Friday, December 28, 2007

Rockin Into 2008

Here is a picture of James on his new Rocking Moose.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VIII

Well, this is the last of an eight part series on the topic of "worldview." In this post I will be answering the question, "What is life for" from the perspective of an average American. As you read this, do your best to remember what life was like before you came to know Christ--feel the despair--feel the longing. May your heart be wrenched to pray for those you know who live in such a morass of despair. Do not ever minimize the despair of living without Christ. May your compassion for needy sinners, and your passion for Christ drive you to proclaim the Good News.

"Some, in theory, believe that there is no purpose for life—these folks are the minority in America (contrary to popular Christian opinion). Most Americans, however, agree that there probably is a greater purpose for life, but have not yet figured out what it is. These people usually die frustrated, trying to figure out the true purpose of their existence. They live as if the purpose of their life is to produce temporal happiness. But, they know that there must be something more. There is a God-shaped hole in their heart and they have had (on average) 70 years of everyday life to figure out that temporal happiness is not filling it. Most people are frustrated and confused because they know there must be more. The only way they know how to deal with the confusion is to kill it with the pursuit of happiness. But, deep inside they know they are missing something."
I wrote this about 2 months ago. This past Sunday, I watched 60 Minutes for the first time since... I don't know... uhhh... 1992, or something like that. On this segment, Steve Kroft interviewed Tom Brady. Brady exhibited this exact same struggle and despair. This morning as I sat down to do this last post on the topic of worldview, I realized exactly how correct my assessment of the American mindset was/is.

Brady said,
“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it's got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn't, this can't be what it's all cracked up to be.”
Kroft pressed Brady to see if he knew what was missing.

Brady responded by saying, "I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find."

What despair! What more could Brady gain? And yet, he is empty. Right now I sit in my kitchen as a poor seminary student rearing a medically challenged child. I have no job security, no money, an old car, and a big sliver in my thumb (I got it while loading wood this morning). And yet, I am completely fulfilled. I couldn't ask for more, nor do I necessarily want more. I have Christ, therefore I am happy.

Dr. Tom Ascol has written an excellent post on how, if he were the correspondent interviewing Brady, he would have responded to him. You can check it out by clicking here. I highly recommend reading Dr. Ascol's response. I could not have answered better (surprise, surprise).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stellar Ornaments!!

Here is a picture of James in front of our HUGE Christmas tree. Last year (Our first Christmas as a married family), Kristal and I started an ornament exchange tradition. It has been a lot of cheap fun. I have posted pictures of all of the ornaments that are presently on our Christmas tree. The tree is sorta bare right now, and will be until we are married long enough to collect adequate ornaments.
I hope you like the ornaments. I am sure that you will not want Kristal or I to pick ornaments for your tree after you see them all--we value humor over asthetic appeal!

WOW! Kristal got this fine specimen for me this year. It takes up about 3/4 of our tree. My wife knows a good ornament when she sees one.

I stumbled upon this beaut in the crafts department in Wal-Mart. It was not made to be an ornament, if you can't tell. Do you like the ornament string--it is gaudily twisted scotch tape. I am confident that Hallmark will soon be calling asking me for future ornament creation advice.

I gave this one to Kristal last year. Actually, I got it for her because I thought it was cool. Every single one of his limbs have been broken at one time or another. Super glue has saved this prince's life.

Kristal got this for me last year--It definitely enhanced the romantic essence of the Christmas season.

This is James' first Christmas ornament from Kristal and I. This also was not created to be an ornament--it is a simple Christmas rubber duckie. I have an eye for ornament potential. I thought Kristal was going to hate it when I brought it home. She didn't! Rather than hating it, she simply poked some holes in it's head and ran a ribbon through to hold it on the tree. This ornament is evidence that we could conquer the world together if we really wanted to.

John and Kelly (the in-laws) gave this to us as a family ornament. Moose are our favorite animal.

Mommy Kristal got this ornament for James. I could never in a billion years buy something this cute. If I got him an ornament, it probably would have been a miniature basketball, hatchet, Greek New Testament ,or soemthing along these lines. Oh well.

And there you have it! Our 2007 Christmas ornament collection. Next year I will add our new ones.

Friday, December 21, 2007

High on Isaiah

Right now I am in the middle of Christmas break. The Lord has graciously given me one full month of break from schooling. I am trying to graduate by this fall and so am packing my school schedule as tight as possible to make it happen. Guess what this means! I get to study over Christmas break! For some crazy reason, this makes me happy (I need a shot of... um... something, anything).

This coming semester I am taking a class on the book of Isaiah. I have been pumped about taking it from the first time I first saw it on the list of course offerings. I started reading "The NIV Application Commentary" on the book of Isaiah by John N. Oswalt for my Isaiah class yesterday. I am officially "high" on Isaiah.

Right now I am only half way through the 60 page Introduction to the book. The introduction is devoted to shelling out the background information of the book--the historical setting, author, recipients, date--things like this.

The only thing that brings life to my soul more than reading the Scriptures themselves is reading biblical background. Most people find it boring, dull, lifeless. For some strange reason, I would much rather read the background information to the different books of the Bible than I would read any book written by Piper or Sproul (Notice that I didn't say Carson. This is because Carson has written books on biblical background). This is not to say that I don't like Piper or Sproul, but that I find studying the Scriptures and their background more life-giving than studying contemporary men on theological and practical subjects. This doesn't mean I am more spiritual than you if you prefer Piper and Sproul over biblical background. Nor does this mean that you are more spiritual than I.

I generally love commentaries until I get to the actual verse by verse commentary. After I leave the background information and delve into the verse by verse stuff, things usually get overly systematic and wooden (for me).

Anyway, I highly recommend John Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah. He has the ability to tell history like a story. He has the ability to pull the reader in.

I also highly recommend anyone and everyone reading this to begin a life of study in biblical background. It sounds intimidating and hard, but once you get hooked on background the Bible comes to life. Background makes reading the Bible more like watching a movie or reading a picture book than reading philosophy or doing math. It helps put flesh on theology.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Wonder Land

This is a picture of our back yard taken this morning. We will definitely be having a white Christmas this year.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VII

I am persistent and will finish my eight part discussion on Christian vs. American worldview. In this post I will be answering the question "What is life for?" from a Christian perspective. Remember that this is a brief answer.

"We know for sure that the purpose of life has nothing to do with our present material existence. Material existence, as we know it, will not last forever (Matt 5:18; Hebrews 1:11-12; Revelation 21:1). Ultimately this life must exist for the purpose that its Creator intended. God the Creator will destroy the heavens and the earth when they have fulfilled their purpose. God is the mind behind what is formally called “life.” God fills us in on His purpose in Ephesians 3:10-11, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ultimately the purpose of all life is to glorify God—to show off his infinite attributes. This is why He created the world, and this is why there will come a time when He will destroy it (it will have served its purpose)."

The Grind

I just wanted to give everyone who reads this blog a heads up. My brother Luke, his best friend Dallas, and I are starting a new blog called the "The Grind". I invite you all to come and take part in the discussion. The url for the site is

Luke and Dallas are both cool guys. I trust that you will enjoy the conversation.

This does not mean that I will be stopping my Context is King blog. I will be writing on both blogs.

Hola! Me llamo Earl

We have a unanimous decision! From now on the moose shall be called Earl!

James Home From the Hospital Part II

I just wanted to let everyone know that Kristal and I decided to keep James off the monitor last night. We plugged him in before going to bed and he tripped the alarm almost immediately after doing so--we knew that we would get no sleep if we kept him on it. We were a bit nervous about keeping him off it, but before going to bed we prayed that the Lord would protect him as He has since the day he was born. Anyway, the Lord was good to us to keep James safe last night. James did wake up in the middle of the night because of pain from his g-tube surgery. We gave him some Tylenol, fed him, and sent him back to bed.

We took his Holter monitor off about 2 hours ago and I just went to the post office to send it back to the hospital. Pray that this helps the doctors better diagnose him.

It was such a blessing this morning to be able to get food in him even when he didn't want to eat. We are so thankful for the g-tube. Please please please continue to pray that he continues to want to eat through his mouth. We love that we have the g-tube as a cushion to feed him when he won't eat, but ultimately we want James to eat enough orally to sustain himself.

That's all I have for an update.

Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

James Home From the Hospital

Sorry I haven't updated for so long--I have been sorta busy--sorta. Well, James was discharged from the Hospital today at 5:30 pm. It is so nice to be home. Thank you all so much for praying. I will give a brief rundown of what happened and what the doctors are telling us.

1. In regard to the g-tube: James got had his g-tube surgery on Monday and everything went really well. He experienced a lot of pain on Monday, but now is doing much much better. It has been so nice to use the g-tube. He is full now all the time and seems to be so much happier. Continue to pray that James continues to eat orally. He ate a large amount through his mouth on Sunday, but has not eaten much orally since. Pray also that he does not get an infection from the g-tube. Over all, we are super thankful that we decided to put the g-tube in.

2. In regard to seizures: They did an hour long EEG to see if James was having seizures. The good news is that the EEG suggested that James is not having any seizures. However, the EEG only tested James' brain activity for the span of an hour. We are going to talk to our neurologist, who is now on vacation, about having a 24 hour long EEG just to make sure that he is having no seizure activity. We have an appointment scheduled with our neurologist on January 15. We are also going to discuss the possibility of taking him off his valium again in order to better detect seizure activity while hooked up to the EEG. We are not yet sure if our neurologist likes this idea or not. They are not sure if James' low heart rate was seizure activity or not at this point. It is still a possibility to them, but they seem to think of it as a super small possibility. They are still concerned the starring spells he has been having while awake--we will be talking to our neurologist about this as well.

3. In regard to his low heart rate: They are not sure what caused James' low heart rate. They all agreed that Kristal and I did the right thing by bringing him to the emergency room. They think his low heart rate could be one of four things:
A. Seizures--I've already discussed this above.
B. Abnormal heart rhythm--We had an EKG to test his heart rhythm etc. The test came back normal, which is good. The cardiologist said that the right side of James' heart seems to be a bit weaker than the left side. They are going to do some more tests this coming Monday to make sure that this is not the cause of his low heart rate. The cardiologist was confident that although the right side of his heart seems to be a bit less strong, it is not so much weaker that it would cause great problems. We are going to be doing the further testing just to make sure. We are thankful that the Cardiologist is going above and beyond just to be safe. The Cardiologist also sent us home with a Holter monitor. The Holter monitor records James' heart activity for a 24 hour period. They put him on it this morning at 9:30 and so we will take it off tomorrow at 9:30 am and send it in the mail back to the doctor. He will read the content of the Holter monitor sometime this or next week. This will provide him helpful information in assessing James' heart.
C. Reflux--All of the doctors have suggested that James' low heart rate could be the result of acid reflux that irritates some nerve in the esophagus which causes the heart to temporarily beat at a lower rate. They are not sure if this is what it is or not, but they all think that it is a good possibility. Kristal and I are not necessarily sold on this possibility, because he has been on acid reflux medicine for a long time now. But anyway, who knows.
D. They are not sure--Ultimately they are not sure why his heart rate was so low. We still have some tests to take to exhaust all of our options.

4. As of right now they seem confident that although James heart rate was abnormally low that there is nothing for us to worry about. We feel satisfied knowing that the Doctors truly are doing everything within reason to find out what is causing his heart to have such a low number of beats per minute.

5. If you read this tonight be praying for Kristal and I, because they have not yet had the chance to change the alarm settings on the monitor that detects his heart beat and oxygen saturation. We are confident that James will be tripping the monitor all night tonight, which means we are stuck with the option of staying up all night or having him go to sleep without the monitor on him--we don't like either option. If James does keep tripping the monitor we will probably just turn it off so we can get some sleep. But we are not sure yet what we will do.

6. The doctors really want us to keep him on the monitor. They suggested that we take him to the emergency room if his heart beat is consistently in the 50 beats per minute range, or if his oxygen saturation goes down. They told us not to worry about his heart being as low as 60 beats per minute so long as his oxygen saturation remains at a high level. Pray that we have no more emergencies with his heart rate.

7. Thank you all so much for praying for Kristal and I. The Lord was very good to us to give us excellent health care. We had excellent doctors and nurses while up at Darthmouth. All of the doctors were compassionate. We were thankful that they all told us that we did the right thing by taking him to the emergency room because of his low heart rate. We are also thankful that the g-tube surgery went well. We are also thankful that we can now continue to keep James nourished even when he doesn't want to eat.

The Lord is so good to us. Hopefully I can write some of the stuff Kristal and I talked about while at the hospital. Each and every trial is a blessing from the Lord. They are not fun, but they are so effective to produce Christ-likeness in us when we let them do their work on us. We love Jesus. Pray that the Lord would continue to draw us closer to Himself. My friends, endure your trials with joy. Don't get masochistic, but endure them knowing that they are useful to draw you close to the infinitely glorious King. Pray for us that we would continue to have a biblical view of suffering no matter how bad times get.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

James to the Emergency Room

Please be praying for James. Last night we had to take him to the emergency room around 11 pm and are still at the hospital.

Here's what happened: We hook James up to a machine that detects his heart rate and the percentage of oxygen in his blood. This machine has an alarm that goes off if his heart beat gets too low. Well, the alarm kept going off last night. This happened a few months back and we brought him to the emergency room--they told us that babies have low heart rates so to not worry abou it. Well, his heart rate continued to plummet last night and at one moment it hit 55 beats per minute, which is 25 beats lower than the alarm settings. We tried to wake him up, but he wouldn't wake up. It took a good 40 seconds of rubbing and talking to him to get his heart beat back to the safe zone. I called 911 during this time. By the time the ambulence got to our house he was fully awake and crying his head off.

They took him to the emergency room. They put an iv in him because he was dehydrated, took some blood, and analyzed the data. Right now they are concerned that James is having what is called "Silent Seizures." Silent Seizures are seizures that cannot be detected. They are going to send him up to a different, more-specialized hospital (Darthmouth Hitchcock--the same place he went after being born) in order to do an EEG to see if he is having seizures.

We are going to be leaving from this hospital (Concord Hospital) in a few hours and will be up at Dartmouth until, Lord willing, Tuesday. As you already know, James' surgery to put in his g-tube is scheduled for Monday. They are still planning on doing the surgery.

We thank the Lord that Kristal went against the advice of the Doctors and continued to hook him up to the machine that detects his heart rate. If she did not continue to do this, we would not have been able to tell that his heart rate went so low.

We are also thankful that they put an iv in him, because we have been concerned about him going into surgery dehydrated. In regard to James' iv: He has already been stuck 6 times with the needle to get an iv into him. He is going to be on an iv until Tuesday and so will possibly have to have the iv moved a time or two more. They are having a hard time finding and hitting his viens (as Kristal was concerned). Pray that his veins hold out so that he can continue to be hydrated throughout his surgery.

Also, be praying that the doctors would get to the bottom of what is happening with James. Pray that they come to a solution. Pray that if he is have seizures that they are not harmful to him.

The Lord has been so good to us to give us hospitals. He has especially been good to us to give Kristal such a sensitive motherly instinct. I am so very proud of her and her boldness--she knew that the doctors would see her as an overly protective mother if she called 911, but did it anyway knowing that James' issues were bigger than they were made out to be.

Praise the Lord! James' primary care doctor just came in and said that Dr. Morse, James' neurologist, is on call this weekend! This is a blessing because this means that they will be able to look into this suspected seizure activity once we get up there, Lord willing.

Pray that James gets rest. Pray that the Lord provide him comfort--he is pretty uncomfortable right now. Pray for me, I got about 1 hour of sleep last night. Pray for Kristal, she got about 10 minutes of sleep last night.

Thank the Lord that I am finished with school for the semester. I have no obligations and so am able to devote all my time to Kristal and James at this point.

I will be keeping everyone updated via this blog. As soon as we find out anything more, if I am able to grab a computer, I will update.

Last night, Kristal rode with James in the ambulence and so I drove myself to the hospital. In the car on the way to the hospital the Lord put it on my heart to belt the song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." I think I added a verse: "He's Got James' Health in His Hands." Why on earth would anyone find any comfort in the thought that God is not absolutely in control of all things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Surgery on Monday at 11 am

Kristal just scheduled James' g-tube surgery for Monday at 11 am. We have to get there early to put an iv in. Kristal, the phlebotomist, says that James' veins are really small and hard to find and that they will be smaller and even harder to find because he has been eating and drinking so little. Pray that getting the iv in will not be an issue. Also pray that James does well with the surgery--he is already weak and not eating which could cause complications in surgery.

James will be in the hospital overnight and we will be staying with him in his room.

He will have the slinky hose like g-tube for 4-6 weeks and then we will get to switch it out to a Mickey Button.

The doc said that there is a 15% chance of James getting an infection in the stomach wall during surgery.

We are going to try our hardest to lay low and protect him from stimulation before his surgery. He is not really in a good spot health-wise to be having surgery so really be praying.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

James into Surgery

Thank you all for diligently praying for James. Yesterday he had a doctor appointment with his primary Pediatrician. We talked to her about his eating problems. She assessed and concluded that James is not eating enough to sustain himself. She suggested that we put the g-tube back in his belly. After talking to the doctor Kristal and I both concluded that not putting the g-tube back in his belly is not an option. The fact is that James is not eating enough, and has never consistently eaten enough since the day he was born. The doctor told us that if he gets sick and has no g-tube to rely upon he will surely end up in the hospital with iv's and everything else. We told the doctor that we are ready to schedule an appointment to put the g-tube back in. She said she was going to schedule it for sometime next week. We are not sure what day or time the surgery will be (I will make keep you all updated via this blog).

There are some good and bad sides to the g-tube. As you probably remember, James had one for the first 3 months of his life. We hated the g-tube because it is uncomfortable and is hard to manage. However, we will be getting a different type of g-tube this time around. He is now old enough to get what they call a Mickey Button. The Mickey Button stays flesh against his skin and cannot move in an out of his belly--unlike the g-tube he had when he was younger. The other g-tube was a long hose that stuck out of his belly about 7 inches or so. It was a hassle and caused great discomfort. They may, at first, have to put in this longer tube until a track is formed (takes about 4 weeks) before they put in the Mickey Button.

The one major positive aspect of the g-tube is that we don't have to worry about James getting dehydrated or malnourished. If he won't eat we simply hook the tubing up to his g-tube and pump it right into his belly. His not eating has been all-consuming for us at the Snowden household, because he has been on the verge of dehydration for such a long time now. We are always concerned that he might not be getting enough to sustain himself. The g-tube will take away these worries.

The doctor said that James' refusal to eat is his way of protecting his airway. Every time James swallows food it goes into his lungs. The reason this did not stop him from eating before was because he was on his muscle relaxing medicine, which numbed his senses. Once we got him off the medicine his senses were heightened and so he could feel the liquid get into his lungs--which is uncomfortable. The doctor said that James has to choose between the discomfort of getting fluid in his lungs or going hungry, and he has chosen to simply go hungry. I feel bad for the little guy--either he eats and is extremely uncomfortable or he doesn't eat and is constantly hungry.

I will list some of the concerns we have:

1. If we put the g-tube in James' body may reject it.

2. James has to have anesthesia for his surgery.

3. Putting the g-tube in is a surgery and there can always be complications with surgery.

4. The doctor told us that many kids stop eating through their mouth altogether after getting the g-tube because they realize that they can feel full without having to eat through their mouth. Sometimes this can cause kids to absolutely hate anything going into their mouths. This reality hit Kristal and I last night. We both realized that James may never eat through his mouth again once we put the g-tube in--he may be dependent upon a g-tube for the rest of his life. This is a hard thing for the both of us to think about.

5. Even though James is getting fluid into his lungs every time he eats we still have to work on feeding him orally. Our doctor told us that if we do not continue to work on his oral feedings now then he will never eat through his mouth--for some reason kids who are not used to oral stimulation reject anything entering their mouths. I said, "Well, isn't he at high risk for pneumonia?" She said, "Yes he is." She then went on to tell us that as bad as pneumonia is, it is a worthy risk to train him to eat orally. She said that we will have to stop if he starts getting pneumonia chronically. But she said that we need to do whatever we can to get him to eat orally so long as he doesn't get chronic pneumonia. Even after we put the g-tube back in his belly, we will still have to work on his oral feeding--so putting the g-tube in is not going to lessen his chances of getting pneumonia.

6. Pray that the surgery does not stunt James' developmental progress. He has been making huge strides developmentally over the past few weeks. Strange, he is happiest when he eats less--he definitely did not inherit this gene from my side of the family--I don't think such a gene even exists in the larger part of the Snowden family. He is super happy and has learned to interact with Kristal and I so much better. Thank the Lord for this, and pray that the surgery doesn't ruin his developmental progress.

Please continue to pray for James. Pray for his surgery. Pray that his body doesn't reject the tube. Pray that he learns to eat--Pray that he will not need to g-tube for the rest of his life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Hug Mug

Here are my two favorite coffee cups. The first is called the "Big Hug Mug." I am forever indebted to the Wingerd's for their kindness in giving this precious piece of porcelain to such an unworthy person as I. It is usually filled with coffee, but as you can see, it was full of hot chocolate when I took the pictures

This is my newest and funnest mug. Kristal got it for me as an early Christmas present (she cannot buy early presents--she gets too excited and gives them to me about 5 seconds after buying them). Moose are my favorite animals and so this mug has a special place in my heart. Also, the pottery is outstanding?

This is another picture of the Moose mug. I wanted to give you a full orbed perspective. Isn't she a bute?!! This mug has the ability to hold lots of yummy Dunkin donuts coffee. I think I am going to name my moose mug Earl. I just think that is a good Moose names. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I just wanted to let you all know that Kristal is singing "O Stinky Bomb" to James right now. His feet smell awful--Even after we give him a bath--they are rancid. We call them his "stinky Pota-Toes" Anyway, "O Stinky Bomb" is sung to the tune of "O Christmas Tree." I love my wife--I love her goofiness.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Urgent Prayer Request--12/09/07

If you are not up to speed on our present situation with James then read this post.

As you know, we finally weened James off his muscle relaxing medicine about two weeks ago. As soon as we did so he stopped eating and sleeping. We knew that he would go through withdrawals, but his refusal to eat and sleep got worse and worse throughout last week--he was getting up 4 times a night and eating only about 7 or 8 ounces of formula a day. We took him to the doctor on Thursday to see if there was anything we could do and to make sure that he was not dehydrated. The doctor gave us some acid reflux medicine thinking that this might be his problem. He affirmed that he was not dehydrated. The doctor also told us that he was not sure if James' eating problems were related to reflux or not, and thought that it might have something to do with taking him off his Vallium (muscle relaxing medicine). The Vallium was prescribed to James in order to calm down the effects of his brain injury. The doctor thought that by taking him off the Vallium we were unmasking the effects of his brain injury. One of the effects being an inability to eat and hold food down. He told us to try the reflux medicine, but to keep a close eye on him to make sure that he does not get dehydrated. He also told us to consider the thought of putting him back on the Vallium if need be.

Well, we got home and tried the medicine and nothing changed. Yesterday Kristal noticed that James had only went pee twice in the past 24 hours--His mouth was dry, lips chapped, and he was getting a fever--he was beginning to get dehydrated. So yesterday we decided to put him back on his Vallium hoping that it would help. It has been about 24 hours since we put him back on it and he is still not eating, and when he does eat, throws it up.

We did receive one blessing from the Lord by putting him back on it--James slept from 9:30 pm to 6:45 am. Kristal and I both got a full nights sleep--first time in about 2 weeks.

Please pray that the Vallium would help James eat and hold it down again. He is really starting to hate eating, and whenever he does eat usually throws it up. It is absolutely critical that James start eating. If he does not start eating again we will have to put the g-tube back in his belly. Also be praying that James does not get dehydrated.

We are thankful that James is happy and energetic when he is not eating. He has really come out of his shell.

James has a doctors appointment on Monday with his primary care doctor, and one on Tuesday with the speech pathologist. The speech pathologist is going to see if there is anything she can do to help James eat. While we are visiting with the speech pathologist we are going to see if his neurologist can squeeze him in for a tiny visit. Please pray that the Lord would direct and give our doctors wisdom.

Kristal and I are a bit nervous--we really don't want to have to put the g-tube back in. We are thankful though that we live in a day and age where we have a g-tube to fall back on. Please pray though that the Lord would help James eat and sleep.

Thank you for your prayers. I will definitely keep you posted as things progress.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VI

In this post I have pasted my answer to the question "What goals are really worth pursuing"--I am answering this questions from the vantage point of the average American.

"Because the average American does not put much stock in the reality of the afterlife, they concentrate all of their efforts on temporal earthly goals. The pursuit of happiness is the most lofty goal a person can attain. Generally, Americans pursue the goal of success (which leads to happiness) most fervently. This reality can be seen in the some-what twisted movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” where success and wealth are equated with happiness. I am sure that the majority of American’s (maybe even some Christians) who watched this film considered the character played by Will Smith to be a role model—they wish that they themselves could attain such lofty goals, because they sincerely think that reaching such goals wins them happiness."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part V

In the last post I answered the question "How do we find wholeness" from the perspective from the average American. In this post I will briefly answer the question "What goals are really worth pursuing?" I will answer it from a Scriptural perspective. Enjoy and respond.

"The inherent worthiness of a goal is directly linked to how long the effect of meeting that goal will last. Jesus makes this very clear in the Gospels when he says, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Here, in the context, Jesus is saying that storing up treasures on earth is not as much of a worthy goal as storing up treasures in heaven, because treasures in heaven last longer. There is such a disparity in terms of the duration of time between heaven and earth that it would be a mistake of astronomical proportions to consider earthly goals to be of equal worth than heavenly goals. With this in mind, the most worthy goals to pursue are scriptural goals—goals which have eternal effects."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prayer Requests--12/04/07

I wanted to give everyone an update on our situation with James (sorry it has been so long).

1. About a month or two ago James got pneumonia. We caught it before it got bad and so the healing process didn't take very long. However, he learned to despise food during the time when he was sick. About two weeks after healing from pneumonia it seemed like he was starting to like eating agian. However, this was short lived. Right now we are struggling to get him to eat more than 8 ounces of milk a day (he should be eating this much in one meal). We try and push the baby food, but he refuses that as well. His eating has gotten much worse over the past 3 days or so--he will drink maybe two ounces at a feeding. As soon as he eats the little that he does, he starts flaking out as if his limbs were being ripped from his body. We are going to contact the speech pathologist to see if there is anything that can be done. We are not sure why he is rejecting food like he is. We are not sure if it hurts to eat and swallow, or whatever. Pray that the Lord would help James in this area.

2. Because James is eating so little in the day, he is waking in the middle of the night at least 5 times a week. He usually goes to sleep at about 10:00 pm or so, wakes up around 2:30 am for about an hour and a half to only eat an ounce, and then goes back to sleep until about 6:30 am to be up for the day. I am in the thick of school--my finals are next week and so Kristal and I both are really getting worn out. On average we both get about 4-6 hours of sleep every night. At night we have tried to force feed him so that he will sleep the whole night, but as you may know, this is just making him hate his food more and more. Especially pray that the Lord would grant Kristal rest. She is such a good mom--she is so good with James, but she is getting worn thin.

3. Also, James refuses to eat or sleep with anyone but Kristal. For some reason, he simply will not eat or sleep when anyone else is holding him. This means that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, if Kristal is not holding him he completely unravels and is up screaming for hours. The other day Kristal and I left to go on a date and had to come home two hours after leaving because James literally wouldn't settle down. We are happy that James finally has something that sooths him (his mom), but Kristal is getting run down. Pray for Kristal and I that we might get more sleep. Especially pray for Kristal--I am the sort who sleeps heavy and so I need less sleep--she is a light sleeper and so requires much more than me.

4. Also, pray for James' head size. Since day 1 the doctors have been telling us that James is at high risk for having slow development. This is already a reality considering the fact that he is almost 8 months old and can barely lift his own head. One of the concerns has been that the brain injury could cause his brain to not grow as it should. Every time we go to the doctor they measure his head. It appears as if his head growth is starting to sort of plateau a little more than they would like. Ultimately, we do not know what this means. If his brain growth continues to plateau it could mean more development problems later in life. The thing is that they have no way of knowing how his brain will grow from this point forward. Since day one, the doctors have been telling us that James' progress and development is completely up to him (and the Lord)--there is nothing the doctors can do, and there is nothing that the doctors can predict. This is something that Kristal and I have been praying about, but it is not something that we let bother us, because there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

5. Pray for our marriage. Our struggles and trials with James have drawn us closer together. One of the effects of the fall is weariness. I have learned that nothing reveals sin in our hearts like two people working together while being dog tired. When I get my sleep I am a happy-go-lucky ultra-corny husband, but when my tank is running on empty frustration, shortness, and irritation surface. Every time I get short or irritated with Kristal I always IMMEDIATELY confess it to her and ask forgiveness. Please pray that I would never take this side of me lightly. Pray that the Lord would grant me the grace to not express frustration, and that He would continue to help me to confess it when I do. I have noticed that frustration generally subsides when it is dealt with on the spot. Also, Kristal and I desperately desire the ability to go on dates, but have been prevented because of James' refusal to be happy without mommy. Pray that the Lord would make this a possibility again. We haven't had a date since before James had pneumonia. This is not a necessity, but it sure would be nice.

6. James is officially off his muscle relaxer medicine. It took nearly two months to ween him off the stuff because it is so addictive. Much of his eating and sleep problems could very well be from withdrawals. The medicine has a half life and so is not yet completely out of his system and won't be for another week or so. Pray that his withdrawals would calm down. He usually cries and screams at night from about 5-9 pm.

7. Pray for me this next week as I have finals to take. My decision to transfer to Liberty University has proved to be a good one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes, and am excited to take more next semester.

8. We do have some praises:
-James is completely off his muscle relaxer medicine
-James is more active being off the medicine than he was before, and is using his muscles more. He also now desires to life his head, look around, kick his legs, and touch things.
-James is also recognizes faces better, and is now able to know when someone is talking to him.
-We are thankful for his doctors and physical therapist.
-Kristal and I have found a church and are feeling at home there.

9. The Lord has truly given Kristal and I a task by giving us James. I thank the Lord that He blessed us with James. I am especially thankful that Kristal is his mom--I am not sure I would trust many women with a child with needs like his. She is an outstanding mother with a boat-load of a love and compassion for James. I was tempted to not put any of my thoughts or prayer requests up on the blog for our situation with James because I do not want to appear as if we think we have a parenting experience worse than everyone else. I don't want to appear as though I am complaining. Truly, some of James' issues are normal 8 month old issues, however James has a lot stacked against him physically and is still in need of mega prayer. Because of James unique situation (with his brain injury), many of the things that seem like "normal" baby issues are not normal. Surely, many 8 month olds don't sleep, but the reason for why they don't sleep is completely different than the reason why James doesn't sleep. James has had an injury to the brain and, as the the doctors warned us, is suffering many side effects.

10. Kristal and I know that the Lord has given us this situation for a good reason. Maybe someday I can sit down and write all of the things I have learned through our situation with James. This has not been a wasted trial. I do not love trials--I HATE TRIALS, but I love what they bring about. I love thinking about that day when I will stand in glory to hear the Father reveal all the work that was accomplished through James and his situation.

11. One of the biggest things that I have learned is to not assume that I know how bad others have got it. I have a tendency to down play others pain and suffering. The Lord has given me this trial to teach me compassion and silence (by silence, I mean that He has taught me to stop trying to immediately identify with those in pain, but rather to simply listen, pray, and hurt with them).

12. Thank you all for your constant prayers for James. You have all been a huge blessing to us. Please continue to pray. Pray for Kristal and I as well.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part IV

In the last post, I answered the question "How do we find wholeness?" from a Christian Worldview. In this post I will answer this same question, but from the viewpoint of the average American. I would suggest reading the average American's answer to this question, and then reread the Christian answer to this question. Without Christ everything is meaningless.

"For the average American, wholeness is attained when their form of happiness is realized. Ultimately, Americans equate wholeness with temporal happiness. One is only whole when he is doing that which makes himself happy at the moment. There is no struggle, in the average American, to try and find universals which dump meaning into everything they know to be true about themselves. There is a nagging disconnect within, but they simply try and numb the pain and confusion by pursuing temporary happiness."


I am right now eating a perfectly proportionate banana--just enough green to keep me pure--just enough yellow to keep me honest. What more could one ask for? I think I have found my personal breakfast utopia.