Friday, April 27, 2007

Please Pray

Dear friends,

I don't have much time right now. Tonight is Jenni's 18th birthday party. This morning I collided with some steps in our house and heard the crunch of my tailbone. I am in a lot of pain, and the things I need to do- like packing and walking seem next to impossible. I wasn't carrying anything at the time, just an accident.

Also, the dream house we had seen in Spokane was purchased by the other people yesterday. So please pray that we can find a roomy house that will lend itself to hospitality with a friendly price tag on it. Since we know that we are neighbor kind of people, where we more will make a huge difference in our interactions that way. We want to be where God wants us.

Thank you for praying!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Learning how to "stage a house"

Dear friends,

It is a Monday and I spent the day packing, sorting, tossing and generally just getting the house ready to sell. We have a 10 x 20' storage area that we are taking things over to most days. We are also setting things out in the driveway to get rid of, and Greg is delighted when someone takes something and actually pays him for it. Any of you who have known me for a long time, know that I am the clutter type. One way I can tell is that I just packed 10 "How to De-clutter Your House" books! Ironic.
Greg has remodeled our kitchen ceiling, rebuilt the drawers with real wood (thanks Mike!), a laminate counter top that looks like granite was put in Saturday (it looks so nice!), we have a new microwave in and an electric stove to match given to us by friends (Thanks Don and Diane!). A new dishwasher will be put in tomorrow, which is great since our OLD one died Saturday evening and ran it's last cycle with clamps holding it shut! Greg has painted room after room, trying to get done before he leaves next Monday for 2 1/2 weeks. We are getting as much in storage as possible so we can show and sell the house and be ready to move in mid-July. We are planning to have most of the house re-carpeted on May 21, so it will be ready for Jenni's graduation on the 24th and then her party on the 25th. Then the house goes on the market May 26th.
We are in the last weeks of Jenni's high school career and she is down to her final days of deciding about colleges. Stanford turned her down, she was wait-listed at Cornell and Duke (She didn't take the SAT2's in math and science they required, as it was during my chemo and radiation treatment times and we were not on top of the schedule). She was accepted at Swathmore, Syracuse, Univ. of Portland, CO School of Mines, Univ. of CO, Boulder, Univ. of Denver-DU, Grove City and Bucknell. She is deciding on Grove City, we are fairly certain and will send them notification this week. That will be a relief to have finished! Many have offered her scholarships, but only 2 have offered enough to make their cost less than Grove City. She is excited about going to a Christian Liberal Arts school where she can be involved in Music as well as Mechanical Engineering. She will work hard for her degree there, but knows she will also be very marketable for jobs when she is done.
I think I am up to 75% of my former strength. My doctor put a shot of cortisone into my right shoulder 2 weeks ago, and it decreased the tremendous pain by at least 1/3 to 1/2. I don't feel like I have a migraine in my shoulder now like I did. I will check in with him tomorrow and see if that is good enough. These are not days to have an arm I can't move.
My jaw nerve is gradually continuing to heal. After being damaged during surgery January 15th, the area of numbness is getting smaller but the area still affected is now feeling like a bumped funny bone in your elbow, all the time. I am ready for it to finish healing! There was one area in my jaw the surgeon didn't remove when he did the rest. He didn't see any problem visually, so didn't want to take out too much in my upper jaw. The part he didn't remove is now still very sore and achy, whereas the area he cleaned out feels fine. I will see him next week, but I suspect I will have him get the part out that is hurting before we move, since he knows me and what has been going on. There is about an inch -3/8ths inch deep- that is causing the problem.
My back and neck are still healing from the after effects of the cancer treatments. The discs in my back are healing and getting softer and re-hydrated from the bottom up. So I am doing pretty well up to my shoulder blades now. I am getting treatments on radiation scar tissue (Thank you Nancy and Mandy) that seem to be helping. My neck and upper back are the focus now. I am doing some acupuncture weekly and getting good adjustments. I see my nutrition doctor on Wed. to get my body back on track with this now that I am done with the cancer treatments.
Thank you for praying for my heart and spirit. I do feel like I am doing better gradually. I have finished with the counselor for now and will only need to go back if I need to. This morning Greg visited the former staff who still work at the same building but for Pioneers now. He said there were many tears, but it was good to see the 10 or so who work there. We area still praying for a few former staff who are still looking for their next steps. We would appreciate your prayers for continued direction for those needing it, and also for us to be able to do what we can to finish our time here with relationships healthy. Thank you!
Now, for the house question...We still haven't bought one in Spokane as we are waiting for the closing of the one we saw and fell in serious like with when we were there. There is a very small chance that if something goes wrong with the closing of the folks who saw it first, we would be able to get it. That is supposed to happen any time today or tomorrow. We know that if God wants us there, He will make this work our for us. If not, we still have a little time to find something else. With Greg being there for 2 weeks, he will be able to go look at some. We have seen perfect ones online that are in the wrong area, and others in the right area, but are too small. Pray that we would find a home that will lend itself to lots of hospitality. There are features we would each like, so we will have to see how much of what we envision comes true in one house. Always, the neighbors ending up being my friends, so we want God to put us in the right neighborhood. Having a house chosen soon will make everything easier, so we covet your prayers with us for that.
I see my oncologist on May 9th- maybe for the last time. As far as I know I am doing well. He will determine if there are any last tests he wants me to do before finishing with him. Thank you for joining me on this journey. It has sure been a year I won't forget! Blessings to you! Nancy

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Huge decisions made

Dear friends,
I told you last time that Greg and I were going to Spokane, WA for a second job interview for Greg. I went along to meet the people at Partners International and to see the place and visit a church, etc. As much as I didn't want to, I really connected well with the people we met. I could see myself getting involved at Partners, and as I met the staff, I felt like I wanted to get to know them better. The ministry connected with my heart and with our passion for reaching the world for Christ. There was an emphasis on the 10/40 Window that we have been focused on for our entire adult lives of ministry. I met a good friend of one of my good friends there. I met a fellow breast cancer survivor who might start a support group with me. We could at least start with the 2 of us. I met the HR director who I immediately liked, and felt like I could jump in and help. Her personality is similar to mine, I think. I enjoyed my time with the CEO's wife and would love to spend time with her and her husband. So I think I would have a base of friends without having to hunt too hard for them. I loved the city. There are lots of medical things there. People go there from several states around for treatment as it is the biggest city between Seattle and Minniapolis. It is a beautiful place with lots of pine trees and is a fantastic place for those who love the outdoors and the mountains. We'd be 4 hours away from one of my brothers and from Seattle. We looked at houses with a realtor for a day and could picture ourselves living there.
Greg got a formal job offer on Saturday, we met with our group of counselors over the weekend and got no red flags from anyone. I feel peace about this, which surprises me. I even am feeling excited. I know that since I am still feeling tired, that this is something God is doing in my heart. I feel like He is handing me a gift. I still would rather not move, but I have confidence that we can maintain our relationships here. We have family, friends and our church here which we are tied closely to.
Greg told Partners yesterday that he would accept the job. After that we actually also made an offer on a house we saw last week near an excellent high school and near Whitworth College on the north side of the city. We'll find out soon if we got it.
So all that is to say, we are planning to move sometime in July. Greg will be starting May 1st and they want him to be there in the office 10 days a month as we transition, and then full time starting in August. We have written more details on our email update. If you want to receive that, please email Greg at and he will sign you up for automatic updates.
After 3 months of feeling tremendous loss, I feel like a new chapter is opening up for me. The hard part is that our leaving is creating a loss for our family and friends here. That is the hard part for all of us. Please pray for this transition time and that we can continue to work through the processing of all that we need to. I am still meeting with the counselor weekly which has been a tremendous help. It isn't easy, but I want to heal, so it is necessary. Greg is processing with a close friend of his.
Jesse is OK with moving. He still has 2 years of high school to go. He has lived here all his life and was actually born in this house 16 years ago. He doesn't want to move, but believes he will survive the change OK. The high school we found for him has a strong music program he will enjoy. He wanted a bigger room and lots of trees. If we get the house we are looking at, he will get his wish. We will also have room for company, and I will have my dream storage room among other things. When Jesse visited Allison he actually attended some classes with her and on his own, and can see himself going to college. He also made lots of friends, so I think he will be able to do that in Spokane also.
Laura turns 22 next Tuesday in Atlanta. It is hard to believe that she is so grown up!
I would say I feel a little stronger- maybe up to 70% of my old self. I am still sleeping in late most days, but I think relieving stress by having this decision made has lifted some of the fatigue. The nerve in my jaw continues to heal and the area of numbness and pain is gradually shrinking. My neck and shoulder are still bad from radiation afteraffects, but my back is gradually doing better. I got a new therapeudic sleeve for my left arm and it works very well. I am wearing it to prevent lymphodema some days and when I fly, and my arm hasn't gotten worse. I am going to a PT specialist in radiation massage so she can help to work on the scar tissue growing under my arm. That way hopefully I won't have a big problem. Today I found a 3 inch curly hair on my shoulder- and it was from my head!
If you are a friend of ours in Denver, we are sorry to be causing you loss. Greg promised me at least 4 visits back a year. I must say that Greg has been loving and gentle and listening to me with his ears and heart. He was willing to not move if I wasn't on board. I really truely had veto power. I am so grateful to God for giving me such a fantastic husband. As he says, "This is going to be an adventure!" I am looking forward to experiencing it with Greg, my best friend.
Once again, you are sweet to endure my long entries. Thank you! Have a blessed Easter! Nancy