Thursday, June 19, 2014

6 months

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and I know some of you have been wondering how things are going. Sorry! The school year ended on May 22 and I’m already ready to get back in my classroom to start getting ready for next year…I do love teaching. It’s not what I thought it would be. I expected more teaching of curriculum and less teaching of behavior, manners, feelings, attitudes. As parents, Danny and I took care of those responsibilities and didn’t leave them to the teacher but I’ve come to realize that just isn’t always the case. After I took the time to step back from the shock and disbelief of the way some people raise their children, I realized that God has given me the job of teaching in the public school at this exact moment in my life for a purpose…His purpose. My kids are both teenagers and are quickly approaching adulthood and I really think they are great kids! They are far from perfect, but who isn’t?!?! When I think of Maggie and Charlie growing up and moving away from home I honestly have to stop thinking about it so I don’t start crying. Is it really possible to miss them already at 12 and almost 15?

OK break~~I’m sitting at the place where Maggie takes Hapkido (a martial art that she absolutely loves). The “studio” is a building that sits on the family’s property. They have lots of chickens and 4 or 5 roosters. I”ve logged quite a few hours now watching these roosters and they are pretty fascinating. There is a lot of great info I could give about what I’ve learned so far, but that’s another blog I guess…but I’m blown away right now. A rooster is in the tree on a branch like a huge bird! If the rooster can get in the tree then what prevents the thing from flying away? I’ve been trying to figure out what keeps all these animals from walking out of the yard…which I thought was a mystery enough!! These roosters are awesome. They even have their own individual struts, and boy do they strut!!!

Back to blog~~~I don’t know if already missing my kids is normal or not, but it is the way I feel. However, I’ve come to realize that my “parenting” days are far from over. In fact, they are really just beginning. My students need so much more than to learn the typical school subjects. They need to learn about caring, sharing, giving, kindness, helpfulness, (sometimes) personal hygiene, (sometimes) hair care, table manners, respect for each other and for authority, how to be a friend, etc… I’m not only a teacher but a social worker, health instructor, and “mommy” to a whole group of kids each year. What I’ve realized is that even though that is not at all what I thought being a teacher would be like, it’s exactly why God has me being a fairly new certified teacher at age 39. In the beginning I felt so inferior to the younger teachers who have masters degrees and more years of “actual teaching experience” than I do. But that is so wrong. What I have is many years of adulthood and life experience. I’m more than halfway done raising my own kids while they are starting their families. I have countless hours of home schooling my own kids in their early years and countless more substituting and volunteering in the public school classrooms. So, though I’m technically less qualified by college degree and years of service, I am very qualified to teach and am so excited about the plans the Lord has for me. It’s so easy to look at other people and feel inferior or insignificant…if you were to meet my siblings (real and in-laws), you would understand how I could feel inferior because they are all so incredibly gifted and amazing!! God has made me to be a teacher and I think I’m a better public school teacher now than I would have been had I started teaching at 20 something. I’m so excited to start the new school year fully mentally prepared to be all those things the students need other than the regular classroom teacher and I pray that the Lord will be able to effectively use me to make a difference in the lives of those children.

Danny is getting better…it seems like the longest process in the world, but each time we go back to New Orleans the doctors and nurses are easily able to see and encourage us with his progress. He has a couple of incisional hernias along the bottom of his sternal incision that cause a lot of pain. There isn’t a plan to try to repair the hernias because they don’t want to cut him open again. Do hernias just go away by themselves??? Many days his arms and/or legs still hurt. It’s pretty cool actually (cool may not be the most accurate adjective I could use)! When he has the leg or arm pain it’s because his vein (or blood vessel—I don’t know!) feels rock hard from a blood clot. Sometimes the clots are short (an inch or so) and sometimes they go the length of his forearm. These clots are in superficial veins we have been told so they aren’t anything to worry about. I don’t know if the clots will happen forever or if they are more short term. Danny is still having tough side-effects from some of the medicines and I honestly don’t know if the hard blood clots are one of them. As you will remember, Danny has a ton (actually fills up a medicine cup) of medicines that he takes. Some are short-term and others are long-term and forever. The short-term ones (Prednisone is a big culprit in this) cause the worst side-effects (I hope I remember that correctly and I didn’t just make that up to help us cope). The good news is that next week is his 6-month (post-transplant) visit in New Orleans. The 6-month mark is when they can remove some medicines and wean off others. Danny is still completely rejection-free, which I contribute to prayer! My hope is that Danny will start to feel a lot better when some of these meds are gone. Here’s a list of his common side-effects: shakiness, dizziness, involuntary muscle jerks, weakness, mood swings (severe), nausea, insomnia, arm/leg pain (severe), finger cramping. I’m sure there are more but those are the ones that never seem to go away.

Danny started physical therapy (cardiac rehab) about a month or so ago and he enjoys that. It’s amazing how out of shape he became (I don’t mean his physical appearance but rather his muscle function) from being so sick for so long. They are very careful with him at therapy and monitor him closely. It’s hard to remember my youthful, soccer playing, energetic husband a couple of years ago and see him struggle to ride a stationary bike for 4 minutes. The balance between feeling so unbelievably grateful and blessed that he is alive with a new, young, and healthy heart and feeling so scared that he won’t ever be able to play hard outside again with our kids feels like a nightmare to me sometimes. In fact, you can’t really even express those feelings without also feeling like an ungrateful jerk. As I sit here crying in this car with the flying rooster nearby (still in that tree), I am reminded that “…God gave us a spirit not of a fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Lord please strengthen me and my faith in you. I can live and function in my own self-control, but I don’t want to. I want to be dependent upon you for my thoughts, feelings, fears, and actions. Help me to trust that no matter what life holds for us in the future that it is in your hands and therefore it is good. You are good…no matter how I feel. You are good, no matter how Danny feels. You are worthy of my complete trust in you with my feelings and life.  Please help Danny get stronger and feel better. Please help him to get back to living again with his new heart. Thank you for the support system we have. So many probably don’t even know what a blessing they are to us, but they are and thank you for helping us through people. Sometimes (often) I need help and please continue to give me the humility I need to ask. I can’t do all of the things Danny used to do and I need help. Danny struggles so much with feeling unworthy and helpless…encourage him and let him know how loved he is. Please help Charlie learn how to do the things Danny can’t right now…give him strength and a desire to fill the gap as long as we need him to. Mostly Lord please continue to heal Danny and give us some “normalcy”. More than that though, help me to trust you and be content, thankful, and joyful for where we are today.

Two weeks ago Danny told me that we are going back to the church we left years ago and I am so overjoyed. I have prayed for a long time that the Lord would lead us back and honestly was starting to give up hope. We were at a wonderful church with wonderful people, but for me it just wasn’t “home” and it’s good to be back!!! Danny hasn’t been able to go yet. Large crowds aren’t good for him and he gets really tired quickly. It’s awesome how there’s one, huge Body of Christ spread all over the world, and then there are individual Bodies of Christ. Though we are all Christians and serve the same God, we are most at home in our own Body (church and church family).

I’ll update the blog again next week after Danny’s at Ochsner again. Not sure the day though!!