Monday, June 25, 2012

The Joy of a Myeloma Buddy

As Paula is laid to rest today, the myeloma community mourns the loss of someone we still can't believe is gone. Her blog posts, filled with wit and humor in the hardest of times, are sorely missed. Our prayers continue for her husband, Bernard, in the days ahead. His loss is great. In the meantime, those of us who were blessed by receiving one of her Myeloma Buddies will cling tight, and remember her for the immense joy and love she brought to so many.

Below is an excerpt from a speech given at her funeral today by her friend Mike. It so aptly sums up the impact her Buddies will always have, all around the world. We love you Paula.

Maybe Paula’s greatest legacy though, will be the legions of Myeloma Buddies that she knitted and sent across the globe. From Ann-Arbour in Michigan down to Bogota in Columbia, across from North Carolina on the east coast of the US to California on the west, in Italy, Germany and even across to New Zealand, Paula’s buddies, blankets and special hand-made gifts mean that she will always be remembered. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day in Black Moutain

EZ, Nick and I headed west on Friday to spend Father's Day weekend with his folks. The weekend was special not only because it was Father's Day, but also because EZ's mom turned 88 today, and we could celebrate both occasions. Before we left, these two appeared in our backyard to send us off!

We arrived in record time for some reason, and were greeted by EZ's mom and one of her sweet caregivers, Valerie.

We enjoyed a wonderful spaghetti dinner before I snapped a single picture. The homemade sauce and meatballs were lovingly made for us on Thursday by Lisa, another one of Mom's sweet, sweet caregivers who actually lives on the property, and everything was DELICIOUS! Many thanks to Lisa, who used  her Italian heritage to totally spoil us.

There are always projects to do up on the mountain, and sometimes they involve wonderful "boy toys". EZ actually drove this tractor around cutting the grass on smaller roads on the property for a good couple of hours! I was amazed he could sit (and walk the next day), but he leaned back a bit and loved every minute of it! (I wasn't in the woods to snap a picture unfortunately)

We ladies stayed busy in the kitchen preparing the big celebration Father's Day/Birthday meal, starting with the baking of a homemade red velvet cake with cream cheese/butter frosting!

I picked these gorgeous Easter lilies in the yard, which made a nice centerpiece for our Birthday Girl to enjoy...and they smelled so good!

Of course we were stuffed after this "special request" meal, so it was time to take a walk! Love this picture of EZ and his sweet how he cares for her.

This is Nick in the woods searching for a dam he and cousin Matt made as kids. It's still there! Note the moss covered rocks in the foreground...that's it. Lots of childhood memories in these woods for Nick.

 It was a perfect night for a swing on the front porch before we had cake and opened presents.

So thankful for 88 wonderful years of life! We decided 8 candles would represent well enough.

 Sinfully rich (trying to put a little weight on the birthday girl)!

Dad opened his Father's Day cards and gifts after dinner as well.

Dad showing Nick a map of the property he had been riding the four wheeler on over the weekend.

Three generations of Baker boys!

Lee and Erna and well at 89 and 88! What a blessing to celebrate Father's Day and Mom's birthday together.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Enough Said

If you need to make a call from your car and the reception is bad, you might be tempted to take the protective case off your phone. 

If you give in to temptation and take the protective case off your phone, you might get out of the car before putting the protective case back on. 

If you don't put the protective case back on, your phone could slip out of your hand onto the driveway when you get out of your car. If your phone slips out of your hand in the driveway when you get out of your car, it might look like this:

If your phone looks like this, your husband has had to use packing tape to hold it together.  If you have a shattered phone being held together by packing tape, it might not work the way it's supposed to. If your phone is shattered and doesn't work the way it's supposed to, you might be frustrated and VERY upset with yourself. Don't take the protective case off your phone. Enough said :-(

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sometimes You Just Need a Smile

Thankful for my husband and how much his grandsons love him!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Update on Paula

Thank you for your prayers for Paula. It is with a heavy heart that I share a note below from her friend in the UK who is letting everyone know, via a comment on Paula's blog, that she passed away peacefully this morning. He expresses beautifully how so many who knew Paula feel about her. I can only imagine the number of people she touched in her 42 years. Through tears, I can say that she certainly made an impact on my life and I will miss her terribly. These words from 2 Corinthians 5:1 bring comfort:

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."  
Heaven is a wonderful place, full of glory and grace...Deepest sympathy to Paula's husband, B, and to her family. I would love to make a memorial collage online, full of photos showing people/children with the Myeloma Buddies she made for them. If you could, please email any photos you might have to so I can include them, and please pass the word to others in your circle for pictures. Thank you and stay strong, never losing hope for a cure.
Chris T Hi Everyone – I hope nobody minds me posting this message, but I’m sure you would all want to know that, sadly, Paula lost her fight today at around 12.05p.m. Apparently she went peacefully. Bernard has done a sterling job keeping all of us in the loop, when I’m sure he has much better things to do. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how very brave Paula was throughout this whole process. She may have only been small, but she had the courage of a colossus. She could make humour out of the most dire circumstances. Don’t know how she did it, but she had the admiration of everyone who knew her. I am sure she even amazed the staff at the Royal, who all seemed extremely fond of her. She probably caused some consternation among the consultants, as she seemed to know as much as them at times. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see her one last time, as we (Pat & I) were intending to go in tomorrow, but not to be, but it was obviously the time for her to leave us. She leaves behind many many people whose lives she has touched for the better and I can only say, “Thanks, Paula” it was great knowing you. Just sorry it was for such a short time. Sorry, will have to go now, as can’t see to type through the tears.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prayers for Paula

One of the first blogs we found when EZ was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, over two years ago, was Feresaknit's Blog. Author Paula Kilgallon, is a young woman in the UK whose quick wit and talent with knitting needles, a crochet hook, and a sewing machine can hardly be surpassed. Though we wish our paths had crossed for reasons other than MM, we are so thankful for Paula's blog, and for her friendship as she and EZ battle MM. Though we have never met face to face, we, like so many others in blogosphere, consider Paula our dear friend, and she is heavy on our hearts right now.

This is Paula's Facebook profile picture and though it isn't the clearest shot, I think it's beautiful for so many reasons. Her smile, her eyes, her honesty and the Prayer Shawl she has wrapped around her shoulders. My mother lovingly, and with much prayer, crocheted it and asked that we send it to Paula for Christmas last year.

Here is one Prayer of Blessing for a completed shawl, written by Janet Bristow of the Shawl Ministry website:

May God's grace be upon this shawl...
warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing.
May this mantle be a safe haven...a sacred place of security and well-being...
May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love. Blessed be!

Spunky, feisty, funny, huge-hearted, smart, generous and talented are just a few adjectives I would use to describe Paula, and now she needs our prayers. (Some may remember this request for prayer back in October of 2011 for she and Sean.) Following a failed autologous stem cell transplant, Paula has experienced numerous bad reactions and side effects, and has been in and out of "The Royal" hospital. Her last post was on May 31st, as she, with her usual humor, proceeded to describe her sore "sausage hands" along with other difficulties. Her condition has deteriorated and now, according to her sister-in-law, Gill, her medical team has chosen to stop further treatment and have Palliative Care do everything they can to make Paula comfortable; last we heard, she was.

Once again, we are in a state of shock after what has been described by Gill as a "horrendous" past few weeks for Paula. Please join EZ and I in praying for this amazing lady, that she would remain at peace, not in pain. Also keep her husband Bernard, his sister Gill, Auntie Ann, and other close friends and family members in the UK in your prayers as they stand by in love and support of dear Paula.

"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

In the meantime we are holding on tight to reminders of Paula and her amazing talent, and asking God to hold her in the palm of His hand.

Paula's Myeloma Buddies. Profits go to Myeloma UK and International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)
Merry Christmas Buddies for our youngest grandchildren: Samuel, Samantha and Emery (days old in these pictures!)

 Custom Abby and Milo (our Springers) for our oldest grandchildren, Natalie and Nathan

 Even great nephew Jaxon got some Buddy love at one day old!

We love you Paula...

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Bit of Birdwatching

Time to head back home after a week in Boone enjoying the hummingbirds, chipmunks and sparrows here. The week before we came, I spent time with camera in hand, capturing some of the wildlife in our particular, birds. My Mom and I love to watch the birds and have been beefing up our birdseed to attract more songbirds and woodpeckers. We've also been keeping a close eye on the bluebird house for signs of activity.  Here is a bit of what I saw...

Sorry this next one is blurry. It's pretty far away from our house, but I just had to show Daddy Bluebird keeping a close watch over his brood. Then Mama Bluebird came out of the box and looked around for a bit.

 The eggs a few weeks ago...

 The four sweet little babies all hatched and huddled together...

Part of our cardinal family and a woodpecker...

We're still working at it and hope to continue attracting different varieties, and more of each, as the weather gets warmer. And last, but not least, is this little guy who LOVES to devour all the birdseed. He can't get past the baffle at the birdfeeding "station", but he sure can spend time at the seed tray.

 Enjoy your weekend and keep an eye out for some backyard birds!