Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paved Pathway and A Surrendering Heart (WARNING: LONG POST)

I have to start by letting you all know how appreciative I am by all your responses from our last blog post.  It means the world to us to know that so many of you are still praying for our family and still walking this journey with us even after all this time.  Thank you so very much.  It's been a long month as we have searched, begged, and prayed for answers and wisdom regarding Adam.

Before Adam really began spiraling backwards and really before Adam's first of 11 hospital visits since the end of May, God woke me up in the middle of the night.  He woke me up with a citation of a very specific Bible verse.  I was too tired to look it up then so I told God I would write it down and look it up in the morning.  That's when the "nagging" started, I couldn't even go back to sleep without hearing the citation.  You would think that after all God has done for me and His faithfulness I would have woken with enthusiasm to hear what He was wanting to tell me but instead I argued with him for nearly 2 hours before complying.  Of all the things that drive me insane as a mother it is a lack of listening and being disrespected.  (Ask Mackenzie, she will tell you).  Yet, here I was doing just that to God. 

Not only that, but then I became just like an Israelite grumbling my whole way out of bed, down the hall, and into the living room, until I opened my Bible and saw the Word God was giving me... "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.  They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them.  He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them besides springs of water.  I will turn the mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up."  Isaiah 49: 9-11

After getting this word I was excited to see what God had planned next for Adam's recovery.  I couldn't wait to see what He was going to do. About a week later Adam ended up in the hospital and we found out about his missing bone flap and shunt problems. I realized it wasn't "what He was going to do" but what He was doing... He was preparing me.  This word has sustained me through this time, it's God's promise that He is continuing to go before us and even in this season of this journey He is paving the path.  As we continue to press on we can see Him at every corner, making a way through the impossibilities placed before us.  Trusting God is a choice and we continue to place our needs at His feet and into the palm of His hands and He continues to provide ALL we need each and every moment.

As I mentioned in the last post Adam has been progressively sliding backwards, more physically speaking but a little cognitively as well.  The most difficult change has been Adam's coordination in everything he does, from standing to swallowing.  He has been so unsteady on his feet, he has choked to the point of needing me to preform the Heimlich Manuver, he falls over just standing, he has multiple seizures, and the list goes on.  The scary part is he keeps falling and with no bone flap to protect his skull, it is incredibly dangerous and scary every time he falls.  He has fallen 18 times in the last month and sometimes he could just be standing and then all of the sudden for no reason fall to the ground.  Sometimes Adam understands the need to keep safe and will use his wheelchair or wear his helmet and other times he has no idea or understanding of his need to be safe. The following story is one to help educate those we love and the community...

A little over a week Adam, Mackenzie, and I were on our way to the hospital to meet our new niece/cousin.  Right before pulling into the parking garage, I explained to Adam that we were going to meet our new niece Abby.  I handed him my phone so that he could watch the video of his occupational therapist telling him that when we are out in about he either needs to wear his helmet or be in his wheelchair to keep him safe from falling.  When the video finished I asked him which he would like to do, before I really parked the car he was getting out of the car and almost at a run taking off.  We were not in a familiar area or even near our home.  I just started to follow Adam and quietly and gently tried to redirect him,  When agitation hits, I don't tell Adam what to do or what he needs to be safe because it makes it worse.  After I realized he wasn't going to be redirected we just kept walking, and we walked, and walked, and walked.  A little bit along the way I would try to calmly redirect or ask Adam where he would like to go but it would only push him to walk faster and further.

Most of the time we walked in silence and used Adam's vision deficits to stay out of sight.  But after nearly 2 hours of walking in 90 degree heat with no fluids, I made one more attempt to distract him, hoping that he would want to stop and grab a quick drink, but instead he pushed me into oncoming traffic.  His brother Tristan showed up to try to help too, but Adam was so agitated, and at this point probably effected from the heat Adam stepped into oncoming traffic at a major intersection.  Luckily cars were able to dodge him and Adam was safe, but at this point I didn't want Adam to jeopardize his safety anymore... I called 911.  This is where the matters were made worse and where our community needs more training and understating of those with disabilities, especially cognitive disabilities.   I have been trained in brain injury de-escalation, first rule, stay calm and controlled of voice and body language. 

(This story is not to be negative or even put down our those who serve our community, its' only to raise awareness.  We have benefited from many of those who serve our community and have come to our rescue when Adam has needed medical attention and we are grateful for their help.) 

After speaking to the 911 dispatcher and explaining the situation, I reiterated over and over that my husband has a brain injury and that whatever officers that arrive need to be calm and Adam would remain calm, but if they were aggressive in any way it would make matters worse.  I vent then explained it to the first officer who arrived, he heard me, but didn't listen.  He instantly put hands on Adam and pulled him back which caused Adam to fight.  He did nothing to calm Adam, and by the time the other officers, and paramedics arrived Adam was fighting pretty hard.  I kept trying to talk to Adam and to those around, explaining that everyone must remind calm and collective but it just didn't work.  At that point they didn't give me a choice or allow me to be Adam's voice (like I have the legal right to do), they told me that they were taking Adam into involuntary custody. They tied him to a stretcher and off we went to the hospital.

The officer explained to Tristan and to myself that they will only take so many phone calls from a family in a situation like this before they bring it to the court system and have them removed and placed in a group home.  As we watched the situation unfold and after talking with the officer who told us this information, we now don't feel like calling 911 in a situation like this again would be helpful but instead as this has proven, it was more detrimental.  What our community needs is not just awareness but education on de-escalation.  It. Needs education on how to come along side the family and help, not escalate.  Threats that the officers made that would work on the normal population only drive the agitation in a brain injury and make it worse. 

God continued to go before us in this situation, the hospital we were taken to, Adam had been in the ER there before for having multiple seizures in one day.  We have only been in this hospital once, as most of Adam's care is handle at a larger hospital.  God graciously arranged for the nurse and doctor who cared for us before to be working that day as well as remember our family.  Both the nurse and the doctor were frustrated that Adam was restrained and asked if I felt it necessary.  I said no and said that I thought it was making it worse.  Together we came up with a quick discharge plan of care... after 2 bags of IV fluids and rest we were on our way home.  After about a bag and a half of fluids Adam looked over at me from the hospital stretcher and asked if I needed a hug.  Having completely no idea the ordeal we had just went through.  He got up and hugged me, wanting so badly to comfort me.  Adam is VERY intuitive to me and knows sometimes before I do how I am feeling.  I love this about my man!  He loves me so very much and I too love him with more than words could ever describe.  We are bonded at the soul in only a way that God can do.

Well, as I was sitting here typing all of this, I can't very well say that something needs to be done, and education needs to happen if I am not willing to do something about it.  So.... After talking with Adam's parents and sharing my thoughts and ideas we are going to be holding a community education event for traumatic brain injury!  More details will come, but we are looking at tentatively holding it on Saturday October 25th at Adam's family's farm in Newberg, OR.  We are looking for companies and or families who would sponsor the event, this would allow us to bring in some community experts as well as some needed materials.  Please let me know if this is something that you or your company could do.  We would like to open this up to the community without having to charge.

ON ANOTHER NOTE... I know so many of you have been praying for us as we have had some really huge decisions to make.  I can't thank you enough for your encouragement, your love, and your prayers.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

We (Adam's parents and myself) have gone back and forth on what we should do.  Since writing last Adam has been falling so much and when I called the neurosurgery clinic at UW, they said it was a neurology issue and when I talked to neurology they said it was a neurosurgery issue and then the nurse from the clinic said that maybe I was on caregiver burn out and just paying attention to things differently now.  I'm pretty sure, my husband falling over with no bone flap in his head is not just an issue I would have ignored.  With all this confusion and mess their solution is that I take Adam back to the ER, we have been in the ER every week and nothing is being done.  Nothing was solved and none of my questions were being answered.  I was desperate for answers, specifically ones that I had about the benefits and risks of the surgery verses not having the surgery and the risks involved with that. 

The Lord has graciously continued to build Adam's team and I stepped back and made some phone calls to North Carolina.  We met a neurosurgeon at our church in North Carolina and he extended his help whenever we needed it.  I called him with my questions and he was able to help aide us in getting other opinions.  We were also able to speak to Adam's neurologist at University of North Carolina, who spent nearly an hour on phone with me answering my questions and helping guide us down a path.  She too strongly suggested as did our friend from church that we seek multiple opinions.  We did just that and after researching and researching we were able to meet with a neurosurgeon who was finally able to connect the dots of all that has been happening to Adam and explain why AND answer all my questions!  After a nearly 4 hour appointment/evaluation, Dr. Newell, was able to answer all of my questions, explain and show me why the benefits and risks of surgery will be worth it for Adam and how it should increase his quality of life. ANSWER TO PRAYER!   I was able to see what was missed in previous appointments, such as Adam's brain shifting from midline and how taking the pressure off the left side of his brain will measurable and significantly help Adam in his recovery. 

Another blessing... is instead of 3 surgeries Adam will only need two and they are going to try to complete them in one day! One open and shut!  The other surgery he no longer needs has been replaced by imaging and scans.  As I have mentioned before there are some risks but we are placing those risks and concerns directly into God's hands.  Trusting him completely.  To be honest this is an hourly task for me right now.  Before when Adam was having these kind of surgeries it was so early on and the trauma and shock were still so real, I didn't really understand or know the significance of  what the recovery would look like.  Now I have a much better idea and I am so incredibly scared.  When getting all of my questions answered, I didn't know whether to be excited or to cry... so every day I am a little excited and I cry a lot.  Adam is in God's hands, He know how much I love him even when words can't describe, yet God loves him more.  This is what I am holding onto and reminding myself daily.  So as you pray for our family, Adam's surgery is scheduled for August 13th. 

We have already began the preparation for surgery, Adam went through all the scanning and imaging yesterday. We are preparing our home and getting things in order for the recovery process.  I am trying and working on spiritually and mentally preparing myself for the days to come.  I will work on updating more consistently as we walk this season of our journey.  It's been a little hectic with all of our appointments on top of therapies but I will do my best to keep updates posted.

Thank you all for your continued support in our journey, we ask that you please continue to pray and ROOT for Adam!  Enjoy the family update in the pictures below...

4th of July in Oregon means rodeo time!  St. Paul PBR!

Mackenzie and I enjoying the rodeo!

A girl and her horse!

Happy 4th of July from the Root's!

Mackenzie riding in the 4th of July parade downtown North Plains, OR
No matter where you look on the farm, the view is always amazing!

Adam hitting a bucket of balls with his brother Ben

Adam and Ben

My man, my kiddo... my life!

This girl got her braces off for her birthday, thank you Dr. Ritter and Dr. Shields, she loves her smile!

We have been enjoying the local single A baseball team here, our house is too hot in the evenings and no better way to cool off then to watch a baseball game!
Adam and I enjoying an evening of baseball
7-11 meant FREE SLURPEE 

Meeting my niece Abby for the first time!  It was love at first sight!

 Adam meeting Abby for the first time
According to a study 20 seconds of hugging can lower blood pressure and after this time elapses, levels of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin increase, while the amounts of stress chemicals, including cortisol, drop. (Adam's hugging his mom)
Mackenzie's heaven on earth.

Love this girl!

Fun with the girls, my sister-in-law Shandal and Adam's cousin Hailey
For Mackenzie's birthday she requested corndogs (I never buy them so they are a treat), to our surprise Grandma Ethel had never had one.

Mackenzie's 14th birthday!
Look for another update soon and please, please, please pray for our family... this is truly our greatest need.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Choices and Trust

It's been so long since I last posted that it took me awhile to even remember my log in information... that is an "oh dear" moment if I have ever had one.

Thank you to those who have been faithful in reaching out to me in the last few months when I have been on a very unexpected hiatus from blogging and updating you all on the progress our family continues to make in this journey.   A weakness for me is responding, our days are full and I am not always good to respond but I am encouraged by so many of you and your faithfulness to pray for us and for my man! 

In the past months, we have laughed, celebrated, cried in pain and in joy, we have struggled through discouragement, we have clung to hope, but mostly I have spent a lot of time on my knees before the Lord.  These last months have been very difficult emotionally not just for myself but for all 3 of us battling and struggling through this journey in our own different ways.  Updates will come but that is not my intention in this post.  We are in desperate need of prayer for decisions that have to be made.  So this post will be mainly what is currently taking place and will mostly be related to Adam's recovery.

I have spent much of these last months wrestling with God about the 3 most important things, my faith, hope, and love.  I am weak, discouraged,  weary, and worn by this journey.  If hope was a feeling I would "feel" hopeless, but I know hope is living, hope is God and it is ONLY God.  I remind myself that God is with me and therefore I am not hopeless.  It is through Him living inside me, that allows me to love through this.  I don't often feel like I have much to give.  My faith is weary, I am holding onto faith clinging to it as if my life depends on it, because it does.  I believe in God's promises and I know them to be true, right now knowing , feeling, and believing all feel so separated.   I can tell myself I know something and in my head I know it, but my heart, my heart struggles and feels the pain, the sorrow, the weariness.   I haven't blogged because it "feels" like I have nothing left to give when I am struggling to keep breathing with every breath I am given.  But that's a lie.  A lie the enemy has used on me for too long now.  I might be weary, I might feel discouraged, but God, the Spirit inside me isn't finished yet.

Sharing this is me sharing my heart, it's me being vulnerable, not faithless, not hopeless, and not depressed, it's just me, my heart, and what I know God is calling me to be vulnerable with. 

We all face trials of many kinds, from broken relationships, infertility, loss, illness, and many other circumstances.  Our trials are wrapped in different packages but the lessons we learn from them often look and seem similar... because no matter what it comes down to trusting God NO MATTER the circumstance.  It's a choice to believe God and His promises for hope and a future, for restoration, for being our comfort, for being our refuge, for providing strength, for knowing His grace is sufficient, and it's a choice to cling to the truth when the lies want to bring discouragement and the "feeling" of hopelessness.  I am choosing to trust God no matter the outcome, no matter what we come up against, no matter the challenges and no matter the difficulty... I TRUST GOD.

As we are facing new challenges and difficult decisions, I TRUST GOD, and I trust that He has called many of you to pray with us and for us as we continue to put one foot in front of the other during this season.

 Psalms 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.

Adam has been sliding backwards, its been a slow progression with many symptoms and it's taken awhile to link some of the pieces together.  Adam has been in and out of the hospital since March for many reasons, and as we collect all the reasons several factors have come up... First, Adam's shunt was draining off too much fluid which was causing some severe headaches, dizziness, balance issues, speech impairment, seizures, and overall an increase in being disorientated.  What led to us realizing his shunt was over draining was a sinking in the side of his head and his eyes were beginning to sink inside of his head.  What was once a small depression in the side of Adam's head grew to a large concave that I could fit my entire fist into.  A CAT scan showed that Adam's body reabsorbed his bone flap.  (A bone flap is Adam's skull that was removed to relieve pressure from his brain and the but back on once the pressure was gone). So basically Adam's skull was reabsorbed.  When talking with the neurosurgeons out here they told me that this only happens in about 3% of adults.  As of right now there is nothing protecting Adam's brain other the skin on his head and God.

When we were in the ER and talking with the residents of neurosurgery they said that they would work with plastic surgery and build Adam a synthetic bone flap and put this in place of his skull.  And from what they have seen before Adam would begin to feel better as this would potentially help to relieve some of his symptoms.  Key word: potentially.  Finally, I thought we had some answers and that there might be light at the end of the tunnel.  We were all preparing ourselves for the surgery and gearing up for the recovery.  After we left the ER we were told we would hear from the neurosurgery attending doctor and begin to make plans to go forward.  Just this last week we met with the neurosurgeons to discuss Adam's surgery and what it would look like.  When talking with him we found out it's not just one surgery but several, it would require 1-2 surgeries to get the skin that has attached itself to Adam's brain tissue to separate and it would be quite a process to stretch Adam's skin so that it would come together and close over the new bone flap.  It would be another surgery to insert the bone flap and enclose it.  In a perfect world this would be it, but since Adam has had multiple cranioplasty surgeries all which have caused severe life threatening infections in Adam they reminded me that any infection would require 2 more surgeries.  Because if there were to be an infection, they would have to take out Adam's shunt, clear the infection, and place a new shunt in. 

Psalms 56:4 I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God so why should I be afraid?

All in all this is extremely invasive and risky, so much so that the neurosurgeon we met with said he wouldn't touch Adam.  Adam was too risky of a case with not enough potential of improvement to proceed forward.  He told us to follow up with the trauma team and see what they would recommend.  Because the danger of Adam falling is real and right now there is no protection for his brain.  We are waiting for our appointment with the trauma team but no matter what we face difficult decisions how to proceed forward... do we take the risks, trust God, and hope the surgeries would bring forth healing, protection, and relief from the symptoms Adam has been fighting or do we continue trusting God moving forward but without any surgical interventions and at the risk that Adam continues to decline. 

Psalms 41:3 The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. 

There are many other risks to the surgery too, Adam could hemorrhage in surgery, he could come through surgery but could potentially be in a coma state again, and the other risks that he continues to face daily... speech impairment and other physical deficits as a result.  The suffering Adam has already been through and continues to go through daily seems endless.  It's an overwhelming decision to make and Adam and I together with his mom and dad and brothers ask you to please pray for us, pray for the right decision to be made, pray for the right team of doctors to come forward.  Pray for wisdom for us and for Adam's medical team.

In the meantime, because Adam's shunt is programmable they were able to adjust the setting to hopefully drain less fluid off and to see if this will help relieve some of his pain.  It takes a few weeks for us to really see the results of the shunt adjustment and we are still assessing it.

Another issue is the matter of all the seizures... Adam has suffered greatly from many severe seizures this year, no cause has been determined other than as a result of his injury.  While this may be true, I feel there could be other factors and other ways to treat and diagnosis Adam other than just adding more and more medication to the picture.  The neurosurgeons don't think that the seizures are related to the bone flap or the shunt, but I am not convinced.  I have been screaming for answers and I feeling helpless because every time I demand a definitive cause or any answer the neurologist just adds to the already crazy amount of medications Adam is on for his seizures.  We need God to intervene and bring healing and answers.

Psalms 9:9 The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Prayer is our greatest need.  Please join with us as we seek God for wisdom and cling to Him for our hope, and choose to trust through all that we are facing.   We are continuing to trust God for Adam's FULL restoration, knowing that He is Adam's Great Physician and is continuing a work in Adam that we cannot even fathom.  Thank you for your faithfulness.

I love my man... he has my heart

My girl, my man... my life


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Planting "Root's" Out West

"The best things in life are a result of being wounded.  Wheat must be crushed before becoming bread, and incense must be burned by fire before it's fragrance is set free.  The earth must be broken with a sharp plow before being ready to receive the seed.  And it is a broken heart that pleases the Lord.  Yes, the sweetest joys of life are the fruits of sorrow.  Human nature seems to need suffering to make it fit to be a blessing to the world" (my devotion book)

To say I have been walking in the valley would be minimizing how I have felt.  Since spring time I have been walking in the depths of a valley marked out and chosen for us and it has been very difficult for me to understand.  To put words to all that we have been walking through would be impossible.  My only request, is that you pray for us, seek God with all your heart on our behalf.  Pray specifically for Adam's memory, even more specifically for his ability to create memories that don't flee within minutes.  Oh God, how my heart cries out to You, knowing you are my only help in all of these trying and difficult circumstances... please God, please hear the cries of my heart and open Adam's memory like a floodgate... please relieve him of the torture he is in day after day, hour after hour.

I am struggling, pleading with God for Adam's memory.  I don't understand all that has happened in the last 3 years... I don't understand all that has been allowed to harm and hurt us, and I am struggling to cling to the promises marked in my Bible, yet I know how real and true they are.  I feel this weird torment... between my flesh and my soul... my flesh wants me to give into my pain and hurt, it wants to be angry about my circumstances, but my soul is clinging onto finding all that I can to be thankful for.  It desires and urges me to worship and fall to my knees even when I don't "feel" like it and it's in these sweet moments that the Lord does meet me with sweet tenderness and encouragement.  I am not walking in this valley without the hands of God carrying me through... I am walking this valley very much with Him even if it means I cry out to Him in my frustration and sometimes in my anger of not understanding. 

During this time, I have reached out to those who hold me accountable and who have walked this journey helping me in my pain to get up and face all that God has blessed me with... one of these faithful friends asked me this week if I have been reading in the Psalms and I said I haven't been, I shared with her where I had been reading.  She encouraged me to ask God to give me a Psalm to meditate on, and in His faithfulness he has given me more than one.  I will share just one of the passages He has led me to.  "Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea!  Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.  I am loosing hope; I remember the days of old.  I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.  I lift my hands to you in prayer.  I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.  Come quickly Lord and answer me.  Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you.  Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.  Teach me to do your will for you are my God.  May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing."  (Bits and pieces of Psalm 143 NLT)

Since Adam's hospital stay last month we have made our way to Seattle, we have been able to find much needed rest and relaxation while still being around family and in surroundings very familiar to Adam.  Adam has been recovering well and continues to be under close watch and doctor supervision.  He has not been cleared for any traveling and even before we knew this we had come to the realization that being here is the best place for Adam in his current stage of recovery.  It is with a heavy heart and LOTS of prayer and tears that we have made the decision to make a permanent move to the west coast.  While I know it is the right thing to do, I am in so much grief.  Almost our entire married life has been walked out in North Carolina with God created family and many friends.  The thought of moving for me... well it just hurts. 

Psalm 145:17-20 "The Lord is righteous in everything he does, he is filled with kindness.  The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.  He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.  The Lord protects all those who love him."

Adam, Mackenzie, and I are moving back to the Seattle area.  We won't be able to do this without some much needed help and I am asking for you to prayerfully consider helping our family make this transition.  Whether you can commit to praying for us regularly or helping financially, or however God calls you to.  Contacting us via our PO box in North Carolina for right now is still the best way to reach us.  It won't be until fall that I will update with a new contact address.

Thank you for the cards and letters of encouragement we have received, they have been a continued source of comfort and encouragement, even if I have been unable to respond, please know that God has used your words to give strength and comfort when it has been needed the most.

Root's in August 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prayers Are Amazing and So Is My Man!

Before I go into a full update and making up for lost time, I know many of you have been following my facebook updates today so I will start there today and hopefully give a thorough update by the end of the weekend.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Adam has continued in his fashion taking us on a tour of all the nation's finest hospitals.  Today we are currently admitted at Oregon Health and Science Hospital in Portland, OR.  Actually the whole day together has consisted of 2 ambulance rides, 2 hospitals, and 3 seizures and 2 wiped out people.  Thankfully after sedation Adam has been able to get some much needed sleep and rest.  I will take it as a good sign that he just asked me to climb in his hospital bed and sleep with him instead of the bed given to me... he loves me and is so sweet and tender towards me even when he doesn't feel well... I love my man!

Right now the team here is trying to figure out cause for the seizures and his nausea.  Running tests and scans to locate and treat whatever it is that is going on.  It's been a long day and after the third seizure, it took Adam quite sometime before he starting to be responsive and following commands.  As we close out our day, he is doing much better, taking, and walking on his own... thank you for all those who so quickly responded to my prayer requests and for texting me, leaving me facebook messages, emails, and all your encouragement... it was truly a blessing to feel and see God's powerful hands working today in the midst of the craziness that this day brought.

God's peace has been a thick cloud engulfing Adam and I today... it's brought showers of comfort and His unending love.   I can honestly say, I hate hospitals and often cringe just at the thought of having to walk through the door of one, but today He has been my Refuge, my Strength, my Peace, and my Deliverer from my fear and unbelief.  In my devotion this morning it states, "unbelief looks at God through circumstances... but faith puts God between itself and circumstances and looks at them through Him."  I am praying for the strength to endure God's will whatever that is for this moment... even if it is to walk this journey through another hospital.

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

The view from Adam's floor, downtown Portland, OR looking at Mt St Helens

The other side of the view looking at Mt Hood
Well if we're going to be in the hospital, Adam sure did pick one with quite a view!  Rejoicing in God's beauty that we are surrounded by and celebrating His magnificent creation.  Not just outside, but in Adam as well... I love my man and I love all that he has taught me in the last several years walking this journey with him.  He consistently points me to the cross, he shows me Jesus every day through his own actions and words... he continues to make me a better person.  I thank God for the gift of Adam he has given me everyday... especially because there have  been too many times where I wasn't sure I would have the blessing of laying next to him and hear him pray over me... yes my man loves me and loves God so much more... I am one blessed and rambling wife right now.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Journey... 3 years of New Beginnings

Oh there are truly days I would love to disappear, this is one of them.  May 15th could forever be erased.  I think about how I would love to have one day to run away from my reality and have one day that I don't have to face all that has happened, one day to not face how quickly my life had changed... and then that small still voice speaks and reminds me of all the good of all the joy in the journey.  The small still voices speaks truth into my deep rooted sorrow, reminding me that God is still in control, that He has a perfect way, and that not one tear has gone unnoticed by Him.  And as I look up to the mountains and seek the joy of Lord... He is consistently renewing my strength, and giving me the strength to rest in His promises. 

Max Lacado writes "Catch God in a bad mood? Won't happen.  Fear exhausted grace? A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first.  Think he's given up on you? WRONG.  Did he not make a promise to you?  'God is not a human being, and he does not change his mind.  What he says he will do, he does.  What he promises, he makes come true.' Numbers 23:19(NCV)  He's never sullen or sour, sulking or stressed.  His strength, truth, ways, and love never change.  'He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.' Hebrews 13:8 And because he is the Lord 'will be the stability of your times' Isaiah 33:6 (NKJV)

Dear Adam,
Over the last three years, Adam you have inspired me through your perseverance, your endurance, your strength and your ability to overcome odds stacked against you. 
While I  would have never chosen a brain injury to change our lives, I can honestly say Adam and his injury has made me a better person.  Adam has taught me laugh, he has shown me it’s okay to cry, you have taught me to rejoice in ALL the little blessings along the way! You have made me more compassionate, patient, understanding, you taught me to be careful with my words, to live each moment as a gift, to love intentionally… to love with a depth of my soul that I didn’t know existed, at times to love without words, without expression, to love beyond myself, recognizing the supernatural love that makes this all possible. 
Adam you taught me to cling to my faith, to pray without ceasing, to be content despite the circumstances, to hope beyond reason; you taught me that there is no sweeter place to be than on my knees.  To my man, I say thank you!  I love you so much, and I AM SO PROUD TO BE YOUR WIFE!

Let me recap the last month for you all...

We travelled through, storms, rain, heat, hail, and snow and finally arrived from North Carolina to Oregon a couple of weeks ago... I still can't believe we are here.

In the last couple of weeks, Mackenzie started a new school, Adam started therapy... well, I just make sure everyone gets to where they need to be and do my best to stay on top of it all.  Let's start with Mackenzie, thank you to all who have been lifting her into the hands of Jesus, He's carrying her through this season victoriously!  Her transition into this new school has been the easiest and most exciting transitions we have experienced!  She LOVES her new school and is academically thriving.  She seems to be making friends and enjoying her days, but to be honest... I haven't seen much of her.  I compete now with horses for her attention.  She loves being on Adam's family's farm.  And when she has 100 horses surrounding her and lots of new babies from this foaling season, she is in her own little heaven.  She helped her Gramps with the delivery of a foal and she has told me that and riding Tennessee (Granny's pony horse) and helping Gramps is better than Disneyland!

As for Adam... just a few days after arriving here in Oregon, Adam had another seizure.  I believe it stemmed from over doing it, travelling, working on the farm, and being in familiar territory, yet still trying to make sense of his life.  He seems to have recovered from this last seizure without any complications which is truly a miraculous gift from God.  Adam needs to be covered in prayer as much as you can remember to pray for him... he is trying to so hard to make sense of his life and as he is coming to the realization of his age, he is aware of all the years he has lost and this is very, very hard for him.  It's good, but it is very hard. 

Please pray that as Adam starts to put the pieces of his life together, that he would remember and that we wouldn't have to start over every day.  Please pray for his memory to increase and for him to be able to build on memory.  Pray that God will comfort him during this difficult season, that Adam would see his purpose and know that his life has so much meaning.  Often when Adam is struggling with his memory loss, he tells me he has no purpose, and he feels like his life is meaningless.  I remind him of all that God has done, of all that God is doing, and that God has called Adam to be His mighty warrior from the very beginning.

Adam skyping with Dan in Boston!  Thank you Dan for encouraging Adam and congratulations on making your Honors at school! 

Mackenzie on the farm

Adam taking one of the mini horses and her baby for a walk

Uncle Brad teaching Mackenzie gun safety and having fun

Me and my sisters, a day on the deck at my mom's

Mackenzie riding Tennessee... I am pretty sure she was on Tennessee more yesterday than she was off of him.

Adam showing off his collection one day, he is doing an amazing job collecting all those eggs from the chickens here.
Okay, I had fun shooting too!

Adam painting one of the barns

I love sunsets!  This is the one God painted for me from my mom's deck!

Spring time at the farm means LOTS of flowers!!!

Adam, Mackenzie, and I watched as this baby made its way into the world on Monday!

We had the awesome privilege of having Pendleton Wools shoot their Fall catalog here this week!
As you can all see, there is so much to do and so much that is always going on here... one thing is for sure, a farm in the spring time doesn't lend to very much down time!  BUSY BUSY BUSY... But God is showing me new beginnings all over the farm, from baby horses, our chicks, baby sparrows all over the farm, our baby ducklings that have made their home on the pond and the many blossoming flowers and trees... new beginnings happen more than once... Praise the Lord for our many new beginnings in our journey of brain injury.  God is healing Adam daily and refining our new beginnings regularly. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking Comfort in God's Timing

I absolutely love how God takes care of us and knows our needs even before we do.  His love is so amazing.  As I had blogged about in earlier posts, Adam's agitation was challenging to handle and there were some really tough days.  In the midst of those days, my sister Renae did the only thing she knew to help... she booked a plane ticket to come out here to North Carolina from Seattle to come help.  Her plane ticket was booked and sent to me on March 1st and I couldn't have been more excited to count down the days till she was coming.  But now I see it as a different plan... When making the decision to travel west for Adam's recovery we had about very little time to ponder, process, and execute the plan... all this came about after my sister booked her ticket. 

She arrives Thursday morning and her timing, God's timing, really couldn't be more perfect.  I love that she is so grounded in the Lord and in tune with His Spirit that she allowed Him to work through her.  She's coming in the midst of this craziness to help get all that needs to get done, done!  Thank you Jesus that He knows our needs even before we do.  His love is so amazing, and GREAT is His faithfulness.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:32 but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

In the process of getting ready for our journey... we had some errands to run.  I wanted to share one of our experiences with our blog readers...!/photo.php?fbid=10151530420804661&set=o.9062006483&type=1&theater

I continue to pray that where we go we will impact others for the Kingdom of God... but God's people often impact us, showing us Christ through them each and every day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Heading Out West

Thank you all so much for your sweet words of encouragement, texts, emails, cards, and especially your prayers!  God has been so faithful, even though we have been walking through a valley, He has continued to carry me in the palm of His hands and I can honestly testify that He has kept me from becoming discouraged.  He has placed people in my path right when I have needed someone to pray with me and to encourage me to keep looking up, for it is where my help comes from.  Through His devine appointments He is showing me  His ways are higher, He is showing me continuously that He is ever so present and that He continues to have a plan for all of us.

God amazes me daily as I watch Adam continue to progress each and every day... His healing is present in Adam every day, and I recognize this as an incredible gift.  As Adam progresses we create new normals and with God's help we redefine what recovery looks like for Adam.  Some changes are easy, while others are difficult and challenging for all of us.  A few weeks ago, Adam's doctors and therapists agreed that Adam was progressing in ways that were surprising and wonderful, starting to recognize that something has happened to him and recognizing his memory loss.  His team suggested taking a break from all therapies except Speech therapy (speech therapy concentrates on cognitive and memory).  Their reasoning was to allow Adam more time to process and time to concentrate on his memory without such a crowded schedule. 

During this time, it was also proposed that we spend time in Oregon, where Adam's environment will be familiar to him.  I explained to his team that we spend Mackenzie's summer break out there (which isn't long because she is in year round school here).  Realizing we would only be there for a few weeks, their concern was more confusion for Adam.  Just a couple weeks could potentially be too short, not giving Adam's brain the time it needs to process change and all that has happened.  They suggested we consider a 3 month block of time minimum, and to look at it as the "rehab" Adam needs right now.  My initial reaction was "no way", I can't uproot Mackenzie from school again... it just seem like the right thing to do.  I spent quite a bit of time praying and seeking God's face in these suggested changes.  One evening (early morning), I was unable to sleep, so I got up and just spent time praying and seeking God's face... here is the Word I got...

Hebrews 10:35 & 36 "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."  My footnote explains it this way... The Bible gives us a clear choice between two life directions.  Because life often forks off in two directions, you must take the higher road, even though it looks more difficult and treacherous.  That road gets steep in place.  The climb takes a toll on your energy.  It gets lonely.  Not many on it, but more than you imagined, and some because of your example.  It gets slipper; Satan blows ice on the narrow passages.  Despite its dangers, the higher road is bound for the peak, and you'll make it.  God has a lifeline around you.  When you are tempted to falter in your faith or to turn back from following Christ, keep focused on what he has done for you and what he offers in the future.

I spent some time talking with Mackenzie about these potential changes and asked what she thought and she just wanted to be in Oregon with Gramps and Granny.  And so the decision has been made... we are leaving for Oregon in less than 2 weeks and with God's grace He has given me joy, peace, and excitement for all that He is going to do through this time.  Please pray for our family as we have a lot to get done in a very short amount of time, pray for health for our family (Mackenzie currently has the flu), and please pray for our safety as we will be driving to Oregon.

Mackenzie's happiest place, on the farm with Gramps.

Adam, Jack, and Mackenzie

Cookie and Adam

Mackenzie and Goldie
Cookie and Adam
Yes, Goldie will be traveling with us to the farm, she is going to love it!