Monday, October 18, 2010

the dreaded phone call

Late Friday night...actually, really early Saturday morning, around 1:30 am, we received the phone call that parents dread coming from their teenagers. "Dad, I had an accident and there's blood all over". Phone died. Frantically, we rushed out the door, cell phones in hand, I called 911, Curtis tried to reach Derek again and again--finally he did and sort of had a location. We knew he was within 15 minutes of home, but didn't know where. We started driving, Derek called again and said he would try to walk to the road. At this point, we thought he went into the ditch somewhere. Finally, we connected with him and found him on the side of the road. He had fallen asleep and drove into a large ravine. My heart sunk. We could barely see the car from the road, it was that far away and Derek was a bloody mess, his face nearly unrecognizable because of the blood. We brought him to the emergency room.

It was obvious he had a broken nose. Other than that, we awaited some tests. They came back with multiple fractures to the face. Our hospital is so small, they decided to send him to the Mayo Clinic by ambulance. Another journey to the hospital--this time not for Gracie either. We spent several hours there in the trauma room W-3, they looked at him from head to toe. He did sustain multiple fractures to the face--at least 8 from what this non-doctor could read on the report. Both eye orbits are fractures at the bottom, his nose is broken in several places, his cheekbone, and four bones of his jaw. Most of the facial bones will just heal on their own, but the nose and jaw will require surgery in a couple of weeks when the swelling subsides. Overall, he is fortunate, completely fortunate. According to our hospital and Mayo, many, many professionals have told us how lucky he is. We don't believe in luck, rather in a mighty God who somehow cushioned his ride.

Yesterday was to be a tough day for him. He felt pretty well actually. His face doesn't look like the sweet Derek that it did on Friday night when he left our home, but it will. He spent yesterday with many friends...some right here in Charles City...and his new friends at his new home at Dordt, all of them with Derek by phone, email, prayers. The support system we have here is just amazing! Not only Derek's, but our entire family's. I tell my kids all the time, if you have one true friend, you are blessed. We feel so abundantly blessed by our friendships we have--our kids were all taken care of, dinner on our table when we arrived home, prayers be offered up on our behalf, rides, phone calls, emails...amazing!

I keep thinking of the verse in James that tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. To witness our 18 year-old's attitude of joy despite the trial--I'm amazed. He has not had a pity party for himself at all, but is not going to waste this lesson. We believe with everything inside of us that God has a plan for Derek's life. He is supposed to be here to accomplish something for HIM. Trials develop perseverence, which develops I love to see these words for my son.

Throughout the unknowns of Friday night and Saturday morning, we all carried that peace that passes all understanding--we feel so blessed by that gift that can only come from the One who created Derek, the One who created us for a purpose. His power is so magnificent He calms the seas, He placed the stars in the sky, He commands all over all--He also had His hand on a little red Taurus with one of our greatest treasures in it--we give Him the praise and the glory. And the scars Derek may have, the pain he is carrying, it is not wasted, it is not in vain...but rather a reminder of what He has done in Derek's life.

This Monday, I am so thankful for my son. I'm also so thankful for the reminder of Who is in charge and freedom that goes along with that. And the joy...oh the JOY!!

Have a terrific day!

Friday, October 15, 2010


I have been trying to post a comment on your blog, but it isn't letting me for some reason! I so want you to know that my family is praying for yours!! Please email me sometime at This is the only way I know how to get ahold of you :)!!

Your family is amazing--sweet Sarah is such a little trooper with the perfect parents God hand-chose!!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Gracie update

I have been rather vague about what is going on in Gracie's life because, to be perfectly honest, noone really knows! That is...noone here on this earth knows! We take great confidence in Psalm 139 knowing that the One who made her, who created her inmost beings...He knows! He knows each fiber of her being, He knows her days---not only the number of them, but what they are filled with. Right now, today...this filled with laughter, with Charlie Brown, with making eggs, with filling the bellies of our local is a good day.

These past months, however, have had some very interesting, painful days for Gracie. She is battling through some severe leg pain, now some arm pain, and also has had an episode which initially appeared to be a stroke. We are still awaiting answers for what is taking over her little body, but in the meantime...we are enjoying today. When I say she is battling intense pain, that is true, but it is not all the time. She may go days with none that she complains of anyways, then have a day where she cannot function at all. When her legs hurt, she cannot walk...she just sobs. In the past two days, her left arm is also hurting.

We seriously see God's hand ALL THE TIME in her life. He has continued to bless our family with the best caregivers and doctors, here in Charles City and at the Mayo Clinic. The doctor that is overseeing these new symptoms is seriously one of the kindest people I have ever met. He so wants answers and he so wants the answers to be treatable and fixable. It is so puzzling to him as he rules out one thing after another. We spent a considerable amount of time with him last week. All involved do not think this is directly related to her heart disease. At this point, he is thinking she may have an issue with her bone marrow. Obviously, our minds race to does his. The good thing--the simple bloodwork they took is not showing anything too out of whack, but 20% of the time, it is not a red flag. The next step for Gracie is to meet with an orthopedist, just to make sure they are like-minded when pursuing this next avenue of diagnosis.

Our family has amazing peace. In my heart, I do not think she has leukemia. She has something...that I know. Throughout these last four years, Gracie has had many, many issues. Her heart is not good. Yet, she has never had pain until these last months--at her young age, she should not be in pain. As her mom, this is what breaks my heart. I know God made her perfectly...heart and all. I just plead for Him to take away her pain...that is the part I do not understand. I know we live in a broken world with sin and pain and heartache--but, a child in pain is too much to bear.

The silver lining--most of the time...she feels just fine. She runs and plays and gets into mischief. There are times I'm pulling my own hair out because she is so incredibly normal...naughty!! She is taking dance with my dear friend, she just went to her first princess birthday party, she loves, loves, LOVES feeding the duck and going down the biggest slides at the park. Her life is so full! Her spirit is so free and amazing! She's doing things I never dreamed she's be doing...talking up a storm, telling stories, joking around, enjoying life. I, in no way, want this post to sound's just real life. And sometimes, real life is just hard. When the tough stuff happens, we are learning to just completely treasure all that is good, realizing that it's all always comes.

Our neurology appointment was cancelled on Friday morning due to a sick doctor. It is now scheduled, along with a cardiology appointment and bloodwork for October 29, unless there is a cancellation. We have the benefit of being able to drop everything and head north, so we may be there next week--we shall see. She is scheduled to see the best of the best--for that we are grateful. I will try to update when we hear anything. Know that we appreciate your prayers!

Have a super day!!