Monday, March 31, 2014

All Things

Right now everything seems to be in transition.  The trees are going through a wardrobe change.  It is almost as if a stunning wedding is about to begin and everyone is showing up in their cherry-blossom pinks and pearly-white-petal-soft gowns.  The ground is sprinkled with bits of pink and white floating off the branches.  Little yellow buds are slowly popping up, and the winged orchestra is flexing it's lovely chirp in preparation for this grand affair we call Summer.

I find myself painting my long-neglected fingernails and donning a new blossom blush on my winter white cheeks.   The coarse corduroys are slowly finding their way to rear of the closet, and lovely soft colors with shorter hem-lines are moving forward.  The freckles are darkening and the hair will soon lift a layer of dark red for a more subtle strawberry strand here and there. 

Fresh spring is in the air.  Fresh scents of warm mud and green grass.  Fresh thoughts of garden plots and Rhode Island Red chickens coming to live at our house.   New things.  New life.  New beginnings. 

Our hearts all need the Spring.  We all need to shed the heavy scales of winter weights.  We need to feel the blanket of new grass between our bare toes.  We need to remember that our Creator makes all things new.  Even in this world, in this body, and in these pressing times there is a bubbling, gurgling chuckle of the spring bursting from deep beneath the earth.  There is the promise of new, warm, sun-filled happiness. There is a call to the soul to remember that nothing can overshadow the mighty hand of the Creator.  No blanket of snow, no darkness of night, not bitterest of colds can stop the budding beauty of all things new.  

What Love the Father has for us....What grace beyond all measure.

May the dogwood's flower and the lily's beauty prick our hearts and stir our souls to remember His great love.  May the chirping robin be a stirring to tell the story.... He makes all things new!

B Charmer

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Put on the Fancy Boots

I saw a man on Saturday bravely wearing a red pin-striped suit, black cowboy hat, and fancy jewel studded boots.  He was dressed to the nines in this "Vegas Cowboy" look.  He walked into the steakhouse like he owned the world.  There certainly was not a shortage of confidence in this fella.  Of course anyone capable of wearing this interesting ensemble probably had enough confidence for everyone in the room.  Never-mind the fact that the lady on his arm had no teeth!

At first, I wanted to chuckle.  It seemed so strange to see someone so boisterous walking around with such heirs.  But, then I thought to myself how fun this world would be if we all walked a little more comfortably in our own skin.  No doubt, many folks sitting around me that night would have loved to walked in feeling his confidence.

In all these difficult days that our family has encountered, I am learning more and more that life is too short to not wear the fancy boots.  My motto is becoming, "When you have a chance, just do it!".  It is easy to feel heavy under the pressures, difficulties, and various circumstances that living brings about in all of our lives.  There may be long spans of time where ridiculously fancy boots are not available or appropriate.  But when they are, don't hesitate for a second.

I believe our joy and happiness comes from choosing to look up.  God is the source of joy, and sometimes He is handing you the jeweled boots and red suit with a grin on His face.  He is just waiting for you to grab them with delight and take the town with your smile.  When we frown it away, or think of all the reasons we should not...we are passing up the chance for some brightness.

For me, I am learning that joy comes in lots of different forms.  Some days it might be fancy boots, and other days it might be one less prescription to pick up from the pharmacy.  But, joy is there for the taking.  Happiness is mine if I step into it, no matter what swirls around me.

So, if you happen to stop by our crazy home of ups and downs....don't be surprised...we might all be boot scootin' !

B Charmer

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Where We Stand

First of all, many sweet thanks to the lovely emails and comments of encouragement and prayer.  This journey would be impossible if it were not for the massive amounts of love and support that has been shown on our behalf.  God truly shines through you all when you reach out to us.

So many have asked for more specific details of what we are dealing with concerning our situation.  I try to be sensitive to Kevin's privacy when I discus his health.  But I can certainly give an overview of where we were and where we are headed.

Kevin's immune system has decided to sort of go on strike.  It has also decided to attack healthy areas as well.  There is no known reason for this to happen.  He has been dealing with this for over two years.  The last year has really been the most difficult.  The biggest concern is his digestive system.  He is unable to retain most of his nutrients, and he has lost over 40 pounds.  He has been very dehydrated and just overall really sick.

He was hospitalized just a short while ago because he became ill with something the resembled the flu. This ordinary virus that would be a nuisance for most of us ended up swelling his entire throat shut.  There was some discussion that the medicine he was on to lesson the severity of his digestive issues may have caused some additional swelling.  We were discharged when he was able to regain the use of his throat and swallow.  However, we knew his other issues were still not being corrected.

After we were sent home, things were decent for a couple of days, and then he became even more sick than before.  After trying to handle things at home, his doctor readmitted him.  They are doing all they can do determine what is causing the troubles and to get him some relief.  They believe somewhere in the process he contracted an infection that is making things even worse.  The main form of treatment is to battle the inflammation using steroids.  While they are somewhat effective, they also cause some other issues with his sugar and with a lot of swelling.  They have done some biopsies and are waiting to see if this will give them more answers on a more effective form of treatment.

While he is getting some needed relief through IV meds, things are still sort of in limbo.  They are controlling the symptoms with medicines, but it is not curing the problem.  So, we wait.  We wait for test results and we wait to see what things work and what things do not.  There is a major surgical procedure that would most likely take care of things permanently, but it is not something that is considered until all options have been exhausted.  We hope to avoid that process, but mostly we just want Kevin to have the best chance of getting healthy.

We know it is a process. We feel like each step in the journey has brought us closer to the right people and the right procedures.  We struggle with having enough patience.  But we are hopeful for the right outcome.  We thank you for your love and prayers.  We feel encouraged knowing so many are praying for wisdom for the doctors and healing for Kev's body.

Thank you from our hearts!

B Charmer

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Honest Truth

Well, I am writing today from hospital room 830.  I seem to be spending much time in hospitals.  My husband is very sick.  There are many questions and few answers.  But he is sleeping and that is far more comfort than he has had in such a long time.  I find comfort in the gentle ticks of the machine that pumps his medicine in.  The soft hum of hospital has become a bit of a refuge lately.  While I certainly wish we were not here, I am grateful for the peace of mind that others are keeping a watchful eye on his care.

I usually try to write lightly.  I love a pretty photo or good chuckle over motherhood events.  But lately, I cannot seem to write those words.  My world is not made of the same things it used to be.  I decided I need to write, even if were just the honest truth of life these days.  The journey that we have been on has been hard to describe.  For some reason, I find a measure of closeness with words.  This story needs to be written because it is a very poignant part of our life.

I realize I stay tired.  There is much to do always when one half of a partnership is not well.  There are the errands, the meals, the bills, the phone calls, the children, the medicines, the laundry, the garbage.  There is the need to vacuum and the need to change bed linens.  The shopping needs done, the dishes need washed.  The two-year old needs to have cuddle time.  The six year old needs practice on his spelling words.  There is the constant reminder that french fries do not need to be in meals frequently. One cannot forget to take garbage to the curb on Tuesdays.  Forgetting that makes everything worse.  For us, there is the constant daily struggle to get the school uniform pieced together properly, the baby bag packed appropriately, and the school PE bag prepared adequately.  The list is endless.

Of course there is still the job.  Lesson plans must be made, classes must be taught, and meetings must be attended.  Did I just wear this sweater?  Are there any clean socks?  Someone forgot to wash socks....oh wait, that was me.  Is the music planned for chapel?  Where is the school piano?  Why am I looking for a piano?

Then, there is my best friend.  He is so very sick.  Each week, I watch him suffer more and be able to do less.  Each week I see him get smaller and a bit paler.  I bring him soup.  I rub his head.  I hold his hand.  I cry a little.  We talk and laugh some.  Sometimes, there is just not much to say.  It gets quiet.  We get frustrated.  We hug and and I tuck him back in bed.  I call the doctors.  The doctors call me.  Appointments are set.  I text his boss.  We wonder about options.  We wonder about the bills that will surely come.

Then, it gets bad.  This is beyond my rubbed-off nursing training from rooming with my nurse friend for a few years.  I have read the books and googled the symptoms.  I have called the doctors and given the medicines.  I have prayed the prayers and shed the tears.  I need help.  He needs more than me.  They all agree, and we are back in the quiet hum of hospital security.

It is quiet.  A needed quiet.  As the little drops make their way into his IV, I think many thoughts that I haven't had time to think.  I think about this story that God is writing into our life.  I think about the strength it takes for us to not get overly discouraged.  I think about all the people that have crossed our path during these difficult years.

As I eat yet another cafeteria baked fish, I think about the brevity of life.  How quickly we can go from youthful strength to weakened vessels.  Our days are short, but our life's don't have to be small. Even in the hum of hospital we have purpose.  This story was written by my Creator, it is up to me to live out the parts.  Do I cower in fear and worry, or do I step boldly into the plot trusting the Author?  The thing is, I do trust Him.  He's the one that parted waters.  Just as those fearful Israelites stepped into the unknown floor of a suddenly barren sea, I will keep stepping in the unknown of life's challenges.

So the honest truth is that I don't know what is next.  I don't have many positive updates or great breakthroughs to post about his progress.  But what I do have is hope and trust.  I hope in the Lord, and I trust that this is part of His plan.  I trust Him with the care of my dearest love.  I honestly don't know when or if things will get better.  But I do believe that He loves us.

And...there are still silly stories and lovely pictures even during these days.

B Charmer

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