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Tuesday, May 29, 2012



Meet Cali Jo. She is, without a doubt, the bravest little three-year-old I’ve ever met. Cali was born with tricuspid atresia. Tricuspid atresia is a congenital heart defect in which one of the valves (tricuspid valve) between two of her heart's chambers isn't formed. Instead, there's solid tissue between the chambers. This means blood can't flow through the heart and into the lungs to pick up oxygen as it normally would. The result is the lungs can't supply the rest of her body with the oxygen it needs, requiring three open-heart surgeries to address the problem.

In laymen’s terms, Cali Jo has faced more in her first three years of life than I have in my 33. A week ago, she underwent her third (and hopefully final) open heart surgery. She goes in for another surgery today. Add to this a catheter procedure and a tonsillectomy, and you’ve got one tough girl.

I have been present at every surgery, and I have seen God’s grace poured out over her life – be it her ability to remain calm before a surgery or her demeanor in the PICU. Her threshold for pain is remarkably high. She continually exceeds her surgeons’, medical staffs’ & nurses’ expectations when it comes to her speedy recoveries and ability to endure so much. Cali is brave.

However, Cali is also weary. As I mentioned earlier, she will have another unexpected surgery today in which docs will place tubes in her chest to drain excess fluid from her lungs/heart which have caused the oxygen saturation levels in her blood to remain disconcertingly low. The fluid is hindering her recovery. This happens to 30% of patients after the third & final open heart procedure. She is also battling nausea & vomiting. She must endure another catheterization, more tubes, new incisions and a new central line due to the irritation and potential infection the initial central line caused on her neck.

IMG_0588Alexa loves visiting Cali at the hospital. She says she goes to makes Cali happy.

Would you join us in praying for precious Cali Jo and her sweet family? Would you pray for precision on the surgeon’s part, grace for Cali and the family, and God’s perfect hand of healing over her entire body – particularly her heart? Would you pray her sats (oxygen saturation levels) will immediately improve without the aid of oxygen? Would you pray Cali gets to sleep in her own bed very soon without the beeping reminders of empty IV bags and low respiratory rates? Would you pray she would be able to run and play like any other three-year-old without turning blue or running out of breath?

We love you Cali Jo! Your life is a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness in all things. He has great plans for you and you shine as a beacon of hope wherever you go. Your life is a gift! Man sees a heart that wasn’t formed correctly, but God created you with an unbreakable heart of gold. Keep shining!! 

Alexa & Cali just a week before her surgery. Cali’s mom, Martisha, and I believe the girls are best friends in the making.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday pick-me-up


Alexa has always been a late riser (normally 8:30am). On Saturday though, she was snoozing later than usual. I was curious. When I finally went in to get her I discovered what had captured her attention. Alexa was awake but she was busy positioning all her stuffed animals so they could peek in at her. When I walked in, she was talking to them and continued to hand me more stuffed animals (yes, there are even more in her crib) to squeeze between the crib spindles and the bumper pad. The “peek-a-boo” animals have become a staple during bedtime & naptime. Mommy doesn’t mind though. It keeps Lil’ A quiet and entertained & I love seeing her escape into her world of pretend. It’s precious! Happy Memorial Day!! More pics to come.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A letter to my little one

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14
Sweet little one,
I cannot believe it’s been a year since we said goodbye to the hope of holding you on this side of Glory. For us, it’s been a long year. We miss you and we wonder what life would’ve been like with you here. But, we wouldn’t wish you back for one moment for you are in the most glorious place imaginable . . . but I guess you already knew that. You went from life (whoosh) to eternal life and you are with Jesus and your older sibling. What a special place that must be! I wish we could talk to you and hear what Glory is like. I wish your sister, Alexa Hope, could play with you. But, we’ll look forward to the day all of that will become a reality. It will be a glorious homecoming! We cannot wait to meet you and your older sibling face-to-face. I’m so thankful Jesus loves the little children. He promised us the “kingdom of heaven” belongs to you – so you are right where you are supposed to be. My sweet one, rest securely in Jesus’ arms until Mommy & Daddy can embrace you. We love you so much and think of you and your older sibling more than you’ll ever know.

We will l see you very soon,
Mommy & Daddy

This past week, I’ve been trying to process the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this year. It’s been challenging with many emotions attempting to choke out Truth. However, the song, “Sit with You Awhile” by Jami Smith keeps running through my head. It’s a beautiful ballad that puts my heart at peace. It quiets my soul, gives me perspective and promises an unfading hope in Christ. And that’s what I need today, I need to sit with Jesus, to be held in His arms, to be in a place of safety and rest, where nothing in this world can touch me. This song also brings with it a comforting reminder that our little ones are with Jesus already experiencing these realities and my heart is overwhelmingly grateful for the promise of Eternity with them.

Sit with You Awhile by Jami Smith

When I cannot feel
When my wounds don't heal
Lord I humbly kneel
Hidden in You

Lord you are my life
So I don't mind to die
Just as long as I
Am hidden in You

If I could just sit with You awhile
You could just hold me
nothing can touch me
though I'm wounded
though I die

If I could just sit with You awhile
I need You to hold me
Moment by moment 'till forever passes by

When I know I’ve sinned
when I should have been
crying out my God I’m hidden in you

Lord I need you now
more than I know how
so I humbly bow
hidden in You

If I could just sit with You awhile
If You could just hold me
Nothing can touch me
though I'm wounded
though I die

If I could just sit with You awhile
I'd need You to hold me
Moment by moment 'till forever passes by

If I could just sit with You awhile
If You could just hold me
nothing can touch me
though I'm wounded
though I die

If I could sit with You awhile
I need you to hold me
moment by moment ‘til forever passes by
sweet moment by moment ‘til forever passes by
sweet moment by moment ‘til forever passes by

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy “9th” Layton!

I just wanted to send a belated “shout out” to my nephew who turned nine yesterday. I can’t believe he’s already nine!! I remember holding him in the hospital the day he was born. Okay, that just made me sound really old. Layton is our “little big man.” We can’t wait to see all the amazing things God has in store for him. We love you Layton!

Being the center of attention is rough for Mr. L.
The birthday boy with Pop & Mimi.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday pick-me-up

Three things that make me smile. No explanations needed.


Friday, May 18, 2012

More with Mimi & Pop

A week ago today, Alexa and I were eating breakfast when she told me, “We going to Mimi and Pop’s today . . . in Dallas.” I said, “Yes.” Without hesitation, she tilted her head and looked straight at me with those charming brown eyes and said with great confidence, “Mimi and Pop love me.” Yep, even two-year-olds get it. That was pretty much the theme of the weekend – Alexa bathed in “Mimi & Pop love” (defined as undivided attention, time and play). As you’ll notice, Mommy and Daddy aren’t in these pics. We pretty much don’t exist when Mimi & Pop are around.

Alexa can’t wait to see the ducklings at Mimi & Pop’s neighborhood pond.

Checking out (rather pulling off) a leaf on the walk to see the ducklings.

Alexa refused to look at the camera as she watched the ducklings approach.

Here comes some of the family. There were 13 ducklings in all and they were hungry!

It was kind of sweet to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with another mama.

Alexa didn’t know what to think of the ducklings snapping at Pop to get bread.

Mom & Dad’s neighbor walked by with his dog, Lucy. Alexa loves dogs. (And no, we aren’t getting her one.) Here she is preparing for airport security checkpoints.

Giving Lucy a love pat. She was much more confident with Lucy than the ducklings.

Mimi with her Mother’s Day gift. It says, “Become a possibilitarian” and that is the essence of my mom. She always says with absolute conviction, “Life is full of possibilities.” Hmmmmm . . . maybe I should take that gift back. I’m the skeptic.

It’s a shame Alexa is sooooo happy in this picture. She made handprint heart cards for the special mommies in our lives. This one’s upside-down as is Alexa’s smile.

We framed Alexa’s handprints for Mimi and Ama. (I made one for me too.) I thought I deserved it for convincing her to make the handprints – candy bribery works.

Great-grandmothers and aunts received a card. I wrote Proverbs 31:30 around the heart as well as a Mother’s Day message from Alexa, her age, and the date. I wish I could take credit for the card but my sis sent me this Valentine’s Day card idea from the blog - Since I already had an idea for Valentine’s Day cards, I used it for a Mother’s Day card.

Alexa enjoyed a bit of Sunday post-nap entertainment courtesy of Pop and Striper.

Pop built this wooden racetrack for me and my sister when we were little. Racing cars was one of my favorite activities on Saturdays. Pop can’t believe it’s still getting used every time the grandkids visit. Alexa is selecting the perfect car from the tub.

This is a pretty poor representation of the matchbox cars I had growing up. My very best cars are still tucked away in a closet waiting to be revealed when Alexa can really appreciate them. We’ll let her scuff these up for the time being.

What a fun weekend in Dallas. We love you Mimi & Pop!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Five more to go!

Chris completed his final spring graduate class last Thursday. We were excited to celebrate another ending to the eight week class schedule he’s been enrolled in since the fall of ‘09. That means Alexa hasn’t known what’s it’s like for Daddy not to be in school. In fact, if you ask her where Daddy is when he’s gone she’ll either say, “He’s at work, or he’s at class.”
Chris starts another class today which will begin eight more weeks of summer school (two night classes/week). Once he completes his two summer classes, he’ll have three more left to graduate this fall. Just five more classes to go! Yippee!!
And just so you know . . . he’s a straight “A” student. Not bad for a full-time employee, husband and daddy. My man has completed 38 credit hours/18 classes to get this far, and I’m incredibly proud of him. Only three of these classes have been during the workday. (Thus, I’m incredibly proud of Mommy.) Ha!!
The credit hour requirement for an MBA at OU is a whopping 47 credit hours (practically insane)! I graduated from OU with an MA in Journalism, and the program required 32 credit hours with a thesis. I guess OU wants to ensure its MBA students mean “business'” – yes, the pun was intended. 

Finish strong honey!! We will celebrate every “eight week” step of the way. Thank you for balancing life so well without a critical or grumbling spirit. Like my parents always comment, you wouldn’t know Chris has been in school the last three years because he doesn’t talk about it, complain about it or let it overwhelm his life. He just does it well and for God’s glory. Yep – that’s my man!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday pick-me-up


Being a Mommy is hands-down the greatest blessing I’ve ever experienced! I’m so grateful God granted me the humbling and undeserved privilege of being a Mommy. I’m grateful I had two wonderful grandmothers to look up to and a mother & mother-in-law with whom I deeply respect and admire. I pray God will enable me to live out the same godly characteristics these women flesh out with grace, joy, gentleness, perseverance, wisdom and a deep, abiding faith. As I spoke with Chris’ Gram K this weekend, she said, “Mother’s Day is everyday.” I agree wholeheartedly. Every moment with Alexa Hope, even the challenging ones, is a precious gift. I’m thankful for these moments, and I’m thankful for you, Mom!
More Mother’s Day weekend to come . . .
Gram K reminds me often that raising children happens quickly and there are no re-runs. So, I’m going to stop for now. I just want to soak in the sweet goodness of motherhood.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jasper’s first trip to OU

Alexa loves her little monkey. We purchased Jasper almost a year ago to honor the life of our third child (May 28, 2011 post). I mentioned in that post how I wanted Alexa to have him and how sweet her response was to the gift. He has definitely become a part of lives. It’s incredibly meaningful to me, without any coercion from us, that Jasper is Alexa’s favorite stuffed animal. At least for me, it’s a sweet reminder even though we don’t get to hold our third child on earth we have a little memory of him every time we talk to Jasper, buckle him next to Alexa in the car and take him for walks in Alexa’s baby stroller. I haven’t let Alexa take Jasper into church or Target although she always asks. In a strange way, our precious little one is still with us when I see that adorable striped monkey. And so, Alexa wanted to take Jasper for his first outing on campus (and yes, she said “campus”). It was a terrific evening with a striped monkey and Lil’ A, our “hope fulfilled.” Although Jasper doesn’t make it in many photos (especially the fountain pics for fear of getting too wet), I’m confident he enjoyed strolling around Soonerland with his best buddy. We even included Ama & Opa in CA with a little Face Time. But enough writing about the evening, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. There are lots of ‘em.


IMG_1504  IMG_1515

No matter who you share it with, have a great Mother’s Day weekend!!