Tag Archives: answered prayer

Spring Break Staycation

29 Mar

We had a trip to Colorado in mind. We like to ski! Unfortunately a lithotripsy interfered with that. So – it was a staycation instead.

On Palm Sunday we celebrated beautiful dresses, curls in thick hair, and dogwood trees.

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If this isn’t an answered prayer, I don’t know what is…

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We visited nearby Cathedral Caverns, and marveled at the depths of the cave!

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Belle, a dogwood tree, and her notebook.

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We had a picnic at Ditto Landing. This was a perfect, awesome day.

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We picked flowers and put them in vases.

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We had LOTS of fun at Southern Adventures!IMG_6052 Some of us launched rockets. This picture is my favorite. He is NOT happy at the moment. Can’t you tell by his body language?!

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Finally, success.
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We rode around the park and even did some fishing!

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And even though it was not a trip to the mountains, a good time was had by all!

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Helping a sister out

12 Jan

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I’ve never felt like I was living the story of Esther quite like I did this month. I’ve been drawn to that story since learning about it, particularly the idea of how God prepares us – all our lives – to bring glory to his kingdom, in the most perfect timing imaginable.

My sister-in-law is one of a kind: hilariously funny with a huge heart. I felt a special connection with her from the moment I first met her. When she called me in January, I was literally moments away from 25 guests appearing on my doorstep for a baby shower I was hosting at my home. I almost didn’t answer the call but something made me pick up. I was not prepared for her to start the call with words that sent chills down my spine: “I felt a lump.” After urging her to get herself in a doctor’s office – stat – and some reassurance, I hung up, truly thinking she would probably be okay. But none of this came with easy timing. Though her family would continue to be most supportive, they had recently established a new home in the neighboring state, and she had few friends to lean on and absolutely no established medical care yet. Once we found her a solid doctor, things started moving quickly: positive findings, orders for more imaging, requests for genetic testing, big decisions to make. Her house is a 4 hour drive from mine, so I hopped in the car to attend the biggest decision making appointments: meeting the oncologist, evaluating the prognosis, and making chemotherapy decisions.

I didn’t know a thing about cancer before I met Joe. But God knew everything. He knew I would be helpful to Kim when her time came. He stirred my heart and I quickly became an advocate – maybe THE advocate – for women’s reproductive cancers in our region. After forming a nonprofit, I counseled patients and their families, helped them find appropriate social networks and resources. I had never had cancer. No one close to me had ever had cancer. But I had a need to do this in a way I could never explain to anyone else.

When Kim was diagnosed my husband was at the busiest height of his career. I was his stand-in for her, a link to bridge her to his knowledge and expertise. And I could do it with my own authority too. I knew the tough questions to ask and the important decisions that needed to be made. God had prepared me for such a time as this.

When it all came together, we had a plan in place for Kim. Our whole family went for her first chemotherapy. Joe was there to support her at the doctor’s office and I was there to help support her at home. Nothing was more special than this time we all had together with her family. The photo above was the early morning just before her first chemo.

Kim received the strongest chemo available. She had a good prognosis if it worked. She then had several major surgeries. She was BRAC+. Her chances of getting this cancer were almost certain. We wanted to make sure it would never come back, anywhere. Her daughter and sister have had to do major prophylactic surgeries to prepare for their own inevitable fates. Joe, thankfully, was negative.

This picture was taken in January of 2012. It is not May 2016 as I update this. Kim is still cancer free. She has since enjoyed her daughter’s wedding, the birth of her grandson, her son’s graduation from high school and him starting college at Troy. She has moved to the beach. She enjoys every minute of her new lease on life.

For such a time as this – I felt like every moment of my life had led to me helping Kim navigate those scary waters. God was there for her in a mighty way, and it was a privilege to be a small part of it.

Full Circle

28 Oct
Last year about this time we were preparing for Boo’s surgery.  It was the first time one of our children would have surgery, a simple tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy/ear tubes, commonly done in children of her age, but I was a wreck nonetheless.  You see, we’d spent three and a half years chronicling every sniff and sneeze, every half-degree rise in her temperature, every abnormal movement she made.  Her hair was not normal.  Her blood work was not normal.  Nothing was out-of-bounds so much that it could be categorized as “eyebrow-raising” which, on one hand, made us very, very thankful. But on the other hand, this meant no doctor could follow her condition long enough for a true diagnosis.  Her first pediatrician said she’d possibly grow out of it, whatever it might be.  Three local dermatologists had differing opinions, ranging from “there’s nothing wrong with your daughter” to “there’s nothing we can do for her: better learn to live with it.”   Our second pediatrician was nothing if not persistent, which paid off in the long run.  She sent us to a slew of out of town specialists, many of whom consulted more specialized physicians than themselves.  Meanwhile, Boo endured test after test, doctor’s office after doctor’s office, needle stick after needle stick, and even the child psychologist, because after all, maybe it did originate in her head after all.  I mean, when I think back on it all, we really did do everything humanly possible, and all that time the answer was right under our noses.
  
It’s no understatement to many when I say that God’s time isn’t our own and this was no exception.  It took this level of persistence for us to have the opportunity to exercise our faith.  We were able to demonstrate to our God that we did in fact trust He would have an answer for us, and goodness knows we were going to stick with Him until He provided it.  I prayed over that child every day, and once we even layed hands on her at church and prayed over every precious strand of hair on her head.  Didn’t take too long, as there weren’t many. 

 

Last year we celebrated Halloween at Disney World.  Last year precious Boo had little hair.  There was tiny bits of growth due to the high-powered antibiotics she’d been on since August (and pretty much all year, sporadically) but it was sparse, coarse and prone to falling out without a moment’s notice.   She was still a precious and beautiful little girl, no doubt, but she was really missing a major component of who she would really become–I had no idea until lately how true this would be.  And she was so sick!  We spent much of our trip in first aid stations all over the Disney World parks and even consulted the Disney Doctor (who knew?!).    

The week we came home Boo had her surgery.  It was no small thing.  Though it wasn’t even “medically indicated” as they say, turns out the surgeon was stumped by the whole procedure.  He said those were the ugliest tonsils and adenoids he’d ever seen!  He sent them to pathology–the whole things!  Wonder of wonders…it wasn’t anything scary like cancer or lymphoma.  It was strep.  Good old garden variety.  Blown to such proportions that it was a wonder Boo was even able to harbor it all. 

With all of that gone from her system, he said, she’d sure feel a lot better.  He couldn’t make any promises about her hair, but he knew she’d have to feel better.

Well that was a year ago.  A year later we had to send a letter via mailbox to our pediatrician because it had been so long since we’d seen her.  Not only that, but Boo has grown a full 4 inches and the thickest, curliest, most beautiful head of hair you have ever seen on a little 4-year-old girl.  We really are the blessed recipients of a full-blown miracle.  It took faith and persistence and belief that God would answer our prayers to do this.

Last year, Boo was not able to do the Bibbity Bobity Boutique because she didn’t even have enough hair to brush, let alone put it in a princess bun atop her head.  This year, at Disney World, Boo–with hair far too unruly to be tamed into one of those little buns anyway– got her hair glittered at the Barber shop on Main Street.  

Then she got it wrapped by the Island lady in Adventureland.

Pride may be a sin, but we were sporting some serious happiness that day.  We have come a long way, sweet baby.  And I will never, ever let you forget the prayers we said over every curl on that rich little head.

Do you believe in Miracles?

1 Sep

You should.

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Oh, yes. You should.

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Boo: Worth the wait

29 Jun

June 2010

We had such a  long three years, and particularly Boo’s  third year of life was filled with trips to the doctor and tests and tests to determine what was causing her hair to fall out.  After all the prayers and love and attention we gave this situation, we have this…and it was so worth the wait!


To God be the glory.

Pigtail Belle

20 Apr

February 2010

No one–absolutely no one–has ever wanted pigtails more than this child. 

It’s a landmark day in our house!

Mommy I don’t feel good. (The sweetest sound I could have heard!)

24 May
It has been a roller coaster week of emotions for me.  For two years my daughter has had a condition that we have not been able to figure out.  We have been to nine doctors, from her local primary doctor, to a world -renowned expert, and everyone in between.  But for some reason, everyone can agree that there is an issue, but no one can diagnose precisely what the issue is.  For the most part, everyone has done a fairly good job of convincing me that she does not have a rare but serious disease and that her condition is not life-threatening, and the difficult part has been finding childcare for my other children during the times that we have had tests done or to drive longer distances for day trips to the doctors in other cities.  I have tried to remain strong, and I’ve done a pretty good job at it.  Normally an emotional person, I’ve kept myself in check, not shedding  a tear over this entire experience, fully believing that “rule out” tests were simply that:  ruling out remote possibilities and not likely chances of drastic diseases.  I have prayed and prayed and remained steadfast and faithful that God WILL bring us through whatever comes down this path.  Should we get an ugly diagnosis, we will deal with it, whatever it is.  Should we get a simple, easily treatable one, we will be abundantly thankful.  Either way, I have tried to look for the way we should glorify Him in this entire experience.  It’s been hard.  A three year old shouldn’t really have to bear burdens of life’s bigger issues, in my opinion.   

Of course there has always been that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, that “what if” factor that keeps me awake in the middle of the night, that makes me second guess every routine childhood illness, that creeps into my thoughts when she complains about simple aches and pains.   I have read and re-read to myself Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in Me, the Lord, with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will direct your paths.”  Most of the time it works; I know He has us in his hands and Satan’s tempting thoughts of fear are chased away by loving thouths of God’s faithfulness to our family and thoughts that He WILL direct us.   

This week was tough.  Our whole physician team was re-worked.  One specialist sort of gave up on the whole thing.  Our primary physician is restructuring a plan for us.  Complicating matters are these bothersome little swollen lymph nodes that won’t seem to go back to normal.  This week those suddenly became a real issue.  And I didn’t like hearing that one bit.  It made everything seem very real, very scary, and much more than the superficial condition I was hoping this was.  It made it all seem like a real health issue, something we are really going to have to deal with.  If those nodes were swollen just to be swollen, that was a bad thing.  If they were swollen due to something else, like an ear infection or a virus, they  are considered “reactive” and that could be just a normal reaction.  (Although it wouldn’t really explain why she is sick so often, it would at least indicate that they are reactive instead of malignant.)  While I am usually very happy for a healthy report in the doctor’s office, that day I felt very unfortunate that there was no ear infection, no sore throat, no headache.  Nothing but a healthy looking kid.  With golf-ball sized lymph nodes.      

Wednesday I was at my Bible Study, what better place?!, and I asked them to pray for Boo.  I didn’t really want to get into the details and I didn’t want to get upset or worried about it, but I knew she needed the prayers.   While they prayed for her, I felt the tears coming.  First time in two years, mind you.  Unfortunately, I forgot all about Proverbs 3.  I just sat there and cried and cried.  Strangely, my Bible study leader, who knew nothing about my personal reading, said to me, “I don’t know why but this verse just came to me, and she quoted Proverbs 3:5-6.  I knew then that God was probably a little disappointed that I’d not done what He’d asked.  I wasn’t trusting in Him and I certainly wasn’t acknowledging Him.  I was just wallowing in self-pity and doubt and all the ugly things that Satan can plant in a fearful mother’s head.  

So I left there and screwed up my courage and faith and I have been repeating the Proverbs passage to myself ever since.   

And you know what?  We had to play hookey from church this morning.  Boo woke up with a sore throat.  A bad one.  Can’t eat.  Can’t sleep.  Can barely talk.  I’ve never been so glad for her to be sick in my life.  Those nodes are reactive.  At least for now, and I’ll take that.  it may not explain anything, but I won’t be leaning on my understanding.  I’ll just wait for His direction and take it from there.   

Whew.
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