Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I won't lie. This past calendar year has been one of the toughest I have had in many years. Losing my father-in-law last December, my aunt in February, Bill's cancer, and having to face the inevitable prospect of hip replacement have all been physical, mental, and spiritual challenges for me. 

But, in the midst of all this, I have found much more to be thankful for. Of course, there are the big things like my faith, my family, my friends, a roof over my head, and good insurance. 

There are many other things as well. I am thankful that I found a church that really needed me. Hermanville UMC has been a source of fellowship, joy, and fulfillment that I honestly did not think I would ever find.

I am increasingly thankful for art and the amazing people I have met (or gotten to know better) through my classes at the Senior Center. I am thankful for the people who buy my art and help me help others through my fundraisers. 

I am thankful for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, that keep me in touch with my young nieces and nephews, and great nieces. If I learn their "language", I get to be part of their lives even though they are away at college or live hours away from me. 

I am thankful for kind people who help me get things off the top shelf in the grocery store. Waiters who take my money to the counter to save me painful steps or bring my order to my table even though they don't have to. I am especially grateful for the enormous man that God placed behind me when I turned my scooter over today! That man lifted me like I was a rag doll and righted both me and my scooter when all I could do was lay there and yell for help! 

I am thankful that my friend, Teresa, and I got to go on our big adventure during the brief lull between deaths and illnesses. It was a blessing to see family and dear friends, and so much of the history of our still great nation. 

I work at trying to maintain an "attitude of gratitude", even in difficult circumstances. And, most of the time, I think I succeed. 

I am thankful.


Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Years

Thirty years ago today, Bill Sanders and I were married in Port Gibson Presbyterian Church by the Reverend David Daniels.

By today's standards, it was a pretty simple wedding. My dress, hat, and shoes cost less than $500.00. I made all the flowers, including my own bouquet, out of silks. The bridesmaid's dresses came pre-cut in inexpensive kits (these proved harder to make than advertised!).

The cakes were homemade and put together by loving friends. A few ferns and two silk arrangements were all the decor that was needed in this gorgeous old church building. I had my best friend, my sister, and my dear friend who became my sister-in-law that day as attendants. Bill had his Dad and his two brothers.

David Cox played Trumpet Voluntaire and Trumpet Tune accompanied by organist, Anna Davis from Jackson.Riley Harper was soloist. Being a music major, I could not choose between my talented college classmates, so I picked musicians from "outside." It worked out nicely.

I was extremely nervous walking down that aisle. I took my marriage vows seriously. I was planning to be in this for life.

Bill and I are polar opposites. Marriage has not always been smooth sailing. We have had our ups and downs. But, the older we get, there seem to be more and more "ups."  We are thankful for our many blessings. After Bill's cancer and treatment this summer, we are particularly mindful of not taking what time is left to us for granted.

Contrary to the cliches, Bill and I do not "complete" each other. But, we do work at compromising and complementing each other.

Who knows? We might have another 30 years.

And they may be the best yet.

Monday, November 18, 2013


In my quest for a December 17th hip replacement, I am finding the number of hoops I am required to jump through before then a bit overwhelming! Some of the requirements are routine things that I would expect. Other things are totally unexpected. 

I have to be seen and cleared by my neuromuscular doc, my pulmonologist, and my family doc. One down, two to go.  I am actually surprised that they don't require a psych evaluation! 

I have to attend a CLASS on hip replacement when I go for my pre-op.

I have already had to choose my home health agency for the first two weeks of physical therapy. 

I have to be prepared not to be able to drive for at least 6 weeks. I may BE certifiable by the end 6 weeks! (No comments from the peanut gallery!)

When I got home from my appointment with the hip surgeon, I realized that our one tiny bathroom was going to be entirely unusable for months. I have to lift my leg higher than recommended, or twist it in a bad position for hip replacement patients, just to get in my tub and shower. A shower stool won't work due to my shower doors. I also really need a high toilet for both my knee and my hip. My Christmas gift to myself is a bathroom remodel that will, thankfully, be done before I enter the hospital. Pricey, but worth it. 

Add in a PET scan, surgeon's appointment, and oncology checkup for my husband and, hopefully, at least lunch together on our 30th wedding anniversary (sandwiched between the oncology appt. and my pre-op) and I may be ready for a rubber room.

Feel free to join me. 



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall Colors

Fall colors are so late this year that I was beginning to think they would never come. Looking at the trees turning while driving to a doctor's appointment in Jackson yesterday, I was poignantly reminded of one of the last times I drove my Daddy to Jackson.

Daddy had earlier received the news that his cancer had returned and spread. Although we really didn't say it out loud, we knew that he had only a matter of months to live.

I remember that Daddy did not talk much on the return trip. He spent most of the trip looking out the car window, as if he knew that he would never see another Autumn. It was if he was "soaking up" the colors. They were particularly beautiful that year, as if God has painted a masterpiece just for Daddy.

And, for those wonderful colors, at just the right time, I was and ever will be grateful.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Early Christmas Gift

If all goes well between now and December 17th, I will be getting a new hip for Christmas. Instead of diamonds or gold, I will be getting titanium and staples.

Many years ago, a doctor told me that arthritis would probably come somewhat early to my right hip. Due to untreated scoliosis (we did not have screenings when I was in school) my hip is high and skewed forward. My left hip is perfect.

I have been in severe pain for almost 9 months. I was told by a friend that when the pain began keeping me awake at night and affecting every activity, I would know that it was time to get it replaced. It's time.

The vast majority of people that I have spoken with who have had this surgery are very positive about their results. The main down side is the idea of not driving for 6 weeks. However, I have a number of friends who will "Drive Miss Karen" if need be. Attitude has a lot to do with surgical success and recovery and my attitude is positive!

Being out of pain might very well be my best Christmas present ever.

Mystery Meat

I have recently become reacquainted with a substance I have not voluntarily encountered since my school years.  Mystery Meat  I brought ...