For the past two weeks, my life has been more consumed by worry than any other emotion. While most people would have probably considered it a rational feeling for the situation I was in, I am always disappointed in myself when my lack of faith and trust in God allows me to believe He is not in control or that He will not do all things for good no matter the outcome.

Granted, this belief does not guarantee the safety of loved ones or my success (in my view) in all situations. And this is probably why my level of worry was just so high.

The cause of my worry was the same as it is for many people; a meeting with a doctor. While I trust the medical profession probably more than any other I interact with, it is hard for me to imagine that they all realize how much meaning and impact their words have on everyone they see. People rarely go to the doctor to hear just good news. They go there for the truth and the reality of a situation to get clarity of what the future holds.

When we went to the doctor for an ultrasound a few months ago, the doctor told us that our baby to be had a slight problem they would be monitoring in the coming months. Apparently the growth of the uterer (a tube that goes from the kidney to the bladder) had grown too quickly which can result in some complications. It was looking like we would have to deliver the baby very early so the medical staff could do surgery.

For weeks we lived with this information with little incident. When we went to a follow-up appointment two weeks ago, the ultrasound appeared to show that things had taken a turn for the worse. The size of the uterer had gone from a “5” to a “9.” In most cases, numbers mean something to me, but in this case I was never given an explanation so I was left to wonder just how bad the situation was.

As we waited for an appointment with a specialist to give us a second opinion two weeks later, our lives were consumed with stress and worry of the situation. It is never comfortable to have no control of a situation, especially when it involves one of your children. As a dad, I wanted to protect my son, but all I could do was pray and trust.

When we saw the specialist, it was clear that this issue was far less dangerously than we had made it out to be in our minds. The doctor told us that this is one of those cases that ultrasounds can be a bless and a curse and in this case it was a curse. The ultrasound they did showed the uterer to be between a 5 and a 6 (which I also learned is the measurement of the diameter of the uterer in tenths of a centimeter) which is on the borderline of a problem, but not worth delivering early.

So in the end, all things worked for good. Our baby is fine, we are all anxiously awaiting his healthy arrival and I am again reminded that my ability to worry will never out perform God’s ability to heal and help those in need.

My Bird Feeder Eats Birds

November.1.2007

We had a nice day outside on Tuesday raking leaves and chasing Leah around the yard. Leah really enjoyed jumping in the leaf pile which was cute, but not very productive. Thankfully, cute wins out every time.

While we were raking, we heard a loud pecking sound. I assumed it was a misguided woodpecker, but I was surprised to see what was actually making the noise. I’m not really sure how this happened, but a bird ended up inside our bird feeder. I think it was trying to get the last few seeds in the feeder and eventually ended up in the plexiglass prison. Pretty funny. We released the bird with no problem and promptly refilled the feeder to prevent it from happening again.

This afternoon I went over the handle bars on my bike. Thankfully I was able to roll over to my shoulder to avoid landing on my head. I still have several cuts and road-rash all over my body. I’m sure I’ll be even more sore tomorrow.

As for the beard, it is coming along nicely…

Dear Teeth: I hate you.

October.11.2007

Dear Teeth:
Hi Teeth! How are you? I’m doing pretty good. Wasn’t that a great meal tonight? Thanks for all the chewing and what not. You’re the best.
One thing though. You know those guys way in the back? No, not you molars, we’re cool. The one’s next to you. Yeah, those, uh, “wisdom teeth.” (Self-righteous jerks…) Well, it turns out they are causing some problems.
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, wisdom teeth might have some problems, but they’re part of the team!” Well, guess what? It turns out we don’t even need them. Yeah, I don’t know if you noticed but there are 32 of you guys. Do you really think 28 is suddenly going to cause us to starve? Of course not.
With that said, I want to apologize for what is going to happen on Wednesday. It’s going to be crazy and probably a little scary for all involved, but it’ll be alright. I promise a steady diet of ice cream, pudding and apple sauce for at least a day. No work for you guys at all!
Please give my regards to gums, taste buds and hangey-down thing.

Sincerely-

Nick

With the sudden spike in my blogs readership (from 2 people to 4), I think it is important to share what we have learned about Leah’s seizures since Saturday’s scary activity.

First off, Leah is doing very well. She ended up not even having a bladder infection, rather just a virus which hit her pretty hard for being such a small kid. She is back to being as playful as ever, only I feel like she is more attached to Jamie and me now. That is certainly a welcome change after the scare we all had.

If we knew then, what we know now about febrile seizures, I think our reaction would have been much different on Saturday. The reality is that despite how scary it all was, Leah really was in no danger. In fact, the only time she really was in danger was when we laid her on her back because it caused her to start suffocating on her own saliva. Had we laid her on her side, she would have gone through the convulsions and ultimately been fine.

When we brought Leah back to the hospital on Monday, we were given a brochure that told us a lot about febrile seizures and just how common they are. Most of that information can be found in this link (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm) and I strongly recommend all parents of young kids give it a read. It is not meant to scare, but just to inform. I know I would have appreciated it.

Thanks for all the prayers and kind words shared through email and comments. We are all doing great and looking forward to the joy a new child will bring us in addition to the ongoing adventure it is to be the best possible Dad that Leah can have.

The Easter Story

April.8.2007


**Disclaimer – I apologize if this story catches anyone off guard. It is difficult to call everyone who deserves calling when things like this happen. I hope you can forgive me if this is the first place you get this news.

Every year I struggle with the same thing. As Easter approaches, I try desperately to try and make it more personal for myself. The mere thought of this holiday, the death and eventual resurrection of the man/God I call my savior, makes it seem this would be easy. In many ways, this should be more personal than Christmas.

And yet I have struggled. I have struggled to allow the loving God I know to truly penetrate my heart on this day. It may be out of fear, or pride, or simply a lack of focus. However that all changed yesterday.

It started as a relatively normal day. The night before Leah woke us up with a very high fever which we attributed to her ongoing teething. We gave her Tylenol, cooled her down, and went to bed.

The next day I was in the office as usual. My mom was visiting from Appleton and went with Jamie and Leah to a birthday party for one of Leah’s friends. As I was finishing up my work for the day, I heard the horn from our car repeatedly. I looked out the window to see Jamie driving our car quickly towards the office, frantically waving me outside.

I ran outside and met her as she was yelling to me “Leah’s not okay!” through her tears. I ran to the side of the car and saw Leah in her car seat, convulsing. My mom was at her side, unsure what to do. To be honest, none of us knew what to do.

We quickly brought her inside the office and Jamie held Leah as I called 911. I told the dispatcher about the situation and watched as Leah shook and her eyes rolled back into her head. This was bad. Her breathing was labored and her body was very rigid.

It seemed like the ambulance was never going to arrive. I watched as Leah suddenly went limp and her lips turned blue. She appeared to stop breathing for a few seconds and as we leaned her forward a stream of bubbles and saliva fell from her mouth. She was suffocating. Now that she could breath again, her color returned.

“What is taking them so long to get here?” I thought, “Dear God, don’t let my daughter die. I can’t handle this. I love her too much.”

And then I saw a truck pull towards the office. I quickly waved them inside where Leah was conscious, but not very coherent. I couldn’t help but wonder if my daughter was going to be mentally handicapped from the trauma.

I watched as first responders quickly gave her oxygen and slowly brought life back to Leah. She was crying now but still had a distant look in her eyes. Was she ever going to recover from this?

Several hours later, after numerous tests at the Portage hospital, we would learn that Leah suffered a seizure from a sudden spike in her temperature. The fever she had was not just teething. She had a bladder infection that had spread through out her body. There was no real way for us to predict this, but all the same we can’t help but feel responsible to some degree.

Fast forward to the next day (Easter Sunday) and Leah is doing much better. Her fever is down and she is back to herself. She even enjoyed finding Easter eggs hidden throughout the living room this morning (filled with dried fruit).

As I went to Portage this morning to pick-up Leah’s prescription, I couldn’t help but think about how this feeling of almost losing a child is what Easter is really about. The feeling of hopeless, no-control, chaos is the Easter story. How do you think the disciples felt as they watched Jesus commit himself to die? How do you think even Pontius Pilate felt as he washed his hands of the entire situation? This man was going to die and nothing could save him.

When I saw Leah so lifeless and limp, I could do nothing to save her. I could not breath life back into her. It was only be the grace of God that the human body restarts from a seizure.

I walked into the house with Leah’s prescription in hand and as I took my shoes off, Leah walked up to me with a something in her hand (as she often does). I reached down and looked at her gift to me. It was a pregnancy test. With two lines. We are having another child.

So as usual, I am forced to revise my thoughts on God. The Easter story is not about the hopelessness, the lack of control or chaos. It is about new life. It is about the gift God gives us through the grace of His son and the love He has for His children.

It has been an overwhelming 24 hours. But I feel as though I understand the loss and gain of Christ so much clearly today than I ever did or could before. Thank you for the plan of salvation and escape from death Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If only I had listened to Ali and His Gang…then I might not have had to endure some serious pain on Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been one to really “celebrate” a holiday as lame as Valentine’s Day, but my wife and I really went to the other extreme of enjoyment; we had dental work done.

Each of us had two appointments. For my experience I had a cleaning first, and then a filling. Really it was more than a filling. It was kind of like gutting a building and starting over. I think I have about 2% actual tooth left on that one. I was actually supposed to have 4 fillings yesterday, but instead I only had one since this one was so massive. Ugh. My jaw still hurts.

The upside of a filling is to know that it’s actually taken care of. I was to the point where I couldn’t really enjoy cold foods without discomfort, so I guess that is a plus. I just hope I can keep up the new strict dental hygiene regiment so I don’t have many more problems in the future.

The Deadliest of Snowshoes

December.2.2006

This is one of those stories that you wish you could undo, but at the same time, it is perfect for blogging.

So today in the office I decided to make the transition from fall decorations (pumpkins and scarecrows) to winter decorations (wreaths and trees). The real motivation for this was a pair of old snowshoes that my father-in-law gave to me. I have been eager to have them up in the office as a decoration and also to get them out of my office.

Ideally I wanted to hang the snowshoes in a criss-cross (not to be confused with 90’s rap all-stars KrissKross) fashion on the wall. It couldn’t be that hard, right? So I got out some string and tied them together. After several minutes of fighting with them to get them just right, I realized I didn’t need string at all, I needed some wire.

Being the burly woodsy guy that I am, I decided it would be faster to pull the snowshoes apart, rather than untying them. It was just kite string, right?

So I started pulling. I guess I didn’t really realize just how hard I was pulling though. That is, I didn’t realize until the string eventually snapped and sent one of the snowshoes right into my forehead. Ouch.

I just stood there stunned for a second. Did that really just happen? I reached up and felt my handywork and found a nice welt where I was hit.

After swallowing my pride, I tried to get some more work done. After about a half-hour though, my head was hurting pretty good and it was already 4 pm. So I went home.

When Jamie saw me, the first thing I said was “I got attacked by a snowshoe.” After she stopped laughing she told me I had a red mark where it hit me. I didn’t even think to look in the mirror, but sure enough, there it was.

Now my only fear that I will wake up with a big bruise or even a black eye from a freakin‘ snowshoe. Great.

Well, this happened a few days ago, but with the current hectic pace of my life timelyness is far from a priority. Sorry!

My wife has been committed lately to going for a daily walk in the woods. Some of the paths here at camp are marked better than others, but she said there are a lot of parts of camp that she had never even seen before.

Well, this is all good, but the other day we had quite a scare. With Leah in her backpack, she had started her walk. After a short walk, Leah started whimpering, and then crying.

Jamie had realized something was wrong and had one of our friends help get Leah down. It was pretty clear that Leah had been stung by a bee at least once if not twice.

Now a bee sting is typically not a big deal, but when it is your kids first time, it is pretty scary. You really don’t know how your kid will react. Will they be allergic? How allergic? Is it fatal?

I’m sure all these thoughts ran through Jamie’s mind, but thankfully Leah was fine. Well, maybe not fine. She cried plenty but after a little while and a lot of comforting she was fine. Definitely a scary adventure though.