Happy 2010!

Even though I've lived in Tennessee for seventeen years now, it's still weird to wait for the Rose Parade to air. I had to purposely wake up for it in California because pre-parade coverage began before 8:00 am. It was on nearly every channel in Southern California. The parade doesn't start until 10:00 obviously -- with the time difference -- when you're living in this part of the country. And it isn't on every channel. And there's no pre-parade coverage. I don't normally stay glued to the whole parade. I get distracted and miss lots of it. But I usually try to catch at least some of it. Pasadena was relatively close to where I lived and I recognize many of the sights when I watch. I've been on Colorado Blvd so many times. I've been to the Norton Simon Museum. I feel nostalgic when I see those San Gabriel mountains (on a clear day, when you can actually see them). January is usually beautiful.

I went to bed a little after ten and went to sleep a little after eleven last night. I slept like a rock. I woke up a little before seven. I put a roast in the crock pot. I had a cup of coffee. I checked email and Facebook. I read a few blogs.

One of the blogs I read is "Mutations of Mortality" by Dr. Terry Hamblin. He is well known for his work in CLL and I have learned a lot by reading his blog. He also writes on a variety of other topics, including his Christian faith. And I have been inspired by his spiritual blog entries so many times. Occasionally, he posts movie reviews or just fun topics. He's very well-read, well-rounded, generous, and wise. He's now retired and has battled his own cancer this past year (a journey he has also shared with his readers). And he makes time for answering the questions of many CLL patients and their caregivers on a site I participate in (CLL Christian Friends). This morning I read this statement among his reflections...

"I am learning the value of talking to people. Previously I had thought of conversation as a woman's thing. Men talk to communicate information; women talk to transmit mood. Perhaps transmitting mood is more important than I thought."

Ah yes, transmitting mood. Familiar territory. I do quite a bit of that on my blog. I actually refrained from posting many times during the last few months because the last thing I wanted to do was transmit my mood. I've experienced a lot of peaks and valleys emotionally since John began treatment in September and my book was published in November. And then there was the emotion of the holidays amidst the rollercoaster of cancer and chemotherapy. I had quite a few down days in the month of December. There is no denying it.

However, all of my melancholy lifted on December 24. All the "stress" of the season was over and I could just relax and enjoy. We had our first service, an absolutely amazing Christmas Eve service, in our church's newly constructed sanctuary. And then John and I had a quiet Christmas Eve dinner at the Parthenon. We had decided ahead of time to spend our Christmas budget on others rather than ourselves, but we each had a gift to unwrap. (The original plan was to spend the whole budget on others and not exchange, but then John came home with a package for me and I reciprocated with one for him, even though he told me not to.) He bought an Amazon Kindle for me and I bought several comedy DVDs for him.

Christmas morning we drove to his mom's in Evansville. His family always gets together for dinner on Christmas Day. So we took our time hitting the road and were still there by early afternoon. We had a relaxing evening of food and fun. Saturday we took Marian to an afternoon movie. Saturday evening I had a fabulous dinner at Cork 'n Cleaver (Salad Bar, Lobster Tail and baked potato). And Sunday morning we went to church, then spent some time with friends over lunch at their house.

In spite of the fact that this has been John's treatment week, I've noticed that I have not been sad or melancholy since Christmas Eve. I haven't made any formal New Year's resolutions, but I have a couple of spiritual goals for the new year in my head and heart. One is living entirely in the present; less focus on the past and less worry about the unknown future. Complete trust and willing dependence on my Heavenly Father is my number one goal. Less focus on other people's opinions of me and more focus on other people's welfare. I want to love others unselfishly and not out of my own need for their returned love.

And, of course, my highest personal aspiration for 2010 is to be the best caregiver-wife any husband ever had, as John continues to fight the CLL battle.

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