Saturday, August 26, 2023


 Hi everyone,
I thought I'd give you some updates on things I've written the last couple of weeks.
A few posts back I wrote about dozens of sirens. More than I've ever heard in the 20+ years we've lived here. The fire trucks and Battalion Chiefs... they were all going to a house fire. There was nothing on the news and even our little local paper just mentions 'crews assisted with a residential fire' so I'm praying it was small and no major damage was done. 
The police cars in the Bartell's parking lot were from the officers chasing a guy who stole shoes from a store. He took off running and ended up in the same store we were in. Thankfully he was caught and put in jail. 
We're monitoring Beth's meds more closely and have added a few things like iron and Vitamin D. I can tell she's trying to eat better and exercise more. During the summer since there's no preschool she just works one day a week. On Thursday she worked about two hours disinfecting the main foyer, the bathrooms, and the stairwell railings. She came up to my desk and asked if there was anything else. She was breathing heavy and I could tell she was tired but she said she wanted to keep working. So I had her vacuum one of our largest rooms. When I peeked in on her a while later she was moving chairs to be able to vacuum under the tables! That's something she doesn't always do in the preschool rooms.
Chuck and I are talking about moving her to the bedroom upstairs. Our daylight basement doesn't have running water and I'm wondering if that is a factor in her hygiene. We bought her a large serving tray so she can carry her dirty dishes upstairs but she ends up leaving them down there. And maybe the tray isn't the right tool? In the bedroom across the hall from our room she'll be right next to the bathroom, it's a quick walk to the kitchen, and she won't have to haul her trash cans or heavy laundry up the stairs... So, we're still figuring things out. We got a random email the other day (a blessing, or is it a little creepy because we've been talking about it?) about getting information on respite providers. There's so many things to consider.

Thank you for all of your ideas and suggestions, and for your concern for Beth and our family. I appreciate each one of you! 

Diana, Peter and Adelaide will be here in 5 days!! I think Adelaide is as excited as we are!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

I'm Getting Weary, But I Don't Know What the Answer Is

I took Beth to the optometrist last week to get some new glasses. We went a few years ago but her prescription hadn't changed so she decided to keep her glasses. It still hasn't changed much but she was ready for some new ones. They're close to the same shape she has now, but they're a different color. She should get them in a few days.

 We left there and went straight to the dentist. Got two done in one day! The hygienist was very impressed with how her teeth looked and Beth told her that she brushes "in the morning and at night." Leah told her she was doing a great job. We love her, she always talks to Beth, not just to me. She remembers Beth's activities and her family members and talks in a way Beth understands. She's priceless!

 Writing is like therapy for me, so I want to talk a little about Beth's recent health issues. 
When we went to Iowa last month, we walked into the airport and got in line to use the kiosk to check in. I could tell Beth was starting to look lethargic and when I asked her how she was she doing she mumbled, "Okay." I grabbed her arm and tried to get Chuck's attention. He was in line at the kiosk while Beth and I waited in the back with a crowd of people. I could feel her getting weaker and hollered to him that Beth needed to sit down. I began to panic because the airport was doing construction and we were all crammed against these tall barriers. Thankfully Chuck's 6'3" height allowed him to see some chairs in a different area and he helped her to them while I got all the luggage. She was so pale. I began to fan her while Chuck went to find water. After about 10-15 minutes she was feeling better so I was able to get her to a bathroom. She couldn't tell me the last time she had had any water. She did okay through security but then started walking very slowly. Chuck found a wheel chair at a nearby gate so I pushed her and he pushed the luggage to our gate, then I took the wheelchair back to where he found it. I bought us all some bottled water and we waited for the flight.
 Using both hers and Chuck's walking sticks
By the time we got to O-Hare, she was feeling great! So... off the plane and making our way through the airport when she begins to slow down again. I mean, really slow. Barely moving. She said nothing hurt but she couldn't tell us why she was going so slow. We asked for a wheel chair and an employee pushed her to our gate. We learned that you can ask for a wheelchair when you first check in so we did that when we landed in St Louis.

 Since we've been home we had some blood work done and her thyroid levels were way off. Come to find out, she stopped taking her medication! She takes two medications and a few months ago, just quit taking them. She's always been so faithful about it. When I've asked her why she stopped she doesn't answer. She won't - or maybe she can't - tell me. She doesn't have the language to explain why.

Either way, I'm now monitoring her meds. Checking with her every day to make sure she takes them.
We're also taking measures to dramatically limit her dairy intake. She buys the same food every time she goes grocery shopping and most of it is sugar... and dairy. I've struggled with this because she's 38 years old. I don't monitor what my other daughters eat. They wouldn't be very happy if I did. So I've tried to let Beth make her own decisions - good or bad - for herself. But it's coming to a point where it's really beginning to affect her health. And she can't take care of herself in many areas so Diana... encouraged us to step up our game.
This week we found some healthy alternatives to her snacking and at the grocery store she showed me how she found a small package of m&ms (instead of the large family size) and a small licorice. I told her those were great choices and she was doing such a good job! And, those were the only junk food she had! That's huge!
Chuck and I have family members on both sides that are hoarders, and Beth is too. It's not like you see on those TV shows but it's bad enough. I'm trying to spend more time in her apartment (our daylight basement) helping her clean but I noticed today an area we cleaned a couple weeks ago is starting to fill again. And it's not that she's attached to any of it, she just won't throw anything away. Literally. Old shoes, empty kleenex boxes, grocery bags, old papers... she just tosses everything on the floor. And she's got a big trash can in the kitchen and one by her desk.

I don't know what the answer is. 
Do we put her in a group home? (I don't want to.) Do we hire someone who specializes in clearing out hoarders homes? Send her to a psychologist? Quit my job so I have more time to take care of her? 

Please pray with me that the Lord would show us what to do. That He would heal Beth, and  provide the answers we need and bring the resources to help us through this. Thank you!

Monday, August 14, 2023


We celebrated our 41st Anniversary this weekend. We were married on August 14, 1982, Chuck was 24 and I was 21.

 It's crazy when you think back to those first years, you have no idea what your future will hold. And honestly I didn't really know him. In April I had just started attending his church and we hung out in the young singles, but we were just friends. On July 4th we started hanging out together. And August 13 he asked me to marry him. 
We decided to set the date for the following year, and we both felt the Lord show us the exact date: one year from the day he proposed. August 13 was a Friday that year so we decided to make it the 14th. 
And now 41 years later, here we are. I think the thing that defines our marriage and family the most (besides the Lord of course, He's the foundation on which our marriage and family is built) is our traveling. We know many people who put their money into their home, raise their kids, and then after the kids have moved out, mom and dad start traveling. 
We did just the opposite. Our first road trip was in 1986 when Sharaya was a month old. We've taken more than 40 since that time - all over the U.S. We've taken our kids to many national parks, spent a week at an orphanage in Morelia, Mexico and instilled in them a love of travel and exploration. The memories we've made with them will last a lifetime. (Some of our pictures are on my side bar.)
This weekend Chuck and I went to a movie at Cinnabar, a theater where you can order a meal and they bring it right to your seat. That was nice. We saw Oppenheimer, have you seen it? I'm not sure how I feel about it. There were some nudity, plus the controversy of the Project itself. My grandfather assisted in the Manhattan Project (not sure how I feel about that either) so I was curious about it. But, it's not a movie I will ever see again and definitely won't have in my library here at home.
On our very first date we went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, so we watched that again this weekend too. Chuck fell asleep during part of it and I laughed when I woke him up. We're a little more comfortable around each other now than we were back then. 😂 




Stay tuned for a new family photo that includes Adelaide!

Friday, August 11, 2023

Happy, Grumpy, Scary

Today Beth and I were at Bartell's Drug store and while we're waiting in line to check out this guy runs past us and down one of the aisles. Right behind him is a police officer telling him, "J, it's no use. There's no way out of here." Then in comes another officer. And another. By the time we got to our car, there were 5 police cars in the parking lot!
The other two cars were to the left of the one on the far left

More often nowadays there seems to be something else happening near us. Earlier this week there was a story on our news about four people shot and one murdered in our city. The only answer is Jesus! Only He can heal and restore and bring unity and reconciliation and peace.
And you guys, as I sat down to type this I began to hear sirens. Just a couple. Maybe two or three different vehicles. And now, 15 minutes later, they are still coming! I've seen multiple firetrucks, police cars, command units... they all seem to be headed near a park about a half mile behind our house. I've been out to the backyard to see if there's smoke, is something on fire... but there's nothing. We've lived here more than 20 years and I've never heard this many sirens! I'm actually shaking. Oh Lord protect the first responders and everyone involved in whatever's happening!
I just uploaded the picture of the police cars and now, three more sirens! And now another fire truck just went by...
Okay, on to other things.

Diana sent this picture of Adelaide the other day. She's definitely not a morning person!

Diana and I Facetimed today and Adelaide was crawling and rolling and pulling herself up to her knees with furniture... so active! And talking and yelling... and not quite 8 months old! I can't wait to see her in a few weeks!

Beth and I went to Joann Fabrics and DSW and Target earlier this week. Bought a lot of stuff like a new trash can for her kitchen; a new blanket for the bed in the den, more compression socks, a new lamp for work... just small stuff that we've been putting off buying. Then stopped at Chick-fil-A for dinner. It was a fun evening!

She can never pass up markers!

Monday, August 7, 2023

This and That

 I have such a long list of things to tell you about so I'll just get right to it.
A month or so ago Chuck saw his dermatologist for his regular 6 month check up and on the top of his head they found what they called, 'a rough spot.' Did I already tell you this? Well anyway, they said it was basil cell carcinoma. They did a scrape biopsy and found it to be benign, thank goodness! They got it all, it's no longer an issue so we just keep watching his scalp... and praying.
Sharaya started back to work today, finishing up at her old position before beginning her new job.  She worked at a middle school and found out in May I think, that due to budget cuts her job was being eliminated. She was able to secure a different job in the same district (so Ally can continue at the same school she was at last year) in their transportation department. She thrived at her old position, she was so good at her job and everyone loved her! I know she's going to excel at this new one too. Her solid work ethic, creative ideas and willingness to go above and beyond what's expected of her, it won't be long before people are loving her at the new job!
Diana, Peter and Adelaide are coming out here the end of this month and we are so excited! Adelaide is crawling already, she's just growing so fast! I don't think I ever shared pictures of our trip to Seaside Heights at the Jersey Shore back in June. We did a little shopping, got something to eat - we actually tried fried oreos, have you ever had one? Really good, but oooh, so sweet. One was plenty! It was warm out, but it was so pretty there.

There's more to tell you but it's time to go fix dinner. I hope you're all having a great summer. Even though it seems to be flying by!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


Chuck, Beth and I went to a family reunion in Keokuk, Iowa. It was a quick trip - we flew out on Friday, the reunion was Saturday and we flew home on Sunday. Got in around midnight but thankfully none of us had to be up early the next day.
My dad's mom was born in Keokuk, second of 7 kids. Tillie, Neota, Helen, Opal, Wayne, Harold, Joseph. Their mom died just one week after giving birth to Joseph and the kids were taken in by their aunt. She had kids of her own and after a while realized she wasn't going to be able to take care of them so they went to live at White's Institute in Salem, Iowa. Joseph was adopted by a family in the area.
This is five of the siblings, my GG (as us grands and great grand kids called her) is in the dark dress.

 I don't know the sequence of events, but eventually GG and George were married and living in San Diego, where they had my dad and his little brother.

At this reunion I got to see Margaret, Joseph's daughter, and Betty, who was married to Wayne's son, also named Wayne. (He's recently passed away.) Both Margaret and Betty are in their 90's and they're the ones who put on the reunion. We got a chance to meet them back in 2018 when we were passing through. We've been writing back and forth ever since.
Unfortunately none of the kids want to continue the reunion so there might just be one or two more. In fact this was the first one since covid and it sounds like they only had it because we were coming. There were many I didn't get to talk to so I'm hoping to go back next year and get more information on the family. 

Me and Betty

Margaret and some of her family

Betty's family

Later that evening Margaret called and invited us over to her place the next morning. They live on... gosh, I can't remember how many acres of land they have but we sat on the back patio looking out over the fields. She showed me her wedding photo and we looked at pictures of their family over the years. It wasn't long before most of the family was there, a typical Sunday afternoon for them.

We had a 3 hour drive to the airport so we said our goodbyes and headed out. I'm already looking forward to next year.

The Mighty Mississippi