Monday, May 19, 2014

VBS Is Right Around The Corner

   Vacation Bible School is the next big thing on our calendar!  I love VBS!  There's a mountain of work to do in order to be ready for it in three weeks, but we have a lot of volunteers at church this year and everyone is excited and full of ideas. We'll be getting flyers printed up this year and passing them out at the Fourth of July parade. Our small local grocery store also bags flyer with peoples groceries. Also, one of our ladies at church says she knows the lady who works at the desk at the library. She says she can get the lady to stick our VBS flyers in every book she checks out!  Don't you just love small towns??  :)  With all these ideas along with the children who are friends and family of folks at church, we may have a huge VBS this year!  A little scary, but exciting as well. I believe our theme will be The Grand Scheme...It's Out Of This World!  We'll have outer space decor and the lessons will be about creation, Jesus coming to die, and the second coming.  We have three days to work with and Andy wants to get across the big picture of God creating the world, man sinning, and Christ coming to redeem them back.  I think it'll be good. I'm doing props and crafts. The church basement wall and ceiling will be encased in black trash bags!!!!  Rocket ships, astronauts, and of course dozens of planets and stars will have to be made and drawn. And WHEN do I have time to do all that???  Oh well, it'll happen somehow. :). I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Our Tenth Anniversary

   I feel like number ten is a mile marker in our marriage. It seems like just yesterday that Andy and I met for the first time and now, ten years have passed!  Andy and I were engaged after just 6 weeks of knowing each other and married within the next few months. I was one of those girls who would ask, "How do you know he's the right one?"  I was always given the answer, "You JUST KNOW."  That always frustrated me because I wanted an explaination, an example. And no one could seem to give me one. It was always, "You'll know when it happens."  Well, I determined that I would wait til it did and then take good notice of it so that I would be the very first on earth to be able to explain to all those other questioning girls out there just how I knew!  Well.....I can't. When Mr. Right came along, somewhere in my heart, I knew without a doubt he was the one, even before I fell in love with him. In fact, I fought it, hoping it wasn't true because I didn't want to marry him!  :)  But, it turned out to be the best decision of my life. I couldn't ask for a better husband. Andy has been so patient with me over the past ten years. I truly don't deserve him. He has loved me through good times and bad and has walked with God and remained faithful in hardship. I'm the luckiest girl alive!
   Andy wanted to make our tenth anniversary very special. He started the celebration three days early by giving me a gift and a special card each morning. On the first, he gave me a small bottle of perfume, the kind I wore when we were first married. The second day, he carried in my 34 string Regency Celtic harp!!!  It's needed a few repairs so I've not played it in over two years!  I was so happy to see it again!  I've put new strings on it and am trying to get it tuned.  It'll take several tunings before the strings will be stretched enough to hold. It's the most beautiful instrument in the world, I think!
   The next morning, I looked outside and saw a lawn swing!  Oh, I've been wanting a swing forever!!!!  Andy said it was a good desire for a mother to want to take time out of her busy schedule to sit and watch her children play. We spent the evening doing just that!!  There is a constant breeze here, and sitting there on my swing in the cool spring evenings seems to gently blow the stress and cares of the day away, leaving me feeling refreshed. I just love my swing!!!
   Day four, last Friday, we drove to Indianpolis and went to the Harrison House. It's Benjamin Harrison's mansion. (One of those not-so-famous presidents). I wish I could post pictures!  The place was beautiful with all the antique furniture, wall paper, and other decor of the period. The staircases going between floors were curved and beautifully carved. They had a dress there that belonged to Mrs. Harrison. She was tiny!!!  Her waist couldn't have been more than 15-18 inches around!!!!   We had a wonderful time.
   After leaving the mansion, we got a shake, then drove to Muncie. It took us about an hour with all the traffic. We stopped to visit Andy's grandmother, then went to eat supper at our favorite Chinese restaurant. They've got THE BEST  hibachi grill!!!  We had a wonderful day! and a beautiful tenth anniversary!   I'm so blessed to be married to a man like Andy.
   We had a good day at church yesterday. We had the Lords Supper during the evening service and what a sweet time it was. Andy had all our people move up and sit in the first few rows for the service, a new thing for our church, and it really made it special and feel more personal.
    Monday morning and I'm back to painting.  I'm almost done with Christians room, finally!  With three little ones in the house, it makes it difficult to stick with anything for longer than a few minutes at a time. But the end is in sight now!!!
   Christian is doing good and changing by the day it seems!  He's grown out of the toddler stage and is full swing into the little boy stage. He thinks he's much older than he is and acts it most of the time. I have to catch myself many times and remind myself that this big boy in a little boys body is still only three. He's very smart and trying to hold him back from things he's sure he can handle is getting harder and harder!  He just can't understand why he can't use his daddy's drills and tools or mow the grass by himself. He'd do it too, if we let him. :). He wants so badly to grow up and be like his daddy. He already knows what vehicle he's going to buy, talks about what his first house is going to look like (he's even got a maid), he's going to have fields and combines and tractors, of course, and a wife with ten kids who are are all going to sleep downstairs in his big house while he sleeps upstairs!  Oh, he's got his life planned out already!
   Audra is changing too. I don't know if it's because she's a girl, or if it's because she's so little, but I still think of her as my "baby girl" even though she's now two years old. And she's all girl at that!  Anything from a fly buzzi her head to a worm on the ground will make her shriek!  I don't encourage this, nor do I know where she got it. :)  I guess I won't have to worry about her dragging in every little critter she finds outside. I had to tell Christian to leave his pet earth worm outside yesterday. At least it's just a worm and not a snake!!!  But it'll come!
   Wesley is cutting four more teeth and letting the rest of us know it!  Oh, he's been miserable!  Six and a half months old and already six teeth!  I've finally got him on a bottle and formula as of this past week and so far I've only had to treat his rash twice. So that tells me that something in my diet was bothering him and causing a bad reaction. He still had very dry skin, but the red ichy rash seems to be going away. It's been a long battle, since January, and though I still don't know what is causing it, I do know it's not just a skin condition on his part but rather something that he was getting from me. Now that he's on formula, the rash has disappeared. This will make it easy as I begin to introduce foods to him one at a time. It may take awhile, but we'll catch it eventually. At least for now, we won't have to keep him on the creams constantly.
   I forgot to mention that Andy also got me six grape vines!!  That was my fit for day four. :). We planted them yesterday evenin and oh! I can hardly wait to get fresh grapes again!
   Well, back to my painting...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Beautiful Days.

Oh, we've been having such beautiful weather!  Spring is my favorite season!  Everything is so new and fresh. To me, one of the first signs of spring is the first sound of grass being mown. I love the smell of mown grass!  Waking up to the sound of birds singing, and looking out my window at the waves of yellow dandilions popping up all over the fields. How could you not love spring?
   We've been SO busy!  Andy had to rip out the shower surround in one of the bathrooms in our new home and replace it with a new one. Along with that came ripping out some old dry wall and leaky pipes. So he's been doing the mudding and when that is done, I can start painting.
   Speaking of painting!  Audra's rooms is almost done!  I did that in a light lavender with white trim. It really helped to update the room with that awful green carpet!  I'm workin on the boys room now doing it in a pale yellow with white trim.  It's a huge job and I'm the worst a cutting in!
   Audra also had a birthday a couple weeks ago. It's hard to believe she's two already!  She's still so tiny though and I believe Wesley is going to catch up to her soon!  We had the church over for a cookout roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Actually, there was more food there than I can list. :). It was a fun day!
   Andy and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary next week. It seems like just yesterday that we were married, and now, looking back over the past ten years, I see lots of memories, some good and some bad. But in all, it's been a good ten years and Gods hand has been there all the way. Andy has something special planned for this anniversary but is keeping it a secret from me this time. :). Whatever it is, I'm looking forward to it!
   We cannot get Internet at our new house, which is why I haven't been around much in the blogging world for the past few weeks. I really don't have much time for it right now anyway. But, until I can get to the library, I won't be able to post pictures. I'm blogging from my phone now, but with no Internet, I hesitate to use up a lot of data putting pictures on here.
   Well, that's about it for now. Until next time!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What a crazy two weeks!

   I'm back, but not as often as I'd like to be, seeing as how I do not have Internet at our new house. I'm posting from my phone, which uses a lot of data, so I have to be careful!  If I can ever get away by myself (doesn't happen very often!), I'll take my computer to the library and update with pictures. And boy, do I have a passel of them!  I can't post pictures on 3G. And if this post ends rather abruptly,  for some reason, it is not my fault!!!  :). Sometimes, if I scroll to the top of the page to correct a mistake, etc, my phone sometimes won't let me scroll back to the bottom where I left off to resume typing. VERY frustrating!  So at least you know that I'm not doing it on purpose. :). This post is already stuck, so it's going to end funny. I'll just have to post another soon and pick up where I left off.  I had to insert this little paragraph in here wherever I could. :)  
   We LOVE our new home!  The kids have played outside constantly and come in exhausted at night, and covered with dirt. My heart sang with joy when I saw Christian running barefoot through the grass to find corn cobs in the corn field. Tractors driving past on our little-traveled road, cardinals singing on my window sill in the mornings, horses neighing in the pastures near us, and a view that would make your heart soar!  Ah! We're finally home in the country!  There's no greater place to raise our children!  And on the cool mornings, I turn the kids loose in the basement and smile as I listen to them work off their energy with squeals of delight. Yes, this place is truly an answer to prayer!
   Audra turns two today.  She's finally changing from baby to little girl, although she's still terribly small. Her six month old baby brother weighs one pound less then she at a solid 19 lbs.   He's going to pass her up soon!  We're having a cookout on Saturday and are having the church folks over. I'm feeding about 40+ people and will have our new home opened up for viewing, so it's been a mad rush to get boxes unpacked and things put away in their rightful places. I've been working from dawn til late into the night unpacking, sorting, and carrying boxes to the basement!  Our trash pile is massive and our yard sale/thrift store mountain is also steadily growing.

   God has been doing so much for us lately!  It seems like every time we've turned around, God has been answering prayers!  First, the closing on this house went so smoothly, then God gave us a mower a couple days ago right when we began to need one. Then, I took Wesley to the doctor last week for his allergy appointment and they checked him for twelve different allergies. All of them came back negative. The doctor really didn't have a good answer to what was going on with Wesley except that he probably just had very sensitive skin. He didn't know why he'd thrown up with that oat cereal. I really didn't know what to do when I left there. He has to start eating solids so I bought him some wheat cereal and prayed that he'd be able to keep it down. I've been feeding it to him for two days now and he's not thrown up one time!  He's loving it!  The rash still comes and goes but we're praying God will take care of that as well. I believe He healed Wesley twice over now, first with whatever was going on when he had the meningitis scare and now this allergy thing to food. Twice now, the doctors have had no explaination for the negative tests.  Especially the meningitis. Maybe he didn't have it and it was just some rare virus like they suggested. But then again, maybe it wasn't. We do serve a mighty big God!  Wesley is eating food now with no problem so far. Another miracle!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We're Finally Moving!

   Just a short post!  We will be moving into our new home this weekend, starting tomorrow afternoon. We'll be closing on the house at 1:00pm tomorrow!  I'm not sure who's more excited, Andy  and I, or the kids. :). Christian is dead set on getting a "swing with a board and rope", Audra can't wait for a big yard, and I can't wait to breath in some quiet, country air. No trucks, no people hollering next door, no engines revving at 11:00 at night, no dogs barking, no trains going through twice a night. (Actually, I don't really mind the trains. They do have a nice mid west, small town feel. But they are loud at night. Especially a certain engineer who thinks it's his job to wake the entire town at 5:00 am. No kidding, he lays on his horn, (or is it a whistle? It's LOUD anyhow) the entire stretch through town!  I love going outside during the day and hearing them rumble through town, but at night?  Different story. :))).  You can still hear the trains at our new home, but they are off in the distance, too far to hear at night while in the house.

   I've been spending the last few days packing. I've lived in 18 different houses in my lifetime and I do hope this move will be the last. I'm actually so used to moving, I'm not sure I'd know how to act living in the same house for longer than my record length of a five years residency. :). People talk about living in one place their entire lives, born there, raised there, growing old there, and dying there. It really blows my mind!  I simply can't imagine that. I would like to put down some roots somewhere and raise our children there in one home. But things happen and life gets in the way, or God's plans move us around here and there, and we pull up stakes and pitch our tent someplace else. Well, the Bible does say we're pilgrims and strangers here. But maybe, we can stay in this tent longer than five years??  :). Hey, I've had a LOT of practice packing! I never forget my toothbrush anymore. :). You'd be surprised what all I can fit in an overnight bag!  :). I've mastered the technique!
   I will post pictures soon of the new house. Feel free to comment on my green carpet....   Kelly green carpet?  Yikes!  Who would do such a thing?!  :)

   Short update on Wesley.  He is doing so much better. He hasn't run a fever since Wednesday morning and is most back to his old self.  The diarrhea is hanging on and he's still a little sleepy, but there is still no more fluid buildup. It looks like whatever this was, it's just about run it's course. Praise The Lord!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God Answers Prayer

   What a weekend!  Many of you have heard about it and have been praying for us, for which we are very, very thankful!  I want to tell you about it....
   For several days, I'd noticed that Wesley's soft spot, or fontanelle, on the top of his head seemed to be fuller than normal.  At first I didn't really think much about it and figured it would go down on its own.  But then, last Friday night, he woke up around 2am crying and didn't want to go back to sleep.  Saturday morning, I noticed that he was running a slight fever and continued to be fussy, the latter being VERY abnormal for him.  Wesley is probably the happiest baby I've ever seen!  He never cries unless he's hungry or dirty.  So when he insisted on being held and continued to fuss up into the night, not sleeping very well, I became worried.  I also saw that his fontanelle was bulging even more and was becoming firm. Wesley would also start crying if I gently pressed on it.  After finally getting him to sleep at around 10 Saturday night, I got online and researched his symptoms.  Every site I found all said the same thing, "Swollen fontanelle, fever...GET TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY!  There were three things that would most likely be the cause of it, Meningitis, Hydrocephalus, and one other, all three very serious and life threatening.  We both began to worry and finally decided it was better to play it safe than sorry.  So I woke Wesley up again, and headed to a hospital about 10 minutes away.  The doctor looked at him, then left to confer with a couple other doctors.  Finally, he returned and told me to keep an eye on him until Monday morning.  If anything changed by then, I was to take him to his pediatrician.  I left feeling only slightly relieved.  By the time I got home, it was 3 am Sunday morning.  Wesley woke at 7am crying as if in pain.  His fever was also steadily getting higher, and his soft spot was noticeably getting bigger.  When looking at him straight on, the top of his head bulged up abnormally.  I was scared! Andy and I both wanted a second opinion.  And fast!  Andy called a fellow at church to fill in for him, then called a friend to come get the kids, and we loaded Wesley up and drove to Indianapolis, a little over an hour away to Riley Children's Hospital.  As soon as we got there and told the nurse his symptoms, she went out and told a doctor.  Very soon after, the doctor came in, did a quick examination, and asked a zillion questions, which we repeated again and again to many other doctors during the next couple of hours.  The first doctor got a concerned look in his eye and said, "I'll be honest with you, there's only a few things that cause a bulging fontanelle, and all of them are bad.  This doesn't look good.  I can't give you much hope on this right now."  Andy and I had heard those dreaded words before.  The whole world came to a sudden, crashing halt as the news sunk in.  Our baby was in serious trouble and it was very likely he wouldn't come home.  If he did, he wouldn't be the same.  The pressure on his brain would cause serious trouble. If we got him to the hospital fast enough to catch the infection before it did too much damage to the brain, we had a chance.  But how long did it take before the damage would be done?  Had we gotten here soon enough?  As the doctor left us to order a CT scan, the tears began to fall.  The flashbacks came flooding back.  There we were again, in another hospital room, in the NICU, crying babies and children in the pods next to us, holding our baby and being told he had a serious, life threatening  problem.  Yes, we'd been through this before.  I had thought I had remembered the pain, the agony of hearing those words, but can never get used to it.  I held Wesley tight in arms and kissed his bulging head as the tears dampened his soft hair.  I heard Andy whisper, "I don't know if we can do this again..."   The agony tore our hearts out, the wondering how long we had with him, how bad it was, and would he ever be the same if he survived this.  It is not an easy thing.  Its a blow that hits you in the pit of the stomach and leaves you sick and weak.  Andy and I are nobody special, but we had gone through this before, and we saw God's hand working in Rebekah's life and death.  We had experienced the peace that God gives in the midst of the storm and knew without a doubt that His ways are better than ours.  As hard as it was losing Rebekah, if we had to do it again, we would have given her back to God a second time as we did the first.  And this very thought was racing though our minds as we digested this news for the second time.  With tears streaming down our faces, we gave our son to God to do with as He willed, and braced ourselves for the worst.  His ways are best, NO MATTER WHAT.  God has a reason for everything He does, and its for our good and His glory.  I had a calm within my heart, and the peace that is only found in Jesus Christ flooded my very soul!  I knew that no matter what happened, God would walk with us.  He promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we had tried and proven this promise to be true with Rebekah.  We were holding onto it for all we were worth.  Its only by His strength you can make it through something like this! 
    Wesley got a CT scan done on his head, and some fluid drawn from his spine for testing for meningitis.  It would take 24 hours before we would know anything from the spinal tests, though.  Wesley was top priority on the NICU floor and the doctors were racing the clock to find something definite so that they could start pumping antibiotics into him.  They were pretty confident it was meningitis, and finally decided to give him the antibiotics anyway, even before the test results came back.  Andy walked out of the room once and saw several doctors huddled over a computer screen quietly discussing Wesley's condition.  Three nurses tried to get an IV started in him, but couldn't find a vein in his chubby little arms and legs.  They even used and ultrasound to help guide the needle and still failed to get a vein.  Poor Wesley learned very quickly that the cold alcohol swabs meant pain shortly thereafter and he would begin howling before the needle ever met skin!  He also quickly learned that anyone wearing white was a mortal enemy and was given a wary evil eye as he watched every move they made when they entered the room.  He soon decided the safest place was in mama's arms and refused to let me put him down.  So I spent all day Sunday and all that night sitting upright in a chair holding him while he fitfully slept. I didn't mind.  As I sat there through the long night hours, I remembered another time five years ago doing the very same thing.  Not for just one night, but six long, bone weary nights watching a vigil over my dying infant.  I wouldn't sleep.  I couldn't.  I wanted to be there when she died.  I wasn't going to miss it.  So I sat and waited and prayed and wept through the night hours.  I would do it again.  Five years later, I sat and I waited for news, and I prayed and wept.  And I hugged my baby boy close, loving him in a way you can only do when you think you might lose him.  They suddenly become so precious and you do whatever you have to to be there for them, to comfort them, to shield them from their pain.  So I sat and rocked him late into the night. 
   After many tests, the doctor came in and told us that with each hour that passed, our chances that he did not have meningitis were getting better.  So far, nothing had shown up in the spinal cultures.  One by one the blood tests also came back negative.  By morning, the news came that meningitis was ruled out, as were the other two life threatening illnesses.  The doctors concluded that Wesley had some strange virus that caused a fluid build up on his brain.  The pressure had begun giving him headaches, and that, on top of the fevers and flu like symptoms, well, no wonder he was so miserable.  The doctor said it was very rare that babies have the fluid build up for basically no reason, but they wanted to see him back in a month to check on him to see if the fluid was staying at a normal level.  When they drew the fluid from Wesley's spine for testing, the pressure in his head eased and his soft spot returned to normal with is slight pulsing indention. 
   They went ahead and updated Wesley's vaccinations, and said we could take him home.  The virus would last anywhere from 5 to 10 days, but that he should be fine after it ran its course. 
   Our hearts were filled to bursting!  It was if our baby had been snatched back from the grave in a way.  The doctors really didn't have much of an answer as to why it all happened the way it did.  For Wesley to fool every doctor on the floor, and then nothing to show up in the tests?  Just makes you wonder....
   I like to think that perhaps God heard some prayers going up for our family and decided to answer and give us back our baby boy.  Our children in truth belong to God.  He entrusted them to us for raising, sort of like a loan from Heaven.  I think He likes it when we give them back to Him.  He chose to take Rebekah back.  And He chose to let us keep Wesley for awhile longer.  Oh how I praise him for answered prayers!   How I thank Him for my children!  When you lose them, they become so so precious!  Sometimes we tend to forget that they truly are gifts from God.  We get frustrated with them, get weary of constantly breaking up fights, or those numerous bedtimes excuses they can dream up!  But a little jolt like the one we experienced this past weekend will make even that 10 trip up the stairs with a drink of water, or a forgotten teddy bear seem a little more special.  You may even smile as you watch them snuggle back down into their blankets with a contented sigh.  You might just be a little  more patient when you kiss an imaginary boo boo for the umpteenth time, or wipe another stinky bottom.  Yes, they are precious!  And I am guilty of taking my children for granted as well.  Two of those jolts in one lifetime is enough, though, and  I hope that I have learned my lesson!  I can't take too many more of them!  Whew! 
   We are home now, and even though Wesley is still pretty miserable with the virus, the fever, and vaccinations, I think we'll make it just fine.  He's sleeping a lot, but is terribly happy to be home and away from all those terrible people in white jackets!  He visibly relaxed as soon as we walked in the door yesterday.  He was smiling through red, droopy eyes at everyone who looked at him, and even played for a little while on the floor.  He hardly even fussed when I put him down in his bed.  Yes, he's happy to be home.... and so am I. 

   We thank every one of you for your prayers!  Prayer can truly move the hand of God!!!   He is so good to us! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus

   Yesterday morning, my tiny unborn nephew was carried by the angels to the arms of his Heavenly Father.  My sister, at four months along, miscarried her tiny infant.  She was able to hold her baby for awhile after he was born, and his picture is engraved forever on her mind.  She and BJ have named their little son Sean Jeffery Cormier and are longing for the day they will see him again in Heaven.  Jessica is doing okay and is resting and trying to recover from the miscarriage.  Please pray for the Cormier family as they face the coming days, the painful memories, and their precious loss.  Folks sometimes tend to make light of a miscarriage saying, "At least you didn't carry full term.".  I've heard people say things like, "She needs to get over it.  It was just a miscarriage."   While I agree that you need to get up, dust yourself off and move on with life, that you can't dwell forever on the child that was lost, at the same time, the pain is VERY real whether the baby was barely formed or whether he was nine months brand new.  A mother becomes attached to her child from the first moment he begins to grow within her.  She begins to plan, to dream, to fall desperately in love.  And when that little life is torn from her in an instant, it is devastating no matter how or when it happens.  I hurt for those who make light of a miscarriage almost as much as I hurt for the mother of the lost child.  You can never really understand the love of a mother until you've had a child of your own.  That overwhelming love that would make you lay down your own life in an instant for your child, even a tiny unborn infant.  A powerful love that makes you want to shield your baby from the pain and struggles of life.  Its a love that tears your heart out, makes you sick to your stomach when you have to watch your child struggle and hurt.  And when your child is taken from you in an instant, a big piece of your heart goes with him.  You are never the same afterwards.  You understand death.  You understand the pain of losing someone you love dearly.  You understand how fragile life really is.  You now realize that you are not invincible.  This actually happened to you, and could possibly happen again.  There is the fear of "will I have to go through this again with another child?  Another pregnancy?"  There are the heart wrenching, agonizing sobs in the dark night hours that no one but God ever sees.  The pleas for grace and mercy as you face the days ahead.  Many times, we have no idea what someone is going through.  You don't see the pain beneath the smile that a mother will wear in public.  The pain that will last for months after her child is gone from her.  The pain of burying her dreams at the grave site along with the body of her tiny child.  And if this is not enough, your body itself won't let you forget the loss.  Have you ever heard of Phantom Pains when someone gets a limb amputated?  I found out that that phenomenon is VERY real.  I experienced phantom kicks for about 3 months after Rebekah died.  They were very real, and very strong kicks as if I still carried a 7-9 month old baby!  The pain of loss hits hard every time the mother hears a baby cry.  And she reacts to those cries and feelings for months until her body has healed.  Its not just your mind screaming out the loss of the child, but also your body.   In other words, it just takes time, and LOTS of it!  So, please, have patience with those grieving mothers, even when you see their tears months down the road.  They can't hide them all the time.  Some days are worst then others.  My own birthday, the day Rebekah died, is still hard for me and its been five years.  Time eventually heals the raw wounds, but the memories will last forever!  And sometimes, memories will still bring tears with them. 
   But in the midst of all this pain, and the memories is the amazing grace, peace, and mercy of a loving Heavenly Father who knows very much what its like to see a son suffer.  He knows of the pain more than anyone else in this world.  His love and amazing peace is like a warm cloak that wraps you up and keeps you safe from the storm that rages within your heart, mind, and body.  The joy of His presence makes your heart bubble up within you to the point that you feel like you will explode!  That joy makes you rejoice while you hold the body of your child, knowing that he is truly safe in the arms of God and that you simply hold an empty shell.  The peace of God that floods your very soul will give you the strength to walk away from the grave, dust yourself off, and move on with a smile.  And yes, you must move on.  You cannot dwell on the one you lost.  You must give your child to God, trust His will, and continue to live your life for His glory.  You cannot dwell on the past and what you don't have.  It will ruin you!  God's will is perfect, no matter what happens.  He knows, and he loves you more than you'll ever know.  His touch is loving and gentle, even when it hurts.  He does care and He will support you and carry you every step of the way, if you let Him. 
   My sister and her family are strong, and they will survive this tragedy.  Her spirit is sweet in spite of her loss, and her trust in God is unmovable.  But, still, please pray for her and her family.  The tears will still fall when no one is around and its at those times when she will need to feel the prayers of the family of God. It was those prayers that kept Andy and I going five years ago, and the strength of those prayers were felt for months after our own baby's death.  So now, I ask you to pray for my sister as she faces the loss of her baby boy.  

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.  Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me..."   

So, so true!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


   Last night, a few minutes before church started, I was coming out the bathroom when I heard a scream from outside, and behind the door.  I quickly looked back there and saw Audra with her fingers stuck in the crack on the hinge side.  As I opened the bathroom door, it had crushed her tiny fingers and didn't let up until I closed it behind me.  One look at her ring finger and I knew it was broken!  A sharp piece of white was poking through the skin of her finger halfway between the first knuckle and the end.  Her tiny finger had that sickening, abnormal dented look on both sides of it.  I grabbed up my diaper bag, Wesley, and Audra and drove to the hospital.  A friend from church also rode with me, which was a huge blessing seeing as how she took care of Wesley while I was with Audra.  The doctor took one look at her finger and said it looked like it was crushed, and ordered and X-ray.  Audra did SO well.  She'd quit crying but was still holding her little hands together as drove to the hospital, babying her finger.  She insisted on walking instead of being carried down the halls, and marched along beside me with her head held high, saying hi to all the nurses as she passed, and didn't even flinch as the giant X-ray machine loomed over her tiny hand.  She quickly won the hearts of every one of the nurses!  :)  One nurse said that she's never had a two yr old behave so well!  I was so proud of her!  (Now, if I can only figure out why she was so brave with a broken finger, but acts like the sky is falling when her brother bumps her???)   The X-ray showed that her finger was indeed fractured, but the bones had not separated.  The hard piece of white fragment was actually her finger nail protruding through the skin.  I didn't realize the nail was hard that deep into the skin.  I guess you learn something new every day.  :)  Since there were no bone splinters and the break was clean, there was nothing the doctor could do for her.  Audra sure is babying that finger though.  This morning it was swollen and purple, but she's playing like normal.  Every now and then I hear her howl in pain as her finger gets bumped in some way or another.  But life goes on.  :)  She may lose the nail, but I hope it won't be a permanent loss.

The picture doesn't really do her finger justice.  The underneath side is pretty swollen.

   As for Wesley, the dermatologist is referring him to see an allergist at the children's hospital in Indianapolis.  The allergists there are supposed to be really, really good, so hopefully we'll know something definite about his allergy within the next couple weeks.  I've spent the morning on the phone trying to get him an appointment.

   It looks like we could close on our house in the next two or three weeks.  I'm so excited!!!  We still have to get the test results for the septic inspection, but so far everything else has passed.  I'm now faced with the massive job of getting our home packed up and ready to move!  Where do you start???  As usual, I plan on "thinning down" on our belongings before the move.  I am determined that nothing extra is going to pass the threshold of our new home!!!  
   We have some good missionary friends who've been through our home many times, the Cleghorn family.  Though most of their children are much older than mine, Christian admires them immensely!  The Cleghorns could be classified as his heroes.  You can't go wrong having missionaries be your kids heroes!  The other day Christian was looking through a book and saw a picture of a Texas Longhorn .  He ran to me and asked, "Mama, is that a Cleghorn?"  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Day At The Park

   Its VERY rare that Andy takes a day off and we go somewhere as a family.  Not because he doesn't want to, but simply because he can't.  He's so busy with church work and there is always something that needs to be done, people to call, or visits to make.  But yesterday was so nice, and he decided to take a break and take the family somewhere to enjoy the beautiful 65' weather!!!  We packed a picnic bag and the kids up and drove to the park.  We have the most wonderful "old fashioned" park about a 10 min drive away.  Its got the old metal playground toys that I used to enjoy when I was a kid.  The big plastic play places are okay, but there's nothing like the tall metal slides, the old, rough board see-saws, and paint chipped merry-go-rounds.  I spread and old quilt on the grass, gave the kids a baggie full of snacks, and turned them loose. They had a blast!  I held my breath when Christian climbed to the top of the very tall metal slide without a hesitation.  (Did my mom do the same when it was me at his age?)  Andy and I got to sit and talk and enjoy the kids together for an afternoon.  I cherish those times!  Life gets so consuming at times, and its good to just slow down a little and enjoy the blessing that God's given us.

   I'm taking Wesley to the dermatologist tomorrow.  We're still battling this rash, and now he's developed some new symptoms.  Every time I feed him solids, he throws up violently and repeatedly.  Last Wednesday, I fed him some cereal with apples, and two hours later he threw up four times in the space of a half hour.  Once he turned blue and I had to flip him over and pound on his back before he threw up again and his color returned.  He was wore out and slept most of the day.  He was fine until Saturday when I fed him cereal with pears.  Two hours later, he began violently throwing up again.  I did some research online and found a certain allergy/syndrome that matches the symptoms he has, including the rash.  I think its all connected.  Some of the big trigger foods are rice, oat, wheat, and barley baby cereals, and cows milk and sometimes soy.  I already suspected he had an allergy to cows milk because every time I drink a glass of it, he breaks out within the next several hours.  The article I was reading says that the symptoms are milder when the trigger foods are passed from the mother than when they are received directly into the baby's system in the form of solid food.  That would explain the rash, and then the more severe symptoms of vomiting a couple hours after eating solids.  And every trigger food has a different reaction time!  The rash always shows up about a day after the milk gets in Wesley's system.  And the cereal causes the vomiting almost exactly two hours after eating it.  Some trigger foods can have a delayed reaction of 4, 8, 12 hours etc before the vomiting starts.  All his symptoms match this allergy.  The article said that many babies will outgrow it by the time they are three, but some will continue to struggle for years with the trigger foods.  Its a rare condition, and can be serious due to the severe vomiting, which can cause dehydration and shock in infants.  This probably explained Wesley turning blue during his third round of vomiting.   I'm going to talk to the dermatologist tomorrow and see if we can't get referred to another allergist to see if this is indeed what Wesley has.  It could be a long road for him as we try to find what exactly he is allergic to.  One thing going for us though is that since he's just now starting out on food, we can start from scratch as we introduce one new thing at a time, whereas if he were an older child, it would be very difficult finding the trigger foods if he already had so much of it already in his system.  For now, I just have to watch what food I eat, and slowly introduce solids to Wesley very slowly and try to avoid the reactions as best as we can. 

No, he wasn't posing.  :)

How did children survive on such "dangerous" toys???   :)  Hey, these old paint-chipped, metal slides were WONDERFUL!   Christian was more afraid of plastic, covered tunnel slide!

I remember when I was in first grade at a little school in Ohio, our recess was at the same time as the high school student's.  We used to love it when the big boys pushed us little kids on the merry-go-rounds! 

Remember the thrill of feeling like you were going to fly off at any minute??  :)

An awful picture, but oh well.  I never boasted on being photogenic.  :)  Its for Mom.  She's very forgiving...  :)  My was a windy day, selfies do not compliment me, and the background was all wrong.... 

Christian has never met a stranger.  He and this little fellow became playmates within seconds of saying, "Hi".  (Did they even say that?)

Ok, he won't need a ball glove when he plays catch in the back yard.... 

Loading up after a fun day at the park

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This and That...

   One of the prayers at the top of my list is that my children get saved young and grow to serve God all their lives.  It seems that God is working on Christian's little three year old heart.  He's been asking lots of questions about God, Heaven and Hell, Jesus dying on the cross, salvation, and where people go when they die, etc, and then thinks about it for awhile after we answer those questions.  Many times, he'll stop and ask us a question right in the middle of some activity or childish game he's playing.  Yesterday, I was rocking Wesley in the living room while Christian and Audra played.  Christian climbed into the back of his big dump truck and sat on his knees, bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, please save me and Audra."  Then he looked up at me and asked, "Does it take a long time for God to save you after you pray?"  I wanted to cry!  Such a sweet, innocent question, but one that was so sincere.  I don't think he fully understands just yet, but he's close.  God is working on his little heart and I long for the day when the "lights" of understanding come on and he accepts Christ into his heart.  He's only three and we are not pushing him into a prayer, but at the same time, we are answering his questions and encouraging him in that direction.  He asks almost every night for the "story about Jesus dying on the cross" at bedtime.  It won't be long!

Playing at the neighborhood playground

Rice Krispy Treats with an Healthy Twist

3 Tbls butter melted
1 16 oz. Jet Puffed Mini Marshmallows
6 C. Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 C. milled flax
1/2 C. sunflower seeds
3/4 C. quick cooking oats.

* Melt butter in a large bowl.  Add the marshmallows and cook in microwave for about a min and a half.  Stir thoroughly, then add the remaining ingredients.  Scoop out into a buttered 9" square dish, and press down with buttered hands.