Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter pictures

This was after church, so Carli's hair was not nearly as cute as when we went to church 4 hours earlier! There was no part in her hair when I combed it that morning! :)

I'll post more pictures later...this house isn't going to pack itself (carpet tomorrow!!!).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Old words, new meaning

Well, of course when I want to post pictures, it's not letting me! Oh, well. Next time.

Hope you all had a blessed Easter Sunday. This was a busy week, to say the least: Choir practice on Wednesday, Maundy Thursday (Communion), two services on Friday (one a community service, and then the evening at our church), Saturday Eggstravaganza for the kids, and then today's Easter celebration services.

We had quite a mix of Easter music today. We started out with a fun upbeat "My Savior Lives," and right from that to "Because He Lives" and then for some more traditional: "Christ Arose" and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today!"

But both Glen and I were totally shocked to the words to "Because He Lives." I knew them by heart, but they sure have a different meaning today than they did a year ago. (I'm not sure Bill and Gloria would appreciate me calling them "old words" in the title of this blog, though.) "How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy she gives. But greater still, the calm assurance this child can face uncertain days because He lives." WOW! I heard Glen getting quieter and quieter beside me, and I knew he was getting as choked up as I was. I'm so glad that I believe these words. What do people do without God to help them face the future?

If we would have lived in the days of Jesus, we would have been one of the families taking their little ones to sit on Jesus' lap, and I believe that Jesus would have looked with compassion on Madeline and healed her. So many people have reminded us that "God can still heal her." I know this is so true, but I'm glad that "all fear is gone" should God choose not to. I know that God doesn't always choose to heal "broken" little ones. But maybe He has even bigger miracles in store for her. Maybe she'll reach far more than she would have if God's plan for her had been different. Whatever His choice, I choose to believe that He is a compassionate God who loves Madeline even more than we do. I'm clinging to that "calm assurance."

Friday, March 21, 2008


Glen's new boss at IWU is an older gentleman who has been a missionary in Africa. He sent this response to Glen's email about baby Maddy. He's not the kind of guy who would say, "You think you've got it bad, listen to what happened to me." Rather, he was encouraging Glen that God's grace will always be there.

With his permission, I'm sharing what he wrote. I was laughing by the end, not because it's funny, but because I can't imagine any one of these things, let alone all combined. Thought you'd enjoy.

We have never experienced what you are facing. However, we have seen the Lord provide and care in the midst of many difficult situtions, including a problem pregnancy, being "mobbed" twice and threatened (with spears and rocks thrown, being held hostage, having the car fall through two collapsed bridges, having a pilot get lost in the mountains in the midst of a bad thunderstorm, being surrounded at least three times by hyenas, having a child hit by a car and hospitalized for 7 weeks, being struck by name a few. In the midst the Lord has been faithful, caring, present, gracious while at times allowing our faith to grow.

Look what I found!!!!

I CANNOT believe how small Carli was when we had Olivia--yet look at how much more hair she had! If this trend continues, Maddy will be bald until she's 5!

BTW, our neonatologist said that I'll have a C-section at approximately week 37. Carli and Olivia are 2.5 years + 4 days apart. We're not sure the exact date for Maddy, but it's going to be very close to 2.5 years apart for Olivia and Maddy, too. Isn't that funny?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's a new day

A verse I've been thinking of today is the one that "Great is Thy Faithfulness" is based on..."Your mercies are new every morning." Aren't you glad that God's grace and mercies are not exhausted by a few brutal days? Each morning, I feel invigorated by the new sense of His grace.

Here's a list of some of the "mercies" since last time I posted:

  • So many friends and family who have emailed or called. I've always known that we've had a lot of friends, but when you really need them, you realize just how many you have, and that they are really sorrowing with us. Girls from church have told me how their hubby's have wept on hearing the news. Mom has told me of few back her way, whom I've known all my life and consider grandparents, who have sorrowed and rejoiced with us this week. Why is it when men are vulnerable that it strikes you in the heart so much? :)
  • Mom and Dad were able to drop everything and come and just be with us. It helped so much to just have someone here that we didn't have to call to talk to--so many things assaulting our brains, and we could just blurt them out. One funny one that popped out bright and early one morning was: "Cool, I'll get to park in handicap spaces!" Why does my brain even go there????
  • Alyssa and I were able to escape to Indy for a little girl time that we'd already had scheduled. We decided we really needed to keep our plans. We got rear-ended on the way there (right after I talked to you, Grandma!), but we weren't hurt and there was only a small scratch on Alyssa's car. We enjoyed our Factory Chopped Salads from Cheesecake Factory--YUM. We didn't go for cheesecake this time, but I did treat myself to this frozen mango drink. Man, I'm ready to go back. And I got a skirt for $5 at if I can find something cheap to go with it for Easter!
  • Where I do I even start with church on Sunday??? First, I was so excited to get back to see our church family--We'd missed Wednesday night choir practice (for obvious reasons), and it was one LONG week. It felt like I hadn't been there for a month! Of course, Sunday was Palm Sunday, a day that naturally revolves around praise to the King. My heart was so full that I didn' t know how to keep it all in. And then, this Holy Week is a special week of prayer for our church, because we're trying to reach our unsaved neighbors, coworkers and friends for Christ and from the sounds of things, there are many new ones coming. Anyway, in keeping with that, our choir piece was "Something Happens" which talks of how things change when we simply mention the name of Jesus. By the end of the song, I couldn't keep the tears from streaming down my face because it so epitomized my week--how God took something so negative and all my panic and totally turned around my attitude and my outlook on the future. How through my prayer and the prayers of hundreds of others, I have such peace in the midst of the biggest storm I've ever faced. If I knew how to download the choir CD and link to it, I would. It's so powerful, and just what I needed.
  • Sunday School--We're kind of like a mini-church within the big church. I feel like each couple is family to us. Konny gave us the opportunity to talk it out a bit, and our friends sat and cried with us and encouraged us. Thank you all for listening to us.
  • Sunday night after church, we were invited to Lisa and Danny's for supper. Yummy beef and noodles, but more than that, just a really good time. Glen and Danny talked theology and politics, and we heard a lot of their journey--how God has taken two people, totally running from God, and completely turned their lives around. Once again, the grace of God always amazes.
  • Tuesday is our Mom's Bible Study, and the lesson this week was about the seasons of our lives. Wow--I know that the "season" of my life hasn't changed. I'm still a mommy and wife and homemaker (and student for the time being), but the season may be more complicated than I originally thought. But it was so encouraging. And we studied the character traits that Joseph developed in each of his seasons, and in the end we shared the character traits that we can see developing in each of our sisters in Christ. Thank you, girls, for the affirmation. I appreciate so much your care and love. You each are very special to me.
  • Totally unrelated, but Olivia has really taken to talking a blue streak now! She's picking up more and more, and it's way too cute.
  • Carli has been so loving and is so excited to meet Madeline Kate, whom she declares she will call "Katie."
  • Es sent me a lovely (handmade!) card yesterday--I called it my happy card. It was so beautiful. But I had been planning on calling her that day, so I picked up the phone and we had such a wonderful conversation. It's been way too long, but thanks, Es, for listening and caring.
  • This whole ordeal has taught me so much about friendship. I've told Alyssa and Es and my Bible study pals that I'm the kind of person that is afraid to call or email people when they are struggling with difficult things for fear that they don't want contact, or that they will think that I'm just being nosy, trying to get the scoop. I'm sure that part of God's design in all of this is that I learn more about being a true friend. I've certainly learned a few things NOT to say to people, too! :)

Next time I'll post pics of Melanie's new little baby! They're on my other computer.

Hugs to all,


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Madeline Kate Asbury

I just emailed this exact same thing to friends and family, so if your looking for new information, don't bother reading it all again! :)

Hello to one and all, and thank you so much for all your prayers over the last 36 hours. We have certainly felt them. Some of you may have already heard this information from us or others, but to be honest, I don't remember what I told to anyone, so I'm including family, etc, in this as well.

Well, the news isn't good, but strangely enough I feel like I'm one cloud nine, because things are much better than they could be. We're not especially private people, so for cathartic reasons, if nothing else, I'll share a few details. And for another reason, it's easier to tell it once rather than 100 times.

We went to St. Vincent's Women's Health Prenatal Diagnosis Center today--we're so thankful we got in 24 hours after our first abnormal ultrasound. The diagnosis is myelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida. As this form goes, it's fairly serious. I'll have a C-Section at 37 weeks, and the baby will be in NICU, probably for several weeks. There will be a shunt put in the brain and the spine enclosed in surgery a day or two after birth. Most likely Madeline (Maddy) will be wheelchair-bound for life because of how high up the myelomeningocele is, but there will be extensive therapy to make sure that she has every opportunity.

Thankfully the chances of this being a chromosomal defect (fatal in this form) is very slim, especially in light of all the normal features and heart, etc, they are seeing in the ultrasound. I guess that is where our relief is. When the doctor started telling us the possibilities with T-13 or T-18 chromosomal defect, we were barely hanging on to hope that we would have a surviving baby. When you go from that to just stomach-down paralysis, you can imagine why we felt like a huge weight lifted from our shoulders.

We have the best team of doctors we could have ever dreamed of having. The geneticist who talked to us put us very at ease with the future, especially about the team of neurosurgeons who will do the surgeries. According to her (and I realize there could be some bias involved here), this team is one of the best in the country. When a doctor in the area calls Baltimore or DC for a referral, etc, they ask why they would call there when they have such a great team in Indy. That is a comfort. I feel like we've been blessed in so many ways already through this process. I know that is solely due to your prayers. We've gotten dozens of emails and phone calls. Jed and Alyssa came and fixed supper last night and just listened, laughed and cried with us. Mom and Dad travelled through the night to be with us. Many of our long-distance friends have their prayer chains praying for us. Stan and Konny (our Sunday School teacher) were fasting, and asked our SS class to as well. We received a phone call from someone we don't even know in Alaska letting us know that they were praying hard for us. We feel so loved, and totally surrounded by prayer. God is so good.

Oh, and the icing on the cake, as far as the "God is so good" bit: We seriously ruled out any chance of our Alaskan trip actually happening, and really, that's so secondary right now. But since we have the tickets bought and paid for, we wanted to verify with the dr. before we cancelled. He had not even the slightest hesitation in telling us we should go. And believe it or not, the other doctor in the office just moved from Anchorage, and he had the names of highly trained specialists to keep just in case. He even advised taking a car trip up to Palmer, which of course, is where my brother-in-law and family live!!!

Have any of you ever read Jan Karon's books? Father Tim, when asked about how this or that could have turned out so well, etc, simply says, "Grace." That's where I feel I am right now. Oh so grateful.

Pam Asbury

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Prayer Request

I've gotten in touch with as many of our family and friends as possible without a total breakdown, but I wanted to let my blogging buddies know that we found out bad news when we went for our ultrasound today. They are seeing serious abnormalities in the brain, spine and lower extremities. We went to my doctor then, and he was kind enough to be honest to let us know the gamut of possibilities here (I asked). These could be things that can be helped either postpartum or in utero (on the good side), but sometimes in these cases, survival is the big concern. Too be honest, I feel like I'm in shock, like I'm talking about someone else, not me. Whatever the situation, whether it is that God has chosen us for the special task of raising a special needs child or maybe something even more difficult, pray that we'll have the strength and faith to get us through this time. When we were in the doctor's office, a song kept running through my mind: "Lord, You are good and Your mercy endureth forever!"

If for some reason you're up tonight (Wednesday), pray for my parents who are traveling through the night to be with us and to help us with the girls while we go see a prenatal specialist tomorrow. And that's a definite praise, too: We were able to get in tomorrow, and according to my doctor, this specialist is one of, if not THE best in the country. I know that may be my doctor's opinion, but it certainly makes me feel a lot more at peace.

As Roger Bennett used to sign off:
In HIS grip!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Glen's Blog

Glen has started a "political ramblings" blog, and would like to invite my readers over there. He's especially interested in anyone who would like to discuss and/or debate with him in posts, so if you have interest in that or if your hubby would, have fun. He's a pretty good writer, in my humble opinion. I plan to organize a list on the side of my page of my favorite blogs, but that will have to wait til I have a little more time. Until then, here's the link:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Olivia's 2-year pics

Isn't my angel a sweetie? I thought she did fairly well, especially at the beginning of the session. I was close to (hormone-induced) tears when they told me that the package was $30 rather than $10 like I've been getting. I was planning on getting another pose on another sheet, but we've been really strict on our budget, and since we'd only budgeted $30....!!! Some of you may have to put up with wallets though instead of 3 x 5s. They've changed the package for school time to include an extra sheet of wallets and petites instead of the 3 x5s. What in the world do I do with petites for a 2 year old??? At least Carli can pass hers out to her friends, but really! Ok, I've had my mad moment. I'm done! I ended up with the top one, though some of the others were so hard to resist. The gal did a wonderful composit on a nice square sheet of all of them that was too adorable.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Oh, my word, my first craving!

For all of you that like trying new recipes, here's a fun blog for you to enjoy: This SAHM takes pictures of her meal prep, step-by-step, so you have to scroll quite a bit to see the finished product, but believe me by the time you get there, you're craving it. Or at least I am!

Scroll down on that blog to find the Apple Dumpling recipe. Totally different, and definitely on my grocery list!! That was my first craving with this pregnancy.

Time to play catch-up--Installment One

St. John's Episcopal Church
Why is it when you have a ton to blog about that you just don't? I'm going to do this in at least two installments so you don't feel overwhelmed (or maybe so I don't).

I took a ton of pictures in DC, only to discover that I have hardly with Glen in them, none with me in them. So most of these you could see by doing an internet search, but oh, well.

Highlights of our trip in bullet point style:

  • CPAC (Conservative Political Action Convention)--Fun! Sure, it was more down Glen's alley, but I really enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Here's a list of who all we saw speak: Newt Gingrich, Tony Snow, Ann Coulter (!), Kelly Ann Conway (Fox/CNN), Tom Delay, Angela McGlowan, Mike Adams, and more. We got in on Friday in time to hear Ann, and President Bush had been there that morning. The rest of them we saw on Saturday.
  • Glen surprised me by taking me to Red Hot and Blue, a Memphis-style barbeque place that we first discovered in Williamsburg. We had a coupon on the bottom of our ticket Friday night, so we went back Saturday night! Man, I could go for a pile of that potato salad right now. How 'bout you, Kayla?
  • On Sunday we attended St. John's Episcopal Church. We sat in the President's pew. Every President since Madison has attended the church at least occasionally. It was a much smaller church than I imagined, but still beautiful. I enjoy liturgy every once in a while.
  • After church, we planned to "do" Arlington, as well as walk the memorial circuit. By the time we got off the metro and headed up the hill, the wind was picking up and it was down right frigid. Glen hadn't seen the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since he was 10, so we took that in, as well as the JFK Eternal Flame. A wonderful surprise for us was the Lee House, which we'd never toured. All the furniture, etc, had been removed since they are completely redoing it (maybe that's why it was FREE!). Still our guide was terrific. On the walls we noticed several spots where the paint was stripped to the plaster and signatures revealed underneath. The Union soldiers had signed their names when quartered there. Whenever I had read of General Lee being summoned to DC to see Lincoln and asked to lead the Union troops, I had pictured his home deeper into Virginia, at least several hours' ride. It's amazing to stand on the front steps and see the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials as well as the Capitol. By the time we were done with the Lee house, the wind was so wicked that we decided to just go back to the hotel. No use being miserable just for the sake of seeing history.

Lee's House (Custis Mansion) overlooking Arlington.

Eternal Flame, Lee house in the background