Bring the Rain

Tuesday, April 22

Despite the sunny, warm weather this past weekend it poured: Buckets and buckets full. I woke up on Friday morning, thinking about the ensuing craziness of the weekend. Matt’s brother and his family would be visiting for Easter weekend, which meant that there would a total of 6 kids and 3 dogs, in addition to adults, tearing around the house all weekend.

I checked my email, “Dad is back in AFib”. I called my mom to find out what was going on. The game plan was to actually try the cardio-version {electric paddles to try and shock the heart back in rhythm} in the hospital later in the day. I talked to my mom around 4:30 and it didn’t work, but they were going to keep him overnight for observation and try some different meds.

My mom calls me around 8pm, “You’re sister is on the way to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain: Do you want to go with me?” Fortunately all the kids were in bed, there was tons of family around, and I walked out the door, fully expecting to be home before midnight. Not so.

My mom and I arrived in the ER around 9pm, to find my sister literally writhing in pain on a gurney, my nephew {who is only 4 weeks old} not happy, and his daddy really worried about the both of them. A little while later they send her in for a CATScan to see if she has appendicitis. We hang around the room waiting.

“We found something rather disconcerting in your CATScan.” Let me just say that is NOT something you want to hear…ever, but especially not at 10:3pm in an emergency room. There was air in my sister’s abdomen, which was causing all of her pain; however, they thought that perhaps her small intestine had been punctured and thus why there was air. Emergency surgery immediately.

4 hours later, at 4:10 am the surgeon comes out to talk to us: “We had to remove a foot of her small intestine. There was a stricture that was causing the intestine to swell and become blocked, leaking gas and waste into the body cavity, we also removed her appendix so that there is no question of appendicitis in the future: My assistant and I believe she has Crohn’s Disease.”

What?!

And just like that…the rain poured down: My father is in AFib, that was non-responsive to shock treatment and my sister had a foot of her intestine removed and may have Crohn’s. And I’ve already been on emotional overload between family visiting, kids that are torqued from our new living arrangements, and just a general chaos.

We were ushered into recovery, where my 21 year old sister lay in a bed, moaning in pain, tubes in her nose, her 4 week old baby cuddled sound asleep against my chest, completely unaware of how his world is about to be rocked. And the rain came down.

I went home. Slept for 2 hours, then proceeded with my day per usual; phone attached to my head talking to my mom, my dad, and every one else trying to figure out just what was going on with every one and keeping everyone else in the loop.

At 7:15, just after the triplets were in bed, my dad called asking me to come help him with my nephew {my mom had gone back to see my sister—the hospital is 45 minutes away}. Out the door I went again. But it was different.

The ride home later that night was different. Instead of fighting the torrents of rain and trying to figure out which way was up and which way was shore…I floated. I rested in the cool evenings setting sun. And there was peace.

In the rain I still couldn’t find the spoken words for prayers or praise, but there was Him and there was hope. Because in the black of that Friday and Saturday there was the hope of Sunday: While Satan may think he’s won the battle, he’s already lost the war. While we awaited the Resurrection morning, the Resurrection had already happened, 2000 years ago, and in that we were free.

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As of today, my sister is doing better. She was finally able to sleep on Sunday afternoon, once they got her pain under control. My mom and I have been tag teaming childcare for my nephew. The hardest part for him is that he has been exclusively breastfed, and within hours he went from that, to bottles and formula, because of the medication and dyes they had to use for my sister. He’s a trooper though.

We received confirmation this afternoon that it is NOT Crohn’s Disease, but that they have no idea what is wrong and are sending it out for further testing.

My sister is really struggling with being away from her son, and stuck in the hospital; and her fiance is struggling with having to be at work, my sister being so sick, and not being around his son {while his mother is also very ill in a hospital 3 hours away}.

My dad is not well. The new meds they put him on making him feel absolutely terrible, and he’s also frustrated that the AFib episodes keep happening.

My mom is trying to keep them all together, and has to go back to work on Thursday.

I know your prayers have been flowing, those of you who follow me on Instagram knew last week what was happening; we so appreciate them and we still need so many more.

White House Renovations 2014—We have a foundation!

Friday, April 18

White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.comLast week {April 9th} the house was demolished and the foundation was dug out; despite the weather not being overly agreeable they managed to get the footings poured, the walls done and the basement finished! There is still some work that needs to be done before we can start building {perimeter drains and replacing the cast iron sewer lines for starters}.

Obviously this isn’t going to be an overly exciting post, but there is progress!

One of the things with old houses is that there are ALWAYS surprises, our house is no different. Given that the original house has a full basement, that is entirely laid stone, but very short, we knew we might have some issues to deal with. While the inside of our basement wall are smooth and give a relatively “flat” surface, the outside is another story.

Enter the large stones that can’t be touched. See’em all there, poking out!
White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
So what do you do with that?

You have to create a bump out and up in your basement to accommodate the existing foundation. I have no idea what the finished height of this is going to be. I’m hoping it will be high enough for a shelf or low enough for a bench, but we’ll see.
White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
Forms are up for the walls.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
And the walls were poured {it was starting to get dark when I got this shot}. Bottom right you can see one of the basement windows…they’re nothing fancy, just your standard basement windows.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
You can see the bump up/out in this one. If/when we ever finish the basement the half or 3/4 bath will be on that far right corner, closest to the existing house. The bottom right corner is where the stairs will go from the kitchen to the basement.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
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I stopped by on Wednesday to see how things were going, and there was an issue. We had talked about where the door to the basement was going to go. I wanted it on the far side {right side in the above picture}, Matt didn’t. My reasoning was that that part of the yard is already a dead spot {traffic wise} and I didn’t want it where the swing set was. We had agreed to put it as close to the fence as possible on the left side, but I guess that didn’t get conveyed to the people that it needed to be conveyed to.

The door and the huge metal bilco door way is in the middle of the left side, right in front of where you walk into the yard. Gah!! I was up half the night on Wednesday thinking this over and trying to convince myself it’s not an issue, but it is…it’s a HUGE issue. And unless we want to spend another chunk of change it’s going to stay an issue. Matt and I looked at it, and hopefully it isn’t as bad as I envision. I’m not happy, but we’ll manage.

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The good news is the aforementioned bump out, is going to be a good height for a shelf. So the TV will eventually go on that wall, with lots of room to store things on it. The bad news is the basement isn’t going to be big enough to have a 3/4 bath…we’re going to try and work in a powder room under the stairs.
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The boys got to be the first of their siblings in the new basement. I took them down Thursday evening to help Daddy and PopPaul put down the pex piping for the radiant heating.DSC_0168
They were more excited though to be playing in their own yard….DSC_0185
And climbing on Daddy while he worked {James}.DSC_0173
So, here it is…the basement.
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Friday morning {today} they are pouring the floor, installing the door, and then moving our swing set someplace {I’m not sure yet where} re-grading the yard, and they should be done. The floor trusses arrived Thursday afternoon, and next week, we start building up. Now is the fun stuff, because now is the stuff that I can help with!

And yes, my boys were beyond excited about the “Mater” in the backyard {I tried explaining it was an excavator}. Henry especially loves Cars {Disney movie} and Mater, and tractors and anything else that’s a machine and moves.

Scrubbing away the black…

Wednesday, April 16

Sharing this with you: A piece I wrote for our church newsletter this month.

In just a few more days it will be here: The blackness of Lent cast off in the full glory of Our Lord. Not just a man, but God who became man and died for us on the cross; and not only died, but conquered death and was resurrected. Who didn’t leave us in the blackness of the tomb, despairing, but brought us forth into the light, to the Son blazing in the sky brilliance.

The question is this: Have you done anything to deserve this kind of saving? Dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts of being a “good Christian”? Read your Bible? Tithed? Attended services? Never judged? Gave to the poor? Helped the sick?

I know I haven’t. None of us deserve to be taken out of the blackness of the tomb. Because that tomb is our own hearts. No matter what Scrubbing Away the Black: Resurrection Day and Clean Hearts at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com we DO, our hearts are still black; there is no amount of scrubbing we can do to unblacken them. There is not a person in all creation that has a clean heart, a heart that has not offended or been offended, felt unloved or withheld love, caused hurt or been hurt.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a
right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

Our hearts can only be cleaned by God. By Jesus, becoming the absolution for all who follow Him. And in that moment of taking our sins not only destroy them, but death. In Him, in His Death, in His Resurrection we have become clean.

Will we falter? Will we still be human and be hurt and hurt others? And NOT live to His glory? Absolutely. But that’s not an excuse, that’s a fact. We are human, we cannot save ourselves. Only our God can save us, and He did.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15

However, that doesn’t give us the Get Out of Jail-Free card, to say we love Jesus, but live for ourselves. It gives us the chance to put ourselves aside and show those around us a man who died for all others, when He himself was without blame. To admit when we were wrong, when we have wronged, and when we have been wronged. To forgive, to love, to continually extend our hand in Jesus’ name. To pursue rather than persecute.

This is why the Resurrection Day is of utmost importance, because it isn’t about Spring or candy. It is about life being made anew. And not just any life, but our lives. Our lives being led from the darkness into the light, by the only who has the map, who IS the map.

“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NIV

While the fuzzy bunnies and speckled eggs are cute, Easter is about so much more than new dresses and bonnets. It’s about God, OUR God, coming to earth as man, living the life we’re incapable of, dying the death we deserve, and at the end of it all saying: I have conquered death, that you may have life eternal in Me.