Thursday, May 17, 2012

about my faith

There is a little boy, not quite 2 years old, here in Nashville. His name is Patrick and he has been at Vandy Children's for 8 weeks. I learned of him through the open Facebook group "Prayers for young Patrick F" and was instantly captivated.

Apparently, I am not the only one as they have over 5,000 followers now from all over the country/world and most of them are just like me - heard of him through a friend (or often a friend of a friend) and could not look away.

God is working miracles through this young life and as I read all the posts of prayer, scripture, and declaration I realize how small I am and how great our God is. I am also learning how small  my faith is, how I doubt, worry, and fear. Patrick and his incredible mom and dad are teaching me about what it truly means to give ALL our thoughts and concerns to HIM.

The Facebook page is amazing - God's spirit is there...on the internet...on Facebook!!! Join the group and read the posts every day - you will be encouraged, broken, lifted up, and if you are like me - you will find yourself talking more closely with God (and listening).

At 2pm (Central) today, they began the process of removing little Patick from the ventilator and the rest is up to God. He has been breathing fine on his own for some time and the vent remained in place in case he need immediate critical actions. The doctors and family feel all has been done for him that is humanly/medically possible. God's healing miracle is the request at this time - to stop the internal bleeding and heal what man cannnot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I received a text last night from a friend whose 2 year old daughter was being taken by ambulance to Vandy children's. The situation is pretty serious (insert plea for ongoing prayers here). I immediately took to praying, had Layla pray with me, and reached out to other friends to also pray for this sweet little girl and the family, of course.

When Layla and I were ready to say bedtime prayers, we did our usual I pray a line and she repeats, etc. After the "Amen" Layla wanted to say her own and have me repeat. I was so proud of my little girl's heart and love and it was a beautiful prayer - one so innocent and utterly trusting that I could never have said it on my own. Then, she wanted to KEEP praying...for a LONG time. And it was serious prayer, not just I'm praying right now because it's stalling me from sleep.

I spent much of the night up and down checking text messages, updates, etc. and continuing to pray. Fast forward to this morning...

I'm tired and still very much occupied with worrying about our friends and their little girl and still praying. I said to Layla, "We need to pray for them again." Layla said something to the effect of, "Ok, Momma, but I'm going to pray and you repeat." SHE WAS ADAMANT that SHE pray...NOT ME.

And pray she did!!

Her prayer brought me to tears - it was so genuine, sincere and just exactly what needed to be prayed. I love her.

Fast forward again....I'm at work sharing with my boss about what had transpired overnight and this morning and she reminded me that worry comes from a place of doubt and that I needed to TRULY give the ENTIRE situation to HIM. As I've thought more about it over the morning, God has revealed an amazing truth to me about our children......wait for it.....They aren't mine. I am a "mere" custodian. God was in Layla's heart and spirit this morning. She had to pray, because I could not. My prayers were tainted with worry...doubt. I wasn't in the right place- I was in a place of saying I'm giving control to God, but still holding on to control, of wanting to help, of worrying. None of that is my place. My place is to pray and only pray. Vigilantly.

My three year old taught me a lesson in faith this morning and I am humbled and thankful that God was in her, when I was weak.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Sudden Goliath

The last half of 2011 was difficult - in many ways. Some of the challenges were fantastic, like both of us starting new jobs on the same day. Other things were just difficult. Obviously, Piper's illness overshadowed much of the latter part of the year and we still aren't recovered from that, I don't think. Eric's Mamaw (That's Kentucky for "grandma") has been ill and frail for some time and he's made a couple trips to see her in the hospital, fearing it would be his last visit. My own grandmother lost her (second) husband and my dad ended up in the hospital just before Christmas and was diagnosed with diabetes. Piper has been quite a difficult child and both of us aren't sure what to do with her most of the time.

Leading up to Christmas we'd had a very VERY difficult weekend with the girls. We weren't looking forward to the long Christmas weekend and were certain we'd end up losing our minds. HOWEVER - our Christmas this year was the best either of us could remember. We had so much fun watching the excitement in Layla and, for me, getting to share the wonder of the birth of Jesus was absolutely priceless. She asked so many question about Jesus and also learned a couple wonderful songs at church that she'd sing repeatedly.

Fast forward to New Year's eve. Pretty uneventful. We'd had a movie date the night before and stayed home to casually watch Times Square gear up for the ball drop; but we went to bed quite early and enjoyed a nice night of sleep. New Year's day - wake up. We loved the calm of the weekend so far and we woke up happy -- feeling really good and peaceful about our lives and the day ahead Go to church.

The message was based on David and Goliath and the heart of it was that we would all face "Goliaths" in the new year. The optimisim and excitement for the new year would be interrupted at some point with a Goliath. Those Goliath moments should be seen as opportunities - as moments to get in God's word, pray, and let HIM do what He does. Use the skills, abilities, tools that we know how to weild (slingshot, anyone?) and, did I mention pray?

Near the end of the message, Eric gets a text message from his sister - "Call me ASAP." His sister and family went to Kentucky mid-week and upon seeing the text, we both thought something had happened with Mamaw- something bad, obviously. Eric went to the lobby to call his sister, while I stayed for the rest of the message, music, prayer, gifts/offerings, etc. I'm singing something about "God is Good...all the time" while I'm certain my husband is receiving word that he's lost one of the most important people in his life. The irony wasn't lost on me; but God's point was made. Eric didn't come back into the service and as I left church with everyone else, I saw him, pale-faced, standing in the lobby. It wasn't Mamaw.

Eric's dad has a number of siblings and of those, both he and Eric are closest with Jack (Jackie- pic below). Jackie had died that morning - on new year's day. Not yet 60 years old and truly a person everyone loved. Our first Goliath of the year came suddenly, at exactly 10 and a half hours into the new year.

We are in Kentucky now - packed up after church and immediately hit the road. It's a difficult trip to make and the days are hard here. Trying to get Layla to bed tonight, she picks out her stories from Mimi and Papa's bookshelves - she chooses, of all things - "David and the giant, Goliath." Really, Layla? She's never before seen the book, was in Sunday school learning something different entirely on Sunday, and I didn't know this book existed in this house, and yet, there it is.

God wants me to take notice of something.  I feel like it should be obvious - I just heard a great message on the passages from 1 Samuel 17, in fact, but I don't think I'm getting it. Is God preparing me for my own sudden Goliath? Is He calling on me to pray more, spend more time in His Word? Duh - that's what He always wants from us. But, why is He being so obvious about it this time? Have I missed other subtle nudges? Yeah - probably.

I don't make resolutions for each new year - I don't see the point; but, God is telling me to stop and make Him a priority. Stop. There are big things coming - both good and Goliath. I need to prepare. I need to be armed with God's word. I don't know what Goliaths are in my future; but, I clearly need to get in God's word, make prayer a priority - be prepared and NOT AFRAID.

New Year's resolution? Sure, why not. I resolve to be unafraid of the Goliath - sudden or otherwise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Web address for Christmas in the middle of commercial chaos

PRELUDE: If you don't read anything else, just go to and order from them, it's worth your while- TRUST ME (though they'd never brag about why). Below is an account of my eye opening experience with them.

I've been planning Layla's "big Santa" gift for some time now. It involves a yellow Belle (Beauty and the Beast) dress, which has been her first request and only consistent request to Santa this Christmas. Sure she asks for other things, but when pressed for her favorite thing, it always comes down to that yellow dress. Simple enough. She's starting to have a TON of dress up stuff and I had eyed a cool dress up center last year and decided this was the year and ordered the one pictured below...I ordered it two weeks ago (12/10)off of Amazon. Much to my dismay, a week later (12/15), on the day it was supposed to be delivered I got an email that the order was cancelled and the item was no longer available. I was SO upset -- it was so close to Christmas and I'd gotten a fantastic deal on the (expensive) item.

I looked all over the web and no one else had it available for delivery until January. At check out I would get the dreaded "back order" message :( I went straight to the brand - and paid a little extra for it and at check out had the option to pay $25 for guaranteed delivery on the 20th - perfect!

Until the next day, when I got an email that they didn't have the item either and it wouldn't be available until after Christmas. I emailed them and asked if I would still have to pay the expedited shipping (they said definitely "no")etc, etc. I explained the nature of the situation, what happened with the previous order and asked if there was even a *slight* chance it could get here by Christmas. Nope. BUT- what did happen was amazing. After offering several alternatives -- all of which were very nice, but I still was committed to this item, he showed an incredibly overwhelming gesture of kindness and customer service (though this is so much more). I can't sum it up on my own, so I'm just going to paste some of the email responses from the Company's VP-Logistics here - they speak for themselves...

"I’m sorry that we weren’t able to get you this item in time. I even checked with some of our retailers and no one has any available.

I feel terrible that we are not able to get this item to you in time for Christmas. We’re a 46 year old, family owned and operated company and we constantly strive to exceed our customer’s expectations and I definitely think we failed you on this order. Please allow me to make up for it by sending this item to you at no charge. We are keeping your order open but I am going to make sure that we process a full 100% credit for your entire order total."
Wow!!! RIGHT?! I obviously was STUNNED and told him that was generous but unnecessary, but he held to it.

PART 2: I get an email today saying the order was cancelled, I figured it was an automatically generated message, but emailed to be sure and here is what he said this time!!

"No, you don’t need to worry about this email. It is an automated response from the company that handles orders on our website. It is just confirming that the order you placed on our website has been cancelled and your credit card should soon see a credit for the total amount.

Also, there’s good news! We are currently receiving our shipment of the Dress-Up Centers and I have your order out to the warehouse to ship today. I’m sending it to you via UPS 3 Day so you’ll receive it on Friday. I’ll send you a note a little later today once I have the tracking information so you can go online later tonight and see your items progress all the way to your door.

And, of course, he sent the tracking number not long after.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that these arrived to us today. I immediately thought of you and I dug through a few hundred orders to locate yours and make sure that we would ship it today in time for Christmas.

I’ll send over tracking in a little while."

Let's review -- even though we will still have the item before Christmas - they are not charging us for it AT ALL....and they could have just sent it slow and gotten it here whenever, but he personally selected our order from the stack to make sure we would get it in time for Christmas....again, FREE.

THIS is the ULTIMATE in customer service and it would be totally irresponsible of me not to share my experience. I would encourage all parents, grandparents, etc. to visit their site, view their selections, and order from them ( They truly have GREAT products but their customer service has turned me into a lifelong supporter. I will buy from them at EVERY opportunity I get. We can all agree that your any town mega store not only doesn't understand service like this; but, they are paralyzed by a system of regulations that makes them incapable of it. 

PLEASE share this with anyone you know and support this business if you can. This is the true spirit of Christmas, alive and well.

Merry Christmas all!!
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 21, 2011


Last week was quite a wonderful week!! Piper had a follow-up appointment with the Infectious Disease team last Tuesday and they were extremely pleased with her healing. That is, NO MORE DOCTORS!! Woo Hoo! It's hard to believe it's been over a month since we were terrified for our little girl, camped out in the hospital and going on zero sleep. God has remained faithful and shown His great works in Piper, for sure.

Two weeks ago in school, Layla showed up and started writing words. Amazing! She wrote "Hi" and "Tall." We haven't taught her to spell/write words yet and neither have her teachers - she just figured it out by herself - so COOL! She's also been excelling with patterns - in amazing ways. We are so proud of her and are working to make sure she's in the right place academically. Every night when we read books we pick a couple words and teach her to sound them out. She's acing it!

Piper showed off in school last week herself - turns out she knows her colors! They were picking up at the end of the day and the teacher decided to ask her to put the green block away and she did! Then it was blue and yellow and she nailed them first try each time :)

We are so proud of our girls!

I took yesterday to have some 1:1 time with Layla while Piper napped. We went to the mall to pick up a couple things we needed and it just happened that Santa was there. She wanted to talk to him and while she won't tell us what she talked to him about, we have a feeling it involves princesses (fortunately, Santa is a "loud talker"). I'll post a pic of her with Santa later tonight (hopefully). We all went out for dinner last night and Piper's meal was mostly chips and a big bowl of salsa. We kept waiting for her to feel the hot and start crying, but that never happened and she kept going back for more!

In the middle of all this wonderful and fun stuff - perhaps the most exciting news is the addition of a pet chinchilla to our family!! Layla is the proud "mama" and named him "Jackson." He's four years old and very sweet. Layla is, of course, the foremost expert on all things chinchilla and Jackson now, so if anyone has any questions, she will be offering advice.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week. We will be staying in Nashville this year - had hoped to make it back to Iowa; but, we'll have to make that trip later :(

This year we are especially thankful for our health and the health of our children. God continues to remind me how faithful He is and how His plan shows itself. It's so easy to get caught up in our own plans and solutions; but, when it comes down to it, God is right there all the time and I need to just let go of all else.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All Done

yeah - so I'm a little behind. Needless to say, with all the other things in our life, adding to the list (i.e. blogging) wasn't in the plan. BUT - it turns out lots of you are continuing to visit the site.

That said, I have been super tardy in posting a health update on the girls.

Piper had two follow-up visits last week - one with Infectious Disease and one with the Orthopedic Surgeon. Both were excellent and we stopped her antibiotic on Thursday at the direction of the Surgeon (he was, and is, heading up her care). We've all been sleeping much better since- that includes Piper. She has an additional follow-up with Infectious Disease next week and I'm anxious to ask them LOTS of questions about future risk. Bacteria like this is known to colonize in the muscles creating an increased risk of recurrence in the future from something as simple as the common cold.

Layla finished her antibiotic without incident and was back to herself quickly.

Mom ended up on antibiotics about 10 days after Piper was discharged - I suppose it all just caught up with me. BUT - better now! The latest is both girls have pink eye; but, it's SO minor an "illness" that we'll take it!! :)PHEW! Banking on a much healthier 2012!!!

Everyone enjoyed Halloween immensely and Layla was very proud of herself for (eventually) being courageous enough to go up to houses and knock all by herself...with a proud momma watching from the curb. She had a great time and everyone loved her costume, which meant a lot to her - she told me, "MOM - everyone really likes my costume!" Mommy win!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mommy Fail

So - for whatever reason, the girls' school decided to do classroom Halloween parties today instead of on Halloween. Historically, kids wear their costumes to school on Halloween; but since the parties are today, they were supposed to wear them today.

For Piper's class we were told to just send the costume, if we prefer, and they would change into them for the party - keeps the costumes from getting messy/destroyed. I love that idea and thought that would be best for Layla too so her costume would still look nice for the official holiday. Sent her to school in a festive orange shirt and halloween tights/skirt and planned to bring her costume with me in the afternoon for the party.

Eric takes the girls to school this morning and wouldn't you know - ALL of Layla's friends were in their costumes. She was visibly upset about it and when I called school to  check on her around lunch time, she was still very depressed. MOMMY FAIL. *face palm*