December 31, 2008

  We’re going to have to reschedule Hope’s bone scan for another day due to congestion.  She and I both received the colds we thought we were going to miss out on and they won’t put her under anesthesia until it has passed.  I’ll post a new date once I find out for those of you who have been praying. 

  Darrel has prepared a video presentation for us to watch tonight for New Years Eve and is out buying some food for dinner.  Even after a 2 hour nap I doubt we’ll be able to stay up to bring in the New Year, but it will be fun trying.

  Happy New Year!

Prov 16:9 A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.

The Lord has a plan for us and He directs us according to His plan, not our plan. When we are being lead by the Lord, we will plan according to His will and not our own.


First Infared Schiel Photo

December 29, 2008

Infared Shari

Infared Shari Just having a bit of fun at the Space Museum! I could have spent a lot more time there if the kids wanted to read more. 🙂 I stuffed a turkey for the first time this year. It was ok but I prefer stuffing un-stuffed. Stuffed turkey Christmas day

(I had a photo of the lovely bird here but it’s not showing up so I’ll leave that as the providence of God that you not see it. ha)

And how can I leave this one out.  The girls were having a lot of fun in this section of the museum.  I had them hop up on the bed to get a feel of what the sleeping quarters were like.

Hope and Trinity in sleeping quarters at Space Museum

Hope and Trinity in sleeping quarters at Space Museum

  The other 3 children have colds but God has been so merciful to Hope.  She seems to be feeling fine, no cold symptoms and overall she just seems to be feeling better.  We heard her singing in the bathroom today!  🙂  She’s eating more  and was chasing our dog Luther while he played with his new squeaky toy, thanks to Matthew, Sarah and Katherine. (thanks guys)  I am seeing a great improvement in Hope and am thanking God for increased appetite and energy.  Still planning on having this bone scan on Monday the 5th and blood work but very encouraged at her overall improvement.  No doubt God is at work.

Christmas company

December 27, 2008

The Axelson's inside the old Smithsonian Castle

The Axelson's inside the old Smithsonian CastleFriends from our church back home in Pearland madethe very long 1400+ drive to visit us during Christmas time. They so kindly brought along a friend of Danielle's, Sarah Smythe, and her parents were unselfish enough to let her. Other than some runny noses and coughs we enjoyed quite a bit of time together. Danielle played Christmas carrolls on the piano and Heather brought her flute. The both played lovely songs and tried duets a couple times. We all drove into DC and went to the Air and Space Museum. We walked to the Smithsonian castle part but there wasn't much inside but a lovely Christmas tree. Then on Christmas Day they, including Sarah, went in to see many of the memorials and monuments. The kids made a gingerbread Christmas tree and colored large letters to spell Merry Christmas to put up on the diningroom wall. I must say we watched quite a few movies but it helped pass the time when they weren't feeling too well. Danielle and Sarah had many a giggly night and I had to wear ear plugs. ha Darrel took Eric to the Sovereign Grace library one night to talk and read and then out to have a Chi Burger one afternoon, but no 20 ouncer this time. It was so nice to spend time with friends and to get to know one another better. Danielle, Hope, Sarah, Isaac, Darrel and Trinity going inside a shuttle


Sarah and Danielle posing outside the Smithsonian

Sarah and Danielle posing outside the Smithsonian

A note about Hope: this visit was a great gift for her as well.  Having company provided her with much distraction.  Sat. night she played in the basement for a long time.  Sunday after church she just sat on the couch all day but each day after that she seemed to gain more energy and appetite.  She’s not eating like she was but she’s certainly eating more than the previous 3 weeks.  I’m highly encouraged and even wondering if some of her added loss of appetite and energy loss was due to the anesthetic during the MRI.  I should be getting her blood work done next week, a physical and have the nuclear bone scan set for 1-5.  Thanking the Lord for all His promises and the fulfillment of all at the cross.


December 21, 2008

  We are hoping to receive a letter of approval in the mail early this week for MD medical care.  After an emotional roller coaster ride on Friday (too lengthy to write out here) it looks like we will have the bone scan on Jan. 5th.  We are going to have to go to Shady Grove Hospital to do it, which is why the wait is a bit longer than if we could have just gone to Shady Grove Radiology.  Since Hope is 5 she’ll need to be sedated to lay perfectly still for 20 minutes or more to do the second phase of the scanning and they don’t sedate at the radiology outside the hospital.  Hopefully this will be only a day thing and we won’t have to spend the night.

  I am rejoicing GREATLY that we were approved for medical assistance and that Darrel will not be back in school.  He goes back the 6th.  HA.  Isn’t God’s timing amazing?   I am praying that Hope will have peace prior to and during the procedure as she continues telling me she’s not going.  The MRI experience was a very bad one.  We will probably have some blood work done prior to this but until we get paper work in the mail I cannot take her to the lab to have blood drawn.  We’ll do that asap.  Also still praying God would sustain her weight or help her gain but she doesn’t want to eat.  It’s strange…today she said she was hungry.  So, very excited was I….I will make her anything at this point.  But I ask her what she wants, let her look through the pantry and refrigerator and nothing sounds good.  Then when something does sound good and I make it she takes one bite and then leaves it.   Dr. Niu recommended Pediasure so I bought a 6 pack of chocolate and, you guessed it, she doesn’t like it.  I’ve tried dressing it up or diluting it with milk and Hershey syrup but she says it’s gross.  So then I’ll freeze it a while and make it like a slushy.  At this point I just insist on a sip or two.  So throughout the day she is getting a bit of nourishment and she’ll drink water and juice. 

  The Axelson family is here from Houston spending the week with us and they brought along a good friend of Danielle’s, Sarah Smythe.  Right now the older girls are supposed to be sleeping but are giggling their heads off.  But this has been a great distraction for Hope and she was quite active today in the basement with everyone so that was very encouraging. 

  I have my ups and downs.  The downs usually come when I’m tired and on the phone with health care facilities 🙂 but through it all “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus Name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.  When darkness veils His lovely face I rest on His unchanging GRACE, in EVERY high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil!!”  I keep a 3×5 index card in my pocket with scripture to read when I’m feeling like I’m heading down a road of fear or anxiousness.  There are scriptures lining the walls of my house and on my kitchen cabinets that lift my eyes to Jesus. 

  We are blessed in a myriad of ways; first and foremost that He would love us enought to send His son to die in our place…what more could we ask for?

3 Phase Bone Scan

December 18, 2008

  Hope needs a 3 phase bone scan to help determine if there is infection in her bone/s.  Sharlean Wilson is the women working on getting our insurance squared away; I’m praying for high favor in order to get this processed quickly.  Due to my failure to follow up on paper work filed when we moved here we only have insurance on the kids through CHIP which is usable only in Texas unless they go to the emergency room.  We’re working on getting this remedied.  The following is the procedure we hope to have very soon.  I took her to see Dr. Niu yesterday.  Hope has lost 2 lbs since she was last in before Thanksgiving and is very tired all the time.  Many more symptoms, but no need to write.  We are trusting in God’s sovereign hand and we’re giving her a lot of lovin’. 

    A bone scan is a nuclear scanning test to find abnormalities in bone. It is primarily used to diagnose or help diagnose a number of conditions relating to bones, including: cancer of the bone or cancers that have spread (metastasized) to the bone, locating sources of bone pain (e.g. lower back pain) and abnormal bone, diagnosing fractures that may not be seen as easily in traditional X-ray images, and detecting damage to bones due to infection or illness.

Bone scans are one of a number of methods of bone imaging, all of which are used to visually detect bone abnormalities. Such imaging studies include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray computed tomography (CT) and in the case of ‘bone scans’ nuclear medicine. In the latter case the patient is injected with a small amount of radioactive material such as 600 MBq of technetium-99mMDP and then scanned with a gamma camera, a device sensitive to the radiation emitted by the injected material. In order to view small lesions (less than 1 cm) especially in the spine, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging technique may be required. In the United States, most insurance companies require separate authorization for SPECT imaging.

About half of the radioactive material is localized by the bones. The more active the bone turnover, the more radioactive material will be seen. Some tumors, fractures and infections show up as areas of increased uptake. Others can cause decreased uptake of radioactive material. Not all tumors are easily seen on the bone scan. Some lesions, especially lytic (destructive) ones, require positron emission tomography (PET) for visualization.

About half of the radioactive material leaves the body through the kidneys and bladder in urine. Anyone having a study should empty their bladder immediately before images are taken.

In evaluating for tumors, the patient is injected with the radioisotope and returns in 2-3 hours for imaging. Image acquisition takes from 30 to 70 minutes, depending if SPECT images are required. If the physician wants to evaluate for osteomyelitis (bone infection) or fractures, then a Three Phase Bone Scan is performed where 20-30 minutes of images (1st and 2nd Phases) are taken during the initial injection. The patient then returns in 2-3 hours for additional images (3rd Phase). Sometimes late images are taken at 24 hours after injection.

God’s Kindnesses

December 16, 2008

  When are you most enlightened by a word from the Lord?  Is it during prayer time, bible reading, reading another book, meditation, singing praise, listening to a friends’ encouraging word?  I have been blessed by God’s kindness in all these ways but He also ministers to me in the bathroom.  I guess that’s because I’m usually alone and quiet.  HA  Many nights or mornings of ‘enlightenment’ have come during a nice warm shower but tonights came most unexpectedly.  I was brushing my teeth. 

  Brushing my teeth, thinking over Psalm 23 as my dear friend Betsy reminded me today.  And at the same time thinking, ‘you know, my mother just sent me Psalm 23 a few weeks ago.’  What a confirmation from the Lord to meditate, feast and dwell upon this scripture.  And then it came.  One of those little packages given that you think, ‘oh, this will be sweet.’  And when opened it is so overwhelmingly more colossal than you’d ever expected you’re moved to tears with wonder and thanks.  And it’s not that it is so colossal to anyone else, but this gift was chosen specifically for you, the perfect thing at JUST the right moment…and you are speechless.

  Well, tonight I received such a gift from my Father.   Musing over Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh my to lie down in green pastures…’  wait a minute…. go back.  The Lord is my shepherd.   The Lord is MY shepherd.   I stopped there and visualized a vast area filled with green rolling hills.  On it was a flock of sheep.  There I was, one of those sheep, and many other sheep around me…Darrel, family members, church family and friends.  But what ministered to my soul the most, due to the current physical situations we’ve been dealing with in Hope Lauren, was seeing these 4 little lambs around me.  They were much smaller than I, all grazing about me.  I was remembering  carrying them in my womb, birthing them, feeding them, little lambs suckling; me licking their wounds when they got cut by thorns or licking their faces when there was dirt.  We looked so small.  Then I looked up and saw our Shepherd.  Standing out a few feet from the herd he was tall, strong, sure, a very mighty man standing guard over us with His staff.  While looking at Him I saw my frailty, my inability to protect myself much less these little lambs around me.  I had no teeth with which to bite, no claws with which to tear, no way to defend myself, the wee ones or any other lamb in the herd.  But just one look at Him, I saw total protection, provision, love and care.  I visualized a massive and vicious wolf stealthily stalking us, thinking he would attack and conquer his prey.  The first time I thought of this I stood shaking and tremoring with fear.  But MY Shepherd took flight and knocked him completely out of my sight with mighty blow, not a drop of sweat leaving His brow.  Again I visualized an even more hideous creature coming to attach and I stood in awe and watched, fearless as MY Shepherd flawlessly defended His lambs.

  All of this was wrapped up in a gift to me tonight within about a 3 minute period.  Being totally overwhelmed by His care I wept in thanksgiving.  Thanking Him that He is Almighty, our Protector, our King, our Shepherd, our Victor.  And thanking Him for once again letting me see that He is the Creator and I the created…small and weak, defenseless and needy; so entirely thankful to be His child.  He did not show me this to tell me we will not have pain, cuts, bruises, times when we’re a bit thirsty, waiting for water or new grass to graze upon, but that He is totally faithful to care for us when we hurt, bleed, will lead us to the stream quickly and feed us when we are hungry.   How sweet for Him to remind me ever tenderly again that I am His, Hope is His, Darrel is His, Danielle is His, Isaac is His, Trinity is His.  And He will take care of us all.  A beautiful rendition of the Lord is my Shepherd.

Learning to stitch

December 13, 2008


Here’s the one Danielle is working on.  She gotten further the last few days but this is the last photo I’ve taken.

Isaac is working on one too but he’s been busy playing.  ha  His is a sprig of holly berry.


December 11, 2008

Clear  44°F
Wind: N at 8 mph
Humidity: 31%

Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 91%

December 10, 2008

Gotta show the kids handiwork at making a snowflake garland this year.  After our autumn leaf garland was up for well over a month it looked so bare when we took it down… thus the snow. 


  Along with these household ‘crafts’ the kids made a model of Mercury today as a science project.  Quite, uh, interesting.  ha  Not much you can do with flour, water, salt and a little oil.  But they had a good time.  We began a new garland for the other side of the livingroom today.  We’ll finish it up in a few days if Luther won’t eat it.  Will post pics later.  My camera isn’t downloading right tonight!

  I’ve been so encouraged by God’s word and wonderful hymns sung by many.  Great is Thy Faithfulness has been one of my favorites for years and I’ve sung it with gusto this week!  Looking forward to a couples night with CJ and Carolyn Mahaney this Thursday evening at the school.  I’m continually amazed by God’s love and mercy. 

  Darrel is really enjoying the PC.  There is a lot of reading, writing, study, meditating, praying, self-evaluation, reading, writing, study…  and GREEK.  He’s not making an A+ but he is passing (A’s & B’s), passing school that is…not necessarily Greek. 🙂   (I have a LOT of fun working with him on Greek vocab. with his flash cards.  I get to laughing so hard…we come up with some pretty good mnemonic devices…A device, such as a formula or rhyme, used as an aid in remembering.)

  God is showing Himself, stretching Darrel and blessing him.  One of the greatest challenges for Darrel, I think, is that he’s been out of a classroom setting for nearly 20 years.  But, it’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit work in his life and see the struggles and growth first hand.  It is such a priviledge for our entire family to be here and we are ever thankful God brought us and is walking with us every step of the way; for His glory.  We both realize that we cannot do it… I cannot serve my family, encourage my husband, be his helper, teach the children, example Jesus to them…apart from Christ I am unable.  Darrel cannot fulfill all required of him; student, husband, father, leader,  example Jesus to us, to all those he is with during the course of a day…apart from Christ he is unable.  Each day I am more aware of my need for Him and thankful for His word which feeds my hungry soul and spirit to lead and guide.

December 9, 2008

Psalm 63.    Fernando Ortega, one of my favorite singer/songwriter/pianists, sings this Psalm in the most beautiful and soothing way.  I have listened it this song about 25 times in the last 2 days.  My soul has been thirsting for God but my flesh has been very weak.  There are so many facets and aspects of what God is doing in Hope right now I don’t dare try to explain all I see or this blog entry would be way too long.  God knows.  But the last week has been very tiring.  When she wakes up in the morning she says she is sleepy, her poor skin is so dry, her lips are cracking, she’s fighting excema, she has dark circles under her eyes (we are using a new bath oil and cream by Eucerin which seems to be helping).  It just breaks my heart…she just looks worn out.  Seeing her lay on the couch  most of the time with little appetite is hard.  But God….but God…but God knows.  I will rest in His Sovereign hands, continuing to walk in trust.   And then Hope hears Danielle, Isaac and Trinity playing in the basement tonight.  She gets off the couch with me (we were sewing together) and makes her way down.  Danielle took her by the hand and entered her right into what they were doing.  What a blessing that caring older sister is to her siblings and parents.  At that point Trinity came up to play with me 🙂 but Hope stayed down.  It was so wonderful to hear her playing and getting some stimulation.  She came back up to put on slippers and said, “I’m not feeling as sleepy now.”  They all went to bed smiling and encouraged which highly encouraged a weary mama.


Hope almost finished her stitching tonight of a Christmas ornament.  She loves to sit and ‘sew’ with me.  Isaac and Danielle are also working on their own which I’ll post another time.  Trinity tries to sew but then messes up and decides we need some entertainment.  You can imagine the rest. 🙂