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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Break

I mentioned yesterday that we are on spring break this week.  And spring break didn't go quite like I'd planned.  I was envisioning a change of scenery.  A change of state even.  But that didn't work out because Seth had to go to Houston for work this week.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  And then I started seeing everyone's beach pictures this week.  We weren't planning to go to the beach, but I was really wishing we were somewhere besides here.  Okay, so I was wishing I was somewhere besides here.  But had I been somewhere else, I would've missed spending two hours in fellowship and Bible study with 30 of my favorite women.  I would've missed spending my Wednesday morning teaching 11 of my favorite two year olds that Jesus died on the cross for all their sins because He loves them.  I would've missed all the one-on-one time I spent with little Ellie while everyone else was elsewhere (even though she was quite the grumpy bear this week).  And my two big ones would've missed this: 


Mason and Hannah Kate spent part of their spring break in Cocodrie fishing with PawPaw, MawMaw, Uncle Barry and Abbie.  Mason went out with Uncle Barry everyday.  They caught their limits in reds every trip.  Hannah Kate went out with PawPaw and MawMaw.  They caught some reds, too, but also some trout.  On one trip in particular, Hannah Kate was the only one who caught fish.  And Mason has gone on and on about Uncle Barry and how he doesn't stop until he gets that last fish and how he doesn't give up.  He wouldn't even go out in PawPaw's boat!  I haven't talked to Uncle Barry yet to hear his side of the story, but I'm sure Mason talked his ears off the whole time.  Unlike his daddy and his uncle, Mason is never at a loss for words and always has something to say even when he doesn't have anything to say!  Seth says he gets it from me.  Frankly, I have no idea what he's talking about!

I'm so glad they had the opportunity to go fishing this week, and I know they had a great time.  As for me, I realize I didn't need a change of scenery so much as a change of perspective.  I'm so glad my Heavenly Father knows what's best for me and mine, even during spring break!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter

So this year I prayed for a "different" Resurrection Day experience, something more "real."  And don't even ask me what that means because I have no idea.  I just know that I spent two weeks without internet and then last Friday my cell phone died.  Yes.  Died.  I was too busy over the weekend to even think about getting it fixed.  Although I DID think about it and wondered who might be texting me about the Easter weekend festivities at church and what calls I was missing and who needed something.  I felt pretty disconnected.  But, at the same time, I'd never felt more connected!  Easter was, in fact, different for me this year.  I'm not going to attempt to explain it.  Because I think it's just something in my heart that was between me and the Lord Jesus.  I truly enjoyed every bit of my weekend, even waking up early and getting everyone up and ready to be at church at 7:00 for the "Son rise" service.

We dressed up.  Although that has nothing to do with Easter.  But we did.  And since we were out so early, I didn't take time until after Son rise and after breakfast and after Sunday School and after church to get a picture.  We were nice and wrinkly by that time.
Ellie actually wasn't feeling well over the weekend.  She was a trooper, as usual, but she just wasn't herself.
This girl loves her Abbie!  I just love these little hands!
One of my favorite parts of the day was teaching my Sunday School class.  I'm currently teaching the pre-k and kindergarten class.  We read about Jesus' death, burial and resurrection in the Bible and then made Resurrection Rolls to reinforce the truth that Jesus is alive.  While the Resurrection Rolls were baking, we used the Resurrection Eggs to review and retell the Bible story.  I don't know who loved it more, the kids or I!  Easter is, hands down, my favorite day to teach Sunday School.  I absolutely love teaching the resurrection story to children.  And this day was no exception.  It is probably my most memorable.  

We pray twice each week during Sunday School and sometimes three times.  Sunday was a three time prayer day.  The last prayer came as we were getting ready to leave.  I asked the children to put their Bibles and their treats on the table and fold their hands so we could pray.  I always pray.  I've asked them before to pray, but no one does.  And I hadn't asked in a very long time.  I didn't ask on Sunday either.  But one of the boys told me he wanted to pray.  And this is a child that I never, ever would've expected to ask to pray aloud in class.  But he did.  And it was the sweetest, most heart felt, most honest prayer ever.  The kind of prayer that brings you to your knees and tears to your eyes.  Oh, it was just the sweetest thing ever!  And then Hannah Kate prayed.  And it was just so hard for me to keep it together!  Especially when she said, "Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins."

After church we ate lunch and then I hid eggs in the back yard for the kids to find.

And not that it has anything to do with Easter either, but we did find a few eggs the day before, too. 

Hannah Kate was so excited to see Brooklyn.  These girls haven't been together in several months, and they were inseparable.  After we found some eggs, Brooklyn invited Hannah Kate over to dye some eggs and play for awhile.
I wasn't too sure how this girl would do, especially since she didn't feel well.  She also wasn't too crazy about the "tall" grass that tickled her toes and got her shoes wet because it was still wet with morning dew.  At first she was more interested in opening the eggs.
But once she realized they were empty, she did manage to put a few eggs in her basket.
In case you're wondering, I got my cell phone fixed on Monday.  It's a long story, but AT&T "accidentally" deactivated my SIM card.  Crazy!  And I also took Ellie to the doctor on Monday.  She has an ear infection, but it's not too bad.  The big kids are on spring break this week.  That hasn't quite gone as planned either, but I'm learning to be thankful when things don't turn out the way I'd planned!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Favorite: HOPE. Because a lot can happen in just three days!


On that Friday over 2,000 years ago, they thought it was done.  Finished.  Jesus was dead.

Now when the sixth hour had come,
there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"
which is translated, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"
Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, "Look, He is calling for Elijah!"
Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed,
and offered it to Him to drink, saying,
"Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down."
And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
~Mark 15:33-37

So here's the deal.  Yes, it is finished!  I (and you) no longer have to be bound by the chains of sin!  I (and you) no longer have to be separated from the holy God because of a life of sin!  I (and you) no longer owe the debt payment of sin, the only payment sufficient enough being death!

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have no received the reconciliation.
~Romans 5:6-11 

But it wasn't finished!  It wasn't over!  A lot can happen in just three days!



































As dark and dead as that Friday was, it was only Friday.  As hopeless as it seemed and felt and looked, it was a day that would forever transform the course of history and change the life of every single person to ever live from that moment until now and until forever.

It was Friday.  Jesus was dead.  But it. was. not. hopeless!  Hope WAS NOT lost.  The same is true today for me and you.  No matter what you are going through, it is not hopeless!  There IS hope!

You do not have the situation or the circumstance that the Lord Jesus Christ cannot change.  You do not have the situation or the circumstance that is too big for the King of kings and Lord of lords.  You do not have the sickness that He cannot heal.  You do not have the addiction that He cannot break.  You do not have the relationship that He cannot restore.  You do not have the marriage that He cannot reconcile.  You do not have the financial need that He cannot provide for.  You do not have the problem for which He does not have the answer.  You do not have the sin that is too big and too ugly for Him to forgive!

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
they eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know what is the HOPE of His calling,
what are the RICHES of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
and what is the EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things . . .
~Ephesians 1:17-22

What's the Friday in your life?  What's the big, bad, ugly place that needs the kindness and forgiveness and mercy and grace of the Savior?  What's the hurt that needs the healing touch of the Savior?  What's the place where it seems there is no hope?

Will you please know today that there is hope!  There is HOPE in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the LORD always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will REST IN HOPE.
For You WILL NOT leave my soul in Sheol,
NOR will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
~Psalm 16:7-11

They might've rolled that stone in front of Jesus' tomb, but there's no stone big enough or rock or pebble or grain of sand that could keep my Jesus in the grave!

It was only Friday.

It was finished.

But the HOPE of Easter had begun.

Sunday's coming.

RESURRECTION DAY!

My prayer is that I (and you) will experience Easter like we never have before.   

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Friday Favorite: The cast is off, and the pins are out!

First of all.  It has literally taken me a week to finish this post!  My internet has been down since last week.  This home grown internet service provider we have still hasn't been able to fix the problem.  They told us today that they won't be back until Monday.  And who knows if they can even fix it then.  And let me tell you.  I've been having major withdrawals.  So my husband brought home his handy dandy wireless thingy he uses when he's working out in the boondocks with no cell phone service.  Today is the first day I've been on the internet since last weekend.

So.

Ellie got her cast off last Friday!  It was quite a morning.  We woke up, and I dressed her in, once again, the blue and white sleeveless dress.  Because sleeveless dresses were the only thing that would fit over that humongous cast.  
My very sweet friend (who is also a nurse) took the day off work, and she asked if she could come with us.  I really wasn't sure how I was going to handle the whole thing.  I didn't even know if I would be able to look at the pins in her arm once the cast was off.  I was so thankful that she was there with us.  The one thing that my children are not allowed to play with is my cell phone.  I'm not kidding.  I don't even have any kiddie games or apps on my phone.  That's the one thing that's "mine."  But all of my friends let Ellie play with their cell phones.  She butters them up by running to them and hopping up in their lap.  But the only reason she does that is because she knows she can get their cell phone from them.
We had the sweetest nurse!  When she came to the lobby to call us back, I must've looked quite a sight.  The next thing out of her mouth was, "Are you okay?"  And she wasn't talking to Ellie!  Anyway, we'd decided that Tracy would hold Ellie while the cast came off.  I'd never had the experience of watching a cast being removed before so I really didn't know what to expect.  But it was NOTHING like I'd imagined!  First the pretty purple wrap was cut off.
I honestly didn't realize how many layers there were to this cast.  Ellie wasn't bothered when the purple wrap came off.
And then came the saw.  When I saw this, I started laughing.  First of all, the machine is about the size of a vacuum and even looks like a vacuum.  The blade was really small.  Much smaller than I'd imagined!  I had visions of Ellie being strapped down to a table while a huge saw came down from the ceiling to cut her cast.  No, I do not watch horror movies.  And I have no idea where this image came from.  But it was nothing like that at all.  The noise was loud, but it wasn't unbearable.  Ellie did get upset a little bit, and Tracy was holding her close and covering her ear.  It took a few minutes to saw the cast off because of the size of it.  
After the cast was cut down both sides, the nurse had to pry it loose.  Ellie was aggravated at this point, but she wasn't crying.
And then there was another layer that had to be cut with the scissors.  By this time, Ellie is preoccupied with the phone again.
And I have never been so happy in all my life than the moment when that little arm came out of that cast!  I'll be honest.  The three and a half weeks in the cast seemed like the longest ever.  As a matter of fact, it was almost hard to remember Ellie without the cast. But now that I look back on it, it didn't seem that long at all.  Nevertheless, I'm so glad it's over!
And then the wrap came off, and the pins were exposed.  Ellie did not like that one bit.  I'll admit it was hard for me to look at, too.
The pins stayed in while they did x-rays.  If the bone wasn't fully healed, the pins were going to stay in, and she would've gotten a new cast.  So they didn't take the pins out until after the doctor looked at the x-rays.  We also put her arm back in the sling.
We had to walk to another part of the building for x-rays.  When we came out into the lobby, Ellie took off running.  Her daddy was sitting there.  He didn't know if he'd be able to come or not, but he was able to get there after all.
After x-rays we went back upstairs to see the doctor.  Tracy and I went back again with Ellie.  Seth didn't want to.  It was a bit much for him.
We met with the doctor, and he told us the x-rays looked perfect and that the pins could come out.  He showed me some exercises to do with her twice a day.  She does not have full range of motion in her elbow, which was to be expected.  So we're going to work on that and go back in three weeks for Dr. C to reassess her mobility and range of motion.  That appointment will determine whether or not she has to go to physical therapy.  We're hoping not, but it's okay if she does.  At first she couldn't straighten her arm all the way.  She can do that now (seven days later), but she still holds her arm with a little bent in it.  She uses it all the time, doesn't favor it.  But she still holds it like she has it in a cast.  She also can not bend her elbow and touch her shoulder with her hand.  That's one of the things I'm supposed to help her with, but she will have none of it.  She cries.  And it's so tight that I can't do much with it.  I'm not sure if it's just going to take time.  Or if it's going to take therapy.

So then the nurse came back in to remove the pins.  That was, by far, the worst part of the whole morning.  The first pin pretty much fell out as soon as she touched it.  The second pin not so much.  She had to work about 30 seconds to get it out.  And it was a very long 30 seconds.  So long that I nearly came out of my chair and yelled, "Get. It. Out. NOW."  Honestly, I don't know that I could've stayed in that room much longer had it not come out when it did.  Ellie was very uncomfortable and screaming.  I'm very glad Tracy was there for that part because I could not have done that by myself.
But as soon as the pin was out, and her arm was bandaged again, she was absolutely fine. There wasn't even any bleeding when the pins came out, but we left this bandage on the rest of the day.
Here are the pins.  I still can't believe these were in my baby's arm!
When we left, Ellie immediately ran to her daddy again and crawled up into his lap.  We had several errands before going home so I decided to keep her arm in the sling until we got home.  I was so excited when she reached out to me for the first time with both of those little arms outstretched!
She was such a big girl and so brave!  She was also ready to get out of there.  Here she is standing at the elevator.  She didn't want us to carry her.  She wanted to walk and carry Hannah Kate's kindle.
When we got home, I took the sling off and asked Ellie if I could take a picture of her arm.
There were two small scabs where the pins were.  We kept those covered with a little bandaid for a few days.  She's still not sure about her little scars.  Every once in awhile, she'll point to her elbow and question me with her eyes.  Here she is looking at her elbow for the first time after the big bandage came off.
We are so very thankful for Ellie's complete healing!  We are also grateful that this chapter in Ellie's life has come to an end.  It was quite a journey, and I surely hope we'll never have another experience with a broken bone.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Cast

Three and a half weeks ago, I declared that the next three weeks would be some of the longest of my life.  And here we are.  Three weeks later.  I can't believe it's here already.  Sort of.  It seems like a lifetime ago that we were in the hospital for surgery on Ellie's broken arm.  That cast has been so cumbersome and so annoying and so infuriating.  But tomorrow is the day the cast comes off.  X-rays will determine what happens next.  If Dr. C is pleased with the healing, the pins will come out tomorrow, too.  If not, I guess we'll be in another cast for a couple of weeks longer.  But I'm feeling pretty confident that the cast will come off and stay off.  In the meantime, I wanted to document our day, what I hope and pray is the LAST day in a cast.  
Ellie wanted an omelet and yogurt for breakfast.  That's what she eats for breakfast nearly every morning.  She loves eggs!
After breakfast we did a few chores.  Ellie loves to take the clothes out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer.
We spent part of our morning in the playroom.  Today was a rarity.  We didn't have to go anywhere, didn't have a doctor's appointment, didn't have to leave the house.  So we didn't!  Ellie loves to play, and we'll be so happy when we can spend more of our days at home.  One of her favorite toys is the kitchen.



She loves her babies, too.  And she especially loves pushing them in the stroller.

Today was the first day since Ellie got the cast that she did not wear her sling.  Until today, she refused to do anything without it.  But today she refused to wear it.  And since we weren't going anywhere, I didn't make her wear it.  She first couple of weeks after she got the cast, she didn't use that arm at all.  She didn't use her fingers.  She didn't even try.  But about a week ago, she started trying to use her fingers and her hand.  And then she started using her shoulder again.  She's actually holding things now and trying to do things with that arm and hand.  I think that's why she didn't want the sling today.

Today was also the perfect "outside" day.  The sun was shining bright, the sky was a vibrant blue and there was a breeze to keep us cool.  Ellie loves to play outside.  Her most favorite thing to do outside is swing.  I'll bet she would swing for hours if someone would push her that long.

She also loved playing with her water table today.  Of course, it didn't have water in it.  But I'm hoping that will change tomorrow.



After all of that playing, Ellie was really tired.  She took a long nap and woke up shortly after Mason and Hannah Kate got home from school.  They went outside to play with Seth while I cooked supper.  After we ate, I found all three of them curled up on the couch together with their Kindles.  This is their usual nightly routine.  
And bath time.  That has honestly been the hardest part of this whole ordeal.  Ellie loves bath time.  But she absolutely HATES having her arm covered.  She screamed every night the first two weeks.  But this week hasn't been as bad.  And I'll be honest.  Seth was out of town last week and this week.  So on the nights he was gone, I didn't even fool with it.  I just sponged her off.  But after all of that playing outside today, a bath was necessary.  As soon as she got out, she was insisting the cover come off.

Another funny thing . . . two weeks ago we got home one evening.  When I opened the door to get Ellie out of her carseat, I noticed what looked to be pieces of cotton all over the floor of my Tahoe.  I had no idea what it was.  Later I found the same pieces of cotton underneath Ellie's highchair.  And then I realized what it was.  She had picked all of the soft cottony stuff out of the inside of her cast as far as she could get the fingers of her other hand to reach!  So, needless to say, she has some little blisters now on her thumb where it has rubbed against the hard part of the cast.

As excited as I am about the cast coming off tomorrow (and hopefully staying off!), I am also nervous.  I know it's going to be very scary for her as they are sawing the cast off.  Heck, it's going to be scary for me because that's not something I've ever experienced before.  And I am NOT crazy about a saw going anywhere near my baby's arm.  But even worse than that, I think, are the pins.  I just don't think I want to see those pins sticking out of her arm.  And I definitely don't even want to think about pulling them out.  But that's what has to happen.  I've been told that it won't hurt her; it will only "feel weird."  Well, I'd be fine if it was happening to me.  But not to my baby!  My sweet friend knows how apprehensive I am about our appointment tomorrow.  She is going with us.  She has a day off of work, and she's going to spend it at the doctor's office with us.

So having said that, I ask you to please join us in prayer for Ellie and our appointment tomorrow.  Please pray for complete healing of her arm.  And please pray for a calm, peaceful morning.  Please pray that Ellie will not be scared and that she will remain distracted by the fun gadgets I'm taking for her to play with.  And pray that this Momma will have nerves of steel!