Monday, August 30, 2010

To All the College Students....

6 Years ago, I was one of you. My first Sunday. Walking through those doors for the first time. I was probably greeted by someone. My first observation was not one that I'm proud of. "Wow, there are some pretty people here. Very stylish." That was my first impression. I walked in the sanctuary with my best friend. The music was ROCKIN'! LOVED IT! And then this guy got up on the stage and began to preach. I don't remember what the sermon was about, but I remember thinking that this guy was intense. But I liked it.

That was my first Sunday at Living Hope. Yesterday, a couple hundred college students strolled back in the doors after being gone for the summer. Some of you for the first time. I thought about you all through the service. What was your impression today. I pray that it was deeper than my shallow observation six years ago. (However, I'm not even kidding, I had never seen so many pretty guys and girls at a church before. It definitely seemed like the "cool" church to be at.) What was God stirring in your heart. Would you ever be back. I prayed that you would. I prayed that you would fall in love with Jesus here and get plugged in and let us get to know you. Because I didn't do that as a college student.

I started going to LH with my best friend when I was a junior. I liked it. It was, like I said, cool. The music was powerful. The sermons were powerful and I knew that Butch was speaking truth. But they sure had a lot of requirements of their members. They even expected us "super busy" college students to go to this small group thing once a week. You know, get a free meal, get to know people, talk about the Lord, make some of the best friends you could ever have. I just didn't have time for that. I remember even talking about how it was ridiculous that they would expect that from us. And that they couldn't MAKE me go. So I went through my junior year just "going to church." Even though the leadership was very clear that just going to church at Living Hope wasn't allowed. I started dating Matt that year. We got engaged that following summer. We even took Purpose Driven Life that summer. And I don't think we even finished reading the book. We were both just doing enough to get by.

We got married the spring of 2006, the spring of my senior year. Matt was on a softball team with some guys from church. I remember one night after a game, this one guy named Charlie asked Matt if we were going to a hope group. (those small groups I was talking about).

Ashamedly, Matt stammered "No."

"Well we would love to have you visit ours," Charlie said.

I am so glad Charlie invited us. I'm sure we would have "gotten around to it" eventually. But this hope group started to mold and change us. We became close with our group. We began to realize the need for community. We began to serve and get plugged in. And this Charlie guy and his family, well, you can't help but love them. We loved them so much we had to move next door. We eventually had to move on to a new hope group, and they eventually went to a new church, New Life, but this family still has a special place in our hearts.

We plugged in to a new hope group and stayed there for 2 years. And now this family is like a second family to us. They love our children and oh how my kids love Mr. Don and Mrs. Kelli. And this is where we met these people that we love so much.

And now its time for us to start a new hope group. With a new family and new faces. I'm excited to grow close to a new group of people. We aren't replacing the old relationships, just adding to our community.

This wasn't supposed to be about hope group. But about how much of a blessing it is to serve and get plugged in. We are serving willingly in ministries. And excited about the new semester now that all of you college students are back. A few years ago, not so much.

So this is my plea to you.

Get plugged in. Once you know that this is where the Lord is calling you, jump in full steam. You'll be so blessed it will knock your socks off. Do I think that Living Hope is the only church in town where you can get saved and grow closer to the Lord? Absolutely not! But I know that I love that place. The people. The gospel that is preached. This church isn't about hope groups or ministries or taking classes. Its about the gospel of Jesus Christ. About Salvation. These other things are just wonderful things that God uses to speak to us and use us to further his kingdom.

I know that half of you that showed up yesterday won't be back. Butch knows that and even said it in the service. But I am ready to meet and get to know the other half of you that plan on sticking around!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My "House Showing" Routine

As you know, our house is on the market. Frankly, its been on the market a little longer than we expected or planned on. But we're being patient. Maybe God is holding our house for the right family. Or he's waiting until the right house for our family is on the market. Who knows. But whatever the reason, we're waiting patiently.

When we first put it on the market, I kept hearing "You have to keep your house spotless at all times." I thought "No problem. I'll be motivated bc I want it to sell." Well, by day 3 when we had no calls, that thought went right out the window. I realized that we still had to live in our home. My children had to be able to play with their toys. And we had to be able to wear clothes and wash them. We couldn't keep the same clothes on for days just to prevent laundry from piling up. And cooking was a necessity as well. We can't afford to eat out every night.

So, a new plan had to be devised. And that plan is called "When a realtor calls, just go into panic mode and clean as fast as possible." Fortunately, I've never had to actually act on my plan. Every single call has been well in advance. Usually for the next morning. Or they call in the morning to see it in the evening. So it left me plenty of time to get things picked up. Until today.

Today I get to put the plan into action. I got the call at 2pm to show the house at 5pm. Panic set in fast. Its not like we live like slobs. But today of all days, the boys and I had rearranged the living room furniture to make a big fort. And last night was the night that I chose to just rinse the dishes after dinner and leave them all in the sink to wash today. So while the boys are sleeping, I'm cleaning like a crazy person. My Bird of Paradise Circle E Candle is lit and will remain so until we leave at 4:45 so that it smells yummy when they come in. There are piles forming by the boys' bedroom doors of things that need to be put away in there once they wake up.

Its been 40 minutes and I'm kind of at a standstill. I've cleaned all I can clean until they wake up. I need the broom and mop from Carson's room. Puzzles and books just happened to throw up all over Brody's room, thanks to little brother. I'm sure the boys will choose today to sleep til 4:30 and leave me no time to finish everything up.

I have a special feeling about this showing. I think this could be the one. Its not a word from the Lord. Just a gut feeling. Maybe bc I'm working last minute to get it all ready. But, I've had gut feelings before that didn't pan out. So maybe I'm wrong. Guess we'll have to see.

Who could resist buying a house that smells as good as mine does right now?

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Journey Begins

I don't know how to condense this all in to one post. But I'm going to try. I hope I don't ramble. I hope it all makes sense. Yesterday's events almost seem like a blur bc of the abundance of information that was poured in to our brains over a 5 hour period. There were emotional highs and lows. Moments of "I have no idea what this means." But all morning I felt extreme comfort and peace. It was so obvious that you all had been praying for us that morning.

So, our journey began Wednesday night as we checked in to our hotel room in Temple. We had to be at our first appointment at 7:45am and thought it would be best to stay close to the hospital so we didn't have to leave at 6am. We wanted Brody to be as rested as possible that morning. Brody boy slept in a big boy Queen bed all by himself..and took up the whole bed. We prayed over our sweet boy, for healing, that he would be cooperative and for the doctors.

Our first appointment was with Dr. Blazo, a doctor in Genetics.

At 7:45am we were sitting in the biggest exam room I had ever seen. It had a small round table for us to sit and talk with the doctors. It had books, a toy box, and coloring pages to keep Brody entertained. They knew exactly what these little kids needed. Brody was in heaven. We filled out some paper work and were told the doctor would be in by 8. Dr. Blazo, along with a resident and a visiting student, walked in right on time. From 8am until 10:40am we talked to them about Brody's history, how we knew something was wrong, and on and on. Dr. Blazo examined him and then we sat and talked some more. Based on his condition and his history, we talked about 3 different types of muscular dystrophies he could possibly have. (I'm not putting the names on here partly bc I don't actually remember what everything stands for, and partly bc I don't want anyone googling them and coming up with all these scary results.) Actually 2 were types of muscular dystrophy and the 3rd was more of a neurological/nervous system problem. During her exam, she couldn't find any reflexes in his legs. Something that was also discovered at his appointments at Texas Children's a few months back. I need to point out here that the muscular dystrophies we discussed ARE NOT the typical MD that you see with Jerry's Kids. That is an extreme case of Douchenne's MD. Based on blood work he did a couple of months ago, its pretty conclusive that he does not have that. They are re-doing that test though just to double confirm.

We spent time talking about these 3 diseases, but never went in to much detail about their progression and how they affect the patient's life. It wasn't time for that. We didn't even know if he had these things. We talked more about how they could be passed down genetically and how they were going to test it all in his blood tests. I know that I'm probably forgetting something important that was discussed in this first appointment, but I think this was the gist of the appointments.

At 11:00 we met with Dr. Ritch, the neurologist. The appointment started out like the other, talking about history and his symptoms. And then she examined him. And discovered the same thing. He has no reflexes in his legs. After more discussion, she felt it looked more like a nerve problem and not a muscle problem at all. She wanted to test for a neuropathy, as well as the same nerve problem that Dr. Blazo had talked to us about.

This next part is probably one of my favorite parts of the whole day. She told us that she wanted to talk to Dr. Blazo so they could collaborate on what exactly to test for. She didn't want to say we weren't testing for the muscle diseases if Dr. Blazo still felt we needed them. We went back to the waiting room for about 30 minutes while they talked and when we were brought back again, BOTH doctors came in to talk to us. It was just a great feeling to see both of them working together, determined to find out what was wrong with our baby. They both agreed whole heartedly on what he should be tested for, and concluded that our first step is to test for the neuropathy, and the other nerve/neurological problem.

A nurse came in to take Brody's blood. She asked if we'd need someone to help hold him down. We said maybe. So with 2 nurses plus Matt and I, Brody laid on a table to have lots of blood drawn from his arm. And let me tell you, that little 2 year old boy was braver than some grown men. He just watched them stick the needle in his arm and never made a peep. He even told the lady "thank you" in the middle of it for saying he was so handsome. He got 2 prizes from them for being so brave. They said he was the best patient they'd ever had.

We left with a few conclusions:
1)The bloodwork could come back saying he has neither of these disorders. And if that's the case, we'll continue to test for all of the other things we talked about.
2)None of the options we talked about affect the brain. Brody's mind and amazing personality will not be affected by whatever it is.
3)And, obviously, the most reassuring thing was hearing that none of these diseases shorten life expectancy. Depending on the results, they may affect way of life and may require lots of therapy, but we can handle that. And the Lord can heal him.

So today we are thanking the Lord for answering prayer so far. He gave us peace yesterday. Brody was more cooperative than we could have ever asked for, especially for a 5 hour appointment. The doctors were knowledgable and compassionate and so determined to find an answer. We'll be seeing them a lot over coming months and I'm so glad to know that they are in it for the long haul. And the biggest praise, is hearing that everything seems to be pointing to something that should not shorten his life or affect his mind. God has been so faithful through all of this. And we know that no matter the results of tests, He will continue to be faithful. We need Him through this journey. We want this situation to bring Him glory.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. We still need them. We honestly don't know what we want the results to say. If they come back negative, it means more testing. It means he could still have something that could be even more serious. But we would also rather hear that he has none of these problems. We are still praying for complete healing. But also praying that if God chooses not to take this away, that its a mild case or a disorder that is manageable, would not cause Brody pain and would not greatly alter his life. But, we know that God is ultimately in control and can completely heal him at any point in his life.

I know that I'm leaving things out. I'm sure as soon as I hit "Publish" I'll remember something else. And Matt will probably remind me of something else. And I'm sorry this is so long.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Day in the Life. Volume 2.

I did this a while back and thought it was about time for another volume of "A Day in the Life." Not a post about anything specific but just some pics of what my daily life with 2 boys looks like. Our life has slowed down a lot lately and I'm loving it. I'm able to really soak up my boys' creativity and participate in (and put a stop to) their adventures. 

These guys have showed up at our house. Thanks to the $1 section at Target. How do little boys just naturally know to say "POW POW" when they have an army man? 

Even the little guy couldn't resist them. 

You see this mess? Its everything in the storage cart in the bottom of our pantry.

There's the suspect trying to escape in the background. He's a quick one. 
I seem to be finding more and more of these messes around my house. I can't take my eyes off of him for a second!
But who could resist this face? And those little chunky thighs. 
Carson got a tool bench for his birthday and it was a huge hit! Both boys play with it a couple of hours a day.

*The tool pictures were taken on a different day than the rest of the pictures, yet they both are wearing the same clothes as in the top pictures. Interesting. Guess I don't change things up much.