View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hero Mamas

Tera and Lani
This is the first of two stories of two working moms who persevered against incredible odds to accomplish a dream and a goal of becoming a Doctor of Nurse Practitioner.  They did it while working, raising a family and burning an enormous amount of mid-night oil.  In the course of their studies they have become close friends.  They supported and encouraged each other when times were difficult.  They accomplished this despite the odds against success.  They proved that with perseverance and dedication, anything is possible.

I am going to start with Lani's story because  -- well, she's my daughter and since I'm writing this I can do what I want.  

Lani graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in education, but after her experience during student teaching of 5th year high school seniors she decided against teaching.  She and her husband Randall started a family that now consists of three very bright and funny kids.

Still feeling a desire to teach, she went to work for Legacy Hospital Systems teaching health education for 11 years. She and Randall began home schooling their children at an early age. Then in 2004 Lani entered Linfield University's accelerated nursing program and graduated in 2005.  She was then hired as a nurse for OHSU in their birthing center.  The defining point in Lani's career came early in 2009.  Her family joined Jeri and I on a medical mission trip to Ecuador.  She went to teach health education concerning nutrition and sanitation.  While there she began to feel a calling into family practice, especially where she could provide free medical care for the disadvantaged.  Lani then applied to OHSU for entry into their Master's program for Nurse Practitioner.

In the summer of 2009 Lani was accepted into the Master's program and started that fall. She cut her hours at work to 24 per week which maintained the family health insurance and started taking one to three extra classes a semester.  During this time she also became a crusader and started working with the state legislators on home birth issues.  She researched and wrote several papers on home births and infant mortality, which was also the topic for her PHD Clinical Inquiry Project.  

Lani graduated in 2011 and was immediately hired by Providence Portland Medical Center to start up and operate an in house Urgent Care facility offering free health care for Providence employees.  She was also accepted into OHSU's doctorate program and was awarded a Project Access Scholarship.  Without the scholarship she would have had to return to full time work, as Randall had been downsized in 2010 and was doing financial and actuary consulting for less money.

Lani and Providence worked out an arrangement that called for her working three days a week for wages and two days without pay but the hours would count toward her residency requirements. 

Apparently Lani felt she had some spare time somewhere between 7 at night and 6 in the morning when she wasn't working on her dissertation or sleeping, so she wrote an article on Nursing Leadership that was published by Clinical Scholars Review.  

But all the hard work and sacrifice has paid off because on June 4th she graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  She is on a parity with your family doctor and dentist, the only difference being her education focused on the treatment side of medicine rather than the research side.

Beth, Lani, Randall, Mitchell, Drew
Behind each success story are the support team that helps make this all happen, because without them it is either not going to happen or it is going to take a lot longer.  Randall, the husband, head home school educator, chief cook, food procurer and head task delegater for their three kids, was a huge asset.  He does all this while having his own physical problems dealing with MS.  He is also a hero and Super Dad and Jeri and I feel so blessed to have him as a son-in-law.

But without the grunt work that Mitchell, Beth and Drew accomplished, all of this would have been much more difficult.  They did most of the yard work, house cleaning, laundry, dishes and helping with meals.  Many times they would take charge of meals and do all the preparing and cooking.  Once Mitchell turned 16 he did a lot of the ferrying of Drew and Beth where ever they had to go.

Yes, it was a team effort with a tremendous amount of moral support and encouragement from Lani's brothers and sister, Chuck, Kris and Andy and sister-in-law Stacia.  That is how success is achieved, a team effort built around family and friends who pray and trust God for paving the way, opening doors of opportunity,  and providing the energy and knowledge along the way.  To Him be the glory given!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It has been over two months since I last wrote, two very busy and sometimes stressful months.  My last posting was on the 21st of March.  But through everything, the past 5 months and the past two and a half years, there have been a multitude of blessings which I feel compelled to share with you all.   
Even when I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me live to tell the people of this age what your strength has accomplished, to tell about your power to all who will come.  Psalms 71:18  

We had been in our new - to us - home for all of 5 weeks, and then we were starting to realize that we had to begin preparations to head back to Oregon for a PET scan and MRI, and back to the ranch in Summerville.  We had to find a yard service, sell the hot tub which we had no use for and didn’t want the upkeep, file papers for property tax which would be due while we were gone, arrange for a neighbor to watch the place, check on the water and power to make sure they had our Oregon address and phone numbers, etc., etc..  The only good part of having so much to do was the elephant in the room was having difficulty finding equal time. 

Then, we discover that God had a plan about who was going to live in our house in Oregon – and it wasn’t us.  It is truly amazing how God works and provides, sometimes before we even ask or ask but not knowing really what exactly to ask for.  Jeri and I have been concerned about the house sitting vacant for so long, not wanting to open it up to just anyone to rent, and so hadn’t told anyone that it might be available.  Then one morning I get a call from a lady in our church whose husband is a business professor at Eastern Oregon University.  They had purchased some land on Hunter Road with the idea of building a home there.  They decided to put their house on the market not knowing how long it would take to sell.  Lo and behold they get two offers in the first week.  So now she begins scrambling around trying to find a house big enough for them and their three kids and two dogs.  She asks everyone in the church and her friends if anyone knows of a rental available.  A few names are suggested but never ours.  For a week she searched with no luck, but a tiny voice or thought keeps coming into her mind "Call Mike Query".  She can't understand why my name keeps coming up in her mind but resists it because what do I have to do with renting houses.  Finally she can't stand it any longer and decides to call me thinking that I might know of somebody with a house to rent.  I replied " Eh, yeah, me!  She was really surprised to hear we were still in Hawaii, thinking in her mind we were in Portland for my scheduled scans.  She said she would have never called us if she had known we were in Hawaii.  The Holy Spirit has used both families to meet each other’s needs.
Praise the LORD, my soul, and never forget all the good he has done:  He is the one who forgives all your sins, the one who heals all your diseases, the one who rescues your life from the pit, the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion,  the one who fills your life with blessings so that you become young again like an eagle. Psalms 103:2-5

As most of you know, after the last MRI and CT-PET scan, I was given a clean bill of health and told that further scans were not necessary unless I felt something wasn’t right.  Mucosal Melanoma is one of the rarest and deadliest cancers.  In 50% of cases the cancer returns within the first two years.  Five year survival rate is 15-38%, depending on what study you look at.  It has been 2 ½ years since initial diagnosis and two years since the last radiation treatment.  It is at least a minor miracle that I have been granted more years to serve my Lord.  He is given all the credit for providing the gifts of Doctors and Surgeons to treat this cancer and, if not defeat it, at least has kept it at bay.  I praise my Lord and God every day for the blessings he has given me.  Of course, I am still waiting for the “young like and eagle” part.    

Deu. 32:3  I will proclaim the name of the LORD.  Give our God the greatness he deserves!  But the battle is not over.  Cancer does not give up easily.  It does not play by the rules.  It can come back at any time, and when it does it comes back aggressively.  So please continue to pray.  I thank everyone who has prayed and I’m humbled by the number of you.  

"Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way," says the LORD of Armies. "See if I won't open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings.  Malachi 3:10 The amazing thing about this Scripture is that there are no indications what those blessings will look like, or when they will come; only the promise that they WILL come, and they will be abundant.  The test is whether we can be patient and wait on God, whether we can persevere in our giving. 

When Jeri and I first decided to test the waters concerning God’s will for us and Hawaii, we asked for keen vision in recognizing open and closed doors.  We set parameters of what had to happen or not in order for us to move forward.  In every case the doors were open.  We prayed specifically that we did not want to make the choice of what house to buy, or where, that we wanted it to come down to where there was only one, the one that God wanted us to have.  And that is exactly what happened.  It came down to one house standing head and shoulders above all the rest in our price range, a no-brainer of a decision of what house to buy.  And then we asked about the availability of the furnishings, and they agreed to sell us those also.  Those were huge blessings.  The owner was a painting contractor and the inside and outside of the house had been completely repainted.  It was spotless!  Another blessing. 

But the real blessing is Family.  Jeri and I are blessed with kids and their spouses, grand kids, sisters and brother-in-laws, nieces and nephews that are loving and kind and so much fun to be around.  And then there is our church family in La Grande, who for over 40 years has been such a blessing to our family. 

Too often I believe that people look at this verse in Malachi as being a promise of wealth in monetary terms.  Yet even adversity can be a blessing.  My two bouts with cancer produced unimaginable blessings that I would have never experienced without them.  It revealed to me the large number of people that were praying for me and cared for me, and allowed them to utilize their spiritual gifts of ministry by helping me do things that I had neither the strength nor energy to do. 

1Corinthians 12:26-27 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.  This is the verse that prompts me to share with all of you over the past two years what has gone on in our lives, that you could be partners in prayer and rejoicing, and that it would give you hope and encouragement in your own daily walk. 

Philippians 2:17-18 My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service I offer to God for your faith. Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you. For this same reason you also should be filled with joy and share that joy with me.  This Fourth of July we will have the joy of adding another daughter-in-law to our family when Andy and Leslie marry.  She has already brought joy and fun to the family in the times she has visited the ranch and last September when she joined in the family gathering in Hawaii.  She will be a great addition to this family and we look forward to her sharing the gifts and talents God has given her, and the wisdom and knowledge she has learned from her family and experiences.  Another blessing from God.   

Yes, God has richly blessed Jeri and me, beyond measure, more than we deserve.

1Co 15:57 Thank God that he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.