Quote for October

A Prayer for the Ephesians Eph. 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Dream where Everything was Beautiful

This morning I had a chance to follow a dream all the way from beginning to end. Usually I wake up because the cat wants out at 6 am, or the dog gets up at 7:45, but now my husband is home because of Christmas vacation, so he takes care of the dog.

In my dream I was a young woman in a big city. I had just found a beautiful book in a bookstore. It had wood carved covers with an intricate design. The front cover had the sun in the center with sunbeams stretching out toward the corners and the spaces between were filled with designs. The back was carved, also. The wood was light colored, like maple, but it had no finish on it. In my dream it had been a book done by Picasso while he was a student, but the artwork bore no resemblance to anything I have ever seen by Picasso.

When I opened the book, I found it filled with work. I was surprised as I turned page after page. I had expected it to open, but there was not just one set of pictures, but many. How could so many pictures fit into a narrow book? I remember thinking they did not look anything like Picasso's Rose and Blue period, and there were no prints of bulls. I do remember seeing a painting of a man in blue and red clothing like Leonardo DaVinci might have painted. It was in an oval matte.
There were many other beautiful works in the book. In this part of the dream and all the way through, I kept being surprised by what I found. It was always better than what I thought it would be.

Next, I was in my thirties or forties , and I had opened a museum to house this beautiful book.
Throughout the museum I had beautiful things of all different types. There were ceramics and paintings and jewelery. Also, along side the museum pieces, I had shelves of items that patrons could buy. Where there were ceramics, I had pretty ceramics that could be bought and taken home. That way after seeing something beautiful, people could take some beauty home with them and not feel bereft after leaving the museum.

In the next scene I was walking through the museum, and entered a large high-ceilinged room where a performance was about to begin. Switchfoot was setting up to perform! My daughter has liked Switchfoot for several years, so this was amusing. I was going to watch the performance from my own chamber on the next level. I had a room that overlooked the stage, but it was deeper than a balcony. I have had trouble walking lately, so I able to recline on a chaise lounge and see the stage.

Having established that I had a private room in the museum, in the next scene, I had my family living there. It was morning, and we were all getting dressed in one of the museum's rooms. The children were cold, and we were putting on our clothing in a warmer room. There were four or five children. I didn't see them all. I just watched a boy and girl about 8 to 11 years old, pulling on their jackets over shirts or blouses. They were dressed in clothes that looked like they worked in the museum in costume from 200 years ago. My husband was getting dressed like he was going fishing. I think he had hip waders. That was funny, but it seemed like he was going out to do something he enjoyed.

In the last scene, I was getting closer to reality. I was waking up. I often do not get to this point in dreams. My real daughter, Kay, and I were shopping someplace beautiful. I think it was on our anticipated trip to Europe. My daughter was looking at items in a display and talking to a beautiful, blond sales associate the same age as she is. The items for sale were charms made from natural materials like coral. These charms were for sale along with practical items to attach them to, like key chains and nail clippers.

I remember that the metal everything was made of was like silver with a whitened finish rubbed over it. I have a necklace like that from 30 years ago. At the end of the dream Kay was debating if she should just buy the charm, without the item to attach it to, and she would attach it to a bracelet she had at home. I think the point of this part of the dream was to find beauty or to attach beauty to everyday items.

That is a value I learned about in an African Art class. Commonplace items like wrought iron tools used inside the house would be embellished with figures in the handles. A comb that I have has a woman's figure in the handle.

The theme of the dream is Beauty. I believe that our response to Beauty is actually a response to God or an anticipation of heaven. The book at the beginning of the dream is probably God's word. I suppose the museum is Heaven. I had everything there: Beauty, Music, Family, and Fun. I would like to hear your response to the dream.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Time

At Christmas time I hear the stories of others who are sometimes sad or disappointed with how their holiday is going. I never though I would say this, but I am becoming more pleased that we always had a low-key Christmas when I was a child.

We were a lower middle class family. We were not poor. My father always had a job as an electronics technician, and my parents were buying the house we lived in, and we had a car. We had a TV, but it did not always work.

For Christmas we would get a Christmas tree from the lot in the grocery store parking lot. It always seemed to be 4.5 feet tall. I would want a taller tree, but my parents said the smaller one was fine. It was always taller than I was. We had lights and ornaments and tinsel to put on the tree. I don't remember my parents ever going out to buy newer or better decorations; they didn't replace anything unless it broke. We had bubble lights that lasted many years.

We would open our presents on Christmas morning. There was just my parents and my sisters; no need to start opening gifts on Christmas Eve. We would each get about 2 presents. I remember my older sister and I getting baby dolls one year. I'm not sure if our baby sister was born yet.

Then the next year Aunt Dottie made beautiful clothes for our baby dolls. That was a total surprise, and we were very happy. It was unusual to get a gift from someone besides our parents. Another year, Aunt Jenny got us big baby dolls. I thought that was great! Now I had a big sister for my smaller doll. I named the bigger doll Carolyn and the little doll was Susie. I had a few other dolls, but I especially remember getting those two dolls at Christmas.

We would eat something nice at Christmas, maybe a chicken dinner. We probably had a big Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey, so Christmas was not so much about the food, as it was about being together and giving gifts. I remember getting jigsaw puzzles as occasional gifts, and sitting there with my Dad and my sister at our little child-sized table working on a puzzle for hours after the presents were opened.

We did not go to see other relatives on Christmas. I think my father just had one day off from work, and our family did not think it was necessary to make him drive for 3 hours so we could visit grandma or cousins. Christmas was a pleasant day spent at home enjoying each others company.

Of course, we all knew that Christmas was the day we celebrated that Jesus came here to earth to be with us. We would talk about it and put out the "manger scene" in the living room. We were at Sunday School and church every Sunday. I don't recall ever going to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve. We were at a Baptist church in the San Fernando Valley in California, and I don't even know if they had Christmas Eve services about 1960.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take Care of Yourself

What I have learned in November and December:

If a carcinoid patient feels like she is doing too much and she ought to rest, then she should do that. No matter that friends will be disappointed that she will not be at their party, stop cooking the cocktail meatballs and go lie down. The same thing goes for Thanksgiving. The other adults can chip in and finish preparing the meal, if necessary. Go lie down.

If the patient does not do that, she risks having classic carcinoid diarrhea and spending four days in bed--or in the bathroom.

In general, I have been very weak for nearly 2 weeks. I had a wonderful 8 days just before that. I did not take my cane with me, and I was able to go Christmas shopping. I also made a big trip to Target to get food and household supplies. It's a good thing I did that because on December 16 I began getting weak.

I am afraid to go anywhere that I will have to cross a parking lot. I had to walk over 200 feet last week to get my hair cut, and had to use my cane to hold me up and propel me forward.

In 2 days I have an appointment with my internist to get a prescription for a walker and to set up a handicapped parking space. I will see my oncologist on January 4. I have been giving myself rescue shots of 100 micrograms of Octreotide 1-3 times per day. I have been having the heat from carcinoid. Also, I have been alternating between diarrhea and constipation. I think all the shots may be causing constipation.

I have an echocardiogram scheduled on December 29, so we can see if there is any heart valve damage.