Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Foot

365 Days ago I had foot surgery.  My left foot was in constant and tremendous pain.  It hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, it hurt to sit.  It hurt all the time.  So after about a year of pain and multiple doctor appointments the date was set for surgery.  It was an extensive surgery that involved a bone graft, a screw, cutting and lengthening a tendon in my leg, cutting my heal bone and realigning it....and lots of other fun and painful stuff! If I had known the pain and rehabilitation involved I would have thought VERY hard before deciding to do this surgery.  I never could have imagined the pain involved in learning to walk again.  I only went about 9 weeks without walking nevertheless my muscles atrophied in that time period more than I could have fathomed.  Two weeks ago, I would have said it was not worth having surgery.  I was still in pain.  It was a different pain but it was still a very real pain.  I was still limited in my activity and had to be very careful when navigating rocky or uneven terrain.  However, two weeks ago I got a cortisone shot, which for me was a game changer, so now I'm beginning to think that yes I would do it again.  Perhaps the pain has been worth it.  I've had about two weeks of minimal to pain-free living.  It has been amazing!  My hope is that the shot is what I needed to get over the final hump of healing.

The first photo was taken just two weeks ago, it was right before my cortisone shot. The next photo was taken about 3 days post cortisone shot.

This is the 3 days post cortisone shot again....and then about 10 days post shot.....

The improvement in my foot feels as dramatic as it looks.....

So in my excitement over feeling better, I decided to start training for a 5K.  Randy was pretty much outraged and thought it may have been one of my worst ideas ever, and I have had some bad ones.

So I reluctantly called my doctor and left a message with the nurse, who called me back within the hour to tell me it was indeed a bad idea.  She talked to the doctor who said running a 5K in March would increase my risk of re-injury and I should not run one before June and encouraged me to wait until September and suggested that I elliptical, swim, walk, or bike for a while first.  So still no running for me!

On another note:

I'm super excited about Christmas!  I feel like I missed it last year.  I was so drugged and out of it.  So I'm ready to celebrate.  I'm really thankful for all the friends that have stood by my side through this last year.  I'm thankful for you inviting me to limp along on all our fun adventures and never being annoyed at me for being so slow.  You guys are the best!  I'm thankful for how well you loved us and fed us and cared for us in the months immediately following surgery!

I'm so blessed!
Merry Christmas!

PS Someone may want to mention my desperate need for a pedicure to Randy as a possible Christmas gift!


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Rescue

As I read in Genesis this morning about Dinah's rape and how her brothers tricked the prince and came in and destroyed the city so that they could rescue Dinah from her capture a part of me just wanted to cheer.  There is something deep within my soul that just loves a good rescue story.  I love good conquering evil.  I love vindication.  My mind can't help but turn to the greatest rescue of all time.  How Jesus rescued me.  I too was a prisoner.  Locked away and held captive by my own evil and sinful desires and actions and thoughts.  I had no hope.  Yet Jesus saw me.  Before the foundation of the earth, he picked me and knew me and loved me and formulated the greatest rescue plan of all time.  The plan to save me from my sins.  How amazing and loving is that?  So as thanksgiving approaches I'm thankful.  I'm thankful that despite my undeserving, wretched, sinful, rebellious way.....due to nothing I've ever done or deserved.....he chose me in him.  He entered our sin-soaked world and he was born of a virgin and he lived the perfect life and then was nailed to a tree for my sinfulness.  His Father God turned away from him because of my sin on Him.  The agony, the pain, the shame, the suffering for me.  That is a great rescue.  That is the most unbelievable love.  Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Halfway there...

It has been 27 days since Randy and I left Andrew at school.  Definitely the longest I've gone without seeing him, and I still have 27 more days until he comes home, yes I am counting!  My goodness what is a Mama to do?  I miss his face, I made him text me a picture the other day just so I could see him!   I must say it was ROUGH starting out. I don't think you can really know until you've walked the road.  I knew it would be hard, but it was not how I thought.  There was lots of crying and a bit of withdrawal from people and things, but it was a necessary part of my grieving for a huge chapter of my life that ended, and praise the Lord it is becoming easier! I'm getting into the groove of my new normal.  I do still miss him like crazy and think of him multiple times each day, but there is great joy and satisfaction in seeing your child make good choices and being so excited about life and functioning so well independent of Mom and Dad.  He loves his church, his community group, his classes, the city, and has made so many friends.  I'm just happy that he is so happy and I love so many of the choices he is making. I'm proud of him and it has nothing to do with some secret parenting recipe, it is all the grace of God.  Thank you Lord!

One thing I've wondered through the process is what happened to my blogging?  I used to write it all down.  I wanted to preserve and record photos and memories.  After reflecting a bit I've come up with several conclusions:

1.  I'm busy....and when I don't have anything to do I don't want anything to do.....

My last week, 4 days of which were spent without Randy and Jackson because they were on a little road trip, went like this:

Get Sophia to school and home each day and do school with my three at home in the meantime.  In addition we've had: 3 days of swim team,2 football games (one Jackson and one Duke), a football practice (we actually had 2, but skipped one), a Sunday School Lesson to prepare for and teach, a church picnic, 3 dentist appointments, a 2 hour clogging practice, a clogging show, a gymnastics class, a history class to prepare for and teach, a teacher luncheon at Sophia's school to sautee onions and peppers for and help setup, a meal to prepare and take to a friend,  Co-op, Nursery, a piano lesson, a doctor's appointment, and of course regular house stuff: grocery shopping, errands for a birthday gift and props for a play and ink for the computer, dishes had to be done, laundry is never ending, and disciplining which is a lot like laundry....constant.  And there was banking, and meals to prepare and lunches to pack and I wish I could say cleaning....but I didn't do that unless you count walking around picking up scattered trash and dishes and wiping the table and telling the kids to pickup their stuff and take out the trash.....that was the extent this week.....and the thing is this  is what is like to be a busy mom.  I'm not special....this week wasn't amazing....it's just life and it is at a busy stage!  So blogging is not what is used to be!

2.  I want to respect my kids privacy.  I used to be an open book, but as my kids grow and develop and mature I want them to have the freedom to do so without the fear of my telling everyone about it.

3.  I realize how unknowledgeable I am, and I in no way want to come across as "an expert" or judgmental , or awesome, cause I'm not.

4.  I'm living it.  Sometimes in an effort to take pictures and blog the beauty of the moment can be lost.  So I may blog and I will take pictures, but only sometimes......

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We are still here....

As I prop myself to a half sitting, half laying state I must admit this is the best I've felt in 48 hours.  It's been a rough couple days....months really.  As most of you know I had a major foot reconstruction right before Christmas, which left me non-weight bearing for a couple months.  I just started walking again at the beginning of the month and we have been nothing but SICK.

It started with our home school field trip. 

When I came back I was worn out.  I thought I was getting sick but decided I had just walked too much on my newly working foot.  So we headed out of town to a swim meet.  I was so glad we went.  The kids had a blast and swam well. 

Then.....Sophia woke up on day 2 of the swim meet with the stomach bug.  The stomach bug slowly worked through Sophie and me and Randy.  Then we were finally all healthy again and Audrey woke up, at a friends house, burning up with fever.  Then I got sick and then Sophia got sick.  The flu has been working its way through our family this week.  I seriously have never felt this sick in my life.  I guess I forgot to get the flu shot.  I always get the flu shot!  My kids always get the flu shot!  I don't know how I forgot....I guess I was too busy laughing at Randy when he spent his time at the fair getting a flu shot.....guess who's laughing now?!?

Not really....Randy has been so sweet!  I actually fainted yesterday when I was taking the girls to the doctor.  He left work and came and got us and then took me to my appointment later that day.  He took care of dinner and picked up all our meds.  He has waited on us all hand and foot.  For months....seriously.  I'm sure he's getting a bit tired of us all being sick and handicapped. 

It was spring break this week.  I had envisioned having friends to play.  Sleeping in.  Watching Duke basketball.  It had even crossed my mind to do a day trip to the beach.  No school.  Beautiful weather.  I was pumped!  I was going to do really good on the Easter Baskets because I had majorly failed on Valentines Day.......this foot....seriously has me off my game.  So Easter Baskets...are not looking good.  I think I have a pack of gum and Reese peanut butter eggs and that is it.  How I'm feeling now.....I'm thinking Easter fail.

So to say this Spring Break was a bit disappointing would be accurate.

School starts again Monday.  We should be healthy just in time.

Summer is coming.  The sun is shining.  Tamiflu works.  Jesus has risen.  There are things to celebrate!  So even if I don't remember Christmas, I totally flaked on Valentines, and Easter is not looking much better I am trying to remind myself that this is just a season.  This too shall pass.  I will be able to clean the house and celebrate holidays and enjoy the beautiful weather soon. 

If I go missing one day soon....just know I've probably grabbed a book, skipped town for the day and headed east.  I miss the beach.  The salt.  The sand.  The sunshine.  Ahhhh.....almost. summer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Day of Life and Death

February 10, 2001 dawned like any other day.  It seemed surreal that the world should continue to spin and the sun should dare to shine as my entire life was shattering in a hospital room.  It seemed a cruel cosmic joke that I should be on my second day of hard, painful, labor surrounded by the cries of newborns while I was struggling to give birth to my broken heart.  A time of celebration shouldn't be marred this way.  It was 15 years ago.  I was only 25.  I was forced by the tyranny of the urgent to ask questions no woman should have to ask.

Will he be decayed?  No
Will he be a mass of tissue or a baby?  A baby
How will he get out of me?  Labor
Will it hurt like regular labor?  Yes
How long will it take?  A long time
Will you put me in labor or wait for me to go into labor?  Its up to you.
Can you just knock me out and give me a C-section?  No it will cause complications with future pregnancies.
What will you do with him after he's born?  We will examine him and bring him to you to hold.
Are you going to throw him away?  No. 
Can we have him and bury him?  Yes.
How can a baby die inside you right before he is supposed to be born?  A knot in the umbilical cord.

And so after a day and half of labor and buckets of tears, as the world around me celebrated life I gave birth to death and named him Matthew; a gift from God.  I chose to name him "a gift", and that is what he has been.

His life taught me God's goodness is not dependent on my situation.  His life taught me of the value and worth of the pre-born life.  His life taught me that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

I thought I had learned the lessons of Matthew.  However, God had more gifts for me.  In total God fashion 5 years later at the very same hospital, during an emergency C-section I gave birth to a dream.  My twinkies;  Jackson and Lydia.  I had wanted twins my entire life and on February 10, 2006 God gave me these two wonderful gifts.

Today we celebrate the lives of two precious people.

Jackson---is tough as nails on the outside and has the most tender heart of anyone I have ever met.  He is quick to seek forgiveness when he sins.  He loves football, Duke, and eating.   He eats all the time!  Seriously, All.  The. Time.  He sleeps like a rock and wakes up ready to roll. He is LOUD.  He is SWEET.  He is Messy!  He is STRONG WILLED.  He is smart and a total out of the box thinker.  He is a rule breaker.  He likes people.  He likes music.  He likes to be outside.  He is built like a freight train.  He is thick and tall and strong.  What a gift!


Lydia----is compassionate.  She cares about how others feel.  She loves to think, to read, and to bake.  She is an amazing writer.  She loves to craft.  She is an early bird. She does not like to stay up late at night.  At bedtime she wants to go to bed. She is quiet.  She is a leader.  She doesn't mind being alone.  In fact she needs time alone and is the most likely child in our family to retreat to her room throughout the day for peace and quiet.  She is organized.  She likes to plan.  She is a rule follower.  She is built like a flower.  Delicate and willowy.  What a gift!

I am so excited to celebrate their lives today!  How on earth can they be 10 years old?!?!  Double digits!!!!

God gave us two.  How amazingly like God.  God gives ABUNDANTLY and yes sometimes God does take away, and it is devastating.  May the name of the Lord be praised.  I learned from this little date "coincidence" how in the details God is.  How much he loves and cares for me.  It can bring me to tears when I think of the unmerited grace he lavishes on my life.  Amazing grace. 

I thought the lessons were learned.  I'm always thinking that!  Yet still he teaches and reveals.  My heart forever has a hole and I think I need my Matthew to fill it but God faithfully whispers to my heart and reminds me....I only need him.  He fills the empty.  He heals the wounded.  He binds up the broken hearted.  His light shines through the cracks in my life.  I need his filling.

The last few years I've learned that all the gifts from Matthew's life have not been what others would consider "good gifts".  I not only learned some important truths about God I also grabbed up some fear issues and an idol along the way.

These last few years I've begun to realize how much of my life has been controlled by fear.  Fear of losing a child.  Fear of catastrophe.  Fear of crime.  Fear.  Much of what I do and how I live is motivated by fear.  Many of my sentences start with, " I was afraid that....."  In the wake of losing Matthew I've gone from loving my children to worshiping them.  My family can easily become my idol of choice.  That my friends is sin.  15 years after that fateful February.  The day my heart was torn and my world was shattered and I'm still healing.  I'm still learning.  God is still binding up this Mama heart.  I was changed that day.  Some of the changes were good.  Some of the changes were bad.  Yet I know  God measured it out and decided it was for my good.  The pain, the loss, the hole, the empty...he named good.

Thankful again for all God's good gifts.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Surgery Post #3

Oh my word.....I'm getting there!  Thursday marked 1 month from surgery!!  Now the good news is I'm now basically a professional scooter driver and my energy has almost returned to normal range.  I am like totally pain free and starting to be able to function in some household tasks pretty well!  Whew!  It has been a journey!

The big news from last week is that I did finally venture out for a drive.  On Thursday I even took the 4 youngest out to run errands.  It took forever, but it felt good to be able to run around with the kids and get some things done! 

My biggest complaint these days are itchy skin, hairy legs, and cracking peeling dry skin on my foot and leg.  I think this can all be cured in a few more weeks with a nice bath, a razor, some good lotion, a professional pedicure and I might even need a massage!  I'm pretty sore! 

So the cast is coming off IN 10 more days!!!!  That will be a happy moment.  As long as the x-rays look good I will be upgraded from a cast to a walking boot and from a scooter to a walker!  Then if all goes as planned 5 more weeks and I will be in my shoes with a brace and orthotic and ready to walk and start PT!  Things are definitely looking up!

Everything around here, with the exception of me, is still moving quickly!

Randy is still running.  He is still loving his job.  He's been super great taking care of me and the house. 

The snow has been nice.  It has kept Andrew home!  He starts his day about 5:30, by heading to the pool to swim for an hour before school.  Spends his day at school.  Comes home and has dinner and then heads back to the pool for more practice, most nights.  When he gets home he's hungry and tired!  He's such a hard worker and I'm so proud of him.  Still anxiously waiting to hear from his schools.  Senior year over halfway done!

Sophia has been bitten by the swimming bug.  She started out swimming for more social reasons but now she loves the sport.  She has gotten so much stronger!  She not only loves swimming, she loves her big brother.  One of her favorite parts of the day is riding to and from night practice with Andrew.  She's gonna miss him!

Jackson is an absolute giant and his favorite things to do include jumping on the trampoline with Daddy, watching Steelers and Duke with the boys, and throwing the baseball with Andrew and Randy.  He asked last week if when Andrew leaves for school could we please adopt a little boy?  Uhm....No.  I do think I will need to make an effort to have some boys over for him to hang out with!  Too many girls in the house for his taste!

Lydia is still a busy little bee with clogging, piano, and gymnastics.  She still has energy left to burn and has taken up running like her Daddy.  She ran 2 miles around the circle in front of our house last week and liked it so much she did it again the next day and the next.  She is very driven and likes to be busy.  She is also VERY organized and LOVES to plan.  Her favorite part of her birthday is planning it.  Her favorite part of vacation is making a minute by minute schedule.  She is a girl after my own heart. 

Audrey is CrAzY.  She is so funny.  She loves to do stand up routines for us in the evenings after dinner.  She really makes me laugh.  She loves her dog and pictures of herself.  She is a total people person and what I imagine Randy would be like if he were a girl!  So much fun!  She still loves to be held and to snuggle.  Only problem is it is getting harder and harder to hold her!  One thing that has been a particular blessing to us in the past weeks is her love of washing dishes.  Our dishwasher broke, along with everything else we own: our closet rod, our water heater, our microwave, Andrew's car, my foot.....seriously everything.  Little Audrey has proved a faithful little dishwasher.  What a blessing to our family!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Unbelievable.....REPOST From January 16, 2013

Wow.....all I can say is wow!  This week was a tough one.  Saying goodbye to Granny was hard, but I was not at all prepared for today.  As we were driving to the funeral, I got a call from my sister.  She was acting weird.  She asked where we were?   When were we going to be at the church?  Who was with me?  Was I driving?  Finally....I said, "What is going on?"  Her reply was unbelievable.  She said Papa was found dead in his yard this morning.  What?  I wasn't hearing her right.  I just sat next to him on the couch a few hours ago.  He just teased me about how I told everyone I was his favorite.  He just told the whole crowd of extended family about how beautiful my family was.  He just said he loved me.  He can't be dead.  He said last night he was planning to live to be a 110.  So much for man's plans!

What happened?  He had walked to his car and driven down to the end of the road to get his paper as was his morning routine.  He had gone back inside.  His paper was on the table.  Then he had walked back outside.  Apparently to get his keys which were on his car seat.  His walker was standing beside him on the sidewalk.  No trauma.  His walker didn't topple.  No struggle.  Just laying on the grass dead.  The first responders say it was probably a heart attack......I'd say a broken heart.

He loved Granny.

 He's loved her for over 67 years.  She was his world.  I never heard them argue. I'm sure they did.....but that was not the tone of their relationship. They went through some dark days.  They lost a son.  They lost two grandchildren.  They had financial hardships.  They moved from everything and everyone they knew and cobbled together a life, a home, a family.   I always heard them speak lovingly of each other.  They built each other up.  They were not perfect but their love was special.  Unique.  Rare.  It really is God's mercy that they are together again.  They really wanted to celebrate their 67 anniversary together.....it is later this month.....and we thought they wouldn't be able to.  They will.  I bet Granny was surprised to see him there!

I can see God's hand and his goodness all over this situation.  He is so real.  He cares about the details of life.  I am sad.  I loved my Papa.  I was so proud of him.

He was a war hero.  He was bigger then life to me.  He was faithful to the end.  He spent every single night with Granny, while she was in the hospital and hospice.  And we are talking months not weeks.  He slept in the hospital recliner....and later at hospice he had a cot beside her bed.  That is love.  He gave up his comfort to be with his beloved.  As the minister said today, and I have often thought, Nicolas Sparks had nothing on my Granny and Papa's love story.

Papa was a hard worker.  He loved his family.  He was so proud of his children.  He thought Mama and Tommy hung the moon.  He loved when his great-grandchildren would give him hugs.  He adored his grandchildren.  Each and every one of us.  I told everyone when I was a little girl that I was his favorite.  My cousins would get so mad at me.  He loved to tell that story.  He told it about 5 times last night!  I snuggled up right beside him and I drank it up.  I cherished it.  I didn't know it would be my last time in his arms.  I felt like his favorite.  But the truth is we were all his favorites.  He loved us all the best.  My heart aches.  I am grieving.

I hurt thinking about my Mama.  She doesn't have a Mama and Daddy here anymore.  I can't even imagine.  What do you do without a Mama and a Daddy?  I know the truth she would speak.  You run to Jesus.  He is her father.  You find shelter in his wing.  You celebrate the time you had with them.  You grieve and you hope.  My Mama said today, "and by hope I mean assurance".  YES!  So glad Mama knows the truth.  People said today, this is too much.  It is a lot.  But the truth is God measured it out.  He portioned it out.  He allowed it.  He is good.  Life is hard.  It is painful.  Mama has said many times: great sorrow is evidence of great love.  So yes, the sorrow tonight is great.....but the love they showered over us in this lifetime was also great.  Very great.

Thankful for the prayers.  Thankful for the legacy Granny and Papa lived out over my entire life. Thankful for their daughter who is a product of such love, hard work, faithfulness.  She is their child.  Grateful for God's mercy.

 I love the song Blessings and I can't help but think of the lyrics:

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

This hurts.  This is sad and will take time to process but this is the end of a beautiful love story that I watched play out over my lifetime.  Sad to see this chapter end.....but so glad the next chapter is so much better!  It really is a happy ending.  It just hurts to say goodbye.  Like I said about Granny though, it is just a goodbye for now!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Surgery Update #2

Before reading....please know that this post has gross foot pictures and are fairly graphic....so you many not want to continue.

You have been warned!

Well let me just say I have turned a MAJOR corner since my last post!  I am not in much pain anymore!  I am much more mobile!  I am feeling soooo much better!

The pain has subsided gradually since around January 2.  I am on no pain killers, aside from the occasional Tylenol.   Praise the Lord! 

My mom drove me to my follow-up appointment on Tuesday and I had my initial cast removed....

I was pretty freaked out by what I saw....Feel free to stop reading here!

YUCKY!  You're Welcome.  I warned you!

This is where they added the plate to the top of my foot.  It is itchy and tender.

Evidently this is where he snipped the tendons in my leg to lengthen them. There is one small cut on each side.  I feel a lot of stretching and a pulling in my calf area where this was lengthened.

This is where they added bone, cut the heel bone, and put in the screw.  It is a little traumatized and where I have experienced the most pain.

I'm pretty bruised up and I'm very bandaged up, but I am definitely on the mend!

The appointment involved removal of stitches, changing cast, review of the surgery and time for questions and answers with doctor.  He also explained  the next step in recovery.

The next step is similar to the last.....four weeks in this cast, which is MUCH more comfortable then the last cast!   I'm still completely non-weight bearing.  The good news is I do have a little more energy each day and no more pain!

Unfortunately, I did take a tumble on Wednesday evening.  I was hopping down the stairs to go to church.  On the last step we had a loose step.  I didn't fall but commented to Randy it was loose.  I think I was not focusing and I jumped off the last step to the ground and I banged my injured ankle into the ground.  It hurt, badly.  Fortunately Randy was right there and kept me from completely falling.  I twisted myself pretty badly and had a wrenched knee and back but after a day of rest and some extra Tylenol I am doing fine.  Trying to be very careful.  AGH!

On another note I just want to say I am feeling VERY loved!  My family has been well fed and that has been a humongous blessing to me!  I have been absolutely spoiled!  Goodies, like scones and coloring books and M&M's and scooter bling, from my buddies.  Visits from my friends.  Waited on hand and foot by Randy, Mama, and the kids!  Y'all know how to make a girl feel loved!  I have a friend who got my kids to co-op and taught my class for me!  Another friend watched my kids between co-op and church.  My mom, who has been and angel, ran Sophie to a last minute orthodontist appointment to have a bracket fixed.  One friend even brought some liquid Tylenol by for my kids when I ran out and couldn't get to the store!  I LOVE my people!

I am starting to go out a little this week.  I've been to church and to swim meets and to the doctor and Target and ridden around on errands with Randy.  Next week I may try to drive.  I am very nervous about the thought of leaving the house without Randy or Andrew, but I think between Sophie and I we can probably handle it!  We shall see.  That is the goal for the week.  Slowly getting back into the swing of things!

It has been difficult to be so immobile.  I feel pretty useless.  I am a goer and a doer.  I am not a sitter around-er.  It is hard to watch my house be so messy.  Even though my mom cleaned it top to bottom and my kids are constantly doing little jobs I assign to them and Randy is doing a great job to keep things running.  It just takes non-stop attention to keep it somewhat presentable when there are 7 people and a  big dog living in a space.  I am unable to give it that attention.  So I'm having to just accept the state of our house and it is more difficult then I thought.  The worst part is I feel good and I want to do things, I just can't. 

Our pastor has said several times in the last months that the value of a human is that they were created in the image of God, not in what they can do and contribute.  Babies and the elderly are not less valuable because they can't contribute as much.  I am constantly reminding myself of this truth, because I just can't do that much!  This is hard for me.  I like to work.  I like to accomplish.  I like tasks....So just being is hard.  I think this is exactly where the Lord has me right now though, because there are lessons for me to learn as I sit and as I wait upon the Lord.

Thankful for progress every single day!