Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Colour my World

Out of the dull and the grey, I see colour everywhere today...

My packages before I sent them off to the four corners of the Art World, for the 12 Days Of Christmas exchange by the lovely and talented Lelainia.

Berries in our front yard...a feast for the birds. Photo by Josh.

My piece (and the photo which I used as a reference) done in October at a water colour and ink class by Susan Woolgar. She showed us how to carve a drawing implement from a dry willow stick, to be used with ink.
This was a technique taught to her by the late Euphemia McNaught, an artist who lived and taught school in northern Alberta. Euphemia sometimes painted with the Group of Seven.
After drawing with the stick and ink, we then used water colour and chalk to add colour.
It was a fun class. Susan is really fun person to hang out with, and though I'm not a painter, I decided to just not judge myself while I was enjoying the process.

Zoot. (Liam's new best friend.) Look at those eyes!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Silent Night

Frosty and quiet and snow that sparkles like diamonds.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

a night of being artsy

I decided what to do with the piece I made today. I mounted it on a plain canvas, and used it in a little vignette, filling a funny niche in my dining room. The spot has been neglected for far too long, colecting dust and odds and ends, with a mirror I am not fond of propped on the ledge.
I printed off a few photos and mounted them on the back of the niche, set out some candles and added some favorite stones, a little bird to remind me to hope, and placed my new piece in to give it a dash of colour.

I am quite happy with it, it seems to give the room a lift.

When Mr. Wonderful came home for dinner, he admired the whole effect. I asked him what he thought of my art work. It's been forever since I made something for myself, and longer than that since I made something to display.
He was quite taken with it, and couldn't get over the beautiful background. (Uh, that would be the PLAIN WHITE CANVAS I mounted it on!) Ahem, OK, then. He paused, and he looked at me, waiting for his admiration to sink in.
I said..."You mean your favorite part is the canvas...the canvas which came from the store looking exactly like that??!"
The boys and I burst into hysterical laughter, leaving him embarrassed and floundering...reaching, reaching...but nope...nothing was coming to him in the way of ecstatic praise...just: "Really, really nice white canvas!"
Hokey Dinah! I married an art critic!
Sheesh, I should have taken Deb's advice...namely: "NEVER ASK YOUR HUSBAND WHAT HE THINKS OF YOUR ARTWORK".

Something Creative

It's been three weeks of struggling to do what we have to do, and of hurting beyond my ability to explain.
Anyone with a child knows what I'm talking about...seeing them going through something so painful and out of all of our control. All I've wanted; all I want, is to make the hurt and worry all go away. Having my hands tied; knowing I am helpless to protect them, is too hard.
Nialle is at home now, working on recovering and getting strong. Trying not to worry; trying to take one day at a time; trying to remember "normal". Vanessa is at his side, doing the same, trusting and praying and helping as best she can.

I realize we never know what tomorrow will bring. In the last three weeks, with this thing hanging over our head, there have been moments of joy and beauty and grace. Liam has been with us a lot. I am so thankful to be here, to have a tangible way to help, just being with my favorite little boy in the world. He is a joy!

One day we went to the Telus World of Science. Liam loved the discovery area, where he could dance on the big piano, build a wall...or rather help knock down the walls his Uncles built, or look in the fun-house mirrors.

Today I decided it was time for a bit of creative therapy. I made a mixed media piece with fabric, paper ephemera, buttons, metal bits, lace...and whatever else I could easily put my hand to here in my messy studio. I don't know what I'll do with it. I may use it as a base for a bag or book, or I may mount it on a canvas. I really like creating like this, with no end in mind, enjoying the process more than the product.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


...might be able to go home tomorrow.
If he can learn to give himself the shots he needs, the blood thinners, then he can continue to recover at home. His count is around 100 after the last transfusion on Wednesday.

Did you know that all the blood in his body is from transfusions? !! I guess I knew that, because I've seen all the blood pumping into him, but I did not really stop to think about it till his doctor pointed out to him that he is not hemolysing it, and that is a good sign! As his body is accepting this "borrowed" blood, then it is also not likely to reject his own. (his bilirubin count is normal, so that confirms that he's not destroying red blood cells any more!)

He is looking forward to going home. Vanessa and Liam, real food, his own bed. Music and privacy and his guitar. (he's plotting how he'll get it into his lap...it's too heavy to lift after his surgery).
Even if he needs another transfusion or two, it can be done outpatient. His hemoglobin will take a while to recover, but once his body adjusts to all the stress and changes and surgery, he will bounce back!

We are all looking forward to a return to normalcy. He can't wait to get back to work in a few weeks, to get back to leading worship, to get back to his life with Nessa and Liam and *baby*.

Yes, Vanessa is expecting. Please pray for her; for strength and for everything else she needs. Especially her man.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Knowing without seeing

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, right?

I am faithful...full of faith...that all is well with Nialle.
He's back in the hospital after a brief night at home. The reason? Pulmonary Embolism, or blood clots, in both lungs. They appeared yesterday, caused a lot of problems, a call to 911, and a trip back to the hospital in an ambulance.

Today, after a day on blood thinners, everything looks fine. Doppler scans, ultra sounds, other scans that involved inhaling radioactive air beforehand...but the clots are not causing any more problems, and have probably dissolved.

He's staying where he is till they can figure out what happened, or rather, why it happened. The incidence of blood clots post-op is very uncommon, especially in someone his age. The incidence of double embolisms is unheard of.

I believe he is going to stump them yet again. I believe he is going to continue to improve, have no further incidence of this disorder, ever. I believe he will live such a long and happy, healthy life that this will not be considered important because though we will remember it happened, we will never dwell on this chapter of his life, except to give thanks, in awe, for his healing.

Please continue to pray for this with me.

I have seen miracles happen in the last week. Answers to prayer when things looked very bleak.
I have been blessed beyond measure with abundant, practical acts of kindness (Lisa, Judi, Kathryn and Ving, Lana and Karyn and Nathanel!!! You are angels!)

Words, cards, hugs, and offers of help at every turn. The love shown to Nialle and Vanessa and Liam from those close to them, and from people who only know of them...it means so much.
It's a body at work, each of you are a part of this body, and the whole would not work without the individual parts. None of us are an island, and all of your support gives all of us more strength.

It's very comforting, and humbling, and all I can say is thank you. You are well loved.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Niall'e surgery is complete, and was a success! They were able to do it laprascopically, and he didn't loose blood, and it all went perfectly.

Now we wait and see how his blood production goes. I posted the following on facebook while we were waiting.....................................................................................................................................................

Sitting waiting in the hospital...Nialle is in surgery. Artist on the ward wanders by and offers a "humourous thought for the day". Not too humourous. Then he explains he writes poems for people. I tell him stuff; he translates it to paper thoughts and pictures in words...would I like one?Yes. We talk. He inquires. He scribbles...he's a lefty, like Nialle.Here is the result:

The Singer by Gary Garrison

Anxious, bright, angular sunrise
glowing gold street poles
random rainbow crystals
scattered accross the windshield
Bending morning light into wondering
if he'll be well enough
for the splenectomy
if that rebel organ is the cause
of his blood destroying itself
if he'll be strong enogh
to lift his guitar and his voice
to give him one good reason
to turn right back around
to raise his own son
to mentor his own grandchildren
to keep writing songs untill he's 90.

And my heart says a resounding YES!

Thank you, everyone who has prayed, called, brought gifts and sent love and offered hugs. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, hopefully tomorrow is show time. Nialle is on the list for surgery, and has just been assured that without a spleen (which is very enlarged), the chance that this condition will never occur again are about eighty percent. That is such good news!! We were never told this before, and it gives us a burst of hope.

Please pray that:
a) Nialle's surgery will not get bumped
b) The cough he has developed will disappear
c) There will be lots of matched blood available
d) Liam will also be rid of his cough
e) Vanessa will be strong and energetic (she's amazing!)
f) Nialle's bone marrow will recover it's ability to produce healthy cells
g) The surgery will be a success on every level

Thanks for all the prayers. We can feel them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Liam visits Daddy

Well, of course they had to share a cookie.

Liam is a bright spot of sunshine where ever he goes, just like his Daddy.

Daddy is waiting for his blood count (red cells) to come up over 90 so he can have surgery to remove his spleen. Please pray that will happen soon, and that everything will be well.

Monday, November 12, 2007


For all who know Nialle, please pray for him. He is in hospital, with AIHA and is fighting a hard battle, with amazing courage and grace. He is so strong. He never whines. He is my hero.

He needs blood that will match, which he will not react to. With auto immune diseases, it can be a problem to find blood that his body will not reject. So far, the blood they are pumping in is helping him to stay even at about 80. (Normal for him is 160-180) So far, our prayers have been answered! Someone, somewhere, gave blood that was a close enough match that he has had no reaction. Blessed...that's what we are!

If anyone wants to "do" something...and many people have told me to let them know if they can "do" anything...(it's hard when you want to help and you feel like your hands are tied...I know) I would ask that you go to the nearest Red Cross Blood Services and donate some blood. Someone else out there is praying.

Here's Nialle, all dressed for battle, and Liam....and is that an angel on Nialle's shoulder? That explains a lot!