Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recently completed projects

 I thought I'd share some recent projects that have been completed.  Above, Miss Adeline is in the outfit Elsa and i made for her when they were here last month.  Elsa made the dress and jacket, and i made the bib and did the embroidery.  it was great fun, and looks adorable on Ada!

The blanket below was made made for Baby Looker, who is now enjoying it, I hope!
 The squares below were made for a project at Margaret's Hope Chest.  You can see how some of them turned out here.
 And Dave recently completed a stool for Emma's second birthday.  I helped with the painting.  She loves it!  I also made her a basket of doll clothes and diapers and bibs and quilts, but forgot to take any pictures of those...

So we have gotten a few things done, after all!  :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

My amazing cousin, Stephanie

See for yourself, and check out Steph's work here or  here or here

KWWL.com - News

Health update

Some have asked for an update on where things stand with me, so here it goes for those dear Gentle Readers who want to keep up with the saga....
  • The blood work-up from the rhuematologist showed mostly nothing, apart from inflammation, so the default is likely sarcoidosis.
  • I still have active uveitis in the back of both eyes- one of the common places for sarcoidosis to show up.  Steroid shots behind both my eyes (talk about fun...) have bought me a little time but so far not cured it up.  I will be rechecked by the ophthalmologist the second week of September, and currently have an appointment with a uveitis specialist at UNM in ABQ the first week of October.  If the uveitis has not cleared up, we will be looking at systemic treatment of some kind. If it is left unchecked, vision damage will result, so we want to keep on top of it.
  • The result of my CT scan was good: my lungs look excellent, and my pulmonary function tests all went well.  I have one issue that I will follow-up on with my pulmonologist in October, but hopefully it is just a "nothing" to keep an eye on.
  • I see both my primary care doc and my oncologist in the next few weeks.
  • Meanwhile, fatigue is a huge factor for me.  Everything I do feels like swimming through molasses. This is also common with sarcoidosis.  I am not sure how long it will last, or what it will mean to my activity level long term.
  • I have hit some of the lowest emotional points so far for me in the past few weeks (likely related to that fatigue issue), but God continues to pull me out of such pits, and give me hope in Him.
Sarcoidosis is a mysterious disease (like all the auto-immune diseases) and often goes into spontaneous remission.  I covet your prayers that mine would do just that- go away and never return!  But in the meantime, please ask the Lord of heaven for grace to face the road before me without despair, to be hopeful and vigorous in pursuing both health and His calling.  And if His calling for me is suffering for a time, please pray that I would embrace that and bring Him honor in that as well. 

Somehow, when I started down the road of following after Christ, I imagined slaying dragons and breaking apart strongholds. Instead, I am fighting fatigue and trying to muster enough energy to get through my day. Not quite the adventure I was picturing. I need to remind myself that his plan is better for me than those dreams I once dreamed. And I need to embrace His dreams for me, and live them fully.  Will you pray for me to rest in Christ and His plans, Gentle Reader?  Thank you!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sabbath Songs

I Once Was Ignorant of Grace   by  David L. Ward

Hymn tune
KINGSFOLD (O Sing a Song of Bethlehem)

 I once was ignorant of grace
Though living in its light;
The things of earth held my embrace
And captured all my sight.
Though I was blind and dead in sin
In love You called to me
And gave my heart new life within,
New eyes Your grace to see.

The Spirit then revealed to me
My heart was fully tinged
With strife and boundless enmity
That soon would be avenged.
But then I saw a God of grace
So eager to forgive
He let His Son die in my place
That in Him I might live.

My heart was changed – I then admired
The One I caused such loss
For all that Justice had required
Was finished on the cross.
The Savior then became to me
My joy and all-in-all
And now into eternity
Will never let me fall.

My soul must overflow in song
Each time I call to mind
That to my Jesus I belong
When judgment I should find.
O grant that I might always weep
Because of mercy shown
To one whose treason runs so deep
Yet now is called Your own.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Slumming in the slough

A friend recently commented that when I am not writing on my blog, she knows one of two things is the case-- either things are great and I am too busy to write, or things are terrible and I can't bear to write at all.  In the case of the recent lack of writing here, it is a mixture of those two things.  I have been visiting grand daughters, and preparing for the start up of a new school year- very good, busy, happy activities.  But like my old friend Christian from Pilgrim's Progress, I have been spending a fair amount of time slumming in the Slough of Despond and languishing in the dungeon of the Giant Despair.

It is a hard lesson to learn that joy is neither dependent upon nor resultant from the way I feel, but is, instead, a state of being. It is a recognition not of how I feel, but of who I am as a child of God, as one redeemed by Christ.  Joy is the fruit of fighting to live a disciplined spiritual life and preaching the gospel to yourself over and over again in the face of those things that would otherwise discourage.  And joy is found when you fix your eyes where they should be-- on Jesus-- instead of allowing them to fix on things they ought not to dwell upon-- our own pain and disappointment.

I am discovering that I have a long way to go before I can consistently avoid the slough or the dungeon.  But what I do know is that I am God's child by grace, and He can pull me out of those traps more times than I can fall into them.  Praise God, who is the Author and Perfecter of my faith. May you, too, know the wonder of His grace, Gentle Reader.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Now that you've made it through the first 53 years, I think it is smooth sailing from here! 
We love you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Composition 2

Looking for an excellent composition class based on classical principles, and geared towards junior high and early high school students?  There are openings in all sections of Composition 2 at Veritas Press Scholar's Academy online.  I teach the class along with colleagues Cindy Marsch and Jessica Sperry, and I think your students would enjoy and learn in any of the classes.  Check it out here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Emma Joy!

On this day two years ago, great joy came into our lives.  Happy Birthday, Emma Joy!  We can not imagine life without you.  And we can't wait to give you a big birthday hug later today!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On the Last One Leaving

It's that time of year again, when parents are sniffling as they pass the rooms of their children who are packing to head off to college, or feeling a tight sensation in their throats when they contemplate returning to a house without someone precious in it.  With this in mind, a friend asked recently for me to re-post an article  I wrote for our state homeschool newsletter several years ago. At the time, I had just taken my youngest son and put him on the plane to head to college.  We were following later, and would see him in a week or so.  But it felt like a big deal to me!  So, here you go, Teri.  Hope it is an encouragement to those of you with aching hearts this season, Gentle Readers!

On the Last One Leaving

This morning, I drove with my youngest child the two-hours of highway through the desert of northern New Mexico to the airport at Albuquerque.  It was the first step on his 1500 mile journey to college.  In the back of my car were two large backpacks and three large suitcases filled with most of his worldly belongings.  But the most precious assets of the boy beside me could not be found by rifling through the tee-shirts and jeans, books, posters and CDs.

This fledgling young man has been the object of my wrestling and rejoicing in prayer for more than 18 years.  The Lord called his dad and me, first with his older brother, then with him, to leave what we knew behind us and trust God in their nurturing, admonition and education.  That led us often to struggle with them, and in that struggle, we discovered that the real enemy was us: our sin, our failures, our selfishness.  God used this young man, once a child, to make me what He wanted me to be—to lead me where He wanted me to go.  And wonder of wonders, in the process this young man became my brother and my friend.  He now bears the fruit of the journey we have been on with the Lord over the course of his life.

“You know to call when you get there,” I say.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he answers.
“And you will make daily time with the Lord a priority, and get involved with a good church right away?”
“Of course, Mom,” he says with a patient smile that reminds me he has heard this before.

Then he slips off to sleep beside me as he has done a hundred times before.  That gives me a chance to thank God for him quietly, for the privilege of nurturing two young men who now begin their own journeys to stand for the cause of Christ in the world.  Now I can let my heart overflow into tears without dampening the joy of his day.  He is ready and excited.  This is a day we have anticipated, prayed for, and dreamed of together.  And yet how can it be that it has arrived, already, on this beautiful, clear morning with a brilliant sun beating upon us as it has so often done?

It can be a daunting thing to drive back to an empty home which has been full.  And yet this is one more step on that journey from a place of familiarity to a place of trust.  The struggle, sweetness and fullness of the journey behind us makes the pain of leaving it more intense, but also makes the promise of the journey to come more inviting.  As I drive through the high plains desert back towards the Jemez Mountains, I rejoice in the God who has made all things well—the earth, and all those who dwell there—and who once sent out a Son of His own. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sabbath Songs

Before the Throne of God Above

Music by Vikki Cook
Original lyrics by Charitie Lees Bancroft
As recorded on Upward

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
The Great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my Gog.

© 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Things I did today

  • I drove myself to Albuquerque this morning, found my way around two different hospital complexes, and did both successfully.
  • I remembered how good a cinnamon roll and a fresh-squeezed orange juice for the Frontier can be-- especially when you talk to one of your dear daughters-in-law on the phone as you eat
  • I was poked three times to start an IV in a vein, and twice to take a sample from an artery, without lidocain, and without moving my arm or crying. And in the end I was in better shape that the poor technicians who missed my blood vessels.
  • I got lost trying to find parking at the main library downtown, and gave up on it, and went to McDonalds instead. McDonalds has surprisingly good sweet tea, as well as free wifi.
  • I found a Curves and had a good workout in-between my two hospital trips.
  • I remembered how much I take for granted the way my sweet husband carries around all my junk: bags, backpacks, computers, etc. I missed him terribly today, and not just as my pack mule for carrying things. I am so grateful he is at work, keeping our boat afloat, and keeping the world safe for democracy. And I am looking forward to seeing him tomorrow evening.
  • I realized that I can walk and talk, or walk and cry, but not all three- I have to sit down if I am going to talk and cry.
  • All day long I have anticipated with joy meeting my youngest son for a late dinner when he passes through Albuquerque for business tonight, and the prospect of squeezing a few more visits in during this trip.
  • And I am looking forward to arriving at my parent's home tonight, thankful that they are near by, and knowing I can drop into bed exhausted, and that they will make me breakfast in the morning. Parents are such a blessing!
  • And all day long, through frustration and discomfort and laughter, I have seen glimpses of how God has gone before me.
God has given me a good day. I hope yours has been good, too, Gentle Reader!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Something out of this world

Several years back, when my youngest son, Tim, worked as an undergraduate at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he worked with his mentor, David Lawrence, and other associates, on a project called ChemCam. The ChemCam landed just yesterday as part of the Mars Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars. So, a little bit of Tim's work is now on another planet!  How cool is that?!  Well done, Tim!  And "hurrah" for all the scientists who have made Curiosity a reality.  What an amazing thing!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sabbath Songs

None Other Lamb by Christina Rossetti, 1892

None other Lamb, none other name,
None other hope in Heav’n or earth or sea,
None other hiding place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee!

My faith burns low, my hope burns low;
Only my heart’s desire cries out in me
By the deep thunder of its want and woe,
Cries out to Thee.

Lord, Thou art life, though I be dead;
Love’s fire Thou art, however cold I be:
Nor Heav’n have I, nor place to lay my head,
Nor home, but Thee.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Roller coaster days

Part of the challenge of dealing with any illness is the roller coaster of activity and emotions it takes you on.  One moment you're in waiting mode: waiting for test results, wondering how best to fill your time productively so you can keep your eyes fixed on Jesus instead of fixated on the possibilities before you. The next moment you receive a call, and you spend several frantic hours making appointments and fixing your schedule, and then another day scrambling to assemble missing pieces of documentation- films, reports, etc.  When you are on the rollercoaster, some of it may be exhilarating, but you rather look forward to the level ground you no longer have access to.

I'm on that roller coaster, and longing for the boring old level ground. I can see it, and I can sometimes imagine I am there, but then I realize we have been slowly climbing a hill and are abut to take a plunge again. How good boring old "normal" looks from afar!

God has gone before me on this ride, and He has brought things together beautifully so far.  I have seen a top rheumatologist and am awaiting results of a large amount of blood work. And now I have CT-scans and pulmonary function tests planned for Tuesday at UNM, with an appointment with a top pulmonologist for Thursday.  I will be scrambling for films tomorrow all over Northern New Mexico, and trying to figure out the best way to handle my week.  The fact that I have seen these two doctors in such short order is almost miraculous, and I am grateful.

I appreciate your prayer support, Gentle Readers.  Those prayers are like the seat belt that holds me in during the ride. By God's mercy, I am secure. If you would like specific prayers, here are a few:
  • Pray that my blood work would tell us something useful and give us direction as we proceed.
  • Pray that I could be productive and keep my eyes on Christ, serving Him and others around me, and not all-consumed with yet another illness.
  • Pray that the upcoming tests would show the docs what they need and that I would get through them well.
  • Pray for the planning and gathering that has to happen to make next week work smoothly.
  • Pray that the process threatening my eyes would be halted now without impairment to my vision.
  • Pray that my inner vision would be strong to trust God in these roller-coaster days.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Unproductive hyperbole...

I love my hometown.  I love its natural beauty.  I like its geeky people. I like its amazing history, and the things it has contributed to the world.  So I was pretty amazed when my sweet husband brought home this quote:
There is no single institution on earth that undermines the well-being of the world more than the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Northern New Mexico.
 Seems a little bit over-stated, don't you think? I mean, given the institutions this world has seen, to choose this one as the worst in the world is rather breathtaking.  If the USSR under Stalin that killed 20 million of its own people on purpose is not relevant because it no longer exists, how about nominating the Syrian government, or the Sudanese government, with their disregard for their own citizens.  But no, name instead a scientific laboratory that has given the world many major breakthroughs in every kind of science.  And after all, it is right on the top of a web site, so it must be the truth...

I am weary of this sort of over-hyped statement, no matter what the source.  It may be left or right, conservative or liberal. What ever happened to civil discourse and clear, rational thinking? I guess those are relics of a bygone day, and perhaps I am, too.  So ignore this, Gentle Reader, as the deranged ramblings of a bitter old woman.

On Friday, my little home town will be over-run by people who desire to break the law. I keep thinking that there must be something more productive they could do with their time.