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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Circular tears

I thought I'd share Lara's blog with you today, followed by my comment. I thought the tears had stopped for a while ...

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil."
- Psalm 5:4a

"Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? Turn, O Lord, and deliver me. Save me because of your unfailing love."
- Psalm 6:2-4

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
- Philippians 3:20-21

It's hard to feel out of control. I watch as my little boy gets weaker and even the best doctors cannot really help him. They can treat the symptoms but there is no human cure for this horrible disease. I watched as he lost the strength to suck sufficiently to nurse. So we tried bottles but there were food allergies and even then he was eating all day long in order to barely get enough. Even now with the food going directly into his stomach, the inside muscles seem to be having a hard time processing the food and keeping it down. His outside muscles have lost the ability to stand or sit or hold up his head. It appears that my smiley, giggly child has lost the ability to smile or giggle or even cry.

I cry to God to please save my son from the horrible things that are happening to him. I treasure each time that I get to hold his hand or stroke his little cheek. Each time that my loving touch can bring him a bit of comfort. Each time that I get to hold up his head or change his diaper. Each time that his beautiful blue eyes recognize his mama. Do I dare to still hope for a miracle? To hope that I might see the day when my precious little one might walk and talk and smile? Nothing is impossible with God. I know that God is good and that he can save my son, but I am afraid that for some reason that's not his will. I'm afraid to believe and be disappointed. Mostly I am afraid of watching him suffer.

I believe. Help me, Lord, in my unbelief. Thank you for each precious moment. And thank you especially for the hope of heaven.

Posted by Lara at 12:10 PM

July 29, 2008 1:00 PM
Mom/Nana said...
Lara, from one Mama's heart to another, I feel so deeply for you and for our grandson! I, too, want to see him smile and hold his head up. We wish for such simple things, when all around us people are complaining that their child can't do this or that fantastic accomplishment. It's a good thing I hadn't read this when I was talking with you, because now I am weeping. One thing, besides your own spiritual life, is to safeguard your marriage during this time. Both of you holding tightly together in prayer over your little Timmy.

Every once in a while I think that the emotional roller coaster has ended, but to see two generations hurting is very difficult for this Nana. So I'll let the tears flow when they come. God can handle our tears, and our questions, and our pleas to find a cure (or miraculously provide one) for this disease.

This is going to be a circular blog today... Love and prayer continuously -

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who (or what) is king?

For many years, we've been hearing that "content is king." I'm attending a conference for tradeshow and event planners, and this afternoon's workshop was on knowing your customers' communities.

The presenter then said that content is no longer king... Community is king. Hmmmm. Would you agree?

How many community groups online do you belong to or regularly read? And do you go there primarily for the content or for the community? Is it a toss up? Is the community the conduit for the content?

Okay, the brain is now officially fried for the day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

But I think I'll know when I'll be back, Lord willing. Work has taken me flying a lot lately, and then a week after I return from this one, we'll head out to California to be with Timmy for his first birthday. That's the trip I'm looking forward to. I wish it could have been sooner, or that we lived closer to all the kids and grandkids. But if we can just stand the flying, that makes it less than a day's trip.

I'm glad that so much of the family and friends take advantage of jetting around the country to help out. Pray for safety on all ends of the trips.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Frankly, I could hardly wait to get home and write this blog.

If you don't want to read much, let me sum up this movie in one word: embarrassment.

Silly me, I should have read some reviews. Any reviews. But because I really do like Abba music, I thought this might be fun. And in some parts it was. But other words come to mind: crude, socially irresponsible, immoral (please don't call me prudish, it really is).

You know how I've titled my blog as "a hotflash in the making?" Well, this movie was a hormone wanna-be. Tasteless is another word that comes to mind.

So save yourself the money and just buy a CD if you like the music.

32 years ago

I've missed the anniversary by a few days. On July 15, 1976, Richard Toshio Sawyer went to be with Jesus after a two year battle with cancer. He was 9 years old. In our minds he will always be 9. It seems incredible that he would be 41 years old now had he lived.

About a year later, my mom wrote a little booklet called "Take Care of My Child for a While." It was based on a poem that I think I've quoted in this blog previously. I typed it up for her on ... gasp ... a typewriter and we copied it and saddle stitched it ourselves to be distributed at a local Cancer Aid thrift store. It was my first foray into publishing. The book was a memoir of Ricky's adoption and our foibles in fitting him into our Anglo family, and subsequent cancer treatment and succumbing to the disease.

When Marshall was born in July of 1977, Mom handed me a copy of the book, signed thus: Perhaps now you will know what it means to love someone so much it hurts.

I do. And Marshall and Lara do, too. And so do the other parents in one way or another.

God, as our Father because of what Jesus has done, loved us so much He sacrificially gave up His own Son. I won't go into all the theological ramifications, but the pain runs deep on so many levels there.

I hurt for the ongoing challenge that Leigh's Disease will bring to our next generation. I want to believe that God will bring something good from this, or that perhaps He will glorify Himself by miraculously healing Timmy. But maybe the miracle will be that He will take them (and us) through the challenge.

God chooses each life He has created for a purpose. So we will continue to pray and praise God that He has given Timmy to all of us...the unexpected miracle baby.

And I will remember the life of little Ricky, too. Sometime, read his favorite story about the giant in the garden. Since I'm being a bit maudlin - he always asked me to read him that story and it always made me cry...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Your tax dollars at work

On my way in this morning, men were working on a new turn lane where I get on the highway. Couldn't help myself ... I just thought this was a cool picture.

Fountain of sparks on Weber

Remember for today

Ingrid sent this to me, and it's really not fun to have tears hit your keyboard. Don't know the author, but this reminds us of family priorities.

*Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

*Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

*Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

*Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck and I will buy you one if he comes by.

*Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

*Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

*Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

*Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

*Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

*Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

*Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

*Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

*I will think about the mothers And fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

*And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer.. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except one more day...............

Playing "dump truck"

bubbles with Timmy's Aunt Beth

Oliver and the trees

Preaching to myself

And praying Psalm 20 for Marshall and Lara and Timmy... (thanks to BibleGateway for the online Bible.)

Psalm 20
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
[RJE: Lord, You have been faithful to put the right people in place for Timmy and his family. You have protected him when his life has been in danger]
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
[RJE:We trust You, Lord, for the support You have and will give to Marshall, Lara, and especially Timmy. You have assigned people to be Your hands and Your feet during this time, tangibly surrounding them with love and gifts]
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
[RJE: O Father, we ask for rest at home for Timmy and Lara. I ask for health on a daily basis. I ask you that Timmy's feeding needs be met and that a network be formed for meeting all his needs today and in the days to come. We trust YOU alone to provide these things. Use us to love them and provide for them, also.]
5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
[RJE: You have granted life and love and doctors and food and friends and family. YOU are victorious, even when we can't see what the victory is!]
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
[RJE: Anointed=chosen. You have indeed saved us for eternity, and we are constantly being saved this side of heaven, as well. Save Timmy, Lord, in every way we can and can't think of.]
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
[RJE: When I am tempted to lean only on the physical, please help me to see that You are working in Your power without my sight.]
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
[Amen! Thank You, Lord!]
9 O LORD, save the king!
Answer us when we call!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who you are praying for

No, I didn't mean "who are you praying for." I want to show you who you are praying for... our grandchildren. Starting with Timmy, who has seen more of the inside of a hospital than I ever have, and he's only 11 months old.

And then there is Oliver, who is now 16 months old and VERY redhead!!! That will earn him a lot of stranger attention throughout his life, I'm sure...

And, of course, the two we get to see the most of, so that we can watch the changes in mobility, speech, character... not to mention frequent kisses and hugs.

We love and pray for you all!

How much is that in blog years?

When a person goes a whole day without blogging, they really aren't a serious blogger. So what about those of us who just make up drivel so that we don't go a whole month without blogging?

July for this household has been woefully lacking in time for serious thought! Babysitting, travel, tradeshows, conferences, and throw in two days of vacation and what do you have? Blog fodder, of course.

Thanks to a passer by

We were treated royally for two days (well not quite a whole two days, but close enough) to a friend's home in a gated community, complete with BMW convertible with "beach tags" on it so we could take this picture. It was a lovely ending to a hectic 8 days.

But when I got back to work on Monday my blogging coworkers complained that I was posing. What self-respecting thoughtful individual has nothing to say for a whole week?

And may I add that this blog really didn't count. I'm sure it's been seven years in blog years...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lightning Fast

The next time you see a picture of lightning, I hope you'll go "ooooooh" and "aaaaaahhhhh" and "how did you do that?" Because I'm sitting in the midst of an electrical storm in Orlando with my trusty camera set to "burst" and have taken approximately 120 shots. ALL of them missed any single lightning strike!

Any ideas?

You are here...

And if you're here, would you please go HERE instead? And pray for Timmy, especially, and Lara and Marshall. Peace. Discernment. Guided hands. Many thanks to those who have been meeting the physical and emotional needs of the family during this stressful time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And lived to tell about it

I just flew in to Orlando, and boy are my arms tired!

Old joke, but so true.

This morning I was picked up by the Mercury Limo service and was treated to stories by an acquaintance of a coworker. Does that sound convoluted? Well, this driver's fiction concepts were well done and it made the traffic at 6:30 AM go by a bit faster.

No problem so far. I got through the "expert traveler" line at Midway. Again, no problem. Upgraded (on my own dime, I might add) to business class, which is well worth the $49 on AirTran. When I went to weigh my one piece of checked luggage, it was 5 pounds overweight (my luggage struggles just like I do!). I immediately knew what it was...the convention binder. When I took it out of my luggage, the suitcase weighed a full NINE pounds less! So now that 9 pounds is walking with me as carry on luggage.

No glitches in the flight from Chicago to Atlanta, although I really wish I could have gotten a through flight, because anyone who has ever lived with me or flown with me knows that flying is not my favorite pasttime.

When we got to Atlanta, again no problem. Fairly sunny skies once we landed, although it was cloudy coming in. But by the time we were to take off, the darkness was overtaking the sky. Still, AirTran was optimistic and we boarded right on time.

As we were waiting for all to be seated, the lightning started, followed by torrential rain, more lightning and thunder. The pilot came on and said we'd be waiting a while, since they'd closed the runway we needed to use on account of the weather. Probably 15 to 20 minutes. No problem, right?

BOOM! Lightning struck the plane as we were sitting there. All the lights and air went out. Nice to know the emergency lights really did come on.

For a couple of minutes we sat in the dark. Then the lights sputtered back on. But the ground crew came in and said we needed to deplane.

To make a 2 1/2 hour waiting story shorter, we finally took off - in another plane, from another gate, and with the flight and desk attendants in kind and patient form. Thank you very much!

The sky cleared, and we got to Orlando amidst partly cloudy skies.

Ingrid says I now qualify for prophet status, having been struck by lightning and lived to tell about it. And my hair is no more frizzy than it started!

But, boy, are my arms tired!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Good morning, good afternoon, good night!

What's the shortest hour of the day? The one right before the alarm goes off.
What's the longest hour of the day? The hour before nap time!

We've really been enjoying Ashley and Amberleigh. Once you get into a routine, it's really not so bad. Hahahahaha. Like I said, I know why young women have kids!

Seriously, it has been fun to kiss, hug, snuggle, paint, ride, walk, match, etc with eager little minds and fingers. I only wish we could do the same with Timmy and Oliver. I'm really afraid that they won't ever really know their Nana and Papa Elfstrand. And we will only know them from afar.

Life in the day to day is so important for memory making. But we can't have it all, I guess.

In a few short hours, Gramma W will be picking up the girls for her turn. And I'll be packing for a trip that starts at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Whew! Good night! I hope... :-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Will the one with the brain please step forward?

Okay, I don't ever remember knowing someone with a peanut allergy when I was growing up. Never even heard of it, and thought the parent was joking, when our kids were in middle school and I was told a child had a peanut allergy.

Ever since, they are cropping up all over the place. Has it always been around? Is it more prevalent for some reason?

But this takes it ... we now have peanut-free zones everywhere, and churches won't even have snacks for kids because of allergies. If I was a parent of a child with an allergy, I'd be very grateful.

That's not the best. Or the worst. Check this out:
Get a brain!

Good warning, right? I mean, a parent might actually pick up this product and inadvertently feed it to their youngster, right?

Get a brain, folks! It's on a jar of PEANUT BUTTER!!!

The picture

It wasn't until I got the funeral notice that I decided to look at the picture. I'm wallowing in guilt.

For the last several months, we've had prayer requests in our church bulletin for a young woman whose name was vaguely familiar. She was undergoing chemotherapy and it sounded like the usual bouts with chemo sickness. But this past week she passed away. During church prayer, there was an audible gasp when the pastor asked for comfort for her husband.

I'm grateful she knew the Lord as her savior, but horribly guilty that I never bothered to follow up on visiting or sending a note or calling ... anything! When I got the funeral notice, I opened up the pictorial directory and gasped myself. This was a couple who was in our membership class at church. I should have known them much better. I should have called her. Known why her name sounded familiar. Cared!!!

I feel like scum. I really have no excuse for leaving her and her husband high and dry in a time of crisis. Will there be a next time? Get the picture?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

There's a really good reason

Why young women have children.
Why Nanas don't sleep well.
Why babies are cute.
Why three year olds are a never ending source of entertainment.
Nana, Amberleigh, Ashley at the carousel at Fox Valley Mall

Why mommies and daddies need vacation.
Why grandparents will work until they die for enough money to support the grandchildren habit!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sun (son) Dial

I remember reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and his line about our discomfort with time. It is, says Lewis, an indication that we were not ultimately built for time, but for eternity. We are constantly looking at our watch or the clock. Everything is "too early" or "too late." Rarely do we agree in spirit (although we mouth the words) that God is always on time.

So it is with great mixed emotions that I mark the time of the birth of our firstborn! Happy Birthday, Marshall! To some degree it seems like only yesterday, and I can recount all the birth story leading up to 8:39 AM on Saturday morning, July 2, 1977. But in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. It IS a lifetime ago! My first son has a son of his own. And with all due respect to my second and third born, there is something unique about the first birth experience and first born child. Go ahead, admit it, you guys, now that you all have first borns of your own.

And for reasons I won't go into, God's timing was perfect, as we look back on it 31 years later. Perfect for His intention of making us more like His Son, rather than the road we were on selfishly. If you let them, children will take you out of yourself and into the selfless zone. Not entirely, of course, but I can more readily see why animals will kill for their young - assuming they haven't killed their young!

So, a very Happy Birthday to you, Marshall. You've changed our lives and continue to do so. I'll stop now, because my screen is getting blurry, if you know what I mean...
Does anyone else see the jaws back there?