The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home for Sale!

Looking for a home to call your own in the North Nashville area (Whites Creek, Goodlettsville)?  Yes? Well then... we have just the one for you!

Click the link below to be directed to our home's very own website!  Great video and photos of the home!

Yes, our home sweet home is on the market.  No, we are not leaving Nashville or Northside or Vanderbilt... (Let's stop that train right there before any crazy rumors start...)

Our church is currently in the process of fixing up the house on our church property, and it has been offered to us to live in.  But it really only makes sense to make that move if we can sell our current home.  So that's what we are trying to do...

We love our house.  It's our home.  Chris and I built it together our first year of marriage. (Ok, well Fox Ridge Built it... but you know what I mean...)  We moved in just a few days after our 1st anniversary, August 2008.  August 2009, we found out we were pregnant in the upstairs bathroom, and sat in shock on the bonus room couches.  August 2010, after 4 and 5 months in the NICU... we finally had 2 very sweet little boys at home with us- they had been home 1 and 2 months, and we were adjusting to a home filled with babies, toys, and oxygen tanks.

Maybe by August 2011, our home will become someone else's home!  That would be a wonderful blessing!  But, like everything else, it's in God's hands.  If it's meant to sell, it will.  If we are meant to have the church house, we will.  If not, we'll stay put in our sweet, little home...  And someone else can live in the church house.  (But, we are praying it sells!)

We love our house, and if you or someone you know is looking to move to the North Nashville area, please feel free to forward them the link to our home's website and spread the word!

Chris and I on the front porch of the house, during construction, Summer 2008
Fun Facts about the House Location:
1 mile off I24, exit 40- Old Hickory Blvd
20 minutes to Vanderbilt/Downtown
15 minutes to Opryland area
1/2 a mile to El Rey Azteca- this is nice if you like a good Mexican restaurant to frequent, like we do :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Message straight from God

Have you ever felt like God used someone else's words to speak directly to you?  I'm sure this has happened to me before... but I couldn't tell you remember the specifics...  It happened to me Monday evening at work, and I don't think I'll ever forget it this time..

Ok, so we've had a difficult year or so... if you follow my blog or know us, then you know that and I won't recap it again (at least not now).  But no one can really understand the kind of difficult year we've had the way that another preemie-parent can.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know, I am a child life specialist at a hospital here in Nashville, and I specifically work in the Emergency Department.  A large part of my job is teaching and preparing children for what will happen while they are in the hospital- procedures, tests, surgeries, treatments, admission to the hospital, etc, etc, etc... Very often in the ED, kids come in with cuts that need stitches, and I use a doll that has stitches and suturing equipment to show them how the doctor will fix their cut.  The goal is that they are prepared for the procedure, and feel some amount of control because they know what to expect.  And it helps to alleviate fears and clear up misconceptions about what will take place.  Children are typically therefore more compliant with having to lie still for the procedure and it's a win-win for all involved.  The doctors and nurses are happy because they don't have to stitch a moving target.  The parents are happy because they don't have to listen to their precious child scream in terror, and they don't have to worry over their child getting tons of scary meds (because very often times after teaching and education for the procedure, the child is able to hold still and doesn't have to be sedated).  And the child is happy and feels like a rock-star because they were able to make it through something that was once scary and impossible to them (oh, and they get popsicles and stickers, too)!

Back to my God moment- Monday evening, I was literally running (I'm sure I looked really cool!  Ha!) from one room to the next... scared, nervous kid after kid getting stitches who needed my help.  (Maybe we were running a special on sutures that night, cause everyone there seemed to want need them...?!?!)  I had already helped 3 other children through their stitches experience, and I was off to the next...  Only this time, it was really me who was about to be helped.

This sweet little guy was standing in the doorway of his room, clearly bored of the contents of the room he had been assigned and curious about the hussle and bussle of the ED that was taking place in the hallway and at the nurses station.  "Hi there buddy, I'm coming to talk to you!  I have some cool stuff I want to show you..." I said as I made my way into his room, with him following right along.  I bent to my knees so I could be at his eye level, and said, "Hi, I'm Bekah.  I'm not a doctor or a nurse- I'm kind of like a teacher in the hospital.  I'm going to teach you about how the doctor is going to fix your boo-boo."  Pointing to the cut on his head I asked him how he hurt himself and then asked him if I could show him what was in my box.  "Ok!"  he excitedly said with bright eyes.  And we sat on his bed and began to play with the contents of my suture prep box. 

He was adorable.  The kind of kid that steals and then melts your heart from the moment you meet him.  He listened so well to the things I was telling him about the procedure, and engaged in conversation very sweetly with me.  He wanted to touch and see everything in my box.  His favorite part was the "squirt bottle of water" I had in my box that I used to teach him how the doctor would clean his cut.  He loved squirting it on himself, on the bed, on his hand, on my hand, in the bedpan... and he squirted that bottle till the last drop was gone, smiling and giggling over the fun we were having.  Then he introduced me to his shark stuffed animal, and he and the shark and my suture doll practiced lying still on the bed.  He was a total doll and I just felt so taken by him.

After my preparation was completed, I began talking more directly with his parents, to gather information about his previous hospital expiriences that could help me assess how this procedure would go.  The parents informed me that he had already had 13 surgeries in his life, so he was very familiar with doctors and procedures and had a high tolerance for pain.  "Oh, well you sound like you have a lot in common with my little Eli..." I looked at him and responded.  Conversation continued with his parents, and I learned that he has a twin brother, they were born 10 weeks prematurely, and this little guy started life with a combined 11 month NICU stay in 2 different hospitals... one of which was the same NICU our boys started life in...  (Hmmm... I think I can totally relate to these people...)

I don't make a habit of sharing all about my boys to every family I meet- because it's not about me, it's about them and whatever their kid is the ED for at that time...  But, come on, this was a little to close to home to not share at least a little about us.  So of course I told them I was a mommy of twin boys who had been born 13 weeks early and were in the  same NICU for 4 and 5 months... one of them had 2 surgeries, and one of them has had 7 surgeries to date.  They shared that their little boy had a g-tube, and I shared one of mine did, too.  The little boy proudly lifted his shirt to show me the scars on his belly from stomach surgeries and where his g-tube had once been.  I was amazed because his scars very closely resembled the scars on Eli's tummy.  It was as if they'd had the very same surgeries (which later I learned they had...).  There was an instant connection between us, because that's just what happens when preemie-parents meet I've learned.

Since our boys had been in the same NICU, we talked about our expiriences, which doctors our babies had,  etc...  The more they shared with me, the more I realized, "Wow, this little boy and Eli really do have a lot in common... an odd amount of things in common..."  The comparisons in our two stories were so very similar.  Their boys even have Old Testament Bible names like ours'- come on :)!  This little boy's twin brother who was at home, sounded like he's big and healthy like Isaac, and this little boy who was my patient, had definatley had the rougher road, like Eli.  This little boy's life is a miracle by all accounts, like Eli, and was not expected to live, like Eli.  On 3 different occasions over those 11 months of NICU stays, the parents were told to be prepared for him to die.  He was very, very sick and the doctors didn't know what else to do for him.  The dad told me that one of the doctors told them that all 15 NICU attendings had a 2 hour meeting just about their son, and at the end of if they were still left feeling like there was nothing else to be done to save this little boys life, or at least if there was, they didn't know what it would be.  Kinda sounds like being told, "Your child is the sickest patient at Vanderbilt.  Not just in the NICU, not just in the children's hospital... but in the entire medical center... and I hate to have to tell you this, but we don't know what else to do for him, we feel like we are backed up against a wall with nowhere to go..." as we were told about Eli last May.

Conversation continued on between the 3 of us, mainly the mother and I, while we waited for the doctor to bring in their discharge papers...  and the more we talked the more I realized that this woman totally understood me, like no one else I've met thus far on our journey.  I felt so blessed just by being able to meet this family and hear their story.  Just by meeting this precious little boy, because it was so encouraging to me to see how healthy and well he appeared- it gave me so much hope for my Eli. 

These twins are a few years older than my boys, so this mother had wisdom she could share with me, because she's a little further down the road that I am.  At the end of our comparison of journeys, the mother looked straight into my eyes, not aware of my faith at this point and said, "If there is anything I can say to encourage you, it is that God is faithfulLean on Him.  If there is anything I have learned in my journey it's to lean wholly on Him.  It's a hard road that we are on.  I said that I leaned on God before all of this, and I thought I did.  But nothing in my life has taught me to lean on Him the way that this has.  I truly give everything to Him and I truly lean on Him now, in a way that I couldn't have before this.  I encourage you to do the same.  He can provide for you and meet your needs the way that no one else can..."  I was hanging on her every word.

"Oh goodness, your going to make me cry..." I said as my eyes burned as I held back tears and I started thinking, "Oh no, I can't cry now, not at work, not in front of these people I just met, not when the doctor is probably about to come back in at any second...!!!"  She was sitting in a chair, and I was bent down beside her at this point, and she reached out and touched my hand and we both laughed a little as I blotted my eyes.  Her little boy was sitting in her lap through this, and she said, "Oh, I need to put you down and give this sweet woman a hug!"  Which she did, and as I hugged her I thought, "Oh, now I'll surely loose it..."  (I'm a hugger, so it was natural for me to hug her... but, most women know, if you are on the verge of crying, and someone embraces you.. well, there's really no hope at that point for the food gates not to open...)

Thankfully, only a few more tears were released, since the nurse came in to place some ointment and a band-aid on the little boy's head.  We were still waiting for the attending doctor to take a final look at the stitches and for the nurse or doctor to bring in their discharge papers... so we were able to continue our conversation.  This sweet mother continued by saying, "I don't know if you do this or not, but I would encourage you to have quiet time with Him everyday.  Something I started doing was journaling... it's my way to just pour out my heart to Him daily.  I just write about whatever I'm feeling, to Him, as my prayer.  It has helped me so much."  She very willingly shared more with me about her personal journey since her twins were born.  Mistakes she had made, and how God had given her grace and forgiveness from it all.  She shared with me how she struggled for a while in the beginning with anger and bitterness about their situation, but that God had freed her from that.  I tried to shared with her that I was just finally coming out of that stage, but I couldn't share much without tears, so I kept it just at that.  And I didn't feel the need to say much anyway, because I felt she already knew my heart and struggle and it was her time to share with me.  God was using her, and I was just to sit there and listen.

Throughout this journey with the boys, I have felt God with me very strongly.  I have felt very close to Him, and without a doubt that He has been with us every step of the way.  I have definatley prayed more through this than at any other time in my life.  But honestly, not as much as I did when the boys were still in the NICU... and they've been  home for almost a year now.  (Wow, time flies...)  It has been on my heart for the past few months that I need to get in the habit of spending time with Him daily, opening His word and praying to Him.  I have so much to thank Him for, but sometimes we still have hard days in this, and I need to be relying on Him for patience and strength.  And not just saying that I do, but really doing it by spending time reading the Bible and praying fervently.  I think about God and what He's done for us multiple time a day, and I thank Him for it all the time.  But I've still been desiring more with Him.  And I've been saying to myeslf that I needed to start devoting more time to just reading and praying, but it's always one thing or another that keeps me from it, and sadly nothing yet had motivated me to act on my thoughts.  I needed to hear exactly what this mother was saying to me this night.  I needed exactly what she said to me and how she said it to me.  With so much compassion and understanding, conviction and boldness.  Without a doubt God used her to speak directly to me.  It's not like this was the first time in my life I had heard messages like the one she was giving me.  It's not even the first time I had been told this since the boys have been born.  But God knew that it would take a mother who had traveled my same road to speak the loudest and clearest to me.  And he blessed me with just that on this night.

I had chills and I walked away in a state of shock almost at what had just taken place.  I'm sure I probably looked a little goofy because I know I had a huge smile on my face, and my mascara was probably a little smeared around my watery eyes.

I learned so much from this woma, exactly the lesson I needed to hear right now.  I was so blessed by meeting her.  I pray someday I can be a blessing to someone else in this same way.  And I pray whatever you are going through in life, whatever hardship or struggle it may be, that you are blessed with a message straight from God, too.

Philippians 4:19 (New American Standard Bible)

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

(Oh, and just another cool fact to this story... A medicine that helped save Eli's liver when it was failing from the lack of proper nutrition when he was intubated for months on end... Omegavan... well the whole reason that Vanderbilt even offers it to their preemies now is because of this little boy... He needed it and had to be transferred to another NICU hours away in another state, for months, to be treated with it.  And after the NICU doctors here saw how it saved his life, they started using it here to treat patients with liver failure.  Just like Eli.  Amazing.  We were directly impacted by this little boy's journey... and I got to meet him and learn this.  So cool!)