3/31/07 10:10 p.m.

In some ways today was great and in other ways it was hard. Josh started out with his typical rehab workouts.  He worked his upper body very hard and is continuing to add weight while his is lifting. That is very encouraging to him. After therapy, we went upstairs for lunch and things went a little sour.  Josh is being encouraged daily by his therapists to work at feeding himself. They also "strongly" encourage me to have him feed himself. Well, after working out for a few hours in the morning, the last thing he wants to do is work at feeding himself for an hour during his short break. To say the least, I was not winning the wife of the year award when I got his feeding utensils out and said something along the lines of not wanting to feed him for the next forty years when he is capable of feeding himself. You think I was insensitive? :-) He was pretty frustrated with me but I didn't know what to do. It seems like it's hard to got your point across sometimes when you're both frustrated. I know how much he is capable of doing if he pushes himself and he knows that also. It's still hard to know that what you're doing is making your husbands life more difficult.

Anyway, he headed back downstairs for more therapy and I went out shopping for some things we are needing before Josh gets home in three weeks. I started out at Bed, Bath and Beyond trying to find those OXO Good Grips with a fork and a spoon in it. This way he will be able to have something less visually obtrusive when he feeds himself. Well, they don't carry them but you can get them online. That was no big deal. I went on to try and find a blanket that is lighter in weight than our down comforter so that he can cover himself up at night. For about 15 minutes I was looking for something and seeing some things that looked like they would work, and realized I was only looking at King sizes and that we will not be sleeping together. I was very discouraged. Sometimes this just hits me in the weirdest ways. So, then I think I need to get maybe something cheap that matches for two twin beds thinking maybe we can push them together but they will not be the same height and the hospital bed Josh is getting is extra long so he needs new sheets too. Then I realize I need a twin size bed to sleep in cause our king size bed will not fit in our bedroom along with his bed and added equipments. This was only the beginning of all my frustrations while I was there. I ended up, sitting on the floor, calling my mom and crying about how frustrated I was. Most of the time I love to shop, but this is not the type of shopping most would consider "fun." 

The house we are probably renting is 3 bedrooms and we figured we would put Noah and Zoe in their own rooms. I then realized that anyone who came to spend the night, either to visit or to help, would have nowhere to sleep. So then I realized we would probably need some bunk beds for the kids. This was something we knew we would eventually get for the boys because they will be sharing a room. We just moved the time frame up a few years! So I went and looked at a bunch of options getting more and more overwhelmed and then just deciding I didn't have the emotional stamina to do it today. So... I left.

I met Josh and his parents out for an early dinner and it was nice. I was much less stressful than the previous few hours. We had nice conversation, good food and we all felt half-way normal. Very nice. Josh was then getting ready to head over to Jay and Holly's to watch the Ohio State game so I decided to head home and do some baby organizing. Marianne, from across the street, came over and we had a nice evening of just chit-chatting while I got some things done. The kids are gone tonight and I have no obligations until tomorrow morning. I already took one bath, maybe I'll take another...

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's triceps

-housing decisions- total guidance from God

3/29/07 10:10 p.m.

Okay, we're stressed. At least I am and Josh is not making decisions fast enough to suit me. :-) Josh will be discharged from MFB 3 weeks from tomorrow- April 20th. We have made the tentative decision to move into the house off of Leonard and put up removable fencing to keep Noah safe from the road! Josh can access the entire house but the basement and feels encouraged by this.  The thing that is hard is that he doesn't feel we really have any choice because it is the only house in GR for rent with a roll-in shower.  I have been trying to encourage him to make a choice of where to go, but I can only push so hard. I know he is under soooo much stress, especially emotionally and I don't want to add to it. We went to the house today with Josh so that he could see it and get a better feel for what we were talking about. When we were leaving he was very discouraged and depressed. It's hard to see him like that. As a wife, I want to fix it and make everything all right but I can't. Sometimes silent understanding seems to be the best choice I have.

We talked at length with the GR Press again today. An article will run in the newspaper on Easter Sunday. They also took some pictures of Josh in therapy and Josh with the kids. We feel like any awareness that can be raised is a positive thing (as long as they're not saying nasty stuff about us!).  We know God can use this situation for his glory if we allow it.

The kids will be gone more than usual over the next week. They are going to stay with some friends from Kalamazoo for the weekend and then heading to G and G Buck next week for a few days because Noah does not have school. They are both very excited. It will be hard to go a few days without seeing them but we would normally be excited to pawn them off for a few days!

Please be praying for Josh as he begins to see an end in sight to inpatient rehab and what has become his norm. He will have stayed at MFB for nearly 3 months when his stay there is up. We will be having outpatient therapy 3 days a week for quite a while.  That is what insurance is willing to pay for so that is what we are doing.

My trip to the Medicaid office was successful this past Tuesday. Josh's social worker accompanied me and kept me sane while we waited to see someone for over 3 hours! After all was said and done it had been nearly 5 hours but we got initial approval for quite a bit. After our insurance is over, we will all qualify for Medicaid and numerous other programs. We don't want to bleed the system dry but we also want to take advantage of what is available to people in our situation. The man we ended up working with had such a kind heart and was very helpful. Josh's social worker knew all the lingo and knew how to ask for what she thought we needed. I would not have been nearly as successful without her. She has been amazing!

Little Ephram is continuing to make me more and more uncomfortable and making himself known more and more. It feels like he has decided to try and swim out. He must have done a little switcharoo in his position because he is moving around and it's feeling different. It's so fun to feel so much movement and know that he is getting close to arrival. So many changes...wow...

Prayer Requests:


-Triceps-this would give Josh so much more freedom!

-wisdom in making decisions

3/28/07 10:15 p.m.

Big news here- Josh got his collar off!!!! He is so excited to be free of the brace and feel like he can move his head around a bit.  After the X-ray, the doctors decided the break on his neck is fully healed and he is able to go without any further support.  It healed a bit faster than expected so got it off early!!! yay!!!

I had a very nice evening with the kids. I got a good nap today and had more energy than normal. We drove around looking at property for sale and the options for putting a ranch on it.  Many of the plots are not big enough to put a ranch on but need a walk-out or a 2 story.  Many of the plots are in subdivisions and we are looking for more of a city location.  We are waiting for God to show us exactly what he has for us. We are open to whatever but are looking for God to guide us.

After we spent a decent amount of time driving around (we had to get some shakes to keep the kids happy!) we went over to MFB and spent about an hour and a half there. That is significantly longer than usual.  The kids have a tendency to get in trouble and Josh gets tired quickly. Today, everyone was feeling good and the kids were acting so cute. Noah talked about going to the zoo today with school and how he loved the tigers and monkeys. Zoe sang at length for us. We did puzzles in the playroom and watched Noah try to figure out the playstation. It was very enjoyable. We even stayed after the kids bedtime.

We are getting into a major time crunch when it comes to deciding where we will be living. We have made the official decision we will not be moving back home. The closer the time gets, the more it stresses Josh out to imagine living in the dining room. This is also hard for him because it means we will not be moving back home. He wants to move back home and have everything be normal and he knows, right now, that is not possible. He is not wanting to sell the house because he is believing God will heal him and we will eventually be able to move back in. He would like to rent it out if possible for a while. Right now, the therapists as MFB are encouraging us to make no huge decision we can live without making the first year. There is a house for rent on the west side of GR that will work but Josh is worried about being a ways from church and the community. We have decided to spend the next day or two looking in depth for any other options closer to home. The key is we need a roll in shower and many of the houses in the area that are handicap accessible do not have a roll in shower. Please pray that God gives us clear guidance on what he has for us.

Josh's spirits have been up and down over the past 2 days. Yesterday, he was discouraged saying that he really believed he would be further along in the healing process than he is right now. He has so little control over much of his body and it is easy to get down.  I try to spend a lot of time listening to him, knowing he needs to talk about this all, and then trying to encourage him with how far he has already come. Even there are so many things that are difficult right now, we have so much to be thankful for. We have an amazing group of support all around us, MFB could not be better for us, we have a baby on the way that should have never been.... and that's just the beginning. Yes, we've had a lot of heartache and we wonder what God is trying to teach us but we continue to see his blessings all around us.

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's triceps

-guidance on where to move (and pray it happens quickly!!!)

3/26/07 10:20 p.m.

The offerings for the van were taken at Spring Lake Wesleyan yesterday.  All I heard was that it went very well and they are still waiting for a final count.  We are beyond thankful for the support this church has given to us. They are an amazing church of prayer and faith! The van will be arriving from California tomorrow as far as we know.  It has many things that need to be modified on it.  The lift will be added, chairs made to be removable, wheelchair locks installed and many other modifications made.  When Josh is ready to learn how to drive again, it will be modified to allow for that. We are thinking he may be ready to start training for that in 6-8 months. Pretty shocking if you ask me.  He is excited to start the process but knows he has to get stronger before he is ready. Until then, I will be his designated chauffeur.

Josh spent some time outside today in the beautiful spring day learning how to maneuver his wheelchair through some difficult areas. MFB has an outdoor obstacle course to practice ramps, turns and even has a slalom course.  The slalom did not work too well because the bushes were a bit overgrown! :-)

We had an interview with a man from the GR Press who is the religion editor. Hopefully it turns out to be a good article. It is nice to feel like a writer wants to get the real story and not just heresy.  He is also coming back later this week to see Josh in therapy. We are encouraged by any opportunity to get the word out about Josh and the hope we have that many others do not. You never know how the article will turn out but the man we talked to was obviously a man of God.

We are still trying to figure out our living situation for when Josh comes home. The closer it gets the more Josh feels he will struggle if we move back home. He has a really hard time imagining his bedroom, bathroom and everything else taking place in the dining room. We both feel like we could handle it for about 3 months but if we are going to build something, 3 months is a very optimistic estimate. I went and looked at a house for sale that is barrier free and has a roll in shower that would be perfect for Josh.  The house is pretty expensive but thought we'd at least take a look. It was a definite no after looking at it. It is huge but has only 2 bedrooms and not layed out to add any additional bedrooms on the main floor. It would also take additional money to get it into shape for our kids. I feel good knowing a definitive answer. We are continuing to look for land and are praying that God makes his plans clear for us when he is ready to reveal them (hopefully sooner rather than later).  Josh is due to come home in 3 and a half weeks and we are unsure about many things.

Josh had a chance to spend some time with the kids while I was out looking at the house for sale. Noah was being a bit of a stinker and it was nice for Josh to be able to be the only parent available and discipline Noah. I reminds both Noah and Josh of the role he still plays in Noah's life. I think it was also good for Josh after the experiences with Noah yesterday and Saturday. It's amazing how God supplies the opportunity for Josh to feel like he is an integral part of Noah's life right after we asked people to pray yesterday for the situation.  We serve a very powerful God.

Well, I go in tomorrow to apply for Medicaid, and about every other public assistance program under the sun. Please pray that it goes smoothly and that we qualify for the things we really need. God bless.

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's triceps

-guidance in the decisions we are making for our living situation

3/25/07 7:55 p.m.


Another typical weekend day for us.  Lots of OT and PT and then a lazy Sunday afternoon. We both took a nap and watched a movie.  We also watched the Greenhouse service on the internet.

I was as surprised as some of you may have been to see that giving can now be tax deductible.  We have talked at length at what God wants to accomplish out of this and should we form a ministry out of this? Does God want to use this in a specific way? We want to be open to however God wants to use us and forming a ministry also allows us to have tax-deductible status.  Yay!

God continues to work in our lives, easing our stresses and concerns and giving us comfort when we think we are sinking. Josh is having a bit of a rough night.  The kids continue to be a source of anguish for him.  Noah and Zoe came up today and Zoe was her normal hyper self, running up and giving daddy kisses and asking for stories.  The only thing Noah was interested in was figuring out daddy's new wheelchair. He paid little attention to anyone else in the room and was completely engrossed. Yesterday, at the birthday party, he was not interested in Josh and only interested in swinging. I had not noticed yesterday but Josh talked about it today. He is feeling like an uninvolved father who wants to be involved but does not know how to get through to him. I hate it when he feels like that. We both realize Noah is not your typical 4 year old but it it still difficult all the same.  Please be praying for a way for Josh and Noah to interact that is possible for Josh.

We continue to discuss where we are supposed to go and where we are supposed to live. There are so many decisions that need to be made and not NEAR enough time. It stresses me out! Our social worker has been very helpful but she can't make decisions for us. Please pray that we can have clarity of mind in these decisions and that the decisions can be made quickly. 

That's all for tonight. I'm heading home to put the kiddos in bed and then hit the hay myself.

Prayer Requests:



-Stability for our family

3/24/07 11:30 p.m.

So, you wonder where in the world I have been?  I have no great excuse to give other than the fact that I have been so tired that I have not taken the time to update.  Josh continues on his daily regime of rehab, rehab, rehab.  His shoulders are starting to bulk up again and it makes him look more like himself.  He feels good about this. He also wore jeans for the first time the other night and loved that too. We have been attempting to do some normal things such as going out for dinner or running into a store.  It is allowing us to see what we need to learn more about and what we are comfortable with.  We enjoy getting out of MFB but the work it takes to get from point A to point B is quite substantial.  Josh's parents were here today and took us out for a late lunch.  It is the first time they have done something "normal" with him since the accident.  We went to eat at On the Border and it went smoothly.  Does it seem like the only place we eat is OTB? It is! :-)

Last night while we were out, Josh's power-assist wheels ran out of battery charge.  It made it interesting but we managed.  Again today, we went to Emmy and Ezekiel's birthday party (my niece and nephew) and the battery died AND we got a flat tire.  Hmmm... interesting. 

Today was a tough day for me.  I woke up tired, not a good start, and was in tears all morning.  Because Josh's parents were here, I took advantage of it and took the morning off.  I was not going to be an encouragement to anyone if I went to the hospital and I needed some time to process. I can get overwhelmed at times and need some time to myself.  Ephram has been making my physical body increasingly tired and going out on the town tires me out very quickly.  We are trying to find a balance that works for us all.  We also are trying to remember my track record for early labor and delivery and want Ephram  to grow a lot more before he makes his debut!

I know God has a plan for us but on days when you are so tired, it's hard to keep a positive attitude. I am very thankful for having a chance to have a break this morning. Josh has been very supportive of me needing some time away but it is still difficult.  He is a social butterfly and now that he is able to get out and about he wants to go places all the time! He also wants to stay out late (I guess late is realative, but late for me) and keep the fun going.  We know we have a ton of adjusting to do and this is just another example of this.

WJQ- 99.3 FM had a swim today at Lake Macatawa for Josh and another pastor in the West Michigan area with leukemia.  People collected pledges and $25,000 dollars was raised. God is incredible.  Parker Stevens, a cousin of mine and only 8 years old, raised $4800 alone for the swim.  He is quite the little guy.  He came up yesterday to interview Josh on camera for a church video and was so sweet. He then went on to pray for Josh and is already a little preacher. Josh was very touched by him.  God has used Parker in an incredible way and not just to raise money but to be an encouragement to Josh who had never met him before yesterday.  Josh and I had hoped to come to the swim but therapy and rehab took precedence in the eyes of Josh's therapist. He also still has little body temperature control, his internal thermostat continues to malfunction. We thought being outside in the cold could be a bad choice for Josh at this time.  Some girls from Plymouth, IN also came to the swim who had raised some money.  One of the girls, Brooke Hulse (sp?) was in the youth group when Josh helped out at the Wesleyan church there about 8 years ago.  Josh was once again amazed. This swim has been nothing but a blessing and we so appreciate WJQ for the work they did to make this possible!

That's all for now. It's almost midnight and I'm tired! Thank you for continuing to keep up with us and continuing to keep us in your prayers. We love you all!

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's triceps

-housing decisions that need to be make

3/23/07 5:45 a.m.

I'm sitting up in bed, unable to sleep.  I'm sitting here listening to the birds chirp and amazed at the passage of time since the beginning of this journey.  We left on vacation in the dead of winter.  I sit here, alone in my bed, hearing spring arriving and knowing that Josh is still unable to come home.  In some ways, the time has gone by so quickly.  We have already been back in Michigan almost 2 months. Then in other ways, I think of all that has taken place and am so thankful that the worst is over. 

I recall vividly hearing the doctors in Cancun, in their Spanish accents I struggled so much to understand, saying that Josh was in a life-threatening situation.  They made no guarantees of his fate. They also did not lead me to believe he would be dying in the next 5 minutes but that we had a long road ahead.  All of those "life-threatening" situations never came to pass. Josh beat all of the doctors best guesses and showed us what an amazing God we have.  I still have my husband. He is still the same man I married almost 7 years ago. His body may be broken but God has given us an amazing gift in allowing Josh's brain to have suffered no ill effect of the swelling or lack of oxygen in the water.

There are many details that many of you are unaware of. I do not wish to be grotesque in what I say, I am just utterly amazed at how Josh has recovered. I continually beg God to heal his body but continue to be thankful for the blessings we have been given.  Josh is still learning of the severity of that first week in Miami when he was in ICU.  He had so much to say to before being intubated, so many looks of desperation when he could not communicate and he remembers nothing of this.  He remembers nothing from the point of arriving at the hospital in Cancun on Thursday afternoon to late Sunday night when the Colts won the semi-finals to the Superbowl (that would be first memory!!!).  Until recently, he still did not grasp the severity of the situation. It makes us both realize again how fragile life is.  After Ava died, we found out how easily a life can be lost.  We lived in fear for many months of something happening to one of our other children, never realizing something could happen to one of us. That first few minutes on the beach in Cancun I remember so vividly thinking "Not again!".  And you know what, God protected us and did not allow that to happen.  How does one explain explain the gratitude yet still beg for so much more? More arms, triceps, fingers, abdominals, legs, feet... total healing.



This is Shelly's mom, Jean, updating a bit more on her special birthday. Thirty years old already. That makes me...OK, we won't go there. Anyway, what better way to celebrate than to go out for dinner with the family. And the means of transportation? The now infamous Whoopty Mobile, or Whoopty as it's being lovingly called by the boys. It's the old/new van generously donated for Josh and Shelly's use until their new van arrives. Three pictures for your enjoyment: First, Jason at the wheel of Whoopty with Shelly riding shotgun. Second, Josh in his place behind Whoopty's wheelchair lift. And third, the family (All except Derek, of course; we missed you, Bud!) at Bentham's in Grand Rapids.

3/22/07 10:45 p.m.

Okay, the cards, flowers and gifts have been out of control today.  Someone (not sure who) decided to let everyone and their brother know that today was my 30th birthday.  I soooo appreciate all the goodies sent my way.  Today was not the kind of birthday you imagine having, especially such as your 30th, but you guys managed to make it special.  Thank you.

Josh had a good day today.  He got an X-ray today to find out if he can get his collar off.  He is anxious to hear back from the doctor.  He is so tired of it and hoping that all is healed well enough to have it off for good. The wife is excited because maybe shaving him won't be such a hassle and a nerve wracking event.  The boy will NOT sit still enough when I take the collar off to shave underneath.  The nurses laugh at how loose it has gotten over the last few weeks and that it's not really serving it's purpose anyway. He's sort of a stinker!

We tried another new chair today.  Josh is excited to order his own wheelchair and have one that fits him perfectly. Because he is so much taller than the average guy, he often feels too big for the chairs he tries out.  He used one today that his feet sit more under his body than out in front. It makes sitting at a table much easier because he can get up close without his feet getting in the way.

Josh did a lot of weight lifting today.  The muscles in his forearms continue to get stronger which will be huge to move himself around with.  More movement means more independence.  Knowing we have a whole month to really work some things out and work as hard as possible has Josh's spirits very high.  We are so thankful for good days and days where Josh keeps us all laughing with his antics.  It makes life seem more normal.

We went out for a nice dinner with my mom & dad and Holly & Jay.  We had a great meal, loved the atmosphere, and had some great laughs.  At one point I was laughing so hard I thought my water might break.  Probably not a good thing huh? :-) Josh did some attempting at feeding himself in public which went decently well.  He ordered a hummus dip with pita and managed to get a few bites in his mouth on his own.  We were all celebrating.  It might seem small but was quite a feat for Josh to accomplish. 

All in all, today was nice.  A girlfriend brought me out for lunch and we hopped over to the mall for some Starbucks. I felt pretty normal all day. It felt like our life might actually be back to normal some day for all of us.  We have such a long way to go but to have a hint of normalcy is so encouraging.

Thank you again to all of you who are pouring your hearts out in prayer for us.  We continue to need them desperately and often. Thanks you also to all of you who made my birthday something to remember. Much love...

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's triceps

-wisdom in decision making

3/21/07 11:50 p.m.

To say that today has been a roller coaster ride is the understatement of the century.  We are so relieved, so thankful for the provisions God has given to us.  So many supportive calls and comments have gone up on the blog and I appreciate every single one of them. 

Josh started running a low-grade temp around lunch, he was flushed, and his blood pressure was much higher than normal.  We were experiencing autonomic dysreflexia for the first time since the accident.  We have been educated on it at length so we knew something was up.  AD is when your body is responding to some type of pain or other stimulus but you are unaware because of your lack of feeling.  Josh having surgery yesterday, he was unaware that his body was in significant pain but his brain and other parts of his body were responding.  It can be surprisingly dangerous, even deadly, if gone unnoticed too long.  Josh took a dose of Vicodin and half an hour later he was back to normal.  We are thankful to have seen this while were still in the care of many medical doctors.  Although it is good to hear so much about it, to recognize it while it was going on and know what to watch for next time is a blessing.

We got to spend a decent amount of time with the kids today.  They did not see daddy yesterday so it was nice to get back on a schedule. I took the kids through McDonald's for supper and Zoe puked it all over herself and me just a little over an hour ago.  Poor little girl.  I am so thankful to be here when she needs me.  To not have your mommy when you're sick is no fun!  Noah has been his typical happy self, although he was very unhappy to see the rain this a.m. and not be able to play outside all morning. The kids both had a chance to take a quick dip in the hot tub before the lightning started and it was time to get out. We figure we've had enough accidents for the time being... not leaving anything to chance.

We now have a date that we know we will be done at MFB as an inpatient.  Josh has 30 days from todya and then he will be coming home to live with us again! Obviously, I am very excited and very nervous at the same time.  We will have a lot of adjusting to do when he gets here.  We do not qualify for any in-home nursing help so we will be on our own (with lots of help from family and friends!). Josh is apprehensive about this as much of what needs to be done to him is usually something considered private before an injury of this type.  We all will have a lot of learning to do.

Ephram continues to make himself known bouncing all around inside my belly.  Both kids are starting to talk about him a lot and wondering when he will be coming home. Zoe's latest concern is that there is no mommy inside my tummy to take care of Ephram.  Try explaining that one to a 3 year old! She cracks me up.

In the area of housing, we have gotten a few phone calls over the last few days where God is definitely looking after us.  We are unsure what this means, but knowing that God has us in the palm of his hand is so reassuring. Over the last few days and weeks I have had a verse stuck in my head that I will close with tonight, it is from memory and I don't know where it's found (and I'm too tired to check right now.)

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope  and a future.

3/21/07 1:35 p.m.

Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!!! If any of you knew how stressed we have been the past few hours, you would be amazed.  We were not even sure that we were going to get back to MFB.  They were trying to send him home from here (the hospital) instead of going back to rehab.  We have NOTHING ready for him to come home.  Anyway, we were really hoping to get one more week approved today and hope for the best after that.  Blue Cross is not on my happy list right now.  Anyway, our social worker just walked through Josh's door with a grin on her face. We were approved. She then went on to say that not just for a week but for the 30 days we were praying for! I had given up on that when they were not wanting us to go back today, but Josh's Dr's and therapists worked some major magic and got it approved! The relief is amazing. We have soooo much to be thankful for.  Just a few hours ago Josh was saying that this is about the worst he has felt and we have done quite the 180 now.

We will soon be back on our way to MFB. We do know how valuable our time is now and will not take it for granted. We are now guaranteed a full month.  God is good.  Thank you Lord for allowing Josh to get this much needed time to learn how to handle his body and adjust to the changes you have set in front of us. Amen.

3/21/07 10:00 a.m.

Sorry for not posting more last night. My computer wasn't willing even though I was! Last night was tough for Josh.  The nurses at St. Mary's Hospital are wonderful but not used to taking care of people with his injury, needing to be turned every 2 hours, etc. etc. It made Josh feel pretty vulnerable. Right now we're waiting on insurance approval for Josh to get back into Mary Free Bed. Please pray that approval comes through quickly and without more difficulties. We'll post more later!

3/20/07 6:50 p.m.

Shelly wanted me to let you all know that the surgery went very well and Josh is in recovery.  Please pray that his recovery is quick and without complications. Shelly will post more later tonight. Thanks for praying!

3/19/07 10:30 p.m.

It was a good day for Josh with lots of hard therapy.  He enjoys feeling like his body is getting stronger. He spent a decent amount of time today working on rolling from side to side so that he can roll around a bit in bed. He did very well with some assistance from Kristy.  It was very hard to get the technique down in the beginning but by the end he was doing very well. Right now he can roll about 45 degrees. He is still not able to turn himself from one side to another, but that's why he's working on getting stronger.

We spent some time looking at land possibilities on the internet today.  My parents also did some driving around looking at some perspective plots.  Right now, our main goal is to get our family back together, comfortably, under one roof.  We are fervently praying for guidance in this situation. There are numerous options but we want to make the right decision for our family, Greenhouse and Noah's schooling.  Noah is our almost 5 year old with developmental delays. We live in the Grand Rapids school district right now and it is serving Noah's needs perfectly.  Our concern is that as Noah grows older and heads off to older elementary and beyond, the schools are well known for being pretty rough.  That is of great concern for us.  We cannot easily send him to a private school because all of his needs will not be met.  No matter where we live, Zoe will have many school options so she is all set. So, we have a lot of things weighing on our minds as we consider relocating.

Josh is having surgery tomorrow to have a permanent catheter placed, coming out of his abdominal wall. Surgery is scheduled for 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.  Please remember him in prayer. He does not feel very anxious, just ready to get this thing done! Pray that his health stays strong tonight and tomorrow so the surgery can happen as planned. It was cancelled last week because of an infection issue. He continues on I.V. antibiotics for a few more days so he should be all set!

That's all for tonight.  This momma is falling asleep at the computer.

Prayer Requests:


-wisdom on our home situation

-surgery tomorrow at 3:00 (Noon for you Pacific time zoners!)

3/18/07 5:30 p.m.

Very slow day for us. Josh just got done watching a movie while I snoozed for almost 2 hours! It was glorious! The kids already came up today and are probably heading off to church as we speak.  They were very excited to see G & G Buck for a little bit (going to the play McDonald's made them even more so). Josh is now watching his favorite basketball team in the whole world (Kentucky) play Kansas and he's enjoying himself.  Church will soon be broadcast over the internet and he says he will be watching both at the same time. And he calls himself a Christian!!! :-)

Josh had a good day of therapy.  A ton of weight lifting and time on the bike that is arm controlled. He enjoys this kind of working out.  He used a new weight machine that he backs his wheelchair into and the handles are right around the level of his handlebars.  He could do a lot of shoulder exercises and back exercises that will help him build muscle so that he can shift himself in his chair.  This will help also with pressure relief so that he doesn't get any pressure sores (a.k.a. bed sores). He needs to build up enough strength to move around in his chair with ease.

As Josh was finishing up on the bike he really starting pushing himself at the end, pedaling with his arms as fast as he could go and feeling the burn.  When he got done and we were on our way upstairs, he was a little frustrated saying that the last minute on the bike made him miss running and reminded him of  the last few minutes in a long run where he would really push himself.  We continue to pray that God will heal his body and allow Josh the privilege of running again.  We continue to wait on his timing.

Please pray for us as we are starting to actively seek out a place to possibly build.  More than anything, we would love it if EMHE came through, but we don't want to wait too long. So, we start looking and seeing the land in GR is very limited.  Please pray that God is very revealing on what he would have us to do.  Right now the plan is for Josh to get out of here in about 5 weeks and heading home to our house. This is not a long term solution.  He will have access to the main floor only, no bathroom, and will be sleeping in the dining room. The timing is becoming more and more of a pressure so please pray for this situation. We know how much prayer has done so far so I thought I'd throw out another request! Thanks!

Prayer Requests:


-building and location issues

-Josh's triceps

3/17/07 8:30 p.m.

A nice weekend day for us.  Josh had a limited amount of rehab today. No complaints from him. I brought Zoe up early this morning to see Daddy before we headed to a shower for Ephram (and mommy!).  We all had a nice time doing something a little out of the ordinary.  I am always at the hospital during the day to help with therapy, so it felt nice to take a break.  Zoe had her fill of chocolate covered marshmallows and loved helping me open all the presents. I really enjoyed taking a little time to just enjoy being pregnant and getting excited for our little boy to arrive. To those of you wondering how we will pronounce little Ephram's name: The E is short like in the word "egg", the ph makes the "f" sound, and ram sounds like "rum".  Get it? No?  Oh well. :-)

Josh is having fun checking out his brackets for March Madness, although he is not doing to well with the percentages. We have watched more basketball over the last few weeks than I have the rest of my life combined. He is enjoying it. We are currently watching the Michigan State game but he is snoring.

We had a chance to go out again today.  We went to Buffalo Wild Wings with Brad and Sarah Emerson and had a great time. They enjoyed the "Hoopty!" Getting Josh in and out of the restaurant was more of a challenge today and a good lesson for me.  It makes me more aware of what works for Josh and what makes him the most comfortable.  When you have to ask 5 or 6 people to scoot in to get to your table... not a positive.  We had a great time eating and laughing once we got to the table.  We saw numerous people from church who were enjoying being out watching the games on all their t.v.'s.

So much of what we do seems to be difficult but opens our eyes to what we need to learn and do to make Josh's life easier. Going out with another couple is good for me so that I can get help if I need it. It's also not very reasonable to expect us to always go out with another couple, we do enjoy spending time just the two of us. I know, shocker huh?  After we get back it seems like Josh has to adjust back to MFB and has a difficult time emotionally.  It's hard to see, but it was a shorter time of struggle than the last.  We are thankful for any improvement.

God continues to be more than faithful to us.  We continue to get frustrated or scared and then I amazed to hear how many people were praying for us at a specific time when I was struggling. To be surviving this without God and without the prayers of others would be impossible for us.  When you think of the choices you have it becomes obvious which is the better choice.  We could either believe that a God who loves us would never do this to us or allow this to happen and turn our backs on him, or we could cling to him and pray that he brings us through this and brings glory to himself. Hmm... not too hard of a choice....

Prayer Requests:


-wisdom for all the decisions that have to be made

-Josh's triceps to be healed

3/16/07 10:45 p.m.

Today was a great day for us.  We found out that Josh will not have to wait two weeks to have his surgery but will have it next Tuesday afternoon.  We are very excited that we will not have to wait two more weeks. We are still running into problems with insurance so we have a specialized prayer request in regards to it.  Josh is at a point in the recovery process where insurance is now giving approval for Josh to stay at MFB week by week. When a patient is released from MFB to the surgery hospital next door, insurance usually gives you 30 days of therapy when you check back in to MFB. The problem is that Josh is now far enough along in therapy that they are becoming a bit stingy with the time Josh has left.  Each week that we have to work at getting approved brings mroe apprehension.  All to try and explain that we are asking you to pray specifically that insurance approves Josh's 30 days after his surgery.  This would relieve a ton of apprehension on our part and work on the therapists part.  This is all time that could be better spent working on helping Josh and not paperwork.

Josh and I, along with Holly and Jason went out to supper at On The Border (our favorite restaurant in the world!) in the Hoopty-Mobile!  We got a new van this past weekend that we will use in the interim until our new van is ready.  It is light blue with blue shag carpet on the inside and Josh is in love with it! He has all kinds of plans for it and wants to take it camping with the boys.  We are so thankful for this van and the freedom it means for Josh. It is and amazing gift to us. As we were leaving for the evening, Josh and Jason were yelling "Goin' out in the Hoopty!" They were cracking us up.  Josh said it is the most normal he has felt since the accident. We all really enjoyed ourselves.

The kids came up to MFB with G & G Syswerda after Noah got out of school today. Noah and Zoe had fun bouncing a balloon back and forth with daddy.  Daddy also had fun chasing them in this wheelchair.  It got Noah screaming and we all love to hear the excited cries coming from our kids. Zoe had fun pushing around a stool on wheels on the smooth hospital floors until she fell off and was a little miffed that we all thought it was funny.

We found out that the infection Josh has is resistant to the oral antibiotics Josh was placed on. So today the doctor decided to replace Josh's I.V. and administer antibiotics that way for the next 7 days. Josh was not too happy about it but he didn't complain too much.  He did start complaining when they had to poke him either 10 or 11 times (we lost count and were unsure of the exact number) to get the I.V. placed. We love the nurses at MFB but the whole poking stuff is a little hard to take.

One very encouraging thing happened today.  Josh has had little return of new feeling over the past week or so.  Today, he got a new band of sensation above his belly button and below his chest. He hates the new feelings but loves the fact that he can actually feel enough to not like it.  A little messed up, I know.  We continue to pray that God brings back movement to Josh's triceps so he has more control over his arms.  Please continue to pray for this.  That's all for now.  It's almost 11:00 and Noah is sitting here next to me wide awake. I think I might have to become mean mommy to get him to go to sleep. I love my little stinker...

Prayer Requests:


-tricep healing

-insurance issues

3/16/07 10:15 a.m.

Sorry about the lack of postings yesterday.  Once again, the wireless at MFB was acting up.  It's usually just the weekend, but we could not get it to work last night. Frustrating. 

A little update.  Yesterday, Josh made it out of bed by 2:00 p.m. We were just glad that he got up. His fever seems to have broken.  All of the tests from his kidneys and lungs came back negative.  The answer to the infection? Another urinary tract infection.  So, all in all, it was very good that he did not have the  surgery and possibly allow the infection to enter his blood. He seems to feel pretty average this morning so for that we are thankful.

Last night, Kristy, Josh's PT and friend, came in to give us and some of Josh's friends direction on stair climbing in a wheelchair so we don't have another mishap like last weekend. It went well although all of the boys were pretty nervous to start- they all did great. We also learned how to use the tie-downs in the van.  Tie-downs are the straps that hold the wheelchair down when the van is in motion. We all learned how to work them so any one of us can take Josh out for a night on the town. When we went away last weekend, we had rented a van so we had to learn how to use these new ones.

Josh has been experiencing a lot of reality checks as of the last few days. We realize this is all part of the process, but it is very difficult all the same.  A lot of Josh's friends come up in the early evenings to hang out for a while and then they head out. Much of the time they all head out to one of the local hangouts that Josh is very used to being a part of. They try to be careful about what they say about where they are going, but it's hard for Josh to know he is stuck here and everyone else's life continues. He talks about if he could even get out to go with them, he still couldn't get under the tables, feed himself, or pick up a cup to get a drink. So much of this is so frustrating and a HUGE adjustment. Please continue to pray that God gives Josh the strength to face this battle he is waging in his mind.

3/14/07 8:30 p.m.

All together, it was a rough day for us.  I just left the hospital to come home and put the kids to bed.  Josh was very discouraged when I left and feeling like he just wants to give up.  He was feeling pretty cynical today (can you really blame him?) kind of like he's just had enough.  The doctors performed numerous tests today including a chest X-ray looking for pneumonia and an ultrasound looking for possible kidney stones.  Nothing has been found as of yet.  Lots of blood work has been done but only preliminary results are back. They feel pretty sure that this is not a urinary tract infection but something else.  The question is what?

Days like today are the days where I have no clue what to say to him.  He is so frustrated with how little he is able to do.  He was trying to hold my hand before I left and ends up not being able to get his hand where he wants it to go.  He feels like he is just incapable and the only thing he can do is push his wheelchair.  Please pray for encouragement for Josh and wisdom for me to know what to do or say in these situations. We know that God is in control and that he has a plan for us, but the emotional turmoil it creates is extremely difficult.

We are very thankful that Josh's fever seems to have subsided some and that at least allows him to feel better.  One of the concerns with Josh's health is that something is going on that he is unable to feel.  That is why all the tests are being run.  So the doctors have some answers and can then proceed with rescheduling the surgery.  We are thankful that we have a God who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-understanding. We remember what he went through before and during his time on the cross.  We know that what we bear is little in comparison to that. We also know that God understands our hurting hearts and is a comfort to us. Please continue to pray for us at this difficult juncture.

Prayer Requests

-TOTAL HEALING!!! We won't give up praying for this!

-encouragement during this difficult time

-wisdom in regards to many decisions being made in the near future

3/14/07 11:45 a.m.

The surgery was just cancelled. Josh has some sort of infection going on in his body. Blood work showed an elevated white cell count, so the doctor didn't feel it was safe to do the surgery at this point. They will be treating him for the infection and hopefully will be able to do the surgery sometime very soon. They're pretty sure it's not a virus but a bacterial infection of some sort and will be looking for the source. Josh is disappointed, of course, but rather than cry about it he's being cynically silly, making Holly and my mom laugh with his antics. Thanks for your prayers for the surgery that wasn't. Pray that they can figure out what's going on in his body and that the surgery can happen yet this week.

3/14/07 1:45 a.m.

Josh called me almost an hour ago while I was asleep at home.  He has not been able to sleep because of his fever and the fact that he can have nothing to drink.  This is the one thing that helps him sleep at night.  The staff here have set up a drinking system for him in his bed while he is in bed at night and his mouth is dry (constant problem).  Anyway, as surgery is still planned for the morning he cannot have anything by mouth. He was pretty discouraged when he called and asked me to come and stay with him here. I am so thankful for Zach and Rachel who have been living at our house- all I had to do was let them know I was leaving and I know our children are well taken care of!

Josh's fever is still present. As of 10:30 last night, his fever was still in the mid 101's and the nurse had called Josh's doctor at home.  They put him on a time dose of antibiotics, put back in the catheter, took a bunch of blood and urine samples and packed ice bags around him.  We are still hoping for tomorrow, although at this time it looks pretty unlikely.  Josh's doctor said he will leave it up to the urologist.

Please be in prayer for Josh right now. Pray that he does not become too discouraged and that I can be a support to him however he needs me.  Although we would like to see the surgery done tomorrow, we know God is the master decision-maker and we will trust him to make the right decision for Josh.  These middle of the night posts are often difficult for me because things seem so bleak at 2 a.m.  I sometimes need to remind myself that God is still God, whether is be in the middle of the afternoon when surrounded by therapists who are so encouraging or in the middle of the night when my thoughts seem to wander.

3/13/07 7:45 p.m.

Prayer Request:  Josh is having surgery in the morning and has decided to be naughty and get sick.  He is running a high temperature and this could hold up the surgery.  We have had the surgery timed so that he is able to stay at MFB for 30 days before our insurance reviews him again.  Please pray that he starts feeling better quickly and that his temperature goes down to normal.

Today was a bit of a tiring day for Josh.  He had a hard time staying awake this afternoon during therapy.  This all seems to make a little more sense as he is now obviously sick.  We did our normal therapy all day today and struggled through it all. 

One great bit of news. The ear, nose and throat specialist came in this morning to talk to Josh. He said called this growth in his throat granuloma.  The "oma" sounds a bit scary but the doc said they are never cancerous and not to worry.  He then went on to say that with high doses of acid reducing medication they often decrease in size and eventually go away.  He also said that if the pain gets too bad they can easily go in and remove it.  The pain has been better over the last few days so Josh thinks he'll be fine with the medication. That's a huge praise for us!

Josh will be leaving MFB tomorrow morning at 10:00 and surgery is planned around noon.  Please be in prayer for Josh while he is in surgery.  Please pray for the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the nurses that will be working with Josh.  This is not a major surgery, but surgery all the same.

As I finish this up, Josh seems to be feeling a bit better than he did an hour ago (I got a little side-tracked). Hopefully he will continue to feel better and it will not interfere with the surgery.  Thank you for your love and prayers...

Prayer Request:


-uneventful surgery and quick recovery so he can get back to rehab

-continued stability  for our family