A Steel Frame Holds

When my husband and I were dating, I was a 20-year-old single mother and I was determined to finish college because my unplanned pregnancy had forced an unwanted hiatus from school. When we were going through pre-marriage counseling with our pastor, I mentioned this in a session. The pastor said, “You have a baby to take care of,” even as he was encouraging Jeff to extend his 2 year Bible college goal to 4 years. One day, as Jeff and I stood outside the beat up construction trailer that would become our first home, I said, “I will finish college.” He bristled, not because he was unsupportive of my goals (he’s always been that), but because I was making a declaration rather than including him in a decision.

What was implicit rather than explicit in my declaration was a desire to escape a dubious 1970s past. And fear. When my father died of a myocardial infarction at 41 years old, my mother was left with two children to care for on her own. I was terrified of being unprepared for an unpredictable future.

I did finish college, with the help of my mother and my mother-in-law, both of whom babysat, and with the support of my husband, who worked countless hours earning a lucrative income (rather than a degree) so that we were able to pay for my education without incurring any new debt. I finished also because I decided that college would be my hobby. I didn’t go to the gym or the nail salon or on expensive trips. I went to school in my spare time for twelve years and graduated with honors. Only then did Jeff go back to school.

Fast forward a decade and some of my worst fears have come true. My baby is dead and my husband is involuntarily retired due to a physical disability. We’re in the midst of profound grief and profound role reversal. He stays home and I go to work. To make matters worse, my choice of a practical career coincided with historic technological shifts. Journalism is about as unstable and insecure as a career gets. I’ve had to be creative and flexible in order to minimally meet our financial needs. I’ve also had to grapple with that little devil reputation again, because there is a prejudice in our culture toward those, like my husband, who are unable to work. I wrestle with this prejudice myself. And then, there are the emotional challenges of role reversal. Ann Althouse writes this about it:

These deeply embedded sex roles… they don’t change so easily. Being large-minded and flexible and into change isn’t enough. It doesn’t get at the root of what you really feel, and you can’t just feel what you want to feel.

Jeff is one of the smartest, hardest working men I know. Still. He keeps his days full and his mind occupied. He contributes significantly to our family and our community. His strong work history and wise financial decisions have made our continued solvency possible. And yet, we both feel the strain. As much as I’ve always wanted a career, I haven’t wanted one like this. As much as he knows he must respect his limitations, he often ends up writhing in pain from overexertion.

Ann Althouse’s marriage didn’t survive role reversal. My marriage will survive, as it has through a host of other challenges, including the only one that has truly threatened to decimate it: our son’s suicide. We’ll thrive because we love each other and because we have a long history of working through our conflicts, but mostly because God is with us and in us prompting us always to love and forgive.

Planning for the uncertain future is good and wise. It creates a framework upon which to build when the walls of life are blown off. Without structure, chaos reigns. Without love, there’s no point in rebuilding.

Running in the Shadow of 9/11 @Her.meneutics

There isn’t much to say in introduction to this essay except that it’s not what I intended to write. I had thought perhaps I’d get it out of my system and then write a more forward looking piece, but the editors wanted this. Here’s a clip from the middle of the essay:

On Sunday morning, the race began with a seven mile loop of Central Park. We emerged from the park onto 7th Avenue to the sound of cheering crowds. A smile crossed my face so big it made me laugh. Owning Times Square for a moment felt as magical as I imagine it must feel to be a Broadway star. We turned right onto 42nd Street and loped over to the West Side Highway, where we were greeted by showgirls and guys dancing and singing us on to victory. It was about then that my legs began to get heavy and tight, but I ran a really smart race. I paced myself, stayed in the shade, stopped at every fluid station, stretched, and ate packets of salt as advised in the 87 degree heat. Someone later asked if I ever thought of quitting. No! I was having too much fun taking pictures and tweeting as I ran and walked!

Besides, how could I quit with Dribble the World runner Ashley Ten Kate bouncing her basketball a few strides ahead of me for 13.1 miles! According to its website, Dribble the World “exists to save the lives of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa using the game of basketball.” There was also the 13.1 Virgin runner, who I thought was running in support of abstinence until someone who doesn’t write about the sexual revolution and its consequences informed me was probably a first time half-marathoner. Duh.

Sprinting for the finish line a couple hundred yards from Ground Zero, though, I started to cry again. It was as if all the happiness and pathos of my life was represented in that course. …

You’ll have to go to Her.meneutics to read the whole thing.

Images from a Perfect Day: NYC .5 ’09

Ready to Go

Running for Virginity

Running for virginity? (Had to be told, no, running her 1st 13.1!)

Team Mates

Teammates

Fluid Station; Seventh Ave.

Fluid Station, Seventh Ave.

Approaching Times Square on 7th Ave.

Approaching Times Square

Entertainment at 42nd St. & West Side Highway

Entertainment at 42nd St. & West Side Highway

Approaching Mile 10

Approaching Mile 10

Passing World Trade Center Site Near the Finish

Passing World Trade Center site near the finish

Refueling after 2:42:18

Refueling after 13.1 miles in 2:42:18

Cross-post from NF Endurance Team blog: Why Gabe Will Always Be My NF Hero

It’s a rare photo in which Gabe appears depressed. He was known for his boisterous, charismatic personality. But, from the time he left home for college, he struggled with depression. This photo was taken at my husband’s graduation from a pastoral training program in June 2004. Gabe would have just finished his freshman year at Wheaton College in Illinois.

I write about his depression because, as Endurance Team members, we are focused on overcoming and suicide seems like the antithesis of that. One thing I’d really like to accomplish through my involvement with the team is to help others overcome faulty ideas about depression and suicide. Ideas that I myself once held.

Not long before Gabriel died, I joined the CTF group on Facebook. A young woman posted a comment on the group wall about studies linking NF to psychiatric difficulties. I didn’t think much about it until after Gabe died. Then I began doing research and found one of the studies she may have been referring to. Here it is from PubMed:

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is often associated with psychiatric disorders, which are more frequent in NF1 than in general population (33% of patients). Dysthymia is the most frequent diagnosis (21% of patients). There is also a high prevalence of depressive mood (7%), anxiety (1-6%), and personality (3%) disorders. The risk of suicide is four times greater than in the general population. Bipolar mood disorders or schizophrenia appear to be rare. The impaired quality of life associated with NF1 may play an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders. Quality of life assessments may help to identify a population at high risk.

Dysthymia can be defined as depression; despondency or a tendency to be despondent. It certainly describes Gabe at increasingly frequent intervals in the last year of his life. In another study, researchers found no link between the severity of familiar NF symptoms and the severity of psychiatric ones, indicating that something neurological might be going on rather than simple despair over the condition itself.

Since 2002, I have written for a magazine called Christianity Today. One of my articles was about Gabe and a couple others mentioned him. Because I had encountered a good deal of both ignorance and empathy after his suicide, I wrote about his death for the magazine. You can read that article here. It traces a bit of family history, does some education and poses the possibility that Gabe was suffering from bipolar disorder, which a couple of mental health professionals suggested after reading his suicide notes and journal entries. I’m ambivalent about this post-mortem analysis though, because the impulsivity that correlates with his attention deficit disorder combined with his undiagnosed dysthymia could be mistaken for bipolar.

Long before I had a thought about any of this, I wrote about Gabe’s NF in Christianity Today. That article was an investigation into human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Through it, I met my friend and NF Endurance Team partner David Brick. David is an hESC researcher at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, CA. When we were training for the Long Beach Half Marathon last year, David did some reading of his own on NF. He found something about the involvement of mast cells in NF. Mast cells are also indicated in asthma and allergies. This got me wondering if Gabe’s severe asthma might also have been a function of his NF. Instead of suffering from three separate diseases—NF, asthma and depression—was he really only suffering symptoms of one nasty disorder? I’d like to know the answer to this question.

The point of my writing about this here is both to alert CTF to these possibilities and to say that Gabe was for all of his life a true NF Hero. He overcame challenges that many of us will never face. The father from whom he inherited neurofibromatosis never acknowledged him and chose not to be a part of his life. He dealt with race issues as well, and was frequently sick and isolated with asthma. NF was always in the background as a concern. And yet, Gabe was incredibly accomplished. You can read about his many accomplishments here.

In one of his suicide notes, he wrote that as much as he kept trying to “pull himself up into the world of real people,” he felt dead inside. That feeling is not failure or a lack of courage; it’s a symptom of clinical depression. A symptom that he did not recognize had a treatment. A symptom he hid well in his lifelong habit of being an overcomer. A symptom I did not understand.

For the sake of others suffering such symptoms, I want to challenge the NF Endurance Team and its members to recognize that our message shouldn’t exclude those suffering from mental illness. Death by suicide is a preventable tragedy, not a lack of character. While we want to be careful not to romanticize or idealize those who die by suicide, we also want to remember that the vast majority of people who take their own lives die from mental illness that is no fault of their own.

So, here’s to my NF Hero, Gabriel Gifford Scheller!

Update: The NYC Half Marathon is just 10 days away and I’ve only raised $350 of my $1000 goal. If you’d like to help me answer the question posed in this post, you can support my efforts here, or you can send a check to: The Children’s Tumor Foundation 95 Pine Street, 16th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

HearingJesus_cvrNancy Guthrie begins her new book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, by telling readers that she is facing the 10th anniversary of her infant daughter’s death. This anniversary will, at some point, be followed by the 10th anniversary of her infant son’s death. Hope and Gabe are their names. Lovely names, I think, especially the latter.

Nancy writes this about the first impending anniversary: “It feels like an ever-widening chasm as the years take me further away from her, even as they bring me closer to her.”

I so appreciate this thought, because when I think about how it will feel to not have held Gabe or seen him or heard him laugh for a decade, I panic and push the thought away. One day at a time, I tell myself, even though I have an idea of what the passage of time does to memory. It’s been more than three decades since my father died. I have no recollection of his voice and only the vaguest recollection of his manner. He is a stranger to me. One I look forward to meeting someday.

Obviously losing a child as a 43 year old mother is a completely different experience. Gabriel grew in my body and nursed at my breasts. I held him and soothed him and nurtured him with every ounce of my being year after year after year. I also died with him on March 28, 2008. Only I have to keep on living.

I’m quite sure Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow is going to be a helpful book, because it begins honestly and without platitudes.  And because Nancy wrote to me after reading my last essay about my Gabe. She shared her story with me and told me about her hopes for this project. Thank you Nancy for remembering to send the finished product. I so appreciate it!

I may or may not refer to this book again. For now, I’d like to quote a passage from the introduction that stopped me in my tracks. I read it aloud to my husband. 

I don’t know what has brought sorrow into your life.  Maybe you, too, have stood by a grave and said good-bye. Or maybe you have had to bury your dreams for a future with someone you love or your plans for doing something you have longed to do. Perhaps circumstances have forced you to leave behind a position you thought you were made for or come to terms with a frightening financial problem or a painful medical condition. Perhaps you live with ongoing sorrow over a child who has turned away from you or from faith. Maybe you are living with regret over the sorrow brought into your life by your own bad choices, or maybe you are living with resentment over the sorrow brought into your life by what someone else has done.

I read this to Jeff because it is a list of possibilities and we are living all of them simultaneously.  It made me realize that our lives are a kind of miracle. People can live through anything. I know that now. What happens in the wake of anything though is that each of us is faced with a choice. Every day, and often many times a day in multiple and varied situations, we are offered the choice to live rather than to merely exist.

Today Jeff and I went to church and worshiped. With the fullness of our beings we offered ourselves up to God. At the singing of the recessional hymn, I glanced down to my right to see my husband seated on the pew in pain, as always, but with eyes closed, hands upturned, a slight smile on his face—as always.

We exchanged pleasantries with our fellow congregants for a long time afterwards. An executive sought me out to tell me that with 32 forced retirements at his organization, there may be a spot for me. Other people’s pain could mean relief for mine.

Next there was a Starbucks run and a stroll through the local farmers market, where we bought a lunch of imported salami and provolone, olive bread, homemade sun-dried tomatoes and organic vegetables.

After that came our weekly visit to the cemetery to water the pansies—yellow, gold and white—and to tell Gabe how sorry I am for everything.

One day I was there fussing over the grave, saying I was sorry for this or that or something else entirely when I had an epiphany. I realized that my son is dead and I’m still fussing over him. How bad of a mother could I have been?

A therapist I saw briefly last year said it is easier for me to blame myself than to acknowledge that Gabe did this. She’s right, of course, even though, ultimately no one is to blame.

Going to the cemetery comforts me. It helps me to live. The same therapist, who buried a first-born son herself, said this is because the only way we mothers have left to care for our dead children is to take care of their graves. A friend of mine went every day for years. Before you dismiss such morbidity, you should know that The Compassionate Friends estimates that 19 percent of parents have buried a child. That’s 2-in-10.

After the cemetery, we stopped at the Sprint store to pick out a new phone for me, one with internet access. If I weren’t living, I wouldn’t care enough about what’s going on in the world to be a news junkie again.

At home, Jeff set about his daily ritual of beautifying my parents’ yard. Everything he does, he does with passion and precision. Everything. Still.

Our lives are tragic. They are also a miracle of sorts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, three things animate this miracle: family, faith and love. Without these, I would have no hope.

“I’ll just stay silent. That’s the way to honor; the only way to respect.”

Those were Gabe’s thoughts on the first anniversary  of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as copied from an archive of his poetry and art  that we’re developing.

Our Friend Sleeps

I do not want you to be ignorant brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

When all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, "Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. These stones shall be a memorial for the children of Israel forever. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Witnesses chosen by God, … who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

John 11:11; 1 Thes. 4:13-14; 1 Cor. 15:16-18; Josh. 4:1-3,7; Acts 2:32; Acts 10:41  

[March 28th evening reading from Daily Light ] .

A friend’s poem:

For Gabe

A bit of scoff blows through my nostrils
At those who insinuate or aver,
“Here, spoken in my syllables
Printed upon this page,
Measured by the electrochemical activity in my frontal lobes,
I, we, us,
Possess, here, now,
Answers.”

What secret have you unearthed,
That which has eluded the likes of
Socrates, Augustine, Nietzsche, Freud

Answer
The demands of the scars upon my knuckles
Patches of hardened, darkened skin as reminders of
A joke you no longer share with us.
We no longer hear.
Cracked in your name.

You too had a patch.
A laugh, a swagger in your stride,
But no answers for fools like us.

[© Chuck Liu, 2008, used with permission.]

Repost:

 

Gabe

You came sparkling into the world,

a firecracker bursting multicolored across the sky,

your soft brown skin glowing with delight at

everything your eyes beheld—

I loved you from the first. 

You spoke in sentences sweet

when barely a year had passed,

and when the wedding bells did ring

a granite floor was laid beneath your tiny feet. 

The Lord has made a miracle,

he’s made one bright and true;

he sent it shining through the night

to come reside with us. 

Never from that swollen golden crimson time

until this frozen grey has

my heart known a moment without

beating just for you.

[© cas, 1998]

In memory of Gabriel Gifford Scheller: November 27, 1984–March 28, 2008 .

Thanks again to our newest NF heroes

 

These sponsors helped us raise $2,640 for The Children’s Tumor Foundation:

 

Mr. Jeff Scheller

Ms. Florence Anne Kohut

Mr. Aiden Long

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce C. Neary

Mr. and Mrs. John H. Oostdyk

Mr. Albert J. Stahl

Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Speight

Mr. Roy Larsen

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce V. Koczman

Mr. and Mrs. James W. McCombs

Mr. Richard D. Kroll

Mr. Greg Cambeis

Ms. Kathleen Sommers

Ms. Katy Laundrie

Ms. Amy Zambrano

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gifford

Mr. Rob Moll

Mr. Gary Gnidovic

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Carver

Mr. Richard Heffner

Ms. Dee Lamorte

Ms. Judy Scheller

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Benyola

Ms. Heidi Peck

Mr. and Mrs. Carleton W. Westerlund

Ms. Cherie Carl

Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas P. San Filippo

Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Mack, Sr.

Mr. and Mrs. John J. Bogosian

Mr. and Mrs. Roger L. Faulkenbury

Mr. and Mrs. James J. Jensen

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Trapani

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Smith

Ms. Sara Mummolo

Dr. and Mrs. Gary S. Cuozzo

Mr. Tony Papalia

 

 

Here is the summary of another study that I’ll be including in my letter to The Children’s Tumor Foundation to encourage them to better educate and support families in regard to ALL possible outcomes of this debilitating disease.

NF1: Psychiatric Disorders and Quality of Life Impairment

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is often associated with psychiatric disorders, which are more frequent in NF1 than in general population (33% of patients). Dysthymia* is the most frequent diagnosis (21% of patients). There is also a high prevalence of depressive mood (7%), anxiety (1-6%), and personality (3%) disorders. The risk of suicide is four times greater than in the general population. Bipolar mood disorders or schizophrenia appear to be rare. The impaired quality of life associated with NF1 may play an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders. Quality of life assessments may help to identify a population at high risk.

*Dysthymia — depression; despondency or a tendency to be despondent

Thanks again friends! May your generosity be returned a hundred-fold!

Thankful for 23 Years + …

Every four years, Gabriel’s birthday (November 27th) falls on Thanksgiving. 2008 is one of those years. It is also our first Thanksgiving without him, thus our celebration will be small and simple. In years past I made a widely anticipated apple pie; it was Gabe’s birthday dessert of choice. Not this year. This year, we’ll have pecan pie, vegan chocolate pie, farina pudding with lingonberry red currant syrup and maybe pumpkin pie—other people’s favorites, all but one topped with freshly whipped cream.

In addition to the traditional expressions of gratitude, we’ll give special thanks for Gabe. For 23 years with him and for the blessed assurance of reunion, expressed here in our family headstone, which was set this week:

Not only am I thankful for the past and the future, I’ve found reason to be thankful in the painful present. For example, when Gabe died in California earlier this year, we quickly had to make arrangements for his burial 3000 miles away. Over the phone, I asked the NJ funeral director to find a cemetery somewhere at the Jersey Shore. Being from North Jersey, he said, “I’m only familiar with two cemeteries … in West Long Branch.” Because we had lived in neighboring Long Branch, I sensed God’s provision in this statement. We quickly decided that Gabe would be buried on “Cemetery Hill” at Glenwood Cemetery, where we had spent many a winter day sledding its gentle slope. It’s a place ripe with memories of both happiness and sorrow, death and life.

Only plots of four were available on the hill and only one headstone is allowed to mark each plot. Interesting thing this monument we chose. The bold assumptions it makes didn’t occur to me until after our names were chiseled out at great expense. It speaks with finality of death (the kitchen cabinet cross looks fleeting in comparison). It also assumes that Jeff and I will remain faithful to our marriage vows throughout our lives. This is no small statement in these times and in our particular circumstance. It assumes further that neither of us will remarry after the other one dies, or if the survivor does remarry, that the primary vow will be honored in death. The blank space at the right expresses a fragile faith that our second son will, long after we are gone, be laid to rest with a family of his own. (Such faith will be made firm when someone else’s name is safely etched there instead.) The epitaph communicates our one sustaining hope:

Jesus said… “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” John 11:25

It’s odd as a 40ish woman to know where my body will one day lie. It’s oddly reassuring to witness the granite reality that the end of sorrow is at hand. In the meantime, I’ll continue taking the advice of a wise friend, who counseled me to appreciate the beauty I see around me. There’s plenty of it.

On November 27, 2008, after our Thanksgiving turkey is safely in the oven, we’ll take time to give thanks at Gabe’s grave site. You’re welcome to join us. We’ll say a few words. Pray. Cry. Perhaps dig up a grandfather’s lovingly crafted cross. And then we’ll fold our gratitude and our grief into the story that ends with crowns being cast at the feet of Jesus. I pray you’ll be there for that celebration as well. Happy Thanksgiving, 2008~

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4, KJV)

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 21: 1-6a, KJV)

Long Beach 13.1

We did it … together! Our first half-marathon. Mike in 3:28:17; Chris and D in 3:42:09. Jeff manning the NF tent for 4:00:00+.

Total donations on our behalf to the Children’s Tumor Foundation$2145 $2170 $2220 $2345 $2370 $2490 $2590 $2640.

In honor of Gabriel Gifford Scheller.

John 25:11

Update 10/21/08: My original goal for the Long Beach 1/2 marathon was to raise $1000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. After Gabriel died, I increased our goal to $5000. Memorial donations in the amount of $1945 have been recorded in Gabriel’s name. Combined with our race sponsorships, we’ve raised a total of $4,435 $4,535 $4,585 for CTF. Again, many thanks to all who’ve given so generously!

Update II, 10/23/08: The NF Endurance Team slide show from Long Beach is up. Together our team of 20  raised $10,000, $2590 $2640 of it on behalf of Team Scheller.

Go Team Scheller!

$1810 $1830 and Counting!

Tomorrow is Race Day!

Wake Up Call 5 AM … Yikes!

Go Team Scheller!!!!!!

Donate Today!

New Jersey by Gabriel G. Scheller

Manasquan Beach

 

New Jersey, where it’s not too hot

and Gramma’s spaghetti always hits the spot.

I wanna’ go home, now you know that I been missin’ it.

I can’t get back; I’m lost like Odysseus.

Where I’m at is cool; it’s not that I hate it;

it’s just complicated.

I love Cali, but it’s over-rated;

I could spend a whole day out in the sunshine,

but I miss orange leaves on the trees sometimes.

I miss rainy days;

I miss light flurries;

I miss 7-11 runs and blueberry Slurpees.

It’s not Georgia that I got on my mind;

it’s my home, New Jersey, that I think about all the time.

I wanna’ be rollin’, kickin’ it with my homies,

going to Italian restaurants, eatin’ macaronis.

Without the food, a little piece of my heart is gone,

’til the day I can say I had good chicken parmesan.

I love my home ’cause

th-that’s familiar,

to get back buh-bak-bu-back to ma familia.

‘Cause when I’m home

they be buggin’ and sh*t;

we be huggin’ and sh*t;

just be lovin’ the sh*t.

A smile on everybody’s faces,

my little cousin actin’ up

so you know I gotta’ chase him!

Just hangin’ in the park, kickin’ it

with the old folks;

when it comes to playin’ chess, geriatrics

are no joke.

I go by the beach to catch the scent in the air.

I love how they talk; my accent is there.

I miss you house on Atlantic Avenue;

it sucks, ’cause I won’t

be comin’ back to you.

And you know Mike’s Subs are like heaven on a bun.

I can finally hit AC, now that I’m 21.

I be missin’ days, cruisin’ on the Parkway;

long trips to wherever,

playin’ stupid car games.

Philly to the left,

beaches to the right,

travel up to New York, where we party all night.

It’s been a little too long since we

lived in that happy home.

I need some crazy Jersey ladies

with big hair and tacky clothes.

So when life is stressful and I’m all worried,

I take time in my mind to

go back to Jersey.

[© Gabriel G. Scheller 11/05, Wheaton, IL; photo: Manasquan, NJ 2007]

Support NF Research

NF Endurance Team 2008

Guess who’s training for the Long Beach Marathon? Actually I’m settling for a half-marathon my first time out. My son Mike, some friends and I are doing it together. We’re raising money for neurofibromatosis (NF) research. The race is October 12, but you can invest in our effort now. To sponsor Mike, click here. To sponsor me, click here. (Be sure to watch the short video too.) Our goal is to raise $2500 each in memory of Gabriel Scheller, our NF hero.