Monday, April 30, 2012

Mrs. Turpin

Today one of my heroes entered into her final rest, her full healing, her eternal home...Mrs. Darlene Turpin passed early this morning.  Peacefully, her daughter shared.  She is home. 

I can't really remember the first time I met her.  I just remember volunteering in the nursery before we had children, there were two women that showed up every week, every week, (like year round) to teach the preschool class that met below the nursery.  When Julia was born I secretly hoped Mrs. Turpin and Mrs. Ricketts would not retire before my children made it through their classes.  I think I breathed a sigh of relief when Daniel reached preschool and they were still there.  At that point they had decades of serving children under their belts.  They made teaching God's Word and loving children look effortless. 

I found out their secret once I became the Early Childhood Director a few years ago.  They were faithful.  Faithful to God, faithful to pray, faithful to God's Word, faithful to their families, faithful to their commitment to humbly serve.  These women would hand write each child's name and pray for them every week, every week (like year round).  Neither have had "easy" lives, they've had their share of sorrows and trials, crosses to bear.  Yet they were faithful.  I was humbled in their presence.

Recently Darlene and her husband were moved to an adult care facility as she was diagnosed with lymphoma of the brain.  I went to see her a couple of weeks ago and asked if she was still able to read her Bible (the one she brought every week to Sunday School).  She said it was difficult.  I asked if I could read to her, she said yes.  I asked if she would like a specific scripture and she said Psalm 103.  I replied that I had read that same one that morning!  She offered for me to find a different one if I'd like (always thinking of others).  I treasured each verse as I went ahead and read Psalm 103. 

I just reread it and realized it was her Psalm as she entered heaven...

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle." (vs. 3-5)

Pardoned.  Healed.  Redeemed.  Crowned.  Satisfied.  Bless the LORD O my soul.

I will cherish these last few weeks and each time I was able to pray with Darlene.  The moment I said "Amen" she would begin her prayer for me.  Each prayer was infused with scripture that she had hidden in her heart for many years.  The last time I was there, she prayed that Jesus would be the boss of her life and the boss of her family and that she would do nothing to quench the Holy Spirit.  I was humbled again.

Pardoned.  Healed.  Redeemed. Crowned.  Satisfied.  Bless the LORD O my soul, thank you Lord for this dear woman's eternal impact, in my life and the lives of countless others.  Well done dear one.  I will miss you.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dr. Klatt (Relay for Life Founder)

Dr_ Gordy Klatt

A friend forwarded me this email about Dave's surgeon, Dr. Klatt. We have been beyond grateful that we have him as our doctor, truly the best in his field. However that is not the sole reason we admire this man, his passion to find a cure for cancer is remarkable. Yet sitting in his presence you would have no idea the tremendous impact he has made on society, truly a humble man. Please read the following email:

Tacoma Relay Family,

It started with one man. And now that man needs us.

We have a true hero; one known through the nation and the world. An actual visionary. A man who lives to give and do good. Humble, in spite of his titanic contribution to our society. Still driven to bring Relay to the entire world. A true gentleman. A great doctor. A great man.

Our beloved founder and Relay Ambassador to the world, Dr. Gordy Klatt, has announced that he has begun his own personal battle with cancer.

In his own words:

"Throughout the years I have spoken and written about how cancer can personally affect everyone. It affects the rich, the poor, and all nationalities and cultures in the world. About 4 weeks ago I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I have begun my battle with this disease using chemotherapy and then surgery this summer. I feel the tremendous camaraderie and support of my family, my friends and my colleagues. I am even more energized to defeat this disease worldwide. I will again be with all of you in spirit this Relay season - even more so this year. Celebrate the survivors; remember those who lost the battle and FIGHT BACK! We all need to CELEBRATE MORE BIRTHDAYS and by relaying we keep the HOPE alive through education, community involvement and fundraising for ongoing research. I love you all!" -- Gordy Klatt

Look around at Relay. Think about the power of it. Look at what three and a half million people can do when they are of one mind and one heart. This was and is Dr. Klatt's vision. Everyone joining the fight.

And so let us join his.

Let us, together, join our hearts, thoughts and prayers and send them to this man. Our hero. Let us lift his fighting spirit so high that no diagnosis can harm him. Let us give him our Strength. Let us give him our Faith. Let us give him our Hope. Let us give him our Love.

For all he has given us.

We welcome you to share your messages of love and support for Dr. Klatt. Please email them to<> and we will see to it that he receives them.

Copyright 2011/2012 (c) American Cancer Society

Monday, April 23, 2012

Round 7

Well, Dave went in today to get accessed (they put tubes in his port and draw blood to make sure he is healthy enough for the chemo...they leave the tubes so they can give the chemo tomorrow through them).  It's kinda hard to hug the guy Tues through Thur every other week...he has tubes out of his shoulder and the bag on his side, tomorrow he'll have a fanny pack with a's like he needs a shield anytime anyone comes near!  Why don't we have armor bearers anymore?

Tomorrow they will also check what's up with the weird rash on his face.  I mean subtle, hardly noticeable, slight redness around his eyes. : ) 

Today Dave and I both noted that we feel like we can see the end of this road.  However, we also realized we he needs to go through some more tests, scans, surgery to reconnect his intestines and surgery to take out his port.  We are finally in the "groove" of things with this chemo schedule and we only have two more! 

I am still so proud of how well he is doing with (or handling?) all this.  The neuropathy hung around a little longer this time, he developed an infection around his stoma and had to get antibiotics and he had a pretty awful headache this round.  And now this skin is starting to itch : )

I'll try to update after chemo, pray for a strong finish these last few weeks.  Thank you!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This is a long post, but I don't want to forget a thing about our trip, you can skip all the words and just enjoy the pictures if you'd like!
 Here is our tour guide!  I am so grateful Kai has a car so she could chauffeur us around the island, she did a great job.

That funny picture on the right are my feet being rushed with water from the beautiful and warm Pacific Ocean!  The sand is a warm brown and softer than any I've felt before.

Monday, April 16, 2012

  • Leave Sea-Tac 9:30am, thanks Kirstin for the ride and the Starbucks to get us going!
  • Arrive Lihue Airport 12:45pm, greeted by Kai with beautiful leis.
  • Kai drops us off at Uncle Richmond's condo, our home for the week.
  • Uncle Richmond takes us on a tour of his old stomping grounds, we hear stories of Pearl Harbor, cruise boats coming into the harbor, his wife Pat, his class ring (at the bottom of the ocean...), his kids and grand kids and the good ol' days.
  • Uncle takes us to Kalapaki Beach so we can wade in the water, he buys us drinks and fresh fruit while we sit and soak it all in. 
  • Back at the condo Kai comes by for my first surprise!  Smith Family Garden Luau.  Amazing gardens, some of my favorites: Monkey Tail Tree, Plumeria, Bougainbillea, Banyon Trees and Albizia Trees.  (The Easter Island Statue was fun too)
  • Dinner at the Luau was amazing and we even ate poi (aren't you proud of us dad?).
  • We watched beautiful dancers under the starry night...and almost as if it was timed as part of the show we all saw a brilliant shooting star.

Tuesday, April 17. 2012
We woke up early for another day of surprises, "wear your swimsuit" was all I was told.   
  • Drove to Kukui ula Harbor and went out on Sea Rider Adventure Tours to snorkel off the south shore with Captain Tara.
  • Took a zodiac out to two sites, first one we saw turtles!  Actually, we swam with them, completely amazing.
  • Drove up to a look out to see Spouting Horn up a little closer.
  • Papalani Gelato for Mahaulepu Mint and Lilikoi/Mango Gelato - best ever!
  • Poipu Beach to relax a bit, have I said yet there are chickens everywhere on this island even on the beach!
  • Took a beautiful drive through rows and rows of coffee bean trees (is that what they are called?) to Kauai Coffee Company
  • A quick stop to Glass Beach to find a few treasures, snapped a shot of a heart shaped rock on the glass (actually it is glass, but it is also remnants of the garbage that was dumped too close to the coastline that is now falling into the Pacific)
  • A stroll across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge with Kaileia
  • The most amazing Shave Ice on the planet from Jo Jo's Shave Ice (good thing Lily researched all this since I would never have walked into that place.  The sign was held together with duct tape!)
  • Ended the day at Waimea Plantation to see the largest Banyan Tree on the Island (and my favorite!), dinner at the Grove (wow Kalua Pork Spring Rolls - super yum) and a walk on the beach at sunset...the perfect end to a perfect day.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Today we slept in until about 7am...the latest of all 3 days.  First surprise, Starbucks!  But the biggest surprise of all was what was next.  I was told to keep my eyes closed on the drive there and even when I was let out of the car...
  • I opened my eyes to read a sign that said "Wings Over Kauai" as I stood in a little open airport...I cried!

Let me just say, that was an amazing experience, the pilot was excellent and we saw things I never would have otherwise.
  •  Pono Market for Spicy Shrimp Sushi and Pork and Chicken Lau Lau
  • A quick stop at Snorkel Bobs to get snorkel gear for ??? : )
  • Queen's Bath at Princeville was a little hard to find but one of my favorite stops, maybe because we had to walk a beautiful path to reach the ocean only to find an amazing cove with crashing waves and dozens of turtles!
  • Ching Young Village for Haupia
  • Tunnels Beach for snorkeling ~ this was a completely different experience from snorkeling the day before.  We saw fish of every size and color,  we even saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal sunning himself on the beach.  Kai's favorite part though was surprising Lily and me as she swam from behind and underneath us blowing bubbles towards are faces!
  • Hanelei Bay for the Sunset.
  • Kilauea Fish Market for the best Fish Taco ever ~ covered with garlic cilantro sauce, mmmmm.
  • Ended the evening at the Barefoot Bar at Duke's for Hula Pie (w/ macadamia nut ice cream)
Thursday, April 19,  2012

How can it be the last day already?  I fully expected to get up, pack and go to the airport, we had to be there by 9:30am, but no...there were more surprises.
  • Up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise at Lydgate State Park.  I have never sat and watched as the sun greeted the morning.  It is a beautiful and amazing sight (especially in Kauai).  The light changed from white, to orange to purple, to a swirl of amazing colors, until it was in full form welcoming the day.
  • Passion Bakery for a pastry that is a cross between a croissant and a scone, green apple was the flavor I picked.
  • And there was time for one more surprise.  Wailua Falls!  I saw it yesterday from a plane and today we drove right to it.  What power and grace.
There is so much more that I want to share, but feel like I've used my allotted words already.  The people are wonderful, the atmosphere is relaxed, "Don't Worry Be Happy" must have been penned here.  More than all of that though, God displayed His majesty over and over again, from the crashing waves, to the majestic mountains, to the graceful turtles, and the lush foliage...I was speechless much of the time.  Actually, I kept saying "Wow" (so much so I thought for sure Kai and Lily would beg me to find another word).  The generosity of my sister was overwhelming.  And the time she spent searching the internet to find the perfect stops was well worth it (for me at least!)

I came home relaxed, refreshed, renewed and with a better attitude.  I am humbled and grateful.


    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Home from Kauai ~

    Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
    Psalm 36:5

    Well I am back from my whirlwind tour of Kauai!  I don't know how it is possible that we packed in so much in 2 1/2 days, yet I managed to be completely relaxed and at rest.  My sister blessed me with this trip to see her daughter, my niece Kaileia.  (Thanks mom and dad for the flyer miles.  Definitely couldn't have done it without you!)  Here we are on the first night.  The picture was taken by our Uncle Richmond (not blood relative...but closer, dads very good friend from the good ol' days)  It was so great hearing some history of the island and his memories of my dad, Don Ho and his family.  Thanks Uncle Richmond for giving us your time and house for four days!

    I really did not intend to blog tonight...reality has set back in quickly and I need to get some sleep so I can get back in the routine tomorrow.  This is just a preview...
    This just cracks me up.  Due to a hurricane in 1992 the chickens got loose and how do you catch 'em?  You don't.  They now wander all over the island, all over!  My phrase of the day in the car, "chicken!"
    What vacation can be complete without coffee?  Good thing Kauai has it's own coffee company!  There are rows and rows of coffee bean trees...when we were driving through this beautiful field, I asked if we were going to pick blueberries....nope...wrong again (everything we did was a surprise and I rarely guessed correctly!)
                                                                                   I have officially declared the Albizia Tree one of my top two favorite trees.  It is beautiful isn't it?  They are all over the island, but when they stand alone, they just look majestic.

    My other favorite is the Banyon Tree.  This is the biggest one on Kauai, and from this angle you cannot see it all.  As the branches grow out, it sends roots down to the ground to support the large branches.  Those dangling vines you can see around the edges will eventually grow down deep into the Hawaiian soil and support the branch above. 

    I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude and a full heart.  This trip filled me to the brim with God's wonder, goodness, faithfulness, and joy overflowing.  I am blessed beyond measure and humbled to the core.  I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.  His creation shouts glory to His name!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Filling space

    So I've tried to blog several times in the last two weeks, but my fingers won't move...they just rest on "fdsa" and "jkl;" waiting for inspiration.  Apparently I have reached my quota of great thoughts! (hahaha)

    Quite frankly I've been really tired.  That's what I've wanted to say these last two weeks.  Fear has stopped me from typing those words though.  Fear of hurting someones feelings, fear of finally showing you I'm not perfect (HA!), fear of an onslaught of advice, fear that you may not ask me for a favor since now you know I'm tired. 

    August 2nd, 2011 brought a drastic change in the course of our lives onto an unpaved, dark path (concealed up to that point to us, but not to the One that revealed it to us).  I think when faced with a trial you go into survival mode.  You do what needs to be done and save the reflecting for later.  Dave and I have both been looking back and shaking our heads.  What just happened?  Cancer?  Really?  Dave said he still has days where he thinks he'll wake up and none of this will have been real.

    Somehow this experience seems to have put glasses on my emotions; like they are seeing more clearly, bringing "high definition" to the hills and valleys that fill each day.  Bad news breaks my heart and good news causes my heart to soar.  I think this is a good thing, but it is like my emotions are experiencing growing pains, it's good, but it hurts a little.

    The bottom line is...well, I don't know.  I'm tired remember?  I think I just wanted to be honest so that if you are struggling, you know it's okay to be tired and admit it.  It doesn't need to be fixed, it's a season...a very brief moment in light of eternity actually.  We are in the home stretch and are ready for our second wind.  (I think I'll find mine in Hawaii...not sure how Dave will find his!)

    Tomorrow is Round 6 of 8 chemo treatments.  Round 5 has been the hardest, let's hope it stays that way.  I'm looking forward to sitting for 4 hours.  Last week Dave gave me his recliner the last few minutes of treatment (actually, he got up to go to the bathroom and I took it, they are really comfy).  Maybe he'll share again.  Either way, I'll be sitting and resting and cheering my husband on, we're almost there!

    For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."   Isaiah 41:13