Sunday, December 9, 2007


Anniversaries have a funny way of sneaking up on you. I'm not talking about those special times that we try to remember like wedding anniversaries or the anniversary of the first time you tasted chocolate, rather, I'm referring to anniversaries of times that you'd prefer to forget. That is what happened this weekend.

One of the joys of packing so many people into one household is that we have more opportunity to share communicable diseases like the common cold, flu, and other seasonal ailments. Ethan was the latest victim and he spent most of Saturday morning on the couch after throwing up a few times. Poor guy just felt lousy. Amelia and I, veterans of the selfsame bug that seemed to be attacking our son, had plenty of sympathy, but as it was a virus, there was not a lot we could do except treat the symptoms. Ethan has the added complication of being a juvenile diabetic, which means that in addition to being nauseous and having an upset tummy, he also had a liver trying to dump excess sugar into his system and a compromised manner of dealing with that extra sugar. It is hard to say whether his diabetes helped him get sicker or his illness threw his diabetes into a tailspin, but the end result was that we couldn't get his blood sugars under control and he was slipping into DKA. We ended up taking him to the ER and after about 4 hours there, we were admitted so that the Dr.s could closely monitor his blood glucose and give him intravenous fluids which would get rid of his ketones, over time.

Now, to the anniversary part: rewind almost exactly three years ago, Ethan was 18 months old and had been sick for about a week and we'd been to the Dr. several times that week and couldn't understand why he was so bad off. One week before Christmas, Ethan was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when we had a friend, and ER doctor, help us confirm what was going on with Ethan. He was taken by helicopter to the OU Children's Center in OKC and spent a few days in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit while the experts helped him come out of DKA. That was the beginning of our education about Type I Diabetes.

We learned that simple things like colds and flu type illnesses that most people shake off in a few days can rapidly throw a diabetic child into DKA, but this was the first time for it to get this bad. On the one hand, we're very thankful that in three years, this is the first time that Ethan has been hospitalized at all. We've been very diligent about caring for Ethan, and we've been very blessed. At any rate, this weekend has been stressful not only on our little guy, but also on our family. Amelia's grandfather is in hospice and will soon pass into his reward. A bittersweet time for any family. Her parents have been occupied trying to be there for comfort of family and to organize the efforts of the family as they gather during these final days. It is the end of the school semester for me and I've been finishing up papers and projects. Eleanor has been potty training (with limited success).... there has just been a lot going on before throwing this hospital stay in the mix.... it should be no surprise that I've been a bit emotional this weekend.

Intellectually, I know that everything is going to be alright, both with Ethan's health and our life stress, but emotionally, the last time this type of event occurred, our lives were thrown into turmoil and all I can seem to do is fret and worry. However, I do want to throw in here, God is still good and has abundantly blessed us. Just like last time, people have bent over backwards to help us and completely take care of my family. God has placed us, surrounded us, blessed us with a rich pool of family and friend from which to draw strength and comfort. The church family at Minter Lane, in general, was a great comfort to us with their care and concern. The Teel family, specifically, has somehow formed some close bonds with us and (not for the first or last time) has stepped forward to exhibit the tangible love of Christ to us with their concern and hospitality. The Matt & Heather Dodd family have repeatedly been there for us when we needed them and this weekend was no exception. Martha Tucker, Patsy, my Mom and Dad, Amelia's co-workers, the Myricks.... people from our circle of friends and family... I'm just overwhelmed at God's provision. My role as a chaplain at Hendrick was reversed a bit as I experienced the flip side of the work at the hospital. Instead of being a comforter, the staff showed to me personally what I see them provide to Abilenians every week.

Maybe I don't really want to forget these anniversaries after all. When I can put on the glasses that God gives me to see his presence in my life, these crises don't seem all that bad. God is good. I am blessed. Come Lord, Jesus, heal my son. Increase my faith and help me trust you more. Oh, and thank you for my friends and family.

I won't forget these important anniversaries, but I wish they wouldn't sneak up on me...


Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving day... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, I've finally sat myself down to blog and I realized that I have too much stuff to blog about.... so I've decided to tell you about one thing at a time. Right now, it is Thanksgiving

That string of letters hung in the Putt-Putt Golf & Games redemption area when I worked there as a teenager. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it meant and finally found out from one of the other employees: Lord, I do give Thee thanks for the abundance that is mine.

I haven't forgotten it because it is a creative and poignant way to be reminded to be thankful. This day is no different. I'm thankful for many things: pecan pie, central heat & air, double-ply toilet paper, just to name a few. Of course, it is fashionable to be thankful for family and forgiveness and our jobs and homes, but I really think that thankfulness should run deeper and more extensively than those things. When was the last time you stopped and really appreciated, I mean *really* appreciated shoelaces (or Velcro, for that matter)? Or synthetic fiber? Or ice from Sonic? Or sphygmomanometers?

Many of us have stories about our children learning to pray where they thank God not only for the food and their families, but then start looking around and thanking God for everything they can see. We think it is cute and after the 50th item (thank you for the table, and thank you for my milk, and thank you for my spoon, and thank you .... THAT'S enough, baby... say "amen".), we put a gentle stop to it and smile and eat our food. But what is a game to the kid should be something more serious to us. Let's cultivate an attitude of gratitude and be sure to give thanks and honor where they are eternally due.

Lord, give us eyes to see the abundance in our lives. Give us tongues to thank you for your bountiful grace and daily mercies. Give us hands and feet that share our __________ with others so they can come to appreciate your love. Give us hearts to receive and share your Son with all those you put in our sphere of influence. Give us the courage and faith to give YOU our all in return. All I have, all I am, all I hope to be, I give to you, God. I pray it is acceptable in your sight. amen.

One other thing I have to be thankful about is the visible change in season here in Abilene on this fine thanksgiving day. Take a look at these pictures documenting the progression of seasonal change as recorded by my camera from the warmth of my home :)

1) The turkeys are fried and carried into the kitchen

2) MH notices tiny flakes are falling. I tell her not to get excited, that it won't amount to much and even if it does, it probably won't stick.

3) The snowflakes get thicker and starts to stick on the ground.

4) The kids beg to go back outside after lunch and play in the snow.

5) Some people, like Adrian and Kirra, had the good sense to watch the snow fall from the comfort of the bay window.

6) Others wanted to go outside and pose for pictures.

7) These three hams stayed outside so long that when they came inside....

8) They were soooo cold... Ethan's hands hurt as they warmed up.

9) A snowman was made and good times were had by all. Be thankful, be thankful.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Of Teddy Bears and clothing

Ethan was supposed to be napping this afternoon when he surprised me by quietly sneaking up on me while I was studying.

E: Daddy?
Me: Oh! Ethan. What are you doing out of bed, big guy?
E: I want Camouflage Bear.
Me: Who?
E: That bear, right there. (points to a shelf where some stuffed animals reside)
Me: Why do you need that bear right now?
E: I don't need the bear. I just need his shirt.
Me: His shirt?
E: (solemnly nodding) yeah...
Me: (smirking) Why do you need the shirt?
E: Daddy.... (in a grown up, know it all voice) Bears don't wear clothes.
Me: (laughing) Ok, so what will you do with his shirt?
E: Put it on my dinosaur.
Me: (uncontrollable laughter) Oh, so bears don't wear clothes but dinosaurs do?
E: Only *this* dinosaur.

Lord, I do give thee thanks for the abundance that is mine. And thank you for doll-sized camouflaged shirts.


Sunday, September 30, 2007


Me: Ethan, come here and let me change your pump site.

Ethan: Dad! I don't want to get shot.

Me: And I don't want to stick you, son, but we have to do this.

Ethan: (petulant) I'm tired of having diabetes.


Ethan: I want my diabetes to go away. Daddy, did you hear me?

Me: (sighing) Yes, buddy. I wish it were that easy. Now, hold still.

Ethan: (fidgeting as he prepares to get stuck) Daddy, if we pray to God, will he take away my diabetes?

Me: I don't know, bud. Do you want to pray for that?

Ethan: Yeah. Let's pray to God to take away my diabetes.

Me: Ok, just a second (inserting the canula).

Ethan: OW! Daddy!

Me: I'm sorry, brother, come here (picking him up into a bear hug).

Ethan: I don't like my diabetes.

Me: Me neither. Did you want to pray?

Ethan: Yeah.

Me: Dear God...

Ethan: Dear God...

Me: Thank you for Jesus.

Ethan: (repeating) thank you for Jesus.

Me: Thank you for Mommy and Daddy

Ethan: thank you for Mommy and Daddy

Me: And for all of our blessings.

Ethan: And for all of our blessings.

Me: Watch over all of our loved ones

Ethan: Watch over all of our loved ones

Me: God, please come and heal Ethan and take away his diabetes.

Ethan: Yeah, take away my diabetes.

Me: Help him to sleep hard tonight

Ethan: So I can play hard tomorrow.

Together: In Jesus' name, amen.

John 4:46-53
Come, Lord Jesus

Grace and peace to you.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

4 year old soccer

Where else can you hear phrases such as, "Stewart! Get your head out of the net!" and "It is not time to sit down and pick yellow flowers! Get up and go kick the soccer ball!" ? That's right, it is time for 4 year old soccer!

It is important to stay hydrated. In fact, it is possible to consume your body weight in water and still be thirsty. Soccer is thirsty business. Oh, word to the wise... bring a cooler.

In practice, you get to kick the ball toward the goal without a crowd of other 4 year olds running along side. During the actual game, it is much the same, except you also have 20 sets of parents yelling at you while you do it.

The rules of the game are simple, kick the ball down the field and try to kick it into the net. The actual mechanics are somewhat more difficult to master when your shin guards are 5 sizes bigger than your shins. Another complicating factor that Ethan discovered: when you aren't in practice, if you kick the ball to someone else, they don't kick it back, they go off down the field to score a goal. Live and learn.
Team Name: Cobras
Team Spirit: Monkeys
The photographer actually managed to get them all looking the same direction and smiling. I was impressed.

Lining them up to shoot them

Haley only had a handful of smiles to hand out.

I took a few pics of Ethan at home before the game. This is a little game called: Why are we paying $20 bucks for a picture of our 4 year old in his soccer uniform when Daddy can take professional quality photos in the front yard for $0.12?

I call this one... "The look"

And we're all having a great time. At least those who know what to do.. namely dribble the ball down the field and score.

In Soccer, pile ups like this rarely happen, so I'm told. On the other hand, they've got a pretty good start of a rugby game. In Australia, in the middle of barfights, rugby games break out.

Um, this is to prove that I did operate with dual media that day, I just haven't gotten around to posting the 10 useable minutes of video footage. One of these days, I'll figure out iMovie. I miss Premiere Pro.

GOAL! (Did anyone keep track of the score?)
Good game, good game, good game... Now lets have snacks!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A walk across campus

This post will be mostly images. I have been so busy with classes in the past week or two, I haven't had much time to post blogs or to take pictures... so I carried my camera with me last week and just took pictures of things that caught my eye as I walked from the Bible Building to Amelia's office at Abilene Educational Supply, across the street from ACU and back. I did take a circuitous route rather than just walking as straight a line as possible between the two points. I hope you enjoy the pictures! Have a great week! (side note, for those of you importing this feed to a reader or from Facebook feeds, if you follow the link to the original story, you can click on the images for large sizes and *really* appreciate the beauty of these pictures.)

Bike rack on the east side of Campus Center

New Food Court from the Wildcat's perspective

Pretty flowers outside the Campus Center

This electrical mess surprised me. Surely there is a better way to wire this than the ugly configuration hanging on the wall here...

I'm for ACU, too! But I don't have a towncar.

Sunsets in West Texas are pretty, but sometimes sunny afternoons can be beautiful, too!

This is the first picture I shot in RAW format, the tree above. I was pleasantly surprised at the extensive manipulation possible with that much data. I didn't realize how much you lose when you shoot in .jpg format. Food for thought. Now, I just need to upgrade to a 4GB card so I can store the RAW data. That one shot was about 20MB. Click the small image above for a larger look.


I thought this shot was really funny because this person had not one, but TWO tickets for parking without a permit. You'd think he'd at least take the one off his windshield so the ticket writers would have a harder time spotting the violation... again!

Hi, Dionne! This overexposed shot also features the tree in the right hand side of the picture in good focus while the obvious subject of the picture is a bit blurry. *sigh*

I leave you with a neat shot of the Tower of Light against that beautiful blue sky.

Hope you enjoyed walking across campus and back with me!