Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Never mind the San Andreas fault line

We just had an earthquake here.

I woke Chris up (I have been shopping and was about to go to bed). It also woke Kita in Banbury 10 miles away, and she called me a couple of minutes ago to see if we'd felt it too.

I almost ignored it. We used to get goods trains going past on the main line about 400 yards away. the biggest of them would be up to 40 coal wagons long, and would make the house shake like that too. However there is no railway line that close to Kita's place so it MUST have been a quake. Weird.

More details on the BBC website.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

To those who keep up with things through the blog

Chris wrote:

Having said yesterday that Mum was at long last getting better, she has taken another turn for the worse. They finally concluded that the continuing diarrhea was a result of the colitis, not the antibiotics, so they have put her on a new drug, cyclosporin, to treat the colitis.

This is a powerful drug used when people have transplants to help prevent rejection, & unfortunately it has rather a lot of side effects. Chief among these is nausea & Mum is having real trouble eating. Her appetite did seem to improve towards the end of last week, but this has knocked her right back again, & the hospital food isn't helping. They have been giving her anti nausea drugs, but these seem to be administered haphazardly, for example they gave her one this evening after she had been sick, rather than timing it so she had one before the evening meal was served in the hope that she would be able to eat some! The doctors have suggested that family bring food in as she is now so repulsed by hospital food, but when Toni took her a sandwich, at her request, she couldn't face even that.

She is also tired, headachy & feeling bloated, so more prayer is needed I'm afraid, most especially for Irene, but if you can spare some for us & Pete & Alison, Toni's brother & wife, that wouldn't go amiss either!

Thanks all, Love Chris

Monday, 25 February 2008

Stoopid mistakes not to make #12

This requires some food, preferably with a thick sauce, that has been stored in the fridge, plus a microwave. Heat the food thoroughly to make sure it's heated through. Stir it round to mix. Pop a small sample in your mouth.

Now the mistake.

You wait for the food to cool sufficiently instead of spitting it back out. And keep waiting moving it around so nothing gets burnt. Until you realise it won't cool down. And your tongue now hurts. A lot. A LOT! SPIT.

End of mistake.

Saturday lunchtime is a little spoilt by eating with a sore tongue, ditto dinner.

Sunday morning comes. On waking, your mouth tastes like it's been on a route march through somewhere muddy and then a desert for a week without a wash. You go to the bathroom to try to clear the debris.

Your spit is pink.

Spit again. It's red this time.

Your mouth fills with that slightly salty, slightly ferrous familiar taste that says "I'm bleeding inside". Out comes the tongue, now with a couple of fissures on the top surface from which threads of red are oozing slowly. Put the tongue away, try not to move it much, hope it will clot before you need to spit again. Fail.




Clean shaver head.


Eventually you peer again. No more threads of red. Tongue remains unenthusiastic about hot food for remainder of day.

I have always been VERY careful with microwaved food, and this is the first (and last) time it's happened to me. There's a warning in there, somewhere.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The very latest release from Hill$ongs

I *think* this is my first ever embedded movie. Probably my last. I have a good friend who often seems to play DVDs of worship sessions that have made me feel quite uncomfy. Now I know why.

BTW this IS meant to be funny, and I don't think is taking a pop specifically at Hillsongs, so much as the church ghetto culture in general. Movie courtesy of Fernando.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Well I'm disappointed to say this.

After my earlier post suggesting my mum was coming home things went downhill rather. She had a few bad days again, and is still very weak. She's now lost 20kg, and although there has been some progress made, she's not at all good. Emotionally she's just had enough fiddling around, and although she's been putting a brave face on things, inside she's really unhappy.

She is, however, not someone who just gives up.

So on we go. Next step if cyclosporin treatment, and when that doesn't work surgery to resect the ulcerated piece of colon. It still feels right that she should live a while longer yet (and I'd be happy to let her go if the time was now) so we keep encouraging her, keep praying and keep trusting. Sometimes I wonder if there's a measure of suffering for each of us, and we need to fill it up before we can die peacefully - but that's just idle, foolish thinking.

Thankyou to Sue and Ian, Jackie and Linder and Naomi who've visited her in hospital. She really appreciated you coming in.

Guilty as charged

Thanks to Steve Lowe.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

So a re-request

Please pray for Randall and Lauralea - and for the surgeon that will remove the growth on Laura's thyroid.

This has grown much too fast to be good. Please ask that the operation goes perfectly, that they get every bit, that it hasn't spread anywhere else, and that Laura's voice isn't affected. Please pray for them all as a family through this scary scary time. This bothers me a very great deal.

Operation Thursday, early Sask time. Thank you.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

What value, change?

I've been wondering about re-doing the appearance of TBOTAM: after all, it's been a stable environment for nearly 5 years. Personally I don't like blogs to flick between appearances, as it makes them seem flimsy and unstable, disposal and fickle. But after this long I guess I could gently revamp things.

Anyone care? Shall I tweak or would you prefer a bit of stability in an ocean of uncertainty?


Chris wrote:

Hi All,
Just to let you know that Mum is slowly getting better, although she is still very weak. She has been sleeping better, which is great news, & is generally feeling more comfortable. The tests showed that the colitis has not come back, the diarrhea was just a result of all the medication.
They are now saying she can come home Thursday which is good news although we are a bit concerned in case she is not up to it. She feels very vulnerable at the thought of being outside the protective environment of hospital, although it will be lovely to be back in the peace & quiet of her own home. She will be having someone come in 4 times a day to administer the antibiotics, so that will act as a safety net should anything go wrong, & she does have an alarm system in her flat.

So, good news. Thank you for praying, I am convinced it has made a difference, but please continue to pray.
Thank you. love,

Monday, 11 February 2008

Lenten fast?

I'm not sure how this will come out - I'm thinking as I type, but moreso than usual, and using it to formulate some thoughts.

I've read this evening the post about Lent on Paul's blog and another post some time back on Marc's. Some of the guys we love and care for in our housegroup are fasting off certain things for lent, and I've been VERY careful not to be in the least discouraging (AFAIK none of them read TBOTAM regularly).

In my comment on Paul's blog I explained that all seasons are alike to me. But he also raised the question:

Afterall he didn't pull any punches when he said:

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."

What does intentionally practicing losing our lives look like?

This is in no way blowing my own trumpet, but I've just spent a substantial portion of this evening preparing for housegroup tomorrow night. I expect to spend time praying for the guys in our care, maybe fasting for them too. This has become more pointed for me because I know God has been speaking about getting the net habit under control, and with His grace, it's happening. I'm shutting down the computer and going to bed with Chris instead of staying up. I'm watching the sites I view more carefully (and literally ran away from one a few nights ago) and we're not even talking p0rn here. This affects the money we spend, the clothes we wear, cars we drive and the food we eat.

What's my point.

A bit like the adverts about dogs, self sacrifice isn't for lent, but for life. It's a way of life we're called to, as Paul M pointed out. I don't know if the idea of giving stuff up for lent is helpful or harmful. Does it make us feel like we've pushed the boat out for a month, topped up our 'holy points' and given us credit in heavens bank?

Or does it provide a basis to extend ourselves? Is it a potential place to initiate something that produces fruit in our lives instead of a transient longing, denied, then all the sweeter in renewed indulgence?

I'm not poking at anyone, nor especially asking questions that need answers. But if you've given up or begun something for lent, maybe you should ask yourself why, and will it bear lasting fruit or just be a passing phase? Will you now feel guilt-bound to repeat the Jesus creed for the rest of your natural or will it have been a good idea for just a few weeks before normality reasserted itself. Or is there a different path you're walking entirely?

Sorry to have left it so long for an update.

It's been a real roller coaster ride for my mum these last few days.

Thursday night, as I reported here, she seemed so much better, but Friday was less good.

Saturday morning we have a prayer meeting in Bicester at 7.30, and the guys all prayed for her, with a strong sense that it really wasn't time for her to die yet. I went straight on from there to the hospital, full of faith, only to find her in a really bad way. The infection was still going, the colitis had returned and she was also odematous and feeling swollen with pains around her heart and serious difficulty breathing. So we prayed together a little, and eventually I left still feeling that she should recover - honestly, on the face of it she looked like she was ready to die.

Saturday afternoon she was much better and even cheerful, ditto Saturday night. Last night we went over after church (we meet in the afternoon, 4 to about 6ish). She was pretty much normal sounding, and although there's still a fair bit of fluid and some nasty bruising from failed canulation attempts.

I don't think it's presumption to say she's turned a corner. She is still receiving massive doses of antibiotics to deal with the hospital acquired infection, but hopefully she'll be better soon than when she went in. Yes, I'm grateful.

Thank you everyone that's been praying.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Getting better

My mum is very weak now, but seems to be herself again. Thank God, literally.

*edit 9th Feb.*
Or not quite so great today. Fluid retention, infection, lack of sleep and generally feeling less than great are all taking their toll.

A settled night.

Not me, but my mother.

Apparently she was getting ready for breakfast this morning when I rang the ward.

I wasn't at all sure I'd still HAVE a mother this morning.

I'm at the half-way point between gratitude she's still here and being uptight with twanging nerves. If she recovers then I'm asking for at least another 2 years of good health for her - better than it's been any time in the last 6 months. There is very little worse than sliding deeper and deeper into the mess, pain and indignity of severe old age.

Thank you everyone that's prayed for her.

This has certainly made me re-think about taking medication when I get older and fragile.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

And if there's yet MORE spare prayer

Please cover Lauralea and Randall today. Laura's having a thyroid op, and that has implications for her ability to speak in the future: the area that is being worked on is apparently close to the nerves controlling her voice.

BTW If you also have a little more prayer spare?

Please pray for my mother too.

She's still in hospital, now with added infection badness.


Things don't look too great right now, but we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

A little snippet from todays Times newspaper.

"I was at BBC two when the f-word was first broadcast" says sir David Attenborough to Saga magazine. "The uproar was extraordinary. Now you hear it everywhere. People think they are striking a blow for intellectual freedom, but on the contrary they are robbing words of their effect and value". How we have fallen.

I have long been unhappy about relatively eminent Christians (and some mostly unknown ones) swearing about things and then saying how unhappy they were about other Christians being more upset about them swearing than the injustice or deprivation they were swearing about. This passage seemed to fit almost perfectly.

I know few of you will know her

But if you've a little time, could you pray for Myra?

She's in critical care right now with lung cancer, and she doesn't (or at least didn't) know Jesus. Neither situation is to be envied, and together they don't make for a great future.

Thank you.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

We've just got back from welcoming the troops home.

Bicester town has an associated regiment, and the town council wanted to put on a 'welcome home' weekend for the guys back from Afghanistan, Boznia & Herzegovina and Iraq. Part of that was a special church service in the local Anglican church.

I tell you, English religion is as weird as anything the middle and far east ever thought up. It is also at times like this that Anglicanism is transparently a religon designed to primarily support the state - Henry would have been proud.

Interesting watching the behaviour of the officers in front of us this morning. Some of the guys just sang along. There was one chap who stood VERY stiffly to attention at the appropriate times, absolutely did not sing any hymns but launched whole-heartedly into the national anthem. The rest of the men appeared to just go into autopilot, lips moving at the appropriate moments, sitting or standing as required. If I didn't know God could break in through this kind of thing I'd be a lot more disturbed by it.

As for the guys from the army, it's right to welcome them back. I just find doing it like this quite strange. I wonder if going to church in this way makes a difference to how they feel and act in their theatres?

Friday, 1 February 2008

A little something new

for your *hopefully* listening pleasure another Harmony Central backing track covered.

Enough clams to make a decent chowder, I hear more each time I listen through.

So only listen once, please. :-)