Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Going out with a bang

Well my last full day in Nome had a few firsts in it: my first time to drive a snow machine, and my first dogsled ride.
Rochelle, a gal from our church here, has a kennel outside of town and has competed in the Junior Iditerod. She offered to let us come out for a couple hours and meet the dogs and ride in the sled.
I admit it: I was giddy like a little kid. Like the squeal, jump-up-and-down kind of giddy.
It was a dream-come-true because I've always been fascinated by dog sledding. The dogs are gorgeous. And like their mushers, such tough athletes. They live to run and enjoy every minute of it. Wesley and I took the first ride, and since the dogs were fresh and excited we shot out like a bullet. I was shocked by how fast those little fellows can pull the sled...whew! The snow was icy and the trail was a little rough; we capsized twice going around curves and I got a bump to the head, but that makes it all the more adventurous. :) It was one of the funnest things I have ever done and I'm so thankful to Rochelle for inviting us out!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas machine ride

It's nearly impossible to describe the mix of terror and
exhilaration when Nathaniel's driving. (Haha!)

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

~The Drama of the Shoe~
Starring an emotional female and her wise big sister

The scene opens as Dani bursts into tears because she can't find her black heels.

Carlee: "You know, there are big bummers, and there are little bummers, and one should never treat a little bummer like a big bummer."
Dani: (tremulously) "Yeah, but sometimes the big bummers overlap the little bummers and you can't tell the difference between the two."
Carlee: "In that case, ...I think you need to listen to some Christmas music."
Dani: "That's actually a good idea."
Carlee: "...And give your sister a hug."
Dani: (Sniffles)

Scene ends as the sisters gingerly hug (Carlee can't hug much these days) and little sister stops crying and smiles because Carlee always knows when to hug instead of lecture. Half an hour later she is incredulous that she actually cried about such a silly thing. But then... perhaps she wasn't crying about black heels at all. Who knows?)
Carlee and Nathaniel are home, praise the Lord! They came in on the flight late last night. They'll need to go back to Anchorage on Tuesday for a few appointments, but after that it looks like they'll be able to stay in Nome until we all go back to Ohio. The kids are so happy to have mommy and daddy back, and so are Mom and I.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Brrrr! (And other random thoughts)

'Nuff said.

We're anxious to have Carlee and Nathan home. Please pray that the fluid will drain quickly, because they've already been gone over two weeks and they were hoping to be home before now. They can't come though, until her tube is out and she's been monitored for two days without it. It's discouraging for everyone that this process is so slow and she's not healing more quickly. Carlee needs an extra amount of God's grace and His peace right now. But I think things will be better when they're home, and we're praying that it will be very soon.

Being around a baby boy this Christmas season has given me a lot more perspective. I look at the helpless little one who has to concentrate with all his effort just to reach out a grab a toy he wants, and I think, "God, whose hands formed the universe, became like this? Completely dependent on human mother and father to feed him and clothe him and give him proper care?" How could God Almighty be vulnerable?

I wonder what Your thought
As You stepped down from Your throne,
To become a tiny embryo
Inside a woman's womb.
The Father-Son communion
In an instant torn apart,
And the only thing you could hear
Was your mother's beating heart.
The Timeless One, inhabiting
All of eternity,
Developing too slowly
For the human eye to see.
The hand of God that kindled stars
And hung the earth on space
At once too uncoordinate
To reach and touch His mother's face.
I wonder what Your Father thought
As He formed your tiny feet:
Their pedestal was once the globe...
...Soon filthy from the street.
And I wonder if Your Father cried
When He saw Your newborn face,
That would one day be so bloody-
Plucked and spit on in disgrace.
And when you cried from hunger,
Did He want to make it end?
Did His heart break with the weight
Of the great Gift He'd had to send?
Oh precious Jesus; humble Lord,
Who are we that You'd do this?
To rescue traitors' souls You'd stoop
To leave Your throne; Your bliss?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thank you, all, for your prayers for Carlee. Thank you also for the fact that you comment and let me know that you're thinking about us. Sometimes I'm shocked by some of the people who find this blog. It's sweet of you to read it.
Carlee has gotten some reports back from the doctors, and I guess there's not much I could add to what she's written so beautifully and honestly. You can read her blog post by clicking here.

"He is the healer of the brokenhearted.
He is the one who bandages their wounds.
-Psalm 147:3

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Missing FruDan

Somewhere up among the Aurora Borealis tonight flies RuthAnn. I'm sad to see her go!
Being outnumbered by children 5 to 1 for a week might endanger my sanity and their safety. Carlee and Nathan, knowing this, thoughtfully asked my friend RuthAnn to come and help me "mommy" during Carlee's surgery week. What a blessing it was to have her! So refreshing. She was a life-saver in so many ways, and the Hobbits loved her. And, I think she just might have been bitten by the Nome bug!* Kate said it for everyone when RuthAnn left: "Oh, I miss my FruDan!"

The best memory of RuthAnn's time here was the night Brenda (my favorite Eskimo!!) and Nate came over. We watched Lorna Doone, and after the movie we sat around; laughed uproariously and talked late into the night. At about 2:30 am while it was nearly blizzarding outside, Nate took us for spins (litterally!) around town on the 4-wheeler. What a happy memory.

Me and da bro!

(I love Brenda so much!)

I had fun taking RuthAnn around Nome and showing her the sites that are so foreign to us in Ohio! She's a blast because she's delighted with everything and easily impressed. :) Yesterday my brother took off work early and came to stay with the kids so RuthAnn and I could have some time alone together. We drove out towards Anvil Mountain and saw some musk ox and this georgous fox. I also identified some bear droppings that I thought she might find interesting, of which she promptly took a picture. (snicker!) ...Okay, okay. So I did the same thing the first time I saw bear poo.

...And we hit a few gift shops too. My favorite part of the gift shops are the beautiful furs they sell. Fox, seal, wolf, rabbit, wolverine, beaver, and so much more. Here she's trying on some seal skin gloves. Don't be fooled by the faux fur oven mit look: these guys are priced at over $250.00!

Then we did the Touristy Thing and stopped in the center of town for a few pictures. I, of course, am NOT a tourist. I'm an "almost-Nomeite" by now. ...But,.. I still kinda like taking touristy pictures. :)

We both found men at Anvil City Square who struck our fancy. Upon getting to know them a bit, though, we agreed that neither was much of a conversationalist and they seemed a little stiff.

Thanks for coming RuthAnn. May God bless you as you blessed my family and I this past week. Thank you for your servant's heart and the joy and peace you brought to what could have been a much tougher week.
*Sooo....Iditerod '09 or bust!? ;-)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A letter from my mom:

Dear Friends and Family,
As I write, I am sitting next to Carlee as she sleeps in room 435 at
Providence Medical
Center in Anchorage. This is a Catholic hospital, and they open each day
in prayer over the loud speaker. That was a comfort yesterday morning as
we began what was a very dark day. I know you were praying, and words
cannot express our thanks.
Carlee was wheeled to surgery at 9:45, but, as we learned later, they
never actually started surgery until 11am. The Dr. said a minimum of 5
hours for surgery, so we started looking for her at 3pm. We never actually
talked to her until 7! Those last 4 hours were excruciating emotionally as
well as physically. We had some visitors during the day which helped very
much. The actual surgery took 7 hours, which was a long time for her to be
Dr. Whitcomb said things went well, and there were no surprises. Carlee
lost alot of blood, and had to be given the unit she had donated before
surgery. Besides the bilateral mastectomy, she had an axillary section
(removal of lymph nodes) on the right side, and removal of two lymph nodes
on the left. Everything has been sent to pathology, and we'll have those
results the first part of next week.
We were finally able to see Carlee at 9pm in her room. She was pale,
groggy, and very thirsty. After some ice chips, she got pretty nauseated,
so had to be given Zofran for that. I left about 10pm-thankfully,
Nathaniel was able to stay the night with her.
When I came in this morning, Nathan said it had been a fairly good night.
Carlee said she didn't feel like she really slept, and it seemed she was
looking at the clock every 3 minutes.Today she is still very groggy, and
they gave her benedryl for some torso itching she's experiencing. That
always knocks her out! Her blood volume level is as low as they can
permit it to go, so if that doesn't improve by tomorrow, she may need a
transfusion. Also her pulse is very low, she is weak and uncomfortable.
She's not in alot of pain, although of course she's on pain killers. So
we're grateful for that. She'll be in the hospital at least through
Sunday. After that, she'll transfer to Hickel House for 10-14 days to
recover before flying back to Nome.
Here are some specific ways to pray:
1. That Carlee wouldn't need a transfusion, her pulse would increase, her
blood count would increase and the swelling in her arms would decrease
(complication of something that's lacking in her blood-not sure what it
2. For quick healing, both physically and emotionally for Carlee
3. For strength for both Carlee and Nathaniel. That they would be able to
4. For emotional strength for Nathaniel as he sees his wife suffering.
5. No blood clots or other complications of surgery.
6. Grace and energy for Danielle and RuthAnn in Nome as they care for the
little Hobbits. (and by the way-what a HUGE blessing it was to travel here
with RuthAnn! She's a GREAT girl!!)
7. For the Lord to fill all of us with His power and strength, His
sustaining grace and faith. That His word would speak to us and His
presence would be felt in a very real way. That He would give wisdom for
every decision that will come up.

I will try to update every couple days, or if something new happens. Bless
you all! Thanks for your support. And speaking of support-I have to thank
the Lord for the incredible folks who are here in Anchorage and standing
with us...these new friends who have taken us in, like Mary, who left
cookies and a note for me when I returned to the house last night-it felt
like a hug. For Sue, who again has let us use her home, and vehicle to get
around. For Kris, who stopped by the hospital to just say hello and offer
her love and prayers. God's people are everywhere and we are SO grateful!
Clinging to Him, Lin
Thank you, dear ones, for your comments, calls, and/0r prayers! It's meant the world.
Carlee's surgery took 7 hours. She lost a lot of blood, but they were able to transfuse her own blood right back into her. The doctor seemed pleased with the surgery and said everything went pretty well.
I don't know how she's doing now... not even sure how she's faring in recovery or if Mom or Nathaniel have seen her yet. The biopsies of lymph and breast tissue won't be available until next week. I'll keep ya posted.

Glory to God!
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"That night he forgot her unusual beauty;
he remembered only the fragrance of her personality."

I read that in a book once; an old, musty book printed in the first decade of the 1900s... and it captured my imagination. It made me dream of love like that. You might argue that I hope for love like that because I haven't GOT an unusual beauty that a man would remember. :) (Okay, you've got a point there.) But I think it goes beyond that. I think it goes to the core of who a woman is. We want to be beautiful. We want to be captivating. But more than anything, we want a man who will love us because of who we are; not because of what we look like. A man who will even forget how pretty I might have looked tonight because he saw my heart through my eyes, and THAT is what made him fall in love with me.

A couple weeks ago Carlee came into my room late at night. I was awake. We talked and talked. We talked about the nightmare that was going to happen soon, and the fear and the worries and the pain. But we also talked about Jesus and His faithfulness. And then we cried together. When I held my sissy and we cried together in the darkness, I felt peace again. I needed to cry with her so she would know that I cared. And I needed her to cry with me so I could comfort her. And to hear her heart, I realized again that my sis is valiant. She's a little Hobbit who stands before a massive army of orcs, and even though she's trembling to the bone she looks them in their hideous eyes and prepares for battle with a song.

A few nights ago I sat with Carlee in the living room while she fed Caleb his bottle. I studied her as she sat there. She had taken her hat off, which she only does when the shades are pulled and the doors are locked. :) I don't take for granted the honor it is that she's comfortable with me seeing her hairless head! The dark beginnings of peach fuzz are covering her head, and we're excited. She reminds me, at this stage, of a little fuzzy chick with fluffy feathers. Vulnerable. Plucky. Adorable.
As she played with her baby and delighted in his giggles, her eyes shined and I could almost see the golden warmth of her heart. She is so beautiful.

Today she left for Anchorage. Her surgery is in two days. I know I need to be here, but it felt sad to let her get on the plane and leave for a battle I know I can't help her fight. In a big way, she's alone with this one. Other people can encourage and pray for her, but she's really th only one who can walk this road. Praise God though, He's not human so he can walk it to. Can hold her, even. And can hold those of us who are struggling with the knowledge that they can't make life "okay" for her right now.

Oh and the whole reason I mentioned the quote in the first part of my post, is that I think it describes Carlee in my mind. When she's away, I forget her unusual beauty; I remember only the fragrance of her personality.

Ugh, reading back over this I see I'm pitifully un-concise... I feel clunky when it comes to expressing my heart today. Part of my ongoing brain-freeze stage I guess. Oh, well. At least I tried. Now I need to go wipe a poopy bottom and take the sweet potato fries out of the oven. Yes, I will wash my hands between the two. (Was that TMI?)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't have much to write. I have phases, sometimes, where my thoughts almost spill over themselves in an effort to be expressed. Then, sometimes, they fly a mile a minute through my mind, but elude my grasp and refuse to escape and be concretely written or typed.
So why force it? Here are some pictures instead. (Supposedly these are worth a thousand words, anyways.)

The ocean is finally completely frozen over. It was a fascinating process to watch and now it's beautiful and desolate, like a snowy desert.

The best part of heavy snowfall is that we can finally use the snow machines!

This is James, Amy, and their little guy Justice. One of the best parts of being in Nome has been getting to know them better! I work with James at the Children's Home. He is also an artist (the Anchorage Museum of Art just bought one of his paintings!) and Amy is one of those people who is so incredibly artsy and creative, that just being near her inspires you to try and create something. :) Even beyond that, though, they're a blast to be with!

Our jolly baby!

A not-so-jolly (but very cute) Kate :(
(I love this picture.)

We had fun sled riding and fort digging with piles of snow near our house.

Cute little Pilgrims :)

We had a wonderful time with the Fiskeaux's for Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving would NOT be Thanksgiving without Grandma's red cabbage and delicious lentils! I woke up Thursday morning and it occured to me that I'd have to be the one to make these dishes this year because mom's not here. :) So I rushed to the store and gritted while I paid $15.00 for two tiny cabbages... but it was worth it. Nate, Carlee and I felt like we were at Grandma's house when we tasted the traditional Thanksgiving food.

After the kids were in bed Nate came over and we played Rumikub, ate some leftovers and watched a movie. And of course, laughed and goofed off as only siblings can. We got quite a kick out of this picture... Carlee appears very phantomlike... HOW did she manage that?? When will the fashion police track down and interrogate me about my pajamas? And WHY is Nate acting normal when we all agreed to act crazy for this one??
(Questions that will, undoubtedly, remain a mystery.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On a mountain I saw a tree one day,
Just a small sapling where a nut once lay.
And I paused to wonder as I saw that tree
What the years would do; what the tree would be.
The years will pass and the tree will grow, but
Every trial it's seen will eventually show.
For a tree can't hide what it's feelings are,
And for each new hardship it will bear a scar.
On the mountainside it will bear the brunt
Of the elements; it will tremble; grunt.
And tree stands firm, when the fierce winds blow,
But the barren trunk and the branches show
That time and wind have had their say
For they'll gnarl and twist in a painful way.
The leaves will fade and curl and drop
When the last warm rays of Summer stop,
For the tree can't show any beauty there
When the breeze it feels isn't warm calm air.
I hike the trail oft' to see that tree
For when I see it's progress I think of me.
My life is gusted by winds over time,
And the choosing of the winds that I feel isn't mine.
I can not choose if they'll warm or chill me,
Can't know if the world will love or kill me
But by the grace of God I will blossom still
When the warmth of friends turns to icy-chill;
When the winds of time try to shake and twist me-
When rain and tears erode the ground about me-
And though wounds may come, may the scars be few
For the keeper of my tree is a lonely Jew.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Still sick.
Looking for clues revealing what sort of illness I might have.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


And so, in the name of frugality, I bravely let Carlee cut my hair. I couldn't pay the outrageous price for a trim in Nome, so Carlee agreed to do it and she did a very admirable job I must say! (Layering and EVERYTHING... not just a trim!) It took a long time, and it was punctuated with "Oops!", "Whoa...!", "Uh-Oh", and "Oh, no!". And there are a few jagged cuts. But, overall it's a credit to her ammeter skills. And it made for a fun evening laughing as sisters together.

(If I look pale and sickly in the above picture... it's because I AM pale and sick! No fun.)

Okay, this is Carlee here... I just sabotaged her keyboard. I was walking through and she's complaining about how pale she looks. SHE looks pale? I don't even have eyebrows! I am humbly letting her post such a nasty picture of me, and SHE is complaining about her looks. A little sympathy here, please! Okay, I'm giving the keyboard back... HI to everyone on Dani's blog... thanks for praying for us! ~Carlee

Wow. *cough!* Point taken.

In other news, the Big Blizzard has arrived! It's been snowing for 4 days, and we've got 3-4 ft. of snow! This morning the truck below was blowing a plume of snow at least 30 ft. into the air to get it out of the road. Of course he would stop right as I snapped the picture. But it was pretty amazing.

Time to start warming up the reindeer for their cross cultural flight?

Warm wishes from snowy Nome! I miss you all very much.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The sick little house in the North

Or rather, "the sick little inhabitants of the little house in the North." It seems that nearly every family in town is being hit with a bug. Ours is no exception! We're all feeling sick other than Caleb and Carlee, and praise God we hope it stays that way. (The "other than Caleb and Carlee" part. They're the most vulnerable members of the family and I am SO grateful it hasn't hit them.) We've been feeling yucky for nearly two weeks now, though, and I think we're ready for it to be over.

Please pray that Carlee won't get it. She is starting to feel much stronger now that the chemo is out of her system. It would be tough for her to be knocked out again. There's also a large amount of H1N1 going around that could potentially be tough for her to deal with. She's still tired a lot of the time and still struggling with "chemo brain", which is a condition caused by the chemicals which blocks certain brain functions: specifically multi-tasking, remembering lists, things like that. We've made a few jokes about it, but recently Carlee found out that "chemo brain" is actually, possibly an irreversible condition. It was one thing to try to laugh it off when we thought it would end with the chemo treatments. A humerus, though sometimes frustrating season of life. It's quite another when you realize this could continue for the rest of her life. It's scary and overwhelming. I know she'd appreciate you joining in prayers with us that God would help her brain to resume normalcy and would wipe out the effects of her treatments to both her heart function and her brain.

Thanks for any and all prayers for my precious sis. She is such a trooper... so tough and sweet even when she's exhausted almost beyond endurance! The love of Christ and His beauty rests on her life and radiates BRIGHTLY to all who encounter her. I feel so blessed to live with her and see it in action on a daily basis. I often pray for God to help me to develop the resilient, beautiful spirit He's given my sister!

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Story

I wrote this quite a while ago, I suppose, but I thought I'd post it. It is the story of all of us who have been rescued. 'Does anyone who rejects Jesus' offer of forgiveness and salvation truly deserve Hell', I used to wonder?
And this is why:
"...When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." ~Romans 5:10
Suddenly, from somewhere beyond the misty shoreline of the lake, I heard a bloodcurdling scream. The sound, echoing off the canyon walls, fell almost silent before another, similarly chilling scream pierced the air and this time propelled me to my feet in search of its source. I strained my eyes and ears to catch the faintest hint of where the scream had come from, and as I did so, the mist began to dissipate. There…! There, about 30 ft. from the shoreline, small ripples frantically drifted from a center agitation in the water. I could see that just below the surface was something, or someone, struggling to reach the air above. My heart pounded; my throat constricted with the agony of helplessness. I couldn’t swim. The water was deep and dark. I could do nothing but watch.
As if in slow motion, I saw a woman’s head break through the surface of the water. Her neck strained, her body taunt, her arms flailing wildly, she screamed again. This time the sound was choked by the icy water pouring into her throat. The desperate cry turned guttural and was cut short as her head sank back below the surface; “Help m….”! I, too, opened my mouth, but nothing would come out. I knew there was nobody within ear shot. There wasn’t a soul within miles. I was left alone on this desolate shore, watching every horrible detail in this drama of death. I could not help. I could not scream. I could not move. I could only watch.
Distractedly, I wondered how she had come to be in the middle of this forsaken lake. I glanced around for something, anything, to throw to her rescue… and she surfaced again. This time it was only her hands. They reached desperately for air as if willing to pull the sky into the water with her. Sinking to my knees, I found my voice. I screamed in a fever of despair… my voice broke as I shouted for someone to do something; to intervene, some how. Seeing her fingers sink below the waterline, I scrambled on all fours to the edge of the lake; determined to at least try to swim. I thrust myself into the water screaming, as if she could hear me, for the woman to hold on. The water quickly grew deeper as the bottom sharply dropped off into oblivion. This lake was rumored to be bottomless. I did not doubt that it was. The water which had seemed so friendly and peaceful only moments ago was trying to grasp me, too, in its death grip. I realized this, and as my feet searched for a foothold on the murky bottom, I felt my own dead weight pulling me down. I quickly thrust myself back towards the shore; back towards safety. As I turned my back in defeat, the woman somehow surfaced again. I did not see her this time; but I could hear her. She gasped hoarsely and tried to scream again. “Pleeease!”
I was back in safe territory now. The water was only knee deep as I stumbled and fell, landing on all fours, gasping and sobbing a prayer. “Oh, God….” I whispered. “No.” I heard another splash and whirled around. What I saw propelled me once again to my feet. She was on the surface. She was swimming with strong, smooth strokes…. But no. It wasn’t her. This was a man. He swam towards the place she had last disappeared and dove quickly below the surface. In disbelief I gazed around the lake, wondering where in the world He had come from. Before I could process it, though, He had resurfaced. And He held her in one arm. Her face was small and white against the tanned muscle of his taunt arm. Her eyes were closed and, even from this distance, I could see that her lips were blue. I stared, willing them to shore and the safety of shallow water. Though the thought was a strange one considering the circumstance, I could not help but vaguely feel as if I knew this woman. Intimately. But… how? Why did I feel so closely connected with the mortal struggle taking place before me? I was an onlooker… wasn’t I?
As if in a dream, as I saw the pair struggle towards shore, I saw her open her eyes and, sputtering, look into the strong, kind, straining face above her. Somehow I felt like I was right beside them now. In crystal-clear detail I saw the look in her eyes turn from beautiful relief and surrender to heinous hatred. They were not yet near shallow water, but she began to struggle again. This wasn’t a struggle for her life though… it was a struggle against His. “NO!” She spat venom into the face so close to hers. Without a word, He continued to swim…or try to…towards the shore. “NO!!!” She repeated, and this time she wrenched herself from His hold and, beneath the water, thrust her knee forcefully into His groin. He jerked in the water, involuntarily swallowing a mouthful, coughed, and grunted in pain. Then He turned his eyes with beseeching clarity on hers. He was treading water with one arm, trying to keep her dead, struggling weight above the surface in the other. “Let…let me help you,” He gasped. “Never!” She hissed, and with a jerk she ripped herself from His grasp and immediately began to sink again.
Stroking frantically with one hand, doubled over in pain, He reached out the other hand to her. As her head began to sink again beneath the surface, she grabbed the outstretched hand and clamped her teeth onto it. His low moan of pain pierced my heart and I began to cry afresh, not understanding what was happening. And yet, somehow knowing what was going to happen. How did I know this, though?
A small ring of blood began to appear around the Man’s now struggling form, and I realized in horror that even as the woman sunk to her fate she was pummeling and tearing at Him with her fingernails below the surface. I did not understand how I knew this, but I did. And I began to weep even more as I saw Him sink haltingly below the water once more and reappear with her in His arms. This time her eyes weren’t shut. They were wide and staring. They were pools of dark hatred, and as soon as the Man had succeeded in lifting her above the water, she violently head butted Him full in the face, sending blood spurting from both His mouth and His nose. Again and again she beat Him until, even with His amazing strength, He could no longer hold her up. Even as she sank once again her only driving, intense, burning desire was to destroy her compassionate Rescuer. Again I knew this… and again I did not know how I knew. As if in slow motion I saw the Man’s head sink beneath the water. Beneath the surface, the woman was not thinking about air or life. She was only longing to attack her hero; to make Him die if she, too must die.
The last time she surfaced, her face, contorted in rage, was turned towards me. It was only for a moment, but in that moment I knew who she was. And I cried out in shock and disbelief. She was me. It was my face I was looking at; it was my hands that were even then seeking to tear the Rescuer’s face apart; it was my feet that were kicking and pummeling and bruising the One who was trying to save me. I watched myself with horror to deep to tell. My heart felt as if it had been torn from my chest, so great was the pain of that realization.
When it was all over, the horrible drama of death, I mourned with an agony too great for tears or words. Beneath the now calm waters of the lake two had perished… not just the woman, (me,) who had been so filled with despicable hate and wickedness, but her Rescuer. The strong, compassionate Man who had reached out to her knowing that she would kill Him. For He did know; I felt sure of that. His face floated before my eyes as I shut them to ease the rivulet of tears flowing beneath my trembling eyelids. I loved Him. Oh, how I loved this Man. I Loved Him so dearly that my throat ached and my chest heaved with sobs. But I had killed Him. I had beaten Him. I had despised Him. I was His willful murderer.
I don’t know how long I stayed there, half in the water and half out. It must have been a while, but my numbed mind did not process time or comprehend what I did or what I thought. I only knew that the ache of remorse would never dissipate. I would carry the guilt of His death forever, and even into eternity.
For that woman full of ugly hatred I felt no sadness. I knew that I deserved my fate. I deserved to perish and decay there beneath the icy waters. But for the Man…. For the Man I would never cease to grieve.
Finally I moved as if to get up. My knees had sunken deeply into the mire of the shoreline. My hair had dried into a stringy mass of tangles before my face, which had been bowed in an agony of despair. What had I seen? How could I have seen myself die and pull another to His death when here I knelt, alive and filled with sorrow and pain? I did not know… but my heart told me that I WAS that woman and that the death of that pure Man was something that would never be erased from my mind or my guilt. Slowly I crawled to shore, only to collapse on the grass in weariness. Again the sobs rose to my throat, but the tears were gone. I wanted to cry… but there were no more.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I recoiled, in shame, as a cockroach flees from light. I wanted to escape this place. I wanted to leave; to wake up and realize that it was a dream that I had only to forget. But I knew it was no dream. And I knew that the blood of that Man would be on my hands for as long as I lived. The hand still pressed onto my shoulder, gently but firmly, and I relinquished. Slowly, painfully, I rolled onto my side, into a fetal position, and opened my eyes, squinting pitifully into the sunlight. The first thing I saw was that hand… that arm… that strong arm that I remembered from the lake. The Rescuer’s arm. In disbelief I scrambled to my knees and looked up at the tall form bent above me. It was Him. It was the Man from the Lake; only He was alive and… and real. He wasn’t lifeless any longer; His body wasn’t bloody or bruised from the blows I had inflicted on it, though the scars remained and forever would. His eyes shone with forgiveness and hopeful love. His arms opened to invite me into an everlasting embrace. His heart,… His beautiful, Rescuing heart…. Reached out again. And this time I understood the beckoning with a greater clarity than I ever had before. I fell into His embrace, as a child sinks into her daddy’s tender, strong embrace, and the tears came again.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Trip to Civilization

Okay, I exaggerate. Nome is civilized.
But still, I've missed things like Wal Mart a lot, and it was exciting to be Carlee's escort for her Herceptin treatment yesterday. It was only a one-nighter in Anchorage, but it was a fun flurry of shopping and bumming around the big city! Nathan was sweet to fill my usual shoes and watch the kids, and Carlee, Caleb and I had a wonderful, if busy, time. I loved seeing the mountains again in Anchorage. They are indescribable.

I've been enjoying some "for fun" reading at night before I turn off the light for bed. I haven't read a book just for fun in a very long time and it's kind of refreshing! It's "Anna and the King of Siam". I did now know that the romanticized story "The King and I" is actually based on a very true story... and it's a very moving one, too. I love the Rogers and Hammerstein version; have nearly all the songs memorized, absolutely adore Yule Brenner's kingly skills, and am reduced to sobs at the end of the movie EVERY TIME even though I know he's going to die! (I inherited my Grandma Oriti's love of theater!) The true story, though, is one of amazing courage and inspiration. Of a woman whose influence on the next generation of royalty led to the abolition of slavery in Siam. Not very romantic, perhaps, but unbelievably inspiring. An ordinary woman who suffered incredible hardships during her life, quietly changing the course of a nation through her influence. Wow.
Honestly, I feel almost envious that Anna had the chance to do what she did. There are very few people who get the opportunity to influence the royalty of a barbaric nation. I'm sure I'll never be called on to do something that the world would label "great". But I think of Mother Theresa's words, and am inspired and somehow comforted: "We can do no great things. Only small things with great love." I don't agree completely: we can do great things. (Anna did.) But I don't think we can do anything "great" unless it is done with love. And any tiny deed, done with love, becomes great in God's eyes. That includes diaper duty.

I guess, after knowing the true story, I should be indignant at Rogers and Hammerstein's dramatization of it. But this will probably always be one of my favorite musicals!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wherefore doth this painting so excessively amuse me?

She highly amuses and intrigues me. Perhaps it's the complete beauty, calm and coolness of her demeanor, with nothing other than her strained neck muscle tell-tailing the fact that something's the matter. The papers strewn all over the floor with no explanation as to why... leaving it to your imagination. Does the have rambunctious children? Did she lose her temper? Is she frustrated with a project? She's contemplating the next step, and trying very hard to maintain (or regain) composure.

At any rate, I laughed very hard when I saw this painting because somehow, as the nanny-aunt to 5 small children, I can relate. She needs a cup of hot chai and a friend to share this moment with.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pastor Appreciation Month

Pastor and Mrs. McCoy have been on my mind every day this month... it's Pastor Appreciation Month and I know that at our church they are being loved and thanked. I wish I could be home to personally hug and thank them for the huge investment they've made in my life and the lives of countless others!
Pastor and Mrs. McCoy have meant more to me in the past 12 years than I could ever say. They took me on my first short-term missions trip to South Dakota, and opened my eyes through that trip to the needs of others beyond my own little sphere. They've poured love into my life in so many ways and I have so many memories of special things they've done to make me feel almost like a daughter; not just an abstract member of their congregation. When my Grandma died the day before my 16th Birthday and the day felt so bleak and dark, Mrs. McCoy showed up on our doorstep with a dinner and gooey chocolate cake (candles lit, singing happy birthday to me)! They've initiated so many ministries and opportunities to serve through our church whether it be through a bus ministry, Christmas dramas, or neighborhood evangelism. I've seen them pour their hearts, their finances, countless hours, and in a very real way even Pastor's health into people with little thanks or recognition. I've watched in amazement as Pastor has preached the truth strongly, even when he knew he would be criticized for it. I've seen them love when they were hurt, work when they were weary, and smile when their hearts were crying.
I know you don't serve God for thanks, but nevertheless...
I do thank you SO MUCH for the investment you've made in my life and for the friends you have been to my family. It's been a tough year in many ways for you guys, but I want you to know that God will bless (and is blessing,) you for your faithfulness and your heart to serve Him and love His people. Great is your reward in heaven.

My prayer for you this year is that this year you will continue to grow in the wisdom and love of the Good Shepherd, Jesus, that He will strengthen you, and that you will be blessed.

Love you guys!

~The Sheikh ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Many miscilaneous happenings in the North

First order of business: the story of my great disturbance this morning. I was taking care of Caleb and was just about to lay him down for his nap, when he suddenly spewed upon me the greatest amount of spit-up that I have EVER seen in one place at one time. It flowed down both sides of my neck: trickling to my stomach in the front and to my shoulder blades in the back. I had to take a shower. And I was glad, at that moment, that I had purchased this deodorant a few months ago:It was, indeed, an "emotional moment". Perhaps you will call the label a pitiful marketing ploy. But I say, I just might not have made it through the Great Spit-up of 2009 without my Emotional Reinforcing Deodorant. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.

On to more palatable topics of conversation.

The weather is starting to turn. The past week was extremely cold; 16 degrees Sat. morning. It finally snowed yesterday and it's nice, because the dust was getting pretty extreme. Most of the roads in Nome are dirt roads, so when it's dry the dust kicks up and whirls through town, coating everything with a fine layer. Shaina and Kate looking outside at the snow this morning-

Yesterday I drove around town and took a few pictures of things that struck my fancy:

A moose antler design

Velvet Eyes is a pet reindeer who belongs to a man in town. The guy drives a pickup truck and can be seen frequently with Velvet in the back, like a dog. This is Velvet Eyes' "kennel", I guess. :)

Souped up truck, all ready for winter :)

I took this picture outside of the Nome Senior Living center. "Seriously now: Are you really that handicapped?"
We've been seeing seal the past few weeks in the sea, but no belugas yet. :( A friend from church is a native so he's allowed to net the whales for food. We drove outside of town and saw his nets a few days ago, and there were quite a few seals watching us as we climbed on the rocks. We found bear tracks on the beach; a mother and her cub. They weren't particularly big tracks, but pretty cool nevertheless. :)

I've enjoyed working at the Nome Children's Home a few times a week. Sometimes for just an hour if they need a fill in; sometimes for an entire shift. There are 7 kids right now. Each has been removed from an unstable living environment and is living at the Home temporarily. They're from different villages outside of Nome, and they're all Eskimos (which is not, by the way, a politically incorrect term in this region.) They are soooo darling! I wish I could show you their beautiful faces. The chubbiest little cheeks and sparkling dark eyes. I love getting the chance to give them love and tickles and kisses.
Here's one little Eskimo dude I did get a picture of: Danny is buddies with Caleb, and we like to put them next to each other and laugh at the difference in their cheek size! Danny is the son of Dustin and Ariel, some friends from church. Like Caleb, he is intensely kissable.

We love having Uncle Nate here! He brings lots of smiles to our little apartment when he visits! :) We finished watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy yesterday, and I was completely captivated by the story. (Mom. Christmas. hint hint hint.)
Fascinating the kids by blowing into a glass bottle. (Notice Shaina's outfit: she is such a little FancyNancy!)