Monday, August 25, 2008

Are You Sitting Down?

If not, you just might want to take a seat before proceeding.

I am with child. read correctly. Go ahead...get it all out. The laughter, that is. It's more than a little comical, I know. When Steve announced it at church yesterday, the collective gasp and cheer were followed by multiple waves of laughter. So glad we could provide entertainment for you all.

Yes, I am 43.

Yes, Steve is 51.

Yes, our sons are old enough to know how this "happened to" Mom and Dad.

Yes, our current youngest will be a Freshman in college when this one goes off to Kindergarten.

No, we didn't do this on purpose.

After the laughter has died down, there are actually serious issues at hand. Afterall, I am of "advanced maternal age" (the medical world deems this phrase more positive than previous ones - bwah ha!), and there are many potential risks for the pregnancy and delivery, so we do covet your prayers for the baby's health. We have already seen a good heartbeat on our first ultrasound, but the baby is small for its gestational age, so we are keeping a close eye on his progress (that's the generic "his").

This also raises for us the question of whether or not I can manage the daily needs of an infant and Riesa simultaneously. I am finally old enough to realize that I am not Wonder only took about 40 years to figure that out. So pray for wisdom as we determine Riesa's future.

That's about all I have to say about that...for now, anyway!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Latest

The news today is that Jeffrey's cancer is inoperable, Stage IV lung cancer.

He begins a chemotherapy regimen tomorrow morning and radiation a few days from now. His doctor was non-specific about his chances of survival, and did not specifically call the treatment "palliative" but everything I've read about Stage IV indicates that "the aim [of treatment] is to control symptoms and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible."

Continue to pray, and include my parents, if you will. They are strong, faithful Christians and are trusting the Lord, but they are - as you might imagine - devastated. Mom has always called Jeffrey the apple of her eye...he holds a uniquely special place in both their hearts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Please Pray

At this very moment, my baby brother, Jeffrey, is having a portion of his skull removed. A tumor has grown there and doctors want to analyze it to determine what type of cancer has invaded his body.

We learned last Friday that he has at least a dozen cancerous tumors - in his skull, his chest cavity, his back near the spine, his left breast, his lungs, his kidneys, his liver, and several throughout his skeletal structure. The doctors were unable to determine which tumor is primary, and that is crucial information for determining the course of treatment which will be most likely to succeed. Today's surgery and biopsy, along with tomorrow's full-body bone scan should help determine the type and origin.

Jeffrey began experiencing severe back pain in March, and has been treated for a back injury for the past 6 months. The doctor finally ordered an MRI two weeks ago and that's when the first tumor was found. Within the next couple of days he shaved his head (he's a former Marine who does this routinely), and discovered a growth there. Suddenly, many symptoms that had been ignored came rushing together.

Each day that passes brings with it an increase in pain, as well as enlargement of the tumors. More and more become palpable every day, confirming the doctors' diagnosis of "aggressive." His decline is rapid and visible...he appears frail already.

Please pray for him. He and his wife, Dawnn, have 3 little ones: Cierra is 8, Thomas is 3 and Benjamin is 1. Pray for his health, but above all, pray that he will be at peace with Christ.

NOTE: Yesterday's surgery was successful. The tumor was confined to the skull and had not penetrated any brain tissue yet, which is good news. I saw Jeff briefly as they brought him to his room. He looked surprisingly good and was alert enough to be aggravated at the "race car driver" who slammed him into walls and doors during transport! If all goes well, he should return home today after the bone scan. We have been told to expect a report tomorrow from both tests.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The "OUT" is The Thing

There you have my simplified summary of the principle underlying the Moneyball model.

The best way to field a winning team year after year is to buy offensive players who are the least likely to get outs. The best stats for predicting that? Not the super-hyped batting average, or even slugging-percentage, but the underappreciated On-Base-Percentage. Hitters who find a way to get on base are hitters who don't make outs. A highly disciplined batter, not only recognizes and waits for pitches with which he can be effective, but also draws walks and elevates the pitch count.

The next best way to win is to purchase pitchers who are the most likely to induce outs. The stats to consider? Walks, homeruns and strike-outs. Why? The idea is that these three are the only ones over which a pitcher has sole control, and apparently these stats remain consistent among the best pitchers from season to season. The number of hits allowed can vary significantly even when these three remain steady. Part of the argument for ignoring hits is that once a ball is put into play, too many factors influence what happens next: field conditions, fielders' positioning, defensive skills, and plain luck. Stats regarding any ball put into play cannot consistently predict a pitcher's performance.

This same argument is used to downplay the importance of superb defense. While I agree that the single stat used for determining fielding ability (errors), might be a poor indication of a player's skill, it is hard for me to accept that the overall effects of good defense are negligible. IF the out is the thing, then wouldn't you want to field those players who are most likely to produce outs - especially the unusual, hard-to-get outs? Moneyball says no. The players' offensive contributions have a much more significant effect on the outcome of a greater number of games than does their defense. Hmmm.....maybe we're just not keeping the right stats to track what impact defense has.

My conclusion is that if you love baseball - like April, Angie and I do - you'll enjoy reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis has taken the potentially tedious topic of baseball economics as it relates to baseball statistics, and made it interesting by including a number of fascinating stories of circumstances and lives from the inside.

Great story. Easy read.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Because I Have Nothing to Say

I do love Jane, you know, so I simply couldn't resist wasting 6 minutes on this quiz! I think maybe they got this one right!

Which Jane Austen heroine are you? created with

You scored as Elinor Dashwood

You're Elinor Dashwood, the "sense" of Sense & Sensibility! You tend to hide your emotions, but you feel deeply. You also feel obligated to carry the burden of keeping everyone in your family under control.

Elinor Dashwood


Fanny Price


Anne Elliot


Marianne Dashwood


Elizabeth Bennet


Emma Woodhouse


Catherine Morland