Thursday, December 30, 2010

"And the child grew..."

Luke 1:80 "And the child grew and became strong in spirit;" then in Luke 2:40 "And the child grew and became strong ; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him." Both babies born about 5-6 months apart...cousins by earthly standards. There is a famous painting that shows Jesus and John the Baptist as young children, playing as their mothers look on...I think Da Vinci painted it..They area certain to have been together as children since they were kin and lived close to each other. Don't you love to suppose the family time of Jesus before He started His ministry.

We certainly do love to be with our family and seeing the babies., but not enough!
John and I went to Opryland Hotel to see the Christmas lights and it certainly was beautifully lit up and decorated. There is a large white nativity scene with at least 40-50 characters, wise men, shepherds, cattle and lambs, and Mary and Joseph and Jesus all across part of the lawn. It is lit and really beautiful. It is similar to what was at the Parthenon 50 years ago.

The worst thing in "chemo-land" is still swelling of hands and feet, more "tearing" and nose blowing---my eyes and nose just run clear liquid. That is seems one things will get better then another starts up. This is the longest I have gone without seeing the nurse or doctor and I honestly feel that the worse things wrong with me is the chemo! Happy almost 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

" angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph..."

" angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.'" Matthew 2:13 I think I saw six times an angel spoke to Joseph and told him what to do and where to go. I wonder sometimes is I am doing what God wants me to do. I feel so blessed to be alive and able to do all we do. I pray I am following His will .

I wonder if angels ever speak to us and tell us what to do? I do believe the Holy Spirit directs us by giving us impulses to do or say things and guide us that way.
Daily report...same cracked fingers, food is better! Digestive problems, probably because I am eating more...same "breaking out" or red,raw places on my arms and legs.

I cannot believe it is nearly 2011, so Happy almost New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"...we saw His star in the east..."

Matthew 2:2 tells of the wise men (Magi) who "from the east came to Jerusalem and asked 'Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.'" the end of the Bible, Revelations 22:16, Jesus says "I am the bright Morning Star." What would Christmas be without stars? They seem such an essential part, maybe because Jesus is our Morning Star!

All our Christmas trees have a star on top. I have a very nearly torn up one that was Grandma's but it had to go on the top every year! We also have the three wise men featured in our nativity sets and show them by the side of baby Jesus even though it probably was a number of months before they actually got there and Mary and Joseph had long since moved into a house. I have two special sets of wise men that are treasured possessions. I have angels and sheep all over the house, a sheep tree and I used to have an angel tree but space does not allow that many trees now. I actually have six small trees instead of seven large ones I used to have.

Decorating is fun and we have enjoyed seeing how everything would look in our new apartment. I am sure I will re do things next year.I made my 27Th annual Santa pillow this year. I started this in 1984 and make one each year as the X stitch pattern comes out in august. It is always a Santa doing his annual "whatever" and then after they are embroidered I make a pillow. I also X stitch other Christmas patterns and make pillows for gifts, and get a lot done as I sit in chemo.

So we have finished this Christmas and all the gifts and decor and food and cards and it was fun and I am glad I felt like doing it all. (Last year I was too sick to do anything) So we always look forward to the next and today was good and I feel pretty good, ther sore hands and just some nausea--cannot be totally OK! Happy end of Christmas and Happy almost New Year! God bless and keep us healthier and well for this new year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news..."

Somewhere in the singing of the Messiah, they sing this passage from Isaiah 52:7..."How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" I have listened to the CD I bought of the "Messiah" several times all the way through. When I come across the words in the Bible, I can hear the singing in my head!

Yesterday, Christmas we we had about 25 here in our daughter and son in law and John and I (in our shared home) We had a great time seeing the cousins together, regretting our oldest son was not here. And of course, Johny was one of those first cousins. Some of the next generation were here but few of ours, since they live away. Today was a quiet day with snow! We seldom have snow on Christmas Day and there is something so magical about that, and the colored lights seem brighter. John and I have watched all our favorite old movies on TV.

I am enjoying food a little better but my cracked fingers make it very difficult to type. Also, I am having more swelling of hands and feet ( not unusual, whether I mention it or not). Of course, I wonder if I will be here next Christmas. I will pack away the decorations and trees and dishes just as if I will be! I have started working on next Christmas' cross stitch pillows already. I don't want to be unprepared!

John and I both had that viral cold "thing" that has gone through the entire nation I think! We are better and really well, but still cough and have a laryngitis. Some of our grands and greats have it and cannot come here tomorrow and I am so sad about that! Well it was a great Christmas time and we will probably listen to Christmas music for another week or two. Blessings to each!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Mary treasured up all these things..."

Last night I was so discouraged about my throat I woke up with less pain---what an answer to prayer!!!Thank you, God!!!I was ready to throw in the towel but now I know to keep going. I could even eat better today. The hands are still bad, but that will get better in time for the next chemo!:-(..

Luke tells more of Mary's reaction to the baby Jesus, and don't you know her heart was so filled as "she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19. When a baby is born we mothers look at each finger and toe, to see if he or she is perfect, and we always remember those first moment with each child. Can you imagine the primitive conditions of Jesus' birth!

We did our annual cemetery visit today and put greenery and ribbons on the three graves we go to every year at this time. Some years John goes alone and I just cannot do it. Don't know what is the emotional reason that some years are more difficult. But today was OK and I made it fine. We go to my parents, John's parents which include Johny's (and the space is there for us.) The third is Grandma and Grandpa and their baby (all together). Some people might take offence at our only going once a year but ---they are not there, and I just cannot go and hang over a grave! Christmas was so special to all our family and it seems fitting to chose this time to go and decorate these graves. That is our thing we do.

This recipe was John's aunt's in Alabama and is a family favorite. I know, we have many "family favorites", but we like to eat.
Baked Fruit Casserole
1 large can each,(29 oz can) of pears, peaches and pineapple chunks. Drain these well. and arrange them in a casserole. Sprinkle over them, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. flour . Cut up and put around 1/2 stick butter.Bake 300 for 1 and 1/2 hours, then add drained red maraschino cherries and 2 Tbsp rum or sherry extract and bake another 30 minutes. This is especially good with ham or pork of any kind. You can substitute apricots for the may not find the large can of these two so do whatever... Enjoy! Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

" will find a baby wrapped in cloths..."

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you ; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Some thoughts about Christmas: Mothers forever have wrapped their babies in cloth of some kind and I guess they always will. More people this year say "Merry Christmas" than in a long time, in almost all the shops! Today, we saw some friends we have not seen in several years, and friendship never changes, you just take up where you left off. One of our sisters died nine years ago and my brother in law remarried after a few years. His wife is so lovely and seems like we are really family with her; we are so blessed! We are still in prayer and sad over several friends who either have new illnesses that are serious, or they have returning cancer. One young friend who was in a wreck is now in a nursing home facility, and we wonder about his future. Several friends are in their first Christmas without a loved one who passed away this year. Those of us who have lost many family members know nothing will ever be like it was "when Mama and Daddy were alive" but we also realize the blessings of new family members who bring joy. Our Johny was just ecstatic around this time of year and looked for snow constantly. Occasionally he would see a few flakes and be so happy. Sometimes we even had a real snow on December 25 and,oh my, that was pure joy! Our daughter still hangs his stocking by her tree every year.

So we are ready for extended family to be here on Christmas Eve, maybe about 25...that will be fun. I am still fighting the same finger,toe pain and the throat burned feeling. Not much fun! Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"...My soul glorifies the Lord..."

Luke 1:46-47..."And Mary said, 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...'"...Do you ever wonder how a 14 year old could sing such an eloquent praise to God? Mary was just a young teen-age girl, chosen by God, to be the mother of our Lord and Savior.

Today was a cold, wet, wintry day. John is a little better and I am still hoarse. My daughter and my "great"her granddaughter) and I went for lunch today and had a manicure! It was the first for our "great" and she really enjoyed choosing the polish (a dark red glitter) and looking though a fashion magazine as our nails dried. She is for sure a clothes person, and really has never played with dolls. We went to the library and got some books...This was a good-out-of-school day.

My fingers are cracked so bad...the manicurist really had her work cut out for her and she was careful and did a good job on just the nails and did not hurt my fingers. But I feel discouraged as far as "can I continue on this chemo"? It will have to really, really be doing a great job for me to keep this up. I cannot eat, my throat is so raw from the chemo. I can get through another week and make it to the Ct in 10 days! Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shepherds in the field, keeping watch over their flocks..."

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flock by night. ..suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests..'." Luke 2:8-13-14...

All our lives we have heard this Christmas story...and gone to see nativity scenes and if there were live animals, we would thrill..when our children were small we would go to this particular house every year, and they would build a manger like a shed. Alongside was a little fence and always a couple of animals, a lamb and a calf usually, sometimes a donkey. The scene in the shed was artificial and I cannot remember if it was manikins or what but our children were always excited to see these live animals and the scene, and the angels on top. Always the lights are beautiful and the unusual thrills the children.

John has been sick all weekend and worse today, and we finally got some antibiotic from our doctor. This viral cold has gone around the family, I had it last week and now John ;several more family members have had it at least once. I hope we can all get well before Christmas Eve when all the "first cousins" (children of my two sisters and me) will be here, along with various kin.

My taste is worse than ever and nothing tastes good. My hands and feet are cracked open and nothing seems to help. Sure hope the CT shows something good!!! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

" walk humbly with your God..."

Luke 1:26-38 tells of Mary being seen by Gabriel and Jesus' birth foretold...Mary says "I am the Lord's servant." Micah 6:6-8 is a beautiful depiction of our offering to our Lord.Verse 7 asking "shall I offer my firstborn?" reflecting upon Mary,..and verse 8 says "and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Today at church, the four and five year olds portrayed the Christmas story...oh my, were they darling and so self assured, "Mary" making sure a king's crown did not fall off, and she was holding a real baby in the manger (an adult there also) and "Mary" brought a pink toy for Jesus to hold! They were incredible perfection in their innocence . After this the Bible reading was of Jesus says "let the little children come to me..."

Tonight our immediate family (here) was together for our dinner and gifts. Family and friends are what we treasure. My fingers and heels are cracked open again, same as last cycle...a week after the infusion, this happens. They sure do hurt. Food is also not very good. That is just part of the chemo. People ask how long I will be doing this and I say "forever" because I honestly don't know unless this chemo is the miracle we have looked for, if I can ever quit it. Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

."...We have seen His star in the east..."

When we were with old friends we were talking about the diseases we used to have (as children) and don't think children have many or these any more. I had scarlet fever and missed three months of school in the fifth grade. When I recovered, they threw away all my paper dolls and anything I had played with during that three months in bed. Skin peeled off my hands and feet. A friend said she knew those whose hair fell out. I did not lose my hair but, I surely was sick! I think I may have told this before, about how Daddy was oversees and finally got a letter saying I was "better" and he did not know what I was better from!

A cousin wrote after seeing the blog and said she never had a "jam cake"...this must be a Tennessee or Kentucky item because I never knew anyone who did not have Jam Cake at Christmas. The old time ones had homemade blackberry jam which of course was full of seeds. Today I use the seedless jam and you don't have to pick the seeds out of your teeth! I did find some pear preserves to use instead of watermelon preserves but a friends said she had seen some (watermelon).

I made a buttermilk pound cake this week and made the caramel icing for it today. Normally the saying is that icing will not "make" if the weather is rainy but I made the icing today (has to come to a soft ball) and it did OK, even in a wet day.

I plan to make that jam cake tomorrow. I felt kind of weak today (chemo-weak) and did not do a great amount of house work or baking. With chemo you just feel like no energy, and no ambition to do anything!

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked 'Where is the one who has been born, king of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.'" Matthew 2:1-2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"...the virgin will be with child..."

"..and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel..." Isaiah 7:14..."She will give birth to a son and will give Him the name, Jesus because He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21... What wonderful promises given about 600 (?) years apart and gloriously perfect as God alone can be.

How exciting is this season when the entire world centers on Jesus' birth. Whether they believe or not, for whatever purpose, Jesus' name is called by many each day.

I went back to the doctor today for a white cell shot and do not have to go back until January 3 for CT and the 4Th for chemo, the 6Th cycle. This is going on the longest chemo I have ever done, and I pray I can keep it up, especially if the CT shows more improvement. I feel so excited that this one is working! I feel so protected by God and His safety inside me. I love knowing He is keeping me alive for His purpose and pray I am in that purpose every day.

Did I say our grand daughter is expecting again, number 4? I hate it when old people repeat themselves! Forgive me for being excited! This will give us eight "greats" and they are such fun! They look at us as being very old and they do not know that deep inside we are still "young at heart". We still plan our next trip and love thinking of fun things to do. Our minds are still young, just our bodies are old!

God is good to us and gives us joy in being together each day. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"..those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength..."

This has been the most snow in December in years, also the coldest December in years...following the worst flood in hundreds of years back in May, and drought conditions all summer, wonder what is to come during this winter???As we came home today after our 8 hour day at Sarah Cannon, John pointed out the building where his dad worked during the Depressions, helping sell coal. So many people heated their homes and businesses with coal that Nashville had a permanent "Haze" over the city all winter. We sit in a basin, surrounded by a ridge in all directions. People during that depression would come to get coal in a "toe-sack" or a bag made of burlap, getting a bag at a time probably about 5 cents a bag , and it could not have been very much supply. I can remember trains also ran on coal and people would walk the track picking up coal.

My "cold" or whatever it is, seems a little better, but I cannot talk much. John cannot hear so that makes for poor communicating! I have no fever today so I got my chemo infusion and started back on the chemo pill. I had just about recovered from the rash on my arms and legs, and my hands are well, so here we go again! I have a CT scheduled for January 3 and don't have to go back until then except for the white cell shot tomorrow which always follows the infusion, to keep me better able to fight off infections.

Isaiah 40:29-31 "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

Please pray for Gene as he has a PET with a biopsy tomorrow. He certainly "hopes in the Lord" Please pray for our friend Jim who starts at Sarah Cannon this week and finds out possible treatments for a recurring melanoma.

We will all "renew our strength".....Merry Christmas

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Prince of Peace"

I have to repeat this passage, one of the most beautiful..."For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders....And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

We have had some three days---I started getting sick, gradually worse, we had snow, and Cable went out, and I have pretty much slept for these three days. I am on a ZPak and go maybe for chemo tomorrow...I cannot believe I got sick and might mess up getting this! I think it depends on white cell count and temp.. I have been so careful and have not been sick for 7-8 months. Last December this happened and I was in the hospital for four days with three infections, but maybe this won't happen this time.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"He was oppressed and aflicted..."

"...yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth."Isaiah 53:7

I woke up with a bad cold this morning so I spent the day asleep on the couch. This is the first I have been sick in about 8 months, which is really pretty good. My white count is up about normal, so I guess if my fever goes higher, I will have to call in. So far, it is 100.2, not at that "magic call-in number of 101). Yesterday, the doctor told me to get some cortisone cream for the rash on my arms and legs. So far, it has not helped much, but I am no worse.So I am all fixed up tonight with cortisone on arms and legs, Mentholatum in my nose, and soon, the gloves and aquaphor on hands, socks and aquaphor on feet. If that a vision of loveliness or what??? and John tells me I am pretty. What a man!!!

Getting close to Christmas, and one more thing about the Jam Cake, you can use pear preserves or chopped citron (in place of the watermelon preserves).
I hope to get mine made this week, but it won't have very long to "soak"...

We are having a "gathering of the clan" for the first time is several years. There were 7 first cousins plus one by marriage. Then we lost Johny so there are 7 cousins and all but one will be here...that will be so fun to see the children of my two sisters and me all together almost---plus a few more of the next generation, about 25 in all. So I have to get well....Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray..."

"...each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamp to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth." Isaiah 53:6-7

I found a great CD of the "Messiah" and listening to it, I feel like I am sitting in a great hall, being sung to by a chorus, and the Bible comes to life even more.

Well, I am anxious to see what tomorrow will show. I am in such a mess, physically, with this rash on my arms and legs, and the swollen feet and hands. I just don't know if the chemo could extend all this for these three weeks. If not that, then what???

Our friend, Gene, (in Florida) cancer return. We are praying for the doctors to find some way to heal him again. Also, another friend, a coach/teacher with whom I have worked, a great christian man, has a melanoma metastasized over his body and he is starting at Sarah Cannon and looking for cures. So, sadness in the midst of such a happy time of the year.

More of our "greats" will be here during part of Christmas and that is very exciting! We love our "babies" and love to keep up with them as they grow. These three are 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 1....what a crew! I pray to live long enough for them to remember me when they are older. I remember my great grandmother who died when I was 5-6.

Well, news tomorrow...Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"He was despised and rejected by man..."

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day...I realized I was writing this blog over a year ago and talked about December 7 last year... It is hard to believe I have been talking on here that long. Very little was said about it this year, less than ever before. I watched a show on the History channel and it was very real, especially since we were in Hawaii this year in April. We visited the harbor and saw the remains of the "Arizona" down in the water. So I watching the program on TV yesterday and having been to that location made it even more real to me. The reporter interviewed several men who were only 18-19 years old at that time and had been trapped under the water and were rescued. The TV interviewed some nurses who related the horror of trying to save the lives of the injured. John's cousin who died this past year had been an army nurse and she could not talk about her experiences.

So we are getting near Christmas, the time history thinks Jesus was born. If not this date, it was close by. When we were in the Holy Land we saw stone mangers which possibly were what Mary laid Jesus in instead of a wooden manger we always show. The stone mangers we saw were actually in pastures formerly belonging to King Solomon.

Isaiah 53:3-5 ...."He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering....Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...but He was pierces for our transgressions,...He was crushed for our iniquities and by His wounds we are healed..."

My arms are still broken out in a rash, and now my toes are sore with cracked places like my fingers...I cannot imagine what I will have to do! They may take me off the chemo altogether! I will see in two days. I will not be depressed... Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Comfort my people, says your God..."

"Comfort, comfort my people says your God, Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, A voice of one crying in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord...Any the glory of the Lord will be revealed...for the mouth of the Lord has spoken..." Isaiah 40, part of verses 1,3 and 5.

I can just hear the singing of the "Messiah" and feel that is indeed Christmas!

One of my great grandmother's came to mind today. She was Grandpa's mother and she lived in Kentucky on a farm. (It was her mother that fed the Union soldiers that I have told about earlier). My grandma was visiting there on the farm and this great grandmother came out as they were leaving and handed her an iron cornbread muffin pan (the stick muffin kind), drying it on her apron as she came out, and said "I want you to have this". I still have that muffin pan and treasure it for the memories and the family behind it. This same great grandmother had long thick hair. She brushed it 100 times every night. She told that it had only been wet once in her life when she was baptized. Can you imagine never washing your hair? But Grandma said her hair was beautiful, clean and shiny! When she died, her children wrote the most eloquent obituary (in the paper) praising her qualities and beautiful christian life. I still have that framed article.

My fingers are still improving and I dread starting the pills again, but my hands are still swollen and my arms have that rash. I am a wreck! But I feel really good. I thought I had finished my shop sewing today except I am finishing a dress for a "great". I have made dresses for two more "greats". Then tonight I found out I may have four more pillows to make. I have two weeks so I can get that done. Everyone wants things for holiday parties in November and December. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

"...He will reign on David's throne..."

Isaiah 9:7 "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom...the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

In making the jam cake, I forgot to say to drain the watermelon preserves before adding it to the cake. Here is the best buttermilk caramel icing recipe:
2 cups white sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp soda and 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Cook this icing stirring occasionally, on low until you reach a soft ball (drop a little in ice water until you can roll it into a ball in your fingers). Be sure and keep it just bubbling because it will boil over if you leave it. When you have a soft ball, add 1 tsp vanilla, let it cool and beat it. when it is just about ready to hold on the cake, start spooning it on. If it is not thick put in fridge until it thickens. I also use this icing on a Buttermilk Pound Cake which is a family favorite. Both these recipes came from a friend's grandmother.

My hands are even better today but now my arms are broken out with something like an eczema, so what do I do now???I will try the hand cream tonight on my arms. I go to the doctor in three days, so lots will be decided.

I went out today and walked in the Mall and did some shopping. I rarely do this, I guess just lack of energy for that. I had rather use my time and energy for things around the house or with friends. Well anyway, it was fun and Christmas feeling.

We had fun with friends tonight. All of us used to teach together and have been close for 34 years ,and see each other regularly. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"For to us a child is born..."

"to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,...." Isaiah 9:6

As I was getting in bed last night, I just started crying...there I was with really sore hands, salve and gloves on them, bald (of course), with this colostomy, and I really did lose my optimism for a few minutes. I rarely do that but it all hit me last night. Today has been better. I just rethink and realize that God is holding me in His hands and I will do as He wills. I do pray this chemo is working.

Since this is the baking season, this is the recipe for Mama B's Jam cake that we made every year, all my life. It had to be done about a month ahead and stored in a lard stand. Does anyone remember or know what a "lard stand" is? You would buy one at a hardware store. I assume they were used to store lard which you would render off the hogs when you killed them. No one needs that anymore!!! Anyway, then the family tradition was to soak a towel in wine and lay this around the jam cake for this month to make sure it was moist. You must know this is in a teetotaler family all year except for this cake (or the boiled custard).
so here is the cake:
1/2 cup Crisco, 2 cups sugar, 4 cups flour, sifted with 2 tsp soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 cups blackberry jam, 1 cup raisins1/2 cup watermelon rind preserves, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 6 eggs, 1 round tsp cinnamon, 1 round tsp cloves, 1 round tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg.............Cream Crisco and sugar, add egg yolks, jam,salt and spices. Mix well, add buttermilk ,stir in flour (leave about 1/2 cup to dredge the raisins, nuts and watermelon preserves)...Add all of these, then fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into three 9 inch greased pans. bake 325 degrees for about an hour or until done when tested with a "tester" or broom straw. Let it rest upside down until it will drop out of pan. When you put icing on it, do a caramel icing. That will come later.
Usually all the cakes would be in lard stands on the back porch, and going out in the crispy cold to bring in these wonderful cakes really brings back memories!
Merry Christmas, look for this glorious Child!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

[He will be called "Immanuel..."]

The book of Isaiah is among my favorites in the Old Testament and I think I will pick up verses the rest of December that follow the proclamation of Jesus' coming. We also love the "Messiah" when we can find a group producing this on stage. We found one but it is $50 each, so I think we will just buy a CD and listen everyday.

Isaiah 7:14 says "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and call Him Immanuel."

I know you are tired of hearing about my hands...they are in terrible shape and I really have a difficult time doing buttons, or zippers. I have 16 "cuts" on my hands, a few places on my face and some on my arms. The brochure for the chemo protocol says "acne like sores" but this is not acne, just little ? whatever sores. Makeup covers the ones on my face, and clothes cover my arms, but the hands are just "there". I have left off the pills since Thursday and I really see no difference yet. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

John and I did some shopping today...I love Christmas, even the shopping, and today was not bad, and I love everyone saying "Merry Christmas". I love God's plan for us in His gift to us, for our salvation. I love giving gifts to family to show our love to them. In my tinniest little back of my mind, I wonder if I will be here next Christmas? I just for the most part never feel bad. So I think, "will I just fade away?" "Will I get really sick?" God is so good and has blessed us so immensely and we have a wonderful life together. How many more years will He give us? Well, for now, each day, Merry Christmas, and "He is called Immanuel"!

Friday, December 3, 2010

"I watch in hope for the Lord..."

I have 16 open cracks in my fingers tonight....they are too sore to write...I can only use certain fingers...I really had hoped it would get better without the pills...I guess one day is too soon...

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my savior; my
God will hear me." Micah 7:7

Another friend has a cancer that is come back...I am sad!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose..."

my hands are so sore..actually it is mostly my finger tips that are cracked. The doctor was concerned today and took me off the pill chemo for 8 days. I am so excited, because I can almost eat wonderfully well for these 8 days. It won't be normal tomorrow but each day it will get better. FUN! I hope the raw throat will get better also. They think it will.

I went to art tonight and we had our Christmas party. I ate because it was there and looked good. Everyone said it was. Anyway, we had fun and enjoyed just being together.I found an old picture of Johny sitting by the Christmas tree (he would have been 11 months old) looking at the ornaments. I have got to paint that some time this year. It will make a great Christmas scene. Most of us are painting winter or holiday pictures.

At Sarah Cannon today I met two ladies with cancer I have not seen before and also met a new nurse. Whether patient or nurse or doctor, everyone is encouraged or encouraging--always with a smile--in a place of hope, help and healing. When I got to SC today, most of the nurses and lab people were in a meeting and one your man took me back and drew the blood from my arm. I said something about the day, and he replied, "the day is a blessing from the Lord. " What a blessing for me to have someone, a christian, share his faith like that. We talked a minute about how God has blessed us both to share His word.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love O Lord, endures forever..." Psalm 138:8

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord..."

"...whose confidence is in Him. He is like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream." Jeremiah 17:7-8

My fingers are so sore, it almost hurts to type...I have 8 cracked open places on my fingers. I go to the doctor tomorrow and hope they can give me some help. I have been putting salve and gloves on at night but apparently I am doing the wrong thing. I also use "skin shield" which you paint on like clear nail polish and it kind of seals the open places.

This has been a sad week, because an acquaintance at church died suddenly and tonight, we went to the hospital as a friend's sister is dying. It makes it sad especially here at Christmas time. I love this verse in the Bible, and love to imagine being rooted like that by a stream. I always loved swimming, especially in running creeks. One time when I was about 10 we went to the mountains and I swam with some Indian children who were playing in a creek. They showed me how to swim on your side under water. It was kind of like being a fish.
We trust in the Lord to take care of us...and John prays for my healing every day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

" the day of trouble He will keep me safe..."

I honestly don't have anything to say---my throat is sore, and it feels like it has been burned. Everything I eat hurts on the way down and nothing tastes good.I still have sore hands.

We might get snow tomorrow. I love the winter. I love Christmas (so does John) and all about it. I have to be honest and wonder if I will be here for another Christmas. I do not feel bad and ,in fact, wonder sometimes if the doctors made a mistake--the only bad I feel is the chemo.

John went to three doctors today so he has some bad side effects tonight from the dermatologist who had to cut/sew up some cancer places on his arm.... the other two were good visits.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life....for in the day of trouble He will keep me safe..".Psalm 27:4-5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"The earth is the Lord's..."

I have a small "workroom", nothing like as large as the other ones who work for our daughter and son in law's shop, and smaller than when I was in our house. But it is a useful work area since I mostly make pillows. When I get the fabric, usually the window treatments and bedding have already been cut out and I get sometimes small pieces and sometimes lots of scraps. I make the pillows and then have lots of small pieces that no one could make anything from...but yet? A friend belongs to a quilting and a church group that take these scraps and make "walker bags" to hang on walkers for those in nursing homes. They take pieces as small as 5x5 inches and make quilts for children's hospitals, and lap robes for those in nursing homes. Larger pieces are used to make 6-10 inch pillows for patients at a local hospital when they come back from surgery. There is a lady with Alzheimer's who does not know her name, yet she remembers how to sew. She can hand-sew the binding around the quilts. This is the most amazing concept of her being used for others, when many people would think she can do nothing. These scraps are used and re-used to benefit many.

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all you live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."

When I have spare time (none lately) I make tiny "quilts" anywhere from 12 inches square to 12x14 to put on preemies at a local hospital, to give then some colorful surroundings. This fabric has to be cotton and I usually find this at fabric stores remnants. I cannot imagine anyone being bored and having nothing to do, at least that is my mind set. There are never enough hours in the day.

Today included some nausea, just out of the blue! Of course, the usual hands that hurt. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I would love to eat and enjoy the food!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Wives, submit to your husbands..."

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:18-19 John wanted to go to a ball game today. I wanted to stay here and do several things I --just wanted to be here. We went to the ball game. For one thing, his lack of sight scares me when he goes uptown alone, so I usually go along. Then the game was good, and our team won. I also thought, this is a blessing that my husband wants me to go with him to a ballgame. This is a blessing that he enjoys spending time with me. As I was looking for a Bible passage to read tonight, I came upon this one about husbands and wives. I always have trouble with the submission part. Do you ever wonder why God said for wives to "submit" and for husbands to "love"???I guess one follows the other.

My fingers are cracking open again. It seems they get well then here that comes again. You would think if they heal up they would stay healed up.

We love this season, the decorations, the cooking, the excitement of gifts, even if you don't buy as many as you used to. All of our friends (and we) decided we do not need any more gift things so we just get together and don't do the gifts any more. I miss that because it was fun to pick out certain things for certain friends but we are getting rid of things now, not stacking up more! So that time of life is past, when you add to collections. So the Christmas music, the lovely decorations and getting together with friends and family are plenty for now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"...a crown to the aged..."

We are home and had a really great time at our grand daughter's and grandson in law... and the three boys! "Hyperactive Lu" is her blog and there are lots of pictures there. The oldest (nearly 6) asked me to climb his tree so I did--up about six feet off the ground. He asked me "how OLD are you?" I told him and he seemed not surprised (76) and said "OK that means you were 75 last year." I told him I climbed trees until I was 65 (when we took the grandchildren camping) so I guess I will have to revise my claim! What a treat to be with great grandchildren, and their being able to have fun with us and remember us when we are gone. John pushed their motorized car to get it going and they loved that. I love this verse in Proverbs, 17:6 "Children's children are a crown to the aged..." and that is so true. What joy.

In being aware of things to be thankful for, we had to go to the clinic to get me a shot as we left town Wednesday. The nurses were there bright and early to accommodate us as we were on our way. They are always so cheerful in such a strenuous job and in an atmosphere of pain and sadness sometimes.

Once when we stopped to change drivers at an exit, a young man stopped and asked if we were OK or needed help. What a nice thing for him to do.

We had dinner with another grandson and his wife and what another treat to be with the family we love so much.

Happy day after thanksgiving to everyone. I could not enjoy the food very much because my taste is not good, and this seems to be the worst of the side effects in this chemo. I make myself eat because I have to! But it sure does not mean much!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Come to me, all ye who are weary and burdened..."

Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus gives peace for those in need, in many ways... "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I saw many people today who were seeking rest "for their souls" and ever hopeful seeking a cure. We never give up wanting to find that cure! My oncologist today was even more excited about this chemo. He has been to seminars in Germany and New York this past week and everyone is feeling encouraged. I was there for 12 hours today, had a heart echo (doing OK), the infusion chemo (white cells were good) and kept going on the daily pill chemo. I have to go early tomorrow for a white cell shot (I never can remember the correct name). The long time is to obtain hourly blood to see how my body reacts to the chemo. The last draw was 7:23 pm then we came home!

I had many blessings today! My husband was willing to sit there all day and be so bored just to be with me! The doctors and nurses were so comforting and energetic, even though rushed so much trying to cram five days work into three days due to Thanksgiving holiday. They just do any thing to work out schedules for us if there is a conflict. They made a possible bad day into pretty good by their attitudes. I am ever thankful for prayers of family and friends. Every time I talk to someone they remind me of praying for me.

We will be so blessed to spend thanksgiving day with our granddaughter and her husband, and three greats. Then we will see a grandson and his wife the next day. No greater blessings than those. Give your burdens to God and have a blessed Thanksgiving Day! Love to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"...His faithfulness continues..."

This is another day of especially thinking about blessings (I should do it every day!!!) This was another almost summer-like day, with blue skies. I had more birthday greetings, and wonderful loving messages from friends. I am truly blessed by those who share their love and I feel very humble to be honored by these friendships.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues though all generations." Psalm 100: 4-5

I did more decorating, did several small trees, since we don't have a lot of room, I did three small 2 and 3 foot trees on a table and used the large shiny ornaments there. All these used to be on a large 8 foot tree. Of course, I have given away to family probably half our ornaments so what I have left is great on these small trees. I also have another 3 foot tree in our bedroom with my tea pot ornaments on it. And another with my cat ornaments on it. In the kitchen is another with the sheep on it. This sounds like a lot but consider I used to have about 7 large trees, one in every room. I had a cat, sheep, angel, snowman, bird and bird nests, and the largest shinny tree. So I really have cut way back! I do love Christmas (John does also) and this is our favorite time of year. I would be untrue if I did not have a tiny wonder of how I will be in a year. Will I be putting these ornaments up next year? But, last year, I was so sick I could not do very much, so this is a really better year! Thank you God for better health even if I have more tumors than last year. But, they are shrinking, so that is a blessing. Tomorrow is chemo day, so I will see what is going on a little more.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Shout for joy..."

Psalm 100:1-3 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know ye that the Lord, He, is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture."

Since it is nearly Thanksgiving Day, I decided I would be especially noticing and thankful for everything in my life. I should do this every day, but you know how life's busy-ness creeps in and keeps us (me) from being aware of each blessing and each wonderful happening each day.

Today, Sunday, had many blessings: friends at church, many asking how I am doing, many hugs (I will hug until the blood levels get low again or they tell me not to), still more belated birthday wishes, a young boy brought me his all day sucker from Sunday School and gave it to me for my birthday! He is a handsome young man of 7 years old and that meant alot! My sister came to church with us today and we had lunch out for her birthday (we are both November babies). Our "great" was here part of the day, and any time I am with her is a blessing. Our daughter and I did some yard work, and some decorating for Christmas. Being with her part of the day was a blessing. John and I are going to a grand daughter's for Thanksgiving and when we get home, it will be almost Christmas!

Oh my, how many blessings, without hardly trying to think of them! As far as chemo effects, same old, same old......but I really don't feel bad, just the ankle and hand swelling and the food taste are the worst things. But, a blessing that I can have treatment and look for a cure. God is good, "shout for joy!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"...the secret of being content---"

Philippians 4:12-13 tells us "---I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation---I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Today was my birthday and I have had a wonderful day! I had about 50 face book birthday greetings and over 20 cards sent. I cannot imagine anyone being this blessed! A grandson and our "great" came by, and all our grandchildren either called or emailed. I enjoyed the last of the wonderful warm days. They have got to end soon, and no more 70+ days. I got out some of the Christmas decorations and our son in law has to reach the rest for me. We got rid of so much when we moved but I kept as many Christmas things as I thought we could use. This is almost my favorite time of year, I love the decorating the house, cooking, having friends over, and even though my scale is smaller most of the time, we can use our daughter's part of the house sometimes and have larger groups.

I am still having the swollen feet and hands, and the cracked open fingers. I will go to the doctor on Tuesday and it will be interesting to see how they will want to handle this. Food tastes worse then ever and I may lose the weight I had gained back. Well we will see...meantime, I will be content!

Friday, November 19, 2010

" majestic is your name..."

"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens....when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and all the stars, which you have set in place....." Psalm 8:1-2,3.

About 8 years ago, John and I led a care group at our church. For about four years. we chose, as a group, to have a meal and a devotional four times a year at a truck stop in a town close to us. There were about 20 of us and we took food, decorated the tables, set us everything in the truckers' lounge, then the men went around the trucks parked in the lot and invited the men (and sometimes women or families) to have a meal and share the devotional and singing with us. We might have 40 or so there and good singing and those asking for prayer, and we really had a great time in these devotionals. One of our men goes on line and on the radio and holds daily devotionals for truck drivers.

One night, a man there, really seemed to need God in his life, and more help than we could give him. He asked me when we started our devotional time, if he could have my Bible, that he did not have one. We had no extras. I told him we did not have any more. He then asked for mine. This was my "special" Bible, it had gone to the Holy Land with me, it had all my notes and underlining in it. I could not give it away. Then a voice came in my head that said "it is only paper" and I replied, "but it is my special Bible". The voice again said, "You have Me and you can get another Bible". I then gave the truck driver my Bible and he cried. Yes, I did get another Bible and I have more notes in it. I often wonder if that Bible is thrown up in the back of a truck somewhere and if the man ever read it. I pray it will be read or be useful to someone someday.

We moved into a different care group, and the management at the truck stop have closed out the room for devotional purposes. We were there for about four years and maybe something good came from that.

Today, I have had more swelling in hands and feet. I looked back at my notes and this is a side effect of this chemo. I really hope my hands and feet do not stay like this. Because of the stopping the chemo last month, I had not taken this many days of the pill chemo, so this is the longest I have been on it, so causing this side effect. Of course, all "rat poison" is caustic! I pray it does some good...I would sure hate to go through this for nothing! But My God will not let that happen!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"I cry aloud to the Lord..."

One of my oldest dear friend's daughter (who was 45) was found dead this morning and this has been a sad day. The timing always seems wrong when a child dies before the parents. I can share the sorrow she feels, having lost a child.

God tells Jeremiah in 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." and Psalm 142:1 says "I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy..." and with God's help we get through whatever life holds for us.

One of my grandmother's (Daddy's mother) had a grandmother who was Cherokee. Her English name was Katherine Black. I would love to know what her Cherokee name was. I also wish I had the nerve to mark the little block that says "other" when you have to tell what "race" you are. I don't think that is really enough genes for me to be called "American Indian". However I do love the mountains!

There has not been very much side effects this week, but some ankle swelling,for which has never been found a reason! A friend brought me some hand cream which may be just the thing for these cracked fingers. Food taste got bad again today--why does it get better then worse? Tomorrow has to be a better day!I am praying for so many people and for so many situations. Our cousins who are missionaries in Turkey are home for a while (in Missouri) and we pray for their continued safety.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"...I know the plans I have for you..."

Another favorite Bible passage---Jeremiah 29:11-12 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you..."

I feel hopeful and like this cancer will go away. The more tragic (tragic to me) events in my life, the more I seek God and the more I look for verses of hope. I think of people and families who go through truly enormously tragic happenings that makes this look like nothing and I feel ashamed that I would think I am to be spared anything like this. Everyone goes through terrible things and many don't share it. I am not sure any family is truly functional. But maybe this is to draw me closer to God--because it surely has! Whatever the reason or result, I am in His hands!

Thinking of family happenings, when our oldest son was small, he had croup. Do babies still have croup??? Or is it called something else? Anyway, John's mother had a "recipe" for croup. You take "mutton suet" (fat meat from a lamb) and camphorated oil, warm it so they melt together and rub this on the baby's chest. If it gets worse, make a "tent" over a simmering kettle of water and sit under the tent with the baby. This is guaranteed to work! The baby will breathe easy and be out of danger.

The old time remedies had a lot of basis of today's remedies. My mother used to rub Vicks Salve on our chest and feet for a bad cold. I saw an ad talking about the same thing just the other day. What goes around, comes around! Last year at this time I was so sick from that chemo and from the effects that I could not enjoy anything for two months. I am much better feeling this year. Thanks be to God for this year and for feeling better!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"...we are being renewed..."

As we get excited about going to our granddaughter's for Thanksgiving, I think about two of the "great"s we will visit, and another one also, are named after one of my great grandmothers'. I have mentioned her before, not by name...she was Emmeline Chandler (maiden name). Her mother and her mother's first husband were married before the Civil War and he was killed during that war. All his brothers were also killed except one, and that one came home and married the widowed sister-in-law (like in the Bible!) Their first child was Emmeline. She grew up in southern Tennessee, and married my Daddy's grandfather. I have told about her before, how she went to Texas and back in a covered waggon, and I have a quilt she made. She died when I was about five years old, and I can remember her and a daughter living in a dog-trot cabin. She let me take a nap in a feather bed. I have a picture of Emmeline with my Grandmother, Mama and me when I was a baby. We had a family reunion down in the country several years ago and we met in a church the family had given land for. We also went by the log cabin Emmeline's parents lived in..her Father's name was Benjamin.I love knowing about family history. I will tell about another great grandmother another time.

This was a good day, health-wise, my hands are better, so apparently, the chemo-infusion is the part that affects my hands. It also does the bad taste to food, and that is better today. I get another infusion next Tuesday. I still have sore places on my face and arms, not like acne, but kind this much come from the daily chemo pill. I pray it is killing the cancer!

II Corinthians 4:16..."Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." I also pray that my faith and spiritual strength is renewed every day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A "crown to the aged..."

I think I am more tired than I was at first on this new chemo. I am experiences my face breaking out some. These are part of the list of many side effects. And of course, the food and water problem. I realize I do not drink enough but it tastes so bad---

We are going to spend Thanksgiving with one of our granddaughter's and her family. We see their three boys about three times a year and that is not enough! It will be so special to spend the day with them. One of my great desires is to have ALL our family together but that never happens--always someone cannot make it. So we see them in "pieces", but that is OK, as long as we see them.

All my life until I was about 40, we had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Grandma's--I never thought it would end! All the family was there and it was so wonderful. We always had the usual, typical dinner, and always boiled custard and coconut cake (fresh--where you cut the coconut into pieces and cut off the brown outside and grate the white inside. First, you used a hammer and nail to pierce the coconut and save the "milk" and this milk was poured over the white cake to make it moist. Then the grated coconut was put over the top of the white icing ( the cooked kind). Nothing was short-cut!

The boiled custard was cooked in a double boiler, but I use the same recipe and I can make it in the microwave. For a quart of milk, mix 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and three beaten eggs, which you "string" into warm milk, then microwave this 2 minutes at a time, stir in between each time, and when it gets a little thick, stop, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla and beat it up, cool in the refrigerator. Serve with whipped cream on top and as I told another time, our family always had a little pitcher of "vinegar" to add a little to the custard. (this vinegar was really whiskey but no one would ever say that--we always called it vinegar!)

So nothing is ever the same, but new traditions take the place of the old ones and being with these three "greats" will certainly be a wonderful new tradition! I have found this Bible verse before and love the idea--Proverbs 17:6 says "Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"to you, O lord, I will sing praise..."

This evening John and I attended a concert by one of my nurses at Sara Cannon. When we met I felt she was very special and quickly learned she is a christian with a very special gift. Her singing is wonderful and she gave her testimony and how God had rescued her from a secular life, and how her voice is now dedicated to God.
I was thinking tonight how we all have special songs that mean so much to us.

Our "great" is here tonight sleeping in "her room" in our daughter's part of the house. She and I and my daughter had fun sewing together, and our great is learning to sew. She is six and my daughter was a little older than that when she first started sewing. Tonight the three of us made a small quilt and the "great" put it on her bed and wrote a sign for the sewing room door "me, CC and BB shop" . Her mother used to help us sew and I would rock the great and sing "You are my sunshine" to her. She says she remembers it???

I remember Mama's favorite church song was "I come to the garden alone..." and Daddy's was "Angry Words" (Angry words, oh never from my lips depart...) a very old song. Grandma used to clean house or work in the yard and always singing a church hymn. John says he cannot remember his parents favorite hymns. I especially love the new songs that come from the Psalms, it is like singing the Bible.

Except for the food taste(awful) this has been a good day. Nothing that was too bad to deal with. I am praying for health and continued joy and peace.

"I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise." Psalm 101:1

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thank you God for watching over my life...

My daughter in law knitted me a tiny shawl--to remind me that I am "covered in prayer", to carry in my Bible or purse. What a precious gift. So many friends tell me or email me that I am being prayed for and this means so much. I have such a feeling of comfort and being enclosed in God's hands or arms and being cared for. I do not pray for myself enough. Is this something we are taught to do? I do not remember being taught to pray for me. Is that selfish? If it is, I pray God will forgive me for selfishness and I am praying for ME as I pray for others! We people are so weak and there are so many special needs right now. So many friends are suffering cancer, wrecks, new babies' needs, illnesses, heart problems, and all frailties known to mankind.

"The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your comings and goings both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8

My fingers are no better and hurt so badly. I have six open cracks on five fingers. Both thumbs are bad and it makes buttoning really difficult. I have just made myself eat, the past several days, but nothing tastes good. I am not complaining, just explaining. I am getting excited about decorating our new apartment for Christmas. I always had so much decorating and I had to really pare down, so this will be a challenge , fun to look forward to this.

Meantime, lots of sewing and work to do. I am so thankful I can work. I am thankful for strength. Thank you God for watching over me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills--"

I think we started traveling not too long after we married. We moved to Aiken, SC when our oldest son was a year old and of course we drove back and forth quite a bit to "home" here. While there for two years, we made "day" trips. The next three years we had two more children and started camping when our daughter was two and the boys were five and seven. We took trips to New England and to "follow the Mississippi River to Minnesota" the first two years of camping. The next year, I wanted to go to California and John said we could not afford it so I said I would get the money to go. I bought a sewing machine "on time" and took in sewing. The next year, I earned enough to go. We took three weeks and camped across the US and back, and all we spent was $500. Back then we could camp for $1 a night for four or us. We did not take Johny on that trip--he went to Easter Seal Camp that year.

Over the years, we camped in all but three states, but since then we have been in those states (Hawaii, Alaska and Utah). As the grandchildren came along we took them on camping and/or stayed in cabins on trips each summer. John and I have been to Europe four times, to the Holy Land, I have been to Japan, we have been on about 10 cruises and on five continents. I say that we never regret any trip we have taken but those we did not take. We have ridden the Orient Express from Paris to Vienna. We have taken a boat trip down the Rhine River. We have gone swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and had dinner in Monte Carlo. We sat in an amphitheatre where the apostle Paul once preached, We sat on the old temple steps in Jerusalem --- I sat there and ran my hand over the steps and thought how Jesus walked those actual steps!!!

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The battle belongs to the Lord......

Tonight at church, the lesson was nearly the end of a series on "being fearful". Talking about what we are afraid of, is amazing and as we women discussed it, we fear many things throughout the years. Getting older does not change the discussion and we older ones keep many of the same ideas as young women. Our class leader gave a comparison to fears of not having basic needs as being "battles" and God is our leader. He can win these battles for us. I had never thought of cancer being a battle but it is and it can fall under the heading of basic needs (food, shelter, health, money, jobs, safety, etc..). When we have cancer, we are in a battle for our lives and if God is in control of our lives then He is indeed our leader into battle.

II Chronicles 20:15 "This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out and face [them] tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'"

That is such a "wow" idea that when I let God take control of my life and I am in
this battle with cancer, He is leading this battle and tells me to not be afraid.

I think the eating problem is the worst of the side effects for this chemo. It is really a "taste" , or lack, and a feeling like my throat has been burned, keeping a raw feeling.

My friend Gene is sailing again and fishing again, so he is feeling so much better. Praise God for healing!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Be strong in the Lord..."

The CT was today, and because the last one was not that great, and I went a month with no chemo this time, I was a little worried, but "ye of little faith"...the scan was so good!!!I have been on cloud nine all day! Of the 12 tiny tumors on my liver, they test the two largest and these two had shrunk 1/3!!!Also, everything else was presented in a favorable way. I have been in prayer of thanksgiving all day. My oncologist hugged me three times and he was so excited, and said he thinks this is the right chemo, and he also said he is presenting a paper in New York next week about this particular drug combination.

I am still on the daily pill, and this is what gives me the bad side effects--- my fingers cracked, nausea, food tasting bad. Food having no good taste, is one of the worst . Water tastes bad. But, I have lots of energy, and that is good.

Ephesians 6:10, 18 says, " strong in the Lord and in His mighty power...and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests..."

Thank you for all the prayers, and thank God for hearing our prayers and giving John and me more days to be together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"We [are] like sheep..."

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6

I think cold weather reminds us of biscuits---and molasses! Our granddaughter asked for my biscuit is a little different from hers and she remembers eating my biscuits. A grandson also told his little girl about how I showed them to mix butter and molasses together to eat it on a biscuit. My grandpa showed me how to do that. Isn't family tradition wonderful! And nothing is much better than molasses and butter mixed and put on biscuits. (This is sorghum molasses, made from sugar cane) You can go to "craft fairs" in the fall and see mules tied to a circle and grinding the cane, then someone will put this green liquid into a large pot, boil it and it turns brown and makes this sorghum. When we had the B@B and I served sorghum, anyone from up north usually did not like this, and one man said "it looks like crank case oil"...they just did not know what they were missing. One man one time (northerner) said "what is a grit?" He was asking about grits for breakfast and had no idea what it was.
The grandchildren used to sit up on our butcher block and help roll out the biscuits. Aren't memories wonderful! Now they all are teaching their children how to make biscuits. I have some sorghum so guess I need to make some biscuits.

I love reading the book of Isaiah, especially the verses that describe Jesus' suffering and loving us.

Tomorrow is CT day--I am anxious to hear results. I can feel God's healing and answered prayers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"You have set your glory above the heavens..."

Well John and I had a wonderful cold time at the beach! But, we were together, we ate good seafood, we walked (which he cannot do here on our hills), and we "hung out". One of the evenings as we were finishing dinner, the waitress asked if "you want your check or just hang out for a while?" John said, to me, "what is hanging out?" (My wonderful husband does not always catch on to younger ways of talking or acting) I told him for us to just sit and talk, etc....and he said we always do that, but he did not know that is what "hanging out" meant! We had a good laugh over that. Because there was a cold wind this week at the beach, we did do alot of hanging out in stores, especially book stores, and everyday we would laugh about hanging out!

I had some reactions to the chemo on last Tuesday--sore teeth, some breaking out on my face and arms, some nausea...all expected but nothing bad enough to keep me from having fun. Our son and daughter in law came and spent two days with us and we had a great time just sitting and talking. Our place we stayed was overlooking the ocean and the water was incredibly beautiful--all green, blue, dark blue, waves, just made you want to run and jump in! So we sat in the sun and looked at the water and dreamed of warmer days when we would have run out and jumped right in!

Psalm 8:1-6-8... says, "O, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens....You have made [man] ruler over the works of your hands...the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the sea..."

Seeing all this beauty reminded me always of God's wondrous being and man's being here to enjoy all God has made. I am renewed and amazed at how God is taking care of me, and my being alive. This Tuesday I have a CT (unexpected) amd it will be exciting to see what it shows. John and I are so blessed and thankful, each day, as we start our 59th year together.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"...You will fill me with joy..."

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, and eternal pleasures at Your right hand." Psalm 16:11 This is another beautiful psalm that is a song of praise, both in the Bible and in a song today.

Today was quite a day, an eight hour day...blood draws, then steroid infusion, then chemo, white cell shot (even though it is up to normal!!!). Last of all, I got my flu shot. I feel very full of all meds and because of steroids, not sleepy at all. I also started the chemo daily pill again.

John's eye is better, and if he had to hurt one eye, thank goodness it was his bad eye. He is using eye salve four times a day and the pain is about gone.

Today was our 58 wedding anniversary and there was really no celebrating, but we are leaving for a little trip tomorrow and that will be our celebration. We are going to Florida for four days and really looking forward to being restful and walking on the beach. I hope that atmosphere will help my painful knees and hands, arthritis like pains from the chemo. My cracked fingers are better but I wonder if that will reoccur with the chemo again today. My doctor was very encouraging and just knows this chemo is the "right one"! I pray he is right. Anyway, I will be joyful and looking for good things each day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"A friend loves at all times..."

John was working in his shop and got a tiny, tiny spec of sawdust in one eye...he was miserable last night and we were at his eye doctor's this morning and the doctor removed this could hardly see it but it sure did hurt--all night! So he has salve and hopefully it will be normal in a day or so...and John can sleep tonight.

We did our every first Monday night of each month with three other couples, with whom we have met for dinner for 34 years! We all got to know each other when us "girls" were at the same school, three of us as teachers and one as the secretary. We were at the same table for the end of school banquet and had such fun, we decided to meet regularly and we have. One couple has moved out of state and we used to meet halfway every so often for dinner. We have seen children grow up, grandchildren born, parents pass away, tragedies that happen in families, illnesses, jobs change, moving to new homes, and most of us retired now, and the neatest thing is our ages range over 30 years apart. We have had such fun over these years. Along the way, one of the girls and I found out we are distant cousins. We share the same great-great grandmother for her, and great grandmother for me. Isn't life fun!
Proverbs has several comments about friends--17:17 says "A friend loveth at all times.." and 18:24 says "there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

Tomorrow is chemo day ( I hope) since it has been put off for over a month. I feel like tumors are growing all the time...I don't know that for a fact, just wondering...anyway, if I am going to do it, let's get on with it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"His good purpose..."

Yesterday, our "great" was here and we raked leaves and she jumped in them...what fun! (I remembered how Daddy would rake big piles of leaves and we would swing really high in our rope swing and jump out into the leaves! )As usual she ate breakfast with us this morning...she always does then goes to church with her grandparents (our daughter and son in law) we were talking about family kin and it is difficult for a 6 year old to be able to know who is what kin in the family. She got most of it right, except my sister (her great aunt)...she did not know that is my sister. We found an old picture of us as children and "great" was amazed at us being little, etc.

I had to get a repairman come to work on the sewing machines yesterday. He lives in Westmoreland. I told about my aunt and uncle who (he was a stationmaster for the railroad in Westmoreland)used to lived next door and part of the time would live in Westmoreland. A few years ago the town moved the old train station and part of it ended up built onto this repairman's house. What a coincidence!!!Actually his parents lived there then he bought the house and has lived those 40 years. Where in the world would I meet someone who lived in that train station!!! Now, we have got to go there and see that house. It is sad when old buildings are torn down. There is a parking lot there now where the train station used to be.

Our preacher today talked about contentment, and how we can look for "God's good" in every situation. Philippians 2:13 says "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."

Friday, October 29, 2010

"The earth is the Lord's..."

John and I drove to Franklin and Leepers Fork today, and came back through part of the Natchez Trace. The leaves were prettier there than anywhere we have been. This is south of Nashville. The original Natchez Trace went from Nashville to Natchez, Miss.and was used by settlers who would carry goods down the Mississippi River and come back up the Trace. It was a wild and dangerous place back in the 1800's. Gradually the trace fell into disuse and was just about gone, but then was "found again" and today's Trace follows part of the original walkway. You can get off the road and see the old trace in various places. The waggon ruts are three feet deep in some places. When I was small there was a huge tree in Centennial Park that had a spring next to it, and at one time there was an Inn there and it was the beginning of the Natchez Trace. Now the tree is gone, no part of the spring or inn remains (I guess it is long covered in roads) and a historical sign tells about this old road. There is a city street called Natchez Trace here in Nashville but it ends after a couple of miles, then there is no trace until you get about 15 miles out past the county line then the new Trace starts and a bridge is a unique double arched bridge It is unbelievably tall and goes through a deep valley close to Leepers Fork.

We met two special people today..part of my recognizing special happenings each day! While shopping in Franklin (got to shop) the lady who helped me shared that she had lost her husband to leukemia 15 years ago. She has now married a minister and moved here from Birmingham. She was so special and said she would pray for me. What a blessing to meet someone you do not know and have a sharing like that. Then when we stopped at the bridge we met a family who has moved here from Wisconsin and they have five children, one of whom nearly died from leukemia and one of the sisters gave her bone marrow and saved her life. This family shared this with us, and told how they love being in Tennessee and what prayer meant to their family. Another blessing today to meet such a family!

So this was a special day, in people we met and beauty of landscape we saw. My knees are still sore and swollen and my fingers are incredibly sore but we still had a good day.

Psalm 24:1 says "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;..."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"You are forgiving and good, O God..."

A friend wrote me to tell how she handles problems and troubles. She has a notebook and tries to list any GOOD happening during a day...not all the time, but much of it. Example, when a car lets you in front, when a stranger smiles and says "hello", when a rainbow appears, just beautiful happenings through a day. What a neat idea!!!

When I list my bad things, I hope you don't think I am being negative all the time. I am telling what is going on and what the cancer or chemo is doing to me. BUT, I
DO focus on the negative mostly, and I need to also tell about the good things along the way. SO, my friend gave me a lovely idea ,to list good along with the bad .

So, today, besides the bad, the swelling in my feet and legs, the sore knees, the cracked fingers, and no hair---The trees are lovely red, gold and orange. John and I drove into the country and saw these trees, several log cabins rebuilt by homes, streams, and decorations. We were in a store and talked to a couple who had decided to retire here (from Chicago). Last week we got to talking to some who had retired here from California. So, it seems we live in a much admired area. We think there is not much better place than middle Tennessee. And my number one nice/good things of today is having my husband who loves me bald or with hair. He says he is "married to two women".

God loves us no matter what He is "abounding in love to all who call on [Him]. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy." Psalm 86: 5-6

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Be joyful always; pray continually;..."

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I got my head shaved knees are stiff and fingers are still cracked open...all of this is side effects of chemo.

I can pray but it is difficult to give thanks, but I am trying.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"if God is for us, who can be against us?"

" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. .....What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:28-29, 31

I opened my Bible and this is where it fell open, and I had already marked this passage and read it it seemed to be my verses for tonight. Today was doctor day, blood is up some, almost to the point of receiving chemo, white cell count at 1.1 (normal starts at 2) and I can receive chemo at 1.5 so next week should be the time to start back. I do not have to be as careful and we ate out today!!! They will reduce the dosage amount next week (and for others also) as it seems to be too strong. That is why they call this "experimental". I really think it is exciting to be part of this experimenting...what if a great cure is discovered? What if my cure is discovered??? My fingers are cracked open but getting better, my skin has blood spots, like bruises, caused by the low white cells. Most of my hair is gone and will be gone after next weeks chemo. I am so thankful for cards from friends, for phone calls and for caring shown to us.

My friend Gene (in Florida) called today and he is feeling so good, he got to go fishing last week, and is going back to work some ,and is feeling so good. He is able to eat more, not normally yet, but enough to gain some. He, like I, thank God every day for life, for family and for friends. We thank God for wonderful doctors, for things we take for granted. And, being human, live from "scan to scan".

Monday, October 25, 2010

"What does the Lord require ..."

"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
Another day of just doing busy things getting ready for tomorrow. Our grandson came by, back from his honeymoon, and was shocked to see me with almost no hair. I don't wear a wig around the house. I seem to have many sentence prayers all though the day. I feel so "living because God is permitting me to" each day--as if this time is so special and I need to do something special but don't know what that would be. I want to hold on to each day but they slip away so fast.

More memories---Occasionally Daddy would buy unclaimed boxes or luggage from some storage business. Once ,he got a box full of old pictures, letters and embroidery, pieces of fabric and thread, all really old. He gave me part of this and I tried to trace any relative using the family name and calling post offices from the area. The town in the letters no longer exists and I tried to call all those family names listed in the phone directory. I called museums from that area but never found anyone who had any relative by those names. How sad! Someone loved those family members and treasured that embroidery. The one special piece,I had framed and now I treasure this. Back about 150 or even 200 years ago all girls learned to sew and embroidery by making a "sampler", using many creative ways to sew the alphabet and numbers and often a poem, and their name and date. This sampler I have has three rows of alphabets, one unfinished. There is a row of numbers , a few unfinished pictures around the sides, maybe trees or flowers. The fabric is very fine, small thread count linen. A few letters at the lower edge are possibly her name, not finished.

The poem is: "O I must remember that I am born to die for lifetime is not forever for beauty must decay and my poor body lie moldering in the clay"
Isn't that morbid? Those years ago so many children died young, I guess they expected such. I would date this sampler at about 200 years ago because at that time, our alphabet had no "J", only 25 letters, and this alphabet shows that. Some history books say that "I" and "J" were used interchangeably then.

Christmas is two months away---I am not ready!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

" God will hear me."

" for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

Almost all my hair has fallen out. The other times, I have gone and had my head shaved before this stage. I just pull on it each day and more falls out and I put it in the trash, so it is nearly gone. The worst part is waking up in the morning with hair on the pillow and in my mouth...ptouey.....(or whatever).

We went to church today, went late and left just before it was over so I did not have much chance to talk or shake hands, and no hugging. I feel so isolated and out of the bunch of friends at church, I miss Sunday School and friends there. I miss talking to everyone walking through the halls and atrium. I miss hugs and seeing how everyone is. I just miss life as it normally is. Will I ever have a normal life anymore? Sorry for my "pity party" but I do have to think about these things sometimes. Also, my fingers have cracked open in 5 places...they really hurt, especially if I hit them against something.

As I go to sleep, naps or night, I say the "Lord's Prayer", sometimes falling asleep as I say it. It has become my comfort zone for me. I put the Prayer Shawl over me that the friend made for me. I wish I could learn to crochet and make those. I tried but did not do very well. I need to try again.

I am not much good tonight, just rambling, counting days until Tuesday and FINALLY some decision may be made about do we or don't we do this chemo!!!

So, God, please hear me, I "wait for God, my Savior".

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Sing to the Lord..."

Grandma's sister and her husband lived next door to John and he grew up always knowing them. This is the aunt my cousin and I visited often and how John and I a got to know each other the summer I was 16. Uncle Frank was a railroad man and he worked part time in a small town about 40 miles away, Westmoreland. He was the stationmaster there and they would live there part time. My cousin and I would ride the Trailways bus up there and stay for a week in the summer. We had such fun--Aunt Clara had no children and she would let us rearrange her kitchen, and play like her apartment was our play house. When she was "home" here, we would visit there.
Uncle Frank's parents were from Scotland and he also had a Scottish brogue, which made him very unique. When they died, my mother inherited some pieces of furniture from them, some of which I still have and love to think these things came from Scotland. There is an oval mirror with gold flowers and leaves all around the sides, and a 2 drawer low chest that looks like it possible had a top half, like a desk top. We had one of Uncle Frank's rail road chairs which one of our grandson's has now.
They played croquet all summer (rook in the winter) like all the "sisters" did. I have talked about the sisters before. Uncle Frank had one of the short mallets that "pro"'s would use and he always "played for blood". He and John were great partners. They had lights in the yard and would play til midnight. If they played on a Saturday night, Aunt Clara would not play past midnight, because it was the "Lord's day". They never had children but loved all us cousins. They helped raise another cousin and really wanted John to marry her, but he had other ideas!
John and I lived in a small house behind his parents before we built our house. When our oldest son was little, "Clara" was one of his first words.
Aunt Clara had a way of "saying what was on her mind" as did several of the sisters. John and his best friend were seeing them and the friend had a great tan, and she said "Jack, you look sick". She once said she though visiting the sick was her gift. She did so once and said, "I know someone who had what you do and they died" . I am not so sure about that gift!
But, they were very special part of the family and we always enjoyed being with them, and living close to them.

Well today was another blood draw day, and my white cells are inching up, way below normal but going the right direction. I can leave the house with caution now. I went to art class last night and wore a mask. My hair is falling fast and is about half gone (thin) and I got another wig today. My old one was five years old and getting kind of sad looking.

Isaiah 12:2 and 5 says, "The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." and "Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things...:
He truly is my strength. I honestly feel very good most of the time, not sick or weak. That is a miracle!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"...the Spirit helps us..."

Same song, second verse...daughter is still sick. John fixed his famous oatmeal for her breakfast today. He only cooks one thing and oatmeal is it! I still cannot eat out, etc, etc...More blood test Friday morning so hopefully I will be better. Meantime, hair is falling out more. I got my wig out. When you lose hair, your head gets really sore. When a little more comes out I will go get a crew cut. When winter gets here, your head gets really cold at night. Then I feel sorry for bald headed men (like John) and how their heads must be cold all winter! I do not feel sick, and have a lot of energy. It is hard to believe my blood is that low.

I went to church tonight and sat in a corner in our class, so I would not touch anyone..we had a visiting guest speaker who talked (among a lot of other things) about the indwelling Holy Spirit, and how the Spirit prays for us when we do not know what to pray for. I am at that stage now in which I continue to know God is in control and I feel in such a quandary about this off-again-on-again chemo. Is this one not the right one for me? I know God will not let me get into a harmful situation so what is waiting for me? I don't know what to pray for so I trust the Holy Spirit is praying for the perfect chemo for me, a healing chemo for me. Selfishly I ask God for more days on this earth to be with John and family .

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

" refuge and my fortress..."

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust." " Psalm 91:1-2

When I got to the oncologist today, they told me I had to get a heart Echo, because someone in this study had a serious heart problem and they are testing people to see if this shows up anywhere else. There is something between the lines here because I asked if I would get to resume this chemo next week (because my white cells are still too low for this week) and the nurse said "not sure". She said the doctor would talk to me about it next week. So I had the first infusion October 5, and took 6 of the daily pills then had to stop and here we are---in limbo. AND, my hair is falling out, started yesterday! I don't know what we will do next, and is the cancer growing while we do nothing? and can my body not stand any more chemo? I just have no blood defense for infection. I am very frustrated and trying to KNOW this must not be what I need. God is my refuge! Meantime, still no eating out, no salads, no fresh fruits, only cooked food. I want an apple so bad!!! And I have to go get blood checked again in three days--sure wish the white cells would get better!

Adding to all of this, our daughter is very sick, with bronchitus (she wore herself out preparing for the wedding) and is in bed with fever and I cannot take care of her. I have to stay in our apartment, away from her! I did fix her some soup and John took it to her.

I feel like we are living in a soap opera!
Please God, empty my soul of despair and fill it with your hope and goodness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Lord is good..."

Lamentations 3:25-26 " The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

Yesterday morning at 7 we went to the hospital for my blood drawing and did not stay for results. At noon, we left for the wedding at a park an hour from here. Everything was so family-oriented, and just wonderfully sweet. Our grandson and his wife wrote their vows and both were in tears as they said them. John did such a great job as being their minister and we were all proud that he could see his papers well enough to not falter on the ceremony. I had typed what he was to say in very, very large font and he taped this to sheets of paper and it worked very well.
There were 75 here for food and just being together. The chefs did a great job and all was so good with an outdoor elegance in the deep blue skies, golden leaves and all the pumpkins and flowers everywhere--the reds, golds, and greens of flowers and ribbons was perfect. I was very careful to not touch anyone, and have my food come from the kitchen and not off the buffet.

My nurse called this morning and said the white count was up slightly (going the right direction) and that I could go to the grocery. I felt like I was in "house arrest" for the last three days. Tomorrow is day for the oncologist and see what he has decided to do next... maybe give me a lower dose of chemo and continue this treatment. In one week (at three weeks from the first dose) I can get a "white cell shot". A friend says I sound more positive "talking" than on this blog. I do not want to act like I am depressed because I am not, but I maybe tell more of my feelings here than when talking to someone. I really hate to talk about me so much, but I know friends want to know what is going on. So maybe tomorrow we will find out more---I say this alot, don't I?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We have been getting ready for the wedding all day. My sister and daughter's friend did the cupcakes---strawberry with white cream icing, and chocolate with chocolate icing, and tiny pearl beads hand-sprinkled over the top of each cupcake...just elegant! The groom's cake is chocolate with strawberry filling and chocolate icing. The chefs came tonight and put four pork roasts in our over for overnight cooking...they smell wonderful. They will be here preparing the food from about 11 tomorrow and dinner is at 4:00.

John and I ironed about a dozen large tablecloths for the outdoor tables and the buffet tables. A friend was here ALL day doing the flowers-- rust colored calla lilies, deep orange roses, white hydrangeas and ivy for all to carry ,decorate the tables, the gate to the back and the front mailbox... all of these have ivy green ribbons.

John is going with me for the blood test at 7:30 in the morning, then we leave for the wedding about noon. I felt pretty good today but got weak this afternoon. We will know on Tuesday what is next.

This is again one of my favorite psalms...." Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O, my soul, and forget not all His benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm I pray and trust for God to heal and take care of me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"...In the day of my troubles I will call on You..."

I went to Sarah Cannon this morning for blood work and my white cell level was even lower. The nurse said it was "deathly low" and that I could not withstand any infection. I cannot eat out, go in crowds, eat any raw foods (salads, fruits) even those fixed at home. I cannot go to church Sunday but I can go to the wedding which is outdoors. I cannot eat the buffet dinner here...because someone could have breathed on the food. I will have the chef fix me a plate before putting the food out. I go to Centennial Hospital Sunday morning early for blood work to see what the level is by then. I am to wear a mask in the hospital Sunday morning. If it is still low, they can lower the experimental chemo to lesser strength on Tuesday when I go for regular blood draw. I personally think this is "Custer's last stand" because I think my body is worn out with the chemo... not my mind, but my body. So I pray I can take a lower dose and it will work and kill the cancer cells just like it is killing my good cells!

I know I am repeating myself about all the happenings, sorry about that...I am kind of in shock about being this "sick".

"You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my troubles, I will call on you, for you will answer me." Psalm 86:5-7

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"...His love endures forever..."

Day 10 (or not) since I have not had the chemo pill since Monday, but today food tasted pretty good again. I go tomorrow for blood work and see if everything came back up toward normal, I guess I will start back on the pill. I am still on the antibiotic, which so far has not been any bad side effects. Antibiotics do not like me and I have a difficult time finding one that my body can tolerate. My mouth is still sore, lips tender, teeth sore from the chemo. I have such mixed feelings about all of this. If I feel this bad, will there ever be any days to feel good in between the "every three weeks port infusion"? I know I have to either do this or give up. I am not ready to give up.

Gene, my friend in Florida called today. He is the one who had the esophageal cancer. He is eating again, not totally normal but much better. He is gaining a little weight and really sounds good. He like me, lives from "scan to scan" to see if there is any cancer there. His doctor says he is cancer free for which everyone is so thankful and so elated. Those are words every cancer patient longs to hear.
Tonight we got to go hear the Nashville Symphony play Gershwin. The grand finale was "Rhapsody in Blue" and the chance to hear this was just tremendous. I was told to avoid crowds and not to touch anyone. We had wonderful seats in a box and "no one coughed around us" so I think I was safe. I really wanted to go and so we did! Today was another wonderful gift from God, as every day is!

"Give thanks to the Lord ,for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"He is my fortress..."

I had not thought about sweet potato pie in ages...the Southern Living magazine for November has a recipe for that...It is much like sweet potatoes you put in a casserole only in a pie shell with meringue on top.
Grandma used to make fried sweet potatoes and she cut them into thin long slices, and let them fry in a skillet of Lard? or Crisco? and when they were crisp, drain them on a paper towel and sprinkle sugar on top. They were so good. and then she would use partly this same type of potatoes in a pie shell, bake it with the slices of potatoes and later meringue on top. Either way, sweet potato pie is so good.

This is day 9 but no chemo on day 8 or 9, and none tomorrow...Friday we will see how my blood is.They were sure correct when they said days 7-10 would be my worst days for low blood counts. So far, no temperature yesterday or today. My gums and teeth are sore. I remember that from the first chemo (cisplatin). I think being on the antibiotic kept me from being worse and/or having a deep infection. I really don't feel that bad, kind of tired. And the same, food tastes awful syndrome!
Maybe tomorrow will be better! Of course, I did not go out of the house today.

Psalm 62:1-2 "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken,"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

" and night I cry out before you..."

Well, I did see "how it goes"!!! My white cell level is lower than low...I am now on a broad spectrum antibiotic to prevent pneumonia and worse. My red blood was very low also and I got a red cell shot. I am to stay away from anyone sick, not eat out at restaurants, call if I have any fever at all, and generally avoid everyone, especially anyone who is sick. This is going to be tough with the wedding this weekend, so I will be in a corner somewhere. I did not think I felt this bad???Maybe I do. I know I push always to do and not just sit around so I really don't know if I am sick or not!!! Anyway, I go back Friday for more blood tests and see if there is any improvement. I have lost another pound, going the wrong direction! I had a crock pot of vegetable soup waiting for us tonight and that really did taste of the few things that has. I am in such hope for this chemo to work, but I have to be able to take it---for it to work!

Psalm 88:1-2 "O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry."

Monday, October 11, 2010

" Him be glory..."

I noticed, the blog title says (during my fourth cancer episode)...since I started this blog, there have been two more episodes at least. We counted up and this is #6 chemo (or #7) if you count the start by itself. I have been at Sarah Cannon Center since fall of 2006 and had four major surgeries since fall of 2006. We did our usual "every 4-5 months" seeing our primary physician, Dr. He thinks I am doing great and said I am "tough". Dr. G. thinks the fact that I have not had the tumor fevers since this chemo started might mean that this chemo is working! He and I agreed that we are on this earth doing God's will and he as well as all my doctors is a christian. I would have a tough time with a doctor who was not a "believer in Jesus and trusting God for daily sustenance". Yesterday day 6 and today day 7 were and are similar days, some nausea, some dizzy spells, little desire for food and the horrible taste of water. I really need to drink but oh my that taste! Yet with all this, I still thought it would be worse than this. It may yet be worse. At church yesterday, I was at arm's length not hugging anyone, I am in the neutropenia time period when I am the most vulnerable for infection. I go for labs tomorrow and see how it is all going.

"How to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20-21