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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge

It feels strange to write a review of a book while in the midst of chaos around here but this book was too good not to share.

Jacob and I have been homebound for 30 days now. He doesn't want anyone but his mom to take care of him so I think I may have gotten away from the house for a total of 4 hours in the past 4 weeks. Yes, it's stressful!

You may imagine that I have been reading or writing or getting lots done being stuck here at home but constant care means just that...constant! My house is a mess, food is either something quickly popped into the oven or brought to us by others (which has been a life send!). And surprisingly, my brain is not focused enough to read. I had picked up an easy read at the library before all this came into play and it literally took me three weeks to read it - which is so not me.

I had Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge sitting on my shelf and decided to pull that out the other day. I stayed up late reading it and it was able to "take me away" for awhile.

What made me interested in the book in the first place was that it combines two of my favorite things: blogs and authors. A quick summary, without giving the ending away, is that the main character becomes mostly housebound after her husband passes away. She spends time on Facebook and her blog for her outside entertainment. When she writes a not so great review about one of her favorite author's recent books she has no idea that soon she will be waking up in a different room - kidnapped!

It kept my attention and I liked the Christian aspect, which was subtle but very present.

Misery Loves Company

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

P.S. I also reviewed this positively because I don't want Rene Gutterudge to kidnap me!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

God Is Near

It's Sunday morning and I sit here with a cup of coffee at my side and the sound of the oxygen concentrator buzzing away. Jacob's lifeline fills the whole house with it's wisps and puffs and motor hums.

There is no chance of making it to church today. As Jacob's sole caregiver (he wants no one but mom) I am with him around the clock. There is no need for church today; I feel God more present here than ever before.

I see Him in Jacob's smile.
I hear Him in the voices of the people who stop by with meals to feed our family.

I see Him in my friends and family who are rallying around me to support us in this time of need. They, to me, are the circle of covered wagons...they have circled us and placed us in the middle for protection.

I feel Him in Jacob's little hand as he reaches to hold mine each night.

I see Him in Jacob's frail, yet strong body. He's exceeded everyone's expectations this month and continues to surprise us with his strength. He has shown that you don't need a buff, strong body to hold within it the courage and strength of a lion.

As I look into Jacob's eyes, I see God. Soon Jacob will get to see Him face to face but for now he is showing Him to those around himself. He is leading the way. 

Isaiah 11:6
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Some recent Facebook posts of mine:

7-15-13: Thanks to my mom for the book "Were is Heaven? Children's Wisdom on Facing Death" by Ted Menten. I love what he says about this topic: "But a child's life may be a shooting star-one brief shining moment crossing the landscape of our life, a moment brilliant in beauty but brief in duration. Children are filled with joy and laughter, and their final gift to us is the gift of life-their life. In facing death, they show us how to live."

7-15-13: Jacob had another fairly good night. He had a dose of morphine before bed and asked for another at 4:30am but seemed comfortable immediately afterwards and slept well.

When Joe crawled onto the mattress this morning to lay next to me I said "Joe, can you rub my back?" (because that mattress leaves me waking up in horrible pain) but instead Jacob's little hand reached out from the pile of blankets on the couch to rub it. I patted his hand and told him to go back to sleep - how can anyone, much less a child, be so selfless in a time of great bodily strife?

I've been giving Jacob sponge baths for the past week since he didn't feel good enough to get in the tub. Tonight my heart clenched in fear when he asked for a real bath. I've barely been able to stand seeing him getting skinner and skinner these past weeks and didn't know if I could stand the sight of him undressed.

His climb into the tub was slow and painful but instantly I saw him relax as he... lowered himself into the water. This boy, who was born in a water birth, has always loved his baths. It was painful to see my child as thin as a skeleton and a swollen chest that wasn't moving (he is now breathing with his abdomen muscles) but as I washed his frail body and dried him off and dressed him I was the one who felt blessed. This little boy is as close to God as anyone can possibly be and I am literally caring for an angel who is embarking on his journey home.

As his mother, I hope that he has felt blessings from us throughout his life but I feel he has taught us so much more than we could have ever taught him.

Prayers for a peaceful night for him.
I take back what I said yesterday - I'm glad Jacob's body is so strong. I'm glad that Jacob is so strong...it's this supernatural courage and strength that make him who he is. It is what has brought him through the past three years. It is his will, diversity, happiness, thoughtfulness, and radiance that make him such an inspiration to us. I thank God for breaking the mold when he made our little Jacob.

Jacob has been sleeping all day, but managed a "no" to my question of did he need something before I stepped out on the porch and a nod of "yes" to my question of if he is feeling okay. This little boy, who lays there short of breath and with pain tells me he is feeling okay. No complaints, no whining. Let his humble strength be a lesson to us all.
Jacob had an okay night - his breathing is more labored today and he isn't eating or doing anything much except sleeping.

I think we all question why people, especially small children, are allowed to suffer. Through my 3 years of watching Jacob battle cancer I have seen a strength in him that is above human - it's a crazy unnatural strength when it came to pain and all that he endures. I KNOW th...at God walked him through those trials and is carrying him towards the finish line now. This verse I ran across today explains a lot of it:
John 9:1-3: "As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. "Teacher," His disciples asked Him, "why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?" "It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him."

Anyone who has met Jacob (and even those who haven't) can certainly see the power of God in him. We have been blessed with an angel.


Sunday, July 7, 2013


I'm too tired to write anything elaborate about my feelings, thoughts, or day to day things. This is a "just the facts" posting.

Jacob is now on oxygen 24/7 and needs to be carried up the stairs or to the bathroom. His pain is mainly controlled with the help of morphine but that makes him have a headache so he has been napping a lot. We mostly play video games and watch television during the awake hours.

His appetite during the day is non-existent but in the evenings he eats a little.

I'm better about updating his Facebook page so feel free to check there for any new updates.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Jacob's pain and breathing got worse over the weekend so I called our Hospice nurse and had her visit this morning. With no air intake in the left lung we went to Iowa City to see what is going on. An x-ray showed the left lung filled with fluid, which we learned often happens as the tumor grows. We chose not to do surgery to insert a chest tube to drain it as it would be a very short term solution (less than a week before the fluid returned) and Jacob hates surgery. So we are home and will enjoy life. When Jacob needs it he can have Morphine and Oxygen. Prayers for his comfort, please.


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