Saturday, January 31, 2009

All things work together

Our daughter Amy & her husband Juergen live in Germany. They have five beutiful kids, the oldest of them is Jessica. Jess is 16 and suffers from autism. Over the years, Jess has undergone numerous treatments, diets, and surgeries related both directly to autism and other physical conditions. You see she was born with all the major blood vessels to her heart connected in the wrong place and has had a series of tumors in her inner ears. Maybe it is because she has required so much that she is so special to all her family. Jess is a miricle.
Amy and Juergen are planning to vacation in Cyprus in May. They will be there over Juergen's 50th birthday and are taking our son Rick with them. It will be his first trip to Europe and he is already blown away with the thought of spending 10 days in a private villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Amy and Juergen have always been most generous.
Today Amy was blessed beyond belief. It seems there is a diving company close to where they will be staying that offers an hour in a diving bell with oxygen (O2) compression as a touristy thing to do. But O2 compression is also a treatment that has shown a great deal of promise in the treatment of autism. It is available in Germany, but must either be approved by insurance (not likely) or paid for privately at an outrageous rate. She corresponded with and got an e-mail back from the diving Co. in Cyprus offering to let Jess take these treatments under Dr. supervision for free. There were no strings attached, but of course she expects to pay for some of the other kids to take a few diving lessons.
Life seems to bring the greatest blessings when we seek to bless others. We are all praying that O2 under pressure will help our sweet Jessica.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thank God for nothing

When you have much, it is easy to become dis-satisfied, to complain and to want even more. Americans complain all the time. We can no longer afford to eat out, but still have food on the table. We complain even though we have the luxury of new cloths, just less expensive cloths. We complain that gas costs too much. Yet we still own cars. Look around people. Look both within your own community, then into less fortunate areas here in this county let alone to developing countries. No matter if we lost a bundle in the downward spiral of today's economy. We are still better off than the majority of people in this world. Rejoice in God's provision. Thank Him even more when in your eyes, you have nothing.
When you have nothing, you learn to get by with nothing. Use this time to broaden your vision, to develop a new perspective, to learn how to live on what you do have and be glad you have it. God is still on His throne. He still loves you. He still provides your needs (not necessarily your wants). Reach out to those who need help and graceously accept help from others when you need it. You may find that you are not alone, but part of a loving, caring community. It is when we have nothing that we need each other the most. Yes, thank God for nothing. It is an opportunity to serve Him both litterally and by example.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Friends

It is always good to hear from old friend, especially when those friend live 1/2 way round the world. We had a call on Saturday from our wonderful friend Yau-Tang who lives in Taiwan. He is currently visiting with his younger son Tony and his wife who live in the Bay Area. You see, Yau-Tang is seeing his newest granddaughter (this makes #4) for the first time. His wife Judy stayed home, but was here for the birth a few months ago. This trip is grandpa's turn.
We first met Yau-Tang when he attended OSU some 25 years ago. He was working on his second masters degree (evolved into a doctorate) in Oceans Engineering. You-Tang came to us through an organization called Crossroads International to practice his English. The rest is history. We became very close and have stayed that way despite the miles. He and Judy have been our house guests and we theirs, on many occasions and they never fail to call when in the states.
We were privileged to meet You-Tang's parents before they died and to attend both their son's weddings. It will be nice when You-Tang is actully able to retire (about 2 years) and can stay in the US for a more extended period of time. That will allow them a chance to come to Oregon again. We so look forward to that day.
We lost 2 old friends over seas this past year and a third is in a nursing facility. Still a fourth is becomming very frail. We need to hold each friend, both near and far away, close to our hearts, lift them up in prayer, and communicate our love as often as possible. We may not get many more opportunities to do so.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shelley's Grey Hair

Richard is an old fashioned type of guy. He doesn't beat around the bush, and can sometimes be a little too honest. A few days ago he told our oldest daughter Shelley that she looked old. How blunt can you get? OK, there are many "things" that old can be measured by. There is lack of ambition, energy, and stamina. The appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and the inability to move due to any number of physical inhabitions. In this case it is Shelley's greying hair. She really has no other visible signs of aging, though she has commented on experiencing some of the more physical aspects.
Early greying seems to run in Richard's family. His oldest brother has had white hair since in his 50s and several of Shelleys cousins are grey. Even her 45 year old brother Rick is turning grey and Richard himself sports a thick head of silver locks.
Now Shelley has been waffling between weather to dye her hair or not for some time. Her husband Eric leans toward her doing so. Perhaps the grey hair makes him feel like he is aging? Some time ago, Shelley started laughing about being asked if she was a senior citizen, even enjoying the benefits of a senior discount on occasion. But when her dad commented on it, it seems to have hit a nerve. Shelley has made an appointment to do the deed, dye her hair.
My take on it is that if looking younger makes you and those around you actually feel younger, "go for it". To me it is not a big deal, but then I have only started to grey around the edges within the last 3 or 4 years, so am not really qualified to judge. My own grey hairs are actually a highlight of silver to my fading golden (red) crown.
I love you Shelley. It does not matter if your hair is grey, brown, or purple.

Friday, January 23, 2009

How very sad

We just received word that a dear friend of our oldest granddaughter committed suicide. Death of a loved one is always hard, but there is no answer to the "why" of suicide. No reasoning or placing of blame on a disease, an accident, or some other obscure factor. There is just the pain of loss.
Guilt is often associated with suicide. "If I had only known, if I had or hadn't said or done such and such." It is useless to entertain guilt, but asking the whys is inevitable and a normal part of grief. It becomes a problem only when these questions become an obsession or the survivor starts to focus blame on themselves or someone else.
Misty has had a hard time resolving difficult issues in the past and my prayer is that this latest crisis will not compound her sense of isolation. She is actually loved very deeply by her friends and family.
Working with Crisis Care Support for a couple years now has taught me several things :
  • The average time of grief after a suicide is 4 years
  • There is no answer to the question of why, but those in grief should be allowed to ask it anyway.
  • Just being there and showing support is what is most important. Just show your love and that you care. Words are not really heard.
  • Allow, even encourage survivors to talk and express their feelings, protests, and potential effects of loss on their life.
  • Don't tell them what to do or how they should feel. Instead, listen, allow them to grieve openly, offer suggestions for them to choose from (look at old pictures, visit with others who also loved their lost one, go to the funeral, visit the gravesite). Encourage them to get professional counceling if they become dispondent or you are in over your head.
  • Do not quote scripture or speculate on reasons for the decission to commit suicide.
  • Never speculate that either they or the deceased may be better off.
  • Pray with the survivor only with their permission and then keep it simple. By all means pray fervently for them.
  • Most of all, be there. Make yourself available. Express your support and love for those in crisis.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy Birthday

When your youngest child reaches 45 and you have 5 great-grandchildren, there is now way around it, you are getting old. I feel old sometimes. Then I feel not so old at other times. If I don't try to keep up with statistics (calendars that remind me of passing time) I usually do OK. That aside, today is a celebreation. Some 45 years ago I gave birth to a wonderful son. After 3 daughters, we had wondered if we would ever have a namesake for Richard. The Lord granted us Rick.

Rick is patient, kind, helpful, and talented. He is a great dad to his kids and a thoughtful son to his parents (us). We talk to him at least 4-5 times a week. He shares his ambitions, dreams, and frustrations. If you can't already tell, we are proud of him. Is he perfect? By no means, but he really does try. Happy Birthday son. God bless you today and throughout the year to come.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stand Up and Shout

Yes, yes, praise God. I could stand up and shout for joy. The Lord is so very good. For almost 2 years, Richard's A1c has been creeping up. Despite increasing his Metformen and even adding Glipiside, just after Thanksgiving his A1c (the blood sugar that bonds to red blood cells) had reached 8.5 and the doctor told us that if he couldn't get it down below 7.0 he would need to go on insulin (injections). That was 6 weeks ago and on Friday, Richard had new blood work. The results were far greater than I could have hoped for. Praise God. Despite the time frame being over the holidays, his A1c is 6.9. I would have been grateful had it even been down to 8.0.
Our family can attest to the lack of sugar and a limited number of "goodies" this Christmas season. They are used to platters of cookies and other special treats baked special for the season. Instead, the only cookies were sugarless. Fruit cake was made from dried fruit (no sweetner or preservatives added), honey substituted for molasses, Slenda for brown sugar. No candied yams or sweet pickles adorned the table. The only candy in the place was sugar-free (aside from that sent on Christmas eve from Germany and enjoyed by all). We are watching carbs, not calories, but there is a lot of corrilation. Consequently, serving sizes are small. It worked. Now to keep it that way. This is not a fad diet, it is of necessity, a life style change. Please pray for me that I can continue in this effort. Richard's life may very well depend on it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today is the day of hair. Today I will cut Richard's hair as I have @ least once every 5 weeks for almost 40 years. It actually gets pretty long before I cut it. Today I will vacuum hair and other forms of small debris from carpet, furniture and etc. Today I will wash bedding that got feathers (another form of hair) all over it when a pillow sprang a leak -ooh. Hair is a persistent and yet yearned for part of God's creation. The bible refers to it as a woman's glory/pride (I Cor. 11:15). Men who are balding spend money on either "rugs" to hide it, medicine to re-grow it, or implants to replace it. Let me be quick to say that we have no balding problems in this house. Richard has a full, very thick though grey head of hair. It grows almost faster than I can keep up with it, kind of like a well fertilized and watered lawn in summer.
I fixed a ham yesterday for dinner. It is pretty good size and considering that there are only two of us, I will most likely cut it up and put at least half in the freezer for later use. That is the only way I can get to the bone quickly. I am talking split pea soup. We have been eating beef and barley soup (2 batches of it) made with left-over roast this past week. There is nothing like a hardy home made soup on a cold January day, but we need a change, split pea it will be. Nothing could be simpler. Just add onions, a little salt, some sliced carrots, a ham bone, peas and water to the crockpot and a few hours later, wha-la, soup. Maybe corn bread or biscuits and you have dinner. I am hungry already.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spring is comming

It has been exceptionally nice the last few days in Oregon. Cold, but not freezing in the morning and mild in the afternoons. I even did some work in the vegetable garden yesterday. My green onions and garlic are doing well and there are even a few starts of leaf lettice that survived the snow under a covering of plastic sheeting. I transplanted some perenial flowers (thinned them) and pulled up dead stems and foliage from planting beds, putting the debris in the compost pile. February is almost here and that means spinach and peas will need to be planted. I will be ready.
Today I took Richard in to the clinic for followup blood work. I pray that his A1C has started to come down. I really do not want to deal with insulin if I can help it. I may meet another lady and walk through a local wetland this afternoon. She needs to get out of the house, as her husband has been ill for over a year. The fresh air and execise will do us both good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, today I teach a class on Crisis Care. Today's lesson focuses on regular depression/deep sadness vs. clinical depression, symptoms of each and how to tell the difference. This is only one small part of what these 13 sessions offer. Sometimes I wonder who needs this class more, the students or the teacher. Even though I have gone through the class material now for the fourth time, it still is relevant to all I am living through on a daily basis. I pray that my students are getting at least as much help as I seem to be by teaching it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Where do I start. If one day can represent life, it is today. First there was hope for things to come, then unexpected blessings, followed by disaster. What am I talking about?
I have already blogged about the potential for adding a dressing room/closet and remodeling our bath. That represents things hoped for. The introduction to the Beth Moore series on Esther, sub titled "It's Tough Being a Woman" was also this morning. It has the promise of deep understanding and fellowship with other ladies both friends and strangers. Then after the bible study I was approached by an older man from the congregation who had repaired a light switch for me about a month ago. He informed me that the men at church had decided to renovate my sewing room as a helps project. They came this afternoon to take measurements. Praise God for these two blessings, the second one was most unexpected. Full of joy, Satan just couldn't stand it, so he threw us a curve ball.
Richard's medication for neuropathy was shorted by a month again. We called the VA twice with no responce to our message, so our primary physician called in a one month Rx to Walmart. They are supposed to have "cheap" medicine. Whow! I went to Lebanon (17 miles each way) to pick it up, got out my check book, and nearly keeled over. One month's worth of meds that we co-pay the VA $8 for was $264.88. It will take us several months to make that amount up from our limited budget. Oh yes, this represents the disaster part. Lord, are you putting us through the fire of purification (again) or am I just in need of yet more patience?

This Old House

Our 1920s bungalow has seen many changes over the past 37 years we have owned it. When we moved in in 1972 it had been used for student housing and reflected the rebelious decoration of youth. The single bathroom had been painted a hot tropical pink and one of the bedrooms looked almost tie-dyed with yellow and navy blue. The yard had been used for a parking area and there were blackberries growing wild in the back. The basement was unfinished and wide open with no barriers around the sump pump.
Since that time we have put in addition and two more bathrooms, enclosed the front porch to create a formal entry, finished the basement by compartmenting it for use as a family room (including a soda fountain), furnace room, laundry, sewing room, and sump pump closet. A deck has also been added that can be accessed from both the living room and the master bedroom. Our garden is extensive and reflects Richard's love of plants.
But our old house is in need of renovations. This morning (7:30) a man from church stopped by to get some measurments for adding a dressing room/walk in closet and handicap access to our master bath. Our bath also needs to be remodeled. We will see. Money is definately an issue.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My girls are all much more computer savey than I. I never laid hands on a computer until required to take some courses the second time around in college . That was in my mid-40s. I have used a computer for various purposes (accounting, research, writing, etc) for about 18 years now, but it is not by any means a passion. Now that I am retired, I still do a little research, keep in touch through e-mail, and have recently started uploading photos from my new digital camera. I still, however, use a dial up (it's cheap) system for internet access. So when Shelley set up a blog for me, it took a couple weeks for me to get the hang of even posting. It was only earlier this week that I tried posting photos. But ouch! What do I do with all the added features Amy just put on my site? She changed my walpaper to reflect a garden theme, added a new column for videos (not that I'll use it with my dialup), and also added several links to blogs belonging to other family members. Nice work, honey.
It is wonderful that there are all these new options, but it is also a bit overwhelming to this senior citizen. Please don't expect me to add any more updates to anything but the regular posting for some time. Old dogs can learn new tricks, but they don't do it sponaniously. Thank you again Amy. And thank you again to Shelley who got this started in the first place. While I'm thanking everyone, Dianna spent several hours a couple months ago restoring all my programs when I did something stupid and the whole computer was out of wack. I have such great kids.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bridget called and was so excited to tell us that she and Chris have found a house. Chris was recently transfered from North Carolina to Ft. Lewis, WA. They are currently staying with his dad in Sumner. Not a bad arrangement for temporary purposes, but they are anxious to establish their own home. This place will be big enough for the kids (3) to play and even has a dog run for their pets. It is in Yelm, a short commute to the base. Way to go Chris and Bridget.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Soap Box

If there was ever a subject avoided in our home, it was that of motorcycles. Having worked out of a busy emergency room (diagnostic x-ray tech)for many years, I have seen more than my share of victims. You see there is no such thing as a "minor motorcycle accident". Therefore, you can imagine my apprehention upon receiving the news that our oldest grandson Doug had wrecked his bike. No details were immediately available so all we could do was pray.

The Lord is good. It seems that Doug was passing a car when a second car entered the roadway. Doug tried to avoid it, but at the last moment the car swerved in the same direction. Doug hit it straight on. The impact tossed him some distance and bent the fork on his bike. There is no doubt that God's hand was upon him. Doug skinned his leg, but there were no other apparent injuries. He was checked out at the VA and I'm sure will be very sore for a long time.

His bike is being repaired by the car's insurance and he has been given temporary use of a friend's bike until he gets his own back. This is important because he has no other way of getting either to work or to his National Guard drill this comming weekend.

We are starting a series on Esther by Beth Moore in bible study next week. This should be a real blessing to all who attend. As you may recall, Esther was a young Jewish girl who was placed in a very dire situation upon which the fate of all her people hung. How she handled it is inspirational.

I have two back-to-back meetings this evening. The Caring & Helping Hands group (C&HH)is charged with providing encouragement, comfort and support to fellow church members who are ill, going through hard times, or in grief. I am also teching a class in Crisis Care Support to help others in the church know how to provide support. These two activities require a lot of prayer and preparation. They also provide a great deal of fulfillment. It is a way of giving back for all the many blessings the Lord has given me and my family over the years.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome to my world

It is Monday, January 5. A new week, the first full week of the year started yesterday. Richard and I got up, ate breakfast, took our medication (I hate taking meds) then went to Sunday school and church. On our return home I heated up some lunch, did a few minor chores, read the paper, and did some suduco puzzles. Our daughter Dianna gave me a book of suduco to occupy my free time on a trip to China in 2007. I am hooked. When I sit down I pick up either my crochet, a book, or a suduco. At least there is variety.

Sunday afternoons are pretty quiet around here. We generally just kick back and take it easy. Yesterday we had a fire going and watched a little TV. There was an old western on with Jane Fonda. I don't recall the name, but it involved the survival of a homestead ranch and a large corporation who tried to swindle them out of the land. Of course the rancher prevailed in the end.

Richard is doing better. We were able to take part in the senior pot luck on Saturday. They had an old time radio announcer sharing portions of audio-only programs from the 30s and 40s. Boy did that bring back early memories. I can recall sitting in front of our floor model radio on Saturday morning hanging on every sound conveyed through programs such as "Let's Pretend", "Red Rider", "Tom Mix", "Staight Arrow", "The Lone Ranger", and "The Green Hornet". Of course we also listened to "The Shadow", "I Love Lucy", "Burns & Allen", "Red Skelton", "Edward R Murrell", and so many other greats from that era. We had a wonderful time, even won a disc of Lucy. I expect it will provide many more evenings of nastagia to come.

Shelley & Eric are on their way to Baltimore this morning for a week of trade show. They hope to take a few hours during this time to wander around Washington, D.C. The last time they were there was just a long lay-over at the airport. They essentially rented a cab in the middle of the night and had it drive around some of the more popular sights. Just enough sightseeing to wet the appetite.

Dianna is home and back to work cooking for some 200+ kids at a local care center. I expect Paul will be "on the road again". It is hard to say when he will darken our doors the next time, probably not soon.

Amy is sick. According to her blog she is spending the day in bed with an audio book, her electric fireplace ablaze. Juergen is working from home and keeping an eye on the kids before and after school. Hope she recovers real soon.

Rick spent most of his weekend empying boxes from his move and putting thins away. I expect that chore will take a few more weeks to complete. The main thing is that all those boxes can be stored in the garage until time for them to be empied. Having a garage must be so nice. No clutter inside. I am definately jealous.

Today I need to work on making name tags for all the ladies in my Tuesday morning bible study group (no, I'm not teaching it), copy some information sheets for the Crisis Care class I am teaching on Wednesday evenings, and develop an agenda for the Caring & Helping Hands ministry I lead. We will be holding our bi-monthly meeting this week. I will be writing more about these three groups as time goes on. Have a great day. God bless and keep you safe and warm, and no matter how small, may you accomplish something positive today.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays over - New Year Begun

It is a new year and as always, there is much to be accomplished. I am not one for making New Year resolutions, but I do subscribe to To-Do-Lists and goals that help keep me on track. My list for 2009 includes such goals as: remodeling my master bath, puting in a gas fireplace so that I no longer need to haul wood, sorting through at least a dozen storage boxes in the basement (one a month is completely reasonable), and pulling the ivy off my walnut tree (it will get out of hand easily and can kill a tree).
Richard is feeling somewhat better today. He ate a bowl of cereal and a banana for breakfast and it is staying down. His blood sugar is a bit low and eating will help. We will see how the day progresses. He has no energy at all right now. It is no wonder after all he has been through the last few days.
All our kids have been or are still away from home for at least part of the holidays. Shelley & Eric are in Portland celebrating their 30th (can you beleive that?) anniversary and will soon be headed for the east coast on a business trip. Dianna & Paul are in Skapoose with friends and are due to head home tomarrow. They spend so little time together (Paul is a long-haul truck driver) so it is nice that they could do this. Shelley and Dianna both live locally. Amy & Juergen just got home from visiting his dad in the north of Germany (they live in central Germany) where Juergen enjoyed a reunion with several old friends from his church youth group. Rick came down here from Washington a couple days after moving into a new house and is again home and back to work. Thank you Lord for their safety.
As I look out over the yard this morning, there are already signs of spring. Buds on trees are swollen, bulbs are pushing through the soil, and the grass is very green. Of course this is Oregon. Winters are normally mild and wet. So why wouldn't the grass be green? Still, it is wonderful to look out and see life and the promise of more to come in the midst of gray skys and the down pour of rain. What a gloreous world we live in.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Day, a new year

New Years Eve found Richard & I at home watching nastalgia on TV. Richard has not been well for some time, so we passed on the pot luck for our Sunday school class and it is highly questionable that we will take part in another one for our age group this coming Saterday.
Richard's A1C (blood sugar) has been elevated to the point that he may need to go on insulin, his crohns disease is flaring, he has fallen twice in the past 2 weeks, and has endured a painful bout of gout. I heard him come to bed at around 4:00 a.m. and when I got up at 6:00 this morning, the enchaladas he had requested for New Years Eve were still uneaten. Please be in prayer that the end of 2009 will find my other half in much better condition physically than he is at this moment in time.
It is raining outside today. Typical for a winter day in Oregon . My to-do list is short for today. I plan on taking down the Christmas tree, balancing my check book, paying a few bills, and finishing the laundry I started yesterday. All good things, but very manageable for a holiday where you are supposed to be laid back. Hope everyone out there has a peaceful and stress-free beginning to 2009.