Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm in Florida with Greg!

Dear friends,

We are sitting in Northside Church in Orlando, Florida betting ready for the Call2All Congress to begin in an hour. Greg's boss, Jon Lewis, sent him here to network for Partners International. This circle of folks are those Greg knows from his years working at Caleb Project. Already we have met several we know as we have been registering. It is good for Greg to be here with his Partners International "hat" on.

Why am I here? Well, Greg had some frequent flyer miles stored up from days gone by, and we thought it would be good for me to come to the conference with him to help him network, and also Allison goes to college 1 hour from here. So, on Sunday we got on a plane and waited 2 hours for it to be de-iced and the runway plowed, so that we could take off from snowy Spokane. We flew through O'Hare and earned 2 tickets by volunteering to be bumped to a later flight. So we arrived in Orlando at 10 p.m., picked up our rental car and headed to the north side of the city to stay with the parents of one of Allison's college friends- the Gingerich's.

We had lunch with Rhonda and Phil Gingerich yesterday and talked as fast as we could for 3 hours and kept finding new points of contact. One of the last questions Phil asked Greg was,"Have you ever heard of Bobby Clinton?" If you have any history with us you know that Greg has been mentored by Bobby and got his doctorate under Bobby at Fuller Seminary. Anyway, we felt like before even coming to this conference, we had already made a profound connection with the Gingerich's that I am sure will lead to further contact. It is so exciting when God does these amazing divine appointments between His people!

We left Jesse in Spokane with one of his youth group leaders who is a Whitworth Univ. student. Then we got word that there continued to be so much snow that both Jesse's school and Whitworth were closed on Monday. Spokane is expecting another 18 inches this week. I am thinking that as I sit in sunny Florida, I made the right move in leaving Spokane this week! Everyone is telling us that the snow this year is more than it has been for a decade. I do enjoy wearing sandles and a sweater rather than dressing for sub-freezing temperatures. Thank you Lord!

Yesterday we got a chance to see Allison after she got done with student teaching and took her and her roommates to dinner. She showed us her apartment and the updated campus at Southeastern. In a few months she will be a graduate! And Allison gives fantastic hugs to her Mama, which I enjoyed totally! At the end of the evening, we swung by and visited my Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary. It was nice to say hello and share a few hugs with them as well. We plan to be with Allison Friday and Saturday when we visit with Fred and Beth Baker.

Greg is better from the flu he had with only a little cough and a persistant problem with his eyes. It held on a long time. His pink eye seems to be lingering in both eyes, so after more than 2 weeks we are wondering if he needs to keep using the drops or not. He helped me build shelves in the basement last weekend which really excites me. I have been able to set up my sewing area at long last! We also got the basement future family room area set up with couches and our movie viewing equipment. Before leaving for college, Jenni helped me staple fabric to the wall framing that was already there, so it looks like a room with walls. So nice to have that done! Jesse had friends over for the first time, and I think they will be back now that they know they can come over for movies.

Healthwise, I appreciate your continued prayers. I am 10 days into my 2-week test of not using Femara (a Tamoxifen type of med for those of you who know what that is) to see if it is what is causing my body aches and pains. If I am still hurting at the end of two weeks I will resume the medication, and we will do some tests to find out why. If I do feel better, we will switch the medication to another and hope for fewer side effects. I have a few constant aches in bones and muscles that could be something serious. My posture is still to not borrow tomorrow's trouble. But my mind does wonder about my mortality at times like this. Will I be here a year from now, and if not, how should I be using these days? I might be fine, but I might have to start another battle with cancer. I know all too well what that means. I'm sure you can imagine what I am thinking and can pray accordingly. I appreciate your prayers for my Heavenly Father's most perfect plan for my life. He is the author of the book of all of our lives, right? Thanks.

So I need to wait and see. I have a few appointments when I get home next Monday that should help me figure it out. I am very sore where my rectocele repair was done, and I am hoping that nothing is going wrong with that. I'm sure I have lifted more than I was supposed to at some point, although I have been trying to be good. I will see that surgeon on Monday when I get back. My shoulder is doing very well, and doesn't even hurt enough for me to remember I had it fixed most of the time. I am faithful with my exercises and am getting great reports from the surgeon and PT.

Greg and I have been talking finances a lot since we have the tenants so far behind on their rent. We have decided to either rent it to someone else, or to sell it. They are moving out Feb 14th and will still owe us the back rent. If we sell it, or rent to own it, that would be the best for us. Otherwise, I probably need to get at least a part time job to make ends meet. Honestly I feel too tired to do that now, but I am trusting that it will all work out. We would appreciate your prayers for this. If you know anyone who would want to rent or buy the house next to the one we lived in, let Greg know. 509-990-8479. It is 785 Nothridge Rd. Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.

Meanwhile, this conference is beginning to happen around me. I am hearing accents from around the world, and am starting to see people even I know! 3000 people attending from all over the world. A taste of heaven! And all here share a heart for world evangelization and pray. May the Lord do amazing things through this gathering! I'll sign off for now. Thank you so very much for your love and prayers. It is surreal for me to think about anyone reading what I write on these blog entries, but some of you tell me that you read them faithfully, so I will keep thm coming.
Blessings on your day! Nancy Fritz

Friday, January 18, 2008

Taking care of the sick ones!

Dear friends,

It has been a very interesting week. Greg began getting a very sore throat on Thursday last week. I gave him all of my home remedies and teas and Airborne, etc. He still got sick. It turned into a messy case of pink eye and his eye swelled shut. Now he is on meds for that and has added in a cough. He is sleeping better now that we have cough syrup for him. Others at the office have been dealing with this for weeks, so we are praying and hoping it gets better more quickly than that.

Last Thursday Jenni got her wisdom teeth out- fortunately only 3. So I was on the end of bringing someone home from surgery instead of being the one brought home. It is hard work caring for someone. Jenni has done well and began eating less soft food yesterday, and moved back toward a more normal diet. That is very helpful. I was running out of soft ideas!

Then on Tuesday I signed up to take a meal to a person in Greg's department who broke her ankle and had to have surgery on it. I was so excited to take food to someone like others had brought food to us those dozens of times. So I got it cooked and set out to deliver it to their house about 15 minutes from here. I had directions and a flashlight to be able to see them, and knew generally where I was going. Well...

In the dark, the road turned, a bus was ahead of me, lanes shifted to the right, but because of the snow and me making sure the bus had plenty of room, all of a sudden, "BOOM!" I had hit the curb in the median that started there. I knew the tire was blown- at least the front left one, maybe both left ones. Also the windshield cracked from top to bottom. I limped to where I could pull off, called Greg and the kids who came with the truck to help me. Remember that Greg is sick and it is 20 degrees outside. So he got the idea to take the tire off and go to Costco, not too far away and get a new tire. We did that and since we had gotten the tire from there initially, we got a new one for $47. They put it on the bent wheel and we drove the car home after going back to where we'd left it and putting the new tire on. Ironically 2 strange noises the car was making have stopped since. When we can afford it we will get a new wheel and the alignment checked. It is a praise that I didn't get hurt or hit anyone or anything else. I got to deliver the meal while my family got the tire off. And hopefully I didn't total the car. We will know more of the story after getting the car checked all over.

I have a prayer request. We have chosen to put our retirement money into rental property in Denver. One of our renters is $6500 behind on rent and we would like to invite you to join us in praying that they can get caught up with their rent so they won't have to move. This situation is making it hard for us to pay our bills for the first time in our lives. They asked for prayer for a job interview for the husband. He has been out of a job for several months. He interviews possibly today. It would be fantastic for him to find something so they can get caught up. Thanks for praying for David.

Also, I saw breast surgeon Dr. Stephanie Moline today. She was absolutely excellent. She is having me try going off one of my meds for 2 weeks to see if all my joint pain lets up. I have been so sore that getting up and moving just hurts all the time. I began to wonder if there is bone cancer happening or something like that. Switching meds is much easier than checking for bone cancer and I think that is a great idea. Bone achiness is one of the side effects for some people.

And she said with an MRI she can tell if what I have going on my left chest wall is scar tissue or not, as there is a blood supply with cancer and not with scar tissue. And she has the same kind of test results from Denver so she can compare. She spent 45 minutes with me and talked clearly and told me enough for me to know that she totally understands my situation with the kind of cancer I had (twice) and that it is hard to track and doesn't make a lump- it spreads. So she was very smart and thinking clearly and also was good at listening and asking and answering questions. I felt that I was given a gift to be given her as my breast surgeon referral. She will do the MRI sometime soon. If things look clear of cancer, she will just keep short tabs on me. She said she had been looking forward to meeting me after talking to my oncologist so she could see the questionable lumpiness for herself. Once she examined it, she totally understood why we are concerned about it. Something about having a woman breast surgeon makes the communication easier for me. At least this one and the one I had in Denver have both been excellent matches for me. I am thanking God for this connection. She really did understand that the last thing I want to do is another surgery after so many last year. I am glad she has ideas to try before doing that.
But she will be honest with me too, however the test results come out.

I saw a few doctors last week too. I was screen for skin cancer and that was an "all clear." I saw my shoulder surgeon for a followup and he I am doing extremely well. He is encouraged and will check in with me again in a few more months. My physical therapist has me coming one time a week now and I do about 1 1/2 workouts a day at home. I had to back off some because I was hurting myself by exercising too much. Now we seem to have a good balance. I am steadily getting strength back in my shoulder.

I also saw my integrative medicine doctor. He went over bloodwork I had done in December. It shows some things going on with my liver that could indicate trouble, so we are going to recheck those liver numbers toward the end of February to see if they have changed. Want to hear some thing exciting? From Sept. to Dec., my colesterol went from 313 to 212! He asked me what I had done, but I really haven't changed anything. Stress is the biggest factor that has decreased that we can think of. So you can join me in praying for those labs to improve in the next several weeks. Thanks.

I hope you are having a great 2008 so far. I am finally getting into the habit of writing '08 on things. I hope you have more sun than we do here. Jenni is getting tired of it. She goes back to Grove City on Sunday. She just got a letter congratulating her for making the Dean's List for having above a 3.75. So she is pretty happy about that.

Well, this is much too long, so thank you for hanging in there is you got all the way to here! God bless you ! Nancy Fritz

Monday, January 07, 2008

I'm in Colorado!

Dear friends,

I am sitting at my friend's computer in Highlands Ranch Colorado. I came to visit our church in Denver for the weekend to do a missions presentation to the Bible Blast Sunday School class. The church brought me here to meet with the class and do one of the 3 lessons a year I used to do with them. I got to teach 120 kids yesterday about the Dalits or "Untouchables" of India.

I had a hard time with the curriculum writing for this one, and a friend from formerly Caleb Project and now Pioneers, shared some curriculum she had written that dovetailed wonderfully with the points I wanted to cover. So thank you! to Karen Hardin. I took the statistics she had written up and blended them with specific information about the Dalits. One thing we did was to collect a large number of items to put into a simulated trash dump. Our trash was of course very clean and had lots of potential. We had the kids try to make up toys or games using the things they found in the trash pile. 25% of the kids were assigned to be upper caste, and they had to play with ready made games. We also gave them clean water and the Dalit kids had to drink water with vinegar and food coloring to make it look dirty. The morning went very well. We took out our 18' x 36' map of the world out and did the "Global Cookies" demo. It shows how unevenly the food in the world is distributed. Most graphic is Asia with 12 kids and 1 cookie to share, and North America with 1 person and 9 cookies. The kids got a chance to understand poverty and I think the Lord was there and that it really sunk in for them. Their prayers at the end reflected that. I did this for 2 hours with several adults helping.

I gave the class a little stuffed moose with "Washington" written on it and a piece of paper stapled between his antlers that says, "Pray for the Fritz Family." So, all this is to say that when I was feeling overwhelmed with this task, the Lord showed up and in my weakness His strength was obvious. The first hour a little 6 or 7 year old named Aaron raised his hand to tell me, "I really want to travel a lot to tell people about Jesus' love for them so they can know him in their heart." It was all I could do not to cry. He was extremely humble about saying this and when I told the kids that some children die from the effects of unclean water, like diareah, he raised his hand and asked if you could really die of that. The kids were amazed. So pray with me that what they learned sticks with them and that they remember to pray for the Dalits.

I go home tomorrow and plan to put away Christmas. Our visit with Heng Hua was absolutely fantastic! We love you Heng Hua! Several days after Heng Hua left, our dear friend Deb Sanders came to visit. We had lots of fun with her too. She and I especially had fun on New Year's Eve watching the Sound of Music while Greg, Jesse, Jenni and Allison went to downtown Spokane for a special celebration. They had fun together too. Jenni remains home until the 20th, and gets her wisdom teeth removed this Thursday. She got fantastic grades her first semester of mechanical engineering and is enjoying it. Allison started student teaching 1st grade on Thursday and I think it is safe to assume that she had been elevated to a level just below God in the eyes of those little cuties. They say very cute things and the first day asked if she could eat lunch with them and that she had pretty shoes.

I also saw my oncologist for a check up and he is sending me to meet a surgeon so she can monitor the scar tissue growing again where I had radiation. I met my new internist and he is just right for me. He also happens to go to our church and know someone at Partners International where Greg/we work. This week I have several medical appointments when I get home and I'll let you know if anything turns up.

God bless you today! Nancy Fritz