Friday, October 31, 2008

Miracles and Musings

We're baaaaaack!

This has been one crazy, chaotic, incredibly stressful, insanely wild week!

First things first. Pat is going to be okay. Thank you all for your earnest prayers. The Lord heard them and answered them in the best possible way. Pat is still in the hospital and will likely be there for several more days, but she is going to survive. Praise God!

She was rushed to the Critical Care Unit in the Murray hospital when she arrived at the ER on Saturday night, and the nurses and doctors who cared for her there told us that they did not think she was going to make it. She was close to death on the way to the hospital in Paducah and it was touch-and-go for the next day or two. When she arrived in Paducah, she was suffering from severe respiratory distress, kidney failure, and sepsis something something...??? (I don't know how to spell it or what the correct terminology is, but her body had an extremely high level of toxins in it, and with her kidneys shutting down, her body was poisoning itself. One of her lungs also completely shut down and would not work at all, so she was in a big mess. Poor thing.

The doctors in Paducah worked tirelessly to keep her alive and breathing. They scheduled for her to go on dialysis treatment to flush her body of the toxins that were poisoning her and to be put on a ventilator to help her breathe. But before they were able to do any of those things, her kidneys all of a sudden started working again (praise God!) and, even though they had her on oxygen and was struggling as she took each breath, she was improving just enough to keep from going on the ventilator (praise God!). They moved her to the ICU, where she stayed Monday and Tuesday. When Jay and I went in to see her in that room, we were so scared. She was so pale and hooked up to so many tubes, and her eyes were rolled back in her head and she couldn't speak, and every single breath she took required every ounce of her strength. She very nearly died.

But, with all of her children surrounding her, it is like she had a renewed ambition and had a little fight left in her to struggle to stay alive. You have to know Pat to understand her spunky personality. But it was almost like, even as sick as she was, she was trying to defy all of us who were thinking she was going to die, and thought, "I'll show YOU!" And, boy did she! She surprised all of her doctors and nurses with her rapid improvement. By Wednesday afternoon, she was taken out of the ICU and placed in a regular room. It was completely astonishing.

There was one little catch, though. They ran some tests on the fluid that had taken residence in her lungs and discovered that it was caused by some extremely aggressive and dangerous bacteria that can kill people rather quickly. It is also highly contagious. So they had to put her in an isolation room. It had it's plus sides. She got the room all to herself, and we were all still allowed to visit with her. But it also had a catch. Each person who entered her room had to take safety precautions first.

Even the kids were allowed to go see Grandma Pat, as long as they wore the protective coverings. I sooooo wish I had brought my camera with me so you could have seen all of us. But we had to put on a protective gown, rubber gloves (they even had latex-free ones for me!), shoe covers, and masks to cover our faces. Boy, were we all a sight to see! Ha ha. The kids were super excited to get decked out in their "costumes". All the nurses were laughing at how much the kids enjoyed getting dressed up (because to everyone else it was quite frustrating and time consuming).

We all looked like we belonged in the movie E.T. when everyone is wearing all those radiation suits. It was quite funny. Ben went around to everyone and "performed surgery" on them as though he was a surgeon, and little Hannah followed his lead by running around the room to each person and proudly announcing, "Look uh me! I a doctor!" She was so cute.

Rebekah had a little different reaction. She is my "grown up" girl. She takes things very seriously, and was busy being "mother hen" to all of us, making sure we all kept the masks on, stayed 3 feet away from Grandma, etc. She was genuinely concerned about Grandma's welfare and wanted to keep everyone else safe. It was her idea to go to the gift shop and buy Grandma Pat some flowers, and even addressed the card all by herself. She was very sweet and behaved very responsibly and maturely. I was proud of her. She even performed for Grandma Pat. She had been learning sign language at our homeschool co-op, so she did The Pledge of Allegiance in sign language. Pat was able to speak a little bit (very weakly), but was able to tell Rebekah how it made Grandma very happy and proud of her. She did a great job.

With Pat doing so much better, and the doctors saying that she would make a miraculously full recovery, Jay and I decided to travel back home on Thursday. We had Jay's sister, Melissa, with us, since she lives only 5 miles from our house. I am so glad we have a minivan with plenty of room for everyone! And, by God's providence, we had just gotten new brakes put on the van on Saturday, so we were ready to tackle those mountains in Chattanooga! Plus, we were extremely pleasantly surprised to find gas for sale at $2.08. Yes, that is a zero. And no, it is not in the wrong place. It was two dollars and eight cents a gallon. What a blessing to fill our tank for significantly less than the usual $65.00!

The kids did amazingly well, considering we got on the road at 5AM (CST) and were stuck in the car for over 14 long hours! But we arrived safe and sound at home, with our cat and our two dogs overjoyed to see us, and our warm cozy beds waiting to give us some much-needed rest.

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts, phone calls, and prayers during this time that could have been so much worse than it turned out to be. It is a miracle that Pat is alive today, and I know I can thank our Father in Heaven, who heard the prayers of our wonderful friends and loved ones.

In Christ Alone,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update on Pat

This is Tuesday. On Monday morning, we were told that they were going to intebate her, so she would be on a ventilator to help her breathe. They were also planning to do dialysis in an attempt to clean out the toxins from her body. Things were looking pretty bleak.

Jay and I decided rather quickly to pack everyone up and make the 13 hour drive to KY to see her. We arrived around 10:30PM KY time, which is 11:30PM FL time! We were pretty exhausted, but we made it in one piece! And the kids did amazingly well, being stuck in the car for so long!

Realization struck about how serious Pat's situation was when the doctors were suggesting that all of her family come to see her. So, all of Jay's sisters decided to come, too. It has been several years since all 5 of the siblings have been together in one place! So, in that respect, it will be nice to see everyone.

We got word when we arrived late last night that Pat's blood pressure has begun to climb back towards a healthy level. It is still very low right now, though. And, one of her lungs is now working at all, so that is not good news. But, the doctors are a tiny bit more optimistic about her condition than they were yesterday morning. And they have postponed the intebation for now.

We will continue to keep everyone updated via this blog whenever we have a chance to post to it.

Thank you for your continued prayers and petitions on her behalf.

In Christ,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayers Needed

We received a phone call early this morning that Jay's mom was in the hospital after having a hard time breathing with a virus she had gotten. The updates we have received throughout the day tell us that things have gotten drastically worse.

She was transferred to the Critical Care Unit, with a severe case of pneumonia. She is having to be on oxygen and is having a very difficult time breathing. Her blood pressure has dropped to a ridiculously low 70/30.

The doctors suspect that due to her low blood pressure level and her elevated white blood cell count, she is likely suffering from more than just pneumonia, but they have yet to figure out what else it is that is ailing her.

The doctors were unable to get an IV line in her, so they had to get a surgeon to surgically put a line into an artery in her neck.

Just a few minutes ago we got word that she is being transferred to another hospital, where she can hopefully get care more specific to her needs.

Jay and I are playing the "waiting game" while we try to decide what course of action we need to take. I will try to keep you all updated as we get word of any changes in her condition.

But right now we would really appreciate and covet your earnest prayers on her behalf.

In Christ,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Day at the Pumpkin Patch


My Little "Punkins"


We took a homeschool field trip to the Pumpkin Patch the other day. The kids had so much fun! There were classes offered there to teach the children various facts about pumpkins. How they are planted, how they grow, the different sizes, shapes, and colors, and even how they are harvested and shipped across the country. Very educational and very enjoyable.

Here are some great pics I got of the kids there:










And then, once we got home, the kids wanted to decorate their pumpkins, so we repeated our fun activity from the other day, and I let them paint their pumpkins out on the lanai.





Their decorations made a lovely addition to our entryway. Of course, I have to admit that little H smearing her piggy nose on the screen definitely adds to the cuteness... don't you think? :o)



Saturday, October 18, 2008

A New Favorite Routine

R and I have adopted a new routine into our daily schedule. And it has quickly become our favorite part of the day.

___
Click here for a link to the Elsie Dinsmore series and other wholesome books and activities for girls that promotes godly character.

Each night, after we all do our family Bible and prayer time, R and I will go into her room, curl up in the covers of her bed, and read a chapter of Elsie Dinsmore. It is such a wonderful series! It is so wholesome, sweet and innocent.

Little Elsie Dinsmore is a sweet little girl, who tries very hard to follow the Lord in everything she does. She has many trials in her life, and many temptations from others who scoff at her faith and call her weird. But through all her struggles, she perseveres in her faith and obedience to God, whom she loves dearly.

Since beginning to read about Elsie and her faith, I have had the wonderful opportunity to witness my own sweet daughter attempting to model herself after the godly character we read about in Elsie Dinsmore. These books have made her tender to the Holy Spirit, and it is so sweet to see.

I love our new special time together. It is so amazing how strongly our bond has grown after only a few nights of reading about wholesome, godly characters, and discussing how we can apply the Biblical principles we read about into our daily lives.

Speaking of which, I had better hurry up and publish this post... it's almost time for us to read the next chapter! :o)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama and the Abortion Question by Albert Mohler

Here is a very interesting article I read this afternoon. It's long... but well worth reading all the way through.

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The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of the depth of belief that Senator Obama has expressed in words and actions about life. Put simply, he does not value life in the womb and has voted four times to kill babies that were born after botched abortions. How far will his perspective go? I guess my question is, will any stage of life be safe?


The shadow of abortion looms large over the American conscience. Over thirty years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion controversy has not gone away. If the U.S. Supreme Court majority really thought that their decision to create a new "right" to abortion would resolve the issue, history has rejected that assumption. The nation is even more divided on this question in 2008 than it was in 1973.

Each new presidential election is greeted by some with hopes that the abortion issue will go away. The controversy resists disappearance. It cannot merely go away, because both sides in the controversy see the issue in ultimate terms.

The worldview clash is never more clearly revealed than on this grave question. One side defines the issue in terms of a woman's right to control her own destiny. Then, as now, abortion advocates argue that access to abortion is necessary in order to level the playing field between men and women. Feminists argued that abortion rights were and are absolutely necessary to a woman's autonomy and privacy. Abortion rights advocates have argued amongst themselves over the question of whether to admit that the killing of an unborn child is even a tragedy. Whatever the admission, the unborn child's intrinsic right to life is denied. In the classic form of this argument, a woman must have the right to an abortion at anywhere, any time, for any reason, whether or not she can pay for it.

The other side of the argument looks to the unborn child as the most significant moral question. This side bases its assumptions on the claim that a human being, at any stage of development, has an intrinsic right to life that must be respected by all humanity. Thus, any pregnancy that ends in the death of the child is a tragedy. The only distinction between the death of that unborn child and the death of a child after its birth is that the unborn child is not yet known by others to the extent the child born alive soon comes to be known. A miscarriage, like any other natural death, is a tragedy marked by loss and grief. An abortion, like any other taking of innocent human life, is an act of moral treachery.

For the better part of four decades, some have attempted to find a middle ground between these two positions, but to no avail. The reason quickly becomes clear. If abortion is to be understood as a fundamental right, no woman can be denied the exercise of that right. If abortion is the taking of innocent human life, no justification can be offered for abortion as a means of ending an unwanted pregnancy -- none at all. Middle ground would be possible only if we can assume that the right to abortion is not fundamental, but merely provisional, and that the unborn child does not have an intrinsic right to life, but only a provisional right. Efforts to frame the issue in this way fail because neither of these assumptions can be qualified in this way and remain coherent.

Abortion is back front and center in the 2008 presidential race. Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party Platform call for a reversal of Roe v. Wade and are against any notion of abortion as a fundamental right. Both the candidate and the platform call for specific measures to curtail access to abortion and to lead, eventually, to the end of abortion on demand.

Sen. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party Platform call for a stalwart and enthusiastic defense of Roe v. Wade and for expanded access to abortion. In the case of Sen. Obama, his advocacy of abortion rights goes considerably beyond where any major candidate has ever gone before.

In
a recent essay, Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University makes the case that Sen. Obama is "the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States." Further: "He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress"

This is quite a claim, but Professor George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, argues his case convincingly.

First:

For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ''forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.'' In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen.

Second:

He has promised that ''the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act'' (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ''fundamental right'' to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ''a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons.'' In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ''sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.''

Third:

Obama, unlike even many ''pro-choice'' legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a ''punishment'' that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing ''pro-choice'' about that.

In addition:

In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.

Anyone who takes the issue of abortion with moral seriousness should look closely at Professor George's essay, for it makes his case convincingly, adding many points of argument and evidence to those cited above. Beyond Professor George's essay, take a look for yourself at the
Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA] Sen. Obama has pledged to sign -- even as a first act in office as President.

The FOCA establishes the right to an abortion as a fundamental right, ensuring that abortion rights would remain in force even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. The act would also repeal provisions that limit federal funding of abortion, strip doctors of "conscience clauses" that allow them not to perform abortions, and nullify state provisions that allow for waiting periods, counseling, and parental notification when a minor is involved. Support for this provision would alone suffice to characterize Sen. Obama's position as radical and to sustain Professor George's argument.

The fact is that Sen. Barack Obama has never voted to support any measure that would, in itself, lead to any reduction in the number of abortions performed. He also appears never to have failed to support any provision -- however radical -- that would expand access to abortion. He even opposes a ban on partial birth abortions.

Some now argue that pro-life voters can nevertheless vote for Sen. Obama. As Professor George argues, this is delusional.

There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.

This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other issues.

There is fatigue and frustration with the Republican Party and with limited progress. There is frustration with mixed signals and missed opportunities. There is the acknowledgment that we have too often been told what we want to hear and then been ignored.

There is the sense that the battle has grown old -- along with those who are fighting it. There are signs that the culture is closing its ears. We all have other concerns as well. Can we make any progress on those if we remain tenaciously committed to opposing abortion?

Yet, there is the reality that we face a choice. This is a limited choice. And we cannot evade responsibility for the question of abortion. Our vote will determine whether millions of unborn babies live or die. The Freedom of Choice Act, if passed, would lead directly to a radical increase in the numbers of abortions. The abortion industry has told us that themselves.

The question comes down to this: How many lives are we willing to forfeit -- to write off as expendable -- in order to "move on" to other issues of concern? There is no way to avoid that question and remain morally serious. The voting booth is no place to hide.

_____________________

We discussed this question on Tuesday's edition of
The Albert Mohler Program, with Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University as my guest [listen here]. Also, check out the new Web site of the Witherspoon Institute, http://www.publicdiscourse.com/.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunsets and Sweetie Pies

A few evenings ago, I was welcoming Jay home from work and we were busy filling each other in on the happenings of our days, when all of a sudden, the house seemed unusually quiet. Considering the kind of children we have (explanation here), this is not normal and, therefore, not necessarily a good thing.

After searching all the rooms in the house and the backyard, we were beginning to worry, when at last we found them, sitting together all in a row, on top of the trunk of their daddy's car. R had even helped little H up onto the trunk, so she could be just like the big kids. :o)

When we asked them what they were doing, their response was a very matter-of-fact, "We're going to watch the beautiful sunset God makes tonight." Jay and I were a little taken aback. This is not normal behavior for them, even though we thought it was a very sweet idea.

So, of course, I got my camera to capture this beautiful moment... the moment when they saw first-hand, and were able to appreciate, the beauty of God's creation.

Here is the "interview" :

video

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fun in the "Sun"

The other day, I needed to get some much-needed work done around the house. You know, the kinds of things that need to get done periodically, but don't get done as often as regular chores, such as: scrubbing all around the sink and faucet, mopping and scrubbing all of the floors, cleaning up the walkway to the front door, etc.

I knew I was not going to get much done with all of the kids in the house, so I had to think of a plan that would keep them occupied and entertained for long enough for me to get my work done. For some odd reason, I chose finger painting. Yep.

But this time, I planned for it a little better. I set up their paints outside on the lanai, and I had the kids change into their swim suits, to salvage the few outfits they can still fit into.



I must say, I think it worked out rather perfectly. The kids had a blast out there! And, so did the dogs! Poor Miley got too close and got splattered with paint on her paw and above each of her eyes. Rambo kept a safe distance, though, just like he always does. :o)







When the kids were done with their "masterpieces" and hung them up to dry, I got the hose out, and put them to work. Sine the table is smooth plastic, the paint came up very easily! And the kids enjoyed the task of cleaning up so much, that it didn't seem like chores to them!





And, of course, after all that hard work of cleaning up the messes on the table, chairs and themselves with the hose.... it proved to be too great a temptation for the kids. They just couldn't help but to spray each other down with the hose, too. And they loved it!





And what better way to finish off this fun day than to eat pizza on their newly cleaned table and chairs?



Of course, when all those little wet feet came inside and walked across my freshly mopped floor... I was a little flustered.



But, they had so much fun... and I still had my mop water out.... so I just mopped it all up again.

All in all, it was still one fun, fun, sunny day! :o)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My First "Meme"

My friend Bronie over at Team Victory was tagged for a "meme", and offered it to anyone else who would like to give it a try. Now I must admit, I had never heard of a "meme" before, but I think I am going to try to tackle this mystery. (Mostly because I have been so busy lately that I don't have anything else to use for a blog post right now) :o)

So here goes...
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1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Jay and I had just entered our 2nd wonderful year of marriage. We were living in Married Housing at APSU in Clarksville, and had just returned from a college trip to England and Scotland. I was trying to recuperate after a nasty and unfortunate tumble down the side of a mountain in Edinburgh, Scotland. While there, I got the interesting experience of riding in a Scottish ambulance, and participating in the socialized medicine they have there. The hospital was as crazy as they come! I messed up the ligaments in my right knee... and it has never been the same.

Jay and I were also members of our wonderful church at the time - Riverside Baptist Church in Nashville. We had some of our best experiences there - more than we've ever had in any other church - before or since.


2. Things on my "To Do" list for today (I will say this week, and I may or may not get to them all):

* Laundry, laundry and MORE laundry. Ugh. (I may try not to get to this one. ha ha)
* Homeschool Field Trip to the Nature Center for the Reptile and Amphibian Festival.
* Homeschool Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch. (there will be actual classes all about pumpkins and what it takes to keep a pumpkin farm running properly).
* Homeschool Physical Fitness Fun Day (a bunch of homeschoolers get together and have a structured P.E. class for the kids at a community park, then stay for a picnic lunch.) Lots of fun!
* Classes with the Homeschool Co-op we are involved in this year. (R takes Spanish, Music and Sign Language. B takes Music, Reading and Creation). We love it!
* SLEEP! (unfortunately, I may not get to this one, either) Sigh


3. What is your favorite snack?

Oh, what's not to love? Really, my favorite snack varies by whatever mood I am in. Sometimes, it is Ritz crackers with peanut butter. Sometimes it is carrot sticks with ranch dressing. Sometimes it is a delicious slice of New York style cheesecake. And sometimes it is a good ol' fashioned Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. (the last two are my thankfully rare guilty pleasures.)


4. If you were a millionaire, you would...

Tithe BIG.
Pay of all debt.
Pay cash for a house.... somewhere.
Travel the world with my husband and kids.
Fund our own missionary journey through the world.


5. List 5 places you have lived.

* Spring Hill, Florida
* Easton, Maryland
* Fort Worth, Texas
* Nashville, Tennessee
* Aurora, Colorado
(and Jay is from San Diego, CA, so all we have to do now is live in the Northwest and we will have all of our bases covered! Hmmmm...)

6. List 5 people you are tagging for this Meme.

* My bloggy friend, Jessica, from Our Family Highlights - because with uprooting her family and moving twice in two months, I figured she just didn't have enough to do right now!
* My seminary friend, Lydia, from Pastor's Wife - because she called me Super Mom (when she knows full well it is really the other way around).
* My church friend, Susan, from Run, Susan, Run! - because I think she could use some new inspiration to write about in her blog, and I miss reading her wonderful posts.
* My sister-in-law, Deanna, from The Adventures of BranDanna - because 9 months with no new blog post?! Come on already!!!
* My cousin, Juliette, from Juliette's Blog - because she is so adventurous and fun, and I look forward to the interesting things she will come up with in her Meme.
* I will leave another opening blank for anyone else who wants to tackle the mystery that is a "Meme". Just let me know when you join in!

Have fun! :o)