Sunday, September 11, 2016

We Went To A Wedding Saturday

Joe's Son Rob married the love of his life Saturday. The rest of the story will follow shortly. But first, Wednesday morning early,  Joe had a IVC STENT  placed  to prevent blood clots going from his legs to his lungs. We were wondering if that was going to delay us a day or possibly not going to the wedding at all. But the miracle of medicine..... the procedure was an hour and a half, and we were home by 2 in the afternoon. With the exception of not to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs for a few days, and to rest  we could have left for Olympia that afternoon if we wanted to the Dr. said. But we were happy knowing we could leave Thursday morning as planned.


Thursday afternoon we arrived at the Governor Hotel in Olympia, our home for the next two nights. Looking out our 7th floor window, look what was right across the street from us. Yes, a Greyhound Bus station, one of the stops on Joe's regular route when he was driving. After a rest, he walked across the street

and the ticket agent there recognized him from when she worked at the Bus Station in Medford.  They had a nice visit, "catching up" on who was still driving and who was now retired.

It was a nice time of special memories for Joe. Of course the buses don't look anything like the "old Greyhounds". But the Dog remains the same.

Our friend Ruthie joined us for the trip to Olympia. She had the room right next to us and daughter Kelly was right across the hall from us. So it was only natural to have a good game of "Tens" that evening before bedtime.

Friday Morning we walked over to the church where the kids were getting married the next day. Time to decorate during the day, and rehearsal that evening.



Joe and his son Rob and daughter Kelly

Kelly has her own business staging homes, and Ruthie, being a pastors wife for over 40 years, both have much experience in decorating for a wedding! And Rob did a big share also decorating the sanctuary. Gloria and her helpers decorated the fellowship hall where the reception was held.

A big hug for Grandpa Joe from granddaughter Joleen for whom she was named after.

Rob taking a break from decorating to spend a few moments with dad

It was a very long day. But the decorating was done, rehearsal was over, we had a bite to eat and I came out of our room to see Kelly and Joleen  zooming down the hall!!!  
Taking a rest before the wedding party arrived for pictures.

Rob giving dad a hand with his tie


L to R    Son in law Hoi, Joe and Rob

Waiting for picture taking time to end and the wedding to start.

L to R:  Wedding coordinator Julie, me and Joe and Pastor Bob who officiated at the kids wedding.


First Look Surprise.....the photographer had Rob turn around until Gloria got up on the platform.

Rob being overwhelmed when he saw Gloria was an understatement. 
Time for Joe to usher me down the isle

Joe giving the minister the rings

While they were lighting the Unity candle Hoi suggested to Joe it would be a good time for him to sit and rest. There was a chair placed there just for that very reason.

You may kiss your bride

The presentation of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Graffis


Hoi, Kelly, Joleen and Kevin surrounding grandpa Joe with love.

Joe's cousin Elaine and her husband Bill.

Joe signing on the dotted line confirming that yes, the kids are now officially married!  Good job Pastor Bob.

Heading out to their new life together.  Welcome to our family Gloria!!! 

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Once again the Lord answered our prayers. Joe was able to witness the marriage of his son. And for this we are so thankful.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like A Medicine......

We had the most wonderful surprise visit last week from our dear friends Jerry and Dawn. We got a call that they were close by, on their way to a wedding and wanted to know if we were up to a visit. Thank you Jerry and Dawn for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by. Scripture says A merry heart doeth good like a medicine and our hearts were merry and the medicine worked great!! (Proverbs 17:22)

Joe's "happy place" is behind the wheel. Our friends Jim and Neila  joined us one day last week for a day trip to Trout Lake, Washington via Highway 14 along the Columbia River on the Washington side. It was a beautiful day.



We stopped at the ranger station in Trout Lake and the ranger showed us a map of a beautiful loop back to Portland.





At some point on the way back we had to make a choice whether to go right towards Randle, Washington or Left towards Cougar, Washington. We chose Cougar. The forest, and trees were beautiful. We passed by Lake Merwin and stopped here to stretch or legs before the last leg to home. By now, Joe was getting tired. We knew of a wonderful little restaurant in Woodland, and decided to eat dinner there.  Rosie's  is a must stop if you like great hamburgers, french fries second to none, wonderful, and warm bread pudding, just to name a few items.  Oh, and come hungry because the hamburgers are the size of desert plates!! After we finished eating, Jim, knowing Joe was pretty tired by then, offered to drive the rest of the way home. Joe readily accepted that offer.
 We met Jim and Neila when we  parked beside them for a week or two at one of our membership RV Parks in AZ. They have walked along side of us through this journey we are on with Joe's illness. They drove all the way from Florida last spring to Cascade Locks, Oregon accepting a position as camp host at Cascade Locks Salmon Hatchery to be closer to Joe and I. They have cried with us, encouraged us, played A LOT of cards with us which always created laughter too!!  It was difficult to say goodbye this week as they slowly head South for the winter. But knowing  we will see them in the Spring makes us smile. 

Not being able to pitch shoes right now, doesn't stop Joe for being at the tournament in Oregon City. Nope, not at all. He kept score and enjoyed the company of his horseshoe pitching buddies. The smiling guy with the yellow shirt by the fence is his friend Russ. Another friendship that began at Pilot Knob RV Resort in Winterhaven, California. We were taking a walk and they were sitting outside their motor home. We noticed we both had the same model of cars and Joe struck up a conversation with Russ. Horseshoes came up, Russ was interested, and a few months later Russ called Joe for information as to where our club was.  The rest is history. Russ and his wife Kay just returned the day before this tournament from an 80 day trip to Alaska and back. Glad they are back home safe and sound.
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An Update on Joe. His oncology Dr., is on maternity leave until January and Dr. Dr. Xiong has taken over Joe's care in her absence.  The words one of his caregivers used was...chemo has really given Joe's body a beating.  He continues to loose weight, eating and drinking are difficult but he is trying his best. One of the chemo meds, Avastin, is going to probably discontinued Wednesday as it is probably the culprit that is causing bleeding again.  Quality of life has become a big concern for Joe's team. He basically doesn't have much at the moment. So Wednesday  not only will he get the results of the CAT scan he had Friday, but he will  have a consultation with Dr. Xiong regarding how and what they can do to give him that better quality of life and still maintain. Joe is my hero! He is a fighter. A very weak and tired fighter. But he can still drive safely and we do enjoy day trips to our favorite places. and He is looking forward to the BIG day September 10th when he stands beside his son as his best man!!   Thank you to each and every one of you who are praying, thank you for your words of encouragement, your letters, emails and cards. It's friends like you that keep us going.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Sister Jan, Camping, Fishing, and Pulling Weeds

I want to apologize in advance for the unevenness in my blog today. The fonts have decided they will size and resize themselves on their own.!!!



Meet my sister Janice. She is six years younger than me. She came to visit us this past week to camp with us and do a little fishing while also celebrating our birthdays with us. We camped again at Barton Park East in the same spot. We knew she would love it. Blackberries every where. And sure enough she didn't disappoint us.  She had fresh blackberries every day we were there.


Jan also has a great sense of humor. She knows the true meaning of "laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone". Her husband died suddenly the day after Christmas 1998. She knows the ache and pain of being alone. But she also knows the joy and peace that comes from the Lord. She has been not only my sister but a sister who I will let "kick me in the fanny" when she thinks I need it.  She makes me laugh, she cries with me but doesn't let me stay there. One day years ago, when I was going through a very dark and difficult time in my life, we were on a walk and I was having more than a few tears. She said something like this. "Betty stop". I did. She said "listen you can't even hear the birds singing". Don't you know if the Lord takes of the birds He's going to take care of You? (Matthew 6:26) Guess what.....I always hear the birds now.

This is one of many ponds in Barton Park East. The sounds are beautiful there.  Crickets, frogs, butterflies, all kinds of birds.....

Beautiful trees.

Remember I said Jan keeps us smiling?....... we offered her a ladder up to her "bedroom" in our little 23'Class C. Nope!  No ladder for her.  I swear. She's got the body of a 20 year old in that 69 year old body of hers. And a whole lot of "joy of the Lord" too! What a great birthday gift to us...... Her just spending a week with us.

No day is complete when camping until we have had a smore or two.



Saturday, my son David (the fisherman) suggested we meet him, his fiancee Jennifer and my grandson Ryan at Faraday Lake near Estacada for a few hours of fishing



The fish weren't biting, but David had a great visit with his aunt Jan and we all had a good time.





My grandson Ryan is also a great salmon fisherman. He also knows his grandma likes smoked salmon........ It was so nice to get to spend some time with him this day.

The following pictures are of the beautiful Clackamas River near Estacada.







Wednesday was chemo day and also the last day for our beloved Dr. Jingjing Hu, M.D., Joe's Oncologist until January. She is going to be a mommy again. We'll really miss her. In her absence Dr.  Dong Xiang, M.D.(sounds like she-young)   Will take over Joe's care. He has already gone over his records and is very knowledgeable about his case.


This is Kim. It's Kim's smiling face we see when we first walk in the lobby. She hands Joe a list of his meds to  check off whether he has taken them that day, week, month or not at all. She answers the phone when I call. She always has a smile on her face and in her voice.

I think we have now introduced everyone on Joe's Chemo team and if I have left any of you off, please, please let me know. You are all so loved by us and important to us.

Well now. Let's see if I can get through this one with out tears.  Jan and I were passing time Friday, waiting for Joe to finish his chemo treatment. As we sat at a table outside in Portland Medical Center's Meditation Garden, I was able to just be me and talk to her about a lot of things. It is so difficult right now because if I cry, my nose starts bleeding.... it is so bad at times, I carry a medication given to me at Urgent Care to hopefully stop it with out going to ER. Anyway, one of the things bothering me, I told her is  the weeds in our front yard.  Joe prides himself in his beautiful yard. Nary a weed. Beautiful red rock instead of lawns because while we were traveling we didn't want to have to worry about flowers and bushes.  Up until about a month ago, he was able to groom it to his specifications. For as long as I can remember, and my mom has told me even as a little girl, I can't stand "getting my  hands dirty". It's not a germ thing, I just don't like dirt on my hands. And for those of you who are thinking "why doesn't she wear gloves"  I can't pick anything up wearing gloves. I love a pretty yard, but I sure don't like to keep one up.  But on the other hand, I want my Joe to be able to walk outside, sit in the glider and enjoy his yard. As my sister listened, she said something on this order..."Betty, when you pray, why don't you pray and ask God to give you the desire to work in the yard, keeping it beautiful!  When we got home, right away, she was out in the yard, pulling weeds. Jan loves gardening.

Resting after pulling all those weeds and watering the flowers and shrubs. I sure love that girl.
A "Fishy Story"
Monday, we took Jan to one of our favorite fishing places.  Timothy Lake. Another very warm day. Joe was sitting in his chair and his pole at the time was propped up on the deck rail and we were visiting and not paying attention. They guy next to us hollered "Hey, you got a fish on there. It almost pulled your pole in"  Joe jumped up and started reeling it in.  I grabbed the net. Now I have to tell you about that net.  He went shopping for  a fishing net and found one that was about $30 - $40. Cheap me said WHY? Here's one for $12, your fishing for a trout not a salmon!!! So he settled for the smaller one and I'll forever be ashamed and sorry for that for the following reason.  I took the cheap net, and tried to get that very large trout in it. Remember a week or so ago when he caught the 14 inch rainbow trout? Well this one was that big or bigger.  I sort of got the fish in the  net and he twisted and turned himself right out of that net taking Joe's hook, line and sinker with him!!! He never even got a bite after that.  If Joe would have hollered at me or gotten mad at me it would have been so much better, but Joe being Joe never said a word.... I know he was disappointed. And yes, the next time we get to the sporting goods department, he is getting the very net he wanted in the first place and we will go back to Timothy Lake and try it again.

Tuesday was the first day of the Clackamas Country Fair and Rodeo. One of our favorite fairs, second only to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
It was a hot day and we were grateful that the entertainer we wanted to see was under the trees where it was a tad cooler.


Her name is Jeanne Coady. As the sign behind her says, she was going to perform songs from the Great American Songbook. We along with our friends were sitting on the front row and she recognized us, not by name, from past years there and came down to greet us before the show started. She said she was going to be doing the Tribute to Patsy Cline the next day and evening but when she found out we couldn't be there because it was chemo day, She said she would be more than happy to sing one just for Joe. Hello....... much to his surprise, she switched her show and did the whole Tribute to Patsy Cline right there and then!!!!  What a wonderful thing for Joe.

My friend Ruthie and my sister Jan enjoying the concert


We were thrilled to have our friends Jim and Neila with us for the day too. And they area also Jeanne Coady fans.
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Well this has fast turned into a mini book again. But before I close  guess what.... I was up and at it early this morning.  Outside pulling weeds and watering what few flowers we have..... and listening to the birds singing. I'm finding muscles I never knew I had!!!!Have a wonderful rest of the week and remember to listen to the birds sing.