Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Memory of David Crider

When my children were little, we were blessed with two great young babysitters. One of them enjoyed the kids so much that she would take them to the park and to get ice cream, just for the fun of it, at no charge to me. It was great. This young woman told me recently that she was inspired to be a mother from this job. I told her she went far beyond me, because she has 8 children, and is an amazing mother.

The other sitter was also great, but she was older, so we didn't have her around as long. Then she and her family changed churches, so I lost touch with her. But then I was asked to play for her wedding, which was a blessing to me.

I would hear about Kathy every once in awhile, and knew that she had become a fine Christian woman, and had three sons. Kathy's mother did attend our church and was a part of our Sunday school class when Kathy's youngest son, David, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called synovial cell sarcoma in January 2007, when he was 13. He was a gifted basketball player, and continued to play much longer than most would have even tried. He played better with one good arm than most do with both.

I never had the privilege of meeting David personally, but we were kept apprised of his condition every Sunday. It was an amazing roller coaster ride for the family. As young as he was, David was a man of God. I have never heard of one so young with so much faith and such an ability to share his faith. David kept a journal, which was filled with such insight that it simply amazed me.

On May 25, 2008, when he was 15, David wrote this final entry in his journal:

"Wow! Many things have happen(ed) this month. I had surgery on Monday at 11 am! On the 5th. Better than on the Friday that week. Surgery went well and my spine feels good. I have no use of my left leg. Right leg is ok but still very weak. My right arm and hand is coming along. Slow, but faster than anything else. I can't extend my fingers yet but it will come. I can grip bottles and other things like that. I can use a fork and spoon. And today found out I can write, I couldn't do any of this after surgery. Slowly but surely! Being able to write is nice. Can't play games like X-box, so this is pretty much it. And it's taken me well over 45 minutes to write this much. But time has no significance to me. The time of day anyways . . . I'm still planning on going to Florida in a couple weeks and then Hawaii. Just need to keep working to get stronger. It's going to be a long journey. . . A tornado hit Windsor (David's home town) and wiped out many homes. But no one died!!! Talk about a God thing! I text(ed) all my friends as soon as I heard. All of them, their family and homes were ok. No one has power but that's a minor thing right now. The town of Windsor is now on a long journey of its own. I am there in heart and spirit. We will go through these difficult times together. And we both, me and the town of Windsor, will pull through. It will take time, but what is time? People can get way too caught up in the things in life that shouldn't matter. Like having a couple gray hairs or getting wrinkles on your face. Just anything that is part of life. Pretty much everyone wants to live forever or something like that. But I guess if you don't have Christ you wouldn't want to.

Not me . . I'm very much like Paul in the Bible. Split between two things. Paul said something like this in the Bible and I have thought it for a long while. "I would love to die and be with the Lord but through my pain and suffering others are coming to know God." So I'm more useful alive in pain than dead and in paradise . . . And I'm now ok with that. Now that others are seeing God through me I'm content with living until He calls me home. I have fully given Him my life to do with it as He wants. If suffering or working hard is all I have to do, to bring others to God . . . I would do it Forever. Whatever His plan, I will accept it. My heart and feelings extend toward others much further than myself . . . I'm not going to quit or give up hope which would be easy to do. But I'm sure you already knew that if you know who I am. I have much more to say but it's time for me to go. "Live life, Love life, Love God, Live Forever." (signed) David Crider.

After his death, one of his friends wanted to do something to make a difference, so she began to have these shirts made with David's very last words imprinted on them. The family sells them for the organization "Catch-a-Dream", which sends children with life threatening illnesses on a hunting/fishing trip of their dreams in David's memory.

David and his family did go on that trip to Hawaii before his death on July 30, two months after this final journal entry.

I wish I had known David.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Quick Update

Good morning, dear friends. I have not written, nor been to visit, for many days. In truth, I have two posts sitting there half finished, but can't seem to get the words to form and land on the "page." I just wanted to update you a bit, and let you know why. Dwight was in the hospital for 4 days last week, after a trip to the ER on the previous Sunday. Then we treated an erroneous ER diagnosis, which allowed a raging strep or staph infection to worsen dramatically in his left leg. It's a long story, and I hope I can get it written soon. I have been keeping many of you updated on Facebook, but some aren't there.

He is getting i.v. antibiotics out of the hospital, and is doing this at his sister's house so that he can rest undisturbed by the lovely sounds of noisy little girls. His sister is a saint, in my estimation, and is caring for him so beautifully. I feel guilty, but blessed.

I will definitely try to get back soon for a real post. I love you all.

I am adding this piece that I wrote as a Facebook update:

If you have time, Google "cellulitis" and read about what Dwight has had going on. It is a condition created when staph or strep bacteria enter the body through a cut or scratch, no matter how small, on your body somewhere, anywhere apparently. We finally figured out, most likely, that it came through athlete's foot, which he's been fighting for a couple of weeks. Where he got the athlete's foot is another mystery, but perhaps when he took the girls ice skating and rented a pair of skates that had been worn by someone else who had the fungus, even though he had socks on. Disgusting, thought, really. But anyway, it seems that these bacteria live on our bodies all the time and why they choose at some point to invade and make us sick is a complete mystery to me, and to doctors as well, it seems. Anyway, it landed in his leg and began to get red. The ER doctor didn't even look at his leg unclothes, but just poked it and agreed with what we thought it might be - the pulled groin muscle. I am very very unhappy with this young, apparently inexperienced, doctor. So we did the wrong treatment for 3 more days and his pain was excruciating. Thank the Lord for our regular doctor who immediately sent him to the hospital, horrified at what he saw - the redness had filled over half of his upper leg. He still has pain in the leg even though it's improved greatly in the way it looks. Tylenol seems to be doing wonders on managing that pain. Let me know if you want to know anything more, and thanks so much for your prayers!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Greetings from LOVEland!

This is a bit of a re-wind from past years, with appropriate changes.

Way back in 1946 an idea came to Postmaster Elmer Ivers, Chamber of Commerce President Ted W. Thompson, and his wife Mabel. They had a vision - a vision to share the romantic name of our town of Loveland with the whole world.

So it came to pass, in the February of 1947 the Loveland Valentine Remailing Program was born. Since 1947, literally millions of valentines have touched the heart strings of loved ones with Cupid's message hand stamped and remailed from Loveland, Colorado.

Since 1962 a high school senior girl has been chosen to represent the program and the city as "Miss Loveland Valentine". Personal appearances representing the City of Loveland take this ambassador around the state of Colorado. An appearance at the Colorado State Legislature and a personal visit with the Governor are just two of the highlights in her busy schedule.This is the first governor's picture I've ever seen in all these years where he seems to be so thrilled to receive the official box of candy. He's quite the people person.

In 1964, a specially designed Valentine card was produced to offset some of the expenses of this costly program, and the Official Loveland Valentine's Cards continue to touch the hearts of people around throughout the world. Loveland Valentines can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce , from their Official Loveland Valentine web site, or through any of the participating Chamber merchants. Every year there is a contest for the card's design, for the message on the inside, and the cachet that is stamped on the envelope. This is the first year that I remember the governor ever coming up here to stamp the envelopes. Here is this year's winner, front cover, inside message, and the cachet on the envelope:

Heart-shaped messages on the light posts around town can be purchased by anyone who wants to leave a very public "heartfelt" message to someone they love. It's fun and a bit corny, but is the "heart" and soul of town. It does represent somewhat of a hazard as you drive and try to read the messages! I have never taken pictures of these, but here is an artist's rendition on the official card from a couple of years ago. I must take some pictures.

Loveland's "Valentine Sweethearts", Ted and Mabel Thompson have now passed away. The Loveland community feels their absence. To commemorate their vision and love of Loveland, their memory lives on through the annual Valentine Remailing Program. A bronze relief of the Thompsons is featured in Thompson Park on 4th Street in Loveland. (portions copied from the Loveland Daily Report Herald).

An average of 200,000 letters are stamped each year with the cachet and with the postmark from LOVEland. I read that Oprah even sent her cards here one year for the Valentine cachet. People from 110 countries send their cards here for remailing. The valentine program is so popular that there is a volunteer waiting list of 45 people.

Valentine's Day, oddly enough, has been overshadowed in our family ever since Kevin was born on the 13th in 1977. Happy 35th Birthday, my dear son.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

I'm glad you all enjoyed seeing the pictures of the girls. I forgot to mention that in the picture of the four girls that is also the header picture, there was a really old, ugly ladder leaning against the fence behind them. When I saw the picture, I was not happy to see the ladder. I e-mailed Michelle and asked her if it was possible for her to remove it from the picture. She said she could, and she'd be glad to, although she kind of liked the way it looked, kind of rustic. But I didn't, so she removed it. I love it that it was possible to do it.

So - - I haven't watched a sitcom for a very long time - based on the commercials I've seen, if they are portraying what they think is the best they are offering, well - no thanks. So I've been living in the past lately. I've discovered several retro stations, which are playing many old shows. This particular one is called METV - the ME stands for Memorable Entertainment. I've been wishing recently that someone would run "Mary Tyler Moore" again and, lo and behold, I found my old friend the other day.

Because that's what it was like, finding this favorite old show again. It was my first year of teaching and my roomie and I faithfully watched her every week. Then my roomie took a job closer to her family the next year and I was alone in the apartment, with Mary as my faithful friend every week. It was such a well written show - so clean, so decent. I loved her hair, her figure, her clothes, her apartment -- AND her car - I had a 1969 Mustang, so I felt like we at least had that in common!

I also have been enjoying "That Girl" with Marlo Thomas. I know it makes me seem very old, but I just love the way they dressed in these old shows - so modestly and beautifully. She could have used about 1/3 the mascara, but she was so cute. And the stories again were so pristinely clean - not a hint of impropriety - in fact, they very deliberately did the right thing when they had the opportunity to do otherwise.

I have a friend who started working with me at CSU the very same day - I told her from the first day that she reminded me of Marlo. What do you think? Do you see it?

The third one I'm loving again is "My Three Sons." I especially enjoy watching Fred MacMurray - and I love his facial expressions. Such good clean fun.

I had also found "Father Knows Best" awhile back and watched it until they started over again - really fun memories there.

Well, enough for now - have a great week!