Friday, February 28, 2014

Weather Challenges and Confirmations

We are traveling up to North Idaho to visit my Hubby's mother who is nearing the end of her life. We have been on the road for two days and have had to cut our trip short and hole up in a hotel in Missoula, Montana while a winter storm gets the snow and 50 mile per hour winds out of its system. This storm that hit this evening was predicted to hit late tomorrow night when we checked weather reports in Salt Lake this morning while deciding whether to take I-90 or I-84 route.

We had bare and dry pavement from Phoenix until Deer Lodge, MT and began getting into a snowstorm and some packed snow on the interstate. We pulled into Missoula knowing we needed to do something to improve our traction before proceeding on further. Since we have fairly new all weather snow and mud tires we had them siped at a tire dealership. God cared for us in this by the manager until less than 2 weeks ago was my brother's brother-in-law. My brother made a phone call and we got things at employee discount, got us in immediately and help trying to find tire chains/cables the size our car needs. So far none have been located. 

The hour our car was on the rack having all four tires siped, we spent walking in the snowstorm in the trucker end of Missoula since my chemical sensitivities make me unable to tolerate sitting in the waiting area of a tire shop. We got to giggling thinking how God is breaking us into winter weather in preperations for our Colorado move. Yesterday we were in 78 degrees and today walking for almost an hour in 23 degrees snowstorm! While visiting as we walked, we were both struck on what a remarkable difference there is in me physically in a day and a half of being away from Arizona. My swelling is lower than it has been since summer and I feel better and more clear headed and energetic than I have for months! If we had any doubts (which we weren't having as we have seen God's hand be so evident in all of this!) about the rightness of our decision to relocate this is in itself a great confirmation! Oh and being able to be outside and feeling good is wonderful!! We are even more hopeful for our Colorado relocation.

After our tires were ready, we decided to try to proceed on as planned and got back onto Interstate 90 and began heading west. We were unsure and said we would see how it was and if bad turn around at Frenchtown  a few miles west. Immediately we began noticing numerous cars that had just slid off the road into ditches in the increasingly slick road conditions and after a few miles we did turn around and returned to Missoula. We found a hotel and let our families know the changes in plans. Again we laughed thinking about the re-entry to winter living after our five and a half years in the Valley of the Sun. We are hearing the storm will last most the night and will likely be later in the day if at all before the passes will be good for travel. We are praying and would covet your prayers for a break in the weather and for the roads to be quickly cleared so we can get to North Idaho as soon as we can to have the bittersweet time to say our goodbyes to his Mom

Monday, February 24, 2014

God Ordained Interruption to Our Plans

My blog today I am sharing the letter my husband sent out to family and our church sharing about the many huge changes happening in our lives.

God has interrupted our plans in Phoenix. This is driven by Deb’s health (details below). My company approved our relocation to Denver where the company has a large branch while staying in the same job. We so appreciate the flexibility they have shown.

As you may have seen, this fall has been a very challenging time for Deb. Her chemical sensitivity, which had improved the last couple years, has returned with a vengeance and she is now worse than ever.

We started noticing more issues right after our son’s family flew home in September. It progressed to point that the last couple months that every time she would go out shopping or to a social event she would be laid up for 2-3 days or more with swelling throughout her body, all over joint and muscle pain, migraines, extreme fatigue, asthma, ringing ears and eyes that wouldn’t focus. She began joking that she needed a human sized, nontoxic, climate-controlled hamster ball to leave the house.

At first we thought we had missed something she was sensitive to, but when nothing seemed to help we went back to Deb’s doc on Jan 20. The doctor (who is both an internal medicine MD and a homeopath with specialized training on environmental illnesses) checked her blood work to rule out severe kidney disease and then figured out she is very reactive to a new chemical added to water tank trucks and street sweepers to settle dust.  

It turns out that starting July 15, 2013, the state mandated the addition of acrylic polymer to all of the tank trucks and street sweepers to keep our dust levels down to comply with EPA standards so the state can receive federal money for roads.  The military developed this acrylic polymer to spray down the desert sands in Iraq after they had helicopters crash from not being able to see in the dust. It is designed to cling to dust (and everything else) and being acrylic not likely to break down any time soon. This is what is causing Deb’s reactions.  In the middle of September, they began building a school a quarter mile from us as well as two large housing developments a few blocks away. We have not only the tank trucks spraying at the actual sites but the street sweeper goes by our home at least once a day.

After 2 ½ hours of detox treatment, her body was rid of some of the effects, the doc sent her home with maintenance meds to take three times a day. That seemed to help but only for three days. On Monday, Feb 3, after an even worse reaction the previous week, we went back to the environmental medicine clinic. They determined that she is even more sensitive than they first thought. She was given another treatment in the office and sent home with meds to take hourly and as needed when symptoms occur. They also told us she cannot go outside at all, even to sit on patio or work in her garden. In fact, they told us the best thing would be for her to move away from Arizona. We asked about just moving out of the valley (I could commute back) but we were told that this chemical is used across the entire state. Not the news we were expecting!! While still at the office, we asked questions about various places my company has decent size offices in regards to air quality, chemical pollution, etc.

Afterwards, as we were driving home, I told Deb three things.
  1. I have no doubt God moved us down here. Deb heartily agreed.
  2. I am willing to move wherever God has for us so Deb can have a healthier life and be able to go outdoors.
  3. I know this will take time and I want us to remain engaged with our friends and church up until the time we leave.

It is funny how much life can change in a day!  On Sunday, Feb 2, we bought two apple trees to plant and 24 hours later we were talking about returning them back and listing the house. We have cried, talked, prayed and sought counsel from Chris and Tara and spent hours researching online. The following afternoon, I spoke with my boss about the situation, the information from our doctor and our own research.  The outcome was that we began to work on a proposal for me to transfer to the Denver office. Denver is a hub with short flights back to Phoenix or the headquarters in Houston (Spokane and Minneapolis for connection to family, too).

We are looking at suburbs midway between Denver and Boulder, since Boulder Colorado has top rated air quality.  We have been able to confirm they avoid many of the chemicals that we are concerned about, even mosquito fogging.  The communities we are considering are not near agriculture or coal fired power plants and benefit from the mountain breezes from the west.

There are other draws for Denver besides safe environment and job. There are two Sovereign Grace churches in the area, including one in Westminster in the area we are considering. It has been good to get to know Glynn McKinzie, the pastor, in our regional meetings. Boulder has a clinic with a doctor, with very similar credentials as the one who currently cares for Deb’s environmental illness, and will only be 20-30 minute drive.

God is so good and, while it is very hard to leave, we delight in God’s sovereign direction.  We love Grace Church and the time here has been the best 4 years of our lives, yet we are hopeful that Deb will once again regain much of her health and be able to minister to people and enjoy the outdoors. 

In the midst of these major changes, Joel's  93 year old Mom has contracted pneumonia and is wanting to see her kids as she believes her time to go home to the Lord is very near. We have been so blessed with much help from our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord from our church in Arizona as we have sped up our getting the home ready so we can go up to be with his Mom. Our caring friends have painted block walls outside, helped with yard work, hauling loads to the dump, storage unit and Goodwill and today I had a crew of 4 wonderful ladies help get our home thoroughly deep cleaned. Another brother from church is helping Joel sort, clean and haul to storage in the garage tomorrow. Tonight we signed papers with the Realtor, who is close friend from our church, and are shampooing carpets. If all goes as anticipated we will leave to drive to North Idaho to spend some precious time with Mom P.
This process has been a whirlwind. I have told friends it feels like being on a carousel going warp speed while on an emotional roller coaster at the same time. We have seen God's hand orchestrate so many details and trust His sovereign plan to meet our needs in the sell of this home and the actual relocating to Colorado.

  Proverbs 16:9 
The heart of man plans his way, 
but the LORD establishes his steps.

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