Thursday, July 31, 2008

Waffles and Blueberries

We have a little diner near our home that makes breakfast all day long. They just have a few specials and fresh waffles is one of them. On the way home from Kathryn's Remicade treatment she said she was ready to eat something and thought a waffle sounded good. Half of it was eaten immediately and the other half is in the refrigerator for later. Qavah and Kathryn sat across from me in a little booth and enjoyed their waffles. I was watching them and feeling thankful that they are able to enjoy simple pleasures.

After the waffle stop we went shopping for birthday candles and fruit for the celebration of our parents' birthdays this weekend. We have been making plans with the family and it appears that most of us in the area will be able to join them for an afternoon to celebrate their "plenty-ninth" birthdays. We'll do that with good food, good music, and cameras to capture some happy moments. We are thankful for their good health and wish them many more years of happiness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holding

Today was a relatively good day. Kathryn was using her creativity to make cards today. It was not a good day for eating, so she has been staying away from the kitchen. She is two days from her Remicade treatment. We are enjoying peaceful days.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Checking the Calendar

We are busy living life. Kathryn had an appointment this morning then rested for the afternoon. Qavah went into the creek this afternoon with her friend Emily to pretend she was making dinner. She collected small pebbles, grass, and water in a bucket. Then she began to stir it with a stick that floated past her. She made what looked like a high fiber breakfast drink and was quite proud of herself. I have had several projects to work on but I am keeping one eye on the calendar. Remicade brings Kathryn so much relief that I can hardly wait for Thursday morning. I know how much better she will feel so I find myself wishing I could speed up the time for her.

These have been good days. I am enjoying the things I see and wonder why I haven't stood back in life and watched more. Observing Qavah at play has helped her, too. I am never far away when she says, "mommy look at me!" I'm happy to be able to say, "Yes, Qavah, I'm watching."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sundown on the Sabbath

As the sun rises on the Sabbath day our house is teaming with activity. Showers, dress clothes, cologne, and hair dryers humming, are all a part of the sights, sounds, and smells of a Sunday morning. Preparing for worship sets Sunday apart from the other days of the week. By nine-thirty, after a flurry of activity, the dog is curled up in her basket ready for a few hours to herself as we pull out of the drive to attend church. This isn't a ritual or tradition. It is an event that changes our perspective after a long work week. Time spent thinking about Someone greater than ourselves, and worshiping Him for His sovereignty over all things, puts the small things in this life into a proper place.

If you read the blog and don't attend church on Sundays you may wonder what is so special about church. In some churches the building, seating, and worship music are not always the best. Churches are also filled with sinful selfish people. But the idea of a "place of worship" was God's. He was the first and only One Who made a place on earth for His glory to dwell. He knew our souls needed a place to go to find rest, to grow in knowledge of Him, and learn how to forgive and get along with others. For our family, our church has been an anchor in a stormy sea. This morning we sang some beautiful songs about the God Who loves and cares for us each day. Our thoughts were turned toward Him and His power over sin and death.

At sundown, Kathryn is four days away from Remicade and beginning to suffer. Her pancreas is causing her some problems and after two days of trying baby food it is apparent that she will have to stop eating again. We are especially grateful tonight for the time invested this morning in church. It gave us a spiritual lift to see us through to Thursday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Perfect Weather

We've had some strong thunderstorms lately. The air was heavy with humidity at the beginning of the week making it hard to think clearly. People looked withered by the high temperatures and humidity as they went about their daily tasks. Linda and I have had to walk after the sun went down and things cooled off. But the strong winds have blown in cooler weather. This morning the sky and atmosphere are very clear. The temperature is cool and the hazy humidity has lifted. I woke up energized. Kathryn and Qavah are sleeping in. I just checked in with them and their faces are calm and peaceful. Their bodies are at rest and their souls are being comforted by their sleep. What a great start to the day to see them looking so well.

No one wakes up one morning and says, "I think I'll volunteer for two years of struggle and uncertainty." But the rewards are there. We've experienced God's faithfulness. As we have made our way through the physical and emotional minefield of learning how to treat HPS symptoms, I've found gratitude is never far away from me. Happiness is not elusive. Joy can be found in the simple unfolding of a day. I'm on a second cup of coffee as the sun is filtering through the little birch trees outside my kitchen window. Every now and then a soft breeze whispers through the branches and the sunlight and shadows appear to be dancing on the green lawn below. My soul is quiet. Our home is quiet. I'm sitting here smiling.

"Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits." Psalm 103:2

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Laundry Day

I once wrote about shopping day, and how rich I felt when the cupboards were full. Today I was feeling rich again and thought it was worth mentioning. I feel rich when all the laundry is done. I open my sock drawer and don't have to hunt for socks to wear with my walking shoes. I feel rich when I've decide to go out to the store and I run to the closet to change and find everything clean with plenty of outfits suitable to match my mood or the weather. I love when I put a huge folded stack of underwear in my husband's drawer and he says, "Wow, thanks for doing the laundry; I was getting down to the last pair!"

It is wonderful to be a homemaker and make so many people happy with the littlest things. And it is really nice when some of that happiness is reserved for the homemaker. Tonight when I pull the clean sheets up to my nose I'll think about the folded clothes in the drawers and thank God for the fun of home-making. The dryer was set on "normal" all day and that is how it has been around here; everyone healthy, everything normal, and I for one am grateful to be able to write about it.

I'll leave you with a quote I found on a website called Quotes from the Laundry Room. "Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness to just be happy."

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Most Important Thing

Today was fun. Having children in the house is just plain fun. A birthday party was enjoyed by all. The Hebrew National Hot Dogs and French fries were a good choice. Qavah's happiness spilled over to all of us and we enjoyed her special day right along with her. Our social worker called yesterday, and added to our joy is the news that our adoption papers have been filed with the court and we are awaiting the final decree any day now.

There are many things we hope for Qavah. We hope her blood disorder will be put into remission. We hope she will enjoy her musical talent. We hope she will embrace her new life with us. But most of all we pray that she will follow Christ. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. If everything else comes together for her but her heart does not embrace His love for her, she would miss out on the greatest treasure ever offered. We pray that for the rest of her life she will seek truth, dignity, forgiveness, and blessing. She will find all those things in Him. Happy Birthday, Qavah!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Qavah the Dishwasher

I have been giving Qavah little jobs to do to keep her busy today. She cleaned out the lint trap on the dryer and played with the fuzz while I did laundry. Recently she has been volunteering to rinse all the dishes before they go into the dishwasher. She loves that job. Of course it means playing in the water, but she really likes to do it and it helps get the job done. She seems very proud of herself and reminded me five minutes ago that she is turning five tomorrow.

In this past year she has made some major strides toward maturity. I have said so many times, "Kids grow up so fast!" It is especially true as they approach school age. Try as we might to hang on to Qavah's preschool years, she is now counting, pretending to read, helping with chores, getting her shoes on the right feet, and asking to "learn how to tie shoes." If time flies by any faster she'll be asking permission to go on a date soon. Paul said the same thing about Qavah that he says about Kathryn. "When she's thirty I'll think about it!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Birthday Preparations

We learned with our first three children how easy it is to overly bless them on their birthdays. I'm trying to keep the birthday celebration for Qavah reasonable. She has been waking up every day asking if her birthday is here yet. In the meantime she is dreaming about her cake and gifts. I have been reading her a book about a little bear that gets too much attention for her birthday and becomes overwhelmed by all the things that happen on that day. The book is actually called, Too Much Birthday. But just as the Lord longs to bless us, we feel the same about blessing Qavah and can't seem to help ourselves.

I went to the pharmacy for Kathryn today and the pharmacist asked how things were going with the new liquid Prednisolone. When I told her how great Kathryn was feeling she seemed very excited for us and said, "Good, I hope this is a new trend!" We do too because we have a birthday to celebrate.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birthday French Fries

It was a treat to be in church this morning together. We haven't been able to do that in quite awhile. Both girls were feeling well this morning so we were able to worship and feel the joy of being a part of corporate worship again. It is refreshment for the soul.

While shopping with Qavah recently, I asked if she would like anything special for her upcoming birthday lunch. As the first three kids have done before her, she was given the opportunity to choose what she would like to have on her special day. Qavah, sitting in the grocery cart smiled really big and said, "I want some French fries!" So naturally my next question was, "What else?" She brightened again and stated, "hot dogs!" So this is a warning to Grandmom and Granddaddy, and all her big brothers and sisters who will attend her birthday lunch on Friday. You may need some antacids.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Looking Up

I don't know when the phrase "things are looking up" came into being. But it does seem to describe our human condition when the events of our lives look promising and positive, doesn't it? The problem is that "things" that happen in our lives don't always turn out positive and wonderful. Sometimes "things" are just plain hard; our gaze and our hearts can be downcast. At times like that, I have a saying that makes Paul laugh, but you may be able to relate. "I was so down today I had to look up to see my socks!"

While "things" hadn't been looking up for us lately, we have been looking up. Martha reminded me in the last post through Psalm 84 that if our hearts are set on pilgrimage, the journey we are on becomes temporary. Keeping in mind that we are pilgrims here means that we are just passing through this world and it is not our final home. Whatever the trial, whatever the task, it is light and momentary compared to eternity and peace with God. As we have been looking up, praying, and living by faith, "things" have turned around. Kathryn and Qavah are looking and feeling so much better. I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures taken recently. When "things" aren't looking up; we can look up, and with David we can say, " I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121: 1-2

Monday, July 07, 2008

Rainy Day

Today was rainy. Since I've had a garden in the past, I know how a steady rain in July can bring on the produce. I am hoping to find some good homegrown fruits and vegetables at the local market as a result. Tomorrow I'll take Kathryn to the endocrinologist and I'm praying he can help relieve her symptoms which have been going on since our return from Arizona. An electrolyte imbalance is a challenge. If you look at the symptom list after typing in "electrolyte imbalance" or "low sodium" on Google, you'll know how to pray.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th Celebration

Over the past two days we've had a picnic with friends, some family time with Dan, Julie, Sandra and Joshua, and some much needed rest. All have been wonderful. Kathryn's electrolytes are still very unpredictable so she has stayed close to her room and is sleeping a lot. This afternoon we settled back to watch the movie, "Bella." It has a sweet story line of redemption and the love of family. We had such a good time. Although it was nothing spectacular we were all at home and grateful for the time together. We hope your Independence Day celebration was just as delightful. In spite of the price of gasoline, we are a blessed people!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday Night

It's late but I wanted to write a quick update. Things are remarkably better today. Doubling Kathryn's dose of Prednisone has helped her tremendously. It is amazing how much better she feels. I am interested to know what the endocrinologist thinks is going on. His solution did work very well.

I have a friend, Helen, visiting from Ohio and she will be here through tomorrow. She and her husband moved to Ohio to be near their children while her husband's health was failing. Last week he finished his race here on earth. Helen came back to Roanoke where there will be a funeral service tomorrow. Then she will head back to Ohio. I am grateful for the guest room and for the privilege of taking care of Helen.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Big Brother

Last night about ten o'clock I got a call from the operating room at RMH. A nurse named Rachael was on the line and my heart started racing. I had to stiffle the statement, "Is anything wrong?" She was calling to tell me that Paul Burton was still working in the OR and was scrubbed in to help with a surgery that would take several more hours. I asked, "Paul wanted you to call me so I wouldn't worry?" She said, "Yes, and we all think he is such a great guy." Wow, Paul Burton got a lot of points with Mom for that. Then after a day of catching-up on his sleep he took Kathryn shopping for awhile, played on the swings with the girls, and let them watch a movie in his apartment. He's racking up points with all of us.

Kathryn was feeling better this afternoon. Her labs were faxed to her endocrinologist today and after studying them he called to raise her dose of Prednisone. She is starting to have more energy this evening so she played her harp while I rocked Qavah. Her soothing music put Qavah to sleep in just a few minutes. There was much more flag waving and marching for Qavah today. It was an easier day and even the cool temperatures and low humidity helped clear the cob webs from my mind. I'm so grateful for the days of ease. I'm smiling as I remember Qavah marching up the sidewalk, waving her flags, and singing "My cruntry tizzy thee sweet landa liberty!"