Monday, July 11, 2016

Slovenia, Here We Come!

For the past few years, we have been praying about where God would lead us next.  Would it be a new country in Africa or perhaps Asia?  With a site already developing in South America, we were eager to see how God would direct our paths.

And now, we have an answer.  Slovenia.  I'm sure you all know exactly where that is, right?  Sure you do.  It's close to Italy, Croatia, and Austria if that helps!  No?  Well, here it is on a map of the world!

For several years, our good friends, Wade and Joan K., have been working to move their family to Slovenia for the sake of the Gospel.  We have watched them train, learn, pray, and so much more to the glory of God alone.  And now we have the privilege of walking alongside them on their first short-term trip to the country.  As God wills and directs, they will move their family in the next year, and we will lead trips to help them with their ministry.

You can read more about their adventures here!!!  We are so excited to be a part of what God is doing in this part of the world and look forward to how He will bring glory to Himself through the obedience of believers!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's been a while...BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Ladies, have you ever felt deep loneliness? You were surrounded by people on Sunday morning and found yourself crying because you felt isolated and out of touch.  Looking at photos on social media left you sad and hurt.  Everyone seems to have a true friend but me, you thought.  You longed for something more, something real, something true?

You’ve seen other women in deep conversation at the local coffee shop, two friends running through the park, mamas laughing as they stroll their babies, ladies huddled together on Sunday praying for one another. You’ve watched a friend in crisis as women bring meals, provide childcare, clean her house, and lift her up. And through it all, something is still missing.

Let me tell you a secret…come in really close…closer….closer. Listen carefully to what I am about to say to you.  It will change your perspective and potentially your life.  Stop whatever you are doing and buy this book: GIDDY UP, EUNICE by Sophie Hudson.

Stop reading and click on one of these links RIGHT NOW LADY!!! I MEAN IT. It is exactly what you are looking for and will give you insight into what is missing in your life!


Christian Books

Giddy Up, Eunice is the newest work of my dear friend, Sophie. Unlike her first two books centering around comical family life in the South, this is about friendships and biblical community among women.  It is what God has designed for believers everywhere.

Ladies, it is what we we long for here on earth - community. Taking our cues from God’s Word (think Mary/Elizabeth, Lois/Eunice, etc.), we look around us for women in all stages of life. We need one another. We learn from one another. We encourage one another.

For me personally Giddy Up Eunice was SPOT ON. I started to use my highlighter for moments I wanted to remember but then realized that the WHOLE book would be a sea of green, yellow, and pink.  Reading it made me cry, laugh, ponder, and pray about my own life.  I can clearly see women who are in every decade of life that have taught, encouraged, challenged, confronted, supported, and loved me so well. We are involved in one another’s lives, and we learn from each other.

I have my family that I adore deeply.  They are truly my heart in so many ways!  And then there's the community of women God has surrounded me with who have been my teachers, confidants, mentors, and framily.  Three times I've typed this same paragraph and started to name names.  But I have so many that I can't do it justice.  These ladies are everywhere, and they are mine.

EVERYONE has something to teach you. Every single person. Seek those women out. Bribe them with coffee. Do what you have to do people. But, biblical community with other women awaits you.

What are you waiting for? Giddy Up.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Mysterious Plan of God

For over five years, our sweet Madison has experienced various symptoms that ranged from mild to severe in a roller coaster train of events. Increased fatigue and a droopy eye were the first signs but she was only 11 so we didn't pay too much attention to it. We dismissed it as pre-teen years and stress.

Then came the colds and allergies that wouldn't go away. Visits to the pediatrician more frequently for respiratory infections and allergy testing. She had asthma and couldn't breathe easily. She started to run and things seemed to improve. But, then she would get another infection and feel worse.

As she moved into the teenage years, she began to have difficulty walking, breathing, forming sentences, and remembering things. The optometrist found a visual field defect and an MRI was ordered. Perfectly normal. Neurologist appointment. Nothing wrong. We watched our bright-eyed, social, and friendly child struggle to deal with a body that was rejecting her.

The worse part was at the office of a rheumatologist who told her that it was all in her mind. She had made it up. She had muscle atrophy...after running a half-marathon. The damage was done and irreparable.

More doctor's visits with no answers. We were so frustrated. She was depressed and anxious (more on that later from her vantage point). We were left with a great sense of helplessness.

BUT GOD...oh praise the Lord for His glorious plan.

Whenever Madison gets sick we take her to the doctor immediately to nip it in the bud because illnesses cause her to be sicker longer than our other kids. She had developed an ear infection so we headed to the pediatrician on a Monday morning. Our usual gal wasn't there so we saw another doctor. He wasn't familiar with her POTS diagnosis and gave her some ear drops and an antibiotic. He said she would be much better by Wednesday. She wasn't. In fact, she was in a fetal position and crying on Wednesday from the pain.

We went to the after hours clinic which we had never seen before. We were the first patients for the evening and wondered if we were even in the right place! Madison was taken to a room where the doctor arrived within minutes. I gave him the run down of the situation, and he acknowledged that he knew about POTS (thumbs up for him). But then, he began questioning me about her dental issues, flexibility, and family medical history.

At this point I am repeating "ear infection" in my mind over and over again. I wonder how I pronounced it and what it was he thought I said. I'm trying to rearrange the letters into some other illness to see what he is doing. He proceeds to have Madison do "tricks" with her body and asks her a ton of questions. Then, he checks her ears.

Yep, she has an ear infection. The medicine given to her won't work with POTS patients. She needs a different type. He prescribes it and then...

He begins to tell us that he doesn't usually work at the after hours clinic. He is a geneticist at the Undiagnosed Disease Clinic at UAB. Well, of course he does. He has seen this type of patient before and he thinks Madison has Ehler's Danlos syndrome with POTS as a secondary condition.

Well, well, well. We couldn't get into the undiagnosed disease clinic because she already had the diagnosis of POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). BUT GOD...He sent us a geneticist on a Wednesday night who could request a referral from our pediatrician. On a Wednesday night. At the after hours clinic. When we went for an ear infection.

We were able to see the geneticist this past Friday, and the diagnosis of Ehler's Danlos syndrome as her primary condition was confirmed. Praise the Lord above. Six years and we have a real name for her issue! She has POTS as a secondary condition that is caused by the Ehler's Danlos.

With that knowledge he is sending us to the Mayo Clinic in April, and Madison will learn how to deal with her condition more effectively. Some physical therapy, occupational therapy, continued diet changes, and medicine will go a long way. She still has to get the sleep issues under control but the pulmonologist is helping with that!

We praise our Father for His mysterious plan. He has refined us in ways we cannot even explain. We are in awe of the ways He has worked in Madison's life for His great glory and all of our good. He is a good, good Father. And we are humbled and grateful for His ways.