"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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Refreshing Rain

Many look at all the rain we have had the past few weeks as refreshing, some are done with it and ready to move on. Others would love it - if it never rained. That is how people are about trials, tests and tribulation. Many would love to never experience anything bad. But then they are the ones with no root system. They have not allowed themselves to see the rain (hard times) as a blessing and soaked up all the goodness from it.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, to the point of asking for more trials. But, God has taught me to look for the good in a bad situation. Through His Word and the Old Testiment and New Testiment stories.
I have not been able to study His Word as much these past few months, since going to work, as I did in the past few years. I am so thankful He made me realize the need for intense study when my last job ended, over 2 years ago. Even before Al was diagnosised, I felt I needed to really soak up some truths from Him. I hope to become more disiplined to find the time to get back to that kind of study soon. I miss it. It caused me to grow so fast and deep. It seemed almost every day for 2 years I would have a WOW! or AHA! or YES! moment with God.
That growth, I hope, is what others see when they look at me. The calm reassurance of knowing that God has got our backs. Whatever it seems to be might not be what is....whatever happens (mostly) is not within our power to control..... Our job is to do the dishes, go to work, study His Word and Obey. Studying His Word is how we learn to obey.
I thank our Lord for the rain in our lives. That He has shown us how to continue on through the rain and even find joy in the midst of it.
I confess that I do not spend much time worrying about the future. Some, but not much. During that first year of Al's illness, we did do a lot of thinking about it, but in a good way. Trying to prepare as best we could. Making wills. Deciding what we would do about this or that. There are still many things to do and plan, but for now, God has given us peace. I dare not spend much time in the future or I would not be able to function in the now.
I lean heavily on my Heavenly Father to get me through each day. I talk to him at work instead when I want to scream at someone. I talk to him at home when I want to scream at someone. I give him my frustrations because they are inappropriate in my life now.
As most of you know, Al spent a week in the hospital last week. He had pneumonia. He was probably okay after about 3 or 4 days, but they don't see many cancer patients here in Waxahachie, so they kept him for 7 days. They didn't really want to let him go home then, but he told them he was leaving!
The main thing that scared them, I think, were that his blood counts were so low. But that is just the way a cancer patient has to live. They gave him blood and stuff, but the effects only lasted a couple of days. By the time he went to his oncologist in Dallas on Monday, they were back down again.
He had his monthly chemo (Cytoxan) last Monday. Didn't feel great for a few days, but is coming around. They say they are going to change his type of chemo again soon. Please pray that it will not have bad side effects and that it will continue to keep his protein levels (cancer cells) low.
In the mean time, we are going to try to do better about being out in public so much. Especially during the flu season. So we will probably not be back to church. I resigned from nursery duty, as the babies carry so many germs. Al resigned from the deacon board because he has not been able to fulfill his duties these past few years. He hoped to be able to get back involved, but it just doesn't seem like that is God's plan. I pray God would show him how to minister to people through prayer and phone calls and whatever ways he can.
We have begun the paperwork to build a house not far from where the farm is. Pray that that process would go smoothly. I want a place where Al will be comfortable and have the room to enjoy these next 20 years!
I am very thankful that God gave me such an optimistic personality. (Some may call it naivety or stupidity) It helps to look for the good in all situations. But then, maybe it is not my personality, but God in me that is so optimistic............
I love hearing from each of you and enjoy lifing up your concerns to God through prayer. If you have issues that are troubling you, let me know. Al and I would love to pray for you. I have been praying for the son of a good friend who emailed me last week. I have been praying for the husband of a friend who also has cancer. I have been praying for a very dear friend who just lost his sister suddenly. I have been praying for a cousin who lost her only son in an accident. I have been praying for a brother-in-law who is needing a heart transplant.
We have been and continue to be so grateful for all the prayers for us. They best gift we can give is to return the favor and lift you up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Galatians 3:23

"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners...locked up until faith should be revealed." This was one of my devotions this past week.
It is one of 900+ over the past few years that speaks directly to me from God. He uses the devotions that people write (inspired by him-some from centuries ago) to speak truth to us, if we would just be faithful to read them. Just like scripture. And He doesn't just give it to you once, but over and over again, so that you will begin to understand what He is trying to say to you.
Sometimes it is direction, sometimes encouragement and other times attaboys for a job well done.
This devotion and scripture spoke to me about things I have blogged about before. My past and the struggles I had in my younger years. How God was preparing me for the trials of today. That I would learn "God's holy standard through the law and thereby realize my own utter helplessness" in making decisions about my life. That I would gladly learn to live by faith alone. I had to experience, like Paul, being held prisoner. He a physical prisoner, me a mental and spiritual prisoner to the ways of the world. If Paul had never been in prison, he would not have seen God's visions. He was able to inspire others through his writings while there.
Now, I do not consider myself in a league with the apostle Paul, but I hope that my writings would inspire others to deeper faith in Jesus Christ. To encourage others to seek God's personal messages to them through the Word and through daily devotional reading and prayer.
Today's devotion is about strength through testing. Exodus 15:25: "There he tested them." How "God does not want us to be like fragile vases of glass or like greenhouse plants." He wants us to be tested, like steel, to see what we are able to withstand. He wants us to be like storm-beaten oaks, like mountains of granite.... but to accomplish this He must put us through some very rigorous tests.
"Faith cannot be picked from trees like apples....."
I know that my testing days are not over, but as the quote of the day says:
"It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him." -J.R. Macduff
I thank you all for your prayers and encouragment. Al is doing well.
I am getting used to working full time. Another example of how God answers prayer while using it to strenghten you. He provided this job for me, but He never said that His answer to our prayers would be easy. It has been a struggle some days to learn new things, and keep pace with my responsibillities. I know that I have this job because of the provision of the Lord, therefore, I know it is where He wants me. Because I know this, I can get through the difficult days. It was difficult to wait upon His answer to the job situation. I could have gone out and taken another job that would not have met all our needs, but by waiting upon the Lord to provide, I have the assurance that this is where I need to be, no matter what the difficulties may be.
I ask you to pray with Al and I about our future. Since selling the farm, we want to build a new house. We want to build new so that we know what we are getting. We want things to be as low maintenance as they can get. We are not totally ruling out buying an existing home, but have not found anything that would not require a lot of updating and work.
We have a lot of decisions to make. A lot of prayer time. We want to be where the Lord wants us. The right neighborhood, the right lot, the right builder, the right pool contractor, according to His plans. My desire is for Al to have a place where he is comfortable, has just the right size yard that he feels he can take care of, a garage where he can do projects (as his health allows), a nice, long driveway and a pool in the backyard for therapy and entertainment.
I can't tell you that this is what God wants for us with 100% certainity, but I have prayed about this for many years, knowing we would someday sell the farm. I feel that God is guiding us to this very thing, but I continue to pray for God's direction and confirmation.
Please pray with us, as we pray for you in your struggles. We would very much like to hear from any and all who read this blog. Let us know how we can pray specifically for you. Let us know how God is working in your life. Let us know what struggles you are going through that God has designed to strengthen your faith in Him.
May God richly bless each one of you with a storm to test your faith!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


As Big Tex would say......Howdy folks! It has been a while. So much has changed in our lives since my last blog.
I got a job working for the Ellis County Clerk's office in July. It was a bit stressful at first and is taking some getting used to after not working full time for 15 years. But I feel very blessed to have gotten such a good job with great benefits. Another show of God's love or us, in that He provided what was needed at just the right moment. Knowing I am where God wants me to be gets me through the tough days.
Right after getting the job, we moved to our eldest son's rent house in town. Then Al spent 3 weeks getting everything moved that he had collected over the past 25 years. It was a big job because he was the only one who knew where he wanted most of his stuff. He got rid of some stuff, moved a lot to a friend's farm, and hauled off all the trash stuff.
He had moved a lot of his stuff eariler in the year - anticipating this move. Boy am I glad he did. It would have been too much to deal with all at once. Even he did not realize how much junk he had allowed to accumulate over the years.
Yesterday we closed on the sale of our house and 22 acres. The end of a very great era of our lives. We had great fun at that farm. Youth bonfires and campfires, family parties, shooting skeet, paintball, Krud Wars, water balloon fights, mud wrestling....so many memories. The quite nights, the lovely breezes, the beautiful sunsets.....room to help family members with a place to live when it was needed....
But Al and I are not sad. We are excited. We know that it was all God who found us a buyer. It was the first and ONLY guy who looked at the place. I knew it would be this way because God and I had had soooo many conversations about the sale of our property over the past few years. Even to the point that I knew it would be horse people who bought it. And it was. This couple is about our age and have a Tennessee Walker horse waiting for them to get the place ready. They are going to put on a metal roof (another God thing) and fence the whole thing. I can't wait to see what it will look like.
Guess I will have to take down the picture on this blog and rewrite our profile......
The roof thing - when the house got inspected, that was the only thing they found wrong. It needed a new roof due to hail damage. Insurance would pay and we had a friend offer to put the roof on for free. That was great, but Al would have felt compelled to help and his body just isn't up for that. When the buyers said they wanted to put on a different kind of roof and all we had to do was give them the money our insurance paid - YOU GOT A DEAL! God steps in again.
So now we sit back and get our lives reorganized. Try to get a new rhythm going. We want to build a new house, but are waiting for God's confirmation on who, where, what and when.
Al's health took a bit of a hit with him doing too much (as usual) these past few weeks. But, honestly, no one could have done it but him. He wanted to physically touch every item to know where it was going so he would know where it was. He is a hard-headed German-Italian who has specific ideas about how he wants things done. (Come to think of it - I'm a hard-headed German-Indian who is exactly the same way!)
He had his chemo this past Monday and didn't feel well for a few days, but does pretty well most days. He still has a lot of pain, but that could be, in part, to being so physical. He stays on the pain medicine 24/7 and it helps him to function.
It is hard for me not to be able to go with him to the doctor anymore. It is harder to keep up with what is going on with the cancer. I don't believe they have done any testing to check on how well this chemo is doing with the protein levels. They usually wait several months to make that determination.
Al will have plenty to occupy his time now. With me working, he has to take care of our two girls (dogs) and the house and the groceries and the laundry.... We still have 44 acres to sell.... Next month is the beginning of hunting season, so he will be getting ready for dove hunting, bow season, deer season, turkey season, and every other kind of season..... (I hope he is able to shoot his deer rifle) And when we decide where and what to build he will be needing to inspect the building process on a daily basis...
Our lives have never been dull, so I am trusting God to guide us to the place He has for us in this next chapter. As long as it is filled with love, family and friends - we will be blessed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

He's On the Move!

God is really on the move these days. I got the job at Ellis County Clerk's office. I started on Justin's 22nd birthday, July 9. It is a fast paced job. I record all documents to be filed with the clerk of Ellis county. All deeds, liens, affadavits, agreements, releases, etc. Most days are pretty busy. We are so grateful to the Lord for providing. We know that it is all Him because the circumstances tell us so.
By the time I put Al on my insurance it will not be a hugh paycheck, but that's okay. We wanted the job as much for benefits, as money anyway. If it takes care of the costs that his insurance does not pay, it will be worth it. When it gets tough to go to work every day, I just try to remind myself that this is what God wants me to be doing. Otherwise, I would not have gotten the job!
It has been good to get out of the house, meet new people, get some exercise by jumping up from my desk 20-30 times a day, (I have to handle all the public that walks in to record, also) and show that I do still have good skills. I enjoy the work (mostly) and the people have been really great. Next year we will get to move into the new office building they are building downtown for the county.
We have not heard from Social Security about disability yet. It has only been 3 weeks, so we just have to wait.
Last Thursday at noon our real estate agent calls to say he has someone who wants to see our house that evening at 7. So I call my new house Mr. to pick things up a bit. When I got off at 5 (not allowed to takes calls during business hours), I had a message from them saying they were coming at 6! A guy and his wife moving back to Texas from Florida. They have horses.
Friday evening while we were at dinner in Hillsboro with the Spradlings, we got a call with an offer!
I am now waiting for the agent to call me back so I can give him a counter offer. This is just the house and 20 acres. We would still have the other acreage to sell. It will mean we will need to find a place to live until the other sells to buy another house. We could make a good down payment, but not sure what the Lord wants for us to do on that issue, yet.
Selling the house and acres would allow us to be debt free with some money in the bank. Then we could re-group, pray about where we go from here. We are trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves and certainly not God.
I had a great time of prayer and talking to God this morning. I have, many times, wondered why He allows some of His children to be so far from Him at times in their lives. I, myself, spent 15 years as a child of God without really committing my life to Him. Without following His will for me. Without serving Him in any way. Only calling upon Him in my time of trouble or need. (Some may question whether or not I was really a child of God, at that time, but I do not.)
He has revealed to me the reason why, for some....it is so we can learn how much of a miserable failure we are at ruling our own lives. During the past 10 years of serving Him and learning more about Him and turning more and more (hopefully all) of my life over to Him, I have learned that He makes much better decisions than I do.
If I had not learned that lesson well and truly good, I would be making a colossal mess of our lives now by trying to control everything. Thinking that I knew what God wants before He ever even reveals it. That is a dangerous mind set. Or even worse, doing what I thought was the right thing - WRONG!
I learned in my 20's that I was not really good mother material. I had had 2 abortions and was a total basket case when it came to emotions and relationships. Some childhood experiences had retarded my emotional growth in some areas and I had a lot of years of bad choices and even worse experiences.
When Al and I met and married, I was still in that place, but with a companion. Al had some issues of his own. But God gave us a son and he was wonderful. He taught me what true love is all about. Because of our boy we began going to church. I wanted him to have the spiritual experiences of my youth.
From the time Al was saved, God began working in both our lives to bring about the miracle of turning our hearts to Him and radically changing us from the inside out. (Many probably never saw the deep dark evil lurking within us during those first few years). We didn't really even know it but we were starved for the Word and the love of our Heavenly Father.
I gave the raising of my son to the Lord. I knew that I didn't really deserve him, but was very grateful that God entrusted him to me. I wanted to do it right. The only way I could be sure of that is to let God be my guide. I think he did an Awesome job. Justin is a great guy.
Justin is not where I would like him to be spiritually, but that is not my call. I pray for him and ask God to call him unto Himself when the time is right. I have asked God for years not to let me get in the way of what experiences he has for Justin, because I know that they will make him a better man, someday. So I have to stay out of the way and keep my mouth shut and let God have His way in Justin's life. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
The same with our life situation now. I know that on my own, I make lousy decisions - it is a proven fact. God allowed me to see what life is like when I try to take charge. If I had not lived that experience, it would not be real to me now. (I guess I'm a slow learner since it took me 15-20 years to get it through my thick, German skull). But I am here now - waiting upon the Lord -and enjoying the peace that comes with knowing He doesn't make mistakes.
I thank the Lord, for He is sooooo good. I pray that each of you comes to this same realization in your own lives. If you had a friend, who loved you more than you love yourself, who knew everything, who knew the future, who had control over wind, water, fire & demons.....why would you not allow them to determine for you each and every step you take?
We give Him all the praise for all the good things we have been allowed to experience in our lives. We await His calling for the next chapter. We thank Him for the love and peace and understanding He has given to us. We pray that He would keep us on the path that leads to His door. We are grateful for the experiences that get us there quicker.
We are totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from God's people to us, from all over the place, some very unexpected. We do not feel deserving of it all, but accept it on our Lord's behalf, as gifts from Him.
We ask those whose hearts are burdened - be in prayer. Al goes for his next chemo on Tuesday because on Monday he sees his dermatologist to see if he has any cancerous moles, etc that need burning off. He will most likely not be feeling great all next week, so we thank you, in advance, for lifting him up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July, Putman Style

We had a great time on the 4th watching the kids pop fireworks and light their sparklers.

It was mainly our kids and gkids, but a few friends showed up, too. Tim & Kim w/g-daughters. Wes and Christie w/Cody and Eric. Greg and Angie w/kids. And, of course, Papa, Nana, Lewayne and Virgil. It was a fun day.
Keith cooking sausages and hot dogs. Wes brought some great ribs. The kids played on the water slide and raced four wheelers (until Kim found out). The weather was hot during the day, but cooled down enough to sit outside in the evening. From our place you can see fireworks all around the horizon. Friday night we were able to watch the Waxahachie display from our front porch!
Here are our gkids. First pix from the top, our youngest, Grant, Micah, Jarrett and Brooke.

Second pix is Chance, Peyton and Kelsey. Good looks run in the family!

Just look at Elese, Charli and Kim with her friend Angie:

Al looking out across the pasture. Watching everyone having fun. The guys got to shoot some skeet later in the day while Lewayne, Christie and I took Kelsey on a quick shopping trip.
Hope you all had a great holiday with your loved ones, too. We certainly missed everyone who wasn't there. Maybe next year.
Al felt really good this past week, except when he overdid. He gets pain in his back and arm when he lifts too much or bends too much. He begins 2 full weeks of radiation treatments on his arm today.
He looks really good, though, doesn't he?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Pounding

This has been an awesome week, so far. Last Friday I got the call to interview with Ellis County on Wednesday (tomorrow).
Then on Saturday I was priviledged to help with Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center's first "Ride of Champions". It was so great to see the excitement and smiles of all those kids who have been riding this past session. They have all made such an improvement in some way. Some it is posture, some balance, some speech, while others the improvements are not as noticable to you and I, but their parents see it. Al got to come out for a little while, but didn't want to push it with the heat. We feel so blessed to have come to know Bobby and Emily and help in small ways to further their mission.

Al did not feel well, at all, for the 5 days after his chemo. But Saturday morning he woke up not feeling bad, so he took it pretty easy over the weekend. That nausea can hit all of a sudden, so you don't want to get too far from home. We are hopeful that he will feel good for 3 weeks out of each month during this chemo treatments, which are indefinite. Today (Tuesday) he woke up feeling really good. Not as tired as he has been over the past year or more. He is able to mow and putter around the house, as long as he doesn't lift anything too heavy and overdo.
He is having a new issue with his right forearm. They took x-rays and it is sore, but they didn't see any fractures. They are going to do some radiation treatments on it tomorrow. We did learn, however, from the radiologist, that his left hip has a fracture. Obviously it was there even before they put the rod in that leg, but no one told us. He had been having some pain there, but figured it was from the operation and the new hardware. He is balking at more surgery right now. That is a prayer request - that he not be stubborn just for the sake of not wanting to do it. He may have several more surgeries in his future, but we will have to determine when it is enough. The risk of infections and complications is a concern with each surgery.
We are thankful for today and that he feels good today. We have family and friends coming over on Saturday to eat hot dogs, shoot some skeet and pop some fireworks. I know he will enjoy watching the gkids play and run and laugh and have fun.
We got several nice surprises this past weekend and we want to thank all who participated. Especially Marilyn and all her volunteers who blessed us with the proceeds of her garage sale. It is very much appreciated and I will be making a trip out to her place to tell her so.
Also, a church in Corsicana, where we have never been, but our friends Steve and Ina attend, gave us a pounding. For those of you who don't know - it is a tradition from centuries ago where neighbors welcomed new settlers by bringing them a pound of whatever they had in their lauder (pantry). Pioneers usually had very little by the time they got to the end of their journey and began to set up housekeeping. There was so much food! A truckload. It is very humbling. A very personal way to show love to those in need - even when you don't know them. We are blessed.
We plan to pass some of it on, as it is much more than we can use, to a food pantry or other family in need.
We woul like to visit some of those churches where we have never been, but know of folks who have had us on their prayer lists for some time. We ask God's grace to allow us this priviledge. We need to make trips to Irving, Cleburne, Evant and Corsicana. New Mexico and Colorado and even a few others here in Waxahachie!
Another praise: We finally got Al's social security disability paperwork turned in with the help of Karen. Pray for swift and favorable results.
We would appreciate your prayers for the job interview. We realize it is all in God's hands and want what He wants for us according to His plan. If it is not this job, then we know he will provide for us, as he has already been doing.
If you have been a part of the blessings bestowed upon us, I hope that you have received the joy and peace that comes with serving the Lord, by serving others. We hope to, some day, be in the position to "pay it forward" and bless others, as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Man in the Land of Uz

Let me see....what's been going on since my last blog....
A movie and dinner with my friend, CJ last week. Nice to get out of the house with someone I love like a sister and have lots of fun with.
Father's Day - a nice relaxing day thanks to Al's sister Lewayne and her husband, Virgil who invited us over for great burgers and Wii (mostly watching).
Monday we had a doctor's appointment before going to the infusion room for his first IV of Cytoxan. Since he has had some pain in his right forearm, off to x-ray. Those appointments took all day long in Dallas. Nice dinner out with Justin and Charli.
Tuesday Al was up very early and got some stuff done outside, but began experiencing some nausea. Took medicine for the nausea, but it made him sleepy so he went to bed early. Got some good sleep, though! Works better than the sleep aids. Nausea is not too fun though.
Wednesday Al slept pretty late, didn't feel very well most of the day. Doctor called to say he needed to get some radiation next week on that arm, so I'm assuming they saw some lesions (Cancer). Al was not too happy about that and is already protesting any more rods in his body. I told him not to get too far ahead of things - it is just too scary to think about. We thought we might have a bit of a break, but, alas it is not to be.
Al may not want anymore rods, but he may have to get used to it because this will not be the end. There are how many bones in the human skeleton? The cancer can seek and destroy them all! I realize that he will have his "I can't take anymore of this!" moment - but it's way too soon for that. I'm not ready for that. We've still got a lot of good years. I am believing that.
Today, I went to a funeral in Ft. Worth for my 11 yr old 2nd cousin. He was my cousin Barbara's only son. I had never met him before today, but know that I will get to know him better in Heaven. Our family has been fractured for many years and I hate that we have all grown up, gotten married, had kids - in diferent worlds. But today, although sad, was a beginning, I hope. Of restoration. To God be the Glory.
On a happy note, Justin and Charli are doing well after the loss of the baby. They are moving forward, planning a wedding. I am grateful to be able to be a part of their lives, their healing, their growing as a couple and pray that God will bless them and draw them close to Him.
Thanks to Karen B for her help in getting the paperwork together, the letters written, the vast amounts of information typed up for us to be able to turn in Al's papers to Social Security tomorrow. We pray for a quick decision and a generous portion.
Still no nibbles on our property or a job. Nothing. Nothing at all. I am wondering if I misread what we were suppose to do in regard to these two issues. Maybe I was projecting my own thoughts, hopes, dreams onto what I took for signs from God. So, I am struggling to let go of both of these issues, step back and try to get my signals straight.
Al and I have both been in and out of a depressed state over the last few months. I suppose it is normal and natural. There is ebb and flow. We are trying to work our way out of that. We do put our trust in the Lord, but it doesn't keep you from getting down.
I have begun a new bible study and that, along with several devotionals that I read periodically, really help sometimes. I have really been struggling with all this waiting - nothing new happening (at least, not any good stuff).
We would really appreciate some fresh lifting up. I have begun saying my prayers while laying face down on the floor - in reverence to The Holy One. He deserves all our honor and our praise, for He alone has been our Redeemer and our Savior.
Pray that the nausea would subside and not last much longer. Pray that the radiation would stop this latest cancer attack in it's tracks. Pray that the SS stuff is well received and is complete and we receive a swift decision. Pray for God to shove me out of the way, so that He has total control in our lives. Pray that we would see God in our every day and that He would show us joy and peace. Pray for Justin and Charli. Pray for Christ to return - soon.
Next up - July 4th. Al feels like he wants to open up our house to have our usual party/picnic. We won't be cooking. We will just have the grill out for anyone who wants to bring some dogs or hamburgers. The kids and gkids will be out with their waterslide, four wheelers, friends, fireworks and guns. Water guns, shotguns, hand guns.... Hopefully, Al will feel up to shooting some skeet. If you don't have other plans, feel free to drop by to say hi and visit, cook a dog and/or bring the kids out to shoot fireworks.
Hope to see you all soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Nothing new to report. Just thought I would blog about how absolutely nerve racking it is to have nothing to do but wait! Still working on papers for disability. Still no activity on our property. Still no interviews. Just dishes and laundry and junk like that.....
So little to do that I don't have anything to talk about.....except God's goodness to us and the encourgement He gives me each day in my devotional.
I will be starting a new bible study next week, so that will give me something to concentrate on for an hour or so a day.
Al did get to go fishing this past Sunday and Monday with his friend Steve. They took it slow and had a great time. He's thinking of trying to hit a few golf balls soon.
We go for Al's first infusion of the new chemo Cytoxan, on Monday.
Happy Father's Day to all you Dads.

Monday, June 8, 2009

SURPRISE! /// Have another round ..... of chemo

Last week things seem to be turning around. We got some good news about finances. Looks like we are going to be able to hang on to our property....at least until it sells. With help from several different sources.
If we can ever get all this paperwork together and get the disability claim turned in, we will do okay...eventually. We pray for a swift decision and that it would work in our favor. The determination they make on our claim has a direct bearing on what I need in a job (benefits). If they were to consider him disabled at the time of his stem cell transplants, then I would not need a job that would cover him, insurance wise. If they set the date at the time of his separation from work, then I will need a job that would cover him. It can all be very confusing and hard to keep up with.
I got several chances to apply for some promising job opportunities. Will have to wait to see how they all pan out and if any actual job offers materialize. Please pray that I would recognize the one that God has for me.
Friday, George came and got Al and took him for his 1st root canal. It took like 3 hours, but Al felt so much better afterward. He was estatic to be able to eat and drink without pain. Thanks George! Only a couple more to go.
Sunday we had a great time of fellowship at the church-wide picnic after services. Then we came home to a pasture full of cars. I was sort of stunned, at first. I couldn't figure out what was going on. My husband, along with Kim and Lewayne and other family members had arranged a surprise 25th anniversary party. I was really surprised. It was great! Beautiful cake. Lots of good friends. We missed all those that couldn't make it, but enjoyed more fellowship throughout the afternoon. Half of those people were the same ones we had talked with at church that morning! What a blessing! Thanks to all who came and all who prepared a truly special event. It really means a lot to me.
It was fantastic to see Perry and Annette Prudhomme (call Al and let him know how things went for you this week 972.824.8185)
Today, we went for the monthly checkup. The results of those tests done last month were okay. Not great, but okay. The cancer levels had risen, slightly. Last time the level was at .3% and it had risen to .4%. So the oncologist feels the Revlimid's usefulness is over. He is taking him off that chemo pill. In a couple of weeks he will start a new regime of once a month IV of Cytoxan. He has had a few doses of this before during stem cell transplant procedures. It will still effect his energy level and might nauseate him, but they will give him meds for that. He might lose a little hair, but not all.
They are waiting a few weeks so that he can get over the bronchitis infection that developed suddenly yesterday evening. As soon as everyone left - wham! it hit him. Needless to say he did not sleep well and neither did I. I am so afraid of it turning into pneumonia. The doc gave him a Rx for antibiotics to knock it out.
We also had to stay for several hours today for him to get back on Aredia. It is the bone strengthening IV he used to get every month. He was taken off while having surgeries. If he were getting any other kind of dental work done, he probably would have to remain off it, but as they are working below the gum lines, he says he is at greater risk of bone breaks without it.
So, the cancer is not in remission, but it is under control. Our main focus now is to avoid any breaks and infections. The doc told him that if he feels he needs to go into the hospital for a few days for fluids or whatever, it is better than dying of pneumonia. Seriously.
I wish he were still getting a monthly breathing treatment. It seemed to help keep his lungs clear and he never got sick while getting them.
Now we have a new chemotherapy, for the time being. It will probably change again when the new drug becomes available.
We ran into Steve Newport. He was getting a checkup. His cancer is returning. He is still on dialysis every night. Didn't get to get a full update or see Gaynelle, but hope she will email us with the latest results. We are praying for you, Steve!
Our prayer is that the antibiotics would knock this infection out quickly, so that he can feel good for a few weeks before he gets the next chemo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blowin' In the Wind

God is so good.
Sunday I had a meltdown. We went to church, but I could not stop crying. Every person that I tried to talk to, I just could not turn the waterworks off. I can handle things as long as I am in my everyday routine, at home, alone. But when people are nice to me (and, of course, they are), I can't handle it. I always express deep emotions with tears. I cried all the way home, too. The pressure just got the best of me.
I couldn't sit through the worship service. I went in search of a place to pray. It was hard to find an empty room, but I finally did. Looking throughout the auditorium and seeing all the people we have met and gotten to know over the past 15 years made me cry too! That God would bless us so mightily with all these friendships. To learn the heartaches and sorrows of those around us. To have been able to lift them up in prayer, as they are doing us now. I never knew how much it could mean to know all those people where talking to God on your behalf.
After all that crying I felt better and even optomistic . That's what church is suppose to do for you, right? The message got me to thinking, too, about how I am handling things, my prayers... my expectations.... my perspective... (Perspective Is Everything!-as my friend, CJ says)
My friend Laurie P was so helpful, too. Wonderful words of comfort and wisdom. We don't see each other much, except in the halls of church every couple of weeks, but God always speaks to me through her and I hope, to her, through me. I feel so blessed to have friends that, even though we may not speak for weeks, even years-we can pick right up where we left off.
Laurie, Jill, CJ, Laurie, Annette, Becca, Rachel, Annette, Kellie, Ina, Patty, and many others...
Anyway, after all that hullabaloo, on Monday I drove to Waco to take a typing test. (Yes, my job search has been extended to Waco.) Baylor University. It would be an hour and a half drive, but if that is all that is available......
But God is showing me that He has got other works in the fire....if I would just be patient! I have turned in a few more resumes to places around town. Several opportunities have opened up in the past few days, some I have been expecting, while others were a surprise. Please keep me in your prayers - that I would make right choices concerning a job, if and when I get an offer.
Today, Charli let me use her jeep. I just lived in the moment for a bit while driving around town with the top down, sipping on a frappaccino (sugar free, of course). The wind blowing my hair. I got several looks from some young guys, until they got close enough to see it was just an overweight grandma driving! I am so glad I am at the age where - I don't care! It was fun!

Al is doing okay. Still struggling with how to rearrange his life to this new way of living. Still struggling with the anger. In our house, we are all going through the stages of grief, for one thing or another, or two or three...
We are both being humbled by the generousity of others. We have received many gifts of money over the past month. It is greatly appreciated. To all those who have given time, money and prayers on our behalf: know that you are "bridging the gap" for us & we appreciate it.
Al is wading through the paperwork that it takes for disability. I am so happy to have Karen Blevins to help. She went with Al yesterday downtown to try and get medical records that he will need. She has been a real blessing to us "blind people" who know nothing about how the goverment works.
Billy Eaton has been great, too. Calling to see how Al is doing every couple of weeks. Today he took Al to the movies and to eat. He really needs that. I really need that. It is very difficult to be with someone, even someone you love, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He needs other things to do. He needs to retain his independence. I am not ready for him to be so dependent upon me to be with him every minute and direct every minute of his day.
Yet another blessing: On Friday, George is coming to take Al to start his dental work.
I ask that you lift these people up and others I will not name... ask God to bless them beyond their wildest dreams because of their willingness to reach out to those in need.
We go on Monday to the oncologist to find out the results of his latest tests. Pray for good news. I'm not sure how much more bad news I can handle. But, I trust in the Lord and He is my strength. Today's scripture? Psalm 56:3 "when I am afraid, I will trust in You"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"I will not let you go unless you bless me..."

"...Then he blessed him there." This was the scripture for today from Genesis 32:26,29 It is from the story of Jacob, as he returns home according to God's command. He spends much time wrestling with God in his anxiousness over his future.
Even though God presented Himself to Jacob in a form that could be wrestled with, ultimately, He was in control. By putting Jacob's thigh out of joint, He showed how quickly and easily He could disable him. So, Jacob had to come to terms with the fact that wrestling with God didn't get him anywhere. You can't force blessings from God.
We have to cease our struggling. Give up our own will and cling to the Father. Cling...not wrestle. In years past I can remember my grandmother talking of spending hours in prayer, wrestling with God. But, I believe, He wants us to just rely upon His judgment. Not to become weary with struggling against Him. This will only hinder His ablity to work in our lives.
This is so where Al and I are right now. Weary from the wrestling and the struggle of trying to force blessings from God. I have been hearing Him say for weeks now that I need to quit being so anxious and just get on with life. Leave the monumental tasks to Him.
Do the dishes, do the laundry, take a nap, feed the dogs, write a blog, get back to a deeper bible study, mow the yard....stay busy and content with the everyday workings that have to get done. When the time is right....He will provide answers and blessings where He sees fit.
He might even change our name to Israel!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

These past few years we have seen the dark clouds continually gather around us. Al's cancer diagnosis, the chemo treatments, the stem cell transplants, the challenges of making it through each day, the loss of his job, the confusion that comes with trying to make sense of such a rapid shift in your entire being, the loss of the baby this past week, the upheaval of packing up everything except the necessities, only to find you aren't going to be moving anytime soon, the frustration in trying to sell a property during these difficult times, the fruitlessness of job hunting in a recession, the mental struggles of being hit with wave after wave of bad, unpleasant or downright heartbreaking things.
We don't know where to go from here, what to do that we haven't already done, there is nothing left to do except wait. When you lose so much in such a short space of time, you can be tempted to just give up. To forget about what you didn't lose. So, you have to say, "What are we left with?". We are left with a home, for now. We are left with our family that have been very supportive. We still have our great friends who have lifted us up in many ways. We still have a deep and abiding faith in our Heavenly Father. It is enough.
I won't lie. The struggle definitely takes it's toll. To do battle every day with anger, resentment, anguish, heartbreak, fear, letdowns, frustration, fatigue, sickness, loneliness, isolation, and so many other emotions - it will get to anyone! I feel myself becoming weary of the battle. But in my weariness, God always sends me words of encouragment. Either through an email, a phone call, a card or my daily devotional. Here are a few excerpts from the past week and you will see what I mean:
From "Streams in the Desert"
May 16 - Do not be afraid, Daniel. since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days. ~Daniel 10:12-13
Daniel prayed for 21 days, God heard, but Satan stood in the way. Until Satan was defeated, God's blessings were hindered.
May 18 - We were under great pressure...so that we despaired even of life...But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
The pressure of difficult times makes us value life. It makes us more compassionate and understanding of others.
May 22 - Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. Psalm 37:5
Turn over your burdens to Him and He will do great works on your behalf.
May 23 - They were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He brought them out of their distress. Psalm 107:27-28
Do not be discouraged - it may be the last key on the ring that opens the door.
May 24 - Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Genesis 21:2
We must be prepared to wait on God's timing. It is precise, for He does things at the very time He has set. The One you wait for will not disappoint you. He will never be even five minutes behind the appointed time.
May 26 - Spring up, O well! Sing about it. Numbers 21:17
The children of Israel needed water. As instructed by God, they gathered together to dig a well. As they dug in the sand, they sang praises for what was to come. They tapped the stream that ran deep below the surface, unseen for a long time. Nothing pleases the Lord as much as praise. Praise in advance of things to come. He will supply our needs, even in the desert.

You know how it is when God is speaking to you...you just don't want to stop reading. I sneaked a peek at tomorrows, too.
May 27 - Bring them here to me. Matthew 14:18
Do you find yourself surrounded with needs, and nearly overwhelmed with difficulties, trials, and emergencies? Each of these is God's way of providing vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill. Remain still before Him and stop your own restless working until He begins to work. Do nothing that He himself has not commanded you to do. Allow God time to work and He surely will. Then the very trials that threatened to overcome you with discouragement and disaster will become God's opportunity to reveal His grace and glory in your life, in ways you have never known before. My God will meet all your needs accoring to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Hallelujah! Right on target.

So let me take this opportunity to praise Him.
Our Heavenly Father, Lord and Master over all, we give thanks and praise to you this day. Thanks for all the blessings you have allowed us to partake of all these years.
Great family, good friends, fellowship, a home, missions, vacations, toys, good work, children, freedom, good health, The Word, learning, trials, grandchildren and so, so much more.
We have not deserved not one minute of all the good things that You have made possible for us to enjoy.
We praise you for who You are. Maker of all things. Our Father, our Counselor, our Redeemer, our Healer, our Savior to come.
Now we thank You for what You are going to do in our lives, if we would but, BE STILL. That You will grow us closer to You through the deep sorrows we are passing through. We trust You, we abide in You, we love You. Amen.

Al's Update: He's doing pretty well. He will not be able to mow yards with his friend Steve for purposes of being disabled. He was not going to be able to hold up physically. Our yard is all he can handle. He is working on paperwork for SS Disability and a retirement from TXU.
He has some serious issues with his teeth. He has been in a lot of pain. Needs several root canals. Blessings on Dr. George for helping out with that.
He has not been feeling really good, but that is probably because he tries to do too much.
I have told him it is okay to throw away the rulebook when it comes to planning his day. He can sleep as late as he needs to. There is no set time when he has to do anything. This will take some getting used to.
It will be a couple of weeks before we go back to the oncologist and find out the results of those tests to see what is going on with the cancer levels.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Streams in the Desert

I just had to share this with everyone. Remember a couple of blogs back I was rambling about being in a desert and stuff? Well, I had also been praying about finding Justin and Charli a devotional to read (if they will).

Today our son, Keith called to get an update on all things Putman. He told me about this devotional he had been reading and how it really spoke to him in their time of trial. (He is unemployed at the moment, living with in-laws). The moment he told me the name, I knew it was the one God wanted me to get for them.

I have not read it myself, but bought myself a copy also. I have since learned that there is an updated version, so I hope they are able to understand the writing of the original. But, I know that God can bring understanding to their hearts and minds. As He did for me when I started reading "My Utmost for His Highest". Another devotional, which I highly recommend.

Please pray with me that when I present this to them tomorrow, they will devour it as they would a chocolate cake. Then crave more each and every day. That God would use the printed words to minister to them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When the Bottom Drops Out

This is our youngest, Justin. He and Charli have been expecting a baby, until last week. She has been spotting almost from the beginning of the pregnancy. Friday she went to a fetal specialist in Dallas. The baby has a deformed spine and organs outside the body. She is not expected to carry it full term, but if she should, it will not live long outside of the womb.
Another blow to our family. This is a very difficult time. This couple is so young to be having to handle this kind of situation. I pray that they will be strong in their faith and be drawn closer to our Lord, who is the only One who can provide what is necessary to handle this situation.
We are blessed and grateful for all the prayers of those we know and many around the country whom we don't know. We continue to pray for guidance for Justin and Charli, for Al's health, and for our financial situation. Everything about our lives is in limbo.
We give thanks to the One who created us and this baby. We know that the Lord loves us all and this baby. His will is what we seek. He knew us in our mother's womb and He knows this baby.
Praise be to the God of the Universe for His grace and mercy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Crossing the Plateau

In this battle with cancer and with life, we were thrown down off our high place at the time of diagnosis. Over the past few years we have struggled to climb back up and we did finally reach the plateau. That place where things level off and it is just a vast expanse before you.
With the latest developments in our lives, we may have been lowered to another plateau, but it is still a plateau. An expanse of seemingly endless desert before us. But it is all a mirage. God only allows us to see what is just in front of us, so we don't see all the things that are to come. There may be mountains, certainly more valleys, but still more plateau.
It can be very frustrating to not be able to see what is up ahead, but that is why we need a sovereign God to lead the way. I believe it is why He made the world round. Do you think that Columbus would have ever ventured to the west if he had seen what a great expanse of ocean he would have to overcome?
We can, however, look back and take comfort. As I look over my shoulder I see the hand of God at work, molding and preparing both Al and I. We could fret over the mistakes we made. If we had only saved more money... If we had only made this decision instead of that one... If we had only prepared for this kind of emergency...we would not be in this situation.
I have caught myself saying, if Al has only kept his job at TXU.... If I had gone back to work years ago.... If we had just sold our property a few years ago, when the economy was booming....
But, it Al had remained at TXU, he would not be who he is today. If I had gone back to work, I would have missed all the ministry opportunities God allowed me to participate in that have radically changed me from who I used to be. Opportunities to work with some of the most awesome, Godly people who showed me how to forgive myself, trust in God and keep moving in His direction!
So....here we are. Crossing the plateau. Sometimes a vast desert. But sometimes an oasis. We are living a DOGS life. (Depending on God's Sovereignty) Knowing He has our backs. He has been preparing us to handle what is up ahead. He will give us what we need, when we need it. He will sell our property, when and if it is part of His plan. He will provide a job for me, if it is part of the plan. All things for His glory, in His time and in His way.
He has prepared us to move forward, each day, living as DOGS.
With lots of help. We have been so blessed by so many friends and family with offers to help. Several have offered to help pay for various things....even though they may not be much better off than we are. We sincerly appreciate all offers, but we are pretty good for the next few weeks.
Al already has a new job! Part-time. Mowing yards with his friend, Steve. If it all works out. We don't want to interfere with any of Steve's family income, so we are hoping they get enough yards to make up for Al's portion. I am concerned about Al being outside in the heat this summer, but hope he only has to work in the morning hours. If he takes good care of himself with sunblock, long-sleeves, hats, and hydration, he should do okay.
Al already has the promise of a vehicle! Steve, again. They have several trucks that might be a candidate for Al to get fixed and running.
We already have a place to move, if the property does not sell in 3-4 months. Steve and Ina. They have a travel trailer we can stay in. Italy. Bank of America told Al - no, they would not work with us on the home equity loan. We can't pay it, so it looks like we will be losing our house, if God does not provide a buyer soon.
We still are not sure what kind of income we will have. It all depends on unemployment and social security. He will have a small pension from TXU. That will not kick in for 3-4 months and will be about 1/4 of his last salary. Not really sure about unemployment, whether he is qualified or not. Not sure if he is classified as disabled if he has not yet filed with SS.
It is all still very murky. Al will be trying to wade through all the paperwork this next week.
Thankfully, the company will be paying for 18 months worth of COBRA, so he will be able to keep up with his chemo & other treatments.
Yesterday was a post-surgery visit to the surgeon. Took x-rays. All good. Back in 6 months. Let him know if anymore pain develops other places.
Also, yesterday, monthly visit to the oncologist. Thought he was going to have to endure a bone marrow biopsy. Didn't happen. (yeah!) They only give a local in the oncologist's. Unlike the transplant office where you get IV meds.
Instead Al has to give them 24 hours worth of urine. Doc says this is more accurate for determining the amount of protein in the body, anyway. Al is like - sign me up for that!
Hope to get some results from that soon. Hopefully, holding the line on that cancer with the Revlimid.
Al's white blood cells had recovered somewhat from the previous month's. Not normal, but better. Red blood cells, not so much. Got another shot of Aranesp.
We are discussing what treatments may come next. Transplant doc wants us to test some people to find our who might be a match for stem cells. Just in case, one day, he needs a transplant with someone else's cells. He can't do one with is own again. With another person's cells, it would be a little different. More like an organ transplant, where the body might reject the cells. More chances for infections and Graft vs Host Diesease. Bad stuff. So we are thinking that will be a "last resort" procedure.
Most likely, if he needs another type treatment, we will go with a new chemo being approved for this summer or one of several others that are already approved for myeloma treatment.
For now, we are crossing that plateau, one step at a time. Living a DOGS life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Turn the Page

It is time to turn the page and get on with the next chapter of our lives. Al was fired from his job yesterday. They say it was because of work slowdown, but we know different. There was never anything in writing, but it was clearly stated verbally that they were tired of him not being able to be at the office full time and did not like the amount of money he was costing them in insurance premiums.
Al is understandably upset about the whole thing, but handling it very well. We had been expecting it and preparing for it, but it was still a blow. We feel good that we heeded God's urging for us to get things done. Clean out the house, put all but the essentials in storage, put the property on the market, move my mom, etc. It has been a small consolation that we were somewhat prepared.
They are going to pay for COBRA for 18 months, but only 1 month salary. After that - who knows? Al has already begun the process to start drawing his retirement from a previous employer and to collect unemployment from this present one. But those things all take time to kick in. He will be applying for disability in the next week or so, but no money there for, at least, 6 months.
It has been said that they probably broke the law in firing him because he is disabled. But, legally, I am not sure if he is classified as disabled or not. He does have a terminal illness, but will that hold up in court? Will they discontinue the COBRA payments if we file a lawsuit against them? Is this the right path to take? Don't know.
Our kids and our friends have been very supportive. Offering to help pay bills and stuff. We really appreciate all the prayers and advice. We are just taking it day to day, minute by minute. Waiting to see what the Lord has for us next.
As we will not be able to pay our home equity loan, we probably have about 3 months before we get evicted from our place. It's possible I could get a job before then or the place could sell. Things are not looking too bright in either of these categories.
I am cross-eyed from job-hunting on-line every day! I try to keep records of what jobs I have applied for, but it is so confusing. The switch you from this website to another and then another, with all kinds of advertments in between. Some of them are quite deceiving, trying to get you to sign up for information on college institutions or ringtones, etc. There are no actual people you can talk to anymore. Your life is in the hands (or keys) of your computer.
So, for the next few weeks we are okay. We just won't look any further down the road than that. My prayer is that Al would not get discouraged in the amount of paperwork it is going to take to get all this stuff underway. That he would not see this situation as a failure on his part. He did the best he could possibly do under the circumstances.
Pray for God to guide us - inch by inch. And that we would LISTEN and act according to what He wants us to do.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy 58th Birthday

Al has made it past another milestone - 58 years old today. The second surgery is behind us and he seems to be recovering well. Down to only one crutch. Off the pain meds, so he can start driving himself to work again tomorrow. I am praying that he will level out on this plateau for many years. This summer they are suppose to be coming out with a new chemo that his oncologist is talking about putting him on. We'll see. As long as the one he is on is working.... Like they say, "If it ain't broke, Don't fix it."

He is due to have a bone marrow biospy this Friday. We will see what has been going on in his blood for the past few months. I pray that the protein levels have remained almost zero, but that his red and white blood cells would start producing some healthy stuff to give him some energy.

He is now vested in his 401(k) at work, so he feels better about if he should get laid off. Haven't heard anymore talk about that lately. You know the drill ... they wait until your sure they aren't going to do anything ... then, WHAM! But, we are trying not to make it a daily habit to worry about all that.

Praise God, I have an interview tomorrow! Not sure what will come of it, but at least it is a sign that there is at least one job out there. Just want to do what God's will is for us. It is with the government, so it would be really good benefits.

No lookers yet on our property. Guess the timing is not right, yet. Just keep us in your prayers for all these issues.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Same Surgery, Second Femur

The second surgery to insert a titanium rod into Al's other femur was a success. All went well & he is doing good. Seems to have more pain, but that could be due to the fact he is moving around more, sooner, than the last one.
The first time, it took him two tries with the physical therapist before they would let him come home. I told the surgeon that, if I know my husband, it wouldn't take twice this time. I was right. I got to the hospital on Friday morning, the day after surgery, around 9 am. He had already done his walk down the hall and seen both the surgeon and his oncologist.
We are very thankful that he has done so well with both surgeries. The only problem he really had was the hiccups. He had several long episodes yesterday. I think it was a reaction to anesthesia. They did not have him do breathing therapy after this surgery, like the last one. He took it upon himself to do some. Luckily we still had the apparatus at home.
That is one of my biggest concerns with him, getting a respiratory infection. It seems to be one of the biggest killers of cancer patients. He has had monthly breathing treatments for the past year, since his stem cell transplants. By order of the transplant doctor. I believe that has prevented him getting sick several times. But, he has his last treatment next week, so that is a big prayer request that God would continue to shield him from that type of illness.
Al is getting around pretty well on his crutches. He was able to move his leg around more frequently that very first night after surgery, so he feels that helped to keep it from getting so stiff. It will take a week or so before he is able to completely dress himself and begin to walk on it without crutches.
Our next visit to the oncologist will be in about 2 weeks, when he will have to have a bone marrow biopsy. They will be checking the protein levels since he has been on a lower dose of Revlimid for the past few months. His favorite thing! I hope they are able to give him an IV, so it is not so painful.
I pray that the cancer levels have not gone back up. Lowering the chemo dose, does not seem to have made any impact on his energy level. It is still very low. We will see if there is any change in the red and white blood cell counts on his next visit.
That is pretty much all that is going on these days. We are still waiting for someone to be interested in our property. We are still waiting for someone to be interested in giving me a job interview. Assuming that this is even in God's plan for us.
Meanwhile, we celebrate what and when we can......a baby coming (Charli has been doing better), all our kids and family are healthy and doing well, God's abundant provision for us - physically, mentally and spiritually, and Al will be turning 58 next week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Partial Book Review

As I continue to read, "What In The World Is Going On?" by Dr. David Jeremiah, I am struck by the similarities between what he talks about the life of Christians in the end times, to mine and Al's lives today. In his chapter that deals with the Rapture, the USA and their role in end times, we are to be in anticipation of Christ's shout that only Christians will hear. The sound that will call those in Christ who are already "asleep", then those still alive, to join Him in heaven.
This waiting in anticipation is a feeling I am very familiar with at the moment. Waiting to sell our property, waiting to find a job, waiting to see if Al's company keeps him employed, waiting for our new grandchild... It seems that everything about our lives is in a state of limbo, waiting upon the Lord.
In all the discussion about signs and prophecies that point to Christ's return, we must remember that, as Christians, we will have no signs, or warnings before that shout. We will be way long gone before all those other signs and prophecies come to pass. This is what I believe as one who believes in Pre-Tribulation Rapture. And what a comfort that is! We won't have to endure the fall of the USA. We won't have to endure the total meltdown of the world's moral and social structure. Al will be cancer-free and whole again.
So, be on your guard....release the hold that the things of this world have upon you....rejoice in anticipation of the time when our Lord returns only for those of us who serve Him in our hearts. Be at your God-assigned post, working, waiting and watching.

This book is very interesting, exhiliarating and thought-provoking. I value any work based upon scripture that gives us reasons to examine our lives and how they are impacting the Kingdom of God.
I serve at the pleasure of the King.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Are We To Do?

My devotion just a few days ago so perfectly describes my experience at church last Sunday. It is based on Ephesians 3:18, which says "I pray that you...may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Many times while singing praises to the Lord, I am "suddenly awash with the magnitude of His love for me". This is what brings me to joyous tears. I pray that each of you would experience the enormity of Christ's love for each of us.
I am now reading Dr. David Jeremiah's book "What in the World is Going On?" It is very fascinating! One chapter talks about the state of the world's oil supply and how it relates to us and our futures. It asks the question: what are we to do? ...in light of all that is happening in our world today.
For a Christian standpoint, Dr. Jeremiah says, we wait (upon the Lord), we work (at our appointed tasks), and we watch (for Christ's return). He quotes C.S. Lewis to say, "Life is short. The world is fragile. All of us are vulnerable, but we are here because this is our calling. Our lives are rooted not only in time, but also in eternity, and the life of learning, humbly offered to God, is its own reward."
This is so talking about where Al & I are today. The world around us seems to be crumbling and changing. But God is exhorting us to just wait for the next phase of His plan to be put into action for our lives, work where He has placed us until such time as He moves us elsewhere, and keep an eye out for the signs that He is ready to return for us.
So far, this book is very good. It relates biblical prophecy to events going on in the world today. It has a lot of very interesting things to say.
If you have read this book already, let me know what your thoughts are.
Al and I spent all day at Baylor yesterday. First the oncologist. Al's bloodwork seems about normal. He has no red or white blood cells. Normal ranges for males in WBC are 4.5 to 11.0, but Al's numbers are 2.3. Normal ranges for males in RBC are 4.5 to 5.90 and Al's are 2.9. He got a shot of Neupogen and a shot of Aranesp. One for white and one for red. (Where's the one for blue?) Hope those shots give his blood a boost! His HGB is low. His HCT is low. His MPV is low.
Next month they will test for the cancer protein levels.
They have a new chemo drug coming out this summer that they are hoping to be good for Al. Before that happens he will have to have some more tests done and get all his surgeries out of the way.
He had to get a full set of body X-rays, too.
Then we went to see his transplant doc for his one year checkup. All is well. He got his 12 month shots. The doc is looking into finding a donor for stem cells in case, some day, Al needs another stem cell transplant. He would not be able to use his own again, it would have to be someone elses. This will be a last ditch option as there are more complications with this type of transplant. He had hoped to give Al a couple of years cancer free with the transplants, but, alas, it was not to be.
Next week we go back to see the leg surgeon. Hoping to get going on the 2nd surgery. Then he may need to have that back surgery we talked about last year, but never did.
Meanwhile, Al seems to be doing quite good most days. Still has a bad day now and then, but as long as he takes his meds as prescribed, he seems to do well. We will see next month if the cancer remains at the low levels it was last time they checked it.
We sure do appreciate all the help we have had to get our property ready for sale. Al had some good help last week from Billy, Justin & Keith moving all his tools. This week our friend Brad came down from Irving to help clean more "stuff" out of the barn. Mikal came to install a new back door. I give God all the glory for putting these needs on the hearts of all these people. We just could not have done it without you guys!
Please pray for God's hand in getting our property sold quickly and for a good price. Maybe, then He will reveal to us where He wants us to live and what He has next for us. I am still looking for an office job with good benefits. But, there again, it is all in His hands.
Happy Easter to all.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Moving Sale was a Success!

The sale on Friday and Saturday was a great success - thanks to our daughter, Kim and our friends Steve and Ina. I tried selling a couple of things while they were not available, & really blew it! I practically gave the stuff away! I wasn't allowed to sell anything after that.

There was still plenty of stuff left on Saturday. Kim and, our son, Keith, loaded the rest up on a trailer and we delivered it all to Marilyn. She is a wonderful lady south of Waxahachie who has a barn that is dedicated to a perpetual garage sale. She takes your stuff and sells it, then will give you the money when it sells. She specializes in helping those going on mission trips raise the money for their trips. What a ministry!

On top of that - her husband is a cook (they used to own a restaurant). He is going to use a grill of ours to do some fund raisers for missions. (Some of you will remember it from church cookouts and things).

We got to visit with our friends Mike and Kellie on Sunday, who are going to take the paintball equipment for Luke and Becca to use with the youth at their house.

As I blogged about earlier, these things God blessed us with, to use in ministry have now been given new homes to continue being used for ministry. Our furniture, our motorcycle, our campfire benches, our paintball equipment, our grill, - I'm beginning to lose track of it all!

George and Sherry came over on Saturday. He caulked the bathrooms while she cleaned the kitchen cabinets, inside and out. I don't know what she used on my sink, but it sparkles like new! It was a scratched and dingy white enamel - but not any more.

The garage sale is over, the carpet is cleaned and I am pooped! I think we'll take a couple of days off to go to doctor appointments and get all the household chores up to date. Maybe the real estate agent will have our property listed by the end of the week. Al hopes to have his left leg operation in a few weeks.

Otherwise, we are just going with the flow. Trying to accomplish the tasks set before us today.

Yesterday was our first day at church in a few weeks. It was a great service. The Holy Spirit just grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let go! I just cried and cried. But with joy, thanksgiving and graditude. Tears really make a lot of people very nervous. They do all they can to get you to stop crying. But I just loved standing in the aisle after service with my friend Laurie and we were both just crying and talking. She just cried with me and rejoiced with me and made me feel loved. That is what church is suppose to be!

Again, many thanks to all who made the garage sale a success and helped me get my house cleaned for showing. God Bless you all, many times over. I hope to repay the favor at some point in my life.

I serve at the pleasure of the King.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Downhill Slide

Whew! I have been working at a steady pace these past few weeks trying to get this house ready to put on the real estate market. But we are on the downhill slide. God has been so good to give me the strength each day to accomplish the tasks that have needed to get done. He has provided others to come along side to help with things that I just couldn't get to.
The attic is clean. (Thanks to our kids) All furniture is moved to storage or given away, except the essentials. (Our kids, their friends, the Holmes) A couple of rooms got painted. All the other rooms got touch up paint. The bathrooms got a good cleaning. (Thanks Dickie and Gloria!) Some garage sale items have gotten priced and the rest will get done today. (Thanks Steve and Ina!) The windows, ceiling fans and baseboards got cleaned. (Thanks Brenda, Kim and Elsa!) Others are coming on Saturday to get the kitchen cleaned good. The garage sale is here this Friday and Saturday. The carpet gets cleaned on Monday.
I have called the real estate agent to get it on the market next week.
We still have lots to do outside, but Al has not been able to do much because of the weather. Every time he gets things set up to do, it rains. This place takes a lot of wind and sunshine to dry up! We live in the blacklands. Ooey, gooey gumbo dirt. Good for farmers, not so good for anything else.
But we will get there. God's timing is perfect and we just have to wait on Him to get things all in place. We could use a few days to rest, anyway.
Al has been experiencing more pain in his back, again. They took him off the Aredia (bone strengthening) that he has had once a month for 2 years, to do the leg operation. That is why he is anxious to get back to the doctor in a couple of weeks to see if he will go ahead and do the operation on the other leg right away. Then he can get back on the Aredia.
The stomach cramps and other things he was experiencing for several weeks have gotten better since he started taking more pain meds for his back. He had been cutting way back on the pain meds. I am thinking it could have been withdrawal. That is a bridge we will eventually have to cross, but not today. Right now, he needs the pain meds. And we won't worry about it as long as he does need the medicines.
Charli continues to experience cramping and bleeding. We go to the doctor again today. Many have told us that they had these experiences during their preganacy. I can not speak to any of this as I had a great pregnancy with no sickness whatsoever. We just want the baby to be healthy.
Our prayer requests for this week would be:
(1) Quick sale of our property for a good price
(2) The health of Charli and the baby
(3) Al's discomfort would improve, his body healed
We thank you all and appreciate all your continued prayers. In Christ's Name we give Thanks.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are We Just Dumb or What?

Al just did our income tax. Are we just dumb or what? We didn't read the fine print on that stimulus check the government gave us last year. We didn't know that it was a loan that had to be paid back! It would have been nice to know we had a choice about whether we wanted it or not. There is just no relief - is there?
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
So far, Charli's pregnancy seems to be okay. She may be one of those who just has to take it easy for the next 8 months. The sonogram pictures show No. 8 is just a miniscule bump, but a bump none-the-less. Praise the Lord.
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
If we can get all our garage sale stuff sold (it looks like rain on that weekend), then we can get the house cleaned up and on the market for about the price we were hoping to get for it. Got some cleaning and painting to do. More stuff to put in storage. May have to come up with another plan for garage sale besides here.
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
No luck, so far, on the job search. No one is even offering me an interview. After I get all this other stuff out of the way, I can spend more time on that project. The Lord knows our need and His timing is perfect.
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
Al's health just doesn't seem to be improving. We had hoped that after getting off the pain meds after surgery, that the neuropathy would have gone away. No such luck. His sleeping is very irratic. He is awake most of the night, but then comes home and crashes for a few hours. The diarrhea continues to cause him to lose more and more weight. Because he can not keep any neutrients in his body, his energy level is still very low. We go back to the doctor on April 10. Hopefully he will have some answers.
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
We are trusting in the Lord for the answers and explanations to all these things going on in our lives right now. We know that He has a perfect plan and all things that are happening are for the good of the Lord. We are happy to serve His Kingdom.
Please pray for us to continue in His will and to not get discouraged. That He give us the strength to withstand all that is thrown at us, through our relationship with Him. That He provide for us in every way, what we need, most especially the stamina to just get up each day and face the task at hand.
Blessing to you all, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clean Attic & Bye-Bye Sofa

Our attic is clean! Keith even picked up all the trash and loose socks & such that gets dropped. There is one thing left up there - Amber's toy chest. My sister, Joette and her daughter, Amber have lived with us several times. When she was young, Al was into wood-working. So he built her a toy chest. If you know Al, you know he doesn't like to do things on a reasonable scale. He is a man of extremes. (But, God is teaching him things about that) Anyway, the toy chest is made of cedar and measures about 3' tall, 3' deep and 4' long. It's big! Amber could have played house in that thing. I think we built this house around it! It will have to stay up there until Joette has a place for it or Amber comes from North Carolina to pick it up.
It is great to have the attic clean. I think I heard the house sigh from relief last night. Now I have to finish sorting it all out and burning all the old records. I think we had 15 years worth up there. Thanks so much to Mark, Keith, Kim, & Justin - they are great kids! But it's not over yet - we still have the barn to go. Fun times.
Another God-moment yesterday: Jacob and Rachel came to pick up the sofa and living room tables. I had been thinking, months ago, that if we were going to stay in this house, I wanted new furniture in the living room. So I asked God what He wanted me to do. He told me to offer our furniture to them. They have been married a year and just bought a house. They are our new youth directors at church. Perfect! Our sofa has seen many sleepovers with kids from our church over the past 15 years. It was very fitting for it to continue to be used for that purpose at their house.
God left out the part where I wouldn't be getting the new living room furniture for a while. Jacob wanted to pay something for it - I told Rachel that if they paid us, then I would be forced to clean the thing. But if they took it without any payment - she would have to do it. Besides, we will get payment before this move is over. We will be calling on Jacob and JW to bring the JH and HS guys over to help clean out and move stuff from the barn!
With each piece of furniture and each job accomplished around here - I feel the weight easing more and more from my shoulders. Everyone seems to think we are doing them a favor by giving them our stuff, when, in fact, they are doing us a favor by taking it!
I see God's hand in each and every move we are making here. I see how He is orchestrating our lives. To think how beautifully He is doing it just makes me cry.
Our freezer went to our daughter, Kim and her husband, Mark. It was huge! (do you see a trend here?) The biggest one Sears makes. Our lives have gotten to where we could not use that thing to it's fullest advantage. They have four boys & had been shopping for one. For the first time, she can buy ice cream at the store and stock up on frozen pizzas!
That sofa was a big sectional. It was perfect for this house when Justin was younger and while we were able to have parties for the youth. But it's days were numbered. It has ink stains and holes beginning to form. It is perfect for the youth to jump around on at the Holmes' house.
We have outdoor benches that we are donating to the Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. They have just about completed the awesome barn, and covered arena. Work has started on the bunkhouse/studio. (Another God project) I hear they had 25 people show up at their volunteer orientation last weekend. We are looking forward to getting this move behind us to that we can help out there, again.
Please join with us in our Praise to the Lord of our lives. Our prayer is to continue to follow Him. We are so thankful that the things He has blessed us with over the years, will continue to be used for His glory, long after our need for them has past.
I will look at each and every item we have and make sure He does not have a plan for it, other than my own selfish ones. When I get my new living room furniture - it could be in heaven! Praise the Lord. And all God's people said......

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Leap of Faith

Just to let you know what has been happening at our house this week. We are packing, moving, cleaning out the attic! We have no offers on our property. We don't even officially have it on the market. But God has put an urgency inside of me that won't let up. So, we are working by faith. Faith in God's plan.
I find myself saying to God several times a day, "I trust You". "I trust You". Because it just sounds silly to anyone who is not a believer that we would be doing all this without even knowing we can sell the place. It is all backward by most standards.
Our older kids had the time this weekend because the weather rained out all the baseball games, so we thought we would make good use of them. We got a lot accomplished. Kim is a speed-packer, her husband, Mark, is strong and our oldest son, Keith, is the comic relief.
Keith came and replaced the guest bath facet, which Al bought, but just can't sum up the energy to get done. This house is starting to show her age. It's time.
Mother has had the offer from a good friend of a spare, big room to move into, which will allow her to stay in Waxahachie. She will be able to continue working until it's time to quit. My sisters came down this weekend to get her started packing. We will get her all moved in the next few weeks.
Picking through 25 years of your life is a long, slow process. It will take us the next 3 weeks to get prepared for an Estate Sale the first weekend in April.
Please pray for us as we slowly, but surely go through all our things and determine the best place for it: storage, kids or trash!
We have found out this week, also, that we will be grandparents to No. 8 by the end of the year. Please pray for this young couple to seek God in every decision they make.
Pray that whomever is suppose to buy our property comes forward at just the right time. That I would find that job when it is needed.
Al continues to be in pain with his neuropathy. The hip and knee he is still learning to walk on. They lowered his chemo dose, but have not seen the effect that may have, yet. Even when he was not on chemo this past week, he still did not feel well (stomach) and still had very little energy. It may take some time for him to build up those red blood cells.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Hits Just Keep on Comin'

Last week Al and I decided that we were going to put our house up for sale since things just don't seem to be getting any better. As a matter of fact, it looks like his boss is building a case against him that will make his firing look like he was not doing his job. This has been confirmed, at least to me, several times over in the last few days.
On Friday, the boss called to give Al a chewing about how little his department profited the last few months. Never mind that the numbers he quoted were not correct. He says the bonus we received last month was not correct. Al doesn't do the figures. That is all done through the corporate office in Houston.
Then today Al's office got a call (while he was at the doctor), telling them they would not receive any bonus this month because they got too much last month. So it looks like that part of our salary will be null and void. We aren't talking that much money, but it was enough to make a difference.
All this does is confirm to me that we are doing the right thing. Putting our land up for sale and looking for me a job. I hope that you will pray with us about these issues. There is so much going on right now that it is hard to keep up. We are feeling a little like Job. The ashes just keep piling on.
But, in the words of Job:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb
And I will be stripped of everything when I die.
The Lord gave me everything I had
and the Lord has taken it away
Praise the name of the Lord!"
Then in chapter 13 he says: " Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him"
That is where we are at in our lives, along with many others these days. We are trusting in our Heavenly Father to provide for us in ways only He knows.
Al finally made his peace with giving up our place to God. We are not only okay with it, we are excited about the next chapter in our lives. Wondering what God has for us in this next leg of our journey.
Al felt good enough over the weekend to drag his smoker and a few other items (with the truck) to a friend's house. We are going to be sorting and packing over the next 3 or 4 weeks. Our daughter, Kim, will come over on her days off to help. My sisters are helping my Mom to decide what she can and wants to do, then get her packed and moved. I know she would love to stay in Waxahachie, but her income is not what would allow her to rent. My niece is checking to see if she is entitled to any more assistance from SS.
There will be a big Estate Sale out here the first weekend in April, so mark your calendars. We have a 72" projection tv that we are going to sell. Justin has a four wheeler he wants to sell.
There will be all kinds of things. I think JW is going to bring over some JH guys to help us get things out of the attic and maybe even help move more stuff to storage.
Pray we sell the land quickly and that I find a job quickly (with good benefits). Pray that Al's energy level would get better. The doc lowered his chemo dose to try to get the red blood cell count up. Let's pray that it doesn't allow the cancer levels to rise.
Pray that Justin would recover well and quickly from the oral surgery he had today. (Wisdom teeth)
Let's see, did I leave anything out? Told you there was a lot going on around here.
We have a plan. That plan is to continue preparing for Christ's return and in the meantime, follow His lead. I have felt Him pulling us to get ready for another change. Well, the time for change is here. When our place sells, we have a place to store our things, we have several offers of a place to stay. We have already given away a few things and have more to get picked up. When God is ready - we are ready to move!
Join us in Praising our Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to us - forever and always!
May the Lord Bless you and your loved ones as bountifully as he has ours.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Job Market

I have been pounding the keyboard this week filling out resumes. Boy, have times changed since I last applied for a job! Everything is on-line. There is almost no one to talk to about a job. So I apply and I wait. I bet I applied to about 20 different websites, not counting already being registered at Work in Texas. Not very much out there. I heard there were jobs at the post office, if you can figure out how to apply. My resume is not all that fantastic, since I have spent the past 15 years working part-time & mostly in ministry.
But I have faith that God will supply me with the job He wants for me, when the time is right.
I'm not sure what the outcome of selling the land and house will be - our brother-in-law was going to help us, but he just got put back in the hospital with heart problems. Will have to come up with another game plan. We have not had time to really decide what to do about that.
It's Friday and next week is another opportunity for us to do what the Lord puts before us. We know that we will be just fine. It's just the headaches of doing everything that has to happen to get there. Downsizing is no easy task, especially when you have so many variables in the mix.
Al is doing much better - as far as the operation goes. He has been walking with only one crutch for the past week. He drove himself to his doctor appointments on Thursday (so I could pound on the keyboards for many more hours), then he drove himself to work today. He went in early & it is now after noon. He will be wiped out when he comes in.
We won't go back to the surgeon for another 4 weeks, but will see the oncologist next week. Our prayer would be that the chemo keeps the cancer under control (it would be nice if they came up with a drug that would do the job without also killing all his red blood cells) and that he fully recovers from this surgery so that we can go ahead with the other surgery.
Thanks for the prayers, support and good wishes.