Monday, September 29, 2008

His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite

These are before and after pictures of Anna Grace's spider bitten leg- one week apart.

Last week upon this awful discovery, I took AG to the doctor and called my friend Lydia during the wait. She put Benjamin on the phone and then Anna Grace's four-year-old buddy proceeded to pray for her leg via speaker phone. A few days later when I called to let Lydia know that the leg was completely healed, Benjamin totally thought that was great, but he wanted to see it. So here it is, little friend! Isn't God good?

During all the spider bite drama, I got to thinking about all the things that have happened to my little girl in her short little life. She's been hospitalized as an infant with an IV in her head, hospitalized again for a skull fracture and corneal abrasion, had two surgical procedures for a tonsillectomy & adenoidectomy and a trigger thumb, she's been in a fender bender car accident, she has a dead front tooth, she's had walking pneumonia, the flu, and sleeping problems that bordered on mind boggling. How is all of that possible in under four years?

When it all adds up, it's quite a testimony of the hand of God upon this little one.

Even Anna Grace's very existence is a testimony in itself. Even though Jack was in graduate school and we didn't have a lot of money and we were far from home and it didn't all add up, God spoke to our hearts and let us know that He was calling us to have a baby. She is His and He loves her and He protects her. Aren't His loving and strong arms good?

His hands are the hands that protect and uphold us, the hands that heal us and hold us. His arms wrap around us and comfort us, they defend us and shield us when we call upon Him.

And this is Anna Grace's testimony. He has been there, He has healed her, He has protected her.

This knowledge is such peace and so powerful because one of the hardest things a mom has to learn is that her children are not her own. Ultimately, her children belong to God.

I'll never forget the turmoil of going back to work after having Anna Grace and having to find a place for her to go while I went off to work, leaving her with virtual strangers to care for her every need. You cry and then you just try to get through the day, because there is just nothing you can do. She's not in your hands. I learned during that time that I had to give her up. If I was going to make it through this thing called parenting, I had to know that she was the Lord's and He was going to protect her and take care of her even when I couldn't. It is a really hard lesson, but I think that it's one you learn sooner or later. Maybe my lesson came a little early... I think I may have preferred to learn it when she went off to college or got married, but I think it may serve me well. She is His and she is in capable hands. I can't be there every minute of every day for her whole life, but Someone will be and He is strong and He is good.

I thank Him for what He has done and for the healing He has imparted for Anna Grace and for Samuel Harrigan, and for health despite dramatic births for Benjamin Harrigan, and Haley and Gracie Greer- and even little Zeke.

I thank Him for His strong, loving, capable, beautiful arms.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart..." Isaiah 40:11

"And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:16

"His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite..." Song of Songs 5:14a


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our waterlogged adventure

We had a blast with my sister and family in New Orleans while Jack braved the crowds at Tiger Stadium this weekend. We had fun at the Aunt KK's house, then moved on to the aquarium, and ended up at the Alligator festival in Luling where I enjoyed a Louisiana crabcake over dirty rice topped with a tomato wine sauce. Yum. Click here to check out my awesome dance moves.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A harvest of blessing

Anna Grace's bite is just barely visible. We've experienced quite a miraculous recovery, but that's a blog post to come...

Yesterday AG decided that her grandma BB needed to pick her up from school at lunch, so that's what our sweet BB did. And they had quite the afternoon. They went to lunch at Julie Anne's Bakery, then to the cotton fields where there was quite the photo op, then to her house for a while (where Anna Grace declared that she didn't have time to take a snooze), somewhere along the way they picked spider lillies, then were off to a Byrd High school pep rally.

I have a few posts on things to do with kids in Shreveport, but my great ideas for activities are sometimes few and far between. Thank goodness for grandmas and their wisdom and insight- and the blessing it brings to their grandchildren as well as their grown up kids.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spider bites and sound bites

Anna Grace is doing fine despite her infirmities. The bite's area has grown, but it's still nice and red and we seem to have past the window of time that the pediatrician told us that necrosis usually sets in. (Praise God!) As you can see, she is quite herself again and it doesn't seem to bother her too much. Thanks for all the well wishes!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another medical oddity

I felt TERRIBLE when we got up this morning and I found this on my little one's leg.

Yesterday we had a playdate with our sweet friend Mary Todd which was really fun (they live in Memphis and we don't get to see them often). But AG kept whining and complaining almost the whole time and I was just really annoyed at my child's seemingly dramatic and uncalled-for behavior. Then came bedtime with more complaining, and waking up in the middle of the night with screams of itches and pain, but we just sent her back to bed with a harsh tone.

And then we woke up and found this. Like I said, I felt TERRIBLE. What kind of mom am I that I can't even stop to check things out? Ugh....

So we went to the doctor and confirmed spider bite status. At this point, we're just taking Benadryl and praying that whatever venomous nastiness got in there doesn't kill the tissue underneath. We've already been prayed over by mommy and daddy and then our friend, Benjamin (thanks, sweet one), and I'm sure we'll be okay.

For now, we're just laying low and keeping an eye on it. And I've TOTALLY learned my lesson. Always check things out thoroughly before telling your little one to brush it off and move along. Yikes. It might have hurt my heart as much as it hurt her leg.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Cure

I got to catch up with my friend, Kathy Lewis (aka "regular Kathy"), not too long ago. We haven't really gotten to visit since she moved to Cincinnati, so it was really fun to get to get up to speed on what's going on in each other's lives.
Kathy is just one of those people who exudes love and kindness and meekness and faith, so she always has an edifying word or two for me, but she also came with quite a story this time.

Turns out that a routine mammogram had recently unveiled a clear and unmistakable area of concern. The radiologist needed her films from Shreveport for comparison, so during that time of waiting for the proper documents to be transferred, she began fasting and praying for healing. And during that time, she and her husband were trying to find the right church and they happened to find themselves, during that waiting time, in a service with a team who had come to pray for the healing needs of the congregation. So more prayer and more fasting and more waiting. And then a repeat mammogram. And the spot had disappeared. I loved the way she told the story when the radiologist had the first, second and third films to compare and found a miraculous "no spot"- "spot"- "no spot" pattern. Kathy: "The radiologist told me that he believed in miracles- and I told him well, he should." This was one of those miracles. And praise God for that.

So as I was waiting for the Race for the Cure to start yesterday, my heart thanked God for the healing imparted to Kathy. I thanked Him for the way He has used doctors and medicine to treat people like Denise Chesson, Jenny Flournoy, and my friend Lydia's grandmother. And I prayed for more healing for my friend Lisa's aunt who is fighting that fight and for all of the other women who are struggling that same struggle.

The educational mantra for the Komen Foundation is "I am the cure." It's an attempt to raise awareness for early detection for breast cancer- and we do need education and awareness for such things. Early detection and research and clinical trials are all important components for battling this awful disease. But as I was running and seeing this ubiquitous mantra over and over again, I thought it would be much more powerful and true if they just put a colon smack dab in the middle:


( Exodus 3:13-14)

May the Cure rest upon all those with cancer. May He bring His healing and His power to our feeble attempts to fight this battle. Without Him, I'm afraid there's just not much hope. And I'm so thankful that with Him, we have all the hope we could possibly need.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You win some, you lose some

What a day.

It started at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and ended at our friend's house with an Auburn loss/LSU victory. You win some, you lose some.

And that's what we're trying to teach our children. Barbara has graciously and lovingly made Anna Grace and Zeke two sets of gear- an Auburn dress and an LSU dress, a pair of Auburn pants, and a pair of LSU pants. So today, Anna Grace sported the orange and blue while Zeke strutted his purple and gold (plus a tiny vintage LSU jersey a la Jack Chaney circa 1979). We have lots of fun cheering on both sets of tigers (oh, and those tarheels, too), but it's really been a wonderful thing to cheer on one team without speaking down to the other. It's really become and important distinction to me- eliminating "trash talk" and injecting love into the sports equation. I hope that Anna Grace and Zeke really pick up on the right attitude about competitive sports in general- something that was elusive to me for far to long into my adulthood.

So at the Wiggins house tonight, I was kind of bummed after Auburn let victory slip away, but when I got home, I found out that my 26 minute, 30 sec finish at the race that morning landed me in 6th place in my age group (ages 22-30, mind you- and I'll be 31 in a matter of days).

My race time was definitely a personal best and a personal victory.

I got to spend some great time laughing and catching up with my dear friends.

I know and love many LSU fans who are beaming, so there's victory there, too, even if it's not mine directly.

So I guess you do win some, and you do lose some, but in the end, perspective trumps pride.

My little walking safety hazard

The 18-month-old stage is so cute and so crazy. Especially if you're a boy.

If there's something dangerous to be done, Zeke wants to do it. Whether it's running with wild abandon down the steep hill in front of our house or putting the hairdryer in the toilet, if it's dangerous, it's great fun.

So cute and so wild. I guess it comes with little boy territory.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Auburn + LSU = Christmas?

Just so you know...

When you have Froot Loops and you separate the Auburn Froot Loops (orange and blue) from the LSU Froot Loops (purple and yellow), you end up with Christmas Froot Loops (red and green). This is something that Anna Grace noticed. I'm sure it has some profound meaning for our family with our divided allegiances on this LSU v. Auburn football weekend. But I'm still pondering that one...

And our latest Junior update: Junior is flying, then riding on a train from Africa to Russia today where she will be going to the prayer room to pray for her friend, Jeffrey, who, despite the masculine sounding name, is also a girl. Sadly, Jeffrey is dying, but not to worry... she will be with us again when Jesus comes back!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cold ice cream sandwich serenade

After both children ate vegetables to my satisfaction, we celebrated with gigantic ice cream sandwiches, courtesy Nana's freezer post-Hurricane Ike power outage. Zeke kept remarking over and over that it was COLD while Anna Grace decided to share the song she learned at school. We were again in true form tonight. This one's for you, Memaw...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

His eyes are like doves

For the past several weeks, I've been treating a terminally ill patient. Physical therapy is not usually part of a palliative care plan, but the family is holding out hope that the odds will be beaten and this patient will get back home. So each day I work, I again meet up with my friend.

The thing is, this friend has a condition which limits his communication. He can't find and form the right combination of words, so throughout our sessions he garbles a undecipherable word salad. But the striking thing- and it is most striking- is that I can almost understand the thoughts and emotions of his heart through his eyes.

This patient- stripped of his higher cognitive processes- has eyes that reveal his heart. I don't know if you know what I'm talking about, but certain people have eyes that emulate kindness and peace. This patient could say "Buddy, its true, particle, certain, blue blah," and I know that actually, he's saying, "I have peace, and despite the circumstances, I'm thankful, and I appreciate your help." I don't think I'll ever forget his eyes.

I've been thinking about the eyes of the Lord and how the description in Song of Songs is that "his eyes are like doves, by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels." I know that His eyes must be beautiful and I want to know that beauty (it's kind of becoming my blog within a blog), even if it's in a really rudimentary or starting-out kind of way. I've got to see these eyes. I've been praying for revelation on the eyes of the Lord- what it means that they're like doves, by streams of water, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. And then I got this patient with these eyes. These kind eyes.

So maybe I've gotten a small glimpse of the kind of eyes that He has. In Matthew 6:22, Jesus says, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light." In the very act of gazing at Jesus in the place of prayer and seeking Him, He puts light in my whole body. In looking for His eyes with mine, He fills me with light. And how great is His light!

His eyes, like a dove, are loving. By the water streams, they are peaceful. Washed in milk, they are pure. Mounted as jewels, they are beautiful. I'm sure they are a thousand other things, but I'm so thankful for the glimpse- a part and a start of what they are and what that reveals about Him.

It remains all mysteriously wonderful to think about. I pray for greater revelation of the eyes of the Lord and I pray for eyes like His- generous, peace-filled, pure, loving eyes that communicate without words.

"His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels..." Song of Songs 5:12

My [musical] family tree

My cousin posted this on our Facebook group page thing today and it was a blast from what seems like a distant past. I'm pregnant, Anna Grace is small, and my family is in true form. Circa November 2006.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Get the masking tape, honey... there's a hurricane coming

I couldn't resist posting these before (left) and after (right) pics. My sister posted the before, but not the after and the after just really tops the whole thing off.

Our friend Sarah (Werntz) Crum lives in Houston and snapped some pictures of the happenings around her apartment complex before and after Hurricane Ike. Someone used masking tape to secure their potted plant on the railing. They didn't take it inside- maybe they didn't think of that? And masking tape?

Thanks, Sarah. Way funny. I just had to share.

PS- Sarah and my sister weathered the storm fine. My New Orleans sis has some high waters, though... let's hope the enormous alligator doesn't crawl up the lawn. Shreveport had lots of wind and rain and power outages, but we were spared the inconvenience- my mom and in-laws were not so lucky. But we did have lots of fun and relaxing family time and spent most of the day at BB and Pop-Pops- until the lights flickered out. Everyone I know has power again, though, except for maybe Nora... Got lights, friend??? And I'm still following the recovery of my nephew's BFF who rode out the hurricane at Texas Children's Hospital- get well soon Isabela!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Angel ballet circus

Anna Grace and her friend Madeline had much fun playing together yesterday. We mostly played dress up and by we, I mean we. They had me in all kinds of crazy get-ups. We went over to my mom's house to let Zeke sleep and dug to the bottom of her dress up trunk, with Madeline ending up as a "beautiful bride with angel wings" and Anna Grace as "purple ballerina" and Mommy as "clown at the circus." Fun times with sweet girls.

Friday, September 12, 2008

On thankfulness

The kids and I have had weekly adventures lately walking home from Anna Grace's school. It's been really fun. You just can't experience the lantana and the crepe myrtles in the car like you can on a walk. On the first day of this little experiment, Anna Grace had serendipitously made some painted yellow toilet paper roll binoculars at school that were to be taken home. We saw all kinds of birds and squirrels and bugs on the walk home and we all had a great time. Of course, the half mile walk takes significantly more time going rather than coming due to those little feet scurrying to keep up on the way home, but still- it's been fun for all three of us.

Our old, smallish house without a garage definitely has its drawbacks, but being half of a mile away from school, a mile from my mom's house, our church, and Jack's work, and about 3 or so miles to my work, it certainly has its advantages, too. Not spending all my time in the car is really nice. I'll just try and remind myself of that the next time I complain about our cute little house on the hill.

The picture is of St. Mark's Cathedral- the beauty of which is also greater appreciated on foot than by car.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jennifer Dent Hill

Happy birthday, big sister!

I was thinking about Jennifer today and hoping that Hurricane Ike and our failed reunion plans aren't getting her down today and my thoughts just kind of lingered on all things Jennifer.

It's funny and kind of mysterious how much we form and shape one another's hearts and personalities as sisters. Now that we're all grown up and far apart, I only now am beginning to fully appreciate the role and responsibilities of the big sister's heart. Now that I have a firstborn daughter of my own, I see the qualities that really make this role unique and beautiful and good. And I got to thinking about it... almost all my good friends are first born girls (with only a few exceptions). The way my big sister loved me and led me and the way all of that shaped me must have drawn me to people like Lydia and JennO and Lauren and Nora and Rendi...

So I hope your day is good, sister. I celebrate the beautiful and talented creation of God that you are. I love you dearly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday night

So the next movie in our Netflix queue came in and I totally meant to multitask and fold lots and lots of laundry while enjoying some mindless entertainment, but I have to admit... after the kids were in bed, I just laid on the couch in my sweatshirt and fleece socks (house is cold) and laughed and laughed at Baby Momma. Very funny.

I feel pretty unproductive, but maybe it's good to be unproductive every now and then with a little mindless humor. And when I think about it, I really accomplished a lot today- from a doctor's appointment, to a lunch meeting, to helping six people get stronger, to getting a toddler dressed and ready for ballet, to getting two kids bathed and in bed... quite a lot. Maybe I need to institute Tuesday night as laying on the couch night. But the laundry continues to pile up and the house is a mess and it's 10:30 and here I am at the computer procrastinating. Ugh...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

War Eagle and Geaux Tigers

It's really quite strange, but we have four people who went to Auburn in my Sunday school class at church. We had a half Auburn, half LSU crowd over to our house on Saturday. Good company for this split allegiance household. Good fun and good friends. We'll see how things go long about the end of September...

(Oh, and I guess we were about a tenth UT fans. Hook em horns, too!)

Altogether lovely

How do you raise your daughter to know what true beauty is, to be confident in her own beauty, and to identify and reject the world's distorted messages- sometimes subtle and sometimes overt- of what beauty truly is?

I've been thinking about this for almost four years now. I'd love some godly wisdom on this one.

We're gearing up for a Fancy Nancy birthday party next month. Fancy Nancy is fascinated with all things posh (which is so fun for little girls), yet the overarching themes of this series of books deal with life lessons and love, with love trumping fanciness every time. There are lots of accessories and excitement with all things frou frou coupled with a fabulous introduction to fancy words like "excursion" and "xenophile," building our vocabulary with every turn of the page. I'm a big Fancy Nancy fan. Love her.

When you have a little girl, you are inevitably faced with decisions on how to guide your daughter's heart, while confirming and celebrating her beauty. It is a primary desire of the female heart. And there's certainly nothing inherently wrong about that- it's the seeking wrong things to fulfill that desire that reeks havoc, inviting jealousy, envy, hate, and insecurity to infect the soul. There are subtle but important differences between Barbie and Cinderella or Fancy Nancy. Barbie is purely ridiculous aesthetics while Cinderella and Fancy Nancy show heart level intangible beauty that goes much deeper and really gets to the heart of the matter.

And that's the thing. My prayer is that Anna Grace would grow to be a woman who is confident of her beauty to the point that she needs no outside validation and feels no need to compare herself to those around her or the messed up worldly idea of beauty. I long for her to know that she is beautiful because she is fearfully and wonderfully made by a beautiful God who has imparted His beauty to her. She must know the beauty of Jesus. This beautiful King has adopted her as His beautiful princess. She is a daughter of the King, but beauty is ultimately and most completely expressed in love- this King serves and His princess must follow suit. She is not made to be served, but to serve. Her beauty is not only outward and shallow, but deep in her heart expressed as love in service and kindness and gentleness and peace.

I'm sure it's a heart level issue I'll continue to ponder over the next couple of decades, but for now, we'll continue to play up Fancy Nancy and Cinderella's hearts while we steer clear of Olsen twin and Britney Spears inspired ideas about all things beautiful. And I'll keep looking at the altogether lovely One. As I grow in the knowledge of His beauty, I'm sure I'll be better equipped to proclaim with greater wisdom and insight the true beauty that must be owned and known by those who are His.

"... he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem." Song of Songs 5:16

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our little rocker

It is so crazy and so fun having little ones. These are the days that I'll look back on and wistfully smile as I rock in my rocking chair- old and gray. These are busy days, but these are the days of babies dancing and toddlers singing- smelly diapers and sloppy kisses, maddening time-outs and exciting discoveries. These are good days.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Frightened lips

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Despite being at the hospital for over eight hours for a very short procedure, surgery went very well and I think Anna Grace would do it all over again considering all the presents, attention, book reading, and TV watching she was allowed.

At one point, a shivering Anna Grace told Nana and me that her lips were scared, but not to worry... that was the only part that was scared.

She had a bit of a fright coming out of anesthesia, but overall it was a great success. Trigger thumb begone.

Praise God.

I'm off to bed...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trigger thumb no more

Our outpatient day surgery is tomorrow at 5:30 in the am.

Prayers are much appreciated...

Monday, September 1, 2008

On faithfulness and pie

The checkout clerk at Brookshire's yesterday was stunned. Anna Grace and I had withstood a very long wait in the grocery checkout line amidst all the frantic hurricane preparations going on around us for one item- a frozen pie crust.

Yesterday morning, for whatever reason, Anna Grace wanted pie. So instead of eating pie for breakfast, I promised her that later that day we would make a pie. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Baking together is always fun and we were having a Labor Day cookout the next day, so it made sense to make pie. But when I saw the craziness that was the grocery store yesterday, I rethought it. I briefly thought about making a crust from scratch, but quickly rethought that as well. I'm no Betty Crocker.

But as we navigated the isles packed with grocery carts full of bottled water and toilet paper, I knew that I had to follow through. What she knows about faithfulness, she will learn from her daddy and me. It's important for her to learn from her parents about following through on your promises because it's much easier to comprehend the faithfulness of God when you've experienced the fruits of faithfulness. It's easier to express faithfulness in your own life when you've benefited from it directly and in tangible ways.

And our God is a faithful God.

Since we're all hurricane all the time here for the past few days, I felt it was an important word for Louisianians weathering the storm. The Lord doesn't promise us a trouble free life, but He does promise us that he will be with us and that he will give us His peace in the midst of the storm if we turn to Him. (see John 16:33, Matthew 28:20)

So we made our banana cream pie and had a great time. I'm sure Anna Grace had no clue about the intentions of my heart through the pie crust buying experience, but it was a good reminder for me about the beautiful God who loves me and is always faithful to His promise.

The up side of the storm

If Gustav has any blessings in its wake, togetherness may top the list. William and Zeke certainly have had their wonderful share of fun together. It turns out that it is hilariously funny to watch your cousin slide over and over again as you sweat and play and run around in the yard. We had a Labor Day cookout at BB and Pop Pop's house that was lots of fun for the whole family. Especially considering that we may be spending the next several days inside. As I sit here snug in bed, the torrential rains have begun...