Friday, June 29, 2007

Today's journal

I called Aunty last night and spoke with her for awhile. She sounded much better than during my last call -- more like her old self. We talked of the usual things: politics (new PM), and weather.

She says she's going to be in her new home "for quite awhile" so that may mean forever. I need to go over and see her.

I explained the trouble I'd had in getting through to her lately and she said that hers is the only room without a phone so they had to bring the office one to her in the hallway (or something just as ridiculous).

She also said she'd just finished her last box of biscuits so was glad when I said I'd mailed off another one a few days ago -- perfect timing!

Once Edith is home and out of her troubles I need to think about making a trip across the Channel to see her and make sure she's alright.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

End of the month

I haven't recorded a lot lately. I've been keeping Grandma's children more or less up to date (though I owe them one today) on her condition.

Tomorrow is the day for the coloscopy so her diet was changed yesterday and today she has to start drinking her quota of four litres of this special liquid that will help elimination in preparation for tomorrow.

I really wish she didn't have to go through with it, but once you put yourself (or your loved ones) in their hands, there's really no way to take it back.

You have to trust them and the Lord God through them that His highest will is being done and all is for the best.

I'm taking Nat over this morning. She wants to spend the day with Edith in order to calm her and get her in a good mood for tomorrow, if possible. She'll also need to be there to get her to drink her purge.

Then she plans to spend the night and accompany her through the intervention to help keep her calm. Tomorrow afternoon Edith is due to be transferred to Château du Loir so Nat plans to go back with her in the ambulance.

Where are they from?

Today I notice that 53 people from around the world have looked at this blog and I find that absolutely amazing.

Where are you people coming from? And why? I can only think the visitors must get here by sheer chance by hitting "Next Blog" at the top of the page.

But I still think it amazing. There's something I don't know about, I reckon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rebecca is "bac"

Our old joke came up again as Rebecca finally finished her school year with the first leg of her baccalaureate finished -- we'll know the results this summer but I think she did very well.

This time next year she'll graduate, finishing her schooling and turning sixteen at the same time -- a good two years ahead of most people, which will give her more time to get on with learning something useful.

We thank the Lord for her dedication to what she does. I got free tickets for two to a "Young Artists" concert in Le Mans this evening so I took her out to celebrate.

True to her style, Becky went backstage during half-time to meet the cellist and the flutist, whom she thought so wonderful and got their names and addresses.

She's someone who makes friends instantly! We got out around ten thirty and made plans for her summer on the trip home -- her first time seeing a full concert orchestra and she loved it!

Chasing buffalos for Thanksgiving

We had prepared our Thanksgiving Day meal well. Jonathan put wood in the oven early, I put a box of rosé wine in the fridge and bought 10 pizzas for us to share.

Raph and Jonathan got warmed up with some of our favourite psalms and then I gave a little talk about our tradition and the little story behind it all. It was the first time Michel had been here for Thanksgiving.

Then I started to read a great little article by Tozer paragraph by paragraph while Raph read the French version. We'd only got one paragraph into the text when the phone rang; it was Gérard saying that the buffaloes had escaped from his field and were in the neighbour's colza fields about two kilometres away.

The rest of the evening was spent by the men chasing through the fields trying to get them back. When they weren't back by eleven and it was now pretty dark I decided to go out to see what was up.

I drove along for an hour behind them, my headlights lighting the way for them and the animals and amazingly, they managed to round them all up and get them back but it was well past midnight before we got home again.

As I've told Raph several times: either we need more people (what we always say) or we need less jobs. Both the animals and the gardening are very time-consuming for boys that are already holding down a full-time job.

Monday, June 25, 2007

So much to say and so little time

I wrote to Mike P last week -- it's been three months since the last time -- in hopes that he might have heard something. I do wonder sometimes why I am chasing M&R but it just seems the right thing to do.

We celebrate our Thanksgiving Day meal tonight. Help me, Lord, to make it meaningful to us all -- eight years!

Then there's that cryptic paper I got last week from Indiana. (That's what initially made me think of Mike.) No one here can make out what the message is supposed to be, because no one can guess who sent it. I think if we knew where it came from it might be easier to see the message that was being sent.

I need to report on Grandma today, too. Nat and I went up there early this morning and poor Nat got smeared with jam -- she was in a foul mood today but not when we left her.

I spoke at some length to Dr Eugène and Dr Morin (who did the fibroscopy and who is setting up for the coloscopy as well) and there's all that to tell you about. For now, an intervention has been planned for Friday but Nat will need to go on Thursday and stay overnight, I reckon.

I wrote two lengthly letters to Christine T this afternoon. She seems like a very dear girl and very eloquent, but carrying an enormous amount of emotional baggage that she can't seem to jettison. Hope my words help.

I am going to try to remember to call Aunty tonight as I forgot yesterday, bother.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I have a thirty-year old girl

Who is the dearest, most loyal, most loving, and most self-sacrificial person that I know of.

And I say that, living in Christian community with nearly twenty others who are very loyal, loving and self-sacrificial.

Like the Apostle Paul said, we don't even know how to pray ... and I don't. She has given me her life and before God, I am responsible for what decisions I make.

But I earnestly pray that the Lord Jesus would grant her the desires of her heart, all her needs supplied, and a hundred times everything she has left behind to follow Him -- as He said He would.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Midsummer news

Nat and Lilly and Michel went out witnessing in Le Mans Thursday night to take advantage of the annual midsummer fête de la musique and got back around 11 having had a good time.

Friday. Still very unstable weather and not a bit like summer. Warm, but rainy every couple of hours, sometimes with lightning. At times like that there's a cool wind that reminds me more of March than June.

Saturday. Went out to the hospital to find out that all was well with Grandma. She was due to have an IV medication in the afternoon to help bring her count up. A test of this morning showed her up to 10.4 after the transfusion of the other day.

Wrote all the family for information to help me organize the consultations of next week. Not very much news forthcoming -- I guess we know all the essentials.

The idea is to go down to the hotel for breakfast tomorrow morning. Lilly and Michel plan to leave at six to hit a flea market in Lavernat and join us all later on at eight.

We're almost finished our proof-reading of the RVNT so Raph wants to do a bit more work on the new web site that we desperately need. It's almost ready to go.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aunty is weaker

Just got off the phone with Aunty who has been moved yesterday to a "retired nurses home" in Bournemouth.

She sounded a bit breathless and weak; not really a reassuring call for me. She says she is there for her to decide if that is the kind of place she wants to live in or whether she thinks she could make it at home. Then she said she's going tomorrow to Poole to see about having the plaster off her arm.

She said, It's a pity; everything was going so well. But I really don't know -- nor did I ask -- what time period she had in mind. Her present distresses have been going on for long enough, I would say, and certainly over six months.

She said it was a big place and that I'd "be impressed" though what she really meant, I don't know. Then she said something about it being like "Oliver." When I asked her to explain she said, You know, the little boy who asked for the soup. I said, Oliver Twist? She said, Yes, that's it.

I told her that if she needed anything or wanted me to come over and help her, she only had to say the word. She said to do nothing "for the moment" which was a good idea since I do little more than sleep in this house at the moment and really couldn't handle a trip to England tomorrow. Unless I had to. :-)

Between her and Edith we have our hands full.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Aunty has moved again

This is just a little note to family and friends and myself six months from now when I'm trying to remember the sequence of events.

The last time I called Aunty the phone rang without answer. Tonight when I got home Lilly said someone had called and left a new number for her: she's no longer in Broadwaters but has been transferred -- like she told me Sunday she would be -- to some other more appropriate home.

I called about 8 this evening but it was too late; she was just getting in bed. I arranged with the nurse there to call tomorrow at 6:30 -- that's 7:30 my time, of course -- to talk to her. I told her it was her nephew from France and she said she'd pass on the information to her.

She also said she was doing well, so we'll see about that tomorrow.

Mixed metaphors that don't make sense

I've been thoughtfully melancholy a lot lately and don't really know how to express myself well.

I read a lot, I visit a lot of Christian web sites, I have participated in far too many forums and discussion groups. Every single day I receive half a dozen email letters from all over the French-speaking world -- one-off contacts from our web sites that ask for help, encourage our work, or want advice.

What I mean to say by this is that I don't live a cloistered existence, in relation to what other believers around the world are thinking and living.

And the whole thing doesn't inspire me much. My faith is a part of me; sometimes I think it's gone beyond the stage of faith to where it is just something I know.

So what I'm saying here is not going to cast the slightest shadow upon what I know. But it will and does, seem to take away my joy and vision. Not sure what the answer is.

I read this morning, on somebody's blog, the sentence, "The body of Christ in the western world is sick, but not dead" and the irony of the real meaning of the words mixed up with all our church-talk just staggered me. I read the sentence over several times.

How can the body of Christ be sick? What do we mean when we try to reassure each other that the body of Christ is not dead? Who is it that claims that the body of Christ is dead?

Lord God help us all.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gérard is coming to see me

I'm expecting Gérard to be here in fifteen minutes so this must be quick.

Nat and I drove out to the hospital (76 km from here, says my GPS) and were back by noon. At first I was going to just go by myself but we were glad Nat was there because when she arrived the nurses were gathered around her bed trying to persuade her to have a shower.

In no time Nat had "talked her into it" and things were back to normal. We didn't stay long after that since yesterday (Sunday) was pretty much a dead day for news. All the samples the doctor had wanted have now been obtained and we're all just waiting for the verdict which should be in tomorrow.

On Saturday Dr Eugène had said Grandma might be out by the middle of this week -- let's hope so!

In any case, she was glad to see me, and said so. She's looking well and says she needs nothing. She was all fresh from her shower and wearing her soft fuzzy pajamas that she likes.

Nat and I were back by twelve-thirty for a delicious lunch made by Sarah. I read a little to everyone from the new book we got called "Hints on Child Training" which everyone thought was very good!

Back in my office and waiting for my appointment. He didn't even say what he wanted to see me about when he called for the appointment last week.

A few changes

Hope you don't mind. I'm trying to keep this stable but have switched a few things around and made a few changes (like turning off comments) which I think make the site a little more readable.

Looks like Monday is going to be a nice bright day today. I'm off to see how Edith is doing and bring her a little pastry she likes. More later...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A father's day call

Sarah just passed me the phone: it was Ammi, calling to wish me a happy Father's Day! I hadn't realized, though it seems to me I saw a sign up in town to that effect last week so maybe this is one of those coordinated holidays that apply in America as well as Europe.

Anyway, we had a little chat which was very nice and loving. It always seems so natural when she calls. Just this morning I'd been sorting pictures and ran across a set from April of this year at the time Ammi and Isaac and girls were here. We had such a good time and got on so well together!

I've been thinking lately: if people are going to start reading this blog, I'm going to have to try to be a little more informative and interesting.

I am also wondering if I really need the idea of comments... no one has used it yet and I can't see what anyone could say that they wouldn't want to send me in an email. I'll see...

A quiet Sunday

What funny weather lately. Yesterday it alternately rained the vertical river or else was so hot you quickly shed your jacket, and it did this every hour all day.

Today it seems to have decided to rain rainy; not cold, mind, just wet.

We've all been quietly busy around the house today. Our priority (as Hans reminded me a few weeks ago) has got to be a web presence for our community. So when it gets finished I'll be sure to tell you about it here.

After getting home with Sarah after our traditional Sunday run to the bakery I was loosely planning to go see Grandma, but in the end, after discussing it with her and Nat, we decided to wait till tomorrow confident in the level of care she's getting.

I'll go out in the morning and bring her the pain au chocolate I bought for her this morning; she loves them! Yesterday while I was out there I bought her a chocolate bar knowing that chocolate is a mood-enhancing food and thinking a little treat might lift her spirits and make her happy.

Anyway, it was good to be all together again -- the children had a wonderful day at the beach. God bless Raph and Camille for taking the time for them; it was very thoughtful of them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Just look at them beans!

Jonathan picked a bucket of broad beans this evening and we decided to have them for supper. Sarah fried up some lardons while the rest of us shelled the beans.

They sure looked good!

But not as good as they tasted!

Bon appetit!

A quiet day around here

Raph and Camille left very early this morning with all the children from Becky to Susanne in age -- seven in all. They had to go out to the Vendée to pick up a wide bed they bought through eBay so they decided to bring the kids and make a day of it since they'll just be ten minutes from the Atlantic beach.

I left shortly afterwards for the hospital but was back by noon and picked up Nat (who'd been manning the bookshop) in town at 12:30. That only left six of us at the noon table: Sarah (the cook), Michel, Lilly, Jonathan, Nathalie, and I -- a strange sensation.

Besides a mushroom soup Sarah had made us, we had the little chicken pies that Camille had prepared for us yesterday, a big bowl of salad, and some of Jonathan's home-made bread.

Jonathan puttered around weeding the garden, Nat has gone to the pharmacy to see if she can get some advice on her back which has been particularly painful the past day or two. She'd rather not have a crisis over it tomorrow, Sunday.

And I've been writing and organizing this written record of our life and thinking deep thoughts.

Edith's tenth day in hospital

Went out to see Edith this morning but I found her seeming tired and distant, not making much sense.

When I knocked and went in she said, Oh, I'm glad to see you! She was still laying down and the blinds were part-way down but she was fully dressed.

I asked her if she was feeling all right (yes), if she needed anything (no), or if I could get her anything (no). Everything she said seemed to indicate she was alright but I had a bit of trouble getting a conversation off the ground -- everything was monosyllables.

After awhile I asked her if she were tired and she said she thought she was so I said I'd leave her to rest and that I'd be back later. I had already told her that she'd probably be able to go home soon but it didn't seem to register anything with her.

After making small talk like this for a quarter of an hour I went out and let her rest and went to see the doctor to get his take on the tests of yesterday.

He confirmed what we'd already guessed: they didn't find anything worrying in either of the tests they took yesterday. Benign was the word he used: good news, as far as it goes.

He said that he wants to see the culture samples (gastric and bronchial) that they took yesterday and expects to have them by Monday or Tuesday of next week. My heart sank when he said this as I was entertaining a secret hope of her coming back to the house with me.

He ended by saying that he'd do another blood test at this time and if all was well he would probably discharge her "by the middle of next week." Doctors are so off-hand about these things! :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007


Having now posted hundreds of times I am starting to explore this program a little bit better. The past couple of days I've been noticing the "labels" area at the end of each post. Up till now I've always ignored it.

Today I started to fill in a few words, and test them. Tomorrow and this weekend I'm going to go back and add key words to every post.

All you have to do in the future is just click on one of these key words and you'll get a long page of all the posts that have been indexed with that word.

What will they think of next! :-)

Back home again

Well Grandma was a real trooper and passed her tests with flying colors. I'm always surprised at how well she stands these kind of things which would be unpleasant in the extreme to anyone.

Nat gave her a shower this morning and spent a few hours reading to her and that was such a big help. She was laughing and joking around at every little thing so we were sure the tests would go well.

At noon, after a nice shower and fresh clothes, Edith was getting sleepy so, since she was not allowed to eat at noon anyway, we dimmed the room and laid her down for a nap. Then we stepped out to get a salad locally and were back just after one o'clock.

Nat sat and read to her and greeted her when she awoke to be sure she stayed in a good mood. They came to get her and Nat around three o'clock and they went down to the second floor for the bronchial fibroscope test which she did very well. They gave her a gel to chew on which anesthetized her throat area to lessen the normal reaction one would have from this sort of thing.

That only last about 15 minutes and then it was followed by the gastric test which lasted just under half an hour. Dr Eugène conducted the first one and came back to check out the final results of the second one. By the way, I forgot to mention that the blood test they did yesterday showed a stable count, so all system's were now go; the idea being to really get to the bottom of all this.

As usual they told us nothing today but I'm expecting a full report tomorrow. Judging by what we saw and heard and their reactions to it all, we think it was rather good news. But tomorrow we will know for sure, along with what their plans are for her. I think that if things are not looking bad we may be able to spring her soon -- maybe even tomorrow. Sure hope so!

Friday at the hospital again

It's eleven thirty and I'm sitting in the hospital parking lot with my laptop writing this update while Nathalie sees to Grandma inside up on the fourth floor.

We got here at ten this morning and she was still sleeping although the nurses said she'd taken her breakfast. There is a sign on her door this morning saying she is to skip her noon meal, which she doesn't know about yet, but is to be expected since she'll be having the fibroscopie tests (one bronchial and the other gastric) this afternoon.

One nice touch was that the day before yesterday the doctor said they could relax a little and take the wearing of masks sign off her door since she was obviously not contagious. This makes things a bit easier and more comfortable for us and makes us a little more recognizable to her.

Nat has just come down to get me, so let's go see what the doctor has to say.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A song on my mind

Last post of the day.

You know how it is when you have a melody that's going through your head but you can't think of the words? That's what happened this morning. I tried and tried but could only get snippets of words here and there. I called Becky in to help and then Jonathan but alas, they couldn't help me.

Then I got a songbook (A Toi la Gloire) and thumbed through page by page until I found it (number 210) and it's called Je m'approche de toi.

Je m'approche de toi, je m'approche de toi,
Source de vie, Source de vie,
Mon Sauveur, bénis-moi!

When I went and sang it to the older kids as they were eating Michel said it sounds like a lullaby, but actually it's a prayer. In fact, it's my prayer.

The next verses are,

Fais silence en mon coeur, fais silence en mon coeur,
Viens et me parle, viens et me parle,
O mon divin Sauveur !

Rends-moi conforme à toi, rends-moi conforme à toi,
Divin modèle, divin modèle,
Met ton image en moi !

Rends-moi bouillant, Seineur ! Rends-moi bouillant, Seigneur !
Pour ton service, pour ton service,
Que je parte en vainqueur !

And it is all bound up in memories of Fabien who first taught it to us on his old guitar years ago. We haven't seen him for ages and I'd like to; he's always welcome. I wonder how he and Maryline are doing and whether they have any children by this time...

They are good people, simple in the nicest sense of the word. Did I ever tell you we were invited to their wedding? It was several years ago in the Vendée and we bumped in Christian in the parking lot ... but that's another story that will have to wait for another day. Bon soirée !

Aunty called unexpectedly tonight

Just around half past seven Aunty called and asked me to phone back. I was quite surprised and a little alarmed, as this is an unusual gesture.

She wanted me to know that they're trying to find another place for her to move since she's not advancing fast enough for Broadwaters. She said that, in fact, they had found a place today but there were no beds. I bit my tongue instead of having a bit of fun and saying the obvious, But you'd need a bed! -- She meant of course that there was no room.

She said it may be as early as this weekend. I told her I'd call her this time tomorrow night, if I hadn't heard from her. In any case I reminded her to tell the people who move her to call me as soon as she goes; she said that was understood.

I don't think she'll ever go back to living alone in her house and I think she is starting to realize that, too. She is at the point where she needs almost constant help, cleaning, cooking, and company.

Too bad she doesn't have any family close by she could turn to at a time like this.

Camille and Susanne

Grandma takes a break

... from me. :) For the first day since her hospitalization, I didn't go out to see Edith today. One reason is that I'm getting seriously behind in my work. The other, is that today is the "24 heures du Mans" car race which spills over and makes driving anywhere on business difficult and time-consuming.

Since Nat and I have to go in tomorrow for her tests, I figured I'd miss today and go in tomorrow morning, staying there pretty much all day -- the gastric fibroscopie is scheduled for three in the afternoon, I believe.

To Nepal with love

We got a newsletter from Evangeline last week and she was requesting financial help in a special way. I talked to Serge on the phone because he got it too and didn't fully grasp the urgency of the situation.

I read her letter again and the Lord touched us to give some help. Serge also wants to help but doesn't know how. I told him to send me a check and we'd put it with ours and send it together.

I went to the bank yesterday and made a bank-to-bank transfer (that should have been almost immediate) of a thousand Euros -- half of it from Serge and half from the rest of us.

I wrote Eva to ask for more details of what they are doing there. It's occurred to me before now that we could be much more help than we are simply because we have no idea of their work there nor of their needs.

Last week I also sent off our first monthly donation of $300 for Emmanuel Orphanage in Myanmar for which, apparently, we are sole sponsors at this time. There'll be more news and pictures on this once I have them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Edith's progress

... or lack of it. Things are going slowly. I just got back this afternoon with Nat after spending the morning at the hospital. The idea was for Nat to help coax Grandma into getting a new x-ray. They got it but it wasn't easy -- she was in a bit of a sour and sarcastic mood today.

Later on I saw the doctor for an update from him. He said the new x-ray seems a little clearer than the first one but no better. Things haven't progressed as he thought they might have but overall they are still in as much doubt as before.

He has scheduled a fibroscopie of her lungs for Friday and, concerning the anemia, wants to do one of her stomach at the same time; Friday afternoon. He said they'll be done under local anesthetic and shouldn't last more than a ten to fifteen minutes each one. The idea is that with these two specific tests they will know of a certainty what the problem in both cases is, and whether they are related. They've been shooting in the dark for too long and this is starting to get to be a bit of a strain on all concerned.

She's been hospitalized a full week now. I am sure to go every day, just to provide some kind of stability for her -- I hope. Nat won't go with me tomorrow since she really needs some time to catch up on her jobs.

The idea is for Nat and I to go in late morning on Friday and for Nat to try to spend some time with her getting her in a good mood for the tests later on.

In the meantime, the doctor said he'd have another blood test done tomorrow so we can see if her transfusion is holding and the levels haven't slipped back. I think that's all the news on that front.

Nat and I stopped for a salad and then drove back home, arriving just at 2:30. It's a good thing Becky is now free to take Nat's place in the office from time to time as she did this morning, answering the phone and fielding questions -- she's getting good, and it's good experience for her.

Proofing the Recovery Version

We are proof-reading the final drafts of the Recovery Version of the New Testament that LSM has just finished. Brother Bill asked us if we'd like to help last month so of course, we volunteered. (When I say "we" I'm talking about Raph, Jonathan, and Camille mostly.)

On Monday I took the first batch of corrections down to the post office to send to Hector in Spain. We're finding almost 2 or 3 issues per page in some books making the whole exercise well worth-while. Bill is quite happy with our help.

Still no word yet from him about the printing of the NBS that was supposed to be done by Christmas 2003. It's just as well because it would be hard to still take his deadlines seriously now. He surely means well but it might have been better to have been more realistic with us from the beginning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A hot Tuesday afternoon

It's just past three in the afternoon and I've just gotten into the office having brought Becky back from Le Mans where she just sat her third bac exam; this time the written French literary examination.

She had four hours to do it and I went and picked her up at noon and found her quite confident that she'd done well. She's a hard worker and she felt prepared and confident.

Meanwhile I spent all morning at the hospital visiting Edith, talking to the nurses and to Dr Eugène, and finalizing the papers for Edith's social security coverage -- which we achieved. The woman at the CPAM desk attributed her a temporary number and said I'd get notification shortly with her definitive one plus her "green card", her carte vitale which means that she now has standard medical coverage from today on.

She said that her resources are just over the limit for the CMU (a free mutual fund to pick up the slack) and that therefore I'd be liable for what is not covered by SS -- normally about 20 - 35% depending on the service.

She also said that Edith will now have to pay her monthly subscription charges to the SS, of course. But this is not likely to be anything but small change and, in any case, the gain is worth it and that's the rules; for one and all the same.

I am very thankful to have finished with this end of the procedure and pleased that we live in such a compassionate country that, for whatever reason, refuses to let misery go unchecked and even comes to the aid of such as we.

I stopped at Mulsanne with Becky for lunch as a special treat for her. Driving back we pulled over to the side and rested for twenty minutes because the car was so hot and we were both quite drowsy after the meal.

I am going to write the Finn family collectively and not bother posting all the details about Grandma here -- it'll make it more practical for them to respond. Suffice to say that all is well with her, nothing decisive has been discovered, more tests are planned for tomorrow, and today makes one week since this whole escapade started. It's getting nearly time she was back home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Edith on Monday

No news is good news, they say. Nat and I went to visit Edith this morning and while she was glad to see us she nevertheless seemed in a little bit of a grumpy mood. So we stayed awhile and talked and Nat did her hair and helped her into some fresh clothes and when we left she was feeling much better.

The nurse said she hadn't wanted to eat her breakfast this morning and this surprised us quite a bit because it's quite unlike her. So since we wouldn't be there at noon when lunch was served we asked them, that in case she didn't want to eat again, to not remove the tray but leave it in her room. In that case we were going to prevail on her to eat.

As it happened, when we got back at about one thirty the tray was gone and the nurse said she eaten it all. We asked Edith about her meal and she said it was chicken and that she'd enjoyed it!

They told us she was lined up for a new x-ray this afternoon but they didn't know when the lab would want it, otherwise we might have wanted to stay to help out. As it was, we had to go and pick up Becky from the high-school where she was sitting her final secondary-education exams (called the "bac" here) in mathematics and science.

She came away saying it was a good thing she hadn't known how easy it was going to be or she might have been tempted not to have studied so hard! Good for her.

The latest entry in our Guest Book

Dear family, my family.

Thank you for all your loving kindness to me and for loving me. I love you all and hope that Father will return me some day. I will write by email.

You are in my prayers to Father and Yahushua.



Plans for Monday

Monday morning and I'm in the office trying to catch up on a few pressing emails. Got a few from the Finn family which was nice to hear.

The idea today is to take John to the station for his train to Dieppe at 10 and then heading to the hospital to see Grandma and then going on to Allonnes with Becky for the first of her final baccalaureate exams -- today she has Science at 2 pm and then Mathematics at 4:30, each allowed an hour and a half.

And today is her 15th birthday! God bless her; she's several years ahead of her peers, I reckon -- most children she'll be sitting the exam with will be 17 or 18. It's nice to get your education out of the way soon!

Well, that's the plans: we'll see how the day turns out.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The legislative elections 2007

Edith on Sunday

After the piano exam was over we headed up toward the hospital and got there about half past eleven -- just before lunch was served. I parked in the visitor's parking lot this time since I thought available parking would be at a premium on Sunday -- as it turned out the opposite was true, but never mind; we needed the walk.

Sarah had cut some lovely flowers from the garden and brought the bouquet to give Edith to brighten up her room. While she and Becky were struggling with their masks I went on in and told Edith I'd brought her some visitors. She was laying on the bed fully dressed with her shoes on and her arms under her head looking very relaxed! When Sarah and Becky came in she seemed a little surprised to see them and it soon become obvious that she didn't recognize either of them at all.

Nevertheless we made some small talk and commented on the flowers and the coming lunch which we could smell and so on. I asked her what kind of a night she had and how she felt now. She said she was great and that her night had gone well. (I confirmed this afterward with the nurse.)

After about half an hour or so she suddenly laid down and began speaking to me in a strange tone of voice. I sensed that she was very ill at ease with the girls there, for some reason. I held her hand and she held me tightly. After a bit I asked if she were tired or wanted to rest and she said yes.

Since the doctor won't visit the ward today everything is in neutral. I just wanted to make sure she was happy and not stressed or anxious. So I lowered the window blind and we left, telling her we'd be back in a bit. I told her to enjoy her meal and left.

Piano exam

Got up this morning with a busy day before me since Becky had her second-cycle piano exam this morning. She had to be at Ecommoy (half way to Le Mans) by half past nine so we left at eight in order to give her plenty of time to warm up and get to know the piano, which (turned out to be a lovely baby grand).

Six candidates, two failed, two passed, two passed with honors -- of boy named Paul and our Rebecca. We were so proud of her; she did so well! After the panel of judges gave their verdict, they spent a few minutes with each one giving suggestions and reasons and appreciations of their playing. Becky was last and when it came to her the presiding judge just said, What can I say? Thank you for giving us that wonderful Nocturne.

(Each candidate had to play an compulsory piece and a piece of their own choosing. The imposition was a lovely thing by called Kleine Suite by Bach -- very sprightly and rather difficult. Becky's chosen piece was Nocturne Inedit by her beloved romanticist Chopin. After all was over I asked her to stand by the piano with Ryoko, her teacher. Here they are.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Edith is doing well

Just a short note to record how I found Edith this morning. I wanted to see how she was doing and in particular, how she'd passed the night. Nat thought she ought to stay to try to catch up on some things and spend some time with the little ones so I went out by myself.

I got to the hospital by nine, not wanting to miss the doctor as he did his rounds. Edith was sitting up in bed finishing off her breakfast and was real glad to see me so I put on a mask and went and sat beside her while she finished. She talked about things she could see outside the window and I tried to find out how she was doing. She said she'd had a good night and that she felt fine.

After about half an hour I went out to see the nurses. They told me there'd been no problem during the night although this morning before dawn they'd caught her trying to leave the room. The nurse said she made her understand it was still night and she'd have to stay put for the moment. They told me she'd had two bags of blood yesterday and they'd taken a blood test already this morning to see if her count was up.

I went back to see Edith and we chatted for awhile. Then she asked me to take her tray so I put her bed down and lowered the electric blinds so she could take a nap. I found out that the duty doctor this morning was Dr Eugène (yesterday had been Dr Minaud) and the nurse said she'd tell him I wanted to see him when he came by so I went out to the day room to read until he came by on his rounds.

Doctor Eugène turned out to be another fine man who impressed me with his competence. Each doctor starts from scratch to see if his own conclusions are the same as his colleague.

He started by examining the original x-ray and then working through the dossier and the notes and prescriptions that had gone before. He, too, was concerned about the anemia and puzzled as what was causing it. He questioned me about her past health and family history; I said she'd always enjoyed good health and there was no history of TB as far as I knew.

He said that so far all the TB tests had come back negative and said he wanted to do another x-ray on Monday: he couldn't understand what the marks on her lungs could be so her ordered another to be done. He then went in to examine her visually and see how she was. She was in a pesky mood like she sometimes gets and after he listened to her heart she stuck her tongue out at him and laughed.

Just then the results came back from that morning's test and showed that her count had gone up to 9.2 from 6 which, of course, was to be expected but good news, nonetheless. What is puzzling him is what is causing such a low reading in the first place.

Since it was now nearly noon I left my card and phone number at the desk and said I was going down for some lunch. I told Edith I'd be back later and left. She said to be sure and not forget to come back.

Saturday is starting

And I'm about to head out to Le Mans. I've just spent an hour in my office checking my email. It was nice to hear a word from all you Finn family members. Glad this blog is finally serving some useful purpose -- I always wondered why I kept it. :)

Liz asked me if Edith was in any pain and that's a good question that I never mentioned before. The answer is, No, not at all. She is having a good time in a lot of ways. Though we noticed yesterday that she did realize she was in a hospital. But she does a lot of laughing and joking around still.

But as far as her "condition" goes -- I mean, the reason she is in hospital in the first place -- she is not suffering or in any pain at all. It is all preventative. The doctors can see something on her lungs that they don't understand and looks like tuberculosis so they have to take it seriously until they find out what's up.

They said it may be scar tissue from a former infection or it may be something that has lain dormant for years and that is now taking root in her due to her defense mechanism being low. They really are not sure for the moment. But she would not even have been admitted, had it not been for her anemia. That is considered the most urgent thing to set right.

I've got to go now. I'll write more later. God bless you all!

Friday, June 08, 2007

John is talking about leaving

Had a chat with John today. He is really confused and unsure of what the Lord wants him to do. He is still talking about Africa and Tennessee and going back to England to get there via Dieppe.

I went down to the SNCF tonight and got him travel plans from Château du Loir to Dieppe (four changes). He asked me how much it would cost and I said, If you want to go, I'll buy it for you. He said thanks but I can see he's not real sure about anything anymore.

He is such a blessing around here but I want him to be sure. He needs to get Africa out of his mind, I think, and start focusing on what God brought him here for. He is a very nice man and while we see alike on almost everything I reminded him that we must never fall into the church trap of making doctrine a condition for fellowship.

God is calling us to bigger things than that. He has much to think and pray about. I told him, with a laugh, that I couldn't really give him much advice because it would be too biased.

June 8, 1922

Just thought I'd mention that today is the 85th anniversary of my mother's birth. She died of cancer in 1997, never living to see the day.

Talking about someone who had lived to a ripe old age, John said the other day, He must have been good to his parents! I know what he means because I've often thought that, too, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it before -- we have a lot in common.

I firmly believe that what Jesus said, still holds true and that honoring one's parents is still the only commandment with promise -- and a promise that everyone earnestly wants: old age.

Another day with Claude Monet

Well, so ends another day in Le Mans with Grandma at the hospital there. Here's the latest news and how we got there.

Nat stayed the night last night in the day room of the ward. I didn't feel right about her staying on a cot in the same room but they were very kind and provided a roll-away bed for her in the common area which was quiet and discreet. We told them if there was the slightest problem with Edith to wake Nat up and she'd be there to help. I got there at 9 and Nat was already with her reading to her and making small talk. She said she had the best night ever and that the whole experience was positive and there'd been no need to call her out at all, so I was thankful for that.

When I went in to see Edith she was overjoyed to see me. (Nat said she'd been asking after me already that morning before I came.) She told me to sit beside her bed and wanted to hold my hand and we sat like that for a good half hour till my arm went to sleep and I had to move. I thought she'd dozed off but Nat, who was sitting opposite her, started laughing and winking at her saying that Grandma had been peeking at her out of one eye! She was in a real good humor all morning.

I brought Nat a croissant and it was funny to see her try to eat it without taking off her mask! She said Grandma had eaten her breakfast well and so we were glad about that. We sat around and read aloud and talked and tried to make plans as to what to do for the day. The first thing we needed was to see the staff doctor when he made his rounds late morning. No one knew exactly when to expect him since his collegue was not coming in for the day and so he had both rounds to do.

While we waiting Nat said she wanted to give Grandma a shower so I went for a walk around while both of them got in the shower. When I came back she'd shampooed Edith's hair, done her toilette, and given her a complete manicure and pedicure -- Grandma looked good and Nat was very pleased with herself for being able to get it done.

While this was going on I went to talk to the staff nurse to see if she had any more information for me. She said she'd gotten the results of yesterday's blood test back and offered to go get them for me. There were several things I noticed right away. The first was that he hemoglobin count was still at only 6. Also that her blood sugar was abnormally high as was her plaquettes (sorry, I don't know the English word). There were a couple of other things that were also outside the permissible range but those are the things that stood out to me. I filed it away in her Kaiser medical file where we keep all her stuff.

The doctor finally came just after noon and he turned out to be a wonderfully friendly and helpful man. I chatted with him quite a bit before he went in to see Edith while he was studying the x-ray and reading her file. He said that there were two conditions involved here: 1) the possibility of tuberculosis, and 2) the anemia. He said that the most urgent thing by far, was the anemia. To put things in perspective he said that the threshold for a coma was a level of 4! He said that any further exploratory maneuvers to try to detect of treat the TB would be most unwise at this stage and that the highest priority was getting her red blood cell count back up. He said that these two things might be related in a cause-and-effect thing, or they might simply be coincidental.

As we went into the room he said (talking about the possibility of her having TB -- he kept stressing that it was just a possibility at this stage) "If that's all it is, it's nothing!" I looked at him to see what he meant since TB had never struck me as being "nothing" and he said again "If that's all it is, it's nothing. That is easily treatable." He repeated that their priority was getting rid of her anemic condition as soon as possible.

He had a great time with Edith, walking over to her (she was in the arm chair with her lunch tray by this time) and shaking her hand and saying "Good morning" in French. I had already told him that she didn't speak French but I guess old habits die hard and politesse won the day. I said, "Grandma, this is the doctor." and he said hello in English this time.

She was eating her starter and she turned to him motioning at her plate and said, "This is good!" at which he laughed and said, Yes! That started her laughing as she continued eating. He said that was often the way with people like her: she must have had a good, happy life and now that was all that was left. He said it was so much harder when you were with people who were ungrateful and bitter and complainers. We agreed and said that this was her normal humor.

After checking her over physically (eyes, throat, neck, legs, feet, etc) he went on out and I followed to see if I could get a better grip on things to come. He said they were going to start a blood transfusion right away and that she'd really need to stay for a couple more days anyway. Knowing a little about how hospitals work, I don't expect there's much hope of seeing Grandma back at home before the end of the weekend.

She was tired by this time so we put her bed down, rolled the blinds mostly down to dim the room and let her sleep. Nat and I went down to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. When we came up I went to the CPAM office on the first floor (Social Security) to work on the papers for her and Nat went back up to be with Edith for the rest of the time.

In half an hour I was back up stairs and Grandma was restful and on the drip so we decided we could do more good at home than here so we left planning to come back first thing tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Edith is hospitalized

I've just gotten back from Le Mans and it's nearly 8 pm -- I left here with Grandma and Nat, just like yesterday, at 8 this morning. Needless to say it's been a long day and I'm whacked.

But before I even see anyone I want to get the main points down here for future reference and also to be able to communicate what is happening to the rest of the Finn family in the States. (I'll try to get a note off as soon as I can with a link to this blog. But even if I don't finish it, you'll have all the details you want to know here.)

Well, we went straight to the pneumatology department on the second floor and Edith had the same test as yesterday -- a sample taken from her stomach via a nasal tube. Not a nice thing to have done, but apparently essential to finding out what is wrong with her.

She was very good this morning, too, and within a half hour it was all over. The blood test they took yesterday, they didn't need to take again today of course. It was that test that showed severe anemia and that made them want to admit her today.

Nat had come prepared with Edith's overnight bag and a few clothes plus her own, just in case. I wasn't too sure about Nat staying the night but figured we'd talk about that later when we'd seen the lay of the land.

The next thing to do was to get Grandma something to eat since she was showing her appetite by this time in the morning -- remember she had to have come in on both days on an empty stomach. Nat and I took her down to the cafeteria and I got her a nice hot quiche Lorraine and a big cup of hot chocolate. She's a very slow eater but we let her take her time and enjoy it.

Next we went back upstairs to get her into her room. The nurse had said yesterday she'd try to get her a single room, and she did. Since she'd just eaten she didn't mind laying down for a spell. I lowered the blinds part way and we covered her up and left her there for a bit. By this time it was almost noon so we checked with the nurse about the noon meal (it was due at 12:30), told them she didn't speak a word of French and was barely conscious of understanding English, and they should just leave the tray and we'd sort things out when we got back.

Since Nat had missed breakfast she was ready for a bite to eat so we left Grandma resting and went out to a place Mum and I have often been to and enjoyed right downtown -- Le Piccadilly, though it has now changed owners and names.

Well, there's nothing to report from the restaurant. We both had a goat's cheese salad and a bottle of Perrier and a flask of red wine and took stock of the coming events of the day. As it happened Nat had her twice-yearly appointment already planned for the same day -- they were expecting her at 2 pm -- so we decided to leave Grandma resting, for Nat to do her own appointment (in the next building) and then come back and we'd check on how she'd gotten on "by herself" for a few hours.

I bought a few things we needed at home and then went back to see Edith. She is in the Claude Monet building, which is decorated all around the inside with prints from his paintings. Her two visits so far had been on the second floor laboratory; her room now is on the fourth -- room 41.19.

When we got to room 19 the first surprise that greeted us was a notice taped on to the door saying that anyone going in must wear a mask -- and sure enough, there were a box of disposable masks waiting for us in the hallway.
When we got in we noticed the electric bed had been raised so she could eat in bed from a lap-tray. She must have been hungry because she cleaned out everything on the tray -- starter salad, bun, cheese, and dessert -- but hadn't taken the shiny top off the main course yet. I lifted it up for her and she seemed surprised to see there was more! It looked like big chunks of stewed pork or veal with couscous semolina on the side -- very generous! I cut up her meat and we fed it to her since she was starting to get a little tired, I reckon, but I wanted her to get the benefit of the meat and it's iron since anemia was her current problem.

We were pleased to see, though, that overall things had gone well in our absence of two hours and that she was in a good humor. She seemed to recognize me when I first came in but didn't say anything.

She's got a lovely room with a nice view and later on we found her just sitting in her chair staring out the window at the people and cars below (she said she'd been counting them). Here's a picture out her window, so you can get a feel of things. I'm running late right now and am quite tired. I think I should just post one more photo of Edith herself sitting on her bed. It's not a particularly good one but she's a hard one to get a smile out of. I tried one more a bit later but it wasn't much better. She always seems to have that scowl. Anyway, she has nothing to scowl about now -- we've just got to get this problem of hers taken care of!

We talked to the nurse about plans for the day to decide what we should do. Nat was all for staying but I couldn't really see her sleeping on a cot in the same room as Edith and keeping her mask on all night. Since they now didn't want to take precautions maybe we shouldn't, either. I talked to the nurse and got her permission to sleep in an armchair in the day room and Nat didn't want to leave Grandma by herself -- at least for this first night.

So that's the end of the day for tonight. I left Nat there in charge (an exceedingly capable girl) and am due back to see them tomorrow morning at nine when the doctor comes around, the tests will be back, and some decisions can be made.

The rest is going to have to wait till tomorrow or this weekend. Tonight, it's off to bed. God bless you all.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The hospital just called

We just got a call from the hospital in Le Mans about an hour ago. Since I was out of the office, Nat took the call and they said that they're alarmed because her red blood cell count is down to only 6 and they want to admit her when we come tomorrow.

They can't understand why it is down to that level and what could be causing it. When Nat described her lack of consciousness syncopes that she's been having lately the nurse said they might well have been a symptom of which this is the cause.

Nat said we didn't see how we could leave her there by herself and the nurse said that they'd try to get her into a single room with a second bed that someone from the family could stay in with her -- Nat has already volunteered, God bless her!

This is getting complicated. I checked the two blood tests she's already had done since she's been here. The first one, after she'd soon arrived, was dated 28 November 2005 and showed her hemoglobin level at 11.6 -- slightly low, but not worrying since the range for women is between 12 and 16.

Then I checked the next one, dated 14 January 2007, but found that they were checking cholesterol and other things at the time but not hemoglobin, so I don't have a second reading to check with to see how long this might have been going on nor how it might have come about.

Anyway, it is a cause for alarm for them and they want her hospitalized starting tomorrow. They even talked about perhaps having to give her a blood transfusion -- it looks like things are getting complicated fast.

At every visit with the hospital staff the subject of Social Security coverage has come up. Right at the outset I said how that the reason we were there in the first place was that we were trying to get her paperwork done for a carte de séjour and that we assumed that SS coverage would follow in a matter of course.

We were told that her condition required immediate attention, no matter who paid for it, but that hospital care was expensive. I told them from the outset that coverage would certainly be nice but that that was a secondary consideration in every way to maintaining her in good health and that if I had to pay for it, I'd pay for it. We've been buying all her medications since she's been here without any reimbursement so nothing is changed and I accept my responsibilities.

This morning the girl told me that she'd once seen a similar situation whose cost was assumed by the Conseil Générale and that she'd try to push that door.

I feel quite confident that something will come up, and in any case, we're going to give it a good try. Health comes first.

Update on Edith

Well, as it happened we let Edith sleep late (after giving her a good meal the night before) getting her up and showered at 7:30 and in the car by eight. Traffic was good and we made it to the hospital by nine, just in time.

The nurse received us right away and Nat went in with her while I walked around outside in the fresh sunlight of the coming day. Half an hour later I was back just as they were coming out. Apparently all had gone very well even though they'd had a little trouble giving her another shot.

But she'd kept her cool right till the end when she got real ornery with Nat and the nurse said she tried to twist her arm and spit on her. Poor Nat, she takes a lot!

So when I got there I tried to cheer her up by telling her the breakfast I was going to buy her in a few minutes but she was in a foul mood with the world and full of her sarcastic remarks to anyone that would listen so I stopped talking about it.

On the way home I stopped at the first bakery I found looking for a quiche but since they didn't have one I got some sweet pastries (and a flan for Nat) plus a sort of tarte flambée that looked delicious.

Nat got in the back of the car next to Grandma and shared out the goodies. As I drove on I could sense that, as I'd expected, she was forgetting the woes of the morning and was coming around to her normal good-natured self.

We got home by 11 am but have to repeat the exercise tomorrow: worst luck. I hope she's just as cooperative and that she doesn't get wind of what is coming and make life difficult.

I was able to talk to the nurse a little to try to find out some of the implications. Seems that if they find that their tests today and tomorrow are positive, then we move into stage two which just means one thing: treatment.

What that may mean is difficult to say right now, but she said it would mean lots of medications taken at many precise intervals. It would also apparently require hospitalization for a week in order to oversee all that. This would not be an easy thing to handle.

If, on the other hand, their tests are negative, then that doesn't mean we are out of the woods since they have seen something on the x-ray and they aren't going to give up until they determine what it is. In fact, negative results will be harder and longer to deal with since it will involve more testing and a controlled environment (read, hospitalization).

She said it would probably mean a further exploratory nasal tube being passed into the lungs with local anesthetic -- no fun, but necessary. From there, we again go to the negative or positive choice. Positive means treatment. Negative, at this stage, would mean that the bacteria was not active, and therefore probably scar tissue or some other trace from a former infection.

Details of all this will have to be understood as we get there. I'm going to try to keep as detailed a record as I can, for future use and for communicating with the family back in the US.

One other nuisance (and potential worry) in all this, is that if the bacteria is found at any stage to be "active" then everyone with whom Edith is presently living will have to be brought in for an x-ray and an injection test (not the nasal tube one, thankfully) since we are dealing here with a very contagious disease.

We decided not to tell anyone in the family about all this yet -- except Sarah, of course -- since there's too much we don't know ourselves yet and there's no use getting others worried for nothing. God will grant us grace at the time we need it.

Edith's problems

Yesterday Nat and I drove Grandma to her doctor's appointment in Le Mans.

Several months ago, while involved in paperwork for her carte de séjour she saw a GP who, though based in Paris, was assigned to the OMI stuff in Le Mans occasionally. She looked at Edith's x-ray and didn't like what she saw. She referred us to an expert in the field of the lungs and in particular detection of tuberculosis, which is what she was particularly worried about.

So yesterday off we went for our appointment which had been scheduled for three-thirty in the afternoon. On the way we stopped for a simple lunch of petit salé et frites but Grandma ate so slowly that Nat and I sat waiting for ages after finishing our entrée before being served while she finished hers. While we waited I took a picture of them.

After lunch we hit the health food store (Le Fenouil) to pick up a sack of rice and then we swung by the Lycée where Becky is to take her exam next week to deliver a few papers they needed to prepare that. Then off we went to our appointment at the hospital.

I was quite surprised by the reaction of the specialist to Edith's x-ray -- he seemed just as concerned at what he saw (but which we didn't) as the generalist had been weeks before. To him it looked like TB and he saw no way out but to determine, by a strict series of tests, whether it was or not.

They gave her a shot there and then -- called the "tubertest" -- the reaction to which they'll see in a couple of days and should tell them if the bacteria is active. They then scheduled us to come in first thing this morning (without her having eaten yet) so that they could pass a tube in to take a culture sample from her stomach.

The nurse said she hoped it would go well since this was a "most disagreeable" intervention. Having submitted to something similar once myself, I was in complete agreement.

I'll post more later on today on the results of the visit this morning. It's time we left and Nat's here to tell me she's going to get Grandma up. Let's go...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Down but not out

When I woke yesterday I smelt rain and said so, even though the sky seemed perfectly clear and looked like it was headed for a gorgeous and sunny blue. By eight o'clock we were hearing thunder and soon after the skies opened up to a deluge. The electrical part of the storm didn't come near us but we sure got the water.

Just after nine o'clock the power went down and stayed down. The UPS went out after half an hour and we were left wondering what to do with our mornings. Most worrying was the Paris client whose database we are hosting since once the routers were down, everything was off.

Around eleven we got the brilliant idea of getting out the generator since it was obvious the thing was down for awhile and I'd seen that the whole village was out as well.

We fired that up in no time and hooked up the main server, switch, and router which established Internet and put the base back on line. Then we hooked up Cyril, Julian, and Alexandre as well (Jonathan and Pascal had not been affected since they were working on laptops).

At ten past noon, as suddenly as it had disappeared, power was restored; having been out for exactly our three hours of working time.

I joked that it looked like a union setup!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Week 23

We had all the team over for pizzas on Friday after work and it went very well. The boys (and their girls) stayed up a little later than Mum and I and talked. There was a real good spirit throughout. The idea was for the evening to be a sort of welcome to get to know each other better now that there are eight of us in the office.

Monday and back to work after a very pleasant weekend; lots of free time and sunny weather. Yesterday we barbecued chicken and sausages down on the island but by day's end I was utterly exhausted so went to bed before everyone else.

Lilly had been reading to Teen and Olly when I got up there so I said I'd take over when she was finished because I felt like reading the book of Acts to them from the New Testament in Modern English. By the time I'd got settled Claire and Becky had joined us and Mum came in and sat on the floor and knitted. I read the first five chapters and they really liked it. I think I'll read some more tonight, a few chapters every day till I've finished.

We slept with all the windows open though it was just comfortably warm. When I got up in smelled like rain and then before breakfast I could hear thunder in the distance though the sky seemed still clear and promising. But by 8:30 this morning the rain was coming down quite heavily and right now I can hear it pounding on the roof above my office. In spite of that the temperature is registering about 20° which is pretty warm for a thunderstorm!

Etienne from RBA is coming over today and plans to be here by noon for dinner. Then I want to spend some time in the afternoon with him and Raph trying to get a few things sorted out in our life -- family, business, SCI, ACLB, and so on. I pray the Lord will clarify my thoughts so as to make the best use of our time together.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Some family news

Michel and Frederic left this morning at 6 am to drive back to Alsace. We had prayer and wished them both a good trip. There's no telling how long Frederic will be away -- Michel should be back on Monday or Tuesday.

Last night I heated up the wood oven and we invited everyone from Microtec over for the evening and we made some pizzas. I bought 12 and with salad and pâté and lots of bread and wine there was enough for everyone.

The original idea was to provide a moment to welcome Cyril (like we did a month or so ago for Alexandre) in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. It went very well and I think everyone quite enjoyed themselves.

Sarah and I retired about an hour before the young people so they could spend a little time together at the end of the meal. I think it was quite a success.

Please do not return

I'm writing myself a note to be reminded never to go back to the JA online forum discussion groups. I've participated on and off over a year and sometimes enjoyed it. But overall I have been too often offended by the loose or dirty talk and have made resolutions several times to spend my life on other things.

I got fed up with all the people who openly declared themselves to be homosexual so I put them on my "ignore" list. Life is too short and my responsibilities too many to waste my life listening to people's thoughts about Christianity and life in general when these same people are declared homosexuals.

Then I found that there are several very vocal members, mostly girls, who are very worldly, very carnal in their reasoning, and very mean-spirited to me in particular. I came to the conclusion that this has a lot to do with the fact that I used a real picture of myself as my avatar; I filled in the member's profile form as accurately as I could.

Never do that. Especially if you're an elderly, Christian, white male. Every time they read one of my posts, there I was smiling at them. And all the hate and bitterness and resentment they feel towards people like me would surface till they could hardly type straight. And this is when they really had nothing to disagree with me about!

It hurts. It certainly shouldn't, but it does. I made this resolution once before but forgot and came back. I am far too naive, too believing, too sincere. But I don't want to get hard, either. God help me.