Sunday, March 01, 2009

Been A Good Run

First, thank you to those of you who emailed and asked about my dad or left comments to that effect. As it turned out, the doctor didn't get all the cancer the first time. He went back this past Tuesday to have another round of slicing and stitching. The doctor was able to do this round without a skin graft so we were thankful for that. They feel confident that it was all removed this time, but I won't feel okay about it until I hear what this last biopsy says...which will probably be another week. Anyway, my dad seems to be doing well and the doctor really did a great job with the stitches.

Now, on to explaining the title of this post. I've decided that my blogging phase is starting to fade. Where I used to not be able to wait to come home and blog, I usually don't give blogging a second thought these days. I'm not going to delete the blog because so much of my life is on it (I was amazed at the mountains and valleys of my life that were recorded in the last three and a half years...), but I'm not going to continue to post either. Blogging opened up doors for me to meet some new people and be exposed to new ways of looking at things. It has been a long, fun ride. I've enjoyed it all. Now I just think I'm going to go a different direction. I have a facebook page and you lovely readers are welcome to be my friends...just look for Steffany Stewart. I do moderately better since it is mostly short blurbs about daily life.

Thank you for all the encouragement and support you've provided in the last several years. It has meant a lot to me.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Daddy is butt-hair-on-his-ear free!

The doctor got what he thought was everything, but of course they will test it to be sure. If for some reason he didn't get it all (and they assured my parents that this doctor rarely has to go back a second time) then my dad will have to go to the hospital because it will require a skin graft to repair the hole.

For the moment, we're all breathing a sigh of relief! Thanks for all the uplifting of my family that went on today. I means very much to me!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Humor In The Midst...

Well, no recap necessary. Y'all already know about the stuff going on in my life, but I did want to share this small and somewhat humorous (in a completely ironic way) tidbit.

My friend Megan, our art teacher, has this sign hanging in her classroom:

There will be no crisis this week. My schedule is full.

I saw it today and just had to laugh. I always laugh when I see it...every time I take my kids to Art. She always knows what I'm laughing at and the kids just stand there looking like I've sprouted another head. Today one of the kids asked, "What is so funny Ms. Stewart?"

I could only respond, "Irony sweetheart...irony."

Tomorrow is the day the "cancer" is removed. Please say a prayer (or send out well-wishes as the case may be) that the doctor gets it all and that no hairy butt/leg skin needs to be taken and that come Wednesday cancer will just be a bad memory. I'll post an update as soon as I know something worth telling.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I'm beginning to think that this blog is really just a place where I can chronicle all the bad stuff that seems to fall into my life. What a horrible attitude to have right? Believe me, I'm trying to stay positive. I'm sure that somewhere I asked God for patience or understanding or to simply help me grow and well...He's answering prayer. Oh Lord...must all growing be painful?

Yesterday, we found out that my dad has skin cancer. While no one really was prepared for skin cancer, we're not surprised. My dad was a construction worker for many many years and even today still works mostly outside. The cancer is on his ear and has been there a while (you know men...never want to see a doctor) so they can't just burn it off or freeze it off. Next Tuesday he'll go in and have a local numbing thing and they will cut it off. Supposedly the doctor is really good and knows his cancer so we're all confident that he'll get it all. The only real concern is that if the cancer is deep then there might not be enough skin left to stitch back together the hole. The doctor mentioned skin grafts, but that is a bridge to cross when they come to it.

Surprisingly there is some humor to be found in that...I asked my mom where would they get the skin from and she said maybe his leg or maybe his butt. Of course, why would they put leg skin...with leg hair on it...on his ear. Then I had the thought that he does have some ear hair so what difference would that make. I was sharing this little bit of funny with my friend Rachel and was mentioning that he might have butt skin on his ear to which she reminded me that some guys have hairy butts. So...Daddy might have some funky hair growing out of his ear if grafting is required.

When I first heard, I was understandably upset and scared. And if you don't understand that then you'll want to stop reading right here... My rational, clear thinking brain knew that if he's got to have cancer then this is the kind to have. I know that it isn't on the same level as lung cancer or such. I know that he's got an experienced doctor and that this isn't the bad kind that might spread. Once it is removed, most likely he'll be 100% fine. I know that it doesn't require radiation or chemo...just a local numbing thing in the office and he can go to work the next day. My heart locked on the word cancer. Cancer is bad...people die from cancer. I was scared and worried and needed to have a moment to just be freaked out.

I had three wonderful friends whose first words when I told them were to the effect of disbelief and concern for me and my family. Then came the encouraging words of "It'll be okay!" and "Usually this kind of cancer is treatable and curable!". I had some people rush into saying "Oh you won't have to worry about that." and "That really isn't the bad kind" and "I"m sure he'll be fine." I felt like my feelings and concerns weren't valid. I, unfortunately, took one person's head off even though I know he was just trying to be supportive. The others I just tried to not be sarcastic to and look at their intentions.

My mom said it best...we're sensitive because it is our person that we love so the whole cancer thing (even if it is the kind that shouldn't freak people out and that isn't really much a blip in terms of cancer) effects us differently. I know those people were being supportive and caring. I was just sensitive (and in some cases overly sensitive) to the comments. So, I'm thinking that I'm not going to tell anyone else. Tuesday will come and Wednesday will roll in cancer free so why make a big deal right?

I've shaken off those first frightening reactions to the news, and more calm about things. Still, I feel like saying seriously God...please no more.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let's Change The World

Last week, my students did an in-depth study of Martin Luther King, Jr. We were, of course, getting ready for the upcoming holiday on Monday. We also talked at length about President Obama and the plans he had to change the world. We had some lively discussions and my second graders were pretty forward thinking.

With this in mind, I assigned a writing prompt:

If you could do anything to make a positive change in the world, what would it be?

Most of my students took to this writing assignment like ducks take to water...well all except for one little boy. He's super smart and very high in his thinking, but he hates to write. I thought he might get behind this assignment though because he had some really good ideas in the discussion.

Many of the papers that were turned in were single space, neatly written, and complete front with most of the back taken up in words. My little darling...his paper simply had one sentence.

I like the world the way it is.

When I came to his paper my mouth fell open. First, as a teacher I was a little upset that he didn't take the assignment seriously and this was the most he could muster. Secondly, I could only think how sad that truly was...leave the world the way it is? Now, I understand that he's just an eight year old, but come on! I'm working my way through the grading process (I'm not really the best on-time grader...parents hate that about me!) but I keep coming back to his paper. I wouldn't consider myself "globally aware" or even all that interested in the big picture going on around me. I do what I can (though seriously...what is "what I can") and I try to leave a good mark. If asked...nope...I think the world can be made better. Do I know how...well that might be a little gray. My definition of "made better" might be a little bit different from yours. Either way, the world is still in need of constant improvements...just like me.

So it always makes me think when I come across his paper and maybe...just maybe...he should get a little credit for that.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Today someone said to me, "May the trials of 2008 turn into the celebrations of 2009." Lord, I hope that is true. Usually, I love the start of a new is fresh and brimming with possibilities. I suppose this one is much the same, but I'm just feeling a touch weighed down by the last moments of 2008.

As I've already mentioned, my Mimi died (my favorite recent picture of the two of us is on the picture slide show if you wait for it to roll says I heart my Mimi) right before Christmas. In addition, the family dog was put to sleep that very same day and because of the situation it fell to me to take her to the vet. I didn't even get to stay with her...simply handed her off into the arms of someone she didn't know. Charlie, my newest kitty addition, has turned out not to be the stellar traveler that Toby is...stress induced intestinal upset the vet termed it. I would simply say the worst diarrhea ever. My computer had crashed and is now working...sort of. I won't go into the problems still plaguing it, but suffice to say a visit back to the shop is required. Work starts tomorrow and with all this going on I feel like I've had no restful break at all.

I told a friend tonight that I simply wished to just turn my life over to someone else to live and deal with while I found a quiet place to simply rest. Does this sound like depression or just a normal reaction to the crap life has thrown my way?

If you're curious at all about the title of my post, I hit the 400 post mark. It was that last post... I'd had plans to write a very reflective look back at the last few years and the life that was in those 400 posts. Now, I just don't feel up for it. I'm sure post 402 will be fine to be reflective in...what do you think?

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Life That Was Changed

Oh where to begin...

My grandmother passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly last Monday, December 22. It doesn't seem possible that only seven days have feels like forever ago.

I was just starting to come awake when I heard my mom say, "Oh my gosh!" followed by a long pause and then I heard her crying. You know that sound can never be good when followed by tears. I stumbled out of bed and in the living room I found my mom with her hands covering her face and my dad with his arms around her. I asked what was wrong and received no answer. Finally after asking yet again, my mom said that Mimi was on her way to the hospital in an ambulance. At that point all we knew was that they feared something had burst in her brain.

My dad decided to go on to work, but left us with instructions to call him as soon as we knew something. Unfortunately we didn't have to wait long. My aunt called back to say that Mimi was unconscious, not breathing, and that CPR was failing to bring back her heartbeat. It became apparent that we were not going to make it to her in time to say goodbye. After calling my dad to return home, my mom and I set about frantically trying to decide what we'd have to do to be ready to go. A short few minutes later, my aunt called again...Mimi was gone.

The "after" has seemed to pass in a blur. The conclusion was that she suffered a brain aneurysm. Thankfully, the amount of time she was actually in pain was very brief. The family had a private viewing on Tuesday and a memorial was held on Friday. In among those two heart wrenching events, my family tried to have some semblance of Christmas. Believe me, it was a hollow lackluster shell of what this holiday normally is for my family. I'm sure that just about the time this deep wound stops bleeding we'll be called together to intern her ashes and this hurt will surface again.

I know that my family isn't the first to lose a loved one at the holiday and I'd never want to make light or discount another person's hurt, but this has truly been devastating for me. My paternal grandparents have both passed along with great grandparents, but I don't remember it feeling this acute. Perhaps it was because of when I thought of grandmothers I thought of her. Maybe it just seems so unreal because I just saw her and hugged her and told her I'd see her in just three short weeks for Christmas. Perhaps it is seeing my mom go through this and realizing just how unpredictable life can be. I suppose mainly the shock of it and how unexpectedly it happened is what truly is hurting my heart.

As a family of Christians and believers in Christ, we know that Mimi is no longer suffering or experiencing any pain. For that I am grateful, but to be completely honest it does little to ease the hurt and sense of loss I feel today. I wrote a short piece to be read at the memorial and in that I quoted Isaiah 26:3-4. Yes, on one hand there is a great peace in knowing that Mimi is forever comforted and in the loving hands of Jesus. On the other, my heart is aching at the loss.

At the memorial the song Thank You by Ray Boltz was played and as I listened to those lyrics I realized just how much my life has been blessed and changed because I was given the privilege of having Mimi in my life even though the time was short. I would encourage each and every one of you to tell your loved ones just how much you love them. Wrap your arms around their necks and hug the stuffin' out of them. You are beyond lucky to still have that chance as you never know when it might be too late.

I also want to say thank you to the friends who have let me cry and rant on your shoulders. A special thank you to the friends who simply just sit in quiet with me and let me process. You all mean very much to me.