Anders, our comeback kid!

365 Project: Days 69-71 My 25-year old stepson, Anders (Jon’s youngest son), was in the ER and ICU this past week with complications from medications he’s been taking for ulcerative colitis. His body has been through so much since he was diagnosed about a year ago. This time, we almost lost him, and we thank God for how He watched over him, protected him, and saved his life. As soon as we heard what was happening on Tuesday, Jon and I immediately asked those closest to us to pray in agreement with us for Anders’ health and healing, and that he’d pull through this. This past fall, Anders lost 30-40 pounds in a couple month period, and ended up needing a blood transfusion after his hemoglobin levels were very low. According to the Mayo clinic, 13.5 is considered low for men. Anders’ levels were at a 6, and he was hospitalized and received three units (bags) of blood at that time. This past week, he had similar symptoms as last time, but without the weight loss. He was too weak to walk, stumbling into walls, fainting/passing out, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc. This time, it came on so fast–over a period of 5 days. He was still working on Friday and in ICU by Tuesday (February 7th). His hemoglobin was dangerously low. When he was admitted and put in ICU, his levels were 2.6! The doctor said that when your levels get below a 4, you are not only at risk of losing your life, but also of there being permanent damage done, which can dramatically alter your quality of life (if you do make it through). A very frightening situation to say the least. The blood doctor told us that in 15 years, he’s never seen someone with levels as low as Anders—and survive. Anders was lacking 80% of his blood, and his body was shutting down. He began having stroke symptoms in the ICU that first day, and thankfully, they were able to reverse/stop it. I get choked up every time I think about that. The doctor confirmed that Anders should not have survived, and we know it’s the power of prayer and a miraculous work of God that he did. The whole situation was so unbelievable.  First day in ICU. Smiles, some energy, and a ravenous appetite returned after the first bag or two of blood. Anders got a blood transfusion, and this time, he received SEVEN units (bags) of blood over the four days and three nights he was in the hospital, and a ton of antibiotics too. His body still isn’t making any white blood cells, so he has no immune system to fight off anything. They’re giving him a shot with E. Coli in it to try and stimulate white blood cell production, and they’re hopeful that this will speed that up. Second day in ICU. Tired of hospital food. Just wants to go home. We found out that this crash most likely occurred due to too high of a dosage of medication—for a period of 4 months, and not enough monitoring him along the way. In essence, overdosing and nearly killing him. The medication he’s on for the ulcerative colitis is like a chemotherapy/cancer drug, which suppresses the immune system and keeps the bone marrow from producing blood cells.   Second day in ICU. Jon saying goodbye and praying before we left. During all of this, he developed a heart murmur, as well as blurry vision and blind spots (due to hemorrhaging in his eyes), but these things have improved. They’re hopeful that these things will return to normal on their own. Praise God. And through it all, Anders maintained his wit and sense of humor the whole time he was in the hospital. We were amazed at that every day we visited him. He is so funny. He had us all laughing so hard sometimes. 🙂  Third day. Finally out of ICU and in a regular room. Allison helping Anders… and ready to be an RN ASAP. Didn’t get any pics of Hannah with Anders 🙁, but she was there too. Anders was able to go home on Friday, and will be very closely monitored from this point forward, as well as adjustments being made to his medications. We continue to standing on the truth of God’s Word and speak words of life and faith over Anders—spirit, soul, and body. We cover his life, his medical care, and every step from this point forward in the blood of Jesus, and we thank God for His promises. He is so faithful. We continue to pray for Anders’ protection...

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A fun mish-mash

365 Project: Days 64-68 DAY 64… Here I am getting my hair cut and styled at Lavish Salon with Kaylee Graham. I always give her free reign to do what she thinks will look pretty, and I love knowing that I’ll always leave there feeling good about what she does. I never have to restyle it when I get home or anything. She even shows me new things that are in style—and how to do them! 🙂 I just love her. She’s the best stylist I’ve ever had. If you’re ever in the Champlin area, she really is amazing. *     *     * DAY 65… Here’s my daughter, Allison, with her second new (used) car. A cute car for a cute girl. 🙂  I’m really proud of her. She’s been moved out since the start of this school year, and she bought this car with cash – and all of her own money. She’s a hard worker. Jon and I pray God’s blessings overtake her everywhere she goes… everything she does… and this car WILL be a ginormous blessing in her life. *     *     *  DAY 66… Jon recently learned to like oatmeal. Better late than never, I say! Now he knows how to make a perfect batch of it. I invite him make it for me whenever he wants, since oatmeal is one of my favorite foods. I put a little milk, brown sugar, and some of our own maple syrup (from our maple trees) on it, and then on this particular day, I threw on a few blueberries before adding the milk. The blueberries weren’t the best addition to the rest, so I won’t do that part again, but OATMEAL… seriously, what a deeeeeelicious discovery. My life experience is greatly enhanced every time I eat this. *     *     * DAY 67… I don’t really know if Jon was faking this sad face or not, but after about 10 years, he threw his leather “everything shoes” in the TRASH. The side seams have been super-glued several times, and have definitely seen better days. Those shoes and Jon have been through a lot together… lots of vegetable and flower gardening, lawn-mowing, tree-planting, landscaping, oil-changing and car-fixing, car-washing, driveway-tarring, maple-syruping, bird-feeding, sprinkler system-fixing, brush-pile dumping, and so much more. Goodbye, Rockports… you were money well spent.        *     *     * DAY 68… Well, from haircuts to cars… to oatmeal and shoes. I guess there’s no smooth transition, but… look at this back-road beauty I get to look at every day out my car window, just a couple minutes from home. It’s so much prettier than taking the highway, don’t you think? Dirt roads and everything. Ahhhhhh… I sure do love the country.  *     *     *...

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Here I go again

365 Project: Day 64 I registered for my third Twin Cities Marathon last week. Yippee! I think I’m addicted. Actually, it seems that the running journey that I began last year at this time has changed me in more ways than I could have predicted or expected. I’ve learned so much about myself and how much I really am capable of doing, both physically and mentally. One year ago, when I started my training, I remember not even being able to run even half a mile without stopping to catch my breath. After a knee injury during my first marathon, I took a ten-year hiatus from any serious running. During that time, I experienced the healing power of God in my knees. I am so grateful. I knew in my heart I wanted to run again. So, in 2011, I was back! It was one of the most memorable and eye-opening journeys, and life-changing experiences of my life. My confidence was waning in some areas of my life recently, and I was having trouble getting my mind off of some of my insecurities. My husband Jon asked me, “How many people do you know who’ve run a marathon? How many people in the United States or the world have even attempted to do what you’ve done twice already?” Well, it made me think. I have a few friends who’ve run one or more marathons, but I was so curious about the stats on marathoners, so I looked it up. The general consensus is that roughly .1% of the U.S. population have run at least one marathon. Jon then asked me, “Have you EVER been in the top .1% of anything good? 🙂 That’s one in one thousand people.” I laughed a little, and then said, “Of course not.” I know it’s an accomplishment, but when he worded it that way, I immediately felt a new sense of confidence rise up. I was like, ‘Yeah! You’re right. I can do anything.’ I know that God has done amazing things in me—spirit, soul, and body—and I couldn’t have ever done it without His help. I also know that I had to give God something to work with, which meant I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep up with the training for all those months to be able to accomplish the goals set before me. God would help me, but He couldn’t do it for me. If you’ve ever challenged yourself physically in some way, you know that you’ve put yourself smack dab in a mental battle that is, more often than not, more difficult to overcome than the physical challenge itself. If you’ve never done this, you’ll find out quickly that exercising your mind in this way and pressing through the toiling makes you grow and become a stronger person. Your faith in God is strengthened because you see things happening you couldn’t have imagined yourself doing before. I am very competitive with myself, so I’m very excited for the challenges in the coming days, weeks, and months as I increase my speed and intensity this time around. I sometimes wonder why I feel such a draw to keep doing this. In part, my personal goals help keep my mind healthy, active, and focused… and out of oppression and depression (which I’m sure I’ll talk about another time). The other part is this. The Lord is the one who puts dreams, goals, and aspirations in our hearts, so when we ask Him to help us walk them out—and He does—we feel fulfilled and good about ourselves. When we feel fulfilled and good about ourselves, we contribute good things to the world we live in and make it a better place. When we contribute good things to the world we live in and make it a better place, God is glorified in and through us. There’s nothing like seeing God work in your life and being able to give Him all the glory for something–from start to finish. Psalm 108: 3-4 ~ I will thank You, Lord, among all the people. I will sing Your praises among the nations. For Your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Proverbs 16:9 ~ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his...

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Our second week!

365 Project: Day 63.2 🙂 This was part two of day 63. I had to promise everyone that I would not make them assemble for a picture every week we meet for our Bible study/ Fresh Manna group. I wanted to take a picture this time too because my father-in-law, Royce, and my brother-in-law, Jay, weren’t there the first week. I just feel like it’s a special time in our family’s history. We’ve never done anything like this before, so I want to capture the memory with all the people. Back: Nick, Royce, Jay, Donna, Jon, Me | Front: Laura, Hannah, Jessica It’s been such an awesome couple weeks of connecting and talking about God with the family–and what He’s doing in our lives. I love that we’re coming together for the purpose of keeping the Lord and His goodness at the center of it all. It’s so...

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