Friday, January 27, 2017

Thank You, Andrea

This morning I need to wipe a few tears from my eyes and take a moment to just say thank you.

In 2002 a little boy was born to a family. He was not what they expected and at first they grieved what they thought they had lost.  But as time passed they began to see that the Lord had blessed them with a very special blessing. He changed their world.  He gave them a different perspective. He opened their eyes.  They could not be silent.  As that one little boy altered their world, they were compelled, they were called to give hope to other families, other little boys and girls. Little Reece became a rainbow of hope around the world.

Through one little boy, Reece's Rainbow was born.

I met Andrea and Reece in person in October 2010. By that point about 300 children had crossed the ocean into loving families.

Andrea had helped advocate for all 300 of those children but except for a board member's children, she had yet to hold in her arms any of the children she had been fighting to bring home.

Until Aaron.

He was only a few weeks home. A scared little boy from a Level 4 mental institute.

He had no idea who she was and how hard she was fighting to get children like him out.
At first he wouldn't even make eye contact.

So we waited. We walked in the Buddy Walk.  We ate lunch together.  And just before we left... he let her hold him. He let her hug him. 

It is one my most precious pictures.

He wouldn't be here without her.

He wouldn't be sitting at our table. 

I can never say thank you enough.

She's fought long. She's fought hard. I've been honored and blessed over the years to have fought beside her.  I count her as a dear friend.

This morning she announced that she will be stepping down as Executive Director of Reece's Rainbow.

The Lord has called her in a different direction.  With 1,700 children home or almost home, many of the families are struggling to help their children heal from the trauma of their past.  The end of the rainbow is often hard as families find themselves down in the trenches with their newly adopted ones.  It's in those trenches where Andrea has found her next calling.  Her desire is to create a place where families can find respite and fellowship while they battle in the trenches.

It is a worthy calling.  It is a needed ministry. She has my blessing and support.  She has the blessing and support of the Reece's Rainbow board. 

I am sad. I told her that earlier this week when we chatted. I don't like change.

I'm going to miss her but I understand her heart.

I'm going to miss her.

Thank you, Andrea.

Thank you.

Monday, January 23, 2017

We Are Home

We are home.

I don't have pictures of us cheering as we pulled into the driveway.

I don't have pictures of our older boys greeting us and helping us haul in our vanload of suitcases and medical gear and tired little boys.

I don't have pictures of Rob fixing chicken noodle soup from the can for the little boys to enjoy.

I don't have pictures of us tucking them in their beds surrounded by their pillows and weighted blankets and stuffed animals.

I don't have pictures of us collapsing in our bed with the football game on as we melt into sleep.

We are home.

God is good.

Thank you for praying!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Not Home. Not Yet.

Sometimes fevers happen after surgery.

Sometimes when they do, then you have to lay aside all your pretty plans of heading home to your little house in the woods and just stay put.

We stayed put because one little boy kept spiking fevers over the normal threshold. Despite his pain levels decreasing, he couldn't shake the fevers.

So we all made ourselves as comfortable as we could and hung out.

Shriners was kind enough to provide a parent room on the eighth floor so we didn't have to go hunting for a room for the night. 

Last night we split duties.  Rob cared for Aaron who had a rough night of pain in the parent room.  I cared for John. 

John's fever broke this morning.  We are hoping and praying that it stays down so we can head home this afternoon. 


What a sweet word.

Our little 4 day vigil here reminds me anew of how hard it is on families who keep bedside.  Each time we have sat beside one of our boys, we have come to appreciate those who do this on a much larger scale than we have.  Just finding decent food to eat is a huge struggle. 

Can I just say that my leftovers taste a whole lot better than hospital leftovers?  During the week, breakfast and lunches here are fairly decent as the cafeteria feeds not only all the patients and staff here at Shriners but also all the Temple people who like the food here better than there. Dinners.... well... they consist of the leftover from lunch. 

On the weekend.... well... home is a very sweet word indeed!!  Weekend eating consists of reheating all the leftover food from the entire week and selling that as eatable food.

Since no one ever eats it... it shows up for lunch and then dinner and then lunch and then dinner. 

Reheated food times 10 means that Rob and I have eaten a lot of salad and yogurt and chips and whatever the boys have leftover on their trays. Once Aaron was sprung we not only lost his tray of leftovers, but we have had to find food for him to eat too. I won't share what he had for dinner.  At least he didn't starve.

We are not home yet.

We are praying it happens today.

Little boy is looking perky this morning so we are very hopeful!

Thank you for all the sweet prayers, words of encouragement, e-mails and comments.  We are grateful for each one! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017





 Two boys. Two surgeries. 

Son #2 didn't want to wake up from his surgery.  He snored for hours. 

He refused all attempts to wake him up.  The sleeping prince.

When he finally came to, he was as chill as they come.  His surgery went well and he now has the potential to have a pincer grasp in his left hand.   His thumb is in a new place. 

Two little boys.

John's not having such a chill time.  We are trying to keep ahead of his pain and fever and anxiety. 

The next few days will be rough for him until his pain level goes down and he adjusts to the new norm of having two casted legs and one of them in a brand new bent position. 

We are hoping we can head home today. Aaron is definitely ready.  John isn't so sure it is a good idea!

I think once he gets home and realizes that he can still build Legos he will bounce back quickly!




 Two boys. Two surgeries. 

A long road trip home.

We are crazy. We may be a bit brave.  Smart.  I don't know about smart, but I am glad we did it this way.  We are on the recovering side of the surgeries. We dread the drive but we long for our little house in the woods. 

God is good.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Grateful and Waiting

Son #2 is in surgery.

We are back to waiting.  and waiting. and waiting.

Being the laid-back child that he is... Aaron spent his time in pre-op playing Sudoku and chatting it up with his nurses and doctors.  He was as chill as could be although he did make sure I whispered some prayers in his ear, and he enjoyed having me share his stretcher with him for a bit.

Son #1 usually pops awake right away after surgery.

Not so much this time.

Little boy slept and slept and slept. 

Each time he woke up from his deep slumber he would growl and fuss and pull on his IV and try to get out of bed.

Valium to the rescue!!!

At 2:30 am he finally woke up.

Yeah.  2:30 am.

Bright and chipper and ready to start his day!

His mom.....

Not so much.

Surgically - his feet are now flat. One without any surgery at all... the other required the knick of his tendon and manipulation of the bones.  His left knee is sporting a titanium plate with the ultimate goal of getting his knee straight.  His right knee is now bent at a 60% angle for the first time in his life.  Wow!!

We are 50% through the hardest part. 

Praying for Aaron in surgery.

Grateful for John's results!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Not Informative Post

On Surgery day for son #1 you arrive an hour early because you are careful that way.

You bring a bunch of their schoolwork with you in hopes that they will be able to get some of it done before anesthesia and pain create brain cell fallout.

You bring along the resident Math Genius Papa to help with the multitude of math problems they have.

You rush to get it all done - waiting all the while for the phone to ring calling son # 1 down to pre-op.

Your rushing was in vain.

You didn't bring enough homework.

You have one starving son #1 and one very bored son #2.

You watch them bounce off the walls for hours and hours waiting for that elusive call. 

Finally after many hours of waiting... they send for son #1 who promptly bursts into tears and spends the next hour going through pre-op with tears coursing down his face.

You whisper prayers in his ears as they wheel him away crying.

You sit in his hospital room writing this blogpost - waiting  and waiting.

and waiting ...

Hopefully tomorrow this will be the very informative post!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Changing Smiles

They are smiling now but these next few days aren't going to be smiling days.

We are heading for Shriners tonight. Tomorrow John will have surgery.  Knees and feet.  The goal is to get his feet flat and his left knee straight and his right knee bent. 

Aaron will have surgery on Friday.  Thumb.  They are taking his left thumb and changing its position. 

So that is that.

Smiles will change within 24 hours.

Rob and I will be working together to keep both boys entertained/comfortable/pain-free etc etc. 

We would covet prayers for them over the next few days/weeks.  They are both scared and hopeful and longing for bodies that don't require surgeries so they can do all the things that their friends can do. 

 It's hard being in their bodies sometimes. It's hard and over the next few days their hard will be even harder.

But they are both tough and resilient. The roads they have walked have made them that way.  They have dealt with more in their short lives than most people deal with in a lifetime.  They are tough little guys and we are beyond proud of both of them. 

Pray for them.  If you want to leave a comment here or on Facebook or send an e-mail letting them know you are praying along with a cheery note, I know they would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Remember the Days

It's finished!

The 2nd book in our Remember the Days series is finished!

As of yesterday afternoon, the e-book version of the book is now on sale on our website.

If we weren't so bone-weary exhausted we would have danced through the night in our little house in the woods.

As it was, our celebration consisted of a few weak smiles, a quiet hurrah and a feast of steak and potatoes.

U.S. History and World History side by side for the K-6th graders.

Remember the Days is a fun new series for grades K – 6. These books teach history the way kids like to learn it: in story form, with a friendly layout and plenty of colorful pictures. Amaze your kids with great stories from around the world, and from ancient times down through modern times. Study U.S. History, World History, Church History, Geography and more-- all in order, in context and written from a Christian world view.

The beautiful covers are compliments of  Lucille Brown at Penelope and Lane!

I LOVE how Medieval Days and Early Modern Days match...

Remember the Days will eventually include Modern Days and Ancient Days.

I can't imagine how crazy we will feel when all four books are finished.... For now, we are enjoying seeing these two books side by side.

Early Modern Days is in e-book format only. You can purchase it HERE.

At the end of February we should have the physical copies of the book in our hands! 

Maybe then we will do the dancing through the night party!