Posted in family, life, love

Family

After an encouraging blog post from a  friend who knows the struggle I’ve been battling regarding physical fitness, I managed to get up early Monday and Tuesday mornings to go walk. Tuesday started out well: I walked 1.88 miles in 33 minutes. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I was pretty pumped up when I returned to the house because my friend told me that if I can walk a mile in 22 minutes, I will be able to complete the USA Fit Half Marathon in five hours. I signed up for the half marathon in August, before I started having gallbladder problems. Discouragement set in when I had to have surgery and then struggled with nervousness regarding exercising so soon after. My friend’s encouragement meant the world to me, so I was pretty excited to be back on track.

Not ten minutes after returning home, I received terrible news. My sweet father-in-law finally succumbed to the cancer he’d been battling for nearly ten years. When I met Bill, he wasn’t much older than I am now. We both attended the same church in Houston, but had never had any reason to interact. One Sunday morning before church started, I was peering over a friend’s shoulder to read a wedding invitation she held in her hand. I am not exaggerating when I say I gasped aloud at the bride’s name. The bride-to-be was the mother of the boy I’d dated in college.  The boy I’d dated and then broken up with on less than amicable terms. The boy who broke my heart.

My friend got very excited, insisting I should go and say hello. I wasn’t too sure about it, but the boy’s mother had always been kind to me, and I finally mustered up the courage to do so. Marcia was very friendly and invited me to the wedding. I wasn’t sure about going, but in the end, I did and I’m so glad. Eleven months later I married the boy who is my ex no more. That’s a story for another day, though, because today’s story is about Bill.

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Bill

Bill and Marcia met through a Bible study where they were both devoted students of God’s word. Their relationship flourished as they strove to build it upon the best foundation: Jesus Christ. Eventually, Bill proposed and Marcia accepted, and they were married on  March 23, 1991. They served in ministry together, wanting to share the gospel with all who would hear, taking it even into the prisons. Eleven months later I married the boy who had come to the Lord and became a changed man, and on that day, Bill and Marcia, AJ and I, we all became family.

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Marcia and Bill celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary (March 23, 2016)

That all-important word: family. There are those who might correct me, but if I had to tell you what word was Bill Rozelle’s favorite, I would have to say it is family. I can’t think of a single family meal that began any differently than this, “Father, family was your idea, and we thank you for it…” Family was so important to Bill. He didn’t have any biological children of his own, but when he married Marcia, he took her kids and grandkids for his own. When I joined the family, I truly felt I was one of his kids, too. He was always interested in what we, as a family, and we as individuals were doing.

Earlier today I talked with my daughter — she told me how much she would miss their birthday talks. I raised an eyebrow because this is something I’m not familiar with. Apparently, whenever she celebrated a birthday, he would think back to when he was that age and tell her where he’d been and what he’d been doing at 16, 17, 18 and so on. I think she was looking forward to their “21” birthday talk.

I’ll miss him scrounging around my kitchen looking for coffee fixin’s — he loved his coffee and didn’t always want to wait for the coffeemaker to brew. That’s when he’d brew up some “cowboy coffee” in a mug. The man was serious about his coffee. I’ll also miss watching him peruse our bookcases, pulling some random book from the shelf and making himself comfortable in a corner with his coffee. He loved to read and could become completely engrossed in almost any subject, no matter what might be happening around him. He truly cared about people and when my sister was going through a rough time, he always made a point to ask how she was and to say he was praying for her.

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Coffee: Check! Book: Check!

I know my husband will miss him, too. Bill loved my husband as his own son. A number of years ago, they both had motorcycles and would go for rides together. On more than one occasion, my husband accepted Bill’s invite to his church’s annual men’s retreat. A lot of the men rode, and they would all head to the retreat center on their bikes. My husband said those were some great times. Maybe he’ll go again next year in Bill’s memory. I hope so.

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Bill and AJ

I’m going to do something in Bill’s memory this January. I’d already signed up in August, but there’s no reason I can’t retroactively designate my participation in Bill’s honor: I’m going to walk a half marathon. My sweet father-in-law, in his day, ran full-blown marathons. He ran in the Boston and New York City Marathons, and he ran in the Houston-Tenneco Marathon. He was a real athlete. I’m just trying to challenge myself to eat better and move more. I think he’d be proud, though. Because we’re family.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Fairy Dust

I’m spending the day at my childhood home while a Lowes installer puts in our new laminate countertops. I’m sitting at a folding table with my back to the work area, minding my own business when I hear the familiar whine of a circular saw. 

The ear splitting squeal of steel cutting through plywood takes me back to a day, in this same house, when I was a very small girl. The scent of freshly sawn wood reminds me of my daddy working in the garage on one project or another, and I remember watching him, amazed and impressed that he could make such wonderful things with blocks of wood. At different times in my childhood, he worked on any number of projects in that garage. He and a friend made wooden frames for a craft shop in Pasadena. The frames had routed edges, and oval openings in the center with the same routed detailing. Then there were the built in shelves he made for the closets in our home, to make them more storage efficient. And bookcases. And the wall shelf he made me with a bar for hanging a quilt. 

Probably the wildest thing he ever built that involved the scent of sawdust was the wing for a Stevens Acro plane flown by Doc Eoin Harvey, and later Debby Rihn. Over the years, Rihn modified the plane because what competition pilot doesn’t want to make their wings better, stronger, faster? But my daddy was a big part of the original dream and when I smell the scent of sawdust, I think of that project and the sheer enjoyment he derived from working on that wing. 

Who knows if the next family to live here will be craftsmen, woodworkers like my daddy? I’d like to think, however, some residual bit of sawdust will float through the air, revealing itself in sunbeams shining through the garage windows. And the new family, completely unaware, will be inspired by that fine little bit of fairy dust known by average mortals as sawdust.

Posted in life

Still Here

I’ve been out of pocket for a bit. Health issues that took up a good month of my time — but all is resolved now. Granted, I have one less body part (who needs a gallbladder, anyway?), but almost three weeks post-surgery and I’m feeling pretty good now.

I’ve wanted to write, meant to write, but somehow every time I sat down to write — no words.


And I’m back… I didn’t finish the above because I had to leave for a client appointment. I’ve discovered that while I’m feeling pretty good — meaning I’m not sore any longer, I still tire pretty easily. When I got home, I threw together a salad and watched a couple of episodes of Bones with my husband. As much as I’d like to put it off one more day, I have to go to the grocery store. So I’m off to make a short list and go pick up a few things we need.

Maybe I’ll come up with something more interesting in the next day or two.

Posted in faith, grace, life

The Sin of Worrying

Late August I went to the doctor because I have been aching all over and wanted to find out why. I mentioned that I had a sore spot in my groin on the left side and my doctor determined one of my lymph nodes was enlarged. So she sent me for an ultrasound and referred me to a surgeon because she expected a biopsy of some sort would be needed.

After some tests, the surgeon was concerned because the ultrasound showed a lymph node of 5 cm. Normal is between 1 and 1.5 cm. He sent me for a CT scan, but the soonest it could be done was a week later (which was last Friday). I really struggled with fear, because I lost my mom to cancer last year and I kept thinking about all the artificial sweetener I’d consumed in 44 oz Sonic and Bucees diet sodas over the years. (Probably a tanker full, at least.)

This morning I began a Bible study that my daughter has been encouraging me to do. In the course of reading the lesson, I flipped open my Bible to a scripture, but along the way (and only one page over) I saw a sidebar with a topical commentary on “worry” and I read it, because I have been worrying greatly over all this.

Worry is paralyzed faith. Worry is telling God he can’t handle things, that I have to take care of them. Worry is a sin.

Needless to say, I felt conviction immediately. I asked the Lord to forgive me for worrying, because no matter what happened — I belong to him and I trust him with my life, however much of it may remain.

Five minutes later the surgeon’s office called to say the results were in and could I be there at 2:45 pm to discuss them?

For a split second I felt that fear, that worry try to creep back up, but I resisted, reminding myself of what I’d read and how God has me in the palm of his hand. I told them I’d be there, and then I called my guy and asked him to meet me there after his workout.

And here’s the good news: the lymph node has shrunk. It has gone from 5 cm down to 2 cm! Almost normal. My surgeon believes it was responding to a small spot I had on my calf (that was removed by the dermatologist and came back non-cancerous from pathology) that had become inflamed, and most likely infected.

I am so grateful to the Lord for such good news. In addition, the CT scan revealed that all other organs (liver, pancreas, all that good stuff) is fine — no weird things to be concerned about. Praise the Lord!  

Posted in duty, life

Duty

Tomorrow I have to head over to the county courthouse because, for the second time in my life, I’ve been called for jury duty. The first time I was called was in 1999, right after we moved to Brazoria County from Walker County. The call was for Walker, so obviously I got out of that one, since I didn’t live there any longer.

I actually postponed this one because it was originally scheduled for the time that we had an out-of-state trip planned. You get one freebie, where you can ask to reschedule your duty. I used mine. I’m praying that I don’t get picked, that they will decide I am too white, too educated, too conservative to serve on a jury. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s pretty much a given that those are not desirable qualities in a jury member.

The fact is, I’ve not been feeling too perky for several months now and I’m in the middle of doctors’ appointments trying to figure out why I feel the way I do, if there’s another reason aside from needing to (a) exercise and (b) lose weight. I have two appointments this week that I will have to cancel/reschedule if I get picked. So I’m hoping at least this time I’ll get passed over for my civic duty.