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Monday, March 28, 2011

Another foot forward...

Just a quick note...
Allen is progressing well. His short term memory is sketchy. That will return. He is stronger every day. He is now going room to room on his own. It was white knuckles not following him, but Jamie encouraged me that he needed this independence. This morning I woke up as he was walking out of the bathroom, so he's doing well.

I am now a working woman. Allen is on long-term disability, but that doesn't quite cut it financially. God is good because a few months ago when I was contemplating about going back to work and what I would do and troubled because I can't leave him and I want to be a stay-at-home mom still... God brought Mark and Tammy Jo to me as they had my name in their hearts and heads for a dispatcher for their business. I can do this from home and as the business grows I'll work more, but still be home most of the time. Our God is an AWESOME God. Well, when they first mentioned it I was willing to start whenever, but knew that I was needed with Allen a lot at that time. They weren't ready for me then, but ... now is the time and it's God's perfect timing, as usual. So... I begin. I'm excited about doing it and about staying home. I'm a homebody and always have been. I'm so grateful.

And... please pray... we are making decisions about Erin's education. We have asked God to make the decision and part of it should be made this week, so please ask God to make our paths clear. With me working and caring for Allen and Jamie starting an excellerated college program to finish her Bachelor's, Erin could be schooled at home, but we believe maybe God is wanting something different. She has been wanting to try out 'regular school'. I think she needs some of the things it would provide her. We do not believe that traditional public school will be where she'll be so God will work out all the details.

I've continued to hear how people are still praying for Allen and our family and I am so grateful. Thank you all for being such dear friends and loved ones. Thank you for checking in on us through my blog. I don't intend to discontinue it because it so good for me to journal it and others still want to know how he's progressing. May God continue to bless you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daddy's girls...

Allen is still improving all the time. He is wanting more independence and that is good as long as he is safe. He walked 86 feet the other day with the therapist. The doctor is pleased with his progress and doesn't need to see him for 2 months unless we need him sooner. Now, we just keep going forward, trusting God and waiting on Him to complete the good work He began in Allen.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

I want to take some time to thank the good Lord and recognize my daughters. We have been very blessed with our precious children, but it hasn't always been easy. We've always loved each other, but there were times they didn't like us very much and I know it was mutual. Growing up is hard and kids want to have control over their lives, comings and goings, decisions, etc. Parents want to save them from serious mistakes and unfortunately, we aren't always able to accomplish that. But there is one thing that I know for sure. Parents can't go where kids choose to go sometimes, but God never leaves them and he uses every experience they have to create a beautiful person.
One of those beautiful people is our eldest, Jamie. She has come full circle and all of her precious traits she had as a child were formed together with all the experience that God used. When the direction she was going was not where she ultimately wanted to be, she decided (after we offered) to come home and go back to school to finish her teaching degree. Though a gifted graphic designer, her heart is in education, especially history and literature. She felt bad starting over, but she didn't know at the time that it was God directing her home because we needed each other. That was a month or so before Allen's stroke. She has been such a blessing... She spent many hours talking to and reading to, praying for and singing to her Daddy. She believed God and wouldn't let go of the fact that God wasn't finished with Daddy on earth, that he was going to raise him up so he could testify to God's goodness and miracles. Spiritually, she has held me up, prayed, encouraged. Emotionally, she made sure I didn't have to carry any more than I had to. And physically, she has kept the house going, kept Erin doing her school work and has reorganized and accomplished so many repairs and remodels that also encourages my soul. All this, while keeping her online classes up, too. I will never be able to tell her how much her just being here has meant to me, plus all the help she has provided. Thank you, Jesus, for my firstborn.

Our second, who was the baby for 15 years, is Christy Anne (or as my momma called her- Christy-annity). Christy is my researcher. She has spent countless hours getting information for us for Allen's care in hospitals and other facilities, talked to many people on the phone and kept up with all of our bills until I could take it over. She was willing to take it indefinitely, but she has done all this while preparing for and going to college, taking care of our grandbaby and son-in-love and living 1/2 hour away. Besides that she would lie on the bed with me and hold me when I cried, like both the other girls did. She understood from the depths of her soul the loss I was feeling, especially when I thought the Lord would be taking Allen home to heaven. Losing our precious Baby Bear tore her apart as the Lord mended her back together with words of understanding and feeling that makes her able to help others carry their heartbreak. She knows how to keep standing when God says, "No." And then without a doubt, I appreciate that she brought more love into our home with Peter and Betsy. God didn't give me a son by birth, but he was chosen. Betsy, she is such a precious treasure to spread such happiness like star dust. Thank you, Jesus, for my secondborn.

Our baby, who is not a baby anymore, is Erin. We waited many years for God to bless our lives with her. She has many traits similar to Jamie and Christy, but she is her own person, too. Just her presence held me up. She was hopeful when I felt hopeless. She helped me to know that no matter what happened, even if the Lord took Daddy home, we would be all right. She stayed with me, distracting me when I needed distractions, helping me with whatever I needed as I needed it. I could compare her to a comfortable pillow, you know, the one you take with you wherever you travel. You can't rest without it. She's not a mattress that carried me weight. She was where I put my head to rest and be comforted. Thank you, Jesus, for my baby.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It Was Chili Today, But It's a Gnocchi Noche


Great day... my brother Charlie flew down Monday and will be here a few days. We visited... Allen, Charlie, Jamie, Erin, Christy, Peter and Betsy... most of the day. Allen has PT and was tested by the therapist to score his improvement, which was awesome! He went from barely making it with rests 50 feet of walking and needing the wheel chair quickly (last week) to 75 feet and didn't stop or seem tired when he sat down in his recliner. He passed all the other tests well and though he still has lots of improvement, he is so, so much stronger and more balanced now. (still needs a spotter)

Next was lunch. I love making beans. Not just because I love beans and cornbread, but because I can turn them into Chili next. It's like when I made roasts often when Jamie was little. She loved it when it turned the leftovers into stew. So, she asked if couldn't just skip the roast, potatoes and carrots only step and just add the stew vegies in right away. Well, yesterday I turned the leftover beans into chili with cornbread..mmmm. So good. And still leftovers, so today I added a jar of homemade canned beans Jamie and I put up several months ago to the chili and cooked some really good hot dogs, added grated cheddar and grilled onions.... awesome chili dogs! Can you believe after I fed the crew there was still chili left! I'm not adding anything else in to stretch it. We're just going to eat it up and be done with it. Alas, dear Chili, I knew you well! Tomorrow, Peter is grilling steaks for lunch!

Later today, Allen's speech therapist came and again, Allen was so clear in his answers and explanations. Lori is an exceptional speech pathologist and draws Allen out so well. After the great day, I asked Allen if he'd like us to all go out and eat at Olive Garden and we did! He did exceptionally well. He only ate a bowl of chicken and gnocchi soup, but he enjoyed it. We came home and he passed out in his chair and we barely made it to bed. Snoresville tonight.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Call me Spot?

Allen keeps forgetting that he can't get up without a 'spotter'. He walks really well with the walker and is getting stronger standing without it, but on occasion he loses his balance and down he goes. I was in the girls' bedroom tonight 'snuggling' Erin before bed and hear the 'smack' when he went down. He hasn't done any serious damage, but I don't want him to keep falling. He's sore and has a few bruises. He's active enough now that I couldn't even use a bell on him (thanks anyway, MaryLeah). I'm at a loss other than somebody has to be in the livingroom with him at all times. I park his wheel chair next to the bed at night so he won't get out without asking me to move it, but I may have to tie him in the recliner! Just kidding. He is remembering that he's fallen before. The first few times he didn't remember that, so maybe this time....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peculiar People? Our Friends?

“But ye are a chosen generation,a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light ” (1 Peter 2:9, KJV,emphasis added)

Allen and I had our first venture out to Home Church tonight. Paul and Debbie lead it and we were at the Andreatos' home. Lots of memories to snag on to there and he had a good time, as I did. During the prayer when we were standing, he stood up, Erin on one side and me on the other and he stood there a good five minutes before he got too tired. He sat up well, stood up well, and handled the greetings and chatting well. We were there an hour late and left after an hour. It was a good start! Praise the Lord!!! The scripture reference is from Paul's word for us, calling us 'peculiar people'... LOL

Guess what? Allen sees the gastro doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will have the peg tube removed then! Yea!!! I've got to admit it's been good to make sure he was hydrated enough, but over the last week or so he's been drinking more water and liquids in general, so we're good.

God is good... God is good... God is good ... All the Time!!!! Keep our home church friends Joan and Dennis in your prayers. She is battling cancer with chemo and had back surgery to boot. And for Hilda and David as she has been battling cancer for years. Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is too difficult for God!

PS.... GUESS WHAT???? Betsy used the potty for the first time!!!! Yea!!!!!!! (sorry, had to have a Grammy moment)

Monday, March 7, 2011

another fall... but good news

I woke up to Allen falling in the bathroom. Yep, he said he could make it on his own and he almost did. The great news is... no damage other than a little soreness AND he got up pretty easy. I barely helped. He's getting so strong. God is an awesome God!!!
Ps... that night he fell again... darn it! We gotta stop this!