Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The good news and the bad news

We just arrived back home from a visit with the plastic surgeon. Things are still all set to go for surgery on Monday. Everyone is pleased with the amount of expansion we have been able to get, though they expanded the forehead today and I'll do another expansion in both places on Sunday. The surgery is expected to only take around 2 1/2 hours, which seems really fast to me. That's all the good news.

My private fantasies that this will be the only tissue expansion H. will need to go through are just that... fantasies. This time the surgeon will be able to correct the skin on her scalp and on most of her forehead, but there is still a lot of skin that will need to be replaced around her eye and down the side of her face along the hairline (between her eyebrow and ear). There is no way that the tissue gained from this time will stretch to cover those areas. This means that once she has healed from this surgery, we will get to go through the same process again, this time putting an expander under the skin on the other side of her forehead. With that new tissue the surgeon will then work downward. At least he is only talking about one expander for the next time. Sigh. One thing at a time.

Here is where she is at this point, with just one more expansion to go before surgery.


(The headband is going around her head at a place without expanders.)

Someone mentioned on a previous post that H. has gorgeous hair. She really does. It's thick and lovely. This is a really good thing, because when the surgeon removes the iffy skin, the new skin, hair follicles and all, will be stretched to cover it. Because she has such thick hair, this should be barely noticeable once it's all healed. As you can see, the expander is only vaguely noticeable because of the amount of hair she has.

The adventure continues...

Monday, April 21, 2014

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

Scenes from our Easter celebrations of the past few days, with a reminder of what they were all about.

Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!
Sons of man and angels say; Alleluia!

Seder dinner table

Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing, ye Heavens and earth reply, Alleluia!

K.

Loves redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won; Alleluia!

H.

Death in vain forbids Him rise; Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

P11, P., H H-S, and B.

Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!

L., A., and G.

Jesus died, our souls to save; Alleluia!
Where your victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Easter morning

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven! Alleluia!
Praise to You, by both be given; Alleluia!


Every knee to You shall bow, Alleluia!
Risen Christ, triumphant now, Alleluia!

L. and G.

P.

G.

TM

L.

L. and G.

L. and B.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ditto

I started to write a blog post that I eventually deleted. It was too didactic and dull to read. So instead I'm going to send you to a post a friend of mine wrote. Just click the link and go read it, okay?

Seriously Blessed:  Sacrifice

Friday, April 18, 2014

Leftovers

We celebrated our Maundy Thursday Seder last night and are heading off to our church's Good Friday family service this morning. Sometime between now and then I have dresses to finish, grocery shopping to do and a rather intimidating list of things that really need to get done before Sunday. All that means to you is that you get bloggy leftovers.

Evidently not many people write about Good Friday and children because an old post of mine, imaginatively titled, Good Friday and Children, is getting a lot of traffic this week. Take a look if you happened to have missed it... or you didn't happen to be reading this blog back in 2012.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rejoice in our sufferings

The Hearts at Home link-up topic today is "Love Your Struggles." This is a topic that I can write about. It seems learning to love my struggles has been my theme for more than a couple of years. There have been moments of life that have not been easy. Parenting children from hard places has felt as though I had been dropped into a particularly difficult spiritual boot camp. But just like a real life boot camp is designed to turn out soldiers who are highly trained for particular duties, this spiritual boot camp has felt as though it has done the same thing. I am a very different person from the one I was 8 years ago and it is all because of the struggles God has allowed me to experience.

Fear and worry have always been something that have been a challenge for me. In fact, several years ago, I wrote extensively about rooting out fear from my life. Let me tell you, there is nothing like facing one of the items on your "things that terrify the heck out of me and I don't think I could handle it" list to help you learn to combat fear. This isn't because experiencing such a thing makes a person stronger. I have a lot of trouble with the pithy, wrong-headed idea that God won't give you more than you can handle, mainly because it's not true. God routinely gives us more than we can handle on our own. If you read the book of Isaiah with any care, it becomes very clear that God doesn't want us to handle things ourselves, but instead wants to bring us to a point where we have to rely on Him. I haven't become stronger as a result of my experiences, instead I have learned the extent of my own weakness and have allowed Jesus to take over. He can handle it, I can't. People routinely tell me, "I don't know how you do it." I'm still not sure what it is that they I'm doing, but whatever it is, I'm sure it's not as impressive as they make it out to be. It's not me who's doing it after all. My struggles have taught me that I can do nothing, but my God can do anything.

This boot camp experience has also shown me both that I wasn't nearly as compassionate as I believed myself to be and made me a more compassionate person all at the same time. It is unpleasant to learn things about yourself that you'd rather not know, but until you learn them, you can't change. I learned that it is easy to be compassionate and loving when things are easy, but when things are hard, I discovered my true nature. It wasn't pretty. I was not better on the inside than the behaviors my son was showing on the outside. We were exactly the same. You think you understand the need you have of a savior who will forgive and change that disgusting yuckiness inside of you and it's another thing completely to stare that disgusting ugliness in the face. Your own. I am no better, and probably a whole lot worse than anyone else. That is what creates compassion.

It is interesting that in these same past 8 years, I have also experienced more joy than I could have imagined. The joy of adding new children to our family, the joy of seeing broken people heal, the joy of letting go of all the 'shoulds' and not worrying about what others think, the joy of resting in God's love and care, the joy of loving other people, the joy of following the adventure God has for us, the joy of great confidence because we are following where God leads, the joy of having hope.

I have learned through these challenging years the true meaning of Romans 5:2-5, a passage that as a younger person I always read with a bit of trepidation. "Through Him (Jesus) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (ESV)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Music for the season

Years ago I sang John Rutter's Requiem in a church choir. It is a beautiful piece of music and my cassette (!--I told you it was a long time ago) wore out from use. Today I was sitting down at my desk to pay bills and decided that I really needed to listen to it again. Thank goodness for You Tube. If you haven't heard it, take a listen. Gorgeous music and just right for Holy Week.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Adventures in sewing circa 1943

Hmmm... well I certainly don't want to write about the snow that fell last night. Writing about taxes doesn't seem terribly fun, either. Really, I don't have anything to write about because I have spent every waking moment working on sewing this pattern.



Cute dresses, huh? I found it for sale when the little girls were babies and have been holding on to it until they can wear a size 6. Since for the next 10 minutes they wear a size 6, I am finally making the dresses. I very nearly let the moment get away from me. They are tall girls and between their height and the shorter style of girls' dresses in 1943, I needed to add a couple of inches length onto the pattern as it is. Since they are also rather narrow little girls, with the added length, I think I will have time to make the pattern a couple of times before they completely outgrow it.

And I do want to make it again. I have the short-sleeved version still to make after all. Well, that and the fact that the learning curve for putting these dresses together is extremely steep. I don't know if you've ever looked at the instructions for vintage patterns before, but let's just say they're not verbose. They also assume the seamstress knows what she's doing. I think I have spent as much time figuring out how to make the pieces fit together as I have actually sewing. While the dresses are looking pretty decent, all I can see are the places I want to redo because having made it once or twice, I finally understand how it all works. At least they will be easily finished in time for Easter, which is good, because they are not the only children in the house whose clothes need figuring out.
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