Sunday, June 29, 2008

Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy

Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy..our life!

Kerry and I met on a blind date in September 1980...I remember the day like yesterday as I did not want to go and I kept trying to get out of the blind date but my best friend insisted on me going. I remember on Halloween we were so in love that I made us Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy costumes by hand...we were so cute! Kerry asked me to marry him and I said, "Yes!" We still dated for three years as I really wanted to make sure that this is who I wanted to spend my life with. We were married and life was so good! Kerry eventually started his own house painting and cleaning business. He was Mr. Plainfield's Handyman! Everyone loved Kerry and he would do anything for people. I was working at the Bank when we had our first daughter Lindsay and I was wanting to stay home. I remember the bank asking us if we were interesting in cleaning Plainfield National Bank and it was our answer for me to be a stay at home mom! It was my dream from a little girl to be a mom and be able to stay home with my children. Kerry was able to clean at night and I would go over at 6 a.m. to finish before the bank opened. Our family grew to three beautiful girls and our lives were almost picture perfect.

Kerry decided to change careers and became a salesman for a company in Joliet and I had started a very successful craft and floral business. Kerry was so good at sales and loved working my business. We had five people working and did home parties, craft shows, and had several craft malls we were in. We were living upper middle class and loving life! We owned our Queen Anne Victorian Painted Lady Home in Downtown Plainfield and had the Village Green in our front yard for the girls to play in. Everyone looked at us and told us how fortunate we were and we even had the white picket fence in the front! On Oct. 15, 1998 our lives changed as my husband did a side job to make some extra money to buy a used car and pave our driveway. He had one hour left and I was to go down that day and help him as it was a very steep third floor dormer. Kerry was wanting to get done because he had Awana's that night so he left without me. He climbed out the window and when he was painting he slipped on the shingle pebbles and fell to his side but didn't spill the paint! He was more worried about that and not falling off the roof. He continued and finished the job and came home for dinner and left for Awana's. He never told me until the following week that he fell on the roof. That fall changed our lives as Kerry had to have surgery now and we had no idea what would happen to our perfect lives now. While Kerry was in the hospital everything that could possibly go wrong did. Kerry turned urosepsis and I was told he had a 50/50 chance of surviving. He was overdosed on morphine and the worst part was he got an infection in his surgical wound that has made his life pain 24/7 for the rest of his life!

We have had to go from upper middle class to below poverty to survive and pay medical bills. We went through 8 years of legal nightmares. Until you go through medical negligence you have no idea what can happen to your life! (We lost our case with a hung jury on Valentine's Day 2008) You cannot fix medical negligence but you have to learn to survive it! This meant I either had to quit my business and go on Public Aid or divorce Kerry. What a decision to make as a wife and a mother. I chose Public Aid and went down for the second time to sign up as you have to go through everything you own and be basically penniless to apply! I remember the day opening the door handle so well as I walked into the office in Joliet and saw the people sitting at the tables in the room waiting their turns. I felt like everyone was staring at me and I started to hyperventilate! I had no idea what that feeling was like until that day! You cannot even catch your breath....the person that was assigned to me was the most beautiful person and I still remember who so well. She hugged me and told me I am doing the right thing for my family! I thought how could this be right? I was taught that only the poor went on Public Aid and here I was applying for Public Aid! How did I go from upper middle class to poverty? It was just the beginning of the Brown Family's struggle to survive for the next 9 years. I am so glad we do not know what we have to do in life or we would honestly give up because so many days I felt like I cannot do this one more day. My girls would die of embarrassment as teens if I made them go to the local grocery store for food. I would say either you can go or go without. Sometimes they would sit in the car and fight me so bad because they had to use the CARD! I had to learn how to go to agency's that would help and be able to receive gifts of food and money. We were not taught this in life but taught to give. My mom and dad were givers all their lives and here was their daughter on the other end! I remember the First Christmas for the Needy Family Fund and I had to go and pick up the gifts. I called my mom and asked her to come with me and she hesitated but came with me. When we got there she sat in the car at first and I couldn't get her to come in. I remember wanting to scream as I was so scared but she sat and told me I have never had to receive! It was so hard for my parents to be on the other side and see their daughters family having to be needy!

This wasn't in my life plans for sure but I had to fight for our family and now we were fighting all the time to keep Kerry alive and he would fight one infection after another. He also had mental problems that made it so bad to live in our home. We were financially going under, medically no one knew what to do for Kerry and then fighting to keep life so called, "Normal!" I remember how we always planted flowers in our yard and I wasn't going to stop as this was something that we both enjoyed so I would go into the yard and let the tears run down my face as I would dig and dig. Our yard became my therapy but at the same time people could be so mean and ask how can you afford flowers? I would look at them and tell them we didn't die inside and we do not have black curtains hanging on the house! We are still alive! We are still people and want to be normal! But what was normal now? Nothing seemed normal from going to the grocery store to being on the public aid card! I would hold my head up but inside I wanted to crumble. I was also told by my church to go to the food pantry? The Food Pantry? That is for really poor people! I was now at the lowest point when I got excited over the food at the pantry! I will never forget driving home one afternoon and two of my girls were in the back seat when they started looking in the bags and were so happy! I was driving and fighting back the tears as the girls looked in the bags and pulled out Mac and Cheese telling me, "It's the real thing, Mom!" Then Jell-O and Italian dressing and they would say things like how did they know that was my you even know how hard it is to not cry because I use to buy Real Mac and Cheese and didn't think about it! We all take things for granted daily and until our lives are shaken up and turned upside down we have no idea what life is! Our lives have not been the plan that I had, but it is one that has been blessed by so many caring people that care about us and make sure our family is taken care of year after year. hugs, cheryl

How many people have your Name..this is neat!
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free craft tag for you...

Are you ready for a freebie?

Just click on the image and save to your computer would make some neat pricing tags!

Hope you enjoy

Have a beautiful day

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My mom, dad and I on my Mom's Birthday...84 years old

We celebrated my mom's birthday last night and you learn to treasure these days more and more...hugs, cheryl Hard to believe they are 84 abd 85 ...where did the years go?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My dad is back home!!!


My dad and I on Fathers Day..He was able to come home yesterday from the nursing home..I just talked to him a few minutes ago and he is so happy to be home for an entire day and it makes me so happy to have him back..hugs, cheryl Give your dad a big hug and tell him you love him because you never know when you might lose him...
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008


We all need Faith, Hope and Love!
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Walk by faith..had to put my dad in the nursing home..please pray!

Friday, June 13, 2008
Walk by faith
"Faith is walking out onto a ledge of nothing, expecting to find something there."

The idea of faith in today's society is that of which we don't see too often anymore. We live in a world of science and factual evidence. Believing in something you can't see or prove is considered to be very naive. As Christians however, Christ calls us to have ultimate faith.

"Walk by faith, not by sight," is a phrase most of us are very familiar with, but do we ever think about what that truly means? His word tells us this concerning faith,

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."~1 Peter 1:7

How many of us can really say that we apply this to our everyday lives? When our husband loses his job, can we honestly say that we praise the Lord for giving us a trial to strengthen our faith in HIM? Yet, that's exactly what we should be doing. HE doesn't give us trials in our lives for punishment. Quite the opposite, in fact. HE loves us so much that it is HIS intention to strengthen our faith and our walk. If we begin to see our faith as "more precious then mere gold," it is my belief that we can be on the road to living a truly abundant life in HIM.

Dear Lord,
Help us to see our trials as great, glorious opportunities to build our faith in you. You see us exactly as we are and for that we are so grateful. Let us challenge ourselves to live more for you everyday and to be obedient to your living word.
In your son's name we pray,

We had to put my dad in the nursing home last night for at least a week..we were up for three straight nights with mom had a good angiogram now just seeing if she has any blood clots..they still are not sure what is causing the shortness of breath but she does have a few things wrong with the parts of the heart but no major blockage which is a huge God Watch as she had triple by pass five years ago...hugs, cheryl

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mu mother is in the hospital now with heart problems..please pray!

mother.gif (image)
My dad is home and needs someone around him 24/7 and a few hours later we had to take my mother into the hospital with heart problems..please pray for direction and all the things facing our family..hugs, cheryl

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Regrets...

by Marcia Hodge

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he moved in with my
youngest brother.
Knowing my father didn't have much time left, my brother invited
me and our other siblings to stay with him. This allowed each of us
to spend as much time as possible with my father, as well as lean on
each other for support.
We learned so much during those few weeks and our love for him
grew with each passing day. For the first week he was there, we
would stay up until the early morning hours telling stories, singing,
listening to his words of wisdom, and most importantly, just enjoying
being with each other.
Shortly before his death, my father asked to speak to each of us
individually. We each waited our turn, knowing this would probably
be the last time he would be aware of our presence -- his organs had
begun to fail and his strength was fading quickly.
Finally, my turn came. When I entered the room, I could see
that his eyes were closed. I thought he might have drifted back to
sleep. I stood there for a moment watching him -- the face of an
I eased to the side of his bed and sat down. Without opening
his eyes, my father reached for my hand and smiled. As I sat there
watching this man quickly pass from us, I thought of all the things I
wanted to say. I wanted to tell him all of the things I was going to
miss -- the smell of his aftershave, the sound of his voice on the
other end of the phone, books to compare with the person with whom I
shared a love of reading, his unwavering faith in me, his Christian
example, and maybe most of all his smile -- the smile of an angel.
There were other things I wanted to say as well, such as "if only."
Instead, we sat in silence, holding hands, thankful for the closeness
we'd always shared.
After awhile I leaned over to kiss him goodnight. As I did, a
tear fell and landed on his cheek. Never opening his eyes, he smiled
and whispered, "No regrets."
With those two words, I knew there was nothing left unsaid. The
love we shared was far greater than any words. It was as if he could
see deep into my heart and know what I felt at that exact moment. He
didn't want me to worry about anything I could not change.
Instead, he wanted me to be happy with the memories I could
forever keep in my heart and not dwell on any of the "if only's." He
not only wanted me to be content with the relationship I had shared
with him, he wanted me to be content with the relationship I shared
with my family, friends and most importantly, my relationship with
Of all things my father taught me over the years, the lesson I
learned that night was the greatest -- to try to live a life with "No

-- Marcia Hodge

Marcia is married with two children. She currently works full-time
as an Oncology Data Specialist and continues her passion and
enthusiasm for writing. She is currently working on a novel, as well
as collaborating on a screenplay.

It has been a crazy week and ups and downs and tears to having a phone call that they are going to send my dad home yesterday...I was like what???? He is suppose to go to rehab? I called and left messages at the nurses stations and finally around 12 I got the first phone call to tell me he is not strong enough to go to Rehab and they will have to find other arrangements..I told them my mom has been having heart problems and has not even had the energy to get to the hospital for a few days so he cannot go home..I have my plate so full that I can't be there to take care of him and Lindsay is leaving to be a camp counselor on Sunday for a week for our church..that is a huge God Watch that she is doing this well! I am so happy for her and she really wanted to go and she got chosen to be the counselor and then she has a bunch of helpers from church assisting here...

So the next thing to do was find out what their health care covered for Nursing Home Care...Now I have learned about Nursing Home Care and the phone started ringing..I learned do not take the first call as they would have put him in Joliet and then we would have had to drive so far..I was helped by Sherry Lindstrom who happened to call right in between the Social Worker and a Nursing Home and I got out of that one and able to get him just a few blocks from our home...He was moved at 7 pm but by 12:30 at night I woke up and thought should I call and make sure he is cell phone rang and it was my dad..he was getting upset as he started having bladder problems and I told him how to push the red button and we started a long night of phone calls..They didn't have the right medicines on his chart and I was awoken by my mom and she had no idea I was up all night with dad and now he is being taken by ambulance back to the hospital as he cannot dad was getting upset and I told him now you know what I go through each time Kerry is there and he goes 8 hours with out pych or pain is horrible..he said I don't know how you have done they even know I am here? I laughed and told them now you are talking like Kerry...So pray today we can get him back to the nursing home and the doctors get all the right orders sent and my dad back on track..we should find out about his cancer tomorrow the results will be in.. Then my moms heart test on Wed., Thursday, and Friday...

Now my mom is really having a hard time and short of has just been so much on all of us...I crashed finally on Monday and slept almost 17 hours...I am in therapy for my hips and then I go and my back starts hurting and I think why all at one time..Friday Dr. Lubenow injected my neck with a steroid injection but my hands are still going pray that I figure out what to do with my many decisions and just too much happening at a time..hugs, cheryl

My dad got released and my mom was bringing him back to the nursing home and they stopped to show him the new kitchen as they had a fire a few weeks ago and the remodeling has been going on while he has been in the hospital so they stopped at home...Mom gave him a shower, Mallory came and cut his hair, fed him lunch and then decided they couldn't bring him back to the nursing pray we can keep him at my parents home...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Amazing Grace by a two year old..stop and turn off my playlist then listen to this! It will make your day! hugs, cheryl

Embedded Video

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This is a neat show and tell I found on a blog...awesome sites to go to..enjoy

Show us your vintage linens--Show & Tell Sunday
Thank you for joining us for another Show & Tell! I am just loving this so much, it's wonderful to visit so many lovely blogs, make new friends and of course see what everyone collects! Thank you for participating and making this so fun!

Here's your list. :0)

May 18, 2008 in Show & Tell Sunday | Permalink

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Do Not Worry!

Eastern Blue Bird Chicks !, originally uploaded by Tatsu*.

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Collage Angel Be Sweet...

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Listening to the nudge of God!

I just woke up and talking in my sleep and I decided to call and check on my dad...the nurse told me he was in pain and wanted pain meds so he was calling the doctor and he has been bleeding red blood for a day now..they think he might be bleeding internally now..please pray so hard to go through and watch and how awesome though that God gives me these nudges constantly and I listen like tonight at 3 am to call and the nurse gave me the phone and I was able to talk to my dad for 15 min. He told me I always know when something is wrong and it really is true for 10 years I have always called doctors and they have listened and tonight to think I called and my dad needed someone to talk to is just like our heavenly father always there to listen..he is showing me that he will be there for me day or night and I will make it and when my dad will be in heaven it will be such a better place..hugs, cheryl ...xoxoxoxo for the storms of life....I am glad I have all of you to lift me up!

Living Wills...make sure you have yours..

My mom thought she had a living will at the hospital and she didn't have it at home either it was at the attorney's office and they were closed over the weekend...I called at 6:45 before the nurse left from the night shift and got news that they had to call a code on my dad as his heart rate was over 160 and climbing and couldn't get it down so they had to zap him with the machine..and give him IV meds to get his heart rate to go back to normal..then his urine is all blood and not sure but the nurse is concerned with his stomach please pray...and just a word of advice to make sure if you have a living will you have a copy at home and the hospital that you go to..they only had my mom's on file and not my dad' my parents thought they had both of theirs...I learned this with Kerry also and this makes me know I need to check the hospitals again to make sure it has the copies on file...going up as more specialists are being called in this am...hugs, cheryl

PS My dad told me today I have no idea how Kerry goes through each day of suffering..I have only had a few days in my life and he has had 10 years...we both started to cry..I told him I am praying that God will take his pain away...and that is why Kerry always wants to sleep because then he doesn't remember so much suffering and my dad told me I know now...

Monday, June 2, 2008

My dad and downs of the hospital...

It has been a long weekend of ups and downs and this told and that said and finally today they are coming up with more details of what they feel is dad they feel had a stroke a few weeks ago when we noticed something was wrong with him...then the stares and sitting not talking were mini seizures happening and when they did the MRI a few weeks ago that was the spot of the stroke on the brain...then they did another MRI yesterday and there have been changes and now some bleeding is occurring at that spot...then they did another PSA test and before his test came back at 22 and now it is over 200 so they did a bone scan to see if the cancer has spread and we will not know till later on about this. But they are putting him on seizure medicine and his temps have spiked up to 104.0 as of last night and he has had to be on a cooling mat with ice bags around him..he has been a trooper through out all of this..My mom is hanging in there and Lindsay and my mom and I are switching going up to feed him ...he will have to start physical therapy and to get his strength back up and that is why he was so lethargic from the stroke...Now our prayers are that the bone scan does not show anything bad...then my mother's kitchen has been torn up and the carpenter had been doing all the repairs and I so want my dad to come home as he is so excited about his new kitchen as he has wanted this for so many years..My mom and dad have had so many calls and people visiting him from church and friends it is so awesome to see the outpouring of love shown to them at this time from their Christian Friends...they are truly loved by many and I have had so many people share so many stories about my mom and is awesome to hear them...

I got a call from Lorraine at CEF and they are going to get some help for us and come and put my mother's kitchen back together again for her as my mom will never ask for help so that will be such a relief as it is all over the place and the carpenter should be done tomorrow...please pray for my family especially my siblings it has been a very stressful time and for my mom...hugs, cheryl God is working!
PS Lindsay is doing amazing! She looks so good and to think how much pain she was in just a few weeks ago is so hard to believe...