Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Little Changes Bring Hope

If you had asked me several days ago if I thought Mom might see Christmas, I would have answered no.  Today though I feel something different entirely.  One little change brings hope.  Just one, it will seem little but it is far from little.

Mom has begun to cough.  It sounds like a small thing I know.  However, if you have never had pneumonia, you don't realize the power of a cough.  And even more so the power of a cough that is producing phlegm.  Before Mom couldn't cough, she just felt like poop and was chronically ill.  But now we have a cough and it's producing stuff.  This is excellent news.  The more she coughs and the more junk she coughs up, the closer she comes to kicking pneumonia to the curb.

The next month or so the fatigue will remain with her, but as it passes, her strength will return.  This is all very good news.  It also means her heart will not be as stress - excellent news.  She has taken off weight during this illness, to the point I didn't quite recognize her.  My hope is she can keep that weight off and we can keep her diabetes under control as well.  Those things right there will make life a little easier for those taking care of her and for herself.  I'm hopeful that maybe as time goes by she can regain some use of her left side.

As I think back to the past, I am chastised by God for my lack of faith.  We weren't certain if Matthew would survive in 1996 and as it hit the darkest time as he lay there with his blood boiling away and new blood being put into his body, but no change coming my mom had no choice but to leave him.  Meg was in a hospital on the other side of Oklahoma City (if you don't realize how big Oklahoma City is, it's like Seattle but more stretched out, it's really really big) going through rehabilitation for her hip which was fractured in the accident.  Mom struggled, Matthew needed her, but Meg needed her and never had the job of being a single parent been more gut-wrenching than in that moment.  What Mom didn't know was that as she walked out to her car, our pastor, Pastor Terry Jones (read his book Venom in My Veins sometime, it is amazing and he is the oldest surviving person with ALS) had walked into the hospital on the opposite side of it knowing Mom wouldn't like Matthew to be left alone.  As he sat with Matthew praying over him, Matthew with tubes down his throat and fighting to live suddenly cried out through all of the machines keeping him alive and Pastor Jones later said that just like that the parade of death left the room and the parade of life entered in and Matthew began to improve.  If God can do that for Matthew, he can do it for Mom!  Forgive me, Lord, for my unbelief.  Help my unbelief.  

Have a good week.
In Christ,

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tonight is a Vigil Night

Tonight I am keeping vigil, tonight I am praying, seeking strength, trusting God to work all things out according to his purpose and plan.  Tonight I will stay awake as I await the sense that I can sleep a little, or I need to begin planning a plane trip to say one last goodbye to Mom.  Tonight, I lay my heart at the feet of my Creator and trust that His Will really will be done, even if that means Mom goes to Heaven.

After church, we went to a restaurant to grab lunch.  I had put my phone on silent so I could enjoy the service because no one needs bad news while sitting in church.  I opened it to find multiple text messages.  I'm beginning to absolutely hate text messages and my cell phone.  The instrument I used to love, has become an object of derision and loathing as it holds the key to information about Mom.  I may go to a dumb cell phone after all of this.  The first text I saw was from Sarah asking if I was okay.  I was confused until I opened up other texts from Bud to our group text.  Mom has been sedated and intubated to give her body and lungs time to rest.  At first, it all sounded so dire.  But after a few moments, I called Uncle Ed back and asked some important questions I needed to be answered.  See Uncle Ed, like I can look at things analytically and logically and more objective than those of us in the midst of the storm. He loves Mom, she's his sister-in-law and I know he will be sad when she passes, but I also knew I could count on him to give me a clearer picture of what we were facing at that time.  Mom was awake, Aunt Nina said later she was calm and put on a brave face so that helped, she wanted to be intubated and sedated so she has a fighting chance to win her battle against chronic pneumonia.  As long as she is awake and aware of everything that is happening and wants to fight, I will back her up on that, we fight another day.   She said to keep fighting as long as she wouldn't be a vegetable and she isn't in a vegetative state yet and hopefully never. 

Then there is Texas.  I am also keeping vigil from my friend Heather who tomorrow says goodbye for now to her beautiful girl, Laney.  She fought long and hard but finally, her little body couldn't take anymore and she is healed in Christ with a new body and is truly a new Creation in Christ. 

The truth is I'm a little jealous.  This world is becoming more and more depraved, I worry for my girls, I worry for the children of the world whose parents don't teach them of God's grace, mercy and love and I worry that my girls may fall for the lies of the world and Satan.  I dream of Heaven and being reunited with Dad, Grandma, and those I've been missing for a while now.  I'm kind of hoping for a library in Heaven.  I wouldn't mind being a researcher in Heaven or a professional reader! Or since I won't have TMJ anymore a part of the Heavenly choir.  I find I think of these things often these days with Mom being so sick and because I know so many whose children are still fighting for life or who have lost the battle and gone to Heaven ahead of me. 

So I'm brewing tea, listening to a Left Behind book and once I'm done, I'll most likely knit and pray or sing and pray and read my Bible.  I'll rest when the battle has turned for the better or towards goodbye. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week.
In Christ,

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Subtle Changes

Growing up TV was a staple of entertainment in my home.  We couldn't afford sports or a lot of those expensive hobbies,  so we used the TV for entertainment. As I became an adult, I sadly did not always use discernment in what I watched.  Then after a period in the spiritual desert,  God began laying a burden on my heart to clean up what I was watching. 

My watching habits didn't change overnight, it was a slow fading process over a period of time.  Slowly, movies that had swearing began to go, Titanic was a huge one. They say a certain phase five times in 20 minutes, I shut it off and haven't missed it. Subtitles played a huge part in my ability to become more discerning. The written word has always held great significance for me (it explains so much doesn't it) and seeing those words, words I never wanted in my head suddenly became more real to me.  

Then after moving to Washington, I discovered YouVersion Bible app for my cell phone.  It started small, I would read the Bible while waiting in a doctor's office or just waiting for Chris.  Then on Twitter, I began reading through the Bible and sharing each verse I read via Twitter.  It was nice and a good way to remain accountable and almost two years later I had read the Bible.  Then I discovered a Bible reading plan and started it.  I had found things I hadn't known before and I grew up in the church, my dad was a pastor, but suddenly I wanted more!  

Being in Everett, where I hated living felt as if I needed God more than before.  While not everyone in Everett was this way, the majority of the people I met were hostile and rude.  I felt as if I was deep in the den of the enemy - with a Lovers and topless coffee bars everywhere, it's easy to understand how I came to that conclusion.  Then we moved, but my desire to know more about God's word and to hide it deep in my heart has remained.  The desire behind it has changed directions and yet, it is still there burning within my heart.   Now my desire is to draw closer to Christ and be of service to Him.  It's funny how God works things out, isn't it.

Now instead of coming home and flipping on the TV, we sit down and read.  Chris might watch YouTube videos but I find myself reading more.  I have an Audible account and have been collecting the Left Behind books lately.  I am enjoying gathering books to encourage the girls and me in our walks with Christ.  Chris even gets sucked in.  We've listened to classical books, such as Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson, all of the The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books, The Chronicles of Narnia.  It used to be something we saved for car trips, but now that we can listen on our Amazon Firebox, it means we can indulge at home as well. It makes for vivid imaginations, clean entertainment and we can be more Christ centered.  I'm hoping YouVersion eventually will become an app on the FireBox as well so we can listen to the Bible as a family via TV, phones aren't cutting it right now.

Casting Crowns has a song called Slow Fade about how it's a slow fade into living away from God and it's a good song.  However, sometimes it's also a Slow Fade to growing where God wants us to be.  I've seen people do complete 180 degree changes in their lives, but I've also seen God work slowly and gradually in lives to change them.  In the end, I hope He keeps working on me, because I know I'm not 100 percent the woman He has instore.  

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,

Friday, March 2, 2018

In The Spirit of Being Honest

I have started so many blog posts lately only to delete them because they wouldn't come out right and I finally realized a part of the reason why is because I'm not being honest.  Not honest about my feelings and not being honest with anyone about what all is going on right now.  So here it goes and please feel free to exit if it becomes too much.

For years my deepest fear was losing Mom.  When I married Chris and our family began it slowly subsided.  She was happy, I was finally happy and life was good.  My deepest fear became what if something happens to Chris, the girls or worse, Chris AND the girls.  My fear came from losing Dad at a young age and my jerky stepdad who just deepened it with his emotional abuse that I wasn't wanted.   Mom did a lot to help ease the fear when I was 15 years old.  I had a horrid nightmare that she up and left for no reason other than "I don't love you anymore."  I awoke crying and crawled into her bed.  At first, she thought I was Meg.  When she realized it was me, we talked about my nightmare and she said words I repeat to my girls even today, "Baby I may dream of running away, but I always take you with me."  The nightmares ended after that, in one shining moment Mom had assuaged my deepest fear that Jim was right and I was unloveable and unwanted.  I never doubted she loved me again.

Now Mom is not well.  Each illness brings her closer to Heaven and further from me, our family and life on Earth.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, I am thrilled she will get to see God, Jesus, Daddy and the two babies they lost before they had me.  On the other hand, there is so much left that I wanted her to see.  I wanted her to see the girls graduate, I wanted her to see our house, the list could go on for miles.  I love that with Bud she got to travel all over the U.S. and take cruises and see things.  I love that she got to see Sicily and Italy with her best friend, Ginny Schwarz, but the selfish human side of me wishes she could stay and see more.

I am torn between rejoicing and grief.  And I am so far away it's hard to not be there.  I used to be the sibling that was always there and now it's Meg.  And I am so proud of her for stepping up and helping where I cannot.  Moving away was nice at the time, I needed a break from family stuff and being the family fixer.  But I don't know quite what to do with that now, it feels foreign.  Until Bud came along, it was pretty much assumed that I would be the one taking care of Mom when the time came that she needed more.  I am glad that isn't necessary and sad that it isn't necessary.  I don't know if that makes sense to anyone, but it's how I feel.

I'm on a roller coaster ride that no one wants to ride and I can't get off and it won't end until Mom is in Glory with Grandma and Grandpa and so many she misses.  I hate that she is becoming more and more incapacitated and I hate for her some of the indignities I know she struggles with now that she can't take care of herself.  But I also love knowing the Bud, Meg, and Aunt Nina are taking good care of Mom.  I hate that all of my information is reliant on others, it leaves me feeling powerless and helpless.  I love that I got to spend a week helping care for her.  Every day I was there, she would tell me she loved me and was proud of me and start to get emotional.  I think somewhere in her mind she knew this would be the last time I would see her alive.  I love that I got to have that, and I hate that it is probably the last time I will see her on this side of Heaven.

So I am planning.  I'm a planner.  It's a side effect of too much crap happening growing up.  Only I'm planning what no one wants to plan, my mom's memorial service and how to best help us all say goodbye with hope.

Truthfully, the only reason I am still standing right now and able to function is because God's strength is carrying me through and it gives me comfort to know He weeps with me.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Life Lessons in a Short Life

Today is my birthday.  Today I turn forty-four years old and with everything going on it's turned me reflective if you will.  So I thought I would share what I think I've learned in this short amount of time.

1. Good friends are rare and hard to find, so when you do hold on tight and lose the ones who prove to not be such good friends.  I am so blessed to have friends who I can pick up a phone and call and it's like no time has passed at all.

2. People only hear what they want to hear.

3. Dogs are amazing friends and pals.  It took a beautiful black dog to show me that and I hope it's a lesson I never forget.

4. Dogs and cats can get along.  Lily and Mikhail may fight like siblings, but they also snuggle up with them.

5. There will always be people who rub you the wrong way - pray for them anyway and let God use it as a growing experience.

6. You can rejoice even in trials.  I didn't understand what James was talking out in Chapter 1 until I saw it lived out in front of me when Cari was battling cancer.  Now I see it as the growing experience it's meant to be.

7. Getting older stinks, but it still has its perks.  Cons?  Stiff joints, you need naps, you fight to remain patient when people are being jerks and healing takes longer.  Pros, you learn to laugh in the face of adversity, I have become more mellow, I still am willing to fight for patience even when people act like jerks.

8.  You learn with time to hear God when He speaks to you.  In my 20's I was too busy putting out fires, to hear God speak.  Time has taught me to sit quietly and wait to hear Him. 

9. Laughter really is the best medicine sometimes.

10. God really will carry us through anything if we will let him.

11.  There will always be some dummy who messes it up for everyone else.  This crosses culture, race, sex, and religion.  You just have to shake your head, pray for them and ask God to help you sometimes to not kill them.

12. Children grow up way too fast.  I think that one is self-explanatory.

13.  Sushi really does taste good.  I discovered this in my late 30's and I am so glad I did!

14. Las Vegas is fun, but spending time with your family is even better even if it is in Vegas.

15. Surrender your dreams to God and let Him do His job.  The reward is better than anything you could ever dream for yourself, it's not always easy getting there, but it's still worth it.

16. It's okay to break down sometimes.

17. Crying is not a sign of weakness.

18. It's okay to take antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication if you need it.  Really it is, and the people you love will thank you for it.

19.  Everyone reacts to life situations differently.

20.  Grief has no time limit.

21. Don't make decisions in the throes of grief.

22. It's okay to let someone help you.

23. It's okay to walk away from those who aren't really your friends.

24. Sometimes you're the mouse and sometimes you really are the cheese - it's okay.  We all take our turns.

25. Life has seasons, ebbs and flows, learn to go with it and it's much easier to walk each seasons and path.

26. God's strength is so much better than my strength.

27.  Sometimes you need to praise Him when you want to lament instead.  

Have a good rest of the week.

Monday, February 26, 2018


 Mom with Adelaide.  Mom loves spending time with her grandchildren, she loves being Grammy.
 left to right Uncle Ed and Aunt Nina Trusty with baby Dacia, Dad with Matthew and Mom with me 1978

Mom and Bud on vacation.  They got to travel and cruise together quite a bit in their 17 years together.  She was always up for an adventure.

Seventy years ago today a special woman was born, Laraine Taylor, a.k.a. Mom!  While she is ill and in the hospital today instead of home enjoying time with Bud, she has been a blessing to our family.
After Daddy died, Mom raised three of us alone.  It wasn't always easy and it wasn't always fun, but she loved us and showed us as often as she could.  She kissed ouchies, hugged us when we had nightmares and punished us when we deserved it and probably didn't a few times when we should have been, not because she didn't care, but when you are raising three kids alone it's not easy to keep all of the balls in the air sometimes. 

I am a woman of faith today because Mom showed me the importance of taking our troubles to God in prayer.  After two deployments, I have a healthy respect for the job she had to undertake with 18 years of raising us alone stretching out before her.  It isn't an easy task raising children with a partner, but without? I'm sure sometimes the task ahead of her felt insurmountable, but she managed to do it.

I love you, Mom.  I wish I could be with you on your birthday. 

Love Always,

 Mom with her friend Eileen Anson!  Having fun with selfies.
 Amelia as a baby and Mom.  Mom loved that we had kids and she got to spoil them for us every chance she got.
 Mom in Taormina, Sicily.  She and her best friend, Ginny Schwarz came to visit me when I was working as a volunteer missionary in Catania, Sicily in September 1999
Mom and her best friend, Ginny Schwarz.  Ginny and Mom helped each other get through the tough parenting times together and really Ginny is like a second mom to me.

Monday, February 19, 2018

School Holidays

 It's President's Day and we have had a four day weekend.  Most kids love holidays or days away from school.  Maybe they struggle in school, or maybe they aren't morning people or something else entirely.  Then there are kids who love going to school five days a week, it is routine, it's structure and they don't do well when that changes.

Elizabeth is not a fan of school holidays.  It throws off her routine and it means she doesn't have as much freedom as she would like, she can't see other kids who have special needs like her.  And then she is unsure of what to do with herself.  She also happens to be on restriction right now, so it's tougher.  These changes mess with her and so she's always a little off when this happens.

In the beginning, when she started full-time public school and we were new to the Autism Spectrum journey, Elizabeth had a lot of off days.  I would wake her up and could see it in her eyes and all over her face, something wasn't right.  Those were days I let her go back to bed, declared jammy day and when she would wake up again we would have a tv day and just let her decompress.  That was needed during her first year of Kindergarten.  Then her second year of Kindergarten, we needed fewer days of breaks, she was adjusting to the routine and expectations of behavior so we could focus on academics.  Each year she got better and better at handling changes, or substitute teachers, now she doesn't mind a different teacher at all and still loves going to school, riding the bus, seeing her teachers, writing stories for class, or working in classes. 

Thursday though, she awoke with a sore throat and actually ASKED to stay home from school.  That's not a small thing - usually, even if she feels under the weather she insists she wants to go to school.  She was off-kilter Wednesday night and Thursday and Friday were no exceptions.  Something wasn't right, we don't know what, but we know she is struggling with something.  Maybe writing lines each day is working, or maybe something happened at school that we don't know about.  I will be asking her teachers tomorrow. 

Today she is very off-kilter.  She has asked to take a thousand different walks, even though the ground is too cold for Lily to safely walk for a long time.  She wants to walk to the library alone (Chris restricted her from walking alone period because of some choices she's made lately), she wants to walk the dog, she just wants out of the house and wants to be somewhere else.  It isn't as if we weren't out all day yesterday because the car broke down.   I think today was just about having cabin fever and me limiting TV time for both girls. At least I'm hoping for that.

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,