Friday, November 19, 2010


A number of people have asked, so if you're wondering how the visit with the doctor went yesterday, here is the answer.

"It went well."

Who will we choose?

"Not a clue."

There are pros and cons to each, so we are praying for wisdom. We liked the doctor yesterday. She definitely had more knowledge about mitochondrial disease than any pediatrician I have ever met, as well as a very good understanding of the testing she has already had. It was really pretty impressive what she knew. And the office was very, very nice, aesthetically and personality wise. I am concerned, though, that because she has so much knowledge of the disease, it will make her less willing to work with our geneticist. Doctor #1 was very willing, and has already corresponded with, her geneticist.

I will keep you posted.

Anyone want to make the choice for us?

Didn't think so.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moving Right Along

Hi Everyone!

Yes, things are moving right along here in Michigan. We are settling into some routines and really finding our way around. We still miss home, but each day is getting a little easier. Here's a quick update:

We are still working to unpack/store boxes. There is no way all of our stuff is going to fit in this house, so the girls and I have decided to have a yard sale in the spring. Apparently they're very popular up here, and we are in a well-traveled location, so maybe it will go better than our last ones have. :-) Jeff usually usually says that he will just pay me $20 NOT to have one. That would be more than I typically make at a yard sale. Most people we knew had a hard time finding our previous could we expect a total stranger to?

Getting rid of stuff can really be a challenge for me. For whatever reason, I have always found a lot of (false) security in "stuff". I have always wanted to have everything I might need for any occasion. However, I am seeking the Lord for freedom in less "stuff". I am learning that just because something is nice and in good shape, if I don't use it, I don't need to keep it. I am also changing some of my definitions of "sentimental". I have always wanted to hold onto every scrap of anything my girls have ever touched. I am realizing that is my desperate attempt to keep them young and here with me. It all boils down to a trust issue. Do I trust the Lord to meet my every need? Do I trust Him to give me my daily bread, or am I trying to put my future in my own hands? Does He tell us to store up our treasures on earth? NO! Quite the opposite....we are to store up treasures in heaven. He says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I want my heart set on eternal, heavenly goals. Not the temporal things of this earth. Not to mention the practical aspects. The more I think about it, it makes no sense to use up space we could be living in/playing games in/having people over store stuff we never use. It definitely makes no sense to pay for storage for things we never use. We are not paying for a storage building (though we have in the past), and we have not bought a storage shed, however, are we not paying for the space we are living in? I guess all I am saying is that I want to be a good steward of all God has given me, even if that means getting rid of stuff. I am finding great freedom in seeing more and more stuff go, and you know what? I haven't even missed (most of) it. :-)

Okay, well, I digressed a little. The update continues:

We took Clara to her new doctor the other day. He is a sharp man, very smart, and he is a godly man. I am still not real crazy about the office procedures, and Emilie asked me why he didn't talk to her at all on our first visit, so those are concerns. It was a very information filled, intense visit, because he put all of Clara's history in the computer...and that's quite a history! Maybe he just didn't have time on that visit to talk the girls very much?? We are interviewing another one today, so we'll see what happens. Ultimately I have to do what is best for the girls. I am thrilled at how willing our current one is to work with Clara's geneticist, and there are many other positives. We will just have to see. Please pray I will have wisdom in this area. I say "I" because Jeff is not able to visit these doctors with me and he is trusting my judgment.

Jeff is settling into his job and feeling a little more useful. It has been an adjustment for him, learning to do a job that is not so labor intensive and goal oriented. However, he is so gifted for ministry, and he is loving it more and more. For once, I think he knows more people than I do! :-)

We found a children's choir! Alyssa and Emilie were so sad to leave many things in Georgia, but one of the things they grieved the most was leaving the Georgia Children's Chorus. What a fabulous experience they had there, learning to love and appreciate wonderful, quality music, and to learn the proper way to use their voices...and investment into many more years to sing praise to God! When we first moved here, I could find nothing....I mean, nothing like that for them. However, on Monday night we went to the South Bend Chocolate Cafe' to get dessert for my birthday, and hanging on their bulletin board was an announcement for auditions for a children's chorus! It is a brand new chorus, which is a little scary and exciting, but the lady in charge has some impressive credentials, so I am hoping for the best. They have auditions on Saturday morning. Please pray it goes well and their nerves don't get the best of them!

Proof that they do love at each least a little. :-)

We are praying about what other activities, if any, to get the girls involved in. The therapeutic ranch still has not returned any of my messages, so I am not sure what to do about over there?? I don't want to be obnoxious, but I am in the north now. :-) It seems you can get away with a little more of that here. :-) We would like to do something to keep the girls physically active this winter, but again we want to be very good stewards of what the Lord has blessed us with...time, money, and everything else. Please pray we will have wisdom in these decisions.

Alyssa and Emilie went roller skating for the first time on Tuesday. I wish I had my video camera with me! What a hoot! They really did pretty well, but they both had some pretty major falls, and are having some trouble walking around. It's getting better, but I am pretty sure they both bruised their tail bones. OW! And lest I only reveal their embarrassing stories, I ate my own share of humble pie. Back in the "day" (20+ years ago), I was quite the skater. However, 20 years and 100 pounds later, I looked like those people I always laughed at as a kid. I made it around the rink twice and decided that 911 was in my very near future, so I quit...for that day. We're going back, and hopefully soon, the muscle memory will kick in. :-)

I didn't have my camera at the birthday party where Alyssa and Emilie skated, but here are our other little amateur skaters. I found these skates at a consignment shop here, and they have loved them! They wore them as shoes for the first three days they owned them. :-)

I guess that's all the big stuff. I will leave you with a funny Clara story. Keep in mind that she was as serious as serious could be when she said this....

Yesterday we were out running errands. Clara had on her "watch" of those little plastic deals that kids get at birthday parties. It has a little picture of a dog on the face with two little cut-outs. There are two little balls that roll around in there and you are supposed to get the ball in the holes. You know what I'm talking about... Well, she reached down into her seat to get something, and when she did, she got it caught on something in her seat and the plastic face popped off and the little balls and the picture fell out. She looked down at her watch and said, "Oh great! It broke. Now how am I supposed to know what time it is?"

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We have had many challenges with our children over the years, but sleep has never been one of them ...until we moved. Megan, our three year-old, has never been our most flexible child, to say the least, and I think having her little world rocked 800 miles away from her bed and her home has been a little too much to handle at night. Every night....EVERY night since we moved, she has crawled, or at least tried to crawl, into bed with us. I will admit that the first few nights were really sweet to me. I have never slept with my children and the snuggle time was nice at first. However, after night, had become a little too much. She sleeps a little bit like an orangutan....all over the bed, and coupled with the fact I have not slept well since we've been here, it was wearing on me. However, this morning, for the first time since we moved, Megan woke up in HER BED!!! Woo-HOOOOOO!!! And she slept until a more normal time for her. At about 8:30, I heard a sweet little, "Up please, mommeeeeeeee..." Ahhh...


Is it because she is finally adjusted?

Is it because her sister's floor was too messy for her to lay in when she couldn't get into our room?

Is it because we wore her out at the swimming pool last night?

I don't know, but right now, it doesn't matter to me. I am just happy. :-)

On the other hand, it is hard to get too upset with this little stinker. :-)

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Little Like Georgia

This post is a little later than I meant for it to be. Things have been a little busy, as you can imagine. We are not nearly as unpacked as I thought we would be at this point, but life keeps happening, regardless of what I need to get done. Laundry keeps getting dirty, floors need to be swept, and no matter what I do, these kids keeping getting hungry! Not just once, but THREE TIMES A DAY! :-)

Overall, things are going well, though. We are making some progress on getting some things taken care of for Clara, though I still cannot get anyone from the therapeutic ranch to call me back. I am a little anxious to get her back on a does so much to build her strength. On the other hand, it might be best to wait until after the holidays. I am just believing that God will work it out the way He sees fit. Additionally, we are finally learning our way around, and slowly but surely, we are meeting people and making new friends. One of the things I have missed most since I have been here is music. I don't mean the kind you hear on the radio...I mean REAL music. I miss being a part of music. I miss the experience of music. Well, I am so excited because I have been asked to play flute at a ladies banquet this Saturday night!! I don't care about the spotlight, or any of that. I am just so excited to have an opportunity to play again and be a part of something meaningful like that. That helps me feel a little more at home, as well. I sometimes have a fear that the gifts Jeff and I have, and the years of training that go with those gifts, are not going to be useful here, and I have not been ready to let go of that quite yet. I am so thankful this came along. I am praying for His perfect will in this area, as well.

As you know, Sundays have been our hardest days, but this past Sunday was our best yet. I only got choked up once and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. We visited another church with some wonderful qualities. We know the preacher of that church. His wife is the daughter of our Sunday School teacher at BeechHaven. We went to lunch after the service, and there was something very comforting about spending the afternoon with a little bit of "home". They are precious people. Sunday was the first day I have had a glimpse of "this is going to be okay...this will be like home someday" that was nice.

Our big excitement is that it snowed last Friday! We reacted as true southerners....we raced to the first scene of the snow to play in it before it melted! (It started snowing 5 miles away at the Camp, and didn't get here for another 4 hours.) And speaking of feeling at home, it was a true Georgia snow. It was only a couple of inches, you couldn't roll a snowball without it being full of leaves, and it was pretty much gone the next day! The following Monday, temperatures were in the 60's and we were in our flip-flops. Doesn't that sound like Georgia? I know there is more to come, and I know that in a few months we will no longer be excited, but for now, it was very least for the kids. Here are a few of our pictures:

We got a call from a friend at the Camp telling us it was snowing there. The skies were like spring here. So we waited about thirty minutes, realized the snow wasn't coming here for a while, if at all, so we bundled up, got in the car, played at the Camp, and got laughed at by everyone who drove by. :-) As you can see, we didn't let the heckling stop us! It had already started melting before we got there, but we played anyway. :-)

That night, it really came down here. We had already planned to go eat that night with some friends...northern friends.... in Benton Harbor. We were not about to cancel because of snow (You know, when in Michigan....), so we drove in snow that was WAY heavier than anything I would drive in if I were in Georgia. The funny thing is, the snow plows were not even sent out, so for up here, it wasn't much. How far is Benton Harbor? I couldn't tell you. I CAN tell you that it took about 40 minutes for these southerners to drive there in the snow, but I think it is only about 20 minutes away. We saw three or four cars in the ditch, but thankfully, we were not one of them. On the way home, it was really falling, and the best we could do was just stay in the ruts that had already been created in the road. I am sure we will get the hang of it. I asked my friend, Laurie, how you can even tell where the lanes are. She said, "You just have to guess." Lovely.

When we got home, the girls were eager to play, in spite of the dark, so we let them. Hey, you only have your first Michigan snow once. Right??

This was the sunrise out of my kitchen window the following morning. Just beautiful. The picture doesn't do it justice, plus I took it through the window, so that does not help the quality of the shot. :-) I was not about to get out of my warm P.J.'s to take a picture. Are you kidding me??

Can you guess which member of my family would build a snowman with such flair?

As you can see, Jeff is settling in quite nicely at work. He is already very comfortable there. :-)

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Fun!

In the midst of feeling buried in the beautiful leaves that have fallen in Michigan, we have also had our share of fun...

...making, and eating, caramel apples.

We went to the pumpkin patch and corn maze with some sweet friends.

Going into the corn maze.

Petting the goats.

Feeding the goats.

Picking a pumpkin....root, stem, and all!

♪♪♫♪Bumping up and down in a little red wagon..♪♫♫♪
shaking our "Indian Maracas"

We took a picnic lunch to a (very cool) nearby park with those same sweet friends.

The playground.
Neat, huh?

We carved pumpkins and toasted pumpkin seeds....

...except for Clara, who wanted NO PART of touching that "yucky stuff".

There has been wrestling...yes, my four "Dainty Flowers" LOVE to wrestle with their Daddy. (Alyssa more so than the others, but they all love it!)

And....last, but not least, the night I received the honor of "Mother of the Year"... the Fall Festival. How, you ask, did I receive such an honor? Well, it was a southern moment, to be sure. In the three weeks since we have been here, I have scrambled around like crazy to make sure we have all of our winter attire. First, I had to learn what such attire LOOKS like, and then, I had to find it. As my southern friends (especially ones who are hot-natured like me) know, we just don't need a lot of that down South. However, I have learned a very valuable lesson about such attire, besides how to identify it all. The secret to staying warm, apparently, is TO TAKE THE SAID ATTIRE OUT OF THE PRETTY RUBBERMAID CONTAINER IT IS BEING STORED IN! Yes, all of our warm clothes, coats, scarves, gloves, mittens, etc., etc., were stored, nice and neatly in the container at home, while we froze half to death at the Fall Festival. My children actually asked to leave the sugar-coated heaven that is said festival because they were "too cold". Ooops. Who knew it would be cold in October?? Anyway, we managed to have a little fun before we turned into southern-sicles. :-)

Megan wanted me to watch her "fly" to the big slide.

Name that "Rocker". I'll give you a hint...he sings with the "Twisted Brother" band. :-)

No Fall Festival is complete without a hayride!!

I would have taken more pictures, but my fingers were too cold. :-)

Have a great day! If you are in the South, enjoy the rest of your Fall, and if you are here in the North, please remove your warm attire from the containers it is being stored in, and get ready for the snow that is being forecasted for Thursday or Friday. Oh.... you already had it out? Oh, well. Next year, I will know. :-)


Sunday, October 31, 2010


I must say that today has been the hardest day we, as a family, have had since we got here. Sundays have been the hardest anyway, because it is on Sunday that we feel the biggest loss. We loved and were loved so deeply in our home church and in many ways, we considered them our family. We visited our fourth church today, and while all of the churches we have visited have had their positive aspects, we just always realize that we are not home. Up to this point, I have been the one hit the hardest with the homesickness. To be honest, I have been very surprised at how homesick I have been, but nonetheless, I have been, and terribly so. The kids have seemed pretty good, though, and as long as they are good, I can be good, too. It has all changed in the last 48 hours, though. Megan has had a really hard time getting to sleep the last two nights and wants her bed at home back, not to mention, she keeps pooping in her pants for some reason. Emilie is getting weirder by the day and Clara, well, she is still doing very well. She certainly misses home and talks about home, friends, and Grandmas a lot, but otherwise, she's been steady. I guess what really broke me today was what happened at church. It is very normal for me to get teary during the music time. Music affects me so deeply anyway, but church music is so different here. So I guess that is what makes it add to my homesickeness. But then, while I was mouthing the words to the song today because I was too choked up to sing, I looked over at Alyssa and she was crying, too. It took us both about three songs to stop. At lunch she said, "It was already a song we sing at our church, and then we got to a part where the trumpets come in...", and then she stopped because she was choked up again. (There are no orchestras here that we have found, thus, no trumpet entrance.) For the first time since we've been here, Jeff is homesick, too, so I guess we're just having a rough day.

So, in light of all the sad stuff, I wanted to share with you one of my BEST memories since we've here. As I shared before, my brother, Thomas, came up here with us to help us move. That was really great, because 1) I love his company and it was very good to spend that time with him. 2) He is made of solid muscle and was a huge help to us, and 3) it felt like we still had a little piece of home with us. We worked so hard for the first week and half we were here, we decided to do some fun things before he left and show him a few of the really neat things about this town. So, we went to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.

We went to Silver Beach.

And he and I went to Chicago. I have never been to Chicage, and he used to live in Chicago (and I think would really love to live there again). His plane was flying out of Chicago, so he and I went two days early so we could spend a day together and then he spent the next day by himself. We rode the train from Niles to Chicago, which was definitely more cost effective, not to mention I still couldn't find my way home from the grocery store at that point, much less find my way from Chicago. Once we got there, we rode the "L" to the area Thomas wanted me to see first. This was my first subway ride ever (MARTA does not count...especially after seeing this transportation system).

Cool statue!

The first thing we saw was the Buckingham fountain, which absolutely took my breath away when we walked over the hill. I couldn't get over how BIG (and loud) it was!

We walked through Grant Park and saw the big bean. (Okay...that's not the real name, it's just what I call it.)

The amphitheater aliens least that's what Thomas told me. :-) Brothers can always be trusted, right??

Then we went to the Navy Pier. That was so very cool....I can't wait to go there with Jeff and the girls.

We rode the World's 2nd Largest Ferris Wheel. (40 buckets...or whatever you call them)

This is the view of Chicago from the top of the ferris wheel. It takes 7.5 minutes to go around one time.

We saw the big anchor from the 3rd Chicago warship,

We did the Macarena...I mean, Macaroni....oh, wait..... Heeeeeeyyyyy Macaroni!!!!

And I ate my first authentic Chicago-style hotdog. Overall, we just had a great time being together. It was while we were at the pier that I got a text from Jeff that scared me to death. Clara woke up that morning very lethargic and throwing up. Remember that miracle I mentioned before? Well, this was it. Her glucose numbers and ketone numbers were the worst I have seen them, and I was in Chicago with no transportation. It would have taken a minimum of four hours to get home. I was convinced I was going to end up meeting Jeff at the hospital once I got home. I called her doctor, and in the few hours it took for her to get back with me, Clara quit throwing up and seemed to be feeling a little better. By the time I talked to Dr. Kendall, she had not thrown up in three hours and was able to keep a little soup down. She said to have Jeff check her levels again, and depending on that and whether or not she threw up again, we would have to take her to the hospital. In the meantime, we had many friends praying for her...that's all I knew to do at that point. When I hung up with Dr. Kendall and Jeff took her levels again, everything was normal. Praise the Lord! There is no other explanation but the healing power of God. She could have never come out of a crash like that on her own.

With Clara doing much better, Thomas and I continued our day together. The last thing we did was go to the Field Museum across from Soldier Field.

At that point, I was exhausted. I am not quite the trained athlete my brother is, and my legs and feet were failing me. It was "free" day at the museum, so I didn't feel bad sitting a while to catch my breath.

Really, this was one of the best days I have had in a long time. It was just relaxing and fun, even though we didn't really do anything "spectacular". We just enjoyed hanging out together. In many ways, I saw Thomas the happiest and most at ease I have ever seen him. I realized that day, that a lot of who Thomas is was created when he lived in Chicago. He seemed to be at peace with the world and with life, and very happy just to be there. It also made me realize how very proud I am of him for the sacrifices he has made to be where he is for his family.

Finally came the part I had dreaded all day...."Good-bye".

While I thought I had no more tears left in me after all the "good-byes" I said at home, they must have had plenty of time to replenish. I got on the train and could NOT quit crying, no matter how hard I tried. The only "up" side to that was that the train was very full that night and people were having to fill in all the seats to make room...except me. It's funny how people pretend not to notice you when you are blubbering like an idiot, but you know they are thinking, "I am NOT going to sit beside that blubbering, dripping-with-snot woman". So while it was not intentional, it was nice to have some space on the way home (except for the really LOUD woman across the isle from me...Facebook friends know who I am talking about).

So, that's it. The memory I have been going back to whenever I get sad. The memory that lifts my spirits right before I realize, again, how homesick I am. Don't get me wrong, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we are in God's will. I just realize now the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to do the work He calls us to. He never promises us happiness, just peace.

Hopefully I have not depressed you. Just trying to be real. Sometimes when I am typing here, I feel like I am talking to my friends. I miss that. :-)

Much love to you all!! A fun post about all of our Fall fun is coming in the next few days!!