Thursday, April 26, 2007

Evynn at the beach last week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As you gain an insight into who Rhyan is, I continue to worry about Little Ev being lost in the midst of it all. Graciously, God has given Evynn a personality that won't allow that happen!

We were in the waiting room at the doctor's office last week when it really occurred to me that my youngest was going to be an entertainer. Rhy was sitting quietly next to me playing with her baby doll all the while Evynn was singing at the top of her lungs, "my mama told me!!!!" (apparently an original song, as I can find no one who has heard of it!) She proceeded to twirl around on her tip toes and fall repeatedly (or dancing in Evynn world) while intermittenly holding a long note and lifting her arms in the air like a great opera singer. I tried to stop her until I realized that she had the entire office spellbound and laughing. When her name was called, she sang and danced all the way out of the waiting area. I could almost hear the applause in the laughter of her audience. I had the biggest smile as I watched her. I was unable to take my eyes off her.

On Sunday's, our tradition before church includes a breakfast of orange danishes and then we all sit around the kitchen table drawing pictures. Evynn will draw for a few minutes, and then true to Evynn personality, quickly buzzes to something else. Rhyan will stay and draw until it's time to get dressed. This past Sunday, I sat watching Rhyan silently draw a picture of herself helping Evynn with her boo boo. The sunlight was streaming through the window onto her face and she looked so amazingly beautiful. I can imagine that's how God sees her all the time. I had the biggest smile as I watched her. I was unable to take my eyes off her.

Rhyan more than has the ability to make me laugh and Evynn is the best cuddler right before bedtime, but they are their own separate little people. Having children with completely different personalities is a blessing that enables me to better understand God's ability to love us all with the same amount of delight and affection. We are all special to Him, we are all precious to Him. It warms His heart to watch His children care about each other and I can imagine that it makes Him proud to see us taking on the characteristics of His Son. I already know that He never takes His eyes off me. But how I desire, in my daily walk, to make Him smile.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In church today we sang 'Lord Reign in Me' by Vineyard and I became so emotional. The lyrics say,

"Lord, reign in me
Reign in your power
Over all my dreams
In my darkest hour
You are the Lord of all I am
So won't you reign in me again"

It really is starting to sink in that we are about to face one of our greatest dreams in the midst of one of our darkest hours. We know that getting Rhyan's second ear is the right decision. We have been praying faithfully for nearly 2 years. But there is that part of me that is dreading my child going in for surgery again. I know the end result is worth it, but I also remember very vividly how it felt with her first ear when they wheeled her away from us to surgery and how she looked when I saw her for the first time post-op. It was not something I think I could have imagined.

And now we are going there again. I needed to be reminded this morning that He was reigning in my life when He made our dreams come true about the approval of Rhy's second ear on April 13th, but He will also be reigning in our lives on May 29th when we watch her leave us for surgery, while we're praying in the waiting room and when we see her for the first time post-op. He will never leave us.

I'm preparing Rhyan to be brave when the time comes to leave us and go into the surgical room. We talk often about her guardian angels that interlock arms around our house and stand guard around her room. After I told her about her surgery, I suggested she name at least one angel so she knows who's with her and Jesus while we're apart. I thought she would pick a name like Bart or Buster. My girl is just a little more complicated than that! Her strongest angel is a girl (shows how dated I am!) and her name is Strongest strongest angel angel in in the the world world. Strongest for short. I have the most beautiful picture in my mind of when she's wheeled away from us. Jesus will be holding one hand and Strongest will be holding the other. He'll never leave her mommy and daddy and He most certainly will never leave her.

And there's my peace.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hello! Just a quick update. Things are progressing very fast. As far as we know right now, Rhyan's surgery will be on May 29th. Two weeks later will be her post-op appointment which is when she'll have her staples removed (hopefully the last ouchy appt).

The following week, on June 22nd, her left 'ear' will be turned on. With her right ear, we had to wait 6 weeks before the turn on date, so we're pretty happy about how quickly we can get started. Once her left ear is turned on, we will have to isolate it and she will not be permitted to wear her right ear. This will enable the new ear to begin learning to hear. If she kept her right ear on, her right ear would do all the work and her left ear would never hear to its optimum potential. The following week, the mapping of the new ear will be tweaked to make sure that it's working properly. Then around July 22nd, she will have both ears turned on and working! Full sound. I can't imagine.

Today her ear was scratching and giving her troubles. The school called me and I'm pretty sure that it was scratching because she had PE and sometimes the sweat will irritate the device. Of course, our initial concern was that there was something wrong with her processor and we'd have to send it in for repair. It just really hit home today that even if that does happen in the future, she'll always have one ear to hear! Anytime something is going on with her processor, she just gets this look on her face of pure dread. She is so afraid of being without sound. It really has been heart-breaking in the past. I can't wait until it sinks in that she doesn't have to be afraid anymore.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Rhy Rhy on Easter Sunday.

We were going to wait to tell Rhyan about her second "ear" because we were afraid she'd be nervous, but I just couldn't contain myself! Matt and I sat down with her this afternoon and told her that Jesus answered our prayers. She was finally going to get her other ear. She was amazingly underwhelmed. I don't know what type of reaction I was expecting from a 5 year old, but it was almost comical. I was near tears and she was like, 'Ok'.

Nighttime prayers were a little more revealing. She asked God to heal Ellie and to watch over her other ear on summer break. I guess at least that much sunk in. She also asked Jesus to calm Evynn so she didn't cry and scream so much at night. That's pretty revealing, too!

I told Rhyan that what I'm looking forward to the most is being able to tell her that I love her in both ears. I usually say it to her and then have to say it again to her right ear to make sure she's heard me. And to think that she'll never miss another "I love you". God is so good.


And just like that we have a surgery date! Amazing.

Rhyan will go in Tuesday morning on MAY 29th!! She will have to stay in the hospital for 23 hours for observation. For her first implant I was only able to sleep for one hour all night, so anything past that is an answered prayer!!

From everything I was told today, she won't need the testing that was required for her first implant (CT Scan, blood work, etc.) That is such a huge blessing! And also, from talking with other moms, the time between the surgery and turning on the implant is 3-4 weeks instead of 6 weeks. So that's really exciting, too! She might just have two ears by her birthday!

Lots of love! Courtney (and Matt)


Friday, April 13, 2007

I was deep into my Bible Study this morning when I read what was so perfect for this day. Beth Moore, author of "Breaking Free", writes, "According to Jeremiah 29:11, He knows the plans He has for us. He leads those He has redeemed so they will fulfill His wonderful plan. Not only does God lead us, He leads us in His unfailing love! Oh, how my heart rejoices over the reminder. You see, I've been led a few difficult places and so have you. What a comfort to know that the places God chooses to lead us always flow out of His unfailing love. When we choose to believe God loves us, we can trust that the paths He leads us on are charted in lavish love." (copyright 1999)

I received a call this morning from our insurance company. As you might gather from the prior months of updates, this was quite a shock. I spoke to a representative that needed additional information in order to obtain an authorization number. Rhyan has been approved for the bilateral and this auth number is what will enable us to schedule surgery. When I hung up with her and quit jumping up and down like a maniac, I praised God and prepared myself to wait. I was fully expecting another two weeks for the auth to come in. A half hour later I got the call with that precious number and I felt like God was saying to my heart, "You've waited long enough, Child".

Many of you know my testimony of when Rhyan was diagnosed. Rhy was only 18 months old and had to be sedated for an ABR to test her hearing levels. The test took quite a while and when it was over she remained asleep in my arms. Our loved ones came in and sat with me, as I held Rhyan a little closer. She looked so peaceful. I remember so clearly the exact moment when my heart shattered. The audiologist said pretty simply, 'there was no response'. Nothing.

It's an amazing thing about shattered hearts. If we let Him, God can take the pieces and rebuild them to resemble His heart. All the while we were going through our fiery trial, He was burning away parts of my heart that didn't belong in a life of someone following after Christ. Unbelief, resentment, anger. They all were burned away in what was the most painful time of my life. I'm certainly not saying that I'm perfect. I fail on a daily basis. Some days it seems like I sin every minute. But there were lessons learned that sometimes only come from a season in the valley. With all that I've learned over the course of my daughter's life, the greatest thing is that God is love in every single moment. It can be much easier to feel His love when things are going well and we're surrounded with blessings. But the more and more fiery trials we come through, the easier it's becoming to see His footprints in the ashes.

Thank you, so much, for your love and support. You are all so greatly appreciated. And for those who have been praying for a little girl they will probably never meet, you have a special place in our hearts.

With much love,

Courtney & Matt

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Evynn is my "No, me!" girl. As a typical 2 year old, she likes to do everything on her own, maybe because she enjoys the attention when she does it right. Like most of us. Her favorite thing to do when we are leaving the gym is to walk on the curb. It's a few inches off the ground and she is getting better. But she is still pretty wobbly and I have to grab her after just a few seconds after saying "No, me!" before she falls . Tuesday, she tried again and after failing, she allowed me to assist her by taking the very tiniest tip of one of my fingers. She still wobbled and I grabbed her before she fell. Then she took my whole hand and was able to walk pretty straight and pretty fast toward her goal. But when she took both of my hands, my child ran.

Yesterday, I waited for an hour and a half for our lawyer to call me to start the hearing via teleconference for Rhyan's bilateral. After an hour and a half of what felt like pure torture and continuous praying, we finally tracked someone down to tell us what was going on. They had lost my contact information and the hearing went on without me. I was so disappointed. I was angry. This was my chance to speak on Rhyan's behalf and I felt like I was robbed of my only opportunity. Our lawyer represented us, and I'm sure she did a great job, but they didn't hear me. The good news is, however, that the insurance company didn't participate either and the panel listening to the case were very upset by that. That is definitely in our favor. Our lawyer said that she would be very surprised if they didn't rule in our favor.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and we were discussing what God's intentions were, why I wasn't able to attend. I don't know if we figured out the right answer, or if there are several. But, I do know that He didn't need me to be involved. He can do this without me. And I know that if I would have presented, I would have been feeling more confident now and wouldn't have been praying nearly as much as I am now. And I have been praying.

Like Evynn, I am a 'No, me!' girl when I desperately need to be a 'Yes, You' girl. This morning I heard Him whisper to my heart, 'take My hands, child.' I have such a hard time with that sometimes and it seems I need to be continuously reminded. So, every moment I will surrender to Him. I won't just take the smallest tip of His finger, I won't just take one hand. I will take both hands and I will run straight toward the goal.

Evynn finishes walking on the curb with a great leap at the end, still clutching my hands so she soars. I'll let you know when we hear the decision and I just know that it will be followed by a great leap. We'll still be clutching His hands, and we will soar.

Much love, Courtney

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hi Loved Ones,

After a year and a half, our wait is seemingly near its end. Next Wednesday, at 10:15am, there will be a hearing on Rhyan's hearing :-) Our insurance company, our lawyer at Let Them Hear and I will all have a chance to speak to a panel of decision makers for the Florida Dept of Insurance. The panel will then inform us on whether or not Rhyan will get her second ear. I don't know how long it will take for the decision to made, but it's such an answered prayer to actually have someone listen to our case.

When Rhyan was first diagnosed, it was so devastating that it was very difficult for me to feel the presence of God consistently. I am so grateful to say that during this long, arduous process, I have never felt a moment without Him. He has been in this every single second. And His timing is so perfect. I talked to Rhyan about the hearing and I told her that whatever God decides, it's for the best. We want her to have her other ear, but if it's not what Jesus wants, we simply have to trust that He knows what's best for her. She said she understood. And then she said, "You know, Jesus whispers to my heart, even when my ears aren't on." Wow. Jesus loves our child more than we will ever know how to. He hurts for her and He sees her struggles and He knows the obstacles in her future, but He whispers to her heart. That is so much more important than anything else we may ever want for her or feel she needs. And we pray she will always hear His whispers.

Thank you so very much for your continued prayers. They have been instrumental in getting us this far. If you could pray for the hearing, it would so appreciated. I know what I want to say, but I can't seem to form my thoughts without becoming emotional. I need His strength. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything. Whatever the answer, it will be the right one. He is so easy to praise.

In His love,Courtney & Matt