Thursday, September 27, 2012

Risk vs Benefit Analysis

My friend, whom I 've never met but pretty sure we'd be great buddies, started this post.  Linny, over at wrote about taking her daughter to get her eyes worked on.  The child was angry with the mother for taking her to the doctor.  This sparked some great dialogue about children getting upset at parents for making them do something for the child's own good--even if it makes the child mad. Thus begins my story about taking Dillon to the orthodontist for work on expanding his palate.  He has the tiniest  mouth and also an underbite.  And, since he has a really bad articulation disorder, we hoped this treatment would help.  We began working, slooooowly, on this orthodontic plan 3 years ago.  The doc does a tiny tweak and then we wait 3 months before anything else.  Dillon wore a reverse headgear for several months.  Now, he needs a new appliance to accommodate the movement of his palate.  Problem:  Every single visit if fraught with anxiety and drama.  It goes like this....Dillon is happy go lucky and greets the assistant.  She begins working in his mouth, within a few minutes he is squirming and biting.  I come to try to coax him to cooperate.  A few more minutes goes by and he begins crying and coughing.  At this point, we are all frantically working to do the adjustment, take the impression with that gooey stuff, or place spacers--whatever is the treatment for day.  I kneel next to the chair and hold Dillon's mouth open and he frequently vomits.  Today was the worst.  He panicked, complete with rapid breathing and holding his throat like he was dying, turned on to his stomach in treatment chair and that was it!  No amount of rational, friendly bribing with QT hotdogs, or sweet mommy voice(but inside I was wanting to pinch his head off!) was getting through.  I marched him out of the office balling.  Embarrased--yes!  I looked like "one of those mothers" who can't control her children.  Sad--yes!  This isn't fair to Dillon. I should say that the ortho office is amazing and very very patient with him. I've placed a call to the office manager to discuss risk vs benefit.  My hospital utilizes this concept with every decision and I rather like the concept.  Are the risks/costs outweighed by the benefit?  In other words, is putting Dillon through the trauma worth it?  Will he really be that much better off with a corrected mouth and palate?  Or, have we bought in to the middle class American lie that every child has an inalienable right to perfect teeth and really this is all stupid?

Risk vs benefit can be applied in most situations.  For example, we almost moved last week. A few weeks ago we'd found "the house"!  You know, up on the hill, an acre of land(it is Texas people, we have sprawling areas of land not gobbled up YET), trees, and a house that seemed perfect for our family, but needed updating.  However, we met with our dear friend and realtor.  Thanks to the housing bust several years ago, our house was worth less than it cost us to build it back in 2007.  We'd make zero profit and then go further in to debt on the new house--making Mike 72 when a 30yr note is paid off.  The cost/risk far outweighed the benefit.  And, after sprucing up our house to put on the market, it suddenly looked beautful!

Disclaimer:  When God calls you to take a risk for Him, all the benefits outweigh the risks!  Our old friend always said "BOO-COD" Benefits of obedience-Consequences of disobedience.  In other words, sometimes the worldly risks appear to be great, but in reality, obeying God's promptings in our lives will produce much great benefit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life can be a stretch sometimes

  My 2 oldest kids really saw a glimpse of life last week.  In one day, they attended the funeral of beloved Coach K at our school, their great-grandfather died, and their friend was diagnosed with leukemia-all in a matter of 4 hours.  I could almost see their childhood innocence disappearing.  Life can be hard.  But, it can be joyful too!  Coach K's brother made a decision to become a follower of Jesus after seeing the powerful testimonies at the funeral.  I can see him pumping his fist and rejoicing in heaven over that! 
We had Grandad's funeral yesterday.  It was lovely.  My bro-in-law, Doug, preached it and boy was it awesome!  Lots of sweet friends and memories. My hubby sang old gospel hymns--that man can sing!  In fact, I'm thinking the funeral home may be calling to ask if he will be a full-time funeral singer.
Grandad had full military honors.  Not a dry eye when they played taps and handed the folded flag to my 96 yr Grandmother, hunched over in her wheelchair in front of the coffin.  They were married 73 years!  My sister, Emily, took this amazing photo.

And, we are praying for sweet M, a strong and beautiful 16 year old in the hospitald receiving chemo.  We trust she will be healed and back to school next year.
Dillon's annual ARD meeting is next week.  We have a feeling that it will hold some changes for his IEP.  For all you momma's of kids with special needs, you know what I mean.  ARDs are hard. But, life is a blessing.  A wonderful journey and we are blessed beyond measure.

For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.

 For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall Psalm 18:28-29

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hudson funny

I was walking out of the library with little Hudsy(as my neice Aspen calls him).  A woman was walking right by us when Hudson looked up at me and said "You are my best grandmother!".  I sheepishly smiled at the lady who smiled back.  I said "I'm not your grandmother." Hudson said "Yes, you are!"  Soooo embarrasing! Our lives would be missing a whole lot of fun if he weren't here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let me tell you about my Grandad

My grandfather is a proud old man.  Yes, he is really old--95 or 96--I lose count.  He was a WW 2 radio man.  He was a self-taught engineer.  He was an avid watcher of the stockmarket and political analyst on the side.  He loved his family.  I'd call and ask what he was doing.  He'd answer "just sitting around worrying about my grandkids." He drove for Meals on Wheels for many years.  He wouldn't step foot into a senior center until his late 80's because that was "for old folks."  He used to give each of us grandkids a bond for Christmas because he'd lived through the Depression and understood the importance of saving.  My grandfather was mentally sharp as a tack until Sunday night.  A stroke ravaged his mobility and mentation.  Tonight he is in Hospice care, spending his last hours on earth.  A great man.  A devoted family man.  A follower of Jesus Christ.  A treasure.  I'm a blessed woman.  I'll be 40 next month and still have grandparents.  My children have great-grandparents.  He is secure in his future and I know he is ready to go see his Maker.  During my 16 years as an RN, I've helped countless patients transition from this life.  This is heart-breaking, not because of death, but because of what he and grandmother have  had to endure the last few years.  I just want them to be whole and healthy and happy again--handing out Dr. Peppers and standing on the front porch waving as we drive away from the sweet 2bedroom house.
Tomorrow Mike will help the students at his school attend a funeral and grieve the death of a beloved football coach who passed away Monday.  It's a hard week. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

the one constant

Change is part of life.  Scary, adventurous, exciting, overwhelming, fun, interesting, expensive, tiring, exhilirating...all of those adjectives can be ascribed to change.  Several people close around us are uprooting, moving from the family home,making job changes, going back to school, growing their families with new babies, teenagers driving,and even friends dying of cancer.  It is hard to deal with change sometimes.  But, as followers of Jesus, we understand that the only constant in this world is Him.  I think I'm going to claim this verse for the next few weeks so I don't stress myself out too much!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever Hebrews 13:8

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

filling the days

I'm loving not having any school work to complete.  My free days have been so enjoyable--lunch with friends, painting the laundry room, reading books that I want to read--not have to read.  Insert commercial for the book "Weird" by Craig Groeschel, amazing! Let's just say that if I get declined admission into grad school, I may not be too disappointed.  Dillon has started school with a bang.  He stayed home with me yesterday due to a mild case of pneumonia.  Our family is so strange.  Here he is eating rice with seaweed strips for lunch.  Hey, we are taking our kiddo's Korean heritage to heart!

Here is my project.  I began painting the laundry room in May.  Uh-hem, I am not slow, I'm deliberate!  I just wanted to make sure this is what I wanted.  What says clean laundry and bright home like a fresh coat of yellow?  The little blue flags are where I'd measured the kids and marked their height on the wall.  Those markings are precious so I put little flags with the name and date and then pushed a pin in to the spot. 

Hudson informed me this morning that he'd rather stay at the extended time after preschool than come home with me at 12:30.  I'm boring :/     So, I'm sprucing a few things up around the house.  Some people dear to us are selling a house and it got me to looking around at the spots we've run down or ignored for 5 years.
Oh, random, but Mike wrote a little post in the school's newsletter about true blessings.  That man is stellar, I tell ya!  How in the world did I snag him?  I'll share it with you sometime.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Forever Family Day-3 years

3 years ago today we landed at DFW, a family of 6.  Seong Cheol was 21 months old and completely terrified of Mike and I.  Thank the Lord we'd taken Abby with us to Korea.  He instantly bonded with her and she had to care for him on the plane home.  His coping mechanism from the first day he saw us was to close his eyes...maybe they aren't really there...if I just don't see them!!  Poor little fella.  If you'd like to read about our trip home, click HERE

(sweet friend Faith helping Dillon hold the Welcome Home sign)

(we were surprised anyone braved the airport arrival at 11pm)

("they really aren't here, they really aren't here!")

The last 3 years have been pretty wild.  In all honesty, the first 6 months after his arrival were HARD!  He screamed a lot, cried a lot, was very demanding, and vomited all over our city(whenever in public, he'd have a tantrum and vomit).  All typical grieving and adjustment behaviors.  Fast forward to today.  This kid is a brilliant and funny 4yr old.  He loves school, is obsessed with Thomas trains, is very musical and sings all day, has super expressive eyes, and cracks us up.  Just a few days ago he gave me the perfect explanation:  "I think I know why I'm so loud, it is cause of my huge lungs."  Brilliant I tell ya!
Happy Gotcha Day Seong Cheol.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

But I don't wanna serve

  There is a homeless ministry in the city that I volunteer at once a month.  It is a nutty place.  A little psycho, sweet, fun, touching, funny and annoying all at the same time.  The medical clinic is on Wednesdays.  I did NOT want to go today.  I'd promised one of the other nurses that I'd be there.  When I woke up this morning I wasn't in the mood.  Here's the dealio...sometimes I'm tired of taking care of others.  I have 4 children and I'm an ICU nurse.  Sometimes I'm tired of taking care of  people. Call in sick?  Nah, lame excuse.  Not that is realllll show on the homeless people.  Anyways, I went.  I'm so glad I did.  I remembered that of all the blessings in my life, having choices has to be one of the top.  Hear me out here.  When you spend time with people in the poverty cycle, most markedly the homeless and medically indigent, you realize that they have few choices.  The eat the food the shelter hands out.  They see whatever doctor happens to volunteer in clinic that week.  They take whatever donated medicines will fit their conditions.  If they have a rotten tooth and need it pulled, they wait until the dentist comes every other week to pull teeth.  Today I had the pleasure of meeting 3 woman just released from prison and needed prescriptions for their diabetes.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the supplies and meds diabetics need?  A frustrating experience for sure.  I know, there are some of you reading thinking that these people made their poor life choices and are justly suffering, that they should "just get a job."  Mental illness and intellectually disability are prevelant in the homeless population.   As we were packing up to leave this afternoon, someone knocked on the door and said "a man out here needs to see someone."  The man was diaphoretic, clammy, pale, dizzy and looked like dog doodoo.  His blood pressure was in the 70's.  We called an ambulance because the clinic is for stable needs, not emergent needs.  It was great! Sorry, I'm a weirdo who likes crisis stuff. 
Sorry, rambling, the point of all this is....I'm glad I went.  God reminded me of my blessings and responsibility to the poor.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Saturday, September 1, 2012

School Assignments and adoptive families

Just about every year one of the kids will bring home a school assignment that brings adoption to center scene.  We've already encountered our first one this year.  One of the children brought home a "get to know you" type of exercise to bring to class.  The child was instructed to "interview someone who remembers when you were born and describe how you were named."  ARRGGG!  Really people?  So, we focused on remembering when Mike and I were so excitedly awaiting the child's arrival in to our family. It didn't cause any greiving or embarrassment(at least that I could ascertain), but once again the child was reminded of being different from peers.  I then sent a little note to the teacher reminding her that we did not meet our treasure until many months after birth and therefore, we modified the assignment, with a smiley face, of course!  Here is a link to an article from Adoptive Families magazine about ideas to deal with these types of assignments.