Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cards ordered

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Joni and Friends 2010

Well, Denis and I have been back from Joni and Friends Family Retreat for a little more than a week now. I've had some time to adjust back to "regular life", quite a let down after such a joyful and impactful experience. So here's a bit of a report from our fabulous week at camp:

There are many ways that this year's experience at Joni and Friends was very different from last year for me. I'm very thankful that I was able to share the "duties" with Denis. It was such a relief for me to have him there, since he has a different set of skills than I do. His skill set is better suited to the sorts of issues that come up at camp, so I really liked being able to have him to defer to. That's a pretty selfish reason to be glad to have him there... It was also wonderful to get to share the experience with him, because the Joni and Friends family retreat experience is so impressive and Denis didn't get to go last year.

Another thing that was different this year was that we were involved in the planning. We had access to the campers' health information, so we had a much better idea of what kind of situations we needed to be prepared for. We planned the first aid kit from the ground up, so we knew what was there. I also had a much better idea what sort of supplies we should carry with us. Now being more prepared was a very good thing, but it wasn't exactly reassuring. We had some campers with some significant health issues, and it was a bit scary being aware of them... But actually not any more scary than NOT knowing, which is how I felt last year. :o)

Praise goes to God, of course, that we did not actually have any significant health issues arise. The worst injury of the whole week was just a minor thing that only require arrangements made for a tetanus shot. We were kept busy though, with little things. Cuts, sprains, bandaids, little things. Those little problems gave us the opportunities to interact with people, which is really one of the greatest blessings of being at Joni and Friends. When we get to soothe a boo-boo for someone, we get to be a small blessing to them. I'm grateful that so many little things came up, because that meant getting to be involved with the campers.

This year, I felt more a part of the action - less on the fringes. Some of the highlights of my week:
1. interacting with some of the adult campers with disabilities
2. getting thumbs ups, smiles and waves from some campers affected by autism spectrum issues
3. helping a visually impaired camper figure out a better way to use her blood sugar meter
4. being invited by some teens to do the macarena dance with them at the talent show
5. seeing my friend who has Down syndrome blossom with all the attention and encouragement

This family retreat was the first one to take place in Oregon, or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest in about 20 years. The majority of the campers and STMs (volunteers) were new to Joni and Friends family retreats and did not know what to expect. One family feared on the first day that they would get kicked out because their son was pouring water out on the stage during the first worship session. What they didn't know is that at Joni and Friends family retreat, that's OK - it's normal even. God moved in powerful ways this week as families were blessed by the acceptance, rest, love and celebration of their kids offered by everyone at retreat. I also heard reports of how God worked in wonderful ways in the young adults with disabilities group.

My overall statement about Joni and Friends retreat this year is - what an honor! What a privilege to be just a small piece of what God did there. what we did was very little - but what a joy to be a part!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting ready!

August is going to be a busy month around here - or maybe not around here. That's why it's going to be busy...

The first week of the month, I'm flying to San Antonio for not quite a week to attend the annual conference for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. I'm going with one of my coworkers. She and I work opposite days of the week, so we rarely actually get to see each other. Our lives are intertwined, though, as my mom provides day care for her adult daughter who has Down Syndrome. Our two families spent Thanksgiving together last year. Joy just got married and we attended her wedding on the beach. Lots of new stuff in her life and I'm really looking forward to spending the time with her.

The third week of the month, Denis and I both have the privilege of serving as the medical team for the all new Oregon Joni and Friends Family Retreat! As you know, I was able to go to the California camp last year, which turned out to be a fly by the seat of my pants sort of experience. This year, Denis and I are getting to organize the entire medical plan for the Oregon camp, determine what supplies we want to have, etc. I'm so excited to get to share the experience with Denis, not only because his skill set is so much better suited for the job, but also for him to see first hand what a blessing this ministry is to the families that attend. It's hard to believe that it's just three weeks away! Things are falling into place, but there's still some planning left to do.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hard times

I'm listening to a song by Jill Paquette that contains comforting words.

One of These Days

it's been so long, said it's been too long
can't remember when i've felt so known
You're so warm shelter me from the storm and the fears that are just so cold
they're telling me things get messy when you care
things are messy everywhere and don't i know it, don't i show it
every time i look away 'cause what can i do? what can i say? to help myself
or to help anybody else

You meet me in my need
You bring new life to me, and You go beyond what i feel
Your life brought more than freedom
Your love brought time just what i needed, to see i needed You

One of these days it will be easier to mean what i say
if i remember each and every day
that this world is not my home and i never walk alone
and before time began my days were known by You

You meet me in my need
You bring new life to me and You go beyond what i feel
Your life brought more than freedom
Your love brought time just what i needed, to see i needed You

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Movie reviews

At a friend's request, I'm doing some more movie reviews. As always, * ratings are out of a possible ***** (five stars)

"7 Up" Series ***** - a series of documentaries that followed a set of children in different parts of England every 7 years into their adulthood. The premise was that the kids with different social advantages would turn out differently as adults, a bias that became increasingly annoying to some of the subjects. The last one was "49 Up" and I suppose there will eventually be a "56 Up".

Enchanted *** - a cutesy fanciful movie about Disney-esque characters accidentally wandering into the real world. Enjoyable fluff.

Emmanuel's Gift **** - documentary about a young man with a disabled leg who embarks on a campaign to inspire better lives for his compatriots in Ghana. His story was very impressive and the influence he has made in his home town was very hopeful.

Crazy Love **** - Wow! This one was weird and fascinating. About a very strange relationship featuring overbearing possessiveness descending into abuse. The thing that was fascinating was to hear both parties justifying their actions and choices. This kind of film reminds me how capable the human mind is of committing heinous sin and denying it.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly **** - another documentary. Are we seeing a pattern here? This one is an amazing story of survival.

The Lady Vanishes **** - Black and white Hitchcock. Nice!

Julie and Julia **** - I really enjoyed this movie. How could you go wrong? Meryl Streep does a very endeering portrayal of Julia Child. We learn about how she built her remarkable career. Amy Adams is always nice to watch, though her character was rather self-absorbed. And lots of cooking. Made me want to go out and buy Julia's original cookbook. (but I didn't)

Doubt **** - Meryl again, this time with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is one of our favorites. Did he or didn't he? (the priest abuse the boys in the school) Surprisingly, Denis and I came to different conclusions!

African American Lives **** - This was a television series special. A handful of stars trace their roots back in time through the slave era in the US, and for some back to a specific region of Africa. This was quite interesting.

Pixar Short Films *** - some of these were really cute and funny! Some were less so. But it was also an interesting look at the evolution of computer animation through the years.

The Blind Side **** - This one is rather main stream for our tastes, but it was a good film with a positive plot. Nice.

12:08 East of Bucharest ** - Gosh the critics loved this film, but what a dud. So slow, Denis fell asleep pretty quick. I stuck with it to the end, but there was no payoff.

My Sister's Keeper *** - Ok, we actually quite liked this movie. But a disclaimer - we found the medical situation quite unrealistic. With suspended disbelief, what we enjoyed was the character portrayals and acting. It was an interesting dilemma for the characters to be in and we went along for the ride.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

new stuff

I was getting bored with my playlist, so I changed out a bunch of the songs. I hope you like the new mix. Remember, you can always skip a song you don't like.

I recently downloaded Google's web browser called Chrome, which is supposed to load pages faster. One of the main things that I like is how it magically syncs all the sorts of stuff that use your google ID to sign in. The browser has an extension called "blog this" that lets you go immediately to creating a new blog post from any webpage that you find interesting. I creates a link to that page and it will also bring over any text that you highlight before hitting the button. I used it to create that last post about the disability friendly family fun center.

Overall I'm liking it. it organizes the bookmarks a bit differently too, which I couldn't figure out for quite a while, but now I get it and it's easy.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Morgan's Wonderland - The World's First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park

A friend of mine from the local Joni and Friends chapter showed me this exciting new fun center. Unfortunately, it's in San Antonio, TX! What a fantastic idea and blessing for families with a member who has a disability.

I'm actually going to be in San Antonio in early August for the National Diabetes Educator's conference, so I think I will look into whether I might be able to volunteer for a day. It would be a neat experience. A bit of a long shot that it would work out, though...

Morgan's Wonderland - The World's First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park

Sunday, February 28, 2010


This year, I've joined a group of folks in my church who is reading through the Bible in a year. So far, so good, I'm still on track with that. Last week, I started reading prayers from The Valley of Vision, A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions as part of my morning routine and I'm really convicted by these prayers. They are so full of meaning and are a great start to my day. Here is the one that I read this morning.

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim 'Love lustres at Calvary.'
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light,
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might forever live.
O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell's gates closed, heaven's portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Surrounded by smiles

Mom was released from the hospital one week ago today. I've been staying at her house pretty much day and night to help her. Her restrictions include no driving, no lifting more than ten pounds and no pushing or pulling with her arms. That means that she is not allowed to use her arms to stand up out of a chair and proves to be the greatest limitation. Only one of her chairs is tall enough that she can get up without assistance. Fortunately, though, she has a tall toilet, so she can get up from there very easily as well.

Most of you, my readers, do not know my mom personally. So you do not know about her afinity for smiley faces. Mom has always drawn smiley faces with her name as long as I can remember. She got the habit from her mother. So, for years and years, mom has gotten gifts of all sorts of smiley face paraphernalia for any special occassions and they fill her little house. I usedy iPhone camera to take this grid photo sampler of just a FEW of them...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mom Updates

If you're not family and/or don't live here locally, you probably don't know what's been going on with my mom's health. To get you up to speed, here's the short story: Mom had a pacemaker placed in late November due to a slow heartbeat. In the process of working it up, we learned that she has severe atrial valve stenosis. This means that the valve in her heart that controls the exit of blood from the heart to the rest of the body is scarred and quite narrowed. Her heart has to pump harder to get her blood through that barrier and it's severe enough that it warrants surgery.

So we've spent the last month finding out about the options and getting more checks and such. Valve replacement surgery is full on open heart surgery, so this is a big deal. She's had an angiogram as well that showed she has two areas that they will do bypass on while she's in there. So, to cut to the chase, Mom is scheduled for her open heart surgery on Monday - this Monday! It's been a busy week.

good things - she's pretty healthy and strong, our hospital is nationally recognized for cardiac surgery, we requested and got a great surgeon (even our cardiologist said he would pick this surgeon)
risks - she's got diabetes and she's 80. This is not going to be easy to recover from, but my mom is not one to take things lying down. She is very independent and has good drive to stay that way.

I'll be working most of my usual schedule this coming week while she's in the hospital, then I'll be taking 2-3 weeks of family leave to help her at home. Her best friends from Yakima have already arrived and plan to stay until she's home and settled in. We'd appreciate your prayers in the next several days.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mobile blogging

I just got a new app on my iPhone that let's me blog from my phone. Just thought I'd give it a trial run here.

Denis and I just had our first anniversary that we didn't go out of town. This year we decided to save some $$ by staying home and just did some special things locally. On Dec. 31, our actual anniversary, we had dinner at a very nice place in a neughboring town Jacksonville.

It was a very nice night. Here's what I ordered.

All very yummy. Last night we spent one night in a historic hotel in Ashland. Overall, a very nice anniversary and a happy new year to boot!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2010! We're careering towards a new decade. (BTW, after discussion with a friend yesterday, I've learned that the new decade doesn't start till 2011, so now you know!)

Are you making any resolutions this year? I'm not - I try to avoid making resolutions because I know that I'll never achieve them. However, I did join a group in my church that plans to read through the Bible in a year. I've read through the Bible a couple of times, but the only time I managed to do it within a year was the year that I spent at Multnomah Seminary. Through the course of the school year, we did study all the books and reading them was homework.

This year, I've chosen to use the Chronological arrangement and read it in the Amplified Version. Both of these choices are geared towards making it fresh and hopefully keeping my attention. The thing that often happens when I endeavor for getting through a designated section is that it gets really rote. So, I've never read one of those Chronological Bibles before, so that will be new. And using the Amplified Version means that the wording will not be as familiar to me. I'm looking forward to it. Today was day 2, so far so good, but that's not saying much yet... :o)

I've thought about blogging quite a number of times in the last two weeks, but my computer is being a dweeb and it's too difficult to sort my photos and do stuff with them. I'm typing this on Denis' computer. I'll be taking mine into a repair place on Monday to see if they can find what's making it sooooooo slow.