Friday, December 31, 2010
As you can see, the snowy deck (actually, it's a combo of sleet and snow) makes a good cooling pad for the apple pie I baked this morning. It's 13 degrees and I figure that'll cool this pie down right fast.
Oh, I could place the pie on the countertop to cool, but that would slow down consumption considerably. This late in the year it's pointless to begin practicing patience.
(Don't worry, Mom! I baked a small one for you as well.)
On the the New Year.
Last week, as I printed out my 2011 calendar, I hand-printed at the top of each monthly page the following statement. I read it on someone's blog (yours?) but I can't remember where and I liked it. Here it is, as printed in red on my calendar.
"We will prayerfully await the unfolding of God's ordained will."
The statement is a reminder that regardless of what 2011 brings, whether ease or discomfort, we are always and still and forever in the providential hands of our Lord. God is our provider, both for things physical and spiritual. He causes us to lean faithfully upon Him. And in that leaning, He gives us peace.
May your New Year be filled with the Peace that only He can provide.
Now...heading for apple pie! Even though it's early in the day I think we can extend this pie out into the next year. A two year pie! How about them apples!
P.S. Don't forget to check in on Lennie tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
We have in our possession a shoe box full of letters that Hubby's mother wrote home to her mother. A huge lot of them. But this post is not about those letters.
Instead, I am writing about Hubby's grandfather's diary. It was a simple little pocket-size book with a couple lines set apart for each day. Each day in 1898 Lennie (his name was Charles Leonard) wrote succinct notes about his day. He was seventeen. He was in high school and worked on the neighbor's farm. He played in the town band and liked girls. His transportation was either a horse or a bicycle. There were no cars yet.
I have a fondness for Lennie. My hubby very much resembles him physically, and although I never met Lennie, I'm thinking their personalities were similar as well.
I hope you will click over to Lennie's diary and follow along as I post his daily notes nearly 113 years later.
And, maybe, perhaps, it will inspire you to begin a diary of your own.
Happy New Year, Everybody! Happy New Year!
Today's Word: succinct [səkˈsɪŋkt] adjective
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Earlier today....a phone conversation with my brother. In regards to our family gathering for Christmas. And food thereof.
- Me: "The fruitcake is almost gone.
- Me again: "But I'm going to make another."
- Brother: "Oh, No!"
- Brother again: Oh! I mean "Wonderful!"
My brother is always good for a snirkle.
P.S. I am not always good a making up new words. I googled "snirkle" and guess what! It's already taken. It's a candy bar, of all things, that originated in 1920. Man! Am I behind the times! Snirkle, snirkle!
Monday, December 20, 2010
One of the blogs that I follow is J.C. Ryle Quotes. You might ask, "Who is J.C. Ryle?"
A partial answer is that J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) was a prolific writer, preacher, pastor, husband of three wives (widowed three times) and the father to five children.
After being in Pastoral ministry in England for 38 years, in 1880 (at age 64) Ryle became the first bishop of Liverpool, England and remained there for 20 years. He retired in 1900 (at age 83) and died later that same year at age 84. (You can read a longer, albeit short, biography at this website.)
I'm appreciative of the J.C. Ryle Quotes blog because I can daily read clear, convicting words by Ryle. Today's quote is as follows (emphasis mine):
Christianity is a religion built upon facts. Let us never lose sight of this. The first preachers did not go up and down the world, proclaiming an elaborate, artificial system of abstruse doctrines and deep principles. They made it their first business to tell men great plain facts. They went about telling a sin-laden world, that the Son of God had come down to earth, and lived for us, died for us, and risen again. The Gospel, at its first publication, was far more simple than many make it now. It was neither more nor less than the history of Christ. ~ J.C. Ryle
And so it is, that at Christmastime, we are celebrating exactly that! The Son of God, has come to save us from our sins. The Jesus of history now sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes on behalf of His people.
How can we not celebrate!Merry Christmas! And Hallelujah!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
What happened last year, you ask? Well...I baked cookies the morning of Christmas Eve. And, as I always do, I ate cookie dough! Who doesn't!
At this point I want you to think "food poisoning"!
That night we had a raging blizzard. Wind and snow howled through our area. We couldn't have gotten out on the road in any kind of emergency. And I was lying awake deep into the night with a nauseous pain in my tummy...thanks to eating cookie dough. I envisioned all kinds of horrible scenarios on this Christmas Eve...one of them being a trip to the emergency room a mere two blocks away in a snow plow. You can read about that evening here.
So! No more cookie dough for me! And I advise the same for you.
I wonder if the chocolate companies make a cookie dough truffle! I betcha!!!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) comments on C.S.Lewis' classic tale for children, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".
Early in the story the land of Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch so that it is "always winter and never Christmas". I was thinking yesterday about Lewis' book...about winter and snow and cold. And how, when winter hits in its full fierceness, it fills us with dread.
To live unprotected in dark dead winter is to live in danger. Sometimes I think about that...when I am lying abed in the dark of the night and the wind is howling like a freight train running down the middle of the street. Thinking about how we take for granted the blessings of central heat and insulated walls. About electricity that seldom (in our part of the country) goes out.
We get lulled into thinking we are always "safe". We forget about those who, due to time or circumstance, have no such safe place. Winter can be deadly. And in its deadliness it gives no joy. Perhaps that is why Lewis described the spell of the White Witch as leaving the land "always winter and never Christmas". Always deadly. Never joy.
Click on the link in my first paragraph to read Tullian's comments about what he calls the "Great Reversal". The beginning of the end of winter.
And count a warm home as one of your blessings today.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
There ain't no sunshine in Iowa today. Nor in Minnesota. As you can see by the weather map the entire State of Iowa is under a blizzard warning. And has been since early this morning.
Roads in northwest Iowa and the southern half of Minnesota are closed according to their respective highway websites. I-29 in Iowa is closed from Missouri Valley all the way north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That's a 162 mile stretch! Closed!
Right now the wind is whistling along at somewhere between 30 to 50 miles an hour. Our windows are covered with a fine-powdered snow that has whisked its way right through the screens to the double-pane windows inside.
And our birds! Last year the feeder hung under the tree out back. This year we moved it out front by the picture window and the little feathered critters had only just recently found it again. This mornng it was cold! Bitterly cold! The birds arrived early and stayed late. Finally, at dusk, I brought the now-snow-filled feeder inside, emptied it of its snowy birdseed and set it in the tub to let it thaw. I'll refill it in the morning with dry seed and hang it out again. I'm sure our friends will be ready for breakfast.
Meanwhile, my daughter in Minnesota spent the day baking cookies (except for the short time she tried driving to the quick shop for coffee and ended up backing all the way home in deep snow). She plans to bring cookies down for Christmas and they sound very yummy and I hope my grandson does not eat them all in the meantime, because as a friend told me, he has hollow legs and he needs lots and lotsa cookies! But I'm hoping!
And here? We're snug inside. We've no place we need to go. And I'll share a pic of our little Christmas tree.
Friday, December 10, 2010
You may wonder, "WHO wants to know how to write a snore!!??"
The answer, I suppose, is "writers". Writers write. And if their hero/heroine is sleeping I suppose they want him/her to snore as well. If he/she is snoring, he/she is definitely sound asleep. Whatever....
In October 2008 I learned how to write "snore" in snore language. Read on if you, too, need to know how to "write a snore!" Here's my post from that year.
I confess. I snore. Up until now only Hubby knows that. (Now you ALL know!!!) Snoring does not seem like something a lady should confess to, but there it is.
Recently, in the middle of the night, Hubby tapped me on the shoulder which is his signal to me to "Roll over, you're snoring." In that small moment between the "tap" and "awake", my mind had a mental picture of how "snore" would look if it were written in snore language (not to be confused with plain English).
Here's a pic of that written sound. Just in case you ever need to write it out yourself. (You never know when this bit of info will come in handy!)
I'm an inventor of a new written language. But so far it only has one word.
And now you, too, can write a "snore".
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
From the online Miriam-Webster dictionary we find this definition of "Nativity":
1: the process or circumstances of being born: birth; especially capitalized: the birth of Jesus
And, then, as dictionaries do, we read the origin of the word.
Middle English nativite, from Anglo-French nativité, from Medieval Latin nativitat-, nativitas, from Late Latin, birth, from Latin nativus
Over the years (my years, that is) my Christmas decorating has varied. But regardless of what other decorations I put up, I always love setting out a Nativity scene. One set is pictured at the top of my blog. The other is a small music box that I hope little visitors will pick up, turn the handle, and listen to the simple tune as they contemplate the figures that represent Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.
For us the word "Christmas" comes from Middle English Christemasse, and from Old English Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ's mass.
I suppose that is partly why non-believers sometimes prefer "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Be that as it may...Christmas is a celebration of Christ.
I want to emphasize that the celebration is not simply the birth of a new baby for this is no ordinary baby. What we are celebrating is the arrival of the promised Savior, Emmanuel (God with us). The long-awaited Promised Messiah arrived on that not-so-quiet night in Bethlehem.
Why was it a not-so-quiet night? Luke 2:13-14 tells us that after the birth there was a host, a huge number, a large crowd, a Sky Full of Holy Angels shouting the good news and proclaiming, ""Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
God Himself (John 1:1-3) had come down into mankind to take on flesh to become one of us (John 1:14) and to live the righteous and perfectly sin-free life than we cannot.
And then! At the Cross, He carried out what I call the Grand Exchange. Our sins placed on Him. All of them. Imputed to Him as if they were His own! He died our penalty as if He had committed every one of those rotten, filthy, foul sins! (2 Corinthians 5:21) (Another useful word here is "propitiation" or "sacrifice". See 1 John 4:10)
But this is only half the exchange! The other half is that His Righteousness is put on (imputed) to those who are His. His Righteousness covers us! It covers us so thoroughly that when we stand before God on Judgment Day our Heavenly Father sees us Clean! Because we are clothed with Christ's Righteousness! (Even though we still live out our natural lifetime struggling against our old sin nature.)
Therefore, if you belong to Christ, consider yourself a New Creature. Our old "self" is done away with. We are new! (2 Cor 5:17).
This Christmas, when you see a Nativity set, stop and take a look. That little baby in a manger came purposely, with a plan from Eternity Past to reconcile God's people to Himself. (2 Cor 5:18)
And That's why Christmas is Merry! We have received Life! (John 5:24 and I John 5:20)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
First of all, when speaking of another person and yourself always mention the other person first, i.e., "him and me", or "he and I". Never "I and he", or "me and him". It is proper (and polite) to refer to the other person first just as it is polite to allow the other person to walk through a door first. It is simple courtesy as well as grammatically correct.
Secondly, when speaking of yourself and another person, there are times to use "me" (the objective pronoun) and times to use "I" (the subjective pronoun).
Here's an easy test to determine when to use "I" and when to use "me". Simply remove "he and" or "him and" from your sentence and you will automatically know whether to use "I" or "me". It's easy as pie.
My mother gave him and me a sandwich. (My mother gave ... ... me a sandwich.) objective of the verb "gave"
He and I drove down to the beach. (... ... I drove down to the beach.) subject to the verb "drove"
Look at this photo of him and me. (Look at this photo of ... ... me.) object of the preposition "of"
We ate lunch and then he and I left. (We ate lunch and then .. ... I left.) subject to the verb "left"
Please don't get me started on the verbs "lie" and "lay". For the proper use of "lie, lay, lain" or "lay, laid, laid" go to this website. It's easier to give you a link than to try to explain it myself. (Said with a wink and a smile).
It's bedtime. My hubby and I (subject) should be in bed. He (subject) is already asleep. I'm not.
P.S. Only my most faithful followers will realize that this is a reprint from early 2008 but it is still valid today. Grammar has not changed. He and I (subject to the verb) should always recognize that it's good to know that grammar rules also apply to him and me. (object of the preposition "to")
Funny what a good high school English teacher can drum into your head. All that underlining and sentence diagramming paid off. Thank you, Mrs. Vanderlinden. You patiently put up with a lot of flack from our small class of 20.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tossing and turning myself, I continue to struggle with a rash that is a side-effect of the drug Avastin. Sometimes the rash is quiet. I do not notice it. Other times one area of my body will begin an intense burning/itching. The palms of my hands insist on a repeat performance of heavy itching every morning.
The Avastin is a relatively new drug in terms of treating ovarian cancer. When I experienced recurrence in January my new oncologist (Dr. W) put me right back on carboplatin and paclitaxel which were the drugs used the first time round. And he added avastin to the mix. I finished the six rounds of carbo/taxol in July and have continued with the avastin every 3rd week since.
Dr. W (should I call him Dr. Who?) would like me to stay on the avastin. But I dunno how long I can continue with the rash symptom. Neither antihistamines nor steroid creams seem to help.
On the other hand, with a clean PET/CT scan in August and again in November I'm reluctant to give up on the drug. The current statistics show longer remissions for those who continue on the drug. It's not a cure-all. But it does extend the time of non-recurrence.
So I'm hanging in there. And I'll tuck my blankets in a bit more securely when I make the bed today.
As for Thanksgiving? I'm thankful for today's medical profession. And I'm thankful for family. Most of all I'm thankful that I can trust all to a loving God...one who provides for His people all that they need here and in the hereafter.
Disclaimer: For any readers who may be using the drug Avastin, my rash is an unusual side-effect of the drug. Don't let my experience cause you apprehension about treatment with Avastin.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Even though I don't really consider today's treatment "chemo", that's where I'm headed. Chemo. Actually I'm getting an infusion of avastin into my Power Port. I'll be in the chair for at least three hours while the drugs trickle into my veins.
The avastin doesn't really affect me except I am highly suspicious that the drug is causing the light rash that began slowly in March and is a continual aggravation. There are little pin dots of single hives here and there. All over. Except for my face! Oh, I am thankful for no rash on my face! What's the biggy, you ask? They itch, Folks! They itch!
Along with the avastin I get pre-meds...decadron, aloxi, benedryl, and zantac. None of this five-drug cocktail seems to bother me (other than the aforementioned rash) except the decadron. Oh, Man! That Decadron! It has me in a whirl for the next couple of days, boosting my energy level, AND my vocabulary level. UNTIL! Until I CRASH somewhere around mid-Sunday.
But chemo is not what I meant to write about. I'm writing about my just completed quilt. You can see it in its pre-completed form by clicking here.
I make quilts. I make quilts from recycled cotton shirts and blouses. I was making them before Bonnie Hunter (a woman who makes lovely shirt quilts and writes books about them!) began making them and I have several in the closet. And another waiting to be quilted.
(If you like vintage sewing machines, you can click on the photo of this 1940s Singer 201 which is much beloved by quilters for its reliability and power...and perhaps because of the aura of being "old-fashioned". Oil this baby and keep the bobbin area free of lint and dust and it will run forever! Well...perhaps not into Eternity itself, but you get the picture. The Queen Anne cabinet is pretty nifty itself.) Ooops...edit here. This is a Singer 15-91, not a 201. My error! I do have a 201...it sits on a shelf in the basement.
This double 4-Patch is the shirt quilt I finished last night. I especially like the striped binding. Actually I would have preferred a plaid fabric for the binding but didn't have a plaid shirt in a color suitable. So stripes it is. (The corner of the quilt is folded back over the backing which is a Calvin Klein cotton sheet - 80 percent off sale - that works great with the masculine shirt fabs.)
Hope your day is great. I'll be reading in the chemo chair...I'm taking John Owen's work on the Holy Spirit with me and will enjoy digging into his thoughts...until the benadryl kicks in...at which time I will have a good nap.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This photo was taken a few decades ago. And he's looking a mite older today. But his smile today is just as wide as it was then.
One of the things I first saw in my Vet was his ability to laugh at himself. That's a rare gift. And it still endears him to me.
My salute to all Veterans of our beloved United States of America.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Regardless of Amazon's claim to the contrary, their reason for keeping the book on their online shelf is NOT a "censorship" issue. Any commercial business is free to sell or not to sell and can select to stock whatever items they wish. Nobody is beating Amazon over the head with the First Amendment and forcing them to sell this book (which, by the way, will make you puke!). Their decision to keep selling the book is their own choice, free and simple. Theirs is a choice of "profit" and not one of avoiding "censorship".
The First Amendment guarantees a right to "free speech". Any author is free to write whatever he wants (within guidelines...he can't, for instance, threaten to kill a member of our government...if he does, he goes to jail).
The First Amendment does NOT guarantee any writer that stores are "required" to sell his book. The market makes that decision. If there is potential for profit, the book gets placed on the shelf. This is a $$$ decision, plain and simple, and has absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment or censorship.
So let's drop this Censorship BS and begin looking at the real issue here. Money! Profit! $$$$$!
In regards to $$$, the people speak! By buying or not buying. We are free to spend our money wherever we wish and I'm betting Amazon is going to lose big time on this issue.
As for "your" rights in regards to the supposed "censorship" of this book? If Amazon takes this book off the shelf, you are Constitutionally protected in your right to track down the author and buy a copy of his esteemed contribution to literature. If, however, you use the guidelines therein to commit a crime, you are subject to the law and the First Amendment won't protect you.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
You see, we voted absentee ballot about three weeks ago. No need to worry about the polls, the TV diatribes (did I use that word correctly?), the signs lining the neighborhood streets. Nope. Haven't paid them one iota of attention.
Wouldn't it be funny if everyone voted absentee? Think of the campaigns that could just shut down completely three weeks prior. Whoa! That would be pretty doggone cool. Three weeks of political quiet until the ballots are counted the first Tuesday of November.
I say we start a movement! Vote Absentee and Vote Early!
(Where's my smiley face icons...can't find 'em!)
Monday, November 1, 2010
Hot off the press in October was a book that Greg Lucas wrote from a compilation of his blog posts. Somehow I ran across Greg's blog this past year and began following as he talked about his son Jake.
Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability and the Lessons of Grace is the product of Greg's blog. The book is now in print and available in many stores, including Westminster Bookstore. You will be humbled in your reading.
So!....you can acquire the book by buying it. OR you can leave a comment over at Connie's blog and perhaps win a copy. She purchased 3 copies...one for herself, one for a friend, and one for a giveaway. Thanks, Connie!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
But I digress.
I met Daria in the early days of my ovarian cancer. I met her by way of the internet. When I was diagnosed in January 2009 I began roving the net, looking for information about the disease, about my statistical chances of remission (slim), cure (none), long life (pretty iffy). And I began looking for others who are also dealing with cancer. Even when our cancers are different we share experiences. We become friends.
So I've been following Daria's blog for quite a while now. She's one of my Heroines. I sure would enjoy sitting over a cuppa coffee with her in person. But instead, I visit her daily at her blog Living With Cancer.
Today Daria posted that she was asked by womansday.com to write a short article to promote breast cancer awareness. You can read about Daria Maluta and four other women who have blogged about their walk with breast cancer along with links to their particular blogs at the Woman's Day website here.
Did you know 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer?
Did you know 1 in every 71 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
Not to mention all the other cancers out there.
Cancer is no respecter of age.
And ain't any of it fun.
These women are gritty and courageous and the ones who reach out and help others are my Heroines for certain!
Now...go read what Daria had to say.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Hubby and I sat out on the deck this afternoon. The autumn sun was bright and warm. While sitting there I played with my camera.
We spotted a squirrel hovering near. Last winter Hubby fed the birds AND the squirrels from across the street. And guess what! We now have SIX squirrel nests in the two ash trees on OUR side of the street. The tree rodents abound. (But how in the world do they call that pile of leaves a home? Do they actually live amongst those leaves in the midst of winter storms?)
Today was a visit to my Oncologist. The usual twenty questions...any rashes? nausea? dizziness? pain? neuropathy in hands or feet? energy level? I scored well on all of those tests in terms of well-being. And appetite! Oh, Yah, I have a great appetite! Can't he tell from my weight chart???
However, there is one area that I am not pleased. My new "do" is slow-growing. And its a bit thin. And there is no curl. Yet. I am not pleased with my "Anderson Cooper" hair. Actually, Cooper's hair is a LOT thicker than mine. Plus he gets to travel to a lot of exotic places in search of news. My 'do travels about as far as the grocery store and now and then to the City.
(Please remember that Cooper's photo has been photo-shopped...I assure you that's the only reason he looks much younger than I.)
At least I no longer look like Henry. (You can read about that here!)
But, hey! I feel good. Autumn has been lovely. And we are enjoying every day.
Today's Verse reminds us to not get too far ahead of ourselves in terms of worrying about tomorrow. It is sufficient to take care of what needs to be taken care of. Then we rest in God's good will and recognize that He will watch over us tomorrow just as He does today.
Matt. 6:34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Even though he has only 3 legs and hence, weighs less than the average kitty, he figures these steps are sturdy enough to bear up under the weight of multiple cats. You'll notice that he's also checking the street to make certain no cars are going to run over him while he's away from home.
Ooops. Gotta stop and leave a few cat hairs on clean pant legs. Whiner does not neglect his catly duties. He's faithful that way.
Checkin' for safety...Purrrr, just the right width to keep any kitty from falling through the rails.
Another look towards the street. Those dratted cars! (Here you can see that Whiner is missing his left hind leg...thanks to a nap under the hood of one of those dratted cars when he was a wee kitty. Whiner hates cars!)
Passed Inspection. Yep! Even though this deck is not finished, Whiner has given it full approval. He'll be back often, you can bet on it. And he's welcome, anytime.
By the way! I hope you'll take a look at my other blog, "Those Three Guys". They have kitties visiting them, too.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I don't even want to think how many pounds (tons?) of rubble had to be demolished, loaded up to a trailer, hauled across town, and dumped. Huge investment of time and muscle!
The small concrete stoop and brick-faced steps at our front door had been in poor condition last fall. The winter added a final bit of deterioration to the brick facing the edges of the steps.
I suppose we could have repaired them but that would have been more than we wanted to do ourselves...and the resultant repair probably wouldn't last anyway. (Or so we told ourselves.) We decided to replace them with a small deck...one just large enough to hold a couple chairs and perhaps a small table...a place where we can sit of an evening...a place that will function as a front porch.
Our friend John has a reputation for being skilled at his carpentry craft and for the past nine years his work took him to distant states. Sadly, the economic downturn caused his employer to crash and burn, so to speak. When we heard that John is now in business for himself we asked if he'd be willing to tackle our proposed project.
So early this morning John came over to begin the demolition process. The dirtiest part of the work is done and I'm thinking John went home tired.
Tomorrow he will set posts into the ground, digging down below the frost line to insure they sit steady and stable. And he'll begin building. Oh, that's the fun part...the building! That's where the creative aspect of the work produces satisfaction!
I know John will enjoy every bit of that part of the work...and I'll enjoy watching the progress. I promise not to hover but I do enjoy watching a project come together...seeing how this fits there...and how that is done here...I just enjoy seeing how things work.
We're looking forward to sitting on our front deck.
I can hardly wait!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
It is possible that some of my readers may have aborted a child themselves. I risk stepping on toes, but I do not want you to see this post as a condemnation. God knows, we have all sinned in one way or another, and most of us have sins of our own that we do not reveal, sins that we hate.
So on this Sunday, this day when many are standing on streets, speaking out for Life...take just a few moments to listen to Gianna as she speaks of abortion from her perspective as "one of the aborted".
Thank you. God bless you.
(Thanks to Karin for the pointing me to this video.)
Saturday, October 2, 2010
That show premiered October 1. And I'm looking forward to watching each week's episode.
Along with watching Danza to see if he managed to have the fortitude, wisdom, smarts, and resilience for his new role, it was also interesting to make first acquaintance with the students in his class.
But you know what? I seemed to focus in on Danza's hair. More than once. You see...Danza has more hair than I do. It's been eleven weeks since my last carbo/taxol treatment and my hair is still only 1/4 inch long (more like 3/16ths, but you get the visual).
However...I've been down this road once before...almost exactly a year ago...and I know what to expect. I'm figuring my hair will soon begin a slow spiral, a spiral that will turn curlicue as time goes by.
And then, Tony Danza, you will have hair envy. I know you will. Remember what the Bible says? "Thou shalt not covet."
And kind man that you are, I'm certain you will be just fine.
Definitely lookin' forward to seeing you in the classroom. I hope you do your job well.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
She and my hubby and my other daughter and family members stood beside me as the hospital staff prepared to wheel me into surgery. This was to be a debulking surgery, as they call it, for ovarian cancer. My cancer was not contained in a solid tumor...instead, it was spread throughout my abdominal cavity in little nodules covering the surface of nearly everything. When the surgery was over I would have a long line of 43 metal staples top to bottom, zipping my abdomen back together.
My Gyno/Onc had removed numerous parts of my internal apparatus. Then he carefully removed my intestines and stripped their surface, looking for and removing cancer residue. He scraped the surface of my liver, removing more of the same. When he had removed every particle he could reach (95 percent of the cancer tissue) he carefully replaced my intestines and closed. (I'm still not certain he didn't tie my intestines like so many balloons into some outlandish party display for the nurses! It surely felt that way for months afterward!)
I've learned more than I want to know about ovarian cancer in the past 20 months...the multiple kinds of chemo/radiation/surgery that ovarian patients may have to endure...the abysmal survival rates (especially for those diagnosed late stage; which most are)...the importance of having the debulking done by a Gyno/Onc rather than an "ordinary" surgeon...the so-often very short times of "remission" between one series of chemo and the next.
I've learned that the difficulty of diagnosing OVCA means that most women are diagnosed when their cancer is already advanced...meaning treatment is much less likely to provide long-term survival. Early detection is difficult but it is so important!!!
I've learned that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and I'm dismayed that so many know so little about ovarian cancer, its silent symptoms and its difficulty in being diagnosed.
So on this last week in September I want to remind the ladies amongst my readers of the nearly silent symptoms of ovarian cancer. (I don't care how old or young you may be...Pay attention to your bodies!)
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms (from the Nat'l Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc.)
1. Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
2. Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
3. Frequency and/or urgency of urination (day or night) in the absence of an infection
4. Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
5. Ongoing unusual fatigue
6. Unexplained changes in bowel habits.
(If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, ask your doctor for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, a CA-125 blood test, and transvaginal ultrasound.)
It's a fine line between paranoia and persistent "listening to your body". But Ladies! Pay attention. Listen for these so-called "silent" symptoms and be aware of your body.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It seems that a current "fashion" fad is to buy a pair of unwashed denim jeans and wear them six months WITHOUT washing them. The hoped-for end-product is a pair of jeans that fits Your body only. Molded. Shaped. Yours!
I'm laughing, Man! I'm laughing.
You see, I've already been there. Well, maybe not with NEW jeans. But I remember, as a teen, working in the fields, hoeing corn, rogueing milo, detasseling corn, and finally (before the end of summer and return to the classroom), hoeing beans. We wore the same clothes day after day. We did that because we didn't have an automatic washing machine and the wringer washer got brought out to the porch from its closet only once a week.
When we were working in the field we didn't fuss about having clean jeans each morning. Those old Levi's took on a shape and smell of their own. Mud. Green stains. Ragweed pollen. Not to mention blood, sweat, and sometimes tears. Those jeans learned to stand on their own, so to speak.
So...will I be buying a new pair of raw denims and wearing them six months?
P.S. Excuse me while I go pull my clean jeans out of the dryer and dress clean for the day.
Friday, September 24, 2010
You may well ask, "Why is sitting in chairs side-by-side a unique experience?"
My reply? The uniqueness is that we sat side-by-side at the clinic receiving our respective chemos for our respective diseases. We each have PowerPorts implanted just under the skin below our collar bones and I call us the PowerPort Twins!
Our ports allow the nurse to simply plug the chemo line right into the port, much like you might plug a phone charger into a wall outlet. There is therefore no need for multiple needle sticks trying to find veins for access. (I LUV my PowerPort!)
Fortunately for Hubby, his chemo (decadron and velcade) takes minutes, not hours. I, on the other hand, spend nearly four hours receiving my chemo cocktail of benedryl, zantac, aloxi, and decadron, (all to prevent allergic reaction and nausea) and the chemo drug Avastin which was recently shown by clinical trial to be beneficial in extending remission time for ovarian cancer patients. Right now I'm in remission. For how long? Only God knows.
Hubby has an extremely rare disease labeled "Light Chain Deposition Disease". It is an auto-immune disease that drops stuff ("light chains"; I can't explain it to you) into the kidneys, effectively plugging the kidneys which then go into failure. He began dialysis about two weeks ago. Dialysis takes four hours, three times weekly.
LCDD has a nasty side-effect of also depositing "light chains" in other body organs...the heart, lungs and liver. This is not good! So far, we see no evidence of that having happened. Dialysis will work to replace the function of the non-working kidneys. But it cannot work in place of heart, liver lungs. The hope is that his chemo protects those organs by halting the deposits. Only time will tell if the chemo works. It seems to be...but we will not know for certain for some months.
Wouldn't it be nice to not have to deal with the waiting and wondering?
Will Hubby's treatments work for him?
Will my remission be two months? six months? two years? Do I dare even type "five years?". Wouldn't it be nice to have a definite timetable for the remaining part of our lives? It's so difficult to plan your life as if you have ten years when you don't know if you have six months. My mind goes back and forth with both scenarios for both of us. It's rather dizzying!
I do know this...life is uncertain for all of us. You need not have cancer or some rare disease to meet Death. Let me tell you about my 92-year-old friend R.
I knew R through our interest in quilting although I hadn't seen her for quite some time. She resided in a senior assisted apartment in the small town north of us. My friend R often drove her electric scooter several blocks to a little quick shop for a few groceries. Each trip meant crossing a set of train tracks both coming and going. I don't know the whys or the whereofs but last week something dreadful happened. Somehow R's scooter tipped and she fell onto the tracks. Witnesses who saw her fall were unable to reach her in time to save her from the oncoming train.
I'm still stunned by it all. The scenario goes through my mind...what were her final moments like?....and what about the train engineer...how is he dealing with this?...and the witnesses...how are they dealing with having witnessed this tragic scene. This woman was a good Christian woman and well loved in her community.
So I repeat my words above. Life is Uncertain...for all of us. We will each face death one way or another. It may come with cancer. It may be a train wreck. It may be any one of a thousand scenarios. It can happen at any age in any manner due to any circumstance. Life is Uncertain.
Living with two serious diseases in the household has caused us to do some serious thinking about death. We're quite open with each other and we talk about it. And that's a good thing.
We want to face death (whenever that may be) with grace and peace and no fear. It is so easy to fall into doubt and fear of the unknown things ahead of us. And so I (and Hubby) cling to the words of the Bible...the promise...the promise of Life in Christ. We trust God's provision for us, even in these present circumstances.
Today I leave you with I Corinthians 15:1-58 and particularly verses 51-57 where Paul writes the following regarding the earthly and eternal...our bodies subject to death and our eternal bodies.
51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53For this perishable body (earthly body subject to death) must put on the imperishable (eternal body), and this mortal body (body of death) must put on immortality (eternal life).
54When the perishable (our earthly body) puts on the imperishable (our eternal body), and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hang onto those words and I treasure them. This is a promise. From the One Who Never Lies (God Himself!).
This morning Hubby was uptown and spotted this fellow on the awning of one of the businesses. He was busy cleaning his feathers and seemed quite nonplussed about being on his own. (photo credits go to Hubby)
I'm guessing his cohorts are settled in safely at the lake. They'll spend a week or three before continuing on their journey south. And while they are here, locals will enjoy driving by the lake to view these huge but elegant birds.
We once lived on the lake and each spring and fall enjoyed watching the huge numbers of American White Pelican in the spring and fall.
This is a bird which easily lives up to its name as one of the largest in North America. Its wing spread can easily reach 8 or 9 feet, making this bird impressively larger than the Canadian goose.
The birds are simply gorgeous and it is a wonderful thing to watch them in flight or as they fish the lake. When the flock comes in for a landing they spiral in a slow float until they reach the surface of the water. And when they fish, they fish together in sync, "herding" the fish before them.
They are a most graceful bird. And a beautiful example of God's glorious creation.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Today's news features a Sioux Falls, SD woman who is filing suit against Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of powder that contains talc.
To quote the news article (printed here), "The lawsuit says independent studies have shown an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the frequent use of talcum products in the genital area, and that the defendants failed to warn consumers about the risk."
Another, and perhaps more frequent, use of the baby powder that contains talc (read the label!) is in powdering baby's bottom after a diaper change. Please, please remember that the powder is so fine that particles could float in the air long enough for your baby to breathe some of that powder in baby lungs! Not a good idea in my estimation.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I'm sharing my series of "Those Three Guys".
These three knuckleheads don't have a lot of wisdom, have no purpose in life, have contributed nothing of import to civilization in general. But they have been appearing (at the tip of my pen) almost daily in a small black journal. Their current viewership of one (me!) needs to be expanded. I think.
So if you're curious about them, bookmark their blog and follow Those Three Guys. You can find them here.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Here's a close-up of the peeling/slicing.
I like Jonathans for apple crisp or pie. This particular bunch have a sharp, tangy, apple taste. There's nothing worse than digging in for that first bite and finding a bland apple with practically no taste to it except sugar.
Apple crisp...a fall treat. Sometimes I search for a recipe online. This time I used the recipe in my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook which is practically falling to pieces...I've referred to it many times over that past 47 years! (Click on photo for a closer view) You'll notice the recipe is for an 8-inch square pan. I doubled it for the 9x13 pan.
Go ahead. Drool! It's permitted.
I want to leave you with a quote:
“There are but two lessons for Christians to learn: one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God.” - Charles Simeon (1759-1836)
I think that means you can enjoy apple crisp most thoroughly...acknowledging God as the giver of all good things...including a sweet apple treat.
P.S. I have no association with the website for the apple peeler...it's simply the first one that popped up when I googled.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
If you've been wondering about my absence I will tell you that we've been dealing with serious health issues at our house. In regards to my cancer I can happily tell you that I am in remission. Only God knows how long that will last but I'm grateful that this is where I am at the moment. For one thing, that means the short little stubble atop my head will grow longer and longer! Once again I will have hair! Yayyyy!
As for Hubby? Well, he's dealing with his own health issues but I'm happy to say that current treatment has him feeling better each day. We are grateful and thank God for that. (Let me add that getting "older" is for us a real education in things of the medical realm!)
Soooo....perhaps I will get back to blogging.
But for tonight...I'm off to bed. Tired. But feeling good. And happy that Hubby is feeling decent, too.
I will leave you with what we kids used to tell each other as we headed off to bed, "Good night. Sleep Tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!" We knew a lot of useful sayings like that.
Friday, September 3, 2010
You see, I found this in our flower bed tonight. Green Misery masquerading as Green Beauty. Trying to fool me. Trying to cause me misery.
I figure the nasty things that came into this world through Adam's sin include not only sin and death, but also chaos of the created world. I figure before the Fall all plant life was benign and useful and just plain lovely. Sin changed all that.
To quote the writer of Genesis 1:31, "God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good." When, because of Adam's sin, death and chaos entered into this world, I figure plant life, too, left its originally perfect state and entered into misery.
Right now, there's plenty in Creation that is not "good". I don't need to draw you a long list. But I will show you this nasty plant, masquerading as green loveliness in my flower beds. Isn't it Green with a capital G? Who would think by its outward appearance that it could be such an enemy?
Our previous battle with Poison Ivy included numerous plants on a rental property. This is a Single Plant in my flower bed. Perhaps some bird dropped a seed. Who knows. But there it was, in the midst of my flowers, trying to fool me, hoping I would come close and touch and be contaminated by its poisonous oil. Isn't that how sin works in our lives? It looks lovely. It entices us with its beauty to come closer. Just coming close to it is the first step in being contaminated with its nasty consequence.
But I've battled this one before. I know better than to touch, no matter how casually. I grabbed a plastic grocery bag and used it as a "second glove" over my gardening gloves and yanked that baby Ivy out by the roots. Then I enclosed it in the bag and put that in a larger garbage bag for disposal.
And then I rinsed my clippers, gloves and shoes under cold water from the outdoor faucet. You see the plant secretes a nasty oil that can contaminate everything you touch and which does not deteriorate. Put those contaminated gloves in the garage all winter and the poisonous oil is still there next spring, ready to produce rash and pain if you simply touch it.
And since I was not certain that I had not brushed up against those lovely green leaves in even the slightest way, I tossed all my clothing and the gloves into the wash the moment I entered the house. I wanted to be extra careful (to the point of paranoia perhaps!!!) so I stripped in front of the washing machine (please do not be too visually minded here!!!), tossed the clothes in for a cold rinse, then a second wash with soap. And I jumped into the shower to rinse myself with cold water, then with soap, hoping to remove any possible ivy oil from my skin before it could produce painful rash.
My last big gun against this plant attack was to use a topical prescription cream on a mosquito bite that I had scratched...just in case! Thank you, Mr. Dermatologist of previous experience. The next few days will determine whether or not I used sufficient precaution!
Someday, sin and death will be done away with. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil and that means there will be an end to sin and death. I John 3:7 ".....The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."
And creation itself, all of creation...the plant world, the animal kingdom, all will be set free from the after-effects of the Fall.
Romans 8:21-24 "....the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. ..."
In the meantime...when you encounter this plant...recognize it for what it is...a nasty plant that will cause you nasty rash and pain. Read more here about how to successfully deal with exposure to Poison Ivy.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Seems to me I've read about this before. But this time I'm tossing the one container of talc that is in our house. Guess where I got it? Brought it home from the hospital...it was in the "bathroom kit" given to me a year ago when I had debulking surgery for ovarian cancer.
Many women use talc on their genital area after showering or bathing. And young moms use it in the form of baby powder on their babies.
Please! Please read the above-mentioned article if you are using talc in any form.
According to the article, "Talc is made from a magnesium silicate mineral that is similar in its properties to asbestos. Both asbestos and talc form tiny shards and can break off and imbed into parts of the body. If it is inhaled, these tiny particles can imbed into the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties. In animal tests it was shown to cause tumors after the animals had been forced to inhale it."
How in the world can you avoid inhaling particles that are so tiny they float in the air? Get rid of the stuff. Toss it in the garbage.
In my estimation this stuff should not be used on babies and it should not be used by adults.
Just my humble opinion...based on the above mentioned article and the studies mentioned therein.
Toss the Talc!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
35Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Friday, August 27, 2010
The question was prompted by my reading an 1898 book by D H Montgomery that dealt with the flow of English history from pre-historic times to the year 1898. Montgomery had made the statement (in regard to matches) that the match was the "commonest, and perhaps at the same time the most useful domestic article in existence".
Folks, I want to emphasize that 1898 was a mere 112 years ago. That is not a great deal of time. Imagine! The match being the most common and useful item in the home in 1898!
Compare that with today's home with its TV, DVR, internet, game room, iPods, cell phones, microwave, dishwasher, automobiles, yada, yada, yada.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I am on page 357 with only 46 pages to go. The book begins with "Britain before History begins" and continues through Roman occupation, the Danes, Saxons, Normans, Feudalism, Reformation, the Stuarts, the American Revolution, yada yada. To compress that much history into 403 pages is a feat in itself! To read it through, page by page, is another feat, if I do say so myself.
A lot of kings died at the hands of others in this book. As did the next king. And the next. Sometimes their whole families were killed by succeeding kings. The English fought the French, then the Germans/Austrians, then the Spanish, then the French again, then the Spanish again, on and on and on. The Irish and Scots come into the picture now and then. Suffice it to say, ain't nobody happy with anybody. Everybody's killing everybody.
If you've never before been convinced of the depravity of man's sinful nature, you should read an abbreviated history such as this. You will see that it is not just in this generation that nation wars against nation, and people against people, and person against person. The human race continues with an ongoing, disgusting, continuous self-murder that rolls from one generation to the next. I'm surprised we haven't gone extinct for we are super efficient at the killing of ourselves.
But that is not what I proposed to blog today. No, I was going to type some very short chit-chatty Question of the Day for you to ponder. I'm sorry about straying from my original thought.
I read of this item on page 356, at the end of the second paragraph (in case you have a copy of this book on your bookshelf, which I doubt...the only possible possessors of this book being my friends Paul and Laurie in Chico. They like books. A lot.)
But I digress...so onward to the Question of the Day!
Can you guess what Montgomery named as the "commonest, and perhaps at the same time the most useful domestic article in existence" in England in 1898 when this book was printed? (Clue...it was invented in 1834 and, no, it wasn't toilet paper.)
(Oops, I have to edit the date of this invention...Montgomery says it this way: "..between the years 1829 and 1834, a humble invention was perfected of which little was said at the time, but which contributed in no small degree to the comfort and convenience of every one.)
Leave your answer in the comments.
P.S. The year 1898 was a mere 112 years ago. A lot has happened since then. Life is totally amazing!