Friday, March 30, 2012

Trivial fabric dilemma: chime in please

in attempts to avoid delving into thoughts of the heavy things happening in my life right now,
i have decided to escape to the trivial
and bring you there with me
because i would love your input on this trivial matter

once upon a time i had a dining table....with 6 actual dining chairs
we had acquired them from Mike's long time bachelor brother-in-law turned new husband
i painted the honey oak black and covered the textured striped velour with a red and cream toile
they served us well for several years
long story short, i sold them before we moved out of state on the tantalizing promise from Mike that we would be able buy a new set shortly after settling in.
needless to say it has been 6 years and 7 moves later with very little settling in
however Mike did follow through with the better half of his promise,
we were able to buy the most beautiful pedestal table from ZGallerie similar to this one
in my eyes a timelessly styled table
it has been the material pride and joy of my home{s}
really the only reflection of my style in some of the places we have lived

as we do not buy anything on credit
{something we learned early in our marriage}
we could not afford the chairs that came with the Manchester dining table
in lieu of beautifully crafted dining chairs
4 black Target folding chairs
our family was littler then
so only 4,
i never imagined that 6 years later we would be eating off of them as well as in addition to a random white one we have since acquired
which in their defense have served us most diligently these many years
yes we still eat on non-matching folding chairs surrounding my still beautiful, though dented and scratched, dining table

a while back i acquired several chairs of my grandmother's, a combination from 2 different dining sets
i can close my eyes and visualize their original mountain high home

neither of these chairs are my style at all, but i am hoping that some paint and new fabric will make them at home in the family for another generation

here is the trivial decision i am hoping to receive your feedback on
i am deciding on fabrics for the seat cushions 
and all i seem to be drawn to are patterns which involve white, some in large amounts

fabric: top to bottom, left to right:

thoughts of smashed blueberries, spilt green smoothies, and sticky strawberry jam
hadn't even entered my head when thinking of choosing a fabric
then all at once it dawned on me...
my children will be using and abusing these chairs
with black folding chairs, those stains have never shown up or have wiped off easy enough

so do i dare select one of these fabulously airy graphic fabrics
and coat them in layers of scotchguard

or do i need to steer myself towards another option
like this washi tape fabric in a charcoal
or these light prints of chevron or houndstooth

fabric: left to right: washi tape, zig zag, porcelain tile

all you lucky people who have real dining chairs 
and have children
or are dropsy yourself
please chime in on your take on the fabric dilemma
what has been your experience with food meeting fabric?
what sort of fabric do you have on your chairs?
does scotch guarding them really work?
is a stain a stain no matter if its on white or another color?

and try your hand at being my interior designer
take my poll in the right hand column of which fabric you would choose for my dining chairs
the color scheme for my house you ask?
i decided i'm not choosing between 2 or 3 colors, that is just too difficult when i love color as much as i do
so all that you see is my color scheme
having a blank slate of a house helps too.
like i said, trivial, yet oh so important:)

Monday, March 26, 2012

For those days I just can't get out of bed

photo by magicisland

the past few weeks have been full
full of heartache
with the admission of both my Daddy and Abigail into the hospital on the same day though states apart, Mike’s increasing pain and restless nights, still our uninvited guest clings to us
full of little lifting moments
a hair cut made possible by my Mom for my birthday, a dreamy birthday package from a dear friend, a birthday date night with my sweet hubby made possible by generous friends, a cheery orchid on my counter from another sweet friend, Owen’s Honor Roll assembly, Tate cleaning up the backyard without being asked, Owen thanking me for taking time out of my day to come sign something at school, Eyan’s morning hugs, Felicity’s expanding vocabulary and sentence structure to include ‘I yuv you Mommy’, Mike taking the kids to school and watching them so I could stay overnight with my Daddy in the hospital
as i became nervous that the plasmapheresis was not producing the magical results that it had in the past for my Daddy’s IGM levels as well as his energy and consequently his spirits, i allowed my mind to stray for a moment on what i would do without my father in this life.  it was a bleak travel of thought i floated down for a minute.  
i thought of an amazing friend who recently lost her father and the strength of testimony and gratitude i have seen her display.  
but i did think, how does she get out of bed some mornings?
even with the knowledge of the eternal nature of our spirits, there has to be some days in which just this temporary separation seems too much to bear.
since last i wrote, i was asked to speak at a Women’s Conference for the women of my church in our area, something called a Stake made up of multiple congregations.  the topic that i was given was Trials
despite my anxiety of speaking to such a large group of phenomenal women, i felt as if my talk wrote itself.  Heavenly Father poured into my heart the things that he had desired for me to learn from my most recent continuing string of trials
how to know Him in the midst of them all
these words of comfort and instruction continue on a daily basis to flood into my mind when i allow despair and fear to creep in
here are my concluding paragraphs:
Oftentimes my trials and struggles blind me, they are that pebble that I have held up to my eye that prevents me from seeing beyond it.  I have had a beautiful and blessed life and I allow fear to take over in imagining the tolls disease may take on my Daddy and my husband and what our life together may become.  I find myself like Lot’s wife looking behind because she could not imagine that her future could have been better than her past.  If there is anyone who we can look to on this earth for optimism, it is our dear living prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pres. Thomas S. Monson who proclaimed in his closing testimony in the April 2009 General Conference, “The future is as bright as your faith”.
Sisters, I pray as you see your life before you that your faith will lead you to a bright future no matter your current situation.  That as we seek to Know our Heavenly Father through recognizing His active hand in our daily life through prayer, through recording our experiences to enable the Spirit to teach us, and by being watchful to not resent those very things which are building our divine nature, we may truly be able to say as Nephi, “Nevertheless, I Know In whom I have trusted”.
i am grateful to a loving and merciful Heavenly Father who provided me with an opportunity to speak so that i could be still, and sit and reflect on the lessons that He was asking me to learn when i just didn’t think i could be stretched any more.  Who’s gift to me of the Holy Ghost brought to my mind in just that instant the words of one of my favorite quotes from the ever eloquent apostle of the Lord, Elder Neal A Maxwell, from his powerful book “The Promise of Discipleship”
“Even if and when we seem to have squeezed out the last full measure of our devotion, an omniscient and perfectly empathic God not only knows the difficulties through which we have passed and are passing but also knows if any residue of unused devotion still remains to further the process!”
Heavenly Father knows what we are capable of and of our potential for greatness - He knows our heart, He is our creator, He sees our life, He sees it in its complete form.  He knows what we are to become.  And through his wisdom and mercy He will utilize any residue of unused devotion to refine us and raise us to levels of faith and testimony that we didn’t even know we were capable of.
i pray that these thoughts will continue to bring comfort, peace and joy to me
even, and especially, on those mornings i just don’t feel like getting out of bed

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day: New York, New York Day 3 - Morning at the Parade

so i can NOT believe that it has been an entire year since i was on my magical trip to New York City,
seriously it almost seems like a dream
this morning I could almost hear Melinda's voice waking Xochi and I up jingling our clover leaf necklaces over our sleepy heads...Happy St. Paatriiick's Day!

our day started with a much needed trip to Dunkin Donuts,
fortunately for me i was intensely stopped by Xochi mid-bite from ingesting the unthinkable...ugh!!!
"STOP...don't take another bite"

we hit the Subway as pros, it being our 3rd day in NY and all, headed for the St. Patty's Day Parade
although our neon green clothes may have given us away as tourists
stepping out into a mass of people adorned with green and displaying heavy amounts high octane energy for 10 in the morning was exhilarating
we joined right along in chanting, cheering, and of course dancing
which led to an image of our trip I will never forget...Xochi's shimmy
{catch a glimpse of the infamous Shimmy in our movie here}

but the imagery that completely caught me off guard in bringing me to tears was the one below,
the marines carrying our country's standard
my own grandfather, a marine himself, had recently passed away and my love for him rushed into my soul as i saw these servicemen carrying the flag.
such power
such reverence

as the parade lasted just about all day, 
we felt okay with sampling it and then heading over to Central Park
the photo above was taken by a young kid who wasn't offended when i asked him if he was going to steal my camera
the photo below has to be one of my favorites of our trip.
such natural friendships
it just makes me happy
and laugh

despite the leafless trees, the ominous feeling of the park was still there
almost feeling as if you had been transported into another world
which i guess i had
this was only the very beginning of our adventurous day which i hope i can share another time
oh such memories that i just wanted to relive this morning.
Xochi and Melinda I miss you!!

{to see more of my New York trip click here, here, and here}

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

You light up the sky

late last night i drove home from visiting my Daddy at the hospital under a moonlit sky
i am a huge lover of the bandwidth of music {there are a few notable exceptions;)}
i have a soundtrack and a playlist for every occasion in my life
from my anniversary to doing dishes

over the last few years as i have felt the temperature of my refiner's fire rise,
i have turned to the world of Christian rock to fill a need for inspiring words mixed with a rising beat, a sort of substitution for contemporary music at times during my day
i am a firm believer and testifier of the power of reverent worshipful hymns and songs in bringing the Spirit instantaneously into my heart and soul and have had countless experiences when words of these hymns brought peace just when I so desperately needed it.
however there are also times in my life when i can feel the love of my Heavenly Father as i sing out some of these contemporary lyrics
last night was one of those times

as i drove home from the hospital under a moonlit sky
with the image of the current vulnerability of my seemingly indestructible father in my mind
the lyrics of this song brought truth to my heart
and i found myself igniting my voice to sing out in loud praise
i raised my voice in testimony

You light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me
And I can't deny
No I can't deny that you are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
You light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me

as I woke to a rising sun these words continued to witness of Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ's ever presence in my life.
those hands which made this vast universe is watching over my own father,
one of their choicest servants here on Earth

"He that ascendeth up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
Which truth shineth.  This is the light of Christ.  As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understanding;
Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space--"

such an incredible witness we have received here on this Earth
such reassurance
if only we will open our eyes
and let the light in

today i have received wonderful reports from both my mother and Mike.
My mother said that Daddy slept good last night after his treatment despite constant interruptions by nurses.  He just fell right back to sleep.
Mike went over to be with him early this morning so that my Mom could come home to get a few needed things done.  He reported that Daddy was doing so much better!!  He looks amazing and he is in great spirits!!
He will have two more plasmapheresis treatments- one today at 1pm and one tomorrow.
The doctors are putting together his next treatment program.
So happy to be able to report progress!

***UPDATE 10:56 pm***
Daddy continues to sound as if he's on the 'mend'.
I just received a text from him advising me that the results following his first plasmapheresis show that his IGM levels dropped to 3660, down about 2000 points from when he entered the hospital.
Such great news!!!
He has another treatment tomorrow.  The third and final planned plasmapheresis.
I look forward to hearing the results from the second to see another drastic reduction.
We are still waiting on advisement from his doctor as to what the new chemotherapy regimen will be.

In some exciting family news, my brother-in-law Josh graduated from the Orange County Sheriff's Academy tonight.  Most of the adults in the family, as well as lucky O, were able to attend and felt proud of Josh's grand accomplishment.  We agreed that we felt a greater appreciation for those in law enforcement after seeing this evenings proceedings.  Jesse, Jani, and Abigail surprised Vanessa and Josh and made it down here in time for the ceremony.  Such a joyful reunion.  I got to hold the delightful Abigail who just exudes energy.  What a wonderful evening for our family!

***UPDATE 8:44 pm Mar 8th***
well i had waited on posting in hopes that Daddy would be coming home tonight
alas he is not
after a communication blunder amongst the attending doctor and nurses,
Dad is forced to sleep what we are hoping will be his last night in the hospital

what is wonderful, most wonderful news is that his IGM levels have dropped significantly 
from the 3 plasmapheresis treatments that he received over the past 4 days.
such a miracle!
it is a comforting feeling to see the life return into my father
{which includes his hankering to bust out of the joint and head back to work...ha}
seeing those numbers decreased allows me to breath a sigh of relief

so dear friends and family
i hope to be proclaiming more marvelous news tomorrow
and even lower IGM level
and Dad's freedom from the hospital:)
nightie night!

to read more on My Daddy and our family's journey with cancer click here or on the label 'My Daddy' in the right column

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

In the Hospital Again

so I've debated on whether or not I was going to write this...
despite my Daddy's desire to keep a low profile and not draw any attention to himself,
he needs you now
i need you now
we need your prayers and your thoughts today
once again

we have been holding our breath since Sunday, waiting to hear from the doctors
the headaches have returned
oh those dreaded, awful headaches, for notwithstanding the excruciating and relentless pain that comes with them,
its what they mean that we despise most

we learned yesterday from the lab results that the IGM protein, the cancer cells within my Daddy's blood, have made an enormous jump up 4000 points this past month.
from 1700 to 5700 in one month
that's horrible.

these headaches are caused by the loss of proper blood flow due to the overwhelming amount of cancer cells within the blood that makes it dangerously thick

over the past many months i looked forward to receiving the little texts and messages from my Daddy letting me know that once again his IGM levels had dropped by 200 points...300 points, etc
that was the trend

then about 2 months ago, the doctor decided that prolonging the use of one of his medications was too risky for his heart.
he was taken off of it.
we all were questioning and wondering if this very thing would happen.

within this hour Daddy has been admitted to the hospital once again
as we finally heard back from the specialist this morning!
Dad does NOT want to be in the hospital as he has "some very important meetings" he needs to go to this week!
Ha, he wouldn't be Dad if he wasn't worried about missing work:)

in the hospital he will undergo plasmapheresis as he had to the first time he was admitted to the hospital.
this is in an attempt to quickly bring down the IGM levels in his blood by replacing the protein-laden plasma with fresh plasma.  this procedure produced great miracles last time it was performed, i am expecting the same results!!

we are also waiting to hear what the new treatment regimen will be for Daddy.  as Multiple-Myeloma is the most aggressive form of Lymphoma it can quickly render medications ineffective at which time new medications must be pursued.  this is i believe Dad's 3rd or 4th new regimen.

i ask for your prayers in behalf of my Daddy and our family as we move ahead down this new path.
for i know that it was through the faith and strength of your fasting and prayers that we saw miracles and felt sustained during those trying months before.
i will post updates when i can.
thank you again dear friends and family.

***UPDATED 3:18 pm***
so i guess its a good thing that its been so long that i forgot how exasperating hospitals are.
my father hasn't even been officially admitted into the hospital yet!
he's in one of those sardine ER rooms waiting...
getting some initial tests done
Mike said he hit the 'testing jackpot...he's getting every conceivable test done"
apparently he will have a real room in an hour or so
and then they will have to have a test on his kidney to make sure it is functioning properly before they can even do the plasmapheresis...
which they hope to do tonight.
oh i forgot how slowly things progress in a hospital!!!

***UPDATED 8:50pm***
i am finally here at the hospital
and the plasmapheresis treatment has just begun
just about 2 hours ago they came in to start the procedure and the machine broke!!!
couldn't believe it!
we had to wait for a replacement
happily i am reporting that the two attending nurses that i have met have both been very kind

this machine is rather remarkable
when it starts up it sounds like a plane ready for take off
it is a high tech version of spin art that i had as a kid
Daddy's blood is spun around and separates into its various components
the protein laden plasma is replaced with fresh plasma and then the fresh blood is pumped back in

i am relieved to see this procedure finally begin
when i first got here it was difficult to see my Daddy in this state once again
my invincible father weakened by immense pain and nausea
tossing and moaning
he finally received his new doses of medications which quickly reduced him to a relaxed state of heavy snoring and sleep
i felt as if i could breath again

2 1/2 hours he will be on this machine
a sweet nurse overseeing, pushing buttons and checking numbers that i do not understand,
but grateful she does
a little guardian angel over my Daddy
he will have to go through this procedure 2 more times within the next few days
we pray that the results this time will be as successful as the last set

for now i hear the active hum of the machine, the heavy snores of my Daddy, and the soft voices of my uncle and brother both here to aid and support.
for now i am breathing ok

to read more on My Daddy and our family's journey with cancer click here or on the label 'My Daddy' in the right column

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Just perfect, rust and all

'shelves' was the word of destiny that i entered into my Craigslist search
out came these
my early birthday present {that's how i had to pitch it to Mike}
aren't they perfect, rust and all

they stand 6' 6" 
span 5'
and weigh 300-400 lbs
they are not messing around

see those boxes back there...
filled with all my project and sewing supplies
my creative vehicles still packed
why are the contents still inside?
because they did not have a home
meet their new home
aren't they lovely?

what made them more lovely was the story that came with them
they were the owner's grandfather's lockers that were given to him when he retired from the LA County Fire Department 30 yrs ago.
701 was his 
the owner is a beautiful mother who will retire from the service this coming August and has never been deployed until now.  she is off to Saudi Arabia leaving her husband and children behind.
it was difficult for her to sell these, but she needed the money.
which i felt guilty wasn't very much.

i know she gained comfort in the fact that i was in love with the lockers and their history.
i was honored to give them a new home and promised to take good care of them.
it is a beautiful feeling connecting with a perfect stranger.

our prayers will be going out to Cerena and her daughter who has been deployed to Iraq.
thank you ladies for your commitment to our country.
a family with a legacy of honored service.

now we need to recruit a few more muscles to help us maneuver these into my craft room.
i can not wait to see all my pretty things inside.
i've missed them.


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