God’s Hand

All through this journey all the way back to the day we found out at week 17 of our pregnancy that Hannah was going to have a lot of health issues and heart trouble, we have seen God’s Hand move.  Not only has He moved us in so many ways but He has moved every piece of the puzzle into place in His timing.  No matter which part of this journey we have been on, we have truly watched Him work.

Just today, on several of occasions, I have seen God’s Hand, His infinite wisdom, mercy, grace and love from circumstances and people.  I have been amazed over the last few weeks at the love that people have shown us already…..cards, emails, texts, FB messages, blog messages, phone calls and gifts.  There are no words for the appreciation and gratefulness that we have to so many people who are wanting and willing to walk this journey with us.

Today started out as a bad day for me, mostly because reality hit that one week from today we will be leaving for Birmingham.  As of 5am this morning I didn’t know anything.  I was beginning to panic, not like an anxiety attack or anything……but, just wanting and needing to plan and honestly, I didn’t know where to start.  What to pack, how to pack, where we were going to stay, how much it was going to cost, where I was going to do my laundry…..you knew that one was coming, didn’t you?!?  HA!  Can I just say, by 11am God moved His mighty Hand in such a BIG way that all those questions were answered for me.  Would you believe that I have even almost finished my packing?   It was amazing….I literally watched the Lord work this morning!  It was so neat to sit here and watch all those questions get answered and the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together into a BEAUTIFUL example of God showering His love, grace, peace and strength on me.

On top of all that….I will be so ready for my sweet husband to get home from Alabama.  I never mind when he goes out-of-town.  He usually leaves 2-3 weeks in the winter and summer to go to Alabama and it never bothers me.  This time, however, is different.  I have really missed him, when I am weak, he is my rock and when he is weak, I am his and let’s just say we both had a difficult weekend…..his more so than mine, I am sure.

Anyway, today turned out to be a day FULL of God’s blessings and just having some plans in place and some sense of CONTROL did me alot of good today.

Please pray for us this week as we have so much to do and I know that the days are going to fly by and well, frankly, I wish time would just stand still!  Whether we like it or not though, this surgery is going to happen and we are looking forward to being on the other side of it, soon!

Farewell to Maw

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Today my heart is heavy.  Today my husband and his family are saying their final farewells to Maw-Maw.  I so badly wish I could be in Alabama with him today and providing some comfort for him.  My heart aches for Dennis.  He was so close to Maw and every chance he got to travel to Alabama to see her, he would.  He would spend hours watching TV with her and talking to her.  She loved to play Dominos and every once in a while, we would even catch her cheating!  HA!  She had a sweet laugh and was always happy and smiling.  She loved her “Dennis Wayne” and he loved and adored her.  Before he left yesterday morning all he could say to me was, please pray for me…..he had been dreading this day for years!  I hate that I cannot be there with him, but we both knew that Hannah and I could not make that trip and then turn around in a week to go to Birmingham, plus we are trying so hard to keep Hannah well for surgery.  Doesn’t make my heart hurt any less though.  Just wish I could put my arms around him right now and comfort him like he did for me when my Grandpa passed away.

His cousin, Beverly, posted the above verse on Facebook this morning and I love this verse as it gives us, as Christians, our HOPE in Christ to one day see our loved ones again.  The last verse says…Therefore comfort one another with these words.  Since I cannot be there with Dennis physically to comfort him, I pray he is comforted by God’s word and the promise of eternal life with the Lord and our loved ones who believe!

If you get a moment today, please say a prayer for Dennis and his entire family as they say goodbye to a sweet, Godly and precious woman who I too, was so fortunate to call Maw-Maw!

Happy Birthday Hannah

Seven years ago today at 6:29am, weighing 6 pounds, 0.5 ounces, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl who had a head-full of black hair and the most beautiful blue almond-shaped eyes!  Hannah made her grand entrance 3 weeks early, and this mama was so glad!

I look back at that day and remember every detail like it happened yesterday, but at the same time, because of all Hannah has been through, it seems like it was a million years ago.  One thing that I do remember is her sweet, quiet cry as soon as she was born.  The cry that the high-risk doctor said we would never hear.  The little girl who wasn’t supposed to live, much less survive birth is now 7 years old!  I remember getting a quick 10 second peak at her right before the nurses and doctors whisked her off to the NICU to check her heart.  We didn’t get to hold her or touch her and it would be 8 hours later that I actually got to see her again and touch her for the first time.  The joy I felt was also mixed with grief, sadness and unanswered questions.  We had prepared ourselves to tell her goodbye the moment we met her, but her story wasn’t finished and the Lord had big plans for her and her mama and dada also!

So today, we celebrate Hannah!  Unfortunately, her dada left this morning to go to Alabama to say his final farewell to his sweet Maw-Maw.  So we celebrated with chocolate cake with pink and yellow icing (Hannah’s request) last night.  She opened a present from her Aunt Do-Do & Uncle Eddie (one of Dennis’ sisters & husband) and a present from her Aunt Pam and Uncle Garry (my mom’s sister and husband) last night and then opened the rest of her presents this morning from Dennis and me.  She was so cute as Dennis and I sang Happy Birthday to her last night, she signed along with it and was SO excited this morning to open all her presents.

She has brought us so much joy this last 7 years.  One thing Dennis and I will never regret is giving her life.  The high-risk doctor tried so hard to get us to abort her.  He told us we were thinking emotionally instead of logically, because we wouldn’t abort.  He told us she would have no quality of life and that if she survived birth, it wouldn’t be for long.  Oh, but the Great Physician had other plans for Hannah and yes, she has been through so much, more than any child should ever have to endure…..but, she has quality of life; she is happy, joyful, pleasant, full of laughter and personality.  She cares more about others than she does about herself and all she wants in life is for everybody to be as happy as she is!

Happy Birthday my little princess!  You are the best thing that ever happened to your dada and me! You are our greatest gift and our biggest blessing!  We are so thankful that the Lord chose us to be your mama and dada!  We are the blessed ones, you are our most precious and special gift from God!

Dennis and I don’t look forward to August 8th…..in fact, we are dreading it!  But, the Lord has a plan, and this is a journey He is asking us to take…..a journey of faith and trust in Him.  A journey that he already knows the outcome of; a journey that will bring us even closer to Him, to each other and a journey that I know will glorify Him and count for eternity!

 

 

Bad Blogger and Sad Day

Well, I am going to take care of two posts in one today as you can see by the title!

First, let me start with Bad Blogger….yes, that would be me!  For those that have asked or commented about my blogging with no pictures, here is the answer why!  I am married to a suspicious and overly protective cop for a husband!  HA!  We could have made the blog private, which means I would have had to approve everybody that wanted to read it and I just didn’t want to have to do that, way too time-consuming and frankly, time is one thing I am short on right now.  Dennis is a very protective husband and father, and I am grateful for that.  Unfortunately, in this wicked world we live in, people can be evil!  Dennis is not a believer in any form of social media!  He thinks Facebook is of the devil and you will never see him tweet!  HA! He agreed to this blog because he knew it would be the best way to get updates out to friends, family and prayer warriors, even those we have never met!  But, I had to promise no pictures of Hannah.  My Facebook is private and I have a few pictures on there, but not many.  To be honest, he doesn’t like that I have any on there, but he isn’t as concerned because it is private and only my “FB friends” can see them!  Anyway, just wanted to clear that up.  I know just reading posts and not seeing any pictures can be very boring and technically it does make me a bad blogger, but this truly was the best way to keep everyone posted!  So, unless my husband caves in, and that is doubtful, there won’t be any pictures on this blog of Hannah!  Sorry!  I am the world’s worst blogger!  HA!

Now, onto more important things…..today is a very sad day for our family.  Dennis’ sweet Maw-Maw went home to be with Jesus around 4am this morning.  She was a kind, loving, devoted, sweet and Godly woman!  She was 3 months away from being 94 years old.  Dennis ADORED his Maw-Maw, and frankly, I did too.  It never mattered to her that I was just “married into” her family.  In her eyes I was blood and for that I will be eternally grateful to her!  She had alot of spunk and could be so funny!  Dennis’ heart is breaking and he is making plans to go to Alabama to attend her funeral.  It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for us with all we are facing with Hannah, but God’s timing is not always our timing and the difference is, His timing is perfect!  So, with that said, please lift Dennis and his family up to the Lord in prayer.  The next few days are going to be very difficult for all of them.  Please pray for traveling safety for Dennis, his mom and his sisters as they will be going to meet his dad in Alabama.  Maw-Maw was Dennis’ dad’s mom and she was Dennis’ only living grandparent.

I can relate to how Dennis feels as my world crashed around me nearly 2 years ago when my Grandpa died.  I adored him and still to this day miss him so much.  He was one of my hero’s and Dennis feels the same way about his Maw-Maw!

We do rejoice in the fact that Maw knew Jesus and she is with Him right now and reunited with so many of her loved ones who went on way before she did.  We rest in the HOPE that the Lord gave us that we will see her again.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Our Final Victory

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”[a]

55 “O Death, where is your sting?[b]
O Hades, where is your victory?”[c]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Thank you for sticking with my blog even if it is boring and thank you for your continued prayers!
 

Revelation 21:4

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 

Just Breathe

WOWZERS……I am trying very hard to take my own advice, hence the meaning of the title of this post!

Now that we have been approved by Aetna to go to Birmingham and have a date for Hannah’s surgery, I am SLAMMED with stuff to get done between now and August 5th, since we leave here on August 6th.

All morning today I have been on the phone trying to find us accommodations.  Our desire is to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, since it is inexpensive and right across the street from UAB.  We have been placed on the waiting list, but have no guarantee that we will have a room there.  So, I have also been calling hotels and making reservations just in case.  Can I just say, all I want is a place to rest my weary head and take a shower…..I don’t need or want anything more than a bed and bathroom and these hotels want $149-$200 PER NIGHT and that is before taxes!  Highway robbery if you ask me!  HA!  I even told one of the hotel representatives that….he wasn’t very amused!  HA!  It doesn’t mean we won’t get in the Ronald McDonald House but we just don’t know.  They don’t take reservations because they don’t know who will be checking out, if anyone, on the day we need to check in and since there is a waiting list, we have faced the fact that we may or may not be able to get a room.  It is all good though, as the Lord has made a way for us thus far and He will continue to, so I am not going to fret!  Because of germs, it might be best for us to be in a hotel anyway.  At least in a hotel you don’t have “shared space” like at Ronald McDonald, which is my concern for Hannah.  The Lord will work it out though, whatever He knows is best!

Packing…..how do you even begin to think about packing for a trip like this?  This is where my germaphobia comes in again too…..we don’t know how long we will be there…..2 weeks, 3 weeks, 8 weeks???  Only the Lord knows and the thought of using a washer and dryer that other people have used is well…..ummmmm…..well, can’t even think about that…..YUCK!  I might not have a choice because if I pack for 8 weeks, my husband will personally unpack 6 weeks of it before we even leave! So, I am making lists……lots of lists……that all say the same thing……my brain is fried……looking at the lists is stressful enough, actually packing what is on the lists, well, I need a UHAUL!  HA!

Dennis will be proud that I am only taking 3 pairs of shoes…..tennis, flip-flops and black sandals; hopefully that will win me a few points.  On a funny note, we had only been married a year and he surprised me with a 7-day cruise, unbeknownst to him, I would pack 14 outfits, 14 pair of shoes, jewelry and purses to match…..so, I am doing pretty good if I only take 3 pair of shoes!  That is progress if you ask me!

On top of my brain racing 90 to nothing…..Reality has hit us in the face…..this is really happening and I am just not ready!  Nothing can prepare you to watching your child going through what our Hannah is fixing to.  So, with all kidding aside…..please pray for Dennis and me, that we can get everything done that we need to, that the Lord will give us grace and peace and that I can just breathe!

Prayers are being Answered

I am writing this post with so much thankfulness in my heart!  Our God is still in the miracle working business….

AETNA APPROVED OUR REQUEST TO GO TO UAB IN BIRMINGHAM FOR DR. DABAL TO DO THE SURGERY….. NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!!!!

I just received confirmation not only from Dr. Dabal’s office manager but also from an Aetna Representative!  I cannot stop saying “thank you Lord!”  This truly was our greatest hurdle, besides surgery itself.

With that said, it did bring me to a reality that I still do not want to face, nor am I ready to; but I have no choice but to get ready.  We leave on Monday, August 6th, Hannah will have a pre-op appointment on Tuesday the 7th and surgery will be on Wednesday the 8th at 7:30am.  There is no way to “be ready” for this, but we know the Lord will provide everything we need physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually!  Thank you for continuing to “stand in the gap” for us and with us as we face this journey!

 

Specific Prayer Requests

So many people have asked us what we need.  We are so thankful for everyone who loves us and wants to help.  My typical response is always, just pray for us.  I was thinking yesterday that I needed to make a list of specific prayer requests so that people can see our hearts, our thoughts and our needs.  So, for those of you who will and want to, here is a list of specific prayer requests for Hannah’s upcoming surgery.

1) Our greatest need right now is for Aetna to approve us going to UAB for Dr. Dabal to perform Hannah’s surgery.  He is the most qualified, as he has not only saved Hannah’s life once, but twice, with the Lord’s help, of course!  He knows Hannah’s anatomy and it is his handy-work that is already present in her heart.  Any doctor will tell you that you follow your surgeon….well Dr. Dabal is Hannah’s surgeon and we really need for Aetna to see how important it is that we follow him.  Please pray that the Aetna Representatives that review Hannah’s case will see that it is in Hannah’s best interest to go to UAB and for Dr. Dabal to do this surgery.

2) Please pray for strength for Dennis and me.  Please pray that we get the rest that we need each night to be refreshed each day to tend to Hannah.  The first few days after surgery will be very difficult for her and we need to be ready each day to tend to all her needs physically, emotionally and mentally.

3) Please pray for peace and comfort for all 3 of us, but especially for Hannah.  My prayer is that the Lord holds her so close to Him that she feels safe, loved, protected and not scared.  It is going to be very difficult for Hannah this time as she is so much more aware than she was her first two surgeries, but with her cognitive delay, she still does not grasp what has to be done and she might get very frustrated.  Another concern is for Hannah’s pain.  Please pray that it can be managed effectively with little use from the narcotic pain medications.  We had alot of trouble with her first open-heart surgery as she went through drug withdrawls and it was horrible.  I cannot even begin to tell you what she went through, only suffice it to say that anyone that is thinking about using drugs, should watch a 4-month old baby go through withdrawls…..I guarantee you they would reconsider that first dose.

4) Pray for God’s grace for Dennis and me.  Please pray that we reflect the love of Jesus to everyone that we meet.  That people will see something different about us and that no matter what happens they will know that our faith and HOPE lies in Jesus Christ.

5) Financial Needs – God has never NOT met our needs.  He has provided all of our needs and some of our wants.  When Hannah was born we made a decision that it was in Hannah’s best interest that I stay home with her.  Her needs were more important than money.  Now, don’t get me wrong….I am not judging any woman who works outside the home.  In fact, there are days that I wish I had that outlet. It was just not for us, as Hannah had not only many health issues but also a very low immune system and it was what was best for our family.  I just want to make that clear…..I would never judge any mom that chose to or had to work outside the home, in fact I admire those that can manage it all.  Now back to our financial needs…..we are thankful for insurance, but it isn’t what it was 7 years ago.  With deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance this surgery is going to cost us thousands of dollars.  I am not complaining as Hannah’s well-being is worth more than any amount of money.  Also Aetna will not  reimburse us for any of our travel/lodging/food/expenses to go to Birmingham, which is fine, as this was our choice to go to UAB.  We know the Lord will provide, He always does and we are going to continue to trust Him.

6) Please pray that Hannah doesn’t regress.  Hannah has been potty trained since she was 3 years old.  One of my concerns is not that she will forget, but that she will be too stubborn and in too much pain to get up when she is able, to go to the bathroom.  She will be cathaterized for a couple of days, but after that, my prayer is that she will have no difficulty or be in too much pain to get up and go to the potty.  I know that might seem like a strange request, but you have to keep in mind, that Hannah is not “typically developed” and I am not blind to the fact that she has cognitive delays, and I for one, know just how stubborn she can be!

7)  Please pray specifically for DENNIS.  In some ways, this is so much harder on him than it is for me.  I know that sounds strange so let me explain.  I am Hannah’s mom….all I want to do is be by her bedside and hold her hand, stroke her forehead, sing and talk to her.  Dennis wants to FIX IT!  He can’t fix it and that is very difficult for him as her dad.  He works so hard to provide for us and there is so much he can do for Hannah, but this one thing….he has NO control over and it is very hard for him.  She has been wrapped around his finger since the day she was born.  I have seen him go through 2 open-heart surgeries and now this 3rd one is upon us and I know it is harder on both of us than the first two were.  Please pray for peace for Dennis….he is not the most patient man and I am not being mean, it is just the truth and he would have to agree with me.  He is like a caged animal in a hospital.  Sitting and waiting are not things Dennis does well and he will pace and wring his hands and well…..he will drive me insane and he will tell you, that is a short drive!  HA!  He also tends to be “Mr. Optimistic” and I truly LOVE that about him, but it also sets him up sometimes for a fall.  I am a “Realist”, probably one of the things Dennis doesn’t like about me.  I always hope and pray for the best, but I prepare for the worst……not something Dennis likes to think about.  He will also bottle everything up as I express everything; again, not one of my best qualities….as sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut and that is very difficult for me.  For those that don’t know me too well, I am a bit feisty and can get myself into trouble sometimes.  It would be better if I bottled things up more and Dennis expressed himself more!  Now, one more thing about Dennis which makes this even more difficult for him.  He found out last night that his grandmother, whom he adores, is not going to live much longer!  She is a kind and loving woman and has lived a good and long life, as she is 93 years old, but she won’t be here much longer.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t live in Florida and Dennis cannot be with her right now and very possibly won’t even be able to attend her funeral.  Dennis is crushed as his sweet Maw-Maw is one of his favorite people!  So, on top of going through this emotional rollercoaster with Hannah, he knows his sweet Maw-Maw won’t be with us much longer and he is truly devastated and going through a very difficult time right now.  I know that he is thankful though that Maw-Maw loves the Lord and will soon be resting in His loving arms surrounded by so many family and friends that have gone before her.

8) For Me – My greatest need is to not be tired and to be refreshed, even if it means I buy Starbucks out of Venti Pikes!  HA!  Just kidding…..I will have to buy the hospital brand of coffee, who can afford $5 bucks, as Dennis calls it!  Seriously, I won’t be getting much sleep, which is fine, I have done it before…..but, it is difficult to think clearly and function without some good rest.  So, my prayer request for me is that when I do get to sleep it will be “good and restful sleep.”  Also, that I can be EVERYTHING that Hannah and Dennis need me to be.  I need to be strong for both of them and I need to stay well (hospitals are the worst places to catch germs).  I have already explained what  germaphobe I am….so hospitals are not one of my favorite places to be!

9) Dr. Dabal, his staff of anesthesiologist/cardiologist/nurses…..please pray for wisdom, insight, clarity of mind and knowledge.  Please pray for steady hands, and that God is his hands, eyes and mind.  That his staff will stay well and safe and that everyone who has any part of Hannah’s care will perform what they have to do in Hannah’s best interest.

Please just pray that Dennis and I can be a testimony for the Lord and that no matter what we face, we will feel God’s presence, His peace, strength, love and grace and that our sweet Hannah will feel safe, loved and peaceful!  Through all of this, pray that the Lord will use us to possibly touch someone’s heart and life for eternity.  Nothing would mean more to us than someone coming to know the Lord through our “Unexpected Journey.”