Archive for the ‘California’ Category

A Prize Awaits You!

November 23, 2015

We are completing our trip to Long Beach today, and it will be full steam ahead tomorrow. I have an appointment at MD Anderson at 8 tomorrow morning, and then I’ll go to the Quilts, Inc. office for the remainder of the day.

We’ve had a great time with our son and his little family at Disneyland, the Long Beach Aquarium, and Rancho Los Alamitos and lots and lots of eating at great restaurants.

troy

Troy, Michelle, and Thompson Murrah

My thoughts are turning to Thanksgiving and then Christmas decorating to start next Monday. We have a big, sit-down dinner for 40 Sunday school members at our home on December 5. Our other son’s wife, Julie, is coming to help us decorate early next week.

Table Next to Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

I’m thinking of the contest challenge I gave you a week ago to send your best Christmas project or recipe. I’ve heard from a few of you. Some have sent their entry to my email address as they did not want it to show-up on my blog. If you’d like to use my email for your project or recipe, feel free to do so. My address is judym@quilts.com. Remember there’s a prize for our favorite. It’s a bundle of fat quarters for each category.

stack

Stack of 24 Fat Quarters

I hope to hear from a few more of you. The deadline is Tuesday, December 1.

Happy Holidays to all. Love and hugs, Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 16 Peach Cobbler

November 20, 2015

Hello everyone,

Just want to get your Saturday recipe sent before I’m off to Disneyland today. Yes, Disneyland in California. We are visiting our son, Troy, and his family here for a long weekend. I got to hold Thompson, and play with him most of the day yesterday. He’s still a sweet, happy baby at almost 6 months old. Troy and Michelle are also very sweet, happy parents.

Thompson

Loving Thompson Murrah

 

Peach Cobbler

This was one of the first recipes our granddaughter, Madison, could make by herself. She won our home rendition of Iron Chef contest with this recipe. I was the other contestant and Granddaddy was the judge. You can’t get much easier than this recipe and it’s yummy, yummy, yummy.

Ingredients

¼ lb butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon Baking powder

¾ cup whole milk

1 qt. pealed peaches or canned peaches drained

ingredients

Ingredients for Peach Cobbler

Instructions

Melt butter in 1 ½ qt. baking dish. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and milk. Pour over butter, but do not mix.

Pour fruit over the mixture, but do not stir. Bake 1 hour in 350 degree oven.

bake

Ready to Bake

Serve warm with ice cream. Scrumptious.

cobbler

Peach Cobbler Ready to Serve

So that’s it. So easy.

My day is starting off easy. Here’s our view from our room at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

view

Room with a View

It’s going to be a beautiful day. Make this cobbler and make everyone and yourself happy. Hope you have a beautiful day. Love you, Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 15 Meringue

November 14, 2015

The party’s over, but my studio is still suffering from the projects before and after Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival. I’m embarrassed to say that I just move things over or onto the floor or another table to make room to create.

studio

Messy Studio

The shows were full of color, classes, shopping, events, and friends. Whenever I could, I spent time in classes taught by Julie Craig from Wichita, Kansas, where she has a dreamy Attic Heirlooms Needlework Shop. She never stops coming up with new ideas using patchwork, trinkets, trims, buttons, and lace. I love all her classes. I had the opportunity to take her big “Crazy Tomato Pincushion” class. Students love Julie’s classes. Everything you need is provided in a kit. Often the machine sewing is done for you before class, so you can start creating immediately.

tomato

Crazy Tomato Pincushion

Maria Shell, from Alaska, taught for International Quilt Festival for the first time this fall. I enjoyed spending Saturday in her “Blogging for Beginners” class. She taught us a few tricks for streamlining our blogs or starting one. I enjoyed the interaction with group discussion and one-on-one consultation with Maria.

catalog

Class Catalog

My thoughts now are focusing on the holiday season. I put some new Christmas items in my etsy shop today including Christmas stockings. I hope you will take a look.

stockings

Stockings made from a Vintage Quilt

stockings

Red and Green Patchwork Stockings

It’s time to get out my boxes of Christmas fabrics, trims, and ephemeral to create more. My sister wants me to make stockings out of this crazy quilt vest. Should be fun to do.

vest

Crazy Quilt Vest

What will you be creating for the Christmas holidays? Will it be a special recipe or a new project?

For Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always make two or three pies. Everyone has their favorite. At least one of them will be topped with meringue using my mother’s recipe.

MeringueIMG_2065

People told my mom she should make pies to sell because she was a superb pie maker. It took me many tries before I could make a good. tall meringue. 

Ingredients

3 egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

½ cup sugar

Instructions

Separate egg whites from yolks. Let set out at room temperature while you make pie. Beat egg whites on high speed with heavy mixer and blade. Add cream of tartar once you have started mixing. When egg whites are just starting to get thick, slowly add sugar as whites are beating.

Continue beating until soft peaks form. Stop beater when you think meringue is ready, and lift with spatula. If peaks remain for a couple of seconds, then it is ready. It’s hard to over beat, but very easy to under beat the egg whites.IMG_2051

Spread on pie filling all the way out to crust with spatula. Lift meringue with spatula to form peaks.

Place on middle rack in pre-heated oven set to 350 degrees. Check after 10 minutes that it is lightly brown all over. If not, bake up to 15 minutes total.

Try making meringue for your cream pie. Your family will be so impressed with the magic you create for their Christmas dinner.

Christmas Table

Christmas Table set for 14

I have an idea. I think it would be fun to share your favorite holiday recipe or Christmas project with our friends on my blog. What do you think?

I’ve created two stacks of 24 fat quarters of Christmas fabric. I made them from a variety of some of my collectible Christmas fabrics. Some I couldn’t part with because I didn’t have enough to share. There were many that I had plenty of yardage and could share with you.

stack

Stack of 24 Fat Quarters

ready

Ready for a Creation

Send me your favorite holiday recipe or Christmas project. I will have a small committee to choose one of each as our favorites. The winners will receive one of the fat quarter bundles. If it’s OK with you, I will post the winners on my blog with reference to you. I’ll let you know the results on December 1, 2015.

Soon my husband and I will be going to Long Beach to see our younger son and his family. We haven’t seen our new grandson for two months. I know he has changed and grown so much. Can’t wait to kiss those fat cheeks and get all that sugar in his neck.

murrah

Thompson Murrah

We will go to Disneyland while we’re there. I can’t wait. I was 14 years old the first time I went to Disneyland. I loved it then and still do. The photo below is me in the hat holding my nephew Jimmy D. My sister, Joanie, is holding his brother, Timmy. They are now in their 50’s. My mom is in the center. Family get-togethers are the best.

disneyland

First Visit to Disneyland

Make plans for some family or friend time. What could be more special? Blessings and hugs to you all, Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 13 Lemon Meringue Pie

October 20, 2015

Yes, I realize it is Tuesday instead of Saturday. Once again, on Saturday I was in College Station at the Texas A & M game with my husband and Todd’s family. It was great being with them, but our game against Alabama wasn’t so great.

Before I wrote my blog this week I wanted to have my Strings Block Swap Quilt complete. Seven of us who work in the Education Department at Fall Quilt Festival exchanged string-pieced quilt blocks. Our quilts will hang in the Education office, 340AB, at the George R. Brown Convention Center during Fall Quilt Festival.  Barbara Black, who takes care of registering our teachers at the shows, coordinated our swap. We received all our instructions and deadlines from her. You can find great instructions for this, if you go to her blog. Thank you, Barbara.

I received 36 blocks of red and white strips from six participants. In return I sent six blocks to each of the ladies following their requests for certain colors. I decided I wanted red and white blocks, after seeing the monumental Ruby Jubilee quilt exhibit at last fall’s show. As my blocks came in, I was also receiving many pints of blood and platelets because of my MDS.  The blocks took on a new meaning I hadn’t anticipated as I auditioned them on my design wall. Hence the name for my quilt is “Transfusions.”

transfusions

Transfusions 46″ X 46″

The border is made from some sentiments from cards, emails, letters, and Facebook comments I’ve received over the last several months. I cut and pasted them to sheets of paper and then photo copied the results on fabric. Creating those sections was not unlike doing one of my many scrapbook/memory pages.

corner

Top Left Corner

I machine quilted the small piece. Many years ago, I thought I wanted to learn how to perfect quilting by machine so it was as wonderful as a hand quilted quilt. That went by the wayside after a few years of trying and realizing the tediousness of pulling threads though and quilting without feed dogs. Hopefully, the magnificent machine quilting teachers we have on staff will forgive me for not spending the time to do it right.

Tomorrow I will move into the Hilton as my home away from home for 13 days. For many years I have stayed in the Four Seasons near the George R. Brown Convention Center. I have loved that hotel and have come to know the management and my junior suite. I will miss it. Hopefully, my room at the Hilton will be just as satisfying. I need to be near the Convention Center so I can easily go back to my room to rest, when necessary. The Hilton connects to the GRB. So I won’t be cooking for two weeks, but I know many of you will.

When we married in 1966, every bride received “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” as a wedding gift.

book

Betty Crocker Cook Book

Just about anything I wanted to know was in that cookbook, but I used “Dinners for Two” most often. I still use both cook books.

dinners

Dinners for Two

Suzanne, my sister, and I discovered in the Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook a better recipe for Lemon Pie than she had used for decades. So starting in 2012, we both started using the recipe.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Make baked pie shell

For 9″ Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten (Save the whites for the meringue.)

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. grated lemon rind

1/4 cup lemon juice

Use a whisk to stir.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Slowly stir in egg yolks beating all the time. Boil 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Blend in butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour into baked pie shell. Cover with Meringue. Bake. Serve as soon as cool. Do not refrigerate.

I still have a garment to finish, packing to do, laundry, and bills to pay before I leave the house tomorrow morning so I’d best get on with it. Just wanted to say good-bye and Happy Autumn. I know a lot of you are experiencing even cold weather and gorgeous fall foliage now. We are just happy to have our temperatures drop into the 70’s and 80’s. In our household we say, “It’s a California kinda day.” Enjoy your late October wherever you are. You know where I’ll be. Hope to see you, too. Hugs, Judy

autumn

Happy Autumn

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 8 Green Bean Bundles

September 15, 2015

Here it is Tuesday again, and I am sending your recipe for last Saturday. We have had our son, Troy, and his family here from Long Beach for a special visit. It was hard to do anything other than love our youngest grandson, Thompson. It was a joy to see him laugh, smile, talk and squeal. He was easy to please and liked looking around at all the colors and things in my studio. Of course I loved that.

Thompson in My Studio

Thompson in My Studio

We spent time with Todd and his family and Holly and her family when we could. Last Saturday, we all met for the Texas A & M football game in College Station. It was great to have all 14 of us together for a tail gate lunch before the Aggie win.

Huebners, Murrahs, Murrahs, and Murrahs

The Huebners, Us, Todd Murrah and family and Troy Murrah and family

It will be Christmas time before we are all together again. I will make all the things the family expects for our early celebration Christmas dinner including Green Bean Bundles.  A friend from our First Presbyterian Church in Victoria Sunday school class brought these to a pot luck Christmas party at our house. I made them for our family Christmas dinner that year, and they’ve been on our holiday menu ever since. Everyone in the family likes them including the grandbabies. These are so easy that anyone helping in the kitchen can make them.

Green Bean Bundles

Ingredients

3 cans whole green beans (Drain)

Package of bacon (Cut each strip in half and cut off excess fat.)

1/2 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar (packed)

Minced garlic to taste (I shake in a LOT. My guess is a tablespoon.)

Instructions

Melt butter, brown sugar, and garlic in saucepan. Stir until comes to a boil.

Loosely wrap 5-6 green beans with a half strip bacon. Place in rectangular Pyrex dish with small space between for browning bacon. Use all the green beans and bacon. Your dish will be full unless you use two smaller dishes.

Cover with all the melted mixture.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Then…

Brown under broiler for 10 minutes.

Beans Ready for Oven

Beans Ready for Oven

We are soon approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which are all fun holidays. I wish they were spread out a little more throughout the year. There’s very little sign of Autumn approaching in Houston, Texas. I’m looking forward to it getting here. I hope you have something to look forward to this fall. May you receive many blessings. See you again next week. Hopefully, it will be on Saturday. Hugs, Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 7 Ginger Cookies

September 8, 2015

Here it is Tuesday morning, and I am just now getting Saturday’s recipe to you. Our son, Troy, came with his wife, Michelle, and baby Thompson for a two-week visit. The first week has been wonderful. We’ve had a great time on the go every day. Thompson is an unbelievably sweet, agreeable 3-month old baby. We take him everywhere, and he’s happy and content to be with us wherever we go. He laughs and coos and is intent on what everyone is doing around him. We love having all three of them with us.

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy’s House

I made a batch of Ginger Cookies before they came last Tuesday. I know how much they both love them. My mom, Ruby Earl Olafson, made these cookies at Christmas each year. Several years after Mom died, Troy asked me to make the cookies. I found a recipe for “Crinkle Tops” in a cookbook I received when I married in 1966. I imagine one of my aunts sent the book to me because it came from St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Minnesota. Everyone in our family loves these cookies. The “little girls” love to roll them into balls and dip them into sugar for baking. They are so easy.

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Cookies

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup shortening

½ cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. ginger

3 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs beaten

½ cup Grandma’s Molasses

Instructions

Sift dry ingredients together. Add other ingredients and mix with mixer. Roll in 1” balls and dip in sugar. Place sugar side up on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 8-10 minutes or until light brown and crinkled on top. Remove from cookie sheet after 1 minute and cool single layer on waxed paper.

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Hope your day is full of love and fun things to do. Today I will go to MD Anderson for bandage change,  blood work and bone marrow aspiration. Hopefully my  PA  will say there is no need for a transfusion, and I’ll be home after review with her. Thursday I’ll be back at MDA for an EKG, more blood work, and appointment with Dr. Garcia-Manero, my oncologist. If all my counts are good, and he says the chemo is still working, I’ll start the fifth round that day. I take chemo by tablet, so I’ll be home the remainder of the days the Murrah family from Long Beach will be with us. I don’t want to miss a minute more than necessary being with them. Be with someone you love today. I wish you a happy day. Love and hugs, Judy

What Joy!

What Joy! My Happy Boy.

 

 

 

Think Positive

July 12, 2015

When I started this blog a few years ago, I thought I would connect with other crafters. I had seven published books, a line of fabric, a garment pattern line and had taught quilting and fiber crafts extensively for 30 years. I was and still am involved in Quilts, Inc., but I no longer teach or write books. I missed my students and thought blogging would be a good way to connect.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Instead of reaching new friends through tutorials, I have connected more with family and friends whom I’ve made over the years in the quilting industry. I have written several “Play Date How-To” posts, but they are not the ones that get the most hits. My audience has been more interested in my every day life…our family and most recently my journey with bone marrow cancer.

Since I was a pre-teen, I have sporadically kept some sort of diary, journal, or thoughts for the day in various types of notebooks. Some I have since burned, others I read occasionally, but mostly they are just left behind somewhere on a shelf. I sometimes wonder if my children/grandchildren will run across them someday, or if they’ll just be hauled-off with the tons of other stuff my husband and I have collected over 49 years of marriage.

I guess my blog is somewhat like a journal or diary. I put it out there publicly not knowing if anyone will read it. I still like to tell my story even if there aren’t huge numbers of listeners.  I’m encouraged by the comments that are left behind on my blog or Facebook. It pleases me if I can make a difference in someone’s day by taking the time to visit.

It’s always good to hear back from a reader to learn a little about what is going on in her life. If what I have experienced can make me a better listener, then some of my day-to-day living makes sense. Being drawn to become a Stephen Minister eight years ago at First United Methodist Church in Missouri City has much to do with helping others by listening to their story. Recently the topic of our Stephen Minister supervision meeting was on Forgiving. We were instructed by our leader to bring books or articles we had read on Forgiveness to help facilitate the conversation. I recalled a book our friend and pastor, Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, had written and given to us over a year ago.

In looking for “The Forgiveness Project” written by Michael S. Barry, to my surprise it was with another book Mike had written in 2004. Mike had sent me the book, “A Reason for Hope” many years ago. I had read it and brought it to an earlier Stephen Ministry in-service supervision meeting. To date, I have not been assigned a care receiver who is battling cancer. My journey with cancer is new, but my experience is growing.

Books by Michael S. Barry

Books by Michael S. Barry

Finding Mike’s book at this time was a God-thing. I have no doubt. I took the little book to bed with me many nights and found much to read and ponder. Reading the fifth chapter, “Why Do You Want to Live?” was an “aha” moment. My prayer life is simple, but constant. However, I found difficulty in praying to God to let me live when others have died. Why was my life so much more important than all the others? Yes, of course, I want to live to see our grandchildren get older and pass milestones. I want to live so Tommy and I can do the traveling we have waited many years to do. It seemed selfish, but in Mike’s book, he gave me real purpose that I cling to and that is: I want to live to serve and glorify God. I can do that in my every day living with family, friends, and people I meet. I can stay positive and be supportive of them. I can listen and care. I can love as He loves us. It’s a big order, but it’s a reason to live.

Now let’s talk about being positive. Oh, my, I am challenged by that daily. I know being a positive person makes me and those around me feel better, but sometimes that’s a tough one. Tommy and I have been talking about and planning for our 50th wedding anniversary next year. We decided we would plan a cruise in Europe. Wait a minute. We have never been on a cruise. Maybe we should do something in the states to see if we even like cruising. So we researched and talked to many friends who have taken dozens of cruises. We settled on an 8-day New England Island Cruise on American Cruise Line. We were scheduled to set sail on July 4. Best laid plans of mice and men don’t always work out as planned. With my cancer treatment and transfusions often twice a week, I could not be gone that long. We knew this 6-weeks before we were to set sail, but we had missed the cancellation, money-back deadline. Even with a formal letter from my oncologist, to date the cruise line will not give us a refund or rain check.

Our Small Ship

Our Small Ship

But let’s think positive. With permission from my oncologist, PA and research nurse, I could be gone from MDA hospital visits for four days. I looked at Tommy and said, “Hey, let’s go back to Long Beach to see our one-month old grandson.” So we spent the 4th of July week-end with Troy, Michelle, and T.

Troy, Michelle, and T

Troy, Michelle, and T

To my surprise, Michelle and Troy gave me T to hold after each nursing, diaper change, bath, playtime, etc. Often he slept in my arms, and other times we talked, snuggled and kissed. I felt a renewal and healing holding that sweet little guy. What precious children to let Grammy have so much time with their baby.

Grammy Loving T

Grammy Loving T

We came home on Monday and then back to MDAnderson on Tuesday. I should have started my third round of chemo over a week ago, but my blood count has been too low. Dr. Garcia-Manero wants to give my body a chance to recover more from the chemo treatments. Last week my counts were higher than the previous week. We are hoping they will be high enough this Tuesday without transfusions to start chemo again.

You’ve asked about side effects with the chemo. There are few. My body does not feel like my body as it tires easily, and my muscles are weak and sore. My hair thinned, but I did not lose it. While I’m taking chemo I don’t feel much like eating, but that’s the extent of it. If I get to start chemo on Tuesday, I will take it in tablet form from home. This is a good thing because our darling 18-year old granddaughter is coming on Wednesday to spend 8 days with us. Yes, isn’t that amazing that our first grandchild, who goes off to Texas A&M this fall, still likes to be with us in our home. We are so lucky.

Madison Murrah

Madison Murrah

So there is always a positive to each day. We just have to find it and hold onto it. My positive will be Madison Elizabeth Murrah, or as I called her from the beginning “Little MEM,” will be my playmate once again. Let the fun begin.

Blessings and fun to all of you dear friends. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Hugs, Judy

 

And Baby T. Murrah Makes Fourteen

June 13, 2015

Family gatherings have always been important to Tommy and me. Our parents were fortunate that all of their children chose to live in Texas after they married and started their own families. Until my mother went into an assisted living facility she always had Thanksgiving at her home in San Antonio. We had as many as 38 people sit down to dinner in her home. We spent every Christmas Eve with my mother and Christmas Day was spent at Tommy’s parents’ home with his sister and family. It was a family tradition.

Christmas Day at Murrah's Home

Christmas Day at Murrah’s Home

We try to get our children and their families together at Christmas time at least for a few days. Most years, like the last two, we have had everyone in our home together for our family Christmas. We play card games, look at old family photos, have traditional turkey dinner lunch, tamales and chili another night,  put together the Christmas toys, play baseball in the backyard, reminisce about years gone by, etc. These are my happiest days all year-long. Last year was especially exciting with the anticipation of a new baby in the family. Troy and Michelle were expecting their first child in late May 2015. Ashton was our last baby, and he was soon to be 7 years old. So we were all ready for another baby.

Murrah Family 13 Strong

Murrah Family 13 Strong

Troy and Michelle live in Long Beach, California, so we had to rely on pictures, texts and emails letting us know about their baby to come. We started a group text with our family members when Troy was ready to take Michelle to the hospital on her due date.

Michelle Ready for Hospital

Michelle Ready for Hospital

We all waited for any kind of word or any pictures of Baby T. It was difficult not to be there as Tommy and I have been present at the birth of all of our other five grandchildren. Finally the word came that Michelle had delivered an 8 lb. 4 oz., 20″ long baby boy on June 1. She is only 5 feet tall so this was a big baby for her to carry and deliver.

Baby T. Is Here

Baby T. Is Here

Soon more pictures started coming in. We all wished we could actually be there in California and share in the joy of Troy’s first-born. He’s 40 years old so he’s waited a long time to hold a son in his arms. Thank you, Michelle.

Our First Glimpse of the New Murrah Family

Our First Glimpse of the New Murrah Family

It seemed like an impossibility for me to travel to California at this time as I was in my second cycle of chemo treatment for MDS. I was taking chemo by tablet, but under the supervision of hospital staff. I thought I’d have to be at MD Anderson for six days straight as I had been for the first cycle. Surprisingly, on day 3 I found out that the last three days of the cycle I could take the tablets on my own. I was free from the hospital Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I started scheming. Holly, our daughter, said to count her in. So Tommy made hotel reservations and Holly flight reservations so we could fly to LA on Saturday morning, June 6, and get back home again at midnight on Monday, June 8. It was our little window of time. It wasn’t much time, but we wanted to be with our son, Michelle and Baby.

Our First Picture of Troy with Baby T.

Our First Picture of Troy with His Son

We thought we’d get to see the little family at their home in Long Beach, but then learned the baby wasn’t going to be released from the hospital for 5 days. Michelle had a fever during labor and as a precaution, they wanted to keep the baby in the hospital and give him antibiotics. He wouldn’t come home from the hospital until the day we were leaving. Troy asked us to please come out any way. So we did. How could we not see this little guy as a new-born?

Sweet Little Features

Sweet Little Features

T. was in ICU so only one of us could go in to see him at a time with either Troy or Michelle. Troy took me in first. I held him for an hour taking in all his precious features. Life was so good. Such happiness and love overwhelmed me. I wanted to take that feeling back to Texas with me. Our time with him was so short.

Such a Precious Time

Such a Precious Time

We set-up our own little area in the waiting room near a wall of windows anxiously waiting for the next chance to see and hold the baby. We played cards, read, talked, ate, walked around one at a time, etc. We didn’t want to miss any opportunity to have our turn with Baby T.

Waiting

Waiting Our Turn

Over those two days we each got a couple of turns to hold the baby.

Tommy

Tommy Gets a Turn

holly

Holly’s Turn

Our third and last day to be in California was the day T. was to go home. As the time went by, we didn’t think we would be able to see Troy and Michelle take their baby home. We had to be at the airport at 6:00 that evening. As we waited in the waiting room, Michelle and Troy did what was necessary to get their baby checked out of the hospital. It was 3:30. We’d just have a little bit of time to be with them at their home. It was an exciting time bringing baby home, and we were there.

Michelle, Troy, and T. in front of their Long Beach House

Michelle, Troy, and T. in front of their Long Beach House

Michelle and Troy could hold their baby without any monitors or IV’s attached. Michelle was so happy to have her baby home. Sweet Mommy and baby.

home

Michelle and Baby T at Home

Shortly after we got home, Michelle’s mom and dad and brothers, sister-in-laws and nephews arrived. It was a busy welcome home for T.

grandparents

Grandparents with the 3 Family Murrahs

I held T. until the last possible second. With tears and good-byes, I had to hand him off to Michelle’s mom. I will hold his precious face and gentle soul in my heart until we meet again.

bye

Bye-bye Baby

We hope they will come to our home in Houston for Christmas 2015. Then we will have 14 Murrah family. Oh, happiest of days for Grammy and Granddaddy.

 

 

The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned During My First Month of Chemo

May 31, 2015

When I last posted, it was the eve of my first chemo treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). There have been many MD Anderson visits since then for chemo, transfusions, clinical studies, reviews, and blood draws. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my family, my friends, and the hospital since then.

In the true David Letterman style, here are those top ten things starting with number ten.

TEN        A great place to eat while at MDA is the Rotary House. From the main building, on the third floor by elevator A, you cross the sky bridge to another building. It’s pricey, but very nice dining. We entertain all our guests there.

Holly and Lindsey spending the day with us.

Holly and Lindsey spending the day with us.

Nine     I cannot stitch during the long hours of transfusions. The IV line prevents me from being too active. I can’t listen to Audible books either as there are too many interruptions. The iPhone has given me many hours of diversion.

Eight     Some technicians are better than others at finding a vein from which to draw blood or give a transfusion.

Seven     When my pulse rate rises and I’m so short of breath I can barely walk any distance, these are signs I need a transfusion. Don’t wait for a sign of bleeding.

Six     My PA reads my blood results and knows what to prescribe. My Research nurse is my record/appointment keeper and constant contact. When my PA says I shouldn’t be going to Minneapolis Market for eight days without any blood work, believe her.

Jane, my research nurse

Jane, my research nurse

Five     If a technician is in training and you’re the guinea pig, you can refuse to have her perform such services as putting in a Central Venous Catheter. Ask for the expert.

Central Venous Catheter

Central Venous Catheter

Four     Thoughts and prayers from Facebook friends are uplifting and encouraging. I love getting messages while I’m spending the day at the hospital. I don’t feel so alone. Thank you, friends.

Comforting Facebook friends

Comforting friends

 

Three     Having our older son with us when we meet with the oncologist is reassuring, comforting and supportive.

Todd lending moral support

Todd lending moral support

Two     Our children, their spouses and grand children give me a boost when I’m with them. I forget I’m tired or worried about my cancer thanks to their love and distractions.

Beach with Ashton, Sydney and Lindsey

Galveston beach with Ashton, Sydney and Lindsey

Madison's graduation in Dallas

Madison’s graduation in Dallas

One     My husband is a trooper. We drive to MDA many days every week. Most mornings we are on our way at 6:00 AM. He’s behind the steering wheel and ready to get us there. We’ve had some laughs and some bored moments, but somehow we know this is the way it has to be for now. He never complains and sticks with me all day, each day we are there.

My man. He calls himself the driver.

My man. He calls himself the driver.

Bonus to come     Our youngest son, Troy, and his wife, Michelle, are in Long Beach, California expecting their first baby. Her due date is today. I have chemo all this coming week, but hope to get there for a couple of days the following week. I can’t wait to hold our newest grandson in my arms. Now what better peace could there be?

Little Mommy, Michelle

Little Mommy, Michelle

 

Put Me In Coach

May 3, 2015

“God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” This is a quote from Bear Bryant (1913-1983) who was an American college football player and coach. He was best known as the longtime head coach of University of Alabama’s football team.

Team sports have always been a part of my life. Growing up in the 60’s, girls were not encouraged to play sports so I was never on a team, but attended  my brothers’ football and baseball games. Their games were always a family occasion. My high school sweetheart, Tommy Murrah, whom I married, played high school and college football. He didn’t stop there, but played softball on adult recreational teams for many years. Once our children were old enough to play team sports, he coached their teams.

Now, all five of our grandchildren have tried their hand at playing baseball or softball including our three granddaughters. Two of those girls have chosen their teams on stages rather than on the field. We have spent a great part of the spring attending activities that involved our grandchildren.

Lindsey Huebner turned 12 years old the end of March. Our three grandchildren who live near-by traditionally get a day of shopping and over-night at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house without their siblings for their birthday. After we attended one of her softball games, she came to our house for the Easter week-end.

Lindsey on Jaguar softball team

Lindsey ready for a game on the Jaguars

After our day of mall shopping and a chair massage, we began cooking for ten family members coming for Easter lunch.

Lindsey loved the chair massage

Lindsey’s first chair massage

I hadn’t set the table or decorated it for Easter, so Lindsey did most of it. I love teaching our granddaughters the things Grammy does. I hope they will remember when they have their own homes. What a precious time it was to have her with us for fun, work, and church service.

Easter Table Set

Easter Table Set

After lunch it was Easter egg hunt time in our backyard. Our egg hunters ranged from 7-17 years old.

Easter Baskets Full

Easter Baskets Full

Our younger son and his wife, Michelle, live in Long Beach, California. She is expecting their first baby this month. Baby “T” will make six grandchildren for us. We are so blessed. Since they could not come to us, we went to see them for four days of loving them and fun. We attended a baby shower on a gorgeous California Saturday in the park. The hostesses outdid themselves with a beautiful array of all kinds of Tea Party treats for the “T” party.

Beautiful Table

Beautiful Table

We know Troy and Michelle’s baby boy’s name will start with a T, but Troy says he has to meet him and shake his hand before he’s sure what his first name will be. We know he will play sports because Troy has already checked-out the ice skating rink in Long Beach where they can play hockey. Troy has played one sport or another all his life. So the quilt I made for the baby is just that…all kinds of sports. I found a long arm quilter, Karen Shively, in my neighborhood,  who quilted it for me.

quilt

Quilt for “T” Murrah

When Troy and my husband are together you can be sure there will be a ballgame involved. We spent one afternoon at Dodgers Stadium which was a first for Tommy. Michelle did not grow-up going to ballgames, like our family, but she has adapted beautifully and seems to enjoy them.

game

Baby “T” at his First Game

Late last month we made a trip to Dallas to see our older son’s family. Madison Murrah played Alice in “You Can’t Take It With You” for her senior play. We loved seeing her perform one last time as a student of Ursuline Academy at Jesuit Theater.

Madison

Encore Madison

It was great to be with our older son, Todd, and his family for a couple of days.

todd

Todd Murrah and family

Tyler Murrah was supposed to play a baseball game while we were there, but it was rained-out. We’re so proud of him. He has played on the freshman baseball team at Jesuit in Dallas this year. The Freshman season is over, but he along with two other Freshmen, were pulled up to Varsity for the playoffs. He won’t get in any games but will get to keep practicing with them.

Tyler

Tyler Gets a Single

We spent much of yesterday with our daughter, Holly, and her family. Ashton, who is seven years old, is playing machine-pitch baseball. His coach is quite a motivator. The kids love his antics and team spirit.

Ash

Ashton & Coach Ron

Sydney joined us later in the day, after attending a birthday party. She tried baseball several years ago, but decided she likes the stage better. She is in competitive cheer and choir. Her spring choir program was this past week. I loved watching her moves. She has lots of fun singing and performing. She’s in the center with the sunglasses.

Sydney

Sydney Huebner

Yesterday, I also gave Holly a quilt I started for her after she graduated from Texas A & M in 1995. It’s made from her sorority t-shirts. Michelle Henson did a great job long arm quilting it for me. Aw, come on. I know you have lots of quilts that marinate before they are completely cooked.

holly

Holly’s Quilt

Tomorrow will be a red-letter day for me. I will start chemo therapy at MD Anderson Hospital. I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) eight years ago. Luckily, I have not needed any treatment for my low hemoglobin until this past month. At that time I was given two pints of blood and had another bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. If the MDS goes untreated research shows that I’ll have AML in a year.

My oncologist, Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero, is a Professor in the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson University of Texas. His main academic and clinical objective is to contribute to significantly better outcomes for patients with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Dr. Garcia-Manero is the Chief of the Section of MDS in the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center. One hundred percent of his research and clinical efforts are devoted to patients with MDS. So when he suggested I start a clinical trial taking Dacogen by capsule, my family and I agreed.

Tommy and I will be at MD Anderson very early tomorrow morning for at least eight hours. We’ll do the same each day through Saturday this week. The trial will last for three months and I will be closely monitored. I feel I’m in the best hands possible.

My blessings have been overwhelming as you can see by the joy our family brings to us. My prayer is that I’ll continue to see the growth of our loving children, their spouses, and children. If you could offer the same prayers for me, I’d be ever so grateful. Much love, Judy

coach

Put Me In Coach. I’m ready to play today.

 

 

 


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