January 12, 2010
Our baby girl, Carrington, born 24 years ago today, almost 3 WEEKS past her due date. Yes, I had a VERY patient doctor, who believed births happened naturally, if we just LET them. He told me once I reached my due date, that I just needed to take long walks every evening (thankfully we lived in sunny, warm Arizona!) and wait for the baby to decide when she wanted to be born. I alternatively loved and hated him for that.
We named her after her great-great grandmother Caroline, using the English variation of that name. Last week Facebook gave us an A+ for creativity in choosing that name. But in the 1980′s, Carrington was a famous family name on a popular TV show. And, on her first visit to the baby nursery at our church, there was another baby there, also named Carrington – a boy! Whaaaaat????
She was my most difficult pregnancy (9 months of morning sickness), but once she was born she was my most “perfect” baby -and by that I mean… she slept. A LOT. Anywhere. Anytime. When awake, she was happy, smiling, and would entertain herself with toys and her favorite – books. My favorite past time, reading, was also hers, how cool was that?
At 15 months old, her life and ours would change forever. While spending the afternoon at a babysitter’s home, she managed to sneak, unnoticed, out a patio door and walk right into the backyard swimming pool. I arrived on scene totally unaware of what was happening, as the helicopter was taking off with her, on life support, inside. Several days of coma, brain swelling, ICU, and yes after legions of prayer warriors covering her, a God glorifying miracle occurred. Our baby girl survived, she came out of her coma wide awake, wanting to eat everything in sight. She had NO signs of injury. Her doctors and nurses had never experienced anything like it.
We learned at that moment what amazing depth of character our daughter was blessed with. She was a fighter, she had strength and courage well beyond anything we could imagine, and she was destined to be a child of the King and to profoundly minister to others, in His name.
All we needed to do was provide her everything she needed, and get out of her way! At age 9 she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and scoliosis and because of severe pain her her back and legs, missed so much school that by age 13 she decided she wanted to be schooled at home, online, through a christian school. No longer struggling with school attendance, she thrived, and eventually surpassed all others in her age group She graduated high school early, and began college as one of the youngest students ever at the LA Fashion Institute.
Her bubbly personality draws people to her easily, but very soon they also realize there’s so much more to her persona. God has gifted her with a spiritual discernment that is so powerful, she is able to easily minister to others. Friends seek her out for her opinion and advice. She has been told more than once, that spiritually, she is mature way beyond her years.
She’s now experiencing her greatest calling, that of wife to Wade and mom to Capri and soon to come, baby Jaxson. She’s constantly reading and researching and learning from others, including her big SIS. God is giving her some of her biggest challenges right now, and she and her husband are leaning totally on their faith to carry them through.
Carrington, you are a walking testimonial not only to the miraculous works of God, but also as a personal testimonial of how facing life’s struggles with total dependence on Him can bring about joy in the morning, every morning. We are so proud of you, all that you’ve accomplished, and watching you minister to others with your God-given gifts has been truly inspiring. We hope you have a fun day today, with lots of blessings, and may all your dreams come true this year.
Mom & Dad
December 24, 2009
Yes, our youngest, Harrison, is 22 today, which makes us officially – OLD! It seems so cliche to say “Where has the time gone?” but, seriously, how does a child go from birth to 22 years old so quickly?
He was born on Christmas eve day in sunny Scottsdale, AZ, the only birth that day at the hospital. Any patient who could go home that day, did. There was one nurse on duty on the OB floor, and she had just two patients -me & Harry. When I was up to it, she asked if we could just keep our new baby in my room, so she wouldn’t have to keep going back and forth from the nursery to my room. At lunch she brought me a Santa decorated chocolate cupcake… just because. I devoured it, and Harry and I had our first Christmas together.
When we brought him home, at first his not-quite-2-year-old-sister was so thrilled, all she wanted to do was hug him and kiss him, and help me take care of him. That lasted about a week. Soon, we had to keep her away from him, because all she wanted to do was chuck her toys at his head. He’s lucky to be alive. But, as they grew older, they were so very close and were INseparable. He would play Barbies with her, she would play Legos with him. She told him what NOT to wear, he picked her friends for her. (well, tried to, at least)
Our oldest daughter, who was 10 years old, immediately became like a second mom to him, which never stopped and continues to this day. As a little boy he developed a healthy respect for her opinions and guidance, and depended on her to always keep him on track to be the coolest guy ever.
His older brother,8 years his senior, was Harry’s role model. Harry annoyed the heck out of him, following him EVERYwhere. Today they both live in southern California, and are best buds. Harry was very proud to be the best man at his brother’s wedding this past summer, standing right there by his side as he said his I-do’s.
When Harry was in third grade, we felt he would have a better education being schooled at home, and so we started homeschooling him and continued to do so every year, through his junior high years. He excelled in his academics in that environment, and was so happy to have more time to pursue his interests in karate, little league baseball, and church missions work. He even took piano lessons for a year and we discovered what a talented musician he was.
With our move to California, Harry wanted to attend public high school, so we found the best school and moved to that city. It was a new adventure for him – new home, new friends, new city. I remember feeling so proud that he was handling it all so well, but soon he had to face a very big challenge.
His freshman year he was diagnosed with a serious blood disease, and would battle the illness, and all the subsequent surgeries and debilitating physical and mental side effects for the next several years. His education had to constantly be put on hold, as well as his aspirations to play in high school sports. No teenager should have had to go through what he went through. But he did, and we were so proud of him.
His doctors told us on several occasions how impressed they were with his amazing attitude and strong character throughout the entire ordeal. We knew what a special son we had, but had no idea the depth of his faith and strength of his character which allowed him to endure and persist in accepting what came his way every day.
Even though he has some pretty severe physical scarring from those years, the blood disease is gone and he has grown so much in his faith. He is building an amazing new adult life for himself and his new love, Dani. Because his faith and character were tested at a very young age, he knows for certain, that whatever comes his way, he will be able to get through it, with God’s grace.
At the age of 18 he decided he wanted to help other people, and became certified as an emergency medical technician. His next goal is to become a paramedic/fire fighter and will embark on a new adventure in January, as he has accepted a position as cadet at the fire academy in LA.
Harry, we love you, and are so proud of you. You are one of a kind, unique, and special creation, a child of the King. You have grown into an amazing adult, with a beautiful, caring spirit. You have an awesome future awaiting you, we pray for God’s many blessings on you, this special day, your birthday. May all your dreams come true.
Mom and Dad
September 24, 2009
Our little Johnny is 29 today. How can it be?!! September 24, 1980 was a very memorable day at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. It was a RECORD number of births at that hospital that day. Many think it was because of the “snow storm of the century” which had occurred the previous winter (go ahead, count on your fingers, 9 months back, yeah). The nurses were completely overwhelmed. My doctor advised me – if you have anyone at home to help, you should leave immediately. In less than 24 hours after his birth, baby and I were home (unheard of in those days!). His two and half year old sister couldn’t wait, she immediately became his mini-mom.
We named him Johnathan after his dad, John, (who did not want a “junior”) and we called him Johnny. But, by the third grade everyone at school was calling him John because “Johnathan was too long to write on every school paper”, he explained to me. However, close friends and family know him only as Johnny, even to this day.
As a little guy growing up he always had tons of energy, loving to participate in sports like karate, YMCA youth basketball, little league, and eventually high school basketball and the city Babe Ruth baseball league. He was very dedicated, practiced day and night, his coaches loved him. I bought him a subscription to “Sports Illustrated Junior” and he soon became an expert on professional sports, the players, and STATS. He loved the stats!
He could read well at an early age, and his favorite books were our family’s set of World Book encyclopedias. This is Me calling out from the kitchen: Johnny, what are you doing?. HIM: Reading. ME: What are you reading? HIM: H. He could read anything we gave him, and have almost instant recall of everything he read. Yep, photographic memory. I was so jealous. It was an amazing natural gift from God, and it has served him well.
He was the star of his church AWANA group, because he could memorize entire passages of the bible and earn huge numbers of points for his team, and win personal trophies. His last year in AWANA he memorized the entire book of Matthew. I was so happy for him, I told him that God’s word would always be written on his heart, and he would never be without it.
In high school and college he would find his love for music, all kinds of music, as he learned to play the guitar, and keyboard, and studied music theory. He became a beautiful writer of music and would devote day and night in the pursuit of his dream of a career of writing and performing music. He wrote and performed a very special piece just for his sister at her wedding, both moving and unforgettable.
A few years ago, while working as a manager of a local LA restaurant, he met the love of his life. She understands all of his eccentricities, his twitchiness, his brilliance, his sports fanaticism, his crazy sense of humor, and his tortured artist self. Yes, she’s a miracle, a blessing from God, his true soulmate, the girl we have been praying for to come into his life since the day he was born. They married less than a month ago in a picturesque setting, a private estate and zoological garden, amidst all their close family and friends. They surprised us all by sharing their newest talent – a fun,choreographed ballroom dance they performed for their guests as their first dance as a married couple. Who knew?
Like his namesake from the bible, the apostle John, who was known for never mincing words, our John found his passion after September 11. He was so outraged at the enemies who attacked the innocent Americans that day, he poured himself into researching terrorism and the evil that surrounds it. His mission has been to speak out boldly, not mincing words, to educate others to the threat our world faces. He wants to inspire others to not only remember the fallen heroes of 9/11 and our courageous soldiers who fight for our freedoms, but also to inspire others to be called to action. That is, to do whatever they can to promote leaders that are committed to preventing further attacks. We are so proud of him in his love for his country, his family, and his fellow man.
Our dearest Johnny, on this special day, your birthday, we are beyond thrilled with your excitement and joy for life, especially as you begin this new chapter with your lovely bride. Your siblings and your little nephews and niece love you so much. We thank God for all that He has given you, and look forward to many more years of fun, laughter, love, and stimulating conversation. May all of God’s blessings pour over you, as you seek Him in all your endeavors. You are a child of the King, and our special gift.
Love you, dear one.
Mom & Dad
June 22, 2009
The man who lifted my veil, 35 years ago today, is still my one, my only, my everything.
He completes me. He calls me his Queen, and treats me like it. He makes me laugh. A lot. And I laugh at all his jokes. We were made for each other.
When our first daughter was planning her wedding, I shared with her how the bridal veil symbolized her passage from protected innocence to commitment to one special man. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony she belongs to the first man in her life, her father. But after the pastor pronounces them man and wife, and the groom lifts herveil for their first kiss as a married couple, the bride willingly grants him access to her lips, and also, to her entire life.
I told her when your husband lifts your veil on your wedding day, remember that you gave him permission to do so. Through marriage commitment you grant him total access to your life, emotionally and physically. Once the veil is lifted you are totally his, and he is totally yours. She told me, without hesitation, that she had found the man who she wanted to lift her veil.
Through our marriage vows, 35 years ago, we became one. It was God who had brought us together, and we were sealed.
That, I feel, is our simple secret to a happy marriage. Become one. So that no one, no thing, no powers, no circumstances can EVER come between you and tear you apart.
It really seems like only yesterday, I even remember our exit music – “We’ve Only Just Begun” by Karen Carpenter. Yes we’ve been through a lot together, but today I’m amazed that I still feel like that young bride, and I still feel like we’ve only just begun…….”white lace and promises, and a kiss for luck and we’re on our way!”
I love you honey, here’s to a hundred more!
April 12, 2009
My favorite Easter song, you can listen to it here. Have a very blessed Easter!
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: Lyra Davidica, 1708
(Wesley’s words were written for use at the first worship service at the Wesleyan Chapel in London. The chapel, on the site of a former iron foundry, became known as the Foundry Meeting House, and this hymn was included in the Foundry Collection.)
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
March 31, 2009
An article in the February 4, 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine says that Long-Term HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy) probably caused breast cancer in 200,000 women. OMG.
This is the “official” confirmation that the dramatic drop in breast cancer in postmenopausal women in 2003 occurred as a result of synthetic HRT prescriptions dropping by 66 percent after the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) found that estrogen-plus-progestin HRT (e.g. PremPro) increased the risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart disease and gallbladder disease. In other words, breast cancer rates have plummeted, thanks to the fact that millions of women abandoned their synthetic HRT, from the Hopkins Health Watch.
I remember attending a women’s health conference in 2000 where speaker after speaker described the growing epidemic of breast cancer in women. One speaker made a dramatic statement, “Look at the person on your left, look at the person on your right. There’s a great likelihood that one of you will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of the year.” Scary stuff. We all went home and started faithfully doing our monthly breast exams and yearly check-ups and mammograms with our gynecologist.
Many women I knew had their lives and their family’s lives turned upside upon the discovery of a lump on the breast or under the arm. Many would go through biopsies, and even mastectomy. Many would not survive. No one could understand the reasons why breast cancer was on the rise.
In 2001 I was fortunate enough to hear a medical doctor speak at a breast cancer symposium at our local library. He explained how there was tons of research out there proving that hormone imbalance was responsible for so many health problems that women were experiencing, starting at puberty and continuing through menopause. Hormone imbalance was responsible for problems such as PMS, ovarian cysts, infertility, autoimmune disorders, and yes, breast cancer. He told us the huge numbers of women taking synthetic hormone replacement was the reason for the breast cancer epidemic in women over 45, and he had the studies to prove it.
What? How could it be? Why would doctors keep recommending this treatment to women, knowing the risks involved? Why are women not being TOLD the risks involved? Why isn’t this news on the front page of USA Today? This symposium changed my life. I became hormone healthy, and didn’t stop learning or sharing this amazing life-saving information with everyone I knew.
The doctor’s name is John Lee, M.D.. He wrote several books, that should be required reading for all women concerned about their hormonal and physical health. “What Your Doctor Never Told You About Menopause”, “What Your Doctor Never Told You About Pre-Menopause”, and his most famous book, “What Your Doctor Never Told You About Breast Cancer”.
He told us women could easily balance their hormones with a cream that they rub on their skin twice per day for 2 weeks out of every month. It containing 20mg of natural progesterone, which is IDENTICAL to the progesterone that we make in our bodies. He had been treating women in his medical practice for over 25 years, and saw very little breast cancer in his patients. Natural progesterone has NO KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS. None. It’s synthetic counterpart – Progestin- has a huge list of side effects, the worst of it, as we all now know, is breast cancer.
Dr. John Lee had a lot of courage to stand up to the huge drug companies, and the conventional medical opinion at the time. It does my heart good to see him finally proven correct, and the complete 180 degree change in the way doctors are treating women with hormonal issues.
I’ll never forget Dr. Lee’s admonition to all of us in attendance, “Please help me get the word out, tell everyone who will listen about the importance of hormone balance in achieving optimum health, and living a long life.”
Dr. Lee passed away a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in his partner Dr. Virginia Hopkins. Her website contains a wealth of information on hormone health, including the Hopkins Health Watch email newsletter that you can subscribe to for the latest medical information.
Now YOU know, spread the word.
March 24, 2009
Arianne. Jacqueline. It’s your birthday! Time to party!
Of course you love all your children just the same, but there really is something special about the firstborn. Look at any parents expecting or enjoying the first year of their first child, and you know what I mean. They just can’t get over the awesomeness of it all. It’s the newness, the miracle before us, the perfection, the humility, and the perfect joy – an amazing, wonderful, gift from God.
I remember how extremely happy and how horribly scared we felt after her birth, just 31 years ago, today. A few hours after her birth, we were all resting comfortably, and my hubby left us to go get a bite to eat. He was gone for what seemed like an eternity -over two hours!
When he returned, and I asked him where he went, he said, “The whole thing was just too much for me to take in, I had to take a walk, I needed to pray, I needed to ask God to please be with our new little family.” A two hour walk? In Minneapolis. In MARCH. In the cold (below freezing) and snow? I had done the labor, but clearly,we both had given birth to a new life.
I also remember how, as new parents, we worried so about her health, her nutrition, her development, her future schooling, her christian education, socialization with other children. What DIDN”T we worry about? New parents are not just tired, they are carrying the burden of their children’s entire future.
Well, I’m happy to report, our first born is doing very well. She is a smart, beautiful,loving wife to Jacob, and an amazing mom to her three boys. She has always been a natural leader, among her friends and among her siblings. They all look up to her, and seek her advice. I wasn’t surprised at all when her sister told me she had over 5,000 “followers” on Twitter. People have been following her for years.
She has an independent streak a mile long, which used to frustrate the heck out of us as parents. But, it also meant, no one was going to talk her into anything. Peer pressure? Not a problem.
Yes, all those worries we had as new parents, served to make us better parents, and more than anything, it increased our dependence on God. We soon realized that taking on the entire burden of our children’s future was more than mere humans can take, we had to give our future and our children’s future to Him. Surrender it all. And God has blessed us beyond belief.
Our lovely daughter is now a parent with the same worries, the same struggles. We hope we have set the example for her to love her little ones unconditionally, and to teach them without ceasing the love God has for them. But most of all, how important it is to trust Him to be with them, and to bring them a beautiful future. It will all be unfolded right before your eyes.
Arianne, you are still an awesome miracle to us, and we can’t wait to see what else is in store. We know it will be unique, fun, hilarious, funky, sweet, intuitive, brilliant, loving, and totally out of the box, because that’s who you are.
Loving you with all we have, all we are,
Mom & Dad
February 24, 2009
Women who give up on themselves -I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. (fair warning: I’m hopping on my little soap box here, so you may want to curl your toes in, because I’m about to step on some, I’m afraid.)
You know who I’m talking about. Sadly, I’ve noticed, a lot of them are in my age group (50 somethings). But it’s really happening in all age groups. These are the women who we see more and more, who don’t style their hair, don’t take care of their skin, don’t wear any cosmetics and don’t wear clothes that make them look pretty.
Their excuses are many. They try to convince us (and themselves) that they don’t have the time, they don’t have the money, they are tired, they don’t see the point, they’re too old to worry about it, no one cares what they look like, and… yada, yada, yada.
The real question is WHY? Why have these women basically given up on themselves? I’m sure if you look at pictures of them in their past, they were quite attractive and pulled together. And why isn’t anyone helping them? Most of these women have husbands, sisters, mothers, children, close friends, and yet no one can bring themselves to talk to these women and let them know 1) how much they are loved and 2) why they need to love themselves? I believe it’s an epidemic of low self esteem.
If you’re one of these women, I want to tell you that you ARE worth the time, money, and attention you need to take care of your appearance. Making your self pretty is not only a gift you give yourself, it is a gift you give those around you. We bring joy to others when we show them how much we care about ourselves.
The point is, we do take the time and we do put the attention into the things that matter most to us. I think it’s time for women to realize they MATTER, and their appearance reflects how much they BELIEVE they matter. When you neglect your appearance, you communicate very loudly to others “I DON’T MATTER”. In all that we do, we are setting the example for others to follow. What example do you want to set for the women around you?
If you’ve been neglecting your appearance, you can decide to turn things around today. Start small, make an appointment to get your hair done. Ask for an up to date style, cut, and color. The right hair color will add the most to polish your look. It is the cheapest anti-age treatment there is! On your way home, stop at a department store cosmetic counter and get a free makeover. Let them give you an up to date look. If you don’t want to buy the higher quality cosmetics at the department store, stop at the drugstore on the way home and pick up the cosmetics you need.
Your next step is to get rid of all those OLD clothes you’re hanging on to, and go out and buy some new things. You need to buy clothes that FIT, and are up to date. Start with your basics, and build from there as your budget allows.
When was the last time you purchased a new pair of eyeglasses? Go update your style today. You are going to have to re-direct funds towards yourself. Tell your family you are doing this for yourself, and you want their support. I promise you, they will be so happy you are finally taking care of yourself again, they will do everything they can to help you.
Decide you are not going to make any more excuses for why you look this way, and you are no longer going to play the martyr role. Unburden yourself from the negative self talk that got you in this position.
If you know someone who needs to start taking better care of themselves, you need to help them. Offer to take them to a hair salon and get their hair done. Offer to go shopping with them. Their confidence is low, so most likely they will say yes. If they refuse, that will be your opening to say to them, “YOU matter to me, I want you to matter to yourself. Let me help you.”
Everyone knows that when you LOOK better on the outside, you FEEL better on the inside. And the reason that is true is because by improving your appearance, you have recognized the importance of YOU. You DO matter, and that’s worth celebrating!
Climbing down off soap box now… :)
February 16, 2009
We got a phone text last night from our son, Harrison, who works as EMT in LA County:
“I just gave CPR for almost 20 minutes to a man on Mt Baldy in the middle of an icy street.”
OMG. Just the thought of him in such a life and death situation immediately sent my heart racing.
I asked, are you ok? and his reply, YEP.
He was texting us from his Valentine’s Day dinner date, where he went after the experienced was over. Today we were able to speak with him.
He had the day off, so he and his friend decided to take a drive up in the mountains, to Mt. Baldy, just outside of LA, to see the newly fallen snow. As they arrived into the little downtown area traffic was stopped, and he could see about 3 cars ahead of him. Some people were removing a man from a car. When he saw what was happening, he thought, “they are probably getting ready to do CPR on the guy”. He immediately got out of the car and ran up to see if they needed his help.
There were a few people attending the patient, they told him the guy was having an apparent heart attack. Harry told them he was an EMT and asked if they wanted his help, to which they said YES!
The man was laid out in the cold icy street, next to his car (with his two children inside), and Harry started chest compressions. Within about 10 minutes a local fire truck arrived, but there were no EMT’s or Paramedics on board. Fortunately they did have an AED device, a portable defibrillator. Harry hooked the guy up to the monitor and could see his heart beat and pulse. Harry said he used the defibrillator paddles on the man several times trying to get his heart going again. Another 10-15 minutes passed, when the ambulance/paramedics arrived. When Harry turned the care of the patient over to them, the man did have a pulse and was breathing.
Harry said he didn’t know what the ultimate outcome was, but he says (modestly) “If I hadn’t been there, the guy wouldn’t have made it.
Then I asked him, so how does this make you feel, as you think about what happened the day before? His response, “I feel very special, I feel like God put me in a situation where I could use my training and gifts to help save a life.”
He’s also talked a guy down from the ledge, who was ready to take his own life. He’s handled medical emergencies at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena as a volunteer for the Red Cross. Even on his flight to visit us recently, the crew asked if there were any medical professionals on board to help them with a diabetic patient, and Harry was the one who came forward to help her.
He decided a few months ago to pursue advanced training in first responder emergency care, and will be attending Paramedic School in LA in March. I think he’s ready.
Thank you Harry, and thanks to all the other emergency personnel who are there for us every day when we need them. We are so proud.
As parents, we never know for sure how our adult children will be able to handle themselves when the stresses of life come down on them. So far, with all of our four, we we have seen them come under some pretty stressful circumstances, and each time we were so proud of how well they handled it. All those years of teaching them the best we knew how, now we are seeing the results. It’s very gratifying and yet so humbling all at the same time.
January 28, 2009
Wow, what a powerful quote. It really impacted me today. Such a negative force in our lives, perfection begins ever so subtly, but then, before we know it, completely takes over.
I love this post from Cindy LaFerle, on how we have to learn to embrace imperfection, or as she puts it, “at least shake hands with it” to live a more fulfilled life. Thank you Cindy for this powerful reminder.
It’s just a simple garden plaque, but I knew I had to order one as soon as I saw it in a mail-order catalog. Handcrafted from terra cotta, it announces in plain bold letters: EMBRACE IMPERFECTION.
I bought it to hang on a brick wall near the patio. But somehow, it looked out of place with the other ceramic plaques my husband and I had collected from summer art fairs. It was a little too perfect and needed some crafty touches — a few dabs of paint here and there to make it look old and weathered. Never one to argue, my artistic husband gave the plaque a nice patina and hung it where I would see it from the garden room window.
Now that I think about it, I should have ordered several to post all over the house.
Read the rest of the article here.