Friday, September 29, 2006

Xylophanes tersa tersa and My Pentas

This interesting creature has almost destroyed my Pentas. Here's a link to more info. Apparently their main diet consists of Pentas (star flowers).

Jenny Dog thinks they're very interesting, and wants to bring them in and play with them. My Pentas are in pots, so I've had to move them off the ground so that she'll leave them alone.

What struck me as I searched around to identify this guy are that there are so many distinct varieties of moths and their catepillars, but that each are beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ben's 6 months old!+

Not only is he cute, but there's beginning to be that glint that means trouble! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bottle in a toilet line

The mineral water bottle (upper right) was what the plumber found in the sewer line in the guest bath of our new home! He used the tongs to fish it out. We knew there was some problem, and when the auger didn't clear the line, he removed the commode and found the bottle. I asked if this type of thing were common place, and he indicated that it wasn't, and that in fact, it had to be placed there intentionally...

Made for an interesting Saturday morning for both of us.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

This needs a salute!

Here's a photo of Ben on July 4. The flag is one flown in Iraq and brought back by one of his three uncles who have served there... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Holy Moment

Monday, while doing one of my visits at M.D. Anderson, I experienced one of those "holy moments."  Actually it lasted over an hour.
After gently knocking on the closed door and slowly pushing it open, I could see that there was an attractive young woman sitting in the chair, and that everything was packed ready to leave the hospital and go home.  I introduced myself as a volunteer from Lifeline Chaplaincy and asked if it was a good time to visit, which was met with a big smile.  She told me her name, and after asking, I took a seat on the empty bed.
Not sure whether she was the patient or a family member, I asked, "So what's going on here?"
She replied, "I have metastatic cancer, I'm terminal, and we're on our way home.  My husband has gone down to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions."  As she explained a little more about her disease and it's history, she was smiling and quite upbeat.  I commented, "You seem to be doing quite well will all this."
"It's all due to the prayers of the righteous.  I am at peace with what is happening, and have joy.  I can see the hand of God in every turn in my life."  And I could tell from the way she said it, that it was absolutely true.  For the next hour we talked about her spiritual journey to this place.  Several times during the conversation, she would begin quoting scripture, and sometimes I would join in vocalizing the familiar passages with her.  Once she sang me a verse from "This World is Not My Home," and I just listened appreciatively.  At one point I paraphrased from something Randy Becton wrote, "Cancer is not strong enough to defeat God's plan for you."  She wrote that down, along with my comment, "You are spiritually victorious!"  I was glad that I could add something to the conversation that had meaning in the midst of her saying so many things that were so profound.
I asked how her husband was doing, and she talked about him lovingly, showing me his photo.  She talked about her Mom and Grandmother.  She talked about her church.  But mostly she talked about God and how good He was and how she saw His hand in her life, giving me example after example.
We prayed together and I was trying to leave the room because I could see that she was tiring, though she was still wanting to talk. She said that if I was ever in her city, to look them up.  I said, "That not likely, but when I get to heaven, please look me up because I'd like to continue our conversation."
For that hour, I was in a holy place with a holy person.  And I resolved to be more vigilant in seeing God's hand in my own life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ben's Five Month Birthday

 Posted by Picasa

Green Beans

"These green beans are great! Where's Mom been hiding this? And not only do they taste good, but you can spread them all over your face!" Ben on his first green beans. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mark and Ben's Fathers' Day Photo

Ben and Mark on Fathers' Day with a message sure to please! I bet there is even one just like it except with Kathy holding Ben for Mr. Lloyd! Posted by Picasa

How Many Fingers?

Ben's showing off his ability to do two things at once -- turn over and get his thumb and three fingers in his mouth. And, he's even looking at the camera!

What a guy! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ben getting his first cereal

" Mom - are you sure this stuff is supposed to taste like this???" Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dad and Carol at home

Carol giving Dad supervision watering

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Danger of Wearing Hats Backwards

Mark has this interesting white stripe across his forehead. It's the modern equivalent of farmer's tan, where everything above the hat line is pale. Mark spent much of the day with his hat on backwards, giving him the start of this nice white line. Maybe it's a way to distinguish generations... Posted by Picasa

Four Generations of Hughes Men

Now here's a good looking group! Here are a few things I notice as I look at this photo:

1. We're all wide-eyed, at least for once.
2. My boys like Polo shirts over white tee shirts, and standing with their hands on their waists.
3. Ben and Mark like stripes. Plain old conservative solids for the rest of us.
4. We look like we like each other.
5. Some of us spent the day playing golf in the sun. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Aunt Sara bonds with Ben

Ben and his parents were Sara's guests for the weekend, and Sara got some good bonding time with Ben. So, sure enough, Sara was off to Carter's Sunday afternoon... Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ben and Nana

Why doesn't this camera flash? Ben

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Eye Update

I had a brief appointment with the retina guy this week and got a good report. Nothing has changed with the retinoschisis, which indicates to the dr. that it has been there for a long time and will probably not change for the rest of my life. We'll continue to monitor it -- next time 3 months from now.

"We're really going to see Nana?"

I'm pretty sure that's what Ben's thinking. Or it could have been something about getting to see Uncle John and Aunt Catherine for the first time...
It could be something like, "You're sure that I have more hair than Uncle John?!"Posted by Picasa

Ben - 4 Months Old and Proud of It!

Here's Ben giving a cheer on his 4 month birthday. Seems looking at his Mom makes him a happy boy! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ben: "Go 'Stros!"

Nana had to be sure Ben had his Astros' uniform. Looks like he's pumped! Posted by Picasa

Ben's Big Blue Eyes

With those eyes, I think Ben probably gets just about anything he wants! Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good Eye Report

Good news from the second retina guy this morning -- he confirmed the diagnosis and that we only need to monitor the situation. He explained that the reason for the caution -- so many people looking at it and monitoring it closely for a while -- is that a few percentage of what look like retinoschisms are actually the beginning of detachments. He seems confident that mine is not, but we'll be cautious anyway. The other good news is that retinoschisms progress slowly, if at all, and the danger of any damage to central vision is very small.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Eye" had an interesting day!

You know you're going to have an interesting day when you call the eye doctor for an appointment and they ask, "Could you come in this afternoon?"

I had started seeing flashes in my left eye the night before. Doing a little Google research taught me that almost everyone, at one time or another, has flashes, so that generally it's not anything to worry about. But I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and schedule an appointment to get it looked at, and was a little surprised that they wanted to see me the same day.

Most of the appointment was just following the same routine every eye exam appointment follows -- vision check, pressure check, dilation, exam through the scope and with the head magnifier, at which point the dr. said everything looked perfect. Things changed a little, though, when he decided to take a second look, this time using a contact lense in addition to the scope. After looking for a while, he asked his colleage to step in and have a look. They both agreed there was a separtion of layers of the retina, but seemed unsure if more was going on, so arranged for me to see a retina specialist as soon as I could make the drive to his office.

The retina guy was waiting for me, as by now it was after office hours. "What we find will determine whether we go to the operating room in the morning" set the tone. He did an intial exam, and announced that everything looked fine. As he continued using the contact lens, he announced that what I had was retinoschisis, a separation of the layers of the retina, but no detachment, holes, or tear, and further that I have it in both eyes. Other encouraging words was that the condition does not require treatment, and that he would not expect it to progress sufficiently to threaten my central vision, but that we would monitor it. Next he took photos of the inside of the eye, both so that there would be a baseline and to show me what he was seeing. He did discuss the possibility of using laser to tack the retina layers to themselves as an attempt to prevent progression, but noted that in the long run that can complicate repairs if holes or tears or detachment occur. So the current plan is to monitor, although I'll see his partner Friday morning to see if he concurs.

So, it was an interesting and unsettling afternoon. My prayer is that there is no progression, and no need to do anything but monitor it over time.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fingers are SO interesting.

Ben's really working to figure out how all these parts work. From what I've seen this week, it looks like he's particularly interested in his left hand -- getting it to his mouth, and here, figuring out how fingers work. Wonder if he's going to be a lefty? Posted by Picasa

How long do you expect to live?

Here's a link to a post in the SciGuy blog that provides the latest statistical data on longevity, as well as a nice calculator to estimate your life span.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ben's 3 Months Old!

Here's Ben on his 3 month birthday.

Watching him on video via computer, it's fun to watch him working on his eye-hand coordination. The other night it was taking kicking both legs and waving his right arm to help get his left hand to his mouth, but he did it. It's just amazing how fast he's growing and developing. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 07, 2006

What's Up With the Poetry?

You've probably noticed that I've posted some poems lately, and may be wondering what's up.

While working through the book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan, he suggests writing poetry as a discipline to help actually see what's around you every day -- as a way to pay attention. One is required to carefully observe and pay attention in order to describe. It causes you to focus on other things, other people, instead of yourself. And it leads to thinking about what you've seen as you write and describe it. So I decided to try it, because I often find myself going through the motions as I follow my agenda, and miss much of what is going on around me.

It's interesting what happens when you give yourself permission to be open to seeing things that you might describe through poetry. YOU SEE THINGS YOU OTHERWISE WOULDN'T SEE! Try it.

As an adjunct to working on paying attention through poetry, I've started a moblog -- a photo blog where the posts are done from my cell phone -- called Way Finding. Sort of the same idea -- be aware of things I am seeing and snapping a photo with my cell phone, as a way of noticing God and His work in every day things. It helps me pay attention to things I wouldn't otherwise notice. If you'd like to know more about moblogging and/or set up one for yourself, let me know.

And I highly recommend Buchanan's book. In a culture that worships being busy, a fresh look at Sabbath and rest can be life-changing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Mom

A mom,
A large smile on her face,
Was enjoying lunch,
With her adult daughter and friends.

Getting up from the table
Was shaky and difficult,
Three women helping,
Protecting Mom from falling,
Helping Mom steady herself
On her walker with wheels.

A slow procession,
Grouped around still-smiling Mom,
Moved toward the exit.
“I’ve sure enjoyed being with you!”
Was spoken through the smile.

And I, observing unnoticed,
Knew I’d seen a sacred moment,
God’s love shared,
A mom filled with joy.

Jim Hughes
April 5, 2006

In a Hurry

In a hurry,
On his own mission
More important
Than others’ safety,
More important
Than demonstrating respect
Or courtesy for other lives,
The man with the goatee
Stared us back onto the curb
As he drove his red Suzuki
With determination through the crosswalk.

I saw in him,
In his behavior,
A glimpse of me,
Too busy,
Too hurried,
To allow God in.

Being in a hurry,
Being busy with ourselves,
Kills our hearts,
Makes us less like God.

Jim Hughes
April 5, 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Chair's too big -- or is it?

Ben's getting so big! Here he is sitting in his Dad's chair, and wearing his overalls.

But you better move over, Ben. Aunt Sara will be there tonight, and I don't think she's going to let you sit by yourself! Posted by Picasa