Saturday, September 29, 2007

Oh, that I could be this strong....

I just read an article that Tony Snow wrote for Christianity Today. Click HERE to read it. It is worth reading.

What a remarkable man, what a remarkable faith, and what a profound and true statement at the end: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place—in the hollow of God's hand.

Blessings and love,


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Marty and Matilda Mantis

We've been invaded. That's right. We have a preying mantis family in our yard. Now, they haven't invaded our yard. There are just a few of the spindly things. The invasion has been in our LIFE! You see, Christopher LOVES bugs. And Aunt Julia bought him the coolest, most "awesomest" bug kit ever. The "bug bucket" has clear sides and bottom, and a MAGNIFYING lid! Oh, has heaven arrived for a 10 year old boy!?! For the past several weeks now, we have gone outside in the morning, looking for Marty or Matilda (yes, our internet queries and Cosmeo videos have taught us much....we can now tell the males from the females by counting the segments on their abdomens). When we find them, usually right where we left them the night before (OK, so they're not SMART bugs), we put the "bug bucket" in front of them and they usually walk right in. We've gotten so "into" the whole "mantis experience" that we began catching other small insects for Marty or Matilda to eat. We can even watch through the walls of the bug bucket as our interesting-looking insect friend consumes all but the wings of his dear departed fellow insect. It has been fascinating.

Want to come visit? Christopher will happily show you his "little buddy"! Love, Claudia

Thursday, September 20, 2007


What is your favorite season? Why? Do seasons have associations that bring people, events or both to your mind? Fall is officially beginning on the 21st. Summer is officially gone. The seasons mean more to me now that I have ALS. I wonder every time the seasons change what this time next year will look like. I don't know what they will hold, but I do know that I have memories from the past that stand out strongly in my mind. Memories of immense joy birdwatching in Morgan Monroe Forest in the crisp fall air . Memories of confusion, deceit, grief, pain and betrayal in the midst of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. The common denominator in these memories are relationships. One day, when we look back on our lives, we will have a "stock" of memories to sort through. My prayer for you, for your wife or husband, for your children, your parents and your other loved ones is that you are able to make a special effort to make memories worthy of the feelings you share for one another. That you would be intentional in making those people know that you love them in the midst of whatever you do. It is amazing how the sights, sounds and smells of the seasons are so unique and how those things evoke such strong memories even years or decades later. I don't remember what my paycheck was that emotionally devastating holiday season, or even what kind of car I was driving when I went bird watching in the bare-treed forest. I remember the persons involved. I remember the way I felt. Those are the lasting things.

Love someone (love them more than your stuff, more than your job, more than your social status or more than your resume', more than your SELF) this fall. You won't regret it. Love, Claudia

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I am a member of a Yahoo group for persons with ALS (pALS). Recently a pALS wrote in and was asking about "choosing when to die". You see, she is single and has virtually no family or friends supporting her and (in her words): "As time goes on, I am finding it so difficult to find any meaning in my life. I [never hear] from family and most friends. I hardly go out except to go to the store with the aide, or dr'sappointments.No one comes over anymore...."

One response she received struck me: "Most people really are good at heart--they're just so busy and distracted by "modern life" that we have to work hard to get their attention. If you die, and your family or friends read your posts here on this board later, I want very badly to believe that at least a few of them would say to themselves: If she'd only asked me, and made me see how important it was to her, I would have been there for her."

I'm not dying tomorrow, or next week and probably not even next year. I AM however facing changing needs and abilities that will continue for quite some time. This is a "marathon" not a "sprint". I'm finding that it is easy to find a friend to be with you for a "sprint" but when it comes to "marathons" most people don't have the tenacity.

I am stating, here and now that your friendship IS important to me. I NEED to hear from you. I need to see you. I don't want to die alone! Please, consider joining me for moments along this marathon. I have no choice. I have to run the race to the end. YOU can choose to support me and I need your support. I love you all. ~Claudia

Friday, September 7, 2007

Downswing and on the upswing

I am finally feeling a little better. After the cruise, I was exhausted and then I got bronchitis. Two antibiotics later, I'm finally feeling better. I have to say, it was not a fun "ride". Feeling sick is no fun. Feeling sick and dealing with the realities of ALS is REALLY no fun. I have to admit, I had a bit of a pity party. I do my best to think "positive" and to keep FIGHTING ALS, but there are times when I just plain am SCARED. I'm scared of the changes that are coming (and I know pretty much what I'm 'in for'). I'm scared of dying alone. I'm scared that Christopher won't recognize me as "Mommy" when I can't talk or hug him anymore.

And I'm grieving. I'm grieving the loss of my future the way I had "planned" it (hahaha). I'm grieving the loss of the job I loved. I'm grieving the loss of every small ability that is now harder for me. I'm grieving the loss of hope that things will be easier tomorrow.

All this said, I am so grateful for what I still CAN do. I am so blessed that I CAN still hug Christopher and tell him that I love him with my own voice. I am blessed to be able to cherish so many things that so many people in our spoiled, rich, blessed society take for granted. I am grateful for my friends and for this opportunity to find out who my real FRIENDS are (and that has been the biggest shock of ALL).

I hope that you can take a minute today and think about all you have... family, friends, material blessings, a job, opportunities, choices....and thank God for it all. If you are blessed (and you KNOW you are!) find SOME way to "pay it forward". Share a word of encouragement, a gift, donate to a charity, call an old friend who you "are gonna" call but can't seem to make the time, tell someone that you LOVE them......Make the world a little bit better place today than it was yesterday, somehow.

Love, Claudia