Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Jack's real name was Clive Staples Lewis, better known to the public as C. S. Lewis. Aha! Now you recognize him, don't you!
Lewis was a writer, a Christian apologist, and was on the English faculty at Oxford University. He wrote this in regards to his coming to Christ...
"You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."
Most people do not know that Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings and others. G. K. Chesterton was also a close friend.
I encourage you to view the 1993 movie, "Shadowlands", wherein Lewis meets and marries his wife, Joy Gresham. Their marriage lasted a short 3 years, ending when Joy succumbed to cancer. You will weep. If you did not before, you will then, have a huge heart for C. S. Lewis, the man.
Happy Birthday, C.S. (I don't think I'm close enough to call him, Jack, although I'm sure he would beg to differ. He was that kinda guy.)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Debbie is currently on Day 23. And today's "stuff" includes linens. Lotsa linens.
Read more at her blog here. Be sure to tell her what "stuff" you are cleaning out of YOUR house these days.
And, hey! Tell her I sent ya.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
However, there is one fly in the ointment. I mean, there is one pin oak amongst the trees. It stands tall, wide, and proud. It's a lovely tree. (The tree is much larger than it appears in the photo! Much! Larger!)
But in spite of its loveliness everyone on our street (except the owner) hates that tree with a ferocity that defies description.
This oak does not drop its leaves at the appropriate time as does every other tree. No, indeedy! It takes all winter for them to drop. They begin dropping at the top and gradually move downward. In the middle of the fiercest February blizzard the bottom third of the tree will still be in full leaf. The final release will be in the spring when the tree begins nudging out new leaf tips.
So you see....all winter long there is a steady influx of leaves from across the street. Leaves made of steel that never decompose! Never! Ever!
So I'm thinking....remember the Biblical story where Jesus cursed the fig tree and the tree died?
Do ya suppose it would be a sin to curse that tree? Do ya suppose? Because I'm praying that tree will die.
P.S. The neighbor has numerous other trees that provide summer shade. It would not be a terrible loss to lose ONE tree!
Monday, October 24, 2011
That's an old saying, "It's an ill wind that blows no good." Meaning, of course, that even bad things sometimes bring about good. In this case, eleven out of twelve homes on our two-block street have new roofs. Homeowners are happy...new roofs paid for by insurance. Insurance companies are probably not so happy. Not just on our street, but all over town, new roofs have been going up all summer. (Our own roof was only a year old and did not sustain damage.)
Life itself is like that. We see the storms of life and often fail to see the "good" that come of it. Cancer could surely be called an "ill wind". But whether it be cancer, or stroke, or heart, or simply the vagaries of old age, we are all tested with some "storm of life" before we leave this world.
This morning I was reading in Romans 5 where Paul writes that we, as Christians, "exult in hope of the glory of God." He adds something that seems confounding to us, and something that we would rather not hear. He says that we should be exulting in the the difficulties life brings, but who wants to exult in difficulties? Let's go back to Paul's words...."we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:3-5).
Often, when reading these verses, we might think Paul, in speaking of tribulations, is speaking of those trials and persecutions experienced by Christians at the hands of unbelievers. But tribulations are tribulations, and age and ill health are part of the tribulations of this earthly life.
It is good to remember to "exult", knowing that tribulations will bring good things to us, regardless of initial appearance.
Paul continues with a third exultation in Romans 5:11, "...we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconcilation (to God)." Through the work of Christ on the cross, we have been reconciled to God. We who were once alienated are brought back into right relationship to God. (You can read more about this reconciliation in 2 Cor. 5:17-19).
The storms of life hit everyone sooner or later. It is good to know that in the midst of the storm, God is working good on our behalf. Thanks be to God.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Folks still drive them. For fun.
Unfortunately, last Sunday one fella drove his Model T into the ditch.
In South Dakota.
Sometimes in dealing with my cancer I joke around that I haven't been hit yet by that proverbial Mack truck...meaning I'll probably die of cancer. But who would ever think their demise in the Year 2011 would occur in an accident in a Tin Lizzie.
Life is strange.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I've learned more than I want to know about ovarian cancer in the past
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
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.
P.S. Ovarian cancer is a chronic disease. I am on my third chemo regimen. And doing well, all things considered.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Oh, I was careful to not drop it on the glass top. Instead I dropped it on the corner of the stove, creating a chip in the white porcelain the size of a dime.
THEN! I read in a magazine (can't remember which) that I could repair that chip with a little bottle of white stuff...sorta like that little bottle of white-out we used to use at the office to cover typos. Only this stuff is for appliances. So I jotted down the info and headed for the hardware store.
The product is Appliance Epoxy Touchup by Rust-oleum. You can find it in the appliance department.
I put on a couple layers, letting the epoxy dry between coats.
The resulting repair is almost invisible. This little cover-up job was well worth the $5 I paid for the bottle.
I no longer covet Le Creuset ware. No, indeedy. I'll stick to my lighter weight pots and pans and leave the heavy-duty stuff to heavy-duty cooks.
P.S. White on white is difficult to photograph. The area is still visible to the naked eye if one looks closely. But the repaired area no longer catches my eye every time I look at the stovetop.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I want to quote just one paragraph...
Mike writes this....
"If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, the cancer-clinic waiting room reminds us that our lives are a vapor; that our days are all numbered; that He gives us life and breath and all things, and, therefore, we are utterly dependent creatures; that sin is real and has a million tragic consequences; that pride is ridiculously ugly and meekness wonderfully beautiful; that we are called to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping; that people are either saved or lost; that God’s grace is real, His Son all-sufficient, and through the cross, cancer will one day be no more."
You can read all of Mike's post here.
As for me? I have stage 3-C ovarian cancer, just one stage short of metastasization (invasion of other organs), and I've spent more hours than I care to count sitting in an oncology waiting room. I'm on my third chemo regimen, having had six months off the first time, and eleven months off the second time (using a maintenance drug during that time). Now I'm trying a third cocktail, carbo/gemzar (carboplatin and gemcitibine). I'm doing well, all things considered. No major side-effects on this regimen other than low blood counts and a bit of nausea the day after treatment...and a bit of arthritis aggravated by the drugs. But I'm well. I'm doing well.
It's been two and a half years since my diagnosis. I'm grateful for this time that God has given me and I hope he gives me many more years. But the truth of the matter is, my life is utterly and completely in God's hands. Just as Mike mentioned at his post, we are dependent upon God for all things...the air we breathe, the blessings we have in this life, and the promise of the life hereafter.
Mike Pohlman is senior pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, Washington. In addition to his post at Ligonier Ministries, his article also appeared in Tabletalk Magazine, a daily devotional publication by Ligonier that is a great resource for your daily walk.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
While there she visited a little sewing shop. The owner, putting forth her best sales effort, advised her potential customer that her grandmother hand-made this little kitty. Maybe she did and maybe she didn't, but the sales pitch was good and Miss Kitty is cute whether made by Grandmother or not. So Miss Kitty boarded the plane with DD to Minneapolis and eventually ended up on my desk in Iowa.
Kitty sat on my desk for weeks before I could bear to stick in a pin. My friend, Laurie, suggested I think of it as "kitty acupuncture".
So there you are, Miss Kitty. You should have no aches or pains whatsoever. That is...if kitty acupuncture works.
(Update: My daughter advised me last night that the shop owner mentioned her grandmother's stitching AFTER she had purchased Miss Kitty and not as a sales pitch. So thank you, Taiwan Gramma!)
Friday, August 19, 2011
In a sense, the story is finished. It is over. Seven-year-old Lydia Schatz is dead.
In February 2010 Lydia died at the hands of Christian parents who were using a disciplining method proposed by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries, a Fundamentalist Christian organization. Their method is outlined in their controversial book, "How to Train Up a Child". (I ask you as a Christian parent...is this book in your library? Are you basing your discipline methods on this book?)
Lydia was adopted. By Christian parents who thought they were serving the Lord by adopting three orphans from Liberia. And they believe it their "Christian duty" to discipline their children. And to insure they did it right...bringing an obstinate child to submission and obedience...they used the methods taught by the Pearls.
They beat Lydia so severely over several hours time (because she did not or could not comply in correctly pronouncing a reading word) that massive destruction to tissues underlying her skin caused her kidneys to shut down. Lydia died.
A 911 call brought law enforcement to the house. Her older sister was hospitalized with severe kidney damage due to similar beatings given in the previous days.
In April 2011 Kevin Schatz and Elizabeth Schatz were sentenced for their crime. Kevin will serve at least 22 years of two life sentences for second-degree murder and torture. His wife, Elizabeth, will serve at least 13 years for voluntary manslaughter and corporal injury on a child.
I hope you will read Brad Hirschfield's column in yesterday's Washington Post entitled "Beating Children In the Name of God".
Especially his last paragraph which reads..."There is no way to bring Lydia Schatz back, or to undo the damage to her still living siblings, or any of the other children who are beaten in the name of God. We can however do everything in our power to put a stop to the practice. For the sake of these kids and for the sake of the traditions we hold dear, that is what we must do."
You can read more about Lydia's short life here.
You can read what one writer wrote about the Pearls' method of discipline here.
Or you can read my previous posts here.
You can view the Anderson Cooper video at CNN here.
My prayers tonight are for the little children. I hope yours are as well.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
As I left the house to do a couple errands I noticed that the sky to the north of us was dark. Very dark. I gave it a good once-over, then decided to run my errands anyway.
Stopped at the farm supply store and bought a small table for the front deck. It had been on sale and I finally decided "I want it!"
Then to the grocery store and onward to my Mom's where I dropped off a couple things. It was starting to sprinkle.
On the way home I decided NOT to stop for that one last errand but instead hurry on home and get the car in the garage. I parked it safely inside, got out, grabbed a bag of groceries out of the back seat and heard a loud "THWACK" on the garage roof. Then another! And another! Looked out the window and saw very large hail.
Thankfully, it was rather sparse and it stopped within a minute or so. And I am thankful the car was parked safely in the garage.
I hope the farms around us did not experience damage to their crops! Hail can do devastating damage to a corn or bean field.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
In the past week three vintage sewing machines have left our house to take up residence elsewhere.
"Three?" you ask?
Yes, three. And I still have four left. Maybe five, but I can't remember what I did with that fifth one.
Once upon a time I had thirteen. Now I'm down to four (or is it five? Where IS that fifth machine???)
That teal green machine? That's a 1950-ish Viking Automatic 21. Beautiful zigzag stitches. Made in Sweden. Heavy, heavy, heavy. Manufactured before they began using those dratted plastic gears. Everything was metal on this baby. Made to last. This machine has an open arm making it extremely easy to stitch cuffs, hem pant legs, etc. It also has a small work surface that snaps into place when you don't need the open arm. Cool! This machine has been affectionately named "Ingrid" because of her Swedish heritage.
The black one? That's a Singer 201. I named it "Leona" after its original owner. Probably manufactured in 1940-1950. This was a gear-driven (versus belt-driven) machine that had plenty of power and speed. No zigzag, though. Just a straight-stitching machine that, if kept cleaned and oiled, will perform forever. Quilters love this machine because it will sew and sew and sew. And when you are not quilting, it will tackle hemming blue jeans with ease.
And the two-tone? That's a Singer 301A, manufactured probably in the 1960s. I could look up the serial numbers and be able to pinpoint the manufacture date a little closer, but I'm too lazy to do that. The 301 is a straight-stitch only machine. It's beauty lies in its light weight...approximately eleven pounds. AND it has a nifty, fold-down handle on top. This model came in three colors, black, taupe, and the two-tone you see here. Like the 201, it is a gear-driven machine...no belt. Plenty of power. Plenty of speed. Quilters love this machine because it is so handy to carry to quilting class.
So what do I have left in the house? A Singer 15-91 (my main machine), a Singer 403 (my only zigzag machine), a Singer 221 Featherweight (which I will probably never get rid of...it was a gift from Hubby), and a Singer 66 in an oak parlor cabinet (a gift from a quilting buddy in Ohio).
Oh, yeah, the fifth. I had two Singer 301s. I think I took that one to the thrift shop. But no matter...I know where there is a third Singer 301 just like it that wants to come live at my house.
Friday, July 29, 2011
This morning I was saddened to read of a second death, another 14-year-old, a girl, who lived in that same city. She died in a Motocross race, too...at the Ponca City Grand Nationals in Oklahoma.
Both these kids were experienced riders, and undoubtedly wearing all safety garments.
It's a sad time for the parents of this teen. I do not post this in an accusatory manner...but it bothers me enough that I want to say this...motocross is a dangerous sport. Fun, exciting, exhilerating...but dangerous. Deadly dangerous.
That's all I'm going to say about that.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Background:: Our house was built in 1965. In terms of house age, that's not old. At least not ancient. Having lived in some "really" old houses, I consider this one "modern".
In the furnace room in the basement hangs an old rotary dial phone. It was there when we moved in. It's so old it's wired in. Even though we don't spend much time in the basement it's handy to have that phone there. So the rotary stayed.
This past weekend we had a great time with our daughter and grandson (thanks for making that 5-hour drive!!!). My daughter spotted the rotary and called DGS to come down and look at it. Then she suggested he call someone. His words???? "I don't know how!"
He's a quick learner, though, and as soon as he completed his call he announced that he wants a rotary of his own.
Then...to convince him that I belong to the age of dinosaurs I told him that when we were kids on the farm our phone was on a "party line". Our phone number (yes, I still remember it) was 45J11. Other numbers on the line were something like 45J12 or 45J21. The "45J" was the line. The last digits represented the number of rings the switchboard operator would ring up. In our case she rang one long and one short. All parties would hear the rings at their home and know that it was our house and not theirs that was being called. We picked up. They did not...at least, not until they were certain we had already picked up...then they might surreptiously pick up their phone and listen in on our conversation. It was wise not to gossip about the neighbors while on the phone!!
And THEN! I told him that in THOSE days we seldom made a long-distance phone call because it was too expensive. The cost? Ten cents.
Today, with our landline and our cell phone, we pay beaucoup bucks.
My grandson is right. I Really Am Old! *tearful smile*
Saturday, July 23, 2011
You can click for a closer view. I had to darken the photo so the glowing freckles would show up better. (I do hope you know I am being completely facetious...not to be confused with infectious, of course. You'll have to get your own PET/CT scan if YOU want glow-in-the-dark freckles. You cannot be infected by mine.)
I like to think that my (imaginary) glowing freckles are a teensy slight foretaste of what our heavenly bodies will be like. What will that be? Scripture gives us these hints...our bodies will be like Jesus' resurrected body. Read on.
In the Gospel of Luke we read of three disciples seeing Jesus in his transfigured (changed) body prior to His death on the cross:
The apostle John, who in his Gospel testifies that Jesus is the Son of God ( John 1:34 ) wrote the following:
1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
and again he writes of his vision of Jesus in his heavenly body as thus:
Revelation 1:12-18 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me.....I saw one like a son of man (Jesus), clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
- He (the Apostle John) saw a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the golden candlesticks; for he (Jesus) has promised to be with his churches always to the end of the world, filling them with light, and life, and love, for he is the very animating informing soul of the church. And here we observe,
- The glorious form in which Christ appeared in several particulars.
- He was clothed with a garment down to the foot, a princely and priestly robe, denoting righteousness and honour.
- He was girt about with a golden girdle, the breast-plate of the high priest, on which the names of his people are engraven; he was ready girt to do all the work of a Redeemer.
- His head and hairs were white like wool or snow. He was the Ancient of days; his hoary head was no sign of decay, but was indeed a crown of glory.
- His eyes were as a flame of fire, piercing and penetrating into the very hearts and reins of men, scattering terrors among his adversaries.
- His feet were like unto fine burning brass, strong and stedfast, supporting his own interest, subduing his enemies, treading them to powder.
- His voice was as the sound of many waters, of many rivers falling in together. He can and will make himself heard to those who are afar off as well as to those who are near. His gospel is a profluent and mighty stream, fed by the upper springs of infinite wisdom and knowledge.
- He had in his right hand seven stars, that is, the ministers of the seven churches, who are under his direction, have all their light and influence from him, and are secured and preserved by him.
Blessings to all of you this weekend morning. May God's light shine in YOUR life!
Friday, July 22, 2011
- Went to get a bar of soap from the bathroom to put at the kitchen sink...
- While there I grabbed the towels and put them in the washer.
- At the washer I noticed some bottled water that needed to be placed in the cupboard.
- In the cupboard I saw some orange slices to put into jello.
- Remembered I was supposed to make a phone call...took me 20 minutes to get a live person.
- Checked my computer for email.
- Went to the kitchen.
- Remembered I needed to get a bar of soap from the bathroom.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
This time I took my camera along so you can see how I get my glowing freckles. (To read my previous post on this topic, go here.)
Periodically, every six months or so, I get a combined PET/CT scan to determine what my pesky ovarian cancer cells are doing. Last November the scan showed no activity whatsoever. That was good news, indeed! But for most of us, ovarian cancer is a chronic disease...it hangs in there, even when knocked down by chemo, waiting for a time when the cells will again begin growing. Some women attain remission for long periods of time. Most of us, however, will have short remissions followed by chemo and, hopefully, followed by another period of remission. Each individual is different, but one thing is certain...ovarian cancer is a nasty, deadly disease.
The PET/CT enables the oncologist to get a fairly decent assessment of progression (or lack thereof) of the disease.
So I presented myself to the clinic. No prep needed other than abstaining from food and liquids the prior evening and avoiding red meats and some other foods the prior 24 or 48 hours.
The procedure is simple. The nurse injects a small amount (doesn't look that small in the photo!) of radioactive material (tracer). As you can see the cartridge is rather large and I'm assuming the metal prevents radiation from emitting out the sides...but perhaps I'm wrong about that...after all, it still must surely radiate through the window of the cartridge.
Note the metal box at my elbow which is used to transport and store the cartridge. I can tell by how the nurse handles it that this is a heavy box...most likely, it is lined with lead which protects from radiation...I think.
The tracer travels through your blood and collects in organs and tissues, and particularly collects in actively growing cancer cells. Once you have received the injection, one must wait for about an hour for the tracer to travel throughout the body. A small waiting room is dedicated to this hour...they want you to be resting AND they don't want your radioactive body wandering around bothering other people with its radioactivity. Or at least that's my assumption. (The radioactivity dissipates in about 6 hours.)
After the hour, comes the test itself. Some people are intensely claustrophic while in this chamber but I find it to be quite relaxing, really, and usually catch a short catnap while undergoing the test. No Problemo!
When finished, I go home, turn out the lights and look in the mirror! Yep! Glowing freckles! Really! Truly! (I posted a photo later...here)
At the end of the day, the radiation is gone, and I am again a normal human being. One without glowing freckles. But still, one with cancer. This time two small lymph nodes that have previously glowed in the dark are found to be glowing again. Pesky things.
By the way, the nurse/technician who injects the tracer wears a badge that monitors and measures her exposure to radioactivity. I'm not certain I would like to have her job. Sure, I get radiated every time I do one of these tests, but if I were younger and thought I still had long life ahead of me, I'm not sure I'd be so care-free about receiving the radiation.
(My current chemo schedule is pretty easy....carbo/gemzar every other week. Pretty benign side-effects so far, for which I am grateful.)
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I've begun reading volume 2 of The Triple Knowledge: An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism by Herman Hoeksema. I'm a slow reader and I'm not a deeply intellectual thinker. But I understand well enough and rejoice in the following quote (Vol 2, page 31) in reference to what Christ has done for us.
- "As the mediator of our redemption He (that is, Jesus) "purchased" all things for us.
- He represented us in all His suffering and death.
- He took our place in the judgment of God.
- Our sins He took upon Himself.
- He assumed responsibility for our guilt. In that capacity, He became obedient unto death, yea, unto the death of the cross.
- And by His perfect obedience, He, the Son of God in the flesh, blotted out the guilt of our sin, and merited for us eternal righteousness and life. This part of the work of salvation is finished.
- All that are in Him have redemption in His blood, the forgiveness of sins, the right to eternal life, to all the blessings of salvation."
It's a very good thing that my salvation does not depend upon what I do. For if that were the case, I would be eternally lost.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Recently I began calling the 800 number found somewhere in the mailed item and asked to be removed from their mailing list. To date I've eliminated sixteen mailings.
Some were solicitations for funds. Some were catalogs. Some were ads for such things as the symphony in the Big City to the north of us. And, of course, all those mailings one receives when one nears retirement age.
We no longer have mail coming to our house from these sixteen sources.
So! Tired of all that mail? Take the time to call their 800 numbers and ask to be removed. Be sure to have the catalog in front of you...they will usually ask for the address as printed on your mail.
They've all been gracious to my request. (They do advise that it may take a couple months to eliminate all mail from their office...sometimes mailings are planned a month in advance...but they do eventually stop the mailing.)
I think I've saved a forest. And eliminated some aggravating mail.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The speech itself is quite long. I'm including only one short paragraph which follows.
"No one can examine this record (The Declaration) and escape the conclusion that in the great outline of its principles the Declaration was the result of the religious teachings of the preceding period. The profound philosophy which Jonathan Edwards applied to theology, the popular preaching of George Whitefield, had aroused the thought and stirred the people of the Colonies in preparation for this great event. No doubt the speculations which had been going on in England, and especially on the Continent, lent their influence to the general sentiment of the times. Of course, the world is always influenced by all the experience and all the thought of the past. But when we come to a contemplation of the immediate conception of the principles of human relationship which went into the Declaration of Independence we are not required to extend our search beyond our own shores. They are found in the texts, the sermons, and the writings of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image, all partakers of the divine spirit."
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The other night I had one of my recurring dreams. This one had me swaying back and forth.
In the dream I am standing with me feet firmly planted on the ground. My feet never move. But my body is able to bend forward, sideways, backwards at about a 45 degree angle. It's almost as if my body has a spring-like action to it...I sway slowly forwards, backwards, sideways, enjoying the movement, stretching the bend as far as I can and then swaying in another direction. All the while my feet remain flat, firmly planted.
There is no stress to the movement. My body is in fine control and the movement is easy. I haven't a clue where this dream comes from nor why it recurs.
Please forgive the amateur drawings. I don't have a photo. *smile*
As for some of my other recurring dreams? You can read about them here.
(It is quite truthful to say you really did not learn a lot by reading today's post.)
*Heading off to read Chapter 2 of First Chronicles.*
(that may be more useful than regaling this dream)
Monday, June 27, 2011
Our little town sits seven miles from the river and one would think that was substantial distance in terms of flood risk. But our elevation is only a few feet higher than the current river stage. So we're concerned.
Today as we headed back to Iowa little Ms. Kitty crossed the road in front of us. She did not look either way and was unafraid of our slowly approaching car. Ms. Kitty is pregnant. But by her placid pace it is easy to see that Ms. Kitty is not a worrier. (click on the photo for a better view of Ms. Kitty)
Back on the Iowa side the rising water is well over the riverbank and is flooding adjacent lowlands. The water has crept to the edge of the highway and the Iowa Department of Transportation is trying to keep this road open.
There are many who cross the bridge daily to go to work or to get health care in our small town hospital. This road is vital. If it were to be inundated folks would have to travel about 35 miles upstream or downstream to the next bridge. We're praying this barrier will keep this road open.
Since I'm trusting God through all of this I think I need to be a little less anxious about it all...like Ms. Kitty. She may be a lot smarter than I think.
Last night the IDOT closed this road. Read here. They report..."Severe river bank erosion caused by flooding along the east abutment of the Decatur bridge has prompted the closure.
The Iowa DOT, Burt County [Nebraska] Bridge Commission (operator of the toll bridge) and Nebraska Department of Roads will be conducting an assessment of the situation to determine what, if any, measures can be taken to prevent further erosion and make the bridge safe for travel.
The public will be informed as additional information becomes available. The duration of the closure is unknown at this time."
A seven mile trip has now become somewhere close to 85 miles.
The IDOT also plans to "temporarily" close access to another bridge tomorrow (Wednesday June 29). This time it will be the bridge at Blair, Nebraska. That means there will be a 100-mile stretch of the river with no crossing (Sioux City to Omaha). I don't know how long is "temporarily".
Saturday, June 25, 2011
The five dams above us on the Missouri River are being pushed to their limits to contain flood waters that have to go somewhere. Water is being released as high as possible and as low as possible. In other words as high as possible in order to maintain the integrity of the dams...ya know...prevent them from collapsing. They can hold only so much water and the heavy rains and melting snow packs are pouring water into the system like you wouldn't believe.
And it's being released as slowly as possible in order to prevent even worse flooding than is already occurring. There are already a half million acres of farm ground flooded, not to mention homes and businesses. Evacuations. Sand bagging. Bolstering levees. It's a mess.
The release at Gavins Point Dam is at an historic high of 160,000 cfs. I believe the previous high was somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000. I'm too lazy to go look it up.
The scary thing is that Gavins Point Dam has a potential to release up to 450,000 cfs. If necessary. ( And, please God, don't let that be the case.)
It's tense here. Traffic on I-29 five miles south of our town is down to two lanes with water lapping at the edge of the shoulder. This photo is looking north. (click for a close-up view)
The Missouri River at Decatur, Nebraska, continues to rise. I've become obsessive about checking the online status of the water. As you can see it's risen considerably since June 5 (first graph) to its present stage of 39.31. The highway east of the Decatur bridge (Iowa side of the river) risks being closed...water is lapping at its edges.
Two weeks ago the U.S. Corps of Engrs was saying there were no plans to release more than 150,000 cfs. We thought that would be the worst of it.
Unfortunately, heavy rains across Montana and the Dakotas forced a new level of 160,000 cfs. Of course, the Corps is saying this is the level they will maintain "barring unforeseen storms".
Did you know that Niagara Falls releases 150,000 cfs? We have more water than Niagara Falls flowing down the Missouri River...and that flow is expected to remain at this level into mid-August and who knows how long after that?
In the meantime local drainage systems will cease to function. You can't drain water into a river that has a higher elevation than the water you wish to drain. Those ditches will back up and flood more areas.
If you haven't noticed (national news is a bit slow on the uptake of this massive Missouri River event) the entire stretch of the Missouri River from Montana to Missouri is above flood stage. This is a catastrophic event for the Heartland of America...and we pray it does not get MORE catastrophic.
This thing ain't over till the fat lady sings. And I haven't a clue where to find her.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The forum is our support system and we explore and discuss many topics above and beyond treatment. Today, one of the members posed a question about dying. In essence, how is it that we who believe in Christ and heaven, struggle so hard to cling to this earthly life, enduring chemo, pain, loss, seeing death right there in front of us. How do we deal with that?
My response was that it is a natural thing of our physical bodies to cling to life. This life has been good. We want to continue living.
God intended for us to enjoy the joys of this life even while fighting the effects of the death that Adam brought into the world.
As believers in Christ, we recognize that "in Adam we die" and "in Christ we live".
1 Cor 15:22 (Amplified Bible)
"For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive. "
However, knowing that we live in Christ does not take away from our natural (and good) inclination to enjoy our earthly life. We have many joys here and we want to continue in the the love of family and friends, the (good) pleasures of life, the beauty of this earth. It is natural that we would have an inborn desire to continue life as we know it...although without cancer, of course.
As for our fear of death...yeah, I think of the "how" of it, and wonder at the how of it...will it be painful, etc. But I also believe when that time comes and if it is a long process, that hospice and good medical care during that time will make it as painless as possible and as peaceful as possible. But I think, too, that when we come to that state of "nearing death", that God puts it in us to be accepting of that. When our body becomes weary enough with disease or age, we won't mind laying it down for the last time.
As for the "unknownness" of what our afterlife will be like, well, we will not know fully until we get there what awaits us on the other side. Paul explained it to the Corinthians as rather like looking through a dirty window. We can see only dimly now. But then, when we arrive on the other side, we will see it all clearly and fully.
I Cor. 13:12 (Amplified Bible)
"For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]."
Sometimes I look at this life as a grand journey...that I am part of the "story" of God and man. My part is very tiny, yet it is very important, and I need and, indeed, am obligated to God to live it well. And so, I do try to live life the way that God requires of me. I fail miserably as do we all. But I keep putting one foot forward, then the other. I keep moving forward.
The Apostle Paul likens life to a race...and nobody running a race skids to a stop at the finish line and says, "Whoa! I don't want to cross the finish line." No, instead the runner's desire is always to complete the race even if he has to crawl the last distance to the finish line. We're all running a race (walking through this life) and we all will get to the finish line. It's just that it is startling to get close and think...."Wow, the race is almost over!" Even without ovarian cancer, it is startling to become "old" and be nearing the end of our lives here on earth. Our grandparents must have been just as startled as we are. And their grandparents before them.
And while I cling to this life and love this life, I also look forward to seeing what is on the other side. I will no longer be looking through a dirty window. I will know fully.
This whole thing of "life" is fascinating, don't you think?
Thursday, June 16, 2011
We're still dry although Interstate-29 has a low spot south of town that may (or may not) cause that stretch of the highway to be closed. The small drainage ditch that runs through that area is over its banks. Will the water get higher? Only time will tell.
The photo to the side is by Larry Geiger. If you're curious about the extent of the flooding you can view more of Geiger's photos here. Incredible images. This photo shows I-29 north of the Council Bluffs/Omaha area, looking north. (That area is about 55 miles south of us but this is our primary route to Omaha.)
This is a huge event in terms of area and of time. The damage already incurred is immense. But on top of what is already done, we will be sitting in suspense for two months while the dams above us continue their unprecedented high-volume release of water.
There are two serious concerns involved with all this. Firstly, the suspense consists of "will the levees hold" in areas where they protect cities, airports, highways, residences, etc.? And secondly, will two solid months of over-the-bank flood stage cause our local drainage ditches to back up after heavy rains? This last is a serious concern...for it will mean secondary flooding above and beyond what is already forecast.
At this point, ain't nobody happy with the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Their judgment call to not release water until "too late" does not set well with folks all up and down the River. I repeat, ain't nobody happy about this mess we're in.
In other news (as they used to say on the nightly news) I'm doing well (so far) on a new chemo regimen. Of course, I've only been on it for one week. If my blood counts fall, it will happen by the end of next week. Today I had plenty of energy so I know my reds are still doing well. Carried some bricks from out front to the garden out back where they now make a walkway between two raised beds of vegetables. I was able to do that without undue huffing and puffing. And I was able to hoe a large area...a task that was much needed. Again without undue huffing and puffing. That's a good sign my red blood count is doing well.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The bridge has been a toll bridge ever since its inauguration in 1955. This day we paid $1 to go across and $1 to come back. We wanted to see the rising Missouri. And so we did. Many others were doing the same and I think the toll booth made a bundle this week from river viewers. Perhaps next week may not be so lucrative...it is a possibility the road on the Iowa side of the river may be closed due to water covering portions of the roadway.
Yesterday we drove down underneath the bridge. The road there leads to a few cabins and a restaurant now closed for obvious reasons. A city park sits next to that road. The walkway bridge was blocked with yellow tape. Water was seeping at the edge of the road yesterday. Today it is flooded and closed.
I found this history of the bridge at this website. I'm old enough that I can remember as a small child the talk about the bridge...the dry land bridge. Here's a history as found at the site.
- In 1946, the Burt County Bridge Commission asked the U.S. Army Engineers to approve a bridge site at Decatur. Construction of the Decatur Bridge was authorized in 1950.
- The village of Decatur received nationwide notoriety in the 1950s because of the famous dry land bridge that was supposed to be across the Missouri River. The original plans were to build the bridge across the Missouri River to connect Decatur to Onawa, Iowa. The river, on the other hand, had different ideas and changed its course, thus leaving the proposed bridge site about a quarter of a mile distant from the river. Plans were changed and the bridge was built on dry land with the river to be rechanneled under the bridge upon completion. The bridge was completed in 1951 but, because of the Korean War, Federal funds could not be appropriated to place the water under the bridge. The $2 million bridge soon was well known as the bridge "that went nowhere, because it lost it's river." Funds finally became available to move the Missouri River under the bridge and the first traffic crossed the bridge on December 19, 1955. The bridge was officially opened May 5, 1956 during Decatur's Centennial.
The deck (roadway) of this bridge fascinates me. It's the only bridge I've ever seen whose roadbed is constructed of grated metal. No concrete. Just a grated metal floor. The grating makes for an irritating road surface, causing tires to howl-howl-howl all the way across. And they are designed such that they pull the car this way and that necessitating a careful grip on the steering wheel to keep the car in its own narrow lane. The bridge was constructed in 1951 and is did I say it is narrow?
Barn swallows love the bridge. I was careful to not stand long underneath their nests for fear of whitewash in my eyes.
By today, Thursday, June 9, the river has risen past its flood stage of 35 feet. At 9 pm tonight the water hit 36.6 feet which is 1.6 feet above flood stage. River water is flowing onto farmlands so fast that occasionally the river gauge reads an inch or so lower than the previous hour...merely because the water upstream is flowing out of its bed instead of under the bridge.
Tuesday, June 14, the water will peak at 38.2 feet (3.2 feet above flood stage. That's five days from now. There will be much more flooding. But we are not alone. Flooding is occurring along the entire stretch from Sioux City south to Missouri...the entire western border of Iowa.
Today Interstate 29 is closed in both directions between Exit 61 to Exit 71 just north of Council Bluffs due to flooding.
Sioux City will see increased train traffic due to flooded areas in Omaha. Read more here.
Several roads in our county near the River have been flooded and closed. And some homes near the river have been evacuated. Read more here.
The Sioux City Journal reports homes evacuated on the Nebraska side at Macy.
And that doesn't include the huge number of homes evacuated at Dakota Dunes, SD, Sioux City, IA and South Sioux City, NE (and other areas).
Everyone is wondering how western Iowa will be affected these next two months. Homes are already lost. More homes will be flooded. Farmers will lose their entire crops for the year. Jobs will be lost. Rumors are rampant. The Summer of 2011 will be a bad summer in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Not to mention all the other communities north to the headwaters and south to the Mississippi.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Sioux City, Iowa, and South Sioux City, Nebraska (opposite sides of the Missouri) are building walls and sandbagging to protect low lying areas. Check out the Sioux City Journal here.
The River has already overflowed low-lying areas along its banks. At flood stage there will be major flooding of farmlands and towns all along the approximate 100 miles between Sioux City and Omaha. And since the Corps of Engineers will be releasing record amounts of water for the next several months (into August?) flooding will not abate all summer long.
According to forecasts, our little town will NOT be under water. But as I mentioned yesterday, we will have a rising water table that will put water in our basements. In the meantime citizens are helping those around us (within mere miles) who will be inundated. Families are packing up and moving. The town of Blencoe seven miles south of us is building (has built?) a dike around the town.
A quiet, balmy sunny morning makes all of this seem unreal and false. But it's real and true. And it's not just here. It's all along the Missouri from Montana downward. This year of 2011 will be the Year of the Flood.
God is still in control. And we are not.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
There are six Missouri River dams above us that stretch into several states.
The Oahe Dam at Pierre, South Dakota, is currently releasing a record 85,000 cubic feet of water per second. Flooding is already occurring on the bank areas in the Sioux City area north of us.
The volume will reach 150,000 cubic feet per second next week. When that flow reaches our county there will be major flooding. And since that record release will continue for the next couple months...well....the flooding will continue as well. This is not a happy scenario.
We're hoping our little town of Onawa will remain dry. According to the maps released by the Corps it should. But there will be flooding all around us. Lots of it.
An informational meeting was held this evening at the local school. Too bad they didn't charge a dollar per person...they could have made a bundle. The gymnasium was full. The information was not conducive to happy spirits afterwards. Many farmers attending that meeting can expect their entire farms to be inundated and remain flooded for months. Residents of Blencoe south of us are already clearing their basements and packing up their belongings to evacuate.
I do not know how this summer will turn out. This next week will give us a good idea what to expect the rest of the summer months.
To use the lyrics of Johnny Cash...."How high's the water, Mamma?" Well the answer is, it's an awful lot higher than "five feet high and risin' ".
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The last two quilts I've finished have rounded corners...a feature that I like very well.
I began this quilt some time before January 2009. I know that because I know I began it prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My hand-quilting in those days was precise and even. If someone were to look at this quilt they might think two different quilters worked on it for my stitches today are much more uneven and not as precise. It may be due to neuropathy in my hands (which is mild) or it may have to do with the fact that I need a better pair of glasses!
May your day be blessed!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Friday we solved a mystery that had been bugging us for months. Our 2004 Toyota had a rough shimmy out on the highway that we experienced only for a mile or two soon after entering the freeway. Sometimes the steering wheel would shake so badly it felt as if the front end were going to fall to pieces. After a mile or so it would smooth out and be just fine.
We rotated and balanced tires. Inspected suspension and CV joints. I visited an online auto forum where the moderators had given me good advice before. The circumstances did not seem to fit any of their suggested problems.
I planned to make a 600-mile round trip to visit our daughter (Yay! Had a Great visit!) this past weekend so we took the car one more time to the garage. This time I had the mechanic go for a ride with me and I showed him exactly what was happening. His guess? A brake caliper hanging up. Yep. When it hung up and did not disconnect it caused the brake drum to heat up and warp a bit and perform a growly rhum-rhum-rhum shimmy. After a mile or so the caliper would release and the wheel would run just fine.
The mystery is solved! The brake was fixed! The car drives smoothly! You can't imagine how much I enjoyed that 600-mile shimmy-free drive.
Life is full of mysteries. This one was minor. There are mysteries much more profound than this...like the time we discovered the binoculars in the dishwasher! We never did solve that mystery nor know who to blame. (I think I was the culprit but I'm not taking credit if I don't have to!)
Speaking spiritually, I like it that the Apostle Paul uses the word "mystery" in describing the salvation that God makes available to man through the work of Christ.
Paul says in Ephesians 3:8-12 ...
"To me, the very least of all saints,
this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles
the unfathomable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light
what is the administration of the mystery
which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the church
to the rulers and the authorities
in the heavenly places.
This was in accordance
with the eternal purpose
which He carried out
in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness and confident access
through faith in Him.
What Paul is saying is that the mystery of salvation through the work of the Son was eternally purposed by the Father. It was a mystery until it was presented into our time/history. The work of Christ now stands revealed...it is effectual to all those who believe...both Jew and Gentile (all the world).
God has purposed, planned, carried out, and made effective all that He proposed to do on behalf of His people. And the work He has begun He will carry out to completion. Phil. 1:6
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Here's a short version of what he wrote to believers residing at Corinth.
He states that the risen Christ appeared (walked with, talked with) to:
- the twelve disciples
- more than 500 brethren at one time (some who were still alive when Paul wrote this chapter and quite able and willing to testify of the same)
- all the apostles
- to Paul himself
- there is no resurrection from the dead for us...when we die, we die. The End.
- it is pointless to preach Christ
- our faith in Christ is pointless
- what we proclaim as "truth" is mere "lie"
- those who have died have perished...there is no heaven
- Christ...the first to rise from the dead.
- In Adam (as descendants of Adam) we all die. None of us gets out of here alive.
- In Christ (joined to him by faith) we will be made alive.
- We get our resurrected bodies at his second advent (his second coming)
You can read Paul's more plainly here. I Corinthians 15:3-28
And Paul's concluding thoughts here. I Cor. 15:54-55
Jesus came to undo the work of the devil. He came to undo the death that Adam's sin brought to all of us. He came to put an end to death. An end to death? How can there be better news than that? And, hey! That thing about Jesus undoing the work of the devil? You can hover your cursor over the following verses to read about that.
1 John 3:8
On Easter we celebrate Christ's victory over death on our behalf. In Adam we die. In Christ we live. The latter only because Christ Himself lives and has conquered death.
J.C. Ryle (a much better writer than I) put it this way....We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome death – and him that had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really rose again for our justification.
And so we live by faith.