Friday, August 31, 2012

stay away from sharp knives...

If you are easily grossed out at the sight of scars, you may not want to read this post.  

Okay, you've been warned.

Thought I'd give a quick update on my hand injury. 

Anyways, the stitches are out now!  When they were removed on Monday, the hand doctor gave me the green light to try to begin playing violin that very evening...

So I pulled my instrument out, and slowly began trying to play again.  Though it hurt to vibrato, (that's where you see string players sort of "shaking" their left hands) I was SHOCKED at what my fingers were able to do the first time.  It all started coming back so fast.  

Caroline was literally jumping up and down screaming, "Mommy!  You're playing violin again!!!"  My sweet, sweet girl.

There is no doubt in my mind that it was due to the hundreds of prayers that had been lifted up in my behalf.  (and many of those were from you, dear blog readers.)

Over the course of twenty minutes, even the vibrato began coming back without much pain!  I was playing in sheer AMAZEMENT and gratefulness.  I didn't want to stop.  I've never been so thankful for the ability to play before.

It's amazing how a split second can change everything.

So here are a couple of pictures of how it looked after 17 days, just after the stitches were removed...

Such an awkward place, right between my 3rd & 4th fingers.

What you can't see is how the wound literally curves around the back side of my ring finger, too.  Fun stuff.

So now the work of recovery begins.  This morning I went to a hand therapist, who gave me a ton of strengthening exercises and ways to help minimize the scarring process.  I can play, but it's still quite sore.  I am mostly having difficulty getting my ring finger to fully extend straight, but the therapy should help me increase my range of motion.  

I'm managing just fine with normal life, but it's dumb little things that are a little aggravating right now.  
I can't clap.  It's hard to wash my hands.  It hurts to bump it or brush it against something.   

Such is life, right?  I know it will get better with time, but you can pray for the moments of discouragement that naturally come with healing.

There is so much more I could say, and perhaps I will save all of my reflections from this hand injury for a later post, but can I just say I'm SO thankful?

Thankful the Lord didn't let that knife slip just a bit further.   I could've never played again.

I'm SO much more grateful for the talent He has given me.  I see now that it's more of a gift than a right.

And I'm thankful for the extent in which He has used this situation to teach Marc and me.  Our love has been deepened through this.

But for now I think I'm steering clear of sharp knives for awhile...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

it's time...

It's finally here.  Preschool!

(I don't know who's more excited-
me or Mommy!)

And today on my first day, I was all smiles.
Here I was last year on my first day of preschool as a 3 year old.
I went 2 mornings a week.

And here's an older, wiser  4 year old.
This year, I'll be going 3 mornings a week.

Here was my best bud, Leah, and I on the first day of class last year.
And look how much more grown up we are
just one year later.

Here's to another great school year!

Friday, August 24, 2012

to our next baby...

(pictures shown are out-takes from our adoption profile photoshoot this past Spring)

Sweet Little One,

Wherever you are tonight, I want you to know you are already loved
far more than you'll ever know.
We can't stop thinking about you
and wondering about you.
Though we don't yet have a clue
when or where you'll come from,
we can't WAIT to meet you.

I have no leads to you right now.
All is quiet.
But we eagerly wait and hope.
And pray each night that God will bring you to us soon.
It could be next month.  It could be next year.

I hope you're ready for this, because you've got some silly gals
who are ready to provide you with YEARS of entertainment.
You just wait.

And you'll have a big sister that will protect you and cherish you like no other.

You'll have a Daddy who'll do anything (and I mean anything) for you, no matter what it costs him.  (ouch!  His neck was killing him...)

You'll be living in a house full of broken, messed-up sinners
who need Jesus every hour of our lives.

But we've received an amazing store of Grace.

And it's out of that Grace,
we love.
And forgive.
And love some more.

We pray for your birthmommy even now.
Caroline prays she will pick us
at just the right time.
When it's God's special plan. (again!)
We can't wait to adopt you into our family
and give you all the love
your birthmommy wants you to have.

You should know that in our family, there are no strangers.
Everyone is made in His image.
Black and white, rich and poor.
People are in our life and in our home alot,
and we want to love them
with the same strong love
that Jesus gives so freely to us.

Sweet one, we know there will be challenges along the way.
Challenges and boo-boos that
require more than a bandaid to heal.
We've walked this road before,
and you can trust
we will do everything
in our power to fight for you.

Of that you can be sure.

So until that amazing day when we finally meet you face to face, know that we love you.
And you just get yourself ready to join this crazy clan.  ;)

Mommy, Daddy, and CC
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

before the craziness hit...

Ahh, yes.  Another year of campus ministry.  For the 12th year of doing this, you'd think we'd be calm and collected, prepared and ready.   (a-hem....)

But before the semester officially kicks off & things get CRAZY busy around here, we enjoyed a quick overnight getaway retreat with our student ministry team.  The focus of this retreat was to plan and pray for this upcoming semester, as well as get to know each other and grow as a team together.  For homework, each student was to take a personality test (based off the Meyers Briggs) and share their findings with the group.  It was so insightful and helpful as a team to learn and appreciate how God has wired us so differently, yet He uses our differing gifts in the Body to grow His kingdom.

Here's a snapshot I got during one of the ministry team's planning sessions.

And then it was off to the lake with the students!

Marc & Caroline decided to do some tubing together.  It would be her first time!

Watch Caroline's expressions.  From this...  (not so sure)

To this...

to THIS!

So much fun!

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

at 4 1/2...

Today my "baby" is 4 and a HALF!  I can't believe it.  Injured hand and all, I know I'm living some of the best years of my life right now.

So what's life at 4 1/2 like for this special little gal?

  • She is WAY more independent than ever, in every way possible.  (That's good and bad.)  Seriously, sometimes it's 4 going on 14.
  • She's reading quite proficiently, and learning to write and spell new words each day.  (recent words she's spelling are "enjoy," "something," "tonight")  We still have another year of preschool.  
  • All this girl wants to do is TYPE!  She is grabbing hold of language through writing messages, and it's amazing what she can write at her age.  We recently spent an entire 4 1/2 hour car trip back from South Carolina in complete silence, handing a writing pad back and forth to each other.  LOVED that.

  • Caroline is pretty adventurous once she's first assessed that something is safe and okay for her to try.  Especially if she sees another kid doing it first, then she's gotta try.  (like petting this python!)
  • This girl can change her speech like nobody's business.  She learns your accent and your pattern of speech and she will talk just like you!  It's a little creepy how good she can impersonate without really even trying to.  
  • Caroline says she wants hair, but that her alopecia doesn't bother her.  She says it's okay if she doesn't get hair.  I know people admire her confidence.  She gets tired of telling people about her alopecia.  I don't blame her.

  • She has become more picky about which "jobs" she likes and doesn't like.  Spray this iguana with water?  LIKE.  Make my bed every morning?  DISLIKE.
  • She's got a ridiculous habit of making a hissing/daffy duck sound with her mouth all the time right now.  I'm pretty sure she won't still be doing it when she's 16, so I'm chalking it off to a phase.  :)
  • Music is this girl's thing!  (hmmmm... wonder why...he he)  She and I enjoy doing piano "lessons" together, and she is now just starting to read music.  She's got a great ear for it.  

  • I don't think she's worn shorts or pants for at least 6 months.  She is INSISTENT it's gotta be a dress or skirt everyday.
  • Little things fascinate her-- watching a train, seeing a butterfly, picking flowers and making a "bouquet."  She's incredibly observant and perceptive, too.  Almost nothing gets by this gal.  We are always amazed by what she notices in her surroundings, in other people, and in us.  (yikes!)
  • Caroline is SO eager to be a big sister!  She loves seeing babies, and is praying for a baby sister because she says she already has a birth brother.  (Brayden- 2 years older)  :)  She knows that God's in charge of that, and when it's just the right time, He will bring us a birthmommy who will pick us.  (please let us know if you guys hear of any potential adoption situations)

  • Caroline loves everything involving PEOPLE!  Can we say SOCIAL extrovert?  Her day revolves around who she's going to be able to see and play with.  When she's here at home, she's often typing out messages on the computer wanting to play with her best friend, Leah.  (another reason why a sibling would be great right about now!  This baby would be LOVED!)
  • We've done no formal swimming lessons, but over this summer, she's started the beginning stages of swimming.  If she can touch on the bottom, she doesn't need to wear a floaty anymore.  And she now LOVES going underwater.  
  • 4 and 1/2 is a challenge, but I'd say less so overall than 3 was.  Our bad days are baaaaad, but they don't seem to be as often as before, I guess?   
4 1/2 is great.  

And we love, love, LOVE this gal.

Friday, August 17, 2012

the first cut is the deepest...

Dear blog friends,

There is so much I could say, but can't, as I'm now typing to you one-handed.

Many of you know this past Saturday I had an accident with my kitchen knife as I was making lunch.  It slipped, stabbing me sharply in the left hand between my 3rd and 4th fingers.

It hit an artery.
It was a bloodbath in my new kitchen.  It was everywhere.
Unlike anything I have ever experienced.
I'd even say traumatic.
And it was/is scary, especially since my livelihood as a violinist depends on my fingers.

I will spare you the rest of the details, especially for those of you like me who will pass out at the mention of a laceration.  You can imagine how "well" I did when it happened to me.

I'm being held together by lots of stitches (never had them before) and the body of Christ that is surrounding me.

Though there is much I CAN'T show you from the accident, here are a few things I can.

This is the remains of my wedding band. I've only removed it a handful of times in 13 years, and Saturday it had to be cut off me.  :(  (the good news is that I had hoped to get a new band at some point... so I guess that's going to be a good thing when it's all said and done..)

This is the former RUF student who just HAPPENED to be in town and dropped by for an unexpected visit.  Little did he know the Lord was bringing him here to clean my blood off of the ceiling and mow our grass... wow.

This is another dear former student who hopped in the car to come rescue my daughter while I was being sewn up to give her a "normal" day of playing, McDonald's, and ice cream. (that's proven to help traumatic events, I've heard...) THEN Lindsay stayed with us 2 nights to help out our family.  SUCH a blessing.

THIS is me high on pain pills.  Ha!  Just kidding.  But maybe not.  In order for Caroline to not be afraid of my hand, she put a Tinkerbell baindaid on the front and wrote "I love you" on the back.

But what is NOT shown is who-knows-how much blood I lost.

Also not shown are the countless others from my sweet little church who have been providing meals for  us all week.

Or the RUF girls who sat with me while I cried about it yesterday and prayed with me.

Or the prayers being lifted up for my recovery.

Or my sweet husband, who literally jumped up and down with joy when the hand specialist gave us the news that I shouldn't need further surgery.

Tonight, almost a week later, my finger is still swollen, bruised, stiff, and very painful.  I'm functioning moderately well, but daily life is difficult with any injury.  I would appreciate your prayers for recovery and healing.  Thank you, friends!
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Friday, August 10, 2012

kitchen before and afters...

I can't believe it.  It's ACTUALLY done!!!   And I have the long-awaited pictures for you.

(and can I just preface these pictures with saying I never want to do a kitchen remodel again?!?  At least while I'm living in it...)  Man!  It was a nightmare at times.

But now that it's finally OVER, I've gotta admit- it's sooo nice.  I'm loving it.

So let's get to it!  Shall I show you some before's and after's?


Another before.

(cue drum roll...)

The after!

Before, our little kitchen was closed off with this wall and small doorway.

But now, it's completely open and spacious, and we ran the same hardwoods throughout for better flow.

Here's that same wall from the dining room side...

And now it's gone!

We added this entire wall of cabinetry and countertops, as well as widened the entrance to the kitchen.

We are loving it!   This place got entirely gutted and re-done.  Thankfully we already had the appliances, (we've been replacing them as they've died)  but now there's new cabinetry, granite countertops, recessed lighting, a white subway tile backsplash and a different layout, especially the new cabinetry on the other wall.

So now it's down to the finishing touches like decorating, but that's the fun part, right?

Here's to many more years of making meals and hosting students in this place!  Cheers!
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