And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, September 25, 2017

Invisible

What does it feel like?  What does it mean?  I could give you Webster’s or Wikipedia or google’s definition.  However, instead I will give you mine.  With the way that I feel, my guess is that you might see my picture next to the word invisible.  Ouch, I’m being honest, huh?

Despite all of the precious love from each of you while I was in the hospital, now that I’m out….
If you recall, I was in a coma; thus, I don’t recall each of your visits.  As a matter of fact, I have to keep asking B who came to the hospital, who called, etc.  Since I’ve been out of the hospital, out of a coma, I don’t seem as valuable.

I can start the feelings at home.  Apparently, my little one cried for Mommy while gone, but now that I’m here, nothing.  Yes, she’ll occasionally give me a hug and tell me she loves me, but it’s when she wants to, not when I ask her to do something.  You’d think I wasn’t speaking at all.  Yes, my voice is still hoarse.  However, she has acted this way when I have a voice, too.  The assumption is that she looks forward to family time because she gets excited when we talk about it, plan for it, etc.  However, the other night in the car, we’re all about to start singing a song together that is super fun and she asks me to stop so that she can sing by herself.  Ouch!  To most that might not hurt; however, when you don’t feel like you get to be a Mommy anyway, each chance matters.  This was an opportunity for us to share a special song about being a light to a dark world, yet I was asked to not participate.  So, yes, the tears were flowing…my daughter didn’t want a Mommy…was my interpretation. 

So, as you might guess, my view is through a different set of lenses than most of the world might look through or maybe I’m just being extra vulnerable by sharing.  My lenses are that of a grown woman that used to have a job that “required” her to be out talking to people and driving all over Tx all day long.  I was constantly surrounded by people.  I felt important.  When I walked in a room, people noticed.  I was respected by healthcare professionals.  Now, I am stuck in the house most every day.  Sitting behind a computer that can cause seizures since reading & writing are both triggers for my seizures.   I would love to sit & write thank you’s to those of you that have gone above and beyond, yet it typically brings about seizures.  Thus, there’s one more way of reaching out into the world that is removed.  Healthcare professionals see me as the patient, not the one coming with info.  Thus, I am asked to be quiet.  Though we have learned so much through this journey, they don’t care to listen to me.  They will listen to my man, but not me.

I’ve not had the opportunity to drive in nine plus years.  Just to realize that I need something and quickly run to the store.  It doesn’t get to happen.  To know that my 20 yr reunion is coming up and I’d love to go find an outfit to wear since I’ve not been shopping for clothes in quite a few years, but I have to ask for a ride and then ask someone to wait while I try stuff on or only have a few minutes to look because they need to be somewhere else as they are doing me a favor by taking me.  Even to take my kiddo to school.  She prays this almost each night, that God “will heal Mommy so that she can take me to school.”  Ouch.

Okay, so I’ll clean the house if I’m home all day, right?  Well, first, physical activity is a big trigger.   That being the reason that when in public I’m typically in the wheelchair or a motorized scooter at the grocery store.  I love the lines left in the carpet that vacuuming makes.  So, it would bring me so much joy to get to vacuum all day long (okay, I might eventually get sick of it).  However, that is a bunch of physical activity & it’s a lot of noise.  Many sounds are triggers for my seizures.  For example, the blinker in the car can be a trigger.  If music is too loud or at the Friday night football games when they sound the train horn or whatever that loud noise is, I have to plug my ears, or else.  Books on tape/audio books, that would be fun.  However, there is something about the octave that has been a trigger for many years each time that I’ve tried.

Even at church…we have an amazing church family!  However, we sit where we do because of the sounds.  Too close to the speakers and we have seizures.  Too close to the instruments and we have seizures.  Too far away and I don’t feel like I’m a part of the service.  Also, there is a lady that has always had a tambourine, but she sits on the other side of the sanctuary.  So, we’ve been in the same spot for about six years.  For some reason, the last three weeks, she has come over to the other side of the sanctuary and I have to leave during worship due to the pain it causes.  The first week, I just stood in the hallway during worship as I don’t want to interfere with her worship either.  Last week, one of the pastor’s wives saw me in the hallway and asked what was going on and went in and shared with the lady & asked her to stop.  We were at the last worship song by the time all of this happened.  So, I made it back in for one song.  Today, she started banging it and I rushed out.  Ben got one of the ushers to ask her to stop.  Instead, they moved her to the balcony.  So, I came back in…then, it started again, so I had to rush back out.  If you’ve been around me much lately, you know that me and rushing don’t work well together as I am typically shaking, out of breath, and completely exhausted, and likely to have a seizure after rushing.  Turns out there were two ladies today with tambourines.  Thus, I was outside in tears most of the morning.

Back to cleaning the house as this would be fun and there would be a sense of accomplishment.  Most of the chemicals that we would use to clean with, even the more natural ones, when touched, breathed in, etc., can trigger seizures.  Thus, if our house gets clean, that is on B’s shoulders and I can’t be in the house.  So, there’s one more thing I can’t do and one more thing that I have to add to his plate.  I can do laundry, though.  So, there is my outlet a couple of times a week.  However, once I unload the dryer, the standing to hang items, fold sheets, etc., requires help.  Or, I’m just too exhausted from walking from the bedroom to the laundry room, unloading the dryer, switching the clothes from the wash to the dryer to be able to complete the task.  Thus, much of the laundry remains laid out on the table, needing to be folded or hung.  This is frustrating as I was raised to finish what you start.

Another example is in public, namely the grocery store.  It is amazing how many people seem to think that the motorized carts have their own lane and we should get over the fact that they are shopping on the same aisle.  First, most stores do not make their aisles wide enough for the carts to turn easily.  So, if there is someone on the aisle that I’m trying to turn on, I have to wait until they’ve moved completely out of the way.  Second, they aren’t as easy to maneuver as one might guess.  Putting it in reverse, causes a beeping that hurts so badly and typically triggers a seizure.  Thus, forward is the only direction that I can go…It’s amazing how many people that are up and walking with their cart seem to guess that I would prefer to move out of their way in the big motorized piece of equipment rather than them taking two steps backward with their cart so that I can make it past them.

It is truly amazing the dirty looks that I get when coming down the aisles.  As if I have chosen to be in the motorized cart to inconvenience them.  Do they really think that I would intentionally ride in one of those carts and try to get in their way?  It sure seems that way.

Let’s try Miss P’s dance class.  When we get there and I’m on the walker, the Mom’s like to remain standing or sitting where they are.  The fact that there is a woman trying to walk through with a walker doesn’t seem to faze them.  Many will actually turn around and turn their back to me.  Thus, my feeling invisible.  Just because you turned your back to me doesn’t mean that I didn’t see you.  It hurts.  Then, needing a place to sit while there.  I’ve actually had to go out to the car a few times because no one will share some space on a bench.  B can stand in there & he will give up his seat for anyone.  However, if I’m not there early enough to claim it, I have to sit outside in the car.

To live in a community that we’ve been in for 30+ years, it hurts to be in town and see people intentionally turn their back so that they don’t have to look at me, acknowledge me, etc.  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”  Mark 6:4 (NASB)  Please trust that I’m not referring to myself as a prophet by any means.  Just trying to comfort myself that even Jesus felt rejection in His hometown.  

Am I saying that our hometown isn’t amazing?  Not at all.  There are so many wonderful people.  Many that have shown tons of love.  Yet, there are also many tough days.  When at the grocery store, at P’s dance class, etc., it hurts to see people that we know and that know our struggle, yet they still turn the other way.  Or, when people ask us to let them know what they can do to help.  I finally build up the courage to ask them for a quick ride to the grocery store and they’re too busy!! 

Maybe many of you feel this way, you just don’t share it.  Maybe I’m the only one.  If so, sorry for taking up your time.  If you do ever feel this way, know that you are not alone, both physically and spiritually!!

Joshua 1:9, “This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT)


Monday, September 11, 2017

What a difference a Month Makes....


With all the natural disaster events that our nation seems to be facing, and veterans returning from war, it seems that today we can all get a little glimpse of what it means or feels like to be shell shocked.  For us, that is what the last month, August, has felt like.  Coming out of a horrendous July with Princess nearly losing her life not just once, but twice has left us almost a feeling of walking on egg shells.  Princess is still continuing to have seizures, thankfully, not near the rate that we were experiencing in July or actually even prior to July.  This has been an answered prayer and we praise the Lord for providing just only 5 seizures that we recorded for all of August. 

We are still trying to balance our schedule between multiple physical therapy appointments per week and multiple visits from a nurse to monitor Princess’ blood levels.  Thankfully, the shell shocked feeling seems to be lessening and we are beginning to get back into a routine. 

Something that I have been able to describe to folks is just how much energy, or lack there of, that Princess doesn’t have.  It is really surprising just how much stamina Princess does not have and that once fairly simple tasks at the house can exhaust her.  Slowly we are seeing improvement, and realize that the road ahead back to full-strength will take some time. 

Another reason that August was good was the fact that Princess and I (as many read) celebrated 14 years of marriage.  We had a nice quiet celebration, and are looking forward to what this year holds. 

Thank you to many who are continuing to check-in and seek updates!  We are grateful for today and are prayerful that September will allow for Princess to continue to build her strength and can have fewer seizures than August.  As of today, we have recorded 4 seizures so far and pray that the Lord will continuing to provide healing! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fourteen Years of Blessing!!!

Today is the day to celebrate 14 years of a man honoring his commitment to the Lord!!

Who has received the ultimate blessing of that commitment?...Me!!!

Yes, this is M posting!!!!  For some reason, the Lord has chosen to keep me here and now I get to thank my Man for being so incredible!!!

My prince has stood by my side in the good & bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness & in health (though we've not had too much of the health part).  It amazes me how many people say that most husbands would be gone by now.  However, when we got married, there was a good part of me that believed he would disappear like every other man in my life...yet, a few weeks ago, (I'm crying now) he said, "I hope that I've proven you wrong, that all men do not leave.  I'm here 'til death do us part."  What an amazing man!  You have all experienced how amazing he is over the last two months.  Yet, I missed most of July and keep learning of all of the amazing things he did for me.  Many are things that are embarrassing to think that my hubby had to do those things, yet he acts like it was natural, expected, no big deal...it was a big deal because to do those things and be that husband means he saw parts of me that as ladies we try to keep hidden to feel attractive, it means he didn't get to work for almost two months, it means that he missed his annual mtg for work, it means that we missed T Bar M family camp, it means he sacrificed himself to give to me and take care of me and Critter!!!  It means that he's not even mentioned how awful my hair looks since I don't have too much left with all that had to be cut off and he tells me it's beautiful!!!  Even the sweet lady that does our hair was a bit thrown off with what to do at first.  Yet, he's not even posted a pic of what he has to look at each day so that you can all feel sorry for him!!!

Coming home to love on our girl and make it about Jesus, not himself!!!


Do I feel blessed?  Absolutely!!!  Thank you, Jesus, for this man that you and your Daddy chose for me!!!  I am beyond grateful!!!


Ephesians 5:1-3; 20-33 (NIV)

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instructions for Christian Households

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.



This is my man...every single thing that you read above.  He takes his commitment so seriously.  I am so blessed!!

The truth is that our pastor puts it best in today's devo that he sent out!!!  So, I'll let him finish this post for me!!

- LOVING LIKE JESUS -
By the nature of the cross, sacrifice includes suffering. You cannot make a sacrifice without suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His death, Jesus prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.” He would have preferred not to do it, but then He said, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Out of love for us, Jesus went to the cross and stayed there even when He didn’t have to.

Suffering out of love for your wife will mean dying to yourself. And real love means you do it even when your wife’s virtues don’t motivate you to do it. We can’t say, “Get right first, and then I’ll love you.” God’s love doesn’t work that way, and neither should ours. God tells husbands to imitate Christ’s love, and this means dying to self just as Christ did.


Loving your wife like Christ loves the church also involves substitution. In baseball, a designated hitter gets in the game to hit for the pitcher so that the team can protect the pitcher, the more valuable player, from injury. In the same way, a husband should go to bat for his wife, protecting and valuing her.
For His kingdom,
Tony Evans

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

God is Good...

Friends, it has now been three weeks since we came home from our nearly month long stay and ordeal in the hospital.  While it is great to be home we certainly are not immune from challenges.  Trying to balance work life, home life, and Princess' physical limitations has been quite the chore to juggle.  While things have been manageable, it has truly been an adjustment to balance multiple weekly and sometime daily nurse visits.  Recurrent doctor appointments and transitioning into "life."  Princess is continuing to improve, and while it is slower than what we really would prefer, we are excited to see that she is progressing. 


Our biggest praise for the update is that since Princess' last recorded seizure in the ICU, she has only recorded 2 seizures total.  Yes!!!  Miraculously, things have been well in this regard and the two seizures she did record were both on this past Saturday.  Having been through what we have just experienced we did make a quick trip to the ER to check labs.  Thankfully, her labs, namely her sodium levels, were fine and she has not recorded any seizures since then.  Praise the Lord!


Therefore, in nearly 30 days, Princess has only recorded 2 seizures.  In our 11 year journey, this has actually never happened.  Praise the Lord for His mighty work. We also have stumbled upon another potential cause of her seizures that I will discuss later through another post.  More importantly, through this discovery that we have literally stumbled upon, we are looking forward to continuing to test our theory and continue to look towards a favorable outcome for Princess.


We did have a follow-up with the ENT today and Princess' voice is probably around 90% of full strength.  It is fun to hear more of her voice and see her improvement.  From the trauma that she sustained from the dual intubations, the ENT sees dramatic improvement with still some swelling and expects that in a few more weeks that Princess will not have any complications.  Her pneumonia also seems to be treated and not pose any issues. 


It does seem that Princess' shingles has improved and she is now just experiencing some residual nerve pain that should clear in the coming months.  Along with another autoimmune condition, Princess has experienced a little bit of alopecia.  This has truly been interesting as she has lost a significant amount of hair just prior to the ICU and then after removal of the EEG when we left the ICU. 


Lastly, it is truly amazing the toll that the ICU and the seizures took on Princess' body.  Her musculoskeletal system is pretty sore and it is very apparent that it will still take some time for her to fully heal.  Currently, we are dealing with sore muscles and knots in her back and neck and extremely sore leg muscles.   Her walking is continuing to improve and we are not needing the walker nearly as much around the home.  We are still dependent upon the wheel chair for most things outside of the home and are working with physical therapy to increase Princess' strength. 


Thank you for all those that are continuing to pray and check in.  Princess is getting better and we are cautiously optimistic with each day.  Sodium levels seems to be holding steady.  We are monitoring her potassium levels closely as this has also been a challenge to maintain.  Above all, it is encouraging to see Princess getting better!


I look forward to posting more soon! 



Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Need....

A long overdue "Howdy!" from the Foxhole. Princess reminded me that it has been over eight days since our last post.  Thank you as well to all of our dear friends and followers who have checked in through your messages, texts, and posts.  We have now been home for two weeks and we are still adjusting and learning to be back home.  Balancing time between, work for myself, Physical Therapy at home for Princess, other nurse visits, continued doctors appointments, and of course the clamors of needs at home, it has been busy.  Friday night we were able to take a break resume with our Date Night.  Back at our spot, the Lord blessed us as we crossed paths with a childhood family friend of Princess that had been randomly following the Foxhole from Nicaragua on a recent trip.  This was an encouraging encounter and blessing!  Amazing to see how God works!

As the days pass, I have been able to share more with Princess of what the last month has involved.  Whether through messages, pictures or even stories, she sits back and listens to her life as if it was a story.  Truly unique what the brain can retain or not retain.  Names, faces, events have seemed to have unfortunately vanished, and yet, something much more important has remained...

Physically, Princess is still trying to work through getting her strength back.  Moving from bed to the bathroom is like sprinting a mile and leaves her exhausted.  Truly a reminder of just how difficult of a hill it will be to regain her strength.  Her voice is getting stronger and she isn't speaking with a whisper as much.  Her pneumonia has seemed to healed.  Her shingles is still a bother, and we have seen a couple times where it isn't as painful as before (this a huge relief).  A praise is that we have not recorded a seizure.  Rather, we have continued to record auras and fortunately, the last few days those have been decreasing in frequency, too.  So amid the backdrop of business, physical pain, and exhaustion, Princess is slowly getting better.  It is apparent that it will take some time and I pray that we can be still, and continue to keep our focus on the Lord and His work in and through this season.

As I left a thought hanging just a paragraph back, something of much greater importance for Princess has remained.  And while we adjust to the trials at home, we also recognize the trials that lay for all of us ahead.  This weekend a dramatic and unfortunate scene has played out in Virginia.  And for us what has remained, is what is absent from many in our Nation today.  Something, that because of its lack, has brought about hostility, anger, and aggression.  This lack...is a need for a Savior.

A question that has been asked of us a lot through our particular journey is if Princess remembered me.  Did she remember Critter?  Did she know who we were?  Yes, is the short answer.  And while this might be important, more importantly, she has rested well in our Father's grasp and has never lost sight, or better, never lost her mind of who Christ is as her Savior, Rock, and Redeemer.  Through the trial and through the pain, her focus has been and is continually on Him. Our focus remains on Him to be our strength and our Provider. Our Savior.

And this has kept our attention and our focus.  Our faith in Christ has given us balance, direction, and wisdom.  Today, I shared with Princess that in the heat of the early moments of our first hospitalization, and in a moment where I was finally able to sit and call my family to provide an update, the only words that I could muster out was what was and has been hidden in my heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your way, acknowledge Him
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6


Matthew 12 says that out of the overflow of the heart the mouths speaks. As I shared with Princess the events and what was shared with our family, I am grateful that the overflow of my heart is with God's Word.  He is truly carrying us.  And in the same breath, I cry for our Nation, for our homes, for our families that we would all cling to the Savior, Jesus Christ.  

Chaos fills our lives and the tension of hostility and racism, among other things, spilled over and God has been left out of our culture once again.  Sadly, the decline that has been going on for decades is only getting worse and I, Princess, ALL of us need to pray, and seek the only One that can give us any peace or solution to our problems. Just like the Lord has provided in many ways for us, I am praying that all of us could stop and get back to a time when there was respect, moral values, and a belief in God.   

And while I don't feel qualified to speak on such an issue or even a matter, I turn to those who well before me have tried to address the Need.  

Here is a brief snippet from Dr. J Vernon McGee in a message he titled, "America Needs a Declaration of Dependence."

"I want you to notice a philosophy of history that we find in God’s Word. The three steps that precede the downfall of any nation are first of all, religious apostasy; second, there is moral awfulness; and third, political anarchy. These are the three steps downward that all the great nations of the past, lying this moment in rubble and ashes, have taken. Rome, for instance, is the classic example. The historian Gibbon gives five reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The first step down is the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society. Second, higher and higher taxes, the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace. Third, the mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral. Fourth, the building of great armaments when the great enemy is within — the decay of individual responsibility. And fifth, the decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people. These were the downward steps that Rome took, Greece took, and which all the great nations of the past have taken."

He goes on to state...

"How Did It Happen? Pandora’s box of troubles was opened for America back at the turn of the century when professing Christians deserted the midweek service and then, after the first World War, deserted the Sunday night service. And before long there was no difference between the leading deacon’s language and that of the local bartender. Dr. Walter F. Tunks of the University of Akron said, “In the last six thousand years, there have been twenty-one civilizations, and every one of them has gone on the rocks precisely at the point where they let God go.” It was indeed interesting to find in the staid Wall Street Journal, when the Depression first began, a brief editorial that went something like this: “What America needs more than railway extension, western irrigation, a low tariff, a bigger cotton crop, and a larger wheat crop is a revival of religion. The kind that father and mother used to have. A religion that counted it good business to take time for family worship each morning right in the middle of wheat harvest. A religion that prompted them to quit work a half hour earlier on Wednesday so that the whole family could get ready to go to prayer meeting.”

"America’s problem is the same today; it is a spiritual problem."


So, as a long overdue update, we do appreciate you checking in.  We appreciate your involvement in our lives and we are so grateful for your prayers and support.  Lord willing, we will continue to post about Princess' improvements and most importantly, God's continued grace, and strength through  the adversity.  Please pray too for the communities affected by the weekend's events.  Pray for our Nation.  Pray most importantly for God to be made known, and for our homes, families, communities, states, our Nation to recognize that our problem is a spiritual problem and there is, just like there has only and always been, one solution.  The need for a Savior.