Monday, September 26, 2011

A Monday In Late September

Just ate a fresh tomato from the garden.  Ilove eating little tomatoes just picked from the plant. Coco is laying next to me while Jim and Scout run an errand.
Thanksgiving and pain run down the same river. A fisherman walks into the water, sets life bait on a hook and casts the reel.  The fisherman feels a strong tug on the line and begins reeling the fish in.  The fish doesn't lay there - that fish fights for its very life.  Sometimes he wins and works his way off the hook.  Other times the fish fights and loses the battle - winding up on the fisherman's table.  There is pain, there is thanksgiving.  We are standing in that river, feeling pain. Yes, we give thanks, but this thank you has a hook.  It comes at a very, very high price.  Not monetarily.  The cost of a soul.
 I am not Paul, I'm not at the point of uttering these words and and meaning them. "Count it all joy, my friends, when you encounter suffering"...  Perhaps I need to wade a bit farther into the river, out of the shaded areas, but not in the full sunshine as the glare of that is blinding on a river.  I need to find that place where shade and sun come together - the place of greatest clarity
I still believe there is hope. For the rest of my life I believe this.
Love kathryn

Monday, September 19, 2011

Looking Up

Most of you do not need another devotional posted on my blog.  You have your favorite authors and devotionals you read. I just wrote this passage to a friend.  
"Give full attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."  The Message/Matt 6
Storms come in many forms.  We are going to stand under the cross.
love kathryn


Standing Under the Cross

Standing erect, holding our heads high, is the attitude of spiritually mature people in face of the calamities of our world. The facts of everyday life are a rich source for doomsday thinking and feeling. But it is possible for us to resist this temptation and to stand with self-confidence in this world, never losing our spiritual ground, always aware that "sky and earth will pass away" but the words of Jesus will never pass away (see Luke 21:33).

Let us be like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stood under the cross, trusting in God's faithfulness notwithstanding the death of his beloved Child.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen...We Have Really Good News This Evening

Jim went to a diagnostic group, Breathe A.S.A.P. There are many of these diagnostic centers around the country.  You fill our a complete medical history.  When they have done taken the necessary information and run any tests needed.  At the end of your visit, you are presented with a diagnosis and what is needed to correct the problem.  (I'm not suggesting this is for every medical disorder - my disclaimer here).
Jim has a sinus infection, deep inside his frontal sinus area.  He has had no symptoms of a sinus infection and brain MRIs indicated "white matter". Though Jim had some symptoms of M.S. that was clearly not the reason for the "white matter".  This was an indication of a sinus infection not detectable by normal means.
He also has an area in his head, where he has suffered with severe head pain.  No drug controlled the pain - it would suppress it somewhat, but it was never gone.
He was told he has an area in the frontal sinus area (where the pain has been emanating from) that needs to be opened up.  He was born with this and has just now presented itself.
Solution?  Angioplasty.  Yes, up his nose to the area right about eyebrow level.   The doctor said Jim's ENT surgeon (we have one...we have a Dr for everything and some we have multiples of) will do the surgery.  It is an "in and out" procedure.
Are we happy?  Nope, ecstatic!!!  All of this time - all of the tests including a trip to Phoenix....we have an answer.  Wow!
All of the pain Jim has and is still experiencing (but not for much longer); all of the doctors; all of the fears we have in our family of cancer - due to our journey through cancer - most humbling of all - our friends and family who have prayed for answers to this twisted mystery.  Yes!  Your prayers have been answered.  We THANK YOU God!  We thank you.  For cards, for calls, for thoughts, for your interest and love. Your love has been sustaining and is incredible.  Prayer, though a mystery is very humbling.  It is a great gift - because of Jesus, we speak directly to our Abba Father.
To Donna Estes for sharing your information re: Breathe ASAP.  Thank you, thank you! 
To Jim's doctor today - we are so grateful for his capabilities and for the technology available to help people.
We just could not be happier today.  We've needed a 'bit of good news' lately.
We're blessed.  God is good - God is good always.
From our hearts to yours, we thank you for caring for & loving us so.
Good night from a beautiful evening in Abq.
With love, kathryn and jim

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vacating Is Grand

We had a good time in Colorado.  The dogs were taken care of, Sophie had a cat sitter - who always does a great job of feeding her almost as much as I do.
We've enjoyed a cloudy day here in NM.  A harvest moon is due at 7:15pm.  I know those back east are already enjoying it.  A harvest moon is related to hayrides, pumpkins, apples, carmel apples, flannel shirts, boots, jeans, chili, hot dogs cooked outside and cold, crisp, clear skies.  Not quite here in NM...but other places are enjoying fall weather.
I found this quote today. Sometimes things come to you from the most unexpected places.  When going through times of crisis, whatever that means to you.  "Rather than think, I'll never survive this, try, I'm having the thought that I'll never survive this." You recognize that there is a problem - not avoiding it, you recognize there is a problem, but it is a thought.  All about reprogramming. Thoughts like feelings are something we deal with constantly.  God says, "Take every thought captive." 
I still believe the best way through a crisis (though I am not always successful at this) is laughter, tears and dear family and friends, who listen and make our load lighter. Learning to wait, listen, be still, pray and seek wisdom. 
We have such great examples of people who have been through crisis after crisis and never lost their grip on hope or on God.  "There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God."  We're relying on this.
Though we have every luxury of home in Colorado, it's nice to be home and have my ironing board again.  : )
Have a good evening.  Off to check out the moon.
     looking out the back door in Colorado...lovely mountain stream
love kathryn

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Really September...Savoring the Moments

Sophie sitting in the window on Labor Day.  She napped the rest of the day.  She knew it was a holiday and took advantage of it.
One should live everyday with thanksgiving, snow, sleet, rain, hail, tornadoes, floods, HEAT of seemingly epic proportions (I do remember those days in Kansas and Okla that were extremely hot and cold).  However, September fills me with deep joy.  I am forever a fall and winter girl. No matter how old I am, I love the changes - leaves changing and falling off the trees, the skies are bluer, the green chilies roasting on an occasional street corner or market, balloons rising in the cool morning air.  I remember so many September mornings of my childhood and early adulthood.
Though I really cannot explain these feelings of fall and winter, I do know,  I find myself aligning with God and digging deeper into his Word.   Longing for Him to shape me, mold me & add new interior wells deep within me.
  "Create in me a clean heart O! God".
Today, I am reading Psalms 71.
  "Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see trouble, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up."
"In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame."
Thank you God for David and others who spilled their hearts to you.  Never in fear - just pouring out their hearts.  You are a Big God.  I pour out my heart and use the Psalms daily to express how I feel.  God desires for us to be completely honest with Him.  He already knows our hearts and knows also that our desire to grow in faith, hope; our struggles and pain with fear,  anger, bitterness, opens the gates of our hearts and minds to joy and comfort; healing, a deeper faith and trust in Him - this God, Our Father who loves and knows us intimately.
Though there is a rumbling at the center of our lives - not just physical but in other ways, we know that God's promises are true.  I have many doubts and fears.  I know too that satan preys on every thought that creates doubt and fear.  Like a cat pouncing on a mouse...he tears into me.  So I ask God to "incline your ear to me and deliver me from my enemies." (paraphrase mine).
For the moment and this day - I am grateful.  The hummingbirds are moving in for their breakfast.  I glanced up and saw gold glimmering at the top of a neighbors tree.  Why the neighbor's trees? For we do not have a tree that changes color in our yard.
For those on the other side of the country, be thankful for those trees in your yards and those pesky leaves you rake every fall.  Don't ever take that for granted....go out and bring some in your house - make a garland of those leaves and hang them in your window.
love kathryn

Friday, September 2, 2011

Square One...

The MRI was clear.  They apologized to Jim, but found nothing wrong.  It's a weird thing...you are thrilled nothing is wrong and yet something IS wrong. 
We may never know what it is.
We would like to believe it will go away as quickly as it came.
We know there are many, many people who live with chronic pain and fatigue and have never found an answer to their "why".
Jim will continue to do as much as he can do physically and rest when he's not able.  We've stretched our imaginations pretty far with all of his symptoms - we've looked up extremely rare disorders and blamed everything on "just stress".  I will tell you, first hand, knowing what you have is a walk in the park.  Even if it's serious.  It's this "not knowing" that can drive you over the edge. 
What we do want to say is thank you for your kindness, your inquiries, your prayers, cards, calls and support. 
Happy Labor Day.  Breakfast with some dear friends tomorrow...then head to Sears for a vacuum cleaner belt.  I keep burning them up.  Vacuuming should not be this much of a challenge.
love and many, many thanks,
kathryn

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jim...So Far

Very good news.  No tumors, no brain lesions, no pituitary problems.  He does has arthritis in his neck.  An answer to the neck pain that had not been answered.
He does have nerve damage in his face.  They will run a stationary MRI - showing 'slices' of the nerves in his face.  He has not been on any medication that will help the pain he's suffered since last winter.  The dr said they could do a nerve block today or he could offer him medication.  Jim said he would like to get the MRI done today.  No nerve block or medication until the test is done.  He is scheduled for the MRI at 6pm.  We are hopeful he will learn the results this evening or early in the morning.
Lessons to learn:  Do not run into a steel tool cabinet - head on, then run into a wooden door while carrying a solid wood desk about an hour or so later. 
It's hard to believe he's been through so many tests; so many drs - all with the same information and it took a trip to Barrow Institute to get answers.
I'll post results when the results are in.
He's still dealing with intense fatigue and balance issues.  Those are to be addressed by the dr here.  If there are no answers forthcoming in ABQ,  Mayo Clinic is only an hour by plane.  It's wonderful to have this option. 
YOU have more than blessed us with your prayers for Jim and for both of us.  We pray for your needs and concerns as we hear from you.  This is not a one way street by any means.
All in all, we feel like we can breathe a bit easier. 
More later.  Many, many thanks.
Blessings to you,
kathryn

He's Got The Whole World...Mine is Manageable

Beware of DIY sites.  I bought this globe about 2 years ago.  I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I knew something would strike me.  It did.  Paint it with chalkboard paint.  Another place to doodle and steal quotes to pen on the whole wide world.
It's still needs some touch ups, but it's almost completed.  I can see the next projects in my minds' eye.  I'm going to finish this before I move on.  I'm ready to "take on the world".
It is so nice this morning.  I went indoors to begin the purge of the kitchen counters and decided I can do that when it's too warm to be outside.  I'll do some reading and enjoy the pups.
I hope you are doing what you enjoy today.
love kathryn

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life is but a dream, but this does not involve rowing

Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Was Once A Mother

I always enjoyed reading "Are You My Mother?"  It was sweet and everyone was kind to the new little hatchling.  That books and show like that were just comforting, funny and made you feel good about how life was going.  Learning was taking place, new words were being identified by the one being read to. Soon, so soon, she was literally covered in all of her books.  Reading them as fast as she could.  She knew the "jist" of every story at age 3, just not all of the words..who cared?  She had developed a passion for reading.  As the bystander in this little life, I had prayed for this and found my prayer answered in spades.
I also prayed the ocean would be a place of incredible delight - the vastness would not scare or be a place that felt dirty due to the sand.  To this day I see a 2 yr old - holding her arms full out, looking at the ocean and the sky...as if in worship for all she was taking in.  I said thank you.
These past few years have taken a toll on me, on both of us, that is indescribable.  We remember HER.  The core of her.  The being God created.  We are now seeing another side.  Things I cannot discuss.  I DO know this.  The precious word that God started in her is being hidden.  It's being put under a bushel basket.  She is alone and does not know where to turn.  She has chosen to turn to the world for answers and it is a void. 
We've literally prayed 1000s of prayers for her.  As have our friends and family.  People who do not know us, utter fine and precious words to God on her behalf. 
She is in so much noise (to quote a friend) she cannot hear Him knocking, every so gently upon the door to her heart.
We are confused.  We live a simple and quiet life.  We know things we cannot discuss at this time or maybe never.  We simply beg you pray for Jim and I.  We had entered the land of giants, they are all around us.  However, we know we have a God who can squash a giant with merely a thought.  Our God loves her.  Loves us.  Is not wringing his hands but is weeping the prayer of lament over his little lamb. 
Pray specifically for our anger...though it's part of this process...to use it for good.  Pray for sleep.  Jim sees a neurosurgeon on Tuesday morning in Phoenix.  We do not know (though we've asked) what he is going to say to Jim.
You are always a blessing - like gold, spun gold, in our lives.  There is not one of you who has not crossed into the fast moving waters or stood on the edge of a mountain and wondered how you were going to get out. 
We want to live in grace.  Be God's precious children.  We want peace restored as well as calm.  We may not get that.  We pray for strength to be what we are called to be.  Though surrounded by great darkness, He is the Light of the World.
love kathryn

Friday, August 19, 2011

T.G.F.A.V.G.F. (thank goodness for a very good friday)

Jim's colonoscopy was a success.  Two small polyps (just so sure he doesn't mind sharing this type of information...just sure....sure,I'm sure).  They were removed.  He does not have cancer.  The polyps are benign.  Now THAT information is the TerriFic!!!
Our nurse prayed over Jim that his doctors would find a resolution to the other problems.  To receive that kind of blessing, without a second thought on her part - the Lord spoke to her heat and she listened.  She said the Lord heals and blesses all who ask. Her touch, was healing, brought tears to our eyes - we were all blessed.  Be a blessing by surprising others in need with your prayers.  Take their hands; pray for them. It stops the pain or hurt, it sets people back on their heels - they are blessed.  Jesus touched people with his hands.  It was a blessing.  It also puts them in touch with the truth -what is truly real.  He is the lover of our souls. Whether the person chooses to know more or not, their hearts and lives are changed.  It is a mind bending, heart changing gift. It lifts the heaviness from any and all situations. We never know when those words could be drawn from at another moment.  A touch, a hug, a smile.  These things change our world....as well as theirs.

I found a blouse, purchased by the one and only owner - circa1970.  I feel so young wearing this tunic/embroidery shirt.  I am 17 again.
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
2. (They Long to Be) Close to You, The Carpenters
3. American Woman/No Sugar Tonight, The Guess Who
4. Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, B.J. Thomas
5. War, Edwin Starr
6. Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Diana Ross
7. I'll Be There, The Jackson 5
8. Get Ready, Rare Earth
9. Let It Be, The Beatles
10. Band of Gold, Freda Payne
11. Mama Told Me (Not to Come), Three Dog Night
12. Everything Is Beautiful, Ray Stevens
13. Make It With You, Bread
14. Hitchin' a Ride, Vanity Fair
15. ABC, The Jackson 5
16. The Love You Save/I Found That Girl, The Jackson 5
17. Cracklin' Rose, Neil Diamond
18. Candida, Dawn
19. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)/Everybody Is a Star,
       Sly and The Family Stone
20. Spill the Wine, Eric Burdon and War
21. O-O-H Child, The Five Stairsteps
22. Spirit In the Sky, Norman Greenbaum
23. Lay Down (Candles In the Rain), Melanie and The Edwin
Hawkin Singers
24. Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today),
The Temptations
25. Love On a Two Way Street, The Moments

I can still sing a few lines from all of those 70's hits.  (how scared do
you want to be?)
Anyway...her mom, washed it, starched and ironed it and it's been a
cedar  chest since 1970...mint condition - all for $12.00. 
Now about those wrinkles on my neck and the man who gave me
a senior discount at the movie theater - without asking......hmm.
I'll leave you with my favorite photo of the moment.
..and you shall find rest for your soul... 
                         I am going to stand in Hope and live in Joy
                                             Today.
love kathryn

"There are no tulips around here so I'll tip toe through the zinnias and morning glories." sophie

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Call Him and Listen


" On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul."
Psalms 138:3

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Brief Brief Re: Jim

Another appointment to discuss findings on his latest blood work results.  He has some problems in relation to low red blood counts.  We will listen and see what we learn tomorrow.  My gut feeling?  More tests. 
It's fajitas for dinner tonight.  I hope you are enjoying whatever you like to eat on this much cooler (at least here) Monday evening.
Jack...we wish you all new A/C very soon.  There are 2 adults and 6 dogs in this house.  All are taking turns in front of the fans.
I finally finished "The Help".  A good read.  There is still a stack of books waiting to be opened or finished.  Of course, I'm always looking for just one more book to read.
My brother will soon be en route to Afghanistan.  He's been "enjoying" his time in Kuwait.  He shared with us the pleasure of finding high end port a pottys and that the view of sand is never ending....and for some reason, they have all had a steady diet of fish of every type.  (no lobster thermidor or shrimp scampi).  All kidding aside - this is serious business for him and for all of our troops. 
Let's all get and stay well for a while.  How about it?
love kathryn

E.N.T. Visit...

Dr. H saw Jim this a.m.  He is sending him for a balance test and to a Dr who will examine his vocal chords.  As for the BAER test.  The reason Dr. H said this test is not used, is due to the very obvious fact.  Jim wears hearing aids. A pre-hearing test must be performed before doing the BAER test or the results are skewed.  Even if you do have a hearing test, due to hearing loss, it may not be accurate.  He said, right now you do not need to see anyone in the neurology field.  "Good night! they will mess with your brain!!" (he's a funny guy and intelligent).  We are still waiting on the results of the blood work done last Friday.  Hopefully, we will know what has caused the anemia. 
So we just have had some good news.  And we praise the Lord for this appointment (that everyone insisted he must have) and for the follow up appointments/tests. 
I just read from Henri Nouwen's readings on solitude and poverty.  Poverty stopped me in my tracks.  Our language is limited - it's a great language, but there are deeper meanings to our words and clarification is welcome.
"Poverty is where we experience our own and other people's weakness, limitations, and need for support.   To be poor without success, without fame and without power.  But there God chooses His love...".  Jesus says, Come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  When we hide ourselves in Christ, though we are burdened and many times in despair, he sends His own Spirit to comfort us and sort things out - if we are listening to His word.  I get myself in such a tangle.  The wires from my head and my heart get so twisted, they short out, shutting down power. The power is never of my own making, but I can short circuit the Power.  God comes in with new fuses and fresh wires (I love all of the colors of those wires) and rewires my entire system.  He gently, but with firmness in His voice, states these words (my paraphrase).
 "You, Kathryn, must be convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of My creation, will separate you, Kathryn, from my (overwhelming) love. This river of love flows from my Son, Your Savior, Kathryn, Christ Jesus, Your Lord."
We believe we are on the right path.  Our paths sometimes swerve in all directions, but this sounds very promising to us.
We love you!
kathryn
(for readers...I should have edited better.  I had other things on my mind.  I hope the corrections make better sense).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Painting, Picking Tomatoes, Reading & Enjoying the Morning

  Good Morning Purple Face!
Zinnias!


Sophie likes sleeping in the zinnia bed...she is on her way over right now.
Happy Faced Zinnias.  They love the heat - not wicked heat, but enjoy showing off in the bright sunshine.
Coco and Scout found a pallet on the den floor is the best way to stay cool.  Scout caught me, but rolled over & went back to sleep.
Jim had a morning to sleep in.  I was on the patio spending time reading and doing a little research re: Jim's situation. I read enough to make me very dangerous.  So I put it away.  We are in God's care.  Dr. L. in Phoenix is going to review Jim's latest MRI.  We are waiting to find out what type of anemia he has so he can be treated for that. Staying awake may be highly overrated in the "real world".  It's not for those dealing with major fatigue issues.
Peggy phoned to let me hear the ocean this past week.  Music to my ocean starved ears.
From my morning reading: "Learn to enjoy life more...relax, remembering that I am God with you."   My paraphrase, 'walk with childlike delight, enjoying each and every thing, say out loud, I trust you, God, I know you love me and are with me."  Though we've had some detours, valleys, bumps in the road - we do laugh a lot (most of you would state our humor is quite twisted)...but we either laugh or fall into a dark place.  Laughter IS the best medicine.  We are planning a get away very soon and are looking forward to a different view - which always leads me to a different viewpoint. 
Though there are still moments we stub our toes, lose perspective and get way ahead of God, we come back in thankfulness for all He is doing in our lives.  We are in the potter's hands.  I think there have been many re-do's on this piece of clay.  One day I will get to see it and be so very amazed at what He has created from a single lump of clay.  To quote "Mercy Me" - I can only imagine. 
Meanwhile...tomatoes are coming on.  We indulged in fried green tomatoes.  Yummy!  The eggplants are full of beautiful lavender blooms and the large sunflower plants are reaching ever upward.  Looking for that brilliant summer sun.
"God comforts us not to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters."
                                                      ***from Streams in the Desert"
..."I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land...let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you."  from Psalms 143
I cannot believe it's time to returned to school.  I'm sure school teachers/administrators are not having has much of a problem with this as I am. : )
love on this Saturday morning,
kathryn

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World's Tiniest Jalepeno Peppers, Ya Think??

Those are little, tiny jalapeno peppers. Look very closely. (sorry it's blurry, as I said, it's a very tiny plant!) The peppers fit the plant. It's a very healthy plant, just very tiny. 
Tomorrow is my last doctor's appointment.  I've been scanned, xrayed, poked and prodded, hemmed and hawed over this summer.  I will return to the cancer center every 3 mos. The only thing on the docket is cataract surgery for me.   
Unfortunately, Jim's health took a bad turn.  All of the symptoms and a few new ones have been with him for several months.  We've looked for the best doctor(s) and believe we've found him/them.  We heard from him yesterday.  He said he would be glad to review all of Jim's records.  We pray we are on the right path. 
No cruises, no mountain cabins, no hut by the beach.  We've had a quiet summer.  There is a season and a purpose for everything under heaven...even when we do not always understand the reason or purpose.  We've seen some incredible things during this past year plus.  We are thankful we are not on our own.  Ever. 
I'll get back to you on those peppers...
Good night from Abq.
love kathryn

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Best Thing Of This Day.....Rain!

Scout has a fear of thunder and storms. Look at those eyes! 
"I'm all a quiver!"

"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
Langston Hughes



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seasons, Anchors, Mustard Seeds, No Glib Answers

"I started to sense that words not only convey something, but are something; that words have color, depth, texture of their own, and the power to evoke vastly more than they mean...and to make things happen inside the one who reads or hears them." 
                                                                               ~Frederick Buechner
Morning has long since broken.  Thankfully, there is shade on the patio and the breeze is cool.  Scout is on duty (if you have read Hank the Cowdog, you understand the need to patrol) and Coco aka The Weenie, is keeping on eye on things from her blanket.  She's moving slowly this morning, but still has a keen eye for predators - robins, sparrows, an occasional hummingbird. 
Though the folks behind us have no desire to tend to their yard, their apple tree is loaded with lovely green apples.  I only wish I could have 8 to 10 for an apple pie. (this may fall under "do not covet thy neighbor's apples).   Instead, I'll head to the market when I'm overwhelmed with a need for a piping hot, fresh apple pie.  (ah! fall...)
Jim worked 6 hours yesterday.  A record.  applause.  We take it as it comes. 
I pulled out an old book.  Surprisingly, I didn't write the date in it. The publishing date is 1997.  Our dear friend, Renee', died in February of that year.  A year my faith was shaken.  A year of doubt.  Not only over Renee' death but what it did to my faith.  Renee' was 40 years old.  My first husband died at age 20.  These deaths (and many in between) opened my eyes.  Never completely, but each time someone young died, my eyes were opened a bit more.  God revealed the deeper things very slowly.
Today there are loved ones who are struggling with life.  Downsizing, adult children, grandchildren, grappling with loss of parents,  coming to terms with changes in their lives; things that only happen to other people ("Myths and Other Lies").  We are also walking in the dark in regard to Jim's health. 
There is a bit of survival's guilt going on.  I want to race ahead and "be a source of encouragement" to others, but I do not sense what that is going to look like.  So I am working on living in the moment.  A bit like a child who sits on the edge of his chair in school, only I don't have that much energy to wiggle about so.  By God's great grace, I survived a rather harrowing year.  I sit here and only have numb feet and joint pain.  It's nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I am  enjoying a morning with my dogs and cat - listening to the birds and feeling a calm, soothing breeze. 
I'm reading "when faith is not enough" by kelly j. clark.  I have read bits and pieces of this book since 1997.  I picked it up again but could not connect to Chapter 1.  I thumbed to the chapter titled, 'fear and trembling' and am now reading the following chapter,  'hope and suffering'.  Job. A man  who TRULY suffered.  A subtitle in this chapter is "suffering that is honest to God" ----
"Conversation and fellowship with God demand complete and heartfelt honesty.  It would have been unthinkable  to the ancient Hebrews to withhold their secret longings & desires from the Lord. It is a sign of their trust that they could unburden their heavy hearts on the Lord of the universe.  Withholding lament betrays a lack of fidelity.  When we express our anguish to God, we draw God into our experience.  To avoid God stoically in times of suffering or to maintain piously that "all is well" when we know good and well that it isn't -- this prevents God from fully entering into our believing experience.  The life of authentic faith demands raging at God when we want to know "Why?""
Job didn't suffer passively. We can thrust our anger upon God.  Our hope is that, as for Job, God will meet us with his grace." (this sentence is paraphrased for brevity....I am not known for brevity).
So many words and paragraphs stand out to me now.  They flesh out the Word. They are like stakes in our garden, his words hold me up when the winds blow.  Once words from this book were discouraging.  I had not walked through enough refining fires (but there had been many to that point).   I do not have control over the things that life brings. I can ask "why?"  When we do "ask why" to our family and friends, we find our relationships deepening.
We want to make sense of everything - we are not always allowed the answers.  We will have times of washing up on the shore without a clue.  We are commanded to trust - He is faithful.
God, from the beginning has desired nothing more than to be in relationship with Him. (And to love others more than ourselves.) Pray to God and share your heart.  Though he knows what's going on in your mind, He jealously longs to hear what you are thinking.  He is here, His Spirit lives in us.  That same Spirit brought Jesus from death to life.  We are filled with Life because of:  Faith. Hope. Joy. Grace. Love.  Paul writes, the greatest of these is Love.
May God break through in ways that amaze you today! 
love you kathryn

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Walking In Sunshine....

The first sunflower.  Scout ate two (yum).  I managed to save two plants. I like it with the chippy old window.  It stands up proud and tall when the sun hits in the afternoon.
Sunflowers reflect life.  We need the Light to stand up to the storms and challenges of daily life.  I paraphrase from a movie, sunflowers turn their face toward the sun (Son)...no matter what.  I know my day are better when My day is best when I soak in the Word and the His Light fill my heart, soul and mind. 
"Your open hand satisfying the desire of every living thing." Ps. 145: 16
Blessings on your day!  love kathryn

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday afternoon

Just a quick note.  Dr. Clark said all is well with me.  I am to continue blood work.  Thanks to your many prayers and love.  It was good to hear "your doing well" from Dr. Clark.  He's not one to toss out empty words.  He's meticulous, as I've said several times.  He was shocked to see me in a sleeveless blouse and capri's.  : )
Jim has had an up and down week.  He has a couple of tests on Monday. Hopefully, Jim should hear from Dr. L's office at the Barrow Institute early next week. 
A good weekend for....rain.  We pray those clouds will roll in and bring rain.
Many, many thanks to all of you. 
Love you, kathryn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pause In The Midst of A Monday

Happy 4th of July on the 5th of July.  We live in a great nation.  Oceans, rivers, lakes, deserts, mountain ranges, blue skies with marshmallow clouds. A vast continent that is filled with great beauty and surprises. We enjoy  freedom to travel from one state to another.  To worship and praise God...to feel the love of fellowship with friends.  A great reason to remember people that came on little ships over 235 years ago.  People like you and me - who came to establish this nation.  They had no idea how that was going to look, but they were passionate about freedom and many gave their lives and still do to retain this gift of freedom.  Freedom still comes at great cost. 
Philip Parker, Commander, USN (Reserve) left his family yesterday.  He will soon serve as a nurse in Afghanistan.  Though Phil is 50 yrs old, has been the head nurse of an ER in Seattle, has a wife, 4 children and 1 granddaughter - he is still our little brother.  The 'baby' of the family.  50 years ago yesterday, we went to see fireworks in a town near to Newton KS.  I do not remember the town, but I remember the blankets and picnics all around us.  Then night fell and my mother was concerned Phil would be scared by all of the noise of the fireworks.  Instead, he laughed and laughed. It was pure joy.  I remember it very vividly.  Thank you, Phil, for the sacrifices you and your family are making.  Thank you for serving our country.  Please take care of yourself.  We are praying for strength and courage.  We pray God will keep you & those you work along side out of harms way...and you will return very soon.  You are deeply loved.
Now to these medical issues. 
1.  My colonoscopy was clear and I enjoyed a very nice nap and a good meal and evening with Bill & Donna. 
2.  Jim find acupuncture very helpful.  He also had a shot in his foot (steroid) and wore a brace for a week.  That feels better. 
3.  We found out Jim's feet grew a full shoe size.  hmmm....
4.  He saw an endocrinologist this morning.  Yesterday, I was reading about the pituitary gland.  I found this disorder that seemed very close to what is going on with Jim.  Acromegaly.  The Dr told Jim this morning he believes this is what he has.  He believes it has been caught it early, because he only has a few of the long list of symptoms.  Jim will have the glucose infusion test next Tuesday.  (I was running ahead and believed that was today...you know I tend to run ahead).  I like answers.  If you like to read about disorders, go to Mayo Clinic site online and read about it there.
Coco.  She did not have a thyroid problem at all.  O! that it was only a thyroid problem. She has lymphoma cancer.  She is 7 years old and has been the joy and light of our lives.  She is even tempered, sweet and loving.  Her greatest joy is to be sitting in my lap or better yet, tucked inside my bathrobe (especially in the winter).  The prognosis:  1 week (which she has surpassed) to 5/6 months.  Sometimes she has a lot of energy - today, not so much.  If there is a cancer exorcist out there, we need one.  Too much cancer. We are enjoying every moment we have with her.  Scout knows something is up.  They are very instinctive little creatures.  As for treatment, we chose to put her on prednisone to relieve her of fevers and pain.  The lymph nodes are all back to normal.  If only she was.  She still brings us great joy.  When she runs into the backyard to bark - who cares? 
We are all praying for rain - monsoon rains.  We've had far too many wild fires and more are breaking out.  Those who live and work in Los Alamos are returning today.  That's such wonderful news. Those firefighters are very brave and did an outstanding job.  There was losses from this fire. I don't know if you can say to people who lost their homes, "it could have been worse"...for they are experiencing "the worst".  But as is always said, homes can be rebuilt; lives cannot be brought back.  We are thankful no one lost their life in this massive wildfire.
                    "Let everything that has breath, Praise The Lord!"
To be quite frank, we are not down and out but we are worn about the edges.  We know we do not see the whole picture,
Right now, I am thinking of the former painter who used to teach painting on PBS.  The soft voice and the huge head of hair.  He would take his painter's tools and begin working on a forest.  Blacks, dark greens, a dab of white, a dab of yellow and he's start working the background.  When I watched, I was intrigued.  He knew how much of each color, he knew where to begin.  He also let his imagination work into his art...it wasn't pre-planned.  Jim and I are like his oil paintings...we are in the background, we are waiting for the following layers to make us into the picture God wants us to look like.  I do hope he will add a dash of red.  I love red.  And blue.  And wear way too much black. : )   I digress.
Have a glass of iced tea - just the way you like it.
All is well and all will be well.
love you kathryn

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Encouraged!

Our family doctor contacted Jim today.  The doctors at Barrow Institute have reviewed all of Jim's tests/CDs of MRIs/MRAs.  It was determined he does not have M.S.  Due to the findings of a couple of tests done when Jim was in the hospital, another doctor has been brought in for further review.  We pray this doctor will be able to address the problems Jim has been experiencing.  A diagnosis would be so welcome.  We are very encouraged the process didn't end with one group of doctors.  
Jim is back to work for 2 to 6 hours a day.  Though he doesn't feel well much of the time, it's a good feeling to be back at his job.
We think Coco has a thyroid cyst.  She's been dragging around here, so that may be the answer to her fatigue.  Seems to run in the family.  Her thyroid cyst seems to be much larger than the one I had.  Normally, she moves slowly - the past few days, she is near full stop.
I just read the forecast - 100 degrees Thursday.  Friends who live in Tucson are laughing up their sleeves - if only we could have such cool weather here!The garden plants will need some deep watering tonight and tomorrow.  Like people, they too enjoy a good, long soak.
Update:  I have not bitten off my fingernails.  Shocking even to me.
Our friends, Bill & Donna, are back home from Hawaii.  Bill suffered a massive heart attack while on vacation.  Donna reported they were "a little tired".  We give God praise for bringing Bill back to us and for the great provision for Donna, Bill and their family.  This will go down as the vacation no one will forget. 
Time to turn off the computer and do some reading before I fall asleep in my own lap.
"A life without love is like a year without summer."
-- Swedish Proverb
Blessings!
love kathryn

Friday, June 17, 2011

Open Doors...

"When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully
upon the closed door that we do not see
the one which has opened for us."
-Alexander Graham Bell



I love doors. New Mexico hosts some pretty wonderful doors.  Massive doors on churches as well as hotels and a host of other places. Intricate and massive iron work.  At one time, perhaps there was a great need to keep the bad out.  Or they were expecting a bad winter. Or they simply loved large, imposing doors.
We recently hung a new bedroom door.  We love the look - a wood panel door (painted white).  Instantly the view from our room looks warm and welcoming.  I do not care for flat doors.  Where is the character? 
 If I were able to travel the world, I'd find doors that are simply a piece of fabric over an opening in someones dwelling place.  I'd find tall, skinny doors and wide and overwhelming in size doors.  Some places I would travel to - there wouldn't be a covering at all.  It would be an opening that you would simply crawl into.  Perhaps there are almost, ALMOST, as many differences in doors as their are in people. 
Closed doors are rarely looked at as opportunities to grow and change.  Closed doors state: closed for business; go away, we don't want anything; we've locked out the world and are staying to ourselves or it could simply be we do not want the heat or cold blowing into our homes.  As Mr. Bell says, we stare at them regretfully, we can't help but wonder why that door closed.  There is loss; we pause...
Open doors are for peeking into, are welcoming, are intriguing, particularly when the rest of the doors are closed.  Open doors draw us in.  If the door is into a place we've never been before, we feel some apprehension.  However, those feelings fall away.  As if we are beckoned inside, we are intrigued and step in.  We adjust to the light or darkness.  We look around.  We know immediately if this is something of interest or not.  When I walk in - I have an immediate sense of knowing whether I am welcome or not.  No sign needed - not a word uttered.  You just know.
When reading this quote, I thought of Lot's wife.  Though she was living in a city that was truly uninhabitable on every level you can think of, it was her home.  There is not much said about her, but I think of her often.  She was told to leave her home and NOT look back. We know from reading this story, they had a door.  I believe their door was hung to keep out the bad things - things she and her family didn't want to be involved in or see. This was an instance of believing there was security behind a door.  Her heart came to believe their home WAS secure.  She, like me, would have been better served by listening to wisdom.  And keeping her eyes focused on what lay ahead, not behind.
In our childhood home, the front & back doors were seldom locked.  We had a skeleton key for many years.  We kept our windows open in the spring and summer to catch the Kansas breeze. Teresa and I shared a bedroom with one window.  From our window, we could see our driveway, a narrow side yard, a row of poplar trees and a wheat field.   Down the street lay train tracks where the Rock Island trains rolled, day and night.  On hot summer nights, we'd pile our pillows in the frame of the open window, hoping to catch a bit of breeze.  We'd listen to the crickets and the trains on their ways to places, so distant we could only imagine where they were and what they looked like. Writing this, I am taken back in time.  Laying in our open window, waiting for a breeze - listening to the sounds of the night - we felt safe and protected. In our minds, there was nothing unsafe about unlatching the screen to that window. 
Perhaps you look at your life as a series of doors and windows.  I can't say that I think like that very often.  When I hear the expression, "When God closes a door, He opens a window", it's a reminder that we are not always the ones with our hands on the door knob or the part that opens the window.
I've been through a door similar to the door on the wardrobe to Narnia.  I've see things this past year I didn't know existed.  More importantly, I've experienced the opening of both doors and windows to my heart, mind and soul.  I've walked through many doors and have found God in many forms and shapes and sizes.  His Spirit led me through those open windows and closed others.  As I made my way through a series of doors and windows...I gained trust that I never had.  I experienced and hopefully returned love as deeply as I've experienced.  I came to see these particular doors with a different perspective. I found purpose and meaning for my life as I stepped inside  My life was waiting...and those lives that touched me were inside. What if fear had kept me outside?!  
Behind some doors, I was hit with misunderstanding, twisted perceptions and hate.  As I approached these doors, they were loudly and sharply closed in my face. With hope in my heart, my prayer in the night is restoration - an opening of the door --- a flinging open of a window.  For light to fill the space and a song of redemption will be heard through the open windows.
A childhood visual remains but now I see it differently.  No coercion. No threats.  No yelling. No fifteen verses of "Just As I Am", No pleading.  Only this -
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock."  (revelation)
We all face closed doors and closed windows.  We all have serious doubts and wonder where we are heading to next.  
Don't just admire the doors and the fancy handwork on those doors, step through.  A part of your life you were not expecting may be in there. 
 (I needed this!)
Have a great weekend.  love kathryn

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

These Eyes...

Old photo.  But I am looking at you...without my glasses.  I've not worn my glasses much this year.  The obvious reason;  I was sick.  The other reason was not so obvious.  I knew I was not seeing well - with or without glasses.
  I went in for my annual eye exam to learn my eyes were not working well.  This was not news to me.  After a long and thorough exam, my eye doctor told me the reason I was not seeing well, with or without glasses.
Cataracts in both eyes.
You who are a bit more seasoned in years than I am, may think me silly.  To friends my age, hearing you have cataracts might strike you as it did me.  "I thought cataracts appeared much later in life - like when you are old!" I am a baby boomer.  My generation refuses to grow old or even older. 
I realize this is a simple surgery, taking longer to prepare for than to actually "be under the knife".  But it's another surgery.  I just wasn't thinking about cataracts or surgery as I sat in the optometrists chair. 
I have to meet with the opthamologist the end of June. He will determine how soon I need to have this done.
I am glad to learn that I was not going blind.  I have squinted, dealt with extra teary eyes (yes, I know about dry eyes "at my age"), checked out books with large print etc.  All in all, this is not bad news.  Like all of life's little unknowns, this is just one more.  I'll take cataracts over a lot of things. 
Jim returned to work today.  He will work p/t.  We hope to hear from Barrow Institute by next week.  Praying Jim will be accepted as a patient and someone will be able to find out what is creating his symptoms.
The zinnias are popping up a bit each day.  I am seeing some little green tomatoes as well.  The eggplants are doing better along with the jalapeno plant.  The herbs love growing in the front planter - we've already enjoyed basil and others.
"I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang! in the face.  ....langston hughes
Though spring is almost over, it was a lovely spring morning.  I hope it was at your house as well.
Love Kathryn 

Monday, June 13, 2011

And We're Off....sort of....

We saw our family practice doctor this morning.  He said we need to get out of town for additional help in trying to figure out what is going on with Jim's health.  We now have everything we need for the package to Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix AZ. 
Our lovely neighbors have a condo there and have told us we may use their condo and we may take our furry family with us. 
We were told that some doctors will do a review of his case and decide if Jim is a candidate or not.  We are not making any plans beyond today.  It took 2 months to get Molly into her neurosurgeon's office in CO.  I suspect that it will be in that range for Jim - IF he is accepted.
His symptoms rotate.  There is a consistency in the symptoms.  There is no consistency in when they will appear or how intense or less intense they will be.  The one thing that is consistent is fatigue, numbness and tingling in his face - with varying degrees of intensity.
We enjoyed being with Dain over a long weekend. He cut the grass this week, helped put in some plugs of grass and worked in the dark on a leaky float in the water cooler.  We also let him have some down time.  At least this visit he didn't leave with the flu and a bad case of poison ivy (that was many years ago...but it was not a good way to leave our home).
That's it for today.  Time to get my eyes tested.  It will be good to be able to see again. 
This weekend my high school class celebrated our 40th year class reunion.  There is no way I am this old.  Since I recognized only 5 people, they must have been among the younger people in my class. heh heh.
Stay cool.
love kathryn

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

I'm betting you won't guess WHAT this commercial is about until the last !! Voted the BEST commercial ever! Totally made my day.  Thank you for sending Linda!!  Pass it on. 

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/stethoscope.html

I can see a bit of the west mesa this morning.  People who live higher may have a better view.  The crescent moon was pinkish red last night.  A real werewolf moon if there ever was one.  and I'm sure there has been one before this.  
Jim had his first encounter with "9,000 Needles" at the acupuncturist yesterday.  That is an exaggeration - but there were a lot of needles used.  She told Jim the first time I went in - she used 4.  I was in pretty bad shape.  But baby! look at me now!!
love kathryn

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This and That Tuesday

Mom this is for you.  Two manicures unearthed fingernails.  My first goal after chemo was to grown out my nails. This is a hard habit to break. phil 4 13

I didn't grab my camera fast enough.  The sun was bright pink in the midst of the smoke.  This was taken just before it faded into the background the skies became a goldenrod color for the remainder of the evening.  The smoke is from the fires burning in eastern AZ.  A photo in the ABQ journal addressed what the people in eastern AZ and western NM are facing as these fires continue to burn. 

This is the rose Jim gave me last summer.  You found a great place to plant it.  The coreopsis is trying to get all of the glory this year, however, Jim keeps cutting it back so this little beauty can show her colors.  Thanks for taking care of it mom.

Jim is improving a bit.  We have taken all of his paperwork into the clinic at UNM and have more paperwork to mail out of town.  He has been one sick guy.  Though there are many things during this event we may never have answers for - we do pray we can find out enough to keep these things from occurring again or at least know how to treat him

"I do not understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us." 
                                                  --anne lamott Traveling Mercies
Matthew 15:21-28

May God's grace capture you today!
love kathryn





Friday, June 3, 2011

Where There's Smoke, Sometimes There Is Not Fire

We were lazing around last night and suddenly started smelling smoke - which quickly turned into tasting smoke.  Fire seems very close...not like a fire in the Bosque.  Jim got up to take the dogs outdoors.  He said he felt ashes falling on him.  This smoke/ash is from a large fire in Arizona.  The strong winds were bringing the smoke and ash to Albq and places beyond. 
These are moment when I think of the pioneers traveling across the country.  They too smelled smoke and felt falling ash - but in their lifetime, they had no clue how close those fires were.  There was no television or internet.  They either pulled their wagons into a circle and stayed put a while or pressed on.  My! those were the bravest of people.  In our world of constant communication I believe we have become more cowardly - needing every piece of information we can gather before we make another move.
Right now, we too are traveling with little information on Jim's situation.  He is on medical leave and is still experiencing a great deal of pain and is struggling much of the day.  We have information to gather to take to UNM/Mind Resource Clinic (this is my name for it - there is a proper name) or to head to AZ to the Barrow Neurological Institute.  While there is comfort in knowing there are clinics dealing with neurological illnesses, we are a bit "doctor worn" and a bit skeptical of having to launch into another world of paperwork and possible more "easy answers".  We would like to circle our wagons and wait for the smoke to pass. 
Jim took such incredible care of me and I am trying to do the same for him.  He sleeps a great deal of the time due to pain relief meds, it is a bit different for me in regard to caring for him. 
We are very concerned.
We are both reading about neurological problems that are less complex - not easier to diagnose or treat, but less scary.  After years of researching illnesses by looking at symptoms, this doesn't get easier.  The brain is very complex.  We are leary of quick answers.  We've already heard 3 - and though they may be good neurologists - they really had nothing to offer in a way of taking care of his problems.
It's easy for me to want to take this on.  To fix it.  To find all of the answers.  We are looking but we realize that God already knows what is going on.  He is leading as we are looking. 
As I read the other day,
  "when you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter.  Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together.  Your compulsion to "fix" everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me.  Together we can handle whatever this day brings."  sarah young
We know there is smoke.  We know there is a fire burning.  We are assured in this news filled society, there are firefighters on the job.  We also know God is always in these "refining fires" and we are leaning on him to know the right place to go - so this fire that Jim is experiencing will be brought under control.
We enjoyed seeing Mike, Glenda and Iris Morton yesterday.  They included us in their trip to the Grand Canyon.  They are dear and precious friends from my childhood and remain to this day.  Thanks for the laughter and joy you brought to our home.
"Lean not on your own understanding; trust in the Lord." 
love you kathryn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Little and Powerful Tuesday Prayer and Thanks

Understanding and compassionate God,
thank you for hearing my prayers,
even when I come with so little faith.
Increase my faith and allow me to surrender to your loving embrace.
Amen.
                                          - Don Saliers

After years of advocating for Molly, my prayer today is for my mouth to stay still and to only advocate if Jim asks.  This change is challenging for me.  I'm a woman - women like answers.  Immediately.   We want our family to be healthy -  for these are the people we love.  As the last line of St. Michael's prayer says "and keep me out of the way".  (paraphrase).  

Do you know we have the best friends/family in the entire world?  We do.  We stand back in awe of your care and concern...and for making us laugh.  How precious you are.

love you so, kathryn

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Resting, Relaxing, Reading & Weeding Weekend...

Jim has been resting today.  He's had some tremors today.  We have had a lot of sofa time at our house in the past year and a half.  I've pulled weeds, watered, read, tried to nap and moved a bit of furniture around. 

It's time for spring flowers.  Last week the roses were brilliant; they need a little break and will be brilliant again.  So we'll go for geraniums and a real live sweet potato I grew in the house this winter.   


Yellow Coreopsis - It has some growing power!


I moved the wicker chairs to the front and found chairs for the patio. 

Just a little welcome at the front door.
And that is all for today.  A cool breeze started blowing in the
back window.  Always welcome.
Scout and Coco have found something else to bark at.  Birds singing, winds blowing or a noise at the neighbors.  Ever on the alert.  For those who can handle it, I found our two dogs and the cat having a morning snack on Friday.  The bird was just not quick enough to get away.
I can barely handle it, but they are hunters, however, they do not waste what they kill.
Life is always changing; always challenging -- we are always called upon to
rise to the situations we face.  We want to face them with grace and courage.  We
know so many who are facing many things and they show grace under fire.
No matter what you are facing - do not forget to smile or better yet - laugh
out loud.  It makes you and everyone around you feel better...most of all it
makes you feel you can stand up and get moving again.
love kathryn