Wednesday, June 18, 2014

care bear stare

I love this picture... it perfectly captures Easter for us this year. 

It was an absolutely beautiful day, full of everything we needed it to be. First and foremost, we celebrated Jesus -- and to be honest -- I could totally stop there. That alone is enough to make it a perfect day. I woke up this morning singing "Give me Jesus" (by Jeremy Camp)... it's still ringing in my ears actually. Sort of fitting I guess now that I'm blogging about Easter. I love this song though. Because really...
"GIVE ME JESUS. You can have, ALL this world. Just give me Jesus." 

But as always, our God gives us more than we need or deserve. He gives us MORE. Because I guess he could have just stopped at Jesus too, right? But that's not his style. Above and beyond...HE sort of owns that phrase. Just like it says in Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" God is so good to us. It makes my heart scream sometimes. Like a care bear stare... remember those? My heart throwing all it has back to God. Screaming joy and praise and thanks that we get all THIS.

This day of amazing fellowship and food [as always at Janel's] easter egg hunt with lots of crazy kids...sunshine GALORE...some kite flying...mimosas [yummo]...and of course the big one -- the fact that we all made it there alive. Yep, totally a day full of everything we needed it to be. 

And THIS picture, oh another reason for my heart to scream. The sweetest little girl I know, plopped down on the ground, showing her Daddy how great she is at kite flying. 

Then of course, there's this little guy. He might not be very good at kite flying quite yet...but he has other important things to show his Daddy. Like the coolest hiding spots for eggs. Or Mr. Pirate Egg. All important things, right? :)


And baby Rage? He did what babies do best. all day :)

We did manage to have a little excitement that day as well. Our besties stopped by in their hilarious ride just in time to save the day (farmer style, of course). See the pics below of the sad kite stuck in the tree and the obvious answer... There's seriously never a dull moment when you're a part of this clan :)

It feels good looking back at this day...and I give glory to God for every last bit of it. Not all days will be perfect. Today sure wasn't. I had an epic fail in a moment of frustration and snapped a little...or maybe a lot. But it's good to be able to look at the good and bad in light of each other. I feel like I need both to balance this life out and keep me looking up to Him. Some days it's all glory and honor screaming out of my heart...others it's a call for mercy and grace and maybe a request for a do-over or two.

So what is God teaching me today? I'm still putting the pieces together. But I think it has something to do with the song that I woke up singing.  


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wherever you are, be all there

I finally got Rage's birth announcements in the mail. I decided that it was something I wanted to do since this is our last baby. I did announcements for all 3 kids...did it right for Row and mailed them, but I cheated emailed Rig's (poor middle child)! And now there's this little man... I'm afraid he's going to be spoiled. I think I'm starting to understand why people always make comments about the "baby" in the family. When it's your last one -- you HAVE to overdo things. Well, maybe you don't have to. But you better believe I'm going to give it a shot! I'm already over-achieving in the areas of snuggling and smooching on this little guy... so what's the harm in proudly mailing his mug all over the USA? 

My friend Liz stopped by when he was about 2 weeks old to take some pics for me [see below]. She really did an amazing job. Thank you my dear!!!

I have to say though, that knowing this is our last baby has definitely made an impression on me as a mom. I think that morsel, and in light of everything we've been through with Derek, I'm looking at my role of wife and mother a little differently now. Time is short, so very short. I want to do what I can to SLOW this time I've been given with these precious ones. To take the days and moments that are before me and really live and enjoy the whole of them. 

This got me thinking and reading...and I decided to re-read one of my favorite books "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. She talks about slowing time with the weight of full attention... living fully in the moment... (all her words) and doing it by just simply opening our eyes and being thankful for the seemingly small stuff we're blind to in the every day. It's life changing to see life like this -- thru a thankful heart. Pretty awesome.

One of my many starred paragraphs in her book...

"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away."

A thousand broken and missed things... I want those moments. I want ALL of them. I want to enjoy getting my kids ready in the morning for the day that's before us -- not by yelling at them to get dressed and brush their teeth or to hurry up and eat. Those words suck the joy out of the day and are sadly said more than I'd like to admit. So tomorrow I plan on being intentional with words spoken and time spent. I'm going to laugh and hug and pray with these little creations of God. We will not hurry. We may not make it anywhere "on time". But that's okay. I'm going to treasure my giggly slow pokes and embrace the imperfect with grace.

"Wherever you are, be all there"...

One of my most favorite quotes. Words of wisdom from Elisabeth Elliot.

Friday, June 6, 2014

all things for good

Before January of this year, I don't think Derek or I would have even batted an eye at commercials for people with diseases or medicines...or movies where people are laying in hospital beds plugged into machines with tubes all over. But now, we can't seem to escape them. There are times when we're watching tv where we'll both just stop...and look at each other and shake our heads. It's crazy what we were numb to before. Those commercials were still playing, people were still coughing up lungs on television shows...we just didn't see it or care. It's like we're looking at life thru these new eyes. It's so strange.

Like now when I hear stories of somebody being on a ventilator or in the icu or having open heart surgery... my heart does a small cartwheel. That meant nothing to me before all this. Now that I understand what it really means, what it actually involves, I truly feel for people who have been in these circumstances. mean someone's lungs don't work and they can't breath on their own??? Someone's having open heart surgery... their chest cut open and their heart messed with??? Um, yes, those things are a big deal. Huge. But honestly I would have been stone faced hearing about either of those before all this. It's crazy what EXPERIENCE does in life. When you experience something for yourself, then and maybe only then, are you truly changed by it.


Back in January I was faced with one of the biggest decisions I would ever have to make in this life. It sounds sort of over the top to use those words... but after sitting here and thinking about all this... that's actually a true statement. I've never had to make a decision that could ultimately lead to someone I love living or dying. But there I was, making decisions and having conversations on behalf of my husband who could no longer speak or act on his own. That's why the word "ventilator" will forever mean something to me. When Derek first went into the ICU and was still breathing his own air [and struggling to] the doctor and nurses told us that our next step would be for him to be put on a ventilator. Neither of us truly understood what that meant. To us, I think it was just another means of helping him to get air. They explained he'd be heavily sedated until his breathing was stronger...he had to sign a paper...I had to leave the room while they put a tube in his throat. I thought the ventilator was something people went on for a few hours. I did not understand the severity of the situation. His lungs were shutting down, his organs also were. His body was dying. It's funny how clueless we both were at that moment. The situation still did not seem serious. A few hours later of course, I realized what was actually happening. I walked into the room and saw him lying there with tubes all over, unconscious, with his chest going up and down mechanically. I could no longer communicate with him. I was all of the sudden alone...and speaking for the both of us. It was a surreal moment.


Within a few days a couple people had mentioned the word "transfer" to me in regards to Derek... another word that actually means something to me now. How do you transfer a man to a whole other hospital and team when he's basically dying right in front of you? There were so many doctors working to keep him alive at that point...running tests, asking questions, maintaining the machines that were sustaining him. It was like every second counted. How could I risk packing him up and sending him off? That felt like starting over. The thought of transferring him seemed too big, too dangerous and wasn't something I thought necessary. He seemed "safe" where he was. I needed safe.

At that point Derek was not doing well though -- at all. It was horrifying to watch really. He was unconscious mostly, but he was also very hard to keep sedated properly. He kept sitting up and attempting to pull out the tubes and struggling to free himself from the very things that were keeping him alive. Again, horrifying. To have to talk him down and attempt to calm him...I can't even explain it. I felt helpless. I was scared of him at first to be honest...especially when he would struggle like that. I remember after one big episode I sort of retreated to the back of his room...and just sat there and cried. I was afraid to touch him, to go to him. It was like it wasn't even him. I was torn. I didn't know how to get thru to be a comfort to be strong for him. But in that moment, cowering in that chair, I felt a boldness well up within me -- I got up, grabbed my bible and went right up to him and started reading from the book of James. It was so hard to do. But somehow, I did it. With nurses watching and doctors coming in and go up and stand next to my husband and read God's word out loud and stand strong for him. I felt eyes on me, I felt some judgement...but giving Derek something to grab onto in those desperate moments meant more than what people thought of me. And once I started speaking and praying over him, the situation didn't scare me anymore...he didn't scare me anymore...and everyone else just disappeared. I would play songs and sing to him or read to him from God's Word and in the middle of a freak out, he would quiet. As crazy as it sounds, God's Word literally held us together in those moments. It brought peace into a room of chaos. 


I came across John 13:7 while I was doing my devotions's when Jesus is washing the disciples feet...and He says to them..."You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I can't tell you how many times I've breezed right by that verse. But today, it blew my mind. So much of what we go thru in this life - those struggles and hurts - it's like Jesus is saying just may not understand what I am doing right now, but later, later you will. You just need to experience this in order to fully understand what I want to teach you. He can't just explain it all to us... well He could, but sometimes words alone fall on deaf ears. But to experience it for ourselves... that really brings meaning to something.

Like in THIS struggle... our faith has been stretched further than I thought possible. But the truth of it is that we've been so blessed thru the HARD. What if we could have found out somehow that Derek had the heart issues in January? Would we trade months of turmoil for a quick fix? If given the option, ohhhh yes...we would have taken it.  None of the hard, please. But we would have missed all the blessing my friends. I guess I'm starting to really understand Romans 8:28 and how God is working ALL things for our good. Even ventilators and hospital transfers and open heart surgery. [sigh]