It's that time again… a turning of a New Year. One of my favorite times. Fresh start, we all need a fresh start. This year? I am embracing a fresh start like no other!
Can I be a little uglyhonest? This year has not been my favorite. In fact, I've hated it. There's the ugly, I said it. The list is long of why but there's a list and it's too long for here. As I have been asking God if it was ok to hate this year I got a picture in my head of the valleys and mountain tops. This was a valley year, and they are needed to have mountain top years. Valleys add to the amazing landscape of life, that makes us stand in awe of God and what He is about.
I am pretty excited to boot this valley year in trade for a whole new one. 2013 has us already pointed in the right direction.
Do you ever have one of "those" moments? Where you get a glimpse into a life that may have been yours?
Yesterday I was standing in a fancy grocery store, alone, with an arm basket, looking for a specialty item… this is not the norm.
My norm. is Costco, with a flat, with kids, buying bulk basics.
As I was standing there I just had a moment. "This could have been me." There has alway been a part of me that likes to be alone, all alone. In that moment I realized, that could have been the norm. for me…. and I started to laugh.
In one unexpected moment standing in a fancy grocery store, looking for a fancy thing, I fell more in love with my crazy, large, messy, overwhelming, sticky, never.ending.laundry, always hungry, full of joy family.
I was washed with the realization that my family truly is a gift. A gift not be taken for granted.
Sometimes I do not appreciate all that God has given me. In fact sometimes I view it as burden. The last 2 weeks have not been very fun. Sick kid, after sick kid and then it hit me, hard. With Christmas on the way and no energy to prep I have been feeling very ungrateful.
In a moment my heart was reminded…. life is a gift. These 6 lil lives I get to take care of are a gift. What an honor.
Merry Christmas Eve. May you see afresh the gifts God has given.
The report from the neurosurgeon was that the growth on the stalk had shrunk - I could see it - what a sight!
PRAISE THE LORD!
This was the best news.
Still no diagnosis but leaning towards one for sure. Lymphocytic Hypophysitis Basically for what ever reason his body thought it needed to attack the pituitary gland and stalk. Autoimmune. The reason is really unknown. We will scan again in 6 months and monitor hormone levels as the pituitary gland is pretty sensitive and can shut down all function with something like this. Our relief is enormous and we feel so blessed but our hearts and prayers are turned toward Connecticut. We serve a mighty God. One who hears, One who comforts, One that heals.
Endocrinology appointment was great and we love those people. Very informative and caring to help us manage the Diabetes Insipidus.
We then went to lunch [where we saw Jerry Rice :)] and chatted about the MRI. He originally was scheduled to go under anesthesia for the MRI and blood draw. We called our Dr.'s to ask if we could try without the meds, they said, "sure" and radiology said, "come on over, now". We were met at the door by a lady that works with kids to make their experience as good as it can be. I told her about Dawson's fear of needles [Dawson was already in tears at this point] and so she left and came back with a bunch of "tools" including an iPad for games. She talked to him and stayed with him through the blood draw and PRAISE THE LORD it went great! This was huge. HUGE!
He did great in the MRI and to celebrate we had Krispy Kreme for dinner, followed with banana splits for dessert. [amazing what you'll do as a mother sometimes] :)
Tomorrow we will get the MRI results.
[Ashton and Dawson in front of Lucile Packards beautiful Christmas lights]
Almost two years ago I lead a women's trip to UG. I knew, knew, knew that I was suppose to do that. This was a giant leap of faith as I had never even been on a mission trip, let alone lead one. As the trip started taking shape there were 2 girls from another part of the US that would join us in Amsterdam. One of the girls had become near and dear to my heart, and since 2009 has become one of my closest friends. Her friend from college felt called to join. Her name is Anna. [i wrote a funny about her/ushere]
I loved Anna from the start and we became instant friends.
Fast-forward a year.
Anna was diagnosed with MS this Spring.
About the same time we discovered Dawson's DI and pituitary issues.
Through tears I have read her blog. Through shaky texts we have exchanged love. Through the phone we have laughed.
I stand amazed at God's weaving of lives together. God weaved our hearts together to serve Him in Africa, but what He also did was give us each other to walk this past year out with. No, we do not talk much but I know we both talk to God about each other. I call that a good friend.
On the night before we leave for Stanford I sat and watched this. I have NO doubt God prompted Anna to post her testimony of the past year tonight, for me.
Love you Anna and know that God used you mightily to focus my heart. I know you would never ask for the road you are on but God is using it. I can testify to that.
We will head down to Stanford [Lucile Packard Children's Hospital] on Monday with appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Tuesday will be Endocrinology.
Wednesday will be the MRI at the hospital [he will be under anesthesia again].
I believe in the power of prayer. Let's pray. Let's pray specifics: 1) the growth on the pituitary stalk would continue to shrink (or disappear) 2) that he will do well under anesthesia 3) that his other hormone levels are "normal"
Something about this year made me crave getting together. Maybe it's all that has happened, maybe it's coming home from Africa, maybe it's all that is to come, but I needed to be with my family.
Did I tell you I am a GREAT? This is my GREAT Niece. I feel so GREAT about this. :) She makes it GREAT. Can't you see it in her eyes? She is a world changer!
Our kids have 29 cousins. Never a dull moment. What a joy to watch these kids change and grow. We have some starting families, some going off to college, some in their Senior year of High School, 5 in Kindergarden, some learning to walk… what a joy, what a family!
Us mama's have to keep documenting all these moments. They are precious and boy do we know it!
Part of our family tradition is to shoot trap together. We like to embrace our Second Amendment and not take it for granted. [not to brag or anything but I only missed ONE - ok bragging done]
Something about shooting stuff made me feel better. We have Stanford visits coming up again for Dawson. The blessings of health have been great but I am still not looking forward to all the tests. Thinking shooting trap maybe a great outlet for all. ;)
What a blessed Thanksgiving. Too many cherished memories to count.
May the spirit of gratitude continue, as we prepare for season where we celebrate the coming of our King!
I always have great expectations of sharing our journeys to Africa. After all, there are so many misconceptions about Africa, I would love to expose them by our first hand experiences. But life happens and here we are 6 [now 7] days into our trip and here goes the first post. Might be a long one, or not, who knows ;).
Traveling went flawless. I never sleep on the plane and apparently Ashton does not either. That can make for a pretty long 26 hours but every time we would look at the tracker with hours to go I would remind Ashton [and myself] of what an amazing blessing it is to be on the other side of the world in such a short time. She agreed. Sometimes all we need is a little perspective on our circumstance.
We were greeted by my MIL and a few RH gems. Travel weariness all faded away.
Morning sunrise with coffee and Jesus to kick off our time, nothing better.
We hopped a boda to RH and got to watch the workings of their day. Most were at school but the staff and long time volunteers were there and it was nice to get to be fly on the wall and not be catered to. I was impressed with how everyone knew their job and did it. Life in Africa takes work, lots of work. Ashton jumped right in where she could.
Evening prayers and our day was done…. and so was I… with the flu :/.
I spent the next day in bed - all day - barely moving. MIL came over to play games with Ashton. Not what we planned but that's how it goes and I planted my feet on that.
The next day we headed into Kampala and were back where we adopted #5 from 3 years ago. I enjoyed hearing the mama's say, "Mama Isaiah, you are most welcome back."
We spent as much time as we could there for the next few days with a few adventures mixed in. We cruised downtown for a meeting and ended the day in the worship service at Watoto. Tears, praise and a good word spoken about Israel and we were on our way home to have dinner with a friend we have known for years and the kids have skyped with lots. Special treat.
Friday Market can not be missed. Neither Ashton or I are much for shopping but this was fun and I am already sad I did not buy a few more things.
On the way back Patrick encouraged us to take the local bus/taxi system. I have done this before and have to say I was not excited but he was, so we did and I am glad for the adventure. Still not a fan tho but what great opportunity to talk myself out of a claustrophobia attack, hehe. Fear conquered.
The afternoon was spent playing with the kids and helping where we could. Never easy to leave so we prayed, we prayed for each child to be placed in a family as soon as possible because that's where we bloom best, in families.
One prayer request I had was to have a thunderstorm while in Kampala. Prayer answered. :) I just love it because in the midst of an aching heart it's a reminder of how great God is…. and He is!
Now as I type we are headed back to Jinja. The kids will be out of school and we will spend the week at RH.
Child of God, wife to a God-fearing, Christ-passionate man (yay me!), Mommy to 7 gifts from God (4 homemade, 2 Ugandans and 1 Born in the USA treasure). I love sharing our journey of following Christ. I love country living, serving in Africa and loving on my family. If you like typos, ramblings & run-on sentences - this just may be a place you enjoy! ;)