Thursday, October 27, 2016


I had a lung scan yesterday and it looked relatively stable. I always want to hear "remission" but I accept stable. One tiny patch had increased slightly in SUV uptake, but she was not concerned. I won't have to have another til January; I made the decision to have a brain MRI and a lung scan the same day. Lucky me.

Yesterday they found that my lung which had been slowly getting more and more fluid in it had taken a large leap. My doctor made a phone call and 15 minutes later I was over at Avera Hospital getting my lung aspirated. I felt like a maple tree being "tapped" for syrup. They showed me the jar. ONE QUART of fluid. He said, "You'll lose two pounds!" It looked like a stein of beer with froth on top!! So the past day and a half have been pretty uncomfortable, painful at times, as the lung is adjusting to this empty cavity. I am trying to stretch it by taking occasional deep breaths, but my whole side and shoulder ache. This is to be expected.

In a week I should be able to deep breathe without difficulty. ONE QUART! I didn't hear "sloshing around sounds" once!!!

Richie is going to Mexico in 11 days for our nephew's wedding. He's trying to brush up on his Spanish. His sister has a whole week of activities planned so he should have a great time.

We are having a beautiful autumn "last hurrah." Hope you are too.

Monday, October 17, 2016


We had a wonderful trip to the Harper's Ferry area. That Dubuque/Decorah/southern Minnesota area is just beautiful in the fall. My mom's cousin (their grandmothers were sisters) Dolores, since Mom has died, has sort of taken ownership of the Bolger family lore and I know we blessed her by letting her give us the tour and listen to the stories.

We saw Paint Rock cemetery where some ancestors were married in the now-torn-down chapel, and several are buried there. Then we went down into Bolger's Hollow, an unbelievable expanse of land with bluffs all around. The Hollow is where my ancestral home was first built in 1850 and a couple more were added as the family grew up and had their own homes. So peaceful and serene. I can see why my people stayed there for generations.

Then we checked out the Wexford church where my people went to Mass on Sundays. It has the grave marker of among others, my great-great-great-great grandmother Catherine Bulger (They changed their name spelling).  

Dolores regaled us with family lore that was rich and made the trip very special.

The rest of our trip was meandering without firm plans.....except to bless anyone who the Lord led us to bless, and we had 3 of them. It was so fun! It brings so much meaning to be willing to do something for others and be used. I love the intentionality of making road trips not all about our pleasure only but a way for God to put us in situations where he wants others blessed.

The funniest moment was in a restaurant. Our excellent and sweet server came back to our table to see if we wanted a dessert. She picked up the check and I said, "One lemon meringue pie, to split." Just at that moment, Richie handed her a large tip and told her what a great server she was and I told her that she was really good at what she did and praised her work. Her eyes got huge and a little teary. She slapped our check back down on our table and said, "Your pie is on the house!" Here we were trying to bless her and she blessed us right back.

Those are the moments that make travel more than miles.

We are off to Mayo Clinic for the week for Richie's legs. I pray that after 20 years of chronic pain, they may be able to help him. We are going with the same goal of making it a blessing trip.

Here are a couple pics.

Cousin Dolores
Dolores is pretty sure this old barn is original

More of Bolger's Hollow; you could have built a small town in it, but it remained in the family for generations

The ancestral Bolger home was on this site. It was torn down in 1900 and this home was built. It is still lived in.

Wexford cemetery

Morning along Dubuque's Mississippi Riverwalk

Dubuque's Riverwalk

I have to share with you "proof" that the Holy Spirit has our backs. We had been planning our first retirement trip for the past year. Savannah, Georgia. A year of anticipating seeing our best friends in Athens and then spending the week on the coast. In July, I had a strong check in my spirit. I didn't feel like we should go. It didn't make sense. Why was the Holy Spirit telling me to cancel this long-awaited trip? I "sat on it" for a week and then shared my feelings with Richie. Without understanding whatsoever, we cancelled our trip.

When was it supposed to be? October 1-8, the week the hurricane blasted Savannah. 

Monday, October 10, 2016


This is a shout-out to my young friend Jess. I saw her when she brought her kids into the nursery at church yesterday. She looked fabulous! She had done it! She had lost all of her baby weight! She told me (and I’ve heard the same lies for years) so many women told her that she just wouldn’t be able to do it, that your body just keeps the pounds on, that you can’t work and diet off baby weight…..they are such awful old wives’ tales, downright lies. No wonder women let their bodies go after having a baby.

But Jess did it and she is so thrilled that she did the work. She told me, “Besides wanting it for me, I really want to be a fit and athletic mom for the girls.” And she wanted to do it for her husband. I was so happy to hear that. The women who don’t do the work never look like the women their husbands married. I wonder if those husbands silently harbor great disappointment.

Jess, you look beautiful and fit and active and I am proud of you!! You are glowing! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Richie and I are leaving on a little road trip tomorrow....our first since retirement. Instead of just making a leisure trip, we are calling it a "blessing trip." We are making it intentional. We are asking the Holy Spirit to guide us to people along the way that might need a blessing of some sort. Words of encouragement. Prayers for healing. Words of affirmation. Money. Physical help. Whatever it may be. We are trusting that He will speak to both of us and that the trip might be one full of meaning for us. Nothing better than being a blessing to others.

We are headed over to my great-great-great grandmother's ancestral home in Harper's Ferry, Iowa. She came with her family during the potato famine in the 1850's. There is even a hollow named after them to this day. We will check out all the family haunts with my mom's second cousin whose ancestral home is still there too. Then we are going down to Dubuque---people say it is beautiful---and hang out there. We may also do the Root River Valley but rain is forecast. Will play it by ear.

I hope to share lots of blessing anecdotes with you!