Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playing Tag

Well, I've been tagged by Cherie so hear goes...

4 Jobs I've Had:

Salesperson at Miller's Outpost in the Mall
After School Playground Worker
Receptionist at Primetime Airport Shuttle
4th grade Public School Teacher

4 Places I've Lived:
Only Southern California

4 Shows I watch on TV:
American Idol (David took me to see it taped once:)
24 (when it's on)
Survivor sometimes

4 Blogs I read regularly:
Ashley, Kelli, Cindy, Georg

4 Foods I Like to Eat:
Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes
Fish Tacos
Spicy Cashew Chicken and Rice
Fried Zucchini with Ranch

4 Interesting Places I've Been:
Mexico City

4 Places I'd Want to be Right Now:
Snorkeling in Hawaii with David
On a Disney Cruise in the Caribbean with the kids
Eating a campfire steak dinner after a day of river rafting
Snow Skiing in Colorado or Utah with a bunch of friends

4 Things I Am Looking Forward to This Year
David feeling back to normal and being cancer free
Tuesdays at Zuma Beach this summer
Getting in Shape, eating healthy and being more consistent at the gym(this sounds like a New Year's Resolution)
Knowing God more intimately

4 People I Tag to Do This On Their Blog
Georg H.
Sandy E.
Julie W.
Nikki S.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Wish I Brought My Camera

This last Saturday, we had a fun family day, but unfortunately I forgot the camera to show you. We started out by driving to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I didn't know this, but I guess every Saturday morning they have a farmer's market with tons of organic fruits and veggies. There was such a selection to choose from. Up and down the street they had booths from all kinds of health vendors too. Our favorite was a jump rope club that was doing demonstrations. Avrielle and Chandler got to "jump in" with all of the other kids trying it out. I even learned to double dutch. I have always wanted to try that! For lunch, we walked up the street to a raw food restaurant called Juliano's Raw. I bet you can just see Chandler's face at the moment he found out that was where we were eating. That's why I wanted my camera! It is not raw meat, just raw vegan food. Nothing on the menu is cooked, but they still have items on the menu like, Enchiladas, Pesto Pizza, Hamburgers etc. Everything is made only of veggies. It was really good, but a little pricey, well a lot pricey I guess. Chandler opted not to eat even though we told him it would be several hours until he would have another opportunity. The rest of us liked our food. Avrielle ordered Nachos. They were made up of flax seed crackers, almond cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo. After lunch, we walked down to the boardwalk and rented bikes for an hour. Venice beach is still just as crazy as ever! Chandler lucked out, because at the resting point of our ride, there just happened to be a Hot Dog on a Stick. So... He had his best life lunch ever; a corn dog, fries and a lemonade. The weather was amazing, and it was very relaxing to have no agenda except exploring the beach. I'm glad we had such a nice day, because Sunday brought a bad cold for David. He is feeling pretty miserable right now, so if you can, please pray that it would pass soon, and that his body will be able to fight it like regular people. He starts his shots again today so maybe that will help too.

Avrielle's New Dance Class

Last Wednesday was Avrielle's first day of her new dance class. When it was over, she asked if she could dance everyday for the next million, hundred years. I'm not sure how long a million hundred is, but I think she found something she likes to do. Don't you?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Heaven, Healings, Haggadahs, and Hurling

Do you like the title? I was thinking of what God has been teaching me this week and they sort of all started with "H". I know that God is allowing this trial in our lives for a reason, so I have been really trying to see what He wants me to learn from it. I'm not sure who ends up reading my blog entries. It's wierd not knowing who your audience is, but some of the postings are even just a way that I can remember what I was thinking when I will eventually look back on this season of my life. So here goes... Heaven stands for a new book that I am reading. My friend Ashley Kostjuk gave it to me when I came to the hospital with her to visit her baby Reese. You can see what is happening with Reese if you click on the Kostjuk family on my sidebar. Reading this book is significant in my life, because God has allowed me to jump over a spiritual hurdle in my "race". To explain, I will have to give you some background about those back of my mind thoughts that I probably wouldn't normally want to share. It's a little humbling, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there that has thought like this, so I'm just going to be honest in the hopes that it helps someone else, and if I'm the only one well then I'm a dork. In the past, I would have not chosen to read a book on heaven. To me, it was kind of like not wanting to pray for patience, because then something totally frustrating will happen in your life expose your complete lack of patience and God will give you an opportunity to work on it. To me, if I read a book on Heaven it would be like saying to God, you've prepared me for heaven and now someone I love will have to die. Don't get me wrong, I do want them to go to Heaven, I just didn't want to lose anyone. Well, now that heaven is more of a reality, and we have had to think about death, I thought I should probably learn about heaven now. Even in the book store though, I was feeling superstitious about buying it. The book is absolutely amazing, and I have been reading things that are totally new to me, and that I have never thought about or pictured in my mind before. Did you know we may drink coffee in Heaven??? There is a section in the book about that. I'm so glad God opened this door, because in reality we will only live on this earth for around 100 years if we have a really long life, but we will be in heaven for eternity. I am enjoying learning about my future home, and it is not as "spiritual" as I once thought.
The second thing that I have been thinking about is healing. A dear friend gave me a tape from her church on healings, and it caused me to think about how God heals today. I know God can heal anyone at any moment, but is it always His will to heal, or does he allow suffering and trials for our good and His glory? I found a pamphlet at Grace called "When the healing doesn't come" from James 5 by John MacArthur, and our pastor Scott taught about how Jesus healed the woman with the blood flow from Mark chapter 5. God definately uses trials to get you to go back to his word.
The third thing that I had been thinking about a lot this week was Passover. In case you don't know, A haggadah is the book you read at the Passover seder. Every year we celebrate one night at my mom's house and one night at my dad's. This was one of my many "firsts" this year without my dad. The whole death and funeral thing happened so fast, but this weekend it hit a little harder when we didn't celebrate Passover with him. Rick (my mom's husband) said a toast for him which was really sweet, but it took everything in me not to lose it. Today will be a month since he died. I can't believe time has gone by so fast.
The last thing I want to talk about is hurling. I had to use an "H" word. Well, David is feeling more and more nauseous with each treatment. Today, he actually vomited. The good news is he did feel like going out to lunch at the mall afterward and getting pinkberry frozen yogart:) Please keep praying for him to be able to push though the rest of the treatments without it getting worse. We got good news from the doctor today. He said that the treatment is working, and he will only have 5 more treatments after today, Lord willing. At the end he is expected to be cancer free, so please pray for it to stay that way. If any of you get the Heaven book, let me know. I think you'll like it. Bye for now.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Daddy - Son Day

David, Chandler, Tate and Joshua went to the Oak Tree Gun Club last Saturday. Josh and Chandler had a great time learning how to use a real gun. Don't worry, David and Tate made the boys sit through a 30 minute lecture on gun nomenclature, and both boys had to memorize the four basic gun safety rules before they started. They had an awesome time! There are two videos you can click on below.

Ten For Ten Baby!

David teaching Chandler to Shoot

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You're Half Way There!

Last Saturday, our old Bible Study helped throw a "half way done with chemo party" for David. He was totally surprised, and felt so encouraged by everybody's love and support! This is a picture of David seeing Nathan for the first time. Nathan shaved his head just to support and encourage David.
Here is the cake that the girls picked out. He started to cry when he saw it, but don't tell Him I wrote that.
This picture was taken at the end of the night, so not everybody is in it, but we want to thank everyone who helped pull it off and made him feel so special. It was so much fun, and it came just at the right time!

What We've Been Up To This Week

Today David taught chapel at the kids school with Mr. Doerbecker, while I helped out in the classroom. I thought this was a cute picture of the two of them:) They both taught on the last chapter of Pilgrims Progress where Pilgrim finally makes it to the Celestial City.
Yesterday, I went on a field trip with Chandler's class to the Star Eco Station. The kids got to see and pet all kinds of rescued wild animals. We then had a picnic at a nearby park for lunch. Later that night, Papa Allen and Nana Karen came over for dinner.

Hear No Evil, See no Evil, Speak No Evil

This is actually a picture of Chandler begging me to let him have a friend spend the night. How can I say no?????

Friday, April 11, 2008

Enduring Faith

I have been thinking about the verse in James 1:2 where it says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." This is a verse that I have heard several times, but it is so amazing when God uses circumstances in your life to make His word fresh and alive again. I know that God is good and does good, and everything that happens in my life is for my good and his glory. But, I do have to say that in the back of my mind, I pictured this trial being over at the end of David's treatments, and that life would go back to normal. Not that that means I don't have to trust in God anymore, but that there would be an ending date to this season in our lives. I was hoping it would be in about two months. I don't think this is how God wants me to think, where I decide how much I can handle and set an ending date for it. God wants me to consider it joy. Joy is not a natural response to losing a dad and having a husband with cancer, but it is something I can choose to have. Why would I choose joy or consider this as joyful? Because the testing of my faith produces endurance. And enduring faith will have a perfect result. One day, I will be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. When I have been looking at the other people's Hodgkin's blogs, it seems like there is a pattern of everyone being cancer free after the first treatment, then several of them got a recurrence at some point. (This is what happened with David's cousin too.) We asked the doctor how common it is to get cancer again, (we aren't relying on statistics, but it is nice to know) he said about 30% will get cancer again in the first 2 years. If you get a recurrence in the first 2 years, then you have to get a stem cell transplant, because it is too soon to do the ABVD treatment again. ( I'm not a doctor, but this is how I understood it) Anyway, it hit home that we are in this for longer than I expected, and I can either choose to learn how to trust God, consider it joy, and submit to his will now, or accomplish nothing and worry, stress and be anxious every time David has a PET scan or feels sick for the next 2 plus years. That would seem like a miserable life to me. So, I would like to choose to set my heart to God for the long run, and be able to say like the psalmist in Psalm 57:1,10, "My heart is steadfast, O God, My heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes I will sing praises! Awake my glory! Awake harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens, And Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Back from Treatment # 6

Well, we are back from treatment #6. We met with the doctor about having another PET scan in the next two weeks. This scan will show how well the treatment is working, so I'll keep you posted as to when that test will be. On a side note, treatment today was kind of tough for David. He became queasy the minute we walked through the doors of the hospital. After I left the treatment room, and he was all hooked up to the IV"s with nowhere to go, the woman next to him began to vomit repeatedly. They pulled a curtain around her, but David who was already nauseous could hear every detail. That's when he pulled out his cancer gift to himself, a new video i-pod. He blasted the volume up as high as it would go and tried to watch a movie for the next two hours. I felt so bad for Dave when he told me the story, but even worse for the poor lady next to him. It's nice to know there is technology like video i-pods and stuff to make it more bearable though and keep your mind off of whats happening. If it were me, I probably would have lost it and set off a domino effect of throwing up throughout the entire room.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Love My Bald-Headed Babe!!!!!

Well, these are the new pictures. David's hair hung on much longer than we expected, but this weekend it was time to let it go. David had a super busy week at work last week. He had to put in around 40+ hours of overtime. I don't know how he does it. He is amazing to me. Tomorrow will be treatment #6 which I think is officially 1/2 way through! Yeah! I have included some other blogs that I found of Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients on the sidebar. Some of them are cured, while others are still fighting for their lives. If you have time, read some of them and pray for them. I know they would appreciate it. I know I am going to.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Coffee Anyone?

Last night was a very long night for both David and me. First, I'll tell you about my poor, sweet husband. He has been working on finishing a case for work that he wanted to turn in this week, so both Monday and Tuesday he only got around four hours of sleep. On his way home yesterday to meet us for Katja's birthday dinner, he got called out to a shooting , and had to stand outside all night in the rain. As I write, he still isn't home yet. That would be hard on anyone, let alone if you have cancer! My story is a bit more humorous, and reminds me what it was like to be a nursing mom with a 3 week old baby who doesn't sleep through the night. Last night for dessert, the kids had chocolate birthday cake. Can anyone say caffeine? They were wired, and with daddy not being home to tuck them in like their normal routine, they had a little trouble falling asleep and wanted to come out of their rooms every five minutes for a drink etc. I thought we were over that when they graduated toddler hood. My dog, also had issues which I will explain later. When David isn't home, I can sleep, but it is a very light sleep. I hear everything. First, I woke up because I couldn't remember if I locked the doors, car, and closed the garage. Then, every time the wind blew last night, I thought someone was knocking at the front door. When I finally fell asleep, my dog started to cry to tell me she had to go out to the bathroom. ( The vet said we had to put her on a diet because she was getting too fat, but I think my neighbors were secretly feeding her, because for the last 2 days she has had nonstop diarrhea.) When she has to go, she really has to go. So, I flew out of bed to let her out. An hour after I fell asleep again, Avrielle had a nightmare, and was screaming "Mommy, Mommy" as loud as she could" I flew out of bed again, went to her room and found her fast asleep. My heart was pumping a mile a minute. When I finally went back to sleep, about another hour later my dog started barking uncontrollably at the window, so again, I got up, went downstairs and looked out the window. There was a big raccoon trying to steal her container of dog food. I threw one of Chandler's shoes at the raccoon, he dodged it and looked at me as if to say, "Is that all you got?" He didn't even run. I was too tired to find anything else to throw, but he slowly mosied across the grass and through the fence. I let Happy out to go to the bathroom again, and she decided to sniff every inch of the backyard to gather information about her little visitor, and wouldn't come back inside until she did. I would have left her out if I didn't think she would bark and wake the neighbors. By the time I think I fell asleep again, the sun was beginning to come up. Psalm 118 :24 " This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." I think I would rejoice more if I could go back to bed and wake up a little later in it, but I will probably go downstairs again and make a really strong pot of coffee:) At least going up and downstairs all night burns calories from chocolate cake right???

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

This is "Sister". She is every bit as sweet, snorty, snuffly, and gassy as she looks. She came to Bass Lake with us and made us laugh the entire time! We had fun making up nicknames for her like baked potato, propane tank, fatty, bookiss, stinkwad, and many others. The top picture is Josiah taking Sister on a walk, or should I say drag. She had to sit down every ten feet to rest. One day I had to walk back to the house to get the car and give her a ride home. Poor 'ol girl :)