Thursday, November 25, 2010

November reflections and realizations

The month of November this year has been pretty chaotic to say the least. I feel like we have been through a lot, some of it not quite over just yet. We unexpectedly lost a very loved member of our family (Jamey's grandmother) and my dad had triple bypass surgery. The events of the past month caused me to think about so many things in my own life. My blog is usually a happy place filled with photos of my family and friends, crafts, recipes and other nonsense. Today though I am choosing to use it as a area to air my thoughts and feelings over the last month, and some things that I have spent a great deal of time in deep reflection upon here recently.

I think that I always imagine that those that I love will always be there. Should I know better? Of course...I'm a nurse. The loss of Grandma really has affected me, and this major surgery which my father is still recovering from has added more to that. I've realized that my dad's not going to be around forever, common sense says that I know he won't be, but a girl can hope can't she? I had a very scary moment with him post op day 2, when he transferred back to the ICU. I stayed with him at the hospital and he became very confused and very agitated, I called the nurse told her what labs I thought we should run and what I thought she should do (ever the bossy nurse right???). The doctor happened to be making rounds and he transferred dad immediately to the ICU, he thought at the time that dad had had a stroke. Thankfully no, but scary enough to really frighten his tough (or so I thought) skinned daughter. So many times have I cared for very sick individuals during the time that I spent as a ICU nurse, how different it is when your loved one is the sick one. How different is it to hold your dad's hand and try to calm him when he doesn't know your his daughter....never have I been so frightened. I spent the remainder of dad's hospitalization with him. Helping him, walking him, bathing him, encouraging him, at the bedside pestering the nurses (I imagine in report the nurses handed off "daughter is a nurse and she ask a TON of questions and hoovers like an eagle" as well as dad's past medical history...), and all the while thankful that I have him. Dad went home yesterday. He's so very glad....he's got a long road back to being fully recovered but he'll get there I believe. I have to return home Monday and I'll worry and call and pester everyone to death from Texas instead of the bedside. But until then daily I'll be at his house, bossing him around. That is what I do best....

One of my reflections is in regards to service to others. Jamey's grandmother lived her life as a service to others. She often said "We are here to take care of one another, that is our mission." She was the first to take food to sick friends and relatives, she called, cared for and loved her fellow man. At 78 she actually served her first and only medical mission trip (she was a RN herself) to Nicaragua, weeks after having a heart attack. Her life was to care for others. I started really thinking about my own life. How much time do I spend in service to others verses to myself? I like to think that I'm a caring, giving soul, but I'll admit that I spend more time in service to myself than to anyone else. That is something that I wish to change about myself. I felt the genuine love and caring that I received from friends and family during my father's hospitalization. I had some very good friends come and sit with me on more than one occasion at the hospital (Clarissa and Kara, you both are incredible and if I don't tell you often enough I love you both dearly). Family members (4 of my 5 aunts) rush to the hospital when they heard dad transferred back to the ICU so that my siblings and I would be supported. Friends that I haven't seen in a very long took time out of their busy schedules to pop in and check in us at the hospital, calls, emails, cards....lots of love in all of those actions. All of this is a service. Service of self, service to others, and not a service to themselves. So I guess as I ramble on and on and on at 3 am when my restless, sleep deprived mind won't let me sleep, is that I've realized what Grandma meant when she said "We are here to take care of one another, that is our mission" and with this realization comes the desire and the drive to make that statement made by her so many times with such conviction the backbone of my own life. I'm going to spend less time serving myself and more time serving others. I'm also going to ask all my little blog readers to think about this concept yourselves.

My last big reflections/realization is that I am truly blessed. Blessed with a wonderful family and fantastic friends. My siblings and I are so lucky to have one another. I felt truly like we have banded together, all four of us, in our desire to care for our father. I'm blessed with a kind, caring, generous husband. He gives so much so that I can help my father and never complains about it. I'm blessed with in-laws who literally rearranged the last two weeks to help me with my daughter. Friends who love me tirelessly, and have listened to my venting and stressing this month. Who have dropped everything to be there for me. I am so blessed, the extent that I probably don't realize fully or appreciate completely. I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thus concludes my blog today. Happy Thanksgiving. I personally have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Granddaughter loving and sparkly shoes.....

In life we all have our weaknesses and in the life of Jack Kephart that weakness would be his granddaughter, Alyssa Rose. Also called Baby Girl (BG for short), The Rose, and San Antonio Rose. Pop loves this child, talks about her, shows pictures of her to all that will look, and sends presents often enough that anytime we get a package in the mail she loudly exclaims "That is for Alyssa from her PawPaw!" while she rips at said package to see what goodies it holds. He also placed a Rose tattoo on his forearm with her birthday last year in tribute to this darling girl that he adores. Sadly we are 15 hours from said adoring PawPaw, but he and Mimi make that 15 hour drive about every other month to get their Baby Girl fix. It's a trip that they look forward to and that we also look forward to (see Jamey and I get free sitter services while they are here!)

Here are some pictures from last week when Alyssa got to see and abuse her grandpa. Poor man.....he loves every moment of her torment.....
These are her Toms sparkly shoes that he sent her. They are too cute...not suited to tromping around on a farm though.

And here is an example of that grandgal loving that he misses so much! Too funny......I should probably be ashamed that while this was going on I was laughing hysterically and taking pictures....but I'm not!!!

Ok I'm still laughing.....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grandma Mayton

This past weekend we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to Jamey's precious Grandmother, Elizabeth "Betty" Mayton. Grandma passed away on October 31, 2010. She was 82 years old. This precious woman was so loved by so many. I have had the great privilege of having Grandma in my life for the past almost 11 years.
Grandma was Christian, mother, wife, friend, aunt, grandma, great grandma, nurse, and so many other things that I can't even describe. She was a tiny little thing, when I hugged her she didn't even reach my underarm, but you usually forgot how little she was because her personality was so BIG! She was very active in her church, and the busiest retired person I ever met. She was constantly feeding people, doing for others, organizing this that and the other thing. She was one of the most selfless people that I ever met.
So many people visited, brought food and shared with us their memories of Grandma. The common theme? FOOD! Grandma feed everyone! Just about every person that came by said "Well Miss Betty just had me over for lunch..." or "Miss Betty brought me some chicken soup last week." Grandma kept a journal for about 6 weeks (she was entirely too busy to do it longer than that!) in 2007. She wrote about her day, her love for her children, grandchildren, friends and well FOOD! She literally feed the masses with her food and comforted our souls with the love that she poured into every dish.
She was so proud of her three children, three grandchildren, and her 1 great grandbaby. Grandma told me everytime that I spoke with her how proud she was of Jamey, myself and how much she loved Alyssa.
I learned a lot from Grandma. I feel so blessed that I have been able to be a part of Jamey's wonderful family. I'm often overwhelmed by the generosity and the love that this clan of people have, and they got it all from Grandma. She loved completely and unselfishly. She never expected anything in return. She just did because, well that's how she was! I have so few pictures of Grandma because she hated having her picture made but here are a couple that I have. I'll miss Grandma so, and everyone that knew her will feel the very same way....
One of the things that Rev. Tate said at her funeral was that "Miss Betty did not just think about doing for others, she acted" How true this was....

Here are a couple of recipes that I associate most with Grandma. They are fabulous and completely worth passing along!

Betty's Homemade Bread (like sourdough without the hassel of a starter!)
Makes 4 loaves
1/2 cup sugar divided
2 Tbs instant potatoes
3/4 cup very warm water
1 pkg yeast
1 1/2 cup very warm water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
6 cups bread flour
melted butter
Combine 1/4 cup sugar, potatoes and 3/4 cup water. Sprinkle in yeast to soften. In large bowl combine 1 1/2 cup water, oil, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. Add yeast mix and flour and mix well. Turn out and knead 8-10 times until smooth. Shape into a ball place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place 2-3 hours until doubled. Divide into 4 parts and place in loaf pans. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled. Bake at 350 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Creamed Tacos
2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
2 cans ranch style beans drained
1 small can evaporated milk
1 can chili without beans
1 can tomatoes with green chiles
1 lb velveeta cheese cut into pieces

Combine all ingredients except ground beef in a large skillet and cook over low heat for a few minutes. Add ground beef and simmer uncovered until thickened. Serve with tortilla chips and lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream and whatever else strikes your fancy. It's just taco salad but better!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm going to ask for prayer request. My dad is going to be having a quadruple bypass surgery on Nov. 16th. He's very nervous, as are we. It's been sort of a challenging week for us. I am thankful that I was able to be here for his heart cath and that I will be able to come back in for his surgery. He was discharged home yesterday and he has several follow ups and other visits prior to his surgery.

I'm just also want to express how thankful I am for the wonderful friends and family that I have. Everyone has been so wonderful and supportive. Jamey's parents are truly a gift in my life. Even though Jamey's mother lost her mother last week she's been able to help support me through this with my father this week. I'm just truly grateful for them.