Thursday, December 29, 2011

visitors :)

Just wanted to say a big THANKS to all who have called and those who dropped by Tuesday at the hospital and at home the past couple of days. It is encouraging to our hearts to hear from you! Thanks for your kind words and prayers, keep them coming!

In regard to visitors, some people have been asking about that . . . my dad CAN have visitors drop by the house but we ask that you not come if you have been sick recently or are feeling sick (even a little). Our request would be to just call ahead to make sure someone is home and that my dad is awake. Feel free to call too during the day, your words of encouragement and concern are welcome and have been a blessing! Thanks for being there for us and for walking along side us as we wait to hear more.

15,000 platelets and counting . . .

Praise the Lord! My dad's blood work this morning showed his platelet count to be at 15,000! His count TRIPLED since yesterday morning! This means the steroids are kicking in and doing what they are supposed to be doing . . . stopping his immune system from killing off all his platelets. He's still extremely low, his numbers need to get up to a minimum of 150,000 but he's out of the "very critical" number range. Yea!!!

The doctor did not do another infusion today because things are starting to kick in and increase. He is scheduled for another blood work up on Monday morning and he'll have a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday. Also another answer to prayer he slept 5 hours last night, 2 hours more than the previous night! Thanks to all of you who are praying! Please keep praying as we wait for answers and future treatment procedures. We are grateful!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

platelet count

So this Christmas holiday has proved to be more eventful than we expected. Christmas Eve my dad noticed a localized rash spot on his upper leg that turned into a huge rash down both legs and feet mid Christmas day. Being that it was a holiday weekend he couldn't get in to see his doctor until yesterday, Tuesday. He's been totally healthy for weeks and even ran 4 miles on the treadmill Monday night after work before heading to bed thinking nothing of his red spots.

Tuesday morning he went in to have his doctor look at the unusual rash on his legs and his doctor recognized it right away as something characteristic of ITP a short abbreviation for a crazy long medical term (Immune thrombocytopenic purpura). His doc had him go in for blood work which showed my dad had an extremely low platelet count. I've learned a lot in the past 48 hours about blood and platelets, for those medical people reading this you know more than I do about parts and functions of the blood.

Nutshell 101 on blood you have white cells, red cells, plasma and platelets. The platelets in our blood are the part that helps with blood clotting. If you have no platelets you can bleed out from an external wound (i.e. cut) or bleed internally and die. Another bit on platelets that I have learned 150,000-350,000 is a normal healthy platelet count. My dad's count yesterday morning was below 2,000! Any platelet count below 10,000 is considered a medical emergency and is critical. If he had not gone in to the doctor that day he likely would have died in his sleep last night never knowing there was a problem other than a rash that was spreading and bruises that started showing up on his body.

In the mix of events yesterday, it seems like a whirlwind, my dad had a TON of blood work done that is still be tested to rule out options but the hospital had two units of platelets brought in from Anchorage to infuse into his blood stream. One unit of platelets is 50,000 platelets so he had 100,000 platelets infused last night around 8:30 p.m. to up his count. All the while the ER doctor and our uncle who is a surgeon said he was not to leave the hospital to even check something in the car b/c a simple slip on the ice or gentle bump on the head could cause a cerebral hemorrhage that would kill him. What??

We are still taking in the seriousness of the situation and have many unanswered questions that Lord willing will be revealed in the days to come as more testing and blood work are done. I've also read up a bit on ITP below I've attached a quick online summary I found:

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood. ITP is sometimes called immune thrombocytopenic purpura. ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. Platelets help your blood clot by clumping together to plug small holes in damaged blood vessels. The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies.

In children, the disease sometimes follows a viral infection. In adults, it is more often a chronic (long-term) disease and can occur after a viral infection, with use of certain drugs, during pregnancy, or as part of an immune disorder.

Right now doctors are ruling out options. When my dad went in this morning for new blood work up (after his infusion last night) his count was back down to 5,000. We were discouraged to say the least to see that in less than 12 hours after his infusion of 200,000 platelets he was back down to 5,000 so quickly. The nurses working with him were also surprised but the doctor said to have him go home and come in tomorrow (Thursday) for another infusion of platelets.

What we DO know right now, my dad is confined to the house 24/7 other than going to the hospital for blood work and testing. His immune system is very weak b/c of the steroids he is on to guard his liver and to try and help stop the immune system from killing off all his platelets. He can't be around people b/c of his weakened immune system and b/c of the bruising (internal bleeding) factor. A simple stub of his toe could be life threatening. He was also told to not even walk on the treadmill b/c the impact on his joints could cause swelling and bleeding. My dad is as his doctor put it "an egg shell" right now that can easily be broken. We don't know what is causing this, it could be his spleen or even leukemia. He will have a bone marrow biopsy next week Tuesday to rule cancer in or out.

Ways you can pray . . . more than anything right now I think I can safely speak for all the Eller family we covet your prayers. Praise the LORD for the doctor visit and initial diagnosis on Tuesday! Without it we would likely not have our dad with us today. Pray for REST for my dad the steroids keep him awake, he slept a total of 3 hours last night and was awake most of the day today. Pray for PEACE OF MIND for all of us in the family our minds are still spinning from all the information. Pray for WISDOM for the doctors and a clear diagnosis by next week so we can move forward with more substantial treatment. Pray for PEACE for my dad to be able to lay low, very low and not get crazy cabin fever being "locked in at home." He is so used to be the contact pastor at WBC and go to guy he's not sure how to be a patient. :) Even last night at the hospital as he was waiting to get his infusion he heard a lady down the hall in the hospital moaning in pain and he got up to help her down to the ER making sure she was going to be okay. He can't help but help other people, he is hard wired for it. :)

As I look back over the past two days I think again about how precious life is. We truly don't know how long we have or how long our loved ones have. My dad shared with us last night at the hospital that God has been impressing a verse on his heart the past 2-3 months. It's the verse that says, "You don't know what a day may bring forth." He felt God preparing his heart months ago for something that was coming our way but he didn't know if it would be one of his kids, his wife or himself. When everything started to unfold yesterday he said it didn't come as a total surprise he felt God gently preparing his heart for this news awhile back.

Life is precious and we hope for a couple more decades with my dad around but none of us knows how long we have. Oh Lord may we live our fullest each day for Your glory that when we see You face to face in all Your glory You may say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Friday, December 02, 2011

60 things we appreciate . . .

When my dad turned 60 a couple of years ago I wrote a list of 60 things I appreciate about him. This year for my mom's 60th we decided to do a combine list from all her kids (in-laws included) of the things we appreciate about mom. Some are doubled up because they are so epic and special. We appreciate you more than you know mom! Thanks for all you do and all you have done the past 36+ years we have known you!

30 Things We Appreciate About Mom
(Dave and Aimy)

1. EPIC Birthday Cakes
2. Time
3. Constant reassurance that no matter what I ever did you would always love me
4. Memory verses as a young child in Kentucky
5. Letting me pronounce the word “ex-tellent”
6. Birthday Cookies at age 3 – Thirty Six Hours?!
7. Importance of family (reunions)
8. Great Thanksgivings
9. Love for people
10. Always being my advocate and defender
11. Giving me money toward a down payment on my house
12. Being supportive of career changes
13. Homemade pizza
14. Greenbean casserole 
15. Time with Grammie
16. Wonderful Christmas days
17. Sugar Cookies
18. Reading Where the Red Fern Grows
19. Teaching me to always tell the truth
20. Teaching me generosity
21. Teaching me to tithe
22. You love children and are a wizard with them, it’s truly amazing
23. You are proud of me always
24. You love and are supportive of Aimy
25. Demonstrating the importance of prayer
26. Organization
27. You had Dave (have you seen the size of his head!)
28. You raised him to the man he is now
29. You fought thru breast cancer so you can be around for many many years
30. You love the grandpuppies even though you are allergic to them

30 Things We Appreciate About Mom
(Anita & Ben)

1. Elaborate birthday cakes!

2. Cooking together

3. Your faithful prayers

4. Girl movie nights!

5. Mary Kay and make-up

6. Giving me your time

7. Tea Parties

8. Shopping dates

9. Reading Little House on the Prairie Books

10. Ringlets and ballet recitals

11. Making me learn to play piano

12. Your gift giving to others and to us

13. Your organization it definitely rubbed off . . . on me at least!

14. Phone calls any time of day when we are miles apart

15. Anne of Green Gables & BBC parties

16. Visiting me in college to give a little perspective

17. Always encouraging and challenging me to do my best

18. Being an example of a godly wife & mother

19. Time

20. Teaching me to be a good hostess for company

21. I appreciate how welcoming you have been to me from the first time you met me

22. Welcoming us over to your house anytime we need a relaxing game night or warm conversation

23. Assuring us that we have a willing babysitter when the time comes

24. Giving me counsel and insight when I don’t understand woman issues

25. Saying yes to me when I asked to marry your daughter

26. Raising such a godly daughter

27. Always treating me like family

28. Organizing the best Burdine family reunion that I have been to,
also the only Burdine reunion I have been to

29. Helping make our wedding flow smoothly

30. Praying for me before we met

31. I appreciate all the tears of love you have shed for me (It started when I asked to marry Anita, it continued at the wedding and has continued since.)

Happy 60th!

My mom turned 60 on the 25th of November. We had a big surprise party for her over at the Dodd's with a 50's theme. I think I can say the best part for us kids was that we completely surprised her, not an easy feet for a mom who knows everything! We had 50's music, trivia, decorations, and even a casserole potluck in honor of the 50s . . . yep, the 50's were known as being the era of casseroles. Canned soups like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and golden mushroom soup came out in the 50's changing the menus at home. Duncan Hines also came out with the first boxed cake mix along with frozen TV dinners and frozen pot pies. Who knew? We had a blast and ended the night with ice cream cake a lovely chocolate bunt cake (from the box of course) and root beer floats to add a "soda shop" atmosphere to the evening. Happy 60th mom! We love you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for . . .

Last night we had a pie and praise service at church. I actually got there about 45 minutes late waiting for my pie to finish baking, long story. During the service our senior pastor Ethan Hansen shares a little intro and then church family is asked to come up and share what they are thankful for as they feel led. When they are done sharing they light a candle in a huge cross that is up front as a reminder of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

Being so late I didn't know how much of the service I would actually experience so I quietly slipped in the back, found Ben sitting mid way down and squeezed in by him. I had no intention of sharing. Just this past week I have been thinking, wow it's already the holidays! It's that time of year to be writing Christmas letters reflecting on all the great happenings of the year etc, etc. I hate to even admit this but I struggled to think of things I am thankful for, this has been a challenging year personally and as a family (for Ben and I). As I listened to singles and families share the Lord overwhelmed me with things that I have to be thankful for and I was humbled to consider my discontent.

There were a couple of testimonies that really prompted me to share. One was a family, two youth and their mom that went forward to share said they are thankful for their parents, a father who is not a Christian but they hope and pray he will be someday and a mother who loves the Lord deeply and is a one year cancer survivor. Lord, thank you for my godly husband that is a spiritual leader who loves me deeply. Thank you for my own mother who is celebrating her 60th birthday this Friday and is a 7 YEAR cancer survivor.

Another young family went forward to share and the wife shared how thankful they were for their children (two daughters up front) but also their 5 month old son. It sounded like they had complications in his delivery but that's not what got me so much. She started sharing how she was thankful for their first son and what a joy and miracle it was to watch him grow over the months through ultra sound on and on and on and on. All I could think was "Please stop sharing!" My heart was breaking, I sat with tears streaming down my face. Yes Lord, the joy of mother hood, the joy of watching a child grow in your womb. That is one of the greatest desires of my heart presently and I thought, I have no idea what that experience is like. The ultra sounds I had this September showed that we miscarried, there would be no child only the hope of one for 8 weeks.

Thankful? Ugh! I was going to have to share because I AM thankful. God has shown me this year through our miscarriage some life lessons that I had lost sight of, one God is in control, I am not. As much as I like planning HE is the Master Planner. Second, His timing and His ways are best and I have to and choose to TRUST and REST in that. When I hear friends who have multiple children say "I wish I had a boy" or "I wish I had a girl" I think really? Hmmm, I wish I had A child. But even in that statement and frame of mind I am just as discontent as the mothers who wish for one more boy/girl etc. Lord thank you that you KNOW the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4-5). Thank you that YOUR timing is perfect. Thank you that I CAN TRUST you.

As I went up front to share I said that I am thankful for my mother's life that she is still here to share the holidays with and there is hope post cancer (for women sitting there) my mom is a 7 year cancer survivor. This also has hit new the past couple of months because two of the teachers I work with have been diagnosed with breast cancer and they are both starting chemo this week.

I am thankful for brokenness because if I am being honest I am broken. I don't have a cute little Christmas card idea this year or something crazy exciting to share that I just can't wait to get written on cute stationary. In reality I have had health issues since the end of July that I am still battling with. Even in that though I am thankful for my health. Thank you Lord that I do not have chronic pain or illness. I know several friends that do. I am grateful for the health that I do have.

Thank you Lord for the husband you have blessed me with. One of the fruits of the Spirit that I am the WORST at is PATIENCE! All my life it seems God has tested my patience maybe in hopes that I will GROW in that area? I am thankful that I waited 31 years for God's best and that I have a godly, patient, tender man that I could have never hoped for or imagined. For all the youth ladies reading this TRUST in God's timing and be PATIENT for God's best it is absolutely worth it!

Another thing God impressed on my heart the past couple of months post miscarriage has been new life. As much as I hope for new life in our family through a baby I hope and pray even more for new life in Christ for close friends and family members. I cannot imagine my life without Christ. Thank you Lord for the cross. Thank you for choosing me to be a child of the King. Thank you for the blood you shed on the cross for MY sins not because of any good I have ever done (Rm. 3:23; 6:23) but soley because of your LOVE for me (Rm. 5:8).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Allison & Ben

The Jim Burdine family (minus Ben the new groom, I know poor representation with my picture taking skills, Carrie I need lesson!) This is my mom's older/younger brother and his family. His oldest daughter Allison got married October 8th in Willamsburg, VA, absolutely beautiful location and wedding! Lynn, Katherine, Allison, Jim and Frederick Burdine

Me and Britt . . . we are holding "wedding wands" I guess it's one of the latest crazes in the wedding world. We waved them at the bride and groom as they left the church and then we took them to the reception and people danced with them, sounds weird but it was really pretty fun

yes, and there was dancing all night long, the tutus made it to the reception it's amazing what you'll do when you're wearing a tutu :)

Aimy (my sister-in-law) and Katherine (Allison's sister)

an inside story and tutu dance just for Allison :)

Eller family

Beth made a guest appearance on the wedding day :) Missed you Beth!!

party favors at the luncheon hosted by the Burdine aunts, Tammi had a professional cake decorator friend do bride & groom sugar cookies, they were incredible!

The Burdine girl cousins at Allison's bridal luncheon, she wanted everyone to wear hats to the luncheon we loved it!

October 8th my cousin Allison got married to Ben Tillman in Williamsburg, VA. It was a BEAUTIFUL location and venue. Allison is one of the 10 Burdine cousins on my mom's side . . . the side that does BIG triennial reunions across the country. Three of the ten cousins are married now and our reunions are growing. It was great to meet Ben for the first time and get to know some of his family. We are looking forward to initiating you in the family officially at our next Burdine reunion Ben! My Ben couldn't make it and our cousin Beth is currently overseas on her second deployment but everyone else was there for the celebration. Fun memories!

Monday, October 24, 2011

prank on KGB

As I was heading home from work tonight about 7:25 p.m., we had a late day with parent conferences, I was shaken up by a softball size rock hitting the passenger side of my windshield. It was one of the moments where everything happens so fast you're not sure how to process it all.

I had just turned off Fairview Loop onto KGB and about 1/4 mile heading south when the rock hit. I heard a loud thump, shatter and glass sprayed across my face and front. I thought at first it came from a truck or car passing by but there were no cars around me. It had been lobbed up from the right ditch, probably some nutso teenager looking for a fun kick. My less sanctified self would like to kick that teenager or whoever it was.

So I pulled off at Three Bears, parked and called 911 to report it. They said they've had other instances just like that in that same area over the past month or so. NOT FUNNY. Just a heads up to all you who drive down KGB on a regular basis the stretch between Three Bears and Fairview Loop is fair game for crazies. Be careful and report to the Troopers if anything suspicious is going on, they are keeping it all "on file" supposedly and looking for kids in that area.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

a Kroon wedding . . .

Gunner and Joani (Hannah's brother and Keet's oldest sister)

Ben and Brittany (Keet's brother and sister)

Mr. & Mrs.

All through high school, college and now as adults I have known the Kroon clan. Ben, Joani, Kep and I went to WHS together back in another era of life . . . my 15 year reunion was this past May!! Since our high school days we've all gone to college, some of us have gotten married, one is on Broadway, and some have kiddos running around keeping them busy.

Last night Keeton Kroon, the youngest of the Larry Kroon clan got married up at Hill Top ski resort. All week it has been pouring rain in south central AK. It was not looking like a good weekend for an outdoor wedding but to our surprise it cleared up mid day in Anchorage and Keeton and his bride Hannah had a gorgeous evening for an outdoor celebration! It was a fun night to see lots of friends, some up from out of state visiting for the week. Congrats to Keeton and Hannah! We love you guys!

dollar bill

Ben and I were tackling organizing our shed this week . . . spring cleaning came late for us this year. He pulled out a big three step stool that had been wrapped up in a garbage bag from our wedding. When he took off the big sticker stuck to the top step we found another wedding bill stuck inbetween! Two + years later we are STILL finding dollar bills that my family so cleaverly hid EVERYWHERE in our stuff. Talk about a GREAT wedding "prank"!! It is super fun to find MONEY even years later that people hid for us. Great memories, thanks Burdine family!!


This summer has busy, busy as expected when you're doing full time youth ministry. Ben was out a couple weeks in Kokrine Hills, a bush village, doing a youth camp for native Jr/Sr. high kids from surrounding villages. A team from Los Angeles teams with us to put on the camps. In total there is a 10 day junior high camp, a 10 day senior high camp and a 10 day discipleship camp follow-up for kids that make commitments during the previous two weeks or previous years. I was home holding down the fort during this stint of trips working summer school. Thought it would be nice to make a little extra working part time for 5 weeks. Work was good but it sure made the summer fly by!

A week after coming off of Kokrine another team of youth drove out to Eagle, I got to go with on this one :), and did a VBS along with service projects for the locals there. Ben and I went with the team in 2009 two weeks after our wedding before heading back down to CA. It was a great week of ministry and a fun time personally for me to reminisce about my high school days at WBC when we used to float the Yukon River from Dawson City, Canada to Eagle, AK. Eagle has had a major face lift since the spring 2009 flood which took out the first couple streets, homes, and buildings in Eagle. Our youth did a fabulous job putting on VBS and we had no car problems . . . that may be a first ever!

Ben has been working like crazy this week post Eagle to get VBS up and running which is this coming week. It's our last big push to wrap up the summer of big events then fall settles in, ahhhh we can't wait! I have been catching up on some much needed sleep and getting things (i.e. groceries, cleaning etc.) done before I head back to work next week. Life is a bit crazy for us these days but we are grateful to be doing ministry and to both have great full time jobs that we enjoy. God is faithful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

gardening . . .

butternut squash in front, tomatoes and some zuchini behind

I've harvested our rhubarb once already this summer and it's ready to be harvested again, last year I got 3 harvests out of the season

my hanging baskets have taken off this past month

lettuce starting to come up

our first tomato fruit

fresh basil

This year I am doing my first garden. A little of this and a little of that, some flouwers and some veggies. This post is in response to a request made by my cousin Beth who is serving her second term over seas. Enjoy! We love and miss you! Thanks for helping me get it going this past May.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Erin and her sister Caitlyn who was her maid of honor

Erin, OB and my dad

Johanna, me, Erin, Amanda, Emily, Mayerly

Becky and her dad

Two of my former youth girls from Wasilla Bible got married this past week. Becky and Chris got married in her parents back yard on a GORGEOUS AK summer morning! Erin and OB (Oba) got married on the military base in Anchorage yesterday on yet another GORGEOUS AK summer afternoon. Both girls were stunning brides!

It's hard to believe 4 years ago I was attending their high school graduations. The group picture at Erin's wedding is myself and Amanda who were youth leaders to all of the girls in that group. Three in that group are now happily married! God is so good! What fun memories! Love you both and wish you the best in marriage!


the Niednagel family at Crow Creek Mine

Jonathan, Peter, John Mark and Ben heading out to bear hunt

husky pups at the Iditarod Museum

sledding in the few patches of snow that were left

hiking at Hatcher's Pass

paddle boat races at a friend's cabin in Big Lake

Stephanie, Annie, Benjamin and Daniel at the glacier

Luke's bear

The end of May and beginning of June was a fun filled busy time with guests, guests and more guests. After my cousin Beth left to go back to Seattle to prep for her deployment some friends of ours, the Niednagels, from Los Angeles came up for nine days to visit.

This trip originally started as three fathers and their oldest sons coming up for a week to bear hunt with Ben. We talked the Niednagel crew in to an entire family vacation though! Soooo, The Niednagels came for 9 days and crashed with us at our place. It worked perfect, the parents took our spare bedroom and their 5 awesome kiddos crashed up stairs in the youth room that is filled with 12+ couches. They loved it!

Jonathan (the dad) and his two oldest sons spent a good part of their time out in Willow bear hunting baits Ben set up weeks prior. Stephanie and I took the younger three kiddos and toured around the area hitting Matanuska Glacier, Sutton fossil mines, Hatchers sledding and hiking, and the Iditorod Museum. The bummer part for the Niednagels is they did not end up getting a bear but two other groups that came up did. We did sneak in some family trips one to Crow Creek Mine, one to the AK Wilderness Center out past Girdwood and a day out fishing.

Rick Holland another friend from LA and a Rick G. from Kansas both came with their sons as well during the same week (arriving and leaving at various times). Rick G., his son and Rick Holland's son Luke all got bears so they were pretty pumped! Ben and I also got to take Rick H. and Luke out on a successful King fishing trip the day they flew out. It was a whirlwind couple of weeks but we loved having time with everybody! Hopefully they will come again and soak up even more of AK!