Saturday, November 27, 2021

Randy Thompson Christmas CD ~ Through Different Eyes


Randy's 8 CDs are now available for download and physical copy through CD Baby.

You can also order CDs by contacting me ~

My very favorite Christmas CD ~ Through Different Eyes
You will not only want this playing throughout the Christmas season, but year-round! 

Thank you so much for supporting and promoting Randy's music. 
Means more than you will ever know.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Randy Thompson ~ Memory Care @ 4 months

Here I sit. Alone. Thinking... I'm not a widow, single or divorced. I am married. But my husband Randy doesn't live here anymore. He was diagnosed with Frontotemporal dementia in 2014, with early-onset as far back as 2010. I placed him in a Memory Care facility 3 months ago. (July 19th, 2018) I can't even begin to put into words the overwhelming sadness. On top of the ache in my heart, I get so anxious each time I visit him... fearful of changes, a sudden decline. Will I see something that questions my decision? Are they caring for him up to my standards? So hard. Paralyzing. Can't seem to find any rhythm to my new normal. 

Ok, so I tried finishing this post several times in the past month... just can't seem to put into words these past 4 months. So I'll try again...
I visited my husband every day the first 2 months, and now every other day. I guess you could say the honeymoon is over, and now I see things about the facility that bother me... or maybe I just expected everything to be perfect. I want him dressed nicely when I arrive, and often times he's not. He's wearing someone else clothes... that do not fit. And it makes me crazy. I can't change what's going on in his brain, but I want him to look the same. I know without a doubt the timing of my husband's placement was right, but that doesn't mean it will ever feel right. How is it ever right for someone to put their loved one in a facility? And go home and go on with life. I can't. I know I didn't bury my husband, but at times it feels like I did. The layers of loss are just overwhelming. But amidst all the pain and sadness are miracles. Unbelievable miracles of God's goodness and grace... praising Him and thanking Him in the midst unimaginable grief.

Here's what I mean ~
  • dear friends Linda & Ralph from WI came to be with me during the transition 
  • insisted on staying three weeks after Randy's placement 
  • had no idea how much I needed them here 
  • I was able to duplicate our wedding quilt, so he'd have 2 at the facility 
  • the medical assessment was done by a Christian nurse from the facility 
  • Randy's precious 80 year old roommate raised his family in Madison, WI

  • the caregivers love Randy's music
  • I immediately fell in love with several residents
  • we formed a little choir of women and we walk around singing
  • approval for Arizona Long term care took 90 days... thank you Lord!
  • he has never asked to go home
  • he is peaceful and happy and compliant
  • the caregivers and staff play his music whenever they are in his room
  • he sits down in the dining room for his meals... a miracle.
  • he reads the Bible with me on my iPhone
  • we haven't had a conversation in over a year, but he reads with such eloquence and passion
  • I love the support group I attend at the facility once a month.
  • a Dr now comes to his facility for check ups.
  • Lin & I found the perfect print of Jesus at a thrift store to hang in his room

  • This photo was taken the night before Randy was placed in memory care July, 2018. 

    I finished this post several months ago, and just now posting it. Randy has since been at Brookdale for 11 months. More posts to follow.

    Sunday, November 18, 2018

    Randy Thompson CDs ~ CD Baby

    Randy's 8 CDs are now available for download and physical copy through CD Baby.
    Click HERE

    You can also order CDs by contacting me ~

    My very favorite Christmas CD ~ Through Different Eyes
    You will not only want this playing throughout the Christmas season, but year-round! 

    Thank you so much for supporting and promoting Randy's music. 
    Means more than you will ever know.
    Merry Christmas!

    Saturday, July 14, 2018

    Dementia/ Memory Care

    My husband Randy will be placed in a Memory Care facility in Gilbert, AZ Thursday, July 19th. 

    I could never have imagined typing those words. Even though I know it's time, I am heartbroken. And trusting God with every breath I take.

    I remember reading that grieving your loved one’s initial diagnosis, their placement in a facility, and their actual death are very much the same. And they are right. 

    Needless to say, Randy & I need your prayers now more than ever ~

    ~ that Randy would adjust to his new surroundings as best as can be expected
    ~ that he would feel God’s love, peace and presence
    ~ that he would know my overwhelming love for him
    ~ that he would thrive
    ~ that he would be their favorite

    My dear friends Ralph and Linda (the other Linda Larson) arrived July 6th to be here for Randy & I as we transition. They insisted on staying a couple weeks after Randy is placed so as to be here for me. As the days and weeks draw near, I am more and more aware that was a good call and a precious gift from God.

    Please pray ~

    ~ that I would trust the Lord, rest in the Lord and be strong and courageous
    ~ that He would protect me from the enemy's lies
    ~ for my health... as anxiety and stress have taken a toll
    ~ that I would savor the sweet moments, rather than fear the future
    ~ that I would sense God’s presence as never before
    ~ that ALTCS (AZ Long Term Care) would be approved in a timely manner

    Thanking God ~

    ~ that his memory care facility is only 2 minutes from my job in Gilbert
    ~ that I can visit him every day after work
    ~ that Scott Fisher @ Foundation for Senior Living recommended this facility, not even knowing it’s proximity to my work
    ~ for my amazing team that has walked with me every step of the way 
    ~ my elder law attorney Emily Taylor and her assistant Jessica 
    ~ my dear friend and financial planner Joe Scheid
    ~ my son-in-law Aaron for his wisdom, counsel and compassion 
    ~ for dear friends near and far that have visited, called, text and emailed me words of encouragement, affirmation and Truth. I can’t tell you how many times fear and anxiety overwhelmed me to the core... thinking I could not do this another day… and I would get a call or text. They had no idea... but God did.

    And finally, I thank God for everything. And I mean everything. I don’t understand everything, but I can truly thank Him. I am trusting God’s love for me, His character, His faithfulness, His ever present help in times of trouble. He is transforming me. He is fighting for me. He is the strength of my heart. And my portion forever. He allowed this. He is using it. He is all I need. He is enough.

    And I am so thankful God continues to use Randy’s music and lyrics. I get monthly emails, CD orders and testimonials from people all around the country. And most of them had no idea about Randy's diagnosis until I linked them to his story on my blog. Their heartfelt stories are a powerful testament of Christ in Randy, his calling, faithfulness and humble service in sharing the death, resurrection and love of Jesus.

    Randy always said at every concert ~ 

    “We are aliens and strangers. This is not our home. I long for the day when I can stand before Jesus and hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant”.” 

    I long for that day too. 

    Oh how I miss my husband. My friend. My helpmate. My truth teller. The love of my life. 

    However will I do this life without him by my side?

    You can read his Frontotemporal dementia story HERE.

    Sunday, May 27, 2018

    flowers from my husband

    Invariably the weight of caring for a loved one with dementia takes its toll and we hit rock bottom. Recently I had one of those days. I woke up with a dark cloud over my head. Fear of the unknown, the future, overwhelmed me. I didn't know how I could do another day. I missed my husband so much that dying of a broken heart seemed quite possible. I missed his hugs, his comforting words, his calming spirit. I missed doing life with my best friend. So I prayed and cried out to God for His strength, peace and joy.

    As I made my way home from work that day, with tears pouring down my face, I once again surrendered my hurting heart to Jesus. With what little faith I had, I thanked Him for His faithfulness, His provision, His love. I knew I was not alone. He was with me. I may feel lonely, but I am never alone.

    Shortly after I arrived home, someone I had recently met in the healthcare business, came to my door with a huge bouquet of flowers. I was stunned. No way. You see, to me, these gorgeous flowers were without a doubt, a gift from God. To me. From my husband. I was undone. I hugged and thanked her, and when she left I collapsed on the couch and had a good cry. Once again "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, and set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 Thank you Jesus!

    Then Randy arrived home. When he walked in the door and saw the flowers, I hugged him so tightly and thanked him over and over for sending me flowers. You guys, the look on his face was priceless. He was beaming and repeated over and over "I sent you flowers!". Every day till the flowers were withered and gone, I thanked him over and over for sending me flowers, for loving me so well, for being my husband. And every day, he would say over and over "I know! I sent you flowers!". And my love for him grew sweeter than ever.

    Randy rarely ventures outside, 
    but when he does he loves the solar water fountain in our birdbath.
    My grandson loves it too. And so do the hummingbirds.
    Check it out HERE

    Saturday, April 28, 2018

    Frontotemporal dementia update

    My husband Randy Thompson has
    behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
    If you are new to my blog, you can read his story HERE.

    • I love seeing him sitting out on our patio. And yes, these days are numbered as the temps are rising here in Phoenix
    • he's always saying "I think you're going to make me chicken with tomato sauce"
    • I have never made such a dish 😊
    • he recently lost the 20# he gained 4 years ago after his FTD diagnose
    • hard to believe it was 4 years ago this month
    • but the symptoms go back to 2011
    • love the art pieces he brings home from his adult day care
    • started touring memory care facilities. So hard to imagine that one day...
    • he whispered "I love you" the other day. Out of the blue
    • he's unable to carry on a conversation, instead repeats everything I say
    • so as you can imagine, it was a big deal
    • he is totally oblivious to the guys that are remodeling our master bathroom
    • he loves taking our dog Koda for walks
    • he repeats over & over "That's Koda!" the entire time we're walking
    • Randy recently ate an entire bag of organic dog treats overnight, that I had emptied in a jar on the counter
    • they were not the usual 99 Cent store hard biscuit dog treats
    • so he thought they were people treats
    • I was pretty freaked out... but able to laugh about it now
    • such an unexpected, heartfelt reaction to meeting his new granddaughter Cora Jane
    • literally took my breath away as I captured the sacred moment 
    • my beautiful Cora Jane. Our 6th grandchild. Mimi & Pop Pop are so blessed.
    • love my letter board that I now call my memory board
    • scripture verses on the board that Randy loves reading every day
    • my latest memory verse ~ Romans 12:12
    • Randy just shaved his beard. Himself! (with my prompting) A miracle! Usually the neighbor has to hold his arms while I do it.
    • ok, it ain't pretty, but hey, I'll take it! 
    • attended my first dementia workshop this month. So helpful, informative... and emotional
    • Randy is still so sweet... never angry, sad, depressed or argumentative 
    • I think it's because our life is very quiet, routine and predictable. 
    • which makes him feel safe, secure and happy
    • my dear friend Alice captured this rare moment while visiting from PA
    • Love my husband so much... yet miss him terribly.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    my friend & mother-in-law

    My precious mother-in-law Emolyn Wynworth Thompson passed away at the age of 93 on September 3rd. She is now with Jesus and reunited with her husband, her daughter Patty and son Barry.

    I fell in love with my future mother-in-law even before I knew Randy was the one.

    I had met Randy at a concert ministry March of 1978. My friend Linda & I sang the first set and he sang the 2nd. His music, his songs, his lyrics touched my heart unlike any Christian artist before. For the next two months we hung out, I went to his church softball games... and then to dinner at his home on Mother's Day just before I went back to Wisconsin. Little did I know how significant that event would be. I was so drawn to Randy's Mom... so warm and welcoming. Randy's Mamaw Bean (his Dad's Mom) was also there. She would pass away that summer. I would buy her '62 Chevy sight unseen while in WI that summer... and I would receive her Pyrex 4 bowl nesting set just before we married... which would be the start of my Pyrex collection.

    When I returned to Phoenix Aug, 1978, Randy & I started dating. We would have dinner at his parents home pretty much every Sunday. While Randy & his Dad were watching sports on TV, his Mom & I would go to either TG&Y or Yellow Front to look at fabric. And we would spend hours talking about her life as an Air Force wife for 27 years, a Mom to 4 sons... and her daughter Patty. Patty had only been gone for 3 years when we met. She was killed by a 16 year old drunk driver a mile from their home. She had graduated from high school, turned 18 and received her driver's license the week before she went away. You see, my Mother-in-law never said the words died or killed or passed away. She always referred to someone's passing as "they went away". I love that so much.

    I was blessed to get to know Patty through her Mom... and the depth of a mama's grieving heart.
    What a sacred, beautiful time of remembering, weeping together and healing her aching heart.

    Randy's Mom was a Godly woman of faith. She never questioned God. She trusted Jesus. No matter what. 

    She read her Bible every day... because she saw her Mama read her Bible every day.
    And because of his Mom, my husband read his Bible every day. And she has faithfully prayed for Randy & I every single day of our marriage. 

    When Randy & I married she asked if I would like to call her Mom.
    So I did... for 38 years.
    But she was more than a mom to me, she was my dearest friend.

    I met my mother-in-law on Mother's Day 1978 ~
    and I said good-bye to her on Mother's Day 2017.

    My husband Randy was unable to understand the news about his Mom's passing because of his Frontotemporal dementia. He has no empathy. He just smiled and walked away. One day they will be reunited in eternity with Jesus. Oh what a day that will be.

    You can read about his last visit with his Mom HERE.

    Friday, September 01, 2017

    my husband's Frontotemporal dementia

    • he now stands up while eating at the kitchen island.
    • he turns every light, lamp and ceiling fan on day and night
    • he loves wearing the Dillard's shirts I buy for him
    • his short-term memory is gone
    • he still remembers everyone by name that comes over
    • he can still identify all 18 model airplanes (fighter jets) hanging in his bedroom
    • I have his 8 CDs playing on his iPod day and night 
    • along with Garrison Keillor, Tim Keller and the Bible. 
    • he loves taking showers 
    • when I told him it was our 38th anniversary, he replied 'Really?!' and walked away
    • his transportation to & from his adult daycare is going much better
    • he gets so tickled by all my silly jingles and rhymes that I make up daily
    • and that makes me so happy
    • he will love sitting out back again when the temps finally drop (109 yesterday)
    • his Mom turned 93 last week. Wish I could have taken him to see her.
    • but he gets anxious on long drives, unbuckles his seat belt and opens the door 
    • shopped at Costco for the first time since Randy's diagnoses 3 1/2 years ago 
    • overcome with emotions and tears... we always went together
    • continually surprised by new levels of loss lurking around every corner
    • went on a 12 hour day trip with friends to Flagstaff
    • several dear friends took 3 hr shifts in caring for Randy
    • hadn't gotten out of the city in 7 months... I returned renewed and refreshed
    • hoping to do that four times a year

    Every time I peek into Randy's bedroom, he is laying in bed with his arms & hands lifted upward at the elbows, with his eyes closed. His face is radiant... so peaceful. Seriously takes my breath away. I just know he is worshipping the Lord with his whole heart... even though his brain is no longer whole. Such a sacred sight to witness.
    Oh how I love my husband's pure, unadulterated love & devotion to God. 
    So blessed. So thankful.

    Randy ~ his Mom ~ his brother Don ~ his sister Patty pictured in the frame

    I took Randy to see his Mom on Mother's Day. Most likely the last time he will see her this side of heaven. She is nearing the end of her life. So thankful to have had that time with her... to pray together, cry together, to tell her how much I love her, that her love, acceptance, friendship and prayers have meant the world to me these past 38 years. 

    Randy would only come in the room for brief moments, to wave at her, to say 'Hi Mom!' and then ask to go home. It made him so anxious seeing her in bed like that. Broke my heart.
    Thankfully his brother Don arrived just as we were leaving. Randy was thrilled! He adores his big brother and seeing his excitement made me so happy. 
    Oh how his Mom loved seeing her 'big 'ole boys' together. (they are both over 6'2)

    I want to thank you for praying for Randy & I. Means more than you will ever know.

    Friday, August 25, 2017

    38th Wedding Anniversary

    Once Upon A Time ~
    we met at a concert ministry in Phoenix ~ we dated 6 months/ engaged 6 months ~ he asked me to marry him at the end of the runway at Luke AFB watching fighter jets take off ~ so sweet and romantic ~ our wedding was at 2pm August 25th, 1979 ~ at Mission Drive Baptist Church in Phoenix ~ my gown cost $100 from Diamonds on Central ~ Randy wrote the music for our wedding and sang one of the songs to me ~ he thought I'd cry, I didn't, but he did ~ my Dad gave me away ~ my Mom made ham & cheese sandwiches for the reception ~ my sister Ginny and friend Linda were my bridesmaids ~ my sister Kathy made the bridesmaids dresses ~ my 10 year old brother Kevin lit the candles ~ that's when I cried ~ Randy's brother Barry was the photographer ~ my sister-in-law played How Great Though Art on the piano ~ my wedding ring was Randy's Mamaw's wedding band (from July 14th, 1914) ~ we gave a little concert and opened our gifts at our reception ~ we received 3 decoupaged plagues of our wedding invitation ~ so we hung one in every room ~ our friend Bobby decorated Randy's '69 Dodge Charger ~ we honeymooned in Disneyland ~ we literally ran from ride-to-ride ~ best day ever! ~ the entire wedding cost $600 and I still have every receipt. If I could do it over, I wouldn't change a thing. 

    Disneyland anniversary trip ~ 2010
    And we lived happily ever after ~ 
    in sickness and in health ~ till Jesus takes us home. 
    The end.

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    dementia & transportation

    My husband Randy was diagnosed with Frontotemporal dementia 3 1/2 years ago at the age of 60. He  is unaware that anything is wrong with him. He has never asked why he is not working, or driving, or going to church anymore. He has never asked why he gets into a cab each morning to go to an adult day care. He no longer sings or plays his 12 string Guild. And he rarely ever mentions family and friends. But he is sweet and peaceful and easy to love.

    Randy started attending the Phoenix day care in March, because the Tempe location was not a lockdown facility and he was needing one. I was very pleased with his new daycare, except for his transportation. Valley Metro provides Regional Paratransit ADA Transport services ~ Transdev and AAA Yellow Cab ~ as transportation providers for the elderly and disabled. (prior to July 1st, it was Dial-a-Ride) And the experience has been a nightmare. The letter I received stated that "all cab drivers would be trained to provide service that is safe and courteous"... which has not always been the case. They have been 2+ hours late picking him up many times... and even though Randy's file states he has dementia and needs door-to-door, hand-to-hand check-in, he has been dropped off at the curb, no where near the entrance to the facility and left to find his way. I'm serious. Thankfully he was eventually found wandering in the heat. (we're talking 4th Ave. & Osborn) Appalling. 

    When he is dropped off each day at our home, I hear Koda bark and quickly run to let Randy in the front door, only to find the cab long gone. And you can not even see our front door from the driveway. What if I hadn't gotten home in time for his drop off? Deplorable. 

    But what pushed me over the edge was when he went missing for 2 1/2 hours Thursday, July 13th. He was picked up from the day care at 3:15, but when he wasn't home by 4pm, I started calling. By now they know me well as I have pretty much called to vent my concerns weekly (if not daily) since March, with no return call from a supervisor or manager. Ever. Oh, and the minimum wait time on hold is 1/2 hour, so when I finally talked to someone, they said his cab driver went to help a cab driver that was in an accident. Then she put me on hold when I demanded to talk to the dispatcher. She then said I could call the dispatcher, and the dispatcher proceeded to tell me Randy wasn't in the accident, but would be home soon. Then the actual cab driver called me. The only words I could understand was "hospital" and "your address". I asked if Randy was in the hospital and he said no. I gave him our address and he immediately hung up, and would not answer my return calls. I was frantic and my gut knew they were not being truthful. Randy finally arrived home at 6pm. He has no short-term memory, so I kept calling anyone that would give me a straight answer. The next morning, with fear and trepidation, I had to put Randy back in a AAA Yellow Cab because I had the AC guy coming. I was overly nice, even though the cab driver was visibly angry when I responded to his demand for a payment, by telling him he had to walk Randy into the daycare, sign him in and he would get his ticket payment. An hour later I got a call from the daycare that Randy was found wandering outside. Again. I was livid. Then an hour later I got a call from a man that needed to talk to Randy about the accident he was in yesterday at 3rd St. & Thomas. (in front of St. Joe's) Sure enough, I called the police and the police report said Randy was in that cab! Still wondering why the police officer did not call me as Randy wears medical alert dog tags with the word dementia and my cell no. He apparently assumed the cab driver was calling me to let me know. Unconscionable.

    Thus began the process of getting to the bottom, by talking to someone at the top. After several days of calls and demands and threats, the General Manager of Valley Metro Paratransit called me at 7pm. I shared every detail of Randy's transportation nightmare since March... and she was shocked and totally unaware. She listened, apologized and assured me there would be changes. I told her I was moving Randy to another day care that had their own transportation, but that I would continue to fight for those that didn't have a voice... to make sure the elderly and disabled would be treated with safety, dignity and respect. I would fight for the elderly that are waiting for hours to be picked up for a Dr appointment, that would now need to be canceled... for those with disabilities that need to get home on time for their next dose of pain meds. I am deeply disturbed that in this day and age, a city the size of Phoenix, does not have a better system. Heartbreaking.

    So, thus began the process of moving Randy to the Mesa day care. But first the Dr visit, TB test and blood work... not easy for someone with dementia. And while I knew this change would rock his safe, predictable world, I was willing to put him through this for safe, reliable transportation.

    Well, on his last day before starting at the Mesa daycare, Randy's transportation to the Phx daycare arrived an hour late, 7:30am rather than 6:30am. I got a call on my 9:30 break that Randy had yet to arrive at his daycare. That was my breaking point. I lost it. I called ADA Transport, then the dispatcher, no one knew where he was, nor his driver. Finally at 10am Randy was dropped off - 2 1/2 hours after he was picked up! The driver said his GPS broke. Seriously?! You drive around for 2 1/2 hours and don't think to call for help?! Shocking.

    Needless to say I was all the more grateful Randy was starting at a new daycare. Unfortunately after a very difficult first day, the director told me the facility was not a lockdown. What?!!! Randy's case worker assured me it was. I was devastated... and heartsick for Randy. He continued for two more days but would not stop obsessing about getting out.

    So Friday, Aug.11th, he was back at the Phoenix day care and doing so much better. I am still at the mercy of the Valley Metro Paratransit system... but his first week back went very well. No complaints. No mishaps. Thankful.

    While this has been a crazy 6 month journey... my faith and dependency on God has grown. He has protected Randy countless times. He has calmed my heart, given me strength, shown me grace amidst uncertainty and disappointments. He is exposing my control issues, my fears, my pride and unbelief. And continues to love me with an everlasting love.

    I could not walk this unexpected journey without the Lord in my life. 

    Randy giving his daughter Miranda a rare hug... priceless.

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    a rod through the block

    It was July of 1980. We had driven from Phoenix to Wisconsin for my brother Ronnie and Debbie's wedding. We had married the summer before in Phoenix. So excited to attend a family wedding so close to our 1st wedding anniversary.

     I recently found this old photo. Randy had changed out of his tux and we were off to start our new adventure as husband and wife in his '69 Dodge Charger

     So fun being on the farm. We even helped my Dad bale hay. Yes, that's me driving the tractor.

    That's Randy helping my Dad.

    That's my brother Kevin (11) driving the tractor. 

    Well, after a wonderful week on the farm, we decided to start out for my sister's in Oklahoma in the evening after a family dinner at a local supper club. But I quickly realized I had forgot the stump.

    Did she just say stump?

    Yes. A tree stump. That my Dad had cut and left to burn. That I rescued for a possible end table. That I just had to have. Don't laugh, they're all the rage again.

    So we went back to the farm to load it in my husband's '69 Dodge Charger. Side story... when I found the stump I made Randy carry it to the house. It's heavy. When it started to rain I made him bring it in the house so it wouldn't get wet. Like it hadn't gotten wet all those months outside! I know, I'm a lot of work.

    So we hit the road and somewhere along I-35 in Iowa around 3am, I awoke to a horrible sound. My heart sank. Randy got us to the next rest stop, crawled under the Charger and declared "I threw a rod through the block". Well... is that bad? The look on his face spoke volumes. So without thinking "Then why did you do that?" I know, I need to think before I speak.

    So he worked on the car in the dark for a while and then said he needed a bolt, and that should get us back on the road. Btw, he had totally rebuilt this car. And he always traveled with his tools. And if we didn't have such a good marriage I would have been jealous of the hours they spent together.

    So we hitched a ride on a semi truck to the next exit/ truck stop. I had never been in a rig before, so I may have been a bit giddy, chatty... at 3am... poor truck driver. At the truck stop they let Randy dig through a bucket of bolts, where he found three in the hopes one would do the trick. We then walked to the other side of the exit and hitched a ride back to the rest stop. I was less giddy and chatty this time around. Reality was setting in. What if none of the bolts fit? So I began to pray for a miracle.

    I quickly jumped down off the semi truck and began running across several lanes of freeway, and then through the tall grassy median, all the while looking back and no Randy. When I finally got to the rest stop I could see he was coming. He said that when he jumped down from the rig, the door wouldn't shut... he kept trying till he discovered a bolt had jammed the door. The truck driver said to take it, cuz hey, it just might be the bolt.

    And you know what? IT WAS!

    Randy tried the three bolts first... but it was the bolt stuck in the door that finally worked!

    We had prayed for a miracle and God answered... and we were on our way! Praise the Lord!

    And get this, when Randy sold the Charger a couple years later, that miracle bolt was still doing the trick!

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    the missing Handi-Wipe dish rag

    My name is Linda Thompson and I am ADD/ OCD.

    Knowing that, it should come as no surprise to you that when my pink dish rag went missing 32 years ago, I went a little crazy.

    Let me set the stage for you.

    This was no ordinary dish rag, this was the pink stripped Handi-Wipe reusable cloth dish rag. When I met my future Mother-in-law in 1978, she introduced me to Handi-Wipes. She only used Handi-Wipes as her dish rag. They were thin and durable and easy to clean inside glasses. I was hooked and have been using them every single day for the past 39 years. Check out this old commercial from the 70's.

    Well, in our home, theses bad boys, I mean girls, functioned even more so than the 1001 uses in the commercial... the least of which were the assumed dish-washing function. You see, our 2 year old daughter Miranda had a vivid imagination and she alone took the Handi-Wipes phenomenon to another level. Long hair when she was pretending to be Sleeping Beauty... a cape when she was Snow White... a scarf while gathering berries in the backyard as Princess Aurora (all the while singing "I know you I walked with you once upon a dream"). Yes, several times a day she would have me wet the wipes down so she could conform it to her imagination.

    Just so you know, the Hands-Wipes back in the 70's & 80's were much larger than the current Handi-Wipes. Seriously, no comparison. And don't get me started on the quality. The old ones were 100% rayon and totally reusable. I could launder an 80's Handi-Wipe several times before it started to fall apart. These days when you put the Clorox brand wipes through the wash they become a weird, puffy mess of uselessness.

    Ok, back to the story. It was 1986. My husband Randy was the youth pastor at our church. The day before the dishrag went missing, his youth group held a car wash to raise money for summer camp. He came home with $300.00 in one dollar bills inside a blue Valley National Bank bag.

    I noticed the dish rag was missing immediately upon entering my kitchen the next morning. I always have it draped over the sink. But this particular morning, no dish rag. I looked everywhere. I asked my husband, our 5 year old son Shawn and 2 year old daughter Miranda. No one had seen it. That's when the OCD kicked in and I become a tad bit obsessed with solving the mystery of the missing Handi-Wipe.

    Well, I eventually went out to the back patio... and there was a chair... under our kitchen window... with the Handi-Wipe on the chair.

    That's when it hit me... someone had used the Handi-Wipe to wipe down their prints while climbing out our window.

    Which meant... they had climbed through that window... and ENTERED OUT HOME!


    OH. MY. GOSH!!!

    Sure enough, the Valley National Bank bag was gone. Randy had left it on the kitchen table.

    I quickly surmised a horrifying scenario and thanked God he had left it on the kitchen table!

    You see, I am a light sleeper. And because the bank bag was on the table, they took the money and ran. Had Randy not left the money on the table, they would have most likely wandered further on  through the house, waking me up, and God only knows what would have happened. Thank you Jesus!

    Which is why you should leave a $100 bill on the table when you go on vacation, because they will more than likely take the money and leave, thus protecting your home from being ransacked while looking for money and valuables.

    Well, I was recently reminded of the dish rag story, when I came upon a fabulous vintage find while thrifting with my friend Kathy.

    I seriously gasped! Ok, I screamed... in my head. I had never even seen these dispenser packs back in the day, but these are the actual vintage Colgate-Palmolive Handi-wipes!
    In fact, these vintage boxes are selling right now for $35.00 a box HERE!
    I found these at Goodwill for $1.99 a box.

    This is the packaging I purchased back in the day. Notice the 14"x24" size. The new ones are 11"x19". Yes, the new ones made by Clorox are packaged very similar, but that's where the similarities end. So sad.
    You may be wondering if I have plans to use those vintage Handi-Wipes. Maybe the yellow ones. I do have plans to gift the pink ones to my daughter Miranda when she has a daughter some day... and now I'm all weepy just imagining my granddaughter with a pink stripped Handi-Wipe draped over her head.

    Thursday, April 06, 2017

    behavioral variant FTD

    We're coming up on the 3rd anniversary of my husband Randy's dementia diagnose.
    Frontotemporal degeneration to be exact.
    Of course looking back we can see changes as far back as 2011. So technically he is going on 6 years, and considered moderate by his neurologist at the Banner Alzheimers Institute. He goes in for a yearly test to evaluate the progression... and that's it. He takes 40 mg of Citalopram in the morning and 100 mg of Seroquel at night... and that's it.

    Randy has behavioral variant FTD. Those diagnosed with progressive nonfluent aphasia FTD have trouble speaking and producing language. Randy has no trouble recalling words and is still quite articulate. Very thankful for that.

    Behavioral variant FTD

    Mild bvFTD

    In the first several years, a person with bvFTD (sometimes called Pick's disease or just FTD) tends to exhibit marked behavioral changes such as disinhibition, apathy, loss of sympathy or empathy for others, or overeating. Problems with planning organization and sometimes memory are evident, but the individual is still capable of managing household tasks and self-care with minimal help. However, impairment in judgment can lead to financial indiscretions with potentially catastrophic consequences. Social withdrawal, apathy and less interest in family, friends and hobbies may be evident. At times, they may behave inappropriately with strangers, lose their social manners, act impulsively and even break laws.  

    Moderate bvFTD

    Over the course of a few years, the symptoms seen in the mild stage will become more pronounced and disabling. You might also notice compulsive behaviors like repetitive urination, hoarding or collecting objects, compulsive cleaning or silly repetitive movements. Binge eating may create weight problems and other health issues. The cognitive problems associated with dementia become more pronounced, with mental rigidity, forgetfulness and severe deficits in planning and attention. The MRI image at this point will show that the shrinking of the brain tissue has expanded to larger areas of the frontal lobes, as well as the tips of the temporal lobes and basal ganglia, deeper brain structures involved in motor coordination, cognition, emotions and learning.

    Randy's current repetitive, obsessive behaviors ~
    • he turns every light on in the house. Constantly. Like every single light and every ceiling fan.
    • he's constantly asking for waffles. I make homemade waffles every Sunday, and then make them up each day till the batter is gone. He loves them so much.
    • he rarely asks me to take him to QT for a Coke, but visitors are asked to take him. 
    • it's a compulsion... anxiety... when things are out of the norm.
    • and when he wants them to leave, he sweetly tells them he is going to walk them to their car.
    • oh that we could all be so blunt. ha!
    • he turns the shower on, walks away and it's left running till I discover it. My water bill...
    • he loves taking showers. So thankful for that.
    • he's so happy laying on his bed and listening to his music.
    One of my very favorite photos.
    Me, my man and the mighty Mississippi. (2005)

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Selling our Cozy Cottage on Wheels

    This story has been unfolding for over 3 years. So excited to finally share it with you.
    It began with an email 2 weeks before my husband Randy was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. (April, 2014)

    My name is Samantha and I love your Travette, your pictures, and the fantastic way you have portrayed the experience.
    I know a bit about Travette: My family owned and operated the business in Bakersfield, CA, until it closed in the 70s.  I have the greatest Travette memories and I’m so happy to read that others are making their own happy memories.
    I hope this email gets to you and if you get a chance, it would be wonderful to hear back from you!
    Happy Travels,
    btw, if you ever decide to sell her, please know that you have a buyer.  :-)

    Well, I knew something was wrong with my husband, so I replied that I would definitely let her know if and when we would sell her... and then tucked it away in a file.

    Sure enough, two weeks later Randy was diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Unreal. Life changing. Overwhelming grief. It was a year later before I even remembered Sam's email. But I wasn't ready to sell Cozy until the fall of 2016. When I finally emailed her, it came back undelivered. So I googled her name and her Pinterest board came up. I found Cozy on her vintage travel trailer board and left my email in a message. She immediately replied.

    Thus began a series of emails and phone calls that told a story that to this day makes me cry. And well, you know how much I love a good story. Well God, in His goodness, went above and beyond and gave me a great story.

    You see, the Travette travel trailer company began in 1957. Sam's great-grandfather, grandfather and Dad owned and operated the business till it ended in the late 70's. The last recreational vehicles the company manufactured were the 13 foot travel trailers. Because they didn't manufacture a lot of them, Sam told me her Dad literally had a hand in every single one. So it was a dream of Sam and her brother Darrel, to buy one for their Dad as a surprise. So you can imagine how thrilled they were when they finally found our 1976 Travette travel trailer 13 footer in their google search.

    Sam gave me this old Travette brochure. So cool!
    Sam lives and works in the Washington DC area, so her and her fiancé Jim Hanson (from Fox & Friends) flew in to Phoenix and rented a U Haul to transport Cozy to her parents home in Austin, Texas. Sam & I already had a bond, a kinship like no other, so when we finally saw each other we hugged and cried. We sat inside Cozy together and I heard more of the story. Her Dad's health is failing, so the timing of their surprise was even more heartwarming.

    Randy & I had spent many hours dreaming of our adventures with Cozy over the years. We wanted to visit the National Parks. Sadly our Bucket List was emptied pretty quickly. Along with quickly realizing I couldn't bear to watch someone we knew live out their dreams through our Cozy. God knew that too. He knew the only way I could ever sell our cozy cottage on wheels was for her to be returned to the one that built her. Simple, easy and painless... and totally meant to be. Only God in His love and mercy could orchestrate such a story.

    Well, Sam & Jim spent 5 hours in our driveway getting Cozy ready for the trip. Two of the nicest people I have ever met. Get this, Sam was a paratrooper in the Army, retired Lieutenant Colonel and now runs a non-profit called America Matters Now. And yes, Jim is on Fox Cable News... but he is also from Wisconsin, grew up in Green Bay, a farm boy at heart and a huge Green Bay Packer fan! We were like family by the time they pulled out of our driveway.

    Interestingly, Randy's cab dropped him off from his day care during that time, and he was totally oblivious to Sam & Jim... and that Cozy was hitched up to this huge U Haul in our driveway. I was glad he was ok with Cozy leaving... and sad that he was ok with Cozy leaving.

    Thrilled when Sam sent me this photo of her and her parents shortly after they surprised her Dad. She said they were already calling her Cozy. :)

    I am so thankful I documented every adventure here on my blog. Thankful we found her on Craig's List October, 2009. She gave us a great run! Memories I will cherish in my heart forever. You can read all about her HERE and HERE. 

    Happy travels Cozy!

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Tommy Hilfiger designer coveralls

    Oh the things you find at thrift stores... 
    Many years ago I found a brand new pair of coveralls at my favorite little thrift store for $7.00. Umm... we're talking Tommy Hilfiger designer coveralls to be specific. Don't bother googling these... they don't exist. Maybe they only made one pair. 
    Anyways, I knew my husband would go wild. Ok, he doesn't ever go wild, but he would be thrilled. When we met in 1978, coveralls were a common attire most weekends, as he was always working on his beloved '69 Dodge Charger. But he wore his Dad's. So after we married he went many years without coveralls. 

    Well, we sure got our monies worth. And come on, is he handsome or what. When I took these photos in April, 2011, he could only find my pink headband that morning to absorb the sweat. ha!
    And ironically, it would be one of the last times he ever worked on our vehicles, if not the last time. His frontotemporal dementia was diagnosed 3 years later, April of 2014... but he started changing around this time.

    So, in preparation for our house painting, I spent Christmas Day going through 23 years of junk in our side yard, for the next days power washing. 
    These were hanging with the yard tools. 
    Bitter sweet... lots of tears... remembering.

    But so thankful I found them... you see, I've been collecting jeans for over 40 years... to make quilts. I have jeans that my kids wore, Randy wore, my Dad wore, I wore. Thrilled I could salvage the best parts of this well-worn treasure. 
    And so fun showing Randy and reminding him of his love of working on cars. 

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    slowly but surely

    • my husband's frontotemporal dementia is progressing slowly but surely.
    • his short-term memory loss is much more evident.
    • thankful he is still peaceful, happy and content.
    • he has still never been sad, angry, irritated or argumentative.
    • we keep to a very simple, predictable routine.
    • Randy's heart is so full of truth and love, that no matter what is happening to his brain, Christ in Randy is still very much real and present.
    • my husband had to start attending a more secure day care in Phoenix.
    • he kept trying to leave when he saw others being picked up.
    • which means he now has to use dial-a-ride to and from each day.
    • otherwise my commute would mean leaving Gilbert after work, picking him up in Phoenix, then back to Tempe... a crazy 2 hours drive.
    • needless to say, I am sad for the loss of our treasured time each day in the van after work.
    • and frustrated that his target pick up time is rarely ever on time.
    • not happy with dial-a-ride.
    • but thankful the transition to the new day care was seamless.
    • very happy with the new day care and the dedicated staff.
    • thankful my neighbor gets Randy in the cab after I leave for work each morning.
    • really, really like my job, my co-workers and altering mens suits.
    • survived 9 hour days, 5 days a week, January and February.
    • a result of Dillard's huge clearance sale on men's suits.
    • nice to be back to 4 - 8 hour days.
    • a dear, precious friend painted our house the week after Christmas. Overwhelmed by such a generous gift. 
    • God continues to bless above and beyond. Continually in awe of His goodness.
    • five dear men came and cared for my husband while I was in WI for my Mom's funeral.
    • forever and ever grateful for their servants heart.
    • just when I thought the aching in my heart for a road trip would never go away, my friend Nancy arrives from Virginia and we hit the open road. My heart was renewed, restored, revived.
    • Randy & I were on a walk yesterday and his crown fell out. Trying not to worry about what that means. He will have to be put under for any work to be done. Ugh.
    • have I mentioned lately that I hate this disease?
    • I will leave you with a photo from Thanksgiving 2016 ~ Pop pop, Mimi & grandson Will.
    • and my new favorite verse ~ Psalm 28:7
    The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
    my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. 

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    My Mom ~ Leona Larson

    • She was born Leona Ida to Henry & Ida Steinke on April 14, 1930
    • She passed from this earth Feb. 26th, 2017
    • She had 3 sisters Helen, Dorothy and Marion
    • and two brothers Elmer and Ervin
    • She loved school and was valedictorian in her class of '49
    • A city girl meets farm boy at the roller skating rink in Hatfield, WI
    • and they marry on April 29th, 1950
    • She's the Mother of six kids ~ Kathy, Ginny, Gary, Linda, Ronnie and Kevin
    • She named me after her ~ Linda Leona
    • and was blessed with 15 grandkids and 19 great-grandkids
    • She had strong Christian values
    • and always took us to church and Sunday school
    • She knew the value of life-long friends
    • She was a supportive, hardworking farmer's wife
    • and punctual. She was never late
    • She was recycling when recycling wasn't even cool yet
    • always picking up cans and bottles on her daily walks
    • She made desserts for every meal.
    • She had the best laugh
    • She modeled "Love Thy Neighbor" by weekly visits with Mrs. Leer, Mrs. Vesta and Mrs. Moe
    • She saw the importance of visiting relatives every Sunday
    • She loved picking berries of all kinds
    • She loved creating freshly-picked floral arrangements for the dining table
    • She was a homemaker, in the truest sense of the word.
    • She kept a beautiful home and held to a rigid weekly schedule
    • She taught us girls that hours of ironing while watching soap operas is much more enjoyable
    • She was an amazing cook and loved baking
    • She was always home when we got off the bus, with fresh baked bread, homemade donuts, a pan of bars, cookies or pies cooling on the counter
    • She loved dancing with her kids to Ernie Reck on the television 
    • She never missed a Billy Graham Crusade on the television
    • She faithfully attended all our school activities and sporting events
    • She was dependable, thoughtful and full of energy
    • She loved card parties, snowmobile parties 
    • and spending time with their Alma Center friends
    • She loved to travel and visit her children
    • She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing
    • She took great pleasure in harvesting huge gardens
    • and saw the value of 4-H for her kids

    Mom had a good life and she was ready to go to heaven and be with Jesus... and to be reunited with her husband John, her son Ronnie and grandson Noel.
    Mom will be forever remembered, loved and celebrated as her legacy lives on through her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
    We love and miss you Mom!