Saturday, July 11, 2015

Picks

My husband Randy no longer carries guitar picks in his pocket.

He’s been carrying a handful for as long as I’ve known him.
We'll be married 36 years next month.

Just so you know, we’re not talking a few picks… more like a dozen. I know.

“Why do you carry so many picks?” I would ask.
“You never know when one might fall in my guitar” he would reply.
“Really? That many during one concert?” 
I would smile, cuz musicians are quirky like that.

Our granddaughter Emolyn became so enamored with her Pop Pop's guitar picks one Christmas (2009), she carried one in her little hand the entire evening while watching her Uncle Tyler, Pop Pop and Daddy play and sing Christmas carols.


Emolyn ~ Aunt Miranda ~ Mamaw
Tyler ~ Randy ~ Shawn
Well... a few months ago he was down to only one guitar pick in his pocket, even though he had not played his guitar in over a year. 

And then one day, he never put it back in his pocket.

I was heartbroken. I think I felt as long as he had one in his pocket, there was a chance he would play again.

So it has remained there ever since… along with some change, a wad of lint and his watch.

I couldn’t bring myself to remove it. So I let it collect a layer of dust, knowing one day I would snap a photo for keepsake.

My husband has Frontotemporal Dementia.

Picks Disease. 



You can read Randy's story HERE.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

this 'n that

  • blew through 4 seasons of Blue Bloods
  • have a huge crush on Tom Selleck
  • I do believe Rumer Has It on DWTS
  • my name is Linda Thompson and I'm a box hoarder
  • I can't let a useful box be destroyed at my job, so I bring it home
  • my garage is full of empty boxes waiting to be filled
  • and my van is outside in the sweltering heat
  • something is wrong with this picture
  • the new Jurassic World toys just arrived at my store
  • just watched the movie trailer and well... freaked me out
  • big shout out to Auto Zone & Discount Tires
  • single women, single moms and widows everywhere thank you!
  • I've always said if you talk to anyone long enough you'll know someone mutually
  • happens more than you'd think at my Fry's
  • I will have worked at Fry's for 2 years this August
  • 40 hour weeks are a bit much, don't you think
  • we should all work a 32 hour week
  • and make the same money of course 
  • Randy is obsessed with the new Dodge Challengers
  • we see several every day to and from the center
  • he drove a '69 Dodge Charger when we met in '78
  • he literally rebuilt the entire car at sometime or another
  • he still misses it and talks about buying another one some day
  • he has never fussed or argued about not driving 
  • he hasn't driven in well over a year
  • he's the best part of my day
  • 3 generations of Thompson Dads & Lads 
Randy ~ our son Shawn ~ his sons Nathan & Jonah (age 3)

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Randy's Care Instructions

My husband Randy goes to a wonderful Adult Day Care facility 5 days a week, 9 hours a day. And he loves it. But I also work Saturdays and the Day Care is closed on weekends. So I leave him in the care of precious friends and family that watch him in 4 hour intervals. I was recently asked to update Randy's care instructions for the volunteer group. I am posting them on here too, so I will remember this particular stage in Randy's frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease).

Thank you so much for caring for Randy. Your time with Randy ministers to me deeply. It’s overwhelming to think you would take time out of your busy Saturday to love and care for my husband. Know that I am always praying it is a special time for you too.

I want to give you a few insights into Randy as you care for him on Saturdays.

He is still so nice and kind and easy to care for. That may not always be the case as the disease progresses. But God continually reminds me that Randy asked Christ into his heart, not his brain… and that no matter what is happening to his brain, it will not destroy the true essence of Christ in Randy. Can’t tell you what a comfort that has been to me as his dementia progresses.

He will immediately ask you to take him to QT for a Coke. He has a gift card that I keep loaded, that enables him to go into QT by himself. (unless he forgets his wallet) I would prefer one Coke per shift.

He will ask you to take him to Home Depot, AZ Mills Mall, the Art District, the Rim, Disneyland, etc. He is totally ok when you redirect to other things if you prefer not to do those things… such as, taking Koda for a walk, a hike @ South Mountain, walk around Tempe Town Lake or Kiwanis Park, watching a movie or Channel 21, etc. 

Do not take him to the Art District anymore. Not the appropriate place for him. 

He loves talking about the Bible, CS Lewis books, Disneyland, Ronald Reagan, the galaxy, the SR71 and memories you shared together. Ask him about the book he wrote on his 30+ years ministering in concert throughout the country. He loves to share about his years on the road and the life-lessons he learned along the way.

He will go in his room off and on throughout the day to read his Bible and that’s ok. Feel free to hook up to our WIFI if you choose to do so.

His memory is quite amazing. He will recall things that we have all long since forgotten. Don’t hesitate reminiscing about memories from the past. He will surprise you with the details he remembers.

Put a movie on rather than giving him the remote, otherwise he will flip through stations and drive you crazy. :)

Be ready in case he wants to take Koda for a walk. It will be a short walk. He will want to show you the Dodge Challenger parked in our neighborhood. Remind him that he is not to trespass on their property in order to get closer to the car.

The summer heat is coming, so do not take Koda for a walk till the sun is down, or the concrete will burn her paw pads. Randy will need to be reminded of that.

Keep the front gate and laundry room door locked, in case he goes outside quickly and without you knowing.

You are welcome to take him for lunch or dinner, but I would prefer it was fast food, cuz trust me, he will eat fast or take a few bites and want to leave, and you will have to take your meal home to finish. He will stay longer if you distract him with questions or stories. A burger, chicken sandwich or a sub at Burger King, Wendy's or Subway will suffice. No fries, as he will not eat them. He loves an occasional Blizzard at DQ.

He scopes out a bathroom wherever you take him. Be aware of that, as he may disappear quickly, because he sees a bathroom and will want to go.

Do not feel like you need to entertain him. He will mention a lot of things, but will want to leave soon after you get there. He is content to go for a walk or drive. Do not feel you need to have a destination where you get out of the car. Remind him that Linda is coming home soon, so we need to head back to the house.

He has no sense of time. Although he will want to go outside and wait for me around 8pm, knowing I will be coming around the corner at 8:20. I put a couple chairs out front, so you don’t have to stand till I arrive home. 

He’s becoming more restless and fidgety in the evening. He loves the old Billy Graham Crusades in Channel 21. That seems to help.

I do ask that after your time with Randy, that you take a few minutes to either text or email me with any insights, concerns or observations. It’s important that I get your take on his behavior as the disease progresses. 

Do not hesitate to call me or my daughter Miranda (if I can’t get back to you right away) with any questions during your time with Randy.

A simple thank you just doesn’t cut it. Wish I were more eloquent in conveying my heartfelt gratitude. Know that your prayers and acts of service have changed me and my walk with Christ and my dependency on Him. God bless you!

GOD is so Good and Faithful.

Love you all dearly,
Linda

You can read Randy's story HERE.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

a year ago...

Seems hard to believe that it's been almost a year since my husband Randy was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Frontotemporal dementia. Pick's disease. You can read his story HERE.

There are still moments when changes in his behavior are so overwhelming it's like a punch in the gut. I can hardly breath.
And then there are moments that are so sacred and beautiful I don't want them to ever end.
Such is the life of a dementia caregiver.

I am so blessed that Randy loves the Adult Day Care Monday through Friday... and that dear friends and family spend their Saturdays caring for him while I work... and that I am daily covered in prayer... and that I don't have to worry because my needs are being met. But I do anyway. I pray to God to take all my worries and fears. Every day I lay them at His feet. And then systematically heap them all back in my handy, dandy backpack and carry them around all day. It's exhausting. I long for the day when He comes for His children and I can spend eternity in His presence. Till then, I cry out to Him daily, to know His peace, joy, freedom and acceptance here on earth.

I was recently asked what I miss.

I miss his hugs. He still hugs, but only cuz I first hug him.
I miss his compassion and concern for others.
I miss making memories with friends.
I miss the hours we spent dreaming about growing old together.
I miss doing life alongside my helpmate.
I miss hearing him sing and play guitar.
I miss family dinners.
I miss my family.
I miss him grilling burgers on the grill.
I miss our social life.
I miss riding shotgun with him behind the wheel.
I miss roadtrips.
I miss having someone take care of me.
I miss hearing him teach at the marriage retreats.
I miss sitting in church with him.
I miss hearing him worship.
I miss his leadership, influence and service.
I miss my husband.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

hollyhocks & lighted reading glasses

  • my hollyhocks are blooming!
  • our 35 year old orange tree died this winter.
  • last year we lost our lemon tree in a storm.
  • miss our citrus trees.
  • my brother Ronnie is recovering from a stem cell transplant.
  • he is battling multiple myloma.
  • praying for his total healing
  • big toy reset this week at Fry's means brand new toys!
  • the new Lego sets are awesome.
  • I'm the toy department head at Fry's.
  • my husband loves the Adult Day Care he attends 9 hours a day/ 5 days a week.
  • he has no sense of time, so he thinks I'm only gone a few hours.
  • he has Frontotemporal Dementia.
  • blew through all 15 episodes of Rehab Addict on Netflix.
  • can't wait till they add more. Love Nicole Curtis.
  • determined to someday use my husbands power tools.
  • started Chiropractic treatments. My back and neck are a mess.
  • thankful for my full-time job at Fry's Foods.
  • dread the summer heat.
  • trying to figure out how to have a life outside of work and caregiving.
  • choosing to trust God every single day.
  • 5 years ago a friend made this video of my husband's song "I Choose to Live".
  • such powerful life-giving words of hope.
  • bought the perfect pair of light-weight capris at a thrift store last week.
  • checked the tag today for washing instruction... they are "maternity" capris! :)
  • recently found these LightSpecs by Foster Grant on clearance at my Fry's.
  • I can never have enough light while reading. Love them!


Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Joys of Dementia

One of the characteristics of frontotemporal dementia is uncharacteristic behavior. One in particular impacts appearance and personal hygiene. It never, ever occurs to my husband Randy that he should brush his teeth, shave, take a shower, cut his nails or groom himself. Things that he did without thinking. SO, he has not shaven or gotten a haircut in several months. I have not let it bother me too much, because he truly wants to do those things. He. just. can't. He will let me start a haircut and then immediately tell me he needs to go read. And no amount of bribing works. A QT Coke? A DQ blizzard? Nothing. So whenever I am given even a minute, I go really fast and make sure I'm cutting symmetrical, so when he is done, it's not too lopsided.

Well, the other day I was determined to give him a complete haircut and while he means to let me, I knew I had to come prepared with major distractions. Meaning LOTS of questions and LOTS of talking. So we began and I'm seriously cutting like a madwoman and talking like a lunatic... and proceeded to cut my knuckle. (just so you know I was a professional beautician before I moved to Phoenix) Needless to say, it started bleeding. But that was not going to deter me. I was on a mission! Yes, there was blood dripping onto his head, neck and forehead, but I kept yapping and he kept answering my questions. It was not my finest hour haircut, but by golly I did it! And when he had had enough, he proceeded to tell me he had to go read... and then I proceeded to tell him he had to go take a shower because their was blood all over him. So I showed him my bloody knuckle and he looked in the mirror and we laughed and laughed. Oh the joys of dementia! And yes, there are so many of those moments that I want to remember, that make me smile, that bring me joy.

Now on to the beard debacle. Ha! I will keep you posted.

Randy & Koda at Kiwanas Park in Tempe this morning

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas

December 25th ~ 
It's Christmas morning. I have been sitting at my desk for the past hour with not a sound to be heard. Not a car, not a dog, not a single sound. I'm sure it's like this most other Christmas mornings, but I was too busy to notice. This Christmas the silence is deafening. This Christmas has forced me to be quiet and meditate on the the birth of Jesus through different eyes. Which is the title of my husband Randy's Christmas CD that he recorded several years ago. God has used those songs and lyrics to minister to me this year as never before. Randy has not sung those songs in two years. He had an annual Christmas concert for 20 years and for many it was the start of their Christmas season. It was always scheduled the first weekend in December and always put everyone is the Christmas spirit. He had his last one two years ago. Well, this year dear friends took us on a road trip up north to Flagstaff and Snow Bowl, and down through Sedona for my birthday. We had not been out of the city in a year and a half. Best birthday gift ever. Randy was a wonderful traveler and we had the best day. We headed back to Phoenix with a grateful heart. But then it was about to get even better. We put on Randy's Christmas CD... and witnessed a Christmas miracle. Randy began to sing along to the CD and we were awestruck. He sounded better than ever... and I seriously cried through every song. I managed to record the blessed event on my cell phone in which I will cherish forever.
Needless to say we have been listening to his CD every morning on the way to his Adult Day Care facility. And more often than not he starts singing along. What a sweet way to begin my work day.


And then last night we spent Christmas Eve with our children at my daughter Miranda & Aaron's home. In the midst of opening presents we heard a knock at the door and opened it to a porch filled with dear friends who had come caroling. I can't even begin to tell you how blessed we were to witness such love. We were all crying when I turned around and heard Randy singing Silent Night with his eyes closed and his hands lifted in worship. I could hardly sing after that. Oh Jesus, thank You for your faithfulness.

Christmas Day was bitter sweet. We were alone till we went and visited his Mom for an hour in the afternoon. Randy literally read non-stop from the time he awoke till we left. He barely acknowledged Christmas. This is a man that loves Christmas more than anyone I have ever known. It's heartbreaking. He finally opened my present to him in the afternoon. A pair of slippers that he put on right away. And then like clockwork, just before bedtime, he starts asking to drive the van to Home Depot, to the Mall, to get a Coke, etc. When I remind him that he can't drive, he will then ask me to drive him. It goes on for a half hour or so, and then he goes to bed. He's never angry or frustrated, just obsessive about wanting to go somewhere.

December 26th ~ 
I woke up this morning and once again asked the Lord for strength and patience and love... for today. I can't think about tomorrow. It will come soon enough. All I have is today. Tomorrow could very well bring more changes to my husband, and more heartache, more loss. Yes, Frontotemporal Dementia has a way of rearing it's ugly head just when you've managed to adjust to the present changes. I am powerless to do a thing, but I do have the power of Christ in me to give me what I need at any given moment. I will choose to cling to that today... and somehow find joy in this journey.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Frontotemporal Dementia

My husband Randy has early onset dementia.
Frontotemporal Dementia to be specific.
Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Degeneration to be even more specific.
Or simply Pick's Disease.

Typing out those words proved to be just as hard as I imagined they would be, even though I have been formulating this blog post in my mind for the past 5 months. Still painful, still hard. Still unbelievable.

I write Randy's story so I can link it to family and friends… so I don't have to tell the story over and over. Also for awareness. FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) is daily misdiagnosed, leading many down dark and scary roads. It's scary enough in its own right, but to spend years being told it's either Alzheimer's or bi-polar or dissociative disorder or PTSD... along with a myriad of meds resulting in horrible side-affects. Totally unnecessary if more Drs only knew about FTD.

FTD is not Alzheimer's. Its onset is not memory loss, but rather uncharacteristic behavior. I will be linking a few sites at the end of this post for your perusal, but I want this to be Randy's story, of being diagnosed with bvFTD.

First of all, you need to know Randy before the onset of this horrific disease… so that you will be able to understand the changes over these past four years.

Randy is a devoted husband and loving father to three grown children. And Pop Pop to four adorable grandchildren. He is thoughtful, personable and articulate. He thinks long and hard before weighing in on anything. He is wise, intuitive. A man of few words. Loving and accepting. The most honest, humble man I know. Compassionate and full of mercy. A complete contrast to me. While I am an extrovert, he is introvert. While he processes internally, I say most everything that crosses my mind. He's laid back, I'm impulsive and gregarious.

That being said, the changes were subtle in the early stages. We could easily associate those changes with all the changes going on in his life. His ministry of 30+ years was ending. His years of concerts, leading worship, senior pastor, an Elder, teaching marriage retreats and newcomers classes ended abruptly. He became withdrawn, unmotivated, flat. He expressed that he felt forgotten, useless. He disengaged from friends and family. He was depressed and isolating. Poor decision-making. He stopped paying the bills. We went into debt for the first time in our marriage (other than a mortgage). He would tell me what he thought I wanted to hear, rather than the truth. He made bizarre, uncharacteristic purchases. He would tell the same stories over and over with friends and family. He became obsessive compulsive. He lost his capacity for empathy.

And he couldn't keep a job. He worked part-time at Home Depot for a year before they let him go. He had other part-time jobs that also didn't last. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was happening.

I was literally heartbroken. Who was this man that was living in our home? I would cry and plead with him to stop acting this way. He couldn't. So we sought counsel with a trauma therapist. After many months, he still wasn't responding. She finally consulted with a renown therapist that specializes in dissociative disorder and traumatic breakdowns, and was told she also had a client that didn't respond to therapy and was later diagnosed with dementia. So with fear and trepidation we had Randy tested with a Neuro-psychologist in April, 2014. On May 14th, he concluded it was Frontotemporal Dementia. We followed up with a Neurologist at Maricopa Medical Center. Randy had an MRI and the images were shocking. Conclusive. Definitive. Painfully. Horribly. Real.

My husband of 35 years ~ 60 years of age ~ had dementia. We were devastated. My heart hurt for our children, their spouses and our grandchildren. Randy's 90 year old Mom had already lost her 18 year old daughter in a car accident, her 55 year old son to cancer, her husband… and now Randy would slowly be leaving us.

I wrote this in my journal that day ~

Today I heard a horrible word ~ dementia. Randy has been diagnosed with Pick's Disease ~ a type of early onset dementia. I guess I kinda knew. Deep down. I am numb. Shocked. Sad. I've been grieving the changes in Randy. And now we know. We are losing Randy. The right side of his brain is deteriorating. And that's why he's not playing his guitar and writing songs. 
I am heartbroken, but thankful ~
~ that he walked our daughter Miranda down the aisle and shared at her wedding.
~ that he went to Disneyland alone just before the disease started progressing.
~ that he is happy.
~ that he is a good man.
~ that he loves the Word of God.
~ that he is faithful to the end.

I remember the Neurologist having compassion in his eyes. He told me to be thankful it was behavioral variant, and not progressive confluent aphasia. I was thankful. Randy could communicate. Thank you Lord. In fact as Randy & I were pulling out of the parking lot, Randy says "Can you believe they can see that my brain is shrinking! That's amazing!". Typical Randy, forever fascinated with science and technology.

Yes, Randy knows he has dementia, but that particular part of the brain does not comprehend the gravity of such a diagnose. In fact, he does not experience guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret, sadness or anger whatsoever. He has not been sad or angry once throughout this whole ordeal. He is happy and easily excited, much like a little boy. But when he is talking about God's Word, he is Randy, before the disease. You see, he reads the Bible on his iPhone or iPad all day long. Along with Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Over and over again. In fact he has memorized several powerful quotes from Ruthless Trust that make me weep. And he continues to retain every single fact he has ever heard or read. He can talk your ear off about fighter jets, the galaxy, the black hole and the Bible. I know, talk about a crazy mix.

But he can't do anything else. And I mean anything. My love language is acts of service, so you imagine the toll this took on our marriage before the diagnoses. Suffice it to say, it was heart wrenching. Anyway, he will occasionally get the mail, but that's it. He will tell me every day he's planning to finish his commentary on Hebrews, or write a blog post on the seven days of creation, or play his guitar and write new songs. But he can't. This is a man that played guitar and sang every day of his life since he was 10 years old. This is heartbreaking for me, our children, and the many others that have been deeply affected by his music.

Randy wrote a book while his disease was in the early stages. Little did I know at the time how significant this book would be. He wrote about his 30+ years in full-time ministry ~ Randy Thompson Ministries ~ traveling all over the country doing concerts in little churches, big churches and concert venues ~ leading hundreds to Christ ~ stories and life lessons he learned along the way ~ along with recording his 8 CDs. It's about the courageous journey of a man that trusted Jesus every step of the way. Oh, did I not tell you? Randy is a man of faith. Faith unlike anyone I have ever known. This man totally trusts Jesus. Totally. Unwaveringly. In fact he would mention at every single concert that "I come knowing nothing but Him crucified"… "that I long for the day when I can stand before Jesus and hear Him say "well done good and faithful servant"." Truly the nicest person you will ever meet.

We recently watched the movie "Philadelphia". The movie ends with Tom Hank's character receiving the verdict on his death bed and saying to his partner "I'm ready." I'm sobbing, and then Randy says to me "I am so ready Sugar! I can't wait to be with Jesus!" I climbed up on his lap and promised him that when it was his time to go that I would be so happy knowing he is finally with Jesus.

Just last night he came into my office, all lit up, beaming with joy and said "I just finished Mere Christianity (for like the umpteenth time) and I was just praying to Jesus, telling Him how thankful I am He died for me, that we have everlasting life and that He loves me so much!" Of course I cried and climbed up on his lap again. I wanted this pure, unadulterated faith to somehow penetrate my being, to heal my hurting heart, to give me peace to trust the Lord in these uncertain times. Oh how I love this man who loves Jesus with all his heart.

Like I said Randy reads all day long, unless he's walking... or as my FTD support group facilitator at the Banner Alzheimers Institute calls  "roaming". Alzheimer's patients "wander" and get lost, FTD patients "roam" and come home. They don't get lost as they are very ritualistic and repetitive in their activities. Randy has several walking paths ~ to Home Depot, the Mall, along the canal and Quick Trip. So when Randy went missing a couple weeks ago, I figured the police would find him walking along his usual walking path and bring him home. I had gotten home from work that night at 11:30 and Randy was gone. I drove around, finally calling the police at midnite. They finally found him sitting outside the Mall at 3am. Very scary. Needless to say, we are now entering the next phase, Adult Day Care while I'm at work. I hate that we're already there, a mere 5 months after his diagnose. But we can look back now and clearly see the signs as far back as four years, and while the disease progresses slowly in the beginning, it quickly picks up speed. I hate this disease.

But I am thankful for the Lord's presence. His strength. His love. He has given me such a deep love for my husband. Every day when I pull up to the house after a long day at work, he is standing there, waiting for me. And I am overcome with emotion. His smile melts my heart. He's still as handsome as ever. And I miss the Randy that once was. I whisper a quick prayer before I open the door ~ Lord, help me. I need You. You've got this, right? And He gives me hope to face another day.


Randy's YouTube video ~  Let the Music Last Forever

bvFTD links ~

Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

Fast Facts about Frontotemporal Degeneration

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection Sunday

emolyn & elsie
jonah & nathan
miss elsie lane
nathan & jonah



Have a joyous, blessed Easter!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

joy in the journey

Ok, so where have I been for the past 6 weeks? Well, for the two of you that were curious enough to hang in there and are reading this, I'm ok. Lots of changes that continue to overwhelm me. For one, I'm working. And when I'm not working I'm too tired and exhausted to do much of anything else. My job is very physical. I work at a Fry's Store (Kroger) in the kitchen department. I love the variety of work, making the time go by fast. I love the atmosphere. I don't love unloading a semi truck-load of heavy boxes and crates every night. Oh and yes, I work nights. And because I 'm a morning person and wake up before 5, and I don't get to bed now till after midnight, I'm going on very little sleep these days. Thus the lack of blog posts. Sleep deprivation has stolen much of my ability to concentrate and create interesting blog posts. And let's be honest, I don't have much of a life to blog about since starting work.

Anyway, enough of the negativity.
The weather here in Phoenix is simply gorgeous. We've been well below 100 for weeks. That usually doesn't happen till after Halloween. My cool morning walks with Koda are truly the highlight of my day. I cry out to God to give me strength to do the things that need to be done and to give me peace, joy and contentment. Oh and love. His love.

Yesterday I was talking to God about joy. If my circumstances never change, can I truly find joy again?  Well, when I got on Facebook a couple hours later, my friend posted this. Oh and btw, she is battling cancer. And she is a mother to four young children. And she has joy!

I was thinking about joy this morning. It isn't necessarily present in those you think it should be. I have been surprised to see a real lack of it in the rich and the famous and I have observed a serious supply in the weak, even the suffering and those who live simply. It is a confusing emotion because in some people it isn't even present. Joy is a gift. One you must choose to unwrap, no one can do it for you. The amount you have is the amount you are willing to receive. It comes directly from God. It is the cure for anxiety, weakness and fear. It is what fills up the hole so those things can't enter. It heals us from pain, loss, need, sorrow, illness and even kills cancer. It comes at a price that some people think too expensive. A choice to let God make your choices. It comes with a hunger for God's Word and a relentless pursuit to fulfill His passions. 
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Wow, did I need to read that or what! So this morning on my walk with Koda, I chose to unwrap joy... to put on joy. To let joy heal my sadness... my fears. I will choose joy in the journey. And be thankful. No matter what God allows in my path.

Ok, so I can't post a blog post without photos. These are some recent photos of my husband Randy with our twin grandson's Nathan & Jonah. They are 17 months now and cute as bugs. So thankful for these little guys. They sure bring a lot of joy to our lives.



Monday, August 26, 2013

jury duty randomness


I am currently sitting in Superior Court of Arizona in downtown Phoenix ~ awaiting jury duty selection. I will be here for 8 long hours. But no worries, I came prepared. In fact, I resembled someone about to embark on a month-long cross-country back-packing trip. My bulging backpack got quite the looks going through security.
Just so you know, I have never done this before. I have either been pregnant or nursing or no babysitter, or my group just never had to appear when I called the day before. And I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been rather anxious about the whole ordeal. But now that I’m here, I’m ok. I mean think about it, I have a whole day to journal, blog, read, do whatever I want, and not feel guilty.
So, I’ll be posting random thoughts throughout the day to keep me entertained, and hopefully you too.
  • I ate most of the lunch I packed by 10am
  • I’m liking the private cubicles for us laptop-ers
  • A friend on Facebook posted about the new Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
  • I want them in the worst way
  • I reorganized my sewing room over the weekend
  • I downsized my wardrobe over the weekend
  • I feel pretty good about my weekend
  • Koda & I take walks every morning at 5:30
  • Koda's our dog and she misses Tyler terribly
  • So do I :(
  • Dumb vending machine... I pushed the wrong numbers and got a Baby Ruth instead of Peanut M&Ms
  • Ok, dumb me
  • Most everyone has left for lunch... but not me
  • I made a big pot of Ham & Split Peas soup last week
  • Perfect for our overcast, rainy weekend
  • I don't want to get picked for a trial
  • Cuz guess what? I'm starting a part-time job next week!
  • The (Fancy) Fry's @ Tatum & Shea hired me!
  • I will be working housewares- designing displays and end caps, ordering, stocking, inventory and customer service
  • SO excited to get started!
  • Hoping to work lots and lots of hours
  • We've been without a washing machine for the past 6 weeks
  • We were given one two weeks ago, though they weren't sure it worked
  • We replaced a few parts and it still wouldn't work
  • We're being given another one this week that works ~ yes!
  • Thank you Jesus!
  • Thankfully I wasn't picked to do the trial 
  • My Dad's So God Made a Farmer video reached over 40,000 views this week!

My son Tyler moved to Wisconsin 6 weeks ago.
He recently visited the farm where I grew up and climbed the 90' Harvester Silo.
And that's the house that built me.


Check it out! My sister-in-law took this photo of Tyler
while he was taking pics from the top of the silo. Yikes!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

choosing to let go


  • so much has changed over these past two years
  • and it has pretty much rocked my world
  • you see my security was a savings account, jobs, etc.
  • and because God is a jealous God, He wants to be my rock
  • and while it has been a painful process...
  • I am choosing to let Him love me and meet my needs
  • I am choosing to trust Him for what I can't see
  • I am choosing to walk by faith 
  • I am choosing to praise Him and thank Him throughout the day
  • I am choosing to be strong and courageous instead of anxious and fearful
  • I am choosing to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer
  • I am choosing to take better care of my body, mind and soul
  • I am exercising ~ Randy & I are hiking South Mountain every morning
  • I am totally off caffeine and most sugars
  • reducing my anxiety and keeping my blood pressure down
  • I am choosing to depend on Jesus for everything
  • I am choosing to be content with little and with much
  • I am choosing to let go of my need to take control when everything is out of control
  • I am choosing to trust God with my husband 
  • I fail every day, choosing to turn from God and do things my way
  • but wake up the next day and choose God's grace 
  • but in all my pain and suffering I am coming to a deeper understanding of God's goodness, faithfulness and unconditional love for me as never before
  • thank you God for being my refuge and strength and my very present help in times of trouble

Randy took this iPhone photo just as the sun was rising this morning on top of South Mountain ~ the golden hour. It was cool and breezy as I marveled at the beauty of God's glorious creation.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Roadtrip to The Rim


The Mogollon Rim above Payson is one of my most favorite destinations in Arizona.
We're talking a two hour road trip, a 40 degree drop in temp and beauty beyond belief.


Randy & I sat for hours looking out over the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the western hemisphere and marveling at God's creation.


We parked our van mere feet from the edge and took occasional naps in the back of the van on a memory foam, with the sliding doors wide open, letting in the cool mountain breezes.


Heaven on earth.


Of course it's always about the anticipation of a possible thunderstorm ~ with lots of rain!
But that was not the case this time.


O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties above the fruited plain.


America! America! God shed His grace on thee.


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9