Friday, November 27, 2009

The reaction!

Jamie and I were greeted bright and early this morning by a very excited Elise.

"Mommy! Holly and Herman are here, and one of them climbed up in our tree!"

We are so grateful that Holly & Herman set up the tree for us this year - it sure did save mommy and coach a lot of work. ;)

They have officially assumed their place on top of the TV for the remainder of the Christmas season. There's just no telling what they might get into next.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

They're baaaack!!!

Holly and Herman, that is!

I wanted to do something grand and dramatic for their return, so we lugged out the Christmas tree tonight after Elise went to sleep. When she wakes up in the morning, she will see that Holly and Herman have arrived and set up our tree while we slept!

Holly attempted to get into the ornaments, but I think she is going to need some help to decorate the tree. ;)

Let the fun begin!!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Elise's reaction!

Thanksgiving pictures

Yesterday I had a brief moment where I thought perhaps I had been in a coma for about a month and it was actually Christmas rather than Thanksgiving. I came home from work to discover that Jamie bought Elise a new bicycle. He says it is a reward for her doing well in school for the past few weeks. I say he's just a sucker for a cute little blonde. The next time he complains that she is too spoiled, I am going to remind him of his participation in the spoiling endeavors!

We had a beautiful fall day!

And wonderful food!

Full bellies!

And the perfect after-dinner activity for the girls while the guys watched football - a game of BINGO!

How a broken hip and car wreck can be a blessing

We've had a hectic few months around here, and I haven't been blogging much. It all started back in October when my mom got a phone call on a random Tuesday morning that my grandmother had fallen down her back steps and was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital. I can't imagine the panic and helpless feeling she must have endured as she received the news over the phone, sitting in Texas and totally unable to do anything about the situation transpiring all the way in Georgia. She was on a plane and arrived in Georgia by that evening - and I'm certain at the time she did NOT consider any of it a blessing.

Grandmother had surgery the following day to repair the broken hip, and it was a long week spent in the hospital...followed by another long week or 2 doing inpatient rehabilitation. Once grandmother was strong enough to make the flight home, she was discharged from the rehab facility and mom brought her back to Texas to stay with us as she continues physical and occupational therapy out of my parents' home each day.

We were finally all getting settled here - mom and dad made a few modifications to their home (no floor rugs, extra handles in the shower and bathroom, etc). We got hooked up with the right therapists and got them on a schedule of coming to the house to see grandmother. Things seemed to be settling down nicely, and mom was set to return to work after a month-long absence.

Then there was the car wreck.

If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.

The accident took place on Halloween around 7:30pm. Elise was spending the night with her dad, and Jamie and I were all set to drive to a Halloween party about 2 hours from home and spend the night out of town. As we started to get on the highway to head to the party, Jamie and I just looked at each other, and almost as if we were sharing our thoughts without speaking, we both knew that we didn't want to go to the party. It was right around 7:30 when we turned around and headed back home. We changed out of our costumes and had just finished eating dinner when we got the call about the wreck. It was one of those instances where God was looking out for us - at the time, I didn't really know why I shouldn't go to the party. I just knew I had a gut feeling that it wasn't a good idea, and I listened to it. A lot of times I feel guided by gut feelings, but I don't always get confirmation that I did the right thing in such a timely manner!

When we first arrived at the hospital, both mom and grandmother were taped down to body boards in separate rooms. They were both shaking and scared. Grandmother was very coherent and experiencing pain where the seat belt had bruised her body upon impact. Mom was not doing as well. I was quite alarmed initially, but tried to remain calm. I was so glad Jamie was with me, because he is very collected in an emergency. She was having a lot of pain in her shoulder and hip, but what concerned me most was her memory loss. The doctor was asking her a lot of questions, and she was struggling to answer many of them. She couldn't remember where she works. She thought she was still in Georgia. She didn't know what day it was. She kept asking the same questions over and over, as if she had forgotten that we just answered her a few minutes earlier. My mom is the nurse in the family and the one who always takes charge when any of us are sick or hospitalized, so for her to become the patient was a role reversal that I was not fully prepared to handle at the time.

Long story short (or maybe not so short at this point!), no bones were broken, grandmother's hip replacement was not damaged, and they were both released to go home. We got them home, but they were both having severe difficulty walking. Mom's pain persisted so much that she went back for another set of x-rays, feeling insistent that her pain level had to be indicative of a broken bone somewhere. The result of the second set of x-rays was the same as the first, and the conclusion was that she had deep, severe bruising. Here we are nearly a month later, and she is still limping around - although she has improved quite a bit.

And so the caregiver became the patient for a while. And this didn't feel like a blessing either.

But it was.

It sounds crazy to say a broken hip or car accident could be a blessing. These are bad things, after all. There have been so many times that I've wondered why bad things happen - especially to good people. It's something I've thought about a ton over the last two or three years, since we've dealt with our infertility struggle. What I've decided after prayerful consideration is that God doesn't make bad things happen to us. Bad things happen as a result of the fact that we live in a fallen world. Elise and I have been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible , and I love the simplicity of the Bible put into words that children can understand. I had never thought of the first sin committed by Adam and Eve in such terms, but when you break it down into simple language, it's easy to see that God never wanted anything bad for us.

"Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?" God asked them.
Adam said, "Eve made me do it!"
"What have you done?" God asked.
Eve said, "The serpent made me do it!"
And terrible pain came into God's heart. His children hadn't just broken the one rule; they had broken God's heart. They had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God's creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die - even though it was all supposed to last forever. You see, sin had come into God's perfect world. And it would never leave.

Our world is no longer perfect, but God doesn't leave us here alone to struggle. He shows up on the scene and brings good from the bad things that happen to us.

But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey - out of the garden, out of their home. Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been the end. But not in this story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Our family has been blessed out of circumstances that otherwise could have been terrible. Because of the fall, Grandmother is spending her first ever Thanksgiving with us. She is home every afternoon when Elise comes home from school. The memories Elise is making with her great grandmother are priceless. I do not have any memories of any of my great grandparents - they had all passed away by the time I was two years old. It's an opportunity that I never had - and Elise would not have this opportunity either if none of this had happened.

Due to the fact that both Grandmother and mom were incapacitated for a period of time, Dad has really stepped up and come through to help both of them, all while still picking up Elise from school everyday. I've been cooking every weekend for the whole family and delivering meals. We've come together as a family.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for our circumstances. I'm thankful for our struggles, because out of the hardest times I find my faith being strengthened.

May all of your families be blessed this holiday, and may you all feel the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love that God has for you!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I am behind and lacking motivation to keep things current. One of the main reasons I have this blog is for my grandmother's benefit, and since she is here with us now, seeing all our memories firsthand, I haven't gotten around to posting them here. Nevertheless, I do want to keep up as best I can, so here are our Halloween pictures!

Elise's class party

Pumpkin carving