Musings from the Threshold

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FB Post – Feb. 18, 2018 #4

We’ve mostly been in waiting mode today, and had some wonderful company this afternoon. 💜
Katie’s temp is on the rise, but not over the official fever threshold at present. She is in a lot of pain from the neupogen at the moment, and we are working on getting some relief for that. Please pray for some comfort for her, and for a clear picture with the fever.

Katie Update – Starting a treatment plan

I posted this picture to FB last Saturday evening (2/10/18), with the following –
A precious friend sent me this balm today.
I needed the reminder. Yesterday evening, we found out that insurance had denied payment for the very pricey drug we plan to try for bringing up Katie’s neutrophil count.
Hard for this mamaheart to be so close to actually moving forward with something and then hit a roadblock. It’s not final – insurance companies are well-known for the process this sets in motion. But it was discouraging news for the moment.
I am so thankful for the Firm Foundation, the Sovereign King of Creation. May He consume my dross and refine my gold!

It was not lost to me on Friday evening that the call coming after Dr. Max’s office was closed… this was no accident.  I think the Lord wanted me to sit with Him over the weekend, being reminded of His power, sovereignty, and goodness. He is so sweet to me. It was such a wonderful reminder of His control over every piece of this. When our hearts truly want His will, we can rest in His hands, knowing that whether He chooses what we would choose, or something completely different, He is weaving our story for His glory, and for good.

Monday and Tuesday brought multiple phone calls with the HemOc clinic, and two more denials for the Rx, followed by an approval call. Today, the medicine went out via overnight FedEx, and we have a training session to learn how to do the shots at home scheduled for Friday afternoon. If it arrives early enough tomorrow, we might move that up a bit.

The plan is to check labs after a week to see how the Rx is working.  May the Lord continue to make the way clear, and may we continue to follow our Shepherd step by step!

Soli deo gloria!

Katie Update – Plans for KC

Things are shaping up for our next trip to Children’s Mercy in KC. We are scheduled to see Dr. Max (aka Dr. Hetherington) on Monday morning, and plan to drive up Sunday, most likely staying overnight at the Ronald McDonald House.
In addition to seeing Dr. Max and getting look at how Katie’s labs are looking, we will be doing whatever is needed for the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to do extensive genetic testing not only Katie, but on Jonathan & I, as well as several siblings. This type of genetic disorder is rare enough that it is not completely altruistic of the NIH to want to take a closer look at our family, and we are fine with that. After spending months trying to figure out why Katie has been so sick, we would be happy to help make the picture more clear more quickly for other families.
In the meantime, we feel encouraged by how Kate seems to be feeling. She remains low on energy and quite pale, but has more spunk than she did a couple months ago, and seems to be able to think more clearly. We have not gotten any bloodwork done since our Children’s visit in December, and we are interested to see if there is any improvement in her labs.
Do we have any theories on why she might she be improving? Well, yes. Thanks for asking! It has seemed likely that there is an autoimmune component to what has been going on with Kate, and we have therefore made significant changes to our diet in hopes of relieving as much stress on her body as possible. We are hopeful that these efforts are truly bearing fruit, and that perhaps we are figuring out some key pieces of what will be helpful as we move forward.
Thank you so much for praying for Katie, for our family, and for the doctors looking at our medical mystery. Those who know us know that we are not a run-to-the-doctor-and-do-whatever-she-says-at-the-drop-of-a-sneeze family. We look at our health from a whole-person perspective, and seek to support our God-created systems naturally as best we know how. At the same time, we have always been of the opinion that there is a proper role for the medical industry, and have availed ourselves of such throughout the years as we have believed was needed. We believe we are where we are supposed to be in seeking care for our precious Kate at this time. We believe that the Lord has guided each step of the way, and will continue to lead. We value input and ideas, and the Lord has used many of you to help refine our thinking, give suggestions, etc. We are so very thankful!

The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue – A Review

The Beauty Book, by Nancy Rue, is a non-fiction book written for girls ages 7-11.  From a no-nonsense, God-doesn’t-make-junk beginning to a fun quiz-style closing inventory of what the reader has learned, Rue seeks to direct the attention of young ladies to the issues that matter most, while giving practical and honest help on issues that seem huge to most preteens.

I found The Beauty Book engaging and practical.  Topics covered include God-confidence, self-talk, shaving, skincare, nails, hair, clothes, caring for your body as the temple of God, respect for parents.  I like the multiple choice mini-quizzes that help the reader to look at their own thoughts and habits, as well as the “Talking to God About It” sections, which give prompts to encourage prayer about the topics.  There is also a “Lily Pad” page at the end of each chapter with space to write about a related question.  These features make the book very interactive, and would be helpful for parents who would like to use the book as a springboard.

On most questions, Rue effectively shares Biblical principles and refers decision-making back to the parents, sharing information that is widely agreed upon.  One disappointment for me was her “there is no such thing as a safe tan. Period. The end.” stance on sun exposure, and her strong endorsement of sunscreen.  Research has shown that regular moderate sun exposure has health benefits, and as a health-conscious mom, I am uncomfortable with the chemicals in sunscreen, so I wish that she had left more room for parental guidance in this area.

Overall, I think The Beauty Book is a great resource for pre-teens and their parents, and I look forward to sharing it with my girls.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a kindle edition of this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

A Thirty-One Party!

James Bloom, a lifelong friend of ours, is headed to Haiti next month to finish a church building project that he helped start last summer. His lovely wife, Eryn, whom I have also known most of her life, is a Sr. Consultant with Thirty-One, a 10 year old Christian company founded with the goal of helping women start their own businesses. They have a great selection of totes, bags, organizational items, and fun gifts, most of which can be personalized.

I’ve seen Eryn use Thirty-One parties before as fundraisers to bless others. A few weeks ago, a mutual friend of ours decided to have one as a fundraiser for James’s trip, and I thought it was such a great idea that I decided to play copy-cat. With many non-mutual friends, I’m hopeful that we’ll both be able to have good success in raising money toward James’s trip. If you’re interested in helping, please let me know and I’ll make sure you have an invite to the FB event (with all the needed info).

I’d like to highlight some of the products that look enticing to me in the catalog, and thought I’d start with one that I own and love.

My Mama brought me a thermal tote (p.2 & p.43 in the spring catalog) when she visited this summer, and it has been such a lovely and practical gift! Mine is purple (big points to begin, for this purple-girl), and I’ve used it for a variety of things. Even though it’s thermal and works great as a cute and classy cooler, the thermal lining is so thin that it’s very usable for other things. It’s 9.5″H x 14″W x 4.5″D, so I’ve toted a change of summer clothes in it, used it for a purse, carried toys in it for Andrew, used it for a mini-diaper bag, and more. The tote also has an exterior pocket, which is nice for tucking in last minute extras.

When Eryn had the thermal totes on special after Thanksgiving, I bought three for three dear ladies in my life, and had them personalized. I loved all the options – for patterns, thread color, and stitching fonts. And their bags look terrific!

So, whatever other goodies you might pick up before this party ends next Sunday (Jan. 20), consider adding a thermal tote to your order. I’m sure you’ll enjoy and appreciate it!
Happy shopping!

Brief Thoughts on the New Year

As I lay in bed early this morning thinking about another year and pondering my “big picture” goals for the year, the words to this dear hymn came to mind –

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.  

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

As I thought of words that might be key for me in 2013, the one that stuck with me was OPEN. The Lord has been teaching me much about being open, and my guess is that these lessons have just begun and will be key in this new year. Open to Him (to Who He is); Open to His leading; Open to His grace and forgiveness; Open to His plans instead of my own; Open to His gifts; Open to my husband; Open to my children; Open to broken people hiding behind polite smiles; Open to how He wants to use me; Open home; Open arms….

Election Perturbation

I rarely post political stuff, but I’m going to briefly now, because it’s just too important to be quiet.  Following are some of my internal strivings about the upcoming Presidental election:

1) Those of you who know me at all know that I have a high view of womanhood, and I have worked for years in my “pet” area of women’s rights.

2) I also have a high view of human life.  Biologically, human life begins at conception (see for a myriad of quotes from abortion activists agreeing with this as an objective reality).

3) I am a strong believer in the Constitution our founding fathers established for our country, and I am distressed by how far we have travelled from its intent in many areas.  I long to see huge change in our country moving toward Constitutional principles.

4) One area that particularly distresses me is the two-party system, especially the decline and corruption of the Republican party.  I am disgusted by some of the shenanigans pulled this year by party leaders, and the thought of voting Republican on Tuesday makes me more than a little nauseous.

5) I am sick of going to the ballot box and voting for the cliche’ “lesser evil.”  That’s not a comment about individuals as much as it is about a party system that is sick and broken.  And so this year, I was ready to finally do it… vote my beliefs without regard to whether I would cast a “winning” vote.  So I picked up my research once more.

6) I agree with many planks in the Libertarian platform, though I agree more thoroughly with the Constitution party, for which I don’t have the option of voting this election.  In lieu of being able to vote for a Constitutional party candidate, how I would love to vote Libertarian this year, to be part of a 5% vote that would force some changes in the two-party system (or display how corrupt it is when they again change the rules mid-stream).

7) But, ah, for the deal-breaker of a rub. See number 2. The official Libertarian platform says that abortion should not be regulated by the government, and yet, if one accepts the biological beginning of human life at conception, to not criminalize the taking of a human life by the force of abortion directly violates stated Libertarian principles (See Section 1 of the Libertarian platform). Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s website states that “Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.”  Again, if one accepts that human life begins at conception, as so many biologists and abortion advocates do (see above link for a refresher or if you are doubting), this is saying that the taking of a human life is fine until said human reaches the nebulous point of “viability.”

8) The other platforms planks with which I disagree could be set aside for the goal of shaking up our current system and creating some Constitutional change.  But not this one.  I just Can Not, with a clear conscience, cast a vote that does not stand for the sanctity of human life from conception.  And honestly, it galls me.  Not to stand for life, but to not have a better choice.

9) And so, with the Republican party having what is described as its strongest stand for life ever, and without a Constitutional party option, I go to the polls and will cast a vote for life in the Presidential race.  And I research local polititians, knowing that to move toward a more Constitutional government, we must start at a local level.  And I ponder what I’m called to do to help create better choices in the future.

10)  If you are one of my beloved friends who are to the left of me politically and you have gotten this far in my tome, thank you.  I must reiterate that since I embrace life as beginning at conception, I do not have the option of looking at abortion as a women’s rights issue.  Just as a woman who shoots her partner in intentional, deliberate fashion is guilty of murder, even with a history of abuse, to kill an unborn person, despite extenuating circumstances or inconvenience, is still murder.  Compassion, understanding, forgiveness… these should be extended to a woman in such traumatic situations.  But they do not negate the facts of the case.  If I believe that an conceived life is a human being, I must take a stand for that life.  Would you ask any less of me?

A Visit from Papa and Mama Byrd

We were blessed by a visit from Papa and Mama in June/July – we got to have them with us for three wonderful weeks!  They brought their camper trailer, which was great considering our small space.  What a blessing to enjoy such sweet fellowship and make precious memories together.

(click to open and click through larger versions of pictures, complete with captions)

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