Friday, July 29, 2011

Unfortunately... it's back.

On Monday of this week we learned that the lump under my husband's (empty) eye socket is cancer. We are so disappointed. If you want to follow his progress you can check this blog: It's the easiest way I know to keep lots of people informed. Please keep us in your prayers as we again walk this all too familiar pathway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reading in 2011

Here's my list for this year... so far:

Books Read in 2011

  1. Essays 1: First Series - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister) by Virginia Smith
  3. Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow
  4. Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. Drums of War by Edith Morris Hemingway
  9. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  10. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  11. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  12. Emma by Jane Austen
  13. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  14. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
  15. Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson
  16. Invisible by Lorena McCourtney
  17. The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
  18. Fated to be Free by Jean Ingelow
  19. Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli
  20. Fated to be Free by Jean Ingelow
  21. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
  22. The Heart of Rachael by Kathleen Thompson Norris
  23. A City Schoolgirl by May Baldwin
  24. Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
  25. I Have Lived A Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson
  26. Evergreen: A Christmas Tale by Richard Taylor
  27. “Hard Creek Bridge” a short story by Isaac Sweeney
  28. Dandy Detects: A Victorian San Francisco Story by M. Louisa Locke
  29. A Chance in Time by Ruth Ann Nordin
  30. Summons From A Stranger by Debra Diaz
  31. A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  32. The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade
  33. Teddy’s Button by Amy LeFeuvre
  34. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  35. The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
  36. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
  37. The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre by Ann Rinaldi
  38. April Morning by Howard Fast

Through it all

Can't get this out of my head today, which is probably a good thing!

Through it All
You are forever in my life
You see me through the seasons
Cover me with Your hand
And lead me in Your righteousness

And I look to You

And I wait on You

I'll sing to You Lord

A hymn of Love
For Your faithfulness to me
I'm carried in everlasting arms
You'll never let me go
Through it all

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ending the summer month

July is the only true summer vacation month. We teach, work in the classroom, and have meetings until mid-June and start it all over again in August, so both of those months are short. Suddenly, here we are; this is the last week of July. It's a great month for our family. Both of our sons were born in July as were two nieces and three nephews. Our wedding anniversary (#38!) is this Wednesday, and both of our sons and their lovely wives have anniversaries this month. Scott and Kass celebrated #15 the same day as Brian's birthday and Brian and Erin will celebrate #9 tomorrow, the day before ours. I love all the partying we get to do in July; it makes it an expensive month but so much fun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Sleepover

We had a day at home to wash clothes and rest before we brought two of our five grandchildren over for a summer sleepover.

We played games at home and then packed a sandwich picnic and headed down to the lake to play and eat. Sitting on the dock, the two adorables asked Grandpa all kinds of questions about snakes, mosquitoes, and water lilies.

Tired children slept well and after french toast and a few morning cartoons, we headed out to Watershed Park to hike the two-mile trail. It was gorgeous, mid-60's, sunny, and sheltered with a canopy of greenery. When a boy sees a good climbing tree, he has to climb it. It's the law of the universe.

After the hike, the smiles were even bigger than before we started. A perfect summer day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finally: Home Again

This has been an interesting and sometimes difficult week. Several months ago, my hubby noticed a lump under his (empty) eye socket. For those who don't know, T had radical cancer surgery in 2004 which resulted in the loss of his right eye/orbit. Following weeks of radiation and almost five years of quarterly, then annual visits to MD Anderson Cancer Center (the best cancer hospital in the world!), he was told to go home and live his life. He was finished. And we did. Then about a year ago, the skin graft in T's orbit started showing infection and this lump got bigger. After messing around with over the counter treatments and less than adequate medical care, we went back to Houston.

I am more than happy to say it was a good week. All the tests were negative for cancer. We also learned a lot about some of the issues T will face with the orbit. We learned that the skin graft is far more sensitive than we realized and will probably always present some issues. Six weeks of intense radiation will do that. The only awful moment came when the doctor, our fabulous Dr. Esmaeli, decided that the lump needed a needle biopsy just to confirm her diagnosis. It was extremely painful and it had to be done twice! Not fun! However, the reason it had to be done twice was that the doctor doing the procedure was unable to harvest enough cells for the lab. After the second dig, getting what he needed, he informed us that usually when cancer is present, the fluid vomits into the needle. His word, not mine. This did not happen and the initial reaction is that the lump is part of the restorative process: scar tissue, for us laymen.

So we are home again and thanking the Lord for health and a future. I am grateful every single day, that I can grow old with his man, my high school boy friend, the love of my life.

While we were there (in 104* temps!) we did some vacationing. We went to Galveston for the first time and returned to Spring, the site of an old-time village, full of cool stuff. We think we found a coffee table to replace our hand-me-down of 11 years. We'll see. We haven't received the medical bills yet and they promise to be significant. Not that I care - I don't care - I'll pay them off over ten years if I have to; I have my husband!

T with his new buddy in Galveston

Friday, July 08, 2011

Quiet Morning

It's Friday morning and I've been working hard all week, getting everything ready for family visitors. This is my last quiet morning for several days so here I sit in my leather recliner, coffee in hand, still in pjs, enjoying the calm. I still have a few things to do but no pressure. Unfortunately, my husband, who has been working harder and longer than I have, doesn't get a break. I wish he could have a long quiet morning too... maybe in a couple weeks.

I read something on a blog that I am sure I have seen before but never written down: "Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me, and I may be forced to love you." William Arthur Ward.

I think the encourage part is the one that sticks out to me. Many years ago, during some of our initial days in ministry, I heard a sermon or read something about encouragement changing people's lives. Since that time in Vancouver, I have really tried to take that idea to heart and intentionally plant encouragement into the lives of others. I'm not always good at it. Sometimes the critical part of me takes over and I see everything negatively, but that is really not who I want to be. I deeply desire to see the world with optimism. I want to see the potential in people, especially children, and lift them so they can become stronger and have the desire to keep moving forward. As I deal with students and colleagues, I try to ask myself, What if this person was my child, my sister, my brother? How would I want someone to respond to him/her? That helps me a lot.

As much as I want to be an encourager to others, I also want to do it for myself. I want to tell myself that I can more than I can't. I want to forgive myself for my mistakes and keep trying to do better. I want to believe that I will make a difference in the world by making a difference in the life of one child or many, the number doesn't matter so much.

So... time to get moving and start the things I have on my to do list for this day.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Summer-time Yum!

Now all we need is vanilla ice cream to go with these!
Gotta love summer in the Pacific Northwest!

Done - kind of...

We did the best we could with what we have:

We never did find the hardware for the daybed so we'll need to order some to have it ready for the next visitors. However, the den is clean and the beds are ready for a baby and her big sister. Two more big sisters will be able to claim the queen-size hide-a-bed in the living room.

The books are off the table, in the hallway bookcases, or hidden away in boxes. Dinner may now be served!

And there is no twin mattress creating chaos in the kitchen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Making changes

Right now my house is a mess and I'm sitting on the couch, blogging. This weekend our nephew, his wife, and their four daughters come for a four-day visit before they leave for a new teaching assignment in Cambodia. I need to get cracking but I'm just not sure what to do!


My hubby sweetly gave his school office desk unit to one of his assistants because she kept hurting her leg on the old one she had. That meant we moved his executive desk (read large) from home to his school office. Then we realized he needed a computer desk at school so we took the one I had used for a couple years (pro-cert), painted it black, and moved it over. That made room in the guest room for a chair. Nice.

Next we decided to put a daybed in what was once his dedicated home office. We have four girls coming and I hate putting people on the floor to sleep, even little people. Our kids brought over the frame for their daybed minus the hardware. They're looking for that in between the three extremely active adorables demanding attention, swimming lessons, and chasing after a big dog named Scout who likes to run off. I also have the twin mattress in my kitchen/family room.

The hubby had a tall three-unit bookcase that matched his executive desk so we moved two of them to the hallway (we have a super-wide hallway) and the middle one with doors to his office. It fit perfectly.

Last night, older son and family stayed for dinner because after dropping off the daybed, dad started showing his many books to son and son started packing them into boxes and my laundry basket to take home. By nearly seven o'clock, little Sierra was begging me to feed her so burgers on the grill worked quickly and satisfied her and the rest of us.

So now I have various books, knick knacks, and office supplies scattered in several rooms. I don't know where to start! Augh! I think I'll go find boxes and see if I can eliminate some of the clutter. I'll just stack the boxes in the garage. But I must say, at least the guest room is ready!