Thursday, March 30, 2006

little things (again)

Friendships, as in ALL things that matter, are strengthened by the little things.

Theresa sent me 4 adorable Mary Engelbreit tins, along with the sweetest note ever. Just because. It was a little thing to her, but a big deal to me.

Elaine texted me when she was sewing her girls' Easter dresses, because the happy fabric reminded her of me and my affinity for all things Mary Engelbreit. A little thing, but it brightened my day.

I came downstairs this morning to discover a voice mail on my cell phone from Nancy, just asking if I'm okay and checking in. She was driving down the road and had nothing better to do really, but it was a great way for me to start my day.

Martha offered to spank me again in Scrabble tonight, which I pretended to be all offended about. But really, the fact that she WANTS to play me, while such a little thing, makes me smile.

Darren went and picked up Chinese take-out for me and the kids tonight, then slipped in next door and got manicotti for his Chinese-food-hating self. He abhors the smell of Chinese food. It was a seemingly small sacrifice to make, but I know at what cost.

Annie and the rest of the Upper Midwest Crop ladies surprised me with a beautiful glass Hall of Fame trophy. I'm sure they were stunned when I started to cry, because I bet they never dreamed that the gesture would mean SO MUCH to me.

Patti emailed to make sure I knew I was invited to a crop she's having next month. I still can't go, but I so appreciate the gesture.

Jeanne sent me a link to a contest she thinks I should enter. She says the reason I didn't win the $500 contest is because they're saving me for this one - the $10,000 contest! What a sweet thing to say.

I bought a little gift for a friend two days ago, and still haven't gotten it in the mail... but I know that when she receives it, this little thing I'm packaging up will bring a great big smile to her face.

And that's the beauty of little things. They just keep adding up into big things. It's the stuff friendships are made of.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I slept in 4 different places on my 5-day trip to the cold, snowy north. The first night was spent in a super-comfy sleep-number bed (I'm a 30) at Carole's house... with the perfect heaviness of blankets on top.
The next night was spent sharing a hotel room with Donnann and Annie, right next door to the breakfast room where we dined on bagels and cream cheese. The next two nights at the cottage where our retreat was held, I again shared a room with Annie, but this time slept in my own twin bed, in a room outfitted with a sound machine and extra pillows. The final night, I slept alone in a queen bed, and was surprised to wake up and discover that I hadn't even ruffled the sheets on the other side of the bed. I suppose it had become habit to sleep very still. That second night, I was careful not to roll over in my sleep and drape my arm across Annie's back. The next two nights, I was careful not to roll over and fall off the bed. By night 5, I was comfortable sleeping like a piece of lumber. :)

I just read a blog that detailed what Vice President Cheney requires in every hotel he stays at: 4 Diet Sprites, temperature at 68 degrees, every light on, every television tuned to Fox News (of course), decaf coffee brewed.

It made me think about what I'd require, were I a celebrity who could get away with that kind of thing: 1 bottle of water (for when I go to sleep), 1 20-ounce Diet Vanilla Coke (for when I wake up), crushed ice, temperature at 68 degrees (I can't stand to be hot), down pillows (3), current issues of People and scrapbooking mags (I like to read at night), a small package of peanut M&Ms (don't give me a bowlful - I'll eat the whole thing), a warm chocolate chip cookie, and the most recent New York Times Sunday Crossword.

What would you require?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Last Wednesday, I flew to Minneapolis where I walked on a frozen lake, tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue, and ate a Double Filet-O-Fish sandwich for breakfast without a tinge of guilt. After all, there was a world-class heart hospital two floors up.

At one point, while looking out the hospital window, I said to Jenny, "I can't believe how much it's snowing!" She tossed her head back, let out a hearty laugh and, practically snorting, said, "That's not snow. That's schmutz!" I just looked the word up on, and it's not there. So THERE, Jenny. It WAS snow. :)

She said, "It's not snow unless it's accumulating. Is it accumulating?"

I looked out the window to see a winter white wonderland. "How am I supposed to tell if it's accumulating or not? EVERYTHING IS WHITE!"

"It's not. It's schmutz."

Well. To this Texan, it looked like snow. It felt like snow. It tasted like snow. It squished into my holey-footed Crocs and froze my toes like snow. I say it was snow.

As we walked out on the frozen lake, being careful to avoid the squishy yellowish patches, Jenny said, "Don't worry if you fall and crack your head open. I know a really good neurosurgeon." It felt weird and wonderful at the same time to be laughing about that. Dr. Nagib very definitely IS a wonderful neurosurgeon. James came through the surgery with flying colors. The day after surgery, he was solving logarithms and diagramming sentences in Russian and then translating them into Japanese and Pig Latin. Jenny says they didn't take enough of his brain. He's still too smart. Shortly after I left, two days after his surgery, he was already assembling the jigsaw puzzle I took him, and blogging from the waiting room computer.

The full pathology reports are still forthcoming; there's still much to worry about and fret over. Waiting is the hardest part, 'cause there's nothing proactive that can be done until they know what they're dealing with. Keep praying.

It was a huge blessing for ME to be there. I hope it was a blessing for Jenny and James. I'm always terrible about knowing what to say in tense, sorrowful situations. There was one moment when Jenny started to cry and I was paralyzed. On one hand, I wanted to wrap my arms around her, but on the other, I wanted to give her space. I'm terrible in situations like that. I just hope that my presense was helpful in some way. We did laugh a lot, though, and that felt good. I can't wait to plan another trip - the one where our two families hang out and do Minnesota-y things and talk about that horrendous month in 2006 when it schmutzed in Minneapolis and made two grown women giggle like schoolgirls.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shout Out

I gotta give a shout out to Dr. Kevin Land, Medical Director for Carter Blood Care (but just plain ol' Kevin to me). Kevin was one of my closest friends in college, and even stood as Darren's Best Man in our wedding. He makes me proud. I remember once in college, he was studying like a crazy man preparing for his MCAT. It was pouring rain. I lived - what... a mile, maybe? - from his apartment, and for some reason, I rode my bike through the rain to take him a Snickers bar to get him through the night. I owned a car; I can't remember why I didn't DRIVE the candy bar over to him. Maybe he'll refresh my memory. :)

It's so cool to see him on TV! (You can see him too... here. (Click on the third video link. The video will only be available for 21 days.)


I'm leaving tomorrow for Minnesota. A woman I've never met (Stacie) will pick me up from the airport and take me to spend the night with another woman I've never met(Carole). I know them from the Internet, and as far as I can tell, they're not axe murderers or anything. ;)

Thursday morning, Jenny will pick me up from Carole's and I'll spend the day at the hospital with her. James's brain surgery is tomorrow morning at 10:00 central time. Please pray while the surgeons are working their magic. You can keep up with the progress on James's blog.


I don't know how much internet access I'll have while I'm on the road. I might have to beg Darren to blog for me in my absence. :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quotes from today

Cara: "You know, that DOES look like a hickey."
Stacy: "No, you freak. It's NOT a hickey. It's from my biopsy."

Jake: "Yah. That's what ALL the girls are saying these days."


Darren: "Man. These Burger King ads are CRAP these days. They are so going out of business because of this ad campaign."

(Have you SEEN the newest BK chicken sandwich commercial? Blech!)

Saturday, March 18, 2006


We were awake and out the door by 7:35 this morning. The boys had actually been awake since 5:30. They were more excited about the implosion than they've ever been about ANYthing, even Christmas. When I went into their room to wake them up, Ian was sitting in the doorway. "I'm waiting for Daddy to tell me it's time to get ready," he said. I cracked up. Apparently, almost 2 hours earlier, Darren had told them to go back to sleep until he came and told them it was time. Ian never went back to sleep.

It's been an event we've been anticipating for months. The 30-story Landmark Tower had been vacant since the late 70s. But the tornado of 2000 was what really did it in; added to the already costly problem of removing dangerous asbestos, the damage the building sustained when hit by the F3 twister was too expensive to fix. And so it was scheduled for implosion.

Last fall, crews dug a huge hole in the ground on one side of the tower, and then started removing debris and years of forgotten junk from inside. We drove by frequently to see if we could make out any progress. Yesterday, we told the boys that it was time: the building was coming down in a giant blast.

They say it's the tallest building in Texas to ever be brought down, and possibly the tallest in the world. The boys are so very proud of the fact that Daddy works in the tallest building downtown, so facts like this are very significant. From Darren's office, we would have the perfect vantage point. At 7:35, we piled into the car and headed off.

As we drove into downtown, we all watched the helicopters that were hovering above. "Those are the TV helicopters," we explained. "They're filming everything so we can see it on TV later." We tried to point out the building so the boys could see it one more time before it came down. Once we pulled into the parking garage, we wouldn't see the building again until we were up on the 13th floor. But they didn't know how to pick it out among the other skyscrapers. Just then, as we crept down the rain-soaked street, I was watching the building when Darren heard the blast and looked over, too - just in time to see it come down.

"OH MY GOSH!" I exclaimed. "That was it! It just came down!"
"What in the WORLD???" Darren said, almost yelling. "It's not supposed to happen until after 8:00!"

According to all the local news stations and the newspaper, it had been scheduled for "sometime after 8 a.m.". WHY had they pushed the button 20 minutes early? We were furious.

"Boys," we said. "We're so sorry. But the building already imploded. We missed it."

Aidan immediately began crying. "But I wanna SEE the CRASH!" he wailed.

He was absolutely heartbroken. Ian, on the other hand, whimpered once and then, sunshine-boy that he is, said, "At least we can watch it on TV."

Pedestrians on the street were all as shocked as we were. There was a lot of frustration in the faces of the people heading towards the demo site. WHY advertise something and then do it early? There had to be a good reason. Unfortunately, NO reason was good enough for a 5-year old who'd been waiting for this moment for so long.

By the time we got to the end of the block, it had started raining. We watched the giant plumes of smoke and debris, and my mind immediately jumped to images from 9-11. The sky was already overcast, and the rain was keeping most of the dust and smoke down, and yet the sky was STILL filled with amazing amounts of brown cloud. I can't imagine what it must've been like on that clear, calm day in 2001. I snapped this picture as we turned the corner to head back home:

Back at home, I was determined not to miss the scrapbook opportunity. I got my pictures. :)

It's a strange thing to see such a major landmark come crashing down in your city. The building itself was ugly and useless, but it makes me sorta sad to hear that the landowner has no further plans beyond making it a parking lot.

You can watch video of the Landmark Tower implosion on the local NBC website.

Turns out, the demolition company DID have a good reason for moving the implosion up 20 minutes. There was a fast-moving storm approaching downtown, and it contained possible hail and lightning. I had to admit that when something like this is planned, the entertainment value is huge to US, but it matters not at all to the people in charge. They were there to bring a building down safely. And that's what they did.

Someday, my boys will understand that. But today, they were heartbroken.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Poor Rich Folk

I didn't want to go out tonight.
ME. Can you believe that?

My neck is swollen from yesterday's biopsy, and it's really sore, and I was pretty much feeling sorry for myself for reasons that are completely unclear to me. You'd think the words "NOT CANCER" would make a girl wanna celebrate, right? But I didn't wanna. I wanted to stay home and go to bed early. Again - ME? Can you believe that?

But there was this band playing... that I really wanted to go see... 'cause last time I had the chance, I also had the flu... and the time before that, I was out of town. And tonight, they were filming the show for a promotional DVD that they're taking to GMA Music Week in Nashville next month... and I wanted to be there to support them in that effort.
(Even though I was scared of being filmed with my tree trunk neck. But the room was mostly sorta dark, so no worries.) :)

I've been to one of their shows before, about a year ago or so. It was sweet and fun and I wished them well. But it was sorta forgettable. So tonight, I really wasn't expecting anything different. I wanted to go not so much to be entertained, but to support the band. We know Luke in a friend-of-a-friend sort of way. Last winter, at Darren's company party, we bumped in to him. We were chatting about stuff that strangers chat about when I noticed his name tag. Luke Brawner. Brawner. Luke. I knew the name from somewhere, but the face didn't mean anything to me. Still... that NAME. I finally asked him. Where are you from? How do I know you? Did I do a wedding invitation for you? Where do you go to church? Why is your name so familiar to me? I'm sure he and his girlfriend were starting to get scared of me when we finally figured it out: he had been writing articles for a church newsletter that I had also written for and was still getting in the mail. His articles usually featured his song lyrics, and I was always impressed by the depth and maturity of his articles. THAT's why his name stood out to me. Luke Brawner. It happened that he had JUST started working for Darren's company that very week, 13 months ago.

Luke has an absolute gift for songwriting. His lyrics are straightforward and honest - plain and simple, and clever without being cute. I love that. So anyway, I showed up tonight knowing I'd enjoy myself, excited to see Luke again, but not expecting much more. How wrong I was to think that! The band was awesome! They've added a couple of new musicians since I last heard them, and the four of them completely blew me away with their sound. The harmonies were tight, the energy was fantastic, the background vocals were full of color and texture, and the bass and drums added amazing depth.

Poor Rich Folk released their first CD last spring. We have a copy; Dani loves it, and has used their lyrics on her blog several times. (She changes her Xanga title frequently, always using song lyrics from her favorite bands.) I've listened to it enough that I knew the words tonight as they played. But I hafta say... tonight's sound was WAY better than the CD. They've improved some of the songs by changing the tempos, adding vocals, etc. I can't wait to see them play live again. Next time, I'm taking a whole big group of friends and I'm makin' them all buy the CD, 'cause I'm selfish like that. I want the band to make lots of money so that they'll record a NEW CD so that I can buy it and promote it and when they get famous, say, "I knew them when they played the Fort Worth coffeehouses, way back in the day."

I didn't want to go out tonight.
But I'm so glad I did.

answered prayers

My radiologist just called with the results. NO CANCER!! :) :) :)
(My doctor doesn't even know yet. lol)

This is a week of good news.

Let's start with Baby Ira. He's going home next week!

My friend James Puzzo received MUCH more positive news from his second opinion doctor. He still has a brain tumor, but it's the kind that is usually benign - what the doctor called "a childhood tumor all grown up". Keep praying that this is indeed the case and that James can be back to normal (even better!) after the surgery next week.

Baby Avery is sick with bronchitis, but that's actually GOOD news. She doesn't have pneumonia. Add her to your prayers, too, that her lungs will continue to heal and that she'll continue to grow into a beautiful, strong little girl.



I finally had the ultrasound-guided core needle thyroid biopsy today.

The doctor gave me a local anesthetic and then took 8 or 9 tissue samples from my thyroid. I have quite a large goiter, plus nodules on the right lobe. 80% of these biopsies come back benign, so I'm not worried about cancer. Still, I suppose I'll rest easier when I get the results from pathology, which will hopefully be tomorrow. I never saw the needle, but Darren said it was small, and as best he could tell, sort of worked like a potato peeler once it was inside my neck. Instead of just extracting cells, it actually cut some of the thyroid tissue out. Everytime he removed the needle, the doctor would scrape the tissue off onto a slide or something, and then insert the needle again in a different spot.

The procedure was painless. I didn't even feel the prick of the anethesia needle, and when he kept saying, "You'll start feeling a burning sensation," I finally said, "I don't feel any burning." "You have a high threshhold for pain," he replied. I must admit, that made my sit a little taller. (Never mind that I was lying flat on my back. lol!) I never felt the core needle going in and out, either. The only sensation I had was that of pressure, every time he "clicked" the needle and cut tissue from my thyroid.

My neck is sore now, but not too bad. It just feels bruised, and I have a little difficulty turning my head to the right.

The hardest thing during the whole procedure was not being able to watch! I wanted so badly to turn my head and watch the sonogram on the monitor. Darren said he could see the needle going in and out of my neck on the screen, and that it was cool looking. I wanted to see, too, but I figured that turning my head would've broken the thing off in my neck, and that would've been a bad thing.

The radiologist who did the biopsy is the husband of one of my clients. He offered to give me a second opinion on my nuclear scan in January, and totally put me at ease with his thorough answers to my questions. I knew that if I ended up needing a biopsy, I'd want him to do it. Sure enough, his bedside manner today was very comforting. I think I'll write him a letter and tell him so. When Darren and I were at the same hospital in November visiting a friend who'd just had a baby, we we happily surprised to see Stu's photo on the wall in the foyer. He was named "Doctor of the Year 2004". Now I know why.

I didn't ask Darren to go with me. I truly wasn't scared of the procedure, and didn't want to bother him to take an afternoon off work. But this morning, he surprised me. I thought he'd left for work, but when I started hearing hammering coming from the backyard, I realized he was home. "I decided to stay home today and go with you to the hospital," he explained. "But I didn't even ask you to!" I said. "I know," he replied.

Yah. I think I'll keep him.
I love this man. I love him, I love him, I love him.


Thursday, March 16, 2006


I wasn't going to post about this. I certainly wasn't going to blog about it.
But after having a good conversation with my trusty pyschological advisor (Darren), I've decided to write it all out and purge it from my system.

It all started 2 months ago. I was desperately behind on some scrapbooking deadlines, but I couldn't bring myself to work on the jobs. I'd sit and stare at the assortment of photos and supplies on my desk until my eyes blurred over. I tried various tactics to inspire myself: I spent 2 days completely re-organizing my scrap room, hoping that a newly cleaned space would motivate me. I made business goals and started working towards them, hoping THAT would spur me to work. Nothing worked. That is, until I discovered the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest.

I'd heard of it before, but had never paid attention. This time, I did. I read through the rules and got excited about the assignments. With just a few weeks until the deadline, when many people were saying, "I was going to enter, but now there's not time," I dove in. I had a ton of fun, I stretched my scrapbooking horizons, I branched out and tried new products and techniques, I loved the layouts I created - and best of all, I rediscovered my passion. By the time I mailed the entry off, I already felt like I'd won. Not the CONTEST, but just the sheer victory that comes with setting a goal, meeting it, and being content with that.

And I was content. Sure, I envisioned what it'd be like to win. I imagined what it'd feel like to be named one of the best scrapbookers of 2006. Being a Hall of Famer carries a lot of clout in my industry. I pictured being able to put it in writing on my business site: Stacy Kocur, 2006 CK Hall of Fame winner. I daydreamed about what I'd spend the prize money on. But I never expected to win. Some 1000 people entered, and only 25 would be chosen. I knew my chances were next to nothing. Even so, I was content with just entering.

I put the layouts away and didn't even look at them again until this past weekend. Call week came and as I browsed the Hall of Fame threads on 2Peas, I thought, "Weird. I'm not worked up. Shouldn't I be?" Some of the scrappers who'd entered were on pins and needles. I wasn't. It just wasn't that big a deal to me. On Monday. Nor on Tuesday. But tonight, when I logged on and discovered that at least 21 of the 25 winners had been notified, my heart fell.

My immediate reaction to THAT emotion was this one: disgust. I couldn't believe how SAD I felt. It made me mad that I was so disappointed. I was taken aback to realize how much being named to the Hall of Fame DID mean to me. All day, I've been vacillating between two thoughts: 1, "You ARE good at what you do, and you DO have a shot at this. Go you!" and 2, "What are you THINKING? Of COURSE you don't hold a candle to these other scrappers." But until I saw those 21 posts, I didn't think it would matter so much.

A few minutes ago, I called Darren into my office.

"I didn't win," I said.
He put his arms around me and said, so sincerely, "I know. But *I* still think you're a Hall of Famer. You probably have to know somebody. These things are always so political." I loved him to his very toes for trying to make me feel better.
"But I'm pissed that I'm so sad about it!" I exclaimed.
"You need validation," he said. "It makes you mad to be confronted with that fact. You KNOW you need it, but you don't like admitting it."
"Yah. And this would've been the best kind of validation. It would've been validation from the giants in my industry."

Wisely, he didn't say anything more. He just held me tight and loved me.

He's so right. I DO have a personality that needs validating. I need to know that I'm okay. I need to know that people like me, think I'm funny, respect me, value my opinion, trust my judgment. Even when I know these things are true, I often need to HEAR it before I'll really let myself believe it.

I know I'm good at what I do. My tax return proved that to me this year. People pay me well for what I do. I'm passionate about what I do. My friends gush over my creations. Darren constantly tells me he thinks I'm gifted.

And I suppose that's why I'm so disgusted that I reacted the way I did tonight. I didn't expect it, but my true colors came shining through, loud and clear. I am a person who needs approval and thrives on validation. I hate it. But there it is.

Now I'm ready to put it behind me and concentrate on the things I was so content about until 5 hours ago.

1. I've always dreamed of being published. And yet, I'd never even submitted anything FOR publication. Until this contest. That was a huge step.
2. I love the layouts I created. One in particular features my sister and her gorgeous family. Another one is dedicated to blogging: why I do it. Others focus on my precious kids. My favorite one tells the story of how two of my best friends came into my life.
3. Creating Keepsakes magazine now has these layouts on file, and maybe, just MAYBE, they'll ask to publish one or two of them down the line.
4. I found my passion again. After submitting my layouts for the contest, I was able to dive back in to my work, and even though I was further behind than I had been, I wasn't stressed about it. I've produced some of my best work ever in the month following that.

Validation Shmalidation. Yah, I need it. No, I don't like that I need it.

But there it is, in all its beauty. At least I can admit it and move on.

And there's always Hall of Fame 2007! :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Needed: Boyfriend. Now taking applications.

So it all began when Darren and I were pulling out of the new, hip Montgomery Plaza shopping center after having a hot date at our new neighborhood Target store. Darren spotted it first - a "coming soon" Cold Stone Creamery. I said, "Ooooh, this is soon gonna be our constant date destination." Then he pointed to another new restaurant going in and said, "What's that?", and I replied, "I dunno. But it looks cool and you are SO taking me there when it opens." So we drove around to see the sign out front, which I read silently before slamming my fists against my thighs and exclaiming, "DADGUM IT! It's a PEI WEI! You'll NEVER take me there!!" ('Cause you see, Darren the Freak of Nature Boy detests the smell of asian food, and thus refuses to even step inside a Thai or Chinese or Japanese restaurant.) He answered, "WELL THEN. I guess you'll have to get your BOYfriend to take you." And then *I* said, "MAYBE I WILL!! Just as soon as I find one. Or two or five."

So. I'm taking applications.

******* we interrupt this entry to say, "Hey James and Ginger... Chris Body (lol) is on local PBS as I type! haha!********

I've already interviewed Michael. He was my first choice, cutie pie blond that he is. Cara will likely beat me up, but s'okay. Michael says that she hates Chinese food too, so our Pei Wei affair looks like it was meant to be. We're going as soon as it opens. She and Darren can hang out here at home and eat macaroni and cheese.


We spent the weekend in San Antonio. It was fabulous. The reason for going was two-fold. One, we've been meaning to go down and see James and Ginger for months, but sickness kept cancelling our plans. When my friend Marfy from Callyfornya announced that she'd be in San Antonio this past weekend, we decided to try the trip again and get to see two friends in one trip. So we did, and we did! It was relaxing (we didn't overdo it like we ALWAYS tend to do on weekend trips), enlightening (James and Darren are the same man. Ginger and I are the same woman ('cept she's skinny, the brat)), entertaining (baby Avery was beautiful, 5-year old John and our two boys got along perfectly (my boys think John has the coolest toys on the planet)... and so enjoyable (Mexican good three meals in a row, sitting next to Marfy at dinner, gabbing with Ginger 'til 3 a.m.). Even the road trip itself with the boys was fun. We came home feeling refreshed. That's PROOF of a good weekend!

Friday, March 10, 2006


Someone today described me as religious. I think they don't understand what that means. Because what he defined as religious is really not religious at all: it's faithful. And yes, I am.

I am full of faith.
I believe in God.
I believe that He is the one, true God.
I believe that He breathed life into Adam.
I believe He created the world, and everything in it, and I believe that He allowed for evolution, and for things to change and adapt and even become better.
I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He came from Heaven to earth for a reason, and I believe that the reason was to show me that there's a reason for living, and that's to glorify God and to be with Him after I leave the earthsuit behind me.
I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins. Stacy Kocur's sins. I believe that I'm precious to Him, and cherished, and cried over and wished for and I believe that when I live in outright sin, it breaks His heart. Because He knows I'm better than that. He knows I'm filled with compassion and gentleness and peace and love, because HE put those things in me. I believe He waits for me on that dusty road with the fatted calf at the ready, His arms outstretched, and I believe that everytime I come meandering down it, afraid to ask for forgiveness, He gives if before I even have to utter a word. Because He knows my heart.
I believe the Word of God is infallible, but I also believe that men have translated that Word over the ages and that what I read today is riddled with the mistakes of men. I believe that when I'm confused about what I read, or unsure of what I'm supposed to receive from it, that God can make it clear to me if I trust Him to do so and I if approach it without allowing my own agenda to get in the way.
I believe that God hears my prayers.
I believe.
I believe.
I believe.

Father God, Abba, my Daddy in Heaven - maker of Heaven and earth, Healer of heavy hearts and weary bodies. Hear my prayer tonight, Oh Lord my God.
Be REAL to me, God. Show me with undeniable truth that YOU ARE GOD.
Work a miracle in James' brain, God. Heal him. Make him whole. Shrink the tumor so that when he returns to the surgeon on the 20th, they'll be amazed and shake their heads and throw up their hands and say "We don't understand." Show us a miracle. I'm begging you with tears that burn my cheeks and a lump in my throat that screams to be let loose. PLEASE GOD. I love the Puzzo family so much, and it's entirely selfish of me, but raw and honest, that I DON'T WANT TO HURT like this. My heart absolutely breaks for Jenny. oh GOD, WHY? Why must she suffer so? Why must she walk through this dark valley of fear and dread and absolute, paralyzing, choking TERROR? Wrap her in your loving arms, promise her that it will all be okay. Comfort her, hold her, give her peace and assurance. I BELIEVE THAT YOU HEAR MY PRAYERS. I believe that you want what's best for your children. I believe that Jenny and James are beloved, adopted sons and daughters of YOU, most loving and faithful God. Be faithful to us, Father. Hear our pleas. I believe. I believe. I believe.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I'm such a girl!

This morning, I was leaving to run errands with the boys. Darren had graciously left me his car since it was gonna be a hot one, and my van doesn't have A/C.

So I loaded the boys up, opened the driveway gate, and started to back out. All of a sudden, a spider dropped from the rubber seal of the door and landed right on my forearm, then proceeded to run RIGHT UP MY SLEEVE!

I freaked.

Just like a GIRL.

I started flailing around, trying to get the monster out of my clothing before he ate me alive. Truth be told, he was a tiny spider. No bigger than a pencil eraser, counting his legs and all. SMALL spider. I. Did. Not. Care. I wanted him OFF.

So I'm all but taking my shirt off all the while batting at my arm like a crazy woman when I hear it: "crrrrrrrrrrrumple CRACK!" DadGUM it! In my freakout, I'd rammed the dadgum stupid car mirror right into the blasted dumb gate! Broke it. Scraped up the fender of the car. I put it back in forward, pulled up, inspected the damage, let out a string of not-nice words, and THEN remembered that there was a freakin' spider in my shirt. So I took off my shirt, turned it inside out, shook the living daylights out of it, slapped myself silly all over the place to make sure he wasn't still ON me, put my shirt back on, and calmly backed out of the driveway.

I'm just glad no one was passing by at the time.

THEN, not TWO MINUTES later, Aidan rolls down his window in the backseat, which is a MAJOR no-no. "Don't worry, Mom," he says. "There was a spider on my window, so I rolled it down to make him fall off. But he came inside the car when I rolled it down."


Stupid useless ugly scary dumb nasty creepy twisted freakin' SPIDER. I hate 'em all.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

on her own

Darren and I had a date last night. We hold season tickets to the Fort Worth Symphony (a birthday gift for Darren last September), and last night was one of our concerts. The program featured four works based on Shakespeare plays: Dvorak's "Othello", Elgar's "Falstaff", Liszt's "Hamlet", and Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet". Cutie-pie conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (I sorta have a crush) did a beautiful job with the program, and British actor Michael York melded the music and stories together with his flawless, lyrical voice. He read excerpts from each play during breaks in the music, even changing characters within some of the readings. Romeo and Juliet was especially moving, with the music playing softly behind him as he read - nay, ACTED - the words. As he read the part of Juliet, I actually let slip a tear. It was brilliantly and tenderly executed, and such a powerful way to end the program.

Sometime during the Hamlet piece, I got this weird urge to dig my cell phone out of my purse to see if I'd missed any calls while my ringer had been off. I was surprised to see the number '9' all lit up, and even MORE surprised to see that all 9 calls had been from Dani in a span of 12 minutes. She was playing soccer at the time - or should have been - so I couldn't figure out WHAT might be so urgent. Had she been injured? I climbed and staggered past the people on my row (I'm SO not graceful when it comes to stepping over people in a crowded auditorium) and made my way out to the balcony to call her back.

The school they were playing is in a town about 45 minutes from here, and the plan was for one of her teammates to give her a ride home after the bus brought them back to Fort Worth. I felt a little bit guilty for skipping another game, but Dani assured me she was fine with it. Knowing we wouldn't be out of the concert in time to pick her up at school, we'd made arrangements for her ride home. But as it turned out, the friend who was going to give her the ride COULDN'T, because her parents ended up going to the game after all. Without written permission, Dani wasn't allowed to get into the car with them. She HAD to ride the bus back to the school. Her coach couldn't take her home because he required verbal permission from me to do so, and I couldn't be reached. NINE times I couldn't be reached. He wouldn't permit her to ride home with anyone else, either. By the time I called her back, they'd solved the problem. The bus would drop Dani off at home before returning to the school. Ahhhh. Stupid red tape. But at least she got home.

Today, Darren and I went to the "World Famous" First Monday Trade Days, the "biggest flea market in the world" in Canton. The boys were spending the day with Grammy, and Dani was looking forward to a whole day with the house to herself. The one catch to the plan was this: she had guitar lessons at noon, about 1 mile from home. We had it all figured out. Darren and I dropped her guitar off at the music place early this morning, and Dani rode her bike. When she got there, though, she discovered that lessons had been cancelled today because the teacher's grandmother died this morning. So she threw her guitar over her back and pedalled back home. We chatted via cell phone several times during that ordeal, as I'd made her promise to call me when she left home and when she arrived at lessons, and to do the same routine on her way BACK home.

Poor kid. She was on her own this weekend, and was responsible for making her own arrangements, which she DID. And then none of those arrangements worked out the way they were supposed to. I have Mommy guilt, but I know there were valuable lessons learned. And it comforts me to know that she found her own solutions and made them happen, without me to consult or lean on. My girl. She's done grown up!

(And if I may take this moment to brag.... she met with her guidance counselor last week and is ranked 17th out of 704 freshmen. GO DANI!!!)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

most embarrassing moment

Did I ever tell y'all the story of me playing softball about 10 years ago? No?? Hold on, here we go!.......

Karen will remember this, and surely will correct me if I forget anything or elaborate too much. Ahem. It was the first time she met me. :)

It was a charity softball tournament that a group of friends had entered. I thought it'd be fun to sit in the dug-out and cheer them on, but I had no real plans to actually PLAY. 'Cept they kept badgering me, and chanting my name, until even the OTHER team was chanting my name. So I took a bat, headed to home plate, and struck a pose.The pitcher pitched. The catcher caught. I stood there and laughed. Then he pitched again, and I swung. Imagine my HORROR when the bat actually connected with the ball! Oh. My. FLYINGSPAGHETTIMONSTER, that meant I had to RUN! Both teams were yelling, "RUN! RUN!" So I did. HARD. My short little legs were churnin' and burnin', and my disgustingly disproportionate boobs were setting off seismographs in California with every step: KaBOOM kaBOOM kaBOOM. The short stop intentionally overthrew the ball to first base, so I was safe. I'm sure they thought it the kind thing to do, letting me arrive safely at first base, but I was ready to murder somebody, 'cause that meant.... you guessed it..... that'd I'd have to run again!

My friend Andy Tomme (I'm including his whole name in case he ever googles his name - I want him to relive this horror too, LOL!) was up to bat right after me. I knew I was doomed, 'cause he was the athletic type who excels at EVERY sport he plays. As soon as I heard the crack of his bat, I started running. HARD. I SWEAR, my feet were barely even skimming the ground. And yet, Andy was ON MY BUTT, screaming, "GO!!!!!! GO GO GO GO!!" He'd already rounded first and I hadn't even made it to second yet! I leaned into my run, trying with everything IN me to get there before the ball, screaming like a GIRL the whole way, boobs flying everywhere - knocking my knees on the way down and blacking my eyes on the way up. When I got there, I stood on top of the base and turned toward the crowd to take a bow (even though I'd long been thrown out). The crowd was ROARING, and half my team was standing outside the dugout holding their sides, laughing hysterically, applauding, falling on the floor. Someone started chanting MVP. I was basking in it ('cause it really WAS hilarious), when suddenly, something seemed amiss.

I looked down, and lo and behold, there was my right boob, COMPLETELY out of my bra. My left one was still inside my bra, but cut in half, so through my t-shirt, it looked like I had one HUGE high-riding boob on the right side, and two funky looking ones on the left. I turned around toward the center fielder and tried in vain to stuff my boob back in without raising my shirt. That's hard to do when you're a disgustingly huge cup size. I failed. All I could do was jog back to the dugout and pretend nothing was wrong. But oh MY, I was laughing. We lost that game, and for MONTHS after that, everytime I'd see one of those friends, we'd all bust into gales of laughter. For a long time, Andy called me MVP whenever he saw me. Every once in while, I'll see someone from that tournament who will remind me, "Hey. Remember that time when we played softball.....". And then I'll cut them off, threaten to beat them up if they utter another word, and we'll crack up. MAN, that was embarrassing. But BOY was it funny!!

I haven't played softball since.
I think I can safely assume I never will again. LOL!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

the dawn treader

Last fall, Darren started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to the boys, in anticipation of the movie version of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. It was so cool to watch that movie with them, because they totally understood what was happening and were able to anticipate what was coming next. "There's Tumnus!" "Watch out, that's a bad wolf." "Don't worry, Mom. Aslan is coming back ALIVE!"

They've just begun their third book now, The Dawn Treader. Last night, in lieu of having Daddy read to them, they opted instead to build the ship. Using the book cover as a guide, they stacked blocks and assembled army men just so, and then Ian ran upstairs and triumphantly returned with the plastic dinosaur he got at the doctor's office last week, perching it precariously on the front tip of the boat. "It's not a dinosaur anymore. It's a DRAGON. And these are the good guys. But in this boat over here, THESE are the BAD guys."

They were SO proud of their Dawn Treader.

I was so proud of them.