Monday, November 28, 2011

THANKSGIVING DAY

THANKSGIVING WITH THE FAMILY IN FARGO

Sam and his Uncle Chris playing Twixt


My sister-in-law has a flair for the elegant. Look at our beautiful dinner table.
I know she must have tons and tons of grace and patience for me when I call her in
a moment of pure practicality from WalMart and say, "Do you want me
 to bring paper plates for Thanksgiving dinner????"



My Mom and Dad

When my mother tells her youngest son that his jeans are pretty holey and shabby and
that she hopes he is going to change for dinner, Chris does not disappoint her!!


Dick and Sam
  
I chuckled at how serious we all look in these shots. Mouths full. With all the
amazing food, we did a good job of overeating!! We really were doing a lot of laughing too!




My mom, the pool shark!!


We are a family with much to be grateful for, more than anything.... each other!!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

INSTEAD

Instead of picking out caskets, I am picking out Christmas trees.



Instead of deciding what funeral music to have, I am listening to Mannheim Steamroller, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Selah, and Amy Grant Christmas CD's.

Instead of writing my obituary, I am writing blog posts.

Instead of working on my will, I am going to work.

Instead of making funeral arrangements, I am making Christmas cookies with my son.




we are not artistic, but we have fun.....

Instead of talking to my husband about how to go on living without me, we are talking about our dreams for retirement.

Instead of saying goodbyes to everyone, I am saying hello to every new day.

How great is our God. How grateful I am that He has gifted me with these bonus 16 months. What more could a gal want for Christmas than her very life? Lord, you are SO GOOD!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

WHY?

          Why me? Why this? Why now?  Why stage 4 lung cancer? Why now, in the prime of my life? Why me? Why not some death row criminal? 

          Have I said those words? Oh, yes.
          Do I have any answers? I wish.

         But the questions transport me back to one of the most well loved stories of the Bible…..and they are answerable by parroting the well known verse in that book. Am I here, in this unwanted situation “for such a time as this?”
          I love peeking back at the story of Esther.
          The Persian king, Xerxes, had put on a huge banquet for everyone in his kingdom. When he was drunk, he ordered his wife, Queen Vashti, to appear at the banquet wearing her beautiful crown, but Vashti refused. As punishment for her disobedience, King Xerxes banished her from the palace. To choose a new queen, the king called for a beauty pageant and chose Esther, a young Jewish orphan. He married her, but she had a secret….she was Jewish. She kept her Jewish identity a secret on the advice of Mordecai, her uncle. 
          The king’s ministers, Bigthan and Teresh, plotted to kill the king. Mordecai learned of their plot, told Queen Esther, and Esther reported it to the king. The king ordered the two plotters to be hanged. Xerxes then chose Haman as his senior minister. Haman demanded complete loyalty of everyone in the king’s service, and ordered all to bow down to him. But Mordecai refused, giving as an excuse that bowing down to another person was forbidden by his Jewish faith. This angered Haman, and he decreed the destruction not only of Mordecai, but of all the Jews of the kingdom. 
          News of the decree spread throughout the kingdom, and the Jews were greatly distressed. Mordecai begs timid Esther to plead with the king to save the lives of her people. Esther 4:14: Mordecai sends this message to Esther, “Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jew are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?”
          Queen Esther summoned all of her courage and went before the king. Using her feminine wiles, Esther persuaded the king to offer her the fulfillment of any wish. She told him about the plot against her people and asked that it be stopped. The king granted her wish and ordered Haman to be hanged. So, on the day intended for their destruction, the Jewish people were saved. 
          Esther was in a situation she did not ask to be in or want to be in. I can imagine her feeling the same things. Why her? Why then? Why this?
          I remembered this story during years of infertility when I realized how many other couples going through the same thing were “just happening” to meet us. We understood their grief and frustration, and because we had been through it, were able to offer support and resources. Did we go through those years for just such a time as that?
          I remembered this story during my second bout of depression when 5 other women in my church came to me and told me they, too, were experiencing depression, and did I think we could form a support group? Had I been allowed to experience depression for just such a time as that?
          Here, now, in this time frame, I have cancer. Why me? Why this? Why now? Oh, I wish I knew. Only my Savior knows those answers. The only question that matters now is: What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Who can benefit from my adversity? Is this my time for cancer because there are others who need to hear the truths about divine healing? And they need to hear them now? And they need to hear them from me or they won’t hear them at all? Did I need an incurable disease to be used for the Kingdom?
          My most dire prayer is that none of this will go to waste. That for such a time as this, God will use me, as He did Esther, for something greater than myself and my own purposes, and that He will be mightily glorified every mile of the journey.


       

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RAMBLINGS

·        I’m so grateful that my uncle Lowell is going to be OK…..he had a heart attack early last week…..keep him in your prayers!
·        My son did a stellar job in his radio debut as a play-by-play announcer in Chicago for his varsity boys’ basketball team (3 games).  I can’t wait to see how God uses Sam’s gifts in his future career for His purposes!
·        Just when I think my little book is done, I find another book about healing, and learn more truths to include. I guess it is not done after all.
·        I’m so grateful for the great weather we are having in November. The more days with 40’s and 50’s and no snow mean fewer days of winter. The older I get, the more I hate winter.
·        Sam is coming home for Thanksgiving in only 1 week. We are so pumped to have him in his own bed in his own room for more than an overnight!! We can have lazy mornings and watch Rudy and Mrs. Doubtfire (we always find those movies on TV during Thanksgiving) in the afternoons, and give each other foot rubs and pack in a few football games. Only 7 more days!!
·        The bathroom downstairs that I was just going to paint….and then had to tear apart because of all the problems…..well, our friend Gregg is redeeming my blunder, and renovating the space. I am so grateful! He has it to the point of us needing to paint now, and then he will come back and put in the new vanity and trim.
·        I moved my chemotherapy appointment next Tuesday to the Friday of the following week. I just decided I was not going to risk feeling nauseated on Turkey Day. What’s a 10-day delay in chemo when God is doing all the work?
·        There is a Dr. Oz show tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:00 (here) on healing ("Does Prayer Have the Power to Heal?). I’m anxious to tune in!

A great rest of the week to you all....

Friday, November 11, 2011

NO OTHER CHOICE

          I'm buildin' me an ark!
          I’m writing a book and I am making a guest list. For a party. An “all glory to God, free of cancer” celebration.
          If I have faith that God is healing me, then I need to take that faith to its completion and see the end result. God’s promises about healing for believers are clear, so I’m going to prepare for the final word.
          Didn’t Noah plan for the fulfillment of God’s promise? God says, I’m going to annihilate the earth with a flood. Prepare for it. Build an ark and I’ll save you and your family. Noah knows the promise. He prepares for it to come true. Moses prepared for God’s promise to lead his people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Abraham prepared for God’s promise that he would be a dad at a ripe old age. Mary prepared for God’s promise that she would be the mother of God’s son. Joshua prepared for God’s promise that Jericho’s walls would tumble.
          God says what He is going to do; to all of them, to you, to me. Don’t we all then need to pony up and see the completion of the promise in our minds and hearts as a done deal? Do we ever have the right to say, Yeah, sure God, I mean seriously, a flood of the WHOLE earth? A father at age 100? A virgin mom? Remission from stage 4 lung cancer?
          If we have unwavering faith in God, in His Word, in His promises, then doubt is unacceptable. Like those humble biblical greats, I also have faith in my improbable outcome as well. I have no choice. He is my Lord. I have little to offer Him but my obedience and my belief that what He says is His will and is truth.
          So I am building my ark. I am compiling my book of all the truths about healing I have researched in the Bible and other sources, preparing to share it with others who may need it. I am praying about how, when and where God can use my future for His glory. And I am thinking about that party. Random thoughts about all the specific friends that have walked every step of this journey with me that will be invited, lilacs and lilies-of-the-valley, maybe my brother’s blue-grass band with the music gig, my family from far and near doing happy dances around each other, my friend Becca’s husband’s gigantic to-die-for chocolate chip cookies……..and……and…..
          I really feel for Noah. My ark prep is a whole lot more fun than his was.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

THANKS TO VETS



Many thanks to all of the veterans in our country who served with honor and sacrifice. And that includes my own pop, who is a Korean War vet. Thank you, veterans!


Friday, November 4, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SON

Happy Birthday, Sam!!
        November 5, 2011. Today you step out of your teen years and into a new decade.... the years of seeing all your career goals and dreams take on weight and shape. I hope this next decade of your life is full of much happiness, buddy. 
        Your nickname should have been “Happy.” After nearly 7 years of infertility, 2 miscarriages and thousands of dollars of treatments and procedures, you slid into our world on a cold and snowy election day, hours after a 3-day blizzard dropped 36" of snow in Duluth. We came close to needing a snowmobile to get us to the hospital. What a life-changing day it was for us, Sam. God sent us a child that He knew would finally bring a balm to our hearts after those 7 years of waiting. And joy you brought..... you were simply born happy.



        You smiled when you nursed, you smiled when you woke up, you smiled all day long. You so rarely cried or even whimpered that one time when you started to cry, I grabbed the video camera so I’d have a memory of the sound of your cry!


           
        As you moved into toddlerhood, you added incessant jabbering (a precursor to broadcasting?), dancing, jumping, 
and singing to your days, and you'd contently sit for an hour or more in your playpen listening to lullaby and Disney tapes while “reading’ your books.




        During your pre-school years you simply became a “character.” You were SO funny, with a quick wit and a storehouse of antics. You became a great traveler (you entertained an entire waiting room full of  tired, crabby passengers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport at 1:00 in the morning during a 6-hour delay), understood faith and the character of God at an amazingly young age, and had a memory like a steel trap. You always had a ball in your hand.
        It was such a treasure to be a stay-at-home mom all those years. I didn't miss a minute of the magic...... and you generated plenty of that.



        You developed an extensive vocabulary (such as enormous, metamorphosis, fragrance, organization, cellular, echolocation) and used words like that in context. You don't know how many times a day Dad and I would give each other the silent Can you believe he said that? look. We read and read and read to you----every day---- and not a word fell on deaf ears!
        You know that the Hiebs are an ├╝ber-open clan and we talk about anything. Pop’s family was not so open and there were things that were unexpressed and undiscussed. There was no question that we wanted to raise you so that you could talk to us about ANY thing. From the time you could talk in sentences, we talked about all things openly.
         I’ll never forget the night we were snuggling in bed---you weren't even 3-and-a-half yet----and you said, “I want to talk about things.”
        Dad said, “Sure. What?”
        You said, “I want to talk about Tampax.” (You had walked in on me in the bathroom earlier and asked what I was holding in my hand and I told you.)
        You then proceeded to ask us 10 or more questions about Tampax. Though it was pretty humorous, we did not laugh... we laid it all out for you and you learned all the facts about menstruation that night. It all seemed to make sense to you. In the 4th grade, when the school showed "the movie" to your tittering, embarrassed classmates, you could not understand what the fuss was about.....it was really old, mundane news to you. (A few weeks later, in Target, you asked me in your loud 3-year-old voice, "Hey, Mama, do you need Tampax today?" There were astonished looks from all around.....and I just laughed.)
        Your sweet, fun, cuddly personality was a daily gift, Sam. We never thought parenting would be something we looked forward to every single morning, but we did.




        Through the school years we saw you honing your talents in athletics, piano and drums, and academics. We loved going to all your sporting events and recitals and seeing those great report cards. More importantly to us, you stayed your warm, loving, funny, and generous self in spite of all the outside influences in the schools that are not always positive.








        While prepared for those “turbulent teen years,” we didn’t see it happen. Oh, we had a few arguments over curfews, cars, and cell phones (yeah, I know….you were “the LAST kid in school, probably in the whole STATE” to get a cell phone or a car….and see, it didn’t kill you, did it…you learned lots of patience), but for the most part, we had no major issues in middle or high school. It seems like graduation arrived before eighth grade was even over. Where did the years go?






        Sam, you’ve been the easiest kid to raise. So willing to listen to us. So respectful. So fun. We’ve never doubted for a moment how much you love us----you tell us and show us liberally. Your dad and I have often wondered how it would have been if we had been able to get pregnant again after you and had a child who was difficult to raise. It happens. God knew all along that you would be our only----and He sent the perfect kid for us. The three of us have been so close, so bonded. The current of our love for each other is strong and rich.
        Today I really value our ability to talk about anything and everything. I know your habits, idiosyncrasies (I know what the words flour and oscillation do to you), fears, irritations, and dreams (and you know mine). I hold them all in a sacred place, and I hope it will always be that way between us.
        Pop and I have done absolutely nothing in our lives to deserve the gift of you, Sammy. We are simply sinners saved by grace by a loving God who delights in blessing His children with great gifts. And of all the many blessings He has bestowed on us, you have been by far the most precious.





        The birth announcement I designed when you were born was fronted by a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” And for the last 20 years, you have done just that. As a son, you have been all that we could ever have asked for, and more than we could have ever dreamed, handed down by the One who gives immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. 
        Happy 20th, Sam. We can't wait to see what God has planned for your life. I know you know we will always be there for you, rooting you on, with pride and excitement and support, as it all unfolds.       
        I love you past the moon,
         
                             Mom






20 YEARS AGO TODAY

I am working full-time this week. Can't wait to sleep in tomorrow! As I sit here waiting for my first group of 4th graders to come in (I'm a Title teacher this week), I have a few minutes to reflect on what I was doing 20 years ago this morning. Duluth had just been deluged with 36 inches of snow and we could barely shovel our way from the back door to the detached garage for my weekly doctor's appointment.

I had been on bed-rest for pre-term labor for 6 weeks, and the previous week had been a really tough one. Back labor had kicked in, and sleep eluded me. Day and night I cringed as biting pain made its home in the center of my lower back. I was so delusional from sleep deprivation that I thought my pillow was Kirby Puckett. The Twins had won the World Series a week before, and I had occupied my long days with 24/7 baseball coverage on TV.

Seeing how miserable I was, knowing Boomer (yes, nicknamed that because he was jumping around inside of me for 9 months causing endless nausea) had reached 5 pounds the week before, and feeling his lungs were well enough developed for him to be born, my merciful doctor decided to induce me on that Wednesday. In 48 hours, we would have our son. I would spend Tuesday released from bed rest to get a bit organized, and we would go in Wednesday morning, November 6th, for induction.

But my stubborn wee one was not about to let some medical professional determine his birthday. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, he let it be known that he was ready to join the world, and did so 8 hours later.

20 years ago today, I had no idea how my life would change for the next 20 years. I had no clue about how to change from woman/wife to mother/woman/wife. I had no basis of understanding how I was going to figure out this new and foreign phase of my life. It was something we had longed for for so long, and now that it was imminent, I was in a world of unknowns.

20 years ago today, life was one color, and 20 years ago tomorrow, it was another.