The Storm


3 weeks ago just as I was settling in for the night, this random storm hit out of no where.  It had been a rainy day, but I had not anticipated anything like this as I am a bit of a self confessed weather geek.

I was upstairs, as I heard the winds pick up outside pretty quickly. I decided it was best to go to the main floor of the house, as soon as I got there I heard all kinds of debris hitting the house, i immediately  headed to the basement!

As I took refuge in the basement I could hear the chaos outside, I heard all kinds of “big things” hitting the house and I heard several trees fall in the woods.  And just as I was about to cower under the steps in the basement, the storm stopped! I emerged from the basement and made my way outside onto the deck.

It was dark out but I could tell there was damage to my deck and the yard, but I could not see the woods.


So I anticipated sunrise the next morning so I could get a better idea of the damage.  As soon as there was enough light I was out checking things out.

Now please keep in mind, I did have damage, but in the big scheme of things, it really wasn’t that bad.

So I was surprised at my reaction.  As I surveyed the woods…….. my beloved woods, I got a little emotional and overwhelmed by the damage.  In the 20 years we have lived here I have never seen it this bad.  There were some 10-12 trees down between our house and the neighbors and I  had some minor damage to our deck, some siding and the gutters.  But just looking at the carnage of it all really got to me.  I survived the storm fine, but it was seeing the wrath of it all laid out before me that really got to me.


The aftermath of the storm got me thinking……that is kind of how my life has been the last 5 years…….a STORM!  It has been chaotic on so many different levels,  working full time and raising two busy, sports minded teens and taking care of dear hubs has been a storm.  I can not even begin to describe the constant chaos and surging emotions that we have dealt with the last 5 years.  But alas, both kids are off to college and Curt is well cared for at a memory care facility…..and I am left home to survey  the “storm damage” from the last five years.

When your life is crazy you focus on the big picture and learn to leave some of the details behind.  You learn to look beyond the giant clothes pile on the floor and focus on the fact that you have clothes to wear to your job/school each day,  you let the garage go and just throw junk in there that you are too busy to think about what to do with it, your landscaping over grows, you have dog pee on your carpets and you don’t care,  you don’t follow up with routine household maintenance, you miss your dentist appointments and the dog doesn’t see the vet for 2 years….you get the picture…..and you know what,  it’s ALL OK… are too busy to deal with the details, you surviving each day.

But now, I am slowly picking up the pieces of the chaos.  People often ask me what I am doing now that I am an “empty nester”

Well let me assure you sipping tea and reading a book isn’t in picture quite yet.  There is still much to take care of,  catch up on, and slowly start to return some degree of normalacy to our very not normal life.  It is like I am slowly re-entering the world again.


It’s a real weird place to be right now, I miss Curt terribly.  The Curt I visit every day is sweet, cute and so endearing.  While I am happy he is that way… Curt  was not a cute, endearing guy.  He was man’s man, he hated to shave, he sweated up a storm while playing drums, he watched football with a passion and yelled loudly at the TV during a game, he ranted about politics and trash talked anyone about his Eagles,  he loved to pitch baseball endless hours to Tyler and had a goofy engaging sense of humor.    That was my honey!  :)  And I miss that guy.


But through all of this the ONE thing that remains constant with  Curt is his passion for the Lord!  He loves when I pray with him, he verbally eeks out those amens as we pray together.  He still cries every time I play the Chris Tomlin song, “I Will Rise” and he sits so calmly when I read the bible to him.

Yes it’s been a STORM, But God reminds me constantly of Job 2:10, when Job speaks to his wife and says:

..You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.  Shall we receive good from  God, and shall we not receive evil?……

And the words of Philippians 4:11 frequently echo in my mind:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, FOR I HAVE LEARNED IN WHATEVER SITUATION I AM TO BE CONTENT.

It’s hard, honestly it sucks at times…….. but do you see the word learned?  It’s a reminder to me that I am learning, it’s a process.  Some days are really harder than others….but I am learning to be content and TRUST God’s plan in the storm.


~And our crazy journey continues, as I met with an elder care attorney today to make plans for the future and will probably have to move Curt to a new facility.  Things get kind of complicated as we run out of money to private pay in March, so I am checking into Medicaid funding for Curt.  Prayers are appreciated as we move forward, there are no real easy answers in terms of funding with this disease.


Curt on the other hand is actually doing pretty well.  He was recently taken OFF of hospice care since his weight remains stable and he has not had as many falls.   He has been stable for the last 6-8 months or so.  He laughs a lot, eats well, is tired frequently, his face lights up when he sees me and still knows the kids and his friends and family.  He loves to listen to music, and  will often say with clarity when listening to music when a cool drum part is coming up….”wait for it” He rocks out to that 80’s rock, stuff he played in his teen years.  His speech is hard to understand, I only know about 10% of what he says.  But he smiles a lot and that makes a hard pill a bit easier to swallow. :)



The kids and I at Liberty Univ. about 3 weeks ago on a lovely fall weekend.  Pressing on and making new memories. Trusting the Lord and His Plan.

Dearest friends, thanks for being there for us IMG_4527

$5.29 Please

I ordered the same peanut butter cup ice cream treat I have been getting  Curt for the past year, but this time was different.

‘That will be $5.29,” the man at the drive-thru told me.

He had quoted the price to me numerous times since Curt entered the memory care facility last July.



But today for the FIRST time I realized this “Avalanche” that I have been buying at least once a week for Curt cost $5.29!!  $5.29…who knew?

I know you are probably confused at this point……how did I not realize the cost of that “Avalanche.”


It’s simple folks……… through the chaos & busyness, I was hearing the man but not really hearing him for over a year now.

But as summer lingers on and my life FINALLY slows down a bit, I finally heard the man.

You see,  I would usually roll into the ice cream place, cruise up to the drive-thru, announce to the man,

“One large peanut butter cup Avalanche, with a lid on it, in a bag….please”

He would say some price, I would get my ice cream and be on my way………….crossing another task off my lengthy mental to do list as I pulled out of the drive thru. 

Getting that ice cream became another task on the ever growing list, another task, a task I needed to do, and it was now DONE.  The details eluded me, but who cares because the task is DONE!!  There are now 10 other new tasks to move on to!

It seems like for the last 4-5 years that is basically how I have been living.   Some weeks were more crazy than others.  Summer provided some relief, but I was also driving the kids all over the east coast for baseball or lacrosse and then driving to college visits.

This is my first summer in five years where I am home!

I have some free time!

I can relax some!


But here is the problem, I honestly don’t know how to relax……….

I know, you are like really Sandy?

You just chill, relax….how hard is that?!?!? Hello?!

Harder than you think, I have been task driven for so long, it’s kind of weird to have a smaller list with time to accomplish the things on it.  Also time to think about ONE thing at a time and not FIVE at a time. 

My brain has such trouble focusing, I am so used to moving from one thing to another constantly!  I have actually tried to start a book and get about 2 pages in, and my programmed brain tries to move me onto the next task on my list.

But alas I believe I am heading in the right direction, thus my new awareness of the price of an Avalanche!

And thus my start of another new normal……….


I know it’s been long since I last updated my blog, honestly I just could not manage another “thing” on the endless “to do” list.

But finally on this second week of July I find I have some time and even renewed energy to produce some kind of blog entry!

Life has been has been a roller coaster ride for sure.

IMG_2035 (1)

This past spring Madi graduated, which was a huge milestone.  She had quite a journey with high school, as Curt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she was in 8th grade.  Her high school days were different from some with having her dad plodding along through the stages of Alzheimer’s, but we also worked hard to keep things real normal for her.  She was involved in a ton of clubs, loved playing lacrosse, kept those grades up (4.0!) and discovered a passion for ceramics along the way.

IMG_2021Just need to add that this cool pottery creation is an actual working fountain.

Pretty darn proud of all her accomplishments through high school.

So proud to see her walk across the stage to receive her diploma in June.


Oh such a journey………


As for Curt, he continues to slowly slip into that depths of the black hole of Alzheimer’s.  I now  find myself only understanding about 20% of what he says.  He is also much more tired during the day and has fallen several times as of late.  It is such a brutal disease to watch someone slip into.  I think so many times of how mortified Curt would be to see himself at this stage of the disease.  He has lost weight and is moving so slow, he struggles to even lift his head certain days to look me in the eye…..a far cry from my athletic, agile and witty husband.


Yet through it all……it is well.  I think the lyrics to this song on constant play on my iPhone seems express how I feel about the last 5 years.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

So let go my soul and trust in Him

(It is Well/Bethel Music/Kristene DiMarco)


Yes folks, it is hard, I am not gonna lie and say this has been easy by any means.  Its NOT!  Yet………I truly can say It is Well, there is a certain contentment found when relying on the Lord and trusting Him for the future that allows me to say……It is Well. <3

Hoping to blog more,




I have learned so much


I remember the moment well…..It was about 4 and half  years ago, I was at Madi’s cross country meet.  Shortly after the gun went off for the start of the race, Curt called me.  He had just finished his 5 hours of memory testing with a neuro-psychologist.  The Dr. was asking that I come in for the follow up appointment and Curt wanted to know what day worked.  It was at that moment, on a brisk fall day during a cross country meet, I had this sinking feeling of the storm that was to come.   He then called me back as he left the office and told me how miserable he had done on the testing.  He explained to me how he could not draw this “stupid” clock he was asked to draw, how he could remember details of a story passage that was read to him but had no idea the over all story line, how he could not even draw a simple square to start a 3-D drawing and on and on he went.  Just as I saw Madi  coming towards the finish line to medal in this meet, I stood there also hearing the words from Curt that would change our lives forever. 

And so began our Alzheimer’s journey at age 46.   So on this snowy day in March, I find myself  thinking back on all that we have endured that last few years. And there have been many ups and downs on our roller coaster ride.  I also realize all that I have learned along the way!  So here are my random thoughts today….warning they are random!

Curt and I really did have a good marriage.  Things got a little muddled and not so good about 2 years prior to his diagnosis, but now I realize what I was seeing was not the start of marriage problems, it was Alzheimer’s. 


A sense of humor goes a long way in a marriage.  The ability to laugh at your mistakes and laugh with each other is a gift.  I can’t tell you how I miss so many of the silly sayings we used to say to each other and our stupid jokes. Sometimes,  I can still say them and get Curt to laugh…..but other times it is all forgotten.

Curt always used to say in a fun loving, yet serious way, “Got to please the babe.”  Meaning he was always about what he could GIVE to a marriage not what he could GET from it.  He always led with that example well, but some times as in any marriage that attitude would get lost, but I see now more than ever that was a driving force in all he did.  I still see a glimpse of that attitude from him now and then amidst the Alzheimer’s brain fog, it reminds me of how deep rooted his desire to give more than get in our marriage was.

So many of the little annoying things that Curt used to do, really don’t matter now.  If I could go back and change something,  I would not let those things bother me.  I see now how in the big picture of life, dumb stuff like that is a waste of time to get caught up arguing about.  So what if I would do something different, his quirky or annoying things were Curt and that was who he was, and it’s those things I even miss!


  When helping someone in a crisis or in great need…’s the “doers” not the “sayers” who make a difference.  Many people mean well and say so many nice things and offer to help, but it’s those who take action that make the biggest difference.  Those that help with the practical stuff.  There were times that our dirty laundry pile was so huge, I would just have to wear “dirty” clothes to work ( true confession folks, but when life is crazy I was just happy to show up to school what I was wearing really didn’t matter, I was there).  I would find what I needed from the laundry pile stick it in the dryer with a dryer sheet and then wear it.  There were several times when a dear friend and Curt’s caregiver would help with the laundry, THAT WAS A HUGE HELP!  Someone even came and cleaned out my fridge one time, really you get over being embarrassed about the moldy stuff growing. :)  It was those practical, hands on things that helped so much.

I have learned a lot about trusting God.  We often say we Trust Him, but geez, I said that, but did not truly Trust God.  It’s so easy to trust when things are going our way.  But the real struggle is learning to trust God when things don’t go according to OUR plans.  I have prayed, yelled and screamed at God and begged for my plans, goals, and wants to succeed.  I often have felt God did not answer my prayers……but I have come to realize He has answered them according to His plans not mine.  He sees the big picture, I see a glimpse of it and think I know what is best.  But I am always reminded of Proverbs 3:5~TRUST in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. ~ I had heard that verse a million times, but now I think I really get what it means!

  And that’s it for now……..lots more I could share, but I must also get those FAFSA’s filled out and get all my tax info together on this snowy day. We appreciate your ongoing prayers for the uncharted waters that lay ahead.  Its been a crazy journey for our family.  I do see the wear and tear of it all starting to wear us down a bit.  Thankfully, Curt at this point is pretty stable lately.  He has some rough days and moments but over all seems pretty steady.  He still retains that great sense of humor.  Just the other day one of the staff members was teasing him, saying, “you wanna go?!”  (Curt would always say that, and try to fake fight ya) Curt smiles, and replies clear as could be, “I don’t want to hurt you!”  He is my honey through it all. <3  

Oh my, This is Embarrassing!

Oh my the last time I wrote a blog post was in September!
 4 months since I posted on this ole blog of mine.
Where do I start so much has happened…
I have been so busy….
I have been overwhelmed and honestly, tired.
Tired of living in chaos, tired of always being tired, tired of dealing with migraines, tired of being responsible for everything, tired of making decisions on my own…………
Where do I start……Let me start with Josh……….


I was at our local Target one night a few weeks ago.  I hear a voice calling out my name, as I glance in the direction of the voice, I see a young special needs man waving at me with a big smile on his face.  I recognized him, but I just could not remember his name.  I was confused, I didn’t think he was one of my former students, but how do I know him I wondered?
I went over to say Hi, and he gives me a big hug, and immediately says, “where is Mr. Morris?”  It’s then I noticed the young man is wearing an Eagles football hat.  Then it hits me………..
This is NOT one of MY former students, this was a student that Curt used to love to trash talk football with while he had cafeteria duty.  This young man attended our high school before I started teaching the special needs group I have now.
He wanted to see Curt, not me, I was hopefully just a way to get to Curt.  Josh was so eager to talk football, it all spilled out, he wanted me to tell Mr. Morris all of it, every bit of his onslaught of trash talk.  “Don’t forget anything I told you, tell him all of it” he prodded me with an exuberant smile on his face as I turned to leave.
Curt with D and SI cried as I walked out of Target into the brisk, cold wind of that gloomy evening. I thought, Oh how I miss Curt, how I wish he could trash talk football with everyone (and trust me he did it well!).   I miss him around the house, I miss him watching Fox News while I was still trying to sleep on school mornings, I miss him yelling at the TV during football season, I miss his drum playing,  heck I even miss him while shopping at Target.  I know you are thinking he is still here, but really, so much of him is gone.
I yearn for those engaging glimpses of his fun sense of humor when I visit.  I love seeing his hands start moving to play drums when I play music, I love when I see his sweet smile and how he tells me every time he sees me he loves me. 
  But that is all they are……glimpses.
I have heard people say when a spouse has Alzheimer’s, it’s like being a “married widow.”  That is a good way of explaining it.
And that I think accounts for my lack of blogging lately…….simply, I am tired and overwhelmed.
It’s been a long 4 years, Oct 1st 2010 Curt was diagnosed, but Alzheimer’s had been lurking in the shadows for at least 2 years before that.   I have been the one leading the family charge for sometime now, getting the kids through sports, college visits, teaching them to drive, college apps, paying the bills, walking the dog, laundry, car repairs and car wrecks, yard work, back surgery, emergency appendectomy, two broken ankles for Tyler….oh the list goes on and on and on……
family pic thankgiving
But I have also learned that is exactly where God wants me to be at a loss, having no strength to press on.  Realizing I can NOT do this on my own.
It is only as I daily seek His strength can I muster the daily fortitude to get up and press on.  When I lose that focus on the Lord I tend to grasp at frustration, negativity and hopelessness.  It’s such an easy ploy when life throws you more than you can handle.
As I embark on 2015, I am taking a moment to reflect on this journey, to focus on how God has met our needs in ways I could never have imagined, and how I have learned that He alone gives me strength daily to lift my head and press on!  So today as I head back to school after a much needed break, I am thankful for the many lessons learned on this journey.  Including a big one, a constant reminder that my ultimate goal is not to be able to fix everything and control everything but to simply seek first the kingdom of God and commune with Him and trust God to take care of the rest!

Happy 2015 Friends!

Curt with Santa
So much has gone on with Curt in the last few months as he continues to decline.  He was placed on hospice care about a month ago.  He had lost a lot of weight and has struggled.  But hospice care has been a real help and support.  I am going to leave you with this video link from a TV interview I did a few months ago on having a spouse with Alzheimer’s.  Just click on the blue link to view it and see the article.
WGAL The New Face of Dementia
And hopefully I will be back here blogging again
before 4 months pass  😄


Running the Race

Back in the days of one flavor of Gatorade, I was a high school and college athlete.  Those were the days when orange Gatorade was the greatest thing out there, trainers at high school sports were non existent, college coaches wrote hand written letters to recruits, and we wore really cool polyester sweat pants to practice.

Yep I played soccer and ran track back in those days.  Actually for my elementary years I was the only girl in the boys soccer league.  Yep that was the 70’s before the days of Title IX.  I remember the thrill of getting to play on my first all girls soccer team in 9th grade!

But my main sport back in the day was track.  I ran the 100, 200 and 400 (ok back in the day it was the 100, 220, and 440).  And the race I remember the most was the grueling 400.  It was a sprint, one lap around the track.  But honestly how can you sprint one lap?  So you had to train and come up with a strategy on how to attack that race.  Go out hard, stride the back stretch, keep good form, and finish strong coming out of the last turn.   It was the finish strong part that was the hardest.  How can you finish strong when your legs felt like jello!

track team soph year

The biggest part to finishing strong was training hard.  Running 100 and 200s to work on speed and running 450’s and 600’s to work on that endurance piece.  I remember training so hard at times that I actually threw up once after a race and once during practice.


But the thing  I keep thinking about lately is in order to finish well, I had to train hard.


And train hard, and work hard……it wasn’t easy at times (um, remember the puking after practice!).  There were many times I didn’t feel like going to practice or running that 6th 200 of practice or 4 400’s then a break then 4 more.  I was dying out there…..but I kept pressing on, I kept working hard.

Over the years I qualified for the state track meet several times and I still vividly remember the finish line at that meet.  I remember coming out of that last turn with my eyes squarely  focused on THAT finish line.  It was at that moment with my eyes focused on the finish line, I would find out if all my hard work paid off….did I finish well?!?!

state ribbons 

I am drawn to the memory of that finish line a lot lately.


I am drawn to the memory of working hard to finish well


I am drawn to the memory of how hard it was at times, how I didn’t feel like working hard some days!


I am reminded about being weary and tired yet continuing to press on.


I am reminded of this bible verse, that I memorized in college shortly after I stopped running after tearing my ACL.

Hebrews 12:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I am not going to lie, it’s been a rough year!  A rough school year for this tired teacher, a long winter, and a year filled with many unexpected challenges and frustrations, along with Curt’s ongoing digression with Alzheimer’s.  Just this week, Curt asked me if I had a boyfriend?  He had no idea we were married.  He wants to “go home” at night, and gets so mad at me when I don’t take him home.  It’s hard.

But…….I am running the race, working hard, training hard and persevering.  I am fixing my eyes on Jesus. 

And my eyes are fixed on the finish line, because when all is said and done, how we run this race for Jesus is all that really matters.  The race may be hard, but may we all finish well!

Pressing on………..

family Easter






So where have you been?

Jesus Dark Chocolate – Well thanks Sandy for FINALLY sitting down to  chat with me.  You have totally deserted me the last month or so! Where have you been?

Sandy- Well thank for contacting me JDC, and setting up this interview.  I know I have been MIA the last month and  a half.  My goal is to update this great blog, once a month…..but yea that didn’t happen in February!

Jesus Dark Chocolate – Was February a real stressful month for you?

Sandy – Well no, not more than the average chaos and stress…..actually I pretty much call chaos and stress normal.  Let’s see….. a  water pipe burst in my garage, my heating unit in the house was down for a day and a half, I had a minor woman surgery with pre-op appointments and follow ups (fun times!), we found out Tyler has a herniated disc in his back and I shoveled the driveway a lot with all the crazy winter storms.  But really it seems the stresses of life don’t phase me as much anymore.  If I had a normal, stress free life I think I would get bored!  But I do miss having Curt along my side to help with running the household and the decisions of the day.  I miss his wisdom and insight.

C and I

Jesus Dark Chocolate – Well it does sound like February was an interesting month for you.  How is Curt doing these days?

Sandy – Well……… I have been slowly watching him slip away for 3 years now.  You would think it would get easier to handle when he continues to falter and struggle.  But it doesn’t.  Just the other day he asked me what my name was.  And last night when we got home fairly late from Madi’s lacrosse game, he wondered what “this place” is?  It was our house, our house that we have lived in for 19 years….and to him, it was just another unfamiliar place.  It’s an ongoing grieving process……Nancy Reagan said years ago when referring to the late President Reagan and his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, “it truly is the long goodbye.”

C enjoying HC

Jesus Dark Chocolate – Oh you are right, it is a slow, demoralizing good-by.  Well changing the subject a bit, What is up with Tyler’s back?

Sandy – When he was home for Christmas break we thought we were treating a hamstring injury.  But as the hammy started to heal, we realized what he was also feeling was nerve pain and tingling in the leg.  We figured it out and took him to our chiropractor.  But he had to return to school 5 days later.  The trainer and the staff at college treated him right away with PT, traction table, chiropractic care etc.  But one night, while simply brushing his teeth, everything went from bad to worse.  He is currently getting epidural steroid injections in his back.  He just received a second two weeks ago and is schedule for a third on Wednesday this week.

JDC – Well that is a total bummer for Tyler.  How is he handling it and how are you dealing?

Sandy – Tyler is bummed and really misses playing baseball, but he is a Morris and continues to stay positive and is truly seeking God’s wisdom and direction in this. Me, well that is another story.  I miss watching him play!  I feel like our normal life these days is stressful and emotional, and watching him play provides a moment of escape from the worries of the day.  Does that make sense???

JDC – Yes it does make sense.  Well all of this sounds pretty discouraging,  I mean just listening to you, things  sound pretty depressing!

Sandy – Well my friend (oh I mean my blog),  it has been pretty depressing!  But that is the beauty of it all!

JDC – Oh I missed that life lesson, there is beauty in discouragement??  I am not really with you on this one!!??

Sandy – Well trust me, I was really missing it too.  But then one, FRIGID night when I was out walking the dog, and  praying.  The tears rolled down my cheeks and nearly turned to ice and  God spoke to my heart about Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  In ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (NIV)

I have heard those verses probably thousands of times over the years and had become rather numb to it’s meaning.  But on that night it was the part Lean Not on Your Own Understanding, that really punctured my soul and spoke to my heart.  In my own understanding Curt having Alzhiemer’s, Tyler having a herniated disc in his back his freshman year of college on a baseball scholarship…… make NO SENSE!  You can’t help but ask, Why does this stuff happen to us. 

But the verse says, Lean Not on Your Own Understanding, it may not make sense to us.  But the Bible still tells us to trust.  And let me tell you THAT is hard!  Real hard for this mom.   But in these discouraging, depressing times, I am truly surviving on God’s strength alone and in that I am learning to trust.  To trust that He has a plan in all of this, and I don’t have to like it! 

Yes, Trust, God is in charge, He never said I will see how this is all working for some good, but I TRUST that it will.  Yes I trust, despite my tendency to kind of think I have a better plan than God’s plan…….  :)

I am learning to try to stop carrying the burdens alone and to Trust the Lord for them.  Madi had the flu  this past week and was  down and out for the past SIX days! But once again I am reminded to trust the Lord with the burden/worries of the day!  It’s not always easy…….

JDC – Oh that Trust thing can be tough, Trust me I really don’t get it! :)

Sandy – Well JDC I am just starting to get it, I have a feeling it’s a process.  But I am thankful to be at this place on this crazy journey!

JDC- So how can friends pray for your family?

Sandy – Well do pray for WISDOM with decisions as we move forward with Curt.  I need to start deciding on how to proceed with care for him.  I am good through the rest of the school year, but it’s next school year and even this summer I am worried about. Our wonderful community help to raise almost $10,000 for our family through Alzheimer’s Awareness nights at our high school basketball game.  This money has allowed me to contact an agency to help provide much needed personal care for Curt.  I am so thankful for the support from our community.  But I just need some direction as we move forward.


Also pray for Tyler’s back, the kid breaks 2 different ankles last year during basketball season and a mere year later he is dealing with a large herniated disc in his back.  He gets one more epidural steroid injection, if it does nothing we will have to consider surgery.  So please pray for wisdom and healing for him!

Athletics Headshots portraits. December 4, 2013. (photo by Les Schofer)

And it’s spring sports season.  That means life gets a little busier for Curt.  We will be sitting outside at Madi’s lacrosse games.  Those kind of outings are just getting harder for Curt to endure.


And just pray for me……….

JDC – Well thanks for getting back in touch with me your favorite blog!! Now go enjoy some dark chocolate and a cup of coffee!  Stay in touch!


State of the Union, Alzhiemer’s update

Trust me I am not feeling very Presidential at the moment, but the President always addresses the country each January on the current state of affairs so I figured I would do the same!  Many of you ask how Curt is doing these days… be prepared for lots of details.

I have hesitated many times to post so many details on how he is doing.  I want people to remember Curt as a strong, confident, humorous man with strong Godly convictions.  A fun, engaging conversationalist who could talk sports and drums for hours. Not the passive, struggling man that Alzheimer’s has engulfed and transformed.  I feel by giving so many details that I am exposing his struggles and leaving his dignity behind.

C with a big smile

However, I also want people to understand that Alzheimer’s can grab you and knock you down even in your 40’s! It slowly steals away your personality and being.  The Curt we see now is a reflection of a disease that is holding him captive. And so many of the things we think of that relate to Alzheimer’s is not really what Curt is dealing with.  It really looks different in everyone.

I know I have mentioned this before but it continues to be the spatial issues of life that are causing such digression for Curt.  He really can’t even get into his own bed at night on his own.  He needs guidance as to where his side of the bed is, then I guide him toward the top of the bed and tell him to get in.  He starts the process but can’t finish it, so I need to pull his arm from under him, to get him onto his back and then position him in bed each night.  I then put all the covers on him since spatially he can’t pull them up over him anymore.  He then usually falls asleep pretty quickly and stays in that same position all night!  If he needs to get up at night to use the bathroom, he can’t get out from under those covers with out help and no longer understands the concept of going pee.  He will tell me, “the water” or “the pressure is killing me.”  But when I say, “do you need to go pee?” He will now tell me he doesn’t know what that is.

Each morning when I get him out from under those never ending sea of covers (as he sees it).  We head to the bathroom for his morning routine. With out going into too many details, I will tell ya I need to help with all aspects of the morning routine, going to the bathroom, shaving, brushing teeth, spraying the man with some nice cologne and getting him dressed.

As soon as he is dressed, I tell him everyday, “Now you are ready to go and conquer your day for Jesus!”  That usually brings a smile to his face.  I then help him down the stairs ( this is a new problem, the steps) and have him sit down in “his seat” and pour him a bowl of cereal, pour plenty of sugar on it for him ( really he might as well live on the edge and enjoy his cereal with lots of sugar!) and turn on his beloved Sports Center.  He sits in his chair using a TV tray to eat his cereal. But when he is done, he can’t always move the TV tray to get up from the chair……that is another spatial issue that leaves him so disabled.  But as I get ready to head out the door for school each morning he ALWAYS tells me he loves me and reminds me to have a good day.

He still knows people every where we go, he will see old friends when we are out and he always initiates greeting them.  He loves to watch old movies, and enjoys listening to people read to him.  He can no longer read since he spatially can’t follow a sentences to the next line.  He can’t play drums, but can still play a simple beat on the snare and bangs out beats on his legs all day long! :)

college roomates

Visit from Curt’s college roommates!

One of the most frustrating things is his declining use of language.  He knows what he wants to say, but it does not come out the way he wants it to.  His words are broken, and he often stutters, or mumbles the words together.  It may take him up to 10 minutes to simply convey the thought he wants to. He has lost the meaning of simple words and does not know how to use them in the right context anymore. 

Things like, “going to our place” will mean he wants to go to bed.  Or, “go to that place down there” usually means he needs to go to the bathroom.  Or sometimes he may give a slang name for an object, TV became boob tube the other day and shower became watering hole. 

He has also started getting more lost in our house.  I used to be able to say “go upstairs to get ready for bed.”  Now if I say that to him he has no idea where upstairs is. 

So many changes as he continues his fall into the grasps of  a monster called Alzheimer’s.  I savor those moments when we do catch a glimpse of the old Curt, and allow myself a chance to take take it in and reflect on the Godly, fun loving hubs I married.

So, that is Alzheimer’s a disease, it continues to take hold of people of all ages.  An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. This includes an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.  In 2013, Alzheimer’s will cost the nation $203 billion. This number is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression!!!!!!!!  Yes it’s not a pretty picture is it???  But that is the state of Alzheimer’s in our house and in many houses across the United States.

C and T before college

Taken right before Tyler left to return to college

So while our situation can look rather grim and depressing at times, I seem to cling to this quote (borrowed from the blog of a dear woman who has had unbelievable struggles in the last several years, from her hubs with constant reoccurring benign brain tumors and seizures to her dear daughter (one of their 6 kids) who was just seriously injured after being hit by a car while walking on a sidewalk outside her school!)

In the darkness we have a choice that is not really there in better times. We can choose to serve God just because he is God. In the darkest moments we feel we are getting absolutely nothing out of God or out of our relationship to him. But what if THEN-when it does not seem to be paying or benefiting you at all-you continue to obey, pray to, and seek God, as well as continue to do your duties of love to others? If we do that-we are finally learning to love God for himself, and not for his benefits.
And when the darkness lifts or lessens, we will find that our dependence on other things besides God for our happiness has shrunk, and that we have new strength and contentment in God himself. We’ll find a new fortitude, unflappability, poise, and peace in the face of difficulty. 

~Tim Keller from the book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering~

C at pretzel hut

Enjoying a milkshake at one of his fave places

Yes, we all have a choice in good times and hard times……it is our choice, and our decision on how we choose to handle things, with despair and discouragement or with our eyes focused on the big picture of a life lived to honor God.

~Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!~  II Corinthians 4 16-18

Thanks friends for walking this journey WITH us!

christmas family pic

How do you do it?

People frequently ask me how I stay so strong and positive?  How do I deal with all the crazy emotions of watching my sweet husband slip into the deep, deep black hole of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease? How do I get it ALL done?  I often jokingly say, “lots of coffee!”

snow pic 1

But in reality…….I don’t always stay so positive and strong, I hate the emotions of watching Curt fall prey to the grips of a demoralizing disease, and I forget things all the time and simply don’t get it all done. I hate the chaos of a life filled with trials, unexpected calamities, and hardships of taking care of everything.

I guess people think I get it all done since I show up to school each day with matching clothes and a smile on my face.  And to me that alone is an accomplishment!

And maybe just showing up with a smile is half the battle……ok matching, clean clothes is a battle too.  But when you are walking a tough path, you learn to celebrate the little things….like matching socks and clean clothes that were actually on a hanger and not at the bottom of the laundry basket! :)

Yes you celebrate the little things, the 10 minutes of a quiet walk on a still night with the dog, a few moments with a hot cup of coffee sitting by the Christmas tree in the morning before the family wakes up.  Those little moments you cling to them, they sustain you. 

I no longer think about the things I wish we could do and go to.  Or get consumed with the thought process of “if Curt didn’t have Alzheimer’s we could………..” Or even the pangs of yearning for a normal life, that is simply futile and gets me NO WHERE….except depressed! 

snow pic 2

So I cherish those moments, those little things, and it’s in those moments I find that Peace that does surpass all understanding in this storm of life. 

Yes those little joys that we often miss in a busy life, those moments…….Yes those precious moments I cling to them, embrace them and welcome them!!! 

The other day with all the snow on the ground, Tyler noticed the footprints in the snow indicating  someone had walked around back in our woods.  He said to me with a smile, “Mom I know those tracks in the woods are from you, you probably walked back there and took some pictures of the pretty snow!” 

snow pic 3

Yes he was right I did!  That was ONE of those precious moments, walking in the peaceful woods as the snow seemed to embrace each tree with such beauty. 

Oh, don’t we all need those moments!

Yes it’s Christmas, a chaotic time of year, the struggle to get it all done.

But I am learning more and more, the perfectly wrapped presents, the perfected Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, the yummy Christmas feast, the cute Christmas outfits are not what it is all about.  Sure, they are fun traditions and truly bring a family together. 

But deep down what I have learned is the importance of those moments, a pause in the chaos to reflect upon a simple truth of a Savior born to redeem a sinful world. 

Yes it’s in those moments of reflection, that is where I find my true strength!

Light and life to ALL He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!

Yes Glory to the Newborn King! 

Enjoy a few moments of reflecting upon the Glory of the Newborn King this Christmas, trust me when I say, that is where your strength for each day comes from!

christmas 2

Merry Christmas friends!

christmas 1

Alzheimer’s and Thanksgiving

It has been a long time since I have updated my blog…….life got a little busier than I anticipated.  Honestly, I really thought once Tyler left for college things would get a bit easier.  Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I am quickly finding out it’s not reality. I am realizing it’s harder for me to leave home, I always had Tyler OR Madi who could stay with Curt and it made it pretty easy to leave. Now with just Madi,  and with Curt’s skills diminishing I am reluctant to leave him as much.  I miss having another driver around the house, I am back driving Madi everywhere and have no one to run a few errands for me. There are several other factors lending itself to my continual feeling of being overwhelmed….but yes, not something I want to talk about on a public blog.

But I have digressed……..the title of this post is Alzheimer’s and THANKSGIVING.  And despite all that Curt continues to loose in terms of skills and a digression in activities of daily living, I have found that three things still remain.

C at Liberty baseball

Curt continues to have a passion and a love for the things of Christ.  Christian/Worship music continues to bring tears to his eyes every time he hears it.  We can be driving somewhere and I will be playing a song (Like Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise” Jeremy Camp “Overcome” or “Where I Belong” Building 429) and I look back and the man has tears streaming down his cheeks every time.  He loves going to church on Sunday and enjoys having the bible being read to him.  The word of God still speaks with an undying force to his heart and soul.

football game

A love of Music is another thing that still remains.  As most of you know Curt was an awesome and talented drummer, he really can no longer play drums.  However, his passion for music pops up everywhere!  It is the funniest thing, we can be at a store shopping and there will be music playing in the background and he will start humming along and asking me if I know what song it is?  I think to myself every time….. do I know what song it is?????  What song are you even talking about Curt I can barely even hear it!  But he hears it every time and is banging out the beat on his legs and humming along.  He is so tuned into music. He can be watching a football game and gasp, sometimes is enjoying the music in the background more than the game!  We were watching an old Journey DVD the other night and he was banging out the beat on his legs NON STOP!!  Yes music is still alive and well his Curt’s mind!

C at Liberty game

An enduring sense of humor!  Every morning when I get him up and ready before I leave for school, I say, “time to get up…rise and shine!”   He the proceeds to give me this devilish laugh and says “NO!” and then laughs again.  He loves to watch old movies, just the other day he was laughing to the depths of what seemed to be his inner soul during “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  He would go around the house for days afterwards, going, “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…anybody”  When humor is inserted into a sermon at church, he picks up on it right away and often leans over to me and says, “that’s hilarious!”  He loves to have a good laugh.  This current ad from K-mart had him practically rolling on the floor recently!  If you knew Curt, you would  know he always had a playful and fun sense of humor, it’s nice to see a part of that still remains.

Liberty family pic

A passion for Jesus, and a passion for music were two things Curt always felt so strong about…..As this horrid disease continues to steal so much of Curt, it’s endearing to see that it can’t steal his love for the Lord and his passion for music!

So on this Thanksgiving weekend, we are thankful for the glimpses we continue to see of the old Curt.  Yes some things are lasting, despite a horrible disease that can take so much…..3 things remain!  And today we celebrate those things!

*Update, I had written this post a few days ago, but didn’t get it finished until today.  In the mean time….Madi passed her driver’s test yesterday!!  Woooohooo….celebrating that milestone with her.  Yes this mom can still teach her teens to parallel park! :)

M license

And so it begins…..

Every year at this time I get a bit sentimental………This makes my third year of starting back to school with out Curt.  Last week I brought Curt along with me while I was going to work in my classroom.  As I was finishing up I asked Curt if he wanted to walk down and see his old classroom.  He said, “not really, I don’t know where it is.”  I suggested we just walk down his old hallway, just for the heck of it.  He complied and as we walked together, he turned to me with this little glimmer of familiarity and said, “this is my place” and then as we continued down the hallway he walked right up to the door of his old classroom.   HIS old classroom, the place where he spent 15 years teaching HS students. 


Curt loved his job!  He would always be so excited as the lazy days of summer began to wane and the leaves in our woods began to fall, knowing the first day of school would soon be here!  I on the other hand would shudder and complain about going back, he would smile and remind me, that we should be thankful for the jobs God has given us! :)  I still complained……….

He would get up early that first week of school and be there by 6 am each day.  He wanted to have time to get work done when there were no students around.  He would say, “after school time is not time to get work done, that is time to help students.”  He would often come home late from school after hanging out after school talking to students, helping with assignments, or just giving advice.  I would often have to call him at school and say, “DINNER IS READY can you please come home!!”  I would get so mad…….now I would give anything for him to arrive home late for dinner.


Curt being a cheerleader and a trooper on a Father/Daughter night for the cheerleaders, this girl’s dad couldn’t be there so she asked her fav teacher to fill in.

He cared for his students, he worked hard to get them involved in each class, he engaged students with his witty sense of humor, and taught with a passion. 

He was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Oct. 1st 2010, I remember I was making a quick stop at a local store for some much needed school clothes the next day.  The clerk who checked me out noticed my last name and asked if my husband taught at our local high school.  When I said I was his wife, she gushed on and on about how he was her favorite teacher, and even though she didn’t like World History she loved his class!

  I didn’t have the heart to tell her about his diagnosis and thanked her and went in the car and cried!

Yes this time of year I reflect so much upon Curt’s teaching days.  Just the other day we were out at a local restaurant and when the waitress brought our check, she smiled at us and said, “A former student paid for your check tonight!”  That was not the first time that has happened, it happened another time at a local Applebee’s restaurant. 

1998 Yearbook pic

1998 Yearbook Picture of this nice married couple that taught at the same high school :)

One man’s life does matter, and it does impact others.  I know, it sounds like a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life. :)

Curt was always a fan of Oswald Chambers, I found this quote in one of Curt’s books recently

“We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life – those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.” ~Oswald Chambers

Yes Curt lived in the ordinary things of everyday life and in those ordinary, daily moments he worked hard to live a life that would always honor God, and reflect a life lived with passion and integrity. 

I am thankful for the model he served to me to live that life. 

It is with that inspiration that I start my school year this year! 

Alzheimer’s and life with Teens

I  said to Curt while getting out of the car in the 90 degree heat at a lacrosse tourney, “Well honey you win the award for being the most active guy with Alzheimer’s!”  He got up 2 days in a row at 6am, I got him dressed and we headed out the door for an early 8am game in the heat.  He hung out in the heat watching two games on Sat., used the nasty outhouses, (which provided a nice challenge for me since he needs a bit of help these days…… and then I was so paranoid he would somehow lock himself in the outhouse, oh can you imagine the horror of being locked in one of those!.) And he reeled in the commotion of the two games close together.  He would get so confused as to what was going on, but would continue to go along with whatever I told him.  Sunday,  Madi had an 8am game and then not again until 3pm.  We had time to kill between games, including a long chilling out time at IHOP!  And then some shopping, which we know how much Curt loves! And then a short 1/2 hour nap in the hot van for him and then back to the last game. More time in the heat and then the 5 hour drive home.

Madi lax

Really, it’s a lot for a guy in the late moderate stages of Alzheimer’s to deal with.  But He is a trooper, he sits patiently in the heat, and really doesn’t complain.

morning walk on the beach

People often ask me how he does with these kind of things…..overall he does well.  He would keep getting confused with when Madi is playing and how long the game lasts etc.  But he would hang tough and sit out in the sun drinking lots of water and seemed pretty content.

C pool

He also LOVED our family vacation!  He wanted to be part of everything.  Really once again he was a trooper!! Got up early, stayed up late, enjoyed chatting with my extended family.  We rented a beach house with my family, it was a ton of fun.  Curt had always enjoyed the ocean.  He and the kids would be out there for hours……… when he wanted to go out in ocean we were all nervous!

Curt in ocean

But he was pretty insistent about wanting to go in.  So Tyler was the first to get him out there, and we all quickly joined him out there.  Due to the spatial issues, he had trouble judging when the wave would break, and at one point Tyler literally picked him up to carry him out so the wave would not break on him.  So,Tyler, Madi and I, and my two surfer, boogie board riding brothers, kept a careful watch over Curt while he was in the ocean.  But as it is in the ocean, inevitably the “big wave” came, and despite our efforts, we all got toppled.  We all quickly pop out of the what feels like the wash cycle of the washing machine, all looking for Curt.  For that brief second no one sees him, and then suddenly his head pops up and he loudly proclaims, “That was AWESOME!!” And that expression seemed to capture our entire vacation for Curt.  He really enjoyed the long conversation with family, the pool, the beach and just some time away.

curt beach

hanging on the front porch

But the lazy days of summer are beginning to wane as we take Tyler to college to start his freshman year TOMORROW!  And I have some back to school commitments coming up as well as looking for people to stay with Curt in the fall.  Honestly I am not looking forward to the busy, crazy, stressful life again.  I  find myself getting a little battle weary…..maybe I am just getting older, maybe it’s that fun woman hormone craziness, maybe it’s Tyler leaving……….it’s probably all of it combined.


But I have also come to understand Matthew 11:28 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Jesus gives the invitation to Come, but it is us who must get up and GO!!  We must Go the Lord, and give him these burdens.  Trying to carry them on our own just doesn’t seem to work real well! :)  So I am working more on Going to the Lord with the burdens of the day, I often try to carry them on my own. Working on that more for this Fall….Going to the Lord and LEAVING those burdens of the day there.


Thanks again for your ongoing LOVE and prayers for our family!!

Morris fam

Looks Like We Made It!!!!

Yipee!!!  Yahoo!!

I am celebrating the end of a crazy, hectic, yet heartwarming school year! 

What a crazy June it for this mom.  Tyler graduated, he left for a week at the beach, we threw a big family party for Tyler and for Madi’s big 16th birthday.  We also went to a lacrosse tournament and some how I limped my way through the last few days of school.

I am just saying….. lots of vitamin supplements and coffee seem to be my mainstay to keep me going these days!

But I made it!!!  Made it through the school year!!!  This post is about celebrating making it through it all!

It’s a crazy journey, and sometimes when I have down time, I almost don’t know what to do with it.  I am so used to going, doing, working, helping etc.

There were many EMM’s (Emotional Mom Moments) along the way. The kind we all go through when our kids suddenly grow into young adults and you try to savor those last moments of their senior year.  This is Tyler’s senior night at his baseball game….a true EMM.

baseball senior night

Another one of this EMM’s was when Tyler won our school’s Grosh Award/Scholarship.  It is the highest athletic honor/award the school gives and Tyler was the recipient this year.  You can read more about it here.  It was a great honor for him, and we could all savor that moment together at an athletic dessert social in early June.

grosh award

Madi turned sweet 16 and had a big party at a friend’s pond.  It was a fun pond party with food to plan, cake pops to make, prayers for good weather and a ton of other stressors along the way.  Really what was I thinking planning this party 5 days before graduation!!!  But it all went well, the sun came out 5 min. before the party started and it made for a beautiful late afternoon  pond party.


And Madi ended up making these cool cake pops all by herself, boy were they delicious!

Madi 16th party

And then there was this moment…………

graduation 1

grad 4

And a special hug from one of my students who Tyler walked with at graduation.

grad 5 hug from cm

And all that happened the first 3 weeks of June!

But as I said I made it!

And most important Curt made it though it all.

He just went along with what ever I told him was happening.  With so much going on he really depended on me to keep things consistent for him.  I was really thankful Margo the dear lady who stayed with him during the time I was at school was able to come consistently during those last 2 weeks.  She was a source of stability for Curt amidst the chaos.

Curt was able to understand the fact that Tyler won several scholarships and other awards and that he graduated, but it was like someone who gets it, but is very apathetic and unemotional about it.  He kept saying it was awesome, but I don’t think he totally reeled in the emotions of it all.

He has been same the last 2 months or so, the anger issues pop in now and then and are not pretty, but don’t last as long as they did a year ago.  Thank goodness!  He is eating a lot more and hopefully gaining back some of that weight he lost.  He struggles with HOW to get the food to his mouth, but is quite happy to eat his favorites. Although his repertoire of the food he likes is very limited, but that is ok, just so he eats.  He has lost lots of that muscle mass, he used to be one solid dude, now he is mushy. :(  Two minor things I have noticed get worse are his inability to get himself a glass of water, he confuses how to work the faucet.  He also can no longer take off his shoes with out help.  It’s the slow demise of those daily tasks that are so sad to watch slip away. He can no longer shave or take care of those daily personal hygiene skills that we all take for granted.  He walks slower than molasses pouring from a jar, and shuffles and kind of bends over some as he walks.  He almost looks robotic in his gait.  But he still retains a fun sense of humor and tells me all the time that he  loves me so much!  So we press on and cherish those glimpses of the old Curt!

Also, I must once again thank SO MANY of you that helped to get me through the spring, there have been SO MANY of you that helped out in big and small ways.  Friends who cleaned out my disgusting fridge, brought meals, prayed for us continually, gave gift cards, let me borrow a lawn mower when ours needed repair etc.  Spring was just overwhelming and so busy, really, I know I am repeating myself, but I just couldn’t keep up with everything at times, and became a bit forgetful and I am sure I did not thank many of you.

And a special Thanks to person who made us dinner the week of Graduation!  It was a really delicious spaghetti casserole!! The timing was PERFECT, but Curt had no idea who dropped off the meal.  I believe it was the night of baccalaureate, and the way that night was going we would have never had dinner. :) So thank you to the mystery person who has blonde hair.  That is all I could get out of Curt. 

Tyler leaves for 3 weeks of summer classes at Liberty this week……Ahhhhhhhhhh, minor freak out, but I got this.  We appreciate your prayers as we all adjust to him being gone.  Also Madi has several lacrosse tournaments with traveling to Va. and Maryland, do pray for the logistics of that.  And pray that we can all just savor some family time.


A few pics from our big family graduation/birthday party

grad party fun


Curt with his brother!

curt and nate

The Rock? Sometimes it seems way out there somewhere.  It’s bumpy and hard, right at the water’s edge.  It even hurts when we fall on it.

The Rock! But it sure makes a great foundation when the storms hit!