Just last night I was thinking about “perfect” Shari.  The Shari that I was supposed to be; the sinless Shari.  I thought about what I might be like, with all my God-given gifts, energy, ideas, compassion and tenderness…without being tainted with sin.  Tears began to flow as I thought about how we, mankind, messed that all up thousands of years ago in the garden.  Then my thoughts turned to the Shari who will one day be perfected when I see Jesus face to face.  More tears.  And then I began asking, again, that I would glorify him while I am in this world, far away from my eternal home.

Do you ever think about God getting you ready for heaven?  Do you think about your sanctification and thank Him for the trials and His working; or complain through the drudgery?  I’ve done both.

No doubt God is using my husband to work things out in my life; to make me into the Shari He wants me to be; getting me ready, for He’s coming for a pure bride.  Let’s be specific about the ‘things’ here.  I’m not talkin’ bout weight loss.  I’m not talkin’ bout superficial stuff; we’re talkin’, ‘things=sin‘.

Do I thank God for my husband?  Do I thank him for what He is accomplishing in my life through my husband?

Wow!  What a challenge in Phil. 1:3-4.  God says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.”

I’m to be THANKFUL in ALL my remembrances of Darrel in EVERY prayer with JOY!

THAT statement is enough for me to work on all year-long!  BUT, with that, I must read one more verse.  Phil. 1:6 “AND I AM SURE OF THIS, that He who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (The work in Darrel and the work in me!)

WOO HOO!!!

Now, go thank your husband.  Tell him you are thankful HE is yours and that you are THANKFUL God is using him to accomplish God’s will in your life!

Side note: BTW, it would be sad for any reader of this blog to think that we have a perfect marriage.  I can hear someone saying, “Yeah, it must be easy for her to say these things to her husband.”  Au, contraire mon frère!  I have to totally fight pride and humble myself each morning I decide to thank Darrel.  And, no surprise, as I’ve begun this ‘series’, it seems there are more and more challenges.  SO, don’t feel alone in the boat.  Pray for boldness to express thankfulness even when it’s hard.  God gives grace to the humble; can ya use a little more grace today?

1Tim. 2:1-2

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I just couldn’t go further with ‘prayer points’ without writing about giving thanks for our husband’s spiritual leadership.  Understandably, some husbands don’t lead spiritually because they are spiritually dead, but as a believer, this should prompt even more compassion and prayer for their salvation.  For those of us who do have a husband who is born again, it’s imperative we ask ourselves if we are looking for AND affirming our husband’s strong points (gifts) AND his good actions?  Or, do we pridefully focus on his weaknesses and mistakes?

Oh, how easy it is to focus on weaknesses and mistakes.  How many times have I brought up a past failure or weakness to Darrel instead of an encouragement?  Do I believe I’m helping him rise to challenges God gives him when I focus on weakness?  Or can I believe that he will rise to fight sin and weaknesses and lead as God has called him to when I am on his side, cheering him on, praying for him and thanking him for what he DOES do?

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  The one to give grace to him who hears is our husbands!  God has called us to talk to our husbands with words that are good for building them up so that grace my about in their lives!  This is going to look different for each of us, but with prayer and meditation, the Holy Spirit, no doubt, will bring things to our minds to encourage our husbands in their spiritual leadership.

Some may say, “You don’t know my husband.  He doesn’t lead well at all.”  You may not have eyes to see how God has blessed you right now, but pray that your eyes will be opened to see even the smallest of gifts.  God sees them & is faithful to show you, because he has called you, in Ephesians 4, to build him up and bring him encouragement.  YOU are his helper fit for him! (Genesis 2:18)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Can’t get more clear than that.  This is God’s will for you; for me.  We are to give thanks in all circumstances.  What better way to keep us from grumbling or discontentedness.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phillipians 4:8

May we rejoice that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can fulfill the mandate in Phil. 4:8 and give thanks for our husband’s spiritual leadership as we pray for each of us to grow closer to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Today I’ve asked myself the question, “Do I earnestly pray for my husband’s spiritual growth and wisdom as he leads our family?”

Two scriptures Ephesians 1:15-19 and Colossians 1:9-12 are quite applicable.  I read through them and then put them into prayers.  These are now a part of my prayer journal for my husband.

Prayer derived from Eph. 1:15-19  Lord, because of his faith and love in you, Jesus Christ, and his love toward all the saints, I will not cease to thank You for Darrel, remembering him in my prayers, that You, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give Darrel a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of You, having his eyes enlightened, that he may know what is the hope to which Christ has called him, what are the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of your power toward us who believe, according to the working of Your great might.

Prayer derived from Colossians 1:9-12  This day, Lord Jesus, I pray for Darrel, asking that You will fill him with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of You, Lord, fully pleasing to You, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of You, Lord Jesus Christ.  May Darrel be strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to You, Father, who has qualified Darrel to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

There are so many rich scriptures we can make into prayers for our husband.  I plan on finding more, reading and pondering over them for myself as well, and then writing them into prayers so that I will be a faithful prayer warrior for the man who leads our family!

Thank you Lord for husbands.  Bless each one today in specific, special ways, and let us as wives be blessings to them as their helpers.

When my husband has offended me, do I pray for him or criticize and harbor bitterness toward him?

Pondering over this question doesn’t take long for conviction to set in.  When I’ve been offended, after 21 1/2 years of marriage, I can clam up!  Now, I’d love to take only the high road here and say that I’m being a Godly woman when this happens.  I mean, God’s word clearly states, “Let your words be few”, right?  And in James He says to let every person be quick to hear, ‘slow to speak’, slow to anger…  Of course, I should let my words be few.  I should clearly think through everything I say for words are powerful.  And I can honestly say that sometimes the ‘clamming up’ is a good thing… briefly.  But what happens when I don’t speak for too long is that bitterness is building and building inside my heart.  God says in Eph. 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” He goes on to help us know what should take the place of these detestable things, which are 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

When did the ‘honeymoon’ end?  When did I begin allowing myself to harbor bitterness and criticize my husband?  (I chose not to obey…Eph. 4:26)   Why, if I’m a child of the King of Kings (I like to see myself as a princess…yes, it’s having 3 girls) do I not obey?  Do I think that harboring bitterness is going to bring me closer to my husband?  Strengthen our relationship?  Give me a closer relationship to my Savior?  Give my children a clear picture of Christ and His bride?  Make me more lovely in my husband’s eyes?  Give joy and delight to my Savior?

God says “Do not repay evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that to this you are called, that you should obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9  That old Scottish song just popped into my head, “I’ll take the high road and you take the low road and I’ll get to Scotland afore ye.”  We, as born again Christian’s are to take the ‘high road’, God’s road.

And when in the world did I begin thinking it was ok to share or ‘vent’ to my children or friends about offenses done to me?  (conviction again)  I should always bring my burdens to Christ first and then ask for prayer from friends without having to share details of how I was so very wronged.  Forbid it Lord that I am or become a quarrelsome women where it would be better for my husband to live in a corner of the house, or that he should want to!  (Proverbs 21:9)  Another verse for me to pray I don’t become like is, “It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious and an angry or fretful woman.” Proverbs 21:19

So, as I go about my day today, first I am going to repent to my husband for ever criticizing him and harboring bitterness.  I can’t site specific moments right now, but that doesn’t matter.  If I could remember them I would be specific, but I will repent and ask his forgiveness nonetheless.  1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sings and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Then I will try to keep these verses on my mind, or at least have my bible open today for moments when I can take a short break to feed my soul.  Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Praying for the Holy Spirit’s help is key!  We are in a war, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12  My husband is not the enemy! (read all of Ephesians 6:10-20)

To God be the glory!

Other scriptures to meditate upon:  Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

James 5:9 “Do not grumble against one another, brothers (sisters), so that you may not be judged; behold the Judge is standing at the door.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

Romans 6:14 “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

Hope Update

December 9, 2012

Last Tuesday, while Danielle had her piano lesson, Hope and I drove to Sugarland and she gave blood so that labs could be performed prior to her follow Endocrine appointment on Friday.

Fast forward to Friday.  The doctor comes in and says, “Hope’s labs looked great!”  I’m thinking, “Really?”  What does that mean?  Show me some #’s here.

Here’s where it gets a bit more technical but let me back up a bit.

Since Feb. 2009 to today, Hope has been taking .15mL calcitonin injections to regulate her blood calcium levels.  She was finally diagnosed with Sarcoidosis Dec. 2011 and we began some steroid therapy and Humira injections, administered every 14 days, in January.  Along with our joy in finally getting a diagnosis and starting Humira, there also came a renewed hope that she would come off the calcitonin at some point, if the Humira were able to ‘control’ her disease.  After a 4 month follow-up there was no change in her hypercalcemia.  After 8 months, no change.  At that point I think I was resigned that this was her lot but gave praise to Jesus that we were able to control the side effects of the disease which were debilitating (symptoms similar to JIA).

The desired range for blood calcium levels is 8.9 -10.4 and for the last 4 years Hope has been anywhere from 10.4 -11.  The Dr. turns the computer screen toward me with lab results and her level was at 9.9 .  I have NEVER seen this number before!!!  Talk about excited!!!!!!
  Desired Alakaline Phosphatase levels (which has to do with how her bones hold on to calcium) is 184-415.  And Hope’s has ranged from 72 -107;  107 being her highest # since 2009 (obviously way too  low).  From Tuesday’s labs Alakaline Phosphatase appears to be on the rise and was 127!
  So… just wanted to share some great medical news in the Schiel home and hope that you will rejoice with us and give praise to our Lord Jesus for his kindness.
(Oh….and don’t stop praying!!!)

So Thankful for My man

December 6, 2012

My heart is overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the man God gave me.  I boast not in men but in the absolute greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am in on the unfolding of The Almighty’s plan and it is amazing.

Darrel sent me a link to an article about helping our children save the Sabbath.  The things that stood out to me in the article were how we so often use our time on other things, electronic devices, sports activites, etc.  Where do our convictions lie?  Are we convicted to the point that we are willing to guard and be jealous of the Sabbath; a God ordained day and time for spiritual growth and physical rest?

We have not been all-out faithful in this area.  I wouldn’t say we have ‘trashed’ the Sabbath, but I believe we have lost a conviction for the true elements of the Sabbath.  Does that make sense?  Where are we spending our time?

Well, we are coming together with the body of Christ and worshipping with other saints.  But we have added many meetings to our Sabbath day, which separate our family and do not help the children to focus on God’s kindness to us and rest.  They are often upstairs watching movies or on computers as we are ‘ministering’ to other groups downstairs in our living areas.  Serving in these areas are of great value, but should we be serving in that capacity on the Sabbath?  Is this what a pastor and family are called to do?  Is the Sabbath rest only for other Christians?  or for all Christians alike?  (things to ponder)

We have decisions to be made about how we are using our time.  Our desire is to bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ and to be obedient.  I was convicted by the article my husband shared with me and am humbled that he values my thoughts as well.  I am convicted on two counts; times I have de-valued my husband; complained about things in him I didn’t admire, or better stated, gifts I wished he had that I would say were more ‘worldly or earthy’.  Also convicted about how I have been a helper to this man, my husband.

God is so very, very, very gracious and patient.  I am rejoicing in the husband of my youth and so thankful for his gifts.  They are many, but the ones I am most thankful for are the ones that were given to help us run this race…he continually points me to the ‘prize’, to the higher calling.  I can not imagine my life without this precious man, although I’ve no doubt the Lord would sustain me if he were taken to his heavenly home, and pray the Lord continues growing me and helping me to be the best help-mate he could have.  Well, I was specially picked, so, I’ve no doubt the Lord’s got this. 🙂

(written very quickly while each child was asking for help…shame on me:)

Off Prednisone #2

November 21, 2012

I re-read my last post on Hope and thought it only fitting to update once again.  Since that post, she is indeed off Prednisone!  The first couple weeks were rough but I believe her body is used to being off now.  From my stand point things are looking good.  She is still taking her 15mL injection of calcitonin 2x a day and the Humira injection every 14 days, but a month ago we thought she might have to go up on the Humira to every 7 days.  Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ for sustaining her body!

She has contracted a fungal infection on the bottom of her feet, specifically but not limited to the joint areas of her big toes.  This has caused much pain as they crack and bleed.  But, we continue treating them and praying, trusting God to heal.  Tea tree oil is a wonderful, natural product that I’m finding has a great affect against this infection.

The Lord is good and we rejoice and give much thanks as Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Winter Garden

November 20, 2012

I decided to try and grow some lettuces and snap peas this fall.  Prior to seeding, I added some more ‘good soil’ to my garden plot and it’s been settling for a few months.  Yesterday was agriculture day for me and Isaac.  I set him to the plow, better know today as Shari’s birthday tiller, and he began tilling it all up nice and loose.  After getting most of the weeds and grasses out as we raked through it, we began transplanting our lettuces.  I grew these from seed in pots and planters.  One never realizes just how many plants one has until one begins transplanting. *grin*

My first winter garden of red and green lettuces; with 2 snap peas.Left over okra growing along the fence line.  Red lettuces on left, bell pepper and banana peppers in the middle (also left over) and green lettuces on right.

Cute little red lettuces!  I’m so proud of them.  I love that I can plant, water and care for plants and God allows them to grow.  These are tasty, but Isaac prefers these:

Green leaf lettuce.  I’m excited to snip of leaves here and there to make salads for my family.  Prayerfully these will provide nutrition for us throughout the cooler season.

Snap pea bushesThese are precious to me.  I love snap peas…raw.  They are so sweet and delicious!  I can eat a few handfuls at a setting.  I planted a WHOLE bag of seeds and ended up with about 8 plants.  One day while trying to ‘baby’ them, I ended up KILLING all but 2 of these plants.  Waaaah!  I was very upset with myself.  Anyway, God was kind and gracious to let me have two.  These are planted on either side of the bell pepper row and I will be babying them like crazy!

summer okra living through autumnOkra grows so easily here!  We’ve canned dozens of jars of pickled okra and have eaten many of them as well.  I’ve made one batch of fried okra and plan on making another batch at Thanksgiving for my step dad.  I’m amazed at how well okra plants produce!

fall tomatoesThese tomato plants just popped up on there own thanks to the birds I guess.  I decided to pull them out of the ground and care for them in a pot through the winter months in hopes that they’ll make it until next spring.

fall Zennia's Here are some sweet little Zennia’s.  As the other ones died off I would just roll the dead head between my hands and let the seeds fall back to the ground.  Ah, the joy of easy gardening.  Thank you for the pretty little flower Lord!

green onionThese lovely green onions keep giving and giving.  We never pull the whole plant out but snip off pieces to use in our salads, eggs or other meals.  I have one more pot like this and it keeps us blessed with green onions year round.

Fire antsAnd this is what happens when Fire Ants find your gardening tool box.  Not cool!  The white powder is ant killer.  Hopefully, they will be dead soon.

Cinnabun and 3 year old Bell Pepper plantsHere’s Cinnabun.  She’s a sweet, fluffy addition to our backyard.  I keep this 3 year old Bell Pepper plant near her to give her a lovely view.  ha

HIbiscusMy Hibiscus bush continues to bloom as the fall tempetures stay in the 70’s.

Yellow Gerbera Daisies in the fallAnd my favorite flower, Gerbera Daisies, continue blooming as well.  Such beauty…makes me smile. Aren’t they happy, sunshiney flowers?

My Rosemary bush continues growing each year.  I might plant it in the ground at some point but for now it is doing great potted.

Apricot TreeThis Apricot tree, I believe, is confused.  It’s lost leaves but one branch, shown here, won’t shed.  It’s certainly left me befuzzled.

SucculentsAnd this little succulent was saved after it was uprooted on accident while pulling weeds.  Succulents are so cute!

Off Prednisone

October 3, 2012

I feel a bit guilty this morning.  Yesterday, on Facebook, I posted that Hope was officially off Prednisone, and she is.   I am very grateful!   We all (those who love and know her) are rejoicing, however, I feel I left everyone with a sense of healing that isn’t there.  For that I’m sorry…it wasn’t my intent.  Again, we are very grateful to Jesus that she’s off this steroid!

Auto-immune diseases like Sarcoidosis are complicated and can change day by day.  Fortunately, Hope’s hasn’t, but getting it to ‘behave’ is another story.  We can look back through blog posts to see her medical and medicinal journey, but after 9 full months on Prednisone (steroid), she is off and functioning.  I can’t say she is doing great; on the contrary.  The body loves steroids, and if she were still getting 10mg a day, her joints would be very happy and she’d be hopping and skipping with no pain or swelling (probably).  However, over time it’s likely she’d develop a tolerance to it and need more or something else.  Prednisone’s side effects are not good, esp. for a child, thus the current decision to wean her off of them.  There could be a somewhat simple solution to her joint pain…giving her NSAID’s (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, ect.), but she has Nephrocalicinosis.  This is a build up of calcium in the kidney’s which happened in months or even years prior to us finding out that she has Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium; thus her injections of calcitonin every 12 hours).  The kidney’s filter NSAID’s and cause hers to start bleeding.  So, obviously those are a no go!

The hope was that once the disease was under control with the steroids, while simultaneously taking an immune suppressing drug calle Humira, that symptoms would be controlled.  After several months we were already beginning to lower steroid dosage while she took the Humira injection every 14 days.  My last post in July explains what was happening to her when weaning her off Prednisone.  Her joints are not happy!  I believe her left knee has some swelling/fluid and she can’t quite straighten it out.  She is still playing with her siblings, but I wouldn’t say she moves around and exercises like any other normal 9 year old.

We are trying to see if going with a Humira injection every 7 days would alleviate these arthritic conditions, but are still evaluating.

No doubt the Lord is at work in her life and ours; but we covet your prayers.  Praying for her physical body yes, but more so that the Lord Jesus will work in her heart, not allow her to be hard hearted or angry and to put her trust fully in Him!

July 15, 2012

It looks like we are going to have to go back up to 2.5mg Prednisone per day starting tomorrow morning.  I will increase to 5mg after a couple weeks if there isn’t improvement.  Hopes ankles are swelling, hot and are painful along with toe/foot joints.  It is hurting her to walk again.  She said just climbing the ladder to get out of the pool was very painful this afternoon.  We had a good talk the other day about getting off Prednisone altogether and she was happy and all for it.  She said she would endure pain to be off of it, but if it got to where she was hurting to walk, she’d want to go back on.  Well, there we have it.

Thankful for medication and praying God will protect her from the side effects.

Journal Entry 7-5

July 5, 2012

The children and I are still working through school work this summer.  That’s how I prefer to roll with homeschooling at least.  It is so hot here during summer months, I figure we might as well make good use of our time while indoors.  When the weather cools between 70-80 degrees F, we take off more time for outdoor activities.  Trinity did get a small above ground pool for her birthday, so there is some outdoor play in the morning and late evening in case you’re thinking we are hermits.  ha

I’m about to give Hope her 12th Humira injection.  We prep her leg by icing down the injection site for 15+ minutes to help numb it.  I would say the medication is effective in lessening the symptoms of her Sarcoidosis.  Back in January we began a rigorous regime of IV steroids 1x a week for a month.  At the same time she began taking 10mg of Prednisone (another steroid) daily.  Once she’d had her 7th round of Humira (given every 2 weeks) we were able to drop her Prednisone to 7.5mg, then after 9th round of Humira, Pred down to 5mg and so on.  Since there are so many side effects from steroids I’ve wanted her off them asap.  She is now taking 2.5mg every other day and I hope her to be off Prednisone completely in 2 weeks.  Her body has been responding well to the very slow decrease.  Please pray her joints will still be ‘happy’ once she is off of them completely and that the Humira will keep her disease suppressed.

The Lord is growing and using Hope in our lives and the lives of many others.  She is a kind and giving girl; loyal and faithful.  She’s sometimes quick to speak and slow to listen, but she’s also quick to repent when she’s sinned against someone which shows God is doing a great work.  Two days ago I found and read a pamphlet written by John Piper called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”.  It was profound and encouraging.  Although none of us are going through cancer, we are going through a chronic illness which is often a challenge.  I was prompted to read the book and substitute the word ‘disease’ or, specifically for Hope, ‘Sarcoidosis’ each instance he used the word cancer.  I was greatly moved by this book and felt led to begin reading it with Hope.  Thus far we’ve read the preface and 1st chapter.  I know she won’t ‘get it’ all, but I know the Holy Spirit is a much, much better communicator than I, and He will minister the right words to her heart.  *excited!*

I feel I should write about each of the children, sharing all God is doing in their lives and ours.  Time doesn’t permit it now but I hope to soon.

Either God or the Devil

April 12, 2012

Funny title!  The same day I wrote my last post I stumbled upon some information about Sarcoidosis in children that I have not read before.  I thought, “This is either from God or from the devil!”  Either from God because we have some changes to make or from the devil because he’s trying to steal my joy. 🙂

Well, God uses all things for the good of those who love him, so I am reading, researching and pray, pray, praying about how to present this new information to our rheumo doctor’s with humility.

Then this morning I’m reading articles about BPA in so many of our products and how it effects us.  Makes me want to move off into the mountains where there is fresh air, stop using anything but glassware, raising our own chickens, pigs and cows and eating from our garden alone.  HA!  What a thought.

I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make its boast in thee, Lord, the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.  I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

Lest I Forget

April 10, 2012

Since the kids finished their schooling early I’ve had a chance to tackle the piles of papers, catalogs, receipts and coupons which have been piling up on my desk.

While going through everything I came upon a red notebook in which I keep all Hope’s records, receipts, prescriptions, etc.  Life gets going so fast I don’t always read through printed results right away but God always gives me the perfect opportunity to read them in time.

After reading results on her latest CT scan and Renal scan’s and reading over symptoms she’s had in the past, I cannot but stop and praise God for His love, faithfulness and kindness to her and to us!

Where she once had fever, she is fever free.  Where she once had anorexia she is a plump little berry.  Where she once had red patches of skin around her eyes, elbows and knees the skin is now supple.  Where her lips were dry and cracking they are now moist and elastic.  Where she had terrible throat and abdominal pain she is now, for the most part, pain-free.  Where she had muscle soreness they are no longer tender (unless she goes on a long bike ride with her sister/ ptl!)  Where she had such pain in her bones she could not get up off the couch to use the restroom, she now scooters, jumps on the trampoline and shoots arrows at a target with her siblings.  Where she had no appetite, she is hungry.  Where she was randomly sick to her stomach, she now feels well for the most part.  Where she had no energy to get up off the couch she has lots and lots of energy throughout the day.  Where I once commented she was like, “Dr. Jeckel, Mr. Hyde”, she is a sweet girl most all the time and comes down the stairs in the morning with a grin on her face.  I remember dreading the mornings.

Yes, she still has some bad days, but nothing compared to days gone by.  Yes, she has to take 2 shots a day and a Humira injection every 2 weeks but look at her!  Yes, her kidney’s are still full of calcium deposits but they aren’t getting worse.  Yes, she has several nodules on her lungs but they appear unchanged after 3 years.  The injections are painful for a few moments but her well-being is, well… well!!  I am so thankful to look upon these pages it  brings tears to my eyes.  I praise God for medication, for doctor’s, for His wisdom and letting the medications be effective in her little body.  I thank God for a life that is His and that He is sharing her with so many for purposes beyond our comprehension.

May I never forget as we continue this journey.

Giddy

April 9, 2012

Do you ever wish you could just laugh like you did when you were a kid?  Wish the cares of this world didn’t press in quite so much?

Tonight I had a date night with Darrel.  It began with me putting make up on in the bathroom while he sat at his desk.  I began unloading.  It wasn’t a gripe session, just an unloading.  You know, taking one thing down and passing it along; like we are to do with all our anxiety, casting our cares upon the Lord.  Well, I do this, not as oft as I ought I’m sure, but I less oft unload them on my sweetie.

Once I was purdied up (that Texas talk for looking decent enough to go out in public) we drove to Taco Cabana and used a handy, dandy coupon Darrel found online. It was awesome!  We sat, ate, talked and laughed.  I laughed and giggled like a kid.  I appreciate him listening to me unload earlier.  If he hadn’t listened I likely wouldn’t have felt as light during our dinner together.  It was such a pleasant evening.

Then we came home and set in to my ‘let work together’ mode!  HA  He hates and loves that at the same time. 🙂  Well, I doubt he’d admit tot he loving it part, but I know he does.  We added some books onto our Trinity Books website (at abebooks.com) and also discovered that many of the books we thought were listed are not on there.  So, we have some more work ahead; but that is for another day.

I finished our garden out this afternoon once school was over and did some weed pulling and plant transplanting.  I LOVE GARDENING!!!  I love that I can grab a weed or some grass that is in the wrong place, pull it and it yields to me.  So many things in life don’t yield.  *laughing*  I guess that’s why I like it so much.  I say, “You ARE going to come out if I have to DIG you out!”  And it does. 🙂

With My Son

April 8, 2012

Just had another enlightening, wonderful and encouraging ‘good night’ talk with my son.  As kids get older sometimes the best or most intimate conversations come when it’s bed time.  I’m learning to linger there longer, however painful it is to stand on his ladder.    But tonight my legs and feet didn’t even hurt.  I shared with him my joy that he was the Lord’s child, that we were brother and sister in Christ and how much he encouraged me during our worship service today by something he did.  We talked of eternity, this world and those who are lost.  We shed a few tears as our hearts were full of love for Christ and were sad for those who do not yet know Him; our hearts burn for them to hear the gospel and be saved.  We shared more which I will not write here, but it was sweet!  So thankful to Jesus for conversations with fellow believers; especially sweet this night because it was with my son.

Just for Me

April 6, 2012

Sometimes I don’t write for a lot of different reasons.  Tonight I need to write some things down and don’t just want to put them into a word doc.  So, this post is seriously, ‘Just for Me’… in case you wonder why it’s so strange and boring.  *smile*

Spring Break for Danielle.

Spa Facials in her bedroom. Soundtracks from Pride and Predjudice & Emma.

Shopping at Target and Academy.

Too many Sonic Happy Hours.

1st time bowling for 3.  Hilarious memories. Watch video’s.

Playing at the park.  Katie running away.

Beautiful, colorful Easter dress for Dani.  Classic, yes, classic.

Warm and crazy Kemah Boardwalk.  Never forget the Bonine.

Mirror, Mirror, popcorn and 7-11 cherry slurpee.

New Isaac size bow and arrows.

Sore throats and Bluebell Nutty Chocolate icecream

from 10 to 7.5 not so good, but praying.

Danny’s wedding.

Pigs and Mulch.

He’s Alive, He’s Alive, He’s Alive and I’m forgiven!

He’s Calling Me

February 24, 2012

Words: Kristyn Getty Traditional Melody arranged Rob Mathes

What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light

Called through the night to find my distant soul

And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me

That I might live and in his name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me

I lose my life to find my life in Him

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies

I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me

Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar

All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome

My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore (repeat chorus)

I love listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty.  Their music beautiful and lyrics rich.  Some time back I was listening to this song, perhaps driving in my van alone or on a solitary walk and the chorus came alive to me by the Holy Spirit with new meaning.

Being a ‘pastor’s kid’ growing up, we moved often.  Until I was 15 yrs we moved at least every 2 years if not every year.  When initially hearing the chorus to this song it brought back memories of submitting to my father and Father when it was time to move…I will go wherever He is calling me.  By moving often, God softened me to be willing to move wherever He wanted us to serve.  This made it somewhat easier as an adult to move to Tomball, then easier to move to Pearland, to temporarily move to Gaithersburg, MD and then back to Texas.  This I understood.

Then, like a curtain being lifted off my eyes this one particular day or my ears being opened from a droning or deafness, it was clear.  Go doesn’t always mean ‘to’ a place, a destination, a new house, new church, new city, new state.  To go wherever He is leading me involves sacrifice at every level.  Am I willing to go into sickness willingly and battle for joy while my 9 year old daughter suffers with a disease?  Am I willing to serve her, serve my other children, my husband, church, friends and family?  Am I willing to take up this cross and follow him?

Wow, it was such a different idea to contemplate, to meditate upon.  I’m still soaking it in after weeks have gone by but I’d say yes.  Yes, I will.  Some parts of it are harder than packing up my house and moving hundreds of miles away but what choice do I have?  To do it or to drop my cross and run.

I’m so thankful the Lord let me see these words in a new light.  I continue pressing on toward the prize.  I don’t always run the race well, but I am running.  I fall, then repent, get up with the help of Jesus and run again.  Sometimes I feel all beat up and bruised but then the Lord washes and heals me with His word and we’re off again.  May I grow in faithfulness during this journey, bow my heart, take up my cross and always follow Him!

2 Thes. 3:3 Yet the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil one.

Here we sit, 3rd floor of Clinical Care Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, Infusion Center, seat 7.  How’s that for location explanation?  🙂

I forgot to buy more sugarfree sour candies at the grocery store on Sat. so this morning, praise the Lord, I was able to get Hope out the door a few minutes earlier than usual and head to Kroger to buy more.  Little did I realize, Kroger doesn’t carry sugarfree, sour candies, so I had to back track and drive to HEB where they have not only sugarfree Jolly Ranchers but sugarfree Crystal Lite candies.  So, there you have it.  Shop at HEB for all your sugarfree candy needs.  *ha*

Traffic was not bad and we made it into the parking garage and into our space before 9 a.m.  Woo hoo, thank you Lord! They are running a bit behind today, so Hope is already resting comfortably in her recliner with a pillow, blanket, vitamin water and the old movie Aristocrats playing.  I’m afraid she’ll be done with the movie before the end of her infusion.  But, if this happens, I’m sure we’ll find something else to do.

Well, Hope is still taking calcitonin injections every 12 hours for her high blood calcium, but 3 weeks ago she was finally diagnosed with Sarcoidosis and we began a new treatments.  She’s taking 10mg of Prednisone daily and a Humira shot every 2 weeks; but we had to skip the 2nd dose last Thursday due to a cold she’s caught.  I thought she was beginning to get over it but it seems to be pretty strong right now.  Not sure when I’ll be able to give it.  The interesting thing about Humira is that it is an immune suppressor.  We want to give this to her to help with her disease because it keeps her body from producing all this inflammation; but giving it makes her more susceptible to infections.  So, while we’re not giving it to help her get over her cold, she needs it to help with her Sarcoid.  Trusting the Lord to heal her from this cold in His time so that we can proceed with her therapy.

I do believe the medications are effective as I’ve noticed her walking with more ease and the swelling in her knuckles and toes going down.  Taking the medication, however, causes her to feel nauseated or an all-over feeling of malaise (a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify) often but we’re trusting that the final outcome will be beneficial.  She has gained a little bit of weight over the last month but it has been minimal.  She’s also not experienced the puffiness I thought she would encounter from the steroids.  I’ve worked very hard at keeping her sodium intake at a minimum and worked at keeping her carbs down.  She has been very compliant with eating as she’s told and not complained much.  Very thankful!

Thanking the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy in her life.  Praising God for who He is and His dealings with His children.

Jeremiah 31:3b I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.

PeRsPeCtivEs

February 8, 2012

I just heard from an old friend that one of her daughters has MS symptoms, many times cannot walk or empty her bladder.  She is married with 6 young children.  Her other daughter has such terrible Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, had it for over 10 years now, that she is bed-ridden.  Also married with 2 young children.  My, how hearing about others’ trials gives me new perspective.  Part of me hates that others go through such difficulties and yet, in God’s kindness, it brings me to my knees.  I also know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.  I give thanks to God that these women and husbands are Christians.  Thankfulness that they have ultimate hope in Jesus Christ.  I think of all the opportunities my friend has had in raising 2 other children along with these daughters, helping with her grandchildren and caring for a husband.  I think about the complexity of life and how there is not one single tittle God does not know about.  And I’m amazed.

It doesn’t always make the journey easier but it sure makes the future brighter.

Hope had a harder day physically today.  Who knows why?  It can be like that with auto-immune diseases.  One moment you can be feeling pretty good and another nauseated or fatigued.    But getting a little perspective is always a good dose of medicine.

Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.  I pray God always allows me to do both easily.

10.6

February 8, 2012

I can’t say I’m not disappointed but then again I need to be patient.  Since we first learned Hope had Sarcoidosis I’ve been in hopes that treating the disease itself might alieviate us having to treat her high blood calcium (hypercalcemia).  For three years now we’ve been treating a symptom only, not knowing the underlying cause.  I am still hoping that over the course of the treatment her hypercalcemia will go away and she’ll be able to stop taking her calcitonin injections every 12 hours.  But I got a ‘hit’ yesterday when Dr. Gunn,  her endocrinologist, called with her lab results from Monday.  Her calcium is UP, not down.  Number wise, 11-15 is high calcium at dangerous levels.  Her’s generally runs right at 10 with her injections and the lab work showed her to be up to 10.6.

I can come up with a couple ideas or reasons why I think this might be happening but they are for naught.  I’ll just keep praying that the Lord will keep her.  And I will keep praying that the hypercalcemia goes away!

Little Voice

February 7, 2012

Due to this cold resting upon my vocal chords I have little voice this morning and what I do have sounds like a frog!  So, I opted to have Isaac read a passage out of The Gospel Primer this morning for our morning bible time.  I had him read ‘Perspective in Trials’ and then had each of the children read the scripture passages that went along with what the author wrote.  We were highly encouraged by all the scriptures but had Hope read 2 Corinthians 12 two times as it was the most encouraging to me and I hoped they’d all, especially Hope, be as encouraged as me. 🙂

2 Corinthians 12 (7) …there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself! (8) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. (9) And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (10) Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I loved reading the part when Paul IMPLORED the Lord THREE times.  Imploring means to beg someone earnestly or desperately for something.  Paul begged in earnest.  It brings me comfort to know that a man like Paul begged.  But oh, how interesting…how unhuman-like, how like God, the Omnicient One to say to Him, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’  These six words are a comfort, a balm and encourage my soul again this day.  I think back to how many times I’ve been driving alone in my mini-van on an errand or to the grocery store imploring God to remove sickness from my daughter.  And all the while my prayers ended with not my will but Yours be done; and peace ensued.

1 Corinthians 13:12 ‘For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.’

Wow, wow, and again I say wow!

Infusion #2

February 6, 2012

Well, infusion #2 isn’t going nearly as well as #1 did.  As I sit to write she is trying to watch a movie we brought, Narnia, but see’s me writing.  She said, “Say that Hopie hates it.”  Poor baby.  Who enjoys discomfort?  Well, I was just urged by the Holy Spirit to stop her movie and pray with her, so that’s what I’ll do.  (pause)

I’m thankful for the opportunity to pray with my sweet daughter.  I prayed the Lord would be glorified through her during this physical trial and that it would draw us closer to Him.  I also prayed for peace and comfort.

The morning began with us remembering all her comforts from home, pillow, blanket, ‘Mr. Monkey Man’ [the new blue monkey I bought her last week for this infusion time], movies, computer, sour candies & and Kindle.  We arrived a few minutes early, bought coffee for mua and  were sat in the first infusion cubby.  It takes quite a bit of time for them to get started, so I’d say we waited nearly an hour before the nurse came in to prep her for the IV but thanks to books and computerized distractions she waited patiently.  While waiting I left the room and bought her a Vitamin Water and donut.  That is a major no-no with her low carb, low sodium diet, but I felt an urge to get it.  Our nurse was kind at first but didn’t hit her vein well and all and was pulling the straw round and round, back and forth in her arm.  NOT good.  I know when I’M uncomfortable with the amount of time spent on wiggling, jiggling and maneuvering it around, Hope is WAY past uncomfortable.  She cried and cried, soaked her pillow with tears, etc, flipped it over and did the same.  I am so proud that she isn’t one to wiggle about or she probably would have been stuck again.  Once the IV was in and taped down her skin turned red and was excessively & unbearably itchy.  She’d never calmed down from the needle stick and was stick crying and whining.  Nurse had to tape the IV down with a different tape, remove the clear tape and apply another band aid.  It got a little noisy.  The medication entering the arm is obviously room temperature and makes her arm cold.  It takes a while but she’s finally getting into her movie and is forgetting about how cold it makes her arm feel.  After this drama was finally over we split the donut, me giving her the larger half.  I was thankful I bought the donut. 🙂

I am very thankful for technology today.  Just thinking of all the comforts here; such a blessing.  She is sitting in a chair that, if she chooses, reclines and has a foot rest, we can dim the lights, she’s watching a movie, has her pillows and blanket, is sucking on sugar-free sour candies, and is being given medicine that was approved in 1959.  I think of other children and adults who have passed on before this medicine was approved.  I am thankful for those who have gone on to be with the Lord Jesus and it burdens me for souls who did not and do not know Jesus.  Their day of grace has passed.  I wonder about the other children, even the young teen who is sitting in the next cubby beside us.  Does she know Jesus?  (pause for prayer)

Time to end this episode as her monitor is beeping.  Almost done!  They’ll finish it off with a ‘flush’ and we’ll wait an additional 30 minutes to ensure she has no allergic reactions.  I gave her a Zofran at the beginning of the infusion so she wouldn’t have to experience the headache and nausea like last week.  Another thing I am so thankful for!  Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus!

Almost Done!

February 4, 2012

There’s nothing like loading yourself down with a major project while running a household, managing finances, caring for a sick child AND teaching your children.  But hey, what’s a lady to do?  I am a planner, but then again can be very spontaneous.  It’s been a long time coming but each room in my house that hasn’t been painted yet is in great need of painting.  Alas, there is only 1 of me and well, Darrel just isn’t the painter.  So, after seeing their dirty, grungy, nail poked walls for the last time and wanting to do something that would bless the girls, I went and bought paint!  If you aren’t  familiar with my verbage, ‘the girls’ means Hope and Trinity.  Yes, Danielle is my girl too, but there are 7+ years between her and the others and she just doesn’t get thrown in the phrase ‘the girls’ very often.  I must admit painting was also for my sanity as well since I teach them in there every day. (I notice detail)

I’d write more but I still have bed ruffles and curtains to sew, so I’d better get this posted.  The frames (all but the 2 little orange ones) were old frames of mine which Danielle painted with 1 coat and I finished off with the other 5.  Yes!  The brown kept showing through.  ha  It took many hours of work but once I hung them I’ve found great satisfaction.  The girls chose the scriptures and I chose to put fruits of the spirit along with them to encourage them each time they look up.  So thankful for God’s word and pray that He writes it upon their/our hearts as we walk out this journey of grace together. [scriptures they chose Phil 1:6, John 14:27, 1 Thess 5:16-18, 1 John 1:9]

The Pen

February 3, 2012

We finally got approval on the Humira ‘pen’ on Tuesday afternoon so I went to pick it up.  I am so thankful for insurance and our rx co-pay; had we not had it the cost of these injections would put us on the street!

Knowing that Hope would be very upset to learn she is going to receive yet more injections added to her life, Darrel and I both decided he should tell her about them prior to me giving it.  Wondering if these colds were going to turn fever (which Danielle’s fever left, thank you Jesus) we waited until yesterday to tell her about it and administer it.

Darrel took her into another room and began explaining why she needed this medicine, etc. and she began to cry.  That little girl must have cried for 30 minutes; well, I know she did because I set a timer for the injection to set out for 30 minutes to ‘warm up’ and she cried the whole time.  But God was with her and gave her comfort…parents are a means of grace to children…we held her, hugged her and loved on her.  I opted to ice the injection site like we used to do some with her calcitonin shots in hopes it would minimize the sting.

Having given injections for 3 years now, I think it would have been much less intimidating to have a regular syringe than that dad burned Pen. [that was for you David…you’re wearing off on me :)]  It is HUGE!   Looks like you are going to stick someone with a 2 inch needle or something.  And not being able to see the needle at all, well, that leaves one to imagine all sorts of things.  Perhaps it is very helpful for people who are not used to getting shots, I’ll bet it is, but for Hope it was scary.

We were also told we would need to leave the needle in for about 10-15 seconds while the medicine automatically injects at a particular rate.  Well, the needleless-pen they gave us to practice with looked as if the medicine would finish injecting in about 4-5 seconds but I thought, “That’s just because there’s no fluid in it.”  We were all very pleasantly surprised to see that it injected more like the 4-5 seconds!  Yay, yay, yay!!!

The medicine burned some but her reaction to the pain was even less than her daily injections.  So, another Praise the Lord here!!!

I’m excited to see how she is feeling this morning, for I’ve read articles and heard from the nurse that most patients, where the Humira is effective in treating their disease, will feel a difference even within hours of the injection.

I really don’t want to keep giving her shots though.  There is a medication called Remicade that is given less often through and IV at the hospital and I would much rather go this route, however, we have less control with it.  If Hope catches a cold virus or some other type of infection, with this Humira pen we can opt to not give her next dose, let her immune system kick back in and fight it off.  With Remicade, once the medicine is in her and she caught something, we’d just have to wait it out which I think was more like 6-8 weeks.  So for now, we’ll rejoice that these medications are even available and be thankful for whatever relief she receives.

I thank God for salvation, for a Christian husband and children who are always pointing one another to Christ and good works.  God is so kind and faithful during the week to lift our eyes to Him through means of some encouraging word coming out of the mouth of one of us and that is only by His grace and by His Spirit!

We have colds here at the Schiel’s.  Sometimes I feel like a hypochondriac.  Not for myself, but my children.  Sometimes I think people look and me and think, “She’s nuts…she a germaphobe.”  Oh well, another are a God is growing me I guess. 🙂  It just seems like these Schiel kids don’t just ‘catch the common cold”; they CATCH the cold, I mean catch it and hold onto it through the ages!  ha  That’s what it feels like at least.  Trinity caught a cold the 2nd week of December and hasn’t stopped coughing since.  I finally took her to the Dr. last week and they thought it might be GERD.  Laughable.  Then we thought it might be asthma and started her on an inhaler.  Then Danielle started coughing too and I realized…”This isn’t asthma, this is her 3rd round of a cold that includes a cough!”  Now, she and Danielle have been sick since early last week and now Isaac is coughing.  Dani started running a low-grade fever last night so I’ll need to watch her.  Her poor little tummy, back, etc. are sore from all her coughing.

We were supposed to give Hope her injection of Humira but have not done so.  First, we had to wait for a 2nd Dr. approval from the pharmacy before her insurance would even pay for it.  All I can say is we are SO, SO blessed.  The Dr.’s said to go ahead and give her the injection if she, herself isn’t running a fever or showing signs of an infection but I am hesitant due to what the other 3 are encountering.  I’m going to call Dr. again today after I see if Danielle is running a fever this morning.  After reading the side-effects to Humira, it makes this mom think, “Wow!  I’m injecting my daughter with something that will either help her or kill her.”  It’s quite sobering.  I am so thankful that God is in control and I can trust Him for the outcome of her health.

I started a slight cough last night as well and wasn’t feeling 100% so I hit the sack at 8:30 p.m. while Darrel watched a short movie with the children.  I do not believe anyone gave Hope the Melatonin and she slept soundly, so it seems [they’re still asleep].  Her appetite is up a little but she is being very responsive to the low carb/low sodium snacks she’s being offered.  Her favorite at this point is a stick of celery with no salt/no sugar peanut butter.  She’s like her daddy.  She loves that peanut butter!

Update a few hours later:  So, I’ve since learned that Hope was up past mid-night; unable to sleep.  She is unaware that the prednisone can cause insomnia and is also unaware that I’ve been giving her melatonin to help with sleep.  So, I will be sure she has some tonight.  I will look into the other things my sister has recommended but I’ve also read that it is often safely given to children 2.5-10mg.

Sleeping through the Night

January 31, 2012

I heard that taking steroids can also cause one to encounter insomnia so I ventured out and bought an under-the-tongue, 3mg melatonin.  I gave it to Hope before bed and she slept soundly.  Praise the Lord!  Will do so again this evening with high hopes it has the same effect. 🙂

First Steroid Infusion

January 30, 2012

I have nothing to compare this with, so I’m going to say our first Solumedrol infusion went very well.  I know we had a lot of friends and family praying; if you were one of them, THANK YOU!!!

Hope gets a lot of needle sticks.  Since February 2009 she has had a least one shot a day, many days she had needles injected to draw blood; at first it was every other day from March-May 2009.  The Lord was so kind to level off her hypercalcemia and now only has labs for that about every 2-3 months.  Back in August 2011 she began getting 2 shots a day and since then her blood draws have increased a lot.  So, she’s very familiar with needles.  So much so that you’d think she was ‘immune’ to them by now, but alas, she’s grown in anxiety about them.  She’s still an awesome patient and doesn’t wiggle or move around [much] but from the moment she sits down, well, she knows what’s coming so her anxiety flares.  This is an area for prayer!

The Tx Children’s Infusion Center is an open room with areas for about 10 children to receive infusions.  Each section has the ability to close the area off with a large curtain so that helps with privacy if it’s desired.  Before Hope’s IV was inserted she had the opportunity to see and hear several little children getting their’s placed.  Lots of crying and whining.  My initial thought was, “Oh, no!  This isn’t going to help her feel more at ease.”  This was probably true, BUT, the Lord used it to grow her in compassion all the more.  Her heart goes out to anyone hurting, so, this is the first thing I was thankful for.  During her computer playing I would see her look at the crying child and say, “Aw, poor baby!”

They have this AWESOME light; I don’t know if it’s a blue light or what, but they can see right through the skin and see the vein really well.  Second thing I was thankful for!  No rooting around for that little vein, just bam, and they have it in.  She did bury her head in one of the two pillows she had around her, but this is her way.  She’s like a little ostrich.  “If I can’t see it, maybe I won’t feel it.”  🙂

They begin giving her the infusion, she played a little game on my laptop and all was going well.  She sucked more sugar free sour Jolly Ranchers than I’d like to admit, but I am so thankful they are available!!!  The medicine does give her a terrible taste in her mouth and they help immensely.  So, I’ll have to add another bag of those on my grocery list each week now.

She doesn’t care for the cold feeling in her arm nor that her fingers feel numb, but I assured her this was part of it.  Everything was going fine until her bag was nearly finished and all of a sudden her face went flush.  She got a headache and became nauseated.  Praise the Lord I remembered to bring Zofran.  I gave her one and after about 20 minutes, a nice cold wash cloth and me fanning her, she was ok.  During this time she was very upset and began to cry.  She said, “I want Jesus to heal me.”

The infusion lasted a bit longer than I’d expected and we didn’t get out of there until around noon, but I think next time we’ll get to leave a bit sooner.  We’ll see.

Other than having some soreness, she is doing fine now and has asked to soak in a warm bath.  I did take her to Kroger on the way home and let her buy a pot of mini-roses.  The children bought me some for my 40th birthday and she likes to cut them and give them to her siblings and friends.  Now she has her own to cut up all she wants and she’s very pleased!

Next week I’ll be more prepared by having her own personal pillow and blanket [which she says have a wonderful smell that make her feel better], a movie, lots of sour Jolly Rancher candies and specific scriptures to share with her about how much Jesus loves her and is caring for her. Please pray that we’ll be able to serve her well by keeping her on a low carb, low sodium diet during all of this to keep her from gaining too much weight and retaining lots of water.   Her immune system will also be compromised from this drug as well as the Humira shot she will get in just a little while; praying God will protect our family against viruses during this time.   Thank you for praying; please keep praying!

Diagnosis Day

January 27, 2012

Today began with an appointment at 9 a.m. at Texas Children’s Hospital Clinical Care Center with Dr. Rosillo and Dr. Marietta deGuzman in Rheumatology.  Well, it actually started earlier with a cup of coffee but we’ll skip all that.  Hope hopped up on the exam table, as she is so used to doing, and began playing something on daddy’s IPad.  Dr. Rosillo came in and got an update on how Hope’s been feeling since our last visit a month ago.  I’ve noticed things like her not being able to press the button on a perfume or spray bottle, open our front door; things that she needs to do with strength in her hands.  Her play activity has also decreased as the pain in her toe and foot joints increased.  After a preliminary explanation about diagnosis and medication options, Dr. deGuzman arrived.  What sweet ladies!  They are both awesome Dr.’s.  Not only do I feel they are very competent in their field, they are compassionate and take time to explain.  Dr. Rosillo is from Mexico or Brazil (don’t quote me on that) and has quite an accent.  And Dr. deGuzman has a very heavy accent from (???) and is somewhat hard to understand as well, but they are so very kind!  I wouldn’t want any other Dr’s. 🙂

Dr. deGuzman began explaining that Hope has plenty of  clinical symptoms (and in her history) to diagnose Pediatric Sarcoidosis.  To say that she absolutely has it we would need a biopsy of the granulomas in her lungs, which is very invasive, or ones that have formed in her hands, feet or elbows.  At this point we are going to move forward with immediate treatment to slow the progression of the disease.  We would have begun an infusion today but that department was completely booked.  But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

Her CT scan showed granulomas in her lungs have not grown in the last 2 years.  Since she has not been on any kind of treatment plan this is very good news!  The fact that her lungs have not been greatly affected thus far is encouraging.  Her abdominal ultrasound did not show any unusual activity of granulomous formation which is also very encouraging!  She does continue to have nephrocalcinosis (calcium deposits in the kidney’s) but it has not gotten any worse in the last 1 1/2 years.  This is likely due to keeping her hypercalcemia (high calcium in blood stream) within normal limits by her calcitonin injections.  However, with children who are diagnosed with this disease, they usually prescribe an NSAID first, like Naproxyn.  We tried Hope on Naproxyn before Christmas and it caused irritation in her kidneys which caused blood in her urine.  So, we are unable to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as these.

On Monday we will go back to TCH for an IV-infusion of steroids called Solumedrol.  These infusions should take approximately an hour and we’ll do this once a week for the next 4 weeks.  I was told to buy her some sour candies to suck during this time to keep the nasty taste out of her mouth.  She will also begin a very low daily dose of steroids in pill form (Prednisone) and a dose of Humira every 14 days for a month.  The Humira will be injected by me every 14 days with something that looks like an Epi-pen.  Darrel and Hope went into the waiting room after our appointment so I could make other appointments and get ‘trained’ to give this new injection.  When the nurse brought the ‘pen’ and showed me how it worked I started fanning my face with papers.  They asked me if I was hot and I said, “No, just trying not to cry!”  The LAST thing I want to do is give Hope more injections.  Ahhhhh! [Charlie Brown style when Lucy pulls that football away from him]   I need prayer.  Hope needs lots of prayer (I was made aware that this medication stings, like her MiaCalcin, and I have to hold the needle in 10-15 seconds while it pumps).  She is NOT going to be a happy camper.  Again, very thankful this is only every 14 days and not every day.  Since Humira suppresses the immune system we are going to be prayerful and careful about infections, bacterial and viral.  She cannot be a hermit but we will be praying for wisdom in keeping her healthy.

In a month we’ll have a follow-up appointment to see if the medications are effective.  She will continue her MiaCalcin injections every 12 hours during this time…BUT…our prayer is that, if this disease gets controlled, that her hypercalcemia will desist and she will get to stop taking these daily injections.  I have NOT told her of this possibility, as I believe the devastation of it not happening would be very great.  I can hardly ponder the thought of it myself.  There is hope.  We will need to take blood for labs during this time so our endocrine Dr. can see if there are changes occurring in her blood calcium levels.

Right now our concerns are getting the inflammation down; back, all knuckle and hand joints, wrists, elbows, hips, ankles, feet and toes.  These are the main points that are causing her such pain.  Sarcoidosis causes granulomas [medical term for tiny collection of immune cells known as macrophages.  These form when the immune system attempts to wall off substances it perceives as foreign but is unable to eliminate.  It’s a special type of inflammation.] all throughout organs in the body including but not limited to the eyes, heart, liver, kidney’s, and lungs.  She’s had them form in her hands, feet, elbows and lungs.  We are praying these new medications will eliminate them and keep new ones from forming.

Another challenge will be to keep her active.  We’ve learned taking steroids causes the patient to be very hungry and usually gains weight, not to mention the swelling or ‘puffiness’ that naturally occurs.  Praying that the Lord will help all of us through this time.  The Dr. said taking steroids can make one very moody.  I wonder if it’s from the med’s or from people saying they shouldn’t eat so much! ha  Please pray for her specifically in this area as well… we want to feed her healthy snacks, comfort her and point her to Christ.

There’s so much more I’ve left out from the day but it’s late and time for me to rest.

I go to sleep very thankful.  I’m thankful God has let us have precious Hope for 3 more years (since initial flare in 2008); thankful for medications and Dr.’s, thankful for friends who pray, thankful for a Godly husband and children; thankful for funny movies and ice cream; and thankful to  Jesus for unimaginable suffering for the love of His people.

Holy God in love became

Perfect Man to bear my blame

On the cross He took my sin

By His death I live again!

He Cares

January 24, 2012

Hope has been complaining the last week of experiencing pain while breathing.  At first I thought it was inflammation in her rib cage but she says, “No, mommy, it’s not like that.”  After more probing I understand that it is indeed pain in her lungs.  Whatever is happening to her is now affecting her breathing.  Today was the height of my aknowlegement of this as she came into Isaac’s room, where I was teaching him, and crying about the way it felt.  I called rheumatology and left a message at the nurses desk, and although I tried to conceal my concern and sadness, ended up breaking down at the end while leaving my phone number.

Trinity has also been coughing since December 13th and I finally gave in and took her to our pediatrician yesterday.  Long story short, I didn’t agree with her diagnosis, but didn’t say anything; didn’t fill the new prescription given either.  But this morning Danielle reminded me that she and Isaac both had brief bouts with asthma at about her age; I totally forgot!  So, I do believe the coughing might be some form of allergy asthma and will be calling the Dr. back to get her opinion.

Although I feel washed over with medical issues at times [weary, not fearful] I know Jesus cares for us, loves us and is interceding on our behalf.  How kind that He would even care to have us kneel down at His feet and communicate with Him.  That He would allow us to do so; that He has bridged the gap, crossed the great divide, so that we can be His; called His children; that we may be comforted by Him.  Oh, the sweet love of Jesus!

Back to My Bacon

January 21, 2012

So, we decided to go out on Thursday to Brazos Bend State Park and use our pass before it expires the end of Jan.  It was cloudy, over-cast and windy.  But the kids had a great time.  We drove around to a part of the park we’ve not been and found a new play place.  They had a fort at least 15 ft up and they loved it!  Danielle took pictures and then sat and drew in her sketch book.  Isaac, Hope and Trinity played for a long time until Hope tired out.  She then got her sketch book too and they all drew; well, until Isaac thought about how much fun it might be to try and throw things UP the 10 foot slide.  He and Trinity were doing all sorts of things with the gravelly rocks.  He’s nuts…well, I should say, he’s creative. 🙂

We ate a picnic and I sat.  I sat in a chair and watched the clouds roll by.  It was lovely, although I kept seeing creepy faces in the clouds.  You remember as a kid all the fun animals and things you would see in the clouds?  No cute figures that day, all scary faces.  I don’t know why.

I ended up reading a book I’d just started, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.  It is beckoning me right now!

The day wasn’t what I’d planned but it was a good day.  Came home to hear someone from rheumatology trying to schedule us an appointment.  ha  They had closed for the day.  So, Friday morning I called.  Hope has an appointment at 9 a.m. with Dr. DeGuzman.  I am, at the moment, very happy about this.

Today, I took Hope and Danielle on a couple of errands and ended up at Hobby Lobby for Danielle to find some things to make a mask for a party next weekend.  After walking around, perhaps an hour, Hope’s feet and ankles were killing her.  When we were walking out she was just hobbling and hobbling along.  Ladies older than me were trying to pass.  She said, “I must look ridiculous!” But outwardly she didn’t seem to care much, just wanted to get off her feet.  By the time we got to the van she couldn’t even get in.  So, I am VERY glad we are getting in to see the Dr. Friday.  It couldn’t come soon enough.

Good news!  Darrel’s biopsy came back as Morphea which is just a localized scleroderma (hardening of the skin).  Nothing to be worried about.  She told him not to go snooping about online about scleroderma or we might get a shock, but his is nothing to worry about.  He has some topicort to use on it for a couple of weeks and his hair might even grow back.  So, my heart has been set at ease.  Thank you, Lord!

And last, but not least, Grady was kind enough to give us a leg of lamb this week.  It was a BIG leg.  I looked up a recipe he told me about and got it roasting this morning.  Roasted that leg for over 8 hours. {I must insert here a very strange occurance today.  For reasons unknown to us, Luther has a ‘no tolerance policy’ to roasting lamb in this house.  From about hour 2 of cooking, he ran upstairs sniffing the air, hid under the bed and wouldn’t come out.  When we finally coaxed him out he would only sit under Darrel’s desk, walk a foot or two out, sniff the air and go right back under.  It wasn’t until the lamb was eating and all the dishes washed that he came out of the room.  Weird-y!!!}   The lamb turned out  fall-off-the-bone tender.  The children all liked it, Darrel thought it was prepared well, but wasn’t too hot on it and me, well, the one who tries it all and loves it all…. Bleh!  I ate it, but I won’t be eating it again anytime soon.  It’s that after taste.  I don’t want to spoil the lamb eating experience for anyone else, so I won’t share my reason with anyone, but I have farm issues in my past that won’t allow me to enjoy goat cheese and now leg of lamb.  Oh well!  Back to my bacon. 🙂 [I love bacon]

Waiting

January 16, 2012

Trying to be patient while waiting for a phone call from rheumatology to get Hope back in.  Hoping it will be early on this week.  Also waiting on biopsy results for a place off Darrel’s arm.  Trying to decide whether to teach today in the house or to take a family outing as it promises to be a lovely 74 degrees.

Praying for our friends, Leslie and Jessica Padilla.

January 10th

January 11, 2012

Jan. 10th was officially Hope’s birthday but since we celebrated on the 9th I had plans for a regular day and school work.  The day was full of challenges and training but we made it through and prayerfully, God was glorified.

I am working on de-cluttering our home as to have more time to do the things I love, to spend more time with the ones I love and to have more time to serve without feeling like our ‘things’ rule us.  I am so thankful for all we have but the moment they rule me they become a burden and not a blessing.

Today I take Hope to TCH for her CT scan.  She’s had quite a horrendous night cough the past 4 nights but praise the Lord, she didn’t cough at all last night.  I was concerned about her lying on that table, having to be perfectly still for at least 5 minutes.  I didn’t want to put this off any longer so I’m so thankful the cough is leaving her.  I’ve noticed her appetite has decreased significantly and her coloring is changing too.  Where she normally scarfs down her entire birthday waffle, she ate 3/4 and said, “I’m stuffed!”  What? [very surprised]  Then at lunch she ate her side salad and started in on her meat and said she was too full to eat it.  And same at dinner.  So, not that I’m upset, because frankly she’s probably over-eaten in the past, but there’s a change going on for sure.

Praying we can get results soon and get on a plan to slow down this Sarcoidosis, if this indeed is what she has.  Should know soon, Lord willing.

Celebrating her life

January 10, 2012

We celebrated Hope’s 9th birthday yesterday; a day early!  Danielle and I stayed up late Sunday night getting the dining table ready.  Danielle set up such a beautiful table of plates, folded napkins, dainty tea cups and homemade paper flowers she’d made.  She also made a homemade cloth banner; so cute!  I made a blue balloon bouquet by taping them onto bamboo skewers and putting them in a little cup.  We wrapped her gifts in blue paper with pretty bows to match.  As she descended down the stairs she got a view of the table and she loved it.  I made homemade waffles with butter and powdered sugar [less sprinkles than usual *grin] and blackberries but she still enjoyed them; birthday waffles have been a tradition of ours for years now.  For lunch we picked up a box of fried chicken; that girl loves fried chicken!  Hope received a beautiful Swan Princess ballet Barbie doll from Grammy of which the girls played with  while I vacuumed my room and cleaned my bathroom [ha].  Then I steamed asparagus and c-r-a-b legs.  In the 20 years of our marriage we have not had crab legs, but Hope asked for them a few weeks ago and I figured, “Why not!”  So, we had quite a mess and ate rather slowly, as that’s the only way you can eat crab legs!  Plain cheesecake with strawberries to finish things off.  Over-all I’d say she had quite a successful birthday celebration.

Schiel Life

January 6, 2012

Making low carb cookies today so Hope can enjoy something at our Care Group meeting tonight.  I made them out of flaxseed meal and almond meal which means they are more ‘fattening’ but low in sugar content, which should mean they will be more satisfying.  They look good but tonight will put them to the test.

Hope’s had an abdominal exam this week which was painful because I believe her organs are inflamed, especially her liver.  Her rheumatological exam last week was also painful but possibly very telling.  Until her CT scan is complete and all labratory results are in they [Dr.’s] won’t say for sure, but they put a diagnosis of Sarcoidosis on her check out sheet.  It was exciting for me to see and emotionally exhausting as I sat in another room while she had pulmonary tests and mused over this new finding.  To hold back the tears of joy and sorrow were very stressful on my body.  God was with me, and her, and we now wait for the next step.

Lab results a few weeks ago showed her to be pre-diabetic.  The warrior rose up in me when I found out these results and I cried, with brandish held high, “NO! NO! NO!  We will not deal with diabetes too!”  And we made a drastic change in carbohydrate consumption in her and a little bit in us as well.  In less than 2 weeks her sugars came down from 118 to 95 which is now in normal range.  Praise you Lord Jesus!

It is possible that they want to start her on steriods, which every time I think of I cry.  Another option is methotrexate.  There are several more I cannot remember, but they need to see what her other organs currently look like in order to know how to best care for her body.

My fox of a husband has lost 40 pounds since August and is a running maniac. [4 mile run every other day and 15 mile bike ride on the other days]  That is said in a good and loving way.  I am very happy, proud and thankful that he is taking better care of his body to the glory of the Lord, to feel better and to give me a tiny bit of peace of mind that he might stick around for a while.  🙂  I know, we could all be called home today, but I appreciate his efforts and know that he feels better.

Although this daily journey is hard, sad and frustrating at times, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I may not always be smiling but I do have a deep rooted joy and thankfulness because of the Holy Spirits work in all our lives.  I feel like such a failure at the end of many days but His mercies are renewed every morning and I know that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.  All praise to the King!

In God We Trust

December 16, 2011

Hope has been going through more the last year.  More, as in, dealing with more pain.  This post isn’t about going into great detail about Hope’s health but how her brother was so kind on Monday.

I’d just made another appointment for Hope to see her pediatrician and knew she was going to have to give blood for lab work.  She’s sick and tired of needles and shots so when I mentioned us going she broke down in tears.  Isaac, being the kind and compassionate brother that he is, went into his room to get something, of which none of us knew.  BTW, he’s just lost 2 of his last molars and received $2 from the ‘tooth fairy’ that very morning.

He emerged from his room and walked up to Hope.  “Here,” as he handed her a dollar bill, “maybe you can buy something with mom after you are finished with your labs.”  Hope graciously takes the dollar and he finishes with, “And remember…”, as he points to the words on the dollar bill that states In God We Trust.

No promises

December 16, 2011

Hope: “Mommy, we’re done with our chores and everything…can we please play Mario Cart?”
Me: “Why haven’t y’all given that back to the Yohe’s yet?  Y’all end up fighting when you play that game.”
Hope: “We won’t fight. I pro— I prom— I pro—  I can’t promise you anything, but can we please play?”
ME: Totally cracking up I say yes.  How can I say no to such honesty?

Another day in the life of me

November 13, 2011

I am procrastinating.  I hear little footsteps coming up the stairs which will keep me from writing this blog post.  lol

This is my season.  A season for growing, for interruption, for self-discipline, for being pruned, for being broken, melted and shaped for His purpose.

I am musing over Romans 7:15 this evening as I put off working on lesson plans for home schooling this week.  In my own words, I don’t do what I know I should do and I do what I know I shouldn’t (writing this blog post first…doing anything, anything but lesson planning)!!  I do not, I mean really, do not have good, structured weeks of academic study for my children when I do not spend the proper amount of time and energy in preparing for their education on a weekly basis.  But I absolutely dread doing it.  I would rather clean toilets, laundry, scrub the floors, mow and edge the lawn (ok ,that’s not fair…I like doing the lawn) do the dishes and even DUST our books, than to do lesson plans.

So, going to have to do some serious praying and meditating over what my problem is.  I’ve no doubt God will give me guidance when I truly seek Him for an answer.  Now, whether I LIKE it, that’s another issue. 🙂

Praise You Lord for your tender mercies, Your long-long-suffering and patience with this daughter of yours.  You are so kind!

God’s Provision II

August 30, 2011

Before I pray God knows my need.  Before I wrote a word God was preparing for me to receive $ in the mail from Kroger.  As I wrote a blog post God was preparing the heart of friends to send money to care for the needs of the Schiel family.  How can I do anything but stand in awe of this God we serve?  God so swiftly and kindly sent money through some of His children to completely pay for our  a/c repairs.  Should I be surprised?  Absolutely not.  I’m not surprised but I still sit and marvel at His love to us and am thankful for obedient and generous children of God.

And now as I sit in my dining room I look at wilting Gerbera Daisies.  They were so beautiful a few days ago and now, despite my care for them, they are wilting; fading away and losing precious petals.  I think through the last few days and esp. today and continue to marvel at God’s kindness.  I’m not jumping up and down with excitment today, but have a deep seeded joy and faith in Christ Jesus for what He is doing in and through His people.  I think about how His ways are not our ways; I think about how much He must love us to allow things not to go the way we would choose.

After 2 1/2 years of daily injections, Hope finally got to try a nasal spray for her hypercalcemia.  Each person in our family has been elated at this opportunity for our dear little Hope and, no doubt, she’s been the most excited and anticipatory.  I drove with Isaac and Trinity to take her to give blood for her labs Monday morning since she hadn’t had any med’s since Sunday morning around 8 a.m.  She woke up not feeling great so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what her blood calcium levels were at; we usually get blood taken  in the afternoon after she’s already had a shot.  I’ve often wondered if her levels change within a 24 hour period, so I’ve been thankful for this opportunity. (soon to find out the results)  After we picked up the nasal spray we returned home.  Hope wanted to do the spray in the presence of the entire family; quite a big deal to be sure!  Once home we decided I’d better “pull the trigger” the first few times until she was sure she’d pump it fast and hard enough; we don’t want to waste a drop.  Once taken her eyes welled up with tears and her nose got really red.  She kept sniffing in so she wouldn’t lose any medicine but was saying it really hurt.  (Personally, I despise nasal sprays and would rather have shots…I think!)  She didn’t feel well most of the day yesterday, but we have those days so I just listened.

Today, Hope woke up and, sadly, there was no excitement for the nasal spray.  After breakfast she began to cry saying, “I don’t want nasal spray, I don’t want shots, I don’t want any medicine.”  We proceeded and sprayed in the opposite nostril, of which we received the same response as yesterday; teary eyes, red nose and an upset little girl.  But today she cried most of the day on and off complaining of back pain and throat pain.

What’s a mother to do with an 8 year old girl who has idiopathic (unknown cause) hypercalcemia and, as far as she can tell, this child will have to take injections or nasal spray the  rest of her life?  How does she help this child deal with the physical and emotional pain?

Not being able to work on her school work nor concentrate she gets up from her desk and lies on her bed.  “Mommy, will you please pray for me?”

A mother lays down on the bed with her child, holds her and they look out the window at the beautiful blue sky and white, wispy clouds blowing by.  She begins to pray and asks God to heal her; asks God to help her feel better; and then proceeds to thank Him for giving us reminders of His love and care for us.  She thanks God for pain and sickness so that we aren’t content to stay in this world but long to be with Him.  She thanks Him that He doesn’t allow us to have perfection, to have every single need met perfectly or we’d want to stay here and we’d be content with little or no desire for Him.  She thanks Him that He lets us see our great need for a Savior which grows our hearts to pray for others who are lost.

Later in the day she gives her child a back rub with peppermint oil to soothe and relax her muscles.  She lies on the bed with her and reads her stories about contentment in Christ; about God’s sovereignty and though we don’t always know what His plan is or why, He has known since before the foundations of the world.  Helping her to see that when He brings her through “fiery trials” to trust Him; to pray for His all-sufficient grace.  To pray for strength.

This is another way God is providing for us; for Hope.  What a name He’s given her; what hope we have in Jesus!

God’s Provision

August 23, 2011

Where do I begin?  I certainly do not want to begin with complaining, which is where my flesh would love to go.  I have mused over the phrase, “When it rains and pours”, over and over the last few weeks.

To make a very long, tedious and rather boring story or list of things that have gone wrong, short (how was THAT sentence?)  I will just say that we have been inundated with breakdowns the last few months.  When the money is there to cover the costs it’s easier to say, “Thank you Lord” for the provision.  But when the money is gone and the breakdowns continue, the phrases usually turn to prayers of supplication instead of prayers of thanksgiving.

Amongst the thousands of dollars we have now spent repairing our used vehicles and several home repairs and ant infestation in our home, our air-conditioner stopped working again (last month outdoor air-compressor went out).  After a warm night of restless sleep and looking at another large chunk of ‘dough’ which we no longer have, I am drawn to prayer and thanksgiving for how God will provide.

I JUST prayed with the girls this morning after hearing the dollar amount of the a/c repair.  Danielle walked to the mailbox to mail a card and brought back the mail from yesterday.  I open an envelope from Kroger and saw $45 with of Kroger money to spend at the store today (we use the Kroger m/c for grocery purchases and gas).  His kindness was too great…I cried and thanked the Lord for His care and provision.  Then we learned that the motor on the a/c blower (I think this is right) is under a 10 year warranty and we aren’t having to pay an additional $1000 to replace it.  Thank you Lord!

In addition to these praises I am thankful to have a home, to have insurance, to have food, to have clothing and water.  I am thankful for vehicles even when they break down.  I am thankful not to have to walk all the way to the grocery store or ride my bicycle and try to bring enough groceries home on it for 6 people.  I am thankful for a washer and dryer to wash our clothing.  I’m thankful for health and that we do not have a child in the hospital right now suffering.  I am thankful for so many things but more than all these I am thankful for God’s provision in bridging a gap that I could never bridge.  I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to save a sinner like me.  I can never pay the debt I owed.  And regardless if I went a day without food or a week or more without a/c in the comfort of my home, God loves me/us and I could never ask for more!

Saturday Morning Musings

August 20, 2011

  Facebook has taken over the world!  Well, not exactly but for those in the computer age it can feel that way.  I have been realizing for some time that I am missing out by not posting family happenings in this online journal.  I’m not writing down things I really want to remember…so I’m hopeful that I will begin doing better. There are things I’d like to share with friends and family here but there are also very personal things that I will be posting in a personal journal.

  Darrel and I had the opportunity to attend an Astro’s game last night with the Yohe’s.  The Astro’s actually won!  Wow.  ha  The firework show afterward was actually better than the one we saw at Miller Outdoor Theater on the 4th of July.  Hilarious!

Adopting Katie

June 8, 2011

  Katherine Von Bora Schiel is the newest member of the Schiel Family.  Where she came from and why she came to us we know not, but I do know that the first name she recevied from us, Angel, fits pretty well, although it has since changed. (Her name changed when she jumped up on our bed and curled up on Darrel’s shoulder while he was reading a book.  Yes, Darrel named Luther as well.  Imagine that!   We all love it by the way. )

   22 days ago I went outside during our lunch break to retrieve a 24 pack of water out of our trunk and came back in with her.  We put signs up in our sub-division, called vet’s offices and contacted the Humane Society; no one has claimed her.  So, today, I officially announce that Katherine, or “Katie”, as Martin Luther affetionately called his wife, is ‘ours’.  (If you didn’t know, Danielle’s dog, also our family dog, was named Martin Luther Schiel…we call him Luther.)  Luther is not as friendly with strangers as we’d like, but I chalk that up to several reasons which would take to long to write in this post; none being his fault, poor little guy!  I would not have bought another dog or even entertained the idea of owning another dog until she jumped into my lap and curled up.  I wouldn’t have dreamed in a 100 years that she and Luther would actually get along; not only get along but be the best of pals, romping and playing all the day!  She’s a little gift.  And for those of you who might fear Luther, no need to fear her.  She’s a tender little reed.

And for posterity sake and for those of you who might think Luther is unapproachable, here is a picture of all my niece’s and nephew playing in our backyard just 2 weeks ago.  Luther is holding a tennis ball while everyone is chasing him.  He thoroughly enjoyed the play!

  We had the privilege of being invited to the Houston Zoo last Sat. from the American Heart Association and Texas Children’s Hospital due to our familiarity with them both.  Despite the heat we thought getting to go to the zoo as a family and having lunch there would be fun as Darrel rarely gets to do this type of things with us. 

  After the girls’ played some games, did some hoola-hooping, put together some crafts, won slap bracelets, masks and sunglasses, answered zoo animal questions and ate some burgers we ventured out to see more animals before heading home.  As we walked in as much of the shaded area as possible we came upon the Houston Zoo Carousel.  It is quite the site, with zoo animals of all kinds going up and down, all shiny and colorful!  Trinity, still being young and into this sort of fun, asked if she could please have a ride.  Darrel and I both thought not, but then I thought we could bless her with a ride as part of a pre-birthday gift. (bd 6-15)  Daddy still thought not and then Isaac turned to him and said, “I’d like to let her ride as a present from me.”  My heart melted…and I think Darrel’s did too.  Well, maybe not melted, but we both saw such kindness in the offer.  We allowed Isaac to purchase his little sister a ticket on the Houston Zoo Carousel and then Darrel piped up, “Shari, get Isaac a ticket so he can ride with her.”  My heart melts again.  SO sweet!  With a grin as wide as the Mississippi River, Trinity got in line and began searching for the perfect animal.  She couldn’t stop smiling, and right behind her was Isaac.  I must admit his face wasn’t quite as happy as hers, but he was being very valiant like her mighty provider and protector.  I perceived he might have been thinking, “I really didn’t want to ride this myself, but I’ll do it for her.”  I could easily be way off base on that one.  Nevertheless, she finally chose an adorable, black dolphin which enabled Isaac to ride the more manly tiger which was right beside her.  I believe that was the kindness of God, not Trinity trying to help him out!  ha  Anyway, I’m sure it was somewhat of a “Whew” for Isaac!  After the ride I heard her thanking him and she said she thanked him over and over during the ride.  It warmed my heart through and through to see my son showing tenderness and kindness to his sister and the joy he brought her through this gift.  Thank you Lord that you allow us to see fruits of the Spirit working in each child in different ways.  This is a memory I am not soon to forget. 🙂

Sweet 16

June 1, 2011

  Where did the term Sweet 16 come from?  Well, as I see it, it was probably derived by someone like me years ago who had a daughter like Danielle.  I know, that sounds pretty self-centered…but truth is truth. 🙂 

  God sent a gift of sweet-kindness to us 16 years ago today and she has been a ‘cup overflowing’ of joy.  Oh, she had her ‘moments’ and is a sinner like us all, but saved by grace through faith and growing in the fruits of the spirit moment by moment, day by day, year by year. 

  Danielle will be the first one to tell you all her faults and recognize her need for The Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has been so kind, gracious and merciful in her 16 years of life to fill her with Himself to allow others to see the love of Christ.  In all her accomplishments she gives God the glory.  We are so thankful she is not only our daughter but sister in Christ.  God is so kind to let us know her for eternity and to grow together on this journey of life. 

 “Danielle, I am so proud of the young lady you are & are becoming.  I stand amazed on a weekly basis of how God reveals Himself to you and how much He loves you.  Tears of joy flood my eyes as I am overwhelmed with thankfulness and I must thank you for your deliberateness toward obedience and honor to your parents and care for your sibblings.  I’ve no doubt God blesses you more and more as you battle spiritual warefare for your sanctification for your good and His glory.  To see such a work in progress is almost more than a mother can absorb.  Throughout all our trials as a family you have stood as a becon, an encourager, a fountain of joy and blessing.  Thank you for loving me while seeing me in my sin.  Thank you for forgiving me when I’ve sinned against you, daddy or your sibblings.  Thank you for encouraging us to Godliness and kept shining that sweet smile at us.  Thank you for accepting our correction with the utmost of humility and repenting without any hesitation.  What an example you have been to Isaac, Hope and Trinity!   I’ve said this before and it probably won’t be the last time, but you know I ‘wanted a boy first’.  God had other plans for us and I am SO very greatful that He is God and I am not.  You are such a gift as a daughter and you’re growing into a sweet friend and sister in Christ.  May your days be full of Him; may you grow to love Him more and more and more each day.  Nothing and no one, will truly satisfy your soul like your love, your intimate relationship with Jesus.  I know you know that, but…we’re here to remind one another!

  My precious Danielle Kay Schiel…I love you!”

Mama

Scary Stories

May 28, 2011

  So, the cousin’s (my sister and her children) are here for Memorial Weekend.  I was listening to a new song for worship with earphones on when I notice Darrel getting up from his seat.  I didn’t give it much thought but when he re-entered the room he had a compassionate but funny look on his face.  I learned that one of the cousin’s told such a scary bed-time story that Hope and Trinity burst into tears 

 Yes, I felt sad for them, went to console them, and yes, I’m fairly sure that at least 1 of the girls’ will wake up tonight and need more consoling, but another thought came to mind.  And that thought was, “Wow!  My girls were actually afraid of a ‘silly, scary story’.”   I am thankful because with the movies and media that are out these days many children are numb to things that should shock.  I’m thankful they have not been de-sensitized and I’m also thankful that Hopie asked for prayer!  🙂  God is good and faithful.  And, yes, despite the scary story incident, the cousin’s are having a great time together!!!

sMiLe

May 25, 2011

God’s Graciousness

May 24, 2011

  While teaching the girls’ I noticed Hope was day dreaming and not writing on a handwriting page I had given her.  My usual response is, “Hope, finish your paper… get busy… work hard…stop daydreaming.”  But today I was impressed to ask questions. 

Me- “Hope, what are you doing?”

Hope- “Thinking.”

Me- “About what?”

Hope- “About God.”

Me- “What about God?”

Hope- “His graciousness.”

Me- “What about His graciousness?”  (I know…sometimes I wish I didn’t have to probe, but one must do this with a child to get to the heart at times. 🙂

Hope- “My shots.”

Me- ” Can you explain?”

Hope- “God is gracious to me by letting me have a shot every day instead of dying.”

I’m so thankful that He has worked in her heart over the last  2 years where she’s even able to make a statement like that at 8 years of age.  She still despises the shots but is thankful.  You are amazing God!

a story with no words

May 21, 2011

big deal

May 20, 2011

  two things i absolutely must not forget about yesterday…we found a small dog a few days ago and are trying to locate her home. 

hope is totally attached to her.  well, we’re all falling for the sweet little thing.  but she had commented on wed. about wanting to get rid of luther and keeping her. 

while out in the driveway yesterday, talking to a neighbor, she says, “if i had to choose, i’d choose luther.”  What?  i had to ask if i’d heard wrong.

hope- “i would want to keep luther.  i wouldn’t want my sister (dani) to be sad.” 

this is a big deal! 

then hours later while i’m working on a project and voicing my discouragement especially concerning my computer and printer, hope hops up off a chair next to me, puts her hand on my shoulder and says, ‘mama, let me pray for you.’ 

this is a big deal!

she prayed the sweetest, thoughtful prayer.  it was so tender and from her heart.  i actually felt cared for.  amazing!

God, You are amazing and doing a work in that little 8 year old heart.  and you are allowing me the privilge to see the fruit of Your work.

this is a big deal!  🙂

Puritan Paperbacks

March 26, 2011

  I went downstairs for my morning coffee and before heading back up to the homeschool room where my desk and computer are, I ventured into the “Cove” which was affectionately named by the kids and me a few months back when we couldn’t communicate clearly which rooms needed cleaned.  The Cove is the back room, den area, if you will, with fireplace.  Not that anyone else needs to remember this but I might forget once the kids are gone.  I like to call it the Cozy Cove but I don’t think it’s stuck with them yet. 🙂  There are a plethera of books to choose from in this room and I just happened to the Puritan section.  What a glorious husband to put them into sections.  Maybe glorious is too strong a word but I must share my ardent feelings about this very special man. *grin*  Anyway, I happened upon one titled All Things for Good.  1 word… WOW!  And right now I have misplaced it and the children all declare when I ask if they’ve seen my book, “No.”  Maybe Darrel took it.  I was so greatly encouraged by its content and scripture that I want to be sure to bring it along on our vacation this week of which I am extremely excited to be taking!  Actually, I’d much rather be reading it right now than finishing off my To Do list.  Alas, I’ve once again succomb to blogging.  LOL  Gotta get busy!

Isaacisms

March 22, 2011

  Isaac is very gifted with being able to work out problems in his head, especially math problems.  I attribute this gift to his father and, of course, to God.  But this leads him to being lazy and not writing out problems so I can see WHAT he’s thinking and if his thinking is correct.  Today, I was telling him he was going to have to start working out his problems on paper so I can see where the problems occur or his misunderstanding.  He said, “I write slow!”  I told him I understood but that he wouldn’t get any faster if he didn’t start practicing more.  Then as he thought he said, “I’m glad there aren’t cursive numbers!” 

  I laughed.

Inspiring…

Rustic Mornings

Good Thursday morning to you all!  What I’m enjoying today is pretty simple.  The theme is “Fresh & Clean”, inspired by a cool morning on the porch with my succulents, quiet time in a clean house with some delicious mint infused water,  and lastly a fresh, mouthwatering tomato, basil, and feta pita pizza. *YUM*!  What things are you enjoying today?

If you like Today’s Enjoyments, please take time to like, share, pin, and follow before you go enjoy the rest of your day!

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Praying for my Husband

April 7, 2013

There are a couple of reasons I’ve decided to focus on giving thanks for my husband and for praying for my husband.  One of them is that I just don’t do it enough.  I don’t tell him how much I appreciate him, the things he does, and that although at times our relationship can be less than Baklava (my favorite dessert), I know God has given him to me as a gift.  I also realize I regularly fail at praying for him; and I want to change that.

There are a handful of women with whom I have close relationship and a larger basketful with whom I have regular encounters and relate.  Within these two spheres I’ve noted how I’ve often not communicated in a way that was highly encouraging.  God’s word tells us (not asks us) in Prov. 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”  I wouldn’t say I purposefully ‘withhold’ good from my friends, family and sisters, but I am not always deliberate to do good; my mind wanders or I might be speaking of things of lesser importance.

So, today, after coming home to a quiet, empty house (my children are with friends), I spent hours of my Sunday contemplating God’s word and pondering over thanksgiving and prayer for my husband, and husbands of my friends and family.  These blog posts will be one way in which I am striving to be deliberate in doing good to my friends.  Eph. 5:15-16 says “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

I’ve changed my order of posting on FB…it will focus on me praying for my husband first and then a focus on giving thanks.  (Although doing both at once is great,  I’m aware that in marriages where anger and bitterness are being harbored it is better to seek God in prayer first as the Holy Spirit works and places true thankfulness in the heart being softened.)  I pray that God’s word will penetrate my heart, conviction will lead to repentance, that children would see healthy marriages and be blessed, and that marriages will glorify our Lord Jesus Christ!