2020's Word of the Year

2020 word of the year- Release
Release control of what I can't control. Release worry. Release fear. Release...

Wednesday, April 27

Thoughts of Grattitude

#25. music to cheer me up
#24. stimulating discussion
#23. getting a 92 on a tough test
#22. watching the pup play in the yard
#21. hugs from our Molly

Friday, April 22

The Hardest Five Years Of My Life

Five years ago we had taken in our grandsons on what we had assumed would be a temporary basis. They were both healthy, although we suspected Alex was behind in his development. I thought he was just a slow learner.
It was the end of April and we were preparing to go home to help my inlaws celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. On Wednesday Alex made some strange head dropping movements. I had never seen anything like it and it raised some red flags. I took him right in to the doctor, but of course he didn't do it again, so the doctor looked him over and sent us home.
On Saturday as we were preparing to celebrate with my husband's family Alex did those strange movements again, several times. For the first time my husband was able to see them too. It concerned us, but he stopped. He grew very tired so I took him back to the house and he slept for hours. Later that evening he did it again and we decided to take him to the hospital. We were away from home, seeing a doctor we had never seen before...and Alex seemed fine. The doctor listened to us, believed us, even considered sending us to Children's Hospital in Omaha, but in the end decided to send us home. He cautioned us if we saw it again to videotape it and get to our doctor right away.
We went home on Sunday and within hours of going home Alex started the strange movements again. This time we got it on video and headed to the emergency room. The PA on duty was immediately concerned. She kept us overnight for observations and then arranged for us to get to Children's Hospital as soon as we could get there.
By the time we got to Children's we were positive that Alex was having seizures and they were increasing. He was having them for several minutes, several times an hour. He was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms...and the prognosis was not encouraging. They told us that the seizures can cause brain damage and Alex could end up severely retarded and in some cases death occurs. I'm sure that for awhile our hearts just stopped. We were stunned that a healthy child could be so sick in such a short time. They told us that our best chance to stop the seizures was something called ACTH, a type of steroid, that would have to be injected twice a day. Alex would have to stay in the hospital for the week for tests.
For the next 6 weeks we made weekly trips to Omaha. We spent our 25th anniversary in the hospital. (incidentally, not quite the trip to England we had always planned) The shots made Alex miserable. He quit laughing, then he quit smiling. His body swelled up and his skin was tight. I was afraid to pick him up because it hurt him. But the seizures stopped. Praise God...they started to slow down and then they stopped. The end of July we were able to quit giving him the shots. It was about another month when we heard him laugh again. Breck and I cried. We had hope for our little boy.
When Alex first got sick I called our daughter. I was certain that this was God's way of bringing her home, back into the lives of her little boys. I could picture her turning her heart to God. But instead, she was like Pharoah, and hardened her heart. She had all sorts of reasons why she couldn't come. Looking back, I should have known then that she would never want her boys again, but I was in denial about that. My other children say that everyone but me knew. I guess I had more hope than they did.
Alex started to develop more normally but he was very behind. About the time he was finally starting to crawl, the seizures started back up. And this time they were a different kind. Apparently this is not uncommon. We tried several different meds but it wasn't until six months later and a combination of meds that they finally stopped. We spent a week in St Paul, Minnesota at the Epilepsy Center. They gave us lots of good ideas on helping him. They also cautioned us that if his seizures ever started up again, we may not be able to stop them next time.
It has been five years of hard work, and many tears shed for this little boy. He has to work twice as hard as his brother just to learn basic skills. He is still behind but is slowly catching up. Two years ago he could barely speak, now he knows his alphabet and the sounds of the letters and he's putting words into sentences. He can't ride things with pedals, but he can ride a scooter almost as well as his brother. In the past years we've had added diagnoses from doctors. Alex has intractable epilepsy, a mild form of cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, developmentally delayed and is considered to be on the autism spectrum although not diagnosed with autism.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of Alex's story. We have been through many trials with this young man, but we have seen many prayers answered and we consider him a miracle considering what he's been through. Our family, friends and church have been the support that we needed to get through the dark days. In those first weeks after the diagnosis, we could feel God calming us in such a real way that I will never be able to explain it. But He was there for us when we needed Him most. It's been a tough five years, and we know there is still a rough road ahead. We continue to trust God to keep him promises and remind ourselves that God has a plan for Alex...we just don't know what it is yet.
one month after taking the shots

Alex's first birthday, just before we quit the shots

2011- a big handsome boy

Thoughts of Gratitude

#20. God is in the details
#19. kids who come home for Easter
#18. sidewalk chalk letters from a little one who struggles to write
#17. Glorious sunshine
#16. sprouts peeking out of the ground

Thursday, April 21

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

A few weeks ago I found out that my oldest daughter was ending her marriage. This is her second marriage and she's only 27 years old. I am sad, but not surprised. I have enjoyed having her husband in our family. He was witty and thoughtful, and I will miss him.
But most of all I am sad that my daughter is looking for happiness in all the wrong places. She has a God sized hole in her heart and she is looking for man sized solutions. And now I have a granddaughter who is missing her daddy and her entire life is disrupted and I don't know how long it will be before she sees normality. And that doesn't just make me sad...it makes me heartbroken.

Wednesday, April 13


48...that's how many years I've walked on this earth. Somedays it feels like forever, and other days I feel like I'm still twenty. Then I take a look in the mirror and get a harsh reality check.
Seriously though, in our family we've never really made birthdays a big deal. And it's a good thing I have low expectations because this year my hubby is out of town. I have an exciting day of cleaning, laundry and an appointment for Alex's OT evaluation. Big stuff I tell you! BUT...I am happy to be healthy and strong. Seriously, not everyone could keep up with my boys, and I'm thankful for the good health that God has given me. I'm thankful for a husband who has put up with me for many, many moons. And I'm thankful that I have a birthday. Yes, getting older is hard sometimes. I don't want gray hair and wrinkles...but if I wasn't getting older than I would be dead. It just kind of keeps things in perspective, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 12

Thoughts of Gratitude

15. quiet nights and electric light
14. friends who will babysit
13. little boys who run back to give me one last hug
12. green...green grass, green plants, green leaves
11. words of scripture that give me hope

Monday, April 4

Thoughts of Grattitude

I've been feeling weary lately. Not just tired, but old and worn out. And with the weariness comes anger and frustration. I need to focus on my Saviour more. I need to focus on thanksgiving for what He's done for me and what he's given me.

#10. a song that reminds me of blessings
#9. a note from a friend to encourage me to keep running the race
#8. finding good books in the Goodwill store
#7. a hug from my boy before he leaves for school
#6. a husband who loves me even when I'm grumpy

The BBC's Two Hundred Book List

This is a list compiled by readers and posted on the BBC webpage of the top two hundred most read books. I've put an X by the ones I've read.

X 1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

X 2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

X 6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

X 7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

X 9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

X 10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

X 12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

X 14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

X 16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

X 17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

X 18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

X 21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling

24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

X 25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

X 26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

X 29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck

X 30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

X 35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

X 36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

X 37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

X 38. Persuasion, Jane Austen

39. Dune, Frank Herbert

X 40. Emma, Jane Austen

X 41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams

X 43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

X 44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell

X 47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

X 51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

53. The Stand, Stephen King

X 54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl

57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome

X 58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman

62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden

63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

X 64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

X 83. Holes, Louis Sachar

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake

85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist

90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac

X 91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo

92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

95. Katherine, Anya Seton

X 96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer

97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome

102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

103. The Beach, Alex Garland

104. Dracula, Bram Stoker

105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz

106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens

107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz

108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks

109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth

110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson

111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy

112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, Sue Townsend

113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat

114. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy

116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson

117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson

118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

X 119. Shogun, James Clavell

X 120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham

121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson

X 122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray

123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy

124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

X 125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett

127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison

X 128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle

129. Possession, A. S. Byatt

130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl

X 133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck

134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl

135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett

X 136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan

139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson

140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson

X 141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson

143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

144. It, Stephen King

145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

146. The Green Mile, Stephen King

147. Papillon, Henri Charriere

148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett

149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian

150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz

151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett

152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett

153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett

154. Atonement, Ian McEwan

155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson

156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier

157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey

158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

X 159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling

160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon

X 161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

162. River God, Wilbur Smith

163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon

164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx

165. The World According To Garp, John Irving

166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore

167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson

X 168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye

169. The Witches, Roald Dahl

X 170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White

171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams

173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway

174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco

175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder

176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson

177. Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl

178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

X 179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach

180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery

181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson

182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay

184. Silas Marner, George Eliot

185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith

187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh

188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine

X 189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri

190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. LawrenceLife of Lawrence

191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons

193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett

X 194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells

195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans

196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett

198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White

X 199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

X 200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews

I see there are many books that I haven't read that maybe I should put on my reading list. But I have to say there are several books on the list that I have read and do not recommend. When I have some free time I think I'll compile my own list of recommended books. I am pretty sure it will be very different.