Thursday, July 21, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #253
Nancy White Kelly

Sharon and I not only shared the diagnosis of breast cancer, but a love of writing and life in general. Ironically, we both enjoyed the works of William Penn. You probably don’t remember him, but you may recognize this famous quote: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Sharon, who proudly hailed from North Carolina, is now deceased. She died sooner than we both had imagined. Sharon once told me that she would not give cancer the starring role in her life. I never forgot that. Sharon died being Sharon, not Sharon the cancer victim, but Sharon, the dynamic, caring, witty woman she was. She succeeded in keeping her identity in spite of the cancer that overwhelmed her body. I hope to do the same.

This Living Lady wants to be remembered as a unique individual who strived to make a difference in this world. It is my belief that if you aren’t a good example for others, you probably are a terrible warning. I certainly won’t go down in history for notable wealth or fame, but hopefully no one will be able to truthfully say I did any harm.

Last week I stopped by the cemetery where Buddy and I have plots. Several friends are buried near our own coffin-sized parcels of earth. Other friends, still living, have plots nearby and even adjoining. None of us are in a hurry to pitch our tents. Yet, we laugh among ourselves. With vivid imagination, we have on occasion described the great underground festivity we will someday have, complete with old-fashioned party lines and deviled worms.

Of course, none of us believe a word of it. All of us are sincere believers in the real afterlife. It promises to be more glorious than anything we can envision. With the exception of those cremated or entombed in mausoleums, our dead soulless physical bodies will someday descend to the last frontier six feet below. From dust we began and to dust we return. But our soul, that indestructible part of you and me, will continue for eternity.

Some people say it is not the destination that matters, but the journey. I beg to differ. For eternal matters, it is not the journey, but the destination.

In case you think I lost my sense of humor, I have not. There is a season for everything…reflection, sadness, joy, and even laughter.

Not so long ago, Rowland Lawrence LaPrise passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 83. You remember Larry LaPrise don’t you? He wrote the infamous song, “Hokey Pokey.”

Getting Larry LaPrise into the coffin turned out to be a stressful event for the LaPrise family. You know what that was all about. They put his left foot in and then the trouble started.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #252

Nancy White Kelly

Readers: This is a special edition of my column, an extra one. Last week I left you hanging about our ill grandson. Unbeknown at the time, Charlie wrote about the emotional experience in his own journal. I feel compelled to share it. If you wish to respond to him, his email address is

Wow. What a time it has been. For those that don’t know, here is a quick summary.
Micah, at five-months old, looks to be a very normal baby, albeit his head is a little on the large size. His head was in the 25 percentile when he was born and around the 75 percentile later. At his last check-up, Micah’s head was in the 95 percentile. Anything below 100% is “normal.” There are babies with heads well over the 100% percentile.
Micah was also born with a small murmur (that the doctor no longer hears and was/is supposed to heal on its own). Micah also had a small cyst that can be somewhat common with premature babies. It is not extremely abnormal for a baby to have a head in the 95% percentile. Doctors do become concerned when the baby’s head, not large at birth, becomes bigger. This does not HAVE to mean there is trouble, but it can.
There is a condition known as hydrocephalus. It basically means fluid on the brain. One of several causes is a cyst on the brain. Needless to say, since we found this out, we have been very, very concerned. The doctor ordered a CT scan for today.
The last couple days have been rough ones... days that included petitioning God on Micah’s behalf. It was a very reconnecting time for God and me. It is a shame that it takes a crisis, isn’t it? I definitely asked for God to heal Micah. To let him be OK.
I really felt that God laid the story of Esther on my heart. I spent some time with God and that story. I know you probably know the Old Testament story, so I won’t repeat it. I really related to Esther. I felt like I was petitioning God in the same way.
God gave me a peace about the situation. It is tough to ask God to heal your son, but then to say with all the sincerity you can muster, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
I tried to imagine what things would be like if we got a bad report. It involves a life-long battle: a plastic tube is inserted for the rest of your life, having to be lengthened as you grow; dealing with clogging and infection; and possibly being delayed mentally and physically.
I tried to think of ways that God would still use Micah. And how, down the road, we could look back and see that God used Micah for good in spite of his problems. That is a difficult reality to imagine. Yet, I felt a peace about it just the same. But still, if it was OK for Esther to plea, then it was OK for me.
So today, having been wearied by the previous days, we went down to Gainesville to have Micah’s CT scan. Poor little fella didn’t even know where he was going. We got to the hospital about 6:30 this morning. There was a little confusion about whether he was supposed to have a CT scan or an MRI. The staff confirmed that it was a CT scan.
Tori and I fed Micah and then placed him on a pillow on the long, narrow tray of the scanner. Like the good baby he is, Micah fell right asleep (with his pacifier and clutching his favorite blue doggy blanket). He never woke up during the whole scan.
We couldn’t get the results right away. The radiologist would have to dictate what he saw and send the report to our pediatrician. It could be today or it could be tomorrow before we got the results. That was the equivalent of eternity.
Tori and I went on with our day. We ate breakfast, went to a church staff meeting and then went home. A while later, Tori decided to call the doctor’s office to see if the results were in. They were.
The doctor said the CT scan showed nothing. There was no fluid. The report did not even mention a cyst.
After Tori hung up, we said a very genuine prayer of thanks to God. I tell you it was all Him. I got a little choked up and headed to the backyard to be by myself. For the first time in who knows how long, I cried. My face streaked with tears of joy. I think it was from the overwhelming feeling – not as much of Micah being OK – but of the awesome feeling of experiencing God’s hand of mercy and deliverance.
And still…if some medical complication ever develops, or whenever the next bad thing happens, I feel confident in the sovereignty of my Lord. God on the hilltop is God in the valley. And today, he has delivered Micah…..whose name indeed means, …. “Who is like the Lord?”
PS 107:19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
PS 107:20 He sent forth his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
PS 107:21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men – Mother of Charlie, grandmother of Micah
Journal of a Living Lady #251
Nancy White Kelly

Our son, Charlie, and wife, Tori have just celebrated their third wedding anniversary. They are to leave tomorrow for a much needed and deserved vacation in Colorado. Both worked two jobs, completed their Masters Degrees, and had their first baby this year. Amazingly, they still have their sanity. It makes me tired just thinking about the pace they have been keeping. The only negative to their trip is that we have their dog. Snickers is supposed to be a Chihuahua. Believe me, it is our unprofessional opinion that Snickers lied on her birth certificate. She looks more like a miniature Doberman with her long legs and standing ears. We have a Chihuahua ourselves. Snickers and Oppie don’t even look like kissing cousins.

Snickers got off to our bad side several months ago when, as a puppy, she baptized our carpets and left us other undesired gifts. However, she is much better now and we tolerate her. Snickers is used to sleeping in bed with Charlie and Tori. Naturally, she thinks our bed is her bed at night. Neither Buddy nor I care for animals in our bed, but what we won’t do for our kids. Last night Snickers had her head in-between mine and Buddy’s. Buddy asked me if that meant three cups of coffee in the morning instead of the usual two.

We also have Charlie and Tori’s cat. They gave Coco to us just before baby Micah was born. We gladly took the former stray cat because we didn’t want any jealous animal harming our new grandson. The intent was to find her a good home. She has one. Right here in the Kelly household.

I was told last week that when an animal brings you their prey, they are showing much affection for you. I wish Coco didn’t love us so much. I shutter to walk down the hall way at night. So far I have been greeted with frogs, lizards, and birds. Once Coco left the gourmet insides of some yet to be identified creature.

Most of the critters that I find in the hall way are still alive, though severely traumatized. Coco enjoys toying with her prey before they become her dinner. Despite her displeasure, I mercifully rescue them from their definite dormant fate. I turn them loose to live once again in the outdoors. However, I am certain Coco has brought me the same stupid frog twice.

I am afraid the best laid plans of mice and men so often go astray. We just got a phone call that the baby is sick with a high fever. The trip to Colorado is off. So, while we baby-sit the dog, we fret over Micah’s latest medical emergency. He is in the hospital with an I.V. in his head. The doctors have ruled out spinal meningitis, Praise the Lord. And, to think, we were perturbed over a six pound dog crowding our bed.
Journal of a Living Lady #250
Nancy White Kelly

All optimists can say amen to William Ward’s renowned quote: “A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” It is all in attitude.

With acknowledgement to Paul Harvey, this is the rest of the story about my surgery for blepharoptosis. A month has passed. My attitude about plastic surgery has changed from an immediate, “I wish I hadn’t” to an eventual, “I am glad I did.”

I detest the ugly advertising billboards that curtail the panoramic view of the nearby mountains. Yet, I can read them now without the slightest effort to raise my eyebrows. The clouds above me have seemingly doubled in height. They appear as voluptuous curtains surrounding the vault of heaven. The Beatles sang in the 60’s, “I can see clearly now.” So can I. The only question to ask is, “What took me so long?”

For a couple of weeks after my droopy eyelids were surgically eliminated, my face looked as if Rocky Balboa and I had gone at least three rounds. Large bruises around my puffy eyes went from maroon-red to an ugly dark purple. Prickly stitches protruded from the far corner of each eye like unruly weeds.

Ten days after my surgery, still house-bound, I looked for my Buddy, the best husband and male nurse anywhere. I had a honey-do request, but could see from the den window that he was busy. Buddy was far out in the pasture rubbing Fly-Off on the horses.

Donning sun glasses and a wide-brimmed hat, I ventured to the post office myself. The disguise didn’t help. Heads turned several times.

I can read minds. Most of the curious lookers assumed that I was the victim of spousal abuse. A few thought that surely I deserved it.

All I wanted was my stamps and a hasty exit. Unfortunately the man in front of me was attempting to mail packages to Tahiti. The quick glances in my direction were bothersome. While impatiently tapping my foot, I thought of a few things I would like to have had printed on my over-sized tee-shirt: “Keep staring. I’ll show you my tongue piercing and dentures.”

Because the removal of my droopy eyelids was so successful, I have seriously considered Lasik surgery for the first time. It could put an end to my near-sightedness and astigmatism. Friends warn me that Lasik would not eliminate my need for reading glasses. I already have several pair of the drugstore type scattered around the house. Reading spectacles are a nuisance, but I could live with the hassle for reading.

Yet, there is that issue of green stuff. I accepted financial reality long ago. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Never will there be a federal Santa Claus coming down the chimney with a voucher for laser eye surgery. Regulation 20/20 says that Medicare doesn’t consider shedding glasses a medical necessity.

Money is an object of consideration in our household. As with most Social Security recipients, the sugar bowl gets pretty empty by the end of each month. Buddy will eat oatmeal only so often.

If my blatant poor mouthing and lack of total visual acuity is causing tears of pity to flow, grab a tissue and a pen. Send your 401K to the Kelly Total Vision Fund, 6156 Southern Rd., Young Harris, GA. Though it isn’t tax deductible, you can sleep well tonight knowing that you have helped replug the fountain of youth and given even clearer sight to one matronly lady. On second thought, save your cash. You would just be throwing good money after bad. If I live long enough, I will surely have cataracts that will obscure my vision again.

The living lady is truly content, happy and grateful. And, I actually have a sister named Sunnie.

Be it hereby known that Nancy White Kelly is blessed beyond measure even if wearing glasses on a cloudy day.

Books are $15 each postage paid. Send check to:
6156 Southern Rd. Young Harris, GA 30582
Previous columns (#1-249) can be read at