Finding Beauty in the Hazardous

Wednesday, December 4

12-4By Janné Grover of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA

And blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

—3 Nephi 5:56

December brings snow to Missouri. When fresh, sparkling snow blankets the landscape, serenity and peacefulness abound. We recognize a gift from God. Watching kids play and enjoy the snow is a treat. It’s fun to see a group gather to build a snow fort or snowman; or to gather at a favorite hill for a ride on a sled. These are the moments that draw us together. Then we come inside to warm ourselves with hot chocolate and conversation. In these moments it is easy to thank God for snow.

Snow can also be a huge inconvenience. It can create isolation because of limited travel, and can be cold and uncomfortable. As it starts to melt, and as we drive on it, snow turns into something messy. Then it’s harder to see beauty in snow.

Recently our kids enjoyed the “beauty” of an extra week of holiday. Many of us were snowed-in for several days, missing the opportunity to gather for worship. There were stretches of days when we didn’t leave the house.

It was an opportunity for me to rest from the frantic pace of holiday preparations; a chance to draw apart from regular routine and prepare for the Christ child. We enjoyed lazy mornings, opportunities to read and family game-time. We welcomed a time of relational healing.

Sometimes it takes a snow storm to remind us that it is healing to our health to slow down and to enjoy one another. We focus on the joy of being together and know the presence of God more fully in ourselves and others. A snowstorm can be both inconvenient and a dangerous force of nature, as well as an opportunity for peaceful reconnection and healing. We can’t always rely on God’s gifts of nature to make renewal possible, but we can make efforts to take time and embrace the Sacredness of Creation…together.

Prayer for Peace
As we gather with our families, God, may we remember those who are alone. May we include them in our companionship and worship. As we prepare for the coming of your son, may we share his peace.

Spiritual Practice for Advent: Peace
Pause amid this busy season and open yourself to be mindful of the source of your life-giving breath. Reflect on where that breath blows you. Pray it leads you in pursuit of peace on Earth. In this short time of reflection, close your eyes, close out the din of the Christmas crowds, and prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah. If your mind wanders to the commercial clamor, allow God to pull you back to focus on Christ, the center of Christmas.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will find someone who is alone and invite them to build a snowman. If we have no snow, we will prepare a meal together.

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  1. Diane Russell

     /  4 December 2013

    Hi, Mom, Here is today’s Daily Bread. We haven’t had snow yet this year, but ‘snow days’ certainly are plentiful in my memory, both as a child and as a parent. They are by far filled with pleasant stories and scenes similar to those described in this devotion. There were times it was stressful- power outages that lasted days, car damage in fender benders, long, tense drives that were taken in storms, needing to work because of the nursing profession 24 hour demand, and cabin fever for times that we did not ‘have’ to get out… But those times fade with the memory of family times, slower pace of living that allowed for rest and rejuvenation, comfort foods, the sheer beauty of nature, and the peaceful quietness of snow blankets covering the outside world…

    Angela and Aurora came to visit me today. We ended up making a trip to Georgetown to refill my short-acting Roxicet. We spoke with my oncology nurse (Young Park) while there and also saw my chemotherapy doctor (Dr. Liu) by chance. He was walking by and stopped to see Aurora and make sure that I had all my questions answered. I had emailed a couple times last week and this week on some concerns. Both he and the nurse had answered, but he just checked to make sure since he saw us! Both were so very nice, making me feel special… Both Angela and I were a bit overwhelmed with how wonderful it was to be under their care.

    Steve is spending some time this evening with Bree and Maddy in Mesa. He flies home tomorrow. He said that Jason looks really good. Jason had lost 20lbs and had been working out, eating healthier… I don’t think Steve had time to see the boys this trip, though. We bought our tickets to AZ for our January trip to see everyone. We will go the day after my second round of chemo has finished infusing. We will be there about a week. Rob, Angela, and Aurora will be coming. We are trying to coordinate Eric and Kate to fly out at that time too, but they don’t have a whole week to visit as their work/study time won’t allow that. We are hoping to stay in the same resort and have family time together with Jason, grandkids and Krissy. Rob and Ange will also spend time with Rob’s mom and his father. Not sure if we will be able to visit extended family (Aunt Suzy, Uncle Dwayne, Suzy {Steve’s cousin} and others).

    Not sure how much I told you about my treatment schedule. Sorry if I repeat myself. Monday I go in to Intervention radiology at Georgetown to have my mediport placement. Young Park was able to coordinate getting my blood work done during that visit. So Tuesday I will come in and have a brief visit with Dr. Liu (he will have seen the bloodwork results) and then I go to the outpatient infusion center where I will have the first course of chemo started. I will be there most of the day so they can monitor me since I have never had chemo before. Shortly before 5PM the infusion homecare nurse will visit me and make sure I am set up to continue the infusion over the following 4 days at home via a small portable pump. All of the courses of chemo will have a drug that will be a low dose 24 hour continuous infusion over a 4-5 day period. A homecare nurse will visit at the end of each course to disconnect me from the pump and flush the mediport. Adjustments will be made to how many courses, the rate of chemo infusion, as well as the other medications I will be taking in addition to the chemo depending on how I react to the chemo. I have 3 days of Decadron (Dexamethasone), 10 days of Cipro (antibiotic) and PRN anti-nausea medications that I will be taking. I will still be on pain medications as well, but those will probably be adjusted downward as the chemo is given. The Decadron may also help with decreasing pain as well. The first chemo course is Cisplatin, Docetaxel, and Fluorouracil (systemic) 5FU. The Fluorouracil will be the drug given low dose 24 hour infusion for 5 days via pump.

    I did have more energy today. Aurora is such a happy, good little baby. She close to rolling over now. She loves to experiment with her voice. She ‘talks’ and ‘sings’. She is very active! When she is on her activity play mat, she turns and scoots herself around on her back almost a full 360 degrees while she plays. She loves looking at you and having you look at her. She also ‘studies’ her toys intensely. She likes mirrors and very soft blankets. She chews on fingers. She chews her fingers mostly, but doesn’t mind grabbing your finger and chewing on it as well! Yes, she is teething! She is doing better at taking a bottle in-between Angela breastfeeding her. Her colic is gone. She has been over that for at least a month now. Her eyes were more blue today, and her hair is starting to fill in but is still light and fuzzy. She doesn’t mind the headbands that Angela puts on her. They stay on until we take them off. She is so active that her socks and shoes are more likely to come off. She starting to play with her feet more now too. She is learning how to get the music to play on her activity mat. Tummy time is still her least favorite exercise, but she managed to stay on her tummy for about 3 minutes today. I have never seen her tolerate more than 30-40 seconds before today! She gives such intense, adoring looks at Angela. She will stare at Angela intently as Angela talks, patiently waiting for Angela to glance at her, then she will break into the most beautiful charming smiles and giggles! It is a joy to watch them. Angela said that she and Aurora had a long ‘giggle’ session during a diaper change yesterday. Angela said she would start laughing and giggling at Aurora, then when she stop, Aurora would start giggling for a spell, then Angela, then Aurora. Angela said that Aurora actually ended up with long belly laughs until she ran out of breath! It was a lot of fun for them.

    Well, I will head to bed now!

    Love you very much! Diane


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