Monday, August 25, 2008

Then and Now

Katherine is no stranger to stares.

I remember a funny incident several years back. When Katherine and Jay first moved to the West Coast, they were fresh out of college and full of adventure. They took advantage of the richness of the LA experience, the beauty of the Malibu coast, the fun of the celebrity carnival. They got a kick out of the whole thing without taking it (or themselves) too seriously. Jay has a photographic memory, so he quickly learned all the short cuts around town. He could skim through a People Magazine for 30 seconds at the grocery checkout, and then point out a minor B-list starlet at the drug store. Since neither he nor Katherine ever met a stranger, this engendered some intriguing experiences. (Case in point: the Oscar photo with Hilary Swank that was on the Caringbridge site for a while.)

When friends or relatives came out to visit, we were given the royal treatment. For instance, a young cousin got to meet both the Hilton sisters on the same trip. (Paris said, “That’s hot,” when Katherine mentioned they’d run into Nicki earlier.) We stayed at the old Roosevelt in Hollywood, shared the ladies’ room at Mr. Chow’s with Jessica Alba, shopped on Rodeo. It was a blast. But since both Katherine and Jay are exceedingly frugal, they devised methods to do it all on a dime.

“The Ivy” is one of the poshest lunchspots in LA. It is a charming, flower-dripping Country French cottage on Robertson decorated with vintage pieces. (It is also where Amie almost died on another occasion, but that’s a long story...maybe it will be on “Amie’s Mom’s Blog” one day.)The best seat in the house is a cozy enclave on the front porch consisting of an old wicker settee overflowing with fluffy English chintz pillows, a shabby chic table, and little bistro chairs. The first time she saw it, Katherine said, “Mom would love this.” So do all the celebs, which brings us to what is not charming about The Ivy: swarms of paparazzi crowding the narrow sidewalk in front, impeding your way in. The prices are another negative. So Katherine and Jay devised a strategy. They would take their guests during the lull time between late-lunch and early hors d’oeuvres, and order coffee and one food item to share: The Ivy’s signature banana split, which is served on a platter and is big enough to feed the Russian Army.

So, on to the incident in question. Too thrifty for Valet Parking, Jay dropped Amie and me off to secure a table, while he and Katherine circled for a parking spot. Disappointed to hear that there was no room at the inn, we started walking back down the sidewalk. We ran into Katherine and Jay on their way up to join us. They just laughed when we told them we’d been turned away. Katherine was fairly fixed up that day. (i.e.: actually had on some makeup and had washed her hair.) She immediately went into character and marched through the swarm of photographers and up the steps as if she owned the place. We, her entourage, were quickly ushered in...not to a side table near the bathroom, but to that glorious front and central spot. (Amie and I gave the maitre d’ a triumphant glance as we walked by.) Every eye in the place was on the striking 5’10”blonde, the paparazzi abuzz: Was she Somebody? Or about to be?

For some reason, I thought about that the other day on Casa Colina’s field trip.

We made a motley crew. The five female patients and four staff members (with one mom along for the ride) were taken in vans to a nail salon in a nearby town. It was no small feat to get all of those wheelchairs and walkers loaded up. We had several false starts, and then got a little lost. But Katherine gabbed the whole way there, excited to be in a vehicle other than an ambulance for the first time since April 20. Starting and stopping like a herd of turtles, we finally made our grand entrance into the salon.

It got quiet. Every eye in the place...

The Ivy was then.

The nail spa is now.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.




Karen Blickle said...

I think the people at that nail salon received a blessing that day!

MJ said...

If there's one activity that makes me feel "normal" amidst a stressful time, it's getting my nails done with my mom!

Jessica Ranjbari said...

I loved this! That's great they were all able to go to get nails done :) Hope there are many more fun field trips in the days ahead!

tatiana said...

my first official mani/pedi after my avm (not including the ones my mom, sis' & cousin would do 4 me while i was in the hospital) was so nice. being frugal, like katherine, b/f i would just do them myself b 'cuz i could, but now i need some1 2 do them 4 me since my right hand is still recovering. it's a very relaxing feeling, being pampered. i hope that katherine felt a little like that "may b famous normal person" that she was that day back then. i sent kelly an e-mail w/ info about me & i would luv 2 hear from katherine. it'd b like having a pen pal from miami (except it would b by e-mail). i luv reading your blogs 2. like every1 says (& i agree completely), u write so well. your descriptions make me feel like i'm right there w/ u all. i hope katherine is doing well in her therapies & i pray 4 no more "throw up" incidents. God willing, the "nows" will b the "thens" soon enough.

Julia said...

Good to hear our friend Katherine is still alive and well and still making heads turn. She's truly remarkable.

suzirockett said...

what a vivid picture...only you could do it so well. Bless you all this day.Again the new normal!

Julie said...

Mrs. Arnold-

Still praying for Katherine all the time and for Amie and all of you! It was great to hear about y'all's trip to the nail salon and very encouraging to hear she was able to swallow some applesauce!!

My friend emailed me this today and I thought of Katherine and thought I'd pass it on to y'all.

Love, Julie Kristin

Thursday, 27 September 2007
Rick Warren's Interview on His wife's cancer

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren,

"Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,"which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Carol Ann Vaughn Cross said...

Every time I read your blog, I say, "this is my favorite entry."

Today is no exception.

Last night I dreamed about Katherine - we had a lovely visit and caught up on everything at a student reunion. It was joyous to be around Katherine - as always.

I never cease praying for her and for you - usually without words because they elude me.

Thank you for finding such wonderful words with which to tell this story here on earth.

Ya'll are living in the vortex where heaven and earth meet . . . .

What a place to be.

Lots of love to all of the Arnold Girls.

hisgrace said...

Brava! Well said.Many of your thoughs remind me of my own.Some of them were about family privacy and never opening up to non family.Actually they/we never opened up to each other either.Fat lot of good it did us.If there was ever a time for you to share it is now.Your writing most especially has touched me the most.But then again,your a Mom,I'm a Mom...Your whole family has touched me greatly.Katherine is in my mind as a permanent fixture now.I think about her so often.I wonder how she is doing.I think of you all and pray for you.I worked for a friend of Katherine's who is living in Florida right now.Her and her husband and one yr old came here to be with her husbands Dad who is ill.They are a great family too,like you all. My husband will ask me from time to time,"how is Katherine doing"? I tell him.I howl at the stories of Katherine's roomate.Those are funny and very sad stories too.We need to laugh though.It is good.I have seen many sad but funny things like that. I want to tell you that do not ever reconsider your decision for one moment,ever again that is,sharing your heart with us.I stand and give you and ovation.You could now teach classes in bearing your soul and I would like to sign up.How refreshing and amazingly wonderful is your honesty.Why can't we have more of this.We are all on this road called life together.Why can't we be real.We do not do each other any favors by keeping a stiff upper lip.The Lord has changed so many lives through your being real.He has brought healing through you and Katherine and your family.You have added to our lives so much.And one of the greatest gifts you have given us is ,you have taught us that we all need to be more real.It is not only ok to be real but it is amazing to be real.Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you and your wonderful family.I have been praying for you Katherine and all of you and will continue.Now prayer,that's amazing!:-)Cheryl