The Cruise

Dear Friends & Family,

They say pictures are worth a thousand words.....well here is a glimpse of our cruise this weekend to Ensenada with our amazing family and friends! We had a blast! It was great to hang out with everyone and experience new surroundings together. We are so blessed by our friends and family!

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

October 2011 ~ Cruise to Ensenada, Mexico!

Our group of 17!

Port of Ensenada

Back on the cruise ship

A gift from George & Denise! 4.5 liters!

He is so dang handsome!!!!!

Our family cruise portrait!

Still Smiling

Dear Friends & Family,

The question I am most often asked, and the hardest for me to answer is, "How is Curt doing?" There are so many ways to answer, but none sound good. "A little worse each day. As well as can be expected. Hanging in there." I finally found something that sounds a little better, my new answer to that question is, "He is still smiling."

Honestly, it amazes me that he can smile and remain positive with all he is going through. His health continues to decline and there is hardly a thing he can do for himself anymore. He itches constantly and can't scratch, his eyes burn and he can't rub them, people hug him and he can't hug back. He lies in bed stiff as a board because he can't move a muscle, he struggles to speak and chokes on water. Yet through it all he remains patient and calm. He is an example to me and everyone around him. He has never waivered from his belief that there is a place in heaven waiting for him.

I requested prayer last week and didn't say for what. I actually had two requests and both were answered. One was for our friend Darren who was undergoing kidney transplant surgery that day, he is doing great (see photo). The other request was for relief of major physical pain I was having from lifting and maneuvering Curt. I had been keeping my pain a secret from Curt because I don't want him to feel bad or feel like a burden. I finally told him about my pain Wednesday night and since then it has subsided a bit and we have been closer. Thank you for the prayers and advice (Suzie). And Cousin Lynn, the Rosary bracelet is beautiful and so thoughtful!

Most of my thoughts gravitate to all we have to be thankful for; Curt's smile, answered prayers, family, faith, our home, love, great kids and great friends. Here's a glimpse of all that we are surrounded by and thankful for.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Wednesday Hike in Santa Anita Canyon
Paul, Carolyn & Lisa

Friday lunch at Huffs
Clarissa, Mom, Darrin, Bill,  Bernie, Jaime, Lori, Ray & Margie 

Friday Night

Darren is doing great after his kidney transplant!

Bill & Carolyn

Sunday Funday!

Thanks for bringing Monday night dinner Steve & Anne, all the way from Encino!
It was great catching up with you both! Give Samantha & Cassie our love!

Tuesday visit from Dean & Sylvia from Visalia. It was great to see you guys.
 Happy Birthday Dean-o!

From Corbin's Heart

Dear Friends & Family,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

The words to the above song have sustained me for the past couple of weeks. After a month or so of feeling sorry for myself and my family, focusing on what was not right or fair and who is letting us down; I have turned my focus back to being thankful for ALL we have. Faith, family, friends and fun! We have so much to be thankful for! Thank you for continuing to pray for our family, we really feel your prayers! I have a request for prayer this week but it is more than I want to share right now. So please just pray for “Cindy’s special request.” We appreciate all of you and all you do for our family. Corbin wanted to share some words this week. He sat with me tonight and dictated this to me:

Many of you think of me as being the youngest Ziemke. Well you are right I am. Many of you want to know how I get through each day. Even though my Dad is sick I always try to avoid thinking about it. Whenever someone asks me about my Dad or I hear people talking about him, I try to change the subject or I just walk away. I know I should be trying to deal with it but I would rather just not think about it. I have many memories of my Dad, such as sitting on his lap as he taught me to drive when I was very young. At Lake Nacimiento he would let me sit on his lap and steer as he would control the gas pedal. When I was 9 years old he let me drive his big truck in the parking lot of the Los Alamitos Race Track. I really do want to let go and cry all the time but I know I will be sad forever if I don’t toughen up and enjoy the time we have left. I need to be strong and enjoy the time we have left by spending happy times with him not time crying or acting up. My Dad is my hero and he will always be!   Love, Corbin

We are so proud of his love and strength.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
Thursday Night Guys Night
Curt with Larry, Ed, Ray and Bill

Friday lunch at Adelita's
Darrin, Ray, Bill, Margie, Larry, Me, Bernie, Lori, Lisa, Paul & Curt

Happy Birthday Don & Sabrina!

Redondo Beach Fish Market

Picking an oyster and hoping for a pearl!

YAY! Everyone found pearls in their oysters!

Growing up next door to Suzie (Suzette) was so amazing! She had the coolest Barbies, clothes and friends. She is here for a week from Hawaii and it was great to have lunch with her today.
 Although we are separated by distance our hearts remain as close as always. 

Sunday Lunch and Redondo Beach Pier with the Beedy Family!

I Believe by Clarissa

Dear Friends & Family,

The strength and compassion of our children make Curt and I proud, day in and day out. The way they have accepted their Dad's fate and continue to make the best of life is incredible. We are so proud of each of them. Clarissa wrote this essay for her college English class last week. It is a testament to her positive attitude and personality.

I Believe

I believe in being that obnoxiously positive person instead of that rude and depressing negative person. I believe it is the little things in life. I made that green light that I always seem to miss and I parked two spaces closer than normal. See? There is always something to be positive about. Since we aren’t here for a long time, we sure as hell should make it a good time, right? So enjoy every green light, every hug, every meal at In N Out, every swim in the ocean, and even every perfect hair day.

Now this may sound standard, but my story is a little different than most. I took everything in my life for granted: driving, family vacations to our lake house, eating out, dirt bike trips, a wonderful house to come home to every night, and my health. My dad was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease about two years ago. It’s a degenerative muscle disease where the nerves in your body die, making the muscle die as well. Now you may be thinking “Great, another sob story..” or maybe “Aww you poor thing.” It’s not a sob story and I don’t want any pity. I am having the time of my life in light of this heartbreaking disease. My Dad is the most positive person in the entire world. He can no longer walk, feed himself, go to the restroom alone, scratch his nose, or speak clearly. Yet he is the one telling me, “Hey, did you see what a nice day it is outside?” Besides having a great support system and tons of friends who care about him, what else does he really have to be positive about? But he has a smile on his face 99% of the time and always something good to say. So why is it so hard for us?

When I ask someone how their day is going and they give me a negative answer, I respond with something good. For example they say, “My day sucks, I have to walk a mile across campus and I hate my teacher.” I would respond with, “Oh my gosh, your hair looks so good! Did you do it differently?” Dorky, right? It seems so crazy, but it works! By me giving them a compliment, they forget about how far they have to walk and how much they hate their teacher. They now have a smile on their face and something good to think about when they walk into their next class. I dare you to try it sometime.

“We aren’t here for a long time; we are here for a good time.” George Strait’s new song fits my life perfectly. We should all be making the best of the good times and forgetting the bad. We have no idea how long we will be around, so why not live it up? I am doing things I never thought I would do. I joined a sorority, I am joining wakeboard club, I am taking a criminal justice class, am I going to be a cop? Who knows. Things I never thought I would do, I am doing. Yes, they are the simple things but I can’t wait to find out where they lead.

So instead of being bunched with the Negative Nellies of the world, I am a Positive Patty. I smile at every green light, I always give people compliments, I make people laugh, I enjoy every sunset, I plan trips, I go on adventures, I enjoy getting in my bed every night and waking up every morning. I enjoy conversations, hugs, food, pedicures, late nights, lazy days and everything else in between. I will forever be Positive Patty, having a good time because it might not be a long time.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

PS: Clarissa received 14.5 out of 15 for her essay!

It used to be a dirtbike....the adventure continues!
Thanks Lisa & Carolyn for helping Curt up the steep rough trail
in Griffith Park on our hike last Wednesday.

Off to the Colorado River...the kids in Cayden's truck, Curt & I following behind in the Cherry Bomb.

A great day on the river at Fox's.

It was great to catch up with the Alvarez has been way too long!
Can't wait to see you all again!

Curt & Luie

We fell in love with T-Bone! Such a cool dog!

Corbin (in his cool guy pose) had fun cruising the golf cart.

Mom & Dad have been in Oregon since June. It was great to meet them at The River
 and now they are home for awhile!

Curt & Cayden