Monday, May 27, 2013

It's a Zip-a-dee-doo-dah day!

   "  Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my oh my what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine goin' my way........Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!!" The Pastor here in AR used this little song last week in his sermon.  It got me to thinking how much I always liked it and how happy I felt when I sang it.
      When you think about singing this little diddy you understand you can't sing it without it bringing you happiness. You don't sing about a Zip-a-dee-doo dah  day when you are feeling melancholy or sad.  It is a perk up and have a wonderful day song! Well, that's where we are at here in AR.  Each day is a more wonderful day! Each day Kristi is feeling better and perking up.   This past week Kristi has been able to get back into some real life.  We went "out" and practiced driving and I got to be the grown up going along, (Dr. recommended) just like the drivers ed teacher, but I didn't have my own brakes.  I only needed them once! Later, I took her on a drive to Jeff and Amy's house to see them and the work done on their new addition. On this drive Kristi was the grown up riding "shotgun" and wishing she had her own brakes when the people we were following suddenly decided to slow down and turn.  We had a good laugh because I paid her back!    Kristi hadn't been able to go to Amy and Jeff's house, which is only 40 mins away, since January.  Kristi got to see the basement part of their "addition", which had proved to be beneficial last week as everyone had to take cover from the same storm that hit OK.  George said that he didn't know trees could bend over that far and pop back up and be ok.   It went from still, quiet weather to swirling hard winds here in seconds. At Kristi's house we took to the inside rooms, hoping the storm passed by.  It did pass over our homes, though there was damage in the area. Josh was traveling to a safer place with us during the worst of the storm in his little Toyota truck and was blowing around  and quite alarmed by the time he arrived. He said it was getting "sketchy!" It was more than sketchy as a  19 yr old man was killed while driving to deliver medications for a drugstore when a sign came flying into his car.  Our family felt very sad for him and all those who are suffering so much from these tornados.  One night in a tornado shelter underground when the news is saying, "take cover" is worth all the cost and 70 hours of digging (not by hand) and hammering out that red rock.  George dug it out and Joshua helped some and then made a nice red graveled road for the kids in the enchanted forest next to the house.  Well, talking about Storms;
  We are hopeful the storm in Kristi's life  has passed by. It's been scary, very tough and long. "A long hard road," the Dr said, on Nov 15th, 2010! " We were hoping he was wrong but we need to tell him how correct he was! There is an old song that tells the story, " When the storm passes over and the thunder starts to roll...when the clouds roll forever from the sky... Keep me safe let me stand in the hollow of His hand.  Keep me safe till the storm passes by." Thanks be to our Heavenly Father for keeping her safe and bringing her though these past 2 1/2 years.  And  a huge  thank you to all you people who had a part in helping the Wright family get through this.  People have had wonderful ideas and been incredibly generous to all of us and we have learned so much from all of you and from this experience about how to help others in these situations. You have been a shining example of "Jesus with skin on" (from a Guy Dowd video).
     There is a little plaque in my room here in AR at the Wright's house.  I actually bought it for Kristi after her June 5th miracle last year.  It says Rejoice Always, Pray without Ceasing, In everything give thanks!  Easy to do when you have received a real life miracle down here on earth... but every adversity doesn't come with a miracle.  I read it every day and wonder how to apply giving thanks to everything.  The thing that comes to mind is that I can always give thanks that God makes a way for each of us to bear the hardships that come to us in this life. As a young wife I found a verse in the bible that promised me that with every hard thing that comes my way, God will be with me and I will be able to bear it and survive it.  That has given me great peace throughout my life and I see it playing out in Kristi's life each day. He is faithful.  I have seen this promise play out in friends and families' lives as they experienced adversity.  It is a promise God has shown us He will always keep! As people who have the holy spirit living within them we should always be ready to pray and trusting God in all our situations.  Praying without Ceasing just becomes a way of life. And then there is the Rejoice Always portion.  We all have things to rejoice about and be grateful for even in the midst of our troubles.  We are rejoicing that Kristi is done waiting to live life, but is able to actually go out into the world and live her life.  She has had some social events she could attend this week.  Last night she COOKED!  She passed her driving test with Mom and took over the driving.  She took her kids to the pool yesterday.  She can power walk in the driveway with Chris, the Physical Therapist. There are some consequences that come with this activity like sore shins and sudden fatigue, but we are rejoicing because she is recovering and being part of life again.

School is out for the summer and Kristi is going to be caring for the kids.  Pray for her endurance an strength to meet their needs as well as keeping up at home. Its important she doesn't over do it!  The medicine she is on doesn't allow her to be in the sun without burning, so she'll have to be very careful while taking the kids on outings. Also, there are hurdles still to cross with housework and going to Walmart, as Kristi continues to have a very strict weight limit for lifting.  For example, she cannot carry a laundry basket of clothes yet.  However, the kids have agreed to be very helpful as they are excited about this big corner their mom has turned as well!  Funny thing happened, Breck (Amy's son) texted with Isaiah, He said, "What's new?"  Isaiah said, "MY MOM!"   written by Kristi's MOM!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013 - A New Perspective

"Changing your perspective...... Changes your experience" - unknown

Have you ever gone to the Eye Dr. and tried on glasses only to realize you had not been seeing clearly and had not even realized it until that very moment?  I have!!  It was such a surprise to realize my perspective and experience of life had not been as clear as it could have been, or as it needed to have been.  This is the gift God has continued to give our family since 2010.

We first experienced this with Kristi's cancer diagnosis, then my son Taylor came close to death with a septic hip and staph infection,  followed by learning Kristi's treatment for a cure would be permanently life altering, and this past week my brother in law Jeff survived the "widow maker" and following surgery found out the scary and disappointing news that he has quite serious heart disease.  (This is Amy's husband)  We have also changed our perspective as we have watched or walked through suffering with many of you.

We are celebrating life......the ability to fully live the life God has given us!
We are celebrating relationships......the ability to share life with those God has given us!
We are celebrating worship.......the ability to love and serve and worship our Savior! 

More than anything, we are asking God to give us HIS perspective about all of life.....our time, our relationships, our work, our spiritual, physical, financial, mental and emotional resources, etc...... so that our experience of life and relationships and worship will be what He wants for us and for HIS glory.

Today we are all celebrating that Kristi is home with her children and that God has provided a way for her to continue to be a Mom to Isaiah and Alyssa.   Kristi had set a goal to be able to go to Isaiah's choir concert last week and she made it.  Today she set a goal to attend church for Mother's Day and she was able to attend.  It took a lot out of her and felt like a long time to sit, but she lived life today with her children, her Mom and her family.  This made her happy!!  When I was there two weeks ago, it was heartwarming for me to see the kids be able to ask Kristi permission to do things, or show Kristi their homework, etc  instead of me.  One night, while I was caretaking at the Wright house, Kristi was having a good night and was laughing and interacting with her children,  and it felt so good to the kids that Isaiah didn't even want to break away to take his shower.

On this Mother's Day, our Mom is now in Arkansas mothering and grand mothering the Wright Family.  Our parents flew into Arkansas late Monday night and were greatly needed!!  Due to Jeff's sudden heart tests and hospital stay and Katy having both boys sick,  they were both needed.  Dad stayed at Amy's house with Breck and Kacey and Mom has been at Kristi's house.  Josh and the Soderquist family joined Amy at the hospital.  We have said this before, but we are so grateful for a BIG family!  We are even more grateful to know the Lord and His strength and hope and grace for times such as these!
Mom.....the caretaker for the Wright Family this week.
Thank you Lord for allowing Kristi to celebrate Mother's Day 2013! 

Dad...the caretaker for the Soderquist Family this week!
Thank you Lord for letting Jeff be here to celebrate Mother's Day!

Kristi is going off of 2 of her 3 antibiotics today.  She has been anxiously awaiting this on two accounts.  She is hoping it will help with the evening nausea (this past week she has thrown up several evenings).  But she is also fighting anxiety about returning infection without the medication.  She was so sick and miserable her 24 days in the hospital and it has taken 6 weeks to gain new strength back.  Please pray that God will take her thoughts captive and that her fear of another setback due to infection will not control her mind.

Kristi is battling dehydration and possible anemia.  Pray that she can be rehydrated and rebuild her iron without needing  IV treatment.

Please pray that Kristi can find the right ostomy bags for her body.  It has been a frustrating process recently.  They tell you this will be part of the process so it isn't unexpected, but there is so much to making this adjustment mentally and emotionally and physically.  Overall, God's grace has covered Kristi with this life altering adjustment above and beyond what we would have expected.  She has some hard days and grieves different losses or gets frustrated with the process,  but over all......She looks at life through the perspective of just that........the opportunity to have life.

I don't know what your circumstances are as you read this, but I pray that you are allowing God to use your circumstances to change your perspective.....allowing Him to give you Spiritual Eyes in order to see clearly through new lenses that change how you see life, God, yourself and others.  We continue to learn this truth.......Our perspective does change how we experience life and relationships and sometimes we are more blind than we think!  Let's not allow being too busy, fear, unforgiveness or pride to blind us from what God wants us to give or receive....for we know not what tomorrow brings! (James 4:13-16).

Danina for us all

We plan to continue to give you an update every 7-10 days.  Thank you for the many that continue to pray and follow Kristi's story.......God's story!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

3 Month Anniversary.....Post Pelvic Exenteration

Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, 
but to turn it into glory.”  --Phillip Yancey

You have now walked with us for 3 months following Kristi's surgery.  
Thank you!  
Kristi says, "Three months down......nine more to go!!" 
I flew in on Sunday to give my siblings a break from caretaking  for the week.  I knew Kristi would visibly show improvement, but she shocked me when she got up off the couch by herself and just took off walking to the kitchen without her walker.  I was so excited to see her walk and not shuffle and be hunched over!! 

Danina, Joshua, and Kristi
Kristi has enjoyed the sunshine.  She sits in a protected area
on her front porch and can watch the kids play and enjoy her ice
tea.  I've been cooking with lots of the ingredients provided for
the Wrights, and Kristi has been eating really well this week! 

We take walks across their grass so her body can get used to uneven 
ground, and today she set a goal to walk to her 2nd neighbors mailbox
and made it! 

Kristi had a major new workout this week with her Physical Therapist.  Her kids were so excited when she told them that she had "played basketball" that day.  Chris had her put a basketball on the floor while sitting down and then stand up and hold it over her head.  Then they walked outside and shot a few baskets to use new muscles.  She has appreciated Chris' creativity in helping her with objects around the house..... and this was one that brought the children into it and made them happy!
She did fall asleep early last night and slept all night and late this morning to recover!! : ) 

Monday was an emotional day for Kristi full of ups and downs.  She went from getting the news that a woman she met through her cancer posse at church had lost her battle with breast cancer, to receiving news that a long time friend of our family wanted to help them monthly with the exact amount of their house payment.  She had no knowledge of the amount of their house payment either!! God is so awesome in how He goes before us.  This removes some of the stress if their house does not sell immediately.  Please join us in praying for the family of Martina Peacock and in praising God yet again for HIS provision through His people.  We are also feeling the weight of our other friends struggling with cancer and difficult news.  We would love to ask you to also pray for encouragement and strength for Toni Simmons from our home town of Meeker, CO and our new little friend Julia Cobb we met at MDA.  They are both on facebook under Toni's Story and Jucan and both started with Ewing's Sarcoma.

Martina's faith amidst cancer impacted Kristi.  When Martina first attended a Hope in Him Cancer Encouragement Group, she shared a beautiful prayer that she and her husband prayed every day.  It was full of promises from God's word and Kristi held onto part of those words as she journeyed forward.  Another woman in the group reminded Kristi that one of Martina's scriptures was from 2 Cor. 4......
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

 Martina and many others in this cancer group desire more than anything for God to be glorified and Jesus to be known....whether in life or in death. 

 May we all live with this perspective with whatever suffering God allows in our own stories.  
------- Danina

“Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”