Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

January 9, 2016

Last year and today.



It is a new year...

With new years I often stop to think about the past year and all the blessings that we have seen in our lives, and sometimes I thank God that the year is over and we can start fresh and hope for a better year to come. This new years I was sick... Ive been sick for over a month so I haven't really stopped long enough to dwell on the last year, or to explore the blessings.

This has been a year full of so many amazing things, and so many tough things as well. Looking back I realize that it seemed like 730 days, not 365. So much happened, good and bad, hard and easy, fun and hard, stressful and carefree. I don't want to dwell on the bad things and the blessings are too many to be numbered here so this post isn't going to list it all and remember; this year I start with the amazingness that is already happening in 2016!

On the eve of 2016 I was anxious. We were days away from another ECHO day and I was worried about what the outcome might be. Josh has had his pulmonary valve for a record amount of time now. He usually rejects it within a year or two. His last pulmonary valve was placed in August of 2013, we have surpassed HIS sell by date by 7 months and as we prepared for the ECHO I have to admit I wondered... 'what if?'. The night before the test Josh prayed for his own heart, something I have always done but this was the first time he did it himself. He prayed 'Dear Jesus, make my heart work good tomorrow. You have 13 hours and 5 minutes'. He added a thank you and an 'I like you' for good measure and went to sleep comfortable in the knowledge that only childlike faith and innocence can bring, that God would do as he had asked.

The ECHO went well, the ECG was a breeze, and we were greeted warmly in the cardiac clinic by out nurse and cardiologist. The smile on our doctors face was an instant relief. I have gotten to know her well in the last 8 years; I have seen her face crinkled in confusion, I have seen her brows knit in concentration, I have seen her worried frown as she reads the ECHO report, I have heard the changes in her voice as she relates the findings to us. I know the voice for a good report and I know the hushed tones of a bad report. I have even seen her tears, and I have seen the hopeless and helpless ache in her eyes. I can take a quick look at her and I know exactly what sort of report I will get. So, on Wednesday when she walked into our little office I knew. Today is a good day.

Things have not 'improved' BUT, things have not gotten any worse either. Everything looks basically the same. The pulmonary valve is only slightly more leaky but still well within a range that he can tolerate. His new tricuspid valve (one of the worst and best parts of 2015) is holding well with almost no leak and together the two valves seem to be keeping the right ventricle from getting any larger. Since April, when Josh got his new valve, this is the only time in his life that the right ventricle has not grown any larger, in fact for a little while after the replacement it even got a little smaller.


I don't know what this new year will bring, I have begun to finally see that life is not to examined on an annual basis but on a daily basis. Was today a good day? Did I do my best today? Have I taught these boys well today? Where do I need to make adjustments? Where can I learn? What needs to change? What was the best part? What was the worst? Where did I see the blessings? Where did I miss them? To wait a year to do these things means possibly missing out on more than I ever want to miss out on. Life is fluid, every day is a moving target and something to be learned from. On Wednesday when we walked out of the office after being told not to come back for 6 months (we usually get told to come back in three months so this is really exciting) Josh looked up at me and asked 'So, God did it right?!'

Yes. Yes, Josh, God did it. He always does, he always will. The question though, the hard part, is seeing it when it's shrouded in the mists of tears and pain. Sometimes we miss it, sometimes he doesn't do it the way we thought he would, sometimes he chooses to say no, sometimes he we have to close our eyes, hold our breath and hang on. Sometimes though, sometimes he does it exactly as we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted, and the only thing to do is look up at him and smile and say thanks. (Then, breathe a sigh of relief).

I have no resolutions for this new year. I only have one for today. I resolve to be more present with these boys. I resolve to love these men in my life (Tim I include you first on this list) to the best of my ability today. I resolve to lay down in my bed tonight and look over my day and say 'thanks', even if today sucks. (Which it hasn't so far) and I resolve to look hard so that I don't miss the blessings.  Tomorrow... Tomorrow I will have a new resolution, but it will be the same as today's.