Friday, January 31, 2014

God is so Good!

   I've been teaching my children the song, God Is So Good recently. We sing it as I tuck them into bed, along with a few other choice selections. Audra's all time favorite is Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man. :). As soon as her head hits the pillow, she hollers, "SING!"   Christian really doesn't care what you sing to him, just as long as it prolongs lights out!
   Anyway, the song God Is So Good has been ringing through my head lately. It's been bringing a smile to my heart and tears to my eyes. We have seen the hand of God moved through prayer time and time again, and I believe that those prayers have once again worked on our behalf. Our little baby is doing so, so much better!  I couldn't believe the change in his skin after just one dose of the cream!!!  I've never seen medicine work so fast!  The dermatologist told us to give her a call if we didn't see a change in five to seven days. I felt like calling her five HOURS after putting on his first dose of cream!  Andy thought it best that I stay home from church Wednesday night and get that medicine on him as soon as possible.  I dreaded the bath!  It always made the pain so much worst because it opened up those cracks and made everything raw again. After the kids went to bed, I bathed him and put the cream on. He cried a little but not as much as the night before. By the time Andy got home from church, Wesley was playing contentedly on the floor. In fact, Andy tiptoed into the house thinking Wesley might be asleep for the first time in a couple days, and when he saw him playing quietly on the floor, he gave me an astonished look and said, "WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM!?  It's so QUIET in here!"  I couldn't believe the change in Wesley either.  It had to have been all the prayers going up for him!  There no other answer. I opened Wesley's sleeper and showed Andy the amazing change in Wesley's skin. The red in his skin had faded noticeable in just a couple hours!  The next morning his skin was peeling and flaking terribly, but only slightly red. As I bathed him, I gently rubbed him til there was dry skin floating all around him in the water. I repeated this process at his evening bath, but this time I noticed brand new soft baby skin underneath the dead skin. It was beautiful!  Everyone loves kissing a baby's soft, chubby cheeks, but when your baby's skin looked like leather and felt like sandpaper, you appreciate that soft skin more than ever!  He's doing so so much better and has just about lost all the dry skin and most of the redness. There's just a few red dots left in places, but they too are fading fast. Once again, I can't tell you how much we appreciate all the prayers that have gone up for our little son. The past month has been so frustrating trying to figure out what was causing the rash as it daily became worst and worst. This last week was really miserable for everyone, but especially Wesley.  The Lord truly is good!!!!!  I give him all the glory for answered prayer! 

About two weeks ago... it got much worst then this! He was completely red all over.

He feels SO much better!  Back to his happy self...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wesley Update

I must say, the past several days have ranked up there with the week I was in the hospital with Rebekah, stress wise. What do you do when your child is screaming constantly in pain and there nothing you can do for him?  All you can do is pray and beg God to take away the pain and give you both the grace to endure it. It's a horrible thing watching your child suffer!  Wesley cried all night last night til he was hoarse and finally fell into a fitful sleep, though he still twitched and wiggled in his sleep. I don't normally do this, but I finally laid him beside me in my bed and held him tight against me so he couldn't move. He finally fell into a deep sleep around 6:00 this morning. I got about an hours sleep last night. I remember how The Lord held me up and strengthened me during those six days in the hospital with Rebekah. I didn't eat or sleep for a week for fear of not being there when she died. Yet God gave me the strength I needed to survive that week after having a cesarean. I literally felt as if I was being carried. He can do that again for me this time, I know. He already has been. With two toddlers waking up raring to go at the crack of dawn, I desperately need the Lords grace and strength!  Andy has been such a big help but he still has his job to do.  God will help us get through these long days and nights until we can find the solution to this problem and the medicines begin to take affect. We got one cream this morning, but the pharmacy had to order the most crucial one and it won't be in til this evening. It'll take a few days for the creams to start healing Wesley's skin so we may have a few more nights of screaming to get through. I'm thankful he won't remember this!  It is as if he was burned all over and his skin is open and raw and oozing. It's a terrible thing for an infant to go through. The dermatologist says he has severe eczema and is going to treat it as such first. I pray with all my heart the creams will help. If not, we will go see an allergy specialist and start working on his diet to find the allergy.   It can take as muh as a month for the rash to disappear completely if it is eczema. If it is an allergy related to his diet, it may take longer to find it and get it out of his system.
   We thank every one of you for your prayers!  They do help greatly!  Only in the family of God do you have friends who care so greatly for one another, even though we've never met. Thank you so so much for the care and concern and prayers goin up daily for us and our baby!  The Lord give grace when you need it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Prayer Request

   For the past month, Wesley has had a terrible red, itchy rash covering his entire body.  I've taken him to the doctor, used several different kinds of creams for eczema, had him on three different medications for a possible staff infection, got rid of everything that has a fragrance in it, I'm running a humidifier at night in his room, and have tried some of those strange home remedies as well.  Nothing has worked.  At times it seems the rash is drying out, and his skin will turn leathery and scaly, but then it will become inflamed again and start oozing a yellowish pussy-looking substance.  He sleeps for about an hour at a time, even at night.  He screams his way through his baths when I touch a rag or sponge to his skin.  It immediately becomes inflamed again, and his screaming turns into a screech if I try to put any kind of cream on his skin after the bath.  Touching him hurts him so badly.  I'm at a complete loss!  I searched the web and found that his symptoms match a cows milk allergy.  But its not certain if it is JUST cows milk.  It could also be a wheat or peanut allergy, something that he's getting every time he nurses.  I've switched him to a highly sensitive allergen formula specifically made for cows milk/dairy allergies to see if it'll make a difference for him.  He's been on it for only a few days so its still too early to see any changes.  Sometimes, depending on the allergy, it can take 2-4 weeks for the symptoms to disappear.  Supposedly cows milk allergies can be outgrown within a year, or they can be life long and life threatening, depending on what kind he may have, IF indeed that is WHAT he has.  The doctor I've taken him to says its eczema, but after three different medications and practically every cream on the market for eczema, I'm beginning to wonder if the guy even knows anything about infant skin conditions!  I gave the guy one more chance today, but when he walked into the examining room with his hands behind his back, and never once touched Wesley or even unsnapped his onsie to take a look at his inflamed chest, I was ready to walk out.  All he did was give me another prescription for eczema, WHICH by the way I'm not going to use, and told me there was nothing he could do for Wesley.  He referred me to a children's hospital in Cincinnati instead.  I came back home and spent the rest of the morning calling every hospital, clinic, and doctor's office in the two states of Indiana and Ohio (or so it seemed), trying to find a dermatologist to take an infant.  I had no idea how hard it is to get an appointment with one of those guys!  Its almost impossible!  One office said they could take me on February 27th!!  Another appointment was the middle of July!!!  After calling well over a dozen places, I finally told them that we've been fighting this rash for a month now, and if it was a serious allergy, I HAD to see someone soon about it and get it taken care of!  I can't wait til the middle of July!  After a couple hours worth of phone calls, I finally found a place who takes infants and they somehow managed to get me in tomorrow afternoon.  It'll probably take us two hours to get there, but I WILL NOT miss this appointment for nothing!  I'll probably never get another one! 
   Anyway, Please pray that the Lord will give the doctor wisdom and that we will get some answers.  I hope they can figure out what is causing this rash and if it IS an allergy, it won't be too serious and that Wesley will outgrow it.  I hate to think of him having to fight a sensitive allergy his whole life!  I was in tears today, after many sleepless nights, watching him thrash around in his crib trying to get some relief from the itching.  It tears my heart out as I listen to him scream in pain and knowing there isn't a thing in the world I can do for him except wait it out and try to calm him down the best I can.  There's nothing in this world worst than when your child is hurting and you have to sit there and watch, completely helpless to do a thing about it. 
   Please keep us in your prayers.  Its times like these that you give your child to the Lord and pray, "Thy will be done, no matter what happens".  Its a terribly hard prayer to pray, but God's ways are not our ways.  He knows what is going on.  He knows of Wesley's pain and misery.  He knows about Audra's tiny feet growing wrong.  He knows.  And I take great comfort in that.  I also know that prayer can move the hand of God, and this mother is going to bombard Heaven to try to get that done!  I realize that His answers are sometimes not what we have in mind.  We learned that first hand with Rebekah, but we also learned that He gives the grace needed to cope with those answers.  I just pray that God will heal Wesley and let him either outgrow this quickly or give us the direction we need to find a medication or treatment for it. 
   I beg your prayers as well!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This and That...

   It was -6' when I woke up this morning!  I took some trash out to the barrel out back after breakfast and did some mighty fancy stepping in my bare feet.  Yes, bare feet.  Four inches of snow on the ground, icicles hanging off the house, and I'm in my bare feet.  I hate shoes!  I wear them only when I have to.  :)  I finally gave in this morning, though, and put some wool socks on.  It was just too much.  :)  Christian's just like me.  The minute he walks into the house, off come the shoes and socks.  Andy's been trying to get him to wear socks in the house to keep him from getting sick, but every time I turn around, he too is barefoot.  He especially can't sleep in socks!  I agree!  That's the worst!  :)  I'm ready for spring!!!  I can't wait to bury my toes in fresh turned, warm dirt!  I'm dreaming of the day we get a place in the country and I can have my own garden again!  There's nothing like getting out there and planting a freshly turned garden!
   Well, I got brave and colored my hair yesterday!  I've never done it before, but I'm so ready for a change!  So I got it cut into layers at my shoulders, got rid of the bangs, and then colored it a rich brown a couple shades darker than my natural color.  I LOVE it!  It looks so healthy now!  Probably my imagination of course, but any woman out there knows what a brand new cut feels like!  :)  Much less, a new color on top of a new cut!  I really like it.  It took Andy a little adjusting to, but he finally admitted he likes it too.  (Very important! :)  He's always worried when I go get my hair cut.  :)
   Not much is going on around here.  I've got terrible cabin fever and am ready for some warm days.  I went through the kids clothes yesterday.  They are finally out growing everything.  A new thing for Christian and Audra.  Not a new thing for Wesley.  He's wearing 6 month clothes, and even handled one of Audra's 18 month white onesies the other day!  He's not real fat, just big!  And getting bigger by day it seems.  My three month old "baby" is just about as long as two year old Audra is tall!  I can't keep him in clothes.  I'm pulling out Christian's hand me downs constantly hunting for something that will fit him.  I can't imagine what he's going to be like if this continues into the teen years.  Food is going to be a real issue!
   Audra gets her foot braces in about two weeks.  She'll have to wear them for at least 9 months to a year.  Hopefully after that, we'll start seeing some improvement in her feet and legs.  I pray that her legs will begin to strengthen and grow straight.  I thank the Lord that we caught this problem early enough to do something about it! 

I love the laugh lines around his eyes.  :)

First day of "school".  We're working on the ABC's and numbers right now.  Christian loves it and is so eager to learn.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Getting Healthy

   I've decided to start getting some healthier snacks in the house for the kids to munch on.  Audra is so tiny and I've made it a goal to try to put some meat on her bones.  :)   I went to the Amish store earlier this week and bought a bunch of Honey Crisp apples, my favorite kind.  I also bought some red and white wheat berries to grind for bread.  I've got a recipe that makes homemade wheat bread soft, light, and quite edible instead of heavy as a brick.  So yesterday, I sliced the apples and loaded my dehydrator.  My family loves dried apples!  The kids simply can't get enough of them.  I want to try making fruit leather, too.   I made some a long time ago in the oven, but never in the dehydrator.  I know the kids would like that as well.
   I also ground up some wheat and made a big loaf of bread.  There's really something to grinding your own wheat instead of buying it at the store already ground.  After just one loaf, you can tell a difference in your energy level and general health.  Its amazing.  When Andy and I first got married, I had a slew of health problems, including gallbladder trouble and some problems with my blood sugar.  After dieting, exercising, and eating a lot of fresh ground wheat bread, I lost 20 lbs in two weeks, was able to keep my gallbladder, and my blood sugar eventually leveled out...all without medication.  So I'm a firm believer in it!  I've heard that fresh wheat can cure many other illnesses including some cancers.  Its an interesting study to say the least.  I know it worked for me.  And the kids LOVE the fresh bread!  I bought some whipped honey from the Amish store, and Christian and Audra ask for it on the wheat bread almost every meal.  Hey, you can't beat that!  Better than chips and Kool-aid! 


Playing with "glass" balls, those little jelled balls that you put in water and they grow to 200 times their size.  They were all over the kitchen floor by the end of the day, but the were kept busy for hours!  

My Red and White Wheat berries.

One of the two most used things in my house, my Kitchen Aid!  The other is my sewing machine.  What would I do without them???

Wesley is SO easy going!  As long as he's dry and full, he's happy and will grin at anyone who will stop and give him a glance.  He's definitely my easy baby.  He can sleep anywhere with noise going on all around him.  He fell asleep on the kitchen floor today while I cooked and the kids ran around driving their trucks and other toys around him!  This morning he fell asleep on the floor of Christian's room while I went through the toys, tossing the broken ones into a box right beside him.  He slept right through it all without a care in the world.  I love it!!!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Old Shoe Box...

   Everyone has an old shoe box of memories tucked away in some secret spot in their closet.  Perhaps its not really a shoe box, but maybe a small tote marked "Keepsakes".  Or a file folder labeled "Special Memories".  Its that secret little place you keep those old photos of the past, memories of people and places you never want to forget.  Maybe a dried rose from your first date, or your first love letter, or perhaps a child's drawing that you wouldn't sell for all the money in the world.  That little box is priceless, irreplaceable, the first thing you grab if the house goes up in flames. 
   I have such a box.  Johnston & Murphy, Size 11, Burgundy.  Yes, a plain, black shoe box.  In it I keep my most precious keepsakes.  Things like a little white Bible with Rebekah's named engraved on the front.  A CD of her baby pictures, along with CD's of my other two children. (Believe me, there are other copies of THOSE floating around out there too! :)  A dried rose that Rebekah's uncle Brad gave to her at the hospital, along with a few other special dried roses.  (Andy's corsage from our wedding finally had to go. :)  Oh, there are other items in there such as letters, notebooks, and things I'm saving for our children.  But one of my favorite items is a battered black notebook with a little silver butterfly in the bottom corner.  It holds a whole lot of memories, some good and some bad.  I've had it for years!  I never could write a diary growing up, so I penned down my thoughts and feelings in another way...through poetry.  That little black book contains 40 some poems that I've written over the past 20 years.  Most of them were penned in the middle of the night.  There are tear stains in that book, tears of anguish, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and tears of longing and hope.  A few of those poems only two people on earth have ever seen, and I am one of them.  My heart speaks in those poems, as if it were a normal diary.  Now, I'm not big on poetry and I don't really get a huge thrill out of reading it for fun.  In fact, I've never read poetry!  :)  I never could handle Shakespeare and some of those others out there.  Can't even understand them half the time!  But mine were different to me.  They were my heart.  I loved putting my feeling on paper as if I were painting a picture. 
   Every now and then I dig out my special box and that little black book, and I sit back and read my past.  I like to remember.  Our life really does tell a story when you think about it.  It seems as if God takes you down a path, custom made just for you, to get you to the place that He wants you to be as an adult.  And there is a reason for everything that happens on that path.  Its for our good, and His glory.  The good times and the bad are for our benefit.  And we can look back and pull certain situations out of the past to use in a present situation or to benefit someone else who may be going through the very same thing.  My life tells such a story.  From an early age, God was working on my heart.  Oh I didn't see it then.  Its kind of like being confused and lost in a corn maze.  Acres and acres of corn and all you can see is the next bend in the path.  You have two choices, go forward and hope you get somewhere, or go backward...and still hope you get somewhere!  But, supposed you climbed into a plane and soared above the problem.  Suddenly, it doesn't seem quite so confusing.  You see the beginning and the end of the maze and the path between quite clearly.  You want to holler down at the confused folks still wandering aimlessly along that the end is just a few feet away, just a few more turns and it'll be over.  You see the big picture now and its so clear!!!  That's how it is looking back over your life.  Its a real good thing to do every now and then.  You see God's hand in places you hadn't before. 
   As I read through those poems, I remembered.  I saw God trying to get my heart in my early teen years.  The very things I said I hoped would never happen to me were the very things that DID indeed happen.  God was trying to get my heart.  The things that were most dear to me.  Oh, it was a long process, with very difficult lessons to learn, and relearn...and relearn.  Ok, I'm kind of hard headed at times.  :)  But God finally cornered me and I had to make the most crucial decision of my trust him, or to give up.  I couldn't get out of it.  God wanted my dearest treasure.  He wanted my heart.  If He had my treasure, He had my heart.  It was the hardest time of my life.  A peak of sorts.  As if my whole life before was preparing me for this one moment!  I decided to fully trust him and I surrendered my treasure to Him.  He taught me His love.  I fully understood for the first time the love that sent Him to the cross for me. 
   After that, there have been some hard times, some struggles.  And there have been times that God has asked again for my treasures.  Only this time, I gave them willingly because I had learned how to trust, and I experienced the blessed peace that comes with trusting.  I saw the richness of His blessings and the greatness of His power and strength that He pours out on those who lean on Him. 
   My life is still telling a story, I'm sure, as is true about each one of you reading this.  We just won't know the ENTIRE story til we get up a little higher.  We won't fully know what God was trying to do with our life until we get to glory and see it revealed from that angle.  That is why it is so crucial for us not to quite, not to give in when the going gets rough.  You just DON'T KNOW what He's trying to do...a week, a year, maybe 10 years down the road.  You just don't know who will need to hear YOUR story!  Your SUCCESS story.  And by success, I mean, you stuck with it until you reached the end of your maze and were able to see God's hand in your trial leading you all the way, even when you had no clue He was there.  When you thought the world was crumbling around you.  There's someone out there now who will need you to remember....   So pull out your old shoe box every now and then an go over your life and see how God led you to the place where you are now.  And don't be too ashamed to cry a little.  I did... 

One of my favorites...

Jewels In His Crown
A hard, stubborn heart,
just a piece of cold stone,
I longed to be king, 
my whole life to own.
I acted content,
I wore the mask well,
Of the battle inside, 
no one could tell.
Yet something was missing,
a hole deep and wide,
I oft' tried to fill it
in my own empty pride.
I couldn't give up
that one little part,
I hung on tightly 
to that key of my heart!
"I've given you plenty!"
I cried to the Lord,
This one little thing
I just had to hoard!
I couldn't let go,
it was precious to me,
So I selfishly sat
and clung tight to the key.  
Then to my surprise,
I felt a hard blow!
The hammer came down,
the process was slow.
I knew it would come, 
but I felt so alone,
As He began to work
on that cold heart of stone.
I cried out in anguish,
I couldn't understand!
And the tears flowed freely
at the touch of His hand.
As the Master chipped away,
the stone began to break,
He smiled as He thought
of what He strove to make.
Even though it was painful, 
the purging of trial,
He ever so gently
said, "Wait just awhile."
I longed for a reason,
"Why must I go through?
Why have You forsaken
this child of Yours, too?"
The answer He gave 
was gentle and kind
"Just wait til you see
what I have in mind!"
I knew I must trust 
His plan as He willed,
I cannot hold back,
my heart I must yield.
So I reached deep within
and pulled out the key,
That would unlock the chain
and set my heart free.
With freedom comes joy
and a love for the Master,
No more to myself
am I now a prisoner!
For I've yielded my life,
I'm no more on the throne,
Whatever He wills,
I'm now His to own.
I watched as He finished 
the purging of fire,
He wiped away tears,
the dirt and the mire.
His plan was fulfilled,
and to my surprise,
He held in His hand
a jewel of great price.
He said with a smile,
as it glistened around,
"Now, THIS I can use
as a jewel in my crown!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


   We discovered a couple weeks ago that Audra has a problem with her feet and ankles.  Her feet are beginning to turn out at the ankles causing her to walk on the insides of her feet. The problem isn't real bad yet, seeing as how it is in its early stages, but if left alone, it would begin to cause her terrible pain in her legs, feet, hips and back as she grows.  Sometimes you can correct the problem with braces, special insoles and good quality high top shoes.  The tendons and ligaments in Audra's legs and feet are weak and causing her feet to collapse.  By bracing her feet with special insoles, good shoes, and therapy, there's a chance that her feet will strengthen as she grows and will straighten on their own.  I reckon its a slow process.  If it doesn't work, there is a complicated surgery that could possibly correct the problem, but it can't be done until she's done growing at around the age of 18.  Please keep us in your prayers as we begin to take steps to get her taken care of.  I'm begging the Lord that He will heal her feet and straighten them within the next couple years.  My mother's heart breaks when I think of my baby girl living with pain every day!  Sometimes you wonder why things like this happen.  But God knows what He is doing and I know He's got a reason for this.  If nothing more than to get us to simply lean on Him and trust Him.  

Please pray for Audra! 

Our couch hold so much static!  Every time Audra plays on it, her hair stands on end!  :)  She had no clue!  (Wish she would grow some hair on the sides...she looks like she's got a Mohawk!)

I was cleaning out a closet yesterday when Christian found this black hat.  His eyes got big and he said, "Look, mama!  Its a Roy Rogers hat!!!"  and off he ran to find his toy shot gun.  Of course Audra wanted one too. :)  They played with those hats most of the day. 

This ones for you, Mom.  :)  Every time I turn around she's stealing Wesley's two blanket out of his swing or bassinet.  They are identical to her own except for the color and she loves them and thinks she has rights to them all. :)

My big boy!  Look at those hands!  He's huge!  His hands are as big as Audra's now and my 2 1/2 month old is now wearing six month clothes and the same size diapers as my two year old Audra!  When I dress Wesley, I always pick out no less than three or four outfits because I know he won't fit into the first couple I try on him.  :)  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

More Snow!

   We've had another 6 inches of snow fall overnight and its still coming down heavy.  I love it when it snows!  Its so beautiful and seeing a fresh snowfall never gets old to me.  I'm even getting over my fear of driving in it.  :)  We're supposed to have a high of 0' next week!!!!  WOW!  Now that is a little TOO cold!
   We had a man get saved last Sunday morning.  Also a teen girl in Andy's class is very close to salvation as well.  Andy's been talking to her and I'm sure it won't be long before she makes that decision as well.

Kisses for baby brother

   Andy and I will be working on a church calender for this year.  We've got a lot of plans and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our church in the coming months.  Andy's planning a revival around the month of May and will try to get a few different guest preachers to come preach it.  We're also going to have a senior banquet sometime.  We had a couple at our old church in McMinnville and they are a blessing to the old folks.  We have about 20 seniors at our church here in Liberty, so it'll be quite a crowd for our first banquet.  I'm looking forward to it!
   We've been making and seeing some changes in our family and also the church, and the devil has been showing his face lately.  That's the way it always is.  When things are going well, people are getting saved and growing in the Lord, and you are trying to do right, you can almost guarantee the devil won't sit still for long.  I pray that our people will remain strong against the devil's attacks.

Love the face, Audra!

Christian "reading" books to Wesley.

Audra LOVES Wesley!  In trying to play mama, she can get pretty rough.  I caught her sitting and bouncing on his tummy the other day "riding" him like a horse!  Wesley didn't even make a peep!  He's a tough little fellow.  He tolerates her attempts at gentleness. :)