Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our January News and Prayer Update

Two years ago this month, our sweet granddaughter, Crystal (to the right in the photo above), started out on a difficult journey as she heard the hard news that she has a rare genetic kidney disease. Since that time, the doctors have been keeping tabs on her kidney function, which has been steadily declining. And now, in January 2015, her kidneys have dropped to 18% function, which is the level she has needed to be at in order for a transplant to take place.

Many of you have followed along with this journey, and have been praying for Crystal, her parents, and her siblings. Preparations are now being made for transplant. Doctors are hoping that all will be in place for transplant sometime during the last half of February.

As grandparents of Crystal, we, of course, are filled with many emotions as the day approaches. And our emotions and prayers have doubled as we anticipate that our oldest daughter, Amy (to the left in photo above), will be the kidney donor for Crystal. Amy has generously and selflessly offered to give one of her kidneys to Crystal, her niece. The first round of testing a few months ago revealed that Amy will be a great match for Crystal. We are so very thankful, as many of you remember the big disappointment when both Cristy and Mark (Crystal's parents) found out that they could not donate after all. 

Amy will be flying to Dallas today for the final round of testing Wed through Fri that will hopefully confirm that she is a perfect match. We anticipate that she will be confirmed as the donor for Crystal; yet, we trust in God who knows best. Please pray for our dear Amy, that God would surround her with His care and peace, and that she will be blessed by her generosity.

Crystal has had to cut back to half days of school in recent weeks, as she continues to lose strength due to kidney failure. She is so ready for transplant, as she has not felt well throughout this whole two year journey. It will also be a long journey to recovery from transplant surgery, but she is very much looking forward to having a new, functioning kidney.

We have also been on another difficult journey together with Cherry's 93 year-old father, Johnny Siebert. He was placed in Skyline's Health Center in mid-October due to some health issues. It has been a hard time for him, and we have been very involved in his care. (He is pictured in the photo above - opening a gift at Christmastime, his only day out of the Health Center during the past three months, except for doctor visits.)

Dad has wanted to go back to his independent living apartment at Skyline, but this has not been possible because of his needs for continual care.

We were told several months ago that the Assisted Living apartments at Skyline were not an option for him, as they do not cover care for incontinence needs. It seemed that he would need to stay at the Health Center long-term. However, we received some wonderful news this past week. The head of Assisted Living is going to make an exception, and is going out of her way to make it possible for Dad to live there. We are praising God! We are so blessed by their willingness to do this, and are thankful for the favor that has been granted to us. They tell us that they have seen what a supportive family our father has, and they want to make this possible for us. Thank you for praying, and for God's grace and mercy in making this possible!

We also are so grateful for all the help we have received long-distance from Cherry's three brothers, and sisters (in-law) - we have had many, many conference calls as we have walked through these difficult months together. Their advice and support have been such a huge help to us.

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We would greatly appreciate your prayers in the coming weeks/months as we serve our family, in addition to leading our Cru volunteers and students. This is a very busy season of life for us - empty nest, but very full life!

Please pray for Amy, as she flies to Dallas today for the completion of her donor testing Wednesday through Friday this week. Pray for strength for Amy, and for God to direct if her kidney is to be the donor kidney.

Please pray for our father's move later this week. Lee & Cheryl, Cherry's brother & his wife from Oregon, will be flying here tomorrow to help with the move. We will be closing down Dad's independent living apt. and moving his things to an Assisted Living apt., and then moving Dad from the Health Center to this new apt. We are so grateful for Lee & Cheryl's help with this, and that they will be here for a week to care for the details of Dad's care as he settles into a new place.

Please pray for our time in Florida Feb. 1-9 for our annual Cru Leadership Conference and also a few days of vacation on the coast. Please pray for a time of refreshment for us - we are actually quite worn out from the past weeks/months.

Please pray for peace and endurance for Crystal as she waits for transplant, and for all the preparations for transplant. If all goes as planned, and Amy is confirmed as the donor, transplant will likely take place during the third or fourth weeks of Feb. 

Please pray for us as we travel to Dallas (probably within a week after we return from our FL conference) to be a support and help to our family at the time of transplant. We will likely be there for a number of weeks, giving care through the transplant and recovery time.

Please pray for our very capable staff and volunteer team as they carry on with our Cru campuses in our absence.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Project Life: More January Memories

I've been trying out a slightly different approach to digital scrapbooking as I start out in this new year 2015. Preserving memories is important to me, but I am always looking for new ideas, and faster and easier ways to scrapbook. So far, I am enjoying using the Project Life 52 Weeks format. 

Here are the two pages I created for Week 4 of 2015 ...

So thankful for family and friends ... and for memories made.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project Life: A New Year of Digital Scrapbooking

Starting out another year of preserving memories with digital scrapbooking ... a fun hobby for me. And a way to preserve the stories that God writes into our lives.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dad Siebert's Act of Kindness

Dad Siebert has had a very difficult time accepting that he needs to be at Skyline's Health Center for some health issues during these past three months (and now, even longer). It was a pleasant surprise to us that he brought up the idea to give each of the residents a little gift of a tangerine at Christmastime. We purchased three boxes of tangerines for him, and it was a joy for us to help him with his little project. 

We made the rounds with him in the Health Center dining room over his Sunday lunchtime on Dec. 28th. Each gift of a tangerine brought a smile to the person who received it. Such a simple, but wonderful way for my father to reach out beyond his own limitations and frustrations, and show love to those around him.

Would you please join us as a family and pray for Cherry's 93 year-old father? Some of his physical concerns and limitations are requiring him to continue staying there at the Health Center longer than he wished for. We recently tried to arrange things so that he could return to his independent living apartment (at the same facility as the Health Center) with Home Healthcare coming into his apartment. He was very disappointed to find out that he did not qualify for their care, as his needs are too great and the risks would be too big for him to move back to his apartment. 

He is still hopeful (and insistent at times) that he will be able to return at a later time. The future is unknown at this time. Please pray mostly for his perspective, that he will be able to surrender his wishes, and that he would be able to see that the Health Center may be the place where God would have him live out the rest of his days. And that he would see his days as opportunities to live with purpose, loving and serving those around him, even in the midst of his own frustrations with his aging process. Please pray for peace, and surrender to whatever God has for him.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas Memories

Time goes by, and two weeks have passed since 24 family members filled our home for our Family Christmas on Friday, Dec. 26th. And it wasn't just any ordinary Christmas - it was a very memorable Christmas as our whole family was home! Traveling from San Francisco, New York City, and Dallas to join those who live nearby. We were so very blessed to have our six children, our four sons-in-law, and our ten grandkids home!! Plus, we were also very blessed to have Cherry's 93 year-old father with us, as well as Gary's brother. 

A very special gift from God to have our whole family home - an unexpected gift. We prepared for our time together for weeks, and then it happened. And it was wonderful. So grateful for photos which capture the memories and help us hold them for the weeks to come ...

Note: all digital scrapbook supplies are from Digital Scrapper.