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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Seek and Ye Shall Find

One of my favourite lines in the bible.  It is so simple and yet its implications are as limitless as the very universe that cries out God's name!

Duane said something profound the other day.  We were discussing the incredible parallels between the stories of the old testament and how they are like transparencies that you could lay over other stories including those in the new testament.. almost as though the "old" was a prophetic unfolding of a history that would reveal itself over and over again.

More specifically, we were reading in Genesis about Abraham (or back then, Abram) and his wife Sarai going into Egypt.  Pharoah took Sarai as one of his wives which resulted in plagues and other catastrophes until finally Pharoah realized that Sarai was Abram's wife and gave her back along with many treasures of Egypt.  Hmmm, sounds kinda like when the Hebrews were taken as slaves into Egypt, plagues and many other catastrophes were cast until finally God's chosen people were set free and made rich by the treasures of Egypt! 

The depth of the bible is so overlooked!  Even when one purposely seeks to better understand it.  Our own revelations typically come from the insight of others which to me, beautifully confirms that we ARE all made in his image and only together can the fullness of that image be revealed!

I think of the countless times I did not like what I was reading in the old testament and happily flipped over to the "new" testament thinking "phew... good thing that God doesn't apply here!"

But what did God say?  I AM CONSTANT AND UNCHANGING.

Yeah, but I would read some of those stories and cringe that my loving God would want such horrible things to happen!  It was very easy for me to close the bible and not want to go back thinking that what I had read and what I had interpreted was the whole story...

How egotistical of me!!

The layers are slowly beginning to unfold and we are learning that when the surface seems ugly, there is typically something very beautiful hidden either within the message or how God ends up using that ugliness to turn it into something life-giving, or to prepare us to recognize the pattern.  If you seek the good and are patient enough to wait for others to contribute to its revelation of its truth, you will always find it!

It's so easy to narrow our vision to the immediate... what is before us right at this moment... that we forget the bigger picture and the critical role the "immediate" plays in it, ugly or not.  In labour, if I focused only on the pain and cried out to God "why is it your will that you want me to suffer like this??" I would be closing myself to seeing that in that pain, new life was brought forth.

And really, who values that which is just handed to them??  The more work you put into something, the more valuable it becomes to you.  How brilliantly designed are those nine months?  Ballooning out, peeing when you least expect, watching your body transform into anything but sexy (although beautiful in its own way), finally understanding all those hemorrhoid commercials you saw as a child, and buying shoes two sizes too big to fit your swollen feet... and then hours of intense pain... no wonder we feel rather attached to our children when they come into this world!! 

But I digress...

Where was I?  Oh yes, seek and ye shall find... To sum this up, I find that this line applies to absolutely everything in my life right down to what I seek through my thoughts!  When I am looking for someone to disappoint me, I always find it.  If I look for where I am "deprived", I always find it.  If I look for the areas in which I am a failure, oh boy do I find them!  But when I look for my blessings, I find their abundance all around me!  When I seek the gifts God has granted me, I can find them.  When I seek the good or the "breath of God" in everyone, I always find it!  Yes, even in the ones who cause me the most grief!

So what will you seek in your own life today?  Be conscious of that, because I guarantee you, you will find it!  And on that note, I am going to go outside with my camera on this beautiful sabbath day and seek those little details of our world that often go overlooked.  It is a great exercise to go outside and purposely look for the "beautiful" all around you.  And I will share my findings with you by inserting some pics within this post.  May you choose to have the eyes to see all the blessings that surround you today, tomorrow and always!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Prayer Warriors!!

Holy smokes!  I think we must have some pretty serious prayer warriors reading these entries because Sivana was a completely different baby ALL DAY! 

She slept, she nursed the best she has in weeks, she went back to sleep with barely a peep when it was time for naps and has been in a good mood when awake.  THAT IS AMAZING!!!  Whatever you are all doing out there, keep it up!  And THANK YOU so much for the incredible support and ray of hope!

Yesterday, I nearly booked Duane's vasectomy appointment... We both just felt like we could not bring another child into this world who could potentially suffer health issues.  Obviously there is something not quite right (health-wise) with our genetics coming together (although cuteness factor is a roaring 110%)!  Duane and I looked at each other while I was sitting & nursing Sivana today and he sighed heavily and said "remember when we would sing together?  I really thought we would do a lot more of that."

Yes, the song in my heart is still there and vibrant but the reality of this phase in our lives has pushed it off to the side for now, it seems.

And with that, I began to sing "How Great Thou Art" and the beautiful sound of my husband's voice resonated with mine in harmony as we did nothing but praise God together in our exhaustion.  To love God with my best friend is the greatest gift in my life (other than my children, of course).  When life feels like it is just too much, we will stare at the ceiling together, reach out and hold each others' hand and begin to pray... thanking God for our many blessings, and asking Him to take hold of our hearts and any resistance we have where His will is concerned.

Then we let go of the need to be strong enough to face life using our own strength and can rest peacefully in His.  And then amazing things happen!

Your prayers uplift us and we are humbled by the love and grace you send our way.  When I am at my weakest, you are amazing with your support.  Some of you have emailed me directly with such beautiful words of encouragement.  I pray that you all have access to that same kind of network... prayers, support, and infinite love!  And may you be uplifted in your own challenges and know that you are safe in the hands of a loving Creator.  One who knows all too well just how much you can handle (despite your protests) and trusts you to embrace the challenges that will make you all that He knows you can be.

May this reach out to you with the hope you have helped restore in my heart... Your prayers have brought me rest today and a light that shines bright with promise of a world that is still good.  I love you for that.  By the grace of God, I love you all.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Feeling deflated

Well, the potential of a dream baby are quickly fizzling before our eyes.  And we are scared stiff at what this could possibly mean.  Sivana started breaking out in tiny spots at five weeks (typical of baby acne which typically kicks in at six weeks); however, this was how everything started for Ethan, too.

We have been watching the spots grow into an overall red splotches all over her head and face (just like Ethan).  And she is now extremely restless during the day, unable to sleep for long periods of time, crying and fussing pretty much non-stop.  I thank God the nights have not been affected yet.  She typically wakes up only once or twice in the night and goes right back to sleep, which allows me to find some energy to deal with the day.  Pediatrician says it is likely seborrheic dermatitis which could go away on its own OR could progress into eczema hence allergies... argh!!!!

Thank God Duane has taken holiday time as he has been the one to do the three to four hours a day of driving Isabel to and from school.  If I had to fit that kind of dead-time-space into my day, I think I would go crazy.  I barely feel sane right now as it is!

And what have doctors said to-date about all the appointments we've had? 

Sivana's left kidney looks the same as it did in fetal assessments; however, she now has a cyst on her right kidney.  They are not concerned about this as it appears to be a "regular" cyst and because she is doing so well (she weighed 9 lbs 14 oz at six weeks) they are not concerned.  She is however being referred to a kidney specialist.

Anika's VCUG came back positive for vesico-ureteral reflux (level 3).  Basically, she has backflow up towards her right kidney and they want her on low-dose antibiotics indefinitely until the valve strengthens.  Are you flippin' kidding me??  Isn't there more damage done by long-term use of antibiotics than the occasional backflow??  Obviously we have yet more research to do and other specialists to meet with including a bladder specialist we are now being referred to.

Isabel's spasms are apparently myoclonic seizures!  We did not know this and thankfully we are able to treat these now, too.  But this means an increase in her current anti epileptic med PLUS an additional medication which has to be introduced extremely slowly due to its risks.  But if we did NOT introduce this new med, these "minor" seizures would get worse (which is what they had been doing) which could result in serious issues swallowing saliva and risk of death should they occur in the night. 

Ethan has been having breathing issues so we have had to introduce inhalers twice a day which he has adapted to very well.  We have named his puffer Puff-Puff and he speaks with a cross between a Mexican and French accent.

We now have Melina living with us full time until court proceedings can begin to change custody arrangements.  This one I will not delve into too much details about but suffice it to say that I ask that you pray for Melina during this time.  She has expressed for several years now that she is tired of being pulled between two completely different worlds and wishes she could have a home base.  I thought this very fair and expressed my support in that desire (thinking full well she would opt to live at her dad's given that we have lots of rules, structure, accountability, more conservative faith, and a very hectic household of small children who constantly barge in on personal space).  To our surprise, she expressed wanting to live here!  This is not being met with open arms by her father and what we had hoped could be a fair discussion is turning into a battle.

And why??  Especially given that nothing is ever carved in stone!  Especially given that neither parent would EVER be forbidden from seeing Melina!  I am baffled at the resistance and am preparing to stand behind Melina in whatever she chooses.  She has exhibited incredible maturity in her reasoning and we support her 100%.

So prayers for grace, wisdom and a loving heart as we embark on this part of our journey.  We are open to see where we may be wrong, but trust that we are doing what is best.  Bottom line, I am feeling overwhelmed these days and wondering if this is what every parent endures?  Barely keeping their head above the water?  Feeling in certain moments like your drowning?  Or wishing you were?

Would you believe I have had to stop typing five times now to deal with a screaming baby... rock her back to sleep... only to have her wake up screaming again and again and again? 

Why do some people get the perfect babies that sleep and eat and sleep and eat and sleep and eat and never make a fuss?  What are we doing wrong???

On that chipper note, wish this entry could have some humour to it but I am feeling too deflated to look on the bright side of anything these days.  Hopefully the next time I touch base, I'll feel more like a human being who actually accomplishes things around here instead of some incompetent mother who depends far too much on her husband's help, keeping him from getting out in the fields... just feeling like nothing but a leech.  RSVP anytime to this pity party with a few prayers!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mama called the doctor, the doctor said...

Well, that would depend on WHICH of the very many doctors we are seeing this month!!

Oy, I am looking at our October calendar and giving thanks that Sivana arrived much sooner than right now.  First we had Anika & Sivana in for kidney/bladder ultrasounds on Friday, today Anika had a VCUG (live x-ray with catheter to bladder to see if there is any backflow to the kidneys), Wednesday Isabel sees neurology, and Thursday Sivana sees the public health nurse.  So that is this week.

On the 12th, Isabel sees her pediatrician, the 18th Sivana sees her pediatrician and we discuss results of ultrasounds & VCUG, the 19th we see the midwife for Sivana's six week post, the 20th Isabel sees the opthalmologist and on the 27th is when Ethan sees his allergy specialist.

I never, ever dreamed that my children would require so many doctors' visits!  I suppose the sheer irony of it is that both Duane and I are not terribly big fans of conventional medicine (as you have probably noticed) and yet we find ourselves at the mercy of it some days given the health issues our children face. 

So today's post is brief (as these usually come at the cost of a child here somewhere having a meltdown as I try to type as fast as I can).  I feel like a chauffeur, not to extra curricular activities, but to medical appointments!  I give thanks that we do not have more appointments and that none of our children face terminal health issues.  I write today with a grateful heart that Duane has booked holiday time until October 25th which allows for shared responsibility for these appointments and driving Isabel to-and-from school as well as watching the children.

My heart goes out to families whose lives surround their nearest children's hospital.  I especially remember the mother from out of town whose isolation room in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was across from Isabel's nearly seven years ago... and her precious little two year girl who was trying to play peek-a-boo with her blanket through the glass walls but was restricted by the many, many wires connected to her.  The precious little girl battling leukemia... I pray God has kept her safe in the palm of His hand, however that may be.

I cannot and will not imagine that place... if I could embrace that woman and just hold her in her suffering, I would have.  If I could have held that little girl and loved her in her innocence, I would have.  I pray that the heart's intentions reach out to others' souls and offers a subconscious comfort when words and actions cannot.  And I pray this finds you all feeling the blessing of your own good health and that of your children or nieces and nephews or parents or spouse, etc...  May it be a blessing you give thanks for each day that you know it.  Much love to you all out there!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Well that just stinks!

You know how every house has its "smell"?  You can walk into someone's house and discover the distinct smell of what makes that place "home".  I remember when we left for our BC trip over a year ago, I was surprised to come back home to actually discover our house smell!  Thankfully it was not a terrible smell (thanks to keeping poopy diapers OUTSIDE... a hard lesson learned!).  But that was how I knew we had been away long enough... we were able to walk into our place and sniff what would have otherwise been familiar and unnoticed by us before.

And it is that "adapted smell" that has me blogging this fine morning...

Take Sivana, too, for instance.  When babies are first born, they have that WONDERFUL baby smell that just fills your heart and soul with love and instant happiness.  But all too quickly, the nose adjusts and within a day or two, you assume that baby smell is gone until someone else comes over, holds the baby and says "Oh I just LOVE that baby smell!"

Hmmm, I just assumed it wasn't there anymore.  Which leaves me with my concluding thought of the day...

With our incredibly hectic and busy lives, I am lucky if I can find time to shower once every three or four days!!  I ASSUMED that was okay because I did not think that I had any "aroma" going on.  But I am terrified now that my family (and I) have adjusted to my smell and are not able to tell me "oh mom, go grab a shower before you hug anymore people!!"

So if I give any of you a hug and I smell less than as good as flowers, TELL ME!  I will chuckle, turn a few shades of red, and make a point of taking that blasted shower even if it's at one in the morning!!  I do not want to be the stinky lady, folks! 

You now officially have my permission to tell me I stink... but only if I actually do!

Here's hoping this finds you enjoying your day and taking note of the "smells" in your own life (good and bad... cuz I am always about the good AND the bad) and giving thanks for the incredible gift of smell (unless you live next to a dump or your husband works in a rendering plant... my own husband went to a fire at a rendering plant, did not even have to go IN the building and STILL wreaked of unholy smells for several days!!!  We were NOT so grateful for the gift of smell for those days).

But maybe you can remember the smell of fresh cookies growing up, or better yet, fresh bread.  Or the smell of your grandma's perfume when she would smother you in hugs and kisses, or the smell of freshly cut grass (or hay for all you farmers out there).  Or the smell of a camp fire lingering in your clothes.  And as you reflect on the nostalgic smells that dance in your memory right now, I will bid you adieu and go take a much -needed shower!!  Much love out there, you guys!