Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Carlee's chemo didn't start today. It's a long story that I don't really have the energy to post tonight, but God was really faithful to steer her away from a potential mistake, and she's beginning a different regimen of chemo than planned tomorrow, 12:00. We feel a lot more peace about this type of chemo and we're really grateful for God's guidance! 
She'll need a lot of strength and peace tomorrow.
Thanks for your prayers. :) 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

(Video: Holding Caleb, 6/25)

What a sunny day it is in Anchorage; and in more ways than one! Wesley
woke up happy and sweet after being a miserable, snotty little sick guy for the past few days. And, our little Caleb is doing so well...! Praise God for how amazingly fast he's progressing. Thursday after a long day of doctor visits, we received the happy call that Caleb was taken off the ventilator, as well as off of all morphine and sedatives. (The nurse said that if they hadn't taken the vent out, Caleb would have pulled it out himself!) Yesterday they took his feeding tube out and mom was able to give him his first "real" bottle since the day he was born. All his IV's are out and last night they trialed him outside the incubator to see how well he'd maintain his body temperature in a normal crib. His nurses are amazing. We thank God for the love and care they've given our little fellow. The nurse who told Nathan that Caleb was off the ventilator cried, because she was so glad. :)
The next step for Caleb is to get him off of the oxygen tube in his nose so he can learn to properly drink a bottle. Once he's off the nose tube and can drink a bottle, he'll be able to come home.
Today Carlee has a test-free day, after a week of VERY exhausting and painful surgery and procedures. We'll be spending the weekend together, and chemo will start on Monday. We're dreading the chemo. But God's led us this far, and we know that He won't give Carlee second-best in life. His will is what we'd choose, if we knew all the facts. (Sort of a trite statement, perhaps, but so profoundly true.) Thanks for your prayers.

So yep, it's a beautiful day. :)

Indian food is one (just one, mind you,) of my mild obsessions. Nate, Carlee and I were sitting in this great little restaurant enjoying their delicious naan when we heard the happy news that Caleb was off his ventilator. We decided we'd always remember that happy Indian dinner.

Seriously now: my sister is so adorable!!!

Waiting for a meeting with the oncologist

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Recently, this is the song I've been falling asleep to on my iPod. It makes me feel as if a prayer is being breathed over me. It fills my heart with rest in the midst of the 'trauma' that life's lobbing our way these days. I'm reminded that because Christ is orchestrating every step of it, life is a glorious journey- a beautiful and victorious journey, for no matter how erratic and even cruel it seems at times, the Master's loving hand has written the map. Glory to God!  

"May the grace of God go with you, as we go our separate ways 
May your heart be filled with nothing less than pure and perfect praise 
And may His joy be yours as He opens doors 
To a life so rich and free... 
May the grace of God go with you, and shine that all might see.  
May the grace of God go with you, when you climb the steepest slopes 
May your every step, though filled with pain, be fuller still with hope! 
And when the heat is strong and the road seems long, 
May you hold to heaven's hand. 
May the grace of God go with you, and give you strength to stand. 
May the grace of God go with you, may His heartbeat be your own- 
And the bond of love grow stronger as we journey onward home 
And may the peace of Christ rest upon your life; 
May it lighten every load! 
May the grace of God go with you as you walk the golden road. " 
-Brent Vernon  

Here's the only video I could find of Brent singing this song. Sorry; the quality's pretty poor!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Praise God! Caleb is a little better today! His mommy just called, (very excited,) and said that she's got permission to hold him for 90 minutes tonight! What a treasure. They've been able to very slowly begin to start reducing his oxygen because his lungs seem a little stronger. It's so wonderful to finally hear good news after two nightmarish days! He is still needing the morphine to help his agitation, though; he's in discomfort and restless.
The kids got to see their brother for the first time last night! They didn't seem to be too bothered by the tube in his mouth and the IV needles in his little body because Nathaniel and Carlee had wisely prepared them pretty well and showed them some pictures ahead of time. They were so happy to see their little brother; the girls especially cried when they had to leave him. Little Kate looked into his incubator and said softly, "Baby Caleb... are you okay?"
Carlee is beginning the cancer war today. Tests and scans started at 9:00. It's been very emotionally difficult for her to have to switch gears from being consumed with Caleb to having to think through all these cancer issues. Her mommy-heart wants to give all her attention to the little guy all alone in the NICU, but we're trusting that Jesus will hold Caleb in His arms because He knows we can't. I'm glad we have such an amazing Father!
Mom and I have been doing okay with the kid-duty at Sue's home. Mimi and the kids on a walk

The kids are playing with legos right now, and I've been enjoying the rare quiet moment to read a book. Sue has an awesome library here!!! When I discovered it, I'm almost positive I heard angelic music and a saw a beam of ruddy light shining upon the bookshelf... right at her collection of all the Ravi Zacharias books I've been wanting to read. :) Good thing there's 24 hrs. of daylight right now; it makes it a lot easier to be nocturnal.

Sue and the girls planting flowers

We've fallen in love with Lady Jane, Sue's beautiful dog. She's the same type of Spaniel that they modeled "Lady" after in Lady and the Tramp, and she's gorgeous and sweet. hopefully she
won't also be psychotic after enduring the affections of the 4 oldest Hobbits. :)
(Grandma and Grandpa, I'm trying to figure out some way to hook her up with Chappy. He'd be smitten!)

Four ladies on a couch

Wow, even mom loves Lady Jane! :) Proving once again that I was wrong when I said that mom hates all animals. Sorry mumsie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick little update. A lot has happened with Caleb today. Carlee wrote about it as only a mommy can on their blog (click HERE) and I don't want to be redundant so I hope if you're interested you'll check it out. She writes so beautifully! (Of course I'm a biased sister...)
I got to see the little man today; mom and I visited him for a few moments this evening. We couldn't see his face because there's a ventilator in his mouth now and a mask over his eyes, and it was heartbreaking to see all the little bruises and IV drips. But he kicked his legs a few times and he has the most adorable little toes. :) 
How can I love someone so much who I've only known for two days!? 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I talked to Carlee a few minutes ago, and she said that Caleb had a rough night. They went in to see him early this morning, and the nurses had doubled his O2 and were concerned about how hs chest is collapsing and how often he is "shuddering". They may try to give him more Surfactin this morning, and they're closely monitoring him to see if he may be getting sick, so they can give him antibiotics if that's the case. Please pray for the little man and his concerned mommy and dad! Carlee and Nate can't update their site from the hospital because of the connection, so I'll try to do so from here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An Update on Baby Caleb:

Hey friends,
FIRST, I want to say thank you to all of you who have been reading either on my blog or Carlee's! I'm sort of overwhelmed at how many people are reading this, and interested in what's going on, and praying for us. It really feels unbelievable to me and what a blessing each and every one of you are to me; even those of you who I hardly know. It means so much and I feel loved and encouraged every time I hear from one of you. I'm so glad to be a part of the family of God... not only is HE a loving Father who bears us up in His strong arms, but my brothers and sisters are amazing and so kind!!! When my life gets back to normal a bit, I definitely want to spend more of it passing along the love and support and prayers to OTHERS that the Hobbs and Sobies have been a recipient of. You all have challenged me. Thank you.
I'm posting from Carlee's hospital room. Caleb is in the NICU because his lungs are underdeveloped. He's able to breathe room air for a while, but then his lungs can't keep up and his O2 level plummets. Today we went in to see him and we couldn't hold him because they did a procedure to help his lungs out. They placed Surfactin into his lungs through a breathing tube to replace the normal stuff in his lungs that his body isn't producing yet. From what I understand, the Surfactin is a type of lubrication and it helps his lungs to expand. He needs to learn to drink and breathe at the same time so they don't have to put a feeding tube in him. It's really, really tough to see the little fellow all alone in his incubator, hooked to tubes and taped with IV's, and his chest heavingas he tries to breathe. We know that Caleb will be okay, and to see the tiny, TINY little preemie baby in the incubator next to him helps us to put the problem into perspective. The doctors said that his lungs could develop in a matter of days, or it could take weeks. So we're praying that it will be a day or two!! I'll add pictures of the adorable little guy once I can download them. He's precious. Please pray for Carlee and Nathan. There's a lot of deep exhaustion and discouragement right now. Love to you all... ~Dani

Caleb Nathaniel Hobbs

Praise God! After 16 hours of labor, Caleb is finally here: weighing in at 6 lb. 7 oz. (which isn't too bad for a month early)! Caleb is in the NICU, because he was not getting quite enough oxygen. Mom said that he seemed to have a hefty cry when he came out, and they thought he was going to be fine. After he was all bundled up and drank from his bottle he was making tiny little noises and mom, Nathan, and Carlee thought it was the most adorable thing... but then the nurse came in and heard him, and grew a little concerned. She unwrapped the blanket and saw that his feet were bluish and he was cold. But he should be fine after a while and we're hoping he'll be out in time to spend some time with everyone before Carlee begins treatments! Thank you ALL for your prayers for Carlee and Caleb. Wow! How God has blessed our family with this sweet little boy. :) The kids and I can't wait to meet him today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Playing the waiting game...

...And I never was a very patient person.
Carlee was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening and she's been having contractions, but it's not going much farther than that right now. The kids were a little bummed when I put them down for a nap and they didn't have a new baby brother yet. I think they think it's my fault that things are going so slow. :) Mimi (my mom) arrived in town yesterday, and they were delighted to see her! I'd add a picture of her and the kids that I took yesterday, but Nathan currently has the cord I need for my camera at the hospital.
While I type this I'm sitting on a sunny window seat overlooking a green lawn (What a contrast to Nome... THERE'S GRASS IN ANCHORAGE!) and birch and pine woods. Anchorage is such a beautiful place. It's warmer than Nome, so the 24 hrs. of light produce huge flowers and the greeeeenest plantlife. The air smells sweet and musty here. Sue (with her spaniel Lady Jane) is the kind and *very flexible* woman who has opened her home to mom, the kids and I for a few weeks. We've never even met her, but she felt the Lord prompting her to do this for us! This place is like a bed and breakfast; a huge log home down a rocky forest road with a big stone fireplace and a beautiful area for the kids to play outside. I guess bears sometimes amble into the back yard! This house is the type of place where you keep noticing new nooks and crannies... a library, a little corner by the fireplace with a leather sofa, a playroom for the kids under the eaves of the house, etc. We are so blessed by this dear sister's generosity and hospitality. I am asking the Father to pour grace (she'll need it!) and blessings on Sue. The kids already seem to like "Miss Sooze". :) And she seems to be properly appreciating their utter adorableness. :)
And, like I said, now we're just sitting,... waiting,... for baby to make his grand entrance. Why on earth does it have to take so long!? (Thanks a lot for that whole childbirth curse thing, Eve.)

I read this yesterday in Psalm 62; David repeats it several times: "My soul finds rest in God alone." I've been meditating on it all day. It fills my heart with peace and with love for my kind Master.
"My soul finds rest in God alone."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

" 'What is the chief end of man?'
'Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.' "

I've hesitated to write much about how I've been feeling about Carlee's cancer for three reasons.
Actually, make that four:
First off, I don't like to spill my heart on the internet. Secondly, I don't want an excessively wordy blog. Thirdly, I'm just the little sister in this whole business. Should it really matter what I'm feeling? (Not all that much, in the chain of importance.) And therefore finally, I feel that to write a bunch about my heart in this whole issue would be to take the focus off of Car and Nate, and that's the farthest thing from what I want.
But today, I feel like the Lord gave me a verse and a thought that I wanted to share on here.
It applies to all of us, weather or not we've got cancer.
Today has been a rough day in the Hobbs home. An emotional day. When people are hurting together, to see the other hurting alongside you brings comfort... but also a deeper twinge of pain. The sadness is exacerbated when you know that someone you love is feeling it with you. This afternoon Carlee and the kids took a nap, and I grabbed my Bible, a notebook, and a chai and headed down to the rocks on the Bering Sea to sit a pray for a while. I prayed that Jesus would go down before me, like He did for the Samaritan woman at the well, and be waiting there to talk with me. :) (He was!)
He reminded me of what we've all been feeling ever since we heard the news of Carlee's cancer:

This is about God's glory.

He showed me this incredible verse in Isaiah 59:19- "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When then enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." The second part of the verse is great, because it promises God's protection against the worst Satan can throw at Carlee. But the part that most captured my heart was the first part. Nome is as far west as you can get, in America. (Which is one of the reasons they gave Wesley his name: it means "from the West"!) :) I pray that somehow God's doings in this tiny little town in the western Alaskan bush will spread His glory throughout the world. I know it's a big order, and a bit of an audacious request, but I think He's pleased with it.
So my thinking went on and I wondered what my roll is to play in all this. Again, I'm not trying to get attention through Car's cancer or anything, but if God wants to get glory from it, I want to have a part in that! He's mercifully placed me with the Hobbs, at least for now, and I'm so happy to be here. So I prayed that whether He keeps me here in Alaska where I can work on the front lines in this cancer battle or sends me back to Ohio where I can pray on my knees by my bed, I would somehow be able to assist Carlee and Nathan in glorifying God through Carlee's cancer.
And not only glorifying God, but learning to ENJOY Him. The Westminster Catechism says that's our chief end, and I SO wholeheartedly agree! Read this:
"The Reformed conception is not fully or fairly stated if it be so stated that it may seem to be satisfied with conceiving man merely as the object on which God manifests His glory—possibly even the passive object in and through which the Divine glory is secured. It conceives man also as the subject in which the gloriousness of God is perceived and delighted in. No man is truly Reformed in his thought, then, unless he conceives of men, not merely as destined to be the instrument of the Divine glory, but also as destined to reflect the glory of God in his own consciousness, to exalt in God: nay, unless he himself delights in God as the all-glorious one. "
-B.B. Warefield

So I turn the question around to you, as I did to myself today. What is YOUR chief end? You can determine the answer by searching your heart and discovering for yourself what your days are spent doing; what your time, and energy, and thought-power is devoted to. We can say that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but it's really not our chief end at all if it's not the consuming focus of our lives. How it must rejoice the heart of God when His child says to Him "Father, I want you to be glorified to the utmost through my life and through my death! And in being glorified, help me to delight in You as you ought to be delighted in!"

So that is Carlee's prayer as she takes a deep breath and ventures into the scary unkown of cancer, and that is my prayer as I walk along behind her. And I desire that anyone who reads this wordy post will be challenged to pray that prayer as well.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Grown-up's night out :)

A friend offered to watch the kiddos for the evening so Car, Nate and I could drive out to Teller, an Eskimo Villiage about 50 (?) miles outside of Nome. It was great. So special for us to have some uninhibited "adult time" together. Carlee and I laughed the entire time as only sisters can; convulsing until we cried over nothing in particular while Nathan stole us worried glances from the driver's seat. He's a trooper.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to drive the entire road to Teller. 3/4 of the way there, Nate felt prompted to check the (borrowed) truck's tires. The back tires we
re dry rotting and beginning to peel! We promptly turned around and returned gingerly the way we had come over harsh, stone and dirt roads. God was good to us, because just as Nome was coming into sight, we began to hear loud popping sounds. The rubber was peeling away from the outside layer of the tires! We made it back just in time.

My only disappointment is that we didn't see a bear.
I so want to see one.
What kind of Alaskan can I be I've never seen a bear!??

Bear aside, I feel particularly blessed with our "evening in the wilderness" because I know a lot of things will be changing soon. We'll be leaving early next week for Anchorage, where God's provided a place for all of us to stay for at least a couple weeks while Carlee has the baby and begins treatments. I don't know when we'll be back in Nome together or how Carlee's health will be then. How precious this time together has been, even though it's been so different from what we thought it would be! Every day I thank God fervently for the chance to be here in this untamed country I love with my family who I love so much!

(While I've been typing this at 1:45 am the whole house is quiet except for a possessed toy which has been alternately baaa-ing and moo-ing, for no apparent reason, from the playroom. Mental note to self: ban all electronic toys from my home some day.)

I didn't even ask her to pose like this. :)

My crazy brother waded in this icy water!
(I, sensibly, kept my waterproof boots firmly fastened to my feet.)

I'm looking for gold. *blush*

A dredge in the middle of nowhere, left from a bygone gold mining operation.

This arctic fox was God's gift to make our drive extraordinary. She was prancing on the tundra right off the road, hunting for mice. She caught one right before our eyes, and added it to her stash of at least 4! She spent quite a while just trying to fit them all in her mouth! She was so beautiful and graceful; she took my breath away. She had no learned fear of humans, so she allowed us to follow her closely in the truck. She even stopped several times and gazed at us curiously. Her coat, changing from it's wintry white to the Summer's red, was so lush. We sat and wondered at this dainty, playful little fox for the longest time!

On the way home, the sun was low behind the mountains and it glittered on the water in front of this herd of reindeer. Click on the picture and you get a glimpse of the "bigness" of this country.

This picture of one of the musk ox herds we saw looks a little strange because I took it through binoculars. :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jim Elliot-

"Walk as if the next step
would carry you
across the
threshold of heaven.
That saint who advances
on his knees never retreats."

Saturday, June 06, 2009

In my new backyard

We saw several moose while out on a drive a few night ago. They were amazing! I remember that Pastor McCoy once called me "gracefully clumsy" (left a scar on my poor heart, Pastor!) ... and that's exactly how the moose looks. :) Perhaps through the camera's eye she looks a bit spindly and awkward, but when you see them trotting across the tundra or wading through a churning river, they're beautiful and majestic creatures. So I quote Steve Irwin: "Isn't she GORGEOUS!?"

Guess what? Carlee and Nate finally updated their blog! We quip that it's pretty pitiful it took cancer to make that happen. :) We received some great news from the doctor- there is no cancer in the other breast (Praise GOD!!!), and they are going to try chemo for a few months, seeing how the cancer reacts, instead of going right for a mastectomy. That's exciting, and an answer to prayer. Doc said that the cancer isn't a type that's as responsive to treatment as she had hoped it would be, but it's not the worst it could be either. I believe she's cautiously optimistic. Praise God, from Whom all blessings (apparent or otherwise) flow.

Also: IT'S A BOY!
And he had hiccups yesterday. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Some Random Pictures...

These are a few pictures from the happenings in Nome that I thought Mimi, Poppi, Great-Grandparents, Uncle Scott & Aunt Oksana, and Uncle Nate would especially enjoy. :)

Princess Shaina, aka "Sparkles" :)

See, mom, we told you he had curls!

Three cute profiles. They love to snuggle, especially Wesley

This morning I cut my finger on a knife and Noah ran as fast as he could to get Auntie Dani a BandAid. What a little gentleman. :)

Ahhh! This week has been potty training! Kate has been doing wonderfully but goodness, it's an ordeal. Here she can be seen sitting on her cushioned throne.

Why do we always revert to self portraits even though they NEVER turn out nicely??

A little flower-child with chocolate milk on her shirt. I walked in the play room and found her like this; looking pathetically like a hippie! :)

Do I look like a Mountain Momma?:) We went out to the beach for a cold, but VERY fun cookout. We had to hike a little from the van to the cabin. It was a beautiful evening and we really enjoyed it!

I built the fire in the foreground. Impressed?

Sissy talk

Nate and I went out on the ice and had a fun photo op, then played with the pictures on iPhoto after we got home. I love this one of him!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Nome is gray today.
The gray seeps through your skin to your very core. On days like this, there is no clear delineation between the sea and the sky; one gray melds into the other and you can't tell where the change from water to air occurs. The gray in Nome is a bright gray that almost makes you want to squint. It's more oppressive that the dark days we have in Ohio and you find yourself wishing it would just STORM already and quit brooding! But Nome hasn't seen a thunderstorm in at least a generation. (Something about the atmospheric conditions in this part of the world...?)

Thanks to those of you who are praying for my dear Carlee. I thought I'd write a little about what's going on for anyone who hasn't heard from other sources. What a blessing to know that there are people from all over the world bringing her before the throne; THANK YOU! Today we hope to hear from the doctors about the specific type of caner she has, and whether or not there is cancer in her other breast. As it is, we are definitely looking at a mastectomy, and we may be looking at a double mastectomy. They did some tests on the baby, and decided to give him two weeks more to grow inside of Carlee. They'll induce her in Anchorage then, and most likely begin aggressively treating her cancer the same day. It breaks Carlee's heart that she won't be able to bond and hold and nurse this little one like she has the others. I think that may be one of the hardest parts for her so far.
We're praying that God would also give wisdom, because Nome does not have the ability to deal with radiation/chemo patients so either Carlee will have to fly out to Anchorage for each treatment, or the entire family may need to relocate for a season. So many questions... so many unknowns!
Yesterday the church body here had an amazing prayer service. Not just for Carlee; for the many needs in the church. It was amazing, and so blessed to lift our hearts to God's throne in one accord. There is great comfort in being with a group of brothers and sisters who are crying out to God fervently, with power. God was in our midst and I think the entire church left feeling encouraged, filled with faith, and with a renewed desire for God to be glorified in and through each situation. I believe God is going to be AMAZINGLY glorified through Carlee's cancer! The believers in Nome have been praying for this city for so long, and since so many people in this city know and love Carlee and Nate, it seems like her cancer has sent a shock wave right down Front Street. The world will sit up and take notice, and they will see that this is our God: one who acts for those who wait on Him!!!

"Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any
God besides you,
acts on behalf of those
wait for him."
Isaiah 64:4