Friday, March 31, 2006

T G I F ....

Another beautiful day! I am trying to soak in as much of this nice weather as possible since I know summer temperatures are on the way.
My mom and dad headed for home this morning. We had a lot of quality time together.
Bill and Cathy treated us to some good home cooked food last night – thank you – we still have some left over for another meal or two.
We are going to go see the next ‘Ice Age’ movie, which opens tonight since Bryan and I are bachelors. Robin will be speaking at the Women’s Discovery Saturday morning. He and I will have fun.
LSU is playing this weekend and we are looking forward to an exciting game. Did you hear the player they call ‘Big Baby’ during the pep rally? He got on the microphone and started claiming the win in the name of Jesus. Now that was interesting.
Walked so much today – about 45 minutes this morning that my sides are sore. I guess the old abdominal muscles got a good work out. I told Robin I would be in good shape if I can gain nothing but muscle back. That is a possibility but it also means a lot of work. I still have some goals to work towards once this is all over and maintaining a certain level of fitness is one of them.
We leave Sunday early for Houston for another CT, blood work, X-ray and meeting with two Doctors. I’m looking forward to going and getting it over with. Especially the CT. One day at a time like we learned early on.
Cancer vs. the other “C” words – Confidence. I John 5:14 (KJV)“ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us”. The key words to me are ‘according to his will’. We cannot dictate to the Throne of Grace what is to be or not to be done, but we are allowed to ask just as our children are permitted to ask for things (and they do ask, all of the time) from us their parents. Stay confident in your God who is able to save and deliver.
Please continue to pray for Jill H., Michael H., Christi W. all three recouping from cancer and Austin Barber from Houston who needs a heart/lung transplant.
Have a great weekend and make the most of it. GW

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Insurance ...

Were you aware that if you run out of medicine before your next prescription refill that the insurance company will not okay your refill. I ran out of my CREON which is a combination of enzymes for aiding proper digestion 3 days before it was to be refilled. I called the pharmacy and found out the above info. I had to call the Dr. to get him to rewrite another prescription increasing the number of pills per bottle/month. It was an inconvenience but it worked out. For someone who depends upon their medicine for survival - not just digestion - this could be a problem. I missed taking the medicine with breakfast and lunch, but other than feeling full longer than usual and some indigestion, it was okay. Thank God for our system here in the good ole' USA. We got it really good!

Hope everyone is doing well. I saw one of Bryan's old teachers from Hosanna - who no longer works there - and she said her father-in-law and a brother-in-law were diagnosed one with lung cancer and the other with liver cancer - I guess last year. Both were treated at Mary Bird Cancer Center and are doing okay. Have you noticed more people coming down with cancer? Is it just the fact that we are now in our 40's and this stuff just starts happening or is it unusual to have so many cases of cancer? One Dr. told a friend of mine if he could he would tell everyone to move out of Louisiana due to the number of people he was treating for cancer from the State.
We got a little rain on Tuesday but not much. I think we need a good and steady day long rain.

Cancer vs. the other "C" words - Consecrate: 'to declare or set apart as sacred'. When we come to Christ, we delcare that we are set apart unto Him. We are sacred to Him and He is sacred to us - we are His now. Being a creation of God does not infer sonship. We must come to God in repentance and receive Him on His terms and become a child of His. Then we declare His Lordship over our lives and begin the walk of faith. Consecrate is another powerful "C" word we need to remember.
Until tomorrow, may God be on your mind and in your heart wherever you go and in whatever you do.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Practice what you ...

You know you must be operating in the mercy and love of God when your dog decides he wants to be walked - at 4:30 am!!! and you do not strangle his little 16 lbs behind. Now he lets me know this by starting with a low growl, after a few minutes of growling he throws in a low bark and then works his way into full blown barking. He just had to pee I guess. I try to be understanding since he is in a kennel/cage and cannot just pee when or where he choses. He has to be let out, so I try to put myself in his shoes - or should i say paws. I would appreciate being walked when i had to go. So, praise God for my little dog.
I started worrying about my Monday CT scan in Houston next week. I told Robin I'm going to have to practice what I preach and take the one day at a time approach - like God showed us in the very beginning when all of this started. I can honestly say I am not looking forward to it, just looking forward to getting through it. One day at a time. Yes Lord.
Today was another good one. I just have to watch out when those red beans and rice are being served. Wow. Why send Exxon to the Gulf of Mexico when they could just back a truck up to my house. I'm not kidding. That stuff can get pretty painful. No potty humor implied. No more beans for me for at least a few weeks. Other wise the day was as normal as could be.
Fed the fish and while doing so, Shellton made an appearance or two, but kept his distance. The hawks were both sighted in the nest together for a while. Prior to this the male was in an adjacent tree. The female flew over next to him on the same limb and he gave her what appeared to be something to eat. He stepped over a few feet and let her tear into it. He flew away and then she returned to the nest. She is hanging around the nest more now than she has been so maybe an egg is on the way or may already be in the nest. And no, for those of you wondering, I am not climbing the tree to find out.
My parents are here for few days. That is always a welcomed treat. We have a good time together. Thanks to some ladies at HCA, we ate real good tonight. The food was graded 'A+' by all who partook.
LSU ladies basketball team won against Stanford tonight. It, like so many other games in the elite 8, was a close game. Uncomfortable type of close. But they won and like the men's team are going to the final four.
Cancer vs. the other "C" words - Courage ' the quality of mind that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution: bravery.' The root word is Latin for heart.
I remember the morning at OLOL hospital - around 6 am - that the surgeon came in and told me they really think this is cancer, not a gallstone. He left and there I sat with the news. What do you say? Did he really say cancer? Was I dreaming? What do I tell my wife and kids? Then the Lord was my helper and my shield. He told me to have courage. Courage to me is not being without fear, but rather moving forward - in faith - in the face of fearful news or circumstances.
God was with me then and is still with me today. He is faithful.
Courage is another great "C" word.
Have a blessed day and be a blessing to all you meet. GW

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A new week...

Another good weekend is behind us. Church was good, fellowship with friends and family and the food is tasting a little more 'normal'. It does not get much better.
I think i may start calling my memory 'teflon' - because i will have some fairly profound thoughts which, if not written down, will just slip away. That is why i have notes with partial thoughts or ideas all over the house.

To continue the "C" word series - Cancer - not the only "C" word.
COVENANT - ' a formal binding agreement; compact; contract.'
When a person comes to God with a repentant heart and accepts God' s way and becomes born again, he or she enters into Covenant with God through Christ. The basis of the Covenant is the blood of Christ - Jesus says in Matthew 26:28 "for this is my blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins". This is the ' better covenant' mentioned by the writer of the book of Hebrews. We are no longer under the law, but under Grace. Covenant is another powerful "C" word.

If this week appears to be looming large over your head and you don't know if you can handle it - you can. God's grace is given anew each and every day. Cause you do know how to eat an elephant, right? One bite at a time. Don't put Tuesday into Monday or the weekend into Monday - because Monday has enough of it's own stuff. Decide ahead of time that you are going to trust God with it all and go out and be a blessing to those around you.
Besides that, just think about who is now in the final four? You guessed it, I bet the purple gave this one away. Be encouraged, if God be for you, who can be against you?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday night ...

Lots to talk about.
Last night was a 'date night' at hosanna - we watched a very touching movie about a couple who had to deal with the wife's mental decline into dementia/Alzheimer's disease. The real challenge in the movie was the husband and kids having to pull together to make things work and also the husbands battle with juggling work and temptation in the midst of the whole thing. Very good movie. Makes you hope that your vows to your spouse are as strong as those portrayed in the movie. (Factoid - Alzheimer's disease was named after a German neurologist Alois Alzheimer 1864 - 1915.)
My brother, his wife and youngest son came in from N.O. to visit - and they brought some food which included a bunch of deer sausage and spaghetti and meatballs. It is always so good to see them. As soon as i can, i will be riding in their direction.
LSU beat Texas in over time(O.T.). Need i say anything else? Oh, i guess i could say 'Final Four'.
The past two days have been somewhat better physically. Still having some cramping, etc. but energy level and desire to get out and move around was better. My sense of taste has improved a little, i think.
Seeing the nun (Sister Dolce) friday morning was something to look forward to and what she had to say was also an encouragement. She said this disease would not take my life, that i was to intensify my relationship with God (which she said i would have to figure out what that means), return to my roots spiritually and to talk to my Pastor. She also said, while laying hands on me, that she sensed that some cancer was still present but that chemo treatments would take care of it and i would be alright. (For those of you who don't know, 25 of the 35 lymph nodes sampled during the surgery were positive for the presence of some cancer cells according to the surgeon) She was not aware of that fact. I talked to Pastor Don about it and also Russel and Margie following the Friday night couples movie. They had some good words of wisdom.
We cannot walk in fear. The Bible says that fear brings with it torment. So it makes logical sense to walk in love which covers a multitude of sins. When you walk in love, you are free. Free from being judgmental, prejudiced, jealous/envious, hateful or angry - the list of things you are free from when you walk in love could go on and on. No it's not easy to walk in love all the time, but i believe it is easier on the soul to walk in love than to try and walk without love. The kicker is that God is love, so you have to hang around the source and let Him and His character 'rub off' on you so you can go and 'rub off' on those around you. Like the scripture says, we love because He first loved us. Amen.

Here is what i hope will be a regular addition to my site - Cancer vs. the other "C" words.
CANCER - defined basically as malignant cells growing out of control (tumors) and spreading to other organs.
CHRIST - The Messiah, the Anointed One, as foretold by the Prophets in the Old Testament. Jesus.
When someone hears for the first time ' You have Cancer ' - they also need to know there are other "C" words out there that carry just as much and more power as Cancer. Yes, cancer is something that is not to be treated lightly, but neither is Jesus Christ.
Stay tuned for the next exciting "C" word.
Good night and God bless. GW

Thursday, March 23, 2006

LSU won ....

#4 LSU beat #1 DUKE - who said it could not happen? It was an exciting game.

Beautiful day besides the game just cold and windy.
No fish stories to tell today. Feeling better than the previous few days. Talked to several different people today - friends and family - which i think helped to get me motivated to think on something other than the physical.
Friday early AM i will be visiting someone with a good track record of being used by God in the area of healing. I am looking forward to it as you might have guessed. I'll update the blog as soon as i can concerning whatever goes on.
Lauren is going to Dallas with sister Eileen and some other ladies from HFA for a worship seminar. She is really excited about it. She is practicing her guitar and has written a few songs.
Life is short, but God is so good - all the time.
Please continue to pray for Jill H., Michael H., Christi W. , and little Austin Barber who needs a heart/lung transplant in Houston.
I'll be typing more later. GW

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The beast has been caught ...

Praise report, my Dad's eye surgery went great - my mom was able to watch it on a closed circuit TV in the Dr.'s office. Dad's is home resting and has to take it easy for a while. Praise God.

The beast - which we will hence forth called " Shellton " has been captured and identified. Mr. Shellton is an alligator snapping turtle and lives up (very much so) to the 'snapping' part of the name. He measures approx. 14 inches across the top of his shell and his neck, when extended, is about 8 to 10 inches long. His tail looks like an alligators tail. Bob was present as a witness and i did get some pictures, but i have yet to figure out how to post pics. He is so quick and has such a long neck, we decided not to get too close. A neck and a stick- which were snapped numerous times by Mr. Shellton, were as close as we were willing to risk. If you or your kids ever get around one of these turtles- keep plenty of space between youself and the turtle.
He was released a few minutes after capture and appeared to be pretty upset with me as he backed his way into the pond.
We also caught several perch. I had to go in due to all of the excitement and lay down. Just that 30 minutes wore me out.

More later, just wanted to give a quick report.
G0d is always full of good news.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm still here ...

Cover your tomato plants - it's supposed to get cold tonight!
Sorry for the lack of blogging - the past two days i have been feeling pretty 'yucky'. I am making myself do it right now because i could always be feeling alot worse than i am now, so suck it up and type big daddy! I don't know if it's the medication the food or an interaction of both. My insides are sore and unpredictable - or should i say predictably unpredictable. My back and ribs are sore also - but the back feels more like the skin is really tender, not like the usual lower back strain, just another unusual symptom. I found that if i get in the shower (since the Dr. said not to soak in the tub yet due to the incision) and turn the water to 'just about can't stand it's so hot' and let it run on my back, i get relief for a while during and afterwards. You know, when we designed the house, i was determined to have my own hot water heater for my bathroom and have it really close. I can take a long hot shower with a 40 gallon monster.
Food and liquids still taste funny. I ate some green peas today that tasted great and then ate some green beans right next to the peas that were funny tasting. I cannot figure out the chemistry behind this one. Let me recommend something to you all - if it tastes good and goes down good - thank God over and over for it - cause it is sure frustrating when your food/taste buds get messed up. Remember while in middle and high school in the lunch room and some kid would try to mess with your food? It's kind of like that.
I also find that i get the chills real easy since the surgery. Robin says it's due to the 45 lbs. weight loss - no insulation. So i keep a light jacket with me most of the time.
Enough of my belly aching.
Another fish - or should i say turtle story. There i was - feeding the fish today (part of my keep me from going crazy therapy) I was down to one little piece of bread. So i was just sitting there in my red fold out chair - not moving, looking into the water when suddenly there appeared a dinosaur of a turtle. This ain't no red or green ear fish tank turtle. This appears to be a snapping turtle. I have seen him several times before but not this close. Now follow me - he stayed underwater until he was about 5 feet from me, stopped, stuck his nose up for a breath, then came his eyes and part of the huge head. The whole time he was staring at me - like he was checking me out. The preditor has become the prey - or so i felt. So i did'nt move a muscle. For about 15 secs. he watched me. I blinked my eyes ( because i had to) and he immediately disappeared into the deep quicker than i thought a turtle could move. I would love to capture, measure and identify and then release him. I would even probably give him (or her) a name. If a male - I would call him Shellton and if a female I would call her Shelly. (I hope ya'll get that one cause it's the best i got right now).
Seriously, God is on His throne and in control.
Some good news has reached my ears concerning one of the people i have asked ya'll to pray for - it appears that there is hope where before there was none. I'll let ya'll know more about it when i get a solid story.
We serve and unchanging God who desires to see change in us all the time. Figure that one out.
Talk to ya'll later. GW

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another great service ...

Church was awesome today! Worship was uplifting and inspiring. Pastor Don preached on the Holy Spirit. It's funny how I'll be thinking about something Saturday night while lying in the bed and then Pastor Don covers the same thing Sunday morning in all or in part. How does that happen? It's neat to get confirmation. God is always at work if we keep our heart, eyes and ears open to him.
LSU won (men's team) against the Aggies - sorry Pastor Bob White (Liberty Christian Fellowship) over in Cleveland, Texas. He is a huge Aggies Alum. Robin and I attended services there prior to my surgery in Feb. That is where Bob and Pat Griffin go to church - they were a super support to us while in Houston.
A friend of mine from work and his wife (Eric and Pattie) came by today after church. Robin has been friends with them since before we were married. Eric got me an interview at CVT which eventually led to me getting a job there 7 years ago. The best job I have ever had.
Please be in prayer for my dad - he is having eye surgery on his other eye this Wednesday.
Also, please pray for Jill H. , Michael H. , Christi W. - these all are battling cancer/recovery like myself. And remember the 12 year old named Austin , he is waiting for a heart/lung transplant in Houton.
While out and about, keep planting the good seed. The farmer plants 100 acres of corn knowing that not every seed will germinate. Some will be eaten by birds, some may sprout and be killed by a disease and some will fall pray to insects. But the vast majority will grow and produce one to two ears of corn for each seed planted. He continues to plant because he knows the eternal law of sowing and reaping.
While we are out and about our daily lives, continue to plant the good seeds of faith, hope, love, patience, forgiveness, kindness etc. - knowing that you will reap a harvest and not only you but others also. Remember, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man/woman sows, that shall they also reap. Lord, help us to keep sowing the good seed for you Glory.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Symptoms ...

I have been asked many times about how i found out about the pancreatic cancer i was recently diagnosed with. In retrospect, i can see early signs/symptoms months before anything major became apparent. Here is a short list. I write these down only for the purpose of hopefully helping someone out there who may be having similar symptoms.
1. I found that i was much more comfortable digestively speaking, if i slept on the couch in an inclined position. This became a habit which i attributed to me having been taking night call at work for the past 7 years. I would sleep on the couch so as not to wake up Robin when i would be paged to go to the Hospital.
2. While driving over a long distance, my ribs under my pec muscles would feel like they were caving in to my abdomen. I would take my hands and hold/pull on my upper rib cage to get relief at red lights, etc.
3. Eating and not being satisfied and then feeling like the food was not being processed or moved beyond the level of my stomach/upper intestines - so i would eat more a little while later thinking this might push things on through. This did not work. Robin recalls me complaining about the above symptoms.
The closer i came to early Dec. 2005 the worse this symptom became.
4. In Nov. 2005, i recall that my back was beginning to hurt at the lower level between my shoulder blades. I could not get relief from this pain with a massage or pills. I could function but it was a 'pain in the back'.
5. Fatigue was another sign. Dragging around the month before i was thinking i needed a vacation. (But i did not want this kind!)
6. Then early Dec. 2005, my urine became very, very dark orange and my stool was very lite tan, almost white. This is a very significant symptom which shows that bile flow is compromised and the kidneys are now having to be the pathway for getting bile out of the body - which is not good, especially for a long period of time. Bile in the intestinal tract is responsible for the dark color of stool. If it is no longer flowing into the digestive system, you will have a lite colored stool.
7. Another new fact to me was that without bile going where it should, not only do you not properly digest, but you are losing essential amino acids/proteins and other ingredients which you are eating but not getting the full benefit of - hence weight loss and fatigue.
8. The last symptom that i should have picked up on myself was also the most obvious - jaundice. When the bile backs up into your system - your eyes and skin slowly turn a yellow/gold shade. Because we all look at ourselves everyday in the mirror - this can sneek up on you - just like it did me. Robin had a lady friend, who now lives out of town and who was in for a visit, who told Robin after she found out about my diagnosis that when she saw me the first time in the school gym "that George looked like he was sick". She was kicking herself for not saying something.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I pray none will ever have to deal with cancer, but i know that is wishful praying/thinking. Hopefully in the near future we as a society will find the root causes and more efficient cures for these various afflictions. Until then ya'll, please pay attention to your body and what it is telling you. Had i done that i would have possibly been 6 weeks or more ahead of the game. My God give us wisdom and knowledge and understanding. God bless. GW.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hang up ...

I cannot get the blog to post on the site for some reason, it continues to give me an error message. It's too long to type again and too late. I'll work on it tomorrow. GW.

LSU won ...

1.) LSU (4) played IONA (13) tonight and won 80 to 64 i think - thank God since IONA is ranked 13th and LSU 4th! I only watch basketball occasionally if our local teams are playing.

2.) We finally got a little rain - a little is better than none.

3.) A friend of mine from work (Scott) was off today and he came to visit for a while. We watched a little B-ball, talked about work stuff and of course made at pass by the pond to feed the fish.

4.) My niece is coming in Friday from Tuscaloosa Alabama (Roll Tide) to visit for a day - she is my brothers middle child.

5.) My parents are in for a few days and that is always a blessing. Dad fixes stuff and 'philosophises' and moma cooks, cleans, plays ball with the kids and whatever else you need her to do. They, along with my brothers family were staying here on the property after Katrina and we got used to seeing each other and now it is strange not seeing them every day.

6.) I am now leaning towards rabbits instead of goats - and with the bird flu thing, i may not even get chickens. We'll see.

7.) My wife and kids are super!

Now, on to some other stuff...
Bring what you have to God. How ever little or big you may think it is, God has a way of multiplying things. The little boy with the fish and the loaves (St. John 6:9) probably was not thinking 'hey great, the disciples called me out' - if i were the kid i would have been looking for a bush to hide behind. Or, maybe he was so young he had not even developed a self conscious attitude yet. Who knows, but Jesus took the loaves and the fish, blessed it, they handed it out and after all was said and done there were 12 baskets when they were through.
That reminds me of another song i wrote a while back called "Work with what you've got" it kind of has a blues type sound ...

A little boy with two fish and five loaves of bread
The disciples looked at him like he was out of his head
Jesus blessed the bread and broke the loaves in two
They had twelve baskets when they were through
Everyone was full when they were through
So what you gonna do?
Work with what you've got

What little do i have that i can give to God? Resources, expertise, money, time, cousel, encouragement, talent (singing etc.) and more. I think God wants your heart more than the above list of stuff, because once He has your heart, the other stuff will come. He can and does multiply that which we give - you give an offering and the recipient is blessed, you are blessed and the kingdom moves forward. The person who receives then learns the concept of giving and becomes one who is a giver - and not just a giver of money. This thing is so much bigger than finances. Exponential growth is what i am thinking about - as we all give and do our part, He makes it all work together for His Glory and our good.
In the future, I plan on blogging on the subject of the "C" word (Cancer) and other "C" words that have even more power in our lives. Until then, God be with you, in you and working through you for His good pleasure.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Acceptance ...

I was asked the other day - like I have before - do you ever get bored? With all of the physical limitations i am presently under do the days get long and boring? Well, after thinking about the idea of boredom itself, here is what my thoughts are on the subject. An inquisitive mind does not see boredom as an option - it's almost like the word is not in the vocabulary. Notice i did not say an intelligent mind or a mind with a high IQ - just one that likes to question and inquire. Nature supplies an abundance of fascination, especially with Springtime. Allow the simple things in life to thrill you. A sunrise or sunset is art in motion and it is so much more enjoyable when shared with another. Watching people walk around and interact with each other - not trying to judge or figure them out - just people watching. With the recent cool weather - close your eyes, breath in a big deep breath, and let it out slowly. While your eyes are still closed just relax and listen, don't think about what comes next, just listen. Do not think about your have to's and your gotta do's - be still my soul and know that He is Lord. Five minutes of that a few times a day can re-charge your spiritual batteries.
Another thing is to focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do. I can read, walk, sing, play the guitar, write on my blog, work on my songs/music, feed the fish in the pond and see what new creature decides he or she likes bread after all, visit with family, be chauffeured around to Dr.'s appointments or to the store. I can now eat real food, cook, walk the dog, sit on the deck and observe the birds and the bees and water my plants. My list of I cans is so huge i need to stop now before i run out of room.
As for what i cannot do - That is where acceptance comes in. When i was given the diagnosis with surgery following and now recovery, i was told what to do and not to do and i accept my present, temporary limitations. There is so much freedom in acceptance of where God has you. What if i had decided to buck the advice of my Dr. and mull around the house all day angry and frustrated or maybe even hurt myself physically trying to do things i know i am not supposed to be doing. Why be miserable when you do not have to be.
Now don't confuse the type of acceptance i am speaking of with defeatism. You know the mentality which says that i could never be anyone or do anything special so as a result I'll just 'accept' my mediocrity and live the dismal life of a quiter. I am referring to God and accepting where He has you stationed at a particular time and for a particular reason. The way may not always make sense, but in the end - which implies you have to go through the beginning and the middle to get to the end - it all comes together. That's God's artwork and He is really good at it. Each day is new and has it's own blessings and challenges. Give us this day, our daily bread - and grace and mercy - for today. Let tomorrow and yesterday take care of themselves. So no, boredom is not an option.
Here are a few lyrics from one of my songs which applies:

"Live everyday like it may be your last
You can mold the future, but you can't change your past
Your yesterdays, they are all gone
But tomorrow is yet to come"

A medical update: We met with Dr. Patten today at Mary Bird Cancer Center and he knows my case and the medical oncologist at M.D. Anderson. We discussed about 3 or 4 chemo options all of which are FDA approved and all of which could be administered here in BR. My appt. in Houston is 4/2 thru 4/5. We will discuss their options for me then.
We contiunue to pray and praise. I am eating more than i want to, but Robin holds me accountable as to my daily intake. I still weigh about 155 lbs. That's highschool weight. Thanks for all of the meals prepared by family and friends - I'll try to eat it all if possible.
Time for bed (or in my case, the couch). Love ya'll. GW

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Birds, bees and Unity ...

Spring has sprung! I think? The way the birds and the bees are acting around here you would think spring was in full swing. The ants are making their piles, the birds there nests and the bees are all over the fruit trees.
This morning as I was taking my daily driveway walk I noticed the above things. I am fascinated by a pair of red tailed Hawks who have built a nest about 100 ft from my front door in a very large and open topped oak tree. It took me weeks of observing them to figure out what they were doing. But the kicker is they are building the nest together. I do not recall seeing only one of them - if moma flies by dad is only a few seconds away. And sometimes they will catch the wind when it has a strong updraft (so high you almost cannot tell what type of bird they are)and fly around in circles together screaming their classic screeching sound call to each other. It's almost like they are just enjoying each others company on the wind. A few days ago I saw the female fly by with some nesting material in her mouth and then again later in the day with even more material in her clutches. It will be interesting to see if any baby hawks come out of this union.
The ants are even documented in scripture as to their work ethic and power of unity - do I need to elaborate this to anyone living in the south? You have to admit they are very impressive even if they are destructive. If you knock it down they will rebuild it. Without complaining.
The bees are also an example of unity. They work like crazy! Thank God for them because without bees, pollination would literally be left to the wind - which is not nearly as efficient. And what would life have been like without honey - what would Pooh bear have done?
All of these are part of God's design.
Sunday was one of those 'God has changed the order of service type Sundays'. Pastor Don did not even get to share his message. Near the end bro. Keith shared Ps. 133 - "The unity of the brethren" - what is being accomplished and what more could be when we act in unison. The congregation held hands and prayed - literally - in unison.
Go to the hawk, the ant and the bee and observe their selfless unity. Just as nature has them pre-programmed by instinct to do what they do - so the Holy Spirit has to lead us, guide us and train us in the ways of righteousness - which takes more than a few days, weeks or even months. The road of faith is a very long - life long road we have to walk. Sometimes the way is obvious and clear and then at other times the way is foggy and steep.
Joseph was thrown into a pit and also into prison during his walk of faith without knowing where he was being lead by God. I'm certain he doubted himself many times as to the strange turn of events in his life, but he hung on to God and in the end his faith was vindicated and in the end it all made sense. The people that would produce a Messiah were saved.
Isn't that what we all want - for our lives to make sense - to make a difference? I wonder, on a regular basis, where all of this stuff I am dealing with now is going to take me. There can be a daily roller coaster of emotions some days and others it seems like there is no battle at all - even before the cancer diagnosis some days were more difficult than others. But God is faithful and He is unchanging. We rely on God because He is reliable- we trust in Him because He is trustworthy. You cannot out give God and you cannot praise Him enough. He is worthy of everything we can offer and more.
I'll try to be more consistent with my blog ya'll - you know how the simple things distract me.
God Bless. GW

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday !

Another Monday, another choice. Choose this day the one you will serve, the one you will listen to, the one you will rely on. I choose to rely on the One (Lord) cause the other one (me) has proven time and again to be misled and tricked and weak. His ways are so much higher and more profound than anything I could dream up. His adventures make Indiana Jones look like a board game. And He loves nothing more than to see a life changed and regenerated and worshipping Him.
Today has in store more walks, getting a presciption filled, feeding the fish some more bread - those suckers are waiting for me now - and still can't drive or pick up anything heavier than a phone book. That is the toughest one to obey even though I understand the reason.
The last few days I have slept better than most and yet I still go through a daily rollercoaster of eating, bloating getting weak and then feeling okay, so I guess that's all a part of it. This Wednesday will be week 4 since the surgery so I am still ahead of the game as far as being home early and no complications. I am reminded throughout the day to rely on God to get me through various physical or mental challenges. He has put me in a good place and surrounded me with love and wise counsel.
I was at church Sunday in the balcony. My nurse suggested that I sit in an area with as little exposure to people as possible - come in late and leave early and don't linger she says. Even going to the store should be a get in and get out thing. It is only temporary all of this.
Talk to ya'll later. God be with you.
I shall live and not die, and declare/proclaim the works of the Lord

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beautiful weather ..

I have to blame the weather and my family for my lack of blogging lately. It has been like medicine to see my Alabama family. We cannot seem to see each other enough and when we do it is too short.
We have a basketball game in a few minutes and we have to pass by the 'goat man's' house. So I will write some more later on today. GBW.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More Family in ...

Sorry we had to miss church tonight, my Dad's mother and my mother's oldest sister came in from Alabama. We had us a mini family reunion. I have not seen either of them since all of this "pancreatic stuff" started. (Today is my 3rd week since the surgery and this all started in early Dec. 2005). We had some good food and fellowship and it is so good to just know they are in the same room with us.
Bought another pear tree with my paw- in- laws assistance. Fed the fish some bread (they prefer whole wheat) and the horse some clover. I think I have spoiled her to the green stuff. Still cannot pick-up anything heavier than a phone book (and don't want to) and wish my incision site would normalize real soon. If you have ever eaten too much food during the holidays and your stomach hurts from being stretch out too much - that is the only way I can explain how it feels. I cannot eat too much at one time though or I would be hurting. Progressive healing - thanks Pastor Don. That's what I am confessing and believing.
Live. Say whatever it was you wanted to say, do whatever it was you wanted to do and be who God created you to be in Christ. If you want to tell your kids how much you love them - then do it. You want to take that 15 minute walk with your spouse just so you can be alone and hold their hand - do it. You wanted to visit that friend you have not seen in a while - don't wait till a diagnosis comes in - do it. We were created unto good works. Do it, for Jesus sake.
Love ya'll. GW.

this is robin....

It has been great being home. The weather has been beautiful and trying to get back in the swing of things has been good. I am back at work and I am loving teaching and being back in the classroom. What a journey God has called us to walk. I cannot even tell you how many different thoughts cross through my mind on any given day. It has become very apparent what the Lord meant by taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. I told George yesterday that the Lord laid on my heart for George to begin claiming the heritage he has for longevity. His maternal great-grandparents both lived to be 103 years old and celebrated 85 or more years of marrige. What a heritage!!!! Our Father is so real to me in every since of the word. He has held me, He has comforted me, He has encouraged me, He has rebuked me, and He has shown me that He is right in the middle of this journey with us.

I have shared with many of you that one of the biggest things that I have learned thus far is that God's grace and strength is only found in TODAY. DUHHHH!!!!!! It's not like I haven't read that a thousand times in the word, Jesus saying not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough worries of its own. At the very beginning of all of this God told me that He would give George and I strength and grace for the day we were in and that if I began to think about next week, next month etc. I would find myself overwhelmed. How true that is. I haven't allowed myself to many times to think beyond today because the few times I have tired I have found myself in over my head. But how faithful our Father is because the purposes He has for TODAY and the strength He has for TODAY, and the grace He has for TODAY is ENOUGH.

Be blessed my friends and keep your eyes firmly fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday ...

Monday. A day to choose - do I want a good week or do I want to complain my way into a rut on the first day and ruin the rest of my week? Since I am not able to go back to work yet, the day of the week does not matter. I'm taking one day at a time regardless.
Here comes some 'facilities' talk for those of you who do not like things like that. Since I spend so much time in the 'throne' room, I have a small chair near the toilet that holds several books - one of which is the Word. It was opened to Psalm 118 - the whole thing is awesome - if you have not read it lately please do. "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" and "I will not die but live and declare/proclaim what the Lord has done".
My Aunt Eva's Pastor in Montgomery, Alabama sends me a regular letter from their prayer meetings with all of the people who pray for me each signing there names on the bottom of the letter. The top half is an encouraging word from the Word by the Pastor. I glean so much from these letters and appreciate the hand signed touch, too. He is a man well aquainted with suffering since his wife has had years of extreme health problems and suffering. He said in one of the letterrs to 'proclaim the authority of God over this day' since this is the day that the Lord has made. He went on to say you may still feel pain and suffering, but you get straight Who is in Authority over your day. I used that this morning. My incision is acting up a good bit, aggravating, so i just decided to try and have a productive day anyway.
I have crimson clover I planted October last year all over the yard including in about a dozen potted Fig trees. The clover is almost 1 foot tall so I decided to clip the clover - which involved no squatting or heavy lifting and I had an umbrella blocking the sun - and feed it to the neighbors horse (no pun intended - neybors) She comes running when she sees me holding a few gallons of fresh cut clover. I know that made her day and it got me out of the house for a while.
The birds are all singing their songs and the bees are covering my blooming citrus trees. Have you ever seen a bumble bee - the big almost solid black bees that are not supposed to be able to fly (according to the laws of physics) - one will hover in place for several minutes, for what I do not know and then his buddy will dive bomb in and they will chase each other around a few more minutes and repeat the cycle all over again most of the day.
I see the Resurrection power of God in Spring - it is everywhere - expressions of God for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Time to go pray with the kids and tuck them in. God Bless and may His Resurrection Power be with you today.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Overwhelming ...

Overwhelmed. The one word that sums up my Sunday morning. But it didn’t start out that way - bear with me for the next paragraph. Saturday, I was kept pretty busy by Robin and the kids. We got in late and I ate more food than I have since the surgery - including some MEAT! Thank goodness! Robin is trying to pack me full of carrot juice, barley greens and other assorted vegis which is fine, but the man has to have some meat. We got in the bed after 11 pm and I woke up almost every 1 to 1.5 hours to either use the facilities or to stand up and let things re-seat. My insides settle while I am sleeping and I have to stand up or sit up about every hour or two for a few minutes to let them readjust. Between 4 and 5 am was the worst for some reason. God gives me Grace during these times of severe cramping, etc. and I try to use the time to pray for others who I know are recovering / suffering. It is not easy, but there are so many others who are suffering way more than me. There ain't nothing fun about it. Then from around 6 to 7:30 am I fell asleep on a recliner my father-in-law loaned me and had some good sleep. Still wanting for more.
We all got up and had breakfast - carrot juice and Ezekial bread for me - but I was very weak and was questioning whether I sould go to church. I was really feeling funny. But guess what, I had already determined in my heart that I was going to church the day before - regardless of how I felt. Have you ever had to force yourself to do something you wanted to do but didn't feel like doing? It was a struggle, but well worth it let me tell you.
We arrived a little late and worship had started - I hear the music flowing out of the door of the building like a soothing liquid. I was greeted by Coach Doise with a hug (he was also one of the first people to come to my home and pray for me when I had been released from OLOL Hospital the first time). Then brother Truett Thorn greated me with a hug and a church bulliten - and then I got another from Mr. D - then I saw Pete D. - Jerome and Bubba Lee (Harris) - at this point I had lost contol of my tear ducts and I was crying (for joy) and hugged them both. Overwhelmed and out of control at this point. I had to try and regain composure so I could enter the sanctuary - but I kept seeing people that mean so much to me walking in that I continued to lose control. Eventually I made it down the isle (the same one my wife walked down almost 17 years ago) and there was sister Bea - she turned around and hugged me and here it goes again - out of control. Then there was sis. Eileen - from then on I was basically a basket case for the whole worship service. There had been a "Men's discovery Weekend" this weekend and those guys were all over the church. Well here comes Russell, Craig and Buck - the three intercessors from my Men's weekend when I had given my testimony. They pray for me and supported and strengthened me. I needed it too.
Pastor preached on progressive healing - another on the mark message. We had to leave during the alter call cause I was so spent - I mean it was all I could do to keep standing. My parents and Aunt Eva came by on the way in from Houston with the trailer - it is parked by my house for a few weeks in case we need to head back to Houston. We visited for a while.
What can I say - God is so good. Even in the midst of it all, the anchor holds.
Thankyou family, church, friends and thank you Lord.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

God's House 'half full' ...

This blog is from back in February. This post struck a chord with so many people around the world - and I do mean around the world, you know how the internet is - that I decided to re-post it. So here it is.....
Back in Houston and it is cold – around 25 degrees. It was so good to see everyone at home and work and also church this morning. Pastor Don Williams preached a spirit led message this morning concerning how God’s grace is sufficient for us in any and every given situation. One brother after the service said, “he hit me between the eyes (spiritually speaking) “. It has happened many, many times to me that the message preached confirms things either that I am going through or something the Lord showed me in the Word or in prayer. Worship was awesome, as usual. We have an incredibly talented worship team at Hosanna.
Robin and I sat on the left side of the sanctuary this morning instead of front and center where we have been sitting for about 15 years, it appeared there was a visiting family sitting in our usual place . It was neat to see the congregation from a different perspective. I could see the peoples faces – many of whom I have known over the past 15 years. This is my church family. I thought about all of the things many of us have gone through individually and as a congregation. Our lives have been woven together like a beautiful tapestry over the years. Many of our children have grown up together and blossomed into young ladies and young men. Time has slipped by so fast, evidenced by a few new wrinkles and a few more gray hairs – and through it all is the evidence of the Faithfulness and the Love of our Lord and our Savior. I noticed something else as I looked around the congregation - there were way too many available seats. God’s house – this house – was not full. I shared that with Russell who was standing near me. I want it to be full, standing room only. Every empty seat means a life not changed and every occupied seat means a life available for Godly change. I have never boasted about the size of any church and do not desire to have numbers for numbers sake, but oh! those empty seats began to eat on me! God fill them! Fill them for Your Glory! Call me a fanatic, but Jesus died for people – people like you and me. I am praying for the Holy Spirit to move on me, you and the people that are around us that need Jesus so badly. What can I do to ensure another generation will be changed by Jesus in the next 15 years? Do what God leads us to do. God is preparing us.
I'm getting choked up reading my own stuff! Guys don't cry, do they? I'm thinking of people right now that I would like to invite to church. Some of them even used to go to Hosanna as a child. God help us all to bring them in so that they might see you.
Today was fairly busy for me - basketball, pine car derby racing with a nephew in boy scouts and getting the dog groomed. Fed the horse across the way some fresh clover twice and watered all of my trees which I will soon have to get into the ground. Dig this, my pear and peach trees are both in full bloom! Come on Spring!
God Bless. GW

Friday, March 03, 2006

Skipped a day ...

I didn't do anything productive yesterday. I was really in a 'funk' mentally and emotionally. My incision site felt like it was vibrating or some weird type sensation thing was going on. I was up every hour on the hour either using the bathroom or just trying to stand up and stretch out what felt like knots and pains and strange belly movements. This would temporarily readjust things and I could lay back down for about an hour and then get up and do it again. So I think that is why mentally I was unable to focus at all.
Besides the down part yesterday, a bright spot was my wife and my kids. Bryan and I played a game for about 30 minutes - that was good for me. Lauren gave me a back rub and Robin is keeping on me that things are going to get better. Also, a good friend (Stephen Muscarella) who is a missionary to Pachuca Mexico (i think i spelled it right) called - you talk about medicine to my soul !!! We must have talked an hour about what the Lord is doing in his life, family and ministry. It was so encouraging. He told me that I have no idea how many Mexican Christians are praying for me. Praise God! I met Stephen in a Math class at SLU in the 1980's. I noticed he was reading a small New Testament. We became friends and were involved in College Ministry (XA) while at SLU. Keep up the good Work brother Stephen.
Today is going to be a great day! I drank my carrot juice with a teaspoon full of 'barley greens' and a little while later Robin made me some eggs with toast. We walked to the street and back and visited with my in-laws. The weather is beautiful.
Hopefully all who read this will continue believing God and trusting Him in all things. Yesterday my feeling and emotions got the best of me but God is still faithful too me. That's the kind of God I serve. May you see Him today in the face of another. And may they see Him in yours. Love, Goerge.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Finally home ...

"Praise be to God from whom all blessing flow"!!!!!! We are home!!!! The last time I came home from Houston I got on the ground and kissed the driveway, but considering the waist to chest midline incision (9 to 10 inches long), I opted to just verbalize my enthusiasm. And I got to see and kiss my kids too!!!!
The trip was tough, I must admit. It usually takes only 5 hours - this time it took 8 hours - but they were filling a pothole - literally as in '1' pothole - which created a 5 mile traffic jam! I was at peace in the Lord during the trip - for one reason I was listening to some teaching CD's and secondly because there was an on-call available RV potty driving right in front of me ready to stop at a moments notice. Needless to say I took full advantage of the portable potty - thank God! We had to stop at least 8 times along the way. I kid you not. My system is not even close to what it used to be, but it is working and that is a huge step since I was basically re-plumbed! I had to finally take 1 pain pill around Port Allen. I have been successfully weaning myself off of it - only when really needing it do I utilize the 'big guns'.
Robin drove her car, Bob my paw in law drove the RV and I rode with Gladys my mother in law in the Suburban. I had pillows stacked all over me and a ready grip with both hands cradling the sacred incision. Have you ever been to Texas on I-10 ??? If I had a dollar for every bump I would be a billionaire! Some of the roads are like glass smooth, but then others are miles and miles of torture! I told Robin we are going to have to find another route to Houston before our 4 week check-up.

The meeting with the Doctor was very good. They say it was an excellent surgery and were very proud of the incision, my progress, etc.... The findings as far as the pathology report showed evidence of some lymph node involvement. When we return in 4 weeks he will lay out our options for treatment - we do plan on checking out our options here at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, too.
I have so much to type, but I will limit it to this for now.
Please continue to pray for John Simpson - the brother is going through it and I can relate.
Please also remember Michael H. , Jill H. and Christi W. who all are battling cancer. Thankyou.

Now to the Author and Finisher of our Faith be all the praise and thanksgiving. He has seen us through a tough season and will carry us through the next by His Grace and Mercy which He freely gives to us all daily. Thankyou friends, family and Church for alllllllllll of your prayer and support. We love you!!! GW/RW