Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An "I" Examination

Not long ago my ophthalmologist examined my eyes and sent me home with a prescription for glasses. Now it seems that I may need an "I" examination, also.

Yesterday, the Movement Disorder Specialist that I go to in Birmingham told me he was going to recommend me for Deep Brain Stimulation surgery for my dystonia. This totally took me by surprise, although I knew it could be an option "down the road". I am the type of person who likes to have my days and weeks nicely planned and this was NOT in my schedule (it requires a long evaluation period plus lots of medical tests prior to surgery and much afer surgery care). I also like to do my own medical research and this was not one of the options I had researched and thought he might mention. Hmmm, maybe that is why he gets the big bucks rather than me?

What were my thoughts on the way home? Mostly along the lines of, "I don't want this surgery, I don't want to have to make these trips time after time after time, I am scared to have someone drill into my head, I don't want to have my head shaved, etc." Of course there were also thoughts like, "What if they don't consider me a good candidate for this surgery, what if insurance won't cover the costs, what if the surgery does not relieve the symptoms..." Are you getting the picture here? Way too many "I's" and "what if's", right? According to my wonderfully wise mother in law, I now need an "I" examination.

The doc pretty much blindsided me with his declaration, but he was not responsible for my reaction. I was. It was not a God honoring one, either. This is one reason that I went immediately to those folks who I know would be willing to pray for me, to ask them to pray for strength and wisdom. Of course I also prayed to my Lord and Savior, as I needed much of His wonderful grace at that time. I talked to my husband, who is always willing to help me see things from a biblical perspective, and then I had a good night's sleep.

God's mercies are indeed new every morning. So, did I wake up today ready and raring to go with the evaluation process?!! Uhhh, I am afraid not. This will certainly be a journey and I pray that God will teach me along the way, allowing me to grow closer to Him with each step.

So, as I begin this new journey, I pray that God will show me how He can be glorified through me or those around me. I have to admit that at first I drew a total blank on this topic. Then, as sleep began to heal my tired body and mind, I was able to part the clouds of doubt and frustration and begin to see some ways. Here are a few that have come to mind today. First of all, I need to share my journey with others, including the joys, trials, and lessons I learn along the way. If I allow others to see my weaknesses, then God can show them His strength. (II Corin. 12:9-10)

Secondly, if I do need to shave my head I will recognize that it is the inner person which God looks at and not outward adornment (I Peter 3:3). I have decided to not cut my hair until the surgery (if indeed it is done) and then allow the kids to help me shave my hair and send it to Locks of Love. This will not be easy, but by the grace of God I could do it.

Thirdly, I will be open to God's will. That is easy to say, but can be so very hard to put into practice. What if this treatment is not chosen or does not work and then I am left with the problems I have now, perhaps multiplied many times? Oops, that was a "what if", wasn't it? God doesn't need to hear those, as He has a plan. It is a matter of me submitting to His will, whether it is pleasant and fun or not. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Lastly, I can assure you that I will falter, probably on a daily basis. I will confess those faults and go on, not allowing them to deter me from following Christ. I will remove the "I's" from my vocabulary by having "I" surgery along with brain surgery. Even if the brain surgery does not happen, the "I" surgery is still essential to my health and spiritual well being. By the grace of God...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Birthday Photos

Ahhhh, success! I started off with my photo at the top and actually figured out how to change that. Aren't you impressed? Well, you should be, if you aren't. I am not the computer geek in the family - it is definitely my hubby.

These are the three that celebrated birthdays yesterday (Irina - 17, Zhenya, 18 and Shawn, 11). And the photo of me shows what happens when you celebrate three birthdays in one day! By the way, Bunny Tracks ice cream is really yummy. You gotta' try it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January Birthdays

I said that I would post some things the kids had written around Christmas, but I never got around to it. I do still have those items, though, and maybe one of these days will find the time to post them.

However, time goes on and now we are close to our January birthdays. Three of our kids have birthdays this month and that is an interesting story in and of itself. Shawn was born on January 27, so we were delighted when we began the process of adopting Irina and discovered that her birthday was two days before his, on January 25! However, we were quite amazed a couple of years later when we started the adoption of Jennifer, Sergei, and Zhenya and we realized that Zhenya's birthday was right in the middle of theirs, on January 26th! Somehow it made me feel like God was smiling at us, helping us realize that He had our family planned long before we did.

This year, Shawn will be 11, Irina will be 17 and Zhenya will be 18. How time flies! I would like to share something that Zhenya wrote about his 18th birthday:

January 26th is going to be my birthday, and I'm going to be eighteen years old, which is cool and all that, you know.

In most states, I think eighteen is when people are adults, but in Alabama it's nineteen so I kind of want to turn eighteen and kind of don't.

The reason I don't want to turn eighteen is that I kind of don't want to grow up. You know, part of me still wishes that I could be a kid and go play with those Lego action figures and toy things that little kids do.

But on the other hand, I kind of want to turn eighteen because I'm going from a teenager to being more like an adult.

I'm thankful to God for letting me live this long, because we don't know how long we have to be on this earth. (Editor's note: If you knew some of the things they did in Russia, you would realize the humor in this comment.)

Five years ago, I didn't know that I was going to turn eighteen in the United States with all the things that I have and with the family that loves me and takes care of me.


As a mother, I very much enjoy reading the writing that our kids do for their schoolwork, especially when they share things like this from their hearts. Zhenya's honesty regarding his hesitations about becoming an adult were particularly refreshing to read. During their adoption, Zhenya had serious concerns about living in the US and had to be talked into allowing the adoption process to continue. We are so very glad that God worked in his heart so that he would agree to being a part of our family!