March of Dimes Walk

Juliana’s life was saved by your many prayers and by God’s working through the miracle of modern medicine. The doctors and nurses at University of Maryland Medical Center who worked so hard for our babies were greatly benefitted by funds and research done by the March of Dimes foundation.

In order to raise awareness of the tragedies of prematurity, the March of Dimes hosts walk-a-thons all over the country where individuals can raise money for this very worthy cause. My sisters and brother-in-law will be walking on May 2 in Chattanooga, Tennessee on behalf of Juliana, Zoe, and Eden, and we would love your support! If you would like to contribute to their walk and to saving premature babies, please visit their team site: Payne3. You can learn more about the March of Dimes organization, and even join an event near you at www.marchforbabies.org. We’re hoping that you will be willing to sponsor our family in this walk and donate to an organization that will help families everywhere.

Thank you, each one, for taking the time to come to our blog and post your comments in show of support. Thank you for your many prayers during our difficult time.

Also, to celebrate Juliana’s life and dedicate her to God, we are holding a special baby dedication at the Highland View Church on Sabbath, April 17 at 11 a.m. during the church service. We would be honored if you would like to attend and meet Juliana. It will be her first official outing into public, and we are so thrilled to be able to publicly dedicate her to God. Thank you all for being a part of our journey to this point!

Zoe’s Last Stand

Zoe passed in our arms tonight at 7:15 pm. The full medical breakdown of what happened I may detail in a future post, but it was our decision to let those who were present say goodbye to her and to hold her in our arms together as a family. It was still and quiet and a peaceful passing for her. We were able to share our thoughts and feelings with her before she left.

11/04/09 Zoe’s scary morning

The phone rang at 4:30 this morning, never a good sign. The doctor at the other end had very bad news. Overnight, Zoe’s belly had become discolored and distended in a matter of hours, increasing in size by about 3 cm. They took an x-ray, but her x-rays since her 2nd day have all been opaque. Her clinical signs were worsening and they had two probable scenarios in mind. The first scenario is that she had a bowel perforation and liquid was spilling out into her abdominal cavity. The second scenario is that she had necrosis in part of her bowel causing her gut to die. It was also possible that it was a combination of the two. Necrosis is fatal and would take her in a matter of hours.

Because of her extremely critical state, abdominal surgery was not an option. The only thing they could do was to put a small drain in the side of her abdomen and hope that something came out. Green and brown smelly liquid would indicate a bowel perforation. If there was no drainage at all, it was likely necrosis. Jen and I consented to the drain surgery and quickly got on the road back to Baltimore from our home in Hagerstown. It would take us over an hour to get there. Halfway there, we got a call from a doctor on the surgical team. The drain was successfully in place, and instead of draining bowel-like fluid, a clear yellowish liquid came out, similar to the liquid that all of us have between our intestines that allow them to stay in place. Her abdomen went down in size considerably and her stats all came up as the pressure on her lungs and body was relieved. They don’t believe that she has a bowel perforation and the likelihood of necrosis in her bowel is much less, though not completely ruled out without being able to see into her abdomen. For now, we can live with that and continue to take things day by day.

Jen’s January 2009 Books

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The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

Very intriguing story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, complete with murder, mystery, and loads of linguistic-rich tidbits. Written in a compelling and readable style, but intellectual enough to keep my interest. Likable characters and centered on language. A must read for anyone interested in the English language.

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce

Charming British children’s book that deals with interesting questions of time and space. Tom is a sympathetic hero, and the book really made me think about life. The book is considered a masterpiece of children’s literature, and I can see why. The best children’s literature does not just tell a story for children, but it interesting to adults as well.

The Death of the Heart
by Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen was an Irish author of the early-to-mid-20th century who followed very closely in Virginia Woolf’s footsteps. However, Bowen’s prose style is much more approachable than Woolf’s, and her stories seem more tangible. This particular novel is rife with quotable quotes and observations about life that I really identify with.

The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson

I’d been introduced to this book a long time ago, but never actually read it. Even though it is short, I really enjoyed it. Sweet and concise, this author challenges readers to pray a new kind of prayer. Since prayer is something that I’m really interested in (how does it work, exactly?), this book was certainly appropriate. We are using it for our winter Bible retreat next month.

The Boy With the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Wow. Even though the book flap says that it doesn’t want to give away the story, I felt like I had most of it figured out in the first few pages. But, the ending did actually surprise me. This book is written from a child’s perspective and seems to be on a child’s level, but it definitely deals with some very heavy issues. Supposedly is being made into a movie.

Off to Michigan

In a few short hours, I will be heading to BWI airport and flying up to Grand Rapids. As some of you may know, my father is having brain surgery on Monday. It will be nice to spend the weekend together before he goes in and starts what will be a lengthy recovery process. Thank you for all the support we’ve received so far in words and prayers. I will post more information as events move along. I imagine the hospital has decent Internet.

I woke up at 3:15 and we were on the road by 4. I had the chance to take a nap this afternoon, so I’m feeling okay. Kelly’s train arrives at 10:30 tonight so we will have to drive downtown to pick her up later. It’s been nice to relax today.

300!

We had a great idea this morning- go see 300 at the IMAX theatre! Unfortunately, the whole town had the same idea. We got there at 1:20 and looked to buy tickets for 2:00. Nope, sold out. Okay how about 4:30. Sold out. 7:00? Sold out.  9:30? Yes, there are tickets available. However, that’s a little too late considering we have to be at the hospital in the morning. So we decided to go see Wild Hogs, a kind of middle-age biker road trip fantasy. It had some funny moments, but more importantly, we haven’t been to a movie as a family in years. That was nice.

Clyde Minner, 1989-2007

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A Tribute
by Ray Minner
The girls and I found him in the laundry room of a country farmhouse south of Cleveland, a tiny black and white kitten who seemed to reach out and adopt you from the midst of the litter. The girls’ grandma, who lived in Calhoun, wanted to see him, so another trip to Cleveland, another litter inspection, and Grandma selected the black and white kitty and his calico sister. Bonnie and Clyde.For two and a half years Grandma found great entertainment in their antics, including her favorite: Bonnie would get on one end of the family room, Clyde on the other, and there would ensue a brief staredown. Suddenly, they would run at each other full tilt, climaxing in a simultaneous upward leap, just as they were about to collide. It really was funny. And they didn’t mind putting on repeat performances.Phase One ended on a World Series Saturday night in 1991. When the game was over it was time for a late-night convenience store run. That was when we found Bonnie dead in the road. Some time during the game Clyde had lost his playmate. We let him sniff her body so that on some level of animal consciousness he would understand that she was gone, and then she was buried at the edge of the property, in piney woods where she had always loved to hunt and play.

Clyde settled down after that, became more loving, became, in fact, indispensible to Grandma. As a kitten he had suffered the trauma of being attacked by Smokey, the sometimes loving, sometimes downright churlish Norwegian elkhound/German shepherd, and the result was serious injury to his larynx. His meow was never the same. It became a distinctive, nonmusical “bla-a-a-a-t.” It became part of his personality. He would come each evening to sit with Grandma in her chair, ritually kneading her chest, purring loudly enough to be heard across the room.

Phase Two ended in January 1999 when Grandma left the house, never to return. Her remaining days were spent first in the hospital, then in nursing care. Clyde was 10, and he carried on, but life was lonelier for him now. They saw each other once more, in October 2001. Grandma paid her one and only visit to Silver Lane on the day of her hair appointment in preparation for The Wedding. But I suppose Grandma wasn’t really “present” on Silver Lane that day. Clyde had to be pointed out to her, and the reaction was . . . negligible. He was an artifact in which she had no interest. There was no relationship to rekindle. It was baffling in the moment. But looking back, I see it now as a passage.

Phase Three was a fitting reward for faithful Clyde, his golden era. Although he suffered through his exile in my apartment for more than two years, moving to Silver Lane and having Laurie in his life revived him. He thrived. He embraced his new life, as if this was what he had been waiting for all along. The arrival of Sidney in July 2002 and Monty in May 2003 were only temporary annoyances. It was, “I’m here, I have no fear, get used to it!” Eventually, they all became buddies.

It is fair to say that Clyde savored Phase Three. He had more than five years of “dessert” with which to cap off a life well lived. In recent weeks things didn’t go so well. In recent days he would have episodes of standing still and staring for long periods, as if immobile. His breathing became labored as his thoracic sac filled with fluid. His front legs swelled. The vet tells me he was probably not in pain, as such, but clearly, he was uncomfortable, and it would only get worse until he had to fight for each breath. My preference would have been to bring him home and let him end his days naturally whenever the time came, but he did not deserve to suffer, and we knew that suffering was on its way. At 11:24 this morning we let him go. In 31 days he would have turned 18.

Clyde did exactly what he was sent here to do. He provided entertainment, love, companionship, even occasional consternation. He would introduce himself to each houseguest and immediately settle onto whichever lap suited his taste. Some recent favorites included Aunt Shirley, Bruce Ashton, and Ed Wright. We would find him sometimes in forbidden places–the kitchen counter comes to mind–but mostly he wanted to be near us. He tried to give us far more than he took. This evening his
“Bla-a-a-t” is silent. It will not be heard again.

His spot will now be in the southeast corner of the back yard, just behind Sidney and Monty’s pen. He now has season tickets for all future Frisbee tournaments, with an excellent view. He will always be there, but we will miss him.

As our culture becomes more crowded and coarse, paradoxically, I believe our theology has become more insightful, our understanding of kingdom truth more progressive than our parents and grandparents would have thought possible. My parents knew that earrings were sinful. Dancing was incompatible with true Christian values. And of course, we all understood that our pets would not be in the earth made new. Children who questioned why this had to be so were told coldly that obviously, animals do not have souls–heaven, of course, being the reward for those of us whose souls are saved. And so it remained in my belief system, until one day as a young adult I stumbled onto Colossians 1:19, 20. King James’s translators apparently believed Paul’s Greek was telling us that ” . . . it pleased the Father that in [Christ] should all fulness dwell; And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself . . . whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.” What? Christ has the power to reconcile all things to himself? “Things” from earth?

So a lifetime spent in a family that has always treasured its animals began to blend with what I hope was already a maturing picture of God, and I soon came to believe that whether or not animals have “souls” in the biblical sense is completely irrelevant. Indeed, why would they be in need of having their souls saved when they have not sinned? True, they have never accepted Christ, but then they have never rejected Him either! They are simply trusting, often noble creatures of God. Think of it: if in God’s way of knowing, as only God Himself can know, He understands that it would enhance His children’s enjoyment of eternity to be surrounded by the pets for whom they have cared in this world, do you think for one moment that He could not–would not–arrange that?

So. What is the answer? I don’t know. We don’t need to know. God asks us to simply trust Him–with the huge things; with the petty things; with the in-between things that we can’t chase from our minds between midnight and the dawn. He reminds us that our eyes haven’t seen, our ears haven’t heard what is to be. Not even close. He draws us forward with the promise that however off the mark our preconceived notions may be of what awaits us on the other side of time–whatever we find beyond those twelve massive pearls could never be a disappointment.

Good night, sweet Clyde. See you soon?

Voting Guide

The election is a few days away, so I thought I would write a small voting guide for those of us in Western Maryland so that we can make an informed decision about all those smaller offices that we don’t hear too much about.

Question 1 Constitutional Amendment – Yes

Basically, the Governor cannot sell off public land without the approval of the Assembly. Since public land decisions effect all Marylanders, I support this amendment.

Question 2 Constitutional Amendment – Yes

They made a new court that handles appeals. This amendment standardizes the appeal process throughout Maryland, a good thing.

Question 3 Constitutional Amendment – Yes

This will raise the amount of money needed to qualify for trial by jury in civil suits. Less jury duty is a definite yes.

Question 4 Statewide Referendum – No

This one is complicated. Parts of the referendum have been found unconstitutional. The one part that bothers me is the addition of same-day voter registration. Basically, you can walk up to the polling place, register to vote, and vote all at once. I think this will invite abuse.

Sheriff – Rich Poffenberger

The Sheriff race is between Douglas Mullendore and Rich Poffenberger. They both are very qualified. Mullendore is currently the chief deputy of the sheriff’s department. Poffenberger is with the Maryland State Police. They both have very similar ideas on crime prevention and the increase in gang activity in the area. However, I prefer Poffenberger because of his pledge to increase communications between police agencies in our county. I think he could really get the state police, the local police, and the sheriff’s department working together in a coordinated fashion.

County Commisioners – Barr, Brightman, Hardin, Kercheval, Wivell

This is usually a hard one to figure out because there are many candidates. This group balances fiscal responsibility with controlled growth in the county. Yeah, you will probably have to write down there names or else forget in the booth!

Orphan’s Court – Incumbents

Honestly, it’s not that hard a job. Might as well go with the people who have experience.

Board of Education – Callaham, Powers

I’m not sure how many you get to vote for but these two are for increased trade education and more physical education requirements respectively. Sounds good to me!

Okay, that should get you through tomorrow. I didn’t put any of the statewide stuff on here because you probably already have a preference. It’s these local races that are tricky anyway. Hope you enjoyed this list, and feel free to print it out for your voting pleasure tomorrow!

Oh yes, and if you disagree with any of my choices, leave a comment and influence people your way! Maybe you will change my mind as well.

Heart Troubles Update

UPDATE: After spending the night and taking a stress test at the hospital, Uncle Steve was released back to his home. However, I received this message from Mom this morning:

Got another call this morning from Grandma Kinyon – Steve is back in the Emergency Room this morning. She said yesterday he was happy and jolly – they had a great visit and he was really enjoying being home. Then, he got a phone call from his brother, Rick that got him all upset.

Hopefully, we’ll get some positive news later today.

Heart Troubles

NobachDC

I was saddened to hear that Uncle Steve (pictured next to me) was experiencing some heart trouble today and had to go to the hospital in an ambulance. I can remember as a kid watching him pitch at the ballfields in Eaton Rapids and occasionally he had to stop and take a rest because of his heart. I always enjoy talking with Steve when we come to visit Eaton Rapids. He is always very inquisitive as to what I am up to and asks questions until he understands every aspect of the subject at hand. I know that he usually has all the angles figured out.

On this day in late October of 2003, we went and visited D.C. with them while they were visiting Laura. I remember walking a lot, as we went from the Air and Space Museum to the Natural History Museum and down past the Washington Monument, the White House, the Vietnam Memorial, and finally down to the Lincoln Memorial. Our feet ached at the end of that day.

I wish you and your family the best, Steve. Recover soon.