praising

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This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

For almost a year we have been taking our youngest child to doctor’s appointments for what began as a UTI that kept coming back.  Because of the UTI, we were sent to a specialist and learned (after tests) that by the age of five, she had a large amount of kidney stones in her right kidney.  She endured an 8 hour robotic surgery in January to have them removed, then another procedure a month later in which she was asleep for 2 hours to remove the stent they had placed and to check to make sure every stone was indeed gone (they were).

A month or so later, during an ultrasound follow up visit, we were told she had hydronephrosis of that same kidney, which may or may not have occurred because of the stone removal surgery.  However, two of the doctors had also been questioning why that kidney ended up with so much stone and believed that she had an intermittent blockage and/or kink in the ureter.  So we went for more tests.  The MAG-3 (in which she was put to sleep) showed that the right kidney was at 14% function, while the left was at 86%.  We also learned from another test that she had reflux on that same side.  Therefore, another robotic surgery was necessary, to remove the part of the ureter that showed the blockage.  She had this surgery, which was about 6 hours long, on July 6.

A month later, we went in for another “magical sleep” so that she could have the stent removed which was in place after the surgery in July.  While talking to us afterwards, the doctor was optimistic, but very cautious, with her report– leading my very vivid imagination to imagine the worse (although hoping, in a very small degree, for a good outcome).

We got a call two days ago telling us that the doctor who performed Sarah’s surgeries had  left the hospital to pursue a private practice and I was absolutely floored.  We had formed an attachment to her and I never dreamed she would “vanish”.  I almost cancelled the follow up appointment because I didn’t want to see a doctor that was unfamiliar with our case.  There was an opening for next week with another doctor that we’ve seen many times before, but I was so anxious for the results of the appointment that I decided to go ahead with the unfamiliar Doctor.

It turned out for the best (God) because low and behold this Doctor had indeed been there for us–the very first time we had walked in the doors of the medical center with the “UTI” issues.  Although I did not remember her, she remembered us.  We had come full circle because this time, instead of passing us along to the Surgeon, she was able to give us much better news.

THE KIDNEY LOOKS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She wasn’t able to see all the images from radiology, (which was the first time she had this “glitch”), but with shining eyes she showed us the one image she had — and also shared with us the words from the Radiologist who had studied ALL the images, “It looks so much better”.

I spent the rest of yesterday exhausted from so many months of anxiety suddenly gone.  Happily, tearfully, radiantly, thankfully, exhausted.  After the appointment, Sarah and I went, as is our habit, straight to the gift shop and the cafeteria right there in the hospital.  Then we went shopping at the mall where she selected things with sparkles and glitter on them.  We held hands.  I texted Rich, Mom, and Dave to give them the report, but I didn’t proclaim anything from the rooftops (so to speak) because the Doctor had said she would call me after she had seen the rest of the images, and depending on how she thought things looked we would be back in a month or three months.

She just called.

Everything looks great and we don’t have to go back for three months.

Everything really does look great!!!!!!!!!!!!!

((Will Sarah get another kidney stone?  Probably.  She is definitely a “stone maker” but with the kidney draining properly she is more likely to pass them before they get to be a big huge problem like last year.  She’s drinking a lot more and they also told us to give her an orange a day.))  

Sarah was nothing but a bouncing bubbling little girl after her appointment.  She’s only six but she knows happy news when she hears it.

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I’ve been taking photos of these early fall days;

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shades of light pink and deep pink

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The whiteness in the berry cluster in the middle is a spider’s nest….what a nice place to live.

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mushroom

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brown moccasins & wool socks

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the stream is low and shines like a mirror

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Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

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Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

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another creature home; is your door surrounded by lovely green moss?  I wish mine was!

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orange rainbows on a dead log

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food for the birds

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chickadee on a sunflower

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Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

this is my story
this is my song
praising my Savior
all the day long

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“He who gives you the day
will also give you the things necessary for the day.”
Gregory of Nyssa

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God’s earth day

“….He did good by giving you

rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,

satisfying your hearts

with food

and gladness.”  Acts 14:17

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Earth day.  A day to thank God over and over for this amazing created world that He made from words….beginning with these….”and God said…let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

LIGHT is my personal word to study and meditate on this year.  Every year in January I wait for the Lord to impress upon my mind and soul a particular word (it’s so much easier that way).  LIGHT came to mind and wouldn’t go away, so LIGHT it was.  And let me assure you, the study has been marvelous so far.  The Bible and Christian resources, books, hymns, are full of this wonderful word.

The Light of the World is Jesus

The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No darkness have we
Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light
When we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Ye dwellers in darkness
With sin blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding,
And light will arise.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No need of the sunlight
In Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light
In the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!

CHORUS:

Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

It’s nice to sing “The light of the world is” and then point to your child and let them sing “JESUS!”

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Before I remembered that it was in fact Earth day, Sarah and I meandered our way outdoors and found a pair of mallard ducks in the stream.  They come every year at this time so we are old friends, however they are always shy of us.  We sat by the edge of the stream in the sunshine and tried to be still and quiet.  Sarah had a very hard time with the quiet part.

“I want to be a duck.”
“Everybody should be ducks, right mom?”
“I’m the girl duck.”
“Mom look at this stick!  Can I pick it?”
“I don’t like dirt.”
“I hear a plane.”
“Where are my ponies??”  (she was carrying around My Little Ponies)
“Mom, there’s a spider on you.”
“Let’s sit here and wait until they swim in the pipe.  Can I go through the pipe sometime?  Seth went through the pipe.  I want to go through the pipe.”
“Can I throw this stick in the water?”

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Sherlock our cat was watching them with us.

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Look how funny they are with their bottoms up in the air at the same time.  Notice the pipes, we waited and waited and in fact they looked as if they really would take the tunnel through to the other side of the road.  But do you know what those silly ducks did?  They got out of the stream and waddled across up on the road, on dry land.  First the Male went, waiting and looking carefully for cars, and then walking softly and throwing himself in the stream on the other side.  The Female slowly went up the bank and stood there nervously until her mate started quacking in impatience.  Only then did she rouse herself and cross.  “Ker plop” we heard her join her husband.  Sarah and tiptoed over to see.

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Man duck stood proudly on a rock, the lady duck was there, but hidden in the water.  She seemed to enjoy the faster water and would go completely under.  Soon our motions made them nervous and up they flew.

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They flew all the way over to the pond, so we followed them again.  Parker the dog was barking at them, too.

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I got comfortable on the dock in the sunshine while Sarah climbed pine trees.  I saw a pair of cardinals and some other little birds.

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It was getting to be lunch time so Sarah and I went over to see if there were eggs before going in the house for lunch.

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There were two lovely smooth eggs, I put one in each jacket pocket.  Billy came over to say hello.

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And we saw the first of the violets.  For all the February babies like myself and friend Cynthia.

“He himself gives to all mankind life life and breath and everything.  And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God,  in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him.  Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:26

hello on a wednesday

 

 

 

H E L L O

1.  The colors are bright and beautiful here.  I’m pretty sure we are at peak now, color-wise.  It is sad to think that very soon the trees will be bare, so we are taking every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beauty while it lasts.  I love this time of year.  The colors are my favorites; eggplant purple, dark blue, pumpkin orange, dark red.  A wardrobe in these colors, please.

2.  A picture of Sarah Joy, from a year ago. 

3.  Thousands of leaves in the woods; this one got photographed.

4.  I went to a new Bible study this morning.  IT WAS AWESOME, and I thank my sister for inviting me.  I can’t wait to go again next week.  If you are looking for a group to join, you can click the link to see if there is a Community Bible Study meeting near you. 

5.  Last year, I was walking constantly, trying to rid myself of an awful depression that had taken hold.  On one of those many walks, I noticed a big leaf falling from the sky and impulsively tried to catch it, and did!  It felt so good to do something playful.  I think it was the first leaf I ever caught from the sky.

6.  Anthropologie display picture; I loved the children’s chalkboard (by the arm chair)…this store is full of eye candy.

7.  Anthropologie is selling a new style egg crate; look at those colors!  I’m looking forward to when my flock of hens starts to lay eggs for me.  I miss fresh eggs.  Also, I looked through the cookbook and would like to get it someday.

8.  Sweet, quirky fun for Seinfeld fans.  click here

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This old hymn is in my heart today:

“I’ve Found a Friend”

I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him;
And round my heart still closely twine those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine, forever and forever.

I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He bled, He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life, but His own Self He gave me!
Naught that I have mine own I call, I’ll hold it for the Giver,
My heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever.

I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! All pow’r to Him is given,
To guard me on my onward course, and bring me safe to heaven.
The eternal glories gleam afar, to nerve my faint endeavor;
So now to watch, to work, to war, and then to rest forever.

I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender,
So wise a Counselor and Guide, so mighty a Defender!
From Him who loves me now so well what power my soul can sever?
Shall life or death, shall earth or hell? No! I am His forever.

-James Small, 1863

 

 

 

Sun of my soul,

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Thou Savior dear,

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It is not night if Thou be near;

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O may no earth-born cloud arise

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To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.  ~John Keble, “Sun of My Soul” (a hymn)

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Walking in Sunlight, all of my journey, Over the mountains, through the deep vale;

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Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,” Promise divine that never can fail.

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Heavenly sunlight, Heavenly sunlight, flooding my soul with glory divine;

Hallelujah!  I am rejoicing, singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

~H.J.Zelley, “Heavenly Sunlight” (another hymn)

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Some creatures delight to warm themselves in the sun, but oh, what a pleasure it is to sun ones self in the presence of Christ. Never mind how little I am, how nothing I am, how vile I am, how foul I am; all I am he has taken to himself, and all he has belongs to me. I sin, but he has taken all my sin: he is righteous and all his righteousness is mine. I am feeble, he is mighty; his mightiness is mine, I wrap myself in his omnipotence. Christ is all and Christ is mine. Why, I utterly fail when trying to talk about such things as these; talking is but stuttering on such a theme. Faith must enjoy rather than express her delight. Come, plunge ye all into this sea of sweetness, dive deep into this abyss of happiness—Christ Jesus is yours for ever and for ever. The sun is very great but it is all for me, and Christ is very bright and glorious, but he is all my own.

~Charles Spurgeon

 

It is winter-time cold outside, the ground is snow-covered, the air is crisp.  I went outside yesterday for a power-walk with my Ethan, and by the end, my lungs were hurting from breathing in the cold.

To survive the winter blues, I’ve been trying to focus on the SUN.  It shines through the windows of my home, and lifts my spirits.

I am fine, but tired, and so busy that my patience wears thin

I want to be loving.  I want my home to be peaceful. 

All of the thousands upon thousands, of motherly little acts (wiping noses, correcting misbehavior, baking and cooking, cleaning, running errands, encouraging cranky children, fixing hair, doctoring almost broken toes, finding homework, pacifiers, socks, and missing library books, spoon feeding the baby, etc) that we as mothers do each day, those things are bodily and spiritually exhausting and sacrificial……..leaving me so weak that all I can do, is admit in tears, I can’t be a mom, I just can’t be anything really, without the power and strength of Christ.  He is my sufficiency.  My all in all.  I need Him, I need His mercy and grace……and that’s where joy comes in.  Because in admittance and begging for His help, He freely gives, abundantly.  Thank you.  Gratitude.  Smiles.

To survive, with gladness in my heart, these busy days of motherhood, I’m also trying my best to stay focused on the SON.  His life-giving warmth is soul-deep. 

 

(Jesus led me all the way)

Update on Pastor Steensma:  My mom just called and said, “I have wonderful news!  Pastor is off the respirator, sitting up, and eating!”  I could tell by my mom’s voice how relieved and excited she was to hear this news.  She called me as soon as she got the message.

Thank you to all who have prayed for him!  It seems that God is answering in an amazing way.  We truly have been uncertain as to whether he would survive.  So far, so good!  *THANK YOU * 

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Someday life’s journey will be o’er, And I will reach that distant shore;
I’ll sing while ent’ring heaven’s door, “Jesus led me all the way.”

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If God should let me there review the winding paths of earth I knew;
It would be proven clear and true~ “Jesus led me all the way.”

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And hitherto my Lord hath led, Today He guides each step I tread;
And soon in heav’n it will be said, “Jesus led me all the way.”

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Jesus led me all the way,
Led me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burdens down,
“Jesus led me all the way.”

~hymn written by John W. Peterson

Sometimes the Holy Spirit puts a specific song in my heart and this hymn is the one I’ve been playing on the piano and humming today.  It seems like a fitting song for the day marked as “Patriot Day” on my calendar.  The children and I watched the History Channel this morning, about 9/11, until my heart was so heavy that I turned it off.  Why is it that they show those poor people jumping away from fire and death, to certain death below, on television?  It seems disrespectful to me.  Seeing the people running from burning buildings is bad enough, but at least we are seeing people who made it out alive and still had hope!  There was no hope for those who jumped.  The whole thing is heartbreaking. 

That’s why, today, as I post all these pictures, I think about LIFE.  The earth is full of the GOODNESS of the Lord.  In the faces of our children, the bright blue sky, and all the millions of little things that he’s given us to cause us to wonder and praise Him; like wild apples, monarch caterpillars, rushing streams, brightly colored leaves, sunshine, wooly bears, even the spiders that the children and I saw. . . .

My family, and each day, is a gift from God.  Today I took the children to the library.  I had a 40 dollar fine to pay and it feels SO good to be “in the clear” again!  I came home with some beautiful children’s books to read aloud to David and Caleb.  I love it when they say, as I reach the last page of a particularly good book,  “Read that one again, Mom!  Please!  Read it again!”  I love seeing the older children curled up in various cozy spots, reading the books that they got to choose and bring home.

We also made cookies today.  One small sentence, that to me means so much.  The sounds, the smells, the joy of David and Caleb as they helped me dump in the ingredients, taste the vanilla (“it was bad,” said Caleb), and crack the eggs.  The mess we left in the kitchen.

The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day here in New England.  My heart aches because of what happened seven years ago in our country.  But I’m so glad that I have this moment, and that Jesus leads me, and will lead me safely through every day until I arrive to the final destination— Home, to heaven—to the BEGINNING (not the end!) of my real life, with Him.  Like C.S. Lewis said, this earthly life of ours is only “the cover and title page” of the real story of our lives.  And in Heaven, “each chapter is better than the one before.”