Thursday, January 26, 2012
The other day we had no appointments. Yes, let me repeat that we had no appointments! So, to celebrate our day Nathan and Owen spent the day in their pjs.
Nathan and Owen got a very cute hand me down toy. They absolutely love it and with its multiple functions it is great for both speech and occupational therapy.Logan began taking my friend Amy's art class Tuesday nights at Dawson. He LOVES to paint and we are having the best time together. Here are a few pics of his last two paintings.The boys are now sporting their new gait trainer decorations.Logan absolutely loves taking piano lessons from Mrs. Molly. She is wonderful with him. He seems to have a lot of natural talent.
-Owen is doing really well sleeping with his oxygen. I think it has made a big improvement in his ability to rest. He will have his MRI at Children's Hospital on the 2nd to rule out any other possibilities for his sleep apnea.
-Nathan and Owen had their first trip to the Dentist last week. Owen did not mind the dentist at all. His teeth look great and are very healthy. Nathan was not as fond of the dentist, mainly because his teeth are not healthy and are missing some enamel. They had to do some scraping on his teeth. Lots of premature babies have baby teeth that are not very healthy, so Nathan fits the mold. It is amazing how missing the 3rd trimester effects so many areas of their lives.
- Nathan had his legs botoxed yesterday. His leg muscles have become very tight and he is not able to straighten them all the way. The botox will allow those muscles to relax and others to strengthen allowing his legs to straighten. In order to capitalize on the botox he is now sleeping with leg braces and splints. He will also begin additional intense physical therapy for about 6 weeks. We are excited to see one of our PTs Katie again.
Mercedes Marathon Weekend
The Mercedes Marathon is approaching soon, February 11-12. It is one of the biggest fundraisers for The Bell Center (one of the places Nathan and Owen receive therapy). The weekend is full of fun activities. On Saturday morning their will be a 50 ft run for Bell Center students. Nathan and Owen will participate in the run and Logan will participate in some of the sibling runs. That evening we will have a special dinner at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame; Carbs for a Cause (all proceeds go to the Bell Center). If you want a good spaghetti dinner and support a great cause let me know because I have some tickets for sale. I will also be running the 1/2 Marathon on Sunday morning in support of Nathan and Owen.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Dear family and friends,
I’m writing to tell you about a chance that I have to use my architecture background on the mission field to help in reaching the poor in Liberia, western Africa.
Several years ago, before Janelle and I moved to China, I learned about an organization called Engineering Ministries International (EMI — www.emiusa.org). EMI organizes volunteer architects and engineers into teams that help mission organizations around the world with the design and construction of facilities. Though my first contact with EMI did not lead to an immediate opportunity, they contacted me in November about the possibility of joining the team for this project in Liberia. I was humbled and excited, because Janelle and I have been desiring to get back into the mission field, and I have been praying for many years that God would use my design background in a way such as this. So, I see this opportunity as an answered prayer.
The needs in Liberia are eye-opening, as the country is still recovering from two successive civil wars between 1989 and 2003, which left widespread destruction and poverty. (In 2010, Liberia had the third lowest per capita GDP in the world.) The project we will design is a new hospital for ELWA Ministries ("Eternal Love Winning Africa" — www.elwaministries.org), operated in partnership with Serving In Mission (SIM — www.sim.org) and Samaritan's Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org). The project is located in Paynesville, just east of the capital city of Monrovia. ELWA is led by local Liberian Christians, and has been operating since the early 1950s, with the hospital dating to 1965 (though temporarily closed and completely looted in 1996 during the civil war). The new hospital will better enable ELWA to reach its objectives of providing quality, affordable healthcare for its target communities, ministering the Word of God to the reached and the unreached, and training local ELWA staff members in technical excellence.
While our team is in Liberia, we will be meeting with the ministry partners to fully document and understand their needs, learning about local construction materials and methods, and providing master planning and conceptual design for the first phase of the hospital. After we return to the US, we will be spending 40–80 hours to complete the design for the phase one project, which will begin construction in May.
I will be in Liberia February 11–19.
I am seeking to recruit a core team to pray for the trip, for the work of the whole team, and for Janelle, Logan, Nathan and Owen during my absence. I will provide specific prayer requests for this core group to lift up for each day of the trip, and I will give updates on the requests after I return. If you would like to be in this core prayer team, please let me know.
As you have probably also guessed, one of the reasons I am writing is to let you know that I am raising support to help cover my cost for the trip — approximately $3,000. That said, I want to make very clear that I know it is God who provides, and I look to Him without worrying whether He chooses to provide through my friends and family. If He does burden your heart to help support my going on this trip, please see your support not as a gift to me but as an act of worship to God, that the glory and goodness of His name might be proclaimed powerfully in Liberia.
If you do choose to offer financial support, please go to http://emiworld.org/donate_staff.php, and follow the instructions for donating to a project trip volunteer. You will, of course, be provided a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.
I am thankful for each of you, for your time reading this, and for the prayer and financial support that you will provide in this wonderful opportunity.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Logan is also enjoying building castles with all his new wooden blocks. A future architect in the making.
Friday, January 6, 2012
I am also learning a lot in my prayer life. When Preston and I lived in Atlanta and were attending FBA, I remember Dr. Stanley would say God would answer yes, wait, or I have something better. The other day God did not answer my original prayer the way I thought He would, but He had something better. While running in the mornings I spend a lot of time in prayer and listening to praise music. I always pray for my family and my specific prayer for Nathan and Owen usually has something to do with their development. I decided to pray for them to sit up on Christmas Day. Well, even though we are getting close Christmas Day came and went and they are still not sitting on their own. On the 29th of December Nathan and Owen both had audiology tests to check their hearing. Nathan is now hearing in the Normal range with his implant. Praise God!! He is doing better than expected! Owen is also hearing in the Normal range and is now hearing aid free. Yes, let me say it again...Owen is hearing aid free!!!
Let's take a step back and review Owen's hearing. First he failed his first several hearing tests. He then had an ABR, which tracks neurological stimulus of sound to the brain. Owen showed that he could first hear sounds around 60 dB which is usually corrected by 10 dB, so he was at 50dB. He then had a hearing test confirming he did need hearing aids. Once he had his hearing aids he began speech therapy. Over the past 1 1/2 years he has had several hearing tests showing his need for the hearing aids. In May Owen received tubes in his ears which started cleaning out all the fluid. I believe as God was using the tubes to clear out the fluid in Owen's ear, He was doing something more in healing Owen's ear.
So, my prayer for sitting up was answered by something better, my two little guys can both now hear in Normal range!!!!
Here is a chart to help you understand the measurement of hearing. Nathan has gone from a 75 to a 15. On Nathan's high pitches he just had a complete drop off so he could not hear sounds in that frequency on any level. Owen has gone from a 50 to about a 10. At the beginning neither of them could hear all the sounds to hear speech and now both of them can!!!!