Posted by: kathyhugs | April 11, 2011

Ideas for Marriages

Rick and I have been talking about the future. We aren’t sure what it looks like but here are a few things we have been discussing:

We both are very concerned about the marriages we see around us both with in the church and in our circle of friends. We both understand how much work it takes to make a marriage strong but we also understand how wonderful a great marriage cemented by God feels.

We both want to be able to encourage the marriages around us. We want to be able to share our passion for God, for life and for each other in a way that may make a difference.

How do we encourage couples to talk, to share to grow closer together, and to grow closer to God?

How do we encourage families to become strong together?

How do you define a strong marriage?

A husband and wife committed to building their relationship with each other and their relationship with God

A marriage that endures despite struggles, despite the sins of the past.

Marriage is defined by God. He designed it to be a triple-cord made up of the husband, the wife focusing on God. This together focus should strengthen a marriage. Unfortunately we have been seeing more and more marriages falling apart after years of being married. They have forgotten their commitment to God to cherish each other, to sacrifice self for each other.  I know that we have had to remind each other over and over that God comes first, my spouse comes second and I come last. Focus is on God and not on me! But this only works when both spouses are acting in this manner. Communication is so critically important.

RIck and I have been meeting with our pastor and with several other wise couples in our church for years. Something needs to be done to prevent marriages from falling apart when the difficulties of life or even the sameness of life keeps hitting the family.  We are working on a plan of action to present to our church leadership that may spark a discussion and hopefully God will use to start a fire within the church and community!

Please be in prayer for this. We are so burdened for the families!

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I was with friends last night and the topic of why bad things happen in this world came up. This is my paraphrase from the speaker I heard. I have simplified the message but this works for me!

When someone questions me about how I accept that God didn’t cause Tonia’s death or any of the other “bad things” that happen to people this is what I say:

When God created the world he created the perfect paradise. Where humans, Adam and Eve, could walk and talk with God face to face. They were living in perfect harmony. It was very good!

But Satan came into the perfect place and tempted them. They had the choice to turn away and rely on God but instead they choose to believe evil and accept it into their perfect lives.

The consequences for their choice affected all of mankind. They were banished from the perfect paradise into the world where Satan roars and tries to tears us down. When evil entered the world it became a part of our lives. Diseases, death, sinful choices all mock the perfect paradise that was once ours. So diseases rob our body. Death steals our children and sinful choices cause pain. But God wants us to be back in that perfect paradise with him. So to pay for the consequences of our sin, He sent his son to carry our burdens and to die for us. He not only gave his son for us, he understands how we feel when one of our children die. He allowed his son to die for us in order to restore the perfect paradise that he created for us.

So in this world we will have trouble but I rejoice that God has overcome the world!. So the world has a choice: choose sin and the ugly consequences of eternity without God or choose God and eternity with him!

My simple version of why bad things happen. Hope it makes sense. Love you!

Posted by: kathyhugs | March 7, 2011

Planning and Celebrating 25 years

On May 17th of this year Rick and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! What an amazing and beautiful journey we have already shared. Because we did not know the Lord when we got married we wanted to honor Him and honor our love for each other by renewing our vows. We talked about it for years and then after the events of the last few years we decided that 25 years was the perfect time to publicly declare our love for each other and our dependence upon God.

On Friday, May 20th at Chippewa E. Free Church that event is going to happen! Pastor Jeff McNicol will be officiating at our vow renewal ceremony. Because we live in Pennsylvania and it is such s sweet tradition we are also going to have a cookie reception. If you have never attended a wedding in Pennsylvania it is hard to describe how neat it is to see all of the different cookies lined up at the reception: Every kind, every shape and every size. It reminds me of how each of us has been made so different. We each have different personalities, looks, talents and gifts.

So I have been busy looking for a dress, planning for two very sweet teenagers to sing during the celebration and having an invitation designed. It has been so much fun.

25 years: what a blast it has been. But we have also walked through the valley, together; holding on to each other and being held by God. Laughter and sorrow, mountaintops and valleys define our marriage. I am married to my best friend, my husband, my soul mate and one of the most Godly men I know. I am blessed.

25 years together and praying that we have many, many more.  Thank you God!

Posted by: kathyhugs | February 19, 2011

The Alien has been Delivered!

Hallelujah! I am home. What a crazy journey we have been on over the last several days. My husband continues to be wonderful. A quick overview: Thursday morning we arrived at the hospital at 5:30. Prep took almost two hours. Then surgery started. My surgeon was wonderful. The surgery took longer than anticipated because he found a complication when he went in. The cyst as it was growing attached itself to my diaphragm. So Dr. Geller had to cut it away from the diaphragm and there was scar tissue already forming. He staples the area on the diaphragm and the liver to stop any re-attachment while I am healing. He was still able to do the surgery laparoscopically which was amazing. The rest of Thursday passed in a blur as they tried to get my pain under control. I also was nauseous from the anesthetic. By that evening things were settling down and I slept a little bit. On Friday morning I was able to eat a little bit and the doctor discharged me that afternoon. I will have the drain in until I see the doctor on Wednesday and then hopefully he will take it out. In the mean time, my wonderful husband, Rick, has been taking very good care of me! He is very patient and caring.

All of the prayers have been felt as we have travelled through this maze. God has been amazing. I have had some great people caring for me, praying for me and loving on me!  The alien is gone and I am healing! Hallelujah!

Hugs!

 

 

Posted by: kathyhugs | February 16, 2011

Alien Delivery: 24 Hours and Counting!

Okay the preparations are being made; delivery time is almost here.  The nesting instinct has kicked into gear. The house is getting cleaned. The beds are stripped and everything is being washed.  The hospital bag is being packed, again!

The alien is getting restless. His troops are kicking into gear. The dread Pirate Reflux has been trying to poison the taste of food but the stomach is okay with that due to a lack of appetite and the room to consume much! Breathing is better when the two pillows keep the lungs open. The countdown has begun. Soft foods and lots of liquids will fortify the body for the upcoming events.

One last night of sleep in the host bed, then…. the alarm will go off at 4:00. The trek to the hospital will begin at 4:40.  Anticipation will increase when registration and pre-op starts at 5:30.  The troops will be assembled. The wise surgeon, the sleepy time doc, and the delivery team will be at their stations, weapons ready to mount the offensive attack.  Prayers have surrounded all of the players involved.

Soon it will begin, the alien will be delivered and the body can begin healing. The I-Pod player bear will create an ambiance of beautiful praise and worship music as the host body awakens….

To be continued!

Posted by: kathyhugs | February 10, 2011

7 days to the alien delivery!

Ok it is now one week until my liver cyst is removed. Today I was able to complete two tasks with one item. I have been growing my hair out to donate it. With the surgery coming up I decided that getting it cut short would make it easier.  So today one haircut fulfilled two goals!

Pre-haircut

Posted by: kathyhugs | February 5, 2011

12 Days and counting down to a serving of …..?

12 Days until my liver surgery. The alien that has attached itself to my liver continues to spread its relationship around the area. The host body has been unaware that the alien has pushed and prodded its way into the neighborhood shared by the stomach and the esophagus. Its presence has tried to throw its weight around with some moderate success. The esophagus is receiving a message from the stomach in the form of reflux. Reflux is that annoying sharing of the gastric juices of the stomach. The esophagus is fighting back by trying to expel this juice by coughing and throwing a fit. The alien wiggles and shakes with laughter reveling in the fact that chaos is being caused. But… the host body brings in wise counsel… the doctor says “we can beat this invasion”.  First weapon will be the Knight known as Prilosec.  He will take care of the dread pirate reflux.  To assist the brave knight we will send in a reinforcement designed by the Creator. This element will quench the thirst of the esophagus and the stomach. This magic elixir is …. Water. The alien will shrink back as this wave washes over the host body sweeping away the sneak attack.

The alien retaliated by expanding even further into the abdominal area, leaving the host body unable to wear the favorite pair of jeans or any tight waist pants. Unfair, ungentlemanly behavior on the part of the alien. But the host body knows something that the alien does not: 12 more days! Then who will be laughing?  In the meantime the host body is being very goofy. She bought these silly pajamas to  wear into the hospital and afterward. They are purple and pink and fuzzy. Maybe the alien will be scared off by the sight of them!

The countdown clock has started. Stay tuned for the next segment of …. The attack of the liver alien!

Laughter and hugs!

Posted by: kathyhugs | January 27, 2011

The Story of my Liver and other bizarre facts

December 2010 was just like any other month except: is it the month that holds Christmas and it was the month that I had been waiting for. We (Rick, Sean and I) had been planning a vacation to Hawaii. Sean was finishing his undergraduate work at Geneva College. That part of his journey was complete and the next part hadn’t started yet.

What I didn’t know was that while I was busy planning a Christmas vacation in Hawaii my liver was planning on a sneak attack. It started with a pain in my shoulder and back. I thought I had strained a muscle lifting a patient at work. So I took some Tylenol and forgot about it. Fast forward a few weeks. The pain in my shoulder keeps coming back but now it includes my neck and the muscle going down my right shoulder-blade. Heat, a hot bath and Tylenol help to ease the pain. On the plane ride to Hawaii the sneak attack calls for reinforcements but the home troops get assistance from the mind. Hawaii is in sight. Tropical paradise with time to sleep, warm weather, swimming in the ocean and basking in the sun. The pain retreats and the liver goes into planning for the next assault.  I wake up on the 2nd day of our trip and I am in so much pain that we cancel our plans and just lie about relaxing and basking in the sun. I switch pain relievers to aspirin and Aleve. The pain recedes but now I notice that any walking and I am having trouble breathing. Rick notices that I am struggling and we change some of our plans for a long hike, the weather cooperates and the rain washes out any potential for our excursion.  Instead we land on the beach. I sun bathe while the guys go snorkeling. The soothing sun along with no discernible movement has won this skirmish. The rest of our vacation I am able to do all of the activities with the help of aspirin. Our trip home is easier than expected.

January 14:

The liver has been secretly enlisting the aid of the diaphragm without the mind’s awareness. The liver has developed a new secret weapon, a fluid filled cyst that pushes the diaphragm up into the base of the lungs. Any deep breath taken, is now met with resistance from the diaphragm. The diaphragm fires off a response and sends signals through the nerves into the shoulder and neck.  Of course I do not understand this partnership so I wake up crying from pain in my shoulder, down my right arm and searing across my neck and upper back. I call for back up and head to the doctor’s office. I can’t take a deep breath and the fingers in my right hand have started to become numb.

The doctor gives me medicine to relax the muscles and pain medication to cut off the enemies attack. The doctor is wise so she calls for special counsel. A chest X-ray is completed on that Friday to rule out pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining around the lungs. The doctor also calls in MRI to map out any problem areas in the spine that can pinch off a nerve; the MRI completes his task on Monday. The Doctor receives aerial footage from the radiologist that reassured her that these areas are safe. No enemies are storming these sites. But the all-seeing eye of the radiologist notices something in the distance. He sees an area on the map between the liver and the diaphragm that is black. This alarms him. The signals are not good. The enemy has entrenched. Spies are sent in to gather more data. What kinds of weapons are being used in this battle? Who is calling the shots?  The spies send in their best agent, CT scan aided by contrast. The CT scan gathers data from the abdomen and pelvic area.

The report is complete. The liver has developed a plan of attack. The cyst is 14 cm covering the entire right lobe of the liver. The cyst is filled with approximately half a gallon of fluid and the growth is pushing against the diaphragm. The nerves of the diaphragm are sending distress signals which are received by the shoulder. The SOS signal is heard by the troops.

A plan of action is quickly made. A needle guided by the CT scan will drain off the liquid then a new liquid will be introduced that will seal off the cyst.  But ….. before this plan can be carried out God steps into the battle!

 

The brain reminds the control tower that there are other doctor’s that can be called in for reinforcement. The needle plan doesn’t sound like the right course of action to take. The liver has put up a fight and the cyst has grown too big to be handled by this plan. It is now Friday, January 21. An email goes out asking for referrals to a very special liver doctor who might be able to reassess the aerial images of the CT scan, X-ray and the MRI. A phone call arrives and a name is thrown into the ring as a potential key figure in this fight. But does this special liver doctor have the time to review the facts presented? The lady at the office of this special liver doctor discovers that just by a coincidence a cancellation has occurred for the upcoming Monday. I think this is a God-incident myself!

Monday morning, January 24 looms ahead. What will happen? Will a new plan of action against this enemy be discovered? What will the outcome be?

The very special liver doctor, Dr. Chopra, reads the aerial reports. He points out the flaw in the original plan with a slide show of the various pictures. The cyst has grown too large. The fluid is made up of many potential substances. He maps out a plan that is put into action immediately. Blood is drawn out to analyze for any potential dangers. Dr. Chopra calls in the man who can take action, a surgeon of great renown. He “happens” to be in the building seeing his other patients. Dr. Chopra’s phone call to him results in an immediate time to strategize.

This surgeon, Dr. Geller, firmly takes a stand. “I know how to rid your body of this enemy but you need to do it on my schedule. Follow my recommendations and on February 17 a team of instruments will insert themselves in the middle of this battle. They will drain the cyst of its noxious fluid. Then in an all out frontal attack the cyst itself will be surrounded on three sides and cut off from the liver. The camera will take pictures to make sure that the diaphragm has not been injured. The rest of the cyst will be bathed in a protective coating to stop any other fluid from accumulating in the future. Any leaking pipes will be closed with a special fitting and a team will be left behind to suction off any remaining fluid. The instruments will be withdrawn and their path will be sealed off. The team left behind will remain to observe for 48-72 hours and then they will be removed.”

The plan is accepted. The battle will soon be over. The liver will need time to understand that it has been cured of its bizarre behavior. The diaphragm will need sleep to recuperate from the pressure but it will settle back down and continue it’s very important job. The SOS signal has been heard and it will be turned off once the body has time to heal up and get back to normal. After a few weeks everything will be back to full operation. The entire team will praise God for knowing the complete story and sending in the right troops in just the right time! Hallelujah! The miracle of life continues on as planned. Everything will continue the task that was set into motion one day long ago when the first spark of life began!

Please stay tuned for further updates. The tide has turned and the plan of action begins! The enemy will be defeated!

Hugs and love,

from the body known as Kathy (LOL)

Posted by: kathyhugs | January 5, 2011

2011!

Happy New Year! Wow is it really 2011? I remember when I was small thinking that tomorrow would never come, and then my next birthday would never come! When will I ever get my driver’s license? I can’t wait until I turn 18, 21 and so on.

Remember when the world was concerned about Y2K? That was 11 years ago! Incredible.

2011: a new year, a new season, new opportunities. In less than 48 hours we will be taking Sean to Chicago to move into his graduate school dorm room. Our house will be empty. I have VERY mixed emotions. He is so ready to be out on his own and moving forward. He is packing up his room here at home as I write this. We have done our jobs as parents and given him wings to fly. It is time.  But, here it comes the but…. I will miss him! Just knowing that he was here and I could catch up with him a few times a week was wonderful. Of course he is still my son so it could also be very frustrating at times! I have always loved being a hands on, go to every soccer game, choir concert, Boy Scout meeting or just driving them to and from their friends. Those days are now behind me. A new season.

Now I get to enjoy the time with my wonderful husband and my friends. Rick and I have plans to visit friends in Florida. We also want to see friends in North Carolina and Tennessee. We are already planning our next trip to Richmond to get to know our new friends there. The season as a couple without kids has begun!

I have plans to paint the entire house (not entirely by myself but I love to paint), re-decorate the upstairs bathroom and clean out my office.  All of these plans are for this year!! I have also started working on another special project that I would like to see completed by this summer.

Seasons: they never stay the same but then that is how God created us to be. We are to wake up with each day in front of us, alive and walking forward down the path God has in store for us. So even though one season is coming to the end and it brings tears, tomorrow holds the promise that it is a new day. I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Enjoy your season!

Posted by: kathyhugs | December 9, 2010

Christmas!

It is almost Christmas! Amazing. Where did this year go? How can it almost be over? Christmas is such a special time in my heart. The birth of my Savior. God gave us a gift that no one can match, do one can do more. He sent Himself as a baby as a gift to us. A baby born of innocence into a world full of suffering and sin. To bring a light, a hope, a promise; to bring …. Eternity. As I look around at the people in my life I realize just how blessed I am.

I have an amazing husband who cherishes me and treats me as a precious gift. I have a wonderful son who laughs with me and sometimes laughs at me as he loves me just as I am! I have family who care for me and love on me. I have friends who have walked with me through the valley and into the light. I have a life that God is molding for His purposes.

I have to remind myself of these things at times. My life is good. I am content except when I am not! Holidays are wonderful yet they are also hard. The hustle and bustle of planning and living and making lists sometimes gets in the way of the reason we have Christmas. When I focus on me, I get cranky and stressed and overwhelmed. I focus on what I don’t have anymore instead of what I do have. When I focus on me I get sad. I cry. I hurt. It is not a nice place to be. But then I get this nudge in my spirit, a whisper that speaks of love and forgiveness and healing. Then I remember. I remember…. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME! WHEEEEEE!  The focus shifts. A warm wind sweeps over my heart and the hurt is shared with someone who understands the pain and comforts me. My eyes look around and I see the blessings. My ears hear the needs of the people around me. My arms open to share a hug. Christmas becomes the season of remembering the blessings I have been given and hopefully spreading the Joyous news: Christ has been born to give the Only gift worth getting, Him!

So from my heart to yours, I love you. I am sending you a Christmas hug. Thank you for being a part of my life and such a blessing. God is so amazing. I rejoice.

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