This is a fine way to be starting 2017.
My 2017 calendar has already been messed up. I am not sure who is responsible. 🙂 Someone arranged for the carpet cleaners to clean our pews today. The daycare and office are supposed to be closed. Whoever is responsible for this scheduling error needs to be a little more careful when setting and scheduling appointments.
I arrived at church early. Who knew people were moving around Kennett at 8am. After a few quick words of introduction he was off to work and I headed to my office.
Church was strangely quiet. No children on their way to daycare yelling down the hall, “Hello Pastor Dan”. Working in this shell of a place was odd.
I spent time wrapping up 2016 and looking forward to 2017.
In the midst of my work I prepared a journal to record whatever 2017 has in store for our family. 2016 was filled with surprises and yet we were still able to see God’s faithfulness time and time again. I am eagerly anticipating God’s faithfulness no matter what 2017 holds. [Read more…]
The time between Christmas and New Years has become a special time for our family. We take a break from the rush of the holidays and enjoy just being together.
This year has taken on a special meaning. With the past nine months of our journey through chemotherapy and all the unknowns it is extra special to have a few days to spend together as a family. In October my parents moved from NY to a home less than five minutes from us. We have enjoyed having them nearby. We have been able to spend some extra time together.
This past week week Nancy, Joseph, Rayann, and I took a day trip with Mom and Dad. We went to Rio Grande, NJ to visit the family cemetery. Mom got to see the town she grew up in just a few years ago. Her grandparents home is gone and the lot is now home to a Rita’s Water Ice. A lot has changed, it was hard to recognize much of what once was.
Later in the day we traveled to Cape May and found the homes of other relatives. We got to visit the Cape May lighthouse and the Cement ship. To end our trip we went to the boardwalk in Wildwood. It was a great day together and we all enjoyed hearing mom’s stories of growing up in NJ.
Christmas on a Sunday is always busy and there is a lot to consider when planning. On one hand there is no better place to be on Christmas morning than gathering for worship with your faith community. It is good to come together and celebrate the birth of Christ. It is also good to spend holiday time with family. Helping families have the time to come together and enjoy the kind of fellowship that we miss most of the year is extremely important.
The leadership team at FBC wrestled with what to do for worship on Christmas morning. In the end we chose to have our normal worship service at 11am. We had an awesome weekend!
On Christmas Eve we had a wonderful service where the children shared some of the scripture they had memorized. We read the story of Christ’s birth from the scriptures. Owen Fresolone provided special music on the bagpipes! We closed the service in candlelight singing silent night. [Read more…]
First things first. I am fine. No real changes in my treatment nor the long range outlook for my Cancer battle. The past three weeks have been filled with the normal oncologist visits and chemo treatments. There has been lots to do around Church as we get ready to celebrate Christmas and the blog has taken a back seat for a few weeks.
I have had a few interesting experiences over the past few weeks…
One of the joys of living near Philadelphia is the pretzels. I used to buy them from the street vendors. You should have heard my mother in law protest as I would roll my window down to pick up a few pretzels at a traffic light. Who knew where they had been? Boy did they taste good. Today we have a better alternative than buying pretzels off of street vendors, we simply go to Philly Pretzel Factory.
The smell inside the store is amazing. Hot pretzels at the ready. Nothing better on a cold, dreary day. A few Sundays ago I stopped and got some pretzels on my way home so I could enjoy them as I watched the game. I ate a few but there were some left over so I put them back in their bag and left them on the kitchen counter.
Monday night rolled round. I was halfway through the football game and I started craving a hot pretzel. Part of the genius of these Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels is that you can take an old, cold pretzel…place it in the microwave and bring it back to life in a few seconds. I headed to the kitchen but could not find any of my pretzels.
I asked Rayann if she had eaten the last few. She claimed she had not. I asked Nancy if she had seen my missing pretzels. She assured me she had not done anything to my missing pretzels. I hunted high and low with no success. Finally, with a hint of desperation I looked in the garbage can.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear, the eight Philly Factory Pretzels that had mysteriously disappeared! [Read more…]
Our Christmas tree is up!
I always like our Christmas tree, this year it takes on a special meaning.
Every time I go to see my oncologist I get a special bracelet. It has my name, birthday and other important information on it. Before I am to get any treatment the nurses match my bracelet with their orders.
After a few visits it became clear I was going to keep getting these bracelets. It seemed a waste to simply throw them away once I left the office. I came up with the idea of using them to make a chain to decorate our Christmas tree. There are 41 loops, representing 41 office visits since May! If you are into math you quickly realize that is more than one visit per week. I was busy when my treatment first started. Now we are down to one visit per week.
As I sit in my chair and look at our Christmas tree I am amazed and thankful for the way God has helped me navigate those 41 loops. It has not been easy. Nancy is nothing short of amazing. We look at the tree and laugh. Last year at this time those 41 loops were the furthest thing from our minds…and yet God has met us in the midst of chaos in powerful ways. By the time we take down the tree there will be another five or six loops to the chain. I can’t wait to see our tree next year, there will be close to 100 loops!
Nancy loves this time of year. Our home has six full Nativity scenes out on display. I am told there are more in storage. Apparently we need a larger home in order to display them all. Along with the full Nativity scenes there are random Mary and Joseph images throughout the house. Just when I think I have seen them all another one pops up.
I give her a hard time about all the Nativity scenes but they are a nice reminder of what this season is all about. [Read more…]
This week has been an interesting one. I have not felt much like myself. Everywhere I look there seems to be a reminder of what once was and is no more. There has been an emotional weight, or heaviness that I have carried through the week.
I have come to understand that while much of this Cancer journey has to do with physical struggles it is the emotional pieces which can really undo you. I have learned to accept, or at least live with, the physical limitations that come with my illness and treatment. I no longer push to do everything. I am learning to sit and relax when normally I would have forced myself to keep moving until the last little bit of every project was completed. I cannot move as fast as I used to and that is okay. I struggle to button buttons and getting a credit card out my wallet takes more effort than it ought to. Shuffling through a pile of papers on my desk takes focus and determination, my fingers just do not work like they used to. My bowels, which used to be very regular, now have a rhythm and mind of their own. (I know…TMI…but it is my reality) These physical things I am learning to accept and adjust to.
The mental and emotional waves are different. One moment I can be fine and in great spirits, the next I am not sure which end is up. It feels like the weight of everything comes crashing down and lands square upon me. I get behind in my work. There is a commercial on television. Nancy walks through the room. I lay awake and cannot sleep, wondering about what the future holds. In those moments of emotional turmoil it feels as if things are spiraling out of control. If I am not careful I allow myself to stay in those dark places and I miss the good all around me.
One of the fascinating things about these emotional waves is that they are unpredictable. Everything can be going great. I may be in the midst of an enjoyable and productive day when I stumble on my way up the stairs. “How pathetic…you cannot even walk up the stairs without almost falling…what is wrong with you…pull it together…this is no way to live.” Starting up the stairs all was well. By the time I reach the top I am an emotional wreck.
I have learned how to adapt my walking to the top of the stairs in a slower, more intentional way. Learning how to manage the emotional roller coaster is much more difficult. The sad truth is that I get frustrated with myself, my situation and will sometimes allow that frustration to color conversations with those who care for me most. I get short with Rayann or Nancy. They have done nothing wrong…they just happen to be in the area when I am weak and unable to keep the roller coaster on the tracks anymore. [Read more…]
It was still dark early Monday morning when we left Locust, NC. It was a long drive home. Traffic was lighter than it would have been Sunday but I was tired going into my chemo day.
Tuesday morning I was just not into this chemo thing. I woke up feeling as if it was going to be a long hard day. It was damp and rainy which did not help my spirits. I reminded myself that God is Good All the Time and headed off to my oncologists office for treatment.
I arrived a few minutes late. Sat in the office for fifteen minutes (which is unusual) when the nurse appeared. “I do not have orders for you! You can wait here or you can come wait back with us but I am not doing anything without orders!” She promptly disappeared back into the chemo room. I looked at Nancy and said, “What am I doing here today?” “I do not do well with her and I am not in the right frame of mind to deal with her all day.” She is the one nurse in the whole practice who I do not do well with. We have a history. [Read more…]
I am glad Facebook is slowly returning to the normal random news from peoples lives. A good friend of mine from upstate NY recently shared a story that got me thinking.
Bob was flying home from a trip and there was a cat roaming up and down the aisles of the plane. Nobody seemed to want to claim the animal and it was happy exploring the new habitat. He was not amused…this was his post
There is a loose cat roaming around on this plane. It’s cute and all but last month it was a full sized dog laying in the aisle and taking up precious foot room….when will we stop this? I wonder if goats and other barn yard animals are cool to board as well
I saw an opportunity. I wonder exactly how many different kinds of animals you could get on a plane? Could we turn the challenge into some sort of contest? [Read more…]