Weird Week -Friday Fave Five

So this has just been a weird week, I have been all out of sorts.  The high school I teach at had early dismissals at 1:00 all week due to mid-terms, we have a snow day today, we got out early yesterday for snow…….Friday will be my only normal, full day of school all week.  And to top it all off we are leaving for a special ski trip on Sunday…..
But my Friday Fave Five must go on……..I will push through snow, tiredness, PMS,  a Cinnamon Roll overdose and an extreme sock and glove matching marathon to bring you my Friday Fave Five!
So this is me!  Yep every wife who is married to a sweet husband, but one who suffers to soon in life from the horrors of Alzheimer’s must do something like this every once in a while!!! 🙂  It’s much better than therapy!  We had a blast sledding at a nearby hill on our snow day Thursday!
A dear christian women who I don’t even know sent me this devotional in the mail. “Stream in the Desert” by L.B Cowman.  I am really enjoying it, the words seem to jump from the pages to my heart!  What a gem it is and so is the lady who sent it to me!
I have found this really cool support group on facebook, called “Memory People”  It’s a great way to hear form others who deal with Alzheimer’s and there are many there who also have Early Onset!  Which is nice, cuz sometimes I feel like I am the only person on the planet dealing with this….

Curt has become an picture taking junkie since being home.  And two of his recent sports pics were even published in our local small town paper.  This has been so good for him and it keeps him busy.
There are so many things he can still do, and do well, that it is nice to focus on those things also!
He also still does our finances,  is now the clean up the dishes expert, shovels a mean driveway, planned and booked a ski trip for us and can still play drums with the best of them!

And lastly do pray for us, we are heading to Vermont for our ski vacation. You can read more about how it was paid for here.
Curt really wanted to take the kids while he can still ski.  Please pray that it will be a good memory maker for all of us.  Pray for safety as we drive ( our van does have 4 wheel drive!), since I know I will be driving a lot of the trip ( Usually I read, and sleep while Curt drives).  Safety for everyone skiing ( I can’t ski anymore I have a torn ACL in my knee) and pray for Tyler and Madi that they will be patient with Curt’s difficulties….easier for me, but harder for 2 teens! We cherish your prayers!!

For more Favorites visiting Susanne at Living to Tell the Story


Hot Chocolate and Snow Geese

Madi texted me last Sunday from her Sunday school class to tell me she spilled hot chocolate all over her new coat and boots.  She was hoping I could come over  get her and run her home to change.  When I arrived to pick her up, it was evident, that yes the poor girl did get hot chocolate ALL over her new clothes!
So we made a quick trek home to change.  Madi changed,  I sprayed everything with Oxi Clean and threw it in the washer.
We quickly headed back to church.  While driving back we both noticed something rather beautiful off in the eastern sky.  Dipping and diving in the sky was a HUGE flock of birds, none like I have seen before!  This flock was so graceful as it soared across the deep blue Sunday morning sky.  As they drew closer to us, I realized they were snow geese.  Madi insisted I pull over so we could watch them better, and as they all flew directly overhead, Madi as any good teen would do, pulled out her cell phone to take pictures of them!  We both sat in wonder on the side of the rode watching the beauty in the skies above.

Somewhere during all of our gazing at the flock, I said, “well that sure made going home for the hot chocolate spill worthwhile!!”

That is when my own words hit me……...Madi spilling her hot chocolate ALL over her new boots and coat was miserable, annoying and frustrating!!!

But during such frustrating times, we were able to find such beauty!!

That is how I see my life these days……There are LOTS of miserable, annoying, frustrating, and discouraging times, but it is often in the middle of those times I have seen such beauty demonstrated by friends and family!

And that folks is what seems to sustain all of us!  My kids are touched and amazed by such kindness, I am encouraged and helped and Curt has been fortunate to feel so blessed by so many!
I can not even begin to list the many creative ways we have blessed…..let me just give you a few examples;

  • A friend calls one night unexpectedly and says she made some extra chicken pot pie and would like to drop one off for us (Yahoo!!!  Dinner was done on a busy basketball night….veggies were in the pie so, it had it all! )
  • A friend drops off a LARGE box of snacks for an upcoming ski trip!!
  • A hug or two from teachers in the hallway of school
  • Friends taking Curt and I out to dinner
  • A friend drives Tyler home from basketball practice, offers to take him and her son out for lunch, then finds out I am nearby and invites me along!
And that was just this past week!!!!!!!!!  And that is why that list is my Favorite Fave Five this week!!!

Yes we have had LOTS of hot chocolate spills lately….but the snow geese are still flying overhead bringing beauty to our storm of life!!!!

Thank you friends for being the beauty!!!

And I had to include these lovely pictures somewhere!  For the last 3 years Curt has filled in on Dad/Daughter cheerleader night for the same girl whose father is not involved in her life.  She is a senior this year and had Curt as a teacher her sophomore year.  She’s a real sweetie, and it made for a fun, NORMAL, home basketball night!

Thanks for praying for us dear ones!  Please continue to pray as we make some upcoming medical and financial decisions for Curt.  We are looking into getting some testing done at NIH in Bethesda, Md.  There is so much to think about some days I feel like I am the one with Alzheimer’s!!


Well that Sucks……..

Ok, Yes I know pretty strong words for a blog with the name Jesus and Dark Chocolate!  But I have come to the conclusion that Early Onset Alzheimer’s pretty much sucks!
Today Curt and I got up early and ventured to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for an evaluation by a specialist there.  We were greeted by a fun lady who is a Baltimore Raven fanatic,  we had a great time chatting with her and almost got ourselves invited to her big football party tomorrow!  I then quickly realized, the reason she loved Curt and I so much is because we were one of the youngest couples she has seen in her office!   As a matter of fact the Dr. we saw, stated that Curt’s case is very unusual since “he is so young!”
I then asked how many other Early Onset patients he has seen in their 40’s.

He replied simply….”none…”

Curt then replied “then I must be really special”… to love the man’s humor amidst such serious words.
But those words did not sit well with me and neither did the memory testing Curt endured in the office.

Simple things like~ I am going to show you a pattern with my hands and then please do the same thing (think Rock, Paper,Scissors , Shoot type thing), or I am going to say 4 words and I want you to repeat them back to me in 1 min after you name as many animals as you can in 1 min, ( got to love Curt with this one, he named things like aardvark, muskrat, moose)  or I tap my hand twice, you tap once, I tap once you tap twice ~

Curt struggled through all of these things!  It was painful to watch and I could tell he was getting so frustrated!

It all drove home to me the horrors of this disease.

I have also come to realize in terms of the medical world there really isn’t a lot of hope for patients with Alzheimer’s.

Curt will get some further testing including an expensive blood test that is not covered by insurance, and a PET scan. Depending on the results he may be prescribed a new, cutting edge medical “food” that he can take.  But aside from that there is little ongoing therapy, meds, or treatment for this dreaded disease.  And I have a feeling the medical “food” is no prime rib, it sounded like some gaggy shake you drink once a day. I am guessing it does not come in Snickers flavor! 🙂
So as we found today our options are few….. a harsh reality!

But one bit of hope today was found in Curt’s own words…..“It is what it is, the Lord is in charge, God has a plan for ALL of this!”

He’s right!

2 Corinthians 4:16 ~Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Ephesians 1:18 18 ~ I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.

With Christ there is always hope, so I will not lose heart! 🙂

Thanks for praying for us today, your support has been so overwhelming dear friends!!


BTW, the picture at the top is of the two of us enjoying lunch together today after Hopkins.

Friday Fave Five

For several years I have participated in a fun blog activity called Friday’s Fave Five, and I am determined to keep participating each week.  I think it will be good to reflect on 5 good things that happened each week.
I have an awesome friend who is doing some painting for me.  I had promised Madi that I would paint her room this summer, well I got caught up in other projects and did not get it done.  Also around that time I became so consumed that something was wrong with Curt….. it just never happened.  And dear Madi  had already taken down everything off her walls and gotten her room ready to paint.  I told her we would do it the first weekend in Oct. HOWEVER,  that was the weekend we found out hubs has early onset dementia/Alzheimer’s…so it didn’t happen that weekend.  But a dear friend came to my rescue over Christmas break, I was sharing with her about how bad I felt that I hadn’t done it and……….. she volunteered to do it!!!!!!!!  At first I didn’t know what to say, but “YES!!” quickly emerged from my mouth. 🙂  She has been over twice this week to work on it………it’s starting to look so nice! 🙂 Oh I am just so thankful for her TLC with my daughter’s room!
We got a new Canon Rebel camera, it is so sweet!  We really want to document this time in our life with some good pics.  And my sweet husband who has alzheimer’s ordered the camera online, got it all set up and started to taking pics with it.  This is such a crazy disease, he has trouble with some simple tasks, but has been able to learn how to use this somewhat complex camera!!  Regardless I am loving this new camera!
I started playing with the camera some and took this shot of hubs……can you tell he is enjoying not having to shave every day!
My kids…….life is crazy these days, but my kids make me laugh every day!!  Curt and I have always had a sense of humor and apparently they both  got the humor gene also! 🙂
And finally ( I know this is only 4 things this week, but this next one counts as two….it’s amazing and I must share it!) I received a gift bag at school right before Christmas.  The teacher who gave it to me emphasized to me that it was not from her, she was just delivering it.  I took it to my classroom and finally looked at it at the end of the day.  Inside was this sweet praying angel.
There was also a typed note and a check.  I opened the note to find these endearing words;
“Experiences…….it’s what our lives are made of……We would like you to accept this gift and experience something fun…..something relaxing and enjoyable away from your daily worries and duties…..we know how important this is and how seldom we make the time to do it.
Funny how many times we are not even aware of how many people we touch throughout our lives…..sometimes directly……..sometimes indirectly…….sometimes through actions……..sometimes through words…….sometimes by the smallest thing that we don’t even see…….So please accept this small  gift from people of lives both of you have touched…….some that you know……..some that you don’t……and each time you look at this angel…..know that someone is thinking of you and someone is praying for you………………
I cry all over again as I re-type those beautifully scripted words.  Those words enough were a gift to both Curt and I…..but the story doesn’t end there!!

The check enclosed was for $646.32!!!!!!!!!!

And….yes there is more…………..Curt and I had just booked an upcoming ski vacation.  Curt has always taken the kids skiing and wanted to take them to ski in Vermont while he still can ski.  We hadn’t told a soul that we had even made the reservations or anything about the trip.  The package deal that we had just booked for 4 nights cost us an amazing……………

Lodging and lift ticket package cost $636!!!!!!!!!!

Some may call that a cool coincidence, but here at Jesus and Dark Chocolate I truly believe God had His hand in all of it!

I truly can say that during our storm of life, we have been blessed by God!

For more Friday Fave Five please visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story

You seem so positive……

People often say to me, “Sandy you seem to be handling this all so well, you are so positive.”
Well folks let me assure you, there are times I feel like screaming, “My husband has freakin Alzheimer’s at the age of 46, this is SO NOT FAIR!!!!!”  Or a simple “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I hate this!!!”  both would reflect my thoughts and feelings at times!
This has been a challenge for me, for those who know me, they know my personality tends to be positive, upbeat and laced with a fun sense of humor.  So you take a personality like mine and throw in a life changing event and what do you get…………….well I am not sure yet.
But I do know this when I sit and think about how to handle this, I think I can be depressed, freaked out, down, lethargic, negative and complaining  OR I CAN CHOOSE each day to face ALL of this with a positive attitude standing strong on the foundation of Christ and lace it all with a bit of a sense of humor.  When you look at the two options which would you choose?!?!?
As a busy mom, teacher and wife to Curt, I am going with option #2!!!  If I want to remain sane through all of this, I must choose option #2! 🙂
And I have noticed by choosing that option, things seem to go smoother, life feels more normal.  I can assure you there are moments when I feel so overwhelmed and sad, but I don’t wallow in it, it doesn’t make sense to.
I get out and walk and pray, that helps especially under a cold, winter star lit sky, I am learning to play Black Ops/Call of Duty with the kids ( I always hated that killing game, but alas now I am playing it and it doesn’t seem so bad), I drink coffee ( and thanks to the dear friends who have brought me coffee and hooked me up with a Dosie Dough coffee card!!!!!!  Perfect for me!), I got a massage this past week, I delve into my bible looking for wisdom and guidance, and I accept all the hugs friends give me along the way!  All have proved to be good survival tactics ( ugh, with that statement I am sounding like a Black Ops player!)

So I continue to commit our life and situation to God and pray for such wisdom along the way as we proceed into uncharted waters in 2011.  Thanks friends and family for walking this journey WITH us!


Two pictures that capture life at this moment…..The first one is a reflection of good friends!  We went to watch a GREAT Eagles game (The Eagles vs Giants game) with Curt’s old college roommate a few weeks ago.  Fun times with friends has been so helpful to all of us!!

The 2nd picture is of basketball season!  It’s so normal to attend all of Ty’s basketball games this season, it’s a nice break from the worries of life.