Lines

Lines are a huge part of my life. Let me explain.

In snowboarding you can sit at the top of the mountain on a powder day and pick your line of descent. You carefully determine where you can gain speed, where you need to maintain speed and where you can launch off of stuff, hucking your body into the brisk mountain air with no regard. When you get to the bottom of the mountain you can turn around while you’re waiting in line for the next chair and see every second of your line carved into the mountain as if were a hot knife in butter. Picking the wrong line can ruin a ride, day, or life.

At work I am constantly working in between the legal lines to keep my loans in compliance while doing the best job I can for my clients while keeping the bank’s best interest in mind at all times. Some loan officers blur these lines in pursuit of attaining their annual goals. This ultimately causes damage to the bank, the client, and ultimately the loan officer as they are almost always fired when they are found out.  Blurring the lines can ruin a career.

A line I am comfortable with is toeing the line of a race start. Gently stepping up and inching your racing flats to the start line and placing them as close to the line’s edge in order to gain that extra millimeter advantage. Oh the exhilaration of waiting on the gun to sound, knowing your hard work and dedication is about to payoff on the race course, is a feeling unlike any other. You know that the pain is coming. You also know that if you go just one percent further into that pain zone, you ultimately will beat 99% of your competitors. Stepping to that line without following your training plan always leads to an unsatisfactory race day.

Then there is my favorite line of all. My fishing line. When I fly fish I am in constant pursuit of the perfect angle of my line. I am continuously taking care of the mends in the line while it is on the water. All the while worrying about the clarity of my line as I try to gently set it down on the water’s surface. I always know where my line is. Not knowing and controlling every possible thing about your line can lead to you spooking a fishing hole and thus scaring any potential fish from biting for an undetermined amount of time.

The common theme is respect the line. Just about every teacher, friend, friend’s mom, girlfriend’s dad, and probably every relative told me that I was always two steps over the line. My stories, my jokes, my actions have always been over the line. I took pride in it and it fed itself. The more over the line the greater my stories became. Everyone thought I was an adventurous daredevil, a rebel, or dare I say an idiot?

Well as it turns out I am none of the above. I am a very, wait for it, calculated planner.  When I was younger I planned my life. In my mind’s eye I pictured myself standing on the line looking forward, never back. The line ahead of me trails off into the horizon. There are bends. There are ups and downs and there is a glowing finish. It is a vision that I have had most of my life. Maybe I saw it on a Hallmark card, a cartoon, or some power point presentation. Either way, it really got stuck in my head.  The line is very smooth because it is very calculated. Watch, I would graduate high school, leave Fort Morgan and graduate college, move to the city, get a job, then  get my MBA while moving up the corporate ladder all the while enjoying life, making very calculated investments. I would push one to two steps off the line constantly weighing the risks and rewards of straying from my predetermined course. Sure there would be ups and downs but if I stayed close to the line things would ultimately be fine. It sounds ridiculous but I planned every single step of my life. Work and travel, then settle down and get married at 35. I would have kids, work until 55-60 when I would take an early retirement and retire with my wife to the mountains while my kids finished high school. Silly right? It gets so much worse. I had my death and my funeral planned. No joke! Always living today while preparing for tomorrow. Constantly weighing the risks and rewards. I literally thought if I just keep my head down and mind my own business nothing bad can happen. All of it calculated and connected by my predetermined decisions. My path. My life. My line.

Our family’s current ordeal has caused me to doubt past decisions, doubt my reality, doubt myself and doubt my future. The “what if” game is a trap. It leads you into a very deep, dark place.  The “woe is me” game is even worse. At the end up the day when you are finished playing you just feel worse and nothing has changed. This leads a person nowhere and nothing good comes of it. When I finished playing these games, I looked down and I could not find my line. It is gone. I am off course. Who the hell is manning the ship and how am I going to make that funeral if there is no line to follow? Come on people. Back to the common theme, respect the line!

You realize I am the epitome of a fool. All of those years of planning could never prepare me for what God has planned for me. I was never going to be allowed to follow my own path. The fact that I called it my path should tell you what type of an idiot I was. I was never on my path. I was on God’s path all along. What the heck was I thinking? My line trumps God’s plan? Think about how silly that sounds.

All throughout the Bible it reads of proof of my ignorance.

  • Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 ESV

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5  ESV

  • The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV

  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

  • Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace. The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice. … Proverbs 18:1-24  ESV

So what does all this mean? Some may think it means you can throw caution to the wind and release yourself of cares, responsibilities, and consequences because if it is meant to be then it will happen by God’s will. That is a very tricky slope and it could end you up on the wrong end of any line. Maybe a prison photo line.  Maybe the bankruptcy line. You get it. Listen, I cannot tell you how to live your life. I cannot tell you how to make decisions. I will tell you what I am going to do. I will trust in the Lord in making my decisions going forward. This is a concept my wife is completely familiar with as she employed this tactic most of her life. She has been praying on decisions most of her life. No only praying but not acting until she receives a response. God does not necessarily answer when we ask the first time. This is especially though for me. What if I am told I can never get that cabin? Why would I decide this is my new course of action? History, the Bible, tells us my forging ahead with my line was wrong as:

  • I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8  ESV

  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 ESV

  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

  • And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 ESV

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

As I watch my brave son who had more than 20 lines connected to him to keep him alive, make gradual progress and get line after line removed I am reminded to respect the line. I will adhere to my running, fishing, snowboarding, and working lines because those are necessary to be successful at my job and my hobbies. I am going to disregard my line. It was foolish. Here is a thought, maybe God allowed this to happen to get me off of the line and onto his line.  I won’t know until the funeral. I hope God does not have that planned in my near future.


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Walk As Lions

I am at a loss as to how to even attempt to put into words the emotions and events of the past week. At moments, the fear and terror have been overwhelming and it’s easy to forget the joy and hope of a brand new life coming in this world. There is no “good” reason why all of this has happened and even through my distress at the fact that God has allowed it to happen, He has also been faithful in carrying Jonathan and our family thus far.

This past week has been long after going through a difficult hospital experience on my side, leaving behind my precious little one as I discharged from the hospital, watching him undergo open heart surgery and starting recovery, attempting to balance my time between all of my children in a post-partum state while the world continues to move forward requiring me to deal with all of those little life pieces that don’t stop just because my own heart no longer feels like it is beating inside me.

Yesterday evening I trudged out of the hospital after a couple of hours of standing at Jonathan’s bedside. I moved slower and with more discomfort than one week prior at 9 months pregnant. After making it through a pregnancy with zero swelling, last night my ankles were non-existent and pain stabbed and ached through my entire body.

It was nothing though compared to the pain and ache of the longing to hold my child as I hovered over him watching him breathe, watching for any sign of his pain or recognition of my presence. Both the doctor and nurse on duty had explained there was a possibility by tomorrow afternoon (today) I might be able to hold him. I felt cautiously optimistic, holding excitement and hope at bay as I didn’t think I could bear the disappointment and heartbreak if it ended up taking a few days longer.

IMG_1138The guilt raged within me that this precious babe should have continuously been in my arms being snuggled and loved into this world with his brothers playing cheerfully beside him and not relegated to an hour or two a day of his mom standing by his bed holding the tiny little fingers of the only part of him not covered by tubes and wires.

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As I drove home I thought about the fact that I haven’t even known how to pray and I have been relying on the prayers of others. I felt discouraged within myself that I haven’t been able to adequately pray for my children or take any steps forward in faith. Then this song came on the radio and it was like God was speaking directly to me over the fact that I couldn’t quiet my own soul enough to hear His voice.

Today we live, today we breathe
Today we know that we are strong when we are weak
Today we trust, we overcome
Take every chain that kept us slaves and throw em’ off
We’re not waiting for permission
We defy our inhibition
Like our middle name is “fearless”
Unafraid
If we’re gonna fly, we fly like eagles
Arms out wide
If we’re gonna fear, we fear no evil
We will rise
By your power, we will go
By your spirit, we are bold
If we’re gonna stand, we stand as giants
If we’re gonna walk, we walk as lions
We walk as lions
Today is ours, it’s always been
Before we face the fight
We know who’s gonna win
We live by faith and not by sight
We don’t want safe and quiet
We don’t wanna run and hide
This is not an intermission
It’s our time, not gonna miss it
You’ve already called us fearless
Unafraid
The battle has been won
We know you’ve gone before us
So, we take it hard in faith
With every step we take
We know we’ll rise victorious

Jonathan is doing phenomenally well! Those were the words of his nurse last night who has eight years of Cardiac ICU experience. The doctor yesterday placed him at the 90% level of how well kiddos do after the Norwood procedure. God has a magnificent purpose for his life. The prayers of believers every where are holding Jonathan (and us) up through this. We will make it through to the other side. We will walk as lions.

Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives,
And in their death they were not divided;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions.
2 Samuel 1:23

Hold on tight a little longer

So, here we are…less than a week away from Jonathan’s birth. There are so many things I wanted to write about, so many things I wanted to say and do before we made it here, but alas, here we are.

In actuality I’m pretty impressed that I haven’t gone in to labor yet as two of my babies arrived early. I did however have one “due date baby” who was nearly 8lbs so I’ve been praying Jonathan will follow down that path. The longer he stays put, the bigger he can grow, and the better off he will be for surgery. We are anticipating his arrival by the end of the week and open heart surgery (The Norwood Procedure) early next week.

Are we prepared for this? Absolutely not. Would we ever be prepared for this even if we had all the time in the world? I doubt it.

Some of this morning’s final preparations have included time on the phone trying to find some extra help for respite care for Ethan. We’re also working on finding someone who can complete a neuropsych eval on a nonverbal, developmentally delayed teenager as well as a psychiatrist who is able to see him. If anyone has any recommendations please, please contact me!

I have also been contacting various friends and acquaintances, to coordinate child care for my little guys. Thank you to everyone who has offered to try to be available if we find ourselves in a pinch!

We have been very fortunate to have found a nice home to stay in while we’re here in Denver. The boys are still adjusting to being in about 1/3 of the space they’re accustomed to and the downstairs neighbor has been more than gracious in tolerating their “cabin fever” and general little boy rambunctiousness.
We miss our New Life family who have been such a community of support but have found a “home away from home” with the Novation Church family. They have surely demonstrated what it truly means to be a “church.” In addition to friends and family, Dan’s employer and “work family” has been amazingly supportive and understanding of our situation during this time as well. We have truly been blessed by our “village.”

If you feel led to keep us in prayer our requests include:

  • Complete and total healing for Ethan,
    Jonathan‘s heart,
    and Josiah‘s kidney
  • Safe labor and delivery
  • Health for whole family – if anyone is sick they will not be able to see Jonathan and I want my boys to meet their brother before he undergoes surgery (in fact anyone who is not up-to-date on vaccinations, especially TDAP/DTAP will not be able to see Jonathan in the foreseeable future due to the risk to his life should he contract a respiratory infection)
  • Wisdom for the surgeon, doctors, and nurses
  • Blessings on everyone who has been and will be caring for my children (especially my family who has been caring for Ethan)
  • Additional resources and care for Ethan
  • Peace for the entire family (me, D, our boys, grandparents, aunts, uncles)
  • Safe and healthy labor and delivery for Jonathan’s cousin who is due to be born the same day as Jonathan!

We have created a facebook page to help us quickly provide updates once Jonathan arrives
Jonathan’s Journey

Small Miracles

In the midst of what seems like bad report after bad report we finally have a good report: Josiah will be keeping both of his kidneys!

We are still looking at a surgical repair in the next month or so to correct the reflux issue. As scary as any type of surgery on a major organ sounds, I think it’s definitely less scary than the alternative.
Case in point: out of no where this week Josiah spiked a fever that quickly escalated. An urgent care visit, a pediatrician office visit, and two different antibiotics later and his body is responding. It sounds so silly to me that a simple thing as a fever caused such an intense and immediate reaction in seeking treatment but the fact of the matter is if another infection invades his kidney it could leave permanent damage resulting in the outcome, we are thankful to be avoiding, the loss of a kidney.

We are also incredibly blessed that Children’s Hospital Colorado is nationally ranked in both of the specialties two of our kids will be having surgical procedures in this summer. We have learned who the two surgeons will be and are ecstatic that both are considered to be the best we could have gotten. That’s a pretty great miracle right there.

In other good news: we have an amazing couple who will be staying in our house this summer while we’re gone! This is a huge relief in easing the burden of our temporary relocation. They are actually the aunt and uncle of the fantastic young lady who has been babysitting Josiah and Elijah for us. In addition to babysitting she has helped me with cleaning and organizing as we prepare to leave our “home.”

We have had an incredible outpouring of love and support from the community of people around us; friends, family, acquaintances, even complete strangers. If I had to be thankful for this family crisis (and maybe some day I will be able to honestly say I’m thankful for what we’re going through but I’m not there yet) it would be because I have gotten to see how truly wonderful humans can be to one another.

This experience has awakened me to the fact of how little I have done for others in the past. I am so guilty of coming into contact with pain and inside of my head being secretly grateful that it wasn’t me, that I could go home and sleep at night. As people have been supporting us in so many ways I’ve made big plans on how I will be “paying it forward” when we come out the other side (and ways that I can pay it forward now). As I have pleaded (even bargained) with God in prayer this week to completely heal my children, or even at least one of them, I felt the Lord prod me with a question. “If I completely free you from this will you go on and live your life as ‘normal?'”
Wow. The temptation would so easily be to forget all of this, to forget all of the other people in pain and crisis, to isolate ourselves and to live our happy little lives away from the heartbreak of others around us. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be the supportive, encouraging person that others are being to me right now.

Many years ago when Ethan was a baby, I was going through an incredibly intense and difficult situation. It changed me as a person in building my faith and strengthening my relationship with the Lord. I remember praying “if this is what it takes to keep me close to You then keep me in pain Lord.”
What a dumb thing to pray. I should have prayed thanks to the Lord that through the pain he had kept me close to Him and asked His help to never stray away and forget. More than a decade has passed since then and I still have only a rudimentary understanding of the mystery of God but I do know that He is good. He never causes us pain, but when pain happens He uses it toward His glory and plan, if we will allow Him to do so.
So Lord I ask you to perform creative miracles and completely heal each one of my children but in the process help me to never forget what You have done. Enable me to be a pitcher of cool water to others as they walk through the desert. Let me never be callous to the pain of others and to always be thankful for the smallest of miracles.

 

Blasphemous Rumors

My favorite band growing up was Depeche Mode. They were a 1980’s electro-sync pop group that had various songs that for one reason or the other spoke to me in my teen/college years as the angst of my “misunderstood” youth raged with the passion of a thousand suns as the mounting pressures to perform on the track or in my chemistry class seemed to pull at every fiber of my being. One particular tune that resonated with me was “Blasphemous Rumors.” Oh this song….its chorus has been forever ingrained into mind. It is a slow depressing song with a catchy chorus that whines:

“I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor and when I die, I expect to find him laughing.”

I have thought about this song a lot recently as maybe God is laughing at my situation. Don’t be so quick to judge me on my blasphemy. Would you blame me if I turned on my faith? Maybe you might turn too. Life is very hard; case in point my life the past few months. Let’s rewind:
• 12/30/2016- I am sitting in my office reflecting on the year. I literally say out loud, man 2016 has been the best year of my life. No more than 15 minutes later I receive a phone call from my brother in law Chris telling me that there has been an incident. The result of this incident will require my 14 year old special needs son to live temporarily with his grandparents in Golden. The humility of not being able to take care of your son is devastating.
• 1/6/2017- I receive a late night phone call from my parents. The second I see it, I know what has happened. My grandfather, the man I have aspired to be like, has passed away.
• 3/2/2017- A clear genetic screening has been completed! Now we leisurely attend the ultrasound in a anxiety free state. This is the day we meet our little boy. Mid way through I see a change in the tech’s demeanor. She asks Christina to turn sideways. I ask if everything is alright. She tries to poker face me and says “she is doing routine work”. I am a banker I read people for living. I know something is wrong. The tech leaves and Christina asks if I am alright. I tell her I am nervous. She says it will be ok. It wont, I know something is wrong. The doctor walks in. This cant be good. Oh God don’t let her sit on the table. She sits on the table. Oh God don’t let her touch Christina’s leg. She touches Christina’s leg. I know it is bad. I can feel the blood rush out of me. My head drops. I go numb.
• 4/26/2017- Christina calls me and says Josiah’s cold has taken a turn and that he is in the ER with a 105.3 degree fever. I rush over and they think he has a UTI. They run some tests and send us home with medicine. Thank God. That could have been worse. The following day Christina’s phone rings at 6 am. That cannot be good. Mrs. Frasier We need to run follow up tests. Josiah has already been admitted to Children’s please bring him down immediately. Thus starts a four day battle of Josiah and the doctors fighting for his life against a kidney/bladder infection going septic. The doctors eventually tell us that everything is going to be ok and that there is a less than one percent chance that Josiah will need surgery.
• 5/21/2017- I am in the garage reflecting on our situation when Christina screams “Danny were going to the ER. I run into the house and see a gaping cut across Eli’s head. Eli, not to be out done by his brothers, takes a header on the entertainment center. The cut requires 7 stitches. Eli was a champ but I swear I could hear the needle piercing his skin as he sat in my lap for stitches.
• 5/25/2017- We go to the doctor and have some awful tests run on Josiah. We find out later that Friday afternoon that Josiah’s kidney/bladder infection is caused by a stuctural/functional issue and will require surgery. Furthermore, he has a 5% chance of losing said kidney.

Thud. That is the sound of my head hitting the mat. Hearing Josiah’s news was a death shot to my frontal lobe. The woe is me mentality has officially taken over. Internally, I don’t want to get up off of the mat. One too many punches. Why get up to get knocked down again? It is just too damn hard. Seriously, has anyone ever heard of a family having this much happen in 5 months? We have to put two of our babies under the knife within 60 days of each other. No one would be able to get up off the floor. I cannot rise. My faith is gone. I think back to Depeche Mode…. “God is laughing”!

Clearly after Josiah’s news I took a pretty hard tailspin. Shortly after in my car, I recall a recent conversation I had with a friend. I audibly scream out to God at the top of my lungs. “God if this is what being a Christian is all about, I don’t want to be a Christian.” I boldly state that “I am not going to church anymore. Look at what good it has done me!” I say “the more I get to know God the harder my life gets. I am not praying anymore as it only causes more pain. Why would I waste time getting to know someone who just laughs at my circumstances?”

That night I tell my wife, who has a bachelor degree in Pastoral Ministry, that I am done with God. She takes this opportunity to clarify that this is not being caused by God. She reminds me of a sermon we heard where the devil leaves people alone who are not a threat. Hence the reason you sometimes see sinners or the unsaved living charmed lives. She reiterates that there is evil in the world and we are currently being attacked. I argue that Old Testament God was mean as hell. She argues that Jesus released us of God’s Old Testament Wrath. She quotes: 1 Peter 5:8-9* commands us to

“Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith.”

I know evil exists in this world. Over the past 6 months I have looked it in the eyes. I felt its breath on my skin. It had been swirling around me for months anticipating, waiting, lurking for me to relent to the darkness’s constant pressure. At that lonely moment in my car on the way home, I weakly conceded to the notion that God had betrayed me. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt the serpent that had been slinking around my feet coldly slither up my body and coil itself tightly around my neck as its head reared up and hissed its orchestrated vileness about God’s betrayal into my ear.

I have not resisted the devil. I have not remained strong in my faith. I know it and I am not proud of it. I hear Christina’s words and internally I come to, my eyes gradually open and I lift my head up off of the mat but the pain of my life’s circumstances are just to much for me to overcome and rise at this time.

It is now Sunday morning. Christina asks me if I am getting out of bed. I say I am not going to Church. I instantly see the pain in her eyes. Not only am I betraying God. I am betraying her. I am betraying my vows. I love her so much, the betrayal in her eyes makes me physically rise and get ready for church. Internally, I crawl to all fours but I am not ready to get up yet.

At church a miracle happens. Pastor Brady (@pastorbrady) preaches about a verse that I have been thinking about posting into this very Blog for over three weeks. In the wake of Josiah’s news and my internal fall from grace I completely forgot about it. Brady reminded me to

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17* NIV).

Clear as day, the sermon was God speaking to me. Simply put a miracle. I think back to Depeche Mode. God is not laughing at me. It is the devil. Externally, I audibly beg for forgiveness. Internally, I rise up off the mat and dust myself off. I am now standing in an attack position, because I have my armor. I have my belt. I have my breastplate. I have my shield. I have my helmet. The battle is just beginning but I am ready. No more laughing, Devil.

GoFundMe Baby Frasier

I just can’t…

“They say sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some. And right now, right now I’m losing bad.
I’ve stood on this stage night after night, reminding the broken it’ll be alright. But right now, oh right now I just can’t.
It’s easy to sing, when there’s nothing to bring me down. But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now?” -MercyMe

I’m tired…And I don’t mean I’m entering the homestretch of the third trimester of pregnancy tired (although I am that too). I feel exhausted mentally, emotionally, spiritually, as if I have absolutely nothing left. Most times in life if I’ve begun to feel like this I try to get outside of myself and help someone else who is also going through something tough. I spend time listening to what is going on in friends’ lives and be supportive of them. I find that focusing on others’ needs instead of drowning in my own really helps me to gain perspective, to see the bigger picture and recognize the good things that are happening. Right now though, I can’t even do that. I don’t even have the energy to reply to simple texts from my closest friends. I’ve severely neglected all of my relationships lately. I’ve even told some of the people who are closest to me to stop talking because I cannot deal with their emotions. It’s simply too much for me to carry. Some days I don’t even know how to pray.  I feel like a horrible person and honestly there are moments I don’t care how horrible I am because I just can’t.

Other times I find myself spilling all the intimate details of my life to complete strangers or new friends/acquaintances who out of kindness made the mistake of asking me how things are going. There’s a certain element of catharsis to spilling your guts to someone you know absolutely won’t or can’t try to give any input into the disaster of a story you just told them. Other times I find myself getting angry, overwhelmed, and shutting down because of someone asking me things like “what are you going do to do about _________(fill-in-the-blank)” or “what if _______ happens?”
I want to shake them and scream “I don’t know, I don’t know what to do!”

I absolutely cannot deal with the “what ifs” or creating solutions for the heavy situations coming down the road. I know most folks are simply trying to ease their own worry by finding out what my answer is, because generally I do have (at least in theory) a solution or plan for dealing with the problems that may arise for particular situations.  Other folks I think are trying to be helpful in bringing up potential situations that might occur, thinking that perhaps it hasn’t occurred to me that   fill-in-the-blank    could happen. Well, I can’t think of a single thing someone has asked that I haven’t already thought of…and I still don’t have an answer. All I can do right now is take it minute by minute, day by day and sometimes I can’t even do that. Sometimes I shut down and say “I can’t deal with this situation today” and I put it off until tomorrow in an attempt to self preserve and maintain my own sanity.

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Now that I am obviously and undeniably pregnant to the casual observer I get approached all of the time in public by well-meaning strangers. Some days it’s nice to hear from a stranger that “you’re glowing” and pretend like this is a run-of-the-mill pregnancy, as if nothing is wrong. Other times a well-meaning stranger engages a little too much and it feels too dishonest or too heart-wrenching to pretend everything is fine and I blurt out the whole story. My apologies to all the people who are now terrified to ever talk to another pregnant woman again because of me.

I was meandering through Costco this weekend on a mission for toilet paper and paper towels. I was annoyed at myself for moving so slowly and feeling like everything hurt – back, hips, feet etc. Then I realized, oh yeah I’m in my final weeks of pregnancy. I have 6 weeks or less left. Not more than 3 minutes later this sweet girl at one of the kiosks asked me when I am due. I told her and she remarked on how wonderful I looked for being that far along and said “oh I bet you’re ready to be finished.” Cue the waterfall of tears. Yes and no. I mean yes pregnancy is hard and by the time you reach the end you are SO READY for it to be over. I did have a little more patience and nostalgia this time around knowing it would be my last pregnancy. However, now, as much as I want to give in to the discomfort and say I’m ready for the pregnancy to be completed, I’m not. I’m not because how in the world can you be ready for a pregnancy to be over when you know that once it is, your baby will begin the fight for his life? How can you be ready for it to be over when you know that’s when the actual hard part begins?

I’ve met a really fantastic community of “heart mommas” whose children have CHD. They’ve shared their experiences and sometimes it’s overwhelming so I have to take a step back. Sometimes I feel silly for my “woe is me” because they’ve survived all of the things I’m complaining about. But that’s the thing, they’ve survived it and they tell me if little ol’ them could do it, then they know I can do it. That tells me that they all have felt just as unprepared and weak as I do. It is amazing to me to watch these women who are still struggling through the thick of some of their kids’ battles, jump in and take time to be supportive of other moms.

I think of my own mom often and of all the things she struggled and fought through for us kids. I don’t know how she did it. Lots of time on her knees in prayer. I look at my own life and know she raised me to be a better mom than I’m being. Even now my family is carrying a huge portion of this burden for me just so that we can survive and I feel helpless to help them.

If I could ask anyone reading this for anything it would be to please keep praying for us. Please pray for strength, grace, insight and wisdom for all of those involved in providing care for my children.
Ethan’s needs require continuous ongoing prayer.
Even though we were told Josiah had less than a 1% chance of requiring surgery for the issue that landed him in the hospital, as it turns out, that is the road we are headed down. Now we are trying to coordinate plans for his care as the time frame begins to bleed into the same time that Jonathan is due to be born and undergo surgery.

I know God can miraculously heal. I know He can provide new organs and new perfectly functioning systems for my children.

Thank you for your prayers and support to everyone out there. Some of you will never know how much your one kind word or gesture (even an indirect interaction with us) got us through a difficult moment.

Baby Frasier Medical Fund

Rest Easy

 

One more mile ’til I lay rest
I have put myself through this rigid test
But the mile has never ended, no distance has been gained
I do not see greatness I wanted to obtain

Apparently Elijah decided he’d had enough of his brothers hogging all of the attention and jumped in on the action. Last night (Sunday) he took a header into the entertainment center. When he turned around and stood up I thought “oh no, don’t panic, heads bleed a lot.” Then when I picked him up and saw the size of the gash I immediately yelled to Danny “Emergency Room! Now!”

Where is my embrace from the race that I have run?
I have kept a steady pace but still I have not won

Seven stitches in the forehead later, we were back at home facetiming with big brother Ethan to help cheer up the battle wounded warrior. We’ve been very fortunate that my parents have been able to care for Ethan during this time that he’s had some behaviors and difficulty adjusting to all of the changes he’s been facing in life. I know it would have been especially hard for him to see Eli hurt and sit in the emergency room for treatment as medical facilities cause him stress and anxiety.

Rest easy, have no fear
I love you perfectly, love drives out fear
I’ll take your burden, you take my grace
Rest easy in my embrace

Fortunately the ER doc was able to use a topical numbing agent on Elijah’s forehead. He didn’t care for it but it was much better than an injection. As we waited for it to take effect, Josiah patted his leg and said “it’ll be fine. Don’t cry Eli.”
When it came time for the stitches Danny stayed with Eli and I took Josiah out of the room as didn’t want to traumatize him as well. As it turned out Eli did great. He didn’t fuss or fight the doctor on the stitches at all. The doctor found me in the waiting area to tell me that it was the best he’d ever had a kid sit for stitches.
No signs of concussion or any other trauma, just a fantastic cut.

I am such a sinner, I fear my evil ways
I fear my imperfection, I fear my final days
I just want to take control and snap this rusty chain
Drop my heavy burden, it seems to be in vain

Sunday was an emotional day. Danny and I began our discussions on Jonathan’s Advance Directives. We know where we stand on making decisions to treat or not treat based on numbers and success rate statistics. It’s the issues such as: at what point do we enact a DNR, that we are struggling through. I’ve heard of stories of babies who required resuscitation after open heart surgery who ended up being fine. However as a nurse (especially a hospice nurse) I know about all of the other stories when things don’t end up fine. At what point with resuscitation, intubation, etc is enough enough? Unlike in the movie The Mexican I don’t think the answer is “Never.”

Rest easy, have no fear
I love you perfectly, love drives out fear
I’ll take your burden, you take my grace
Rest easy in my embrace

We have a lot of prayerful consideration ahead. These are not easy topics nor are they easy decisions. No one can make the choices but us and we are going to have to rely heavily on the Lord to know what our decisions should be.


I am not a bold man even though I want to be
I am just a dreamer with a timid history
Scared of confrontations I fume all through the night
The world has it’s hold on me and I just want to fly

I wish someone could step in and say “do this. This is the right answer.” I suppose that’s why we have the Holy Spirit. I’ll admit though, it is hard to hear His voice at times, especially when all of the shouting, the fear, the anxiety on the inside of your own head is trying to drown everything else out.

The sky, the sky is open wide
But I can’t fly ’til I step aside

I had been feeling super anxious on Saturday evening into the next morning. After we made it into church I began to feel some relief. It wasn’t necessarily the sermon (which was excellent) or the worship (which was also amazing) but the connection with our community. It’s difficult to even put into words how meaningful it is to simply see a familiar face, to get a hug, to have someone genuinely listen to how you’re doing. We haven’t been able to make it to church in about a month and not going hurts. I realized that in a few weeks we won’t be able to be physically present at our church. We may in fact miss a few months. I’m sure we can find a church to attend while we’re away in Denver, but will we find the community?

Rest easy, have no fear
I love you perfectly and perfect love drives out fear
I’ll take your burden, you take my grace
Rest easy in my embrace

It’s all in God’s hands now. There’s not much we can do about anything.

Rest easy
Rest easy
Rest easy in my embrace
Rest easy

-Audio Adrenaline

Baby Frasier Medical Fund