Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

August 30, 2011

Is it a male thing?

I am wondering... what is the deal with cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes, helicopters, motorbikes, bikes, scooters, wheels, tires, motors, anything that moves really... ? Is there something innately male that I am missing? Josh looks at this picture and could care less that he's the star of the shot, or that Daddy is there with him, no, he sees this picture and he sees the rusted, old truck that he believes is Mater (Tow Mater from CARS). Speaking of CARS and CARS 2 and Mater's tales, were there ever such perfect movies for little boys? He and Kaleb can sit all day long playing with cars and trucks, driving them back and forth across the floor for hours, and then just when you think they are bored of it, they drive the truck into their brother for a good ole round of beat the brother, and once the last punch is thrown it's back to driving across the floor!

Seriously... I do not get it!?

August 29, 2011


Just a few hours ago I wrote to you with queries about prayer, what's the point etc. My answers came sooner than I had anticipated. It would seem that the head of cardiovascular surgery has taken Joshua's case on, it would seem that because he's a complicated patient he gets the best. The surgeon feels that he needs to try one last time to repair that T valve before replacing it, he also feels that he can use a tissue valve instead of the mechanical valve which has it's own complications but saves him a life of more medications. They have also decided that they will replace the pulmonary valve again (yes, it was done less than a year ago - but it's leaking again). All of this (barring complications and scheduling issues) will take place within the next three months. This is both scary and in some ways a bit of a relief, that it's not months and months of waiting, I had nightmares of a year going by before they do it.

All in all, with the reality that this is never going to be good news, it is the best news we could have hoped for. A surgeon of this caliber is something we were can thank God for, and the hope that they may still yet be able to repair that valve when our last surgeon said was irreparable is better news than we dared hope. The fact that they are being given the opportunity to fix the leak in his pulmonary valve now, while also fixing the T valve means that his heart has the best possible chance to heal and regain it's normal size.

There are no guarantees, we have learned this, but today I learned a very important lesson in hope, prayer and the purpose of both. That touch on my shoulder came so much sooner than I anticipated.

The Sigh

I have been thinking about prayer this weekend, not just the act of praying but the purpose in it and the reason for it. I have been struggling over the point, and the next step so to speak. I mean, if prayer is for us to bring our concerns before God and petition him for healing then why does it seem like an endless and hopeless task? With the news last week I have been left wondering, is there a point anymore? The surgery is no longer something we can pray against, all that is left is to pray for quick healing, wisdom for the doctors and success right? Is there anymore point in praying for a miracle? I feel like all I have been doing for the last three years is pray in hope and expectation of the 'big' miracle and yet here we sit on yet another precipice waiting again for a phone call from the doctor to tell us what the team has decided. At what point do I just give in and say 'fine' and stop hoping that this will end for Josh? As I sit here I find myself realizing that with this surgery they will do something that they can not go back from, they will implant a mechanical valve in Joshua's over sized heart and change his life forever. He will be on blood thinners and other medications for the rest of his life, they will doom him to repeat surgeries to replace that valve, more pain, more suffering, for the rest of his life.

Yesterday someone said to me "isn't that what we all live with? The unknown, possible health issues always on the horizon?" and yes, I suppose we do but we just don't know it. I heard on Friday about a man who went to the hospital with neck pain, they scanned him and found that his spine was riddled with cancer, he had only months left to live. A car accident can claim us tomorrow, a fire can steal our last breath as we sleep tonight, or we could go for a routine check up only to discover some disease will change our lives or take our lives within months or after years of suffering. The only thing we can hope and pray for is the strength to 'man up' and find our faith grow stronger in the midst of it.

Which of course leads me back to my original question, what is the point in praying? Is there a point? Is there some secret to it that I don't know about? Will it change the outcome? If God already has a plan, already knows the ending to this story then how is my prayer, my request going to change a thing?

I have no answers, as I said this is something that I am struggling through as we move forward on this new chapter of Joshua's journey. I do know this, God is not Santa Claus, he is a God who longs for relationship, he is a God who longs to hear my heart, my worries, my concerns and my worries and he is a God who wants to offer comfort, peace and ultimately hope. So when I find that I have nothing left to pray I guess I just have to pray for those things, that he will give me back my hope, that he will find a way to comfort me and shed a ray of peace into my heart.

When Josh was in the hospital fighting for his life after his first surgery I sat for hours int he chapel praying, begging God not to take my son, begging him to comfort me, hoping against hope that he was there, listening, caring. The chapel (in Sick Kids) was quiet, it was evening and no one was there. I sat alone for a while crying and praying and then the door opened and I was too scared to look up, too scared that I would be disappointed because there was a part of me that so longed for someone to come and comfort me, to prove to me that God had heard me. The footsteps of that person walked by me and sat a few rows away and silent sobs racked me. (I don't know what I was hoping for, if God himself would come or not but I had hoped for something). After a few moments the person stood to leave, they walked past me, touched my shoulder and sighed deeply, saying 'Oh my'. They stood there for a moment while I cried and then quietly left. I never looked up, I didn't see the person and to this day I know that God answered my prayer for comfort. Someone had heard God's call that night to enter my pain, to say not a word to me but to express through a sigh all the sorrow that they felt on my behalf. My heart was immediately lightened and the hope restored because the God I believe in cared enough to hear and answer me.

My prayer for us as a family, my prayer for anyone who is suffering today is that when your faith is weak, and the hope is gone, that we will receive a touch on the shoulder and know God's comfort, hear his sigh of sorrow over our pain, and discover again his hope, his peace and his comfort. That we will hear his whispered 'Oh my' and know deep within your heart that this is not what he wanted for us, but that he is hear in the midst of our pain and that one day he will turn our sorrow to joy, our mourning to dancing. One day.

August 25, 2011

He did hear...

A week ago I heard this song for the first time, I have blogged about, used quotes from it for tweets, changed it to my ring tone and have been singing it all week. It so moved me, so touched that I had to say thank you. I wrote to the manager of the band, shared briefly with him why I was so moved by that song and asked him to pass along my thanks to the band and song writers. I left it at that, not even sure that little message would ever get through the spam detectors, let alone be read by anyone. However, I needed to say thank you, I needed to say how much it means to me, that the words were exactly what was in my heart, what is still in my heart. "Impossible is not a word, just a reason not to try."  and "I've seen silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new, that's what faith can do'. I needed to say it to someone, how God used that song to speak to me in the week leading to our big appointment yesterday.

We arrived home after the appointment and for obvious reasons we were all feeling a little down, a little faithless, a little broken. It was then that I received an email from the manager of the band. It would seem I didn't get spammed, and that they actually read my words of thanks. He wrote a beautiful little email, with promises to get my email into the hands of the band.  Today I found out that they will be sending our family their two CD's 'Strong Tower' and 'It is well'. They have also committed to pray.

I think maybe I am just so in awe of the countless words of love and support that something like this brings tears to my eyes. Phone calls from people around the world, emails from friends assuring me of their love for Josh and our family, and their promise of continuing to pray. From the beginning of this journey with Josh we have shared as openly as possible with you all about how he is, how we are trying to cope, how blessed we feel, how thankful we are and in the end how we will continue to trust in our Father.

I shared (much to the chagrin of a number of you) about my feelings of being a burden, to the point that I feel the need to explain myself. I value your prayers, I will continue to seek them and I will continue to keep you updated on the ups and downs in the Haughton house. I just sometimes feel that all I speak about it Josh and his health problems, it's forefront in my mind so I Blog about it. I hear myself think, talk and process and I feel like I could easily make this my identity if I let it. I do not want to become 'the mother of a cardiac kid', I prefer to be wife, mother of two beautiful little boys, daughter, sister, friend.

I also struggle with the concept that I have been going on about God's miracle, the amount of people that are praying, and I feel a burden (that I probably shouldn't feel but can't help) that someone out there might feel we didn't get that answer, that God didn't hear us, that he doesn't care. I would like to take this opportunity to be clear, he heard us, if he can hear a whisper then certainly he will hear the thousands of voices being lifted up all around the globe, and he cares about Joshua, he cares about the tests yesterday, he cares about Tim and I and how we journey through this, he cares about every single person who has prayed for this situation. He just has a different plan from the one we wanted, he has something else in mind and he is a God who we can trust to do what is best. We did get an answer, and I won't deny being disappointed with the results of yesterdays tests. I was so sure this time they would look and see the leak fixed, his heart back to regular size... some call it optimism, I call it faith. Whatever you call it, I believed, and I expected and I was let down. My fear was that you too would feel let down and I felt that burden.

As we sat in the waiting room I saw the doctor who diagnosed Joshua (via fetal ECHO) with this heart defect walk by, he was the same doctor who said 'there will be no miracles here' and as I started to imagine walking up to him and telling him all about the miracle that God just preformed I was also reminded of all the miracles we have received to this point and I was humbled, What right do I have to be disappointed? Already he had done more than I could have hoped for. Every night I can say goodnight to Joshua, every morning I can see his face light up when he sees me, and every single minute that I can share with him, teaching him, holding him, loving him, smelling his wonderful scent, watching his beautiful blue eyes light up with new discovery, seeing his smile shine so bright, hearing his laughter... every single second is because God cared enough to hear our prayers and grant us miracle after miracle.

I think my thoughts and feelings today are muddled and maybe this is a post that goes all over the place, but I hope that you could follow it a little bit. I so dearly appreciate you all; I appreciate your prayers and I won't stop asking for them, Josh needs them.

August 24, 2011

Waiting for him

I imagine a place that is so stunning, so real and honest and pure that our hearts will be full to bursting, I imagine that it will house the splendor of all creation, without it’s quirks, without it’s struggles, hurts, anger, prejudice, without it’s sorrow and grief or rejection. I imagine a world where we are valued, loved beyond our imaginations, where our hearts are whole, where are breathes come naturally, where we can look around us and see eternity as our landscape. I imagine a place where wrongs are never held against you, where everyone is so loved that we never fear abandonment, where we are fully redeemed, fully alive and no longer shackled to our fears and pain and worry. I imagine a place where the future, forever, is beautiful, something to look forward to. Where hope is not necessary because everything you could ever imagine, ever dream is already yours. I imagine a place where the Throne room to the King of Kings is open to all, and that same King is always waiting there to ravish you with his love, affection and attention. I imagine a dream never being dreamt because you are already living beyond your wildest dreams. A place where your children run, through fields of wildflowers, laughing and giggling, forever free of the hurts, the pain, the fears or the frustrations that they feel, a place where we don’t need to look over our shoulders, wondering what is coming up from behind to attack. I imagine a light; so infinitely rare and beautiful that is literally beyond description.  I imagine a place where the old are considered wise, they are respected and loved and where we all beat the same heart beat. I imagine a world where the storms, the earthquakes, the financial trials, the political strife, the racism, the injustice, the aching of a nation are no more. I imagine a place that welcomes us, holds a place for us and celebrates our arrival with a feast.

Dare I say I long for it?

There have been only three moments in my life where I have actually wished Jesus would just come already. I am usually so caught up in my life that I think ‘not yet Lord, I am not finished yet’ but tonight, as I watched the storm brewing in the sky; lightning forks, sheets of rain, thunder loud enough to wake Kaleb, and fresh tears from heaven I had to ask ‘will you come soon?’ Will you just come soon? Please, come soon!

To arrive at the door of heaven, to bow before the King in fear and reverence, only to be touched on the shoulder and helped up by the hand of Jesus is something I would really long for. To see Joshua running through the streets laughing and without pain, to see Kaleb eat whatever he wanted without risk of death. Oh how I long to see this place.

To hear the answers to my questions, or maybe to see the entire plan laid out for me so that I have no questions left, what a gift it would be. To have no need for faith because it’s all there, out in the open for me to see. To know without question that every single thing in my life has been filtered through the hands of a loving God who made me and has a plan for me, that those same loving hands took great time, love and care when making my sons, and planning and preparing their lives for them.

Yes, wouldn’t it be something to see, something to live; an entire eternity of love, and an entire eternity with no suffering. New bodies made whole, new hearts made brand new. 

I suck at telling people about my faith, I don’t lie about it, but I find it hard to talk to people who don’t understand it, but I pray for them, I pray for you; even if I don’t know you, that when my times comes, or if Jesus kindly took us first, that when I get there and you too will be there so that I can enjoy an eternity of getting to know and love you.

I have said this before and I will say it again. I do not know what tomorrow holds for me or Josh, Kaleb and Tim, but I know what eternity holds for my family. I am assured of that, that is a promise I can understand and bank on.  There will not be a doctor who says ‘I don’t know, it’s a wait and see’. No, it was a freely given promise made reality by the death of a son on a cross two thousand years ago. Whatever tomorrow holds, I have that to hang onto.

I am fast realizing that my job as a Christian mother is not so much about their manners, if they are clean or not, if they go to the right after school programme (though admittedly these are something I should teach them). My biggest responsibility as their mother is to make sure that one day, when they go, that they will go to the arms of Jesus and welcomed home.

Heart defects or not, allergies or not, one day they will be whole and healthy and free of all pain, suffering, hurts, anger and sorrow. I will await them with open arms, tears on my face, love in my heart.

Just beyond the sunrise

So many people have been praying so hard for Josh, so many expectations have been placed on today's ECHO, so many hopes rested on today's test results that I have a heavy heart when I sit down to update you all.

The ECHO did not go as planned, the right side of Joshua's heart is further enlarged and surgery inevitable. There is no way to 'fix' the Tricuspid valve, the only option left to us is another surgery. There is a part of me that aches from the blow and there is a part that is frustrated because I thought this time, this time with all the prayers that went up on behalf of Joshua surely a miracle was in the works; maybe it still is, maybe the way to the miracle is with this surgery. I don't know. I find myself feeling a fraction of what Job must have felt like. I want to understand the why, I want to know the reasons and understand why the answer this time was no. I find myself yet again struggling with the knowledge that hope in this case is over, the decision has been made. There is no going back, we have surgery on the horizon and be it in 6 months of even a year it is still there, looming just over the sunrise.

I hear myself explaining this again and I struggle with this feeling of being a burden, of always asking for prayer, always having to say that things aren't going well. I was so hoping that this time I could write and say that we had good news. I so wanted to tell you about this amazing thing that happened, and all I can say is that here we go again. I am sorry, I am so sorry that I can't write that to you today.

I want to leave this on an upbeat note, and though I am struggling to find one, I can leave you with this; God knows the beginning from the end, he has Josh safe in his arms and he loves us, there is a plan though we can't possibly see it. We prayed for a miracle and we may still get it, though how it comes to us may not be what we had expected or planned but in the end he knows best. As a family, we just have to cling to that, like the woman who reached out to touch the robe of Jesus in faith of healing, it will come, in this life or the next.

August 23, 2011

Mending Fences

On Sunday afternoon Toronto was hit with quite a rain storm, the winds were so powerful that it took down two very large branches of our neighbours tree, affecting our house and the neighbor on our other side. It was quite a mess! The fence was taken out, our 'Rose of Sharon' (seen on the right) was split in half at the main trunk, a number of toys and the mini pool were broken and both yards were scattered with debris.

The players: G (our neighbour to the west), and P (our neighbour to the east) and Tim my peace maker (though he doesn't like to admit it husband)

The back story: A tree belonging to P has been a source of real tension for G and a number of other neighbours since it's grown so large that it's starting to threaten their homes and gardens.

The two branches came down from P's tree, destroying the fence we share with G. I went out to take some photos' (more for Facebook and to show our families than for any insurance plan) and G came out, raging about that three (apparently he thought I was taking pictures so that I could prove the damage in court if necessary. He told me I was welcome to come to his side to take pictures and out of pure curiosity I did. When I got there he again told me his woes of the tree and in his rage demanded that we go immediately to talk to P about having the damage fixed (for those of you who know me personally you will know that I do NOT do conflict well, in fact I would rather run naked through Dundas Square than deal with it). I suggested we wait until the storm was over (in my mind thinking his rage was more powerful than the weather and we needed to wait until people were calm until we went over to handle it). This was met with resistance and I finally figured that it was either let him go alone (thus reigniting the feud) or get Tim to go with him and infuse some calm to the situation. So I went and got Tim. When Tim got outside G started raging about lawyers and suing and how we won't have to pay for any of it, etc. etc. Tim calmly told him that if we wanted any positive results we would need to be calm and friendly, at which point G told him that he should do the talking. Tim was so peaceful and calm, even I was more annoyed than he was, and worried about how we could let the kids outside or the dog for that matter without a fence. I was upset, but Tim remained calm.

When Tim approached P he tried to talk to her calmly but her initial response was 'it's not my legal responsibility' which is a clear sign that this is a long standing argument among neighbours. Tim put his hands up, saying that he didn't know about law and bi-laws but that he thought she would want to know at which point she backed down and said that she would come and help clean up because she was a good neighbour.

Before long he had all three (G, P & S) working in the backyard with him, picking up all the branches, cutting the large branches, and mending the fence. We were chatting, talking about the intensity of the storm and other normal things. In the end it took roughly an hour to get the backyards to rights again, no money, no lawyers and dare I say a few smiles all around. G is interested in coming to church, and P & S left feeling less like victims of angry neighbours and more like good and helpful people. The storm had taken the heat and humidity and brought a beautiful fresh cool breeze.

The whole situation was positive but also a real lesson on the storms of life, and how it sometimes takes a storm and damage to gain fresh perspective and outlook. What could have been a real battle of wills turned into a fun hour of getting to know the neighbours.

August 21, 2011

Strength & Peace

Thanks to you & The Green Baby Company we were able to donate a nice little gift to the Heart & Stroke Foundation! Don't stress if you haven't had a chance to order your T-shirt yet, you can still find them at Green Baby!

"Move forward in God's strength, and may God's peace follow you"

Not so bad...

Thursday morning dawned as any other day, we had our normal routine and regular insanity of two non-morning people (Josh and I) facing two morning people (Tim and Kaleb). There were some tears, fixed by milk for Josh, coffee for Mummy. Curious George replaced the news, cereal flew through the air as Kaleb attempted to get it into his mouth in huge bite fulls. The dog, once free of his pen did his morning dance of begging food off the kids (much to their delight). All of this to say that nothing seemed a miss. The world continued to tick by as usual. So then you ask; why am I writing about it?

That afternoon I noticed something odd on Kaleb's lip (just under his lip actually). It was a large cut, wet and sore looking. He was licking at it and rubbing it and you know what it's like, you can't stop them no matter how hard you try. I couldn't figure out where it came from, did he fall? I hadn't remembered anything happening, and with Kaleb even a bump on the finger needs a little kiss better so I am sure that a large cut to the lower lip would be deemed kiss worthy. However, he seemed fine so I chalked it up to an injury sustained in battle with his brother and we went about the rest of our day.

Now, for the entire week I had also been suffering from a very painful foot and have had no time to get it checked out but by Thursday I was struggling to walk and couldn't put weight on it. So, when Tim came home he watched the kids while I hit the ER. After a number of hours; surprisingly made relaxing by have some actual time to read my book and not have the kids to worry about for a little while (whoever said the wait in the ER is crazy was not as crazy as we think... it's just our attitudes to the situation that needs work). So, back to the ER. The X-ray, though very cool, did not show a bone injury or a foreign object (that's what I was hoping for... quick fix and all). Instead it would seem it's a deep tissue injury and I need to see a foot specialist. It could be worse though, and I did get a couple hours to read my book so all was not lost.

Friday, another typical morning but this time it was Tim's day off and we had big plans for Ontario Place! We got the boys changed and had them watch a movie while had coffee and got ready ourselves. I was drinking my cup of java when Kaleb went running past me, I looked at him and there was a huge red open sore on his back. Big enough, glaring enough that I would have noticed it when I was changing his diaper that morning. This was new, and when put together with a bizarre chin wound that was getting bigger not better, and diarrhea (something he gets frequently due his many allergies so I often don't think much about it). I decided he needed medical attention.

In the ER, the nurse looked at the large sore on his back and said 'it's definitely a blister of some kind, it is probably viral' and she got us a room to get comfortable in. The doctor came about an hour later and looked at it, listened to my concerns and said 'it's an injury, maybe he rubbed it raw on the carpet or bed or outside or something'. I explained about the diarrhea, about the odd chin sore as well and he said it was probably just a co-incidence. My heart sank, there are times when you just know that there is something wrong, and this was one of those times. Kaleb wasn't well, and in my heart I had a feeling that the sores were symptomatic of something more. He hasn't had a lot of his needles yet because of his allergies, we have to wait for further testing. My anxiety went up as I realized that it could be something serious, and if it was it would be our fault for not pushing to get the testing done faster. I asked the doctor if it was possible to see a pediatrician before we left and with some annoyance he said he would call but that they were probably too busy to come to ER.

As it turned out, they were very busy and Kaleb and I had to wait another hour for them (during which time his tummy troubles got so bad that I was now out of diapers (we went through 5 in an hour). He finally fell asleep and we had a chance for a little cuddle. (small blessings in the ER again). The new doctor looked the wounds and said that they were definitely blisters, but that she didn't know what was causing it so she would have to see her boss. We waited another half an hour before another Dr. came to see us and examine Kaleb. Sure enough she diagnosed Kaleb with a bacterial infection, gave him antibiotics and then had the ER doctor come back to look at the wounds. She pointed to each symptom and pulled them all together in the diagnosis (very House like) and the whole time the ER doctor stood there not looking at me and saying 'I am glad I thought to call in a pediatrician'. (Oh how I love an ego!)

By the time Kaleb and I were allowed to leave we had instructions for care, meds., clean diapers (a gift from ER) and permission to head to Ontario Place after all. So off we went, we hit the splash pad where the kids had the time of their lives, then we went to the animal show where owls, falcons, and Eagles swooped over our heads. Cheetah like animals jumped 10 feet in the air and other strange creatures hopped from tree branch to tree branch. The kids laughed, clapped and oohed and ahhed appropriately. The week, busy and in many ways annoying ended on such a wonderful note! Kaleb and Josh spent Saturday feeling crummy, Kaleb sick with Impetigo and Josh just feeling tired and yucky but we watched a movie and everyone got lots of snuggles and at bedtime both boys went to sleep with a smile and kiss. Funny how life can be like that isn't it? This morning they have rebounded and are back to their normal (mischievous) selves.

I even managed to have time for a really great photo walk on Saturday morning with the church while Tim watched the kids. Great, great weekend all in all!

August 19, 2011

Temporary problem. Permanant solution.

I have heard of three suicides this week, all people that I don't know, two in Canada and one in the US. The reasons ranging from a dream ending to being suspended from a job because of a choice they made, both male and female. Suicides that have left gaping holes in the lives of the families they have left behind, deaths that their loved ones will always question themselves over, pointless deaths, tragic deaths...

I can't help but think about it since it's so fresh in my face this week, the sister of one of the deceased said 'it's such a permanent solution to such a temporary problem'. She was right, how is it that someone can't see that there may be another dream for them, a different choice, a new girlfriend/boyfriend, a reinstatement at work, debt payment options, hope, life beyond their current issues. We live in a culture where people want a quick fix, medication for the symptoms because there is no time for the cure. Bankruptcy over debt counseling and budgeting, crushed by the abandonment of a spouse unwilling to believe there could possibly be someone else. We live in an age where waiting for an answer is virtually unheard of, we email, text, chat or phone the person we need the answer from and if we are honest we find ourselves annoyed if the don't respond immediately to our query.

We can't even wait until normal business hours to do our errands, we need 24 hour service available for things like the cable or phone company because God forbid we have to go a whole night with no TV or Phone calls. We have a snack attack, no problem the store down the street is a 7/11. Is it possible that we are providing  a world that is already full of broken and hurting people with the notion that they should just wake up one day 'fixed', that if a solution can't be found within a few days let alone months or years then it just can't be found and it's better to end it here and now?

The other big question of course is, do we talk about it? This has come up in one of the deaths, and Tim and I were discussing it last night. If it were one of our kids would we tell people it was a suicide? My simple answer (keeping in mind I have no idea what it is actually like to lose a child to anything let alone suicide) is that if more people talked about it, shared what it was like to lose a child that way, lose a friend that way, a parent, a spouse, then maybe just maybe the next time they considered it themselves they would remember that there are people who love them who would be affected forever by their choices. Shame can not heal, hiding within the shame will only keep you locked in the darkness suffocating you. I know people think differently on it and maybe in the end I would too if it was my kids but I hope I don't. I want them to know that choosing an out like that would devastate me, their friends, their brother and Dad and extended family, I want them to understand the hurt they would cause, the selfishness of their actions, I even want them to know that I would struggle with anger with them. 

These are of course just my ramblings, I have walked through the issue with a number of people over the years and find that all are happy with the second chance they were given. Are we missing something vital, how do we teach our kids, our friends and family as a whole that there are some things that take time and patience before healing can come? Not every question has an answer, not every problem a quick fix solution.  You can't always just 'take a pill' and solve a problem.

(Insert big sigh here)... May God give them (the family and friends of these three young people who left too soon) peace, hope and a future of healing.

August 16, 2011

Slow... but moving.

Just a few moments ago I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing the sippy cups and watching out the window as Josh played with the hose, filling a bucket, dumping the bucket, putting his trucks in and out of the bucket, watching them sink, when out of nowhere a cat hopped the fence and landed about 3 feet from him. It startled him, he watched the cat with obvious interest before deciding to hit him with a stream of water from the hose. I sort of giggled to myself and let it go as I watched the cat dart off to the back of the yard and Josh resume the filling of his bucket. As I watched though I noticed that every few seconds Josh would look back up to where the cat had disappeared, looking to see if that cat had returned. Finally, (I think the cat must have hopped back into the neighbours yard)he grabbed up his car and came running up the steps of the deck towards the back door and I could read his lips enough to know that he was calling me. I smiled and went to the door; he had a big smile as he excitedly said 'Mummy, cat, Mummy, cat'. Thankfully I had seen the situation transpire so I knew exactly what he was telling me, there was no guessing at it this time. I said 'did you see a cat?' and he again said 'cat' so I asked him to show me where the cat was, so he took me by the hand and led me to back of our garden and said 'cat, go, there' and he pointed to the back. Then he happily moved towards the slide, the cat forgotten. He was totally unaware of the overwhelming flood of emotion rushing through me. This child had no idea what those three words meant to me today. Hearing him, actually sharing something with me. Telling me about the cat, answering my question with words, it's such a small thing, so small, but man does it feel good! It's slow, those three words strung together with a pause in between but they were spoken with perfect clarity, God knows this is a slow process, but days like today happen and I see these little steps, tiny improvements, glimpses into the thought process of my son and I know that God is listening, he is hearing me and he is answering. My silent prayers are being answered.

August 15, 2011

New favorite song...

What Faith Can Do - Kutless

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you're stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word

It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise


I was chatting with a friend yesterday about life and how people face difficult situations and what it takes to rise up rather than be crushed under the weight of sorrow and and pain. I sat there thinking about the CCU and how to my right there might be someone with a child much less sick than Josh, I can look at them and lament Josh's pain and suffering, or I can turn to my left where without doubt there is sadly someone who's child is much much worse than Josh. It is looking at this suffering, this pain that allows me to really know the blessings in my own life. Then today someone I know posted this video and I find my heart breaking again, it's not fair is it? I have said on this blog that no child should know suffering, and no parent should ever know fear for their child's life. Yet as I watch this video I am reminded that God watched his son suffer untold pain, and ultimately he suffered the loss of his only son.

Then it dawned on me... It is not my job to wonder how I am going to 'rise up' or avoid the crushing weight of sorrow. God is holding the weight for me, it's been nailed on a tree centuries ago. My only job is to love these two little boys and give God all the glory.

For Jacks Dad

I signed up today... will you?

You have the power to make a difference, please consider being a donor and help save lives.

August 14, 2011

Two sided coin

Last Sunday I sat in the back of the church, everyone was bowed in prayer and I was distracted by a sweet little boy sitting in front of me. He was smiling and I was giving little waves to him. Then in the silence I heard the man leading the prayers say quietly, 'we pray for the continued recovery of Joshua, let's have a moment of silence as we pray for him' or something to that affect. My heart stopped, really? This man who has never met Josh is asking people to pray, he is reminding people not to forget our sweet little boy... that was last Sunday and I sat and listened a few things happened. The first thing was that I got chills over my whole body, the second was an incredible feeling of hope surging through me. A seed of hope that has been re-ignited within me and it's glowing warm and bright in my soul.

I tell you this not to remind you, I know that you who follow me do so out of a care and concern for Joshua, I tell you to remind myself. I have such a terrible tendency to allow self pity to seep into my soul. Lately I have been lamenting Joshua's inability to talk with me, to share his thoughts, his feelings. I have been feeling like I am missing out on something so deep, so intimate, so honest and it hurts me. I hear of people telling cute little stories about what their children have said, silly things, wise things, painfully honest things or all out hilarious things and I feel like I am missing something vital to motherhood. I actually ache to hear his thoughts, I watch him playing in relative silence and I actually ache. It is similar to the ache of not being able to hold him when he was born, the feeling that I felt for those first three weeks of his life when I physically hurt from missing him, from wanting to hold him in my arms. That is what it feels like now, knowing that he is thinking and feeling all sorts of things that I am not ever going to be privy too. 

A woman today told me that she thought we were amazing, the way we handled all of this and my honest reply is simply 'No' we are not amazing. We are all too real, all too human in our ways of dealing with our grief, our joy, our pain and our frustrations. Self pity eats at me, worry fills my heart with doubts, anger rises like bile in my throat, and fear threatens me at every turn. Yes, we have many great moments of faith, we have known more joy in the last three and a half years than we have ever known before, we have loved in a way we never imagined possible and we have felt God presence as real as if he was sitting beside us in the flesh but these moments cannot be spoken of without also having you see the other side of this defect of the heart. The side that is shameful, the side that is ugly, the side that is selfish and faithless, the side that is human. I can not be honest with you about our journey through this past three years without sharing the ugliness that also resides in our hearts.

This two sided coin of faith and doubt is why God had to watch his own son suffer and die... so that in all my ugliness and sin he can offer the grace and love of the cross.  I doubt I will ever be able to fully comprehend that love, nor express how thankful I am for it.