Thursday, September 20, 2012

Denise's last update

Denise Laurene Spooner passed quietly in her sleep September 16th, 2012 after a extended struggle with brain cancer.

She was born December 7th, 1957 in Alamogordo, New Mexico to Bruce Oren Blochwitz and Donna Mae Hendrix Blochwitz. From there her family moved to Madison, Wisconsin where Denise was lovingly raised by Bruce and Jane Erickson Blochwitz along with her siblings Dawn Reisdorf Wachtendonk (John), Diane Buschkopf (Kevin) , Darra Winecoff Schmidt (Scott), Thomas Blochwitz (Lisa) and John Blochwitz. In addition, Denise has a brother John Schmitt. She was also beloved by a host of nieces and nephews and was their favorite aunt. Her grandchild Linus was also an object of her adoration.

In Denise's twenties she met the love of her life, partner and soul mate for her journey with Christ, Eli Spooner. Together they raised their children in a God-filled home. Ian Spooner (Tori), Isaac Spooner, Hannah Spooner and Heather Spooner. She was an amazing mother, carefully teaching kindness and a love of learning, always willing to do anything for her children (including making Raggedy Ann dolls). Always ready to encourage and lead her children on to adventures, everywhere. She always made them feel that they deserved their dreams. She always listened and never judged what came out of their mouths; always ready to give advice when requested. Denise and Eli passed their Christ-centered focus on to their children.

Denise graduated with a BS in Biology and a minor in French from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She furthered her education earning a degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and later a Master's Degree in Education from National University.

She worked professionally as a teacher at Abundant Life Christian School in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition she home schooled all four of her children in Maine and Colorado. After moving to California, Denise taught at the Modoc Charter School (New Day Academy), Academy of Personalized Learning and most recently at the California Virtual Academy. Students adored Denise's methods of learning. She stated frequently "If I were Queen of the Universe potassium would not be K and iron would not be FE…". Any child who had the blessing of her teaching could not help but learn. She was always willing to let them learn at their own pace. A hands-on approach including explosions and other demonstrations made the lessons extremely interesting to both the children and the parents. Herds of high school students were shepherded through various college classes. Summers would frequently involve a reading program with incentives which she funded.

Denise was a servant for Christ's work. In addition to missions trips to Mexico, France, Holland, Ukraine and the Dominican Republic, she gave of herself locally. She was always an active member of her church, serving in the bookstore, choir, as a sign language interpreter and overhead operator. Her favorite role was to welcome people into Christ's family and connect them to others.

Denise had many hobbies including reading, sewing, crafts, garage sales, singing, gardening, herding goats, keeping chickens and bees, and playing with Photoshop. Mentoring others in these and other skills was a frequent occurrence. She also skied, camped, traveled, and had recently flown a plane solo. Always game for any adventure.

Denise was probably best known for her infectious smile and delightful laugh. Her care and service to others made a significant mark on countless lives. Teaching and being a blessing to others were the crowning attributes of her life.

Denise was never much a fan of flowers, so in lieu of flowers, contributions to HopeCity, a social services outreach, or missions would be appreciated via or Bethel Church, 933 College View Drive, Redding, CA 96003

There will be a Celebration service on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 at 10am at the Twin View Campus of Bethel Church, 936 Twin View Blvd., Redding, CA.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Catch up and Gratitude

Hello all. I am going to try to make another list of things I am grateful for. Beni (Bill Johnson's,my pastor's wife) had this idea: post 25 things a day that you are grateful for... (25 things EACH DAY ???),  It seems really like a good idea for me today. I believe that making a list will dust out all the corners of self pity in my heart...

First I am going to connect a few missing dots in my story, just to catch you up with the missing pieces in the last couple of months.

Turns out you can overdose on steroids (badly). I was on the dosage prescribed. Slowly, I got more confused, and weaker (um... like unaware of anything, and not able to stand up without help, not able to do anything, even roll over in bed without help...). Anyway, one night we looked up side effects of steroids. There was everything I was experiencing, not in the place called " tumors" but on the page called "side effects of steroids". Many people had the same symptoms, and wrote their stories. So we asked the doctor if we could taper them. He said "Yes." A friend advised to taper them very slowly. So we've been tapering so slowly. Every day I am stronger and more lucid. We are so glad.

I still have a body whose right half is numb and easily hurt (if I am not watching my hand, for instance, it can be resting on a hot pan, and I am not aware it hurts, and is burning... bummer). So I do still have tumor issues, but they haven't changed much since the end of December... We still believe that God has promised an  end to this tumor, and difficulties. We believe that a lavish God has many plans for my life. None of them include dying in 9 months like the first two doctors told us. We believe God has promised much more.

Here is me thankful list for today:

1. The  faithfulness of my husband, and his being there... in sickness and health. Sheesh.

2. Doris. An amazing cook. She also is not a lying coward. I am. I want to be more like that... More like Doris...speaking the TRUTH  in love. I want to be more like Jesus.

3. I am still grateful for the Writers and the Littiers, taking and nurturing our girls.

4. The ability to move myself over in bed. Not fast, but happily mobile. Very grateful for that.

5. Each potential health "bump" we've encountered, every one, has been met by God, every single time. I am grateful for that.

6. Putting my own shoes on, with the shoe horn.

7. Taking steps by myself sometimes across part of a room.

8. Oh! My goodness ! These aren't in order !!! My faithful prayer warriors !

9. My glasses that are working again.

10. Having Ian and Tori in our house.

11. Hearing from Isaac more. Now that Basic is done.

12. Teds (Socks that reduce swelling...)

13. Not getting sick... cold...flu...worse... nope: healthy, healthy, healthy...

14. A comfy large bed.

15. Gums that aren't bleeding (they were.. just worrisome). Not bleeding at all now.

16. Having an iphone: Connection to Eli, the the world, etc.

17. Facebook. Silly, I know, but I am grateful...

18. My whiskers on my head. They continue to give me hope.. that my hair is coming back... that this will eventually end...

19. Netflix...Sometimes it's just nice to veg...but sometimes God can speak so powerfully. Last night: Alice in Wonderland: "Do you even know who you are ? A girl with a powerful destiny...

20. The ability to eat well (did I say heartily?). Others at the clinic have a hard time with even Ensure.

21. My Wall of Cards. I love them.

22. Shawna and Garth. They know where I am living.

23. Spring

24. Flowers in bloom

25. Babies coming... Crystal C... They give such hope from despair. Yeah God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Out of a Man's Mouth

The other day the machine for my radiation treatment broke. There I was, buckled to the table... and they all left the room... like usual. Then the machine made it's usual "zzzttt" sound. But then it flashed a scary white light that I could see behind my shut eyeballs. It flashed six times the whole treatment. It scared me. I tried to think of a verse I could pray and stand on. I settled on Jesus' declaration that it isn't that which goes into your mouth that defiles you, but that which comes out of your mouth. Best I could come up with for potentially too much radiation.... I claimed that verse, and trusted God's goodness. I don't think I have and repercussions from it...

That reminds me of a time I stood on that verse in the Dominican Republic. I wanted to live there forever. So the pastor of the church told the people, "No one speak any English to Denise, only Spanish." Well, I learned Spanish pretty quickly.  I could understand 80 % of what they were saying, really quickly. Came home almost fluent...

There was this orphanage that the church helped with, and I went there to help with the children one day. I went there with one other woman from the church. She only spoke Spanish, but I was coming along just fine communicating and speaking. I had been told not to eat or drink anything from the orphanage, my system wouldn't be used to the potential bad things. Fine, I drank nothing... knowing when the children napped, we'd eat and drink...

We put the children down for a nap. The childrens' playroom smelled so badly of pee. I decided that while they were sleeping, I would try and make it nicer (breathable). While I was mopping, the other woman came in, with what looked like a Door County Cooler. Maybe now I would say it looked like a small bottle of juice, with a cute outdoorsy scene on the label. She said," Here, take this." Thinking she was offering me her juice I say "Oh no. I'm fine." That was a lie. I was dying of thirst, but trying to be cross culturally know? She said. "No take it. It will get rid of the flies." I understood her well. Again, crossing cultures can be tricky. I thought she meant, "This is sitting around attracting flies." Ok, sounded like she was offering it to me. I took it and glugged it down.

I began to suspect that maybe we'd miscommunicated. Oddly, a little "poison alarm" started going off in my head. I had drunk the cute bottle. I spewed what was in my mouth, saying in (worthless) English "What is this?" Oh my goodness! She came rushing in! "Did I take it?", She asked. "Yes" No emergency services (besides a phone chat with a pharmacy tech...). Oh that woman was panicked and mad!  I stood on the verse and trusted. Nothing bad happened. I knew I had drunk something bad wasn't sure what, but just stood on a promise.

A few weeks later, I went on a trip with missionaries. They said, " We heard you drank turpentine." Oh. Is that what it was? It did taste bad. It isn't that which goes into my mouth that defiles me, but that which comes out...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet Cards

Moby Dick

My name is Ishmael.

I know this is silly, writing about a book, but I found the book fascinating. I also found the paradigm in which the book was written, so opposite of ours, that I just had to write about it.... This has very little to do with anything. I just have to share it.

Did you ever get whupped by a goal? I wouldn't have thought of myself as very goal oriented person a long time ago, but I have since decided that I am very goal driven, I just try to hide it from myself.
Anyway, years ago, I wanted to read Moby Dick. No matter how hard I tried, it just wasn't in me. I REALLY wanted to. Too boring, too long, too dull, not high enough on a list of to do's...  When I started feeling brainy a few days ago, I decided to tackle Moby Dick, just to show myself that I could. With less steroids, I could put 2 thoughts together and read a book. Um, Moby Dick was free on my phone...

So I read the book. I found it to be hilarious. If you never want to read it, Here is the whole plot in four sentences: Boy ships out on whaler with crazy captain Ahab. The whale breaks up all the ships. All the people drown. Ishmael gets rescued. Melville drops the final character... the whale. It doesn't say he died. It seems like he just swims off into the sunset. I find that funny. I also think that Melville was being paid by the word. He researched every aspect of whales, even their phrenology! Again, I found that funny!!! Very  thorough research Mr. Melville.

So the book was very funny, and the plot easily summarized... and it is a goal that no longer has me beat.

Probably you've all hit "DELETE" by now, but I found Melville's paradigm on whaling too interesting. He wrote about whales. The crew knew them to be necessary for oil... parlor lights. The take from 1 ship was so enormous that the whales were being way over-harvested (well, we know that now... they thought the supply unlimited... sounds kind similar to today, huh?) I wonder if God doesn't have a similar plan, where oil will becomes a non-issue like whale oil became a non-issue... just wondering... So the culture honestly thought whales mean and pretty dumb. Melville describes the nursing whales in so vivid terms, it seems like he watched National Geographic. Meanwhile, they are brutally killing the bulls, who are intelligently drawing off the hunters to save thee cows... it is so bittersweet reading it.

Once Ian 4, Isaac, 2, their cousin and I went on a whale watch off Portland Maine. The boat crew acted a little strange (way excited) as we left shore. We go to this place, and there were two huge whales. I took the last picture in my camera, they were so neat. Then those two whales played with the ship. it was once in a lifetime incredible. The would swim under the boat and come out the other side. Then they would slap their tails a bit away (you know, like the pictures), and then swim under the boat again. Almost like a dance. it was so fun. It made me believe everything I've ever read about smart endangered whales. they probably PLAYED with us for a half hour, then we went back. The difference in paradigms, that of almost reverence, and whalers 200 years ago was just too interesting ... Had to share it.. there ya go!

Call me Ishmael... No, just call me silly...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thngs I am grateful For

So we had decided that perhaps some of our troubles were too high levels of steroids were maybe the cause of the confusion and weakness. So we asked if maybe we could try tapering them. They said we could try it. I was so trying to hope. i think about an hour later a friend texted me Is 40: 28-31. It was as if God himself was encouraging me at just the right second. I  wept with gratitude. Over the next two days, as the steroids tapered, I could feel the confusion leave. I could do small tasks that I had been unable to do.

Eli and Doris caught the flu. Again, I was frightened (silly Denise...God is so big !). I did not get the flu. I did got rest while Eli rested, but I did not get that bug.

A couple of weeks ago I caught a cold. Again, what does a rattly wheezy chest cold mean with cancer???  Trying to trust in a good God and lavish promises. Check. Slowly, the cold faded to a tiny cough (Thank you God). Well, this week, the workers at the clinic noticed my (now tiny) cough. Zoop, Zap, Zup! I was scheduled for a chest xray! So we met with the doctor. Um... The cough  is actually about gone.. Can we not... We'll rush in for an xray if it gets worse??? They said "Fine". Thank you God. God gave us a clinic that lets you have power to make decisions.

So I started feeling bad about Doris. Remember that scene from Gomer Pyle with the old lady cooking one night for the men ?? Well, it's now been 9 weeks, and Doris is 83. Three nights ago, she was talking, and she said how much she was loving our staying with her. She liked cooking (again, the meals are incredibly close to gourmet. I've never cooked this well in my life... I "cook", but not like that!). Anyway, then she said, "When you are done with your treatment, I am going to find a border. She wasn't kidding. This is really working for both of us. Thank you Jesus.

Did I tell you about my girls? So we fall down this rabbit hole, and for them to stay down here in Los Angeles seemed crazy. So two friends said, "We'll just take them in our home".... um... it's now been 8 weeks. Your sacrifice of caring for my babies when I can't at all is so eternal.

I knew these might not be in order ,...  A couple of days ago two friends (they actually live in different cities, and don't know each other...) wrote me of dreams they had had where I had hair (It's kind of pot luck with cancer. Sometimes you get it back, and sometimes you don't... sometimes you get another color (gray)). So last night I realized my head is all whiskers!!! My hair is growing back !!! Thank you Jesus !

A few weeks ago, they noticed swelling in my right leg. So we went for an ultrasound. (me thinking not a big deal, right?) They say clots (um.... a number of them ... and in both legs...) The clots could move to the heart and it's sudden death.. So they do surgery and install a net in my inferior vena cava (okay, I want SOME of my students to remember what I'm talking about here...vena cava!!!) . No complications from surgery, nothing. Thank you God.

There's more. For now, though, I just wanted you to know we serve a lavish God. He is good all the time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday update: Choosing life

Today went for MRI and waiting for results. Did not seem like miraculous results we were hoping for. Meanwhile I am fighting confusion and hopelessness and decreased ability to take care of myself.

Felt like coming to a crisis today, should I roll over and play dead or fight for life? Decided to go for life and the promises He has been speaking over us since Dec. 11th. He has spoken only words of healing, hope and long life over me, words of plans for my future, crazy plans. Decided tonight I would trust in those words again. Trust in the lavishness of a good God and trust in God's ability to do what He has spoken. Trust in a God who is good all the time. Either I believe in the death sentence to kill, steal and destroy my family or I can say no there is no legal ground for what the devil is doing and trust that God will do what He has promised. I will put all my chips on the table on the side of what God has promised. No doubt, no fear just a lavish God.