April 30, 2007

WATS Day

WATS Day 2007 is "a fait de complet." Officially any way. WATS Day is a day of community projects that several (this year 6) churches join together to complete. 15 wheelchair ramps were built, 100 tons of debris collected and placed into specially placed dumpsters, and best of all we met new friends and met some needs that blessed some very sweet people, all in the name of our sweet Jesus.

Our groups project was to scrape, paint, fix window screens, and haul away trash from a sweet older gentleman's home. He lives alone, and takes care of his grandchildren, and one of those granchildren's 6 month old baby. A very sweet family and the grandpa just can't physically take care of the big needs of his home. We started at church for a condensed version of worship, quickly lunched together at a park, then headed over to the work site. When we arrived another group was already working at the house right next door to us. The neighborhood was hopping.

Our group had about 20 people including kids in it. We scraped, the kids scraped, hauled trash, raked, trimmed bushes and trees. The rains came for a short while and drenched the group, but it didn't slow anything down, except the painting. We didn't paint the house, but for the most part it is ready to be painted when we converge back next week to finish our task. Our kids work just as hard as we do, it is a great blessing to serve together.

Thank you God for bringine my family closer in service to You.

April 27, 2007

Just a Cold...

Is it Friday already? This week has flown by. I am tellin' ya - the closer it gets to the end of the school year the busier it gets. Jack was home sick today. I thought he had a bit of a cold or allergy thing so I wasn't too worried, but then in the matter of 30 minutes I had two people ask me if I had called the doctor about it. One person I let it go, second person - and I start to think I am under-reacting to his illness. So I called the doctor, she sent us in for a CBC, so we headed to the hospital to get blood drawn. Then to the doctor's office for the check up. While we were at the doctor's office Jack got hungry, which is good that his appetite had returned, but one thing I have neglected to share with you about Jack is that when he get's hungry he ceases to function in his normal happy go lucky manner, he needs food or else things can get pretty ugly. Like a waterfall of tears, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel hungry. So we checked with the nurse to see where we were in the line up, and she thought we would have enough time to make a run through the BK drive thru which is right next door. Mission accomplished, 8 minutes later we were sitting in the doctor's office, Jack was eating chicken strips and drinking a sprite. Life was good again.

Dr. G. checked him over and thinks he might have a bit of a cold. His white cell counts were low, which means he probably has a virus like cold. So...back home via Blockbuster and a rental of Happy Feet and we were snug as bugs in our cozy home once again. I will sleep well tonight knowing that he has a normal cold.

Happy Weekend!

April 23, 2007

God's Light Can Be Seen Through Your Cracked Clay Pot

What a weekend! We had a busy couple of days around here. Doesn't it seem like the closer we get to the end of the school year the busier we get? About 6 weeks and it will come to a screeching halt and we will be sitting around the Swim Club with friends and giggling. The greatest concern will be how to preserve a pedicure while wading your feet in the pool for 25 hours a week.

Our Coffee Group (ladies speaking group) went to the most wonderful camp this weekend to share our God stories with a wonderful group of women from the Western Hills Church in Temple. We had a great time. One of the best parts about travelling to speak is meeting the Christian women, we are sista's!

My talk started out on Jack and God calling me to be joyful in HIm in the midst of struggle. My notes always have a couple of tears on them by the end. This time I felt like God was hitting me with a sledgehammer to talk about the importance of authenticity and sharing our lives. I feel SO convicted about this subject. When I moved to Abilene, I left such a sinful, mess of a life behind. The other thing I left behind was some very good friends, friends that knew me inside and out, friends that knew me and loved me. I am glad to say that I am still friends with those women and we have all grown, matured and have families. When I moved to Abilene I was in the midst of people who looked like they had never sinned once. I told the women this weekend that I walked through our church building for almost a year thinking that I was the only person that had ever sinned. Many months after I moved there, like 8-10 months, I was invited to a small group from a church in town and God's fingerprints were all over that. I joined this Home Fellowship group of real people, with real sin, and they were truthful about their struggles, but they were committed to follow Jesus. When I joined this group it took me several weeks, maybe even months to open up about the past sin, so many tears flowed but there was no condemnation, no one ran away screaming. That was the first day for the healing process to begin.

During that first year I missed my friends so much I just wanted to move home, they offered unwaivering friendship, good times, laughs, and fellowship. That first year and truthfully many years after were very lonely for me. But I knew I was doing the right thing by staying. God had moved mountains to get me here, and I told Him I would never leave Him again and that I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. And for me that was Abilene.

The good news was I sought God with ALL of my heart, there were no distractions, I was living in a home filled with love, staying with my grandparents. Even in such lonely times, I had never felt as safe as I felt at that time.

What I know now is that the more I know God, the more I read scripture, the more I obey and abide in God's word, I might look like I have never sinned to some people who don't know my past. I am thrilled to have a clean heart that was transformed by the power of Holy Spirit. Sometimes I would like to have a clean slate on the outside, it wouldn't be a bad thing (in my head) for me to just pretend like things were never ugly in my life. I could just claim the appropriate "Christian" sin of gossiping and say that God is working on that. But that is not true. In my days I am required to humble myself on a regular basis to meet people at their level in order to share the good news of our sweet Jesus. And now it seems like God wants me to share the importance of being authentic.

The men and women in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11, Abraham, Moses, Samson, Rahab... were all broken people. They were flawed and made so many mistakes. They all knew they were sinful, lacked wisdom, lacking in ability but they loved and trusted in God and allowed Him to use them to write our history. The one's that looked like they had it all together were the Pharisee's. They were flawless on the outside. But their insides were condemning, legalistic, coniving and proud. I would rather look like a mess and let God's light shine through the cracked clay pot that I am and have peace through abiding in Him, than look light I have got it all figured out and have a hard heart on the inside. Praise God.

April 20, 2007

Traveling Coffee Group

It has been a slow week for posting, sorry about that. Slow because I have had a busy week, and because nothing weird, crazy, funny, or any changes in Jack's health has happened. Those kind of weeks are few and far between. Jack did have a port flush yesterday, he has gotten to dread those. When the routine was to be stuck with a needle every week, he never dreaded it. Now that it is just once every 4-6 weeks he is not so used to it so it is a bit more traumatic to him.
I have 2 hours to get ready, pack and finish typing my talk on the computer for "The Coffee Groups" first out of town speaking engagement for a church in Temple, TX. We will be staying in Cauldwell at a retreat area. Crazy has been happening all around the women in the part of the group this week, so it will be nice for all 5 of us to load into Judy's car and head out together. We will be back tomorrow night. As I was telling the kids goodbye this morning Derek told me that Dad always takes them to fun places when I am gone. Here is hoping we all have a good weekend, and that God shines bright.

In studying yesterday I found this scripture that I love.
"They are not just idle words for you - they are your life." Deut. 32:47

April 17, 2007

The Red Brick Road

Good Tuesday. We have been busy this week, seems like it should be Friday. Alot of stuff crammed into a couple of days. The kids are all taking their TAKS tests today and for the next couple of days. Which means they get to bring a snack and a bottle of water to enjoy in class, that makes Jack very happy.
Elaine, Rob's mom told me that she was watching the Wizard of Oz with Jack a week or two ago. After Dorothy was given the instruction to "follow the yellow brick road," Jack noticed that there is also a red brick road and asked Elaine, "I wonder what would happen if she followed the red brick road." Jack is never satisfied with accepting the norm, or going along with the crowd, he is definately an analyzer, maybe he will be a scientist someday. He certainly has the mindset for it.

April 14, 2007

Disco Ball Sadness

Saturday. Jack was invited to a birthday party today at the Skating Place. Since Jack's diagnosis 2 years ago I have not let him skate. It just doesn't seem logical to me to put someone with balance issues, a skull that has been fastened back together with screws from brain surgery, and a growing tumor in their head on roller skates and say, "Be careful out there." I have not budged on this issue a bit, until today. Jack's class is full of such sweet kids and they seem to really have a special bond. All week Jack has pleaded to go to this party, and I never gave him a hard "no," just a "we will see," and then this morning my afternoon was suddenly empty due to a couple of rescheduled appts. So I had no way out. I should have just said no from the beginning, but for some reason it seemed so important to him, so I waivered.
Today I told him that we could go, but that I would have to hold his hand as he was skating, and we would just go around a couple of times. He said that would be great and that he just wanted to go to "visit."
So we got there, he got some roller skates on and together we ventured out to the rink. Due to the rolling wheels on his feet he couldn't really even get his balance once. I was basically holding his arm and he was either straining to get back up to his feet, or headed down to the ground. We rounded the first corner and I we were both worn out. So we decided to take a break and sit on the edge. There was no way he was going to even be able to stay up for a millisecond, with or without my help. So I asked him if he thought we should just head back to the starting gate and take off those obnoxious skates and play some games while waiting for the cake and presents. He looked up at me with tears streaming down his cheeks, and that set me off, tears are now streaming down my cheeks. He wanted to skate, but just physically didn't have the balance necessary due to the tumor to pull it off. So there we are in the light of the disco ball sitting on the edge of the rink both crying. It was pitiful. Pitiful I tell you. I felt like a big goofball.
We did have a fun time playing games and he beat me playing air hockey, he won enough tickets to get a couple of prizes, ate some yummy scooby-doo chocolate cake, and then the mom starts passing out tickets to the bouncy house. Did I mention I don't really let him in bouncy houses? Well I don't really let him in bouncy houses. Since when is there a bouncy house in the skating rink? So things got a bit ugly again, and I just decided it was time to throw in the towel. We both left the skating rink with our heads down wishing we had never come. Actually I was wishing we had never come, Jack was just wishing I hadn't come. He is pretty sure I ruined his day. I should have ruined his day 3 days ago and said "No, I am sorry we are not going to the skating rink." Live and Learn.

April 12, 2007

The Surreal Scoop

Hello!
Today was Jack's follow up visit with his neurosurgeon at Dallas Children's. He was the surgeon that surgically attached the frame for the halo needed for the gamma knife procedure 2 weeks ago tomorrow. He gave Jack a quick neurological exam, checked to make sure everything was working properly and talked us through the next steps. Jack passed his exam with flying colors. He was reactive everywhere that could have been damaged from the radiation. The doctor was very happy with what he saw.
Then after he checked Jack over he said that we would set a date for THE MRI. July 12th is the date. I was under the impression that the upcoming MRI would show the final results for the radiation on the brain tumor. But, apparently more often than not, there will be an increase in size of the tumor that would show up on the MRI. Dr. W. then said at that point we (being all the doctors and oncologists) freak out and get worried, then the radiologist tells everyone to cool their jets and just wait a couple more months and THAT MRI will more often than not look great, possibly shrunken a bit, but the main goal of gaining control of the tumor and keeping it from growing anymore. The radiation is causing the tumor to swell up, and it continues to work for several months doing its job, then the tumor will take it's final form.
He said the gamma knife procedure was very grueling and detailed, making sure the laser didn't touch Jack's brain stem. I just want to stop right now and thank God for these doctors who had a part in not laser beaming Jack's brainstem.
Does this sound surreal to anyone reading this, because it is surreal writing it. Laser beams, brain stems, swollen tumors, MRI's, these are words I never thought I would ever utter much less walk through with my son. But praise be to God that we are living quite normal lives and smiling more than not.
So that is the surreal scoop.

April 10, 2007

When you walk with your children...


Tuesday morning. Jack is feeling back to normal. He has a follow up visit with his neurosurgeon from the gamma knife on Thursday. It will be a quick trip to Dallas and back. We will listen to Harry Potter, that is our standard car entertainment, listening to a Harry Potter book on tape.

Over the last couple of month's in the bible class that I attend at church we have been rocked by the teachings of Dr. Royce Money, the president of ACU, and Dr. Rick Lytle, the Dean of the Business Dept. at ACU. We have just 2 weeks left I think then this series is over, we have been blessed with a study on the book of Romans. Every week I leave that class with my jaw dropped and my head swirling with so much good information and insight. It has been awesome!
Each week they encourage us to be in scripture, and this week the subject of not expecting the church to do all the training of our kids when it comes to their spiritual knowledge and love for Jesus and service to others. In fact, plainly stated, it is the parents responsibility and duty, but they will take help from where ever they can, the church, schools....how much of our time as parents is spent tossing a ball with our kids, hanging out playing board games, or just being together but not interacting because we are all busy doing our own thing? Rick and Royce were saying that we need to extend some of the effort from those other activities into study time with our kids. We have taught our kids to excell in school, sports, and dance and theatre... but how many of us actually spend time in the Word with our kids? We just expect 2 hours of Bible class and church to be all the feeding they need from the Word of God. I am hear to say that 2 hours of divine knowledge against the other however much our kids are unlearning from TV, the school playground, songs on the radio... is not enough. This was a very convicting lesson to me.

Rob and I do spend time with our kids each day in the Word, mine comes from just interaction and talking about their days and how Jesus would handle different situations they are going through, and prayer. Rob does a more formal study with them each night, he will go to the Christian Bookstore and find kids devo books and that is what he uses. He has gone through many different books, now he is on "Sticky Situations" by Betsy Schmitt. The kids love the time they have with their dad, and they get to talk through a sticky situation, come up with their solution, and then the scripture that goes along with it. It takes about 8-10 minutes a night and I would have to say it is the best 8-10 minutes of time investment in our kids all day long. The devo's are short, interesting, and fun.

As a child growing up in a very unstable home, church was a safe place for me. Everyone was nice there, I was in a place that there was love and compassion. But...those couple of hours a week did not teach me how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I learned the bible stories, but they didn't really help me when the rubber met the road in my late teens. It was what I saw at home that guided my choices, that was my normal, I saw that when there was stress or friction, my dad got drunk, when there was reason for celebration, my dad got drunk, when there was boredom, my dad got drunk. I have more memories of my dad passed out than I do the other. My mom clung to scripture, but she didn't include the kids in it as much as it was her refuge from a really hard life. So when things got rough, or I had reason to celebrate, or I was stressed out, what did I turn to? What I saw growing up.

What will my kids turn to? What they see. Do as I say not as I do, doesn't work. I want my kids to see that when things get tough God is right there to guide us through it, we can take lemons and make lemonade, and we can serve and love the people around us even when it is hard. I am far from a perfect parent, Rob and I have alot to learn, our kids will have to overcome our inadequacies as parents, but I do have a vision for the love and kindness in our house, and letting the love of Jesus be our guide with others, and each day I reach to get a bit of that vision into our reality with the help of God, prayers and family and friends. The bible says I will answer to God for the raising of my children, did I love, train and teach? I am grateful for the grace that is extended because I know I will fall short, but that will not keep me from trying.

We are on this journey together.

April 07, 2007

The Resurrection!

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, "They took the Master from the tomb. We don't know where they've put him."
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"
"They took my Master," she said, "and I don't know where they put him." After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him.
Jesus spoke to her, "Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?"
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, "Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him."
Jesus said, "Mary." Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" meaning "Teacher!"

The Message Translation verses found in John Chapter 20.

Of all the characters in the gospels that know Jesus, the ones that interact with Him, the one I most adore is Mary Magdalene. She was without hope, she was living a sinful life, she was desperate for Jesus and she didn't even know it. Then she was rescued by her sweet Jesus. She was forgiven alot, so she loved alot. She was the first at the tomb on the first day of the week, she wept the hardest, weeping so hard she couldn't hear through her wails or see through her tears that it was Jesus standing before her, not the gardener, and she rejoiced when she saw His face and heard Him call her name. I feel like I know Mary because our lives were very similar, hopeless, sinful and desperate for Jesus and not even knowing it. Because of Jesus' love for me and his kindness while he gently lifted me from my sin, I will proclaim His love until I have no breath left, just like Mary Magdalene.

Rejoice for He has Risen!!!!!

April 06, 2007

Where will you be in 3 months?

The kids and I made the Easter Rolls I posted below. They were yummy, a bit messy, as the marshmallows do have to go somewhere. They all had fun. We are kicking back today, playing some games and hanging out. Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers for Jack, he is feeling great. We go next Thursday for a quick check up with the neurosurgeon who was involved in the gamma knife procedure last week.
Jack asked when he would know if the gamma knife worked, I told him in three months when he has his next MRI. I thought about where we would be in 3 months and visions of the swim club, hanging out with friends, and eating popcorn on lawn chairs came to mind. Summertime.....

What will YOU be doing in 3 months?

April 05, 2007

Easter Rolls

Thanks to Lana who emailed this out. I haven't done this before, but I think the kids and I might make these tomorrow. An object lesson, and yummy too!

Easter Rolls


Large marshmallows melted butter
Buttermilk biscuits cinnamon & sugar



Preheat oven as directed on biscuit package. Dip the marshmallow (which represents Jesus) into the melted butter
(which represents the oil) and roll in cinnamon and sugar (which represents the spices). Place marshmallow on biscuit (which represents the linen)
And fold over, sealing edges. Bake as directed on package; oven = tomb. After baking, open the tomb and the linen will be empty!

“It is true. He is risen!” Luke 24:34

April 04, 2007

Baptismal Blessing

Tonight was a good night at church. After church we went to the elder's room and they had a baptismal blessing for Jack, Sophie and 2 other young men that were baptized in the last week. It was a very sweet night. I am grateful for our shepherds.

Easter is almost here. This week brings SO much reflection on the gift of the cross, and then the resurrection of Jesus. I heard a man on the radio today, and he said that Christianity is the only world religion that serves a risen Savior. I am sure I have heard that many times before, but today, being Easter week, I just felt so blessed to serve a risen Savior. Jesus Christ left the comfort of heaven, walked the earth, taught people the gospel, died on the cross, and 3 days later he rose from the dead. As believers of Jesus we are given the gift of eternal life, it is only through Him we get to the Father.

1 John 2:23, says "No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
An incomprehensable blessing that is hard for me to even begin to wrap my mind around. Thank you God for the gift of Your Son.

Different subject, but one more scripture, one of my very favorites. This comes from Acts 7:54, and the Pharisees are ready to stone Stephen a follower of Jesus to death.

"When they (the Pharisees) heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.""

This is the only time in scripture that Jesus is recorded to be standing next to God, normally he is sitting on His throne. But not this time, Stephen was a faithful follower, spreading the word of the Lord, and He was being stoned to death for speaking the truth, and Jesus was standing for him. It's also our first look at one of the villain's in this scene, Saul, who later after an intervention from the Lord in a blinding matter was redeemed and forgiven, given a new name of Paul, then became one of the greatest disciples. Saul a killer of Christians, is redeemed by the love of God, takes his new name Paul and spends the rest of his life proclaiming the name of Jesus.

Have a Blessed Easter Week.

Quick Update

It seems like a while since I have posted. But it has only been two days. I will make this short because it is almost time to go to Wednesday night church. Jack went to school for just over an hour on Monday, then yesterday most of the day, and today he went from the beginning to the end. He seems to be back to a good energy level. He is still waking up a bit nautious, but it isn't real bad. He seems to get over it pretty quickly.

We have Rob's dad in town and so we are staying busy once the kids get out of school each day. Yesterday we went to the mall and today Buffalo Gap Historical Museum.

I hope that this quick update finds you well.

April 02, 2007

Monday Morning

Good Monday Morning. Jack tried to go to school this morning, but didn't quite make it. He might try and go late. Now that we are home I have some anti-nausea medication, zofran, to help him with his nausea. We will see if that works. He hates missing school.

I will spend the day getting our house back to normal after our quick trip. Rob's dad will be in town to visit this week, so we are looking forward to that.

I continue to feel giddy that Jack is doing so well. Each time I think about it, my heart shouts halleluiah.

I also am continually grateful for our friends and family that have stuck to us like glue over the last 2 years. No waivering, they were and are there, whether we are celebrating or crying, they are living testimonies of the love of Jesus deposited in our lives for ever more.

We will talk again soon.