Friday, April 24, 2015

Kelley Highway Ketchup

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a person's faith;
It's all in the state of the mind.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster hand;
They go to the one who trusts in [God]
And always thinks "I can."

I was diagnosed and absorbed like a sponge my Texas weekend with my sweetie, then had the prescribed vocal cord polyp surgery. It's time to ketchup, ain't it? (Can you tell I'm in the south, y'all?)

When Dr. Denninghoff explained the variety of causes for vocal cord polyps, I'd already read this one on the online list, GERD. "Have you had this hoarseness before?" he wondered. "Yes, only ever on deputation."

Interesting what I learned about this connection between hoarseness and deputation. But first of all, what is deputation?

a group of people
appointed to undertake a mission
or take part in a formal process
on behalf of a larger group

With our global-reaching gospel organization, deputation is the travel my husband and I do for the purpose of sharing our burden for the island people of the Pacific and for raising funds while on our missionary furlough.

a leave of absence,
esp. that granted to a member
of the armed services;
a layoff, esp. a temporary one,
from a place of employment.
grant a leave of absence to

This is our fourth deputation and our third furlough.

We typically begin our furlough with a few weeks' rest. Typically. But this is the second atypical furlough that began immediately with deputation right out of the gate.

Why the connection between hoarseness and deputation? Because I am not only ministering by singing at the piano, I am also my husband's biggest supporter when he ministers in the pulpit, his amen corner. Couple that with a lot of eating out after services, and you have the likelihood of GERD.

Dr. Denninghoff had brought up the GERD. After examining my voice box and larynx, every other word out of his mouth it seemed was reflux. "I don't have reflux," was my confident reply.

I'll never forget it. He was doing something on the countertop behind him with his back to me, and when I said "I don't have reflux," he whipped around in his swivel chair, lowered his head and cocked his eye. "You might think you don't," said he, pursing his lips.

I distinctly remember blushing. Was Dr. Denninghoff's the voice of truth in my ears? Could I really have acid reflux? Really?! Am I actually late-night eating more than I realize? Could it be that I'm not taking care of my body like I should?

The fog dissipated when I received the following e-mail from Monte, another international missionary evangelist who's experienced many more furloughs and deputations than we.

"I too had this operation a few years ago, I think in 2008? The doctor was in Nashville, well known, who had done this for famous singers. His info was quite different from others I'd heard from. He said that contrary to popular belief, our vocal cords cannot be abused by use. [Everything I had read online said polyps were the result of vocal abuse, "screamer voice," "singer voice."] They are quite durable and can take most abuse.

[Dr. Denninghoff agrees with this, saying that God made our bodies magnificently with the ability to heal themselves... if we put into them what we should and treat them as we should!]

"He said these things happen as a result of our lifestyle. He told me that preachers and singers do the same thing: They perform, then go eat, then go to bed. The acid reflux then irritates the vocal cords and they become weakened and develop nodules.

"He did not even put me on restrictive speaking after the removal. I was hoping for one of those three months off recuperation instructions but he said I could go back to preaching in five days if I didn't overdo it!

"He told me to quit eating at night before going to bed. I have noticed that very thing: Deputation is the worst for this. But if I do not eat, my throat is strong, and if I do, it will get weak and raspy. It takes a good three to five days of not eating to get it cleared up again.... It sounds like if your trouble developed while on deputation, this could be the result of the acid irritation.

"My doc said the same thing! "You might think you don't [have GERD or acid reflux]!" He said somewhere in our forties, the muscles get weak in the opening of the esophagus into the stomach. Whether you realize it or not, you are experiencing reflux at night when you lie down."

Dr. Denninghoff told me that "we've cleaned up our practice around here," waving his hands to indicate he meant both his and Dr. Seabaugh's ENT medical practice specializing in allergies. "I changed my lifestyle, and I eat a Paleolithic diet. I don't eat late at night and get plenty of rest. Nobody's going to do this for me but me," he said. Dr. Denninghoff will be 60 in May.

He showed me a book their office sells and when I went back for my post-op follow-up, I bought it. After making some wiser decisions, I've already noticed pluses and know the reasons for the minuses. It's been eye-opening! It will certainly be difficult to resist late-night eating... but I will do it! Who else will do it for me but me?

From my Pacific missionary family

I left Dr. Denninghoff's office that morning after he asked me, "So, have you decided what you're going to do?" I managed, "I've decided not to have the surgery," and went out into the parking lot and called my husband who was in Texas. He must have been on another call because I got his voicemail. I then texted my girls and told them my decision not to have the surgery.

But then my man called. Later he talked to my doctor. Both ENTs had prescribed polyp removal. Honestly, I felt like digging in my heels and sticking with my decision not to have the surgery. "I'll go on a self-enforced total voice rest and see what happens."

My husband felt that I should do what the doctors both advised, "but it's your decision," he agreed warmly, "and you need to decide."

Reconsidering, I chose to pray about it and told him I'd let him know my decision tomorrow. I awakened early the next morning. I pecked out my decision to have the surgery. My family was all still in their beds in another part of Missouri, in Texas, and in Ohio. The first one to learn what I'd decided was our daughter Danielle, who read about it before leaving for work that Friday morning, April 10. 

This is an e-mail I generated after my surgery.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Before I left Mother's house this morning at 9:15 a.m., our son-in-law Corey and daughter Danielle called and asked to pray for me on speakerphone. Corey lead the prayer, asking God that when the polyp was removed from the vocal cord, it would test negative for cancer and that my recovery would be smooth and uneventful.

Later, before I was wheeled into surgery, my husband and I had several moments alone and I admit that I was very weepy. I'd read a lot of testimonies online about this procedure and I was dealing with fear. My husband reassured me that God had everything under control and that I was going to be just fine. He led us in a prayer for me, specifically asking the Lord that the polyp "fall off."

Following the 15-minute procedure, the surgeon told my husband that although the polyp was hard to get to, when she did, it fell off and only a tiny snip took care of it. When he came to my bedside and shared that testimony, needless to say, it was a tender, faith-filled moment I shall cherish for the rest of my life. "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid...: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

My recovery looks like this: I will see my ENT Monday morning, and if all goes well, I'll be on Tuesday's flight to where I belong, by my wonderful husband's side-- my covering, my head, my sweetheart of 34+ years, and the best homemade chicken soup-maker on the planet. (Fed me, tummy and soul!) It is my honor and privilege to call him mine, and I hope and encourage you wonderful wives with the following.

I had deep reservations about having this surgery. But as my protector and provider, my husband sought a multitude of counsel (Proverbs 11:4) on my behalf with the desire to allay my fears and encourage me with what he felt strongly was best for me, even though not one of our family wanted me to have to endure this surgery. I certainly did not want surgery, but I submitted my will to my covering, and I believe wholeheartedly that God has and always will honor me in every way as a result of obedience. Even if the pathological results show cancer, in the words of Job, the Lord Himself could slay me, yet I will trust Him as my husband's Head and Covering, his Provider and Protector just as my husband is mine (1 Corinthians 11:3). "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).

For the husband who desires to be the godly covering for his wife and children, their provider and protector, I encourage you, sir, to do what you feel would be in total obedience to the Word of God. Trust Him to show you what to do, what is right, though the decision you face may be the most difficult of your life or those loved ones under your authority and care. "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..." (Deuteronomy 33:27).

I owe each of you a deep debt of gratitude for your prayers on my behalf. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I appreciate your continued prayers for full vocal recovery,
Kelley Dibble

Four days later during Monday's follow-up, Dr. Seabaugh could tell my voice was good to go. "Mandatory vocal rest isn't necessary but it couldn't hurt." We both smiled as I hugged her on my way out.

Be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you 
in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Where We Were


California (March; "Jerusalem" IMAX)

Light the corners of my mind

Oregon (March)

Misty watercolor mem'ries

Los Angeles, California (March)

Of the where we were

Oregon Coast  and Dunes (March)

Scattered pictures

Downtown Disneyland (March)

Of the smiles we left behind

Sporting new readers, just like his beloved Gramps wore
(April; Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport)

Smiles we gave to one another

Our Padgett young'ns (Easter)

Wyatt BEFORE his first haircut

Wyatt AFTER his first haircut

For the where we were

St. Louis, Missouri Lambert Airport USO (April)

Can it be that it was all so simple then

First Lady Patricia Nixon's Garden at
Richard Nixon Presidential Library,
Anaheim, California (March)

Or has time rewritten every line

An in-the-car project (March; en route to New Mexico)

If we had the chance to do it all again

New Mexico, ZOOMed across the highway (March)

Tell me, would we?  Could we?

Vocal cord surgery flowers
from my missionary family (April 16)


New Mexico (March)

May be beautiful and yet

Oregon Elk Reserve (March) 

What's too painful to remember

Just outside of Hemet, California (March)

We simply choose to forget

Our friends Duane and Lynn Brookshier
came to our rescue...
for the Li'l Dutchgirl!

So it's the laughter

Our Parkers (Easter)

We will remember

Our Boytes (Easter)

Whenever we remember

The where we were

San Jacinto Mountains, California (March)

The where we were

Thursday, April 16, 2015

His Time

The tick-tock of the antique clock is my companion on this chilly April morning. She's not slept since Mother last wound her. I've not slept since 2:51. It's dark out at 4:26. The furnace kicks on and we're snuggled into the corner of the living room sofa, my Bible and I. The peace offerings I seek on the pages of The Book do not disappoint. They never have and they never will.

The twelfth verse of the 26th chapter of Isaiah piqued my curiosity.

LORD, You establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished
You have done for us.

Every accomplishment, everything I've ever performed, every achievement, every work, each was really only done by Him. "The power of His grace, like the dew or rain, which causes the herbs that seem dead to revive" (Matthew Henry)... .  "Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us... All that had been done [for me] were done by the Lord, came of His hands, were owing to His goodness, grace, and power... and since He had done so many and such great things, they had reason to believe He would grant them... peace..." (Gill).

Cross references led me first to my own life verse...

May the favor of the Lord our God
rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Not King James' Version of Psalm 90:17

... and back to the Book of Isaiah.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

My people will live
in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:18

... Creating praise on their lips,
Peace, peace,
to those far and near,"
says the LORD.
"And I will heal them."
Isaiah 57:19


Behold, I will bring it health and cure,
and I will cure them...
Jeremiah 33:6

in us, for us

I will cry to God most high;
to God that performs all things for me.
Psalm 57:2


He will keep in perfect peace her whose mind is stayed on Him: because you trust in Him... the LORD JE-HO-VAH is everlasting strength... Fear not, for He is with you: be not dismayed; for He is your God: He will strengthen you: yea, He will help you; yea, He will uphold you with the right hand of righteousness... Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid... for the LORD your God, He it is that goes with you; He will not fail you, nor forsake you... The Lord is your light and your salvation-- whom shall you fear? The Lord is the strength of your life-- of whom shall you be afraid?... He has made everything beautiful in His time... May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
Isaiah, chapters 26 and 41, Deuteronomy 31, Psalm 27, Ecclesiastes 3, and 2 Thessalonians

In the teensy Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock Tuesday, I received an e-mail, an invitation to speak-- you know, with a good, healthy voicebox-- at a ladies luncheon at Bethel in Old Westbury, New York. Only this morning as the clock chimes five o'clock has the irony of the invite struck me. The event is four months away. Surely, Lord, it's another reminder that You've got this, that the work You've begun in me You are well able to finish. I trust You!

The clock's struck half past five. I'm to be at the hospital in four hours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many comments, thoughts and prayers. xo

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

French Toast Casserole

I went to a restaurant that served breakfast
"any time"
so I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
~Steven Wright

Dana, the Firstborn, drove in this evening (Friday) and spent the night with me at her grandma's, who's doing excellently, by the way. Saturday morning before this beautiful daughter of ours drove me to the airport, we enjoyed with Mother a delightful breakfast of French Toast Casserole and four kinds of iron skillet-fried apples. (I flew to spend the weekend in Texas with my husband and accompany him on his drive to Arkansas Monday before flying back to Missouri for Thursday's vocal cord surgery.)

I awakened Saturday at about 4 a.m., remembering Mother had five hamburger buns in the bread bin, perfect for an 8x8-inch French Toast Casserole. We served it on Mother's Havilland with warm syrup and real butter (on the mainland we're so spoiled), and dusted it with confectioner's sugar. The apples were presented in footed dishes.

These images were discovered on my laptop, and seeing them makes me miss my Manila home where they were captured. Here's the recipe for French Toast Casserole. Enjoy!

French Toast Casserole
NOTE:  Make a half-recipe for an 8x8-inch casserole (4-6 servings); make a full recipe for a 13x9-inch casserole (8-12 servings).

10-ounce loaf of French or Italian bread
8 eggs
3 cups milk
* You can stop right here-- that's all you really need-- or you can add the rest.
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts

Slice bread in 1-inch slices. Spray or grease an 8x8-inch or a 13x9-inch glass pan and arrange the bread slices on the bottom. Fill in all the gaps as if it were a puzzle. Set aside.

The pan shown is about 8x11-inch,
and FYI, I sometimes fill in all the gaps.

Into a bowl or 4-cup measuring, add milk and eggs. Beat well. Add the other ingredients if desired.

Pour the mixture over the bread slices in the pan taking care to "drown" each and every piece of bread.

Cover and chill overnight or at least four hours so the bread can soak that up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove casserole from refrigerator  Optional: Dot with butter.

Bake casserole until golden brown, 35-40 minutes. It will puff while baking, then deflate when removed from the oven.

Serve hot with everything you like on French toast.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vocal Cord Valley: 32 Seconds

If you were going to die soon
and had only one phone call you could make,
who would you call
and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?
~Stephen Levine

We  fellow- and fillyshipped with the Boones last Saturday after I arrived in Houston. My husband had breakfast with Darrel Boone that morning, and his wife Lazetta had just returned from a ladies conference. Of course I'd never met them before but now I feel like we've made new and eternal friends.

They bought our meal at Salt Grass. Have you ever eaten there? My husband got the kabob, a salad and their loaded baked potato. I had their baked potato soup and salad and wow, the portions were huge and delish!

I was a hungry girl. Before my daughter took me to the airport that morning, for breakfast at 9 o'clock I prepared a French Toast casserole (recipe on Wednesday) and "fried" apples for the three of us (Dana, Mother and me), so I was definitely ready to eat by 6:30 p.m.!

I love my new sis, Lazetta Boone. She made me laugh Saturday night, something I'd desperately needed. I'd missed my husband achingly (10 days apart), so the icing on the cake was sitting beside him, feeling him near me and laughing. Enjoying such sweet communion was just what the doctor ordered.

Many have been teasing both of us about my vocal rest. "Your husband's going to enjoy that!" I just smile, thinking that it was true until I heard my husband's take on it. He said he's been telling his friends, "Maybe I'm not like every other husband. I love talking with my wife. I enjoy hearing her voice. I miss it." Be still my bursting heart. I shore do love my sugar baby.

I said, "Think of all the husbands, think of all the wives who would love to hear the voice of their spouse again but they can't because they're dead." Oh, we take so much, too much for granted. Lord, help me be grateful for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. today.

What a blessing, this calm assurance that, by so many, my name and situation have been laid before The Throne of The Great Physician. Your comments, dear ones, have been a tremendous source of encouragement of faith and love to me, too.

I've repeatedly pushed the little replay arrow-triangle of Friday's 32-second voicemail. It's from our pastor of 34 years. Tears fill my eyes each time the sounds fill my heart with his sentiments.

Sister Dibble, this is Brother Evans.
I just called to let you know that I've been
praying for you ever since I heard about
your medical condition.
Several times in the night last night
I felt the presence of the Lord come in the room
as I was praying for you.
I just want you to know I love you
and the Lord loves you.
He brought you to my mind,
so He was thinking of you.
Hope you have a wonderful day.
I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

After Handsome picked me up at the airport, I told him on the way to the restaurant, "I hope I'm able to sing again. I've so many songs on my heart." On the plane I sang in my brain a song I've been longing to sing and never have... yet. I wept as I looked through the plane window at the countryside below.

Though the storms keep on raging in my life,
And sometimes it's hard to tell my night from day,
Still the hope that lies within is reassured
As I keep my eyes upon the distant shore
I know He'll lead me safely to
That blessed place He has prepared.

I realize sometimes in this life
You're gonna be tossed
By the waves and the currents that seem so fierce.
But in the Word of God
I've got an anchor!
And it keeps me steadfast
And unmovable
Despite the tide

But if the storms don't cease
And if the wind keeps on blowing in my life
My soul is anchored in the Lord.

After I sing the final chorus, with loaded fermatas and ritardandos I want to end with:

That Rock is Jesus!
Yes! He's the One
That Rock is Jesus
The only One!
Be very sure,
Be very sure
Your anchor holds
And grips the Solid Rock

I will sing that song.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vocal Cord Valley: My Lips Are Sealed

Only when you drink
from the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
~Khalil Gibran

"Vocal abuse."  That's the diagnosis. As a result of this vocal abuse-- singing solos at the piano in deputation service after deputation service on this, our fourth missionary furlough-- a noncancerous, pea-size polyp has calloused and blistered its way onto one of my vocal cords. Thus, the hoarseness I've dealt with since the Preserving Christian Homes marriage seminar on Guam that began on January 8. I've endured this on previous deputations but never to this level.

Polyps may be caused
by long-term vocal abuse
but may also occur after a
single, traumatic event
to the vocal cords,
such as yelling at a concert.
... Hypothyroidism [which I have]
and GERD [which I don't]
may also cause polyp formation.
Vocal abuse takes many forms
and includes:
• allergies
• smoking
• tense muscles
• singing
• coaching
• cheerleading
• talking loudly
• drinking caffeine and alcohol
(dries out the throat)

After obtaining the first and second opinions of two ENTs and hearing the same conclusion, then "discussing" the situation with my husband via FaceTime-- he, talking in Texas, and I, nodding or shaking my head in Missouri-- and praying and sleeping on it, I have decided to undergo the prescribed surgery to remove the polyp, a 15-minute procedure. Don't know if I should've done this, but I also watched the procedure online. (I Googled "watch vocal cord polyp surgery.")

The outpatient surgery is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, and my husband will not be able to be there with me. ("I miss him" is a gross understatement.) There is a ton of helpful information about this procedure and recovery (full vocal rest), so it looks like my lips will be sealed for quite some time.

Kelley Highway 2015
sure has been interesting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

These'll Moooove Ya

... To those listening,
you have the same thing to say.
"My bowel movement
is the highlight of my day."
~"Movement" by James F. Simmering

When you've had surgery, and your appetite goes because of painkillers, well, the ol' body has no respect for that and lets you know it. There are systems in there that function when you feed them, and when you don't, nope, they won't.

Go, that is.

When my brother's wife had her knee replaced two years ago, her body cried, "No, I won't go." So what did my brother do? The same thing he did today for Mother before she came home from the hospital. He made a treat. To help her go.

On a butter pat

He prescribed, "Drink lots of water with these. One'll do the job."

WARNING: If addicted to sugar, don't even think of buying the ingredients. Don't. even.

Cookies 'n Crème Fiber One® Haystacks
Makes dozens.

2 cups Fiber One® cereal 
6 Hershey's Cookies 'n Crème candy bars 

1. In a bowl, measure the cereal. Set aside.
2. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper for cooling the cookies. 
3. Unwrap the candy bars and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Melt candy on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 1 minute more. Immediately stir in the cereal. Stir well.
4. Working quickly, drop cookies by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. They can be close together. Freeze for 10 or 15 minutes to set. Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


F.orget E.verything A.nd R.un.

F.ace E.verything A.nd R.ise.

~Zig Ziglar

Mother did excellently yesterday. At 10 a.m., out went the old knee, and in went the new. By 3 p.m., under the watchful eyes of three therapists, she was up and walking to her private room door, out into the hall and back to her bed with the aid of a walker. Incredibly, she felt very little pain into the evening. An electronic bender exercised the leg at 60 degrees from 4 to 6 p.m. as we read together.

Enjoying a saltine snack

Mother even napped. Her next therapy session will bend the new joint at 70 degrees, etc., with 120 degrees being the eventual goal.

Three times today she will "walk the halls" and nary a complaint will be uttered from her lips. Hide and watch.

* I am reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.