Friday, August 31, 2007

Prayer request for Eliana

Hi Friends,

I have an updated request for Eliana.  I called the ped office today about her burn and the nurse didn't want to give any advice without having Eliana seen by a doctor.  We scheduled a visit for 5:30 during the after hours clinic.  I had tried calling the surgeon's office in the morning - the nurse was gone by mid-day and the surgeon was in surgery.  There was no one else there that could help me.  The ped office seemed my best bet at this point.

We left home a little after 5 (the office is about 15 min away) and got stuck in traffic.  I got off on a back road - and got stuck in more traffic.  The time was pleasant though as I was talking with a sweet friend that was full of encouragment. 

We arrived at the office close to 6pm - obviously late for our appointment.  We had a longer wait before being seen.  The doctor was very nice, though seemed a little unsure about how to treat Eliana.  She really wanted her to see the surgeon.  That doesn't seem possible given that it's a holiday week-end. 

She told me that Eliana has 2nd degree burns.  :-(  This made me feel awful!  She could tell that and reassured me that it wasn't my fault, but I still feel badly for my sweet little girl.

I had another friend tell me of this happening to her son, but I thought it was due to a combination of the medication we are using with something else.  I really didn't think it would happen to Eliana.  The first two treatments went without incident.  I guess perhaps I should have used more common sense.  I also wish I had been warned by the surgeon or given instructions on how to prevent it from happening.  Guess I have more to learn. 

For now, we are treating it with burn cream twice per day or as needed.  We are also to keep a close eye out for infection.  She is to be seen immediately if this occurs.

Please join us in praying for the following:

*No infection at the burn site.

*Healing would be rapid and complete with no complications of any kind.

*Wisdom for us as we care for her and for the doctors that are treating her.

*No pain - for now she doesn't seem to be in pain for which I'm thankful.

*Increased appetite for eating from the bottle.  She seems to be stuck at 2.5 ounces per feed for the last 2 days.

Lord, I pray that you would place your healing touch on sweet Eliana.  Make her hurt places whole.  Bring comfort to her.  Please keep infection away from her body and keep everything working properly with no complications.  Please give all of us that care for her wisdom in knowing what is best for her.  Thank you for holding her and loving her more than I can begin to imagine.  Thank you for entrusting us with this precious little girl.

Thank you for your prayers dear friends,


Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Little Bit of Life Over Here

Hi Friends,

I've been wanting to write - but just not finding the time. We've started back to school and this week is one in which we have been going full-speed ahead. It's kept my days really busy too! I can tell we are out of all of our routines from schooling to chores and more. We probably need to spend some time in training, but we'll try to do it as we go. I don't want to take a break yet as we'll be going to the beach for a week soon - so we'll work until then.

Our schooling is going well. Daniel has enjoyed having his own time with Before Five in a Row. (Reading picture books and doing activities that tie in with the story.) We are reading Play With Me this week and he has asked to read it over and over again. Today we made pinecone/peanut butter bird feeders which he thought was great (as did two of his older brothers that joined in the fun).

Isaiah and Joshua are doing Five in a Row. Our book this week is Andy and the Lion. Today they worked on two-color pictures - like in the story. Joshua really balked at being limited to 2 colors. I encouraged him to just try it. He finally did and was very pleased with the results. He thought he might even try it again.

Rebecca is studying with Beyond Five in a Row. Today she spent time learning about shelters and built an igloo from sugar cubes. (Lots of my children just wanted to eat them - yuck!) She has also been learning about the "golden spike" and the Transcontinental Railroad to go along with The Boxcar Children.

Christopher is doing a variety of studies from learning about the Romans in history to biology in science and using The Lord of the Rings to study English.

Eliana is busy playing and having fun. I love to see her face break into a smile when she sees someone coming to her to play. She is truly a delight!

She is continuing to eat well - though not that stellar day from a few days ago. Today she ate about 13 ounces which is more than half! Hoping and praying she would continue to improve.

We are still having trouble getting the parts we need for her tube. I talked with them yesterday and was told that the part we needed cost over $800. I assured her that this could not be the case! It's just a tube with a clamp in the middle. She finally found the "correct one" in the warehouse and promised it would be here by today. She was right - it did arrive. It however is not the right part. It is the one that sticks up from the photo I shared last month. *sigh* I've looked up the part on-line and am hoping we can get this figured out tomorrow!

Also please pray for Eliana's healing around her button site. I think some of her skin is burned from the cream to get rid of the "granulation tissue". :-( I didn't realize that it could do this to her skin and will be calling in the morning about this too.

I know that I owe many people an email. I will try to get back to you. Please know that I treasure receiving your words of encouragment!!! My lack of response is not reflective of any lack of appreciation. I'm truly just busy with more on my plate than I can get to on most days. I will do my best, though please forgive me if it isn't all that great or if it doesn't happen.

This is feeling a little factual - but thought it might be nice to have a peek into our lives. I've been learning a lot about how God views me (and you!) and it's just beautiful. Will try to write more soon. Still thankful to be a Child of the King!

With love,


PS Still working on sharing Rebecca's news - hopefully tomorrow!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Our Week at a Glance - Aug 27-31

I'm very, very excited about one thing  on our schedule this week - we have NO medical appointments outside of the home!!!  When was the last time this happened?!  I honestly can't remember.  I feel like we have a free week to do with what we want.  I need to make some plans so that we can make the most of our time!

We have no feeding therapy this week as our therapist is on vacation.  Between her vacation and ours we will miss 3 weeks.  At this point though, I'm not too worried about it.  Can I just brag on my littlest girl?  Today (Sunday) she ate 15 ounces!!!  Is that amazing?!  It is the most she has had in one day since she went into heart failure in January.  Oh, happy tears.  It has been a long, long time.  I'm feeling very encouraged and hopeful at this point that she will be able to eat - and get off of this tube.  Please continue to pray for her feeding success. 

Tomorrow (Monday) we are planning to visit a pond.  My oldest and a friend are collecting various samples from the pond to study as part of their chemistry lab.  The rest of the children will be doing some nature studies/pond studies to tie in with their studies.  I'm hoping some of them will want to draw in their nature journals.  I'm also hoping we'll see some interesting things.  In any event, it will be fun to just be out.  We're just planning to go to a small pond near our home.

Tuesday - I've made plans to attend a local Mom's Night Out with the local Down syndrome group.  I'm a little nervous about going.  The meeting is very close to my house though so if I'm going to try it - now seems like a good time.  I posted a note to the group and I've received soooo many encouraging notes from other members.  It seems like a really neat bunch of people.  So, I'm looking forward to it too in spite of being a little nervous.

We have physical therapy on Wednesday.  I'm hoping Eliana will be able to do a little more and not have a sore tummy this week.  She is loving being up on her hands and knees - rocking and looking like she is ready to take off!  Her button site isn't really looking better, though I'm guessing it will just take some time.  It doesn't look any worse either. 

That's about it for the week.  Christopher has science lab later in the week with the pond samples.  That's it!

I'll try to write more tomorrow updating on Rebecca's Wholehearted.  :-)  Stay tuned for the news!  *grin*

With love,


Guess what our girl has done today!

She is eating!!!  I'm just thrilled with what she has done today.  Her first feeding was at 8:30am.  She was doing great taking most of the bottle.  She got stalled a little on the last ounce.  We took a short break while I got ready for church and then tried a little more.  She ate 128cc - out of the 140 she is supposed to be eating.  We skipped the last 12cc as it seemed silly to pump in so little.  That's a little over 4 ounces.

She just finished her second feed of the day - and took 110cc which is a little more than 3.5 ounces.  she is getting the last ounce via tube as I type.

The surgeon on Friday asked what I thought was making the difference in her ability to eat now.  I do think that having the NG gone has made a big difference for Eliana.  She seems much more content.  While the g-tube is often a pain for me, it really isn't for her.  I'm getting used to it too.  I know the problems and how to deal with them. for the most part.  (At least I'm hoping I've figured out most of the problems.  LOL) 

I'm so very thrilled with Elaina's eating progress!  She has taken a little over 7.5 ounces so far today!  She has 3 more feeds to go.  If she can keep this up, we'll soon be able to do all of her feeds by mouth.  That will be a glorious day!

I was reflecting today on how when Eliana was born I hated giving her a bottle.  I wanted to nurse her so badly.  She was able to nurse, but not for long enough and when she went into heart failure she was not able to eat much orally at all.  Now, the bottle that I so didn't want to be a part of our day - I am welcoming and looking forward to.  Isn't a little perspective a wonderful thing?  I am thankful that we have this option for our daughter. 

Thank you God for this moment of hope.  This day has been one already of hope.  The message in church was encouraging and it was just sweet to be there with my family.  I've missed us being able to be out together.  This peace in my heart is helping to feel like I'm finding that "new normal".  I so wanted things to be like they were before that I'm sure I was resisting the changes.  I'm happy to have back some of the old (like today I'm trying to bake bread by hand for the first time in 8 months), but I'm also happy to find joy in the new too.

Lord - I am thankful for you.  I am thankful for the opportunity to praise you.  I am thankful for eah blessing - large and small - that you place in my life.  Thank you for opening my eyes to see more of the blessings that you provide.

With love,


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Real or Plastic?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. II Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)

I've taken a break for a couple of days and wanted to take some time to update you on Eliana and some progress we've made.  I wanted to start though by saying that I'm doing much, much better.  Thank you to all of you that have been praying.  I think that the stress of anticipating the move - and watching everything being boxed up - was just overwhelming to me.  It was something I needed to deal with - to wrestle out with God.  I needed the time to turn to Him - alone - to find answers and also to find peace.  I needed to find the truth in my heart that He is here, He is with me and He will comfort me and flood me with His peace.  And He has.  I have sought Him and found Him just as He has promised.  He has filled my heart with His peace - for days now - and I am thankful.  It is a sweet thing to be resting in His arms.  I wish I had relaxed and fallen into them sooner! 

I have been very real and raw with my emotions.  I've struggled at times as to whether or not I should hit the submit button with some of my entries.  (I think I mentioned this in an earlier post.)  I've wondered if I would be misunderstood, judged or criticized by others.  Overwhelmingly though, I am sent notes of encouragment, prayer and love.  Today I received a CD with songs to encourage me.  (Thank you Cyndi - and I'm praying for you!)  One sweet sister shared with me that it helped her to see my struggles.  It helped her to realize that other Christians struggle with their feeling and circumstances.  That even though we may experience pain and sadness we do learn to trust and hopefully come through with a stronger faith.  Isn't that just like God?  To use something that seems hopeless and full of despair to comfort and encourage someone.  Thank you Father!

I've also had to remind myself that I am really only accountable to One.  I need only to live for the approval of One.  A sweet friend talks about the "audience of One" in relating how we should live our lives.  We aren't to seek the approval of others - though it is a nice thing.  We aren't to live our lives for others, but only for God.  In doing this we will obviously be helping and serving others.  In all of this, even the struggles, I've been trying to do what He has called me to do.  I am thankful that He will let me know what it is that He requires of me - even though at times I do not understand.  I am thankful that even when I'm not sure, that I can trust Him to be with me, guiding me, loving me and sometimes carrying me.  

There are times though when being vulnerable comes with a price.  It is those times that I've wondered if it would just be better to deal with it privately.  It is what many people do and there is probably nothing wrong with that.  Unless it isn't what He has for me.  It may be easier to let God come to me - or more likely me to  Him - in His timing.  Would it be better to leave out the struggles, the tears and questions?  Would it be better if I only shared the end results - the times when God has taught me or helped me or filled my heart with His peace when I least expected it?  Would it be better if my lessons were just that - mine?  I've been asking God that.  

I received an email devotion this week that talked about being real or plastic.  Well, who wants to be plastic?  I don't know anyone that aspires to that!  On the homeschool message board I'm part of, we have talked about being real and how hard it can be to find "real" even in the church.  We've talked about why it is that people feel like they need to present a front of having it all together.  I think sometimes it may be less of a pretense and more for protection.  I know from my experiences that when you have been wounded, it can make it much harder to want to be vulnerable again.  It would be easier to be silent rather than to risk laying your heart bare and hoping that it doesn't get hurt again.  Though isn't that what Christ did?  Layed it all out for us - and was wounded and criticized and worse in spite of - or perhaps because of - being real.

The devotion went on to talk about the scars that we carry as a result of the difficult times in our lives and how these very scars are a witness to others.  The scars are a part of who we are.  We can hide our scars in various ways.  This protects our heart - but also keeps others at a distance.  It also fails to allow God to work in the lives of others that could perhaps learn from our scars.  It fails to put us in a position to help others as they are struggling.  

No matter the hurt or ugliness we have as a result of pain in our lives - these can be redeemed by God!  He doesn't want me to ignore or run from the pain, rather He wants to meet me and comfort me in the midst of them.  Then when we are able, He will use us to comfort someone else. 

Isn't that amazing?  God wants to use us in spite of our past - the pains, the poor choices and the times that we have failed.  Satan wants us to believe that these things render us useless, but the truth is that God uses these very failures to show witness of His love, His strength, His peace and His redemption.  

This devotion really spoke to my heart.  Isn't it cool how God so often sends just the right thing to you?  I was wondering about my usefulness and about the benefit of being real.  I was encouraged that this is what He wants.  Yes, it may come with some pain, but He will be there when it does come to comfort and hold me. 

So despite the wonderings, I'm wanting to be real.  There have been benefits to being real too.  I've had people share with me that God has used my experiences in their own lives - one in particular in a life-changing way.  How amazing is that?!  It is clearly God doing that - not me!  I am humbled to know that in the midst of my struggles that He can be glorified.  Thank you Lord.

I promised news on Eliana.  We saw the surgeon, Dr Rice, on Friday.  It was one of the shortest - if not the shortest - visits I have had at the doctor's office!  He looked at her site and confirmed that it is indeed granulation tissue - though not "bad".  It is something that just happens and will probably happen again.  He cauterized it with silver nitrate.  (It's like burning away the bad tissue.)  It didn't hurt her at all!  I'm to continue to do this (treat it with silver nitrate) every 2-3 days until it is gone.  If it reappears then I will do it again. 

I shared with him that Eliana was doing better eating.  She is routinely eating double what was her best feeding prior to surgery.  Dr. Rice said that was the goal and he thought she'd have it down in the next couple of months - but not to hold him to that!  LOL  I hope and pray that He is right.  He didn't want to change out her button which is nice, but I wasn't ready to go to that either.  He said the goal was to get it out in 4- 5 months after surgery so that she wouldn't need another surgery to close her up.  He said that he hoped this would be a good motivator for us.

Well, I thought on this throughout the day yesterday.  I do want her to eat more and more orally.  I'm doing what I can do - or at least I think I am.  Praying for wisdom if there are changes that I need to make.  We won't be seeing our feeding therapist of the next three weeks due to various vacations.  I would love to surprise her with some exciting feeding break-throughs!

Yesterday was her best day to date - well, since she got her NG tube in February.  She took 10.75 ounces.  That was just one ounce short of being HALF of her total amount for the day!  I was thrilled!!!  We sometimes do less as she is asleep during her feeds.  I'm wondering if I should try to start waking her for all of them?  We'll need to ponder on this one. 

Prayer requests:

*Continued improvement in eating.  I sometimes set small goals in my mind - which is silly since I have NO control at all over this.  I'd love to see her get to taking at least 1/2 of her foods orally.  She is frequently doing about 1/3 right now.

*Healing for her button site.  I think she has been in pain as she has not wanted to lay down on her tummy.  I'm hoping that this will be healed soon.  (The silver nitrate is a mess - and it stains - so it will be great to get rid of that!)

*Peace & God's vision as we try to get back into some routines with schooling, meals plans and hopefully soon field trips.  I have not been out with the children much at all since Eliana's been born.  We haven't gone out at all with her feeding pump.  I'm hoping though to do that sometime soon. 

*Yielded - I am praying that I would continue to learn what it means to be yielded to God.  Listening to His voice and following His paths for my life.  I wish that for all of you as well!

Thank you again for your patience with me as I've struggled.  Thank you for your love and encouragment.  I am thankful for the many, many times that others are the hands of Christ in my life.  It is a beautiful way to see the body of Christ in action.

With love,



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some sweet times

At times now I'm living aware of the importance of time - of making the most of the moments.  It's probably a good way to live all of the time.  Aware of the words I'm saying and choosing them carefully.  Saying "yes" more often to the children even when it may not be most convenient for me.  Taking time to make memories and to just have fun.  Choosing the best and not just the easiest.

We've had Catherine's girls over here most of the day.  It's been fun hearing the children playing and laughing together.  Sharing a meal together - well in shifts due to tending to the babies - but still nice.

The children played in my bedroom tonight for a long time.  I loved watching them and listening to them.  I fixed the girl's hair in rag curls.  It will be fun to see how it turns out tomorrow.  I hope it's cute!  They enjoyed giggling and being silly.  We had some good discussions together and prayers too.  I'm thankful for these times.  I'm also looking forward to more of them in the future.  I know it will be different, but it will just mean that I need to be more intentional with my time instead of casual with it. 

I could probably stand to be more intentional in all of my relationships.  Putting more thought into all that I do and say.  Examining my heart, my motives and my actions.  Making sure that I'm doing and saying the things that God wants so that I can become the person He has created me to be. 

I know that I've had much time to ponder, pray and think about things over much of the last year.  I've wrestled with God over a variety of things.  I don't ever "win" and I'm not sure why I struggle so at times.  When I'm afraid of the path that God has chosen, it's hard to just say "yes" sometimes, to surrender completely.  I've still got much to learn.  It's a good reminder for me to see how much I have to learn so that I don't become frustrated with my own children when they are struggling to obey or listen or learn. 

Tomorrow our dear friends will head out for their new home.  Please join me in praying for their transition.  There will be many changes and challenges facing them - though I know that God's loving arms will be wrapped tightly around them.  I know that He will care for them, led them and love on them.  I know that this is true for us too.  That doesn't erase the hurt and the sadness that we will feel, but hopefully peace will reign in our hearts and minds.

I'm feeling more at peace tonight than I have in quite awhile.  I appreciate those of you that have encouraged me with your words and prayers.  So many have shared stories with me that were so very helpful.  I'm glad that God is able to touch my heart through these and other means.  God is not through with me.  He has carried me - even when I don't feel it - and been with me all along.  I know this, but at times have to go through it again and again to believe it in a new way.  I'm thankful for a patient and loving Father. 

I'm thankful too for those of you that have been patient with me as I've rambled, ranted and cried.  I've made myself vulnerable and with that can come great comfort and also more pain.  It was a choice I made - though perhaps will make differently for the future.  I don't know.  For now, I am feeling God's peace that passes understanding.  I needed to wrestle it out myself with God.  My words though gave others a view to my struggles.  I hope that in some small way that God will be able to use my own struggles to help someone else. 

It's really not in my hands.  I know that He can do amazing things out of a small and sometimes unsightly piece of clay.  I'm willing to surrender.  It's not like a choice anyway though is it?!  Have your will Lord.  Mold me as you will. 

He is with me - as always.   

With love,



God help me my unbelief. 

I know that God loves me.  I know that He cares for me deeply.  I am praying that I can really let go and trust Him.   It's not always easy though.  One more opportunity to trust.  Trust the One that loves me completely.  The One who has promised never to leave me or forsake me.  As someone reminded me, He has not promised an easy or even a happy life. 

A precious friend shared these words with me.  They encouraged me greatly and I thought someone else might need to read them as well.

 I was once told to let myself be weak and let Him be strong for me. It is like clinging to a rope and slowly getting weaker and being afraid of what will happen if you fall. As weariness over takes me and my grip slips, I cry out in desparation "Oh, Lord, I can't do this! I can't bear this. I can't hold myself anymore. Please, Father, help me!" Sometimes He puts His arms over mine and helps me hold on, other times He let me falls off that rope, the first feeling is of terror but landing in His loving arms and feeling surrounded by His strength is comforting beyond words. Which ever He chooses to do, dear Leslie, He loves you more than you will ever understand and He is so VERY, VERY near.

I know I must sound like I'm having a pity party over here.  At times I probably am.  I'm trying to trust - and at times not doing a very good job.  I'm trying to listen to God and fall completely into His arms.  I'm praying that God would help me to trust.  I'm also being completely real with my feelings and like I've mentioned before I sometimes wonder if I should be.  I wonder if I should just pour out my heart to God alone.  I wouldn't want to say anything that might hurt someone else.  I wouldn't want to say anything that would damage someone else's faith.  And honestly, I don't want to make myself vulnerable to more hurt.   

For now though, my heart does hurt. 

Eliana's last two feedings have been better!!!  Her feeding therapist thought she was in pain based on her response to touch while we were at her appointment.  Poor sweet baby.  She is also seeming a little constipated which might also affect her eating.  I hope that her lack of  feeding is based on some external factor like these that can be addressed and hopefully fixed!  I have great hopes that one day my little girl will be able to eat completely on her own!  Oh what a happy day that will be! 

I did have a bit of humor in my day - something that you might find funny too.  I'll admit it irritated me when I first saw it - but I also saw the humor in it.  We received a package today from the medical supply company.  I was hopeful when I opened it that finally the extension tube had arrived.  (This is the tube that connects Eliana's button to the feeding pump.)  We've already received 2 wrong shipments waiting for this tube.  Well, we got an extension tube - but not the one that we need.  The one we received is a "Male external catheter tube".  *sigh*  I know that I explained that this was for my infant daughter.  I did call today, but since it was after 5pm I wasn't able to talk with the person I needed to talk with and will need to wait until tomorrow.  This is the 5th wrong shipment we have been sent.  I'm really hoping that they can get it figured out soon!

Thank you to each of you that are praying.  I am grateful.  Thank you too for your words of encouragment and hope.  I appreciate them.  I am thankful to be a part of the body of Christ.  I am thankful for the verses of love and hope that you share with me.

With love,


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Time for Mourning ...

My heart is aching.  Thank you for the notes and words of encouragment you have sent or posted.  I appreciate them greatly.  It's been hard over these months to deal with the changes in my life.  It's time for one more.    

In addition to that, Eliana is not eating well.   She didn't do too well on Sunday, but some of it was because she was asleep through a couple of feedings.  Between church, the doctors office and a meeting at my house, her sleep was very interupted.  It's plummeted in the last day. She was doing so well and I'm not sure what is going on.  She has been taking about one once at a feed.  About half of what she was doing.  I'm hoping that this isn't just a short phase - and something that will soon be corrected.

We see the surgeon on Friday about the problems with her button. I think that they will cauterize the site to eliminate the red swollen tissue. Please pray that the procedure goes well - no or minimal pain for Eliana. No infection.   I really don't know much about it.  I'm just willing to wait and find out more then.  The surgeon's nurse told me that the antibiotic Eliana is taking wouldn't help it at all with this issue. 

I'm struggling and find myself crying often.   It's been a sweet 17 years of friendship.  Walking through everything together. That is a really really long time. I just can't believe that in 2 days she will be gone.    I know we will still be able to talk.  I know we'll still be able to visit.  Yet I'm so sad to lose the closeness, the familiarity and the ease that we have now.

There are times when I feel like I've been walking in the wilderness - and it feels like there is no end in sight.  I'm feeling overwhelmed     I'm so tired of crying.  I long for a different time - back when things weren't so very hard - or better yet a new time when I'm better able to stand in the rain.  I feel very weak. - and need prayers for a stronger faith.  Thank you for your prayers



Monday, August 20, 2007

The truck is here

***As I've written this and looked back over it I realize that it is utterly depressing.  I'm not sure if you will want to read beyond this.  Don't if you don't want to just read sadness.  That's all that is here.  I'm just overwhelmed with sadness right now.  ***

What a thing to get up to this morning.  My daughter walked in with tears in her eyes.  When I asked her what was wrong, she told me that the truck was in front of their house.  It didn't really hit me - until I saw it for myself.  I remembered the last time a truck was there  - 7 and a half years ago - and how very happy we were to have our friends moving in beside us.  And now ... something we never thought would happen. 

I want to be there.  I want to help, but I can barely keep it together.  And honestly I'm not all that much help either while holding Eliana.  So I'm here.  Just sobbing.  I'm tired and weary from this ride.  I'm ready to get off.  Yes, I know that this is not the most difficult thing people are facing.  Yes, I know that it isn't a life and death scenario.  Yes, I know that we'll still be friends.  I also know that I am going to miss her - and her family - so very much.  How often is that someone is blessed like we have been - to live right next door to each other?  I am thankful for the time we've had.  I'm also sad for the time we had thought we'd have - and won't. 

Just last night I was reading an article in a homeschool magazine about special needs children.  I'm sure at a different time it would have been - or maybe will be - encouraging.  For now, it was just depressing.  It talked about the weariness of caring for a child with special needs and how most people just don't understand.  Having walked on both sides now, I realize how true that is for me.  I know that I tried to be helpful and supportive.  I did the best that I could and hope that I was helpful.  I can see now that I should have done so much more - though I couldn't have known that then.  I saw how hard it was which is probably why I prayed over and over and over again that Eliana would not have Down syndrome.  Yes, specifically that prayer. 

That sounds horrible I'm sure.  I love my little girl so very much.  I wouldn't give up having her for anything.  I am so very thankful Eliana is in our family.  I have watched my precious friend love her little boy so very much.  I have also watched her struggle with the weight of caring for him - the changes in how you do things, the endless therapies, the years of stages that you hope that they will one day grow out of and the huge unknowns about the future that are so very different from the unknowns with your other children.

When Eliana was born, we both heard over and over again how blessed I was to have a friend that had a child with DS.  Honestly, at the time I didn't really like hearing that.  It was as if somehow the road would be easy.  I think what they meant was that I would have someone walking the road with me that not only loved me, but that understood the weight of this path.  I have struggled at times with sharing the weight - wondering how others would take it.  Some have told me to be happy for the good things.  I do try.  I can't ignore the pain either though.  It's hard to balance sharing the love and joy that a special child can bring while also being honest about the fears and struggles that come too. 

I don't understand.  I feel so much now that I don't want to feel.  This is hard - so very hard.  Why is this a part of God's plan?  Why now? 

I hesitate even posting this.  It's raw and not very pretty.  I'm weary and hurt.

Thank you for your prayers.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fears ... tears ... friends ... encouragment

So many things to say - yet my mind is such a jumble and my heart is so heavy.  I wonder sometimes if things had been timed differently would it be so hard?  It's just been so much for so long.  From a physically VERY difficult pregnancy to all of the many issues we've faced with Eliana, from sleepless nights to saying good-bye.  I'm weary and tired.  And very sad.  I'm struggling and really appreciate your prayers.

I have a new request for Eliana.  The site around her "button" has been red and irritated looking for a week or so.  I've been treating it per the dr's orders.  This morning I noticed that it looked swollen, very red and much larger coming around the button.  It's just not right.  I took her to see the ped on call today and he prescribed an antibiotic for her. He said though it was weird to say - that he hoped it was an infection -  as this would clear it up.  If it isn't better in a couple of days, I will need to go back and see the surgeon.

I asked if there were anything that I could have done - and he quickly told me that it wasn't my fault. I asked if there was something different I could have done and he said no. I'm not the best at attending to details and I would hate to think that this would hurt my sweet girl.  He encouraged me by saying that even though he didn't know us that he could tell she was well cared for.  He also told me that he was surprised to see this as her surgical sites have all healed well.  (It's granulation tissue for those that are in the know medically.)  I'm not sure what all of this means - and don't think I want to know right now either. My mind is full and my heart is heavy. I know that the "site" is not completely healed yet and am hoping that one of the problems won't be that it closes or becomes compromised in any way. I'm not sure I can deal with any "what ifs" so I'm choosing to stay in the dark.  I know - not the best way of dealing with things - but it's all I can do right now.

I hosted the first Mom's meeting for our support group today. Only I wasn't here to start the meeting since I was at the doctor's office so thankfully two friends took over for me.  Thank you Lea for the food and help with the meeting.  Thank you Catherine for stepping in and welcoming everyone and helping too.  Something we are used to doing for each other.  Something I am going to miss.  We have organized things for this group for a long time.  I really don't want to do it without her.  Today as people were making introductions (we had new folks in our meeting) we said our name, children's names and ages and were we lived.  (We live in a metro area with many cities in close proximity.)  When it was Catherine's turn and she said she would be living next door for another 72 hours ...  I did pretty well holding it together - much better than I'm doing now.  It was a sweet time with other moms.  It always has been.  I was thankful for friends bringing food and drinks as I hadn't done that.  Lots of hugs too.  I appreciate the care of my friends so very much. 

Someone asked me today how I could "do so much'.  That question surprises me (though it isn't the first time I've been asked) as I don't feel like I do "so much".  I didn't really know what to say.  I pondered on that more today and realized that much of what I'm able to do is due to having wonderful friends.  I am truly blessed beyond measure with an amazing group of friends.  There are many things I don't have to do - or learn - as I can depend on friends to pick up these areas.  (Learning about nature for example is a huge deficit for me - and I'm fortunate to have friends that know so much.)  I have a group of dear friends that have helped carry this load, helped to plan co-ops, camps, field trips and events for our group.  As I reflect on my friends my heart is filled with thankfulness.  For you dear ones that are reading - thank you!  I try to be careful about not talking about people by name - don't want to embarrass you if you don't want to be listed.  (Sorry Catherine - I know you would have rather remained nameless too - but you have already been named.)

I feel  I keep trying to write what I'm feeling and I'm having a hard time. I'm not depressed - just so very tired, weary and sad. I don't think I've ever been in such a hard place for such a long time. I've cried more in the last 8 months it seems than I have in my entire life. I never thought of myself as particularly emotional - but I couldn't say that now

I've typed and deleted and wondered about what to write.  Putting my thoughts to paper just leads me to tears.  I keep wondering if one day things will ever be like they were before - I know that the answer is no.  Please keep praying for the many hearts that are aching due to this move.  My oldest son doesn't understand why I don't just "look at the bright side" of things.  I told him that I didn't see a bright side.   I see something that God has allowed or is orchestrating that right now just hurts.  I know that He will work good in this.  I am trusting - or trying to - that He will do some amazing things.

Until then, I'm just sad.

One last thing.  I would love if any of you could post ideas, verses, poems, etc. of encouragment.  I'd love to put these together for Catherine.  If  you have ideas to share, please send them or post them here.  I've received some neat ones already from friends.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

With love,


Friday, August 17, 2007

"Our House is Yucky"

Or so says my 3yo.  He doesn't really think it's yucky.  His motives were clear to me soon after his next words came out - "I go to Catherine's house".  Hmmm ... is that all it takes to visit a friend?  Thinking that your own home is yucky?  LOL  Sometimes I just love the simplicity of a child's mind.  The ability to ask for what you want or need - albeit in a round about way.  This child of mine is such a funny little fellow and his way of thinking just tickles me at times.  I love his laugh and wide grin.  He does bring joy to my days.

I've tried to explain to him that our friends are moving as I don't want it to come as a complete surprise.  I don't think he understands though he responds to me that he does.  To be honest, I really don't understand either.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

Just yesterday Catherine's youngest daughter said to me "Do you know we are moving in six days?"  Oh yes sweet child.  I know.  I know it far too well and think of it much too often.  We are trying to move about out days filling them with projects and fun - and still getting done the final things that must be done.  At times we can be practical, but as the pictures come down and things get put away the starkness is a sign of all that is yet to come.  It's depressing.

A sweet friend noting my sadness over this move asked what I'd be like when it was time for my children to move out.  I can't bear to think of it.  I know it is coming too - and far too soon for my liking.  I tear up just thinking of that day.  I love being with my family and having them all around me.  So I try not to think of it often - but often enough to remind me of what I want to be doing with my days so that I won't have regrets.  Often enough to remind me to choose the important things and not fret (so much) over the things that really don't matter.  (I still have work to do on this!)

That is a little unrealistic - wanting to have no regrets - because of course there will be regrets, but hopefully not too many.  That's a voice that I'm hearing now - the whispers of times when I should have done something differently or when I have not been the friend that I should have been.  What a sweet blessing though to know that she knows my heart.  She knows me.  It's a very safe friendship.  I'm sure that there were times I took for granted the time that we had and the convenience of being so close.  Isn't that often the way that it is though?  I know that I can't expect not to make mistakes.  My heart is just so very tender now - and has been for quite a long time now.  I keep trying to focus on God's voice as the whispers that aren't from Him can really be a burden - and a source of further pain.   

Oh, I need to focus on some happier thoughts.  Catherine and I have been working on making planners for the year.  This is a new project for us and it is a combination of the FIAR planner and personalized forms.  (Catherine is a whiz at making beautiful forms!).  She has finished hers and hopefully mine will be done and ready to use by tomorrow.  This is one of  many projects we have worked on together.  I'm not going to say it is the last either as I know we can still work on things long distance.  It will be the last one that we have the luxury of just running back and forth to each other's houses with pages, ideas, and requests for help though.

A big PRAISE update on Eliana.  She had her physical therapy on Wednesday.  This is usually a fun appointment as I am encouraged by what she can do and not overwhelmed with what she can't do.  An attitude I'm sure to have lots of time to practice and learn. 

Eliana's latest thing is to get up on her hands and knees  - and rock!  She is so cute and looks like she is ready to go somewhere.  When her therapist noted the things she was able to do and marked them on a graph she had really shot up.  This graph shows typical developement for a child.  Eliana has never been on the curve - but now she is on it!!!  Happy tears filled my eyes as she shared this.  She is between the 10th and 25th%.  This is still "behind" a typically developing child, but given all that she has been through, I think it's pretty amazing!  Way to go little girl!

Eating continues to be going well.  She is eating from the bottle each time it is offered.  She hasn't refused it now for over 2 weeks.  Yippee!!!  Today she has had 3 feedings and is already up to 8.5 ounces.  This is great for her!  One more good feeding will have her reaching a new high for eating.  I appreciate your continued prayers for her feeding.

Need to run finish dinner.  We've started the main dish as a school project for my younger boys.  (It's the Amber on the Mountain meal for you rowers.)  Catherine is working on the side and hopefully we can muster up the energy to make some cookies to go along with it. 

More later as I'm working on a project and would love some help.

With love,


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Time ... why is there never enough

There are moments when time seems to drag ... but more often than not, once you have reached adulthood, time seems to fly.  This is especially true at some moments more than others.  This is Catherine's last week here - and I just want time to stop.

I haven't been able to type much as my days are just too full.  (I've certainly remedied that this morning as I ramble on here.)  We are trying to squeeze out every last moment of this last week.  Back and forth to each other's house often - and late into the night too.  We've been talking, working on making our planners (we've always loved to collaborate on things), sharing meals and more. 

I find myself reflecting on so many things.  It seems that every place holds a memory - from our homes to roads we've travelled, times we've shared and places we've been.  Memories keep flooding my mind - many of them from long, long ago.  We've watched our children grow up - and  had planned on doing it until we were old.  *sigh*  We've done a lot of growing up ourselves.  I really don't understand God's plans.  That is true for much of what has happened over the last 8 months though.  Don't get me wrong - I can see good that God has wrought through this.  I am thankful for the ways that He has blessed me in the midst of this time.  I just wish that it hadn't all been like this. 

I remember hearing a speaker (Sally Clarkson) talk about her daughter going through a trial and hearing God ask her if she would rather her daughter be deep and godly or shallow and happy.  Yes, we all want deep and godly.  Yet most of us don't want to walk the path to get there.  Who would?  While I think we do look back and are thankful for the path and it's results, but it is still hard to walk it.  I also remember my not so godly response as I turned to Catherine after hearing that question and said that I was voting for some time of shallow and happy.  This was in March - I had been through a very difficult last three months and heart surgery was still looming in front of us.  I didn't want to be shallow.  It just seemed that happy came with no worries or cares.  I wanted happy - but is that really what I wanted? 

Or am I looking for joy?  Something much deeper and richer than just being happy.  Something that isn't a result of the circumstances of my life, but rather is a result of God in my life.  Yes, I think that's it.  I want joy.  My sweet Eliana Joy is a good reminder to me of that.  I'm guessing that she will continue to remind me of so many things.  That she will continue to teach me many things including what really is important.  Lessons I thought I had learned, but clearly not to the depth that I needed.   

I know that through all of this, that God desires good for us.  I only wish that it were not so very different from the good that we desire for ourselves sometimes.  Doesn't that sound awful?!  Like a small child demanding my own way.  I know that God can use this for good in us - but why does that so often involve pain?

I remember many years ago when Catherine and I were doing a Bible study together.  I think at the time we had only 2-3 young children between us (We have 10 now.) and we weren't yet neighbors.  We were talking about people that had a deep faith and how so often it seemed that this came through trial.  We both observed that we really hadn't had much happen in our lives in the way of trial.  We both desired a deeper faith - but honestly didn't want to go through fire to have to get it.  We wondered if this was wrong - to want the benefits without the work.  I don't think it was wrong to want it that way - it's just a natural response.  We all long for a deeper walk with God.  I wish that it could come without having to be broken.  Pain leaves such deep marks - holes even.  Maybe though we can't have joy without having the holes that pain causes.  Maybe joy can only flood into our spirits when there is room.  Room that can't be made on our own.  Perhaps the happiness that comes with being shallow is because there is no depth for the joy to pour into.  I'm not sure.  I pray that I would leave myself open to God - to flood my heart with His joy, peace and love. 

I wanted to give an update from Eliana's appointment with cardiology on Monday. 

It was a day of testing - EKG and echo, but thankfully no bloodwork!  All looks great.  Her heart is doing well.  We won't have to go back again for another 6 months!  What a change after almost weekly visits for awhile.  We thought 2 months seemed like a long wait until this appointment.  We have been blessed with a fabulous cardiologist.  I'm thankful for him.

We also got the results of her bloodwork - NORMAL.  No thyroid problems or leukemia at this time.  Thank you God!  I know that everyone wants to hear the word "normal" on test results, but honestly it has taken on new meaning after having some not normal results on things.  

Feeding is still going well.  We are about the same with her taking at least one and often 2 ounces at a feed.  I'm hoping that will increase over time.

G-tube button is still popping open, though not as much if I keep a onesie on her.  We are tentatively scheduled to get a different button in Sept, though honestly I'm not sure if I want to do that.  I don't know that I want to trade the problems I know for a new set.  Does this make any sense?  I wonder if we can just keep this one and hope that it won't be needed for long!  A girl can hope, right?

I'll try to post pictures later in the week when my dh returns home.  (I don't know how to upload them.)  Please continue to pray - pretty much the same as the last entry.

I am abundantly blessed and yet my heart just aches.  I have joy and hope in the One that loves me.  I know that trusting Him does not mean a life without pain - even Jesus had much pain in His earthly life.   I know that loving and serving Him does not mean a life without heartache and sadness.  Jesus experienced this too.  I am thankful for a Father that loves me so very much.  I can't imagine walking this road without Him!

With love,


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Upcoming week & a few pics

"Be glad and rejoice for the Lord will do great things."  Joel 2:21

Here is a more recent picture of Eliana.

This was on a birthday greeting I received this week.  I love it.  It's a wonderful verse for me to meditate on as I can find myself just feeling sad at times.  I know that if I fill my time praising God that there won't be room for feelings of defeat or sorrow.  Now, I know it isn't a magic wand to wave things away, but is a good start.

Here is a picture of my morning birthday greetings - with food, cards, gifts and sweet smiling faces!  It was really a sweet time with these children that I love!  (Christopher isn't in the photo as I think he was still sleeping.  He doesn't rise as early as these early birds do.) 

Our calendar isn't looking too full this week - for which I'm thankful!!!  I do enjoy "getting out", though I also appreciate quiet days at home too.  Honestly, our getting out these days usually involves medical appointments and that doesn't really count. 

Monday - We have an appointment with the cardiologist.  I'm not sure if she will be having any testing done - blood, EKG, echo, etc.  Please pray that all would go smoothly if she needs to have any testing.

Eliana's button site is still red and has not improved.  I'm hoping that the cardiologist will be able to help.  I might also try calling the surgeon's nurse to see if I can see her since I'll be over there tomorrow.  I just want to know that what I'm doing is the right thing - and not to miss something which could cause further problems.

We've also talked some about Eliana getting a new/different button.  At times it seems like a good idea - like when the button pops open and makes a big mess.  At other times though I wonder if I'm just going to be trading problems.  KWIM?  Would it be better to just keep this set of problems that I know?  As always, I wish for wisdom and clarity in knowing things I really know nothing about.

Tuesday - Feeding therapy.  Eliana continues to do well.  She has been taking at least 7 ounces per day.  She will often take 2 ounces at a feed which is so encouraging to me!  We still have a ways to go, but at least she isn't refusing the bottle altogether as she had been doing.

We are needing to figure out more on feeding solids.  We haven't done much with this, but know that we need to tackle that too.  She will try some and doesn't seem to mind it.  Most of it comes back out though.

Wednesday - Physical therapy.  This is one of the times I feel most encouraged.  Eliana has just started getting up on her hands and knees in the last couple of days.  She looks like she is getting ready to go somewhere!  I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.  As if they ever wait until we are ready!  LOL

Thursday - This has been our "fun day" for so long.  It is the day we do our field trips.  We took our last one just 2 days before Eliana was born.  I have really missed these outings.  I miss this time with my children.  I'm nervous about even thinking of resuming them.  We are planning a park day for next week with our FIAR homeschool group.  This will be our first outing - the children and I - that lasts any length of time.  It will be our trial run to see how  "portable" Eliana and this feeding tube can be.  It's really a shame we haven't been able to travel with her as she has been such an EASY baby in terms of fussing and temperament.  She has been an easy baby - it's just the medical stuff that has been hard.

We are having our house cleaned again on this day.  Thanks Mom!  It's so nice to have this done - everything cleaned at one time - even if only for a short time - it's still nice.  I do need to pick up before they come though as some of our treasures (aka playmobil parts) might look like trash to someone else.

Friday - Another day of nothing.  Hopefully the children and I can do some fun things on these days - art, experiments, reading books and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Prayer requests are much the same:

*Eliana's feeding to continue to improve!  Wisdom in knowing the amounts to give, spacing of feedings, techniques to use in holding her and the bottle and more.  I am prayerfully hopeful that one day she will again be able to eat all that she needs on her own!

*Eliana's button site and surgical site are both red.  I think maybe she is trying to "pop a stitch" at  her surgical site.  It doesn't look infected, but is red.  The area under her button is also red.  I've been putting bactraban on it, but it isn't healed properly.  Also pray that the button would just stay closed when it is supposed to be closed.  It really makes a mess when it opens.

*Peace for my heart.  I feel in such a swirl of emotions some days - and the weight can seem so much.  I'm trying to take naps when I can as I know that lack of sleep doesn't help at all.  Oh, I do look forward to the day when I can get a full night's sleep!  I know that I need to hand over this load.  I do better on some days than others.  I appreciate your faithful prayers.

*Vision as we start back our schooling.  I want to make the most of our time and not fill it with unnecessary things or pursuits.  I want to  spend our time doing the "best" things and not just "good" things. 

*Blood test results - We haven't heard back which I'm hoping is good news.  Perhaps I'll learn more tomorrow?

Will try to post more later.  I want to share some photos and some fun from Sat.  ETA:  I've put in a few photos and here is one last one of me with my girls.

With love,


Friday, August 10, 2007

Birthday and more about our week

I had thought on my birthday that I would write a list of all of the blessings I received on that day.  From early morning birthday wishes via email (before I went to sleep) to messages on the FIAR board, to a chorus a precious voices singing Happy Birthday to sweet friends notes, cards and calls. 

My youngest children of course were up early.  Only Christopher & I ever want to sleep in.  LOL  He gets to on many days and I'm looking forward to my turn!  Rebecca and Joshua cooked a breakfast for me to have in bed.  They brought up the tray of delicious food (bacon, grits, biscuits, juice and milk) while singing to me.  They also had many gifts for me to open.  Daniel was quite taken with the gift he had presented to me - a candy bar - and carried it around for quite a long time examining it and asking me questions.  I'm surprised he didn't try to eat it!  My sweet girl gave me 4 cards!  Two she had bought and two she had made.  All were very sweet and indicative of her tender heart. 

She tried to corral the boys so that I could rest after breakfast.  I tried to sleep amid the boys coming in and out to ask me questions or tell me happy birthday. 

Catherine brought me a yummy smoothie in the afternoon.  For dinner Roger and Christopher cooked (low country boil - shrimp, corn, kielbasa) a great dinner.  Christopher also made me a CD of many of my favorite songs.  It was a thoughtful gift from him.  I am truly blessed and have much to be thankful for.

Other happenings this week as I'm somewhat behind in my writing.  I'm behind in so many things that I feel I shall never catch up.  Though don't we all feel that way to some degree?!

Physical therapy - All is going well.  It's fun to see Eliana learning new things and for me to learn new games and ways to play with her that will benefit her development.

Feeding therapy - I told our therapist that since the last meeting she had greatly improved!!!  She has not refused the bottle since July 31!  This is a wonderful praise!!!  She typically will take from 1-2.5 ounces at a feeding.  Over the last week she has taken from 7 to 10 ounces per day.  This is up from 4 being a great day in the past.  Last night she took almost 4 ounces!!!  I was thrilled.  I was choking back happy tears.  It's times like this that make me think that maybe there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Keepers of the Faith - We belong to a group of families that plan and teach various skills, hobbies, crafts and skills to the children in a variety of areas.  It is similar to scouts in that the children work towards earning badges.  There is a Christian focus to the program.  We had our planning meeting for the year last night.  It was during this time that Eliana had her great feed!  She had been asleep through most of the meeting and had gone a little long for her feed - but it was so worth it to get such a great one!

Homeschool - We are plugging along.  We haven't gotten done all that I wanted to this week, but all in all we had a good week.  It's been fun watching Isaiah learning to read.  I'm hoping that we can get into a good routine so that we can be more productive.

Medical equipment - We have had quite the saga regarding getting the items we needed.  This week I received a shipment of NG tubes - that we no longer need.  The kicker though - they were still the wrong size!  This is the 3rd time they've sent the wrong size.  I called today and talked with several of the gals and hopefully we'll have it straightened out soon.  Later this afternoon I received another package and it's a new extension to the pump/button.  It's also the wrong one!!!  Lastly, I received a bag in which to carry her pump that is supposed to help make it easier to go out.  I haven't tried it out yet, but hope to soon.  the surprise to this one was the price tage - $400 for a nice backpack basically.  I'm thankful we have insurance.  It's amazing to me the price tag on some of the medical equiment/supplies.

More later as I'm about to fall asleep.  I want to upload some photos and share a verse. 

ETA:  It's morning now and I have a few moments before Catherine and I head out for spa pedicures.  Happy Birthday Catherine! 



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Feeding Progress and More

Hi Friends,

I first want to thank y'all for praying.  My heart is sad and I know that it's just going to be this way for awhile.  I'm trying to focus on the positives, and there are so many of them in my life.  There are times though when it is just hard.  My dear friend Catherine will be moving in 2 weeks.  It's just too close now to deny any longer.  We don't talk about the emotions too much - but they are still there.  We can each see it in the other's eyes.  The words unspoken yet still there.  I knew when she hugged me at her daughters's party that she too was thinking of it being the last.  The last one where we will run around helping each other to prepare and pull off a party. 

As I go through my days, so many memories come flooding back.  Memories made over many many years.  Sweet memories of times spent together.  Also memories of trials and walking those together as well.  We have been so blessed to have had 17 years of friendship so far.  We know God will work in this, though it's hard to understand from this point what His plan entails - and how good will come from it.  Please pray for my precious friend as this is a very hard time for her.

Feeding - I'm so excited to be able to share good news!!!  I've hesitated in posting, in getting my hopes up that perhaps things were really changing for the better.  I do think that they are though!

I think I shared that we met last Tues with the feeding therapist and she had her first good feed there - ever.  One small change we made was in holding her hands in front of her during the feed.  She used to do this herself.  I loved the way that she would put her hands on mine as I held the bottle.  She hasn't done this for awhile.  Since that feeding she has taken food from the bottle EVERY time I've offered it!!!  This was not the pattern before at all.  She has taken at least an ounce at all but 2 of the feeds since then too.  (Both of those feeds she fell asleep and couldn't be wakened.)

She has also taken several feeds of over 2 ounces!  This is so encouraging!  She has eaten 7.5 to 9 ounces per day over the last three days.  Before a good day was 4-5 ounces.  We are definitely improving!  Now we need to work on building up her endurance. 

I asked her feeding therapist today if she thought Eliana would ever be able to eat fully from the bottle or if we would just end up transferring to eating other ways.  She said that she thought Eliana would learn to eat!  I can't tell you how many happy tears I've cried when she has drained her bottle.  This prolonged period of success (one week) has given me hope - hope that my little girl will learn to eat.  Thank you God!

G-tube - We haven't had the button pop open all the time.  I'm trying to keep her in a onesie to hold it down or using paper tape (which isn't as irritating to her skin).  It does still happen though.  One night she pulled the connector tube out - during a feed - which made a colossal mess!!!  She was asleep - in wet clothes, a wet diaper and on a wet bed.  Poor baby.  Lots of changing and cleaning and then rocking back to sleep.

 A new problem is that there is a red place under her button where the skin is irritated.  This showed up on Fri - after I had seen doctors and people every day of the week.  *sigh*  Isn't that the way that it is sometimes?  I thought perhaps it was due to the "belt" I'd had around her to keep her button closed.  I stopped using this and waited a couple of days.  It hasn't improved.  I called the ped office and was encouraged to put bactraban on it.  I do hope that it will clear it up and that the area wouldn't get infected.

Schooling - We have started back and are easing into things gradually - or at least we are trying to do it slowly.  Isaiah read his first words yesterday in his reading lesson.  Way to go!  That is always an exciting milestone.

I'm reading a book to the boys that I wish I hadn't started.  I had given the boys a choice of which book we would study this week and Joshua picked Amber on the Mountain.  I have frequently chosen this as a start to school book since the main character in the story learns to read.  I thought it would be a good choice since Isaiah is learning to read also.  The part I had forgotten about were the lessons on friendship and the pain of a friend moving.  I could hardly make it through the discussion.  It is appropriate in the timing, but hard too.  Maybe it is something that needs to be discussed with the boys.  Joshua has such a tender heart.  I remember once he asked if it was alright to cry when our friends moved.  I of course told him that it was.  He then asked if it was alright if he cried bucketfulls of tears. 

Christopher is starting high school.  Things are going well.  It's really just an extension of what we have already been doing.  We aren't going to change what has worked well for us thus far and one day hope to start back on the many field trips and the travelling that our family enjoys.

Not surprisingly, it is late.  I'm headed to bed soon.  I would love to share a few prayer requests with you.

Prayer requests:

*Continued success for Eliana in eating.  Pray that her endurance would improve and that her desire for food would grow as well.

*Healing around her button and no infection.  Wisdom in knowing if/when she needs to be seen by a doctor.

*Catherine's family as they prepare to move and all of the difficulties in entails both physically and emotionally. 

*The hearts that are aching due to this move and the changes that will ensue.  It's going to be hard on our children too as they are used to running back and forth between our houses many times a day.  I was listening to Catherine's daughter reading a Bible story to one of my boys today.  She asked him questions about the story and personalized it with names of extended family and where they lived.  It vividly reminded me of how much we know about each other's lives - from having lived them side by side - not just Catherine and I, but our families as well as many other friends.

I've said these before, but I think I need the reminders.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  Job 1:20-21

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.   Romans 8:28

Thank you for your prayers and encouragment.

With love,


Monday, August 6, 2007

Birthdays ... how can they be bittersweet?

It's early ... well, for me it is.  My day ended late last night and began earlier than I wanted this morning with my 2 youngest boys up at 6am.  Everyone else is asleep even now 2 hours later.  Wish I was one of them.  I'm hoping a nap is in order later in the day!

Birthdays ... we celebrate 4 of them this week between Catherine's family and mine (mostly her family with 3 of them).  Her girls had a fun party yesterday.  As we were preparing - running errands, getting food and games ready - Catherine gave me a hug.  I know that the thoughts running through my mind were in hers too even though they were unspoken. 

We have done birthday parties together for so many years.  We even joked at times about starting a party business - sometime when ours were all bigger.  We have always helped each other - baking/decorating cakes (her for me), decorating, running errands, and anything else that needed to be done.  We've been celebrating birthdays together for 17 years now.  Our birthdays are just 3 days apart.  I counted in my mind that we have celebrated about 100 birthdays between us and our children.  We both can't help but wonder how this will change.  We'll find out soon as two of my boys have birthdays next month - just 6 days apart - like her girls. 

Oh, this probably isn't the best way to start the day - pondering, thinking and crying.  I don't understand God's timing in all of this.  I remember when Eliana was born how often I heard people remark that I was fortunate to have Catherine to walk this road with me (she also has a child with DS).  I know that she will still be there, but not in the tangible way that we are both used to.  Living beside each other has been an incredible blessing. 

I can't type more.  My heart just hurts.  Please pray for my precious friend as their move is drawing close.  Please  pray for our families as this is hard for our children, but mostly for Catherine and I.  I'll write more later about our week and some of the positives with Eliana's feeding.

Thank you friends for praying.




Saturday, August 4, 2007

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Just last night I was singing this old song to Eliana as she was splashing in her bath.  As I sang the first line, she broke into a her endearing grin.  It was as though she understood the words and her joy just spilled forth from her bright eyes to her toothless smile.  It was a precious moment.

It gave me time to reflect on some of what has happened in the last couple of days as I pondered the fact that "Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world."  ALL the children.  Something the world hasn't quite learned yet - though something I see played out in my life everyday.  From friends that are parenting children with special needs to others that are adopting to others loving children daily in spite of their actions.  It's these sweet moments that I need to remember as they are ones that give me a glimpse of God. 

This song and others are ones many of us learned as children.  Jesus loves me is another one of my favorites.  One of my friends commented on this verse in a slightly different way, yet one that also makes a powerful statement. 

Jesus knows me, this I love.

Yes, He knows me - you - all of us.  And in spite of our mistakes and flaws loves us deeply.  I often tell Eliana that - Jesus loves you - even though at the moment she may not understand how much Jesus loves her!  The last couple of days have given me times to ponder this thought, especially when it is confronted with the fact that the world often does not love "all the little children". 

We visited the Down syndrome clinic on Thursday.  I was asked many, many questions about our family history.  I know that they are trying to understand, but honestly can any of us really know why God creates some chlldren differently?  Other than it being one more opportunity to give Him glory.  I know that some of what happens in this world is just a result of living in a fallen and broken world.  It is this backdrop of pain and suffering that really shows the love, compassion and grace of our Father.

I talked with a developmental pediatrician who was very nice.  She explained some of what they do at the clinic.  Our visit was short as we are already connected to many of the services that they provide from eye, ear, cardiology, physical therapy and occupational therapy.  The doctor told me we were doing a great job in getting Eliana the things that she needed.  It's always nice to be encouraged by a professional even though it isn't the approval that I need to seek.

She also talked with me about the blood test.  They will be testing her thyroid function.  It's been normal thus far, but can change and is often a problem in people with DS.  They will also be checking for leukemia.  Oh, just the mention of this caused tears to well up in my eyes - as even now they are there at the thought of it.  Seeing the hurt in my eyes, the dr commented that this was very treatable in children with DS.  It isn't a road that I want to walk - though it also isn't my choice either.

When we arrived at the clinic and I talked with a nurse, I told her I wanted to put emla cream on Eliana's arm to numb it in preparation for her blood draw.  She told me that wasn't a good idea as it constricted the blood vessels and made it harder to get a good stick.  She seemed so sure and yet, I do trust my ped who prescribed the cream.  I also know what it has been like in the past.  Painful.  Difficult.  Sometimes unsuccessful.  I wasn't insistent, yet sensing my concern she agreed to put it on her "best" arm.  She told me that she would do this since the vein looked good, but that the other arm would be a back-up if needed. 

When she went to have her blood drawn, the tech was able to get a good stick the first time.  The cream was working too as Eliana did not cry.  As we waited for the vial to fill, it was then I became thankful for the cream.  We waited and waited and the tech commented on how sloooowly her blood was coming.  I secretly prayed that she would not have to do a poke in another place.  We waited for a long time - maybe 5 minutes?  She did get it all.  Through the whole thing, not a peep from Eliana.  She did try to grab the tubing though.  That's my girl - great at pulling tubes.  LOL  So we had a successful blood draw with no pain for Eliana.  Thank you God for this answer to prayer!

We should hear the results from the bloodwork in a week or so.  This gives me yet another opportunity to just hand it over to God.  It isn't any use worrying about it as it won't change a thing.  If something is wrong, then we will deal with it when we need to.  I'm going to try not to borrow trouble as each day has enough of its own.  ;-)  So many lessons for me.  I wonder at times if I'm just not getting it and that's why I keep getting new opportunities.  I can be stubborn.  Either way, I hope and pray that through it all I will learn and God will get the glory.

Since we arrived at the clinic as the first patient, we weren't in the waiting room much and didn't have much opportunity to see others.  I had wondered if I might have a chance to talk with another Mom or meet another child with Down syndrome.  This wasn't the case though.  I did see children in wheelchairs and with a variety of other special needs and it hurts my heart.  It hurts for the pain these children experience as well as that of their parents.

A Mom on my homeschool board shared that she needed prayers for her hurting heart.  Her special needs daughter was being excluded and it was hard to keep her heart from becoming hard.  Other Moms of special needs children understood this pain.  The pain of having siblings invited to a party while one is excluded.  The pain of comments from others.  The pain of distance or even just the look from people who don't understand - and don't really want to either.  I haven't had much experience with that yet.

For now, most people think Eliana is cute.  I love hearing those comments.  I think she is so beautiful, though at first it was hard to see past her differences.  I'm sure that will be true of others as well.  Another mom of a baby with DS shared with me recently that she thought it was easier in some ways now - with a baby that is cute.  What is it like though when they are children and even more so into adulthood.  Those are things I don't need to worry about now, though I'd be lying if I told you that the thoughts never entered my mind.  It's often when I hear from other Moms who are hurting or when we do get an odd look. 

It's then that I try to focus on the truth that Jesus loves me.  Jesus loves Eliana.  He loves all of us - just as we are.  I wonder sometimes if my vision will change.  Will I be able to love more fully now?  Will I have more compassion?  Will I have a greater understanding of how much I am loved?  Will I have a greater knowledge of how much I need a Saviour?  I think so.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.  - Psalm 18:1

Let all that you do, be done in love. - 1 Cor. 16:14

With love to all of you,


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tuesday's appointments & Family Photo

We met with our ped on Tuesday.  I'm so glad that she is back in the country!  She is always happy to see us and so helpful too.  She also spends a lot of time with us which I greatly appreciate!  I know I've said this before, but Eliana has definitely had more doctor's visits than ALL of my other children combined.  I'm sure she reached this in the first couple of months of her life too.

A funny - the nurse that typically checks us in always mispronounces Eliana's name.  When I corrected her, she laughed and said that it was good that we didn't come in more often so that she had time to get it right.  Huh?!  We have been in there almost every other week for months!  LOL  Guess it is easy for some to forget.  Though when I walk in the door, I'm greeted by name and they get Eliana's file without me saying a word.  So I guess we are known by others there. 

Dr. L and I talked about a number of things and she gave me some recommendations.

FEEDING - She is fine with decreasing both the number of feeds (from 6 to 5) and the amount (from 150cc to 140cc).  I'm also fine to spread out the feedings to 3.5 to 4 hours instead of every 3 hours.  Since Eliana has been at the 90% for weight, she feels it is fine for her to move down the curve a little more.  In the last week with decreased feeds she has not gained any weight.  I think she needs the decreased volumes for a number of reasons - mainly because it will be hard for her to ever be hungry if she is always overfilled.  She also suggested that I flush her tube with more water to increase her fluid levels over the course of the day. 

BLOODWORK - Eliana is scheduled to have this done at the Down syndrome clinic tomorrow.  Dr L said this was fine for the first time and then we could have it done at the ped office in the future.  She looked at Eliana's arms and thought she was still going to be a hard stick.  Poor little one.  She gave me a prescription for a cream to numb the area prior to getting the blood drawn!  It takes about an hour to take effect so I really want to time it right - so it is working and hasn't worn off.

G-TUBE - The button popped open twice while we were there.  Eliana didn't have her clothes on and was rolling around on the examing table.  Dr L didn't like this at all.  She immediately got on the phone with the surgeon's nurse (friend of hers and the gal that helped me last week) to see what could be done.  Basically, we just have to make do for at least another month.  We can then schedule to see them and have a different button put in.  (A mic-key.)  I told her that I was concerned that I would only be trading one set of problems for another as this is what it has seemed like with the change from the NG to the G.  She shared the the nurse had said the same thing.  *sigh*  At least most of the problems with the G seem to be for me to deal with and not Eliana.

THERAPY - She is encouraging me to get an evaluation on speech as well as start OT. 

Our feeding therapy went well too.  For the first time she had a good feeding while we were there.   (She took about 1.5 ounces.)  The therapist held her hands in front of her chest and this seemed to help.  It's something that she used to do on her own - that I loved - but hasn't done so much any more.

The following feedings yesterday were also good - for where we are now.  She took 1.5 and 2 ounces!  I am thrilled and am hoping that maybe - just maybe - this is the start to something good!

She has done well today for the feedings in which she has been awake which was just two of them.  She took over 3 ounces total.  Again, I'm very encouraged. 

Prayer requests:

*Tomorrow we go to the Down syndrome clinic to meet with a doctor, genetic counselor and to get bloodwork done.  Please pray for this to be a good - and not too lengthy time.

*Bloodwork - Please pray that they are able to find a vein easily and on the first stick.  Please pray that the numbing cream would be timed just right!!!

*Feeding - Pray that she would continue to improve and be able and willing to eat at each feeding!  I so want her to learn this!

Here is our most recent family photo.  I know - I should have taken off my glasses.  I tried in a couple of photos, but can't open my eyes in the sun. 

Will update on the clinic visit as I'm able to.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

With love,