Monday, December 29, 2008

Invest in Leather

I think I'm going to be in the market for a good pair of leather chaps or one of those vests that has the leathers stringey things that hang down in the back.

The worlds most talented fiction editor, was giving me some fair warning advice about the beauty of my daughters this morning.

She says: "You’re going to be in for a few rough years when those girls hit their teens. I foresee fighting off the boys with baseball bats. I recommend you keep the bald look and maybe grow a super long goatee so you look mean. Get a few tats. Invest in a leather vest."

I'm an XL if anyone wants to know.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Red Rider

We cleared the dining room table yesterday to take some family photos. I just had to capture the look on Von's face after getting a Christmas gift.

"Ages 10+" it says on the packaging.

I figured that since he's been such a brave kid with all of the other dangerous things we have been doing to his body to shoot the cancer dead that, a little BB gun with parental supervision isn't going to hurt anyone.

So far, so good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stop the ride for a moment. I'm feeling sick!

Pause with me for a moment and reminisce. We're all feeling a little weary of this daily fight with this invisible enemy called cancer. (I think it's supposed to be a capital 'C' but I'm not giving it any more attention than it has already getting from our family.)

This is a photo of our children back before we learned we had cancer. It was taken in Mexico and the whole family went with me to a photo shoot for a furniture product line. My very good friend Luiz makes this stuff and we borrowed Mexico's largeest TV mogul's vacation home and yard for the staging. Just as we were wrapping up, it started to rain and the kids just had a blast. We quickly threw everything back on the truck and ran back to normal life.

Yesterday we started a new set of treatments for Von that are more intense than his first two months and already he is having side effects from the drugs. (What is ironic is that society won't give a 3 year old a plastic bag for fear of harm, but passively accepts shooting them up with drugs that make sores in their mouths, causes their intestines to bleed and sprinkle in surprise vomit episodes.)

We attended a Christmas concert as a family last night. During the intermission, a lady approached us who found Von's bald head familiar. She introduced herself and in the process we learned she had a son with Leukemia just like Von. As she spoke, I realized she was speaking past tense. Not wanting to ask the obvious, but wanting to express concern for her son, I asked, "How old is he now?".

She said she didn't want to answer that so as not to discourage us. After pressing her a bit, she shared her son passed away suddenly at month 5 of treatment after everything was seemingly going well. (What did we expect, we did press her for it).

So we left the concert early, and drove home feeling very sober and serious about cancer and realizing it is something that has no certain outcome. Lisa was crying a bit and Von kept offering her kleenex and asking her why she was crying. Sweet little kid. Takes after me, actually. :-)

Back to Mexico. I looked at that photo this morning and realized how each day is so precious...even if you don't have cancer. How can I learn that lesson for good and enjoy today and the moment without quickly moving on to the next project. Am I the only one that wrestles with that?

At the time I took that photo, I was rushing off to the next project, the next obligation, the next opportunity. If I could go back, I would have set the camera in a dry place, and then sprawled out on the lounge chair and let the rain pour down and spread my arms out like the guy did in the movie Shawshank Redemption at the end.

My challenge to you today, cancer or not, is go do something small, special, memorable, or sweet for someone in your life and take a mental picture. I promise no matter how silly, dumb or trivial it feels, you will never look back with a feeling of regret.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blue Eyes

My father-in-law Rolf shaved his head a few years ago when his good friend was going bald from cancer treatments.

At the time, bald wasn't yet cool, and it was a fashion risk, but in order to love and support his friend, Rolf did it! And like most kinds of sacrificial giving, he found something personally beneficial in the process. Not only did he get to support his friend, he also found a new and good look for him and it stuck.

So when Von had to lose his hair, and was left with some awkward stubble from the hair clippers, Rolf knew just what to do.

A little shave cream and a few sibling's concerned looks later and Viola!

It's funny, I never realized how beautiful his eyes were until the hair got out of the way. Maybe people should, instead of trying those fake eye contacts to enhance their eye color, try shaving their heads first. Or maybe...not.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I found this photo in my photo library today. I can't explain it.

It was evidently taken while I was away this weekend moving things out of our house in Ohio and getting it ready to transfer to the new owner.

Any suggestions for explaining what Sofie and Von are doing?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Clean Shave

We passed a landmark tonight. Instead of being in denial that Von is losing his hair, we decided to embrace it and say goodbye to it together as a family. Most of the times, the hard things in life are easy when you have family around to see you through.

It's funny, it doesn't bother Von in the least. Mom was fighting a few tears, but off the sparse little fuzz came. There were about 20 other extended family members there to cheer him on.

And the best part was watching him look into the mirror and seeing him discover a new texture on his little head. He is a good little trooper and we are pretty proud of him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Is it just me, or do I have the coolest friends in the world?

I received a very nice gift in the mail from Rae, my friend out on the East coast. I was one of her winners on the 'pay it forward' experiment. (You can see her blog here.)

She sent:

Magnets-Beautiful but practical.

Eucalyptus Hand soap: If you are a man and you use hand soap, this is the only fragrance you can use and still feel manly.

Reflection Stones: Handy because they double as weapons if needed, but beautiful reminders of great traits. I use them as place settings for our four children. Each one has a word that I associate with each child. I place them at the setting. Dream. Reflect. Grace. Strenght. What great reminders for us all!

Cool huh?

Here are the official "rules": The exchange focuses on doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return other than that the recipient will, in their turn, pass the kindness along and pay it forward.This is how it works... I am going to agree to send something fun, cute, & nice to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry. In turn, those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on.

Unfortunately, due to postage costs, I can only pay it forward within the United States.

If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment! The little something you send can be something you made, bought, were given or found. Just a gift that will make the person smile. There are no cost restraints, but don't go crazy! If you'd like to join in, be one of the first 3 people to leave a comment. You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who sign up to play along through your blog. I hope people like this idea. It's a small way to bring a smile to someone's face!

I know I won't be able to top the cool factor of Rae, but I will do my very best and will at least promise not to send you a fruitcake.

Thanks Rae!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Underage Bird-feeding Habit

Don't tell anyone. I know I'm not old enough to have one yet, and I'm not really proud of it, but...yes...I have a.....bird feeder.

I've seen these at my grandmother's house and in the old man's garden across the street. And if, at the next Monday night football you bring it up, I will deny it.

But last week I was inspired after hearing from an old friend. She was telling me about how her family has been slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life. She cited the Cardinal outside of her window, sampling the delicacies offered in the feeder, as a case in point. It reminded her of how God cares for us, just like her bird friends were being cared for.

After getting some good news this week in the 'what do I owe the doctor?' department, I found the unstopabble urge to celebrate God's care of our family and bought a bird feeder. (They didn't even ask for ID to see if I was old enough.)

I'm looking forward to seeing the first bird come and eat and remind me that God is taking care of me.

At least that is how I am explaining the bird feeder in the yard. I'm still working on a good explanation for the plywood cutout of the bent over grandma in bloomers in the front yard. I'm open to any suggestions.