Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Derrick the Defeater's mom makes
towel wraps for cancer kids. She
lost her son to medullo relapse and
busies herself in a positive way.
Things are perfectly in place, arranged, and logistically in line for moving to an apartment tomorrow… so I really have no idea what to expect. Eli’s lab report was good on Monday, so we signed the three-month lease for the smallest two-bedroom one bath, the one that faces the playground. We will be squeezed into 731-square foot, so…… yes, we are going backward, it seems. Mom’s townhouse that we just moved out of a couple of months ago was 1200 square-foot. The kids are going to, now, think that it was a mansion.Technically, the kids and Vic will only be visiting. The kids will be with us two weeks at a time, because of things they want to do at home, and Vic a few weekends. So, it is really just Eli and I that will live there, technically. We rented bare minimum furniture, and Lake Houston Church of Christ is setting us up with some household items to borrow, generously gave us gift cards to get us started with some groceries, and a couple of mattresses and table and chairs to borrow.

And, I’ve got to add a lengthy sidetone here: Again, just like I have said many times before, what a blessing it is to be a member of God’s family! We hear sermon and lesson over and over about God’s fatherly love for us, and the divine design of the body of the church, and our relationship with Christ. But the relationship between each other is so important. Sometimes I will give the kids a chore, or a task, or they will be fighting, and I will just tell them that I want them to learn to work as a team to accomplish a task, to depend on each other, and to deal with each other independent of me, so I will stay out of it. I think it is so important for them to look to each other for help, or to help, and to develop relationships without me, so that their love for each other is not only held together by their connection to us. And, I want them to work out their relationship kinks while being responsible for the laundry, not one day when they have to work together to take care of me, get it.

The Church has always been my safe place, the one consistency. No matter how old I was, no matter
Our new waiting room.
 where I lived, no matter what I was doing, if I could find a congregation of the Lord’s Church, I felt safe and home. Throughout this “journey,” as many like to call it, we have had so many congregations reach out to us (individuals as well, and so many individuals just connected to us through a friend, or they, are just precious followers of Eli that want to help, but for now, I’m specifically referring to my relationship with my spiritual brothers and sisters), and I am hesitant to name them because I will forget one. But, from the beginning, in Memphis, from the very first day, multiple congregations, probably 12, reached out to us or members at local congregations helped us in various ways throughout that time. And, coming to Houston, has been no different. From the beginning, it was like Houston was ready for us. Of course, with social media the information gap is barely a dimple, and congregations, or individuals were standing at attention at New York and Houston and Louisville, just waiting for word that we were coming - even at Minnesota near Mayo. From collecting our mail, bringing me medicine when I was sick, providing a meal, providing a wheelchair, just a variety of things, we want for nothing and (to Vic’s dismay), I never worry about needing anything. I never worry about seeking treatment
There is a cracker barrel in front of the apartment!
 anywhere in the U.S. because I know that, even outside the Bible belt, I can find my family somewhere and we will have help and support wherever we go. What is interesting, too, is that the church helping us is doing so because of someone in their own congregation has asked for this help. These places helping us do not know us, but the person at the congregation that is the catalyst to help us is whom they are responding to. So, your relationships in your congregation is what gets or doesn’t get things done. These people have reputations within their own congregation that makes others want to help, so we have been so blessed to be connected with friends of friends of friends that are loved and respected in their congregations so that others respond and react to the work they have found to offer. So, to those of you reading this that do not have a church home, find one. If you feel alone in whatever you are doing, you don’t have to be. If there is a hardship that you can not fix in your life, you can fix being alone by joining God’s family. It requires some effort on your part, you will have to stay a little passed “amen” at the end and maybe go more than once, or go to extra activities (can’t blame a congregation for being unfriendly if you didn’t give them a chance). But I have never come across a congregation where at least two people didn’t introduced themselves. That is my preaching for today. So, to me, finding a church is fun. I love to visit congregations when I am away from home, especially small ones. We have visited with several different congregations in or near Houston, as we were deciding where to get the apartment and limit our traffic engagement as much as we can (do not want to drive through Houston unless I must!). Memorial which has collected Eli’s mail, and where I know some people from helps us with just normal “where is this…” kind of questions, and we really enjoyed visiting. After deciding that we would stay south of Houston, we started visiting nearer this end. We enjoyed Pearland and went a couple of times. And, we visited a sweet little congregation at Stafford, and we have been to Westside in Alvin. Little congregations are always so proud to see visitors, and thankfully, the kids do well to go to classes anywhere. The girls are a little more nervous - teenagers - but, I don’t let on that they have a choice, And, we have visited other congregations for VBS and meetings all their lives, so they are kind of use to being the new kid. So, to me it is fun to meet new people, experience the differences and similarities in attending worship with brothers and sisters we do not know. I hope that we can do our part to shine our light and encourage the Christians in these smaller congregations just as much as they do us with their servant hearts.

So, after Eli’s treatment tomorrow, unless the sky falls - and he is having a pain in his side that we can’t seem to remedy, so hoping that attention to that does not slow down his treatment - the utilities will be turned on, the water turned on, and the all important internet will be turned on (limited!!! yikes!!), and most of the furniture will be there. We have made all deposits, fees upon fees, application and references, so I believe we are set for tomorrow afternoon, but we will not spend the night there until Friday.

I wanted to share Baylee’s news that she got an all-clear for her two-time relapsed medullo. Wonderful news, as well as Hannah’s scan is kind of inconclusive after being told she had relapsed again. They are going to do some more testing Monday. Praying so hard for these two girls. Eli is doing ok. His appetite is still very little, and this mystery side-pain is a PAIN! I will work on keeping you updated. Thank you for all that you do!

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