Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Written April 29, 2015

Yesterday was harder than I want to admit. It's probably going to be a day I will always remember. Samuel struggled, and as his mom, I will admit that I struggled too. I cried out to God (and to Brian) a lot more yesterday than I have before, and I made more phone calls to doctors than I have in the past.

It seemed like a normal day when we woke yesterday. We went to the homeschool/classroom, but Samuel was moving very slowly with his blanket in tow. His eyes were dark, and it was almost as if he hadn't slept 9 hours the night before. This child of mine who loves school and learning didn't go to his green desk; instead, he went to the corner of the room, laid down in the floor, and put his blanket over his head.

The rest of the day went slowly. It involved a lot of falling asleep, waking up only to get sick, moaning, very little speaking, and falling asleep again. Yesterday... it was scary for me. I waited on phone calls from the neurologist and from our pediatrician, but I couldn't help but notice how tired and how different he seemed from just a few days before.

In God's sovereign grace and provision, He cared for Samuel yesterday when I was frightened and unsure of what to do. He seemed to lifeless to me, but God was sustaining him and knew exactly what to do when I didn't. How grateful I am for my Heavenly Father! His care is so much greater than mine for both me and the children that He's entrusted me with.

Today... oh, TODAY.

Today, Samuel is filled with laughter and smiles, and he is gladly sitting on the couch, doing his school work because he realized he missed it yesterday. I am typing this through tears of thankfulness because joy truly does come in the morning. Friends of ours are going through trials that I cannot fathom. Their children are facing battles that shouldn't be comprehended by little ones at their ages. 

Yet, I see God. I see him working it all together for good. Romans 8:28. Even through the hard, disappointing, sad, unfair situations, I see that God has a greater purpose that I cannot truly understand at this time. I have to be willing to trust His plans and know that His will is going to be done in each of them... because yesterday, oh yesterday, I had no control. God had it all.

I don't know what tomorrow holds or what next week brings, but I know God already has it planned. I want to be willing and able to trust Him whatever it looks like...

The doctors believe Samuel was having an adverse reaction to his new medication. The dosage will be lowered and monitored for a short time.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Daniel is SIX!

I cannot believe I am even typing those words... he has been such an amazing joy and work of grace in our lives, and it feels like only yesterday that Daniel was born! He has had a HUGE year, and God has done great things for him in it.

Because our three boys have birthdays so close together, we usually combine them and celebrate with one large party. We, however, take special care in creating a day for each boy on his actual birthday where he chooses, within reason, where we eat and what dessert we are having. It is fun!

Daniel was pretty adamant about his April 20th birthday this year. He wanted Cracker Barrel for supper and frozen yogurt for dessert. However, we have no frozen yogurt places in our town, and I knew he would love cake just as much.

I walked into Walmart after eating supper and found the perfect cake for Daniel! He will tell you he doesn't really have a favorite color... because he loves them all. Sometimes, he will say his favorite color is a rainbow color. :) Walmart had a rainbow blast cake premade, and the excitement on his face when we cut into it was precious!

I think my favorite moments from his 6th birthday were when he actually prayed over his own birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel and the joyful expressions on his face as he opened his gifts! He is just so excited and happy about most things... it is contagious.

We are so blessed by this rambunctious ball of energy! I am thankful God has entrusted us with him for a season. I couldn't be more excited to see what is in store for Daniel.

Allergy Testing Revisited

We knew it would have to be done at some point, and since Elias has struggled some with runny nose and a cough since his adenoids and tonsils were removed in January, his pulmonologist felt now, April 22nd, was the time. He is one month away from turning three, and he handled this testing so much better than he did at 16 months old.

I kept him busy by playing with my phone and watching YouTube videos of Paw Patrol. The fifteen minutes flew by! He didn't cry or scratch at all, and that is probably because he isn't allergic anymore and hasn't added any new ones! Praising God for this great news!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Elias Escapades

He really is quite the child. He has turned out to be the most rambunctious, energetic, and hilarious of our three sons, and not a day goes by that he doesn't drive me crazy. However, he can make me laugh more than anyone in the world.  

Just recently, for instance, this little bit:

* decided to pour a gallon of water all over the bathroom floor.

* has taken a liking to dressing himself in the most fascinating ways. Clothes are often inside out, socks are gloves, coats are acceptable in the spring, and anything goes.

* shovels food in his mouth.

* thinks he can avoid bedtime if he's pretending to potty train, which he clearly isn't interested in attempting or accomplishing yet.

* likes pretending to be the bad "die", which is guy, and runs at us with a water gun.

* figured out how to unbuckle his car seat, get really quiet, then fall asleep while we're on the interstate. Oh, yes, he did.

* ate both of his brothers' leftover pieces of birthday cake. Both of theirs.

* likes to have crazy hair... at his sleep study, they put this gel on the electrodes to keep them on his head. When they came off, his hair was everywhere, but he just laughed!

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I had a wise man today tell me that he just didn't believe it. He was going to choose to trust that God could heal Samuel's condition of Chiari, and he was going to pray to that end.

Do you know what I said?! I immediately told him it was unlikely. That the same MAN (Jesus) who made the lame walk, blind see, and dead rise couldn't reverse or heal this malformation within my child's head?! Standing there with him, it was easy to state medical facts that I have researched or been told, but my faith perspective wasn't coming into focus.

Oh, but he made me see it so differently. I don't know what will happen, but I sure want to change my perspective in light of this conversation. It is so easy to become focused on the difficulties of this condition and the symptoms we are facing and lose sight of WHO is in control of it. God does not change. He does not love us any less. He wants us to cling to Him that much more. I believe that this will be what God decides it to be, and I pray Samuel's Chiari story (and whatever else he is diagnosed with) will be used to bring the Lord glory.

Perspective... it changes everything, and lately, I am sorry to say I have been looking at links online instead of facts in THE BOOK - the holy, inspired Word of God. My friend today gave me perspective, and I really needed to hear it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Night Plans

I didn't know I had any Friday night plans, but that quickly changed this afternoon. Thanking God for the last minute opening for this little guy to have a follow-up sleep study tonight! Praying for rest for him and a successful study.

He is having this to determine how well he is doing following the surgery that removed his adenoids and tonsils on January 19th.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rest for the Weary

We met with Samuel's neurologist today for the first time. She listened intently to our concerns, asked many questions, went over his MRI scans and results, and spent a great deal of time with us. She had a way of explaining things that brought rest to this weary mom.

She did not discount the fact that Samuel does have a 8 mm Chiari Malformation (CM), but she felt as though his headaches were triggered by anxiety and a sudden life change in January when they first began. At that time, Elias had a big surgery (adenoids and tonsils removed), I left my pre-K teaching job, and we began homeschooling.

After learning more about him and his history, the neurologist diagnosed Samuel with migraines. Many of his symptoms could be attributed to Chiari, but they are more so migraine-related due to stress and fear of being in pain. She said it isn't uncommon for patients with one neurological issue to end up with another, which happens to be the case for Samuel.

Right now, the neurologist believes we can treat many of his symptoms with a daily preventative. We are praying it helps and that he can both tolerate it and begin to rest well again.

We still have to meet with opthamology on May 12th to make sure his eyes are fine, but the neurologist said it shouldn't change her course of action. Until then, we will continue to monitor his symptoms, begin new medication, and wait patiently on the Lord.

Oh, but He's already here... I felt His presence today when I began to feel overwhelmed in describing all of Samuel's setbacks from fine motor skills, losing independence, and lack of sleep. I knew He was there when I began to cry explaining how difficult it had been lately to get Samuel to eat. I realized He was there when I asked if we could see Samuel's MRI scans...

and when I saw our sweet Samuel's button nose on that computer screen and the neurologist pointed to his Chiari, do you know what I saw?!

I saw the hand of God. It was so clear to me. That "malformation" was nothing like I had pictured in my mind. It's there, obviously, but it wasn't as overwhelming as I expected it to be. I felt peaceful sitting there today because I knew God was already there. I was finally ready to fall into His arms and let Him show Himself strong.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

With God, All Things are Possible

When we met with Samuel's neurosurgeon a little over three weeks ago, I can honestly say I (Jenna) immediately felt as though we were facing a battle that was impossible. It felt so much bigger than us. I felt small and insignificant. I realized quickly that Samuel's diagnosis was completely out of my hands. As a mom, that was a tough realization.

We were told Samuel needed to see an opthamologist and a neurologist, but that it would be at least six weeks before we could get into neurology.

However, I followed the instructions given by the specialist, constantly journaling his symptoms, and doing my best to wait patiently on the nurse to call us with our son's next necessary appointments despite his symptoms increasing.

Days became a week. One week became two. Two weeks have now become a little over three. Yesterday, we got the call we never expected.

Samuel will be seen this Thursday, April 16th, by neurology!

So many days I have felt as though the struggle is impossible and we won't make it to the next point, but God keeps showing up and reminding me that this is completely out of my hands. It is in His. The neurosurgeon (NS) said it was unlikely to get into neurology in 6 weeks' time, but with God, it is.

God makes the impossible possible. I want to cling to that hope this week! He knows what is ahead for our Samuel, and He made a way through an impossible way to have him seen this week.

Please pray that we can get a better understanding of Samuel's diagnosis and symptoms at his appointment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Blessings

There is such hope on Easter...

There is a newness, a sense that something has changed. I don't think it rests in the daffodils or the buttercups. I am certain it has nothing to do with our Easter best or baskets.

I felt it in the way the clouds rolled back, and the sun broke through. I saw it in the faces of my brothers and sisters at church as they sang praises. I heard it in the Sermon the Lord spoke through my husband...


It is what Easter brings.

It really wasn't the easiest day. I was stressed most of it, trying to get dressed, get the boys' clothes just right, the perfect picture, knowing they needed a nap but didn't get it, and I was rushing through it wrapped in my own nerves.

However, as I remember what Jesus did for us by dying on a cruel cross, suffering for our sins, and rising so that we might be made righteous, I am overcome with the hope of the Gospel and the blessings I don't deserve.  How great God's love is for us!

I tend to get overwhelmed by details and lose sight of what's really important in this life. It was looking through these pictures from Easter that God reminded me of the great hope we have in Him...

I am so unworthy, yet Christ willingly gave His life so that the faces in these pictures might have hope. I am humbled by the fact that not only my children, but everyone can have the hope of eternity because of the greatest Easter blessing, Jesus.