Monday, December 28, 2009

Early Mornings and Lots o' Blessings

I am sooo not a morning person.

And this morning was an early morning.

The alarm was set for 5:50am because Jared had a hockey tournament this morning.

And OF COURSE we were the first team on the ice for the day.

You know....

..... it was a Murphy's Law thing.

It's Christmas Holidays! You get to sleep in rise before the crack of dawn and sweep off your car after a fresh early morning snowfall and crank the heater on high so you can see out the windows and keep your fingers and toes from freezing while you drive forty minutes to an arena where the temperature INSIDE the building is colder than OUTSIDE!


That is EXACTLY what I like to do on the holidays.

Well, in all honesty, I DO like to go to the boys' hockey games. I don't like the cold. I don't like the early morning hours.

But I DO like to watch my boys tackle that little tiny round black piece of hard rubber that floats around the freshly "zambonied" ice.

Unfortunately at five o'clock we came home to a very cold house, as Jon, Jake, Blake, & Anelyse were not here. But instead of lighting the woodstove, Jared and I snuck in a couple of Beatles' songs on the Rockband. I am the drummer; Jarey is the guitar player. Jake and Jon arrived home soon after, so Jake took the drums while I sang a couple of songs. Ironically, I achieved 100% even though my voice cracked through the whole song. Singing with a cold is hilarious! I'm definitely not a candidate for Canadian Idol. But I will say I'm a pretty darn good drummer on that Rockband! Jon says I'm like a big kid. (Is that a surprise to anyone? I think not.)

Tonight is our first night in many to just sit tight at home and relax. Chestnuts won't be roasting on an open fire, but the cedar wood does sound cozy and smell pretty nice in the woodstove as we cozy up on the couch.
Jack Frost won't be nippin' at our nose because plans are to just stay inside tonight. The snow is coming down in waves.... one minute it's clear, the next it's almost a white out.
The storms these days aren't anything like they were when I was a kid. Now I'm sounding like my parents (when they walked to school.... up hill.... both ways.... barefoot..... in the snow.......) hahaha

Folks, we have been so blessed by so many of you over the last number of months. Many of you cannot even begin to understand all the circumstances we've encountered over the last few years, let alone the last few months; however, your compassion and love has touched us unbelievably. I believe God sees what people do TO others and also what they do FOR others. For those who have blessed us in so many different ways, I pray that God blesses you beyond belief for 2010.

I have so many stories to share about the ways we have been touched by others.... one recent blessing in particular, that happened last week, just blew me away. We were blessed by some gentlemen that you would never in a million years expect a blessing from. But we DID receive that blessing. And I am so thankful to the Lord that there are kind people in this world. Sorry I can't get into all the details about it right now, but one day soon I will be able to blog about the many different ways so many of you have touched us, including those gentleman mentioned above.

Now before I get a teary-eyed blog post, I must move things along. Supper is cooked and I want to spend some time with Jon, Jake, & Jared tonight. (Blake and Anelyse are babysitting "Jacky" and "Abby-Babby" tonight).

Hope you're all tucked into your cozy warm homes tonight..... and I hope the sugarplums are still dancing in your heads.

And God bless us, every one.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Blessed Christmas Season

Warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas, folks.

It is Christmas Day and we are gathered here in the rec-room with RockBand blaring! They've been playing for a couple of hours now!

We are blessed to have Anelyse with us this Christmas. She is Blake's girlfriend from Brazil, and she is simply a delight! She's a very lovely young lady.

Jon and I were fortunate to meet some of her family last weekend. We drove Blake to New Jersey to pick up Anelyse and stayed with her Aunt Magaly, Uncle Camilo, and cousins Felipe and Daniel. Her Mom, Damaris, also came to New Jersey. They are all wonderful, wonderful people.

On Saturday, Jon, Blake, me, Anelyse, and Damaris all travelled a few miles to go to New York City. I wanted to see Ground Zero up close! September 11th had a real impact on me when it all happened, and I was so appreciative to get to view it up close. We also drove down "the main drag".... we saw Times Square and Madison Square Gardens and Radio City Music Hall and David Letterman's NBC studio. I have never seen so many taxis in my life. I am NOT a city girl. The traffic didn't scare me at all, but I couldn't imagine travelling in it every day, or even occasionally. I really like my "country living". It WOULD be nice to go back one day and be able to walk the streets and go in the stores.

On Sunday we went to a Spanish church service. Anelyse's Uncle Camilo is the Pastor of the Spanish-speaking service on Sunday afternoons. The whole service was in Spanish, with the excpetion of a few children's songs which were sung in English. A couple of people took turns translating for us.

We did a "family" ministry in music. There was me on the piano, Blake on the fiddle, Felipe on the guitar, Daniel on the drums, and Anelyse, Damaris, Magaly, and Camilo provided the vocals for Angels We Have Heard On High. It was fun to sing and play with such a musical family! They asked Blake and me to provide a fiddle tune at the end of the service. Magaly wanted "the train song" (Orange Blossom Special) and when we were finished playing it, members of the congregation jumped up and started yelling "One more! One more!!!!!" so we played a medley of St. Anne's Reel, Chicken Reel, and Liberty Two-Step. They loved it and didn't want Blake to stop. Usually we choose "church songs" for church, but I think our New Jersey friends wanted the congregation to experience a little "Ottawa Valley" style music.

Everyone welcomed us very warmly. They are a new church, but are growing at an amazing rate. Camilo & Magaly were missionaries in Venezuela years ago, planting churches; and now they continue to plant churches in New Jersey.

Our experience with different languages was amazing! Anelyse and her family speak English, Portuguese, and Spanish. They have Japanese and Italian in their blood as well, but only know a few words, not the complete language. Camilo speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish, but also speaks Arabic as well. What a treat to hear all the different languages being spoken. Makes me want to learn one! I think I'll try Portuguese, since that's what Anelyse speaks. If she's going to be part of this family, then I need to be able to communicate well with all her friends and family.

I hope to travel to New Jersey again to visit with Magaly & Camilo. I also have hopes of getting to California to visit Jon's family, as well as heading to Oregon to visit my dear friend, Tammie. I've got the passport now....... I just need to figure out where the money comes from. haha. God will get me to these places in HIS time. I just hope it's soon. hahhaha.

Well, I must go and change a load of laundry. I know I shouldn't be doing it on Christmas Day, but the boys are needing some clean clothes! I've procrastinated on the laundry all week. The music from this RockBand is starting to give me a headache, so changing the laundry sounds pretty exciting to me right now. haha.

I trust you are all having a wonderful day in celebrating the birth and life of our Lord & Saviour. I hope you are surrounding yourself with loved ones.

And try not to go overboard on the turkey & dressing! I can't imagine that I will be taking my own advice! hahhahhahaaa.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So Much To Do & Some Exciting News

It is so nice to sit here beside the woodstove and type a post.

The problem is, I have MANY things I need to be doing right now. Dishes are waiting to be cleaned, laundry is beckoning to be folded, floors are screaming to be swept, and junk is simply aching to be garbaged stored away for future use!

I am just wanting to curl up on the couch and relax tonight, but I MUST get this stuff done.

I am soooooo missing this blog! It's a way of relaxing for me, and unfortunately things have been literally non-stop here at the Found household, preventing me from doing some posts. Jared has hockey a minimum of four times a week, with House League games as well as Rep, combined with a practice for each league. School projects and assignments have been rolling in. Repairs to the car just seem to never end. Blake's girlfriend, Anelyse, arrives on Monday for a two-week visit, then we get Blake off to New Brunswick for college. Just after he gets to school, we'll have to arrange for a Remicade infusion.

And don't even get me STARTED on Christmas...... I mean it! Really! I have not done one cotton-pickin' thing for Christmas. Jon, Blake, and Jake snuck out the other night and got a real tree. I didn't want a real one, only because we don't have the room, and frankly, I just couldn't be bothered going to find one; but the three of them had a "male bonding moment", so all is well.

The tree has been standing in the basement now for about three days and only has one little decoration on it so far. Last year, all my lights burned out, so I'll need to get some more. Either that, or we'll just put decorations on it without lights. It will still be pretty.

This week we finished putting some used hardwood on the basement floor. It really has made the basement look very cosy. It's used hardwood from an old building that was being demolished, and the floor was to go to the dump. I got a really good feeling when Jon suggested we could use it in the house. It's been a lot of work in getting them laid down, but I like the finished results. We only have to finish one little side room that we call "The Sports Room", where the boys keep their sports equipment. It will be nice to finish this floor off.

My computer still has some type of virus. Today I called our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I tried six times over a 30-minute period. I asked the secretary if I was calling Tech Support at an unusually busy time, but she assured me someone would assist me. No one ever did, so I just decided I'll deal with it next week when I have more time. hahahha.... did you hear what I said? ".... when I have more time...." Sometimes I wonder if I'll EVER "have more time".

Well, folks, the clock is ticking and I have much to get done before bed tonight. I will close with some exciting news that I've heard through the rumour mill. Apparently Jon and I are going to be a great uncle and aunt! Jon's nephew in California is going to be a daddy! He and his wife have been married for five years now. I am so happy for them!

I have not heard back from Jon's family in California for quite a while now, and I am wondering if these problems with my computer have been happening longer than I realized! I know I have sent emails to some folks in the past who have never received them for some reason, and I know folks have sent ME emails that I've never received; so I'm wondering if this is the case with our family in California.

So, Dane and Valerie, or should I say "Grandpa & Grandma!", we will be calling you next week when we return home from New Jersey to get all the details! Congratulations! Please let Ray & Kelly and Auntie Katie know how happy we are for everyone!

Well, Jared is begging for me to give up Blake's computer so he can check his emails, so I'm off to the dish department, folks.

Everyone take care, and look for another post early next week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

There's Hope For Me Yet

Sorry, gang.....

Days without a blog post again!

Yesterday we were without internet connection.... we THOUGHT because of the winter storm we're experiencing.

This morning we still had no access. Blake said Skype was working, but nothing else.

So I phone Kingston Online Services and chatted with a very kind gentleman in Technical Support who informed us that we needed to unplug our wireless router and then plug it back in, so as to re-set it.



We then had internet connection.

I am without my computer because last Thursday night we were invaded with viruses. Last count said that I had 34 viruses. Yikies! I immediately shut the computer off.

I have phoned a computer guy, but have had a terribly busy week and haven't had the chance to get my computer to him.

I've been borrowing Blake's computer, so hopefully mine will be fixed within the next few weeks before Blake takes off for the east.

Yes, he's determined to head off to college for January. I normally wouldn't be too worried, but now that he's battling this disease, I'm a little more afraid to cut the apron strings.

Who is going to watch my baby out there????? Hmmmmm??????

I must remember to have Blake set me up on Skype so I can SEE him and see for myself how he's feeling, even if it is only via a computer screen.

I suppose it's one of those times that God is whispering in my ear, "Michelle.... time to completely trust Me.... 100 percent....".

[sigh...] "OK God. I hear ya."

So, I mentioned earlier that we're experiencing a winter storm here in Th' Coun'y.

Yesterday Jacob and Jared got the day off school. All buses were cancelled.

We thought they'd cancel them again this morning, but nay-nay.... no cancellations. The boys went to breakfast in Cherry Valley at our friend's restaurant. I was worried letting Jake drive to the restaurant and to school in this kind of weather... the tires on his truck match the tires on my car.... BALD!

I asked him to drive carefully, and I hope he did! He was able to keep it on the road, and arrived home safely this afternoon after school.

Jake hates that I always say, "Drive carefully" when he leaves the house. I told him to get used to it because I am 42 years old and my mother STILL tells me the same thing! He was NOT impressed.

Today I was not feeling very "Christian-like". I had major attitude with a particular person. I am tired of dealing with all the crappy paperwork with Blake's meds. I am tired of hearing different things with every single person I talk to. And one particular person feels she has the answers to everything until I explain to her that I was told something by someone from Trillium which is opposite to what "she" says, and THEN she says, "Well, I don't know, I'll put you through to the social worker". Then she proceeds to tell me AGAIN things that are opposite to what Trillium tells me, and when I explain things again (or rather TRY to explain things.... she won't let me finish a sentence!), then AGAIN says, "well, I don't know, I'll put you through to the social worker".

HMMPH!!!! FIRST she tells me NOTHING happens until it FIRST passes through HER desk!!!!! THEN she tells me this and that. THEN she says she doesn't know. So when I tell her what I'VE been told, she tells me that "I" am wrong, yet in her next breath she says, "I don't know".

Lady, quit talkin' outta both sides of yer mouth!!!!

If she were my employee, I'd completely smack her!

I just recently attended a Bible Study where we studied a book and video by Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries. One of the things Beth talks about is how we deal with "Testy"..... those people who we have relationships with who "test" us or get under our skin.

I think today I chatted with one of my testy's.

I must figure out a way to deal with this, or it will drive me nuts. She is someone that I must deal with in the future, so I need to 'love' her as the Lord does.

[must I REALLY do that?]

[sigh.... again]

I guess I must "love her in the Lord", but I will tell you right now, I don't think I really like her all that much.

I spoke with someone regarding her unprofessionalism on the phone with me, and I was told that "she is going through something right now". I said, "You know what? That's OK.... I understand that. We're ALL going through something. And if not right now, then we'll be going through it down the road. But that is NO excuse to be blatantly rude to patients. "I" am going through something right now with MY son.... a son that was dying before my eyes! But that does not give me license to be rude to anyone ELSE!"



in saying all this, I must now apologize to you for venting.

God loves this lady just as much as me and died for her too, so I need to "suck it up" and be the grown up here.

Guess I've still got some learnin' and growin' to do. I don't need to be her doormat, but I do need to be a door.

Jeesh, I HATE it when I have to be all mature..... [she said as she pouted and stamped her feet].

And now it's after midnight, so I must close this post. As the wind howls away outside, and the snow continues to blow, I must bow before our Lord and ask Him to soften this very hard, dry heart tonight.

If I could just "check my attitude at the door", I might not be such a terribly bad person after all.

Either I'm one of those misfit toys on the Rudolph-The-Red-Nosed-Reindeer cartoon, or I'm Peter, from the Bible, who just kept messin' up over and over. But Santa didn't give up on the toys, and Jesus didn't give up on Peter.

Maybe there's hope for me yet.

[Yes, folks, now would be a good time to pray for me. :O)]

Until next time..........

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No, Michelle, Your Day Is NOT Yet Finished

I set my alarm for 6:30am to ensure that Jon was up early and headed back to the hospital for another dose of medication for his cellulitis. He's feeling better, but has had to receive more doses of meds than he has in the past. This bout has been a little tougher to get control of.

So after I got Jon up and on his way, I reset the alarm to ensure that Blake was up-and-at-'er about an hour later. He had Worship Team rehearsal at 9am at the church, and was getting a ride to the church with my sister.

I then reset the alarm again so I could get a tad more sleep, and then Jared and I got up and ready for church. Jake had spent the weekend in Griffith with Jon's cousin, helping to roof a cottage.

Off to church and Sunday School for the morning (Great sermon, Pastor Kevin; and great conversation at our table during Sunday School, everyone. Sorry, Nicki, that we scared away your husband to a more "masculine" table... hahaha).

We headed home from the church, after putting some fuel in the car, and Jared gathered up all his hockey equipment for his Rep. game in Napanee this afternoon. After making some repairs to his goalie pads with a needle and some thick thread, we raced off to Napanee.

The Prince Edward County Bantam Kings played wonderfully, and when the buzzer sounded at the end of the third period, we found ourselves in a 3-3 tie. Way to go, Kings!

After the game Jared and I stopped off at Subway to grab a sub for supper and headed back to the Hwy 401 westbound.

We arrived at home 45 minutes later and unloaded all the goalie equipment from the car. I walked into my very messy kitchen to find my husband dumping a basket of freshly deep-fried potato wedges into a bowl...... Mmmmmmmmmm. Unfortunately, I was not able to pig-out on one of my favourite foods because I had to get back into town to the Community Carol Sing. But I did grab two or three potato strips...... ok, so it was more like five or six....... and I headed back out the door.

I arrived at the big church in the middle of town, ready to join many choral choirs from different community churches to provide an evening of music to the community. After an evening of hearing and singing a wonderful collection of Christmas songs, and after I completely flubbed the second line of the song I was doing with four "highly flavoured gravy" folks (inside joke), I headed back to my little nest-egg on the outskirts of Metropolitan Cherry Valley.

I walked into the house to find my kitchen was STILL in a mess, but at least there were some fries left for me! So I headed to the bedroom to change into some comfy flannel pajamies. It felt so nice to get into something comfy.

Jon was on the phone with a friend, but broke the conversation long enough to tell me that Jake should be arriving home soon. Thank goodness. Momma Bird likes all the birdies in the nest once the sun goes down!

Within moments, Jake was backing his truck into the driveway.

Ahhhhh..... now I can go down by the woodstove and relax with my family.... watch some tv..... read a book...... eat my fries and drink my glass of Pepsi (Mmmmmm).......

I said, "Jake? You gonna go to bed? or are you gonna come downstairs for a while?" He turned to me and said, "I'm going to my HOCKEY game!!!!"

Duhhhhhhh..... oh yah..... this is Sunday........ Sunday night........ of COURSE...... Jake has a hockey game...... at 10:00pm.......... and here I stand in my jammies....... ready to relax..... ready to put my feet up.......


I will NOT pass up a hockey game if one of m' boys are playin'!

(Janet D. & Mom.... I guess I DID have two hockey games today! Sorry to inadvertently mislead you!)

So I finished eating my fries and headed back to the bedroom to find some warm clothes.

Baaaack into the vehicle and baaaaack into town.

Jake played really well tonight and only had to spend time in the penalty box ONCE. Well.... maybe twice...... there was a monkey pile in front of the goalie net, and apparently our team's penalty shot, and Jake got sent to the penalty box again... with only 0.3 seconds left in the game.

The shot didn't go in, and they just called the game with 0.3 seconds on the clock. (C'mon, Reffy, finish the game! We MIGHT have scored!)

We piled back into Jake's truck and headed home.

And now, here I sit, typing a post when I should be in bed. Or maybe I should be doing my dishes. Or clearing the counter. Or throwing in a load of laundry.

Naaaaaahhhhhh...... it'll wait 'til tomorrow. No point in rushing things.

So, I'll hit the PUBLISH POST button on today's officially boring post and head to bed.

And THEN, I believe, my day HAS officially ended.

Although busy, I had a GREAT day!

And how was YOURS?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Time To Put Things In Perspective

Well I suppose it was just a matter of time, but my computer has been attacked! The viruses came with a vengeance. My call has been placed to a computer geek and hopefully the damage will be rectified without too much trouble. In the meantime, I am using Blake's computer to type this post.

The last few days have been very busy..... I can't believe December is upon us already. The Christmas programs and parties have begun. I headed to Whitby on Friday to have my passport processed. I can go to Scarborough and pick it up on Monday, December 14th. Blake has asked Jon and me to take him to New Jersey later that week to pick up his girlfriend from Brazil. She will be visiting family in Jersey and then coming to Canada to stay with us over the Christmas holidays.

Last night I had Jon at the hospital. He was working in Griffith on his cousin's cottage when he started feeling symtoms of cellulitis..... it's something he's had about six times before in as many years, and it attacks him quickly. It is considered a mild form of the flesh-eating disease, but is manageable with meds. For some reason, the antibiotics are taking longer to start clearing things up.

Last night (Friday) Jake and I drove north of Napanee to Roblin to meet Jon and his cousin. Doug (Jon's cousin) and I switched vehicles... I got in with Jon to bring him back to Picton hospital and Doug got in with Jake. Jake is going on to Griffith to help Doug finish the roof of the cottage.

The doctor put Jon on an I.V. antibiotic, which is the only thing that will settle down the infection. We assumed he'd be on the pills alone today; however, they requested we return to the emergency department today for another dose, and then they requested he return again this evening. I just returned home from one of Jared's hockey games tonight and Jon said that the doctor on duty tonight wants him back to the hospital by 7am Sunday morning. She had given him Flagyl tonight because the infection doesn't look like it's going down at all.

I don't know why Jon keeps having trouble with this cellulitis, but when it attacks, it comes very quickly with little warning. I'm sure by tomorrow, things should be turning around. Goodness! If it's not one thing, it's another, eh?

Which brings me to the point of this post.

As I reflect on things like my computer problems; plans to travel to Jersey; passport preparations; this weekend's hockey games; Christmas festivities; preparations for Christmas gifts, foods, guests; and so much more;....... I can become overwhelmed with all of these things.

But then I receive an email that helps put things in perspective.

This week my sister, Wannett, sent me an email requesting prayer for the Bishop of the Free Methodist Church in Kenya. I was so moved by it. It made me stop what I was doing immediately and lift this man up before our Lord.

Here's Wannett's letter that she forwarded to folks she felt would pray for Bishop Nick:

Hello Friends

I am forwarding a request for prayer from Bishop Nixon Dingili in Kenya. As most of you know, this man is a new but very dear friend to me. I love this man and his family. A threat has been made to his life as you will read in the email below. Please forward this on so that we can have a huge prayer umbrella for Nick and his family (wife - Neddy, son - Leslie, daughter - Kelsey). Thank you, in advance, for your prayers and for forwarding this on to others. I will give you any and all updates as I get them.


And here is Bishop Nick's letter to folks that he felt would cover him in prayer:

Pray with me, I received a terrible phone call on Tuesday on my way to Kericho for Bible school. I was with my family in the car when someone by the name of John Maina called and told me that he has been hired and paid in full together with his group to finish me. He says that his boys are fully armed with guns and they will accomplish their mission soon. I asked him why he was sent and by whom? He refused to tell me and he hanged his phone. During the conversation, he told me that he will not hide his identity on phone neither will he hide his name. In my private findings, I have found out that both the name and number are genuine. He says he is not scared even if i report the matter to police. I reported the matter to Kericho police station and the Criminal Investigation Department is following up on the matter and they will get back to me. I will appreciate your prayers.

Bishop Nixon Dingili
Free Methodist Church of Kenya

Does that just not force you to look at things from a different perspective?

Please take the time to lift up Bishop Nixon and his family before the Lord. Wannett has not received any updates as of today (Saturday night); but, we know that the Lord is watching over his flock constantly, 24/7, and no action can come to Nixon without first passing through the hands of our Lord.

Oh how we need faith like this Bishop.... we have no idea what it's like to have someone literally hunt us down like an animal. This hitman obviously has no fear, as he boldly calls his victim with no fear of giving up his identity. I prayed that the Lord would confuse this hitman so he would not carry out this threats; and then I prayed that he would have a clear enough mind that the Holy Spirit would move in his life and convict him of the decisions and actions he's making.

Please keep the Bishop in your prayers.

Here are a couple of photos of Wannett and Bishop Nick in Kenya in September 2009. Wannett apologizes for the quality of the photos.... she doesn't understand why there is such a glow around them....... I'd say perhaps they were being covered by the Spirit. :O)

Please pray right now. And remember, over this very busy season, to keep things in perspective. Don't get caught up in the hub-bubb. Rather, remain steadfast in the Lord and continue to draw near to Him and HE will draw near to YOU!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Psalm 50

Psalm 50

(New International Version)
A psalm of Asaph.

1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.

3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 "Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah

7 "Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God.
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.

11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

16 But to the wicked, God says: "What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother's son.

21 These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.
22 "Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:
23 He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."

Consider starting your own thank offering by way of a Gratitude Journal. Ann shows you how to start one by clicking here.

Or visit Michelle's Gratitude Journal by clicking here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hockey-Mom Voice & Deer/Cat Video

'Tis the season for me to get "hockey mom voice". Dry, scratchy, raspy, a bit on the sore side.


Because I do a bit of a vocal workout, shouting "wooo-hooooo" and "way to go, boys!" and "Defence! Get BACK!!" and "way to play, guys!!!".

And you all know that, as a rule, I'm usually so meek-and-mild natured and more on the quiet side.............




Oh, sorry. Did I lose you there?

OK, so I'm really a big mouth. Sue me.

I'm proud of my boys and I let them know it.... in a loud vocal sort of way.

So Jared has been called up to help out the Rep B team by playing as their goalie. He had been asked to be their alternate goalie, just in case their original goalie was injured during a game. Well, their original goalie ended up quitting last week and the team was scheduled to play at a tournament on Friday and Saturday. No goalie = no tournament. No goalie for regular season games = no more team.

I let him skip school on Friday so the team could actually have a goalie in net, and... well.... let's just say that the team played very well. They tied the first game and lost the second and third games by one goal each. They played terrific!

.... aaaaaand..... I hooted and hollered a little more than I usually do..... and that made my throat sore the next day......

And THAT's not a good thing because I have two singing engagements! One was tonight at a Ladies Tea at our church where I sang with my Mom and two sisters, and the other singing engagement is Sunday night at our Community Carol Sing where I'll be singing in a quintet with my Mom, my sister, and two friends.

I should've thought of all this BEFORE the hockey games and duct taped my mouth shut. (Some of you out there are reading this and thinking how that would be a good idea anyways. Hardy-har-harrrrrr...... )

So I muddled through the song tonight, and hopefully the soreness and raspiness will pass for Sunday night's performance. I WILL say that it is helping me to hit some low notes! So THAT's a positive way of looking at things.

Anyhow, I just got home from the Tea and checked emails and thought I'd make a quick post to the blog because I've really been slack lately in giving you regular postings.

Tonight I received a video from my cousin, Kendra (Hi Kenner!), and I thought the video was sooooooooo sweeeeeeeeeet. So I want to share it with you. It's really quite adorable.

Take two minutes out of your hectic schedule to watch it. It truly is "a wonderful world".

[ ]
Deer & Cat in A Wonderful World

Have a good day, folks..... Ohhhhhh yaaaaaaaahhh...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/11/26

We are just heading out the door for Kingston. Blake gets his third dose of Remicade today.

His health has been good. I'd say the only thing I'm noticing is that he's still a bit tired, but other than that, things are going well.

He stood at the doorway of our little office the other day and lifted his t-shirt, exposing his belly. He says to me, "I'm gettin' a little bit of a ponch here! I'm gonna have to go on a DIET!" Then he glanced at me and giggled, as he focussed on me glaring at him. He chuckled to himself and headed off to bed.

.... A diet...... very funny, Mr. Skin-on-Bones.

The other day I made some comment to him about something and whatever it was, he decided to tune me out, so he says, "Mom? I can't SEE you....."


Rotten kid.

For those of you that don't recall that particular phrase, that is the sentence Blake said to me just seconds before he collapsed on Oct 2nd.

He has quoted that phrase a few times and then waits for my reaction. Then he splits a gut laughing.

But he never says it when he's within my arm's reach. He knows I'd clean his clock. haha

It is soooo nice to hear him laugh again. Good, hearty, down-to-the-toes laughing. He's still moody by times, but to hear him laughing is therapeutic for ME!

Anyways, the clock is ticking and I need to go. I have some errands to do before we get to the appointment. We'll likely be there for three to four hours.

I'm so thankful for this medicine. I've got my boy back!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well, Aren't WE a Crazy Bunch....

Just thought I'd post a few random photos taken over the summer and autumn that included members of this crazy family.

Let's start off with Jake.

Looks normal enough...... a little dirty....


Is that cow manure on your face, Jake?

And what exactly is that on the back of your head? A pony tail?

No, I believe it is NOT a pony tail but, in fact, a COW tail.....

You're nuts, Jake.

Here's a picture of Jared with our "adopted sons" Matthew and Christopher.

The boys were having fun going through the costume box and found these vests. Next thing I know, the boys' beginner fiddles were pulled out and Jared was trying to teach them a song whilst conducting the "orchestra" with a file that is actually used for sharpening the chainsaw!

Here they are from the backside..... they look like a couple of Dutch maidens.

I had to include this photo of Jon's baby. She was born in 1996. Jon loves his baby even more than ME! After taking a bit of a break, he is excited to see her get back on the road.

So Jake and two soccer buddies decide they need to get mullet hair cuts as they approached the season finals. Unfortunately, the mullets were not good luck, as they lost that game which knocked them out of the finals. At least he didn't wear the cow's tail to the game!

This is Jake on the left with his friends Joel (center) and Brandon (right), showing the side view of their new hairdo's.

Here's a photo of me with my two sisters. Left to right is Wannett, Danielle, and me, Michelle. We were asked to sing a song at the first fundraiser that was held in Waupoos.

I must include a photo of my nephews Bruce, Fraser, and Jackson....

..... as well as my nieces, Beulah and Hilda..... I mean, Celia and Abby.

I just HAVE to include this photo. This is Blake when we were at Kingston General Hospital waiting to have the gastroscopy done. We were waiting in the hallway for them to finish up with some other patients. I was standing at the end of the gurney, so as to stay out of the way of other gurneys that were being shuffled around. I felt something touching my hip, and it was Blake's toe brushing back and forth.

I thought he was trying to get my attention, so I went up to him and leaned over him and said, "Did you want something honey?" Blake takes a breath and, with his eyes still closed, says, "Iiiiiiii Love Youuuuuu....." I think my heart burst right at that moment and fell out onto the floor. It was so nice to hear him actually being nice to me! (Not feeling well had changed his attitude into quite a grouch, so it was wonderful to hear him actually be kind!) And THAT's why I will treasure this photo!

When Blake was first hospitalized in Picton, before we knew the extent of damage to his intestines, Blake was given a form of morphine to alleviate some pain. Jake decided he could give Blake some "happy medicine" straight from the earth of Prince Edward County..... he took some "grass" (it was actually grass that had been cut from the lawn... so don't panic or report us or anything!) and he rolled it in some paper. Blake was excited that he had his very own "doobie". Jake assured Blake it was for medicinal purposes only; however, we were not allowed to smoke in the building. hahahhahaaa

This photo is of my sister Danielle and my Mom. It was taken moments before the ambulance transferred Blake from Picton Hospital to Kingston on Oct 2nd. (Thanks, Todd & Chris, for the safe travelling you provided for m' boy.) Dani is giving Blake a wet willy before his ambulance ride.
(PS) - Happy Birthday Mom! (today, Nov 22nd).... 68 years young!

Our adopted son, Billy, wanted to ensure his best friend arrived safely in Kingston, so I told him I would ride with him in his car so he knew where to park and how to get to the right spot in the hospital. He gave us a hard time in getting his picture taken, so I had to use my Mommy Muscles.

When we were at Picton Hospital for the first stay, Blake received a bib from the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary. They are helpful volunteers who come around to assist those who need help being fed or opening up some of their containers and drinks, etc. They supply bibs, so I made Blake wear it in case he made a mess on his beautifully professionally designed hospital gown. He got silly when I went to take his picture with Jackson and he started drooling on the bib. You can't really notice it, but trust me... it's there! He's such a kook!

Before Wannett headed off to the Toronto airport to head to Kenya, Africa, she popped by for one last visit with Blake. I told her I had to get her picture in case her plane went down. I know. That's morbid. But that's honestly what I thought. I think you look really good in this photo, Wannett; so if your plane had have gone down, you would have entered Heaven's gates looking absolutely divine. Here's Wannett with her youngest daughter Beulah Celia.

Next up is a photo with me and our "adopted son" Justin. Justin lived with us in March and April of 2009 and worked with Jon on a construction site. Hey, Dooley, you clean up reeeeeeeeeal gooooooood. I miss Justin. He's about due for a visit, I'd say.

And THIS is Mikey-the-nice-guy. Mikey has been Jon's friend for about 20 years. They truck together, hang out together, eat together, and literally sleep together. They called me one night from their hotel room at a construction site in Petawawa... the beds were taken by other co-workers, so they shared a cot.... they "spooned". Jon says Mikey has a hairy back. hahahahha

Mikey is HONESTLY as crazy as they come. He is 100 percent nuts! crazy! looney! NOTHING is too crazy for this man. He lived here with us this past summer from Monday to Friday while he worked on the construction site and then headed home on the weekends. One weeknight my aunt and uncle were here for a visit. All of a sudden we realize that Mikey is burning our picnic table. And it's not only burning, but HE is on top of it WHILE it's burning.
He managed to coax Matt, Jared, and Jake to join in on the "fun". [sigh]
You'll notice I haven't put any crazy photos of ME in here... that's because I don't do crazy things...... [a-hem]......or is it just that no one has the camera handy when I DO!??? This photo is of me when we took Blake to the Emerg back on Sept. 13th, before he was first diagnosed with Crohn's. I spent the night in his terribly uncomfortable wheelchair, wrapped in a hospital sheet. My Mom said that "I" looked more like the patient!
I had to include pictures of Mick and Duke, too. Here's Micky just after Jake and Jared took the cow clippers to him. They decided to give him a Mohawk cut with a lion's mane. Pooooor Mickyyyyyy.
They decided to give Duke the "checker board" look...... nahhhhh, I'm kidding. It's just the shadow of the lattice on the overhang of the back deck.
Now most of you know that Blake lost over 1/3 of his body weight with this disease. He went from 165 lbs. to 102 lbs. He was just skin on bones and looked like he'd just walked out of a concentration camp. When we were in the sitting room one evening with Jon and Jake and Jared, we were commenting on the size of his legs. Jared and Jake put their forearms next to Blake's calves. Check this out:
Can you BELIEVE THAT???? Their forearms are larger than Blake's legs!!!!!! What a shock.
And for the last photo...........
Hope you enjoyed this little photo gallery.
There's lots more hospital photos that I want to share with you, but I thought you'd have fun checking out some of these crazy shots.
Yes, I believe we ARE a crazy bunch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Inconvenient Gratitude

It's easy to be thankful, isn't it?..... when all is going well, when we have what we want or get what we need, when everything lines up perfectly and works out to our advantage?

But what about the times when things are NOT going well, when we DON'T receive what we want or get what we THINK we need, when everything does NOT line up perfectly or when it does NOT work out to our advantage?

Are you thankful in those times?

The following article was written a few days ago, and I just couldn't help but copy it here. Please just take a few moments to read it over.

Inconvenient Gratitude

Am I thankful?
Sure I am. As long as it’s convenient.
As long as the gift-giver is within ear’s reach of my thank you. And as long as what I’m thankful for is good, comfortable, pleasant and smells great.
I never thank anyone for rolling over my toe with their cart in the grocery store or thank someone for an unkind word. And I never thank God for struggles.
I mean, how stupid would I sound:
Thank you, God, for NO MONEY to pay the mortgage today.
Thank you that my seven-year-old has emotional outbursts every morning before school that reduce her to a pile of unbrushed auburn waves and tears on the bathroom floor.
Thanks for spilled apple juice, dried and sticky on the floor.
Thank you, God, for the rejection of friends and that crazy mean email last week. Thank you for the tears it cost.
Thank you for the argument I had with my husband last night. Thank you, God, that he doesn’t understand me.

We are usually thankful for blessings.
Gifts. Encouragement. Provision.
We send thank-you notes to mothers and cousins for baby gifts and Christmas packages. We call our pastors and thank them for the sermon. We are grateful for warm beds and fireplaces that glow in our family rooms.
We are thankful because it’s easy and expected.
But the sweet times, the easy-flowing happy times are not what shape me. I am comfortable and will stay the same if everything always goes my way.
Discomfort is the only way I grow. And I am never grateful for sitting in the valley of hurt and pain. I’m never thankful when things don’t work out like I planned.
I stamp my feet instead and no-fair God. I tell Him He doesn’t know what it's like to be me.
I’m not changed in the lots-of-money, kids-are-well, husband-adores-me days.
But I am changed in the I’m-fat, second-argument-this-week-with-my-mom, worried-about-my-kids days.
This is when I’m moved to trust. I have to because nothing else works.
These are the days when God comes in and under-girds my heart with His own, turns my head to refocus my attention and then asks me to trust.
And I should be grateful that He thinks enough of me to carefully craft difficulty to edge me toward beauty, kindness, and grace with pressure.
I don’t want to just be thankful for the easy. I want to be grateful for the hard. And that involves a I'm making today.
Will you join me?
by Sarah Markley

When the author wrote, "Discomfort is the only way I grow.....", those words just jumped off the screen at me.

Why does it have to be that way? Why does it have to be uncomfortable or hurting or painful? Why can't everything just be going along jim-dandy and tra-la-lah and carefree.....?

Well, God didn't promise us a rose garden..... not here, anyways. ....Along with the sunshine, there's gonna be a little rain sometimes.... (remember that song?) He does promise us that we'll have a wonderful life in Heaven as we spend eternity with Him, and He also promises that He'll never leave us nor forsake us while we are here in our earthly form. I am thankful for that!

But in the meantime, down here on planet Earth, the pain and hurt and discomfort and inconveniences that we experience... well, to put it plainly, I think it just stinks! HOWEVER, those times of pain and hurt and discomfort and inconvenience, including those "catastrophic moments" that suddenly jump into our every-day lives, will help us to grow; they mature us in our walk with Christ; they strengthen us, through Him, so that each day we learn more how to trust our Lord and feel His Almighty Holy Presence.

HOW do people get through each day by not having a relationship with the Lord? I simply do not have that answer. I don't know how they cope. He's able to keep me going. I don't understand it all, so I must lean on Him. I told someone just the other day, "my needs are being met", just as He promises.

Did you get that? My "needs" are being met; not my "wants", but my "needs". Matthew 6:31-33 says, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

My needs are met.

I am in a growing season.

I am learning to be thankful.....

......even in the "inconvenient" times.

To read Sarah's article at "(in)courage", please click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

$4,335.75 - Blake's Health Update 2009/11/18

And THAT, my dear friends, is the cost of ONE dose of Remicade.


Canadian Dollars.....

Four thousand-.....

three hundred-.....

thirty-five dollars-.....

and seventy-five cents.....

I'm not sure WHO didn't study math in school but the original figures given to me sure don't add up to THAT.

I was told it was approximately $18,000 a year. I was told he would ultimately end up getting an infusion approximately every eight weeks. That's about every two months. So six infusions goes into $18,000 at a cost of $3,000 per infusion.

So I am wondering WHY it's another $1,335.75.

At this point, I guess it really doesn't matter. It's needed for Blake to stay healthy.... well, actually I suppose it's needed for him to even LIVE! He was a pretty sick boy. And the fact that after one dose he was feeling better (which I was told by a specialty pharmacist today that it's very rare to feel better after only one or two doses! Praise the Lord that, in THIS case, we're one of the minorities!).

So, I am not complaining. I am so very thankful to all of you out there who have donated at the fundraisers or have stopped by the house or our church to give to Blake's needs. Because of you, we can get this medicine in him instead of waiting for the nasty paperwork to get approved. So, thank you! thank you! thank you!

My cards of thanks and a big Thank You in the local newspapers are coming soon! You have all been so generous. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

And Blake? Feeling very well, thanks for asking. He is a bit tired still, but no pain. Not even a tummy ache. His acne is slowly returning now that he is off the Prednisone, which is unfortunate; but I think we'll try and get another dermatologist appointment and see what can be done.

And that reminds me.... I have not even called our own doctor here in The County to give her an update. Oh, that's TERRIBLE of me! She has been so caring and had asked for updates, and I've neglected to do that. I'm such a numb-skull.

And on THAT note, this numb-skull has to get a child to a youth event in town in the next 20 minutes and we haven't even eaten supper yet........... tick tock, tick tock.

More news and updates soon. Just wanted to give you today's bill payment total! hahaha

Thank you, Father, for the kind community, family, and friends we have; they have made it possible for my boy to be pain free. Bless them Lord, and let them know how much we love them. Amen.