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Friday, March 30, 2007


Yesterday I wrote that cancer has no power. Sadly, we discovered where there was too much power for some friends of ours. Some time back we signed up for faster access to the internet from our server. For a while it was great……I was flipping around almost faster than I could comprehend.

Then it seemed to slow down to the speed we formally had. During peak times it was irritating enough that I considered calling the server but never did. This week our power took turns going off and then coming back on. Rocky checked the fuse box and everything seemed to be in order.

When the power came back on some of the overhead lights had less wattage than a candle. I finally gave up and called our power company who had a technician in our driveway less than an hour later. After some initial checking he noticed black smudge at the top of our pole with a large lump caught in the wires and crammed in behind the metal power box.

When he took the face off the meter box the bottom of it was full of dead hornets. Last year Becky spied a hornets nest attached to it and Rocky sprayed and tore it down……of course some were left inside the box but died from the fumes. You never know what will turn up at any given time with nature and mankind vying for the same space.

The technician went back to his truck and returned with two large extension poles. After some effort he was able to dislodge the obstruction and to our amazement, two squirrels dropped to the ground. Of course they had been electrocuted and poor little things left up there for who knows how long.

Rocky and I are critter lovers and it made us sick. We enjoy the squirrels as much as the birds and all the other little guys who use our yard for a playground and food supply. So now the computer is faster again…..I don’t understand electricity so I don’t know if that was the problem or not. Maybe I just think it’s faster…..I’m not going to spend a lot of time analyzing the possibility.

Power, like so many things, is good and bad. Too much; not enough? Either can be destructive when not used in the right way. We all have a certain amount of power at our disposal and the trick is knowing when, where or how much to dispense at any given time.

Just make sure your power source is from the right place……..

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Rocky and I want to thank all of you for your love, support and prayers. We went to the hospital this morning for the CT and will have a week to wait for our next Oncology appointment. They may call after reading the results of the scan or they may not. Time will tell.

Rocky looked less yellow today and is feeling much better. The abdominal pain is gone that he complained of and we think we know the reason, which isn’t connected to the cancer so if we’re right, that shouldn’t be a factor.

Here is our thinking. We know the signs of liver failure. We know the severity of the cancer. What we don’t know is what God will decide to do about all this or how the doctors will figure into the equation.

So what we don’t know has more power than what we DO know. Therefore, we live on faith and hope…….and know the outcome is in the right Hands.

…….and that’s just the way it is.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CHANGE 33..... 

The news is not so hot today. This is the second time we’ve had to postpone treatment because there were just too many side effects going on to be prudent. Rocky has been losing strength and has also experienced shortness of breath. This has been laced with some abdominal discomfort and he hasn’t bounced back from the last Chemo/Erbitux treatment he had three weeks ago. This is accompanied with loss of appetite and the liver function appears to have something in the duct….or…..they just aren’t sure. They have scheduled another CT in the morning and we see the Doctor again on April 5th to figure out how serious and what options we have. His skin is yellow from jaundice…….so this is the total of what we heard today.

His blood work is amazing which I give credit to the herbal medications I’ve been giving him through Dr. Wieh’s program. He hasn’t given up and we can’t either. If you have extra prayer time we would appreciate your prayers for him and our friend, Ellen. You faithful readers know who Ellen is.

We’re hanging tough and will wait for the next phase to see where we are in the fight. We thank you for your moral support and love. We’ll keep you posted.

I forgot to mention my Becky’s birthday yesterday because she was in Jefferson City and we are having her birthday dinner tonight. She has a choice of her favorites……pizza, killer nachos or burritos. I’m loaded for Mexican tonight…or Italian…..or both. Hey, it’s all good, huh!! Rocky is looking forward to burritos which is his favorite thing.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


In reading John’s blog this morning, it set me to thinking. He said what we are eventually shows on our face and in our hearts. I remember an old Alfred Hitchcock program where a family was bickering over a fortune left by a deceased family member. The story is in Europe at the time when masquerade balls were very popular.

Knowing they would act on greed and hatred towards one another his will stated they had to choose a mask and wear it for a certain period of time. There was a large box to choose from and they each selected one and put it on. The rest of the story was full of malicious treatment of one another and at the end of the program they were to remove the masks and have the money.

To their horror, as they took their masks off, their faces were contorted into the hideous replicas of the masks they had worn. They were doomed to live their lives out in hiding and alas….the fortune they fought for was useless.

I for one would fight anyone who wanted to lift my face back to the way it was in my “hay day.” I was raised in a family where we respected our elders and the lines they wore on their faces told the story of their lives. Faces that had worked hard in the sun before SPF was ever thought of, soap and water was the beauty treatment and the hard times were faced without a psychiatrist. The women before me in the family line didn’t worry about brown spots on their hands…..they used them. My, how they used them!

No trips to the gym to work out, they got enough work at home. No sleeping pills to sleep, it came the minute their heads hit the pillow. My own parents experienced the first automobiles made…. to the moon flights……there was a lot of hard living in between those national accomplishments. They lived through the depression and ended up being some of the first homeless, living in an old car parked in an alley with a little baby.

Dad tried everywhere to get work and was overjoyed when he could earn enough to get an apartment and feed the three of them. Believe me, it wasn’t up to the minimum wage and the work was 12 hours a day. They didn’t end up on drugs to escape their hard circumstances, they lived through them.

Knowing the hard times my family had before me, I can find no ground on which to complain. I am deeply grateful for my blessings and there are many. I look to my children and my grandchildren to carry on with the strength and pride we’ve passed to them. The inheritance we leave is so much more than money.

It’s in the genes………….

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, March 26, 2007


I grew up in a family of proverbs. I don’t know if it was just our family or if it was the times. My mother had a way of addressing everything. I was a very active little girl and stayed busy doing something all the time. “Haste makes waste” my mother would say. If I had a scary dream and told her about it before breakfast, there was a quick reply. “Tell a dream before breakfast and it will happen before night.” I never told bad dreams before breakfast after that.

“Don’t walk under a ladder or let a black cat walk across the road in front of you, it’s bad luck, a stitch in time saves nine, cackling hens and giggling girls come to no good end.” “You kids better stop laughing or you’ll end up crying before night.” My mother was very close to her maternal grandmother and most of the superstitions or proverbs came from her. “Blessed are the dead the rain falls on but doomed is the bride, red in the morning shepherds take warning…..red at night is a sailor’s delight,” putting food on your plate when you already had some meant someone was coming hungry.

If a bird flew into a window you would hear of a death, and if one famous person died, two more would die. “They always die in three’s” Mom would say. “Thunder in January, frost in May. It’s hotter than a cat on a tin roof…..never a borrower nor a lender be, too many cooks spoil the broth, may as well eat the devil as sup his broth, they’re acting as wild as a chicken with it’s head cut off.”

I could go on and on but those old “sayings” pop into my head every day as the occasion presents itself. Becky and I laugh over them because anytime we have a conversation one of us will mention a proverb or two and it always makes us think of mom.

We have sworn to keep them alive as long as we can, hoping some of it will trickle down the family chain and be a comfort when needed. I love using the old lines my mother used to say because it makes her seem closer…….and I like that.

What are some of the things you remember about your family that make it unique? If they are pleasant to you, be sure and pass them on.

Just remember: If you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back……………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, March 23, 2007


Things are pretty quiet here today. We have a soft rain falling…..and the temperatures are pleasant. The grass has greened up all over and the leaves are popping out everywhere. A short drive around town made it possible to view forsythia in almost every yard. It is so bright and pretty….like sunshine scattered about from a paint can in the sky. With the bright green grass, daffodils and forsythia it is almost a green and yellow world.

Spring is such a pretty time of year. The freshness after so much brown and gray during the winter make it very special. I guess it’s the newness…..the chance to begin again that makes it such a “feel good” kind of emotion. I’ve never met anyone who had negative things to say about Spring.

We had a guest for lunch today which offered a good visit and time to exchange news around town. Sadly, each week when Opal comes, there are always acquaintances we have known who passed away the week between visits. Babies born, folks coming home from the hospital, job changes etc; Our town is a regular Mayberry kind of town where we know each other and care for one another.

Rocky is low-key today. He has had nausea again and after eating has been able to lie down and sleep through some of it. Having nausea with three children I can sympathize with him. It isn’t a pleasant feeling at all and I’ve never known any cure to get rid of it. Some things do help but not completely.

Becky will be home in another hour or so and then she only has one more week to teach. I’ll be glad when she’s finished because I am concerned for the long drive home on crooked roads and the sleep she has to fight. There will be occasional teaching on and off all summer but not to this extent. She has received high praise for the job she’s done.

Almost time to call a halt to the week. I hope it’s been a good one wherever you are and with a pleasant weekend ahead. Even though retired, it seems more fun when the weekend rolls around for some reason. Old habits are hard to break I guess.

From my mothers box: (Author unknown.)

Life is a story in volumes three,
The past, the present, and yet-to-be.
The first is finished and laid away,
The second we’re reading day by day,
The third and the last of volumes three,
Is locked from sight, God keeping the key.

Until next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 22, 2007


What is laughter? Why did God create us with the ability to laugh? The dictionary says to laugh or laughter is to express emotion, typically mirth, by a series of inarticulate sounds, characteristically with the mouth open into a wide smile. The experience or appearance of joy.

Do you laugh very much? Do you smile very much? It seems we were made to experience great joy along with the outward show of laughter but many hardly can get out a small chuckle when others enjoy a good belly laugh. I notice in the sidewalk shots on TV that most people have a serious and even sour look on their faces as they trudge on to their destination. Stress is everywhere.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandmother. She was a good woman and a godly woman. Few could measure up to her virtue or strict discipline she lived by. I rarely saw my grandmother laugh in all the years I knew her. Life was not funny for my grandmother. It’s true she had a hard life, yet I’ve known others who have had hard lives and could find a lot of humor in any situation.

Some people have the gift of laughter that makes everyone laugh along with them even when they don’t know what’s so funny. The Bible tells us there is a time to laugh and a time to refrain from laughing. It’s powerful medicine. Science has now proved that people who are happy are sick less than others, take less medication than others and are living longer than people who are depressed or angry at life.

Laughter is a great stress reducer. It difuses anger and helps you digest your food better. Who do you enjoy being around? Someone who is optimistic, pleasant, enjoying life and giving you pause to laugh? Or maybe you seek out folks who are always “down” and their tone is monotonously flat.

I don’t see God as a grumpy old man, cracking a whip and jotting down every mistake I make. I see Him as someone who is pleasant with a face of wisdom and compassion. If He created us with the ability to laugh, then I feel He has humor and enjoys a good laugh as well. I think we were made to laugh a lot more than we do. If that were true, I think a lot of us would be less likely to get ourselves in the messes we seem to do.

Stop and count how many times you have a good laugh tomorrow. If you’re surprised, and under-whelmed……try to laugh more. Pretty soon you’ll have more people laughing and smiling around you……because……because it’s catching! It’s the best beauty treatment you can give your face…..smiles are much prettier than a scoul.

It’s possible to push the saddness and negative feelings you have off the radar. I love what Abraham Lincoln said once when scolded by a friend because he thought he laughed at something he shouldn’t have. Lincoln looked him in the eye and said, “If I didn’t laugh, I would surely cry.” Trust me, Lincoln had a lot to be sad about but he preferred to lighten the situation rather than make it worse. There are always nay-sayers who want to shoot you down because they perceive you just aren’t politically correct or perhaps professional enough……that’s OK….their face would probably fall off if they ever cracked a smile.

Are you going bankrupt, did your house burn down, have you lost your last friend? Did your son marry a woman 30 years older than he is, or did the stock market crash? When the hard times of life come, it is hardly the things we surround ourselves with that matter. I am not one who enjoys loss of any sort but does it really do any good to let it ruin the essential things of living? Life, for instance.

For some of us, our days are growing short. Does it do any good to let it ruin what time we may have left or is it better to find pleasure in each day with the gifts God allows? Rocky is like a rock. He is steadfast and in control. He goes about each day with simple pleasures…….and we laugh. There is a time to laugh and a time to refrain from laughter. I do not mean to be disrespectful but there is a day for all of us when we will answer a distant call……keep hope alive and hold tight!

I know whatever happens is a plan……..maybe not our plan, but we have to believe, a better one. Whatever happens cannot effect, destroy, postpone, deny, or forestall the good things God has in store for us. We belong to Him and we are in His care.

We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else…………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


This morning we went to see Dr. Lewandowski, Rocky’s local doctor. He’s a great kid who took a liking to Rocky the first time he saw him. Strangely, Rocky took a liking to him too. Rocky, in general, wanted no part of doctors, hospitals or pill pushers. He was able to enjoy that opinion until, alas, he married me. Soon he had lots of reasons to see all of the above and I was the driving force to get him there.

Rocky has always been a guy who took care of everybody else. He gave money away to anyone who needed it or had a hard luck story…..he was an easy touch for most anyone else and never seemed to care about his own needs. Rocky did without a lot but on the other hand, he was easy maintenance and happy within himself.

He loved trucking because it was a way for him to get around the country and see a lot of the U.S.A. He was a library of roads well traveled, scenery, history and anything connected to trucking. He just kept going when he was sick or hurt because that was all he knew.

I don’t believe in chance meetings. Dr. Lewandowski was the right doctor at the right time for Rocky. He was the one to tell him he had a brain tumor, took care of all the little stuff and had to tell him about the colon cancer. We learned it was terminal and length of life was a question that would play out in time. The amazing part of that day was the power of love in that room.

Dr. Lewandowski said he would like to introduce Rocky to his best friend if he had never met him. Rocky asked “who?” and he said, “The Lord Jesus Christ.” We spent about 45 minutes engrossed in conversation of faith, hope and the reality of a Heaven. Knowing we were Christians lit his face up and he couldn’t stop smiling.

Today was much the same. We talked about the purpose we were created for and the peace and strength God gives above all other. I am no physician or mind reader and certainly do not know God’s reasons for doing things the way He does……but I do know there is a reason for everything and when our circuits are overloaded He steps in and re-routes to our advantage.

How else do we look at death as a door instead of a defeat, feel joy when we should feel pain, see the impossible when it isn’t possible, or give ourselves for others when we have needs ourselves? It is because there is a God and there is a little tiny seed, called Faith.

Faith does not diminish our circumstances……it carries us to the arms of God.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Dr. Morgan decided against any chemo again this week. He wanted Rocky to get the last treatment out of his system before starting something else. The chemo makes Rocky so nauseated that he needs medication and then ends up sleeping all the time. Dr. Morgan doesn’t want him being doped up to the point he isn’t enjoying life.

Last week he was so badly broken out that they passed on the chemo and Rocky did feel better. He was able to do some yard work with me and take care of the bird feeding and watering, which he enjoys. Today his rash was drying up at last but is still very red.

Dr. Morgan said it was a real dilemma to know how to treat him. The chemo’s have all had bad side effects on Rocky to the point it’s doing more harm than good. We had talked to Dr. Morgan early on that we knew Rocky’s cancer was terminal and we were more interested in quality of life than length of life. He thought we were very wise in our thinking and said he would do everything he could to give us both.

At this point, we are down to quality of life in our decision making. Dr. Morgan wanted to delay any medication for another week to give Rocky time to completely wear out the last chemo. Then he will be given a growth inhibiter without chemo. So the way it is now, he will have that medication next Wednesday (March 28) and will then get a repeat every two weeks. This was Rocky’s choice.

It is geared to make him feel better so he can be more active and do the things he likes. Dr. Morgan and Rocky are together in thinking life should be lived the way you want and if that is no longer an option with the medication, it’s time to cut back and see how things line up.

It’s possible the growth inhibiter will do as much good without the chemo and it’s possible it won’t. I know with or without, God is in control and He will guide Rocky through until He’s ready to bring him home. Cancer will not kill our faith and cancer cannot rob us of hope.

The journey is never over until God says so………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, March 19, 2007


We had a nice weekend. The weather was great and Becky came down for breakfast on Saturday. Rocky got up earlier than usual and we just sat and visited after eating. Becky tries to come as often as she can because she’s gone quite a bit with her teaching job. Yesterday I made a batch of buttermilk biscuits and we just ate hot biscuits till we couldn’t hold any more. A family favorite.

I made a nice dinner later because it was a very special day. March 18th 2001 Rocky was going to drive over for Sunday dinner. He was living at his farm at the time which is at least a 3-hour drive from here. His farm was along the historic Indian Creek which was very pretty and where the livestock drank good fresh water. There was a natural spring in the rocks on the way down to the creek.

This was the first time he was to visit and I was making everything he said were his favorites. I made a large meatloaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and corn. OK……I know that’s a lot of starch but it was his favorites. I also had hot dinner rolls and chocolate cake. We ask a blessing at our table here and when I finished, he said, “That was really nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat at a table and heard a blessing.”

Becky was here as well and Rocky brought a lot of pictures so we sat and looked at those while he told the story of each one. Family, pets and trucks, mainly. That was pretty much who Rocky was……no pretences or big bragging, just plain Rocky. He was definitely a “what you see is what you get kind of guy.” Easy to be around and comfortable. I like that in a man.

Well, as they say…….the rest is history. We were married April 30th because being high school sweethearts was still a very strong emotion for both of us. We knew we were granted an opportunity and guided through all those former years to be with each other at the end of our journey. We are still amazed at the way it worked out but God is in the “working out” business.

So here we are today…..Rocky felt pretty good and mid-morning we went out and cleaned out the berm in front of the house and put fresh oak mulch down. The kitties have more or less made it their playground and it was looking pretty worn. We are to have rain off and on all week (they think) so it was a good time to work on it. We didn’t quite finish but we have the hardest part done.

Tomorrow we go back to the Cancer Clinic. Rocky has had terrible breaking out all over his head, neck and face. It’s exactly what the chemo was to do so it was very successful from that point of view but it was miserable to deal with. I don’t know what they will do tomorrow when they see the results. Hopefully the blood-work will make definitive options. I will be writing when we are back home tomorrow.

Until then, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, March 16, 2007


It’s a beautiful day here in the Ozarks. We have had Spring-like weather for 2-weeks and the weathermen are all beaming as they give their mild predictions. They took a lot of heat from their viewers with all the ice storms, wind and disagreeable weather during February and earlier this month. Thank goodness March came in like a lion, we can content ourselves with the thoughts of the old adage, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”

My life was beautiful yesterday also. Rocky woke up early and came dressed for breakfast just as I was sitting down to the table. He looked amazing. Somehow, during the night his strength pumped back into his veins. He said he felt good and didn’t want to take the high-powered pills that had been prescribed. He suggested we save them until next week in case he gets to take the next chemo. It sounded logical because they were to make him feel better and he did, sans the pills.

Dr. Suzi called later in the day to see how Rocky was doing. She was very happy when I told her he was on the John Deere cleaning up leaves from around the yard. They want to see him feeling good enough to do the normal things he enjoys. She agreed with his logic about the pills. I don’t know that he enjoys yard work that much but it sure makes me feel better. He finished that and blew leaves out of my rock garden so the iris won’t be hindered, they are everywhere, reaching for the warm sun.

He washed the John Deere down, and cleaned the garage floor. All in all he got more accomplished yesterday than he has for several weeks….the good part is, he felt like doing it. While he did that, I baked two loaves of bread and a coconut bundt cake for lunch today…..along with a 15-bean soup we like. We have a friend coming for lunch today so it’s all ready except heating and serving.

It’s Friday so that means TGIF night for Miss Becky at our house. She will be coming back from Jefferson City late so we will have nacho’s which is her next favorite thing after Pizza. I’ll fix that tomorrow night when she can relax and enjoy it…..as well as being good and hungry.

I absolutely love this quote!! “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster then the fastest lion or it will be killed….every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle….when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” Anonymous

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Rocky wasn’t given his chemo treatment today because of the adverse effects it had on him this past week. They don’t want him down so he can’t do his normal things, exercising being one of the important things they like him to do. Instead he was given saline solution for hydration and Benadryl in the I.V. for itching.

He was given prescriptions for an ointment to apply to the rash on his face and three pills to be taken one each morning until gone. He’s had those before, compliments of the drug company. Today they called ahead to see what Medicare D would do for it and only cost $60 for the three pills. That was much better than the price without our insurance……$100 per pill. There are always things to be grateful for even in the worst of times. I am just happy we can obtain the drugs needed to deter the cancer and help him to feel better while it does.

He is scheduled to have his next treatment Tuesday of next week and I’m thinking he will be fit to do so. Right now he is out walking which helps get the blood flowing and exercise his lungs.

I am on my way to the kitchen to prepare a healthy supper for him so I’ll be back tomorrow, good Lord willing.

Until then, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


One year ago today, Rocky had his colon surgery. We arrived early and after he was taken for prepping I sat alone in the waiting room. Of course a million things flash through your mind at a time like that. I ran over lots of favorite memories of us being together…..the miracle that brought us together and my hopes for a lot of time left to be together.

We had our visit with Dr. Eck, the surgeon, a few days before. He was young, positive and cut right to the chase on what needed to be done. We liked him right away and came from his office positive the right man was doing the surgery. Do not keep secrets from me about my body or Rocky’s. He feels the same. We want to know where we’re at in any situation so we can make wise choices.

I had some very good coffee, offered by a “pink lady” and appreciated her act of kindness. The people who volunteer in hospitals are caring folk who are older and usually retired but aren’t ready to become a couch potato. I mentally thanked all who were giving their service this day.

Family members began arriving and soon we were relieved to know Rocky came through with flying colors and there were no surprises. We knew going in that the cancer had metastasized to the liver and when Rocky was over the surgery we would begin Chemotherapy. That seems a long time ago, considering what we have been through since.

Tomorrow Rocky gets his second of three treatments and this has been the most harsh yet. However, Dr. Morgan, his Oncologist, tells us that we want the side effects because then we know the chemo is restricting blood to the cancer tumors on the liver. Rocky has been more nauseated which makes eating unpleasant. He’s never vomited but has the other effects of nausea. Loss of appetite and loss of energy……he lives in a state between sleep and naps. As expected, he is breaking out with a red rash on his head, neck, chest and upper back…..results of the chemo.

From the Saturday before surgery up to today, he has participated in four PowerLifting Meets with his Coach and Team. He has won medals and trophy’s for his age, his weight and pounds lifted. Rarely do you find a 75-year old man with cancer treatments lifting more than a fork to his mouth. Rocky continues to amaze us all with his resilience, attitude and determination.

His friends and family see him at intervals and can’t fully appreciate how courageous he is. I am with him every day and am privy to 24-7 of his time. He never complains, never whines and never expects special treatment.

He is a gentle giant of a man.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, March 12, 2007


Rocky and I had a very quiet weekend. He has been more nauseous with this chemo so he slept a lot which the cats love. Especially Morris, our geriatric cat. Normally Morris has the whole bed to himself all day but has become very spoiled to having Rocky sleep with him.

When I come out in the morning I close the door behind me so Rocky can sleep as long as he likes, usually getting up by the time his first judge show comes on. Morris will sit by the door and wail long and loud until I go back and let him in. Then he hops on the bed, snuggles up to Rocky and both snooze away.

When Rocky sleeps during the day I have quiet jobs to do. Anyone who has a curio case knows they are not dust free just because they have glass doors. Somehow dust creeps into every nook and corner of our house. No matter how often I clean the furnace filter, clean our two air purifying appliances or run the vacuum, dust accumulates. I shouldn’t be surprised because I read once with all the precautions taken with the space ships dust penetrates through their scientific safe-guards.

Over the weekend, I worked both of them over and have labeled quite a few figurines to go for sale at the Antique Barn. Becky and I have had booths together there for almost 10 years and it is a wonderful place to take collections that I’m tired of or just don’t have room for when I buy new things. “Out with the old, in with the new” kind of a mentality, I guess. I’m a Gemini……what can I say? I love change in most things and lots of variety in all things.

Weather-wise we are in hog heaven. I have the windows open, which I love to do….I’m a fresh air freak. The yard is beginning to need a lot of attention and I suppose I will soon have to leave the house cleaning to do some raking and mulching. It seems this time of year everything begins growing at once and the trick is to hopefully stay ahead of it.

Napoleon and the three outdoor kitties have been enjoying the weather change and after their morning rounds, look for a nice sunny slope to snooze on. Napoleon likes to burrow down in the leaves and flatten himself. For several nights he has been returning to his first tree house up at Becky’s place. We can’t figure his reasoning but maybe there is some kind of a “homing” thing going on with him. One thing for sure, he certainly knows where to come when he wants food.

It will soon be time to hear him cry into the night for a mate……it breaks your heart because we know it’s a futile venture…..but who knows? We never expected to have him come strolling in one day, either. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a peahen answered his call?

That would be a very special happening.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, March 09, 2007


Yesterday is history and now we get ready for today. Rocky is still sleeping and I’ve been up to care for the critters, raise the blinds, wind our cuckoo clocks and down a breakfast of pancakes. The Andersen Staple. I never make pancakes without thinking of a favorite story my dad used to enjoy telling.

When he and mom married, they took over the responsibility of the family farm. Grandma and Grandpa Andersen moved “to town” and became city folks. The only hitch was they had to keep two of my dad’s brothers with them. Sophus, the elder brother, had been dropped as a baby and wasn’t quite “right”……he was a happy, jovial 12-year old in a man’s body. Robert, the younger brother, was epileptic, although back then, no one knew it. On occasion he would have “fits” and so he and uncle Sophus were relegated to the farm with mom and dad.

Mom was a saint, living with three Danish men who had been raised “old country” and knew very little about manners or making life easier for a woman. However, to get on with the story, mom was mixing up pancakes and dad was sitting at the table when the two brothers came for breakfast. Dad says, “Sophus, how many pancakes can you eat this morning?” and Sophus thought for a while, grinning all the time, “Oh, about 25 I guess.”

Well, mom made more batter and fried pancakes for some time…….putting a full plate on the table every time she had a “stack.” Sophus started out with gusto but the last 10 or so went down pretty slow. However, he did eat the 25.

The next morning, same scene, and dad says, “Sophus, how many pancakes can you eat today?” and he sits grinning at the floor and twisting his hands, finally saying, “Ohhhhhh, about 15, I guess.” Dad roared with laughter every time he told the story and mom grinned knowingly with approval and we heard the story over and over throughout their lives. It was wonderful.

You never know what goofy memories you will carry with you in life. I grew up in a family of storytellers and family who would listen attentively, nodding along for encouragement…….then laughter and knee slapping. Just over pancakes. To be the object of any story was an honor and we loved the stories told “on us” as we laughed at ourselves and each other. It was solid ground to grow up on. Not taking ourselves or each other too serious.

Today is the day we make the future’s memories so it must be spent in good faith and care. I will take care of my Rocky the best I know how, enjoy our critters and be watchful for whatever God may want of me this day. I hope your day starts out with a pleasant memory and you have many opportunities to laugh at yourself. After all, we are the ones who can really appreciate a joke on ourselves…..because we know what fun it is to give someone a reason to laugh.

Until next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 08, 2007


We will be at the Cancer Clinic all day tomorrow. Rocky has an early chemo and we’ll get back with you when we are home again. This will be a long one….so have a good Thursday and we’ll update you later.



We are home……worn out after being at the Clinic since 8:00 this morning. Rocky came through the roughest chemo yet with flying colors. We are very happy with the results so far and hope the cancer is getting REALLY, REALLY, sick by now. I’ll be back tomorrow when I’ve had some rest.

Until then, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Yesterday we spent the day in Springfield for my doctor’s appointment. Just routine check-up on some medication. We had a great lunch at the Olive Garden and of course did some necessary shopping.

Today we were at Rocky’s 9:30 appointment to discuss the CT and the next treatment. The cancer continues to grow so they are putting Rocky on growth prohibiting medication, along with some kind of chemo and something else. It will be around 6-hours to infuse it all and then a repeat in 8-days and the next in 5-days. We begin on Thursday.

The medical staff has a hard time realizing how well and “fit” Rocky looks….sometimes I think we’re dreaming all this but realistically, that isn’t the case. We continue to be thankful for the good days we have and know too, it’s all in God’s hands so we have no worries.

Now I need to get to some laundry…….and think about an evening meal.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I just picked Rocky up and got the information I’d been waiting for. He didn’t call earlier like I hoped…..no phone…..so this is just a few minutes after I learned the results myself.

He is sporting a Dog Pound-Dog Fight PowerLifting "Best Lifter Award." That’s quite a mouth full but our boy did good.

He lifted 235 pounds on the Dead Lift and 180 pounds on the Bench Press.

To earn the Best Lifter Award your age, weight and amount of your lifts are figured in. Of the field of lifters, Mr. Rocky came out the best after the tabulations.

Home safe and a winner…….that’s answered prayer. Thanks for all of yours….you’re part of the team!!

Until next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, March 02, 2007


John has reached a significant milestone today…..or rather will at 9:15 tonight, the actual time of his birth. Wouldn’t you know he was born on a Saturday night as I lay in bed watching the car lights stream down the freeway into the heart of Kansas City. He was born at St. Mary’s hospital and I’m not even sure if it’s still there or not. I had a boy and I had a girl, now I had John……my life was complete.

I’ll always be thankful my mother’s instincts were correct when I noticed things about him that troubled me. I can rest knowing he had all the medical help available at that time and that he ended up living his dream…..”to be just a normal kid.”

Do you realize how great it is to be “normal?” When I think of movie stars, pop stars, athletes and politicians……I see how public their life has become and they have lost the normal touch of living. They start out wanting fame, big money and power……but almost in every case when that is attained they have sacrificed something very precious. The money, fame, beauty or talent wears out and many end up poor in every aspect of their lives.

The winners are the ones who were plodders or dreamers, who kept close to their support base….their friends and family….and who took the back row so someone else could shine. Happiness isn’t a promise, it’s something that happens when you are content with who you are and where you are. Someone who has the right expectations of life and doesn’t get lost in greed or taking pot-shots at others to get ahead. Contentment is a precious commodity.

This is your day, John!! You’ve come a long way since I first looked into your face. I am proud of you and wish you many more happy years.

I have just returned from taking Rocky to the pick-up point where he met his coach and a fellow team-mate, Jeke. They are super great guys who use Volkswagens for basketballs……I doubt if they know their own strength. When Rocky points out how much more they can lift than he can they are quick to say, “Yes, but will we be able to lift what you can when we are your age?” Though Rocky’s strength has weakened over this past year he still trains and shows up at the gym.

The “kids” he trains with wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s in good hands until he comes back to me tomorrow night. I’ll be praying he can make himself proud. I’m already proud of him………

Until tomorrow when I post his results, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 01, 2007


We were wakened with the sound of thunder, wind and rain early this morning. By the time it was daylight it was all over and the sun was shining. When I went to feed the kitties it was warm and balmy……however, it was just the beginning of a very bad day for tornadoes across the land. We had one at Caulfield, MO which is close to the Arkansas border and about 40-miles south and west of us. A little 7-year old girl was killed in a mobile home and the town was pretty well leveled.

The terrible cells of tornado-spewing clouds raced on to do more damage across the Southland. Locally, our wind increased with the approaching cold front of dry air and we had intermittent sunshine and clouds. The temperatures began dropping as the front moved across our part of the State.

You never know why some are spared and others not. Just random havoc and death at will from weather gone amuck. We watch the weather stations intently trying to figure if our loved ones are in the path of storms……..and relieved when they are not.

Becky said when she got to work there was a lot of activity around the office as phones rang constantly for information concerning the damage of the storms. Normally there is a lot of joking and camaraderie around the coffee room but when there is trouble, everyone snaps into their professional persona and activities center on relief efforts and help. I have always been proud to have been a part of the Highway Patrol for that very reason. They are well trained and caring when trouble hits……and they always take care of their own. I can testify to the truth of that.

Napoleon opted to stay in the garage most of the day on top of our Chrysler. The three outside kitties took turns keeping him company for the leaves being blown around in 30-mile an hour winds made them crazy. The rustling sound of them spinning and the wind in the pines provided a staccato dance.

I know the wind will eventually die down and the noise will stop…..but for the poor folks who lost loved ones, it won’t be such a casual observation. I pray the Lord will give them peace in their loss and heal their broken hearts.

We never know what the new day will bring………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther