08 June 2011


James 1: 5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

struggling with this one...but holding fast to it, as well.

06 June 2011


a surprise for us all.
eli went to a friends house that he adores.
chris and i took stella to the philadelphia museum of art for the roberto capucci exhibit art into fashion. so inspiring.

stella got to ride in the front seat in the middle (we have one of those cars)

loving these shots in the mirror...her idea all the way.

03 June 2011


{new wings}
...in action}

31 May 2011

easing back in...

i've been quiet. in lots of ways. finding words has been very difficult in all areas of my life lately. but i'm on a new journey to open up. i probably won't be that chatty here for a while, but you may find an occasional photo, link or some text that is helping me back up. i hope to reclaim this space by the fall. i miss it, but can't support it yet. hoping to talk with you all soon!


02 March 2011

it is finished.

11:35 this morning my dad breathed his last breath. it was bittersweet(link to my sister's blog with more details).

we sat around his bed, just moments before, singing hymns...turn your eyes upon jesus and be thou my vision. i played my violin for him. i'm imagining that the angels picked up right where we left off.

right now, everything feels surreal. partially from sheer exhaustion. i think i slept 4 hours last night. i'm home with my family...and that feels so good.

chris told the kids that papa passed away. stella's eyes were wide and nervous. she isn't saying much, but looks sad. i just held her on the couch and let her be. eli asked me if papa disappeared. it is so sweet and sad... they love their papa so much. they are going to miss him so.

and so am i. i think i'll be able to write a more reflective post in days coming, but for now, i just feel still and quiet. i have never experienced such stillness, such quiet as i did with my sisters, mom, doug, aunt nancy and uncle bobby in the minutes right after dad's passing. no more machines giving oxygen. no more heavy breaths. no more struggle. i want to hold on to that right now.

thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, meals, etc.... all of your words are balm on a wound.

inside out

tonight is night number 5 of sitting beside my dad. i can't really begin to write the words to fit what i am feeling...seeing...thinking. the moments in between the breaths are peace and deep rest. then comes the jerking of the shoulders, the hunger for air, and a short gasp. sometimes the wait for that breath is longer than others. i sit by his side, resting my hand on top of his. my hand seems so small next to his large, hardworking, fading hands. i rest my forehead on his. it feels like there is a button on my head that releases the sadness. dad moans. i feel like we are communicating. for some reason, tonight has been hard for me. i feel like i've been ok with what is going on until tonight. i started to feel like maybe if i could let go, he could. but i know ultimately that nothing i do or say will make a difference. i can only pray that soon, my dad's faith will become sight. that soon, he will be born into a new body, free from pain and suffering. full of rejoicing. i know the minute that happens, i will feel devastated. yet somehow, i know that it will also be well with my soul.

one of the most encouraging conversations i've had in the past couple days was with my friend megan. as i described how in the past 6 weeks i've watched my dad's body wither and fade, while i've seen his spirit rise. it has taken control. in suffering, he has not complained or winced. he has called out to his Saviour. he has taken comfort in His word. she put words to what i felt so deeply. i've been watching my dad turn inside out. his body has been disappearing, leaving only spirit. with the past couple of days comes a feeling like there is a part of his body that won't give up. it leaves us in a tricky spot. desperate to have him here. desperate for him to take his last breath.

so, here it is again 12:23am. andrea is in the recliner that has been deemed the torture chair. your arms go numb and your hips hurt after a couple hours in it. lura is in the big recliner. i'm on the couch. mom needed some rest, so she is in bed for a couple hours. this is the time of night i've grown to really dislike. i feel tired. my eyes want to close. but my ears listen so intently for that breath. if i can't hear it, or see dad's silhouette rise and fall, i jump to my feet to be close. i only succumb to total exhaustion.

i just close my eyes and pray. i do this sitting next to him, rubbing his arm that has a new lump on it. or his legs, so thin and bony now. i do this on the couch, fighting tears. as we gather around his bed, we are silently thinking similar thoughts, praying similar prayers.

today, we read scripture to dad. mom recited verses that he helped her memorize. it is in 1 peter. she recited more than this, but these are the verses resounding in my mind:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

i'm pretty sure that dad's faith has been tested sufficiently and will be found to result in praise and glory and honor. come Lord Jesus.

28 January 2011

finding comfort

i can't find many words today.
i'm home after 2 long days and nights waiting with my dad. being home is good. i need to be with my family and rest. but it is hard to not be right there. so this morning as i was praying for dad and baby luke*, i found comfort in these 2 places.

Psalm 147

Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.
Great is our LORD and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.
The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens which cry.
He does not delight in the strength of a horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD favors those who fear Him; Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your sons within you.
He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice like fragments; Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!"

our troubles make us weep and wail as our hearts break. but we can take that to our Father. He will take us in His arms and give us true comfort.

this song kept popping into my head, and when i turned on the radio, there it was.

*for those who are interested in praying for baby luke, he is about 3 weeks old now. he was born with a valve problem in his heart. he has had surgery to repair that and all was going well. he is currently not doing well, as he got an infection and has sepsis. this is not good. please pray for him to be healed and for his parent, abby and ryan. this is their first baby.

also...the update on my dad...there's been alot of waiting. we think he will have the surgery today to his femur. mom and dad had a consultation w/ a specialist from hershey today. he thinks surgery is the right decision. then radiation and chemo. one day at a time. one hour at a time....sometimes we need to only be in the minute. thanks for continuing to pray.

26 January 2011


this is the hard part.
waiting for results.
waiting for surgery.
waiting for tests.
waiting to eat.
waiting to sleep.
waiting to ..........

last night brought devastating news. the preliminary results of dad's biopsy revealed a very rare and difficult cancer. sarcoma. maybe.

chris, the kids and i went to the hospital right after our dinner. dad was fighting sleep, as he was receiving more blood, and with that benedryl. the benedryl makes him tired, dry and anxious. he wanted oxygen and his heart monitor again. chris took the kids home and i stayed with mom and dad. mom tried to sleep in the recliner chair next to dad, and i slept on the "bed." i say that, because it's really glorified concrete. harder than a wood floor, i tell you. well, from 11:30 until 4 am, dad was up almost every half hour with anxiety, needing to urinate, wanting the tv on, not wanting the tv on....it was rough. at 4, mom was so exhausted that we switched spots. she might have slept a bit in the bed, but at 4 dad was ready to be awake. we tried to rest a little. i helped him roll over onto his side, where he is more comfortable. he reached out and we fell asleep holding hands. i want that to stay in my heart and brain forever. when sleep left...about 45 minutes later, we sat up to read the bible. then came the time for "action news"...a snow storm coming.

my sisters both struggled to get here. the roads were terrible. however, they both arrived in (God's) perfect timing. dad was taken down to pre-op around 9. they drew more blood to cross check it again. as we waited, andrea arrived. we went upstairs to meet with the oncologist. as we got off the 8th floor, lura arrived. as we waited in dad's room, dr. reddy (the oncologist) arrived. he began to show us dad's pet scan and talk about just what it is he sees when the phone rang. the surgeon called off dad's surgery due to new pathology results. not just a sarcoma, but an angiosarcoma. this involves blood vessels going to the tumor, and had there been surgery, dad could have blood profusely...perhaps fatally they said. dad came back upstairs and we all started to process the news.

angiosarcoma doesn't respond well to chemo and radiation. the typical treatment is surgery, but dad's is appearing in at least 3 places, perhaps more already.

right now, he is having an angiogram. this is where they look inside his arteries to see if there are any vessels feeding the tumor. i just spoke to an x-ray tech who said they were doing well, and just started embollizing. this means there are blood vessels involved. they are blocking them so that they can do the femur surgery without bleeding. this might happen tomorrow.

i feel like i was punched in the stomach. this is hard to take. however, we are comforted. it feels like the most chaotic rollercoaster...yet there is peace.

so now we wait.

I remain confident in this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
-Psalm 27:13-14

17 January 2011

cold january.

as i did last year, i am waiting for january to be over again this year.

january 4th. at 11 weeks pregnant, everything seemed good...until that fateful moment of "let's hear the heartbeat." my midwife searched for a bit, got a "better doppler," all to no avail. there was not a heartbeat to be found. the following day confirmed my greatest fear. the baby stopped growing at 9 weeks; however, my body hadn't accepted that truth yet.
january 7th. my mom and chris sat with me in pre-op as i waited to have a d&e. it was a long hard day.
the weekend was one of recouperation. much needed rest, time with chris and the kids...rest with family.

monday, we began a new path.

my dad has had a difficult 7 months. he had broken his back in the summer. spinal fusion surgery in october. december delivered some good news...a negative battery of testing for bladder cancer. we celebrated christmas together feeling relieved. however, in the back of our minds, we knew something was askew. he was going downhill, and we didn't know why. january 10 began the road to discovery. x-rays, cat scans, mri's, neurosurgeons, neurologists....by thursday we were dealing with the fact that my dad has a brain tumor on his brain stem. his chest is filled with enlarged lymph nodes, adrenals, an "infiltrate" in his right lung (i've been told since that that is fluid of some sort), and a node on his thyroid. tomorrow we will accompany him to an oncologist to learn more.

yesterday i drove chris and the kids to the airport to head to orlando. our family was to be in orlando and go to disneyworld this week. instead, i drove back to my parent's to help my mom, as care for my dad is intense. my nephew and sisters have been bearing the load...i was anxious to get there and be with them. i have had a wonderful time with them. last night we were all there...lura's small church came over to worship in my folk's living room. dad was exhausted, but we got some good conversation in before bed. it's been a long time since lura and i slept over together! but what a joy to wake up at 6am to go with him to wawa for his daily coffee! his mornings are his best times. alert, strong, and able to get around. we got coffee. donuts. came home for breakfast together. we talked and helped him write and check email. he wanted to go again, so my mom, dad and i went out to the carwash and for lunch. by this time, he began to get very tired. by the time we were home, he was absolutely exhausted. my mom and i got him in bed for a nap and he began to weep. he asked me to please read psalms to him. i read psalms 118 and 93before tucking him in.

i want to count this all joy...but it is hard sometimes. i continue to look to the example of peter, as he walked on water to jesus. he looked at the waves around him, and sank, fearing he would drown. i know that suffocating feeling of despair and hopelessness very well. however, i also know the comfort and peace of our Savior and God. i know that keeping my eyes on Him, he will reach out His right hand and pull me up out of the waves so that i can walk on water again.

Isaiah 41:10, 13

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.