Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh, the weather outside is... CHRISTMAS????

It's so hard to believe that Christmas is less than 48 hours away!! It feels like mid-spring!! At least we aren't dependent upon the weather making the holiday. The true reason we celebrate this wonderful holiday is with us through every season!

A quick update: I saw my original surgeon on Tuesday in Albany. My extreme pain in my left leg was simply from overuse.....having to use crutches and being unable to put any weight on my right leg. He also checked my right leg, which he said looked beautiful. The bone graft was only visible to those who knew it was there. Things are growing together nicely..... Even though the pain is still very intense. Being told that I COULD put some weight on my right leg, I walked out of the doctor's office without crutches and haven't looked back. Yes, the pain is intense. Yes, I am VERY slow. Yes, I get tired very quickly. BUT, I can WALK with TWO LEGS!!! Today has been the hardest day - with most intense pain. I'm sure it has something to do with overdoing it since Tuesday. I am off all pain meds.....the side effects far outweigh the benefits! I have a long way to go before I can run again, but I'll get there. :)

I thought I would go NUTS being home with nothing to work on to occupy my time. However, I have caught up on lots of much needed sleep and spent lots of time snuggling with my little fellow. :) I have missed out on all Christmas festivities for my kids, but friends took pics to allow me the enjoyment of at least seeing them.

Now, Christmas holidays are ready to begin. Having rested, it's time for me to start working! :) I have to focus on building up my stamina to be able to go back to work on January 9th, when our holidays end.

As we quickly approach Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I start to think of all the blessings He has showered us with during the past year. It would be too easy to focus on all that seemed to go wrong in 2011, but in spite of all the bad there was so much good. Despite the economy, the state of our nation, and so many other bad things, we are blessed, so richly blessed. Our lives wouldn't be the same, we wouldn't be the same people, if it weren't for the trials and tribulations of each day and each year.

I'm really looking forward to watching Reed this Christmas. I'm anxious to see how he reacts. Can't wait to have some pics to share!

Merry Christmas to each of you. May God continue to richly bless you and your family in the coming year.

Much love,

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Okay, so most people wouldn't be super excited to be home in the bed for the 3 weeks before Christmas..... But, considering how depleted I have been for the past 2 years pretty much, I have truly rested like I've never rested before. I've spent many days sleeping day and night with very few awake periods throughout a 24-hour period. INSANE!!!

This surgery was a lot less painful, but a much more burdensome recovery because I can't put ANY weight on my right leg AT ALL! Of course, only using my left leg to hop on crutches, has really messed up my left knee. I'm hoping to be able to go to see my original surgeon in Albany Tuesday to see how bad it's messed up. I see my other surgeon on Thursday in Columbus to have my post-op check. I would greatly appreciate your prayers that everything is healing appropriately.

So, I actually followed doctor's orders - for the most part - for the first 2 weeks. I broke the rule Friday and actually drove for the first time. :)

We have enjoyed time with friends this week. One of Reed's NNICU nurses came to visit on Thursday and took the following pic and a video of Reed. Of course, Reed was his normal "shy" self... HAHAHA!!!

Absolutely LOVE this profile pic she got. 

Video of the HAM :)

Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without Reed wearing his Santa hat. This pic had to happen quickly because he doesn't like ANYTHING on his head. I guess he's proud of the little bit of hair he's finally sprouted and wants to be sure everyone sees it. :)

Before my last surgery, I went to Target (of course) and found a new daily devotional book. This one is by Joyce Meyer. I've never read any of her books, but am really enjoying this devotional The Confident Woman. One of the very first devotionals in this book talks about Wynona Judd and her fall from the spotlight. It says Wynona felt like she had to take care of everyone, and forgot to take care of herself. Sitting in the pre-op room, I handed the book to Wayne as soon as I finished reading and asked him to read it and tell me who it sounded like. He very boldly stated, "Should I hand you a mirror???" Wynona's life fell apart because she ALWAYS put everyone else ahead of herself. She was more concerned with everyone else's well-being and totally neglected her own well-being. Okay, God, I got it loud and clear! :)

Another devotional was about dealing with relationships. Joyce says that sometimes we try to have relationships with people that God doesn't want us to have a relationship with, and that's why these relationships fail. God will give us favor with the people who he wants us to be in relationship with. Okay, God, I hear you.... Relationships should NOT be a difficult task with more negatives than positives.

I could go on and on with all the wonderful tidbits I've come across in this book. If you get the chance, buy it! I have emptied an entire highlighter marking these hot spots as I come across them. Good, good book. :)

Reed had his 6-month check up with the ENT who put his tubes in. All is perfectly well. Tubes are still in place and looking good. The girls are doing great, as well. They have 4 1/2 days of school this week, and then they can begin their holiday vacation! They are so excited!!!

In this season of giving, I pray that each one of us remembers the real reason why we have this season to celebrate. As a mother, I can't fathom the pain that God must've suffered as He watched His Son crucified for our sins so that we - unworthy humans - have the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. I pray that each of you has a blessed season, spending time with friends and family, and spending time with Him. These days are passing by so quickly, and I hope that we all take advantage of every second we have with our children. We don't know what tomorrow may bring to any one of us, and we don't want to live with any regrets.

Much love to all,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The JOY of Christmas

As the year passes by, I always forget the excitement my babies have bubbling over during the Christmas season. Oh, it does my heart good to watch their excited faces glowing each day during this season. This is what parents live for...the true child-like belief and happiness. What would we give to be able to be as happy as our kids during Christmas???

Well, I've survived a solid week stuck at home since surgery. The surgery went well, just as expected. I have done my very best to follow doctor's orders because the recovery is so crucial with this type of surgery. However....... that means staying off my feet and in my house. Until yesterday, my excuse was that I couldn't get out of my house because of the steps. Yesterday, some guys from church came and built me a that excuse works no more. We attempted to go to dinner tonight....not a good idea. About halfway through, I got really sick feeling and needed to leave. This was the first time I've been dressed since surgery. It was also the longest I'd been out of bed. May have over-done it for my first outing. Wayne insisted we take the wheelchair...just in case. Anna said I was NOT allowed to go with her if I was going in the wheelchair. Geez...where's the love??? :)

The girls have their Christmas musical at church tomorrow night, so I'm going to rest up all day in hopes of being able to go watch them. I feel like I've missed out on so much this year because of all these dog-gone surgeries!

I brought NOTHING home with me from school this time...which is a FIRST! This time I have been solely focusing on getting healed and spending time with my family. I had no idea one person could sleep so much. It's all I've done since the surgery. My prayer is to be completely rested - making up for the lack of sleep that began during pregnancy with Reed and continued through his battle in NNICU to present day sleeplessness.

So, before surgery last week, I ran in Target to find something to read in pre-op. I got a new James Patterson novel and a Joyce Meyer devotional book. I pulled the devotional out while I lay in pre-op for almost 5 hours before surgery. I had to show Wayne just about every other daily devotion because they all appeared to be written about ME. I have never read a devotional book that hit so closely to home. I handed Wayne one to read and asked him who it reminded him of.... His response, "Shall I hand you a mirror????" I have read a little each day...each day that I have actually spent some time awake. Tonight I picked it up after our supper excursion. There were about 6 straight devotions that had my name all over them. They were based on the woman in Proverbs 31.One spoke on the importance of considering things before we jump into new things. Joyce Meyer said she (like me) wants to be involved in MANY things, which isn't always a good thing. We need to "consider the importance" of the things we are doing. Quality of work is much more admirable than quantity of work. We need to focus on the few things and do them very well, versus doing many things halfway. It also discussed choosing the EXCELLENT things in which we need to be involved, rather than just the GOOD things. Next, we are told to consider all things "prudently" before acting. Meyers warns against acting emotionally, which usually leads to the wrong choices. This woman in Proverbs also gave when she had nothing to give. By doing this, we are blessed with more from our Loving Father. One of the final thoughts I took from the several devotions I read tonight was to take time to refresh ourselves. Too often, too many of us neglect ourselves because we spend all of our time, energy, and resources on our children and spouses. The Bible says we can't be ALL that He wants us to be if we don't take time for OURSELVES. Yep! That one was definitely aimed at me.

I have several situations since 2010, that if we don't take time to take care of ourselves, God WILL make us stop. Apparently, I'm a slow-learner.... God flattened me on my behind in March 2010 when my precious Reed was born 11 weeks early. He took me from my comfort zone and put me in Macon in the NNICU, where there was no one to think about or worry about except my baby and myself. So, I thought I learned my lesson and was doing a pretty good job of maintaining that once I went back to work that August. ...... Apparently, not.... Starting in May 2011, I have undergone a series of 5 surgeries. Each time, I pushed myself to get back into life and back to work, at the expense of my body. This last surgery (which I truly hope is the LAST surgery) has left me no option. I can't put ANY weight on my right leg or the two bone parts won't grow together as they should, which could be trouble for the rest of my life. So, as hard as it has been and will continue to be, I HAVE to follow doctor's orders this time. I'm hoping that this time God will think I have learned my lesson (again), and will move on to someone else. :)

Yes, I joke, but in all seriousness, God has overly blessed us over the years. It has been much more obvious and more publicly in the past 1 1/2 years. My whole outlook changed when Reed was born and I had to search desperately for some small step in the right direction while we were in the dark days in the NNICU. This outlook has been with me since those dark days. However, after the first 4 surgeries I started slipping back into the not-so-happy outlook attitude. Now, another surgery later, I'm back into looking for my rainbows.

We all go through dark days, months, even years. However, there are ALWAYS rainbows of blessings mixed into those dark times. We just have to be willing to look for them, believing that we will find them, and then thank God for those rainbows. No, they aren't always actual rainbows. My sign when Reed was in the NNICU was a double rainbow, which I had NEVER seen before in my life. I was driving in the rain and looked up to see a double rainbow staring me in the face. This was when I knew beyond all doubt that Reed would live. So, I always look for my rainbows. The Monday before surgery last week, I saw an actual rainbow, which let me know that all would be okay with the surgery and all that was to follow it.

The Christmas season always makes us more appreciative and believing. But, God gives us rainbows all year long. We just have to be willing to look for them. Take the time - not just during this Christmas season - to actually SLOW down and LOOK for your rainbows.

I pray God blesses each of you with a wonderful, love-filled Christmas season. I ask Him to wrap each of you in His loving arms and touch you right where you are in need. I pray that you will feel His peace and presence as we remember the TRUE and ONLY reason we have to celebrate this season. Knowing how close we were to losing our son, I can't fathom God watching His Son being tortured and killed. We (Wayne and I) were helpless in trying to save Reed, but God was not helpless in saving His Son. Yet, He allowed Jesus to be beaten and tortured and hung on that cross for us. He LET His Son die. That has taken on a whole new meaning for us since our walk that took us so close to Reed's death. WOW! We really do serve an awesome God!

Much love and merry times as you celebrate the reason for this season,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So much to be thankful for .....

Okay, I had just finished my update and the computer erased it all. So, I'm trying again...These past 6+ months have been long and difficult. 5 surgeries in 6 months is enough to drive anyone crazy. I had my FINAL surgery yesterday. This surgery was to put the donor femur piece in with my femur. In order for them to grow together correctly, I can't put ANY weight on my right leg for 4 to 8 weeks. I'm pretty sure this is going to kill me! Being housebound and unable to even drive is not going to make me a happy camper....but if this is how the Almighty Healer fixes my leg I guess I'll just have to obey.

Thanksgiving is the season of stopping to give thanks for all that God has richly blessed us with. We are all so very fortunate that our Father ALWAYS works for the good of His people who love Him. It's fairly easy to publlicly give thanks during the month of December. How much more would God thank us if we were to acknowledge and give thanks for His blessings to us every day of the year???

The past 6 months have begun to shake me from focusing on the blessings, both big and small, and let the negatives sneak back in on me. All of the setbacks with my knee surgeries have been a huge contributor to my losing focus on my blessings. I have had to stop and refocus my attention on the positives, the blessings God has rained down upon us.

Being out of work until January is going to be very hard for me....stuck at home and unable to drive. I'm such a go-go-goer that it's going to be almost impossible for me to stay here all day every day. I had planned to have all Christmas presents bought before surgery, but was unable to do it because of the "expiration" date on the donor bone. I guess I'm going to have to jump on the "internet shopping" bandwagon this year.

God promises He will NOT give us more than we can handle, but I'm at that spot where I want to say, "God, you are really giving me way too much credit....I'm NOT strong enough to weather this storm." I feel like I've been swimming in a torrential flood...unable to come up for air. Now my prayer should be for strength to weather this newest storm.

So the surgery went well. I was in the hospital less than 24 hours. All was well....until I tried to walk from the kitchen to my bathroom when we got home. Reed darted in front of me on my crutches....I lost my balance and FELL face down on the floor. I'm very unsure of whether or not the bones came apart. The nerve block has the knee area just numb enough that I can't feel to see if it feels broken. Called the surgeon, who said to lay and prop leg for rest of weekend. If it's not better, we'll call back on Monday. We are going to get a prescription for a wheelchair on Monday, as well. My left leg is not strong enough to be the sole support of my body.

I have so desperately missed being able to run and walk to exercise and relieve stress. I'm very ready to get back to being ME! I am off work until January 9th because I can't walk wihtout crutches right now.This is going to be difficult with all the Christmas activities going on...and having to miss them.

I got a new devotional book to read while I was in the hospital. I believe Joyce Meyer wrote one of the devotions just for ME. It was about taking care of yourself first. So often, as wives and moms, we put ourselves LAST. However, this is the exact opposite of how it's supposed to be. In order to be able to take care of others, we must first be sure that we are taken care of physicall, emotionally, and mentally. This devotion was SCREAMING my name. I have put myself last for so long that I'm not sure I even know how to look out for myself anymore. This is my area to work on. I need to learn how to put me first so that I can in turn take better care of the other people in my life....most importantly my 3 babies and husband.

This roller coaster began in May, and my prayer is that it is ending with this surgery from yesterday. It has totally changed my focus from the big and small blessings to what all is going wrong. Focusing on the positives in this world we live in is a daily decision...sometimes even an hourly decision we hve to make. In the past 3 weeks, I've been working hard on shifting my focus back to the blessings so abundantly flooding down on us. I'm still searching to see what lesson God is trying to teach me through all of this craziness of surgery after surgery after surgery.....I know He promises not to give us more than we can handle, but I think He thinks I can handle much more than I know. If it's His will, then let it be done....but I"m going to need His help to keep me going until these storms are over.

As we enjoy this Christmas season, are we going to fill our houses with gift after gift after gift so that our children understand that Christmsa is only about getting presents? Or will we instill in them the real reason for this blessed season? If there were not a Jesus, there would not be a Christmas adn definitely not an Easter. Let's realign our priorities to match those that God has set out for us in His word....then everything else will fall into place according to His plan.

We have so many blessings to thank Him for. Let's name these blessings and claim them as our gift from our Heavenly Father. We know He works only for the good of those who love Him. We really can do ALL things through Christ because He gives us the strength we need to carry out His plan for our lives.

 Silly Anna
 Preemie Party 2011 with Mrs. Amy
 Nurse Emily
 Sporting Nurse Jan's sunglasses
 All business....right up his alley driving the tractor at Mark's Melon Patch

 Reed's 1st ride on the Macy's Pink Pig
 Attempting to get a Christams card picture....
FINALLY got one good enough to send.

God is good ALL the time. What blessings has he bestowed upon you and your family? Take time to count your blessings ONE BY ONE. I pray God's peace and love will envelope each of you this Christmas season.

Much love to all,