Dear Friends & Family,

After days of walking my feet felt like they were set in concrete boots. Each step I took was painful and slow. I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I was hungry and tired when I came across a sad looking run down burger joint. I schlepped in and plopped down at the nearest table. The dining room had concrete floors; they were clean and shiny yet old and cracked. Painted picnic tables filled the room. There were a few scattered groups of people and they all seemed to stop what they were doing and look at me, no, study me, when I walked in. Dressed in dirty jeans and a zip front hoodie sweatshirt, with shoes, really heavy shoes, or so it seemed. I was carrying only my Nikon camera. My big Nikon with the black and yellow strap around my shoulder. I wanted some food but was too tired to think about what to eat and then I remembered I had no money. I had nothing. My pockets were empty. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and my camera.

As I was pondering how and what to eat, an energetic middle aged blond jumped up from her table and practically ran to me. "Hi, I am Janelle, I have been following your blog, your story is amazing, why are you here, do you need something?" I stared blankly. I couldn't find any words to say to her, I lowered my head, looked at the floor and turned away. Never have I been so rude. I kept my head down and tried to focus. Focus, focus, focus. I must have dozed off because suddenly the juke box began screaming out an AC/DC song. I gathered myself together and headed for the door, on my way out I grabbed a piece of hamburger bun off of a previous customer's table, then turned and said goodbye to Jolene, or was it Janelle or Janet? I didn't know and I didn't care and I didn't know why I didn't care. I always care. Outside I began walking. I was in a small town, maybe in a southern state, flags hung from the light poles and the sidewalks were lined with red, white and blue park benches. “Was it the Fourth of July?” I thought to myself. Hanging baskets overflowing with fresh flowers hung above the worn and uneven sidewalks. I said to myself, “This town is so much cleaner, happier and brighter than me. I wish I could take it all in and truly appreciate my surroundings.” I wish my feet weren't so heavy.

I continued past the last stop light and to the outskirts of town. Keep walking, just keep moving, don't stop. My head was towards the ground most of the time, concentrating all my effort on each step. When I paused to look around I noticed I was in the desert. There were scattered plants, cactus and bushes lining the two lane highway I was trudging along. I lifted my head and noticed the sun. It was setting in the distance, a big orange ball with streaks of pink and orange shooting through the sky. The colors reminded me of a Big Stick Popsicle. I loved to eat those as a child, even as an adult. I realized I haven't had one in a long time and wondered why. Why would I not indulge in such a simple and pleasurable treat? Thinking about the frozen treat made me realize how thirsty I was. As the setting sun was casting long shadows on the ground around me, I realized I was heading west. Finally, a clue to my journey, west, heading west. As dusk settled into night I kept walking, praying my feet would lighten up. With each step they felt heavier and harder to lift. It took all my energy to drag my feet along the dusty trail next to the highway, taking regular steps was no longer an option, my head was still hung low. I paused for a moment to take in my surroundings. Nothing. No lights, no sounds, just cool crisp air, and nothing.

Up in the sky, a little higher than eye level, a bit to the right there was the moon, full, but not too bright. Then a bit to the left another moon. Another moon? I looked right, moon, left, moon, no way. I put my head down rubbed my eyes and looked up again, up higher, another moon on the right, and another moon on the left. Wow! Four moons! Yes four moons, two high and two low. All lined up, like a box. I grabbed my camera and attempted to take a photo of the four moons. They were too far apart to get them all in the frame for one photo. As I was contemplating how I could capture this miracle on film, I took a step forward and tripped. I fell to the ground and landed with my face in the dirt, my camera under my body and my legs resting over whatever it was I tripped on. I felt a large mass moving under my legs, and then there were moans. I've heard the saying "like a bat out of hell" but I never really related to it until now.... like a bat out of hell, I jumped to my feet as quick as a gymnast who falls during a performance. Stepping back, I assessed my surroundings.

Darkness and tired blurry eyes made it difficult to distinguish the large mass. As my eyes scoured my immediate surroundings, I noticed more and more masses. I realized they were people, darkly dressed people, men; they all had bags and belongings next to them. Everything and everyone was strewn about like a plane wreck. There were dozens of them, maybe even hundreds. Everywhere, large masses spread apart like cows in a field. But, we were in the middle of nowhere. Just then it struck me that not a single vehicle had passed along the two way highway the entire time I was walking. Now I was freaking out. Scared, but too tired to run, I stood frozen. Then with the gentle breeze of the wind came a stench. A familiar but disguising smell. Feces. Yes, feces. Human feces. As my eyes continued to focus, I saw piles of human feces everywhere. Big piles dotted the landscape of human masses and their belongings. Suddenly, the mass of a man I had fallen over began to moan and was beginning to move about. The other masses were quiet and still except for their rhythmic breathing that filled the cool night air. With my camera still somehow draped across my shoulder I began quietly tip-toeing backwards. Quiet, I said to myself. Keep it quiet. I back-tracked for a while, crossed the highway, and then continued ahead towards the 4 moons. Walking, trying to figure out what I just encountered. Pondering the 4 moons, the masses, the lonely highway, the small town. Where am I going? Where did I come from? Why am I so tired? When will this journey end? Why are my feet so heavy? Why am I alone?

In the distance I hear music, soft music. Slowly the music fills the dark night, getting louder and louder with each step. The sun is rising behind me, beginning to overtake the darkness and warm my body. The music is comforting. The voice is familiar, oh yes, Kenny Chesney. As the words of the song “Reality” fill the air, I realize it is my alarm clock, I am in bed, at home, and this was all a dream.

Thank you for your love and prayers,

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Corbin's 1st Drama Performance at school

Peggy The Pint Size Pirate, Lauryn played Peggy!

Curt surprised me with a trip to Texas!
I surprised Melissa!

Anna Kate, Rose & Noelle are the sweetest girls ever!
It was so fun hanging out with them!

Since it was a surprise, I was game for whatever the family had planned. A soccer party, volunteering at a consignment sale, store returns and hanging out with their busy family was great fun and a great distraction from my caretaking duties and missing Curt and my family.
It was great to see Melissa in her element with Mike and the kids. I was her sitter in Texas when I was in college and she was four years old.

Rose Mary (Melissa's mom) was in for the weekend and it was great to see her.
This surprise, two-day trip, was surely meant to be. Thank you Curt and The Pond Family for all you did! Sorry, no photos of Mike.

Tony & Dina & Curt all grew up on the same street in Torrance.
So sweet that next door neighbors Tony and Dina married!
Curt had a great time visiting with you and reminiscing about old times!
Curt continues to make the most of each day....and smile!!!

Dear Curt....

Dear Curt,

This August will be 30 years that we have been dating/married. To sum up 30 years in a letter is quite impossible, but I will give it a shot. There are so many words to describe you that I can't even narrow it down. Your smile kind of says it all. It is sweet, yet mischievous, confident, yet approachable. You are the nicest guy on earth. Never have you raised your voice or lost your temper with me in all these years. That is the most commendable attribute that sets you apart from many I know. You are truly a hero to all that know you. You offer help to friends and strangers, you are pleasant with everyone you come across. You wake up each day happy and ready for whatever may come your way. You are (were) physically strong and have more common sense than most people. You balance me and my emotions. You put things into perspective. Not only do you make the world a better place, you have made me a better person. I could go on and on with how amazing you truly are. Like I have said many times, I feel like the luckiest girl to have had you all these years.

The greatest gift you have given me is 3 awesome children that not only look like you, but who are smart, confident, and just as amazing as you are. You have taught them so much, life lessons that they will carry with them throughout their years. Every time I look at them I see you (in them) and it reminds me how wonderful you are.

Often I forget that our family are not the only ones dealing with the impending loss of You. Each of our friends have stories of how you have touched their lives in positive ways. It was fun spending this weekend (your birthday weekend) reading cards, notes and emails from all the people who care about you. To see how special you are to others makes me feel that much more proud to call you my husband. You are truly one of a kind and I love you more than words could ever express. You will live on in my heart forever!

Cindy, Petunia, Lover-kins, Shindy, etc.

Curt's 46th Birthday dinner at The Bottle Inn - Thursday night

Lunch at Huffs on Friday

Hanging out with our neighbors, Friday night!
Gary, Joyce, Mark & Kelli & Mike

We were surprised when 43 friends showed up in their Pj's with breakfast on Saturday morning!
Happy Birthday Curt! 

It was a great day to soak up some sun and hang out with friends in the backyard.
Thank you Drake Family for such a sweet sign!

Thanks Mike and Pilot Jeff for taking Cayden flying. 

Off they go!
Saturday Dinner at Vince's with Steve-O, Mike, Janet, Denise, George, Jim & Colleen

Sunday night family party at our house!

Melissa, Cousin James, Cayden, Cousin Jonathon, and Corbin

Sharon & Brother Bill

Happy 46th Birthday Curt!

Birthday Wishes!

Dear Friends & Family,

As you have heard me mention in the past, birthdays are a big deal to our family. We celebrated Cayden's #17 last week and Curt's #46 is this Saturday. He honestly did not think he would make it to 46. We had many discussions because he doesn't like odd numbers and did not want to die at an uneven number. We are keeping his birthday simple with a few small celebrations, but I was thinking it would be great if you could all make it super special for him.

Many people want to say their "last words" to Curt, but do not know when it would be appropriate. They don't want to talk to him like he is dying, but they do want to tell him how special he has been in their lives. I think his birthday would be the perfect occasion to send a note or email with a simple thought, story, wish or memory of Curt in your life. His birthday is this Saturday the 18th, but it would be cool to hear from you anytime. What you send will be enjoyed by the kids and me for years to come. The kids especially like to hear stories about their Dad.

Thank you for taking the time to do this for Curt and our family, it will be a great birthday surprise for him!
We love all our supporters, pray-ers, meal deliver-ers, household repair people, friends, family, coworkers, etc. Please continue to keep Curt in your prayers, he is way too nice of a guy to have to endure the physical and emotional pain this disease is causing him.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Cayden's birthday dinner at Kobe

Cayden's celebration with friends at BJ's

Cayden & Paige at his birthday party!

Cayden's party was themed a "C" party. Guests were asked to dress as something that began with a "C".
Sierra and Paige are Cupid, Ella is a criminal and Clarissa is cotton candy.
Cayden has a great group of friends who all got into the spirit and enjoyed the celebration!

Cayden's birthday dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Corbin took Lauryn to La Tavolata for Valentine's Day
...just the two of them, so adorable! (Clarissa was their waitress)

Cayden & Paige celebrated all day, they had many sweet surprises for eachother!

I have always said "Everyday is Valentine's Day with Curt." We don't really celebrate February 14th, we celebrate all year long. Anyways, no gifts, no cards, but Curt spotted this cookie in the cupboard and greeted me with this when I got home from work. Awwww!

Valentine's Day 2012

The Motorhome

Dear Friends & Family,

It's a 3.5 hour drive to the Mojave Desert to ride motorcycles, 5 hours to the Colorado River to go boating and 13 hours to Bend, Oregon to see my parents in the summer. But when we are driving in the motorhome we lose all concept of time. I sit in the passenger seat with a child beside me (they switch off throughout our trips) Curt drives with ease and confidence and is happy as can be with the stereo on, a diet coke nearby, a box of cheez-its within reach and 450 horsepower pushing him down the road. He can seriously drive forever without a stop, and with 200 gallons of diesel in the tank we can go pretty far! We have wonderful memories of all our family trips taken in our various motorhomes, but this one holds the fondest for me. I remember specifically the books I read to Corbin as he sat on my lap, the puzzles Cayden & I worked on at the dinette as we headed down the road and the music and dances Clarissa performed on trips to different places. Most of all, I remember the happiness and excitement pouring out of Curt while he drove. He was so confident behind the wheel of our 40 foot motorhome. He loved to "go" like everyone in our family and being in the motorhome together was our special family time. No matter where we were headed we knew we would step out to fresh air, stars at night, friends and fun family memories.

When Curt got sick we knew we had to sell the motorhome. Packing up the motorhome was one of the hardest things I have had to endure with this disease. The smell, the memories and everything we did in there is so alive and fresh in my mind. I can't go near it, let alone in it without breaking down and crying. It not so much the physical object, but the thought of knowing we will never be a family like that again.

The motorhome is currently in Yuma on a consignment lot for sale. For my peace of mind, I need it sold and gone. I need to get over the emotions that it brings out in me. Please pray that it will sell to someone soon. We will be happy to know that someone is enjoying it as much as we did! Meanwhile, thanks to Michelle, Mike, Paul, Bob and Linda for all your help with getting it packed and helping to sell it. Just in case someone is interested, here is more info: For Sale - Monaco Executive 

Curt still needs lots of prayers for his comfort. He is so weak and uncomfortable. Life is not fun for him. Thank you for supporting our family and praying.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Corbin went to Winter Camp with the Church Middle School Group this past weekend.

And Lauryn too!

Mike arranged for Clarissa to go flying with pilot Jeff on Sunday!

Curt checked out the prop before take off!

They did lots of maneuvers and acrobatics, Clarissa had a blast!

Super Bowl party at Mark & Kelli's

Curt & Clarissa continue to have their own laughs and "inside" jokes with each other.

If you would like a "Praying For Curt" wristband, please send a self-addressed envelope with
quanity requested to:
 Wristbands 614 W. 184th St. Gardena, CA 90248
Thanks for praying!