Archive for September, 2013

  • This is just a test…

    Date: 2013.09.24 | Category: Thoughts to ponder


    mom 2

    This is my mama on a much better day.  She is the one standing behind the couch.  She always refuses to get in pictures.  It also shows my mother-in-law and four of the seven granddaughters.

    I’ve been meaning to write an update on my mom for some time now, but finding the time to sit down and type it out was almost impossible.  On September 11th, my mom underwent open heart surgery (OHS).  She ended up needing four bypass grafts.  She came through the surgery remarkably well.  She had some issues with her blood pressure, but otherwise was doing remarkably well.  She spent her time in the ICU and went to the floor.  She had been doing really well and was told she would be released Tuesday morning, the 18th.

    Last Monday afternoon (the 17th) I stopped with my crew to visit with Nana.  She wasn’t looking very good and had just had an issue with low blood pressure again.  I took the kids home, picked up Dan, and by the time we got back she was white as a sheet.  They called the Rapid Response team and started i.v. fluids.  They needed to start her on drugs that couldn’t be given on the floor so they started the calls to admit her back to the ICU.  We headed down with her.  They went through the ICU doors and into her room.  They asked us to wait outside in the waiting area until they got her settled.  No more than two minutes had passed when the floor nurse came out and said they had started chest compressions.  What?!?! Was my only response. Well, truth be told, I might have said WTH.  Not proud of that, but I was just so upset.  She had just been talking to me and now they were doing compressions?  They got her heart rate back and let us go see her.  She started having rhythm issues again and they asked us to step out.  By the time we got to the hallway, they had called a code blue to room 31, ICU.  Life can change in a moment.

    Her kidneys and liver went into failure.  They thought her gall bladder was infected and took her to CT to put in a drain.  Her blood pressure wouldn’t stay up.  Her heart went from v-tach to a-fib.  She went from 66 kilos (145 pounds) to 89.6 kilos (197 pounds) from fluid retention.  She had a pulmonary effusion where they pulled off 1800 mls of fluid off her chest (60 oz. for us metric challenged folks).  Her temp dropped to 34.4.  Tim and I have been spending our time seeing who could figure out her temp the quickest.  34.4 x 9/5 + 32 or google it. Google works pretty darn quick.  He has yet to beat me.  Yes, you find many unique ways to entertain yourself in the ICU.  She is on dialysis.  She is still on the ventilator.  She is very, very sick.


    But today there is a glimmer of Hope, maybe even a ray of hope.  Today her blood pressure is staying up without medication.  Today her rhythm issues are being controlled by medication and not the external pacemaker.  She is able to breath on her own with minimal help from the ventilator so hopefully she can get extubated in the next day or two.  She lost 8 kilos yesterday alone.  She is still on dialysis, but since her blood pressure is okay they are able to pull of fluid through the dialysis machine.  She is moving her arms and responding appropriately when asked questions.

    Life is complicated to say the least.  I love when the devotionals you read say just what you need them to and Max Lucado’s has done just that the past two days.

    Each day has a pop quiz!  And some seasons are like final exams. Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness. What’s the purpose of the test?  James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

    Test, test, test! This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you’re in training. God hasn’t forgotten you, just the opposite. He has chosen to train you. Forget the notion that God doesn’t see your struggle. Quite the contrary. God is fully engaged. He is the Potter, we are the clay.  He’s the Shepherd, we’re the sheep.  He’s the Teacher, we’re the students. Trust His training. You’ll get through this!

    And todays….

    God can make something good out of your mess! The test you’re experiencing will become your testimony.  2nd Corinthians 1:4-5 says, “God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone who’s going through hard times so we can be there for that person, just as God was there for us.”

    You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting? No, God enrolled you. He’s taken the intended evil and rewoven it into this curriculum. Why?  So you can teach others what He’s taught you. Rather than say, “God, why?” ask “God, what?” What can I learn from this experience? Rather than ask God to change your circumstances, ask Him to use your circumstances to change you.

    Life is a required course.  Might as well do your best to pass it!  You will get through this!

    Thank you for the prayers and encouragement.  She has a long, long road ahead of her, but she is a fighter and I believe she will get through this!




  • Ben Ben is 5

    Date: 2013.09.01 | Category: Benjamin

    I can remember how I felt the day I first saw his picture.  The little “Tigger” we had been praying for.

    Ben 11


    I prayed and prayed that the family, who had his paperwork, would decide to not lock his file.  I knew he was my son from that very first moment.  I still remember Dan’s face when I came home and asked what the cardiologist had said.  Tears on his face, Dan told me that he was our son and we may not have him long but we were going to go get him and love him every single day until God called him home and “Tigger” would never, ever be alone again.  I have loved Dan for a long time, over 30 years now, and I can honestly say that I have never loved him more than at that very moment.

    I can still vividly see Ben’s sad, sweet face when he walked through that door at the Registration Office. I can see Dan’s face as he ran to the door to get his boy and how he held Ben so close.  How Benjamin held on to Dan and would not let go.  I can still picture that outfit, he came in, that looked like a Harley Davidson biker jacket.

    Ben 4

    I can hear his very first laugh.  He sounded hoarse, like he hadn’t laughed in a very long time.

    Ben 10

    I remember how he stood there and stared at our dresser drawer full of food and slept with his bowl and spoon.  I remember crying because he was so thin.  My heart hurt knowing what he had gone through in the 3 1/2 years before he became our son.

    I remember him looking so sad every time we left the hotel, like he was afraid we were going to take him back.

    Ben 9

    I remember thinking it was all worth it no matter how much time we got.  He was worth it.

    He asked that we call him Ben Ben. We didn’t know why until we traveled  to China this year.  In China, it is a form of endearment to double up child’s first name.  I remember how sweet he was with Dan and how much they loved each other from the very first moment they met.

    ben 3

    Just recently we discussed Evie’s scar and Ben told me that he knows that he and Eli need surgery for their hearts but he was okay with not having it and Eli could just go.  He is nervous.  He understands that we are worried.  He understands the hushed tones and the planning.  He has been hospitalized a couple of times now.   Ben gets tired. He still takes naps.  He is still very, very blue.

    Ben 8

    He rests a lot, but he still has fun.  He runs and plays and drives his cozy coupe all over the house.  

    Ben 7

    He chases his siblings all around the yard and house.  He is a happy, happy boy. 

    Ben 5

    He is truly the sweetest boy.  He is caring and thoughtful.  He is very, very bright.  He is a wonderful addition to our family.  He was a huge step of faith that brought us immeasurable blessings.

    Maisey and Ben, met that day in March, for the very first time.  They had never met before, but they were instantly friends.  The little boy who wouldn’t talk and the girl who couldn’t hear still communicated.  Maisey and Ben are still the very best friends.


    Benjamin dreams of being an epic cook, a train conductor, Jake, an Octonaut or Doc McStuffins.  He sings and dances.  He loves Superman and Spiderman.

    Ben 6

    Birthdays are bittersweet.  On one hand it means that he has been with us just that much longer and on the other hand it means another day has passed that I can’t get back and he has limited days.  In reality we all do, Ben’s condition just makes it that much more apparent. We should all enjoy each and every day we have with our family.  Some days it is easier to do that than others, but Benjamin makes me think about what is really important.  Benjamin makes me a better person.  Benjamin has made my walk with Christ all that much closer.  I have a trust in God’s plan that I never had before.  Benjamin made taking a chance on Evie and Eli, an easy decision because we knew how blessed you can be when taking that first step in faith.

    Ben has a joy for life that is contagious and a style that is all his own.  I remember praying that I would get at least a day with Ben and now I have been blessed with 538.  538 glorious days!  What a blessed mama I have been to be able to call him son.

    Ben 1

    Today we will be happy.  Today we will have a Jake and the Neverland Pirate’s party.  We will eat cake and ice cream.  Today we will not think about the future or what may be.  Today we will celebrate all that Ben’s life is.  Ben has big plans and has asked all his siblings to dress up for the occasion.  Today we will sing Happy Birthday and hold our boy tight.  Praying that we have another year as beautiful and blessed as this one.  Today, we will live in the today.  Because, truth be told, that is all that any of us really have.

    Happy birthday sweet Ben Ben.  May God continue to bless you and hold you near.  What a blessing you have been to our family.