Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

May 31, 2013

He's up



Well, it would seem that screaming at the top of our lungs yesterday for God to wake up seems to have helped. Josh had a good night sleep and came down stairs talking about how God was awake now. (Whew... bullet dodged).

The other day (in the post 'Hail Mary pass') I talked about how we had made our choice and were waiting for Monday to see if God closed the door on that or not. The reason being that one of the trusted specialists was away until Monday. Today, our doctor called and it would seem that the specialist came back yesterday and she had a chance to speak with him.

She said 'He STRONGLY (she really emphasized that word) agrees with your decision'. I sighed because I hadn't really realized it yet but I was waiting more anxiously than I was willing to admit for his answers. I was also praying hard that he would have an opinion one way or the other, and not be as unclear as the other doctors. I really needed to hear from God on this one, and having such a clear and certain response of agreement on our choice has made it clear that we made the right call.

We should know within the next two weeks when the surgery date will be and of course I will keep you posted.

happy hot weekend, this girl is cottage bound with the boys!

L

May 30, 2013

WAKE UP GOD!

At some point in our life we wrestle through the tougher questions of faith, we move through hard times and it raises questions deep inside of us that have us asking us, is God there? Can he hear me? Am I alone? Why is this happening to me?... it's a normal process of the faith journey, hard as those times are these questions either make us or break us in our faith.

I spoke with a pyschologist today about Josh, he's been having nightmares and talking about scary noises in his head and asking things like 'am I going to die'. I told the Dr. all of these things and her response was to begin by changing the term 'broken' heart and 'fixing' it to 'special' heart and helping him to have a heart a little more like Mummy's so that he can have more energy like Mummy and Daddy. She suggested looking at pictures of a heart, getting him to draw pictures of things that make him feel happy, sad, scared etc. to give him an avenue to share his concerns with us.

So I did. I started by saying that I spoke with a doctor today who told me that Joshua's heart is special. Then he asked me to see a picture of a heart so I googled it and we looked at 'Mummy's heart' and he asked to see the special part of his own heart. He asked where his heart was so I showed him by tapping him on the chest and he got angry 'don't poke my heart, it's goona be gone'. So we talked about how his heart would never move, that it was safe in his chest. The we started to draw, happy was a train, scared was a scribble that he said was a song. This surprised me so I asked him to sing the scary song and what came out was the song Jesus loves me, the same song I sing every single night to him. He said 'we have to change the song'! I thought I was mishearing him so I sang it to him to see what happened and he got upset and said 'change the song'. So I promised I would stop singing the song. Then he said 'God is sleeping' and then 'we need to pray louder'.

There is a reason we call it 'child like' faith, there is supposed to be an innocent belief in God that isn't questioned... how is it that Josh has already begun to ask these tougher questions of faith at five years old. Sadly, he didn't want to talk about it anymore so I was forced to stifle my questions and let him go play but I couldn't sit with it so I called Tim. (A pastoral call we will say). He suggested we pray louder so I took Josh in my lap and said let's wake God up. He was pretty excited about that, he pulled me upstairs to his bedroom and together we yelled really loudly "GOD! Wake up!" We told him to stop the scary noise, to make the bad dreams stop and then Josh said something unintelligible that ended with the word dying. He wouldn't elaborate on it so I have yet to discover what he said, and I am thankful God can decipher.

I think in an effort to help Josh work all this through we have opened a can of worms, one that maybe needs to be worked through but I'm second guessing our timing. Often as parents we learn our mistakes too late, after the damage is done. When Josh did so well with the catheterization I thought if we talked him through the process as it happened then it would help him, and he was so worried that his heart be 'fixed' that I started those conversations too soon. Now the little man is scared, worried, anxious and apparently questioning if God can hear him, and wondering if he's been sleeping on the job.

I told him about the red photos, showed them to him and now he sees red and says 'they are praying for me?'... He told his Grandad yesterday that even Spiderman was praying for him and wearing red. So today, after all was said and he was finished wanting to discuss it further I told him that all those people wearing red were all talking to God, and that it must be awfully loud to have all those people talking to him. Josh agreed and for now the discussion is closed until another day.

All of this to say that I am adding to my prayer request for Josh, and us. Please, pray he feels God's presence, pray that nightmares ease, pray that he somehow knows God is hearing all of us.


May 29, 2013

The Son



One of the amazing things that I have learned and continue to learn through out this life is that as humans, we adapt, we change, and even if we don't want to, we grow. Kaleb and I were talking about growing up, (tall like Daddy) and he was telling me that he needed to drink lots of water and get lots of sun and then he would grow, just like the flowers. An interesting perspective I must admit but I wondered if we changed that just a little and instead of sun we said son. I remember a time in my life when conviction rang through my ears on a daily basis, fighting against what I wanted to do and what I knew I should do. God's call on my life from an early age was loud and clear but I have to admit that I fought it with all I had in me. I used to wish wholeheartedly that I wasn't raised in a Christian home because then I could do what I want without all that guilt. Now, as I tread through muddy waters I can't imagine what life would be like without the 'son' to look up to. What life would be like if I didn't have the hope that God offers, the peace he gives. He has shaped me, moved me, stretched me and continues to work at me, continues to point out the areas that need work, the places I still need stretching and no, it's not always comfortable. When we started this journey into parenthood I can safely say we were different people. The road of motherhood has shone a light on my failings of youth, my recklessness, my fearlessness, my immaturity and it's grounded my faith in a way that no other life experience prior could do.

No amount of growth will ever saitisfy, we are always been changed and stretched, until we die we will grow, maybe no up (though more often than not 'out') but into more well rounded people if we allow the thirst and the son to do their work.

Last night Josh asked me a question, one that broke my heart and one that clearly worried him. He asked 'Mummy, am I going to die?'. I assured him that no, we were going to work really hard to make sure that that didn't happen. I did my best to stifle tears as I held him and tried to find the right words, the right explanation and yet ease those worry frowns off his face. Where he got this from I have no idea... He could have picked it up anywhere... but I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting it. We talked about growing up, he wants to be like his Daddy, and how he needs to eat well, drink lots of water and never stop trusting God to look after him and comfort him. I still don't know if he's satisfied with my answers but I do know that when it was all said and done I asked him what he thought and he said 'I'm not going to die' with an assurance that seemed real.

Each day with these two boys is a gift, a chance to learn, a way to be brought up short and count my blessings, each day is another chance to grow.

So, today... in spite of it all. I thank God that I am awake, that I have another day to learn patience (my nemesis), to find new facets of faith, new answers to life's questions. I thank God for the two boys who at times drive me crazy and yet fill my heart to overflowing. They are my heart walking around in the world, scary as that may be at times, I wouldn't change it for the world.

May 28, 2013

Hail Mary Pass



We are going with the hail Mary pass. Meaning, after a long and basically sleepless night Tim and I feel that we can't yet decide to do the fontan procedure; not when there is still hope that the replacements of those two valves 'could' give him more time, he may not reject them, he may get five years out of them. His history isn't definitely an indicator of his future.Yes, we could be here again next year but what if we aren't? If we choose to do the Fontan and five years from now it fails and we have to do a heart transplant, possibly waiting longer than he would have for a new heart, how do we live with ourselves if we didn't give it one last try. If we are here again in a year then the fontan is still an option for us, but if we do the Fontan then there are no options left. We have left the door open for a convincing argument FOR the fontan, and are awaiting the opinion of a specialist who isn't back until Monday, but we have told our cardiologist that unless he has a strong opinion that makes a lot of sense to us then we will choose to go with the two new valves. Please, keep this in prayer.

A Pastor I know once said 'if you are trying to discern God's will, sometimes  you need to make the choice and try to open the door and if the door doesn't open then you know to turn around and try the other door.' This is where we are today. We have chosen the door and on Monday we will find out if the door will open or not.

We spoke with Josh today, we didn't say much but we felt the need to tell him something because he's clearly more aware of what's going on then he has been in the past. Last night he was in my bed twice with nightmares and it tells us that he's anxious. We explained a little to him and told him to think about it today and if he had any questions we would talk to him again tonight. Pray we have the words, pray that God gives him the words he needs to express his fears and worries. We want what is best for Josh and part of that is mental well being, and peace.

Pray for our doctor as she speaks with this specialist on Monday, that they hear God's whispered advice and our questions are answered clearly.

Pray that this will work. That the hail Mary pass (the most important one in the history of us) will score us a touchdown.

Once again, thank you so much for all the love and support and prayers. We truly couldn't do this, make these choices, face these days, without knowing that you are all out there caring and praying. Our hearts have been so deeply touched.

L

May 27, 2013

ugh



Josh & his playdoh broken heart.

Today, before the call came in I gave the boys (who were tired and moody) some play-doh to play with and amuse themselves for as long as possible. Kaleb, who was particularly unhappy with something was crying in the corner so I was dealing him him. Once he settled I went to the table where Josh was working diligently on something. I made a coffee and listened to the boys chatter... Then I overheard Josh say to Kaleb 'This is my heart, it's broken' to Kaleb, then Kaleb, not to be out done also made something and put it to his chest and said 'I have a heart too' and Josh responded with 'you have a fixed heart; don't break it'.

I am sitting here still reeling from the news, the decisions and the days and weeks to come and all I can think about is those words. He wants his heart fixed... not broken to the point of no return. In all of my life I have come to cross roads where the decisions I made were going to send me in a different direction than I had anticipated. Going to Austria, changed to course of my life and my faith. Saying yes to Tim changed my life forever in the best possible way. Having kids... but this?

For obvious reasons I am forestalling bed... lying down in a dark room to think these thoughts, worry over what could go wrong, fear the unknown or question the wisdom of every choice and decision we have made or will make. Well, it feels like if I try it will mean I am inviting the monster into my bed and I am not ready to face him yet.

I still feel like a little girl inside, I know I have grown up, I am a woman, a wife, a mother... but inside I still feel like the little girl with a socks at awkward angles and a bandaid on my knee. At what point do you become 'grown up' enough to choose and possibly dictate the course of your son's life in this way. No matter what we choose the results could prove disastrous for him. Hearing Heart transplant being put on the table sends a bone chill through me and I can't get warm. I feel like I am on a precepice and one wrong step, one misjudgement, will topple me.

I know I said I was speechless in my earlier post.... but as it turns out, that's not a state I am well able to stay in; as an extrovert I can't help but spew my thoughts onto this blog and hope that they make a little sense.

Tonight I ache, my soul is rocked. I feel gutted. Tomorrow, as I know from experience I will figure out a way to move ahead. I will somehow be given enough strength to take the steps I need to take in order to go about my day. Tomorrow I will find the peace that God is holding out to me, tomorrow I will sit with Tim and make a judgement call that will either help Josh, or offer him a whole lot of pain and suffering. BUT, tonight I am going to just sit in the shadows between now and then and try to wrap my head around how in the world we ended up here?!

I know God has a plan... I am not angry, I am not without faith, I know that we are loved. I just wish, just once that I could understand the why. I wish he would come down if only for a moment and whisper 'this is the plan' in my ear so that just for one moment I can feel his breath on my cheek and know there is purpose to this. He's five year old and forgive me for being the petulant child that I feel like; but I can't help but want to yell 'it's not fair'.

I know there is more pain than mine in the world and that grieves me to no end because this hurts like hell, so what must those whose burdens are heavier must feel? Tim said tonight... and I have to agree. Lord Jesus come soon... we are so in need of your final rescue.

update

Imagine there are two piles of poop (I would use a different word there but feel that maybe it's not appropriate for this blog); one pile smells like horse dung, the other of cow dung... then imagine you are being asked to choose which one you want to choke down. Which do you choose? How do you choose?

I got the call today, as most of you are aware the surgeons were meeting to discuss Josh's case, and the answers... well, the answer is that they don't know. There are two options open to us, different options than we had thought last week. One, is to replace the tricuspid and pulmonary valve again and hope against hope that he doesn't reject them as he has in the past. His history (they say) is an indicator of the future and they aren't sure that replacing the valves will give him the long term quality of life that they are looking for. They worry that we will be back here in a year, doing yet another open heart. The second option, is called a fontan procedure in which they (laymen terms)bypass the right side of his heart completely, leaving him with half a functioning heart. Options, if this fails, are simple... full heart transplant. However, it could give him a better quality of life for a longer period of time. The procedure is still new enough that they don't have any good stat's on how many kids actually live a long and full life with a fontan. I don't know that I want to find that out... The long and the short of it is that we need to make the choice. The doctors don't know which is best and they have given it to us. My Dad pointed out that what they have actually done is given the choice to God. 

I don't have a lot to say right this moment... I am reeling and a little speechless, but I promised an update. I would ask each of you to pray that God shows us very clearly what we should do. The best case for Joshua. We don't know the answers, we have a leaning in one direction but ultimately we need God to make this choice for us. Please, I know you are all praying. Pray for us tonight as we make this horrible choice.

L

May 26, 2013

While we were out



When we arrived home from church today there were four large canvas's at our door. Each one carrying a message of prayers and best wishes, all from kids we don't know from a church that I have never attended. St. Cuthbert's in Leaside has a family history for me though, that they couldn't possibly know, my Great Grandfather (a carpenter) built the pews in that church and my Grandfather attended there for years. This of course is a side history that no one there knows. The kids there heard about Josh and decided they wanted to do something to cheer him up, and these beautiful canvas's were the result. They even came with two books, one for Josh and one for Kaleb.

When Josh saw them, and I read all the messages to him he gently touched the painted and hands and whispered a quiet 'wow'. I have to admit that I was just as awed. 

In a world often gone mad its the little children who shall lead us...

May 25, 2013

Days Post Cath.


#redforjosh
I have had a lot of people asking how Josh has been doing since his catheterization... the short answer?! Did he have a catheterization? If he did you really wouldn't know it! He has had no pain, he's been in good spirits, he even went to school the very next day!

I can't get over how faithfully God has answered all of our prayers. It  has been so unreal to watch. I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out, but it doesn't, and he seems really good. He even seems to emotionally understand it which is incredible!

I have been, as you know collecting RED photos from anyone praying and supporting Joshua, the response has been pretty amazing. I have shown Josh some of the responses and all he can do is smile, it's a beautiful thing to see him smiling so much in the midst of all this uncertainty. I have also discovered how wonderful it is to see my inbox filling up with RED... it's tangible proof of the prayers that are being sent up on Josh's behalf and I have to tell you, this is turning into a blessing for all of us, not just Joshua. What began as a show of support for Josh has become a reminder to us all, an encouragement to us all and a everyday as I save the emails and the pictures that come in I am awed and touched by the faces and love that we are seeing. I have always known that people are praying... but to see the faces for myself, faces of dear friends, and faces of complete strangers... well, let's just say that we are ALL being blessed by this incredible show of solidarity through out this process.

Josh's wound is healing well, and the only problems we have had are keeping him from bouncing off walls. When he asked me if he could go to school on Thursday I have to admit I hesitated. The doctor said that kids normally take a few days to recover, I asked Josh so many times if he was in pain that he finally got annoyed with me and said emphatically "NO!". So, off to school we went. Other than changing his dressings (which scare him because the bandage hurts coming off) he is taking all of this in better stride than anyone else. He's not just a trooper, he's my hero.

Thank you again for all the prayers and support as we travel again down this road. We will have answers on Monday afternoon and I will update you when I know what the next game plan will be. Until then, keep sending those red photos. I am starting to think I might need to make a few collages with the amount of pictures we are getting but I would plaster his walls if it showed him how much he's loved, how many people are praying from all parts of the world! I am also keeping all the emails that come with them so that one day (when he can read) he will be able to read about the prayers and love. I will be collecting pictures until a few weeks pre-op so you have some time to share this and find some red to wear. :)

Many blessings on each and everyone of you!

L

May 22, 2013

What didn't suck


I am happy and surprised to announce that today went as smoothly as possible... truly it's been amazing! He went in with no fuss, they let me hold the mask for him while he went to sleep and only once did he look scared, I asked if he wanted me to pray, he said yes and before I could finish the prayer he was out. The wait was shorter than we were told (three hours instead of four) and he was only sick a few times because of blood in his tummy. He was out of it for quite a while, but as he perked up he was given 7 or 8 freezies (white - nothing else would do) two apple juices, a water, 6 crackers and four cookies... :s

It took a while to get the bleeding to stop but it did, and then he took his first few wobbly steps and after that it was time to head home. This kid proved to me again today that he is the strongest, baddest, bravest heart warrior I know! WOW!

The results of the tests are what we already knew... the tricuspid is the valve causing trouble, the leak has grown and the combination of the leaky pulmonary valve and the Tricuspid are what is causing Josh's main issues . The options have been narrowed down to two... Tricuspid replacement or the replacement plus a shunt. The good... no great news... is that we DEFINITELY have the surgeon that we wanted, the same one that did his last surgery. Tim and I are thrilled with this bit of news because the recovery was awesome last time, the scar was 'beautiful' and from what we understand he is one of the best in the world.

On Monday the team will meet again to discuss Josh's case and make the decisions and we should know by 5pm. (I will of course update you when we know).

I know that all of this sucks.. It's not what I would have wanted for our son, or anyone's son/daughter for that matter. How do you look at your child, the one who grew inside of you, the one who believes you have the answers to all of his questions, the one who thinks you can fix anything... and only watch, and wait for the pain to come? How do you promise tomorrow, promise to fix the heart he so desperately wants fixed when you know that you don't have the power to help him? How do you hold him through his tears and tell him its going to be okay, when he can see your own tears pouring down like rain? It's not that I find this easy, it's not that I am made of superhuman strength or that I don't feel, today sucked. Monday will most likely suck. The weeks leading up to his surgery will suck. Watching your child suffer anything like this is a bone crushing pain that can't be described, only experienced.

However, this week as I was reading the news and hearing of the terrible loss of life in Oklahoma I was made all too aware of how fragile life is. Sending your child off to school should be as normal as rain in April, leaves falling off trees in the fall, or warm summer breezes. Yet, in an instant it can all go wrong, it can all go horribly wrong. I read some heartbreaking stories, I put myself in the shoes of those parents who have lost a part of their heart forever and I grieved with them.

Yes, today sucked; but what didn't suck was seeing the smile on Joshua's face when he got his second, third, fourth freezy. Seeing his brother gently touch his shoulder when he was reunited with him, feeling his hand hold mine when he was waiting for it all to begin, listening to him tell the doctor (with words - real words) that he wanted his heart to be fixed. What didn't suck was seeing God answering prayers right in front of our eyes, seeing all the red photos pouring into my inbox all day and knowing that all these people are praying for Josh right now. What didn't suck was hearing Josh say at bedtime 'it doesn't hurt Mummy'. What didn't suck was hearing him whisper with deep concern when he woke up and Kaleb wasn't there 'Is Kaleb all alone?' and being more worried about his little brother than himself.

Today. That is it. It's all we have. Tomorrow tragedy could strike anyone of us, and today as I drove to the hospital I had to wonder... did I take them time today to thank God that I am even here? Did I stop moaning about Josh's situation long enough to say 'thank you for giving me another morning with my boys, another kiss, another hug, another smile, another tickle time?'



*Keep those Reds coming in! It's going to be a fantastic collage!





May 21, 2013

will you?




A friend of mine sent me a message today saying that tomorrow she will be wearing red to the office to support Josh, then she said she would dress her son for school in red. It sparked an idea for me...

After dinner Josh and I were talking and I couldn't understand everything he was asking but he did ask about people and God and what I think I finally figured out was 'are people around the world praying?' so I answered that yes, thousands of people are praying for you.

Then I had the idea... what if everyone whose praying for Josh were to take a picture of themselves wearing red (the heart colour & Joshua's favorite colour). If you send the pictures to me I will collect them all and create a collage for him, so that when he goes into surgery we can show it to him as visible proof for him of all the wonderful people who are praying for his quick rebound.

I am not sure what the surgery date will be yet, but I will update you when I have a date, and then I would need about a two week time frame prior to the surgery to get the pictures together and have them printed into a collage for him.

If you would like to show Josh your support in this way please email horizonsphotographs@gmail.com! I will post the final image(s) on the Blog for those interested in seeing it! If you know someone who is also praying for Joshua, could you see if they would mind doing the same, quick picture of them in red and then email me. Easy peasy but it will show Josh in a clear and very visual way what I have been telling him for years... That he loves, that he is safe in the Father's arms, that people care.

Thanks so much!

Laurie

Trepidation


Did you break my heart Mummy?



As most of you know today was our pre-op day for Joshua's catheterization. We had an early start (for me at least) and arrived at Sick Kids at 8am. Last night Joshua and I had a talk about the coming week and what to expect. We chatted about what the doctors were going to do, why they were doing it and then we talked about what it might feel like. Josh seemed to understand it all and other than offering the suggestion of having the doctors tape his heart to fix it he didn't have a whole lot to say about it. I asked him if he was scared and he said 'No, the doctors will fix it' with the faith that only comes when you are young. After our chat (and snuggle) I asked him if he had any questions, and all he could come up with was to ask if he could bring his ball to bounce in the doctors office. After settling on allowing him to bring Thomas with him he went back to his room and said good night.

This morning, when we went into the doctors office there was a plastic model of a heart sitting on her desk. Josh saw it and became very interested in it. He asked me if it was his heart and I explained to him what it was, then he asked me to show him where his heart was broken so I did my best to explain it to him. The nurse came and in and we began to discuss what tomorrow will look like for him. Josh was playing with Thomas but every once and a while he returned to the model and looked it over. Finally he turned to me and asked 'Did you fall and break my heart Mummy?' *big sigh... "no, sweety sometimes we are born with something that is broken'. He thought about that for a minute and then asked 'Did I fall and it got broke?' to which I again explained that no one caused this to happen, that it wasn't anyone's fault that his heart was broken. I told him that I was born with 'broken' knees, and had to have surgery to fix them, I told him how Kaleb was born with 'broken' lungs and needed medication to fix them, and again tried to explain that things like this sometimes just happen. By the time our 'chat' was done both the nurse and I had eyes full of tears. How do you explain the 'why' to a child when you can barely figure it out for yourself? Even the nurse didn't attempt to past the lump in her throat, instead she promptly said she would get child life to come see us.

It was after we were leaving her office and heading down to get the chest X-ray and blood tests that Josh started to ask 'is it fixed yet?'. Every doctor, technicial, nurse became the person who was potentially going to fix his heart. I can't count the times I had to explain that it was fixed yet, that it wouldn't be fixed tomorrow... forget trying to get his head around the fact that his heart will never be fixed. That he will always have a broken heart, and that all we do to him is just buying him more time. Why would I even want to explain that to a five year old?

To say that I am emotionally exhausted is putting it mildly. I had no idea that Josh was wrestling with the why and how of his situation. I was in no way prepared for the questions he posed today and it's left me drained.

The good news is that the child life specialist came for a visit with Josh and she was great at explaining what would happen to him tomorrow. Thank you for all the warm and lovely emails and posts via Facebook. It is such a comfort to feel the support of so many at our backs.

L

May 19, 2013

Hero for a minute


For those of you who read my post the other day about the 'joys' of motherhood I have an update... today I got called the 'best car finder EVER' by my sweet child whose been mad all week about the missing blue and green car (which I finally discovered was 'Carla' from Cars2). After learning that the car had eyes I realized it was from the movie so I google imaged it and after scrolling through the pictures he finally found it and while he was out I went to Toys R Us and replaced it... with the LAST one in the store! Literally it was the only one there, I had to ask someone for help when I couldn't find it and he went into the back and found one last box of cars in the back, and in that last box was ONE Carla! So for a few moments I was a hero.

The yesterday I decided to clear out our play room, donate toys that were too young for them, resort the toys that had been mixed up, and rotate the toys that they were bored with. In the process of doing this I pulled out all the Cars cars and put them into circulation. This morning, when the boys hit the playroom and discovered all their old toys it was like Christmas morning and I was crowned Queen of lost cars.

My post the other day, while satirical had that scent of truth that makes is both tragic and funny all that the same time. Motherhood, is hard. Being a Mom means you are everything to the little men/women you are raising. That means it is you who takes the most hits when things go wrong, when something is lost it's you who is meant to find it, when something hurts it's you who is meant to fix it, and you who hears about it via whining until it is fixed. When a drink is needed it's you who is demanded of, when the park is calling it's you who expected to give up whatever you are doing to take them, when a fight between siblings breaks out it's you who is meant to mediate it.

BUT; and this is the biggest BUT in life... when the ouchies are fixed (via kiss or band-aid) it's you who gets the snuggles, when the toy is found it's you who are the hero of the moment, when the fights are over it's you who dealt fairly with them, when a drink is needed it's you who has sustained your kid, when the park is calling it is you who gets to enjoy watching them giggle and play. When they are sick, as kids often are, it's you who they call for comfort, it's you who can make them feel better with just a little cuddle and cool hand on the forehead. It's you. So while it's the hardest job I have ever had, it's also the sweetest paying deal of a lifetime. No job will ever have the same satisfaction, offer the same benefits or bonus's.

For the moment I am a hero, and for now that's enough to make forget that for the past week I have been a monster in disguise. :)

L

May 16, 2013

So much in one small post



Today, across the nation, or more appropriately I should say the across the globe there are thousands of people saying at least one prayer for Joshua as we head into his catheterizaton and planning for surgery. This never ceases to blow my mind! I am still so touched and awed by the many who have set today aside as a day of prayer and fasting for our son.  I always think about God sitting up in heaven listening to all these voices begging for healing on Joshua's behalf and I smile because God is listening... and he will act. That is pretty awesome. It's awesome to know that the God who created the stars, who named every single one of them, who spoke life onto this planet with a word, who made man from dust, who filled the oceans with beauties that no human eye will ever see; that same God is right now, this very moment hearing about Joshua and he's listening. How cool is that?

Last night as I was praying I had this image of the woman who is so sure that Jesus can heal her that as he passes by she reaches out to touch his coat. I kind of feel like her some days, knowing that I might not know what to ask for, what to say in words but knowing that if I just reach out and grasp his coat he will act on my behalf. How I long to know a full and whole Joshua, what a gift it would be.

I have been doing all kinds of research on the latest in CHD research and technology and I am so full of hope for Joshua and for kids like him. I will be linking some of the latest studies to this post at the bottom. It's an exciting time for CHD patients (adults and kids alike). There is no cure, but there is certainly hope for one, one day.

I know that I have asked this of you before, but in my heart of hearts I believe that the more people who know about CHD the better these kids chances will be in the future. There are so many ways that you can help, just reading this blog is already a start. Go to the Congenital Heart Defect page of this blog to learn more, learn about how to give to organizations like the CCHA that focus on the adult system, research and caring for those who have left the pediatric facilities. Look into organizations like the Cardiac Kids who strive to help families struggling with living with a child with CHD and helping the kids find moments of joy in the midst of the pain. You are one voice, but together we are two and with all the readers that take the time to pop by this blog we could have an army of informed people. Write and email to your Government Representative and ask for CHD awareness to become a priority, ask your local media why they aren't making this issue one of their headlines, talk with your friends and neighbours; even if all you do is read and share this blog then you are doing something and that means so much to us and to families like ours. It means so much to the thousands of adult survivors who are even now struggling to survive in the broken adult care system. (There, that's my speech... I will get to the exciting new research now).

 Here are two of the very interesting and exciting studies that are showing up in the news this week. The idea that this is happening now gives me great hope for the next few years. I obviously wish that we were further along in the research, that people were more aware, that funds were more readily available but I can't believe how far we have come in even that last five years from when Josh was born.

Cardiologists hit 'print' to help solve challenging cardiac problems
Gene found that regenerates heart tissue



May 15, 2013

Lessons for the CIA


It's understandable really that motherhood is both a wonderful gift and at the same time, earth shattering in it's blows to sleep, clean homes, personal hygiene,  cool tempers, patient attitudes, and general self esteem. We start out with a tiny little embryo that grows into a watermelon, stretching skin into impossible places that never properly return, then we squeeze the watermelon out, or have it surgically removed only to have leaky boobs, endless months of sleep deprivation, cleaning poop, pee and other bodily secretions up to and including breast milk vomit. Just when the watermelon starts to sleep through the night it begins to thirst for independence and for the next few months you are having to follow around behind it to make sure it doesn't fall when it tries to sit, crawl, and eventually walk. Just when they become stable on their feet and the burden eases a fraction the watermelon begins to talk... in nonsensical babble that you are meant to understand and when you don't, you experience the force of a child's newly found temper. Just when they begin to sound more like walking humans and not the watermelons that you grew inside of your small uterus they begin with the questions, the demands, and yes, sometimes even the screams that break the sound barrier. They lose things and you are expected to know exactly where they lost it and that's if you can even figure out which 'green & blue' car it is that is lost (out of the hundred other blue and green cars that live under the couch, bed, and yes sometimes even your shoes), they won't eat or at least they won't eat the meal you provide, they decide that even though they want independence they actually need your help to go to the potty, regardless of wether or not they have been doing it solo for months, they wait until you have cleaned all the toys of every corner in the house before they pick up the toy box and empty it everywhere and redistributing the said toys to the same corners you just meticulously cleaned and squeezed your stretched and flabby body into places that only one as small as this little human can fit into, they want you to leave them alone if the TV is on but so help you God if you try to go to the washroom for two seconds and do you remember that peaceful shower you used to enjoy?... Yeah, I don't either.

Let's not even begin to get into what happens when you decide (with a sleep deprived mind I might add!) to make the wise decision to spawn yet another watermelon! As one is screaming every two hours during the night and the other is making you chase them through the house trying to avoid a fall down the stairs or a bonk on the coffee table you are also expected to clean the house, fold laundry, keep both human and watermelon fed, clean and entertained! Then the watermelon sprouts into a human too and the toys (still placed in every corner, under every conceivable surface and in places your now doubly stretched and flabby body will never begin to squeeze into) are now fought over, the food is that one wants is the last thing the other wants, the potty is now a new thing to argue over, fists that once curled around your finger during a long forgotten moment of peace are now weapons of war, the thing one didn't want a second ago, the same thing that the other human is now playing with, is now also the very thing they want, and it's not the other human's fault, somehow it's yours. The cold that one brings home, the snotty nose, the cough, the sore throat and fever, that is the ONLY thing that these little humans are willing to share but lets' not be fooled, they wait until they are almost better before sharing it so that your suffering is prolonged. They wake countless times in the night, to pee, to ask for a lost toy (probably the same blue and green car that you as a mother have failed to find), to announce that the meal they didn't want at dinner time is something they might be interested in trying now, or that they would like a little sip of water, or maybe on the good nights, it's just because they would like a hug. If they are so lucky as to have had the other humans cold shared with them you also have to deal with the 3am dose of medicine, and the run to the washroom because they haven't yet discovered that coughing and vomiting are NOT the same thing. If you are the unlucky sort, as most of us are, your humans will feel the love enough to share the cold/flu with you as well but they don't wait like they do with the other human, instead they share right away so that while your fever rages you are wiping snotty noses and checking temps, soothing grumpiness and any number of other disgusting things while also trying to clean the toys from every corner, under every surface in places you can't fit, make meals that will be pushed away by at least one of the them, fold laundry that they will promptly unfold when they find that the laundry basket would make a great place to hide the blue and green car that you have been searching for days for!

All that to say that motherhood is a beautiful gift that is mysteriously disguised as the worst kind of torture. The CIA could take lessons from a these little humans to extract top secret information from foreign spies!

(and yet... we love them without end, cherish every single torturous moment, and forget it all when they whisper I love you, or give you a kiss...)


May 14, 2013

May 16th



In July of 2011 people around the world gathered around us in a day of prayer and fasting for Joshua as we and he prepared for more surgery. Next week he goes in for his catheterization and on the following Monday they will again sit around a table and make decisions regarding Josh's next intervention. The decisions are crucial, the factors many. Today it's been confirmed that these same dear people who arranged a day of prayer and fasting for our son will again begin a day of prayer and fasting. On May 16th they will all take time from their busy lives to fast, and to pray. Then they will meet at the chapel in St. Paul's to pray together for one purpose only. My son. I cry as I write this, not because I am sad but because I am so deeply moved by the love and support we are receiving. I think of all the horrible things in the news this week; Tim Bosma and his tragic end comes first to my mind. We are surrounded in the news by all these horrific crimes, car bombs, threats of war, reigns of terror, people killing people for no other reason that a truck, little girls being taken and held captive for years on end.. it's enough to depress anyone. Yet, in my attempt to look up from the mud, guts and gore of earth and I see many many stars. Stars with names of all the people who step into help when no one else will, stars who pray for strangers in times of need, stars who do whatever they can to shine a light in our world. For us, the stars are shining so brightly in the faces of friends and loved ones and to our surprise the thousands of strangers who are praying for a little five year old boy they have never met.

Sadly, Tim and I will not be able to attend the chapel service on the 16th, I wish I could, the love in that room gave me goose bumps the last time I went. I will be praying though, and I invite all you to come and pray as well. Or, if you are like and and unable to attend, I encourage you to say a little pray for Josh that day.

I know that there is a whole host of things to pray for, and I know it's always helpful to know what to pray for... so here it goes.

~That Joshua knows only peace going into these tests next week
~That his pain is minimal
~That the images they get are clear and easily show what needs to happen
~ That no clots form that could cause Josh and further trouble
~That when the doctors meet they are guided by the Holy Spirit to the right decision regarding his next surgery
~That as his parents we are strong, at peace, hopeful through out
~ That Kaleb will not feel abandonned through out the coming months of being shipped around while Tim and I care for Joshua.
~ That the nightmares that plagued Josh last time are a thing of the past
~That he is healed, touched by the hand of God himself and healed in ways that doctors can only say are miraculous!

Thank you to everyone who organized this event, thank you for all those who are planning to partake in this day of fasting and prayer, and thank you in general to those in the world who choose to work towards making things right in this world, to those who make efforts to brings peace, hope and light into the darkess we are surrounded by.

My heart felt thanks.
L

Is there an app for that?



This morning was an early one, at 5:00 am Kaleb woke me saying he was going to be sick, we rushed to the toilet but all he really had to do was cough. I tucked him back into his warm sheets and shuffled back down the hall to my own bed. Then I lay there; for what felt like hours but in actuality was only 23 painful minutes of knowing that I was awake but not yet ready to give up hope. Finally, when I realized my tossing and turning was threatening Tim's sleep as well I caved, that and the thought of a fresh brewed cup of java (to be enjoyed in a silent house) got me out of bed.

So many things run through my mind when I wake up in the night, or very early morning, usually they are the worst case scenarios, the fear, the worry, the anxiety, the what if's, the turbulent thoughts that nag at you and seem to be heightened when the lights are out. I have shared about this before, about the fear that lurks in the dark shadows, waiting until I am just trying to sleep or maybe just not willing to wake up before it rears it's ugly head and snarls it's teeth at me. Today, while I lay in bed trying desperately to fall back asleep I felt the cold chill begin to settle on me, my thoughts flitting from one worry to the next, trying to sort out in my mind how to handle all the things that need to be handled, how to manage all the emotional stuff for the kids, how to best support my husband in his ministry, how to best be a Mom in  the trying weeks ahead, but also just in general. All these thoughts, all these fears.

If you knew me, 'back in the day' you would know that I have always been fairly laid back, not a worrier, not at all organized, not a planner, not anxious about anything (unless I knew I was in  BIG trouble). I went with the flow and took the blows so to speak. Becoming a mother has changed things for me somewhat (it's like when I got pregnant I had a new and very undesired hormone or something that causes me to worry and be anxious) and this morning, I figured out what part of my anxiety is from, and this for me (after 5 years of parenting) is an epiphany!

As I lay there frustrated that once again this monster was invading my bedroom, threatening my sleep, I tried to figure out when I had changed from carefree, whatever happens, kind of girl; to the woman lying in her bed paralyzed with fear and dreading the days to come. That was when I realized that the bulk of my problem lies in my base personality. I, Laurie Haughton, have never been an organized soul, nor am I a patient soul... now, as a mother of two sick kids with appointments weekly, therapists, funding to organize, talks to speak, ambassador jobs, photography jobs, school meetings, research meetings, and of course we can't forget raising these two little men in the process while also trying to keep my marriage whole and healthy. All the sudden I am NEEDING organization, I NEED planning skills... I have been weighed and measured and found lacking. This morning I realized that the most anxiety I feel is around the planning part of our life, the worry that I will miss an appointment, not be able to fit them all in, or that in all the planning for Josh I will miss out on times with Kaleb. I have a date book, a calendar on the fridge and of course my handy iphone calendar... and yet I am still anxious about it all working out. It's like I have a whole bunch of cartoon bubbles in my head with all the things I need to do, organize, plan, calls to make, emails to write, the list goes on and on and yet all those bubbles up there just float around unorganized and causing stress. Add to that, I have the uncertainty of daily life, there are so many questions that need answering before I can even begin to attempt to organize or plan for them. Our summer is all in doubt, so many things could topple over and make all the plans collapse and crash all over me. It's overwhelming to say the least.

I admire people who have a gift of organization, Tim has it, my Mom has it, Tim's parent's have it, in fact, almost everyone I know seems to have it yet for some reason no matter how hard I try I can't seem to find a system that works.

I talked all this through with Tim this morning and he is planning on helping me, but my real question is, is it possible? Is it hopeless to train me into an organized person? How do I sort through the bubbles? Is there an app for that?

May 13, 2013

the Kaper strikes again.



Do you ever have one of those days when you think as a Mom  you are just practicing trial and error? Kaleb, my sweet youngest, has waged war on me in the food department. He won't eat ANYTHING I put in front of him. Josh, he's easy... even if he doesn't like it, all I have to do is say 'who will finish first?' and he complies in order to win the race, or I offer a yummy desert and he will eat through the dinner in order to get the treat. Kaper however, he's stubborn and nothing I do works. Last night during dinner he simply refused to eat. I put a potato on his fork and said that he had to eat at least that bite before he could get down and play, otherwise he would sit at the table until bed time (2 hours away). Now, for those of you who have stubborn kids you know that if you draw a line you absolutely have to stand firm and the kid HAS to be the first to cross the line. As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew that it was going to be a loooooong evening. As it turned out, last night we only had to sit for an hour before he finally caved and ate the stupid potato and then only because I let Josh sit down to watch Kaper's favorite movie and he wanted to watch it too. (Yes, I fully acknowledge and accept that I manipulated my son...). This morning, I asked him if he wanted his cereal with milk, he said yes, I poured the milk into the cereal and put the bowl in front of him... and he quickly pushed the bowl away and said that isn't what he wanted. So we sat. He was still screaming about it when he left for school this morning.

How do I get my kid to eat? Not just healthy food either... at this stage in the game I would be happy if he ate dried cereal for a meal! Is it possible that he'll simply starve? How can getting a boy to eat so hard? He used to be my best eater!! What has happened?

I do realize that his stubborn tendencies have sprung from my genes, I see myself in him daily but I have never had to deal with myself so I don't know how to deal with him. When I am stubborn I just don't give in, but how do people deal with me when I am being stubborn? ARGH! I don't know what to do here!?

Help!

May 12, 2013

Mothers with or without kids


There is something about Mothers day that I find particularly special, it's not just because I am a Mom either. I have always thought of it as a special day because I have been blessed with a really wonderful friend in my own mother. However, the last few weeks I have been thinking about those who are less fortunate than I am, those who grew up with negligent Moms, or abusive ones. Not all women make great Moms, that's just the very sad reality of it.  I have also been thinking about all the women who would really like to be mothers but for whatever reason can't. How sad this day must be for them, with all the mothers day stuff crammed down their throats for days and weeks on end. Of course, once I thought about these things I started to think about all the women, who help to raise our kids, women who may not be mothers but who teach our children, who love them and guide them and offer them a different perspective. I think of women in my own life who don't have children, but who have 'mothered' me over the years. I think of friends who have not had great examples of a 'Mom' in their own mother, but who have been shown through other women what motherhood should look like. I think of the sunday school teachers, the aunts, the sisters, the friends who have stepped in to help children and I say... Why is just mothers we are celebrating? Why do you have to have a child to be thanked for the thankless job of mothering? The women I know who have stepped up and 'mothered' while childless themselves are doing so out of pure love for our children (that's a royal 'our' not just my kids), they are not doing it because they are their kids and they have to, doesn't that make their sacrifices even more thanks worthy? Doesn't that make them even more deserving of praise, love and gratitude?

So, this post is for Moms, of all shapes and sizes, with kids or without. This post is for the women who have birthed kids and those who have some that they selflessly love even though they may not share blood. This is for the women who have never known the comfort of their own mothers unconditional love but have felt it through the lives of others. This is for the many aunts, teachers, friends who have stepped up and waded in when it would have been easier to walk away.

I heartily thank you, I acknowledge you and I appreciate you!

For my own dear Mother,

There were times in my younger years that I took you for granted, times that I was cruel and mean and selfish. There were times when you had every right to walk away from me and not think twice about it. Yet through it all you have not only stood by me, but you have come to my rescue, loved me, been a friend when I had no one else, and stood up for me when I didn't deserve it. There is no greater teacher, no greater friend in my life than you. I could write a million words in this post about how much I love you and yet it still wouldn't be enough. Thank you Mom. I love you!

Happy Mothers day!

Laurie

May 9, 2013

fastest stroke clinic in the history of us...



Today Josh and I went again to Sick Kids. This time we went to see the Neurologist who follows him post stroke. Now, usually this clinic is one of the painfully long and boring ones. We see numerous doctors, answer hundreds of questions for the various research studies Josh is a part of and then of course there is almost always some visits with nurses etc. We prepared Josh by telling him it would be long, and very boring. I brought a drink and snack for him and his video game was in my purse in case he needed to be entertained by something other than me... though I am quite entertaining.

As it turns out, today there were only five children lined up for the clinic and we saw everyone that we needed to see within two hours of our appointment time (this is a record I am sure!).

The result, Josh's MRI results are good. There have been no follow up strokes and he's stable. (good news!) They are a little concerned with the length of time it's taking him to recover from the stroke though and they have ordered an EEG to see what's happening in his brain. As it turns out, a number of kids who have suffered a stroke have scar tissue that can cause small seizures in the brain, blocking them from developing at the age appropriate times. She explained that if this is happening to Josh, particularly since it's in the language area of the brain, then it could just be a simple (?) matter of getting him on medication to stop seizures. She said that a lot of kids that are put on the meds can go on to reach their milestones in a more timely manner.

I have to admit... I am almost praying that he's having seizures and that it will explain his many developmental delays, but the thought of putting him back on anti-seizure meds makes me a bit nervous. Either way, I am happy to know that things are being taken care of.

She also assured me that during the pre-op for his catheterization (May 21st) she will make sure that someone stops by to speak with the cardiologist about taking measures to prevent a second stroke during the procedure, as well as helping manage his meds for any upcoming surgery. This puts my mind at ease because if I am honest that is one of my fears about this upcoming procedure. I am terrified he'll suffer another stroke (though I am told the chances are slim to none).

So that is today's update from the Haughton House. Once again, I have appreciated all your warm emails and prayers. Knowing that all of you care so much helps a great deal in knowing we are not alone.

L

May 7, 2013

you get what you need

I bet you have all heard the song 'you can't always get what you want, but if we try sometimes, we find we get what we need'... (I don't know the title, just that line - in fact in my old age I can't even remember who wrote the song.) It's been running about my head this morning because as I walked to school today Josh had a conversation with the Mom of a friend of his.  It was an actual conversation! She noticed that he'd had a hair cut and commented to him that she liked it. He rubbed his newly shorn locks and smiled and proceeded to tell her that his Daddy had cut it, and that it was short just like his Daddy's and now he looks like his Daddy. He was pretty proud of this and was smiling all big and cute, then he told her that he had cool new sunglasses that his brother got him (his Grandparents actually got them but Kaper was the actual giver and it was Kaper who picked them out so I didn't correct him). Then, when he was finished saying his piece he ran off to get into line at school. The Mom turned to me and resumed talking to me... she didn't have a clue what she had just witnessed. Not only did Josh just have a conversation with someone, but he had it with an adult, and he was totally understood. It wasn't perfectly grammatically correct but it was clear, and confident. What a change since the fall!

Sometimes I get so bogged down in the daily grind that I forget to look at where he has been, sometimes it's so hard to see the improvements and not look at how far he still has to go. Sometimes I listen to Josh and all I hear are all the mistakes, all the errors and I think he will never get there.... then on days like today he surprises me and I see him for who he is, how far he's come and I am left standing in the school ground affected to the point of tears because Josh, my amazing son, has fought hard to be where he is today, and he's making ground!

I remember once when I was pregnant with Josh and in the hospital during one of the many stays where they threatened to take him early. It was a late afternoon and Josh hadn't been moving for some time, the doctors were seriously worried and they were doing an ultra sound. They had the untra sound set up so that we could see his entire body, curled into the fetal position, he wasn't moving at all. The doctor was poking me hard enough that I could see in the ultra sound the probe pushing into Josh. The room was silent as we waited for Josh to move. Both Tim and I were staring at the screen, willing him to move, willing him to fight. If they took him then we knew that he wouldn't live. The doctor was just about to give up and had wiped the gel off the probe when he looked at our panic stricken faces and for whatever reason decided to give it one more go. He pushed the probe hard into my belly, we could see it jab Josh in the shoulder... and then just when we were all on the verge of giving up Josh's arm shot out, fisted, and pushed back. Tim, the doctor and stared and both Tim and I fought back tears of joy. Tim proudly announced 'That's my boy!" and the doctor kept the probe on my belly so we could watch our little fighter begin the slow fluid dance of a baby in the womb. I had many ultra sounds with Josh, more than I could even begin to count. They were weekly, sometimes by-weekly. However, that one, with his rocky fist punching at the probe is the one that will forever remain etched in my mind. It has come to be the image that remains when I think of Josh. How many times has he waited until all hope was lost before he stood up and fought back?

I thought of this story when I walked home today after dropping Josh at school. His language is just one more thing he's having to work and fight for, but he's fighting, he's working and for the first time I am beginning to see that he's actually winning!

What I want, is a fast fix, I want Josh to magically wake up one day speaking if full sentences and yammering on until I beg him to be quiet; maybe what Josh needs is the time to learn it himself, at his pace, in his time. It could just be that he's being given a wonderful opportunity to build character, to learn patience, to get stronger, to learn how to fight for what he wants. It could be that God has a plan for Josh that requires these skills. So, while I don't always get what I want, when I try, I might find that he gets what he needs.


May 6, 2013

the beauty behind the reflection

On occasion I enjoy taking pictures... :) which is an understatement I realize, but it's one of those tools that came to me when I held my first camera. It allows me to see the world through fresh eyes, and find the beauty in everything. Even something ugly can be made beautiful. Let's not even discuss people, there are so many people who think of themselves as 'ugly' for the lack of a better word, and yet always... and I mean that... ALWAYS... there is something beautiful to be found. I once knew a girl who thought she was ugly, she thought she was over weight... but when I looked at her I saw a petite frame, pale translucent skin and the most striking blue eyes. She was beautiful. It made me wonder about what we see in the mirror, because what we see there is only ever a reflection... it's not something that is real. We will never see our real selves. Have you ever thought about that? We can look at a reflection or a photo but it's not really who we are projecting to the world. So, I set about trying to see people for who they are, who they are when they aren't a reflection.

Someone I love dearly once told me that I was gifted at landscape photography, but that I didn't capture people very well... so while mildly hurt I decided that I wouldn't do another landscape until I could master getting people right. I still don't... because getting people is harder than you can imagine. Catching those moments when the persons eyes are alight with laughter, or joy recognized, or even their sadder selves is not an easy task. Trying to get the closet version to who they are is my goal because as I mentioned... everyone is beautiful in some way, shape or form.

On the weekend as a special girls night to celebrate my birthday a friend of mine and I went to a photo exhibit where all the pictures were taken with phones, all using instagram. Now, I had stopped using instagram because of the privacy issue back in January but have since learned that it's no longer an issue... so I am back to one of my favorite apps! I am very excited about it too! I can't stop taking pictures and it's annoying my kids. (not that I mind annoying them too much).

Kaleb's strengths are his eyes, and his facial expressions. He can use his 'cute' face and win a heart forever.




You are starting to see why I love this app so much. I can take the mundane and practice my art while at the same time being a part of the occasion and not separate from it. 

I celebrated my birthday with the boys and some friends... Josh, whose eyes are spactacluar were my focus on this next shot. Im a Mom, so trying to see him as anything but beautiful is hard... but his eyes... those eyes.


Now... since the boys don't always co-operate let me show you my self portraits... because this was done using an app... on a phone! The need for a camera has not been lost... but these phones are giving them a run for their money!

 
Next time you pick up your phone, or camera... take a self portrait.. focus on your strengths and you will see the beauty that lies behind the reflection of you.

The reason for this post... I want people to start looking behind the lies that are whispered in their ears. I want them to see the beauty they each have. Young girls especially. In fact, my next project will be photographing young women and showing them what I see. If you would like to be a part of the project contact me at horizonsphotographs@gmail.com and book your shoot. There is a 50% discount being offered if you should choose to buy the photos when they are done. 

I think it's time we (especially women) start to work together to help women who suffer from self esteem.

Another year older



Yesterday I had the privilege of celebrating another birthday... one of many I am proud to say! I remember when I was younger my thirties loomed before me and I approached them with a wary dismay of impending doom. Had I known then what I know now I would have wished for them sooner. My thirties have been the best years of my life. Every year brings more strength, more wisdom and countless blessings but also the ability to see the blessings for what they are. I don't feel older, certainly no more mature, but I feel a better ability to handle the responsibility that age and years bring. Every line on my face has a story and most of those stories start with laughing until I cried. I know that most women prefer to think of themselves as younger, age is something that most women dread, we sag, we get grey hairs, and of course the lines. Our skin loses it's elasticity and what not. However, I am not not only old enough to know better, but I am old enough to want better for myself, for my kids and for my marriage and community. I am old enough to enjoy the little things, old enough to appreciate the people in my life who have made sacrifices for me, old enough to actually enjoy my life. I am no longer 'looking forward' to growing up, I am up. I am as up as I can be given that life throws curve balls at a fast rate and if they hit you, they hurt. Being older is a blessing that few woman take the time to actually acknowledge. We are alive, and that in itself is something to thank God for.

So, here's to being another year older, another year wiser! What a great great birthday! If my thirties are this good I can't wait to be forty! :D


May 1, 2013

Rare oppotunity



Last night I had a rare opportunity, for a few reasons however in the post I will only share the one,  the most important reason. How many chances do you have in life to stand in front of a large group of people whose generosity has changed your life? I can honestly say that I have never been granted that chance before. I have been on the receiving end of generosity before, I have seen God working through other people many times and I have always been able to write a thank you note, an article or some other way to get my words across to the people who have made a difference but last night was different. Some of you know, but some of you newer readers don't so I will share and those who know will need to bare with me. Two times in recent years our family has been blessed in ways that changed our sons life, and ours as a result. The Bishops Company explained on the link provided stepped in twice in recent years to help us when Josh was accepted in the Centennial Infant Child care centre (which we could not afford) but which Joshua desperately needed in order to help him learn to talk and communicate. When he started he could not even say his name, yet by the end of the year he was using two, sometimes three word sentences. They also stepped in last summer when all hope had been lost for OHIP covered language therapy but knew that private therapy at the frequency that Josh required was also going to be out of reach for us. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to not be able to get your son the help he needs... some of you readers know that feeling only too well. I pray you don't need to find out if you are reading this and don't know what that feels like. However, after hearing of our situation the Archbishop Colin Johnson stepped in and offered through the Bishops company to help us cover the therapy bills.

This is why I say that their generosity changed our lives. It changed Joshuas life and gave us hope, encouragement and the endurace to keep going, keep fighting for our son, keep dreaming of a brighter tomorrow for him.

Last night the Bishops company hosted it's annual Dinner and Silent auction and Tim and I were to given the chance to stand before these people and say thank you. A rare opportunity indeed.

I have to admit I was terrified going into that hotel last night, every worst case scenario ran through my mind all the way from tripping on my heels while walking to the podium (which to my horror included steps) to flubbing lines or crying like a baby. Tim started the 5 minute talk with a brief rundown of Joshuas medical history, the things I often find it hard to speak of without emotion and I was to talk about the way we used the money, what it meant to us and to say thank you. I did okay, I managed to stay (mostly) on script, but I did however start crying (much to my horror). At the end of my part I had made a short video clip of Josh himself saying 'Thank you Bishops Company" with the added flourish of him throwing his arms it the air with triumph (no coaching on that one). The clapping ended and Tim and I took our seats. Looking into that crown of something like 500 people was probably the most nervous I have ever felt, yet at the same time these were the very people who give so generously so that people like Josh can get help when they need it. It was such an absolute honor to stand before them, tears or not, and have a chance to verbally say thank you. To let them know that the money they were giving was not just being socked away in an account somewhere gaining interest, it was in fact changing lives. What a gift last night was.

I have said it before, but I feel the need to say it again... I have never seen so many beautiful hearts joining together to help people the way that I have seen people gather around us for the last five years. It's such a testament to who these people are, not just the Bishops Company, but the men and women we have come to know and love at St. Pauls and now through Little T, and of course many others who have reached out to offer prayers, hope, renewal and love. I know the world sucks sometimes, I know that there is evil there, but I also know that the Kingdom of God is alive and well. So again, from the bottom of my heart and Tims... and of course Joshua's. THANK YOU!

* an update to this post... I was interview after the dinner and this is the article that the Anglican Diocese released today.