Wednesday, September 3, 2008

memorial coin...

When I visit this site for some sense of comfort and reality, I realize that based on the "visit counter" at the bottom, I am not alone. So I began thinking about how Brent would want to close this journey and I realized that it would be best for me to use the words that he wrote and had read at his Celebration Service.

My Final Snapshot

How does a person begin to start their own final message to his friend’s. I so much wanted this to record this in my voice but God had other plans, I want to express the importance that faith has played in my life. So this final snapshot will be my opportunity to express my final thoughts to my family and friends. 

You see this life journey began for me when I realized, at age 7, there was a literal heaven and hell and as a 7 year old I have to tell you, it was frightening. Then as it was explained to me it became less frightening because I realized that there was a way for me to spend my entire life after death in heaven. Even at the age of 7 is was an easy choice for me, I chose heaven over hell. I trust that every single person in this room has or will make this choice because here is the best part, God has given a free gift, a free pass if you will, to spend eternity in heaven with Him. 

I will make this a simple as possible, the bible says (scripture) If you believe in your heart and confess in your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. Sounds complicated, but it is not. If you will believe that Jesus Christ was sent to earth to pay the price for our sin, the sins of those that came before you and those who will come after, you will be saved and spend eternity in heaven. It doesn’t say anything about if you attend church regularly, if you quit smoking, if you clean up your vocabulary… it just says believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of my life. Maybe it is easier to understand in todays terms, you are asking God to be the manager of your life, the one that can give you direction when you need direction, hope when you need hope and comfort in days like today.

So since I get the final words today and these are my final thoughts, I want us to pause right now and for you to pray this prayer with me because quite honestly if any of you end not showing up in heaven when it’s your time, I am really going to be upset. I want every one of my loved ones, friends and co-workers to spend eternity with me. It’s just this simple, right there where you sit pray this prayer.

“Father, I acknowledge that I want to spend my eternity in heaven with you, I choose heaven over hell. I believe that you sent your son Jesus Christ to bear my sins and to free me of those and that is what makes it possible for me to spend eternity in heaven with you, I accept this gift you given me, come into my life and be the manager of my life. Thank you for this free gift. AMEN."

So here is what I am expecting Gang, there is not a person in this room or within earshot of the message that won’t be joining me in heaven for eternity.

IT IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Our first relationship is the one that we have with God or the vertical relationship.

"Love the Lord God, with all your heart, with all your soul, 

with all your strength and with all your mind"

Our second relationship is the one that we have with each other or the horizontal relationship.

"Love your neighbor as yourself"

Luke 10:27

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Brent & I designed this coin together and it was his
wish that everyone who walked this journey with
us would receive one in his memory.

Carry this coin with your change.
It can change your life
and change the lives of those
you love...

From our hearts...
To yours,
                                      Jayne & family

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

This coin has been sent to everyone that attended Brent's Celebration Service and to everyone that we had contact information for from this blog. If you would like one of these coins please send an email with your name and address and it would be our privilege to send one to you. 

see you soon...


Saturday, August 9, 2008

in memory...


Brent Hayden Fletcher
June 9, 1958 • June 30, 2008
 
As it was said so many times on Sunday, "the service was a perfect celebration of Brent's life". My family and I are at a loss for word to express our gratitude to all of you that were able to attend and to all of you who where definitely there in prayer and spirit. To all of you, the biggest  "THANK YOU". 

We have been taking some time to put our final thoughts together in an attempt to close this blog. Each family member has or is writing their final thoughts and we will be posting them by weeks end. As you can imagine, it is so hard to put your love and emotion into words. So I am giving each one of them the time they need. For those of you who were unable to attend the service, a very special friend of mine has taken the time to preserve each blog, comment and email that was sent throughout this journey. My family will have this book to look back on when we just need to be a little closer to Brent. It will also hold the legacy of this man who was called Husband, Dad, Brother and Friend. I also want you to know that Brent became a grandpa when he entered heaven because of a loss that Grant & Jen suffered through a miscarriage in January. Becoming a grandpa was the one goal in life he did not accomplish on earth and of course that goal was completed in heaven. I know that the kids have a great sense of comfort knowing that their baby will be spoiled rotten by Pa Pa. As only God would have it, Brent & I lost our first baby in 1980 and we had the same comfort by knowing that Brent's mom would be taking care of it. She past away 2 months prior to our wedding in March 1979. 

Again, my family thanks each one of you for going on this journey with us, we know that we were stronger because of each one of you.

our love to all of you ...

Monday, July 21, 2008

final thoughts...bruce



bruce curry

Brent,

On Sunday July 13th, 2008, I was privileged to honor you and tell everyone what you meant to me ……..and so many others. I gave each one of your sons and Jayne a copy of my speech. During the time I talked I choked up several times……..with the memories of you and who you were to me in my life. This indeed was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. My friend…………I have thought about you each day since you told me you were ill and even more so since you left us. Your memory will never fade from my mind. One day I will see you again and until then I will try to be the friend to others that were to me. A task that will be difficult to measure up to. You were a great man and everyone at the memorial gathering was touched by all of the things and accolades that were proclaimed. Your leaving us so early is such a mystery to me…….and I am certain to others as well. To me, I cannot help thinking how many more people you would have impacted and changed if you were still with us today. I am sure that you are doing great things even as I write this to you. Our loss………heavens gain.

 

Goodbye my friend and I look forward to seeing you again.

 

Bruce

Saturday, July 19, 2008

final thoughts...grant


GRANT & JEN

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions.  We have spent time planning for my Dad’s Celebration Service which has helped to keep us busy, and has been great for my Mom to keep her mind busy too.  We have spent a lot of time reminiscing of the great times we have had with Dad.  The things we would tease him about only because we loved him.  The funny things he’d do. And the great times shared.  We all definitely miss Dad being around and we have to take each day as they come, one day at a time.  My Dad is in a great place now- able to be with his parents who were also called Home by God at an early age.   The experience we all observed in my Dad’s last evening on earth can be described as truly orchestrated by God. As we watched my Dad truly fight internally with not wanting to leave his family here and knowing he was being called Home, all we could do was let him know and assure him of is that we would be okay and He and God would be able to watch over us from Heaven.  He “fought the good fight” to use some of his words from that evening.

 

I had a great conversation with my Dad on the day of my birthday.  He told me of his deep connection with water.  Water for my Dad was soothing for his soul. Hearing running water, be it a stream, river or fountain, even just seeing water was so calming for my Dad and helped for him to relax.  Whenever my brothers and I face hard times, he told us to find some water and he’d meet us there.  I am sure when we go to Lake Havasu later this summer, it will be hard for one not seeing him on his boat next to us, but we will know he is with us as we are on the water.  He also expressed his desire for me to “MC” his Celebration Service that same day.  It wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do, but we got through it.   

 

Another great conversations had with my Dad on that Sunday before his passing, included Jen and I showing him some of the houses we have been looking at and putting offers on.  He was so excited for us.  And before we had to leave for a couple hours that night to look at a place in Foothill Ranch, my Dad told Jen, “This will be the one”.  Little did Jen and I know that day, was that my Dad and God had a little conversation in his last hours; you see, Jen and I are almost half way through escrow on that place that God/my Dad said would be the one.  And the cool thing is, it has a water feature in the front courtyard!

 

Thanks for your time and compassion for my Dad.

 

In His Grip- Grant

aka- “Brent Jr.”

final thoughts...lynette


LYNETTE & PHILIP

 We want to take this time to thank all of you who came to celebrate Brent’s life with us at the service. It was so uplifting to hear how Brent had touched so many lives, and equally as comforting to know that you thought he was as wonderful as we did.

 

It is so very hard to put into words the love that we have for Brent.

 

He lovingly carried the torch as the Fletcher patriarch after Dad passed away. He was a dear brother/brother-in-law who teased a little and loved a lot. He made us laugh often. We went to him for advice on many things…purchasing our home, investments, and cars…we’re happy to say he approved of our cars. J

 

We have so many wonderful memories of Brent. One of our fondest is sharing family times together in our home. If it were a meal, Brent would take a nap shortly thereafter, and somehow, without our noticing until after he left, we’d find pictures on the wall upside down, trinkets moved from their spots to those of Brent’s choosing, and even candy wrappers strategically placed around the house. Sometimes it would take us days to find all of his little “adjustments” to our home.

 

He loved God, his family, and life to the fullest. We intend to follow his example by loving God, our families, and our lives to the fullest.

 

We love him dearly.

 

PAL (Philip & Lynette)

Monday, June 30, 2008

see you soon...

It is with much sorrow that I write in place of Brent. 

Each day of the weekend Brent spent sharing anything and everything that was on his mind. Our family took turns spending time laughing and crying with him. Each day he sensed his strength lessening and he began to surrender to Gods calling him home. Not one of us could have asked for a greater gift than the time that was shared. 

On Sunday morning as B & I began our morning and he looked directly into my eyes and said "Honey, I just can't fight anymore." I knew he was right. This man had spent the whole weekend focused on all of our needs and not his own and now it was time for him to focus on going home. As the day progressed I managed his pain and did my best to get him some of the peace he so deserved. As he struggled between a healthy mind, not wanting to leave me and his family behind and hearing God's voice calling him home, he was truly in the fight of his life. As the night progressed and all of us did our best to keep him cool and comfortable, I said "how about we go to bed, I will turn off the lights and crawl up next to you and we will go to bed?" he answered "yes", so each one of the boys kissed & hugged him and left the room. 


11:15P.M. I turned out the lights crawled up to lay next to him, told him that I loved him, he said "I love you back" and I began to listen to him breath. At first they labored, next there were long cleansing breathes that changed into about 5 short breathes, each one having a longer time in between until he exhaled his final breathe. I knew Jesus had met him and taken him home. I looked at the clock and it was 12:46 a time that will forever be engraved in my heart.

"See you soon" are the words that I to use instead of "good bye", good bye for me seems so final and without the hope of seeing that person again. 

"See you soon", has for me the hope of eternity  and holds all of God's promises of spending eternity together. 

"See you soon" were my the last words I whispered into his ear and he left this earth.

So as I focus on his upcoming Celebration Service I wanted use this site to post all of the details.

Please join my family in Brent's Celebration Service.

Sunday, July 13th @ 3P.M.

Azusa Pacific University
Upper Turner Campus Center
901 Alosta Avenue
Azusa, California 91702

(See the campus map below.)


It was Brent's desire to set up a scholarship fund at Azusa Pacific University.
We would like to ask that in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to the
Fletcher Family Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Donations can be sent to the same address as above.

If you have any questions, feel free to email them to us.




Saturday, June 28, 2008

a bend in this journey...

Yesterday was a day that I knew was coming but I didn't think it would come quite so quickly. I could not find enough strength to get out of bed. My energy and strength have weakened me to resign to staying in bed praying my strength will return.  Don't get me wrong, it is much more comfortable, I have an extra, super duper mattress pad, the best of the best in sheets thanks to my personal shopper (my sister) and I am very comfortable. I still remain pain free and yet have some challenges with appetite and am tremendously hot. Between having a wet sheet with the fan blowing on it and ice packs rotating from the freezer to my underarms and head and the thermostat set to sub zero, it all is very bearable. 

Throughout the day and late into the night, I spent time with my whole family. One, two, three and sometimes 4 at a time. I spent the time with each of them laughing, telling "remember when" stories and with a few tears. They all rotated in and out and I think the main reason was the sub zero temperature, they go downstairs just to thaw out. Jayne has now taken over my recliner which is right next to me. She is dressed in her comfy sweatshirt and pants and never complains. The hospital bed as allowed me such comfort and the ability to elevate my feet and for the first time in 2 months, I can officially say, "my cankels are gone!" My doctor has new medications to help me deal with a set of new issues and I have decided that staying on the oxygen makes resting so much easier. Unfortunately, having visitors at this point is a bit too much for me and I am not sure how many of you would want to see me in my BVD's. That is something I only share with my family and I am sure they aren't that thrilled with it. I do have to say that yesterday was still a great day despite the changes that are taking place. I look at this time as such a special gift and one that most are not given.

each day is a gift...
don't miss a minute of it...
spend it with those you love...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

help welcomed...

After our late night visit to COH, we realized that it was time to ask for more support. COH was able to arrange for in home palliative care. What this means is we will have a Register Nurse, Home Health Aid, Counselor and a Social Worker available to us 24/7.  It means that I will have a this team visit me 2 to 3 times a week. They pretty much bring the hospital to our home. 

They are the "go to" if we need anything, prescriptions, equipment, oxygen, etc.  This team is in direct contact with my doctor and will be able to support us along this journey. I can't put into words how much this means to both Jayne and I. It has lifted a huge weight of troubles off of our backs.  

I have already a chance to meet my nurse, the counselor and my caregiver and they are all wonderful people. God truly has provided exactly what we needed, just when we needed it most. (hey, isn't there a hymn about that?) 

The last 2 nights sleeping in a bed and having the oxygen  has improved the quality of my sleep and given me some freedom to move around unlike sleeping in a fixed position in the recliner and the oxygen has really helped with my breathing.  Having this extra support is truly a gift.

until next time...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

speechless...

Sunday night ended with a trip to Evaluation Treatment Center of COH @ 10:30pm. Through out the day I began to have breathing problems and by 10:30pm I wasn't sure if I could make it through the night without some oxygen to help me. I was examined by the on-call doctor and put in a Observation Room of the hospital and placed on oxygen. Since MY doctor had to prescribe the "at home" oxygen, we had to wait until the AM in order to get the RX. Needless to say the night was long and I did feel tremendous relief having the oxygen. Well around 8am the "In-patient" case manager came in letting us know that we would be seen shortly by 2 different doctors. Jayne asked how long will we be waiting? answer, the meeting starts at 10am, okay.

 10am, one Dr. came by and I gave him the 411 on my situation and he listened intently. He fully understood and said that the second Dr. would be in a bit later, Jayne asked again, how long will we be waiting? She was also texting on her phone alot and I would ask who was I talking to? and she would give me some reasonable explanation and I really didn't think much about it. 

11:15am in walks the 2nd Dr. and we pretty much went over the same things and came to the same conclusion. I need oxygen at home. Jayne asks, How long before we can get discharged? answer, we are writing the paperwork now.  Okay. She asked, can we be out of here by noon? answer, we are working on it. She goes back to texting. She starts putting on my shoes and she helps me into the wheelchair and positions me directly in front of the door. The paperwork came, she signed for me. The transportation attendant came and we are out the door. Jayne says she is going ahead to get the car and out we went.

1:15pm, we are in the car and she says that my immediate boss and the president of the company were in town and that they wanted to come by the house and see me. I told her ok, the sooner the better. She calls them and says 2pm. She tells me that when we get home she will help me get into some clean clothes, fluff my "bed head" and get the house picked up. okay. 

2pm, the doorbell rings, Jayne gets the door and in walks, Tim Henderson, my boss, Paul Curtis, the president followed by 3 Henderson, Neveda Fire Chiefs in their Class A, dress uniforms, 4 L.N.Curtis sales men from my office and their sales manager (my old boss) and the retired division chief from Henderson FD. I just can't believe my eyes!

My longtime customer and friend, Bill Carey, a division chief steps forward with a plaque and says "Brent, in 50+ years of the Henderson Fire Dept. they have never had an Honorary Member of the department and we felt that you should be the first. He presented me with a plaque and my official badge and stated that I was a full fledged member of the department and the only thing I didn't have to do was, Pay Union Dues. Then the Deputy Chief, Brad Fuller had some very kind words about the man that I was and the incredible job I had done while serving their department, needless to say I was very humbled. A few more shared their compliments and stated that I was so deserving of this recognition which included a longtime friend & a retired Division Chief, Bruce Giles, who had traveled here from Idaho in order to be a part of this presentation. 

As I tried to keep my emotions in check, I said "there hasn't been very may times in my life that I have been speechless, but this was one of them." What an honor! and the best was that all of my boys and Jayne were here with me. 

Apparently, this had been in the works for the past 2 weeks. The plan was to do the presentation at my office in L.A. at 11am that day, which would have also included my staff. All of these guys were already in LA on Sunday night and Jayne pretty much worked a miracle by making sure that it happened. Now it all made sense why Jayne was being so persistent in getting me the care I needed and the getting me back home to receive one of the most unexpected honors of my life. 

My middle son, Kent, who works for L.N.Curtis as a Service Tech, came up to me and is insisting that he install a siren and fire chief light bar on my company car. He's such the comedian!

24 hours have passed...

 Still speechless!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Celebrating Grant's 27th b'day...

well, 27 years ago today, my oldest son was born. 27 years ago today, was the day I took on the greatest gift in life and the greatest calling. Fatherhood...

I remember how excited I was to be a dad. I really don't think my feet touched the ground for days...I floated everywhere. I was on cloud nine. I remember waves of unconditional love for this special little life. And today, though he is a grown man, as I stared into his eye, again I was filled with waves of overwhelming love this this son of mine. Often, over the last 27 years I've been reminded that Grant is a Brent Jr. So much of who he is, what is does, his mannerisms, his thought process indeed is just like me. 

Early on I use to dispute how much he was like me, I can't really tell you why...maybe because I thought I would be robbing him of his own identity? As I have grown and approached the situation with honesty, it is true and it is ok, Grant is my Junior. 

I have great memories with him and when he was just 2 1/2 years old he insisted on helping his dad wash the car. Back in those days I washed my car at home, by hand about twice a week. More than once I recall walking around to the side of the car that had been washed and rinsed, there he stood with the soapy rag and a smile on his face, washing it again. How could I get mad because he would look up at me with a great be smile and say "I help, daddy. I help" and you know what? As that that little boy has grown up and more times than I can count, he has always been willing to help his dad. 

Our visit today was quiet and not much said but there were one millions of feelings that were shared throughout the day.

Grant, I love you and am so proud of you!

happy birthday son...

Friday, June 20, 2008

the b.writer side...

The other day as one of my family members and I reminisced about the beginning of my ministry, this funny story came up.

I was doing part time ministry in a small Baptist church in Versailles, Missouri. I was so excited when the senior pastor told me that I would have the opportunity to preach one of the up coming morning sermons. I prepared and practiced and prepared and practiced, I was convinced that it would be so impressive if I began my message by quoting scripture from memory. I could envision myself wowing my congregation. I was sure that I was going to be the next Billy Graham. 

So the special day arrived and I began my sermon as I had planned with my memorized scripture. I stepped up from behind the pulpit which was on a raised platform that was about 3 feet from the front row. I raised one arm above my head and with my bible clutched tightly in my other hand (so they could see that I wasn't reading from it) and I loudly proclaimed "behold, I come" and immediately drew a blank. I could not remember the next line. Very embarrassed, I stepped behind the pulpit and gave a glance to my cheat sheet to try to read the next part of the scripture, again I stepped to the side of the pulpit, took a step forward and said again "behold, I come" and drew that embarrassing blank. I remember thinking, "what do I do now" and then it came to me, I thought for sure that I knew the next line, so I boldly stepped forward and stated "behold, I come" and as I proclaimed those words I stepped a bit too far and went tumbling off the front of the platform and where did I land? in the lap of one of the sweetest 85 year old baptist widows you could ever meet. I was humiliated. As I stood to my feet, I began to utter my apologies to the sweet little widow, to which she came back with one of the best one liners of all time, "pastor, you told me 3 times you were coming. I should have moved"

So there you have it, one of the of the many funny memories in my ministry days, which began nearly 25 years ago.

from the b.writer side... 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

perspective...

Life is all about perspective. Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? Same glass, same water...it's all about perspective.


For the better part of six weeks Jayne & I have been on a roller coaster ride. Medical test, doctor visits, consultations, pressure filled days looking for answers. Now that the roller coaster has come to a stop and we are on a road that Jayne & I have never traveled before. The human side of me wants answers and guarantees but we know that is not feasible. The human side of me wants to know what is going to happen tomorrow and the days after but we know that is not possible either. 

I am reminded of the scripture found in James 4: 13 & 14, James reminds us to not make plans or worry about tomorrow by posing this question of perspective. "What is your life? "He says " you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes". This scripture helps me with my perspective. I would love to know what tomorrow holds. I long to know what next week holds. Yet, I am comforted because I only need to live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself. 

I am a social creature and people in my life are so important to me. I have always loved visiting and entertaining whether it is on the phone, over a meal or in my home. Do to my daily health challenges I find that my ability to be the social creature that I am is sometimes challenged.  I mention this here because many of you have been gracious to postpone or wait until the last minute to plan a visit with me. For those of you who know me, this is a departure from my usual "let's get together" attitude. In all honesty this has been very difficult and I thank each of you for your understanding. 

My glass is still half full...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a sprinkling of HOPE...


Monday was a long day but it had a bit of hope sprinkled into it. We met with the oncology department and discussed my treatment options, we discussed my current health issues and also did some blood work. 

Treatment Options:
Infusion therapy: This would be weekly, through an IV, done at the COH and  would make for an exhausting day.
Medication: This treatment is a 4 week on and 2 weeks off, once a day medication that I would take in pill form. I would only been seen at COH after each cycle. This was the treatment plan that they feel is best and of course I was very pleased because it doesn't involve NEEDLES! I hate needles!
 
So for the researchers out there the drug is called Sutent.
It is a drug which puts the brakes on the growth of tumor-feeding blood vessels and deprives tumor cells of blood and nutrients needed for growth. The side effects are pretty much things that I am already dealing with, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and ankles and so on. I am feeling as though it "could" help and it definitely not hurt. We plan to give this the "old college try" as they say. 

Current Health Issues:
My pain in under control. Amen! I am still retaining fluid and still gaining about 1 pound a day. My appetite is poor, I can average about 1 small meal per day. I am still having trouble with waves of nausea and hot flashes, it seems to be connected to the drugs I am taking but it seems to pass as quickly as it comes. If I do ANY bending over it triggers vomiting and yes, I still have cankles. Jayne calls them my Fred Flintstone feet. Yaba daba dooooooo!

Today, I did make it into the office. I was able to meet with my staff and get back into the loop of managing the office. My plan is to get into the office on Mondays and then work from home the rest of the week. I am the type of guy that needs a schedule/routine and this last 46 days has been anything but. I am relieved that the next appointment is what dictates my day. I love the work I do and am looking forward to getting back at it. 


Saturday, June 14, 2008

some thoughts on Father's Day...




As Father's Day approaches tomorrow I have been reflecting on my Father and my own nearly 27 years as a Father.

I enjoyed 26 years with my own father before he went home to be with his heavenly father.  He was only 48 years old and the ugly decease of cancer cut his life short.

For those of you who didn't have the privilege of knowing my father, you missed out!  He was one of a kind.  He had a great sense of humor, corny as could be and had some of the best mid-west one liners you could ever hear. Do to the nature of this sight I can't share them with you but they were classics.  My dad was strict and the bar was always set high for me.  Sometimes......no......many times I felt growing up he expected to much of me but as an adult I realized it was his tremendous love for me and his desire for me to be the best person I could be.

My dad wasn't perfect.......but none of us are.....are we?

My father taught me what it was to be a Christian man.  He always said the priorities are to put God first, family second and work third.  He taught me that you can't out give God.  I watched my father love my mother with all his heart and soul and learned from him how you always put you wife on a pedestal.

I guess it is really ok to say that my father was my hero.  When I was growing up all I could think about was how bad I wanted to grow up and be like my father.  He left this earth in 1984 and I still have a piece of my heart that misses him so much it feels broken sometimes.

I loved my father!

As I think about my almost 27 years of fatherhood, I smile from ear to ear.  I so enjoying being the father to my three sons.  Many of my life decisions have been made based on how it would effect my boys and their lives. Job decisions, moves, school districts have been with them in mind.  Each one of them have been a challenge at times in my life but I am a better person because of each one of them and their influence on my life. They have....and continue to bring such joy and fulfillment to my life.  I love each one of them with all my heart and soul!

And finally, let me offer some thoughts to you who are fathers and those that will some day be fathers.

Remember, that when your kids are growing up their minds are like bank accounts.  You need to ask yourself daily what am I depositing into their accounts?  Is it (has it) been positive and will it reap positive dividends? Has it served to build up or tear down?

I recently reviewed the story of the prodigal son found in the new testament. Of course the story is most often told and used to look closely at the youngest son's poor and selfish, sinful behaviour and sin's shame.  The story ends with a happy ending when he comes home and the whole family rejoices with a grand party.  (Take time to read Luke 15:11-32)  I want you to notice some of the father's behaviour through out the story.
**Dad never raises his voice at the youngest son when he demands his "inheritance" long before it is do him.

LESSON: This father practiced patience and compassion.

**The father was looking for his son to return and I know this because the story says that while the son was still a long way off....his father saw him coming down the rode.  

LESSON: His father never gave up on his son!

**When the son arrived the father didn't say...."I told you so!"  Nope, he welcomed him with open arms. 

LESSON: The father looked beyond his own feelings of frustration, worry, probably rage.....and let his love for his son flow like a river.  

Well, thanks for letting me ramble.  I hope for all of you fathers this fathers day, you will rejoice in your father hood and the tremendous privilege it is to be a father!

Blessings...........

Thursday, June 12, 2008

hope...

We are sorry that we have been away and we needed the time to spend with my family after hearing my current health prognosis.

I made it through the final test a bit tired but elated that it was all finally done. I had pretty much been convinced at that time to go ahead and have the kidney removed despite all of the risks. Jayne & I have been praying for clarity and wisdom and to know without any doubts that surgery was the road to take. We prayed that if it wasn't, that one of the test results would say, "too much risk". Well of course just when you think you are heading one way the wind changes and the phone rings. The surgeon called us @ 8:30pm and told me that there is a problem with my heart that showed up during the stress test, ok? He wanted to talk to the oncologist and the heart specialist about whether surgery was still a possibility. He stated that he would want yet another test to be run to get a better scan of my heart and the results they do have were inconclusive. Meaning it could or couldn't be something of concern. ok? 

When I hung up the phone I pretty much knew that my body could not take one more test or any other set backs. I knew that I just couldn't have the surgery and that I wanted to stay whole and not, the risks of all the things that "could" happen if I had the surgery. Jayne, of course, was with me either way. I just do not want to spend my limited time in the hospital being visited by my family and friends with tubes, beeps and bossy nurses. I want that that time spent in the comfort of my home. Ok done, decision made.

Wednesday morning 8:30am the phone rings, it's the surgeon. He says that he has met with the heart specialist and the oncologist and together that felt as though that surgery was no longer the option. They felt that the risks were just too high and that now they would send us down a different road, the road of palliative care. City of Hope will treat my current issues and the ones to come with the best drugs and care available. Let me just say, I felt such peace. God had answered in such an awesome way. No Surgery! Spend the time loving those around you and letting them love you.

What's next? Monday, I will meet with the oncologist and that will be determined. All that I do know is that it is call immnotherapy, it is a type of care that will boost my immune system to fight for as many days as I have left.

Let me say that the journey this far could not have been possible without each one of your thoughts and prayers and I believe that it will also be the very thing that sustains me throughout this new journey. So I want to say what a privilege it with to have each and everyone of you go through this with me. 

until tomorrow...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

decisions...

We have all of the information from the testing and are spending the night praying for clarity and wisdom. Please pray with us.

until tomorrow...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

happy 50th to me...


Sunday, June 8th and we all survived the big birthday bash last night. There 40 of my closest friends who attended the bash and what a party it was! 

Between my wife, my sister and her husband and my kids, every detail was covered. 

The party started with hors-devours and drinks and buffet piled high with BBQ. Ribs, Chicken, Tri-tip, baked beans... nothing was missing. 

The laughter and story sharing with one of the stories telling all the details behind the picture on this t-shirt. I won' t bore you with the intimate details but let it be said in my earlier days (or maybe even my later days) I have been known to bare my butt. So this picture and others has circulated among our friends and others. Jayne decided it would be great to have t-shirts made with "No Regrets" printed on the front, which is my motto to live by and this back for all of the men in attendance. The shirts were definitely a hit and have already have had requests for additional shirts. 

Last night I was made aware of a different website that has been up and going since March for all of my friend to answer some questions about me and be able to leave a birthday wish. Jayne is going to have the responses put into a memory book. I would love for you to be a part please feel free to respond at:   http://pccliffe.googlepages.com/brent%27sbirthdaybash 

So the wonderful evening concluded with some outrageous chocolate cake, some hugs followed by a few tears and few final humorous stories. Everyone left with great memories and full bellies. 

I am so grateful for those who were able to attend and the many of you who have sent birthday cards and wishes. I must admit that there are days that I do feel 50 but after that party last night I felt like I was a teenager again. 

We have another busy week ahead and as always we will keep you posted.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

plan B...

Well let's see, we arrived at out lab appt on time, got in on time, went to our next appt, got in on time, talked to the surgeon and asked some very specific questions we had and I have to say he did a great job at relaying the best information possible. We realize there are no sure things when it comes to surgery. One of the things he said that really helped was his answer to my concerns about all of the fluid retention. I have gained about 1 pound a day in fluid since May 1st. Yes, that is 35 pounds! Big concern because I have little to no appetite and I am also only eating about half of whatever I do try to eat, so it's not what I am eating. His responses was that the tumor is restricting the vena cava and he was pretty confident that once the tumor is removed the swelling/fluid retention will stop. As for all of the other ways that I am declining, such as the fatigue, shortness of breath and wheezing, that is because the disease is advancing, and even if I were to have had the surgery a month ago, these things would still occur. Removing the kidney is my best chance. I can finally begin to get behind this idea.

I have several more hurdles to get over next week. 
1. I am going to have another CT scan of my chest and abdomen, this time they will be focusing on the vena cava to see if it is block by the tumor or just being compressed by the tumor. 
2. I will have a Resting EKG also.
Tuesday, I will have the stress test which involves my heart being stressed via a medication to see if my heart can get me through the stress of surgery and anesthesia.
3. Today I had some pulmonary test done and I will meet with a lung specialist next to go over those results to see how far the disease has progressed into my right lung. We already know that all of the lymph nodes are involved and the surgeon want to make sure that I can tolerate the anesthesia.

The best part is....I AM DONE WITH ALL TESTING FOR THIS WEEK and my family has planned a big 5oth birthday bash for me and about 40 of my close friends! I definitely love my birthday. It will also be somewhat bittersweet because I will be the first member of my family to reach 50. As some of you know my mom died of ovarian cancer at age 41 and my dad of colon cancer at age 48. So all of this to say that I am not only looking forward to this weekends celebration but #51, 52, 53 and so on...

until next time...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

close only counts in horseshoes...

We made it out of bed and to my appt @ 6:30am as requested. We sat in the waiting room and watched the staff arrive at their scheduled time of 7am which means my test wasn't going to start on time. I was called in at 7:20 and they told Jayne it would take about 45 minutes. Jayne went down to get coffee and was just settling into making my birthday lists for this weekend and out I came. 

I wasn't able to have the test done because once I laid on down on the table and they put their xray stuff over and under me and they had me put my hands over my head and slid into the tube, I couldn't breath nor was I going to be able to hold my breathe for 30 seconds at a time as needed to get the best pictures. The tech was really nice and apologetic and told me that the doctors would figure another way to find out about the vein. 

So on our way home Jayne got on the phone called the surgeons office to let them know and to please call us with what we are to do next. When they called back they want us to keep the pre-op appts and plan to talk to the surgeon tomorrow.

Well, I am getting really good at waiting and know that God does have a plan and there IS a reason for this delay. Hopefully, we will find out tomorrow and all of this will be crystal clear.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

we're back...

Well, we want to catch you up. Yesterday, was the Cardiologist appointment and we met with Dr. Tran, the first thing he asked was if I was feeling okay, I had been asked that quite a few times before he came in. I guess it had to to do with the fact that my blood pressure was 92/46 ugh! The doctor proceeded to look at the inside of my lower eyelids and he didn't see any blood in that tissue, he then looked at the last blood work which was over a month ago, and saw that I was a bit anemic at that time, he made the statement: "do not leave the hospital until you have blood drawn and the results, I think you made a transfusion." OK! Then he talked to us about the pros and cons of having surgery. During his exam he noticed that I was wheezing and that brought a bit of concern and he also heard a bit of a murmur. He said that he was comfortable with me going through the surgery but would want to have a stress test done prior to surgery, stress test? I thought, hasn't this whole thing been a stress test? So, he wrote a bunch of "orders" and had the ETC (emergency treatment center) come and pick me up, via a wheelchair, take me to the unit and have the blood test done and do what? WAIT. you guessed it. 

Well, about 4pm the doctor came in and told me that I was about 1 to 2 quarts low, just kidding, pints low. My blood test showed that I was losing blood at a slow rate and he would suggest I have the transfusion. So, I did. He also talked to my surgeon and they decided that 2 pints were needed and also the first of a three series injection. The injection series was going to sort of take the place of what the kidney does to help the body make blood. I hate anything having to do with needles, OK great, let's do it.

Well, the blood transfusion got started and then they came in for the injection. Picture this 2 nurses, one with this big felt pin maker thingy and the other with the instruction sheet. Yes, the instruction sheet, neither one of them had ever done this type of injection. Great! so one nurse takes a pinch of my belly fat between her fingers, grips the pen as if she was going to stab me with it, depresses the red button and it is suppose to "click", you guessed it, no click, so the two nurses look at each other and said. now what? They re-read the instructions, and tried it one more time: pinch, press, and CLICK! yeah! I was relieved but I think the nurses were more relieved. Nothing like being a Guinea pig. It took @ 4.5 hours for the transfusion and I was on my way home @ 9pm. 

I have had to revert to sleeping in the recliner because of pain but seem to get a pretty good nights rest, despite sleeping in the same position. I decided to work from home today and not push my luck with the drive to the office. I have my MRI tomorrow @ 7am, pray for no waiting. Thursday, I have some pre-0p stuff and I meet with the pain management group to see if I can have the meds adjusted in order to get more relief and then next week I have the appts. that the cardiologist wants prior to the surgery  and meet with the oncologist. My surgery date is scheduled for June 18th. 

until tomorrow...


Saturday, May 31, 2008

all vacations must come to an end...



So here it is Saturday night and we are heading home in the morning. We have had a wonderful time and are so glad many of you attending the week with us through this blog.
The weather has been perfect which helped us enjoy each day to its fullest. The boat has been cleaned up and put away and we hope to be back again to enjoy it in a few weeks.
It has been very special for Jayne & I to spend time together since last Tuesday. We spend some of the time reminiscing about all of the time we have spent her with the boys. Most of the time on a shoestring budget and the boys didn't even know the difference. Jayne & I have been coming her since 1973 and Jayne has practically grown up here. She learned to ski on the lake at age 4.
Our family vacations have run the gamut. We beach camped, hotel stayed, rented our own place for the summer and have been here enjoying this view since 2000. Great memories!
we will see you back in reality...

Friday, May 30, 2008

ditto...

We headed back up the lake today. We went to the London Bridge and stopped at a favorite sandwich shop to get a pastrami sandwich for lunch. By the way, the London Bridge is NOT falling down as you may have heard. It is standing strong in Lake Havasu City, AZ. I drove under it to get into the shade while I waited on Jayne to get our sandwich.
A little health update. I am still retaining water in my lower body. I have been wearing compression stocking to keep from getting cankles (my ankles are as fat as my calves) I really can't eat much but my waist is growing bigger & more uncomfortable. If I bend over too far, it makes me violently nauseous. I am close to having my meds dialed in. I hope to get back to a regular work schedule soon. I am very anxious & scared about next weeks tests & what the results will be. Yet, I know that I will be able to deal with whatever the test brings, I have a God who is bigger than all of this and His plan, is my plan. We are getting through each day together.



We made two new friends today...they introduced themselves as Donald & Daisy???????
We took their picture & shared our lunch with them. We hope to see them again soon. Maybe Fathers Day!
We are enjoying having all of you here with us.
until tomorrow...