Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Difficult Day - More Time at the Hospital

Today's "adventures" .....

After being placed on oxygen yesterday evening, I had a difficult night.

This morning, I called my local physician and she requested I come to the office. I had a 99.2 temp (my normal being around 97.4). She decided to order a chest x-ray. She also ordered blood cultures, a repeat CBC, and a D-Dimer test (we both had concern about the chance of this shortness of breath and low oxygen sats being related to a pulmonary embolism since I have had one in the past).

The chest x-ray brought welcome news -- perfectly clear with no areas of leukemic infiltration or infection. However, the D-Dimer results came back elevated (700). My Dr. orders this as a screening test if she suspects a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). If negative, the D-Dimer assures us that there is not a clot. However, a positive reading can be a false positive or an indicator there is a PE. Since the D-Dimer returned positive, she felt we had to have a nuclear lung scan. So I was sent back to the hospital and had the nuclear lung scan and it was clear as well. (We were delighted to know that.)

Unfortunately, I have become very claustrophobic. My beloved doctor called the chief of nuclear medicine and requested that they allow my Mom to go in with me for the scan. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her. I was strapped down and a mask of nuclear material was strapped tightly onto my face as I was in the scanner. Mom held my hand and comforted me. I was grateful to have her with me. She put my earbuds to my MP3 player in my ears and we turned up the volume to cover the sounds of the scanner. It was playing CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST and I sobbed and sobbed as I asked the Lord to rescue me once again. My thoughts were on Lil Man and if I would live to see him born. I cannot express the relief I felt when the nuclear medicine physician relayed the report that no blood clots were discovered.

The down side being, we still do not know what is causing such drops in my saturation levels. My doctor sent home a pulse ox monitor from her office with me for the weekend. She asked me to monitor my oxygen saturation levels (with and without oxygen on; at rest and while active).

I am so week tonight. Please pray with us that:

-the source of the problem will be revealed and simply treated
-I will gather strength for Lil Man's arrival.
-I will not become dependent upon the oxygen.
-that blood cultures will be clear for infection

Request for Prayer: August 28, 2008

Please remember me in your prayers. It has been a difficult evening. I saw my family physician this afternoon. All week, my breathing has become more labored. I have lost more blood and my hemoglobin remains low.

My doctor had me wear a pulse ox monitor to determine the level of oxygen saturation. She placed it on me then had me walk some in the office. The level dropped to 63. That is not acceptable. Usually, people are put on oxygen when levels dip in the 80's. So she called and arranged for oxygen to be delivered to our home tonight.

I must admit I was not prepared for that delivery. Tanks and tubing were hauled in; multiple directions and instructions were given; and suddenly I was attached to 40' of tubing (I am calling it an oxygen leash. You can interpret, however you want, my opinion on being on oxygen 24/7).

There is nothing physically painful about receiving oxygen, but it literally broke my heart to realize that suddenly I was not capable of even breathing on my own. I am determined and strong-willed enough to figure a way to eradicate this constant companion.

There is no place in my plans to carry an oxygen tank and a new baby around. And besides that, it makes our Grand-Dog nervous and apprehensive to be sharing her home with an oxygen monster. Look on the bright side, at least we don't smoke and won't risk blowing up ourselves and our home with oxygen and open flames.

Afterthoughts: Do I dare cook on a gas stove and wear oxygen at the same time? Could preparation of dinner result in a fireball? Does this mean I am released from kitchen duties? Perhaps, the lack of oxygen has already destroyed brain cells.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh, Lil Man, Where are You?

Today, August 28th, is the date I have always said Lil Man would arrive. The clock is ticking. Time is passing. And no arrival of Lil Man is looming on the horizon. It appears in about 9 hours this day will conclude and unless a rapid-fire labor and delivery occur, Grammy missed the anticipated due date. I cannot believe he would let me down like this.

Our daughter purchased a birthstone necklace for me with an August birthstone to represent my first grandchild's birth. If Lil Man continues to reside in his "womb", Grammy will have to return the birthstone necklace for a September sapphire!

As much as I long to meet this Lil Man, I trust in God's perfect timing and know that God will bring him into this world at the most perfect moment.

Image of Times Past

Summer Send-Off

As the end of summer fast approaches, I send-off summer with a photo rich with green tones and sunshine. Soon, the rich autumn colors will replace summer's color scheme.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes I think of Dickens’ famous opening line in A Tale of Two Cities …. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Doesn’t that summarize our lives when we face a crisis with God alongside us? Sometimes in the most despairing life battle when others would think it was the worst of times, God is present and revolving the worst of time into the best of times.

Had I never known the ugly face of leukemia, I never would have known the love, presence, strength, courage, and faithfulness of God. Never. Certainly for me, it has been the best of times, it has been the worst of times.

Times have been good as I have grown in my relationship with the Lord. I lived too many years only hearing and knowing about God. I didn’t truly know God. There is a cavernous difference between these two ideologies. I yearn for relationship (with God) and not religion. I read of the antics of the Pharisees in the Bible and I want to flee from anything in my life that even mimics the religiosity of the Pharisees.

Times have been bad fighting cancer. There is no way to sugar-coat a disease such as cancer. It is disgusting. It is revolting. It rips and tears at my body. It erodes my ability to fight infection and bacteria and fungi wait to invade at a moment’s notice. Needles repulse me anymore. Literally thousands of needles have pierced my skin in the last 12 years.

Times have been good as I have realized that my suffering has paled in comparison to the suffering my Savior endured for each of us. A needle piercing and probing my veins for a sample of blood ….. how dare I complain when I think of the flogging, scourging, and crucifixion that Jesus endured?

Times have been bad as fear taunts and teases me. The enemy of this world would love to evict me from my earthly vessel. He mocks my faith and me and flashes death thoughts across my mind. He attempts to derail me from my faith-walk. He will not succeed.

Times have been very good when I reflect on the innumerable times the Lord has rescued me. I have cried to Him from hospital beds and He has moved speedily. I have called to Him during the middle of the night as my body is wracked with pain. He has provided relief.

These have been the best of times, these have been the worst of times.


According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “in the time of our Lord, they (the Pharisees) were the popular party. They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses.” Their religion was nothing more than that – a system without a personal relationship with Christ. They did not possess high moral values. Jesus referred to them as “a brood of vipers” . The Pharisees were prideful and self-righteous. Bitterness followed the Pharisees and they were enemies of our Lord and Savior. They did everything within their power to elude a religious exterior presence, however, their hearts were hardened and far from reflecting personal relationships with Christ.

Scriptures referencing the Pharisees, their actions and attitudes are advantageous for us to review and remember. Never do I want my life to reflect religion more than my relationship with the Lord.

Matthew 3:7 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, ‘You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? ‘“

Matthew 5:20 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Matthew 12:14 “But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.”

Matthew 16:1 “The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.”

Matthew 23:13 "’Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.’”

Matthew 23:23 "’Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.’”

Matthew 23:27 "’Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.’”

Mark 3:6 “The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”

Luke 6:7 “The scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against him.”

Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God, not being baptized by him themselves.”

Luke 11:39 “The Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness’.”

Luke 11:43 “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces.”

Luke 12:1 “Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy’.”

Luke 16:14 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Tonight, I return to the topic of burdens. As I glance all about my life and the lives of my loved ones, we are facing numerous burdens. The load is heavy, almost seemingly unbearable at times. I must remind myself over and over that my Lord and Savior is waiting, willing and eager to bear our burdens. Life is difficult. I see Christian families everywhere battling the enemy on many fronts. So, tonight, I turn to my Source of hope -- my Bible -- to remind myself that these burdens will not overcome my family or me.

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest."

2 Corinthians 5:4 "For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

Galatians 5:1 "Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

In Jesus' Name, I approach your throne boldly. Untangle the bondages which threaten my family and me. Help us to stand firm through difficult days. Remind us, hour by hour, that You are our Source of freedom and entanglement. We are groaning, Lord. The loads are so heavy. So, we come to You, heavily burdened, seeking Your rest, Your comfort, and Your peace. In Your Precious Name I pray. Amen.

Ohio State Update

I notified the leukemia specialist at Ohio State that I had decided against enrollment in the Revlimid clinical trial. After much prayer and deliberation, I did not have peace about this treatment option. My husband and family did not support that recommendation either. And my trusted local physicians were quite concerned about the multiple risks associated with this drug.

I did not know how well the OSU team would accept my decision, however, I received an e-mail from my doctor late last night. He asked that I return to OSU at the end of September and we will discuss more conventional (versus experimental) treatments. I am thankful that they are willing to listen to the desires of their patients.

In the meantime, I am trying to coordinate with the University of Washington researcher and begin treatment with the Chinese protocol that he has been investigating. I know I need to do something. This has been a difficult summer. I have lost 40 pounds without trying and had multiple, serious infections (and hospitalizations). I am in need of a blood transfusion right now and may need to resort to use of oxygen at home. I want neither of these to transpire, but am asking the Lord to reverse these latest complications. He is able.

The Dash

Have you ever paused to think of the dash that links the birth date and death date of each and every person? Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865). My grandmother (1906 - 1970). Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Man (1962 - 2006). Ruth Bell Graham (1920 - 2007).

When we die, the dash is what will expound on the lives we have lived. A link was sent to me by a friend that beautifully reminds us to live each day, each year fully as it might be the last day of our "dash".

Take a moment to view this ....

Bearer of Burdens

The burdens are too many to number
They press like weight
To my heart

The burdens are bigger than me
They dare to destroy
My heart

My Savior is waiting to bear
Each burden I lay
At His feet

My Savior can shoulder
Each burden from each child
From our lives

I am free from the burdens
Threatening to overcome
My heart
My life
By His grace.

Copyright Stacie

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

God's Guide to Parenting

There are several things that I hope my grandchildren will be taught by their parents. These are foundations from the Bible that will give hope and a future to my grandchildren. My most heartfelt prayer is that my children, grandchildren, and all future generations who follow me will join me in Heaven one day.

1. Dedicate my grandchildren back to the Lord. Remember that our children are a gift from God that He loans to us for a short time. I am reminded of Hannah and how she dedicated her much prayed for son, Samuel, back to the Lord and His service:

I Samuel 1:26-28: "And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshiped the LORD there."

2. Teach my grandchildren about the Lord and to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and mind.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21:“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.

3. Teach my grandchildren the importance of honoring their mother and father.

Exodus 20:12: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you."

4. Stress the importance of a personal relationship with Christ and salvation to my grandchildren from an early age.

Acts 16:31: "So they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household'.”

5. Let my grandchildren know how God created them and knew them from the moment of their conception.

Psalm 139:13-16: "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."

6. Teach my grandchildren the importance of speaking faith-filled, positive words all the days of their lives.

Proverbs 18:21: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Deuteronomy 30:19: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live..."

7. Teach my grandchildren their value to God.

Luke 12:7: "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

8. Do everything in your power to eliminate strife from the home where my grandchildren will be raised.

2 Timothy 2:23: "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife."

9. Teach my grandchildren the importance of choosing friends wisely.

Proverbs 12:26: "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray."

10. Model faith to my grandchildren.

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Treatment Room

I am at the oncologists' infusion center. Today is my IVIg treatment. As always, I've been non-productive due to the premedications that induce a deep sleep. I am awake now as their effects had just worn off but additional premedications were just administered. It won't be long until more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Today, I looked at each chair in the infusion room -- supporting a life. Man or woman, young or old ..... cancer is no respector of age, sex, race, or economic status. I listened to conversations filled with hope and others punctuated with fear. Faith-filled words were uttered by some. Anger and frustration rolled off the tongues of others. One obvious difference emerged in today's conversations. Those with a personal relationship with God could face the difficulties of today because of the hope and promise of eternal life when our earthly vessels shatter and break.

I prayed. I asked the Lord to reveal Himself to each life in each chair. My heart breaks for each life attacked by cancer. I cannot imagine the Lord's heartache at the suffering of His children. Move, Lord, in this room today. Heal bodies. Save souls. Encourage hearts. Grant peace. Instill hope.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sea Oats

I love the ocean and am reminded of the greatness of God as I stand next to the enormous ocean. I am reminded of the perfect timing that is God's alone as the tide rolls in and out with precision.

I took this photo of sea oats along Orange Beach. They are a type of grass that thrives in saline environments. Their deep roots are perfect for stabilizing coastline soils.

Request for Prayer: August 24, 2008

Tomorrow I will be having the 8-hour IVIg treatment at my oncologist's infusion center. Please pray for me. Since this is a blood derivative there are always risks associated with the treatment. This is the treatment that takes thousands of blood donors to derive enough IgG (an immunoglobulin found in blood that helps to fight infection) for this treatment. This procedure boosts my body's ability to fight infections.

A Prayer for Today: August 24, 2008

My Precious Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your faithfulness. This week I have marveled at the miracles you have performed. But even more, I marvel at the love you have for each of us. I marvel at how You could sacrifice Your Son for each of us. I marvel at how You take broken lives and rebuild them into beautiful examples of Christian lives.

I know we fall short of the aspirations You have for us, as Your children. Forgive us, Father, when we sin against You and Your Word. Holy Spirit, alert us when we are tempted to sin or swerve from the course God has charted for each of us according to His Word. Prompt us to be swift and sincere with our repentance. Yet, remind us Lord that once we do repent earnestly, we do not need to continue carrying the baggage of past sin and defeat with us on our life journeys.

Psalm 91: 15-16 encourages us: “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

So today, Lord, we call upon You. We are trusting that You will answer us. The needs and petitions are numerous yet we are assured that you are going to be with us through times of trouble. Deliver each one who has requested prayer this week. Lord, satisfy each of us with long life. Remove fear from fearful situations. Restore hope in hopeless situations. Remind us to praise in praise-less moments.

Nothing is impossible for those who believe. I love that word NOTHING. Every possible petition that we can lay before Your throne has a possible answer and solution that only You can provide. Thank You, Lord. At this moment, we put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness and we give all of our burdens of life to you.

I love You, Lord. Thank You for your ever-listening ear that gives us comfort and peace in our lives and hearts.

In Jesus’ Powerful Name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today, August 23rd, we celebrated my Dad's birthday. He turned 68 years old today. We are blessed that he is still with us and so involved in all of our lives. He has a willing heart to help when needed and has worked diligently all of his life to provide for his family.

I pray that the Lord will bless him with many more happy, healthy years to share with all of us.

Generosity of A Stranger

I have always admired people with artistic skills. I was omitted when God distributed artistic and musical talents. I am a member of an online Christian CLL group where other patients with leukemia support and encourage one another. One member posts photographs of her beautiful creations. I have always commented on her work.

Today I received a package in the mail from Maine. Pat (member of the CLL Christian Friends online group) had thought of me and assembled a lovely assortment of craft and sewing supplies. She thought of everything -- instructions, supplies, and a beautiful tapestry container with all of her gifts. I am inspired.

I marveled at the generosity of a virtual stranger. The world would be a better place if neighbors still baked and shared cakes with their neighbors and if strangers were generous like my online crafting mentor. Pat is waiting to see one of my creations, so I have an extra measure of motivation to create something worthy of her gift of supplies.

Today's challenge: Do a random act of kindness or generosity for a stranger this week.

Shocking News for Grammy

Yesterday I awoke to a call from our daughter who is expecting. She had been in an accident. An elderly lady who had open heart surgery the week before was driving herself to her doctor's appointment and rear ended our daughter. When she crashed into her, it pushed our daughter's car into the car in front of her. All of our thoughts immediately went to Lil Man (our grandson who is due in 2 weeks).

They went to the hospital and were admitted. Careful monitoring began. We rejoiced at the steady, strong heartbeat we could hear. Thankfully, our daughter only suffered the pain from being banged up in an accident. She began having contractions and we wondered if Lil Man's birthday had been advanced by the car accident. All afternoon and evening, they continued monitoring him. An ultrasound was performed on him to check on his well-being (I believe he was waving at his Grammy!)

Doctors decided to keep them overnight and by morning the contractions had ceased and they were discharged. We are grateful for God having His hand of protection over both of them. All I can say is Lil Man is a strong little boy. They were rear-ended by another driver when she was 5 months pregnant with him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

100th Blog Contribution

To celebrate my 100th contribution to my Blog, I have decided to make a list of 100 facts that you may not know about me.

1. My favorite television series is Little House on the Prairie.
2. I enjoy writing and photography.
3. I am the mother of 3 daughters.
4. I was Valedictorian of my graduating class.
5. I am a published author.
6. I love visiting the ocean.
7. My favorite color is coral.
8. I spend too much time on my laptop.
9. I love to have everything organized.
10.I home schooled our 3 daughters from elementary school through high school.
11.My husband and I only knew each other 5 months when we were married.
12.As a teenager, I was a big Donny Osmond fan and I met him and got his autograph!
13.My favorite season is spring.
14.I love to play in the snow.
15.I write grants for a nonprofit organization.
16.I was blessed to be raised in a happy home.
17.I was a softball pitcher in my younger days (fast pitch).
18.I have completed almost all of Beth Moore’s Bible studies.
19.I dislike seafood.
20.I detest leukemia.
21.I integrate many alternative/complementary therapies in my healthcare protocols.
22.I have met Larry Bird.
23.I am the only one in my family with blue eyes.
24.I pray for my family everyday.
25.I use acupuncture to help me cope with chronic pain.
26.I have a passion for inner-city ministries.
27.I decorate cakes.
28.My favorite color of cars is black.
29.I highlight my hair.
30.I’ve never lost my hair when undergoing chemotherapy.
31.My favorite band is Mercy Me.
32.My favorite Psalm is the 119th Psalm.
33.I want to learn to sew and oil paint.
34.I don’t like bridges, elevators, and amusement park rides.
35.I am claustrophobic (forget MRI’s)!
36.I try to read my Bible everyday.
37.I have naturally curly hair that I shared with our 3 daughters.
38.A pulmonary embolus nearly killed me when I was 27 years old.
39.My favorite cars are Saabs.
40.I prefer traditional decorations and furnishings in my home.
41.I am extremely sentimental.
42.I have worked in the non-profit sector before becoming too ill to work.
43.My best friend and I have known each other since I was 5 months old.
44.Access to medical information on the Internet has revolutionized my life.
45.I appreciate the works of the Impressionists (Monet, Cassatt, Renoir).
46.I collect Thomas Kinkade paintings, books, and music boxes.
47.I listen to music almost all of the time.
48.My MP3 player is full of contemporary Christian music.
49.Until my spleen enlarged due to leukemia, I could still do handsprings and flips for our daughters!
50.I’m looking for an authentic 1800’s log cabin to purchase and relocate to our property.
51.I should have been born a pioneer.
52.I prefer the New King James Version of the Bible.
53.If I could have only one prayer answered it would be that all of my family will make it to Heaven.
54.I detest gossip.
55.I like to play practical jokes.
56.I usually am reading 3 or 4 books all at the same time.
57.I insist on participating in all health care decisions that are made for me.
58.I can still shoot a 3-point shot on the basketball court.
59.I enjoy pop-up books – they bring back the child in me.
60.My favorite passage in Scripture is found in 2 Corinthians.
61.I have edited several newsletters (print and electronic).
62.I use a Neti Pot everyday to prevent chronic sinus infections.
63.I have treated my leukemia with therapies from several other countries.
64.My favorite pet ever was our beloved Golden Retriever who died 2 years ago.
65.I have directed Children’s Ministries.
66.I was saved at an Awana program for children.
67.My mind never slows down.
68.I’m an insomniac.
69.I would probably be a workaholic if I felt better.
70.In nearly 30 years of driving, I have NEVER been stopped by the police for a warning or a ticket.
71.I love to roast marshmallows over a campfire.
72.I don’t have my tonsils.
73.I do not like to fly on airplanes. I tolerate it.
74.I am passionate about holidays and making memories for my family.
75.My favorite Old Testament book is Exodus.
76.I don’t enjoy going to the movies.
77.As a child, I always said I was going to become a doctor and discover the cure for cancer. Ironic that I ended up battling cancer.
78.Our twins were only 15 months old when our youngest daughter was born. I had 3 in diapers and no family closer than 700 miles.
79.We used over 250 diapers a week for awhile and I lived to tell about it!
80.My most un-nerving flight was when I flew to Washington, DC the week after the attacks of September 11th and the flight was detained on the runway due to chemical smells on board.
81.I always search for rainbows.
82.I am a Republican (usually)!
83.I love studying American History.
84.In the pre-digital world of photography, I could develop my own photos in a dark room.
85.I send hundreds of text messages per month.
86.I like to watch reruns of I LOVE LUCY.
87.I am terrified of frogs and toads.
88.I read every Nancy Drew mystery book.
89.If I had been an Olympian, I would have been a gymnast.
90.One of my favorite DVD’s is Little Women.
91.My favorite junk food is peanut M&M’s.
92.I am a very selfless person – I always give more than I take.
93.I have strong, unshakable faith.
94.I can be strong willed.
95.I can be messy but am very organized.
96.I make lists for everything.
97.I accept things I cannot change.
98.I have read all of John Grisham’s books.
99.I detest hospital food.
100.I know I am going to Heaven when I die.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Disassembled Covered Bridge

As many of you know, I have been photographing covered bridges. Yesterday, we ran across this bridge being disassembled and moved. I thought it interesting to see the inner framing of the bridge without the traditional red wood siding.


On August 12, 1996, I had a bone marrow biopsy to determine if I had leukemia. On August 19, 1996, the leukemia diagnosis was confirmed on the biopsy report.

On August August 14, 2008, I had a biopsy to determine if I had endometrial cancer. On August 20, 2008, I learned that my biopsy report is benign!

Twelve years separated these eerily similar scenarios. Not only did the years separate the events, but I noticed the changes in my own heart, spirit, and faith. Twelve years ago, my life was saturated with fear as I awaited the biopsy report. I showed little faith as I wept and accepted the real possibility that I could have cancer.

This time around, I fought and faced this second biopsy with faith. I had learned the means to fight battles in the spiritual realm. I spoke faith over my situation and did not allow fear one step into the situation. If my mind even threatened to think about the "what ifs" surrounding a secondary cancer, I stopped myself and said, "In Jesus' Name, I am healed and whole. By His stripes I was healed." I never cried or wavered as I awaited this biopsy report. God had matured me as a believer over the course of these twelve years. For that and for this good biopsy report, I give my Lord, all the praise, glory and honor!

I also thank each of my family and friends who prayed for this good report for me. God heard our prayers.

Grasshoppers in Our Own Sight

Cancer threatens to appear as terrifying and taunting to us as the people living in Canaan appeared to Joshua, Caleb and the other spies. I read and reread this account from Numbers 13. The life lessons in this passage of Scripture are rich and current. They are inspiring and encouraging. They should serve as a lesson to all of us about fear and bad reports. Never should we place more importance on circumstances surrounding us than the Word of God.

I pray for my faith to be increased. I pray for my eyes to focus only on the strength and promises of God and not on the bad reports and circumstances surrounding me. Increased faith flattens fear. Increased faith tramples threats.

God Himself had spoken to these men and given them their marching orders. They were to go survey the land of Canann (that had been promised by God to them) and return with a report. In Verse 1 we read that God has already promised this land to the children of Israel. You might say, it was a done deal. Although this land was already Promised, Moses gave specific details of what the spies should look for on their journeys: Are the people weak or strong? Are they few or many? Is the land good or bad? Are they living in camps or strongholds? Is the land rich or poor? And he also tossed in a reminder to return with some of the fruit of the land.

As this account unfolds, the reader notes that the spies cut down one bunch of grapes but had to tote it back, hauled between poles carried by two men. Now those would be some genetically altered grapes! These gigantic grapes were certain to frighten the Israelites.

The spies return with their reports. They verify that the land is flowing with milk and honey just as God had promised. Then the reader encounters the word NEVERTHELESS ..... but ..... however – the stumbling adverb that raises the red flag to the reader and alerts us that something contrary to God’s promises is about to be spoken: “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there."

Just as suddenly as the reports of man were rattled off to the children of Israel, Caleb spoke faith-filled words with confidence:“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome.”

Circumstances and fear dominated the rest of the men’s words and deeds. They were entirely focused on the natural aspects of this situation – how strong the men were, how numerous the men were, they were not recalling that God had already promised this land to them – it was theirs to possess. Nothing would be impossible for God to achieve. Their knees trembled and their hearts hardened with fear and trepidation.

Then Verse 33 offers us one of the most enlightening quotes in Scripture. “There we saw the giants and we were LIKE GRASSHOPPERS IN OUR OWN SIGHT and so we were in their sight.”

The children of Israel had passed through the Red Sea and been delivered over and over by the mighty hands of God Almighty. Yet, when they allowed fear to focus their attention on the size of the inhabitants of Canaan and not the size and power of Almighty God, fear paralyzed them. Fear made them perceive themselves as grasshoppers rather than the Children of the Living God. And this verse also adds the important conclusion, “…and so we were in their sight”. Not only had the Children of Israel diminished their power and position but their fear also diminished their power and position in the eyes of their enemies.

Do you ever stop to meditate on how much fear is associated with cancer? A nationwide telephone survey questioned adult Americans. These participants were asked if they feared one disease more than any other, and 44 percent said yes. Of those, 48 percent cited AIDS and 47 percent named cancer.

A cancer diagnosis is often partnered with fear on the part of the patient and the family. Predictions about outcomes and survival statistics can consume a cancer patient if not balanced by the Word of God and His promises. We read this Biblical account in Numbers and marvel at the doubt and fear expressed by the Isrealites. Yet, are we no different?

God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He promises that by his stripes we are healed. As believers, we have the eternal guarantee of Heaven if our enemy (giants or leukemia) should threaten to overcome us. Let us walk in faith, perceiving ourselves as the Children of God -- not as victims of cancer, poverty, abuse, or other giants that we encounter. Let us never forget that as we perceive ourselves, so others will perceive us. Are we going to be victorious champions over life's giants or are we going to be squashed underfoot as a timid grasshopper?


The book of Exodus presents a powerful portrait of God's deliverance of His chosen people, the Israelites. In bondage by the Egyptians, God's people cry out for a savior and deliverer and God calls Moses to respond to the task. From the Israelites' miraculous protection from the devastating plagues to their miraculous flight from Egypt, we see God's hand at work. He parts the Red Sea for the community to cross and provides food for them despite their ongoing grumblings. He gives His Law, the Ten Commandments, to Moses. We witness His abiding presence and glory with the Hebrew nation as He tabernacles with them.

His chosen nation, the Israelites, were hand-picked by God through Abram's people. We witness a foreshadowing of God's future plan of redemption for mankind. He sends Moses as a savior and deliverer of His people in the book of Exodus just as He sends Jesus Christ as the Savior and Deliverer of humanity in the New Testament. And just as many today reject God's Word and disobey, so we witness the Israelites gravitating between obedience (blessings) and disobedience (curses) throughout this narrative.

Moses rises to the occasion as God's chosen instrument to lead the exodus of His people from slavery. Moses emerges as a faithful leader, interceeder, and servant. His mother and sister Miriam contribute to Moses' surviving Pharaoh's orders to kill all Hebrew babies. Moses' brother Aaron becomes Moses' spokesman and prophet. Moses and Aaron were obedient to God's call and purpose for their lives. We must also recognize Pharaoh as the antagonistic character of this account. He is against God's people and God hardens Pharaoh's heart in disobedience to God and to Moses' multiple requests.

Throughout the Book of Exodus, we see the repeated theme of God's deliverance of His children, His provision for them, the giving of the law, and the worship of the Most High God as He dwells in their presence. God provided for the Israelites despite their constant complaining, much like He provides for His unappreciative children today. We witness the glory of God and His presence in their midst when the Israelites are obedient and conversely, we witness His wrath and anger at their disobedience and practices of idolatry.

Of personal meaning to me, are the following Scriptures from Exodus:

--Exodus 3: 10: "So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

--Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

--Exodus 15:2: "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him."

--Exodus 25:18: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."

--Exodus 33:14: "The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest."

I treasure these verses as they remind me of the personal God we serve. He continues to personally call men and women to do His work here on earth. He is simply looking for willing servants who will answer His call as Moses did. He will fight my battles if I will remove my flesh from situations. I can find rest as He fights the battles of life for me. God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is nothing that the Hebrew children asked of Him and He accomplished for them that I can't ask of Him today.

Give the Gift of Life: Become A Donor

For many leukemia patients, a stem cell or bone marrow transplant is their hope for a long-term, disease-free life. Many people ask me how they can be added to the National Marrow Donor Program so that they may possibly be called upon to donate to save a life.

Visit the website of the National Marrow Donor Program at:

This website also contains information for expectant parents who may choose to donate their infant's cord blood to the Cord Blood Registry.

There is no gift more precious than the gift of life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Gift of Life: 12 Year Leukemia Anniversary

How can I ever thank God enough for the gift of life He has bestowed upon me? No matter how I strive to thank God, I cannot express to Him my gratitude for the answered prayers He has given to me.

Tomorrow, August 19th, is the date on which I was diagnosed with CLL. Tomorrow it will be twelve long years filled with treatment, infections, and complications. Yet, I can never complain about these problems when I consider how many other CLL patients have passed away. I think of PC, Sharon, Granny Barb and Melinda – all personal online “CLL Buddies” who left deep holes in my heart when their battles with the beast were lost. I still think of their families and the holes that were left when their lives ended. May God continue to mend each empty hole with His thread of comfort.

Periodically, I review the CLL Memorial List on one of the websites. How humbling it was to review how many of those lost their battles in years far fewer than twelve. I wept over the deaths of virtual strangers, yet each one’s life and CLL battle had impacted my own life and battle. E-mails and instant messages comprised our relationships, yet they were relationships built on camaraderie, kindred situations, compassion, and optimism that each would survive and defeat CLL.

Tonight, I thank the Lord for the many times He has intervened and rescued me from the grip of death. Those times have been too numerous to count. I cannot even number the days and weeks and months that I have spent in Intensive Care Units. Yet, God has always, always, always comforted my heart and pulled me through. He gave wisdom to my doctors and blessed me with a family physician who is priceless to my family and me. To this doctor, thank you seems inadequate, but it is all I can offer from my heart.

Tonight, I thank my family for what they have had to endure because of CLL and me. I never think for a moment that these 12 years haven’t been life-changing and quite difficult for all of you – my husband, daughters, parents, grandmother, aunts, best friends – all of you have hurt with me, cried with me, prayed for me, encouraged me, provided for me, and met basic life needs for me when I cannot care for myself. I’d give anything if my life had been different – more for each of you than for myself. Keep the faith and know that when I move onto my Heavenly Home, that we will meet again.

Tonight, I thank God for the online resources and online CLL patients who have instructed, inspired, educated, and enlightened me through these 12 years. First to come to my mind are Dr. Gerald Marti of the NIH and Dr. Terry Hamblin. Both of these honorable, brilliant men have generously blessed me with their time and expertise. I truly believe that when I prayed that the Lord would bless me with the physicians to direct me on the correct paths, that He answered that prayer perfectly and precisely.

I also thank PC and Chaya Venkat for their CLL Topics website. It has been a source of information unlike any other for CLL patients. Their relentless dedication to this site and the global CLL community are to be admired and treasured. Lastly, the CLLCF, ACOR, and YAHOO group members are to be counted as fellow pilgrims on this CLL journey I have been traveling for 12 years. Many of you have been helpful encouragers and I pray God will find a cure for this disease that will benefit each one of us.

What have these twelve years accomplished in my life and taught me? I KNOW God – not ABOUT God – but I know God like I probably never would have known Him without having to become so deeply dependent upon Him. I have learned to trust God and His Word as they are the only unchangeable resources in a world of variables. I know the value of life and of each and everyday. I want to shout from a mountaintop, “Don’t waste today!” I believe I am more focused on what is of eternal value. I have learned to love deeply and to never, ever give up.

Today will never return to any of us and for some, tomorrow will not arrive. Celebrate life. Celebrate today. Celebrate twelve years of life – even one that has been tarnished with the debris of leukemia.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Tomorrow I will celebrate 12 years of living with leukemia. I was diagnosed on August 19th, on a similar, hot, muggy day. This evening my husband, parents, and I traveled to our daughter's home, believing she was having a 3rd Birthday Party for our Grand-Dog, Allie. When I walked into the front door, the home was filled with family and friends. The surprise party was for me -- a Celebration of Life party. I am not easily surprised. Usually someone in our family leaks classified information and true surprise parties rarely live up to their expectations. This one was different. No leaks of clandestine information, perfect execution of all covert instructions -- it was the surprise party to top all surprise parties! To life ........

More Songs for the Soul

"Empty Me" by Chris Sligh

"You're Not Alone" by Meredith Andrews

"Undo" by Rush of Fools

"Lord Move or Move Me" by FFH

Round Barn

This is a photograph I took of a round barn
constructed in 1895.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lil Man: 24 Days and Counting!

Today our daughter and Lil Man visited the doctor. She believes he might already weigh 8 pounds! And the doctor said she won't be surprised if he is born before his anticipated arrival date. His Grammy has said that all along!

He has a little outfit to wear home from the hospital that actually says, "Lil Man" on it -- problem being, Lil Man might not fit in that newborn sized outfit.

I can't believe how fast time is passing and how Lil Man's arrival is upon us. I hope and pray I can regain some strength and stamina before his arrival (and stay out of the hospital).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Advice for Daily Living from the Book of Galatians

Walk in the Spirit.

The works of the flesh are evident which are: idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries......

The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Bear one another's burdens.

Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Let us not grow weary while doing good.

Let us do good to all.

God forbid that we should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Countdown to Lil Man

Covered Bridges

I enjoy photographing covered bridges that were constructed in the 1800's. I marvel at their construction, considering the limited amount of tools and technology available to the builders of these treasures. I thought I would share a photograph of one of these bridges dating 1878.

My Grandma

Today is a special day. My Grandma is celebrating 85 years of life. In a few short weeks, she will become a Great-Great Grandma to Lil Man. Our daughters all renamed Grandma, "Great" when they began to speak. Virtually, all of our family simply refers to her as Great now.

She has been near to me most of my life. When we lived in a different state, she continued the travels to visit our family. She cherishes her family and we are grateful for the 85 years we have been blessed to call her Great.

A Prayer for Today: August 13, 2008

Dear Jesus,

We praise you on this beautiful day. We have so much to be grateful for each and every day that we have breath in our lungs. Thank you for strengthening each of us and giving us courage to face the day. I praise you for your faithfulness to listen to the cries of Your children. You are ever-listening, all knowing and worthy to be praised!

I am reminded today of the Scripture, “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

Today, Lord, I ask that you will increase our faith. Nothing is impossible for those of us who believe. Nothing. Healing from leukemia, deliverance from addictions, and restoration for families – all are possible for those who believe. So today, more than healing for our bodies, I ask that you will increase our faith. We long to be pleasing to You. Forgive us when we fail.

This Scripture also reminds us that you will reward those of us who “earnestly and diligently seek You”. Remind us each day to seek You – not so you can just answer our long lists of prayer requests and petitions, but help us to seek You just so that we can know You better and sense Your presence more strongly in our lives.

At times, our lives seem complicated as we battle this disease. But Your Word assures us that we have rewards awaiting us – heavenly rewards. Help us to cling to the hope of eternal rewards. Let us not become disheartened in our daily walks. Let circumstances not rob of us of our joy or our hope.

Jesus, Name above all names, we love you and praise you today. Thank you for the gift of life. We shall not die, but live and proclaim the works of the Lord.

In Your Precious Name I pray, Amen

Prayer Request

Tomorrow, I will have the biopsy. Please agree with me in prayer that I will not have a secondary cancer. I am trusting that the Lord will take care of this new problem for me. My hemoglobin is very low (7.4) and most people are transfused at 8.0. I am believing that my one percent of functioning bone marrow will be able to generate enough blood cells that I will be able to avoid the transfusion. The last time I received blood, I had a serious reaction and spiked a 105 fever, so I would like to avoid that procedure if possible.

I appreciate your love and prayers.

The Phoenix Rises Again

I am home from ICU! It is always a beautiful moment to walk out of the hospital and to see the beauty of the ski, the grass, and to feel fresh air hit my face. Most of us on most days, take the very presence of air in our lungs for granted. If nothing else, this battle with leukemia has reminded me that each and every day is a genuine gift from God. Celebrate life! Take time from the hecticness of your daily lives and enjoy the simple beauties that surround you.

Some people have referred to me as the Phoenix. As many of you might know, in Greek mythology, the phoenix was a firebird. According to mythology, the Phoenix lives for 1,000 years and at the end of its lifespan, the phoenix builds a nest and it then ignites and a new phoenix arises.

I suspect, given the number of times that I have been critically ill and knocking on Heaven's door, this comparison evolved and thus, the reference to me as the Phoenix. I'm not a fan of mythology but I do believe the word of God. Some accounts that I have read of the phoenix explains that the phoenix became quite popular in early Christian art and literature. The Phoenix in early Christian symbolism represented the life, death, resurrection, and eternal life of Jesus Christ.

I know beyond certainty that the Lord has pulled from the edge of death so many times. I am humbled by the grace and mercy He has extended to me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ICU Vacation

I was admitted to Intensive Care yesterday. I have been and continue to be quite ill. I will post more details as I feel able to do so. Until then, I ask for your continued prayers. Please pray that I can avoid an impeding blood transfusion and that I will not develop any additional infections. Also, please pray against any reactions. I appreciate all of you!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Family Achievements

This week is a week of achievements for our family. Our oldest daughter, who graduated with her BSN (Bachelors in Nursing) in May will begin her first full-time nursing job at a cardiac hospital. She was born with a congenital heart defect and her passion is to help others with heart conditions. She will also begin work toward her Masters degree in the Nurse Practitioner program later this month. In addition, she holds a Health and Human Services Degree.

Our second oldest daughter (3 minutes younger than her older twin) passed her examination today to receive her Registered Dietitian credentials. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Dietetics and holds a degree as a Medical Assistant. She is pursuing a Masters Degree in Dietetics. She is very excited to have this examination behind her. She is employed by a large retirement center.

Our youngest daughter (15 months younger than our twins) is in the last month of her pregnancy with Lil Man. These nine months have flown by. She has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Leadership Development. She is employed by a national multi-media company.

I am proud of our daughters and their achievements are especially meaningful to me as I home schooled all of them from elementary school through their high school graduation. Home schooling required many sacrifices for me but it has paid off in the long run as I watch the girls succeed in so many areas of their lives.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What Cancer Has Done In My Life

Late night poetry that I created.

Broken my body
Harmed my heart
Restricted my routines
Stirred my soul
Focused my future
Altered my ambitions
Violated my vigor
Annihilated my ambitions
Robbed me of resources
Created courage
Taught me to travail
Developed determination

Provoked pain
Frustrated my family
Devastated my dreams
Inspired what’s important
Trained me to thrive
Empowered me to encourage

Muddled my mind
Sacrificed my stamina
Jeopardized my joy
Prompted me to pray
Taught me to trust
Showed me to seek.

Invasion of the Trifocals

The timing is not appreciated. Just as I am about to embark on grandmother-hood for the first time, trifocals were prescribed by the optometrist today. Talk about making me feel old and decrepit.

I had noticed subtle and slight variances in my vision. The laptop screen needed to be pulled closer and closer to the edge of the desk. When I read my Bible, the red lettered words were a struggle to decipher. And lo and behold, I sat at a restaurant with our family, attempting to read the menu by slyly pulling my glasses down my nose every so subtly, only to be told by our youngest daughter, “Mom, you look so old when you do that!” Thank you very much, I appreciate that observation.

Today I confessed to the optometrist. I told her that if I am to read clearly anymore, my nose is going to have to grow longer, so I can further slide my glasses down my nose to be able to read. It was a painful confession. Now, within a month’s time, my new title Grandma AND my new trifocals will arrive. At least I will be able to clearly see Lil Man’s face through my new granny glasses.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Touch from the Father

Days and years with leukemia have not been easy. I cry my share of tears and suffer many sleepless nights. Yet, deep in my soul I know Who is in control of my body. It is not a doctor or hospital employee. It is my Creator. He, who knew the depth of my marrow before I was born, is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I know you have heard the expression "touched by God". I never realized the personal possibilites of this expression until after I began this battle. On one Sunday morning, as we prayed at the altar, I felt strong, powerful hands on my back. Wondering who had been praying for me, I turned at the end of prayer and no one was standing behind me. When we got into our car, I asked my husband who had prayed for me and he said no one had been behind me. I told him about the sensation that someone with strong hands had touched me. And he asked me, "Do you think that God's hand would be weak?"

Months later we attended a new Sunday School class. There was a lady in the class whom neither of us had ever seen before. Again, during prayer, I sensed that strong hands were on my back and when prayer ended, no one was standing there. As the class proceeded with the lesson, the lady whom we did not know, arose from her seat and came to me. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Did you feel the power? You DO NOT NEED TO BE AFRAID." She repeated this again to me. Once in the sanctuary, I shared this with my husband. We never saw the lady again that morning or ever again at our church. I believe she was an angel -- a ministering spirit -- sent to comfort my soul that was filled with turmoil. That very night I became very ill and all through the night, her words, "You do not need to be afraid" rang in my ears and I buried them deep within my heart.

Prayer Request

I am going to have a biopsy next week. I ask for your prayers that this will not be a secondary cancer. It has been a difficult few weeks with this new complication in addition to the strain of deciding upon my next treatment.

I appreciate each of you who continues to pray for my family and me. I will update the Blog when I have the test results. I will be returning to Ohio State on August 17-18.

A Prayer for Today: August 6, 2008


I am confident that you are sitting at the right hand of our Father, interceding for each of us. Thank you for loving each of us deeply and for forgiving our shortcomings and sins.

Lord, I ask that you inspire each of us and impart the desire into our hearts to seek the lost. Help us to look outside of our own needs this week and look outward at a lost and dying world. Soften our hearts toward the lost souls. Give us words that will present Jesus to them in a way of interest to them. Help our lives to shine brightly before them. Convict our spirits when we do or say anything that might be perceived as being hypocritical.

Let each of our lives reap a great harvest of the fruits of the spirit. Through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness we will lead others to You. In all truthfulness much of what else we do with our lives has little value when compared to our orders to go and make disciples of the world.

I ask a special healing touch for those of us who are suffering. See our faith, Lord and allow healing to manifest in our bodies.

You are mighty and worthy to be praised. Our Help is in the Name of the Lord.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Top Ten Travel Destinations To Visit Before I Die

1. Alaskan cruise and rail tour ….Denali, Sail the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park
2. Vancouver British Columbia ….Canadian Rockies by rail, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort
3. The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorada at the foot of the Cheyenne Mountains
4. Disneyland …… to take our grown children back as a family to the destination where memories are made!
5. Ireland ….Sail Ireland’s West Coast, the Donegal Coast, Cahir Castle
6. Grand Teton Mountains …. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Amangani Resort
7. New England Cruise in the autumn, including visits to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
8. New Zealand ….. Waiheke Island, Karikari Peninsula’s Beaches
9. Mackinac Island …The Grand Hotel, life without cars
10. Maine ….. The Lighthouse Trail, The Kennebunks

5 Weeks and Counting

Little Man is expected to arrive in five more weeks. Actually, I have had to rename the Lil Man. At last week's doctor's appointment, he measured at 37 weeks and our daughter was only 34 weeks pregnant. The midwife said that she would guess he isn't going to weigh an ounce less than 8-1/2 pounds. So, now I call him Medium Man!

Although he will arrive and be delivered at a hospital, our daughter is under the care of two Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM). They provide very personal, attentive care with less focus on medical intervention during deliveries. Their C-Section rate is much lower than those of obstetricians.

I have double and triple checked my lists to be certain I am prepared for Lil (oops Medium) Man's arrival. We have our own nursery at our home, since I am going to be his Nanny. With the exception of some diapers and some ButtPaste (yes, there is such a thing), our nursery looks pretty well equipped. I will probably pack me a hospital bag, so that I can grab it and be ready to run when we receive the call that he is ready to make his grand entrance into this world.

I've been speaking to Lil (Medium) Man. I tell him, "This is your Grammy speaking. I will be the third person you will lay eyes on when you are born!" Then I tell him I will be the one standing in the corner of the birthing room. (I'm sure he is making mental notes of our conversations and will remember all that his Grammy has told him since he will most definitely be the smartest baby boy ever born!)

Our Grand-Pets

Until September when Little Man (our first grandchild) arrives, we have had to be content being the Grandparents of three Grand-Pets.

Holly Lynn has been our family's cat since 1992. She will be 16 years old in September. Holly lived with our family until our oldest daughter married and Holly moved with her.

Max William, a very small miniature dachshund joined Holly four years ago. They torment and tease one another. Max is a ball of energy and is a good watchdog even if he only weighs seven pounds.

Allie Olivia (aka Poo) joined our youngest daughter three years ago. Poo spends alot of time with us since the loss of our Golden Retriever. She is a German Shorthair Pointer. The first time I saw her, I didn't even know if the tiny, speckled creature was a dog or not! She is rambunctious and lovable but terrorizes kitty cats.

(You can probably guess this, but their photos uploaded in the opposite order of their introductions!)

Memorial Stones - Stone 1

"'Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone...and this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you shall answer them....that these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.'" Joshua 4: 5-7

In the book of Joshua, the people are instructed to erect a memorial made of 12 stones, as a monument to remind their children and future generations what God had brought the Israelites through during their lifetime.

Likewise, I want to "construct" with my humble words, a memorial for my daughters, grandchildren, and future generations. I want them to recognize, recall, and remember all that God did in the life of their Mother and Grandmother, and even Great-Grandmother. My prayer is that this memorial will serve as a reminder of God's faithfulness and unending love for me, for them, and for all future generations of my family.


No matter the daily circumstances, pain, bad reports, or disappointments that we have had to endure as a family, one thing has remained constant and secure. Since we have accepted Jesus as our Personal Savior, asked for forgiveness of our sins, and allowed Him to be Lord of our lives, we have been guaranteed eternal life.

Regardless of the amount of time that we are given here on earth, we are promised to live eternally in Heaven. In Heaven, there will be no more suffering, no more sickness, no more sadness, and no more disappointment. I know that the "worst" thing in the eyes of others that can happen to me, is for me to die. Yet, death will not be the final chapter for me. I cling to the promise of life eternal. It is by such promises of God that I am able to stand firm, unshaken, as all else fails and falls around me.

I cannot remain this strong and unshaken by my own strength. My body may not be able to fight infections, to take a drug without reactions, and the pain may sometimes consume me, however I will not allow my focus to rest on these circumstances. My focus remains on this Memorial Stone of Eternal Life.

As I have told our daughters so many times, when the time comes for me to leave this earth, I want them to remember that we will be separated only for a short while when compared to the time we will share together in eternity. I tell them that my death should be viewed as me departing on the best vacation of my life and on one glorious day, we will be reunited in Heaven. Now that will be a family reunion!

Trials and tribulations will come into each of our lives. That we are guaranteed. We must resolve to stand firm and not allow such trials to rob us of our peace, joy, and happiness. We must learn as the Apostle Paul did "to be content whether in plenty or in want". Our faith and focus must be on eternal hopes. For when we place all of our hope on relationships, material items, personal successes, or our own health, we will be disappointed. All of these things are fleeting and can be gone or destroyed in the blink of an eye.

For the future generations to follow me, place your focus on the eternal hopes and promises of God. They will never fail you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lucy Mae

In Honor and Memory of Lucy Mae

Our family had the joy of raising our Golden Retriever from the age of 5 weeks. She was a little ball of golden fluff when she joined our family. Our youngest daughter chose her from a litter of eight Golden puppies.

Lucy Mae joined our family and grew up with our daughters. She brought much joy and laughter to our family. She would lay beside me when I felt bad. Just her presence was comforting. As our daughters grew up and left our home, Lucy Mae was our only "child" remaining in our nearly empty nest.

She became more and more spoiled in her role as the "only child" at our home. As she aged, she began to have pain with her hips and had difficulty walking. She loved riding in the car or truck with us. Eventually, she couldn't climb into the truck, so my husband built her a ramp. She was the envy of all the senior dogs at the vet's office when she strolled down her ramp.

Unfortunately, Lucy Mae was diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2007. She only lived three weeks after being diagnosed. When she died, a tremendous hole was left in all of our hearts. She had a funeral fitting the best dog that a family could have. My husband built her a coffin and in zero degree temperatures, she was buried. One daughter brought a floral arrangement for her grave and we buried her in the midst of my favorite flower garden. As tears froze on our faces, we bid farewell to our beloved Lucy Mae.

I only hope that her furry face will greet me when I step into my Heavenly Home.

Showers of Blessings for Little Man

Yesterday was a day of celebration for our family. Our two oldest daughters held a baby shower for their youngest sister and the mother-to-be of Little Man. They did a wonderful job of organizing and planning this event. As the mother who always coordinated and planned celebrations, holidays, and birthdays, it filled my heart with pride and joy to see the twins taking the torch and hosting the event without the help of Mom. Afterwards, I told them that they had now been promoted to be the entertainment coordinators for our family. Evidently, I trained them well as everyone complimented their efforts.

Little Man received showers of blessings from many family members and friends. Over fifty people were in attendance and his upcoming arrival was celebrated by all. I must say, I've never seen one baby receive as many gifts as our Little Man received at his baby shower. He received clothes, bath supplies, toys, a bassinet, bouncy seat, baby swing, stroller, car seat, and an assortment of other baby paraphernalia. It touched my heart to see him receive his first Bible. I know the truths in that precious Book will construct the best cornerstone and foundation for his young life. I pray that I can live to influence and love Little Man and any future grandchildren that God knows that will join our family.

Nothing Separates Us From the Love of Christ

Has God ever called you to be His hands and feet in an area that is filled with visual dangers? An inner-city neighborhood replete with crime, prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, and poverty could be your next assignment. Fear could try to overwhelm you in such a location, yet the very people living in such neighborhoods are as near and dear to God’s heart as the wealthy residents of a suburban country club. Created by His hands. Molded in His image. They are no different.

What is different is our world vision of those around us. Poverty does not rob someone of the status of salvation through Christ. It cannot separate the impoverished from the love of Christ. Satan has proudly attempted to blind residents of the inner-city neighborhoods with the apparent hopelessness of their situations. As sleek, new automobiles pass their homes, they must muse that securing a bicycle for transportation seems out of reach for them and their circumstances. As their children’s stomachs growl with the pangs of hunger, anger must arise within them as they see multitudes pouring into restaurants to select whatever they want to eat. A slice of bread or a cup of milk would be a feast within the walls of their homes. The sounds of gunfire and gangster threats fill their ears. Hopeless. Helpless. Homeless.

Will you go? Or will you drive with your eyes and head turned away from the inner city neighborhood and sites as you drive to work? Will you “risk” driving your fine new automobile through the city slums of destitution? Will you “risk” stopping to share your lunch or five dollars with the homeless man on the street? Will you “risk” being rejected as you share the hope and promise of the Gospel with the lost addict or prostitute?

Rejection is a common ploy engaged by the enemy. No one craves rejection. We don’t openly go out each day, hoping that someone will put us down and reject us. It hurts. As Christians, we must grow up and go out. Time is short. The lost derelict or gangster could be gunned down tonight. Dead. Lost. Eternity forever outside of their grasp. Does that make your heart or mind uncomfortable? If it doesn’t, ask God to forgive you and to implant in your life a compassion for those in need of salvation.

I can relate these stories to you from a genuine heart that has experienced it first hand. Years back, I confess to you that there were neighborhoods that I avoided. I allowed fear to divert my travels around inner-city neighborhoods where the glances of drug dealers and prostitutes left me feeling uncomfortable. It was easier to take the “safe” route home, say a prayer for those less fortunate and return to the safety of my own home. And often times, God will call us to go to those very places of uneasiness.

In 2002, I became aware of an inner-city ministry that worked mainly with children and youth. I can recall my first timid trek to the facility. Doors locked. Say a prayer for protection. Looking over my shoulder, I raced to the door. Locked. More glances over my shoulder and around at the heartache of the neighborhood. Although my heart wanted to help these children, I was allowing fear to distort my vision and pull at my consciousness.

What began as a volunteer effort soon evolved into a job. Everyday I would journey into this inner-city neighborhood. I fell in love with the children and families we served. The more I sought God’s guidance and protection, the more boldness and courage that He gave to me. I was able to lead Chapel services for the students. I wept. We provided spiritual and actual food. Meals, food pantry services, clothing, school supplies, and tutoring.

God supplied and we worked. We worked hard, long hours for little pay. Our pay was being banked in a Heavenly account. I knew each day that the Father was smiling on us. Hungry and dirty and very sad faces greeted me each day on the job. Hugs were frequent. The smell from many of the children would linger after the hug released. Their mothers were as broken and hurting as the children. Many victims of abuse and hopelessness. To be a tool utilized by God in such desperate situations was an honor above description.

Ask yourself today what you can do that is outside of your comfort zone for God's Kingdom? The Apostle Paul traveled and evangelized in the midst of threats and dangers that most of us cannot imagine. Yet, God was His constant Companion and Protector. He will do no less for you or me.

Laughter is Good Medicine

I will share one of my most embarrassing moments. We know laughter is good medicine for our immune system, so I hope each reader will have that benefit.

I've never been one to relish wearing swimsuits in public places. We traveled a great deal as a family while our daughters were younger. And, inevitably, they would begin their chorus of, "Aw, come on, Mom, go swimming with us!"

During one vacation, the girls and my husband had all decided to go swimming late one night in the hotel pool. The pool was located in a fairly deserted area and I went out to sit in the lounge chair to watch all of them swim. Since it was so late that evening, the four of them swam happily in the large pool with no other swimmers.

As I sat and watched the fun as they splashed each other with great laughter, an inner swimmer inside me whispered, "Don't you want to join the fun?" I pondered the thought carefully. After all, it was quite late and surely no one else would be tempted to swim at that hour. So, I casually walked around the pool to the deep end and dove in the pool, clothes and all!

When I emerged from my Olympic-like dive, I could hear my family roaring with laughter. I am not a real spontaneous person, so I knew that my actions would shock them silly. My clothes were saturated and clung to me, threatening to pull me under the water. Nevertheless, I paddled and played with the girls. Then the unthinkable happened.

Somewhere from the shadows, emerged a family of six with (gasp!) swimsuits and towels. I dove under the water and headed for the deep end which was the darkest area. I allowed my head to emerge, trying to keep my shoulders under the water, so the new arrivals wouldn't notice the fully clad woman in the pool. As I began treading water, all I could think was how long this family was going to swim and require me to tread water in the deep end. Ten minutes passed. Twenty minutes passed. I felt my skin shriveling like a prune. The girls could barely contain their laughter as they would swim down to check on me. Thirty minutes passed. By this time my husband was in the lounge chair jokingly asking, "Why don't all of you get out of the pool?" Very fun I thought as I became more and more saturated to the skin.

At last, the family departed and I tiredly swam to the steps and crawled out of the pool. I had learned my lesson once and for all. Swimming pools are for people who wear swimsuits and not for fully dressed fools.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Journaling God's Word

As I continue to determine what treatment I should pursue, I have been writing in my journal the verses that seem appropriate to this situation.

"He had faith to be healed." Acts 14:9

Lord, increase my faith. See my faith.

"Whatever you ask of God, God will give to you." John 11:22

Lord, I ask You to increase my wisdom, knowledge and understanding so that I am able to make the best treatment decision.

"Do not worry about your life." Luke 12:22

Lord, forgive me when I worry, especially about my life. Increase my faith. Remove doubt from my heart and mind. Help me to trust You even more.

"He was sick almost unto death, but God had mercy on Him." Philippians 2:27

Lord, I pray that You will see the condition of my body and have mercy on me. Add years unto my life. Strengthen me.

"May the Lord give you understanding in all things." 2 Timothy 2:7

Lord, I thank You that Your Word tells me that I have the mind of Christ. No matter how difficult the decisions that I face might be, I trust that You will give me inspired understanding to arrive at the right answer.

God Bless America

Battle Hymn of the Republic

This is one of my favorite patriotic songs (hymn).

Julia Ward Howe's original version of this beloved hymn, published in 1862.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
As ye deal with my condemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.


Psalm 91:11
“For he shall give His angels charge over you…”

If one reviews both the Hebrew and Greek meanings of the word “angel” it refers to a messenger. God sent these special messengers throughout the Old and New Testaments to execute His will and purposes. Throughout God’s Word, angels are referenced. Angels are mentioned nearly 300 times in the Bible.

Today’s fascination with anything angelic often strays far from the Biblical definition and purpose of God’s created beings. All too often, individuals place all of their faith and trust in guardian angels or statues of angels. God’s plan and purpose for angels far exceeded this modern-day fascination with these winged wonders. Biblical angels are feared and of adult form, not the chubby, cupid-like form often treasured in our society. Ultimately, all care, concern and protection provided to us comes from the hand of the Father. To Him be all glory and credit for His protection and concern over each of us.

Upon review of the Bible, one can see that there are numerous angels and there are groupings of angels based on different ranks, power, and assignments. Classifications of angels include cherubim and seraphim.

Angels are spirits, but often human-like resemblances are attributed to them. Angels possess supernatural power and are often referenced as holy beings. Their tasks are numerous. Often, as I have mentioned, they are serving as God’s messengers to accomplish His work and will on earth and in Heaven.

Some people rely heavily on their “guardian angels”. While God does “employ” some angels to deliver and protect His children, no specific mention of a particular angel being assigned as a guardian angel to a specific human being is mentioned in the Bible.

Lord, I thank You that You alone have given Your angels charge to watch over my family and me. Let us be acutely aware of Your Presence and protection that is extended over our lives. Let us not perceive angels as insignificant, adorable beings but let us remember that they are mighty and powerful and are purposed to carry out Your directives and will on earth and in the spiritual realm. Amen.

Scriptures Concerning Angels:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. (I Timothy 3:16)

Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:4)

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “ Let all the angels of God worship Him. (Hebrews 1:6)

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:13)

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

For it is written: ‘ He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,' (Luke 4:10)

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10)

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind... (Colossians 2:18)

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other..... (Matthew 24:31)

Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. (Psalm 103:20)

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways... (Psalm 91:11)

The Value of Rest

In 400 BC, Hippocrates wrote:

“Rest, as soon as there is pain, is a great restorative in all disturbances of the body.”

Let this be a candid reminder to each of us to schedule rest and relaxation a prime place on our daily calendars. With life rushing by at a hectic hum, taking time to nurture and renew our bodies is critical for the pursuit of health and wellness.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Life is a Terminal Illness

Life is a terminal illness. Not long after I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 33, I went to lunch with a group of my dearest friends. The atmosphere was punctuated with the unspoken tension that surrounds the “C” word – cancer. Not their usual perky selves, I reflected on what to say to my friends to break the tension.

I spoke. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all of you have a terminal illness just like me. It’s called life.” Silence. Nervous laughter erupted from a couple of my friends. Others looked bewildered. Terminal? Yes, if you are living and breathing today you have a terminal illness. Your life will end. It will end for the cancer patient and for the youngest, healthiest athlete. It is inevitable.

Unfortunately, for most, it takes the assessment of a physician and being informed that they are “terminal” for the final chapter of life to become apparent. The life time-clock began ticking when you drew in your first breath. The sand is swiftly flowing through the hourglass of time. Fortunately, for those of us who are told how long doctors “think” we will live, we begin truly living.

Stop. If you have not been diagnosed with a terminal disease, ask yourself how differently you would live tomorrow if you were told that death was fast approaching. Would working extra hours among virtual strangers instead of your family be a priority? Would living a life focused on monetary gain be as important to you? Would you stop and consider that there could be a life after this one ends?

Questions life these shoot rapid-fire through one’s mind after being told they have a terminal disease. Yet, they are the very questions every living person needs to ask himself each day.

Personally, the realization that my life might be cut short, caused me to focus on spending everyday doing tasks of eternal value. I asked God to reveal to me (through His Word or other people) any areas of my life that needed repentance or repair. I didn’t want to die and face my Heavenly Father, unprepared for that meeting. I want to be a memory maker and legacy leaver for my family.

Life is a terminal illness. Live each day as it might be the last.

A Prayer for Today: August 1, 2008

Dear Lord,

My heart is grateful for all that you are doing in our lives. I thank you for your love and concern for each of us. It amazes me that you love each of us as a Loving Father. Today, Lord, I ask that you cement upon our hearts that very image. Help us to fully embrace the knowledge that You have imprinted each of us – your children – upon the palms of Your hands (Is. 49:16). You are an intimate God – concerned about what we are concerned about.

Help us, Father, when we doubt. Forgive us when we doubt. Fill us with faith. As we have read about Jesus and the times He healed the sick, we know that You recognize faith at work. Jesus responded to the woman with the issue of blood, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:33). Oh, how we long for You to see that type of faith at work in our lives. Continually draw us to You and Your Word. We know that “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17) so let us purpose to immerse ourselves in the work of seeking and hearing You.

Give us revelation of these truths, Lord (Eph. 3:3). If we can only fully grasp how intimately You are concerned with each of our lives, we will have renewed confidence that You are in control of this out-of-control world. When we realize how deeply You love us, we will not be troubled by the trivial, temporary problems of this life. Pull our hearts and eyes toward You, Father, and toward Heaven. Let us not be lured or disturbed by the things of this world, for they are all temporary (2 Cor. 4:18).

I ask a special touch from Your hands, Lord, for the many needs that we face. My mind cannot even begin to remember all of the sufferings and heartaches that loved ones face, but I am confident that You know each situation and each solution. I turn these concerns over to you and ask that each life be touched. I recall the needs for healing, depression, relational strains, addictions, financial concerns, and wisdom to make wise decisions. I cast these cares upon you, God (I Peter 5:7). I know You can handle them.

In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray. Amen.