Friday, June 23, 2006

Now is the time to worship.

Megann, a friend from church, has cancer, and she needs a miracle. Please pray for her! A blog has been established to provide information and updates:

That link can give you some details, but it can't possibly relay Megann's sweet spirit! Our small group at church has been so blessed since she and her husband came along, but ever since her initial diagnosis last August, we have been amazed by her strength and faith. She has ministered to us through her perseverance in ways she'll never know.

A few weeks ago, she learned that her cancer had likely returned. Our small group gathered at her home to pray with her the night before the surgery to confirm the recurrence. The assembled prayed, cried, prayed some more, and I think we all left uplifted and tuned in to God's power. When I got in the car to drive home, however, I felt very small and, in spite of all the praying, somehow detached from God. I was MAD. How could God let this happen to Megann? Then I turned on the radio, and the song that was just starting was "Come, Now is the Time to Worship." And that was exactly what I needed to hear. NOW--when we're scared and mad and depressed and frustrated, when we're questioning how all of this bad stuff could happen to such a faithful believer--NOW is the time to say YES! You are our God and we WORSHIP YOU. We THANK YOU for all the wonderful things you're doing in our lives every day and for the ways you have and will continue to bless Megann.

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God.
(by Brian Doerksen)

I don't have to have the perfect attitude to worship him. I can worship just as I am, with my anger, my doubts, my fears. God is good!

Please join us in praying for Megann.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Superheroes and Pink Things.

Yesterday we made our annual trek to Six Flags. It was a pleasant day: The crowds weren't too bad, we had a few rainshowers to cool us off, and the new rides were welcome additions to the park. We were pleased to see that the Six Flags folks are finally cashing in on their Warner Bros. connection and incorporating the DC superheroes into the park. We had barely made it inside the front gate when we met Green Lantern...

and the Flash, of course!

We rode all but one of the new rides and enjoyed them thoroughly. They're billed as "family friendly," and our family found them to be just that. From Crazy Legs...

to the Batwing...

to our old favorite, the Sidewinder (formerly the Scrambler), we enjoyed the carnival-type, go-around-in-a-circle rides. Then there were the spinners, such as the Cloud Bouncer (in which you can spin your gondola as your hot air balloon lifts you) and the teacups (with the Spanish name I can't recall--something de los Tazas, I think). Both let us spin ourselves around as much as we wanted. (Not recommended for visitors with full stomachs.) A few bouncy rides like Boot Scootin' and Rodeo were more fun to ride than they first looked, and the Acme Rockin' Rocket was fantastic, like the Conquistador out of control, rocking higher and higher until finally flipping us upside down.

We all got to ride our favorite rides, but K was sad to miss out on the Batman ride. She was just millimeters too short, but she overcame her disappointment by riding the other coasters we love: Titan, Giant, the Judge. She and I also had two rides on the Superman Tower of Power. Wow! That was breathtaking!

Both R and K were thrilled to win stuffed snakes since the teenager at the "Guess Your Weight" booth couldn't tell exactly how much they weigh, which led to sophisticated parkwear such as this:

We couldn't leave before we got in a little shopping at the Justice League store...

and of course, we had to get our Pink Things (even if the price doubled from $1 to $2 since last year):

Because this year is Six Flags' 45th anniversary, the park was decorated with old photos from years past. By the Tower, for instance, there was a picture of the old slide. It was neat to see those glimpses from the Six Flags of our youth, just as it was interesting to see a glimpse of our future, just eight years away:

We're exhausted today and our feet are more than a little sore, but we still love Six Flags and will look forward to next year.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Check and check.

Music camp? Check.

SAT class? Check.

Today feels like a fresh start to the summer. I still have plenty of obligations to fulfill (curriculum writing, planning for fall, prepping for camp/vacation), but it is a huge relief to have some free time on the horizon after these past two weeks.

Music camp was great fun, as always, but it's an exhausting week! And with all the rehearsals and outings and lunch breaks with 58 kids, I have reaffirmed my calling to teach HIGH SCHOOL. Whew! The camp's younger crowd generates energy and noise levels that just amaze me! The performances blow me away, too, though, and it's so much fun to spend a week with (or at least near) R&K. Being able to help with music camp is one of many blessings that come from getting "laid off" every summer.

About 13 hours after we struck the set for the children's musical Sunday night, I was at Trinity High School to begin teaching an SAT prep class. Because I've taught this class for two summers already, this is a pretty low-stress gig. In spite of the two sets of essays I had to grade, the class was beneficial because it allows me to keep abreast of the SAT and interact with a variety of students. This summer, since I'm helping to write senior English curriculum for the district, I spent Monday and Wednesday afternoons after the class working with my writing partner. Since she teaches at THS, it was awfully convenient to meet in her classroom after lunch. We were able to wrap up our tasks that were due this week and get a head start on the units we'll be writing individually throughout the summer and fall. It felt good to check off that item from my "to do" list.

So here I am, tackling the piles of laundry that have accumulated this week and updating this blog. B had an errand to run for work, so R&K went with him. They'll stop by the bowling alley before heading home; they each get a free game every day of the summer. So right now, I hear nothing but the soft rumbling of the washer, which is surprisingly soothing. And even as I enjoy the relative silence, I'll be even happier to hear the glass door creak to announce that my family's home for the afternoon--a whole summer afternoon to fill. I'm hoping that in November, when work is beating me down and I'm questioning my career choice, I can look back at this post and see the light at the end of the school year! I do enjoy my job--most of the time--but this stay-at-home mom stuff is THE BEST.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This is what summer looks like.

a.k.a. the day I took the time to post pictures!

R thinks ChaCha looks mean in that other picture.

So here's a better one of her!

And here's one with R and both chitties:

Meet the kitties.

Introducing KitKat...

and ChaCha!

KitKat and ChaCha are sisters and look an awful lot alike. ChaCha has little white streaks down her nose (they look like paint) and a black spot on one of her hind paws.


First, a confession: I'm a dog person. Always have been, thought I always would be. Then KitKat and ChaCha came into our lives. B and I are still terribly allergic to them, but these outdoor cats have already given us so much joy! We spend more time in our backyard just watching them play and run around. The swing we bought two summers ago has never seen so much use! We'll spend hours just swinging and talking "kitty talk" and trying not to howl as a cat claws her way up to the seat, using a bare leg as her ladder.

A few times the kittens have run away, sending our household into a near panic, but so far, our kind neighbors have helped return them to their home. We started out with them in our gazebo, but now that they're free to roam our backyard, they tend to stay around or under the deck. Most mornings, I start my day by checking the "chitties" (as B has nicknamed them), and until I see both of their furry little bodies, I can't do much else.

A lovely Saturday already

I woke up first, around 7, grabbed a Diet Coke, slipped on my sandals, found my book (Where or When, Anita Shreve), and headed outside. After feeding our hungry kitties, I meandered to the swing to read.

B, R and K ended up going to find garage sales and donuts. They just made it back home. The garage sale run was a bust, but they did find some good grub at Got Donut (my favorite donut store name--and not a bad donut!). We just finished eating, and already it's a lovely Saturday. And it's not even 9 yet!

B made the comment that a morning without factor just seems so free, so open. A Saturday morning without factor seems downright decadent.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Today should've been my parents 43rd wedding anniversary. Instead, it's my mom's 14th time to observe this day without my dad, who died just a few months shy of their 30th.


Our hemophilia nurse called and said we were exactly right to treat the "bleed" the way we did. Since R's arm seems fine now, we wonder if it ever was a bleed! In any case, we're relieved that for now, at least, we're still doing factor every other day.

Another reason that's good news: R is really stressing out over every infusion. He gets everything set up, but when it's time to stick, he starts to panic. Sometimes he'll put the needle right up to his skin, just millimeters from it, and have to back up and start over. For Wednesday's infusion, he got a bubble (lost the vein, which means the factor goes under the skin instead of into the bloodstream). This led to a big meltdown. He gets so frustrated sometimes, and we can't blame him! We start our positive talk (how wonderful it is to have factor, how we know he can get through his), and eventually he dries his eyes and is good to go. As soon as he gets a good stick, R's mood brightens completely. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all is right with the world.

All infusions aren't quite so dramatic. On some days, like today, he hits the vein in one stick, the factor goes in smoothly, and the whole process is no more stressful than brushing teeth. (But don't get me starting about how R and K feel about brushing their teeth!)