What do you expect?


Neurosurgery clinic called today. The doctor returned, reviewed Garrett’s file, and would like to see us tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.

*This should have been my first clue, but I missed it.


As my husband is getting ready for work, he asks if I’m sure I don’t need him to go with us today.

Since Garrett has gotten older and can entertain himself play on the iPad independently, we typically conserve Bob’s paid time off/sick/vacation for when we absolutely have to use it or can truly enjoy it. I’ve been doing the kids appointments solo for quite some time, and almost prefer it that way.  It’s just easier for me to concentrate on getting one vehicle to the right destination on time than two. I know you get it.

I assure him I will be fine, but if he feels better going then he can come.

Do you and your husband do this?  Volley the question back and forth trying to be sensitive to the others needs and feelings, and both of you end up kinda exasperated about the whole thing? Yeah, that.

Bob poses the final question. “What do you expect to happen at the appointment?”

*This should have been clue number two.

Because our neurosurgeon is so conservative.

Because we’ve been down this road before.

Especially because the MRI wasn’t showing the “typical” indicators.

“He’s going to look at me, laugh, tell me how blessed we are to have such a high functioning SB kiddo and refer me to ortho and physical therapy.”

Keep in mind, all this time we’ve been praying, our people, and our church have all been praying.  Yes, sweet hand clasped prayers for healing and strength. But also feet hitting the pavement, running prayers of salty sweat and tears. Gut wrenching, sobbing prayers in the shower. Hours and hours of reading and praying God’s promises over every aspect of the situation.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NLT

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 NIV

This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT


And God did make a path in our wilderness. Light shined in our darkness, and it did not overcome. And the Lord encouraged us and proved He was with us through all the love, support, and prayers of others.

The doctor, in no uncertain terms, indicated surgery to untether Garrett’s spinal cord was the best preventative and hopefully restorative action step.

What do you expect?

We expected God to show up. We didn’t know how, when, or what it would look like, we just waited expectantly and continue to do so.

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Faith, Family


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Team Meeting

Team Meeting


Spina Bifida Clinic

Since birth Garrett has been seen by a team of doctors at least annually, but usually bi-annually to stay on top of his health and wellness. The team consists of a neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, urologist, rehab med doc, physical therapist, pediatrician, nutritionist, and specialized nurse practitioners. The majority of this team have remained the same all these years, I feel they all are very passionate about what they do and truly care for Garrett and our family as a whole.

The clinic set up is great. All of the patient rooms are in a square and the kids frequently end up in the hallway, which is carpeted to look like a road, playing with one another. Many of the kids we see there also attend the same Spina Bifida summer camp. Because of this, clinic is not something we dread but look forward to.

Garrett and his buddy at Spina Bifida camp

Garrett and his buddy at Spina Bifida camp summer 2014

Today everyone examined and reviewed Garrett’s signs and symptoms, putting their heads together to determine what exactly is going on. Timing was a bit off, as our neurosurgeon is not here, but on mission somewhere in Africa (I think). We left with an order for ongoing physical therapy and assurance that the team would communicate the concerns with the neuro as soon as possible upon his return.

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Faith, Family


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Hoping for Light

Hoping for Light

MRI’s can be difficult for anyone, but imagine a busy, fidgety 10-year-old boy, and said MRI predicted to last 2-3 hours. Ugh! It just sounds impossible. It felt like everything was riding on this test though. We needed the results to be clear. We needed answers and having experienced a very similar situation previously, we knew sooner rather than later was vital.

We tapped every resource for prayer to help Garrett get through it successfully. This is one of those times I am grateful for social media. We shouted our SOS as loudly as we could and the response was overwhelming and powerful.

He amazed everyone with how well he handled himself during the test. They were able to complete everything they needed to in just under 2 hours because he did so well.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Praise you, Lord, for empowering him with self-control for this moment!

Testing was on a Wednesday. I anticipated hearing from the doctor Thursday and planned on calling in the early afternoon if I hadn’t because I know many of his doctors take Fridays off.

When my phone rang at 6:20 pm that Wednesday night and the caller id indicated it was from the hospital, fear shot through my body causing my limbs to feel numb and tingly. They’d only be calling this quickly if it were bad news, right?

Wrong. The MRI was clear, “showing no marked change compared to the previous one – post recovery from the previous surgery in 2009”. Relief and confusion flooded my mind. If not this, then what? Grateful, but fearful of the unknown.

In these moments, we have a choice. We can allow ourselves to be overcome by our flesh and emotion or we can cling to the promises and truths of God. In the past, I have chosen flesh and emotion. My present choice is Truth and I pray it will forever be so.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NLT

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 NIV

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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Faith, Family


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Day of Dawning

Day of Dawning

I’m a writer. I process and cope by writing.  Even though I, obviously, haven’t been posting here on the blog, I’ve still been writing. A few near and dear to me have asked, prompted, and encouraged me to get back to posting. The entry below was originally written  on April 22, 2015. I will be posting a few more entries to fill in the gaps, but wanted to let you know in two days we are heading into the operating room.

April 22, 2015

Garrett woke up around 2 or so, bad dream. He was extra whiny so hubby let him crawl in bed with us. An hour and a half later, he’s up crying because his head hurts so bad. I run to the kitchen to get some ibuprofen and upon my return Garrett says he needs to use the bathroom. I check and his diaper is full, unusual for him. We catheterize him every 3-4 hours during the day, but if we cathe right before bed, he’s typically dry all night.

“Let’s cathe Boo,” I say. I get the stuff ready and began emptying his bladder. He’s whining and crying, his head hurts and his tummy hurts. I finish up, put a dry diaper on him and his “cover up” underwear, but he can barely stand and walk back to bed.

“Can you carry me?” He cries. His right leg looks very weak and it’s struggling to support him. He’s so big now I can’t just swing him up like I used to, but I lift him anyway. We manage the short distance to my bed. There, I begin to put his legs back into the pajama pants. His right leg is spasming from toes to mid-thigh. I recognize the rhythm of the spasm as having a “clonus” feel. He settles in as close to me as he can manage to get, moaning from discomfort. After 30 minutes or so the meds kick in and he falls asleep, but my mind continues to spin.

Garrett was born with Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, and a few other diagnosis for good measure. In his 10 years, he’s had 8 surgeries, ranging from the removal of his tonsils and adenoids to brain surgery. The above episode lead to a PJ day on the couch for him and while I held him, cared for him, and prayed for him, I started making a mental list of some changes Garrett has presented in the last few months. The concern grew. Sure, I could explain them all reasonably individually, but cumulatively it was unsettling. I had previously made notes to bring some of it up to his doctors during his bi-annual clinic appointment just a few weeks away, nothing seemed too urgent. Maybe even this most recent episode was no big deal. We’d continue to monitor and discuss at the upcoming appointment. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it might be a bigger issue. It was Wednesday, which I know to be a typical spina bifida clinic day. So, I called to chat with the clinic nurse coordinator, maybe we could get a couple of diagnostic tests in before our clinic date. It certainly had been a while since any tests were run to look at him neurologically.

Years back (2009) Garrett presented with some signs and symptoms that made me certain something was wrong. At that time, he was a year or so post-op from corrective surgery on both his feet. I noticed a decrease in his foot sensation and movement, particularly his right side. To me, it seemed most logical to call his orthopedic surgeon. Upon examination, the doctor told me he suspected a neurological problem. He detailed the reasoning why, one of which being an increase “clonus” pulse in his right foot during a routine reflex type test. He recommended we see Garrett’s neurosurgeon for further evaluation and testing.

Before I proceed, I’d like to preface by saying that our family thinks the world of Garrett’s neurosurgeon. Immediately after Garrett was born this man performed miracle surgery to close the open lesion of Garrett’s back and spinal cord. His approach with Garrett and with us, at that time, was gentle and patient. He gave Garrett, his body, and God the opportunity and space to correct the minimal hydrocephalus he had at birth before recommending we intervene surgically. At every follow-up, routine check-up, and interaction, I felt he and his nurse practitioners held a special affinity for my son.  Also, keep in mind, Garrett deals with few of the many possible life strains that can occur with spina bifida. Many who don’t know, can’t tell anything is different simply by looking or interacting with him.

After the neurosurgeon examined Garrett, he looked at us and chuckled. He said there was nothing wrong, not only did he think everything was normal, but expressed how lucky he thought we were to have such a high functioning sb child. The symptoms continued to worsen and I continued to call on the doctors that were listening to me and shared my concern. The orthopedic surgeon ordered long-term physical therapy in hopes that professional documentation would help convince the neurosurgeon to order some tests. It didn’t and Garrett continued to decline. Granted  the declination was minimal, it was noticeable, and when it’s your child, it feels magnanimous. After consulting with Garrett’s rehabilitation med doctor, the ortho ordered an MRI on Garrett’s brain and spinal cord. The test indicated that Garrett’s spinal cord was tethered, or attached to his spine, and due to growth was under duress from being stretched. If left untreated the physiological dysfunction would continue to worsen.

Commonly in persons with spina bifida, there is also a condition of a neurogenic bladder and bowels. In my terms, this means that they don’t function normally. There is often a decrease in the sensation of needing to empty resulting in incontinence, along with decreased capacity, spasms, and overall function. A tethered cord can cause this to worsen permanently.

As with any surgery, there are risks. Surgery on the spinal cord has some high ones. In spite of operating in hopes of correction and improvement, the patient can end up worse off and even paralyzed. We elected to have the surgery and had great results, largely due to the giftedness of the neurosurgeon.

My conversation with the clinic coordinator affirmed my instincts to call. She took the information I gave her to the rehab med doc and the clinic nurse practitioner and soon called me back to schedule an MRI. We were given two options for the 2-hour long test. There was availability the next Wednesday for an unsedated test or almost two months away if sedation would be necessary.

Ugh! I’m not sure any 10-year-old boy alive wouldn’t struggle to stay perfectly still for 2 hours without sedation. But for my son, it’s going to require divine intervention. On top of all of the above, Garrett also carries a diagnosis of ADHD and an anxiety disorder. He doesn’t just constantly move and have trouble focusing for longer periods of time when anxious he picks and chews his fingernails as a coping mechanism. However difficult I suspect this to be for him, we need information sooner rather than later.

I went ahead and scheduled him for the MRI next Wednesday and in the time we have leading up to the test, I will do everything I can to prepare my son to do well. We are talking about it, watching youtube videos of what an MRI machine looks and sounds like, and the importance of the information clear test results will provide. Ultimately though we’re praying. We’re constantly praying, when we’re alone, when we’re together, silent prayers, and out loud prayers.  We’re praying empowering words over him and we’re praying God’s word over him.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

For anyone interested in learning more about Spina Bifida please visit


Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Blogging, Faith, Family


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Come Away With Me


I can’t even begin to tell you how long it has been since I first implemented a daily quiet time of worship, scripture, and prayer.  Of course, I’m not perfect, it doesn’t happen EVERY day and it certainly doesn’t look the same from day to day either.  I haven’t been practicing Sabbath for near as long, although it’s been long enough still that I don’t remember when it began.  I do know that since my “reintroduction” to Jesus, I’ve felt a strong relational pull to spend time with Him.  I’m lucky enough to have been discipled well, but it truly feels like my hearts desire to do these things.

Then along comes the opportunity to retreat to “where the mountains meet the plains” and for many reasons I go…

It’s a great scouting adventure I can experience with my oldest son.

It’s a chance to unplug and decompress.

It’s a challenge in every way.

But most of all, I knew that not only would my relationship with my son grow deeper, so would my relationship with Christ. I knew I’d plug in and surrender to Him more fully. I knew I’d depend on God to be my everything.

He has a plan for me and this was definitely part of it. I’m so thankful that I heard Him calling me to Him, and that I answered.

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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Faith, Family


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I Need You

I was SO looking forward to my quiet time this morning!

My quiet time looks very different on the weekends vs the weekdays. Typically when I wake up, even before I fling back the covers and hopefully before I’ve even let my eyes focus on anything, I try to start my day with the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t have to think about what to pray, what words to say, nothing else has to even enter my mind because I’ve had this prayer memorized for almost as long as I can remember. But it quickly aligns myself with Him and His ways. Of course, days start and I forgot to whisper “Our Father”, and noticeably, I am a very different person!

You see, what happens daily after that moment is life. A life just like many of yours, or like it was or will be in the season of active parenting. Seven days a week, I wake up to my husband and my boys. The weekends hold less structure than the weekdays. So it’s the weekdays that hold a more predictable rhythm for my quiet times. Today is Tuesday, the first weekday of our week really, because yesterday was a snow day. And yes, I LOVE having my boys home, but I awoke this morning with an overwhelming desire to spend some alone time with my Heavenly Father. Once the boys left, the house became still and quiet, I started to play some worship music and with my coffee in hand, sat before the Lord.

Even before I opened my Bible or any devotional, the relief bubbled up and out in hot tears.

Nothing is “wrong”, I don’t feel like I’m in any pit or valley, nor do I see a mountain in front of me that needs moved or conquered. I just NEED Him. A moment surrendered to that. My stomach clenched for Daily Bread, my body shaking with sobs, and each gulp of air – filled with the hope of taking more of Him in.

After I settled a bit and begun writing in my journal and reading my daily devotional, the idea of sharing this with you all here came to me. Honestly, I’ve been working on a different post, but that life I mentioned earlier can get quite distracting! I don’t necessarily like sharing these vulnerable moments and tried to push past that thought. But it wouldn’t leave me. The Lord continually nudges me out of my comfort zone and as uncomfortable as obedience might be, I trust His plan. Maybe you were the one who needed to read this?  Maybe it’s just another moment that needs to be recorded for later remembering? Either way, will you join me in a moment of surrendering to our dependence on our Heavenly Father and Sovereign King?



My Father, My Lord and King, I love you so! Thank you for the ways you pursued me, to bring me this close to you.  Thank you for the ways you continue to pursue me, to bring me ever closer. Thank you for moments like these that breakdown every other desire and dependence so Your light can breakthrough and shine on what really matters. Thank you for creating me to need YOU! Amen.

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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Blogging, Faith, Family


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Resolutions – Comparison or Imitation?

Photo by ColinBroug via stock.xchng

Photo by ColinBroug via stock.xchng

I find the whole idea of resolutions very interesting.  I’m not necessarily for or against them per se, but our reasons for them often have some sort of relational root.  For many years I’ve set resolutions for the new year (and I’ve done it at different times during the year), as 2013 came to a close and the hope of a new year began to form, I ran through the laundry list of areas in which I need to improve.  I need to be more consistent with my exercise, my nutrition, being more intentional with family time, spend more time with Jesus etc. I trust you know the list just as well as I do.  Honestly, the idea of forming a grandiose plan around even one on the list was less than enticing!

Naturally, my next human reaction included downplaying the importance of making resolutions in the first place by questioning why so many of us seem to have the desire to do so sewn into our identity.  It must be our evil comparison ridden society!  At least that’s where I tried to conclude my self examination…

I did, in fact, table the discussion with myself to go pick up my boys from school.  After all, we had a busy afternoon ahead!  Homework, piano practice, making and sitting down as a family to dinner, Scouts, and then the start of the bedtime routine, which for my teenager included more homework after scouts and very little, if any down time.

Now, I understand that we can find ourselves in all kinds of seasons, but the season I currently find myself to be in includes very little self care.  I’m not referring to showering and brushing my teeth.  I’m talking about nurturing my soul! Somehow I was getting enough water to maintain, and that’s what my boys were doing.  I found this unsettling to say the least!

Yes, seasons existed where I modelled these things better, but the Spirit convicted me that if I wanted my boys to practice a different rhythm in their lives, in every season, then I had to first model that for them.


Just as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4

14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.


Imitate me, by imitating my son/daughter who has spent time watching me imitate Jesus Christ.  Who doesn’t want to send out their children and be able to say this?  Who doesn’t want a life worth imitating?


Almost a month into the new year, I’m creating my plan.  A plan to renew my resolve, not to be a perfect example, but a living one.  An honest and transparent example, inviting those near and dear to imitate anything in me of Jesus and nothing that isn’t.


John 3

30 He must become greater; I must become less.


In order for Him to increase in me, what must decrease?  That which is worthy of imitation must increase and that which isn’t must go.

I don’t want to be a guide in Christianity, instructing and teaching on what was and what is supposed to be.  I want to be a Mother in Christ, with many spiritual children, helping to imprint the way of life in Christ on many.



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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Discipling, Faith, Family, Fitness, Food


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