Thursday, September 10, 2009

Interesting? Meaningful?

I wonder if I'm writing anything that's meaningful or if I'm still hiding behind the words? I have a lot of things I'm very passionate about and lots of opinions on things but I just usually let them roll around in my head. I always think that no one wants to hear them. But, I am witty so maybe I can do something witty instead of something meaningful.


I wonder what would happen if we had no friends? I really think we would begin to invent imaginary friends because without someone else, outside of the marriage, to bounce things off of, learn from, support and be supported, how could we manage to get through life? We have some wonderful friends like these people, the George's on the left, and the Harper's on the right, whom we have known for 20 years. The words "for better for worse, etc. etc." apply to friendship as much as marriage. Our kids are the same ages, our marriages are about the same age, we are about the same age, we share similar faith and value system, we like to be together and have laughed and cried together over the years. We've also tag-team parented and watched our rascally little ones grow up into rascally bigger ones and then responsible adults. I look at these pictures and my heart is full. I love these people and they are a permanent part of our lives now. I don't think we could even divorce them if we wanted to. (Can you divorce friends?) Knowing there is someone you can call if you need them is worth so much. Even if I never had to call them, I would know they were there for me. But, I have had to call them and have been called by them and we do whatever we can for each other, no questions asked. That's worth more money than I'll ever see in this lifetime or the next.

Thirty-six years together

August 4 was our 36th anniversary. We were only 10 years old when we were married, that's why we look so young. =) Anyway, it's been quite a journey from 1973 to 2009. We've been through a lot. Have had a lot of good days and a lot of days we'd just as soon forget. I anticipated those days when I was young, but didn't anticipate how hard it would be to plow through. I thought if things got tough I could always bail out and go my own way. But a funny thing happened. I didn't want to leave. I decided to stay married to this great guy and work through the things that married couples have to work through in order to hammer out a life together. It's been worth it. We're so bonded together that I can't imagine going through life without him. I'm totally and completely loved and cared for by my hubby and I know he would do anything for me. I know he feels that I would do the same for him. In the whole realm of things, nothing is as important as that kind of relationship. We can and have accomplished anything we needed or wanted to do. I know that our mutual love for God has been the glue that has kept us together. Whatever we do and say, we both know that we are accountable to God first and each other next. It's good to have the same values. It was a good foundation for our relationship that began in September of 1971 in Hillsboro, Kansas. You don't really know what will happen when you share your life with someone. It's a very complex series of events and sometimes it seems to have a life of its own. We're going to be together another 36 years so we will keep learning and keep loving each other 'til death...

Eddie Van Halen Friesen

Isn't he adorable? This is the best picture I could get because he doesn't sit still unless he's on someone's lap. He's wearing his new tank top ($1 at Target--his mom's a good shopper). On my birthday-August 22- we went to the SPCA branch shelter close to our house "just to look" and this one looked at us with his big brown eyes and said, "It's about time you guys got here. I've been waiting for you." Eddie's big sister Abbey Road Harriet Friesen is in the background in her pink cupcake tank top. She's 6 months older and 3 pounds heavier. They're both a pain in the derrier, but when you're in love with a four legged furry creature, you go a little nuts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project #2

Well, here is my next project. The blocks are all sewn together and if I may say so myself, many of them are nicely placed nose to nose. I know there's a quilting term for that but I think I get the point across. The colors are a little off on this picture but they are all batik prints of dark blue, bright orange, purple, forest green and light blue. I finished it at about 11:00 last night and slept under it to get the feel of my first human sized quilt. Next stop: borders and batting. Stay tuned

I Can't Believe I'm Quilting

Who knew at the beginning of this summer that I'd become one of "them"? I have heretofore been a very minor member of a big quilting posse. Out of self-defense, I decided that I had to quilt or get off my horse. I was afraid I'd be left behind at the OK Corral in a pile of material scraps. So (sew) I jumped in. I mentioned my "minor" status. That came about when, with the expert and patient help of Susan and Maggie, I made a few blocks for various quilts we made for our friends who needed to be 'covered' in prayer. So, this summer I decided to "go commando" and try it myself. This little nine block wall hanging/table top/shoulder warmer (I'll explain that in a minute) is what I produced. I loved doing it, especially the hand quilting. So, I'm hooked (or needled). The reason it is also a shoulder warmer is that this weekend we went to the Second Space Theater with some friends to see "Lost in Yonkers" (which was superb!) and it was freezing in there. I had taken my quilt projects along to show our friends so Dave ended up draped in this, plus a piece from my latest attempt. We were sitting right in the front row, practically on the set and decided that it was a sign of getting older that we didn't care what we looked like as long as we were comfortable. Too bad I didn't get a picture. He did look adorable.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cattle Crossing

Today is not a good day. I shouldn't be writing a blog today but nobody is reading it so I can hide in public. Why are there some days when I want to run away from home? I have no place to run and there's no guarantee that I'll feel better when I return so I usually don't get any further than Target. But at least that's something. People really are driving me nuts. We were in Best Buy today and I felt like I was at a circus. It really made me uncomfortable to be a bit of flotsam in a huge sea of creatures, just bobbing along. Nobody probably should be in there spending money anyway. I usually don't like being around a lot of people anyway so today it was worse than usual. It seems, too, like people don't know how to walk in parking lots. They seem to have a cattle mentality and just wander around not paying any attention to the cars that could run them over. I get so impatient and think stuff about the people that isn't correct, but I think them anyway.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Long Week

This morning I'm reflecting on the long week I've had, and it's still going on. Still two more days of whatever is out there. Things are going along great for the encouragement group. On Sunday I had some more people express interest and had a few more contacts during this week. That's really affirming that this is where God is leading us. There's a lot to do to get ready for the group but somehow I know it will all get done. We're designing it to be simple, but to do that you need to do a lot of planning. Doesn't make sense, but that's the way the world works, I guess.

This week involved going along with Matt (our 25 year old) to have his ribs x-rayed on Sunday (cracked from a soccer "knee-ing" incident while playing soccer). Tuesday was our morning support group at MBBS, lunch with my friend and Bible study in the evening. Oh yeah, it was also our 36th wedding anniversary. We often haven't celebrated for one reason or the other, but this year we're doing it big...going to Flemings Steak House with 2 other couples. Since that will happen Saturday, the Tuesday celbration wasn't as big.

Thinking about Matt and his injury, I think he's beginning to realize that his body isn't 16 years old anymore. It's a funny thing that happens when one becomes a twenty-somethinger. Stuff just isn't quite as easy to do as it once was. It's sad that the body starts to go so soon, but on the other hand we seem to learn a lot of other great stuff to make up for it. Getting our brains stabilized from adolescence is a huge plus. Not that we oldsters always make the best decisions, but at least we stop and think a little longer and take other's considerations into account. I love how my kids are growing and maturing and I really love that they still come to us for advice and as a sounding board. That's the good part of parenting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today I'm trying to put in some productive time.  It's occurring to me that this is more like the life that I want.  Busy, but not overwhelmed.  Well, I am probably overwhelmed but it will pass.  I'm getting ready to start a support group at church for people with debilitating illnesses.  The further into planning that I get, the more I realize needs to be done.  The list is growing.  It's kind of like having a chronic illness.  It starts with one thing, then you take medicine for that, then you get side effects from the medication, so you have to do something about that.  And on it goes.  Everything piles up and before you know it there's more than you can handle.  That's why I tend to cocoon when I'm feeling really bad.  I can't do one more thing, even talk to people.  It takes a lot of energy to be sociable.  I'm remembering that now as I'm getting out more.  But somehow it feels right.  This is what I prayed for and so I'm going to be faithful and let God work in me.  When I get tired, I'll rest--that's not too difficult, even for me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bursting at the Seams

I wonder how many times I've made a blog entry in my head that didn't get tapped out on my keyboard?  Many, many times.  I do that--think of stuff in my head that doesn't make it's way out into the public.  This is part of my discipline, of my new life.  I want to consistently journal so I can see where I've been and where I'm going.  

This summer has been incredible.  After so long in seclusion, I'm bursting at the seams and God is keeping up!  I prayed for a ministry during a time last spring when I was feeling particularly useless.  I was focusing on myself and my little world so much that I had lost touch with many people.  I especially grieved for my lack of giving back to the world.  I wondered how long I would vegetate before I either rotted away or found something meaningful to do.  That meaning has come in the form of beginning a support group for people with debilitating illnesses--anything from cancer to chronic fatigue to fibromyalgia to chronic back pain and on and on.  People with chronic illnesses often don't have a voice.  They spend all their time and energy on getting better and/or staying alive and kind of fade into the woodwork.  What we plan to do is bring these people together, not to sit and complain and vie for the top honor of being the most pathetic, but to encourage each other.  Along with all the ramifications of chronic and debilitating illness comes a sickness that's not so easy to identify--we tend to lose faith either in God or ourselves or both.  There are days when it seems that there is no end in sight.  God seems to be putting us on hold without the cheesey music.  There is just NOTHING and there's nothing to fill that void.  That's where we need each other.  We have to be there for someone when they can't be there for themselves.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Life of a Life-Long Learner

I've always loved the phrase "life-long learner" because if we're alive, we can learn something.  Even more than one thing a day.  On a good day, I'm learning something new all the time.  Sometimes I learn something all over again that I have learned already.  Now that's a trick. But right now I'm getting prepared for the Cancer/Illness Support Group that I'm helping to start.  As I was going through my Bible looking for verses that have helped me through tough times, I am in awe of what that book has.  Truly there's something for everyone.  Right now I'm looking at Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter of the entire bible, so I have had to break it down into bite sized chunks.  I did an in-depth study a couple years ago and have a bunch of notes in the margins. Listen to this: (from The Message) "God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.  Give me insight so I can do what you tell me--my whole life one long, obedient response.  Guide me dwn the road of your commandments."  There you go--Life-Long Learner!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies.....

I'm back into life!  Yea!  This past month has been one of the busiest I have had in many years.  After over seven years of being sick and tired and sick again and always tired, I think I'm coming back to life.  Some of my friends may not even recognize me.  I'm still sick and tired BUT I think I can live my life with more meaning now.  What I have learned over the past years is that I have a wonderful, amazing husband and the best kids ever.  They have been the focus of all my energy (what little I had).  I had to make a choice: focus on them or focus on something else and ignore them.  I obviously chose wisely.  I've been pretty much hunkered down in my house with occasional bursts of activity and energy.  I liked it here.  My house is safe and cozy and comfortable and it was a good place to be.  My friends did their best to help me "socialize" but there were so many days that I just couldn't put one foot ahead of the other to do it.  I have gotten to know my hubby and kids all over again and I can say that even though the kids are grown (26, 25 and 21) they still like to be with mom and dad and we like to be with them!  I've loved the times we've done things together and look forward to so many more.  With one son married and the other dating I have also enjoyed getting to know the women in their lives.  Not surprisingly, they have both chosen wonderful mates.  My daughter and I have a relationship that is unsurpassed IMHO (In My Humble Opinion).  She's the best!  Dave has shown me over and over what unconditional love is.  AND, this all happened when I had days when it hurt to move my eyebrows!  I am blessed beyond belief.  God has kept me by him even when I wanted nothing to do with him.  My faith has been shaken, beaten and stirred during this time, but when I popped up for air a few weeks ago, he was right there cheering me on.  How could I ever ask for more?

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Jump-Start

Today I'm thinking about all the great stuff I have planned to do.  I am in a creative writing class and that is jump-starting my passion for writing. I'm going through all the writing I've done and am amazed at what there is.  This class is the first of many changes that I'm about to make.  What I've found as I go through journals, devotionals, stacks of writings and miscellaneous notes is that I have loved to write for almost my entire life.  My first diary was given to me on Christmas in 1962 when I was 9 years old.  I named it 'Katy'. My first entry for January 1, 1962 says "Dear Katy, I had a Merry Christmas.  I got a barbie doll."  Where is that Barbie doll today?  I could make a fortune!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One of the things on my mind today is how people treat each other when they're anonymous.  Driving in the car it's easy to yell at someone who cuts you off or doesn't use their blinker. I sometimes wonder, though what I would tell them if I saw them face to face.  Most likely I'd say something like, "That's OK.  I've done that, too."  So why don't we treat each other like we are always face to face?  Yesterday I was at the grocery store and I parked, as usual, in a handicapped parking place.  I'm legit--several back surgeries, nerve damage, impaired balance, weak foot--but feel self-conscious and "old" when I take advantage of the "privilege" of parking in the coveted spots.  When I returned to my car someone had left me a note questioning my need to use the handicapped place.  I guess I wasn't handicapped enough to suit this person.  I threw away the note and tried to forget it, but it hurt and embarrassed me.  I wonder what she would have said to my face?  What would I have said to her?  I'm going to practice using my "face to face" mindset even when I'm anonymous.  You never know what a snap judgment about someone will do to someone's feelings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm needed

I can become so self-absorbed that I begin to think that no one needs me. I have pity parties a lot, but don't want anyone to know that about me.  It's a sense of pride that keeps me strong on the outside wven though I'm crumbling on the inside.  

I've been helping a friend negotiate her way through a new cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy.  As a nurse I've faced these issues hundreds of times but now it's different.  Seeing a good friend suffer with something so heavy breaks my heart.  I'm learning a lot.  One important thing is to be able to shut my mouth and listen.  I have to allow her to  express herself in a safe place.  I want to be the kind of person who can do that.  I also want to be needed.  I want to make a difference in a positive way

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life Happens

I'm sitting here in my life wondering where it went.  A good friend would always say, "Life is what happens to you when you have other plans."  Ain't that the truth??  My plans for "my life" have rarely gone as I "planned".   I wonder why that is.  I'm a reasonably intelligent, educated woman who has done a lot of interesting things but my life has really changed over the past few years.  I've become a hermit due to a lot of medical issues and I really need to branch out.  I guess the best way to do that is publicly so I can't run and hide!