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Thursday, November 30, 2006


Conditions have worsened as the day progressed. We had heavy rain all night and steady throughout the day. The temperatures began falling quickly as the cold front moved in and we have ice on everything above ground level at dark.

We kept the feeders full for the birds who were at them all day preparing for the bad weather they instinctively knew was coming……they are excellent at letting us know about weather changes. Rocky and I tried to coax Napoleon into our garage to no avail. He is one bedraggled bird, let me tell you. He is wet to the skin, I’m sure. Rocky had fixed a rubberized tarp over his old International Pick-Up bed but for some reason Napoleon sat on our fence 5 feet away from the shelter and endured the rain.

I’m very worried about the bad night approaching. The pine trees are heavy with ice and hanging already, the ground is saturated from the heavy rains and wind is supposed to pick up as high as 25 miles-per-hour. This doesn’t bode well for the pines which are the backbone of the landscaping of our yard. We planted them from seedlings 35 years ago and they are like family to me. I realize it is not a crisis point but something I would miss terribly.

Springfield, MO has thousands out of power….the weather got to them first. We are 80 miles east directly in the path of what has passed over them. I am expecting to be out of power sometime during the night or tomorrow……if so, we will get through it.

Rocky is packed and ready to go if it’s possible. Nashville is expected to receive the weather that is passing us so the event may be called off from there or Rocky’s coach and team-members may call off going. Morning will tell us a lot of things so for now, I’m going to fix something to eat and keep glued to the TV reports. It may be our last hot meal for a few days……other than being at Becky’s.

I’ll keep you posted when morning comes……..

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Today the weather is the big news around here. The large mass of cold air moving down from the northwest is due to hit the warm soupy air coming up from the Gulf. From the looks of the weather map it should meet right over the top of us as the radical fronts collide.

Two things are of concern when you live in a mobile home…..an all electric mobile home. (I can see you’re already ahead of me.) Yes, the first thing is wind and the second is ice. In early Spring and late Fall we are prime targets for both. We have lost power a few times in the past 31 years that I’ve lived here but nothing we couldn’t survive for a few hours.

Thankfully Becky has a propane stove which works without power…..at least hot coffee and warm food makes the waiting better. I have enough candles around here to light up the county so I’ve taken note where they are and have gathered matches and flashlights etc; Becky was mid-State today at Jefferson City for meetings and hopefully she started home before the weather could follow her down.

I spent the day wrapping gifts to mail. I’m doing things as early as I can this year because we have quite a few medical appointments to make and I know the time will evaporate. As for cards, they will be electronic this year. Most of our family and friends have computers but those who don’t will get a card in the mail. It certainly isn’t my idea of a good old fashioned Christmas but I’ve always found when time is short, do the practical……it’s better than nothing at all. The tree that bends rarely breaks……

The forecast is for heavy rain, severe thunderstorms as the fronts merge, and then sleet changing to snow……expecting over a foot. After unusually warm weather, having doors and windows open for the last couple of weeks (on and off) the thermometer is to drop something like 40* by morning. Of course we hold hope the weatherman was drinking before that report and it will continue to be pleasant.

I was looking through my mother’s clippings……she always cut poems out of magazines or newspapers. I read one that was short and I couldn’t put away until I shared it. For those of you who knew my mother…..this is from her.

“Life itself can’t give you joy,
Unless you really will it;
Life just gives you time and space -
It’s up to you to fill it.”

…….and she did. Mom was a gentle spirit.

Until tomorrow (if we have power),
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


November is winding down and soon we will be in December. The things I promised myself I would make for gifts this year are still in the closet…..little hope of them getting done at this late date. I have always enjoyed making things for people, from food to crafts and all the needlework things. I still hope to be able to do that but……maybe next year. We weren’t planning on a year with cancer when I had all those bright ideas.

Family and friends continually tell me to get smart and do things the quick way….or the easy way. Somehow the quick and easy just doesn’t look sincere to me. As I make something for a person, each stitch or each cookie coming out of the oven, spells “home.” I love the preparation time and fussing over everything so it comes out just right.

I woke up with an agenda today. There were household chores that needed doing, but then I stopped by the garage for a moment. We have a large pantry with insulated walls and lots of shelves where I store decorations for different times of the year and lots of dishes. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take a quick look to see what I had to decorate with …….and the first thing I knew, I had a ladder in the closet digging and rearranging from the top shelf on down.

I’d forgotten a lot of things I stored away so it was like shopping without having to go by the check-out counter. I brought things in to organize and while Rocky was busy with his morning nap I began putting things up and finished most of the decorating. It turned off cloudy and gray with sprinkles of rain so it made a cozy day to be inside.

I am wrapping gifts to mail this afternoon and then I will get to some baking and candy making later in the week. It’s best to start early and keep in the freezer. Rocky will be leaving Friday morning for his Powerlifting Meet in Nashville and will be the first Meet that I haven’t been with him. I hate not being able to yell my support while he makes his lifts but I know the guys will do that for me. I am so hoping he can break more records for his age group.

This is such a nice time of year to be in touch with family and friends. More than gifts I believe stopping by to let someone know they are important to you means more than anything. The gift of time is priceless. A phone call, a letter or card tells that person they are important to you……still. Love those you cherish, bring joy to the forgotten, food and clothing to the poor and a smile to all you meet. The rewards are more than you can carry…….you’ll just naturally have to give a lot of them away.

…….and remember……. “Growing old is easy. The hard part is growing up!”

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 27, 2006


After the long weekend we are back to Monday again where life takes on familiar patterns. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Becky and her son and family. Of course little Brady was the big attraction with his walking and the scar on his head healing so fast. We were amazed with both. If you turn your head a minute it seems toddlers grow another inch and learn ten new things. They are a work in progress. We enjoyed phone calls from around the families which always makes it seem complete.

The next two days we were cleaning up leftovers and getting ready for Rocky’s daughter, Holly and family, to come on Sunday. We had dinner together and gift exchanges for three family birthdays……everyone had a good visit and enjoyed watching Napoleon parade around our yard. He is so tame that he isn’t afraid of anyone and I often wonder if that’s a good thing.

Rocky is preparing for a Powerlifting Meet in Nashville on Saturday. He will ride over with his coach and room with one of the guys. It’s about a 10-hour drive from here but I know it will do him good to get out with the “boys” and compete. It’s hard for me to let him go……I’m becoming overly protective of him and it will probably do us both good for a little time away.

We have new neighbor’s who moved into the Hocking’s home and they are busy getting situated. The new house across the street from us is almost finished and the couple have been moving in a few things today…….then down the road a little, the foundation is going up for the third home being built in that sub-division. We are now the oldest residents on our street and the longest to live on it.

There have been many changes since then both in the area and in me. I’m beginning to see why Daniel Boone kept moving on when it became too crowded and civilized for him…….he missed the natural things and untouched beauty of an area. The older I grow, the more I enjoy the back roads and quiet places. It is becoming harder and harder to block out unwanted sound and the commercialism that hounds every moment.

Another funny thing is….the older I grow the more I understand old people. It has taken a lot of living to understand why they think like they do and why they like certain things and why they don’t like other things. I’ve quit laughing at comments and actions I once thought ridiculous……I’ve started doing them. Laugh if you will, but the day will come when it all seems to fit.

A little further down the road it will all make sense……but you’ll have to wait and see………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

BULLETIN……JUST IN….Rocky’s MRI report is clear. No sign of tumor or abnormal activity in the brain. Naturally, we’re doing cart wheels…….great news!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


When I think about the things I am thankful for, of course the obvious things come to mind. That I live in a free country and am allowed to worship God without fear….for the health I’ve been blessed with and the family I was born into and the one I married into. For the children I’ve had and the friends that have been in much of my journey……for all this I am most grateful and thankful.

Then there are the daily things that never get mentioned. I am thankful for Napoleon. He walked into our lives a year ago June and through a lot of experiences, we have come to know one another and trust one another. We worried over him as a child. He had no where to go….we knew nothing about peacocks. By some magical formula we began the long road of understanding each other and became friends.

He has been roosting in our big oak in the front yard for some time again and he follows the cats and me around the yard as I work or walk Mandy. He is as much a pet as they are. He comes running to the front porch each morning for bread and other goodies and he makes his rounds throughout the day…..drinking from the bird baths or preening himself on top of our van. He walks up to the front door each evening about dusk and looks in to see if I’m coming with his bread. He waits until I bring some and then steps down on the sidewalk while I break it up for him. It is as much a ritual as the communion bread in church. He is thankful and I could reach out and touch him but I don’t. Somehow it would be a breach of respect.

We have three little garage cats. After Missy died, later that summer, a little stray Calico came to the edge of our woods and would sit for long periods of time. We realized she was lost or abandoned and over time lured her to our deck for food. Trust takes time.

Next, a little kitten was laying under a car at the Chevrolet Dealership in our town…….Becky noticed him when we went by and we were afraid he would get out in the street and get run over. We went back with food and milk….couldn’t catch him but Rocky went back the next day and told them if they could catch him we’d take him. A few days later, he was ours. We named him Chevy and he still likes getting under cars. What a cutie…..just like a little boy.

Becky called one day and asked if I would come rescue a female Blue Russian from their office. She rode in on a pickup truck and was wandering around the parking lot of their office. Of course I did, and we named her Lovey because she was so loving and grateful to find a home.

They are closed in safe and sound each night and let out the next morning. They have all their needs in the garage and that is their refuge when frightened or the weather is bad. Then we have old Morris and little Sassy in the house and Mandy who came to live with us in April. They have become very good friends and co-exist. They spend a lot of their day watching the outside cats.

God’s creatures give us so much pleasure. We have many varieties of song birds at our feeders and bird baths……and enjoy the squirrels as well. With the variety of critters our days are full and offer us everything from laughter to delight as we observe their comings and goings.

With all the obvious things to be thankful for…….sometimes we just need to stop and think of the wonderfully ordinary events in everyday. The things we spend so much of our time with should never be overlooked or thought less of.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “God must have loved poor folks….He made so many of them”……which leads me to think, He must have loved little critters for He made so many of them……..and aren’t we thankful that He did?


Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Preparations all across the land are being made for Thanksgiving Day. It is the largest travel day of the entire year and difficult as it is, families will close ranks and come together for this special day.

The ones of us who were once the little ones and traveled to grandma’s house are now old and getting ready for all who can come home. This year will be our first year to have little Brady……and he is enough to celebrate “thankfulness.”

The little guy came into a loving world with several serious problems. His world at the time was very small but it soon became larger with each necessary surgery. First he had to have an extra finger removed from each hand….and then as soon as they could, they removed an extra toe from each foot.

We all thought the worst was behind him but it wasn’t meant to be. One of his doctor’s was concerned about his soft spots closing too soon and it became apparent he was right. Brady went back for very serious surgery to correct that and even when his eyes were swelled shut he blew kisses to all the nurses and doctors who came to check on him. He was a joy to all in spite of his circumstances.

Little Brady is a good example for us to follow. When the chips were down he spread smiles and joy. He blew kisses, he stood up to the required expectations with grace and came out just like we wanted………one more normal little boy. Not every little boy went home those days that Brady had his surgeries. Some parents were faced with the fact their child didn’t make it.

It is foolish to take our children for granted……at any age. Too many parents don’t have a happy ending to the trials that beset their children. Accidents, disease and illness can take them away from us……sometimes fast, and sometimes slow. It is wise to love them while we have them and to be thankful for the love they bring to us.

I am thankful for my children and grandchildren and the great-grandchildren. Tomorrow I will write about some other things I’m thankful for……….

……it will be hard because my list is long.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 20, 2006


I’m happy to report there are no big changes in the lab work. We do not have the results of the MRI yet……that should be coming sometime this week. Rocky’s chemo was the same “recipe” as last time which gave him less bad side effects. It is a long day and very tiring to us both so I’ll be back in the morning after we’ve had some rest.

You never know who will show up in the Cancer Clinic. I was visiting with a mother whose 41-year old son was being treated for colon cancer that had metastasized and gone into his liver and hip bone. He was on crutches but in good spirits. Later this afternoon she came over where I was and told me I seemed familiar, and she was trying to place where she had seen me before.

After a few questions, we both realized she was working in one of the Court Houses our Driver’s Examiner crew worked each Monday. I used to stop by her office and visit a little……..she finally recognized me by my voice. It has been 10-years since we’ve seen each other and have both since retired…..she laughed and said if I were still in uniform she would have known me instantly. Well…..10-years has a way of changing us. We had a good laugh and she left with her son. I wish them well…..our days probably won’t connect again at the Clinic.

We are all like ships passing in the night……we meet one another and become acquainted with one another’s cancer story……then we may never see them again. I often wonder how their story turned out and it is sad to see several new patients each time we go…..all ages, all kinds of cancer and all manner of family members who come along. I commend the young women who take care of us all……they have a big job and they do it as grace under fire.

God has to have a special place in heaven for nurses………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther


Today is chemo day so that means an early appointment and most of the day. I’ll post results from the lab when we’re home this evening.

Have a great Monday and here’s a little thought for the day……

“If you tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried to do nothing and succeeded.” ..............Flora McKennon

Until this evening,
Essentially Esther

Friday, November 17, 2006


Signing in to let you know we returned home safely last night. Tell me prayers don’t work? Rocky said it was the easiest MRI he’s ever had (which is about 10 now) and he was walking on air when he came back to the waiting room. He was throwing bouquets to the girl who took him through the paces…..arriving at 7:30 pm we were the only ones in the whole building other than the receptionist and the girl who attended Rocky. Now we need to continue our prayers that the end result will be favorable. I’m not expecting news from it until next week. His next chemo will be Monday…….



He just polished off a plate of ham/cheese/eggs and a home-made cinnamon roll. He’s looking mighty happy. The calls have already started coming in and he has received several e-mail cards. Thank you so much.

He will be King for the day……(isn’t he always?) and will be showered with all of his favorite goodies to eat.

OK……got to get moving to the kitchen for now. Have a great weekend and I hope someone spoils YOU real good today…….just because you’re YOU!! Nobody out there like you so you’re very special.

Let the birthday celebration begin………………..

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SOUP'S ON........ 

Today isn’t fit for man nor beast. Gray clouds have been boiling overhead with gale winds and cold rain. Flood warnings are out and snow is expected tonight. How much is up for discussion. We live in an area that is impossible to predict since East meets West and North meets South in the middle of Missouri. We are on a track of one or the other until the wind comes in from an opposing direction bringing a whole different scenario. Our weather has many moods.

Rocky and I went down to the Cancer Clinic this morning for his lab work. While there I was able to get my flu shot and Rocky already had his so now we’re done with that. We ran a few errands and then I dropped Rocky at the gym to work out a little……he still goes but has lost a lot of strength and lung power.

I made a trip to WalMart for Thanksgiving groceries and a special dinner for him on Friday to celebrate his birthday. The store was packed and people were buying groceries like crazy……I guess the bad weather brought them in. No fun to be stuck in the house with nothing good to eat. I am amazed how much goes through the check-out lanes in just the time it takes to get up to the register. I wonder how much money an average WalMart store takes in for just one day. Don’t have a clue.

I put some stew meat in a small electric roaster to cook until tender, then added ingredients for vegetable soup. At present, it is simmering and the smell is going all through the house. I was wishing I had an old electric stove back that we had years ago. It had three burners and a deep well. I haven’t seen a deep well in a stove for years. I thought they were wonderful…..they held heat like a crock pot and would simmer soup, beans, chili……all that good stuff to perfection. I actually used mine a lot and since it is long gone, I have to use the roaster. It’s much the same idea but I did love those old stoves. Ahhh, times gone by.

Tomorrow we go to Springfield for a 7:30 pm appointment at the Imaging Center. We needed Rocky’s MRI done ASAP so took the first available time. We will be returning home late tomorrow night but happy we will have it over with. We can sure use your prayers that they don’t find anything negative.

Tonight we are poised to learn the winner of the Dancing With the Stars show. We have followed it from the beginning and are amazed at the level of dance ordinary people can learn in a few weeks. Talk about a “work-out”…..I can see why dancers are nicely proportioned, they use every part of their body hours at a time in practice. It looks like a lot of fun but now I’m content to be a spectator.

……and now, it is time to dish up some of that soup!

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Sometime ago, I wrote about our good fortune to see a Chief’s game and have a Chief’s jacket to wear as well. It was to be a great weekend in Kansas City provided by Rocky’s brother, Richard and wife, Helen. We were to spend a little time with George the day before, then meet them on Sunday and go to the game.

We all knew it would depend on how things went with Rocky’s treatments and recuperation. The game we were to see is this weekend, Sunday the 19th. When Rocky had the seizure last Wednesday, it set some wheels in motion that have finalized, now making it impossible to go.

With Thanksgiving week coming up, the chemo dates have been set up so that Rocky will be getting his chemo this coming Monday and then on Tuesday we go to Springfield for an MRI. Rocky’s neurologist wants to make sure there isn’t anything bad going on in his brain since the MRI taken in September. The medication he takes to prevent seizures is at the proper level according to blood work so that prompted the necessity for another look.

The sticking point is the fact the colon cancer metastasized before we knew Rocky had cancer and now that makes every small change something to check out. I am thankful we have an aggressive team of doctor’s who are doing everything they can to extend his life expectancy…..and quality of life.

You never know how things will work out when you make plans. Richard and Helen generously suggested they mail the tickets to George who would be able to see the game in our place. I think they deserve a big round of applause for their kindness, first to us and then to George.

Rocky’s birthday is Friday and I promised him a German Chocolate birthday cake. He will be the nice full age of seventy-five. It’s hard to think of ourselves that old when it seems just a few years ago we were in high school with a crush on each other. Time seems to flow along for all of us and we are very grateful for the good years we’ve had together. God willing, in the Spring, I’ll catch up with him when I turn seventy-five as well.

If you reach those golden years and still find a lot in life to be excited about, have a loving family, good friends and your hand in God’s……..you are a success. No one gets a free ride but the difference is gratitude and attitude…….it makes rough roads smooth and ordinary days very special. It’s hard to be down when there is so much to be up about…….and there are more ups than downs if you keep looking up.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 13, 2006


Words are a funny thing. They can absolutely kill you, make you laugh, fall in love, incite to riot, lie/tell the truth alike, inspire……the list goes on and on. I would venture to say we all have reams of words from the past that speak to us.

I find the older I grow, more of the words from my parents come to mind. Advice I didn’t think much about at the time that somehow stuck. When I think of certain people, a cameo pops up with something they said that was memorable.

I have had good friends, acquaintances and people from all walks of life who have added to my knowledge and character; realistically speaking, I’ve also had some bad experiences where hurtful words landed and I routinely try to forget.

We can’t control what people say to us. The thing that scares me is most of us don’t control what we say to others. No one starts out in the morning thinking, “I want to say every mean thing I can think of to everyone I see today” but we all know people who seem to have that mindset. Before the day gets started some of those unkind words pop out ahead of us…..and then the day follows from bad to worse.

As a whole we interrupt others conversations and don’t listen enough. I guess that’s why some of us love to write…….we can do all the talking on the word processor and no one can get a word in edgeways. We are in control enough to erase words that don’t “play” right with what we want to say and the whole conversation is edited. Too bad it isn’t like that in open conversation……most of us would be sure to soften the language and tone of voice if we could do it over.

At times, it isn’t what is said, but the tone with which it’s said. That’s good and bad with writing because the “tone” never comes through. I’ve often heard it said that you learn a lot by listening and I believe it. In other’s conversations I can learn how to act and what not to say…….it is also true that action speaks louder than words. A picture is worth 1,000 words and that’s true but the action and picture will fade….words stick much tighter.

Knowing how adults took time for me growing up, who cared enough to steer me in the right directions…..and all the good influences that have enriched my life…..(thanks, Walt Disney) I give thanks. Because someone took a few minutes with me here and there I am a far better person than I would have been without them. Having good examples to follow are the best teachers……..and gratitude for having had that makes me want to give back. Words! used in the right way are very powerful.

Deciding to give back and following through can shape someone’s life, especially your own………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I am nearing the age of seventy-five and in those short years six wars have been waged along with several troop deployments to various places in the world. I have always heard that History repeats itself and I believe it.

The adulation after WW11 celebrated the sacrifices of that generation to make the world free……we couldn’t foresee another war coming. Yet in just a few short years we sent troops to Korea as the Cold War began freezing people inside the Iron Curtain. Korea was a bitter enemy with atrocities we could barely imagine.

Viet Nam was a battle zone long fought by the French and again, our country sent young men and battle-savvy troops to help free the country from the grip of Communism. The Cold War continued to scare the world as tensions mounted everywhere……..and then came Desert Storm.

By now America was on the battlefield with the troops, watching as they fought a different enemy. Television brought the war very personally into our living rooms and we were glued to the scenes…….some unbearable to watch as captured troops were forced to stand in front of the cameras, wondering if they would ever make it home again.

Before we could take a deep breath, the sabers rattled in the desert again and we went back to give the Iraqi’s freedom and stop a dictator from his arrogance concerning the United Nation’s stand on building atomic bombs. A war that once seemed over and with good results deteriorated into a Civil War among the religious groups of the land.

In foreign countries there is no “quick fix”…….the differences one group has against the other have been going on longer than our country is old. Our blood has spilled on continents, islands, oceans and in the air over countries we couldn’t even pronounce the names of…….let alone find on a map.

With all of these variables and uncertainties, young men and now, women, have answered the call to their country without hesitation………not only to defend our own nation but to bring peace to other suffering people. Many of the troops killed in Iraq have been volunteers, on their second or third deployment……highly trained professional men and women who wanted to make a difference.

If they could give all…..and only for a dream…..how can we neglect or dishonor their sacrifices? This day, this hour, our husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles…….are paying the extreme price of valor. May God bless their efforts in life and may they be swiftly taken to meet Him in death. For the families, who sacrifice along with and without them, I offer a humble thanks.

People like me can never know the depth of suffering they have endured, just to make me free. I’ll never know the kind of discipline or courage that goes with being a soldier. What I can do is to be grateful, to offer thanks, and to remember my freedom is not free. Someone paid my price for it…….God bless everyone of them.

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Today we broke the record on this date and this month. The thermometer went up to 83* which has been the warmest recorded since something like 1833 or so. My poor little flowers that were nipped back from frost in October are blooming away and looking pretty frisky. My mother’s rose bush has one perfect little bloom on it. The ones of you who have read me for a long time know that she always brought me her last rose of the summer. When I saw the bud on her bush (now in my yard) it was as if she reached across the boundaries that separate us to give it to me. It is a special moment to see that last bloom.

My oldest son, George, called from Shawnee, Kansas to visit a while ago. He told me to enjoy tomorrow because cold air from Canada is on it’s way again and their temperatures have already started falling. I always think of Ellen up there in Winnipeg when those Canadian Clippers come charging down out of the northland.

Rocky and I went back to the Clinic today for the nurse to remove his fanny pack which had emptied of the chemo this morning. He is always happy to be untied from all the plastic lines and the pack he sleeps with. Knowing how men hate neck ties and being all girded up I wonder how they’d act if they had to wear panty hose. Probably be a hard thing to get used to…….but oh so much better than the old girdles and supporters us gals had to battle in the “old days.”

When I think of all the under-garments and the clothing that covered all of our bodies it makes me wonder what young women today would do with all that? It seems clothing is getting scantier and scantier with each passing month…….I know I’m getting on in years because seeing all that bare skin and the anorexic bodies on young women of today make me head for the cheesecake in the frig. Yes, I’ve become a “golden girl” of sorts.

Eating has come a long way since I was a girl. Back then we didn’t know what a calorie was or worry about cholesterol. What we did worry about was getting enough to eat. No one had to beg their kids to eat and everyone ate the same menu at the table. Table? That archaic thing that sits in the kitchen in most homes of today…….I just don’t believe in treating our bodies like a test tube where we don’t get too much of this or that..……the many books of diet and the corporations who cater to the food gods are endless.

Lets just eat and enjoy the food, work hard enough to use up the calories and thank the good Lord for giving us health enough to process good eating. Actually, His plan was very simple for life on every level……feed the body, feed the mind and feed the soul…….a daily diet of those three things keeps a smile on your face…..and as Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing”………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We spent the day at the Cancer Clinic yesterday. The CEA numbers did not go up which is the good news….the other news is, it didn’t go down. It seemed to satisfy Dr. Morgan who said getting it stopped and turned around was good enough for the past two weeks.

He made several readjustments to alleviate some of Rocky’s side effects that have been giving him problems and so far it has been doing the job. He has three super whammy pills for the first three days and after that is when we find out what side effects, if any, he will incur.

He had a slight seizure this morning at 6:00 which we are watching. He has been taking medication for it since his brain surgery over two years ago and has not had a seizure since. It could have been a reaction to the medications new to his system. We go back to the Clinic tomorrow to have the fanny pack removed so we will talk it over with them at that time……barring further complications.

Cancer is a deceitful, quiet enemy that works in the core of your body without shame. It does it’s evil work unseen and untroubled until, for many, it is too late. You can never let your guard down…..it’s like crossing a river with alligators. You know they are there, under the water somewhere but you hope you make it across before they grab you. It’s a strange dance of chance.

One of my favorite scriptures is in Psalms…….“the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but time and chance happen to us all.” Through many trials in my life I have used that verse as a call to arms and it has seen me through. We are not victimized by cancer because we don’t choose to be. It is an ever learning experience to understand, recognize and respect your enemy. We are not alone…….and we can be the voice for those who cannot speak.

If you are without cancer today……rejoice in the day. If you are cancer survivors, rejoice in the day……and if you are presently in the battle with cancer….rejoice in the day. Yes, the message is the same……. “This is the day the Lord has made, we will be glad and rejoice in it”……………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 06, 2006


It’s been a rainy day in the Ozarks. After such a dry summer and our water table so low we are delighted to see water in any form. Rain gets a bad rap at times when it spoils our plans but being without it very long can change your attitude quickly.

Not having rain effects everyone and everything. I am reminded how dependant Nature is on the balance of things……any shortage starts at the top and trickles on down. My dad used to say if the farmer goes broke, the country goes broke. A younger man laughed at him…… “It’s the large companies and industry that keep the country going…..they can overcome the farmer’s demise.” My dad laughed a knowing laugh and shook his head. “You’ll see,” he said….. “you’ll see.”

Within a few short years we all felt the pinch when the farmer’s dried out and didn’t have crops, didn’t have cattle, chickens, pork or other farm products to sell. The high prices at the grocery stores were felt by all of us and when the high gas prices hurt the farmer, we hurt right along with them. It makes me sad when someone demeans a “farmer” as if he were a second-class citizen.

Where would we be without the farmer? The American farmer feeds the world. His wife often teaches school or works at some job ‘in town’ while the children grow up learning about and respecting life……and caring for it. Often times he works at some other job as well to make ends meet. The family is a unit to take care of the land they call their own.

Where can you learn responsibility so young, to grow up free with lots of room? The rest of us work in buildings, some without windows…… we don’t feel the sun on our back or the sting of cold sleet…we work by the clock and with air conditioning, furnaces and vending machines. Offices filled with the noise of machines and people on phones……the instant life of business.

I remember walking out of our big building when the workday was done and it was like perfume to smell air so fresh after a rain. I grew up close to nature and I missed the sights and smells…..the sounds. Dad has been gone a long time now but the small pine trees he planted for mom are huge and a haven for the birds and squirrels…..the highest trees around. He would have been proud to see how they have grown.

I have a picture of him in his garden, leaning on his hoe as he gazed off in the distance. As a young man he had farmed with horses and crude machinery….in planting time, often by the light of the moon. His young bride would bring food for him to eat and they dreamed the dreams of the young. Now he was old and weathered, his cultivating was with a hoe held in his hand.

What were his thoughts as he stood there?...his feet on the ground he just tilled and his eyes to the sky. I wish I knew but they were never spoken.....

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Friday, November 03, 2006

A NEW DAY..... 

What a difference a day makes…..Rocky had a very “Rocky” day yesterday and I’ve been ailing for a week. We both threw in the towel and babied ourselves with concoctions of medicines and a nap……..still didn’t feel too great afterwards. We had a quiet evening and turned in early. Thankfully I woke up feeling much better today and it’s a good thing. I need to shop for groceries as the cupboards are bare.

We are nine months into knowing about Rocky’s cancer and doing something about it. Our journey has taken many twists and turns but overall I think he is holding his own. His color is good and he isn’t depressed or worrisome……of course it would be nice to feel better but considering the cancer and chemo his body has been through he is grateful to feel as well as he does.

Our time machine is much the same as the accepted time line…..BC and AC….meaning of course, before cancer and after cancer. He has lost some of his before cancer weight and his part time job and a lot of the muscle power he used to lift weights with at the gym. After cancer surgery, the chemo, the piles of Integrated Medicines, the juicing…….and being hooked up to lots of liquids dripping into his body, he has become aware of the many faces of cancer.

There is a very young woman who comes into the clinic and her husband carries their little toddler behind her. There are fat people, skinny people, mean looking people and happy looking people. There are those with looks of resignation and others who come with hope on their face. Some come alone, others have family members. Some are brought in by caregivers and others drive themselves. We have seen every phase of the disease in each other………

The thing we both cling to is not to take it too seriously. I’d much rather dance my way out than crawl and Rocky feels the same way……we are individuals who refuse to be put in a “pack” of cancer losers. I feel sad when I see how beat down some of them are and it just makes my resolve tougher. There are no surprises……we know it is terminal but why let it rob you of the precious time you have left?

Even while faced with the reality of the disease there is still much to be grateful for. One thing is…….all the years God has already given us. Another is……we were years and miles apart from high school until the past few years……we are grateful we are even together. I believe it was a guided gift to both of us…….two hearts pulling towards each other for many years. Only God could make the events happen that brought us together.

Another reason is, that I’m a very good nurse. I’ve taken care of family since I was a little girl….always trying to “fix” what was broken. (Ask my dolls.) Rocky was not a good patient, didn’t like doctors, hospitals or pills. It’s a miracle that he found faith and friends within all of it. His doctors are top notch and care about him. They are proud of his tough and determined attitude that athletes have……and he cannot do less than respect them for the same determination to keep him alive.

Why do bad things happen to good people? They don’t!! Good people and God make bad things good…….it is always a learning experience, a time to stand up and be counted for what you know you can do….and to be thankful for all you’ve taken for granted over the years.

When things happen out of our control I am thankful to be more aware of all the good things that’s happened in my life. It would be disrespectful to ask God why we have to endure such things……..especially since He has declared that all things happen for our ‘good.’ Knowing that……who can be afraid, angry, resentful or feel we’re being punished?

Look around, there are always people who have it tougher than you. That has to give you strength to carry your own cross……………

Have a great weekend,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Here it is Wednesday already…..the week is half gone. When I was employed it was always a good day with only two left to put in. Since retirement, time goes by rather routine except for medical appointments and Sundays.

Monday and yesterday the leaves came down like snow flakes. They were so pretty a week ago and suddenly they are mostly on the ground. The cats were freaky about them blowing off the trees in such numbers…. and at times the acorns peppered down like buck shot……the outside cats tried to catch them or duck them, however it struck their fancy. Even our two inside cats sat fascinated by the windows watching the leaves float by.

Rocky called me to the door on Tuesday. He had been walking Mandy when he heard geese overhead……..he wanted me to see them so I hurried to the deck. It took a few minutes to find them as they were higher than I expected. They must have been on a good jet stream so high up……they were headed due South and we watched until they were out of sight.

Their continuous honking to each other and flight patterns are comforting in the way nature goes right on doing her thing regardless how us silly humans mess up her world. When I was a little girl in Omaha we saw a movie, Wild Geese Calling, with Henry Fonda and it seems like Sylvia Sidney had the female part…..anyway, for some reason I remembered the movie and how the geese making their pilgrimage each year was such a large part of it. It’s funny how some things stick in your mind from early years and in great detail……and now we can’t remember where we put our glasses down five minutes ago. That movie was way, way back in the 1930’s……..

Rocky had his lab work today and so far they haven’t called us with results. I know they will call as soon as they can…..they don’t want their patients feeling anxious. His normal chemo date is next Wednesday again and he’s feeling better, finally, after the last one. The side effects from this particular chemo have really packed a wallop but hopefully it’s beating the cancer up, too.

We have entered into November which means election time, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and preparation time for Christmas. It is a time to be in closer touch with family and friends and to think of others less fortunate. No matter how little or how much we have there are wonderful ways to share our abundance with others. Finding a way to do that is where the fun is……..

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther