Wednesday, June 22, 2011


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
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.

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