Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And TWO blog posts in ONE day.  One was a reflection on a personal level my time over the last month.  But this one.... is to officially tell you all that Reuben is slated to have surgery tomorrow  I'll send out a message once surgery is over.  Thank you for standing with this little guy.

And really that is it.  It might be an early morning.... so I'll make this officially the shortest blog post ever.  

Thank you! 

salt spice, and WATER

(the formatting on this is a bit of a mess.... it won't let me fix it..... so I'll just let it be....)  .... for now.

It adds flavor.   
And when it is missing, it is hard to not notice. 
It took nearly 3 weeks before I found the salt at the grocery store. Staying in a cardiac part of the hospital means that salt is not easily dispensed.  And when you are too wimpy for the traditional spicy meals that are offered here in India on a regular basis,                               you are given the simple tray.  The non-spicy tray.                                And last night, as I mixed in a little salt into the rice I felt a little conviction in my heart.  K, more than a little conviction.  I haven't  been so content with the food.  And I have been hearing the crescendo in my own heart of grumbling.   Grumbling.  
Yearning for more variety.  More flavor.  More something.

And yet, realizing that I am given three meals a day.   Three meals.
I found myself thinking of the Israelites wandering the desert eating the same thing every day.  

And I realized that it had only been 23 days and already I found the grumbling note.                                                                                         *                                                                                                                Argh.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I would not have been a good Israelite. 23 days?!?!!?                                                                                                                                              But, I'm thankful that God nudged my heart.  And I'm thankful that I have a choice.                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be thankful for the simple tray.  It is food.  It is nourishment.  It satisfies.  

And so, today on Day number 24, I am choosing to be thankful for the food.  
And I am thankful for the salt that I found in the supermarket.  Just so you know... in case you are EVER in India looking for salt.  It is not located in the spice section.  It was up against a wall on a shelf far away from the spices.  

But never mind where it was found... it WAS found.  

And speaking of salt.  

Salt has another effect.  It creates thirst.  

It's a complex process... but a process nonetheless that results in THIRST.  

And with that thirst comes the need to drink.  

And depending on how much salt we contain, the demands on our body. .... our body adjusts the demand for water.  

And that is exactly where I am going.  

When I first arrived into India,   I was surprised by how intense this country is.  

I'm not slamming India.  I am just saying that there is a constant hustle.  LOTS of people.  LOTS of spice.  LOTS of horns honking.  And LOTS Of language that I do not understand.  

That coupled with little sleep, a sick little guy, and a process that was taking longer than expected..... 

There were a few days were I was feeling overwhelmed.  

And a friend back in Uganda gave me the BEST analogy ever!  

Her husband cooked up a spicy meal.  A type of spice where the spice only seemed to increase as more food was consumed.  The jug on the table was refilled with water... and refilled... and refilled... and refilled... multiple times.  

Everyone needed more water to soothe the spice that clung to to their mouths.  Even if that spice was good... 

And that analogy was true for me.  

My typical time with Jesus was good.  But, I was in a land of spice... a land of different.... a land foreign to me... and with that, I NEEDED more water.  The water I was taking wasn't enough.  

I NEEDED more.                                                                                                                                                                                                And that's what I have been trying to do.  Being more intentional in drinking from the Living Water.                                                               And as I have nestled into my Jesus.  The horns have still honked (do they ever!).  The spice has still remained.  I still don't understand a bit of the language.   And the process has still been slower than I envisioned.                                                                                                                                                                                                             But God.  He has met me.                                                                                                                                                                                                           And when I have forgotten that I am thirsty..... I find myself thinking of Salt, Spices, and Water.... and the NEED to get more Water from my God.  
John 7:37

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 

And with that.... Let me grab my water.  

And later on today... I think I am going to post another BLOG..... You will see why later..... 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

God in the Details

Last night, I settled on the plastic hospital mattress and opened up my computer.
I had plans of working on my newsletter.  The one that I have managed to start and stop probably 6 times in the last 7 months.
Being in the hospital with Reuben has brought me back to my days of working night shift as a nurse in a huge hospital in Chicago.  And all the times, I made a ruckus in the night as I provided care to the patients.  When you are the caretaker to a patient (and I presume the patient), you hear EVERYTHING.  The shuffle of feet, the vital machines being whisked to and fro, the chattering amongst the nurses.... the list goes on.

And plastic mattresses.  They are brilliant for the most obvious reasons.
And yet, there is something about the way that the sheets glide over a plastic mattress.
You think you are all settled only to quickly realize that the flat sheet used as the fitted sheet is anywhere but where it should be.

But, back to what I was writing about.
Last night, despite being tired... I felt the push to write.
And so knowing that there is a deadline to the newsletter, I figured I should respond to the push and bring fingers to the keyboard.

I've never been diagnosed.... but it is probably VERY safe to say that I can have the attention span of a fly.

So, I wrote a little on my newsletter.... wrote a bit on a blog post.... and kept checking Facebook.
even chatted with a friend on Facebook.

And in between that, I fed Reuben.  Slowly, slowly the formula went down the tube that goes in his nostril and down into his stomach.  He was a little squirmy... but towards the end of the feed, he was sound asleep.

Part of the blog post I wrote about was about not so serious things.  But good things none the less.

Like ordering a pizza with basil and actually receiving a pizza with basil.  (it doesn't always happen...just saying)  

Or hanging with Reuben's older foster sister and watching her giggle as she ran around a gym built for kids.  
And ordering a FOUNTAIN coca cola from a coca cola restaurant.  
shopping with Mary.  Winter Fleece long socks....
Made us giggle.  I can't imagine it getting cold enough to warrant these....
but.... they must sell..... 

Or ordering a greek salad (with watermelon) and absolutely enjoying it... only to realize shortly thereafter.... that eating salads in India is probably NOT the best idea.  (no offense India).  

That was what I wrote about last night.  And I very much enjoyed writing about it.

But, what I didn't write about was the reality that this time in India is a patience builder.  That it's hard waiting for a surgery that is not being scheduled as quickly as we would like.  A surgery that is so needed.  A culture that is so different than what I have come to known in Uganda.  How many times do I look a man in the eyes and greet them.  And then remember.... you aren't supposed to do that here.

It's a path that is narrow with the pressure of the unknowns, worries, and concerns of the today and the tomorrows.

It is the season of walking with a friend who is foster momma to this sweet little guy.
And walking with Reuben's foster sister

The days are Full.  They are rich.  They are bonding.  And they are stretching.  They are tiring.

They are.... not a mistake to our God.  Each of these moments are known to Him.

And so God nudged me last night to bring my fingers to the keyboard.... to work on a newsletter that should have been written 7 months ago.  And while I did make a bit of progress on it, I believe that God used that time of writing to keep me awake.

Reuben's breathing was ok when I put him down to sleep following his feed.

However, as I closed my computer and settled near him on the plastic mattress, I heard the change in his breathing. The change came on quick.  And it became clear pretty quick that he needed more care.

And within a few hours, after a few visits from the on-call doctor, respiratory therapist, and the attentive care of nurses with not the desired response... I picked up Reuben wrapped a striped hospital sheet over him and together with oxygen tubing and a few nurses brought him down to the Intensive Care Unit.

As all the nurses came around the bedside, I sent out a message to my friends.  Asking them to pray.
yes, for Reuben.  But also for me.  We both needed prayer.  Different needs... but still needs none the less.

He was a trooper.  And I was relieved he was somewhere were He would receive the extra care that he needed.

And as I settled into the bed and dozed, I was thankful for my God who went before me.  And was with me.  And with Reuben.  And his momma.  And his sister.

My God who kept me awake and allowed me to see the change.  For the attentive nurse that was working last night.  She saw the concern and didn't sit on it.  Even God's choice of doctor was sweet.

Details were being taken care of.
And details continue being taken care of.

And so with a heart that embraces these journeys, but also has to navigate the emotions and hurdles that come with, I know I will sleep a bit more deeply tonight as I have been reminded of His presence in very tangible ways specifically with Reuben

We can see God in the fun things of life.... but I believe that we can also see Him just as equally in the hard.  I would be to say sometimes, we can see Him more deeply in the hard.

And I am thankful for that.

I'm thankful that He holds it all.

And with that, I say goodnight.  It's nearly 9:30 in my neck of the woods and sleep is calling my name.


Thank you.

If you feel led, can you please pray for continued strength for Reuben.
For a plan for surgery from the surgeons.  We were told this week.  We pray for surgery this week... but no matter what, that we would know His peace.  And that we would remember that God is in the details and goes before the details.

Love to you All!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Spicy Food, a little lad, and waiting for answers....

Hello from India!  I don't know what India is technically known for... but I would say hello from the land of honking horns, spicy food, and LOTS of people.  We reached here Monday morning after a long journey from Uganda.  Things went smoothly in our journey over.  There was a pause at immigration, but for how it could have been, the pause was amazing.  Reuben did well on the flight.  As the plane ascended, his oxygen levels descended a bit.  The airlines were amazing and hooked him up to oxygen without any pause and/or fear.  Shortly after we landed and gathered our luggage, we went outside and were connected with the man who would be taking us to the hospital.  And we were off.  I thought driving in Uganda was an adventure... and it is.  But if driving in Uganda is an adventure, being a passenger in a vehicle in India is an adventure in capital letters.  ADVENTURE.  Mix that with very little sleep (maybe 30 minutes in 24 hours) and you are left with two choices.  Engage in the adventure or disengage.  I weakingly chose the latter.  (or wisely) and fell asleep.   After arriving at the hospital, things started moving almost immediately.  Reuben was brought down for his first test and I went out to pick up needed supplies for our upcoming time in India.  A lady that is connected with an organization that one of our New Hope Staff is connected with met us and helped show us the ropes.  What a GIFT.  Much of this week has been waiting.  And being.  And chatting with doctors/surgeons.  And stepping into a deeper level of trust.  
Not only with Reuben.  

Though that is a significant part of it.  
Isn't he ADORIABLE?  

The tests are showing that he has pulmonary hypertension and that reality puts an added risk to him having surgery to fix his heart.  The hope is that today we will hear whether or not he will be able to have surgery or not.  It is a whole lot of waiting.  And trusting that God knows what is best for this little man.  Please pray for wisdom, for peace, and for direction.  

Just a few days after we arrived, we woke up to discover that some of our currency notes no longer carried any weight.  Like no weight.  In a country that is primarily cash driven, this has huge implications for many.  It was a surprise decision by the government that was announced the evening before. I could probably write a blog post just on that situation but let's just say money drives a lot of things.  And when the value of money is yanked... it leaves you a bit...mmmmm... unsure.  unnerved.    It is not everyday that one wakes up to most of their money having no value.

He has been taking care of us.  
The hospital has been mostly providing us all with lunch.  
The guesthouse we are staying at is allowing us to charge things to our room. 
The transport to and from the hospital is included with our room. 
And we have a few dollars worth of currency in the smaller notes.  

And so we are waiting.  
And trusting.  
That He is holding little Reuben close to His heart. 


For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."

We don't know how God will help little Reuben... but what we DO know is that He will help Him.  

Will you pray along with me for baby Reuben, for his foster momma, and for his big sister Mary?  

That no matter what today brings, that all hearts would KNOW His voice and presence?  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

About to fly....

Good Morning.  
It is quite early. 
My hair is straightened and my suitcase is NEARLY packed.  
My list of things to do includes just a few more things.  
The sun has somehow greeted the day.  
And it just over an hour, I will leave Kasana and head to Entebbe.  
And later this afternoon, we will board plane one of two that will take us to India.  
This little chap will be, God willing, having surgery this coming week.   He is 8 months old and has a serious heart condition.  An organization has sponsored him and his surgery!  
This is huge.  And it is amazing. 

My friend Kate, another staff member here at New Hope, took in Reuban earlier this year.  
I was asked by New Hope to go to be Reuban's medical advocate. 
He is a fragile, little lad with a determined spirit.  
Will you pray for little Reuban?  That he does well on the flights?  That the surgeons would have steady hands and clear minds as they work on him? 
For wisdom?  
For his foster momma and his foster sister as we all travel?

Thank you. 
Thank you so much.  My passport is down to 3 pages.  It is only about 4 years old.  
You all have been such key parts to so many of those journeys.  
Journeys here, multiple trips to Kenya, and today, a trip to India.  
Yesterday, I put up my Christmas Tree.  And I pulled out the Christmas Spruce tree scent sticks 
And so my house smells like spruce and last night the lights on the tree sparkled sweetly.  
I rest in the hope of HIM in these coming days.  
He knows what He has planned for little Reuban.  
Than you for standing with me.