Monday, August 25, 2008


This weekend we celebrated two major milestones. My beautiful mother turned 60 on Saturday, and my parents celebrated their 40th wedding annivesary on Sunday. (In case you're wondering about the proximity of the dates, my mother did not want to be a teenage bride, so they waited to get married until the day after she turned 20!)

As part of the celebration, I wanted some "mom-time," so I suggested that we go to the spa. You have to know that my mom NEVER goes to a spa, or really pampers herself in any way, so I was pleasantly surprised when she was interested and excited. She wanted just a manicure to make her nails pretty, especially in light of her wrist surgery this week and the giant cast on her wrist, and I wanted a pedicure - because I can't reach my toes right now.

When we got there the ladies were all excited that my mom was there on her birthday and gave her the extra special treatment. When she revealed to all of us that the last time she had had a manicure was 40 years ago this weekend before her wedding, we all sighed and they really rolled out the red carpet treatment. She ended up with 10 lovely LONG nails! I was happy to just have a pedicure and watch her be spoiled.

When we got home, Daniel examined our fingers and toes and was quite concerned with my toes. I got a French pedicure, but the lady was feeling artistic, and painted a few little white flowers while she was at it. Daniel was really interested, and figured this is what you DO on birthdays, and then announced that when it is his birthday he will paint trains on his toes... Hmmm....

Yesterday we celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary. (We had earlier celebrated in July, when all of us went to the lake for a week, but this was the "official" weekend.) It seemed strange to me that just my parents, my brother, and my Nana having dinner. If they had been feeling up to it, and I wasn't so pregnantly huge, I would like to have given them a big party. It's funny that you have a big wedding at the beginning of your marriage, with lots of guests to support and honor you. And then you make it FORTY years, and you celebrate with a small family dinner party. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

I'm so grateful for my parents. My mother is so selfless. Even with her arm in a cast, she's trying to do things for me so I don't go into labor! My parents' marriage is an inspiration to both Peter and me. Forty years is - well, longer than I've been alive!

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on your first 40 years together, and 60 years of life. I love you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Update on Dad

Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who have been praying for my dad. He is improving a little bit each day. By last weekend he was "himself" again, although the pain and Parkinson's symptoms have yet to be worked out.

Thanks also for the emails and calls to check on him and us. Just knowing that others are thinking and praying for him makes such a difference. You just don't feel alone! Please keep it up. I'll keep updating...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Dark Valley

On Sunday our pastor was gone, and one of the ruling elders spoke about being a healthy church. One of the things he mentioned was that we need to be "real" with each other, and share what is really going on in our hearts.

What we're dealing with right now is my dad's health. I can't tell you how hard it is to see him suffer with Parkinson's Disease, and the accompanying clinical depression. One day he's the same dad that I grew up with, and the next is another story.

Last week he began having such severe side effects from one of his medications that something had to change. It must have been too much of a change, because he is really having a tough time.

Today Hannah and I were reading in a book called Little Pilgrim's Progress. It is the same story as Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, but it is told as if the main character were a child. Today Christian made his way through The Dark Valley (also known in the adult's book as The Valley of the Shadow of Death). Of course, Christian has to enter the valley just after he's finished battling the villian called Self, so it is night and very dark. He can't see ahead and one on side of a very rocky and narrow path are cliffs, and the other side a marsh. Above him there are rocks that appear to be closing in over his head. He hears voices saying disturbing things, and he isn't even sure if he heard them or he's saying them himself. At one point he hears a band of the Wicked Prince's soldiers coming right at him and he thinks it must be the end - but then they turn off the path and he never meets them. Christian gets no rest that night, but he walks bravely through the darkness praying all the while that the king will watch over him, remembering what he had read in the King's book "He shall give his angels charge over thee."

This is what my dad is experiencing right now. This dark valley is one of a hopelessness and feeling physical pain, in addition to his regular Parkinson's symptoms, and a sudden drop in Seratonin - sudden (and hopefully temporary) depression. Yesterday I spent the day working with him, and by the end of the day I was weeping. It is so, so hard to see him suffering!

But there is hope. You see, if we had not the watchful eye of our beloved King Jesus watching over him (and the rest of us as we try to help), we would be really and truly hopeless.

And so I ask you my friends, to please keep my dad, Russ, in your prayers. The doctor today said that they will be adjusting one medication at a time - for a week at a time, until they find the right balance. Medically, there is no quick fix. We are trusting that this is just a speedbump in his and our lives right now, and that in the end it may be all for the better - for it draws us nearer to our Savior. Please pray for strength for my mom too, as she is his helpmeet in every way. I need strength too, to support them and fill in the gaps as best as I can - and I'm having a baby soon too.

Back in the story of Little Pilgrim, Christian is alone, but then we read the following:

"And now little Christian was comforted in his loneliness by hearing the voice of a pilgrim who was repeating aloud some of the beautiful words that were written in the King's Book. It was too dark for him to see who the pilgrim was, but he hoped that it might be Faithful and that he would soon be able to overtake him. At last he called out to him, but although Faithful heard Christian speak, he did not know who might be wishing to stop him, so he made no answer. Still, little Christian knew that he was there, and he felt less frightened than when he had thought he was alone."

Will you be that person?