Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

(Mary writes)
Today we are remembering that Jesus was born many years ago.
I love history cause it's shows us God's plans. SO many years ago, one part of God"s plan was fulfilled. So many combinations of things had to happen to make it precise. Which is yet another reason I love our God - He is precise. A perfectionist actually. The events that happened when Jesus was born were actually part of a bigger plan that was initiated at the beginning of time. God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only son ....

Our desire to be god, to exalt ourselves above the Creator. Our inclination towards rebellion of the truth - that God is god and we are not -  brought separation from God. Being the perfect parent God has a greater understanding, a longer vision then us. We strive and pull, He plans and creates order.

And back to the point of this post ... His plan was to send a solution, His precious son Jesus.
Because of that Gift, we can be brought back into fellowship with the God,
Creator and Father who loves us.
I love Jesus and I can't wait for the day I get to walk with Him.

We have been having a crazy Christmas. The traditions have been really helpful. When at this time of our life when all the routines are gone and the life that we had come to recognize and know as our own is changed. Buying presents has been done in kind of a daze, we were late in putting up the tree. I didn't send out cards this year or make gifts for others. It's just a different type of Christmas this year. But, when we went out in the woods to find the tree, which stood without ornaments for days and days in our living room, we were going through the motions which gave continuity to our lives. One day at a time.
Elisa and Benjamin have been so fun, helping with shopping and wrapping. Elisa wrapped and shopped for her dad. Benjamin helped me pick out stuff for his dad's stocking.
There have been so many fun surprises.

Christmas Eve I was finally wrapping the presents. After lots of treatments and battling survey software Don has been very tired. He struggled to stay awake to watch our Christmas Eve movie - It's a Wonderful Life - As we watched the movie again another year ... it was finally starting to feel like Christmas. Very pleasant.
Traditions, they give a sense of a place in time. And the comfort of previous memories gave us a sense of security.

We made a video for the family, opening the presents they sent us and then we added a few songs to entertain them. Here is a sampling of a song we sang for the family.

(This movie has gotten out of sync, now it's just dumb but I can't get it off, it won't delete - sorry)

Otherwise ... 

Finally, this morning, after a long winters nap - we awakened at around 9:00 AM.
I got the kids up and we enjoyed a lovely morning together. Don got some great presents - a new pair of slippers, new pj's, a new blanket, a new pillow and 20 videos, along with some great books. We told him that the gifts represents his job for the next month. R & R.

Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve 

Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas magic

Christmas morning 

Our beautiful sunshine handing out the presents.

I got a new Bible ... So excited!! 

Even Daisy got a gift

Benjamin's candy stash

Here is Don, surrounded by his equipment. 

We hope that you also have had a wonderful Christmas. We love you ALL so much. 
Merry Christmas !! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

into the desert

Don writes:
First an update.
My tongue, mouth and throat were getting extremely tender, I thought it was from the radiation treatments. I could hardly swallow. My tongue was coated white, the white went on down my throat. Couldn't move my tongue around in my mouth. Very tough to swallow. I lost 5 lbs one week and 10 more the next.  I thought, if it's this bad in week 4, what will I do in week 7? The Dr was worried.

He said "next month is when you lose 15 pounds in two weeks, not now."

I had a thrush infection. And the pills he gave me did the trick. A week later and my mouth is better, my throat is not so sore, I have gained 5 lbs back. I think I'll make it again.

God was showing me what week 7 will be like, and then what it will be like as I recover.

But as I suffered, I received several more insights in what He was doing. He is sending me into the desert. Taking away things I am used to, all my creature comforts. Just like He did to Moses, Paul, and Jesus. Time to forget about everything else and dwell on Him. Kind of like throwing yourself back on the hammock in the warm sun and having it hold you up and swing you in the breeze. Relying on the Ropes of the hammock and that's all.

He is definitely getting my attention. 

I met Seeta in the chemo lab. She takes my blood sample on chemo days. Knows a lot of verses. She's been reading the Word for a long time. I have some great conversations with her, but always too short. She is an Encourager to me. When I meet brothers and sisters in the hospital, I wonder what it would be like if all of them were open about their faith like Seeta. How many are there? What an encouragement that would be!!

Most of us are afraid to let people know we are Christians. 'What will they think?'

Oswald Chamber says "If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can." This would hold true on any subject, but he is talking about scripture. "If you do not, someone will be poorer all the days of his life." Start speaking what truths He has taught to you to yourself. Then tell it it to someone you know. Practice thinking it through in your own mind. The more often you tell your story the more comfortable it becomes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What?!? No tumor??

(Mary writes)
You can imagine how surprised we were when the dr. pointed to the image on the screen and said

"This is the spot where we saw the cancer before 
- but it's not there now"

He was so matter of fact, Don and I were in shock! The first words that came out of our mouths almost at the same time were ...

  "Then we are done here? Can we go home now??"

Don had been having radiation and chemo for 2 weeks and 1 day at the time of the doctor. appt.

It was an emergency appointment with the doctor because the side effects of the radiation and chemo have been so disabling. He has a white coating all over his tongue ... thrush.
That is what took us into his office and after the 30 seconds it took the doctor to diagnose thrush he volunteered to put a scope down Don's nose to see how far the thrush had gone and just to get an idea of the condition of the tumor.

The doctor gave Don a anesthetic in his nose and then took the scope - equipped with flashlight and camera and put it into his nose and down to his throat. Wow! Not a fan. It didn't seem to hurt, I guess the anesthetic did the trick.

The doctor twirled it around, using the very thin rubber hose to scope this area and that. It's amazing actually. We could see the tissue was clean and pink. That is very good. 

We were ready to go home. We knew for sure that the Lord had taken it away and we were done. 
But do you think that is what the doctor is going to say? 


 Doctor said treatment must continue because people that have had their tumors go away and they didn't finish their treatments found that the cancer came back later because there were microscopic cancer cells.

 soo saad. 

I'm not sure I exactly believe him. If I could have my way, Don would have a biopsy and we would know for sure if it's gone. But, if he had a biopsy and we found it to be cancerous then Don would have to wait for his throat cut to heal in order for treatments to continue. hmm. 

OR we could find that the cancer is indeed gone and Don's impression of the power of the prayers was indeed what was true and the Lord healed him miraculously rather then through the medical community.

I think we are going to leave that decision for now. Let Don pray about it. 

But ... change of subject ... sorta ... I want to introduce you to a new guy I met at the VA radiation clinic.

Mr. Waffle Grill 

This is how he looks when he comes out of his radiation treatment. He would have been bolted down to the table. Often falling asleep, with the mesh mask pressing down on his face ... hence ... waffle grill. 

God is good ... We are dwelling in the shelter 
of the LORD Most High

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cerebral Action

 OK, Don has cancer. What in the world do you do with that? There are two basic choices, no actually three.
 1. Traditional medicine – chemo, radiation.
2. Alternative medicine – is generally based on the principle of the patient using the body itself to restore balance and health, strengthening the immune system. Diet will play a large part in that as well as exercise. There are supplements you can take, vitamins and essential oils. I have also learned about one method that uses a … enema… to clean the body of the toxins.  In fact, history shows us that the human race has used those basic precepts for all of time.
3. Don’t do anything at all - It is in fact one of the choices. I can imagine a poor, exhausted soul picking this choice.

After a lot of thought, reading and prayer, Don decided he was going to go with the traditional. It may seem like a no brainer choice but it’s not that easy of a choice to make. When you choose to go with the traditional method of radiation and chemo you are deciding to accept the permanent consequences that are likely to occur. Radiation will likely destroy his salivary glands which, surprisingly, are a significant loss. Don went to a speak pathologist that explained how intricate our swallowing is and how the muscles can become callused and hardened due to the radiation which would result in swallowing issues.
Chemo causes cancer... so does radiation but we won’t even go there.

As we are going to the hospital to learn about traditional medicine I am reading and learning about alternative medicine. It’s all about healthy choices, using the body to heal itself and becoming strong. I like that idea, it sounds like the right thing to do - but it too has a side effect ... lack of effectiveness. There are no charts or studies to show how many people have lived or died after choosing alternative treatments, it’s an unknown.  Compare that to the 85 to 90% success rate of the traditional treatment and you see why Don made the choice he did.   

The problem I have is I see the logic of alternative medicine. I hate traditional treatment. Of course, it’s not my choice to make but that is my perspective. The body that has cancer is out of balance somehow. Either genetically or environmentally, there is an organic reason the body is not attacking and killing the cancer cells. Obviously the body is not doing its job. It seems reasonable to think that in order to kill the cancer cells the body has to get back in balance, the impaired immune system has to get repaired or enabled to fight the invasion of diseased cells. While using alternative treatments that would mean that we are expecting the weakened immune system to not only right itself by the process of the alternative treatment but to kill the strong, determined cancer cells too. Hmm …

I am confident that either school of thought, traditional or alternative would have plenty of defenses for their position. Their arguments can steadily volley back and forth with no one’s mind being changed, no new perspectives being received.

I talked to Don’s doctor about the possibility of using one of traditional medicine’s own alternatives and she did not care to hear about any of it. I pressed the issue a bit, hoping she too would recognize that the body is amazing and what about the possibility of other thoughts, the other treatments listed on the very consent form the hospital had Don sign, but she looked at me blankly and said she did not recommend any of those. I guess you could say I pressed a little more, explaining to her that there are clinical studies PROVING the use of the essential oil from do Terra – Frankincense which has cured bladder cancer and she told me that she can only use treatments that are approved by the FDA, that it didn’t matter what other treatment might be out there, she was under the rule of the FDA and her hands were tied.

 WOW. I was a little disappointed in hearing that. I didn’t realize that the government was the final authority on our medical care … the final attending physician. 

From the beginning, when we first found out about the cancer we have approached it proactively. Using whatever means available to achieve the goal of a healthy body for Don. We have been making a lot of green smoothies. Getting a lot of those vegetables you always read about into his diet.

For instance, this morning he had kale, blueberries and banana in his smoothie. 
You might think that would be gross but it’s pretty good actually. I have really been leaning toward alkalizing foods. I understand that cancer thrives in an acid environment.  Foods like sugars and processed flours, even really sweet fruits create an ideal condition for the glucose hungry cancer cells.
 Vegetables are alkaline. 
Lots of vegetables, and uncooked is the best way for the body to
 get the most benefit out of most of the vegetables.

Another thing we have been doing is supplements. The Lord provided quite a bit for Don.
He was given a four month supply of Juice Plus …

He was also given liquid vitamins that have sea greens in them. They supply a great need for a body. 

Even the Cancer Society has recognized that nutrition plays an integral part of body health (aren’t they so smart? I think the American Caner Society is part of the government, the same government that is deciding what medical treatments should be available for folks – little scary)

He has also been provided do Terra Essential Oils. This has been a fascinating journey. I have learned so much about oils – these oils are not an oily kind of oil – they are more of an essence. Don has been on Frankincense for the whole time. That is the “oil” that is clinically proven to cure cancer. It has to be a certain type of Frankincense though, according to the University of Oklahoma, the Frankincense has to be therapeutic and a really high grade. The university used the doTerra brand Frankincense due to its ability to be absorbed into the body and because it’s chemical makeup is so pure.  
Here is a good link that explains it all …

He has also been on another series of supplements. Mircro Plex VM food nutrient complex and x EO Mega essential oil omega complex and lastly Alpha CRS cellular vitality complex. I have been on those a time or two myself and my energy level is amazing when I take them.

Today we got a report from the radiation dr. that Don was doing VERY well and that he has a good health nurse … I am praying that although we have chosen to have traditional treatments, with the efforts we are making towards whole foods, healthy choices, lots of water and our next goal – increased exercise Don will be able to get through this with a minimum of consequence.

I have been using lavender on his throat cause it’s an awesome skin repairer. It’s got great burn healing properties. We use melaluca for any sores in his mouth cause it’s known far and wide for it’s healing ability.

We are mostly just relying on the Lord our God, it is His hand that holds our future. Don and I do what we can do here, gladly so but in the end … we know where life begins and ends.
I will write more another time. I am sure I have written way more then is enough. Hope I haven’t bored you to tears.
We love you and appreciate ALL your prayers and the sweet love we receive from you.

day 7

Don wrote:
Day 7 and we got good marks today!! After today's radiation treatment, we visited the doctor, updating him on how I was feeling and what other things we were doing for the cancer...after which he said to me "you sir, are in good hands", speaking of my chief nutritionist and taker care of specialist.  (And she is also my water nazi. 128 oz per day. 4 qts every day. To wash the Chemo out.)

I have discovered a devotional by Oswald Chambers that has amazingly been talking just to me, often telling me just what I need to hear. 

I read in Oswald Chambers this morning:            

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation." 2 Corinthians 7:10   

When we sin we sin against Him.

Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin.

Conviction, repentance, forgiveness, holiness. The Holy Spirit convicts, we repent, God forgives.

"The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man's respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life."

" is only the forgiven man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite to what he was, by God's grace."

It is said that crises bring us closer to God, I can only hope that I will be.  

more thoughts on 'why me?':
I have often thought that cancer only happens to 'other people', surely not me. Bad things only happen to somebody else, and we read about it in the paper or on the internet. Bad news sells....But this time I got the bad thing.
I wasn't affected initially (this really isn't happening to me), it's been a gradual realization that I am the one going into the radiation room, I am the one that has to have the mask bolted to the table and I am the one getting the chemo treatments. So, why me .. these are the thoughts that have been on my mind. So I read this this morning:

Paul said in Phillipians 1:12-14, when he was in prison
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard [fn] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Maybe, just maybe, God has placed me in treatment to speak His Word to people at the hospital, to encourage just one or two other brothers to 'speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.' 
Maybe just one?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The First Week

Don made it through his first week of treatments. Radiation 5 times this week. Chemo one time.
We are counting down .. 7 more to go.

Don is feeling VERY queasy. He is empathizing with all the women that have morning sickness for 3 months. He assured me, if they can  get though it he can too.
He has two types of medicine that he can take to help, but they don't help very much. grr.

He is going to be early tonight, it's been a busy week. He needs lots of sleep to let his body recoup.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

first day of Chemo

written by Don

Today was my first Chemo therapy day, but also another radiation treatment.

We left the house at 7:45, made it to radiation by 8:45. The radiation therapy was not nearly as long as the first one, I was tied down for only about 10 minutes. I still felt a little of the claustrophobia, but thought it out and survived. It's a strange impulse to want (crave) to sit up when you are tied down...

The Chemo took a LONG time. We were there for initial bloodwork at 9:30, they told us it would be 45 minutes to start the Chemo; the Chemo med was delivered at 2PM...   If they had said it would be a 4 hour wait we would have been ready for a 4 hour wait. You all know how that feels I'm sure.

The Chemo consisted  of 30 minutes of saline for hydration, 1 hour of chemo, then 30 more minutes of saline. Once it starts it doesn't take long. And for the first time anyway, the chemo didn't feel any different than the saline. They gave me two anti nausea pills prior to the IV, by 9PM I still don't feel any nausea. We'll see how that pans out....

 Next Chemo day, 12/6, we are going in by 7AM, get the bloodwork done, then go to Chemo; not only will we be nearer to the head of the line and have a shorter wait, but we can do radiation in the middle at 9AM, during that shorter wait time. Should put us home by 3 or 4 instead of 6.

The Government VA hopsital is not interested in alternative anything, their main concern is that it may hinder their current treatment. In fact, they only use FDA approved treatments, meaning they only use the drugs that the drug companies submit to the FDA for approval. They won't even consider any alternative.. I don't like that. I'm sure that the chemo is not cheap, somebody has to pay for all that R&D...

I am so grateful for all your thoughts and prayers, it really makes a difference when I am in treatment. Chris B told us she prayed specifically for the radiation to kill all the cancer cells and spare the good tissues, I like that. I am so certain that God's will be done, I will be finished and cancer free sooner because of all the prayers. Thank you all and God bless you.

From Mary ...

Today was a really tough day. It's only the 2nd day of treatment and I as I sat alone in the overly crowded room .. I cried.

The day started out hurried and out of order.
I need to get a new order going in my life, an early morning routine.
 I have smoothies to make, vitamins to count out and oil capsules to fill. On top of all the regular morning stuff I was able to make an awesome smoothie - beautiful green kale with added carrot and apple.
We were going to have a long day today and trying to keep on top of Don's alkaline diet I knew I needed to have food from home. I was able to find some fresh green beans, put them in a zip lock and make some herbal tea in my thermos. In a desperate attempt at food I threw in a package of cancer food, white flour crackers. Finally, off we went. We made it there on time and made our way to the clinics.

Downstairs in the BASEMENT - no windows, concrete walls - we go to the radiation dept.
It's a small waiting room with enough electrical plugs for me to use to plug in my laptop.
The tough part is looking at all the other patients as they wait for their turn. Most of them just stare at the walls. Some, like the guy sitting next to me today, love to talk. This one man was telling me how the Lord helped him through homelessness and into a better life. He said that now he is very prayerful because He has to ask the Lord what bad things he is allowed to do and to what extent.
I was in a bit of shock - I told him that is different from me cause the Lord doesn't allow me to do any bad things. He told me his reasons, I asked him if he reads the Bible, he said he does so I figured the Lord will teach him through His Word.

As I sat out there in the waiting room, my heart was in the radiation room with Don. I was so sad that he was in there.

I have had a battleground in my mind.

We made it up to chemo .. it's a larger room, it has one TV with pointless shows and people just staring. Some of the folks seem well, but many are alone and silent. As I look around the waiting room I see the many people rolled in and out in their wheelchairs. Bodies slumped down. Alone. There are a lot of older men, bended backs, worn.
I hated being there.

The system at the VA is a first come first serve program. We came in later so we were far down on the list - but we didn't realize about that process all morning. We just knew we were supposed to be going in for Chemo at 10:00 am but instead it was waiting and waiting.

 All along my goal and my hearts desire was to be encouraging for Don. I was battling in my mind and heart.
I had a few grounds in which I was battling. The first one was my internal objection to this whole process in our lives. This demanding invasion.
The other battle was my self pity. Oh boy, did I have a lot of that. I had forgotten my goal of replacing my self pity with thanksgiving.
In my previous medical experiences I had become accustomed to .. comfort, lovely decor, privacy, my needs attended to.
Instead, at the VA -   there were crowded conditions, coughing, somber faces and
being one of the many.
Being surrounded by all that was despondent - I didn't even remember to think about the Lord.

It was while Don - being ever brave - was in the chemo room receiving the his treatments, not complaining and but instead finding the good- that I came to the lowest part of my day.

As a last desperate attempt to have some control in my life I opened my laptop. I found the classical section on my Itunes and proceeded to have order amidst chaos.

I looked at the pictures from our family Thanksgiving and like a piece of ice beginning to thaw I started to remember my blessings.
Looking at their faces made me smile.
Then listening to amazing praise music, looking at my blessings I remembered the Lord.

That's when I cried.

All the emotions came to the top of my heart. I felt safe enough to cry.

Don, is my protector and provider and he has cancer.

Somehow the room condition didn't matter as much, it was secondary. I came to the real issue, my fear.
I felt safer somehow. The Lord brought me to my need for Him. I am so thankful that He reminded me of Him - even amongst all the chaos.

As I was listening to my music, crying and being with the Lord I saw the nurse practitioner I had previously decided I didn't like - mostly because she represented chemo and the dangers it ensued - and the Lord showed me a time in the future when I was no longer going to dislike her but instead have peace with her and the situation. I was grateful for that impression. It enlarged my perspective. That was today. Tomorrow is another day .. one day at a time.

Dwelling in the shelter of the Lord Most High

Monday, November 29, 2010

Radiation .. Day 1

 (By Don)  The wait is over, their planning and calculating are complete. I had my first radiation treatment today. 

When I went in to the VA radiation oncology dept, and a new technician showed my computer file to me, he said "make sure your picture is on here before we get started"...kinda scarey, I need to check to see if they got the right guy??

He showed the treatment area to me (the one on my neck, not the room I was going into), the area that would be x-rayed. It's bigger than I thought.  So is the treatment room.

I layed down on another one of those narrow tables, the one that doesn't leave room for my arms. But I didn't need to worry about them, he strapped them to that block and tackle rig I talked about in a earlier blog, my feet press against a board, pulling my arms taught and towards my feet, pulling my shoulders down, and ultimately assisting me to lie still. He put the infamous mask on me, bolted it (and me) down to the table, and I was trapped!! No way out. Strapped in to the rack---just like during the Inquisition...they had found out I was a Conservative!!

He is in the control room, on the outside, I am alone inside the treatment room. He had told me to raise my knees up if I had trouble (it's hard to scream with the mask on (he had also told me there was an intercom)).

My hands started to get numb, he said it was normal, just hold still. The technician began aligning my body to the machine, sliding me left or right, each time taking an x-ray to be certain I was lined up inside and out. After about 20 or thirty minutes, my hands were really getting numb. 

I wanted to get up. I began to experience claustrophobia. But I knew it was almost over. Wanted to sit up and massage my hands. The technician said "okay here we go!". I was lined up and he was ready to get started!!

But I knew I only had 5-6 minutes left. I could stick it out. I had to think about something else besides getting up. I had made a fist with each hand earlier but it did not help the circulation, I made fists again, around my thumbs. I put my thumb between my first two fingers and began counting, 1, 2, 3... When I got to 60, I would move my thumbs down to the next two fingers, and count out a minute more, then the next two and another minute, then back up again. When I ran out of space between fingers going up, 5 minutes would have passed and I would be almost done.

But my mind raced before I finished counting to 60 every time! My brain couldn't count to 60 without thinking about something else. But when it thought about being claustrophobic, I move my thumb and went on the next 60.... 1, 2, 3, 4...

Next thing I knew, he said "that's it!"  and I was done. "You can lift up on you knees" and then I started to take those stupid straps off my wrists. He said we can loosen them for tomorrow. I said good, let's do it. 

So this story is a little in jest. But I did get a little claustrophobic. This session was 60 minutes long, about 45 minutes bolted down. The remaining radiation treatments will be 20 minutes long with less than 10 minutes of solitary confinement. I can handle it. 

I asked the chief technician how often they would check the tumor to see how successful the treatments were, he said probably once a week, but I should check with the doctor tomorrow. I asked him to up the date of the first check, 'cause I had a lot of brothers and sisters praying for me, and it may be gone (Thy will be done) before we know it!!! He just smiled and said, 'check with the doctor'.  But the smile told me he knew what I was talking about. Praise Him, another brother!

btw, if anyone has a spouse, parent or adult child that smokes, my cancer is from my smoking for 30 years, then I quit for 12 years, but it still got me after those12 years of not smoking. If you know someone that smokes, be sure to tell them this story!!! They need to quit NOW!!

Tomorrow, my first chemotherapy treatment!

I (Mary) am so glad I get to be with Don as he walks this path - part of me is weak in the knees and the other part is hoping to be strong for him.  
I got my new necklace, it's a locket and I am going to put our picture in ... On the front I had written: 

Dwelling in the shelter of the Lord Most High

I wore it today and looked at it several times as we walked the halls and as I waited for him. I remind myself that Don and I are safe in the arms of our Lord that we love so much. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Have you ever wondered why certain things happen?

Have you ever wondered why certain things happen?

Well, I have, and I wonder why I have cancer.

James 1:2 says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because the testing of faith develops perseverance, so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. And when we persevere under trial, when we have stood the test, we receive the crown of life that God promises to those that love him. We have all experienced the satisfaction of a job well done, how much more so when we withstand the test...

Then there is the objective point of view. Maybe the trial is not for us at all. Peter says to rejoice, in as much as we are partakers of Christ's sufferings. 1Peter 4:13. Oswald Chamber's interpretation of this:
If you are going to be used of God, He will take you thru a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, but are meant to make you useful in His hands, to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across.We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more of less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say- "Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!"

And, all things work together for good, for those that love God. Romans 8:28, more Oswald Chambers:
The circumstances of a saint's life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order to bring them before God's throne and give the Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them. In this way God is going to sweep the whole world with His saints.

So it's not about me. God is using me, but not necessarily for me. I yield to his work. He is the Master Craftsman. I don't know where He is taking me, but I can't wait to get there. Yes I will waver. Right now I can talk a good talk. But just prior to my getting the results of my last scan I imagined my forgetfulness was brain cancer, eating away at my memory. Every bump or imperfection in my skin was the cancer coming out from my body. But the next day I was clean, test results negative. I am certain that there will be times I will waver. And I am also certain that this testing is not only for me but for those around me, my family.

When we left the hospital the last time, after getting the test results but also after talking to the chemo nurse, we were down. The scan showed several things to follow up on. The chemo went from three sessions total to eight total, once every week. Each chemo session takes 2-3 hours.  I saw several men getting their treatments and was not impressed. As we began our drive home, a semi passed us and there was a sign on the back of his rig, a verse that told us He would be with us thru the end. A personal message, just for us. God is good, all the time...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A small sampling

 Here are a few pictures of Don that I thought were fun. 

 Erin and Dylan's wedding 

Father and son - Benjamin going to Liberty

Here they are .. the Abele brothers.
Bob, Doug, Mike, Don and a next generation - Zackary

Looks like he is telling us something ever so cleaver 

Papa love to hike
Here he is in GA with Ethan

Loving the hair cut - thanks Dylan, love it. 

Don is a Mr. map reader

Don and Elisa. I'm sure Don is explaining some forest detail to enlighten his daughter 

Don and his cutest survey help

Papa loves his grandchildren. Here he is with Magnolia Jane. 

I'm telling you, map reader. 

Don's friends at his birthday .. don't you just love them? 

Don and Mary going to the beach.

Don with Ben, Benj and the little guys .. Ethan, Zackary and Henry. 

Playing Puerto Rico with the kids .. specifically his oldest daughter .. Kimberly.

Beach trip .. Wilmington 

Salt Lake Hogle Zoo with Zacakry and Henry

Papa loves the babies.  Here he is with Lucille Jane. 

Don is the kind of Papa that takes time with his grandkids. 

This is not Don BUT I had to add it to show how the apple did not fall far from the tree .. Kimberly is reading the map to Zackary, Henry and Lucy .. and grammy. 

Papa finds all the survey points .. even at the zoo. Here Henry is learning about them. 

Don worked at the Kennecott Copper Mine. He was in his element with all the HUGE trucks and massive construction. 

The proud victors of the new car hunt.
Don and Ben

Daisy interviewed Papa for an article on Daisy's Diaries. 

Don is not in this picture but we needed more of the Tuggle family.
Erin and Dylan, 
Aubrey, Ethan and new baby Magnolia Jane. 

Blessings from the Lord. 
Brothers in Christ. 
Stuart, Don and John

Further blessings .. 
Suzanne, Judy, Stuart
Don and I 
John and Lorie 

A little cutie we love 
Alex Austin

Don with Herman .. they love to discuss the Bible together. 

Don and Damon .. we love you Damon! 

Treasured time .. to the park with Zackary and Henry. 

Papa came to Salt Lake and Zackary met him with a GREAT big hug. 

Henry was happy to see his Papa .. 

Don, Kimberly and Ben (Ben the eldest, Ben the awesome) at the Copper Mine. 

Zackary LOVES maps, can you guess where that came from? 

Don and the wife he blesses every day.