Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Prayer Request and Pictures

Here's Jack with his Relay For Life shirt on. He was not able to walk, but he's a big supporter! It's funny for me to see pictures of Jack now since I am so far away and don't see him in person. I can see that his face is thinner and his arms look like they shrunk in half! And his beard looks whiter. He sure looks good after all he has gone through!

This is Barry, the gastroenterologist. Um, Barry, most of the things you do... noone is even *thinking* about doing at home! LOL

As anyone who knows Jack knows, he makes friends wherever he goes! :-) This is one of his nurses Sandra. They "matched". She is also a survivor!

Jack's last procedure was on my birthday. When they got home, this is what they saw. Mom says it's my birthday present! I'll accept that!
So, yes, on June 19, Jack did have another procedure to widen his esophagus. It had shriveled back down to about 8mm, mostly due to the "nuking" it got with the radiation treatments. In the procedure they widened it to about 12mm. He will need to have it widened in two more procedures, in fairly quick succession.
The procedure did go well, but was difficult for Jack. There was an issue with the anesthesia, possibly too much and it was hard to come out of it. So one of the requests is, that the anesthesia will work right and that Jack will be safe during the procedure.
Next procedure is this coming Friday, June 26th. The following will be July 7. And then it will be time to start chemo all over again.
There have been some residual side effects of either the treatment or the narrowed esophagus. Please pray for relief and complete healing. Pray that Jack's body would strengthen and build back up before the next treatment and chemo. Pray for encouragement and energy for both Ruth and Jack for all that needs to be done, dealt with and endured. God has been faithful and encouraging them both through Scripture and song, but we would be lying if we said it wasn't a difficult journey. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prayers For Jack Update and Blog On The Move

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been hear to blog much the last few months and especially lately. After a lot of frustrations, I have decided to try Typepad for blogging and so far so good. Hopefully this is the last time I have to move. If you look around the blog you can see it is pretty spare... I lost all your comments, my links, widgets etc. But I'm starting over.

Jack's updates will stay right here. That way we dont' have to worry about a lot of people switching blog addresses to check.

My Blog is now at Along The Way. I invite all my friends and family to join me there.

A long overdue update on Jack. First of all he did complete the six weeks of chemo and radiation and it was NOT fun. Lots of side effects, most, but not all of which are subsiding. That is something he will continue to need prayer with in the long haul.

A week or so ago he had testing done on his heart to make sure that the radiation did not cause damage and it initially looks okay! We are praising God for that. They will have the full report from the doctor next week.

The next step in the journey is tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2009. Jack will be having another balloon procedure to stretch his esophagus. At that time the doctor will also be able to view what or if there is any damage from the radiation to the esophagus and the throat as well as sort out any other issues that may be causing or compounding eating issues. Please pray for Jack in this procedure that involves anesthesia, as well as for wisdom for the doctors in discerning what to do.

After these things are all sorted out, Jack will be chemotherapy again in a couple weeks. This will be the type that he receives via IV at the infusion center for five days. Then there will be another month wait and then one more round of that... then hopefully the "torture" will be done!

Thank you all for praying. I'm sure you know this has not been easy at all, BUT it's nice to know there is a whole army of prayer warriors around the world interceding on your behalf! We love you!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Possibly Moving Blogs

As you know I have been having problems with my comments and now my templates being temperamental. So, I have been trying a free trial of Typepad. So far I like it and am considering keeping it. It may fall under the category of "You Get What You Pay For"! :-)

So, would you mind checking for me and making a comment if you have time, the new blog I began for my digital scrapbooking called Forget-Me-Nots ? Let me know what you think of the format and ease of use. There is just one post there so far. Later today I will also link to my new personal blog. It will help if I get comments because that is one of the issues I am trying to work out and would like to see if it is going to work! Thank you!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I am having multiple technical difficulties with the blog... sorry for any inconvenience!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

103 Years Ago Today

103 years ago today Holly Mabel Tisdale Hopkins was born in Sherwood, Edens Valley Township, Ward County, North Dakota. She was born the day after her mother, Winnifred Kirkland Tisdale's birthday in a shack on the prairie where her father Fred Tisdale had a homestead claim. Lately I have begun doing a "Life Book" at Heritage Scrap where I am working. There is a fantabulous challenge series going on there that a person can join at any time and when completed have the life story of an individual. I've been working on Grandma.

Since we have been moving in and unpacking boxes in our new home, I have bee thinking of Grandma a lot. I find bits and pieces and reminders of her life and her love as I unpack my books... many of my cookbooks, recipes and information came from her, school resources, reading books and several Bibles. Every once in awhile I discover a new paper... little notes in her writing filled with things she wanted to remember... quotes, ideas, recipes, menus. Grandma Hopkins was definitely a Titus 2 woman in my life. I speak of her so often you might think I idolize her. I know all too well her human side, yet still I don't think I could overemphasize the value of the impact she made on the person I have become. I thank God for her!

3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2)

To honor Grandma's life, I thought I would share some layouts I have created recently. The one above tells a humorous story from Grandma's girlhood and was created using Artful Dreamer's beautifu altered art work at Heritage Scrap.

This will be an opening page and overview of Grandma's life. It was really fun to put together.

Here is Grandma and her SIL, our Aunt Vera Hopkins Rehbine when they graduated from high school, May 1924. The kit is Timeless from Ana Flor and is from Faith Sisters.

Last summer I was able to visit Grandma's house which is now a rental and owned by someone outside our family. While it was hard to see many of the changes, it is nice to see it taken care of. I created this from Morning In My Garden by Dielle Designs at Faith Sisters.

This layout shows 6 generations of my family and the heritage of faith they have given me. Grandma's wedding photo is on the left. The word art and kit come from Faith Sisters but I don't remember which designer, perhaps Eva Lindqvist.

Grandma's Bible is the background for this page with her wedding photo and elements from Digizines by Teri's Faith kit.

This one is so precious to me because it shows my little brother Danny helping Grandma snip beans. She always taught hands on and was never afraid of having children in her way. Kit from Jean Daugherty at Heritage Scrap.

Photo of my Grandma taken by my Grandpa during their courting years. Kit from Kate McClellan at Heritage Scrap.

This was another fun one to do, using more altered art work from Jen of Artful Dreamer at Heritage Scrap. This is Grandma with her little sister Dorothy.

And this is another one from Artful Dreamer using the lace/ribbon from Digizines by Teri. This is Grandma's graduation photo from May 1924 - 85 years ago! We were 6o years apart.

Thank you God for the awesome Grandma and all the memories.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thank You For Comments

Thank you everyone for all the comments. I am still having commenting issues. It's not because of blogger but because of having the other company who did the comments, be bought out. Now it won't recognize my pass words and instead of sending me comments in email, I only see them on here and so if I don't know y our email, I can't contact you and I also have to do it manually.

I don't want to use another blog system. Do you know of any other commenting options? If I can't get it direct to my email I'm just going to go back to the regular blogger commenting, but then that means I will lose all the comments! :-(

I'm off to women's retreat at Lake Tahoe this weekend, but while hubby is off on school break, I'm hoping to revamp the blog. It seems I have had problems ever since moving to a three column format that is from a non blogger source.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

79 Years Ago Today

These are my Grandparents and I believe this to be upon their engagement which was announced at Grandma's parents' Silver Wedding Anniversary January 1930. Here they are, young and starry eyed, though they had been "together" already for 9 years. I used Kate McClellan's A Fine Romance kit to create this layout. Alden and Holly met at the Everett Methodist Church, originally on Colby Avenue, the summer before their Sophomore year when their fathers became friends. Soon the families were going on outdoor adventures together and attended school together. Both Alden and Holly were first borns, committed to their relationship with God and to their families. They seemed a "perfect match" right from the start.

This is the right hand side of a two page layout which I created with components of kits from Bubbly Kori, Digizines by Teri and Veronica Spriggs, all available at Heritage Scrap. The Bible is Grandma's and I have used it on another layout I shared here, but these layouts are going into her Life Book, which is an ongoing challenge at Heritage Scrap (where I work and play). Grandma always told me about the stained glass window at the church which had this Psalm written on it. In her own writing, you can read her wedding date and she also wrote my Aunt's wedding date as she was also married at the same church. Sadly the church burnt down so I have never seen the window, but "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness" is engraved on my heart. This photo was their official wedding portrait. Grandma said that Grandpa requested her to take her glasses off for the pictures. For some reason that has always rubbed me the wrong way... maybe because I can't see without my glasses and I don't think Grandma could either!

This is the left hand side and the page also inclues a journal and flower cluster from Jean Daugherty. These are the photos that were taken by either Grandpa's father, George Hopkins or Grandma's father, Fred Tisdale. A teacher friend, Dorothy Pease, was Grandma's Maid of Honor and Clifton Tisdale, her brother, was Grandpa's best man. The reception was held in the garden of a family friend in Everett and the pair honeymooned in Skykomish, Washington.
I always think of Grandma in June because of her wedding date and because our birthdays were 9 days apart. She's been gone 7.5 years now, but I see touches of her in my life daily... in the books we use for school, in the recipes I cook with, in her Bible notes and notes she left in books here and there. It's like having a visit from an old friend when I come across her writing. Thank you Lord for giving me an awesome Grandma!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Lynette, Lori and I at the Pampered Chef party. I think I wrote a couple posts ago that the house hunt all started at Lynette's Pampered Chef party in January. So, I wanted to make sure and get a picture of the three of us together for the scrapbook on the house! :-)

Lori brought her adorable almost twosie, L, whom my children adore. L still finds my big black camera with the long lens a little odd and just stares at it! lol I thought this was a funny picture. Boogie on the left, has no problem smiling for the camera whether he is in the picture or not! And Sunshine on the right is being very careful not to get in the picture with L. Heidi, the kitten wants to escape. There's only so much "lovin'" one cat can take! :-)

Here is Sunshine with Heidi again. Sunshine is our little helper girl. She likes to learn things and DO things. So (after putting down the cat and washing her hands), she did get to help a little with the dessert making.
Heidi is the most amazing little cat. She just puts up with so much from the kids. She lets them carry her around the house, one arm under each set of her legs and she looks floppy like a rag doll. Her face always has this non-plussed expression like: It's my lot in life. It's not a lot but it's my life! :-)

Meine Mutti wants to see what the house looks like, so here's the first bit of pics. Coming in from the hallway you look toward the fireplace. Normally we don't have grain bags on the hearth but they are my recent order from Azure Standard and I have not had a chance to put them in storage. The blue blob in front of that is a blanket on top of the cats' toy. Since I haven't had a chance to frame and hang any pictures, I put up some of my Aunt Grace's oil paintings on the mantle. She taught oil painting classes for years at Boeing Arts Club and other places in the Seattle area. Most of these paintings were instructional ones she did in class. L to R, Mount Rainier, Sunset Silhouette, windmills in Holland, Rhein River Castle ruins, a still life and an autumn pastoral scene. My Aunt Grace is the one who taught me so much about color and "seeing" things, as well as photography. She also bought me my first spinning wheel. The one in the photo is "Caris", my Lendrum wheel. On the right of the photo you can see the china cupboard that was one of my Grandma Johnson's.

From the fireplace, looking back to the door you can see our table and school area. Eventually we hope to find a large dining room table that is more useful for hospitality. We are in desperate need of overhead lighting but the beams are not placed in such a way that we can center anything over a table. We haven't figured out yet how or what we will do to get better lighting. Those reading lamps are just there as a temporary solution.

From the fireplace looking towards the living room you can see our lovely bookcases, all but one were housewarming gifts from Mom and Jack. The bookcase on the left was my graduation gift when I finished technical school in 1988. The armoire is where we hide the tv as I hate having it show and we don't watch it that often, mostly in the evenings for DVDs. The love seat faces the armoire and the couch (with the blue quilt over it) faces the bookcases in an L shape.

Another shot since Mom also hasn't seen the love seat/sofa.

Maisy, finding a quiet place to rest away from the kids, on a box under the keyboard!

Our potatoes growing in wine barrels 5/25/09. After this photo we put a few more inches of soil in.

This is the left hand barrel 5/31/09. Look how much they grew in 7 days! We filled dirt up to the top rim now. No flowers yet but they are growing like crazy. We started these from organic potatoes from Trader Joe's, which they told me come from Newman's farm. We planted both red and white potatoes. I think the whites are Russets but I am not certain. Some of the leaves have some yellowish spots on them, so I have to do some research. This is my first time growing potatoes organically.

In addition to the huge black walnut tree, orange tree (we just ate the last of our DELICIOUS oranges!) and grapefruit tree, we have some type of magnolia tree on the side.

Here is one of our raised beds. It's only 75% planted. In front are all peppers and in back is a tomato, watermelon and rosemary. I'm late getting everything else planted but I'm going to try it anyway.

The kids have had a blast eating outside on the table Grandma and Grampa found for them. Princess on left and Sunshine next to Boogie.
We still have much to unload, paint, put up on the walls etc before it's really feeling homey, but it's a start. I still wander through the house at times and think, "Whose house am I in again?" In spite of already having some repairs to the AC and electrical for the W/D and our first house payment, it doesn't feel like "ours". Maybe that's how it should be; the house is really His!