Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible: Inspirational Applications for Living Your Faith NKJV

I found this more of a devotional Bible than a study Bible. It has full page Bible Studies on 48 various topics and Life Lessons on the margins of most pages. A Devotional Index gives verses in the Bible, Life Lessons, and “Christ Through the Bible” articles scattered throughout the Bible relating to the topic. A two-year reading plan is included. A history of the King James Version with explanation of the value and benefits of the New King James Version is given.

This book was disappointing. I expected that the Life Lessons would go along with the scripture they were near. Often, the “Situation” and “Observation” starting the Life Lesson referenced the verses. The “Inspiration” part is quoted from Max Lucado’s books and often had nothing to do with the verses. Many times the “Inspiration” would have fit better somewhere else in the Bible. The quotes from Lucado’s books were interesting, funny or inspiring, but not pertinent enough. They distracted from the Word, rather than intensifying my attention or learning.

The “full-page Bible Studies” were very disappointing. The study guide for the verses did not lead to understanding or exploration of the scripture.

The pages are too thin and the printing on the other side is distracting. The page numbers are very near the center opening, making it difficult to find the page for which you are searching.

In general, I cannot recommend this book to the serious Bible student. If you enjoy reading Max Lucado, it is easier to read his books than the chopped up quotations in the margins here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

In Times Like These

Last week a very huge tornado hit the town that I grew up in—Joplin, Missouri. My parents still live there and our two married sons live there. I have numerous high school friends and a cousin that live there. So I was very concerned when I got a text message from my daughter-in-law, saying, “We’re having a tornado. Please pray!!” Of course, I stopped what I was doing and prayed. I prayed between everything I was doing for the next hour. I have prayed repeatedly since then in the aftermath of all that happened and the lives, homes, and businesses that have been destroyed.

One thing that really bothered me about my kids and grandkids, was feeling like the house where they were holed up in the bathroom, was not a safe, sturdy house to be in in a tornado! It turns out that the tornado went south of them. Their house was safe by a mile. But the thing I now realize is that there was no house built sturdy enough to stand in the face of 200 mph tornado winds! There is no business or store or hospital built sturdy enough to stand in the face of 200 mph tornado winds!

No matter how fancy, expensive, nice, or pretty; no matter how dilapidated, trashy, broken, or misused; no matter how heavy, grounded, well-built, solid, or sturdy—those buildings are all gone, or will be soon, when the fragments that remain are pushed over by the coming bulldozers.

What about all the nice, expensive, comfortable cars in all the parking lots in the path of the storm? What about the powerful semi trucks parked or driving in the storm? They all look like crumpled soda pop cans your brother squeezed to show you how strong he is.

There is no where that you are safe! This is what my son told me after working his 4th day of Search and Rescue. This tornado changed every secure feeling he ever had about his car or his house or Wal-mart or the hospital. There is no security in wood, shingles, concrete or blocks and certainly not in glass! Did you know plywood can go through concrete? It can. I saw plenty of evidence of that in pictures this week.

So should we all live in fear?

If we have peace with God, we can live without fear. Perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). God is secure. Salvation is safety. The Bible stands. Jesus never changes or fails. These are the things we can hold onto no matter what kind of storm is brewing.

Psalm 139:16 tells us, “In Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” God knows already how long our lives are, which day will be our last, so why should we worry? He is not going to let anything take our life until He is ready. The things we should concern ourselves with are: Am I right with God? Am I accomplishing the things I should in the days He gives me? Am I being a witness to others around me who also are facing a deadline when their lives will end?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The news from the PET Scan

The good news today is that the PET Scan I had Tuesday was negative for cancer anywhere else in my body. I am very relieved about that. I guess that tailbone pain I have had for months is arthritis where I broke my tailbone ice skating 5-6 years ago:) I will be having the port insertion surgery next Tuesday. The following Monday, June 6 will be my first chemo treatment. It was supposed to be June 9, but the doctor will be out of town then, so it is moved up a few days. The following chemo days will be on Thursdays, with the second one being June 30. I found out I am a little anemic, so I have to take iron.

My wig came in the mail today. I haven't had time to open the box yet. In fact, I just remembered about it! We got the mail when we got home from the doctor and from buying some seeds and plants, had supper, and headed out to plant the garden. We got that done and have been on the phone, email, Skype, and Facebook, so I haven't had any time to open the box!

Very very thankful to be able to give this good report! Earlier today, I considered how I should respond if the news was not good, and I decided that God would still be good no matter what happened. I want my response to always be good and to bring glory to Him.

Thank you for keeping us all in your prayers,
Janet Albertson

Joplin Search and Rescue through the eyes of my son

I feel badly that every time I post something, something changes, and I have to edit it later! I found out last night that Randy and Tim's kind of blood was not wanted (AB and A-), only O- was wanted, so they were not able to give on Monday. They were told if they drove somewhere else they could give blood.

On Tuesday and Wednesdays, they volunteered with Search and Rescue. They have not personally found any bodies, but where the smell of death is, they call in to the leaders to send dogs and more qualified personnel. They have been placed in groups of 30-50 volunteers who walk a set pathway across the devastation, looking, digging, moving rubble, searching for missing people.

Tim told me about the organizer of the volunteers last night. He is a local businessman, but former Marine Major. He personally was responsible for finding 7 bodies on Monday in the Elks Club. He was so adamant about searching that he nearly got in trouble for being in the damaged zone. After he showed his "stuff" by finding the bodies, and told the authorities people want to help and need to be organized to do it, he was put in charge of the organizing of volunteers. On Tuesday there were ~700 people and Wednesday ~300. He puts professional volunteers and public volunteers into teams; they have a name and everyone is numbered and your team name and number are written on your arm in Sharpie. Everyone wears caution vests. Everyone works together spread out over an area, and they walk. They have missions (areas to cover), and have rest, food, and water breaks.

Yesterday, Tim said they arrived at one broken house and the people were fearful and even cried. Why were they crying? They had arrived at their house earlier and several men in caution vests and hard hats were carrying out their possessions, looting, stealing! So they thought more people had come to steal from them. Tim and the others showed them their markings that they were officially part of the Search and Rescue team. It is so very sad that people would masquerade as helpers and steal from the people who have lost so much. There are police and sheriff deputies trying to make sure looting doesn't happen, but they can't catch them all. Tim said a deputy asked him yesterday to prove his status, and he showed the Sharpie markings on his arm.

One part of town that they covered yesterday was not very badly damaged; people were already getting the trees cut up, the tarps on the roofs, the trash picked up. Some wondered why they were there (searching for people who had been taken up in the tornado, who could have dropped out in that area); most were grateful that there were volunteers willing to spend their days trying to help.

Yesterday, Randy and Tim took advantage of the medic tents that are set up in the area to get tetanus shots. They had splinters and cuts that happen even though they are wearing gloves. One day Tim stepped on a nail that went through his boot and partially into his foot. There are nails everywhere, of course. I'm glad they got the shot, because who knows what they are being exposed to.

One place where the smell of death was so strong, they were searching for the source, when the owner of the demolished house came up to them, wondering what was the problem. He said maybe the smell was coming from the deer skin he had put in the trashcan on Sunday. Sure enough, that was the source. It was a moment of relief, but oh, how smelly a moment!

It is strange how some things are not moved when all around there is destruction! A vase of flowers on a table, the smelly trashcan still upright... Who knows why?

Several of Randy and Tim's employees have been working the Search and Rescue with them. Two of them are directly affected by the tornado. One has to move out of his damaged apartment. The other one lost everything. His home was destroyed and when he arrived there to see what was salvageable, anything of value had already been looted. He is a brand new Christian who is left with only the clothes on his back. His beautiful van, which used to be "wrapped" in the devil's wrapping, is destroyed. Yet he has been working Search and Rescue the last two days.

Several of the houses Randy and Tim's company, ABE Painting, just finished painting were in the destruction zone. Several more they were going to paint this week and next are also gone.

One mother of Sunday School children who come to their church dropped off her five children to Randy and Joy's yesterday, saying she has to move out of her apartment because of damage. The children needed baths and clean clothes; at least one of them has lice in her hair. Joy and Brenda were left with those children for maybe five days! This particular person has taken advantage of our kids many times. It is hard to know what to do. You want to help, but you don't appreciate being taken advantage of! Randy and Tim are paying their guys to help with Search and Rescue, while not doing painting jobs to make money. I know my kids have it easy compared to people who have lost everything, but I am praying God will help them, protect them, and make up to them all the sacrifices they make.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Port insertion surgery scheduled

My surgery to insert the port for chemotherapy is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31 at 8:45 a.m. at the North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. It is supposed to be a 30 minute surgery and I should go home after recovery room time.

Tornado news

I hope I have these details correct. This is what I understand...

The tornado was on the south part of town, I'm guessing within a mile south of Mother and Daddy. Randy and Joy are a little north of Mother and Daddy, and Tim and Brenda are north even more. So their houses weren't touched at all. Mother and Daddy have a land line phone, but it wasn't working during or after the storm. Their cell phones were off and on working, but better at texting than calling. Mother had internet service the whole time though. We "Skyped" with her last night at bedtime. They never lost electricity. We heard this morning that gas was turned off even in unaffected areas, but our kids still had gas. Mother has electric stove, while the daughters-in-law don't. They were supposed to boil water, so I was glad the girls' gas wasn't off.

Last evening, Randy and Tim went as far as they could driving to the affected area, then walked, asking people if they needed help. At a nursing home that was badly damaged, they were asked to help get injured people out. They did that quite a while. There were ambulances and people to take the injured to help after they were out of the rubble. They went to a man's house that comes to church part of the time. It was completely destroyed. They tried calling to him in the rubble. A neighbor whose house was also rubble said that he was not at home. So that relieved them that he was not in there somewhere. I think when it got dark they went home. It was 10 pm their time when we talked to them. They said it was unbelievable, the destruction!

Today they offered to help again, but FEMA has arrived and only will let First Responders help today. They took Randy and Tim's names. They were not organized for public volunteers. They tried to give blood, but only O- blood was being taken there.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tornado in Joplin, MO

We have talked to our children and they are safe. My sister heard from Mother and Daddy that they are fine. There is much damage, and our hearts are saddened for all the losses, but we are thankful that our loved ones are safe.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Report from the Oncologist Visit

Rowen and I went to see Dr. Ann Stroh today. We found her very friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, and kind. She spent at least an hour and a half with us, talking about everything, answering our questions. Her nurses are also very friendly and kind. I got blood drawn today for baseline complete blood count and complete metabolic panel. I am eligible for the genetic testing, so that will be done next week. Dr. Stroh wants me to have a PET scan next week (that will be Tuesday morning) to make sure there is no cancer anywhere else. I will be getting a port placed for chemotherapy; my appointment for the consultation for that is Monday morning with the general surgeon I had for the mastectomy. On next Thursday, I will see Dr. Stroh and get the report on the PET scan.

Assuming that is clear, I will have the port surgery scheduled. Our hope is to have the first chemo treatment on June 9. The chemo drugs I will be taking are Taxotere and Cytoxan. (I am glad she does not want me to have Adramycin, which is stronger and meaner.) The side effects I will/may have are alopecia (hair falling out), fatigue/weakness (may feel achy all over), constipation or diarrhea, nausea (which they treat aggressively giving anti-nausea medicine before the chemo), lowered immune system, especially white blood cells, numbness of fingers and toes. (Mouth sores not so much with these medicines.)

I will have it once every 3 weeks for 6 times. I chose to have it on Thursdays, and will see the Dr. also on the Fridays following chemo on Thursdays. My blood will be checked every time before chemo is given. I may get a shot 24 hours after chemo to boost white blood cell production, if needed. That will make my bones ache as the bone marrow will be forced to produce more wbc's. The lowest point of wbc is 10 days after chemo then it will come back up to normal before the next treatment. After the chemo is over, I will be on Tamoxifen as anti-hormone therapy, since my cancer is estrogen receptive. Going through these treatments will take my "chances" of metastasis or recurrence from ~25% down to ~8% over a 10 year period.

That is what I understand about it. I hope that is not too much information if you don't want to know details.

She said my hair will fall out before the 2nd treatment. So that puts it right in the time frame of family reunion and daddy's retirement party. I want to donate most of my hair before that happens. I have ordered a wig that is long enough that I should be able to put my hair up and look semi-normal. I know when the time comes to do this will be different than just discussing it calmly in a doctor's office. It is going to be hard, but I know that God will not forsake me. I have felt His strength and peace and know that He is always faithful. Thank you so much for the continuing prayers and every other expression of love, caring, and concern for our family.

Love to all


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Johnstown Historical Society Tea Party, May 14

Pat Kiovsky, a new Johnstonian and JHS member, put together a fun Mother-Daughter Tea at the Parish House on May 14. There were 40 guests for tea, and a wonderful speaker, Cindy Webb, talked about "Our Love of Hats." She makes and restores hats and inspires people to wear hats! It was very interesting and everybody had a good time.

Here are some of the yummy things we got to eat!

The lovely place settings and one of many beautiful tea pots used.

Here are the servers who did such a fabulous job! Linda Kirchner, Pat Kiovsky, and Beth Albertson

Pat Kiovsky and Chris Jennison

Emily Albertson and Linda Kirchner

These guests arrived so appropriately attired for the occasion that I had to snap their picture!

Here are some of the guests, most of whom were new to the Parish House, and we hope will be interested in JHS membership!

Cindy gave away this doll to a little girl who guessed her age correctly!

During her talk, Cindy explained the construction of various hats, and modeled them. Some of the hats, she put on the guests' heads--including Emily, who had a great time! After the tea was over, anyone could try on a hat.

The following pictures are not of hats, but of "fascinators" which clip on to one's hair for decoration, or can be added on to a hat.

Graduation party May 13

We planned a very simple reception for Beth and Jason since graduation came so soon after Janet's surgery (April 28). They were both content to have brownies and ice cream to serve our guests. Sixty-nine friends came to help us celebrate! Emily was in charge of keeping all the children happy--outside part of the time, so we don't have pictures of everybody who came, since Emily is our main photographer! Rowen and Jeffrey served everybody, so they weren't manning the cameras. Beth and Jason greeted everyone. I tried to get everybody to sign the guest sheet and visited.
Piles of brownies!

Table with pictures of Beth and Jason, place to sign in and put cards or gifts

Jason and Beth calmed their nerves by playing the piano together before the guests arrived.

Jeffrey serving ice cream.

Beth welcoming Jerry and Heather Esparza, Alex and Jenae

Beth greeting Hannah Campbell, Dr. Matt Brown

Some of the Mendez family

Sherolyn and Eladio Cruz

Jonathan Lucas visiting with Paul and Renee Metien

Tonya Sickler and Anna Lucas visiting. The computer was showing a slide show of pictures of Beth and Jason's lives.

Janet, Marlene Reynolds, and Regina Yancey visiting.

Ben and Marlene, Kassie and Titus--they used to be featured in our blogs about Sunday School at Federal Heights, but they live in Yoder, CO now, and we haven't seen them for so long!! So glad they were willing to drive 3 hours to celebrate with us!

Many kids and Steve Cunningham playing in the back yard.

The trampoline was kept busy.

I think this was Tag.

We were so thankful for beautiful weather after two days of constant rain!
Christy and Manoj Manohoran, Kelly Kaus, Kassie and Titus

So glad Bob and Catherine Desmond were able to come!

The Yancey boys and Alex Esparza played Jason's guitar...

Lincoln and Titus watched the slide show.

Rowen, Pastor Mike Yancey, Jeffrey, Dr. Matt Brown, Ben Reynolds, and Jonathan Lucas

Stacy McVey, Steve Cunningham, Jason, and some Lucas children playing Foosball.

Marlene Reynolds, Regina Yancey, Sherolyn Cruz, Beth, Jerry Esparza, and Pastor Mike Yancey

All of the J-M Homeschoolers and the Johnstown neighbors did not get photographed. That's what happens when Emily is in charge of all the kids--no one takes the pictures!
It was a fun evening, and we felt honored by each one's presence.