Thursday, December 31, 2009


We are off to baby sit a couple of our grandchildren for New Year's Eve, so I will probably have more pictures soon. Tomorrow we go to help celebrate Son #2's birthday (which is really today) and that will ensure MORE pictures!

Meanwhile, I liked this meditation from Richard Rohr for the New Year:
When we celebrate New Year’s Day, we celebrate the rebirth of time.
We wait for our God to do new things.
We wait for who we are, and who we are to become.
We wait for the coming of grace, for the unfolding of Mystery.
We wait for the always bigger Truth.
We wait for the vision of the Whole.
But we cannot just wait. We must pray. Our prayers then start naming and defining us. When we hear our own prayers in our own ears and our own heart, we start choosing our deepest identity, our biggest future, and our best selves.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We had Son #1 and family here for Christmas and we had lots of fun! Son #1 has two of the sweetest, most polite, gentle teenagers I have met in a long time. It is so rewarding to see my own children raising such wonderful children.

Son #1 with Grandson #1, waiting for everyone to gather for opening presents.

Granddaughter #1, all ready for unwrapping presents.

Son #1 obliged by wearing the reindeer antlers--so cute!
Daughter-in-Law #1 looks pretty in her antlers with the pretty white bow!
And one of the best presents of all is that Son #1 helped Hubby finish rewiring for my new washing machine and it is all hooked up and being very much appreciated! I am not sure THEY enjoyed that part of Christmas evening, but I was very grateful!

I was sorry to see everyone leave this morning, but now my new washing machine is buzzing away with all the sheets and towels being washed, thanks to my sweet daughter-in-law who stripped the beds and gathered up all the towels before they left!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


This is not a book of mine, but one that I helped get published. I have a friend, Lawrence Seeger, who is almost 82 and is very literate. He reads all the time, does some writing of his own, lots of genealogy and, after I had introduced him to the rictameter form of poetry, began writing several rictameter poems each week.

A rictameter consists of nine lines of poetry with no rhyme required. The poem starts with two syllables for the first line and increases two syllables per line until line five has ten syllables. The lines then decrease by two syllables a line until the final line has two syllables. The first line and the last line are identical.

An example of one of his poems is:

Are fun to write
They just pop in my mind
They're like popcorn in a popper
They fill up the pan and then flow over
The words are like kernels of corn
I love making poems
They're really great

After I had accumulated about 50 poems in my e-mail in-box, I suggested that we organize the poems into a booklet, add some pictures and self-publish the book through in time for Christmas gift giving. Lawrence was excited about the task and together we assembled an exciting book for his family for Christmas.

Lawrence and his best friend, Laurie!

If you are interested in ordering the book, it is listed at, and it is listed as "Lawrence's Rictameters." Congratulations, Lawrence!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We got together with two of our boys today for a pre-Christmas celebration and had a great time! Son #2 and family joined hubby and me and Son #3 here in the Panhandle. It was a beautiful day, we ate heartily of the goodies Son #3 provided, and then we did our Christmas gift exchange and had lots of good fun watching the children and the dogs play. Here are a few pictures from our wonderful day:
Son # 2 and family.
Son #2 leading us all in Christmas songs.
Son #3 opening one of his gifts with help from Little One.
Soph helping Nero join in the festivities.
Hubby with Son #3 and Son #2.
And a good time was had by all. Yawn!


We spent last evening helping Son #3 finish decorating his tree for our gathering with Son #2 and family today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


We have started our visits with our children and grandchildren for the holidays. On Thursday we went to visit Son #4 who has been a firefighter and see him graduate from an academy (he is the tall on in the back. We are not sure where he got his height but we can always spot him because he stands out in a crowd!) and be sworn in as a fire and arson investigator.
We were very proud of him and enjoyed seeing that Miss Ella Bella is in good health and her little brother is growing up way too fast!

We are very proud of Son #4 and now we are on the way to the Panhandle to celebrate with Sons #2 and 3.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I borrowed the title for this post from my friend, Melody who has posted a link to some great suggestions for a less stressful holiday season. When I read the list of "stress busters" I realized that I was breaking MOST of the rules. I promised myself that I will try to implement those rules in my life TODAY and hopefully lessen the stress that we all experience during this season. I hope your holidays are joyful and CALM!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I have finished several paintings lately and finally got some great pictures of them. I have a new camera and it takes wonderful pictures of my paintings. I will share a few with you. Most are from my "flower period." I saw some oil paintings of single flowers on a black background in Santa Fe last summer and decided to do my own set. I have completed four. I did the rosebud back in the summer and took that picture with my old camera. The others are more recent. The last one I did was the iris and it is my very favorite.

I also did one of a red hibiscus with a green background. It had fun with it!

In the fall I painted a landscape of Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, NM. I took the picture when we were there last June. Bet it does not look that warm there today!

More recently I discovered water colors and am having a grand time exploring the possibilities with that medium. I have not figured out how to achieve the detail with water color that I like, but I am looking forward to seeing what I can learn once the holidays are over. Right now I am up to my ears in creating Christmas gifts, baking, wrapping, decorating.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Let's see: the week started out Sunday with an early a.m. call from Son #2--his well went out and they had frigid temps and no water. Next Son #1 called and the engine (or motor or whatever) went out on his vehicle. Monday dawned with lots of fog and drizzle and our hot water heater went out. Hubby got it fixed and I decided to do a load of laundry. Soon I heard a loud screeching noise, opened the garage and it was filled with smoke. Washing machine went out loaded with dirty clothes and water. Wednesday Son #3 called to say that the soreness in his leg turned out to be a broken tibia and then Son #4 called to say that they returned home last night to find water standing in puddles from a broken water main. What's with all this breaking?? Seems like our family is setting some kind of trend or something.

Hubby is now out wending his way through all the washing machine options. He left a while ago with a yellow pad, the newspaper ads, and lots of notes from the internet, my brother-in-law, our children, and all the other advisers who have put their two cents worth in to help us decide what we need. Used to be simple to buy these things. Now the choices out there are staggering. I stayed home to work on Christmas presents. I think the washing machine will be my early Christmas present!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Well, a few flakes. I took a few pictures of the big flakes falling down around our banana trees (that will freeze tonight!) as the sun came out and I cannot see one flake in the picture. Sigh! And yet, down on the coast our kids saw LOTS of snow. Sigh!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The weatherman says that we can expect some snow tomorrow. At the gym this morning the girls' dressing room was abuzz with talk about possible business closings, school closings, hurrying out to shop, what emergency items to buy and so on. And, NO, we do not live in the far north. We just live in an area that sees freezing weather infrequently and snow about every ten years or so. People around here get excited about snow in the weather forecast!

If it DOES snow, the roads will probably shut down because people just do not know how to drive in the stuff. That means that schools and businesses will also close but lots of people will continue to get out and that leads to lots of fender-benders on area roadways and broken bones from slipping on icy sidewalks.

If it DOES snow I will take lots of photographs because I almost NEVER get to take pictures of snow around here because we almost NEVER have snow here!

Can you tell I am excited about getting some snow? I am going to make a big pot of soup, some bread and maybe even a decadent dessert. I am going to bring in some of that new oak we have stacked in our backyard, build a nice fire and make a big mug of hot apple cider to help me "weather the storm." Or, rather, the few snowflakes we have--if we are lucky!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in West Texas visiting with Son #3. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at his house and he got off work in time to help a LOT!

Then he took us out to a friend's ranch and we had a tour, saw HUGE deer, and watched a beautiful West Texas sunset.

Back home, we ate leftover Thanksgiving turkey and are calling it a night (while we watch the Texas Longhorns beat Texas A&M). I have to explain that hubby and I graduated from the University of Texas (Longhorns) and I have a degree from Texas Tech, but we have children who have graduated from Texas Tech and Texas A&M, so I root for both teams EXCEPT when they play our Longhorns! Sorry, guys!

And thanks, Son #3, for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Many people have asked how Miss Ella Bella is doing after her hospital stay and I am happy to report that the infection seems to be under control although they have to be very careful for about 3 more months. Meanwhile, she is back into her busy life. Thank you for your prayers!

Over the weekend the family went fishing and Miss Ella Bella, like her dad, loves to fish. She actually caught the first fish and was very proud of it.
We are so glad that Miss Ella Bella is okay now. How quickly they get sick and how quickly they bounce back. I am so grateful that she is doing well again!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I follow the blog of a family whose youngest child was born a little over a year ago with HLHS which, in simple language, means that he was born with part of his heart missing. This family has been through many, many medical challenges this past year and the year has been very difficult for them and their other three children. However, this blog has three things that make it very entertaining and exciting to read: 1) Both parents are excellent writers, 2) The whole family is VERY creative, and 3) They all have a HUGE sense of humor.

Today's post tells about the family finally being called in to get their H1N1 flu shots and they took pictures as each family member rolled up a sleeve and got the shot. I laughed until I had tears running down my face at their antics.

I feel very privileged to have "met" this family through their blog. I know the grandmother who lives here and we often go to church together to pray for little Rudy, but I am very grateful to have gotten to know this family of hers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This morning I went to the fitness center as usual and ran into my friend Melody Chatelle and she told me that she had mentioned my book on her excellent blog. She said she had also provided a link to the NPR interview that I did at the end of September (which seems like an eon ago!). What a wonderful surprise!
Melody is quite a talented (and beautiful) person herself. She has been a longtime hospice volunteer, and also owns and operates Chatelle and Associates, a nationally-known communication and advocacy consulting firm in Austin, TX. She, too, has written a lovely book, Journeys of Heartache and Grace: Conversations and Life Lessons From Young People With Serious Illnesses, which has been praised as insightful, honest and a “must read” for anyone who wants to support a loved one through a serious illness.

Melody was one of those angels who supported me when Mother was in the hospital. One day I was searching for some kind of snack in the candy machine at the hospital and looked up to find Melody standing there handing me a sack with a very comforting book and some HEALTHY snacks. Another day she brought me a HUGE piece of comfort-food cake at lunchtime and I wolfed down the WHOLE THING! She also sent me various encouraging notes and reading suggestions during those difficult three weeks that Mother was in the hospital. She obviously really knows how to help those who are going through challenging times!
Thank you, Melody, for the gifts, the support, and the mention of my book on your blog! You're the greatest!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Miss Ella Bella's parents took her home from the hospital today with lots of medications and lots of instructions. The first hurdle was that Miss Ella Bella had to be able to swallow the medication and she passed that test. Now they have a strict set of rules to deal with the infection and the need to keep a sharp eye on her for a while. Her parents convinced the doctors that they could follow all the instructions and they arrived home about noon--much to everyone's relief. Progress!

Many thanks for all the prayers. Please continue to pray as they incorporate this little crisis into their already busy lives.
Miss Ella Bella using the Starfall Alphabet program on my computer when she was here last summer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Miss Ella Bella, is in the hospital with an infection and a very bad allergic reaction to the antibiotic they gave her for the infection. Her mother says she is being a real trouper about the whole thing, but she is very sick and the whole family needs our prayers. My very brave daughter-in-law says that she just wants to hear some good news from the doctor soon.
Please pray for Son #4 and his family--especially Miss Ella Bella!

Son #4 with his family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I read this this morning and it really struck a cord in me. I thought I would like to share it with you:

God comes to us exactly where we are—
Not where we should have been if we had made all the right choices in life,
Not where we could have been if we had taken every opportunity that God has offered us,
Not where we wish we were if we didn’t have to be in the place where we find ourselves,
Not where we think we are because our minds are out of sync with our hearts,
Not where other people think we are or think we ought to be when they are attending to their own agendas.
God comes to us exactly where we are, right now.

This reflection is from Inner Compass by Margaret Silf.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


When I was all caught up in the activities surrounding Mother's illness and death my husband said, "When this is all over I will take you off to the beach." Well, true to his word, on Thursday he told me to pack my bag for a few days' trip. He was taking me to the beach. He had made all the arrangements and we were off! We had reservations at the Lighthouse Inn--a favorite place where they have lots of big white rocking chairs, beautiful flowers, rooms with balconies practically over the water, and several wonderful seafood restaurants within walking distance. We had three lovely days in this special place and the weather was beautiful each day.

We sat in the large white rockers on our third-floor balcony and watched boats come and go, listened to the water lapping on the boat dock nearby, saw the huge pelicans swoop in for a landing on the water below our room, and gazed up at the filmy white clouds in the unbelievably blue sky (wondering just how one might paint such a cloud).

I took pictures of the hibiscus, the waning full moon rising over the water, the glorious sunrise, and a few pictures in a lovely art gallery in town--just for inspiration.

We had a great evening with Son #1 and wife--although grandchildren #1 and #2 had other "pressing activities" that evening. The next day, on the way home we stopped by to see Son #4 and family briefly at a soccer celebration for their last game of the season. I remember those days with our own boys!! Miss Ella Bella and brother were enjoying the activities at the pizza place and we had a great time watching them play.
Many, many thanks to my sweet husband for the brief respite in such a beautiful place!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


This week has been a week of catch-up activities. We returned from Mother's burial in Amarillo on Monday and then I spent the week doing laundry, buying groceries, cleaning up the house and all those things I had not done the weeks that Mother was sick and after her death. It is amazing how many things I had neglected during those five weeks.
I promised to post some of the wonderful pictures from our family gatherings during the past several weeks.

A Pictorial Tribute to Mother

My Husband and Me with our 4 Wonderful Boys!

Our Crowded House - FUN! -Daughters-in Laws visiting with Sister-in-Law plus Kids!

Cousins Enjoying Each Other - on our back porch

Toys, Toys Everywhere! But the Daughters-in Law were quick to clean up--thanks, girls!!

A Beautiful Fall Day in Amarillo for Mother' Burial

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We had Mother's funeral this past weekend and had so many good friends and family members join us for several days. Saturday night we had a Vigil Prayer Service and story telling with friends and relatives telling their favorite Mary C, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Gram stories. Three of my boys made video tapes of the story telling and I watched one last night. It was wonderful!!

Sunday our parish priest celebrated the Mass of Resurrection for Mother and his remarks were wonderful--not to mention that he flew in from a meeting just for her funeral and flew back when the ceremony was over. That was such a considerate thing to do for our family!

All weekend our house was full of people. We had all three children and spouses here. We had all 12 of Mother's grandchildren and spouses here and we had all 12 great grandchildren here, plus cousins and friends. Luckily it was beautiful weather so the children played in our big backyard. One of our sons got small pumpkins and hid them in the wooded part of our backyard and led the little ones on a pumpkin patch hunt. Then his wife helped the children decorate their pumpkins to take home. Other children pulled out all the play dishes and a number of them "cooked up a storm" while some got busy with the sidewalk chalk on our patio. The older ones played football and soccer on the grassy part of the yard while adults either sat and watched or joined in the fun and games.

And, of course, we did what our family does best--we ate and ate and ate--thanks to all the wonderful neighbors and friends who provided several bountiful feasts for us! Pictures will follow later! I promise--when I catch up with a few other things around here.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The pace around here is definitely picking up and I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Family members are on their way from nearby and as far away as Egypt. Our WHOLE immediate family will gather this weekend for a marvelous celebration of Mother's life.

Tomorrow night we will have a Vigil Service (a prayer service our parish priest suggested) and a session of story telling. Guess you might know that I figured out a way to gather stories from this huge family of ours. A couple of our boys will bring video cameras to record the stories for posterity. And I am sure that we will have a zillion photos snapped during the two-three days we spend together. A priest who is a dear friend is doing the Vigil Service.

The funeral is Sunday afternoon. Our priest is in Houston for the weekend, but is very kindly flying in for a couple of hours before returning to his meeting. It has been marvelous how so many people have bent way over backwards to make this celebration a nice one. Even the church secretary worked overtime making the worship aid beautiful for the funeral, using a family photo on the back page and a design that looks like Mother's exquisite needlework on the front.

I am so touched by all the love that has been extended to our family at this time. Thanks to all of you dear people!

Monday, October 12, 2009


My brother and sister and I whizzed through decision-making and planning yesterday after Mother died. We really work well as a team, just as we did when our dad died ten years ago. It is marvelous to have supportive family members at times like this. And it is wonderful to have so much support in making important decisions. The result of our planning is as follows:

The church was not available on Saturday for Mother's funeral, so our plans are to have the Vigil Service at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Saturday evening from 5 to 7 and the funeral will be held Sunday afternoon at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5455 Bee Caves Road at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be in Amarillo the next weekend at Llano Cemetery.

Thanks, Anne and Joe, for being here this weekend with me to share Mother's final hours.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Mother passed away peacefully this morning--about 7:50, Sunday morning, October 11, 2009. My sister, Anne, and my brother, Joe, and I spent a wonderful day with her yesterday. Early on Saturday morning we had a chance to visit with her and she recognized that her kids were there with her. We spent the day visiting and reminiscing with her and among ourselves. Fr. Jim Evans came and anointed her and she then slept peacefully until the end.

We are together today and at peace as we prepare the arrangements. Tentative plans are to have the funeral here in Austin on Saturday, the 18th at St. John Neumann Catholic Church with a later burial in Amarillo, next to Dad. We are waiting to hear from the church to confirm these arrangements so we will keep you updated with further details as we work them out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Mother is resting comfortably today. They are keeping her pain under control and she is sleeping most of the time although she woke up this morning and had a bit of responsive time with my brother and sister first thing. After that she was uncomfortable until they gave her enough medication to help with the pain. Our dear guardian angel doctor had the day off but sent an associate to check on all of us to make sure our needs were being met. I will miss him when this is over.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Yesterday was a difficult day because Mother was in pain all day. This morning the doctor said her kidney has stopped working and she is unable to eat. He recommended Hospice and I agreed. This way we can take care of her pain and allow her to be more comfortable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Mother woke up all chipper this morning. She had a rational conversation with the doctor and demanded food at 10:00. When the doctor started to leave she asked him what he was up to today (a favorite question she always asks me) and he just hooted. As he walked out the door she told him to behave himself and he just leaned against the wall and said "She cracks me up! Her grandchildren need her around for a while longer!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Today they were supposed to do another surgical procedure on Mother and the nurse said she thought they would take her about 8:00. She suggested I get there a little before 8 a.m. so I could accompany her down to the surgical area. We waited all morning--no surgery. The nurse worked hard trying to get pain medication balanced so that Mother was not in too much pain or agitation and right after lunch she was finally fairly successful in calming Mother down. It is so tough to watch Mother writhe in pain, but the nurse is a real jewel!!

Still no surgery after lunch, so about 1:00 the nurse began calling all the surgical areas in the hospital to see what the problem was and no one had her scheduled. Seems like the doctor expected the nurse to schedule the surgery and the nurse said she had never had to do that before. A slight glitch! The nurse then called, scheduled the surgery, and they finally came and got Mother about 2:30 and finished up (unsuccessful at what they were trying to do) at 4:00. I left shortly afterwards feeling like I had taken a beating.

The good news is that Mother is beginning to make sense and wants FOOD and DRINK! She thought they were taking her downstairs for food and was so disappointed that they did not feed her in the surgical area. When the nurse was trying to give Mother a pill with a small sip of water, Mother whopped the nurse, grabbed the glass and began chug-a-lugging the water. The nurse said that Mother is way too spunky and not ready to "check out" quite yet. That's our MOM!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Mother slept most of yesterday and today she was in a lot of pain and discomfort. She was rambling in what she said and it was hard to stand by her bedside and watch. I hope and pray that all of her systems begin to work together and she improves quickly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Mother went to the hospital with kidney failure and dehydration about 10 days ago. She improved at first and then her lungs began to fill with fluid. We have had a wonderful doctor who went on a "detective hunt" to discover the cause of her rapid decline. Today it was discovered that she had a bladder tumor which was blocking both tubes from her kidneys to her bladder. The tumor was removed and the tubes were opened up. The doctors feel like she will make a full recovery and that her prognosis is good. One doctor said that she would probably be back to playing "bingo" by the middle of next week. Her other doctor said that the procedure had literally saved her life!

I am not quite so confident about her rapid recovery since she has been very weak the past few days. However, this evening she was bargaining with the nurse to leave off the oxygen mask for just one hour, so she might surprise me. As one of my sons said, "She is a very stubborn woman!" He also added that her daughter had learned about being stubborn from her--surely he did not mean me???

I thank all of your for your prayers, well wishes and help during these long 10 days. Please continue to keep the prayers and good thoughts coming our way as she recovers.


Yesterday Mother's doctor decided to do a CT scan to check out a problem or two that had arisen and discovered that her tubes from kidneys to bladder were blocked. He and the kidney doctor recommended a simple procedure to see if they could open up the tubes. The doctor doing the procedure said it would only take about 15 minutes and be about as risky as driving from here to Dallas on I-35. They took her 2 1/2 hours ago and here I sit waiting for some kind of information. Her doctor said that he would also be there so he has not been his usual attentive self on this floor. I miss his friendly face poking around the door to encourage us. And so! I sit here waiting for more information. The waiting is the hard part!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Came home today at 5:05 p.m. from staying with Mother to find hubby sitting in his recliner clutching the arm rests. He looked awful and I felt his forehead. Temp was 100.7! I tried calling both the doctor he saw yesterday and our family physician he saw today, but, of course, both offices were closed for the day.

I pulled him out of his chair and pointed him in the direction of the car and took him to the ER. He had an infection and is totally miserable! We got antibiotics and will revisit doctors tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mother continues about the same. No real improvements at this point although the doctor did call in a specialist who came by this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My debut on NPR is now available at Just scroll down to the picture of my book and click on the green title. You can listen to my response to the interviewer's questions and also hear my granddaughter, Em, respond to the interviewer's question about growing up in Pampa, TX.

That was an exciting discovery today! I am so pleased with the way it turned out.


Met with the doctor this a.m. and he is not too worried about the racing heartbeat episode, but the big concern this a.m. is that Mother's lungs have filled with fluid again. He said that Mother evidently likes him too much and wants to stick around the hospital a few more days. That's all we need--a comedian for a doctor. Actually, he did get me to laugh, so I guess he is pretty good to have around now and then.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Just got a call from the hospital that Mother had a dangerously high heart-racing episode so she will NOT go home tomorrow. Ah well! I feel like I am on a roller coaster!


Whew! Well, I guess we dodged another bullet on this one. Friday the doctor and I both thought things looked really dismal and they were even worse on Saturday, but today the doctor and I scratched our heads in amazement because all of Mother's problems seem to have reversed themselves (power of prayer??) and he is sending her back to the Summit tomorrow. She will be on the skilled nursing floor for a time and she has a lot of strength to regain, but the doctor says she has nothing terminal at this point.

Meanwhile, back at home hubby is very irritable and "irritated" (in more ways than one) because of his recent urinary tract blockage. We see the urologist tomorrow, so maybe things will improve for him. The only glitch is that Mother will probably be released from the hospital about the same time hubby is due at the doctor's office. And I have not yet learned the art of bi-location--ding it!

My sister came in last night and we spent quite a bit of time with Mother. It was good to have another person to consult with and help me with decisions. However, she had to return to work tomorrow, so I put her on the plane this afternoon.

And, my sister-in-law in NM continues to have serious health problems that are keeping her in the hospital, in serious pain, and stumping all the medical professionals. My brother is wearing down after two weeks of this. Fortunately, he is getting good news from our neck of the woods and one of his sons has flown in to be with them this week.

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful prayers and support.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My Frugal Friday post went by the wayside as I spent my time at the hospital. We were supposed to take Mother back to her residence at the Summit in the morning, but when I arrived at the hospital it was evident that Mother was not going anywhere. Her lungs had filled with fluid overnight and the doctor just shook his head. He said we were walking a tightrope at this point and things could go either way at any time.

During the day Mother had terrible periods of pain, coughing and congested breathing interspersed with periods of wakefulness where she was congenial and talkative. She woke up before lunch and dinner and looked forward to eating although she picked through her food, tasting things that looked good and rejecting other things, leaving them untouched.

Although the day at the hospital was difficult, the people caring for Mother were wonderful. The doctor said he was off over the weekend but would probably come in to take care of Mother. The two nurses assigned to Mother were sweet, attentive and caring--both with Mother and with me. Our priest came by to give Mother a blessing and gave me a boost along with a chuckle or two. My poor, ailing husband came to let me cry on his shoulder. My nephew came to lend his support although he is also concerned about his mother who is very ill in the hospital in New Mexico.

We could use your prayers at this point because--bottom line--the outcome is really in God's hands.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Another visit to the ER in the early hours of this morning and I am beginning to recognize some of those faces from my visit with Mother day before last. This time it was my husband with a severe urinary tract problem. Five hours later he was released to come home and we have moved through the afternoon like zombies because we were up most of last night.

I finally got upstairs to visit Mother in the same hospital this morning and found that the doctor had already seen her. She will be released tomorrow to return to the Summit, but this time to the skilled nursing floor for a couple of weeks. She needs the close attention that they will give her until she gets her strength back again.

And so, I am going to fall into bed now and say a few prayers for all who are sick--including my sister-in-law in Albuquerque who was admitted to the hospital with a severe stomach problem. Enough already!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Yesterday, when I went to visit my mother it was evident that she was very sick. After consulting with the doctor at the retirement center where she lives, it was determined that she was dehydrated, kidneys were not functioning, and potassium level was dangerously high--hospital time! The Summit called an ambulance and I went outside to see her loaded up. Standing there by my car was a good friend whose father also lives at the Summit. He put an arm around my shoulders and stayed there with me while Mother was loaded. His eyes filled with tears because he has had his share of watching the same scene with his dad over the last few years. I needed his strength and strong arm at that moment.

I arrived at the hospital ER and in walked my nephew, my brother's son. He stayed with me all the time Mother was processed into the hospital, saw that I got something to drink and ordered something for us to eat. His support and calmness was invaluable during the 3-4 hours we sat in the ER.

While we were in the ER a doctor walked up and I recognized him as the doctor who treated Mother the last time she was in the hospital--two years ago. He said he thought he recognized us and then left. About half an hour later he came back and said "July, 2007!" That was the last time he treated Mother and he said he had reviewed her case, entered all her data and ordered her treatment. He said she was serious but he thought she would be okay. He said he would see me in the morning and left. After he had gone the nurse said that it was strange to see him in the ER--especially that late in the evening. I like to think that he was just another one of the sweet "guardian angels" who showed up to take care of us on a difficult day.

Today Mother is much improved and may possibly be released from the hospital either tomorrow or Friday. The doctor said he would like to get her back to the Summit before the weekend. Tonight I put her back in her guardian angels' care and pray that she will indeed go "home" before the weekend. Thanks to all who have been praying for her!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Last week I went to Amarillo to record a story from my book, Growing Up in the Texas Panhandle, for NPR. Mary Palmer from High Plains Public Radio contacted me about a month ago and wanted permission to have someone record a story for her and, after much thought, I volunteered to be the reader for the recording. The experience was actually an interview about memoir writing and was very exciting and the recording even includes comments from my 9-year-old granddaughter, Emma.

Mary Palmer tells me that we can hear the broadcast in the Amarillo area on High Plains Public Radio (105.7) this coming Friday at 10:30. After the broadcast the program can be found at the following link: . The program is called High Plains in Words.


I saw this prayer this morning and it expressed exactly what I needed to hear!

Prayer for the Beginning of the Week
by Jim Manney


Killing Time--How do I kill time? Let me count the ways.

By worrying about things over which I have no control. Like the past. Like the future.

By harboring resentment and anger over hurts real or imagined.

By disdaining the ordinary or, rather, what I so mindlessly call ordinary.

By concern over what’s in it for me, rather than what’s in me for it.

By failing to appreciate what is because of might-have-beens, should-have-beens, could-have-beens.
These are some of the ways I kill time.

Jesus didn’t kill time. He gave life to it. His own.
—Leo Rock SJ