Monday, December 29, 2008

An end of a year...

We are almost finished with what I call our "rolling Christmas." Last Friday, Sumi, Scott and Taylor's flight from NYC was canceled. So no Christmas with them -- yet (but we do expect to see them today on their way back from Green Bay).

Sabine's niece, Kim, and her two boys didn't make it last week because a car hit them about a mile from home. Thank God, no injuries, but their car was out of service.

We did do Christmas Eve mass at St Andrew's in Monroe, WI. But it was tricky driving there with all the snow, wind, and sub-zero temperatures we have had. Then to top it off, we had rain and temperatures in the high 40s. Well, that's Wisconsin.

But this year end is not only Christmas for us, or New Year's Eve, but also our Anniversary -- this year our 27th!

I wrote a poem for Sabine. This was scary year for us. We didn't know if she would still be around at this year's end.

i often
think of our life together
like a immense photo album
but the early photos
are not
black and white
they are all techni-colored
vibrating radiant
they flash and dash
like a documentary collage
through my mind
and now
as we age
the expectant colors slightly fade
i look for them
wanting them again
the flashing dancing radiance
instead i find myself
walking with you
along a path
it seems like late fall
the summer colors are gone
but instead
something is new again
peaceful and calm
we are filled with deeply
rich tones
tones of an old sepia print
and we look at each other
and fearlessly

[dec 29, 2008 -- on the anniversary of our 27th year together]


Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Early Christmas Present

No, this is NOT a new picture... This is a pic of Sabine after 9-11 when the police got all this fancy riot control gear.

But what I wanted to do by posting this picture of my gal was to illustrate that she is a fighter! And this week proved it!

First of all, our meeting with Dr Sheehan was, again, GOOD NEWS! While Sabine's cancer numbers were up somewhat over last time they were not significantly up; that is, not up enough to trigger a new round of chemotherapy.

The doc seemed happy with her progress and that made Sabine happy and when Sabine is happy so am I!

The following day (Thursday) we had our monthly clinical appointments at the dialysis center and a check as to how the third surgical attempt at a fistula hookup was working.

Since the surgery we had detected a pretty good pulse at the surgical site and had even experienced what is called a "thrill;" that is, a definitive pulse you can feel at the surgical connection site with your finger tips.

And you know what? It was confirmed by the medical staff that the connection sounds and feels pretty good. Sabine now needs to let it "mature;" that is, she will now do specific exercises like arm curls to get the blood flowing in that area and expand those dinky veins over hers.

Nevertheless, we are not going to rush on this and let this site develop. So that's MORE good news this week.

Later this spring, I plan on putting Sabine out on the championship arm wrestling circuit. Perhaps you can come and see her at bar or tavern near you.

We are looking forward to Christmas and seeing Sumi, Scott and little Taylor along with Josh, Sarah, and nieces Teak and Kim. Teak with husband Kelly and their two kids, Seger and Malea, and Kim with her two boys, Jared and Jackson. Daughter Yumi cannot be home this Christmas as she is working help a unit in her battalion return from Iraq.

Blessings to all of you as we all contemplate the road to Bethlehem and the birth of child who changed the world.

David and Sabine

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Look!

It's below zero... snowing out and so I decided to put a new look for a coming new year on our blog! Hope you enjoy it and slowing down and engaging the sacred as we walk toward Bethlehem....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Florida and Back!

We made it down and back. The home dialysis went well with no hitches. The camper preformed admirably... and now we are back home shivering in below ZERO temperatures!

While we were in Florida we meet with granddaughter Lauren and her friend, Kayle and had a nice dinner and poolside evening with them.

The adventure continued when daughter Jennifer, husband Karl and granddaughters Molly and Rosie came for a day in the pool.

We also had a visit from friends Rusty and Diane Olson who had recently moved nearby to Winter Garden. They were members of our parish in North Lake.

Sabine tried to spend as much time as she could in the sun.

On the way home we stopped overnight at a beautiful state park in Georgia and then found ourselves sleeping in a truck stop in Illinios when we found two state parks and they both were closed!

We have a big week ahead of us:

This afternoon we received our monthly shipment of dialysis supplies (over 50 boxes).

Tomorrow we meet with our support group in Madison.

On Wednesday, we check in with Dr Sheehan and see how the cancer is doing or NOT doing!

On Thursday we attend our monthly medical clinic at the dialysis center in Madison and get a medical, social, dietary "check up" and more supplies... (it's not over yet....)

On Friday and Saturday kids and nieces and nephews roll into Blue Mounds for an early Christmas (we seem to have to do that each year to try and get everyone together).

Sunday is 4th Advent and then Sabine and I have a quiet week as we prepare for Christmas Eve Mass at St Andrew's in Monroe where I am the celebrant! Phew!

Nevertheless, as we all approach the Sacred Time, Sabine and I wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas and New Year's!

Last year, Sabine's cancer was "kicking in." We didn't know what it was during Christmas time and then on New Year's Eve we were in the hospital. We have all come a long way. We never thought we would ever be celebrating this Christmas together. God is good.

And as we said in our Christmas Letter... "this has been the most challenging year we have faced. We have learned four important things:

1. Human beings are very adaptable.
2. Love is powerful.
3. Laughter heals.
4. Family and friends are indispensable!

With our heartfelt love...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Safe and Sound in Sunny Digs!

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Here we are in sunny climes -- Vistana Resorts near Buena Vista! We now have had a successful dialysis here in our resort... and our dialysis supplies arrived via truck (we had emergency backup in the camper if we needed them!). The weather is great... and the best thing was that Sabine said that she had forgotten that she had cancer... and that's what all this is all about!!

Peace from both of us...

Friday, December 5, 2008

On the Road!

On Wednesday we did our dialysis and then headed south in a snowstorm.

We stopped at Metropolis, IL just before entering into Kentucky. I wonder if their newspaper is called "The Daily Planet"?


Lois, is that you?

No, it's Wonder Woman!!

Now in Georgia just south of the horrendous Atlanta traffic we started searching for BBQ's -- and we found one of the best!

After one night in a state park near Paducah, KY we headed south and found a great campground in the Osceola National Forest near Lake City. FL.

We had our morning coffee watching the sunrise and were treated to an early morning rainbow. Then it was a press-on day to Orlando and our place near Buena Vista (Mouse Country)!

Our dialysis supplies arrived intact at the resort and we are ready to go....

We, of course, miss you all and wish you could join us for this 85 degree weather!

Love to all of you,
David and Sabine

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day!

We started out Thanksgiving morning with a pole-walk around Lake Marion in Mazomanie with our trusty companion, Mocha.

Then a stop at the water course that used to go to the Old Feed Mill in bygone days.

Then, a trusty turkey raised by our friends down the road from our farm, Gil and Kathleen. It was truly a tasty bird.

Charlotte is down in Missouri and we had a day together (which was great as Sabine was recovering from the surgery and anesthesia -- and, to report, so far, so good -- we were able to hear a strong bruie at the vein-artery connection point).

Then the feast with most all the trimmings! A day in which to truly be thankful!

Then, as has been our tradition over the years, a visit to a local movie theater to see one of the new releases. In our case, it was the epic film, "Australia."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So far... so good!

Sabine had her third surgery yesterday to try and make a hook-up for a fistula which would permit better and safer access for hemodialysis.

The surgery went well and Dr Becker was encouraged. This is probably our last attempt and we will, instead, stay with the tunnel catheter. While it is not the best connection it will be better than trying an implanted graft which could easily clog up like the other connections we have attempted.

This picture is a shot of our friend, Adrian Ward, who visited us from Scotland a couple of weeks ago. Adrian is also a retired "copper."

Sabine is in good spirits and looking forward to Thanksgiving and then some vacation time for the first two weeks of December. We are just about to take a nice walk with Mocha around our little lake in Mazomanie.

Again, we thank all of you who continue to hope and pray with us. It is hard to believe that a year has almost passed by since our diagnosis! We are thankful for the time we have -- we try and live everyday to its fullest -- but then shouldn't all of us do that all of the time?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter is Coming, the Snow is in Sight!

Oh, I guess the song is "Shrimp Boats Are A-Comin', Their Sails are in Sight" and not "Winter is Coming..."

A cold Saturday morning with snow flakes in the air awaited us as we headed north to Stevens Point. We registered for the "Non-violence Conference” that was sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches and led by Ched Myers or Bartimaeus Ministries (see Ched had some VERY interesting and provocative things to say about the first two chapters of Mark’s Gospel and what Jesus was trying to tell us.

Mark's Gospel gives us a model of non-violent resistance to Empire (whenever we read “Rome” in the New Testament, simply replace it with “us” -- we are the empire. We are the domination power in contrast to the new power of the new Way Jesus taught (Incidentally, both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. got the message quit clearly).

The Message and the Procedure:

1. Proclaim resistance to the system of domination in your society. In order for conflict to be transformed it must first be exposed. Jesus went about exposing the Roman domination system in Jewish Palestine which marginalized the poor and transferred wealth upwards to the elite.

2. Confront the system. Jesus had the audacity to enter the temple and teach there -- a real confrontation. The system provided for the scribes to do this, NOT poor Jewish carpenters from Galilee.

3. Withdraw, pray, re-focus. After a prophetic proclamation and “action” (confronting the system) it is absolutely necessary to rest, refresh, heal and reflect before the next mission/action.

4. The system is challenged again as Jesus heals the sick (only priests are to do this) and touches lepers (breaks the purity code). He forgives sins and interprets the Torah (challenging again the priests’ status and social power).

5. Jesus again withdraws for prayer and re-focusing.

So what we have here is an effective model for social action. To get a better feeling for where Myers is coming from see his article, “Hope is Where Your Ass Is: How I Got Stated in the Movement,” at Also read Ghandi and King.

Also buzzing around in my head last week was Old Testament Theologian Walter Brueggemann’s “19 Theses,” which I have linked below but will attempt to summarize: Brueggemann helped me to first realize that Empire is us; America today.


My humble attempt to summarize Brueggemann’s "Nineteen Theses" in 10 statements:

1. Everybody has and lives by a “script” – a dominant social narrative. We get scripted though the process of socialization – simply living in our society does this. And the dominant script in America is “technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism.” It socializes us all.

2. This script is enacted (constantly) through advertising and propaganda in our society – mainly through the liturgies of television that promise to make us safe and happy.

3. But this script has failed. It doesn’t work. The script of military consumerism cannot make us safe and it cannot make us happy; consequently, we may be the most unhappy society in the world.

4. Eventual health for our society depends upon disengagement from and relinquishment of that script. But we resist it.

5. De-scripting is providing an alternate script that can make us happy and safe in the world. De-scripting is steady, patient and intentional work – it is the counter-narrative to “technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism.”

6. It is the task of ministry to de-script the dominant social script that cannot make us happy or safe.

7. The most distinctive feature of the alternative script is God. This God is “ragged, disjunctive, and incoherent because this God is “illusive… irascible… and hidden.” This script (story) cannot be smoothed out. The dominant script of “technological, consumer militarism” is all about certitude, privilege, and entitlement and this counter-script is not. Thus care must be taken to let this script be what it is, which means letting God be God’s irascible self.

8. It is the work of ministry to introduce this illusive, irascible character called God through the practices of preaching, liturgy, education, social action, spirituality, and being a neighbor. The entry point to this counter-script in the Christian tradition is baptism where the dominant script is renounced.

9. The ragged, disjunctive, and incoherent quality of the counter-script to which we testify cannot be smoothed or made seamless. If this happens, this script gets flattened and domesticated and it becomes a weak echo of the dominant script of technological, consumer militarism. And most of us are ambiguous about the script and are not at the deepest places wanting to choose between the dominant script and the counter-script.

10. Thus… the work of ministry is crucial and pivotal and indispensable in our society precisely because there is no one except the church and the synagogue to name and evoke the ambivalence between the two scripts and to manage a way through it.

[Full text of Brueggemann at:


I think we both drove home from Stevens Point energized with not only hope but also the potential we have in faith-based social change. How long has the war been going on now? Eight years, can that be possible? And how many have died now? How many have life-altering injuries? How many have lost their homes and have been displaced?


This week we meet with our cancer support group in Madison and I will be leading a walk with the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, at Bethel Horizons near Dodgeville (not too late to register and attend…)

The following week, Thanksgiving Week, we have surgery scheduled for Tuesday as Dr Becker makes another hookup attempt with Sabine’s narrow arm veins.

After that we will have to decide what method is best for Sabine’s continuing dialysis. In the meantime, home dialysis is working well and we are looking forward to doing a little travelling this winter.

We both thank you for your continuing prayers, healing thoughts and support.

p.s we were joined by Charlie Bradley (a grizzled peaceworker from Portage) and his wife, Sue. Charlie and Sue worked with us when we served at St John's Episcopal Church in Portage).

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Monday, November 10, 2008

A Busy Weekend

The first snow hit our farm and the lovely ranges of Blue Mounds. It didn't stick but temperatures went down into the 20s. Winter is coming...

How sweet it is... those of us who supported Barack Obama are basking in the glow, but knowing we all, together, Democrat, Republican, Green, and Independent, must now pull together. We have our agenda ahead of us: jobs and the economy, the war, healthcare, and the environment. Remember, it's "WE" the people!

At one of our favorite restaurants, the Blue Spoon, on the Wisconsin River at Prairie du Sac.

Off to the art museum in Milwaukee to see the interactive art show -- so we "interacted" as Sabine is drawing a picture on the wall.

Sitting at one of the Milwaukee Art Museum's windows that look out onto Lake Michigan.

Our friend, Adrian, who invited us to Scotland a few years ago came to visit us and attend the Deming Conference in Madison. We saw a lot of old friends from the quality improvement days... (have twenty years possibly passed?). Here is a pic with Adrian, Peter Scholtes and me.

On Sunday, I gave the opening prayer for fellow "Veterans For Peace" at Forest Hills Cemetery in Madison.

Here is a shot of nearly 5,000 headstones. Each one representing a military man or woman killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. If we were to add the civilian "collateral" deaths it would most likely circle the city.

You can see more photographs on Facebook at:

Sabine is doing well. We have another surgery in two weeks and we will have to decided after that whether or not to pursue a "graft" or stay with her tunnel catheter for dialysis purposes.

Hope everyone is well... take care of yourselves and remember the key to aging: "Keep your head cool, your feet warm, your bowels open and trust in the Lord."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Here we are in line at the Town of Brigham offices. It's 6:45 a.m. and we are ready to vote. Our friends Gary and Patty Moyer are #1 and #2. We were #7 and #8 to vote.

Sabine is outside the Town offices rejoicing in casting her vote! (Guess who for?)

Then it was off to the fitness center in Mt.Horeb for exercise before we headed to our cottage in Mazomanie for our morning dialysis.

Last night I was invited to an award presentation for an old friend and colleague, Luis Yudice. Luis won a special commuity service award. He was one of my captains when I was in Madison and is now chief of security for the Madison School District.

Joining us was a host of former and present police officers. From left to right, Lt. (soon to be Captain!) Joe Balles, Retired Captain Ted Balistreri, me, Luis, Chief of Police Noble Wray, Captain Mary Shaw, Asst. Chief John Davenport, and Retired Captain George Silverwood. A lot of nostalgia here...


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Sunday, November 2, 2008


This weekend Sabine and I worked in Barneveld for the Iowa County Democrats and Barack Obama's campaign.

This is the office in nearby Dodgeville, where we picked up our material.

We know that not all of you will be voting for our candidates, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. And that's okay. You are still our friends and we still love you!


That's the important thing. And then, on Wednesday morning to come together and all of us to work to move this great country forward!

Love to all of you from both of us!

p.s. On the medical front: Sabine is scheduled for surgery (again) the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The recent pictures of the veins and arteries in her arms did not look good -- too thin. We are going to try one more fistula attempt at one promising area. After that, Sabine will have to decided to either go for a graft involving a synthetic implant (which, given her small veins may not work) or staying with her tunnel catheter and saying goodbye to water activities. Please pray for what may be a miracle!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good News!

Some good mid-week news!

We met with Dr Sheehan yesterday and reviewed Sabine's "numbers." Those nasty little proteins called "lambda light chains" (which originally caused her kidneys to fail back in December) continue to be repressed.

What this means is that Sabine has another 8 week reprieve from chemotherapy. Hallelujah!

Thanks to all of you who have either prayed for her or sent good healing thoughts to her in other ways.

We look forward to a better Christmas and New Year than we had last year.

And we are very, very thankful people!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trial Run: Mobile Dialysis Clinic

Last week ended with a bit of a sour note: we went into surgery on Friday expecting to widen the vein-artery hookup for Sabine's fistula. Instead, we got the bad news that the connection was not working and that (again) Sabine's veins were too small.

So, this coming Friday we will meet with the access surgeon, Dr Yolanda Becker, and see what she recommends. We do have some good x-rays and Dr. Yevzlin, the surgeon on Friday, said he saw some promising veins near the elbow of the arm.

Right now, with all of Sabine's surgery scars on her arm she looks like she has been in a knife fight and lost!

We recovered the disappointment of the day by continuing our plans to do a trial run with our new camper and to do dialysis at one of our state parks on the way to see our grandkids in St. Paul.

We stopped at Willow River State Park near Hudson and found it to be a magnificently beautiful park with high bluff hiking trails, a cascading waterfall and plenty of deer seeking refuge from the hunters that surrounded the park. We woke up on Saturday morning to find three of them meandering around our campsite.

We had packed up and rechecked all of our dialysis supplies, and although the surroundings were somewhat confined, the treatment procedure went well with no problems and no alarms on the machine! The camper has a heater, hot water, refrigerator and all the comforts of home. It got below freezing that night, but we were quite comfortable in our queen sized bed with down comforters.

After a long hike on Saturday morning we settled down for the day over a campfire.

Saturday was our dialysis "day-off" and we woke up early Sunday morning, did the procedure and then headed up to St Paul to see Peter, Tammy, and our three grandkids: Samantha, Ben and Hannah.

We spend the night in the camper in Pete and Tammy's driveway, had breakfast with the gang, kissed them "goodbye" and headed back to Wisconsin.

What started out as a potential "bummer" for the weekend turned out to be the best of all times! God is good!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Weekend

Some weekends are best when nothing is precisely planned... A weekend of just "hanging out!"

So Sabine, Mocha and I headed a little south to the Mineral Point Art Fair, checked out some pottery, had "pasty" to go and sat on one of the benches downtown and enjoyed the warm sun and the people.

Afterwards, we drove up to Governor Dodge State Park and checked out Stephens Falls. (I was there two weeks ago for Grandson Ben's "Manhood Initiation Rite" to celebrate his 13th birthday (you can see more of that at: This is a beautiful place that was etched into a canyon and waterfall (probably after the ice age).

Our next stop was Global Village just south of Spring Green and west of Taliesin on County Highway C. We heard about this event and thought it would be interesting.

Marion, from Global Village, has been visiting Indonesia for over 30 years. She persuaded an Indonesian band and dancers to come up to Wisconsin from Chicago. It was beautiful! We had dances from Bali and Java and authentic Indonesian music with three gamelans (a xylophone-like instrument), drums and gongs.

I, unfortunately, expired my camera battery before I had a chance to take a picture of the dancers (but I found one on the internet that was very similar to what we saw!).

As we drove home, we were overwhelmed by the cultural opportunities in this area of rural Wisconsin -- and it's not even Madison!

On Sunday, I "supplied" at St Mary's Episcopal Church in Dousman -- a lively congregation!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we consult with Sabine's oncologist/hematologist on October 29th!
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