Ready to take on winter...

It is a great day to be inside, even if it's a day spent cleaning and doing laundry.

My brother and his family left a little before ten this morning after spending the last three nights with us. We had such a great time. It was our first Thanksgiving in WV. And it was their first visit. Not only had they never seen where we are now living, but they had never been to WV. So they really didn't know what to expect. And they loved it, which made me happy.

When I tell people (who don't live here) that we moved to WV, they kind of look at me like they are surprised I am happy about it. So it was pretty cool for my family to say, "Now I understand why you love it here so much!" I also enjoyed taking them to the dealership and introducing them to our John Howerton Honda Family.

My three-year-old nephew Jackson loves vehicles of all kinds. It doesn't matter if it's a car, a truck, or a combine. If it has wheels, it has his attention. He looked through a window just outside John's office into the service area and asked, with longing in his voice, "How do I get down there?" John held his hand and walked him up to each vehicle so he could get a better look. And then one of our techs gave him a wrench to keep. Jackson was in car heaven. It was so cute.

Thursday we pretty much cooked, ate, and cleaned up all day. Yesterday, after our visit to the dealership and quick tour of Beckley, we went to New River Gorge Bridge and ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants ( The time flew by, as we knew it would. And even though I'm going to see them again very soon, I got a little misty-eyed as I waved goodbye to them this morning. This seems to happen to me at every goodbye lately. And it surprises me because I have seen my family almost as often (and in some cases more) since we've moved as when we lived one hour away. And while they were here we were making plans for my next visit there and their next visit here in the summer. But the emotion I feel isn't sadness about missing them between visits. It's the emotion of how much I love my family and how our time together becomes more and more precious to me as I get older. I really loved having them here for Thanksgiving and it made my day when I asked my nieces if they were ready to get back home and they said, "No!"

After being here for spring, summer and fall, I have to say that I am not even dreading the winter anymore. I do miss the leaves on the trees and I don't love cold weather -- or snow measured in feet rather than inches -- but the months are flying by so fast lately that I know how quickly it will be spring again. And winter is one of the things that makes spring so exciting. I love the four distinct seasons. Yes, it will be more winter than I am used to. But spring, summer and fall are more beautiful here than any other place I have lived. And I loved having a long spring rather than a few weeks before going right into summer weather. I also loved the mild mountain summer and gorgeous fall leaves. I love Nashville and I'm glad I'm close enough to go back and forth pretty much whenever I want to. But I couldn't be any happier even if John had found an ideal Honda store to buy right there in Nashville. I love living here. And I can't imagine never having known all of our new WV friends. They have already enhanced my life so much!

I have greatly neglected my blog lately. This is the least I have blogged since I first created it. But I have been working on a second book for several months and my focused writing time has been spent on that. I'm halfway through working on the second draft after getting questions and feedback from my editor. Some nice, long winter days will provide the time I need to complete it. The "rewrite" has been more challenging than the first draft. In many places where I was being intentionally vague, my editor asked me to elaborate and fill in more details. I know (because of the first book) there are probably people who mistakenly believe that I get some kind of satisfaction or pain relief from writing about certain details, even if they cause embarrassment for other people. But that is actually the part of my writing that I agonize over the most (even when someone is no longer alive to be embarrassed). It's just that the desire to identify with and help others who are battling through similar circumstances and baggage outweighs the guilt I impose on myself for telling my own story. I'm thankful there are people close to me -- John, first and foremost -- who remind me of the value in my honesty. Without their support and encouragement, I might have given up on this project at several points in the journey.

On the CLL front, both John and Marian are doing so well and their routine checkups are so uneventful that there isn't anything to write about. I am thankful for their continued remissions and normal lab results. John still has days when he battles fatigue and doesn't feel as good as he would like to. But he plugs along, working six days a week. He runs on the treadmill regularly. And life is good. We are both thankful that the worst problem he has is being very tired at the end of the day. It's hard to believe that five and a half years after his diagnosis I spend so little time thinking about his CLL. I was consumed with CLL and soaking up everything I could learn about it in those first few years. But ever since he began the CAL-101 trial in May 2010, it's been smooth sailing. I have friends who have lost spouses prematurely. And I can't even think about how painful losing John would be for me without tears welling up in my eyes. I am thankful for every day of health God gives to both of us. I am so aware of how precious each day is. Just another reason I refuse to waste one day of the next few months wishing it was a different season. And another reason why I get misty when I say goodbye to family members -- even if I am going to see them in a matter of days or weeks.

John called and told me that if I don't need to go anywhere today, it's best to stay home. It is twenty-nine degrees outside and windy. We usually go out to dinner on Saturday nights, but I asked if he wanted to eat sandwiches at home where it is warm and cozy. I was elated when he said "yes." The condo is spotless and as soon as I take one last item out of the dryer, I can work out, take a hot shower, and put my pajamas on early. I love days when I don't have to go through the ritual of hair and makeup. That's just another way I plan to enjoy winter.

And, yes, I know how old I sound!


Anonymous said…
There's nothing wrong with old- in fact "older" and "wiser" often go together :-) !
Great news on the CLL front - we really owe a huge amount of gratitude to the carers and researchers who are pushing these new treatments forward.
Best regards,
Shari said…
Rick, I am continually trying to convince myself there is nothing wrong with old. LOL.
Taunya Richards said…
Shari, I just finished reading your book for the first time. Still munching on it! Glad to hear the CLL front!
Shari said…
:) Thanks, Taunya!

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