As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Monday, November 30, 2015

"This Our Hymn of Grateful Praise"


Some of our guests had wondered if we were up to hosting Thanksgiving dinner again this year. It was thoughtful of them to wonder. After all, it has been a challenging season for our household. During those long days in the hospital, I could not even allow myself to think about the holidays. We were just getting through one day at a time



But as life became more manageable, we knew that we needed to host Thanksgiving. We needed something to look forward to. We needed the fellowship of our family and friends. We needed normalcy. We needed to celebrate.





This is a season of gratitude! Of course, every year (every day!) we have so much for which to be thankful. Our Lord has redeemed us. He has given us His Word. He walks beside us. He provides for our needs. His mercies are infinite, and new every morning.







But this year, we have some extra special reasons to be thankful!

~ Ron's health continues to be restored! 

~ Ryan has accepted a new position and he and his family will be moving (are you ready for this?!) about 7 miles from us! Not 1500 miles, not 3000 miles, not 800 miles, not even 200 miles...but 7 miles!

~ Our newest little grand will be joining the family in January!





And so, we gathered. 

Gathered for fellowship. Gathered for celebration. Gathered in thankfulness. 



Before dinner, we lifted our voices together and sang...

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.


For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, 
Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild, 
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. 


For Thy church that evermore lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore her pure sacrifice of love, 
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.



For Thyself, best Gift Divine, to our race so freely giv'n, 
For that great, great love of Thine, peace on earth and joy in Heav'n, 
Lord of all to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. 




Ron stood and thanked everyone for coming. He expressed what a thrill it was to have all four of our children and all nine of our grandchildren together under one roof...as well as extended family and beloved friends. He offered up a prayer of thanks, and we broke bread together. 




Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!




Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Lord Provides


The Lord has provided for our needs during these weeks of Ron's illness and hospitalization. 

Some of that provision has been through our insurance. Some has been through gifts from our natural family and our family in Christ. Some provision has been financial. Some has been the meeting of our physical needs. Some has been help in logistics and getting people where they need to be. Some has been emotional support, compassion, and listening ears.





Here is a story of one night when the Lord provided something I needed:

On a Sunday afternoon, Kati and Bekah brought lunch from Chipotle up to the hospital and the three of us ate our lunch together in an empty waiting room.

Later that afternoon, Ron was moved to a new room because his doctor wanted him to be on the surgical floor. It was a busy time, as they got him settled, and we met a host of different nurses and staff. I stayed close, as I wanted to hear all of the care summaries. He was not feeling well at all (nausea, chills, and fever) and I was hoping that his fever would stabilize (it didn't) and I wanted to see the wound when they did the dressing change, so I continued to stay. The evening went on and I never got dinner.

I was fine for a while, but around 9:30-10-ish, I was feeling weird and emotional, discouraged and overwhelmed...and hungry! I thought that I'd have to wait until I got home to eat because it was so late. And then I turned around and {LO and BEHOLD!} there was leftover communion bread!

You need to know that we are a part of a home fellowship. Our friend Gary bakes the most delicious home made bread for days that we are taking communion. That morning, Gary and Frances had given the leftover bread to the girls and they had brought a big chunk up to Ron! It had been sitting on a table behind me, out of my line of vision.

I reached over and broke off a piece. I felt like David and his men when they ate the shewbread! That night, it tasted better than any gourmet meal, and I felt so refreshed after I ate it! 


Yes, the Lord provides for our needs and He proved it to me again that lonely Sunday evening in a hospital room.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and oer;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh for grace to trust Him more!


 
The story of Ron's illness:

Musings and lessons learned:


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Daily Grace


During the worst days of Ron's illness, I often prayed the simplest of prayers: "Please, Lord, give me grace for the day." 


Those were days that I could not look too far ahead. The path was uncertain. So I simply prayed for grace for the day.


Thoughts of how we would meet Ron's needs when he was able to come home were overwhelming. I didn't even know what the needs would be. So I only prayed for grace for the day.


I certainly could not allow myself to think about the holidays...shopping, hosting, celebrating. Too much. I only needed grace for the day.




Each morning as I woke, that was my prayer.

As I drove to the hospital, those words were on my lips.

As I rode the elevator and then walked down the hallway to his room, not knowing what we'd be facing that day, those words were in my heart.

Grace for the day.

And each day, He provided the grace that I needed. 



These days, the path is brighter. Our thoughts are clearer. We can think ahead a bit. We are making plans.

But I am still depending on His grace for the day.

It is a good way to live.



 
The story of Ron's illness:

Musings and lessons learned:

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Foundation of Trust




God is graciously bringing our family through a time of testing. (You can read our story ~here~.) I promised to share some lessons that the Lord has taught me (and is still teaching me!) through this journey.

These are some of my musings...
 


I have learned the importance of having a prior foundation of trust. 

Trust before the trial. I could rest in Him during our hours of darkness because I know the Good Shepherd. I know that He is good. I know that His plan is always right. I know that He is just. 

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

If I had not known the bedrock of faith in my Father, I might have wondered where He was. There were certainly days when it appeared that He had not heard our prayers, those days when things seemingly went from bad to worse. I might have been tempted to doubt. But because I am convinced of His sovereignty and I am convinced that He is only, always good, then I could look through eyes of faith and know that He was working all things for our good

"It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord's faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father's countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,' is heaven-born faith."  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Can I encourage you today to check your foundation? Do you know Him as your Good Shepherd? Are you convinced that all His ways are just? Seek to know Him before the way grows dark, so that when the hard times come, you will rest on the bedrock of faith.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!




Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ebenezer


Ron picked up the hospital bracelet and wondered whether to keep it or burn it! And I said, "Keep it. It can be an Ebenezer."





Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying "Thus far the Lord has helped us."
I Samuel 7:12




On October 19, Ron went to work in the morning, to a follow-up with the surgeon in the afternoon, and to the hospital in the evening. He would spend sixteen days there as our lives took a detour that we didn't foresee. Isn't it a mercy that we don't see what is ahead? 

You may remember that Ron had surgery on September 25, a simple surgery to remove a bone spur that was interfering with the healing of a diabetic ulcer. Initially, he felt great, but as the days went on, the foot became red and swollen, he was plagued with low grade fevers, and he just felt a little "off." After several weeks of different oral antibiotics, the infection was spreading and an x-ray indicated that there may be some infection in the bone.

At the hospital, he was treated immediately with a spectrum of IV antibiotics while more extensive testing was done to determine whether the bone was involved. An abscess was discovered that was not at the surgical site. A second surgery was performed to clean the wound and to obtain bone specimens for cultures.

At the end of that first week, we anticipated a relatively "quiet" weekend there while we awaited test results on Monday. On Friday night, we kind of planned some things to do to pass the time. By Saturday morning, all of that had changed as everything took a downward turn.




The next days brought one thing after another. Ron had fevers, over and over again. He had chills. He was plagued by nausea. He began to have hip pain, and pain in his leg muscles.

Then he had kidney failure. That hit us out of the blue. He had come into the hospital with 100% kidney function and it had dropped to 23%.

Then one morning, he broke out in hives. And that was the good news...because now they knew that he was having a drug reaction. His medications were changed immediately, and my sweetheart could begin to regain the ground that he had lost.

The hives were gone by the next day; the fevers were lower and then gone. But some of the symptoms of the drug reaction were slow to subside. Nausea lingered and he went days without being able to eat.

Kidney numbers slowly began to improve.

He had a third surgery on his foot. The wound was cleaned again, specimens were taken from deeper in the bone for cultures, and the surgeon inserted some antibiotic beads. These beads will slowly dissolve and be released directly into the infected area.

Because infection had reached the bone, Ron would need to continue receiving IV antibiotics for several weeks. So that treatments could continue at home, a PICC line was inserted through his arm. Everything was lining up so that he could be discharged on Monday, November 2, Kati's birthday.

On Saturday morning, he noticed that his right hand was swollen. He was on IV fluids to help the kidneys; maybe the swelling was a build-up of fluid? The doctor ordered an ultrasound for Monday morning to rule out the possibility of a blood clot around the PICC line. The ultrasound, however, revealed several blood clots. The original PICC line was removed and another "tunneled" line was placed. He was started on a 3-6 month course of blood thinners.

Now he was ready for discharge, but it was too late to set up for home health to come the next day. So I went down to the gift shop and bought Kati a birthday balloon, the girls brought Chick-fil-A for dinner, and we celebrated Kati's twenty-second birthday there in Ron's hospital room.



On Day 16, after his evening round of antibiotics, Ron was discharged! Praise the Lord!



Ebenezer: "Stone of Help"



It was a long and hard journey with twists and turns and bumps in the road. Sometimes those "bumps" appeared as mountains! And sometimes it seemed like the road had no end. But this we know: "Thus far, the Lord has helped us."

We are still depending on His help, for the journey continues.





I promised to share some of what the Lord has taught (and is still teaching) me through this journey. My next few posts will be just that. I'll try not to go so long between postings, but life is busy here on the home front...



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Home


This morning, Ron wanted to listen to the song that Michael Card sings about home.

Although we have always loved home, this week home has been sweeter than ever before. On Tuesday evening, after sixteen days of hospitalization and multiple medical crises, Ron was discharged and home we came!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

I will be telling you more of the story in the days to come, as well as sharing some of the things that we have learned. Life has not yet returned to normal, but Ron is feeling better day by day. In the meantime, I want to express my gratitude to you who have left kind words, emailed your concern, wondered about us, and (most of all!) lifted Ron and our family to our Father in prayer. (Thanks to Deanna and to Vee for sharing our need!) 

I repeat for you what I posted on my Facebook page:
We thank the Lord for a hopeful prognosis. But we also praise Him for guiding our steps during these [six] weeks, for the things that we are learning as we trust Him, and for His plan for Ron and for each of us. Would we praise Him even if things had not turned out the way we would like? Yes...for He is good...always.







HOME
Michael Card

Home is a comfort and home is a light,

A place to leave the darkness outside,
Home is a peaceful and ever full feeling
A place where a soul safely hides.

And being in a home should remind you that still
There's a place that's prepared just for you
And I think my home is just Heaven's reflection
As long as my home's here with you.

Home is where someone is waiting and loving,
And happy to see you again,
That half of your heart that somebody else treasures
The one who's your forever friend.

But it seems that He's told me,
The life that He's showed me
Is a life mostly spent on the road
But when the world's empty charm
Has done all of its harm
I know that His love waits for me in your arms.

Cause home is a comfort and home is a light
A place to leave the darkness outside
Home is a peaceful and ever full feeling
A place where a soul safely hides.

And being in a home should remind you that still
There's a place that's prepared just for you
And I think my home is just Heaven's reflection
As long as my home's here with you.

And being in a home should remind you that still
There's a place that's prepared just for you
And I think my home is just Heaven's reflection
As long as my home's here with you.



So happy to have my sweetheart home!!

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