Sunday, September 28, 2008

Visiting Lilly

On Friday Jonathan and I went to UAB to visit with Wes, Amanda and Lilly. Other than her scar, she looked absolutely healthy and very beautiful. Amanda laughed about how she had one of our babies with all that hair. After Wes, Jonathan and I enjoyed lunch out, I got to snuggle with Lilly because by then she was only connected to her portable heart monitor. They said she had gone "wireless." She was sweet, and I loved holding her while trying to suppress the feelings of "oh, I need another little baby." We had a great visit with them and it was wonderful to see them and Lilly after the trying (to say the least) 10 days they had been through. Wes just kept saying they feel so blessed. They are. The circumstances of Lilly's early arrival, diagnosis and surgery had the very hand of God all over them. But I was blessed on Friday as well...

I had not been back to UAB hospital since the night we last packed my dad in the car after a long day of pricks, prods and doctor's visits. I had decided we would take our own wheelchair, actually my grandmother's, which was way too small for my dad's height. I was so tired of waiting for guest services wheelchairs and the people who pushed them. So I pushed him...for his last blood tests where they couldn't even find a place to draw anymore, to his last visit with the chemo oncologist, who will remain nameless because I have nothing good to say about her right now. Looking back I know Dad was dying already, that very day. He was very sleepy and was just showing some signs that I chose to ignore. That doctor wanted to admit him and fill him up with fluids and then send him home for hospice care. She did not seem to appreciate my questions that day, or when I informed her that we would not be admitting my dad, but keeping his appointment with Dr. Jahraus, his radiologist. Dad and Dr. Jahraus had formed a special relationship. A year earlier Dr. Jahraus had lost his own father to brain cancer. He had been through it, and was right there in it with us. Dad was a person to Dr. Jahraus, not just a patient. When he came in the exam room I could feel a peace come over my dad, and the doctor cried as he told us to take Dad home and get my brother home as soon as possible. In the span of two hours, one doctor wanted to admit him and send him home on hospice for "two to six months." Dr. Jahraus wanted us to get him home, so we could get him Home. We are forever grateful for his care over Dad and for showing us how to start letting him go.

So all last week as I prepared myself to return to UAB, I prayed and prayed for Lilly, Wes, Amanda. I so wanted to see them and for it not to be at all about my own pain. I thought about the time I spent there with Dad. There are good memories from that hospital. During our first visit, I had to step up and make things happen because they did not have dad scheduled for a CAT scan, which the surgeon had to have that afternoon. Dad was so scared and tired and he wanted to just try another day. We stayed. As we waited to get the CAT scan, for a little while Dad rested with his head in my lap. Sweet talks I shared with Dad. The way I was the only one that could get him up and walking when the nurses told him to get up and walk. The time the two young and beautiful female doctors came in and peered over at my sweet sleeping baby while their posture showed their obvious discomfort and they looked like they had no clue what to do with a baby. A patient? Sure. A baby? No way. We thought that was funny. My dad was so proud, and Miles spent a lot of time with us at the hospital. I am so thankful for that. Dad called him "Smiles." To give Mom a short break one day, Miles and I went up to stay with Dad and I trimmed his mustache and we listened to music and all took a nap. I smile about these memories, but even still, to me UAB represented only loss. Until Lilly.

Walking through those halls, the very halls where I pushed my dad on that last day, was so hard. Standing to wait on the elevator where Dad, Mom and I waited on our very first visit there, as people passed by oohing and aahhing over a five month old Miles was very hard. And what doctor do you think I spied in the hallway? The one we loved? No. The chemo oncologist. My body tensed and I couldn't not stare at her. I felt numb. A little sick. And I had to walk away to hide my tears.

But then I met Lilly and hugged Wes and listened as Amanda recounted their story. And as I held sweet little Lilly, I realized that now UAB can mean life to me. New, precious young life. And holding her there, in the same place that I held my dad's frail hands, was such a blessing to me. In fact, I'm sure I was more blessed by our visit with them than they were. So, Wes and Amanda, thank you for sharing Lilly with us on Friday. We love you all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

math night

Last night was Math Night at Elijah's school. MeMe (Jonathan's mom) joined us to check out Elijah's school, and we all had fun going around to various activities. With his teacher he played ring around addition, next he graphed fruit loops, he won at Bingo,and threw a cotton ball 7 feet (which he measured by counting rulers). It was very crowded and the lines were long, but what a blessing to be part of a school with such wonderful parent involvement.

Miles also enjoyed being at big school and this morning was thoroughly angered by the thought of having to return to little school. He was so upset he told me he was "going away." When I asked him where he'd go he said "somewhere else." I hope he knows how to get there.

a hook up?

Yesterday as I was cleaning the house, I heard some serious jibber jabbering out of Ella. I turned to find Diego and the princess engaged in delighted conversation/dancing/wrestling. I had no earthly idea what the topic was, as Ella wasn't using any of her recognizable words, but thought it was such a cute way for her to play. And a pretty good, if random, matching of toys to put together. I just hope the king is o.k. with it...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lilly's surgery

I have word that Lilly's surgery went well and ended around 11 or so this morning. Check Amanda's blog for more details.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Here's a sweet picture of Lilly that I swiped from her momma's blog. You can go there to read all of Lilly's story. Her heart surgery is scheduled to be tomorrow morning at 7:00. Please say a prayer for Lilly and her family.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

update on Lilly

Please continue to pray for Lilly. She is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning and will then have a 4 - 7 day recovery at the hospital. Today she was able to come out from under the bili lights and Wes and Amanda were able to hold her for a few hours. The cardiologist told them that "there are a lot of heart problems we can't fix, but we can fix this one." Praise God! I've been listening to these songs so much over the past few days with Lilly and her family in mind...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

please pray

Please pray for sweet little Lilly Gunn, daughter of our great friends Wes and Amanda. She was born two days ago at three weeks early. Things appeared just fine until this morning. She is being taken to UAB today for testing on her heart. I can't imagine how Wes and Amanda are feeling, and I so wish I could do something, anything, to help them. Please lift this sweet little one to God in prayer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

tagged by Katie

My sweet little sister (in-law),Katie, tagged me for this little meme. So here you go, if you really want to know...

6 things you may not know about me:
  1. I had heard many wonderful things about the peanut butter doughnuts at a local bakery. I had tried once to go, only to get there 5 minutes after closing time. Finally I went last Friday afternoon, only to find they had sold out of them at 7:30 am. I had them hold back a half dozen that I picked up the next day. I expected time to stand still and angels to sing when I finally tasted this lovely sounding doughnut. Well, it was pretty good, but not "sell out of them at 7:30 am" good. No angels sang and time kept moving. At least I won't always feel like I need one when I happen to be in that area.
  2. I sing to each of my kiddos at bedtime. Elijah still asks for Come Away with Me, Miles wants to hear Baby Mine and Ella can't yet make a specific request but has been enjoying all three verses of Jesus Loves Me. She does let it be known that I need to pick her up out of the crib during the song and that we sing before we pray. She even claps for me at the end.
  3. I am very nearly addicted to sewing dresses for Ella. I have a pile of projects sitting next to me as I type. I think they are staring at me angrily because they are at different stages of completion, which brings me to my next point...
  4. I am so like my dad in that I start something new before I have finished what I was already working on. That goes for sewing, housekeeping and book reading. (Except my books are at my bedside, and not stacked in the bathroom!)
  5. I've been called many things in my life. My brother to this day calls me Stinky, which my daddy Pat also used to call me. My dad used to call me Doll-Lady. My mom used to call me Pookie, which I've been known to call Ella. When I was really little they called me Krissy, Tissy, Monkey and Tissy-Monk. My husband calls me Lovie or Babydoll. Elijah calls me Mom, Miles calls me Momma (or recently "poopoo momma" but I just ignore that one usually!), and Ella calls me "ma." God calls me a daughter of the King.
  6. I'm a Cinderella. Well, according to Miles anyway. Tonight as I was reading on my bed with Elijah, Miles and Jonathan were in the hallway looking at our many family pictures hanging there. I heard Miles ask "is that a Cinderella?" and Jonathan respond, "she is to me." He was looking at a picture of my dad and me on my wedding day. Such a sweet little guy, that Milesy.
  7. And, as a bonus, I am officially a PTA Mom. I attended my first PTA meeting tonight and signed up for a few upcoming events. I feel a little old.
So, there you go. Did you want to know? I tag Anita, Betsy, Rebecca, Erika, Carrie and Tamara. Let's throw Monica in there, too!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

He loves her

Yesterday I went to a baby shower for Amanda, who will be having sweet little Lilly soon. On the way to drop the kids off so I could go to the shower, Miles noticed the present in the van.

Miles: Is that for the baby shower, Mom?

Me: Yes. It's a present for Taylor's mom. Taylor is going to get a new baby sister soon.

Miles: He can't have Ella.

Me: He can't?

Miles: No.

Me: Do you love Ella?

Miles: Um-hmm.

It's always good to have verbal confirmation of Miles' love for Ella when sometimes his actions make things appear otherwise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

For Kevin and Weezy

After nine years of living too far apart, many visits to Fort Worth, Seattle, and Ann Arbor, many sad goodbyes and lots of happy hellos, several holidays without each other, losing our dad and gaining 6 kiddos between us... my brother and his family are moving home! He works as a hazardous materials inspector for the Federal Railroad Administration, and thankfully they recently decided they needed another HazMat guy in these parts. They will be located about 90 minutes away from us, which feels like next door after being at least 12 hours away for so long. We aren't sure exactly when they will all be down here, but we are very excited that soon they will be back in the good old south.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

school days

Miles and Ella had their first day of preschool today. Actually it was Ella's very first day of preschool and Miles first day in the 3s class. Last week at open house he told me he "was NOT getting new teachers" but has decided that he will really like them after all. Ella cried for a moment, then promptly showed proof of the rapidly approaching terrible twos when her teacher took her lunchbox away to put it up. They both had good reports at the end of the day from their teachers. I was busy during their school hours today, but on Friday I plan to take myself to Starbucks for a little R & R with a frozen mocha frappe and a good book by CS Lewis.

spiderman, spiderman

You'll want to hear this while looking at these pictures.
Mixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapesMiles loves him some spiderman action

Ella has also been enjoying spiderman. Here she went to find a second spiderman so Daddy could play, too. That's uncle Kevin's vintage spidey Jonathan has.
Evidently, according to Ella, spiderman likes to be tickled.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Why do you suppose that I allow how others choose to mother make me doubt my own abilities? My decisions? The way I pray my prayers? I have been struggling with this (more than usual) since Elijah started school. Now let me start by reiterating that Jonathan and I both covered in prayer the options of where to send Elijah to school. Never requesting any specifics, but only for God to close any doors that needed to close and to give us wisdom to choose based on what was put before us. We prayed for his will, not our own. That's hard to do, scary even. But I am determined to pray God's will for my children. I will not stand in the way of what he desires for them. When we first toured the school he is at, we both left feeling that Elijah would truly fit in there. It felt good and promising, but it also felt like a long shot with the number of children applying versus the number they could accept. Still I prayed his will. I prayed for wisdom, guidance, understanding. And then, God clearly gave us his answer. His direction. His leading.

Knowing the prayers I lifted up. Knowing the answers given. Knowing the answers I continue to receive, why do I feel guilt over choices made? I know he's in the right place. I even know he has the teacher God chose for him, because my prayer was for the teacher he needed and not the one I heard we should request. He is happy there, although he doesn't always want to admit it. He is making friends and learning that he can venture out into the world without me and know, KNOW that God is with him always. He has met a dancing bird, loves to go to E.P. (what he calls PE), and is learning that obedience isn't always fun or easy, but is always worth it. He has heard me pray over him every school morning.

My guilt is not over choice of school. I know he's at the right school. Surprisingly enough my guilt is over choosing school at all. Now to all my homeschooling sisters and friends...know that you have not caused in any way my feelings of guilt. I do not judge homeschooling families in any way, but homeschooling has just never appealed to me. There was never a question in my mind about whether we would homeschool or attend school. It still doesn't appeal to me, except that Elijah would be with me. We struggle to get him to complete simple homework projects. All summer I tried to get him to sit and do some writing, cutting, categorizing, something. It did not happen. It would not work. So why the guilt? Never a thought about it until he started school and now I miss him. But still... why the guilt?

Jonathan is helping me to sift through these emotions. Is God urging me to homeschool? We don't think so. It is so obvious he led us to the school Elijah is at. But I tell myself I must not be a good mom if I don't have him here with me. If I can't make him want to sit and learn here with me. If I can't somehow figure out how to make it work with all that already goes undone around here and two other little ones underfoot. If I can't make it seem like something I even want to do, then I am not a good mother.

Last night Jonathan urged me to consider why I am heaping guilt on myself. It's no one else, just me. Questioning my intentions, abilities, decisions. But I just keep going back to all the prayer. God and I spent lots of time together over these choices. Never once did I hear from him to "keep Elijah at home." Not once. So, that leaves one option. Satan has seen this self doubt, this weakness, and how much I miss my child. He is filling my mind with lies about myself, my mothering, the way I love my children and the way I hear my God. This has happened to me many times before, and it always takes too long for me to find the accuser. He is so sly. He is so ugly, so hateful, so evil. I can't wait for him to be bound in hell.

Until then, I must keep praying, believing, trusting, searching, waiting, hearing and following God's leading...

Mother's love may sometimes fail. But God's love can use even the imperfect love of an imperfect mother to shape his perfect design in the life of her child.
Elisa Morgan from MOPS International
I will take Elijah to school in the morning after our prayer, and I will pray for him throughout the day. With God's grace I will trust that this is the path he is leading us on.