05/30/07 9:00 p.m.

Sorry about the lack of postings as of late. I am trying to figure out where in my day this blogging stuff fits the best. We are glad to be back into a somewhat "normal" routine if that is what you call it. It is absolute insanity to try and keep up with everything that needs to be done. I took Josh to therapy today and it was nice to do something that felt normal. We showed the baby to a bunch of the girls that we got to know quite well while Josh was staying at MFB.  Josh was excited to show off his cute little boy.

Josh had a pretty good day today. He worked a lot on physical strengthening today while in therapy. Kristy has been really happy with how far Josh has come in his balance while sitting upright. He hangs his feet over the side of the mat table and works on sliding his buns across a "slide board". The slide board is a very smooth piece of wood that will hopefully one day allow him to transfer from chair to bed or chair to chair without the use of a lift. Right now, the PT's can help him do a board transfer but that is with Josh doing very little to assist. The PT's just know how to move him and are like Greek gods, they are so strong!

Yesterday was a bit of a harder day. Emotionally speaking, we are dealing with a lot and trying to figure out how to handle it in the best way possible. Josh was asking me if I thought he was okay with things and then said what if I just decide to not be okay with things. What does that look like? He said what if I just start being mean and bitter and getting mad at everyone, etc. Obviously this is not the option he is wanting to explore, he was just wondering what it entails. He asks such hard questions that I have absolutely no answers to and that are hard to hear. He needs to voice these frustrations and I know it is good for him to talk about these things, but it's hard for me to know what to say or how to comfort him.  The only thing I can do is neal next to his wheelchair and lay my head in his neck. This does seem to make us both feel better.

Josh's little brother, Geoffrey, is staying with us this week. They have been talking music all week and watching and listening to videos and music. This is right up Josh's alley. They are going to see a movie in the next few minutes. Josh loves getting out at night like he used to before the accident. I also enjoy a little quiet at night before I turn in. Most nights consist of pretty hard work right up to bedtime so I'm looking forward to a little down time in the next few minutes.

Ephram has slept better the last 2 nights. I don't feel like such a walking zombie when he sleeps a little better- and for that I am thankful. Most feeding sessions are taking around an hour and then he is going back to sleep quickly after he is done. This is much easier than long sessions of awake time during the night. :-) 

We have been getting a ton of help from different people and we are so thankful.  People are bringing food, coming in to help with Noah and Zoe and taking them for an occasional weekend away. More than anything, we continue to hear about how people are praying for us continuously. Thank you to all of you who continue to do this and bring our needs before God. Please continue to pray for Josh's body and that his body is restored 100%. We still believe...

Prayer Requests:


-Emotional stability for our family

-Financial stability as bills are starting to come in

05/27/07 2:45 p.m.

Today is a bit of a more quiet day around home so I thought I'd take a few moments and let you know what is going on around here. Getting everything done in the mere 24 hours allotted to me is a bit of a challenge. After having Ephram almost a week ago, I am trying to recover but stay on top of things too. Josh still needs care, needs to be turned at night, kids still need meals and the baby needs to be fed (a lot- he's growing like a weed!). Then there are the day to day things that need to be done around the house. Today, the beds are not made and it's the middle of the afternoon, I have yet to brush my teeth or put on some makeup, but we did get a few things done around the house. Ephram continues to not be a great sleeper during the night, but he is doing better than the first night we had him home when he was a little stinker. Right now, he is up between 2-3 hours during the night, usually around the 3:00 hour and on. Sometimes he takes little cat-naps and sometimes he just likes to fuss a little. He is an absolute joy and Noah and Zoe cannot get enough of him the past few days. Yesterday, Noah wanted to help a lot which I love to see, coming from him. Zoe continues to be Ephram's second mommy and loves to wash her hands with sanitizer before she holds him. I think she likes the washing of the hands more than the holding, but hey, who knows?

Josh continues to struggle with the swollen feet and difficulties with his body temperature. These both are very frustrating for him. The feet issue has gotten a bit better since we started laying him on the mat table in the playroom with his feet on an ottoman. He lays flat on his back and then we put his feet up. It seems to be working quite well and he likes that he does not have to be in his bed in the middle of the day. He goes back to therapy three times a week starting tomorrow and is anxious to get back into the normal routine of knowing what to expect when.

We have had to great gains are surprises in regards to Josh's movement abilities over the last few weeks. He said today he is sick of his chair and tired of waiting to be healed. Yes, he is getting impatient at times, but he states the getting out of the chair as a fact, not a question. He continues to encourage me when I start questioning and reminds me to pray and ask with faith that he will be healed. Sometimes, it seems a bit foolish that he has to encourage me and not vice versa but I guess we both have our moments.

One thing that has gotten frustrating for both of us is the lack of a place to cuddle. We are both pretty cuddly people and Josh is really starting to miss that time together. We are starting to consider upping the timeline for getting a king-sized bed so that we can sleep and cuddle together. Right now, there is no place that will accommodate us both so we have a hard time with that. The other struggle for Josh is that he is not able to initiate things at will. If he were wanting to hug or kiss on one of the kids or me, he would just do it without thinking. He now is very limited in how much he can initiate with very limited use of his arms. He also has to wait until one of the kids is willing to quiet down enough to sit on his lap or spend some time reading a book together or something of the sort. He is also anxious to get a bigger bed so that the kids can get in our bed. Before the accident, the kids came into our room every morning and laid with us until we had enough energy to get going. He misses that time and is eager to recapture it.

Ephram DANIEL.  For those of you out there who have been asking what his middle name is. The reason we were not sharing it is because for the first few days after he was born, we were completely clueless on a middle name. We finally agreed on Daniel and think it suits him well. Josh wanted his middle name to be James, but I wasn't too hip on it. He tried to pull the "I'm in a wheelchair" card, but I didn't go for it! :-) I just downloaded some pics of him where you can actually see his face so I'll make sure to get post those as soon as Josh can help me. (I'm a bit computer illiterate with this program.)  Ephram does have a bit of jaundice so we were at the hospital lab twice in the past 2 days and we were encouraged to find out it is going down as of yesterday. He is the third out of fourth child of ours to have it so we weren't too worried. He did not even need a phototherapy blanket and has gotten better without any intervention from the doctors. His pediatrician said he looks great and is almost back to birth weight. He is only 3 ounces less.  Our little boy loves his food.

That's all for today. I want to get in a quick nap before church tonight so I'm signing off. Have a nice Memorial Day tomorrow.

Prayer Requests:


-Family stability and energy to made it through the days

-more movement and feeling in fingers and triceps

05/24/07 10:00 p.m.

So, lots of things have changed since my last post. As you know from my mom's post, Ephram is here!!! We are so excited to have him here with us and thankfully, out of my tummy! The last few days have been nothing but busyness and sleep deprivation. Little Ephram has his days and nights a little mixed up and we're working hard to get him on our schedule.  He seems to have a strong mind of his own and continues to sleep all day and want to look around all night. He is a total honey and is bringing us lots of joy and smiles.

Since losing Ava, both Josh and I have been relieved at how we have reacted to having a baby around the house again. We were not sure if we would be paralyzed by fear that something would happen or if we would react like normal parents with a normal amount of fear but still being able to function normally. We both feel like we are doing well with adjusting to having him around. We are much more aware of the dangers that surround our children (especially Ephram) but we know that God is watching out for our little guy.

Having the kids come up to the hospital on Monday night was priceless. Zoe was so exited, mouth covered and squealing, she came running into the room. Noah was interested for the first few seconds but then he was done. I was showing him Ephram's hands and he watched me pick up his hand and says, "Your fingers work?"  The next question was "Your legs work?" It became obvious very quickly that he thought me going to the hospital meant coming home in a wheelchair like daddy. It was so sad, yet so sweet and endearing. It was so nice to be able to explain to him that I would be home in 2 days with Ephram and that mommy would come home walking.

Both kids have loved holding him and kissing all over him. Zoe picked him up by herself for the first time today (we discouraged that very quickly), thankfully she did a good job. She always wants to give him his pacifier and sit next to me while he eats. She is being a wonderful big sister.  Noah is still not too interested. He likes saying he has a little brother and then going back outside to swing.

Josh is able to hold Ephram with the Boppy around his waist. The Boppy is a circular pad that goes around your stomach and lets Ephram lay on his lap while being very secure. Right now, that is about all he can do with him, but he enjoys what he can. He also likes to take the fingers with feeling and rub Ephram's  smooth baby cheeks.

Josh has not gone to therapy this week because of the way things worked around here. He was up at the hospital all day on Monday while Ephram was in the process of greeting us and Wednesday, he stayed home to welcome mommy and Ephram home from the hospital.

Tomorrow we start back on normal days with Josh heading back to therapy, getting up and ready for school, and Josh's mom being gone. She left this evening and was a huge help with Josh, turning him during the night and getting him ready for bed. Please be praying that we can get everything done that everyone needs, that Ephram starts sleeping at night and that the kids continue to do well. nighty-night.

Prayer Requests:


-Energy and a good attitude in taking care of our family

-Ephram's sleep schedule

05/21/07 9:00 p.m.

Well, we gave it the ol' college try and attempted to post from the hospital shortly after Ephram's birth. But their wireless wouldn't cooperate. So this is Shelly's mom again, posting from home. 

Ephram entered our world today at 5:48 p.m. after a long day for Shelly. It took quite a while to get things going, then when "things" did get going, the birth came rather quickly. There were a few anxious moments just before Ephram was born. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and body. But quick action on the part of the doctor and all was well. He is a little pumpkin and has all his fingers and toes (do pumpkins have fingers and toes? Josh asks). This one does! Ephram weighs 6 lb. 15 oz. and is 18" long. Daddy was there for the whole scene and held Ephram shortly after his birth. Big brother Noah and big sister Zoe came up to visit as well. We took hundreds of pictures of our little wonder, but I'll just post two here for your enjoyment:

05/21/07 5:00 a.m.

Well, it's 5 a.m. and we've been here for about 2 hours.  My mom and sister are here with me and Josh will be arriving around 8:30 or 9:00 this morning. His nurse tech is coming early to get him ready and then he will be coming. Before I left, we had a chance to talk for a few minutes while I was turning him. He is so excited and extremely nervous at the same time. He wants to be able to hold Ephram and feel capable of holding him without dropping him etc. 

I am yet to get the drugs to start labor. When we showed up today, we found out that I had dilated further and having quite a few contractions. At this point, we are just hanging out, playing solitaire, surfing the internet and generally just getting excited! 

The nurse has  been wonderful so far and we have a nice sized room that Josh will be able to get around in. They also have reserved a room next door if Josh needs to lay down and also have access to a lift to get him in and out of bed if need be. They have been nothing but helpful so far. One of the girls from church is a nurse on the labor and delivery floor and got us all hooked up! We are so thankful! The nurse on staff right now also got us a large room on the postpartum floor so that we all have room- especially Josh in his chair!

Yesterday was a pretty good day for Josh. We did find another tiny blister on his other heal which was very disheartening. We are unsure how he is getting them and are now watching his feet like hawks.  He stayed up way too late on Saturday night so he was pretty tired on Sunday. He fell asleep with his head on the kitchen counter and I finally convinced him to get into bed. He took a nap for 2 and a half hours and woke up feeling much better. We then spent quite a while working on taking notes for his sermon. He taught in church, and knew what he would be teaching on but cannot take notes for himself. So, together, we surfed all over the internet for specific information, Bible verses and other things he needed to see. I am seeing a different side to this job of being a pastor!

I skipped church last night and ran errand picking up Josh's and Noah's meds and getting some supplies that we would be needing in the next few days. I then came home and took a bath, washed my hair and took my time getting ready for today! We are so excited for the arrival of our little buddy.  Please be praying for us today and for little Ephram as he makes his grand entrance!

Prayer Requests:


-Safe delivery for Ephram

-Stability as things are about to change even MORE!

05/19/07 11:00 p.m.

Just a quick update as Ephram is making mommy a bit on edge today. Lots of contractions and not a lot of sleep last night. Yesterday was a good day for Josh. We decided on ordering the I-BOT which is a relief. His concern about finances regarding the chair was the main thing holding him back. After talking at length about how generous people have been and that the majority of people want what would afford Josh the most freedom, we decided to go ahead with it. We now are in the process of beginning the paperwork trail (endless) and getting everything ordered how Josh will need it. We went to a graduation open house for a member of our church and he could not move around at all. When his power chair arrives, he will be able to participate in these activities with much more independence and enjoyment!  Thank you to all of you who have been so giving so that Josh can get the things he needs to make his and our life easier more normal and enjoyable!

The kids spent the weekend in Kalamazoo with friends and are having a ball. It's nice to get a little added time of rest and peace with them being well taken care of and knowing they are having fun. They went to a baseball game and saw friends from our last church. They come home talking about all of their friends and what they are doing. Too cute.

Josh's parents are here so I am getting extra help taking care of Josh. This is a nice respite for me to have his mom around who knows how to take Josh and Josh is comfortable with her taking care of him. Josh's feet seem to be a bit less swollen over the past 2 days. We are working very hard at getting them up during the day and sleeping with them as high as the bed will go. He hates the hospital bed but it is nice to have the option to keep your head low and your feet up.  The blister on the back of his heel has yet to pop. We are thankful for this because the threat of infection is much less if it stays covered with skin. The blistered skin is starting to look older, like it's done it's duty and protected his body from infection. :-)

We had a nice night of hanging around the house and watching a movie last night. After I met our friends from Kalamazoo and dropped the kids off halfway, I came home and we just took it easy. Yesterday was the first day that Josh stayed home by himself. I was gone a bit over 2 hours and he did fine. Before I left, I got him all set up with snacks, drinks, phone in ear in case of emergency, feet up, meds given, drainage bag emptied, and a few other random things. He called me to tell me he was cold and he couldn't move to get the fan off. He was not upset, just acted a little amazed that something as simple as turning off the fan is not possible without help. With his feet propped up, he is totally immobile. All the same, he had a few hours to get the swelling down in his feet, and maybe feel a bit more independent staying home by himself for a while.

Today, Jolie from the GR Press came over and snapped some photos for a photo journal they are doing in the paper next Saturday.  She will also be at church tomorrow night to shoot a few more pics. We are encouraged by any amount of press our story can get and that people can see that we have a hope that a lot of others do not have. It is also a bit uncomfortable to know that anyone who wants to see into our lives can. We also figure that the more real and transparent we are with this situation and how God is using it, the more that people can see the God we know and trust. Yes, I'm sure some people think we're a bunch of freaks, but oh well... :-)

We are now hanging around the house and I'm heading to bed. Josh and his parents are up chit-chatting and I excused myself while I could. I do not usually have the option of someone else taking care of him 100 %. Josh also enjoys this because he knows the break I am getting.

Last bit of news and pretty big news: Ephram is scheduled to arrive sometime on Monday. We got word that I am scheduled for an induction on Monday starting at 3 a.m. Yes, it sounds like an odd time but it seemed this would work best with Josh's schedule and the possibility of him being able to be there. Just a bit under 36 hours and the fun will begin. This momma is more than a little excited to get him out and stop all these crazy contractions! Please be in prayer for us on Monday as we start this new chapter of our lives.  We are very excited, but obviously, very nervous. We are praying for a happy, content baby (I know most mothers desire this) as we are already a bit maxed out. Either way, we are so excited for our new little buddy to arrive and be a part of our family!

Prayer Requests:


-Ephram's arrival

-stability for our family during more transitions!

05/17/07 11:50 p.m.

Pretty rough day yesterday to say the least. Josh woke up with a blister on his foot yesterday. He is checked over very well every morning and it was discovered. Because his feet are so swollen, even his huge shoes are tight. It ended up giving him a blister which really freaked us out. PT Kristy settled us down some and gave us some hints on how to handle it to avoid infection. I went out and bought a huge pair of shoes and we cut the back out of them so there can be no rubbing. We needed to find tennis shoes that have laces that can be loosened and tightened depending on the severity of the swelling of the day. So far, the blister looks good and not at all red or infected.

All of this excitement, added to the normal difficulties of the day, made for a very emotional day. Lots of tears for both of us, a late night of laying in our beds talking long into the night. He was then unable to sleep last night for fear he would pop his blister when he had a spasm.

Josh had therapy yesterday at MFB which went well. My dad took him so that I could take a nap and catch up on a little sleep. Any extra shut-eye I can get right now is greatly appreciated. Tomorrow is the big day at therapy where he has to make his final decision on his power chair. As of right now, he is still unsure of what to do. He wants the I-BOT but is concerned about the added expense of it. It will end up costing us a few thousand more than any other power chair. I just want him to get the wheelchair that will afford him the most freedom. Guess we'll see which way he goes.

Today was a laid back day of hanging around the house, getting medical paperwork and phone calls completed, and lots of other busy work. Josh spent most of the day on the phone and reading. He is getting better at turning pages, especially to magazines. He is growing a bit tired of my girlie magazines he has been reading! :-) We have been doing a little bit of internet research on things Josh can do to keep himself busy. He finds himself frustrated by the fact that he accomplishes nothing during the day. We are still waiting for his adaptive equipment to arrive to help with his computer. I'm sure that will help some. Every site I find talks mainly about recreational sports and that is not what we are looking for. Maybe I'll write a book a few years from now on things to do when you get home from the hospital so you don't go mad with boredom! :-)

The kids are doing very well and getting very anxious for Ephram to arrive. We had an amniocentesis to check for his lung development yesterday. Everything came back very positive so we were encouraged. God continues to protect Ephram, but now that we know he would be safe if he arrived, I AM READY!!!!  Noah and Zoe are visiting friends in Kalamazoo for the weekend. This will help us get some additional rest and the kids are more than a little excited.

We found out some interesting news yesterday. We had looked at some land on a street about a mile from the church to possibly build on. Neither Josh nor I had a  peace about it because it was so small and to make a big decision like this, we wanted to be sure this is where God was leading.  We were much more interested in the land across the street that is an empty lot, but not for sale. The lot of 120 by 160, huge by Grand Rapids standards and more than enough space to build a decent sized ranch and still have a yard. We called the owners a few times starting the end of February but never heard back. Well, the couple arrived home from Florida (they don't check voice mail while gone) and were very interested in selling. They had it appraised and told us they would sell it for the appraised value. We are very interested, but also don't want to spend the huge chunk of money on land before we even start building a house. We also want to be wise financially and make the best decision possible, both financially for our family and emotionally for our family. Please be in prayer that God makes his plans for us very clear and that everyone is in agreement on what should be done. Our main hope is that EMHE comes through. We have not given that dream up.  We did find out that if we would be chosen, the first we would hear would be about a year from now because of the way they are taping right now.

Tomorrow is back to MFB for therapy. Please be in prayer for us as we have more decisions to make and we only desire to honor God through them. We know that if we are not in the center of his will, things will be rough. We continue to pray for guidance in all these areas.

Prayer Requests:


-wise decisions regarding land purchases

-ideas for activities to keep Josh busy and having a sense of meaning

05/15/07 11:00 p.m.

Well, it's been a crazy two days around here. Lots of excitement thinking the baby is coming and they'll actually let him arrive, and then... no baby. Pretty disappointing in some ways, but good because he has had a few more days to grow. I went in for an ultrasound today, the doctor was hoping he was over five pounds because my stomach has been measuring small (no, I do not look small). The ultrasound estimated "little" Ephram is 6 lbs. 9 oz.!!! God's been putting our little buddy's growth into overdrive! For that we are thankful.

Josh had therapy and a doctor's appointment yesterday. Therapy was uneventful and then we headed to his appointment. After waiting for almost an hour and 45 minutes to see him, Josh was fit to be tied! He kept threatening to leave, but we had already waited so long at that point, it seemed sort of ridiculous. Our main concern has been the swelling in Josh's feet. He can no longer get into much of any shoes, we are having to watch his heels pretty closely because they get red in his shoes and we do NOT want an open sore, and the Ted hose do not seem to do much of anything. The doctors verdict was that Josh needs to get out of his chair and get his feet above his heart for at least 2 hours a day. Because Josh's feet are hanging down all day, and do not get moved but when someone moves them for him, the circulation in his feet is getting poorer and poorer. This could eventually lead to some pretty serious health conditions and not something we want to mess with. Josh is very unhappy about how to deal with this, feeling like his life is already so restricted and now the doctor wants him back in bed during the day. We compromised at this point and are trying to get his feet up as much as we can on an ottoman, at least 2 hours a day, but not back in bed. If this does not ease the swelling, he will have to do the bed thing.  Please pray that Josh has patience with this situation and does not allow himself to become angry. It is a constant struggle of knowing you have to accept the changes but hating them all the same. It seems like a minute to minute choice to not allow ourselves to become angry or bitter. Thankfully, we both seem to be on opposite schedules when it comes to this so we can encourage the other when needed! God is working, even in the details.

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all of you who have been sending gift certificates for us to go out to dinner. This is one of the few things that Josh can do pretty easily and with enjoyment. We so appreciate all the On The Border gift cards, Applebee's and all kinds of others. We were thinking that we have only paid for a meal or two of our own since the accident. We would never be able to enjoy this otherwise. It is also great for Josh to be able to get out and about in these situations and practice getting in and out of places, how to situate himself at different tables (especially when there is no room for his extremely long legs), and working many other life skills we have been encouraged to work on. Without all of you out there, we would be sitting at home where Josh has a tendency to get discouraged and depressed much easier. So, all in all, thank you all so much for allowing us to experience a bit of normalcy in our lives and being able to get out of the house without going broke!!! :-) You guys are great.

Today was a slow day. After spending most of the night at the hospital with my mom and sister, we were all exhausted today and they were the ones here to watch the kids. Josh did not come up to the hospital, we will be waiting to bring him until the birth is getting closer. Not exactly how we imagined we would be delivering the little guy, but I guess things change. Josh got ranged, we ate lunch together, the kids played outside all day, and I had a chance to take a nap. My poor mom and sister were up all night too but they stayed awake while I snoozed. I had a little guilt over that one and then decided to let it go! Isn't family great? Just kidding...

Josh is now enjoying watching reruns of the sitcom "The Office" from last season with some friends and I can hear him laughing. It does my heart good to hear him sound so much like he did 6 months ago. There are times that I can hear that carefree giggle in his voice and I love it, sort of like music to  my ears. We have said about a million times how much harder this would be if we couldn't laugh. There are so many things that have happened that you can either laugh or cry and we choose to laugh if at all possible. Yes, there are times that we both just break down and sob and it feels so good after, but we also want to survive this and still be happy. Before the accident, I always felt like we always had things to talk about, like on our long drive down to Florida this Christmas, we just talked and talked and it was so nice. Now, I feel like if we didn't talk even more, we would drown. There are so many limitations to what we can share together right now, but conversation is not one of them. I'm so happy to be married to someone I actually like, much less love. He's a pretty amazing guy... can you tell I like him? :-)

Well, tomorrow is back to therapy and doctor's appointments and the business of recovery. We enjoy our down days while they last. Nighty-night now.

Prayer Requests:


-Our attitudes in regard to this life change

-Ephram to arrive quickly and safely with no complications

05/14/07 8:30 a.m.

Yesterday was a good day for all of us. Josh woke up around 8:00 and had his morning routine with the nurse tech that comes over to take care of him. I am so thankful for this luxury right now. Just moving him around in his wheelchair, getting him ready for bed, and his daily needs are enough to tire me out right now. God brought us someone who is very reliable and Josh is comfortable with. We plan on keeping him on until the middle or end of August- once mommy is back to normal and the kids are soon to be heading to school for the fall. After that, we will be doing it on our own.

We had a nice Mother's Day yesterday. My mom and dad, Holly and Jay and the kids, and the four of us gathered here and grilled out. Getting all of us ready to eat at the same time is quite the challenge, but we did eventually manage.  Once we adults were ready to eat, the kids were running around, hyper, riding bikes around our table (we ate outside), begging to be pushed on the swing set, and all other kinds of kid antics. We adults just sat and watched and enjoyed watching them be kids.

Josh gave me a chance to take a nap yesterday. This was something that felt normal, like before the accident. I put the kids in bed for a "rest" (yeah, right) and he sat out in the kitchen reading and making sure no one escaped from the bedroom. It was extremely nice for me.  I love that he is getting to the point where he is able to do this sort of thing, knowing I am in the next room if he needs me.

Funny story I forgot to tell: Night before last, it was about 4 in the morning and Josh was doing a lot of moaning and groaning. I had just turned him so I figured he was trying to settle back in and get comfortable. Then, he started  yelling at me about all kind of random things, most of which I could not understand. I was getting out of bed, really fired up about him yelling at me to do stuff (I'm more than willing to do whatever, but he is never rude like this) and acting angry at me. So as I stood over him, I start raising my voice back and him and I do a double take. He was sound asleep! He has no recollection whatsoever of it and must have been having a dream of some sort. I went back to bed with a little giggle and a sigh of relief.

Church was great last night. It's nice to try and get back into the swing of life, no matter how difficult it is. If we didn't have Zach and Rachel living with us right now, I would be in big trouble. They came home from their Mother's Day celebration to help us get out of here on time and to church. They are amazing and such a blessing to us. I made it through about half the service before sitting in the church chairs was no longer an option. If you've ever visited our church you know we have theatre seating from a loooong time ago. It looks amazing but is not so comfy on the pregnant mommy's back.  Either way, it was nice to see everyone from church and just spend time together.

After church, Josh had his first chance to go out with a group of people after church to the area hang-out where church people spend a lot of time. Josh and Jay have reached a lot of people at this area hang-out. It's not your typical Christian place to hang out and that's what they love about it. Josh was very excited to be able to go back and feel like he could talk to people and do what he does best.

It's now Monday morning and the week is just beginning. We are heading to clinic this afternoon after therapy to see if we can figure out Josh's swollen feet. He is tired of his "sausages" as he calls them, and they are a new thing. Please pray that they can figure out the cause and get it figured out. He is sick of shoes being shoved on his feet and still not fitting. :-)  That's all for now. Have a great day!

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's clinic appt. to go well today

-More muscle strength in arms

05/12/07 11:45 p.m.

This girl is tiiiired so I'm heading off to bed really soon but wanted to post a quick update. First, we've had a pretty decent last two days. Josh was busy with therapy yesterday and I stayed home to take a nap. We got to drive the van to therapy yesterday for the first time and it was so nice to be able to drive something you know will start and you feel capable of driving! The Hoopty was surrounded by blind spots so I spent a lot of time saying quick prayers and moving over slowly, listening for someone to honk at me! :-) Not your best driving technique.

We spent some money on new shoes and jeans for Josh today. We tried to go to the mall and get him a few things but the sizes he now needs to accommodate this new body of his are not available. His feet are swollen all the time so he now needs a size 14 shoe. They look like skis, but hey, we can get them on his feet! The pants have to be extra long to accommodate sitting in the chair and bigger around the waist so his tubes don't get kinked. This makes shopping for him difficult. He was pretty disgusted last night after finding a bunch of nothing. He says that he should look better and wear smaller clothes considering the weight he has lost, but that's just not how it works. The tummy he was working so hard to run off the few months before vacation is now what many refer to as a "quad belly" or a "Buddah Belly". He does not find it so endearing.

We were amazed to come home tonight to find that Parker Stevens had stopped by to drop off his proceeds from his lemonade stand. He raised a total of, I believe, $297!!!!!!!!!!!! We were shocked and so grateful. Parker is an amazing little boy who has wiggled his way into Josh's heart and he barely knows him. It's too cute.

Our kids are doing good. Thursday night Noah was up late and Josh was in his room putting him to bed. Noah sleeps on the top bunk and wanted to be tucked in. Josh is not able to get to him on the top bunk and Noah was upset that he wasn't getting a good tucking in. When Josh and I were in our room later in the evening, he had a really hard time with this. Please continue to be praying that Josh can find ways to interact with the kids and feel a part of their lives. This is a very difficult thing for him and he needs peace and encouragement.

We went to the Melting Pot for dinner with friends (don't go there unless you have at least 3 hours and nearly $100 dollars a couple. We were in for a bit of sticker shock but it was an amazing place). The atmosphere and pace of dinner was perfect for us. I had time to feed us both and we spent a lot of time laughing. Laughing is good for the heart when things are tough for us. We were thankful for the time we spent there.

Josh is now still up, not wanting to go to sleep. Big surprise, considering he is my night owl. I'm laying here having way too many contractions that are not really progressing me. The doctor said that if I can make it to 35 and a half weeks, Ephram will almost certainly come home with us.  Tomorrow will be 35 weeks so we're almost there. It would be very hard to leave our little buddy behind and have to come home and then make trips up to the hospital. That would probably be more taxing than waiting a few extra days before he is delivered and just putting up with all the contractions and "uncomfortableness". We are completely ready for his arrival. Our bags are packed, the kids are anxiously awaiting his arrival, and we are praying the timing works out that Josh is able to be there.

Right now, my main prayer concern for Josh is feeling involved with the kids. He needs to feel like they still need him and that he is able to fulfill that need. Please be in prayer for this. We would appreciate it. Much love.

Prayer Requests:


-Josh's ability to be involved with the kids

-Emotional stability for our family

05/12/07 11:30 a.m.

This is Jean, Shelly's mom, filling in with a posting. First, two notes of thanks from Josh and Shelly. Number One: to the brothers who are taking care of their lawn on Auburn. It looks wonderful! Josh put so much work into the lawn and landscaping of that house last year. It's good to know it won't all become a big mess over the summer. We so appreciate your work! Number Two: to the Wright small group from California for the $3K raised in a Junk for Josh Sale. What a hoot! And what a surprise! Our humble thanks to all of you for your efforts.

Eight-year-old Parker Stevens of Allendale has become a fund raiser extraordinaire for Josh. You might remember that he raised the most money in the 99.3 radio station spring swim. His new endeavor is lemonade stands. He started out in front of his Grandma Steven's house, then moved to his relative's house on a more active street, then today stationed himself in Countryside Greenhouses. Those of you from around here might be familiar with Countryside, probably the largest greenhouse in West Michigan. Today is one of their busiest days of the year, and the owner gave Parker permission to raise funds selling lemonade right at the main entrance. He went so far as to make a sign for them. Parker is the guy holding the orange sign, telling everyone who entered the greenhouses "lemonade for Bucks!" His older brother Chandler was doing the same, walking through the aisles of the greenhouse.  A local country station is broadcasting live from the greenhouses today and will give Parker a 60-second spot sometime to tell people what he's doing. What a wonderful gift such a young boy is to this family. His loving efforts are a blessing to us. Thanks, Parker, and all those who help him!!

05-11-07 3:30 a.m.

Can't sleep. Kinda' stinks when you have a few hours of shut-eye coming your way and you just lay there and think. I turned Josh a little over half an hour ago and finally decided that laying in bed staring at the ceiling was getting me nowhere. Decided to blog.

Decent day yesterday. When I posted night before last, Josh was still out with friends. Because he was going to be out late, Jay offered to get him ready for bed. When they got home they realized that Josh's urine bag was empty and they had been gone over 6 hours. Not a good thing. Come to find out, the clamp that holds the bag shut was not closed correctly and Josh's shoe was waterlogged. His foot was pruned and we knew where the urine was. When with friends, Josh has a tendency to try and laugh things off a bit, after they left, he was upset. It's sort of amazing that you can have a soaking wet foot all night and night and never feel a thing. Some of these incidences are hard for Josh to deal with- can't really blame the guy. So now his brand new shoes are a bit dirty. :-)

He got cold getting ready for bed so we had to try and warm him up but to no avail. When I woke up at 6 a.m. to roll him, he was still chattering and awake. He thought he may have taken a few cat naps but really didn't get any real sleep during the night. This made for a hard day to stay awake yesterday.

We started out the day yesterday morning heading off to MFB where Kristy was working with a group of Grand Valley State University PT students.  Josh did some talking, Kristy did some teaching and then they went through the sensations on his body, poking and prodding. Josh felt like it went well and he was excited to get a gift certificate to Carrabba's! :-) We left there and ate some lunch in the Burger King parking lot, enjoying the warm sun and breeze. It was pretty relaxing and just...nice. After lunch, we headed off to Clock Conversion where our van was ready for us to pick up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The hoopty's life is close to over and we are so thankful for the transportation she provided for us, but we were ready! We took almost a 2 hour training course on how to use all of the gadgets, buttons, straps and safety features. Josh spent a lot of this time falling asleep in his chair while I was learning. :-) At this point, Josh is not yet able to drive and a lot of the info was not applicable to him until he starts driving. Probably would have been nice for him to learn it with me but the poor guy could NOT keep his eyes open.  After our lesson, we drove the new beauty out of the parking lot free and clear!!!! How do you thank people for purchasing you freedom, much less a vehicle worth 2 years of our last salary? Pretty amazing! We cannot thank SLWC enough for all the hard work and success put into raising money for this for us.

We drove home and I could drive with one hand.  The steering is wonderful and I can actually drive in a straight line (the hoopty was not the easiest beast to drive). Josh was talking about everything he could see. He was amazed to see the house as we drove up and all the landmarks close to our house. We had the windows down the whole way home and enjoyed listening to loud music, the breeze in our hair, and no exhaust fumes to drug the baby!

We stayed home tonight. I was exhausted and so were the kids. We just hung around, Josh got ranged, ate dinner together, and acted like a half-way normal family. Josh was ready for bed at 11:00 which is extremely out of the ordinary for him... guess he was tired after the lack of sleep the night before. I have not heard a peep out of him since he fell asleep, he didn't even really seem to wake up when I turned him.

All in all, good day again. A few points of frustration but nothing that ruined the day. The weather is helping Josh's outlook. We are praying it continues. He loves to be able to sit outside and drive his wheelchair under the carport for a workout.  He calls it his race track where he has to drive in an oval and use his right arm more than his left, hoping to strengthen up the right side so it becomes closer in strength to the left. He loves to challenge himself in these ways. Along with Kristy, I now call him a PT nerd too. Doesn't seem to bother either of them too much...:-)

Prayer Requests:


-Stability for our family

-Josh's fingers and triceps

05-09-07 11:30 p.m.

Another good day today. After having a hard weekend and Monday, 2 good days in a row are encouraging. After a large update this morning,  I figured I would update tonight because I am still waiting for my little night owl named Noah to go to sleep. He has been sick and sleeping more than usual and now he's done! It's 11:30 at night and he keeps talking about everyone in school, how he just went into his bedroom and kissed Zoe "cuz I like Zoe" and just being all around cute.

Josh had therapy at MFB today and worked on laying on is belly. He had a wedge under his chest and got his elbows underneath him. He worked on lifting his upper body weight with his shoulders and elbows and he looked so normal. His leg would pop around at the oddest moments and I sometimes need to remind myself that he is not doing this with purpose.  For occupational therapy he worked on getting his zip-up hoodie on and off by himself. They also added a ring to the zipper so he could put a finger through and zip his jacket. After about 45 minutes of work, he had done what he set out to accomplish. Because so much of this takes so long, I often wonder how much of this will really be put to use. Is it worth it for him to spend 45 minutes getting on his jacket and zipping it up himself or just having someone help him? We both agree it depends on the task. It's nice to know he is able but there are other things we may put more time into such as feeding himself and brushing his teeth. 

We had a houseful of people this morning. It was rainy so some of our friends didn't have to work and a group of people just ended up over here. We all felt like a bunch of bums but it was nice. We all ate lunch together before we left for therapy. It was a pretty out of the ordinary day but we enjoyed it. Tonight, Josh is out with a friend from Indy and when I talked to him a few minutes ago, he was enjoying himself. I like it when he has a chance to stay out late with friends cause he loves to do that. It means I will have to get up when he gets home but at least he is having a good time.

We all ate together as a family tonight and it was nice to do something that we did so regularly before Josh's accident. We are still not able to get Josh under the table, so he has to sit next to the table and be fed but it was nice all the same. We realized we need to have feet or something of the sort added to the bottom so he can get under the table and close enough to feed himself.

We had another day with no serious body temperature issues which is a huge praise! It was not exactly warm today and he still wasn't very cold. The weather forecast is for warmer weather so that is great too! We hope we have this infection issue under control and that was the source of the chills. He continues to drink a lot of water to try and clear everything out of his system. This is a lot safer for him than taking an antibiotic he may eventually get a resistance to . We are thankful for the wisdom of the doctors working with Josh who know what is best for a person with his injury!

We continue to plead with God to heal Josh's body. He has been feeling more in his catheter line area, we are not sure if it's because it's been more painful than usual or if he is gaining more feeling in that area. All the same, we are encouraged by any change Josh's body exhibits. We praise God for the little things that Josh is gaining such as new feeling and patience to work on things that he may normally scream about! :-) Please keep up in your prayers.

Prayer Requests:


-Emotional and physical stability for our family

-More triceps and fingers!!!

05-09-07 8:00 a.m.

Craziness ensues. Multiply that by about 100 and that's what my life seems right about now. We all actually had a decent nights sleep last night. Zach got Josh completely ready for bed so I never had to get up for the "getting ready for bed" process. Noah has been sick for 2 nights so he wants to sleep in mommy's twin bed which does not leave a lot of room for mommy after Noah and Ephram. I actually convinced him to sleep on the floor next to me which helped a ton! Josh slept well enough that he wasn't sure he was turned during the night and was worried- he slept right through them both! So after a decent nights sleep, hopefully we'll be having a good day.

Monday was a day of heading to therapy which was very successful. Josh picked up a piece of food with his right hand for the very first time!!!! Sounds small but we were so excited! He has been working hard on trying to pick things up and we're seeing improvements. He spent the whole hour of occupational therapy working on it and did the best he had ever done. For PT, he worked on short sitting which is where he sits on the end of a mat table with his feet over the end and then he worked on scooching (is this really a word?). He did have a decent amount of success but he was frustrated with his posture. With no muscles to hold himself up, he slouches all the time and he is starting to feel it in his back a bit. Kristy sat behind him and pulled his shoulders back to give his spine a break and he loved it!  He grew about 8 inches in the sitting position!

We then headed to the urologist to see what was going on with his catheter. They changed it out and burnt a bunch of skin around the area of his belly where the tube comes out and think they got the problem. They do believe he is fighting a urinary tract infection so we are trying to drink, drink, drink! He continued to be cold most of the day Monday but yesterday there was a significant temperature improvement!

We had core team here last night for church and we cooked out and talked church stuff. This is Josh's forte, talking church and having friends over. I don't think it gets much better than that for him! My little social butterfly enjoyed himself thoroughly.

We were supposed to pick up our new van today at 10:30, but it got postponed until tomorrow because a new circuit board did not make it in time in the mail. This actually seems like a good thing because we were really pushing our day to the max to get in all we had to do today. We will be going in tomorrow hopefully to learn all the functions and take the beauty home with us! The Hoopty will have to hold out another day!  It rained last night so we may be sitting in some wet seats, but hey, at least she runs! We laugh that she smells like a boat because of all of the exhaust and burning fuel. The gas mileage is significantly less then 10 miles to the gallon so we don't like to take her too far. We think if we still lived in California we'd be arrested for depleting the ozone layer! We love to make fun of her but we love her just the same!

Please be praying for us in regards to figuring out schedules of who needs to be where and when, that when Ephram makes his arrival we can work it out that Josh can be there, for so many little adjustments that are all together just hard emotionally. Not sleeping in the same bed as your husband and being able to just cuddle and talk grows old quickly. We are hoping to be able to order a bed soon that will accommodate us both but the prices are astronomical.  We are working very hard to rely on God and each other so that we do not become discouraged or start feeling sorry for ourselves. To be completely honest, it's a struggle. When I look at my life and how much it's changed over the last 2 years, I'm amazed that we're still sane- but that is the power of our God! We don't just say that, we believe it 100 % and continue to rely on him for his grace, strength and mercy.

Prayer Requests:


-Schedules and transitions for our family

-Emotional stability for us all- extended family too

05-07-07 9:00 a.m.

Sorry about my lack of posting. My life has seemed like endless chaos over the last few days and I can't seem to find an extra second to do this. I am starting to think that maybe I should try for the mornings instead of the evenings when things get crazy with getting Josh into bed etc.

Josh has been having a few rough days and it has been very hard around here. His frustration level is very high right now which is a test to me too. He was very upset Saturday night when he knew that Ephram may be coming and he had already been in his chair all day. He has also been having a LOT of trouble staying warm which is a quick drain on his patience. He said that yesterday there was not a moment he was warm all day. He was teeth-chattering cold all day and went to bed with 4 blankets on, the heater on full blast in our room, a wool hat and he was still chattering. This lack of control over his body has seemed to be getting him down more than usual lately. He's been getting down on himself calling himself only a "talking, thinking head" and as a wife, it's very hard to hear. I want to have encouraging words and let him know that he being paralyzed does not make him worthless or just a pain to all involved, but I think he has to figure it out himself. How many times can I tell him that losing him would be sooooo much worse? Sometimes when you're as frustrated as he is right now, words are not the answer.

The van dedication was really neat for us yesterday. As of Wednesday, it will be officially ours. We are going in for a training session with the conversion company to learn how to use all the gadgets, lifts, and all the extra goodies that came along with it. They even had an Alpine DVD player installed for our viewing pleasure! The kids were really excited about that and so was mommy. Anything to keep the kids occupied when I am in charge of all of us in the van. The kids had a blast climbing in and out of the van, checking everything out and sitting in their designated spots!

Today is filled with therapy and doctors appts. for Josh. He is having some problems with the catheter coming out of his stomach so we are heading back to the surgeon to see if this is why he is having chills and retaining water in his feet again. Please be praying for an easy answer for him and that it solves the temperature issues.

Once again, we are praying for complete restoration for Josh's body. We continue to bring this before the Lord daily and know we are learning lessons that we would never know otherwise. We also know we have a platform to talk from that God has made available to us and especially Josh as we walk this road God has before us. Please continue to pray for our attitudes and ability to handle the emotional stress that seems all encompassing at times. Pray that we can continue to rely on our God, who knows this plan he has for us, even when we do not like nor understand it.

Prayer Requests:


-Answers to Josh's temperature issues and swelling

-Emotional stability at this time of struggle