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photo credit: Phil Hamer

photo credit: Phil Hamer

Russ got home Tuesday night, went to work all day Wednesday, and was asleep by 7:30 last night. He had a great trip, with two wells drilled and lots of progress made on the water projects. Even with my crazy medical stuff, the kids and I weathered his trip very well.

This feels like the first “normal” day in awhile, so I’ll catch you up on a few things.

I talked with Dimples’ therapist today and we are planning her next home visit. This trip with be longer, Friday through Tuesday, and she will not be accompanied by a staff member.

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Today’s Tuesday Topic is from Melissa, who asks,

How do we help our kids love the skin they’re in? My eight year old daughter (adopted from Africa as a baby) wrote me the sweetest letter and picture yesterday saying she loves me with all her heart and she’s glad I’m her mom, and she drew a cute picture of her and me by a castle. I told her I loved the letter and something about how I loved the picture of mommy, and her with her beautiful brown skin. She dropped her eyes (not for the first time) and said “I wish my skin was white.”

Ladybug's Easter Eggs

Ladybug’s Easter Eggs

There’s nothing like spending four days on the critical care unit of a hospital to prompt me to examine my life. Too much time in my day is revolving around my health – doctors, blood draws, and medications that make me feel crummy, but this has caused me to press the pause button on my life and I think that’s a good thing.

Add to this that Russ has been in Kenya for two weeks, and it adds up to a lot. When he steps off the plane tomorrow, I plan to grab hold of him and not let go for a long time.


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