Thursday, December 17, 2009

URGENT Prayer Request

Well, here we are again. Back and forth.. good news then bad. Phew! We saw Ansley's ped. this morning and everything looked great. Ansley was sitting up like a champ on the table and her happy, chipper self. She said her lungs sounded fine and we needed to hold off on all of the crazy meds they prescribed Ansley. I was relieved to hear her say that, bc I was feeling that way too. Anyway.. walking out the door to pick up Zachary from Parent's Day Out, I received a call from the ER doctor. He said that he has been further reviewing Ansley's chest x-rays and there appears to be some mild pneumonia. So, that would indicate that she had indeed been aspirating. He said that because she has no current symptoms that we now have to just sit and wait to see if she worsens. Please pray that her symptoms do NOT worsen or appear at all and that any mild pneumonia disappears from her sweet lungs. THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ER

Phew, what a day! The past few days (since we started rice cereal and immediately after her barium swallow showed no asipiration) Ansley has been choking a little bit during some of her feedings and other random times when she isn't eating. She also has been waking up more and more and night crying without us being able to console her. Last night was pretty bad with her waking up every hour at least and having a lot of gagging. There are a few more details in there, but long story short, when I spoke with the GI dr. today, she said we needed to head to the emergency room because it sounded like aspiration and she felt in her gut that she needed to be checked out immediately. I had a momentary moment of panic remembering back to the last time we went in to the ER when Ansley was 10 weeks old. IVs, 2 spinal taps and three days at the hospital. I just dropped onto my knees and began some sort of strange mumbly cry type of prayer. Zachary immediately came over to me and said, "Mommy, you don't need to be afraid. God is always with us." WOW! He used my sweet child to speak His words to me. I was immediately at peace. Thankfully, it was at the end of Rob's day so he headed over to meet us there. Ansley had some baseline lab work and x-rays of her chest and abdomen. We were there for a little over four hours and thankfully, my wonderful parents came to support us (and my dad brought us dinner, thanks dad!!!). They also helped entertain Zachary when we had to take Ansley in for the x-rays. Her chest x-ray came back perfect, NO aspiration, thank you Jesus! Her abdominal x-ray showed a little constipation, so they think she may just be showing some signs of reflux after being introduced to solids. Reflux is definately familiar territory after Zachary had it so bad for nine months. So, we were discharged with report of heading to the GI for some 12-24 hours test that sends a tube down her nose to check for reflux. We have a follow up with our pediatrician and then the GI. But, thankfully, there was no aspiration which was the main concern of the doctors. We spend way too much time at that hospital!



I'll leave you with a funny picture. I spent some time relaxing upstairs for a little bit a few nights ago and came downstairs to this.....



I gave him a 'what in the world are you doing' look and he said,"What? She was fussing unless I held her." Whatever works for ya, babe!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hearts REJOICING!

We have lots of great news to share, but first a few pictures! My mother-in-law, Jan, treated us to an area festival with lots of fun trees and Christmas decorations and crafts the day after Thanksgiving. We had been wanting to go, so we were really excited to go and take the kids.



There were so many fun trees and Ansley absolutely LOVED all the fun lights!



The cookie decorating station = one happy 3 year old!!


I am so in love with this picture it makes my heart hurt! You cannot help but smile when you see Ansley smile. She has the absolute joy of the Lord shining through her face when she smiles. I know that I'm partial, but she is just so beautiful!

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Zachary really enjoyed decorating his jingle bell ornanament. Still can't figure out if he is left or right handed. Its still 50/50. Which, of course, Rob just says he'll be a switch hitter : )



The next three pictures are just to show Zachary's drama. Notice his facial expression changes in a rapid photo shoot. People always asked us when we found out we were having a girl if we were ready for the drama. Oh, we know drama!





Haha! He never fails to entertain, thats for sure!



Sleepy angel has her Daddy's lashes!


I have lots of good news to share, but I first want to send out a HUGE thank you. My sweet sister in law, Holly, (though she will deny this through and through) has orchestrated some sort of "Count it All Joy" scheme. We have been receiving "surprises" on our doorstep and in our mailbox for two weeks now. Each "blessing" has some sort of "Count it All Joy" label, and let me just say.. it is accomplishing the intended goal. We could never even begin to express how much it has blessed us. We have been keeping the front blinds closed so that we don't accidentally catch someone. I still don't know how we have not seen anyone! We actually did once, because my sweet little nephew accidentally banged on the door. I thought it was intentional, so we opened it, but never would have if we had known it was an accident. I wish I could give individual thank yous and hugs to everyone who has been a part of this, but if you have been and are reading this.. THANK YOU!!!!! Everyday when we receive our "blessing" I always think of Paul's letters and specifically Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY.." From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!!!


Now to all the great news! Our early intervention specialist, Amy, comes every Monday to work with us. She continues to use the word "amaze" in some form when she works with Ansley. A couple of weeks ago, Ansley seemed to have strength in her abdomen overnight. She started bracing herself with her arm when she would fall to the side and can hold herself sitting up alone for sometimes 10 or so seconds now. Amy was in awe. We discussed Ansley's trouble on tummy time in that she continues to "sky dive" instead of use her arms to prop herself up and thats why she wasn't rolling tummy to back. (She started rolling back to tummy a couple of months ago) She gave me some techniques to try to help encourage her to brace herself on her arms. The next morning, I brought her downstairs to try them all out and the Lord, once again, just spoke strength into her arms overnight. It was like it was a different baby! I think I could make a flip book from all the pictures I took! She immediately pushed her entire chest off the floor with her hands and just started leaning to one side and the other, looking over her shoulder, and within a couple of minutes, just flipped right on over. I was crying, laughing and just saying "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!" We had quite a funny moment when Zachary then started dancing around the room singing, "Thank you Jesus"! Haha! And again, Amy was in awe. She looked at me like I was speaking French when I told her that the Lord spoke strength into her arms overnight, but the glory will go nowhere else.


Another health issue of Ansley's that God has so mercifully delivered her from is aspiration. She had a barium swallow done a couple of months ago that showed one episode of aspiration (liquid getting into the airway while eating). The radiologist and GI weren't too concerned about it, just said to postpone solids. They wanted to wait and retest mid-January, but at her last appt, I really pushed to have her retested as soon as possible. So, she had the test and passed with flying colors!! 10 swallows of thin liquid, 10 of thick, and 10 spoon fed swallows all PERFECT! I was so excited to see her eat with a spoon bc she never had before. I was surprised at how thick the goop they gave her was. It had kind of a pudding consistency to it and the tech said she had a very "mature" swallow. I was absolutely elated! The tech turned to me and said, "Well, whatever problem she had is either better, or gone now." It was such a day of rejoicing. I remember praying that morning just that the Lord is sovereign and good, and at the end of the day, we would praise His name no matter what the results were, but that it would be a day for us to rejoice in His mercy and compassion. PRAY ANSWERED! There was no other word for the state of our hearts than rejoicing!


I am going through 'Morning and Evening' by Charles Spurgeon right now, and I want to share with you the morning of December 9th. Its a lengthy paragraph, but well worth the read.


Isaiah 30:18 "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you.


God often delays in answering prayer..Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of the day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia received no answer for a long while. Paul asked the Lord three times for "a thorn..in the flesh" to be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it would be removed, but instead a promise that God's grace would be sufficient for him. If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy and have received no answer, shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you in? Our Father has personal reasons for keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, so that we may learn that God has a right to give or to withhold. More often the delay is for our benefit. You are perhaps kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your need more clearly and will seek more diligently, and that you will treasure the mercy all the more on account of the wait. There may also be something wrong in you that needs to be removed before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the gospel plan are confused, or you may be relying upon yourself instead of trusting simply and entirely in the Lord Jesus. Or God makes you wait for a while so that He may display the riches of His grace more abundantly in the end. You prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while they will fulfilled to your delight and satisfaction. Do not allow despair to make you silent, but continue to present your requests to God.


I often find myself struggling because we sometimes "see" things that maybe don't seem quite right. The Holy Spirit spoke so strongly to me one evening in a moment like this and just said,"What have I not done? You have prayed that one milestone at a time I heal her. What has happened to make you think I'm not doing it?" I had no answer, because He has continued, by his mercy and compassion, to deliver her through milestone after milestone. He very overwhelmingly gave me the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:7 "walk by faith, not by sight.." It becomes so easy to fight the enemys attacks when the Lord writes His words on your heart. It is impossible to argue with TRUTH!


I had a sweet moment yesterday when we received a beautiful ornament with "Count it all JOY" written on the side. I (shockingly) started crying at all the thoughts the Lord simultaneously spoke into my heart. I thought about James 1:2 that speaks of 'counting it all joy' and that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. The Lord made it so clear that this valley is not just about the struggle, but about His favor on us because He is choosing to make us more like Himself because of this. Making that our primary focus when going through difficult circumstances makes the pill much easier to swallow. I honestly (and Rob as well) can say with all of my heart that I rejoice in these sufferings, because we are seeing the fruit that it is bringing. We could have never imagined the horror of these trials, but also could never have imagined how intensely God would forever change and transform our hearts. Rob was sharing with me the verse Hebrews 12:11 that spoke to him. It says.. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." I cannot imagine walking through this, or any trial for that matter, without knowing the Lord is sovereign. Without knowing that every moment has been planned and ordained by our Maker and no situation, however out of control it may seem, is ever outside of what He allows. It makes me so thankful for the mercy of His choosing! That He has chosen us as His people, and He is incapable of breaking His word, so we have the full assurance that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Amen!!!!!


Speaking of my child's nutty facial expressions. Do any 3 1/2 year old take normal pictures?





In his "button clothes" as he refers to them.


a.k.a church clothes


I won't tell you which one of us taught him the difference between 'comfortable clothes' and 'church clothes'. Nor will I tell you which one of us now has the responsibility of always dressing Zachary for church since said person taught him the distinction. Should I mention Zachary is not fond of the difference between the two? Nah, didn't think so.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Counting It All Joy"

Kind of funny- Our blog name fits perfectly for today's post. This morning I was reading a devotional Jordan set aside for me to read (Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon). In a devotion about waiting on God to answer prayer (and the reality that often we have to "wait" for answers), Spurgeon wrote "You will treasure the mercy all the more because of the wait." I found this to be so true. I was telling a friend last week that our life is so much richer as of recent because of our daughter (and my dad). Every milestone achieved, every time Ansley reaches for something, rolls over, sits up stabler, or what have you is filled with such a deep and remarkable joy. You see, with Ansley none of those things are guaranteed, so when they come they are such sweet moments. It made me think about Zachary. When he was Ansley's age and he rolled over, sat up, walked... it was special, but in more of a sentimental kind of way. In a sense, we assumed that "of course" he would do all of those things. It was a given he would grow up and walk and talk and on and on. But with Ansley, those things aren't guaranteed, so they fill us with such a deeper joy and gratitude. When she does something, we rejoice and praise God for it. The more I thought about Zachary the more I started thinking about myself. You see, I am beginning to realize that for my son, my wife, myself, and all of the rest of us: we have no guarantee greater than Ansley. We just assume we do, and thereby miss out on millions of God's graces because we assume they belong to us. Most of my life I have assumed that I will (and perhaps even deserve) be healthy, generally happy, and generally successful. God has shown me through my daughter a new perspective. Ansley has shown me that each day, each blessing is a gift from a generous and gracious Father. I have begun to see things I "assumed" I should have as undeserved blessings. I have begun to see countless graces I took for granted for years. I challenge you: life becomes much richer as begin to cultivate a sense of thankfulness for God's rich and immeasurable generosity. As far as "deserving" goes: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)