Thursday, August 27, 2009

Growing Girls....

Last weekend the girls went to a birthday party for Caylor who was turning a year old. They were asked to be there to help out with all the kiddos that where invited to the party. They were thrilled to be able to help as they both love young kids!

While there Marissa (who was the wonderful photographer for Tim and Lisa's wedding last year) took some pictures that happen to have my sweet girls in them! I was excited to see them on her blog and asked her if she could send the pictures to me, which she did.

In these pictures of Abigail and Annah they looked older to of those WOW moments when you notice they are growing up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Library Fines and Happy Hour at the Pump....

Last night was Family Night. The kids wanted to go to the library (well, all except Jacob who did decide to grace us with his presence without too much hassle). After spending some time searching for books fit to be taken home and looking at a few recent issues of magazines, we headed for the checkout.

Abigail was first. The nice older lady scanned her card and announced that she owed $4 in fines. She said we could pay it another time but Tim was good enough to open his wallet and offer up what was needed.

Then Annah was next. With a chuckle the nice older lady announced that Annah had $2 in fines. We chuckled too and commented on how if this kept up with every one's library cards our trip to get ice cream after the library was going to be cancelled!

My turn next. Uh-oh....$1.50 on mine. By this time the nice older lady was getting quite a charge out of this and said, "Gee, this is fun!" HA! It made us laugh and we said, "Well, we're glad YOU think so!" :)

For good measure Tim offered up his library card and although he wasn't checking anything out on it he asked the nice older lady to check his card too. His was the cheapest one -- 50 cents. That trip to the free public library cost us $8!!! I guess the "free" part is only when you return the borrowed items on time. That is where we are memory challenged! We really need to work on that.

We did go for ice cream afterwards -- McDonald's for sundaes. As we went through the drive-thru we were reminiscing about all the fines we had racked up and the comment was made about how each one of us had fines on our cards. I added that Jacob's card was the only one that didn't have fines on it. Jacob then said that was because he didn't have a library card. I asked why he didn't have a card and Abigail quickly responded, "You don't have a library card because you can't even sign your name!" Annah happily added, "And you don't know how to read!" BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Nice sisters they are!

Just after eating our sundaes we saw this sign at a gas station.....

What do you suppose that even means????

While we still don't know what it means, we did have our own little happy hour between the library fines and the sundaes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Parking...

I liked this sign.....No Parking Any Time with pretty flowers (a.k.a. weeds) grown up to almost block the sign.

Have you ever noticed that many road signs say things that can apply to life?
I remember years ago in Hawaii and again in New York when Tim and I were dating that we began to read road signs and think about how the apply to life. For instance...

NO PARKING -- that's a pretty good adage in life...we need to keep moving and not be parked anywhere for very long.
KEEP RIGHT -- can't go wrong with that!
YIELD -- to temptations and things that will just get you in trouble.

SPEED BUMP AHEAD -- how many times have we hit a speed bump in our travels? And wouldn't it be nice to have a warning ahead of time?!
DEAD END -- have you ever been on a dead end road and had to turn around?
And my favorite.....MOOSE CROSSING

Next time you see a road sign maybe you will think about it and see how it might apply to your life! It's kind of interesting! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All I Have Seen....

"All I have seen teaches me
to trust the creator for all
I have not seen."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I like this quote a lot. Traveling through the past months has made me much more aware of the need to "trust the creator" ~ to have greater faith in his purposes and in his timing. This quote reminds me how much we have seen the hand of divine guidance through some of our darkest hours.

Those dark hours in some ways feel so far away, so long ago.
Then there are other days when it all doesn't feel far enough away.
There are those occasional days that come along when everything seems to grip my heart, making it difficult to breath. It feels very much like the day the doctor said he was 90% sure Tim had cancer. Stunned we didn't say a word but could only nod our heads. Moments later the doctor left the room and all I remember is the heaving of my chest as I sobbed in Tim's arms. It felt like the wind was knocked out of me.
Tim, in all his knighthood, didn't cry. Maybe his armor hid the tears. Perhaps he was too stunned for tears or maybe he needed more time to absorb what was said. Maybe he was holding out hope for the 10% chance he didn't have cancer. Whatever his reasons were he held in the tears and held me while I sobbed and while my body tried to remember how to breath.

This past Sunday was a day that was a mixture of feeling so far removed from the beginnings of this journey and feeling like I was gasping for air.
It began while sitting in church next to Tim. With the start of the opening song I could hear his voice singing his bass part and he sounded so good! I thought on the fact that it was not that long ago that Tim couldn't talk anymore because of the effects of the radiation he had had to his throat area. In the midst of radiation, particularly toward the end, talking brought him great pain and that great pain took away the strength of any voice he did have left. As much as Tim was experiencing physical pain, I was experiencing emotional pain as I longed to hear his voice again and to be able to have him talk to me. I hated that cancer had gripped our lives and everything revolved around the diagnosis. Every thought and action was tied to cancer. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and yet no matter how much I carried I could never carry enough to take away the burden that cancer had placed upon all of us.
While months have passed by and each day we move a little further from that life altering experience, the rawness of the emotions I felt during that time have not moved so swiftly by. It doesn't take much at all to unearth my emotions that lie just below the surface.

Back to Sunday... there we were sitting in church and I am hearing Tim singing ~ beautifully singing. That was the part that was so far removed from the trauma of cancer.
The talk topic for the meeting was the power of prayer. Each of the speakers were great and with their words I could not help but reflect on the power of prayer that we have personally experienced. Then we stood to sing the intermediate hymn and as I again heard Tim's voice in my ear I could not stop the tears.
His healing was the power of prayer. His voice singing again was the power of prayer. Our whole journey has been because of the power of prayer.
And that is what reminds me that "All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Déjà vu....

Last Saturday we made our annual pilgrimage for shoes. It happens to coincide with the start of school. :) Tim needed dress shoes for church and Jacob needed new sneakers for school and also dress shoes for church. Abigail was just along for the ride since had gotten shoes earlier because she needed sneakers for her summer adventures to Girls Camp and Youth Conference. Annah needed sneakers.

From year to year I forget the struggle it is to go shoe shopping for Annah. I don't know HOW I can forget but it is not until we are in the shoe store and trying on 23 pairs of shoes and NONE of them are right in style, color, size or fit that I have déjà vu. I groan as the memory comes into focus and I murmur about why I didn't remember to start 2 weeks earlier because the pressure is on now to get shoes bought with school only days away.

Tim and Jacob started right away on their "man hunt" for shoes and within 15 minutes they came to show off their prize finds -- no struggles, no hassles, no grumpy faces and no complaints that in a store filled with hundreds of shoes "I can't find any I like!" Nope...the guys were good. They found what they came for an were ready to move the car!

We were not so lucky with Annah. She tried to hunt but size selection and styles foiled her attempt more times than I could count. Although she was getting more impatient by the minute (as were we!) she persisted and FINALLY found something suitable.....

Waiting on Annah....


She was finally able to find ONE pair of shoes that she was willing to bond with. She loved them, they loved her and they lived happily ever after....until she outgrows them.

I think I am going to Google how to bind her feet like they did anciently in China so she won't outgrow them!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Primitive Cat Scan....

This picture at Tim's work always makes me laugh when I see it. With the passage of the last 8 months I've had occasion to see it quite a few times. On Friday I got to see it one more time while I waited for Tim's latest Cat Scan to be done. :)

As casual as Tim and I want to act when he's up for another test, we feel the tension that accompanies the appointment. We could feel it Friday as we waited for Tim to be called up for his turn. It's always a hard wait even though the test itself doesn't take long at all.

We were happy with the results that came back -- things look good inside! Tim's lungs are more clear so as not to worry so much about him aspirating as he is eating more food in hopes of being able to rid himself of the feeding tube in the coming weeks. His throat looks better and even a pesky lymph node that has been a little enlarged has diminished in size! So tomorrow Tim goes on to the oncologist and no doubt she will be pleased with the progress that Tim has made! Heaven knows we are!

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
Philippians 4: 4

Friday, August 7, 2009

Surgical Defect...

Yesterday took us to Tim's radiology oncologist, Dr. K , for Tim's routine check up. Tim is currently 5 months out of radiation and things are looking good!

When Dr. K had to leave the room I couldn't resist taking a quick picture of Tim's medical records from the past 8 months. He's got one FAT history for such a thin guy!

Dr. K really likes Tim. I think he most enjoys Tim's sense of humor. Tim made him really belly laugh yesterday when Dr. K was discussing Tim's surgery site on the left side of his neck. Dr. K described Tim's neck area as having a "surgical defect" meaning his neck is not normal anymore and certain things are to be expected because of that "surgical defect".

When Dr. K said the words "surgical defect" there was silence. Tim and the doctor looked at each other and Tim finally spoke, "Gee, I've never been told that I had a defect before. I'm just trying to process that." He said it with such deadpan humor that Dr. K wasn't sure whether it was a time to be silent because Tim was seriously offended or if he should laugh. If not for the muffled chuckle from the resident standing behind
Dr. K, he and Tim might still be locked in silent stare! Once the resident snickered, Dr. K realized Tim was being funny and boy did he laugh!!! In fact, his laughter was so prolonged that it made us laugh that HE was so amused! If I were a doctor I would look forward to seeing Tim come into the office! He's just a great guy with a great sense of humor and positive outlook!

So with that check up out of the way Tim has another appointment with his regular oncologist on Monday. Knowing that appointment was coming up Dr. K wants Tim to have another CT scan done just to see what's going on in his throat and lungs. That was kind of a surprise to us to need the scan done because we were thinking that the next scans would be in September -- three months from the last ones that were done.

So today Tim will have another CT and we will again hold our breath and pray that all is well. I so wish we didn't have to feel that "knot in your stomach" feeling wondering what the test will reveal but that is seemingly par for the course when you travel the cancer road. But, we are together on the road with total dependency on the Lord so it is never a road that we travel alone. We are traveling a strange road but it is familiar to the Lord and that is what we depend on. We could not have a better traveling companion.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Food Fight...

Tim has been fighting with food for a while now. By fighting I mean that he WANTS to be able to eat it but he has struggled to do so.

While he does still have his feeding tube, the good news is that he is able to try things little by little with the help of a speech therapist who spoils him with enticing lunches when he goes for his appointments! She is a vegetarian and tries hard to convince him of the benefits of veggies, yogurt and the like. I say, good luck with that! :)
We were all surprised when Tim came home one day with potato chips! Watching the events of the last 7 months unfold, I can tell you, as can Tim, that this is a huge milestone!




Full and satisfied....
for a minute!

All kidding (pictures) aside, Tim is enjoying getting to try different foods again. He still has his feeding tube but it is a really huge accomplishment for him to once again sit down at the table with us for dinner even if the amount that he eats is small. It is the fact that he CAN sit with us and feel a part of the family again in a way that he hasn't been able to do for months.
It is a wonderful thing. We are keeping our fingers crossed that in another month Tim will be tube free!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

Happy 12th Birthday, Abigail!!!!

It is hard to believe that our little girl is 12 already! It seems like not long ago I delivered her into the world weighing a whooping 11lbs. 11 oz.... a feat I will remember the rest of my days simply because I lived to tell about it.

It has been an amazing journey to see her as she grows into a lovely, confident, kind and sweet young lady. She's had a tough job of being the first girl in a family of 4 boys but she has been amazing! She is such a blessing to our family!

What a mess!

Holding a frog...age 5

Eating a carrot from the garden..age 7

Abigail's baptism day...age 8

What a beautiful smile....age 11


The flip flop cake I made
for her
Hawaiian theme

She's in paradise! :)

Daddy and his "little girl".....
Happy Birthday to You, Abigail!
We love you!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Expiration of Summer...

It has been quite a while since I have written. Well, I have written but not published. My latest "posts" sit in my draft folder wondering if they will see the light of day. They might but they might not.

I think I am mourning the summer as it bids farewell. I am madly wanting to hang on to everyday.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Abigail's 12th birthday and later this week I have some meetings that I need to attend then next Wednesday it all begins -- back to school.
The past months have seen a lot of swirling commotion but through it all we ultimately have found a comfortable pace of life through the summer. I will miss the comfortable pace as we dive back into our school schedule.

But, with the expiration of summer came the happy day that we were able to bring home the newest family member..... Ella.
Ella is a Maltese that was given to us by a sweet friend of ours, Sandy. What a treat it is to have seen this darling puppy from just a few days after she was born to the time that she was able to come home with us! Thank you, Sandy!
Ella is adjusting beautifully to life in our house with two girls that think the world of her and are there to take care of her every need!