Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Dad Part 5

We were just over to the hospital for the 3rd time this morning and while it seems like Dad's eye lids move a bit when we talk to him, he is giving no other indications of waking up. The nurse was trying to get him to respond to pain but no response.  

Our big request right now is Pray that Dad will wake up.

Vivian for the rest.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Dad Part 4

What a day!  One that is likely good for every person to go through at some point but I sure wouldn’t suggest it.  It is no picnic!  But it does open your eyes to the difference people make and the need for community and how important it is to care about people and to stand by them during difficult times.

We left Dad’s room around 7:45 this morning.  The periodic reports we received were great and when we got word at 2:00 that the Doctor would soon be out because the surgery was done we all heaved a sigh of relief.  But when the Doctor was not out for an hour and a half we all began to silently get fidgety.  Does soon really take this long?

Finally after a brief update call again saying the Doctor would soon be out she arrived.  (Yes, his surgeon is a lady, she doesn’t look mighty until you look at her hands and then you see the strength.) But the news was not good.  She already had dad closed up from surgery but when they took him off the heart lung machine his heart went into arrest which means his heart stopped.  They quickly put him back on the machines but are concerned as there was no known reason for why this happened.  

Now it is nearly 5:00 and it has been 30 minutes since we last heard he came off the machine and was doing fine and the Doctor would soon be out but still we wait. And waiting gets REALLY long.  Especially after the last wait meant bad news.  You sit here and try to think the best but it doesn’t come very readily.  And it doesn’t help that we have only had meat and cheese (many thanks to Millers Store) since about 9:30 this morning and so we are feeling exhausted and anxious.  It makes for a very quiet group and then time just goes slower yet.

What does one do while you wait?  You received a few guests and are grateful.  Many thanks to Ken (Dad’s nephew) and Eric & Julia (who stayed for 7 or 8 hours).  When things begin looking up you play Qwirkle and laugh a bit and times goes much faster but then time drags when you know all is not well.  You also text and email and call and then you check your email, your facebook, and anything else you can think of where people just may say they are praying for you.  I want to say that you spend quality time praying but you don’t, instead you just thank God for all the people who are praying.

At 5:05 the Doctor finally returned.  They have Dad all closed up and things look good, but because of the way his heart stopped earlier the surgeon is still concerned and will keep a close eye on him through out the night.  We will be able to go and see him in about an hour and then the Doctor says go back to the motel and sleep, just keep a phone close by.

Thanks so much for praying and caring.  Don’t stop now.

Written by Vivian


In Tribute

Dear Cheryl,

I can't believe it.  Are you really gone?  How could you do that?  We need you here. Jason and Braxton need you here.  God, it isn't fair.  You are so young and so full of life.  My heart has a huge ache in it right in the spot where our friendship lived and I already miss you so much.

Only 8 years ago, I moved down to Marshfield and you and I hung out together.  I remember times in my apartment, visiting my friend Joy, going to Wausau shopping together.  Then when you and Jay got married and Dave started working for Burkey's we did even more together: camping, campfires, out to eat, hanging out at each other's homes.  I remember catching that first glimpse of Braxton and he was so cute and it was so amazing to see you become a mom.

You were there for us when Nicole was born, coming to visit us on the awful snowy day, bringing us coffees.  I remember that you asked the second time to hold Nicole and that blessed this sad mommy's heart who was so glad to see my friends able to love on and hold my dear little angel.  You listened to me as I talked through my grief.

And then you came to see us when Amber was born and we talked about how fun it was going to be to have our babies so close together in age and you were so excited about your little baby boy.  

You were so full of life and energy.  You loved your men and took such good care of them.  You were such a good mom and wife and it was so fun to compare decorating ideas with ytou.

And now you are gone.  And my mind can't comprehend this.  I got out my outfit that you gave Amber and wore it on her today and I will wear it as often as I can until she outgrows it.  I had to go look and see what you gave me at the Bethany baby shower so I would know what I wanted to hang on to and treasure.

I told Dave last night, I can picture you scooping up Nicole and hugging her and talking to her and then when Bentley came to join you, I can only imagine your delight in seeing your little newborn son. But my mind says, "God, you have enough people in heaven. We still wanted Cheryl here with us."  But I have to remember that God does know best and I will try to trust Him to take care of Braxton and Jason for you.

Cheryl, you will be missed, but I am looking forward to the day when we can see you again. Until then, I will keep walking the path for God and trusting Him to guide us through this grief maze and I will pray that God will keep Jason and Braxton in His arms and hold them close and bring them comfort.




This is not a great picture, but it's the last one I have of you.

Braxton










My Dad Part 3

Good morning,

Just to let you know, Dad is back in the operating room.  He went back a little after 8. It will take an hour and a half until they start the surgery.

This post is taking me a long time to write, so by now we have heard once from the operating room about 9:50 and they were just ready to start.  They will be calling with updates about every hour and a half to two hours.  Expecting it to take until around 3:00 this afternoon.

Continue to pray for all of our family, but if I can be a bit selfish please remember Dave and I.  We feel very pulled right now trying to decide how much to be with Dad and when we should be in Marshfield right now. Our good friend passed away yesterday--I will post more on that later.

I will post again when Dad is out of surgery.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Dad Part 2

I'm a nurse, right?  I know a little of how hospitals function and the changes that can happen, but it is much easier to be on the nurse side trying to explain to the family why things are changing than to be on the family side trying to accept the changes.

When I last posted, Dad was supposed to be in the middle of surgery right now.  Instead, he was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, spent the weekend in a hotel and now today had a tooth pulled.  Praise the Lord, the tooth was not infected, but it was rotten.  Surgery was postponed because of this tooth because it could have caused problems with the heart valve as I understand it. 

Because it was not infected, he should be on to have surgery tomorrow, but......  The surgeon who has been seeing him is a fill-in surgeon from Green Bay.  He has never really wanted to do the surgery because he will be leaving mid-care and didn't want that, but now he has flatly refused to do the surgery because the regular cardiac surgeons will be back on Wednesday.  So? What choice do we have?  But to wait AGAIN!!  As you can imagine, this is getting long and hard and stressful.  To go from hoping for a basic stent or at the most surgery this fall to all of a sudden a really, really major important surgery is a huge switch.  If Dad's cardiologist had had his way, Dad would have had his surgery already on Friday. And now to keep pushing it off can really play with one's emotions. 

As plans hold, Dad is to be at the hospital at 6:00 on Wednesday morning, meet with the doctor and go for surgery at 9:00 with the surgery lasting 6-8 hours. 

I think Dad is getting bored because we all watch over him like a hawk and don't want him doing anything.  In reality, he did have a procedure and is not to be doing any lifting and things like that, but we kind of forget about that in light of the serious blockage.  So taking it easy would be happening regardless, but it seems more important now somehow.  

In good news, all the siblings were able to be together yesterday and it was a really, really good time. This would have been the first time probably about ever that we have hung out together as siblings without the grandchildren.  There were a few there, but not many and I think it meant something to Mom and Dad to have us all together and just relaxing and visiting.  

So prayer requests for right now would be that Mom and Dad would be able to relax and rest and be at peace over the next day.  Pray that Dad's tooth would not give him too much pain--Vivian said he was pretty miserable from it.  And for us as a family: while nothing is really happening, it is hard for me to home with them in Eau Claire.  Kev's are leaving early Tuesday morning; Vivian will be with them on Tuesday, then Dorothy, Ruthie and I are planning to go down early on Wednesday to get there in time for the doctor's appointment.  Darryl and Dave will be stopping in periodically throughout the week.  Also pray that the first impression of the new surgeon would be favorable.  

Thanks to everyone for caring.


Friday, April 24, 2015

My Dad

It's a routine procedure, right?  Just go in through the femoral artery, look at the heart vessels, double check the valve and be done.  And while you're in there, please put in a stent or two so we know the cause for the shortness of breath and chest pains and then our lives will be better than ever and we will continue on our merry way. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

If only--.

The cath was a routine procedure, it was done in an hour and the cardiologist came to talk to us, but alas, it is not as simple as a couple of stents.  Blockage at 85%, 80%, and 75%.  So now we are looking at quadruple bypass and a valve replacement.  It seems scary and it is, but we do know God is in control.  That can sound trite, but it's like the cardiologist said, "God has given you a lifeline."  And that is true.  This could have all been discovered through a heart attack, so we are grateful.

But if you think of my dad and mom and the doctors and nurses and the rest of our family in the next week, please pray.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge

Product Details
The Homeless donkey who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances

Okay, so I have about 5 books to choose from and one of them is about a donkey.  Really? How interesting could a donkey book be and how in the world could a donkey teach life lessons? It somewhat intrigued me and seemed the best option available and so I picked Flash to read and review and boy am I glad I did.

Flash is a homeless donkey that just shows up at the Ridge's house one night when tensions were high and funds were low.  After searching for the owners with no success, Flash became a part of the family and taught Rachel some life lessons.  Flash was friendly, loyal and forgiving, except to the family dog, but even they made up before the dog died.  He did not like change and would destroy things that were changed in his barn.  He liked to supervise any going on in the barn as well and was always open for some TLC and treats.

What did he teach Rachel?  I could write a blog post on each lesson I think and I'm contemplating doing that or at least having a few more posts on these subjects.  Most of them were areas that I needed lessons in as well and so that is probably what made the book even more interesting.

1. Remember your name. Know whose you are.
2. Know where to find refuge. True sanctuary is found in God alone
3. Run with horses. The pursuit of excellence conquers fear.
4. Find your passion. Passion leads to purpose
5. Be a trailblazer. Persistence makes pathways for grace to follow.
6. Wear your donkey heart on your sleeve. A well-lived life is an authentic life
7. Stand where fruit is falling. The secret of abundance is in choosing gratitude
8. Be a service animal. You are made to serve in love.
9. Embrace change. Don't let fear of the unknown keep you from moving forward.
10. Make things right with others. Don't miss your chance to forgive, accept and love.
11. Your journey isn't about fixing donkey problems. It's about transformation.

Good stuff to be learned and reminded of in this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for lessons from a donkey.

This book was given me by Tyndale House for the purpose of reading and writing a review on it.  All opinions expressed were my own.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb



Grow tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers

I am not having a garden this year, I told myself as I considered the prospect of a first-time garden here where we are renting and the fact that we don't want to rent long-term.  Then I got this book!!!  At first-glance, I was rather disappointed.  I was expecting glossy pages and full-color pictures, but instead it is more papery with few two-toned pictures, but the content is great.

I didn't read the book, every line, every verse, but I read the basic gist of it and it made me excited to once again try some container gardening, this time using good soil, some compost, and even some manure.

One thing I really liked about this book is she took the common vegetables, gave them a rating for how good they are for a small postage stamp garden, gave how to plant them, what kinds are the best and some growing tips along with how to store them.  That would be very helpful I think, especially for first-time gardeners or even those who like to try new things and aren't sure how to plant and take care of them.

Karen also gives instructions on how to make your postage stamp garden, what kind of soil to use, how to water it, and how to make your own compost.  All in all, I found the book very helpful and interesting.  It gave me itchy fingers to have some fresh produce right here at home this summer.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books for the purpose of reading and writing a review on it. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Praying Over God's Promises


 The Lost Art of Taking Him at His Word by Thomas R. Yeakley

I wasn't sure what this book would be like when I picked it up, but I have to agree with what Tom had to say in it.  You can't just randomly open the Bible, pick a verse and declare that your promise that God is going to fulfill.  But there are many promises in the Bible that can be applied to your life.

Tom talks about how there are conditional promises which may or not be applicable, but will have a specific action required on our part. "Delight thyself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I must first delight myself in the Lord.

"God wants dependent children, not independent ones!" This is a quote from the conclusion and such a true statement and yet so hard to live out.  I want to depend on God; I try to depend on God, but it is so easy to think I have life under control and I forget to ask God to lead in my life. That is also why some of God's promises can feel unanswered as well.

This is a good book that I would recommend. From what I could tell it seemed Biblically correct.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Fine Piece of Chocolate by Jacqueline R. Banks



So, when I do book reviews, I always try to look for the best things in a book and focus on that.  I try to be kind and positive and minimize the negative, if possible.  To keep that policy, this review would be about two sentences if that, but I am asked to give my opinion, positive and negative and so I will try to do that is as kind of way as possible.

The theme of the book was a young girl going away to college and getting caught up with the wrong boy and all that happens from there.  I think the idea of the book was supposed to be redemption, but I will be honest: the book was extremely disjointed.  The grammar wasn't that great and there were numerous misspellings.  I have noticed that this is more prevalent in ebooks, so that might be why there were more mistakes here.  Bible verses were included in the book which was good, but then I also thought there was a little more explicit content than what was appropriate or necessary in a book that was supposed to be Christian.

I'm really not sure what else to say about the book; I would classify it for adult readers, but wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.  The only reason I finished it was because it was given to me by Book Look Bloggers with the understanding that I would read the whole book and write a review on it.  So I did.  All opinions expressed were my own.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I can Post Something Other than Book Reviews

Good morning. It's 6:09 in the morning. I have more work to do than I am likely to get done if plans continue to hold as they are, but here I am blogging.  Why? I'm not sure, because I really don't have anything to say, but felt like I should post so you know I have a little bit of a life outside of reading books and writing reviews about them, though in all honesty that wouldn't be the worst kind of life to have.  Was that the right use of the word worst or should it have been worse?  Anyone?

On the subject of book reviews, the next one I post will be the worst (there is that word again) ever, I think.  I try to be nice on book reviews, but this one?  I will have to be creative.  I don't even want to finish it, but I think you are supposed to read the whole thing when you volunteer to blog about it. And my conscience will force me too and my curiosity to see if it gets better--which I'm pretty sure it won't.

I found these pictures online this morning and they amused me.

Then I also remembered that I had emailed these pics to my phone, so if you want to excuse my cell phone pics, here are some recent pics of the Amber girl.  She is still the joy of our lives even when she screams long and loudly when we are ready to go to bed. My conclusion of the problem, because she refused to tell us what was going on, was that she had a stomach ache and was also quite convinced that her mom was resolved to starve her and so she went crying off to dad who is always willing to give her food.  So after 2 rounds of bottle, she went off to sleep and slept for about 5 hours. Honest, I wasn't trying to starve her--I just felt that she shouldn't be that hungry considering the amount of time that had been spent over the previous five hours feeding her.

So, here is life from Amber's perspective:

I'm begging for boxing lessons, but my parents are old school, so I have to learn on my own. 


Really mom? You stuck me on the floor under this quilt and I'm just supposed to be okay with it, huh?


My cousin Emily has the nicest hand. It gives me happy dreams

This is my first smile that Mom captured on camera. Honest, I have more hair than this picture shows.  Mom even thinks I look like one of the little boys around here. (Gasp, but that's embarrassing)


And here is my cousin Emily's face. Everybody just dotes on me like I'm a princess or something. I'm trying to come up with a good strategy to keep that happening because I'm afraid eventually mom and dad will decide I have been spoiled enough and they might even start telling me no.  Mom tells me no sometimes when I'm fussing, but I just ignore her and she soon forgets about it. 

Well, I guess that's all the pics mom posted featuring me: so until next time, have a good life. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

More than Just the Talk by Jonathan McKee

Product Details

And the fine print says: "Becoming your Kids' Go-To Person About Sex,"

Now, I like to keep my blog a little on the light side.  Yes, I share about grief and things I'm thinking about, but I stay away from issues like sex. I am a Mennonite after all and we don't talk about such things, right.  But this is also a subject that D and I have discussed quite a bit-- this thing of teaching your kids about "the birds and the bees" and how to do it and when is it the right time, etc. etc.

Now granted, our daughter is only 7 weeks old tomorrow, we aren't planning to start now except now would be the easiest time.  I mean really, she's not going to get embarrassed and we don't need to hem and haw because we're embarrassed.  Anyway, enough on that.

How do you talk about these things with your kids?  No disrespect to our parents, but this wasn't something discussed in our families growing up and I would imagine we weren't alone in this.  Or maybe your parents sat you down for "the talk" and then you were supposed to know everything and move on.

Jonathan presents a new concept: talk to your kids about sex ALL THE TIME!!  Why? They are being inundated with sexual images ALL THE TIME!! Lies, mostly, explicit lies. So what is our responsibility as parents? Tell them the explicit truth.  Yes, it can be embarrassing; yes it can be difficult, but it is so important.  Where will they turn to otherwise with their questions? Google.  Google knows everything, so why won't it answer my questions about these embarrassing issues that mom and dad will just flip out about anyone.

That was another thing he stressed, when your kids come to you with questions or confessions--DON'T FLIP OUT! Maybe you need time to think about it--stall them off with a return question or you need to decide what to do about your son that has just confessed a porn problem.  Don't be reactive; be proactive in the first place.

He addresses many issues that young people are faced with today and how to help them.  He explains the purpose of sex: one man with one woman in a marriage relationship.  He does it from a Biblical view but he also does it with statistics.

I just thought the book very helpful and very insightful and very frightening.  My daughter is going to be faced with the sexualization that is becoming the norm in our culture and how am I going to instill in her her worth as a person, as a daughter of God? How am I going to tell her she is beautiful just like she is without needing to become a model or dress in a provocative way, but that her beauty is from the inside?  Am I going to tell her that or just criticize her when her choices don't align with mine.

The other thing that he stressed that hits home to me: how are you going to get your kids to open up to you? You have to talk to them about other things; you have to listen to their stories from little up; you have to interact with them about what is important to them from the time they can talk.  This will require patience on my part and also will require me to be aware of my child and what is important to her.  Dialogue with her, not just monologue.

I do recommend this book to parents looking for meaningful ways of interacting with their teenagers. It was insightful to me and I hope I can remember it a few years from now when I need to start having these conversations.

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review about it.


Only God Can Make a Kitten by Rhonda Growler Greene and Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant



This book is adorable.  By now, you all should know that I love children's books and books like this with a good message and clean, beautiful pictures can be hard to come by.  This is a children's book of rhyme about a little boy asking his mom who made the things he was seeing. For example:

"Mama, look!
A gift for you!
Who makes an iris
bloom so blue?

Then the mother answers him assuring him that only God can make a flower or a kitten or a seed, etc. etc.  The book says it is for ages 4-8, but I personally think a younger child could enjoy it as well.

I think the author does a great job of giving God credit for His creation.  The illustrations are very appropriate for the rhyme for that page.  The illustrations are a little, almost whimsical, maybe or old-fashioned, but that adds to the beauty of the book.  The mom is dressed modestly so I don't feel like I have to use a marker on her :)  and is being a good mom by taking the time to go on a walk with her children and answer her little boys' questions.  I'm not saying that the requirement to being a good mom  is taking your children on walks.

I loved the book and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice child's book.  It will go on my list of options if I need to buy a book for someone sometime.

This book was given me to review by Book Look Bloggers.  All opinions expressed are my own.

And now, the next post will also be a book review, but much harder to write than this one was. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

Product Details

Is anyone tired of my book reviews yet?  Well, I guess following my blog is not a command, so you will have to deal with it, but I only have one more book in hand that I need to review, so there might be a little break and maybe I will post some pics of the newest member of our family again.  Because of her, I have been able to get caught up on my reading and maybe even branch out to reading my own books instead of just barely hanging on to keeping up with the books I'm reviewing.

That's not a very encouraging paragraph to start a book review off with is it?  That being said, I have never read a book by Melissa Tagg before-- truth be I hadn't even heard of her before, but the description looked interesting and I like trying out new authors, so I picked her.  And it was a good decision.

This is the story of an NFL starting quarterback whose career was destroyed in a moment when he decided to chase the interceptor down the field and collided with two other opponents.  The story starts out with him bereft of his football future and unable to imagine any other kind of life for himself.

The other main character is Katie, a girl who has been writing romantic movie scripts for the last few years, but finds her writing style drying up and the rejection letters coming in in abundance.

Of course, the two meet and fall into like with each other.  The problem? Colton can't open up his heart to anyone.  He is mired in memories he can't remember and other memories he doesn't want to talk about it and Kate is stilted from a relationship gone bad and doesn't want to risk anything again.  Through a series of events, they eventually get back together and being a future together.  It's a well-written love story with lot of family, friends and community working together.  I saw that it is the first of the Walker family series and I for one like the sound of that.  There is a novella out before this book as well.

What stuck out to me in this book?  There was a story told in there about a football field being eleven inches too narrow. It was discovered by someone who knew his play perfectly and when he executed it, he was out of bounds; when they measured the field they discovered the error.  The point of the story is God has eleven more inches for you.  When you're feeling like you've reached the end of your rope, your dreams, your career or whatever, if you look to God, He will have a plan for you that will supercede any dreams you may currently carry.  I'm not repeating it verbatim, but that is the theme I took away from the story.

I enjoyed the book and will definitely be on the look out for her next book to hit the review list.

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review on it. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Capture the Moment



By Sarah Wilkerson, CEO, Clickin Moms

Are you looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for person?  Do you have a budding photographer on gift list or even an experienced one who is always looking for tips and tricks?  Look no further than this book.

This book is beautiful, full of amazing pictures.  But, it also includes directions and guidelines to give advice from the amateur to the professional.  Each picture lists the camera used, lens, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO used in taking the picture.  Also with each picture is a tip about how to use light, lines or whatever the chapter is talking about.

There are six chapters: natural light, composition, storytelling, fine art, black and white, and low light.  It gives a reference to explain photography terms so the newbie can figure out what's going on.

I don't have a DSLR camera, but I'm hoping to be able to use some of these tricks anyway with my point and shoot camera and maybe, maybe someday in the future get a big, fancy camera and click away.

Even if you don't like photography, the pictures are fun to look at.  I think it would make a great coffee table book.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in photography or even to anyone who just likes nice, classy-looking coffee table books, because the book itself is a hard cover beautiful book.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books for the purpose of reading and writing a review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy by Dorcas Smucker (It's Giveaway time)

Ah yes, this was just what the doctor ordered. I've wanted to review Dorcas' last book or two and was always too chicken to ask, b...