"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eowyn and Arwen

The Cats Approve the Knit Bedspread for Jim and His Bride

Pink Cheeked Cherie


There is a hush in the chemotherapy progress right now.

Ed went to the hospital on Friday morning to have his second dose of Erwinia in the second series of six doses (3 shots each dose) but before the shots were given the ammonia levels came back at 295. It was the number 320 that landed him in the hospital ICU two weeks ago, and we were devastated!

Because he was not as nauseous as before, and because we are close to the hospital, they allowed us to go home for the weekend on the oral med to reduce the ammonia levels.

No meat for the week for Ed.

That was a small price to pay for being able to stay at home and recover.

On Monday morning the levels were down to 70, and no shots were given.

Now comes the waiting, the quiet. The oncologists debate and decide what to do now.

Once again Ed finds himself on the small side of the percentage figures. It's getting to be a trend.

Thankfully, he is in good spirits, he feels less nauseated by the day, and he's happy to be home or doing the "normal" stuff we usually do.

He's even happy to be taking the California Achievement Test today, fulfilling that state requirement for home-schooled students.

He and Cherie have been plugging away at it all day. They should wrap it up here before long. It's tiring for them, since they aren't used to sitting at a table all day.

Off to the Y we plan to head afterwards, so I can treat my four-day-long headache.

Yes, one of those. I get them on occasion, and I can do little but swim it off.

The February blahs have set in, and I'm looking for pictures of turquoise beaches to stare at. I hear that helps. I'll let you know.

Today Ed filled out an application for "Wishes and More," a wish-fulfillment organization that grants wishes to seriously ill children. He has been approved by the organization for a wish fulfillment. We'll see what comes of that.

Being a pipe organ playing, Hebrew learning, Trail Life scouting, home-schooler kind of young guy he's pretty open to anything fun!

He did mention on the application that he'd like to get tickets to the Minnesota Twins games, and I'm sure his dad will totally concur on that score! My husband starts salivating this time of year when training camp opens. Baseball is one of those things he truly enjoys watching.

Last Friday evening my husband came home from work with two tickets reserved for a choral experience with René Clausen. This composer/choral director was conducting five of his own works at a sing-along event with "The Singers" (formerly known as the "Dale Warland Singers").

What a beautiful way to spend the evening! I sang with the first sopranos, which I have become over the years. He sang with the tenors. What wonderful music. The vignettes that Mr. Clausen told about the music and how he wrote it were moving, even tear evoking! Music can do that to you.

(Ed wrote that his favorite movie is "The Amazing Spider Man," not for the movie, but for the "epic" sound track. Music is powerful.)

Other news: My eldest is on the cusp of a career with the Washington State Patrol. We are all waiting to hear the final call and offer. He has passed all the levels, tests, and "hoops" up until now. The next course is scheduled to start one month from now, and he hopes to be included in it. Eight months of training! It will go well with his Military Police Army Reserve duty, which he does once a month.

I'll let you know the good news as soon as I know! It has been an arduous wait over several months of different steps toward this career. I am so excited for him and his wife!

She, too, has been finding a good position to work. I am so thankful! We miss them, way out there on the west coast, but it sounds like they do not miss the sub-zero cold here in Minnesota lately!

Our son Jim is busy with his military course down in Oklahoma. He and his wife should find out their new assignment in early March.

We had so wanted to visit them in April, there in Oklahoma, but with the changes in Ed's chemotherapy I have no idea what the schedule will look like ultimately. It's a waiting game.

And I welcome the quiet. I've been rather quiet, resting, napping, reading some and working on a yarn project. I needed to hibernate these past few days.

So, if you have called me, written, texted, emailed, or messaged me, please understand that I will get to you SOON! I love your concern, your prayers, your wonderful friendship. I'm just hiding for awhile. Fortressing, as I call it.

Blessings----Love, Costanza

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate

Jesus said that they hated him, therefore they will hate you.

Who are they?

Let me help define "they" for a Bible-believer: anyone who falls short of righteousness, anyone justifying oneself in God's eyes, anyone, really.

When we finally realize that we are justified by faith---saved by grace---and we all fall short of the mark of God's righteousness, then we stop judging others, we stop setting up our own ideals (and idolatry) of what is right and what is wrong, we hone to God's standards, and we let HIM be the judge.

And people hate that. God's standards are so incredibly high, unattainable on our own power, that we shake our fists in hatred at Him until we realize Christ's sacrifice for us.

Hatred is the normal human response for falling short. Think of it. We hate the one that judges us. We hate the one that has more, or is more. We hate the one that is different. We hate the one that hurts us, ignores us, mistakes us, wrongs us.

And hatred is a powerful thing.

When I was quite small I was told that if you hated something you wished it was in hell. My healthy respect for hell was enough to cause me to use caution with my words. The vernacular "I hate that" was carefully used.

Hate is something I like to reserve for the devil. When I was a child he seemed to keep pretty quiet to me, a silent presence in everyone's life.

He's surfacing more regularly lately. Television, sports events, movies---you can see him. Devil worship is growing, and so is hatred.

Yesterday there was a story about hatred in the news. Baronelle Stutzmann from Washington, a florist who refused to do flowers for a wedding that her faith convictions prevented, is going to lose everything. Her business, her home, everything. She was tried and convicted in court for discrimination.

Only hatred from the judge could have brought this about. Hatred for God. Hatred for the Word of God. I mean, Losing EVERYTHING??? For a thought, a conviction, a belief???????

They hate me, they will hate you, said Jesus. Yup.

Another case of incredible hatred comes from Florida. Kent Hovind, the popular creationist, was tried and convicted of tax fraud. He was sentenced to the maximum prison time allowed for that. He appealed, and his case is to be heard by the same judge. She is looking to give him life in prison this time. Her hatred is so keen.

Thankfully Kent is using his time in prison to the glory of God. Hatred loses in the end.

I have friends who do not share my beliefs. I have a hard time believing that they want to "take me to the cleaners" because I harbor those beliefs. But hatred does strange things.

They will hate you.

Hatred is blinding. It is a cancer of the heart. It sees self-righteously. It blocks love and mercy anywhere it manifests.

So be wary of it. Expect it. Stand in the safest place to face it.

That would be squarely in faith in Jesus Christ. He is the strength, power, and love needed to deal with hate. And He won't fail you.

Grandma Florist... 

Great Teaching

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On My Heart

I have so much to be thankful for. God is good. As we walk the path of believer-hood I am always in awe of God's presence.

Through my Bible reading, through sermons, through remarks made by my friends---I hear what God is saying to me.

Today there is an urgent message, and I know it has to do with the shortness of time remaining.

Remember the street-corner guy with the body-card signs reading "The End is Near?"

Not so funny anymore. Things are speeding up rapidly; Islam is on the move, the Church is full of apostasy, Israel exists. Come, come people! Don't be blind! You and I both know that the world is changing fast.

Technology has forced the change, as well as Nature.

It's time to make a change in YOUR heart, too, if you haven't met Christ personally.

Please. Learn of Him. He is love. He is Judge. He is the One you must know.

Don't wait to ask Him to be your savior. Today. Do it now. Enter the life of spiritual peace. Repent with no regrets, get right with the Creator.

Time is running out for all of us. The End is really near, for some of us sooner than others.

Repent. Humble yourself. Be born again. Follow Yeshua. Believe in faith. Ask, receive, in faith.

The Holy Spirit is touching you right now. Don't refuse Him. Open up to Him.

I am praying for a dozen people by name to turn to Christ. I've been praying for years for some of them. (Perhaps one of you is reading this right now!) I can do nothing but pray, but I know the Holy Spirit is acting in your heart, revealing His presence to you even now. Don't turn away from that. Open your heart to the one true God, YWHW.

Start the life that completes you, that puts everything into perfect order. God's timing is absolutely perfect, and you will come to Him in His time. Now is perfect!

Let me know He touched you, and you opened your soul to Him, so I can praise Him!

See you in heaven....soon! Maranatha!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Rapture and The 7th Shmittah of 2014/2015!: http://youtu.be/cAR2dFBYUTA

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Always Watching:

Lift High the Cross arr. Sterling Procter

Cancer Reasons

It's been eight months since Ed was diagnosed with leukemia. Friday, June 13th, 2014. Today is the 11th of February, and I've had some time to think about, read about, talk about cancer.

Something I never expected to have to deal with personally, as my whole family has had few instances of it. Yes, I have friends with cancer. We all know people with cancer.

Let's mention the obvious cancer causes---poisons, pesticides, genetic propensity, environmental hazards. We all deal with these.

The truth is, we all have cancers in our bodies. This we know. The trick is to keep them in line, not allowing them to take over in the form of some tumor, blood disorder, or patch on the skin.

In Biblical law there is an intriguing scenario about an unfaithful woman. If she is accused by her husband of infidelity she must drink a potion of dirt from the floor of the temple and water, concocted by the priest. The Bible says that if she is guilty her "thigh would rot."

If innocent she would see no change in her health.

Immune systems are amazing things. Really, in order to understand cancer we must understand our immune systems.

At a recent visit to my doctor we chatted about cancer (of course). He said he's seeing so much of it lately it is alarming.

"Why?" I asked.

"I think it is related to stress. People are so stressed in their lives---dysfunctional families, financial troubles, you name it..." he said. "The T-cells in the body are simply overrun, and there is nothing to fight the cancers."

Immune systems are affected by stress. They are compromised by it. Believe it or not, our bodies fight all sorts of stresses.

When I was a kid my mom always told me to cover my head outside in winter. Stay warm, don't catch cold. My boyfriend in college laughed at that. He said that the body was only ever affected by germs, viruses, and bacteria. I always knew that if I kept warm I wouldn't get sick as easily.

Well, there is truth in that. If your body is fighting to keep warm, your body is not as efficient fighting the enemy germs in your body----the staph, the virus, the bacteria---and the defense goes down. Here comes the sore throat...runny nose. Immune system compromise. Simple, but true!

The same thing applies to stress and cancer. If the body is stressed, on high alert, because of emotional duress or some other stress, the body must keep the cortisone levels higher, work harder, and generally burn itself out dealing with that stress. Where is the army of defenses to keep the bad cells down?

"Peace, perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee"

Last fall, 2013, Ed went through the most stressful period in his life. He was diagnosed with a chronic condition, bi-polar disorder. He was not stable. We all were stressed out. Freaked out, even. Add to that a couple of weddings, trips, college graduations, army commissionings, an open house (all wonderful things!!!!!!!!!) but rather stressful, simply because!

Stress reduced his immune system significantly. This I believe. It reduced mine!

Now, I am a firm believer in the Hand of God, and how He plays a role in each of our lives. He can allow, He can prevent, He can do whatever He wants to bring us closer to Him, His ultimate goal for EACH HUMAN BEING. And He is GOOD. I do not deny His purpose for anything in each of our lives.

I do know that he gave this rather blatant clue about immune systems in the Bible, in the law of Moses, about having a clear conscience and being at peace, and what happens to the immune system when you don't have that. You will probably get sick.

So, although I would never claim to be absolutely sure about what caused Ed to get leukemia, (the doctors aren't) it would be easy for me to see that stress played a role.

And this is a warning to me, to anyone, really.

The faith of a Christian can be the rudder of a ship in stormy waters. How often has that image been used? I feel it, though. There it is, down under the boat, able to powerfully direct the entire ship through a cacophony.

We will have poisons, GMO's, environmental stresses, diseases, troubles and heartaches in our lives. That is a given. We live in a fallen world.

But God has given us a way to navigate these things. Faith can truly be a healing force in our bodies! We have the responsibility to follow His commands, His ways, and we will have the blessing of a clear conscience, a strong immune system, a good sense of how to live, work, and plan our lives, and we will be healthy.

In a perfect world there would certainly be no cancer. In a perfect world there would only be healthy stress. In a perfect world there would be nothing to thwart or hinder our love for the Creator.

But we live in this sin-sick world.

Now we recover. We reduce stress where we can. We build our immunity as we know how--prayer, daily Bible reading, exercise, satisfying work, eating right, taking vitamins and herbs, sleep (!!!), balance, laughing, quiet. Trust in God. This is recovery, until our Lord comes to make it all perfect.

Cancer Reasons

Monday, February 9, 2015

Corgi Doings

The week of rest came to an end this morning for Ed with a spinal tap, bright and early. It went well.

As he came out of the anesthesia he said, "Ugh, Thinal spat---I am lucid."

Always a laugh or two for the rest of us in the room! The anesthesiologist was a kind and proficient doctor, very careful to explain what he was doing, and why he was doing it.

Ed recovered quickly, able to wake up enough to say hello to the chaplain, who visited briefly, and get home before his grandparents left for Iowa (they spent a few days here.)

His ammonia levels were down to 22 today, so that was great. They should be low by now. Ed's hair is coming back, a light fuzz over his scalp. He loves to wear a black crocheted hat.

Yesterday the Hematology/Oncology department put on a sponsored day at the Mall of the America---rides and a pasta buffet meal. There were tables set up with representatives from the different "Wish" organizations. HEMONC patients all fit in that wish-making category, so we will see what comes of that for Ed. It's things like this that really do boost morale in the drudgery of cancer treatment. We certainly are grateful for the kindnesses of strangers, as we are for the sweet kindnesses of our own friends and family.

We are so thankful for you all.

On Saturday we were able to go to the Minnesota Public Radio station headquarters and listen to a "lecture" from Michael Barone about the Pipedreams Organ Tour 2014 to Switzerland, and other pertinent musical/organ topics. It was very enjoyable and informative.

It's organ season again, and we are looking forward to several free concerts that are upcoming. Join us!
Sundays at 4:00 ---the usual time for a concert throughout the Twin Cities. We like to take advantage of the wonderful performances as often as we can. For more information check out pipedreams.org.

I finished a baby blanket, crochet, the other night, so I feel a sense of SOME accomplishment. Lately I have been in "existence mode." I tend to get few things done in this mode. I exist, and that's about it. I got to spend time with an old friend having lunch yesterday too. Fun times, and so special.

Of course I look back and see everything that has been happening and I can see that it's far more than mere existence, but it's just so melded together that one thing seems fused with another thing, time-wise, and I just float through it all. There isn't much time to reflect.

We have ten days before we go back to the clinic. This unplanned break in treatment is due to the ammonia reaction from last week. I am so happy to say that we are thankful for it, even if it expands the overall treatment time.

Ten days of homeschooling, perhaps the YMCA, project inventory, cleaning, and PAINTING????

Perhaps I can just get caught up some.

We'll see. I'll be writing when I can.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Alan Horvath, Feb. 3, 2015

JD Farag, Feb. 1, 2015

Signs of the Times

I posted a couple of links to YouTube videos that cover things happening in the world.

I need not repeat what's covered there, but I had this thought about how things are turning out in the world. I always appreciate JD Farag, an Arab pastor from Hawaii, who gives his "prophecy summary" each week. His concise report is worth watching every week. Don't miss it! Alan Horvath does his clever news show every Tuesday, and I like his angle too. His studies on the "Otiot" are fascinating. I'd always wondered about the term "Daystar," or "Morning Star," and how it is confusing in the Word, either referring to the devil or Christ. (Context, context, context!) He cleared that up---check it out. You will be interested!

You probably can't miss the Katy Perry buzz about the "woman riding the beast" imagery, plus the Illuminati links since the Super Bowl. It's so obvious.

As we watch the times of the end unfold I want to encourage. We will be called "haters" by demonic internet trolls, we will be marginalized, we will be ignored. Yet we have the Truth, and we know that this Truth comes from a Holy Book, not our own rationalizations. We stand on firm ground.

"OneVision" is a new unity movement designed to bring all religions together. I read about it in a couple of places this week. It is involved in funding a campaign against Netanyahu in Israeli elections. It's involved in many countries around the world, reeking of the New World Order, and it plays into the idea that world peace CAN be achieved.

It can't.

We believers know that God has a master plan. We watch and wait for His prophecy to be fulfilled, and we are responsible for LOVING, SERVING, and PREACHING THE GOSPEL to the world until that day He calls us home. This is our mission, task, path, belief, "religion"---if you will. It's fundamental.

So, courage! We have the end in sight, and the fruitless liberal chatter of anything opposing the truth from Scripture will fade. Only the Truths of the Word will come into sharp focus, as they play out before our eyes.

It's happening now.

So take heart, dear ones. It's going to look bad, as the devil seizes power in this fading world. You know, though, that God wins.

Stay in the Word. Pray. Remember the words Jesus spoke, "Do for others as you would have them do for you." Watch. He is coming like a thief, but YOU are watching for Him. You will be ready with oil in your lamp, (the Holy Spirit), just like an Israeli bride of the first century---watching and waiting, ready for that wonderful day of meeting our Lord and Savior, Yahshua. 

Google Images

In a moment, in a twinkling. In a "Planck."

Watch. BE READY!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bit of a Book Review, Bit of Catching Up

So many things to write about, many things to tell.

I read a book last night that I got a week ago, "My Boy, Ben" by David Wheaton. It's about the life and death of his yellow lab, Ben. I admit I cried. I can't help it but mourn the loss of a beloved pet, as I've done it so many times myself:

Lady, Sheik, Smoky, Rusty, Peppy, Pierre, Tom Bombadil, Taffy, Theodore, Kitty, Kedi, Blue, Padder, and Lacey.

Taffy and Blue belonged to other families, but I loved them and they loved me when I wasn't able to have a pet of my own. I mourned their deaths as if they'd been my own.

This string of pets, horses---dogs---cats, had an impact on my whole life. I had a cow for awhile too, Geraldine.

Wheaton's book resonated with me. I know how a particular dog can become incredibly integral to life. He wrote about Ben, a yellow lab that became his companion during a transitional time in his life. He captured the impact and comfort that a dog can contribute to anyone willing to share time and love.

I believe that God makes all things new, and that his covenant with Noah included animals. Animals are part of the crowning touch of his mind boggling creation. If you take the Universe and go incremental steps outward---toward the edge of it---and then you go the other way, toward our micro world, mankind and animals share almost the same central location in the scale of size from string theory to galaxy.

Animals are important, and I loved how Wheaton highlighted the responsibility we have to care for them.

The beasts of the field are MINE, says the Lord, ---but we are to nurture the domestic creatures. Isn't the LORD specific?

Dogs are one of God's special creatures. So perfect for us, teaching us kindness, compassion, patience, devotion, loyalty, and unwavering love.

You know I love our corgi, Misty and our lab, Blackberry. They have enriched our lives more than I can say. We couldn't stand it without Kiwi and Predicate, the felines, either. These four are our current menagerie. But there always seems to be special things about particular pets that set them apart.

For David Wheaton, Ben was a dog of a lifetime. The book is a touching memoir of how Ben loved and helped Wheaton understand deeper meanings in life, like grace and unconditional love. He also worked through some theological questions regarding animals and the role they play in our lives.

For me, our part-wolf-part-lab mutt, Lacey, was the dog that had the most impact. She was a sweet and intelligent lady. She had a sense of place, and she rarely disappointed. Her keen sense of being able to understand children was priceless to me. She kept the babies from falling down the stairs, gently allowed them to pull her fur and hug her neck. Faithful dog, she will never be forgotten. Everyone loved her. If someone met her on a walk or at a campground she merited a compliment or two every time.

She was lovely, and I'd love to meet her again. She passed away too soon, at seven years, from bone cancer. How I grieved. I can't believe she's been gone 10 years. I still cling to her memory. I think David Wheaton would understand my grief, as he described it in his own experience losing Ben.

If you've ever loved a pet, you will want to read "My Boy, Ben." If you haven't loved an animal, you should still read it. It will give you an understanding of how animals should be cherished, and why some people love them so much. Surely you know someone who loves animals! Why, you know ME!

I want to mention how much comfort our pets have been to us during this difficult time with Ed's leukemia. Waiting for us to get home, snuggling with us, lending us a warm scruff to bury sorrows in---these four animals we have now are worth their weight in gold.

Yes, they require care and oversight. I have to think about who will be letting them out while we're at the hospital. They are worth the fuss, though, and I am grateful we can have them. I know Ed has benefited from their presence many ways.

Animals are WORTH IT!

Ed's ammonia levels are back to normal. It's hard to believe he was in the ICU last week! We had the test today. There will be a recovery time this week, and next week will open with a spinal tap, bright and early on Monday morning.

Twelve hours at a time. Each day is a little closer to the end of this ordeal. I'm learning to see the joy in each day, look for Christ's return, and fix my eyes on the Person of Jesus, provider, lover of our souls.

And I'm thankful we have pets to enliven and enrich our way.

Corgis in the News

New World Order