Thursday, December 21, 2017

Surrender and Praise

This week was Ed's MRI. Ever since Ed's last MRI, which showed a slight increase in the size of Ed's tumor, I've been dreading this scan.

One of Ed's doctors is an optimist that said, "The size increase might just be swelling from radiation. You don't have any symptoms of tumor growth. We'll wait to see what the next MRI shows."

Ed's other doctor takes a more pessimistic approach. He is probably realistic about the statistical progression of glioblastoma. Typically, even with surgery, radiation, and chemo, this cancer begins to regrow within 6 to 8 months of diagnosis. We are past seven months. This doctor encouraged us to begin researching our treatment options and making plans for when the tumor regrows.

We continue to pray that God will heal Ed, but we also saw the wisdom in looking into our medical options. When Ed was diagnosed in May, he felt too awful to help make medical decisions. In the last month we have done a lot of reading, talking to medical professionals, and discussing various options for recurrent GBM. We were able to start some of the molecule testing that will need done if Ed ever decides to try some of the new immunotherapy. 

These past weeks gave me an chance to evaluate my attitude again. I realize again that Ed is God's child and I need to surrender Ed and our future to God. As this week approached I felt a complete peace about the MRI. Whatever would happen wasn't going to surprise God.

Yesterday I played phone tag with the nurse. She called when I was out and then she busy when I called back. I could hardly believe that I was so calm. I know many of you were praying; we felt very supported. I also knew that God wasn't going to abandon us.

And the results? There has been no change in size or shape of Ed's tumor since his last scan. His tumor is considered "stable."

Praise the Lord! It feels as if we have been given a few more months (at least until Ed's next MRI) to enjoy normal life.

But I still want to wake every morning with the realization that we are in God's hands and surrender each moment to Him. I believe that only a life spent living for God is worth living.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

O Holy Night

Another carol that has been meaningful to me this year is O Holy Night. I love that the theme of this carol is worship. The contrast between a weary world and our conquering Christ  brings reason to rejoice.

Sometimes the first chorus is sung for each of the three verses which is a pity. I especially like the line in the second chorus, "He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger."

1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
ChorusFall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.
2. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;
ChorusHe knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!
3. Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

ChorusChrist is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thirty Little Fingers

I was a little worried that Sheila would find that no one writes letters any more. But snail mail is still alive by the response to the Thirty Little Fingers giveaway. I loved reading about the faithful letter/card writing friends in your life.

Out of the 45 nominations, I drew these ten names to receive a free copy of Sheila  Petre's Thirty Little Fingers.

April's friend Elizabeth
Janelle's friend Nicole
Melissa's friend Laura
Diane's friend Kate
Marlene's friend Loretta
Rebecca's friend Priscilla
Laura's friend Audra
Suzanne's friend Barb
Karen's friend Abigail
Denise's friend Vila

I hope you ladies enjoy the book.

To purchase your own copy of Thirty Little Fingers (or buy one for a gift for your friend) send a check payable to Sheila Petre at P.O. Box 127, Mercersburg, PA 17236. Books are $13 each (which includes shipping to US addresses). Five or more copies, $11 each. PA residents add 6% sales tax. For larger-quantity discounts or questions, email Sheila at

Thirty Little Fingers is also available from the publisher, call Carlisle Press at 1-800-852-4482.

Sheila plans to have a book signing in New Holland, PA on January 6. Contact Sheila for more details if you are in that area.

Thanks again for all who participated in this giveaway - especially to Sheila who donated these books.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Perspective changes everything. 

I love Christmas music and last year I shared some favorites.

This year I have noticed how many Christmas songs talk about, not just Christ's birth, but also His victory over death and His return. Of course we know that is why He came, but when life is jolly and merry, it is easy to forget that Christ came to a helpless, hopeless, heartbroken world to restore our relationship with God. 

Too often I'm so comfortable and satisfied that I don't appreciate Christ's coming or look forward to His return. I sing a song like this one and enjoy the tune without fully appreciating the message.

Not this year.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high, 
Who ordered all things mightily; 
To us the path of knowledge show, 
and teach us in her ways to go. 

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might, 
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height 
In ancient times gave holy law, 
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem, 
From every foe deliver them 
That trust your mighty pow'r to save; 
Bring them in victory through the grave. 

Oh, come, O Key of David, come, 
And open wide our heavenly home; 
Make safe the way that leads on high, 
And close the path to misery. 

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind 
In one the hearts of all mankind; 
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, 
And be yourself our King of Peace. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Giveaway- Thirty Little Fingers

I don't have to introduce Sheila Petre to many of you. You have already have enjoyed her stories of marriage and motherhood in various publications such as Keepers at Home magazine. I had enjoyed Sheila's writing some time before finding that she both lived near me AND her husband and mine are related.

Today I count Sheila one of those friends who I can stop by unannounced. I now know that, not only is she a talented writer, but she is also a real mom with dishes in her sink, toys on the floor, and adorable children riding bikes in the driveway. I also learn that I never leave her presence without being encouraged.

Thirty Little Fingers: Seasons of Young Motherhood is a brand new book compiling Sheila's stories, essays, poems, (and even a few recipes). Many of these articles were previously published in Ladies Journal, KAH, or other magazine, but many others have never been published. With a mix of short and longer articles, it is a perfect book to pick up when I have a few minutes. A few pages will probably have me smiling, maybe laughing out loud, sometimes wiping tears - maybe on the same page.

Sheila writes about the joys of sweet new babies, funny preschoolers, and shared laughter. But she doesn't ignore the squabbles, the misunderstandings, and fatigue that arrive with many small children. The book spans numerous years; you'll find Sheila's family growing from two to seven children (in about that many years). I know young mothers will relate to this book, but I think that women in a completely different season of life will enjoy these pages.

Whether Sheila is surviving the latest version of the stomach bug, battling the summer garden harvest, or hosting a Muslim student for a year - life is never dull. Joy is found in the cracks of living and always God's grace is found in a word of Scripture, a child's dimples, or a husband's admonition. I love that Sheila doesn't pretend to be perfect, but encourages me to keep trying, like her, to lean harder on God to be a more godly mother.

You can read a sample of Sheila's writing at Antics of an International Potluck - one of the essays she edited for inclusion in Thirty Little Fingers.

Now for the giveaway. Sheila may be the author of several books, but she believes there is no writing genre of higher order than the personal letter or card. Many of the stories in Thirty Little Fingers began as letters to friends. So Sheila suggested this fun idea for a blog giveaway for her book.

If you received a personal letter or card in the mail in the last month - not a birthday card, not Christmas mail, a real, just-because-you're-my-friend card or letter - you may nominate the person that sent you the mail by leaving a comment on this post. Sheila is willing to give away TEN copies of Thirty Little Fingers to those you nominate - if we get ten names. Her husband, Michael said, "These are blog readers, they don't write snail mail," and maybe he is right. But if we get more than ten nominations, I'll do a random drawing.

But I know that there are some people who DO send mail. We have a large basket filled with the mail sent to us since May. If you are like our family and have had a health crisis that has resulted in a deluge of letters, cards, and care packages, just choose one person to nominate whose mail was especially meaningful to you. I bought an extra copy of Thirty Little Fingers from Sheila to send to a blog reader who has blessed us with a handwritten card every single week since Ed's surgery in May.

To purchase your own copy of Thirty Little Fingers (or buy one for a gift for your mom friend) send a check payable to Sheila Petre at P.O. Box 127, Mercersburg, PA 17236. Books are $13 each (which includes shipping to US addresses). Five or more copies, $11 each. PA residents add 6% sales tax. For larger-quantity discounts or questions, email Sheila at

Thirty Little Fingers is also available from the publisher, call Carlisle Press at 1-800-852-4482.

Sheila plans to have a book signing in New Holland, PA on January 6. Contact Sheila for more details if you are in that area.

Sheila gave me a copy to review, but I bought several copies myself and all opinions stated here are my own.

Giveaway is open for one week from today. Please give your email address so I can contact you if you win. US mailing addresses only, please.

Edit: Giveaway is now closed.


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