Here is a little music to get your Sunday morning started. My prayer for you for the coming week is that you will be brave and courageous, and that you will accomplish great things, because despite whatever circumstances you find yourself in, you. are. an. overcomer.
I had an old Fall wreath that I hung on my front door the last two or three years that was beginning to look a little bit worn out. Last February I took the whole thing apart and found the cutest roses and rosebuds in it, and decided it would make an adorable Valentine’s day wreath. So off I went to the dollar store, bought some additional stuff, and came up with this:
This fall, I took everything apart again. I had saved all of the flowers and foliage from the original wreath, and decided to arrange them in a few decorative vases and urns I had laying around. This is the result:
I love the messy look of the arrangements. I’m no A personality person, and it totally appeals to my B personality self, and shabby chic ways.
I love to decorate by taking stuff I already have and turning it into something completely different. It’s economical, and I get a chance to give my imagination a workout. Give it a try. See what you have laying around. You will be surprised what you can craft from found objects!
My husband and I went to the beach the other day. It was absolutely breathtaking. The sky was a brilliant blue. There was a gentle breeze, and the sand was soft underfoot. I went for a walk in the shallows.
I was looking at all of the shells. The more I looked at the broken ones, the more I saw the possibilities in them. I started picking them up. I soon had a whole pocketful.
When we got home later that day, I laid then out, and saw how beautiful they were. Just because they were broken didn’t mean they weren’t still beautiful, or useful anymore. I decided to write encouraging words in them and put them on a little flea market dish. It makes me feel calm to look at the shells, and sift through them and look at the words. It’s simple, but very effective.
We are so much like the shells. We are fragile, delicate, and we break easily, whether we want to admit it or not, but we are still beautiful and useful, even when we break. It is always in our brokenness that God finds us, and transforms us.
It’s good that there is always someone there to pick us up and wash us clean.
No matter how broken you are, you are still beautiful and useful in God’s eyes.
Hello again, friends. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. My husband has been through a long hospitalization, and is still recovering. I was unable to write while all of this was happening. All I could do was literally take one day at a time. I now know exactly what that means. But most of all, I, as well as my husband, have learned how to trust completely in God, and to keep our eyes fixed on him.
Religion is not the main focus of this blog, but it is written by a Christian, who has had a profound experience this Summer. For those of you who maybe aren’t quite sure who Jesus is, this story will show you. I want to share this experience with you, mainly because I know from working on an ICU unit, that my experience is not unique, and I hope I can give some comfort and hope to others out there that may experience or have experienced something similar.
As you know, my husband was diagnosed with Gastroparesis last November. All of the dietary changes that had been made, all of the hospitalizations, and all of the doctor visits, have been the result of this diagnoses.
He was misdiagnosed. And he almost died.
I am not going to lay blame on anyone’s doorstep. It is not the fault of any doctor. It is not the fault of any institution. He needed to get to Tampa General, where they do all of the specialized testing. Unfortunately, it took from January until July for this to happen. Since no one knew what was wrong, since no one knew he had a life-threatening condition, it wasn’t rushed. After we got to Tampa, Dr. Golden told us they could have gotten him in in about two weeks instead of six months. My husband was under 120 pounds at 6’2″ by the time he as admitted, with blood pressures that were bottoming out as low as 77/28.
It is through God’s grace that he survived.
He was diagnosed with SMA syndrome. Superior Mesentaric Artery Symdrome. The rarest of GI disorders, with only approximately 500 cases diagnosed since the mid-1800s.
In our bodies, there is a fat pad that cushions the mesentaric artery and the aortic artery juncture, which keeps it from clamping down on the upper third of the small intestine. In SMA syndrome, the fat pad is not there, and the mesentaric artery clamps down on the small intestine, causing a blockage. My husband was getting practically no nutrition. No one knew.
Dr. Golden ordered a triple contrast CT scan and found the blockage. Further testing confirmed the diagnoses. They performed a duodenaljejunostomy on July 12, which was very successful. They essentially bypassed the blockage, and created a new route to the small intestine.
On July 14, my husband crashed.
He developed a large mucus plug in his right lung, along with pneumonia. He already had emphysemia. His right lung completely filled with fluid within 45 minutes, and his left lung filled halfway by the time they did an emergency intubation at the bedside.
There is nothing more terrifying than watching an ICU team wheel a crash cart into your husband’s room. There is no worse question to be asked than if your husband is a DNR or a “full code”. I was totally unprepared for all of this. He was fine the day before.
Working in ICU, I know how fast one can crash. I have watched this same scene play out before me many many times. When it is your loved one, it is completely different. I am thankful that I understood everything that was happening.
When they asked me about the DNR, the very first thing I thought was that if I said “full code”, if they did chest compression on his very frail chest, it would break every bone, and he would certainly die. Sometimes we know too much. DNR would mean they would stop everything and he would die. With these two choices in front of me, I said he was a “full code”, and prayed that he would not code.
It is by the grace of God that he did not code. I have seen so many cases where they do. I was well aware of his chances.
I watched the intubation to make sure it went smoothly, and followed them up to ICU. It was hours before they let me back to see him. It turned out that they did an emergency bronchoscopy. They almost lost him during the bronch procedure. It took a long time to stabilize him enough before I could go back and see him.
It is by the grace of God that I did not lose him then.
My husband spent ten days in the ICU at Tampa General. He was on life support for 4 of those days. They couldn’t sedate him because of his blood pressure, so he had to endure it awake. His hands were tied down in restraints so he wouldn’t pull out his tubes. His lungs kept filling up with junk every night, and it would take him all day to cough it up. He deveolped a small pleural effusion, which thankfully did not grow. His weight dropped down to 109 pounds at 6’2″. During his ICU stay, the church kids, aka The Bridge Kids, made a big get well sign for him. After the picture, they all spontaneously dropped to their knees, and one by one prayed for my husband’s healing. It’s known around the church as the prayer video. I wish I could post it, but you can’t upload from facebook. There is much power is the prayers of children.
It is by the grace of God that his lungs cleared up. I will say this: The one predominant thought I had throughout the whole ICU stay was that God is Good. I totally believed that then, and I will always believe that, no matter what my circumstances are. He has shown that to be true.
He spent about ten days on the floor, and then was released to rehab for two weeks, right by our home. I wasn’t thrilled with the nursing home, but I was happy with their rehab department. They did a fantastic job. One wonderful thing that happened at the nursing home was this:
Six of the boys that my husband teaches at church came to see him. He said they walked into his room like they go there all of the time. These are fifth graders. They gave him a gift of a special bracelet with a shark’s tooth on it, which kind of looks like a “Y”. They said it stands for “Yes to Jesus”. Then they spontaneously dropped to their knees at the bedside and prayed for him. These are some special kids.
The nursing home employees talked about these kids for days. The kids, just by their presence there, brought two of the nursing home employees to our church.
God always uses the least among us to do great things for his glory.
After my husband was released, he developed an infection in the mesentary, and had to be rehospitalized for 10 days on double antibiotics. He is home now and is finally getting better. He can now do anything he wants to, and is gaining weight and getting stronger.
God has been so good to us through this whole Summer. He has held my husband in the palm of his hand, and has never once let him go. He has taught us to trust in him completely. He has taught both of us to keep our eyes fixed on Him every day. He has taken away the spirit of fear, and has replaced it with the Spirit of Peace, for the first time in my life.
This is what I know: God is always there, even when you think he has abandoned you. He has shown us that first hand. All you need to do is keep your eyes on him. Never give up. God has his own timing. He will hold you and keep you. Above all things, he loves you, with a love that goes beyond all understanding.
And I am convinced that the angels live at Tampa General.
I’ve been looking at the far wall in my living room for a few months now. The Easter wreath was still hanging up. I really liked it, but seriously, it’s way into Summer now. I started thinking about the Fourth of July coming up this week, and how I should probably make something summery. I decided to make a mini rag quilt wreath, to see how it would come out. I’ve never made a rag quilt, so I watched a You Tube video for the how-to, and got busy.
I have to say, You Tube has proved to be an invaluable resource when I need to refresh my memory on an embroidery stitch, or a sewing technique, or just about anything else I need to know.
I got out my stash of scraps and made the mini quilt without any trouble. I did a lot of embellishing because I am the embellishing queen. If I had more doo-dads, it would have looked like a crazy rag quilt. My mind kept wandering to that fascinating doo-dad aisle at the brand new Hobby Lobby that is unfortunately (awesomely) 2 minutes from my home. But I controlled myself and used only the doo-dads I already owned (sigh). Here is a close-up of the details:
I added applique and beading to the piece, plus silk rag strips around the wreath, keeping with the rag theme.
I had a lot of fun making it. I hope to make some more fun things for Summer, but I’m gonna be checking out the doo-dad aisle at Hobby Lobby first.
The days are long but the years are so short. Sometimes, even as you get older it can feel like you have plenty of time left. Plenty of time to do all of those things on the long list of life long dreams. But really no matter how you slice it, our time is so so short.
I found this short video it be a bittersweet reminder of that.