Saturday, December 26, 2009

My, how we've grown!

Halloween 2009:

7 weeks
The baby is the size of: a blueberry
I can: still lift my shirt without feeling self-conscious
Heartrate: 170 bpm by ultrasound



Christmas 2009:



15 weeks
The baby is the size of: a large naval orange
I am the size of: a small house
Heartrate: 140 bpm by doppler

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three years ago today...

... I was here:
Today I find myself celebrating three years of marriage to an unselfish, Godly, loving, devoted man. He has stuck with me for better and for worse, in sickness and in health. He exemplifies what Paul meant when he called husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.

Jim, the way you love me causes me to understand and value my Savior's love for me more and more each day. You seek to glorify God in our marriage by faithfully leading me and sacrificially giving. I do not understand how I am worthy of the privilege of being your wife (especially because I am not nearly as good at being a wife as you are at being a husband!)

Thank you for being such a fabulous example to me, to the people we have been called to serve, and to our child. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

2009 – What a year! As we wrap up the third year of our life together, we are looking forward to the exciting new changes right around the corner in 2010.

2009 was the year of travel. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to minister in East Asia, Haiti and Salt Lake City to the unreached, the orphans, and the less fortunate. We also feel very blessed to have afforded the time (and money, thanks to Dave Ramsey!) to take two amazing vacations to Hawaii and Whistler as well! Needless to say, traveling and experiencing new places, people, and cultures is something Jim and I enjoy very much and hope to continue in the future.

2009 was also the year for health issues. We started out the year with Jim’s digestive problems of the past three years culminating in needing his gallbladder removed, which he had done in March. We also managed to acquire two different parasites during our trip to Haiti that wreaked havoc on our bodies for awhile. I am happy to say we’ve taken care of our respective parasites successfully! And finally, shortly after getting rid of one parasite, I learned I had unexpectedly acquired another – but this one I wouldn’t be able to get rid of for nine months. We are thrilled to share that we are pregnant with our first child, due June 19, 2010. Pregnancy has not been kind to my body, and due to hyperemesis graviderum (or severe all-day sickness), I’m juggling three different medications to keep myself healthy enough to stay out of the hospital and continue working. I am almost through my first trimester and hoping better days are in sight!

Jim is also wrapping up his second year at Quinault Baptist Church as the Minister of Youth and Worship, and continues to love what he is doing. He is excited to see the youth and worship departments’ spiritual development, and is looking forward to taking youth on his third World Changers trip to repair homes for the less fortunate in northern Washington state this summer. I am still working as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery at Kadlec Regional Medical Center and hoping to go part-time when I take on the full-time job of “Mommy” this June. I feel very grateful to work in the department I do with a wonderful group of nurses and doctors who have taken such good care of me already this pregnancy!

We have also been very fortunate (and thankful) to live with Jim’s parents this past year to finish paying off debt and save up for our own home. Thanks to the knowledge we’ve gained from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, we’ve paid off an embarrassing amount of debt and have our finances in order, which we feel very blessed to have done prior to the birth of our first child. We have also been searching for our next home over the past few months and are currently in negotiations over one right now. Jim and I hope be able to be in settled in our new home just after the 1st of the year!

Of all the seasons of the year, Jim and I love this one the best. Every year during the Christmas season we are reminded of the great love God has for us in that He sent His Son to pay the payment for our sins so we might have relationship with that very loving Creator God. Our prayer is that you would be reminded of His great love for you this season as well.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jim and Daja Brown

Monday, November 30, 2009

11 weeks... and starting to feel human again!

Maybe all it took was threatening my body with a Zofran pump. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm at 11 weeks now. Or maybe God decided to stop the torture. Either way, I am feeling more functional and human-like than I have this pregnancy!

Do I still experience nausea? Yes. Do I still throw up? Of course. Do smells and sights and sounds and movements still cause me to gag? Definitely. The difference now is it's on a more controllable schedule AND the extreme fatigue is subsiding. Last week I added Reglan on top of my Zofran/Phenergan schedule and am finding the nausea and vomiting can be (almost) controlled with rest, fluids and frequent eating. Here's to no more days of being unable to lift my head without throwing up!

I am so thankful to be feeling more functional, especially since I just started week 2 of labor training at work. I am LOVING labor training and feeling stretched and challenged again at work, but working in a more high-stress, fast-pace role isn't thrilling my baby has much as it's thrilling me. Thank God for the wonderful women I work with! They continue to anticipate my needs and notice when I need a break, even if I haven't figured it out yet.

11 weeks down... 29 to go.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whistler 2009 (or reasons why we LOVE Canada!)

We just returned from my surprise birthday/anniversary gift for Jim: a week at Whistler. This was a particularly special trip for us because a) we originally wanted to spend our honeymoon there but were not able to get a reservation the week of our wedding, b) Whistler is a world-class skiing spot, and c) the alpine events of the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held there.

Unfortunately, when I planned this trip in July, I did not plan on being pregnant and unable to do anything winter sport-sy at all. I sat in our condo and watched the snow fall all week while Jim was able to get out and snowboard a little. The weather was perfect; Whistler had a record month of snowfall this November, and it snowed at least a few more feet while we were there. We felt like we were in a Winter Wonderland!

I wish I had remembered to bring a camera to capture the gorgeous scenery, but it seems like these days whatever brain cells I haven't puked out the baby has stolen (or vice versa). So instead of browsing through some pictures, you get to enjoy my list of reasons why Jim and I love Canada.

1) The Food
We have yet to have a bad meal in Canada. Every restaurant we've gone to has been exceptional. There is nothing better than Canadian beef direct from the plains of Alberta. The best part? Canadian restaurants serve correct portion sizes.

2) The People
Canadians are genuinely friendly and courteous, and always willing to lend a hand. Anytime Jim and I looked confused in public, we were guaranteed to have a friendly face ask us if we needed help.

3) The Scenery
Jim and I have only ventured into two provinces, but we have been impressed with the beautiful country we've seen!

4) Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons is the Canadian McDonalds. There is literally one on every corner! They serve coffee, doughnuts, sandwiches, and soup, and they are extremely popular. Jim and I visit one every time we're in Canada... and so far we've always struck out. We think we must have "We're dumb Americans" plastered on our foreheads and the employees take that as their cue to torture us. They never get our order right and they can never except our plastic, forcing us to use American cash that they never exchange right. We always end up with the wrong food and losing out on a few bucks. But the food is always worth it, so we keep going back! Well, that and our goal is to have one experience at Tim Hortons that goes right.

There are many other reasons why we love Canada, but I've thrown up twice trying to write this blog entry so I'm going to just call it quits (the real reason is the limited number of brain cells I have left can't remember anything beyond what I've already written!). I will end my tribute to Canada with this: God bless you Canada, for being good to us every time we visit you. If Jim was offered a ministry position in your great country, we would be hard-pressed to turn it down!

In other news, we are now 10 weeks pregnant. Jim was excited to find that the virtual baby on this blog looks like "a real baby"! This week I will be acquiring a new body part: a pump that will continuously intravenously infuse medication and fluids into my body to (hopefully) allow me to be a functional human being again. This week I will also be starting intensive labor-training at work. I am officially out of sick-time, so even if I'm lying on the floor dying, I will still be at work! As for the sickness, I keep praying better days will come.

Friday, November 13, 2009

IV Fluids Round #1... and #2... and...

It's official: the Zofran has stopped doing the trick.

I mean, it works better than nothing at all. Currently I'm taking 8mg of Zofran every 6 hours around the clock with a dose of Unisom and Benadryl at bedtime... and waking up every couple of hours to throw up through the night. And throwing up several times a day. And unable to keep most foods down. All of that and working 12 hour shifts do not mix well together.

The breaking point came yesterday at work when my MD promised to call me in a prescription for Reglan and instead called our lead nurse and told her to pin me down, put an IV in, and give me IV Phenergan and fluids. It's amazing what IV Phenergan, three liters of IV fluids, and a night of sleep only interrupted with one brief period of nausea can do for a person. I feel almost human again!

I still have my IV in and am managing it at home with an ample supply of IV fluids and IV medicine. I am also still working full-time, and my coworkers get a kick out of me sitting in report in the morning with an IV pole. Tomorrow I will stop the Zofran all together and start Reglan, the next step on the ladder of hyperemesis treatment.

In other news, I am 9 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Only 31 more weeks to go.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oh, it only gets better?

"Just you wait, Daja, it'll get better..."

Here's what I've got so far:

-Nausea
-Vomiting
-Indigestion
-Constipation
-Bloating
-Urinary incontinence
-Fatigue
-Insomnia
-Inability to control my emotions
-Back pain
-Leg pain
-Stomach pain
-Headaches
-The general feeling that my pelvis is being pulled apart like sticky buns
-Acne
-Loss of skin elasticity
-Dry hair

Add to that list the fact that Zofran is working only about 80% of the time and bringing with it some really *super* side effects. Here's my (recently) updated list of medications:

Zofran
Unisom
Benadryl
Dulcolax

And if this cocktail doesn't work, I will be dabbling with Reglan, Compazine, IV hydration, or even possibly a PICC line with a continuous Zofran pump.

Fortunately, I work with a fabulous group of labor and delivery nurses who are generally concerned about my welfare and completely willing to pester my MD for more medication and IV hydrate me while at work. Unfortunately, I have to work and need to save all my paid time-off for my Hawaii trip, maternity leave, and any other unforeseen pregnancy-related complications, so taking a sick day because you were up all night vomiting is out of the question. So, I have mastered the art of carrying little blue baggies around in my pocket and finding convenient corners to duck into when needed. Oh, and I have my MD's personal cell phone number and permission to bug him "whenever I want". My job definitely comes with some perks!

On that note, Jim and I are doing some traveling these next few weeks. First, we are heading to Tacoma for the Northwest Baptist Convention, which is three days of meetings for Southern Baptist pastors in the Northwest. Secondly, I surprised Jim for his birthday/our anniversary with a week at Whistler. This trip was planned prior to getting pregnant, so while I am disappointed to not be able to ski, I am looking forward to spending a cozy week in front of the fire in the middle of Winter Wonderland. That is, as long as the medication holds out...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thank God for Zofran!

I know I've said it before, but here it is again: Pregnancy sucks.

The act of vomiting has now become a sport. Normally, when I get sick to my stomach, throwing-up brings relief. These days, there is no relief. No matter how much or how many times I vomit, the awful nausea is still there. Beyond that, the sight and smell of the vomit causes me to keep throwing-up (and not just that smell, but the smell of almost anything/everything!).

And yes, I have tried every "remedy" out there: eating saltine crackers in bed, eating ginger, taking B6, taking more ginger, wearing a sea-band, taking Unisom, and even taking Phenergan (my usual favorite go-to drug for my sick patients!). Nothing worked, and it progressed to the point where I was unable to keep any of it down. In fact, I couldn't even keep water down.

This past Sunday was awful. I was vomiting every 30 minutes and my throat was raw from the constant barrage of stomach acid. Thankfully, my dear friend Jordan came to my rescue with her left-over Zofran from her pregnancy. She brought me snacks that helped her during her pregnancy and flowers, and cleaned my house and toilet. She even gave me a pedicure (something I was pretty sure wasn't going to happen for me anytime in the next 7 weeks)!

The Zofran is currently working magic on my stomach and I haven't thrown-up since Sunday... thank God! I've been able to work and eat and live only slightly less-normal than usual.

Thank you Jordan for coming to my rescue! You are a wonderful friend and I am very thankful for you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Updated Due Date

We had our first ultrasound today with Dr. H, and, while we were thrilled to see the peanut, we learned that he/she is only measuring at 6 weeks and 3 days. This puts my due date at June 19, 2010 (which also drags my first trimester out 2 more weeks).

Once I have time to scan the ultrasound picture, I'll post it. The peanut is measuring 0.65 cm long and has a strong heartbeat of 145 bpm. Dr. H is amazed at the large amounts of hormones the peanut seems to be producing, which bodes well for this pregnancy being carried out to full-term.

We also updated our pregnancy ticker on the blog to more accurately reflect where the peanut actually is in his/her development (aka less human, more alien)!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Silver Lining

It's Saturday, and the peanut has chosen to take the weekend off from making me vomit-ous-ly ill. Which is beneficial, because I'm on Day 2 of my weekend at work, and being able to think past the next vomit session comes in handy in my job.

Jim and I have officially scheduled our last "baby-less" vacation... to Hawaii! We had bought a condo package last June in hopes of using it this June for another trip. Once I found out I was pregnant (and tentatively due in June), we had to scramble to figure out if/when we could move the trip. Also, this trip is Teea's graduation gift, so we had to figure out how to schedule it so she could fit it into her busy senior year. We settled on her spring break, which is the last week of March. I will be 30-ish weeks at that point (and hoping to still be able to wear a swimsuit!).

Also, I bagged the previous pregnancy ticker I had (because the whole "you're only 7 weeks" thing was really bugging me) and downloaded a new widget that shows the baby at it's exact developmental stage. As my pregnancy progresses, the baby will "develop" just like the real peanut into a more human-looking creature, but for now, enjoy looking at the alien-like tadpole swimming around in it's virtual womb!

Friday, October 23, 2009

First Trimester = Pregnancy Sucks

Here's a quick recap of the past few weeks:

-Wake up crippled by nausea but possessed by the overwhelming urge to pee.
-Attempt to force down yet ANOTHER disgusting saltine cracker.
-Vomit 3 times in the shower.
-Clean the shower.
-Vomit once more from the smell of the shower cleaner.
-Attempt to blow-dry hair while lying on the ground.
-Try to get off the floor only to realize every joint in my body has frozen in place.
-Get off the floor just in time to pee... yet again.
-Gag from the smell of the toilet water (yes, it does have a smell!).
-Gag again from the smell of the trash can I am holding in front of my face while I pee.
-Place the anti-nausea "sea band" on my wrist.
-Attempt to force down yet ANOTHER disgusting saltine cracker.
-Drive the 25-minute commute to work while eating the same disgusting saltine cracker.
-Readjust the anti-nausea "sea band" on my wrist so it no longer is cutting off the circulation to my hand.
-Listen to my co-workers say "You look AWFUL... are you sure you don't want another saltine? And what's with your hair?".
-Attempt to eat the first of six meals that day... and make it through three bites before the next wave of nausea hits.
-Gag over the nasty prenatal vitamins, DHA, folic acid, and vitamin B6 that my doctor "swears" will cure my morning sickness.
-Pee yet again.
-Gag over the smells in my patient's room.
-Duck into the patient's bathroom to attempt to gag without them noticing (this has yet to work).
-Convince my patient that I do not have the swine flu.
-Pee again.
-Attempt to force down yet ANOTHER disgusting saltine cracker.
-Repeat for another 8-10 hours.
-FINALLY feel hunger and attempt to eat.
-Unable to eat more than a few bites thanks to the incredible shrinking stomach (and aversion to all foods), but force down the entire meal anyway.
-Become the battleground on which nausea and indigestion duke it out for top-billing.
-Either a) vomit again or b) go to bed.
-Lie awake half the night with either a) nausea or b) indigestion.
-FINALLY fall asleep just in time to wake up and pee again.

The gestation wheel at work says I'm currently 8 weeks, the stupid pregnancy counter on my blog says I'm just past 7 weeks. I'm choosing to go by the gestation wheel at work, because 6 more weeks of this is depressing enough.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shauna, your prayers have been answered.

I should have figured something big was going to happen. Life had become too smooth, routine.

I should have guessed when certain doors closed rather sharply that God was up to something BIG.

And, if that wasn't enough, there were certainly physical and emotional cues. I won't go into details, but it was enough to make my husband wonder what was wrong with me.

Jim and I like to say that the moral of our story is when life become predictable, God turns it upside down... and He certainly did!

We are thrilled/terrified to announce we are pregnant with our first child.

Actually, those are two of the 47 different emotions currently circulating through our minds. We had not planned on being pregnant at this point in our marriage. In fact, we had a few things left on our "Before Kids" checklist to accomplish.

Yet, despite our selfish natures and our meticulous planning, God saw fit to have the last laugh and bless us with a child. Like everything else so far in our marriage, we aren't quite sure what He is thinking and why He has chosen this timing, but we are (slowly learning to be) content to roll with His plans. After all, He's proven over and over that His ways are best!

This does put a few things on hold for us. First and foremost, I had previously been contemplating going back to school for my Master's degree. This door was firmly shut prior to learning about the pregnancy. I didn't not qualify for any of the programs I wanted to apply for due to lack of experience, training, or certifications. Go figure.

Secondly, vacation plans are changing. While in Hawaii this past June, we bought another week to be used this coming summer. Obviously that won't be a viable option with a newborn, so we are tweaking those plans to utilize that trip prior to the point where I will be too pregnant to go.

Our current plan at this point is to continue living in the basement, finish paying off the last bit of debt we owe on our cars, reconfigure our budget to include diapers and figure out how to fit a crib into our bedroom. I will most likely cut back on my hours at work after the baby is born, so it will take us a little longer than expected to get into a house of our own. Not to mention the many (gulp) medical bills heading our way.

This is absolutely surreal for us. Jim took the news and immediately started working on our budget. I, on the other hand, have been too shocked to do anything except be clumsy. Which in turn made Jim research the safety ratings on my car.

My estimated due date (by my own estimations, mind you) is June 7, 2010. Other than the overwhelming clumsiness, general soreness, inability to sleep, mood swings and the incessant nausea and vomiting, I have yet to experience the majority of the symptoms of pregnancy, including weight gain. This makes me very happy, as I just bought three new pairs of smaller-sized jeans since I haven't been able to gain the weight back that I lost in Haiti and I was hoping to get some use out of them. Go figure!

I plan on using this blog to chronicle my pregnancy (since I've been assured soon enough I will no longer have the brain cells left to remember all these details) so stay tuned for periodic updates and the occasional "baby bump" picture!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

DOXA

DOXA... an evening of worship and praise!

This Saturday, September 26, 6:30 PM at First Baptist Church of Richland.

Please come join us for what I feel is a little taste of what heaven will be like: singing praises to our King!

(And yes, Jordan, "Sing to the King" made the set!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Updates... finally!

It's mid-September here in the Tri-Cities which means we are firmly on our way to fall. This is my favorite time of year. I love everything about fall: the crisp fall air, pot roast, the cooler temperatures, pie, the fabulous clothes, apples, back-to-school, Thanksgiving, football, sweaters... I could go on and on!

Fall also signifies the end of summer, which means Jim and I are getting back to a more normal routine. Jim has started practices for this year's Christmas program, which is tentatively set for the first weekend in December. He also already has most of the year's youth events planned, and is working through "Systematic Theology" with the youth group. We've both been pleased to see our youth grow closer to God and desire to know Him more these days. What an awesome group of youth we get to serve!

Jim and I have started the search for our next home. We've been actively looking with a realtor for some time now, and have pretty much made up our minds as to the type of house and location we want. We're still going back and forth between buying a resale versus building new construction, but we hope to make our final decision before next spring. It's been a wonderful blessing to be able to live with Jim's parents as we paid off our debt and built our savings, but we are looking forward to having our own home again.

We are in week 2 of the 2009-2010 Fantasy Football season. My team, the "Winning Wives", is returning as the defending champions while Jim is hoping to make a comeback after finishing second-to-last last year. Fantasy Football season is a wonderful time for Jim and I, as we spend hours watching football and reading up on commentaries. We also get to playfully "trash talk" our fellow friends in the league and enjoy watching games with them. Jim and I love football season!

Speaking of sports, my sister Teea is starting out her senior year of Varsity Soccer with a bang! In her game last Saturday versus Kamiakin High School, she scored 2 of the 4 goals and assisted on 1. Jim and I are looking forward to watching Teea finish out an awesome senior season and graduate next spring.

Mainly, Jim and I are enjoying a lot of quality time together after our long summer. We've been growing closer and enjoying each other more. I am so blessed to be married to such an amazing man! We are very much looking forward to celebrating three wonderful years together this December.

I hope that suffices for enough updating for now. This season has started out with much joy in our household, as we are amazed at how awesome our God is and the many blessings He has bestowed on us. We are so undeserving of His mercy!

I'll leave you with a picture of Jim's new 'do. He's growing his hair out... I have to admit it doesn't look that bad now, but there is a bet going on around church that he won't cut it until February. I believe the pool is up to $55. Now I just need to figure out how to get in on that action!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Please Pray for the Caynor Family!

Rick and Lisa Caynor are ABWE missionaries to Thailand. Lisa grew up in the same church Jim and I grew up in, and her parents still attend that church. We've gotten to know this wonderful family while they've been able to be home the past few years, and we were stunned to come across urgent prayer request posting by ABWE tonight. Please join us in praying for Rick and Lisa, their children, their family, and that God will be glorified through this event.

ABWE URGENT PRAYER REQUEST

Thailand — An ABWE missionary family was in a car accident, August 27, in Thailand, resulting in multiple injuries.

Lisa, Kristen and Ricky Caynor, wife and children of ABWE missionary Rick Caynor, were in a single car accident that occurred on Thursday afternoon as Lisa and the kids were traveling to Huahin for work on a visa extension. Lisa had to swerve to avoid a motorcycle that abruptly slowed and turned. Her vehicle crashed into a concrete highway divider. First responders transported children Kristen and Ricky to a hospital in Petchaburi and Lisa to another hospital in Huahin.

Lisa is comatose (an examination of her injuries did not reveal any spinal or neck injuries; no cuts; no breaks). A CT scan revealed no bleeding on Lisa’s brain. The doctors have elicited some responsiveness from Lisa. Kristen suffered a broken ankle and a fractured tailbone. Ricky sustained cracked ribs and a bump on his head. He has a big seatbelt bruise across his chest and abdomen.

Please join us in thanking the Lord for delivering them through the serious accident and for providing emergency care at a provincial hospital. After being stabilized, Lisa was transported three hours north to the Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok where she will receive excellent medical care.

We praise the Lord for assembling an on-sight support system for the Caynor family prior to the accident. Ken & Alice Cole (our team leader is a medical doctor) returned to Thailand from a year of furlough ministry less than 24-hours before the accident. Lisa’s cousin, Lori together with her husband Tim and nephew Micah, are in Thailand visiting them. They are missionaries in Kuwait. They have been helping Rick cover the needs at the two hospitals where his wife and teenage kids are being treated. The Caynors’ Thai ministry partners in Cha-am have also been a comfort and help to Rick during the emergency.

Thanks for praying for Lisa’s parents too. The McNallys reside in Pasco, WA.

Please join us in praying for this family.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Haiti 2009: HE is the refiner.

My father sent me a forward today that encouraged me very much. This surprises me for two reasons: a) my father never sends out forwards and b) I never read them. After the past month Jim and I have had, I shouldn't be surprised anymore at the lack of normal behavior I am exhibiting!

Malachi 3:3 says: "He is the refiner and purifier of silver". The forward my father sent me talked about the process of purifying silver, and how the silversmith must sit holding the silver in the hottest part of the flame, never taking his eyes off it until it is perfectly pure - when he can see his own reflection in it.

I love how God communicates to us through His creation. In everything from intricate design of a flower to the care of a potter handling clay to the intimacy of marriage we learn more about God's character and heart. In everything I do and see, God is present, revealing more of Himself to me; I simply have to remember to look for it.

I haven't yet been able to sit down and articulate the whole of my experience in Haiti, but to briefly summarize, it was a period of refining and purification in my life. Between the illness, the overwhelming heat, the challenges with our youth... let's just say this experience was the most challenging one Jim and I have had yet in youth ministry. I left the United States with the flu and returned with a parasite. I spent the first few days in Haiti sick in bed (which has to be one of the worst places in the world to be sick!), and last night I was sent home from work with abdominal cramping, nausea, and blacking-out every time I stand up. As for work, I had barely enough vacation time to take the time to go to Haiti, and I've had to take even more time off with being sick. The issues with our youth pushed both Jim and I to our limits as we were forced to spend the whole trip (including the final hours driving back to the Tri-Cities) policing behavior.

In spite of the many frustrations, illness, exhaustion, mental and emotional struggles we faced on this trip, we were privileged to see and experience God in a new way. One of the experiences that struck me was truly seeing God as our only hope through the eyes of the Haitian believers. Their country is devastated and corrupt, they have no money, no possessions and no hope of bettering their situation. Their life expectancy is mid-50's at best. They have no physical comforts to speak of, and can not even eat their own food or drink their own water. These people have nothing to look forward to in this world. For them, Jesus IS their one Treasure and their only Hope, and they truly know what it is to long for Heaven. Many times, as I was watching the wonder and beauty of this truth, the words Jesus spoke to the church at Laodicea came to mind as I thought of how unfortunate we in America are, in comparisons with these Haitians. We have our every need and desire met, and every creature comfort we can imagine, and yet spiritually we are poorer than the poorest Haitian believer. For the majority of us, we will never get the privilege of truly experiencing Jesus as our only hope because we have so many other things to place our hope in.

God has allowed me to see new facets of His character this trip, including His mercy, patience and grace, and He is still showing me new things about Himself even after returning to the States. What an awesome God we serve, that He has done so much for us and yet He continues to sit in front of the hot flames, never taking His eyes off of us, until we are made perfect in His image. Thank you, Jesus, for continuing to refine and purify me!

Jim and I would also like to extend our gratitude to everyone who supported us, both financially and through your prayers. We felt the full weight of those prayers in Haiti through the many trying experiences we faced, and it encouraged us both so much!

I promise this is not the last post about our trip to Haiti. I plan on posting more in-depth details of what we did, including pictures, in the near future. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And He's Off Again... And So Am I!

Yes folks, after being gone almost the entire month, Jim is preparing to leave again... but this time I get to go with him!

We are on our way to Haiti in two days! Jim and I are taking one other adult and seven youth on our first mission trip overseas together. Previously, I've spent time in Brazil and Jim has been to Asia and Mexico, but we've never been out of the country together (minus our honeymoon to Canada... that's a great story!). We have also never led seven youth out of the country either. This should be an interesting trip!

Why are we going to Haiti? We are going to be ministering along side the people at Heartline Ministries. Their goal is "endeavoring to be the hands of Christ to the people of Haiti", and they strive to achieve this through an orphanage, English camps, and women's programs. Please visit their website here to learn more about their work and how we will be helping.

Our team is leaving July 24 and will return August 4. I'm excited to see how God uses us in Haiti, and pray that we will be able to minister to both the Haitians and the team working tirelessly there!

On a side note, I managed to catch a bug that's been going around at work. Yesterday I was unable to get out of bed in the morning and have spent most of the past two days sleeping. I am hoping to regain my health before we leave, otherwise, the trip might be very interesting!

I appreciate your prayers and support for this trip. We will not have cell phone or email access while down in Haiti, but I will be sure to post about the trip when we return!

Friday, July 17, 2009

And He's Finally Coming Home!

It is very late, and I have to get up in only four short hours for work, but I can not sleep. Jim is coming home tomorrow after a very LONG couple of weeks away and I am ecstatic! I have missed him so much this past month. He is my best friend and better half, and without him here I have felt very incomplete. And lonely, especially as I have not been able to communicate with him for the majority of the time he's been away. In fact, over the course of this past year we have spent over a month apart from each other. I'm pretty certain one of the reasons the idea of marriage was so appealing to me because I thought I wouldn't have to be alone, but here I am.

I've been thinking a lot over the past several weeks about where Jim and I have come in our time together. We met four years ago, in May of 2005. I had just wrapped up my first year at WSU Pullman, and Jim was living and working here. Looking back, it's amazing to us to remember where God had taken us in the six months prior to that first meeting. His plan in working in each of our hearts to prepare us for each other is so evident now. At the beginning of that summer we were both in love with our Savior, growing closer to Him every day, and completely content to be single.

Jim and I met at a Bible study for young adults. He and his friend Jason had been attending previously, but I showed up that night having just moved back from school. Jim and I did not speak much that night. Jason, however, talked my ear off as Jim sat awkwardly beside him. One week later, I arrived home from a trip to Portland to find a strange car parked across the street from my house. It turned out to be Jim and Jason, who were returning a book I had lent a mutual friend. What a lame excuse to sit outside my house for who knows how long! Once again, Jason monopolized the conversation and Jim said almost nothing. I remember thinking both encounters were odd, but thought nothing more about it.

A week later, I found myself alone at church as my family had been out of town for a soccer tournament. Jim came up to me after service and asked me to have lunch with his family. I had grown up with his sister, and knew his parents, so I agreed to go (although I have to admit the motivating factor was a free meal). He forgot to mention to me that it was his mother's 50th birthday until we were walking into Tony Roma's and he asked me to hide his mother's present in my purse. Oops! Thankfully his parents are very gracious people, and I had a great time at lunch.

After lunch, Jim and I went back to church. We ended up spending that afternoon talking about God... what He had been doing in our lives, where we were spiritually. I remember thinking that I had never met a man who loved God as earnestly and knew Him as intimately as this man did. At the end of our conversation, Jim asked for my phone number to use for "carpooling to Bible study". I was gullible enough to believe that line, and I gave him my number.

Not even 12 hours later, Jim called me. And kept calling me. And texting me. I did not have unlimited text messaging that first month, and I remember getting a $250 phone bill for all the text messages he sent! Five days later, he ended up inviting me to a BBQ with his parents, and we had the great "Defining the Relationship" talk afterwards, which began with my very blunt question: "Why do you keep calling me?" And the rest is history.

For me, our relationship did not begin with the big, romantic, falling-head-over-heels-in-love, emotional whirlwind that so many other relationships in the past had. More than anything, I loved sharing my relationship with God with Jim. He not only understood, but shared my passion and zeal for our Savior. I had very precious few people in my life at that point I could share with, especially at home, and I appreciated that I could share openly with Jim about what God was doing in my heart. Over time, I began to understand and appreciate why God had shaped and molded this man's heart and brought it into my life at that exact moment.

So here I am, four years later, having grown to love, appreciate, and respect this wonderful man. During the first month of our relationship, God gave me Colossians 2:2-3 "...that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" I believe with all my heart this is God's purpose for our relationship, and it is amazing to me to look back over the past four years and see clear examples of how this has been achieved in our life together so far. What amazing grace God has shown me, to raise me up of the many messes I made for myself and give me such a beautiful gift!

I love sharing our story with the young women in my life as a testimony to how amazing and wonderful our God is, and my hope for each of them is that they would allow God to refine their hearts and lives so He can prepare the perfect grounding on which to build a solid relationship born of a mutual desire to know Him more fully with the one He has prepared for them.

Jim, I am so privileged to be your wife! I am amazed and awed at what God has accomplished in our hearts and lives so far, and I look forward to where He is taking us. You are an amazing, selfless man who desires everyday to know and serve your Savior more fully. Thank you for listening and responding to the call of God in your life - you make it easy to follow your leadership! God has been far better than I deserve to prepare you for me, and I grow to love and respect you more with each day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Hawaii - Part 2"

As I mentioned in my previous post about our fabulous trip to Hawaii, July is a rough month for us. Jim is gone all but 5 days of the month between mission trips and youth camp, and I am working a lot of extra days in between there. You might ask, how has it been going so far? Somebody told me the other day that "absence makes the heart grow fonder"... but it's making me skinny and exhausted! Yes, my husband is the one who is responsible for making sure I eat and sleep, thus why I've lost five pounds since he left and I'm up blogging at 2:00 AM. I am so thankful for my Jim!

OK, enough with the "downer" part of this blog entry... here's what you really wanted: the rest of our Hawaii pictures. Enjoy!
We visited Waimea Valley, which is a nature preserve you can hike in. I was able to capture a shot of a fascinating creature in his "natural habitat"! Isn't he cute?

We hiked Diamond Head Crater on perhaps the most humid day in Hawaii. Between that, the hot sun, and the billion other sweaty people on the narrow steep trail, it wasn't the most fun time I ever had. The view was spectacular though!

I found another house for Jim and I to live in... we wish! The next pictures are from our trip to Lanakai, rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. I wish we could have stayed there forever! The water was perfect, the sand felt like powdered sugar beneath our feet, and it was surprisingly not crowded (unlike Waikiki).
I was trying to capture how magnificent the sand was at Lanakai. Instead, I got a great shot of how torn up my feet were from wearing $4.00 sandals from Target the whole trip. Ouch!

I just had to get a picture of these two on the water. Hilarious!

One of the last things we did was head out to Kualoa Ranch for a day of adventure. This ranch is 250-acres of beautiful scenery used as the backdrop for many movies and television shows.

There was a fake horse on the property... which was funny because it was located 50 feet from the real horses you could ride. The Japanese tourists LOVED the fake horse! Jim must have snapped a dozen pictures for people in front of the fake horse. I figured I need a picture in front of the fake horse as well!

Here's us on a catamaran ride around the beach that "Lost" is filmed on. We loved the catamaran ride! The ocean was very choppy that morning, and Jim and I held on to the front of the boat and let the ocean waves spray in our face.

This is a shot of that famous beach! We also couldn't resist getting a picture in front of the catamaran.


We also took an ATV ride around the property. It was beautiful and we had so much fun!


Here's a list of the movies and television shows filmed at the ranch. We thought it was neat to see this setting in person!

We loved our trip to Hawaii, but most of all, we loved the time spent together. Each year we've been together seems to be busier than the last, and we have learned to treasure those uninterrupted times together because they have become fewer and father between. Our time in Hawaii allowed us to reconnect and refresh, and we've decided to continue this tradition in years to come.

Jim and I have experienced a lot in our first 2.5 years. We've been through nursing school, unemployment, financial difficulties, disappointments and heartache. Not only have we survived, we have grown closer and more in love. I could not imagine a better beginning to our marriage. Here's to the rest of our life together!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 2009 (+ 1 day in May)


It's been a long time since I have posted any updates, and I apologize for that. Jim and I have both been swamped at work, and there hasn't been much to post. As you know from the last few posts, my job has been particularly eventful. Fortunately, every situation has ended well and I have learned a lot.

Three months ago, Jim and I were comparing our calendars through September and we realized we are REALLY busy. How busy? Let's take July, for example. Not only is it my least favorite month (see previous years' posts), but this one in particular requires Jim to be out of town all except five days. Which means I will see my husband for five days in the whole month of July. If you remember my posts from Jim's trip in January, you'll know I'm not looking forward to it!

Every year since we've been together we have taken a big trip in the summer-time. Jim took me to Lake Chelan right after we started dating, and last year we went to Florida and the Oregon Coast. I'm not sure where the idea for this year's vacation began, but somehow we ended up at our Hawaii trip. Jim's been to Hawaii twice before, but I have never been and have always wanted to go. I'm certain we looked at our busy schedules, looked at our bank account, realized we have no kids and no mortgage currently, and decided to go to Hawaii. After all, why not?

We planned a trip to Hawaii for nine days. We chose to go to the island of O'ahu, even though Jim had already been there twice, because it is the island with the most activities and Jim already knew what to do and what to avoid.

June is a big month for us. We began dating four years ago in June. Both mine and my mother-in-law's birthdays are in June. Jim and I scheduled our Hawaii trip to coincide with both the anniversary of when we began dating and my birthday, and we found creative ways to celebrate those occasions there.

Our vacation in Hawaii was a wonderful, relaxing time for us. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery, experienced many things, and ate delicious food. Most of all, we LOVED having nine uninterrupted days with each other, something Jim and I have not done since our honeymoon. This trip reminded us how important that time together is. With our busy schedules, we've allowed our marriage to take the back burner often, and this vacation confirmed to us the importance of taking time for just us, a tradition we plan to continue for the rest of our marriage.

I have to admit I was not a good photographer on this trip, and I apologize if you are disappointed. Jim and I were too busy enjoying each other and Hawaii apparently! Here are a few pictures from our trip, plus one day in May.

This first picture is us at Ryan and Melany's gorgeous (and HOT!) wedding on May 30.

Here starts our pictures from Hawaii! We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki. This is a picture of the tower we stayed in, the famous "Rainbow Tower". The mural on the side is the world's largest mural coming in at 226 feet tall and using over 8,000 hand-painted tiles.
This was the view from our room. When we arrived, we found out the room we had booked was unavailable, so they upgraded us to this "Deluxe Ocean view" room.

Here's us on the beach, right outside our hotel!

Jim LOVES the ocean! The next picture I snapped is of a wedding on the beach. We learned that the Hilton averages 2-3 weddings a day.

Here are some pictures from Pearl Harbor. This first picture is of an aircraft carrier docked in the harbor. Here's the memorial, which lays directly over the sunken USS Arizona.

Here is one of the gun turrets of the USS Arizona.

The USS Arizona was sunk with an estimated 150,000 tons of oil on board, and today they believe there is still 40,000 tons of oil on the ship. It is constantly slowly leaking out. The Navy has been ordered to deal with the oil issue, but refuses to touch the ship. The locals say the oil is the blood of the 1,500 who died when the USS Arizona sank.

This is us in front of the old courthouse building in Honolulu. The statue in front is of King Kamehameha the Great, who conquered and unified each of the Hawaiian islands. His birthday is celebrated every year in June across each of the Hawaiian islands. We were able to see a parade through Waikiki in his honor on June 13.


This is us in front of our new house! (OK, so maybe not... it's actually the last and only royal palace in the United States)


That night we took a sunset dinner cruise. We had such a great time!

This is a view of the sunset we saw on the cruise. I have to admit, Hawaiian sunsets are nice but do not hold a candle to Tri-City sunsets!

Look Ron Burgundy, we found diversity! (Note: this will only make sense to you if you've watched Anchorman)Here is a picture from the Luau we went to. The entertainment was good, but the food was awful.We took a day and went to the North Shore. On our way, we stopped at the Dole Plantation for some Pineapple ice cream!

Do you recognize these pineapples?

That's it for now! We have ~360 pictures from Hawaii that I am still trying to wade through while working and catching up at home. I will get "Hawaii Part 2" up soon!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Untitled (Written 4/29/09)

This past Sunday was my normal weekend at work, but I was put on-call and allowed to go to church. Which is something that has never happened to me in the four years I've been working there.

I should have known there was a reason God wanted me to hear the message Sunday. I just wish the personal application piece could have been avoided.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, we've been going through a series at church on the theology of suffering focusing on David's life. This past Sunday we looked at some very difficult questions involving suffering. One of the points that really stood out to me during the sermon was how suffering allows us to know God more fully. If we never were without, we would not know God as our provider. If we never needed comfort, we would not know God as our comforter. So on and so forth.

I believe I have the awesome privilege of being used by God in my profession to both help bring life into the world and prolong life from leaving the world. In my experience with death, it often felt to me as if I had no part in helping God, but that I was simply able to witness and be reminded once again that God is in control.

I think now the better description for what I do could be termed "wrestling with God".

Jacob wrestled with God. The deceiving con-artist went up against God and won, taking only the small souvenir of a dislocated hip. And he was rewarded with a new name and being the father of God's chosen people.

Yesterday I wrestled with God and a life hangs in the balance.

In my profession, loss of life in unexpected. I witness again and again life being brought forth, new life being born. When life is suddenly lost, or even expectantly lost, it is a tragedy. But even as suffering allows us to know God more fully, loss of life allows us to appreciate life more. And infinitely more when you are allowed to be a part of the loss.

How can we truly value the preciousness of life if we have not been directly impacted by its loss? How can we expect others to value life as we do, if they themselves have not experienced loss?

Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, of how fragile and precious life is, and how God is always in control. Even when I think I can, like Jacob, win.

Worthy are YOU, O Lord.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Organic" is a grocery term meaning "twice as expensive".

And "Gluten-free" means "three times as expensive".

This new diet is wrecking my grocery budget. I'm feeling very guilty after my adventures in the grocery store today. Darn that Dave Ramsey; he's taken all the pleasure of shopping away from me!

My new goal is to figure out how I can feed Jim and I organically and gluten-free AND stay within my grocery budget. Can it be done? We'll see!

I'm hoping it can be done. Otherwise Jim and I will be getting even skinnier.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

That's what the wood plaque in my friend Jackie's kitchen says. I love that plaque because a) it's red (which is my favorite color) and b) it's been a good reminder for me, often when I need it the most. Kind of like the sermon this past Sunday.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my church is doing a read-through of the Bible chronologically in a year. Currently we are working our way through the life of David. One of the wonderful things about reading the Bible chronologically is that many of the Psalms David wrote are interdispersed through the readings of his life's events. It adds so much more meaning to the Psalms to know what was going on in David's life when he wrote them. Time and time again, we see David suffering, having multiple attempts on his life by the king, being exiled from his country and separated from his wife, family and best friend, being pursued by armies and captured by enemies... Well, you get the picture. Things were not good for David. Yet the Psalms written during these events poured out gratitude, praise and adoration to God. I loved how our pastor put it Sunday morning: what an amazing God David served, to inspire such love and adoration despite such suffering.

I have to admit by the end of the sermon Sunday I was feeling very ashamed. First of all, because instead of being right on target with my Bible reading, I'm still stuck in Numbers (who gets hung up in Numbers? Seriously!) . But mostly I felt ashamed because of my attitude these past few months.

One of the things I like most about this blog and hate most at the same is the vulnerability it causes. Every now and then I spill my guts on this thing and it's there for the whole world to see, whether it be good, bad, or just plain ugly. Lately my blog entries have been falling into the ugly category. Jim and I have both experienced some major changes over the past few months, and I have not been entirely pleased with all of them. OK, maybe that was an understatement. The point is, my "sufferings" are embarrassingly small in comparison with suffering like David faced and look how he reacted. I have spent the past few months grumbling and complaining to anyone who will listen, and David sang out psalm after psalm of gratitude and love to his God.

I am thankful to serve a God who is holy, perfect, and just. I am even more thankful that He loves me, and has chosen to reveal His truth to me. I am incredibly thankful that He loved me enough to sacrifice His perfect son as atonement for my sin. I am so thankful that even though I continue to sin, He sees me as blameless and pure.

I am thankful that God created my husband, and knit us perfectly together in His timing for His glory. I am thankful for a husband who loves God and places Him above all else. I am thankful that Jim gets the awesome privilege of serving God for his career. I am thankful that God has provided for us with two incomes that allow us to live far better than we deserve. I am thankful that God reveled His truth to us in the area of our finances, so we are able to manage those incomes for His glory. I am thankful that He continues to provide for us and bless us through the generosity of our family and friends.

I am thankful that God gave me such clarity as to how He wanted me to serve Him. I am thankful that sometimes He clouds my vision so that I have to keep searching for Him and His will. I am thankful that God has placed me in a profession that allows me to see Him so vividly in all that I do. I am thankful that He allows me to show a glimpse of His love and His tender mercy to my patients.

I am thankful that God has given me a body that is able. I am thankful for the good health I have had thus far. I am thankful for the poor health I have had, because it reminds me I must depend on Him.

I am thankful that my life is in His control, and that my world is in His control. I am thankful that God knows and wills all that has happened and will happen. I am thankful that I have a destiny beyond this world.

I am thankful for beautiful days, because I see God's majesty in His creation. I am thankful for less-than-beautiful days, because it reminds me that all things work together for my good and His glory.

I am thankful that God has given me knowledge, because it allows me to know and experience Him more fully. I am thankful that God has given me ability to love, because it allows me to know and experience Him more intimately. I am thankful that God has given me the ability to dream, because it reminds me that there is so much more than my small reality.

God, I thank You that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

They just keep getting bigger and better...

I have to brag: I'm going to Hawaii for my 23rd birthday!

Jim just booked the tickets today for 9 days in Oahu at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. We are so excited! Although, secretly I think Jim is just feeling guilty over all the sad posts that have been cropping up on my blog lately...

This will be the fifth birthday Jim and I have spent together. Here's a quick recap of how I've celebrated:

19th - Jim took me out for a romantic dinner at Cedars complete with flowers, eloquent card, and watching the sunset on the river. He was still trying to win me over at this point.

20th - I can't remember how we celebrated this birthday. Jim proposed four days before this birthday, so I'm sure we were still celebrating both occasions!

21st - Jim and I (and my parents) toured the Columbia Basin stopping at various places to taste aged grape juice.

22nd - Jim forgot to plan anything special for my birthday but made it up to me by taking me out to lunch and surprising me with a delicious fruit torte from my favorite bakery.

23rd - Going to Hawaii! 9 uninterrupted days with my husband!

I honestly don't know how next year's birthday could get any better.

Small disclaimer - The only part of this trip that is Dave Ramsey-approved is the fact that we are paying for it in cash. If it was Dave Ramsey-approved, we would have paid off our debt and completed our Emergency Fund first before budgeting to save for this trip. Shh, don't tell Dave!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not a Good Week...

I have to admit, this past week has not been a good one.

Circumstantially-speaking (is that a real word?), nothing has happened to make it "bad", it's just been a blah week.

Do you ever have those? I sure do.

To quickly recap, one week ago I went to a doctor who put me on a gluten- and dairy-free diet and loaded me up with pills, tonics and powder. One day after starting this new regime, I began to experience some yucky side effects. To put it nicely, my digestive tract is still trying to adjust to this new routine!

Speaking of gluten-free, I never realized the control wheat-infested carbohydrates had over my life until I couldn't eat them anymore. It's embarrassing how out of control my cravings for carbs are and what effect they had on my attitude. I never thought I had self-control issues with food, but apparently I do. My coworkers practically begged me to give in and eat carbs so I would not be so grumpy!

I spent Easter Sunday working and was sad to not be able to celebrate His resurrection with my family, church and biological alike. To make matters worse, I took care of a patient with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea on Sunday. Monday morning, guess what I had? I just love working in health care!

Beyond that, Jim has been super busy the past few weeks since baseball season started. He is so excited to coach and loves being able to work with the players and get back out on the baseball field, but his already busy schedule has taken on another 20+ hour/week commitment between practices and games. It's Tuesday night and I haven't seen my husband since Sunday. I miss him terribly.

So here I sit, wrapping of Day 2 of being home sick, alone, realizing that bread made of rice flour just isn't the same as real bread, and I have to admit this week hasn't been a good one for me. But these are just circumstances adding to an already existing problem.

One of the blogs I follow recently put it this way: "I know I'm where I belong". I have to admit I was quite a bit jealous of the writer to being able to say that. For the past few months I've felt unsettled and I haven't been sure why. I've spent four years working towards the goal of where I am today: wife to Jim, registered nurse working in labor and delivery, involved in a church I love, good family and friends to share life with... I have strongly felt God calling me to each of these areas, so you can imagine my confusion to arrive at this point and still feel so... unfulfilled. Unsettled. As if something was missing.

I'm just rambling at this point.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Tales of Health (or lack thereof)...

As many of you know, I've had this bizarre rash on my face that cropped up January of this year and has yet to go away, despite trying every treatment under the sun (OK, maybe just every treatment over the counter!). In February, the rash had gotten much worse and so I began to reluctantly call around to get an appointment with a doctor. Apparently one can not get in to see any doctor, whether general practice or specialty, without waiting at least three months. I made an appointment with a dermatologist that was able to book me in May. Seriously?

Eventually the rash became so itchy and painful that I went to an urgent care clinic. The rash was diagnosed as seborrheic dermatitis, which is basically cradle cap for adults. I was given a prescription cream to treat the rash.

Two months later, it's April and I realize I am still using this cream twice a day and the rash is no better. In fact, I stopped using the cream for a week and the rash became so inflamed that it began to burn. Unfortunately, I am still a month away from my appointment with the dermatologist.

Being the loving husband he is, Jim suggested I try the clinic he goes to. I will admit I have been very skeptical their unconventional treatments, but I was desperate enough to give anything a try. And they were able to get me in two days!

I had a good experience for my first visit. Dr. Kenzie was very personable and intelligent, and spent a whole hour with me. She checked out every system and looked at all my health problems together, instead of just focusing on my rash. The clinic uses neuro-emotional muscle testing to diagnose problems. I am not a good muscle-tester, so she had Jim surrogate-test me, which was bizarre to me. But I was amazed at how it worked! She was able to correctly diagnose my health issues and allergies accurately.

I left the clinic with some new medications and new dietary guidelines. I found that I am very allergic to both dairy and wheat products (surprise surprise), so I have been instructed to stay away from dairy and gluten as well as given a probiotic to restore the flora in my digestive tract. My hormones are completely out of whack (Jim nodded his head in agreement with that) so I have a natural remedy to help rebalance my hormone levels. And last, but not least, I have a tonic to restore my skin.

Beyond that, I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks and the whole experience (one hour with a doctor and three medications) cost us less than Jim's appointment to consult with Dr. Trotta before his surgery. And I still will not have seen the dermatologist before I follow-up with the clinic!

I am excited to try out the regime Dr. Kenzie has prescribed me and curious to see how it works for me. Beyond the skin rash, I have been unusually tired for the past few months and my allergies and hormones are a continual problem. I am hoping the clinic will be able to get me back on track so I can be healthier and perform better in every area of my life.

If all else fails, these gluten-free almonds I am currently snacking on are good!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jim's "De-gallbladderisation"

For those of you who haven't heard, Jim had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy yesterday morning. For the past three years, Jim has been suffering gallbladder attacks and pains after eating. Jim had a HIDA scan done on his gallbladder last month, and the results were that his gallbladder was functioning only at 30%. After much thought, prayer and council of doctors and friends, Jim chose to have his gallbladder removed.

Here's a timeline of how our day went yesterday:

0600 - Jim and I arrive at the hospital and are checked into Pre-Op





0630 - Jim is examined by a nurse, get his IV and super-attractive leggings, and meets with the anesthesiologist.




0730 - Jim is wheeled back to the OR for his surgery. I go for some much-needed breakfast and wait to hear back from Dr. Trotta.


0820 - Dr. Trotta comes out and tells me the surgery went well. Jim didn't lose any blood, and Dr. Trotta was able to remove his gallbladder without any difficulty or complication. Jim's gallbladder had a lot of scar tissue and lesions on it, and Dr. Trotta told me he was confident Jim's gallbladder was very diseased and it needed to be removed.

0930 - Jim is finally out of recovery. He does not metabolize narcotic medication very well, and his trip out of anesthesia was rough for him. He is moved to his Post-Op room and is very incoherent.

1030 - Jim wakes up and is restless. He tells me he wants to get out of bed and stretch his legs, so the nurse and I help get him up. He makes it to standing, is hit with overwhelming nausea, and has to get right back into bed. The nurse and I both encourage him to rest and relax, something Jim is not very good at doing!

1130 - Jason and Sarah came to visit. Sarah's mother had the same surgery as Jim did by the same doctor immediately following Jim's surgery and was also recovering a few rooms down from us. What a coincidence! Jim is still very much out of it and still suffering some nausea from the narcotics. Jason and Sarah take me out to lunch while Jim goes back to sleep.

1230 - I come back from lunch. Jim had been getting some much-needed rest during this time so I left him alone to sit in the waiting room and return phone calls from family and friends.

1300 - Jim's father comes to visit. Jim is still very out of it, so we don't stay long to talk to him.

1530 - The drugs are wearing off and Jim is more alert. The nurses are concerned that Jim has not been able to walk or urinate yet, so we get him out of bed and take the first of many laps around the halls. Jim is still experiencing some nausea, but is able to walk successfully around the unit. That one lap was more than enough for him at the time, and he went straight back to bed, exhausted.



1630 - Jim gets up for lap #2. This time he is able to use the bathroom, and is walking much better. He is also starting to pass the gas from the surgery, and is no longer experiencing much nausea. He is able to eat a Popsicle without any problems.

1700 - I leave the hospital to run a quick errand and take a nap. While I am gone, Dr. Trotta comes to see Jim and clears him to go home that night. Jim's parents also stop by the hospital to visit and bring him a few movies. Jim orders some soup and pudding, and is able to eat almost the whole bowl of soup and a few bites of the pudding without any trouble.

1900 - I come back to the hospital, and find Jim much better than when I left him. We take a few more laps around the unit. The nurse takes out his IV and helps Jim get ready to leave.

2000 - Jim finally is ready to leave and refuses the wheelchair. He walks all the way to the car without any trouble! We leave the hospital and stop by a pharmacy to pick up his prescriptions.

2100 - Jim and I are finally home. Jim has some pain from the sitting in our car for an hour, but is doing well. Once he gets out of the car, he is able to relieve the gas pain by walking around.

Today - Jim slept almost 12 hours last night and has not taken any pain medication since the last dose of narcotic he had in his IV yesterday morning. He is able to sit on the couch and work on his computer. He will be on a liquid diet for the next five days, and is keeping water and a slushie down just fine. Jim tells me he definitely notices something has been removed from his body, and his stomach feels different than it did before the surgery, but the horrible gas pains he used to get from eating before the surgery are gone. He also is still very tired from surgery, and although he was planning on returning back to his normal schedule starting tonight, I think he will not be able to do everything he has planned.

Thank you for your prayers and support! We have been blessed by all the calls, text messages, and visits from friends and family. Jim and I are so thankful that his surgery went well and he has had a reasonably easy recovery so far!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DOXA - Updated Info!

So, I'm sitting here enjoying the last few minutes of calm at work, knowing that my job is done for the day and rejoicing that I won't be stuck here until 9:00 tonight (like I was last night - yikes!)... and I realized I posted that DOXA is taking place on Friday night.

It's not.

It's actually taking place on Saturday night (March 21). Same time, same place.

Sorry for any misunderstanding!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm glad I'm not working Tuesday!

I was supposed to work Tuesday. But now I'm not. And I'm glad.

Why? Well, besides the craziness at work that has led to a LOT of overtime lately for everyone, Jim is having surgery on Tuesday and I'm thankful I get to take the time off to be there for him.

Don't worry - I plan on taking a lot of pictures to post for blackmail updates.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Come to DOXA!

Do you need to be refreshed? Are you running on empty? Do you feel disconnected from God?

Spring is a time of renewal and renovation! Join us on this first day of spring and have your heart renovated through praise, worship, and crying out to our Mighty Savior!

When:
Friday, March 21 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Where:
First Baptist Church, Richland (1107 Wright Ave, Richland, WA)

Who:
Anyone is welcome to come!

And Jordan, I did submit your request for "Sing to the King"!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A little about Jim...

I have finally discovered the way to my husband's heart - ice cream.

As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I have been working nights a lot these past few weeks. Unfortunately this means Jim is a virtual bachelor, as all I do is come home, go straight to bed, get up and go straight back to work. How does he ever survive without his wife to cook, clean, and spend time with him?

He goes to Sonic for ice cream.

Unfortunately, he discovered this past week that a) I must be working a lot and b) he goes to Sonic maybe a little too often when they didn't charge him for his ice cream treat.

Why? Because the workers noticed he had been to Sonic every night for the past five nights and felt sorry for him.

The lessons I learned from this story are a) I need to stock up the fridge with leftovers before I go back to work and b) I need an ice cream maker. Preferably the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment for my mixer, hint hint. Maybe then my poor husband wouldn't have to depend on Sonic to survive those long, lonely nights without me.

Aren't you glad it only took me two years of marriage to figure out the way to my husband's heart?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Updates... #7,251.

Why is this Update #7,251? Because it feels that way.

I am trying to make this post a little more cheery than the last one, but to someone who craves routine, stability and structure, my chaotic life full of change has me about going off the edge. Here is the 411 on some of those changes threatening to ruin my sanity.

Change #1: My Job

Yes, I know I have been working full-time now for almost five months. You would think my work life would have settled a little bit. Not! My big frustration at work is my lack of a stable schedule. I get my schedule four weeks at a time, and it rotates constantly, both day and night. I never know what I am days/nights I am working beyond my four-week time frame.

Part of my frustration is that I am married to a youth/worship minister, who always has a busy schedule full of church and youth events. Our biggest struggle has been finding time together. And it seems like I am always scheduled to work on the days/nights Jim has off.

Change #2: My Home

After much prayer and consideration, Jim and I moved out of our apartment and in with his parents. This is a Dave-Ramsey-approved solution, as we should be debt free easily by the end of this year. Also, we hope to help his parents out by helping out with their home improvements and yard work. So why am I frustrated? Because we had to move!

We were able to move quickly, in a few days. Unfortunately I had to return to work immediately following our move, which gave me exactly enough time to set up my bed and find my clothes. And that was just about all. The rest of our space was full of boxes and furniture and disorganization and mess. And you all know that I can not handle mess!

Literally, I can not focus or concentrate when my home is a mess. My roommates in college used to laugh at me reorganizing my closet before a big test - because there was no way I could sit and study knowing my closet was a mess. And it's still that way. I can go to work and function, but my mind is in a constant state of panic thinking about the mess at home. Yikes!

The conclusion: I'm embarrassed that I've been sitting here whining for the past 20 minutes. Jim tells me I need to get over myself and eat something because obviously my blood sugar is low.

Which is reason #7,252 why I'm married to him.