Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Today is our fourteenth anniversary! Just seems like yesterday that I said "I do". What an adventure we have been on thus far. I am so thankful that Christ saw fit to bring us together. We are best friends and so much more. I love you Phillip with all that I have, forever more...
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Well, we are all doing great. We are finding our way back to a schedule and are enjoying getting back into the swing of things. I almost forgot how much of a blessing it is to be in the midst of fellowshipping, etc.
Phillip is busy with work, boys have been doing terrific in school with various projects and presentations while they work hard on scripture memorization. Their scripture memorization puts mine to shame; as they have full chapters memorized. Isaac is currently working on what's called "Adopt a Tree" project in which he picks a tree and does a full blown presentation on it. So FUN!!!! Remember those when you were in school? Gabe has received nothing less than 100% on all his tests/quizzes. Smarty pants. Ethan is a whiz at reading and his cursive is just beautiful! Chloe is talking better every week and is currently toying around with potty training. Ellie - well, she is just a sweet little mama to Justus and kisses him often. Justus is doing great! He isn't sitting on his own yet - but we'll get there. He starts physical therapy next month.
With that said, let me share a poem Isaac wrote yesterday in school: (I was impressed as this is his very own creation)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
At the ladies retreat. What a blast we had!
Hmmm... you think he's having a good time?
Isaac - swimming.
Welcoming home some soldiers... what an honor that was... and ... HOT!!!
A very sweet lady of Faith Baptist who prays for our son ... and she didn't even know us. She was happy to have met the little one she had been praying for.
Men - with babies...
Proud as peacocks! These men deserve our thanks!
Okay... I'm playing catch up. Here are a spattering of images that we took on our trip to Yuma, Arizona. We went and visited some good friends - The Goetsch family that have just recently moved there themselves. Pastor Goetsch is doing a fantastic job as the new Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Yuma. While there we got to go swimming, meander through the town, see soldiers fly in from being deployed, enjoy wonderful fellowship and just have a great time all around. I was also able to go to a ladies retreat with some of them. We went to Palm Springs and heard some wonderful messages as well as enjoy April's playing the piano. It was a fun trip. One that I won't forget and look back on and smile everytime. Enjoy these pics. There are ALOT more on our Facebook account.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Pastor Houston holding Butter prior to surgery. He was at the hospital before us at 6am!
Butter's chest prior to surgery. No scar . . . but now he has a cool scar to brag about!
On his way to Ronald McDonald House the day prior to surgery.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Justus will not be coming home today. He is now dehydrated and is not wanting to eat. There is blood in his stool and a high potassium level in his body. If he doesn't eat another feeding tube will be placed. Please pray for him to eat and for him to become hydrated. Thank you.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Yes, you read it correctly!!!! We have been okayed for discharge tomorrow. Praise the Lord! We will stay at the Ronald McDonald house through Friday night and be home Saturday! So thankful, happy, relieved, etc. etc.
One happy mama here! Thank you for all your prayer!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Today was a busy day. Justus has had a great day. He got alot of lines removed and drugs stopped. That is excellent news. He is now clear to move to acute care. We are just awaiting a bed. It is a busy time on the floor right now. So now Justus continues to try and re-learn how to nurse. We are having a difficult time. We will get through it. He is also having to rid his fluid level - he has more fluid in his lungs. This is a bit normal after open heart surgery. We just don't want it to continue to build or else it may cause problems. Overall - Justus is doing great! Thank you to all who have prayed for our son!
I have also gotten to know a young lady named Alecs who has a five week old boy named David who is in the CICU battling for his little life. He is critically ill awaiting a heart transplant. This morning he almost passed. They were very close to putting him back on life support. If they put him on life support he gets his name removed from the list awaiting a heart. His oxygen saturation levels were in the 30% range all night last night. I prayed with his mother and when we re-entered his room we could see on the monitor his levels were rising. Praise be to God! That said - he desperately needs a miracle. His father is in Istanbul pastoring and cannot re-enter the states. His mom is here at the hospital and only has her mother and father here in town. If you think of them could you please pray for peace and perhaps a miracle for David? Thank you.
I know God's hand has been in all of this. I know this is one of the reasons why our son, Justus, had such a difficult time on Sunday. It may have been a setback for Justus - but it was God's providence that allowed us to meet and pray with Alecs while in the waiting room during my son's fight to recover from fever. I KNOW that is why this all happened. She knows it too. She refers to Phillip and I as family to the other nurses and staff. She is thankful to our Lord for the support from our Pastor as well. Think of it moms... if you were watching your infant son struggling for life and all the while standing by his bedside alone! I am honored that Christ has allowed me to come alongside her and hold her hand. Her family is precious to us. Sunday night I wept and asked God why my son was going through so much - He didn't have to give me an explanation or show me why - but He has. Alecs met Justus today. She held his hand and said thank you. She said to my little "Butter" that if he had not been there she would not have gotten to know all of us (Phillip, myself and Pastor). This is all to God's glory. Not of myself, nor anyone else. This is just how Christ works. To offer her encouragement when she needs it most. He truly never forsakes....
Thank you for your prayer on behalf of David, Alecs, Caden, and Justus.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Just a quick update: Justus is off the ventilator!!!! :-)
Daddy is currently holding him. His blood gas looks great! Fever staying down with Tylenol. He is still on feeding tube. His chest tubes are out! Praying that this continues to be the trend. Thank you for all your prayer! We are so very thankful! Can't wait till little "Butter" is all better.
Justus is being prepared for coming off the ventilator. This is a long process that involves turning off his morphine and stopping his feedings via feeding tube. Please pray that this process goes successfully. Also - his core temp. is a little higher this morning than last night or yesterday. Please pray against fever. Thank you. We will update later today if ventilator removal went through or not.
Also - yesterday we had the opportunity to meet a sweet little boy named Caden who has Down Syndrome and is fighting Leukemia. He is two years old. Precious. He and his mom are here from Alaska and are separated from their family due to costs of airline tickets. We immediately felt a bond with them. I would ask that you pray for sweet Caden. He is absolutely beautiful. You can see pictures of him on my Facebook wall. We sat and prayed with him and his mom for healing.
I am thankful that through our storm - God allows us to feel encouragement by loving and getting to know others as they face their own storms. May Christ receive all glory.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Our sweet little four month old Justus underwent open heart surgery last Thursday to correct a condition known as TOF. The surgery went well and by Friday morning Justus was on target for coming off the ventilator while in the CICU (cardiac ICU) in Seattle. In order to come off the ventilator the staff cuts all pain meds. to see if child can breathe on his own (sounds barbaric - given that he had just had his little chest open the day prior). They turned off his morphine and was allowed to wake on his own. As the day progressed I noticed that he was in a considerable amount of pain. My stomach was in knots. His little chest also started to make horrible clicking sounds... and they continued to get louder as the day moved on. Later that night you could not only hear the clicking, but feel his bone moving in his chest when he breathed - as if the sternum was apart and rubbing against itself. He spiked a fever that night at midnight. I - was scared. There was absolutely nothing I could do as I watched. I continually cried out to God to fix this, that is all I could do, just ask Christ to intervene. . . He did.
That next morning the surgeons performed their rounds. Upon discovery of Justus - the surgeon immediately scheduled him for another surgery. My husband's suspicions were right. Justus' sternum had separated and was rubbing upon itself. I broke down in tears. It was hard the first time letting him go, and it did not become easier. There was also a fear of infection, which could translate to bad. Justus was readied for the surgery, and our friends and family were called - my husband asked all to pray.
During all this... dare I say ... I asked why? Why did God allow such a thing to occur? Why? I could not understand. Was it somehow my fault? Was Justus not ready for surgery and we were just pushy? Why would this happen to him? Why all the pain for my sweet little baby?
The answer would come...
Justus came out of the second surgery and was doing great. He even looked better. His little countenance was not grimacing any longer. I felt a huge amount of relief seeing that he was feeling better. Then family visited and I got to see and hold and kiss on all of my sweet little children. Ohhhh... how I miss them. It was then that I got the answer to my question that I had been repeating within my heart all through the night... my husband wrote of it on Facebook and so I just copied it to here:
"Why Lord? We often wonder why things happen in our lives. Charrissa and I have certainly been challenged with that as of late. Today we had family and Pastor visiting us at the hospital. After they left the nurse (Eileen) was speaking with my wife... about how wonderful it was to see such love and support from our family and friends. She commented on our children.This conversation lead to a discussion where my wife was able to share the gospel of Christ to our fantastic nurse. She was so very interested in our story and our story IS our Saviour. Oh how the love of Christ manifested is such a testimony to others. (John 13:35). Funny thing is,she was only seeing the tip of the iceberg for she could not see the hundreds of people that have been coming boldly to the throne of grace on our behalf and seeking God's face for our little one. We are so thankful for the love of Christ manifested!As the conversation continued with Eileen, they happened to be speaking about the providence of God, sharing stories of how God's hand has been on our son and the many stories of how we see Him at work. During this conversation, they began talking about the many extra bottles of milk that we had a heart to donate or give to someone who was in need.As the nurse was researching, online, a place to give the milk another nurse came in, to which Eileen asked if she knew of a good place to donate the milk. The nurse broke down in tears and stated how there was another nurse who is adopting a child and is looking for milk to feed her new little one. When it was agreed the extra would go to the other nurse in need, the nurse said to my wife and Eileen, "This is nothing short of the providence of God."
I would be shorting the story if I did not tell you that the nurse who was weeping and speaking of the providence of God was a nurse that we had a VERY difficult time with during the season of battle that we were having last night. How gracious of our Lord to allow us an opportunity to love on her and encourage her."
This has been a roller coaster of a ride for our family. However, that being said - I could not imagine the ride without Christ being at the controls. That He would allow us to be apart of bringing glory to His name in sharing the gospel to one soul - is simply humbling. I can honestly say that my heart is comforted to know that although Justus is still "recovering" there is already a victory. A seed has been planted. . . I pray it would find roots and grow.
To those who have been in prayer: I, nor my family, can thank you enough. It is the most humbling thing to have people pray for you and encourage you. Our sweet baby is such a gift. He has been used of God to teach many lessons - and yet only four months old.
I will continue to update as I have time. Justus is doing well. He continues to battle fever here and there. We are praying that he does not have an underlying infection. We will get the cultures back on Monday or Tuesday. If you think of it, could you please pray against infection as well? Thank you so much!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Just a quick update. (I am better about posting updates via Facebook - just easier and quicker)
Justus is scheduled for open heart surgery September 17th at Seattle Children's Hospital. He has a full day of pre-ops the day prior. Very mixed feelings here. Hopeful and excited to have this behind us and no longer over our heads - BUT .... this is my sweet little baby facing such a BIG surgery and that makes me weep. Being very honest here. Then my Lord reminds me through scripture (esp. Psalms) that Justus is in His hands. That is a comfort. I love my son - fervently. I am so thankful for his little life being entrusted to Phillip and I, as I am all of my children.
Updates may be spotty - but I will try. Thank you in advance for your prayer - and support.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My dear, sweet grandmother (Frieda Bender) passed away and went to be with our Lord and Saviour on Saturday, August 22nd 2009. She was a woman of which I look to with great admiration. A very hard and industrious worker, she helped run a local gas station that my grandfather owned. She took joy in cooking wonderful meals for her family. I especially remember the pineapple rice salad (white rice, whipped cream and pineapple) as well as her chocolate meringue pie. Grandma was one who loved life. She drove right up until her stroke made it impossible. She was 89 years old! I love her. I love how she lived, and how she was so beautiful at the time of her death. Her mind was still so sharp at the time she passed. These pictures were taken just two weeks prior to her death. She knew who all her great grandchildren were by name. Both her life and the process of her death were very inspiring. I know my children will not forget their great-grandmother. I know they will remember how the physicians spoke early on of letting her die by not feeding her - yet the Lord allowed a much easier transition into eternity, much more dignified. I know that speaks volumes to my family. God, by allowing her to live one month past her stroke - allowed my relationship with my father to be restored, allowed my grandmother to hold the hands of her little great grandkids running around her room, and allowed me to witness how - when we trust Christ - He truly cares for His own, even upon taking you home. He did not forsake my grandmother at the time she most needed Him. I am so very thankful for that.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sorry this is sideways. I am not computer savvy. Justus is now cooing and melting my heart in the process. He is doing great. I stand amazed at how my Lord just knew I NEEDED this sweet little boy in my life.
He has a cardiology appointment on Monday. We are praying for great, outstanding reports. (maybe even a miraculous healing of his little heart)
He starts physical therapy soon. He scores like a four month old in everything except gross motor skills - this is really impressive.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Just a real quick update on the happenings within our family. We have had several inquiries about both Justus and my grandmother's health. Justus is doing great. He seems to keep battling congestion, but we are told this is to be expected. Due to him having Down Syndrome he is more susceptible to colds and infections. I usually find myself having to suction out his nose in the mornings using a nasal aspirator and saline solution. His cough is clearing up. He continues to gain weight. He had his eight week checkup a little while ago and I was delighted to see that he had made all of his milestones thus far. He is smiling, cooing, watching you as you move your face, turning to the sound of your voice, and even laughs once in awhile during his sleep. This has been so enjoyable for me to see him doing so well, despite his DS and TOF (Tetralogy of Fallot). God is so good to teach us of the "non - differences" in the face of "differences". (if that makes sense!) One thing I have run into is that Justus is getting so good at nursing now that he totally dislikes the bottle. I am thankful he is such a good nurser, but am finding that I may have to work with him to be able to do both. I want him to be prepared for bottle feedings during his hospital stay. I find this ironic, since DS babies are expected to be very good at nursing. Our family is learning to not place those expectations that hold low standards on our sweet Justus.
My grandmother is also doing great! We praise the Lord for this. She is eating on her own and is currently learning how to wield her own spoon! Albeit, she eats very little. I am so thankful that she continues to show improvement. We just had the opportunity to visit her again and we were able to have full conversations with her! We looked through old photos and laughed at some funny memories. It was great to spend time with my father as well. Pictures follow soon.
Life continues to go along at a bit of a rabbit's pace, but our God is good to us and allows us the tools and ability to keep up. Only in His strength. Everyone is enjoying these warm summer days. The kids are having a blast racing their bikes through the neighborhood. We continue to have all the kids (minus Chloe and Justus) in swimming lessons. They LOVE it! The boys will start soccer next month. We always look forward to our Saturday morning games as a family (and of course the coffee runs prior to the games). Phillip is doing a wonderful job as an employee for King County. He has been riding his bike to work, which is a bit better on our wallets and helps with some exercise. I have been busy with various things: making hair pretties for friends, nursing Justus, organizing closets, nursing Justus, teaching Chloe her numbers, nursing Justus, gardening, nursing Justus, helping to run this crazy household and of course - nursing Justus. As you can read - nursing Justus is a full time job. He is an industrious little eater. That's alright with me - as one of my most fervent desires and prayers while he was in the NICU was that I could just hold my baby and nurse him. Boy, has God answered that one!!! (little giggle)
Our family is busy, no doubt. But.... we enjoy one another so much that it is just a joy to have such a large and boisterous crew. We look forward to what God continues to do within our home.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Everything is going well in our home. School is winding down. Chloe and Ellie are taking their roles as "Mama's helpers" to a new level. Phillip is enjoying his job. I am enjoying getting back into the swing of things. Justus is doing well. He is getting over his little cold and just seems a bit congested in the mornings and evenings. He is gaining weight and is even starting to outgrow some outfits. I am thankful for all the prayer on his behalf. I know God hears them and is answering. I am having a bit of an issue with what I think may be an ulcer. Every once in awhile I experience some horrible upper abdominal pain. I may need to go to the doctor to really get down to the bottom of it. I really don't enjoy going to the doctor's office. It will be interesting, nonetheless, to see what is going on with me.