Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pray for a visa

Today Tim and Nikki drive to Montreal for an interview at the consulate there, which will determine if they will receive Nikki's alien fiancee visa, and thus can proceed with their wedding. Please pray for safe travel on the 11+ trip from Sarnia to Montreal, for a good time with the home schooling family that is taking them in as strangers (this dear family is friends of one of my classical education loop members!), and mostly for success in obtaining their visa. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Sundays seem to be hard days for me. I'm not sure why this is so. It may be that because it is a day of rest, I save up a lot of weariness for that day, and it comes overflowing. It may be because I am at church and surrounded by those who love and care for me, caressed by their concern and reading their worry in their eyes, and spending the morning reassuring them. It may be because of all days of the week I miss my children most on Sundays. It may be because I have the privilege of sitting under the preaching of God's Word on Sundays, and the conviction is carries and the glory it reveals can be my undoing in these fragile emotional days. It may be that it is the end of my little break from the routine of treatment and doctor's visits. For whatever reason, I am noticing a pattern that Sunday afternoons are difficult.

Difficult, but fruitful. The weariness and alienation I feel on Sunday afternoons drives me to the foot of the cross. I can't have been created to be so alone in my failing body in this broken world: God must have a better plan. I instinctively long for it, especially on Sundays. I long for the real Sabbath rest of eternity in the presence of God.

And my dearest of husbands, Dave, seems to sense my need for connection, and spends the afternoon just hanging out with me, holding me, comforting me. I have loved him for more than 28 years, but now I see anew what an amazing gift he is to me from the Lord.

So, after a wonderful morning of worship, followed by a few difficult hours, a good cry and a nap, I am ready to have fellowship in the evening, and to face my week, renewed in the Lord, grateful for His Word and His people, and longing for things to be as God created them to be.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Normal" is a wonderful thing

Today has been a quiet sort of day--deliciously "normal". It was raining as we awoke this morning,so we took a little extra time before rising. Dave ran and I walked, and we met at the end. It was partly cloudy, cool and moist. A wonderful morning! Then we made breakfast burritos, and worked in the yard, and I worked on quilting and on details for the rehearsal dinner for Tim and Nikki's wedding. All normal, simple activities. And I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

"Normal" get lost in the shuffle of cancer. Or at least normal has to shift. Normal is now driving to treatment every week day. So a weekend off is delightful. I long for that sense of normal and ordinary, and to leave the crush of the immediacy of treatment behind me. Not long now.

I think this longing for normal is related to the longing for things as God intended them to be. And oh, how I long for that! I can really imagine laying down this weary world. I have posted the lovely words to this song before, but I will post it again, this time as one who has had to face mortality in a personal way. They are a beautiful reminder that what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!

It Is Not Death to Die
Original words by Henri Malan (1787–1864). Translated by George Bethune (1847). Music, chorus, and alternate words by Bob Kauflin

As recorded on Come Weary Saints

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

Chorus O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Beauty of friends

Today my good friend, Valerie, took me for radiation treatments. Then we enjoyed lunch together, and spent most of the afternoon just catching up and visiting. What a gift and blessing that time was!

I am very grateful for the richness of God's blessings in my friends. Many have offered to ride along with me to treatments (an hour each way), many still call or send notes or e-mails to encourage me. I am positively wealthy in friends! I praise God, and thank each of you who are showing friendship to me. It keeps me going some days!

I am beginning to hit the "regular" schedule of treatments now, and have gone two days without crying there. That's a some kind of break-through! And now I have three treatments down, 30 to go. Thanks for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One down, thirty-two to go

Yesterday I actually began my radiation treatments. It went very smoothly. I was on the table for about 40 minutes as they calibrated me, measured me, removed my old tape and marks, put on new marks and four little circles of paper tape, and gave me my first treatment: 30 seconds with the machine in one position, 30 seconds in a second position. I understand that my normal time will be about 10 minutes on the table. And two hours of commute time. *sigh*

The profound sadness that comes from the brokenness of cancer seems to all be focused on these radiation treatments for me. I can't verbalize what it is that makes me sad: I only know that as I go through the humiliating process, I find it profoundly wrong and broken. While I go through the process I pray for God's grace and mercy to bring me healing in this process, and thank Him that it is available to me. But at a soul-level, I sense the longing and groaning of my heart, and of the greater creation, to be freed from this bondage of sin and brokenness. So as I was on that table yesterday, tears ran down my cheeks, and as I got into the car with Dave, I had a good cry.

My friend Valerie told me that perhaps my goal of going without crying was the wrong goal. She may be right (as is so often the case with Valerie...) I guess the Lord has a point in these tears. He is teaching me to number my days. He is leading me to hate the results of the fall and to long for heaven. He is working in ways I will never guess, even through the humiliation of crying. And maybe my goal needs to be to allow Him to do His work in me, and in those around me, even through tears.

If I don't have to interrupt my treatment for any reason (problems with the machine, flu or other illness with me, or severe reactions on my skin) I should finish my treatments on Friday, September 5. We plan to leave for Tim's wedding on Wednesday, Sept. 10. But as a friend at church reminded me Sunday, if there is an interruption, even that will be God's good will for me, and I can trust Him there. That is no problem intellectually, and I am working on the emotional part. What an opportunity to learn to trust Him!

So, Monday through Friday for the next 6 or 7 weeks, I'll be heading to Santa Fe for my 11:15 am appointment. I am going to be having friends with me some days for emotional support, and take myself some days. Thus, this part of the journey begins.

Thank you for your continued prayers for me. Here are some specifics:
Praise God that the treatments have started and are going well, and ask that they would continue to do so.
Praise God that I can chase this cancer from my body and that my prognosis is so good.
Ask God to strengthen me in Him and to use me in the lives of others for His glory during this time.
Ask God for few side effects, effective treatment, no interruptions to treatment, and to use my tears as long as He has a purpose for them.
Ask God for safe travels during all those miles, and for quick recovery afterwards that I may have the energy to help with and enjoy the wedding.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Lovely Weekend

We enjoyed a lovely weekend: movies (Wall-E and Forbidden Kingdom), music (Albuquerque Jass Festival at Summerfest), hiking on Sandia Peak, complete with beautiful views, a walk in the forest, and a picnic), fellowship on Sunday at our sister church in ABQ, lovely sunsets, powerful storms, and good food (just to mention one, breakfast at the Frontier: green chili breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, all in a grunge-college atmosphere!) And mostly, we just enjoyed good time together. God has been so good to me!

And today I am catching up on e-mail, paying bills, doing laundry, and waiting patiently for my postponed radiation appointment tomorrow at 2:30. Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Dave!

Tomorrow we celebrate 28 years of living and loving under the grace of God. You are a tremendous blessing to me!

(If you want to see my mushy poem, look here-- but only if you have the stomach for it!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Night at the Opera

Our night at the Opera last night was lovely. (Special thanks go to our friend Richard, who generously gave us tickets!) We took our friends Ann and Victor with us, and had a lovely tailgate picnic before hand (Dave, Me and Ann at left, Victor taking the photo) We saw an excellent production of Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten. The set and staging was wonderful, and some of the voices were amazing. There were those heart-wrenching climaxes and surprising resolutions you expect in a Benjamin Britten piece, as well as clever coupling of parts and gorgeous choruses with the all-male-voices cast. It is pretty atonal for the most part, and as such, not likely my favorite opera. Even though it is a more depressing story, I think I preferred Peter Grimes. But it was a wonderful three hours of glorious music nonetheless. It made me feel so blessed by my friends... Richard, for his generosity in allowing us to get to the opera in a season I had given up any thought of doing it, and Ann and Victor to come enjoy the evening with us.

And as if this were not enough blessing, I head out tomorrow for a couple of nights away with my dear husband to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. How is it possible we have been married that long?! We are just going to a nice hotel in downtown ABQ, and will plan little trips as I feel up to it: maybe hiking on Sandia Peak, or going to the dollar movie theater, or watching old movies in the hotel room, and getting nice little meals at fun little spots. Doesn't that sound wonderful?! Indeed, God has been very good to me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The reports of my despair have been greatly exagerated...

Who was it that said the reports of their death were greatly exaggerated? (I'm sure one of you out there will know the answer to that, so I won't bother googling it...) Well, by the kindly remarks I am getting from family and friends, I am beginning to think the reports of my despair are greatly exaggerated. I am not despairing at all, as a matter of fact. I have only myself to blame, however, since the source of the concern has apparently been my blog posts. Perhaps they have been a bit too honest? Full of too many details? But let me assure everyone that while this time is a roller-coaster of emotions, and a spiritual battle ground, God is bigger and more powerful than any of the demons I struggle with in the dark. He is keeping me and sustaining me. I am trusting Him for every breath I take. My faith is growing as He meets my needs and piles on blessings.

But all that is not to say that this isn't an emotional roller coaster of a time. I have tried to be honest here about my struggles for a couple of reasons. One is that it helps me to process things and preach to myself. The other is that I hope it will help others who are struggling to know they are not alone. Sometimes in our Christian subculture, we try to paint rosy pictures of conquered fears and peace and rest where it doesn't really exist. Anyone who is facing a real threat to their mortal life experiences the effects of stress, even if they are handling it in a good and godly way. And I am here to tell you that coming to grips with death in a general way is one thing: facing it very specifically and personally is another. Honestly requires me to say this is the battle of my life and for my life, and sometimes it's dirty and difficult. That doesn't change the fact that God is bigger than it all. The other side of that sword which cuts both ways is that God doesn't always allow us to live lives that are free from the dirty or the difficult. Dirty and difficult lives may not always be pretty to look at, but when they are redeemed, they are a beautiful thing.

So, I write here to keep you informed. I write here to deal with battle honestly. I write here because I can't help but write. And I ask, gentle readers, that you read knowing I am living a dirty and difficult life in the Shadow of the Almighty.

And now I am preparing to go to the opera-- another blessing! I'll blog more about that tomorrow. It is a particular blessing tonight, since I just received a call from the Cancer Center canceling my appointment for Monday and rescheduling it for Tuesday. Yet another delay. This made me cry as I tried to make sure that I had no choice. And I don't. I told the tech I was talking to not to take the crying personally-- that I wasn't mad at her, but couldn't do anything about the crying, so please try to ignore it. That softened her a little, and we got a new appointment for Tuesday, and ended amicably enough. The roller coaster continues, and so does God's provision.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A marked woman

That's what I am. Today I had my preparatory visit with the radiation folks. They gave me a CT scan, and several lines and "x"s with a black sharpie marker, which was then covered with tegaderm tape. Apparently, after my next appointment, I will be an even-more-marked woman. Does that mean I am remarkable? Don't answer that...

I also was told that my treatments will not start until next week. On Monday, July 21, I will have a long appointment to finish up my marking on the treatment machine and then get my first treatment. After that, they will schedule a time for me to come 32 more times. If I make every possible appointment time, my last treatment should technically be on September 4, less than one week before we should leave for Tim's wedding on Sept. 10.

I am not sure why this whole radiation thing has been so emotionally upsetting to me. Every time I have gone to that office I find myself in tears. It is partly because they control my life and give me no choices (you show up when they tell you to, do what they say, etc.) Those of you who know me know I am a control freak, and like to plan everything out. So this is vexing to me. And perhaps it has something to do with feeling like they just marked me up like a side of beef. I definitely feel violated.

My challenge is to remember a few important things to give me perspective on all of this. First, I need to remember that it is not the radiologist or the tech "violating" me: it is the result of living in a fallen, broken world, where things like cancer violate the original plan. Secondly, I need to remember that nothing comes to my life except by my heavenly Father's permission and command. That's a big challenge when all I want to do is cry and be angry at someone. So I will need a lot of prayer support for the next 7 weeks! Here are some particular prayer requests:
~Please ask the Lord to rule over the timing of everything, and to give me the grace to humble myself beneath His frowning providence.
~Please ask that I would be a blessing to those attempting to serve me at radiation.
~Please pray that I would stop getting so upset and crying at the Cancer Center so Dave can go to work, let me go without him, and not worry about me.
~Pray that the treatments would be effective at preventing recurrence.
~Pray that there would be minimal skin damage and no damage to my lung.
~Pray that I would find blessing in this place of humiliation, and sing the praises that only the Redeemed of the Lord can sing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On processing our lives and blog comments

We all need to learn how we best process the information and emotions of our lives so that we can deal with them productively. And what a blessing that there is such variety among us as individuals!

My dear husband processes things by running. When he is overwhelmed with information or emotion, he dons his running gear, and in 7 or 8 miles, his mind is ordered and clear and he is ready to deal with life. It took me a few years to understand that this is something he needs to do, and that I, as his wife, can support him in it. Indeed, there are now times when I will suggest (sometimes more graciously than others I'm afraid) that he take a run.

I, on the other hand, being the verbal person that I am, need to process everything verbally. I can do this by talking through things to another person, or I can do it by writing my thoughts down. As I talk or write, I am able to prioritize, order, accept, submit, understand, etc. There have been such a large number of things for me to process lately that even if I had the world's most patient husband, which I just might have, I would wear out his listening skills. The same for my multitude of wonderful friends who are always willing to listen and talk. So, for me, this blog has become an important tool in processing my life.

When Dave is processing his life, he wants space and quiet and time. I, on the other hand, want to talk right now and consider and argue until I've got it all sorted out in a couple of different ways. As you can imagine, this has been a good opportunity for us to be other-centered in our marriage. Isn't God good to bring us together with a person very different from us so we can learn this? I try to give Dave space; he tries to have patience as I prattle on incessantly. I can't just speak to an empty room, because, unlike my introvert husband who craves the solitude, I am an extrovert, who at least needs a nod or a grunt from time to time. And I think that is why this blog works better for me than a journal or diary: I get feed back from many of you who read it. I get to spill my guts, and process my affairs, and you get to figuratively nod and grunt. Some of you leave comments here on the blog, some call or e-mail me, or write snail-mail, or mention it to me when you see me. These affirmations help me to feel connected and not alone, heard and supported. So thank you for all of you who read and send nods and grunts my way. They make such a difference!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em...

I saw my oncologist last Thursday. The good news is that my anemia is no more, and my iron saturation is improving. Hurrah, and thank you, Lord! She also gave me more reasons why the traditional slow-boat radiation was necessary, so that is good, too, in that our course of action is being confirmed.

I also tried to ask about possible side-effects of tamoxifen, and once again received the condescending "you should think about yourself and get counseling" lecture. This was preceded by the "Gee, I've never heard of these side effects." I've had this in many little forms when people find I do not have a full-time job. But twice now I've gotten the, "You should consider counseling or a support group. Learn to nurture yourself and think about yourself first" speech. Ugh! I was asking about side-effects that I know can exist (thanks to my dear friend Greg), but it was an opportunity for some touchy-feely, beat on the stay-at-home-woman time. In my doc's defense, I think she was trying to meet my needs and encourage me in things that would be good for me. But it was a huge crash of worldviews.

You see, after all these years, I'm getting to know myself pretty well, and I can tell you that I almost never suffer from a lack of nurturing myself. On the contrary, most of my worst problems come from loving myself too well and my God and neighbor too little! I can justify my selfish desires with the best of them. The last thing I need to do is encourage my selfish desires. I was really only trying to sort out the influence the drug might have on me...

This is the second major lecture on this topic I've been given, and both by female doctors, interestingly enough. This was the soft and friendly version. The last time was several years ago, and was not at all soft or friendly, explaining to me that I could not help but be depressed becxause I was staying at home and having nothing whatsoever to do that was meaningful (because, of course, caring for a husband and a home and serving in your church was totally meaningless.) That doc changed her tune when it turned out I really did have something off-kilter physically. My current doc didn't take that tact, but just the popular notion that women are nurturers, and they don't nurture themselves and need to. She suggested counselling, a support group, acupuncture, and massage therapy to help me nurture myself. I know she meant it well, but it just irritated me, and made me feel like I had been suddenly transported to a taping of Oprah or Dr. Phil.

And while I'm listing my irritations with doctors, let me mention that when you ask questions about side-effects within their field, they are less than forth-coming. The radiology oncologist thinks radiation is just peachy for me. My oncologist thinks tamoxifen is no big deal. Geesh. I can read, after all. Just admit it, already!

So, it was a frustrating visit. But at the samre time, what would I do without the excellent care I have received? I have a great prognosis because of a fast-acting and caring primary care, a wonderful surgeon, a competent and careful oncologist, and now people who know what they are doing in radiology. This is another place for me to be thankful.

Doctors. As I said, you can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. And have I mentioned that cancer stinks? And that every once in a while, a person who is as selfish as I am, needs to rant and rave for the world to hear?

Phew. Glad that's off my chest. Now I feel better... Way to nurture myself, eh?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On being thankful

Last night wasn't quite as good a night as I've been having. It had something to do with the fact that Dave is on travel, and I just don't sleep as well when he's gone. And it had something to do with the wonderful, energetic, fruitful day I had yesterday, which probably over-did me a bit, and left me overly tired and a little sore. Those things are the "normal" ups and downs of life. But the Enemy uses them as opportunities to tempt me to worry and fear, in the dark hours of the night, when no one else is there. So last night wasn't terrible-- I just didn't get much sleep, and spent much of the night doing spiritual battle. And then I was wide awake and ready to get out of bed before 6:00 am this morning. I doubt if all this bodes well for my state later today after I go to the post office and the oncologist, and drive to ABQ to look for a dress for Tim and Nikkki's wedding, and pick up Dave at 10:40 pm.

This morning I knew I needed to refocus, and pick up my weapons again for the battle, clean them and sharpen them and get ready for the day. So I listened to my daily bible readings (Psalms 1-3 and Acts 16), and then perused some of the blogs I read regularly. Mark Altrogge had an excellent post about thankfulness. And then as I took my 50 minute walk through arroyos and juniper, I listened to the Scripture songs found on Hide the Word 1. God's word is something to be thankful for! One of the songs is a little rendition of Jeremiah 1:12, which says:

Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it."

The thing that struck me as I walked is that the riches of God's promises in His word are some of those things the Lord is watching to perform. As His child, those promises are plentiful and substantive. So today I am trying to glorify God by thanking Him for those "exceeding great and precious promises" He has given me. And there are so many to be thankful for: there is no condemnation for me because of what Christ did; Christ will complete the work He began in me; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; my light and momentary trials are acheiving for me a weight of glory ineternity in Christ; God is faithful and will not tempt me beyond what I can bear; Christ will give me rest; all things must work together for my good because I love Christ; everything I do is an opportunity to serve Christ; God will meet all my needs in Christ.

Wow. How can I help but be thankful?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

An answer to prayer

Yesterday, Nikki received some excellent news: she has been given an interview at the consulate in Montreal for the hearing regarding her alien fiancee visa petition! Her appointment is on August 1. If she is approved at that interview, she should have her visa in 1-2 weeks, in PLENTY of time for the wedding. This is a HUGE answer to prayer, and God has been very gracious in providing it! This *should* mean (assuming she is approved at the hearing) that their wedding date of September 13 should work, and their honeymoon plans should be safe. What a blessing! God is SO good!

Please continue to pray for the travel plans for Nikki and Tim to get to Montreal (about 10 hours from Sarnia, and three more from Grand Rapids). Does anyone know anyone in Montreal who could give the kids a space on their floor for the night before the interview? If so, send me an e-mail! And please also pray that the Lord would give the kids favor in the sight of the officials they will be meeting with on August 1. And, if Tim had a job by then, that would be even better!

Hurrah!!! Thank you, Lord!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

On to radiation

Yesterday Dave and I went to the radiology oncologist, and then debriefed in the evening with our dear friend Greg (radiologist and pal extraordinaire!) It was a tough day for me. The basic news is this:
  • I will go in next Monday for my evaluation and prep set-up for whole-breast radiation.
  • Soon thereafter I will start a 6.5 week, 33-treatment, traditional radiation cycle, being treated at the Cancer Institute in Santa Fe five-days a week until September. If there is no interruption (due to health issues for me) then I should finish the week before Tim and Nikki's wedding.
  • I am allowed to drive myself, and have the possibility at least of small side-effects (fatigue, sunburn-like skin issues).
  • Our hope for the accelerated partial-breast irradiation was nixed by the doc as she feels I am "too young" (!!!). They only have 10 years of data for the new treatment, and in those 10 years the outcomes are the same as for whole-breast irradiation. But because there is no data beyond 10 years, and my life-expectancy should exceed that, she is discouraging us from that option. Instead, she wants us to take the "safe" route of standard-of-care in our treatment. She does this treatment with older women. So, for the current time, we are going along with that, while continuing to pray and think about it.
So, that doesn't sound so bad, nor very unexpected. Why was it such a difficult day for me? I think I have had a couple weeks of recuperating and not thinking about the battle. It's been kind of nice. Additionally, I really think the tamoxifen makes me weary, and possibly a little emotionally unstable. This was confirmed by Greg, who told me that they use higher doses of tamoxifen to help manic-depressive folks to come "down" and be able to sleep: it alters brain chemistry. So, yesterday, I had an emotional crash with no intellectual reason for it, and knowing that it is a side-effect from the drugs helps me to know I'm not losing my mind altogether! It's so hard to decide what effect is from the surgeries, what is from the stress, what is from the cancer, what is from the drugs... and I guess all this reminds me of the battle I'm fighting. That is sometimes a tough reminder.

On Sunday, as we discussed prayer in our Sunday school class, Dave brought up as an example that he has had to pray for both my healing if it is God's will, and for God's will if it is not for my healing. It is God's will we want, not our own only. It is sobering, but it is good to remember that our time is limited here, and we don't control the beginning nor the end of it. It encourages me to remember that those things we see here are temporary, and start paying closer attention to the eternal. And that is a good thing. As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Here are some specific prayer requests, if you would do me the honor of praying for me!
  • Please pray that I would find ways to continue to fix my eyes on Jesus in the ups and downs of this trial, remembering to make a priority of the things that are eternal.
  • Please ask for effective treatment of the cancer, and as few side-effects from the tamoxifen and the radiation as possible.
  • Please ask God to help me to recognize the emotional times that are just side-effects and battle them as such, and not take them out on my family and friends. Ask that I would assemble all the weapons necessary for the spiritual battle in this fight, and use them well with the help of the Spirit.
  • Please ask the Lord to work out all the details of the upcoming wedding, and that I could be fully a part of things.
  • Please ask the Lord for the grace to humble myself under His hand in this moment, and accept the details I would not have planned with trust in Him.
Thank you for your continued prayer support. It carries me...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fireworks (within and without)

This little guy, and thousands of his friends, are my constant companions on my daily morning and evening walks. There are sometimes so many of them (holding still in the brush so you won't see them) that one can get a rather Alfred Hitchcock, Watership Down feeling of an alternate universe living in warrens all hidden from view. I guess they explain our thriving coyote population...

This morning I drug myself on a walk. I could have a lengthy organ recital if I listed all the parts of me that ache. Don't know why. Except the kids are gone, radiation is looming, and my soul is hurting, too. I had a lot more activity during the last week than I've had in a month, and today is my "crash" time, I guess. So I am working at not taking myself or my body too seriously. As I walked today, instead of taking my mP3 player, I just prayed that God would strengthen me for the day, get me through it, moment-by-moment. Then I came home and prayed with my dear husband, and cried a little, and had breakfast, and took a handful of ibuprofen. And now I am carrying on.

Today is July 4th, and for several years that has meant Ben and Tim go for fireworks, and we grill out for dinner, and we walk to Overlook Park for fireworks, and then we come back to our house with friends for dessert and our own fireworks display in the driveway. I was sure that wouldn't happen today, and if truth be told, it was sad for me. Then, Em called. She and Josh are covering the fireworks detail, and then our families will walk to Overlook together, and sit with hundreds from our little community as the sun sets on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and watch fireworks light the sky. Then we'll come home for brownies and ice cream and fellowship and explosives. What could be better than that? {Thank you, Em, for being an excellent friend to this grumpy old woman!}

And herein I see an answer to my morning prayers. The truth is, God always provides. If we can hold on or hold out until we see it, it always comes. He is faithful, and tender, and gracious, even when there are dark and lonely moments or hours or years. I am grateful to God for my achy day. I am grateful to God for my husband and friends and community and country.

Semper fidelis!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A shower of blessings, and other showers.

On Tuesday night we had a lovely shower for Nikki. My Mom, sister Gwen, and her daughters came up from ABQ/Edgewood for the event (at right). Our dear friend Kris hosted the event, helped by our dear friends Kelley and Rachel, and it was a lovely evening! If you would like to see more photos, I have uploaded the ones I took here. Many friends came and rejoiced with us, and were so very generous to Nikki and Tim!

Tim and Nikki left early the next morning, and had a fine flight to Atlanta, and then it got bumpy heading to Grand Rapids. There was such a storm over GR that the plane could not land, and circled until they started running out of gas. They were rerouted to South Bend, IN, about 15 minutes of air-time from GR. There, it was also discovered that the static arrester on the plane had been hit by lightening, so they had to wait almost 2 hours to have it replaced (while they sat in the plane on the tarmac.) Then, they took off, but still couldn't get to GR from the south, so they headed over Chicago, and up Lake Michigan, and crossed to the north of the storm, and then managed to land between storm about 40 minutes later. Then the next storm hit as they drove home from the airport, and Tim ended up floating the Subaru through one intersection in the downpour. The electricity was dfown from about 3:00 yesterday until about 3:00 this afternoon at Tim's house! We are so grateful they are safe.

And for those of you at the shower, you know what Nikki is most frightened of (thiunder and lightening) this was quite a growing experience for her!