Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mystery

This past weekend was rough at our house.  We were reeling from finding out that there would not be a transplant this February as we had hoped.  I tend to be a "jump in and face the crisis" person but once the shock is over and things settle down, that is when the anxiety strikes and it did.

At Christmas I received a small chalkboard from a co-worker.  It is hanging by my kitchen sink and it currently says, "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me." 2 Timothy 4:17  It was there in my line of view all weekend and I do believe He was standing with us, strengthening us.

Not only were we reeling from our own bad news but also the news that our donor was now trying to wrap her head around.  I know she is facing questions, disbelief of the news, and anxiousness.  I know the Lord is standing with her and strengthening her also.

There is a reason why our journey has taken this turn.  I know that we will look back someday if not until Heaven and say, "Oh yeah...now I see why and it is beautiful."

On Friday night the next two people in line called us to tell us that they were going to contact the transplant center to tell them they wanted to move ahead in the process of being the donor.  We were then contacted by both of them on Tuesday to find out the center has moved on with someone but it neither of them.  We have no idea who it is.  We have guesses but that is what they are just guesses. We are calling him or her our mystery person.

Tonight we prayed for this person at bedtime with the girls.  We know He knows who he or she is and He ultimately has this all under control.

We are so very thankful for this person who has quietly been tested at some point to find out if they were a match.  They knew they were and when we were reeling from a change of plans, he or she got started on the next part...quietly.

Isn't that just like God?  He moves in the quiet in a gentle whisper.  (I Kings 19: 11-12)

Our next step is getting started with peritoneal dialysis again.  We have a consultation with a surgeon next Wednesday and the surgery to put the P.D. catheter in should be scheduled for soon after that.  This catheter will take 2 weeks to heal then we will start training again and the catheter in his chest will be removed.  We should be done with the dialysis center very soon!  We are so looking forward to that.  That part of this journey has been very taxing for us.

Blessings by Laura Story has been playing a lot for me lately.  I just love the words and feel like they were written for this moment for me.

 Here are just a few of the lyrics that have really spoken to me.

"We pray for healing, for prosperity.
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
All the while, You hear each spoken need,
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.
 Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops.
What if Your healing comes through tears.
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"

Friday, January 24, 2014

Redirection

We got some bad news today.  Here are some FB updates that were posted today so our journey can be followed.
"We wanted to let you all know that we just found out that donor will not be able to be our donor. Please be in prayer for our family, for the donor and her family, and that things will proceed forward quickly with another donor."

This is a posting from our donor as to why she can no longer proceed:
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that I am letting you all know that I have been ruled out as a donor. There is definitely a grieving process to go through with this unexpected news.

My CT scan from last week revealed a large angiomyolipoma on my right kidney. These tumors are most always benign, but as with any tumor there is a risk of cancer. The nephrologist and surgeons are very concerned because of the size of this one. Kidneys are about 10 cm. This tumor is 5x4x4 cm in size...so about half the size of my kidney.

The initial conversation with my coordinator regarding this was not as alarming as the follow up call after she had spoken to the nephrologist...and he decided he didn't think I should proceed with donating.

They DO use kidneys with these angiomyolipomas for transplant, but they are usually under 2 cm in size.

I cannot express enough my extreme sorrow for Kevin and Mindy right now. More waiting and the catheter clock ticking.

My focus right now has to shift to my personal health, and that is difficult for me. Personality wise I'm definitely the care giver nurturer and usually put myself last.

I have faith that God laid this desire on my heart to donate my kidney to Kevin, and my obedience in following Him has led me to discovering something about my own health that I never would have found out...or would have found when it could have been critical or even life threatening.

I am believing this is benign. My greatest concern is the possibility of rupture because of the size. (This was expressed to me as a concern by my coordinator.)

Please pray for my continued peace alongside realistic anxiety, pray we can get health insurance quickly and without problems, for my family to have peace about this, that answers come quickly for how to deal with this issue, and obviously for no issues to come up with the next donor candidate."


But we have hope!
"Contacted tonight by two people to see if they can be tested for Kevin. Speechless! Words can't be put together to express our gratitude to all of you who have thought about, asked, or have been tested. Thank you!

And because I have been asked about this information, here is the number for the IU Living Donor Center 1.800.382.4602.

We know that there were several people who were tested this past summer/fall and of those we had 5 matches. This fall the center had started a wait list for people wanting to be tested because there were so many. We have already been contacted by one of these other matches this evening to chat about Plan B. We are not without a plan B and for that we are so thankful.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support and most importantly prayers for us and for Joy!

This verse keeps flooding my mind this evening:
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair." 2 Corinthians 4:8
"


I will try to update more later.  It's been a long day. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Handmade

Even though we have so much going on and on our minds right now, I did make some gifts this year.  I love making things.  I love looking at the final product and knowing I did that.  I love the planning of what to make, searching Pinterest for ideas, heading to the store to get the needed items.  I love putting the girls to bed and working on my thing and seeing it take shape before my eyes.

I made several journal covers and rice bags for co-worker  and teacher gifts this year.  (These are old pics but you get the idea.)

A close friend of ours LOVES to knit and is amazingly talented at that. When I saw this ornament idea, I knew I had to make it for her. I was so happy with how it turned out.
The girls even helped me with gift making. We made snow man ornaments to give to family and a few friends using the girls handprints on a ball ornament. They were SO cute!
The girls made some canvas paintings to give away also.
In a goodie basket that I received for Christmas I found the CUTEST pair of gloves. It was just a simple pair of knit gloves that had been given a lift with a cute fabric flower. Of course, I had to try my hand at it and make a pair to for a gift.

AND...I have tried my hand at embroidery. I love it! I have completed two projects and foresee more in my future. I had so much fun making these gifts!
I finally have taken down our Christmas things.  Since we were late getting them up, we kept them up longer than usual.  That meant down with the Christmas wreath and up with a new one.  I made a yarn wrapped wreath with felt flowers.  I was really happy with how it turned out.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited to show off what I've made.  It is fun to let others see what I can do and enjoy doing.  I also do it for me.  When I go back and read past posts, it's fun to see what I have created and it gives me the desire to keep on creating.  This is something I really want to work at this year...to create.  I pin so many great things on Pinterest.  I want to actually make them.  It brings me such joy to create things and bless others with those creations.  New Year's goal???

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

According to the meteorologists the impending snowstorm scheduled to hit last weekend was pretty much the end of civilization as we know it.  They really get worked about this stuff these days.  After Dobbie and Papa left, Peanut and I headed to the grocery store to stock up...just in case.  Everyone else in town had beaten me.  There was no bread, no milk, and no eggs left in the store!  CRAZY!  We have come to the conclusion that people crave french toast when storms hit.  Our only worry was, "Is there coffee left?"  THERE WAS!  Whew!  We will survive anything with coffee.

Our city was right on the line of snow, slush, ice, rain.  It was a mess on Sunday but when that snow did fall it was beautiful...big, heavy snow flakes.  I think we got around 6 inches, if that.  After the snow storm, the worry was the temperature.  We had windchills in the negative 30's on Monday and Tuesday.  Needless to say there was no school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday which extended our break by half a week.  We'll take it!  Peanut was worried about the refill (make-up) days.  We have heard the state is offering schools a waiver for 2 of those days since it was just plain dangerous to be outside.

Before the temperatures dropped the girls played a bit in the snow although it was super wet and it didn't last long.

We rolled up blankets to block the draft from under the doors, shut the blinds and the curtains, turned up the furnace, lit the candles, and just enjoyed hunkering down!  I love snow days!  I love the excitement of finding out there's no school.  I might love it even more now as a mom.  I love having the girls home and not having to go to work, just hanging out together, unexpectedly.

Poor Daddy did have to get out on Tuesday morning to go to dialysis.  The van made all sorts of noises and explicatives when he started it up but she did start and did great on the streets for him.  Whew!  We were a little worried about that.

We had so much fun during this Polar Vortex as they are calling it.  We watched most of the Star Wars movies which one of the cable channels so thoughtfully had on over the weekend for us to record.  Peanut LOVES Star Wars!  Loves it!  Pumpkin says she doesn't like it but she was right there watching alongside.

We baked lots of cookies to keep the oven going and help heat up the apartment.  Our favorite was Amish Sugar Cookies.  Yummy!  You can see the coffee was flowing too from our french press.
 
We did nails and had make-overs.  They got to put on make-up which you can't see very well in this picture.  I think that was the hit of the break.  
We lived in our pajamas but when it was warm enough for baths we made them fun with homemade bath watercolor paints.

We played game after game after game together. We also improvised and brought the snow inside to play with since it was too cold to play outside.
 
We even learned how to do embroidery together. Peanut made a double heart picture which she gave me for my birthday! I was so proud of her!


Today there was a delay but Peanut headed back to school. I was sad. I loved our days together...those unexpected ones are the best. This Polar Vortex was just what we needed...more time together just relaxing and having fun.

One More Christmas

Dobbie and Papa came to see us last Saturday before the snowpocalypse hit.  (More on that later.)  We hadn't been able to have Christmas with them yet.  The girls were so excited.  It was nice to have it at the end of the break so it just stretched the excitement out.  Dobbie made yummy soup that she brought to share with us so we just relaxed and enjoyed watching the girls play with their new things.


I'm sure you can't tell in the following few pictures but Peanut was VERY excited about one of her gifts...something she had really been hoping for.

A horse for her American Girl dolls!!!!
So thankful for family and the times spent together!

New Year's

We spent New Year's Eve with some good friends.  They live really close to us and just always there if we need something.  I am very grateful for that.  Our kids love hanging out together too so that helps!

Lighting off some fireworks.
After snacks, a movie for the kids, and a game for the adults, we welcomed in the New Year with banging pots and pans and lighting sparklers.
Looking forward to all that this year holds for our family!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Heart Study

Kev and I got to spend the afternoon together with no kids.  This sounds like a great time of doing whatever we wanted but we were at the hospital for Daddy's 4 hour heart study/stress test.  Daddy has to have this done every year until he has the transplant just to be sure his heart is healthy and strong.  Everything went really smooth and we are so thankful for that.  We just make the best of it and keep the jokes coming so we can at least laugh during these times.
 
A very dear friend watched the girls for us and just loved on them. On the way to her house, I was telling Peanut that Daddy was going to be so hungry after his test because he couldn't eat for 12 hours before his test. She was eating a lunch I had packed for her and said, "I'm going to save half of my sandwich and goldfish crackers for Daddy to eat when he is done!" I just love her giving heart! We celebrated finishing the test by taking the girls to HuHot afterwards. Yum!
They love watching their food get cooked in front of them.
This break has been so full, some of us are just really worn out.

So Humbled

A word real quick about the gifts under our little tree.  

Some of them were from us and Gigi but there were ALOT that were not.  

A few months ago a sweet woman who I know from teaching her kids in preschool and living up north contacted me.  She said that each year their family chooses a family who is going through a difficult time and they just bless them for Christmas.  She said they had chosen us.  

I have to be honest that at first I felt bad about this.  Us?  We chatted back and forth via Facebook and I just began to feel so humbled by her kindness and love for my family...especially the girls.  She truly just wanted to help them have a magical Christmas to take away from the hardships from the past year.  We agreed but just had no idea what a magical Christmas it would be.

She dropped the things off at my dad's home and he kept calling me and telling me there was just so much and wondering where it all had come from.  A wonderful elf wrapped the things up to send with Gigi since we could no longer go up to visit.  

The girls were astounded to see our Christmas tree on Christmas morning.  It was flowing and full of so many treats.  Seeing all of the packages was a very moving thing for Daddy and I.  The things under that tree were just perfect for the girls too.  Lots of art and craft items, a new Barbie and pony for Pumpkin, a new baby doll for Peanut whom she ADORES!  



Lots of books and goodies for Daddy and I. We were just blown away by the kindness shown to us. I wish my friend could have seen the looks on the girls' faces....they were full of delight and excitement! We were so blessed!

Another very special friend from our church contacted Daddy while he was in the hospital and offered to go do his Christmas shopping for me since he hadn't had time to do it.  I was really blessed by the gifts she found for me using Daddy's budget.  They were all perfect and I just loved it all so much!  He might have to have her do his shopping all of the time.  Haha!

Walking this road has made Daddy and I so much more aware of our great desire to pay it forward to others when this part of our journey is complete.  The feeling of giving is such an incredible one and we are so very thankful for those who have acted on that little voice that has prompted them to do just that.  It certainly is a two way blessing!

Another really cool thing that happened this Christmas for our family was that little Christmas tree in the corner of our apartment.  After staying with Daddy the first day in the hospital during his last stay, I was very aware that the girls were really sad that we didn't have a tree.  I stopped at Wal-Mart on my way home to price small trees.  I found one that wasn't that much but then had to get some ornaments and I still needed to get some gifts for the girls.  I stood in the ornament aisle and prayed, "Lord, please provide for these extras for our family."  I bought my things, headed home, and got the mail.  In that pile of mail was an anonymous check for just $9.00 more than I had just spent on these extras.  I got goosebumps.  He really does provide for us and it all strengthens not only my faith and Daddy's but it is growing the faith of our precious little girls!

Recuperating from Christmas

Daddy had to head off to dialysis the morning after Christmas Day.  Gigi took the girls and I out for breakfast.  We spent some time together hanging out and enjoying the pretty day before he headed home.  He helped us put together the plasma car that we got for the girls for Christmas.
They have been cruising around our apartment this past week on this little car. It has been their bus, their wheel chair, their car, and so on!!! Gigi brought his sweet little dog Daisy which was a HIT for the girls. Peanut worked and worked to earn her trust. I think she did that!
So glad Gigi could come and hang out with us for a few days.
We spent the day just relaxing and putting our new things away.
I was cuddling with the girls watching them play Sonic on the iPad. Pumpkin turned around, grinned at me and said, "Mommy, you're pushing my button!" Love those girls!

Christmas Day 2013

Peanut woke up several times in the night, wanting to go downstairs. We finally just had her cuddle up in bed with us hoping she would sleep. She woke up at 7 a.m. ready to go. I woke up to the realization that I had completely forgotten to fill stockings. I had to sneak down first to do that and capture some pictures of what the girls were to find waiting for them.
Santa left some special presents for the girls after eating those yummy cookies and drinking his strawberry milk.  Peanut had heard that he loves strawberry milk so we had to have that out this year.  Pumpkin desperately wanted him to bring her a Barbie mermaid whose hair changes color in the water. Peanut asked for a baby doll that goes potty...he left her a baby doll that she can potty train!  They loved their new dolls so much.

These shots are blurry but it shows how they both felt when walking down the stairs!

Pumpkin wanted Peanut to open the present she picked out for her first...two packs of new earrings.
A special friend got the girls each a beautiful art box. This was certainly the hit. Pumpkin opened hers then headed to the tile floor to start painting and drawing. We had to entice her back over to keep opening up presents. She certainly is becoming quite a little artist.
We also gave her her first Bible. She loved it! She takes it with her almost everywhere and reads out of it all of the time. We had no idea how much it would really mean to her.
The Christmas mess filled with new things to love!
We spent the rest of our day relaxing together and enjoying a yummy Christmas meal. It was a quiet day which was what we needed. The girls rested and played with their new things. Daddy got a lot of rest as he was pretty worn out. I manned the kitchen. Gigi enjoyed watching the girls play.
We gave Daddy Settlers of Catan Junior so he could start teaching Peanut how to play. They both couldn't wait to get started. Peanut beat him the first 3 games. He was SO proud of her and so excited that she loved it.

It was a really great Christmas.  My favorite part?  Helping Peanut read the Christmas Story from her new Bible and watching The Nativity Story with my family while answering the many questions that Peanut had.  I love seeing the truth come alive in them.  The truth that the tiny baby was real and He really did come for each of us.  My hope hinges on that truth!