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Saturday, April 29, 2006


Good morning from rainy Missouri. We are finally getting a good soaking rain without the spotty isolated thunderstorms that have missed us up to now. It is like manna from heaven to receive such good life-giving moisture.

We have had a very busy four days since I last wrote. Early Wednesday morning we reported for Rocky’s first chemo treatment in West Plains……a 20-mile drive from our house. After the initial check-in we were sent to the chemo room where five nurses were in attendance to take care of approximately 8-chair patients and 2-rooms for bed patients.

It was a very well organized unit with nurses who were upbeat and familiar with their patients enough to joke and playfully tease them. You gals know how our men like to have attention and especially when they are on unfamiliar turf. In no time we were feeling at home and it seemed more like a social outing than a serious medical appointment.

We had a cross section of fellow patients. Some old, some young, men and/or women who were faced with the same situation....some had been long time patients and two of us were new…..a lady who was next to us and Rocky. The 7-hours went by fairly fast because we were getting a crash course in needs we would have sooner or later down the road. It didn’t take long for us to realize the convenience of the port as bag after bag of fluids went into Rocky.

We were given a large packet of information and then Rocky was fitted with the “fanny pack” to wear until Friday morning when he would need to come back to have it removed. It would continually drip into the port for the next two days. In retrospect, that was more of a hassle than the initial treatment at the clinic. Wearing the lines taped to his side along with the pack made it difficult to sleep the two nights he had it on. However, with a little adjustment here and there we have figured out some improvising for the next treatment. (Every other week.)

We were expecting Rocky’s brother Richard and his wife, Helen, who arrived shortly after we came home. We were as excited for them to come as we were to put the first day of chemo behind us. Richard and Rocky are the two youngest and have always had much in common…..Marie, being the oldest, always keeps tabs on the boys and is an expert on family history. Harold, Helen and I have a close bond since we are the “grafted” in Rockenbachs and we like to keep them on their toes.

Marie and Harold came on Thursday around noon to join us and had stopped in Rolla to nbring sandwiches from Panera Bread Company……a favorite of ours….so we had lunch together and an afternoon of visiting. They were happy to see Rocky looking so well and feeling no effects from the chemo. His appetite has sagged but his color is good and he is trying to eat more although he is actually happy about the weight he has lost.

On Friday, the four of them came from their motel together and we drove to the Medical Clinic to remove Rocky’s fanny pack by 11:00 a.m. Rocky had great fun sending his brother in first to confuse the staff…….they share such family resemblance they are often mistaken for one another. Ruby, the senior nurse, was almost fooled but not seeing the fanny pack, she realized it wasn’t Rocky. After she finished removing his pack she came out with a port to show the family what Rocky is wearing, how it works, etc; Once Rocky saw the length of the needle that goes into the port he was a little aghast. It proves that what you don’t see doesn’t hurt you.

We drove over to the gym to introduce the family to Craig, owner of The Firm, where Rocky and I work out. Again, Rocky sent Richard in first and for a moment Craig was almost fooled…….but figured it out by the time Rocky walked in. They had a big laugh and then Craig and Richard had a good conversation discussing the part of California where they had both lived at one time. It always amazes me how small the world can be.

It was almost noon so we took a recommendation from Craig on a place to eat lunch. The café was located across the street from the Court House which is in the center of the town square…….the cafe was not familiar to Rocky and me but Richard found a parking place right in front of Café 37. The original building was erected in 1837 as an Opera House. We were treated to a nice entryway which led into a charming room of cloth-covered tables with a fresh flower in the center of each. We had an intriguing menu and finally made our selections…….then scanned the surroundings which were lovely. An original metal ceiling with a pressed ornamental design had been painted in a glossy copper color, enhanced with large antique chandeliers.

One wall was mirrored the length of the room while the other was the original brick “fire wall” between the buildings. Although the café was charming and the meal well served, the food was a disappointment. We decided the ambiance was worth the effort………..and after a short drive to see one of the area springs we then came home to enjoy some cake and ice cream……which never disappoints any of us.

We visited around the table long after the food was gone talking over old times and relishing the memories. Then the part of the visit I always hate the most…they would be leaving from their motel this morning so we hugged goodbye and watched until the last car was out of sight. I know they were all grateful to see Rocky looking so well……he seems to overcome each physical setback with the heart of an athlete…..always bouncing back to play another day. May it always be…….

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


We have several pieces of good news in the face of some we’ve had lately that wasn’t so good. As for trivial, we have had two good rains now and everything is flourishing….a bonus for the “gardener” side of me. Rocky and I made a trip to the nursery for some potting plants and came home with a van full. This year we are trying some new varieties and it’s pretty exciting.

We were happy to learn that the kid’s father, George Sr., is doing well after surgery. He comes from parents who lived well into their 80’s and came up the hard way. Sometimes I think the rougher the start the better the finish. I know from gardening that the pretty and perfect looking plants don’t always survive even with TLC.

Becky threw some snap dragon plants over in her brother’s lot last year because she said she saw worms or bugs on them. She didn’t want to plant them so out they went. A few days later, Rocky noticed them, picked them up and brought them to me. They were so wilted and pitiful I didn’t think they’d make it. We planted them and they not only lived, they thrived beyond a couple of frosts at the end of the season. I know people are the same. Strong roots come to a tree that faces the wind.

Little Brady is getting better after his surgery which is good news….he’s putting some roots down of his own….back to my “rough start” theory, I think he will be as tough as a pine knot when he gets beyond this last surgery.

Poor Jennifer, our granddaughter, lost her Smokey that Becky told you about in her blog. Jennifer is hurting as deeply as anyone losing their own child or best friend. We are praying she finds solace in the ones of us who cry with her. We’ve been there and we know the pain.

Last is the news that came over the phone this morning. Dr. Morgan’s nurse called to ask if we could begin chemo tomorrow. I almost leaped through the phone and kissed her. We’ve been sitting at the starting line grinding our wheels waiting for the “go” flag. We would have gone tonight at midnight! She filled me in on what to expect and it looks like an 8:30 a.m. date which she said would run around 5 hours or so with this first visit. We are ready! Mandy will be dropped on the way to be groomed and for her physical, shots and whatever else she’ll need.

We are expecting Rocky’s brother and wife and his sister and husband arriving on Wednesday and Thursday. It will be a great time to be together to celebrate Rocky’s induction to cancer therapy. We have the best doctor in the area, his family will be here and he has a new doggie….I will not be writing again until Saturday to catch you up on what’s happening at the Rockenbach’s so take care of YOU and we’ll see you then.

God bless,
Essentially Esther

Monday, April 24, 2006


We had a wonderful rain during the night which is making everything pop wide open this morning. The early flowering has gone but we have something to enjoy from daffodils to frost. Rocky slept most of the weekend away. The Vicodin works extra good on him…..he can go along ways on very little pain meds.

I did manage to pull off a surprise for him. Becky had called about a week ago asking if we would like to have a 2 ½ year old Shih-Tzu female dog……registered, and her owners wanted to give her a good home. Of course, my immediate thoughts were of the work a dog takes as opposed to cats.

Then I thought of Rocky. He gave up his dog breeding operation, his cattle, sheep, goats, his cats, his farm and finally his truck to marry me and move to a 1-acre home. All that just to be with me. Becky could sense my hesitation and interjected, “It would be really good for Rocky, mom, something for him to focus on while he recuperates from the chemo in the days ahead.”

Well, my name is Esther……not Scrooge, so she got me with that one. I could do it for Rocky if for no other reason. I told her to tell the benefactor we would take the dog and could they deliver it on Sunday the 30th which will be our fifth wedding anniversary. I knew it would be the perfect gift for Rocky…..who has been very good to my cats but is a born “dog person.”

The delivery would have to be sooner……so yesterday little Mandy came to call about 11:00 a.m. while Rocky was watching television. Becky came over to distract him even more and then we saw the vehicle arrive and park in George’s lot next door. When they came strolling across our yard, I told Rocky to get up and look at a surprise I had for him.

His reaction was that he thought we were just kidding about Mandy….not REALLY for him, was it? He loves the breed and raised a bunch of them over the years, he said Mandy was a beauty in her markings…..perfect colorization, good white teeth and a little tail that never quits wagging. She’s a happy little dog. When it set in on him that it was really his, he was in disbelief……..Rocky knows how I am about keeping the house clean, and I had repeatedly said, “No dogs.”

Isn’t love grand? That’s the key that turns the lock…..I gave him a gift he thought he would never have, living with Mrs. Clean. I will have more to say about Mandy and the cats impression of a new furry thing they hoped was just here for a visit. However, I have a busy day planned so I will save it for another day.

Thought for the day:

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." by Maya Angelou

Someone out there is waiting for you to do something to make THEM feel good. Why not give it a shot today? It will make both of you feel good.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Friday, April 21, 2006


Rocky is hooked up and running with the big dogs now. He’s sporting a port on his left upper shoulder/chest area and back home with a prescription of pain killers. He didn’t hurt that much and didn’t think he needed them. Ha!! I’m no surgeon but I’ve always heard you have to keep ahead of the pain…….so we’re ahead of it. He must have had a bad experience “playing doctor” when he was a kid because he sure is wary of medication…..I’m no pill popper myself, but there are times when you need it and times you can choose or not. This is one of those times when you need to.

We have been released once more from Dr. Eck and given back to Dr. Morgan who will get in touch with us as to when he wants to begin the chemo. The sooner the better. So far, Rocky has just been shadow boxing and he’d really like to get into the ring. Hopefully next week he will be getting that call.

Thank you for all of your love and prayers. We’ll keep you posted on his progress. It seems slow getting started but I suppose we’re just anxious to kill this stupid cancer that hooks onto so many of us. For all of you out there who are going through the same trauma or have a friend/family member who is…….we know we aren’t alone in the fight. With all of us banded together, it has to do something. If not for ourselves, maybe for the next ones to come. Walking, running or crawling, we’ve got to make a difference……..we’re all at ground level.

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Tuesday we had our meeting with Rocky’s surgeon again to set up an appointment for the port implant. Dr. Eck was very pleased with Rocky’s progress and our grasp of the situation. On Wednesday we went back to Outpatient Surgery to go through the paperwork we did over 5-weeks ago…….I guess they have to keep medical people employed somehow……tomorrow morning we go in for the port so Rocky can begin chemo.

When cancer strikes it seems everyone is an advocate. In hospitals you are primary to their interest and everyone is appropriately respectful of your condition. In the world at large, everyone is a doctor. They pour out information about how their second cousin on their wife’s side had the same thing and blah, blah, blah…….waiting for you to realize how important the hot tip is to overcome this and live years beyond your expectations.

We have had strange names of medical cures written on napkins and passed to us, and a long list of do’s and don’ts someone found on Alternative Medicine sites. We find it interesting that so many advised us against any chemo at all because of the failure rate……..by whose standards? Though novices in part, we know of many people who wouldn’t be here today without chemo. Lance Armstrong is still our hero….and now, more than ever. If even one person beats the odds, that’s a big number when you enter the fight.

Naïve we may be but we have faith in the doctors who are treating Rocky and we have an army of family and friends…….even people we don’t know and will never meet, who are praying for us and standing in support. God listens. That is the best advocate I know. He not only listens, He has the answers. We can’t see the end of the journey but He does and more importantly, is on the road with us. I use “we” because when a spouse has cancer, you do too. Cancer hits both of you.

I wrote about an aunt of mine who had breast cancer in the 30’s. It was a death sentence because cancer was a killer disease then……no one survived it. If you are diagnosed with it today, the odds are very good because medicine and understanding have advanced far beyond where medical people were in the 30’s. I expect in the future it will be controlled all together.

In the meantime we are doing everything we can to survive. Rocky is strong and young for his years. Although the results of our efforts are out there in the future somewhere we are not afraid of failing…….we’re only afraid of not trying hard enough. Cancer CAN be beat and we’re going to try and make it happen. Live every day God gives you as a gift………because it is.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, April 17, 2006


John breaks his own record by finishing at 3:21:30

Way to go John!!!!

I’ll be getting his phone call any minute……so I’ll be back later.

A very proud,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Jesus Christ, 33, of Nazareth, died Friday on Mount Calvary, also known as Golgotha, the place of the skull.

Betrayed by the apostle Judas, Jesus was crucified by the Romans, by order of the Ruler Pontius Pilate. The causes of death were crucifixion, extreme exhaustion, severe torture, and loss of blood.

Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham, was a member of the house of David. He was the Son of the late Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, and Mary, His devoted Mother. Jesus was born in a stable in the city of Bethlehem, Judea. He is survived by His mother Mary, His faithful Apostles, numerous disciples, and many other followers.

Jesus was self educated and spent most of this adult life working as a Teacher. Jesus also occasionally worked as a Medical Doctor and it is reported that he healed many patients. Up until the time of His death, Jesus was teaching and sharing the Good News, healing the sick, touching the lonely, feeding the hungry and helping the poor.

Jesus was most noted for telling parables about His Father’s Kingdom and performing miracles, such as feeding over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, and healing a man who was born blind. On the day before His death, he held a Last Supper celebrating the Passover Feast, at which He foretold His death.

The body was quickly buried in a stone grave, which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea, a loyal friend of the family. By order of Pontius Pilate, a boulder was rolled in front of the tomb. Roman soldiers were put on guard.

The family has requested that everyone try to live as Jesus did. Donations may be sent to anyone in need.


Because He lives, we also will live…. and in that day we shall see him, face to face. I hope you celebrate Easter in the true meaning of the word. Jesus said, “I am the Word and the Way. He who believes in me will never die, but have everlasting life.”

Essentially Esther

Friday, April 14, 2006


Today is a big day for John. He will be packing and organizing…..his thoughts will be racing in a red sport car all around his head. For all intents and purposes, he is a Jeff Gordon getting ready for the “big one.” John is already thought out by the time he stands at the start line……thought out and ready. More ready than anyone I know. His middle name is for my dad and he lives up to dad’s mindset. By the time a decision was made, dad had already done it all in his head. “Finishing up” was just a no brainer.

His big brother, George, will be the only family member to join him this trip. Becky is too involved with work situations to be able to go…….and you know about us. We planned to go again…..but…… John, Barbara and George will be touring parts of the Boston area that we couldn’t work in last year and we will have to ride along on the shoe with the chip. We have the advantage of being there so the image is very strong in our minds. I will never, ever, forget the crowd, the faces, the joy of a race well run. Runners are just a different breed from the rest of us.

All this from a little boy who was supposed to be club footed and reading Braille. It’s been a long, long road for John to be at this point in his life. Everything he tackles has been successful……give him a setback and it does no good…..he just comes out of the chute more determined than ever. He has one quality that outdoes all the others……determination. He has this really stupid idea that nothing can fail so long as he puts his whole self in the mix. The laughter died down years ago when he kept showing the rest of us what that means.

OK……so now you have figured out this is his mother writing about him. Not an ordinary mother who sees no fault in her son John…..but one who has looked in the face of a baby who had a lot going against him. What he has done since then is out of the ordinary. John is a winner…………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 13, 2006


How do you define something so perfect, so beautiful and so inspiring with words? Something that is felt so deeply you are already in another realm. That happened to me Tuesday evening.

Rocky and I usually watch for Napoleon’s last feeding on our deck and after that he goes to the bird baths for a drink. We know this is paramount before flying up to bed which is usually in our big oak. However, lately, he has been going back to Becky’s tree for a few nights before returning once again to his high-rise at the Rockenbach’s.

I stood up to catch his flight when I noticed the western sky was ablaze in the most glorious colors I have even seen. From the western horizon to north and south the sky was simply adorned with clouds reflecting every shade of mauve to brilliant pink. I was overcome with the moment…….the moment that only happens occasionally in ones’ life. It’s suddenly a time of reflection of who God is and who you are…..a panorama that I felt was just painted for my eyes. You know what I’m talking about……it’s a fresh awakening of your spirit to all the best of God, nature and yourself. How you fit into a plan.

You feel close to all things good. While I was drinking in the moment….Napoleon lifted his powerful wings and flew effortlessly to the lower branch of the oak. I watched as he slowly turned and pivoted to the branch of his choice. He began preening his feathers and getting ready for sleep.

I remained at the door not wanting to leave the view and I watched until Napoleon was a dark silhouette against the sky. He seemed enraptured with the sight as I was and stretched his neck to full capacity, then cried out three different times. I like to think he was praising the Creator as I was for the gift of beauty. Napoleon himself is a gift.

As the last sliver of color slipped from view I felt privileged. We know sunset where we are is sunrise to others. It is that knowledge that keeps us going and gives us strength in hard times…..if there is a sunset, there will also be a sunrise.

A sweet benediction of the day.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Not a lot to report on here. We finally have our appointment to see Dr. Eck, the surgeon. We see him at his office a week from today and will have a consultation on the procedure for the port…….then be turned back to Dr. Morgan to begin the chemo. Doctors seem to work on a different time table than the patient. Once you know you have cancer, the thought of something growing in you day by day makes doctor visits seem too few and far between. However, they want Rocky totally healed before they begin anything else.

We keep telling ourselves the doctors know what they’re doing. We also whistle in the dark………. We’re glad we have a God whose eye is never away from our needs.

Meanwhile, we continue to keep positive thoughts and keep busy. Laughter is good. Now that we’re both “home” more we have realized how terrible daytime TV is. It continues to become more vulgar and negative. It’s a shame when it is such a good learning tool for us all. Why can’t sanity take over for once?

In closing, I’d like to leave you with some good words from an anonymous author found in Max Lacado’s Inspirational Study Bible.

Press on.
Nothing in the world
Can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
Nothing is more common
Than unsuccessful men
With talent.
Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius
Is almost a proverb.
Education will not
The world is full of
Educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination
Alone are omnipotent.

So whatever “good” you’re working towards today, stay with it!

Hang tough.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, April 10, 2006


Spring is bustin’ out all over. The bush honeysuckle, azaleas, flowering crabapple tree, flowering almond, quince, bluebells, wild wood-phlox, red bud trees and my prize pink dogwood tree are all in bloom. I wish they would be on deck to greet the Rockenbach siblings when they come to visit in two weeks but I know they will be past their prime. We are so excited that Rocky’s brother Richard and sister Marie will be coming with their spouses to visit a few days. Helen, Harold and I are the “outlaws” of the Rockenbach clan.

April is a special month for us. On the 30th we will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary!! Considering how long it took us to get to the happy state of matrimony, five years seems like a drop in the bucket. It is a big milestone for us and one we will look back on when our twenty-fifth rolls around.

This week we will be getting lined up with Dr. Eck to put in the port so Rocky can begin his chemo treatments. We are anxious to get to the next phase of his recovery.

Have a great Monday everyone. Becky calls it a “kick butt” day but when you’re our age, getting a boot that high off the floor is a trick. Yah, right!! ….and this guy lifts weights for his fun. I like to stand on my head in my flower garden for “kicks.” Fun changes throughout your life, I have found.

Kick whatever you can and have a great day!!!

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Friday, April 07, 2006


What a difference a day makes. We have basically spent two months getting ready for our visit with Dr. Morgan. First it was our local doctor, then colonoscopy, the CT, a visit to Dr. Eck preliminary to surgery, healing enough to see Dr. Morgan and then full circle yesterday.

As I said last night…..all we wanted was a chance. We got it.

That was a big step up for me. In November 1996 I sat in a doctor’s office a few blocks from where we were sitting yesterday and I couldn’t help reflecting on the comparisons. Bear and I were sitting in front of Dr. Applegate’s desk as she was delivering the results of his MRI.

It was virtually a death sentence. No way out……and it would be fast moving and quick. The sky was dark gray and overcast with rain falling when we left the building. I was in shock. When we got to the car I began crying……..how could I give up my husband with so little warning? I couldn’t imagine my life without him…… that other person who is your soul mate and ingrained within every part of you. The marriage vows ran through my mind…… “and the two shall become one”……. over the years, that had certainly been the case. We were one.

Bear died in our home less than three months later. I had the privilege of caring for him myself……many hours sitting by his bed while he slept or giving the care that was needed for his comfort and condition. In the long months after, I wrote poetry which would later be a testament of the journey.

I made myself look forward and spent time wondering what God would have for me in the time I had left. All the things I enjoyed before are the things that kept me going afterwards. I found comfort in the normal routine of each day……

I remember thinking, “I know I still have a lot of love left in me to give…..what will I do with that, God?” After four years he brought Rocky into my life as quickly as He took Bear “home.” Once again life had new meaning and we had a very active and gratifying (almost) five years together before the big “C” came into our life.

Yesterday, I sat with Rocky watching it rain in the waiting room. I thought how strange it was to be raining again. My two husbands had such similar history’s with me. Bear had a fast moving brain malignancy and Rocky had brain surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor. They both had the same surgeon. Now we were waiting to see another doctor just blocks up the street from Bear’s last visit to Dr. Applegate.

Terminal cancer….yes. ….but please give us at least a chance for treatment. We got the chance. I remember reading about the Spiritual leader of the Ogalala Souix Indians written by his descendant, Black Elk. Later when we visited the Black Hills National Park we met him and had our pictures taken with him.

He wrote that his grandfather would make certain visits to the highest point of the mountain to worship God and while he was there in prayer it never failed to rain. He called the rain God’s blessing on his visit……that God heard and answered. One time Black Elk made the trip with him and it was very dry. No clouds. His grandfather continued in steadfast prayer.

A little cloud on the horizon came closer and closer and before they left the mountaintop a gentle rain fell upon them as a sweet benediction. Rain was life-giving in Indian culture.……..and the rain fell yesterday.

Until tomorrow,
Essentiallly Esther

Thursday, April 06, 2006


We just got home and settled. I know you are all wondering about Rocky and we got exactly what we went for. A chance!! Dr. Morgan lined it all out for us……and the end analysis will depend on Rocky’s response to the chemo we have chosen.

We didn’t know there were basically three kinds of chemo and after Dr. Morgan’s good comparison of risk verses results we chose the first. Don’t ask me what the name of it is…….but compared to the one that most always causes nausea and vomiting we took the one that did none of that. The only side effect might be some nerve damage….the up side was that it was probably the most effective. Once that was explained it seemed like the best choice. It might be a good thing to lose a few nerves, looking on the funny side.

We will soon be going for outpatient surgery to put a “port” on Rocky’s upper chest for the chemo and after a couple of weeks they will be adding Avastin which will be beneficial with the chemo. It’s a new drug that’s having very good results with liver cancer. Although this is colon cancer that has gone to the liver it will still help the process. We had seen the program on it recently and hoped it would be available to us. When Dr. Morgan mentioned the use of it I was very pleased that it was already in the works.

That’s all there is until we get further down the road. Prognosis is two to four years if the treatment is successful…….maybe more or less. We aren’t considering anything but a good run at it and we appreciate your concern, love and prayers from all of you out there. You are and have been a very important part of Rocky’s recovery.

I’ll keep you posted on results……and now, when I count to three, all of you take a big breath with me and lets relax a minute. I think a cup of coffee is due right about now.

Love to all of you from,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Yipppeeeee!!!! Tomorrow is the day we see Dr. Morgan. At last we will know how much, how bad and how to hopefully fix it. We’ve been pretty much on the back burner until now…….I would imagine we will be engrossed with recovery as soon as we see Dr. Morgan.

Our appointment time is 3:30 pm so I won’t be able to get news on the blog site until evening but I will let you know what we find out ASAP. There just isn’t anything to write about now……we’ve been doing some light yard work and Rocky has taken over filling the bird feeders. It isn’t a small job, either. He has made feeders out of gallon plastic jugs and we have them from several poles in the back yard. This time of year the red-wing blackbirds empty them pretty fast and our beautiful song birds of every variety have to eat in between. Scrubbing and cleaning, filling etc; the bird baths take more time……..then he walks up and down on our road.

For resting times, he reads, watches judge shows and naps…..all very good for healing the body. So until tomorrow……..keep us in your prayers and let’s pray for a game plan that works. At least we want a fighting chance………..

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Monday, April 03, 2006


We got our promised rain….albeit with hard wind, hail and tornadoes. Thankfully we only received the rain, our poor neighbors to the east of us got the brunt of the storm. Missouri had three fatalities while Tennessee was hit the hardest. I believe they are still looking for bodies in the rubble with cadaver dogs.

It’s almost cruel to enjoy the rain when others paid so dearly…….life isn’t always fair. The rain that came to us has certainly improved our lawn and gratified our efforts to lay the fertilizer down. It was hard to accomplish and while we were proud of those efforts we feel bad for those who were in the path of the killer storm.

Rocky spent most of the day reading his favorite author, Louis L’Amour, on the Sackett’s. Becky’s daughter, Jennifer and her husband gave him a book a month of the Sacketts…….and he is enjoying them now that he has time to read more. He also spends time watching after Napoleon…..making sure he is staying close. All we have to do is look for the cats and then we find him instantly. The bird feeders and bird bathes are changed routinely by both of us working together…………the birds are so beautiful this time of year as they get their new bright feathers. The goldfinch look like a yard full of dandelions…..they simply couldn’t be more colorful…..and the cardinals, bluebirds…..even Napoleon almost look like neon lights.

There is so much to enjoy about living. The more you slow down the more to be seen, felt and enjoyed. I remember a phrase voiced in church one time that spoke volumes. “Some things are better “felt” than “tellt”………it is certainly that way with Spring. No poet or author has ever been able to describe what one feels when confronted with Spring. It is like trying to define one’s soul.

Today we will make the trip 28 miles north to the county seat of Texas County. The town is appropriately named, Houston. It fits, don’t you think? We will shop at WalMart for needed grocery and household items and some soaker hose…….maybe a new shower nozzle for the hose…… We have decided to soak our flower beds this season since it takes little effort and time…Rocky has suggested that for several years but I always liked holding the hose and playing in the water.

Rocky is a visionary when it comes to saving work and time. He always looks like he isn’t doing anything….but……that is only because he does it simply, doesn’t hurry and follows his “plan”……..I have learned a lot from this man. My fear is that rather than become efficient, I will become…….lazy.

I hope you have a good Monday which follows by a good week…….and stop to smell the flowers………

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, April 01, 2006


It is warm and wonderful where we are. The birds are singing like crazy, the windows are all open in the house, fresh air and buds are everywhere. I expect by evening many of our bushes will be in bloom.

Rocky and I have been slowly getting some outdoor things done. We made two trips to the feed mill here and brought back fertilizer for the lawn and black sunflower seeds for the birds. Since I don’t have much arm strength and Rocky isn’t to lift anything heavy, we pulled the bags to the edge of the van and cut a hole so they could drain out enough fertilizer to fill the spreader each time until it was gone.

I became the “pusher” as I walked around the yard, spraying 13-13-13 everywhere. We normally use the Scott’s products but our town doesn’t carry them and we are limiting our trips to our bigger town where we do most of our shopping. We have simplified our lives tremendously because our main focus now is on Rocky’s health. The other things get done when it’s convenient and not before.

Rocky comes first with me.

He is looking really good!! His color is good and everything is working great. His scar is without tape now as the last of it came off in his last shower. Of course we are beginning to look ahead to Thursday now when we have our date with Dr. Morgan, the oncologist. We have received quite a few positive sites to examine on the internet and success stories from our friends and family…..who know of other survivors.

Win, lose or draw we are in the fight of our life…..but not without hope. It is Spring here and life is coming forth in a huge panorama of survival.

Until next time,
Essentially Esther