Monday, 21 March 2011

Our House is Sold

Well, after only one showing our house sold conditionally and that conditional sale of our house went firm last Friday night.  There was much cheering from our kids.  Especially Liam who finds it difficult to keep everything organized and neat.  Poor boy was all out of sorts and could not find a thing!

The sale is an answer to prayer as we really needed our house to sell, so that we could find a house in Hamilton.  Well, God has been busy and we believe that we have also found a house that is in our budget and will meet both our family and ministry needs.  There are a few issues that still need to be worked out with the new house, in order for us to firm up our deal but we are very hopeful and excited.  It has been a bit of a whirlwind and I am a overwhelmed at God's provision.  The journey that He is weaving is much more exciting and amazing than anything that I could have dreamed up! 

As soon as we have something firm I will post more information.  Thanks for all the prayers!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

My kids love this holiday.  Maybe it is because our family heritage is Irish or maybe it is because they love mashed potatoes but St. Patty's Day in our house never gets forgotten.  I will forever be grateful for not only my Irish heritage but the spiritual heritage that my Irish ancestors have passed down.  My grandmother, who was born in Ireland and who is now with Jesus, has been and always will be an amazing example to me, of the influence that a wife and mother, who is a strong faithful follower of Jesus can be on her family. She taught me so much about serving, not only her husband and her children but about serving others.  She was never rich in a wordly way, but she was a living example to me of the scripture from Matthew to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...".  I wish my kids could have sat around the table at her house as she served dinner, or been the recipient of many treats that she loved to make her grandkids, or attended church with her and heard her sing off key to Jesus with all her heart.  She was one of kind and continues to leave a legacy even to my children who never met her.

I remember the following Irish blessing from my childhood.  I am not sure if it was on a needle point that she had made and hung in her house or if she said it to us.  Either way I have never forgotten it.

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Happy St. Patty's Day Gram.  Miss you.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

It's Official Our House is For Sale

Snowing again even as the sign goes up!

We did it.  The house is ready, the sign is up on the front lawn and the lock box is on our front door.  We are happy with all the work we have done.  We could not have gotten it all ready if it wasn't for our parents and our kids.  They all worked so hard, they have been amazing.  Everything looks fresh and fantastic and all ready for a new family to move in. 

It is has been fun over the past month to find treasures along the way as we have been cleaning and packing.  Although we worked hard, we also had the pleasure of being distracted by wonderful memories that we have had in this house and in our life.  Family pictures that were discovered tucked into books and other places were some of my favourite finds, as they produced smiles and conversations of, "Remember when....". 

This really is a fantastic house for entertaining and we have taken full advantage in the six years that we have been here.  So many significant conversations have taken place in our family room and in our kitchen.  So many meals shared with friends, mission teams, church family and our own family.  So much laughter has rung through the halls and so much music has been played and listened to within these walls.  And of course outside our walls....on our the backyard....on our balcony.  It has been good to remember, as we look forward to a new chapter in our lives.

So let the showings begin!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Getting Rid of Stuff

The last two weeks have been a busy time for a family as we prepare to put our house on the market to sell.  This is an important step in order for our family to move to Hamilton so we have spent much of the last two weeks cleaning, purging, re-organizing, cleaning and purging some more!  This has been a big job as we have a large family and so if everyone just has a little bit then it all adds up to a lot of work.   I have been surprised at how much stuff we have accumulated over the past six years and how easy it has been to part with a lot of it. It has made me wonder why we thought we needed it in the first place.   Since the days have been exhausting, I am determined to make sure that we do not make the same mistake in Hamilton.  Jason and I have already promised each other that we are going to make even more of a concerted effort to not accumulate and that from now on twice a year we have a purge weekend.  So how do you keep the stuff at bay?  We thought over the past couple of years that we had made great strides in the area but clearly we need a better plan.  Any pieces of advice, or great tips and ideas as we move forward? 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Oncology Clinic and Liam's MRI Results

We headed off to MacKids today to the oncology clinic.  This is the place where Liam will be followed for the rest of his life.  The team met with us today to explain what had been found on Liam's MRI and why more follow-up was needed.  They showed us the MRI scan that had attracted the concern of the  radiologist.  There was a mark on Liam's right frontal lobe.  It was plain enough that Jason and I could see it clearly and it was definitely in the shape of a rectangle.  So his team feels strongly that it is not another tumour.  Tumours grow in circles, ovals, and sort of spread out finger like shapes but not rectangles.  They believe that it is scar tissue from where one of the forceps was holding his brain back during one or both of the surgeries. 

Dr. Singh was there today and she spent extra time with us to make sure that we felt comfortable.  She explained that sometimes when the surgery is so long (as in Liam's case) the blood flow is cut off from parts of the brain tissue where they have clamps and slight scars can develop on the brain tissue.  The MRI image slides are taken every 5mm through Liam's brain.  The mark is on only one slide. So you can't see anything 5mm above or below it.  This is another one of the reasons that they feel it not the sign of tumour.  The final reason that they feel there is no cause for concern is that this is the first time that Liam has had scans from the new MRI machine that he helped raise money for.  This machine is phenomenal and the imaging is so much clearer that the mark has probably always been there but they were never able to see it with the old machine.  Just as a precautionary measure they are going to do another MRI in six months instead of a year.  So Liam is not happy about that as this will mean more needles six months sooner but both Jason and I feel good that they are just going to make sure.

We did have some other good news.  Liam's right ventricle that has been enlarged since the surgery still has not changed.  So it is still enlarged but it isn't any bigger than it was after surgery and so no change is actually good news because it doesn't seem to be causing him any problems.  So this means that it will probably stay this way and he will have one enlarged ventricle for the rest of his life.  As long as it doesn't cause any issues we are thankful!  This is another one of God's miracles as most patients with Liam's type of tumour end up having to have a shunt implanted because their ventricle enlarges and causes pressure in the brain because they don't drain properly.  And although they are not sure why his ventricle seems to be draining properly and not causing any pressure in Liam's brain.  Praise the Lord! We are truly amazed at all the ways God continues to have His hand on Liam's health.

They did a full physical exam of Liam and actually enrolled him in a fitness study for post-op brain tumour patient survivors.  He is excited about this opportunity as he will get to participate in a body composition and lung function assessment, muscle power test, aerobic fitness test, motor skills test and he will get to wear a pager like device for a week that monitors his physical activity.  All of this information will be used to develop physical activities opportunities designed to improve the health of children recovering from brain tumours.

We were able to tell Dr. Singh and the team that we are moving to Hamilton and that we are looking forward to being closer to MacKids.  Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to strengthen the  relationships that we have developed with some of Liam's caregivers.   They are a fantastic group of people!

No matter what happens when we are at the clinic, I always come away being so thankful for all the God has done.  Our journey has been relatively easy compared to some of the difficulties that we see for many other families at the clinic.  Most of all, I come away feeling compelled to help those that are walking this difficult journey without knowing the love of Jesus.  I can't even begin to imagine what it is like.  Thank-you to all those who continue to pray so faithfully for Liam's health and our family.  We can't even begin to express how much it means to us.