Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Long Ordeal

The other day I was at my parent’s house and I noticed the calendar in the frame was still on October.  I took it down to flip it over to November and remarked to my Mom, “I guess we sort of lost October, and maybe most of November too!”  Things might be beginning to settle a bit, I pray so, but we have had a wild six weeks or more!  (Editor’s Note:  It has definitely been more.  This post has been in the process of being written since October!)

In early fall my Mom began having a lot of pain in her sciatic nerve area.  She’s had this before, but this time she was not recovering and the pain just increased.  She began using a cane (actually she was using two) to walk.  Finally she went to the doctor and was getting scheduled for an MRI.  Then there was the referral to a specialist, or rather the waiting for the referral.  It was taking a bit, but Dad was taking care of Mom and they were patiently waiting. 

Then October 9 rolled around.  Wally and I were just finishing a Manager’s meeting when my Mom phoned.  She said she was needing some help with Dad, she was having a hard time getting him up.  A few more explanations came as we drove to the house, arriving just before the paramedics.  Dad had come home on Monday night from Bible Study and exclaimed that “he could not believe how tired he was.”  He had a restless night of sleep, moving between the bed and the couch.  Mom said he finally slept well and she was just trying to wake him up and to get him to eat when she phoned us.  Dad was breathing fast and hard and he was very lethargic.  When the paramedics arrived they began asking many questions and I’m not sure that Dad was either hearing them all, or just not quite comprehending.  It made me nervous so I asked to ride in the ambulance with him and Wally brought Mom to the ER behind us. 

All first indications seemed to show the ER staff were concerned about Dad’s level of oxygen and his rate of breathing…it was 43 when they put him on oxygen and was working its way up into the 70’s. But in the 90’s is normal.  Mom arrived and the nurses started gathering information from her.  The ER doctor examined Dad and then asked us what were Dad’s wishes…did he want to be resuscitated?  I thought it was just “standard operating procedure” kind of questions.  A couple of hours went by and then they moved Dad to a larger room.  Another Doctor, a lung specialist came in and examined Dad and again began asking us about Dad’s wishes.  He then asked Dad personally “Did he want to be resuscitated?”  (I wondered if he didn’t like our answer?)  We were told Dad had pneumonia and that he was sepsis.  Sepsis is caused by the immune system's response to a serious infection. The infection gets into the blood and is carried to the organs.  The doctor told us his lungs were failing and his kidneys were shutting down.  Mom and I were sobered and we just sat there praying. I had been texting/phoning my brothers and sisters. Lots of family and friends were praying. We were in touch with the Great Physician now!  I just have to wonder, what do people turn to when they do not have God in difficult times? I do not know. I do know that as we waited, we prayed and while we might have felt helpless, we were not hopeless!

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But Dad was very sick.  About 9:30 that night he was moved to the Critical Care Unit.  They had antibiotics and fluids going and he was on a  Bi-pap ventilator…a breathing machine that poured oxygen into his lungs under pressure.  He was going to have a lot of difficult days on that machine. 

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The second day in CCU, Dad seemed so much better.  When Mom and I arrived, they had removed the big breathing mask from Dad’s face and he just had a small mask and regular oxygen flowing.  He had eaten a little bit and he was talking.  I asked the nurses each day about his kidneys and they assured me they were working.  The final diagnosis was “he has pneumonia and because of his age and other medical issues, it is difficult and will take a long time.”  They told us that a lot!

He had a few visitors that day, his brother, sister in law and sister had driven up from Colorado Springs. 

Weldon and DadDad and Uncle Weldon

photo (28)Aunt Jane and Dad’s sister, Aunt Phyllis

Then it seemed things got difficult again.  Dad was put back on the bi-pap ventilator and it was really, really hard on him.  He was moved to another floor, but still part of Critical Care.  One day when I took Mom to the hospital, Scott was there already.  He said Dad had him worried,  that Dad kept saying, “He didn’t think he would be able to get over this.” 

photo (25)                                                                                                                          Each day that we left, Mom would hobble close to the bed and say, “Shall we have a little prayer before I go?” and then she would pray with Dad.  That’s a sweet memory for me.  I know I am blessed to have had parents that prayed for their family all through the years. Not religious memorized prayers, but conversation with God whom they had a relationship with. Dependence and trust in Him, not just for healing, but for whatever they would face if not given healing. They had learned through the years that God is faithful and He is very good, no matter what the difficulty of life that they went through. 

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About his time, the nurses were telling us Dad was getting what they called ICU delirium. When a patient is in the Critical Care Unit for so long, they begin to lose track of day and night because there is so much constant activity. Dad was only sleeping for short periods of time and that adds to problem. One story that Dad kept repeating had to do with a garage. I’m not sure if he was building it, working on cars in it or just stuck in it. But when Mom and I would arrive and say hello, we would ask how he slept? It was never good because “he was in that garage all night.”  It was busy, or it was cold, or there was some problem in the construction.  It was kind of comical, if you didn’t remember how sick he was.

I would just like to say what wonderful care Dad was given.  The nurses in CCU are the best.  Each time there was a shift change and someone new came in, we thanked them.  I heard my Mom say more than once, “We thank you so much for all you are doing and your wonderful care.  We just want you to know that ultimately we are trusting Don to the Lord, no matter what happens.” 

But slowly Dad improved and they released him to the regular floor of the hospital.  One day when we rounded the corner to visit Dad, we saw this…

photo (37)I called him “Golden Boy”

Somewhere along the way, Mom finally got her appointment with the specialist.  Her MRI had shown two fractures in the sacrum.  They felt it could be repaired in an outpatient surgery where they inject cement into the fractures using needles and watching where to apply it on an x-ray!!  So, the  appointment was made and the waiting began again.  We were hoping to get Mom walking and free of pain before Dad came home. 

It was decided Dad was too weak to go home with Mom…who was still waiting for her appointment!  So he was taken to a Rehabilitation Center.  They felt if they could work with Dad he could possibly go home without oxygen.  So Dad worked hard and marked another 18 days off the calendar!

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Two grandsons dropped in for a visit.  Brian came from Ohio.  He was there in Dad’s first week of rehab.  Dad was getting four breathing treatments a day on a nebulizer.  Since Brian has asthma, he was encouraging and helpful . 

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Wesley was coming home for an annual Alumni soccer game. But he spent quite a bit of his weekend home with his Grandpa.


And one other visitor of note snuck in to see Dad…our new puppy Sadie!  She was a therapy dog for one evening!

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Mom’s day finally arrived.  Robin came to take her to the hospital.  They waited quite a long time and then began to prep her for the procedure.  But can you believe it???  She had a bladder infection and was sent home with antibiotics!!  Poor Mom! 

Dad came home on Saturday, November 16.  Mom went in the following Tuesday for her procedure, the infection was diminished enough that they were able to proceed   So now they have both been recovering for about two weeks.  Recovery is slow.  Aging is hard.

The past two months have challenged me in a lot of ways.  I have tried to figure out what I should be learning.  Three thoughts keep rambling around in my heart and head. The fist thought…it actually keeps smacking me in the face over and over is that growing old is so very hard!  Like the bumper sticker I’ve seen and used to smile at, “It’s not for Sissies!”  Sin has permeated our world, lives and bodies.  Growing old and dying are proofs of its work.  On the flip side of that thinking is just how precious life is and we were created for life, eternal life!  It is not over at the grave, it is just beginning!  Eternal life will be lived out in one of two places, in the presence of God and Jesus Christ with all all its glories.  Or in the place of judgment, filled with all the ugliness of sin and suffering that never ever ends.  It is a choice that is made while we live.  It is a choice to believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior now, while we are living. 

Which sort of brings me to my second thought, which is, that I love my parents very much!  I know how blessed I am to have both of them still living and being a big part of my life.  God has healed my Dad and given him more life.  But really, Dad is okay with being done with this sinful world.  He made that choice long, long ago. I know that if the sepsis had taken him back on day one of this ordeal, I would see him again. 

And my last thought is just how faithful God is.  I am sometimes overwhelmed at just how timely His encouragement is to me.  Each day something from His Word enabled me to keep going, to keep up with parents and work and other commitments.  Not always enough sleep, but enough grace for each day! In Bible Study this year we are studying the book of Matthew.  I have been so encouraged by Jesus’ example. He had long days of caring for people.  At least no one is lined up outside my door after supper waiting for attention as they did at Jesus’ door.  Jesus was willing to touch people with disease.  He had compassion as he saw people stumbling through life with all its difficulties.  He took time.  He gave.  He loved.  And He reminds me I can do the same as I depend on Him. 

So the December status is that Dad is improving but still weak and recovering from the pneumonia.  He actually goes to see his Doctor tomorrow.  Mom is going to repeat her procedure later this week.  They need to build up the fractures some more. This is Mom and Dad on Thanksgiving Day. I snuck a photo shot as we were praying before dinner. 


They look great don’t they?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Andrea Michelle Godby Hamilton!!

Today our little girl is turning 31 years of age!!  Although she just celebrated her sixth wedding anniversary and has four children of her own, she is still our little girl.  We are so very proud of you Andrea Michelle, in all the best ways for parents to be proud!  You have brought much joy to our family and since we were given only one daughter, how blessed we are to have been given the very best!!


You have also brought many interesting moments to our family…and who knows that better than your brothers!  Yes, these two guys are going to bring you your Birthday memories this year!  You have nothing to  worry about, they are very trustworthy!

Christmas 2006

Happy Birthday Sis.  My fondest memories are of us together were at Bible college.  You helped me with study notes, proofing papers, and doing your best to keep me away from all the "bad girls."  Those couple of years and all the help and encouragement you gave me meant a lot.  I remember you quizzing me before all of my GBI exams and helping me out as we went through Christology together (a Smith class).  I am glad that we have something in common, serving in full-time ministry.  And I am excited to see how God will use your family in NYC. 

Here’s a couple of things I remember:

  • I remember you having nearly as many accidents as I did in high school, but you always seemed to get out of them without a ticket or insurance points. 
  • I remember you got  your foot caught in the back tire of dads motorcycle when you rode on the back for the first time.
  •   There’s also the time you shot yourself in the foot with the nail gun. 
  • Remember the rubber band fights we used to have in the Evergreen PO,
  • and the ER visit following sledding on New Years day. 
  • Last but not least, the many times we jumped in the car and went skiing at Copper Mtn. or Winter Park. 

We certainly have been through a lot together, some good and some not so good, but in the end I still love you Sis.  Happy Birthday!


This is Mom again…with a memory (actually a picture that brings back that memory!) of you and Kenny getting all dressed up to go on a little date!  You had bought tickets and were heading downtown to hear the Irish Tenors.  I do remember letting you drive the Falcon and that it was a really, really hot afternoon.  You look pretty good in this photo…it doesn’t show the sweat!

Well Andrea tomorrow is your birthday, you made it to 31! Some memories that I have growing up,?  Let’s see…

  • There is always the classic time that we were fishing up in the mountains and as I was casting, you got in my way, and I cast my line and fly right into your ankle.
  • Remember the Christmas we were elk hunting in Craig, and Dad promised you the first shot?  But when we found the elk Dad grabbed your rifle and started shooting. Needless to say...he missed!  When you did get your shot you dropped your elk at 200 yards with one shot.!!
  • When I started working at McDonald's with you we set drive through records for the most cars in an hour.
  • There was the time we went to the water park, and you lost your glasses in the wave pool,
  • or when you took the van to work and scraped the whole side down the edge of a stop sign (what were you doing that close to the stop sign??),
  • and as always the classic, when you backed over the trailer I moved behind Fred to get out the ATV.  (Editor’s note:  Andrea had come home, pulled onto the drive and run into the house real quick.  During that “real quick” moment to her, Wes had moved the trailer behind the little truck the kids called Fred.  Andrea came dashing back out of the house, around the back of the car, you know, where the trailer now sat, jumped in and yep…backed right into that trailer!)

My birthday wish for you this year, is not just for you, but for your whole family. I pray that as you and Ben prepare to go out on deputation that God will show Himself  to you in a new and powerful way. That He will protect you all as you travel from church to church. Also that He continues to guide and direct you and Ben, not just in ministry and church planting, but also as parents, and one day, as a pastor and pastor’s wife.  I wish that this year He will reveal Himself to you in an even more real way, and reveal new things to you all. That Elaine, Nolan, Liberty and, Nehemiah will continue to grow and become healthy strong Christian leaders like their parents.

Love you Sparky, Happy Birthday,


That’s a pretty good way to end a Birthday blog post!  Have a Happy Day and a year blessed by the Lord!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday was my sister Robin’s birthday.  I sent her a text full of Birthday wishes and she sent me one back calling me a brat for mentioning her age!  That is what a Birthday is about, isn’t it?  Well, sisters can be like that…especially older sisters!  All kidding aside, I am very thankful to have my sister Robin in my life!!  She has been a big sister in all the usual ways…helping with advice and experiences,sharing recipes, hobbies, laughter, parenting stuff and now, best of all grandkids!!  But she is also my friend, long before there were BFF’s or Ya-Ya’s!

Robin is also my sister in Christ which takes our relationship to an even deeper plane.  We pray for each other and encourage one another with God’s promises.  We see His Hand at work in all the circumstances of our lives, good and bad.  We can rejoice, and have hope and peace…especially in the difficult times!  We see from the eternal point of view, not just the “here and now” and it brings purpose. 

All of that is important because we never know what a year will hold in our lives.  As we celebrated Robin’s Birthday last year, she never knew what this year would hold for her…cancer.  If you have been living your life depending on the Lord, cancer is just another opportunity in which to do that.  Oh, I am sure Robin has had her days of doubt and fear.  Trusting the Lord doesn’t mean you won’t.  It means that when you do, His promises become more real to you.  His peace follows and you can smile.  Not because your circumstances have changed, but because your heart has.  And a smile is pretty much what you will always get from Robin! 

I took the picture below of Robin on her first day of chemo.  I am happy to say that when she went in last week to have her second to the last treatment, they sent her home without it.  She does not have to have any more chemo!  So she is chemo free!!!  We now wait to see if she is cancer free, which won’t be for a couple of months.


In the photo above, Robin still has her hair.  It was one thing she was dreading, losing her hair.  But she has always liked hats too and she looks so cute in them!



One nice thing about Robin having chemo, is that she was off work all summer.  So we had a lot of sister time, especially when Jo hit town in August!  We had a couple of scrap sessions, making cards for JoEllen’s stash.  We had breakfast together and, lunch together, probably even dinner once!  We also went to tea, shopped at Ikea and had Swedish meatballs, talked and quoted Psalm 1 together! (Mom, Robin and I were working on memorizing it!)  It was a nice summer for the “sisterhood!”




So, I am thankful for Robin.  I am blessed to have her in my life.  Even if her report comes back in a couple of months and is negative, nothing I have said here would change.  My gratefulness stems from an unchanging God, Who graciously gave me a wonderful Big Sister!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gypsy and Georgia Pass

Gypsy was 13 years old in May. The photo below was taken when she was just a pup and getting a little defensive of the dog food which Frank, Kenny’s iguana also enjoyed.  Gypsy was a third dog…no, not my plan, but these things do happen…but she was always the “alpha” dog!  Always!

Gypsy & Frank

In August Wally took me to Georgia Pass to have a nice look at the wildflowers. Georgia Pass must be one of Wally’s favorite spots in Colorado.  It is pretty and we almost always see some wildlife.  At the top is the Continental Divide and the Colorado trail runs across it.  We camped there many times when the kids were still at home and we had our ATV’s.  When we have out of town friends in, a ride to Georgia Pass wows them!  It’s the spot Wally took Ben and Andrea when Ben first visited Colorado and he and Andrea were just getting to know each other.  It’s a place where Wally has dreamed of hunting his big trophy elk. 

We took Gypsy along with us on this outing and I’m glad now that we did.  As I put this post together it is not really “Georgia on my mind” so much as it is Gypsy.  On Labor Day weekend, while Wally was out of town, I had to take Gypsy to the vet and put her down. 

Georgia Pass August 2013

This is how Gypsy always liked to ride…she wanted to be up front where she could see.  Years ago when we camped with our ATV’s Wally made a little basket for her to ride in.  But it was on the back and she always wanted to be in the front…on your lap with her paws on the handle bars.  She was riding along on Wally’s console like this until we hit the four wheel drive parts of the road.  We got her to sit but her focus was still "up front.”

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass has beautiful views of Colorado’s mountains wherever you look.  Keystone Ski area is visible to the south (Wally tells me these things, I just turn and look!) and Breckenridge to the west.  Here is Breckenridge.

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass August 2013

I took this picture for my kids. This road is now blocked off, but we used to ride all the way up and across the top of the divide. 

Georgia Pass August 2013

Wally brought me to see the wildflowers and we were not disappointed.  It’s funny to be posting these photos now because we have snow in the forecast for tomorrow! I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass August 2013

Georgia Pass August 2013

This is kind of a funny photo.  We are walking along in the middle of the great Rocky Mountains, enjoying the beauty, when, can you believe it?  Wally’s cell phone rang!  When he looked at the ID, we had to answer.  It was Mr. Rausch, an elderly friend from our church a few years ago.  He now lives in Pennsylvania and he had heard about our twins.  You gotta take a call like that where ever you are, right?

Georgia Pass August 2013

Gypsy was mostly Wesley’s dog.  When he left home for school and summers as a camp counselor, she sort of came to me.  She had a funny little personality.  When you talked to her she would look at you and turn her head as though she really was trying to understand.  She was a barky little thing, part of that alpha deal I guess.  Wally was the one who gave her the ear rubs and played with her.  But she followed on my heels all day long. It’s been a month now but when ever I come home I still expect to see her waiting on the landing of our steps to greet me.  Funny how those furry little critters crawl into our hearts! 

Georgia Pass August 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Running the Race

Hebrews 12:1 “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

I sometimes forget that I am running in a race.  I think of it for other people, particularly when they are in a difficulty.  I  pray things like, “Lord help them in this race that You have given to them.”  I see myself on the side line cheering them on, forgetting that I am not to be on the side lines.  I too have been given a race to run.  And the terrain of my race course changes daily.  I get stuck often in my routine and what I call the “daily dailies.”  I get discouraged because I mess up in the everyday activity.  I make little choices that I think won’t matter because they are “little” or they are made in my thoughts and no one else sees them.  There I can rationalize away my sinful ”little” attitudes and even tell the Lord that it is okay why I did not obey Him; I had a very good reason.   But really, that is just a lie I have swallowed by the good old father of lies, Satan.  

I love my devotion book, At the Feet of Jesus.  (I’m sure you’ve heard me say that a time or two before).  It’s not a woman’s words but God’s words that jump off the pages to me in new understanding. Like the definition for the word weight in the verse above, it’s not a big sinful lifestyle or addiction in my life…it’s the choices made in my “daily dailies” that hinders me in my race.  This quote from Ray Ortlund truly gripped my soul this morning~

“Your danger and mine is not that we become criminals, but rather, that we become respectable, decent, commonplace, mediocre Christians…The twenty-first century temptations that really sap our spiritual power are the television, banana cream pies, the easy chair, and the credit card.  Christian, you will win or lose in those seemingly innocent little moments of decision”

“Win or lose in those seemingly innocent little moments of decision!”  Those words convicted me!  As I was thinking on them, God brought to my mind the hymn, “Whiter Than Snow”.  The way to get back in the race, is by coming to Him in repentance and receiving His cleansing.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe-
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow

Lord Jesus look down from Thy throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself and whatever I know-
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus for this I most humbly entreat
I wait blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing I see Thy blood flow-
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought Thee Thou never saidst “No”-
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Gotta go get my running shoes on!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trail Ridge Road

I always thought that the meaning of the word vista was “a beautiful view”.  But I looked it up before using it on this post and discovered it means “distant view”.  I need to invent a new word which means “beautiful, distant views” because we have so many of them in Colorado!  Recently Wally’s cousin and his wife came through Colorado.  Larry and Ellen were on a major road trip, driving from Missouri to Washington and then taking an Alaskan cruise to celebrate their 50th anniversary!  They spent a day with us so they could take a look at Colorado.  So we drove them through Coal Creek Canyon and picked up the Peak to Peak Highway to Rocky Mountain National Park where there were vistas to behold at every turn!

Here’s a couple of the peeks at Long’s Peak!



The black area is from a fire that burned earlier this summer.  You can also see among the green pine trees, many dead pines.  It is so amazing to me, as well as sad, that a little beetle is responsible for so much damage.  There is no cure for the beetle kill except a really good cold winter.  They are chomping their way through many of our mountain sides and leaving them dry and an instant match stick.



We stopped at the top of Trail Ridge Road and took in more glorious vistas and tried capturing what we enjoyed seeing on the cameras!

Here is Larry and Ellen at the top of Trail Ridge Road.


And you know these two, right?


Pretty little wildflowers were were sprinkled all over the tundra.  A little info sign told us they are always “little” due to the winds that blow about 35 mph all summer long! 


There was also a small group of cow elk grazing at the top of the tundra…


and I caught a calf nursing!


Of course spectacular mountains were at every turn. 




Oh,  and here’s a couple more cutie pies…




And here’s Larry and Wally.


Larry and Ellen said they will never forget the views they saw.  I know we are so blessed  to live here and and always have a “vista” when ever we decide to look to the west! 


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