Monday, April 30, 2012

God is Good... All the Time!

May 2012
From Bob

God is Good ... All the time! 

It feels like a long time since I have written. It feels strange not to write a Friday blog anymore, but I think it's time to write only once a month. I am still doing well. I'm feeling good most days and have been improving in most activities of daily living. I am gaining weight and I'm told that I'm looking more like myself again. I still need my walker to get around and I also have blood pressure problems which cause me to faint. My biggest issue seems to be fatigue. I feel like I could sleep all day. The grandchildren are such a joy. Last weekend the whole family gathered and we celebrated birthdays for Andrew (7) and Austin (6).

Austin, Andrew & Andrew's cousin Kristin at a birthday celebration!


Megan (2) and Avery (2) are little princesses and dress accordingly. They will also talk your ears off.
The Princesses don't mind a little dirt to go with all that glitter...
The babies, Riley (1) and Anderson, who will be 1 this month, are growing too fast. Riley is walking everywhere and Anderson is crawling everywhere. I suspect he will soon be walking.

Andrew finishes another little league season this month. I have been able to make most games which is quite a difference from last year when I was in the hospital so often.

Our son Adam graduates from law school this month. I look forward to reporting on his graduation ceremony next month. Please pray that I will be strong and able to attend the graduation - it promises to be a great day and one I am really looking forward to. Adam also has received a job offer. He will be an Assistant State Attorney here in Pinellas County.

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of teaching our Bible study class at our church. The class has been so supportive of our family since my diagnosis. This Sunday I have been asked to share my testimony with a young adult Bible study class at Skycrest Baptist (Clearwater.) At the end of May, I'll be sharing my testimony with a Bible study class at Calvary Baptist (Clearwater.) All of these classes have been praying for us. While we know many of the members of these classes personally, there are many I do not know. It is my sincere hope that my testimony will be an encouragement to those who are also walking through their own "tall weeds."

When I was a mediator, it was not uncommon for attorneys to ask if they could speak to me privately. They would share personal issues they were dealing with. If I had experienced similar issues (such as raising children - parenting issues), I felt more comfortable talking to them and trying to help. If it was an issue I had never dealt with, I always felt inadequate. Many times the only "help" I could give was to just listen. There were a few times where I felt there was nothing I could contribute and all I did was listen. As they left they would say "thanks, that was helpful." All I had done was listen! After everything that has occurred the last several years, I am more sympathetic to those with serious health issues. I've "been there, done that, and have the T-shirt to prove it."

The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament describes Jesus in this way:
Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV
  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

In prayer, I have poured out my request for relief and have found HIS mercy and grace to help in my time of need. It may not always come as quickly as I wish, but as I look back over the last year, HIS timing has been perfect.

  Dear God: Thank you for all your blessings. Please give me strength to teach and share my testimony. May it bring encouragement to those who hear. May Your Name be praised. Until June 1. 

God willing. Bob

Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking Back at the Tall Weeds

"Looking Back at the Tall Weeds"
Friday, April 12, 2012
From Bob

We hope you had a great Easter. Emily's family was unable to come and so they were missed. It is hard to believe how quickly the grandchildren are growing up. Because of their order of birth, we have three groups of grandchildren: the "Big Boys,"Andrew (6) and Austin (5); the "Girls," Megan and Avery, both 2; and the "Little Boys," Riley and Anderson, the babies. (It is very misleading to refer to Riley as a "little boy.")

Megan (2), Riley (1), Andrew (6), Avery (2)

Anderson (11 months), Austin (5)

I have decided it is time to write my blog once a month rather than every week. My next blog post will be May 1, 2012 and, God willing, the first of each month thereafter. In the event unexpected events occur, I will blog earlier. If you want to make sure you receive any blog posts, please leave your email address in the block in the upper right corner.

I am humbled by those who have faithfully followed our journey for the past 2 1/2 years. There is no doubt in my mind that the prayers of so many people have sustained us. Thank you!

Many factors have led me to the conclusion that now is the time to do this. While I will miss writing weekly, the reasons for my decision are based on good developments. Moffitt Cancer Center recommended that bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients keep family and friends informed through a blog. We were admitted on February 23, 2010 and spent 30 days in the BMT unit. I thought I would be declared cured and the blog would be the only thing to die a natural death. In March 2010, I began the draft of my "final blog." It is said that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Unfortunately the bone marrow transplant was unsuccessful and the blog continued. Today's blog post is #174. Rather than a quick cure, this "nasty little disease" has been a roller coaster ride with respect to our emotions and treatment. The blog continued to be an effective tool for keeping in touch. It also served as a form of therapy because it provided an opportunity to express my personal thoughts regarding our experiences and I could explain how God was working in our lives.

One of the best reasons for writing less often is that I am doing so much better. While I still have some problems, particularly orthostatic hypotension, there are only so many words to describe passing out. I believe I have exhausted all of those words.

I have not been hospitalized in almost 8 months. What an answer to prayer!

Another reason for writing only once a month is that there are other things I want to do. For those who read the blog regularly, you know that I really hope to present my testimony to Bible studies and other groups. For months, I did not think that would be possible. But God is good ... all the time. I am also "dreaming" about going back to work part time. (Dialysis, which I will need to have for the rest of my life, necessitates that anything I do must be part time.) I am studying my Bible more vigorously lately. While these may not sound like very significant goals, for a guy use to sleeping at least 15 hours a day for 2+ years, this Rip Van Winkle is exhausted just thinking about that much activity.

I am excited. I don't know what the future holds but God has led me in the past and I know He holds the future. It definitely feels like we have made it through the "tall weeds."

Dear God: Thank you for the blessings in my life. May I be faithful to you. Thank you for the friends who have prayed for us and supported us in so many ways.

Until May 1st. God willing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

He is Risen!

Friday, April 6, 2012 He is Risen
From Bob

Last Saturday I wasn't feeling well and walked from the bedroom to my chair and proceeded to pass out.

night we went to see Andrew (6) play baseball and after I pushed my walker from the car to the field I was exhausted. I became light headed and felt faint. Patra ran to the car and retrieved the wheelchair and took me home. Although I was only there for a few minutes, I did get to see Andrew hit.

So Saturday and Monday were busts…
but in between, there was Sunday which was a great day. I went to Bible Study class at church and was able to give my testimony of how God has worked over the last two and 1/2 years. Patra stayed home to take care of a sick grandson. Jenny went with me and spoke about the impact this type of illness has on a family and how she has personally grown through the journey. She blessed me and I think she blessed the class. She spoke of how all of our children kept in touch with each other almost every day to juggle schedules and be available as needed. She emphasized the necessity to be flexible during these situations. Jenny told the group how our family never misses an opportunity to celebrate - birthdays, holidays - no occasion is too small to celebrate. You never know when it may be the last opportunity you have to all be together.

Physically, I made it fine. (I did go to sleep as soon as we got home and didn't wake up until Tuesday. Only kidding.)

I hope to be able to share my testimony with other groups. When you have been through an experience like this and it seems like you are coming out the other side, you are compelled to share the good news with other people.

This Sunday is Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. I can't wait to see the grandchildren in their Easter outfits. I'll enjoy watching them hunt for eggs. But it is overwhelming to think of what the resurrection really means. Jesus conquered death and because of my faith in Him, someday I too will conquer death. If Christ had not done what He did, I would have no testimony to share.

(Mark 16:6 NASB) And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

There is an empty tomb where Jesus was buried! He is not there. HE IS RISEN!

Dear God: Thank you for the blessing of sharing with the class this Sunday. What a wonderful, supportive group of people. I am humbled and thankful for the prayers of so many faithful people.

Until next Friday. God willing.

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