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) 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 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 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 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