Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This I know.....

It has been a journey these past few months, and I have learned a few things from everything that I have experienced. You see my dad, my only living parent was diagnosed with Cancer the week before Thanksgiving 2011. That began a whirlwind of emotions, and appointments, and family drama that I have not experienced since the death of my mother, from Cancer 18 years ago. So we made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and my dad's 79th birthday. We had a huge birthday party for him, like no other, family came from across the United States and we partied, we visited, we loved on each other, and for the most part we ignored the elephant in the room..... CANCER. My dad went to U C Davis for the initial diagnosis and scheduled treatment which would include a life changing surgery. We drove back and forth, from our home in French Gulch to Sacramento, again and again and again. Each trip becoming more and more difficult, but you do what you have to do. The day before we were to leave for the surgery at U C Davis, my dad called me and my brother who was here from South Dakota, he wanted to talk to us. We drove again, to his house this time, a bit closer..... and he told us..... he was not going to have the surgery, he was not going to live being sick from the treatment, he was not going to spend what little quality time he had left here on Earth in a hospital bed. He was, in fact going to spend his time doing what he wanted to do, how he wanted to do it, and with those he loved, not doctors, nurses, and bed pans. I paniced, told him that he had to have the surgery, that not doing this was certainly a death sentence.............. and this is what I learned from this man who is my dad ........................ That you live YOUR life on your terms, this includes how you choose to die. That you choose your path and do not let anyone choose it for you, you are the captain of your life ship. That it is o.k. to go against tradional wisdom, and practice. That no matter what it is HIS life, and we are his children, we are to just walk beside him and support HIM in his life and death decisions. That I can do this, no matter how much it can hurt at times, and how much I want to make it better for him. That we all have a path to walk down, and this path is OUR path. The initial diagnosis was that my dad had 6 months, that was 7 months ago..... and he is still doing o.k. He had never once complained, asked why, or said anything but positive things. He has told me from the day of his diagnosis that he is ready to meet the Lord, that he has made peace with all of this and it is going to be o.k. If only I could do that..... I try but I struggle with being so positive, but I truly appreciate the fact that he is so positive and that he does not fear death. So we walk down this road my dad and I, talking every day of life's mundane things, the weather, the price of gas, what he ate for dinner, breakfast, lunch..... and every time that I see him he has lost a little more weight, the tumor is more and more visible, and still he smiles and tells me everything is alright. You see that is what a parent does for their child, tells them that everything will be alright.... Today, June 27, 2012 my dad is still with us, still able to laugh, smile, joke and carry on his life on HIS terms..... that I can be this brave if I am ever put in this type of situation. I love this man I call dad, William Curtis Chipley Sr., my name sake, though we just call him dad........... So for today and every day, tell your loved ones you love them, spend some time with them, be gracious to them, be kind to them, for you never know how long you have with them. I will keep you posted as to how my dad is doing, I am now able to put into words how I feel about all of this, and it has not been easy, to lose one parent to Cancer is devastating, but to have both to be lost to it.... is just.....heart wrenching... But this I know...... I will survive..... I will love..... I will

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Thoughts and Thanksgiving!!

We are nigh into November. Quickly coming up to Thanksgiving. I do not know what your plans for the holiday are, but ours are very different this year.

For the last 20 years we have had every holiday at our home, and we have enjoyed doing so. I love having people over, visiting, gathering the families. We have had some wonderful times around our table. And we will continue to do so. However this year is a bit different...

As I have blogged about earlier in the year, our oldest son and his wife moved 5.5 hours from where we live. He has a job that requires him to work on some holidays, and since this is his first year at this new company, yep you guessed it, he has to work, so they will not be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. Our youngest son and his wife are spending the holiday with her family, we do have to share, and I must say this is part of being an in law I do not like!!! My father and his wife are spending it with her children.

So that leaves my wife and I, and her parents. We are still cooking Thanksgiving this year.... but it will be for 4, instead of 18 to 20. Like I said at the beginning of this, it will be a different holiday for us. I don't know about you, but for me to even think about cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 4 people is well it is just NOT right.... I don't even think I know how to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for 4!! But I will have to try and learn..... lol

We always have eaten our Thanksgiving meal at 1 p.m. I don't know why but that is when we have always done it, and we will continue to do so. Maybe it is because we have always tried to make it so others can spend time with their family and friends also, after the meal. Make 2 stops to eat on this day of feasting!! Or maybe it is just the way it always has been and I should not even try to figure out why.....

It has always worked for us though, because by 5 or 6 everyone has left our home and traveled to other places. And my wife and I do the same.... We have had dessert with our dear friends Cesar and Tami, for the last 22 years. After each of us has cooked for our families, and they have left, then we sit down with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, get a piece of pie, and reflect... Reflect on those we spent the day with, how it went, and when our kids were younger what time we would be hitting the Black Friday shopping.... We would talk about those who may not have been at our tables this year. Talked about life and it's ebbs and flows.... and in general just relaxed and enjoy each others company.

So what is your plan this year?? Who are you inviting to your Thanksgiving table? Will it be the same as in past years? Or will yours be like ours this year..... a little different yet the same.... for time seems to bring around again does it not?
It starts with you as a young couple, no children, gathering at a relatives home, then as the years go by the gathering changes, as those we love go on, or move on, or just decide to spend it with others....... in any event as we gather to give thanks this year..... do just that....GIVE THANKS .... for where ever you are in life, who ever you are with.... and how ever you spend your day..... GIVE THANKS
Blessings and THANKS to you and yours
Curtis & Sherrie

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall, Nesting, going "Home:..... random thoughts

It is finally cooling off here in Northern California, and we are just now really feeling like it is Fall. Cool, crisp mornings, warm afternoons.

We have just finished with Halloween, and now are quickly heading for Thanksgiving. I have always thought that Thanksgiving was the most over looked holiday we have. And yet it really should be one of the most celebrated. Even in this time of financial crisis for our country, for our friends, for family. We all have so much to be thankful for.

It is a time when we all draw closer to home, to those we love. We are not into the rushed Christmas season, we are able to just slow down and enjoy God's bounty. The awesome, beautiful Fall colors, the change of the weather. That first cup of coffee is a bit sweeter as the mornings are cooler, and a bit foggy. We start using our fireplaces and wood stoves. We linger sitting by them longer than we think we should, enjoying the crackle of the fire and the warmth from them. There is no better warmth that that of a wonderful fire in the fireplace.

November is when the year starts to wind down, we only have one more month til a new year dawns. A lot of us cozy up our homes, put on a fresh coat of paint, change out the pillows on the sofa's. Gather branches from our yards with colorful leaves and berries still attached and use them as wonderful centerpieces.

It is also the time that we all long for "Home". What ever that word means to you. Thanksgiving has the most people travelling to get "Home". To their childhood homes if that is where their parents still live, or to a home that is filled with the people they love. We all want, need to feel connected to a time, place and people who not only comfort us but have nurtured us over the years.

It really is not the structure, building, that is home, it is the feeling the you get when you enter the front door. It is the love that are wrapped in by those who are there to greet you. You see home really is about people, and relationships. It is about making memories, year after year, no matter what the physical address is, it is the people to people connection that we make.

So as we move through November, take some time to linger by the fire. Take some time to call an old friend. Open your home to friends and family, and the occasional stranger. Take the time and effort to make those around you feel welcome. And as you make a new memory, a new friend, or renew an old friendship.......... remember to be THANKFUL, for November is the month of being THANKFUL.....

Blessings to you and yours


Friday, October 21, 2011

Think Pink

Yesterday, October 20, 2011 was designated as "Think Pink" day here in Norther California. We were to wear pink, stop and think about breast cancer, donate, there were give aways, they lit our beautiful Sundial Bridge up in pink light, a gorgeous site to behold. And in general it is a day to just make us stop and remember those women in our lives who have fought this horrible battle and won, and to remember those who have fought the battle and lost....

I have experienced both of these battles, with the women in my life. My mother in law is a 20 year breast cancer survivor. My cousin only 3 years my senior, fought the battle and lost....

When my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was me who took her to her chemo and radiation appointments. It was a wonderful bonding time for a mother in law and son in law, the sharing of the fears of death, life, the future. Our sons were little, at the time that she went through her cancer and treatment. They were introduced to cancer and it's ugly side effects at a way to young age. Mom, that is what I have always called my mother in law, went through her chemo and radiation very well. Of course she was very sick, lost her hair, but she never lost her joy or her hope of knowing that she would beat this disease, and we are every grateful for that.

My cousin, Marji, only 3 years older than myself was diagnosed with this dreadful disease when she was just in her mid 40's. She had 5 children all, still in school. Marji was a rebel of sorts, always looking for the organic way to cure ailments. Thus she made the decision early on that she would not use conventional medical treatment for her disease. I do not make judgement for her decision, it was hers, she owned it, and was steadfast in the treatment plan that she followed. But alas it was not a plan that was to be successful for her. She died, leaving all 5 of her children, her mother and father and her brother, and lots of cousins behind. All of us of course have our own opinions as to whether or not she chose the right path...... she chose the right path for her ......

So I have had the joy of seeing one loved one live through and be in remission for breast cancer, and I have had the heart break of seeing another be not so fortunate....

Life has many twists and turns and we all have decisions that we must make at every twist and turn that had different and at times devastating consequences for us....

I celebrate this Think Pink day, with everyone, both those who have lived to tell their stories, and those who we are left to tell their stories for them.....

Let's all take a moment and collectively send out a prayer that they find a cure for breast cancer, and all other cancers also........................

Think Pink.......... but always pray for a cure...................


Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall Y'all !!!! and other ramblings...

Today, Friday, September 23, 2011 is the first day of Fall, though you would not know it here in the Redding area, as it was 103 yesterday and is 100 degree's today!!!!

That said, it is the official first Day of Fall 2011!! As I have said before Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the holidays that we have during Fall, I love the colors we all seem to use during this transitional Season, the rusts, golds, greens, burgandy's. And do not tell my wife but I even like it that we switch out our decorations in our home from Summer to Fall.

September is a bitter sweet month for me. When I was growing up there were lots of birthday's and wedding anniversary's in September. My parents anniversary is in September, although it is just another day for most of my family since my mother died and my father remarried. I still take time on September 25th, of each year to remember my parents and their love not only for each other but for us 3 boys. My youngest brother's birthday is September 27th, he lives in South Dakota and we have not spent a birthday his or mine together in over 20 years, but it still was a celebration in September. My dad's brother and his wife were married on September 28th, and the list goes on and on. My wonderful in laws also celebrate their anniversary, and my mother in laws birthday in September.

That being said there have been many more people and celebrations that went on in the month of September through the years. But as time, and people pass, the celebrations get less and less.

I still take the time to do a private celebration for all of those who have gone on before me, in remembrance of them and their contribution to my life. I really think that our society tries to have us erase those who have gone on before us, but I will never succumb to this.

Each person who has had any kind of impact in our lives deserves to be remembered, to be honored in someway.

So as we enter into another Fall, and the season begins to change, first the nights get cooler, then the leaves begin to fall... Oh how I still love to see the leaves change and fall, fluttering ever so softly down to the ground, and to feel the crispness in the air as it gets cooler. I anticipate our first fire in the fireplace, and how it makes the house so cozy.... ahhhhhhhh

So what does Fall mean to you? What celebrations do you and your family enjoy, participate in?

Do you put up pumpkins? Pull out the flannel, and wool comforters and get ready to settle in for the upcoming colder weather?

I am hoping that you take the time to do all of this and more. That you enjoy the fluttering of the leaves as they fall to the ground, that you glory in the cool of Fall's weather. And I hope that you, take the time to remember those who have made an impact in your life, be they here or gone on before you to Glory.......

Again I say Happy Fall Y'all

Blessings to you and yours


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thunder storms ~~~~

Last night as we were sitting in our family room, just my wife and I, enjoying our usual peace and quiet. We were afforded the absolute wonder of a Thunder and Lightening Storm.

It was amazing!!! Here in far Northern California we do not get storms like this very often, and to honest when we do we worry about forest fires..... especially this time of year at the end of a long dry summer. But for the moment we sat and marvelled at God's handiwork.

The loud clap of Thunder overhead made the windows and doors rattle with its power. Then of course the Lightening that followed lit up the sky in the canyon. It was so bright that for the moment you thought that it was day light, but then as quickly as it was bright we were plunged into darkness again.

The whole storm lasted for about 30 minutes, and the whole while I was watching in awe of the mightiness of the storm that God had unleashed in our skies. I sat thinking about how small I felt with the wind whipping the trees, and the rain and hail pelting the house.

We opened all of our windows and doors so that we could be totally engulfed in the awesomeness of the storm.

God is like that, he wants to engulf us in His awesome love and power, if only we will let him. Oh how we at times fight that, not allowing God to engulf us in His love. And then when you watch what he can do with our little world, showing us his power in the storm, I am reminded that he can do so much with us if we only allow Him to.

My wife and I sat quietly, as the storm continued around us, both lost in our own thoughts. And then after the storm had quieted down we began to talk about God's Power and Love.

Are you in a storm of your own today? Do you need to feel the wonder and power of our Saviour? He is there waiting, wanting to show you his Love for us.

My prayer today is that you allow God to show you His Grace, His Power, His Love.

For God so loved the world, he sent his only begotten Son, whosoever believes on HIM shall be saved~~ John 3:16

So won't you allow him to Love YOU? Give you the PEACE that surpasses all understanding?

I for today will let God do what he wants, allow HIM to LOVE me, to give me PEACE that surpasses all understanding, won't you? Just think about it, HE is waiting.

Blessings to you and yours


Friday, September 9, 2011


I have been away, well... away from writing, these last few months. I have had a block on what to write and or say. But not today, today I have so many things to say...

In just 2 days we will be remembering that awful day 10 years ago when all of our lives were changed forever, 09/11/2001 when our world as we knew it changed forever.

I can still tell you what I was doing that awful day, when the news came that we were under attack. My boys were in high school, and we were getting ready for work and school.

We live 0n the West coast,so by the time we got up and turned on the television all of the terrible events had already started..... I did not want to go to work, I did not want my sons to go to school, I just wanted to gather all my family and friends and keep them close by me.

But we did go to work and school, and we all watched in our prospective places, history being made, lives being changed, and families being torn apart. As the song says.... Where were you on that September morning?..... and I think we can all remember where we were and what we were doing.

Since that fateful day, so many things have changed, with travel, with National Security, with the way the world views us, with the way we view ourselves.

And the way we view each other, be it good or bad; we all view others a bit differently than we did prior to 09/11/2001.

We have seen people we know send their sons and daughters off to fight a war, a war of terrorism that has seen so many many lives changed, and yet so many things are the same.

We all get up every day, go to work, to school, and have gotten on with our lives.

My sons have both found the loves of their lives, gotten married, started careers, and though they do not have children yet they have started their families with their wife's.

My wife and I have settled into our lives as empty Nester's. Learning to cope with a quiet house, not that, that is so bad LOL. We have rediscovered each other and how we have changed since then, our views, and opinions of things... life marches on.

But in the back of my mind every time I hear a plane flying low, or a helicopter going over head, I stop and for a brief moment I feel fear, like I felt on that fateful day 10 years ago. And then it passes, and life goes on....

So today I will celebrate that life has gone on, for good or bad, it has. And I will remember all those who lost their lives on that fateful day 10 years ago. I will pray that we have all learned something from this. That we all pray for each other no matter what our religion, creed, or color is. That we in our own way try to make this a better place to live, not only for ourselves but for others as well, and for future generations.

So I leave you with this thought..... Where were you on that September morning?

Blessings to you and yours and for those who are still grieving the loss of a loved on on that fateful September morning.