19June2013

5 Years

Posted by admin under: Blog.

Yesterday was 5 years to the day that Deborah Ames was ushered into the loving arms of Jesus after her battle with Ovarian Cancer. This site, blog and videos will remain available as a testimony to Jesus role in Deborah’s life but there will be no further posts. If you have found this site as someone who fighting, or has survived cancer thank you for coming and we hope you come to believe that you can do all things through Jesus who strengthens you.

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6October2012

RHS Reunion

Posted by admin under: Cliff Jr's Thoughts.

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Tonight I am in Las Vegas with my Aunt. We are at the Rosamond High School 2012 class reunion for the classes of the 1970′s. My Aunt Graduated in 1975 and my Mom graduated in 1973.

Tonight I am honored to escort my Aunt and honor my Mom. Tonight I get to rub shoulders that knew my Mom a long time ago and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope to hear some stories and memories and have an opportunity to share her incredible story to them.

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19June2012

Four Years

Posted by admin under: Cliff Jr's Thoughts.

It’s been four years since  Mom was ushered into the loving arms of Jesus. My sister and I visited her grave separately this year and it seems like the time alone was good for us both.

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18February2010

Memorial Service Video

Posted by admin under: Blog.

We’re happy to announce that the video from Deborah’s Memorial Service is now available at the following link: http://deborahames.org/video

We’d love for you to download these clips and make them available to people that are currently fighting cancer as well as cancer survivors and to families that have lost loved ones. We hope that Deborah’s story will inspire not because of her strength, but from the strength she found in her Savior Jesus Christ.

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18January2010

Time Goes By

Posted by Nadene under: Blog; Nadene's Thoughts.

Wow! I can’t believe the last time I posted here was almost one year ago. Many people may not read this any more since it has been so long in between updates, but I wanted to post just the same. It has been exactly one and a half years since my mother passed away. I have been thinking about her a lot lately, as my life has been changing and growing. I have a full time teaching job now, something I had always dreamed of and my mother never got to see.  I am also rooming with an old friend of hers, just took over payments on my mom’s old car, put it in my name, and got my own car insurance policy. I have a boyfriend, that my mom met but never got to know very well. I am becoming an adult and still not sure how to make some big decisions without her. I’m looking to more people for advice and guidance. My mother was very wise and I knew I could count on her to speak reason and wisdom with big decisions. Now I turn to others who also possess this gift, but it’s never the same as asking her. This summer,  I have some decisions to make as to moving and changing jobs and I so this has been on my mind lately. I wish I could ask her what she thinks.

The other thing that has hit me is that, because my mom died when she was 50, she was half done with her life at 25. I will be turning 25 in February, and that is a scary thought. Of course none of us knows our last day, for all I know half my life could have been two years ago, and I’d never know it. The point is that I realize more every day, that I need to do my best not to waste any time in my life. Not that I should rush into everything, but rather that I need to make sure I’m not spending time doing pointless activities. My time should be spent with people, building into them, caring for them, sharing life with them. People in my family, people in the body of Christ, people who need Christ. My life should be more Gospel centered, so that if my calling card is next year, in 25 years or in 50 years, I will be able to hear the words every Christian longs to hear when they get to heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Nadene

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17February2009

The First Birthday

Posted by Nadene under: Blog; Nadene's Thoughts.

My first birthday without my mom was yesterday. I had a pretty good day yesterday. It was low key and although mostly uneventful, still good. Dad and Cliff and I went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner on Sunday. I got a gigantic piece of chocolate cake for dessert! It was awesome! Next Sunday we are going to take a little day trip and Cliff is going to treat me to some shopping. He’s such a good brother. :)

All the celebrating has been accompanied by some sadness. I really missed my mom. She always made birthdays special. Just her smile was enough to let me know how much she loved me and wanted to show me that on my birthday. One of the memories that popped into my head was my first year at college. My mom snuck into my dorm room, waited for me to come back from class. She was there with balloons and the biggest smile you ever saw! As I walked in the door, she said, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!!!” She explained that she couldn’t stand the thought of being away from me on my birthday so she took the day off of work and came up to surprise me and take me and any of my friends I wanted to dinner. I don’t even remember who I took or where we went but I do remember her smile and the love I felt from her. I want to cherish this memory forever! (which is why I’m writing it down so I will not forget!)

Every milestone of my life will be this way. Half of my heart will be joyful and the other half will be sorrowful. I was recently telling a friend that I’m sure that when I finally get my first full time job I will be balling and rejoicing all at the same time. The same will happen when I get engaged, get married, have my first child etc. I will always wish that she could be around to share in those memories. But she is so happy where she is, I could never ask her to come back. I just have to wait for my turn :) And don’t worry I’m not saying this as if I am planning on taking control of when I get to heaven, I’m saying this as Paul did:  I sometimes feel like I can hardly wait to get to heaven! I think this is actually how God wants us to live: longing for heaven, longing for eternity with Him. Oh how sweet that day will be!

Nadene

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24January2009

2009 so far…

Posted by Nadene under: Nadene's Thoughts.

Two important parts of my life are going through some transition:

  1. My employment is coming together. As you all know, my dream has always been to be a classroom teacher. God is in charge of making this a reality. My goal is to apply for as many teaching positions as I can and if I do not land in a job by this fall, then I will be looking to my current employer for a full time position as a director. Please pray that God will make it clear, what job I am truly supposed to have to use for His service.
  2. I am seeking a new body of believers to fellowship with. I have been at my former congregation for about 16 years and I hope to make as many close relationships at my new church as I have had over the years at my former church. I am excited about this transition and I look forward to where God will lead me. For now I have at least found a career group to attend that has some wonderful people. It is just down the street from my home which is convenient, and I hope to feel comfortable in the larger congregation as well.

Today I was given a terriffic opportunity to help with an SAT prep project with my current boss. I am excited about the opportunity to be invovled in this project as well as getting the money that comes from more hours! I am thanking the Lord for always providing for me!

I know this was sort of breif and boring….sorry…but I just wanted to update you on the important stuff. Hope you all are doing well.

Nadene

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31December2008

It’s Coming! It’s Coming! A New Year is Coming!!

Posted by Nadene under: Nadene's Thoughts.

Usually around the New Year I sit down and go through all the major happenings of the past year and decide what needs to be different for the New Year. I think about all the things I need to change about myself to make me a better person and so forth. That will NOT be happening this year! This passed year has been filled with stresses, sorrows, and heartaches. I am not denying that God mixed in a huge load of blessings too, but for the most part, this is a year I DO NOT want to remember. My goal this New Year’s is to take 2008, put it in a box and put it on the very top shelf where I will never have to look at it again.

More than ever I want to celebrate the future rather than picking through the past. So my goals for next year will be:
1) Pursue my relationship with God in an active rather than a passive way.
2) Pursue my career as a teacher with passion, not giving up if (or) when I am turned down.
3) Continue pursuing meaningful and healthy relationships with my family memebers.
4) Find and become involved in a new body of believers as quickly as possible.

New beginnings are refreshing to the soul. I think God intended for us to have new beginnings regularly. Jeremiah was inspired to write: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23. I wish I could feel that refreshed every morning! As if a New Year were happening every day! A new start, a new chance to live well in this world. And in Christ, we can. I am so glad I know a God who would have such patience. :-)

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Nadene

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5December2008

Thanksgiving

Posted by Nadene under: Nadene's Thoughts.

For Thanksgiving, our family visited my dad’s side of the family. We stuffed ourselves with turkey and duck! Yes I said duck. Apparently it’s an Asian tradition and my cousin in law (right? my cousin’s husband) is Asian. So I tried duck and I actually liked it! I also had a ton of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course my favorite, pumpkin pie!!! I did feel a hole in the day, but I tried to focus on the people who were there. I had fun cooking in the kitchen and laughing when the turbo powered hand mixer made the mashed potatoes fly all over the place!

I wanted to share something with you all. A friend of mine gave me a short article handed out by Little Company of Mary Hospital, called “Holiday Stress and Depression: 10 Tips For Coping” I think this actually applies to anyone with a tough situation for the holidays.

“1. Acknowledge your feelings. Be realistic about what emotions you’re likely to feel this season, don’t expect yourself to be cheery if you’re dealing with a difficult situation. Using a journal to express your  emotions can provide an outlet and often a sense of relief.

“2. Seek connection and support. Seek connection with family memebers and friends, and attend community, religious or social services. Consider volunteering. Getting involved and hleping others can lift your spirits out of a bad mood.

“3. Be realistic and flexible. As families change and grow, tracitions and rituals often change as well. Accept that you may have to let go of some, and seek to create new ones.

“4. Set differences aside. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Practice forgiveness. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.

“5. Stick to a budget. The current economy and emphasis on “going green” make it easier to suggest alternatives to extravagant gift giving. Don’t get drawn into the retail industry’s pressure to buy.  Set a budget for yourself, and plan out your gift giving.

“6. Don’t bandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Some indulgence is OK, but overindulgence only adds to your stess and guilt. Continue to get plenty of sleep and schedule time for physical activity.

“7. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself and pay attention to the details in your environment. A fire in a fireplace, some quiet music, and curling up in a warm blanket are calming to the soul. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, can refresh you enough to handle daily tasks.

“8. Rethink your resolutions. Goals and intentinal changes are a very positive toolset for your life. Go ahead and make a long list of resolutions, and then pick just one (a small one) to work on for the next three months. Don’t try to change your whole life at once.

“9. Forget about perfection. Accept imperfections in yourself and in others. Your emotions are greatly influenced by your inner self-talk, and critical self-talk is always a downer. Pay attention to your inner self-talk and take control of it, making it jovial and optimistic.

“10. Seek professional help if you need it. Sometimes “holiday blues” can be more serious and you may need professional help. If you find yourself feeling persistently sad, anxious, irritable or hopeless, your’e not suffering from normal holiday stress. Dr. James Brust, the Medical Director of the Bridges Psychiatric Unit at Little Company of Mary-San Pedro Hospital, advises that if these feelings last for several weeks. or cause you to consider any form of harm to yourself or to others, you should call your doctor or a mental health professional. Get help, because excellent help is available.”

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24November2008

The First Birthday

Posted by Nadene under: Nadene's Thoughts.

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Our family had a unique situation with my mom’s birthday because she shared the birthday with my dad. Yes, they were born on the same day a year apart. So this first birthday didn’t have as much sting as it would have in my opinion because the day did not simply go from “significant” to “just another day”. We still had something to celebrate: my dad! So we went to Tony’s on the pier and had a grand meal. We still missed my mom and wish she could have been here to celebrate another year of life. It was kind of interesting for me though, I think I felt more thankful for my dad and his life at that moment than I probably have felt in the past and I was able to enjoy our meal. I took some time later to allow myself to grieve over my mom not being there. In a way I was able to seperate the two and therefore have a balance between joy for my father and grief for my mother.

All of these things are new experiences, things I am figuring out as I go. There is no set path in grief, there are books but they only tell you that there’s no one way greif goes, you just have to experience it and go through it. I agree completely with my brother’s post about the holidays. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Our family is now one less and it is not easy trying to get used to thinking of “we” as only three people.

Nadene

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17November2008

Coping With The “Holidays”

Posted by Cliff Jr. under: Cliff Jr's Thoughts.

The word “holiday” comes from an Old English word “hāligdæg” which is a contraction for the modern English words “holy day.” The word “holy” is a word that means “set apart” and the word “day” means “day.” So a holiday is a day that is set apart from all the other days in order to recognize it as significant or special. In the USA we use holidays as an opportunity or as an obligation to convene with friends and family in order to celebrate. Typically our celebrations have absolutely nothing to do with what the day is all about, but nevertheless most people take comfort in the fact that they aren’t at work and in the company of others.

That being said, I use to like holidays for the precise reasons mentioned above. It gave me and excuse not to work and to spend time with my family. I’ll admit, when I was I was a young adult, holidays were an obligation not an opportunity. However, in recent years holidays did become a day that I set apart specifically to spend with my family and to enjoy the blessings that resulted from being together. I am sad to say that I am struggling with the idea that the upcoming holidays are either obligations or opportunities. On one hand, I feel as if those days are just like any of the other days these past five months: devoid of my Mom. On the other hand, I still love my Dad and my Sister and would probably enjoy taking some time to slow down and be together. I am also sad to say that I’m struggling with that idea of togetherness. On one hand, we aren’t together if the “we” includes my Mom. But if the “we” is reluctantly reduced to just the three of us, then yes, “we” will be together for the holidays.

The other thing is, there’s no ignoring the holidays. Cornucopias are up in store windows along with pictures of Turkeys and Pilgrims and Christmas lights are already twinkling on some houses and even some roof-top, corporate Christmas Trees are already a beacon in the night sky. I sure fooled myself if I ever thought for a moment that I could turn a blind eye the holidays until the last minute. But we, like so many others this year, will be doing our best to muddle through holidays that were always precisely planned and orchestrated by my Mom. She always made the arrangements for who was coming over or where we were going. She always had the menu planned well in advance. She always made sure our Christmas Lists were logged and registered with her. She always handed us the Christmas ornaments and decorations in a specific order so that both my sister and I got to hang the same amount. She always use to say, “We aren’t going to have very many presents this year” and then would surprise us with just about everything that was on our list. She always use to sit cross-legged underneath the Christmas Tree and hand us the presents in a certain order so as to give the gifts in the perfect order.

No matter what was going on in our family, or at work, or at school, the holidays were a special time that was set aside for just family. My Mom did her best to make each one an opportunity for joy and love and togetherness, even if we treated it like an obligation. She made the holidays perfect.

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12November2008

Life In Fast Forward

Posted by Nadene under: Nadene's Thoughts.

Hello Friends,

Life has been going pretty fast for me lately. Last week I was a full time nanny for a family with three kids ages 5, 4, and 21 months. By the end of the week I was pooped!! I slept really well this last weekend :) and I’m completely recovered now. This week will be spent on getting back into my groove, which will include catching up on housework and laundry.

It is hard to believe that it is already November 10th!!!! I am more and more amazed at how time continues to pass even when I feel that I am standing still. I was surprised at myself throughout the month of October. I didn’t feel a whole lot of emotions specifically about my mom’s death. I was definitely emotional about other stuff though. Now that I am into November, I can feel the emotions specifically about her coming to the surface again. I think it is a combination of the holidays quickly approaching as well as the timing. This month it will be five months! I just can’t even believe it.

God has been very faithful in providing for me. The week of nannying certainly provided me with a lot of extra money that I need. God has also given me more hours at my job at Sylvan. My substituting still hasn’t come through yet, but I can see how God is providing for me anyway. My mom was a true believer in God’s provision. I watched that belief as I grew up and I saw how God always provided for us as a family, even in the worst of times. At this point I am not even close to those “worst of times” we experienced in the past, and still the memory of her belief is an inspiration to me now, to continue to trust the Lord for my needs.

Thank you all for your continued prayers! Again, please let me know of anything I can be praying for.
Nadene

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24October2008

The Journey Continues

Posted by Nadene under: Blog; Nadene's Thoughts.

I apologize for the delay in updating on our progress…I will try to be more diligent to update about every two weeks. I think that is a reasonable goal.

Recently, I have been working on getting a second job. The one I have at Sylvan is great but I am not getting enough hours. Things are just slow there right now. So I am praying as I apply in several districts for substitute teaching positions. My goal is to have my own classroom in the 2009-2010 school year. I am thanking the Lord for my relationship with the Parsons who support me through giving me many many babysitting hours with their sweet kids! It’s such a teat!

I was able to do something very fun a few weeks ago. I went to Disneyland with my wonderful friend Ashely, whom I met in college. We had a blast riding all the rides, watching the “Billy Hill and the Hillbillies” show and taking a million picutes. :)  It was a nice break from the mundane, and who could be sad at the “Happiest Place on Earth!” Next month I get to go to Sea World for a friend’s birthday, and that will be my first trip to Sea World. Get excited!

One way I have been dealing with the ongoing process of healing is by meeting with someone to discuss how I’m feeling about everything about once a week. The woman that I am meeting with is very sweet and we have truly grown to be friends. During our last meeting, I realized I had made some real progress. This month, I didn’t obsess over the date my mom died. For those first few months I really noticed the days passing by. I knew exactly, to the day, how long it had been, and I knew how long it would be till the next month passed. However, this month, the 18th came and went completely unnoticed by my date radar. It was so nice to have something that I felt was a tangible way of looking back over the last few months and feeling like I had moved forward in my journey. Two months ago, I could not have imagined where I would be. It’s hard to see the road ahead of you in the journey of greif. I felt for awhile that I was simply walking on a treadmill, trying to move forward but when I looked around the scenery looked the same. I realize now that it’s kind of like how the world moves around the sun. You don’t feel it, but one day you suddenly realize that it’s getting dark at 6pm. The sun doesn’t all of a sudden go down at 6 instead of 8! The sun sets a little earlier every night. The change is very slow, but steady. That is exactly how this journey is: I am moving, slowly but steadily. I may not see the changes from day to day, but I will see the mile stones pop up periodically, and those mile stones will spur me on to continue walking, knowing that I will get where I need to go, if I walk in faith.

For the most part, I don’t’ really know what kinds of trials I will have along this journey. But one I can anticipate is the holidays. Yes, even though they are still a month away, we are preparing as a family for the upcoming holiday season. My mother LOVED the holidays. She loved us spending time as a family, she loved Christmas music, she loved the food, the desserts and celebrating God’s goodness to us. We are going to miss her a lot this holiday season. I am gearing myself up for my emotions to be out of wack, but I am also determined not to ignore the holidays. I want to spend Thanksgiving, truly giving thanks for my blessings, and Christmas enjoying the celebration of my Savior’s birth. I want to balance my grief with the joy that comes from having Christ.

Thank you to all of those of you who continue to pray for my family and I. :) I will always need your prayers and I hope that I can continue to lift you up in prayer as you need it as well. Again, I will try to be updating more often.

Nadene

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6August2008

Trying to Create a “New Normal”

Posted by Nadene under: Blog; Nadene's Thoughts.

Let’s face it, life in the Ames household will NEVER be the same! They can’t be the same. A valuable member of the home has transitioned to the high life of Heaven. We are stuck with what remains. I cannot speak for my Dad or my Brother, I can only speak for myself so I personally have been encouraged to create a “new normal” since I can never go back to life as I have known it for the past 23 years of my life. Here are some things I am doing to try to create that:

  1. I am thankful to God that he provided me with morning hours at my job. It gets me up at a reasonable hour but not at the butt crack of dawn and I work ’till noon everyday. This has created for me a morning schedule that suits my needs and pays very well for my bills.
  2. After work I eat some lunch and let my food digest then I recently discovered a “complementary” Exercise TV program selection from our On Demand channel through our cable. I have been “walking away the blues” in my living room, as per the instructor’s words. It’s fun so far to try the different exercise videos that are available. They also get my heart rate up and get my joints moving like they should at my age!
  3. After I finish my exercise I have begun to listen to a theatrical reading of the New Testament on CD. It’s been fun and very uplifting, much better than watching Judge Judy :)   While I listen I either sit quietly and take it all in or do some dishes or dusting around the house.

These are my first few “baby steps” (if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘What About Bob’ then you are laughing right now I hope). They are working so far. I still have many many sad moments, but overall I feel like I have a goal. The goal is to not crawl in a hole, but instead to live as my mother taught me to, “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Our family greatly appreciates your continued prayers for our healing. We will continue to need it for a long long time.

Nadene

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5July2008

Our First Holiday

Posted by Cliff Jr. under: Cliff Jr's Thoughts.

Although I’m sure Mom was having a great time worshiping Jesus in heaven yesterday, we as a family had our first Holiday without Mom. I think if Mom had been around we would have had a reason to all be home celebrating together, making dip and watching as our ghettohood put on a dangerous but interesting fireworks show of it’s own. But this year we all spent Independence Day doing going our own separate ways.

I had mentioned in my Mom’s Eulogy that spending Holiday’s together as a family were very important to her, and usually she was the glue that held the day and the family together. Needless to say it was a little wierd yesterday to spend the holiday apart from each other and apart from Mom.

Obviously the holidays are going to be difficult for us to navigate wtihout Mom’s guidance and zeal for family time, but no matter how much fun we don’t have on a holiday without her, it brings me comfort knowing that her joy and satisfaction is more complete than ours everyday and every moment she is with her Savior.

Keep praying for our family…

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