Thursday, February 26, 2015

While I Have a Few Spare Moments...

Let me start by saying I can't tell you enough how much it has meant to me that so many of you have taken the time to reach out to tell me you're praying as I've shared with you the journey my family is taking right now.  Even if I don't respond each time, please know I am reading every message and comment and they help me so much.  I know that many of you have walked this path and when you share your stories, it's just one more way we connect across these type-written passageways, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Just a few more major life events to get you updated on:

Yes, Scout is home.  We picked him up on Saturday and things have been pretty lively around here since.  He's a Yorkie-Poo (emphasis on the "poo"), and I'm definitely feeling the déja vu like it's the first time we brought home a baby.  It's a constant swing between "He's so cute!" and "What was I thinking?", but we are all surviving.

Of course, we gave the obligatory responsibility speech to all 4 kids before we brought him home, and they've been doing a great job with him.  Probably the biggest surprise is that our youngest, Lola, has turned out to be a bona fide dog-whisperer.  (Ironic, since whispering has never been one of her strong suits.)  She's only 8, but she is giving this pooch all she's got, working hard to get him trained and cleaning up the mistakes, which we all hope will become fewer before long.   

And did I mention today is our 9th snow day?  If we hadn't needed every hand in this house to help with either my dad or the puppy, I'd be going crazy by now.  But, as things are, I'm pretty sure this is just another demonstration of God's grace to us in the most chaotic circumstances we've ever known.

My dad has had a few good days this week, showing great signs of improvement from his mini strokes, despite the absence of hospice visits due to the weather.  He has gone from being completely incapacitated and barely able to swallow or speak 10 days ago, to being able to sit up, carry on conversations, and eat his favorite foods again.  There seems to be no protocol for rehabilitating a late-stage terminal cancer patient suffering from strokes.  And since he's made all these improvements with only us to help him, we know it's just one more way God wanted to prove Himself to us all.  And He has, over and over again.

Tomorrow, our beautiful Lily turns 12 years old and we are excited about that.  We may be celebrating with cake and snow cream, but we will make it a great day for this girl because we love her so much.

For now, we will now resume our life of Froot Loops for breakfast and not bothering to brush our hair.  Lola may or may not be wearing her "Best Day Ever" shirt for the third day in a row and I don't even care.  There are some things that are just more important right now.  

And for one last random P.S...

Just a little update on our new-fangled trash can I told you about here.  It has worked overtime with the house full of people who have been in and out of here since we first got this baby from   And for those of you who were wondering, the batteries lasted a full two months, even with all the extra use!  It has definitely come in handy, and I think you'd like it, too.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm Here

I'm here.  I've been in a deep place these last several days, and it's been a difficult, beautiful path for my family and I to walk.  I don't really recognize my life at the moment. The days run together, and the hours pass on.  I'm trying hard to emerge from the thick to show you what all I've seen.  I want you to know.  My dad wants you to know.  He no longer has a lot of strength to speak the words, but he wants his life to be a testimony to the end, and it will be.

God has, just as He promised, been very present.  Not only in these past few weeks, but since the beginning.  I think the greatest blessing of my life is the knowing that God directs every step of my life.  From placing me in the arms of two 20-year-old parents who would become the greatest influences of my life, to leading me to Dave, who has not only been my best friend ever, but has exceeded even himself in caring for my dad at his bedside along with my mother, brother, sister and I.  

And I can't forget to mention this house.  You've seen so much of it.  I've written to you about about the colors on the walls and the furniture in the rooms.  It's been a big part of what I write to you here.  But, I can see now that God gave us this house for a bigger purpose.  And as I watch my dad sleep in my Master bedroom, big enough to hold his hospital bed and the rest of this family, I know.  It was all for now.  The guest room I loved decorating, now the perfect place for Dave and I.  The floor plan that allows us to see Dad through the window from the family room when he needs his rest.  These large windows over my desk--so he can glance out at the sun shining through the snow and ice and whisper, "That's a gift."

It all is.  

God is with us.  His Word comes to my mind at all hours of the day and night to remind me of what I've always known.  
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.  
Psalm 37:23-26

As I was sitting by his side to write this, my dad started speaking to me of these very thoughts (yet another way God shows Himself to be near).  I read the above passage to him, then he asked me to read Psalm 112:1-2 to him.

Praise ye the Lord.  Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

His seed shall be mighty upon the earth:  the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

We've all asked each other at least once, "How do people do this without Christ?"  I can't bear to know.  What I do know is that God has ordered every step.  Through the mini strokes we were never expecting and the challenges of knowing how to care for someone who has cared for us all our lives, we have still felt His peace.  And in every light and dark moment, we hear God say, "I'm here."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Save a Place for Love {A Valentine's Table}

It's here!  One of my favorite days of the year. 

I'll be spending the day loving my peeps, and the table is set for our annual Valentine's Day dinner tonight.  I'm making their favorite steak (find the easy recipe here), which Dave has already been talking about for days.  

Hobby Lobby and the Target Dollar Spot came through for me, once again, with a great selection of paper goods and craft supplies to start the party...

Save a place for love at your table today, and take a little time to show your loves how much they mean to you.  

Happy Valentine's Day!