Friday, November 8, 2013

From of Old

Have you ever thought about the fact that you know a God from old? (Of course I'm talking to those of you who know God as your personal savior, and if you don't, I would love to tell you how.)  

It is crazy to me to think that God's love, faithfulness, kindness, goodness...his very being has been around since...well...there was never really a time when it wasn't.  

Does that not blow your mind?  I mean, for reals, think about it.  

God has ALWAYS existed.  He has ALWAYS been around.  Before earth was created, it was just him.  Before anything that we have come to know, before history happened, there was God.  Gives a whole new meaning to 'from of old', right?

I'm not necessarily writing to make us dwell on how 'old' God is, but just the fact that he has been around since before we can imagine.  

So with that thought in mind, why wouldn't we trust his word, and his promises, and his love and goodness?  Honestly, this is a question more for myself than it is for anyone else.  Why do I struggle with trusting God?  Wouldn't he be the most trustworthy person ever? Ever, ever?  I mean, he is the author of everything I know, and don't know.  He was around before I came into being, and will still be around long after my bones dry up.  He is a 'know it all', literally.  His wisdom exceeds everything.  

So why do I struggle?

I mean, I know the answer.  I have a sin nature, and I hate it.  It makes me struggle.  And all I can do is remember verse 7 from above, and I know that the God from of old will do what he says.  

Do you struggle with trusting God?  I do.  A lot.  If I may, knowing God's age, or lack thereof, should be proof enough that he knows what he is doing and that we should trust him.  I seriously have to remind myself of this all. the. time.  

God loves us, ya'll, and desperately wants us to know his character and bestow his wisdom and goodness on us.

I know this post is a little random, but God just put this on my heart and I wanted to share.

Love ya'll!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The countdown begins...

In case you haven't noticed it's November!!!
That means I get to start counting down till Thanksgiving and Christmas!!
I lurve the holidays.  I mean lurrrvvee.  For reals.

I have already bought some new Christmas ornaments for our tree and even watched Elf one evening.  Lurve.

So this year, Mr. T and I are making Holiday goals/list - things that we want to make a point of doing as a family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (Rest assured that the movie 'Christmas Vacation' will be on that list.  Oh, cousin Eddie...) List coming soon.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few photos from a pumpkin farm we visited a couple weeks ago.  So much fun!

PS.  Follow me on instagram to see my 25 days of things I'm thankful for, starting today.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Emotional Day: Part 3

The next day was a million times better.  Sweet P had started to wake up and was looking around at us.  I had never been so happy to see that pair of blue eyes.  

She was still having random irregular heartbeats, but they seemed to be fading.  

Also, I had been able to get some rest, which was good because momma bear mode had kicked in.

I was on alert for everything, from the heart monitor, to her doses of pain meds.  Our poor nurse had to put up with so much from me.  I was constantly asking questions, and pushing her to make sure everything was ok.  But let me say that she was absolutely wonderful.  She patiently answered all my questions and concerns and was even proactive when it came to me taking care of myself during this time as well.  Even the cardiologist that was on call during the night was a godsend.  Through a conversation we had before he went home from his shift, I found out that he was a Summit church member, and a Virginia Tech fan.  This was a good sign.  :)

We ended up spending only 3 days in the cardiac ICU before they moved us to a room on the main floor.

Right before they moved us, one of the doctors that had been following Sweet P's case, came in and asked me if I wanted to hold her.  "No." I told her.  I was so scared that I would hurt her.  I was content just being by her side.  "I wasn't asking.  I want you to hold her." It was then that I really looked at the doctor, and realized that she wasn't talking to me as a medical professional, but as a fellow mom.  I would like to be able to tell you that it was so awesome to finally be able to hold her, but honestly, I was shaking so bad that I didn't really enjoy any of it.  It was later when I rocked her to sleep, that I felt the rush of emotions, and familiarity of being her momma.

One week later from the day of her surgery, we were sent home.

I write all of these things for multiple reasons.  One, I want to remember what God did for us during that time.  It's easy to forget all the little ways that God provided for and answered our prayers.  Two, I want others to see God's work in our lives and give him all the glory.  Three, I want any other moms out there that may be going through a similar situation, to know that others have gone before them and can understand what they are going through.  I have already had two moms contact me who are presently experiencing something similar to what we went through.  

Even though our experience was tough, God was gracious enough to give me perspective and realize that we really did not have it that bad.  There were so many other stories that I learned about of children who were in much more serious situations than Sweet P.  My heart ached for these mom's.  Many of them did not have the hope of their child surviving like we did.  

God is good ya'll.  He has allowed me to question his goodness and love, and proved to me that he is unshakeable.  He was my refuge during this time, and remained faithful to me even when I wanted to push him away.  This past year has been marked by many milestones, and thousands of praises.  But through it all I have been changed for the better and have drawn closer to my savior.  

Thank you for reading about Sweet P's story.  

God bless,

Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Emotional Day: Part 2

Nothing could have prepared me for seeing my Sweet P laying in a hospital bed post surgery.  

She was hooked up to so many things.  There were pace maker wires, monitors, iv's, a respirator tube, and a drainage tube.  Even the bandage over the incision was covered in blood, and she was shaking in response to what had been done to her.

I tried to stand there and listen to the doctors and surgeon, but couldn't do it.  I couldn't even look at her.  I ran to the waiting room, and lost it.  I don't think I have ever sobbed like that before.

I was her momma.  I was the one that loved her like no other.  I was supposed to take care of her and protect her.  But I couldn't do anything.

Todd quickly followed me to the waiting room and held me while I cried.  I remembered being thankful that no one else was in the room at that time to see me breakdown.

Finally, I calmed down and went back in to settle down for the rest of the day and night.

But I quickly realized the worst part was not seeing all the machines or even the blood, but seeing her silently cry during the night (she couldn't make any noise because of the tube that had been in her mouth), and watching the tears roll down the side of her face because she was in pain.

I remember immediately I focused on God and cried out in my heart for him to take the pain away.  It was a conversation that went on for hours as I poured over the promises and character of God, and consistently reminded myself that he loved her more than I ever could.  There was nothing off topic at that time as I talked to him, and it was during that time that I wrote this post.  

As the night went on, I did my best to stay awake, but eventually fell asleep.  I had only been asleep for about 30 minutes when I woke up to find 2 nurses, and a doctor in the room hooking Sweet P up to a pacemaker.  I think my heart slammed against my ribs once I realized what they were doing.  They quickly assured me that she was ok, but had some irregular heartbeats, and wanted to have her hooked up as a precaution.  

I stayed a little while longer, but then eventually traded places with Todd, and went home to sleep.

Part 1, here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Emotional Day: Part 1

October 1st 2012 is a day I will never forget.

It's the day that I sat in a Starbucks for 5+ hours trying not to think about the ball of nerves in my stomach, or how sweaty my palms were.  

It's the day that I clung to my phone as if my life depended on it, and in a way it did.  

It's the day that I mentally sat in silence before the Lord knowing that he knew my plea, and I awaited his answer.  

It's the day my 5lb, red headed, little girl had open heart surgery.  

I cannot even write this post without tearing up after each sentence.  

I have not written much, if anything about the day Sweet P had her life changing surgery.  Mainly because it's a day that I don't want to remember, and at the same time am utterly thankful for it.  I still struggle going through the timeline of that day because I feel all the emotions as if it were happening all over again.  I guess that is what it means to be a momma. 

We were not originally expecting to have Sweet P's surgery that early in her short life.  The hope was that she would gain some weight and chunk up to about 8-10 pounds before they would move ahead and repair her heart, but her weight gain was just not happening.  Her acid reflux was so bad at this point that she was under constant monitoring at the hospital due to her high risk of aspirating.  

I remember the head surgeon came to speak to us the day before and go over everything that was going to happen.  The surgery would be anywhere from 6-8 hours long with a phone call from one of the nurses once an hour with an update.  There was great risk in doing this on a baby so small, but he assured us that he had done this successfully on children smaller than Sweet P.  

I wasn't so assured.  

The next morning they came and got her at 6am.  Two different pastors came from our church and prayed with us over Sweet P's surgery.  I don't think they will ever know on this side of heaven how much them being there meant to me.   Throughout the course of the morning other friends trickled in and out to be with us as we waited.  Each time the phone rang, Todd and I jumped up and ran out of the coffee shop to make sure we could hear each word that the nurse said to us.  

Finally we got the call that the surgery was done and that the surgeon wanted to talk to us upstairs at the babies cardiac intensive care unit.  

We waited for what seemed like an eternity, and finally they rounded the corner pushing Sweet P in an isolate attached to what seemed like every machine in the world.  They asked us to stay outside the room until they had her situated and stable and then they would come and get us.  

The surgeon said that the surgery was a success, and that he was pleased with how everything went.  But now we had to wait to see if her heart would accept what had been done to it.  The next 24 hours would be critical.  

A few minutes later we were able to go in and see her.  But before we went in, they prepared us.  It won't be easy seeing her this way, a nurse warned me.  

I made it about 2 minutes in her room and then collapsed, sobbing, in the waiting room floor.   

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

30th Year Reflection

I am 31 years old.
I don't feel like it.

Do you ever think about how old you are and it sorta hits you in the face like a brick wall?

Last month I turned 31 and spent some time thinking about the past year.  It was definitely not what I would have imagined it being.  If you have been around here for any length of time you know a little bit about our Sweet P and her awesome story.

One year ago on my 30th birthday, Sweet P had just come home from the hospital the day before.  One year ago today, I was in a dark place.  That time between her finally coming home from the hospital, to when she had her open heart surgery in October was a very difficult, and draining time.  I honestly don't know how we did it.  She was on 9 different meds that had to be administered alternatively every 4 hours; she had to wear an apnea monitor 24/7; she was pump fed via an NG tube in her nose every 3 hours; and had severe acid reflux which caused her to vomit after every feed even in her sleep.  Not to mention the anxiety I felt every day in anticipation of her surgery.

There were days where I wondered if we could keep doing this.
There were days where I was so out of it, I don't even remember them.
There were days I wanted to give up.

I'm not proud to say that on many occasions I yelled at God.  I'm not talking about I would 'fuss' quietly in my head, but I would get in my car, shut the door, roll up the window, and scream and pound my fist.  Why would God allow this to happen to an innocent child?  She didn't do anything to him.  I mean, I know we live in a world that has been warped by sin and it damages us all, but he is still in control, right? So since he created her, he could have kept this from happening or at the very least given her a physical ailment we could have handled.

I cannot adequately explain the way God lovingly reminded me that he had a plan and was bigger than what I was going through and that in all actuality, our situation was not all that bad.  Time after time, I would come across a story of another family whose baby was in the hospital indefinitely with an issue that could not be fixed.  In fact, during the time Sweet P was hospitalized for her surgery, the baby in the isolate next to her was dying because she needed a heart transplant, and there was no heart available.  I think I ended up spending as much time praying for that baby as I did my own.

I still don't have a clear answer as to why God chose us to experience what we did, but I can say that now, a year later, my heart is much softer.  I love meeting mommas to little ones that have had a health condition.  There is a commonality there that can't be explained.  I now spend more time thinking of the breadth of God which in turn makes whatever I'm going through seem much less intimidating.  'Look full in the face of God', as the song says, has a whole new meaning to me.  When I choose to do that, everything else comes into focus.

This past year has been bittersweet to the extreme.  It was hard for me as a momma, but sweet for me as a child of God.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Highs and Lows

So our pastor has been going through a sermon series called 'Something Better' in the books of Kings over the summer, and I have been doing my own additional reading in Kings along with him.  
I know it can be hard to read through the Old Testament sometimes and wonder how in the world does it apply to your life right now, but if you have a little bit of imagination, you can see that the Old Testament is chocked full of great lessons, and DRAMA.  Seriously, if someone were to take the OT and put it to music, it would put that famous 'daaaah-duh' jaws theme to shame.  

This morning I was reading about Solomon and his obedience in building the temple for the Lord and what a great accomplishment it was for him.  I Kings 8 wraps up the celebration and dedication of the temple to the Lord with Solomon offering sacrifices, and holding a great feast for Israel.  

'Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.' (vs. 61)

I would think that this was a great spiritual high for King Solomon, right?  I mean, you build a house for God, the king of all kings, to live in, and not only is he pleased, but he comes to dwell there!  Um, awesome.  Plus, God decides to bless Solomon with wisdom, and wealth.  For real ya'll, this guy would have been the most ELIGIBLE bachelor ever!  
And... apparently he thought so too.  
Unfortunately, Solomon took a turn for the worse shortly after and turned away from the Lord due to his love of women and their foreign gods.  And his sin had great consequences for Israel.  In ch. 9, vs.1-9, Solomon was warned what would happen if he stopped following God; Israel would be 'cut off'.  

Think about it.  The future of an entire nation falls on your shoulders and is determined by whether or not you continue to follow God.  It's one thing to worry about your own fate, but that of millions of people is quite a lot to ponder.  You would think that this would be a sobering thought to Solomon, but it wasn't.  I mean just a few verses earlier he was telling the people of Israel to keep their hearts wholly true to God.  How could he have messed up so quickly?  

Spiritual highs are great.  Really, they are.  But usually its the time right after when we really need to be on guard.  If the wisest man in the world can fall as hard as he did, then surely I can.  Ya'll, Solomon didn't receive his wisdom after he built the temple, or even after he screwed up.  He received it before all that stuff happened.  The wisdom was there in his head for the using.  So what happened? Even sin can corrupt the wisest of us all, and when we sin, sometimes the worst of the consequences doesn't land on us but those we love.  After Solomon died there was a long succession of evil kings, and Israel suffered for it.  

'Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.' (Ephesians 5:15-16)  

So guard your hearts and don't think you can survive on a spiritual high and not be touched.  I dare say that Satan loves to get us when we think we are closest to the Lord.  Now that I have a little one to care for, I hate to think that I would commit a sin so great that it would ruin her future, but unfortunately, I could.  

Thanks for sticking with me during this long post.  I wanted to share my quiet time today with you and give you a peek into what God has been teaching me and hope that it encourages you.  


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birthday Party Photos

So finally I am getting around to posting some photos from Sweet P's birthday party.  I actually didn't have very many photos to share since I was running around playing hostess.  But my dear friend was able to capture some pictures of the decor and of the birthday girl on her phone.   Thanks Paige!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear P: Happy 1st Birthday!

Dear Sweet P,
Happy Birthday baby!  We made it!  You are now 1 year old.  In so many ways I can't believe this day has finally come, but it has and I praise God for it.  
This past year was a hard one.  The hardest I've ever had.  But waking up each morning and seeing your face whether in the hospital or at home, made it all worth it.  There were days in the beginning where the thought of you turning a year old seemed like dream, and I remember begging God to allow that day to come.  Obviously he heard me. 
There were also lots of great memories and great victories.  The first time I saw you I cried. It was an ugly cry, but a happy one.  I remember how soft you were and couldn't stop touching you.  
When you first came home, you were such a great sleeper, unfortunately it didn't last, but now you are better.  
I remember hearing your laugh for the first time, and I think I cried then too.  It's still my favorite sound.  
I remember the surgeon telling us minutes after your surgery that your heart was great, and your dad and I did a dance in the hallway of the hospital.  I will never forget holding you shortly after that and singing to you so that you would know that it was me.  
I remember your worst poopy diapers and being thankful for each one. 
I remember when we discovered that you had red hair and how shocked we were.  (Thanks Grandma J!!) 
I want you to know baby, that I love you.  I love you more than you could ever know.  I fought for you and will continue to do so.  You are a gift that I asked God for and he granted it.  So I promise that I will try to be a good steward of what he has given me.  
You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me cry, and sometimes you make me mad.  But most of all you make me thankful.  
You are my hero.  

Though she be but little, she is fierce.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

February Photo Dump

Helping Daddy drive to Ikea.

One of my favorite places on earth!

Hanging out with Mr. Fox 

Getting in a little tummy time before surgery, and letting it all hang out. 

Getting ready for surgery

Just came out of surgery.  

Headed home from the hospital! No ng tube!

Helping mommy make the bed

Hanging out with the bff

Just discovered her toes, and will.not.stop. putting them in her mouth

Saying goodbye to sweet friends before they move to Canada.

Lunch date with daddy.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Date Night?

What can a momma do around here to get a date night with her hubs and some friends?  Apparently nothing, because it just ain't happening.
At least according to my child.
So each year Mr. T and I participate in Restaurant Week by going to Ruth's Chris for dinner.  (It's the only time we can afford it, and even still we have to eat only bread and water for the next week to make up for it.) Anyhow, we confidently left the fed, clean, and prepped for bed Sweet 'P' with the babysitter, and headed off into the night.  Everything was going well, all of the party had arrived, and we set off to eat until our arteries couldn't handle anymore of the goodness that was once Ruth's Chris.  (Sidenote: Can anyone explain to me the title of this restaurant?  I mean who is Ruth, and Chris? Did Ruth own Chris?  Was Ruth Chris' mom?  Did he ruin her date night dinner too?)
So, about 30 minutes and 3 glasses of sweet tea into dinner, I decided to check in on the posse back at home.  Apparently the 'child' had decided to have the melt down of melt down's about 10 minutes after we walked out of the door.  I couldn't even hear what the babysitter was saying on the phone.  No joke, it sounded like there was a half starved monkey ripping it's fur out in the background.
After about an hour of this going on, I finally decided to head home without the hubs, and without even tasting my steak dinner which was on a platter ready to be set before me and be slowly devoured by a half starved monkey's mom.  I can't say that I didn't break any laws on my way home, but upon arriving, and picking up the wild child, the cries immediately ceased, and on her own popped in her paci, and promptly went to sleep.  Seriously?!
But my hero arrived shortly after with my meal in a lovely to-go bag, and I happily enjoyed my not so hot dinner.
How was your night?

PS.  Here is a snippet of the calm Sweet 'P' taking a bath.  Gotta love those rolls!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweet 'P': Six Months

Piper is now 6 months old!  Whoah!
Here are some stats on her

1. Her weight is 14lbs 4ozs
2. She 'talks' all the time...I mean ALL the time.  Actually I wouldn't call it talking, more like squealing, loudly, for all to hear.  
3. Throwing her toys is her new favorite hobby.  Probably watching mommy pick them up every 5 seconds is more amusing.  
4.  She is really out-growing many of her clothes, which is awesome!
5.  Two teeth have made their appearance. So cute.
6.  Sweet Peas, squash, sweet potatoes, and bananas are on the menu.  But I don't think she likes the bananas very much. Oh, and Mr. T fed her some nutella...without telling me. 
7.  She loves to hear people sing.  Fascinates her.  
8.  Napping is sometimes a chore.  
9.  She has now figured out how to splash in the tub.  Fun for her.  Not fun for mommy.  
10. Loves to touch things, especially faces.  And tries to put everything in her mouth.  

Overall she really is doing quite well.  She still feeds mostly by an NG tube, but we are hoping that soon she will start liking the sippy cup and will not need the feeding tube anymore.  She is finally on the charts in weight and length.  This is a first for her.  Even though she is in the low percentile, she is tracking.  
We are in love even more with her than we ever have been and love living life watching her grow and change everyday.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

December Photo Dump

Hot chocolate date nights with Mr. T.

Vance and Katie's first Christmas married

We got a new dining room table.  
Tell you more about it later...

Sweet 'P' and her bff Cara

Chillin in the bumbo

First baby foods