God alone is Sovereign

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Update on Anna Grace

Got some dishearten news from Anna Graces Greenville doctor last Thursday that did not get posted up – He said Anna Graces leaky heart valve is a sign of her heart deteriorating in the womb and is not a good sign. We are not sure why the doctors in Charleston did not tell us this, but nevertheless it is what it is. He said she will continue to be ok in the womb but will be at a higher risk once born and makes the first surgery much more complicated.

We have another ECHO in a few weeks in Greenville. We are suffering well in Christ by His power and strong hand. Praying He does what seems good to Him. Thanks for your continued prayers and may God richly bless you for your faithfulness to pray.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Creation vs. Creator

Mars Hill Church

Glory, Glory, Glory

Listening to Pipers conclusion lecture at his conference this year With Calvin in the Theater of God http://www.theaterofgod.com/ – He said he is retiring John Calvin early in his talk because that’s what Calvin would want and focus on Christ. 10 minutes talking about Calvin and setting up his lecture on Jesus Christ as Denouement in the Theater of God. 50 plus minutes left….This is how he sets up the 50 minutes on Christ being the focus of all things in the Theater of God…

A few things that John Calvin has burned on his (Pipers) mind getting prepared for this years conference is...
Glory, Glory, Glory in Christ….Glory to His Word…Glory to His Person…Glory to His Grace and Glory to His Life….Infinite value of the Glory of God…Majesty of the Word of God and all is to be done by the word of God….

It’s all about Him!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Housing in Charleston

So, many of you know that we will be having an extended stay in Charleston, SC upon Anna Grace's birth. There is a Ronald McDonald House across the street from MUSC that we have visited and are hoping to be able to stay in, but as I have mentioned before - it is a first come first served basis with Ronald McDonald House and they told us that they keep a full house most of the time. So, pending not being able to stay at Ronald McDonald we thought we would stay at one of the nearby hotels - not ideal and certainly not budget friendly, but that was our plan. Well, today Brian & I received a call from a family who we go to Church with who told us they just purchased a vacation home about 20 minutes away from MUSC that we are welcome to use for as long as we need or for as much as we need during our stay in Charleston, free of charge. Wow.... I was overwhelmed and began crying while I was on the phone with this person. Since our stay in Charleston really might be months long this truly is a HUGE gift. God works though His people to provide, may all praise & glory go to GOD for this blessing :) I am also truly thankful to this family for being so willing to share this blessing with us!

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Not only are we to come under submission and respect those who are our elders who are living today, but we should not ignore those who have passed on to glory. We should know our forefathers God has used down the history of time. Everything should be filtered through Scripture and obeyed, even Scripture which tells us to respect and listen to those who labor above us. I can think of no higher from of respect than to read and learn about those who have passed on to life in Christ.

A great way to start is to learn about John Calvin (500th Birthday this year) here. http://www.theaterofgod.com/

I’ve listened to the first two sessions (Julius Kim and Doug Wilson) which are very good. Also John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion can be downloaded for free here http://reformed.org/master/index.html?mainframe=/books/institutes/

For any who think learning about John Calvin will create Calvinist and that will kill evangelism let me quote one of the greatest preachers of all times – Charles Sprugeon who was a Calvinist said this: "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that!"

Our duty is to know and delight in God and make Him known throughout the whole world.

Another Joyful Toon from Mike Waters

Repentance Everyday, All Day Long: Tornadoes, Lutherans and Homosexuality

Friday, September 25, 2009

Doctors, Doctors & Doctors....

I know many of you have been reading our BLOGS so I wanted to update you about a couple of things from the other day.

Brian & I took Zachary to the doctor on Thursday to have the lump in his neck looked at. The docotr said it appeared to be a swollen lymphnode and he also had several others that Brian & I didn't know were there. The docotr basically said to watch it and that if it didn't go away over the next 10 days to bring him back in for some additional testing. So, please be praying with us over Zachary's health - that God would heal his little body & resolve these lumps without any further testing.

Also, the test results that my doctor wanted to talk to be about were about my Glucose test. If you've ever been pregnant you know that it is normal at about 28 weeks to have a one-hour Glucose test performed to screen for gestational diabetes. Well, I took my one-hour test on Monday & I failed it. So today (Friday) I got to go in for a three-hour more in-depth Glucose test. Please be praying with me that I pass this test and that nothing further comes from this.

Thank you friends for being faithful to pray for our family.

Love in Christ,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Home for Our Cat

We really, really need to find a new home for our cat Nova. Please let your friends & family know that there is a lovable, fat, lap cat who needs a new home. She's an indoor cat who has been fixed & declawed. We really aren't going to be able to keep her for much longer and I would love to see her settled in a new home with a family who loves her. I don't want to have to take her to the humane society, but we really aren't going to be able to keep her, there are just other priorities for our family right now. Thank you for your help in trying to find a new home for our kitty. Tina

Update on Anna Grace

We have made it back home from Charleston, SC and our whirlwind day of doctor’s visits. Let me just say that it is good to be home! Zachary is in bed & I thought I would take the next few minutes to update everyone on what happened today in Charleston.

We started our day early with our first doctor visit being with Dr. S who is a Pediatric Cardiologist at MUSC. We met with a very nice nurse to start with who performed the echocardiogram of Anna Grace’s heart. Then she took the pictures for Dr. S to review while we waited. After some time we got to meet with Dr. S and he confirmed the diagnosis that Dr. R in Greenville had given us. Dr. S also elaborated on her condition which is a little more complex than Dr. R had originally thought. Dr. S said that she does have Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Specifically… Tricuspid Atresia, Transposition of the Great Vessels and the Atrial Septal Defect. He also noted that her aorta was significantly smaller than it should be and in addition one of her heart valves appears to be leaking. So… Dr. S basically said that upon her birth she will need to have her first open heart surgery at about 1 week old and that if the testing done on her heart upon her birth confirms what we see in the womb then her first open heart surgery would be the most complex type of surgery that they do, specifically a procedure called the Norwood. Dr. S said that her size is very important and so the bigger she is the better she should be able to tolerate the surgery. He also elaborated on some specific things we could expect upon her birth – basically that once she is born she will be wisked away to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where they will insert into her belly button lines that will feed her since she won’t be able to eat like a normal baby does. There is also a high likelihood that she will be placed on a breathing tube at this time until her surgery. He said that we would be able to touch her but that we wouldn’t be able to hold her during this time so as not to disturb the lines. He suggested that we make audio tapes or CD’s to play in a portable CD player that we could place under her incubator so that she could hear our voices when we weren’t able to be there with her. Dr. S was very informative and helpful and we prayed with him before leaving. Truly it was a very emotionally trying meeting.

From there we went swiftly to our next doctor’s appointment which was with the Maternal-Fetal Specialist – this is the doctor who will be doing the actual delivery. We were about 1 ½ hours late to this appointment so we were thankful that they were still able to see us. Basically here we met with a doctor in the practice, Dr. M. She is not the doctor who will be doing Anna Grace’s deliver, that doctor, Dr. C, was not there today and we actually won’t meet him until the day of delivery. We explained our situation to Dr. M and got into their computer system so that we would technically be patients of that practice upon delivery. We also scheduled her delivery date – Anna Grace’s birthday will be Wednesday, December 30 at 8:00 am – well, pending her not arriving any sooner. Please be praying with us that she does not come early because it really is critical that she not be born early. We won’t see these doctors again until her delivery unless there are complications in my pregnancy which require me to go to Charleston before her delivery date.

From there we went for an ultrasound to look over the rest of Anna Grace’s body to be sure that everything else with her looked fine. We spent some time during the ultrasound just looking at our little girl – she has two arms, two legs, all 10 fingers & toes. I started to tear up just seeing her beautiful face and how comfortable and peaceful she looked inside my womb. It was a sweet few moments where I could just enjoy looking at my little girl and enjoy her sweet movements. Our ultrasound technician left us to go review the pictures of our daughter with the doctor who came back in the room after about 30 minutes to go over the results with us. The doctor told us that there appeared to be an issue with Anna Grace’s trachea – the trachea is the tube that goes from your mouth to your stomach. She said that she would like our Maternal-Fetal doctor in Greenville to continue to watch that closely to see how it developed through the rest of the pregnancy. Basically, this would affect her ability to eat – which is serious – but obviously not as serious as the problem with her heart – so certainly secondary to that condition. It was not something we expected to hear as it has not been mentioned to us before. We believe that God is sovereign and that He is knitting together Anna Grace in my womb so in this we will trust Him too. But, please join us in praying that her trachea will begin to develop normally and that this will not be an issue for her. Our sweet daughter appears to have quite a road ahead of her.

After this we took about 15 minutes to eat some lunch at a Subway restaurant that was located in the hospital before it was onto our next appointment with Crossbridge Ministries. A friend of mine from MOPS told me about this ministry in Charleston and I gave them a call and we were able to set up a quick meeting with them while we were there. We met with two wonderful Christian ladies – Lynn & Julie. They met us at the hospital on some benches and they told us about their ministry. Basically, they minister to families who travel to MUSC from out-of-town for serious medical problems (like us). They basically become your adoptive family while you are away from your home, family, friends & Church. They will come to the hospital and pray with you, hold your hand – basically do what your friends & family would do with you if they were in town with you. It was a comfort to know there are people, specifically Christians, in Charleston that I can call if I need to once my family goes back home. I feel really blessed to have them there and thank God for these sweet sisters in Christ who are so willing to give of themselves to love on strangers. Please join me in praising God for these ladies!

Finally, we met with the Ronald McDonald house. We met with the House Manager there who gave us a tour of the house. We were also able to be put on the waiting list since we have a scheduled delivery date – although it is a first come first served basis with Ronald McDonald house so we won’t know if we’ll be able to stay there until the day of her delivery. It really is a nice house and they provide dinner for the families who stay there everyday at 5:30. There are also laundry facilities there. Each family gets a room which has two twin beds and a sink. There are community bathrooms down the hall that everyone shares. The house is about 3 blocks from the childrens hospital so it would really be a blessing if we were able to stay there. Please join us in praying that God will work out the details with Ronald McDonald house.

After that we started our drive home – tired and a little overwhelmed with all that had happened. After we got home I had a voice mail on my answering machine from my doctor’s office saying they needed to talk with me about some test results, so I will be calling them on Wednesday to find out what that is about. Brian also discovered a lump on Zachary’s neck when we got home which we feel like will warrant a visit to the doctor’s office to have checked out. Please be praying with us about these two things as well.

Things I am thankful for today……

I am thankful for friends who gave so generously financially for us to be able to take this trip to Charleston – that truly was a blessing to not have to try to come up with the money for our travel expenses.

I am thankful that all of today’s doctor visits and tests were covered by Medicaid. Praise God who is our provider!!!!

I am thankful that I got to see my daughter’s beautiful face today in 4D – technology used the right way can be such a huge blessing!

I am thankful for a husband who loves God, loves me and loves his children.

I am thankful for the ladies of Crossbridge Ministries who are already praying for our family and are just waiting to love on us – talk about meeting physical needs – thank you Jesus!

I am thankful to be home and for the sweet kisses I received from my son when I walked through the door. Two year olds can be challenging at times but OH… those are some SWEET kisses. I cherish every one of them!!!!

I am thankful for my parents who kept Zachary for us and took such great care of him while we were in Charleston. What a blessing that I could go & know that he was being cared for and loved on!

I am thankful that God says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

Tina B.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I ran across a link last night over at Aaron Sauer's website that I believe is a valuable resource for any looking to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ. The resource site is The Gospel Coalition

The site has a very good section for parents looking to find well written material that teaches God's word more than just "Jesus loves the little children." Check it out here.

See below for a 7 minute introduction of what the The Gospel Coalition is all about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Joy That Runs Deep

"The heart that learns to die with Christ soon knows the blessed experience of rising with Him, and all the world's persecutions cannot still the high note of holy joy that springs up in the soul that has become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit."

The Radical Cross (living the passion of Christ) A.W. Tozer

Oh Father I desire to have that kind of joy? Please destroy my flesh and cause in me a spring that flows from the Spirit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jesus Died!

The best 11 minute Gospel presentation I've ever heard!!! He is preaching from Psalm 24 for any who might be interested.

Medicaid and Jesus

Today has been a turbulent day for me. I received a phone call this morning about 9:30 from my Medicaid caseworker, Mrs. J. She was calling to inform me that Medicaid is going to deny coverage for our family. As she is a fellow Christian she didn’t want me just getting a letter in the mail with no explanation. She wanted to call me personally to tell me that we will have Medicaid coverage through then end of September & that it will cease beginning October 1. She also wanted to tell me a couple of things I could provide Medicaid to appeal the decision, but that even with the appeal coverage will cease on October 1 and perhaps be reinstated at a later date if the appeal overturns the decision. Of course this was not the news I wanted to hear, but I thanked her for her phone call and for taking the time to help us.

After getting off the phone with her I just began to weep. I went upstairs in search of my husband Brian to tell him the news. I told him what she said and Brian held me as I wept & wept. Now let me just clarify, this was not just crying here but break down sobbing that ended with me in the bathroom vomiting because I was so upset. Of all the news we have gotten why did this upset me so much…. I guess because I was focusing on the weight of everything… the seriousness of Anna Grace’s condition, the uncertainty of financial burdens, how is it all going to work out, am I even going to get to bring her home…. I was just focusing so much on the path that I don’t want to be walking that I was blinded to what – or more specifically WHO I need to be focusing on.

After some time my sweet husband began to remind me of WHO our God is. We are HIS children after all and HE is sovereign. This phone call from Medicaid was not a surprise to HIM and HE is in control. He promises that He is going to take care of us – NOT that we are going to be approved for Medicaid. There is a reason He has us walking this path, we have to TRUST HIM and continue to keep our eyes focused on Him. What a wonderful husband I have to help me direct my attention back to WHO it needs to be on – JESUS. These days that I am living in right now are truly requiring me to stay focused on Jesus at all times. It seems if I take my eyes off Him for just a second I will be swept away in a sea of worry and anxiety that will overwhelm me in a split second.

I want to share a story with you about Jesus found in Matthew Chapter 14: 22-33.

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

You see, I can absolutely relate to Peter in this story in a way that I have never been able to understand before today. It was me this morning who was doubting and shouting “save me”. I am in a storm, I am in a trial that I can not fix myself. I HAVE to keep my gaze focused on Jesus – not my husband, not the doctors, not Medicaid. This is where I am today.

Please join with me in praying about God’s provision for our family – either through Medicaid or however it is God sees fit to provide for us.

I, of course, ask you to continue to pray for healing of Anna Grace’s heart.

Some things I am thankful for today…..

I am thankful that I have a husband who … “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” Psalm 1:3.

I am thankful that we will still have Medicaid coverage during our whirlwind day of doctor visits in Charleston on September 22.

I am thankful that through this crazy day Anna Grace is still continuing to flip & kick and make her presence known.

I am thankful that I belong to a God who has a better plan than me, even if I don’t know what it is. How would I walk this path without Him?????

Friday, September 4, 2009

Calling for Freezer Ready Recipes

Hello friends,

In all of the list making & preparation I have been doing recently I thought I should add to one of my lists to prepare some casseroles or meals to put in the freezer than my husband could EASILY pop into the oven for a meal during the time that I will be in Charleston with Anna Grace. I'm not really sure how long I will be gone and I don't want my husband & son eating McDonalds for two months straight! I have a few recipes of "freezer worthy" casseroles, but if you have a recipe or two that you think freezes well and is "husband friendly" for the cooking then I would certainly welcome your recipes. Thanks for your help my friends!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where is the Passion and Do We Really Care

Are You Ashamed of the Scandal

Listen to God use brother Washer to do some God exalting preaching...His message is God's message and we would do well to listen and take heed to His call if He so wishes to call.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 22, 2009 - MUSC

I wanted to update everyone and let them know that I received a call today from MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston) to schedule our first whirlwind day of doctors visits at the hospital where Anna Grace will be born. We are going to be traveling to Charleston the evening of Monday, September 21 and starting our doctor’s appointments on Tuesday, September 22 beginning at 8:00 am. We feel like we should be able to get wrapped up by 5:00 or 6:00 that Tuesday so we should be able to drive home that Tuesday night & sleep in our own bed. Again, this is not a toddler friendly outing so Zachary will be staying in Spartanburg with his grandparents (thank you Mee-Maw & Papa)!

I was told that we will start our day Tuesday by meeting with Dr. Shirali who is a Pediatric Cardiologist and he will be performing another echocardiogram on Anna Grace’s heart. He will be giving a second opinion to Dr. Rauniker’s diagnosis of last week. I’m told that we will not be talking with any heart surgeons at all on this day. I guess that will be another visit as we get closer to Anna Grace’s birth.

After we meet with Dr. Shirali we will then move along to our next appointment where we will meet with a Maternal-Fetal Specialist for an ultrasound and to set up a delivery plan. Since I will be delivering Anna Grace in Charleston my regular Obstetrician will not be delivering her so this doctor will be the one to handle her actual delivery. I am truly praying that they will go ahead & schedule my c-section while I am there (I will elaborate on why this is important next). I am also praying that I like this doctor as much as my regular Obstetrician.

After those two appointments we will be heading over to the Ronald McDonald house where we will be taking a tour & meeting with them about possibly staying there once Anna Grace is born. It would be really great if we can get in at the Ronald McDonald house as it is right across the street from the hospital and they only charge about $20 a day to stay there (as opposed to $75 + a day to stay in a hotel). The thing is that there is a waiting list to get into the Ronald McDonald house & we can’t get on the waiting list until we have a scheduled delivery date (hence the importance of getting this scheduled ASAP). It is a first come, first served type of thing from what I understand with the Ronald McDonald house. It would truly be a blessing to be able to stay there, especially considering that I will be having a c-section so will need someplace to lay down & rest throughout the day once I’ve been released from the hospital. A little plug for the Ronald McDonald House real quick while I’m talking about it….. if you ever eat at McDonalds there are little boxes by the cash register as well as little boxes outside of the drive thru where you can drop in your change (or even dollar bills). These donations go to support the Ronald McDonald house so PLEASE feel free to empty your change cup here next time you’re at McDonalds!!!

So, I want to say that I am certainly thankful that these appointments have been scheduled AND that they have been scheduled in the month of September. As far as I know we will still have the temporary Medicaid coverage on September 22 and that is certainly a blessing for us! Please pray for us specifically for safe travel to & from Charleston as well as for wisdom for the doctors we will be meeting with while we are there. Brian & I will be seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout these next several months as how best to proceed with Anna Grace’s care - there is a lot to consider for her and we are not medically trained so we are learning as we go and seeking God’s guidance.

Also, PRAISE to GOD for providing traveling money for us to take this trip to Charleston. This past weekend we received a monetary gift from loving friends which we believe should cover the cost of our travel expenses to & from Charleston. What a blessing! Thanks you friends – you know who you are!!!!

On a more frivolous & FUN note…… I want to just briefly mention that some ladies from my Church are planning a baby shower for me on Saturday, November 7. I don’t have any details right now other than the date. I am SO EXCITED about this baby shower because it is allowing me the opportunity to dream about bringing my little girl home and focus on something OTHER than open heart surgery. It is a very welcome distraction & I am so very thankful that God has placed these ladies in my life who are so thoughtful to want to do this for us. Thank you friends!

One more thing…. I mentioned in one of my earlier BLOG’s that we’ll be having a clean the house day. We have it scheduled for Saturday, October 17 and are planning to spend the entire day getting things in order, cleaning, painting & setting up the nursery, etc. If you want to come help you can plan to come at any time during the day on October 17. We’ll be here!

Thank you all for continuing to pray for Anna Grace and our family.