Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

All the book reports and essays have been graded.  The classes are done.  The Christmas projects that are going to be completed, are completed.  We have a little bit of snow this week, and more expected for Christmas Day.  Today I will be cleaning, baking, and wrapping.  I love Christmas!

The above quilt was sent off weeks ago to Dave's brother and family in Tennessee, and the other handmade projects have been documented for future posting.  And after a few details finished off today, I will be ready to do nothing but enjoy my family!  My children and their families arrive tomorrow evening, and my siblings and their families will be trickling in until Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day at my sister's house, we will number 24 people.  It will be crazy, loud, fun, and precious.  And I can't wait!

I am overwhelmed by the blessings of God.  I completed a semester of teaching, I have an abundant family to gather about me, and my sweet husband has survived a whole year of my various health struggles with me.  Jesus is here, Emmanuel, God is in His heaven, and for a little while anyway, all seems right with my world.  May it be so with your world, too, Gentle Reader!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The pure love of God

I love getting Christmas cards and letters from friends and family.  I love the photos of the children of friends becoming adults, and grandchildren coming.  But one Christmas card this season brought me to tears. Dear friends from graduate school days sent a letter for the first time in a few years.  Those intervening years have brought cancer battles, loss of a beloved son, and many changes. I grieved for them with tears, and I rejoiced for them with tears.

The rejoicing was that as the mom battled cancer, and as they watched their son battle and lose his fight with cancer, they have seen God to be faithful.  What can sometimes break a family apart, instead is drawing them together.  What has crushed their spirits, is now renewing them day by day.  My friend said to me,

I once saw a quote, "Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire equal degree of gratitude." I try to keep this in my heart but sometimes it is very difficult."
That "difficult" is an understatement-- nigh on impossible in the midst of circumstances like they have faced.  But not only is the purity of our love for God shown as we rejoice in the midst of our trials as well as our joys; God's amazing and pure love for us is seen in the same way.  It is the purity of His love for us that sent His Son to be born and die for us. It is the purity of His love that sends us His Spirit to be our rest, our comfort, our clarity amidst the chaos suffering brings.  How blessed we are to follow Him.

 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Cor. 13: 12-13

Monday, December 10, 2012

Health Update

On Friday I saw the eye specialist at UNM.  She had some encouraging findings... My vision test has improved significantly (though i am as yet unaware of my vision changing much), the pressure had gone down in both eyes, and the lesions on my retina seem less active.  These are all excellent qualitative signs that the immune suppressant drug is working on my birdshot chorioretinopathy.  next month we will repeat the fluoriscein angiogram to check on the leaking blood vessels.  If they have stopped leaking, we are good to continue on my present dose for 1-2 years.  If they are still leaking, we will either up the dosage of cellcept or add in another drug component.  I very much appreciate your prayers, Gentle reader! God is being good to answer them positively for me. 

The eye doc remains skeptical of my sarcoidosis diagnosis.  She is now suggesting I look into the possibility of paraneoplastic syndrome, which I will follow-up on with my oncologist.  She is wondering whether that might explain my previous lymph node problem and my night-time oxygen problem. Whether we know what to call all of this or not begins to grow less important to me than living my life as God would have me with and in spite of these things.  Whatever it is, the fatigue I feel must be dealt with as best I can, my eyes must be managed, and I want to spend my days serving God in a meaningful way. So we trudge ahead.

Like the Kaibab squirrel above, who watched us as we hiked through the mountains recently, I am trying to sit still and watch. I am waiting to see what God is doing.  2012 has been such a year of struggle physically, and then emotionally and spiritually, that I must refocus as I enter 2013.  I wait on the Lord, and His plan for my new year. What will it be, I wonder?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

And another...

Another version of the song posted earlier- also quite beautiful.  Thanks for  the post, Teri!

Sabbath Song

I love the haunting quality of this Enya version:

O come, o come emmanuel,
To free your captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
O Israel, to you shall
come Emmanuel.

Veni, veni, Emanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!

Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, gaude, Emanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Chanting - Gaude, gaude

Refrain: (2x)
Gaude, gaude, Emanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Come Saturday Morning

I woke up singing this song today for no reason whatsoever, except that it is Saturday, of course.  may you have a Saturday friend to have adventures with, Gentle Reader.  I've been married to my Saturday friend for 32.5 years, and we have been having adventures for more like 36 years.  What a joy.