Sunday, August 28, 2011

8827 miles

8827 miles or 14205.8 kilometers... the distance between Uganda and Utah. That's like an 18 hour 20 minute flight.

What's in Utah? My older brother. He has lived in either Utah, Colorado or Vermont for the past 25+ years. Why? He likes to.. loves to ski. He likes the outdoors. Biking. Hiking. Skiing. So since he was out of high school he has lived in the states that offer the most ski time.

Being so far away, we don't see much of Rich. Even when we were on the same continent, we saw each other, maybe every other year. Life just gets...busy. No excuse, I know, but it just happens. We chat on email from time to time, we called when we were both in the US. I do think it is sad. My siblings and I have never been all that close. Don't get me wrong... I know they would have my back and I would have theirs. I know that we would be there for each other if it was necessary. It is sad though, because we aren't like the other siblings I see. We never had those close and private conversations that I see others have. We have never made it a point to see each other yearly at Christmas or New Year's.

I have no idea why this is.. maybe our circumstances growing up. Maybe we thought we each had to fend for ourselves. Maybe we thought the other wouldn't understand our thoughts, our fears, our pain. So, somewhere along the line we grew distant..

But like I said... I know we will be there for each other.

You see... this post, is not just because I am contemplating life and regrets. Maybe it should be. Maybe it partially is.

On Friday morning my brother went out for a bike ride. His last ride before he was going to compete in a race the following day. It wasn't going to be a long ride, he was going to be coming right back. At some point on Friday my mom gets a call from the University of Utah Hospital.

Now, let me pause here for a minute. Being a mom, that has got to be the worst call you can get. Your child is hundreds of miles away and a hospital is calling. I really think they should give some training to the nurses or Doctor's that call. I understand they have to say whom is calling from where.. but can't they start the conversation with "So and so is fine, but this is..."?

Anyhow..the nurse calls my mom and says that it is a hospital in Utah calling, and already my mom is imagining the worst, "He is dead. Something has happened and he is dead." My mom said in her email to me, that right then and there she almost faints. Just hearing the words, "I'm calling from the University of Utah Hospital."

Evidently when my brother went out for his ride.. at some point he passed out. They think he had a seizure or something. Right before he went down, right after? We aren't sure. What we do know is that someone who was driving along, saw him unconscious on the side of the road next to his bike. They call an ambulance, and it is not until he is in the ambulance that he comes to. Tells them to call our mom.

He is bumped and bruised and somewhat confused as to how he was out riding his bike and then in an ambulance.

The hospital runs some tests, as they must, when someone is found unconscious. The news is a surprise. At least for me it is. They have found a tumor in his brain. They say they think it has been growing for a while. They think it is non-cancerous. They will have to schedule surgery.

8827 miles seems like such a far distance, but when I hear the news, I am ready to fly there to help. He is my brother.

Even as I sit here and write, that is as much news as I have. I don't know yet what the surgeon has said. I don't know the date of the surgery. I don't know if there will be radiation to try to shrink the tumor. I don't know....

I do know that God is here, for me, for him, for the rest of the family. I know that no matter what God has our back.

Praising God:
-that he wasn't injured more when he went down.
-that he was somewhere where someone found him.
-that someone found him and took the time to help.
-that they think it isn't cancer.
-that we have email, so I can know what is happening across the ocean.

I am thankful that I have God here beside me to comfort me. That even when the unimaginable happens that He already knows.

Please lift my brother and the rest of the family up in prayer in the next few months. Tumor is a scary word. When you add "brain"... that tends to be even more scary. Pray for the surgeons. For wisdom. Protection. Peace.

8827 miles... it doesn't matter how far you are, if it is family, miles don't matter.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Thankful for our cats, well, Kenna's cats. Not that they are indoor and we snuggle with them. They are all outdoor cats. For the most part they are more annoying than anything. Always at one window or another "meowing" for food. They are cats.. they are suppose to be hunters, and yet they are always at the windows, begging for more scraps.

At times they get so annoying, we spray them with my handy-dandy water bottle. Cats don't like water, they don't like being wet. A little spray in the face, and amazingly they find something better to do.

So you see... I am thankful for our cats. (yes, that is oozing with sarcasm).

Wednesday started like any other day. We get up. We get ready. We go open the Keep. Around 9:30 am we get a call from Trevor, who likes to sleep in a bit, that one of the cats, Beamer, has been bitten by a snake and is dead.

Of course, our first response is "Get back in the house and don't come out until we get home." A snake in the yard, in Africa is not a good thing.

On arriving home, and inspecting Beamer... he has been dead for a few hours. Rigor mortis had already set in. But there on his left front leg is a wound. On closer inspection it appears to us, that yes, it is a snake bite. No other injuries. To be safe, we call the vet.

The vet comes (amazing that here the vet comes and makes house calls) and confirms that it is a snake bite.

Poor Beamer. He was a really good cat. Really sweet with the kids, and less annoying than the other ones.

Here is the reason why I am thankful for the cats. It could have been Declan. We didn't even know we had a poisonous snake in our yard. Sure, we've had snakes.. but nothing that was poisonous.

After talking to the neighbors we find out that they had recently sprayed their property because a snake had been disturbing their dogs. When they sprayed, their guard saw a cobra leave their property and go into ours. Of course, we find this out after Beamer is dead.

But Beamer was bitten, not Declan or Trevor or Makenna.

I am thankful for the cats. I am thankful to God who protected my family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I realized, last night as I couldn't sleep, that it has been awhile since posting here, AND it was Trevor's birthday on Monday. I have a hard time figuring out what to post about, as it seems my days are filled with the same "nothingness". What better topic to write about than a son. So, here it goes.

Monday we celebrated Trevor's 14th birthday. Fourteen years. He is now the same height as me. Daily he stands next to me to see if he has finally surpassed me in height. I think I still have a few months before he is looking down on me. Fourteen years.

If I think back to fourteen years ago I have mixed emotions. Mixed emotions because I am not one of those ladies who glows when pregnant. One who is thrilled about the changes her body takes. Don't get me wrong. I love babies. I just don't love the pounds it puts on, the un-comfort, the nausea.... I guess it really didn't help that I got pregnant with Trevor six months after having Makenna. In my mind... I was pregnant for three years.

A few things stick out to me about my pregnancy. I can remember trying to paint a mural in Makenna's room with my ever-growing belly. I didn't quite complete it before I just couldn't get around the vastness of my torso. The room would be finished months after giving birth.

I remember going to a neighbors house and sitting in her recliner chair with my right arm lifted over my head. This is the only way I could get comfortable. With Trevor lodged up under my ribcage, anything but stretched out was uncomfortable.

I remember we decided to find out what he was going to be. And when we found out he was going to be a boy... Trevor was the only name I wanted. Trevor was named after my younger brother. A story which I might post about one day.

I remember deciding to schedule a c-section. Makenna ended up being a c-section after 24 hours.. I wanted to bypass the exhaustion, get a good nights sleep and have a "refreshing" delivery.

I remember being at the hospital early on a Monday morning. Just Jon and I. My mom was to be there, but she ended up being late. I remember the total discomfort of Trevor still lodged up under my ribcage. I remember the Dr. tugging at him, trying to dislodge him from his dwelling place for the last nine months. I remember the pain in my chest from him being there, from the Dr. pulling..


And then...

I remember a tiny so tiny blue foot up over the divider. So tiny. So blue. Then the foot was gone. Whisked away to a table near by. No cry. No announcement of a boy. I remember the Dr. looking over at the people working on Trevor.. saying nothing. I remember me asking if everything was okay, and getting no answers.

And then... finally. The lovely sound of a cry. Through my tears, through my pain.. I am overjoyed... I have a son.

I remember going to the recovery room. I try to call my mom, to find out where she is. I remember her finally showing up and holding her first grandson, who's namesake was her son.

I remember the Dr. coming in later and telling me that if I had not scheduled a c-section that Trevor probably would not have made it. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and his torso once. The reason why he was always lodged up under my ribcage. The reason he never flipped inside of me. The reason for my discomfort.

I remember the Dr. saying they were sending the cord out for testing to see how long Trevor had been without oxygen. I remember now, how I must not have really understood what the Dr. was saying, because I remember not being worried. I remember the Dr. coming in some time later and saying that we were fortunate as there was still oxygen in the cord, meaning that Trevor hadn't been long without oxygen.

I remember the Dr. saying that if Trevor had problems with hearing, with learning that it was due to the lack of oxygen. That because his one minute APGAR was only 2 that there was reason for concern. Again, looking back on it... why was I not freaked out?! I think I was so thrilled to have a son. A Trevor. That somehow, I knew God was already looking out for him.

Trevor. Named after his uncle whom he would never meet. Michael, his middle name, chosen because of the archangel Michael, the protector.

So many other memories, that I could write and write.

I am so blessed to be the mother of Trevor. I know God has plans for him. I know God protected him all those years ago. I know children are a gift from God, I know Trevor is a gift. He is special.

I only hope that I am the mother God wants me to be for him. That I am instilling in him what matters, that I teach him what God would have him know. To be a man of integrity. A man after God's own heart.

Thank you Lord for the past fourteen years that you have blessed me. Thank you for the gift that Trevor is.