Monday, November 21, 2011

Last days

This is one of the posts that I've kind of put off.  There are just times when being reflective is hard or maybe that it can just be hard to share.  We went to the mountains last month to help my parents with packing and getting ready to move.  This move is one that came up quickly and we are all trusting is God's best plan.  That still doesn't always make it easy.  I think a move - even when a good thing - is still a LOT of work!  Thankfully my parents have some incredible friends that have helped so very much!

The mountains are such a beautiful place.  My Mom was born in the mountains of NC and so its always been home.  When Dad retired, they chose to stay here full time and it has been the place my children have almost always known.  (They moved here when Christopher and Rebecca were both very young.)

We've spent many holidays and regular days too here.   The scenery is always breathtaking.  I too love the mountains.  This is the view from the deck of my parent's home.  (Above and below)
 I went up early with the kids.  Christopher was off for fall break, but Roger had to work.  (He joined us later in the week-end.)  We went to a nearby park for a picnic lunch.  I'm not sure pictures do justice to a fall mountain day.
 Christopher set up his hammock and we got lunch ready
 What a scenic spot to relax!
 Yes, several of us also wanted to test it out.
 I love watching my children play and enjoy being together.  It does my mama's heart good to know that they not only love each other, but also like being together.
 Always someone to play with and something fun to do.
 This pair of smiles came just after a big hug!
 I thought he would end up in the river, but surprisingly, all of them stayed dry.
 Comfortable and fun!
 Price Lake.  I couldn't get the colors to show up in the photo like they were in person.  You'll just have to believe me on this one.
 Photo of my children.  Being on this road reminded all of us  of Christopher's marathon last summer.  We pulled over at this park to wait for him and to cheer for the runners.
 Can you guess where else we went on our long week-end?  If you are familiar with the area, you will recognize this train.  Tweetsie.  Its been awhile since we've visited and I just wasn't sure when we would be able to get back.
 I went with the 5 youngest and we had a great time!  It was a beautiful day.
 We rode a lot of rides!  Bumper cars ...
 Tilt a whirl...
 Merry go round and more.
 Who can resist all of these leaves?  Well, not us.
 Feeding the goats was a huge hit!
 I just love the expression on his face!  Pure delight!
 These were some hungry goats!
 This is the ride that the oldest 3 rode.  Then Daniel wanted to try it.  And Eliana too.  I really wasn't sure about that one, but she LOVED it!!!
 They rode a few times and then we rode another train.
 I took Eliana to the boats while the other kids rode the  yellow ride above some more.
 When we walked back over to that ride, Eliana cried when she saw that they were riding without her!  So more riding for everyone!
 As we were packing and preparing to leave, we talked about coming up one last time.  It helped me to think that this wasn't the "last time".  I knew though that it would be the last time for all of us to be there. Love this stair step type photo.
 One more of the grandkids with their Papa.
 As it turns out, for various reasons, we were not able to go back.  This was our last time there.  It was a sweet time with good memories.  We will now be starting to make memories in new places.  New traditions.  We've been gathering here for Thanksgiving for many,  many years.  This year will be different.  I'm  still looking forward to the most important part - being with family!  That is by far the best part of Thanksgiving.

In the midst of changes, I'm praying for hearts to embrace and give thanks.  I'm praying especially for my parents as this is a huge change for them and I know that being away from friends will not be easy.

Life has so many twists and turns.  Some we see coming and others take us by surprise.  I'm thankful that on this journey I have been blessed with family and friends to walk with me.  I'm thankful for a Father who loves me, guides me and sometimes carries me.
with love

Looking back ... a few things

I've been busy and keep meaning to figure things out on this new computer.  I think its going to take me a little while to get it sorted out so that I can do the things that I want to do on it.  Christopher did help me out with some things when he was here and I think I'm just going to need some lessons on it for awhile.  :-)

For those who use a Mac, I would love any tips or help you have to offer.  This is my first time on a Mac.  I'm especially interested in anything to do with photos.  Here is our  new computer.  I'm very excited about it and learning to use it!

We've had several medical appointments that I haven't shared about.  Eliana had her yearly cardiology appointment.  It was a long, long morning.  We went on Oct 31st and there were so many nice things set up at the hospital.  There were stations set up for the children and she visited one and got a new beanie baby which she loves.  She wasn't up for anything else.

She started fussing at vitals.  By the time we made it to the EKG, she was crying and screaming!  Next was the echo and she was inconsolable!!!  They pulled out all of their tricks - movie, bubbles, puppets, twirling lights - nothing helped.  I was even laying beside her on the bed and she just  cried and cried.  No reassurances helped.  : -(  It was hard.

Our last stop was to see the cardiologist.  We got into the exam room and as I was starting to get some things out for her.  She threw up.  Again.  And again.  Really did a number on the floor.  Ugh and yuck!  She thankfully mostly got the floor and not herself!  I cleaned it all up.  Didn't seem right to have someone else do it.  Though I did tell them after I cleaned it so that it could be mopped up again.  (She didn't get sick again.  Just so worked up from all of the crying.)

Anyway, as you can imagine by this time Eliana was less than thrilled to be touched by anyone!  Our Dr did manage a short exam and said that all looked the same.  She still has leaking at one of her valves (result of the surgery).  It isn't a problem at this point!  Thank you God.  The harder news is that we don't know if this will remain true.  It will depend on how her heart grows and how things around the valve are stretched.  She may need another heart surgery down the road.  I really didn't want to know that.  At this point though, I'm not going to worry about it as that won't help at all.  Just one more possibility of things to come - but hopefully not!

Joshua also had an appt at the diabetes clinic in the hospital.  His numbers have gotten bad and we are still working to try to get him in a better place.  We've made some adjustments that hopefully will help and give us more information on how his body is managing things.  Entering puberty though is already doing a number on him and from all that I hear, this will not change anytime soon.  So far, we are still seeing horrible highs and additionally lows in the middle of the night.  Still hoping and praying that we can him to a better and more stable place.

Also this week, I've watched friends walk through a very sad and tragic experience.  Its hard for me to even share this as words just seem inadequate.  Some sweet friends were excitedly waiting for the birth of their fourth child.  Their beautiful daughter was born late one evening on earth and soon after was born into heaven.  The grief and shock is unimaginable.  My heart just aches for them.

As I have been with them though, I see a strength and peace in the midst of the grief that I know comes from a deep faith in a God who loves them completely.  I'm encouraged by their faith while I grieve the pain and loss that this precious family is experiencing.

I wish I had words to make things better.  I know that all I can do is love on them - listen  - and be there for them.  Please pray for my friends as they walk this path which is not the joyful one for which they had been excitedly preparing.  Please pray for their family and friends.  Thank you.

With love