Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm bacl, well almost. I am still fighting the last rmnants of jet lag and what appears to be a head cold.

Our trip was fantasctic. RIchard had a hard time on the way over. He was pretty sick for about 24 hours and had some difficulty for short periods now and the, but all in all he did very well.
It was great to see Europe in the spring again. To stroll through our favorite bulb garden Kirkenhauf), drive along the North Sea, have coffee in a winter garden in old Hiedelburg, and cruise the Rhine with all the castles and vinyards on the hills. BUt most of all it was good to spend time with our daughter Amy and her family. My how the kids are growing.
In the nest few weeks I will be writing about segments of the trip in more detail. But for now there is a lot to catch up on both around the house, financially, and in our own garden. It is good to get away and even better to come home.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Last minute packing

This will be my last post this side of the pond for about 3 weeks. It has been a whirlwind of activity here the last three days. There all sorts of were arrangements to make, paperwork to obtain, cloths to pack, and financial chores to take care of. Would you believe that the airline even required me to submit the weight and over-all dimentions of Richards wheelchair by Tuesday? Today I have already put in last minute laundry, fixed breakfast and done the dishes, verified our frequent flyer numbers, checked my e-mail, and caught up on both my daughters and my son-in-law's blogs. I still have to make another run to both banks to get a little cash and make sure there is enough in the bank where I have a debit card so that I can draw out Euros if needed, pick up some American Easter candy for my German grandkids, buy some last minute items for the trip and complete the packing. We will be on the road by 8:30 tomarrow morning. Our flight doesn't actually leave till 1:15, but we need to make a short stop in Salem and still be in Portland by 11:15. I may or may not be able to post from Germany. If not, I will have lots to share when I get home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


How do you keep from being torn in several directions when you have several kids and grandkids, all with different issues, hundreds, even thousands of miles apart? I guess you don't. Sunday is a special day, not only because it is Easter Sunday, but also because it is Shelley's 50th birthday. Richard & I have been given this wonderful gift of traveling to Germany for the first time in 6 years. In fact, because of health-related problems, Richard has not flown anywhere during that time. He has, however improved to the point that he can. So it was not reasonable to pass up this opportunity. There are also other issues on the table right now that I will not go into here. Still there is a sense of guilt at not being present at our daughter's landmark birthday event. Shelley, please forgive us for not being physically present on this very special day. We regret that more than you know. But we will be with you in spirit and pray that you have many other family members and friends around you. You are our first born child and no one else can ever take that place in our hearts.

Have passports, Love to travel

So much for "best laid plans". But a change of plans is not always a bad thing. Since we have not been able to go there, our daughter Amy has faithfully come to visit with us from Germany each of the past 6 years. Schedules being what they are this year, Amy is not able to come here and financially, we are not able to there. Solution, she just called and asked if we could come - they would buy the tickets.

Wow! I never expected that. But there are no more medical appointments, prescriptions are current, and our passports are up to date. Why not? It will be a bit scrambled getting everything together, but OK. We can do this. It has been way too long since we saw all our German family at the same time. We had planned on going last year, but the timing wasn't good for them Then we would have gone this spring, but our house desperately needs help and we don't have funds for both. The Lord certainly does provide. He never fails to amaze me. So we are going to travel this year after all. Praise God and thank you Amy & Juergen. See you next weekend.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Good news

As promised yesterday, here is a photo of my evergreen clemetis in bloom. It is so fragrant and long lasting, and since it is evergreen, a joy all year round.

Now updates on both Philip and John. First of all John's surgery went well. It lasted some 3 1/2 hours and they accomplished much. Praise God, John has no nerve or muscle damage to his left arm. The doctors had anticipated both. He has lost the external left ear, just plain gone. They cleaned off all the dead skin from his left arm and left side of his face and transplanted new skin. It will take about four days before they know if the grafts took. If not, they will try again. Other, less critical burn areas will be dealt with later. He is still on a resperator, but in general doing better. Praise God!!

Amy received some results from Philip's tests. The tumor is static at this point. So they are going to just watch it for a few months. If it starts to grow again they will remove it. The tests also showed that Philip is low in cortisol, a salivary stress hormone. This may be the reason for his aggressiveness. Low cortisol is treatable by using the same drug that is prescribed for HDAD. HDAD is what Amy & Juergen had originally had Philip tested for. That test came back negetive, but sometimes you have to go around in a circle to get back to the same place. OK, we can deal with that while we wait for the other more serious surgery. The Lord does have a suttle sense of humor.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Surgery today

Please be in prayer today for Richard's brother John and all the medical staff involved with his care. John was originaly scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, but it was postponed till today. They are going to try and mitigate the damage done to muscle and connective tissue on his left arm and hand damaged when the gas bbq blew up in John's face last Saturday. We expect there will be many additional surgeries to clean away damaged tissue on his head/face, torso, and right arm. Also be in prayer for John's wife Barbara and all those who love him. This is such a trauma to to entire family.

So it begins

Spring is here. There is no doubt of it. Bulbs are in bloom and so are the early flowering trees. These pale daffodils are among the first to grace us in the year and will be followed by a succession of other bulbs, other varieties of daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths, etc. This pink flowering plumb is one of several ornamental fruit trees in the front yard. The white flowering plumb and a flowering cherry are also in bloom right now and the double blossom flowering (a weeping variety) cherry in the rose garden will bloom in a couple weeks. It's buds are full and ready to burst open. When in blossom, the weeping cherry is spectacular. The evergreen clamatis by the east deck is also in bloom. I will include a photo of it tomarrow. Shelley plans on taking cuttings of this vine for propogation later in the year. We actually took cuttings and did the same thing in order to cultivate this plant many years ago.