Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here we go. . .

I have to borrow from a friend's blog:  "was this in the plan?"

We are not known in our family for doing one thing at a time.  We tend to pile things up and run around like headless chickens for weeks on end and then collapse.  True to nature, here we go.

As you may have read we have a vacation planned to Florida.  We leave in four days.  We are very excited. 

Then, we had decided to remodel the kitchen, so we ordered our cabinets to be delivered the week we return from the trip.  That meant that some demo had to start the Monday after the Super Bowl.

Monday night our friends Larry and Marilyn had come over to help with the demo.  I fixed dinner and we were all sitting down to eat.  I felt tired and not hungry.  Didn't really eat anything.  We were laughing about life and such things when my stomach felt a sharp pain.  I went to the restroom and the pain continued - for 6 hours!   I moved, bathed, took some pain meds, walked - everything I could do to get the pain to stop.  Really felt like I had pulled something in my side. 

I knew I was going to end up in the ER and should have said so before Larry and Marilyn left.  But, no!  I'm brave!  At 12:30 am, I was done.  I woke David and said I had to get help.  We woke Chris, said we were going to the ER and daddy would be back once I was settled.  This had happened a few months ago and they thought it was my back.  A few pain meds and I was good.  Easy. 

Yeah, not so easy this time.

The longer I was there, the worse the pain.  The medication lasted about 15 minutes short of it's needed duration.  So, ever 45 minutes I was dying!   We still thought it was my back.  I sent David home and I called Marilyn to come to the ER. 

By 5:00 am, they had decided it was a blocked intestine and inserted a nasogastric tube.   Can you say, "Medeival Torture?"    Oh, yuck.   They call was made to give 48 hours to let the tube deflate the blockage.  THat didn't work.  So, Monday morning they decided to operate that afternoon.

And can they do it with a scope?  Of course not!  I had a gastric by-pass 7 years ago.  My anatomy is not exactly text-book.  Then add a tummy tuck 4 years ago.  So, they had to open me up.  Inside, the intestine was strangulated by scar tissue and was an easy fix.  They also found adhesions that were holding my intestines to my back.  They were released as well.

After 5 days in the hospital, I was home.  And amazingly, they said, "take the trip!"  Really?  I mean, I"m very excited.  Not that I haven't questioned their wisdom.

I'm on a low-fiber diet and tonight was the first meal I ate that didn't kill me!  (THanks, Teri!)   I feel like, like, well, like 2 surgeons put their hands in my guts and swished them around.  Today is better than yesterday and I know it will get better still.

But now I wonder, God was this in the plan?

We had prayed about the Trip to Florida.  Every thing we wanted, God provided - the hotel, dinner reservations, flights, etc.  And now a major surgery?   And food hurts me?  And my tummy is swollen?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

There are times I"m glad His ways are not mine!  I could never have dreamed all the blessings He has given us.  And times, my thoughts would have cut some people off at their knees!

In prayer today I told God, "I am so thankful this did not happen in Florida.  But if it were all the same, between you and me, couldn't this have waited until AFTER our trip?  Or, being the Omnipotent, couldn't you have just healed me?  Couldn't I have just rejoiced in divine health instead of walking in pain?"  God smiled.

Tonight, I will rest.  I feel it.  Not another sleepless night walking between rooms, heating pads and recliners.  And I will trust that the God who provided the trip will provide the strenth for it!

Thanks to everyone who has fed my family and loved on my kids! 

And a big benefit!  Miss "Can Plan The Fun Out of Anything" is going to have to slow down and enjoy each moment of this trip!

Monsieur, an iced tea and poached chicken here!  Delivered to my cabana!  While I watch the fireworksWith my friend Goofy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let the Soccer Season Begin!

Soccer Season 2010 began with an indoor tournament in Durango, CO. 

Chris is #13 - see if you can find him!

Indoor soccer is fast moving and very exciting. 

The boys had fun.  I love to see them laugh and smile while they play.

Okay, not everyone was excited.

Super Bowl 2010 - Saints and Colts

Super Bowl 2010
The Saints vs. The Colts
(not a Colts' fan in the building!)

33 Guys, Gals and kids of all ages gathered for Food, Fun and Football.

Miss Violet Ray

Baby Jack watched intensely!  Go Saints!

A Hallway Full of Shoes

I once put a picture of friend's hallway in my scrapbook and wrote that one day, I wanted a hallway full of shoes.  The shoes represent the people I love.  People of all ages.  People of all sizes.  Big, little, short tall;  loud, quiet, laughing, smiling. 

God's people. Our friends.

A Special Surpise!

Okay - this took a little while to post:

Most people like surprises – a new car, a raise, the laundry folded and put-away. Good things. This year we were able to pull-off a Christmas surprise for our kids. David and I planned and prayed for months in order to make this happen. On Christmas morning, we were able to give the kid’s their gift.

First they opened a box in which were wrapped two packages – one for Chris and one for Ashley. Inside the tissue paper they found matching shirts – grey Mickey Mouse shirts for the boys and red Mickey Mouse shirts for the girls. They were so grateful.

“Thanks mom!” Chris said. Wow. Two simple shirts and they were pleased. It made the next part even more enjoyable!

“Look under the tissue paper,” I encouraged. They had began to pick up the trash and move on. They removed the tissue paper to find two pieces of paper, one addressed to each of them. As they opened the paper the read, “Safe the Dates: February 20-27. We are going to Disney World!”

They were stunned and sat in silence. Yes, silence. “Really?” Ashley asked? “Are you serious?” Chris questioned.

What a great Christmas morning! Papa and Mike were here to celebrate the children’s surprise; bringing books from their trip to help us get organized. They spent hours looking at rides and restaurants.

This trip has give us a chance to remember that God redeems pain.   The royalties from the video www.babybuilders.com, produced from my idea of an exercise video to help families of disabled children and using Ashley’s story, have enabled this trip. It was a one-time pay-out and we figured the kids had earned this - they both survived the stroke.

We know that the healing process of Ashley has seemed laborious and tedious – surgeries, therapies, wheelchairs, walkers, medications – and that it is not over yet. But God has given us a respite. A time to be together and celebrate.

When making reservations, they asked if were celebrating an event. “Yes, we are! Life!” I said. I then told her our family’s story and how doctors did not expect Ashley’s development to reach further than a toddler but God had said otherwise. Now a woman in Florida knows of God’s healing power. And get this, she wrote it all in our reservation request – more people will read this. They will know what when man said, “Sorry,” God said, “Rejoice!”

What “Christmas Surprise” has God laid in your hands this year? What does he want you to rejoice over? Do it! God wants to you to receive each day as His gift, each moment as His blessing, each breathe as His redemption, each Surprise as a picture of His hand on your life.

Christmas 2009 Pictures

Christmas 2009

We first celebrated Christmas in Oklahoma with Family this past Thanksgiving.  As soon as we arrived home, we decorated the house and made plans for a festive season!

The Home School Group had a Christmas Tea at our house.  It was so much fun!  Friend, Laughter and Food- does it get any better? 

A week before Christmas Papa and Mama Mike suprised us with their plans to visit.  That was a great treat!

Chris and his own Craftsman Tool Box - now we know what to get him for gifts!  Itunes Cards and Sears Gift Certificates!

Ashley is our budding photographer.  She had asked for a movie camera and her smile shows how happy she was to find one under the tree!

They were both excited to see the kids ski!  And the kids liked showing off.  But it was soooo cold!  When we arrived at the resort, the thermometer had hit a whopping 2 degrees!  We we sent David, Chris and Ashley to the slopes and Papa, Mike and I went to a restaurant and sat and visited after we visited the few shops at Purgatory.

The kids had a special suprise - but you have to read about that in a later post!

For me, Christmas has always been family.  Most years, we traveled from Big Spring, TX to my Grandma and Grandpa Roork's home in Chouteau, Oklahoma.  A little hamlet sat on the railroad, my Grandpa had pastored First Assembly of God in Chouteau for over 20 years.  He was also the substitute mail carrier.  My Grandma knew everyone in town, too.  I have wonderful memories of that Town and Christmas.

Memories of arriving in the late of night and seeing my Grandparent's front porch light on.  Knowing they were waiting for us.  That tucked in the den would be a giant tree that Grandpa had cut himself and Grandma had decorated with little homemade ornaments.  As we parked, those lovely little people would descend on the car, whisk me away and leave my parents in the cold to get themselves in the house the best they could. 

I would eagerily await the arrival my Angela.  She was my cousin and first-mate in mischief!  We would sleep in the den under the Christmas tree.  The wood stove would be stoked making the room toasty warm for Grandpa's girls.  Laying awake, Angie and I would swap stories and giggle and finally drift to sleep knowing that Grandpa would be awake all night, keep the fire stoked and protecting us against harm.

In the morning, Grandma would be in the kitchen.  No matter what else she fixed, there was also oatmeal for breakfast and toast topped with a mixture of maple syrup and peanut butter.  My mouth waters.  The smell of coffee made the vision complete.

Grandma would take us  downtown to the little grocery store.  It was small and cramped with little aisles and friendly butcher where she ordered her meat.  Grandpa would take us to the corner drugstore and sit us on  stools in front of the long soda fountain counter.  I remember it being so long and polished.   Behind the counter on the top shelf above the soda fountain would be toys lined for all to see.  I remember a little baby doll he bought me there and I'm pretty sure my Easy Bake Oven came from there, too.  I cried the day it burned to the ground.  It was part of my childhood.

Christmas Eve was for the immediate family.  Grandma, Grandpa, Little Grandma (my Grandma's momma), my Uncle Laverne (Grandma's brother), Aunt Sharon, Angie, Mom, Dad and Me.  As time went on, we added Uncle Joe and new cousins.  But my earliest memories were just the 9 of us.  Gathered around Grandma's big table which was loaded with turkey and a roast (for my dad);  sweet potatoes, rolls, salad, pies.  There was prayer,  Eating.  And then gifts!

Gifts on Christmas Eve?  You bet! 

On Christmas morning, we awoke to a bustling kitchen.  Breakfast wasn't a priority - it was lunch and getting all the food on the table for, well, the whole Town!  Everyone stopped by at some point during the day.  This was our extended family.  Kids from Grandma's Sunday School classes.   People in Grandpa's church.  Folks from the mail route.  I think everyone in that Town passed through our doors on one year or another.

David and I still carry these traditions.   On Christmas Eve, we attend church then come home to a pot of Posole, tortillas and brownies.  We gather together, our immediate family, all snug and warm in God's grace.

The next morning, we open gifts (that's David's tradition) and have cinnamon rolls.  Then the cooking begins!  We invite friends, neighbors, anyone who doesn't have a place to go to our table!  It's great.

This year:  David, myself, Chris, Ashley;  Papa and Momma Mike;  Marilyn and Larry Rogers and Matt; and Mark, Jill, Kale, Kate and Jack Palmer.  We ate all day!  We laughed!  We were family.

Family? you ask.  Yes.

See, it's not genetic similarity that makes us family.  It's blood!  And it's not human blood types.  It's the blood of Christ!

"...that spirit of adoption by which we cry out, 'Abba!  Father!"   Romans 8:15

Those who have believed that Jesus is the only Son of the one true living God, who have confessed their sins against Him and chosen to serve the living God as a living sacrifice;  those who cry, "Abba!"  - those are our family members. 

All the genetics in the world will never be as powerful as the Blood of Christ.

That is my Christ of Christmas.  My Father!  My Abba!