Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bridal Show

We would like to give a big shout out to Pam at Alicia's Bridal Shop and The Formal House.  They are hosting another Bridal Expo on January 5.  Here's a link to their website: www.bridalinspirationsexpo.com

Les had delivered to Alicia's Bridal for many years and has a great relationship with the owners, Pam and Mark.  When our daughter got married, we did all our wedding "stuff" with Alicia's and had such a great experience with Mark, Pam and Gretchen.

Every year in January they host a Bridal Expo.  In the past, Les has been known to model tuxes at these shows.  Our daughter also modeled one year.  Such fun!  This year, Pam called and asked Les if they could designate some of the proceeds to him personally, or some other charity of Les' choosing.  Les was overwhelmed with this gracious offer!  We decided to use the ALS Evergreen Chapter as the designated charity, in honor of Les.  So that is what Alicia's Bridal is doing.

If you or ANYONE you know is getting married or thinking about getting married, please consider attending this show.  They do such a great job and it is so much fun.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


We can hardly believe Christmas is over already!  The time flew by this month!  The week before Christmas Les was kinda down, and he said it was hard seeing the brown trucks go by.  He was missing working.  EVEN THOUGH it was the biggest peak ever and the drivers were having very LONG days!  Les kept busy all month, but still missed going to work.  On Christmas Eve day we were out running a few errands and planned on going to the 4:00 Christmas Eve service (Les in the past usually missed all services) and Les said "wow, it's really nice being able to enjoy Christmas Eve like this!"  I guess he still has mixed feelings :)

 When Les was finished working a month or so ago, he had decided he wanted to bring the UPS drivers breakfast on Christmas Eve morning.  He made his plans, decided on breakfast burritos (one of our family favorites).  He has breakfast every Friday morning at Fairway Cafe so mentioned it to his friend Rose.  She offered to let him borrow some warming trays.  Then he sat down with her and started talking about cooking all this food, and they decided Rose would cook it instead.  Worked for me!!  Christmas Eve morning he was up and out of the house early, picked up all the cooked food from Rose, and delivered it to UPS.  The elves there had set up tables and brought drinks, plates, etc.  Les thoroughly enjoyed doing this - he knows what a long month December can be - and I'm pretty sure all the drivers appreciated it!

Christmas morning is when we celebrate with our kids.  They go to the "other side" on Christmas Eve.  Our morning got a bit of a later start than normal due to a certain new baby in the family.  Les and my dad had a prime rib "cook off".  Dad baked his and Les grilled his on the rotissire.  We had a dinner around 2 and my nephew Derek and girlfriend Meghan joined us.  We all decided BOTH meats were delicious.

We pray that you truly enjoyed Christmas.  Our Christmas was a little bit slower paced and we enjoyed that so much.   Jesus is the reason for the season, and to make it anything else is not what He wanted when He was born on this earth.  We also pray that you have the love of Jesus in your hearts.
 "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth"  John 1:14

Saturday, December 14, 2013


SO, we are trying to settle into our new reality.  Having Les home is like when he sometimes would take a week off and I kept working.  That's not TOO out of the normal....except for the fact that it won't ever end...... Ha!  I work a lot from my home office, but it's hard to stay at the computer when Les is rattling around the house.  We are trying to figure out some sort of a schedule.......but that's pretty impossible this time of year.  He keeps having friends pop over for coffee, etc. and I of course don't want to miss out!  For the record, Les has been very good about helping out with whatever I ask him to do.  I haven't been to the grocery store for awhile and can't say I miss that! I have realized that I was pretty stuck on my little routine (gettin old ya know!) and I am having to learn to go with the flow a little more.....

We were offered several nights at a condo in Victoria last week, so we decided we couldn't pass that up.  We took the ferry from Tsawwassen to Vancouver Island.  Those are some nice ferries, eh! (which they should be at the price we paid......)  We had a great view of the harbor pretty close to the Empress Hotel.
We had a very quiet, relaxing long weekend.  It was COLD! but clear and so beautiful.  We did quite a bit of walking and exploring and reading.

Les' voice continues to weaken - well actually his tongue continues to weaken which greatly affects his speech.  Last night he was playing around with some voice apps on the iPad.  We have someone from church who has a connection to a voice box of some sort that we can borrow.  He will try these out before our next appointment with Dr. Weiss.  Les is also having a harder time swallowing, and has more saliva collecting in his mouth.  He is still eating great, but takes him longer to eat. We were both pretty discouraged last week, but this week is better again.  We have been so hopeful that his progression would be slow.  And maybe this is still considered slow, but I guess none of that matters.  What matters is our reality, and we don't like it!  It's hard to stay positive sometimes.  Les is starting a new supplement program called the Deanna Protocal.  He heard about it from Oliver, the ALS support guy who visited awhile back.  Our Dr. Weiss said go for it, with some modifications, so we are.  In a nut shell, the supplements are supposed to protect the nerve endings and slow the damage.  We figured it can't hurt.......

Last weekend we both read a book given to us by my Iowa bestie, Nancy.  The book was written by a young man with melanoma cancer and tracks his journey.  The first few chapters were right-on as to our feelings dealing with a terminal illness.  This man had so much faith and such a strong relationship with Jesus...it was inspiring and yet humbling because we feel we have so much growth to get to that point!

We covet your prayers - we feel them when you are praying.  We are asking for the disease to slow; we are asking that Les stays mobile even if/when he loses his voice; we are asking for joyful attitudes and continued growth in our relationship with our Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 6, 2013


I received a copy of "Jesus Calling" a month or so ago from my dear friend Lu. These past few weeks have focused on being thankful no matter your circumstances and wow have those words had special meaning for us.  "This is the day that I have made! As you rejoice in this day of life, it will yield up to you precious gifts... Walk with Me along the high road of thanksgiving and you will find all the delights I have made ready for you.  How precious are My children who remember to thank Me at all times.  They can walk through the darkest days with Joy in their hearts because they know that the Light of My Presence is still shining on them.  REJOICE IN THIS DAY THAT I HAVE MADE, for I am your steadfast Companion." 
Psalm 118:24

We surprised Les on Saturday evening - a birthday/retirement combo surprise. I may have told a teensie lie that afternoon when he asked if there were any surprises coming...... THANKS to our kids and our friends who helped us celebrate!  We had a great time together and Les was very honored.  We are blessed with great people in our lives!!

This little peanut will be having her own little peanut soon. We are so excited to be grandpa and grandma!  We are very thankful for God's special timing with this baby. 

Brrr, it's cold outside!  Les isn't too sad about not working this COLD week!  His driver friend Ed stopped by the other day for coffee and filled him in on what's going on in the world of brown.   Don't think Les is missing too much!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Today was Les' last day of work.  He has officially finished driving at UPS. No more wearing brown.
He will be going on UPS disability; if there is a miracle and he regains his health, he would have the option to go back to work.  There was a very nice going away meeting this morning at the center.  Well done crew!!
Here is a part of Les' "speech"

To my UPS family: Here we are once again gathered in Jim’s mechanic bay to say our good-byes to some schmuck that’s leaving this place.  But today it’s different because it’s me.  I have often envisioned what it would be like to say good bye to this place but I had no idea it would happen like this under these circumstances….let alone having some tall bald Norwegian having to read it for me. But God had a different plan, and that’s okay.   

It’s really too bad that I am finishing right now because I think that in about a week, week and a half, Doug & Robert are going to have EDD figured out and dialed in!!  They are sooo close.  EDD wouldn’t be so bad except that when Johnson was here and they launched EDD,he tried to reinvent the wheel  and screwed with all the routes.  Oh and good luck with whoever gets my route on that new time study they promised years ago.  18 ½ years and never bonused.  Did a couple other routes, bonused on them, but never on my own route.  Strange?
As many of you know, I have done several different jobs in my life.  When we decided to move to the Pacific Northwest over 21 years ago and pursue a job at UPS, that was one of the best decisions of my life.  Even though there are at times tension between the Union and management, the hours are long, and the work can be hard, it’s still a great job.  Don’t take it for granted!!  I know we all grumble and complain from time to time, but UPS is still a great place to work.  As drivers, we are all proud to wear brown.  I know I was.
 I want to thank Robert and Rick for being so understanding and making adjustments for me recently (and not throwing me under the bus).   Gunnar has gone above and beyond in trying to help me out the past few months.  I will not forget these kind gestures.  I want to thank ALL of you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.  Remember that I live in Lynden and that is just a half a nine iron away.  Stop in some time for a cup of coffee and a visit, but don’t be surprised if I AM sitting around clipping coupons.  Fixed income you know! 
Lastly, I am okay and I will be okay.  I could not walk this road without my faith in Jesus Christ, my family and friends,  church community and all of you guys and gals right here.  You’re a big part of my life.
 Thanks for the memories!!             Les  
There is a bit of inside humor, but you get the gist of it.  Kris and Leslie were also there, very special. (Brett had early morning basketball practice! and Hannah is in Nebraska for Thanksgiving)

That quilt was made by one the drivers, Peggy.  She has been working on it for over a week.  The white strips are all signed by drivers, our friends, Les' customers, our small group people......so very cool.  Les and I did not look at the quilt this morning.......first thing I saw was Kris' strip and I started to lose it so decided reading the quilt will wait!!  Hopefully I can get a better picture when we get the quilt home.  The gifts we received from the drivers are amazing; Les received so many gifts and cards from his customers.  There have been so many tears and kind words over the past three days.  He is overwhelmed by peoples' show of love and kindness.

As his wife, I would like to say how proud I am of him.  He worked hard to support his family.  He rarely complained about the long hours. As a driver friend texted this evening "the great turnout this morning is a real testimony to the man, friend, father, husband and employee you are"  AMEN.  I love this man.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hunting With Friends

Les had this past week off, a scheduled vacation. Last Sunday we had an extended family Thanksgiving on my side of the family....very nice! We couldn't stay as long as we would've liked since we had a planned trip away to Lake Chelan.  Thank you to Ruth and Nyla for planning that dinner.  This is a sunrise on the lake:

Les and his buddy Steve usually hunt this week. This year they actually invited us wives!  The guys and all 4 dogs hunted up by Brewster and us girls walked, read and relaxed. It was so nice to get away and feel normal.  On Wednesday the guys informed us girls that we were hunting with them before we headed home.  Okay.......not too sure about that but we decided we were game.  It was a clear beautiful day, 27 degrees.  We hunted a couple hours out around Brewster but we didn't bring them much luck that day.   We saw a few quail and a few pheasant hens, but they didn't bring anything down.  The dogs worked hard looking!  We had a nice walk in the sunshine.  We headed home on highway 20, stopping for a yummy dinner in Winthrop.  On top of the pass that night it was 4 degrees!! Brrrrr, would not want to break down up there.  Les and I decided it felt like we were gone a long time....sign of a good vacation.  Thank you Steve and Sheri for your friendship and for just hangin' with us. 

The rest of the week Les spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what is available through UPS for disability. He is trying to figure out the sequence of disability, social security, pensions, insurance....so confusing.  I am so thankful he is able to do that! He got pretty tired while hunting and his voice gets very sore from talking so we need to keep working on future plans.  We are looking forward to this Thanksgiving week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Progress report

I was thinking the other day, our far away family needs an update on how Les is doing.
Les' speech is getting more slurred.  He gets "winded" quite easily when talking, has to stop and catch his breath.  Normal walking isn't too bad but if he climbs a hill, etc he gets "winded" sooner than normal.  But he says "course I am almost 55" !! He gets quite fatigued at work. Last week he worked Monday and Tuesday and was exhausted so took Wednesday and Thursday off, worked again Friday. This week was a planned vacation week so is off all week.  Hopes to do some hunting!

He is having a little more of a problem drinking liquids. He learned to tilt his head down when drinking to help that. If he forgets, he chokes!  Eating is not too much of a problem; but it is getting harder to swallow.  He eats a lot slower.  He LOVES to eat and lately has been eating a lot! Sweet stuff doesn't sound good to him, which is kinda weird.  I think knowing he won't be able to eat in the future makes him all that more eager to eat as much as he can! Plus, the clinic is always concerned with weight loss, so we aren't worried about all the eating.  He has also developed an issue with saliva....he doesn't swallow as much as he should voluntarily so has excess saliva in his mouth....all a disease issue.  He started a new med to help with the saliva but thinks it is giving him a sore stomach, so we'll see.

Mentally we are doing pretty good. The shock and rawness is wearing down, but still quite surreal. We both just think this is just a dream.....when he is working and we are going about our life quite normally we can pretend it's not really happening. And that's not such a bad thing, right? But then we have our moments......never really know when that's gonna happen.

A song that's been running through my head "this world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, and I can't feel at home in this world anymore"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Boys and their trucks...

This post is for Les' brothers........

Les has always had a truck.  Les has always been a townie, but he always had to have a truck.  Here is the first one, a 1968 International.

Isn't that a beauty???  And yes, that is Kris...so cute.  Good old Iowa.........

We didn't take that truck to Washington.  When we moved here he got an old Toyota pickup.  Remember that thing?  Kris inherited it when he turned 16, painted it with flames.......that truck did us good.  Les' most recent truck was his Duramax and he loved that truck!  He made biodiesel for it so it always smelled like french fries.  That was a great hobby for him.

The Friday we got the diagnosis in Seattle, Les' truck was in the repair shop cuz it just wasn't running right. On our way home we got a call from Jim at the repair shop.  The truck had a blown head gasket.  Well of course to me that didn't mean anything, but apparently that is a very bad thing.  A very bad expensive thing.  We were kind of like, really God, we are getting more bad news today???  Well to make a long story short, Jim's son Kent had offered to buy the truck "as is".  He's a repair guy so he could fix it in his spare time.  Les knew that he probably won't be spending his spare time making biodiesel, and he thought why did he even need such a big truck anymore.  Why indeed?  Except that he loves trucks; and he loved that truck!  We drove to Montana in that truck, all SIX of us.....we have great memories in that truck!  But Les decided this was kind of a God-timing-thing after all and it was time to sell the truck.  Not an easy thing to do, but he sold it to Kent.

 The search was on for a new truck.  Les was hoping at that point to keep working for awhile, so he thought a smaller truck would be good for gas mileage.  Les is a computer researcher - he LOVES to spend hours in my office researching.  So that's what he did--lots of research.  Kris' friend David graciously offered us his truck for a week, and then Steve offered his truck........but I finally said enough - BUY A TRUCK!  Last Saturday he was out and about and bought a new truck. 

Just today he said, what do I call this?  A truck?  A car?  Hank (the dog) fits in the back, it's in great shape, drives good.  Not a Chevy, (the boys might have laughed a little) but he is very happy with his new wheels.  There you have it, brothers.