Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back in New York...

Hi all. If you follow the Habitat for Hope blog ( you know that we have suffered a major blow in the life of our family. Mark's precious father, Gary Horrocks, passed away VERY unexpectedly Monday morning around 6am. We are back in Rochester, at Conesus Lake right now. We all survived the wake and funeral with the love and support of our family. My parents even travelled up to help us - they too loved Gary greatly. I will tell you that we are doing ok - the emotion and sadness definitely come in waves. Gary was incredibly full of life and a huge part of my kids' lives. I loved him like a father because he welcomed me as a family member 15 years ago, when it wasn't apparent that I was here to stay. Please continue to pray for our family, and lift up especially my mother-in-law, Margaret. To read Mark's eulogy for his father, visit We will be in NY at least a week.


Monday, August 18, 2008


The first day of school has OFFICIALLY been completed! I should have taken a picture, but words will have to do. We got through our "we love our siblings" scripture pages (tongue in cheek), grammar, reading, math, history and science with little fuss. In a week or two, we will start English from the Roots Up - memorization of Greek and Latin roots. Bella has started a writing program this year - Writing Strands - and I think we are going to enjoy it! She loves to write stories, but usually lacks a antagonist. Come on, whats a good story without some conflict?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

End of Summer projects

I hope the tail end of summer is treating you well! The last 10 days or so in Memphis has been much cooler (in the high 80's and low 90's), and we've been enjoying it! I started thinking during the winter about updating the planting beds in front of the house. The azaleas that were there had been there for many years, but only bloomed once a year. They looked sort of dismal the rest of the year. Here are the plants as they were ready to go in the ground. The first picture is the left side, and the next is the right. There is a perennial garden in the front, and butterfly bushes that will flag the steps. I thought I had a picture of hte finished product - I will post one soon!

Obviously, we are still celebrating our recent appointment at St Jude. Here is Bella enjoying her milkshake after her visit.

August 6th was Izaiah's GOLDEN birthday...turning 6 on the 6th! He had a great day -bowling with the Ottinger kids, a stop at Toys R Us and cake with the Beamons, Joni, and Ginny and Andy! And the best present of all - Mom-mom flew in to surprise him for his birthday! He was so happy for her to do that just for him.

And school will start in earnest for my kiddos monday. I am committing to doing a few "healthy" things for me this year, and so far I have started exercising again and sewing a little bit. Here are my latest creations; I found some decorator remnants at a shop in Canadaigua while we were in NY. Now that I look at this picture, I realize I some fixing to do, but I really enjoyed making these!

Blessings to all of you, and thanks for checking up on us here!

In Christ,


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mercy and Peace...

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Some of you will remember that Romans 12:12 was the scripture we used for Bella’s prayer card back in 2003. So many of you have been joyful with us, patient with us, and of course, so faithful to pray…I wanted you to rejoice with us in this information.

Bella was due this past week back to St Jude for her regular 6 month check up. You will remember that her protocol called for the following:

Every 6 months CT scans for the first 5 years after treatment is over (Oct 04)
Yearly CT scans for the next 5 years (until she is 14)

After Dr Furman gave us the good results of her latest CT, we asked about upcoming CT’s. I had a whole arsenal of questions to ask regarding additional radiation and long term effects. He asked if we had any questions, and Mark said, “well, we were sort of wondering how often we will continue to come back…” And Dr Furman says, “you know, Sandy and I were just talking about that, and we think she can come back in January for her scheduled CT, and then after that she will be 5 years out from diagnosis, and she can go to ACT clinic.”

ACT clinic if “after completion of treatment”. This means she will not be scanned, she will simply be checked for any abnormal after-effects of treatment, and they will talk to us about how she is doing. She will probably go here for a few years, or until we feel she can be done. She will continue to be monitored by dermatology for any spots or lesions that could show up.

Today, I received our January schedule in the mail. On it is our “introductory ACT visit” appointment. Simply amazing!

For the past five years, I have lived with the thought that Bella would get scans until she was 14 years old. It really feels like the Lord is releasing some things in our lives right now, and moving us into another stage. All the glory to God, and so many thanks for continuing to follow us on this journey.

We love you!!