Lord, direct our paths...

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

We did not receive good news today on my Dad. The neurosurgeon said there was nothing they could do. Apparently the cancer has already caused my Dad's spine to fracture and he is already experiencing some numbness in his legs. The Doctor said there were too many masses of cancer. He told my Dad that he would not survive the cancer. My Dad, very matter-of-factly said, "well, then I'm outta here!"

The advice from the doctors were to take my Dad home. Make him comfortable for whatever time he has left. They are going to have a hospice nurse come to the house every day and also pain management. The Doctor said it could be weeks, or months, but not a year.

Words are failing me now. I keep thinking of all my Dad will miss out on not being here, but honestly, we're the ones missing out on the glory of heaven. Please pray that he will not suffer long. Pray for my mom, that God will give her strength and wisdom in the decisions she has to make in the next couple of weeks. Pray for our family in preparing for this loss. Thank you for your love and support.

Take Comfort...

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
Thursday we received bad news regarding my father. He had gone for another MRI on Wednesday and the results were very discouraging. There was a large mass of cancer attached to his spinal cord. Because the cancer is in his lymphnodes, it is spreading like wildfire. The doctors told my mom that he is in serious danger of becoming paralyzed. The cancer has weakened his spinal column to the degree that any movement could cause it to snap and paralyze him. The choices are to have back surgery to remove the mass and put a cement-like material in to stablize the spine, or keep him sedated, comfortable and as pain free as possible for whatever time he has left. The doctors are not sure someone in his condition could endure the surgery without high risk. He is seeing the neurosurgeon on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the options and see if he is even capable of making it through surgery.
Thursday morning, when my mom got to the rehab center, she asked Dad how he was feeling. His typical answers are that he is in pain, not doing well, usually it's a complaint of one sort or another. This time it was different. She said his face was peaceful and he told her that things were good, he was headed in the right direction and it was all going to be okay. (She still has not shared with him the results of the test). We know the Lord is with Dad, but what an awesome and heart-wrenching moment to realize he had a very clear encounter with God and the Lord had given him peace. When I visualize the angels of heaven taking my Dad by the hands and ushering him into God's presence, the One he has served his entire life...with a glorified, perfect, pain-free and cancer-free body, how could I be so selfish to not want to let him go?
We were able to come in town for a quick visit this weekend. We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and went straight to the rehab center. They've got him pretty sedated and he was talking out of his head, drifting in and out of sleep. It was good to hold his hand and tell him how much I love him and have him open his eyes, respond and smile.
There are so many people praying for him, and so many that have been such an encouragement to my mom. Tommy, your parents have visited quite a few times and are always so kind to bring my mom some lunch, or anything she needs. She has told me numerous times how much it has meant to her.
Please continue to pray for both my mom and dad. Pray that the Doctors will have wisdom in their treatment plan and will give mom guidance on the next step. Thank you, my friends for your constant encouragement and support...you are all but just a phone call away and I love you guys! I will post an update as soon as I know anything.

Wealth or Health...which would you choose?

Yesterday I worked with a former boss of mine on an inventory. He owns a company that goes around to businesses, churches, houses, etc. and takes inventory (both photographic inventory and dictated inventory) of items for insurances purposes. He called me last week and said he had a large job that he needed my help on. Turns out the job was on the daughter's house of a major developer in town. House...did I say house? I meant mansion. This place was unbelievable. Tucked away on several acres behind an electronic fence on the east side of town are two of the most incredible homes I've ever seen. As we drove the long driveway with Greek and Italian influences scattered about (columns, statues, etc.), I was thinking to myself, "man, this is the life!" Then we approached an enormous stucco home that looked like an Italian palace and off in the distance was an even larger home (her father's) that looked like the Parthenon in Greece (pre-ruin, that is!). We unloaded our equipment and were greeted by a mid-40's petite blonde in her robe, very unassuming. If I had seen this woman out somewhere, I never would have imagined she's as wealthy as she is. The inside of this place was even more breathtaking than the outside. Seven bedrooms, ten bathrooms, formal dining, formal living, piano room, den, study, etc. It was impeccably decorated, large crystal chandeliers, tables, artwork, pieces of furniture that actually looked like they came from a palace. We did our walk-thru as she described pieces that were of extreme value that she wanted us to make sure we noted, then she was off to make crab cakes out of the fresh crab her father just brought back from the gulf.
I began working. I type in the items into this program on the laptop while my "boss" takes the photographs and then we photo-link them. I was texting things like a $12,000 dining room table that was recently purchased, $40,000 for an exquisite Italian console table, fine China worth $1200 a plate and she had a place setting for 10, silver, crystal, oils on canvas, the list went on and on. In my mind I was thinking, wow, what she paid for that would pay off this bill for us, or take care of the balance on Zack's car, etc. This woman is surrounded by money everywhere you look. Dripping with wealth beyond imagination. I kept thinking, what would one worry about if it weren't for money troubles? But you see, she recently found out she has colon cancer. Mid 40's, went to the doctor for what she thought were hemorroids and found out she had a large tumor in her colon and had to go through extensive surgery, radiation and today is her second treatment of chemotherapy. Here is a woman who seems to have everything anyone could ever want...but her health. She is facing 8 more chemotherapy treatments and she was describing to me how she felt after the first treatment.
A petite blonde, mid-40's, five children with the oldest being 21, living in the lap of luxury, but suffering with her health. I fell apart when I got home. Thanking God for my health, but also troubled with financial problems...living life paycheck-to-paycheck like so many of us do, and thinking just a handfull of her items could pay off everything we own. If I'm honest, I'd have to admit that I kept questioning throughout the day and last night what was worth more to me, being financially set or my health. That's a tough question when you're going through tough times.
But today is a new day. I awoke to a day of promises that my God will supply all my need according to His riches. I am not facing chemotherapy this morning. But I realize that my tendency to worry and my lack of faith can spread like a cancer that diminishes my joy in Christ. "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11.

Tie a Knot and Hang On Mama!

My heart is so heavy this morning for my mom. I don't really know how much one person can endure. Day-after-day is a struggle. Where is the breaking point? I guess it's different for every person. My mom has been dealing with struggle going on 3 years now. Her endurance has amazed me, but I fear she's nearing her breaking point.

Yesterday was the day for my Dad's MRI. The doctors are wanting to see how much of the cancer has spread to his spinal cord. They told my mom to make sure he had his pain medicine before he came since he would be on the MRI table for about 2 hours. So, she gave it to him before they left the rehab center. By the time they arrived at the place for the MRI, it was a struggle getting him out of the car. Then, when they tried to get him onto the MRI table, three of them couldn't do it and he collapsed on the floor. Mom said he was like jello. She said it was impossible for them to lift him onto the table or even get him up into a chair. He was like dead weight. So, they called the "non-emergency" service to come and help. Get this...it took them an hour and 45 minutes to arrive. Dad was laying on the cold floor the entire time. They gave him blankets and pillows and tried to make him comfortable, but mom said he was miserable. The ambulance was able to take him back to the rehab center.

Mom is tired, frustrated, angry, upset, stressed, exhausted (does that about cover it mom?). She's not sure what they are going to do now. Please pray for her. It's a daunting task being a caregiver 24-7. Pray for the doctors, that they will have wisdom in treating my Dad. Pray for my Dad, that he will be free from pain. I don't like to see him suffering in the condition he's in. I'm not ready to let him go...but I don't like to see him in pain and completely bed-ridden.

Mom, I know each day probably feels like the end of your rope...tie a knot and hang on! Wish we could be there to help you more. You and Dad are in our thoughts and prayers. Much love...

Beta something?

Okay, I don't know much about computer programming and all that stuff, but Gary and I just switched our Blogs over to that new Beta something. It was on our profile page and said we could switch to that version.

I have always had TONS of problems uploading photos and since we switched, it is a SNAP! It uploads multiple photos in just a few seconds and shows you a thumbnail of which photos are being uploaded. Plus, it publishes your post 100 times faster...just one click on "publish" and it's done!

So there's my two cents worth! I'm a happy Blogger girl again and not so frustrated! Small catch, for some reason it won't let me leave comments on the blogs that are not Beta yet. Sorry chickies! I was going to comment on your 9-ll Blog, Dianne, and also on Julie's fire experience, but couldn't.

Look on your profile page and it should have a new link. Give it a try!

The silence was deafening...

As I think back on the events of September 11, 2001, the emotion is all too real, it seems as if it just happened yesterday. I've been watching the History Channel today and still cannot avoid that sick feeling in my stomach every time I see the Twin Towers fall. People say you will never forget where you were when it happened and I believe that to be true. I can remember so vividly in my mind watching the Today show while Gary was getting ready for work. I remember the feelings of disbelief when they were showing the first tower that had been hit, and then watching the horror unfold as that second plane came into the camera shot and blasted through the second tower. I called for Gary to come quickly and watch what had just happened. I remember feeling so uncertain and fearful as the morning progressed. The third plane that hit the Pentagon, the fourth plane that went down in Shanksville, PA. I was very upset and frightened. I mean, I didn't think anything was going to happen in our area, but I remember being afraid to leave the house and staying glued to the television with a box of tissue in hand. The fear was more of the country I knew and was raising my child in, was coming to an end. That day changed America. We no longer felt safe within our own borders. How could something like this happen? It seemed almost surreal. My thoughts and prayers are with the family members that lost loved ones on this day. So many lost their lives. Children, that boarded a plane with their teacher, full of excitement and anticipation for a cross-country field trip. Men and women just going to work, leaving behind families that they expected to see at dinnertime. Firefighters and police officers, that run into a building while others are running out...just doing their job, but with a resolve and courage so innate, they know no other way.

We went to New York in December of 2002. It has become one of our most favorite places to visit during the holidays and we've returned several times. I remember the first time we went, the hustle and bustle of activity which seemed to go around the clock. The bright lights of Times Square, the horns of taxi cab drivers, a flurry of constant activity and noise. Then I remember getting off the subway at Ground Zero, climbing the steps up to the street level and hearing absolutely nothing. It was silent. People were milling about looking at memorials, paying their respects, taking photos, but everyone was silent. It was an eery feeling, but a very emotional one as well. Even the trucks and the workers at the bottom of the "hole" seemed to be quietly at work. (I'm going to try to post some photos we took on our first visit, if it will let me). We also walked down the block to St. Paul's church, where the rescue workers would sleep and eat. The memorials there are beyond description. If you have the opportunity, I would recommend making the trip and visiting both of these sites. It renews the sense of pride and patriotism, along with a greater resolve to see those responsible brought to justice for this horrific terrorist act. I wonder about all those complaining about the war, and if they would have the same feelings if they lost loved ones on that day.

As we wake up tomorrow and continue with our busy schedules and responsibilities, let's not forget those that are still suffering from their loss. Let's don't wait until the next anniversary of 9-ll to breathe a prayer for the families left behind of all the victims and rescue workers. And remember to pray for our president, George W. Bush. God Bless America!

It's a long road, but well worth traveling

Over the Labor Day weekend we were finally able to go to Georgia and visit with family. I think I had prepared myself for the worst possible scenario (which is what I usually tend to do, being a "glass half empty" person) in preparing to see my Dad at the Rehab Center. What a sad, sad place. Elderly people sitting in wheelchairs out in the halls, sitting at the doors as if waiting for someone to come visit them, there was even a lady that held a plastic baby doll in her arms and rocked it continuously. My heart went out to all these people and I tried to smile and greet them, or just pat them on the arm.

I was pleased that my Dad recognized us and had that silly sense of humor about him still. His coloring was very pale and I could tell that he had lost weight and he often grimaced with pain, but there were some fun and silly moments too. I was sitting by his bed and told him that I believed I could finally beat him in arm wrestling, which he quickly whipped out his arm and put me down! Then another moment there was some Hawaiian music on the television and my Dad told Gary to get up and "shake it" and we all laughed...but, like the good son-in-law that Gary is, he got up and did a hula dance at the foot of Dad's bed!

It's a long recovery road, and I don't think my Dad will ever completely recover, but we are hoping he will regain his strength and appetite so that he will be able to go home. Last Wednesday he had an epidural block injection in his back to give him some relief from his two herniated discs. The doctor at the pain management clinic said that he really felt the majority of Dad's pain in his back was from the spread of the cancer. So, he is having another MRI on Thursday afternoon to see just how much the cancer has spread. They also are giving him an appetite stimulant which is enabling him to want to eat better.

On Monday afternoon, my sister, my niece, me, Zack and Gary went to Party City to get some decorations for his room. The place is so drab and depressing. We bought alot of multi-colored spiral stars that hang from the ceiling and multi-colored star garland and hung it around the room, along with some balloons. The place looks like a party now! He was drifting in and out from his pain medicine, but Mom said that later when he woke up, he was really surprised.

Please continue to pray for wisdom for the doctors that are treating him, relief from pain for my Dad, and an extra measure of strength for my Mom. We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.

Finally, our trip would not have been complete without a visit with our friends! Sunday afternoon we ran into Julie, along with Bert and Renee W. (what a surprise and what a treat to see them!) at O'Charleys. Then Sunday evening, we met Dianne and Julie at La Frontera. We met at 7:30 p.m. and shut the place down, and then moved it to the parking lot and continued to talk until after 11:30 p.m.! We had such a great time and it was so much fun catching up and laughing and laughing. I'll post a picture or two...but won't post the silly one...which, the look on Dianne's face is priceless! Miss ya'll already, but it was so great to get to see you!

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