Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Worship from Whining....

to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

Tuesdays are always like this. In fact, Sunday at 2pm through Tuesday afternoon (sometimes wednesday), I fight tooth and nail with Satan as he tries to get a foothold in my heart. Sunday at 2 is usually when my husband leaves for the week, sometimes taking with him my Ava, sometimes my parents, even friends that have come in usually go home around then too. Everyone leaves on Sunday afternoons. Thus begins the sadness, loneliness, frustration and the road to the next weekend. All the joy of family time, laughing, holding my baby girl, being held by my hubby, the companionship of family and friends, the hope and strength of my support system drives north on 287 as I go settle back into A-4 in the NICU. Noah's worth all the pain and struggle, the loneliness and heartache, the restless heart and constant question in the back of my mind.
Why Noah?
The nagging in my mind never quits, why Noah, why us, why hypoplastic heart, why is he still here, even. Why are these weeks dragging on and on and why are the months skipping by me like nothing. He's already 2 months old. Where is the time going? My heart and my mind go up and down, up and down until I finally just break. The whining then starts...it's ugly really. I can get truly annoying, I'm sure, especially to nick. I ask the same questions, complain about the same issues, wonder the same things, etc. Same struggle different day. The grieving never completely goes away as I slowly begin to understand just how big of a deal this all is.
I really do rejoice in ALL the accomplishments Noah has made. I rejoice in the littlest of victories and I try to not see the littlest issues as major setbacks. Sometimes it all becomes mush and the littlest thing like a blood draw seems like he is being tortured to me. A monitor going off until the nurse comes to check it can become a sharp pain in the head. An echocardiogram to check heart function can seem like a huge opening for a flood of problems to come rushing in. It all just gets tiresome and negative after awhile. So today, as I have been struggling with all of it, (yet again), I realized that surely there is a way to use all of this heartache, questioning and even grieving....

I listened to Pastor Matt's third sermon in his latest series, "When God Seems Like the Enemy". It was the perfect timing to hear the words, "God isn't fair". First of all, because I needed a slap in the face to get me out of my whining fest and second because it reminded me that Christ dying for me, for you, for Noah, etc was not fair. He didn't deserve to be crucified. I do. He didn't deserve to go through what he did, but he went through it in obedience and worship to the Father. Worship. So, does that mean, that everytime I hear my baby boy cry because he is getting his veins dug into to get a blood draw, that it is worship and that I can send up my frustration to God but in the form of worship? So each day we find ourselves still in the hospital, still in ft worth, still spread apart, that all of this enduring is worship? Please, let all of this have a purpose, Lord. If all of these long days, long weeks, hard nights, rough moments, surgeries, tests, iv's, blood draws, therapies, etc etc all be a means to worship you. May the rest of our lives, be worship. I think of all the trips we will have to ft worth, to the dr's, for surgeries, for check ups, for heart caths, for follow ups...all the struggles we will endure with having a child with HLHS, all the stuff we don't even know is coming in life in general, Lord....somehow I can face tomorrow, knowing all of this is worship. Worship makes my tears meaningful and my struggle worth it. Worship is finally, somehow, becoming more than music. I am finally learning what it means to have a heart of worship, not just a head full of "worship" songs.
It is one of the hardest things to do, leaving your baby in a hospital room as you drive back to the place you're staying. But, it is part of it right now. None of this is how I would ever want my life to look like or anyone else's for that matter, but it is where we are at. So, I will try to find ways to adapt and be thankful. I am grateful for a husband who is patient with me, who loves me at my worst and encourages me to be my best. I am thankful for him and I know that God made us a team for a reason. I am thankful for him and how he takes care of our baby girl, all these days we are apart. Wow. There will be a day when we are at home, the 4 of us and we can close the blinds, lock the doors, turn off our phones and hide away. We can soak each other up and make up for lost time. I long for that moment that I am sitting with both babies in my arms in the recliner, with a blankee and a big long nap is shared.
I can confidently say, that would be considered worship too, at this point. :) Both babies, in my arms...they are both His anyway, He just allows me the privilege to be their mommy.

Noah had a pretty good day. He received blood and that is most likely for volume and I think it ended up helping his oxygen saturation so they could turn down his oxygen some. He got an echo done and hopefully I will find out how that went, tomorrow. I am also waiting to find out how his sonogram went to look at the clot he has been having. I don't have much to update on him other than that and when I get new info I will pass along. Please just pray that his cardiac function continue to improve. Please pray that he continues to be able to be weaned off of the oxygen now. Speech therapy will be coming by to evaluate him to see about starting a bottle. They are looking at changing his formula and maybe adding some of my milk to it. He has the wound vac back on til next monday. Please pray that his incision closes completely and is healed well by then. Hopefully he will get a lot of rest.
Thanks for the love and prayers.
blessings,
shaina

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tis the Season...

Christmas. Usually it is such a magical and fun time of year. Thanksgiving really is my favorite but Christmas can take an easy second. With Thanksgiving, I feel like it lasts from September 1st to Thanksgiving Day as the grand finale. (halloween is in there just for grins)...You know? All the leaves, the weather change, baking and soups. For 3 whole months you get to celebrate the season of Autumn and thankfulness. I just love it. Pumpkin this, spice that. This Autumn Thankful season has been quite different for me this year. I started out September packing up for what I thought would be a 2 month stay in Ft. Worth area. (2 weeeks prior to Noah's birth and the a month and a half for surgery and recovery) Surely we would be home by Halloween. He even had a onesie for the occasion, knowing we wouldn't get out of the house. Well, Halloween came and went. Then I thought, surely we would be home by Thanksgiving. Nick, Ava, Noah and I would be snuggly in our house watching football and getting leftovers brought to us. Well, that was Thursday. We weren't home. No decorations went up, no pumpkins were bought or carved. Candy was bought of course, Nick bought it and ate it I'm sure. haha. I did take Ava trick or treating and she enjoyed it. Thanks to some friends, she even had a fun costume without me having to go out and buy one. There wasn't any thankful tree or leaf crafts for Ava. We didn't make pumpkin mousse or watch football in our jammies on Sunday afternoons on the couch. Nothing about this fall was or has been "normal" as I've known it and enjoyed it for so many years. I did get to make my Mimi's dressing and it turned out pretty good. Her crescent rolls that I tried to make this year ended up as crescent biscuits I guess you could say. It was stupid really, but they tasted ok. Maybe I'll try again next year. We were blessed to be with Nick's local family here and were thankful for the warmth and fun of the day. My mom and dad sat at the hospital with Noah and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. My sister stayed in North Carolina. No one was in their usual places. Yet, we are thankful. Thanksgiving isn't just the tangible. Thanksgiving is more than that and this year more than ever we realize it. I could go on and on about what I am thankful for right now. God has sustained us and is continuing to as we go down this road. This is the road he picked for us. I don't know why and I don't like it most of the time, but I am realizing more and more that the abnormal, unfair and sometimes terribly painful road is hard, but it's the road that leads us to Christ and not a false sense of security or pleasure in "the comfortable". You see, Christmas trees, the lights, sounds and smells of the season that is upon us now are all lovely and comfortable and I enjoy them so much. I so enjoy decorating my house, enjoying Christmas music and parties, making goodies for Nick's work crew, wrapping presents and making crafts, but none of that matters to me this year. Seeing everyone else enjoy it is hard for me, because I have an already 2 month old laying in his crib in A-4 of the NICU and all I can think about is how our new normal is going to look like, not if all my stockings are hung. I can't enjoy the sounds of Christmas music because my family might not be "home for Christmas", but spread apart. I can't bake in my home, wrap presents in my home, play with both of my kids in my home. Nothing is how it is "supposed" to be this time of year. Yet, here we are. God is working on me in this. I accept the hand I've been dealt and I know he has a plan for our family. I know that the struggle that is going on in my heart and mind might not exist at all next year. I might be enjoying all I love again with 2 babies and a hubby there to enjoy it with. But, right here and right now, it stings. It hurts to see all the pictures of sparkly trees and little family stockings, just like it hurt to see all the pumpkin carvings and thanksgiving family pictures. Everything just hurts right now. But, there is purpose. There is a plan. It is worth it.

There was a card on a little package that I found on the counter when I came back up from eating dinner and it said, "there will always be a beginning and an end, but what's important is the journey in between". It's true. I'm learning, Nick is learning, Ava is growing and Noah is healing. We are all on this journey together and we will get through the holidays together. Somehow, even with Ava not being able to be back here in the NICU, we'll find a way to make this holiday season bright, because, after all, it isn't about us. It is about Christ. Without Christ, none of us would be here, I would not be able to enjoy my family, my children, having a home. Without Christ coming to earth, I would not have a chance to go through this hard time, this journey that is leading me closer to Christ, making me a better wife, mother, person in general. Without Him, there wouldn't be any of this. So we will find Christ and his blessing, love, hope and plan in this coming holiday. We will cling to him and know that His plan is the best plan. His hand is the strongest. His ways are the highest. His thoughts are the loftiest and yet the most intimate. I know He will remain our home, even when our circumstances seem so foreign.
Thanks for your prayers and love as we continue to make it through this.

Update:
Noah has been back on his feeds since Friday. His blood cultures have come back clear since they got them earlier last week. He got a new pic line placed so they don't have to keep digging for new iv's all the time. Hopefully that will help his veins to have some time to heal, his bruises to go away and for him to not be so irritated. He will be on TPN and lipids until he is on full feeds again. He is still having to have blood thinner administered in shot form. I pray that will be over with before we go home, but we'll see. (pray for no more clots) He has been resting a lot since we got to the NICU. It is so much more quiet and easy to rest here. He loves to be swaddled and will be getting to wear more clothes and things now. (the things you take for granted until you don't get to put clothes on your newborn)He loves his passy and will be possibly trying out a bottle sometime this week. We'll see how things go. Our next big hurdle is eating. Here is how I can explain it simply....
It takes a LOT of cardiac output (heart function) to eat, for a baby. Think of it like running a marathon for you or I. It takes so much for a little one to eat "normally". Sometimes a heart patient baby just simply does not have the cardiac function to eat and not get too tired, causing the baby to not get enough to eat, burn calories while they eat, or put themselves in distress while eating, etc. So, they give the baby a shot at it, to see how their body and heart does. They also watch closely to make sure the baby does not aspirate any milk into his/her lungs. After being on a ventilator for 51 days, it can be a hard thing for a little one to swallow. So they will monitor that as well. If Noah cannot do well with eating with a bottle he will have a g-button placed for feedings (a feeding tube directly to his stomach) that we will be able to go home on. We'll see how he does. All in all, we are just slow and steady with healing. He truly has made progress. Much progress. Sometimes it seems slow and non existent, but he really is doing good. Please pray:
for no clotting
for his cardiac function to be enough to eat normally
for his bruises and veins to heal
for him to lose more tubes and monitors
for his heart to gain strength and function
for swallowing
to not aspirate as he begins to eat

for me as I adjust to december coming in a hospital.
for nick and I both as we are still apart a lot.
for ava in all things toddler. She is basically a 2 yr old these days. crazy how big she is acting and the things she is doing at just almost 18 months. She amazes us with her words, her silly character and sweet spirit.
guess that's it for now...
thanks and love
shaina


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nurses

We are officially the new kids on the block in NICU A wing. I miss the PICU D wing. I mean, I don't miss the open floor, the in and out craziness, the noises and lack of privacy....I miss the people. I have never had to spend more than a few days in a hospital before, so I have never really understood the medical field in the way I do now. Nurses are special people. Their job takes special care, insurmountable amounts of energy, long long hours, deep knowledge of pharmaceutical matters, what meds mix or don't mix with each other, which meds are given at what time, chart this, chart that, add and subtract this and that, change this line, clean that diaper....etc etc. that is all for one patient. In the PICU each patient gets their own nurse. They are in that critical of a place that they need that special care. Sometimes though, nursing staff is low and some nurses get two patients, with high needs for attention and they gets swamped and it is amazing to see how much of a team they are up there, the way the help each other out, etc. It simply amazes me at how much they handle on any given day. Through every hurdle Noah faced and conquered (with God leading the way) they got us through it, loved on Noah, took care of him and even me sometimes. The long talks, the comforting words, "we've got this, no worries, go rest"...anytime I called to check on him they would not complain, but just let me know all was well, what the plan for the day was, and sometimes what was wrong and not going well. Most moms don't get to go home at night and sleep 8+ hours. Sometimes I feel guilty about that and then I remember the other sacrifices I'm making as a mom and getting sleep at night is actually not something to feel guilty about. I finally feel like maybe I've earned it just a bit. I'd gladly give up watching my child go through 2 open heart surgeries, numerous IV's, ventilator, feeding tube, wound vacs, no clothes, not holding him for a month and a half, etc in order to have sleepless nights with a healthy baby at home. So, I don't worry about getting sleep at night as much anymore, because I know I can't take care of him in the capacity that he needs, but he is in the care of nurses that can. I try to sleep and rest so that I can at least be functioning and aware during the day to take on the all the information and keep moving forward with him. I know I don't have to carry the load alone or at all, I know to lay my burdens down at the foot of the cross, but this whole journey IS my cross I'm to bear right now. When he says, "take up your cross and follow me"....he means it. Back to nurses. I miss Jill, Laurie, Floyd, Jennifer, Aly, Dr. Duncan, Dr. Meyer, even Dr. Gemeli. They do an outstanding job. From post op, through cardiac arrest, through multiple weeks of no progress, swelling, then the pacemaker, etc. They never gave up on my son. They never got too tired to care for him, cheer him on, help him in every way possible. They got us through the dark times and celebrated through the great times. The cardiac wing of the PICU at Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth is hands down the best place our Noah could be. But, here we are, in a new part of this journey in the NICU and we have new nurses, new dr's (besides our cardiologists) new rules, new schedule, new rounding times, new everything. again. Lord knows we're weary of it all, but He continues to sustain us. So, I pray that the nurses in the NICU love their job as much as our other nurses do. I pray blessings over each of them here because it can be a hard job, full of long days, nights, little sleep, lots of orders, very little thank you's, poop, throw up, blood, etc. Thank a nurse if you know one, be gracious to them when you need them, don't complain, but use manners. Be thankful for them and be patient with them. I'm forever thankful for our nurses, especially in the PICU cardiac wing because in another couple of months we will see them again after surgery 2 and then again after surgery 3. So, we'll be back with them again and I'm just thankful that since we have to be back, we know we will be in good hands.
There is not much to update on Noah today, except that we are waiting on blood cultures to come back since he had that little bit of blood in his stool yesterday. The xray came back ok they said. They stopped feeds, have him on iv fluids, antibiotics and are now waiting. He is sleeping sweetly. I am not bothering him because yesterday was just terrible for him. They moved him over here and had to get him settled in, which took awhile, then they had to stab at him for an hour or more to get blood drawn. So, he NEEDS and has EARNED a day of sweet sleep. It is nice to just sit in his room, quietly and let him rest, allow myself to unwind and just enjoy the day together. Amidst the stresses and frustrations, God gives us both green pastures.

So, Nick, Ava, Dad and Mother are coming down tonight. Mom and Dad are going to hang out with Noah tomorrow for Thanksgiving (still can't believe it is tomorrow). Nick, Ava and I will be together with the Kings and other family from both of their sides. I'm making my mimi's dressing and crescent rolls and I'm thankful I get to carry that on. I need to make them, for her, (even though she has the best seat for thanksgiving ever, next to Jesus) for myself and just because. Remembering her over the last few months has been a big source of encouragement for me through this whole thing, but I do have my moments when I wish I would miss her call and she would leave me a long silly message. I'm thankful for her legacy in me and will be happy to share her food with this new side of the family that God has given us.
We're thankful that Bob(nick's dad) and his wife Carrie will be able to come to town for part of the weekend. We are glad Carrie will get to meet Noah and Bob will get to see him again. All sewn up, and much better than when he left the last time.


Please just keep praying for Noah:
this blood in stool issue to be resolved
for him to be able to start learning with a bottle next week
for his entire digestive system to function properly
for his cardiac output to be enough to sustain him in order to eat well off of a feeding tube.
for his oxygen saturation to remain in the 70's to low 80's.
for his bruises to go away (that one's for momma)
for his hair to grow back (that one's for momma too) seriously, he has patches of shaved hair...sheesh.

for travel safety for my family
for my pops, mom and aunt dawn as they go through this first big holiday without Mimi.

Thanks to ALL who participated in the fundraiser last weekend. WOW. We cannot put into words how much we appreciate and love each and every one of you. We are blown away by God goodness and his love through all of y'all. Amazing. thank you can't be said enough. I hope and pray that you can catch just a glimpse of how thankful we are.

I suppose that's all for now.
love you all.
shaina

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

update for now

THANKSGIVING
I cannot believe it is THIS week. In fact, Noah turns 2 months old on Saturday. That is unbelievable too! Sometimes it's sad to think about the fact that Noah is almost 2 months old and he's still not home, but we are thankful that is is HERE and he is doing well now. He is making such huge strides since the pacemaker procedure. I feel like I have lagged on the posts lately, partially because I have been busy being up at the hospital with him, getting ready for this past weekend of family coming in and then thanksgiving coming up this week.
Gosh, I have so much to catch y'all up on. I have possibly already covered some of this, but I'll start back around Wednesday of last week. We were rocking along pretty well and Noah was getting lots of nice rest, with  no new changes. Friday came along and Noah got to be extubated from the ventilator! YAY!!! This was such an incredible milestone for Noah. We have now moved into the NICU. We have our own private room. It really is nice, crazy quiet and much more comfortable. He got to wear a Cook Chidren's tshirt today. He looked more like a normal baby. It was cute. We got settled in to the NICU finally and then they changed his diaper and there was a tiny bit of blood in his stool and so they took all the measures to make sure nothing is wrong with his stomach, intestines, etc. The xray came back ok, so they are waiting to make sure blood cultures come back clean etc. Frustrating, since we started the day so great. But, hopefully it is nothing. we'll see.
I am really tired of updating, keeping up with it all, truly, but I know we have awesome prayer warriors who keep up and I will continue to keep updating. I'm thankful for the prayers and the love from everyone. I can't say it enough. I don't know how to say it anymore than thank you.
Maybe I will find some time and mental energy soon to post a more detailed update. For now, please pray for my stamina to keep taking care of myself and keep positive. We are now in a new place, new nurses, new dr's (besides his cardiologists), new everything it seems. So, here we go again. :) gets tiring, but we are one step closer to home. Most of the time I am glad about that, sometimes I get scared, really. So much that will happen to get home, so much change when we get home, etc. Just lots to process, every day.
That's all for now. I'm just tired and out of updates for now.
thanks as always,
shaina


Monday, November 12, 2012

I Surrender All...

It's 6:30 on a Sunday night, probably around 1995 or 1996 and I'm sitting in the 3rd pew up from the front on the right section of the sanctuary at First Baptist Church Canyon...we seemed to always sing I Suurender All at "sunday night church". I liked singing it because it was one I knew and I could sing the alto part in the hymnal because I was learning to sight read in choir. More than that though, it was a simple time in life. What earrings to wear with my casual outfit for church that night, or which fast food place in town should we all go eat at after church? What homework did I need to finish before school the next day? That hymn just takes me back to a time in life that was easy, simple, lovely, sometimes obnoxious, but blessed. I didn't know what surrender meant then, but I'm thankful that I had the raising and stability in my life that has allowed me to learn about true surrender in this time in my life.
There have been a lot of things happen over the course of a few months that have truly made me surrender my control (or what I think is control), my wants and desires, my comfort, my plan, etc. Obviously the diagnosis of HLHS for Noah was something that I had no control over and I had to surrender my comfortable, simple, happy little life to begin to adjust to the adventure and road that was ahead. There have been times when this road has been smooth and there have been times on this road where I found myself weary, laying on the side of it with bloody feet and dried out eyes, thirsty and all alone. (so it seemed) This road has been one where I have had to daily put aside my ideas of what things should be and surrender to what things really are. Yes, your son is 6 weeks old and has never been in clothes, your son was 6 weeks old before he was ever held by his mommy, your son will always need special care for his heart, your son will have multiple more surgeries in his life, life as you knew it will not ever be the same. Nothing will be the same. When most kids go to the hospital they go home well and people move on with life. When Noah goes home from the hospital we move on with life, but in a completely new way. Reality can be tough. Surrendering what we know and what we are comfortable with is even tougher. BUT, when you truly begin to live in surrender, you begin to see just how particular God is about our lives, our needs, our dreams and our struggles. God truly does have all the details worked out, but we are so in the way of letting God work, seeing him move, and feeling his touch because we hold on so tight to our control and our ways. Sometimes the things in our life aren't such bad things, if we take the time to look at it as a means to grace. Noah has a heart condition that many babies have died from. He has a road ahead of him in life that is not going to be easy. There will be more dr visits and hospital stays ahead. I never wanted to take this road or to watch my baby struggle through the first 6+ weeks of his life and beyond, but if we hadn't been put on this road, I would not be the person I am now. It sounds so cliche, but it is truth. If he had not put us in this place, I would not know the grace that has been poured over me.

Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

Surrender those idols. The idols of worry, doubt, control, busy-ness, over reacting, money, etc etc. To truly experience the grace and freedom that is available to you, you have to let go of all that is keeping you down. I'm thankful for those who have helped keep me supported. Your love has allowed me to continually come back to the Lord and learn to start letting go of things and rest in the Father's grace.

Noah is doing so well. This weekend was a restful one for him. I am not sure if I had mentioned that he was going to need a chest drain put in so finish draining some chest fluid post surgery. The drain they took out was no longer draining where it was. Well, over night Saturday to Sunday the fluid drained and they did not need to put in the additional drain. Praise God!!! He has just kept de swelling every day. He is looking more like a 6 week old baby now and it is wonderful. They increased his feedings. He is on a elemental formula and tolerating it well. Maybe he can be on my milk again at some point. We'll see. He lays awake more often, as a normal 6 week old and he has been held twice now. Looking forward to more of that this week. He is doing well and will have his wound vac on a little longer to help heal his incision. He is such a precious boy and I am so blessed to call him mine! :)
Thank you as always for your continued prayers. I am thrilled to be giving y'all praises and exciting news. Prayers have been answered in front of my eyes! thank you so much to all! We love you guys!!
Hopefully more news on the ventilator tomorrow.
blessings,
shaina

Photo: Noah is getting used to having my camera all up in his business:) He is CUTE!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Date Night, Nail Polish and Brownies.

This has been a great weekend of refreshment for me. I picked Nick up from the airport Friday, after having a nice holding session with Noah and then going to buy a new shirt because he leaked chest fluid on me since he got rid of a chest tube right before. haha. Nick and I had a nice afternoon and evening just hanging out and enjoying each other's company. We hadn't seen each other in 2 weeks, so it was wonderful to catch up on each of our kids and each other. We enjoyed a nice dinner before meeting Lauren up at the hospital. She had come in earlier in the day and just went to hang out with noah and have some quiet time to herself. Yesterday was such a good day. We all slept in, took our time getting ready and then went up to the hospital. We got to say hello to Noah for a minute. They decided to put in a new arterial line so they won't have to prick his heel every 4 hours for blood gas tests, heprin level tests, etc. So, they had to do that and so we left for awhile. We had lunch and then Lauren took the King's family pictures. So fun! They all had a great time and Nick and I had a fun time watching. :) Such a fun family and Lauren is always finding creative ways to capture families. Thank you Lauren!! I'll plug her business more in another blog. We love loo. :) Dinner was great, with the kings' and then we came back to the house and just enjoyed veggin out. Amber, Lauren and I painted our nails, Amber and Lauren made brownies and we watched football, looked up stupid youtube videos and skyped with Amber's new fella. I don't realize how much I miss and appreciate "down time". I have a lot of down time at the hospital, but it is alone time and that makes it really easy to get lonely and think a lot. With some girl time it was nice to just laugh and take it easy. My heart is full. Nick went up to the hospital while we goofed around. :) He said he was doing well and was crying when he got there(they must have changed his diaper or turned him on his side or something, he always cries then) haha, but Nick said he got him calmed right down and he was glad to spend some time with him. God is so faithful and good to us. He has allowed me to see Lauren more in the last 2 months than I ever imagined after they moved to Galveston. We have been able to connect with the Kings, Nick's cousin and family, since being down here and we are blessed forever for that. I am just so thankful for the community God has allowed me to have, even in such crazy time, especially in such a hard place in life for us. I am thankful and I recognize that God did not have to give me such a support system. He didn't have to allow us to be able to have a home and family to open themselves up for us. He could have had me stay at the Ronald McDonald house this entire time, alone. He could have had us be many more miles away from home than we are, and he didn't. He gave us support and love. He gave us so many detailed things to get us through. I will forever be thankful for the weird and crazy time in life.

For the real update:
Noah has had a great week. Started out by getting the pacemaker on Monday. He needed it to stabilize his heart rhythms and it has worked. His heart rate is staying normal and his blood oxygen levels are staying where they need to be too. He is still on the ventilator, but they are weaning him off of it slowly. He is doing well with that. I'm really hoping that he will get extubated this week, but God and him are in control of this whole deal, so we will see. He had gone to full feeds, but his tummy wasn't quite ready for that, so they backed off a bit. He is still on blood thinner and they are keeping his blood thin enough to flow freely and get to where it needs to go. He is still on lasix and another diearetic to help pull fluid off and it is working. His kidneys are doing well enough to push the lasix and stuff so that is good. Once the fluid is off real well, they'll see about taking him off of lasix and letting him keep fluid off himself. Give his kidneys a break. He has been laying there awake more often, for long periods of time. He has a little hanging toy that is a bright colored turkey. He likes to look at it and he has even grinned once or twice for me. He really has made progress. Thank you for praying. I really am weary of trying to thank everyone enough. I want y'all to realize how amazing it is to see prayers answered. For instance, I asked for a miracle for my baby on Tuesday. I got to HOLD Noah on Wednesday. It was such an amazing feeling to have him close and know that we are on the road to recovery enough that I could hold him, tubes and all. Now, granted, it will be easier to hold him without all the tubes. :) Nick has not been feeling well enough to hold him because we don't dare get close if we have a sniffle or a cough. Nick's had both. (the wind here has been like home the last couple of days, arg) haha.
So, overall, Noah is just doing well and I am praying that we get through this sunday with no big events. Things always seem to happen on the weekends, so I ask the Lord for a simple sunday of rest for my baby boy.
I suppose that is all for now. Thank you, as always, for your prayers and love.
I am also blown away by the fundraiser efforts of Brad Duggan. He has blown us away with his generosity to plan such a neat event coming up on saturday in Canyon. We are humbled beyond words. Truly. Check it out on facebook. Baby Noah Fundraiser. Incredibly blessed by him and all who are helping to put this together. WOW! We will be here in Ft Worth of course next weekend, so we won't be there, but we are hoping to skype or something to say hi to everyone! We love you all and are so grateful and thankful for the support.
blessings,
shaina

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Little Turtle

Slow and steady wins the race... right? Well, Noah is my little turtle. He is just slowly and steadily winning this race. He had a good night last night and then had a great day today. Besides getting to snuggle with his mommy, he was able to go down on the vent some, he started feeds again, he maintained good heart numbers, peed a lot, even pooped. He really has gone down on swelling, even though I see him every day and it is hard to tell, I think he really has gone down some. He is still on lasix and another diarhetic, blood thinner, tpn and lipids, and strong pain medicines. He is not on as many sedation meds, so he was awake and aware this morning which was nice. :) he just looked around and was very busy trying to figure things out. His eyes are turning brown. :) :) :) He is SO my kid! Ava looks nothing like me, but my sweet boy does! :) hehe yay. He got to be held by mommy and his mommy was so so so very thankful and happy about that. Maybe if he is a good boy and mommy bribes the nurses, she'll get to do it again tomorrow. hehe

Truly, he had a good day. He made some progress and any progress is GOOD progress. The plan right now is to tweak meds off and on for getting rid of fluid, to wean him off the ventilator slowly but surely and to up his feeds again. Not sure I can think of anything else.

Ava has started to feel a bit better. She has been really tired and clingy. Her appt with the urologist was good. We got updated on her reflux and got the plan of action for her. All pretty good news. She is teething still, but it seems to have subsided some. She seems to be perking up a bit. I pray so hard that she will keep holding on with us as we get through this time.

Thank you all for praying. Thank you for lifting us up, praying for a miracle and not laughing at me for it. Thank you for the support. We are so very thankful.

Let's PRAISE the LORD for his mighty hand in our life and on our baby boy!! I am thankful for progress. It is such a blessing.

Thanks and love,
shaina

Yet, I will rejoice...


Habakkuk 3:18 – “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

Yesterday was terrible. I had not slept well, I woke up down, the nurse sounded negative, I fed off of that. I sat depressed in the big comfy chair and watched shows on Netflix for hours and hours. I did not feel like trying, I did not want to get up and go to the hospital. I did not enjoy getting a phone call from Ava’s dr’s office about having to get her arm looked at by an orthopedic dr (another blog all together), all the insurance stuff that goes with that, blah blah. I was frustrated with so much. I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw in the towel. Since May we have been learning what our new normal will look like. Since September 24th I have gazed upon my son and asked the Lord many time, why noah? Why a heart defect? Why no progress? Why a pacemaker? Why won’t his body heal? I truly was on the road to the pit again. By the afternoon hours I was holding on for dear life to the hem of his garment, begging for him to show up. (like he ever left) Each week has had its ups and downs. I go through different emotions each day and most of the time I am fierce with confidence and a big smile as I get to the picu D wing and into noah’s cubicle. I know Noah needs my strength and needs my voice. I know that is what I can give him right now. Yesterday I had no words, I had no confidence, I had nothing to give noah, not even my voice. I finally did try. I was just emptied out so much I had nothing to give my son, nothing to keep going on. My wandering heart, weary. My longing arms, tired. My mustard seed faith, almost dropped. My light at the end of the tunnel yesterday was knowing that I had some special visitors. These three people are some of the Godliest, genuine, humble people I know. They took time from their schedule, their trip here, to come by and love on myself and my Noah. I cannot tell you how satan wanted to get me to try to not have them come see me. I tried to warn them that noah didn’t look good yesterday and I was real low. I didn’t know if they really wanted to come up if we weren’t at our best…(its just how I process sometimes) I know satan was trying his best to not let me be rescued from the pit of despair I had found myself in all day. They came. I was never more happy to see people, than when I pick up my hubby from the airport each weekend and when I get to see Ava after weeks apart. Truly, it has been over 2 months since I have been in fellowship with these mentors and suddenly there they were. It was like a lifesaver had been thrown out into the waves. That ocean that always stops at the shore, as matt preached on last weekend, I’ve been drowning out in it lately and then that lighthouse light came on, the lifesaver was thrown and I could get pulled to shore, cough up the crud, lay there and breathe. They wrapped me up, fed me, and loved on me. They were Jesus to me and I was able to refocus, refresh and then move forward from that place. I’m really not sure how much they realize it meant to me to have their presence. Their prayers for our son fell over him like warm blanket on a cold day. Noah soaked them up, as did I and it gave us each the fuel to keep going in the right direction. That is the beauty of the body of Christ. It is the hope of the gospel. We have a rescuer. We do not have to drown in whatever pit we find ourselves. We can cry out and know that He himself will drag us out, wrap us up, feed us and love us through. Christ will pick you up, right where you are. You don’t have to get to shore yourself, clean yourself up and then come to him.

Our associate pastor at Family Life is Matt Johnson. He has started a 3 week series called, “When God Seems Like the Enemy”. I watched it online (www.familylife.tv) last night before I went to bed. I can tell you, I felt like he was sitting across from me at the table and preaching directly to my heart. I urge you to listen and then the next two weeks go back and hear  the messages either at Family Life or online. I went to bed at peace. I slept better than I had in awhile. I awoke a few times to random thoughts and negative thoughts about noah and rebuked them and went back to sleep. (he is ever with us, he truly never leaves us, especially in our rest) So I woke up for the day and went directly to Christ. I had been so convicted that no matter how much time I spend with him during the day, at the hospital or wherever, I had to start the day, not just fill the day with him. I meditated some more on the message Matt gave. I soaked up some amazing music, got in my journal and focused my mind and heart on God’s promises before I even thought about going to the hospital. I got ready and got to the hospital in time for rounds and noah was awake and looking around. I held his hand for awhile and then pulled up a chair and sat beside his bed. Yesterday I could not approach his bed without a fight. Today, comfortable and enjoying time with my baby. Thankful for that interaction. One of the hospital chaplains came by and we visited. I always feel weird when they come by because they don’t just come out and ask you, “are you a Christian?” but I am and I want them to know that without sounding defensive haha. Anyway, he was so pleasant and we had a wonderful visit. It was after he left that noah’s nurse came up and asked if I would be in favor of holding him… WHAT! Of course!! He is still on the ventilator, multiple tubes and drains, but YES! So, they got me set up and got him moved to my arms, tubes and all. It was the best 45 minutes I have had in the last month. Just peaceful warmth between the two of us. The special part of our holding time was that we got to cuddle underneath a very very special blanket that was given to us last night. More on that later. Just know for now that this mommy was given her miracle this morning. I had called upon our prayer warriors and asked for a miracle  yesterday. In my struggle and loneliness I asked them to pray for a miracle for us. For noah. It came. I held my baby boy for the first time. I do not believe it will be the last. But, if God chose otherwise, I’d be satisfied with his goodness to me in that very moment. So thankful. For I rejoice in the middle of hardship and trial, for God simply digs us out of the pit and rejoices over us. He sings over us with love and my how it fulfills every longing when he gives us the desire of our hearts.
I would like to hope that even if I didn’t hold my baby boy today that I would still be rejoicing. I have tried everyday, even in the hard times, to say, I trust your character God, even when I do not understand your ways.
Thank you Lord for your covering, for the prayers of everyone, for the love of the body of Christ, for the amazing amount of support and love from all.

It’s worth it. The nearness and the intimacy that I have with Christ is worth the fight. I don’t like this situation at all, but I know that He is being honored through our journey. I’m honored to be Noah’s mom now and will always be. He has brought me closer to Christ than I ever thought possible.

Pee

Noah had a good night. His output was good. Every bit of pee is a good thing and we pray for more of that. I'm taking each nugget of good news and praising God! Every little thing. Thank you for continuing on this road and praying us through it. Don't stop. Praying for more and more pee to come, for that fluid to reside, for the ventilator to be weaned more, for feedings to start back up, for meds to come down, just every detail, I know God has it all.
thanks and love
shaina

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

While Everybody Is Watching

This journey has been a very public one. Sometimes that has been by our choice and others time it has not. We decided when we first knew of Noah and his heart condition that we wanted and needed support. We called upon everyone we know to begin praying for him. We have been overwhelmed by love and prayers of support for us since then. We continue to get prayers, we are on so many prayer chains I couldn't even tell you how many. We are thankful, truly. We have amazing family and friends who cover us daily. We have a church that is beyond supportive. There are people in other countries who are lifting us up to God. The body of Christ has come together in a very beautiful way. Here is what hurts though.... When we utilize facebook as a means to communicate updates about our son so that our fellow Christians and prayer warriors can continue to lift him up in the details and rejoice in the praises...that means we are "friends" with most of them. It has come to my attention that there are some people who will pray along side us and support our son and then have some very negative and rude, very un-Christ like things to say on there later. I am thankful for any prayers we get for our son, but I am sad that some of the same mouths that pray for our boy also speak hateful words and gripe about things.

I have been very vulnerable and open to everyone as I have traveled this road. My husband is very private and reserved and is not near as vocal nor as social. We make a great team. He keeps me grounded and I keep him busy. So, I have gone through this journey in a very public way, by choice. There are some days that I regret that, but other days I am thankful because the load is lifted and I can breathe. There is a line in a song that I have been listening to that says, "it's hard to grow while everybody's watching". This time in my life has been the hardest, to say the least, and it has been the most growing time as well. I always said I had a boring testimony....I accepted Christ at age 7, didn't get into any/much trouble growing up, just nothing really to tell people. This has changed that forever. All of this has changed me. I feel like I am on display for all to see and if I have a bad day or mess up or say the wrong thing that I have failed in some way. The bad days are reallly bad. The good days aren't my best, but they aren't the dark ones. Does that make sense? There have been times in the last few months that I have almost thrown in the towel, turned my back and ran as fast as I could the other direction. Why would God allow this to happen to my son, or any child for that matter? When he said he knit and formed noah in my womb, why did he mess up? Why is noah's heart not whole? Why does my daughter have to be away from her parents, who aren't divorced and didn't choose to be a part? Why do two people, who have become one, who function better together, who when one cries the other tastes salt, have to be separated for months, seeing each other for little bits at a time, here and there, with the stress of a critically ill child, a developing toddler and trying to nurture and protect their marriage at the same time. How is this God's will? How is this good? How is this of God's hand? The age old question, "why do bad things happen to good people?" Well, first of all, the Word clearly states that no man is good. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. So, "good people" are irrelevant in bad situations. Bad things happen. period. God never said following him or trusting him would be easy. The thing that God is asking us to do, is to trust His character, even when we do not understand his ways. Today, I didn't show that in my faith. I, honestly almost gave up on faith. I am so dang stubborn though, that I cannot turn away from what I know, what I have always  known and the only form of hope I see. Without faith, what hope is there? It's the gospel. We have no hope but Christ. There is no hope, but in Him who died to give me hope. It's beautiful. It's merciful. It's unfailing. It's pure. It's love. I have struggled with feeling punished lately. This whole ordeal with Noah makes me feel as if I have done something wrong and God is punishing me by making my child go through this ordeal. I was freed from that lie Sunday in worship when we sang a line in a song I have sung a million times, but never heard the verse like I did Sunday.
Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live
The wrath of God was satisfied. This trial is not God's wrath, even though it can feel like it at times. God's wrath was satisfied in Christ's death. My son is not enduring punishment, God's son did. Wow. 

So, Noah. I know you are all really reading this to hear about him. Noah is precious. He's adorable. He's handsome. He is sweet, he is strong, he is so far above me in courage and he doesn't even know what courage is. He is helpless, needy, and still very sick. Let me try to make it clear. He has been on a ventilator since the day he was born. He has gone through 2 surgeries and a heart cath within and month and a half. He has had more iv's, drains and tubes coming out of him than I have ever seen or could count on my hands. He went into and survived cardiac arrest. He has endured a nasty infection. He has gone on and off feedings multiple times. He has never been held. (i take it back, his daddy held him in the OR when he was born.
Since that moment, he has not been held. He has never been able to wear clothes. He is swollen. He is so terribly swollen it is so sad. I hate it for him. His skin is so tight in his abdomen, chest and face. He has gone through more in the first month and a half of his life than many people go through in their entire life. So...how is noah tonight?
Noah is stable. His numbers are good. His heart rate is steady due to the pacemaker. We are thankful for that. His oxygen saturation is good, for where he is in this process of fixing his heart. With every surgery it will get better. His blood pressure is decent as well. Until the fluid comes off of his body though, he can't get better. That is why I was so urgent in my posting this afternoon. The miracle we ask and need for Noah is for fluid to rush out of him and off of his body immediately. He needs to be relieved of the edema in his body now. He had gone down real well until dealing with the surgery yesterday. He is back to being really puffed up. He needs to pee and pee and pee to get the fluid off of him. He also needs to have gas, a lot. His abdomen is very swollen and full of air. He really needs that air to be released. Yes, he needs to fart a lot. 

Ava. Sweet, silly, lovely, precious, beautiful and smart Ava. She has been tossed around, pawned off, in limbo between places for months and it is finally taking it's toll on her. My sweet girl has been teething for awhile with molars and that has been terrible lately. She has kidney reflux and has had it since she was born, but she had to go through a vcug test to check up on it, a few weeks ago. She goes to the dr tomorrow to find out if she will need a procedure to correct it or if it correcting on its own. She also has an issue with her arm, exactly like her daddy's left arm, where her bones are not growing properly and she has lack of radial motion in her right arm. We will have to have it looked at by an orthopedic dr. She has been clingy, sad, tired, with a suppressed appetite lately. She misses me, then she misses nick. She gets pawned off on family all the time, especially the weekends so nick can come down here. She has been amazing, resilient, cooperative, sweet, silly and happy through it all, but right now she is feeling the effects of it all. She has been under the attack today along with her daddy, mommy and brother. She is weary and tired. I know my children will not remember this time in our life, but we will and you can bet that they will know how amazing they were/are and how much they did to encourage their mommy and daddy to keep trusting the Lord, keep pushing ourselves along and not give up. 

Prayer Specifics:
(this is going to sound cliche and cheesy, but it's my heart's longing) For God to be honored, glorified and exalted in our life. 
That Noah would feel the prayers, peace and healing touch of Christ. 
For God to help my unbelief
For Nick as leader of our home. 
For myself as the one, alone on the frontline 24/7
For Ava as she endures

Noah to release fluid. To get rid of fluid and come down in swelling in an enormous way. A miraculous and amazing way. 
For him to release air from his abdomen. 
To not retain fluid in his chest. 
To GET OFF THE VENTILATOR!!!
to adjust to that change when it happens.
to get back on feeds, preferably my milk, not formula, but either way.
to remain consistent in his heart stats. 
that he will get rid of tubes, less meds, to transition to a more "normal" baby.
to BE HELD BY HIS MOMMY AND DADDY

for ava to be well
for her arm to be healed
for her to have endurance to get through this with us
for her to be cared for in my/our absence. 
her kidney reflux stuff to be dealt with/healed 

For nick to get rest and to get through work each day

for myself to take care of myself
for my milk supply
to remain immersed in Christ and his truth, to not dwell on the bad or the difficult so much and try to refresh my heart and mind in him every day so I can be strong for my son and daughter. 

for people to come to Christ and for those that know him to draw nearer to him through our story. 

Thank y'all. Love y'all.

learning still, 
shaina

Sunday, November 4, 2012

At His "Pace"...

Nothing about Noah's story has been "normal". Nothing has been typical at all, in fact, from the day we found out we were pregnant, nothing has been regular. Most people find out they are pregnant a few weeks into the pregnancy. Well, we didn't. We found out 20 weeks in. Within 1 week of finding out we were pregnant, we found out we were having a boy and we found out he had a CHD. (Congenital Heart Defect) Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
Nothing about this boy has been easy or normal..(except for loving him, that has been easy as ever and as normal as can be) So, here we are, 1 month and 11 days into his life and he is still calling the shots. Well, him and God.
So, Noah is doing well today. We have some news about his progress I would like to explain! God and Noah have been taking us on a long journey post surgery. Today we found out that he will need a pacemaker put in. Noah has been on and off of a pacemaker since he came out of surgery. This can be normal for an HLHS patient. He would do well for a week off of the pacemaker and then he would need it again. So, today his heart rate went back down and he had one of the cardiologist monitor him most of the day. After all the back and forth they have decided this will be the best thing for him.  The procedure will be tomorrow (monday) or Tuesday. This is a very simple procedure, to put the pacemaker in. Nick and I are relieved to have something to move forward with as we have been waiting for weeks to see progress and be able to measure that progress. So, Noah will get the pacemaker. It is an amazing device and will only kick in when his little heart needs it. This gives us some confidence as we move forward that his heart has support. His heart and the shunt that was put in during his first surgery (norwood procedure) are doing well. He needs the pacemaker to help his heart communicate better basically. The procedure to put in the pacemaker is a simple surgery. Noah still has the ventilator in, they have stopped his feeds for now and he is ready to go when they are ready to get him back there to do the surgery. He will not have to be on bypass or anything so that is good. This is not nearly as invasive or hard on his body. This will be a good step in his recovery process and we are confident in his caregivers, doctors, nurses etc. They know Noah and have taken care of him since day 1. They know what's best for his little heart and his body. They are so excited to see how he will progress after this pacemaker placement. His nurse today was so excited to tell me that it won't be long now til we see him without all the tubes in his face. :)
SO...please pray for this procedure to go smoothly. Pray that this will help get him to that final step to true recovery. Nick and I are thankful for your prayers and support as always!
Besides the pacemaker news, his stats are good, they are weaning him off the vent slowly, he got rid of a chest drain, he loves to be swaddled, he was going up on feeds until they decided on the pacemaker, but he'll go back on those after the surgery.
overall, this pacemaker is good news. It means that he will have the support he needs, we can move forward and see what GOOD things are ahead for our boy. I CANNOT wait to hold this baby boy and that looks closer now than ever really!
my baby boy is so handsome. I can hardly stand it. I need that boy in my arms :) :) :) Pray us through this pacemaker surgery please! Let's pray him up and get him through this next step so we can see even more amazing progress! My renewed and refreshed spirit is holding strong and I am thankful for the prayers that have gotten me here. I'm holding on, so tight. I know that God's plans for this boy are BEYOND my comprehension and understanding. There are lots of things ahead for our family, because of this boy and his courage, even as an infant, to fight and hold on to his maker. To God be the glory GREAT things he has done!! And will continue to do.
Thank you for holding up my arms.
Thank you for loving my family
Please praise God and thank him for his covering.
blessings,
Noah's mommy

Friday, November 2, 2012

November...really?

Sheesh. It's November. I have not seen home since September 8th. Wow. Such a long 2 months. Amazing yes. Hard, definitely. Worth it, absolutely.
The latest....
Well, I talked to one of the picu doctors today and Noah is doing well. He is SLOW at getting better, but he is getting better. The Cath on Tuesday showed that his heart and the repair done to it are functioning well. His body has gone under so much trauma that it is trying to heal as best as it can but it is just taking a long time. Due to the cardiac arrest, I believe that is why we are having a slow time. None the less, he said that Noah's kidneys have gone through the ringer and are very damaged. Due to slow blood flow, which is normal in hypo plastic left heart babies, and all the medicines pumped through his little body, his kidneys have just taken a beating. They have taken him off of the lasix and backed off the diuretic, and tried to lessen other meds as well. Hopefully they will see some improvement in his kidneys soon. He is getting rid of fluids ok, but still needs to get rid of fluids in order to get weaned off the vent in a timely fashion and in general he needs the fluids off of him. He needs to really pee and get rid of excess fluid. They readjusted his right chest drain and got some more fluid out of it today, so that is good. He has some clotting, even on Heprin (blood thinner) and that can be normal in a hypo plastic heart baby as well. Not a good thing, but normal. His Oxygen saturation was real low the other day when I was up there, but seemed to normalize later in the day.
He has been off of the pacemaker since last weekend. That is very important and good! The Ventilator. He has been on a ventilator since the day he was born. :( This can be a big deal to get him off of. Please pray they can continue to wean him off of it. I don't want to rush or push that sweet boy before his time, but please pray that comes quickly. He needs to be off of that thing. It is a huge step to recovery. I think a lot of the things slowing him down over all will correct when he is able to be held and picked up. This can only be done when the ventilator is out and other tubes/drains taken out.Other than that he seems to be doing well. He loves his passy. He is so sweet and has great hair, a handsome face and precious eyes. (when they're open)Feedings have gone up, so hopefully that will help his systems. We'll see.

So, how to pray:
pray for total restoration of Noah's kidneys RESTORATION is the word of the night. both for momma and noah
pray for fluids to drain and drain, for PEE
Pray for gas to be released. yes, pray for Noah to toot his little heart out.
Pray for clots to be no more! For the heprin to work and then be able to be weaned off the heprin.
Pray for his chest drains to be taken out.
Pray for him to be weaned off the ventilator and for all stats to remain consistent.  (HUGE)
Pray to stay off the pacemaker
Pray for him to be able to be picked up and HELD.(this is for mommy too)
Pray for Noah to not have damage to other functions in his body due to all the trauma.
Pray for him to get relief from his bed sores he has on various parts of his body
Pray for him to continue to recognize myself and nick as we are not able to be nearly as close as we would like (holding him and playing with him)
Pray for him to not need as much pain and sedation meds as often
Pray for him to have all the immune support he can get.

So, most of you know that Ava has been running a moderate to high fever for 2 days now. I suppose it was a good practice fun for me to be reminded that when Ava has the slightest fever, she has to be taken to the dr and looked at. slightest of fevers could mean trouble for Noah when we're home. So, it was good practice. They ruled everything out and sent us home to treat the fever and see how things go. I think teeth, exhaustion and travel have caught up to her. :( I so long to be home again with her during the days. She does so well on a routine.  (as do i )
Pray for her to have full health restored
pray for her transition back to home this coming week
pray for her to be able to rest
pray for the next 2 weeks of me not seeing her again. :(

I can't even begin to think of all the ways I need prayer. I could post a whole new blog about that. maybe tomorrow. haha. just pray as you feel led. I'm tired, weary, holding on to every little bit of hope I can muster but trying not to feel let down when things don't happen the way I think they could. Pray for Nick as he endures and works. I miss him terribly. I cannot fathom life without him. I would just collapse from sheer exhaustion. He is just so wonderful and I miss him. a lot. all the thoughts and lessons on marriage through this time..that's a whole other blog as well.
Love you all. thank you for the prayers and for holding my arms up.
blessings,
shaina

The trusty ol dishcloth....

I feel like the old dishcloth that lays beside the sink or over the middle part of a 2 section sink. You know what I'm talking about. The ol rag that gets used to wipe up spills, cleans up the counters, gets dropped on the floor, rinsed and rung out and every once in awhile it gets forgotten in the bottom of the sink and gets smelly. You know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm the smelly rag in the bottom of the sink.
I know, it sounds weird and I'm not sure I can explain this without sounding really crazy. I just feel that I "do my job" well, I'm dependable, decently useful, I try not to whine or complain to much about and if I do complain I try to then find the good in things. I am loyal, hard working, stubborn at times, committed and love deeply.
This season in my life though, I feel like the forgotten rag in the bottom of the sink. Stinky, dried out, useless for it's purpose, and needy. Needy for a washing. Useless for cleaning. Dried out from the lack of usage and stinky from all the grime and yuck it has endured.
Am I making any sense at all? I'll continue for those of you still reading.

I long for the time when I get picked up out of the sink, thrown in the wash and hung to dry in the bright sunshine. Then I will be refreshed, renewed, useful again, clean, warmed and brightened by the Son and ready for the next season. I so desire for that to happen. I'm trying my best to stay calm and try to endure this season of the sink...it is hard. It stinks. For reals. It is not pleasant. It is not fun. I do not enjoy it one bit. I do however have to find ways to keep going until I get picked up out of it. So, as I sit in the sink of trial, pain, frustration, loneliness, struggle, separation from Nick and Ava, disconnect from Noah, longing to be in my own home again, missing my church family, away from friends, family and even just the familiarities of home, etc I can try to look up.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
 
Deuteronomy 30:3
then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
Job 8:6
if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. 






 So, here I am in the bottom of the sink.... I guess since I enjoy and desire to be in my home, be about the things of my home and serve the people who live in my home, my mind just goes to things of the home to describe this season of life.

In times like these, where I don't know what my purpose is, everything seems dark and I feel forgotten by the one who "uses" me most (uses=loves, adores and cares for), I tend to just function as best I can, try not to over think anything, put big hopes and goals ahead of myself, knowing Noah is taking his time and needs this time to really heal properly, and I try to give myself space to hurt and struggle as well as have joyful days of purpose and hope.

There will come a day when I will realize that I have been picked up out of the sink. Then down the road I will be washed clean of this sorrow and bitterness, even anger and hurt. Later on then, I will be hung out to dry in the warmth of the Son and I will radiate and glow with gladness, and feel ready and useful for service again. What a glorious time that will be.

from the sink,
Shaina