Forty years ago a friend from church showed us the clay manger scene above as she removed it from the kiln. The magnificent work was to be displayed at a local art gallery.
Tears slipped down my cheeks as I saw how Mary held Jesus as Joseph, the angels, wise men and yes, even a camel, gazed upon the holy moment. It reflected and epitomized the very essence of motherhood as Mary tenderly held and cuddled her wee one, holding him close to her heart. As a new mom, getting ready to celebrate our Jamie's first Christmas, I was overwhelmed with the holy scene.
I couldn't stop looking at the display. Oh how I wished we had the financial resources to purchase it, yet I knew there would be no possible way. After all, it was a gallery piece, and we were still young marrieds with an infant. Need I say more?
Imagine my utter surprise Christmas morning when I walked out to the living room. There, underneath our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree was the manger scene I that had so moved me. The artist added a camel for Jamie to commemorate her first Christmas.
To this day I still can't believe how Bill had kept the gift a secret (or that I hadn't figured he had something up his sleeve!) He had seen how deeply touched I had been when our friend showed it to us, fresh out of the kiln. He stealth-fully spent several evenings and weekends prior to Christmas cutting and stacking cords of firewood, bartering with our artist friend, so he could purchase it..
Forty years later, I am still moved. We keep the manger scene out all year as a reminder that Christmas is every day and to stop and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas:
Reflections of love.
A mother's love.
A husband's love.
A friend's love.
But most of all, the love of God, the Father, sending His only begotten son down to Earth so that we may have life...Eternally.
As we spend time reflecting this holiday season - we pray each of you may feel and see the blessing and true Reason for the Season - the glorious gift that arrived as a baby, who brings us Peace, Joy and Life.
Disclaimer: sorry if broken memory and this be repeat!!
Just note date up keep you. I be know some people don't know everything or I miss tell you. So: Brain surgery Nov 8th reveal Grade 2 malignant, golf ball size tumor. Think they all be get.
Thanks all be to you for support, understanding during last month and months headsa be. Tweener shoulder rehab, brain surgery challenge and yes, "firsts w/o Jamie" long head road be there. How eat hefalump? Bite one small at a time!!
As be you can tell, Yoda type is normal mine of now - both speak and write. Furberstrating, but me like Yoda "k-o-be it is!" HOW/Why? Cuz TRUE Force be with us be!! Worser part is like on coaster roll day each.: UP- DOWN, UP, DOWN.....SCREAM!!!
Visual cuts still have - come/go - depend much how stim I have been .Dr. say good chance get more vision and speech loss in next year :0( . Hard no music this season, but small price. Balance off, too. Decide on 16th re: cyber/gamma radiation up follow, since was Grade 2 atypical&malignant and size it be was.
Still be no visitors - immune system mine is zilch. I already had stomach flu week 2 ago: DON'T get want again!! These first holiday seasons without Jamie and baby girl not easy...
Tim stepped in gap for us until I be could do more even when he got stuck for 2 extra days Kodiak Island (weather). We be tell him "welcome winter weather travel in AK!"
Bill now 100% retire YAY! So far taking care me of and since our snow come/go twice, he be advantage cut wood on our 30 acres he be do...he also be working on wood for 2 widows in area :0) we be have ours and part next year. He be their keeper of warm and gooder food treats with his culinary creations.
Thanks (and please!) still no calls; if mail/e, SHORT please - hard be it talk/read. Plus never know time when what be I will like. When be I can, I will slip out a call. This i be take 2 days type to !
People be ask what can do us for? Remember what the Season of Holydays are you for..... Enjoy the season of dayholies, enjoy other each, watch out for "end of hand" for be who you can reach to out!
We be fine - not need anything - honest! We be MORE than blessed!!
Thanks honoring us for no flowers, no candy, no llaboons, no food. I be limited, and surgery makes taste/smeller hyper, and we be have down to science!
Thanks too all who have been on testy side of both me and Bill, esp. the last month....last six months been really rugged, and level stress high. We both have been grinchy - thanks forgiveness/grace be give us.
Check I will in weeks couple!!
Lessbeing and more's!
Care (aka Yoda speak)
The photo that you see is a tree that came crashing down, falling across our river, hours after I had been sitting where you see my camp chair. It sums up how the last four months have been going for us!! The hits just keep coming!!
First, Jamie, our daughter broke her leg in 6 places the day before her 40th birthday. One short month later, she and her 23 week old unborn daughther unexpectedly passed away.
At the time, I was well into my yearly cancer and orthopedic follow-ups.
Cancer?? Ten years since my colon cancer diagnosis. While there is still a 'mysterious' mass lurking in my transverse colon, the doctors are in the midst of watching and re-staging the cancer. The good news?? TEN YEARS!!
Orthopedic? The back, neck and leg bionics checked out. Unfortunately, the plate and 10 screws R upper arm hardware was failing. The "plan" was to remove the hardware, and replace them with a "reverse" total shoulder replacement.
ME? Have a surgery go NORMAL?! NOT! First, there was no deltoid muscle to be found. Solution? Plan B: put in a "old-fashioned" total shoulder replacement with a lonnng arm. What was to be an hour and a half surgery ended up to be five. ..and a lot of blood loss. Onto the next plan...
Plan C: Take me to Jiffy Lube and give me a couple pints of blood. Easy-peasey, right? NOT!! I had a reaction that won me a ticket to full cardiac work-up, CT and MRI. The doctors thought I might have suffered a stroke or seizure. We STILL don't know "what" happened. BUT!! If my orthopedist had NOT ordered the MRI, they would NOT have found my new "brain buddy" (tumor) who has taken up residence at the base of my skull over the occipital-parietal region. Enter another new plan.
Plan D: I will have a craniotomy/ open brain surgery on November 8. The neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists (my NEW friends!!) agree that since we don't know "what" the tumor is (a metastasis from cancer or a meningioma and if "it" is benign or malignant), it is too large for just Cyber-Knife radiation.
Plan E? I think we call that "Entering the world of unknowns." No idea how long the surgery will be. No idea how long I will be in the hospital. Or if I'll need rehab. No idea of side effects (possible visual loss in right sides of both eyes? More neuropathy? Flare-up due to swelling of brain and symptoms from first brain surgery in 2001 show up (speech/balance/memory problems) or MAYBE NOTHING!!
Just wanted to let you know I'm still here - but if I don't blog for awhile, you'll know what I'm up to and I'll see you here, there or In the Air! Thanks for your continued love, prayers and support!
OH!! I almost forgot!! I finished the manuscript FINALLY! It's at my editor's as I type, so prayerfully you will see Don't Wimp Out! Finding Faith, Courage and Victory in Life's Daily Battles in print in 2020!! Stay tuned!!
I have a friend, Cayman, who is in his twenties. He is a wonderful young man, with contagious joy and the gifts of compassion, mercy and helps. The picture he drew for me says all I needed to hear - especially the day it arrived. He drew it after seeing a photo of Jamie from the program at her Celebraion of Life. He caught the very essence of Jamie. I am so grateful for the abilities God blessed Cayman, including autism, and that he uses them. . .
For those of you who have not heard, I am sorry to have to share this via a post. Thanks to all of you who sowed so much into not only Jamie's life, but into Jeff, Scott, Samantha and our lives these past short 40 years.
Jamie Marie (Tuk) Casey, 40, and unborn baby girl, passed away at their Chugiak, Alaska, home on Monday morning, June 24, 2019, as a result of a heart attack. She was born on May 25, 1979, in Enumclaw, Wash., to Bill and Care Tuk. She married her soul mate, Jeff Casey, on Nov. 9, 2013. Jeff and Jamie have two children, Scott (4) and Samantha (2). Jamie's favorite part of life was being a devoted loving wife and mother.
Full of compassion for the outdoors, hiking, gardening, reading and football, she lived her life to the fullest. Her talent for cooking showed with Jeff's pant size. She loved going on adventures and taking pictures of her children. Jamie spent summers living out of their camper close to Jeff's work to keep her family together and their marriage strong. Those who knew Jamie knew she was truly remarkable; beautiful, quiet, kind, gentle, talented, giving and loving, she touched many lives. She was a caring daughter to her parents, that helped inspire her joys in life, and a sister that adored her little brother.
Jamie graduated with honors from Riverside High School in Chattaroy, Wash., attending Spokane Community College and UAA. She worked at Family Pharmacy and Fred Meyers and Carrs Pharmacy in Alaska before becoming a mom, choosing to spend her time at home with greatest loves.
Jamie is survived by her husband, Jeff; and children, Scott and Samantha; her parents, Bill and Care Tuk of Wasilla, Alaska; brother, Timothy Tuk of Wasilla; and Wrigley, her dog; as well as numerous, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and many dear friends. She was predeceased by her grandparents, Bill and Yvonne Tuk and Bob and Betty Dressel.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, a donation can be made to the family to be put into a fund for Scott and Samantha. Celebration of Life was held Monday, July 1, 2019.
“To do or not to do” – I’m sure you’ve heard that saying a time or ten in your life. But did you LISTEN? I mean really listen…not just 'hear.'
To do or not to do requires a decision, action on your part.
As I was prompted to several days of steeping in God’s Word this week. It wasn’t my plan, but I'm glad I not only heard, but I was willing to be still and listen. I was also prompted to praying in the Spirit – I had no idea “what” I was praying, or for whom. By the weeks end, no less than ten people had contacted me with prayer requests, needs, but mostly, to stand in the gap for them as they were facing critical mass warfare.
As I spent those days, at first I was annoyed. I had wanted to get finished up on my second edit for Don’t Wimp Out – Finding Faith, Courage and Victory in Life’s Daily Battles. I have been getting impatient as every time I get close to finishing up, I get knocked on my keister. First the post-chemo complication of having my small intestines wad into a knot, requiring surgery. Recovering included getting all the way to Heaven’s Gates (for the 3rd time) only to have CPR bring me back. Then it was a re-staging of my 14th separate battle with cancer. Most recently, it was a two month battle with pneumonia.
As I have been forced to be “set aside,” I have had hours to look “Up.” God reminded me that sometimes He puts us on our back so we will look ‘Up.’ Having a hoarse voice or no voice at all, and zilch energy, I was a captive audience and truly listened to Him, and looked Upward.
God whispered the same 4 words He has been saying to me since 1985 (Obviously, I am a SLOW learner!): Trust, Obey, Rest, Wait. (Trust: Totally Rely Upon the Savior’s Timing; Obey: Openly Believe the Eternal Yaweh; Rest: Relinquish EVERY thing, Submit Totally; Wait: Willingly And Intentionally Trust….which brings it back full circle to “trust.” (OK, so I’m a dyslexic disciple, too, getting things backwards) He’s tells me to go Right and I meander more to the left, until He hollers: “CARE!! The OTHER left! (meaning get back to the “Right” side!)
As I reflected on each of these words, and watched and listened to the news, and watched God’s Church, I realized how blessed I am to have a non-existent immune system where I can’t be in “public.” I am in a season of being ‘set aside.” It has given me eyes to see how the Church has become complacent. Not just denominations or buildings or race, but His Body. The Church focuses on how many likes they have on their Facebook Page, or how many followers on Twitter; they count numbers of bodies that fill the seats as they “entertain” instead of delving into His word – our Life’s Road Map. Moral failures and sin abound because the Church in America is ‘listening’ but not HEARING; they are ‘looking’ but not “SEEING.”
Our only “Like” should be to God. Our only numbers of followers should be the ones we are bringing to Him, and showing them what a REAL RELATIONSHIP is, not a social media site or gaming site with someone you can’t see or talk to face to face, or go to church for a Sunday performance.
Everyone is bickering and grousing, gazing down at their phones, texting, talking to Siri instead of to God. Their GPS (God’s Personal Sign – to something bigger than themselves) is totally out of kilter and they wonder why they constantly feel “lost.”
I believe, what God was showing me in multiple ways, at multiple times, through multitudes of people and their situations and actions/inaction is – “If My people will not take a stand up for what is good, right and REAL, then they will stand up for nothing.”
I don’t want to get to Heaven’s gates and have God say to me: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord? You have been lukewarm. I don't know who you are.”
Will you stand up against the throngs of today’s worldly culture that shows no respect, values life little, and who does not have a personal relationship with God where God's Heart is their Home?
I hope so. For you either stand up for what you believe, or you stand for nothing.
It’s no secret that I’ve been “set aside.”
At first, I chaffed. I complained. I whined. It didn’t take long to realize tantrums don’t result in answers other than letting pent up feelings blow out like the steam of a pressure cooker.
But being “set aside” has had more blessings than any basket could ever hold. And maybe, just maybe, it took “setting me aside” was the point – to come to the end of myself.
Someone recently asked me: “What is the meaning of Life?” I paused, and thought real hard. My friend’s answer was spot on: “The meaning of Life is LIVING a life full of meaning .”
And then we found this rock at Care's Corner.....what do YOU see?
YOUR life has meaning…are you living it?
As I look from our front window, the seasons of change are evident. Piles of dirty snow sti;; cover most of the the ground, a driveway of glare ice is painstakingly slow as it changes to the Spring Break-Up look of mud, muck, hidden slippery ice and huge dagger like icicles flying off the gutters. I think I may have seen my first bit of green today on ground that had been snow-plowed bare.
It is easy to grouse and complain of the mud tracked through the house from boots not taken off, or an array of “tweener-season” clothes that are dropped by the front door. Does one wear boots? Cleats? Snow bibs? Thermal bibs or walk about in jeans and a hoodie? Wait five minutes and the answer will change.
We are gaining 6+ minutes of light per day, and our bodies getting used to Daylight Savings Time. My ol' bones adjust to losing an hour of sleep. Sigh… my daughter reminds me sleep is far over-rated. Besides, that’s what happens when we die, right? Rumor has it we get to catch up on sleep! (But I've not had confirmation on that, yet!)
Seriously, though, in the middle of my grousing about mud, muck and roller coaster temperatures, I received a Kingdom Keister Kick. Was I going to continue to complain and nag to/about those around me about the mess and the lingering boomerang bug/flu we’ve been hit with (for the 3rd time, thank you) or was I going to kneel – and say a prayer of thanks that we had made it through another wild Alaskan winter, say a prayer grateful for more daylight, and the return of many birds who had flown south (wisely) for the winter? Will I make myself pleasant to be around as I focus on the good things surrounding me – my family, my friends, a warm wood stove and new opportunities as Bill begins his last season of a long, hard, yet rewarding working career?
The choice is totally mine. What about you? Will you NAG or KNEEL?
Every have one of “those” days? You know, the days when the phone rings incessantly, appointments have to be changed, your desk is under mounds of papers (at least I think it is!) and all you want to do is go play outside in the sun and snow?
These are the days that I consciously STOP. Literally... STOP.
I take a breath (or three). Then I go to the place where I know I can find peace. It’s my special quiet place where I meet with the One who laughs with me (and at me some times, I’m sure!) who listens to me, who encourages me.
In fact, I just got back from there – and this is what He reminded me:
3. Remember My care is for all that concerns you. Don’t forget that I created nature to refresh you – so be faithful to get out and breathe in all that I have created. Sing! SING LOUD!
4. Don’t go throwing yourself onto or into the scrap heap.
5. Have patience: Why? Because I choose the strong and willing who will be pounded, hammered, challenged, tuned up by turning screws tight until just the right music emanates through you, showing the world how much you are willing to love and honor Me, not the stuff in the scrap heap!
Ahhh... I'm sure glad I took a "time-out"!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.