The Book of Life

Life is like a book

The years come and go and each one leaves me a little older with a different perspective on life.  It’s a good time to reflect on where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and appreciate the people who have been by our side through it all.

Our 2014 chapter review:

We love and appreciate our home, which we have shared with Mom and Dad for eighteen years.  We enjoy helping each other and find comfort in having them close by. They will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in 2015. We’re grateful for their example and all we have learned from them.

Our son, Christopher, moved to Vancouver, WA in September. He is still working as an Air Conditioning and Heating Technician and found employment there. He is enjoying his adventure in a new city and state. He lives in the same town as his Grandma Wilson, Aunt Karen and Uncle Mark. We miss him, but we are grateful he is living close to family and the opportunity they have to spend more time together. We only wish we could be in two states at one time.

IMG_0333

Dad, Mom, Chris, Katie, Eldin, Barbara & Mark

Our daughter, Katie, and her husband, Eldin, live in West Valley, UT. Eldin works for American Express and Katie just celebrated five years with her own business, Graphic Forte, where she’s a successful graphic designer. They are very busy with Eldin being a bishop for the past 3 ½ years. It is so rewarding to watch both Eldin and Katie grow in this calling.

Katie had her cancerous thyroid and several surrounding lymph nodes removed in March 2014. She recovered well and is cancer free now. She looks great and is feeling better, which we are so grateful for.

Mark has spent his weekdays working at Ability Choice Services doing assembling work, but that contract will end this month. I’m still working as an account manager for Earthwork Property Management and appreciate the opportunity they allow for me to have a home office.

I started UnitingCaregivers.com in October 2013 and will have posted 190 articles by the end of this month. It’s time consuming, but rewarding and has far exceeded my expectations. Thoughts of what I’m going to write about are constantly dancing around in my head. I am also a part of two writing groups, American Night Writers Association and League of Utah Writers. I enjoy my association with these two groups and they’re part of the inspiration that keeps me writing.

138Another hobby is gardening. We had a great vegetable garden this year with lots of squash, corn, cantaloupe, tomatoes, peppers, onion, cucumbers and broccoli. Unfortunately, the brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower didn’t do well. We also have twelve grapevines, lots of raspberry and blackberry bushes, along with two strawberry beds. Mark was a great help with canning lots of salsa, vegetable soup and grape jam. We also expanded the orchard to twelve fruit trees this year, but the trees are not producing enough fruit to bottle yet. Having one acre gives us a lot of work, but we enjoy being outdoors so it’s great.

Mark and I with Mark Fox, the award presenter.

Mark and I with Mark Fox, the award presenter.

Mark received the Survivor Award this year at the Annual Brain Injury Alliance of Utah Family and Professional Conference. It’s been twenty-three years since the car accident. He’s not only survives, but thrives and we are so proud of his perseverance, positive attitude and endurance. Mark’s mother flew in from Washington and was there for the ceremony along with my parents, siblings, Katie and Eldin. It was a day we will always remember, which extended into a wonderful weekend as Mark’s sister, Karen, and brother-in-law, Mark, flew in later that night to spend a few days with us in celebration. We loved spending time with them and enjoyed taking them to Sundance and Park City.

Mark's family celebration

Katie, Eldin, Barbara, Mark, Mark Ray, Karen & Mom W.  We’re missing Chris, Jerrie & Jon.

 

Our days have been full with work, gardening, exercise, plays, concerts and writing. No time for trips this year, but we are looking forward to going to Idaho and Washington next year to visit family.

With December coming to a screeching halt I look forward to a new chapter of happy and exciting times, but realize some sad and difficult times will be sprinkled in the mix. I’m anxious to turn the page and see what I’ll have to write about in the next chapter.

I hope 2015 brings you good health and much happiness.

Think About a Thank You

Thank YouRecently I received a thank you card from a friend. The card was unexpected because I hadn’t given her a gift and it wasn’t a holiday. A thank you card for a friendship we share. This card made my day and as it sits on my desk, it brings a smile to my face and reminds me daily of all the people in my life I am thankful for. Do I tell them often enough how much I love and appreciate them? Do these important individuals know how grateful I am for their friendship and their influence in my life?

I’m thinking about a “Thank You!” Is it possible to say it too much?

I have a great mother-in-law, Wanda Wilson, who I appreciate for the way she raised her son and credit her for many of Mark’s wonderful characteristics. She lives in the state of Washington, so we don’t get to see her often but we are grateful for cell phones and email which allow us to keep in contact with her. We appreciate the love and support she continues to give us.

I appreciate my cute sisters-in-law, Karen and Jerrie. Mark adores his sisters who are ten and eleven years younger. They also live in other states, but we always enjoy our visits with them. We are also grateful for their husbands, Mark Ray and Jon Stevenson. They are so fun to be with. Thank you for your love and support.

My biggest blessing is Mark. I appreciate him even more since I almost lost him twenty-two years ago in a car accident. He was a hard worker before the accident, providing for our family. After the accident he continued to work hard at getting better. Even though he can no longer do electrical work, he still works hard at ACS (Ability Choice Services) doing assembly work. I am grateful for those who assist him at ACS.  Mark is a joy to live with. I am so thankful for his life, friendship, humor and the great example he is to everyone he meets. I am proud to be his wife.

I revere our children, Christopher and Katie Mae. I appreciate the wonderful, helpful adults they’ve grown into. I am also grateful for their companions, Jenn and Eldin. They are great bonus children.

I am indebted to my parents and siblings, their spouses, nieces and nephews, who do so much for us. Too many to name, but they know who they are. I know I can call on any one of them, any time, and anywhere. They are not only family but dear friends.

I am thankful for doctors and nurses, who have saved Mark’s life. I respect their knowledge and training and especially appreciate those who maintain the “care” in their healthcare profession.

I am grateful for the many rehab therapists who have increased Mark’s abilities over the past twenty-two years. I appreciate their willingness to work hard and think of creative ways to fire up the connection between Mark’s brain and muscles. They’re wonderful and I applaud their work. Because of them, Mark accomplishes amazing things.

Last but not least, I am so appreciative for friends. They support and encourage us. Many volunteer their time to help Mark with his exercises. They don’t give up on us. They lift our spirits and help us achieve great things. These friends truly feel like brothers and sisters. We are so grateful for all they do for us.

I can’t imagine life being joyful or fulfilling without family and friends, and we wouldn’t have much of a life without the professional caregivers that assist us in our health. All are angels among us and help us get through the tough times. I’m so grateful to you all!