Monthly Archives: April 2011

Pete’s Dragon

Dear Readers,

     As I searched my old journals I came across this story written in June of 2008.  It was one of those rare precious moments in time, so I want to share it with you…

     Journal entry on 6-18-2008.  I have a sweet little story I can’t let go by without writing it.  Many years ago my husband lost a young son to "Neuroblastoma," and he has never gotten over it.  I don’t know how anyone can get over losing a child, but he has only shared bits and pieces of the experience with me.  Bits like he shared this past May, the anniversary month of the child’s passing.

     "Three years, three months, ten days, and twenty hours, that’s how long I had him!" my hubby softly spoke one day.  (C.J. is a basket case every year in May, his son’s last month of life.)

     And another gem, "He looked like an angel."

     And yet another, "He pointed up to the sky just before he died and his eyes opened wide.  He was too weak to speak, but I think he saw the angels coming for him!"

     And again, "I held him until he died after his last powerful dose of chemo.  The doctors told me it would either kill him or cure him.  I can still smell my son in his little shoes that I kept."

     This bit was precious, "I took him to as many things as he had the strength for, especially movies.  His favorite was "Pete’s Dragon."

     And now to more recently, the unexpected rare and precious moment that happened.  Sometimes we let them go by and miss the real beauty that God intended for us to experience.  But if we stop and think about our own past, I know all of us can find a moment in time like this one.

     My daughter was weeding out a bunch of old cassette films and called me to ask if I would like to have any of them before she threw them away.  Several titles were named including "Pete’s Dragon."

     "You’re kidding, right?" I shouted on the phone.  "That movie means so much to Calvin.  Would you consider giving it to him for Father’s Day?  He would absolutely treasure it!"  So she wrapped it up and gave it to him that holiday and of course he was elated and teary-eyed.

     That night C.J. crawled into bed and fell asleep watching "Pete’s Dragon" remembering every reaction his three year old experienced at each part of the priceless old film.  He reminisced about the scary parts, the funny parts, and the music, all while he was at the theatre with little Geoff sitting in his lap.

     The next day Cal shared the best part of the memory with me, "You know while I watched that movie last night, it was the first time in over 30 years that I actually felt like my son was still sitting on my lap.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had that feeling!"  (sniff!)

     My heart ached for him as he shared yet another piece of his tiny angel’s three year life.  Only a parent who has lost a child can understand that kind of emptiness.

     Thank you Lord for that split second of beauty between my husband and I.  My daughter has no idea how much that gift meant to him.

     1 Thess. 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  (NIV)

                                             Love in Christ,        Claire   xoxo

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Witnessing

Dear Readers,

     Not all events in my life are profound.  Sometimes God asks me to do simple little things, but I am still doing His work.

     Last Monday on my volunteer job I had two opportunities to witness to people.  My first chance was when I delivered my newspapers around the hospital, I noticed a woman sitting alone in the surgical waiting room.  I said good morning, dropped the paper and left.  Only a dozen steps later I heard clearly in my head, "Go pray with her!"  So, I swung around and went back to the waiting room.  "Would you like me to pray with you?" I asked this stranger, and she responded with a worried look on her face, "Yes, I would!"

     Quickly she told me her husband was having knee surgery.  As we held hands the phone rang so I shortened my prayer, "Lord this is a pretty routine surgery but we want you to be with her hubby and make sure to keep control, in Jesus’s name we pray amen."

     "I think that’s your call!" I said as she excitedly grabbed the waiting room phone and I left her some privacy and headed back down the hall.

     My second chance came in I.C.U..  I overheard an elderly woman talking about God to the very busy nurses in that ward.  "Can I go talk to her?" I asked.

     "Sure," the nurse on duty answered.  So I went into her room and told her, "I write true Christian stories.  Would you like me to read one?"

     "Yes, I would.  I forgot my glasses so I can’t read," she told me.  So since I always carry a couple of articles with me, I read my "Fourth of July Trauma" story.  She proceeded to tell me an incident where she witnessed many burn victims from an explosion in a building full of square dancers.  To this day she can’t stand the smell of burnt anything.

     Both of our stories were tragedies from our youthful past, but her strong belief in the Lord was apparent.  She told me, "Some people think I’m crazy because I talk about the Lord so much!"

     "Then I guess you are really doing your job well!" I confirmed to her.

     I said good bye and told this sweet person I would be praying for her.  As I exited the I.C.U. door to her room, I glanced back, smiled, and waved to this lovely Christian lady and thought to myself how much she had touched me, and that I might never see her again.  But for some reason, God put her in my path that volunteer day.

     Both women touched my life, only for a few seconds, but I will think about the two of them and pray they are well, and ask God to keep giving me opportunities like He did that wonderful morning during "Christian Women’s Week."

                 Love in Christ,            Claire    xoxo
    

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Three Negatives

Dear Readers,

     It’s important for you to know that Christians have just as many problems as non-Christians.  But we have two things they do not.  One, we have a ticket to heaven ("For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16-NKJV).  And two, we have someone to lean on when life gets tough ("Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5+6 NKJV).

     This year my family had a difficult January, receiving three pieces of scary news in one week.  I collapsed under the pressure.  My church went into prayer for all of us.  The Lord has laid it on my heart to share in my blog this week, the "Thank You Note" that I read to our church family when it was all over, so here it is:

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The Thank You Note

     "I would like to take a minute to say thank you to all of you that have been praying for our family.  About a month ago, in the course of one week, I received three different pieces of news.

1.  My deaf granddaughter needed another surgery, this time on her knee.  But the doctor also found a suspicious spot on her upper leg.  Since cancer shows up on many young people quite often in that area, an MRI was ordered.

2.  At the same time, her mother, my 40-year-old daughter revealed to me that she found a lump under her arm and they wanted to ultrasound and biopsy it, since breast cancer is a big killer in the women of our family.

3.  Then, a couple days later after a doctor visit, my husband came home and told me our primary care doctor thinks he might have a sarcoma on his left arm.  She ordered an MRI to take a look.

     Inspite of all the bad news, I was reluctant to share any of this with my church family.  It’s a New England thing!

     Anyway, I buckled under the pressure and ended up in the emergency room at our local hospital with out-of-control heart palpitations, which proved to be mostly stress.  I went home realizing that all the worrying I was doing wouldn’t change a thing.  That God was in control and I had to start trusting Him.

     Then C.J. finally shared our burdens with all of you, and you immediately went into prayer for me and my family.  Weeks slowly passed, snow storms hit and slowed things even more, but all of you kept praying.  I know this because of the many phone calls, and constantly being approached everywhere I went by people asking how things were going.

     One by one, results finally started coming in.  First, my granddaughter who deals with so many health problems since birth due to her "Goldenhar’s Syndrome," was told her leg has a spur or a bone growth and the surgeon doesn’t think it is anything serious.  Also, they are waiting to ko knee surgery until she is completely done growing.

     Then my hubby, finally after two MRI’s was told he has a "Lipoma" (fatty tumor), nothing uncommon or malignant, more of a nuisance than anything.

     Last, my daughter got tests results yesterday and the ultrasound shows nothing abnormal, but a biopsy is in order because of our family history.  That will happen soon.  I prayed for three negatives and my God has been faithful.  He tells us to ask anything in His name and it will be given.  He certainly gave to me.

     I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to join with us in prayer.  It has always been difficult for me to share my problems with others.  I know in our group we all have personality differences, and opinion differences on many subjects, but I also know we all agree on one thing, "Our God is God!"  And when we put our minds to it as a praying group, we can move mountains.

     So, from C.J. and I, thank you for all those prayers.  We love you!"

                                                    Love in Christ,             Claire  xoxo

    

    

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The Heart Attack

Dear Readers,

     About a week or two before our planned February vacation to Myrtle Beach to visit my sister Rose and her husband Jim and then Florida to visit our friends Dick and Jackie, my mate and I started getting an urging to leave a couple days early.  At home things were getting hectic with lots of unexpected problems.  We thought it was because of weariness on our part, but the sense of urgency to leave early persisted.

     The weekend of our departure approached with everything in place for us to leave and we looked at each other and said, "Let’s go!  What are we waiting for?"  So, we left earlier than planned, arriving at Myrtle Beach Sunday afternoon instead of Monday or Tuesday as previously scheduled.  We had a lovely day at my sister’s house, including a lasagna supper, a birthday cake for both of us, and we all played WII bowling, cards, and watched the Academy Awards til bed time.

     The next day shocked all of us.  As my brother-in-law came in from his usual long morning walk he said to C.J., "I have chest pain and my arms are tingling and I don’t want to tell Rose."  Cal immediately replied, "If you don’t tell her, I will!"  So Jim came into the bedroom where I was laying on the bed talking to my big sis and he said, "I think we need to go to the hospital.  I’m having chest pain and my arms are tingling!"  I immediately jumped off the bed.  My sister didn’t grasp the magnitude of what he said.  Here is an almost 80 year old man who never complains about illness, and who never even goes to the doctor for anything, and is now telling her he is in pain.   "What did you say?"  my sister asked, and he repeated himself.  Instant panic hit her as I ran to get dressed.  She called her daughter who told her to call 911.  James refused to let her do that.  She became hysterical.  I shouted, "Let’s go, let’s go!"  Finally we jumped into the car and raced to the hospital, my sister holding tightly to her hubby’s hand, thinking all the while about Jim’s brother who had a heart attack and died in the car.

     C.J. drove, running red lights, passing a fire station, passing the hospital, and finally turning and rushing into the ER where it was discovered my brother-in-law had already had a major heart attack and was suffering from post heart attack pain.  He was then rushed by ambulance to another hospital where it was determined that he needed a quadruple bypass, and the following morning he was in surgery.

     The next few days were crazy.  Soon their children arrived and took over all the chaos, as we stepped back.  After a few days it became apparent we needed to get out of the way and let the kids do their thing.  We decided to go early to the second part of our trip which was to friends in Florida.  (I blogged that last week)  Our plan was to return to my sister’s home and help out when their children had to leave.

     We returned a week later as the kids departed, and for the next 12 days we helped my sis care for James, who was an amazing patient.  This 80 year old bull of a man, who has never been ill to speak of, in his whole life, and is now working on half of a heart muscle (the doctors told him his heart attack occurred a couple days before he finally complained of pain), sped to his recovery.  When we left him, only three weeks and two days since he had his surgery, he was about 90% his old self, walking 3 or 4 times a day, doing all his exercises and adjusting to his new tasteless diet.  But, "You do what you have to do!" James always says.

     We are home again after the most hectic vacation I have ever experienced.  But, I loved helping my big sister, who was like a mother to me growing up.

     I can’t end this story without saying what I truly believe.  God is in control of everything.  I believe He was the one urging us to leave on vacation early.  He knew what was going to take place.  We did not.  Who knows what the outcome would have been if we weren’t there to help.  Only God knows the answer to that.  Only God knows what lies ahead for all of us.

     So, I would like to say to my brother-in-law, who will be 80 years old on May 1, 2011, and who has been devoted to my big sis since she was 17 years old, "James, the Lord isn’t finished with you yet!"                                    Love in Christ,             Claire     xoxo

    

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