Monday, April 30, 2012

Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.

Many of you may know, others maybe couldn't care less, that this is the 70 year anniversary of one of the greatest classic films ever made!

I'd seen it's clips and heard it's quotes all my life, but had never sat and watched it beginning to end.

Then one night a couple of weeks ago, Joey called.
Of all the cinemas in all the towns in all the world, guess what was being brought back to the big screen for one night only?

Joey was just getting off work when he called and was exhausted. I was decked out in my oh-so-comfortable, but not-quite-presentable 'housewife' garb. If we were going to make showtime we had less than a half hour to become presentable.
Pay-per-view and a pizza at home were looking pretty good. But we knew if we missed this once in a lifetime opportunity, we'd regret it.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of our lives!

With my dad in town to help out with Bo's surgery, Joey and I knew we had to grab this rare and wonderful opportunity to go on a date!


Ugarte: You despise me, don't you Rick?
Rick: If I gave you any thought I probably would.
I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray,
you wore blue.
Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find out
gambling is going on in here!
Croupier: You're winnings, sir.
Renault: Oh, thank you very much.
Sam: "You must remember this . . ."

Here's looking at you, kid.
Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Renault: The waters? What waters? We are in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.
We'll always have Paris.
Louis, I think this is the beginning
 of a beautiful friendship.

Funny, romantic, dramatic.
Packed out theater. 
People in fun costumes.
Applause from everyone when the credits rolled.

Cinematic gold!

Thank you, babe, for one of the most memorable date nights ever!!! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wonderfully non-PC!

Back in August,
in the middle of our move to the Springs,
by way of Arkansas,
for a month,
Shelby noticed a bump on her wrist.
Now, she and sis had been romping all over grandma's farm for days; riding the 4-wheeler, jumping hay bales, and pretty much swinging like monkeys from the rafters as much as possible!
We assumed she'd bumped her arm somehow and it was just a little swollen. She said it didn't hurt, so we left it alone.

Fast forward six months. Not only was the bump still there, but it had tripled in size and was as hard as a rock! Time to make an appointment.

Don't know how familiar you are with Army regulations concerning family medicine, but it's kind of that "box of chocolates" thing. You never know what you'll get.

The absolute worst was when I was assigned to this neanderthal who informed me that menopause was not real.
"Menopause is something women make up after watching too much daytime TV."
Yeah. He said that.

Anyway, despite the occasional crackpot, we've been blessed over the last 15 years to have good, free, health care providers with decent bedside manors.
And the minute this new doc walked into the room, with his beaming smile and bright green 'Larry-Boy' tie, I knew we were in good hands.

Dr. H chatted us up. Asked how long we'd been in Colorado. Asked if we'd found a church. (Oooh, is that pc?) I told him we were still shopping around and he promptly invited us to his church! He even wrote the address and phone number for me - on government letterhead! (*Gasp* Very non-pc!)

After examining the wrist, he put our minds at ease.
A little.
He said the bump was a Ganglion Cyst. Usually harmless.
Problem was, this one was fairly large and it's roots were dangerously close to the artery.
He recommended an orthopedic surgery consult.

Skip ahead a week or so and we're in another office waiting to meet another doc.
Dr. K breezed in, shook Bo's hand, looked her in the eye and started talking directly to her like the little lady she is. (I love that! No one wants to be talked over. Especially an extremely nervous 12 year old!)
He looked at the wrist, confirmed the original diagnosis and recommended surgery.
It was the last thing Shelby wanted to hear. And he could read it all over her face.
He tried to calm her by changing the subject and asking about school.
She told him she was home schooled.
He grinned ear to ear and said his kids were home schooled too!
The rest of the visit was spent with him asking Bo about her faith,
and when was she saved,
and what was her favorite scripture . . .
and if a rep from the ACLU had been there they would have fainted dead away!

Our time ended with a few last minute instructions for me, and a promise for Shelby.
If she was at all nervous on the morning of the procedure, she was to look up at him and give him a nod. At which time he would stop everything and have prayer with her before continuing!


A few days before the surgery, Shelby and I spent five long hours at the hospital. We signed about a million papers, talked to the RN, talked to the anesthesiologist, talked to physical therapy, picked up post-op meds at the pharmacy, yada-yada-yada.

The morning of the big day. We arrived at the hospital at 7am. Shelby was terrified, but coping fairly well.
The nurse helped her change into a beautiful pale blue no back-bum hanging out gown and handed her a hair net, which she hated. The tech came in to start the IV. The needle was about an inch from the arm when Dr. K came in and stopped everything.
He knelt beside the bed and proceeded to blow me away.
"I've prayed about this for days. I asked my wife to pray about it. And we prayed about it together this morning. I'm just not feeling a peace about this surgery."


A quick look at the nurses told me I wasn't the only one left speechless. Their mouths were hanging open like a couple of guppies out of water.
Doc went on to explain. Shelby was young. Yes the cyst was close to the artery, but after further review he felt reasonably sure he could safely use a needle and draw out the fluid.
He just didn't feel peace about cutting on a 12 year old for something this minor.
He asked what we thought.

It was obvious what the nurses thought.
"This is highly inappropriate! He's nuts! Do the surgery!"

I was thinking how unwise it would be to continue with a procedure that the doc himself wasn't sure of.

I looked at Shelby. It took about 2 seconds for her to swing out of bed, grab her street clothes, and give me an unmistakable 'we're outta here' look!

Fifteen minutes later we were back in the car still trying to wrap our heads around what had just happened.

I've worked in hospitals, nursing homes, emergency rooms, clinics . . .
I've been around dozens of doctors - some christian, some not - but I have never heard a doctor speak so honestly about his reasoning.
He cancelled an on-the-books procedure because he didn't get the go ahead from God.

Thank God that Shelby didn't have to endure the procedure.
Thank God that there was an alternative treatment.
Thank God that he assigned us a doc that took political correctness and kicked it out the door!

The following afternoon we were back in the clinic. God gave Dr. K the steady hands he needed, and the procedure couldn't have gone smoother.

To date, Bo's cyst has not returned and she's back to her monkey bar swinging-cartwheel turning-Wii playing self.

Praise God!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love is . . . not hollywood.

I awoke the other morning thinking about love.
And our perceptions of love.
And what shapes those perceptions.

I should mention it was a Wednesday.
Trash day.
But more on that later.

I learned about love mostly by watching my parents.
My children learn by watching me . . .
and watching TV, and movies, and listening to "love" songs on the radio.
Children are more plugged in now than ever before, and everything from cartoons to commercials will invariably have some influence on them.

I try very hard to make sure they understand that love is not Hollywood. There's no script, no stunt double, and no yelling "cut" if you don't like the way things are going.

Yes, love can be action/adventure. It can be a comedy. And at times it's all high drama.
But real love is most often found in the mundane.

Back to trash day.

My husband loves me. I know this because every Wednesday morning at O'dark thirty he takes out the trash so I don't have to. I hear the low rumble as he wheels the bins down the driveway - all from the toasty warm comfort of my bed.

He has never had a date set to meet me at the top of the Empire State Building.

We didn't fall in love through anonymous love letters written over the years.

He has never taken a bullet, arrow, or sword for me. (Depending on that weeks family movie night genre.)

But he loves me.
He fills my car with gas.
He works a long hard and often dangerous job, so I can stay home with the girls.
He mows the lawn.
He fixes what's broken.
He steps on the spiders.

It's true, he's never saved me from a sinking ship in the middle of iceberg infested waters.
But in fifteen years of marriage he has never once forgotten to put the toilet seat down.

That's real.

That's love.

And it's better than any movie could ever be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The big, ahem, hole in the ground.

We are East coast people.

Through and through.

I tend to lean toward the northeast (gotta have some snow!), Joey loves the southeast (palm trees and salt air, baby!).
But we have both fallen head-over-heals in love with Virginia! Specifically, the James river area. It's just lousy with American history, and that's where our hearts truly lie.

So where does the Army send us?
Colorado, of course!

Well, when in Rome . . .
We bought hiking boots and hit the trails in Cheyenne Canyon, visited the Seven Falls, saw the view from the top of Pikes Peak, hiked Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National State Park, bought snow boots when winter hit and crunched our way to the top of Helen Hunt falls, saw the Pueblo cliff dwellings, climbed around the Garden of the Gods, visited the wolves at the reserve . . . not bad for our first six months!

But, despite jumping in with both enthusiastic feet, Colorado still doesn't feel quite like home. Our thoughts drift east, and we know our time here is limited.

So what to do but see as much as we can while we're here. And to that end . . .

Last Wednesday Joey called and said he had a four day weekend. We threw a few bags together and hopped in the car. Eleven hours and three states later we hit the crater. It was the most breathtaking 'hole in the ground' we'd ever seen!

The Grand Canyon.

We spent the first part of the weekend hiking the rim and a small part of the Bright Angel Trail into the canyon.
I snapped pictures like a mad woman, my jaw pretty much locked in the 'WOW' position. The girls weren't sure what to think at first, but with view after stunning view the canyon eventually won them over. Joey loved it, but pretty much had his hands full trying to keep us away from the ledges while we were trying to get that perfect shot!

Our last day was Sunday.

Easter Sunday.

For seventy-seven years there has been a sunrise service held on the rim of the Grand Canyon. And this year we were blessed to be a part of it.
Hearing thousands of voices singing praises in the darkness before the dawn.
Having the Psalms read, and hearing them echo off of the walls of the canyon.
Seeing the first rays of the sun peeking over the eastern rim as prayers were being offered.

Words cannot express what this heart felt.

 Thank you, God, for your sacrifice.

Thank you for your unfailing love.

And thank you for the beauty we see all around us . . . even in the west.