God’s Word – My/God’s Plan

Since I was young I have been taught to hold God’s Word in the highest regard. My daddy, a preacher, was often heard to begin a sermon, “I do not apologize for reading from God’s Word. It does not contain God’s Word, it does not become God’s Word, it IS God’s Word. And when we hear God’s Word we should pay close attention.” It was in this context that I was taught to study God’s Word and the value of spending time in it each day.  When I went off to college and truly began to “own” my personal walk with our Lord, I quickly learned that having a plan was integral to consistent time in His Word. Whether it was working through Kay Arthur’s plan for studying Jude or going through Philippians verse by verse it was more likely to happen if I had a plan to work and a journal to write in.


The year before I had providentially stumbled across Rachel Wojnarowski’s  blog while searching “Bible Reading Plans” on Pinterest. I clicked through and once I saw pictures of her precious daughter and read a bit of her story I was convinced the Lord had placed the link in my feed. Our stories are very different but Rachel’s first-born had special needs and she had walked roads that made her feel like a kindred spirit. I didn’t reach out to her at that time but printed her monthly reading plan and glued it into my journal.  I didn’t think much else about it until I was faced with Little’s Big Heart and the truth that she might soon go to be with Jesus.

IMG_3614.jpgI had just finished a Bible study with some girlfriends and our visits to the hospital were becoming more regular.  By April the length of our visits were growing and though I kept my Bible with me I didn’t have the energy or presence of mind to know just where to read and find comfort. Many dear friends and kind strangers sent me verses they personally found comforting and they soothed my soul but I knew I needed to be in His Word more consistently if I was going to survive … so I turned to Pinterest! I mean isn’t that what you were expecting me to do? I purposely searched to find the link to Rachel’s blog and then I looked and found her plan for April. It “just happened” to be built around the theme of “Soul Secure – Winning Over Worry.” I printed it out and taped it into my journal.

We spent three weeks of May in Children’s and so I searched for Rachel’s plan for May. When I saw it was curated around the theme “Confident Trust – Believing God’s Plan is Best,” I printed it out and taped it into my journal.

At the end of May Little was put on the transplant list and I went straight to RachelWojo.com and printed out the plan for June: “Perfect Peace.”

By the end of June I was growing weary and teary and printed out the July plan from the wrong year!! I didn’t even realize it was the wrong month until I sat down to write this post!!! Turns out the Lord had directed my clicks and I providentially printed “Purposeful Pause – Waiting On God’s Perfect Timing” and taped it into my journal.

Are you getting this??? Do you see this way our Father showed He knew my needs?

Then Little’s heart gave out at the end of July and God provided a new heart for her in the last hour. We were discharged eleven days later andi f I am honest I must admit that my fears then increased exponentially.  Once again it seemed our personal and loving Father had gone ahead and planned to use a stranger/sister-in-Christ and the reading plans she had created to sustain me:

August: Magnificent Power – Recognizing God is Bigger Than Anything
September – Never Alone – Remembering God is With Me
October – No Fear
November – With Thanks

2018 ended with our Little doing so well, the family adjusting much better than I anticipated, and  my relationship with my Heavenly Father deeper and stronger than I could have imagined; His words to me were present because I had a plan to follow.

2019 has found me systematically and compulsively cleaning out room by room. (A consequence of living for months in a small space with only a suitcase of belongings!)  And while my laundry game is STILL off (just can’t get back into a rhythm), I do have a new plan for being in God’s word this year. (This post is already too long so I will have to write about this year’s plan another time.)

***I remember going to my daddy’s office while on a college break for the specific purpose of asking him about HIS plan for personal study. I knew His view of God’s Word but couldn’t ever remember seeing him doing personal devotions. He shared with me his specific plan and it was both encouraging and freeing to see just how different his plan was from anything I would ever do. It made me want to know what kinds of plans other folks in my life use. Would you be willing to comment and share?***

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Jesus Is Alive


Wish that I was there
On that silent night
When your tiny heart started beating for mine

I wish I could have seen
The star in David’s town
When you turned a stable into a Holy ground
I sing along, the angel’s song

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive
Emanuel, hope is here tonight
So go, and tell, the world that death has died
‘Cause Jesus is alive, yeah Jesus is alive

The God who made us all
With these two little hands
Is bringing us his kingdom
Quiet as a lamb

Oh such Amazing Grace
A divine conspiracy
This Savior in a manger changes everything
That’s why we sing

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive
Emanuel, hope is here tonight
So go, and tell, the world that death has died
‘Cause Jesus is alive, yeah Jesus is alive

Sin you have no sting
Hell you have no power 
Curse you are no more
This is your final hour
Because the son of God
Has not left us alone 
He’ll live and die and rise again
And then he’ll bring us home 
The old will pass away
And we will become new
This baby boy is making all sad things untrue

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive
Emanuel, hope is here tonight
So go, and tell, the world that death has died

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive (Jesus is alive)
Emanuel, hope is here tonight (Jesus is alive)
So go, and tell, the world that death has died
‘Cause Jesus is alive, yeah Jesus is alive
Yeah Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive

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Thankful Thanksgiving


Starting with a song on this post!
Veggie Tales “Thanksgiving Song”:

“Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
‘Cause He listens to my prayers,
That’s why I say thanks every day!”

Yesterday I experienced a Thanksgiving first.
No, not the first time to watch the parade.
Obviously not the first time for turkey.
Not my first apple pie.
Nope. None of those things.
Yesterday I was overwhelmed by Thanksgiving. You know that holiday that our country seems determined to skip over? Well, yesterday it undid me.

I called my mom around 10:30 a.m. to check in and tell her how thankful I am for her (not a first) and she was on her way to my brother’s house. In the course of conversation I started to cry (also, not a first) but the thing was I couldn’t stop. For the next two hours I would pull it together and then something would happen and my eyes would start dripping again.

IMG_3500I did okay while we ate. We laughed and chatted and were really enjoying each other. Then came the time for going around the table and telling three things we are thankful for. Usually it’s like pulling teeth to get folks to think outside the box of “friends, family, toys” but yesterday we couldn’t get people to stop listing things. I was so overwhelmed. It got to where I couldn’t talk through my tears.

Jeremy just started listing off doctors who made life affecting decisions for Little. Little started listing off things she’s been doing around the house … be with KB and Bubba, bake a pumpkin pie, etc. Bubba made a list of his top three electronic devices and when I asked him to please think outside the electronic box he began to sincerely list natural disasters he is thankful we aren’t facing. Our KB was so others-centered in her list that my heart groaned even more. I sobbed through being thankful that we are all together and we all still like each other! And then we gave thanks for the family and friends who crossed the country to help us, those who offered to cross the country to help us, and those who gave financially to help us. It is no secret that our year has been difficult but it’s humbling beyond description to take stock of His great provision for us at every turn.

It was emotional. It was exhausting. It was a good thing we had already bought tickets to see Ralph Breaks the Internet because it was hilarious and we laughed and laughed together then went home to play Scrabble and eat the before mentioned pumpkin dessert.

Now to unpack some of that gratitude for the sake of an update.
Transitioning home has been easier than anticipated. The way the Lord worked the timing was, of course, perfect and several smaller exposures to each other led the way to a smoother time once we moved home. One month in and I feel like I am finally getting an understanding of what is needed to help KB with schooling, what our schedule is going to look like, and how desperately I want to purge our belongings after living in one room with Little for so long!

Little is doing so well. She has so much energy and I am often still surprised by it. She has loved returning to school. Each afternoon she gets off the bus with a smile on her face and starts telling me about her day before she gets the door open. I may have scared the administration to death but they are taking such good care of her and I can’t say enough about their kindness toward our family.

IMG_2768This is our first week without a clinic visit since the transplant; beginning this week we are only going EVERY  OTHER WEEK!! This has allowed us to give some attention to other issues that had to take a back burner while Little’s heart was too weak. We visited the ophthalmologist this week and it seems the cataracts that made an appearance just before Little’s heart diagnosis have grown and are affecting her vision. There is no urgent need for surgery but it is definitely looming in the future. We’ll decide on timing after Little’s heart catheter in January.

Little’s teeth are also in desperate need of attention.  She has two impacted teeth that we have been told for over a year need to come out and she also has a couple of cavities that need attention. Little’s anesthesia will need to be administered by a cardiac anesthesiologist and so there’s some tricky scheduling that needs to come together; we are trusting for surgery and dental care on January 7.

Just because we can start thinking more about other areas of Little’s care doesn’t we aren’t still living the #transplantlife daily.  Little still takes her meds twice a day at exactly 8:00 a.m. and p.m.  There are goals for the levels of medication in her system and we had hit the mark for quite a few weeks but the past month has found one of her medications in a constant downward flux. We have adjusted her prescription and continue to work toward the needed balance.

Now to sum all this up with ways to pray:
1. Pray that Little’s eyesight would be protected and we would have wisdom for the timing and type of care she needs.

2. Pray that scheduling will work out for Little’s dental care. That her teeth can be safely extracted, all cavities can be filled, and all teeth are saved.

3. Pray that Little’s medicine levels will even out and reach the numbers necessary for protecting her heart. Continue to pray against heart rejection and illnesses that her body would struggle to fight with the suppression of her immune system being what it is.

4. Pray for wisdom as we balance Little’s health with caring for our other children. Pray for direction concerning Bubba and KB’s education next year.

5. My CNA test was cancelled again and I am now scheduled to take the state exam on December 5. I started my home healthcare job on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

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Always Good

I heard this tonight and just had to put it here before I go and download the entire album. Andrew Peterson is such a wonderful writer; his use of words is staggering.

Always Good
Do You remember how Mary was grieving?
How You wept and she fell at Your feet?
If it’s true that You know what I’m feeling
Could it be that You’re weeping with me?

Arise, O Lord, and save me
There’s nowhere else to go

You’re always good, always good
Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart
Like it should
And You’re always good, always good

It’s so hard to know what You’re doing
So why won’t You tell it all plain?
But You said You’d come back on the third day
And Peter missed it again and again

So maybe the answer surrounds us
And we don’t have eyes to see

You’re always good, always good
This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could
And You’re always good

My God, my God, be near me
There’s nowhere else to go
And Lord, if You can hear me
Please help Your child to know

That You’re always good, always good
As we try to believe what is not meant
To be understood
Will You help us to trust Your intentions for us are still good?
‘Cause You laid down Your life and You suffered like I never could

And You’re always good, always good
You’re always good, always good.

by: Andrew Peterson


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The doctors are so happy with how Little is doing that we were told to “go home” on Thursday, September 20. Because of the number of appointments we still have at the hospital each week we are planning to split our time between the apartment and our home. If another family needs the apartment we will make the move home for good. I am asking the Lord to hold off and please let us stay in the apartment until my class ends on October 19.

We did spend this weekend at home and Little slept in her own bed for the first time since mid-June. We all went to church together too. Such a joy.img_2519.jpg

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Cath Results

I am so thankful for the prayers of our friends and family and the calm that comes from my Father. So many people responded to the last update and I really could tell that we were, once again, being brought before the throne. My mom sent me an email which contained the sweetest prayer from the mother of a boy with whom I graduated high school.  I am going to include it here so I remember:

“Oh Lord, as we enter this gift of a day, I pray for my friend Kathy as she prays with Me and So many Others for Her Dear Becky and Precious Granddaughter and Grandson Today…Esp. do we pray for all the tests being done on Miracle Girl………….May they each be done and good results found…..Bless dear Becky each moment of the wait and may they soon have a Huge Tricycle to take home making for some Fun Exercising!!!! May Brother’s Birthday be This Huge Blessing to His Heart and Spirit…May He be amazed at all he is learning this Year and look back on it as a Major turning point for Good in His Life as He is the Cheerleader!!!! May Daddy continue to have a beautiful Smile on his handsome face as He looks to YOu for guidance for Every Moment for He and His Precious Family….

And Bless Grandparents wherever they are esp. Kathy today as She prays , prays and prays more…..May She feel Your Love and Protection as never before as she meditates and looks out at her amazing back yard… We love You Lord and thank You for the opportunity to knock at your door and be welcomed in with a big hug and a loving forgiving heart!!!

In Jesus’ Holy Name,

Monday went well.  The hospital scheduler called mid-morning and asked us to come an hour early and I felt like that was a kindness from the Lord. Little had just started complaining about wanting lunch and it was wonderful to have a distraction.

Bubba was great all afternoon. We had one moment of tension but one hiccup in six hours is pretty remarkable. He read an entire book, did schoolwork, and played video games all before joining Little in recovery to watch the first half of SING! I was proud to be his mom and thankful for the Lord’s grace.


Storybook of pictures to prep Little for each step of the procedure. Megan from Child Life is such a blessing.

Little was so brave. She’s a pro when it comes to an echocardiogram and EKG! Then when it came time to take her back for her test, she waved goodbye and asked me to keep and eye on her Kindle for her. She woke up effortlessly and endured the two hours of laying flat before popping up, marching out, and asking about dinner.

I did fine. I remained calm until our Transplant Coordinator, Christine, came to the waiting room to see me and discuss the possible results and their effect on our lives. That’s when I got teary; it only lasted a minute. The prayers of the multitudes were palpable.

The heart cath covers three different areas – the blood pressures, cellular rejection, and a fancy name I can’t recall that addresses the measuring of any created antibodies. The only result I was given immediately was the report that the pressures in Little’s heart measured perfectly! Every number the doctor shared was exactly what she was hoping for! Rejoice!

This evening the phone rang and Christine reported the cellular rejection findings: Little is level 1R on the Acute Cellular Rejection Grading Scheme. A great explanation of what that means can be found on The Society for Cardiovascular Pathology website. Here’s the basic scale:Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 10.54.45 PM

“Interstitial” refers to spaces/gaps and “perivascular infiltrate” roughly means inflamed cells. “1 focus of myocyte damage” means that there is one area where the heart muscle’s cells have died. Christine explained that many of the children who have received transplants from Children’s Hospital have 1R level rejection and they sit at that level for years and years with no change. There is no required treatment for this level of rejection. The cardiology team will go in tomorrow and double-check the findings to make sure they all are in agreement and, if they are, we go on with the present treatment plan.

I still haven’t heard any results concerning the third area assessed during the cath. Christine has promised to call and fill me in when she knows if Little’s body has begun building up any antibodies against Dwayne. We haven’t talked much about this portion of the testing and so I don’t know what potential action steps would even be. The Lord will make it all known in His time … “He who called us is faithful and He will do it.”

So, I go to bed tonight comforted that the Body of Christ is alive and well and surrounding us with prayers. I am thankful for this Church family and the taste of Heaven they provide. But I go toward bed with a heavy heart as well. The truth that our journey is far from over weighs on my weary heart. The Truth of His victory does not remove the reality of present grief and brokenness. So I go to bed and I will sing the words of Isaiah 40:11 as I hopefully drift off to sleep.

(When I was in college a friend involved in the same college ministry as me put out an album. On it was a song written from Isaiah 40:11 and the parts I can remember run through my head to this day. I can’t find my cassette, and who are we kidding, what would I play it on if I did find it! I have written him to ask him for the lyrics in their entirety and when I get them I will come and add them here. I bet Andy still has that cassette…)

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Psychology, Netflix, and My Life

Anyone who wants a glimpse into the inner workings of my life can start their research with what I don’t watch/stream:
You will not find me watching This Is Us = Everyone cries.
I did not/will not watch Parenthood = Autism stress
Probably going to stay away from Steel Magnolias = Death post-transplant
Haven’t been able to bring myself to watch The Good Doctor = Autism stress
And my sobs tend to ruin any gathering that involves watching How To Train A Dragon 2 = Daddy Dies

On the other hand, one can also tell a lot about what is going on in my life by what I AM watching /streaming:
Sweet Home Alabama = Homesick
The Good Place = Need to Laugh
Carpool Karaoke clips = Need to Laugh
Star Trek = Jeremy picked.
Hope Floats = Need to Cry.
Speechless = Need to feel understood.
And when life just feels discombobulated and I don’t know just what I need, I find myself turning to Netflix and watching Hart of Dixie. (NOT a recommendation.)

Last night I put the kids to bed and turned on my laptop.  As soon as I opened Netflix and realized I was looking for the aforementioned familiar series, I stopped and tried to think of what I was feeling and what was needed to deal with my needs in a healthy way. (There is a counselor somewhere squealing and feeling confident that their work with me was a success!!)

Things have been cruising along here in our temporary home away from home. Little is feeling better all the time. She has gained four pounds and hasn’t gotten sick in almost three weeks. She is building up strength and endurance at physical therapy and that leads to her sleeping WELL at night! Her appetite is back as is her affection for all things cheese and loathing for showers. This is where the muddling of my mind comes in …

img_2447-e1537138264115.jpgIt is almost as if nothing happened, but something did. She seems just like she was last year, but she has a huge scar down her chest and another 22-25 on her neck, arms, and legs telling a different story. She looks GREAT but my phone alarm shakes a pill bottle at me twice a day and she MUST have her medicine. We aren’t in the hospital but we aren’t living at home. She seems to have so much energy, but we’ve had to cancel three visits from friends (and Daddy) because they are sick and her immune system is being suppressed. After being on high-alert for months and uber-focused on a defined negative trajectory, it is weird to have such a blatant barrage of daily dichotomies. I don’t think I am responding as well I could. I have eaten an unhealthy number of ice cream sandwiches.

Tonight I’ve cleaned the chocolate off my fingers and I’m going to put off escaping to Bluebell, AL to take inventory of what is happening and what I need to lay at the Lord’s feet.

We have been going to the hospital on three days of the week for two clinic visits and two physical therapy appointments. On clinic days we have to get there before 8:00 AM so that Little can have her blood drawn for testing. While the technicians check the levels of her medication to make sure they are therapeutic, we head upstairs for an EKG and an Echocardiogram to check “Dwayne’s” function and look for any signs of rejection. To date everything reads well. At physical therapy appointments Little does weight training for strengthening and rides a huge tricycle all over the hospital to build endurance. The improvement is measurable and our therapist Emily, a native from Atlanta, has submitted a letter requesting a local charity consider Little for a tricycle to take home!! **Praying for acceptance of “Dwayne” and a tricycle for Little!! What a joy it would be for her to join us on rides!

While function may appear strong, the doctor’s also need to see “Dwayne” up close and check for any rejection at a cellular level. Little has her first post-transplant heart catheterization on Monday at 3:30 PM. For this procedure Little will be put to sleep and a catheter will be inserted in her groin and “threaded” up to the right side of her heart, where it will be used to test the pressure there AND take five small biopsies for testing. It should take an hour and a half and she’ll go home a few hours later. I haven’t been too anxious about it, but find myself beginning to wonder how I will respond in the moment. My emotions keep popping up and surprising me and I am not sure if watching her be  wheeled away will freak me out or not. And Bubba’s going to be there too, bless his heart. The unknowns of it all make me pause – there are definitely easier stories to stream online! **Praying for a calm spirit during the cath, endurance for Little since she can’t eat all day, and patience for Bubba as he has to sit and wait throughout the procedure.

Homeschooling for Little will vamp up this week too. I have been including her throughout the day with what Bubba and I are doing, but the school has now gotten me the information I need for better direction. The administration’s expectations are low which gives me freedom to do what we can with the knowledge that they will make up the difference when she returns to the classroom in November. Their low expectations also bump up against my competitive and sinful nature and make me want to wow them with my homeschooling prowess. I must chill. This isn’t about me. **Praying I will challenge Little without exhausting her and that school will be fun but purposeful.

img_4191.jpgHaving Bubba here has been wonderful and stressful. It seems that all the things the Lord spent months teaching me while I was powerless and on my knees are being tested in the person of my 13-year-old son. He’s like a pop quiz! School is going well and I actually LOVE that part of our day. Having him with me 24/7 is allowing me to get to know different sides of him; reminding me of so much I like about him and pushing me to my knees as I trust the Lord to complete the work He has begun. I never saw my life including homeschool and I don’t know how the Lord plans to use this year in the long term, but I am trusting that our conversations will be life-giving and the curriculum we’re using will shape his worldview. I am ** praying he will look back on this year with fondness and not just remember how much he missed his friends. I am happy he has peers to miss and thrilled to see his need for social interaction. He has a birthday party coming up and I am ** praying that everyone will be able to attend.

Then there’s me! Being willing to slow down at this time has been a challenge; it is hard to acknowledge that reading by the pool with Little is what I am called to for now and that it’s good. It is temporary and so I am trying to maximize every minute. I no longer have a job when I return to FoCo and I am working on the prep for what seems to be God’s plan for provision.  Colorado offers an accelerated course for a parent to become a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) and will pay that parent to care for their child with special needs. The explanation is long and pretty amazing and I am planning to go to class in October! There are 8 days of class, two clinical days, and a state exam! I will be able to work taking care of Little, but will also be certified and able to work outside our home if that need arises.  **Praying for all of the details to come together and for my brain to work on command.

Thinking back over what I have written, it strikes me that I turn from the story of my life to get lost in the stories of others. Truth is, when I take the time to reflect on my own story, I see His glory and grace revealed and the depth and beauty of His unfailing love; I laugh, I cry, I feel understood.  OF COURSE Steven Curtis Chapman summed it up perfectly in a song!!! (Click Link to hear or you can just read through.)

Glorious Unfolding
Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing love
And the story has only begun

We were made to run though fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning.

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding.



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