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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Brush of Mercy


...for safe travel to Grandpa Don's hospital bed

...for wisdom of doctors and tender ministries of the nurses

...for fluids, and antibiotics, and steroids...

...for oxygen, sustaining the scarred lungs

...for the arms of family, the loving hugs, the encouraging smiles

...for improving prognosis

...for cream soups and chocolate shakes

...for laughter brightening the sterile white room

...for faithful God, for gifts of life

...for believing patriarchs who lead the way, amazing father-in-law who trusts in midst of trial...

Gratitude flows freely this night.  Thank you all for carrying us to the throne of Grace.  We have felt the brush of His mercy, and we bow low with thanksgiving,

                                                  In Grace Always,


Monday, January 28, 2013

Babies in the Barn...

Our newest additions...Triplets born this week!
Hard to tell where one baby ends and the other begins.  It's a jumble of kids!  And, oh, so sweet...
From the top of their downy heads and silky ears
to the tips of their darlin' little hooves!
It's my favorite time of year.  Kidding Season.  Well, to be honest, most every season begs to be favorite.  But our baby goat season is the best!  It is new life.  Hope birthed in innocence.  Crazy, happy goat-kids leaping and bounding around the pasture.  And piles of soft, silken kid babies napping in the straw under mama's watchful eye.   
And in the midst of the happy, the phone's ring shatters the bliss  Stacatto message. Heart beats urgent..
Father-in-law... pneumonia... breathing labored .... lips tinged with blue... hospital rush.... 
We are on our way.  Heading north, racing the ice storm.  Praying, praying as we breath, let the oxygen flow in, sustain life... 
Be merciful...  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Hope of our Hearts

This month Hope has come calling for Pancreatic Cancer patients everywhere... It is Hope for a medical break-through.  Hope for early testing and detection.  Hope for more effective treatments.

Hope for a Cure... the form of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act which was signed into Law on January 3, 2013.

It is Hope that not one more family struggles with this vicious disease; not one more wife, mother, husband, brother, daughter, grandpa or grandma faces the cruel bite of pancreatic cancer.

Will it happen tomorrow?  No...Research takes time.  But I believe with all my heart that it will happen.  For research also takes money and scientists and laboratories.  And the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act offers the resources to make it so.  More money to fund the scientists and clinical trials, more time in the labs to crack the grip of this deadly cancer.   Mom would have given a war whoop of approval.  It is the first step in the right direction.  It is strength garnered from the many, the gathering up of the forces, the circling of the this fight it will take all to make a difference.  And it is coming...

The Hope of our Hearts...

Paul knew that kind of Hope.  In Ephesians he pressed the saints to hold on to it.  In the midst of the mess, the hurt, the broken...Paul painted in words the Hope that we are all called to...

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,

He has called us to Hope even as we walk the cancer road, the painful road, the grieved and broken road...

Where is Hope here?  In the dark places, the hurting places...

Can Hope be found?

Yes, even here.  Hope calls us, entreats us to look beyond the now into...

 ...the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
           ~ Ephesians 1:18-19

His power is great, His Hope is the catalyst for mending the broken.  And I am chief among the broken.  Hope blooms fresh in Faith, bridging the gap between our now and the eternal...

A Glorious Inheritance... Unspeakable.  Unimagineable.  Beauty and Rest and Purpose and Wholeness that we can barely conceive...

When we weary in the journey, His Hope, this Glorious Hope, whispers to aching hearts.  Look up, look around, I am here, I have always been... You are not alone.  My Love stretched out arms wide for you.  To give you Hope.  Right where you are.

It is the Hope of our Hearts...May you be lifted up above the brokenness of life's circumstances and find His Love immeasureably able to carry you through...

Graced in Hope this day, 
                    Love Always, Jane 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tracks in the Snow

Thunder Snow woke us up early this morning!

Only in Texas!  Thunder Snow...That's what the weathermen were calling it.

But seriously, thunder and lightening woke us up around 5am and as we peered out into the inky darkness, we saw fluffy flakes of snow drifting down to cover everything!  By feeding time we had a very generous...dusting...of the beautiful white plush!

And in Texas, a dusting of snow is something to write home about...and take pictures of!  So, you guessed's the morning feeding in pics!

And as we pressed thru the newly fallen snow,
wrapped in scarfs and mittens and downy coats,
we noticed the tracks.
They were everywhere...
And we became Hunters,
the good kind
that is... 
Hunters of Tracks.
They did not disappoint!

 There were Petie Puppy Prints...


And Bam-Bam Cat prints...


Oh I just love this one!
Mama Peacock prints....


And then there are Papa Goat prints,
that are fuzzy because he was after the feed bucket
while I was snapping pics...

He doesn't look one bit sorry for pushing me around, stinker.


And then there are...

No Daisy Donkey prints, because,
well, because, she was smart and wouldn't budge
from the warm stable.
Not coming out til the snow melts!
Food please...


And traipsing all over the farm yard are these fascinating prints!

The Happy (but cold) Goat Herder
bundled in layers
(that are fashionably mis-matched)
and anxious for her Hot Chocolate,
Fuzzy Blanket and Blazing Fireplace...

But before I made it back inside, I noticed one more set of prints...

And it made me happy because I thought how nice it was that all our
farm animals get along...
The peacocks and the puppies.
Walking side by side, keeping watch over each other...

Then I came to my senses and
realized that those were cat prints and
they were most likely stalking the peacocks...
I'm not the only Tracker in this pack.

Thank goodness our peas can fly high!

Praying your day is stalked by Joy
and that Grace leaves Forever Tracks in your Heart!

Love Always,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Life is a Journey...

...not a guided tour.

 Remind me that I am part of the crew...
and not just a passenger!

May your Journey this week
be filled with wisdom, beauty and joy.

Love you,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Move over Cookie Monster!

There's another Cookie in town...

Oh, wait...It's just our lovable Aubree Claire turning 1!!!

It's a day meant for celebrating and we loved every minute.  Hard to believe a year has passed since she graced our lives last January 6th!  How the time has flown!  From binkies and blankies to topsy-turvy toddling and toothy grins, we are head over heels in love with this patch of mischief in pink!
And so we celebrate this Birthday Sesame-Street Style!!

There were Cookie Monster Cupcakes!

And Elmo Veggie Trays


And Big Sisters with Balloons!

And there were Bags!!!

With Toys in them!!

And Holy Cow, Big Sister says there are more Toys...

Such Happy Girls!

Who knew Birthdays could be such fun?


And then it got even better...

Mom says it's a Smash Cake.  I am intrigued...

Touch it?!  Seriously????

Well, maybe one little touch...

Sweet Birthday Cake! Where have you been all my life????

Ummm, No, Mom....I'm not done yet!

But our favorite Cookie Monster is willing to share...
Want some???

Oh, Sweet Aubree Claire you make our world go round!

Love you to pieces,
Forever and For Always,
Memaw and Pepaw

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Diamond of a Dilemma...

It's beautiful.  Fire captured in finest prisms.  A precious gemstone born from the perfect storm of intense pressure and molten heat.  Delicate gold band.  Brilliant beauty that dazzles.  It is beautiful.

And it has been on my mom's slender finger for as long as I can remember...

It is mom's diamond ring.  A gift of love and devotion from Dad.  She has worn it thru these many years... Thru children growing, job transfer moving, and grandchildren loving, thru kidney stones, crazy work schedules and New Year's Eve lobster dinners.

Thru trials.

Thru joys.

The diamond never wavered nor slid from her hand.  A sign of their vows, of marriage's enduring bond.  A diamond whose beauty reflected the blessings of their love forged over moments and smiles, whispers and tears, coffee and kisses...

When pancreatic cancer entered mom's life, her diamond ring was the last thing on our minds.   However, as we poured over treatment plans, tumor marker results and stent replacement options, the pancreatic cancer was systematically gnawing away at mom's fragile reserves of healthy fat and muscle.

A day came when mom's ring simply slipped off her finger, she had lost too much weight.  She held dazzling beauty in the palm of her hand and had to make the decision...have the band sized smaller, or put it away in the jewelry box for safe keeping.

It stayed in the jewelry box, nestled in velvet, while mom valiantly fought a beast that would not relent.

Somewhere along the way, mom decided that she wanted each of her "girls" to have a part of her jewelry collection when she was gone.  And she knew exactly which pieces would go to each one...

She found tiny jewelry boxes for each of us.

And proceeded to fill them with treasured gems...
Dad handed out the precious boxes during that first Christmas without mom.
A gift given to each one...a daughter, a daughter-in-law, the grand-daughters and even the tiniest of great-grand-daughters.  Tears drenched our cheeks as Dad's voice cracked and grief rendered him speechless.  But the sweet, velvet jewelry boxes needed no explanations.  We each opened the soft lid to find a treasure placed there by mom's own hand.
To me, her oldest child and only daugher, she had left the diamond ring...
Such a small bit of metal and stone.  Who would think it could wreak such havoc with my emotions?  It sparkles, it captivates, it is perfect, and it reminds me so much of mom.
A part of me wanted to wear it close to my heart all the time, yet another part of me sorrowed to know she would never wear it again...
And there the dilemma was born.  What to do with mom's diamond ring?  How to honor her memory best?
It felt wrong to leave it tucked away in the jewelry box, as if trying to forget the promise it bears.  But I have my own diamond, that also bears a promise, of love sweet and new, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death us do part...
Here we are...College sweethearts and so in love.
And so poor!
Our diamond is but a token, as tiny as the proverbial mustard seed,
but it is precious to me.
Mom's ring and mine.
Over the weeks and months of this past year, as the heart has begun to heal the tearing loss, an idea began to form.  The thought teeter-tottered back and forth, and finally came together in the most beautiful of ways...
With Leroy's blessing, I had the jeweler switch the diamonds on the bands.  My wedding band set now bears mom's diamond, and her simple gold band bears mine.
I have found great delight in knowing I carry a little of mom and dad's love with me everyday, merged seamlessly into my cherished wedding band.
And the best part?
My diminutive diamond on mom's delicate gold band is a keepsake perfect for our firstborn grand-daughter, our sweet and ever-loved Autumn girl...
2 rings...
Both sparkling with Love
for the Family they hold close.
I can feel Mom's Smile from Heaven...
A Gift of Grace for the New Year begun.
If dilemmas dog your way and cloud your vision
as we enter this swept-clean month of beginnings,
I pray that with each step,
your heart becomes more sure,
and your path gentles and clears
as you rest in the Giver of All Things New.
          Always in Grace,