Sep 30, 2011

The Circle of Life

[click on the date to see the entire post]
Have you ever had one of those days when it's all just too much? Seems I'm having one of those years. I'm not really complaining though. God has poured out his blessings on my family in the midst of the difficulties. But still, things have a way of piling up.

We've seen 2 rainbows in the last two weeks.
God is reminding us he's still here.
My mother-in-law is dying. She's slowly dehydrating. Just the other day when my husband laid his hand on shoulder, she looked up at him and said very clearly (in the midst of her Alzheimer's), "Larry, don't make me eat." That was the first time she's called him by name in weeks. Mama has stopped eating and she's only sipping water or soda sparingly. In her right mind she has decided, "enough." She wants to go home to heaven. Her mom and dad are there as well as a brother and various other relatives and friends. Her beloved kitties, Zing and Max, are there too.

My father-in-law is broken-hearted. He has been married to Mama for 58 years. He has known her for nearly his entire life. He is lonely. We take meals to him, have him over for a glass of wine, listen to him reminiscing, encourage him to continue his coffee mornings with his buddies, but his heart is still breaking.

My husband is frustrated and sad. He is watching his mother die from Alzheimer's. He is watching his father die of a broken heart. My husband is sad over this and understandably so. He's frustrated about the legalities of the health care system (or lack there of). He's frustrated with Social Services, his father's bank, and various other things he's now required to manage due to his mother's illness. He's irritated with our politcal system because those in power who can make positive changes to the health care system are more concerned with getting votes instead of helping the elderly die with dignity.

Yet among the difficulties, blessings flow. Our granddaughter Olivia is now 5 months old and is a joy to behold. My granddaughter Halle believed me when I told her that the swooshing noises she was hearing just before she fell asleep were really her guardian angel's wings (my son said it was the air conditioner turning on, but Halle wasn't buying that). My grandson Josh is growing from toddlerhood to little boy and can focus on swinging at a baseball for hours.

The Village (7 couples who are our closest friends) gets together every so often for a good meal and has a great time telling stories and laughing over old stories.

Both my husband and I have dealt with several health issues, but as it turns out, we've either healed or it turned out not to be a major issue. We're both very healthy (minus a few aches and pains that come with mid-life), and for that I am so grateful.

Our faith is in tact. Quite possibly even stronger because of all we are facing right now. The love of God is the one thing in our world that we can count on to never change nor ever leave. God is the glue that keeps our lives from breaking apart. God's love for us gives us hope and joy no matter the cicumstance we face. I can't imagine life without Him, and I don't have to.

Though life is ending for some in our lives, it's beginning in others. It's all just a part of the circle of life. It's a gift that keeps on giving, and for those of us who believe in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, the circle of life will be forever and ever.

Jul 5, 2011

Va Va Voom!

This photo and the one after it are just two images from a set of photos I did over the weekend. It was a very special photoshoot, and one I had not done before. It was a boudoir shoot. The 43 year old woman I took the pictures of is a very special friend who used to work in my office. About 5 years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was pretty bad. It turned out she has the genetic form of this type of cancer, and she's since learned that one of her daughters has the gene as well. Lisa had to have a double masectomy then underwent a lot of chemo. She is currently cancer free, praise the Lord! She's also had breast reconstruction surgery.

Well, her husband is going to be deployed to Afghanastan for a year at the end of July, and she has a 4-day pass to see him before he leaves. Lisa wanted to give him a CD with a slideshow of photos of her in sexy little (and I mean little) outfits. I did some research and looked at a training video on this type of photography and agreed to do it for her. Last night she saw the slideshow for the first time and she said she cried. She didn't know she could look that beautiful. And she had told me when I arrived at her home that she was not photogenic at all... I totally disagreed.

What I really liked most of all doing this photoshoot was that I had an opportunity to show someone who's been poked, prodded, cut apart, sewed up, and scarred that she truly is still beautiful and now even more so. God doesn't make bad stuff and he always gives each of us something beautiful. I had the pure blessing of helping her see that beauty again.

I'll post a couple more photos after I hear how Lisa's husband responded to this special gift, and I'll let you know what he said.

After talking with Lisa today I'm considering talking to our local cancer hospital to let them know that I'm willing and able to take special photos of women who have had this type of cancer (or any for that matter). It will be an honor and a privilidge to re-reveal a woman's true beauty to her.

May 26, 2011

Blue Angels

The Navy & Marine's Blue Angels team performed in the Lynchburg Airshow on May 21 & 22. They had an awesome show! Unfortunately, the second day's show was cut short about 10 mins. as the Angels did a lower than normal maneuver. They were told by their commanding officer to "knock it off" which basically means, stop the show and land now! After looking at someones video on YouTube, I do remember the exact moment that occurred but didn't realize that they had come dangerously close to the ground. They were btw 50 & 60 feet over the runway in a diamond formation! It could have been disasterous. The Angels are on a Safety Standdown right now and have canceled performances in MD this weekend. They are in FL working on safety and practicing so that that never happens again.

Blue Angels, my set on Flickr.

Apr 1, 2011

angel wings

angel wings, originally uploaded by LuAnn Hunt.

Spend all your time waiting
For that one second chance
For the break that would make it okay
There's always some reason
To feel not good enough
Oh, and it's hard at the end of the day

I need some distraction
Oh a beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Dr. Thomas Littlejohn will be missed by his family and friends. Though I didn't personally know him, my thoughts and prayers still go out to his family. And they're like a family to my son.

Mar 20, 2011


There's nothing quite so amazing as your own daughter preparing to give birth to her daughter. Candice is due in mid April and she and her husband Dan are fast becoming baby experts. They have prepared the nursery, washed the baby clothes, and put together the stroller. I think they have everything but diapers now. LOL! And us Moms know there will be LOTS of diapers!

On their last visit to Amherst, I was able to really feel little "Jelly Bean" kick! She gave me a whopper punch with one of her feet, [I think]. We call her Jelly Bean since Candice and Dan are being "mum" on the name as they want that to be a surprise.

I've given Candice strict orders to call me when she goes into labor so that her Dad and I can drive up to be with her when Jelly Bean makes her appearance. Unfortunately, I will have to wait a little extra to see her as Candice and Dan have made it clear that they will be alone with Jelly Bean for the first bit of time (hopefully less than an hour, as I will be biting at the bit to get some first photos).

What a special time for them! I remember back to when Candice was born. She didn't waste much time as she arrived an hour after I got to the hospital! When I first held her she just looked at me with dark eyes and seemed to say, "you'll do." Her eyes are now blue, courtsey of my Dad and Larry's Mom/Granddad, and I'm still the best mom she'll ever have.

New babies are exciting and demanding, soft and tender, loud and stinky, sweet and cuddly, loving and beautiful, and I could go on... New babies are a time for new beginnings. It's the start of a complete family; an opportunity to mold and guide another human being into becoming better than yourself. I feel that my husband and I have done that with our two children. I believe that my children are doing that with their children.

The world will be a better place afterall.

Feb 11, 2011


Mr. Clark is a facinating man. In his lifetime, he experienced first hand racial injustice in his own country. Despite the difficulties he faced, he perservered and today is a man highly respected in his community. I've had the honor to work with him in a small group that discussed race and racism in our community. We learned a lot from one another. And what I like best about Mr. Clark is that he is willing to share his past experiences, not to open old wounds, but rather to inform so that history doesn't repeat itself.

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" --Martin Luther King, Jr.

In America, February is set aside as Black History Month. To learn more: African American History Month
Listen to the entire "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 12, 2011

Alzheimer's: When It Struck My Family—When It Strikes Your Family

Rita Hayworth, Perry Como, Sugar Ray Robinson, Charlton Heston, Sir Winston Churchhill, Senator Barry Goldwater, President Ronald Reagan, Helen Lamb Hunt. Each of these famous and not so famous people have one thing in common—Alzheimer’s.

Helen Lamb Hunt. Otherwise known as “Pat” or “MawMaw”, she has been my mother-in-law for 35 years. Over the years she has raised two sons, helped with four grandchildren and loved two great grandchildren; she has walked my driveway 1000’s of times, baked thousands of the best chocolate chip cookies, made 100’s of pounds of the best fudge on earth, been to church more than most people, read her Bible through and through, said “I love you” an untold number of times, and asked “Where’s Gene? [my father-in-law],” thousands of times. She’s almost stopped asking now.
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disorder that causes a gradual loss of brain cells. There is no cure and drugs help only for a short time. The 10 most common warning signs of the disease are:
1.     Memory changes that disrupt daily life.
MawMaw always remembered birthdays, anniversaries, and special events for all her family. Several years ago, yellow sticky notes with reminders began appearing all over her kitchen cabinets. Not only were they reminders for special days, but for taking a pill, turning the dishwasher on, paying a bill.
2.     Challenges in planning or solving problems.
MawMaw always kept the bills paid and the checkbook balanced to the penny. She was meticulous in her math and paying bills early. About 3 years ago she could no longer balance the checkbook. One day there was a cancelation notice in the mailbox that their insurance had been canceled due to non-payment. MawMaw said the post office lost the check, but in fact, the check was never written.
3.     Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
MawMaw always made good coffee, sometimes twice a day. One day she didn’t know how to make the coffee.
4.     Confusion with time or place.
MawMaw fractured her hip recently and was in the hospital. She asked often where she was.
5.     Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
MawMaw was an avid reader. She could finish a good book in a day’s sitting. She read her Bible every day. One day she stopped reading. She said it was because of her cataracts. After her cataract surgery she didn’t read because her glasses weren’t good. Now, I read to MawMaw. 
6.     New problems with words in speaking or writing.
MawMaw repeats a lot. Two years ago she rode home in the car with me from our week at the beach. PawPaw was riding home with my husband. She asked “Where’s Gene” about every 5 minutes. She chewed an entire large pack of gum (after about 5 mins. she would spit the gum out, and then a few minutes later would start to chew another piece because she forgot she just chewed a piece of gum.
7.     Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
MawMaw has kept a lot of things over the years and she’s always known exactly where they were. She can no longer find her clothes in the closet or where she keeps the dish towels.
8.     Decreased or poor judgment.
MawMaw has had a tight curly perm since I’ve known her. Every three months she would drive to Lynchburg to have Miss Betty give her a perm. MawMaw has not had curls for three years. She no longer even brushes her hair unless someone asks her to.
9.     Withdrawal from work or social activities.
MawMaw loved going to Sunday School and preaching. She was in the same Sunday School class for as many years as I’ve been married. MawMaw stopped going to church two years ago.
10.    Changes in mood and personality.
MawMaw was always a caring and loving woman. She lavished kindness on all she knew. She loved babysitting my kids and only had to give them “the eye” to correct them. In the last three years MawMaw has had numerous tantrums. She has broken windows and dishes. She has cut her skin open banging her arm on her hospital bed. She has torn a hospital telephone from the wall.
Alzheimer’s is no respecter of persons. Movie stars, authors, presidents, and even my mother-in-law have had or have Alzheimer’s.  The Alzheimer’s Association reports that “in the United States, 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and a new individual is diagnosed with the disease every 70 seconds. Unless something is done, by 2050, up to 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s, and new case will be diagnosed every 33 seconds.”
Alzheimer’s has struck my family. However, MawMaw is still my mother-in-law. She loves me and I love her. I am willing and ready to do what I need to in order to care for her and it is an honor and a privilege to do so. I don’t believe any one of us can ask the question, what “if” Alzheimer’s affects my family, rather, ask “when.” Know the warning signs and be prepared to answer a thousand times a thousand “Where’s Gene?”

Jan 1, 2011


1-1-11, originally uploaded by LuAnn Hunt - trying to catch up.

Do you get it? LOL! I just cracked myself up when I titled this one... didn't really know that I made a joke! Maybe I'm the only one laughing. Oh well.