March 29, 2016


"So, is having 3 kids as hard as you thought it would be?"
Note the less than stellar-ness of this Easter Picture!

A friend asked me this the other day, and I could honestly say it wasn't nearly as horrible as so many had made it out to be....probably because everyone had made it out to be terrible. I can honestly say I cannot remember one person telling me 3 kids would be a great thing. This is crazy to me, because its like with your first kid no one talks about how hard that is going to be! They just tell you how wonderful being a parent is ( very true!) or with the second -which is also super hard- but everyone focusing on how now you won't have an "only child" and how now your kid will have " a playmate!" no one focuses too much time on how much those "playmates" are going to bicker! HAHA! Probably because it isn't as overpoweringly awesome as having two kids....and honestly I feel we should stick with the pattern!!! Why can't all the positives outweigh the negatives with three kids too!?!?!
The kids playing together happily for one millisecond 

So I'm here to tell you that it really isn't that bad! And Justice is WORTH IT! He is by far my favorite kid at this point. He can't talk back, he stays exactly where I put him for as long as I leave him there AND he always eats all his dinner. hehehe. ;-)
"Angel Baby"

Anyway all jokes aside, there are a COUPLE of MINOR things that have changed in our house since having a third kid. And I'll quickly breeze past them now: less sleep ( obvi), practically zero time to get ANYTHING accomplished outside our home that isn't ruining SOMEONE'S nap time ( this won't last forever) and the inability to go grocery shopping ( this really is a quandary)....there just aren't enough spots for everyone plus all the food we eat and usually I have one or more kids throwing some form of a fit. *sigh* I'm really still trying to figure this out-but until I do going grocery shopping has become a valid "date night option" and that is NOT. COOL.

But the MAJOR thing I've noticed since having a third child?! My daydreams have changed:

I have this one day dream and its getting more and more detailed. So much so that I actually think I might pull it off one day ( read: after Justice is weened)

It goes like this:
I'm at a hotel. Its a very very quiet hotel room with clean sheets ( that I didn't wash) and a made bed ( that I didn't make) and I'm sitting at a quiet desk, sun streaming in the window ( totally optional but this is my daydream after all...) and I'm working on my manuscript...hours pass by...NO ONE interrupts me. NO ONE. I do not feel guilty for being there for any reason. I am just there. Getting STUFF DONE. Then, after I've worked for an unlimited, amazing amount of time. I get hungry and I go have a quick lunch where I have stimulating conversation ( WITHOUT INTERRUPTION to take someone to the potty, or cut someone's meat or to ask someone to eat their carrots for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY)  with an old friend about my book and whatever they're working on- but the lunch somehow ( its a daydream) has a time limit so I'm not tempted to make it longer-because, you know me, I do love a long chat with a friend....and the conversation leaves me with some great ideas as I head back to my quiet quiet room were I work for another amazingly long time without anyone having a loud fight in the other room that I need to break up or the laundry buzzer going off. THEN it will be dinner time and I'll join a large group of my friends and we'll laugh and talk and play games if we want, or go workout together or do whatever until very late at night ( because I do love nights!) and then I'll SLEEP IN and do it ALL again the next day.....and I'll only check my phone when I wake up and when I go to bed to see pictures of my children who I'll miss terribly terribly.

End scene.

 For me, I realized that Brett really couldn't be in my daydream because if he was I would get ZERO work done! I think that's part of my problem...even when my kids aren't around I have trouble focusing because then I want to spend all that great quality time with Brett!! If he were there I would be tempted to do everything with him and that would defeat the purpose of me getting ALL THE THINGS done. So I have a whole different daydream scenario for Brett.... Spoiler alert: We'd probably Neflix and Chill for ever and ever.

So what about you? Have your "vacation" daydreams changed over the years? If you could have a spouseless/kidless weekend what would YOU do!?! Want to join me on MY working-weekend one day ( seriously! I need to fill those "stimulating conversation" slots!) ?

March 20, 2016

Mercy in all its forms ( Olivet-Post 3)

If you've had kids than you'll hopefully know what I'm talking about when I mention that overwhelming fear and panic mixed with excitement and awe that you feel when you first leave the hospital with you're very first baby. 

"Did they make a mistake?! Should they really be sending us home with this teeny tiny baby?!" 

Thankfully, that feeling does fade as the sleep deprivation sets in and you get use to having your very own baby. And seriously once baby number 3 comes around you're pretty well sure you can handle this little bundle of joy...unless, like my sister, your teeny tiny baby inexplicably gets very very sick. 

That feeling comes back, and I know my sister felt it pretty strongly when they left the hospital yesterday - even more so because it had been Olivet's 5th hospital stay in the short month of her life so far. Every time you think you're done. And then things get bad, yet again. 

We pray that this time is very different, for one thing Olivet was in a much more specialized hospital and got a bit more intense care- her Anemia was cared for with the blood transfusions-which, in its turn will hopefully help with the Jaundice ( if you see in the pictures that her coloring is still a bit on the orangish side and her eyes still look yellow-that's because she still has high bilirubin count-just not high for her.) We, of course, want to see all those numbers get better and better. And I truly believe the Lord is healing Olivet. 

But I need to share this story with you in more detail- I mentioned it in my last report- because it optimizes this whole experience and you definitely need to know that all your prayers-they were answered in so many ways: 

This time last week Olivet was having her 4th hospital stay and her Bilirubin scores were once again through the roof-  and scary things like "life flights" were being thrown around. However, instead they decided to treat her with photo therapy one more time to get things a little more under control and then high tail it to the nearest Children's hospital...

Answered Prayer #1: When they started researching it the only hospital in the STATE OF TEXAS that would take their insurance-was in San Antonio-WHERE I LIVE! This turned out to be really helpful. Anna and Ryan were able to stay in our guest bedroom, take long hot showers, get fed home cooked meals and I was able to go and hold Olivet when I was feeling panic-y about how she was doing ( yup, this was selfishly important to me! hahaha! Holding her always helped me when fear started to set in.). 

Answer #2: On the drive to San Antonio my sister-planning on just playing it by ear, spend the night at my house and then take Olivet to the doctor the next day- was called by her panicked pediatrician. They had found bacteria in one of Olivet's blood tests and now they were suspecting meningitis. Her doctor told Anna to see if Olivet "was responsive"....P.S. to any mother that's been told to check to see if their sleeping infant is "responsive"-those 3 seconds where you're poking your baby, waiting for them to move/wake up are the LONGEST THREE SECONDS EVER. My sister then spent the rest of her 5 hours drive frantically checking to make sure Olivet would respond. The miracle here?!  That blood work was a mistake. Olivet did not have any infection, BUT because of that blood work Anna went straight to my pediatrician...

Answer #3: Because they were coming to San Antonio, Anna was able to contact my amazing pediatrician who had treated Justice just months before, and she agreed to take on Olivet's case and see her immediately. She then once seeing Olivet she had the smarts to send Anna immediately to the hospital. 

Answer #4: Olivet was admitted right away to the NICU and they learned quickly that her blood levels were CRASH level. We're talking incredibly incredibly low. She needed an emergency blood transfusion ( she indeed up getting two over the course of the next 2 days). If it hadn't been for that first "miracle" of the mistaken blood work in Nacogdoches-we will definitely not consider what would have happened if Anna had just waited till the next day to go to the doctor....*shudder* 

Answer #5: Olivet was admitted to that NICU-my sister hadn't slept in days and my mom and I tried to convince her to leave ( but to no avail. I understood- you couldn't DRAG me away from my sick baby either), the room was not equipt for a parent to stay all night, and you aren't allowed to sleep with your child there-but I turned and looked out of Olivet's little glass room in the NICU and saw one of those big comfy chairs that can recline. Just sitting there not being used by anyone. I asked if we could have it and we rolled it up next to Olivet's bed. Anna was able to stay with Olivet- and be there when things got really really serious that night....

Answer #6: 2 days later when Olivet got moved to intermediate care we were all so thankful-it meant she was much more stable and not likely to need things like crash carts or her own special room. The bad news was that in intermediate care all the babies are in one giant room, its crowded and busy and there is really no staying with your baby all night. Thankfully Anna was able to spend all day with her and see what good care she would be getting. And was able to leave her feeling "Ok" about it. 

Answer #7: However, Anna prayed when they moved Olivet to intermediate care that she wouldn't be in one of the first beds by the door coming in-she figured rightly that it would be even MORE crowded and nosy there. So, it was SUCH a kindness of God that not only was she not by the door, but she was way way in the back corner. Probably the most "prime" spot in the whole place! 

Answer #8: And so, on Saturday afternoon they release Olivet from the hospital, for what we believe, in faith, is the last time. Anna and Ryan were able to take a little nap, have a home cooked meal and have one night's ( not very good because of a baby use to be up all night) sleep before driving back to Nacogdoches and "real life".....

And now...
I know that Anna will glory in the "real life" of going home especially as they get settled back at home- but I also know it will be hard-especially Monday- when she'll be back with her older two daughters, doing school drop offs and pick ups-normal Mom stuff, plus needing to go get another blood test run on Olivet, and knowing my sister doing laundry and cleaning her house....I know it'll be hard as she gets settled with Olivet in all the normal of lack of sleep and getting everyone use to a "new normal" type ways...but I think the fact that you "never really know" when Olivet's blood levels might be dangerously low really scares her- or the fact that her bilirubin is still high....
 While we glory in all those answers-large in small- that I just laid out, I know that you can't help but lack faith sometimes. So I write them here, as a "thank you" to all of you-for your prayers. They were answered in so many ways these last few days! I also encourage you to keep praying, as I am, that God would completely heal Olivet's little body and make her strong and perfectly healthy. 

Also, if you're one of those "doer" type people like myself-and you live in Nacogdoches, feel free to check out the Meal Calendar set up for the family to help them hopefully transition for good into normal life. 

March 19, 2016

Through much prayer...

 Isn't it always nice how when things are stressful and rough and we're needing to spend a lot of time in prayer, the Lord will often give us good encouragement through His word?! The last two days have really had some good juicy nougats to help me in praying for my niece and I wanted to share this one with you because I think its encouraging-no matter what you're praying for.

So, I was reading in my "Harmony of the Gospels" this morning-which basically combines all the different gospel accounts so you can essentially read the most detailed account of all the stories of Jesus together and this is what I read today:

"When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. (Mark 9:14-16)
A man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord have mercy on my only son, ( Matt 17:14) who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech ( Mark 9:17). He has seizures and is suffering greatly. (Matt 17:15) A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions ( Luke9:39) to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashing his teeth and becomes rigid. ( Mark 9:18) It scarcely leaves him and is destroying him. ( Luke 9:39) I brought him to your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not heal him ( Mark 9: 18). So they brought him to Jesus.  When the spirit saw Jesus it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion...Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into the fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "If I can'?" said Jesus. "everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit,' he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently ( Mark 9:21-26) and came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. ( Matt 17:18) And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, Why couldn't we drive it out? (Mark 9:28)  He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you he truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "move from here to there; and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." ( Mark 17:20) This kind can come out only by much prayer and fasting." ( Mark 9:29)

So I read that passage today, and I think for the first time ever it became so clear.... Those poor disciples went in all confident and tried to heal that little boy, the curious crowd leaning in to see what would happen, and for whatever reason it didn't work! Immediately, the jeering started, the well meaning suggestions,  the imploring family- voices got louder and louder and the poor disciples lost all faith- maybe they tried again to heal the boy but this time it was no longer in Jesus' power, but now it was all them, trying trying trying but with no results.
 BUT THEN Jesus shows up, He asks what is going on and the father of the little boy pipes up! He's still in great distress, he still needs help for his poor son!
Jesus starts asking him questions, but before they get very far Jesus sees the disruptive crowd coming over to where they are. So He turns and Bam! heals the boy before things get all crazy again.
Because, you see, Jesus had all power and authority already. What He says goes. Boom!
But then the disciples asked him what happened?!? Why couldn't we heal the boy like you just did?!?
And Jesus says that if only they had had a tiny drop of faith they could have healed him! But instead, when they tried once and "failed" instead of listening to the Truth:That Jesus has all Authority to do all things- they listens to the crowd, they listened to their own pride and their own insecurities. 
Then Jesus says this (healing this little boy) requires much prayer and fasting. Which I thought was insteresting since it's not like Jesus had to do any major praying or fasting to heal the boy! Ah yes, exactly! 
Sometimes God wants US to show our faith, to pray and to fast even when the answer doesn't come immediately- or so we think. The answer is coming! The answer is already written- but He loves and delights in seeing our faith. Seeing us get down on our knees and pray. And when the time is right, the Lord will Speak and the healing will come. Just like that.
So, I pray for myself, that I would believe ( and Lord, help my unbelief!) that I might continue to pray and fast for the things that I hold dear, the things that I know He can do at exactly the right moment. 

March 18, 2016

Olivet, post 2

First off, we've got GREAT news!
Yesterday's ultrasound showed some very suspicious white matter in Olivet's brain- this led the doctors to suspect a virus had eaten away some brain tissue-awful news. An MRI  was done this morning and thanks to the miracle of this blog post you don't have to wait hours and hours to learn that it came back ALL CLEAR for infection! This is very exciting and also means that since her bilirubin readings are reading ( still high but not TOO high) stable for the past few days and she's had those nice helpful blood transfusions- her time in the hospital is hopefully coming to a close!! Hooray! 
Of course, she'll still have to have her blood drawn every two weeks to make sure the anemia isn't getting to dangerous levels again and then she'll still have those tests in 2 months that I discussed in detail in my last post to find out what is causing the anemia- that she's been completely healed. But at least we'll be able to put this particular chapter of Olivet's health journey to rest. 

Helpful things to pray for:
The nature of anemia in an infant is that Olivet had crash level blood stats when she was taken to the hospital here in San Antonio but you wouldn't have known it to look at her ( because all babies are sleepy for the most part). As you can imagine this is scary for a parent to think about and we pray the Lord's continued protection over her. So far every step of the way, even in the smallest of "accidents" she has gotten the care that she's needed when she needed it. ( For instance, a faulty blood test in Nacogdoches meant that Anna was able to get an "emergency" doctors appointment with my doctor in San Antonio as soon as she arrived rather then the next day...and my doctor sent her immediately to the emergency room).

Also, its pretty imperative for Olivet to have a super great pediatrician when they return to Nacogdoches however their insurance is not currently accepted with the pediatrician she has been seeing ( and who Anna has taken all her girls to see for the past 5 years) and they're suppose to change to some unknown doctor this next month ( literally the ONLY doctor in town who takes their insurance. Not really the reasons you want to go by when picking a doctor) Could we pray for a miracle that somehow they would be able to keep their current pediatrician?

And of course, as I mentioned in my last post pray that all their physical and practical needs would be met as they deal with the financial fallout of this last month- I'm just the sister so I don't know details, but I do know hospitals so- I bet it isn't pretty.

And last, but definitely not least, I am praying for complete healing for Olivet. That come two weeks ( much less 2 months) when they do blood tests they'll find no anemia at all.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord can do great and wonderful things and I believe that He can and will ( and maybe has already started!) to heal little Olivet's body. In fact, I got something really cool in my quiet time today that encouraged me about this very thing. I'll post it tomorrow!

But I'll leave you with this last thought...this time tomorrow Olivet could actually be out of the hospital! Wouldn't that be wonderful?! Let's pray that happens together!

March 17, 2016

Olivet, post 1

"I'm the sister." I said to the Doctor when he asked me my relationship. I immediately felt foolish. But he understood my meaning and said, "Oh! The auntie! How nice you're here!"

Thinking back on it now I think the reason my mind was on being a "sister" and not an "aunt" in those moments is that I had just heard the doctors plans for Olivet now that she's safely in the NICU here in San Antonio and for the first time in her 3 weeks of life I had some hope that we might get some answers, that she was definitely being taken care of... And yet, what about Olivet's Mommy?! My sister? Standing there having not had sleep in days, having just driven 5 hours with her baby to try to find the help they so desperately needed....

 "She's only 3 weeks old!" we would say when talking about Olivet and we would say that with such surprise in our voice! Particularly since in her life so far she's only spent about 4 days total at home.
And my sister had spent all those days in the hospital and breathing in her Baby Girl.

I wish I didn't know how my sister feels right now! And maybe I don't know fully...we are different ( as I'll mention further in a minute) but I do know what its like to be worried to the point of sickness over your baby. For every thought to be about them. To have not slept or eaten anything in hours and hours but to be surprised that hours had even passed because you're caught in the bubble of the hospital world. You have no idea what day it is, but you DO know the last time the doctor came by on rounds. You'll "hold it" for an eternity afraid to leave your babies bedside because you don't want to miss anything by running to the restroom....I know what its like to vacillate between thinking "maybe will go home in a day or two!" to the most awful thoughts you could imagine in the next moment... I know how my sister is feeling right now.

But she and I are different! While I thrive on "getting information out there" not caring if I scare all of my friends and family ( sorry) with the truth about our medical woes ( and yes, you all deserve some major props and big hugs for standing by with us through the Priscilla/Tabitha season and the Justice season) because for me, talking about it and knowing that everyone has ALL THE DETAILS so they can be praying with us when I'm feeling like I can't cry out another prayer :that is what gets me sister is different, she thinks of others, she worries that she's going to freak out her friends and family and they're going to all line up to worry and fret. She's so much better than I.

My sister is an introvert. When she is on the battle field, using up all her energy next to her daughters hospital bed, she gains strength from the Lord, she gains strength from a stolen quiet minute. Having to update all of her wonderful friends and family, that takes more energy, energy she just doesn't have right now.

BUT while she's an introvert and I'm an extrovert we BOTH do gain strength from the prayers of the saints. We BOTH believe in the Lord to answer those prayers. We BOTH know that miracles can and will happen. The difference is she doesn't have the energy right now to keep you updated on all those little details- details that often change by the hour.

And so today Anna and I had a chat as I drove her back to the hospital. She hadn't slept in 2 days and my brother-in-law Ryan and I had finally convinced her to go home with me last night to get some sleep while he stayed behind. ( incidentally, there is no sleeping by the bedside in the NICU. So its truly a battle of love to spend all night next to Olivet). I told her that I promised to shield her from the questions that I knew would come when we told you the details, that I would tell everyone to be positive and to be encouraged in the same breathe that I told you all to pray. I promised her that we would all be ok. And so I got my "radio silence" ban lifted and I'm hear to tell you all the details you could ever want to hear....if you want to hear them! If you're a worrier and details only worry you more-than stop reading and  pray on, dear saints! Do so knowing that the Holy Spirit will lead you in your prayers far better than the "facts" that I might bring you...BUT if you crave facts-then I'm hear to give them to you:

Olivet is very sick. As of right now she's had phototherapy more times than we can count, had two blood transfusions, a spinal tap, many x-rays and countless countless blood tests. What we DO know is that her bilirubin is still very high, but at least is no longer in the super dangerous range.  We DO know that bacteria was found in her blood work a few days ago and there is possibility of infection. We DO know that she is seriously anemic ( thus the blood transfusions) and that we do not yet know the cause.

With the possible infection, luckily, we are very optimistic. For the most part she doesn't show many signs of infection at all, she looks really healthy! But, with a baby so young, you have to take such tests seriously and until they can get the results of a follow up test ( they take 48 hours to "cure" so we'll know tomorrow what the follow up tests say) she will be on antibiotics.

We also know that with the anemia it could be 1 of three things. It could just be that her body is maturing slower than most and the fact that her red blood cells won't hold the proper shape will work itself out on its own as she grows older and stronger. This of course is the best case scenario.

It could also mean that her anemia is a little different and her body just reacts to the outside world differently and she'll need to stay away from certain foods and medicines for the rest of her life because they will cause bad reactions for her. This isn't "so bad".

Or it could be that her anemia is even MORE serious and it isn't about keeping certain triggers away, but more that her body will always be susceptible to breaking. Every time she gets a cold, is stressed or tired the anemia will kick in.

Of course, with all these options there are medicines and medical interventions that can help her. However, because she absolutely HAD to have the blood transfusion and that kind of "contaminates" the blood tests and therefore they will have to wait 2 months before testing to find out which of these options it will be.

One thing we know is that Olivet is still very sick, she is stable but there are still many many unanswered questions about what is causing all of her illnesses. We also know that if what the doctors say to be true, she could very well be sick for the rest of her life. When Justice was very sick 4 months ago we were facing the possibility of facing serious sickness for up to a year and that seemed unfathomable. This seems next to impossible to contemplate.
We ask that you would pray and pray hard. In the same way that Justice's follow up tests at 3 months showed that he was completely healed we pray the same for Olivet. May this be a great testament to the Lord's mighty Hand. For He is fully capable of healing this sick baby girl.

We pray that, even now, her symptoms would all disappear and that even the doctors would be unable to attest to why she is so miraculously healed. In this pray we ask that she would be able to go home very very soon and not be stuck in the hospital far from home.

In the same way that I've talked about before- "real life" does go on even when someone is ill and in the hospital, and their older daughters are currently being taken care of by wonderful family...but knowing what its like to have a 3 and 5 year old myself, its rough...and of course they all miss each other terribly.

I'd also like to mention that while the end result of Anna and Ryan's private insurance was that the only hospital in the state that would take them was here in San Antonio where I live, seems to be like a perfect miracle for me.  The financial  awfulness of this situation cannot be ignored. And  it can also be lifted up that their needs would be met as they come and even before they present themselves.

And so there you have it! If you have questions you may always text or private message me, I will be at your disposal. And I PROMISE to keep you up to date as the information comes to me. If you have encouraging words then go ahead and post away here on this post or on social media- Anna and Ryan will get them and I know it will help them in the days ahead.

Also this morning as I read the word my eyes fell upon these words in Revelation, 

"Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints." 

I feel like that is the call for us today as we left up this sweet baby girl and her parents and sisters.  And saints, thank you for being so wonderful that I can once again call on you to pray and I know that you will. I think we're going to get to see another miraculous thing from the Lord! So let us have endurance and stand in faith together.

March 12, 2016


So, the other night I was working on my Book Baby and in the process was looking over old blog posts and I came across this hilarious little quote from myself ( that's right, I'm not above quoting myself!): "my goal is to be done with this book- at least the first draft- by Tabitha's first birthday."

Pause for dramatic effect. 

aaaaaahahahahahaha! I was so young! So naive! I had clearly never had two kids before! I had also clearly forgotten what it was like to have a baby... And then a toddler... And then be pregnant again... And then have another baby! Oops.

So yes, my lofty goals did not get met and yet at the same time, slowly but surely, my book was indeed written. 

And today, I'm sitting here in the front seat of my minivan during one of my absolute favorite times of the week: Ransom inside his piano teachers house for his lesson, Tabitha chillin in her car seat with the iPad, Justice sleeping. Ahhhh!!

I'm sitting here reading over the last chapter- I wrote it last night while Brett graciously put our older kids to bed. I sat on my bed with the door closed and the dramatic sounds of bathtime rolling in the crack under the door, eating peanut M&Ms and typed like a mad woman. And now I'm done. I think that I've said everything I want to say... Sure there is definitely a long road ahead ( and this time I KNOW it will be long! Hahaha! ) of editing and adding and subtracting to clarify the story and make it better- but as of this moment- I've written about 16 chapters, 50,000 words and poured my little heart into something that I set out to do almost exactly 3 years ago. 

Other than my children I don't think I've ever made anything this big before! I'm pretty excited and now I'm taking a minute to breathe and try not to freak out too much about the editing process to come. I'm not gonna lie it seems super de duper daunting. But then filling up white computer screens with the story of my girls also seemed daunting so I know it is possible. 

So with that I can say, I have a manuscript! A first draft! It is DONE!