May 31, 2008

1 Nurse + 1 Doctor = 1

Wrote this yesterday but an error happened and it took it all away when I tried to post it. Saturday morning now. I am about to get ready for a 75th Anniversary Tea Party with Sophie and Elaine. The boys are going to the golf tournament with Elaine's hubby Tom as Rob is working this morning. Then lunch time we celebrate 2 of our Coffee Gals birthdays. Happy Birthday Donna W. and Robyn W.! Tonight is Dinner on the Lawn at church as a part of the celebration weekend. A fun day.

Nothing can compare to the "fun-ness" of Thursday night though. My sweet friend Amber Carroll wed her love, Kent and now she is Amber Brantly. I was proud to take pictures of the union. It took place in the backyard of Amber's grandparents, and the wedding was planned in 4 days. Yes, 4 days, it can be done. And it was done simply and beautifully. Props to Lisa, Amber's mom, her Happy (grandmother), and all the aunts, who made all the preparations so well. The dads grilled the chicken and beef during the day, and there was a wedding on the lawn and a backyard mexican fajita feast. Donnie, Amber's dad, officiated the service, and did a great job. The Holy Spirit was thick and Jesus was definately smiling. I will work on the pics Monday and am hoping to have the blog post up on my photog blog Monday night or Tuesday. I will post a little note here, just to let all of you know that want to see the pics. It was a sweet day. 2 people. 2 hearts for medical missions. 1 nurse. 1 doctor. Joined as 1 to do God's work for those in need. An awesome story of God's divine plan.

We are enjoying our friends the Risse's in town this weekend. John came into preach on Sunday, so we are blessed to have a reunion with our friends. My good friend Amy and her kids are in town to celebrate also (John and Diane's daughter) So we all had a fun girls morning and lunch yesterday. I loved seeing Amy and Diane again. As it was a girls thing, Ris wasn't invited. Will look forward to seeing him today sometime. I will never forget the blessings of this family on my life.

So that is it. Look for Amber Joy's and Kents pics on my photo blog at the first of the week. Have an awesome weekend!

May 28, 2008

Jesus loves.

Wednesday night and time to hit the hay. I have not posted in a couple of days so just to catch up. Tomorrow is the last day of school. YIPPPEEE!!!! The kids and I will go get donuts for breakfast before school to celebrate. This weekend is our church's 75th Anniversary, so there will be alot of fun activities. Old fashioned singing on the lawn, Tea Party, and Miniature Golf at Primetime. Then our previous minister, John Risse, is returning to preach on Sunday.

Tonight was the last night of the 6 week series class at Highland on same-sex attraction. I was able to make 5 of the 6 classes and am so blessed. I just learned tonight that there is a website for the ministry, Christians have to step up to the plate and be Jesus to all those around us, not just those who we think have the same sins we have. We have labeled certain sins to be so shameful, even if our words are not hateful, the lack of words and silence on this issue gives the same affect, our brothers and sisters in Christ that struggle with this feel they have no where to go but outside the church to deal with their feelings. I am grateful for the men and women who shared their testimonies during this class, to help take away the shock factor, lessen the perceived phobia. They look just like you and me, they were raised in Christian homes and this was not something they chose for themselves. Once they found a safe place to share then their healing began. One of the men said, he was broken in relationship, and he was healed in relationship. I am grateful that God loves me just as much today as he did when I was walking away from Him 20 years ago. He loves us all. My struggles were not same-sex attraction, but it doesn't really matter, Satan knows what buttons to push. He actually knows us better than we know ourselves, as we just try and bury our heads as to where are struggles are. Satan doesn't bury his head, he knows very well where are weaknesses are. Jesus has won the war, we just need to follow Him to live in victory. Jesus loves all the time.

I am sorry to announce that American Airlines assured me this week that they would not be paying for my laptop that they insisited I valet check, then in turn was smashed. This letter was not as nice as the first, in fact they basically told me that I must not have understood them the first time. C'est La Vie.

Have a great Thursday.

May 23, 2008

Jack's Appt. Wrap Up

Friday morning. Jack and I had a good trip to Dallas and back. The official word on his MRI Wednesday was that his brain looks great. The scan continues to improve and his brain is tumor free. This was just a regular check-up, we go back in three months for another.
His radiologist's nurse called yesterday evening and she said that he thinks the scans are amazing, and he really believes that the Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments that we did daily for several months at the hospital really did their job well. Several of the doctors Jack saw yesterday started bringing up the possibility of plastic surgery. Move some nerves and such around from the temple area down to his cheek and mouth area and that would over time allow him to have movement back on the right side of his face. We will get a call from the surgeons staff in the next couple of weeks to set up a consultation. The effects right after surgery would be 0, but given time with a speech therapist he would learn to move that muscle in a new way and develop it in it's new place, then it would just be a natural way for his muscles to react and move along with the other side.
It will be worth a conversation with the surgeon to see what all is involved. The reason they waited until now to talk about this was because while Jack was on steroids he wasn't a candidate for any type of surgery. His immune system deficiency due to the steroids would have not been able to fight off any infection. So now he is off, he would need to be off for 2-4 months before the surgery. But because he was weaned and on such a small dose that last couple of months it might be less time.
His eyes and their tracking or lack there of were a topic of conversation with the neurologist, he was content that we are still seeing Dr. Moody for Jack's eyes and didn't set up an appt. with anyone else.

We just continue to be grateful for all of your prayers and love for our sweet Jack. All praise goes to Jesus.

May 22, 2008

Oncology Clinic Today

Jack and I are on our 2nd day in Dallas. He had his MRI yesterday. He did great. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House last night. We got lost in Dallas traffic looking for a movie theatre and decided to just head back to RMH and hang out. Jack checked out the games to play the wii only to discover that someone had stolen the player. The workers were so sad and everyone looked everywhere, but it was not to be found. We watched Daddy Day Care last night after eating hamburgers that the volunteer group prepared for all the guests. Early to bed and early to rise. We are now waiting for all the docs to make their rounds and give us the low down on Jacks MRI yesterday, then it will be back to Abilene with us. I will be twittering updates through the day so you can follow me on twitter or just check the sidebar for the latest results on Jack.

May 19, 2008

I want to be a girl like that.

I know that my header bar is gone. Don't know why, just disappeared. I put a request in for my blog design creator to take a look at it for me, but until then, if anyone knows what I need to do to fix it, feel free to post in the comments.

Last night was the first night of a Ladies Book Club that I am hosting at my house. I finished reading Walking With God several weeks ago, but this is a book that needs to be discussed it is so full of inspiration and challenges my assumptions about my spiritual walk with God. I am grateful to have a small group of women who will walk through the book together. I love to have people in my home and I love for that to be centered on the Lord. A blessing all the way around. I want to encourage you to pick up this book at the bookstore, read it through, and also be open to if the Lord calls you like He did me to enter into fellowship with a small group to discuss it, but most important live your walk with God, making the most of each day with Him.

Do you have a friend who seems to always have something negative to say? Always seems to think they know what is best? Quick to judge someone, be it by the clothes they wear or by their lifestyle? These are areas where God is working on my heart lately. I would like to say I don't ever do any of this, but unfortunately I would say that I have been wading in the pool of unrighteous words and thoughts. I would say that it is not my defining characteristic, and I would also say that I don't think I struggle with all of the questions above, maybe I struggle the most with thinking I know what is best. But that struggle can show itself through negativity, or judgemental words. This was not always a struggle with me, it seems like when I knew the least about the Lord, that I was least judgemental. But then the more I grew in knowledge, it became easier for me to think I had it all together. I think that is opposite of where God wants me. More knowledge is a dangerous thing without more wisdom, more humility, more love, more discernment. Isn't that why the Pharisee's were told by Jesus a quote by Isaiah, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain." Matthew 15:8 and then just a couple of verses later "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean?'" Matthew 15:18.

God has been calling me on this for a while now. And truthfully I have felt the call but I haven't bent my will to His. I am grateful for His mercy and patience. I am also grateful that He keeps on calling me into alignment with His expectations for myself, which are so much higher than my expectations for myself. If you will pray for me during this time of growth I would really appreciate it.

Last week in the Wednesday night class at Highland that I am attending right now there were 2 testimonials from men who had struggled with same sex attraction. Both have been delivered through God's great healing. These classes are gold. I have just learned so much. But last week one of the men said that he was seeking counseling to help him figure out why he was having these same sex attraction feelings, and the counselor asked him if he had anyone he could share this with. Is there anyone in his life that he could be open about what he was struggling with. He said that a friend of his, a girl, came to mind. He said that he had never heard her say a bad thing about anyone. She was someone who found good in all people she met. He thought if he could tell anyone it would be her. And he did and she was kind and generous with him and she helped him walk through his healing, through prayer and encouragement.
Those words convicted me deep in my heart. I want to be a girl like that. I wanted to be the person who never had anything critical to say. For whatever reason I feel like I have to say again, this is not my defining character, but maybe that is why I notice it so much. I can see the difference in my words now as compared to 10 years ago. I can see a difference and I don't like it. It is so much easier to just ride the currents of what is around you, it is so much easier to just go with the flow, and truthfully in this area you can just come across with a "holier than thou" attitude if you don't do this in God's way. I just want to be kind and generous with people, with my words, with my heart, with my thoughts. I want to be merciful and not judgemental. Just like any defining characteristics of Jesus, these things do not come naturally, they must be developed and trained in one self. And only through God's miraculous transformation do they become a real part of you, and not just something you fight every day. I am a miraculous transformation of God's and I have high expectations that He will keep on transforming me on this earth until He brings me home.

May 16, 2008

Twittering and Whispering

Do you Twitter? What is twitter...well I am so not technically gifted, but my explanation is that Twitter is a quick blogging application that works through your mobile phone or computer. If you Twitter then you can click the "follow me" button on the right and it will add me to your twittering list. If you don't twitter, well I think that is great too! It is one more way to stay in touch, but also a user of time. Don't know how long I will be a twitterer, but giving it a try.

I have forgotten to mention that there is an exhibit of children's artwork in the NICCL in Downtown Abilene. This month there is an author featured who wrote a children's book about how our bodies work. David....don't remember the last name. Anyway as an added exhibit there was a collaboration with Cook's Specialty Clinic here in town for all the kids who have gone through chemo and they were each asked to draw pictures of their bodies. Jack participated so he has a drawing up in the NICCL. I am going to try and get by to see it myself, maybe today. Jack's drawing depicted the changes in his body over the last year. He has several different versions of his body depending on where he was in the steroids weight gain and loss. It was interesting hearing about all the different kids drawings, I can't wait to see them. There are no names, just "Boy Age 9" for instance. Jack's drawing has several bodies on it and they are drawn in yellow.

Friday morning. Some weeks are busier than others and this would be one of those. I haven't really blogged about it very much but I am feeling God pulling me to him and calling me to more Sabbath. I wish I could Sabbath all day like the Jewish faith, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. And I am not sure that is where I am being called either. Sabbath's throughout the day to be in silence and prayer, considering God's word. After reading "Walking With God" I was reminded that if my time is so full of busyness and going from one place to another then I am filling my life with so much that I am not able to hear God's voice. Where He would have me focus my energies that day, who He wants me to reach out to, where He wants me to be in His word. I have realized the Rat Race is being fueled by the biggest rat of them all, Satan himself. If we can stay busy, moving, driving, always in the midst of noise, then we might miss a day listening to God and following Him. It is almost embarassing to tell someone that you are doing nothing. I am sitting in quiet in fellowship with God. My heart seeking Him, and my posture in humility communing with my Creator. The way things seem to be now, if we aren't going 90 to nothing then we are just a freak. "I just don't have time for bible study today." or maybe sarcastically thought, "Yea, I wish I had time to sit and commune in silence with God, but my life is just to busy for that." Those thoughts are second nature in us, or atleast they are in me. But I just have stopped. I have made myself stop and take time for God throughout my day. The difference it has made is great. In the midst of this busy week when I stop at different times of the day and just pray or read a scripture or just wait on the Lord and think about Him and not my next appt. I have found peace and mercy in the midst of it all. God's grace in full, finding their way into snippets of my day. I have read so many times, that the great men and women of faith have all been fueled by prayer. The more they have to do, the more time they pray, not less. I so want to be a seeking child of God. I so want to have every blessing and wonderful moment that He has in store for me, and my heart aches for the times I have been too busy to just stop and receive those blessings. But I am longing for the times ahead, and loving today, because I know that God has called me here today, he has transformed my heart to stop and listen, and I crave Him.
The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:11-13

Would you hear the whisper?

May 12, 2008

Jack is doing great.

Monday morning. What a fun weekend! We had alot of downtime this weekend. I just had one shoot early Saturday and the rest of the time was spent with my family. Saturday night we went to eat burgers and corndogs then on to see Iron Man at the theatre. It was thumbs up from all of us except Sophie. She is not really into the action and superhero type movies. But she was a good sport to sit through it with us. Gwyneth Paltrow was adorable as Pepper Pots and Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly casted as Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man. The movie was PG-13 so be sure and decide for yourself if is appropriate for your group.

Mother's Day was so much fun. All the kids made me very special gifts and Rob searched high and low and found me some of my favorite Loose Leaf Tea along with a beautiful blouse. All in all it was just nice to be with my family.

The pictures are coming out from Jenna Bush's wedding day. I loved the low key wedding, very personal and intimate. So glad that she made it her wedding day and not anyone else's idea of what her wedding day should be. I read that there have been only 22 weddings of children while their parents are in the White House. I of course was interested in who shot the pictures for the wedding and it turns out the official photographer for the White House shot the pics. I was secretly hoping they would have called me, but no such luck. I am just a mere 4 hours from Crawford, TX. Seriously though I was expecting Dennis Reggie to take the pics, he is who shot the JFK Jr. wedding, John and Caroline. But nope, the official White House photographer.

Jack is doing so well. He is at about 75% when he wakes up in the morning. Not getting sick, he is doing so well, we are so excited. He has his next MRI on May 21st then Clinic visit on the 22nd. I am so grateful to God for Jack.

Thank you for all your prayers for Jack. Please continue keeping his recovery in your prayers.

Does anyone else think that May is the longest month of the year? Other months just fly by, but the last month of school seems like it just drags by.

May 08, 2008

The Flip Flop Test

What Your Flip Flops Say About You

You are super laid back and peaceful. Not much disturbs you.

You're content with what you have in life, and you can't stand feeling worked up.

A lot of good things tend to come your way in life...

You're not too busy or stressed to let an opportunity pass you by.

Your ideal warm weather place: Hawaii

Got this from Sarah's blog. Sarah said her's wasn't real accurate, mine was spot on!

May 06, 2008

The Search for the Golden Coconut

I downloaded Sophie's theatre performance pics from last week. She is the one in the sparkly black dress. The class is called "Make a Play." The kids each decide their own character and then a story is started and together along with the teacher a play is created. Sophie wanted to be a fashion designer. The play was set on an island and was filled with a bunch of fun and crazy characters, from crabs to surfers, to princesses and super models. They did a great job. I love Sophie's face when they are taking their bow!

May 05, 2008

Ms. Dottie

Monday morning. The Ladies Retreat for Alta Mesa Church of Christ went great. The ladies who planned and decorated and were the go to girls did such a great job. Such a blessing to meet each and every woman. I am grateful to be able to travel with my friends as a bonus.

Our Shepherding Group did our WATS DAY project yesterday, along with many others who were rained out last week. It was a day of hard work for alot of people. Denise and I went in to speak to and pray with Ms. Dottie, the owner of the home our group painted. She was precious. She was a widow, legally blind, and full of spunk. She said she was 87 years old. She and two other women who all live across the street from each other are good friends. Each lost their husbands to cancer. I loved that of the 3 women, only one could see well enough to drive, but she didn't have a car. But the third widow has a car, so they all just kind of work together to get their must need errands done. What a blessing to have friends in your own neighborhood to spend time with when you are unable to get out of your house for the most part. Dottie's home was spotless, she must have the cleaning down pat, because even with her lack of vision she can keep it clean.

It was a sweet day.

Well it's a quick post. But I have pictures to edit! So off to work with me.

God bless you.

May 01, 2008

I desire Mercy.

Thursday night. Sophie had her Theatre Recital tonight. She was adorable! All the kids did an excellent job and made the audience laugh continually.

My favorite quote from Jack this week. "I wish I had lice." I said, really why is that? "Because Damion has lice and he gets to stay home from school tomorrow." Jack has summeritis he can't wait for summer vacation.

Jack is doing exceptionally well. He is still sick in the morning, but he is looking better and waking up with color in his face which is a step in the right direction. I can see that he is feeling a bit better each day. Almost 2 weeks off steroids.

The Coffee Group leaves in the morning to speak at the Alta Mesa Church of Christ's Ladies Retreat. I am so looking forward to God blowing us away like he does each time. We bring our little mustard seed and He moves mountains. Incredible.

I am about half way through with "Walking With God" by John Eldredge. I am still loving it, I pray that I am living it. God is certainly revealing more to me and has been for the last several months. There is no getting bored with God that is for sure. He will keep you hopping.

I went to a great class last night at Highland Church of Christ. Sally Gary is teaching a 6 week Wednesday night class on same-s*x attraction. It is so insightful. It is also very convicting and saddening to hear some stories about how Christians have acted with hatred and judgement and without love. The example in scripture she gave us last night was from when Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well. She was a sinner, she was an outcast. She went to the well in the middle of the day because she had been shunned by the other women. But Jesus approached her with kindness. He engaged her and he loved her right where she was. She hadn't repented and then found that Jesus loved her, he loved her first. That is the example of how followers of Christ should engage people that are struggling with sin. We are all struggling with sin after all, some of it might look a bit nicer, but to Jesus it is all sin. Love one another as Christ Jesus loves you.

I thought about my friend Carey alot last night. He and I became friends many years ago. He had a vibrant spirit and a generous nature that were apparent the first time I met him. We knew each other a bit from work, we both worked at a local grocery store. I was working nights after my day job to pay for my wedding. He was just trying to put food on his table. A couple of years went by that I didn't see him, but then one day I saw in our church bulletin that he was in the hospital. His mom was a member of our church. God put it on my heart to visit him in the hospital that day. At this point in our friendship we were merely acquaintances. I would have to remind him of my name and where I knew him from. I felt such a strong urging from the Spirit to visit him I went to the hospital, but I went with sweaty hands and a dry mouth. I didn't know how to even start a conversation. Before I opened his hospital door I prayed with tears in my eyes that God would give me words to speak. And He did. I introduced myself again to Carey, reminded him that I knew his mom and told him I had seen that he was in the hospital. He wasn't sure why I was there, I wasn't sure why I was there, but God knew. The Lord opened a door for me to share my past with him. I shared the ugliness of it all. Our sins were different but we were both sinners. And then I shared how I had been restored by God, how He sought me when I didn't want to be sought. He loved me when I didn't think I could be loved. And Carey's eyes softened towards me and he shared that he was afraid. He knew that he was not living a lifestyle that was in line with where God would want him. He didn't know if He could ever be forgiven. That day began a dialogue that lasted many years, a friendship that I treasured. My friend Carey asked that I sit with his family at his funeral before he died. I was able to spend time with him before his time on earth was done. I believe that more than anything Carey needed someone who loved Him with the love of the Lord and who pointed Him in God's direction. And I am so BLESSED that God allowed that person to be me. I must have said it a thousand times, "God loves you." Those words are powerful to someone who feels like they have walked too far away from God to be loved by Him.

People hurting, people in sin, they don't need hatred, they don't need condemnation, they need God's love and they need to enter into fellowship with people who can show them how to live out God's love. I will always err on the side of mercy, for I desire much mercy on my own head when I face Jesus.