Archive for category: Family

Noah’s Good News

18 Mar
March 18, 2016

GoodNews

This past week we had another check-in with Noah’s primary doctor regarding his Localized Scleroderma. You can read my previous updates on his battle with it here; essentially it’s a disease that attacks his skin, tissue and bone structures near the skin. There hasn’t been a cure discovered yet, and while it’s a lifelong condition it typically attacks a region of the body for about eight years.

When Noah was two years old he first started showing symptoms. It took two years for doctors to finally figure out what was going on; it’s an incredibly rare condition that most don’t know to look for. The medications are powerful, and have the potential for serious side effects, which required him to have regular blood work done to keep track of how he was responding. I’ll never forget holding him down for that first round of blood work, him sobbing and struggling, and me being overwhelmed with the thought that this was going to be our routine for who knew how many years.

He’s tough, and over the months and years, through all the tests, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, procedures, and whatever else, he took it all in stride. Often times he saw the bright side of things when we would be upset. And just like the doctor predicted, after almost eight years the disease seemed to stopped progressing. Months ago we stopped giving him the medication to see if it was just the drugs keeping it at bay or if it really had run its course.

And last week the doctor told us it’s dormant! We’ll go in to see him again in a year, but more for Heather and my peace of mind than an actual need. I have to be honest, after so many years, it doesn’t totally feel real! Yes, we do still have to keep our radar up for its possible reappearance, but in the mean time, after spending the majority of his life on some seriously powerful medicines, Noah is off everything and thrilled about it!

Quite the answer to prayer!

Zach Signs the Lord’s Prayer

17 Mar
March 17, 2016

Last Sunday the children’s ministry signed the Lord’s Prayer during both worship services at our church. Zachary, our seven year old, had a blast doing it!

Time of Reflection

18 Jan
January 18, 2016

abstract tree

The more I think about it, the more I realize that 2015 was a year of reflecting and calming for me. Which is weird to say. The last several years have seen a lot of transition and challenges, both difficult and rewarding. My church spent the last few years transitioning from a senior pastor who first started there in 1975, I have been a full time student pursuing a Masters of Divinity, my own children have become adolescents – forever changing my perspectives on student ministry, I became an adult child of divorce after my parents separated, as well as other heartbreaks throughout the extended family. For the first time in years we have begun to feel like our son’s battle with localized scleroderma has become manageable. Heather and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary. I turned 40.

I’m still recovering from that last one.

In some ways it has been a wild few years.┬áIt’s not so much that the last year has seen those things lessening; there is still a lot of transition surrounding me. But my focus has settled and broadened, if that makes sense. There is a different level of peacefulness throughout, which is probably weird to say considering my house is full of LOUD boys. It has been amazing to see God working through the circumstances. My sons continue to grow into young men that I am proud of. Heather and I still are building and collecting memories – fifteen years already?!?

Even the transitions in church have given new perspectives; during the six months between senior pastors, I was pulled away from the student ministry a lot. Thankfully, our church has an amazing team of youth staff and volunteers that really stepped up to enable me to be able to help in other areas of the church. The biggest unexpected fruit for me, however, was that in being pulled back a bit for a season meant that I gained some different perspectives on our student ministry as a whole – I’m excited about some of the behind the scenes conversations I’ve been having with our new senior pastor and youth ministry staff about how we can really take our program to another level, both in developing disciples and seeing the students integrated even more so in our church as a whole.

All that to say, this post is a couple weeks overdue, but I’m excited about 2016. I’m excited to see how things continue to grow in develop personally, in my family, and in the ministry.

 

Micah and Caleb’s Homeschool Choir Christmas Concert

21 Dec
December 21, 2015

Micah (our 8th grader) and Caleb (our 6th grader) have been performing all over the place this Christmas season with the homeschool choir they are a part of! This is Caleb’s first year, Micah’s third year. This particular performance is the one they did at Brandywine Valley Baptist Church on December 3rd.

Philly Blitz with Noah

04 Dec
December 4, 2015

Noah Philly Blitz

Last month Noah (my almost ten year old) and I went on a weekend mission trip with our church’s children ministry to Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Project. It was a pretty amazing weekend; the age group was third through fifth grade, which was a first for me. Noah was really excited for the trip and even with his broken arm never held back from jumping in and working.

We spent the weekend in a combination of great worship times put together by Philadelphia Project, education about inner city Philly, and serving on various work sites. Noah and I were were with a group working to gut a room so that future groups could come in and do the actual remodeling. Which meant we spent the day scraping, pulling down a ceiling, cleaning, and generating a lot of dust. It was pretty impressive to see what a group of nine to eleven year olds can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity!

All in all, it was a great trip. It was fun to build some memories with Noah as well. Out of my four sons, the only one left who hasn’t gone on a mission trip with me yet is Zachary! But we’ll let him get a little older, first …

Micah and Caleb have YouTube channels

08 Sep
September 8, 2015

Micah and Caleb both launched YouTube channels this past week; they’ve been wanting to for a while now as an outlet for their hobbies. Fun stuff! Here they are:

You can find Micah’s channel here.

You can find Caleb’s channel here.

Because Skateboards

17 Jul
July 17, 2015

Caleb

Caleb tried something out on his skateboard. Awesome is worth the risk. His brothers all think he’s ‘a real man now.’ Sheesh!

Life with four boys!

No, it’s not broken. It is sprained pretty bad, and the bruising is around his growth plate, so the doctor wanted him in a splint out of precaution. He should heal up pretty quickly.

And he was already out trying something on his bike within an hour of getting home from the ER.

The Latest on Noah

16 Jul
July 16, 2015

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It’s been a while since I have posted an update on Noah and his battle with Localized Scleroderma. You can read some of the past updates here. The short recap is that he originally began showing symptoms of Scleroderma attacking the skin on his face around two years old, but doctors were unable to discover the diagnosis until he was four years old. He is nine years old now, has had numerous surgical procedures, powerful medications, regular blood work, multiple biopsies, and more. He is a TOUGH kid who has gone through a lot!

This past week we had his latest appointment with his primary doctor. It was good news. Essentially, Localized Scleroderma tends to attack a region of the body for around eight years. He will have it for life – there is no cure, but it’s attacks, or flare-ups, will be unpredictable and sporadic. The one we have been fighting has been on his face, and the goal of the medications was simply to halt the progress and hold it at bay until it had run its course, which the doctor is hopeful is this year. It appears to have stopped its activity; perhaps because the medicine is doing really well, perhaps because the attack is wrapping up. Either way, around Christmas the goal is to begin easing him off the medication with the hope that it will continue to be inactive! This is GOOD news.

It doesn’t mean it’s over, however. Noah will continue to have regular doctor’s appointments – both to monitor where it has been active to make sure it is truly done attacking his face, as well as to monitor potential flare-ups elsewhere on his body, at which point another eight year struggle of medications, blood work, biopsies would begin again. When he is older, as well, he will be able to have plastic surgery to undo the scarring Scleroderma has left on his face.

Ultimately, though, this is exciting. When we were told so many years ago that this was going to be an eight year battle most likely, that felt so far off in the future. Pinning him down for his first round of blood work was a nightmare and I remember thinking with horror that this was going to be our lives every few weeks for endless years. Noah quickly learned to handle the challenges, often times doing far better than kids much older than him at the hospital. He is resilient! And like us, he is excited at the thought that we are only months away from perhaps ending the medication and blood work!

The First Grade Gift

03 Sep
September 3, 2014

Every year the first grade Sunday School class collects an offering to benefit student missions – I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now! This past spring they raised over a hundred dollars, came over to the student hour on Sunday morning, gifted it to the Costa Rica team and recited their memory verse on missions! It was a very cool morning; and fun for me because the signature from Noah on the above card they made for the family in Costa Rica our team was building a home for is MY Noah!

First Semester of Seminary Finished!

17 Dec
December 17, 2013

Well, I finished my first semester of seminary Sunday night. I learned a few things along the way … and I’m not talking about class content …

  • I’ve been out of school for 13 years. Going back was overwhelming, scary, and challenging! It definitely took a month or so to really start to feel like I was getting back in the range of student mode.
  • I learned some valuable lessons about scheduling classes. I accidentally scheduled too many at the same time which made for an insane four week period of time when all of my classes overlapped. I actually registered for more classes next semester than this one, but I balanced them better so I won’t have that kind of nightmare again!
  • In a bizarre twist, I think I’m a better student than I was in the late 90’s. Back then I did what I needed to get the grade I had to have; now I’m working harder and offended when I don’t get the grade I know I could have gotten. Weird!
  • Technology has REALLY made being a student easier! Text books are cheaper digitally, and easier to highlight and retrieve information from. Doing work from my laptop in my office, iPad here and there, and iPhone on the go has made getting stuff down in spare moments a GREAT use of time.

Being a student is strange. I’m working towards a Master of Divinity (finally). Going at a full time pace (fall semester, spring semester, summer semester), I will finish a few weeks before my oldest starts his freshman year in high school (also known as August, 2016). I’m really motivated by that milestone – once we have kids in high school and middle school, life is going to be a lot more chaotic and will continue to be so until our youngest graduates (June, 2027). It makes for a busy few years, but I think it will be a lot harder as our kids get older, so here goes!

On the plus side, I do have the next month or so off. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.