September 30, 2008
Check out the interview for yourself at 'Not So Perfect' Blog.
September 28, 2008
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September 27, 2008
September 23, 2008
A few weeks ago we all gathered together for Marc & Tara's last family gathering before they headed to Washington state, to their new ministry, many miles from Arizona! Evie and Makayla had become friends as cousins and church nursery buddies. Close friends to them meant wanting what the other had, not once in a while, but every time there was a change in interest--thus a toy change too. So, to the onlooker they didn't get along. It didn't do any good for us to encourage them to share. That was a foreign concept, but they still love each other... At this age they can forgive, forget and even work together as they are here looking at the candles I put in the fireplace for their enjoyment and mine!
As they get older we hope they remember that character building idea "it is a good thing to share!". Let's hope they see & hear that example in us as well so we can all live together in unity.
September 22, 2008 By Denise
The friendly young soldier I met today just finished boot camp at Fort Linerdwood in Missouri. He grew up in the dry heat of Arizona, so the muggy summer in Missouri was a struggle in itself for this young man. I knew that (since I was born in Missouri), but we were standing in the very hot Arizona sun at the moment so I was having a hard time even remembering that it could be any hotter anywhere else! He wasn’t in any hurry though so we chatted a few more minutes.
We talked about his possible deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. His unit was already in Iraq. He wanted it over with as soon as possible because he had a wife and children, but I really sensed he was at peace with whatever the U.S. Army gave him. He was in church today because of his grandmother. He talked about what a wonderful woman she was. You could tell he loved her very much.
Later today, after he was gone I learned that he had not always been at such peace nor would I have had the opportunity for such pleasant conversation with him even a year before. The loneliness of basic training for him and his brother who was not in his unit but in the same boot camp, caused them to seek each other out. In basic that isn’t ordinarily allowed though, except if they went to church. On that one day a week in church they could see each other. Church was not something they had done back home in Arizona, but certainly God’s ways aren’t our ways…and with that motive–just to visit with his brother–God used that to bring about a changed life in this soldier on the eve of his departure–a US base or a foreign soil–I don’t think it matters because he is ready. I consider that story one of God’s miracles!
September 19, 2008 By Denise
“I don’t like what he/she did!” We all find ourselves at this point. Depending on the source’s personality, it could be often! Sometimes we verbalize the thought or frustration and sometimes we internalize it or we hear it. I hear it as a mother, pastor’s wife, shopper–everywhere. It just doesn’t seem to make any difference what hat I am wearing!
What if I’m the one receiving the comment? I’ve decided that I have a choice! I can jump on the bandwagon at that moment, join in, make my “on the spot comment” or ignore it with a smile. Now, if you think about it, those spur of the moment comments or retorts can lead us down many paths and it’s usually the path of regret!
I don’t like living with regrets. The enemy likes to use those to clog my thinking–bringing them to mind at his convenience! I must deal with it as soon as the Holy Spirit brings it up or it will continue to deal with me!! I’m so thankful I John 1:9 is there for me. The Bible tells us we are accountable for every word–He makes us accountable.
In fact the Lord has given us lots of admonitions about avoiding slander–it’s an abomination to God! Surely I couldn’t be guilty of that!? Think about what it is, according to Scripture: whispering, backbiting, evil surmising, tale-bearing, babbling, tattling, evil speaking, defaming, bearing false witness, judging uncharitably, raising false reports, repeating matters and the list goes on.
I’m convicted, once again, just reading the list. Especially since I know that if it goes on it can separate friends, cause deadly wounds, strife, discord among brethern and even murder. I’ve thought that not responding in the past would seem rude, but after thinking on these things I’m convinced a smile with a change of subject or an excuse to move on is much better than disappointing my Saviour.
September 17, 2008
We’d been talking about taking a vacation for over a year. Gas prices on the rise as well as those weekly commitments kept pushing it to the back of our minds. I wanted to make a trip back home to see Mom & Dad and soak in the rolling hills of my home state of Missouri. Missouri in August can be steamy hot compared to my new home in Arizona so it probably wasn’t the best time to go, but just the thought of my Dad’s garden and especially those tomatoes were enough to make my mouth water.
In early August a friend encouraged me to make the trip to “see your parents”. A call to Mom & Dad settled it–they were ready to make the trip here with us on our return, then they would fly back. Those 3000 miles round trip were worth every second as we traveled through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri and then back again. I couldn’t help but remember the family vacations when Dad was the driver and my brother and I slept in the back seat most of the way. Now, Jim & I became the tour guides. I felt bad when Dad said, “if I’d known how many places we were going to go, I doubt if I’d come!” That bothered me a moment until he explained that he wouldn’t have thought he could have handled it. Whew!
We did enjoy perusing many of the Indian ruins in Northern Arizona, but visiting a missionary on the Hopi Reservation was quite a treat! The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert were highlights as we made
our way to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was spectacular, but we were so exhausted by then we just took a few pictures and headed for home.
I wouldn’t trade those two weeks with my parents for anything in the world! Since they left a week ago today I’ve spent some time looking up scripture on “parents” and “children”. Did you know there are many, many passages that address the responsibilities and conduct of both? I’ve thought since I was a teen that if you honor your parents you are promised a long life. That was always in the back of my mind growing up, still living at home, but now I realize that the responsibility is even greater.
Everyone knows that the 5th commandment says to Honor one’s parents, but the commentary I was using specifically spelled it out as “respect, love, reverence, treat graciously, with dignity and assisting them financially.” The reference in Mark 7:10 says “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” That’s pretty strong language, but it certainly shows how God regards this obligation.
I’m so thankful I have God honoring parents that make it easy to honor them… even though I didn’t read anywhere that there were any exceptions to the commandment!
September 4, 2008 By Denise
Chad & Heather had three children and were anxious for the birth of number four due a few weeks before Chad’s College graduation. It was a Sunday though and most of our family, living in many different states, were in various stages of going to and from church that day. When Chad called from the hospital to let us know there were some complications we had no idea the horrific scope of the scenario taking place just a few hours away from us.
Heather’s labor wasn’t progressing satisfactorily so a decision was made to try to speed things along. That may or may not have been an unwise choice but there were no early indications that it would cause a problem–it was considered a means to an end–the birth of a baby! Evidently the hard contractions that followed created a problem– perhaps the placenta was already weak and would have ruptured anyway. No one knows nor even thought of that during the next minutes.
Chad & Heather sensed distress as they watched the monitors, but no one else seemed concerned. Eventually they got the attention of a nurse. When the doctor arrived and assessed the situation he immediately realized that the baby needed to come out right away. It was an emergency, but there was NO ANESTHESIOLOGIST present! “Heather I can’t give you any anesthetic, but we must do a c-section immediately to save the baby.” Heather’s response to the the doctor was, “do what you have to do.”
In the next few moments he made incisions in the first layers, knowing that the last layer would be the most excruciating for Heather to bear. He told her he wasn’t sure if she could stand the pain. Just then the “lost anesthesiologist” burst through the doors. He had been unable to make his way through the stairwells for some reason. Everything had been readied so he was able to administer the drug immediately so Heather, thankfully, didn’t have to endure the last cut.
When Makayla was born she was barely breathing. No one knew how long she had been oxygen deprived, but it didn’t look good. Her APGAR was 0, and her prognosis was next to hopeless, but the parents didn’t know any of that as Makayla had been taken away immediately.
After an hour or so while Heather was just in the beginning stages of her recovery Chad & Heather were asked to make a serious decision for Makayla’s care. She was being prepared to fly to Denver to Children’s Hospital where they had tried an experimental procedure on other oxygen deprived infants. To make a decision about a new medical procedure with very little information was a gamble or was it “faith”. Everyone knows that newborn heads are kept warm with a stocking cap for at least 24 hours, but they were making plans to put an ice cap on Makayla in an effort to keep the damaging brain swelling from happening. It was a hard decision, but in hindsight, one that God used.
No helicopter was available and the only ambulance was one of Denver’s oldest! Chad insisted on accompanying Makayla on the long hour’s drive to Denver. Upon arrival they indeed put the ice cold, silver cap on her head along with needles, patches and wires all over her body. Each time we went in to visit her in the Neonatal Infant Care Unit (NICU) it never failed to grieve me.
Maykayla was beautiful! The nurses commented that she was the healthiest looking baby there, but she was the sickest! That hurt all of us and there were alot of us! Family and friends arrived in Denver daily to support Chad and Heather.
The Ronald McDonald House housed them and gave us all many free meals where all of us could talk and pray together for many days. We laughed and cried many times and had so many opportunities to testify to the Lord’s comfort in spite of the situation. Chad led a father to Christ and bought him a Bible. His son was facing surgery but it was not life threatening, not like Makayla. http://www.angelfire.com/blog/greenacrefamily/Makayla/
On Friday of that first week the medical team met with Chad and Heather. The news was not good. They gave them almost no hope for her survival–maybe a few days, a month….but if she survived longer she “would need 24/7 special care. Care that could only be provided by professionals, specially Denver. Heather, still in recovery from her unconventional surgery and Chad, holding up, prayed with both sets of grandparents and then returned to the Ronald McDonald House.
In the meantime Jim observed Makayla’s doctors leaving the conference room where they had just shared with her parents her grim prognosis and their suggestion to “pull the plug” on her ventilator. They were crying. Only later did we find out that their tears perhaps were the result of the words Chad shared with them. He told them that they would leave things as they were and that they would continue to trust God to work through her doctors. If He wanted to take here he could, but they would not make the decision to end her life prematurely.
The next morning we began to realize that God had already begun healing Makayla. She had begun taking milk and within a few days she was taken off the ventilator and had learned to suck–something they were told would never happen. Her progress was nothing short of a miracle and that very word “miracle” was mentioned many times in the NIC unit by Makayla’s caregivers.
On her one month birthday, her dad was given the privilege of giving the “senior testimony” during his graduation ceremony while she slept in our arms in the audience. I doubt there were many dry eyes that evening as he briefly shared her miraculous healing to the many folks who had prayed for her — when it looked like there was no hope!
Today, a year and a half later, after heart surgery this past January 2007, Makayla is a beautiful little girl who walks around with a big smile, looking for things to get into and doesn’t seem to need much sleep! This family is grateful that God chose to answer beyond what we could ever have imagined when we prayed day in and day out for His will. What does a family do?