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I spent nearly four days in a hospital gown and it gave me pause. It was uncomfortable, in the bed where it twisted around me, and even more so when I was out of bed , holding it tightly closed with one hand on the way to the bathroom. I felt vulnerable and exposed. One nurse suggested that I would sleep better if I just untied it while in bed – no thank you.

I had very little control of my life in the hospital. People came and went, putting medication into my IV’s, doing EKG’s, drawing blood. I was dependent on strangers to care for me; I wanted their help, but it felt odd. In real life, I spend my days being in charge of my little brood. I schedule the appointments, plan the meals, enforce the chore chart, and keep us moving along. In the hospital, I was reduced to a fraction of my normal self.

Hannah and Mimi

Hannah and Mimi

This story was long, too long for a blog post, despite the fact that I tried to make it concise, so I broke it into two parts, intending to post them one day after another. In retrospect, I realize that while I know the whole story, it is unkind to leave you all hanging. So here it is, Part 2. Thanks for your loving words and prayers. I’ll have more to say on all of this soon. [My Slightly Broken Heart, Part 1]

Saturday I had an echocardiogram and we learned that I have a bicuspid aortic valve which is the cause of the aortic aneurysm. A bicuspid valve is the most common congenital heart defect and most often poses no problem – although it can – and it all gets complicated.


I’ll begin this post with the end of the story. I did not have open-heart surgery.

However, I’m  pretty certain this was the most expensive, complex, and strange weekend of my life.

It all started on Friday when I woke at 3:45 am with a heavy weight in my chest and the sense that something was terribly wrong. Intellectually, I knew we were all fine, so I prayed my way through it. As I lay in bed, I began to think about a very healthy friend who recently had a heart attack and soon I was in the kitchen consulting my favorite physician, Dr. Google. [editor's note: Dr. Google is second only to my own daughter, Dr. Hannah.]

working on our remodel

working on our pre-remodel project

Today’s Tuesday Topic comes from Cassandra who asks,

We’re in the middle of our first adoption and our agency just told us they expect we have another year before we can travel to bring home our daughter. We would love to buy a forever home rather than renting and possibly moving several times to upgrade the size of our home.


Not long ago I was watching Little House on the Prairie with the younger crew. I’m telling you, that show is as good today as it was when I was a child. When I bought the series  as a family Christmas gift, I wondered if they would enjoy the show in all of its simplicity; thankfully, they love it. Since we’re also nearing the end of reading through the series of books, they feel that they know the Ingalls family quite well.

We were sitting on the sofa and Little Man had curled himself up in my lap. He was snuggled in, while Eby was sitting next to me, but clearly on his own cushion of the sofa.


This morning Little Man woke up with a tummy ache. I’m not sure that his tummy hurt so much as he wanted to sit in the quiet morning with me, snuggled up in my lap, rocking.  We sat in the sunshine, his body curled against mine with his head on my chest, my chin resting on his curls. It was peaceful.

Last week we took a walk to see the neighbor’s horses and he held my hand. His small hand felt so nice in mine and as we strolled along and it occurred to me that this won’t last forever.



“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

G.K. Chesterton

giving thanks #1291 – 1300

my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Katie

addressing wedding invitations 


The younger kids and I were supposed to leave for a weekend retreat today. I was a little worried about making the trip without Russ. I’m not sure why; I’ve made this trip many times before. But I’m coming off of a hard stretch and I don’t feel quite as strong and confident as usual. Despite that, we made plans to go because I was certain that once we arrived, the smiles on my kids’ faces would make it all worth it. The super extra blessing was that we were going to spend Sunday with Isaiah, and even see him lead worship that morning.


Here is a great Tuesday Topic question from Lori.

How do you balance how much one child is the topic of parental conversation? It seems our adopted child and their severe issues is a constant and stressful conversation topic.

How's this for a great idea!

How’s this for a great idea!

I woke up early, just as Russ was finally crawling  into bed after finishing a project for work. His cold body curled up against mine in the wee hours of the morning. I waited for sleep to return and then finally crept from our bed, made my way downstairs, and flipped on the coffee maker.

I read my Bible, read from my current book, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, planned my day on a lined tablet (yes, real paper) and then opened my computer,  ready to write. I launched into a post on the topic of attunement, which was the subject of a recent parent session at Dimples’ program. In an effort to be accurate, my post began to read like a boring college paper. I tried to fix it, then realized this was all taking far too long. So I saved it as a draft and went to take a shower.