Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ryan's Guest Post at RFF

I am about to pee my pants with excitement for today's post over at Reaching For FringeGo check it out!!

Ryan, my studly husband, submitted a guest post.  Holla!!  I am so proud of him.

He is one amazing man-figuring out how to make much of Jesus while he himself is humbled and tested.

I'm proud to be his wife.

Nothing to do with Ryan's post...just a little peek into our Christmas decorations

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Endless Gifts. Nearly 700!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
610.  These bright orange berries in gray November

611.  The servant's heart of my husband

612.  A husband who makes me laugh and who bought me this gorgeous shirt as a surprise gift!

613.  The two men of my life.

614.  Olive wood nativity set we bought in Jerusalem

615.  A silly husband who wanders out in the morning with socks looking like this

616.  The soft glow of our Christmas tree

616.  Good friends and reunion breakfasts

617.  Reconciliation
618.  Transparency with friends and mentors for guidance
619.  Vulnerability in weakness
620.  Forgiveness
621.  The shutter click of my camera
622.  No tech night-a new Decker tradition
623.  Branches hung with dainty ornaments
624.  Obsession with the world's best ham sandwich
625.  Breakfast out to reconnect
626.  Warm socks layered in warm slippers
627.  Rejection of or culture's norm for holidays
628.  Cold wind through a jacket
629.  The coffee smell steaming me awake early in the morning
630.  Simplicity
631.  "Hawk eyes" as my husband calls them
632.  Free sides of hasbrowns when our ordered is mis-heard
633.  Grace that covers us when we miss out on church
634.  Our endless exclamations--"our house looks SO good!"      
635.  Eucharisteo
636.  Christ's irresistible grace especially compared to my despicable heart
637.  The ability to think silent thoughts
638.  A husband who values purity of mind and heart.  A true radical of this world!
639.  Last Tuesday of the month support group for ostomates!  Yes!
640.  Supply catalogs filled with what we need for Ryan's health
641.  Endless financial provision, we are never in want
642.  Thinking of a gift or two to bless someone we love
643.  Finding Christmas napkins hiding in a box
644.  Composting.  And finding Harpo sneaking the compost for a snack
645.  Thanksgiving leftovers
646.  Roaring fire and a slice of apple pie
647.  Acts of "normalcy"-breakfast, a walk, walking our favorite line of shops in Golden    
648.  In Jesus' crazy words...a desire to have faith like a prostitute.  What??  Check it.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Matthew 21:31

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Ryan Decker Post

It's been 18 days since we were released from the hospital.  I am having a hard time deciphering if the time seems to have flown by or drag on.  Our days just blurred together those first few weeks-with recovery, pain, school, clinicals, tests, doctor's appointments, and trying to live life.

  Ryan went for Remicade Round 4 last Wednesday, November 21 and weighed in at 151 lbs.  According to our surgeon his colon is making excellent progress in healing thanks to Remicade and the ileostomy.  Remicade is the greatest!  He has only contracted strep throat so far with his weakened immune system-not even a cold.  Woo hoo-thank you Lord!

His ileostomy is still considered a blessing but the day to day management of it is often exhausting and tedious.  We have been up at 3 am too often changing leaking bags, reliving itchy skin, or cleaning up wound drainage.  Poor husband.  It's not his fault and honestly I am SO proud of his strong heart and continued perseverance in this storm.  He battles this intense skin irritation and itchiness daily.  You know how bad a mosquito bite itches?  Well multiply it by 100 and then slap a plastic medical appliance on it so you can't reach the itch and you have a tiny glimpse into Ryan's reality.

He still thinks that milkshakes and macaroni and cheese should be his main diet, but he married a wife who loves health!  Sheesh.  Poor sucker.  I buckled and bought crisco to make authentic pie crust for a homemade pot pie (one of his favorites!) but that is where it ends for me.  To keep him semi-healthy, I make veggie-fruit smoothies filled with kale, spinach, and berries for a nutrient rich and diet of variety (don't worry, everything is blended so no clogs are possible).  Other than that we try to keep things simple with lean, soft meats, soft veggies, and lots of pasta/bread dishes.

Overall he is improving.  There is no "healing" for Crohn's but there is remission, improvement and recovery to battle for.  We are excited for a healthy plateau in his health so that he can get back to work (in his own words, he is incomplete without work) and we can start getting our life back bit by bit.

Your continued prayers are so appreciated.  Thank you for your grace in the delay between Ryan updates and health posts.  He is steady right now and we are trusting the Lord daily for what we need.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Pics

How can you go wrong with a day full of good food, people you love, and a full 24 hours meant to point you towards gratitude?

Thursday was a beautiful Thanksgiving.  Filled to the brim with out favorite people/food!  And a bittersweet day for me reflecting on thankfulness but also remembering the tough journey 2012 has been for us.

 Ryan and I spend the morning relaxing and hanging on the couch until guests arrived.  By 6:00 that night we had a glass of wine for me and a beer for him with a roaring fire going to wind down the night.

We hope your weekend and start to the Christmas season is joyous and your focus remains rightfully and undividedly, on HIM.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

Romans 5:20-21 (Message)
Grandma and myself

The newly married Jason & Stacey Hall (!!!) and Ryan Decker 

Dessert buffet!  

Ryan's dad George, Ryan in the middle, my dad John.  Loving the matching yellow shirts fellas!

The two of us before dinner.  One of our favorite parts of the day is the pre-dinner hang out with everyone

Now this picture needs an explanation I think.  George didn't want to get any turkey grease on his nice shirt while carving the bird.  So he put on one of Ryan's soccer jerseys.  Ryan's smaller size lent itself to showing off George's muscle power!

Our nephew Ryder (the vest?? it's too cute. sheesh.) and my mom, Cleo.  She had a dangerous vision for grandbabies.  Sorry mom, it could be awhile!

Anna and Rilyn-two very pretty ladies

Be still my heart.  These two are a major source of joy in our lives.  How we love them!

No words are necessary.

Ryan, my sweet sister Linday and her super awesome fiance, Justin.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank Him. Worship Him.

On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter
sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever. 

Psalm 100

Happiest Thanksgiving to YOU!  

We pray it's a day brimming with gratitude and evidenced with God's pursuit and love in your life.  And a day full of family and pie too :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving Peeks

We're hosting our 2nd annual Thanksgiving tomorrow.  If we get to choose, we will always pick to host.  It's a joy to us to open up our home, invite people in to celebrate, and also it allows us the convenience of being home for Ryan's medical needs.  But that's just a plus for us :)

Do you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?  I love that tradition!  This holiday is just the best because we get to spend the day with family, talk crisp walks after dinner, and enjoy pie and coffee into the evening.  Plus we just picked up firewood for a Thanksgiving night fire.  YES!

  Ryan is officially the turkey man of our family-he rules over that bird with brining. I'm drooling thinking about it...not a pretty sight people. 

So without anything more exciting to post today,  here's a peek into the prep work here at our house today for hosting...

Don't worry the bird is sitting in its brine already-it's not still wrapped up

This furry man gave me lots to vacuum and supervised laundry

Will 13 people fit into our little house?  We will see!

Dessert buffet!  It will be covered with pies tomorrow
Ryan is also the first starting master.  It was so cozy and smelled perfect!

The beginnings to a classic turkey brine.  The fresh herbs also smelled just scrumptious

Love this verse

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Non-Sketchy Christmas

Let's make dang sure that our Christmas festivities and gifts this year don't come at the expense of someone else.  Deal?

I have been getting increasingly riled up about socially responsible products and businesses.  It all boils down like this for me:  it should be unfathomable for us to buy a product that came at some expense of another human being.  

This topic really gets my brain turning and my heart churning.  And since we all are a part of this ugly consumerism spiral I don't want to hear that you aren't interested.

Every single day you make a choice with your dollar.   I am slowly realizing I can back the socially responsible, humanitarian, sustainable, and just companies of the world. OR...the one with dark secrets of child-labor, sweat shops, and harmful business practices.  

No thanks, man!

 I cringe to think that I have ever bought a single product a little girl my niece's age might have labored over...or that my cheap shirt came at the expense of a family going hungry.  But Lord forgive me and change me-give me a new heart that desires to be left unstained from this filthy world.  It's a daunting and enormously scary task to figure out how to do this consumer thing right but I think with a lot of the Holy Spirit's leading and little education we can.

The main deal here is simple.  It's been on my heart for several months to begin shopping with a conscience.  To pick stores and retailers who do business right.  Never at the expense of any child or adult's fair wage, well-being, or safety and always in the name of justice, truth, and sustainability.

It's not as hard as I thought and this Christmas Ryan and I gave our business to places we could verify.  I spent no more than 10 minutes researching business practices, looking up how they run things, and making decisions from there

Claiming no expertise, just passion, here is my first annual thoughts on gift buying and...

How to Have a Non-Sketchy Christmas

*Shop Local: Farmer's Markets or Craft Fairs often sell personally made beautiful soaps, baskets, jewelry, body products, clothing, and tasty treats

*Our favorite responsible retailers to support are REI, Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Avodah Coffee, Chaco, Shabby Apple, North Face, Celestial Seasonings, and Mountain Rose Herbs just to name a few

*Support personal Etsy shops where items are handmade by the owners

 *Order gifts from a non-profit with a mission-Agape International's store is one of my favorites

*Consider hand-making gifts from sustainable products 

*Or donate as a family through World Vision's gift catalog or Healing Waters gift catalog to give a life changing gift! 


P.S.  In an admittedly weak attempt to take the moral high ground and not even mention a little place that rhymes with only advice is to just avoid that hell-stricken place at all costs.  You might just die of shock right here if I shared what I read about said business and I need you to stay alive for the rest of this post!  Another post for another time...

Sum up:  Your choices are not limited when it comes to shopping with conscience this year and all year.  Your voice, your dollar, your choices all add up for this year's Christmas and someone else's life .  Make the simple choice of responsibility and compassion-one that I know Jesus himself would dig.  

So here's to justice and truth this Christmas!  And knowing that in all humility I admit not knowing how to do this best.  That's no surprise right? 

Share your sustainable, ethical, people-loving companies and ideas here!  I'll publish anything (legit) you have to say or suggest.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Progress

Do you dig guest posts?  Reaching for Fringe has one today-click on that link to read more!  And it is some stellar writing that will make you laugh and spur you on to Jesus.

My mom read our blog the other day and sadly reported back to me that, "There were no pictures of Ryan in your post."

What an atrocity!!  I'm sorry mother.  Let me amend the Ryan-less post with these pictures from Saturday :)

Here's an appetizer.

In other news: our front door is  being painted a happy red today which I am thrilled about.  

P.S. So you know how our friends are real cool??  Well did you know how legit our friend's parents are!!??!  Pam and Gary Bolt (Matt's parents) drove up from Texas to help Matt with some of his house renovations but to our surprise and complete amazement they painted OUR house all day on Sunday!  Out of state on their Thanksgiving holiday and they are out in the cold painting their son's friend's house.  There are just no words for how awesome people are.  We are so blessed.

And the fun and gifts never stop it seems!  My mom blessed us Sunday also by getting us out of the house finally (neither one of us can drive for awhile since we're on narcotics, remember?) for hot chocolate, to buy me and her holiday candles, and festive Christmas-y soaps.  It's a yearly tradition that we love.  Plus it was nice for Ryan to get out of the house for a bit and walk.  

So that's about it for us.  Our week is pretty low key and we are set to host our 2nd Thanksgiving this week.  How about you?  Any plans?  Thanksgving?  Black Friday?  
Cutie pregnant Connie and my stud of a husband.  Connie and her husband Casey (below) agreed to name their first son due in December after us...Decker.  Decker Clark.  I KNOW they weren't joking either. 

Casey & Ryan.  These two cause trouble together

Not Ryan but another good shot of the progress.

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
610.  Thinking we're out of milk but finding almond milk hiding out in the back
611.  Crafy stocking stuffers
612.  Learning just how much community and people light up my husband's life
613.  100% on a Chemistry test
614.  The coziness of this season
615.  Ryan getting man time with Ross
616.  Mom taking Ryan to Remicade and their breakfast plans
617.  A girl's reunion morning planned for Tuesday!
618.  Psalm 100
619.  Mending and healing broken hearts
620.  Questions
621.  Pandora's Christmas station
622.  What is means to be a servant
623.  Inspiring photography
624.  Reflection back on 2012
625.  The ugly beautiful that November is nearly over 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Painting Progress

Did we ever mention how seriously cool our friends are?  Well they are the best!!  

Matt, Katie, Jennifer, David, Ashleigh, Drew, Tamara, Chris, Casey, Connie, and Marc all came over bright and early on Saturday morning and worked non-stop for almost 8 hours!


(We told them thank you in person too but a blog shout out never hurts)

And they did a legit job, man! We are so blessed.  There is a bit more work to do today but Ryan and I are in awe of how quickly everyone worked.

Here are a LOTS of pictures and a look at all of the amazing, servant-minded, Jesus-loving, truly rare friends who surrounded us this weekend when we were in need.  Final pictures to come.

Before:                                            Progress:

Such hard workers.  Seriously who gives up their Saturday to pain someone else's house?!  Amazing.

Getting to work!

Getting some Connie time.  When you just had a root canal (me) and are the most pregnant ever (Connie) you don't have to paint :)

Things are getting primed and being covered in their first coat

Connie, Carly, and Hava supervising and chatting

Not only did they paint our house but friends brought sloppy joes, fruit, chips, salsa, and pumpkin muffins!

No hands needed when you have a nice pregnant belly table

Much needed lunch break

I love this shot-our house is just covered with some of our favorite people!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.   Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16 

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
610.  Help in a time of need
611.  Seeing Jesus' servant heart lived out
612.  Fresh coats of paint
613.  Having our home filld with people and laughter after so many weeks of silence
614.  Ryan making people laugh
615.  Neighbors wandering over to say hello and admire
616.   Dawn dropping me off and wondering about Jesus
617.  A frozen turkey that needs to defrost
618.  An improving root and mouth
619.  Pregnant mama friends
620.  Hot crockpots brimming with food to feed the masses
621.  Late night pie and coffee to send Katie off
622.  Latkes
623.  "Hello" stencil to welcome guests through our door
624.  The beauty of a day dedicated to His provision and our thankfulness

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Benefits of Quadruple Root Canal

Are you wondering what the benefits of a quadruple root canal might include?  Here is the very limited list:

-being bed bound so I finished all our Christmas shopping online (impressive, yes?)
-napping and resting
-an early Christmas movie thanks to my husband
-tasting a variety of puddings and smoothies

...hmmmm, yup those are the only benefits.  Literally, nothing else good can come of this.

On Monday I went to my dentist for a routine root canal.  My tooth wasn't even hurting all that much so that particular procedure was easy.  But as the week progressed things turned very ugly!

By Friday I was dying and experiencing these explosions of pain in my tooth.  It turns out my dentist hadn't properly cleaned the root intially and the infection had spread to my nerves.  OUCH!  

It was so bad that I received a referral to an oral surgeon where he immediately performed a 3 hour long quadruple root canal.  Let's just say I do not want to experience that anytime soon.  Afterwards he prescribed me a cocktail of strong antibiotics, steroids, and narcotic for pain control.

The most ridiculous thing about all this neither Ryan or I can drive for awhile!!  Ha!  According to CO state law, driving under the influence of a narcotic is illegal.  And since we are both on percocet for pain my mom is chauffeuring us around this weekend-what a blessing she is!

We're a hot mess here in the Decker household.  Our last few weeks have included hospitals, oral surgeons, root canals, ileostomies, and who knows what's coming next!  I would be down for a break anytime soon.

(psssst...did you hear that Lord?  Just checking.)

On a happier note our house is getting painted tomorrow by some incredible people in our servant hearted community!  Pictures to come.  We are so very blessed by this since Ryan and I aren't in a state to paint.  That's the body of Christ being lived out tangibly and as God calls us to!  So neat.

Before pictures of the house.  Picture it the white with black trim and a cheery red door!

Anyway, hope you have a more comfortable weekend than we are having here at our house :)

Matt & Katie doing prep work on the house for pain

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:4-6 

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
584.  Skill and care for my teeth by the referred dentist
585.  My mom always serving us so well
586.  Morning sunrise peeking through the curtains
587.  Pumpkin pie
588.  Anticipating brining the turkey
589.  Soft foods to bless sore teeth
590.  Warm jacket
591.  Ear warmers for early walks
592.  Thick, intricate scarf from Israel
593.  Antibiotics
594. Memory card disc to hold captured moments
595.  Scripture of thanksgiving and gratefulness
596.  Getting to create a Christmas gift
597.  Linny
598.  The ugly-beautiful need for my floor to be vacuumed
599.  That we own a vacuum
600.  That we have floors
601.  Processing community and roles we play
602.  The ugly beautiful of what's to learn in a nursing home
603.  A country where we have quick access to dental care
604.  A draw to rely on the Spirit
605.  That I'm not able
606.  Watching the Grinch with Ryan
607.  Preparing for Thanksgiving guests
608.  A family to celebrate holidays with
609.  Learning how to be grateful in all things-still not knowing how


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