Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Options

Kathryn has been contacted with the results of her liver and pancreas testing. Her amylase and lipase levels are too high causing her to feel very sick and unable to eat.  The doctor called tonight and worked out a plan that we think will keep her out of the hospital.  Having had pancreatitis three times before, she knew before the test results were in that her pancreas was was in trouble again.  Hydration has been the main problem, so she'll begin to receive that at home along with an IV antibiotic.  She'll only be able to take in ice chips and light fluids for awhile until she can handle food again.

The option of being at home is such a blessing for Kathryn.  Her spirit is strong, but in the hospital with all the night time interruptions, she feels worse and starts to wither.  We know that many of you have joined us in praying Kathryn through these time so I will add some specific requests.  Please pray that Kathryn will feel God's comfort physically and emotionally.  Pray that her body weight will be sustained and that the medication she will receive will turn this problem around quickly.  I'm asking these things not for Kathryn's glory, but for the glory and praise she gives Him for any healing she receives.

This evening we watched the Ben Carson Story with the girls.  I had read the book so I knew the story.  We all watched as a young boy named Ben from the ghetto in Detroit cried out to God for help in curbing his temper.  From that time on, he developed a love for classical music and reading and went on to become a brain surgeon known around the world.  When we are faced with difficult circumstances there are always options.  After nearly stabbing a classmate in junior high school, Ben Carson went to God in prayer for help.  There is no greater help than that which comes from Him.
Psalm 121:2
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Steadfast

After calling all of Kathryn's physicians and finding that three of them were on vacation, it looked like the possibility for Kathryn to be treated today was hopeless.  The ER looked like the only option.  We knew that in Kathryn's state, she would be miserable waiting in the ER all day so we prayed. Paul prayed that God would do exceedingly beyond what we could ask or think.  Before noon today the door opened for Kathryn to see one of the partners in the practice where she is usually seen by her PCP.  From the start, the new doctor seemed to know a great deal about HPS.  That eliminated the need to explain everything, which usually takes an hour.  I finally asked him how he knew about HPS and discovered that he had worked with a doctor from Puerto Rico who taught him extensively about the genetic disorder.  While he was learning all of that as a resident I'm sure he did wonder if he would ever see a patient with HPS during his years as a physician.  

After the initial exam, the doctor started IV fluids right in the office.  To address the GI issues, he adjusted her dose of hydro-cortisone, and to investigate the problem further, he ordered labs for liver and pancreas function.  With extra cortisone and a bag of fluids, Kathryn felt so much better.  All of that took just four hours.  In addition, before we left the office, the nurse suggested we speak with the doctor about keeping IV fluids at home given the fact that Paul Burton can start an IV at home.  What started out to be a day where impossibilities seemed big, God went before us and made things possible even for future care to be easier.

I  know that there are some folks reading about our family life on this blog who find it hard to believe that we are in constant prayer and trust God for even the smallest things.  Considering that one prayer from my husband this morning yielded all of this wonderful fruit, I don't know of a better way to live.  To cry out to a loving God Who cares more about the events of our lives than we even know is a great privilege.  To be heard by Him is humbling.  I see how much He has moved on our behalf today and want to thank Him for His great love and mercy toward Kathryn. 

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the mercy You have shown us today. Let this be said of our family as we continue to trust You for the future:  "He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes."  Deuteronomy 10:21

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Under Seige

We started out two weeks ago in Qavah's room wiping out the invasion of stink bugs.  They were under control in her room but moved to each window of the house after that.  Window by window we have waged war on these things.   We sprayed pesticide around every window on the front side of the house this weekend but unbelievably, they are back in Qavah's windows.  These bugs are so smelly and sly that they are extremely hard to conquer.  One thing we can not do is give up on the war.

During this weekend another battle raged.  Kathryn started having severe stomach cramps and bleeding last Thursday night and it continued through the weekend.  Drugs that seemed to work in the past were not helping and we had been in prayer over what to do.  I got up to check on Kathryn in the middle of the night and found her lying on the floor at the foot of her bed.  Her body was in a contorted condition with her muscles spasming.  She was not able to call for help but waited there on the floor praying we would find her.  Paul and I worked with her on the floor because any attempt to pick her up caused her more pain.  We started treating her with potassium and magnesium and within twenty minutes her muscles relaxed.  We got her into bed and packed her sore muscles with warm compresses.  It has been a while since we have seen Kathryn like that, and we feel so thankful that she has had more good days than bad this fall.  By learning to control her electrolytes at home, we no longer feel that we are helpless in the face of these middle-of-the-night surprises.

Whether it is a case of stink bugs, relentless health challenges, or the battle to overcome evil, one thing is sure.  We must never give up.   Being brave in adversity doesn't mean we didn't shed some tears of sheer frustration yesterday. It is possible through the grace of God to keep battling and fighting the good fight with a lump in our throat and joy in our hearts.  Just before bed tonight, Qavah marched into the kitchen wearing her pink princess dress, my old high heels, and a helmet.  She marched in singing a song she had sung in Sunday School today.  "I'm in the Lord's Army, yes sir!"  I had already been thinking about how to finish this post about battling the enemy and Qavah's little song reminded me that while the battle rages, we are in the Lord's army together and as a Christian family, we will prevail.

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze …" Psalm 18:32

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Projects

This has been a week of projects for us.  New flooring, paint, and paper, have kept me away from the computer.  Paul and I both have a project list but his has more to do with lawn mowers and outdoor problems while mine involves organizing the inside of our home.  Julie sent me a news article on how to rid your home and land of stink bugs.  Our local news reported the problem as "a plague of Biblical proportions."  I think they got that right!  While we paint and spiff up the place, we are battling stink bugs like everyone else.  It puts everything into perspective.  Try as we might to perfect our lives, there is always a stink bug somewhere!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stink Bugs

We came home from church on Sunday to a home invasion of stink bugs.  They were all over our windows and squeezing through the tiniest openings in our screens.  Kathryn doesn't see well enough to spot them and sat in the middle of her room screaming as the drone of the stink bug wings flew past her head.  At first we took a bucket of water with bleach in it and picked up the stink bugs one by one to drop them to their death into the water.  We worked for hours and decided to call an exterminator.

I chose Botetourt Pest Control (phone number 473-BUGS) and with a non-toxic solution of bug spray we woke up to a bug-free home this morning.  The solution used to get rid of the pests is aspirin-based and we were assured it was harmless and odorless.  It was true, and rather than picking up the dead bugs I found a website recommending vacuuming up the bugs.  If they are squeezed and the odor from their body escapes, it is like a beacon to the stink bugs outdoors to "come on in!"  Once they are vacuumed, I would recommend emptying the vacuum cleaner outside immediately.  Some of them survive and getting them out of the vacuum will keep the smell down in the house the next time the vacuum is used.

One never knows when a nasty invasion of bugs, thoughts, attitudes, or negative reactions will strike.  Use Botetourt Pest control for the bugs, and Philippians 4:8 for the harder to kill "pests."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Settling for Less

I read this story recently and turned it over in my mind again as I listened to the sermon in church this morning.  The story is about a man named Jim who had saved a long time to take an Alaskan cruise.  He had dreamed of doing that for as long as he could remember.  At last he was on board with two carefully packed suitcases.  The first evening, when he heard, "dinner is served" over the loudspeaker, he took peanut butter crackers from his suitcase and sat at a table in his small cabin to eat them.  Every day at mealtime he repeated the ritual.  It wasn't that he wouldn't have enjoyed the ship's banquets.  He simply didn't read the fine print on the ticket which stated, "Meals are included in the price of the ticket."  He didn't know he had a right to feast in an extravagant way.

Our sermon this morning was about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and how far He would go to rescue His lambs.  The pastor used an example from scripture that made my heart feel as though I had feasted.   As Christians, we have a daily invitation to open God's word and feast upon it.  Before church was over I prayed, "Father, when my heart is starving for peace, comfort, or courage, help me to remember to read the fine print on the pages of my Bible where your extravagant words will fill my starving heart.  I don't want to settle for less when I am being offered so much."  My imagination took me to a table where Jesus was waiting there for me.  I could almost see a twinkle in His eye as I imagined Him offering me a seat saying, "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied." Luke 6:21 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A New Year

Today marks the beginning of the new year according to the Jewish calendar.  In keeping with the tradition of Rosh HaShana we stood at the bank of our creek with our children and grandchildren at sundown.  Paul Burton sounded the trumpet.  We each had a piece of bread as a reminder of our sin and after confessing it to one another we threw the bread into the water.  Annelise confessed that she did not like to obey when it was time to pick up toys.  Qavah confessed to being mean to Annelise yesterday when she did not help her get a napkin at lunch.  It was Paul Burton who took my breath away when he asked forgiveness for not trusting God when he didn't see evidence of His working. I have often struggled with the same sin.

There is no magic in throwing the bread into the water.  Our sins are not forgiven because we throw a token offering into the water.  Rather, we were reminded as we stood at the creek that we all have sin and fall short of the Glory of God.  Through confession, prayer, and the mercy of God, we were freed from a guilty conscience.  After the confession of sin came the eating of sweet apples and honey.  That tradition represents the hope that the coming year will be filled with sweetness.  It is interesting to me that confessing sin and forgiving one another ends with a sweet taste in the mouth.  While most Christians don't celebrate Jewish holidays, we have found it connects us to the human side of Jesus, Who being born a Jew, celebrated these traditions.  L'Shanah Tovah!  (For a good year!)

Numbers 29:1 On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

One Big Happy Family

Congratulations Colin and Jennifer on another darling baby and another successful home birth.  May the Lord's blessing be upon your house forever. There is so much potential for the Kingdom represented in this picture.  Paul and I had a good time trying to match up the little hands in the photo to the right child.  It gets a bit confusing in the middle there.  One thing is for sure; we have seen the goodness of the Lord.

One Big Happy Family

Congratulations Colin and Jennifer on another darling baby and another successful home birth.  May the Lord's blessing be upon your house forever. There is so much potential for the Kingdom represented in this picture.  Paul and I had a good time trying to match up the little hands in the photo to the right child.  It gets a bit confusing in the middle there.  One thing is for sure; we have seen the goodness of the Lord.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A New Grandson

Before Paul and I got into the car at 2:30 am I looked up.  The sky was filled with stars; layers and layers of them smiled down on us.  Other than the noise of the crickets, the neighborhood was completely silent.  The night had cooled down as it often does when we are approaching autumn.  We took Judy with us to meet the newest member of our family because she was leaving Virginia first thing this morning.  She didn't want to leave without welcoming her new great-nephew.  Before long we turned into Colin and Jennifer's driveway and saw that the midwives were still there.  Lights were on all around the house and it looked like all the late-night activity in the community was taking place in one home.  

Joel Samuel Campbell had arrived and at a robust 10lbs and 6ozs, he looked as though he had already been here for a couple of months.  He was alert and followed noises and light as though he was interested in taking in all the details around him.  We stayed long enough to admire his fingers and toes and leave a little kiss on his cheek.  As we drove home I thought, "How does one describe all of the wonderful emotions of holding a grandbaby?"  My heart was filled with peace.  It was a relief to see Jennifer looking so wonderful after such a long pregnancy and hard labor.

Congratulations to Colin and Jennifer. We admire their commitment to greet every child God has given them as a gift from Him.  They will have many exhausted days for awhile, but with the help of family and friends they will see the hand of God sustain them.  Praise Him for His mighty acts of goodness.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Quiet House

A few hours ago Qavah, Annelise, Nehemiah, and Eva were all running, jumping, climbing, and playing together.  The house was so full of little voices and merriment that the call to "story time" brought about an abrupt change.  One by one the children were put to bed and suddenly the house was quiet.

Our house guests (Uncle Todd and Aunt Judy) have also turned in for the night.  We have had an eventful week and enjoyed many little side trips in the Roanoke area.  Today we ate at the White Oak Tea Tavern.   Tomorrow more family will gather here to celebrate Kathryn's birthday.  However, at this moment, all activity has come to an end, and the house is completely silent. 

In the silence of these moments before I turn in myself, I am remembering a touch from God to all of us tonight.  We were all sitting out on the front porch at sunset when a gentle rain began to fall and a cool breeze began to blow in from the west.  I saw the landscape change color as the sky went through a sudden change.  I got up from my chair and asked all the children to hold hands and shout these words really loud, "Lord, give us a rainbow!"  They held hands and we all shouted together.  It took a few minutes, and I had a twinge of doubt, but suddenly, in the sky across the street, a rainbow formed.  We all went wild with jumping and yelling because it was as if God had taken His colors and painted the rainbow at our request.

As they sleep tonight, I hope those in our house are feeling loved.  I hope the children will grow up believing that God hears prayer, and that He sends rainbows to remind us of His great love.  I hope that they will not hesitate to ask Him to show them some of His glory when they are needing a touch from Him.  I hope that long after we are gone, Paul and I will leave behind the kind of testimony that future generations will still hear about.  We can lie down tonight and sleep in perfect peace because we rest in the God who painted us a rainbow. Goodnight.