Monday, July 15, 2019

BEEP, BEEP...I'M HERE TO SAVE YOU



 HELLO, MA'AM.
THE CAVALRY HAS ARRIVED.
I AM SGT MICHAEL H. BEALL 
i WAS ASSIGNED TO...hmm, LET'S SEE...
WHERE WAS I, OH YES, I'M ORDERED TO...'er
 SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS! 
(I THINK I'M GONNA' LIKE THIS QUICK LITTLE ASSIGNMENT)

Oh, I wasn't expecting - well, this seems like a little overkill, don't you think, Sargeant?  Surely tanks don't run around making 'house calls' - I'm just surprised.

Ma'am, I am what's called a 'Weekend Warrior' - a National Guardsman and we take care of the homefront...that's you.  Now then, you have a problem, I'm here to help.  

I'm not sure about this, maybe I shouldn't have acted so quickly.  I was lonesome and a bit depressed...I overdrew my bank account and my dad won't let me use the car.  And....

Oh hey now...don't cry...I can't stand seeing a girl cry...I can help you.  Here's my handkerchief...(I always have one handy), blow your nose, wipe those pretty eyes.  How's about dinner tonight...on me?

Ooh, we don't even know each other; what d'you think?  

Well, you know; I'm a Sooner and we sorta' rush - but we can just start w/a little dinner and see what happens, okay?

(What lover boy doesn't know?  I'm a Sooner, too.  He's in for the time of his life!)
I'll go if you leave the tank at the Armory and pick me up in your car...a deal?  A Deal.

Okay, seriously that was not how our story began.  It simply began as we think God meant it to be.  Could it be He carried love bugs in his pocket?  If so, I was bitten from head to toe but M was always practical.  The Weekend Warrior was mobilized, ready to deploy and was not about to take a wife who could be an instant widow.  So then?  I learned to wait and wait some more.  The minute he got off that train, being a woman of action I took command and less than a month later we were married.  He quickly ordered my rings out of a grocer's catalogue.  Thinking ahead, I had already purchased his ring.  He smiled the whole way...hey, he had a new Ford...paid for, ready and waiting.  Lest you think it was perfect...not, not.  

His younger brother followed M who was driving a pickup to load up some furniture...from Oklahoma to Odessa.  Ben had to try out the new Ford and got carried away - off the highway.  M's wedding suit was saved but some of his stuff was gone with the Texas wind.  His parents drove our injured Ford and we took their old Chevy on our honeymoon.  

That's our beginning.  Here's a funny for you.  On our way from honeymooning we stopped by my parents for a day/night and who should 'drop in' but my last serious boyfriend.  He wanted to meet the 'victor'.  He was nice and very well heeled...he just wasn't 'the one'.  Nobody could top Michael...no way.

We did not have a perfect marriage...no way.  But you know, he only tried killing me just once.  He failed...obviously 'cause I'm still here.  I was long suffering; I only got hysterical on him late in 2017; he threatened to have me committed to a mental hospital. Just because I was jumping up and down, swinging my arms while yelling at the top of my lungs...at him.  Other than those infinitely tiny instanceS did we fall into a ditch.  

While he continued as a Weekend Warrior he worked for his dad in the grocery store; then we bought into a Cities Service Gas station...bought into a hardware/feed store w/his dad.  M went to Virginia for a military course while I was the taG agent.  M wanted me to be busy so he hired a person to sit w/the four boys while I could be 'busy'...imagine that???  When he returned he applied for Active Duty - accepted and we were off for our first vacation; we'd never before had neither the time or money, paradise found.  

I've been thinking about responsibility and what that meant for me.  M and I had common focus points, stuck together concerning discipline, etc.  Our lives were exciting for our family; we lived with Greek's, German's...the boys made friends w/everyone we met, learning to blend with many foreigners.  It was about blending, accepting...being accepted.  Worshipping with those who had their own traditions and cultures.  It wasn't the 'American religion'...our family learned well and we were happy!  

M and I have been 'spirit led' our 67 years together.  Now, it seems our sons are doing likewise.  It's such a treat w/all of us living in this metroplex...the treat in large is they watch and tend to our needs most lovingly.  All our2 grandgirl's,  8 grandson's...four with wives...a great grandgirl...2 great grandboy's.

Michael's quiver is full.  His arrow's will assure the continuation of his legacy and what a one it will be...God blesses us as He did from the beginning,  We stubbed our toes many times but He always was there to pick us up and continued leading us.

Sometimes I look back and think 'How in the world could we have done those early years?  We had no benefits for the first ten years.  Yet, we paid for prenatal, birthing, etc.  I had two major surgeries and Patrick had one in our first 7 years.  We didn't have the money for one birth so the doctor agreed to do the delivery in his office and sent me home right afterwards.  All four of the boys were healthy from the get-go...M worked 7 days a week.  Still, I got the boys and me to class and worship while M could dash and get himself there...on time.  Thank the Lord I didn't have to use 4 carseats!!! I covered orange crates for end tables.  We thought our tiny house sitting in a pasture full of cows wih no fences was heavenly.  I was such a proud little wife and mother.

Fast forward and we were with King's...royalty.  Viet Nam was thrown in plus a year in Ethiopia which was scary.                       
What a turnabout and an education for our family.  We were able to be assigned to Norman, Oklahoma.  Being Oklahoman residents we could use a smaller tuition, board the boys at home and attend OU...you know, the one???  God kept on blessing.

Michael needed some final classes to be eligible for promotion to full Colonel.  We'd never planned on that...the Impossible Dream?  With God directing M's last assignment turned out to be For Leavenworth...Command and General Staff College where he would be an instructor.  His boss told him he could squeeze those classes in...did he think M could do it.  Surely did and he made that last unpredicted promotion.  God did the planning and execution...M studied.

That brings us to the Fourth Quarter.  Pretty sure M is planning to make a great touchdown fairly soon if God answers his prayers.  

And that's a good thing...a happy thing because he is tired, so worn out and he needs a rest.  I am fine with it too...it's the way he wants and he is so ready.  He's been a loving, faithful servant all his life, so it's about time.

M and I are all about love; he's told me so often, "Vasca, you really overuse the word ' LOVE'.  Well, I beg to differ with him and continued being 'LOVE' and he finally gave it up and followed his wife, for once.  Love is a wonderful thing...after all, God is Love.

"Love, love changes everything" and that's what I believe 
and practice. It turned my world upside down and back again.  
All because God put that awesome, blonde, sweet angel man 
with the twinkling hazel eyes and captivating smile in  front 
of Vasca's hazel eyes and Whoop-ti=doo; 
God's plan took off like a rocket and never sputtered.  Could He had given M one of those lovebugs...just in case!  As if!!!

Thank you for sticking with us all this time; you are keeping us afloat as we follow God to what is to come...only He knows...we're simply tagging along.  Wait and see, okay?  Sure!   This may be a long fourth quarter, you think? 

M has always been my hero...save me?  He has done that; and ours is an old, old story that becomes more rich w/age. Oh, how I LOVE it.  Was it the uniform?  Nah!  You know what it truly was?  Michael's Godliness...that won my heart.  Indeed! 

From my heart full of love...to yours, Vasca 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A WILL...A WAY


Michael, 
Benjamin Disraeli said, 
"The legacy of heroes 
is the memory of a great name
and the inheritance of a great example".
I believe that, don't you?

Michael has always been my hero...well, for the first few weeks after I'd met him he failed the test.  I was not his first choice; he wanted to date my sister...she was gorgeous.  My mother stepped in and said she was too young but he could ask her older sister.  I gagged at that...was I the Leah compared to Rachel?  Good grief, mother!!!  He caved and asked the older one...me and I accepted.  Tell you what...he was so handsome it hurt.  Sweet, too.  He knew how to win the parents over...bringing over fat, juicy steaks for my dad (master chef w/steaks) to cook and then he would play cards or dominoes with them while I was out w/someone else.  He won.

I loved his name...Michael Beall.  I decided early on that I wanted to be Mrs. Michael Beall.  It was and is a great name.

My hero and I have always wanted to set a good example...to have a life story that would influence others in a positive way.  We could not have imagined what it was to be.

I decided we should have a motto...you can be sure that was the last thing M wanted...a motto?  Oh please, Vasca.  Why do we need a motto?  Well, just because...we do and I know the perfect one!

The old Army Recruitment as was on TV regularly and I adopted it for the two of us.  I just learned a bit about that ad today...a group of advertising biggies selected the top 100 ads for the 20th Century and the army ad came in at #18.  

You possibly recall: BE ALL YOU CAN BE...right?  Well, it's said it remade the army for the good.  Since our name is BE-ALL I now tell people when they ask my/our name...
"It's BeAll...BE ALL we/I can be...you know like the army ad...we want to be all be can be for God."
People seem to sort of take to it and they think it's a good thing.  

Well, that's what the two of us have tried to be, to do.  We're both dedicated to transparency and what you see is what we are...no pretense. 

Our life together has been a fascinating story...to us.  From start to finish...my dad told Michael just after our marriage vows, "Mike, you take care of my girl".  Mike did a most admirable job of it, too.
Of course, not all was smooth sailing but we did our best.

Someone asked me last week how we maintained such a good marriage.  I said we worked at it all the time.  Each of us gave it 100%, we communicated, had the same focus, gave our keys to God and He was our pilot, we kept our commitment all the way.  We had bumps and such but we worked out the lumps...you know, like good gravy...smooth.  We were sort of smooth.

What I wanted and I think Michael would agree...was to be an example of what God does for people, how He changes lives.  I don't make resolutions at New Year's but I did make up my mind to leave each one I meet feeling better, a bit happier, a bit more positive...and never leave w/o a big smile for them.  I just want to be a good representative for God.  

Albert Camus wrote, "If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one."

If M and I had not given God our keys, our life's story would be quite different...I think.  I feel sometimes like the writer John in John 21:25 about so many things to write.  At times I wonder if people doubt some of our stories...they're very amazing.  Michael has been presented to a king. we've both been in the presence of royalty.  

We've been to "those far away places with the strange sounding names, far away over the seas.  
Those strange sounding places I've been reading about w/those books that I took from the shelf."
We've been there...Greece, Holland, Germany, China, Switzerland, Austria, France.  M's been w/o me to Italy, Turkey, Viet Nam, Japan and Korea.  We would never have dream about such.

I would hope our story would live on through our friends and family...live on in a positive way so that people would not forget but remember what we stood for.  God had a plan for us and I like thinking He isn't finished just yet.  He's in control all the way.

As my sweet one says, "Vasca, we're in the fourth quarter"...and he's absolutely correct.  His physical well being is all downhill...that's the way Parkinson's works.  I miss our hours of talking with each other...it doesn't work like that these days.  He says, "Vasca, you don't understand a word I'm saying, do you?"  He looks straight into my eyes as he says it and he knows, he knows.  So I answer, "No, I don't".  I smile, he smiles and it's all okay...we both get it and yes, it's okay.

Do I ever break down, fall apart?  Oh, don't you know it but not so often as I did last year.   I did fall apart a couple of nights ago and let my tears fall as long as they wanted.  But in the midst of the tears, something hit me.  

"I will not be shaken; for He is right beside me".  I had not given attention to Psalms 16:8.

Trust me now...that is in my heart/my mind when I go to bed, when I wake during the night, when I get out of bed each morning and many times each day.  Right now, while writing this...many times! 

Our story is still being written; with a few tears but knowing this.  My sweet angel, Michael, has been one magnificent Godly man who still has a will to serve.  How long will he find a way is unknown but I do know he is ready to go...he tells me so and I know he will be a most happy man.

Me?  I'm doing my best...i know I can make it through anything...Michael is one huge example and he knows me as a loving, patient, graceful lady, his partner all the way.  I have a lot to live up to - he thinks very highly of me.  You already know what I think of him...not enough words.

Besides, I must BE ALL that I can be...for God.  Yes, I will stand tall & I will not be shaken...
God has this.

From my thankful, happy heart...to yours,
Vasca 








Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Trying for Peace...

"I swear I was doing okay
I was doing so much better
I made so much progress
I was almost even happy

I don't know what happened
Something went wrong
And now I find myself gasping for breath

And I don't know when it happened
But I started losing my mind again
I think I'm losing pieces of myself
And I don't know how to find them.."

Backtracking a few years, you may recall Michael was diagnosed with Amyloidosis several years ago; a deadly thing with no cure but he was fortunate in that his amyloid decided to live peacefully in the back of his throat and leave him alone.  In all probability it was caused by Agent Orange exposure in Viet Nam.  Having tamed that, our life could have possibly been calm but PD reared its' head.  There is some thought that Agent Orange could even trigger that but probably not.  We're familiar with it since Michael's dad also suffered it.  The difference between them is his father was stricken  much younger than M.  Michael doesn't suffer much from tremors either as did his father.  

Many of Michael's difficulties with PD seem to be mental.  

At first, when Michael moved to Memory Care, he couldn't understand why he had to be there.  Ironically he had mentioned to me when upset that he should be locked up in a room and left alone.  We never imagined that would become reality. 

Our sons took the task of moving him on a designated day so M wouldn't lay the blame on me...that was their decision which relieved me.  

He was in a haze,  I think...for awhile at least...until he realized that he could not be allowed out without a companion.  He became very angry one afternoon and lost it.

Michael...
I've taken care of myself all these years; 
I can still take care of myself.  
Why can't I go out by myself when I want?
Vasca...
Because you get up and dress in the middle of the night and get set to go out.
You can't go out because you get lost.  
You weren't taking your meds and you weren't eating.. 
You'll feel better here.  I want you to be healthy and safe.  

As you've ascertained I'm not a psychiatrist so I said the wrong things...I had no experience and it was on the job training.  I've learned so much this year.  Something must be working, he's more calm about it now but he's told me many times he isn't going to live long...especially 'there'.  

If you want to know guilt...what I've written above is a way to find the real thing.  Dirty dog is what I felt like and at times I still do.  How could I have 'punished' him in such a cruel way?  Was it like 'it's either me or you'?  I was not his guard by any means...he's bigger than me and let me know I had no control.  He hadn't even recovered from my selling our car.  That was necessary to prevent him from endangering others/himself.  My bad he still mentions.  Time doesn't necessarily heal everything...not when he's driven since he was twelve.  

He has mellowed with time and beginning to participate in activities...just a little.  I've no idea how long it takes to adapt to the circumstances he's in.  Who knows but God.

He continues reading both the Wall Street Journal and Star Telegram; that's truly wonderful.  His stature is straight (the military in him)...his Neurologist is amazed at that among other things.  He tells Michael that among his PD patients M's tops.  Actually his tremor is unnoticed and insignificant...who would've thought that...surprised is the word. 

He doesn't hallucinate much now which is good.  However he has episodes of panic attacks; actually don't know what to call them.  Bad dreams?  

He's told me a few times recently about waking up suddenly not knowing who he was or where he was.  It's like this: 
"I swear I was doing okay
I was doing so much better
I made so much progress
I was almost even happy

I don't know what happened
Something went wrong
And now I find myself gasping for breath

And I don't know when it happened
But I started losing my mind again
I think I'm losing pieces of myself
And I don't know how to find them.."

Trust me when I say this very closely tells it like he told me...and it terrified him. 

Connie Carpenter-Phinney, Olympic Cyclist shared this in 2016:
"How do we wrestle with this beast?  
Living with an incurable beast like Parkinson's 
is very different from living with a terminal illness.  
This is a disease you're going to live with for a very long time.  
You really must make peace with it."

I began my blog as an encouragement to others.  I cannot say this post is encouraging; I don't see how it could be.

It might be just me, laying out what has been on my mind for more than a year.  My feelings...Michael's feelings as I understand them.  Should I share such thoughts?  Should I keep them to myself?  I've no intention of embarrassing Michael; it might be a little okay if I embarrass myself...certainly isn't the first or last time and I'm not too fragile in that regard...maybe a little but I'm still transparent. 

I can't say what Michael is thinking...I've no clue but as for me?  
I'm simply trying to make peace with it...and I so pray that God helps me.  

From my wide open heart...to yours,
Vasca