Monday, August 27, 2007

She's Home!

Just want all of you that have been keeping tabs on her progress and mentioning baby Sarah Grace in your prayers, that God has seen fit to heal her enough that the cardiologists and the NICU staff have all come to the same conclusion...Sarah is well enough to come home!!
We received this good news last Thursday...exactly 3 weeks from the day she came into the world, she was allowed to come home. How much we owe to your prayers and the great mercies of our God! Praise HIM !!
After speaking with Sarah's mama today, I was told that she has been doing just fine. She is still alternating her feedings with the bottle and nursing, but she is getting stronger all the time and M says she seems to be acting just like a normal little infant. She is our little miracle that is for sure! We are hoping to get over to see her soon. Grandma can't wait to hold her without a nurse hovering nearby!
Now to totally change the subject....
My sister S and I spent the latter part of last week going to the American Quilt Society's annual show in Nashville. Wow! We had never been before and it was just fantastic! More than 300 vendors with oodles of gorgeous fabrics, tons of patterns, quilts on display, workshops to learn new techniques, designers and quilters all over the place! It was heaven. I even got to meet my all time favorite quilting teacher, Eleanor Burns (from Quilt in a Day)! She signed one of her books for me and I got my pic taken with her..I'll put it up on here when Sister sends it to me...she needs to download it off her cell phone! Eleanor was the nicest person...just as genuine and happy in person as she is on her TV shows. I was so glad to see that. When I came home from the show I was really inspired to start quilting so I have started working on an autumn wallhanging using fabric from Benartex designed by Nancy Halvorsen called Acorn Hollow. I'm using a pattern from Eleanor's Still Stripping book which uses mostly 2 1/2 inch strips to make up the body of the pattern. It's coming together so nicely because of her great instructions. When I get it finished I'll be sure to post a picture.
My quilting time is going to be interrupted more now with the beginning of fall activities. I'm working as a children's teacher in our local Community Bible Study this fall. We have been having training classes for the last couple of weeks. It is a wonderful group of ladies and I am making some new like-minded friends that are great prayer warriors and that really have a heart for the lost and searching. We are so fortunate to have this great organization in our little town of Livingston. Last year we had between 40-50 women from all different denominations that came together each week to study the Word of God and pray together. It looks as if we may have even more this year!
Well with God, who can be surprised? Is anything too wonderful for Him???

Monday, August 20, 2007

Home Again

We got back home again yesterday after a quick trip to visit two of our boys and their wives in NC. We had a wonderful time seeing son B and wife J and our grandson E.
B is recovering from knee surgery that he had in July. He is doing pretty well-as long as he doesn't over do it. In this picture below, you can see that little E just loves caring for Daddy! They have some extra bodies living with them these days--their cute little Shih-Poo, Faith, is a mama! She had 4 puppies and they are hoping to sell them soon. They can make quite a racket when they get excited! They are just adorable though as you can see from the picture! All of them look like this. How can you resist a bundle of fur as cute as that!!We were also privileged to sit in on a marvel of our techno world--a 4D imaging session of an ultrasound of B and J's baby! It was pretty much totally confirmed that we will be the grandparents of another little girl! Baby Sarah will have a girl cousin close in age to her! The 4D thing was phenomenal and NO WORDS can describe the experience. But it is the most beautiful and miraculous thing see that tiny one alive and moving within the womb! She was even sucking her thumb! She stretched her little arms and grabbed her foot, she yawned, and at one point she even raised her arms as if praising the Lord. I will never forget that image as long as I live. It is the greatest argument against abortion that ever was. Don't you agree? Let me please introduce to you, our newest grand-daughter!
After seeing this miraculous picture, one just has to marvel! And recite from the Scriptures found in Psalm 139.......Verse 13-16 "For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,intricately woven in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them." Thank you, Lord!
After 2 days with B & J we drove to Asheville to K & B's new place. It is an older home in a lovely neighborhood. They have furnished it eclectically--as only those two could! It has a unique charm and they are very happy there. They surely have a lot more space than their little apartment in married housing at college! I made them a small "housewarming gift" of a retro print table runner. B really liked it and I was so happy about that. It fit their table just right. We also got to meet their cute little schnauzer-terrier mix, Osito, who used to be a circus dog! He is so sweet and the love of their lives. (He doesn't really have yellow eyes--just the camera!)
We were introduced to K & B's favorite haunts in their new city and then spent one afternoon and evening trying to dominate the world in a never-ending game of Risk. No one ever really won but we all had a chance to own our own continents--for a few minutes! I will tell you that mine were the red guys! Aren't you impressed? Don't think that dear L is thrilled about it though!
After leaving Asheville, we stopped off in K-ville to visit our sweet baby girl Sarah who is still in the hospital-but doing MUCH better. I even got to hold her!! She is alternating drinking from a bottle and getting milk from a feeding tube. And growing stronger everyday. Isn't she beautiful? Please continue to pray that she grow strong enough to drink exclusively from the bottle (and eventually to nurse). Once she can do that, she should be able to come home. I got to meet one of her cardiologists and he seemed to think that Sarah was doing quite well--even saying that it was a possibility that she might not have to have surgery until she was a teenager! He said, "it just depends...on how her heart responds." Well, time will tell. But we all feel that God has definitely been "perfecting that which concerns you." (Psalm 138: 8) He is the Almighty and He can do wonderful and mighty things!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Quilt for Sarah

I could not believe the timing! I called my local quilt shop today to see when the quilt that I had made for my grandbaby would be finished (I had taken it in to be machine quilted right after finishing sometime in May). I was just thrilled to hear my favorite quilt shop owner tell me that she had just finished it! Once again, God's perfect timing. The "Garden Tales" quilt was actually quilted on Baby Sarah's Birth Day--how special! I will be taking it over and presenting it to my dear M tomorrow. We are going over to see them and our little Sarah and also to help out with the children and other household duties. I will be staying for awhile-not sure how long at the moment. But, I wanted to get the pics up on the blog of the quilt. The Sunshine wallhanging that I made for M and B earlier in the spring also got finished today @ the quilt shop--right when I walked in! I think it is so appropriate to give to them at this particular time as they need some Sunshine in their lives. Hopefully seeing this hanging on their wall will remind them of how much they are loved by so many people. Thank you so much for all your prayers and the many reassurances I have received from you in your emails! I know you are praying and God is blessing.

Close up of Garden Tales
The Sunshine quilt to brighten their home and their hope!

Latest Sarah Update: After speaking with the pediatric cardiologist today, the kids found out that Sarah has a condition called "Ebstein's Anomaly". There is an excellent explanation of this form of congenital heart defect at the Mayo Clinic's website. Sarah continues to breathe with the help of the ventilator but M said that she is improving. Only time will tell how soon she can come off the ventilator. But when she does and is able to nurse OK, then she will be able to come home. We are hoping and praying for this to be soon. M and B are really doing well emotionally through all of this. It is a tribute to their strong faith and I am so proud of them! They are an inspiration to me that's for sure...and their spiritual strength is a result of all your prayers. Keep doing what you're doing!!

Trusting God

Yesterday we received news from our dear son-in-law, B, that our daughter, M, had given birth to an 8 pound baby girl! Mama was doing fine and had the shortest labor that she has ever had. This being her seventh child, she has had quite a few to compare it to! But, this birth was different in another way also. This little one was born with complications. It was obvious from the very start to the experienced eyes of their competent mid-wife, D, that this baby needed extra care, including oxygen which was immediately administered there at the home. We were awakened sometime after 4:00 in the morning that they were on their way to the hospital. Baby and mama in the ambulance and daddy B following behind. The sound of B's voice over the phone showed uncommon control and strength in a very stressful situation. It was obvious to me that he had, at some point earlier, relinquished the circumstances to the Lord, and that He was working in B to bring calmness and control in the midst of it.

At the end of the day we are looking at these facts: Our little grand baby, who has been named Sarah, is currently on a ventilator in the Neonatal Unit of Children's Hospital, the cardiologist has informed us that she has a rare heart condition that will require at least one open heart surgery in the coming months to correct; Mama is doing exceedingly well physically; and , as always, GOD is in control.

This last fact is the one that I want to comment on as I get acclimated to the new situation that has arisen in our family with the birth of Baby Sarah yesterday. I know God is showing me more of Himself through this experience. I was blessed with a good night's sleep but awakened around 5:00 AM abruptly and was immediately reminded that we have a crisis in our family. M and B have another child and she will require an extra amount of additional time, care, love, prayer, anxiety, and whatever other noun you care to put to it, to a couple that already has a VERY full plate with 6 active children that are being home schooled.

I cried out in my heart, "Oh, Lord, how will they manage? I can't believe this is happening! I want it to go away and for Sarah to be miraculously healed, right now!" Any one with a grandmother's heart for her children would call out in the same way, I know. But I was drowning in emotion and I had to get out of bed and talk with God and call on Him to give me strength to deal with this and here am I, once removed! How can M and B handle all this??? As I allowed my flesh to take over, I got more and more panicky within my soul, I was feeling so overcome! Then that beautiful... still...small Voice crept into my heart..."Didn't you, just a night or two ago, at mid-week Kinship, share with your brothers and sisters in Christ the main points from the article in In Touch magazine? Remember what it said. Are you one who can only talk the talk and not walk the walk?" I had to agree, I had gone on and on about the truths in this article by Dan Schaeffer (The Bush Won't Burn)about the will of God. He had brought up 4 different "myths" people tend to believe about God's will and being in it. Myth # 1 was foremost in my mind....The will of God ensures smooth sailing, and smooth sailing indicates God's will. Baby Sarah is definitely not experiencing smooth sailing right now...but, as pointed out in the article, neither did Joseph when he was thrown into an Egyptian prison for a crime he didn't commit--yet he was in the will of God; as was Daniel when he was thrown in the lion's den. He was, however, in the will of God. Or Peter and John when beaten and jailed for refusing to deny Jesus and cease preaching. But they were in the will of God. And, of course, our Lord Himself, when He was crucified on the cross for our sins. Definitely, in the will of God. These things were brought to my mind and I allowed God to speak to me. This situation has been allowed and His Glory will be shown somehow in it.

I thought of our baby's name and I read in Genesis 17..."but Sarah (Princess) her name shall be. And I will bless her....Yes, I will bless her." And again, in Chapter 18, when Abraham's Sarah heard that she would have a child and laughed, "...and the Lord asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child when I am so old? Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord?" That last question really made me ponder..and, of course, the answer is NO--NOTHING is TOO HARD or TOO WONDERFUL for the Lord!! Baby Sarah and M and B are safe in His very capable Hands. I know it and I will believe it and I will trust it. I went to the morning devotion for today called Early Light and read 1 Peter 2: 9-10:

9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

And then the commentary said, "Today's passage calls believers 'a chosen race,' 'a royal priesthood,' and 'God's own possession. ' And our purpose is to 'proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light.'

How encouraging it is to know that we've been called into God's 'marvelous light.' Yet unless we have help, we are unable to escape the "darkness" of our circumstances. As believers, we're empowered by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to overcome disheartening situations and Satan's manipulative tactics.

When circumstances seem unbearable, remember the Lord purchased you with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). Wake up each morning with the knowledge that you are valuable to your Father. Trust in His Word, not your feelings, and allow the Holy Spirit to change your self-perception."

That is where I shall stay...trusting in Him and continuing to pray. Please join me.