Archive for December, 2007

Thoughts about 2008

Well, this is it:  the last day of 2007.  I, like many others, have spent time this week thinking about 2007 and how I would like 2008 to be different.  I have been serious about this because I know that only in fulfilling God’s purposes for us do we find true joy.  So, I have earnestly prayed for God’s direction for 2008 so that I would follow His plan.

I guess I have no real profound thoughts, but after much prayer and reflection, here are the things that have stood out to me:

1.  My relationship with Christ needs to be my highest priority.  The whole purpose of life is to know Him, and I want to really focus on that.  I have been convicted lately that I talk so much about the authority of the foundation of God’s Word, yet I don’t spend adequate time each day personally studying it.  If I want to draw nearer to Christ, I must devote more time to listening to Him in His Word.

2. In 2008, I want to refocus my attention on my family.  This time of having my children is so brief.  God has given me each child, and it is my duty to invest my very soul into training them to serve Him.  All other things–including this blog, hobbies, and even my interests in helping others to adopt children–are not nearly as important as raising these dear kids.  I know God has big plans for each one, and I want to be used of Him during these days of preparation.  So, with God’s help, I want to refocus on my parenting and homeschooling responsibilities.

3.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  This applies to so many areas.  I allow my life to become so busy and scattered.  There is beauty in simplicity.  I want to live with fewer distractions.  Spend less, enjoy life more.  Enough said.

I want 2008 to be the most joyous year ever, and the only way that can happen is that I allow God to direct each day–each step–and follow in obedience.

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After the kids had been playing outside this afternoon, Dan came and got me.  He said, “You’ve got to see this!”  He took me out by the side of the house where I saw what is pictured in this entry:  snowballs on top of extra stepping stones that we had stacked.  Of course, I wondered what this strange thing could be, and there is a logical explanation!  The silly Prairie Family Kids made a Snowball Museum!  Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?!

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We had a very nice Christmas Day yesterday.  We have learned over the years that opening presents can be hectic with 5 kids, so this year we had a new plan.  We opened “stocking stuffers” on Christmas Eve, and then divided our gifts to our kids in half.  We opened half of them in the morning, and half of them in the afternoon.  That worked pretty well.  It gave us a chance to appreciate each gift, try them out, and clean up in stages.  Then my parents and my brother came for Christmas dinner and we had even more gifts with them! 

So, now we are in the recovery phase!  🙂  We’ve had some technical difficulties with some of our gifts, so that has taken up most of my time and energy this morning!  We, like thousands of other parents around the world, got our kids Webkinz for Christmas, and that has posed the biggest problems.  Their website is totally backlogged with kids trying to play with their new “pets,” and that has been a little frustrating.  I also ran into compatability problems with that website on my laptop (which is what my kids use), and luckily got a nice man from our internet service provider to help me figure out that we needed to use Firefox to get it to work right.  For some reason, it just wasn’t working on the laptop with Internet Explorer, even though it worked fine on my desktop computer! 

So, even though I had great plans for all of this extra cleaning and projects that I was going to get done during this Christmas break, my time is filling up with other stuff!  Oh well!

Click to play 2007+Christmas+Season
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Celebrating Christ’s first coming:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” Luke 2:13-15

Anticipating Christ’s victorious second coming:

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:  ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. ”  Revelation 11:15;19:16

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It has become a tradition on the Prarie Family Chronicles for me to write a special post about each family member the day before his/her birthday.  I use these entries to try to describe how special each one is and how much I love each one.  Today, the day before Christmas, it is my pleasure to do the same for the One whose birthday it is.

Christmas is the day that the world celebrates the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is not the celebration of the beginning of His being, though, because He is eternally existant.  Indeed, He was present at the Creation of the World, and is, in fact the very Creator of the Universe.  He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem nearly 2000 years ago for a very clear purpose:  to be the Sacrifice that paid the price for my salvation.  Yes, MY salvation. 

I was born a sinner.  I have lived a sinful life–just like every other person who has ever lived.  The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that because of my sin, I have earned its punishment, which is death.  This not only means bodily death, but spiritual death as well.  Spiritual death is eternal punishment and separation from God who is Holy.  Do I deserve that?  Absolutely.

 But, the Good News is that God had a perfect plan to maintain His justice and holiness while extending mercy and forgiveness to me.  He sent the eternally existent Son to become a man.  This Man lived a sinless life, and then died on the cross in MY place.  He took my punishment–my death.  His blood has washed me whiter than snow!  But that is not the end!  Jesus rose from the dead!  He proved His deity and the acceptance of His payment for sin by being victorious over death!  And because He is victorious over death, I am as well because I am clothed in His righteousness.

So, how have I come to share in this great salvation?  Simply by faith.  I can not earn God’s favor, it is a gift.  Salvation is accomplished completely by the grace of God and all I can “do” is humbly accept it.

I owe Him all that I am.  He made me, and He bought me–I am twice His.  The Bible says that EVERY knee will bow before Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord.  If we do that willingly in this life and gratefully accept His offer for salvation, we will share in His blessing and glory forever.  If we wait to do that until after this life is over, it will be too late and the consequences will be suffered forever.  Regardless, ALL will proclaim Him King, and I gladly and humbly do that today.  I bow before Him and say to you all that Jesus Christ is LORD.

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 I love this song, and this video makes it even more beautiful!

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I have loved the song “Down from His Glory” for a long, long time.  It has a nice melody, but the words are what puts it at the top of my Christmas song list again this year. 

I have searched and searched for a video of this song.  There is a nice one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZHk-CRTXy8 that I used last year, but it is a violin solo, and I really am wanting to find one that includes the words.  I finally came across a nice recording of a man singing this song that I will post in the Smilebox at the end of this entry.  It takes a little bit for the song to start playing, so please be patient and focus on the words of this great song.  Because the recording does not include the third verse, here is the complete text of the song:

Down from His Glory by William E. Booth-Clibborn

Down from His glory, ever living story,
My God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name;
Born in a manger to His own a stranger,
A man of sorrows, tears and agony!

    Oh how I love Him!  How I adore Him!
    My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
    The great Creator became my Savior,
    And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!

What condescension, bringing us redemption,
That in the dead of night, not one faint hope in sight,
God gracious, tender laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul!

    Oh how I love Him!  How I adore Him!
    My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
    The great Creator became my Savior,
    And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!

Without reluctance, flesh and blood His substance,
He took the form of man, revealed the hidden plan;
O glorious myst’ry sacrifice of Calv’ry!
And now I know He is the great “I AM”!

    Oh how I love Him!  How I adore Him!
    My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
    The great Creator became my Savior,
    And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!

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Last night I had my first try at bandaging Kara’s foot, and I do think that it is getting better–but, it has a long way to go. The toes were not quite as red as they were the day before, so I think that is a good sign. I am so glad that I can check it each day and change the dressing, because that yucky smell that had gotten so strong in her cast begins to come through the bandaging by the end of the day. At least now I can put it in the trash can and start over with clean stuff! 🙂 We’ll just keep on keeping on and pray for God’s complete healing.

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Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.godtube.com posted with vodpod

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Ugh–where do I even begin to explain this one?!  Believe it or not, I ended up taking Kara to Denver yesterday for an unexpected appointment related to her surgery–and I had to take ALL FIVE KIDS BY MYSELF!!  Let me back up a few days…..

Earlier this week, Kara’s orange post-op cast just started having a terrible odor.  The best I can describe it is a dead animal smell.  I called Dr. Benson’s office (which, by the way, is not part of The Children’s Hospital, but Presbyterian/St. Luke’s) to inquire as to what I should do, and they said (in a not very nice way) that Kara’s cast must have gotten wet, but that under no circumstances would they remove it because it had not been 4 weeks since the surgery.  So, they basically said that I just needed to live with it.

So, that’s what we tried for a few days.  We are not, however, talking about a faint odor!  No, this smell was so bad that it filled up whatever room Kara was in!  It just was not a workable situation!  None of the kids (let alone me) could stand to be close to Kara, and that just wasn’t right.  So I tried several methods to “cover up” the smell:  wrapping it with this-and-that, wrapping drier sheets around it, you get the idea.  Nothing seemed to be helping that much, so I finally put it in a bag and sealed the top.  Later that day, there was moisture INSIDE of the bag!  So, the moisture was coming from inside of the cast–not from getting it wet from the outside!

As each day passed, I just got more-and-more concerned about the condition of Kara’s skin grafts.  Sure, the odor was not very pleasant, but was there more to this than a smelly cast that we were supposed to just “live with??”  Even though 4 weeks from the surgery is actually Monday (Christmas Eve), her cast removal wasn’t scheduled until January 8 because of the Christmas holiday.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought that I needed to press this issue–even if it meant someone besides Dr. Benson seeing Kara to check on those skin grafts.

So, I called the office–again.  At first, I got the same old story:  it had gotten wet, that we just needed to work with it, etc.  Then the nurse called me back and said that Dr. Benson wanted to see Kara, but that she was beginning her vacation THAT AFTERNOON!  So, I needed to get to Denver by 2:00!  (This was at 10:00!)  I told her that if that were to happen, I would have to immediately get in the van and start driving, and explained that Dan was out of town and that my Mom was busy with a surgery involving my Dad, and that there was no one to watch my other 4 kids.  She proceded to tell me that the appointment was at 2:00, and that NO ONE else could possibly see Kara at a different time.

So, what was I supposed to do?  I prayed, loaded up the kids, and started driving.  I had never been to this office, so I printed off the directions, and John had to help me navigate this country-girl driving in the city!  And, he did a very great job, I must say!

We made it to the appointment on time, and I am glad that we did because as I suspected, Kara’s foot was a MESS!  I don’t know what would have happened if we had “just lived” with that stupid cast until January 8 as we were first advised to do!  The graft between the big toe and the next one looked great, but the one between the next two toes looked as disgusting as anything I have ever seen–and I have seen quite a bit with Kara’s surgeries.  The toes were swollen, very bright red, bubbly, and disgusting!  I don’t know how Kara has been able to get around like she has!  That has to hurt!

Dr. Benson thinks that the grafts will be all right (hopefully), but now she needs to have bandaging that is changed every day for the best possible outcome. And, of course, this is the holiday, so that means that I get to do this.  I was sent home with a box of supplies, and that’s it.  The main thing is to keep those two toes separated with the bandaging so they don’t stick back together. 

So, we got the stinky cast off (praise God!), and now we have the change-it-everyday phase.  I sure do pray that this all works out well, and that we can be done with this whole mess.  I usually don’t complain much about this kind of thing, but this whole syndactyly surgery has not gone as we had thought.  It wasn’t explained very well, we were totally unprepared for the extent of the surgical procedure, then we were told to just “get by” when in reality, that cast should have come off when I first called several days ago.  I have even felt a “judgemental” attitude coming from that clinic as though it is my fault that this cast got so gross.  Believe me, it was not my intent to cause this surgery to be so difficult!  We were told that it would be nothing, and we have done our best to follow directions!  I don’t know what happened–and I refuse to let them place the blame on me! 

Well, now you can probably see how angry I am.  Sorry about that.  We’ll just do the best we can.  But, if I need anything between now and January 8, I am not even going to call that clinic.  I know for a fact that Dr. Benson is on vacation for the next couple of weeks, so my plan, if it is needed, will be to call the Children’s Hospital for advice.  After all, that is where the surgery was done.  And I feel much more comfortable with what has been done there than what has been going on lately!

Please pray with me that God will bring healing to Kara’s little toes so that nothing else happens…..

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