Danielle had a small party today to celebrate her 14th birthday, June 1st.  It went GREAT!  She made the cutest polka dot decorations and signs she hung on the walls that said, ‘Lots of Laughs’, “Friendship’, ‘Memories’, ‘Good Times’, ‘Sharing Stories’.  She had lots of games planned and God was so good to give me LOTS of free desserts at the food drive last Thursday night; brownies, scones, chocolate cruisants, a pastry ring from Panera Bread and she made short Bread cookies.  We really invited her guests over for a sugar high! HA  Danielle had so much fun and I think it went just as she hoped.  Happy Birthday my sweetie!   

  Well,  I went for a 5 mile walk and had my spirits lifted as I sang praise to God with the group Watermark.  I remember painting and painting and painting into the hours of the night while getting our house ready to sell in Tomball and listening to the song they sing “Arise and Be Comforted”…for the Lord, He is good to the weary.  Even the young heart can tire and fall, but He knows them all.  For the Lord, He will renew their strength, they will soar on wings as eagles, they will run and never grow weary, they will walk and not faint, for the Lord, He IS GOOD!!  and there is more…

  Now here we are again at a somewhat weary time in our lives with another move, packing, Darrel finishing up school assignments (5/ 2 page papers) and reading…an emotional time too.  SO, in steps God with His kindness in pouring out more peace and grace when we are in need and encouragement from our friends and family.  So, my heart is very encouraged and soul well. 

  Update on Hope…her blood calcium levels are again on the rise since we lowered her calcitonin med’s.  Her vitamin D levels are high too.  They should be under 55.6 and her’s are at 65.  It is possible the extra vitamin D is being made from granulomas in her body somewhere (possibly those teeny tiny spots on her lungs), but we don’t know.  The only way to know if the spots on her lungs are granulomas are to have them biopsied and the only way, at this point, to biopsy them is to do invasive open chested surgery.  They are not in a position on her lungs where they can go down her throat and into her lungs, plus they are very, very small.  It is possible they could be growing after 3 months now.  Anyway, all this to say that we are thankful the calcitonin injections are still working to keep her pain free and keep the calcium from leeching out of her bones.  We are increasing her calcitonin back up to 0.25cc’s as of last night. 

  Time to give baths to my babes and read lots of lovely stories all cuddled up on the couch!!  🙂

  Latest update….Hope just swallowed either a nickel or her new quarter from the US Philadelphia Mint tour.  She’s not sure which one.  🙂  I guess I’ll be playing poop patrol for the next week and praying that I find some money.   Please pray this passes with no problem and we don’t end up in the hospital for exploration.   And lest you think I’m in the least bit discouraged about the timing of this incident…I might not be too happy as I’m checking things this week but right now I’m just laughing!!

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Full Days

May 28, 2009

  We will begin our move back to Texas on June 12th.  We are so excited to see our friends and family back home that the packing isn’t even an issue!  To top off this excitement our dear friends, the Smythe’s, are coming up here to vacation and help us pack up and move.  (Don’t worry Matthew, most of our books are sitting on shelves in our Cherokee Rose house *smile*) Darrel and I had out last official date night out in Gaithersburg Tuesday evening.  Last night we went out to dinner with our fellowship group and remenisced about the past, present and future, all the while amazed how God has met us.  And we are hoping to reunite in another 10 years to celebrate what God has done in our lives…this time in Korea. (this is where Songwan and Miran live)  Tonight the kids have their last gym day with friends and this evening we adults have our last night with CJ and Carolyn Mahaney.  I have a ‘Ladies Night Out’ this Friday night.  Danielle’s birthday celebration with a few friends is this Sat. afternoon.  Darrel has “Guys Night Out” Tuesday night & Danielle is going to Jeannie’s with Mariah and Brooke for a special girls time and learning a special craft from Jeannie.  Darrel is usually off on Monday’s but this week they’ll have class Mon-Wed., Wed. being their last day of class.  (Whoa!  I just had tears come to my eyes with that last sentence…no surprise.)  I believe the guys are not having a final Greek Exam (if I overheard Darrel correctly), of which I am sure there will or was MAJOR rejoicing over this announcement! 

To update everyone on Hope’s health, she is doing well.  I actually didn’t even get a call concerning her brain MRI.  It was one of those ‘no news is good news’ type things.  But when I went in to pick up her records a week ago I saw the MRI results page that was faxed.  While trying to read it upside down and talking to the receiptionist at the same time, she said Dr. Niu would call me if there anything significant showed up.  Well, he never called so I’m sure all is well in that head of hers.  🙂  As stated in an earlier post, her endocrinologist has taken her calcitonin injection down from 0.25cc per day to 0.20cc daily.  She is in hopes that ‘whatever is wrong with her’ might be diminishing or dissolving on its own.  She seems to be tolerating the lower dose ok, however I have heard her complain of her throat hurting and abdominal pain again a couple times where when the dose was at 0.25 she didn’t have any complaints.  We’ll have to give this some more time and more blood calcium lab levels to know for sure.  I think we’ll know whether we’re going to keep it at this level before we move back home.  BUT, she is doing well.  It seems she’s hungry all the time, she’s gained 4 lbs back and is now riding her bicycle like a crazy lady!  She LOVES riding her bicycle.  🙂

  Believe it or not, it’s been CHILLY here!  I know, you Texans must think we’re crazy…but I had to wear a sweater out the other evening and a jacket last night.  Brrrr!  Ok, I just looked it up and the low’s have been in the 50’s and 60’s.  That’s like December weather to me!  HA  Anyway, it’s warming up now and should be 80 on Danielle’s 14th birthday.  Perfect! 

2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burn offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. Psalm 51:19

I must admit

I am embarrassed

by

what gives me

pleasure.

It doesn’t take

much

to make me

smile.

I get

real pleasure

from

a good steak

nice chocolate

a comfortable

bed.

I want the joy

of

cold soda

and

hot tea.

I want the bathroom

to

be empty when

I need it.

I want the streets

I drive on

be free of other

drivers.

I want people

to

respect my opinions

and

validate my plans.

I want my wife

to

be satisfied

with me as

I am.

I want

 my bills all

paid

and plenty of money

to

do the pleasurable

things

that make me

happy.

But God

isn’t like

me.

His pleasures

aren’t a sad

catalog

of

low-grade

idolatries.

His desires

aren’t shaped

by

ravenous self-focus.

He

doesn’t

live

in a perpetual state

of

self-absorbed

discontent.

His pleasures

are never

regrettable

ugly

or

unholy.

When

God smiles

His reason

is holy

and His purpose

is

pure.

He finds

great pleasure

in His glory

and

great joy

when

the repentant

turn

from the pursuit

of

their own glory and

turn

toward His.

He has

great pleasure

in

the success

of

His plan

and finds

satisfaction

in seeing

His children

turn

from their pleasure

to

live for

His.

Someday

by His grace

the pleasures

that give me

pleasure

will be

the things that

please God.

Until then

my

hope is in the

fact

that He finds

delight

in rescusing those

who

have been led

astray

by their pleasures

because

once more today

I’m

going to need

that rescue.

And I’ll need

it

every day until

my

deepest pleasures

are nowhere to be found

in

the creation

and only to be found

in

the Creator.

1.  How close is what gives you pleasure to what gives God pleasure?  2.  If the glory of God was our highest pleasure, what pleasures would you no longer live in pursuit of?

Hope Lauren

Hope Lauren

My youngest darlings, Hope Lauren & Trinity Grace

My youngest darlings, Hope Lauren & Trinity Grace

Can you say adorable?  Sweet Trinity Grace.

Can you say adorable? Sweet Trinity Grace.

….and more to come.  I have an errand to run.  🙂

Philly Phlop

May 22, 2009

    Before I dive into the meat of this post (or perhaps this is the meat) let me begin by thinking back to those good ole days of diving off the diving board.  I was not a gifted diver.  I saw children and adults alike run down that diving board and throw themselves out into the water head first, arms extended and hit the water with a beautiful dive.  Sometimes it wasn’t a beautiful dive, but it was a dive nonetheless.  Me?  Well, I had to stand at the edge of the pool, place my hands carefully in a V position, pull my arms over my head and have my dad hold my hips back and then kinda ‘fall’ into the water.  I was not a gifted diver.  But alas, after much practice I had the opportunity to compete in a diving competition one year at summer camp.  I was very excited!  When the announcer called out for the diving competition I began walking toward the diving board to line up, quite sure of myself at this point but a bit nervous.  I was 3rd in a line of 4.  As I stood watching those who went before me they were doing what I’d seen so many do before.  They stood at the back of the diving board, took off running and dove into the water.  “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “I haven’t practiced it this way.  I just stand at the edge of the board and dive in.  If I do that now I’m going to look ridiculous.”  Beginning to feel more nervous, I was trying to decide what to do.  It was my turn.  I should have put down my pride, walked to the end of the diving board and done what I’d learned, but no, I must not look ridiculous.  So, I took off running, threw my arms out over my head in a beautiful dive position, jumped in feet first and did a belly flop!  As I pulled myself out of the water the judges asked me if I knew HOW to dive?  Now I not only felt ridiculous, looked totally ridiculous but was also humiliated.    I got another chance and stood at the end of the board and dove in beautifully.  🙂  I didn’t win the competition but I learned a valuable lesson.  Pride comes before the flop. (Shari’s paraphrase)

  Well, I didn’t dive into a swimming pool this week but I did venture out with my wonderful children on our last trip while living up here in the North East.  How could I not take them to Philadelphia?  So, I got everything ready and we headed out at 7a.m. Wednesday morning.  I had grandious plans for taking in the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Franklin Square and ending the day with a famous Philly Cheesesteak. 

  Philly is unlike any place I’ve been to thus far.  Driving down the one way streets you feel like a packed sardine but you aren’t dead.  All the other packed sardines are trying to move around and get somewhere.  It’s NUTS!  But, I’m so glad to have had that experience.  Once I found a place to park we ventured out.  Asking many people directions (yes, their were signs but I was having  a hard time finding my way) we finally made our way to Independence National Historical Park.  We took a few pictures here and there and decided to take in the Liberty Bell first, no ticket required.  We walked in and some of we older of my group of 5 wanted to read the billboards and make this a real learning experience.  Some younger of the 5 did not.  This led into some pretty serious sinful responses.  Now, you’re probably thinking that the sinful responses were from the younger, yes?  Yes, they were but then the eldest of the group, namely ME, was more sinful.  I became angry, synical, sarcastic.  I was angry that the younger were spoiling it for the older.  I acted like a 37 year old baby.  The rest of the day, although we did take in Franklin Square, played a game of miniature golf, rode a carousel, played at a great park, ate a Philly Cheesesteak and toured Independence Hall, my attitude stunk.  I’m certain it was a stench in the nostrils of God, much less a terrible example to my children of how to act, or a perfect example of how NOT to act. 

  So, I called the day our Philly Phlop!  I felt it was the biggest flop of the year.  But then I think about flopping into that pool.  Everyone watching, taking in the scene thinking “oooh, she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.”  Then getting out and having the judge say, “you get another chance.”  God’s grace is too overwhelming to me.  I am still very affected by this day and the love Christ has for me.  Tears flow down my cheeks even now as I am so thankful He doesn’t leave me in that pool to drown in my pride and selfishness.   There was much repenting to my children the next day and repentence from the younger.  I don’t like Philly Phlops but I’m thankful God uses them to remind me I can’t do anything good without Him.   And although I felt it was a flop, my kids amazingly tell me they had a great time!  🙂

  Proverbs 16: 17-18  The highway of the upright avoids evil’ he who guards his way guards his life. 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Wal-Mart anyone?

May 18, 2009

  Darrel needs a new printer cartridge and AA batteries so the kids and I are about to go make a Wal-Mart run.  I’m pretty sure they have the cheapest ones and I have a $2 coupon for the batteries.  🙂  The closest Super Wal-Mart around here is 30 minutes north of us in Frederick, MD.   I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without one.  ha  Just goes to show me what I can do with grocery store adds and coupons.  Should be interesting when I go back home and begin grocery shopping again. 

  I just got the oil changed in the van and was able to shake hands with Bob Kauflin…and hear a couple short segements to the new kids cd releasing in June.  It sounds fantastic.  All the songs are written with lyrics from the fruits of the spirit!  The FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT…isn’t this awesome?  If you’ve followed my blog since we moved here you will know how excited I am about this.  (too much in my heart to write about now)  I thanked Bob for serving us and being such a blessing to so many and he stated what an honor it was to do so and how thankful to God he was for being given the opportunity. 

  Now, concerning Hope’s MRI results…Dr. Germain-Lee has not received them.  I was just about to call Dr. Niu’s office to see if they’ve received them and this particular handset doesn’t have his office # programmed in.  ha  So, I will look it up and see.  For now we are waiting and trusting God.  Hope’s exam today was good, nothing new, she looks great.  Dr. Germain Lee has ordered a battery of labs one more time of which we will get this week when we go in for her calcium levels.  We are dropping her MiaCalcin injections from 0.25cc to 0.20cc which is the dose we first started.  I’m fairly sure if this doesn’t work I will be able to tell within a day or two just by her ‘body language’ and any physical complaints, however I will likely take her in for an additional lab if I think she’s not tolerating the change well.  We are praying that whatever she’s been going through might somehow just ‘resolve’ itself and we can wean her from her medication.  She is still restricted from dairy products. 

  Ok, Wal-Mart awaits!!  🙂

  What happened to the lazy days of May when the children left May baskets at neighbors’ doors and danced around the Maypole, planting gardens and having parties with iced tea and cookies under the crab apple tree?

  Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t even remember those days as  a child and I’m quite a few years older than some of my readers!  ha  The kids and I own a book by Tasha Tudor called ‘A Time to Keep’ with these activities in it which we long for.  BUT, right now we’re the adventurous family of travel and haven’t time for this.  (laugh)

  Our adventures tomorrow will take Hope and I back into Baltimore for a doctor visit with her endocrinologist.  I hope to get results from her brain MRI.  While taking a few moments to think about the last sentence I just wrote I think I should ask for prayer if you are reading.  In all honesty I would be totally shocked if they told me she had a brain mass.  There have been no symptoms, eye sight, headaches, etc. that this would be a possibility.  So, in preparation for this slight possibility I pray God would prepare my heart for whatever the outcome, although I have faith there is no mass. 

  So many things on the calendar that I haven’t downloaded pictures of late and haven’t blogged.  Amongst daily activities like laundry, sweeping, food prep and the like, I am trying to pack things we won’t be needing in the next 3 weeks.  The kids are enjoying more brevity in their academics as well. 

  Isaac’s ‘war time’ party went GREAT!  He said it was one of his best birthday’s ever…and very simple for mom.  He and a handful of his friend from the pc came over with their Nerf guns.  With an open field and many trees to hide behind we had the perfect spot for this behind our house in ‘the courtyard’ as the kids call it.  Younger girls Hope’s age came into the house and brought out shortbread cookies and cakes for the ‘soldiers’.  They loved this!  Marie Hughes brought over a 3 gallon drink dispenser which I kept full of iced lemonade.  It was great! 

  Did I share that the iris’s I transplanted early on in the year actually bloomed?  The neighbors are all surprised, but the secrets in the Miracle Grow and The Miracle Grower.  🙂

  This evening we have an opportunity to go to Jeff & Julie Purswell’s home (the dean of Sov. Grace Pastor’s College) with the rest of the pc class for an ened of the year open house.  We had one at the beginning of the year which was so much fun.  We played a most hilarious game in their basement.  I wonder what the follow up game will be tonight.  We are going to enjoy a dining experience of Tex-Mex, of which we’ve missed much living up here, so we’ll see how Mexi it actually gets.  (Mexican…Darrel’s favorite food by far!)

  I have also been heading up a ‘program’, if you will, for our end of the year dinner.  The ladies have come up with something to honor the men and we are so excited to actually get to execute it.  I’ve had a blast with preparation. It’s been a great growing experience in learning how to lead through very busy schedules and yet remain humble in accepting advice and leadership from without.  I’m so thankful for this experience and eager to share what we did during our dinner…but for now it must remain a surprise.  🙂  tee hee ( I love surprises)

  On a final note, my heart was very encouraged this week when a dear friend was in need of encouragement.  Darrel reminded us  to remember in the midst of struggles, hard times, that this is just momentary…we need to keep our eyes on the eternal…pray that God will give you eyes to see past the now to the eternal.  He is faithful!!  He reminded us of the scripture found in II Corinthians 4:17  ‘For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’ 
   Then I remembered what a priviledge it is to be able to encourage one another in Christ…that when we share our burdens with one another it enables the recipient of our request to be encouraged as well and commune with Christ all the more… I thought about this verse, James 4:6  ‘But he gives more grace. Therefore it says,  “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”‘    May we all humble ourselves when we are in need, in order that we may receive more grace from God and allow God to use his people for we are ‘His hands and feet.’ 

  All to the praise of His glorious grace!

MRI done

May 15, 2009

  It’s bedtime at the Schiel house so I’ll expound on today later.  The MRI is done and we are thankful.  Hope was very sick afterward and had a bad headache which isn’t typical for her, but there are several things that happened which are very worthy of praise!  I do not know when I’ll get info on the MRI but I’d assume either tomorrow or on Monday when we go see our endocrinologist at Hopkins again.  God is good and we’re thankful this part is over.

  Tomorrow is ‘war time’ for Isaac’s birthday and we anticipate much fun with Nerf guns and friends from the pc coming to play for a couple hours. 

  I’ll post more when time permits.  🙂

MRI here we come

May 14, 2009

  Darrel & I just got home from our last care group meeting with all the pc families at the Ricucci’s house.  What a time of encouragement.  I don’t know about the rest of them but I’m sure to have Ricucci withdrawals when I get home to Texas.  I may need to have her give me a WebCam video of encouragement.  🙂  Betsy shared that what she’s seen in me this year was that my joy was out of reach of our trials &  a steadfast love for God.  I am so thankful God has used us in ways we certainly wouldn’t have chosen to be used or tested.  Our walk in steadfast love and our joy being out of reach of our trials is just a testimony to God’s faithfulness and mercy to us!  Only Jesus could take us through this journey with deep rooted joy.  Our hope is in the finished work of Jesus Christ!

  After midnight Hope won’t be able to eat until after her MRI is over.  She can have clear liquids until 11AM.  Her MRI is technically scheduled for 2pm but we are to arrive at the hospital by 12:45pm.  I’ll post information once we hear from the radiologist.

  I was SO encouraged this afternoon while reading a bible story with the kids about King Nebuchadnezzar throwing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace.  I was reading it out of The New Children’s Bible by Anne de Vries and after reading was saying, “this God is MY God.”  What joy filled my heart to know and remember that the God who kept them from burning to death, not even a hair was singed, is the same God who will get the glory now and after this whole health ordeal is over with Hope.  As they said (paraphrased) ‘we will not bow to your false God, to your idol.  God will save us.  But if not…’  Their hope was not in this life or death but in God himself.  What hope we have!!  Whether we continue on not knowing what is wrong with her, whether she is diagnosed, whether she is healed (our desire) or whether she dies, we will trust in God.  His glory will be made known to all and what joy we can truly have knowing that He has paid the price for our ‘ultimate healing’.  

Danielle capturing a close up of her sister Hope.

Danielle capturing a close up of her sister Hope.

Danielle’s Eye

May 9, 2009

Danielle's photo

Danielle's photo

Danielle has quite an eye for photography and has been practicing… a lot.  She see’s something beautiful and says, “Can I pahlease get your camera?”  It’s so cute!  Here is one of her many recent shots that I personally wouldn’t have taken but that turned out to be so interesting!  When the pink cherry blossoms began falling off a tree near Isaac’s window this is what she saw.