HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL!

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To all of you I want to say a heart-felt Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 

So, I must confess that this year has had its share of challenges for our family and relatives, too. But I also have to say that we  have made it this far into the year, and we’re looking at the end of 2016 and glimpsing the beginning of 2017. It stands to reason that God has brought us each and every day of this trying year to this very day. 

I think that if He carries us further, we’ll be able to weather the storms that may be ahead of us; and bask in the times of refreshing that lie ahead, as well. 

So from my family to your family, God bless you and have a wonderful holiday season. Make sure to hug someone and genuinely smile. 

Don’t be bullied by this politically correct atmosphere, please. Christmas is a time of family, friends, laughter, crying and more.

Always remember, too that….

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Rosa

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JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 5

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Johanna and her older sister Erika brighter and happier days
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Johanna and her sister Erika difficult days

 

You  may or may not know that Johanna is a writer and has published two books. She has publishing contract for 3 books. The problem with the 3rd book isn’t that she cannot write it. The problem is getting the strength and stamina to write it. I said that because when I saw how sick she was last week, I really thought she was going to have to go back into the hospital. Not only that, but twice she said to me, “Ma, I can’t think straight. I can’t think.” I was so concerned about it when she said that. We both found out that her not being able to think clearly is what the Chemo nurse called “Chemo Brain.” Have you ever heard such a thing?! The treatment makes her fuzzy for a time. I have been totally helpless as to what to do. But after about 2 days, she’s sharp as ever. When she’s clear-headed, she can think once again. 

I confess that her illness has taken its toll on me, too. But, my own feelings aside, I’ve seen my youngest daughter blossom under this affliction of cancer into a much more mature  young woman who is already thinking about relocating to begin her life anew after she wins this battle with cancer. I love the human spirit that God gave. It never gives up. It may get down at times, but it never gives up.  

More tomorrow.

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Johanna at Chemo clinic for her treatment – sad days

 

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY – PART 4

I CAN FINALLY TAKE A BREATH!

Late last night, Sunday the 11th of December, I spoke with Johanna before she retired for the night and I could tell that she wasn’t so strained. I asked as I always do, “Johanna, how are you feeling?” When she spoke I could immediately tell that her voice was a bit stronger. She said, “I am a little better, Ma.” When she said that, I took a long deep breath. I smile as I think about it now. I really didn’t realize that when she and I spoke I was holding my breath. Most of last week and the weekend she was terribly sad and sick and she had little to no strength. When she would cry a bit, I wouldn’t really know what to say. It’s normally easy to speak when not sitting in the hot seat. But it wasn’t easy for me, so I just sat quiet and she began talking. That did my heart good. I just listened. I think the short talk was therapeutic for me, too. 

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I can breathe easily for a few days as she is stronger than she was all last week. When you love someone, especially your child, and they are going through difficulties and illnesses that you can’t take away or cure, you’ll find that everything gets in perspective. All of those “other” things that were so important before are quite unimportant. In fact they are an insult to the present circumstances. My desires fade away into one request: “God please let her get a little rest tonight.” That has been my one desire and the Lord granted my request. She is even laughing and talking more. I can finally take a breath.

More tomorrow.

 

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 3

This past week of intense Chemotherapy has left Johanna, in her own words: ‘SICK.’ She has been heaving every day. When she gets up she up-chucks, during the day she is throwing up. At night she can’t even take the medicine to help her stop heaving because she can’t get anything in or keep it down. It’s been a long week for her.

Johanna has an angelic voice. She writes music and sings it. She wrote a song some years ago and she sang it in church once, too. Here are the lyrics. I hope you are encouraged and inspired by them as you go throughout your day.

 

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LIFE WILL BE BETTER

Verse 1

So you’ve got problems, I’ve got some, too.

Feels like the whole world is against you

Like there is no one who knows what you’re going through

Well, I’ve been there and I can tell you.

Chorus

When you learn to trust in Jesus

When you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better.

Verse 2

Feels like there’s no hope. I’ve felt that too.

Pain is your present, your future, too.

Just want a day when your heart’s not in two.

Well, I’ve been there, and I can tell you…

Chorus

 

Verse 3

Cried through some long nights, I’ve cried some, too.

Praying for the moment when dreams will come true

Life ain’t so easy. It’s harder on you

So just do as I tell you to do.

Special Chorus

Life ain’t the best and you’re just living

Things can’t get worse but then it is

How can you see the forest for the trees

Well, I know just what you mean

Chorus

But it’s when you learn to trust in Jesus

It’s when you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better

(Written by Johanna Parker, who lovingly gave me permission to reprint it.)

More tomorrow.

Rosa

 

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 2

It’s very interesting to watch twins grow up. In a nutshell Jennifer the older twin is an African Violet. Johanna the younger twin is a shrinking violet. Truth. But where Johanna shies away from the public eye, she makes up in love for her family. She is one of those people who love to be around her family and that’s enough for her. High school  not withstanding, Johanna made very few waves. That’s just not her personality. When something happened or she became more of an extrovert, it was because I insisted on it or she was with her sisters. 

Her  mindset for many years was that of a young child. What I mean by that is she argued vehemently with a 6-year old and she was 14. You would have thought that they were two grown women arguing. It was so funny. She saw nothing wrong with arguing with her 6-year old cousin. So, she was baby-like in those matters. Another aspect of Johanna is that more than any of the other children, she knows her daddy well. She can understand what’s in his mind. She’s been able to do that since she was about 6 years old herself. Johanna had a simple wisdom then and she has a much more mature wisdom now. She hangs onto every word that daddy says:

Johanna: Mom, my ponytail came out at school today (she was about 10 years old) and the other kids laughed at me.

Me: Oh that’s not nice. I am so sorry.

Johanna: That’s alright Mom, because Dad says that when people laugh at you and make fun of you they will be laughed at, too.

Nuf said.

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Daddy and daughter just before surgery in August, 2016

She and her dad have always been close, but this illness has made them compadres. My husband takes her to all her appointments, the pharmacy, clinic for chemo, surgeries she had to endure. He cooks her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he calls her “princess” at times, too. He takes her food to her most of the time because she is often weak and sickly these days. She was crying once and I wasn’t home, but on the phone with her. She stopped and said, “Mom, I have to hang up. I need to go and get a hug from my dad.” I am grateful for their closeness during this journey back to health. It’s a true blessing.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY…

I begin today to chronicle my daughter Johanna’s journey to health again as she battles Ovarian Cancer. She’s the only one of our children who went into the medical field. Funny that when she decided to become a nurse, she changed her mind and remained a CNA. She decided at that time, many years ago, that she wanted to write. But she has seen things that I am not able to bear. Now she is experiencing what she has helped other to cope with – illness – cancer – Ovarian cancer.

Here’s a little tidbit of humor, I think and a true story. She called me excited as can be. Her entire class went to the Cadaver Lab in the city. They were all dissecting a human body. 

Johanna: Mama, guess what?!

Me: What?

Johanna: We are all here at the Cadaver Lab and I got a chance to take the eye out and dissect it. I held it in my hand. That was so cool.

Me: stuttering

Johanna: Okay, Ma, I gotta go. They are about to take out the brain. Bye.

Me: (after she hangs up) stuttering.

Go with me as I, from time to time, give you a glimpse along her journey back to health. I hope that as you journey with me, that you will re-evaluate your own feelings towards your friends and loved ones and realize that people are people and in the end we love them. Don’t be afraid to admit that you love the estranged individual. It’s healing for your soul.

Johanna is a twin. She and her sister are fraternal twins. She was born weighing an entire pound less than her older twin sister. It was funny, I ha a cesarean section and when they brought her out she was sucking her thumb. I see her right now. She was the one who would stay woke to make sure I made it home, even as a baby. I was working and going to school then. Her twin and older sister tried to remain awake, but Johanna always gave me a big toothless smile when I came home. I looked forward to that smile.  

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                Newborn Johanna
5-year old Johanna
                         5-year old Johanna

 

More tomorrow.

Rosa

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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I was born at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, 63 years ago. My mother is on the phone right now relaying how I was born. She had gone to the movies late night ( she saw “The Man From the Alamo with Glen Ford) and was on her way back to her house (1-1/2 blocks away from the movies). As she was walking, a dog came out and scared her. She picked up a brick and threw it at the dog and it ran away from her. It was then that her water broke. She said she was afraid to be alone, and asked another lady who was out that time of night (it was much safer then) if she would stay with her because her water broke. When the lady heard that my mom’s water had broken, SHE RAN! So, Mom made her way home, and her brother-in-law took her to the house, she woke my dad up and when they got to the hospital and an hour later at 1:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, I was born.

  • The name of the theater she went to was called the Castle Theater 3412 Hastings Street, Detroit, MI 48211.
  • The Castle Theatre opened in 1914. It seated 1,350. The theatre closed in the early-1960’s. The site is now an empty lot. 

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Guess what, it cost her $.35 to see two movies and all the previews in 1953. She said that you’d see a cartoon and the news reels back then, all for $.35. Also, if women came on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, they would receive bowls or plates. A box of popcorn cost $.07, a hot dog was  $.10, and candy bars cost $.05. She said that if you wanted a larger candy the size of a rolling-pin it would cost you $.25. That was good marketing at that time. Can you see how full those theaters were in the 1950s? We can’t market that good now! We used to dwell in a Live and Let Live world. Not anymore. 

There’s nothing like family history. Keep it and never let it go.

Rosa 

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