Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Judge Not...

Recently I was talking with a friend and got on a subject where I realized later just how bad I was judging someone else and their actions. I felt really guilty about it as I lay in bed that night. My heart was in the wrong place and I know that now. I then started thinking about a few verses I know about judging others...

Matthew 7:2
For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

Wow! I will be judged by the standard I judge others with? That's a tough thought for me. I can be pretty harsh when looking at others but do I really want to look at myself the same way?

Romans 2:3
Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?

Again, what am I thinking when I judge others? Should I not be worried that I am doing some of these same things? Is my heart in the right place?

Ecclesiastes 3:17
I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”

It is not up to me to judge those in my life. That's God's job and I'm sure He can handle it much better than I can anyway. So from now on, I'm going to strive to let Him be the judge and trust that He has it taken care of. I know it won't be easy because human nature will cause me to stray but I want my heart to be in the right place.

Do you ever struggle with judging others? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When Life Gets Flipped

I don't know how else to explain the way I feel but to say that life has been flipped upside down lately. Things aren't like they used to be. I get so worn out easily and the kids know it. My attitude is much more on edge than I'd like to admit. I struggle to keep it together when there are four children yelling, goofing off, banging things and making noise. My ears actually hurt and feel like someone is sticking pins in them at points during the day!

I know God has a plan! I know He has a purpose! I keep trusting that it will all be revealed in His time!

Today I'm trying to focus on the good and find the silver linings but it's not always easy.

Please continue to pray for strength, patience and understanding of this crazy disease and the effects on my body!!

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I love to hate steroids! At first I loved the steroids because they took away the pain, discoloration of my gums, bloody noses and more. It was amazing to be able to walk without join pain. I wasn't embarrassed to open my mouth to speak or smile at people because my gums looked terrible. What an amazing drug!

Then the side effects started. I noticed my face getting more round. I told my Mom I looked like a chipmunk and she jokingly said "You'll be a cute little chipmunk for Fall!" Nice one, Mom. Then I noticed that my jeans were feeling a bit snug in the waist which I've never struggled with... I'm more of the jeans being tight in the rear/thigh/hip area.

Plus, they make me super cranky! I feel like I want to crawl out of my own skin some days. I am on edge with the boys and Jeff. I feel like I can lose my mind at the drop of a hat. It's NOT a pleasant feeling or the way I want to live my life and love on my family.

So I saw the doctor on Friday and thought for sure I could convince her to start weaning me off the steroids but she said no. In fact, she said we can't start that until we get the Cytoxan (chemo) higher. I will be starting to double those meds next week sometime. Not sure how I feel about either of those ideas. I had no idea we were going to be upping them at all. Sounds like this may only be the beginning of treatment.

I'm supposed to be walking 4 miles per day and eating more "rabbit" food and protein. I started off well yesterday so we'll see if I can work up to 4 miles per day. That's quite a bit when you're trying to drag 4 kids along. Hoping I can find an inexpensive treadmill to be able to walk at home.

I'm trying not to feel discouraged right now but it's really hard. I know God has a plan in all of this and I want so bad to just know right now what that is! Pray that I can stay positive and keep looking ahead. I will remain confident in this... I WILL see the goodness of the LORD!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spread out

Having 4 children is fun! We never really had a set number or a set number of years apart we wanted our children. We just knew we loved kids. Once we had Josh we knew we wanted him to have a sibling so we started trying when he was maybe 16 months? Can't remember exactly but I know it felt like it took forever to actually get pregnant! I remember times when I would just cry and cry because I thought we'd never have another baby. Finally it happened and along came Seth. Then we decided to try again, in hopes of a girl and along came Jacob. Then I got pregnant again and Jordan surprised us all.

Life sure is challenging when you have 4 boys, each 3 years apart...

There is 5th grade homework and diapers being changed.
We have two kids losing teeth and one just popping in his baby molars.
The oldest is practicing trumpet while the youngest needs a nap.
There's skim milk and whole milk in the fridge.
Three can get their own snacks and I'm still cutting up food for the baby.

It is definitely spread out and crazy but it's the way we roll around here. I wouldn't change it for anything! It has given us the opportunity to enjoy each boy in each stage of his life. We celebrate the big and little victories of every day life together. God has truly blessed our family!

Family Fun Fact... This summer the boys all turned a year older 10, 7, 4 and 1... the years they were born 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010. Kind of cool, huh?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Diagnosis... part 2

My next step was to see an ENT. I got in right away with him but wasn't thrilled. The appointment felt very rushed and he wasn't the nicest guy. He shoved a tube down my nose and looked around near my voice box. It was painful and I gagged a lot. Oh well, I've had worse! He sent me for a sinus CT to make sure there were no serious masses on top of other issues.

The results came back negative and he said my sinuses were beautiful. Nice, huh? This appointment went very well and he agreed that I did have Wegener's Granuloma. I liked him more at that point because he wasn't sticking tubes down my nose! Anyway, he suggested that I see a Rheumatologist and possibly a Pulmonologist and Immunologist.... you get the "gist" Ha!

Scheduled my appointment and got in with the Rhuematologist. She wasn't very friendly either. What's up with these doctors? Anyway, they asked tons of questions. I was asked to strip to my undies and put on a gown.... good thing I wore my nice, new ones! They poked and touched about everything on my body. Asked more questions but didn't give much info. Took 8 vials of blood and a urine sample. It was so much fun, I could have stayed all day!

I had to go for a TB test on Friday and that came back negative on Monday. No surprise but I guess it had to be done. Tomorrow I'm scheduled for a high resolution chest CT. We'll see how that goes. This will be the third time I've been to that radiologist in the past few weeks so I'm expecting to see my name in lights on one of the rooms.

Next week I'll see the Rheumatologist again and hopefully get some answers. I was given some info to read about the new drugs they want to start me on. They sound thrilling and the side effects sound heavenly... NOT! They are types of chemo drugs so I'm not sure what all is involved. A friend of mine that's a nurse said it was probably be intravenously but I won't know the details until I talk with the doctor.

So far the steroids haven't been too bad. They put me in a foggy state and I can't always focus on what's going on around me. My gums look better, my voice is stronger and my joints aren't aching so that is a huge plus! I guess we'll see where this journey takes me. For now I'm trusting that it's all in God's plan and I can't wait to see where He takes me next!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Diagnosis

It's been a rough couple of months around here. Back in April, I started getting terrible headaches. Then I noticed my gums bleeding. Not just when I brushed or ate but just here and there. It was weird. I mentioned it to the doctor who brought up some different ideas and thoughts. They sent me for blood work and said to take Motrin for pain.

After about a month and no change, I decided to seek another doctor's opinion. He adjusted my neck and back, ran more blood tests, sent me for an MRI and gave me a new prescription for migraine medicine. The MRI came back clean which was a praise! The migraine medicine seemed to help with the headaches so I was happy.

However, my gums were not only bleeding but they were turning colors now. I made an appointment at the dentist to see what they thought. They took tons of xrays and did a thorough check up. The dentist gave me a referral to see an oral surgeon. I wasn't sure what to think at that point. I knew something was up but I didn't know exactly what.

Thankfully, a friend from church works in the oral surgeon's office and got me an appointment right away. He came in and took a look and had some scary news for me... he thought I was showing signs of Leukemia or Lymphoma. So I had to go for blood work and he put a STAT order on it. The results came back the next morning and they were negative. Another huge praise! That leaves you wondering what it could possibly be though. His office scheduled me for a gum biopsy that same Saturday. It wasn't too painful and it only took a few minutes. He suggested that day that they were looking at a couple different diseases and one of them was Wegener's Granuloma. I had no idea what that was but was thankful they were taking it seriously!

I went home to wait for the results and look up this new disease. Probably not the best idea to google something like that. You will see every scary thing that has ever happened to people! Oh well, I was curious and couldn't just sit at home and wait, right?

Later that week I went back to the regular doctor to talk with them about possible infections in my sinus and chest area. They started me on another antibiotic and a small dose of steroids. Plus, sent me for more blood work. This time doing an actual test for Wegener's Granuloma.

The blood work and the biopsy both came back positive for it. So there was my answer. Now I knew what I had but what to do with it... continued on a later post...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When Kiddos are Sick

It all started with me getting a double ear infection and sore throat. I assume it's from the swimming we've been doing and the fact that my body isn't used to that much water in my ears. Oh well, started meds and have been feeling a little better.

Next was Jordan's turn. He started running a fever on Wednesday. By Friday it was still spiking and I didn't want to go into the weekend without a trip to the doctor. They got him in and said "Double ear infection and possible strep." Sounds like I've heard that somewhere before!

Sure enough Jake spiked a fever Tuesday night, right before bed. He had shots on Monday so I thought it might be an adverse reaction to that. Called the doctor and they said it probably was. I'm supposed to wait it out and see if he's still spiking a fever by Friday. Last night was the first time he complained that his mouth (throat) hurts. Here we go again...

I guess with 4 kids in the house this is bound to happen. I just hate to see them suffering! It breaks my heart. Hopefully we'll kick this one in the booty and be well for a while!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Living with ADHD

We've known for a long time that Seth had some ADHD tendencies but we've always just called him our "wild man" and laughed it off. He's very active and has more energy than anyone I know!

I was worried as he entered Kindergarten and wasn't sure how he'd ever make it. The teacher was very strict and had a very scheduled day. In some ways that's good and in others, it's not. They got along but I could always tell that he definitely wasn't her favorite student. I felt bad for him and wished for a better start to his elementary education.

As we entered into 1st grade we found out that there was a teacher available that Josh had for 2nd grade. She was a Christian teacher and we felt so blessed to have her once! I spoke with her and she was aware that he was active and was willing to take on the challenge.

After a couple months of school and Seth coming home on yellow or orange, I knew things had to improve! Plus, things at home had taken a turn for the worse. There were some very strange and unreasonable behaviors taking place. I talked to the teacher and she said he definitely had signs of ADHD. At least I wasn't really losing my mind!

The teacher wrote a letter and we got Seth into see a specialist. She went over a check list with us. Anything over 25 was considered ADHD... Seth scored 49. It was pretty obvious that he needed to get this under control. We talked about our options and decided that medicine was the best way to go for us at the time. We went home with a prescription for Adderall. He started the next morning and within a week we saw changes at home and school. It was amazing!

A couple months later we started having some more issues with his behavior and questioned the medicines effectiveness. We saw the doctor again and she recommended that we up the dosage. So he started taking a little more and that seemed to do the trick. Back on track.

However, a couple more months went by and we started seeing signs that something else might be going on. He started speaking very "properly" for lack of a better word. He would enunciate his words quite often. We noticed that he was having hard time playing with friends and sharing. He often felt like the friends were out to get him and trying to make him mad. This was hard to watch as a parent because he would then just play by himself in the corner or in his room. There are some other issues as well.

We saw the doctor last month and she suggested that we have him evaluated. We're now working on getting that done so we can get him the treatment and help he needs. It's a long road but I'm glad God is with us. I'm not sure I would make it without knowing He has a plan for Seth's life!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To work, or not to work...

Lately I've been considering getting a job. Not because I want to but because I have to. We've had some unexpected medical issues arise and that brings bills for some reason. It's not easy when you see your child in pain and the pediatrician says "Take him down to the children's hospital to have it checked out." You do it because what is your other option? Well, unfortunately that also caused us to get a $1400 bill in the mail. My favorite kind of mail... NOT!

Then when you're having terrible headaches for months and no medication is clearing it up. You go to the doctor and he says words like Leukemia, brain tumor, or whatever else he said that I didn't catch because he said those other words that had me freaking out! You go for the MRI and a few weeks later an $800 bill arrives in the mail.

Now I'm scheduled to go to the dentist and who knows how much that will cost me. I'm bracing myself for it! Probably not going to be pretty.

We have insurance for both medical and dental but it's not the best. What's up with that anyway? Isn't it supposed to help us out and cover the issues we're having.

So anyway, we're praying about our options and trying to figure out how God is going to provide. Jeff says he could go get a second job but I feel terrible thinking about him working double time so I can keep staying home. I'm not a good salesperson so I don't think any of those in-home party sales would be a great option. I'm open to suggestions though! Any ideas? Otherwise, just pray for our family to do what God wants us to do!

Monday, July 11, 2011


I have lots of "friends" in my life but there are some that are closer than others. One friend that comes to mind as a constant in my life is Julie. We've been friends for over 9 years. Honestly, we can't either one remember how exactly it started. We were in the same small group for several years and I'm guessing it just kind of happened. I'm sure thankful it did!

I can think back on so many memories over the years...

~ The time I worked with her sister in law, Jenny and we surprised her with a baby shower. I know there are pictures somewhere but her face was priceless when she walked in!

~ The times we scrapbooked together late into the night.

~ I remember when her and Mark wanted to do a Holiday open house. We worked so hard on the finger foods. The party was a big hit!

~ Once when I surprised her for her birthday and we went horseback riding. That
was fun!

~ I remember roping her into co-directing the church nursery with me. It was great serving with a friend.

~ She threw me a baby shower for baby boy #2 and helped with baby boy #3.

~ She comforted me and my family the night we thought we had lost my sister.

~ Once when I had surgery she had to come "babysit" me because I was loopy on pain killers and couldn't move very well. Who knows what I said to her that day!

~ She supported me and was always there during the time my Mom made her way through breast cancer. Plus, made my Mom a goody bag of some of her favorite things... like red hots to help get through chemo!

~ The time her dog, Snickers died and we drove to the vet. We waiting as they got him out and she burst into tears in the parking lot. We stood and cried until we laughed. Then stopped at Starbucks to help us get through it!

~ We had a special adoption shower for her when L and B were coming home.

~ We've seen so many movies over the years... we really should have kept a count of them because that would have been fun!

For years now, she's been praying for me in good times and bad. I know I can always call her up when I've had a rough day and cry my eyes out. It's not always pretty but she helps me work through it and sees the silver lining. Like the time my son finger painted on the brand new carpet and she rushed over with her carpet cleaner. Or when I was pregnant and not sure I could love all of my kids enough. Probably sounds silly now but they were big when they happened.

Not only that but she's been a cheerleader for me in some business schemes I've tried... Premier Jewelry, Avon and Day care in my home. Always willing to offer a hand or host a party. Always coming up with new ideas to make extra to help support my family.

There have been nights where we've gone to dinner or a movie, hit up Starbucks and that's not quite long enough so we sit in the car for another couple hours and just talk about anything and everything! She even puts up with me when I get slap-happy and can't control my laughter. Actually, I think she secretly hopes I get that way every time :o)

I've been so blessed over the years! I've learned nothing can surprise me about her. She is willing to take risks and try new things. Her heart is HUGE and she has a big desire to serve the Lord and those around her.

Most recently I have to say that I've loved watching her through the adoption process. I remember the morning she stopped by with a video and we watched two sweet kids singing together. I cried my eyes out at the hopes of these two coming home to live with her. I knew that she was the perfect Mom for the job! I waited patiently for updates and news as the process continued. I had no idea what she was going through but I tried to cheer her on and encourage her along the journey! It was such a special night when they came home and I got to be a part of the "family" at the airport to welcome them. What a joy that truly was and I will never forget it!

Now her heart for orphans is bigger than ever. She's also a big hot-shot that wrote a book, Adopt without Debt. Recently she was featured on the Dave Ramsey show. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments. God is really using her to reach out and spread the hope about adoption. It can be done and she is proof.

I honestly can't imagine my life without her! Julie, thank you for being such a huge blessing in my life. God truly brought me a gift when our paths crossed. Love you, girl!

This was the time I surprised her and
we went horseback riding... cowboy hats and all!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Rough Start

Jordan was a different baby from inside the womb. With my first three, I was terribly sick for a good part of pregnancy. Not this little guy, I hardly even felt nauseous or tossed my cookies. He moved but wasn't super active. I even carried him differently. I honestly thought he was going to be a girl since my pregnancy was so different.

After several weeks of him trying to escape the womb and doctors stopping it, he made his appearance on June 18th. We were so excited and felt so blessed to have our 4th little guy. Even his entrance was different... he was screaming on the way out and came head and hand first. The doctor and nurses had a good laugh about him trying to shake their hand as he came out!

He was so sweet but was a crier from the beginning of life. I remember one evening at the hospital when there were several people in the room and the nurse came in because he wouldn't stop crying. She took him and swaddled him up tight and laid him in the bed, propped up. We were told to leave him alone for an hour or so because he was overstimulated. It worked! He just wanted to be left alone.

As time went on he was an "okay" baby. Friends and people at church would ask me if he was a good baby and I would reply "No, not really!" I felt terrible but it was the honest to goodness truth and I was tired of pretending. I just wanted him to stop crying. It got to the point where the three older boys just expected that's what all babies did. I was in tears more than a few times by the time Jeff would get home from work. I'd hand him over and go sit in my room for peace and quiet... just 10 minutes was enough!

When he was about 4 months old I realized that he would cry for hours on end and something wasn't right. I mentioned it to the doctor but she didn't really seem too concerned. She said "keep an eye on it." One night, he had been crying for 3 hours straight. I called my Mom and asked her opinion.

We ended up leaving the three older boys with her and my Dad and went to the Children's Hospital. I remember standing there in the triage area where I heard one nurse say to the other "He's crying more than normal, something definitely isn't right." So they checked him in and got us settled in a room. The doctor came in a checked him over and they decided to do blood work. She came in quickly and said that his white blood cell count was through the roof and more tests needed to be done. So a spinal tap was ordered, urine was collected and an IV was placed in his foot. I couldn't stand the thought of watching the spinal so I left the room. I will never forget hearing him screaming from down the hallway in the waiting room. It brought tears to my eyes and I held my breath. I remember the words "leukemia" and "infections" being spoken but most of that was a blur because I was so tired and scared.

Later they moved us to a room where he was admitted and they started treatment. They ruled out anything scary and finally just told us he had a bad infection. In fact, every time a doctor or nurse would enter the room, they would glove up and put on a gown. It was really weird not knowing what type of infection was running through his body. They honestly couldn't give me that answer.

On day three they sent us down for testing of reflux and swallowing disorders. I was nervous about how he would do. The did several tests where they tilted him around on a table and in a chair. I had to feed him this milky white solution from a bottle, spoon and cup. He took it easily so that was a blessing. I can't imagine if he would have fought the process! They diagnosed him with reflux and started him on Zantac twice daily. The nurses laughed when they would come in for his dose each morning and night. They said they never saw a baby who took it so nicely. Apparently, it doesn't taste great and most babies would fight it. I honestly think he wanted the relief and didn't have the energy to fight them! God worked it out!

Now when people comment about what a "Good" or "sweet" baby he is, I usually reply "He had a rough start but he's a great baby now!" We will probably never know what the "infection" was or why it attacked his body but I praise God that he was healed and that he has grown into such a strong, loving, amazing little boy!!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Code Adam

Once in a while you're in a store and you hear "We have a Code Adam..." I've often heard those and thought "How on earth can you lose your child like that?" I mean we've all had our kids wonder down the isle or around the corner but you usually spot them and do the old "1... 2... " and they return to your side.

Well, that all changed the other day when I was at Sam's Club. My sister and I had to grab a few things. We had eaten a piece of pizza, made a trip to the restroom and then were on our way. Jake decided he should walk instead of ride in the cart. We had just made it past the cold cases and were on our way to check out. I stopped to look at something and turned around to find Jacob was no longer next to me. I thought he had just walked around the corner so I stepped over to look. Still no Jacob. Hmmm, maybe he went down the next isle. Negative. This is when I slightly start to feel my heart flutter. I walk three or four isles over and my sister took off the other way. He was LOST! I find an associate and let her know that I need some help locating my son. I'm sure my voice was quivering at this point. On her walkie-talkie she says the dreaded words "We have a code Adam. 4 year old white male, red shirt and denim shorts. Last seen near the freezer cases."

I'm still searching and I see at least 10 employees start out to search for my missing child. I'm in panic mode at this point and tears are welling up in my eyes. Where could he be? A man notices my panic and worry and asks "Are you looking for a boy?" I quickly said "YES!" He said "check the storage sheds, I just saw one through the window." I ran over and threw the door open to find him standing there with a big smile. Apparently we were playing a game of hide and seek and I hadn't been informed. I scooped him up and gave him a big hug. We had a talk about staying with Mommy and asking for permission before walking away. I think he understands now.

I will never judge those parents again... I am one of those parents!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ants in your pants...

I wasn't going to share this with many people because it's just gross but I decided to post it on my blog so now I guess the whole world can hear...

Last week I woke to a screaming baby who had an explosive diaper and didn't want to go back to bed. So I decided to snuggle on the couch with him and watch an episode of Oprah. Side note, I've decided to watch her final episodes even though I haven't watched her regularly before. Anyway, there was a follow up show where she talked to a young man who had grown up in the south. He lived in a very poor community that didn't have running water and they often had rodents and bugs in their house. He said at night they would actually wear earplugs or stuff something in their ears so the roaches couldn't get it. I felt sad for the boy and thought about how much better our conditions were.

Jordan ended up falling asleep in my arms so I laid him back in his crib and headed to my room. I remember laying in bed as I fell asleep, praying and thanking the Lord for not allowing us to have roaches in our home... and especially not in my bed!

The next morning I got the boys off to school and came home to get ready for the day. I got my shower and got dressed. As I was doing my makeup I realized there was something scratching the inside of my leg. I adjusted a little and it went away. Then a few minutes later, I realized there was something moving in my pants near my hip. I tried to remain calm but I was completely freaking out inside. I grabbed my pants and squished them together as hard as I could and heard... or felt, a crunch! Oh my goodness!! So I ripped my pants off as quick as I could and what do you know? There inside my jeans was a roach. I got back in the shower. I left the pants on the floor and made Jeff take care of them when he got home. I think I washed them twice to make sure it was out!

Obviously God has a great sense of humor because I had just prayed about roaches in the wee hours of the morning. I had asked him not to let them be in my bed. Apparently, I need to be more specific next time... I don't want roaches ANYWHERE in my house!!

We still aren't quite sure how that roach got in the house. Our best guess is that the boys had left the garage door open the night before and he found a cozy home to sneak in. I made Jeff thoroughly spray the entire inside and out for bugs!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

She's Baaaaack!

So I realize it's been way to long since I updated this blog. I have the urge to sit down and write something every day. Somehow it passes as I get a whiff of poopy diaper and realize a change is needed or I find the latest spill on the floor that someone forgot to mention or even attempt to clean up. My heart is in it but there are 4 little distractions that always pop up!

Lately we've been busy just doing life. You know how it goes. It may seem like nothing special to you but it's always an adventure for us. Jordan is 10 months old, Jake is learning more each day, Seth was diagnosed with ADHD (more to come on this topic in another post) and Josh is busy in the kitchen and doing school work :o)

The days pass faster than I'm ready for. I can't believe we're halfway through April already!

So for now, at least you know I'm still here... still breathing! I'm hoping to hop on here at least a few times a week and update. We'll see how long it lasts. I do miss the blogging world though!