May 31, 2007

Hello Summer

AHHHH. For whatever reason today feels like the first real day of summer. The sun is shining, the pool was sparkling, and my kids were laughing. It is a glorious day.
Dr. B. called this morning and said that he and Jack's neurosurgeon, Dr. W., both looked at Jack's MRI Scan and with their best guess, both think that the nausea is due to the increased size in the tumor, as a result of the swellling due to the radiation. They will keep Jack's previous MRI on the books for July 12th, and then again in September or October. By then they might have a better idea as to the success of the gamma knife procedure.
So there is no definitive diagnosis at this time, just keep a watchful eye, and follow Jack's progress carefully. I didn't expect anything more than what they said, but I am glad to have not heard that the tumor had grown ginormous in size. Isn't that worth a halleluiah?

Jack's nausea has subsided for the most part, I don't think it will be a regular problem, maybe more of a here and there thing. He can take Zofran to help with the nausea if needed.

All my praise goes up, to the Lord in heaven. It is His strength and His might that lifts me and keeps me strong when my mind and body are weary. When I need rest, Jesus is the restorer of my mind, body and soul. All praise to the King.

May 30, 2007

Back in Abilene

We are back from Dallas. We had a great time considering we were there for less than 24 hours. No news yet to the MRI results. The MRI took a bit longer than expected, so the results weren't ready when we met with Jack's oncologist, and we decided we didn't want to wait around the hospital any longer, so we headed home. Dr. B. was to call us when he got the results, but in the crazy busy world he lives in - out of sight out of mind, was probably the montra for the rest of his afternoon. I imagine we will hear from him in the morning.

Jack did a great job in the MRI. He is a pro at the whole deal. They have changed some of the procedures since the last time we were there, and Jack kept asking, "Why are they doing it this way?" I told him things change up and we just have to learn the new way. One thing they changed was the giving of the contrast. Contrast is something that they inject into Jack after half of the MRI is completed, it gives some "contrast" to the images, hence the name, and helps them see more information. Normally they inject it in his arm half way through, which they still did, but they have started putting an iv in everyone's arm to inject it through rather than directly into the vein. Not a big deal, but just different and it takes a bit longer to get everything set up before the MRI can start.

Jack was put in the Big Daddy MRI today. the 3.0. That doesn't mean alot to me, but the tech said it is twice as strong as the other MRI machines, is more specific, and a much stronger magnet.

The Ronald McDonald House was booked up for this visit, so I used to find a hotel in the area for a good price. I love priceline. We have never stayed at a 4 star hotel before, but I thought just for fun I would select 4 star and bid $65, and priceline took the bid and we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Dallas, the one with the big glass ball attached to it. We stayed on the 23rd floor, directly above the train station loading and unloading. We had the best view of downtown Dallas, and we got to see some really cool passenger trains. The kids had a blast, they swam and Derek worked out with Rob in the weight room. We had a beautiful room, and wonderful service. We ordered room service for dinner (Rob and I are horrible with directions and we so didn't want to get lost in downtown Dallas to find a restaurant) which was a real treat. The kids loved it. Rob pointed out that it cost more to eat dinner than it did to pay for our room. Thanks honey. It was a treat anyway, and the kids enjoyed it, and it was definately stress free.

So that was our quick trip. The weather was pretty bad this morning in Dallas so we headed home rather than stopping at the zoo, as planned, we didn't want to get caught in the storm again. So here we are, back in Abilene. I will post when I hear from the doc.

May 28, 2007

My Self Portrait

My self portrait as an M & M.

Saw this on Roxanne's blog. Go here
if you want to make an M & M.


Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve our homeland. The U.S. of A.
Today has been a good day, it has included the kids spending the night last night at their friends house. There is a family who has kids the same age as ours. And it works out great when they are all together. The kids spent the night there last night. Derek played a pick up baseball game today with his buddy and a big group of boys, Jack and Sophie played and swam with their friends. Rob and I went out for breakfast, walked the path around ACU, cleaned the house, did some laundry (in our most delightful new washing machine), edged and mowed the lawn. I made yummy vanilla ice cream, crushed up an entire package or oreo's and added it to the ice cream whence is finished churning, made some decadent homemade hot fudge sauce, defrosted some brauts, and now we are headed to Mommer's and Tom's for a cook out with homemade oreo ice cream with a hot fudge ribbon for dessert. Does life get any better?
Americana in the midst.

May 25, 2007

MRI Scheduled

Jack's MRI was scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30am at Dallas Children's Hospital. We will have a follow up with Dr. B, Jack's oncologist at noon that same day after he reads the scans on the computer. So we should have some information on Wednesday.

May 24, 2007

Summer and a prayer request + another prayer request!

Today is the last day of school. I took the kids for doughnuts this morning to celebrate. They are so excited for summer. I too am excited for summer.

I wanted to post a picture, like my computer techy friends do, of my favorite purchase for summer. But I couldn't find a picture to post, so you will just have to let me describe it to you. I went to Sam's yesterday looking for swim goggles for the kids, didn't find that, but on the same row as the swimming stuff there was this way, super cool, rolling cooler, but wait there is more, there is a large bag attached to the top, it has netting around the sides and a big drawstring that attaches to the handle of the cooler to keep it upright. The cooler is softsided so it folds down to nothing, but when opened up is a middle sized cooler, not too little, not too big, after trying it on and pulling it around Sams for a while I was 100% sold. The best $24.88 I will spend all year.

Only my friends that go to swim club with us will probably be as giddy as me about this purchase. We all tote in our huge bags (I use a laundry basket) full of towels, toys, snack's, and a cooler to keep the drinks and lunch sandwiches cold. After carrying in all the stuff to find the perfect place to sit (under the shade tree with enough loungers around for friends to join in) I feel like I am ready for a nap. Not any more! I am officially ready for the pool. woohooo.

On a less excitable note, Jack has been waking up nauseous every morning for a week. I have given it time to pass, and it is not passing. Within about 2 hours after waking up he feels great, but that first 2 hours is not fun. These are the exact symptoms Jack had for a year before his tumor diagnosis, 2 years and 1 month ago. I emailed the oncologist in Dallas and will hope to hear back from him soon. I am definately concerned. Please keep this in your prayers.


Addition to earlier post:
Jack's radiation doc called to get some facts about what is happening with Jack's nausea. He has ordered an MRI and we should probably hear back about the scheduling within the next couple of days. He said that the MRI will be to see what is going on with Jack's tumor. If there hasn't been a change in the tumor, then he is suspicious that this could be an irritation to the part of the brain that causes nausea. They told us before Jack had the gamma knife that this could be a side effect. In all cases the doctor has dealt with the nausea has eventually gone away but it could take up to a year to do it, and they would treat Jack with the anti-medics like the Zofran he was on with chemo. Will keep you posted when we get the date for the MRI.
It has been a tough morning in more than one respect, you know about cars and appliances and roof's, they break in unison. We have been driving a loaner car from our wonderful friends at Hanner Chevrolet all week while they find us a good used car or van to buy as our van bit the dust this past weekend. Then my roof started leaking about an hour and a half ago, and my washing machine just broke. Pray for me to get through today.

May 22, 2007

Laura and Justin's pics are on the photo blog.

For those of you that know Laura and Justin from church you can click on "Marcelain Photography Blog" on the right side bar to see a few of their wedding day pictures from this past weekend. They are such a special couple.

May 21, 2007

15 Bibles

Today is the first day of the last week of school. Today Jack and Sophie play in a kickball tournament for the 2nd graders and tomorrow is the volleyball tournament. I asked them both if they had ever served the ball over the net and both answered yes. They seem too small to be able to serve a volleyball, who knew? I am off to the school in a few minutes to cheer them on. Tomorrow Derek has his awards assembly first thing in the morning - 8:30am.
This will be an exciting week for all of us as we anticipate Thursday.

I have heard this quote twice from different teachers - "If you get the book of Romans, God will get you." Both men were quoting a former Theology teacher at ACU. I have loved studying Roman's it never gets boring and it is constantly keeping me on my toes and showing me where my walk with the Lord needs to improve. But the heart of Roman's is Grace. What a great book. If you haven't read it lately read it today, and tomorrow, and the next day.

A very sweet friend of mine had emailed several of her friends telling us that God had convicted her that her devotionals read from a computer screen or from a book were just not cutting it for her. He wanted her IN His word, not just reading ABOUT His word. Many years ago when I started reading the Bible I felt so overwhelmed that it was hard for me to just sit and read it, so to help me understand what I was reading many times I would read Christian Living books. There came a point that God put on my heart that it was time to put those down and focus on His inspired word to me straight from the Bible. There is a heart rejuvination that comes from reading the text that is transforming unlike any other book we might read. I love Christian Living books, I find points of view that hadn't occured to me, it is exciting to read others thoughts about their Christian walk, but none of that can compete with the REAL THING. Right now I am not in a group Bible study, so it is truly up to me to open my Bible everyday. I might say that there is no accountability because I am not in a group, but I am accountable to God. A week has gone by since I have opened my Bible and everything about me shows it, my tongue, my patience, my responses. Once your soul is nourished with the words of God, it finds it hard to function without it. Those that are not in the Word every day might not notice a difference because their hearts are not as soft, at least that is how it was for me before I studied my Bible alot, if ever.

We feed our bodies nourishment, does our soul not need the Bread of Life even more?

Thank you God for the 15 bibles in my home, in some countries families share a bible, or even whole towns share a bible, they walk miles to hear your Word, I only need to walk to my nightstand, may I grab hold of your Word and may it fill my heart, thank you for the desperate feeling I have when I am not in scripture, it reminds me to jump back in, for I can not survive one more day without it.

May 16, 2007

The Final Seinfeld Crime

I saw something on TV yesterday that made me sad. I was watching the Today show and they interviewed a 91 year old man who was severely beaten by a man who was stealing his car. That is sad enough, but the worst part was that there were a half a dozen of people one car length away that were bystanders who were watching but did nothing to help this man. No one called the police, no one went for help, which would have been the least they should have done. They could have joined together and rushed the bad guy. Were they scared? Did they even care? I don't know what was going on in their heads, but it seems to me that no matter what is happening in your head you have to push past that and help.
I can't imagine what was going through the 91 year old man's head as he was being beaten and off to the side saw people just watch it happen. In his days growing up, men were men, you took up for people who needed help. You didn't watch someone get beat without helping.
There was a show on TV last month that I didn't watch but once again saw the creator of the show interviewed on the Today show (I love me some Matt, Merideth, Ann and Al in the morning). The man who was being interviewed posed as someone in different parking lots trying to break into cars, breaking the glass, jimmying the lock... in the background were people who just stood by, no one ever even called the police. Even if I was scared and by myself I would have atleast ducked around a corner to call the police on my cell phone.
What is happening in our land?
If you remember the last Seinfeld episode, the foursome watched on as a crime was taking place and they were put in jail for breaking the Good Samaritan Rule. It seems like that is happening alot these days.

May 15, 2007

Liver and Onions

Tuesday morning. We have had a great week. The kids are counting down until the end of school. Derek told us last night at the dinner table that he would be in charge of our dinner on the last day of school to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation. Jack and Sophie had their school awards assembly yesterday morning. It is always such fun to see those cute 2nd graders accepting their certificate and shaking the principal's hand in front of a large crowd. Some march right up, walking tall, with big smiles and the other extreme of strolling along like a summer walk, kicking the ground as they go.

Jack seems to be feeling good. Since the radiation his appetite hasn't seemed the same, he has always been a picky eater. And I have always struggled with the "short order cook" meal preparer to give him food that he will eat, verses making one meal and everyone eating the same thing. I rarely have a "when I was a kid" speech for my kids. But this one area I always want to say "When I was a kid we ate what our mom cooked whether we liked it or not." We would have never been allowed to have a different meal. But I can remember sitting at the dinner table trying to gag down liver. My mom was a health food fan and the fact that liver had something like 2 million nutrients and vitamans enticed my mother to cook it every couple of months. That was not my favorite night, I would always invite my friend Suzanne over and I would sneak her my liver, she actually liked it. If she couldn't come over it was not a pretty scene at the dinner table. Other than the liver we ate what my mom cooked without much ado.

Blessings heaped on each of you.

May 09, 2007

Poppyseed Chicken

On a much lighter note...

I have decided it is time for Derek to start learning his way around the kitchen. So once a month he will be choosing the menu and preparing the meal with my help. Monday night was his first opportunity. He chose his most favorite meal, Poppyseed Chicken. In the picture he is cutting up the boiled chicken. The meal was a complete success and he was very proud eating a meal he had prepared. It was fun being in the kitchen with him. He did do about 99% of the cooking, but when he was finished and I put the dish in the oven, he washed his hands and left the kitchen. I stood in the middle of the kitchen looking at all the dirty dishes to be cleaned up from the meal preparation, counters to be wiped down, and ingredients to be put away and I laughed that it never dawned on Derek for a millisecond that there was clean up to do. I did all the clean up because I thought that his first experience should be totally positive, now next month....he will be cleaning up with me. It was a proud moment for both he and I on Monday. My baby boy has grown into an incredible young man, and he makes a mean Poppyseed Chicken.

May 08, 2007

God always brings good.

Last weekend on the television it seemed like several shows aired the home footage of David Hasselhoff, intoxicated, sitting on the floor of his Las Vegas hotel room, trying to eat. His 16 year old daughter was the one holding the camera. Apparently he had told her that if he ever "fell off the wagon" to record it so he could see himself and use that as part of a recovery program.
Watching that minute of footage brought back years of memories. As I saw Mr. Hasselhoff struggling to sit up and hold his sandwich, not being able to speak clearly, it was like a dream, like I was remembering something that I had forgotten. When I saw it the second time it was like the fog lifted. That could have been the scene from my childhood home growing up.
I am not sure when people hear the word alcoholic they picture what that looks like to the family of the alcoholic. Most people outside of my family thought my dad just liked to party a bit. He was the life of the party, charisma that walked through the door, a friend to all. There would be a line crossed many nights or even afternoons that the charisma went away and the life of the party became the guy who couldn't sit up straight or make a complete sentence, or hold a fork properly.
The damage that was and is done to the family of the alcoholic is significant. It molds the way a child thinks of him or herself to see your daddy passed out on the couch. There is a shame that hovers over that situation.
What does alcoholism look like? Ugly, shameful and embarassing.
Satan would have loved me to let that shame hover over me for the rest of my life. It took some time, but the day finally came for me to step out of the shadow of my earthly father. I had made alot of choices based on my shame and perceived self worth. I stepped into the shadow of my heavenly Father and took my self worth from Him and it was like the bar was raised, the standards were higher, the expectations were hopeful, and the love and grace that filled in the holes was more than enough to lift me to a higher ground.
I truly believe that I am a product of my raising. If I had the chance to pick a new family or new life I wouldn't change one thing, God brings good from all things. He heard my cries as a little girl, and He hears them now, and has counted each one, my choice is to find goodness in every day and be grateful for every moment because it has made me who I am today.
I think that seeing the footage on TV just opened up a part of my heart I had closed off and sometimes that can sting a little (or alot).

May 06, 2007

Spidey Recap

Well I am glad to report that Spiderman 3 was a complete success. We had good seats thanks to Rob who got there a bit earlier than us. I don't have a picture to post because Jack decided at the last minute he didn't want to go in his Spidey costume. I thought it was such a cute idea, I wish he would have. He actually wore the costume but then put a shirt over it, a spidey shirt ofcourse.

We all had fun watching the movie, except Sophie. There just was too much testosterone for her. Whenever we go see a movie as a family there is a fine line of what the boys and girls both like. Last summer Sophie and I made an agreement that we would go see something fun and girly when the boys go to see the new Pirates movie coming out.

I am grateful for my sweet family.

May 04, 2007

Jack in a Spidey Suit

The day is here. May 4th, 2007. The day Spiderman returns. Jack has been counting down to this day since last fall.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Jack and I at the roller skating rink and the tears on the side of the rink. Well, all year long Jack has been reading like a maniac to rake in those AR points. The time came to spend the points on different activities that the kids can choose from. One of the activities that Jack has had his eye on all year long is going to the skating rink. I think it was 70 points. Jack had plenty as he had saved his points all year long and not spent one, with his eye on the rink. So the day came to spend those points about a week ago. Jack told me he wanted to go to the roller skating rink with his points. Insert silent sigh here.

I reminded him that he was not allowed to skate due to his tumor and balance issues. Then reminded him gently of how the skating party went just 2 short weeks ago. And his response was that he thought he should give it another try. After taking his sweet little heart in my hands and breaking it in two, by telling him I just would not let him choose skating and that was my final answer, he cried for a good hour. Jack is not manipulative...just an optomist. All year long he thought it would work out to go to the rink, he was hugely disappointed with my ruling.

I told Jack that maybe our family could do something special as a bonus for AR. He could spend his points on the many other fun activiites and our family could do something fun to boot. Camping, Six Flags, Ft.Worth Zoo,... were all things I suggested. These are huge things by the way, they would take preparation and a ton of effort on my part. He came up with..." I would love to go see Spiderman on the day it is released, May 4th." Great, Sold, Sounds Good...I told him, we had moved past the skating rink and there were smiles again. We are picking the 3 kids up about 45 minutes early from school today (forgive me all you teachers out there), Jack will change in the van, as he will be sporting a full Spiderman suit, which he looks so cute in, and we will go see the movie. The AR activities all happen during school time, and the kids get to miss class to participate, which is why we are picking them up a bit early.

I will be sure and take a picture of our Spidey group at the theatre and post it next week.

May 03, 2007

Lysa Terkeurst

If you are checking my blog today, thanks. I feel like I haven't done a very good job of posting in the last couple of weeks.
Yesterday I was so blessed by an invitation to a Mother's Day luncheon that was hosted by Christian Homes of Abilene. My good friend Judy, (who almost got a blog once, but it ended up being a virus), invited a group of buddies to join her at her table for the luncheon. Judy's husband works at a foundation in town that seems to have a table at alot of events like this in town. So thank you Judy for the invite.

When I was invited to this luncheon the name of the speaker was slightly familiar, but I couldn't place her for sure. She has been on Oprah, Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, and she is the president of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, and an acclaimed author of 9 books.

Lysa is a perfect example of sharing the struggles of your life. We think that if we tell the truth about our past or where we are currently that we will be shunned and our friends might turn away. That we will be crumpled up on the floor if we face the depravity of our flesh, but the opposite is true. God can (and will) take the darkness that is filled with shame and shine His light on it and use it for His glory. Lysa has a story to tell of her redemption, and because she listened to God and shared her testimony, He brought good and healing to her broken life and heart.

I told her yesterday as she was signing the book I purchased, Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?, that I appreciated her more than she could know.

Her talk yesterday was about the adoption of her two teenage boys from an orphanage in Africa. A story of inspiration and encouragement. When you hear someone talk or read their story who has been so changed by God, and who has divine encounters with Him, and here is the big part, who chooses to listen and follow God's will in those encounters, it is living proof that a loving God exists and is continues to transform and work miracles in the hearts who choose to listen. Some people say that they don't believe in God, where is the proof. There is proof in the miracles of hearts that have the peace and joy only God can give. It only takes one person in your life who has been lifted from the pit of sin and transformed by the Almighty God to see that God is love.

I spoke to a college age girl last week. And she told me how she had sinned before she came to be at a Christian college, and she is too afraid to be truthful about the redemption in her life. The sinful struggles that she has dealt with. She didn't want to be looked down upon by her classmates. As she studied to learn more about God's word, so she could witness to others as to the good news of Jesus, I told her that it would be her openness about her own struggles that would witness to most people who don't know God. Non-believers don't want to hear us spouting scripture at them and telling them to change their lives or they are going to hell. It seems to me that when I had walked away from the Lord that people like that just made me want to be even more rebellious, it certainly didn't convict my heart of my sin and make me want to change to be like them. It was the gentleness of God and His conviction in my heart along with the people who were honest about themselves and their struggles that convicted me to call out to God and allow that healing and transformation to begin.

That is why I fell in love with Lysa's story from the first moment I heard her voice. It is a voice that is filled with mercy because she has been shown so much, a voice that is filled with grace, because she has been given so much, and a voice that when remembering the pain of her choices, cracked a bit because she can still remember the pain of a life living in the darkness. She is a living miracle.