Saturday, November 28, 2015


Sorry I've been so quiet.  I've had some big things going on and I wasn't quite ready to share about it. 

Early last week I had a mammogram.  It was just a regular exam, I had no real concern about it.  I was more concerned about the colonoscopy that I was having on Friday.   Well right before I went in for the colonoscopy I picked up the results from the mammogram..... they found three masses.  So I was doing my best to hold it together for the other procedure.  I got through that, everything was fine....for the most part.  Still some things that are inconclusive but nothing major. 

After reading and rereading the results and looking it up on line, I was pretty confident that it was nothing major.....probably just dense tissue since I'm 50 now.  So I had an ultrasound done the day before Thanksgiving....  I knew when the tech asked me to step to another room to talk to the doctor, that there was a problem. 

I was put in a room with two other ladies who had already spoke with the doctor and were in shock.  We just all were looking at each other like we could not believe we were there the day before Thanksgiving......

When they called me in, I have to admit my legs were shaking a little bit when I stood up!  The doctor told me that I have an Intraductal Papilloma tumor.  It is usually benign & she is 95% sure that this one is.  However it's in the same family as colon polyps & can become malignant in time. 

Monday I have an appointment with my doctor and my plan is to have it removed ASAP!  I don't care if it is benign, I want it OUT!  This is not something I want to have remaining in my body.  So I'm hoping he will send me to a very aggressive surgeon and we will get this done.  If it is malignant, which I doubt it is, I'm planning on having the whole breast removed.  The small tumor is far from the chest wall, so that makes me feel better.

So it's been an unreal week- I feel a bit detached but I'm ok.  It feels like I'm gearing up to deal with this.

I just want to encourage you do NOT put off procedures!  I did not realize it but it had been almost 2 years since my last mammogram!  This tumor is so little, that even knowing right where it is, I can not find it. I would have had no reason to go in, if I hadn't realized I was behind on the schedule.   Don't take any chances with your health.   Actually after I got that news, I had another appointment to have a pelvic ultrasound done.  Everything is fine.  My doctors are just trying to rule out everything because of the pain I've been having.  But Wednesday was not a fun day for me. 

Honestly I feel like everything will be fine.  The doctor was reassuring and everything I read was reassuring too.  Still thoughts go through my mind like what if the doctor is wrong and it is something more serious?  So please keep me in your prayers!!!!

We are never early for church anymore since we live a distance away but we somehow made it last week so we had times for some pictures. 
Sarah and Sam last Sunday.  Sarah doesn't like to sit by Sam, he likes to pinch her

Daddy and Selah

 yes he loves me

Princess Sarah

Where's Sam???

 Shad and his 'kittens"
 Pictures from my walk near our house.

Our only Thanksgiving picture!
Jon gutting the turkey!  LOL- that is something I can not do!

 a few weeks ago we had "dinner on the grounds" and we dressed causal.  Sarah and I did our Ukraine shirts.
Sarah can sit and swing herself on a regular swing now. 

 Sam can too, he's just chilling with his big cup of water:)

Well hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving we did with our family here.  Steve has been home all week from college and I love that!   Two more weeks and he's home for Christmas break for a month!!!!!  It's great to have all my babies under our roof!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Long Week

It's been a long week.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, cards, flowers and food.

We had Jon's dad's viewing Monday night.  So many people came by to support our family.  We saw some old friends we've not seen in years.  It was so good to see them again.  Of course it was good for our family to get together.  Times like that, draw people together. 

After the viewing, the family came over to our house for a supper that was provided by our church.  It was a good time to get together and enjoy each other's company.

Sam and Sarah handled the viewing without getting stressed.  I was really proud of them. 

Tuesday was the funeral.  Of course things had gone too smooth on Monday so Tuesday was more stressful.  I realized that Jon did not have a good white shirt since I'd gone through all his stuff when we moved.  Most of the ones  he has, are colored shirts.  Then Selah's black shoes didn't fit, so I had to run off to the store.  It was funny, because I just threw on a tshirt and shorts but my make up and hair was done, I'm sure I looked odd:)  Thanks to Beal's I found just what I needed AND for the FIRST time I got my Senior Citizen's discount! 

I rushed back and had to iron clothes....I had to use the "magic hem" stuff on Sam's pants.  I love it, just turn the pants inside out, and instead of hemming the pants, just put the strips on the inside of the pants and iron it. 

Luckily we still made it to the funeral home  and early even thought we had to drop off Selah and her nurse at the church.   Based on time frames, the burial was done first, privately for the family only.  At first I thought that was really odd, and it was different but it was more intimate.  While we were still at the funeral home, I had a private moment with Papa and I told him "thank you" one more time- he raised a good man, that I'm lucky enough to be married to. 

Then we went to the church for the service, Selah and her nurse were able to wait in the family parlor until we returned from the cemetery.  Of course nothing goes smoothly and Selah had to be suctioned as the rest of the family was filing into the church by a side door.  So we got in a little later, when we got to the side door it was locked, I was a bit worried but my husband heard us and we were able to get in. 

My husband shared a short sermon, he called it "My father's hands".  It was really beautiful.  He talked about holding his dad's hand as he stepped into eternity.  Then he shared how his father had guided, helped and even disciplined him and his brothers with his hands.  Some parts of it, were quite funny. 

Sam and Sarah did really good in the service.  I was nervous.  They are used to church, but our church is not very formal.  I did have to restrain Sarah, she is used to twirling on the floor during music.  She was not happy with me because I made her sit in my lap instead of twirling on the floor. 

Other than Jon's part of the service, it was not very emotional.  However as we sang the last song and the last prayer was prayed, it hit me anew that Papa was gone...   So I pick that moment to fall apart....   The family was led out, but of course again things had to get a little crazy....  Sam had a hard time walking between the pew to the end, then when he got to the end of the pew, he was afraid to step out in the aisle, I think he was afraid it was a step down that he couldn't see.  So he was holding back, at the same time, Selah's head fell forward in her chair and was resisting us trying to move it.  So me, Sam, our nurse and Selah were at the front of the church, having issues, everyone was looking forward and I was trying to control my tears.... Oh my.... only us.....  I was so embarrassed but there was nothing I could do about it! ( I wasn't embarrassed of my kids, just of being in front of everyone and of myself falling apart.)  Anyhow we survived. 

This past week was more stressful and emotional than I thought it would be.  Papa had Alzheimer's so it had been a long goodbye.  We'd known for over a month that the end was very near, but honestly I don't think you are ever ready to let someone go.

Looking through old pictures and sharing memories make me sad for days and people who are gone.  We did a lot of that.  And even though it was Jon's family, so many of the family that I got to know when Jon and I first married, have passed away. Looking at their younger pictures just makes me sad.  Time passes so quickly.  Everyone was so young just a few years ago and now they are gone..... makes you value the time you have on this earth with your family. 


Jon and his brothers and daddy

Jon and his brothers

the boys and their Mom

Jon and his little brother Jim.  Jon is on the left, doesn't he look like Sam?
this was taken at the funeral home, I love how Sarah was loving on her daddy.

Just wanted to share how much Selah is enjoying her TV


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Marty Lyons Foundation

Yesterday the  Marty Lyons Foundation blessed Selah with an incredible gift.  They gave her a tv, that can be right over her bed via an arm.  The tv is an amazing one, it took about as long to set up as having the arm put on the wall.  It's hooked to the internet so she can get all kinds of kids channels

We could tell Selah liked it immediately.  She turned to it and watched it for a long time.  We could watch her eyes and tell that she was actively engaged in watching and following the screen. 

Marty Lyons' brother Richard came and installed the tv.  It was nice to meet him too
They also gave her a bath sling for her Hoyer lift, that's a huge help for the nurses when they give her showers because it is mesh and can get wet and will dry quickly. 
we were asked by Jon's office what kind of donation they could make to a good cause in honor of his daddy and we thought of the Marty Lyons Foundation for all they do for children who are struggling with health problems.  Papa cared for children and had much compassion so we've asked them to send any donations to the Marty Lyons Foundation. 
this is their home page and it tells some more about them.
(also they had help from Tampa Family Handyman -Bob Stache   Nice guy if you need a handyman in our area 813 527 3656)
Years ago they enabled Sam to be able to have Dolphin therapy.  That was an amazing experience and we actually learned some therapy techniques that we still use with him that week in therapy. 
they let the other boys swim with the dolphins also.
Sam had 3 hours of therapy each morning



we also went to Key West while we were down in the Keys

we love to snorkle

this is one of my all time fav family pictures
Thought you'd like these old pictures, all the way from 2007 :) 
The Marty Lyons Foundation has been a big blessing to our family.  We sincerely thank them for this gift to Selah!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Life Well Lived

My father in law Joe Clanton passed away last night after a long health battle.  He was 87 years old.  We called him Papa.  Papa wasn't world known,  he didn't  cure cancer, or climb Mt Everest.  He didn't step foot on the moon nor was he a big business tycoon with a 100 ft yacht but his life left a huge footprint on this world. 

The first time I met him was on my 24th birthday.  Jon and I had only known each other a week but after some past experiences, I thought it was best to meet the parents as soon as possible.   I truly believe you better know what kind of gene pool a potential mate has and yes there is a story there for sure! Anyhow I met Jon's parents and immediately could tell they were "good people"  We had a nice conversation together and I could tell that they, especially my father in law, liked the fact that I'd put myself through college.  Both of them came from poor Southern families and they valued an education above all things. 

My FIL actually was raised in Dyce Arkansas, a town that was basically a social experiment  of Franklin Roosevelt.  Johnny Cash was raised there too and was a close friend of his younger brother.  My FIL picked cotton and worked hard.  He went to college where he met and married my mother in law Joanne.  They both were educators.  He became a principal of a small school in northern Arkansas early in his career but for some reason they moved to Lakeland Florida in the 1950's.  I'm so glad they did:)  He worked as a coach, a principal and then at the school board office as an administrator until he retired 42 years later.  My mother in law was a teacher until her retirement.  They were serious about education. 

He helped his siblings through college, and I think he had some help from older siblings too.  They all worked together to help each other.  There were eight siblings and now all are in heaven except for one of his sisters.  They all remained close through the years.  Luckily I got to meet most of them and loved the times we spent with them, especially our one trip to Arkansas when we took my grandmother with us.  They all fit in together and had such a good time.  As some of the siblings got older and spouses passed away, they moved in together.  We had the best time staying at the house with them, hard to believe all of those fun wonderful people are gone from our midst now.  I am pretty sure they all had quite a reunion last night.....

Anyhow I'm one of those rare people who doesn't complain about my in-laws.  As you know if you've been reading my blog for any time, Jon and I got married in ONE month's time.  Since I didn't have family, I didn't really realize how much that would  freak out his parents.  Believe me, my youngest brother in law, LOVES to tell me LOL.  He was privy to conversations we never heard..... But after Jon and I came back from our one night honeymoon, his parents acted like they could not be any happier that we were married.  They totally supported us emotionally as we looked for a place to live and start out as married folks. 

As a wedding gift, they bought us a small trailer in a retirement park.  In the summers there was only us and one other couple living there.  It was a very practical gift that saved us so much money while Jon finished school and we got started in the ministry. 

Only six months after we got married, my mother in law was killed in a car accident.  It was so sad.  That's been over 25 years ago and from that point on, my father in law began a slow decline.  It was such a shock to all of us and especially to him. 

Jon has always felt supported by his dad, even when he did things that seemed odd to his family.  When Jon became a Christian, he was beyond a "gung-ho" Christian.  And since Jon's parents were more quiet about their strong faith, it was a bit hard for them.  I think they were glad we got married because I was a bit more of a realist than he was.  BUT they still supported Jon, they'd go to Pentecostal services and even to the homeless shelter where Jon would preach.  Let's just say that was a new experience for them LOL  When Jon felt a calling to preach, his daddy said "I'll send you to the best seminary there is" and he meant it and did it. 

Jon and I were talking about how Papa was always there for us as a couple.  He came to visit us in NYC a month before Steve was due, and ended up being there for his rather early traumatic birth.  He was there when we took him home from the hospital.  In fact, we have a really funny story about that.  It was sleeting, and we were trying to get the car seat hooked up for the first time.  So Papa was in the back seat and that car seat got the best of him and he started cussing a little.....  I don't think I'd ever heard him cuss before at that point and I was shocked and worried about the baby hearing cuss words....NOW we laugh at that story.  We finally got it hooked in and we all drove through Manhattan to where we lived in Brooklyn with our new baby, Papa was in the back seat with Steve all the way.....His middle name is Joseph after his grandfather. 

A year later Papa came up as soon as he heard that the twins I was carrying had died.  He went with me and Jon to the doctor appointments and was there at the hospital when I had surgery and almost died.  After that he cared for Steve (who was one year old) for a few days until I got home from the hospital.  Steve was fine, his diaper was on backward but he was fine.  Papa confessed to me that he didn't remember changing a diaper before Steve LOL!!!!

Then a few months later, when I hit rock bottom with a deep depression, I called him and said I wanted to come home.  We didn't have the money to move nor did Jon have a job prospect.  I'm not even sure Jon wanted to move home. But Papa knew I couldn't take it anymore and just three days later was there to help us move home.  He drove the moving truck all the way home for us. 

Fast forward a few years, when I was on bed rest with Sam, Papa would bring me food and pick up Steve from school.  He was there for Sam's birth too.  Sam was in the hospital for some time, so eventually  Jon went back to work.  Papa would bring me food, or come and take me to the cafeteria for lunch.  One day he took me to give blood so they could use my blood as a transfusion for Sam.  He was really concerned about me giving blood so soon after giving birth.  Well we got back to the hospital and I turned to say something to him in the elevator and passed out.  Papa and a doctor  grabbed me and got me out of the elevator.  We laughed about it later, I did a spectacular faint, but it scared him at the time. 

After Sam was diagnosed with Peter's, Papa told us to find the best doctor in the US to treat Sam and he'd help us with it.  He was so concerned about the whole situation. 

He continued to be there, all the time Sam was in and out of hospitals.  He'd come and check on him and on us. 

Around that time, there were signs that dementia was starting but there was always a warmth and a caring from him.  He had a long time that was good, he enjoyed the outdoors and his family.  He loved his dogs.  He had other health problems and there were times we thought the end might be near but he was such a strong man.  He was a fighter.

This past month had been hard for him.  Several times we thought the end was near.  We had a really hard time deciding what to do about our trip to NY for Sam.  It was originally scheduled for September but the doctors had to reschedule it.  The week we were scheduled for  not a good time to be out of state and we really debated it but if we didn't go then, we couldn't go for a couple of months and that was not an option due to the concern about Sam's pressure.  I couldn't go because I was sick so Jon had to go, I was so very thankful that his dad didn't pass while he was gone. 

Jon and his brothers have had some really sweet times with their dad as he neared eternity.  Last night he stepped over as Jon and his brother held his hands.  I'm so glad for the time they had together.  I think having experienced things like this make me realize how important life is....  it makes me value life, even if that life is a little harder than we'd like. 

I've told Papa on several occasions that he was a better father to me than my own father (or mother) ever was and I told him again last week, the last time I went to visit him.  He was there for me as his daughter in law at some of the hardest points of my life.  I have no doubt if he had been able to be with us after the accident he would have been right there with us in NY.  He was that kind of man, family came first.  He wasn't a big huggie emotional type of person, but he was a rock solid faithful man.  He showed his love by his actions.  I appreciate all he ever did for me and for my family. 

Joe Clanton was not world known but he changed the world of three boys & of others too.  He was a faithful husband and father and taught them how to live a good life.  They went on to be good husbands and fathers to their wives and kids.  Each of them work jobs that are people oriented, where they are helping others.  They love their families and are good people.  I know he taught Jon how to be a good dad, I've heard Jon tell too many stories of times when his daddy was patient with him, even when he was a mess.  I see Jon responding to our kids in the same way and not just our kids but inmates and others who need care. 

When you leave a legacy such as Papa has left,  I'd call that a very successful life- one well lived.

After our vow renewal.

Papa with Steve leaving the hospital




Steve with his Papa and Uncle Jim and family.  Steve is the goofy looking one :)

Papa at Sam's One year old party

 Surprise!  A Clanton from China!!!
For some reason, Papa could always remember Shad's name. 

Not the best picture, he'd just had a bad fall, but this was the last one I could find with just Steve and Papa together. 

Papa only saw the girls once before the accident.  At that point he wasn't driving and we were trying to keep them home and bond with them.  I'm glad we did take them out to see him.  He hasn't been to our house since then, as he was home bound but we'd all ( except Selah) been together at his house or the nursing home. 

Thankfully we have an eternal home where one day we will all be together again.  I can just imagine the welcome he got last night from his wife, siblings and many friends.  Maybe even Johnny Cash sang him a tune or two......   We will miss you Papa, thank you for your life spent loving your family!