Wednesday, November 23, 2011


There are blessings that just take your breath away -- I'm sure you know the kind that I mean. On Sunday, what started with small group prayer ended up as a mass effort to get our property ready for winter. "Many hands make light work" is the old saying -- so very true.

Here's the back story: Tim began his Hepatitis C treatments last Friday, including his first injection of Interferon. He was, as expected, very, very sick after the injection. He tried to work outside for a while on Saturday morning, but by afternoon his headache was so bad that he could barely function. Add to that chills, severe joint aches and muscle aches, and you get the idea.

On Sunday morning he could barely get his head off the pillow and I went to church an emotional basket case.I couldn't imagine how Tim could manage to get through the next 24 weeks of treatment if every weekend was going to be this horrific.

At church our pastor called for small group prayer in between the worship time and the sermon. He invited anyone who wished to have prayer to raise their hands and then encouraged everyone around those folks to gather around to pray.

Without thinking, I immediately raised my hand.

Dear friends gathered around me, beautiful prayers for comfort and healing were offered up and hugs were exchanged.

And then the blessing snowball began!

Emily, Cassy and Dan suddenly offered to come over that afternoon and do the outdoor work that was falling sadly behind with Tim's ill health. As much as it makes Tim uncomfortable to accept help, I thanked them with all my heart and said we'd love to have them come over, and I offered a big pot of Black Bean Chili in exchange. The agreed upon time was 2:00. As I left church, I ran into my "adopted NJ brother," John. He gave me a hug and I half-jokingly asked him if he wanted to come over and rake a few leaves that afternoon.

After I'd told him that Emily, Cassy and Dan were coming over, John then set to organizing a real work party for the afternoon -- unbeknownst to me. Our Pastor even announced it in church after I'd made an early exit to go home and check on Tim!

When I got home Tim was up and around, though wobbly and weak. I informed him that Emily, Cassy and Dan were coming over in the afternoon to help rake up the leaves and get things done. Tim's reaction was uncertainty at first, but I insisted that we needed the help. Eventually he began to think about how to organize things effectively so that we'd get as much done as possible.

It was then that I shot a text message to all Tim's kids and told them of the working party. Shortly after that John called to tell me he'd been organizing and that a few more folks from church would be coming over.

By 2:00 there were some 15 people in our yard!

They raked leaves.

They got on lawn mowers to cut and suck up the leaves.

They threw Charley's toy more times than I can count.

They dug fence posts for the pasture.

 They roofed a storage shed.

In addition, they chipped branches, helped rake leaves that had fallen from our tree into the next door neighbor's yard, and shook and collected the last of the apples from the trees.

By dark, two months of work had been finished in just four hours, and our property was ready for winter.

With the work done, we all converged in the warm house (where my Aunt Muriel had been waiting for us) for a hearty dinner of Black Bean Chili with all the delicious trimmings -- sour cream, shredded jack cheese, and fresh cilantro.

Our deepest thanks go to Emily, Sam, Cassy, Dan, Balin, Don, Dustin, Corbin, Casey, Doug, Alex, Chrissy, Scott, David, John, Rhonda, Kali and Kari.

Tim's stress level is much, much lower, which will help his treatment be more effective.

We love you all so much! Thank you for this blessing -- it took our breath away!

- Catherine

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today I'm going to refer you all to the "Pioneer Woman Cooks" blog post for the day.

Oh. My. Goodness. I can't wait to try it!!

And in other news, since Thanksgiving is around the corner, that means Christmas approaches. Apparently Black Friday sales are starting at midnight this year so that those who are not in a food coma after their Thanksgiving dinner can go shopping. The greed of this country never ceases to amaze me. It's bad enough that there would be fistfights in WalMart at 5:00 a.m.. Now you could take a bottle of your Thanksgiving dinner beer with you and watch the local brawls all night long.


Greed and avarice aside, a friend of mine shared this Christmas song video with me this week, so I thought I'd pass it on to you. Tim Hawkins is hilarious!

Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

- Catherine

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No excuses? No way ...

I'm not going to excuse myself for being a slacker blogger of late.

Well, okay, yes I am. Of course I am.

Writer's block seems to have been a part of this situation. I have made more than a few attempts to write something. I still think in "blog bytes" (you bloggers know what that means), but I couldn't come up with an actual blog post to save my life.

Okay, excuses over.

I'm intending that this is the first of resuming regular blog posts.

Yes, I know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

But I don't believe that intentions vis a vis blogging apply to that situation.

The update:
  • I was on the East Coast for meetings a week or so ago and got to see two of my cousins while I was there. That is ALWAYS a favorite part of my visits because I really do love spending time with these cousins. Although we live 2000 miles apart, they are friends as well as family, and that, for sure, is a special gift from God.
  • I came home from this trip with a truly lousy cold. 
  • My hubby will start treatment for Hepatitis C tomorrow. There is a new medication now that improves his chance of a cure to over 80% (compared to about 40% with the previous treatment medications). Our insurance companies have agreed to the expense, and we'll revisit the situation in eight weeks to see if the treatment is actually working. If it is, then another 10 months of treatment will follow.  If the treatment isn't showing signs of being effective, then it will be discontinued. We are praying!
  •  I've spent this month updating my Facebook status each day with one thing for which I am thankful. It's been an excellent exercise. Added benefit is that many of my FB friends are joining in, which has made it even more fun. 
  •  Charley doesn't like it when I am away and he has been incredibly clingy after my last (9-day) trip. It's hard to have a puppy mentality in an 85-pound body.  Especially when that 85-pound body insists on crawling up to sit on my lap!
Talk soon, Dear Reader!

- Catherine