Monday, July 4, 2011

The First 3 Months...

Well, our baby girl is 3 months old and she is growing more and more each day. She is becoming more alert and loves to observe the world! In fact, she usually doesn't like to be held where she can't see things. If she's awake, she wants to be sitting up, looking out. She's also begun "talking" more. She makes the most precious sounds and facial expressions. It all leaves me wondering, what does she think she's telling me? A few days ago, she even talked to the window curtain. Those who know me and Jack might say that she gets the trait of talking to a brick wall (or in this case a window curtain) honest. :) She grins alot and enjoys getting out and seeing people. She can usually be counted on to be good at church and other outings, although she is still not crazy about being strapped into her car seat. She's beginning to hold onto things more and we thing she is pre-teething because right now almost anything near her mouth goes in her mouth.

I'm sure most parents have similar experiences to ours, but she is so special to us that every day holds new, exciting moments. We take such joy in just watching her play, make new sounds, or sleep. I'm so thankful for a gracious God who allows us the opportunity to have these experiences and who gives us hope that existence can one day be even better than this life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Baby = Even Busier Life

If there is still anyone out there who follows this, our computer did not break. Turns out, having a baby is time and mind-consuming. I have somehow lost all interest in most things that don't involve Lydia, including blogging.

However, since I am here, I will give a quick update. When last I left you, I was eagerly awaiting baby girl's arrival and it came sooner than expected. Less than a week before our scheduled c-section, my water broke and I had a c-section early that morning. Our Lydia is healthy, happy, and now nearly 2 months old! We feel extremely blessed by her arrival and are learning new things about being parents every day.

Thank you all for the prayers as we experienced this pregnancy and delivery. God has been so gracious to us as we have passed through this time and we continue to need his grace everyday. I will try to blog more, especially as Lydia begins to grow and say/do memorable things.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Almost time...

Back in July, the day after my birthday, the pregnancy test I took at 5am revealed to Jack and I that we were pregnant. Later that day we had a doctor appointment where Jack asked the question, "Is this for real?" At that time, a due date in April sounded so far away which was good. Plenty of time to prepare. Well, here we are in the middle of March and before we know it our lives will change forever.

I am currently 37 weeks pregnant. What a blessing! When I had my complication almost 10 weeks ago, I really never thought I would get this far. I was sent home on modified bed rest and told that there was really nothing I could do to prevent another abruption, but hopefully taking it easy most of the time would help. It's been tense over the past 10 weeks, more so early on when we immediately got home, but everything is much better now and baby girl is still cozy in her womb.

She is breech. She has found her happy place with her head tucked tightly under my right ribs. She often reminds me her head is there when she seems to stretch out a little bit...toes wiggling in my lower abdomen and head pushing up against my ribs. Occasionally as I gently try to coax her down, she hits my hand with her little fist.

Due to her breech position, we have a c-section scheduled for March 30. That's right...12 days away. If she turns to the proper head-down position before then, we will likely cancel the surgery. But honestly, I don't think she's going anywhere. She's been breech this entire time and now she's curled up in a C position and happy as can be. There is a procedure where a doctor can try to manually turn her to the correct position, however the risk of that is abruption and since I've already experienced that problem this procedure would not be advisable. Honestly, I'm ok with a c-section if that's what needs to happen. With either method of delivery there will be pain, I will be scared, and in the end I'll have my little girl. So whatever method God wills for her to be born, I'm fine with it.

Since the last time I posted on this blog, we have really begun to get the house in order. Furniture, bouncy seat, playard, and stroller are all assembled. Clothes are washed and put away. Toys and blankets are washed and the nursery is in good shape. In fact, sometimes during my sleepless periods in the night I go sit in the rocker in her room and read. It's just nice being in there. Also since the last time I posted, I have become HUGE. At least I feel huge. It's funny how things change in these last couple of weeks. I've noticed that strangers who are typically hesitant to make a remark or ask a question about your pregnancy for fear of sticking their foot in their mouth are no longer shy about asking. Also, people automatically seem to give me more room. I was at a restaurant with Jack this week at a time when the restaurant was almost empty. He had dropped me off at the door and I went in to ask for a table for 2. The hostess walked me past all the tables for four and seated me at a table for six. She pointed to the tables for four and said, "I just hated to seat you at those smaller tables, hun." Wow. Apparently I look like I either need more room or more food.

Overall, this pregnancy has been such a blessing. So many things change during this process and the whole time I've been looking toward the biggest change of all which is now merely days away. Although we've had our ups and downs and one of the scariest moments of our marriage in the process, I can look back on this and say that I have been blessed to have the experience. I know the next step will come with new challenges and blessings as well. Thank you again to all who have kept us in your prayers. It has made a huge difference. Please continue to pray for us as the day draws near and beyond.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Well, it's been 3 1/2 weeks since my "incident" so I figured I should post an update on my condition.

Thankfully, there's not too much to tell you. The past 3 weeks have been uneventful, pregnancy-wise so baby girl is continuing to grow where she should be...inside me. :) Each day/week that passes without her delivery is a real blessing right now. Just a couple more weeks and we are out of the "danger zone" so to speak, as by that time she will be able to be safely delivered at home and will likely not have to travel to a NICU. Our last doctor appointment and ultrasound was a week and a half ago and she looked great. Her heartbeat was perfect and we even discovered that she has hair! :) I can't wait to see her again this week.

So, you may be wondering as I have gotten many questions on the subject, what am I doing now? Well, I'm on modified bedrest which really isn't too bad. I can get out of bed and even out of the house on a limited basis. I have been able to continue to work some after my gracious boss made some necessary adjustments to my schedule. Also, since some of my family members have been less than excited about me staying home alone all day, I've been spending time with family either at my home or theirs most days for part of the time Jack is at work. Some women complain of boredom during a time like this-- not me. I've continued to stay busy and with the recent resurgence of my affection for my bed and sleeping, the time is actually going by rather fast. The blessing to modified bedrest for me is that when I'm tired, I can sleep and believe me I take advantage of it. Also, I've been given numerous pieces of advice such as "sleep NOW...while you can..." :)

Thank you again for your expressed concern and prayers during our scare. We feel tremendously blessed that she still seems to be doing well and we are closer to full-term. We know that things can change with our next breath, but we are confident that God is in control of it all. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things can change in an instant… (part 3)

I promise I will not start this blog post talking about how Jack is not only updating the blog again, but has updated the blog three times in a roll!! I wouldn’t stoop to the level in which I would discuss how shocking it is that Jack has posted not one, not two, but three blog posts in less than 7 days. No….I would not do that. Therefore, I will begin my blog post talking about the adventures of our stay in the hotel room. No…I’m not going that direction…get your mind out of the gutter.

By the time we got out of the hospital it was after 7:00 PM. I know this because we were in the middle of watching one of our favorite TV show, How I Met Your Mother or HIMYM for short. This particular episode of HIMYM was one that we really wanted to see because it was the second part to a cliff hanger in which one of the character’s father unexpectantly passes away. It was a very sad episode, yet a very good episode. I have see others compare it to several episodes of M*A*S*H* and I would have to agree. While funny, it also had a wonderful somber part about it that brought a real life twist to the show and that particular episode. I must admit that while extremely happy that we were getting to leave, I was a little bit disappointed that we were being dismissed in that 30 minute period of time. However thanks to modern technology I did get to see the episode even if it was over 48 hours later.

ANYWAY, back to finding a hotel room. Before leaving the hospital, we had found what we thought was the place we were going to stay. Upon arriving at the hotel, we noticed that while it might have been a wonderful hotel, all of the rooms opened to the outside. Ordinarily this would have not been that big of a deal, however per doctor’s orders, Fran needed to walk for 30-45 minutes a few times a day in order to keep blood clots from forming. Having a room at this particular hotel would have made accomplishing this task quite difficult when you are trying to keep your lovely wife, who is several months pregnant, from getting PNEUMONIA!!! After reaching the obvious conclusion that this hotel wasn’t the best for our situation, we drove to another hotel right down the road. Upon arriving, we noticed that the lot was fairly empty (which wasn’t unusual since it was the beginning of the week and a non-extended stay hotel), however after inquiring about room availability, we were told that they only thing they had were smoking rooms. You may be asking yourself, “WHY in the world would a non-extended stay hotel in the middle of the week be so booked?” I personally think that’s a very fair question so I asked. Apparently they had some large group arriving that had yet to check the middle of the week….after 8:00 PM….at a non-extended stay hotel…but I digress….again. Now, I’m not the smartest person in the world, but even I know that a smoking room wasn’t the room for me to try to get for my pregnant wife when we were basically going to have to live out of it for the next 36 hours. So, we kept moving forward and continued to look for another place to stay.

The next place we came to also had a fairly empty parking lot. Luckily they did not have a large group coming in, and therefore, had plenty of rooms available. After getting the best price we could, we unloaded the car and settled in for the night. By the time we got settled it was probably nearly 9:00 PM, and we were tired. After getting us unpacked and getting ready for bed, Francie and I were beat and went straight to bed. And. We. Slept. HARD! It’s amazing how much better one sleeps when you are not lying on this convertible chair that is suppose to make a “bed.” It’s also amazing how much better one sleeps when you are not woken up every two hours for something that really in the grand scheme of things could have been done much earlier or a few hours later. Seriously people. How hard is it to check vitals at 10:30 or 11:00 PM instead of 1:00 AM?!?!?! And if you need to check vitals at 1:00 AM shine a flight light on their chest. Is it moving up and down? Yes? Ok, they are good. Let them (aka us) sleep! Like I said, we slept wonderfully that night. It was some of the best sleep we’ve had in a while. Plus the king size bed didn’t hurt either! ;)

The next morning we got up and went down stairs to enjoy the hotel’s breakfast. It was quite good, and we probably ate a little more than we should have. However we were on “vacation” right? After breakfast, Francie and I went on her first walk. After walking we spent the rest of the day taking it easy and resting. In addition to doing some laundry (as I was out of clothes because I thought that I was going out of town for only 3 days instead of 5), I also was able to get a few things accomplished at work through remoting into my office computer, however the big highlight of the day was the 3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon! I told you we were tired! Dinner was a wonderful meal (to go) from a Cracker Barrel down the street. After dinner we watched some TV and then went to bed.

The next day we were schedule to leave and try to head back home. After breakfast, I packed things up and we both got dressed and started the long drive home. Like I said in the first blog post about this whole ordeal, the NICU was about 2+ hours away from where we live. This time, however I took my time and we made it safely home. During the drive home we stopped in another city that happens to have one of Francie’s favorite restaurants, Chick-fil-a.

A quick side note that I wanted to mention, and forgot to, in one of the previous posts. Another favorite restaurant of Francie’s is an Italian restaurant that we do not have anywhere near our home town. The day after Francie was allowed to have solid food, I suggested to my dad that he go get Francie’s favorite dish at her favorite restaurant to help build up brownie points with his favorite daughter-in-law! :) Thinking that this was a wonderful idea; mom, dad, and my sister went and had dinner there then brought a meal back for both Francie and myself. Upon getting her meal, Francie preceded to….well I wouldn’t call it “eat”. It was more like “chewing-so-quickly-that-people-wonder-if-you-really-are-tasting-it-but-don’t-say-anything-because-you’re- pregnant-and-haven’t-eaten-in-several-hours” eating it. It reminded me of my grandfather (dad’s dad) who would sit down to a table to eat, put his head down (no necessarily to give thanks) but because it was closer to his food, and would not come back up until the plate was ready to be put back in the cabinet because it was so clean.

I mention the event of Francie having her favorite dish at her favorite Italian restaurant because the same exact scenario happened at Chick-fia-a on our way back home. :) After getting her chicken salad sandwich and fruit cup (because you know, she is trying to be healthy for the baby) I thought I had warped into a scene from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. All I can say is that I sure am glad that there were not children around! :S But seriously, she did enjoy it so much that being the loving husband I am, I went and got a second sandwich for her to have later that day.

Once back on the road we made our way home (after another stop or two to stretch our legs) and arrived safely some 3 ½ hours after we left. To say that it was a whirlwind of a trip would be an understatement. I just knew that when Francie was taken up in the helicopter that I would likely be coming back home with a car seat in the back seat, and likely after spending several weeks in the hospital either being with Francie or being with our baby or both! By the grace of God this was not the case, and we arrived safely without a car seat in the backseat.

Since arriving home I have been able to go into work for short periods of time, and Francie has been resting and taking it easy. We cannot express how thankful we are to EVERYONE who has expressed concern for our situation. The visits, cards, prayers, calls, texts, well wishes, food, and other forms of concern have been overwhelming to us. We are truly blessed people with many, many friends and family who care about us. As we approach the end of this pregnancy (whenever that may be), we must pause to give our appreciation to the gift that God has given us and be humbled by the fact that life can truly change in an instant.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Things can change in an instant... (part 2)

Well, we promised you an update so (drum roll please……………). Jack has updated the blog TWICE in a roll!!!! (crowds cheering, children jumping up and down, high school bands playing, cheerleaders cheering, dance teams dancing, and anything else that you can think of that would delay this blog post from discussing what it is actually about. ;-) )

At the time of the previous blog posting we were still in the hospital and had been diagnosed with a “marginal sinus abruption” with the treatment of rest and a lot of it. Since then things really haven’t changed on the knowing-what-happened front. Francie is continuing to rest to hopefully heal from the abruption that seemed to have occurred. However life has moved on since the last blog post on Saturday night, and in an effort to write things down for future reference and to keep everyone up-to-date on things happening, here is a summary of life from Saturday night until Monday evening.

On Saturday night after posting the last blog entry we had a WONDERFUL event happen. The complication that caused Francie to have to be flown down to the NICU finally stopped!! This was a wonderful event, and one of those times in which you get so excited about an everyday occurrence. We noticed that the complication finally stopped around 11:00 PM on Saturday night, so the 24-36 hour clock started ticking then. However, if the complication showed back up, then the clock reseted and we would have to wait another 24-36 hours after it had stopped a second time. Luckily this did NOT happen, but more on that later.

Sunday itself was a very busy day, however very little changed. The morning started out with the doctor coming in around 8:00 AM. In dress clothes, the doctor was excited to hear that the complication had stopped, however cautioned that it could slightly reappear if we didn’t take it easy. We did ask about Francie being able to take short walks, etc. on Sunday because we noticed that the complication appeared stronger on Saturday after Francie took a shower. The doctor seemed to think that moving around was a good idea and wanted Francie to walk around some, take wheelchair rides, and also sit up in the rocking chair in the hospital room. At lunch, I (Jack) finally took a break from the hospital and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with my cousin, her husband, and their little girl at a restaurant close to the hospital. It was nice to be out of the hospital, however unusually painful to leave my wife who was in the hospital. This, to be honest, was difficult for me to understand. I knew that Francie was ok. I knew that (Lord Willing) she would be fine for an hour without me there. I knew that her mom was there and that she would take good care of her while I was away. I knew that if needed, I could be back at the hospital in 3-4 minutes. However for some reason this didn’t seem to matter. I knew that I needed to take a break, but I didn’t want to. It was very strange. But I went ahead and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with my family (mom, dad, and my sister came as well).

Once we got back from lunch, we learned that Francie and her mom had a wonderful time together and Francie had been on her first wheelchair ride. In the hospital that we were at, there are some halls that have bricks as the floor. While it looks nice, it’s a little bumpy for a wheelchair. Because of necessity for where they were going, Francie had to go down this hallway. Afterwards we joked that if anything was going to shake loose, it would have during that ride! :) Again luckily nothing shook loose and the clock continued to tick. After lunch the parents felt that it was probably best that they head on home. My mom and dad wanted to get back in time for church that evening, and Francie’s mom needed to get back to check on Francie’s dad. My sister, though, didn’t have anything to get back to so she decided to stay one more night. While we loved having our family there, and would have loved for them to stay, it was nice to get to spend some time just the three of us. My sister and Francie were really good friends before Francie and I started dating, and while the relationship has changed some, I am so very thankful that my wife and my sister are such good friends. This is truly a blessing that I try hard not to take advantage of, and try to help keep active through us three spending time together when we can.

Sunday also brought some visitors that we were not expecting, but were extremely grateful for seeing. As you might have recalled on Thursday while we were rushing to the ER, Francie’s OB-GYN was in Denver. Early Sunday evening, our doctor showed up out of the blue. Apparently his flight had come in (the NICU hospital was in the same city has where he flew out of) and he thought that he would swing by just to check in on us. To say that we were shocked would be an understatement; however we were so thankful to see his face. We had a wonderful visit and filled him in on the things that were going on. He was so very thankful that everything seemed to have stabilized and that we might get to come home soon. After our doctor (from our home town) left, we watched some TV and an interesting thing happened to me personally. For a brief period of time I totally forgot that we were in a hospital. And for that period of time, it was bliss. I don’t know why I felt this way but it was wonderful and something that I was thankful to God for having.

Monday brought the possibility of being dismissed from the hospital, but Francie woke up that morning with a different (but potentially just as critical) complication. She was having contractions! :S And some were 20 minutes apart!! OH MAN was I nervous. Here we had stopped one complication and another one starts up just as it looked like we were out of the woods. Luckily they appeared to be more Braxton Hicks contractions cause by maybe some slight dehydration. So the nurses told Francie to drink drink drink! Now you force water (which goes right through Francie even when not pregnant) on a pregnant Francie …..well, let’s just say that Francie never really got comfortable for having to get up every 10 minutes! :S

In order to make sure that the contractions were not legit, they put Francie on the fetal monitor. Of course, just like when you take your car to the mechanic, no contractions came while on the fetal monitor. So, like with the other complication, it was again more of a process of elimination than actually finding out what was going on. While all of this was going on, the doctor came in for her daily visit. Encourage that the first complication had not reappeared, and not very concerned about the second, she told Francie to walk three times by 3:00 PM and then we would see about maybe being dismissed that evening. This ordinarily would bring one excitement, however we were just too nervous about the first complication popping back up and the second complication being present to really get very excited. After hearing what the doctor had to say, and seeing how good Francie was doing, my sister decided that it was time for her to leave too. Like with the parents, we totally understood her wanting to leave, however also was happy to have her stay. But my sister, who is a nurse, thought that we were probably out of the woods and that it was safe for the family medical professional to make her way home.

After my sister left, Fran took a shower and this totally wiped her out. Like how you are exhausted when recovering from the stomach bug. So Francie took a good long nap, and I just watched some football. It was nice. Nice and quiet, and again, it was like I wasn’t even in the hospital. After waking up, we started walking. After walking and having some lunch, the excitement began to grow about the possibility of us getting to leave the hospital. However still lingering was where we went after being dismissed…

At 4:00 PM the doctor showed up and we had a good long talk about what the future held. In talking with the doctor we came to the conclusion that it would be best if we spent another day or two in the same city as the NICU. We also discussed what the doctor’s definition of “modified bed rest” meant. To summarize, basically the doctor wanted her to do nothing (except the occasional walking) for a week. After a week, add a little bit of activity each week until we got to about 35 weeks at which time the local hospital should be able to handle the situation if the baby came.

Deciding to stay in the town where the NICU was, meant that we needed to find a place to stay. While we had many friends and family members offer their place throughout the weekend we thought that it might be best if we just got a hotel room. This way we wouldn’t put anyone out, and Francie could get the best rest possible, so we found a fairly inexpensive hotel that had all of the amenities that one would need when basically living there for 36-48 hours. While we would have loved staying with someone, and if we have to come back might take some people up on their offers, we are glad that we went ahead and got a room. Getting the hotel room actually gave us a chance to get some much needed rest. But more on that later…this blog post is long enough. :) (don't you just hate suspenseful endings!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things can change in an instant...

Have you ever said something that you hoped didn't happen and it happen just almost immediately after? For example, you are speeding and the though crosses your mind that you hope that cop isn't up ahead waiting and yet around that very next curve there sets the cop.

Or have you ever said something was going well and then it breaks down? For example you say that your car has been really running well after having some work done on it, and the very next day you break down on the side of the road.

At the time Francie wrote the previous blog post I didn't know she had 1) written the blog post or 2) posted the blog post. BOTH of which are normally no big deal and has happened several times in the past (and to be honest probably will happen a WHOLE lot more now). However if I had known what I know now, I would have stopped her from hitting "Publish Post".

In the previous post Francie wrote "I've been blessed to have a fairly easy pregnancy so far." This sentence was one of those times where life immediately throws a curve.

Three days after posting the blog post, Francie and I were set to go to a Christian conference about 12 hours away via a church charter bus (aka a Greyhound style bus owned by a sister church). The bus was planning to leave around 2:00 AM that Friday morning, and so, the night before Francie and I were laying in bed trying to get some rest before getting up to go get on the bus. While laying there trying to go to sleep Francie raises up and says “SOMETHING IS COMING OUT OF ME!” Now if you follow this blog, and have done the math, you know that “something” was NOT suppose to come out for SEVERAL more weeks!!!!

While not the baby itself, there was something coming out of Francie…and it was not good. Knowing that this was not good, I immediately told Francie that we were going to the ER. After getting dressed, we quickly left the house and quickly arrived at the hospital. Now, in my defense, we live fairly close to the hospital, and it was late at night, and the roads were clear. :) But needless to say grass didn’t grow under my feet in trying to get to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, Francie called our OB-GYN doctor and told him what was going on. Unfortunately our doctor was in DENVER!! Luckily our doctor has a partner who was in town and he was able to meet us at the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital, the entrance that I needed to go to was locked for security reasons. Getting to the door, I realized that it was “locked” (it was a set of sliding doors that just was turned off so that they wouldn’t automatically open) so I simply “encouraged” the doors to open. :) Once in, I told Francie to sit in the nearest wheelchair and wheeled her to the section that we needed to go to.

After arriving in the section where we told to go to by the doctor, the medical staff performed several tests/ultrasounds/exams/etc within a very short period of time. One of the most important things that gave us some relief was when we heard our baby’s heart beat on the fetal monitor that put on Francie’s abdomen. In looking at the tests, it was determined that it would be best for both Francie and the baby to send her to the nearest NICU. This NICU was over 2 hours away via car (driving the posted speed limit). Because of this, the NICU medical staff said that Francie had to be air-lifted to this NICU; unfortunately I was not allowed to join in the excitement of riding in a helicopter.

After taking her away, both Francie’s mom and I got our things together and drove to the hospital 2+ hours away in less time than it would normally take. In my defense, we did leave around 2:00 AM, I had my flashers on, and the roads were clear. Now for those that might get upset about how quickly I was driving, let me first say that I never went speeds faster than what I have seen many people do on the interstate in just regular driving. :)

When arriving to the hospital Francie was already in her room with several pieces of equipment hooked up to her. There were several questions that we had for the medical staff and they were wonderful about politely answer them all. We cannot say enough about the doctors and nurses that we have dealt with so far. Over the course of several hours they did blood work, another ultrasound, examinations, and monitoring of the baby. Everything looked fine. Therefore because of ruling out every other possibility, they have decided that Francie had a “marginal sinus abruption”. In laymen’s terms this is where a very small part of the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall.

This seems to be correct in the research that we have done, and the only thing that can be done is to rest in bed and wait. By resting, we hope the complications of this event will cease and appear no more. If the complications do cease, and remain that way for 24-36 hours then the medical staff will reevaluate what actions will happen next. As of the time of this blog post, we believe that we have just entered the 24-36 window. However if the complication reappears (even to a slight degree) then the clock starts all over. While frustrating, we both would rather have the clock reset and nothing happen then to be sent home and something happen and Francie have to be flown again to where the NICU is located.

In all of this we can see many times in which God has been working in this situation. We see how God gave us a situation where we were already packed for an out-of-town trip so that we didn’t have to waste time trying to figure out what to pack at the last minute. We see how God prevented us from being on a bus on our way to the conference when this horrible event happened. We see how God kept us from being on the bus when it broke down in the middle of nowhere. We see how God allowed safety to each of the hospitals that we have dealt with. We see how God has made a potential very serious issue in which we could have lost our baby to a situation where in the long run both Francie and the baby are fine. We also see how God has allowed us to come to a city where several family members and friends live so that we can have a very large support group if we need it.

God is wonderful and has given us many blessings that we do not deserve. We thank him every day for these blessings and pray that we will use our blessings to His glory and ultimate purpose.

We seek your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for us as we continue to walk down the path ahead.

Speaking of the path ahead, you may be wondering what happens after the 24-36 hour window is up. Well…that’s a great question. Stay tuned because we don’t even know that far in advance yet. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy 2011!

For the first time since I can remember, I have had no adjustment to get used to writing "2011" on paperwork this year. It usually takes me a good week or two (and at least one check to church with the previous year written on it) before I realize that I'm stuck in last year's number. I know it's a small thing, but I think the fact that I've had such a smooth transition into 2011 is based on a number of bigger things.

2010, while great in some ways, was also very difficult. In the spring 5 people Jack and I knew passed away in a period of 5 weeks. Some were people we saw nearly every day, others we barely ever saw, however losing so many people so quickly made me begin to dread the mornings wondering if that day would be another day when something tragic would happen. My heart still aches and I am still in prayer for those families and friends who have had to spend the rest of 2010 without the special people who left us last year.

In addition to the losses, my dad suffered a stroke this year in May. He is making remarkable progress, but there were definitely a few months of 2010 that were difficult due to that situation and it continues to be a daily struggle for him and my mom. It's a true reminder of how you life can change in an instant and things will never really be the same again.

But good things happened in 2010, also. We were able to go on a wonderful cruise to Alaska with my family. That was definitely an experience I'll never forget. It goes on the list of top vacations EVER. And of course the best news of all has been God's gift to us in the child we're expecting. I've been blessed to have a fairly easy pregnancy so far. I've been feeling good and have loved most of the changes and new experiences that have come with being a newly pregnant woman. I can't believe in just a couple more months I'll be holding her and seeing her face in person.

2011 holds promise to be a wonderful year. I know there will still be sad/difficult moments. God never promised us that life would be easy. But He provides us so much to be joyful about, I hope to focus on those positive moments rather than the negative. I hope 2011 blesses you with God's grace and all the good things in life.