Friday, May 31, 2013

Comfort Food

Comfort food is just that, comfort. For years I didn't quite get the term. When someone would tell me about a certain food they loved and how they ate it for comfort I don't think I got it. In this journey for some answers and solutions I have tried to analyze why I do what I do.

Why in the world does food give us comfort in the first place?  Why is three bites of anything not enough? Is there something I am trying to replace in stuffing my face?  Am I bored? Am I angry? Am I trying to make up for something that is lost to me? Is it the only thing I can control in my life?

So many questions I have. Judging from the volume of emails and some comments, I know I have touched a nerve. SO many people struggling with the same thing, who would have known?

When I look at stress and how it plays out in my life I realize the food is the replacement for the loss that is deep inside this brain and heart of mine.

I well remember when I was a pit dweller. I wrote about some years ago. In that pit dwelling time I remember saying, "I don't want my life to be about loss." With each new loss I have studied, prayed and with the help of my Savior I have dusted off my knees and got back on the path.

My heart over flows with thankfulness because of what God has blessed me with. So then, that begs the question, why am I struggling now? What is different? I am not just writing this for me, but for you!
My testimony is not really about me at all, it is about how can we help each other to conquer this monster in our lives!

When I look at our loss in the last five years I feel overwhelmed. In the last five years we have lost our two sons that we were blessed with to the world. Oh, I am not talking about the world generically. We offered them both one at 14 and one at 10 to embrace a stable family who loves them. We poured out hearts into these sons of ours. Often and sadly to the detriment to our other sons and daughter. In the end they chose life on the streets, poverty, drugs, alcohol and violence to a home.

I know, we did the best we could. They were so damaged that their was no hope. I get that, I also get that we were faithful to God's call. Our obedience is never dependent on the outcome, never. We saw the bigger picture and heard the call and we did what we were asked to do. The price was enormous. I grieve for the choices those two sons of ours have made and there is not a blessed thing I can "do" to fix their choices.

Then there is the biggest loss.  I have now come to realize that there are some things that are worse than death.  Just sit right here and ponder that for a minute. There are some things in life that are worse than death my friend. That is the loss that stresses me out. So many hopes and dreams are gone in the blink of an eye. All because my beloved chose to serve.

Unless you have walked this road it is so hard to understand. Our youngest is now graduating. We never wished our children to grow up too fast. We wanted to relish every moment. But, when the time did come for our last one to grow up we had specific plans and now those are gone. We are daily relegated to a double recliner unable to do the things we wanted to do.

That recliner symbolizes what our life is now. My husband went from going mach four to most days sitting in a recliner. He hates what has happened just as much, if not more than me. We are just too young to be facing this, but this is our reality.

So, loss is my constant partner, day after day, month after month and now year after year.  Here we sit. Have we been blessed, absolutely. From the very depths of my soul I am blessed beyond measure. My midwifery training is truly a blessing straight from God himself. Something to distract me, something that is happy and positive and something that I am good at.

So all the physical things that I have lost turn into comfort food. Here is sit with my heart wide open and I have to ask, what is the loss you are running from? What is the stressor that kicks in the need to stuff your face like me?

On of my favorite go to verses is what I leave with you today.
"Come unto me, all you are burdened and heavy ladened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. FOr my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Celebration of Discipline

Last time I shared with you my struggle with my weight. I have to admit, it is very scary to bear your soul to those you love but I have promised to always be real with those who read my blog. So real I will be.

The past few months our small group has been working through the book, Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. It is considered a Christian classic. The book encourages you to be on the path to spiritual growth. Rich and I have gone through this book before so the concepts have not been new to me.

Mr. Foster divides the book into three parts. The first is the inward disciplines that include; meditation, prayer, fasting and study. The second part of the book deals with the outward disciplines. Simplicity, solitude, submission and service. The third section deals with what Foster calls the corporate disciplines; confession, worship, guidance and celebration.

I realized that I am great at the outward disciplines, especially simplicity which I crave and submission along with service. I love these things and practice them faithfully. The inward disciplines like prayer and study are easy for me along with study but the fasting has challenged me the past few years and simply gave up trying to fast.

Fasting is indeed a lost art. Many body of believers don't even talk about it. I have fasted over several days for many years until the last couple of years. Fasting is all about food. It is about self denial. Giving food or just some foods up for a higher purpose. Fasting in the Bible was never about losing weight. In fact during Bible times you had to really work at being fat. The Jews especially wandered for many years and ate manna. You don't get fat on manna! It was royalty that became heavy and were gluttons.  Food was supposed to be sustenance for our bodies, not an art form all it's own.

I once heard the quote that goes something like this, eat to live not live to eat. Well, with so many pictures on T.V. about food or the Internet ads popping up about delicious food, especially Pinterest it is hard not to live to eat!  In fact, I love great cooking and baking. I have just not learned how to eat three bites of something delicious and then walk away.

Did I hear an Amen? Am I the only one who has a lack of self control when it comes to delicious food?  I seriously doubt I am the only one. Maybe I am just the one who is sick and tired of thinking this way and willing to admit it? Certainly I can't be the only one???

So between loving to cook and bake and dealing with the challenges in my life the two collided in a very big way and added a ton of weight to this body. So now I have to learn to deal better with the stress. The sad truth is I never really thought about eating because I was stressed. I have had people in my life who constantly complain about being stressed and I just didn't get it. I was stressed but didn't complain because I was nursing my stress by eating so I didn't realize the eating was how I coped with stress.  I didn't want to be a complainer so I thought I was doing great. What a lie straight from the pit of Hell.

Speaking of the devil, I have come to the conclusion that Satan will use ANYTHING to grab hold of us and keep us in bondage. Some people struggle with sexual sin which is not socially acceptable (at least in the church) some people struggle with cheating on their taxes, some people struggle with having material goods and then there is others like me who struggle with food. Because it is considered an acceptable sin (kind of like gossip) no one challenges us to consider it a serious challenge.

This is a problem for me and I don't want to live in bondage anymore. Is there anyone who wants to join me in this journey of breaking through the yoke of slavery that food can be? Perhaps this isn't your struggle but something that is said will spur you on to tackle your own challenge. Come join me as we work on this together.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

Good morning to each of you. I pray that this new series I am beginning will both encourage and challenge you. The above picture is of me and a dear friend, Jean. We go back quite a few years. She and her daughter Jess are kindred spirits. Recently, I had to go to their neck of the woods and got to see them. I place high value on those in my life who are kindred spirits. I have been blessed to have several in my life through the years. We speak truth into each other's life. Our love and respect for each other run deep in our veins. I know tons of people who I enjoy spending time with, but only a handful have been my bosom friends, that special kindred spirit.

It was during this time with Jean and Jess that we discussed a very tough topic for me, my weight. Gasp, breathe Jill. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined writing about something so personal. I always promised myself that when I write I would be real, so here is the real deal.

Hi, my name is Jill and I am a foodaholic. I know it is not a real word but I guess that is what I have become. How in the world did I get here? I have been going through lots of pictures lately for Michael's graduation and open house. People who have only known me in the last 5 years have no idea how far I have come. 

Except for being a chunky baby I was a skinny kid. I ran, I biked, I swam and all that time I ate like a horse and food filled up both hollow legs and then ran right back out. I didn't have an ounce of fat on me, ever. In high school I swam two periods a day and would jump out of the pool when the fist bell rang and then flew to class holding my shoes in my hands and my hair flying down my back dripping wet. I never even thought about what I looked like or what I weighed. Some where deep inside of me I still feel like that high schooler running with her shoes in her hands with my hair flying behind me dripping wet. 

When I look at the above picture though I realize I sure don't look that way now. How in the world did I get to look like that? Now, I know some of you are going to say things like, "oh Jill stop being so silly, you are fine, don't worry, you're not young anymore"  But my dear kindred spirit said it well, Jean said, "Jill, this is NOT you." Speak truth into my life dear friend.

I know that I am wiser and smarter than I was all those years ago and that my value has never changed. So please hear me when I say that my value as a person hasn't changed. What has changed is that I am no longer healthy and I no longer possess self discipline. I know that my body is the temple of God's Spirit and I have hurt my body. Oh, I didn't self mutilate, nothing that dramatic but I have hurt my body none the less. I sure had no intention of being unhealthy. In fact, I have been going to the gym for the last couple of years again, swimming and working out, and still I eat and gain weight.

I can tell you the exact date my body started to fall apart, the day our brand new 14 year old son walked into our lives. I had been swimming 5 days a week and doing a triathlon. I was in the best shape of my life and that is saying something considering how athletic I was since being a kid. 

The emotional toll that it took on my brain and on my body are too numerous to count. I had to stop going to the gym because our newest son was such a handful he couldn't be left in the house alone even at 5 a.m. when I would usually work out. The stress of having him in the house was incredible. As happy as I was to have him become a part of the family I just could not keep the stress at bay, so I started eating a little more than normal. Then, we added our 7th son just six months later and I ate even more. I did not handle the stress well so food became my comfort. 

This didn't happen all at once. This was a very slow gradual weight gain for me. If you only gain a pound a month but keep it going over the course of multiple years then you have a problem, a real problem. At some point that less than a pound a month became an extra 60 pounds. I feel like I have been the proverbial frog in the water. Ever so slowly the heat got turned up and slowly I started eating a little more here and little more there. Until, now I am like the frog, blown up big by the heat!

This has been such a private struggle that I have shared almost nothing with anyone. I can walk into a room and look at other women and compare by asking myself this question, am I bigger or smaller than she is? That is a terrible truth my dear. My attitude has been all wrong. I have tried to ignore my problem by seeing myself as that young girl running down the hall but when I look in the mirror that does not lie I am no longer that gal.

If obesity was only the visual problem then I say forget trying to be skinny and just eat to your hearts content. In fact, if the LORD allows me to live into my 80's then I am going to chuck eating healthy and eat what I want! Really!

For now though I need to take back my body and practice what I preach to all our young pregnant Mama's. It is kind of hard to look at a pregnant woman and read her food diary and encourage her to change her eating habits to a healthier lifestyle and continue to  eat too much food. It is being hypocritical. Of course the women work with are all young. I could eat anything and still not gain weight at that age. 

Reality sinks back in again. My will power has left me and I have lacked the self control I need to get this done. I have tried counting calories, doing Weight Watchers etc and nothing has helped. So where do I go from here? Good question. I will try and answer that next time.

Till next time. 
In Christ Alone, 

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Gratituesday is a day to step back and count our blessings.  I never tire of having Tuesday roll around because I know it is so important to have a thankful heart. It's not always easy mind you. Life happens and life is not always easy.

I am thankful we live in a country where we are free to express how we feel. I am thankful that we are free to worship the way we felt led. All of these freedoms were not free or cheap. Thousands have given their lives to keep those freedoms.

My own husband felt at a very early age that he needed to support his country and give his career to the military and fight if necessary to keep those freedoms. He faithfully served 22 years. Scores of young people have signed up on the dotted line and raised their right hands and went to protect our country through countless wars. Some of those young people never came home alive.

I think of the soldiers who were so young they didn't even have much to shave! Countless of them ended up digging fox holes and jumping in them for hours at a time. Many nights in those holes praying that they would see the next day. The sheer terror of hearing and seeing  the enemy fire on them.

Mom's and Dad's, sisters and brothers, aunt and uncles have had to lay their soldiers into the ground because they gave the ultimate sacrifice. For these people I say a huge thank you. The price they paid was the ultimate sacrifice someone can give, their all.

It also reminds me of another sacrifice several thousand years ago. God's son left heaven to come down and become a man. He knew the end of the story already. He would have to die an awful death to redeem mankind. He knew it would be ugly but he chose to do it anyway. I am so very thankful.

Who or what are you thankful for today? Please share, I would love to know.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gratituesday, Even Today

I typically write my blog post for Gratituesday the day before, but for whatever reason I didn't and for that I am thankful.

I have always tried to be real on this page,  not sugar coating anything. This morning I woke to the news that over 50 people have died in that terrible tornado, at least 20 are children. This morning there is terrible devastation in Oklahoma that takes your breath away.

This morning there are at least 20 sets of parents that are working on their child's funeral. I feel inadequate this morning in sharing my thoughts.  Through our experiences I can tell you a couple of things that I do know.

There are Hallmark cards out there that say something to the affect, "God sent for your child because he needed another angel" This one outrages me. God did not need another angel that he could not have created himself in the blink of an eye.

Another outrageous remark, "At least you are young enough to have another child" I don't want another child, I want my child that was just ripped from my arms back where he belongs.  I know people mean well, they just don't know what to say, so they say stupid things.

There is nothing worse than losing a child. Your arms ache, your heart feels like it will break in two. You walk around and wonder how people can be laughing when you just want to die. The other night we attended an American Heritage Girl graduation for our grand daughters.  Last year Serenity's co-worker and friend Amanda died in a horrible car crash along with her baby Sophia. There are just no words. Amanda's Dad came to the dedication of the cross over bridge that was built in her and Sophia's memory. Amanda's dad is about my age. I went up and gave him a hug just like I did a little over a year ago and just told him how sorry I was for his loss.

He told me the first six months he walked around in a trance. He could not believe he had just lost his daughter and grand daughter. This sorrow just washed over him a fresh. Fresh tears, fresh broken heart. There are no words, except I am so very sorry for your loss.

This morning when I woke up I turned on my music and the first song in the mix was Stephen Curtis Chapman's song Cinderella. For those of you who don't know he wrote this song about his daughters who were growing up so fast and the pressures of the world were weighing heavy but he knew life was short so he got up and danced when his daughter begged him to put away his work and just dance with her. He did a video of the song with one of his daughters. Not long after the video and song came out that little girl was killed in a tragic car accident.

So what is the message today? How do we comfort those who have lost a precious child, no matter the age? You hug them and tell them "I am so sorry" and weep with them. Those are the four words you need, nothing else. No other stories about how you understand their pain because you lost a grandma or a beloved cat, just I am so sorry.

Hug your children today, hug those you love today and tell them just how special they are to you. Live a life of gratitude with the realization that today is the only day you are promised. Don't waste a moment.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The next couple of weeks are going to be wild. Serenity and I sat down the other day and planned every meal that needs to be prepared before hand, how many beds we need including pillows. We are planning the graduation of our baby boy.

The tradition where I live has you putting on an open house that can rival a wedding banquet. What happened to the days of cake and punch for graduation? Apparently things have changed! Oh what fun. Truthfully, I can't think of a better send off for our baby than gathering all our family and friends and celebrating the amazing gift of our son.

Both Serenity and I love cooking and hosting parties. There hasn't been a lot of celebrating in our family the past few years. But very soon, all of my children will come together along with two handfuls  of grand babies and then let the party begin.

This side of heaven, I can't think of a better celebration. For that, I am truly grateful!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To All the Mama's

Today is Mother's Day, which brings such mixed emotions for me. After all these years I still grieve for the mother that was taken from me before I have any memories of her. It wasn't till our first born was handed to me that I wondered, "what did my mom feel when she held me for the first time? Was she happy, or was she sad that I wasn't a boy?  Did I bring her joy or was a such a fussy baby that she was just weary?

Then I think about all the women like Elizabeth who wanted a child so bad her arms ached. Mother's day is such a cruel holiday for those women who so desperately want to be called Mama. The terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach when she sees a newborn being held and all she wants to do is run from the room and cry.

Then I think of all the Mama's in the world that carry such a burden of guilt. They were young, the were pressured, they were oblivious to the choice they were about to make and then in a blink of any eye, their baby is gone. They know in their hearts that this baby was not just a blob of tissue, but a real living human being.  If they could turn back the hands of time the decision would be different.

Then I think of all the Mama's who have had to bury their own children. No one should have to do such a thing. It has been said there is nothing worse than closing the casket of your child. With the close of the casket the hopes and dreams for this child is gone forever. 

Mother's Day.  Pretty flowers, adorable cards, a breakfast in bed or a forgotten holiday.  Each of us has our own bag of memories that we keep hidden from the world. Today, in my small and very inadequate way I want to say that I remember if no one else days. More importantly, God remembers and he will wipe every tear away. Some day he will make all things new.

I hold to that promise each and every day. 

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baby S and the Beautiful Lotus Birth

What a peace filled birth. This is one of the first ones I have had the privilege to work from start to finish. I was there for her first pre-natal visit and everything else including the birth and well baby check at one day old.

Normally our clients come into one of our three offices for their pre-natal visits. However, in this case we had just finished up a home visit in the same are, so we actually went to Baby S’s Mama house for the first visit. Wendy had been the midwife for her other children so this was a reacquainted visit for Wendy.

When we pulled up to this lovely couple’s home I stood with my mouth hanging open, their home is a castle! So for the early months I called her in my mind the castle lady. Their home is beyond lovely. They are such gracious hostesses. In fact at the first visit they had a Christmas gift for Wendy beautifully wrapped, sitting waiting for her to open it. I thought to myself, these are very thoughtful people, and they were indeed.

Like most of our clients, Baby S’s mom was extremely conscious of what she put into her body. It is usually my job to go over the food diary they keep at the beginning of the pregnancy. There was not one suggestion I could offer. Nothing, she knew nutrition like the back of her hand. This baby was off to a great start!

As the pregnancy progressed she did fabulous. She had very few questions throughout the pregnancy. She is one informed Mama. Dad is also a true partner in all of this. He reads everything about birth and babies along with her. They use the Bradley method so they focus on relaxation, working with the baby and not against. They did all of their pre natal’s together, so we were able to really get to know Dad, which is a huge benefit.

I remember at about 34 weeks Mama came in and lay down on the table and when I looked at her belly I said, (without thinking of course) “WOW, that is the biggest belly I have ever seen.”  That’s me, sometimes my mouth runs faster than my brain! What I meant to say it is the tallest belly I have ever seen. She is a very small woman and you couldn’t tell anywhere besides her belly that she was even pregnant. When she was on the table her belly looked like a tall mountain, it was quite impressive.

We had all been looking forward to this birth. The call came at 3:45 am. Mama’s contractions were 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart. We all headed right over. When I got there Mama came down the stairs and promptly went into the kitchen and squeezed her own oranges for some fresh orange juice. I offered to do counter pressure during the contractions but she told me she was doing fine. We laughed in the kitchen.

Now, six months ago I would have said she was far from delivery. I have learned the rules are no rules at all. I started the herbal bath brewing on the stove and Wendy came and talked with us in the kitchen and asked if she could check her progress.

They went upstairs and Courtney and I followed in a few minutes. Mama didn’t want to know the number for dilation so Wendy wrote it in the chart and we both looked and saw she was already 7 centimeters and the baby’s station was plus one.

We got busy getting all our supplies laid out and ready to go. We listened to the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler for the first time. Mama S had asked us to use the old fashion fetal scope during the whole pregnancy so I got a really cool handmade wood instrument. Listening through that is very different then hearing it on an electronic device. I was thrilled when I heard it.

Mama had intended on a water birth and boy did she have the place to do it. I wish I could share a picture of their bathroom. Picture a beautiful sunken very elegant tub, a fireplace, beautiful windows, soft music, and at least a 2-3 person pretty shower. There are handmade cabinets all around the room, and this is just one bathroom!

Mama labored quietly with hubby for less than 2 hours. All at once she had the urge to push without so much as a sound out of her. Dad got in the tub halfway, sitting on the edge. That lasted about 2 minutes, and then Mama said “the baby is coming!” and sure enough a head popped out. Dad is holding the babies head and looks over to Wendy who is sitting on a chair in the corner. Dad says to Wendy, “Um Wendy, I got the head!” yep Wendy said as she stayed in the chair. The rest of the body will come out in just a second. The next push out came this beautiful baby. Both Mom and Dad pulled the baby up out of the water and onto Mama’s chest. Dad and Mama had no idea if they were having a boy or a girl. When they looked down to see the baby was a boy, Mama’s face was priceless. The professional photographer (who took the above picture) captured the look and I will never forget the joy on Mama’s face.

They sat there for the longest time in awe. Dad kept kissing the baby and Mama. They both talked to their new son and just loved on him. We made our self-scarce for a while so they had some private time bonding. It was obvious baby did not need any help from us!

This was such a beautiful and peace filled birth. I wish all women knew they could do the very same thing. It takes good information, a healthy lifestyle, chiropractic care and just lots of time being healthy. Any woman who wants to could do just what our Mama did. She is strong and she is powerful.

This was a lotus birth which means not only is the cord not cut after the placenta is delivered but it stays attached to baby for an extended period of time. They ended up moving to the massage table in their bedroom with Mama on a birthing ball and Dad on his knees holding his new son. They lit taper candles and each burnt the cord from their respective sides about 10 centimeters from his belly. It was all done in complete safety. Apparently the temperature warms up the cord and in turns warms up the baby’s intestines. It actually took about 12 minutes to burn through the cord. Baby slept peacefully in Daddy’s arms during the whole thing. 

We didn’t leave for almost 5 hours after the birth. We all sat around the bed and retold the birth story, listening to Mama and Dad tell from their vantage points. It seems the funniest part was when Daddy looked up at Wendy with questioning eyes, like help Wendy, I don’t know what I am doing type look. In typical Wendy fashion, she calmly told him he was doing great and just stay the course, cool as a cucumber!

It never gets old. Each birth is a true miracle that I am privileged to witness time and time again. This one was extra special. It reminded me again just how blessed I am! I don’t happen to be blessed with a castle but I am blessed with memories of countless experiences that enrich my life.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

I have to say, when I first started to write this story I had not intended to take it in this direction. I have rarely shared this story. Those who know and love us best know Richard and his story but it is not something we have shared publicly. Probably because we would be regarded as quakes if we did. I had started Richards story for the adoption piece because I really wanted to write about adoptions that didn’t go as planned. First though, I wanted to write a story about a positive adoption. Hopefully that makes sense. So on to the story.

Richard and I were med-evacuated out to a larger base. The plan was to stay in the hospital for at least a week to do all the testing. By this point he was 5 months old.

We saw so many neurologists I lost count. Everyone wanted to see the baby who was blind. We had nuclear testing done on his brain, sleep studies, countless Ct scans and MRI’s. All without a clear picture of what had happened to our baby.  We had ophthalmologists and pediatricians and everyone else who wanted to come see and no answers. Each time we were told atrophy had already occurred so it was impossible to reverse.

And each day a little girl prayed. Confident that God would heal her baby brother. How do you explain to a child that God is ABLE but usually doesn’t choose to heal in such a dramatic way? We wrestled with the question, it was so heavy on my heart along with the knowledge that Richard would never see his family who loved him or the magnificent mountains or the stunning oceans.

It was a very stressful season in our lives. There was no family around to help us. Back then there were no cell phones to just call loved ones. Every long distance call came with a hefty price. The church we attended was wonderful but we didn’t know them and they didn’t know us. It was a very lonely time indeed to walk this path.

And then a miracle happened. One that to this day cannot be explained by doctors or anyone else, a simple, quiet miracle. There was no fan fare. No trumpets were blown, no $25 prayer clothes were used. Just a continual prayer by a little girl named Serenity who believed.

Toward the end of our hospital stay one morning the ophthalmologist came in to go over some tests. His right eye was following movements, tracking with the doctor! How could that be I asked? He looked behind his eyes and the atrophy that was once irreversible had vanished. We couldn’t believe it, how is that possible?  The doctor had no answers that day.

He checked his left eye and still no response, still no change. The next day he came back in and sure enough, the left eye was tracking and the atrophy was gone!  I will be brutally honest; my mind could simply not compute that God had healed our baby’s eyes. I don’t know if I was simply shocked or what, but to my shame I did not give God the glory at that point.

We flew home several days and tests later without a single explanation medically as to what happened. Thoughts like, maybe they had been wrong all along. Of course I knew in my heart that he indeed was blind. I was there when the first doctor checked him. There was no doubt that he was indeed blind and now he could see.

I got home and there was Serenity with a smile as big as could be. Her mighty God had healed her baby brother. To her it was so simple. We tried to settle into some routine but as the Air Force has a way of doing, we moved shortly after. I didn’t know quite what to do or say. Would anyone believe me that God had healed our son? I knew people would think we were crazy so for the most part I kept quiet. All our family knew that God had healed our son but outside of that, no one was told.

The song Amazing Grace kept coming to mind. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.  That my friends,  is amazing grace!  

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Eighteen years ago a baby was born in need of a Mom and Dad. The LORD dropped this little baby into our laps and we have been thankful ever since. 

We brought home a very serious looking baby that had rolls on his rolls.  His feet and hands were huge! We thought, "oh my, those feet will cost a fortune at some point to clothe."

It took about six months for this little guy to perk up. We did a lot of work on bonding. All of us took turns playing with him to help him catch up on major milestones. By the time he was a year old, he was a very happy little guy, well little except his hands and feet! For some strange reason this little guy could throw a ball, any ball perfectly when ever he threw one. He had perfect pitch as a toddler and has just gotten better and better. 

We have watched this little baby grow into a fine young man. This week my baby among all the rest turned 18, the magic number for all young men. He is a gentle giant according to his teachers at school. He is a gentleman, a leader, a lover of God and a force to be reckon with on the basketball court. He still loves anything he can throw.

In just a couple of weeks this young man will be graduating from high school. At the moment he has a 3.9 average. He studies hard and does his best. He truly is a gentle giant and I love this boy who has now become a man. God is truly good, all the time.

Thank you Michael for being my son and thank you God for sending him our way. 
What are you thankful for?

In Christ ALone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shaken Baby

If you haven’t read the rest of the story first, go back to the beginning of the story first, trust me, it will make a lot more sense if you do.

The day after going to the doctor and realizing Richard was blind, I was off back to the lady pediatrician that had been so compassionate just two days before.

I get to the clinic and she is waiting for me. I ask her if she knew Richard was blind two days earlier when she saw us and she had suspected he was blind.  She then shared that the week before I had come in with the baby another baby boy had come into the hospital with a serious condition called “shaken baby” which I had never heard of. That little boy had been crying for long periods of time and one of the parents had shaken him so hard that he ended up having significant brain damage and died within just a couple of days.

With that as the backdrop she asked me questions about how we had dealt with the babies crying. In shame I cried telling her that I had to leave the room at times and just shut the door. This cry, which we later learned was a huge clue into the problem, was a very high- pitched cry that doctors know when hearing it, that there are serious brain issues going on.  She asked about my husband and I told her that he had to leave the house it was so bad. She asked if either of us had ever shook the baby and we said no.

A CT scan was scheduled for the next day. Looking back, I am amazed social worker had not taken our baby from us knowing what we know now. Certainly in 2013 he would have been taken right away. Back then shaken baby was not nearly as well known. I was told the CT scan would show what was going on with his brain.

I think I was still in shock over knowing our baby would never see our faces that I had no clue suspicion was casting it’s shadow over us. The scan wasn’t done for several weeks. I think we saw a dozen doctors before the actual scan. Each time the doctor would start out saying something like this.  “It must have been so hard for you and your husband to cope with all the screaming. How did you cope?”  After about the third doctor I would cut him off and say, we did not hurt our baby. They all had poker faces so I had no clue if they believed me or not.
Finally the day arrived for the CT scan.  He had to be put to sleep and it was very traumatic.  Of course the scan showed it was not shaken baby but it did show some of the challenges he was facing. To say I was relieved would not have been true. I just knew our baby was blind and couldn’t focus on anything else.

I wish I had been a spiritual giant back then. The only thing that I could wrap my brain around was that God would use his blindness for his good. I pictured Richard preaching for a large congregation. I pictured him leading singing to the song Amazing Grace. There is a line in the song that says, I once was blind but now I see. Of course he would preach on how when we don’t have God as our LORD and Savior we are blind to sin but when God comes into our lives our eyes are opened to his love and mercy. Never once did I believe that God would heal him, not once.

God says that we need to become like little children and believe. Serenity our little 5 year old was doing just that. She believed and she prayed.

It still had not dawned on me that we had asked all along for a special needs baby and that God had given us exactly what we had asked for. All I knew is that our baby would never get to experience the sun rising or setting and I grieved.

So many tests were done. They discovered that Richard had a hole at the base of his brain. They could see that his brain had been swollen but they still had no answers. By the time every test had been done, the doctors decided to med-evac Richard and I out to another base with a bigger hospital to hopefully find some answers.

With no family anywhere close to us and barely a church family since we were so new we had no choice but to ask the church to help us. A kind family took Serenity and Gabriel during the day while Rich was in his schooling. Richard and I flew out on a huge airplane that was a flying medical hospital.  The prayers of a little girl went with us.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "oh crud, she's up!"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Let the Little Children...

The faith of a child

Last time I left off with finding out Richard was blind. I was going to have to go home and face our other children. I had already called Rich and told him while I was still at the hospital. I remember being a wreck driving home.

I walked in and Rich had gotten home from his job and was with the children. Serenity was five years old at the time. We sat down with her and Gabriel who was three so he really didn’t have any clue what was going on.

I remember telling Serenity her baby brother was never going to see again. The doctors had told me that what had happened to him was permanent. Atrophy had already occurred behind his eyes and that was irreversible. 

Serenity had such a strong bond with her baby brother at this point. She considered Richard her baby and was therefore very protective. When I tried to explain Richard blindness she became upset. She wanted to know why it happened and of course at this point we had no answers. She then asked me a question that put my faith to the test.

“Mommy, God CAN heal Richard, right Mommy?” Of course he can I told her. Deep inside though I had doubts as to whether God would indeed heal Richard.  I had heard of those charlatans on T.V. that for a price would send you a prayer clothe that would heal you. I had heard of old fashioned tent meetings where you could go up for healing. None of those rang true to me.

So I did what any other mother would do and tried to explain to a little child that yes, God was very big and powerful but he usually didn’t heal little babies of blindness. I tried to tell her that God would use the blindness to be a witness to God’s glory and goodness.  All through this conversation and others just like it I would say the same thing. Of course honey, God has the power but he usually doesn’t work that way.

It didn’t matter what I said to my precious little girl with a giant sized faith. Serenity told me that God would heal her baby brother. Over and over again she would confidently tell me that God would heal him.

I was worried about my little girl’s faith. How will she ever recover when her prayers are not answered, I thought? How would she feel about God when he didn’t answer her prayer the way she had thought he would?  Being a Mom is a tough job. I felt so inadequate.

I remember going to bed that night and crying quietly asking God to be with our little family.  I had no other words. I never did pray for healing as far as I can remember. I knew God had the power but in my heart I knew that God didn’t work that way anymore.  Oh yea of little faith!

The next day I had another appointment and it was then that I realized just how serious Richard’s condition was.

Till next time.
In Christ Alone,