us are walking around with way too much stress and far too little awareness of where it might play out in our bodies. Then there are others of us (lucky lottery winners that we are) who have our genes to thank for things that crop up out of nowhere with precious little warning, save for a few odd symptoms that you may or may not recognize as heart related. (Mine felt lungs related, but turns out it was my heart faking me out.)
     When it comes to my mother, I am happy...honored even, to have inherited her big brown eyes and her warped sense of humor. But sadly, I was not so thrilled to discover a few short weeks ago that I also inherited her leaky mitral valve. That hers began giving her problems at the precise age I am this day was one of but a few clues I had to go on; other clues included a sudden drop in energy level and a rude, yet rapidly evolving habit of having to stop at the top of stairs to catch my breath.
     Frightening as that was, there was no pain at the time and for this I was truly grateful. The bad news is what once consumed 30 minutes of precious morning rituals (i.e. the serving of the brekfusses to my crew of 27), was now taking more than 90 and came with a lot of heavy breathing, (breathing that, for the record, even goats do not find sexy).
     Nothing like entering the holidays knowing that open heart surgery awaits you on the other side, but I'm happy to report that today the prognosis is good. There were 2 operational approaches in consideration: 1) the crack-open-your-chest / zipper club variety, the other, a less invasive "side" approach that (I was warned) would be preferable by way of scarring and recovery time, but was loads more painful on the front end (a detail quite frankly, they did not stress nearly enough).
     I will not lie; the pain of this ordeal has been excruciating; I'm no doubt a pain wuss, but I can honestly say I've never experienced pain at levels that drugs won't reach but when asked repeatedly as they love to do when waking you every so many hours in hospital settings "On a scale of 1 - 10, what's your pain level?"  my answer for a solid week and a half was, "13"
     Today, for the first time since my surgery, I awoke to something akin to pressure more than pain, a gift that brought me to my knees for all the right reasons. I am grateful to report they were able to use my own heart's tissue on the repair and that no pigs were harmed in the saving of my heart. The rest of my recovery I credit to good doctors, great neighbors, soulful friends, a brother who stayed by my side through it all and what I now see on Facebook as a whole bunch of prayers going up on my behalf. For this I say again and again: Thank you! By this I am humbled and deeply touched. Through this I have learned and am still learning the meaning of surrender.
     "My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for the love you have beamed my way..." is something I say literally and sincerely these days, and I am not kidding when I tell you this truly comes "from the bottom of my heart..."
     In short...
     I am
     grateful beyond words ~

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Time Management (a.k.a. Happy Birthday Mr. Watts!)

Happy Birthday Mr. Watts!
     My country-banker dad was a big fan of a guy named George Odiorne, whose claim to fame was teaching small business types how to manage their time given the propensity for idle chit chat and casual drop-ins inside a small town bank.
     I'll never forget Dad returning from a week-long seminar that prompted him to have a red light installed above his office door. The purpose, according to his management guru, was to train your workers to respect your time. Red light on? Dad's not to be interrupted. He was to take his number-crunching, customer-consulting, phone-calling time on a diet and focus, focus, focus, without interruption by well meaning employees, or casual customers all too comfortable sticking their head in with no notice just to say hey or to tell you about the fish they caught.
     Three weeks into this awkward intrusion, my best friend's 5-year-old came racing through the bank lobby, and with no notice or warning bolted straight through Dad's closed-door office.  Bless his heart, poor little Derrick (not at all familiar with the new 'red light' time-management proposition) yells in utmost excitement, "Mr. Eddie! Mr. Eddie! Look at the frog I caught with my own two hands!" 
     What followed was instant silence, as Dad's secretary, a couple of his tellers and a customer gasped a group gasp, fearing the unpredictable response to such blatant disregard from a child who never got the memo on this red light's installation or function.
     Hanging up the phone, Dad steps out of his office, looks up at the "ON" red light glowing above his door... turns to his secretary and says " the electrician and get that dang light outta here."

     Moral of the story, some things just don't mesh with time management dictates...
     Farming falls under this category...

     One of the toughest things I've come to now cherish is how a day you think you have planned to perfection can go 180 degrees opposite on you with a change of the weather, the break of a drive belt or the sincere request by a friend for a visit. For the longest I walked around in 50 shades of guilt for times friends asked if their kids could come feed goats, or out of town guests asked to drive in for a few...Then one day it hit me: what greater compliment than kids who like you (or your kids) or friends considering this a get-away? To be clear there's always work to be done on a farm, but keep too strict a discipline and you might just miss the point of living on one.

     My last few have put what little time management talents I possess to the utmost test. A former boss passed away, and a funeral I had blocked off a couple of hours for turned into a day-long reunion with friends from decades past whose lives, like my own, have now taken on new meaning...

     My oldest niece married (sentimental unto itself) but given I spent my last summer begging folks to prayer along with me for a brother~unable to walk this time last year~ Well let's just say seeing him walk her down the aisle (not to mention that first dance)...times stands still in these moments.
     Sure, back on the farm there were goats to sell, and hay to get in, and the last of a garden's harvest to be picked. Add to this, a part time radio gig and new business ventures make for new and serious time commitments. And the writer in me still has her projects and her deadlines. One can't ignore these things all together if you hope to eat.

     But when neighbors call asking if their kids can come play, or a friend asks to bring someone out  with questions about starting his own farm operation, I confess life-long habits still run my mind through a mental guilt moment as I weigh obligations against life's unknowns. My "mismanaged time" gene is still firmly in tact, hurling a guilt-dart across my brain like a shooting star. But more and more these days I let 'em fade into the perfect night sky as 9 times out of 10, the "now" of these encounters will wind up replacing any such guilt into memories and moments of raw gratitude.

     My gift of the week (postponed way too long for well reasoned-out excuses of making the time) goes to my elementary school principal whose daughter found me on Facebook, and asked if she might bring her father for a visit (after more years than I care to admit here...let's just say I was 6 when I last visited HIM).  For weeks we spoke of theoretical dates, never quite getting it to ink. But when she wrote to say "He's turns 85 next week" I knew this was our chance and I was flat out honored that he might want to spend this one with me.

     To spend an afternoon in a state of total "now" ...reflecting on precious days past, reminiscing about changing tides of time...hearing what tributaries had channeled through both our lives since last we spoke...I can't imagine a better investment of time or use of a day... If you had told me at age 6 (when yes, I really did get sent to the principal's office) that one day I'd look back and laugh...
Well, I wouldn't have believed you then...and I'm smiling to be telling  it now.

     So here's to YOU, Mr. Watts ~ Happy Birthday! Thanks for spending it with me and the kids... and reminding me all over again what time and friendship and life is all about...

     (Oh, and for the aren't nearly so scary as I thought :)


Saturday, July 22, 2017


     The last two words I heard my dad utter as he slipped from consciousness to coma were:


     "You're going home, Daddy...We'll get you there."

     His wife pulled me aside to say "Don't promise him that. The doctor says he wouldn't survive the ambulance ride." (Their home was in Carthage; my dad was in what was then Baptist Hospital.)

     "That's not the home he's referring to," I say, tears streaming down my face. I knew what home my daddy meant.

     My daddy died the way he lived. He packed his precious, passionate soul into every moment lived...A more spiritual man never walked this planet (well, ok, that's an exaggeration) but if anybody walked a spiritual walk it was my dad.  By the time they figured out it was cancer, he had precious little time left, which left me dropping everything to spend what time I could with him in what turned out to be just a few short weeks.

      I remember the call like it was yesterday...A Monday morning; I was on deadline for a column when his call came in. Nothing new for him to call me on his way to his 10 o'clock meetings, but I was behind this Monday...decided to let him roll to voicemail.  He left a message saying he was having breakfast with his friend, Doc, and would call me when finished. I made a mental note and went about my writing. True to his word he called back just after 11. Only this wasn't the tone I was expecting...and it sure as heck wasn't the message.

     Someone reminded me just this morning of something Dad used to say:

                                     "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems."

     Some days I do acceptance better than others. Some life experiences, however,  come with a ton of struggle.

     As I watch a world in turmoil I feel bad for what I'm about to write, for clearly nothing I'm living right now compares to children starving in Bangladesh or Serbians praying to get out of a war-torn country...That said, I am living the toughest experience of my 55-year-old life, and as fate would have it, the words that now come to haunt are once again, "Home... Home..."

     It's been building for awhile, but this weekend we placed our mother in assisted living. (Let the record reflect, she is not happy. For anyone who might speak with her, she is furious with both of her children right now and it breaks my heart to watch someone so fiercely independent long for the life she once knew and more specifically, her home.)

     We've told her it's temporary...that if she can muster the strength to walk and get about on her own, for goodness sake, YES, we too want you home (and I intend to put forth every effort to get her there if we can but make the hires, but neither her house or mine are properly suited. Read: staircases and 70's type tubs).  Sadly, the reality of her physical strength vs. the her headstrong nature have come to blows and the only one in more pain that she is right now is me. (Not to throw a pity party here, but I've talked to so many people who have lived through the same and I regret I wasn't more there for them ...If there's a support group for this, I'll join it.)

     Like a parent helping their kid set up that first dorm room, I spent my weekend hanging clothes and drapes and unpacking bedding. The sadness of facilitating the move was exhaustive both physically and emotionally. It came with the realization that life is never going to be the same, and my mother (to hear her tell it) never happy again.  In the kid's case, it's their first real stab at freedom...the launch of their own independence. (Mom's college years were her favorite, and believe you me, she isn't buying this dorm-room, send-your-kid-off-to-school analogy for one second, but it's all I got. I'm grasping here.)

     Given my kids are of the 4-legged variety, I can't imagine the bittersweet sadness of that goodbye. Though you know you'll see them on holidays and heck, they might even come back for good, that empty nest thing I'm told is very real and very painful. Still and so, it's the keen awareness (made more keen by repeated pleas to "Take me home! I just want to go HOME") that will haunt me till the day I die.

     The folks at the place offer strength. They assure me that if I'll but back off...give her time to get used to new routines, recognize the value of having help at the pull of a new friends and try new experiences, it will all work out. ("But they don't know my mom," I think to myself. And I debate whether to erase her messages or save them as proof.)

     One thing's for sure. We don't like aging in this country, and as a result, we spend far too little time planning for it. As I watch my mom... ache for my mom... fight for my mom ( and WITH things like wheelchairs and walkers) I can't help but wonder "Who plans for this?" And then (more selfishly) "What's a single girl do?" after all, if the next 20 go as fast as the last 20 did, I'm there myself.

     And when that day comes, the question becomes: Who am I gonna call when my one and only wish in the world is to go home...home...


Saturday, May 27, 2017

God in the Moment (Sometimes Shows Up As A Monkey)

Carlos and Karlen...Sittin' in a Tree
     I was not having the best of days.
     I received an early morning call telling me Mom had fallen. (Fortunately, she could get up, thanks to someone being there, but it wasn't without ramifications.) They were monitoring her for a concussion and she bruised the heck out of her back side. I was heading to her second, but first I had a doctor's appointment to deal with an unruly knee that is not healing properly. (That's not counting the pain; no doubt, standing up is the last thing I need to be doing right now, but it's kinda hard to be of use to anybody, much less 29 goats, 5 dogs and myself while lying flat with knee at heart-level, which is absolutely driving me bonkers and I am failing at miserably, so go ahead and heap on the guilt because yes, I blame myself for my knee still being swollen like a son of a gun.)
     Mom was stable so I kept my appointment, only to find out my new insurance (having been booted off Blue Cross, thank you very much BC/BS) was screwed up...(something about referrals, which I literally watched my primary care doctor's office DO-- it just got lost in the system).
     Normally, when a cyclone of "nothing's-working-out" is swirling about me, I don't leave the house. I hole up. I cancel things. I do whatever I can to stop the contagion, having learned that once your day starts off sideways, you'd be wise to minimize the damages to others and not heap coals upon the burning, downward spiral. But in this case...facing a holiday weekend with a bum knee that was hurting like heck and a mother whose situation was uncertain and about to get worse as they'd stuck her in a room that portended a roommate soon (no offense to said unknown roommate, but my mom doesn't want visitors right now and she REALLY doesn't want strangers living along side her) I was in no mood for one more challenge.

     But then...
          the funniest thing happened.
     (I say funny because it is downright IMPOSSIBLE to stay in this mindset with a monkey in your midst.) I turn around from talking on a phone through a plexiglass window to a person who was, to her credit, trying to help navigate the new insurance people (Think: Karlen's an extra in Shawshank Redemption) I turn... to spot ....a monkey sporting a pamper. I think to myself: My God, it's a monkey...wearing a pamper! (This is normally where I pinch myself to make sure I hadn't shifted to some alternative universe.)

     I don't think I can paint the picture with words this time. I mean...who owns a monkey these days? And who takes one to a doctor's office? (Answer: Thank God, somebody.) In a 180, zero to 60 moment, my entire mood shifts.

     "Awww....What's his name?" (I have no idea why I assumed he'd be a guy... turns out my gut instincts were spot on. Must be all those dating years kicking in...)

     "Carlos. But don't worry. He won't bite. He has no teeth and he can barely see, but he WILL need to sniff you, just to make sure you're OK."

     I had noticed the girl while waiting for my insurance people to cooperate with the nice lady behind the plexiglass. This girl looked like Tracy; a grown up version of my best friend from first grade. Sadly  it couldn't be Tracy because Tracy died in an car crash when we were 16, but I'd been watching this girl since I took my seat in the waiting room. She was waiting for (what I now assumed was) her grandmother. The waiting alone prompted a flood of emotions as I closed my eyes and thought about Tracy and how much I missed her and how this could've been her and what it would've felt like bumping into her in a doctor's office after all these years...if only she hadn't died.

     Suffice it to say my whole day had been lived like this: at the brink of tears. (Note to self: remove damn magnet from refrigerator door; pretty sure this wasn't what it meant.) But no time to think about that now. There was a monkey amonkst us.

     Conscious of the myriad of smells that might set a monkey off, I resisted at first (not that I didn't want to shake hands with Carlos. To the contrary, I wanted to pick the monkey up and hug him to smithereens. Who sees a monkey in a doctor's office?)

     "Probably best I don't." I offered. "I live with a bunch of goats and some really big dogs. I'm sure I'm toting their smells. "

     "Oh, he'll LOVE you. We have goats too" says this Tracy doppleganger.

     There's a bond that comes when someone says they have goats. It's a goat-herder to goat-herder thing I guess, but goat lovers ~ we are who we are, so I smiled as I cut this Tracy-looking girl a knowing look.

     And with that I stuck my hand down and Carlos shook it. And then he kissed it. And then he reached up with both arms and whatever crap was happening in my day went down the drain, after all, I had won the approval and heart of a monkey.

     And Carlos, in this instant, won my heart right back and changed the entire mood and outlook of my day.

     I know we are to look for God is in every living thing. But that God can show up as a monkey in a doctor's office in just the right moment...Well, may I just say ...much as I love my little red bird, a monkey in the moment ... is even better!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Surrender Dorothy

     As personalities go, Mom and I are quite opposite...Polar opposites I'd even say. ..
     Mom tends to anticipate problems before they've arrived. Me? I focus on solutions like a heat-seeking missile even before there's a problem's to be had. (Makes for a good radio producer, but it also makes for twice the work as the mind has to anticipate first, what you're about to bring up as the non-existent problem, before the funner challenge of solving it is upon you~ It's become all but a game with us. At least I choose to view it that way.)

     Mom likes to tell you about her life...her travels...her encounters...her many accomplishments. Me? I like to ask about yours, after all, mine's rather redundant~(You can find it on Facebook:  Feed. Water. Hoe. Sleep. Rinse and Repeat next day.)

     Mom's a clean freak (not a neat freak, mind you ~ neither of us are that). Me? Well you see the many animals coming in and out of my life... Let's just say they leave their traces :)  There's a coaster on my coffee table given to me last week by a friend that reads: Cleanliness is next to ...Impossible. No truer words for animal lovers, can we agree? At least I gave up feeling guilty about that one years ago.)

     Mom's good with math. She prefers the left side/ linear half of her brain to the right, which makes her really good at bridge...and balancing her checkbook. Me? I avoid my checkbook at all costs and quite frankly think the right hemisphere/creative half of my brain may've EATEN the other half...I'm not sure I even have a left hemisphere anymore.

     Our noted differences make neither one better than the other, they are just differences spotted over time ~ things that delineate us and define our approaches to life...They encompass in us each, a world view ~ that outlook that we as our individual selves wake up with in our own respective worlds. In short, our outlooks are different. But our bond is our bond. This is also the stuff that reminds you how key the players who shape and mould you into the individual you've become and are becoming in the day to day living of our lives.

     But there's one arena in which Mom and I are ENTIRELY in lock step; in fact, we are downright identical. We are both fiercely independent in wanting to take care of ourselves, by ourselves, not wanting to impose or ask anyone outside of ourselves to DO for us what (on a good day) we've grown used to doing by ourselves. We both hate to inconvenience folks...Yet as much as we'd prefer not, on this one point, we have both been forced to rethink our lots.

     It is not lost on me, while care-taking a mother whose legs are not working that I'd take a fall just to experience what it's like to be immobile and unable to do a single thing about it. The evening of my fall (late night was the night of our last full moon and the dogs were howling louder than ever; I went out to the pen to bring one of the boys in, thinking it would break up the pack when my girl Rosebud spotted a cat and bolted, straight through my newly leashed connection with Hix, bringing all three of us into one massive and abrupt huddled heap, my knee taking the brunt of it all...) I had help on the farm that night (thank God)...a friend was here to see to the animals while I was tending to Mom's needs. Be it dogs or my screams that alerted this soul to come fetch me off the ground and tote me to my couch, I cannot say, but that's where I slept, not moving a muscle, with ice pack on knee until morning, when I discovered that the slightest effort to move the thing sent a dagger of pain the likes of which I pray never to experience again.

     The physical anguish was one thing. (NEVER have I experienced so much pain... When they asked "On a scale of 1 - 10" I asked "What comes after 10?") While attempting to change clothes just to get to the ER,  I confess I cursed saying "Screw it. (Or some version thereof) Take me in my PJs. I'm sure the ERs seen worse" ) Yet while lying there on that steely cold table as they brought the machine to me rather than watch me writhe any further, the mental anguish I had time to deeply reflect upon.

     THIS (and only this) could I do something/anything about and if I was going to survive this ordeal (at the time, convinced there'd be surgery) I KNEW I would have to release to whatever was about to happen to me as I had but one intensely focused thought and that was to walk again without crying.

     On this front Mom's different.

     Mom can't walk either right now without assistance. And I KNOW this is frustrating for her. (It frustrates ME knowing how frustrated she is. It is painful for a daughter to watch; I am now helpless to fix this one.)  But when your mind thinks one thing and your body says "No way..."  Guess what? Your mind better adjust, because the body (and those gosh-awful pain signals it has in its arsenal to control you) is gonna win. Every time.

     Today Mom is in an assisted living facility that provides "skilled care" (For those of you who've yet to live this chapter with your parents, get ready to bone up on your Medicaid manual for IT controls the bulk of these decisions, not you/not your health care provider.) Having used up her "acute care" days to the extent she was granted, this was the only possible next stop (for home is not an option for people who can't lift their legs to get in and out of bed).

     She is not happy. And I understand that. I hurt for her. Yet she wants no visitors. (I actually understand this too, though in my case, I quickly learned to embrace the comings and goings of my friends...They are not only my own life's support,  the kids needed them too...Kinda hard to tote water buckets on crutches.)

     I know my situation is different. She must look at me and say "Yeah, but you'll heal." (And yes, age puts me at a slight advantage.) But aging is a funny thing. As your body starts shutting down one area at a time you never quite know what to anticipate. But regardless even with these differences, I am sufficiently convinced "surrender" is still our best (if not only) option.

     I know it's not easy. It hurts exponentially for a person SO very used to living life on her own terms. Watching her has brought up a wellspring of emotional questions in me (after all, my kids have 4 legs, not 2; I didn't really think through this whole "last chapter of life when your body doesn't do what you ask it~" I dare say most of us don't).

     But like everything else in my life, it's again, brought up more digging...more soul searching...more deep conversations with friends and loved ones as I'm asking and writing and asking "So have you thought about what happens when..." not in a depressing way, but in a caring and compassionate way...A way that says "Let's talk about this now...Before it gets here...Before it's real. I'd like to know what you're thinking ...what you that if I'm the one helping YOU, I get it right...and if you're the one helping me, you'll know my wishes.)

     Modern medicine is great for patching body parts, replacing our hips, our shoulders, our knees... sticking tickers in our chests to keep us going like Energizer bunnies. But sadly, modern medicine has done nothing to address what happens to our minds, our hearts and our souls while the mechanics of the physical linger thanks to duct tape and glue. Mom recalls her 40-something self when broken legs just mended as expected. But when aging takes the reigns and complications ranging from pneumonia to congestive heart failure to C-Diff to cancer to  ____ (you name it)  well, we alone are to blame for side stepping the deep and meaningful talks we should've been having long before now in order to know what matters most as our individual, unique selves face the inevitable.

     Without such talks--done with soulful compassion, preferably before the time comes, we are otherwise left to ponder these things, staring at the ceiling of some place we don't recognize as home anymore.

     The very thought of that notion.... is more painful than my knee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oh What A Beautiful Day . . .

     What a day for synchronicities...

     As I savor the planting of my garden, (enhanced by the anticipation of tonight's full moon), I am reminded by a friend that today's date marks the anniversary of Buddha's enlightenment...

     For those unfamiliar, may I introduce to you, Sadjguru~ one of the planet's most spiritual leaders and one of the best storytellers I've ever had the honor of interviewing as well as studying under in my younger years ... Below is a link to the story of How Gautama Became a Buddha ~ (23 minutes long, fyi)

     While Christianity may be the prevalent religion in our 'neck of the woods' ~ some scholars believe (and I happen to be one) that Jesus may very well have been a student of Buddhist (and other Eastern) teachings, in those "lost years" the gospels leave out. (Buddha walked the planet roughly 500 years before Jesus, in case you're not familiar with the chronology.)

     Regardless, it is a peaceful teaching...a meditative teaching...a contemplative approach to life, which I think we can all agree, our planet could use a lot more of about now...

     I wish for you each this day, this night...a peaceful full moon. For those who strive to live a more enlightened life, may we remember to look inward, not outward for our true source of power. For it lies not in DC...not in big businesses, but true power ~ the only REAL power that counts ~ lies meekly, quietly, silently within. (It packs the punch of a still, small voice if we'll but get quiet enough to listen.)

     If so inclined, won't you join me this evening in taking a moment as you marvel at the moon in your own back yard, to ask for continued guidance, grace and peace for our planet, particularly now.

     I believe with all my heart there are angels, guides and ascended masters who've gone on before, ever present, ever near... to help direct our paths more inwardly, ever lovingly toward God.

     May we humble ourselves as we ask for this guidance.

     From the God within you, to the God within me...We are one.


Friday, May 5, 2017

No Way to Live/No Way to Die

Roz and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
     I've been remiss with the updates; honestly, didn't know exhaustion came in this many flavors...

     For those who have asked, my mother has recently undergone just about everything a living body can endure and today is rallying as best she can in a rehab hospital ~ (She's a fighter. I gotta hand her that.)

     After a skin cancer removal with skin graft (in March), awaiting radiation marching orders, Mom began experiencing immense pain in her abdomen, so much so that she asked to go to the ER. Here she was diagnosed with C-Diff (I'll let you Google it if you care to, but it's a nasty intestinal infection brought about by too many antibiotics and too many hospital stays, both of which she's seen a lot of recently.) Next, we added bladder infections and pneumonia (both of which require more antibiotics, which is like a growth hormone to the C-Diff bug). Suffice it to say it's been one challenge after another and by the time you DO come home to rest, the last thing you want to do is talk about it some more...(You actually want to talk about anything but, but friends and family deserve the updates, so forgive me for being late with things. I know you guys are praying for things you don't even know ~ Or WHO for that matter, as that last picture could've just as easily been my brother ~ (Out of respect for 'hospital hair' I didn't show her face~ We girls still have our pride.)

     But yesterday we got hairdo's and new togs and today we fight to live another day~

     She's asked for no visitors, but I'll see to it that she reads her Facebook page or mine~

     Till then, just wanted to say thanks everyone. I DO so believe in the power of prayer...Pretty much all that's been keeping us both alive these past few, that's for sure~

     With much love and gratitude~