Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Miracle Countdown Finale!

December 19th--Miracle 19

They were happening each and every day.....hour by by day....moment by moment. We had seen the drywalling and the truckload of supplies delivered at the exact moment needed, but it didn't end here. 
A willing plumber from the gymnastics community had volunteered to install ALL the plumbing; he worked a full time job throughout the day, and worked throughout the night to finish our home.
Not to mention the carpet "angel" who just HAPPENED to come by the house the DAY they needed the carpet torn out. Yes, the volunteers here at the house could have figured it out, but to have someone who knew exactly what they were doing would trump all efforts! 
We heard he "stole the show"!  He ripped out the carpet and laid new carpet in half a day...any questions?
Finally, who could forget the man who "just followed the light"! 
It was late into the night; the men were working around the clock to get this home finished. Sleep would come in a week. Bright lights had been set up around the building sight so the men could see and keep working. A man walked up to the house and asked the men working if he could help. He told them he had been out walking and had seen the light; he needed to follow the light.  As you could only guess, the builders had just come to a point where they needed another man to help lift an extremely heavy beam, but who would be able to help in the middle of the night? The man needing to follow the light, of course! 
I know these stories and STILL ...I cry EVERY time!
Thank you, Lord, for the miracle of willing workers who listen to the "still small voice" to go and help...
Thank you for the man who followed the light....

December 20th -- 25th "The Miracle of All Miracles".......

It was Christmas Eve and I was shaking inside uncontrollably.  The feeling I had could not be compared to anything I had ever experienced before. We had finally been given clearance to check out of Children's Hospital; we would be walking out the hospital doors and driving toward our hometown of Puyallup by 3:00pm.  Glory! Glory! Glory! 
It had come at last...the day we had all dreamed of since the accident; WE WERE GOING HOME! It didn't matter what Jacoby could or couldn't do anymore, because there were principles that whispered something much deeper to our hearts. No matter what...we were going to be ok....we were going to live our lives to the fullest...we STILL had joy and we would keep the faith. 
My only regret was not taking a picture of Jacoby's face the moment we pulled out of the hospital drive. She had a smile from ear to ear....the "commander" was heading back to her "commanding post"! My administrative assistant had been gone and we ALL missed her. 
As we merged onto I5, I glanced back at her.  Jacoby's not a girl of many words, but the look she gave Jason and I  shouted a THOUSAND words at that moment! 
(Here came the tears, my ever-present, faithful companions. ) I wanted to open the window and shout at the top of my lungs.....just shout to the world we were going home; come hell or high waters, we were going home!
There is something amazing and beautiful about the human spirit. God made us to WANT to fight and pull through an obstacle; he made us WANT to pull through adversity.  I knew the challenge would be....NOT to grow weary if He chose a different path for Jacoby than we would chose. I silently prayed He would help me to keep His perspective on this journey. Jacoby was His child, I could trust Him with this precious treasure. 
As we pulled into our hometown of Puyallup, my heart automatically started racing again. I felt as if it was going to explode right through my jacket! 
We had not seen our home since they started the new addition; they were finished and eagerly waiting for us. Tears began to roll down my cheeks heart was overflowing with gratefulness and love toward ALL the people who had given to our family...given through their time, encouragement and resources since the accident. 
How could we ever repay this community....these people.....these friends for what they had done for Jacoby? 
How could we ever thank them enough for the sacrifices made on our behalf? 
I couldn't help but to look over my shoulder at the last month of miracles God had displayed right in front of our eyes. We would never be the same people again; there was no going back. 
There it the star of Bethlehem....our road....our neighborhood. The lump in my throat was growing and my eyes were hot with tears. O how I loved this road...O how I loved the neighborhood kiddos that ring my doorbell 50 times a day!

And then my heart felt as if it quit beating. There in front of my eyes was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. 
All I could see were people everywhere; precious people we knew and shared life with and precious people we didnt recognize. They lined the streets like a breathtaking Christmas garland. They were clapping and cheering as we pulled up to the front of the house. 
Instantly, I thought of all the times we had watched Extreme Home Makeover together as a family. Each week, we would gather in the living room on Sunday evenings and cry (Jason included) over the amazing stories of peoples lives being changed because of others generosity and care. In fact, we always wanted to be a part of a team that helped with a home renovation for someone that desperately needed it. 
Through my tears, I said, 
"Jason, we ARE living out what we always wanted to do...we're just the ones in desperate need." 
Both of us were bursting with emotion and thankfulness; life is never the way you think it will be. Somehow, it's better.
Meanwhile, as we unhooked Jacoby out of the van, the smiling faces of the angels that showed up that day will forever be imprinted in my mind. 
They lead us in to the most beautiful "act of love" we had ever seen.  A home with a foundation built on miracles, prayers and sacrificial giving. A home with hallways as wide as the Texas skies, a home where Jacoby could start a new chapter.
That day...that moment....was one of those memories that will never be able to be replicated in our hearts.  We had just witnessed a month of MIRACLES....a month of service and sacrifice...a month of pure, uncontrollable LOVE!

As I close up this year with our "Countdown of Miracles" the human language, once again, falls short of the words I want to say, but have no way of expressing. They are "words of the heart"....expressed through miracles we personally breathe and live out each and every day. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord....for ALL the amazing people you worked through to create miracle, after miracle, after miracle.  Thank you for giving us the biggest miracle of all...JESUS....who gives us the hope to know this tragic accident was a gift; Jacoby WILL walk again!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Miracles #17 and #18

December 17th--Miracle #17

Back at the home front, they needed someone to drywall. The pace was neck-breaking speed; getting a volunteer who not only knew HOW to drywall, but to drywall QUICKLY was going to prove to be the challenge. No one helping knew of anyone available, they were up against a wall...projects had to keep moving. 
There was a knock at the front door. Two young construction workers were waiting on the front porch.  They explained to the other volunteers they had just been laid off THAT MORNING and had heard of Jacoby's story; they wanted to come help with whatever needed done.  
Now for the big question...could they drywall?  Drywalling just happened to be a task they could do with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs.  The young construction workers didn't leave until the entire job had been completed; they had done beautiful work. 
The other volunteers could not believe what they had just witnessed. In the EXACT time of need...God had sent the equipped helpers, not a moment before!  The building crew said they will never forget that day........

Thank you, Lord for the miracle of bringing the EXACT help that was needed at the EXACT time it was needed........

December 18th--Miracle #18

They were running low on supplies; the "first push" to get the frame up had left the supply shelf almost bare. 
In a fairy tale story, I would elaborate and describe in words the most beautiful picture of a big white hardware truck pulling up to our home...LOADED with all the supplies the builders needed and more...much, much more.  These supplies would be a a gift of love, donated to make a young girl's Christmas wish come true. 
For those of you who don't believe in fairy tales anymore,  time to start! 
The "fairy tale" I just wrote about happened in real life. They HAD ran out of supplies  and someone must have known they would be needing them. The big, white truck loaded with supplies came to our house in December 2012...and delivered supplies AND hope! 
Sometimes events like these seem too good to be true...made up...fabricated to give others a false sense of hope. My wish is that you will never choose to think that way again after reading these miracles: my hope is that you will keep believing there is ALWAYS good..there is ALWAYS hope!
Thank you for the miracles that seem to good to be true......

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miracle #16

December 16th--Miracle #16

His name was Ashraf.  I was literally  on the verge of tears getting on the plane tonight...trying to figure out what just happened? What just compelled this young Middle Eastern man to go out of his way to get us on our flight home.  It just didn't make mind was racing to somehow connect the dots....what did he was a miracle!

Just a few moments earlier, Jason and I raced into the JFK International Airport knowing we would be cutting it close...too close for any comfort whatsoever. We had left our hotel with plenty of time to get to the airport, but quickly started to change our song when we saw how long it took us to simply exit off the Midtown Tunnel in New York. WE WERE CRAWLING....this would certainly clear up, right?! WRONG!
"O God, please help us make this flight," I prayed. The kids...Mom and Aunt Mollie, but especially Jacoby NEEDED us back. She was hanging on, but it was time. 
We were 50 minutes out from the departure time when we tried to check in. The computer wouldn't even let us check into our flight. It kept flashing times for tomorrow morning flights instead. I quickly told Jason to try it again.  I wanted to tell that machine I had 6 children waiting at home, and one who had special needs; she was counting down the hours. I could see their faces; not making this flight was NOT going to be an option....please...please...please. Jason continued to try and check in.
By this point, a Delta assistant had come over and asked if she could help. She must have seen the looks I was giving that poor old machine. I was temped to tell her everything I had just told that machine in my mind, but I surprisingly held myself together and started praying. The woman was very kind and helpful, but told us it was probably too late. And then she called over a young man named Ashraf. We told him the machine wasn't even letting us check in. We didn't need our bags, we didn't need our things, we just wanted to get home. I'll never forget how this man took action. It was like an angel tapped him on the shoulder and said, 
"Hey, you need to help this crazy couple....they have a daughter who really needs them home tonight...Boss's orders!"
He said, ' Follow me!" He walked us to the front of the check in line....and told them this couple needed to check in right away. And he stood RIGHT by our side until we checked in. I kept telling him thank you.....I couldn't felt like my dad had showed up at the JFK airport on special assignment" from heaven. I turned around and thanked those standing in the line, my eyes were filled with desperation, so Im sure some of them could understand. 
He quickly led us to security where long lines had already formed. He led us straight to priority check in...walking straight past all the lines to a separate check point. By this point, I could have adopted him as my own child and I just kept saying,
"thank you, thank you, thank you." But that wasn't where it ended. He began to grab the baskets you put your shoes and bags in at security and told us,
"Here...move up to the front...I need your shoes, your jackets!"
Ashraf LITERALLY walked us through security and was gone, but not before this ol mom could grab his arm and ask his name. He could have told me he was Apostle Paul and I would have believed him. 
I couldn't stop praising God as we put our things back on.....
"You are too good to us, just WAY to good to us!" 

Through my tears I chuckled to think how busy we must keep God...always having to send angels and miracles our way. The most amazing and beautiful part about this whole story is that He is sending angels and doing miracles all the time...for ALL of us....we just need to open our eyes.
Thank you, Lord....for the miracle of Ashraf "the angel" tonight.........

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracles #14 and #15

December 14th--Miracle #14

It was December 14th, 1996, on a beautiful winter night. The Christmas tree was perfectly decorated and hundreds of lights....tucked away in the branches....were dancing on the walls of the candle-lit church I grew up in as a girl. 
That night, 18 years ago, I promised a young, handsome high school sweetheart...that I would love and respect him for better or for worse, sickness or in health....
18 years later.....we've been through some "better" years, and we've been through some years that could have destroyed us.  Jacoby's accident was one of those hardships that could have ended our marriage. 
My heart goes out to the couples who face these types of struggles OR WORSE..with no support; it's hard enough when you DO have family, friends and resources to help carry the load. 
Today, I am TRUELY thankful for the miracle of #18 FULL years spent together with the man I love.....

December 15th--Miracle #15

Do you remember the  movie, "Its's a Wonderful Life?" 
Do you remember how your heart was going to literally burst open with joy when the whole town of  Bedford Falls came one by one to George Bailey's aide? 
George had lost all hope in living because of a problem he couldn't fix alone.  George was truly ready to end it all by jumping off the bridge.  Meanwhile, when his friends and community found out the crisis George was in..they came together and helped in whatever way they personally could...working together that day, they brought hope back into the life of George Bailey and his family.  
Each and every one of you WERE and ARE Bedford Falls to Jacoby and our family.  We were desperate to know we weren't alone; you carried our pain with us you still do today. 
One specific miracle that still leaves us in awe was the building of our home. A completely random group of men and women (all volunteers) came together, headed up by Tim Baublit, and poured the foundation, framed and presented a home to us 10 days after they broke ground. There is something about this gift....this offering...this sacrifice....that chokes me up every time I think or talk about it. 
That crew of workers worked around the clock, many times only sleeping for 2 hours, before they started back up again. They gave time up with their families, and most gave their own health...just to give Jacoby the gift of an accessible home for Christmas. 

I know for certian The Lord had angels working on those grounds day and night, keeping those men and women  AWAKE and they could finish the task. 

As Jason and I were walking through the White House Visitor Center today, we came across a quote that one of America's presidents said....

"The White House is the only home that is not owned by the family who resides in is owned by the people."  

We were completely humbled to realize  our home was built much the same the people....for the people.. All of you who sacrificially gave of yourselves for our precious daughter's benefit  and for ours.... Our home will ALWAYS belong to all of you forever......

Thank you for the miracle of determined people willing to give everything they have to give someone else hope......thank you for the miracle of our home....thank you for being our Bedford  Falls..... 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Miracles #12 and #13

December 12--Miracle #12

There was an accident in the right lane; we were now down a lane.  Today was not the day for "drama" on the highways....I needed to be at the hospital in 30 minutes for Jacoby's discharge meeting. I had drove home the night before to stay with the kids (especially Vincie) and planned to be back early to make the meeting. This meeting would determine whether Jacoby would be released on Christmas Eve; Christmas Eve was 4 days away. 
Traffic was beginning to build up by the minute; I could tell from experience this wasn't gong to be a small inconvenience...I was going to miss the meeting. 
"Dang it...dang it...dang it!" Chalk another one up for Murphy's Law. 
Back at the hospital the meeting had started. Jason and Jacoby had situated themselves at the table and anticipated the fact this would probably be the last one. 
Jacoby's head doctors began voicing their concern for Jacoby's discharge from Children's  Hospital. They told Jason there had never  been a patient with that level of injury released before 2  1/2 to 3 months; we were at 1 month. They didn't think we had experienced enough "situations" to discharge yet. 
( was all becoming very clear why God had not allowed "Momma Bear" to make the meeting that morning; this Momma might have brought down a few doctors that morning.  God is too smart;  He knew Jason would handle the "road block" calmly...which he did.) 

Jason explained that from the very first week at Children's Hospital, we asked them what we needed to do to get Jacoby home...that's all she wanted. They told us we needed to step in and perform Jacoby's care procedures which included cathing, bowel, showering, dressing and blood thinning shots.
BRING IT ON....had become our anthem; we would do whatever we needed to do to get Jacoby home....WHATEVER we needed to do. 
Jason and I started the responsibilities of Jacoby's care the 2nd week of Children's Hospital and never looked back. They had given us a checklist; we had successfully completed every single task. 
Jason calmly told the doctors and therapists we had completed the list for discharge and explained leaving her in the hospital didn't necessarily mean she would run into dangerous" situations. He said they should have clarified that expectation from the beginning. 
The doctors were silent and  said they would talk and get back with us on their decision. We were visited later that day by Dr. McNalley giving us permission to take Jacoby home on Christmas Eve.   Tears.....tears....and more tears......we were going home!

We brought Jacoby home on Christmas Eve 2012; just over one month from her accident.  Jacoby was the first patient they had ever had with that level of injury, to be released one month after admission; that was a miracle...........

December 13th--Miracle #13

This miracle is small and could be easily overlooked, but I just CANT let that here goes..... 


OK....this may seem like a silly miracle to some of you out there, but to have a Starbucks coffee shop on the bottom floor of your hospital ...that opened early every morning and closed late every night brought tears of joy to my face each and every day. 
Honestly, we were averaging 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night. In addition, Jason and I were sharing a coach to sleep on in Jacoby's room; I bet you can guess how "comfy" that was for a month AND romantic for that matter. 
Long story short, there were mornings, when our alarm clocks went off, we would stand up UNABLE to open our eyelids! Thanks to my friend, the siren, several times a day....WE MADE IT!
Thank you Lord, for the small miracles in life like Starbucks! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Miracles 10 and 11...

December 10th and 11th--Miracle #10 and #11
( I included both in one entry due to the length!)

It was strictly procedure.  Jacoby was doing AMAZING with her therapy regimen and passing all her "psychologist" appointments with flying colors; however, we knew she still had one requirement to fulfill. Before Jacoby could be discharged from Children's Hospital, she had to go on an "outing"... an outing of any kind. Jacoby's physical therapists and team of doctors wanted to see patients challenge themselves and go out on an outing with their new circumstances. Basically, they wanted Jacoby to leave the hospital in her wheelchair. It could be as simple as ride in a car and look at Christmas lights, go to a drive-in movie, go through a drive through...simple, right?! Jacoby said she would think about what she wanted to do; we would go tomorrow.
Brian, Jacoby's therapist pulled us out into the hallway and said,
" Its only fair to let you know that this "outing" can and probably will set Jacoby in a state of depression for awhile. Most of our patients see the outside world for the first time after the accident during this outing; they want their old life back. Jacoby may be embarrassed of her wheelchair, embarrassed of her body, embarrassed of EVERYTHING!"
Up until this point, Jacoby had blown everyone (including Jason and I) away with her faith. She absolutely hated being paralyzed, but she also seemed completely at peace with where God had her for the moment. There were no signs of depression...YET! But now they had to go and ruin it for all of us...easy for him to say, I have to take her home. I could definantly feel myself going into the "crazy mom" cycle and realized it was MY turn to show a little faith.  Afterall, how bad could it be? We would probably just be looking at Christmas lights from inside the van, she will be fine.
The next morning, Brian stopped by the room to remind us that we had the outing and he would see us in front of the hospital at 6pm; she could tell him the destination once we loaded up.
Had I known what was about to take place, I don't know if I would have had the strength (or guts) to go. But isn't that ALWAYS how God works? He knows how we think...He knows we operate better not knowing details in advance..He knew that night wasn't about Jacoby, it was about us.
Everyone was on pins and needles, as it was her first time out. Jacoby doesn't like to be out of control so I could already tell this drive was going to leave us feeling like we'd run the Boston Marathon. We made "small talk" for about 2 minutes, and then he asked Jacoby what she wanted to do. No one was prepared for what came out of her mouth.
"Is there a RAM restaurant around here? I would really love to go eat at the RAM for dinner."
Confusion seemed to be the single word to describe the emotion floating around in our poor hospital van. Wasn't she supposed to be embarrassed? I mean, the RAM at 6pm at night is "prime time" dinner hour. Wasn't she aware I would have to feed her every single bite? What if her chair didn't fit? Depression...she certainly didn't seem to be settling into a depressed state!
We all seemed to stammer through our shock. As Brian unbuckled her chair and got out the ramp, Jason squeezed my hand and our eyes met.  We were both holding back tears for Jacoby's sake, but I knew the dam would break at some point that night...of this, I was absolutely certain.
Dinner was as hard as I could have imagined. The stares came from every corner of the restaurant, chairs were tight; people were having to adjust their tables to make a path for her wheelchair. Some people didn't move and were annoyed at our request.  Jacoby ordered her absolute favorite... a RAM cheeseburger;  she enjoyed every bite.
It was getting hard to swallow...the lump in my throat was there to stay. I was praying  God would just get me though dinner. If Brian saw me break down, he  might not let us take her home if they thought we couldn't handle the pressure. How could she be so strong? How? Lord, whats wrong with me? Why are we the ones slipping into the "depressed state?"
Our world had changed, her world had changed; we needed to move on. Everything inside of us wanted to stay in the past, wanted to stay in the familiar.  All circumstances around us seemed to be a disaster... shear if all hope was lost.
BUT the center of the storm, HE WAS THERE...mighty to save! As we began to thank Him for what we couldn't understand at the time, His peace completely took over and guarded our lives.

Today, Jason and I had the privilege of visiting the  911 Memorial Museum in New York; three beautiful and emotional hours changed our lives forever.  Finally, we were able to see firsthand, all the details of that tragic day sewn together into something precious and sacred. Their names and stories were honored. We were watching one of the short documentary films, when it hit us.
After the dust and debris settled on that tragic day, the sight was almost more than you could bear; there were no words for the loss of so many precious lives. Complete devastation and hopelessness filled the smoke-filled air...UNTIL the American flag was hoisted up into the center of the ruins. It's very presence filled the air with strength and hope! Everyone present was reminded they were part of something much bigger and greater than themselves...hope was NOT lost; they would press forward, they would keep fighting...they would NEVER give up.
Just like the American flag reminded Americans that hope was in their midst despite the tragic circumstances all around them, the Lord reminds us that He is "the hope" in our midst when life falls down around us.  
Thank you for the miracle of a trusting heart, even at the age of 15....
He is Our Anchor.....and the Anchor holds....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Miracle #9

December 9th Miracle #9

The lights had been turned off; we had made it yet another day. All we knew was we were one day closer to going home...HALLELUJAH, PRAISE JESUS!
As busy as her physical therapy regimen was  during the week, there was still a loneliness that invaded our hearts and thoughts each day. Jacoby NEEDED people to boss around, our other children needed their Mom and Dad  back, we desperately wanted our family back together. 
However, it made me realize this miracle I almost missed....we faced this challenge TOGETHER each and EVERY day.  How many times had I walked down the hospital floor to see room after room with only a child in it...parents or loved ones no where to be found.  These children were in good hands with the wonderful nurses, but some people didn't have the luxury or overwhelming support that we had to be with their child all day and night. How hard that must have been for them!
Jason had a boss and co workers that insisted  he stayed with Jacoby at the hospital; they wanted him to be with us. We will be indebted to each one of you forever. 
Long story short, even with a full time job and 5 other children with extremely busy sport schedules, (I know you parents GET this) Jacoby  never had to be alone. , not even for one day. 

Thank you, Lord for that miracle of getting to be present.........