But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast
love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed and that I am so far behind in updating! We have had a good few weeks with so many enjoyable moments in both our care for Papa and Gigi and in our own little family. I praise the Lord that I am able to say that my sweet Gigi is doing better and she remains at home with us. For reason’s unknown to us or her physician, she has had a few weeks of reprieve in her episodes of aggression. Her doctor is unable to say for sure if she is progressing out of this stage or if she is simply having a good few weeks. We have had some small snippets of difficult days again over the last week with yesterday being the worst in quite a while, but nothing compared to what we had endured the last few months. One of the richest blessings of this reprieve is her renewed tenderness towards those of us caring for her. I personally have been the recipient of many kisses, hugs and reciprocal “I love you’s” over the last few weeks. I cannot tell you how deeply these moments have blessed the granddaughter in me. Even with the practical knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease, being purposeful to protect my heart, and the understanding that what she says or does is not directed to me as a granddaughter; the words and actions have still managed to leave sadness and small wounds in my soul. These last few weeks have helped to renew our spirits and bolster our strength as we continue to care for both Papa and Gigi. Unfortunately many other facets of the disease continue to cause her decline and sadly we see her struggle more. She is having a very difficult time walking and in my thoughts, from the nature of the disease, she might only have a few more months before she is in a wheelchair full time. Her speech is far more jumbled and in trying to hold a conversation with her, quite a few words are unintelligible. She of course doesn’t know who I or many others are most every day. Last night she asked me… “have I met these people before?” referring to Papa and Mitchell. Since we were standing behind Papa, I thought bringing her to see his face might help, but sadly it did not. When I told her he was her husband of 64 years she gasped slightly and said…”what…really?”. As difficult as that was, it was hardest to see Papa’s face sadden as he realized what was happening. He has suffered greatest, second only to Gigi, with this terrible disease. He will often lament….”that awful Alzheimer’s… she is still here, but she’s already gone”. The pain of watching the love of your life slip away before your eyes has to be agonizing. He is still so faithful in loving her through precious words even though he is unable to help in action. He is a sweet example to each of us of Galatians 5:22-23 …. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In the physical realm, Papa himself has seen some decline over the last few months but overall he remains pretty steady. We have noticed of late his strength for transferring from wheelchair to bed or chair is diminishing both in his arms and legs. He has had a couple more prominent “senior moments” in reference to memory and confusion, but nothing outside of the natural scope of aging for a 92 year old man! He gladly attests to the faithfulness of his heavenly Father and we are encouraged and blessed by him on a daily basis.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
Homeschooling is in full swing and the children are truly doing great! Mitchell’s first year of HS has a very full schedule! He is tackling Algebra 2 and Geometry, Writing, English/Grammar, and two online courses….a 10th grade Earth Science course and American Government. In his spare time he is playing football on the freshman team for our local High School and LOVING it! We never thought our current season of life and commitment to Papa and Gigi would allow him to play but the Lord worked out all the details of practice and game schedules. On many practice days he rides his bike round trip so that helps in my time commitment and driving him back and forth. He was blessed to go for a weekend to Silverwood Theme Park with his good buddy Joel and Mr. & Mrs. E. They had a blast and made some fabulous memories! He and his Daddy also had an amazing father/son time away a couple weekends ago, in part thanks to a rich blessing from an anymous giver. Their weekend included lots of fun, food, taking in a Seahawks game and.....YIKES.... Daddy teaching the "man child" how to shave! The weekend came about because Chad and Mitchell were completing the last chapter of a great book they had been going through together as they tackle the important area of moral purity. Randy Alcorn has written an excellent resource on the subject in the book …. The Purity Principle. Chad desired to take Mitchell away for a special time as they closed out the last chapter and hoped to include a Seahawks game in the weekend. By the time we added everything up for a night away we knew the ability to spend money on a game simply might not work. I love how the Lord knows even our deepest, unspoken desires and lavishes us with His good pleasure. We had shared our thoughts with no one and yet just over a week later He amazingly provided 2 tickets to a Seahawks game in the mail from an anonymous giver!!! Chad was able to surprise Mitchell with the game as the time away was coming to a close . A simple yet staggering act of kindness from our Heavenly Father….oh how He loves you and me!
Isabelle is greatly enjoying 5th grade…..with Reading, Math and sewing being her favorite subjects! She loves to spend her free time reading, sewing, and dressing up to play school, The Hiding Place or Little House on the Prairie with her younger siblings. She has also been busy with soccer practices and games! Since there is no way we can have multiple children doing many sports at one time we rotate the years of who gets to play a sport among the younger ones. This is Isabelle’s year and she loves the team…especially because she is playing with two of her good friends and making new ones.
It is so sweet to see William and Shelley in their 2nd grade year! Shelley’s favorite subjects are Reading and sewing and Will really enjoys Math! They are both reading well and many concepts seem to simply “click” in the second grade, it is one of my favorite years for the children in school. They are faithful and diligent in their work and are a precious blessing to me as teacher and Momma.
JD…well…what can I say…he is a 3 ½ year old bundle of energy!!! I love that boy immensely but to say “he keeps us hopping” would be the understatement of the century!! Actually we have witnessed some fantastic progress with him! His random screams and fits are fewer and far between, his vocabulary is excellent, and among other positive changes he is now sleeping in his big boy bed!! Also, when it suits his mood he will appease us by tinkling in the toilet! We are no where near finished potty training with him but I continue to have faith and hope in the fact that he will not be 16 and in diapers! He is truly the funniest kid and we LOVE his spunk and personality!
Also Isabelle, William and Shelley were so excited to be in the September wedding of a sweet couple they love dearly! It was an absolutely beautiful wedding and they loved every minute of it!
These few weeks have been sweet. We feel as if we are constantly getting notes, calls or words of encouragement from many friends and family. We love that your common thread is prayer for us, and we offer our deepest gratitude for your faithfulness to include us in your petitions to our heavenly Father. We continue to be renewed by the loving hand of our Savior. He knows each of our needs, intimately cares for our deepest woes and continues to provide us with abundant love and strength for each day. It is our great privilege to serve such a gracious and lavish God.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.