Monday, June 29, 2009

Through the Years

(Insert Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years) LOL

Many years ago, although it really feels like it was just the other day, when we were newly married and attending college, we met another young couple who were living the same life we were. That is, the husbands were in college, both felt called to the ministry, and both wives were working full-time putting them through school. We happened to live in the same apartment complex. In fact, we were neighbors that shared a bedroom wall that lent itself to lots and lots of good "just married" jokes.

I don't remember the first time we met. I just know that we hit it off and quickly became good friends. We didn't realize then that it would be the kind of friendship that transcends time. We couldn't see ahead to know that even though there would be months and years and many, many miles between us we would have the ability to pick up wherever we had left off. We didn't have any idea that God had such a wonderful plan arranged for us. We just knew we were sharing the same goals and struggles and we bonded tighter than glue.

It wasn't long before Carrie and I both discovered we were pregnant. And we were thrilled. How fun to share such a special time of life together. We gave birth to little girls within two months of each other. It wasn't long after that (six months to be exact) we discovered we were both pregnant again. This time we weren't so thrilled. Within 5 weeks we delivered our second kids, she a son - me another daughter.

Our guys graduated from college that fall and that was when the miles began to separate us. We went on to seminary and they went on to pastor a church. Five years later while in different states we gave birth to little girls within 6 months of each other. It seemed to be something orchastrated from above -as we certainly didn't set out to design our families simultaneously. Apparently the stars weren't aligned just right in 1995 and 1996 because oddly our fourth kids were born a whole year apart.

As the years rolled on there was a one year period of time when we pastored churches 10 miles from each other and we got to see each other often. But then they moved to another state and we have never had that privilege again.

One of the things we had always dreamed about was going on a family vacation to the Land of the Mouse together. As our kids grew we realized it was now or never. So the summer before our oldest girls were going to be seniors, the twelve of us met in Southern California and spend a wonderful week together.
I'm so glad we did that. We made wonderful memories and we have never been able to do it again. Sometimes you just have to seize the moment and make your dreams come true.

Fast forward to 2008. We both had two married children each at this point. And it came as absolutely no surprise to Carrie or me that we learned that we would become grandmothers - at the same time! Sure enough, her Angie had Beth and my Michelle had Tyler during the month of May! My Andrea had Ava Claire in September and a little boy will arrive to her Josh in September of this year. And so it goes.

This week we have the wonderful privilege of having Carrie's precious daughters and little granddaughter visiting us. Last night as Beth and Ava Claire were sitting on the floor playing my eyes welled up with tears. Who ever would have dreamt all those many years ago when two couples met on an unremembered day that one day our grandchildren would be playing together!

Thank you God for the blessing of friendships! We know you were behind this one and that we will be best friends forever!

Diagnosis - Not

After spending a weekend of trying to contact each other, we finally got to talk for a few minutes to Brad and Michelle. They met with the neurologist on Friday and went over all the tests Brad had taken over the week. Basically, they couldn't find anything. And while we are rejoicing that that means there is no tumor or abnormaility to worry about, we are still concerned that Brad had a mini-stroke and nobody can figure out why or what caused it.

The neurologist wants Brad to see the cardiologist for further testing to rule out other possibilites. Brad and Michelle talked about it and decided to return to Arequipa on Sunday. Today is a big holiday of some sort in Peru and they would have had to wait until Tuesday and then wait in Lima the rest of the week for the results. The poor kids are so tired of living with other people and not doing the work they are in Peru to do. So they decided that they will do the further testing in Lima in a couple of months when they need to return for other reasons as well. In the meantime, Brad is on an aspirin regimen to prevent another stroke from occurring as well as some preventative migraine medicine. They are also having all the test results sent to a doctor here in the States who has graciously agreed to give a second opinion.

So we shall continue to pray for wisdom, peace and healing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sort of an update - Sort of not

We are still waiting for test results on Brad. It seems as if the doctors in Lima are being very thorough. Which is good. They will meet with a neurologist on Thursday or Friday and will hopefully figure out what is going on. In the meantime, they are still staying with the pastor/D.S. in Lima, longing to return to some kind of normalcy.

I arrived home from my business trip about 12:30 Sunday morning. What a whirlwind trip it was. About 13 of us from the university I work at left early Thursday morning by van. We travel to Spokane, Seattle and Portland to do pre-registrations with new freshmen who are coming in the fall. It's all part of being competitive and pro-active in getting students. Universities compete at a fierce level for their students and in today's economy it is getting even fiercer. On this trip we travel, unload, set-up, meet with students and their parents, tear down, reload, and travel again. We do this at every stop and it is completely exhausting.

I have heard that if you are an extrovert, you re-energize by being around people. If you are an introvert you re-energize by being alone. Guess what I am?

Definitely an introvert. Married to an extrovert. Isn't that how it always is? I think we actually balance each other out quite nicely. But being with 13 people 24 hours a day was a stretch for me.

On the road we passed a sign that said we were at the 45th parallel line. We were exactly half way between the equator and the North Pole. It occurred to me that I am closer to the North Pole than I am my grandson. Ouch.

I think summer has finally arrived in our neck of the woods. We have had such cool weather and an incredible amount of rain for this desert land. This week though, it should be up in the 90's. Yes! That's what I'm talkin' about!

Not too much else going on. Just waiting for an update from South America. No news is good news I think. As much as I would love to have my family come back home, I don't want it to be this way. I know they are getting very busy down there as the first major event they are planning will happen in July - so they need to get life back on track and I know there is nothing they want more at this point. So my prayer is that they find a reason that caused this stroke and that it will be something easy to remedy. And then they can get on with their assignments.

That will be so good.

In the meantime I have found a few pictures on the blogs of some of the Extremies (fellow missionaries) that portray my little family. Finding a picture of them is like putting on an old coat and finding $100 in the pocket. It gives me such a thrill. These pictures are from their jungle trip. I can't believe my kids are floating down the Amazon. Weird. Look at my little man in this picture - I can't believe how grown up he looks! This grandmother would feel a smidge better if those life jackets were not just hanging on a hook - but being used - sorry - I just had to say it.

This is what they were looking at. It's so hard to believe that people really live like this.

They could bring this little guy home with them if they wanted to! He's so cute!

This next picture isn't for the faint of heart!

I warned you! One of Extreme's big events this summer is a huge outreach they are holding for the community. Peru's most favorite delicacy is Cuy - or guniea pig. No kidding. So they are planning on having a 10,000 guniea pig feast at this event and will make it into the Guniess Book of World Records if they do. I guess when in Rome....

Well, that's it for now. I hope I didn't spoil your lunch!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update on Brad - June 20,2009

I am in Portland today - the last day of my business trip. I will sleep in my own bed tonight - I can't wait. But I have many hours of driving ahead of me before then....

I just skyped with Michelle and Tyler. Brad continues to have tests - he even went in this morning to have a test where they spread dye throughout his brain. He has also been referred to a cardiologist on Monday. They are hoping for all the test results to be in by Wednesday and then hopefully a diagnosis.

The doctor in Lima said that what he experienced was a mini-stroke, or TIA. Fortunately TIA's do not result in permanent damage, but they are an indicator that something is wrong and the possiblility of a full-fledged stroke is increased substantially. We are so very grateful that he has found a good medical facility. Michelle and a friend who is also a nurse have researched all the testing and she feels that they are pursuing the right course. That in itself offers tremendous peace of mind. She is busy updating her blog as I type.

So for now, we continue to pray. On this trip I have been with 13 other people. All. The. Time. So I have gotten up early each morning and taken off on a walk to just spend time praying. I do believe I have started a new habit. It's amazing how much conversation you can have with God while walking. Coming from a non-walker - this is saying a lot!

Thank you again to all of you who are praying. We are honored and blessed each and every time somebody tells us they are bringing Brad and Michelle before the Lord.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update on Brad - June 18,2009 p.m.

Brad and Michelle and little Tyler have arrived in Lima. The District Superintendent of the Nazarene Church met them at the airport and immediately took them to a clinic - where they speak English! The doctor looked over all the MRI and EEG results and told them that the hospital they had gone to must have very old equipment as the test results were nearly unreadable. And of the two prescriptions they gave Brad, one was useless and the other one could be dangerous. He scheduled them to come back in the morning and they will run a whole new battery of tests, including one that will measure all the blood vessel's of the brain to rule out any blood clotting that could be taking place.

Tonight they are staying at the home of the District Superintendent and they said they are being treated like royalty. They have a lovely room to stay in with a private bath and there was even a basket of fresh fruit waiting for them.

I am so thankful that God is providing people to love and care for our kids. I am so thankful they have found a hospital and doctor that seems to be very capable of meeting Brad's physical needs. I am so glad that the language barrier won't be such a problem. I am so happy that we will all be able to sleep a little better tonight knowing these things.

Keep Praying

Brad woke up this morning with similar symptoms as Monday. They went back to the doctor and he told them it was probably just a migraine. I'm sorry, 30 year old men don't have these kinds of symptoms from a migraine. Brad and MIchelle and Tyler are now on their way to Lima to a bigger hospital.
Please pray for them. I could hear the concern in Michelle's voice today at a level that wasn't there before. God is bigger than all of this and we know that He has not been surprised by any of this.
They are also concerned regarding finances. They don't need that worry right now. They have enough to deal with.

I am out of town this weekend on a business trip so I will update as I can.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where We Are At

The hospital in Peru discharged Brad this morning. They don't really have any answers to what happened and feel that his stroke-like symptoms were caused by his headache. They want him to come back in two weeks for another EEG.

Naturally Michelle and Brad are not satisfied with that and are praying for direction. In the meantime, my husband contacted our church district office and my goodness - it is so wonderful to have a church family all the time - but especially in times like these.

Our church district office has already contacted a referring physician who has agreed to look at their situation and refer the case to a neurosurgeon. It will involve sending the MRI and EEG results. So right now we are just trying to get in touch with Brad and Michelle and give them this information so they can proceed from their end.

We are so glad that Brad appears to be back to normal and feeling fine. His headache is gone and his speech is normal. He is very relieved to be back in his apartment.

Please continue to pray as we all know that prayer is the key to power. And if you want to read an absolutely beautiful and stunning post about this situation go here and read the words of Brad's stepmom. It nearly stopped my heart this morning!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Update

I just spoke with Brad and Michelle. They are still playing the waiting game - waiting for results, waiting for doctors, waiting to know something..... They did sound in good spirits and Tyler's voice in the background made me smile.

Here are Michelle's words:

We just talked to the doctor again this afternoon so I wanted to give you another update. This morning the doctor came in and told us that the MRI showed a nodule. The doctor had talked to the people that took the MRI and they felt that this was normal. Our doctor wanted to do the EEG next to see what that would show. The EEG showed that there are some abnormal waves. He said the waves were longer than normal. He wanted to study these results and compare them to the MRI and talk to us again in the morning. He wanted Brad to stay in the hospital again tonight, much to Brad's dismay. So, not alot of info but info all the same. We appreciate the continued prayers and there is still alot of uncertainty.

Michelle Hunt

We covet your prayers.

Update on Brad

I received the following email from my daughter Michelle this morning, recapping what is happening with Brad. I appreciate all your prayers so much and they do too. I have a very strong daughter and I am so proud of her.

Family and Friends-
I want to send an update on the days events. Some of you know a little and some may not know anything so I will catch you up. First of all, Brad is doing well!!
This morning Brad woke up with confusion and unable to speak more than 3 or 4 simple words. He could not finish sentences or ask questions. He was aware that he was not making sense and was very frightened. All of this was happening along with a bad headache. We went to the emergency room and they could not find anything wrong with his nervous system with a physical exam and decided to treat the headache and see if that was affecting his speech. 30 minutes after medication his headache was almost relieved but he was still struggling with his speech. We were taken upstairs to the neurologist. The neurologist was concerned because Brad was very pale and nauseated even after relieving the pain. He admitted Brad to the hospital to run some tests. So far he has had blood and urine tests and an MRI. About 5 hours after waking up this morning his speech returned and has no more confusion. But the doctor is being very thorough and is running some
more tests to find out why he had the problems he did this morning. We just returned from the MRI and the neurologist is unable to read all of the results tonight. He also wants an EEG in the morning. Brad is not happy about staying the night in the hospital but I promised to bring in the laptop and his guy movies and now it doesn't seem as bad!
We have very good friends here in Arequipa who are checking in with us frequently and most importantly caring for Tyler. Thanks for all of your prayers. I will keep you updated!
Love, Michelle

Please keep them in your prayers - I will keep you updated as soon as I hear anything else.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Please Pray

Please pray for my son-in-law in Peru. He woke up this morning unable to talk. He is in the hospital and they think he may have had a stroke. They have done an MRI and are waiting for the results and tomorrow he will have an EEG.

He has regained his speech but he has a terrible headache.

That is all we know right now. We are unable to contact them so we have to wait for them to contact us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fave 5 - June 12, 2009

It's that time of week to reflect back and think about the things you are thankful for - or in other words your five favorite things to talk about on Friday. If you would like to read more posts like this or even add your own - click HERE.

Here are my five for the week:

1. Sleeping in my own bed. After our camping trip last weekend I cannot tell you how much I love my bed. And my pillow. And my house. And my kitchen. And most of all - my bathroom!

2. Flower gardens. Mine are doing well this year and I just love them. I love planting them, weeding them, watering them, and enjoying them. I love summer!

3. Avacado's. I spent many years not liking them and suddenly I think they are wonderful. They are so pretty and they taste good. I enjoy eating them in salsa and salads. I know they are full of fat, but I hear it's the good kind. They are also full of vitamins that you need.

4. I loved picking up my phone this morning and hearing my daughter Michelle on the other end. They just got back from their 2 week jungle trip and I was so glad to hear they were safe. There is some political unrest going on in Peru and they had a couple of uneasy moments - but they are safe and sound and I look forward to skyping with them on Sunday and "seeing" my sweet little grandson.

I made these Cream Puffs with Lemon Mousse and Blueberry sauce and they were amazing! I have always had a secret desire to have a Bed and Breakfast and even though it will probably never happen - I love to collect breakfast recipes. This one is my new favorite. You can find the recipe here. That Martha - she can come up with something good every once in a while can't she?

Have a great weekend. I will be working most of mine. And next weekend too.

At least I'm not camping!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Griswold Family Camping Trip

He said: "I think we need to get away for a few days."

She said: "Yes!!! Let's go to Disneyland!"

He said: "I was thinking we would go camping."

She said (fighting the disappointment that filled her voice): "Camping?"

He said: "Yes, I think some time in the outdoors will do us wonders. And I would love to fish. And just think - s'mores every night!" (He doesn't like s'mores - but he knows she does.)

She said: "Well, camping is alot of work - but if you really want to . . ."

And that's how it happened.

So we borrowed an older, very large camper and began to fill it up with blankets and sheets, towels and soaps, clothes and jackets, food and more food, fishing equipment and books, lawnchairs and bar-b-que grills, and more baby items that they can stock at Babies Are Us for sweet little Miss Ava Claire. We loaded up Buddy the mutt, two yorkies, and my daughter's two chihuahua's.

And we were off. We chose to ignore the huge black clouds forming above us.

Chuck and I drove the truck and camper and my mom followed us in her car with Andrea, Jess and Miss Ava Claire. We left about 4:00 in the afternoon anticipating a 6:30 arrival at the campground of a lake we had not been to.

About 15 miles later the camper blew a tire.

We all pile out of the vehicles to watch Chuck change the tire. We are nothing if not good support people! Suddenly a huge wind began to blow and the heavens opened. It took just long enough to change that tire to get wet and blown with dirt.


So off we went. Again. Just a tad bit deflated - but still somewhat optimistic. As we got closer to the lake we pulled over to fill the camper with water. It was then we discovered that the water tank had a leak. A substantial leak. So Chuck tried to fix it. Again, the moral support team took their responsiblilty seriously and we all stood around him offering great advice like, "Maybe some bubble gum would plug that leak?"

Suddenly a large gust of wind hit and blew the camper door so hard that it knocked my poor mother inside the camper. And the heavens opened. Mom was thankfully not hurt. We all got wet. And we never could plug that hole.

So off we went. Again.

We arrived at the lake about 9:00 that evening only about 2 1/2 hours off schedule. It was dark with rain pouring. We could see just well enough to make out a sign that said CAMPGROUND CLOSED FOR RENOVATION.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Realizing that if one of us gave in to frustration we would all become frustrated we all tried to put a positive spin on the situation. We decided to camp along the side of the road and access our situation in the morning. So we all got ready for bed and listened to the hard pounding soft pitter patter of the rain against the top of the camper. Trying hard not to pay attention to the odor of wet dog.

Morning came and it was still raining. Hard. In fact my mom and Jess woke up wet because apparently the ceiling had a leak in it. We made breakfast and talked about what to do. We decided that we would travel on to Silver Creek Plunge - although it was quite out of our way, Silver Creek features a great pool filled with natural hot water from the springs - it would be perfect if the weather stayed rainy. We could just hang out in the pool.

So off we went. Again.

We stopped off in a town with a hardware store so Chuck could repair the water tank leak. The moral support team decided to take the opportunity to do a little shopping as Chuck seemed to resist all our good ideas. Soon we were all ready, filled with water, and in good spirits again. We made our way through the mountains enjoying the beauty of late spring. The rivers were HIGH and moving fast.
We soon turned off onto the road that would lead us to our final destination. The last nine miles were narrow, curvy, and steep. But at last we made it and set up camp. Whew! It was good to be somewhere.

By the way, it was still pouring rain. Do you have any idea how hard it is to start a fire in the pouring rain? We finally prevailed - but trust me - we were all wet and muddy by this time. And the dogs were soaked and muddy too. It was just a tad harder to stay optimistic. But we were away from the routine and doing something different so we might as well make the best of it. My son-in-law Jayson came and joined us on this evening - he had work/school responsilities that had kept him from joining us at the start. After spending the evening in the hot pool - which felt wonderful - we made s'mores and then we got ready for bed. And we listened to the pounding pitter patter of the rain falling all night long.

We woke up Saturday morning and it was still raining. Mom and Jess were wet again. The repair job we did with a garbage bag and 10 inches of duct tape didn't work very well. We worked hard at getting the fire going again and made a wonderful outdoor breakfast of sausage and eggs and toast. I soon realized it was just not going to work having these very furry dogs in the rain and the dirt all weekend. So we set up a grooming station on the picnic table and Andrea set to work. Nobody lets me cut hair - I have a history of making my poor yorkies look like yaks. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Andrea is really good at dog grooming - yay! It made a world of difference and they looked great.

The rain continued and by Saturday eveing we had had enough. We were struggling to find optimism. We decided we would go home the next day. We all went to bed and listened the the poundingpitter patter of the rain falling on the camper.

We woke up Sunday morning and it was obvious right away that something was wrong. It was too quiet. And what in the world was that sound coming from the forest? Birds singing? Impossible! But it was true - the rain had quit and the sun was shining. We all rubbed the sleep from our eyes - heck, we were packed tight enough in that camper we could have rubbed the sleep from each others eyes. We went outside and marveled at the beautiful blue sky. We decided to make breakfast, have our church service and then decide how to proceed. The sky continued to be blue and we decided to stay. We hiked, we fished, we swam, we read books, we played. Miss Ava Claire delighted us to no end. It was a good day. A very good day. We all longed to be able to wash our hair as we had gone about three days now so after being inspired by the grooming station, we set up a beauty shop. We washed each others hair and it felt so grand!
And for the first time we all went to bed in a quiet camper. Sweet Ava slept all night in her little "moses basket". What an angel she is! When she wakes up in the morning she just lays there talking to her fingers and her bunny and her blankets! There isn't enough money in the world to buy something that sweet!

Monday arrived and it was time to go home. We decided that after breakfast we would take one final hike, have lunch, and then get on our way home. We planned to be home around 4:00.

We packed up and again Chuck and I took the camper and truck with mom following behind with the girls. About 4 miles down the treacherous road I noticed mom was not behind us. We couldn't pull over - the road was too narrow - but we stopped, expecting her to show up. She never did. We had no idea what could have happened - how we could have lost them in four miles on a road that had no other way to go. We both tried hard not to think of what we were both thinking but couldn't say. We both knew the only other place they could have gone was over the edge of the road. Chuck told me to stay with the rig and he would walk back four miles looking for them. Great. Nerves set in and I had to um, use the facilities. So I spotted a bush and began climbing straight uphill. Let's just say it didn't work too well. It was when I was on my way back down I realized what an idiot I was - good grief - I had the camper I could have used! Stress does weird things to a person. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Finally Chuck came back with no idea where they were - but he felt fairly confident they hadn't gone off the road. He had made it about 3 miles back when a car came by and he decided to catch a ride back to me. We took the truck and camper down the final 5 miles and got out to unhitch the camper from the truck. I was to stay in the camper looking for them in case they drove by and Chuck was driving back up to the campground to see if they had left the campground the wrong way. Of course, as we were unhitching the camper - the heavens opened. We were drenched.

About 45 minutes later, I heard a car and I was so relieved to see it was my mom's car. As they were leaving the campground, they realized they had a flat tire. They never were behind us! Andrea had to change the tire and Chuck met them coming down as he was going up. Nobody cared - everybody was all right and that was all that mattered.

We finally made it home around 9:00 that evening. Only five hours behind schedule. We emptied the camper - cleaned the camper - and began the endless piles of laundry.

Next time ---- I'm going to Disneyland!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


While going through hard places I am learning that it is important to focus on the things that bring joy into life. No matter what, there is always joy to be found.

This little girl brings me much joy.

I bought Ava Claire this sweet litte frog swimming pool but I totally forgot about the swimsuit. Oh well, 8 months of age is one of the few times in life you can get by without a swimming suit! She loved it. After she played for awhile, we got out the baby soap and finished up with a bath. Wouldn't you love to take your bath outside in the back yard? Ahh... the simplicity of being a baby. Ava is more fun every day. She loves to laugh out loud - she loves to bounce - she loves to eat - and she is standing up to the furniture now. She is picking up cheerios and yogurt melts with her little fingers and eats them with gusto! She gets on her hands and knees but hasn't quite figured yet how to coordinate two hands and two knees to make her go anywhere yet. She just kind of looks at you and her expression says "Help!"

One day as I was sitting on the patio I noticed that a robin bird kept flying into the pine tree and then out again. I went and looked and discovered a nest with three sweet little babies in it.

It has been most enjoyable watching that dedicated mama bird take care of those babies. And she sat on top of the swing set screetching her lungs out at me while I took this picture. I appreciate that about her. I screech at the parts of the world that endanger my babies too. She is a good mama.

We have started out Summer Book Club at church. I absolutely love sitting with women discussing books we love and finding spiritual applications we can use in our lives. This year we are reading Desperate Pastor's Wives


(I don't know why these pictures are such different sizes - oh well - I don't have time to fix it.)

I love both these books and look forward to much enjoyment discussing them in the club.

My daughter Tara just moved into a new apartment in North Hampton, Massachusetts where she is attending grad school. She wasn't prepared for her new neighbors. Apparently, a mama bear and her two cubs have decided to live in her back yard. While I am a bit nervous about all of this, Tara is excited because she made the news.

Michelle and Brad and little Tyler are in the jungle right now. Sheesh. One daughter with bears in her back yard and another living in the jungle in South America. I have to think about that sentence for a minute. It seems so strange to write something like that. I just have to shake my head sometimes. They are out of contact with phones or emails so we will have to wait until they are back in civilization to hear from them. Say a prayer for Tyler. He is too young to have gotten his malaria and yellow fever immunizations. (Another sentence I never imagined uttering.) They will keep him covered and protected, but still......

This weekend we are going to get away for a while. We are going to go camping up at a lake. I am not a huge camping fan - it is SO MUCH WORK and there is no water, power, or ahem, facilities- but I am looking forward to getting away. I am trying to ignore the weather forecast which calls for thunderstorms in the mountains. They aren't ever right anyway - are they? Miss Ava Claire and her mama and daddy are going with us as well as my mom. We are bringing fishing poles, books, card games, knitting, lots of food, stuff for s'mores and five dogs between us. If nothing else, it should provide plenty of blogging fodder!

Have a great weekend.