Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Back

I'm back from my trip with a lot to say.  And at the same time, I don't even know what to say.  The trip was hard and great all at the same time.  The funeral was maybe the saddest thing I have ever experienced, although so incredibly hopeful and joyful.  I cannot imagine burying my five year old, and of course I kept putting myself in Rick and Kendra's shoes and the grief was overwhelming.  The grief for them was overwhelming, more than I have ever experienced.  Rick and Kendra were pillars of God's grace and the funeral service was beautiful...a clear, dynamic presentation of the gospel and a greater grasp (at least for me) of how temporary this life is.  Kendra told me when she was finally able to say "Lord, not your will, but mine"  she experienced surrender like she has never known and grace along with it. 

The rest of the trip was a treat for Steven and me.  We realized once we were on the road, that after the funeral we would only be about 3 hours from Chicago (turned about to be more like 4 1/2).  But Steven and I both agreed we are glad we hadn't known or we might not have done it.  And it was a blast.  It was just a night, but such a cool city, and great memories. 

Ellie, Luke, and Andrew did great (or so I'm told).  Those little stinkers got in an unexpected beach trip and loved it.  I was at my mom's house when they pulled in the driveway and was just about giddy to see them.  My heart was beyond grateful that night to have everyone tucked safely in their beds.  Steven and I figured out that I was the furthest distance away from them that I had ever been.  

Alright, don't leave me yet...I have one more thing to tell you that I think you will want to hear.  I have no cute or clever way to say it, so here it is...I'm pregnant.  Again.  With our fourth child.  Fourth!!  It's crazy for me to even type it or say it.  We are excited, nervous, and very grateful.  And no, it doesn't come as a complete shock.  I know you might be wondering, so I won't leave it a mystery.  I have been in turmoil over it for some time.  So we decided to leave it up to the Lord and if it happened, it happened.  And it happened!  We have already gotten some of the birth control jokes.  Yes, we "know how this happens."  And we are humbled and blessed that God has seen fit to entrust us with another life.  Nervous, but thrilled. 

Ellie is ecstatic over the new baby that is growing, Luke seems fairly excited, and Andrew couldn't care less.  Ellie is calling the baby "her little sister" left and right.  I warn her that it could be a boy.  She says that will be fine and then in the next sentence she refers to what she and her little sister will one day do together.  After I told Luke I was pregnant, I went inside for something, when I came back out, he asked if I had had the baby. 

So here are our three stinkers, or as we like to call them, our "eternal investments" at the beach, Lord-willing to be joined by one more in April.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Prayer Request

I have a dear friend, Kendra.  We met in Albuquerque before I had any children.  I was working and fairly lonely.  She and her husband, Rick had two precious girls at the time, Constance and Kennedy.  She was new to Albuquerque as well, and at the time Rick was serving in the military and traveling a lot.  She was fairly lonely and later told me she was pretty desperate for a friend, and so God provided a friendship for us both when we were in need of that.  Not long after I became pregnant with Ellie, she became pregnant with a son, Ricky.  We enjoyed those fun and not so fun pregnant days together.  Shortly after I had delievered Ellie (as in still stitching me up), Kendra walks in the room to say hi on the way to her room because she had just gone into labor and was being admitted.  Ricky was born about 8 hours later just down the hall.  

We spent the next 6 months having fun with our babies that were the same age.  Then their family was called to move back to her hometown.  Ricky was having some developmental issues and a few months after they had moved to Ohio, Ricky was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).  It was a devastating diagnosis, as he was thought to have type 1, which is the most severe.  It is a genetic disorder, and it affects the muscular development.  It is also a terminal illness.  The average lifespan for a child with type 1 is only 8 months.   Also, I should note that SMA in no way affects the brain.  In fact, children with SMA have been tested to have average to above average intelligence.  This was certainly true in Ricky's case.

So, last week I received a message that Ricky had been flown to a local hospital and put on a ventilator and that his heart had stopped.  Another message came a few days later saying the doctors were certain of brain damage, just not sure how much.  And finally, I got a call last night that I had been dreading saying Ricky was going to be with Jesus.  More MRIs confirmed there was almost no brain activity.  I talked to Rick earlier today and he said he was having seizures and the doctors told them it was only going to do further damage.  So they made the decision to turn off the machines.  

Steven and I will be traveling to the funeral tomorrow.  Ellie, Luke, and Andrew have unexpectedly gone to the beach with my family.  I am going to be without them for almost a week, and get a lump in my throat thinking about it.  But Steven and I really feel strongly that we need and want to be at the funeral.  Rick and Kendra are a Godly couple.  God has given them both a powerful gift to teach God's Word.  Kendra led a Bible study in Albuquerque that ministered to me tremendously.  They are some of the most selfless people I have ever met.  I know God will use this and already has...And will use Ricky's life as a testimony and Christ will be glorified even in his death.  

Ellie saw me crying last night.  As we were trying to explain why, she asked if Ricky would be with Jesus now.  Yes, we told her.  She smiled really big and said, "Wow, that sounds like fun. I would really like to be with Jesus tonight."  She has met Ricky once and seemed very excited for him that he would be able to use his legs now.

Please pray for this dear family that God will give them the strength to take these next steps. 

Ricky and Kendra when Ellie and I visited in August of '08
                              Constance, Ellie, and Kennedy on the same trip
Ellie and Ricky at 5 months when we were in Albuquerque
                                        Kennedy, Ellie, Ricky, and Constance

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some Updates and a Friday in Huntsville

Hello, faithful family and friend blog checkers.  Sorry it's been almost two weeks since I have posted.  If you check my mom's blog, you will see a lot of what we have been up to.  If not, then I will tell you we survived a week of Steven being gone at camp and visited with cousins a lot.  Played outside quite a bit.  And I have been up to my ears in sewing projects, among various other things.  I don't know that I have updated you on my sewing venture in a really, really long time.  But for those of you who care about that sort of thing, can I just say I. LOVE. IT.  It sucks me in and it is really hard for me to put it down once I get started on a project. It is on my blogging to do list to take pictures of the things I have made.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement on the raw milk, organic milk, healthy eating vent I expressed in the last post.  Yesterday I went to a ladies' house who showed how to grind wheat and make bread, muffins, and several other things.  It was very interesting.  I would love to do it, but am not at a place to purchase a grinder at this point, so that will wait.  In the meantime, I might borrow or use a friend's grinder to see if it is something I am really serious about.  The bread and rolls that I brought home yesterday afternoon are completely gone, so that is a good sign that my family would enjoy the world of highly nutritious flour.  

Let's see...what else do I need to tell you about?  This is why I hate waiting so long to blog again.  However, this is the first time that blogging is what I really wanted to do with my time when I had a second to sit down and relax.  I really enjoy my blog, and don't want it to become something else that is on my checklist. 

Ellie, Luke, Andrew and I all went to Huntsville with mom today.  She had a dentist appointment and asked if we wanted to come along.  Although when you go somewhere with all of us, it is more like you are tagging along with us.  We seem to dominate the trip.  After thinking about one minute, I decided I would take a trip to Huntsville.  We went to Chick-fil-A while she was in the dentist.  I knew it was cow appreciation day.  If you dress like a cow, you get a free chicken sandwich.  Although I left all our cow costumes at home, I thought the kids might enjoy the big Chick-fil-A cow.  Andrew did not enjoy him, in fact he screamed at the top of lungs when he saw him.  It runs in our family.  My sisters and I were all scared of large dressed up creatures when we were little and apparently have passed it along.  We enjoyed our lunch in spite of the cow.  I love Chick-fil-A.  What mom doesn't?  They have plastic placemats to tape to the table, Purell hand wipes, and the staff carried our food to our table, among other wonderful things.  Wendy's has that slogan, "It's not fast food, it's Wendy's."  But I feel like that about Chick-fil-A.  

Anyway, we stopped at the mall for my mom to get some shoes.  I ended up getting some also.  Mom said, "You know, I could get those for you and you can pay me back slowly."  It was too good to pass up.  Okay, I am going to show them to you.  They are the most comfortable things I have ever put on my feet.  I have never heard of this brand.  Let me say I have lost all fashion sense since I have had children. (the little that I had)  I don't want to be a dork, but I really, really need to be comfortable.  So I thought these will be so perfect in the fall when I need to slip on shoes with capris or jeans.  
Please don't tell me if you totally hate them.  Because I am going to keep them no matter what.  

Okay, last stop-Costco.  Do you love it?  I love it.  The free samples, the really, really cheap snack bar.  Obviously doesn't go along with the healthy-eating goal.  But we did enjoy the gigantic cup of frozen yogurt for like, a dollar.  There was a demonstration going on today for this blender that pretty much cooks your meals and cleans your house.  The guy made "ice cream" which was almonds, water, some vanilla extract, and a little agave sweetener, and about four strawberries.  It was really, really good.  I am sold on the Blender-Tec, I think is what it was called.  

It is time for me to think about getting dinner started, but I have to tell you this one hilarious Ellie story.  I have already told several friends, so my apologies if you are reading it again.  Okay, sometimes Steven watches this 80's show, Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff-I am guessing he was in his 20s then, (along with the Hulk) with Ellie and Luke in the late afternoon.  So one night Ellie tells Steven that the man on that show is so, so handsome and she wants to marry him one day.  She said, "He has curly hair and tan skin and I just think he is so handsome."  Steven said it freaked him out that his five year old daughter was saying this about David Hasselhoff.