Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Titus has been wearing leg braces several hours a day for the last few months. He was measured for a chair and "stander" a few months back and it arrived today. Titus was asleep when they placed him in the stander. It can recline or move to a standing position. Although he is strapped in, it helps to strengthen his muscles.

He woke up after they got him in, looked around, and started playing. He really enjoyed it and it will be another great tool to assist him at home. It's on wheels, so we can move it around the house.
Titus also had an appointment at Scottish Rite Hospital this week. They checked the curve of his spine, and it has moved very slowly (which is good). From what the doctors stated, he shows a lot of strength in his legs, but the same level of strength is not in his upper body yet. Time will tell how far he will progress, but as the doctor stated, we'll just have to see if he will be able to walk or not. It's very slow process, but we do notice progress - it's just very slow.
I'm so proud of my little boy - he works so hard, and although he does play, at times it feels like everything we do with him is therapy-related. And although we knew the stander was coming today, it took my breath away to walk in and see him it. He was happy and smiling and playing, but it's just hard to see your son strapped to a device. I had to take a deep breath, quelch the lump in my throat, and cheer him on. I took him out, took off his braces and massaged his feet and legs. And he looked at me and smiled and laughed.
Dear Lord, may I learn to be that gracious and accepting when the stress of life straps me down. My precious son, you teach me things I would have never learned.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paul & Becky + 8

When you have 5 kids, what's 3 more? Right?

This week is Music Camp at church and we have 3 of the K's up from Houston staying with us for the week. Ashley, Morgan, and Leighton came in this afternoon to join Aidan, Noah, Tucker, Cade, & Titus.

For some reason, it really feels totally normal to have 8 kids around the house . . . for 1 week.

Mike and Jody, remember . . . you ARE picking them up next weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm in the UK, Everyone else is in MI

I have been up for the last 36 hours straight. For those that know me, you will know that's next to impossible. But after a 3 hour bus ride (to go 90 miles - thank you sweetie for encouraging me to take the bus from South Bend to Chicago!), to a 2 hour layover, to a 7 hour flight, followed by a full day of work and then dinner, I should be collapsing into bed. Instead, I'm a little wired and writing on the blog.

First of all, the GFI (Growing Families International) Conference was absolutely fantastic. I can't thank you enough for all the prayers. Becky and I had a blast (as we always do) teaching 2 seminars together and then it was great fun to teach the "Training your Kids on Technology: Raising Daniels in a Technological Babylon" with Hank O. Considering the two of us had only discussed our outlines and formats over the phone twice, it went seamlessly and the feedback was good. I do think we scared a few parents though with all that is out there, but it seriously comes down to Dan. 1:8 "Daniel resolved to not defile himself . . . " and that is what we have to train our children to do in a world where technology will be omnipresent in their existence.

And, as usual, we had a super-awesome time seeing so many of our friends and parent-supporters at conference. It was so encouraging to be with friends and we can't wait till Family Camp on Labor Day to see them again (and then again at the mini-conference in Houston in November). And, Titus did great at the conference. He slept when he was suppose to sleep, played when he was suppose to play, and charmed the hearts of all who saw him. He does have a stye on his right eye that was giving him so problems, but his little smile and babbling warmed everyone over.

So, after conference was over, Becky and I drove from Cleveland back to Niles, MI and the next day, I caught the plane from Chicago to the UK. I'm hear all week, while Beck and the boys have gone to Detroit to see friends. We will all convene back in Dallas on Saturday. I can't wait for us all to be back home together again with Quita and the fish and our own beds. Meanwhile, we are having fun (well - as much fun as I can have in the UK). I have a board meeting dinner tomorrow night which should be interesting to say the least. I'm not sure the Brits know how to take my humor at times. And they are absolutely stunned when they find out I have 5 boys and that Becky homeschools. It's one of those moments you want to take a picture because it just dumbfounds people and they are at a loss of words, but they are trying to say something nice (and I just laugh). After a year of working on the relationship with the UK though, we are making tremendous strides and today felt good to walk in the office and be genuinely welcomed. The office here is great to work with (even if I do shock them every now and then).

Thanks for all the prayers as we have been traveling.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Cleveland

Becky, Titus and I drove to Cleveland today. Titus has become quite the traveler, and did great on the 4 hour trip. He is now fast asleep in the hotel room.

Yesterday, we took Aidan, Noah, Tucker, and Cade to Shipshewanna, OH to visit the Flea Market, and tour the Amish country. We did a Amish buggy ride to one of the farms and then visited the Amish/Mennonite museum to learn about history and traditions of the Amish and Mennonites. It was very educational, but also an incredible lesson on how to live in the world but not of it.

Becky and I will be speaking the next two days at the Growing Families National Conference. We will speak together on one topic - "The Funnel: Open It? Close It?" and then Hank O and I will be delivering the technology workshop we have been working on. The staid title is "Technology and your children" but the catchy title is "Raising Daniels in a Technological Babylon". We would appreciate your prayers. We will be delivering each topic twice and truly pray for focus and for the hearts of those attending. We never want to provide a list of "do's and don'ts" but want to lead parents to think for themselves using Biblical principles.

And we are so enjoying being here with like-minded parents and good friends. I'm sure the nights will be long as we spend hours getting caught up (or, as Becky spends hours talking while I am trying to stay awake).

Last of all, Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife. 15 years have flown by - we never would have dreamed the day we got married that we would be where we are today with 5 kids. It's been an incredible journey and there is no one else I would want to do this with. To my precious bride, you are an incredible wife, the best mother, and a gracious friend to so many. You are truly my Proverbs 31 women.

All my love, P

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Picking Cherries

Becky and the boys are having a blast in Michigan. She calls me twice a day to let me know everything they are doing. Yesterday, they went picked cherries and raspberrys. Tucker was so excited when he called me (and I think his mouth was full).
So far, they've been to the beach at Lake Michigan, gone canoeing and paddleboating at the LifeAction camp, and played everywhere they can. They are convinced we need to buy a house up there. (And maybe because it's 75 in MI while it's 104 in Dallas.
While they are playing, I've been working. The downstairs bath finally got it's second coat of paint and then I decided to paint the dining room (and ceiling). I sure hope Becky likes the color. It's not one of the samples I had painted before she left.
And since the lawnmower died, I purchased a new one and mowed the lawn. It's amazing how fast a new lawnmower can go - I had to put it on 'turtle' speed.
And since my snails and crabs kept dying in the aquarium, I finally took my water to be tested instead of relying on my test kit only to realize my salinity was low (ok - when the guy said "Is this a freshwater tank?" I realized it may be way too low.) Friday night and Saturday morning was spent adding more salt to the tank.
Of course, you don't just add salt - you make a saltwater slurry and then slowly add it in over several hours. And, to assist in mixing the salt with the water, I decided to use my extra pump for circulation in the 5-gallon bucket. And thinking I would keep things clean, decided to do this in the kitchen sink. Somewhere along the way of my bright idea, the pump readjusted in the bucket and instead of creating a nice whirlpool, it became a fountain - a 4ft fountain of saltwater - generously sprayed over the kitchen. But now the kitchen is really clean.
So, I'm looking forward to going into work tomorrow - no ladders, no paint, no saltwater, no crabs (except for the ones in the Finance Department), and no water pumps. It should be a slow day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Heart Hurts

I just found out that a precious child of friends has passed away from Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. He has been battling this cancer for the last 4 years. His fight was valiant, his family has been courageous, and now, as stated on his website - healing has come. But my heart so hurts for them tonight. To loose a child at the age of 8 is heartbreaking.

So I ask tonight that you lift up the Cruse family in your prayers. Connor parents, Joy and Tait, and his siblings, Mackenzie, Carson, and Mason need prayers for comfort and rest and peace.

Oh, my heart breaks and hurts for them tonight.

Trip to Michigan

Becky and the boys left for Michigan yesterday. They originally planned to make it a 2-day drive, but since everyone was doing great in the car - they drove all the way yesterday. Becky's mom is with her and helped with the driving. The Suburban is loaded down with a rack on the back and cargo carrier on top (which happens to look just like King Tut's sarcophagus).

I'll join up with them next week and then Becky and I will drive to Cleveland to particpate in the Growing Families National Conference. We are both speaking at the conference and I have been furiously researching and writing a new seminar (with the assistance of Hank O and many others) entitled "Training and Protecting Your Kids in a Technology World" or "Raising Daniels in a Technological Babylon". It's been an eye-opening exercise and the statistics are astounding, but it really boils down to training your children. Daniel 1:8 states " Daniel resolved to not defile himself . . . ". And it was Daniel's moral maturity that sustained him - but did not remove him from the fact that he was still trained in Babylonian culture. Technology will not go away, our children will be inundated, and technology tools are integrated in their life. But their use can be dangerous and they need to be trained to "resolve to not defile themselves".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tucker Turns 5

Tucker survived . . . I'm not sure how many times I stated this year "boy, you may not make it to your birthday!", but he has officially made it.

He was so excited last night that he just couldn't go to sleep. I went in to his room around 9:30 pm and he was still laying there (quietly), eyes wide open, full of anticipation.

Sweet Tucker - we weren't there the day you were born. Your birth mother must have been nervous and scared having you come several weeks early. But she loved you dearly. She loved you enough to build a life plan that would be the best thing for you. And so, as we celebrate today, we pray that God also continues to heal her heart and provide her with comfort and compassion knowing she blessed her son and our family with her incredible gift.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Noah

Noah George turned 11 on the 4th of July. For the last 3 years, we have spent the holiday and celebrated Noah's birthday at our friends lake house on Cedar Creek Lake. Noah thoroughly enjoys getting up early on his birthday to go riding on the jet ski, then follows the day with fishing and boating, and ends it with firecrackers. This year, the country club on the opposite of the lake had an air show, and we got the benefit of watching it all. Great day, great fun, great friends.

Last year, Titus had a rough time at the lake house - I don't think Becky and I slept much at all the entire time, but this year, Titus did great. He got to ride in the boat some, and enjoyed being outside in the shade. I'm sure in a few years, we'll have him out riding the banana with the rest of the boys.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Back Home

Becky and the boys got home around 8pm last night. Everyone was tired and ready for bed. I fed Titus, and gave him his nebulizzer and CPT - he fell asleep in my arms.

And then . . . I laid him in bed and the child woke up, giggled and smiled because he realized he was in his bed, and then played in his crib till 11pm. He was squealing so loud you could hear him all over the house. At one point, his alarm went off and I went in to check and he had pulled his oxgyen canula off his face, pulled the canula apart (that's a first), and was swinging it around his bed. (Can you say little stinker).

His eye is still swollen. What we thought was a stye was actually a chalazion, an infected, blocked oil gland in the eyelid. They had to cut it out since it was quite large. So although my happy boy is glad to be home, his eye still looks quite red and swollen. It should go down in the next few days.

Thanks for the prayers and support!