Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29 ~ BT Shunt makes history

Today I am wearing blue and red. For CHD awareness. Today is the anniversary of the first BT operation. This is why CHD parents are so passionate about awareness and research. Before this operation was performed some 70 years ago, cyanotic CHDers died, most before their first birthday, and those that survived that first year were very sickly. This operation was a huge leap forward in treating these precious children.

The BT Shunt was part of the first OHS that Jethro had at 10 days.

As traumatic as it is to see your baby like this, imagine if it wasn't possible. That your only option was to watch your blue baby slowly ~ or not so slowly ~ die. This operation was our first step toward this:

9 months now!

Here is a web page that talks a bit about the Blalock-Taussig shunt operation.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

So it's Thanksgiving.
This has been a year of many things to be thankful for. Our son, who was born dead, is alive and thriving. Our house burned, yet God's timing is perfect and we were able to keep it in perspective. Our family has drawn closer together, and we have seen God provide over and over.
I am thankful.
Yesterday, Jethro had a cardiologist appt. We were able to take him off one more med. His heart looked great on the echo, and he doesn't have to go back to the cardiologist until March ~ he said if the roads were good and we wanted, we could come back in February. :-)
I have said it before, but I want to repeat it. I am so very thankful for the Drs. God has provided for Jethro. Dr. Rick, who is never afraid to give us worse case scenario, but is also willing to spend the time answering my many, many questions. Who had the unenviable task of talking with us just after Jethro's birth and laying out our options, but was compassionate and understanding.Who made sure that we knew that Jethro's Dr.s were among those praying for him ~ what a comfort and encouragement that was!
Dr. Burg aka Sunshine, who gave us the news of Jethro's diagnosis, but always held out hope. She's been the cardiologist in both surgery's and is always on top of things immediately following surgery.
Dr. Carl, who is also very good about answering my questions, erring on the side of caution, and providing memorable quotes.
Dr. Anderson, who specializes in rhythm issues. I have been so thankful for his expertise and care when Jethro has had severe arrythmia issues.
Dr. Hrar aka Hurricane Hrar. :-) He always brings a tremendous amount of energy into a hospital room, and though we haven't seen him as much, the wisdom and experience he brings are invaluable.
Dr. Worrall, the surgeon who's skilled hands God used to repair Jethro's little heart so that it could sustain life.

I am thankful for the entire staff at NWCCHD. From the sweet gals at the front desk to the surgery scheduler, to the nurses and records  transcriptionist. Everyone has been so supportive and such an encouragement, and gone above and beyond in gettin' it done ~ no matter what the "it" is.

We are so thankful for the nurses who lovingly care for Jethro when he is in the hospital. What an outstanding group of (mostly) ladies. There are a few guys in there! They give their all, they recognize us whether they see us at the hospital or not, and it's obvious they genuinely care about the little folks entrusted to them. I have often said, I would much rather be home, but if I can't be home, there's no place I'd rather be than Sacred Heart. And I can't forget the Palliative Care staff, especially Caroline, Beth, and the social workers, All have eased the way while Jethro was in the hospital.

The therapists that have worked with Jethro. Karen, Natasha, Jessica, and Lynn. We are extremely thankful for their expertise and care. They have gotten us through feeding issues, reflux, and physical limitations...and they are sooo excited when he makes strides forward!

I am thankful for the adult CHDers, and heart parents that God has brought into my life since Jethro was born, what wonderful, precious friends they are, and I feel so blessed to have them in my life.

I am thankful that we are here, 9 months later with a mostly healthy baby, who is happy and content. Who loves his brothers and sisters, and is doing really well. :-) I am thankful for Will, Levi, Garth, Logan, Kathleen, Laura, Josiah and Ezra too. Each one is such a blessing and adds so much joy to our family. Each one is so unique and special, and I feel so privileged to be their Mama. I am thankful for my precious husband and our 21 years of marriage.

I have also found myself more and more thankful for Tucker, our son who died 6 years ago. Now, walking this journey with Jethro, I really believe part of Tucker's purpose was to prepare me to parent Jethro. I am thankful that God walked us through that deep, dark valley. I am thankful that He is faithful and true. I am thankful that He never lets go. I am thankful for all I learned of Him during that time, because it has enabled me to walk this valley in faith, hope and trust.

I am thankful that God pulled me from the mire and cleansed me. That He continues to work on me, molding me further and further into the image of His precious Son and my Savior, Jesus. I am thankful I live in a country where I can freely share that.

So, with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving, may I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours.

Monday, November 22, 2010

22 Things...

I'm not very good at keeping up with this, am I? I must admit, I consider myself a pretty thankful person, but I am finding this a bit of a challenge as well! However, I do believe it is an excellent excercise ~ and definitely should be a daily habit in our lives. That makes it sound more "chore-ish" but that is not how I mean it. It should be a joy to us to look around and see how God is blessing our lives, but it is a "sacrifice" of praise, which tells me that it isn't always easy.

That being said, here is my list of things to be thankful for today:
  1. A young friend with cancer was able to come home over the weekend!
  2. I had a quiet day at home yesterday (Sunday's are usually busy, busy!).
  3. Snow is falling.
  4. My house is closed in! So thankful we don't have open walls or windows to let the snow in while folks are working.
  5. Plentiful magazines for inspiration as we decide on interior details for our home.
  6. That we live where there is plentiful natural materials to incorporate into our home.
  7. Snow days! Even homeschoolers get those. ;-)
  8. A fussy baby...okay, I'm not thankful he's fussy, but I am thankful that he's here to fuss!
  9. Older children that are helpful.
  10. The love the older children have for Jethro.
  11. The computer. Our phone has been out all weekend, and so my "connection" to the outside world has been my computer. It's also been a God-send in helping me to price out values on our belongings.
  12. Tea! I know I have given thanks for tea already, but honestly, everyday I am thankful for tea. There is something soothing, romantic, and nurturing about a good cup of tea.
  13. Medicines. I am pretty anti-med. However, I am extremely thankful for the medicines that have helped Jethro's heart to function in a way that keeps him going. Some of them have been extremely potent, scary side-effect kinds of meds, but his Dr.s have been very consciencious in how they are used with him. I am thankful that we live in a time and country where these things are available when needed.
  14. Dr. Burg. She is the first cardiologist we met on this journey. She is also the one that insisted that Jethro be monitored by the neonatalagist, when the OB and the Neo decided he didn't need to be. She saved his life by insisting on it.
  15. Karen ~ the wonderful US tech that did the majority of our biophysical profiles. Her alert eye and concern, probably saved Jethro's life as well.
  16. Dr. Worrall. This is the skilled surgeon that has been used of God to save Jethro's life as well.
  17. The gathering of the saints. I am so very thankful for the fellowship of folks who love the Lord with all their heart and encourage me in my walk.
  18. My children who are so loving and forgiving. I can be so cranky sometimes, and they will turn around and love me and tell me I'm the best mom ever. May God forgive me my many, many shortcomings as a Mama and make me the Mama they need and deserve.
  19. Flannel nightgowns ~ is there anything better to settle into a long winter's sleep in?
  20. My king-size bed. I've been wanting one for years, but we couldn't fit it into our bedroom. Now I finally have one, and there is room for Mike and I and at least 2 children! I love it!
  21. Jethro has outgrown the need for his sleeping wedge!
  22. Joy in every circumstance.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."
Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some pictures of the house

The front of the house with windows and a front door! Eventually, there will be a porch.

The stairs leading up from the basement. That's Garth's room in the corner with the window.

This is the master bath. The vanity/sink will go where you can see the black pipes on the right of the picture. Our lovely claw foot tub, and there will be a double headed shower on the left in the foreground.

This is the northeast corner of the house. This will be the "formal" living room. To the right of the tall narrow window will be a gas fireplace.

This is the "great room". It is the southern end of the house and has a vaulted ceiling. The partial wall in the foreground is the south end of my kitchen. The sink will be on this wall and there will be a breakfast bar. I'll have a lovely view looking out those windows while doing dishes!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful for 19...

Today I am thankful for:
  1. Army guys all over my floor, for that means there are little boys in my home.
  2. Baby snuggles.
  3. Meat in the freezer.
  4. Stairs in my house.
  5. The furnace guy is done.
  6. Insulation is going in.
  7. That God has blessed me with 9 amazing children.
  8. He (God) never gives up on me.
  9. My brother, Clint. Thinking of him tonight and praying for his safety.
  10. That Bob loves to mess around in the kitchen ~ mess being the key word. :-)
  11. Jethro's home medical co. What a blessing to have needed supplies delivered to our doorstep.
  12. Jethro's nutritionist. She is another one of his peeps that is always so encouraging, and open to natural health things. I love being able to bounce ideas off of her. She is a true blessing to us.
  13. Possibilities
  14. Hope
  15. No colds so far!
  16. The Christmas contata our church is performing. It's more of a community event, with folks from various churches coming together to sing of the miracle of the incarnation. It's always a wonderful time of fellowship.
  17. Warm slippers.
  18. God's provision of snow clothes for the children.
  19. A son willing to drive to Spokane to rescue his Mama. :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

18 Things

Wow, it's the 18th already! Today I am thankful for:
  1. Numbered bullet lists, so I don't have to keep track. :-)
  2. eBay. Often when I can't find or afford what I'm looking for in town, I can get on eBay and there it is for a price I am willing to pay.
  3. Instant messaging. What a great way to keep in touch with friends.
  4. That we live within a few miles of my parents. I am so thankful that my children are able to spend time with their grandparents and really get to know them. What a blessing.
  5. The ability to sew.
  6. Snow. It's here. I wasn't quite ready for it, but one of the things I love about North Idaho is we have real seasons, and I do love snow.
  7. Grocery stores and the abundance of food within them.
  8. Jethro's heart. I see Jethro's heart as a physical picture of our spiritual heart. Broken and incompatible with life ~ until the Great Physician heals it.
  9. The look in Jethro's eyes when he spots me. :-)
  10. Cell phones.
  11. That Garth didn't do more damage when he slammed his finger in the door this morning.
  12. For each breath I take.
  13. Ezra and how much he loves his baby brother.
  14. My Grandma and the godly influence she was in my life.
  15. The smell of pipe tobacco. It always brings to mind my dear, wonderful Grandpa.
  16. Clear roads on a snowy day.
  17. Christmas movies.
  18. A baby without oral aversions!

A true Dole...double fisting it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 Things to Be Thankful For

Well, I've missed the last few days! I guess I'll be thankful that I've been busy. :-)
Today I am thankful for:
  1. Lynn, Jethro's physical therapist. She is always encouraging, has ideas for how I can help him in his development, and is positive and upbeat.
  2. God appointed 'touch points'. When we lost Tucker 6 years ago, the SHMC helicopter and crew came to our house. This last winter when Jethro was born, one of our charge nurses in the PICU was one of the crew members from that flight. I don't know why God weaves lives together in this way, but I know He has a purpose in it, and I am thankful.
  3. The precious babe my dear friend is getting close to delivering.
  4. French doors put in at my house!
  5.  A lovely vanity with matching mirror for our master bath and 3 stained glass lights.
  6. My mom. She has always been an excellent example to me, and a wonderful prayer warrior.
  7. A hard working husband.
  8. Grown and almost grown boys who are upstanding young men, that I really enjoy spending time with.
  9. That God has blessed me with a sense of modesty ~ if you've been shopping lately, I'm sure you can relate!
  10. Chubby armed hugs and sticky kisses.
  11. Getting to live in a house I've wanted to live in since I was a little girl.
  12. Wildlife ~ how wonderful of our Heavenly Father to bless us with beautiful critters that are good to eat!
  13. Music.
  14. Changing seasons.
  15. Kittens.
  16. My girls, who are learning to be more and more helpful.
  17. Electricity.

Friday, November 12, 2010

12 Things

Today I am thankful for:
1. Baby giggles.
2. A good visit with friends.
3. The front door to the house hung!
4. Will and the things God is doing in his life.
5. Levi. He's such a nice young man, and he's going to be such a good daddy someday!
6. Garth's buck ~ meat in the freezer.
7. Logan and the way God is working in his life this year.
8. Tea ~ Where there is tea, there is hope.
9. Candles on a cold evening.
10. Mr. King's doughnuts. Yummy!
11. Rigs that run.
12. Sweaters.

Have you come up with a thankful list?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11 Things to be Thankful For

Today my thankfulness list includes ~
  1. I was able to switch out Jethro's G-tube button with no problems.
  2. A great staff at NWCCHD. :-)
  3. Will and his willingness to help us get the house built.
  4. Andie and the blessing she has been to our family.
  5. My step-grandpa, who would have been 104 today. He was such a ray of sunshine. Very fun to be around and one of those people who always saw the positive in any situation.
  6. The extended family God has blessed me with.
  7. Friends who make contact often. Having a critically ill child is lonely, and I appreciate those who take time out of their day to see how we're doing.
  8. The Food Network. We love the inspiration it provides for our kitchen!
  9. My brother, Clint. Currently serving his country, away from his wife and children, ready to deploy.
  10. Our vetrans. They sacrifice much, sometimes all, and I deeply appreciate it.
  11. My fellow moderator's. What a wonderful group of women!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Someone asked the other day how, in the midst of everything that's going on, can I be thankful without feeling saccharine sweet? :-) Let me assure you, I am not saccharine sweet!

So, here is my answer. God is always worthy of our praise and thanksgiving, no matter what is going on in our lives. It's hard to remember in the society we live in, but really, it *not* all about me. It is about God and Him glorified.

I never ignore or deny what we are going through. It's hard. To have a baby born with an incompatible with life diagnosis, to have gone through 3 surgeries and multiple hospitalizations, to have your house burn down in the midst of it, to have struggles with some of the healthy children...none of it is easy ~ most of it makes you want to hole up somewhere until a better day comes! Some of it, I have a harder time with. Why for example, does a baby, who has to have multiple IV lines, blood draws, etc., have veins that are almost impossible to get with a needle? When they do get an access line, it often blows quickly. Guess what? THAT'S NOT FAIR!!! To have to hold your screaming baby so that a nurse or doctor can do a painful procedure ~ TOTALLY goes against every mothering instinct you have, but to not be the one to hold and comfort just isn't an option either! So, I acknowledge these things. That doesn't mean that there isn't plenty to be thankful for in the midst of the trial. And sometimes I don't feel very thankful, but I look for things to be thankful for anyway.

I learned a long time ago, that being thankful helps me to keep from depression. It's not that I have never been depressed ~ I have buried a son and suffered a devastating miscarriage while in the worst of the grieving process. I do know depression. I remember telling someone that I couldn't even say I was in the valley of the shadow of death because there would be some hint of light in the shadow, I felt like I was in the abyss, totally surrounded by darkness. I couldn't see God's hand, I couldn't feel His presence. I couldn't help myself other than to lay at the feet of Father God and plead for His help. I would pray and acknowledge what I was feeling, if I was starting to believe my feelings, I would acknowledge that as sin, and then I would pray what I knew to be truth. That God will never leave me nor forsake me, that He never changes, He comforts the broken hearted, etc. It took a while, but God slowly brought me out of my depression. But involved in that process was thankfulness. I still tried to make the effort to be thankful.

Hebrews 13:15 says, "Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name." (emphasis mine) Praise, thanksgiving is a sacrifice. That means that it's not always easy, but it is always necessary. Thanksgiving isn't denying the trials and tribulations, pretending that they don't exist. Thanksgiving is a heart attitude that looks above the trials in the eyes of Father God and recognizes that He is in the midst of them along with you. It is recognizing that He is worthy no matter what.

Today is the 10th, so here is my list of 10 things to be thankful for.

  1. That I live on the 3d rock from the sun. What a gorgeous place created specifically by God for His children. He created everything 'just so', so that it's perfect for life. 
  2. The strengthening bonds between my children because of Jethro and his heart.
  3. A thankful heart.
  4. A beautiful new front door for our home.
  5. 2 'new to us' beautiful dresses for the girls.
  6. A godly mom.
  7. A dad who is knowledgeable in so many areas and his willingness to take his grandsons alongside and teach them.
  8. A crisp clear fall day.
  9. A job for my Beloved that allows him plenty of time for building our house.
  10. A washing machine ~ I am soooo thankful that I don't have to do laundry by hand! :-)
I hope that you will take time today to think about what you are thankful for.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

9 Things...

Today I am thankful for:
*The nursing skills I have developed
*The ability to care for Jethro
*The upbringing I have had (you just do what ya gotta do)
*Jethro's cardiologists
*Jethro's thoracic surgeon
*The SHMC nursing staff
*Other heart families
*Adult CHDers
*A sweet, chubby cheeked little man named, Jethro :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

8 Things...

I missed yesterday here on the blog, but I did have 7 things I was thankful for! How about you? How are you doing with this 'thankful challenge'?

Today I am thankful for:
*My kitchen starting to take shape. Mike has my pantry and the wall next to it framed in.
*Stairs! We have 4 flights of stairs in the house, and 3 are built.
*A Pastor that knows how to build stairs and is willing to come to our house and do that.
*Windows going in today.
*Waking up next to little boys who have 'snuck' into my bed during the night.
*The internet. So much potential for bad, but also for good! We have gotten several things for our home via the internet, and for a much better price than locally.
*The wonderful community I have found online. During a time I desperately need support and understanding, 'virtual' friends have really filled a void in my life.
*My Beloved.

So what are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6 Things I am Thankful for

Today is the 6th, so that means sharing 6 things I am thankful for today.

*Blue skies in November

*Weather warm enough for the children to play outside


*Dirty dishes ~ cause it means there is food to eat and loved ones to eat it!

*A beautiful, new-to-me sweater for fall/winter

*The opportunity to give an answer for the hope found within me. :-)

So, what are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 Things to Be Thankful For

Today I am thankful for:
*Outstanding Dr.s and nurses who have cared for Jethro over the last 8 months.

*A home that is being built through God's provision

*A safe football season


*Meat in the freezer

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Being Thankful in November

I am thankful everyday. :-) God is so very gracious to me and my precious family, I can't help but be thankful. However, there is a challenge going around on Facebook to be thankful for something everyday in November. Well, I'm here to up the anti! I challenge you to find the same number of things to be thankful for as it is the day. So, today is the 4th, find 4 things to be thankful for. By the end of the month, you should have a big ol' list!

One of the best ways I have found for staying out of depression or for avoiding pity parties is to look to my Father in thankfulness. It's hard to be down when you are counting your blessings.

So today, I am thankful for:
*Little boys with BIG stories!

*Garth Tyree who is 16 years old today
*Time spent with my Beloved this evening
*A warm, snug home on a chilly morning

So, what are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Rerun of Sorts

I was looking back over the blog this morning, searching for some pictures. I never did find the pictures. :-/ However, as I was reading through older posts, this one really spoke to me, and I thought I would re-post it.
I hope you are blessed by this little "re-run".

He Never Lets Go

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear

And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth


Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

(Chorus 2x)
You never Let Go by Beth and Matt Redman

We sang this song in church this morning ~ I sang it through tears. Tears of thankfulness. I am *so* very thankful that I am walking this journey with Jethro as a child of God. We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and yet, I can, I will praise Him who leads us.

Jethro's heart is in God's hands. He has a heart defect, but it is not 'defective', it is just as God created it to be. God formed Jethro's heart just as carefully as He formed yours or mine, He just formed it different from "normal". God designed Jethro's little heart to glorify Him and it has, it does. I am continually in awe of God's creation when I think about Jethro and his heart. God's design is perfect, and when it's not, He has blessed us with the knowledge and technology to be able to bypass it and make it work anyway. It is a beautiful thing.

I get to see up close and personal how God sustains my son's life. How He guides the surgeon's hands, how He gives wisdom and insight to Jethro's cardiologists, how He gives compassion and grace to the nurses that care for Him, how He gently carries us and calms us and enables us to trust in Him and not worry or fear.

I will fear no evil 
For my God is with me

This is the God of the universe ~ creator of Heaven and Earth. This is Jehovah God, all powerful, all knowing, ever present ~ sovereign. And He has chosen me. He has placed my feet upon a hard and narrow path, but He is gently leading me and when I cannot walk, He picks me up and carries me.

And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

I lift my hands, I lift my heart, I lift my voice all in praise of Jehovah God, my Daddy who deserves the highest praise. I give all thanks to Him.