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Family Celebration Time

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Family Celebration Time

This has been a crazy, crazy year! Family members have been in very serious, life-threatening situations. There has been chemo, surgeries, loss of jobs, medical emergencies, car accident, emergency birth…I won’t keep on going with that, although I could.

There have been challenges, but there have also been victories. I am hanging on to that.

In a couple of days, my family will gather together for our annual Turkey Treat Holiday. We will eat too much, laugh a lot, tell stories, play games, enjoy a craft festival and celebrate the fact that we are all able to gather together once again. It is gonna be a great time!

And then the day after the gathering is over; I will come back to face another challenge. That means there will be another story to tell and another victory to celebrate!!

Hang tough everybody!!

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36 Years Together ... and Another Adventure Ahead!

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36 Years Together ... and Another Adventure Ahead!

October 9 is my anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 36 years. We have been through the ups and downs and the in-betweens. This year has had them all, but we have supported each other and hung on. When Steven and I got married we made a promise to each other, "We will never use the word divorce between us". We have kept that promise but, oh my gosh, do we have some stories to tell.

Our celebrations have become more and more simplistic. Every year, the first weekend in October, we go to the National Storytelling Festival in Tenn. and serve as Tent Hosts. In other words, we work. We came back to Charlotte early this year, on Sunday, to attend a wedding for a sweet couple beginning their married lives together. On October 8 Steven went with me for a doctors appointment. We went to the Olive Garden for lunch and then to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (we have a membership) and walked around together. We had dessert at Sweet Frog, stopped by Good Will, picked up groceries, and went home to watch a little TV. October 9, our actual anniversary, we were both working. I was unpacking bags, doing laundry, and trying to catch up on house stuff. Steven was back doing IT work for his job. But isn't that what marriage is, doing life together?

We have lots to think about during this next year of our marriage. The company Steven works for is shutting down their local campus and moving everything to southeast VA. Therefore Steven is losing his job. What is next? Where will we be? Where will he work? What opportunities are ahead? Where will I be booked to tell stories? Lots to do and think about. There is one thing for sure though, we will do it together.

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Florence, the Hurricane

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Florence, the Hurricane

What a weekend this has been. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina Coast and, so far, there is no telling how much damage was done. Here in Charlotte and the surrounding area, there was a lot of flooding. I've seen pictures of roadways, parks, backyards, and fields all turned into temporary lakes. The effects last, schools and libraries are closed and will remain closed through Monday.

For my husband and I, Florence was an inconvenience. We secured all of my yard art, took plants from the front steps, and tied down the city trash cans. Inside we gathered items in case we had to leave the house quickly; medications, journals, my instruments and most used puppets, electronics, and important work papers.

Our intention was to batten down and wait out the storm in our house, and we did. The power did go out early on Sunday, but that really wasn't a big deal. It was a good thing we stayed because otherwise, we would have had a flooded downstairs. Our gutters were not functioning well, even though they were cleaned out a month ago. I spotted a large pool of water forming against the house. So, Steven and I went out in our raincoats and began to dig waterways and tributaries for the build-up to escape. A creek had already developed on our side yard so we just created a different path of least resistance. We let the pooled water join in the flow (no pun intended). We really got wet, but no big deal; we had dry clothes in the house. The power stayed out until after dark. We emptied a good share of the refrigerator into coolers and lit candles for light.

Florence weakened in strength far more than any meteorologist expected. The impact could have been so much worse. However, this storm for many was a really big deal!

Now is the time to check in with your neighbors. Let's look around and see what we can do for one another. It may not be much but all those little bits can certainly turn into a lot. Everyone who has a challenge has a story to tell. Let's listen to one another.

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No White Shoes after Labor Day

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No White Shoes after Labor Day

When I was a little girl I had two pairs of “church shoes”. They were both patent leather; one pair was white and one pair was black. The rule was you wore white shoes from Easter to Labor Day, and after Labor Day until Easter you wore black. It is funny how I relive that memory every Labor Day. Year after year on Labor Day I announce, “Put your white shoes away”, to no one in particular.

As time goes on so do fashion trends and the rules of many years ago. I now have several pairs of shoes that I can wear to church. They are in lots of different colors and certainly not patent leather. I wonder, what stories would you be able to tell about the rules in your house when you were little? Do you still hold true to those rules or are they just a memory?

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Bryon, the Story Continues

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Bryon, the Story Continues

I wrote some earlier blogs about Bryon, our son, but to catch you up this is a recap of the story.

Bryon moved from North Carolina to California in the spring of 2015. In November 2015 Bryon was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had surgery in early December and was told that they had gotten it all and he would be fine. Life went on as normal for 2 years. Then in January of this year, he ended up in the emergency room with an excruciating gut ache and discovered that some rogue cells had made their way to his gut and had set up camp. It was aggressive and had grown to an inoperable size. Chemo began in February (check out my past blogs on that if you want to know more) and miserable just doesn’t do justice to describing it. Bryon held strong through it all!! I went to be with him through chemo in February. Then our youngest daughter, Carmen, went out for his 2nd round. Genette, our oldest daughter, went for his 3rd, and Steven, my husband for the 4th. 

Bryon’s girlfriend, Amber, could not have been more amazing and supportive through it all. Amber’s family stepped in and truly became part of our family by being a support system for our son. His friends and roommates in California also loved him through the chemo and the challenges it brought. Genette set up an online fundraiser and people from all over the country donated to help our boy with medical expenses. Many had never met Bryon and frankly, were only acquaintances to us. My storytelling friends, people from high school I’d not spoken to within 40 years, his friend's parents, my children’s friends all stepped in to help him pay for parking, copays, uber rides, food. The donations helped him through. ( Just an FYI, I sat down and figured out, in one-day cancer was costing roughly an additional $100 a day for Bryon. That does not include the airfare and expenses of the family traveling there. I never thought about that until it happened to our family.) My sister Kay, her daughter Samantha, and Genette put money and time into making #TeamBryon tee shirts for the family.  Emotional support and prayers were just as important as the financial help. People looked for updates I posted on Facebook and asked how he was doing. Many gave supportive nods and words of, “You’ve got this, Bryon”, “Hang in there”, “Praying for you”, “Thinking about you”. 

Chemo ended and Bryon began to grow his beard back, he pushed on through the fatigue, neuropathy, nausea, medication, expenses, and everything else that goes along with cancer. We waited for the chemo to pass out of his system for weeks so he could have a PET scan to determine the status of the tumor. His doctor went out of town so we waited longer.  Then we got the news … BRYON IS IN REMISSION!!! There are currently no active cancer cells in his body. Our son can now concentrate on healing. The neuropathy is tough (and his truck is falling apart) BUT he has a hope and a future.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, donations, kind words, hugs, well wishes, cards, care packages and so much more. Oh, my, gosh!!! How can I thank all of you for what you have done on behalf of my son and our family? You have blessed us beyond measure!

And so, the story continues.

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