Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Update and Thoughts

A lot has happened since I last updated so I am just going to write random updates and thoughts as they come to me. Not edited, not planned, not proofed.
  • Josie has been out of her cast for over a month now. She is doing pretty well. She is taking steps in her gait trainer but nowhere NEAR where she was before surgery. Her hips are straight and she doesn't cross her legs anymore, but she has definately lost some of her mobility. Not sure how I feel about that.
  • The man with the yellow tractor has been back. If you don't know what I am talking about, see a post I made about a year ago. Jon talked to him and he asked about Josie. There are a few more houses going up so he will be around this summer. Praying for the words to speak to him...or more importantly, praying that he can see God through my family.
  • Our house sold in Orange City. Bittersweet. It sold for less than we purchased it. Hard hit to take. However, we are thankful that the house is sold and we can move forward.
  • My kids amaze me everyday. Mary continues to excel in school, but what I am the most proud of is her humble spirit. She quietly and confidently goes about her day and patiently nudges her peers. I have something to learn from her kindness and even temper. David is a goofball and can't wait for school to be done. He is playing soccer, flag football, and baseball this spring. I feel like a taxi driver. Hannah is finishing up her last week of preschool. She has informed me that when she grows up she is going to be a Princess Geologist. I am looking for a university that offers that major. She loves, loves, rocks and dirt and fills up every container she can find with rocks and dirt.
  • I am extremely thankful for our public school system. I have three kids in school with very different needs and academic levels. Their school goes above and beyond to meet their needs. I appreciate the fact that others are able to bless my children and in turn bless me. Josie has brought out the best in her classmates and teachers. I have had more dicussions with her teachers leading to my faith because of Josie. The principal told me that my three kids have made their school a better place. Way to go Nelson kids! Public schools sometimes get a bad rap but they do a lot of things right, too!
  • I ran my first 5K a couple of weeks ago. I ran it in 28 minutes. I had no idea what to expect. This was something I never thought I would be able to do. I will do another one and hopefully improve my time. Moving has given me a chance to reinvent myself. I have taken to exercise and eating better. Who knew I would be instructing cardio kickboxing classes at a gym...and liking it! I have met so many interesting and unique people at the gym that I would have never met otherwise. Most are not Christian and church is the last place they would be. I love these people and have learned so much from them. I have had many faith filled conversations with some of them. The best is when out of the blue someone asks me a question about my faith or what I believe. Makes me smile.
  • I think I may put a sign up in my yard stating that this is the neighborhood YMCA. There are kids here everyday. I honestly don't know where they come from. Their language isn't always appropriate and I have to remind some of them that we do have rules, but I am glad they continue to come back. I am glad my kids are exposed to families and cultures that are different than ours. Our hoop is going up this week so I am excited to see who that will bring.
  • Since moving I really haven't joined any type of small group, prayer group, or Bible study group. I miss it. I need to connect with other women. I need some accountability. It is hard to start or join something this time of year but perhaps in the fall I will actively look to find or start a group.
  • If you got this far, thanks for reading. If you are still reading you must care for me or my family, thank you for that. I need all the help I can get, even just knowing that someone cares means a lot to me.
  • Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Kids Are Awesome"

I received an email from Josie's teacher today that I felt led to share.

"The kids had a great time signing their initials to Josie's cast the other day.

It was a really cool moment. All I said was, 'Let's sign our initials on Josie's cast. Keep it small so there is room for everyone.' I did my initials to show while they watched. Josie was getting a little antsy (wouldn't we all in the same position!), one of the kids started holding her hand and humming to her. I think Mandy suggested that maybe they sing to her. The kids took it from there! They all gathered round and one little girl started them out on the right pitch and everyone started singing and signing the cast. When one song ended, they quickly changed to another of Josie's favorites. They sang 3 or 4 different songs to her while gathered around. Josie loved it!

I wish we had video of it, but we did have a camera to grab! Hope you enjoy the pictures. Kids are awesome!"

I have to say that I have felt a tremendous amount of support from the staff at Josie's school. They have gone above and beyond any of my expectations. In the three years we have had Josie in our family I have noticed that she can really bring out the "good" in people. She is certainly bringing out the "good" in the students and staff at her school. Praise be to God!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another Josie Update

Just another quick update on Miss Josie. Josie was moved out of ICU and into a regular room yesterday. She is still pretty drugged up so spend most of the day sleeping. She did need another blood transfusion as well.

Today, however, is a different story. Josie is getting a little fiesty. It made me smile. She is slowly getting back to normal. She is only letting me feed her - which is quite normal. She is taking her pain meds like a pro orally which means we are closer to getting out of here! This afternoon we are going to get into a reclining wheelchair and go for a walk around the hospital. Fun times! If she continues to do well we should be able to leave on Saturday.

Thanks for all of your comments, thoughts, and prayers. They were felt and needed. Since Josie was moved to another room, I can't pick up wireless in her room, so my time online is limited. I sneak out to eat and that is when I check email and update.

I will keep you all posted! Thanks!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Update on Josie

I will give a quick update on Josie for those of you interested in more of the details. I have a lot swirling around in this little head of mine so I am sure more blog entries will be coming.

Josie had surgery today. We have known this was coming for quite some time, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for this. I will admit that right now I am feeling quite overwhelmed. I am wondering how I am going to handle things when she gets home. I remember these same kind of feelings after I had each of my kids and somehow things worked out just fine. On the other hand, I know myself that much better. I know my capabilities and I know my limits. I am better at asking for and accepting help. Josie, and the rest of our family, willl have to find a new normal for awhile. Josie is a trooper and a fighter. She will come through this beautifully.

Anyway, Josie, Jon, and I checked in here at 6:30am this morning. She went into surgery around 7:45am. She was done around 2:00pm. They tilted the balls in her hips toward the sockets. They were secured with plates and screws. They also released and stretched some of the muscles around her hip. They also had to cut some of the bone in that area as well. Her hamstring muscles were lengthened. Her inner thigh muscles were stretched. They did some other things as well. All together she has 8 incisions. She is in a body cast from her armpits to her toes. There is a hole cut out in her diaper area as well as her stomach. Her cast is hot pink with a purple bar. Her younger sister will be thrilled! The surgery was successful so that is a good thing!

She is in a lot of pain. She is a tough cookie and it is very hard to see her this way. She is in intensive care and will be there probably until sometime tomorrow. She will then be transfered to a regular room. I am not sure when she will get to go home.

To be honest, this is one of those times I question a lot of things. God has called Jon and I (and Mary, David, and Hannah) to care for this beautiful little girl. We want her time on this earth to be comfortable and we want to give her the best life she can have. I wonder sometimes if I can do it. I love her dearly, but sometimes it is just too much. I miss my other kids terribly. It is in these moments that I can feel the presence of God - in my weakness He takes over. I am sitting in a skyway at the hospital overlooking the Mississppi River. The sun is shining. There is a lot of snow. It is beautiful. I think to myself that God created this world and He created Josie. He loves her very much. He is using me to surround Josie with His love. He is using Josie to surroung me with His love. That is enough to get me through another day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unexpected Blessing

More often than not our Sunday dinners are at the Culvers on 86th street in Urbandale. Today was no different. Jon was preaching at the Bridge and I was at Meredith Drive doing my thing. And, of course, the kids were with me. We met Jon at Culvers. One of the perks of having Josie is that we get to park in handicapped parking. However, sometimes I get a few "looks" when I pull up and walk around the van to get the kids out. I am sure people are thinking something like this - "She doesn't look she needs handicapped parking, why is she parking there?" One time in a parking garage in downtown Des Moines somebody even told me to save the handicapped spaces for people who really need them. I was just about to open the van door to get Josie out - as I pulled her out, I told the lady that if she wanted to adopt a child who was unable to walk that she could park here, too. Not one of my finer moments, but it sure felt good. Anyway, I digress. As I was getting Josie out, I noticed an older couple in the parking lot watching me. I thought maybe they were upset with me using the handicapped parking space. I didn't really think much about it. I was hungry, my kids were hungry. It was time to eat.

We got there before Jon so the kids and I found a booth to sit in and we waited for him. I really wasn't paying attention to the people around me. I fed Josie, which is normal to me and my kids, but I forget that this isn't normal to most of the people around us. Jon came so I left the kids with him and ordered our food. I came back and noticed that the couple from the parking lot was now talking to Jon. They were asking about Josie. They then told us that they had a son who had cerebal palsy. He wasn't supposed to live past the age of 18 but he lived well into his 30s. I don't know how long ago their son passed away, but I could tell this woman loved her son very much. She lit up when she talked about him. They thanked us for taking Josie into our family. We continued talking for awhile. They were a blessing to us, I think we were a blessing to them. As they were leaving they said that they will see us again. Our faith was not discussed, but I think she meant that we will get to spend eternity together. Josie, her son, and our family. The Spirit was present at Culvers in Urbandale today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I am Giving You a Gift

Wow. September 30. That is the last time I have done a post. I remember why I started a blog last spring. We had just moved and I was lonely. I had things to say and no one to tell them to. I felt like a stranger in a familiar place. I was going through a transition and to cope I wrote. Josie's adoption was going nowhere. To cope, I wrote. We were the first to move to our housing development. We were the only ones living in the neighborhood. No neighbors is not a good thing for this stay at home mom. Quite frankly, blog entries helped to fill my day.

I have to say I am in a much better place now. Some new friends have been made. I have a few people that will listen to what I have to say, most of the time. We have a lot of new neighbors now. Most of them from Bosnia - I have learned a lot from them. And I hope they have learned from me as well. Josie's adoption has been finalized. We are still needing to file for naturalization/citizenship/alien relative, etc. But, the adoption has been finalized. No more dealing with Haiti.

This fall I joined a Newcomers group. A group of ladies of all ages who are new to the Des Moines area meet every Tuesday AM for some social time, learning time, sharing and praying time, and a lesson. It was pretty cool. Kind of like a support group. There were people who moved here from Texas, the Middle East, the Virgin Islands, Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, etc. Some were single, some were grandmas, some had teenagers, some had preschoolers. I absolutely loved the diversity. This group met a need. I had a name. I was heard. I got to share part of my story.

I was a pretty busy lady before we moved. Mom of four, home school group teacher, part time children's ministry assistant, piano teacher, MOPS co-coordinator, worship team member, etc. After moving I dropped everything (except mom of four). I have had the opportunity to reinvent myself. I thought about changing my name and dying my hair purple. That may still happen. Instead I signed up for a 10 week fitness challenge. That 10 weeks has turned into almost 6 months now. I am even working part time as a cardio kickboxing and resistance bands instructor! Who knew? I have made some good friends while kicking and punching things. Doesn't hurt that I have dropped 20 pounds either! I also have been hired as one of the children's ministry assistants at our church (no shocker there). I will be working with the 2.5-3 year olds. So fun! More importantly I am part of a team. I am looking forward to working with these talented ladies.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I no longer feel the need to blog like I did before. I will post updates as I feel led. I just gave you all a gift. A gift of time. Because you won't be reading my blog as much, you are free to do other things. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sadness of the Heart

What causes you deep grief? What causes you deep pain? Go ahead answer that question. Even say your answer out loud.

Is it the abuse of children? Is it the people that die each day because of starvation? Is it incurable disease such as cancer? Is it obese people who desperately want to lose weight but just can't? Is it a single parent trying to hold everything together on their own? Is it a mother who has AIDS and can't get the medicine she needs so she can take care of her kids? Is it the millions of orphans domestically and internationally that need a forever family? Is it families torn apart by divorce? These are just a few things that cause me great grief. The kind of grief that can sometimes paralyze me. I have wept and continue to weep because of these things.

I read somethimg today about this grief being a clue to God's call on my life. Nehemiah is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I have read it many times, each time learning something new. Nehemiah was deeply grieved when he heard that the wall around Jerusalem was in ruins. He was saddened that the people left there were in great trouble and disgrace. He wept. He fasted. He mourned. And he prayed. In chapter two, the king even notices how troubled Nehemiah is and asks Nehemiah, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." Sadness of heart. I like that phrase. What makes your heart sad?

What Nehemiah does next is what I have been thinking about today. He took action. Nehemiah resigned from his job and told the king he wanted to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah was deeply grieved and he took action.

I often wonder what is God's call on my life? God used Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah obviously cared greatly for Jerusalem. Perhaps his deep grief was the fuel to take action and rebuild. Think about what causes you deep pain. Perhaps this is a clue as to how God wants to use you!