Sunday, February 28, 2010

Verse Four

This time I'm continuing with the passage from Daniel.

He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
-Daniel 2:21

I am loving the study of Daniel! I'm learning so much.

Let's hear your Scriptures!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Broken Ankle: The Emotions

The emotions I've felt as I've dealt with this accident are varied, as you'd probably imagine.

As soon as I hit the pavement on Friday morning and knew my ankle was broken, my thought immediately went to my two kids and how I would take care of them. It's pretty much the only thing I said in the emergency room (other than "10, my pain is a 10!!")...I have two little boys. When Justin came in to see me, it was the first thing I asked him, "How are we going to do this?" I felt so helpless because a broken ankle isn't like a broken arm where I could still basically take care of them and chase after them, and when you live in a place where walking is a huge part of your day, this is major.

My time in the hospital was pretty dark. I told Justin when we finally got in bed at home on Sunday night that I really was struggling with depression over this situation. Since we don't have full-time household help like many families in Singapore and we don't have family nearby, the decisions we needed to make to ensure we could handle this were huge. And the help we were going to need was enormous. And I was completely overwhelmed.

No longer could I take the kids to school and walk to the bus stop and go home.

No longer could I go to the grocery store and walk around and get the things we need.

No longer could I...

You see where my mind was going, constantly. Not a healthy place.

But sometime Monday things seemed to look up a little. And each day has been a little easier. Due in large part to the way God has used our friends, who have been non-stop in their offers of help. Bringing meals, offering rides, asking to bring my kids to their houses to play, encouraging me, asking what we need and fulfilling whatever that is.

One Scripture I memorized last year keeps coming to mind:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,
and the flame will not set you ablaze." ~Isaiah 43:2

I like the New Living Translation of that one as well:

"When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you."

Because these are deep waters and rivers of difficulty. But God is with us. And we will not drown.

Thank You

They showed this video at Bible study yesterday, and I shed a few tears because I'm so overwhelmed at God's grace and love toward me. Our church family and friends here in Singapore have been taking care of us so sweetly during this difficult time; we're so very blessed. The body of Christ around the world is such an amazing thing--that we have friends in many countries praying for us and friends right here meeting our very real needs. Thank you to everyone who has brought us food, taken care of my children, called us, emailed, sent us Facebook messages, and prayed for us. You are so loved by our family and so much needed. Thank you. Thank you.

These words especially speak to me during this season of my life:

Thank You Lord just for loving me
Many times as I do forget
Every need that You have met
Oh thank You Lord, I know You're showing me
You are there when I am down and out
You're holding me, Your love is so amazing
Oh it changed me


Monday, February 15, 2010

My Broken Ankle: The Story

For those of you that want to whole story of what went down last Friday (that would be me...going down!), here it is. If you don't care for the possibly-queasy details, then come back later for my post about how I'm feeling/have felt about this whole situation.

So, on Friday morning we talked to my parents for about an hour on Skype. The boys were in rare form, definitely needing some attention from their grandparents! After we talked to them, I wasn't feeling all that well, but I knew we needed to go to the post office to retrieve a package and also to the toy store to buy a birthday present for Caleb's classmate who was having a birthday party that afternoon. I thought to myself that I'd rather stay home, but I knew we had some errands to do.

So, we walked to the bus stop. (Are you wincing? Because at this point I'm wincing writing this.)

At the bus stop, I saw bus 174 heading our way, so I quickly checked the chart to make sure it was headed to the stop we wanted. It was, so I turned around to corral the boys and get our bus cards from Caleb. I flagged down the bus, and it stopped about 6 feet out from the curb. I grabbed Levi's hand and stepped off the curb. (LOOK AWAY if you're squeamish!)

When my foot hit the ground, my ankle twisted, I heard a crunch and I fell to the ground. Then I screamed.

At this point, the bus was stopped and the door was open right in front of me. I remember screaming either at the driver or anyone in general to please call someone. He was just staring at me and I was wondering why he was just sitting there instead of getting off the bus to help me.

A guy appeared in my line of vision and asked if I was ok. I told him I thought I broke my leg, and he asked if I wanted him to call an ambulance. YES! I think it was about this time that I calmed down enough to realize both my kids were crying, so I started trying to reassure them that Mommy was fine and they could calm down. Another guy came over and they helped me get from the street to the sidewalk. I wasn't in much pain at this point, and they thought I would be more comfortable sitting on the bench at the bus stop, so they helped me up and basically carried me to the bench. (I have no idea whether these guys got off the bus to help me or they were walking by and stopped. But they were definitely sent from God to help me!)

Then I called Justin. It's pretty much the call you never want to get where your wife can hardly speak because she's in shock and crying and scared and trying to tell you what is wrong and can you please come home from work NOW. Of course he said yes. And he was very calm. He always is, which is very helpful when things are out of control. I then tried calling a few friends because I needed someone to come and get the kids because I knew they didn't need to go to the hospital with me. I got my friend, Andrea (life-saver!), on the phone and she was only a few miles away, so she hopped in a cab and came to rescue us.

While we waited, the guys who were helping us tried to ask the boys questions to keep their minds off of what was happening. Caleb was talking to them, but Levi just sat next to me sucking his thumb.

The ambulance arrived before Andrea did, along with a police escort. They immobilized my leg, put me on the stretcher and put me in the ambulance. Caleb didn't want any part of being in an ambulance, so he stayed on the bench with the men and Levi got in the ambulance with me. We waited for Andrea since I didn't know the guys well enough to leave my children alone with them, and when she arrived, she grabbed Levi out of the ambulance and took my kids to her house.

The ambulance ride was really bumpy, but it was quick, so I was thankful for that. When we got to the ER, a nurse and the EMT (not sure what they're called here) started talking. I'm not sure if they were speaking another language or just talking too fast for me to understand them, but the EMT was trying to explain to the nurse what was wrong with my leg and the nurse must have said something to the effect of, "how do you know?" The EMT then said very loudly and clearly while pointing at my leg, "I can SEE it!" It was obvious by looking at my ankle that something wasn't right.

They couldn't give me any pain meds until they did an xray to find out what was going on inside. I kept asking if Justin was there, and finally he was coming through the doors with the ER doctor. Family members are not allowed into the ER here (there's not much room for them since all the beds are only a few feet apart, anyway), but she allowed Justin to come in so she could tell us both the results of the xray at the same time.

My leg was fractured in three places and not clean breaks. It was a "twisted" fracture, so it would need to be repaired with surgery. That much we knew right from the start, so I just needed to wait until that could happen.

I remember looking up at Justin, so glad he was finally beside me and trying to hold back tears. I said, "how are we going to do this?" I was so distraught. This was literally a nightmare for me, to be immobilized with two little boys to take care of and no family around to help us. He just said, "We're going to do it. We'll do it." He was very reassuring.

They soon kicked Justin out so they could put my leg in a cast, which required quite a few people around my bed. They put it in a "back board" where just the back and sides of my leg were immobilized by the cast, and it would be easily removable once the surgery was imminent. After they put the cast on, I started having severe pain. It was no longer concentrated in my ankle, but it was hurting in my toes and up to my knee. They gave me morphine, which helped for about a minute and then I was crying and thrashing around in my bed and moaning loudly. They would come over and ask me to rate my pain, and I could barely talk, but it was EXCRUTIATING. Seriously, I'd have a c-section anyday before I'd have that pain again. The doctor gave me another dose of morphine, which also didn't help. They kept talking at the foot of my bed and touching my toes and wondering outloud why I was in so much pain. That kind of pain was not normal for a fracture, especially since it had been immobilized.

I wish I could explain the pain, but it was intense. I kept praying and trying to remember my Scriptures I memorized, but none came to my mind. The pain was so great, I just kept repeating, "You are my refuge, my strength, my strong tower." Over and over and over.

During all of this, a policeman had come in a couple of times asking me questions about the accident and for my information. The last time he came in I was in severe pain and he asked me what country I was from. I told him, and then he asked me if I had diplomatic immunity. I don't, so I told him so. He left, and then I was left wondering why in the world stepping off a curb and breaking your leg had anything to do with diplomatic immunity. I still don't know, but there apparently was some confusion as to whether I was getting off the bus and the driver was at fault. No, just me being clutzy. :-) The police called Justin and when he told them I stepped off the curb before getting on the bus, they stopped asking questions.

They finally took me back to xray and that confirmed that my ankle was not only fractured but dislocated. The dislocation was causing all of the pain. They informed me that they would sedate me (MUSIC to my ears at that point) and relocate my ankle. They called Justin in again to get my wedding ring and purse because they would not sedate me until he had those things in his possession.

Afterward, I was so relieved. The pain was manageable again! And I was able to rest a little. They moved me to a room upstairs to wait for surgery, which they said would either happen that night or the next morning.

As I was being wheeled out, I thanked the ER doctor. She was great. She was a no-nonsense doctor who really took good care of me and listened when I was in pain.

About 7pm, less than 8 hours after I arrived at the hospital, I was taken into surgery. By that time, I had probably seen 15 doctors and had to tell the story to each of them. I was glad to be getting this "over" with.

I returned to my room around 11pm, so we're not sure how long the surgery lasted or how long I was in recovery. They initially told us the surgery would take about 2 hours. They put in 7 screws and a plate on the outside of my right leg (inside my leg, though!), and they put two metal wires on the inside of my right ankle. Both of my leg bones were broken where they come into the ankle and part of my ankle joint is also fractured, although I'm not really sure how/where.

So, I stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon. About 48 hours total. The pain meds made me really nauseated (really) and I had to have help to the toilet the entire time I was in the hospital. It was not a pretty couple of days. BUT, things are much better now and so is my outlook on the whole situation. We have great friends here who are already helping us.

Since we are celebrating Chinese New Year over here, Monday and Tuesday are holidays and Justin was able to take off work easily to be home with me. He'll go back to work tomorrow, probably after dropping to boys at school, and we're just trying to figure everything out one day at a time. Everyone who offers to help us will be called on (so beware!). We are in need of help and are so thankful for everyone who has offered to cook us meals, pick the boys up from school, or get groceries and bring them to our house.

That's the story. I'll write more about the emotional side of it all tomorrow, maybe. I know God is doing something and I'm not sure what it is yet. But I can sense it. And while I would have prayed against this happening to me, I'm welcoming whatever it is He's teaching me or doing through me during this time.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Verse Three

I wrote this post the day before I broke my leg, so I'll do a post on that soon. I also have another Scripture I'll be memorizing along with this one that fits my situation right now.

Since I am doing Beth Moore's Daniel study right now and she has asked us this week to memorize the four verses in Daniel 2:20-23 over the next 8 weeks, these are the verses I am choosing, one verse every two weeks for the next 8 weeks...Providential timing, don't you think?

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his." -Daniel 2:20

I'm so excited that many of you have joined me on this Scripture memory journey. As Beth said in this week's study, "He wants few things more passionately than His Word abiding in us." Amen! It's so worth it!

It's so cool to see my friends from all over the world (literally!) memorizing Scripture together and encouraging one another. From Singapore to Alaska to Texas and down to Peru, we're doing this thing together, ladies. You are such an encouragement to me, and the accountability you're giving me is much needed.

Keep it up!

Along with the Daniel Scripture, I'll be meditating on these verses from 2 Samuel 22 during the next few weeks as well, fitting for this time of my broken ankle/leg and needing God's guidance and strength in a very real, BIG way:

29 You are my lamp, O LORD;
the LORD turns my darkness into light.

30 With your help I can advance against a troop ;
with my God I can scale a wall.

31 "As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.

32 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?

33 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.

35 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You give me your shield of victory;
you stoop down to make me great.

37 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.

Monday, February 08, 2010

School At Home

After years of talking, researching, praying, scouring the internet, getting advice from people we know, and praying some more, we've made the decision to homeschool the boys next year. We're being much more intentional about teaching/learning at home now in preparation for full-time school at home next year. Caleb is constantly asking me how to spell words and saying, "what does this say?" so we know he is ready to start learning to read. And I'm ready to teach him!

Today while Levi was napping we were spelling words on Caleb's Magna Doodle using our magnetic letters. He thought this was great fun. These words were his idea, so we even got in a science lesson. He first wanted to spell "blood," and then wanted to spell "vein" since that's where the blood is. (Is it obvious he's a boy?) Then he asked me what was inside our blood, so we then spelled "cells." Later on he spelled "off" all by himself and knew what word it was. When I asked him where he learned that he pointed to a toy guitar with an "off" switch. I'm really enjoying our "school" time together.

Levi has been doing a lot of this lately (he's not feeling well):
And this shirt could not be more true!


We checked out Olivia from the library, and I've decided my boys are just like her because "she is very good at wearing people out." :-)

I've recently started reading Third Culture Kids, a book about kids who spend at least part of their developmental years (birth-18) living in a culture other than their parents' (home) culture. It's fascinating so far, and it will be really helpful when we repatriate to the US (whenever that will be). I think it's good reading for anyone who is raising kids in another country for any length of time.

I've also been reading The Well-Trained Mind. I'm also loving that book. It's great for anyone who is teaching their kids at home, full-time or supplementing what they learn at school.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A First

Last night I dragged Justin and the boys out to get a library card. But, I had forgotten my passport. And the library doesn't take cash or credit cards, only EZ Link or NETS cash card. I didn't have enough on either of those cards to pay for the foreigner membership and fees ($53).

So, today I decided to do that while the boys were at playschool (we call it school, but really they just do arts and crafts and dress up like fire fighters and play with other kids).

I needed to top-up my EZ Link card in order to have enough money on it to pay for the membership, so once I got off the bus at the library I looked around for a 7-Eleven. Because where else would you think such services are offered?

The first stop left me still needing a top-up machine, so I started walking to the nearest MRT station (a 5 min. walk, a local assured me). I was almost there when I spotted another 7-Eleven that had top-up services. Sweet! I wouldn't even have to climb the steps of the station in the blazing heat.

"I need to top-up my EZ Link card," I told the attendant.

"How much?" she asked.

"$60."

"6-0???"

"Yes."

And she looks at me like I've just grown another head. (For those not in Singapore, EZ Link cards are our public transportation cards, what we use to pay for bus and MRT fares).

"Most people just ask for $20 or $30 top-ups," she told me.

"Well, I need to get a library card that costs $53 and the library doesn't take cash."

"I think you are the first person to ever ask for a $60 top-up."

I'm blazing trails here, people.

*~*

And on a completely unrelated note, when I got the boys from school, Levi had something stuck all over the top of his shirt.

Me: "Levi, what's all over your shirt?"

Levi: "I pick my nose."

Nice.


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