Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Bitter With the Sweet



Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse
Buoys in the yard

It's always better to start with the sweet...so here I go.

Sweet
A couple weeks ago my youngest son Daniel and I made a trip to Northern California to spend time with my oldest son Thomas. It was supposed to be two short flights but when our second flight was canceled we decided to rent a car and make the final leg of the journey. That six-hour drive became a road trip that Daniel and I will remember for a long time. Both of us lead busy lives and it had been a while since we had time alone together.  Daniel is attending school full time at Cal Poly to become a mechanical engineer, works part-time and has a wife and two very young children (15 months and 12 weeks). 
 
One of the objectives of this trip was for me to have time with my sons but more importantly time for brothers to be together. On Saturday Thomas took Daniel fishing on his boat. While they spent the day out at sea I spent the day on shore sketching. On Sunday the guys cleaned and filleted fish while Lisa (Thomas's girlfriend) and I went for a walk at Patrick's Point State Park.  Lisa works at the State Park and is a wealth of information...she pointed out edible mushrooms, berries, rock formations, animals and all sorts of birds. When we got back I sketched at the house.

Thomas and the King Salmon

That evening the guys made a wonderful dinner. Lisa and I added to the table by making a boysenberry pie with berries picked in the yard. On Monday morning Thomas took us for a tour the harbor in his boat. Afterwards we packed a lunch, the two dogs (Pixie and Petie) and drove to the Trinity River. Lisa and I sat on the shore while the guys went fishing. Thomas caught a 10 pound King Salmon. It was beautiful to watch him rock the fish back-and-forth in the water. This forced fresh water and air though its gills. Once revived Thomas pointed the fish upstream and released it. On Tuesday Daniel and I made our trip home and return to life as normal... or at least we thought. 
Bitter
While fishing along the Trinity River Daniel got into poison oak. The itching was enough for him to make an appointment with his doctor. During the examination Daniel asked about a lump he had recently felt on his neck. This led to a series of tests and surgery. Yesterday he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. You may ask why am I telling you this? I believe in the power of prayer. God does not waste anything.  I am asking you to hold up Daniel, his wife Heidi, and their two children Joshua and Nevaeh. Of course we are praying for God's healing but also for his strength, grace, and mercy as we go through this as a family.

Bitter and Sweet
Life can have a bitter sting but most days are filled with the sweet goodness of those around me and God's endless love and grace.
Heidi and Daniel
Thank you,
Brenda

50 comments:

  1. Gosh, Brenda,

    Life can be so unexpectedly difficult. I'm so glad you had that trip just before this painful and scary news.

    I'm sending all the positive energy I am capable to Daniel, his wife and their children - and a boatload to you, too.

    Sometimes this kind of thing is harder on us Moms than we can believe,

    xoxo

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  2. Oh, Brenda what a shock! Let's hope that the poison oak was a 'blessing in disguise' and finding it now instead of later seems a positive thing. Of course, I'll put Daniel, Heidi, you and all of your family on my prayer list, as well as sending positive energy and healing thoughts to you.

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    1. Thank you...I agree poison oak was a blessing in disguise!

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  3. Firstly, how wonderful that you and Daniel made the trip to spend some quality time with Thomas. The sketches are awesome and the memories will last forever.

    Secondly, I'm so sorry to read about Daniel's plight. I will most definitely keep Daniel and his family in my thoughts and prayers. xo

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  4. I'm so glad that God gave you such precious time and memories with each other before Daniel's diagnosis. I promise I will pray for Daniel immediately. Sounds like the poison oak was a blessing also. You're in my thoughts and prayers also Brenda.

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  5. Brenda, I am holding Daniel, his and your family in my thoughts, sending love.
    Two weeks ago a friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and he was told,yesterday, since they caught early it was very treatable with a full recovery,
    expected. He is 65 years old. With Daniel's youth he has lots going for him.
    I so wish you all you well. Best regards, Lorena Christie- I do not have a profile so I guess that makes my anonymous :)

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  6. Praying for Daniel and his wife and family! Lovely sketches here. May drawinf bring a sense of peace in the days ahead.

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  7. My prayers are with you and your family! You're right, God doesn't waste anything, esp prayers!

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  8. Brenda So sorry to hear about your son. I will ask our senior men's Bible study to pray for him next Tuesday and I will pray for Daniel for healing and God's grace.
    Here is a verse I hang onto when I face issues like this like when my wife faced pancreatic surgery and it was successful- "Do not be anxious for anything but in everything with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made unto God. And the peace of God that passes all our understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus" praying for you and Daniel best regards Bruce

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    1. Perfectly said. Your scripture verse is perfect in times of troubles. Take all things to God in prayer! Blessings to you.

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  9. My prayers and wishes are with you and your family Brenda. Prayers raised up by your friends will be in the thousands. Please keep us all posted as to Daniel's progress if you would.

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  10. Oh, Brenda...Thank you for posting this. Praying with you.

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  11. I want to thank everyone for holding Daniel up in prayer. I am so grateful for the prayers, kindness and love than has been showered on our family. Blessings, Brenda

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  12. Thanks for sharing this, Brenda. I'll pray for Daniel and the whole family.

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  13. Brenda, I will be praying for a speedy recovery for Daniel. He may have a tough road ahead of him but he has the love of his family and heavenly father to help him along the way. Karla

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  14. Hugs and prayers go out to you and your family. I can relate to loving time on the road with my sons, one of which just graduated from Cal Poly. I will certainly keep Daniel and his family in my prayers.

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  15. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts, and sending positive, healing energy your way.

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  16. God is definitely in control and is gracious to his children, even though things can be hard. Thank you for asking us to pray. I will. With love, Ruth

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  17. Dear Brenda, I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts!

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  18. Oh Brenda...I am SO sorry to read about Daniel...indeed I have seen the power of prayer at work and all of your friends there and out here in cyber worlds have added Daniel and his family to their prayer list. Many of us out here are cancer survivors so we know what devastating news it is to get a diagnosis like this. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is the ultimate friendship to share what is the deepest sorrow in our hearts.

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  19. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them Matt-18:20. Many prayers are being said for all that you have asked. Thank you for sharing your life and allowing us to pray for you're bitter and sweet. Life is a gift from God and we cherish each day He gives us. We pray your Daniel has many, many more! Blessing and prayers--Michelle

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  20. Brenda,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your lovely family. Thank you for sharing with us. I am so glad that Daniel has the wonderful support of his religion, his family, and good friends. I appreciate your giving us your daughter-in-law's site for updates -she sounds like a very strong, special young lady and your grandchildren are precious. Will be keeping Daniel and your family foremost in my prayers, Kay

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  21. Brenda,

    Daniel, his wife and children, you and all your family are blessed to have each other. I send my positive thoughts and will include you all in my prayers. God Bless you all!!

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  22. This brings tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to you, and I have you and your family in my thoughts.

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  23. Definitely praying with you in this challenge --- thank God, HE knows how to answer our prayers and how to give us strength as He takes us through these things to the other side.
    (amazing how an annoyance like poison oak can lead to saving a life)

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  24. Dear Brenda, I am mom to 3 grown sons and nothing I can think of would be harder for me to bear than one of my boys facing a diagnosis similar to your Daniel. I, too, believe in God's power and that the prayers of others can move His heart and bring miracles. Praying for Daniel.

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  25. Hi Brenda. Julie here from Kansas City. We've never met but I'm a fan and hope to take a class with you next summer. I, too, have been praying for you and your family since reading your post. Just a few years ago my stepson, 22, was diagnosed with leukemia and I know the fear that permeates everything. Although fear is no match for our God and your faith with carry all of you as you walk through this journey. I will continue to pray and look forward to hearing good results and hopefully meeting you soon.
    Julie

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  26. Thank you for praying my son, Daniel. I am deeply touched to know he is being held up in prayer all across the world! His little family has faced a lot in the last few months. Since June 30th they have all been in the hospital for one reason or another. In late June they welcomed their baby girl into the world. Her name is Nevaeh, two week later Joshua (16 months old) was hospitalized with a terrible virus, and one week ago Daniel had surgery to remove the lymphoid in his neck and the diagnosis of Hodkin's Lymphoma . I don't know how they could do it without your prayers, love and help!
    THANK YOU!

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  27. I'm so sorry to hear of your son's lymphoma. My prayers are with him and his family.

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  28. Dear Brenda...you won't know me, but I follow your blog and love your art! I will be praying for Daniel, his wife and family...and you, too. I have two sons and can only try and imagine what it must be like. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, the Lord will revive [sustain] me..." (Psalms 138:7a) I have walked 28 yrs with an illness/chemo/pain,etc. It's not always easy, but the Lord is there! This is my prayer for you all...that the Lord will be there. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers! BJR

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    1. God grace, comfort and mercy are with us. A mother's heart is so heavy when are children are at risk. I pray for you, too. Blessings

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  29. God's hand and healing is already upon Daniel. God led him to the poison oak and will continue to hold him and his family in the palm of his hand through the healing process.
    My prayers are with you and Daniel!

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  30. Oh Brenda, prayers for Daniel's healing, for his Doctor's success in their ministrations to him, to his wife and children for strength and faith to face this challenge. For all of Daniel's family and friends that they may lift him up and give him their strength if need be to fight this good fight. God bless you all and I will keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. We are in prayer and feel God's great mercy and love upon Daniel and his family. Hugs

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  31. Our prayers are with you all, Brenda.

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  32. Thank you, Kate. All of the prayers and kind words have meant so much. I know we will face some rough days ahead but we put our trust, hope, and faith in God. He has walked with us from the beginning and I have no reason to doubt him now.

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  33. Brenda: I was saddened to read the bitter with the sweet...but know that your son is held up in prayer by so many of the people who follow your art and blog.

    A part of one of the Psalms that I have always loved: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of he who brings good news...that's what we'll be waiting for. Keep looking up!

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  34. Brenda, just imagining the trial your family is going through wrenches my heart. I truly believe Romans 8:28, "...in all things God works for the good of those who love him...". We may not understand or see how at the time, but some things like th poison ivy can be a blessing in disguise and even a frightening diagnosis can be turned into a blessing through God's good purpose. I am praying for you and your family that God will hold you close and carry you all safely through this trial as you trust in Him. " May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

    With my prayers,
    RaSonya Pearce. (ffyrebird)

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    1. Hi, Brenda,
      I keep trying to comment, but when I hit the "add a commemt" space it disappears, so I'll do it with a "reply"!
      Holding you, Daniel and his family up to the light in prayer. May you all have strength and healing that is needed. Keep us posted! Hugs!

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  35. All of the kind words and prayers have touched our family. I know that our Lord uses people to do his works...and I am grateful beyond words for everyone who is praying. Daniel and his wife had the first meeting with the oncologist. They like him very much! He does more that treat the disease he treats the entire person! The next few weeks will be filled with test (bone marrow sample, PET scan, heart tests...) . Most likely chemo will begin in late November. We don't know what stage the cancer is yet. His treatment will be for 6 to 8 months depending on test results.
    I ask that you also pray for Heidi, his wife. She is an amazing woman of God...but two tiny babies, fighting insurance company...can be especially draining on her.
    I thank God for everyone who has come alone side our family in prayer!
    Brenda

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  36. Whoa---so much on your blog. Obviously, the health of your son in a major concern. Certainly hoping that all the care will lead to positive results.

    Oh my, what cute grandchildren:) Your journals are an inspiration. Please take care of yourself!

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    1. Sandra, We do have our hands full!
      Art and creativity is what keeps me focus and positive. It is one of the best coping tools I have. I am glad you found my blog...stay tuned I have much to share, yet! Happy Sketching!

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  37. So sorry to hear this Brenda. I was hoping the poison oak was the bitter. Thinking of you, fellow artist, Jacqueline

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  38. First of all, I love your sketching--just beautiful--

    But on to more important things--I just came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and am so glad I did--

    Now I can join the army of believers who will lift your family to God, especially Daniel.

    Praying for all of you as travel through this tribulation--I know you all will bring honor and glory to Jesus.

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    1. Diane, You are so right! If we must walk this path of tribulation...we will hold tight to our Lord. He has been with us all our days and He is with us now. Blessings

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  39. Mrs. Swenson! Hi! (I am that girl you met at the fairgrounds, one of the hundreds you met, actually, but the one you remembered? super nice...) Anyways, I have been keeping up on your blog, and I just wanted to thank you for your kindness as well as the post. It was really nice to hear that story and reminder that the Lord is near and to hear you testimony of the power of prayer. Thanks a bunch!

    Emily

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  40. My prayers are with David and his family and you the mother that suffers within and whole it all inside our hearts








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