Friday, January 25, 2013

Cameron #9...

 Our first family picture 2004

 Cameron's first birthday

 Cameron's 3rd birthday

 Turning 6

Yesterday my first baby turned 9.

For the first half of the day I was a blubbering mess.

I cried taking him to school.

I cried thinking about this same day 9 years ago.

I called Mr. Shook at work crying.  (Note to self, I don't think he's a fan of that.)  Not that he cared I called crying, I think I made him feel a little teary as well.  Not very global finance-ish.  Mr. Shook talked me off of the ledge.

The thing I couldn't get over for most of the morning was...



These first 9 years have flown by and I know the next 9 will too.

Mr. Shook and I were so very blessed 9 years ago + 40 weeks when we were given the wonderful gift of our first child.  Cameron was the easiest baby ever.  EVER.  He was a joy from his first breath.  He is turning out to be a great kid, who loves his sisters, knows just how to get on their last nerve but is the best of friends with them as well.  Cameron does well in school, tries his best and is learning responsibility.  

Happy, happy #9, Cameron Michael Shook!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


If you know me very well then you already know about my love affair with sports.  I love watching them and love rooting for them, especially a good underdog story.  I faithfully watch the Super Bowl even if I don't care about any of the teams in the game, I love college football and one of my favorite times of the year is from March Madness to the Masters.  The first 2 days of March Madness are my favorite.  When else can you watch games non stop from noon to midnight?  And they always are very exciting games.  I am also a sucker for the good vs. evil story that is sometimes spun into a sporting event.  Or the little man vs. the giant.  I love for the human interest story that makes some professional athletes seem more like every day people.  The obstacles and challenges that they have had to overcome.  I love it all.

But, one of the things I struggle with is the inappropriate moral values that some of the athletes of today occasionally have.  I don't like it when young people choose to idolize people who have made some really bad choices in their lives but they choose to ignore or not be aware of every day heroes that are in their lives.  

That brings me to someone like Lance Armstrong.  I am not a follower of cycling.  I don't even understand why the Tour de France is days and days long and how the switching of the yellow jersey means something.  But, I know who Lance Armstrong is.  And, I know what he started his own foundation called Livestrong.  And, I know that it is backed by Nike.  Cha-ching.  Allegedly Lance Armstrong has confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance enhancing drugs while competing in cycling.  This allegation has been going on for years and I'm not sure why Lance decided know to fess up.  I also know that the foundation Livestrong has raised millions, maybe even billions of dollars for cancer research.  I heard on the radio yesterday that even without Lance being the face of Livestrong that their sales only dropped 7%.  

The question I have is simple.

Do we overlook the misconduct that Lance Armstrong did to his body, the sport of cycling, and all the followers of his sport for the huge contribution he has made in the world of cancer research?  Are these two different issues or will eventually American's look past his moral flaws in support of his humanitarian contributions?  Is his name ruined forever or will Lance be able to one day restore it?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I do know one thing. 

Lance Armstrong needs to give Mantei Ta'io a big shout out for being the ultimate diversion in the news.  We may have already forgot about Lance Armstrong's poor choices.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back on track?...

Was there a month of December??  I think I missed it.  Or at least I missed it in the blogging world.  Oops.

But I'm hoping now to get a little back on track.

We had a very nice Christmas that included a (really) long stay with Mike's parents in Ohio.  We saw other family and the kids got some Aunt/Uncle/Cousin time that they always enjoy.  I really love Mike's family and they are very good people.  When we get together with his extended family it's always a nice visit.  He has a VERY small family, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, 3 cousins...small.  But when we get together it's always a fun time.   We got to see some of my extended family as well and we feel the same about them, too.  We are very blessed to have such wonderful family.

But, the holidays come and go, oh so quickly.  Then it's back to real life.

The kids started school up again on Tuesday and we're back to the routine.

Today I got to do something really special, though.  Today I got to take my friend Becki to her chemotherapy appointment.  Becki first goes for labs, then saw the doctor who gives the a-OK for that day's treatment and then she begins infusion.  There is no rushing through this day.  We were together for 6 hours.  Some of the day was exactly like I envisioned and some was not.  Because Becki already has a port the actual receiving of the drugs wasn't as dramatic as depicted on TV.  I checked it all out, asked what things were, and even tried to figure out if the Taxol she was getting could possibly be from the pharmaceutical company that I worked for many moons ago in Cleveland.  I feel blessed that I was able to spend this time with my friend.  I made a Chick-Fil-A run for us, my first visit ever to one.  What a perfect place to have your first sandwich from Chick-Fil-A...the Illinois Cancer Center!  I started out the day by attending about 45 minutes of my weekly bible study.  It is regularly taught by our previous pastor but he has to be out for a few weeks so our new church pastor filled in.  We were studying some of the psalms and were reflecting how many of them are now songs and hymns.  We even sang some!  When I had to bow out of class Pastor Gary asked me if I had to take off.  I shared that I was leaving to take Becki to her appointment.  He immediately stopped class and we prayed for her.  All my anxiousness was gone and I knew that I could confidently take her to the clinic.  I really appreciated that moment.  Thanks to all who were there this morning for giving me the confidence and strength to be there for my friend.

I think it was one of those God moments.