Monday, November 19, 2012

Guard your heart...the stakes just got higher

I was reading and article and the following really stood out...

When we do make this change, we will not think of ourselves higher than we should (v. 3), and our judgments (perceptions, beliefs, conclu­sions, attitudes) will be sober, clear, and accurate. Transforming our thinking can lead us to the right behaviors (vv. 9–21). The right behavior will then lead to the outcomes we want such as peace, intimacy, and oneness. The more we understand this principle, the more positive impact it will have on our relationships.
One of my good friends, Dr. Gary Rosberg, is one of the most spiritual men I know. When I grow up I want to be just like him. Whenever we're together, talk on the phone, correspond by e-mail, or chat after I finish a radio interview on his show, the last thing he always says to me is, "Hey Mitch, guard your heart, brother." This is another way of saying, "Be very careful to protect your mind from the wrong stuff. Put the right things in your mind. Protect it. Shield it from the bad influences." Just recently, after the birth of my first grandchild, Gary's message to me was: "Mitch, guard your heart, brother. The stakes just got higher."

Children make the stakes a lot higher...

Austin Kieff and Caroline are very observant.  They watch what I (and others) do and they really listen to what I (and others) say.  Of course, there are selective hearing issues which I am not referring to in this post, ha!  I am being convicted more and more with respect to the GIGO principle...shows I once made certain were DVRed to watch later or songs that I love (probably my biggest weakness) are losing rotation.  I cannot protect my children from everything, but for the most part, I can choose what and when they are exposed to certain things. 

I am not really a New Year's resolution maker, but lately I have been making a list of things that  I want or need to improve upon.  Making the most of the time I have with them and making my influence on my children a positive as possible is close to the top.  With that, time is limited.  I want to make the most of the relationships that truly matter in my life, not spend endless amounts of time in areas that have little to no benefit.  Prioritizing...hard, but needed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feeling a bit like Jonah

The following devotion was stumbled upon by me (it really is there...scroll way down if you want skip the rambling)...I say stumbled, but really, I think it was delivered to me for a purpose...I am not really sure I have processed the last few months. Maybe that is what this devotion is helping me do...maybe the one line is all I needed, "thank Him, worship Him for loving us enough to turn our worlds upside down to get to us." He definitely did that.
I am a creature of routine and orderly chaos. David and I practice the divide and conquer technique, ha! We are pretty much equally involved in all we do. Boy did that change for a month or so. Our two-parent home became a one parent household in someone else’s home. We tried to maintain as much normalcy as possible, but really, how normal is it when you are not living in your home, when you are relying on others to help get you through the normal necessities of the week. The Lord definitely delivered lessons to humble, foster appreciation and draw us nearer to Him.

Managing the required activities of our day became a burden to someone outside of our home. While I am so very thankful for our parents and their assistance during this time, it was hard to accept. Mom took Caroline to school and picked her up every day for almost three months. Now, yes, she does work in Troy, which definitely made it more convenient. But, I am very well aware of what she gave up to do so. She was unable to be at work early to prepare for her day…a practice that she has enjoyed for quite some time now. She literally planned her day around picking Caroline up. For instance, if she was leaving early, she left late enough to make sure she did not disturb nap time. She did not have to, but she did it for us. My dad checked in on David and planned work around the house so that David was not alone any more than he had to be. He would not admit, but I am sure he probably lost money during September and October to help us out. Not to mention the cost of adding four to their electric and water bills! Go ahead and throw in groceries, too.

Our steady income was cut in half. Scary. This was probably the hardest truth to process and the thing that upset my apple cart the most. David’s original timeline did not have him going to work until after the first of the year. His FMLA would run out the first week of December. Our insurance is through his employer. We had a guarantee he had a job and we had insurance through December. After that, whether or not he went back to work was at the discretion of his employer. Insurance, not a real issue because we could pick it up through my office. I like absolutes. I like to plan. I am an accountant.  The uncertainty of David’s job and the the potential impact of this accident rocked me to my very core. So, on the day of his accident, these were some of the thoughts going through my mind:

  • My husband will be immobile for months
  • His income was just temporarily eliminated
  • His ability to do his current line of work may be permanently impaired
  • Wait, his current source of income could be permanently eliminated
  • How am I going to make our home accessible to him
  • How long is he going to be in this hospital
  • What if the rod doesn’t take…that happens sometimes
  • Austin Kieff has football practice and Caroline has to be picked up from daycare
  • I have to tell Austin Kieff and Caroline about their Daddy…
  • Thanks to one nurse, the thought that there was more than a possibility that I might leave the hospital without my husband…I think this was the thought that shook me the most. Austin Kieff is 6 and Caroline is 3. Their ages not so far away from when my mom was left to care for my brother and me. Very different circumstances, but the thought did cross my mind more than once. Now, I know the nurse was only doing her job. But, the first statement of (paraphrased, it has been awhile) “well, the thing you have to be most concerned with is his chances of developing an embolism are extremely great right now. A lot of blood entered his system from that break and surgery to insert the nail. He bled out a lot. If he throws a clot, we may not be able to do anything. His risk for infection is pretty high too. His levels are not great, but he is young and not a smoker.” Thanks nurse who didn’t come back to our room.

Side Note:  I think every medical professional we encountered thinks that statement softens the blow a bit. Hey, he will not be able to walk for three-four months, but he is young and not a smoker. Hey, we had him on a little too much blood thinner, but he is young and not a smoker. Well, this is going to be tough, but he is young and not a smoker.

I could probably list a hundred other concerns that briefly flashed through my head, some lingering longer than others. But, you know what? It was not very long before I took the stance of whatever happened would happen. I could not go through each day worrying about the next one or at least not focusing on those concerns. I think it was a God induced auto-pilot. He gave me peace and guided me through the necessities of each day. No matter what lay ahead, He would provide.  That does not mean there would not be suffering, it means He gives strength to endure.  His grace is truly sufficient.  The hospital week was the most difficult. Trying to be present for the kids and David was tough. There were some late nights because the kids did not want to go to bed without seeing Daddy…a thirty minute drive from home for thirty minutes, maybe an hour visit and then home for supper, baths and bed. I am so thankful for a job and wonderful coworkers that allowed me to be present... coworkers who prayed for us, for whose generosity and kindness I will ever be grateful.

God definitely met me where I was. He met every need…physical needs, spiritual needs, financial needs. He blessed David with healing...healing in His time, not on our timeline. David was ahead of every milestone after his second or third checkup. The first few did not go so well, but after that it was phenomenal. There was new bone growth before it was expected. He was able to put pressure on his leg before it was expected. He was able to walk unassisted almost two months before it was expected. God is good. He is good in our suffering and He is good in our health. Praise God that He is good when we do not deserve His goodness. He is also forgiving when we do not deserve it.

and you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek for Me with all you heart…Jeremiah 29:13

Were there why me moments? Of course, but really, who am I to question, why me? As one of our friends from Sunday School said a few years ago, why not me? This is the attitude we should have all the time. We do not deserve anything but death.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

The wages of sin are death, but by the mercy and grace of our heavenly Father, by His sacrifice of His son Jesus on the cross, we are cleansed of our sins when we believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior...but it is more than just believing, it is how we's acting on our faith, not just believing...even demons believe in God...

"And here’s the big idea in faith: faith is an internal conviction that leads to an external action. Faith is not just what you believe, it’s how you behave. Sometimes you can really tell who has faith by what they do."

All this to say, my world was turned upside down…or was it turned right side up? Have we been going through the motions without really investing ourselves? I have been struggling with the lesson to be learned from this experience. Part of me cannot help but wonder is it preparation for something larger. God has healed David twice. He has brought our family through two very difficult situations. But, stripping all emotion and fear aside, they were short-term. They were manageable. They were temporary. Both had the possibility of being more than they were…but that is each and every event in our lives, isn’t it? A guy was killed in a similar accident as David’s around the same time of his accident. Several people say David was lucky. David is blessed. I am not sure what charge the Lord has given or will give him. I am not sure how the Lord plans to use these experiences, but I know that He will. It may be to work on me…our relationship with Him…or our family in some way. I honestly don’t know. Maybe it was to draw us nearer so that we truly hear His voice when He speaks to our hearts...

Now...for that devotion I mentioned...some of us are not running away, but we are not running towards God with all that we have either...complacency is just as bad as running away.  I pray that I actively seek Jesus each and every day.  I pray that as I spend time in God's Word, that I am "careful not to read it in a religious way. And the way religious people read it is this: “Oh, there are good people. There are bad people. I want to be like the good people.” Here’s how we read it: “There are bad people and Jesus.” That’s how we read the Bible..."  Because that is it, there are bad people and there is Jesus.  Thank God for Jesus!

Jonah: The rogue prophet and the mission of God, Part 4
“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.” Jonah 1:4
In this verse, Jonah has run from God’s presence that dwelled in the Temple in Jerusalem—and he is running as far and as fast as he can from God.
What do you think God does when his children run from him? I’ll can tell you one thing: he doesn’t fold his arms, shrug his shoulders, and say “You’ll get what you have coming to you.”
God, Abba, the perfect Father was going to pursue his child at all costs. This verse tells us that the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea. A wind didn’t just happen stir up. As he is sovereign over creation, God hurled this wind on the sea. The ship was about to come apart! Jonah and the rest of the men aboard were about to die!
Some of us might confuse this with God’s judging wrath upon Jonah for his disobedience. Our temptation is to turn God into the enemy, for we ourselves once were his enemies. However, God’s judgment of sin does not appear to be restorative; it is destructive. In this case, we see what God intends: he desires to see Jonah repent, to restore Jonah to himself, and to deploy him for his mission to Nineveh. The reality is that as God disciplines us, we ought repent before him, thank him, worship him for loving us enough to turn our worlds upside down to get to us.
This is what God’s passion for his glory, his love for his people, and his love for his enemies actually does. He will break up our escape plan and bring us home.
So what does this have to do with Jesus?
Today we see that Jonah would rather die than run to his enemies. Jesus would rather die than see his enemies die in their sins. Jonah ran from the presence and the people of God. Jesus is the presence of God and dwelled among God’s people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Caroline and Her Ears

Miss Caroline’s ears continue to be a source of discomfort to our little princess. This is even after the events I am writing about now. We are not sure what will be the ultimate source of relief for her…hopefully she will just outgrow the issues altogether!

Caroline had her second set of tubes in August 2011. She began having problems with them almost immediately. She has gone through numerous rounds of Ciprodex drops, a ruptured eardrum, abscesses and more pain than I care to admit. Poor little thing has had constant trouble. She was at the Doctor for her ears in December, February, April, May, July, August and September. At the September visit, Dr. McRae said he thought our best course of action was surgery.

So the following Tuesday Caroline and I left bright and early from Grandmomma and Papa’s house to go get her ear fixed. Backing up a bit, she sure did enjoy her Pre-Op appointment. There are some super nice ladies at Troy Regional. Caroline was actually a little excited. Poor baby was tired of her ear hurting all the time and so was this Momma! We “checked in” and were shown our lovely room. Caroline was given a puppy, a Looney Tunes gown, a warm (and I mean really warm, like fresh out of the dryer) blanket and access to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She was beginning to enjoy herself just a bit! From the race car (I mean hospital bed) ride down to the first floor, the sweet nurse who brought her a hat and “dr.’s mask,” to the folks in recover, we could not have asked for better service. Her nurse even told me to get in Caroline’s bed so that I could hold her while she pushed us to the room.

Sometimes the little things make all the difference. We even saw Nurse Anna. She is such a sweet and special lady!! Caroline was on the 2nd floor. A little over six years ago the 2nd floor was Labor and Delivery. Nurse Anna was my nurse when I was checked into the hospital for a non-stress test and ended up with a baby boy! I was scared and didn’t really understand all that was going on. She is the one who told me I might better call my husband because we were probably going to have a baby. She was calm and kind when I was scared and very nervous. Every time I see her, my heart fills with gratitude and precious memories come to mind.

Dr. McRae said scar tissue had formed to the eardrum which was part of what was causing Caroline’s pain. The current abscess was around the tube and he cleaned that out and removed the tube. We are hoping Caroline is at the end of her journey with ear troubles…unfortunately, she continues to cry with her right ear and complain that it hurts. We will see what Dr. McRae says at her followup...

In the meantime, here are some super adorable pictures (biased, I know):

Hold me 

In her gown and with her bracelets like Daddy's

Warm blankets

Her puppy is wrapped up in her gown


Her Race Car

She won the race!

Check her out...she is ready now!

Let's make sure we get the right right ear

Being silly picking out prize...before she got sick all over the place

Primping later that evening with some lip gloss the
sweet lady at the Este Lauder counter sent her

David Update


So I just realized this was still sitting in draft! I will now add that this morning, Austin Kieff commented as we left our home for the first time in almost two months (post on this later!) that he sure hoped that November 2 came fast and the way he wanted it to. I questioned him as to what he was talking about. He let me know real quick that his Daddy goes back to the doctor on November 2 and he will be coming home with no crutches. “He will be almost normal again. I have been waiting on this day forever.” Love this kid.

David had his follow-up appointment on Friday, October 12, 2012. It went far better than we had ever hoped. Dr. Brooks came into the exam room after David’s x-ray was ready and said how proud he was of David’s leg. This has been a recurring theme in our visits. David’s leg apparently was a bit of a twisted mess with lots of bone shards and fragments. He actually still has a very large “butterfly fragment” that was not repaired. Dr. Brooks said he was very pleased with the way the bone was healing and said some almost magical words…”you can begin to put some pressure on it…” Of course there were stipulations like start of at no more than 25 lbs and don’t put any pressure on the leg at all without the boot on. We go back on November 2nd and David will have more x-rays. Dr. Brooks will check and see how the bone is healing and how the introduction of weight has affected David’s leg. Hopefully, there will be no setbacks. David is more than two months ahead of our initial timeline. That is amazing. He has a fabulous physician, but he is in the hands of the Great Physician…

We are so thankful for the prayers of our friends and family. We ask that you continue to pray for healing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

David Update

David is doing much better than my last post!  I promise I had good intentions of updating along the way, but things have been a little crazy.  Warning:  this post is random and not in order; it may cause confusion when reading, ha! 

David has been back to see Dr. Brooks several times and we will go back again tomorrow.  The visit to remove the staples was ROUGH.  However, I truly believe that having the staples out of his leg lessened his discomfort.  At our last appointment, Dr. Brooks said he was healing great!!  The infection had cleared, the wounds were healing and his range of motion was good...well after Dr. Brooks worked a little magic.  David left with strict instructions to work his ankle. 

David was released to drive a few weeks ago.  I really think this made a big difference for him.  A little independence goes a long way...I also think the men's Bible study at Church has been wonderful for him.  Some of the men are doing Tony Evans' Kingdom Man.  David has really enjoyed the study and the fellowship.

David has done his best to put on a happy face for the kids.  He has attended most practices and every game except for the one immediately after his accident, which just happened to be the first game.  Mr. Dennis and Mrs. Charlene came down for a Saturday visit back in September.  I am not sure who was more excited about the visit...them or David!  They helped transport David to the football game and Austin Kieff sure was proud to have his Daddy there. 

We have been blessed to stay with  my parents since David came home from the hospital.  They have been a great help in caring for him and the kids.  Mom takes Caroline to school each day and brings her home.  Caroline is going to miss this arrangement when things return to normal!!  In fact, Caroline has said on numerous occasions that she is moving in with Grandmomma and Papa for good.  We will just see about that! 

Here are a few pictures from the last month or so:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

David's Big Break

The title to the post almost sounds like an event that led to stardom or fame...unfortunately, that is not the case.  I posted on facebook Tuesday morning that I thought the day was going to be a stereotypical Monday.  I only wish it had been!  Our day started earlier than usual thanks to water issues.  We thought our normal day would just be delayed a bit.  I would take Austin Kieff to school as is the norm and then take Caroline to school in Troy before going to work.  David would be a few hours late depending on how long it took to resolve the water problem.  This was not even close to how our day transpired. 
I arrived at work Tuesday morning hating that I was late and trying to work through a few items from being out Friday.  I took care of a few things when I had a call from David.  Well, I was rather busy and almost did not answer.  I thought I can call him back in just a minute.  He is just calling to tell me he is headed to work.  I am so glad I did not do this.  David called to tell me that he broke his leg.  His exact word were, "My leg is broke."  To which I rather loudly repeated, what to him was obvious, "YOUR LEG IS BROKE? oh, that was loud" and in much quieter tones I asked what happened and where was he.  He then informed me that the road had collapsed as had the embankment.  In the process, he was fairly certain his leg was broke and the rescue squad was on the way.
I immediately informed my boss that David was hurt and I had to leave.  The whole leaving the office and getting to David is a bit of a blur.  I followed the rescue squad.  Pulling up on the scene was a bit more than my stomach could handle.  I really thought I would be sick or pass out.  I saw the hole in the road first.  My initial thoughts were it looks like something took a giant bite out of the road.  Seeing David down in that hole took my breath away.  He was so pale and obviously in pain.  I could tell by the way his leg looked that it was bad.  It was at an unnatural angle. 
The guys with Coffee County EMS were were my Dad and Mr. Wiley Vann.  I hope it is not an experience we have to repeat, but if so, I will take this same team, ha!  I followed the ambulance to Enterprise Medical Center.  We could not have asked for better ER attendants.  The nurses, doctor and other staff were wonderful...particularly Martha, Keith and Penny.  After several attempts, the x-ray the doctor needed to see was finally obtained.  I have not seen it yet.  Keith told me he "threw up a little bit."  David kept saying the EMS guys said they could not diagnose...they could not tell him it was broke.  Well, his initial observation was correct.  His leg was broke.  Anyone looking at it could tell.  The x-ray just confirmed it.
After viewing the x-ray, Dr. Brooks said to bring him up for surgery.  David received another photo session, this time of his chest and an EKG complete with custom cut, ha!  Some blood typing had to be done before he could go up.  I road the elevator up with him and said my goodbye.  Waiting was not fun.  While I was and am definitely thankful he only had a broke leg, he was in so much pain.  I am not sure what I expected, but this was definitely not it.  I really thought we would be home Tuesday night. 
After the surgery Dr. Brooks came by to talk to me.  He said David had a very nasty break.  But, with his age and health, he should heal fine.  Our biggest concern would be infection of the bone.  I was not prepared for how David would look or feel when came back from surgery.  My brother drove down to be with us and we are so thankful for his presence.  He stayed with David while I went and picked the kids up.  Telling them was not easy.  They reacted as I expected.  The ride back to Enterprise was difficult, but the joy on their faces of just seeing their Daddy was just what I needed.  They were and are both very concerned about their Daddy.  Austin Kieff is a little more vocal about it and Caroline is showing it in other ways.  Brother Bart and Chris from church came Tuesday to visit and pray with us.  My Dad and John Wayne both came by yesterday.  My Mom is working on getting a room setup so we can stay with them for a few days. 
We are so thankful for the prayers, calls, texts, messages and visits.  God has truly blessed us with wonderful friends and family.  I will update this post later, but wanted to get the basics posted.
Here are a few pictures:

The EMS guys were great and quick to get David's leg stabilized
and something for pain

David broke the tibia and fibula and
had an intramedullary nail placed in his left leg by Dr. Brooks.
Caroline was glad to be able to see her Daddy.

Austin Kieff was a little hesitant and did
not want to get too close

He did want to take his Daddy's Coke with him


A little swollen

And he is up...not ready for a marathon just yet,
but so glad to see him up and about.  It has been a long three days!

We have not seen his yet, but this is what it may look like when we do

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vacation - Day 3

Finally, trying to catch up on our vacation posts, ha!

What a week! My one goal was to make some lasting memories for my kids, memories like I have of summer vacation spent in Pensacola. I truly think this goal was achieved. Our day-by-day: Day 3

Monday, July 2, 2012 was our first vacation day with David...and when the Daddy comes there will be…fishing…fishing…fishing…and more…FISHING! Austin Kieff was ready to see his daddy, but he was even more ready to go fishing. Daddy went to McDonald's for breakfast platters. I had had intended to cook breakfast, but the kids wanted McDonald's so we obliged…after all we were on vacation….Picking up breakfast allowed David the opportunity to pick up some live bait as well.
After breakfast Caroline and I enjoyed a little picnic in the Florida room with Maggie and Ariel while the boys gathered their fishing gear. It was to be a day of swimming and fishing fun! We started out in the Braithwaite Bayou before heading over to Big Lagoon Park later that afternoon.

Big Lagoon Park was a big hit and definitely somewhere we will visit again. We drove around to an area that had restrooms, a playground, picnic tables and of course beach! The boys fished while the girls searched for hermit crabs. There really wasn’t a whole lot of searching…hermit crabs were everywhere! We even had a little hermit crab race thanks to Grandmomma’s suggestion!

After swimming, fishing and crabbing, we cleaned up and let the kids play on the playground for a bit. By this time we were all hungry and decided to check the GPS for restaurants in the area. I read from the list and both kids agreed on the same restaurant…at the same time. So, it was an easy enough decision to pick where we were eating. What was not as easy was the wait once we got there! However, I definitely recommend a visit to Tacky Jacks if you are ever in Orange Beach.  We explored the various decks of the restaurant, watched people feed the fish and visited the gift shop.  The kids were never too restless because of the scenery.  We even enjoyed a little fireworks show!

Here are a few pictures:

She spread out her "blankets" and had her guests seated beside her.
She is not choking Maggie

Skittles, such fancy food and she brought out the good china

Swimming with Daddy

Discovered this...LOVE it

So much fun

This bird was thinking about biting David

Let thr race begin

The big catch

The playground was fun...but not as fun as fishing with Daddy

Our view from the upper deck of Tacky Jacks


Souvenir...that is now broken, but she loved it for as long as it lasted!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Saturday was Austin Kieff’s first football game! His team played in a Jamboree in Highland Home. I will get the Negative Nancy bit out first so that I can focus on the FUN that was had!! This was our first experience as parents at a jamboree. We were expecting a lot of heat and a little football. We definitely got the heat! The football, not so much…it seemed like more time was spent by the referees trying to figure out which two teams were supposed to be on the field, what direction they were going in and who had the ball than actually playing ball. Four teams played at one time…two teams on the home side and two teams on the visitor’s side. These teams switched up playing offense/defense. It would have been much more organized to allow two teams to play for shorter periods of time if the purpose was to have more teams play in less time than to try to use this format.  Oh well, it was a learning experience.

The success for me was that Austin Kieff was happy…almost giddy he had so much fun. The heat was not really an issue for him because he was so excited to be there.  I worried he might need his inhaler, but he did great!  The waiting for his game to start was a bit tough.  The little guys were so full of energy and ready to play ball.  They really did well considering all the confusion.  Zion Chapel even scored first!  The game ended with the teams tied.  Austin Kieff said as we were leaving: It’s okay I didn’t play long, I am just glad to be part of the team. Proud to be a ZC Rebel and happy to just stand on the side lines. I am sure a little fear helped with that contentment, but this momma is OKAY with that!!

We enjoyed a delicious supper at The Old Barn in Goshen on our way home and were home in time for me to get a little jogging/walking in before settling in for the night.

After practice last night David came home and said, did you know the Coach prays with the boys after every practice?  I did not know this, but it sure makes me happy!  First home game is September 8th.

Here are few photos from the day:

Excited boys!

It was a hug, promise!

Getting Ready!

Ready to go!

On the field!

This was from the night before...they were having a dress rehearsal, ha!