Friday, July 25, 2014

we love rage

After baby Rage was born, I came home to a very cute and peculiar sign. It was hung on the wall above our television. 

It read..."we love rage". 

rage's room -- still under construction...
we've hung the sign in the window for now.

A few words we never thought we'd put together. But as the sign reads, we do LOVE Rage. He's the sweetest little man and ironically dons the name that the dictionary describes as intense anger. I always smirk a little inside when someone asks me his name... because I know in a few seconds that person will inevitably crinkle their forehead and ask me to tell them again. They obviously couldn't have heard me right...[ha]. 

My baby is growing fast, a little too fast for this momma. I haven't been keeping up posting his stats very well... so this post will be all encompassing :) 

height: 21" 56%ile | weight: 7lbs 14oz 56%ile

height: 22"  | weight: 8lbs 15oz 

enjoying his stay at the Hyatt
while Daddy is under the knife

hmmmm...I wonder if anyone's noticed
how dashing I am in this tie?

i've got my eye on you...

height: 22.5" 26%ile | weight: 13lbs 67%ile

chunky monkey

white sox man


I'm not sad...I promise.
I'm just well fed and oober relaxed.

being stylish in clothes from auntie jenny

And here's some brotherly love...can you say melt my heart? 
And please don't mind the piles of laundry in the background...this is REAL life baby :)

practicing his kickboxing

brother love 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

with all our might

We've really been enjoying our new house. And by "new", I mean new to US. According to the deed, it was built in 1889. That was a loooong time ago. It's obviously been renovated a time or two, not a whole lot of the original character remains. But that's ok with us. We have a vision for this place. It's going to be a slow "go" getting there, but we have nothing but time, right?

I was thinking about that yesterday as I was painting the baby's room. Yes, Rage's room is still not done...[sigh]. I was thinking about years past, about the other families and little people that called this old farmhouse home. How many times have these walls been made fresh with new paint? Did the mom have to keep stopping to hold a baby or help find a wooden train piece or yell at the top of her lungs for her kids to quit fighting...all the while standing on a toddler play chair to reach the high spots? Oh, if these walls could talk, right? Maybe this Momma would learn a thing or two from the stories that once lived here.

all 3 babes...playing in the crib
as momma paints chevrons galore
I don't know if it was the praise music that got my heart deep thinking or maybe I was high on fumes, but I was really having a moment up there in that room. Until that point I had been feeling the weight [like i always do in some way] of getting things done. Needing to get that room painted so I could move on to my next slew of projects. You know, like painting the kitchen, updating some lamps, making a few beaded chandeliers for friends...[and the list goes on]. Not to mention just the normal chaos of dishes and laundry and starving kids and the never ending trickle of toys that make their way down the stairs. There are just so many things to get done and keep up with around here. Sometimes I get lost in the getting it done...or the desire to have it all picture perfect and put away.

As my brush stroked those walls, the words etched on my rubber bracelet echoed in my mind, the one our Pastor gave me while my husband was on life support... 
"Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."  Jonathon Edwards 1722 
to live with all my might... What does that really mean for me, for my life HERE in this house full of messes. Does it mean working away the moments so the picture perfect painting of our life, our home, is complete...and to what end? I don't think I want to spend all of my might on meaningless tasks for nothing more than appearances. Not that taking care of my home and my life doesn't need to be done [don't worry babe, I'm not giving up on house cleaning]. And at that...done to the glory of God. It DOES...there's no question about that. I'm thinking more about my heart and mind and my motives as I do these things. Like what really matters here...and why do I feel the need to get it all done. If I scream and yell and am irritated to the core as I rush to paint this life of mine...that is not to the glory of God. And it's not getting it done, not really, not at all. 

while I do live... One thing that occurred to me yesterday as I slung the paint on the walls is that these colors, really only last for a time. A very short time. Literally and figuratively. Someone else will live in this house one day. Someone else will repaint these walls for their child or play room or some grand design endeavor of their own. These chevrons that I'm tirelessly painting and perfecting...they'll be painted over. Hmmm. This is just a house. These are just walls. Perspective. 

"As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place is remembered no more." Psalm 103:15-16

And not to be morbid, but ME and mine...we will be long gone at some point. And everyone we know will pass too, eventually. New people will take our lives will be having their time in this those days ordained...times written and seen before they came to be. It's like my mind zoomed out for a few minutes to His vantage point and looked at the shortness of our time. I've read that we see things linear...on a timeline of minutes and days and years. But God sees the whole picture, our beginning, our end...all beginnings and all ends. What a perspective that is. To see life as He does. To keep my eyes on Him as I live this day. For those few minutes, I wasn't drowning in my tasks...but finding contentment in the time I've been given to paint these walls...this canvas of my life. 

I think when I see life thru the world's view, I grasp for time, for things, for a perfect picture, and I hold them so close. I cling tight and I drown in them. But when I step back and remember that we are grass...I am grass...made of dust...made with a heart shifts. Let's go. And I don't have to get it all done. I never will. There will always be more dishes to do, more projects to get done. But this one single day...with all it's tasks...I can live fully, with all my might. 

So for a few days, until I get lost in the mess again, I walk at a different pace, with a full heart...and I paint.

a photo from earlier this year...after Derek got out of the hospital the first time
living the simple. driving dad's truck thru our woods. 
tire swings.
a MUST do today.

To live fully. With all our might. Great idea, Jonathon Edwards.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I was reading this morning and came across Psalm 143:8 -- "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."

I was thinking how I want this verse to mean as much to me NOW as it did four months ago. I still want us to depend on Him and seek His direction each and every day. I don't want to just wake up and throw on my shoes and go at this day like it's mine alone. I want to start it with Him in mind, seeing what He has in store. After all, God's not just walking beside us when life is tough. He's always there...[that's what I've learned]...orchestrating the day for our good and with real purpose. So that's my prayer for my family... that our eyes and our hearts and our plans would be open to what God has for us. He has purpose for us in each day... [even this one].

Over the last week or so my heart has been reliving those days before Derek's hospital transfer. A few posts ago [all things good] I mentioned a little bit about the weight of it all ... and ever since I can't seem to shake 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... 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.

I think when I was there in that moment, trying to walk thru those minutes, all I could do was process what was right in front of me. Doctors...nurses...all of the tubes and machines...watching his body struggle and the numbers go up and down. The first few times people mentioned transferring Derek, I just wasn't ready to hear it. It was like there was a road block in my mind and I just could not go there. What was going on right before my eyes was hard enough to digest on it's own. And I trusted our doctors. I had heard from quite a few people how great one of his doctors was...and they were all so forthcoming and available to us. I never once questioned whether he was in good hands. I knew he was. I decided however, that no matter what I thought was best, I would give it some serious prayer and consideration...and start asking some hard questions. I knew that I was responsible for Derek, and I didn't want fear or anything else to stand in the way of what was best for him.

So I asked those questions. You know, the hard ones. I started cornering the doctors and asking about things that most people probably don't want to hear about. Like was Derek going to die in a few days or weeks if things kept progressing as they were. It was obvious he was on a downward slope at that point, and I needed real answers. I had to be prepared...I was pregnant...there were two little ones that needed me to keep it together. I couldn't have the rug pulled out from underneath me in a day or two if he did die. I had to know what the possibilities were, whether good or bad. 

The answers I was getting from the doctors were also not positive by any means. I kept hearing doctor upon doctor use the words "very very very sick"...and I'm not exaggerating. I heard it multiple times a day from different doctors...[very very very]. I think they were trying to prepare me for the worst. I feel like doctors typically are trying to keep people from overreacting; like they want to reassure you everything is going to be fine...not to worry...they've got it all under control. That's at least what I expected to hear.  But no one was uttering those words. I was starting to see the writing on the wall and it just wasn't looking good. 

So I prayed. That very night I sat in the waiting room and asked Derek's parents and his sister to pray with me. We sat in a circle, held hands, and prayed to the Creator of the world. Pouring our hearts out to Him...together, unrehearsed, and raw. We had never done that before. [not like that]. We specifically asked for God's leading and working if Derek should be transferred. I needed to see His hand in it if I was going to take that step. I left that night confident we were staying put. No transfer.

And there it was the next morning...God's fingerprints...literally all over everything. One of Derek's doctors approached me first thing and before I knew it, we were discussing transferring him. It was like God used that doctor to get me moving; he told me exactly what I needed to just the right way AND wrapped it in faith...letting me know he was praying for Derek. There are too many details to share, really. Let's just say I had doctors and friends and pastors, all showing up at just the right time to walk me step by step thru the impossible. And as the doctor went to make a few phone calls to see if any beds were even available in Chicago to transfer him to, I had a group of people praying in the waiting room. I still wasn't sure how to flip the switch and say yes...I didn't want to make a wrong decision. I was so afraid I would choose the wrong one and he would die.

So I went to Derek's side and played the song that was on repeat in my heart...the one my heart broke to every morning in the shower...that I would pray and sing and bawl my eyes out to. "Whom Shall I Fear...(God of angel armies)" by Chris Tomlin. I probably sang that song to Derek a hundred times without him even knowing it. It gave me hope and strength. 

[see lyrics below...they still give me chills]. 

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear???

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger

Whom shall I fear???

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side 

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises

You are faithful...You are faithful

I would whisper in Derek's ear while he was unconscious that the God of angel armies was there in that room with us...that the room was crowded with angels ready to go to war on his behalf. We had NOTHING to fear. We stood shoulder to shoulder with an invisible army and God himself. 

It was actually this song that gave me the answer I needed at that moment too. As I read those lyrics to Derek, I realized that this God who goes before me...who stands behind...He would be with us wherever we went. If we stayed. If we went. HE goes before, HE stands behind, and HE would be right there by our side. I couldn't make a decision that would not involve Him sustaining and seeing Derek thru. And there it was... my answer.  I could do this because God... the one who reigns forever... would go with us or stay with us. I couldn't send him anywhere his God would not be. ! Right then I prayed... so thankful for the certainty... and broken and humbled that I never saw this before.

And as soon as I lifted my head from praying... literally within a minute... the phone rang at the nurses station and the nurse said I had a phone call. It was the doctor calling to tell me there was a room available at Northwestern for Derek... He wanted to know if I wanted it. I could finally say YES.


One of the craziest parts of this story is that I wasn't asked to transfer Derek until I had the answer. I wasn't offered a bed five minutes before or two days before...I wasn't offered until the indecision and the fear was gone. Until God showed me that He was in every bit of it. I'm still amazed how that day played out. And I'm so thankful that God spared me the weight of that decision before I was ready. Talk about going before... :)

I've decided to share a few photos of the big event. Mainly because this moment for us was mind blowing... life changing... and believe it or not, God even threw in a dream come true. Derek always wanted to fly in a helicopter. I guess he got his wish [although unconscious... lol]. 

I made sure someone got some pics so we could prove it to him.

his fabulous flight crew 
packing him up like a giant burrito
almost ready to go...
just him and a room full of angels :)
his dad on the left...making sure his boy is ok
and there it is...PROOF
you're actually on that babe!