Tag Archives: pictures

Homecoming: thoughts of heaven

This weekend was Homecoming Weekend for the university in town. Although it meant nothing to me (besides a fun parade and getting pumpkin chai with my sister afterwards), there were many class reunions during the weekend where the alumni had returned to their Alma Mater to celebrate their years of attendance and also seeing the vision of the school continue through the current students. This year was also special as it was the coronation of the new university President.

Homecoming is coming home. Ok, so maybe college is not home…nor your high school, but when you are saying “homecoming,” it is the welcoming back notion. I have to admit though, when I was in college, my term for “coming home” literally meant calling Mom and saying, “I am coming home.” Home. My mind has been thinking about this word…I think I started when we took a little weekend road trip to Toledo.

After my mom remarried, we moved to Toledo. I was about a year and a half old or so. We moved to Colorado a few months after I turned six years old; my first memories of a “home” were from there. As we visited a few weeks ago, I realized that all my memories of Toledo were of places, such as the tunnel you walked through under the main road to get to the zoo; the Bob Evans we passed to get to our house; the house itself (I can still see the inside); the church we attended (but when we actually attended church I noted how much smaller the sanctuary was compared to my five-year old mind); MacQueens Produce Farm and a really awesome ice cream place by car lot (which I finally got the name: Jan’s.) I remember things like my classroom at school, getting red tokens for lunch when you wanted pizza, learning the alphabet, and being Mother Goose in the end of the school year play. I remember singing a Honey Tree song for church and playing in the turtle sandbox or eating orange pushups. But what I don’t place is people’s faces. I only remember them through pictures.

All that changed in Colorado. We moved in the summer, meaning I started a brand new school that Fall. The kids in my class were the peers I attended the rest of my school years with, graduating together and continuing to keep in touch here and there (thank you Facebook.) Home was no longer just things or places…it involved people from town, school and church. Home, physically, was the house…a place where I could be myself, protected from the world. In the bigger picture, Colorado was home. I still consider it home. It is my Alma Mater.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe God moved me here for a purpose…especially in the area concerning my health. I now have friends, live closer to my extended family, a “home” church I have attended since the move and many open doors for my paintings. So why doesn’t it feel like home? Time may play a part in it: we lived in Colorado for almost twenty years (seventeen to be exact). Whatever the cause, I think it fits into the season of the soul..this current road I travel, with thankfulness.

Home brings thoughts of heaven. As my body continues to decline, [yet I am still becoming all that God has planned for me in this life] there are times when I do honestly question God in aspect, “I don’t know how much more of this I can handle.” Maybe I am using thoughts of heaven as an easy way out of this worldly suffering. Heaven is joy…and I look forward to that Homecoming. There will be nothing like it in comparison. But here, in the now, I should not be praying centered around myself, but God. It is only then that this temporary home (my body) will find strength in thanksgiving, even in the suffering:

Man-centered prayers tend to ask, “How can God help me with my problems?” while God-centered prayers consider, “What is God doing in this? How can I join in God’s purposes here?” This changes not only what we pray for, but also the way we pray.

Tim Challies. “Persevere in Prayer.”

Philippians 4:4-7

~Mel 🙂



Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Random, Uncategorized

Looking Upward

Over the weekend, I finally accomplished putting into chronological order and placing my college to present pictures in photo albums. It brought back many great memories. As I sorted, I found these pictures that made me laugh at the memory of the evening:




During my years living in the Denver area, I lived in a neighborhood called Bel Mar. On the corner of Wadsworth and Alameda, this was the rising place for living and shopping. The Target I was employed at was about fifteen minutes from Bel Mar…connected to a flat mall that had an indoor mile track that ran its course around the stores. I enjoyed a mile walk on my lunch breaks. I think every mall should be modeled after that one.

Even though there were a few Target stores in the area, Bel Mar also built one a few months before I moved. It was one of the “new city” model styles where the parking garage was underneath on the “first floor,” making the actual retail store on the second floor, all of course equipped with escalators, a stairway, and an elevator. I opted for the escalators.

Mom came to Denver every other week to help me on my chemo weekends. After the grand opening of Target (we had watched it being built over time), I wanted to show her the inside of the new Target. Up until this point, I had only been in a few times, because it was more convenient for me just to get my needs and groceries from my Super Target rather than stop at another one on the way home. But with Mom, we had grabbed a few groceries and as we left, I made a discovery: they even had an escalator for your carts!!! I was laughing so hard, Mom was afraid I would fall down our own escalator. 🙂

Currently, I have recently developed a phobia of walking down the stairs. Going up the stairs is not a problem; just coming down. Too many falls in the past few months has triggered this phobia, but I can’t say that I had really classified it as a fear up until a few weeks ago when I mentioned it to a friend. Now I am not even sure if it is just the stairs I fear falling–I think it is falling in general.

With my balance continuing to worsen, I have now restarted Physical Therapy, but it takes place here at my house. Due to the decline of function in my hands (especially the right hand), I will also be starting soon some sessions of Occupational Therapy. The reason for having the sessions here at home is to help me with my everyday living. For example, because I started my first PT session last week, we did a huge overview of my current conditions and discussed the areas in which I need assistance. Most of my current frustrations deal in the realm of OT, but balance was a major issue for me in PT. She gave me a suggestion for going down the stairs sideways, but to be honest, it doesn’t make me feel any better about the decline. As for right now we are mainly focusing on extra balancing exercises to accompany the PT strengthening exercises I have been doing already.

To access my current conditions, my therapist had me perform some “strength and mobility” tests. I can only stand on one foot for a mere one or two seconds…and standing with one foot in front of the other depends on which foot is placed first. Considering I have had two blood clots in my left leg, don’t be surprised to hear that it is my stronger leg. I think it always has been to be honest. When we lived in Colorado, I did get the chance to learn how to snowboard before my balance would no longer permit the activity. My Dad insisted that my sister and I take a half day of lessons before we just went out on our own. At the rental shop, when deciphering which foot you will put forward on the board, the rental personal did a little test. He had me turn around and gave me a slight nudge. I put my left foot forward first. He said, “You’re a regular foot.” (A right foot is called a goofy foot.) I think if anyone gave me a little nudge today, I would just fall over.

I am seeing the reality that my balance and falling will worsen. I have no control over it. There are days when I am to the point of tears at my balance. Other days, I find humor in it. I think it parallels the balance of life: days when strength is strong and days when strength is weak…in both I need to keep looking upwards, knowing when I fall, He still stands.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2 ESV


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Muffy, Random

First Day of Autumn

My mom has a Colorado scenic calender that hangs near the kitchen. This month’s picture is titled, “Little Snake River sunrise.” The sun shines on the dry mountain peaks giving them a tan color for the horizon. The trees shimmer with orange and yellow. The sky is blue. You can see the fleeting trace of dark clouds at the top of the picture which are being replaced by puffy white ones that lay low in the sky by the peaks. And there is a double rainbow. I notice that I tend to stare more at pictures or paintings these days. I soak in the color schemes or theme. I try to visualize what the artist had in mind. This picture was the same. Just one of those that makes you wonder if the photographer purposely waited until sunrise to take the picture or whether it was spontaneous. I go with the latter.

Like the picture above. It was taken last Autumn, a day after one of my chemo treatments. My sister and two college friends were going to Yellow Springs to enjoy the air, colors and tourism. They really wanted me to go. So I went. I had a great time. This picture was spontaneous. Look at how perfect it is. Everything from color coordinating, our hand positions (that was not planned either) to my eyes peeking out from the leaf. 🙂 I thought the other two were doing the same. I don’t think the picture would have turned out as great if we planned it. And I love to plan! Ask my family…it drives them nuts. There is nothing wrong with planning ahead. Ask event coordinators. I am sure the word procrastination is never mentioned during their interviews. It is actually a job I could see myself thriving in, minus the telephone calls. Aside from profession, when you plan ahead based on circumstances, it is harder to embrace change. Trust me, it seems to be my life’s bad habit.

I wrote a post at the beginning of Spring about how my vision is blurry when I take my eyes off Jesus. Two seasons later I see parallelism to my future much like a leaf. A leaf grows in the Spring. It nourishes in the summer, and it dies in the Fall. Its beauty peaks a few days before it sees the ground. Have you ever watched a leaf fall from the tree to the ground? How is a leaf to know the timing of when it will be set free or the circumstances around it that will shape the direction of its fall?

Not that I am falling (well, ok, I do physically when I twist my ankle), but the circumstances around me seem to be falling. At least in my leaf-like eyes. Circumstances such as my last day of work is in exactly two weeks with no prospects open for something new. Circumstances such as my next MRI is October 22nd. To be honest, thoughts cross my mind frequently of what those results will show and whether or not I will have to restart another treatment. Circumstances such as finding an apartment, fixing my car, putting my paintings in coffee shops, or where God needs me to serve in a ministry. Circumstances–temporary things that shift like the wind. Circumstances that weigh heavy on the heart, much like the tug of gravity on a leaf. Circumstances that are out of my control or leave me confused.

I cannot see what lies ahead, but I have to trust in God’s timing. It is perfect. It is not spontaneous like human plans. It is tenderly planned to meet all my needs. He sees the greater picture. I see the spontaneous moments piece by peace. I must admit that as much as I try to keep my eyes on Jesus, I am more like Peter who looked down at the roaring waves beneath his feet. Life is walking by faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1.

And faith is much like Autumn. Change is here. Change is not always a strand of negative effects. Without the change of colors and falling leaves, how will Winter ever arrive? I must embrace change. I must embrace the Autumn in my life, for even when everything around me seems to be falling–it is beautiful. And so I wait. I wait for God’s timing, because if a leaf falls too soon it can be trampled. If it falls too late, it can wither. I wait for His release of beauty as I enter the Autumn winds.

Well, sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all

When the mountains look so big and my faith just seems so small

CHORUS: So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf

You have been King of my glory

Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark

It’s so hot inside my soul, I swear there must be blisters on my heart


Surrender don’t come natural to me

I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want

Than to take what You give that I need

And I’ve beat my head against so many walls

Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band

Is playing this hymn

And Your grace rings out so deep

It makes my resistance seem so thin


Rich Mullins. “Hold Me Jesus.” A Liturgy, a Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band. (1993).

1 Comment

Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Hospital Trips, Paintings, Random

A Monday in Disguise

The past few days I have been a walking contradiction. I have had P.O.D.’s song, “Alive” on my mind all weekend, but I have been anything but that. Combination of lack of enthusiasm plus lots of work hours, I spent most of my spare time taking naps or simply putting off what I need to do. At the time, I just did not want to do it..mostly writing emails and letters. I even found myself thinking yesterday, “I am tired of writing.” (GASP!) I know. But it was an honest thought. Then, I get two letters in the mail. One from a friend back home in CO and another from one of my Grandma’s. Cherished letters. Handwritten just for me. That changed everything.

So today as I hummed, “Alive,” I thought to myself: “Today has been a good day!” I had fatigue at work, but a cup of tea and relaxing for a half hour on the couch when I got home solved that problem. My back has been giving me a lot of pain, so I took breaks every hour to lay on the floor. Always worth it, especially since Terminex was here this morning…no more surprise spiders leaping out from under the couches while I try to stretch.

Today was raining, but I loved it. We need the moisture and I needed the excuse to stay inside. Plus I themed it while I worked on sorting pictures by watching Singing in the Rain. Not much beats that. I finished sorting by year all of my college pictures and uploaded ones that I need to copy off onto Shutterfly. I felt like a champion, even though the piles and piles of all my other pictures are still in unorganized heaps.

Yep, today was a Monday in disguise…no doubt about it.

How was your Monday?


Leave a comment

Filed under Books and Movies, Paintings, Uncategorized

Stay At Home Travels

So a bunch of my friends are traveling around, seeing the world and I would just have to be honest right now and say that I am just a wee bit jealous! But, then I also realized…”Well, ok, I have been to Greece!” 🙂 That counts. But still, taking a nice long travel to Europe is at the top of my life’s wish list. I guess I can always keep hopeful thoughts. As Justin Bieber says, “Never say never.” 🙂

Since it is out of reality at the present moment, I decided I could do a bit of “stay at home” travels. I remembered my Greece pages on the “I Like” links are not complete. I am so sorry if you have tried to click on the pictures for more, because I forgot about them. Thus, they are under construction. 🙂 Until the end of September, it is my goal to get those pages and stories done. Also too, my goal is to organize my stacks of life’s birth til present pictures that are currently out-of-order and helplessly stacked in bags in the closet. I love pictures so the task is not daunting, just a matter of sitting down and achieving the organization goal!! Sad though, has anyone else noticed that photo albums are going extinct? Hobby Lobby is the best place now to buy them, but the styles are limited. Just a sad thought–like negatives! 😦

There are many debates (ok not really, but the word fit) on how to store pictures. Some use boxes; others use photo albums; USB and disks; or just on your i Phone. I do not have an i Phone, so my digital pictures are either on my computer or backed up on a USB. Well, I learned a few important things in the world of digital cameras a few weeks ago. I was finally uploading my Greece pictures from my USB to my Shutterfly account, so I can get copies for my scrapbook I hope to complete (I will add the term here, “someday”).  Now, when I went to Greece, I figured that it was a one in a million opportunity…”Click, click, click.” 🙂 Five thousand pictures later, I got home and deleted the bad or blurry ones. Still an epic close to four thousand. But I figure, two weeks of seeing just about everything, that was a pretty fair number. LOL.

Anyway, back to my story–I had my USB plugged in my computer and after a few hours of uploading, I was getting near the end. I went to stand up and was aiming to put my computer on the chair that I used to prop up my feet. But when I stood, I held onto the computer only with my left hand (dumb choice). I was trying to balance with my right hand on the rocking chair, but instead lost everything. The computer fell out of my hands, crashing on the USB, which landed hard on my right foot. USB=busted. In a moments flash, I thought to myself–“I just lost everything.” I had bank files on there, other pictures, school papers, and an awesome power point I presented for my Humanities class.

Definitely a gasp of frustration and panic, but life goes on. Lesson learned for sure. Of my Greece pictures, I only lost the last day–The Acropolis. But my pictures of the Parthenon did not turn out great anyway. It was so hot that day and windy. I got fried like a lobster and could not hear much, plus the rocks are so slippery there with steep steps (and super crowded)…that is what I remember of my last day in Athens. 🙂 Then we went shopping. So I always have my souvenirs. But as my mom says, “Pictures are the best souvenirs.” I think she says it a little different, but I get my picture genes from her for sure. 😀 In this case, my best memories and pictures of other days in Greece are safe.

The moral of my dramatic story is this: Do not procrastinate uploading or printing special pictures and keep them in order always. 🙂 You will avoid years of frustration. Now you know my downfall. Have a great start of the week. If nothing else, say cheese. 🙂


Filed under Random

February 2012

Today is February 29th! Happy Leap Year Day! (And happy birthday to all those who have the coolest birthday date!) 😀 Today seemed to be a typical day considering that it is a unique date. Got up late, Muffy followed me around while I was trying to get ready quickly, went to get my finger poked to check my blood count, went to work, went to Children’s Hospital at the Liberty campus (about 40 south from Dayton) to fix my ear molds for my hearing aids. The new molds were like Dumbo ears, just huge and it feels like they are expanding the inside of my ear! So, after trying to fix them, we just ended up ordering new ones. We left and came home, I wrestled with my computer all evening until my Dad came home…somehow things always work for him. Checked my email and Shutterfly had sent me a coupon to receive 101 free prints! So, now I sit and blog while my pictures are being uploaded. Today was a typical day–minus the surprise free prints coupon. Thank you Shutterfly!

While I was waiting for my computer to unfreeze, I remembered a quote about Leap Year that I read a few weeks ago in my Mom’s magazine, Better Homes and Gardens. Although I cannot claim a “green thumb”..serious I kill any plant I try to grow…I really like the magazines. They have fun fashion tips, how to’s for decorating different rooms of your house, easy recipes and of course garden knowledge. This February issue they have a page about things to do for the rest of winter since the groundhog saw his shadow–thing number 2 reads,


Save February 29 to check in with yourself. Write down what you hope to accomplish over the next four years and put your list someplace safe, to revisit in 2016. (BHG, February 2012, pg. 14)

This made me think of the past four years. I had some major achievements and life changing events: Two different types of chemo. Graduated from college. Trip to Greece. Started painting. Moved 8 times (HA! Bet your mouth dropped! 6 times were to different apartments); one big move across the states from CO to OH. Transferred jobs. And even a blood clot. Pretty big events for my planner. How am I even supposed to write down things for the next four years coming from that resume? 😀 I don’t even make New Year’s Resolutions.

I think the quote makes me realize one important thing that could sum up my feelings: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. One would assume that in these past ten years with this disease that I would fully understand this statement. Folks, I SO DO NOT!!! I am a planner. I plan ahead, and when my life takes abrupt twists and turns, I get upset. I get frustrated when I have to change my plans. My biggest unknown at the moment is whether or not I can go back to my apartment that I just moved into in November. I have been out of my apartment more than in it between work, a family reunion at Thanksgiving, Christmas, plus chemo every other weekend so I would sleep here at my parent’s place, and my sister’s wedding in Colorado right after the New Year. Then the blood clot hit January 22. In the hospital I figured I would get better pretty quickly and be back to normal in a few weeks. My plans= out the window. (I had not even thought of the fact that I would have to wear a compression stocking.) Present day: My mom drives me to work (I am cash office so I sit for 2 hours), appointments, and church; I can’t lift heavy things and need someone to go up and down the stairs with me. I am gaining strength, just taking a lot longer than I thought.

So why do I have a problem with change? Maybe it is my pride? My expectations? I am not sure to be honest. I seem like I am a big oxymoron in the flesh. You know, my health changes all the time and yet I hate change. 🙂 But not all change is bad! The move out to Ohio deserves a post in itself. It was God planned, timed and detail oriented. I had three things I was not sure of when I started praying about the move: job, moving out of my apartment and leaving my roommates in a financial bind, and obviously my health. All in one week shortly after I started thinking and praying and brainstorming, they were answered in better ways imaginable! It is these sort of memories that I wish I could think of more often when I have days like today when I feel like I have hit a wall. These past four years have been one thing after another and yet I saw God in it all, especially the timing of it all.

So, since I lose paper and I am not at my apartment to put a note in my special box of what I hope to see in the next four years, I will just tell you. I hope to see more of God’s perfect timing in my life. I have seen it before, and I want to see it again. Best part is, I won’t be disappointed when the next February 29th comes by again. 😀 What do you hope to see?

Leave a comment

Filed under Random