Monday, May 6, 2013

A Little More to Get Caught Up.

When Randy was released for us to travel again I got an assignment in Everett, WA.  I was there for 6 wonderful months. We learned a lot about that region of Washington. For one, it is very, very wet. The rains are torrential and continuous. Of the 6 months we were there we only had about 6 weeks of sunshine.  However, we didn't let the rain stop us from having fun. We got rain gear to keep us from getting soaked and proceeded to experience Washington. We went clamming, shopping, site seeing. We even took a ferry across the sound and visited Orcas Island.  We were able to visit with old friends and new and also had some fun times in Seattle. Oh yes, I did work.  Providence was a wonderful place to work.  The doctors and nurses were fabulous.  When I finished my 6 months there we returned to Nampa, ID. I took another assignment at St Alphonsus Family Maternity Center in Boise and had 6 wonderful months working with a fabulous crew. I was in the last week of my assignment and was just getting ready to sign a contract with Medford, OR. That's when life took another interesting turn.

Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

 San Francisco, CA.  2010.  We were in San Francisco the day after the Giants won the World Series.  We had such a great time. Krissy flew over for a visit and we took her on a tour of the ball park and the Giants Dug Out store. Got some great souvenirs.  Napa was a fun assignment. The weather was perfect and we got to do things that we had never done while we lived there.  Randy rode his bicycle up and down the Napa hills and we did quite a bit of walking. San Francisco was one of our favorite destinations.  We also got to spend time with some special family members.  We returned to Nampa, ID the week before Christmas. Our life had been pretty low key up to this point.  Little did we know that the next year would take us on a new adventure. The following is a blog I did when things changed so drastically in our lives.

  01/01/11 will be a day that I don’t forget.  Ever! I would like to. I would like to pretend it never happened. It is so much easier to pretend that live is a bed of roses with no weeds and perfectly groomed soil.  But, then how would I know the value of the people I love, of an ever present God.  I have never been more aware of these things as I am at this very moment.

Randy and I were supposed to head out early to take a load of things to Jennie in McCall.  We were also going to go do some business in Ontario which would require us both to drive separate cars.  I was unable to pull myself out of bed that morning. Not such an unusual occurrence but I hadn’t worked for several nights so it shouldn’t have been such a problem.  But it was and I had lain in bed for about 45 minutes trying to wake up.  At about 9:00 AM I suddenly felt I should get up and dress and head in to the house to get the day started.  As usual, Norma was at work so Randy was by himself doing some research on the computer.  I fixed my breakfast and sat on the couch to eat and he joined me in the living room. I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold and he said he hadn’t felt well that morning either. We were discussing whether we should go to McCall or not. After I had been in the house about 10 minutes, he got up from his chair and started to walk across the room and suddenly fell to the floor. He went down so gracefully, as if in slow motion, that I thought for a minute his back had just spasmed and he was lying down on the floor to stretch.  It only took a brief second to realize that my brain was in denial and that there was something seriously wrong.  He didn’t respond to me and he had no pulse. The love of my life was lying on the floor, dieing. My brain felt like mush.  “Dear Lord, don’t take him from me yet.” My fingers seemed to dial 911 so very slowly. The lady at dispatch was asking way too may questions. “Just get here fast. I need them now!”  “They are on the way already. Just hang on. Their coming.” She verified the address again and all I wanted was to get off the phone and take care of him. Help him…somehow.  No pulse. What next? CPR! Go! 1 and 2 and 3 and …. I heard ribs crack. “Don’t you leave me yet!”  “Lord, help me. Help me do this” Please don’t take him yet.”  Keep going don’t stop. Sirens! I became blessedly aware of their wale as they approached the house. Randy coughed and took a couple breaths, however they were so labored.  I jumped up and opened the door. They were here. But moving so slowly. Why does everything seem to be in slow motion during a crisis? I know they were moving as fast as they could but it just seemed so slow.  They came in to the room and took control. There were 5 maybe 6 of those wonderful EMTs.  Randy had stopped breathing again. One of the EMTs had questions for me. I couldn’t focus. I wanted to hear what was going on. I heard, “get a line in, we need to shock him, shock him!” they did and I hollered across the room, “What’s his rhythm?” “V-fib! Shock him again. Junctional rhythm, Continue CPR and bagging. Let’s get him out of here.”  and he was lifted by those 5 wonderful men on to the gurney as the 6th one continued to help him breath.  They let me ride in the front of the ambulance.  I could hear them in the back. They still couldn’t get an IV line going.  The driver spoke soothingly to me. “You did a good job. You did all the right things.” All I knew was that my husband was in the back teetering on the edge of life and death. This couldn’t be. This only happens to other people. Not to me. Not to my husband.

We entered the ER as the gurney was wheeled in to a room. Everyone was there. He was surrounded with caregivers. So much going on, familiar faces, unknown faces all were there to help save his life. I saw efficiency and caring. The ER doctor hugged me, gave words of encouragement. They were still trying to get IV lines in but he was so sick, so very sick. He thrashed and fought until I finally couldn’t bear to watch any longer. There were papers to sign. Quick explanations of the procedures to follow. Should I understand what they are saying?  My brain was not connecting well. The hospital chaplain arrived. I knew him. He had helped me after a fetal demise that I had cared for a year ago. Such a tender soul, Pastor Jim. Other things happened but I was so overwhelmed that I can’t recall them at this time.  Everything rather blends together. Text messages and emails came in almost continually. People all over the world were praying. Australia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, people around the US and locals were bombarding the throne of God, doing battle for Randy’s health. He was taken to the cardiac cath  lab as soon as they got him intubated and an IV started.  Every time I looked at the clock the hands seemed to have barely moved.  Friends and family gradually arrived. It is so good to have the support they provide. People would question, ‘What happened?’  To say, “Randy had a heart attack” felt so unreal. I felt as if I were functioning in another world.

We waited. Prayerful, visiting, at times laughing.  The Dr. finally arrived with a report. Randy’s Anterior Coronary Artery had  a 100% blockage. They placed a stint and the circulation returned. There are still 2 remaining arteries that have 98% blockage but they will need repair after he is stable.  Time will tell. The next 24-48 hours are the most critical. However, the doctor feels like things were done rapidly enough that his heart has a chance for a near complete recovery. Wonderful sounding words. We got there in time.

They say I saved his life with my quick actions and CPR.  I say, God is good. He saved him from that moment when he teetered on the brink of life and death. He allowed me to be used.  I was his instrument. I am incapable of granting life but I am able to do all things through Christ.  He is my strength, my foundation, the one who holds me up when I can hardly stand, the hand that is there to grab when I need to hold tight.  He is the one that I more than willingly trust my future to. So, no matter what happens from here, I am not alone. I do not have to count on my own strength to get through all of this. God is my strength and my fortress. I will trust and not be afraid. Thank you, Father.

Addendum:  I promised to list the miracles of that day so here are some of them.
1. If  I had worked the night before, I would have been sleeping in the trailer. Randy would have been alone and the event would have gone unwitnessed. He would not be with me today.
2. If we had left for McCall, as planned, we would have been in separate cars and he would have had his heart attack while driving down the freeway.
3. Our very special friend and adopted son Cole, who is a pastor in the Tri Cities, just happened to be driving over from WA and was just outside of Nampa. He was able to come and sit with us while we waited for Randy to come out of surgery and then pray over him for healing.
4. Seth wasn’t working so he was able to let Jennie know what was going on. Her boss didn’t even question but gave her the week off so she could be down here with us.
5. Krissy was able to find people to watch her kids without much difficulty and Josh brought her over to be with us.

There were other more subtle things but the biggest miracle was just seeing Randy come out of surgery with good color.

He is still in critical condition and only God knows where we will journey from here.  But this I know. I am not afraid. I am so blessed to have a Father who loves me and carries my burdens.  I will cry and I will laugh and I will be happy for each new day.  I will cherish every moment with those I love and never take one second of those times for granted.

 May 6, 2013
We spent a full year after Randy's heart attack in Nampa before we started to travel again.We were so blessed to be home with family support and for me to be able to continue to work in a wonderful facility in Boise.  He recovered fully and is amazingly healthy.



Friday, February 6, 2009

He is Our Help

When my children were small I could pull them on to my lap and hold them in my arms to protect them from the hurt of the world. As they grew bigger, I could no longer hold them on my lap but I could still surround them with my arms and give them the physical and emotional comfort that they were in need of. Eventually, as they went out into the world on their own, I couldn't always reach them and hold them to make their world better.

My mother used to tell me that our children are on loan from God to raise for His glory and that when they became adults we had to give them back to Him to take care of. I have been blessed to have my children close by, for the most part. But there have been times in their adult lives, and there still are those times, that I have been too far away to comfort them with my arms. It is then that I have to remind myself, that even though I can't hold them, God can. I can know that He is close enough for them to crawl onto His lap, which is always big enough, and let Him hold them close. That He is able to do more for them than I could ever do. That he sees all, knows all and is all. He sees the beginning and the end and is far more able to give them what they need, when they need it.

That is not to say that my heart doesn't ache for my children when their hearts are broken. When I feel helpless to help them it is then that I realize I AM helpless without Him. He is the lap and the arms that I can not provide when I am far away. And He can give them something that I am not capable of. That is the hope and reassurance that He knows the beginning and the end and He is always close enough to hold them. And so, I pray.

So, dear ones, know that I am always here for you and I love you very much. If I am unable to hold you, I will hold you up to Him, the One who loves us always and forever and wants only the best for us.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forever- more. AMEN

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Don't Fail to Tend Your Garden

Photo by Don Brumbaugh

I finally got a chance to do some weeding in my garden, today. Wow! Those weeds can get ahead of you. I have been so busy I have had only enough time to take a few quick passes over the garden to pick a squash or pull a random weed. There has been no time at all to smell the flowers and the prettiest ones have been hidden by the rapidly growing weeds. I love working in my garden and today was a real joy for a couple of reasons. The most important was that God had a message for me. I love it when he uses daily experiences to speak to my heart. As I worked my way through the vegetables, weeding and picking, I enjoyed the neatness of the newly weeded rows and the fruits of the garden. But it was in the flower garden that He really spoke to me. As I pulled the weeds around my flowers and exposed their beauty, I detected a fragrance that I hadn't noticed before. Lavender! I could smell lavender. That unmistakeably sweet, comforting fragrance. Lavender is a fragrance that I can't get enough of. Because I had not spent time in the garden, I had no idea that there was lavender growing in it. And there it was. That still small voice. "My daughter, sometimes you get so busy with life that the weeds crowd in and you don't notice the sweet fragrance of my love and presence." The message was clear. I can't fail to tend the garden of my heart. I need to spend more time with my BEST FRIEND. I need to smell the fragrance that I can't get enough of. His love and peace is what keeps me balanced. Spending time with Him is what keeps the weeds at bay and my heart at peace.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Am Amazingly Blessed.

I can't believe I haven't blogged since January. I realize that I don't blog very often but that is way too long of a time to not be posting. I can't believe all that has occurred since then. We have moved to the valley. I thought I would never say that. I have compromised with Randy. We are half way between good bass fishing and the kids and grandkids. The setting is rural, which we both love.

I have started updating my nursing skills. I didn't think that I would ever go back. In fact, it seems that I told some that I would never go back. Well, as I have told my girls, never say never. God is sure to lead you in that direction. I find that I am enjoying my nursing more than before. Even though it keeps me busy, life is much less stressful than it has been over the last number of years. I have actually discovered that, although it started out rusty, my brain is still able to learn. Actually, the more I am learning the more quickly I seem to catch on to the new things and remember the old.

I am making new friends and renewing old friendships. What fun! I could do more of this if it wasn't for the nonstop pace I have maintained since moving. Did I say I am less stressed? Really, I am.

In the last two months I have moved, restarted an old career, planted a vegetable garden, unpacked many boxes, (with many yet to go) taken many nursing courses to update my skills, made numerous trips to Nampa, (which is nice to be able to do) hosted family from out of state and close by, sat in front of my window and watched the world go by and have doubly enjoyed being a grandma.

"Yaya", the sweetest word to my ears in this new season of my life. Jenna has grown into a fun, energetic, intelligent and sweet toddler. It has been an amazing year and a half. She is now joined by her baby brother Cole. What a precious little bundle he is. I am sure that he will double the fun I have being a grandma. All I can say is, "God is good and I am amazingly blessed."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Green Pastures

"He makes me lie down in green pastures....He restores my soul"
I read, today, that "green pastures" are the times and places that God gives us to restore and refresh our souls from the wear and tear of the daily grind.

The year 2007 provided many of these green pastures for me.  There were enough that I can't begin to mention all of them, but they were interspersed throughout the daily grind and more than enough to uplift and refresh my soul on a daily basis.

 My Little Funny Face
On January 7, Josh and Krissy presented us with our first grandchild.  She is now 1 year old and has been a joy and delight for all of us.  We had the pleasure of sharing their summer as they stayed with us, so that they could work in McCall, between school semesters. What fun I had while babysitting Sweet Jenna.  She was full of antics and smiles as she grew quite rapidly.  She made me laugh and filled me with joy as we spent time together.

Jenna and Her Daddy
I also got a chance to get to know our son-in-law.  What a pleasure that was. It is so good to see how much he loves his family, what a good husband and daddy he is and to see the Godly man that he is.  We love him a lot and are blessed to have him as a son. He and Krissy will both graduate from college this year.

Our Girls
We have watched our girls grow into successful, Godly women.  The first part of the year Jennie worked at a christian camp's office.  This fall she moved to the valley and is working in the educational field again.  Krissy finished her Junior year of college and the first semester of her Senior year.  The girls have grown closer together and become friends as adults.  It has been fun to watch this new season of their lives start.

My Best Friend
It is a joy to watch Randy as the father of adults and a grandpa.  He does it with such ease and so much love.  How blessed I am to have him.

As you can see, I have spent much time in green pastures this past year. Even when things didn't appear so green, I always knew that God was in control.  He has gotten us through some tough times and blessed us with even more good times.

As the new year starts, he has given us many promises.  He always fulfills those promises.  This I Believe.

Big Sister!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So what words do you hear this picture saying? Emmanuel, "God with us." "My peace I give to you." "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Love and adoration of the Christ child exhibited by not only the shepherds but by kings. Love of the Father, that he would send his only Son to live among us, knowing the pain and suffering that would follow.
Jesus was born in a stable, not a castle. He lived a common life, not a life of wealth and privilege. He experienced every hard part of life that we deal with and every joy. He knew the love of friends and family as well as the betrayal and hatred of enemies. He walked in our shoes. He did all of this because of His love for us. He chose to be the sacrifice that would allow us to live with Him eternally but also to enjoy the joy, peace and comfort He gives here on earth.
Christmas is a time of celebration. Have fun. Enjoy your family and friends. But, don't get so busy and stressed out that you forget what this season is really all about. It is about love and sacrifice, God's and ours.
To all of my family, friends and extended family, I wish you a very special and blessed Christmas season. May it last throughout the next 366 days and not be limited to one brief period in December.
Love to all, Mama Lois