Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Sunday, there were more arrivals in the park who were in church.  There were about the same number in church as last week so Don mentioned that he must be running some folks off.  We don’t like to think that, but it could be true; however, Don is responsible to the Lord to preach the Truth and tell these dear folks about Jesus Christ.  Which means that he will have to give an account to God that he preached the Gospel to everyone who came to church.  If they don’t believe, it’s because they choose not to believe and not because they didn’t hear Truth.  It would be so wonderful for Don to be able to baptize new believers in Christ while we are here.

After church we were invited to the Country Omelet by Lyla and Monte.  That was very enjoyable and it’s always fun getting to know folks better.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day with only a slight breeze.  It was a bit warm at 95 degrees, but it was a pretty day.  And Don is finally feeling good.  Praise God.

Last night, Dennis and Sally came over for burgers and a couple of games of cards.  After Sally and I BOTH spilled ice water on our guys, they got even with us by beating us in Spades.

About 3:00 AM, another cool front BLEW in with gusts that rocked the Q and this morning the wind is still high turning the palm trees inside out.100_4838

Clara M. came by at 8:30 to pick us up and go with her to the food bank at the United Methodist Church here in Pharr.  Today is food distribution day.  We met the folks who organize and run the food bank.  And Mrs. M. presented them with the $1200.00 (plus) check from our Valley Community Church here at the park.  Every third Sunday, all of the offering is donated to the local food bank.  In this picture, the carts are already loaded and the people are waiting in line outside.  Numbered vouchers have already been passed out to the amount of people that there is enough food for.  100_4840

We met Dorothy Lezy and Otto Lawson this morning who both remembered when our friends, John and Judy Long worked on a N.O.M.A.D. project here in the valley a few years ago.

This volunteer walked by and saw my camera in my hand and immediately struck a real nice pose for me and then gave me a “high five.”a real poser!

While we were waiting for the bread truck to arrive, Sam, another volunteer, played “name that tune” with us on his harmonica, which he played by ear, very well.  He loved playing the hymns for us and I guessed quite a few.100_4841

We saw a H.E.B. commercial on TV last night and they wished us a MERRY CHRISTMAS… not a happy holiday, but a MERRY CHRISTMAS.  So…. I went to their website and sent then a very sincere Thank You note expressing my appreciation for not be intimidated into omitting the word Christmas from their commercial.  You can do the same:  http://www.heb.com/contact-us/contact-us.jsp

You know, there would not be a holiday if it wasn’t for Christ.  You would think that the retailers would be grateful for that and happy to express a little gratitude instead of omitting mention of the very reason for the season.  What are they thinking????  They’ll lose my business if they’re ashamed of my Jesus Christ.

While Don went barber shop hunting, I experienced another first this afternoon:  I went to Chorus practice.  Nancy Beilke (remember, we sat across the table from she and John at Thanksgiving) is the director and does a great job, as far as my untrained ear can tell.  We had fun, anyway.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

It’s 12:30 PM on Thanksgiving Day in this picture.  Don told a joke (at the request of a resident) and prayed the blessing.  It’s time to EAT!!  This is our table… Don has his back to me.100_4829-1

Our table’s ‘buffet.’100_4820

Nancy Belke and table hostess, Jeanelle Barry.100_4822


All the table hostesses received a red rose for their efforts to coordinate the meal and decorate a table.100_4826

Hostess Jeanelle and hubby, Ralph.100_4830

John and Nancy were directly across the table from us.  They are from Nebraska and really nice.  We’re looking forward to getting to know them better.100_4831

The other half of the Big Hall.100_4828

Back at the Q, I discovered that I can take pictures of pictures on the TV.  We watched the Cowboy-Saints football game.  The flag shows up so pretty, during the national anthem. 100_4832

I like this.  I always love seeing young people who respect our country’s anthem and pledge.100_4833

New Hollow, a new teen group from Ohio did a fairly good job with the anthem.  Harmonizing was very pleasant.  It’s nice to hear a teen group actually sing.  (Did I say that?)100_4834

Well, we miss our children and grandchildren today.  We miss friends we have spent Thanksgiving with in the past three years.  Today is, with a grateful heart, a sacrifice of love to our Savior… we joyfully (and tearfully) give up brief and precious moments with family and friends, to follow His plan for us.  In no way do we minimize the ‘pain’ of being separated from family, but it is worth it and we know that God knows our hearts.  What a blessing it is to be His.  We pray to spend eternity with all of you in Glory with Jesus Christ.

It’s official

Christmas is coming and I’ve changed my playlist to reflect that glorious event!!!

Re: Kris – Here’s a Thanksgiving Praise!!

Dearest friends and loved ones,

One week ago yesterday (Wednesday), Kris did another one of her fantastic “reloads!”  It was as if she suddenly found hope again!  She had been in a kind of gray area since the surgery on November 6th, and just hadn’t snapped back.  Yes, she was on large doses of antibiotics and anti-seizure meds, which helped make her very sleepy.  And, yes, the surgery had knocked quite a lot of spunk out of her.  But last Wednesday, she seemed to be able to stay awake longer and be more actively participating in therapy again.  By Monday this week, the old Kris was beginning to shine through again: personality, a willingness to want to work harder... it was coming back.  Tuesday and yesterday, she walked up and down steps (with assistance, of course) and was truly ready to get back to work.  She had “reloaded!”

Yesterday morning during occupational therapy, the head of the psychology department here at RIOSA stopped to speak to Kris (as he has done almost every day since she is here).  He’s a retired Army colonel and loves to kid with Kris since she’s Air Force.  Before yesterday, she would look at him but not be very animated.  Yesterday, she smiled at his kidding and her eyes were full of awareness and fun.  She even “bumped fists” when he was ready to leave.  He was delighted; I was thrilled!  It’s amazing to see her “reload” (that’s just the best way of explaining it!) and get ready for the next “round.”  You can see the hope, the desire to get better, and you can feel her strength as she pushes on.  Also yesterday morning, the speech therapist was going to time her to see how often she closed her eyes or dozed off as he was working with her.  Well... she DIDN’T!  Not once.  She was wide awake the whole session and excited about working with the computer as she tries to communicate and let us know what she wants and needs.  It’s all part of pushing forward and she just has to get those fingers working again! 

Late Tuesday afternoon, her stitches came out.  That was painful because there were so many, but she mustered through and her incision looks wonderful.  Thanks Dr. Teff.  She really seems to know it looks better this time, and your baseball stitch worked like a charm!  Tuesday evening, her own wheelchair was delivered.  It had been ordered two months or so ago and it is built “for her.”  It is so compact, light-weight, and easily disassembled and assembled for travel.  Tuesday also marked her last day (we hope!) for the antibiotics and, within 24 to 48 hours, she should be able to have outside visitors again.  That’s bound to make her even brighter and happier!  They have to be certain the infection is gone so, by Saturday, she should have the “all clear!”

In the meantime, today is Thanksgiving, and we will be celebrating it at RIOSA with Kris.  We know this is where we’re supposed to be and, yes, we have so very much to be thankful for this year!  We have been so blessed with our treasured children and grandchildren, and also with love and hope and a sense of togetherness even if we are miles away from most.  We will have our Thanksgiving meal with Kris and talk by phone to the others.  And... exciting news... I’ve been given the “go ahead” to feed her very small portions of pureed turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and even some pumpkin pie (filling only, of course!) because her swallowing is working so much better.  It’s her first real attempt at eating (other than sherbet, pudding, etc.) and, even if it is pureed, we’re so looking forward to her being able to eat a meal. 

So, this year, as you “gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing” on this day set aside to truly give thanks, please know that we are so grateful to all of you for your prayers.  And may your hearts be filled with the real grace of God: His blessing and His peace.  It passes all understanding, and truly makes the heart happy!

Blessings and love,

Carol and George    

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nine Years ago today…

…daughter, Leslie, became Mrs. Khalil Coltrain in a beautiful ceremony on the Baylor campus in Waco, Texas.a-love-like-this

Les n Khalil in Kaufman 2010

We love you!!!  Happy Anniversary!!! 

Waiting Wednesday

This is where Don spent the night.  Notice that I didn’t say where he slept last night.  He had breathing treatments during the night, so he did get some sleep, even though it was interrupted.  But that’s expected in a hospital.100_4811

Poor baby looks a little sad, standing longingly at the window, wishing he was outside and out of the hospital.100_4812

Early this morning, the cardiologist arrived, bounding in the door.  Don had told me that he was young and energetic.  I liked him and I liked that he signed off for Don to be released.  He came bearing good news of the echo-cardiogram that had just been done on Don’s heart:  Don’s heart is now functioning at 40%-45%!  Even though that is not 100%, it is stronger than it has been since the beginning of his heart problems.  Praise God!

We waited until 6:00 PM for the other doctor to show up and sign Don’s release.  Dennis and Jack broke the monotony with their visit midday.  And of course, techs and nurses came through the door on a regular basis. 

Don asked me if I wanted a puff on his peace pipe.  He never loses his sense of humor and I love him for that.100_4814

The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the bronchitis and called the H.E.B. pharmacy since the VA pharmacy was already closed.  The VA advocate had told us that they have a contract with HEB for patients who need meds after closing hours.  So after Don’s release, we happily made our way to a very crowded HEB parking lot and even more crowded store, only to be told that HEB doesn’t fill prescriptions for the VA any more… not since July.  Wonder why they didn’t tell the nurse who called Don’s prescription in?  And we wonder why the VA isn’t aware of this break in service.  Well, we are praying that Don doesn’t have a relapse before we can get his prescription filled at the VA pharmacy.

We are very thankful to be back at the Q and very thankful that Don feels so much better.  Even though this was a surprise hospitalization, we are glad to get the tests done that should be done every two years or so.  We are also grateful for the good care he received.

God isn’t finished with Don yet and I am so happy for that!!!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A first for me.

Our street, Lakes Trail, where we live this winter.100_4806

We met with Carolyn and the park managers this morning to plan the chapel garden re-vamp.  The sun dial is a pretty fixture in the garden.100_4807

A new sign is going to be made.  This one can hardly be read.100_4808

Carolyn will be doing a lot of the flower planting and she is also footing the bill for the new plants that will be going in.100_4809

Carolyn and Joan.  Like your t-shirt, Carolyn!! 100_4810

Don headed off to the VA Clinic this morning, thinking he would probably only fill out paper work and get an appointment to see a doctor.  I stayed at the Q to work on an article for the park monthly newsletter as follows: 

Are you in a place and time in your life where a situation, circumstance or person seems to overwhelm you and you feel too small to fight. Always remember that Goliath was a giant. And you know what happened to him when he made the mistake of challenging God's people. Who did God use to defeat the giant? A young, insignificant boy. But David wasn't little in his faith and he knew Who was with him. God was faithful to David and His people. (I Samuel 17) If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and made Him Lord and Master of your life, He will be faithful to you in your “battle,” just like He was to David.

There are many struggles that come with being a Child of the King, but there are more promises and advantages. Our Father fights for us and never forsakes us. The battle is the Lord's. (I Samuel 17:47)

Blessed be the name of the LORD!

And I had no sooner finished when my phone rang and it was Don tell me that they were taking him to the McAllen Heart Hospital.  They wouldn’t even allow him to drive the three blocks from the VA Clinic to the hospital! WHY? For heaven’s sake???  Overkill precaution.  When he told them, as a heart patient, that he was dizzy and feeling like he would pass out at times, they immediately said, “You’re going into the hospital for tests.”  He told me to call Dennis and ask him to bring me to the hospital.  Well, I hung up and prayed, “Father, Goliath is knocking at my door.  I am new at this but I trust You… this is Your battle.”

I’m so grateful to Dennis for coming and for his knowledge of the hospitals in this area.  He made me feel much better about the care Don would receive.  We retrieved our pickup from the VA clinic parking lot and then we headed to the MHH ER.  They were running a test and I had to wait a few minutes, then I was allowed to be with Don.  They did blood work and x-rayed his lungs and found no pneumonia.  Praise God.  We saw the ER doctor and the internal medicine doctor.  Both said his heart looked good.  No heart attack.  Praise God.

We had to wait until 7:00 PM for a room as they want to do an echo-cardiogram in the morning.  Around 9:00 PM, Don insisted that I go home and get a good nights rest… I hope I can without him being home.  The cardiologist still had not been in to seem him and he figured he would see him in the morning, so I reluctantly came back to the Q.  At 10:15 PM, Don called and said the cardiologist had just left!  Poor guy must not have much of a family life.  Anyway, he said Don has bronchitis and started him on an antibiotic drip and breathing treats throughout the night.  Praise God for a diagnosis that is treatable!  The doctor indicated that Don will probably get to go home tomorrow.  Yeah!

As the title reflects, this is a first for me… my first time with Don being in the hospital.  I have peace and I know that is from God and because of prayers, for which we are so grateful.  Because of the peace of Christ in our hearts and life, this has been a terrific Tuesday, not a terrifying Tuesday.  God is so faithful and I am so thankful to be a child of the King.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The beach is a good place to start the week

This is a random picture of papaya blooms.  I ate a papaya today and was disappointed.  It didn’t have much taste.100_4742

These are palms trees.  This is what they look like in a good stiff south wind. 100_4745

On our way to SPI for our monthly CRM chaplain’s meeting, we stopped at a Texas Travel Center in Harlingen.  These flags represent the six flags that have flown over Texas during her past. 100_4746

The garden at the travel center was very pretty.100_4751

The view of our destination, Pier 19, from the bridge over Laguna Madre.100_4754

A lone pelican.100_4758

After our meal inside, we all walked to the end of the pier for our meeting with the chaplains who are in the RGV so far.100_4759

Dennis catches us up on all the CRM “goings on.”100_4760

New chaplains, Fred and Leila Preuss (pronounced Price) during their Commissioning Service.  Their first assignment is at the Children’s Haven International office and orphanage in Reynosa.  100_4762

Don led our devotional time.100_4763

The newlyweds, Precious Jade and Lucian Schmidt.100_4764

We had a wonderful time together with the other chaplains… a time of encouragement, prayer, and challenge.  I especially appreciated the prayer for healing for several of the chaplains, including Don.

We’re on South Padre Island, of course, we went to the beach!  I love walking in the water on the beach.100_4767

We saw quite a few jellyfish… I guess this is a jellyfish… were washed up on the beach, but this one was the largest one.100_4770 100_4772

A beach dancer.100_4774 100_4775

The entrance to the beach access we used.  It wasn’t the best one as we had to walk through the grass and loose sand.100_4776

The wind surfers took advantage of the high wind today…. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.100_4778 100_4781 100_4783 100_4787 100_4788 100_4789 100_4793 100_4795 100_4796

Leaving SPI, we saw these fishermen from the bridge.100_4797

From Port Isabell…. SPI.100_4801

And the sun sets on a marvelous Monday.100_4805

Two years ago today, we were enjoying the company of Kathy and Tom Burge with a game of cards, at Coffeyville, Kansas.  I got an email from them the other day.  They are having a good time working at Amazon.com in Campbellsville, KY, this Christmas rush season.  Sure hope our paths cross again in the future.

“Write your hurts at the hands of others, in the sand so they will be easily blown away.  Write your blessings in stone so you will always remember them.”