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Archive for the ‘Loving Louise’ Category

FFF spring

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Beautiful fields The fields surrounding Beaumont are beautiful with growth. I am not a farmer in any sense of the word, but I appreciate the peacefulness and vitality of the farmland that surrounds our community. Right now the wheat is beginning to show just the faintest hint of yellowy beige on the tops of the stalks, soybeans (I think) are deep, healthy green, and blooming canola fields almost shine with their vibrant yellow blossoms.

I am still trying different things with my camera to try and capture the luminous yellow of canola, especially in contrast with a dark sky. I went out to take photos several different days this past week and the resulting pictures were better than any I have taken before, but I am still working on getting it exactly right.

canola fields (1) canola fields (2) canola fields (3) canola fields (4) canola fields (5) canola fields (7) canola fields (9) canola fields (11)

2. Meals at Chartier Our youngest daughter treated us to Saturday brunch at Chartier, a new restaurant in town. Delicious! Two of my other daughters took me there for brunch the following Saturday! Am I ever spoiled!! If you live in the Edmonton area, come try a meal at Chartier. Check their website or look them up on Facebook to find out when they have their bakery window open. Walk right up on the sidewalk to the window and the staff will show you the bakes of the day. Smells wonderful! This is one of those times when I am truly sad I am gluten intolerant. (Though they do offer several gluten free meals which are yummy!)

3. Gardening My raised bed garden is flourishing. We’ve enjoyed peas, zucchini, and kale thus far….oh, and lots of yummy, healthy herbs. I really love grabbing fresh produce from the garden to use in my smoothies. My husband’s idea of building a raised garden bed for me a few years ago has produced an unexpected blessing and provided hours of satisfaction and enjoyment.

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4. A new baby There is nothing like cuddling a newborn. A special blessing since my friend, Louise has been through many trials with her health and fertility these past few years. Now God has blessed Brian and Louise with a healthy, robust little boy, Caleb. We are all so very happy for them!

Purple Grandma and Caleb

5. Car repair blessing We had to spend much less money on a car repair than we had expected. That is always a blessing when you have an older vehicle.

And a few more photos from this week….

canola fields (12) wheat and fences 7-12-16 flowers and grasses (1)

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Cancer???????????????????????????????

Cancer.  We hear the word and recoil, thinking of the destruction these rogue cells cause.  Several of my friends are currently enduring the ordeal of cancer treatments.  Both of my parents died of cancer.  Most of us have friends, colleagues or family who have been touched by this terrible disease.

We are all blessed when Christians choose to glorify God in diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  Louise has been a wonderful example of this. Though very much wanting to live, she has sincerely and openly confessed that, “For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.”

She wished she hadn’t looked

Louise has been extremely ill this past year.  Miscarriage claimed her first child then later in the year, her twins.  Illness, dizziness, infections, and fatigue followed the second miscarriage.  By the end of November all the tests results were in:  stage 3 bladder cancer.  Further tests revealed the cancer had spread to her ovaries and uterus.  Louise’s doctor showed her the images and pointed out the cancer.  She wished she hadn’t looked.  Prognosis was 6 months of treatment in hopes of stopping the spread with the possibility of surgery afterward.

Brian and Louise grieved, and cried out to God.  They questioned, they wept, they turned to the Scriptures and they prayed.  Their physical families and the church family circled around them and lovingly helped and provided for them.

Chemotherapy

The prescribed chemotherapy was in pill form, taken at home, two weeks on, one week off.  Extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness ensued.  The food that would stay down smelled foul and tasted terrible.  Louise shaved her head.  She slept a lot.

Through all of this she would text friends about the things that God was teaching her.  She told everyone of God’s goodness to her -doctors, nurses, and anyone else who would listen.  Most people will at least politely listen because who wants to discourage someone struggling with cancer?

Test results

After the second cycle of treatments Louise had a good week.  She felt stronger.  She could eat.  Her abdomen was pain-free.  Louise went in for her next set of testing.  The doctors were concerned about something and put a rush on the results.

Tuesday night the oncologist called Louise.  “Oh no.  Something must be wrong for the doctor himself to be calling me in the evening.”

The voice on the other end was incredulous.  “Louise, I can’t explain it, but we find no trace of cancer in any of your tests.”

Louise gasped, “Praise God!”  She wanted to be sure.  “Are you sure it is me? Please read me the health care number.”  He did. “Yes, that’s my number.”

The doctor continued, “I examined the results very carefully and asked two of my colleagues to give me their opinions.  We are in agreement.  There is not a hint of cancer anywhere.”

God has done this!

Excitedly Louise exclaimed, “This is God!  God has done this!”

“I need to read that paper you gave me,” her doctor replied.

“Paper?  What paper?”  Louise was puzzled.

“It was called, ‘God’s Bridge to Eternal Life.”

“Yes, God is the one Who did this and that tract will tell you about our wonderful God!”

Brian and Louise quickly spread the news.  They are keenly aware that God does not always or even often answer prayers for healing this dramatically.  Her doctors want to quadruple check the results.  So far the tests have all shown the same thing:  no trace of cancer.  The doctor showed her the cancer-free images next to the first ones.  She’s glad now that she had looked and could see the difference.

Thank you and give God the glory

To those of who have been praying, thank you.  Brian and Louise want to give God the glory.  They don’t want to squander this opportunity to point others to God.  They approach God with open hands and continue to give Him their lives to use as He wishes.

Brian and Louise do not know what the future holds; none of us does.  But today, and with gratitude, we praise God for healing Louise.

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Rose from Brier

Amy Carmichael was an invalid the last twenty years of her missionary life.  She wrote Rose from Brier – a collection of thoughts 7-13-10 The Garrique roses 9and lessons from one sufferer to another.  She understood suffering – it was her lot in life for over twenty years.

I have been reading this book and sharing some of the wonderful poetry and thoughts with Louise as she continues her fight with cancer.  Maybe these words will bless and encourage others who are suffering.

My grace is sufficient

From chapter 3 in the book:

“Hardly a life that goes deep but has tragedy somewhere within it; what would such do without Job?  And who could spare from his soul’s hidden history the great words spoken to St. Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness?  Such words lead straight to a land where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good.

I shall come forth as gold

Gold – the word recalls Job’s affirmation, When He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold; and St. Peter’s The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire;  and the quiet word in Malachi, He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.  I have often thanked God that the word is not gold there, but silver.  Silver is of little account in the East, and we feel more like silver than gold.  But He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, so who need fear?

How do you know when it is purified?   Melting_crucible.jpg large

This picture of the Refiner is straight from Eastern life.  The Eastern goldsmith sits on the floor by his crucible.  For me, at least, it was not hard to know why the Heavenly Refiner had to sit so long.  The heart knows its own dross.  Blessed be the love that never wearies, never gives up hope that even in such poor metal He may at last see the reflection of His face.  “How do you know when it is purified?” we asked our village goldsmith.  “When I can see my face in it,” he answered.”

Can others see Christ in us, even in our sufferings?

Maintain a constant victory

This poem is from a beginning chapter titled ‘The Rose’

Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm;
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fullness of enabling love.
O Love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.

Before I leave the desert land
For meadows of immortal flowers,
Lead me where streams at Thy command
Flow by the borders of the hours,
That when the thirsty come, I may
Show them the fountains in the way.
O Love of God, do this for me:                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maintain a constant victory.

crucible picture credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Melting_crucible.jpg

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Louise shaved headI’ve entitled these updates about Louise and her battle with cancer ‘Loving Louise’ to help our church family and others praying for her know better how to love and help Louise as she deals with cancer.

Aggressive treatment

Louise began chemo last Monday.  She is taking a powerful once-a-week oral treatment, two weeks on, one week off.  She will be evaluated after this first round to see if she is tolerating the drug and if it is helping.  The doctors want to be aggressive with her treatment so surgery is a possibility if the chemo seems to have no effect.

There goes the hair!

Last week Louise shaved her head in anticipation of the hair loss she was told was “98% sure” would happen.  Imagine her delight when three ladies from the church chose to shave their heads with her in a gesture of solidarity and support for all Louise is going through.  They even had a head-shaving party of sorts where they sang hymns and quoted scriptures and thanked God for His goodness.

Smells and nausea

What is Louise experiencing right now?  As pastor mentioned on Sunday, Louise is very sensitive to smells.  We can show her love by avoiding scented lotions, cologne, and grooming products when we know we’ll be around her.  Garlic breath, chewing gum scents, coffee breath, and most other strong smells can also evoke the gag reflex.  Louise has little to no appetite and is having trouble keeping down the miniscule portions she can eat.  Let’s not add to her troubles by carelessly triggering this problem with strong odors.

Louise is also sleeping a great deal, and when she is awake finds she is weak and unable to tend to regular household tasks.  She has been blessed by friends and family helping with cooking and cleaning.

Keep the notes of encouragement coming!

Many of you have called her and sent cards, text messages or facebook notes.  Louise is grateful for them all but is not always able to individually thank you for each expression.  Don’t take it personally if she is unable to acknowledge your note.  It’s a blessing to do things like this as unto the Lord without expecting any recognition for it.

Currently dealing with…

Louise’s dizziness makes it hard to lie down and get up without help.  Going up or down the stairs can be a major victory in her day.  She appreciates your continued prayers as she battles dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and weakness.

Struggling to always be thankful

Even the strongest Christian can struggle to always be thankful in difficult circumstances.  Louise is so utterly transparent in her reactions to what God has allowed in her life.  She has moments when she pours her heart out to God, telling Him she wants to be thankful in this trial, but not knowing how to.  She mentioned she has begun to understand more clearly that this cancer, as with all diseases, is a result of a sin-cursed world.

The gift of life

Louise was born very prematurely – about 4-1/2 months into her mother’s pregnancy.  Her family was told that if she survived, she would be a vegetable.  Not only did she survive, she thrived.  Those of you who have met Louise know she is intelligent, vibrant, and personable.  Though visually impaired, Louise is an eager reader, and allows very little to slow her down or discourage her.  Her take on this battle with cancer?  “I was supposed to die or be a vegetable at birth.  God has given me 29 wonderful years thus far, and I am so thankful for that gift.  I know that God is allowing this current struggle with cancer for my good and His glory.”

Praying and helping

So, dear church family, there are still many unknowns as Louise and Brian wage this battle against cancer.  Please continue to pray for wisdom, healing, effective treatment, strength, courage, decrease in nausea, and energy.  Keep the cards, notes, calls and other expressions of love coming.  If Louise is unable to chat with you because she is too weak, she’ll let you know.  If you want to help with meals or cleaning or errands, check with Michelle P and she will let you know what is needed and when.

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A dear Christian sister???????????????????????????????

A dear sister in Christ from our church, a young woman in her 20’s, has just been diagnosed with cancer.  This post was originally written for our church family but Louise has given me permission to share this here in hopes that it may be helpful to others.

Diagnosed with cancer

We are all impacted by the latest news about our dear sister, Louise. After miscarrying three babies this year, she now has been diagnosed with stage three bladder cancer. This news has caused us all great sadness to the point that some of us struggle to engage in our daily obligations as we wrestle with the reality of this burden. And we find ourselves asking why. Why are such terrible tragedies and burdens laid on one person, a person who wholeheartedly loves God and seeks to honor Him in every area of her life?

We may never know why

Could I encourage you, dear brothers and sisters, to lay this burden at the feet of our dear Savior? The reality is that we may never know why. God ordains all events for our good and His glory, even when we cannot understand the purpose.

Messages from the book of Job

Most of you know that Pastor Bud has been preaching Sunday evenings on the book of Job. When he began no one was aware of Louise’s cancer. God directed him to begin this series and Louise has expressed how listening to these messages has helped her. Maybe they will also help you as you consider Louise’s situation. You can access these messages at www.sermonaudio.com/lightaudio.

How can we help?

Louise begins her treatments today. How can we, as her church family, help during these days of treatment? Let me offer some suggestions:

Praying

Be praying for Brian and Louise each time God brings them to mind. Pray that the treatment will be effective. Pray that Louise would be spared from any nasty side effects. Pray that she will maintain her strength so she can have the treatments. Pray that Louise will have such a wonderful testimony in all of this that people will be drawn to Christ through her radiant testimony. Pray that she will continually find her encouragement and strength in the Lord her God.

Doing

We can also be doing things to help. I will check with them, but things people in her situation usually need are meals, housekeeping, money for parking, transportation, people to stay with her during treatment, and notes of encouragement along the way.

Be Sensitive

As Louise begins treatment she may become very weak and not feel up to chatting with any of us. We need to take direction from her in the matter of personal visits and phone chats. We need to respect her privacy about details of her condition or treatment she may not wish to share with everyone.

This Impacts others

We need to remember this impacts Brian every bit as much as it impacts Louise. What godly husband does not wish to ‘fix’ things and make them easier for his wife? In this matter Brian has to watch as his wife endures a treatment which may bring its own set of difficulties. Pray for Brian to continue to have godly responses to his wife’s suffering.

Let God use this in your life

So, dear church family, please allow God to use this to draw us closer together. Allow this to soften any hardened place in your heart as you cry out in prayer to Him for Louise’s situation. Praise God for His goodness and trust in Him through this time of suffering.

We serve a great and loving God, One Who loves Louise more than we can ever love her. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

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