Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
Mother Teresa

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I spent some time over our spring break cleaning out and giving away. Why do we always find that such a hard charge...

the struggle of letting go while memories twirl around us like snowflakes and we elusively try to capture and hold onto them. Oh, the mama's heart pain of letting go while at the same time trying to completely embrace the moment we are in.

I opened one big tall box of dresses...beautifully, delicately smocked with love by my best friend. And I remember. Worn often now, but stored first at at time when my heart literally ached for one more little girl to follow her one sister and five brothers.

Dresses my hands had hung up while my throat burned heavy and everything blurred, dresses of an only daughter with five brothers. Little pieces of lace and french sewn knots I had once sealed up in a box with prayers for giggles and and curls and one more girl.

It was just the beginning. So many blessings. The beautiful girl that spun around in those dresses grew lovely and mature, and those boys grew into manhood. And God blessed my dreams.

Not perfection, but more like messy and unfinished, in process, growing, becoming...

And when not one, but three-more-prayed-for-girls popped downstairs later Saturday afternoon ready to head out, one happily twirled a long ago smocked dress skirt for us. And the lump in my throat caught hard.

The unexpected moments stun you. When, like the stillness of my camera before I shoot, all stands quiet for a moment. You remember. And you wonder where all the time went. You question. Did you soak up every prayed for, wished for minute?...

Why is it when we wake to all that is keenly right in life that we ache sting instead of feeling exquisite joy?

How does a mama heart grieve the passing of her babies but not miss the the joy of her children now?

How does a heart sorrow over the time forever gone and still be present to the wonder of the time that is now?

How to do we let go of what once was and accept what now is?

As I quickly swiped my tear, I whispered to Kimber. "'Member you promised me you you wouldn't grow anymore!"

And she in her sprite-full, wavy haired wisdom said.."oh, but I have to...cause you know I am becoming a dancer and I want to be in a big company someday"...

As Kylie eagerly reminded of her latest dream to become a neurosurgeon,

and little bit piped in that she wants to be a cooker girl and marry daddy.

Time,... elusive, coming, going, reminding, making accountable, unstoppable.

The following hours spent wrapping my head around that little interlude brought a bit of clarity.

Grateful...that's it...the only emotion that can bring those distinct opposites together. A polarizing word.

Your soul can be grateful in those heart flipping memories, even the hard ones. He was the conductor then.

And you can be grateful in the magic of this very moment. He is the conductor now.

Thankful for both. Thankful in both.

Life as a symphony, with many opus'. Some dissonant, some exhilarating, some restful.

Pausing to listen and focus on a bit of the symphony was good for my soul.

And I know the next notes are coming, even as the grace notes of the last opus sound softly in the background. Makes for a beautiful dance.

Grateful today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011



Sunday, March 27, 2011

tasting spring

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

first times

It happened last night. Our first Quynh accident. A little one in the scheme of things....but oh, how it hurt.

And Hurt Daddy worse than Quynh...cause he was her protector, and he messed up. Isn't that just the way of parenting...

I have vowed to take the "hurry up" out of spring break and savor the little spots like a good butter cream mint. So, a walk and picture shoot with our pups seemed like a great late dusk "wrapper up" to the day. Both girls were stoked about it., and our sturdy jogging stroller has just been awaiting it's first spring eve walk.

We are a buckle up family...for everything! Not even 30 seconds in a booster seat without a buckle up. Its an OCD rule. But, we humans make mistakes, and Daddy didn't buckle up his girl...his little strong gal that insisted on holding the leash to our rambunctious "Chase" as they walked. She comfortably reclined deeply in her jog stroller.

Isn't it fun to just watch kids...they take it all in...the stuff growing in the cracks of the sidewalk, the new growth on the tree, the first stars popping out to say hi...

Until they were interrupted by a curious Chase that pulled the reigns a bit too hard and out tousled
Quynh, arms flying to catch herself before a nose splash into the sidewalk. Tears , bloody nose, cut finger...the whole works, unfortunately not easily fixed with a band aid and a kiss...No stitches, but plenty o' bad scrapes.

She is better today...determined as ever, showing off the wounds of her adventure to all who will listen to the story.

Isn't it much like our walk with Jesus...

He allows us the freedom to live in a world that contains risks.
Despite our best attempts, we will make mistakes, or others will make mistakes that affect us..
And just like a human dad, only more so, He is hurting for us more than we are hurting...though sometimes it doesn't feel that way.

We know
Quynh will heal.
We will do better next time.
Though this will fade as a memory, it will be a little part of Q's past, and we hope what she remembers about it is...COMFORT AND LOVE
That in her pain, her daddy was there, holding her, crying with her,

That's the take away for me....

the sweet beginnings of springtime evenings

eager for a nice chillin' walk...

it's ok, daddy and chase, i forgive you...

we'll do better next time.

let's call it a day...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As we were preparing to leave for Little Rock on Monday morning, Quynh clearly said...

"I don't want to go to the hospital. I don't want ANYONE to look at my legs."

Mmm, miss Bossy Bessy was making herself quite clear, and Marvin and I took a shrugging look at each other as we both contemplated how much she has grown this year in awareness and expression. New challenges...

Our rainy day trip was smooth and uneventful, and we arrived to be quickly escorted to Dr. Aronson's office.

And there, we were reacquainted with
BJ, a resident who cared for Quynh during her amputation. His fun way with her immediately put Q at ease, and we felt like we were seeing an old friend. We enjoyed his amazement at how far Quynh has come.

What a delight to see them having a conversation with one another! Definitely made our day.

Next, off to radiology and xray, where views of her hips were taken. We were able to view the films as they came up on the computer screen, and having studied what a hip should look like, I knew immediately that we were looking at her dislocation.

Several views were taken...and in answer to many prayers, Miss
Quynh was fully cooperative and delightful. WTG girl!

Back in the
ortho office, we met Dr. Aronson, whom we immediately liked. He proceeded cautiously with us, and after listening to a couple of his reserved comments, we assured him that we were fully aware of the huge risks it would be to correct her right hip.

Though her right leg is not the one that had her foot amputation, it is by far the most affected with lymphatic and vascular malformations. That entire leg is discolored with a deep port wine stain. The typical pattern of
KTS is that the tissue underlying the discoloration is significantly affected.

Best description is that the underlying tissue is like a wet sponge that grows and recedes according to how the lymphatic fluid is draining on a particular day. The intricate mapping of the lymphatic and vascular system has gone completely awry in Quynh, and will always be this disease's biggest challenge.

Risks of an invasive surgery include
major bleeding, lack of healing due to drainage issues, abnormal skin breakdown, and infection.

So, though her dislocation could be surgically corrected in a typical situation, we are choosing to not take the risks. The assessment of benefit versus gain clearly is too risky for this momma and daddio. Though saddened to face what this might eventually mean for her mobility , we feel like this is the best decision for Quynh.

Dr. Aronson was kind and straightforward, and very thorough with Quynh...and I think relieved that we were all on the same page. We appreciated his reasonable and very knowledgeable thoughts; that though he could fix her bones, it might mess up allot of other things, and it wasn't worth it.

An answer is what we needed, and we appreciated his honesty.

He will see her in another 6 months to see if anything has changed. Meanwhile, she is to walk as much as she likes, and continue to do all the new things she is trying. Amazingly, her body (and those of others with hip dislocation) will sometimes form its own base for that thigh bone. It appears that this is happening in her case, or she would not be as mobile as she is. We speculate that cartilage has formed a temporary socket for her bone to move within and around.
And...we'll pray that that will work for as long as possible.

Amazing. She is a miracle...and for now...we wait and see what's next...

Enjoy these fun pictures of our girls as Kimber danced with her company this weekend in competition, placing very well, and invested several hours in making her special "good luck" gifts.

And, miss Quynh happily back home where she reigns as queen of tea parties, and finding the comfiest places in the house to kick back. She is standing alone for several minutes now and beginnings of first independent steps are coming!!