"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." -Daniel 2:22
"Do not fear, for I am with you..." -Isaiah 43:5
"...we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion." -Daniel 9:18

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

It's noon on New Year's Eve. Al has just called to say his company has shut things down and he is on his way home for another long weekend. He has been very discouraged this holiday season because he has had 2 or 3 nice, long weekends, but hasn't felt like doing anything.
The weekend after Christmas, some family and friends came over to shoot rifles and pistols, but the wind blew like a hurricane. He never shot one time. The next day was absolutely beautiful, but by then he had used all his energy for the weekend. Didn't even feel like going to church.
He has been hitting the pain pills pretty steady. He was reluctant to take them much at first, because he did not want to become depend. But the pain is just too much. He takes the less potent stuff during the day, but the oxycodone he takes as soon as he arrives home. We just pray that when the time comes that he doesn't need it anymore (hopefully, that is soon) that he will be able to put it down and walk away.
We had a great surprise yesterday afternoon: Scott Cunningham came to visit for a little while. Terri and the kids were off doing some errands so he came by. He used to be WBC youth pastor. We worked with him for about 8 or so years. It was so good to see him. Nice to sit and talk to him and catch up. It really lifted Al's spirits. We are planning to make a trip up to Colorado to visit them - probably sooner than they are ready!
If you are wanting to do something for a person that is in our situation - that is the most uplifting thing - a visit born of true friendship and love.
Another bright spot on our horizon is Rachel and Jacob bringing the youth out to have a bonfire and campfire at our house tonight. We might not be able to plan and participate as we once did, but we do still want to feel a part and we want our place to be used to God's glory.
I have been reading The Shack, as I know many have already read. (CJ is reading it too) Will get back to you with a review and some thoughts when it all sinks in....
Have a Happy and Safe and Blessed New Year. Eat your black-eyed peas (even if there is no such thing as "luck") just because it is tradition and they are good with some ham and cornbread!
God is good - all the time -
He's my source - for 2009

Love to all. Thank each one who has kept us in their prayers. May God richly bless you in this new year. We are praying for better times when we are able to get out and visit more of you on a more regular basis.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Al has been on double the Lyrica + B6 for a couple of weeks now. Not seeing a whole lot of change. We had a great holiday with the kids and grandkids on Christmas Eve and then went to his sister's house on Christmas Day. Lots of good food.
Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aredia + Valtrex -Velcade + Revlimid + Lyrica + B6

We went for Al's monthly visit to the doctor yesterday. The equation above is the short version of what is going on with Al's medication right now. He has been getting monthly IV treatments of Aredia to strengthen his bones for about 18 months and this will continue, probably the rest of his life. He has taken Valtrex for over a year to hold off any outbreak of viral infections like Shingles. The Velcade is the nasty chemo that caused his neuopathy. So nix that and add the Revlimid, instead. Add to that Lyrica which is suppose to help reverse the effects of neuopathy.

After suffering for another month with the dibilitating pain in his legs, feet and one arm - the doctor has doubled his dose of Lyrica since it didn't seem to help much and added Vitamin B6.

Al seems to be one in thousands who have had this kind of reaction to the Velcade. So, therefore, any new drug that comes out along the same formula as Velcade, he will not be able to take. But, there are other types of drugs being developed.

For now, he is at an acceptable level with the cancer, that hopefully can be maintained with the Revlimid for an extended period of time. As long as he does not develop any further deterioration of the bones, we can live with this - minus the neuropathy.

The doc says the neuropathy will reverse itself - it will just take some time. I have tried to convince Al to take his pain medication on a regular schedule to reduce the amount of time he has to suffer, but he is uneasy about becoming dependent and sometimes waits too long between doses. I believe the pain has eased somewhat, but it is very slow progress.

Please pray that he would find some relief from this pain and that the neuropathy would begin to reverse itself. Pray for Al's frame of mind, as it is hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are in constant pain. Pray for Al at work, that God would be with him there to counsel him in the way to handle all situations and all people. Pray for God to guide Al and I along the path He has chosen for us. Not just walking that path, but joyfully skipping and singing and encouraging others along their paths, as well.

I hope that each of you have a blessed Christmas holiday with those that you love. I pray for God to reach each heart with His Saving Grace and bestow the gifts of peace and contentment upon you this joyous season.

We are giving God the glory for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us in 2008. Time to spend with our 3 wonderful kids, 7 fabulous (and good-looking) grandkids, sisters, brothers, mother, dad, all our friends. A home to shelter us. Vehicles to drive, a job to sustain us. A church to support us.

But, mostly, a Heavenly Savior who has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and thereby, have the assurance of spending eternity with Him. This allows us to live in this disaster of a world with the hope of a better future.

Praise be to God in Heaven for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Sings to Us through Others & Table Decor

Whew! what a busy week, this past week. It seems everyone wants to do things in the first week of December. It has been such a blur, I don't even remember it all...
Taking the tree down from the attic, rearranging the furniture to accomodate it, the ice maker is on the blink (no ice for weeks! devastating), the bathroom sink has a drip (took 3 trips to Home Depot to get that fixed), last minute invite to decorate a table at the WBC Women's Christmas dinner, helping Jill and Emily decorate the trailer for the Waxahachie Christmas Parade, shopping for decorations....It was all fun, but very tiring.
I only had a fuzzy idea about what I would do for table decorations on Friday evening. Jill and I shopped all day on Wednesday to try to find just the right table covering. All I knew at that point was that it would involve grapes. As Mother was decorating a table also & she was using her gold dishes, I didn't want to use gold also. I choose my burgundy and purple plates, along with the grape decor from my kitchen.
I began to pray about it. Yes, I was praying about table decorations!
As I had exhausted all other posibilities for a table covering and wasn't coming up with what I thought would work, I resorted to the fabric dept. All the table cloths, so far, had been in red and green or just not the right color. (I am a non-conformist and was determined to do something that really spoke about the real reason for the season-I don't think Jesus was born in a manger with red and green swaddling clothes!) Then I spotted the burlap. I wasn't sure how it would look, but it seemed the right thing to get, so I jumped out in faith and bought 5 yards. Cheap.
God put the idea in my head to have a table decorated for communion. I still did not have a good idea what it would look like until I got there and put it all together. I had my dishes & things, I had some of Mother's candlesticks and things, I used some of Laura Riza's napkins and rings, I used a fruit bowl from Jean Heffernan - it was a group effort. Wanda Westlake gave great advise. Johnny Carino's makes great communion bread and Welch's the "wine".
I must say, God sets a pretty table. It all came together: the tower of wooden bowls and candlesticks surrounded by a grapevine wreath with red berries & topped with a cross. All on top of a table covered with burlap, grape and burgundy plates (both square and round) and glasses embellished with grapes.
It was so fun to have most of my good friends sitting at that table with me. CJ and Jill and Kellie and Emily and Lisa.
To top the evening off, He sang to my heart through my good friend, Lisa Crouch. Any time Lisa sings - it fills my heart with such overpowering gratitude to Him, that I can not contain it. I cried and cried. (Imagine, me, crying in church!) It was so cleansing to have that opportunity to be held in the arms of God and my friends, while I sobbed my grateful heart out. Afterwards, about seven of us adjourned to the other room for a quick prayer time. It was such a blessing.
As it turned out, the table decorations were a reflection of Siyan Fayiga's message for the evening - we don't have to celebrate Christmas the way the world has told us we should. It doesn't have to be red and green and glittery. Celebrate the way God tells you to.
So, let God help you, even with the small stuff, like table decorations. You will enjoy it all the more and reap many blessings in the process.
The next morning, Jill, Emily and I were in the parade for Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. It was my first parade. Fun. I just rode in the back of the truck, mainly to take pictures of Anne and Seth and Bernice and all the kids that come for therapy. They and their parents seemed to be having a ball despite the cold. By Saturday evening, I was so exhausted, I think I went into a coma for about 10 hours.
BUT....the really good news is that Al and Justin finally got to go to a gun show for a few hours. Al had to sit down part of the time, and it really wore his legs out, but he slept really good Saturday night, too. The first time in a very long time. He is still in a lot of pain and still taking a lot of pain meds, but once in a while there are small signs that he may get better at some point. He felt well enough to go out to dinner and a movie with Billy Eaton on Friday night, too, while us gals were having our dinner.
All in all, it was a great start to a celebration of the birth of Christ. I am praying that our family will continue to look to Him for our strength, our direction, our physical and spiritual healing and our hope. And I am praying the same for you....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


We had a great day on Thanksgiving seeing my niece, Amber and her husband, James who were here from North Carolina. My sisters, Sue and Joette came to celebrate the holiday with turkey and all the trimmings. Our daughter, Kim came by with her horde of guys to visit Amber. Al's Dad came by. I really enjoyed having my sister, CJ with her husband, Joey, son Sean and sister Amanda come spend the evening hanging out.
Then we had the trip to the deer lease the next day (see last blog). Al and Justin tried to go to the gun show on Saturday, but the lines were too long. Al would not have been able to stand for that long. I guess it was a God thing, because we got a visit from pastor Bruce and his son, Robert that afternoon. That was encouraging. We all prayed together for the Lord to touch Al's body and to strengthen us both.
I have been trying to get Al up and moving just a little, so that maybe he can sleep at night. There's not much you can do that doesn't require too much exersion. So we went to the movies to see "Bolt". It was pretty cute.
I am thankful that he continues to be able to make it to work each day, even if he doesn't stay all day. That he can still go to church on Sundays, even if all he can do is walk straight from the truck to the back row.
I always hear how great he looks. But looks are deceiving. He feels much worse than he looks.
It seems that nothing is helping to ease his pain, or help him to sleep at night.
We had hoped that he would be doing much better by this time.
All we can do is to continue to trust in the Lord.
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable!
May He grant you your heart's desire
And fulfull all your counsel!
We will sing for joy over your victory
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners
May the Lord fulfull all your petitions
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright,
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us inthe day we call."
Psalm 20