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Summer Updates, Part I

I was emailing a friend the other day, and looking back over the summer, trying to figure out what to put in and what to leave out and realized that a lot has happened this summer!

God has been very good to us.  He has answered some prayers and brought a settledness and peace that is a relief.  He didn’t answer other prayers, but through those things brought much needed rest and provided for us through it all.  Wow!

At Christmas, Jerry (a.k.a. the Angel Gabriel, but in a Westernized form, on a stick horse) jumped off the stage during the church play and injured his knee again.  Other times he’s been able to walk it off, but not this time! In March, he saw a specialist who recommended surgery and told us that if we choose to do it in summer, we could pretty much pick the date.

So at the end of July Jerry went in for surgery to fix a torn ACL (it’s a ligament in the knee that keeps it from going sideways) and torn cartilage.  This was followed up by 6 weeks of no work, and then another 2 of only light work.  God answered prayer in that Jerry did NOT go stir-crazy during those weeks, and He gave me the strength to look after him and Elianna.  I didn’t realize before how much I relied on Jerry!  Jerry was also able to rest and enjoy the time off work without feeling like he had to be out working or doing something or fixing something!  Sometimes, it’s good to have “resting” as your official job!

Since he had to take 6 weeks off work anyway, we decided to head east early for Kimberly’s wedding.  Because of that, we had time to go visit quite a few friends from school (wow, did we ever have fun with them!), and even go back up to school and visit friends AT school and on the way back from school (which led to us heading home so late all the gas stations were closed and we drove about 50 km after the gas light came on and were hoping and praying we’d make it home!).  It was wonderful to see everyone again, and we had some fantastic visits that were very timely and VERY needed!

What a crazy fun meal!

What a crazy fun meal!

Deanna!

Deanna!

How did we spend 4 days with Dave & Karrie-Anne and this is my only pic of them?!

How did we spend 4 days with Dave & Karrie-Anne and this is my only pic of them?!

Jocelyn & I and our babies

Jocelyn & I and our babies

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A miracle…

Elianna's January baby buddy

Elianna's January baby buddy

This little guy was born exactly one week after Elianna, with a very similar story. Into the hospital on Monday, induced 4 days, finally ending with a C-section on Thursday.

When we went into the hospital for Jerry’s surgeon appointment on Wednesday (he had knee surgery 6 weeks ago) we were surprised to meet this little guy’s mom walking out of the hospital. They’d been in a car accident that day — their van had been T-boned by a truck running a red light. The van rolled 3 times, ejecting 3 of the 4 kids. Jed’s car seat flew out of the van and bounced off the truck. When it was all over, the car seat, with Jed still strapped in, was UNDER the real axle of the van. Holding up the van. Jed’s only injury was a scrape on his head, as you can see in the article in the paper

Jed’s oldest sister got caught in her seatbelt, and has injuries that have kept her in the hospital for several days. Please pray for healing for her hand, and that the infection will leave. His big brother quickly scrambled out of his seatbelt to avoid being caught in a similar fashion, and escaped from the vehicle — while it was rolling! He says he was moving very fast! Jed’s other sister stayed in her car seat, and Marielle was fine as well — as fine as one could be after an accident like that!

Could be a SUPER-strong car seat (everybody go buy a Graco!!) … or else God had a couple super-strong angels there holding up the van too! I think the latter.

Every time I hear this story being told around our community, in church, in the paper, or when I see the car seat, I can’t help but feel sick. This story could have such a different ending. We could be attending 3 funerals this week. Instead, we are rejoicing in God’s care and protection, and marveling. And I am laughing at a newspaper article that chalks it all up to “fate” in spite of Marielle clearly attributing it to God.

We are thankful Elianna’s little January buddy will still be around for her to play with!

A “DUH, Lois!” moment

I’m so excited!  Tonight is our church’s turn for holding the service at the seniors’ lodge where I worked this summer.  Jerry & I have been leading the singing for these services since late fall, so he plays guitar and I play the piano.

On a side note, our time there in November was hilarious!  I’d worked there all through my pregnancy until I took maternity leave mid-November, but scrubs do a REALLY good job of hiding one’s shape.  Thus, though I hadn’t purposely tried to hide my pregnancy, not many of the seniors knew (or remembered!) that I was going to have a baby in December [December — ha! — RIGHT! … anyway … that was a rabbit trail … can you tell I’m still a little bitter about the 2 weeks late, 4 days of inducing, then c-section ordeal?!].  Suddenly I showed up late in November, holding my husband’s hand, and HUGELY pregnant.  After the service, as I went to visit some ladies, they exclaimed in total shock, “OH!!!  You got married and you’re having a baby!!!”  Yes, yes, all in one month too!  I had to laugh!

Anyway…we’re due back again today, first time since Elianna was born.  I was a bit concerned how the evening would go.  She’s usually pretty fussy during the evenings and wants to eat constantly.  I’ve played piano for worship in church already since she was born, but that was with her Grandma there to hold her and church is her sleepy/nap time [Elianna’s, that is, not her grandma’s!] so it works well.  But an evening service at the lodge?  And who would I ask to hold her?  This child is gaining weight and she is NOT light anymore, so a frail elderly person would tire out VERY quickly! And she’s so fussy I hate to burden anyone with that!

So I was a little nervous about tonight.  AND we’re getting company this weekend so I’m crazy busy unpacking and trying to get our spare room in order this week, AND we’re on for worship on Sunday, so I’ve been practicing music for that and trying to learn new songs, AND I’m working like crazy on my Health Care Aide course because I’m supposed to write my first exam in 2 weeks, AND then there’s normal life and a baby to keep up with…ahhhh!!!  Life has been busy.  Practicing again for the service tonight was making life a bit of a time crunch.

But this morning one of the ladies from the church phoned.  Our Sunday school class is wanting to get more involved with the Lodge services, and she was wondering how she could help?  Wonderful!  So now she will play piano, and I will probably sing with Jerry (much easier to sing while bouncing a fussy baby than to play piano and bounce the baby!). I don’t have to worry about finding a senior to hold her while I play piano, and don’t have to worry about her fussing and stressing someone else, and I don’t have to practice as much today, which means I can finish the spare room and be ready for company tomorrow!

God has a way of working things out…I just wish I’d realize that a little sooner, when I’m in the midst of the worrying, rather than going, “DUH, Lois!” after it’s all worked out!

New life…mine, not Elianna’s!

It’s been 2 weeks since Elianna was born — or rather, forcibly evicted! — and 10 days since we were released from the hospital, but it feels like only a week.

I am absolutely loving life (well, in between random teary bouts!), and the small pleasures I can once again enjoy.  There were so many things I took for granted before, and then lost during pregnancy.  Now that I am well again being able to do those little things is wonderful!

It is wonderful to be able to get up in the morning, feel hungry, and go eat a bowl of cereal with milk.  Just like that.  No more waking up sick and not wanting to get up because it will get worse.  No more hanging my head over a pail for 10 minutes before even trying to eat.  No more debating whether to take my anti-nausea medication now or later in case I threw up (those things are stinking expensive!!!!).  I can just get up, and EAT.  Simple as that!

I can kiss my husband properly again without feeling sick!  Poor suffering man….it’s been a long 9 months!

I am hungry again.  Genuinely HUNGRY.  Not the “my stomach is empty and I need to eat or I will get more sick, but I REALLY don’t want to see food, and I have no clue what to eat that won’t come right back up again” type of hungry, but the “I am STARVING and I want FOOD and I don’t care what it is, just BRING ME FOOD!!!!”  I was sending Jerry out at 11 at night at the hospital, begging him to bring me food, any kind of food, anything!!!!

I can drink milk again!!!!!!!  I drank milk the morning after Elianna was born.  It was strange.  I drank it.  Two glasses of it.  My brain said, “Oooh, this is not good!  You’re not supposed to have milk!  I feel sick!” but my body said, “Hmmmm…no…I do NOT feel sick!”  Sometimes I still feel a bit sick…but I think it’s just that I’ve been sick for so long that my brain doesn’t know how to be well again!

I have energy again.  Yes, I’m tired, and yes, Elianna keeps us awake at all hours, and yes, I still feel exhausted from the eviction ordeal, but I am not constantly exhausted and bone-tired.

I’m me again.  I know, that probably sounds strange…but it’s true.  I’ve felt like a shell of myself for the last 8 months.  Exhausted, emotionally worn down to nothing, constantly fighting irrational irritation at EVERYTHING (ok, so maybe I was a bit hormonal!), peopled-out…I did not realize that being constantly sick could affect you so drastically.  I feel like a new person.  I have life in me again.  I WANT to live! (most times when Jerry would ask what he could get for me, my only request was “a gun, PLEASE!”)  My husband has his wife back.  I have energy to take care of him again emotionally.

After the longest spiritual desert/valley of my life, I feel like I am coming back out into the light again.  The black hole is over.  I don’t know how I survived it.  Then the other day I found a verse — Psalm 94:17-18 — “If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.  When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.” When I had no strength of my own, it was His that carried me through, even when it seemed He was far away.

My roommate’s parents

Random thought from when I was on Facebook this afternoon and my roommate’s mom popped up on the facebook chat.  Well, actually, I was signed in but wasn’t actually there, and by the time I got back she was gone.  So we didn’t actually talk 😦

But it reminded me how thankful I am for the people God put in my life to look after me while I was in the east.  My roommate’s parents took me under their wing and spoiled me rotten and loved me and treated me like their own.  They even flew allllll the way across Canada, just to come to my wedding!  They were so helpful, coming early to help, and being around to catch all the little details that fell through the cracks  (it’s so nice to have people around who just put on a wedding 3 weeks before!), and be our last-minute emergency help (“AHHH!!!  This needs to get to the church NOW!”)

I miss them.  I wish there weren’t so much CANADA between AB and PEI!  I’m looking forward to our next visit east, and hopefully being able to pop over to the island to see them.  I miss them.  And I’m thankful for them 🙂

My roommate's parents

My roommate's parents

My roommate's wedding, 3 weeks before ours

My roommate's wedding, 3 weeks before ours

Thankful…

I am thankful for a warm home while the wind whirls snow around outside.  The car’s clutch was really sticky yesterday when I had to go out of town for my community shift.  I think it was in shock!

I am thankful for our little baby.  I am thankful that the sickness means there is a little life growing inside me, and that there is a purpose (well, maybe not purpose, but there is a reason!) for it.  It will go away eventually…and we will have a little baby in its place.  I’d say that will be a fantastic trade! I treasure every kick and roll and jab I feel.  That is the ONE thing I will miss about pregnancy!  I never tire of them.  And I admit I kind of spaced out for part of my CPR class today, and sat there just watching my tummy around all by itself…weird!!!

I’m thankful for a home of our own…even if it’s pretty much in shambles right now, with all the renovations!  I finalized paint colors, figured out the square footage, and bought paint today.  Scary!!!  Well, for an indecisive second-guesser like me, anyway!  I finally told myself that two weeks after it’s painted, I won’t remember that I chose “misty beige” over “almond white” anyway, so just PICK one and and be done already!  I’m thankful that Bethany is here to help us with the work — there is no way we could have done it without her.  Well, we probably could have, but we probably wouldn’t have moved in until March!  I’m thankful for Aunty Esther’s help — she’s spent a couple afternoons out at the house working, and I’m thankful.  Oil-based paint and this pregnant momma aren’t supposed to mix right now, so I have to keep my distance from the house for a couple days.  I’m thankful for those who step in to help out.  I’m thankful for Daniel and Torrey painting the ceilings with Fresh Tex last weekend, and erasing the smoke smell the yellowed ceilings were holding.  I’m thankful Kimberly stayed a week with us and helped Bethany so much.  I’m thankful for a good deal on new kitchen cupboards — they are totally going to change that kitchen!

I’m thankful for my hard-working hubby who is basically working two jobs right now — one to provide for us, and one to ready our new home.  I’m thankful for his patience when I am sick, and for his loving care.  He takes such good care of me!

I’m thankful for our Heavenly Father, who also takes such good care of us, even when we don’t “deserve” it.  I’m thankful He never leaves us, and that He walks through the darkest of valleys with us.