Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sam Hears The Promise

On the 22nd of December Sam opened a gift from his Great Grandma, it was a card and money.  He was so excited.  Both of the boys chatted excitedly about their gifts.

Then Sam raised his arm up and shouted, 'My heart can come upon me!'

I asked him to repeat what he said and he repeated, "My heart can come upon me.'

His face was radiant and I marveled at the word 'upon' in his speech.

I asked, 'Who told you this?' He replied,'Desus did!  Desus said my heart can come upon me now.'

I cried out to Don and Sam repeated everything he had just told me.  In that moment I felt like I had received an early Christmas present, a renewed promise, fresh hope, a token of lavish love to remind us that God has not forgotten His promise of Sam's restored heart. And more than that, he had revealed it to Sam, not me, or Don, or Jack.  He has shown Sam that he has big plans for his life.

To have God confirm his promise of Sam's new heart in this way is nothing short of astonishing for me.  And I am thankful that it has been revealed to Sam in this way.  I had nothing to do with it.  And so Sam knows what he heard in his heart was real and a special message for him to tell us. More than that we have prayed for both Jack and Sam for years, in particular for Sam's heart and body.  In recent times our prayers had become more general, and lacking in zeal as we approach yet another hospital stay.  And so there was no prompting for his declaration, in fact we were busy packing the car to go away for Christmas.  I will remember this day and we will celebrate and praise God while we wait for his promise to be fulfilled.

A Warm Christmas

Christmas was warm in more ways than one this year.

Warmth came from visiting our family in Mount Isa.  My heart was warmed to see them after so many years and when we met two of their beautiful children whom we had never met.  And to laugh and chat and have fun together. 

Warmth came from the intense heat of the weather and we sought relief and fun in many ways including water sliding, the river and air conditioning. 

We found warmth in smiles, cuddles and new found relationships with cousins who are now friends after so many years of simply speaking on the phone.  The boys now feel linked to their cousins in  new and special way.

Warmth came from watching my children enjoy the Christmas season hearts filled with excitement, giving and receiving gifts and learning new things. Making memories to keep close forever. These memories will serve us well and we shall pack them into our luggage when Sam has to go to hospital in February.

Maybe that is part of why Christmas was such a special time for me. I wanted to leave all of what is going to happen in this new year with Sam's surgery behind and enjoy our time together.  Each moment is precious, the smiles, the hugs, the squeals of excitement, because I do not and cannot hold time too tightly in my fist.  Not one of us know how much time we have here and so our family has learned not to take any of those moments for granted.  This is amplified due to Sam's upcoming surgery. People tell me not to worry, and they are right.  They tell me 'Sam is strong' and he will do great, and he may.  But in essence we have no control over these things.  The only things that is sure to me and never changes is God.  And so I cling to Him and His promises.  And I thank God for each of you, that He has given me each of you to love, encourage ad pray.

So I hope you had an exceptionally warm Christmas, so that when cold, grey days some, the light of that warmth will glow strong in your heart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More About the Catheter and Pending Surgery

Today I was contacted by the Care Coordinator from the the Catheter Lab at the Mater Hospital.  As the call progressed I felt the nausea rise up inside and threaten to form a lump in my throat.  The facts:

Sam's diagnostic (pressures and sematics), and possible interventive (stent in pulmonary artery) catheter is scheduled for Wednesday the 20th February.

We will probably fly out on Sunday the 17th February and arrive in Brisbane and have to find some way to the hospital staying in Ronald McDonald House overnight.

Instead of pre-admission Sam will be admitted directly two days prior on the Monday by lunchtime.  This is due to him being on warfarin and he may need to be put on a Heparin drip leading up to the procedure.  I will be staying with him on the ward.

After the catheter he will need to be in hospital another 1-2 days to reinstate his INR levels.

In essence what is supposed to be a day procedure or sometimes an overnight experience will be more like a week in hospital. In this time I will be with him on the ward.

Following that the results from the catheter will be taken to surgical conference and whether Sam is a candidate for the Fontan will be established.

Surgery may be possible within one to two weeks following this conference.

This means we may be able to stay down on the coast until the Fontan is done and dusted (insert more nausea here).

Don and Jack will come to Brisbane for Sam's surgery after the Catheter.  Jack will have a few weeks off school and hopefully can take some work with him to do.  Don will take leave without pay, because we have not been here long enough for Don to have accrued sufficient leave after the mandatory Christmas holidays (insert more nausea and silent prayer here). Rent, bills, ability to eat and provide for family-only God knows. 

In between the catheter and surgery we are hoping to escape to the Sunshine Coast for a week or so (staying with family), to break the hospital time, recover and rest.

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn't worried.  I have no idea how it will all work, how I will go leaving half of my family here and being strong enough to support Sam in what I know he will hate.  I hate it, how can I expect anymore from him?  And yet, I will fight the tight knot in my throat that has formed this afternoon form one phone call and bury the thoughts focusing on Christmas to come.  A time or fun celebration and hope.  We can always use more hope. 

God is bigger than any giants we have to face.
God is bigger than any giants we have to face.
God is bigger than any giants we have to face.

I whisper it over and over again to calm the anxiety in my heart.

On a lighter note, the local day care has  a Kindergarten program and has been very supportive in allowing Sam to commence Kindergarten mid year, next year.  He has been looking forward to Kindy all year, and although it will be delayed it will be worth the wait. I know he will be thrilled with that and I can use it to encourage him as they put in cannulas and take his blood.   You might think that sound harsh but they are my true thoughts and what I think about ahead of time to help my little boy.

For those who follow this blog and pray for us, thank you.  I know you read even though you don't leave a comment (thought they would be nice at times).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Am His and He Is Mine

Mush alert:  Do not read this if you are not into love filled sentiment.

I hear many people tell me that there are few good men left in the world.  I beg to differ, because I am married to the best of them. For twelve years today I have been blessed to be married to my husband and the more years we spend together the more I come to realise that what we have is a precious gift which must be cherished.

Before we were married, 1999. (19 years old, we were married at 20)

When I reflect on our twelve years, it astounds me to see where we have been and it gives me much hope for the future.  Here are the top twelve things I love about my husband:

When he looks at me in 'that' way, my heart still skips a beat.

When he smiles, you simply must join in and when he laughs you know that it is him (no one else has that laugh).

He makes me coffee every morning and delivers it with love.

He can massage like a professional. (But only me of course)

He is never afraid to show that he loves in in private or public.

He is the best father and works hard to keep our family.

He loves God and this just makes me love him more.

When his arms are wrapped around me, I know everything is just going to be OK.

He knows how to have fun and how to relax, and helps me to do both.

He loves to read and we can sit together and do so for hours on end.

He will offer to do something to help me, even when he has no idea how to do it.

He tells me he loves me many times a day.

I love you Don, may the next 12 years be filled and overflowing with what we already have and more. xx

32 years old and more in love than the day we married. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Put Your Words Away

Some days my skin is thicker than some.  Other days the barbed words hurt more than I should allow. I have a mother's heart after all.  The word darts are unintentional, offered in passing by often with a smile. 

This morning at swimming the bullet words came again from a lovely mother with her own beautiful healthy children. 

'Your legs are blue aren't they little guy' and then, 'He runs funny, doesn't he?'

She then looks to me like I should be getting Sam out of the water in the 37C heat, because he is 'obviously' cold.

I grin and then continue to talk to Sam.  She goes on her way.  Some days the barbs sink deeper than they should. 

So in response to that dear lady and the countless others that mean well, this is what I would like to say in hind sight.

'You miss the point entirely.  Sam RUNS, he SWIMS, he PLAYS, and can CONVERSE better than many kids his age.  Sam can LAUGH like no-one business and when you are down or hurt he is COMPASSIONATE and will PRAY for you.  Before he was born I was told he would do none of these things.

You look and see his blue legs, and lips and make a judgement based on what you know, so I will forgive you and I will smile and trust that in the future you will guard your lips, as the words that tumble from them without thought have the intention to not only hurt others but make you look like an idiot.'

"You never fail until you stop trying.”
Albert Einstein

Friday, December 7, 2012

What a Year!

As the year draws to a close it helps me to reflect upon why I feel so weary and yet so exhilarated at the same time.  That is why keeping this blog is such a blessing, it not only allows me to sort out my heart and head but also gives me a year long history of what we have done. So let's recap:

This year we have lived in three towns and two different states.

Don finished up study and recommenced work first at Gippsaero and now Longreach Aircraft Maintenance.

Jack has finally completed Prep at his third school this year, and has done an amazing job of being so positive and trying his best wherever he has been, no matter the people, no matter the climate.  His enthusiasm is boundless.  Jack is no handwriting star and his writing is short and sweet.  But he can tell a story like no one else and his knowledge of rocks, fossils, plants, animals, space and dinosaurs surpasses most people I know.

Sam has been at two Kindy's and then had to stop on moving back to QLD, where he has enjoyed helping Mummy with her new business and going to playgroup, as well as helping out at school now and then.

I have packed up and moved house twice this year.  I have spoken at churches and conferences, sold books, written a novel and started a new Avon business.  I have made many new friends and try to keep in touch with many old ones.  And of course I have loved my family and supported them, cooked, cleaned and played with them each and every day.  I have been a wife and Mum, like many other ladies I know.

In retrospect I can see how I may be a little weary and I am thankful that today was Jack's final day of Prep.  School holidays bring a more relaxed approach to each day. Already we have been given a glimpse of what the year ahead holds for us, and I know that we will need our batteries charged.  Though with God's enabling and His daily strength and mercy I know I can do it, one day at a time.

This is how the kids cool down in the 40C heat. The Firebrigade came to do a talk and then stayed for some fun.  Water fight-Longreach style.

Jack is over near the window in the green striped shirt.  This is the Prep class in free dress singing the parents a Christmas song at their Christmas party break up party.

Jack being presented with a certificate and gift from Miss Ross, his teacher.

Party food time :)  You can see in this photo how tall Jack is compared to some of his class mates.

And of course Sam joined in too.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Waiting Four Years for a Date

It has been four years since Sam had open heart surgery. Sam has a date for his catheter procedure-the 20th February, 2013.  It is taxing being the parents of a heart kid.  We live each day with gusto and get swept up into the normality of life for a while and then are pulled against our will back into the reality of having a child with a broken heart, one that is only half of what it should be. 
Don is getting involved at work, enjoying the job, building new relationships, learning new things.  I am doing mum things, writing, getting my Avon business off the ground and making new friends.  Jack is just beginning Grade 1 next year.  And Sam lives a happy busy little life with me for the moment, before he attends Kindy next year.  There are many minutes in the day when I feel 'normal' and then many when I don't. Like:
  • when I have to carry Sam around town because it's hot and a long way to walk and his little heart can't take it.  Only to have someone tell me that I should make him walk and that it's good for little legs to have the exercise.
  • when I have to fill out enrolment forms and list his medical history, medications etc.
  • when I have to remind myself to let Sam eat anytime to add weight to his slight frame.  And then have people comment on how small he is for his age and ask me what he eats.
  • when I have to give him medications at night that are equivalent to rat poison.

I don't want to plan for him to go and have the catheter, but I must. The catheter and surgery will both be at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.  At this stage I think Sam and I will be travelling down alone for that one.  And then a week or two following he will have the Fontan procedure, open heart surgery, to complete the circulation in his heart.  We are hoping and praying that there is some way that Don and Jack will be able to travel down for that and stay for a few weeks.  At this stage we are pretty sure that the government will only pay for Sam and I to travel, but we will find out more about this later.  There is so much I could worry about such as Don's work, Jack's school, money, rent, bills, my business but I am striving with every ounce of strength that I have to give it all to God and leave it there.
It is like Paul says in the bible, I struggle so much with the flesh part of me wanting to rise up and try and control everything when I know I have no control at all.  God has shown me that the way is clear and that I just need to trust Him, but I must tell you that that is easier said than done. It is a battle to keep your head clear and your heart in the right place. And in between now and then I want to enjoy the trouble free time that we have, celebrating Christmas with family and enjoying a few weeks holiday together over the Christmas break.  Even as I write this my heart quivers within me.  Sam does not remember any of what happened in the first year of his life, but I do.  I remember it with stunning clarity.  But I also remember the strength of my God and all that he has done for us.  And so although I am yet to believe them fully I claim God's promises to us once again.

Sam will live and have life in abundance.  He will testify to the nations of his healing

Things never happen the same way twice dear one.  If you were any braver, you would be a lioness.

May God increase my faith and may He give us His strength on this path He has set before us. His promises are true, no matter how I feel.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Lion's Promise

I woke up feeling defeated today.  Small things are getting to me,things that don't usually bother me-housework, people's attitudes, the heat.  All of it is simply surface stuff, not the root of the problem, but it all compounds how I feel.  I sometimes feel like when I have no control over one part of my life the rest crumbles as well. For the last few weeks I have felt abandoned by the God of miracles, like my prayers are bouncing off a glass ceiling, but I still keep praying anyway and they echo in the space around me; reverberating my head and heart. And so today I went to church and was hurt by what some said there because of my fragile heart.  Is it their fault?  No, they are not to blame for my state of heart. 

So as I wrestled with God this Sunday he showed me what was hiding in my heart, weakening my defenses and causing the light to dim within me. 

While watching Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, God spoke to me through these words. Lucy is speaking to Aslan in the movie and as she did it was my words she spoke.

Why wouldn't you show yourself? (Me: Why don't you show others your power and your love for us)

Why couldn't you come roaring in
and save us like last time?
(Me: You have saved Sam before why do you now stay your hand and make us endure more suffering?) 
Things never happen
the same way twice, dear one.
If I'd have come earlier, would everyone
who died... could I have stopped that?

(Me: What could I have done that would have stopped Sam having to have more surgery?)
We can never know
what would have happened, Lucy.
But what will happen
is another matter entirely.
- You mean you'll help?
- Of course.
- As will you.
- Oh, I wish I was braver.
If you were any braver,
you'd be a lioness.

I have been angry at God, because I know He has the ability, and the power to swoop in and save the day.  I HAVE SEEN HIM DO IT. 

And yet, today He speaks to me in this messy place I find myself, to tell me that 'things do not happen the same way twice', and in saying so He gives me hope.  The light within me though flickering, is growing in intesity.  For in His words there is a promise for the fight ahead of us.  I can tell you now that I don't feel like a lioness, and I wish I was braver.  But I know who fights for us, and I trust him no matter how furious I may be.  God will take my fury and use it for His glory and my good.  Because if I am angry it means I have not given up the fight.

If you are looking for the calm resolution in this post you will not find it.  My angry fighting heart remains, though God is taking it and re-moulding it for His purposes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sin is Something We Didn't Do

I did not grow up as a Christian. I think I knew God in my own way and I even talked to him at times, but I didn't follow Jesus.

Sin was something that was easy for me to understand. If we did something wrong it was sin. At least that is what I thought. So if I steered clear of all of the 'naughty' things, then I was a good person. For me life would be good and I would not have to worry about God, because all good people go to Heaven, right? That is how I lived, and I believe most people still do live each day.

I was saved by Jesus when I was 16 and was healed of ongoing illness at the same time.  But that is a story for another day.  Fast forward a few years later and I was married with kids.   I was a good person. I looked after my family. I earned my living. I gave to those who needed it. I was keen to help out. In the eyes of those around me, I must have looked alright. I must admit I was quite content to live my life in this way for a great many years, until my heart started to question some things.

You see I wasn't always good. In fact at times I was downright rude and disrespectful. I thought things about people that I knew I shouldn't. I said and did things that I knew were not right. I had given my life to Jesus years before and then taken it back again, essentially proclaiming that I could do it better. The way I was living spoke spades, ‘Thanks for the salvation, but I can take it from here!’ Somewhere along the line I had stopped believing that I needed Jesus, or perhaps that I knew enough of Him, and if I got any closer I would become one of those freaky religious people.  So it got me to thinking if God would allow me into Heaven being the basically 'good' person that I am, why would he send others to hell? Does he have a scale of one to ten that he uses to measure us on? "Hmmm she only stole some paper from the school supplies when she was 9 and called her Father a Son of a Bi#*h, thirteen times. She can still come in. But that fella over there he crashed into and killed a family of 5, send him into the darkness."

No way, that is not how God works and that is not how sin keeps us out of Heaven and separated from God, even now.

'The world's sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.' (John 16:9-11)

What keeps us separated from God and bound for a very unpleasant place for eternity is not something we have already done, but what we have not done!

Jesus spoke the words above just before he was killed on the cross. He was saying that if we will believe in Him, we would be forgiven by God. Righteousness simply means we can stand blameless, untainted, and clean in front of God. So not only do we get the unbelievable opportunity of a repaired relationship with God, but we also get to avoid his wrath. You see there has to be punishment for sin, because otherwise Heaven would not be Heaven. There would be no peace, no happiness, complete health and well-being in a place that contains sin.

I didn't get it for so many years. I thought you had to do everything just right to be a Christian. Because Christians are holier than thou, and live perfect lives, free of mistakes and live a life that is challenge free. I could not have been more wrong. And I am so glad I was wrong.

I don't know if you have thought about sin this way before, but it was really on my heart to share. If Jesus didn't die, then I would have. There would have been no way open to me to have a better life. Our life here is so short, and we are all given a choice in that time.

I am a good Mum. I love my husband. I like to help others. I think I am a good friend. I like to listen to and encourage people. Yet none of it saved me. Jesus did. Because one day I came to realise that there was more to life than what I saw with my eyes, and that I couldn’t live (in every sense of the word) without Him. I am so glad that I realised that when I did.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just Your Average 4 Year Old Conversation (Not)

This afternoon Sam and I had to have a conversation that I hadn't planned on having until well after Christmas.  However when you are talking to doctors, family and friends it is hard to keep it quiet.  I have a keenly observant and switched on little boy and there is no pulling the wool over his eyes. I pray with all of my heart you never have to have conversations like the one following with your child.

What do you mean I will have a operation?

(Drawing him into my arms)
Dr Gooi needs to have a closer look at your heart.  They will put something in there to have a look around a bit.

No... (Pulling away) it will hurt.  Will it be pointy? Will it be pointy? No (His bottom lip drops and he fold his arms, brow furrowed)

Silent my mouth pulls into a firm line and I breathe in.

Is it like blood testers? Blood testers are pointy.

(Sam has regular finger pricks to check his INR and occasional venous blood tests as well)

Well, do you know what Sam they have cream now that you put on your skin and it makes your skin go to sleep?  Then you don't feel the pointy things anymore.

(He whirls around smiling.)

That's great!  That's great!  That means I will have my eyes open like this and be brave.  It won't hurt then.

Yep, you will be able to watch and you won't even feel it.  Do you know what they call the cream Sam? (Hugging him again)


Angel cream. 


Yeah, I wonder if I put it all over my body would I turn into an angel?

Mum, your silly, we not angels. 

Yeah OK, but it's good news right?

Yep, I think.

(He falls silent and is thinking about it all. )

I guess if they need to look, it's OK.  I don't want to but.

I know honey.... I know.  Well we don't have to worry about all of this until after Christmas anyway OK.

Ok Mum, not until I get presents. I'm gonna get....

And so the conversation continued.

So now he knows and I am sure there will be many more questions.  So different from when he was little and I was his voice.  Sam has his own voice now and he is not afraid to use it.  Pity help them if they forget to use angel cream.

I remember watching other families in the heart ward with their children the same age as Sam is now.  I remember thinking how much more difficult it would be.  I did not have the heart to tell him about any more than the catheter.  Instead I will focus on the significant things in our life, like making this Christmas amazing.  I will make my children delightful treats for afternoon tea, take them swimming and enjoy our everyday activities.  And when the time comes we will deal with what is before us.  God cannot, and is not asking more of me than that. I have to trust that He will prepare all of our hearts.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Calming the Storm

To understand this post, you need to read the one previous here.

Photo from here.

I definitely did not want to go to church on Sunday.  Darkness hung over me like a cloud.  I have learned by now that when I really don't want to go, I really HAVE TO go.  So I sat before church and wrestled with God over it.  As I laid down and closed my eyes I saw a dark and stormy sea, waves many stories high rolled and gales blew salt spray through the air.  Peering through the mist I saw a boat, me clinging to the mast, being rocked violently by the storm.  The vision changed to see below the boat where the sea was dark and gloomy and deep, following a chain all of the way, hundreds of meters to the bottom of the ocean, where I saw the big strong anchor that held me fast.'I am your anchor' came His words. He did not take me from the storm, simply showed me where I was in it.

During worship I sang and I cried tears streaming down my face for all to see, I didn't care.  I knew they wouldn't either.  Instead the church comforted and prayed with us.  A dear man of God gave us a vision that he saw of us being in a boat in the midst of a storm, and then added "Jesus was in the boat with you." He did not know that I had been given the same picture that very morning and now he had added a new part to the unfolding story.


He was reminding me I was not alone, that He had not left me. 

On the way home from church in the car I closed my eyes and rested my head upon the head rest, feeling weary after a very emotional morning.  Inwardly the storm still raged but it was different somehow.  Jesus spoke then, 'Peace.  Be still.' I did not hear the words with my ears but in my heart.  He did not roar, the words were quiet, firm and uncontested.  I kid you not, the despair inside of me ceased, the sea became as calm as a lake on a sunny day, and his peace came in like a flood.

I don't know how we will endure all that Sam needs to go through in the future.  I have no control over what will happen, when it will happen and how it will happen, but I know the One who does.  I needed reminding of that and I am so thankful for God's promises to us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Valley

I feel so flat and tired.  More so than I have for a very long time.  I feel old like my body and mind are well beyond their years. My spirit is splintered and my heart cries out from within me for some relief from living a life beyond what I can handle.

Yet God is there, nursing me through, yet another season of grief that has arrived before it's time.  For I have already taken the burden of Sam's coming surgery upon my shoulders and it is too heavy to carry alone.  Yet, the world goes on demanding my time, my energy, my attention.  I have a family, a home and a business to look after.  Even weekends which are meant to be restful have become tiresome.  When does the weariness end?

Where is my optimism, my hope, my purpose to drive on through it all?  It is in God, Him in me.  It is flickering at the moment like a candle in the wind.

I will mourn the news that Sam requires more surgery.  I will mourn the fact that our family has to once again endure hospitals and surgery. For it is our reality, like that of many other families.  I will not sweep it under the rug and pretend that everything is OK.  It is not.

Does this mean I am ungrateful, or un-christian, or un-trusting? No.  It means I am real and human and loved by a God who loves me even when I am messy. 

So this is where my heart is on this overcast and humid outback afternoon. It is not pretty, simply honest and hoping for brighter days head.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sam's Heart Review

Sam was crazy excited to be on the plane to Brisbane. I think pictures speak louder than words at times.

It's bitter sweet really our trip to Brisbane.  On the upside we get to see Mum and Dad (Grandad and Granny), see the river and the green grass, glimpse the ocean and have a little break away.  And then of course we have the hospital visit. 

It was a good appointment.  The staff really made us all feel special and Sam was really happy to see Dr Gooi again.  Yesterday before we left Longreach Sam was given a new stuffed giraffe toy that he had been eyeing off for weeks at the Post Office.  When the women serving saw how much he loved it, she gave it to him as a gift.  Sam named his new friend- Dr Gooi.  So Dr Gooi came with us on the plane and met the man he is named after.

Sam's heart function is unchanged.  His oxygen saturations at rest are 86 and 76 when active.  His blood pressure is spot on and and he is growing in height, though not much weight.  His ECG was right for his condition and his echo showed the same heart function as the one before. After discussion it was decided that Sam will be scheduled for his diagnostic heart catheter in the early new year.  At this time they may also put stents in his lung arteries as they are slightly narrowed.  Apparently this happens with many heart kids with his condition and doing the stents pre-surgery is a much better option as it provides the best possible outcome for the Fontan procedure.  A few weeks after Sam's catheter, he will return to Brisbane again for the Fontan procedure to complete the circulation in his heart. 

Is is what I wanted to hear? No.  Is it what is best for Sam? Yes, in his current condition. When Sam has the Fontan completion he will be considered pink, no longer blue.  It means he may have much more energy. It means his appetite will likely improve.  It means that he will grow and start school with a higher level of stamina.

While I am here in Brisbane surrounded by such wonderful people who are encouraging and full of care, I think 'I can do this.  This is what is best for Sam.' But I know that when I go home and I see him playing and swimming and having fun, it will hit me that I don't want him to go through it.  All of the children I saw today at the clinic shouldn't be there, but like us they have to be.  Because we will do all it takes to give our children every opportunity to live a full and active life.

Is God still on His throne? Yes, He is.  But he is also right beside us, holding our hands, strengthening our resolve, increasing our faith. And you can be guaranteed that today only serves to make me pray more fervently not only for the miraculous, but more than that.  I am praying that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  For it is easy to receive a miracle and walk in healing, but it takes faith like a giant to walk through the fire and not be burned.

Please pray with us:

That Sam will continue to good health in the lead up to all that must occur. 
That the arteries to his lungs will be opened and not require stents.
That we will know God's perfect peace about all that is to come.

Have I given up on God to do the miracluous? NO! But I choose to leave it all in his hands.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Adventures, Lingering, Longreach


The beginning of November saw a change sees a change of pace for us. Don has just returned from a three day ministry trip in the north west of QLD. Stops at Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Normanton and Mt Isa made sure the days were filled to capacity. Pastors Scott, David and George packed in with Don to visit the churches at the stops. 10 hours of flying in the Saratoga, took them over some rough terrain and it was an enjoyable and enriching trip for all involved.

Some times the ride was a little rough due to the heat and thermal winds but they all managed to hold their lunch.

 Our country Australia is rough and rugged and brilliant in colour, especially from the air. Being able to fly is a great blessing and saves many hours on the hot, bumpy and dusty roads.
Normanton church is 3.5 hour to fly by plane from Longreach, or 10-13 hours by car. The aboriginal painting that you can see in the right hand corner is of the last supper. The pastor and his wife cooked Don and the others up a wonderful dinner that night of Mackerel and Barramundi to celebrate the occasion.

This Crocodile statue is a replica of a real crocodile that was shot and killed by a woman in Normanton some years ago.  It is 28 feet 4 inches in length and weighed around 2 tonne.  Imagine coming across this one while having a dip in the river.  Apparently there is one to rival it's size in the river at the moment.   Fancy a quick swim anyone?

Don was even able to catch up with his sister Lenita in Mt Isa.  It had been over three years since they had seen each other.

And then of course there was little Steele to coo over, the newest addition to our family. 1, 2, 3 awwww.
So here we are doing what we know God called us to do, in a way that is unconventional and not at all how we planned.  It is simply marvellous!  All of His ways are. It is like we have been given a gift and are still unwrapping it one layer at a time.  And each layer of paper that is removed reveals a new blessing, an new gift just for that season. 
This Sunday morning was spent at home (a rarity for us) and as I watch my boys play in the warm Longreach weather I see them growing up before my eyes.  Just last night we played our first family games of Uno.  We no longer have toddlers but little boys who are full of life and love.  On Tuesday Sam and I fly to Brisbane for his heart appointment and we go with fresh reassurance of God's goodness to us. A renewed realisation of his greater plan for each of us.  I cannot possible ask for more than that.

One day at a time.

Less hurry, more linger.

Incidental fun, learning and teaching.

More joy, to chase away the blues.

Meandering with God, enjoying His comfort.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Longreach Happenings

When I look back over the course of this year, the contrasts astound me.  Here we sit in the warm Sunday afternoon weather in our shirts and skirts (shorts in Don's case), when only a few months earlier jacket and scarves were necessary.  Now we live in a dry and hot climate when only a while ago we were throwing snowballs at each other and riding the toboggan. 

Don is enjoying work and the many new found friends we have made in Longreach.  His work is varied and never boring.  He has had the opportunity since moving here to work on Cessnas, Barons, and a Robinson Helicopter.  This past week he and another guy flew out to a station about an hour and a half south of Longreach to look at an aircraft that had hit a kangaroo and done quite a bit of damage to the front end.  He had to drive the engine of the aircraft about a kilometer, the engine hanging from the front of a tractor.  It was 38C that day and the first time Don had driven a tractor for many years.  Quite an adventure all around. He was able to fly the Saratoga out and back.  This Thursday he leaves for a three day trek in the Saratoga with Pastor Scott and another local pastor to visit Normanton, Cloncurry and Winton. It is so amazing that God is using him to do exactly what we would have been doing with MAF in a different setting. 

I am still trying to find some kind of routine here in Longreach.  We have very busy days here and many visitors, which I love.  The heat makes me drowsy mid afternoon and then I just want to stay up and enjoy the cool of the night (which makes for sleepy mornings).  Avon is going well.  I have so much fun with it.  I have also applied to do supply teaching at the Kindergarten and schools next year while Sam is at Kindy.  So I will just have to wait and see how that goes.  The chapter that I submitted for inclusion in a book called 'How Prayer Impacts Lives' has been accepted and will be released in print next year.  As time allows I continue to write when I can, when inspiration strikes.  Otherwise I am kept busy being a Mum to two very active little boys and all that entails. 

 Jack is loving Prep and is looking forward to being a big grade one boy next year.  His fascination with animals, rocks and fossils is ongoing.  I forever find him digging up rocks and on more than one occasion have ended up with a washing machine full of pebbles.  I am really happy with the progression of his reading and the way that he is growing up into a thoughtful boy, full of enthusiasm.  Just today he caught a baby gecko in our pantry and released it into his bedroom.  Every week at church he retrieves green frogs from the toilet and brings them home in an effort to create a colony at our house. (I did tell you I was a busy Mum).

Sam captures everyone with his smile and sprite wherever we go.  He loves playgroup and cannot wait for Kindy next year.  He loves the warmer weather but struggles if caught out in the midday hours in the extreme heat.  I mean I feel it, so I imagine he would feel it much worse.  We do all of our jobs in the morning and then stay inside during the heat of the day.  We travel on the 7th of November to his appointment in Brisbane for his heart review.  Not much will slow Sam down though, even his inability to gain weight.  It has been six months since he has put on even 100g.  It is difficult to be his Mum and not worry about that, but that is what I have chosen to do. He is happy and healthy, so this is what matters.

As a family we feel content and healthy.  There is anticipation in the air, like there are gifts that are yet to be unwrapped and I know God will reveal them in time.  Our biggest gift here has been the new friendships we have formed and the strengthening in our family of our love for one another.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Very Special Lady

Today I have the honour of sharing a little story with you about a lady who is full of love. I look at her and take note, so that one day I too may have a little portion of what she has.  I want to introduce you to Grandma Dunn, my husband's Grandma, Great Grandma to my to boys.

Grandma Dunn has recently been to visit us in Longreach and travels frequently to visit her family and friends.  She is an avid knitter and in recent years has used her skill to do much work for those who need it most.  Grandma began knitting when she still had Grandpa here with her.  He needed to sit much more than she did and he would ask her to sit with him.  In an effort to keep her hands occupied she would sit and knit and they spoke together.  Sadly Grandpa passed a few year ago and the knitting became more than something to fill the time, it became a passion. To date Grandma has knitted over 240 sets of little singlets and beanies which have been packaged and sent to India and now to Nepal.  She is amazing.  She would shake her head and tell you she is not.  God is amazing and those mothers and little children need these clothes.  That is why she does what she does.

I watched Grandma knit while she sat in our lounge recently.  Though her body aches from the travel and parts of her don't move as they should anymore, her hands are strong, her mind is quick and she still gives the best hugs. Though her heart must ache for Grandpa and she misses him terribly she has chosen to make the most of all of the time God has give her.  My boys love her, as do I .  We recognise the Spirit of God in her and the love that she has to share.  I aspire to have half of what she does at her age.  That I could just have a portion of the get up and go and a perseverance to push on and do what I can with what I have.

We are blessed to have her and know her.  We love you Grandma.  You inspire us to live the best lives that we can. You are leaving a legacy of love that will not be forgotten.

Do you have someone close to you who inspires you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Feeling Hung Out To Dry

This week has been hard. I have had the weight of heaviness resting on my shoulders and I have been surrounded by a contrast of sadness and absolute joy.

This week the baby magpie we saved died.

Then Don's Mum and Dad and Grandma came to visit.  We rejoiced in their company and they also brought our old dog Rusty with them.  I bought Rusty as a pup before Don and I were married nearly 12 years ago.  She moved to live with Don's parents when we had to relocate to Melbourne last year.  We were excited to have her stay for a few days while Don's parents popped out to Mt Isa.  While they were away, she escaped from our yard and I spent a whole afternoon searching the town for her.  Finally late in the afternoon we received word that someone had seen her and we drove out and found her about a kilometer from home on the road out of town.  She was dead, having been struck by a car.  We brought her home and buried her next to Mango the magpie, where the petunias are beginning to spread their colourful carpet.

I have been excited about new adventures with new friends and starting Avon.  We were even able to share some of our story with Sam at church on Sunday, which was great.

Then I received news that two little ones whom we had been praying for passed away this week, both due to Congenital Heart Disease. Two more little lives and the dreams are lost to this horrible disease. 

So I feel like I am stuck in the wash cycle of a washing machine.  You know how it is.  Your head whirls, your heart aches and you get that ache in your throat that threatens to spill into tears.  And then you suck it up and keep going, because lunches still need to be made and clothes need to be washed and you want to enjoy the precious moments that you have with family you don't see very often. 


I have learned not to be pushed around by the way that I feel.  Love and life are not a feelings but acts of our will.  And so I choose to feel the pain, then give it back to God.  Because the pain means I am human and that I love deeply. I love that God made me with a heart that lets others in no matter how much it hurts.  But I will not carry it for my shoulders are not nearly broad enough to carry the load that God requires of me.  Jesus takes what I cannot and he smiles at me, and walks with me.  So as I come out of the wash cycle, I look forward to hanging on the line for a while and letting the gentle breeze blow over me. Once again I will be refreshed. For now, I will just hang out on the line enjoying the rest.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Family Traditions and Other Stuff

This week I have been thinking on family traditions, particularly from my side of the family.

One of these is rock collecting.  My parents loved taking us rock collecting as kids and I still love it.  Recently Jack has become fascinated with rocks, and fossils and so we have been exploring the Longreach countryside for great rock treasures.  We are having so much fun and Longreach is ideal for such a hobby.

The photos don't so them justice but in the sunlight they are beautiful.  We found agates, loads of petrified wood, and many others that I just don't know yet.

The other tradition that has begun, is that I have become an Avon Representative for Longreach.  My Grandma and my mother were at one time before me, so in a small way I feel a part of something bigger than just a new business venture.  It is fun and I enjoy meeting new people and talking with them.  I get to take Sam with me and I enjoy having a new challenge. I even started my own Facebook page for customers here. Come on over and join, especially if you live in Longreach, and even if you don't, do it to make me feel loved :)  Brochures arrived on Friday and can also be emailed.  All of this and a new haircut and I'm ready to go! 

This week we also adopted Mango the magpie.  He had been blown out of his nest in a very tall gumtree by the wind.  He was unable to get back up, no matter how hard his parents tried to get him to.  In the end we brought him inside and took care of him.  Sadly he died overnight and we all cried, before burying him with the petunias in the back garden.  He fell over 10 meters from his nest, so it was possible he had internal injuries or died of shock.

This week we have also acquired pet lizards and a very big green frog that would easily filled my entire hand.  This combined with a big week of friends and visitors has been action packed.  Time to go and have a little nap I believe.
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