Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A time to mourn and a time to rejoice.

I changed the name of my blog a little while ago. I was going to post about it, but then some things happened.

On Sunday, November 24, at 2:25 am, my dad passed away.

It still isn't real. I was there, I watched him take his last breath, and still I haven't grasped it.

Just about 2 years ago, at one of our family gatherings, my dad slipped on some ice and broke his arm. That kind of ruined the day, but what came as a result was kind of a blessing, and kind of ruined everything. Turns out the reason his arm broke was because the bone was full of cancer. And when you have bone cancer, that means that it started somewhere else in your body, and has been there long enough to spread. The blessing was that now we knew about it, and he could start getting treatments.

In June last year, Dad had surgery to remove one of his kidneys, where the cancer originated. After the surgery he had problems with his lungs filling up with fluid. They had to be drained a couple of times, and he was on oxygen for a couple months after. But it looked like his treatments were going good for the next year and a bit, and the cancer wasn't spreading. He had a good year.

In the middle of October he had some scans that showed that there was a metastasis on his remaining kidney. Not good. The scans also showed a build up of fluid in his lungs again. As a result of the fluid buildup, as well as changing his chemo, his appetite went way down, and he was hardly eating anything after this point. At the beginning of November, he was in the hospital over a weekend to have it drained. We thought that would be good for a while.

November 17 was the last Sunday lunch that we had together. He wasn't feeling very well so he only ate a bowl of pudding. He slept most of the day, and was having a lot of pain because his lungs were full of fluid again. The next day, my parents went to the hospital to have his lungs drained again. The doctors didn't do anything that day, so they went home to go back the next day. That was the last time he was home. From Tuesday on he was in the hospital. Finally on Thursday his lung were drained. My brother Mico and I went to see him that afternoon, after the drain was in, and my dad was not in good shape. He could recognize us, but he seemed really out of it. They thought it might be the combination of medications they had given him, and that it would wear off. It was really freaky to see him that way, because my mom and the nurses would ask him questions, and he wouldn't answer them. His eyes were kind of glazed over. But I never thought that the next day I would get a phone call from my mom where she would tell me that the doctor gave my dad 24 hours to live.

As soon as we got the call we headed to the hospital. I was in tears the entire time. The next hours were a blur of crying and waiting and praying. When we got to the hospital he could still respond a very little bit: he didn't talk at all, really, but he looked at us and could make noises in acknowledgment. That was around 6:30 pm on Friday. By noon on Saturday he wasn't responding at all anymore. From then on he was in a drug-induced sleep, because otherwise he was in too much pain. As the day went on, his breathing got worse and worse, and finally in the last few hours it seemed like any breath would be his last.

I can't even begin to describe how terrible it is to watch your father in so much pain, barely able to breathe anymore because one of his lungs has failed, and all of his organs shutting down, except for his stupid big strong heart. You don't want him to go, but you don't want him to stay in that suffering either. We prayed a lot for God to just take him home, to end the suffering.

36 hours after we arrived at the hospital, he breathed his last breath. I stood there and watched his soul leave his body. And in the two weeks since, it has been a series of moments where it hits me again that my dad isn't here anymore. The week it happened was so busy with planning the viewing and the funeral, and family coming around, and people texting and messaging condolences all day long, I didn't have time to really feel it. I thought about it but I didn't have time to feel it. Now the texts have stopped, and everyone else has forgotten, but now is when I can feel the hole. As I was finishing up this post, I was suddenly struck by the worst crying fit I've had since the hospital, just overcome by my grief.

There is some good news in all of this. My dad went to be with Jesus, and I have absolute complete assurance that I will be there with him someday. My dad has been completely healed of all cancer and pain and sadness and fear. We can rejoice because of the salvation we share.

We do not mourn like those who have no hope. We have the most incredible hope there is, and without it I can tell you that I would be the hugest wreck ever. Yes, I am so sad and I grieve, but I can go through my day and I am not overwhelmed.

I can still say that God is good and give him glory.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Progress report.

It is halfway through September (okay, over half but shhh) and I am taking a look at how I'm doing on the challenge that I posted at the beginning of the month.

Put things away, not down. I think that this is still going well. Yeah, I have a little bit of clutter here and there, but I have been so busy this month that I haven't had much time to do proper cleaning, and overall the house looks good. I'm getting back to my previous level of clean-freakness that I once had, and honestly I like it. There is something to be said for having a home that is comfortable to live in, isn't there? I've been to homes that are absolutely sterile, and you feel like you're in a hospital and you don't want to touch anything because you were a disease, and I've been to homes that made you feel like you were in a dump and you don't want to touch anything because you were going to get a disease. There certainly is a happy medium with comfortable and homey, isn't there?

30 letters in 30 days. This is going well! I have amended it to be 30 pieces of mail in 30 days, so that includes a swap or a postcard as well. I sent off a travelling scrapbook that I was part of that I had for the better part of a year! Yikes! I have been making very good progress at replying to my inbox, though, and that is great. I hate that I am such a slow responder. Currently there are 11 letters from before September 1 to reply to, and only 3 this month! 14 to go isn't bad!

Do 3 things a week that I have been putting off. Ha ha, that's funny, I totally forgot about this one! Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad. And I still haven't done the thing that I was thinking of when I made that goal. C'est la vie, eh?

Social media fasting... meh. I broke and have been on Facebook, and while I have just glanced at the others, it has probably only been a total of 15 or 20 minutes for all of them combined this month, which I am terribly pleased with. YouTube usage has kind of risen a bit more (of course, what else would happen) but I caught myself so I think I have it under control now. Isn't that silly how when we cut out useless things, more useless things tend to pop up?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Confessions of a lazy lady and a challenge.

I am a lazy person.

This is the thing I like least about myself. I want to be a person that works out, cooks healthy and delicious meals, has an impeccable house, responds to letters in the same week they're received, volunteers tons at church, spends time connecting with friends, and has time to relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, that is a level of perfection that just isn't in my reality. I am far too lazy to do all of these things. It's easier to just sit on the couch and veg on the Internet all evening. And really it is just because I'm lazy. I do have plenty of time to do all of these things! It's easier to choose the things that are lesser, and that is not how I want my life to be at all.

So I've decided to challenge myself to a couple things in September:

- Put things away, not down. I've been working on this already, and it has been helping the clutter level in my house, especially in my kitchen. My kitchen sets the tone for my whole house, I think. We all have those rooms, don't we?
- 30 letters in 30 days. I'm bringing it back. It was great in January, high time to do it again.
- Do 3 things a week that I've been putting off. Isn't it so annoying that there are always things we put off, when really it would take 20 minutes to just get it over with? Yeah, I'm gonna tackle some of those.

I'll also be fasting from social media in September. I'll still blog and be on Instagram, but so much of my time is spent on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Feedly, etc etc, and I need a break from those. We also cancelled our Netflix, which is such a huge time suck for me. I just watch things because they're there, not because it's any good. I once spent an hour watching a show about Australian mermaids - it was so cheesy and not worth my time at all, but it was there so I watched it. And Buzz Feed is the absolute worst when it comes to time sucking!! Just the other day I spent an entire evening reading one Buzz Feed article after another. There's 4 hours I'll never get back! I could have cleaned my entire house from top to bottom and still had time for a movie with Chris but no.

Time to get my rear in gear and stop wishing I had the perfect life. I have to make it if I want it to happen. Time to put off the things that hinder me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer musings (I try to get poetic from time to time).

Today has had the most beautiful weather that we have had in a long time. Hot, but with a delicious breeze that makes you feel happy. I drove home from work with the windows down and the music turned up. I went for a walk to the mailbox, which held treasures from new friends, and I just wanted to stay out there. I probably will go back out for a short walk when I'm done writing this, but when my soul feels filled, I actually have words to write, and so I want to write them before I lose that feeling.

I've been relishing this stage of life that I am in right now. Married and enjoying every moment of life with my wonderful man. We sure want to have children at some point, and almost every day lately there is a little pang of longing to have a baby growing in me, but I still love this freedom that we have to just enjoy our youth together. We are still young, and we have a lot of things we can do before we become parents. I hear so much from our friends and cousins who have young kids - "enjoy this stage while you can; you don't get it back." And I know that having kids will be the greatest adventure, and I look forward to it. I know that the biggest call on my life is to be a Godly mama. But for now I treasure the call that I have in this moment, which includes being active in my church, working the best that I can (although I don't always succeed, I am trying and I am learning about myself at the same time), giving my husband a home he loves to come back to, and building up relationships with friends that I have let slip away a little bit. I dream of baby names every day, and I pray that they will love Jesus and that they will have blue eyes like their daddy. All the while I dream of this, while I think about Paris in springtime, staying at the Sylvia Beach hotel on the Pacific coast, walking in an Italian vineyard in autumn, and watching the snow fall while I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate from my very own kitchen window. My heart is full, and it longs for more. The future looks wonderful, but my present is where I want to be.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday 1.3 - Geeky baby

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are expecting a baby girl in September, and I'm super excited about it! Since I seem to have babies on the brain, I was looking on Etsy for possible gifts to shower my new niece with. I'll tell you this, we're all a bunch of geeks around here, and if you type "Marvel baby" or "geeky baby" as your search query, you will find a bunch of things that make me squee. Keep them in mind when the day comes for me to have a baby.

Ironman onesie
Marvel hair bow clip
Marvel  diaper bag

Classic Nintendo controller onesie

Superhero girls pacifier clip
Avenger in training onesie
Avengers cloth diaper
Avengers baby booties
Level 1 human onesie
Totoro crochet toque

Just so you know, Ironman and the Hulk are completely acceptable for baby girls.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wishlist Wednesay 1.2 - Promopocket

I am not sure how I found this shop on Etsy, but I'm glad I did. Promopocket is run by Tomas, who lives in England, and it's full of wonderful graphic design and typography. He sells his large prints as postcards as well, and I think if I bought them I would never mail them out. I would hoard them. That means it's good when you don't want to share, right?


Silence speaks

Live work create

Life goes on

Faith hope love

Life is beautiful
Dreams don't work

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday mailbox 4.5 - incoming

Hola! It's time for an incoming mail post today! I am incredibly behind on my posting and replying - some of these letters are from April! Oh my! I apologize to everyone that thinks I may have forgotten about them. I assure you, I haven't. I just got caught up with being warm and sunshine and green grass. Ya know.

A first letter from Em, who is also a member of the League of Extraordinary Penpals. She writes an awesome intro letter. 

A birthday prezzie from Laura! Oh my, I felt so spoiled!

This postcrossing card makes me grin every time I look at it! What a sweet cat! I hung him up on my wall so that I can have smiles readily available :)

A letter from Alecia in Jamaica! I posted my reply a while ago, but I never posted this picture. Seriously loving those owls. She also included a couple of seashells that made it all the way intact! They certainly made me long for warm weather when I got them. 

From Miss Olga, who is just a dear to correspond with! 

From Belen! She's cool. That's all.

How much do I love the Pixar stamps?? A LOT!

From my oldest pal, Callie. Golly, she's an awesome lady :)

I hadn't heard from Julia in nearly a year, and then I got this! Oh I was so happy! 

From Miss Mikaela in Finland, who never ceases to amaze me with her impeccable handwriting.

From Erica in Finland. She recently posted pictures of her office on Instagram and I was crazy in love with it and now I want to redo my office!

From Miri in New Zealand. I think that musical note washi tape is the bomb.

Oh dear, ignore the date on the postmark! *blushes* Merissa's calligraphy of my name always makes me happy! I feel like framing it!

PURPLE TEA from Sarah! Can it get any better? I think not!

Helen in England write awesome letters! She's not afraid to ask great questions!

Dancing men from Emilie in the US.

More goodies from Laura. You spoil me, lady.

A sweet Easter card from Jasmine. I die over the little pastel chick.
Does anyone else struggle with keeping normal routines when summer comes around? I've come to realize that when summer comes to Manitoba there is no such thing as routine. When there's cold and snow for literally half of the year, you kind of tend to grab warm weather by the horns. IE blogging and letter writing kind of take a back seat. As well as keeping my kitchen clean, but that's another story...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My very first vlog!

Hey all. I'm currently sitting here with tonsils swollen to the size of Canada itself, very patriotic for our Canada day weekend. I feel like crap, but hey ho, here I go anyway. I shouldn't be allowed to blog in my current mental sick-for-a-week/frustrated-at-my-body state, but they don't have any rules about using the internet so hurrah. 

Jasmine posted a cool vlog about her accent, and I loved it. I thought that I would post a vlog with my accent too. I filmed it on Friday, when I suspected that I might have bronchitis, but now I'm thinking I have strep throat. Joyously on the long weekend, when all doctors, clinics, and pharmacies are closed. ANYWAY SHUT UP ABOUT BEING SICK FE GET ON WITH IT. 

SO HERE IS MY ACCENT! I hope you enjoy my southeastern Manitoba/Mennonite tinged accent. ALSO I apologize for my crappy webcam. I didn't know it was so crappy until I was done, and then I wasn't about to make it again. And I started talking before the camera started going. Sorry. I didn't say anything too important.

And here is the list of words that I read:
Aunt, roof, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pyjamas, caught, orange, coffee, direction, naturally, aluminium, herbs.

And then some questions:

What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

And then a passage to read:

Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

I love to hear people's accents and voices, they usually sound so much different than I think they will. If you end up doing this, or have done it in the past, please let me know so I can watch!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mail post 4.4 - outgoing

Here's some outgoing mail from the past month or so. I haven't had any time for collaging and stuff, which I do miss. Hopefully I'll get a day to do that again soon. 

Sarah included me in her 365 mail art project, and I loved it so much, I had to send her a letter back. 

A first letter for Astrid. I won a giveaway from her shop a while back and we kept in touch after that.

For me seestur. I was tired and decided to just write Mumford & Sons lyrics on the envelope.

For the wonderful Laura

For Callie
I used my wax seal on my letter! I hope it made it through the mail!
I wish you all a mailbox full of joy today!