Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back and moving foward

As Jared and I are sitting around the house, literally stalking our computers and phones for an email about any new updates from the Congo, I decided that I needed to reflect on this past year.  I found myself thinking, "man 2012 stunk, I really want to start fresh in 2013!"  BUT, that's when I realized that this past year really has been filled with lots of precious moments.  Sure, we've come across the MOST difficult times in our marriage, but we've learned so much as a couple!

So, instead of being negative today, I'm going to take a look down memory lane...

We had very simple New Year's plans last year, just went to dinner and brought in the New Year at home with our sweet friends.  Who knew what 2012 would bring on that evening?!
 In February, we submitted our application to adopt from the Congo!  Boy oh Boy, was that the BEST decision we have ever made or what?!
 In March, we visited New York City during Spring Break.  A few days filled with LOTS of food, entertainment, shopping, and walking!  This was where we bought our first gifts for our child!
 Easter made an appearance in April!  I also celebrated my 27th birthday!
 The month I'll never forget... MAY!  We saw our daughter's face for the very first time on May 6th.  We cried tears of joy, called all of our family immediately, and shared with our friends!  That was a precious, precious day!
 June brought one of my favorite times of the year.... SUMMER!  I'm a teacher, so naturally I really look forward to the summer!  We led a mission trip for our students to Honduras.  God did a HUGE work in our lives that week and really reignited our love for the mission field.  We also decorated little bit's room in June (kinda thought she would be here soon at that point!)
July=Hawaii.  Enough said.  Oh, and Jared turned the big 2-9!
In August, we really thought that we would be bringing our daughter home from the Congo.  Things were moving quickly and we were trekking right along.  Some delays came about, so we bought a dune buggy, ha!  I also started a new school year which kept us quite busy!
 September.  Not my favorite month of the year.  This was the month of the brain bleed.  BOOOOO!  However, we did have fun at Fall Retreat after our short visit in the hospital!  September brought a lot of uncertainty and questions.  Looking back, I just had no idea what that little hiccup was going to bring in just a few short months.
Well, things were looking up in October.  I was feeling MUCH better, so we traveled to Chicago to meet up with some of my sweet friends.  That was definitely a HUGE blessing because it kept our minds off of doctor's appointments.  They also showered me with love and gifts for our little girl!
 November- Thanksgiving and a week off of work!  yahoo!
 December.  Where do I start?!  We really expected to have J here for Christmas.  Like, had no doubts about it.  But, then we found out that the Lord had other things planned out for us.  Instead of getting news on our little one, we found ourselves sitting at my neurosurgeon's office hearing the words "brain surgery. shaved head. months of recovery. no traveling. no driving. happening in 2 weeks."  As I broke down in tears so quietly that Jared didn't even know I was crying, I had no idea what to do at that moment.  But, somehow, someway... God got me not only through those 2 weeks of waiting, but also through a surgery that could have gone very differently than it did.  I am here, 21 days later looking as normal as can be, able to do way more than I thought possible.  I am blessed.

So, could I have told you on New Year's Eve last year what 2012 was going to look like?  Absolutely not.  But, I've learned that there's really no need in making plans for the New Year, because we truly aren't in control.  I had no idea that I would be waiting for months upon months for our little girl who is halfway across the world.  I had no clue that my brain would be opened up to remove abnormal veins.  But, I also had no clue that we would be blessed beyond belief just to have those days together.

 I mean, really... who can complain about going to New York, Honduras, Hawaii, and Chicago all in one year?  Who can complain about being the mom to the most beautiful little girl in the world?  Not me!  I'll take the hand that the Lord has dealt me!  After all, He knows way better than I do!
Here's to NOT worrying about 2013 and letting God take control!


Friday, December 28, 2012

What's going on...

What we are waiting on...

The embassy insists on J's birth father traveling to Kinshasa to do an in-person interview.  The problem:  He lives thousands of miles away from the Embassy and no one can get a hold of him.

What we are hoping...

The embassy will accept paperwork from our agency saying that they have done "due diligence" on trying to get ahold of her father.

What we don't know...

If the embassy will accept the paperwork that was submitted, or how long it will take them to review it. If they don't accept the paperwork, we aren't sure what's going to happen from that point.

What we need...

Prayers that this will all be settled soon.  We are getting very anxious.  Our hearts are starting to feel a HUGE gap because of the longing for our little one to be home.  As soon as this is settled, J's visa will be issued and Jared can travel IMMEDIATELY.

We truly appreciate your continued support and prayers as we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our daughter!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finding the Balance

I've never been someone who has to "go, go, go" ALL the time.  I take it pretty easy during the summer when I have time off from teaching.  I enjoy relaxing and rarely get bored.  However, now that I am "forced" to take things easy I am finding it a little bit more difficult.  You see, taking it easy now means that I can't bend over, going out for the day to shop pretty much isn't going to happen, picking up around the house is a little more difficult, and I can't even pick up my own dogs (have I mentioned how attached I am to my pups right now?!  It's getting a little ridiculous!).  I try not to focus on all the things that I "can't" do because I am definitely more than blessed to be where I'm at right now.  BUT, I also try NOT to ignore the fact that I had surgery because then I end up in bed after a long day with some swelling or a headache.

So, here I am trying to find the balance of taking things SLOW, but also beginning to get back into my "normal" life.  And let me tell you how hard that's been over the past few days because I really wanted to take part in our traditional holiday fun!

Thankfully I have a husband that reminds me that I just had brain surgery 2 weeks ago and it's okay to just watch him clean up the Christmas decorations and such :).

Here's a little progression of photos over the past couple of weeks...

This is the night before my stitches were removed.  Still had to wear a bandage, but thankfully it could be covered by a cute headband :)
Right after the stitches were removed I came straight home and washed my full head of hair for the first time in 10 days!  Before that, I could really only get half of my head scrubbed up!
Christmas day... stitches out, scar healing, wearing my hair like normal (just too lazy to actually fix it, lol!)  I find myself asking Jared quite often, "Do you think people are going to think that I'm lying about having brain surgery because Dr. Barnett did such a fabulous job covering up my scar?  The last thing I want is for people to think I'm taking advantage of my recovery time!
I will say that after a few busy days I am a little sore, but it just reminds me that I really need to take my recovery seriously so that I will be ready and rested for my little one (still no NEW news on her yet).  AND, I will continue to work on finding that balance :)




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Good News and Setbacks

Well....not much change around the Lemons' household this week.  Amy's still feeling better each day.  Yesterday it was mainly Tyenol, which is a big step from prescription pain meds!  We go in to Dr Barnett's office on Thursday to hopefully get Amy's stitches out.  She's really done well!  I've been very impressed....really tired....but really impressed!

So it's been a blessed week so far!  I'm looking forward to getting back into my teaching role tomorrow night with our students at Fellowship.  Just being off one week was killing me!  Amy even made the comment yesterday that she felt guilty for staying home from school this week!  I kind of understand why I felt bad missing last week, but every one in a while she needs a reminder that she had this minor surgery they call a craniotomy barely over a week ago!  For crying out loud, half of last week she spent flying high with Bob Marley I'm pretty sure!  She never takes pain medicine so it was fun to watch while it lasted.

So Amy's doing well...really well!  God's been very very good to us!  Now on to some of the not so fun news.  I finally got in touch with the US Embassy yesterday and today (the one in the Congo).  They have decided that J's biological father has to travel to them (all the way across the Congo) to have a face to face interview.  There's good and bad here.  The Congo has tons of corruption!  There have been a lot of children adopted and trafficked from Congo that shouldn't have been.  So we truly appreciate the Embassy's desire to do diligence with adoptions.  However, our agency has been so incredibly thorough, there is a war going on where J's bio dad lives, and we had originally been told that a phone call would likely be enough.

So you can imagine the disappointment today when we were told her bio dad must come in for a face to face interview.  We are praying that our lawyer will be able to get in touch with him today or tomorrow morning.  There is a flight on Thursday that he could be on, and we could settle all of this before Christmas if that worked out.  So there's a HUGE prayer request from the Lemons' home to you.  This is truly the last step in our adoption!  I feel like we've said this a thousand times already, but this one is truly it!  The biggest issue is getting a hold of a man that likely has no phone, lives in one of the most impoverished areas of one of the most impoverished countries on planet earth.  That should be a fun task!

I wanted to write all of this today because a thought from Sunday's message really stuck with me.  We read from one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture, Hebrews 11.  It's a chapter I've thought about a lot over the past few months and it was good preparation for what this week, and these past months, have had in store.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our little world....and to be honest, we are really good at throwing pity parties for ourselves!

Don't get me wrong, what Amy and I have faced the past few months has been a big deal.  Some of the things you may be facing right now may truly be huge obstacles in your faith/life.  But Hebrews 11 reminds me that the things we face are so temporary.  It's a reminder of the hope to come...and that God has provided something better for those of us who trust in Him.  So I want to leave you with those verses today, and hope that maybe they'll lean heavy on your heart this week.  Regardless of what life throws your way, we know the Maker of the day.  And all of the things we struggle through and face in life, are opportunities to remind those around us how amazing our God truly is.  So some good news and some frustrating news for us today....but when we lay our head down on our pillows tonight, we want you to know we're rejoicing because God is good...regardless of what we face....He's so very good!

Hebrews 11: 35-40

And what more shall I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong our of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Women received back their dead by resurrection.  Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.  They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in the deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Whatever you're facing today...it may be big....but I promise it's a chance to bring glory to God!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The good, bad, and ugly...

Well, friends, it has been about 4 days since my surgery, and so I think I'm ready to show you what's been going on... through pictures of course!  Jared's been awesome at updating this blog, and he has quite the way with words I must say!  But, I wanted to stop by real fast and just give you a quick update from ME!

First of all, I'm just going to throw this out there... my scar/stitches/nastiness that haunts me
I'm sorry, I had to do it!  If you are anything like me, you are scrolling quickly down and trying to not look at that picture again!  I really do get nauseated every time I look at the picture OR the scar in real life!  But, it's a reminder to me of what God has pulled me through and how good He has been throughout everything, so I just had to show it to you also!  Around that area is where I have the most discomfort... it itches, sometimes has a tingling sensation, and I just can't lay like I normally do.  Thankfully, I've been sleeping through the night even though I'm having to be super careful not to mess with it.  And, the pain meds that I'm taking normally cover up all that uncomfortableness :)  Jared tries to lie to me and say that I still look beautiful, but I'm not blind!

Before I move onto something good, I just have to show you this picture of hospital food.  It's just bad, real bad!  PTL for people who brought me food!
 Now onto the blessings...  

I will say that it is just a blessing to be able to sit here and type right now.  When the doctor told me that I would just be sleepy and need to rest for a few weeks, I wasn't really sure what that all entailed.  Trust me, I haven't  been on the computer all that much, and I do my fair-share of resting, but it is nice to be able to get up, communicate with people, and enjoy what's going on in the world from behind the computer.  Now, after about 30 minutes of being up, a nap normally does follow!

I am most definitely blessed with great friends that just came and sat next to me during the hospital... to offer words of encouragement and entertainment.  We had so many special people come by, and we are so thankful for each of them!  I only snapped a picture of Sarah, and I'm pretty sure she still has no clue that I did, ha!
It's the little things that people do that remind me that God is the ultimate comforter and healer....

Like getting pretty headscarves so that when I am ready to fix my hair I can cover up those nasty stitches (you know you haven't forgotten about that picture yet!)
 And, receiving beautiful flowers from friends all over the country...
 And, having a bath made for you by a husband who is really willing to do whatever I need just to make me the slightest more comfortable.

So, that's a little look into my life this week.  When I can hardly stop thinking about how my hair will lay once the stitches are out, or if I'll ever feel the same, I am reminded through texts, phone calls, visits, etc that God has such a larger plan than if my hair looks perfect.  He has truly done something miraculous this week, and He uses His people to serve, comfort, and be there when you truly need them. 

Do I have stitches? Do I have stitches? Is this real life?

The past day or so has seemed a little more 'real' for Amy.  She's extremely sore from the surgery but has kept a really great attitude.  It's not so much soreness in her head as it is all over her body.  I'm thinking it's from positioning her body during surgery and just the slowed down pace of life over the past few days taking it's toll.

As an aside, we have never really been the family that threw the television out of our home.  We don't have anything against doing that....but praise the Lord we never did that.  I know that sounds a little vain and ridiculous, but come on, a little TV never hurt anyone; especially when the person already had brain surgery.

So we've vegged out a little over the past few days.  We've had a few people come over....don't get any ideas though....just not quite up to a lot of company yet.  I think a lot of people are probably hearing about how well Amy is doing, how she's already home, and have seen the awesome reports, and feel like we'll be back to our 'normal' life in no time.  We sure hope so, but we aren't there quite yet.  Amy's pain in her incision area has really calmed down significantly and that's been a blessing.  I would never recommend having brain surgery, or wish that on anyone, but I promise you I can't imagine there is a better neurosurgeon out there than Dr. Barnett at Baylor!  There's still a lot of uncomfortableness and soreness, but it's getting better every single day.

Amy did actually skip a dose of pain meds early this morning because she we feeling better.  That was awesome!  She's resting now though...she tries to get up and move around....she's working on TpT stuff for those that know what that is....and we've spent some time just hanging around the house.  She gets tired very quickly though.  That was one of the big side effects of such a big surgery.  So if you don't see us out and about just yet....if you don't see us in our normal spots at church this weekend, and are wondering where we are, hopefully you'll have a better understanding why.  We're home, but the road ahead is exhausting for Amy....extremely exhausting.  She's doing awesome with the pain, she's up and walking around some, and we've about caught up on all of our tv shows....we actually got a video of 'J' today from our agency and got to laugh at her.  She's a bit of a hard head it seems!  A couple of kiddos in the video were pushing her gently and let's just say she wouldn't have that at all!  So we saw that side of our daughter today and are looking forward to breaking some of those habit...in a godly way of course!

That's pretty much it!  We're praising the Lord for such a great recover so far....hoping that He's speaking to you through this blog....and waiting out the recovery time.  We are hoping to get stitches out late next week.  We'll just have to wait and see if they're ready of not.  I'm not a good wound dresser at all though so I know Amy will be glad when I no longer have to patch her up!  Right now I pretty much make it look like the entire side of her head is gone.

I'll leave ya with this short video.  Last night Mack came over and we went ahead and gave Amy some of her meds she needs.  Then we sat back and had a blast watching her.  Amy doesn't take a lot of medicine so when she gets the pain killers in her it's better than anything on tv.  She reminds me quite a bit of this kid:


Thanks so much for the prayers.  Thanks for the encouraging words.  She's getting there...much more quickly than we thought she would.  Just be patient with us and keep on praying!  God's been so good. Hopefully our story will lead you to see His goodness in your own circumstances.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Amy's doing great...and maybe God's speaking to you!

Last night was good.  I think Amy got about 10 hours of sleep...not bad for a woman with half of a brain!  Crude humor...I apologize.  They actually didn't remove any of the brain.  She's doing well this morning.  By the time I rolled out of bed she was already up and eating breakfast.  We tried to wash out more of the surgical stuff in her hair today and then re-bandaged things back up.  She's resting right now with Marley and Bailey.  The headache is still definitely there, and the anxiety about messing up the stitches is pretty big.  "Wait...don't touch that....don't pour water there....are you touching my stitches....hey, are you touching my stitches....Jared, is that touching my stitches?"

Moment of honesty....I really thought I could do a better job than our nurse did on the bandage.  Let's just say I may have been wrong.  For now, I'll stick to sharing the Gospel, and let the nurses keep their jobs.  By the end of this though....well, no promises!

I did have the chance to get out of the house for a few minutes last night to sit in the back of our student  worship service at Fellowship.  Amy's parents came over for a couple of hours, and those of you that know me, know that it's tough for me to sit still too long.  What a blessing to sit in the back of our service and worship.  It felt almost like a home coming...not to the church....they don't need me.  It felt like that moment you see in the movies where something ridiculous happens and the immediate reaction is to go to church or head to mass.

I'm not really the guy that feels like you have to be at the church to worship.  Don't take that out of context though!  I could have and have been worshipping the Lord for His goodness right here in our home all day.  But as I sat in the back of a room I usually lead in, God reminded me of something.  He reminded me how much He loves us.  He's done that all year, but last night it was good to just sit in His presence in a place that most people misconstrue.

As our students sang a Daniel Bashta song, 'How He Loves,' it was as clear to me as it's ever been....I am loved by the Creator of this universe.  Have you stopped to think about what that means?  Here's the truth....God is healing Amy.  We are still praying and asking Him to work quickly with her and relieve the pain, heal the wound, and bring our daughter home soon.  But we are very understanding that God isn't just healing Amy so that she can feel better.  God isn't even doing such amazing things in our lives because He loves us.  God has orchestrated all of this to make Himself known....to YOU!  He's given us a podium to speak on.  It's not really a podium we would've chosen for ourselves, but that's what makes Him so amazing.  He's opened ears of people that are literally all over the world.  So I kind of had this thought today:  with the thousands of people who have already read our blog over the last 24 hrs, I wonder how many of you have truly stopped to think about how much the Creator and Savior of this world loves you.  And He's given me the chance to tell you.

Christmas means something different in my home this year.  I've spent so many moments swelling up with tears (don't tell Amy), not because I'm scared, but because God has brought us to a place of complete surrender and it feels amazing.  I'm 100% out of control in our family, and whether you like it or not, you are too!  You can't control the direction of your family.  You can't prevent the dreaded brain surgery or rebellious child.  You try hard.  I tried hard....and here I am.

As we looked at blog stats this morning, I was reminded that as much as God loves Amy and as amazing as God has been to us, this story that is unfolding isn't about us...it's about Him.

So thank you again for the prayers.  You can't imagine how much they have comforted and led us closer to the Lord.  But more than a report on Amy's health and how things are going, we wanted you to know today, that God loves you.  He desires to create God moments in your life like He has done in ours this week.  The focus today isn't on how incredibly strong my beautiful bride has been (and she has been)....the focus today turns to how incredibly good our God has been to strengthen us through this time.  So wherever you're at today in the internet world, and whatever you may be facing, can I let you in on something?  God loves you?  It's not a cheesy religious love.  It's a fierce love that penetrates your heart when you need it most.  And if you were honest today, I believe a lot of you need it most right now.  So I wanted to leave you with a verse today...and verse that has been a blessing to me:

Hosea 6: 1-2:
Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us.

I'm reminded today that God is in control....and that has become far more than enough for us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When Life Gets You Down...God is Good.

To say that God has been good would be an incredible injustice to what we've witnessed and experienced over the past few months.  I'll just start with that.

This past year has been a year of God teaching us that we're not in control and things happen for His purposes and in His timing.  I can promise you that if anyone has learned a lesson in patience, God's goodness, and God's planning, it's me (Jared).  So first off, we begged and pleaded for Him to heal Amy and protect her this passed week, and He's done so much more than anyone could've expected.  We promised to give Him all of the glory and to always remind people that He is good....not our doctors, not our church, not medicine, or anyone involved....God gets the glory for this one.

As I prayed with Dr. Barnett and Amy before surgery (not much in this world better than a doctor who relies on the Lord and not his talents) two days ago, there was a peace in the room.  A peace that we have felt so many times before....as if the Lord was reminding all three of us 'I've got this.'  And so we trusted.  As most of you have heard by now, Amy's surgery could not have gone any better.  In fact, Dr. Barnett (our neurosurgeon) was thanked by our families, and immediately said, 'I believe we need to thank the good Lord for this one. (All glory to Him again!)  We spent one night in ICU, one night in a 'regular' floor room, and today, at noon, we were driving home.

Can I remind you that 48 hours ago my wife was laying on an operating table with a very smart man's hands on her brain?  Can I remind you that literally one week ago was the first we had heard that Amy would need surgery.  Maybe I should tell you that even after Dr. Barnett came in to tell me the surgery went well he still expected we would spend close to a week in the hospital.  It's all been miraculous.

So now, because of God's goodness, we are healing at home.  It's much more comfortable.  It's much more quiet.  And I'm as good of a medicine giver as anyone!  One for me...one for you! (just a joke)  And because God has been so good to us....because His timing has worked so perfectly....we are praying hard that our daughter will be home from the Congo in just a few weeks!  We need one piece of paper...about another week to 2 weeks of healing for Amy, and I should be able to hit the airport to bring home the little girl thousands of people have been praying for!

And when she gets home, mommy doesn't need surgery.  When she gets home mommy will be all better and ready to love her.  And would you like to know why?  It's all because God is so good.  He was good in the bad news, and He's just as good through all that this week has become!

So I know that hundreds of you, maybe thousands will be reading this.  Amy has become somewhat of a well-known blogger over this past year, which still makes me laugh, and CONSTANTLY reminds me of how good God has been to us.  Regardless of your faith today or where you come from....can I tell you that our faith in Christ has brought us through what seemed like the most difficult time we would ever experience.  Our faith in Christ has brought us closer to Him and closer to our daughter.  And we are so excited that, hopefully within the next few weeks, our faith in Christ and adoption in Him, will be illustrated through the adoption of the most beautiful baby girl from the Congo.

So continue to pray for Amy.  She still has a long road ahead of her even though we are home so quickly....but the road we've already traveled serves as a beautiful reminder that our Savior is with us and His plan is so perfect.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers for the love of my life!  Thank you for visiting us, texting, sending flowers, facebooking, planning meals, and reminding Amy of how loved she is....it has meant the world to us, and has served as a great reminder that God has us right where He wants us!

Isaiah 40: 31 - 'They that wait upon the Lord will have their strength renewed.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not be weary.  They will walk and not faint.

Whatever you're going through today....as one that has walked through a little fire this week...here's a little advice:  Trust Him....you can't do it on your own!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Seeing the Hand of God...

When I went to the women's fall tea at church a few months ago, one of the sweetest ladies shared her testimony and spoke about how she has seen the hand of God throughout her life.  So, I wanted to take a moment here and tell you how I've been seeing God work throughout this past year.  I think it's important to look back and see how you've made it through the good and the hard times with the Lord's help.

When God called us to adopt from Africa, we weren't certain exactly where the money would come from to pay it, but He provided a supplemental income through my TpT store that has covered our expenses.  It has also relieved us from worrying about me being away from work and paying the hospital bills.  I can see the hand of God.

This summer some of my responsibilities at work were lightened, and at the moment this control freak couldn't understand why.  I mean, I can do it all, right?  Now, I am thankful for the lightened load and that God relieved me from worrying about different responsibilities while I'm out of work for a few months.  I can see the hand of God.

When I was rushed to the ER in September, not having a clue as to what was going on, we had the BEST hospital care ever, along with a number of nurses from Forney that were there to lend a helping hand.  I can see the hand of God.

I couldn't understand why our little girl wasn't here yet.  I thought she'd be here in September.  Now I know that God wants me to be healthy for my little girl, and His timing is perfect.  I can see the hand of God.

Then, I thought Jared would be traveling to Africa on Monday, December 10th, which is the date of my surgery.  How will we make this work?  Do we make J stay in Africa just because I need surgery?  We want her here so badly.  Right after our doctor's appointment we got an email from our adoption agency that it would be closer to January when Jared could travel.  God took that tough decision from us.  I can see the hand of God. 

I have been planning for months for my maternity leave at work... making lesson plans, copying activity after activity.  I had things planned up until March (just in case).  Then, all of a sudden I only had a 3 days notice that I would be out for surgery.  The plans at school were already done, I didn't even have to worry about it.  I can see the hand of God.

When I have my emotional breakdowns because I just can't understand what's going on, and why... I have a husband who remains calm and at peace with God's plan.  He takes care of the tough stuff... talking to doctors, making the plans, taking care of the little details when I'm just incapable of being level-headed.  I can see the hand of God.  Jared even made sure that I got to take part in our annual visit to the Gaylord AND he scheduled me a massage for this morning.  I needed a weekend of fun, friends, good food, and relaxation after the week that I had!







I really could go on and on and on.  God has used our adoption and my teaching blog to open us up to a world of prayer warriors.  I am so thankful that I can count on people that I see day after day, to those that I've never even met to pray for our family.  

So, as I go into surgery on Monday, December 10th around noon, I just want you to know that I can already see God's hand in my life.  I may not understand His plan, but I do know He is in control.  I have no doubt about that.  Am I scared?  Yes, I am terrified.  But, in those moments that I feel terrified, I also feel the comfort from a God that comforts like no other.  


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brain News!

I'm still processing all of the news we just received about my health update, but I figured this was the best way to get it across to the masses... from my mouth and my words.  Just wanting to clear up any rumors before they have time to spread :)

We went in today for my 2nd MRI and consultation with my neurosurgeon.  I will say that the Lord was with me all throughout my MRI... I was so much less nervous and worried than last time.  I actually prayed for a little while, went through the ABCs of what I'm thankful for, and then fell asleep so that was a pleasant experience compared to the last one!  Going from an emotional wreck to a semi-sane person was definitely progress for me :)

Oh, and the nurse has to poke me a total of THREE times before she found a good vein, but still I remained calm and collective :)
After the MRI, we waited for about 2 hours to see the doctor... took a quick trip to Mickey D's and a bookstore {where I found the CUTEST adoption book} before heading up to the neuro's office.

I was having all kinds of fun in the waiting room... working on school stuff, goofing off with Jared, checking in on Facebook/email/instagram.  That was all fun and games before the doc came in.

This next one looks really sweet, but I promise it wasn't the such, ha!

Basically, I have a cavernous malformation like was expected before.  However, it is a little more problematic than originally thought because it has had a small re-bleed and swelling since the last MRI. We (including the doctor) were all kinda hoping that the blood would clear, the cavernous malformation would be non-problematic and that I could just move on with my life.  BUT, since it seems like things have happened since last time I need surgery.  It's not necessarily "emergency" surgery, but it's not something you want to live with and worry about either.

So, that's where we are at.  More than likely, unless anything changes, I will have brain surgery early next week to remove the cavernous malformation.  It's about a 2 1/2 hour surgery, will spend a night in the ICU, and a few nights in the hospital.  Dr. Barnett felt confident that although no brain surgery is fun, this one is a pretty normal surgery for him.  We won't really know if there will be any therapy involved until we know how the surgery went and if it affected any of the area around that portion of my brain.  After about a month off of work, no driving, no strenuous activity, no heavy-lifting I *should* be good to go.  

So, that's where we are at right now.  I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that everything is peachy-keen and rainbows/roses right now.  But, I can tell you that I have complete faith that the Lord will bring us through this.  Jared keeps reminding me that He hasn't or will never put anything in our lives that we can't handle.  If I didn't have my faith right now and so many strong people around me I truly don't know how I would react to situations like this.


I'm sure there are tons of questions that I didn't answer here, but like I said before, I am still processing the news that I literally just received.  I don't know how or if this will affect our adoption.  All I know is that I want this taken care of before J gets here (If I could have surgery tomorrow, I totally would!).  I definitely want to be able to spend my time with her and not in the hospital.  God's plan is perfect, and He knew this was going to happen before we found out today, so I know He will coordinate everything according to His will!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Packing.... Part 1!

Today while Jared was putting up the Christmas lights, I decided that it was time to start packing for Africa.  We still are unsure of when Jared will travel, but one can never be too prepared!!!

Since *our* plans have changed and I cannot travel at this point because of my health, I am doing everything needed to make sure Jared puts together a matching outfit WITH a matching bow {that's VERY important to this girl!}!!

I started by laying out outfits, trying to include a good mix of dresses, skirts, shorts, and leggings.  It's warm where she is, so I had to think in all things summer.  But, when they begin traveling back, it will probably be cold, so I had to include a few wintry outfits also.

Then, I put the coordinating outfits into ziploc baggies.  No worries, I will probably label them as well at some point :)
 I did pack undies and sleepy clothes too, but she's a lady so I didn't want to violate her privacy, ha!

Next, it was time to pack the backpack that she will take onto the plane.  I packed some fun girly items...
 I also packed some books, stuffed animals, and a baby doll.  That girl almost ALWAYS has a baby in her arms in the pictures we have seen, so that was a must!
 We still have quite a few things that she needs like socks, shoes, and some more small toys for the airplane, but we have plenty of time to finish up!

And, because Jared is such the germ-freak, I ordered him these items so that he can shower without using water all of the time.  He won't even buy a bottled coke from a foreign country, so using their water to do anything might just freak him out a little!
As I pack some more, I will be sure to pop back in to share those pics!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!  

We had a busy, but wonderful day today celebrating with both sides of our family!  My parents live out in the country where there are actual trees around their house... not like the puny ones we have hangin' out in our neighborhood!  So, after lunch I asked, or forced, my family to head on out to the woods to take some good ol' family pictures!

My sister and me
 Our Daddy
 We really do have THE best parents!
 Seriously, how beautiful is my family?!  My mom, her twin, and her parents!
 Meemaw and Grandpa!
 My hunky husband!

 And, I'm a little in love with my parent's new puppy.  I love all things shih-tzu... I'm not going to lie!  Pretty sure we were meant to be brother and sister :)
         

 What a handsome little fellow!!
    

 If they would only let me take him home more often!

All in all, it was a beautiful day filled with fun family time and lots of yummy food!  Pretty sure I've gained at least 10 pounds just from today!