Sunday, March 1, 2015

Love Notes!


I don’t know if you know, but Olivia was our sweet surprise!  We weren’t supposed to have any more children.  But God gave her to us anyway.  We adore all our children – and there were lots of tears shed and prayers prayed for each of them before they were given to us.  But that little cutie came without prayers and tears beforehand – God just gave her to us for free!


Olivia and Mommy58


Often on the Lord’s Day, if it is just our family here, we read together, or nap, or talk.  Sometimes, the little girls like to pull out my iPad and type notes to me in the Notes section.  Sometimes I don’t even see them for a while!

But I thought you might enjoy this little tidbit.  Love notes between Olivia and me, one quiet Sunday afternoon. 



Dear mother you are very kind to me every morning since I was a tiny baby, now I shall give you something in return.  Would you like a back scratch or a foot massage? Or would you even like a..... Cookie? I would like a cookie. that would taste so good, don't you think? I mean I can't wait till grandma and grandpa both get here, I will be as polite as I can.hey did you see that? I just made a AS sandwich around the polite! That is just..... So funny!!!!

With all of my heart,

Olivia c. Orr


My dearest darling girl!

For me nothing is sweeter than to be with you.  Sitting here feeling your little snuggly warm self next to me, and hearing the soft rising and falling of your breathing makes me very happy indeed.  I feel as though there could not be anything more lovely this minute than having you as my wee little girl!  I love you very much!

Your loving mother,

With all her heart!   

Oh my mother you are sweet inside.when I feel your breath on me I know that  yours is truly more beautiful than mine, when I hear your voice it is like a beautiful song in my heart, a very very pretty song. And when daddy snuggles you, I feel wonderful seeing the both of you together, you and daddy will always be better than I am in Christianity. And I will always hold your image in my heart.

Sweet and lovely daughter,  your words are just like honey to me!  They taste sweet and golden in my mouth and they make a cozy puddle in my soul.  When I hold them up before my eyes, I see the delicate strands and tendrils of your love for me and they make beautiful music in my heart.  I love you, little Olivia!


And then later in the same day..



      how much times have People  forgotten your name? I'd really like to know, it makes me want to punch anyone who did. People like that are very mean, i don't like them very much. But I really can't wait to eat the popcorn that you are going to make. I can already smell it. Don't you think popcorn tastes and smells so good. I think so.... When are you going to make popcorn? I forgot.

I really don't know how many times people have forgotten my name.  I think it might be a good thing.  You're awfully young and pretty to be punching people.  Let's not, OK?  :)

I will make popcorn when Daddy finishes the chapter.  Yes I do think it tastes and smells good.  Very good.  Very, very good.  And hot. I like it.  I'm glad you do, too.


    ...what do you mean by "let's not, ok?"I literally have no idea what you mean. It makes no since. I really hope that you had a very nice sleep. I hope that I didn't annoy you during it. Mommy you are the most beautiful woman in the world, and you are very nice the way you are. I love seeing your face every morning, it is so beautiful. I will love you as long as I live, so that means I will always love you.


I pray for you today, that you will share love notes with your children, and your husband.

For they are sweet, precious gifts to you – given by a Loving Father Who loves you even more!!  And He shares His own Love Notes with you, too.

Go, my friend!  Read them today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Much We Should Love Him


"Mommy, will you sit on my bed while I read my Bible?  Please?!"

This is almost a nightly request from Isabella.  She loves it when I sit there, while she reads her Bible to me.

Some nights, I'm just too tired.  Or I think I am. 

And I tell her, “Oh, not tonight, Baby.  Can we try tomorrow night?” 

But often I plop myself down next to her and listen.

Last night was one of those nights.

And as I lay there halfway dozing, listening to her read from Matthew, she suddenly stops. 

Lays her Book facedown on her chest and says,


"Ooh!  I am just getting so mad!"


She made an angry face. Sweet little lips pursed and her eyebrows furrowed.

Me:   “Why?  Mad about what?”

Isabella:     “How could they treat Jesus that way?!   How could they hurt him?”

Me:     “Because they didn't love Him like you do.”

Isabella:     “But didn't they know He was God’s Son?!”

Me:     “They didn't believe Him.”

My sweet Isabella, eyes tearing up and her sweet lips trembling.  Looking at me with sadness.   Like she might cry.

And after a few quiet seconds..

Isabella:    “I'm sorry!”

Me:     “Why!?”

Isabella:    “For crying.”

Me:     “Baby, don't be sorry!  Those tears are good tears. The best kind of tears.  The kind that make God happy.  Those tears are for Jesus.  Because you love Him.”

And now, she smiled very happily at me.  Eyes shiny and wet. 

She sat up suddenly and leaned forward – and hugged me hard, pressing her soft cheek against mine.



I think…. that is how much we all should love Jesus


Monday, February 9, 2015

My China Doll


I woke up a few minutes ago, after falling asleep in Sophia’s bed with her, her arms tightly wrapped around me, mine tightly wrapped around her.  She asked me to be with her and hold her until she fell asleep, so she would feel comforted. 

She and I have just spent two consecutive nights in the ER.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve made a visit to the ER. So long, in fact, I have begun to feel there is more of a breathing space between those dense, dark woods of her first several years and the bright, wide open pasture we have been enjoying.  Those years when it was the norm for us. 

She was born with a rare “textbook” condition – Congenital Lobar Emphysema.  She seemed fine initially, other than her prematurity – born at 32 weeks with Isabella, both girls weighing less than 4 lbs.- but by day 6, she couldn’t keep her oxygen levels up.  Extreme swelling of her right side necessitated an x-ray, which revealed the unusual condition.  Surgery was 4 hours later – and God was merciful.  She made it.

Having no experience at all with a child with one lung, and a floppy airway, Glenn and I took a crash course the first few years.  Her first major hospitalization was at 6 months old.  I remember trying to get her to nurse at the hospital  – which she was desperate to do, but could only do with short, forceful pulls, turning away after each attempt with frustration and deep gasps, flailing her arms and kicking her tiny legs.  Sweat dampening her entire body with the effort, while Isabella lay crying next to us on the vinyl hospital couch waiting for her turn.  Glenn at home taking care of the other kids – aged 3,4,6,8.  The kind nurses sent a young hospital volunteer to our room to ask if I needed help.  Of course I said, “No thank you, we’re fine!”

Looking back now – 10 years later, my ignorance is almost embarrassing to me.  How little we knew then.  How much we know now.  Yet still not quite enough.

She’s had innumerable x-rays, bronchoscopies, surgeries, breathing treatments, medications, and ouches. We’ve met intensely dedicated, compassionate, smart hospital people. 

Her last surgery was 4 years ago – when a cardiac surgeon stitched the pericardium of her heart to her sternum, that narrow bone at the top of your chest.  He had to do this to keep her lung from continuing to herniate over into the space where her right lung used to be.  Where the second saline implant sits now.  Doing this provides necessary structural support to her chest area, so the left lung won’t grow too large again and squeeze her still-too-soft airway against her spine.

It was especially during that time period we began to see some of the compassion and insight which God was using these experiences to give to her.  After one of our trips to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a scope, Isabella and Sophia were sitting together on the sofa in the family room.  Izzy was admiring the little stuffed animals and trinkets the hospital staff had given Soph while we were there that day.  She must have made a comment about them, because suddenly I heard Sophia telling her, “Izzy, it’s ok to want my things, but don’t ever want to be me.  Today people hurt me, and took me away from Mommy and Daddy, and it was scary.  So you can want my things, but just don’t want to be me.”       

She was just shy of seven years old.


But God is still merciful, and after so many years of hospitals and doctors, things are easier.  

Until something like now happens.  When I look at her and see her slender body working harder than usual to breathe. 

Because she has a cold. 


We’ve done all the usual things the past 10 days, watch for a fever, begin 4 hour breathing treatments, extra Vitamin C, Ibuprofin to prevent that dreadful pleurisy which she seems prone to get now, and monitor her oxygen levels.  But still it’s not enough, and we have to make decisions about what to do.

And then at the hospital, we have to make decisions about what to do.  Again.  Because the ER doctors don’t know her, I do.  And although they have a protocol for children with two lungs, they are unsure and a little intimidated about what to do with her.

I have never yet heard any doctor or nurse tell me they have seen a patient like her before.  Instead they say they have never seen anyone like her. 

So as she sits next to me, drawing quietly on a piece of paper, little pieces of clothing and accessories for our pencil people, and she tells the doctor we are “shopping for free”, decisions have to be made.  Hard decisions about IV’s, and ambulances, and what is the safest and best thing for her.

And suddenly, after 4 hours, things begin to change and we can all see that this time it is mucous plugs.  And they have finally moved themselves out of the way, letting her oxygen levels raise back up to normal, and slightly easing the retractions in her throat.  X-ray is clear.  Breathing treatment has been given.  Our options are changing.

I had already told her there was going to be an IV, which had brought uncontrollable, quiet tears from her.  Now, an hour later, plans had changed, and we could go home.   But the ER doctor had noticed her tears from before, and although I had evaluated that he was a pragmatic kind of man, he was moved by her.  He reached out towards her shoulder lightly as he left the room, saying, “It’s gonna be OK, China Doll.  You’re going home.”


I woke up a few minutes ago, after falling asleep in Sophia’s bed with her, her arms tightly wrapped around me, mine tightly wrapped around her.  I wanted to write this down because I want a memorial for her.  A memorial of God’s faithfulness to her, and His kindness to her.  Last night as we talked before she fell asleep, she said, “I wish I didn’t get sick.”  And I reminded her (and myself) that it was the trial God has given to her, and I sometimes wish I could take it from her.  But then she wouldn’t know so well His loving care for her, and how He is using every minute of every sick time to draw her closer to Himself, and grow her faithful and strong – in her soul.

I’m going back up to her now, my little China Doll.  I want to keep my eye on her tonight.  And my arms wrapped tightly around her.  Just counting my blessings.