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?)