Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
The covered footed compote below is from the 1890s (I think). The company that made it is called Riverside Glass Works. I believe it was a wedding gift to my paternal grandparents. If so, this made the long trip from Illinois to Idaho and back without being damaged. Anyway, this was part of my parents' house my entire life, but we never, ever used it (except to store silver dollars). It was considered too special. (FYI, it's about 10" high and not quite 8" in diameter.)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My mom gave me permission to share this video with you. Merry Christmas!
This stable I tend in Bethlehem,feeding animals in my father's inn.The work is rude, all flies and sweatmanure and mud or dust at best.I'd rather be inside serving food to our guestsand hearing their stories of adventure and death.For I've set my heart on glory and kings,hating this Caesar who brings us such harm,ruling my country with taxes and arms.The needs of this stable seem trivial things.Father sent me out here because I'm too full of dreams.He says men on the road aren't all that they seem.Even out here though, I've seen a strange sight—an event that I'll ponder the rest of my days,unable to explain God's mysterious ways,remembering the child who was born just last night.Here in the barn, not a room in the inn,like a beggar cast out on the care of the town.Yet angels appeared and shepherds bowed downproclaiming him savior and calling him king.I guess in the scope of the Almighty's scheme,the birth of a savior is much more than it seems.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm putting the journal entry about Evan here instead of in the side column:
Day+1, 172 days here....................
This is Grandma Dorothy updating for Jaime. Many have been texting and calling for an update. The past 2 days have been a struggle. We have a new and hightened admiration for anyone who chooses to donate for a bone marrow transplant! Tuesday morning we all left Evan's room about 7:30 AM. Evan had his 2nd and final radiation treatment. The procedure is amazing. Dr. Firat, the radiation oncologist, was wonderful. Jaime had discovered a few days prior that he was Turkish, so they were sharing mideastern ancestory! He worked dilegently to ensure that Evan's blocks were perfect so that his body received radiation only where necessary. We discovered that he made yet additional adjustments after we left to get Jaime to interventional radiology for the placement of her Mahukar catheter. Where the boys have their central lines in their chests, Jaime had hers in the neck. She didn't appreciate the fact that I told her she was now like Herman Munster! Evan also told her that she was not allowed by him-the thought of a tube in her neck freaked him out. He pretty much held to that prediction! The insertion of the catheter was not completed as we had expected and was also more painful than anticipated.
Evan received platelets and then his mom's cells about 8 pm. Once again, he slept thru the procedure! We took lots of pictures of Anna (aka Blondie-Evan loves her!) getting the tiny package of cells ready and watching them infuse. It's amazing how small the packet of cells is.
This was chatty, but will hopefully give you a rundown of the events for the past few days. Hopefully the editor in chief will be back at the news desk tomorrow!!
Good night and God bless! Keep all donors in your prayers, because they give tremendously of themselves in order to give life to others.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. I Cor. 12:14-20
Our gifts are intended to coordinate with each other, to work together as a whole to represent the totality of Christ. We are his body in this world, but only if we all work together to accomplish his work. And I believe that work involves much more than just obsessing over our own individual righteousness.
The early church shared all their resources in common and made provision for widows and orphans. They cared for each other in wholly practical ways. In difficult economic times like this, the Church should be doing more of this than ever.
Hebrews reminds us that Christian community is meant to provide for our spiritual needs as well: "And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrew 10:23-25
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I saw this at Jan's and decided to play.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper. Gift bags don't seem like real wrapping to me.
2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. For years and years, we had real and I got sick every single Christmas. The pollen trapped in the branches was aggravating my allergies so much it made my immune system too vulnerable.
3. When do you put up the tree?
The Saturday closest to St. Nicholas Day.
4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually not till after Epiphany.
5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, but I won't be drinking it much anymore.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A birthstone ring when I was 9.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
One of my brothers in law.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
Smokey and Michael. It's a tie.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes. I showed it earlier this month.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Usually, we mail Christmas cards but we're too busy this year.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Oh really, I don't keep score
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
A Christmas carol with Alistair Sim
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Usually in October.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Belgian chocolates from a shop in Evanston
16. Lights on the tree?
Usually mixed, this year just white.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
too many to choose
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
travel 50 miles Christmas Eve; stay home Christmas Day
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, . . . and Rudolph
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Michael and I exchange present Christmas Eve morning (to keep our personal relationship private); his family does it Christmas Eve; my family usually does it Christmas Day
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
the hype to spend, spend, spend
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
angels, my favorite is the little Swedish pewter one shown in the header
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
time to reflect
26. What do you like most about Christmas?
the Christmas Eve morning time with Michael. I make Swedish pancakes for us and we open presents just like little kids
If you want to play, leave a comment here. It will be fun to read other answers.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
One afternoon during December last year, I was driving home from a large shopping mall twenty minutes from my home and I happened to glance in my rearview mirror. The car behind me was a large white Buick driven by a woman wearing huge, round, reflective glasses that made her look like she had insect eyes. The windshield must have had tinted glass because her facial skin looked as green as the Wicked Witch of the West. And her long hair was hennaed to be aggressively red. For just an instant, I had the panicky thought, “I'm being followed by an alien.”
Then I realized that she probably thought she looked really cool. And I remembered an incident that had happened earlier that day. Michael and I went out to lunch at a restaurant that was hosting a party for children ages 2 to 9 to have breakfast with Santa. As the hostess led us to our table, she told us we should make reservations in case we want to bring our grandchildren! She said it twice.
Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased. I know that to many 22-year-olds, anyone over 30 looks ancient, but I’m still young enough theoretically to have a 9-year-old of my own. Yet I'm sure the young woman never realized she had pigeonholed me.
Having both those experiences in a single day made me realize that people rarely think of themselves the same way they appear at first glance. I don't think of myself as grandmotherly, and the alien probably doesn't think of herself as ET’s cousin. Now I just hope I remember this next time I’m tempted to judge someone on first appearances.
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Friday, December 12, 2008
Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner is the book Michael and I have been using this year. Frederick Buechner is a wonderful writer. He's a Presbyterian minister and a novelist, so he brings the eye and sensibility of an artist to his work as a theologian. This particular book is not a typical devotional. There are no Bible verses, no questions for the reader to ponder. Instead, it consists of passages from Buechner's novels and other writings. Again, I find the work to be thought provoking but not didactic. If you like a more literary approach, this would be a good one to try.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- He allegedly tried to "sell" the Senate seat of Barack Obama for a political appointment for himself or for other economic gain.
- He allegedly withheld $8 million in funds from Children's Memorial Hospital because the CEO didn't give him a political donation fast enough.
- He allegedly withheld state support for the sale of Wrigley Field because he was trying to strongarm the Cubs's owners, the Chicago Tribune, into firing editors who criticized him.
The season of Advent has come to be celebrated more in terms of expectation or anticipation. Yet, the anticipation of the Coming of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament and Judaism was not in connection with remembrance of sins. Rather, it was in the context of oppression and injustice, the longing for redemption, not from personal guilt and sin but from the systemic evil of the world expressed in evil empires and tyrants. It is in that sense that all creation groans for its redemption as we witness the evil that so dominates our world (Rom 8:18-25).
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here it is, with the two halves reunited for the season.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Advent is a season in which the traditional readings contain a lot of imagery about light and darkness. I've been thinking the last few days about all the meanings that darkness has. It is often used to symbolize evil and our uncontrollable passions. It is also used as a metaphor for ignorance or depression.
But there is a different kind of darkness that I think is more appropriate for this time of year—the darkness of hibernation, of waiting, of dormancy that stores up the energy needed for a new season of growth. Darkness is often a necessary precursor to creativity.
In the last week or so, I have been reading through Rilkle's Book of Hours in the mornings. I had heard of Rainer Maria Rilke for years—and even had his work recommended to me by friends—but I had never read his poetry until I encountered it on several blogs. I liked the poems so much that I bought a collection for myself, and I've been using it as part of my devotional time this Advent. What follows is a poem that I found especially moving this week:
You, darkness, of whom I am born --
I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.
But the dark embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations - just as they are.
It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the night.
(Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
Friday, December 5, 2008
Day +27 our 157th day here...
So, yesterday was incredibly long as well as busy. It began with Evan's additional line being placed at 9:30. The wonderful staff in IR allowed me to be in the room until Evan was loopy enough for me to leave. Dave, their fantastic PA is the one who placed the line, he has also done things for Ian so we know him. It also helps that our new BMT PA (who we love) came from radiology and as able to call in a special request for Ev! When they were done placing his new double lumen power PICC, Derm did a skin biopsy of his rash area. Let's just say that was not a fun time. Then his silly momma almost passed out due to a wee bit of heat overload, talk about embarrassing! Evan had a pretty rough hour after with some aggression, but had a good day overall.
When we got back up I met with Dr. Dave and the team. At this time, our two options were presented with their pros and cons. I have seriously debated if I was going to share this information and I have decided to. Please know before you continue reading that you may not like what is said. It is not easy for us to think about it either, but we also must know the facts. So that being said here are the two options that were presented:
Option 1-Use Frau X's frozen cells
If this option were chosen we would be giving him all the T-Cells which would be 10 Million vs the orignal dose of 100,000. Wow you may be thinking, yep! So, what does that mean in english, GVHD (graft vs. host disease) for sure. How much, not sure and this is the issue. If he COULD survive the GVH, nobody can tell how bad it would be. His oncologist, Dr. Mike, is very concerned that he will not survive the GVH. While Dr. Mike is not currently treating him, Dr. Dave (as do we) values his opinion as his oncologist and former transplanter. They are confident they would be able to get him to engraft, but at what cost. The one advantage to GVH is GVL (graft vs. leukemia) which almost eliminates the leukemia from returning. We also have virtually no wait other than his conditioning. Dr. Dave told me that living with severe chronic GVH is a fate worse than death.
Option 2- Use mommy (me) as the donor
After looking at my initial labs it was determined that I am actually an 8/10 match. Evan and I share may of the same proteins which is an advantage. There is also very compelling data from Italy with Haplo (half matches ie parents/siblings) Mother and Father donors. For some reason, using a Mother yields the highest positive outcomes. I have seen the paper and it is impressive. With using me he will most likely not get GVH (very, very small chance) and in turn no GVL. He will be at a very high risk for viral infections for at least 6 months (much higher than if we used the original donor) and his relapse rate is higher. He would then require TLI (Total Lymphoid Irradiation) in addition to the chemo drugs. I would receive GCSF (immune booster) prior to my collection which potentially will make me feel like a bad case of the flu. I would also need a line placed in my neck as my veins don't always like to cooperate.
I am sure you noticed that our biggest (his medical team as well) concern is now his survival. With both options, it is still very possible that he is not going to make it. We are unable to predict what could happen and must make the best decision based on the data. They wanted to make sure I would get the necessary medical clearance so I had labs, a chest x-ray and a physical done by the physician they use for donors.
This morning Dr. Dave and I called Chris to go over the data again in order to make ther big decision. It became clear to all of us after the call that the best option for Evan is using his mommy as the donor. I have been cleared by Dr. Sobczak (the physician I will be seeing through this process) and we are moving forward. I have signed all the consent forms and they are currently putting in all of the orders.
Evan will have a 12 day conditioning regimen starting tomorrow. He will have the TLI on Day-2 and -1. I will begin my shots next week. On Dec. 16th I will go to Froedtert to have my line placed and be collected. I may need to be collected again on the 17th but that will depend on the amount of cells they are able to get the first time. Evan will get his new cells on the 17th and again on the 18th if I need a second collection.
I know I have just thrown a TON at you, that is only a glimpse of the past few days. We have made the decision and now must focus on the prize! I know that many of you want to come up and see us, but at this time we are not allowing anyone (even if you have received your flu shot) to come. I know this is hard and we miss you all so much this is now about Evan's chance to survive. We hope that you are able to understand that this is a hard decision to make, however, we have come too far for a cold to wipe him out. The holidays make this even harder, but there will be plenty of days in the future once he is over this.
Before I end this I wanted to make sure you all knew that we moved rooms again. We are now right next door in room E585 and the new direct number is 414-607-5145. Dr. Dave wanted us in a new BMT cleaned room and since the room right next to us opened up it worked well. I finished moving stuff last night about 11:30, thus the lack of update. We are also moving rooms at RMH to the 3rd floor of the Long Term Stay. We are very excited to be on a floor with all BMT families (there are only 5 rooms total up there and we all are the only ones to us our kitchen) who we have become good friends with. I hope you all still like us after Ian invades!!!
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers as we take another fork in our journey. God Bless.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
One of the blogs I have in my reader is Seedlings in Stone by L. L. Barkat. Her posts are usually contemplative or thought-provoking and filled with sensory details. L. L. has a very evocative style that I enjoy, so about a month ago, I purchased her book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.
The book has twenty chapters, and in each one L. L. talks about something in her own life and then explores a more abstract truth related to her experience. For example, she recounts a childhood humiliation and goes on to discuss shame and being healed from it. She uses an argument with her husband to launch a discussion of forgiveness that goes on to describe the process of reconciling with her father. In some chapters, L. L. recounts incidents of heartbreaking difficulties or abuse, while in others she explores her own weaknesses with a searing honesty. In every chapter, she combines intellectual exploration with a graceful use of Bible verses, always to the point but not so didactic that they feel preachy.
If you are interested in reading one women's experience of the ways in which faith and personal growth intersect, I recommend this book.
Monday, December 1, 2008
In the deep of winter,
a coat of sable darkness blankets the earth
and all is quiet.
Within a mulch of soil and crumbling leaves,
seeds lie, waiting.
Their outer shells show tiny cracks that widen over time
but still do not give way.
For now, their lives are sleeping.
Someday, too distant for us to see in the darkness,
yet sooner than our numb hearts can imagine,
the seed coats will split,
and green insistent fingers of hope
will push toward the sun and return bounty to our lives.
For now, we hear the fretful cry of a child trying to sleep,
and we remember why we endure this yearly cycle of dying.
New life is coming.
The gift has been given and waits only
for the right conditions to prompt its growth.
Come. While the outside world is resting,
let us till our inner gardens.