Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home from the Hospital

Titus received his cochlear implant in his right ear yesterday. It was a very long day that started very early since his check-in time was 7am and we are an hour away from the hospital (Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth).

Everything was running right on time and we immediately went from registration to pre-op preparation to surgery. Titus was very content the entire time.

He was immediately moved to a room after surgery - and then the real fun began. As you see from the picture, he had a large dressing wrapped around his head due to the drainage from the incision/surgery. And you can also see he had restraints on his arms to keep his little hands off of it.

We should know by now - where there's a will, there's a way. Titus was NOT happy with the restraints, the IV, or the dressing on his head. He kept finding ways to sneak his hands out of the restraints, or to scoot his head down the bed to remove the dressing. It was almost comical to fix his dressing, and then turn around and he already had it covering his eyes or off completely.

He was pretty fussy most of the afternoon - but we realized it was mostly due to the IV in his hand than his head - and after a little convincing (and Titus starting back on his regular feeds), the IV was removed and he settled down for rest. After a good night, he came home this morning - and he has spent most of the afternoon asleep.

After the surgery, the doctor came out with a small bottle - and asked us "guess what I found in Titus' ear?". Titus had tubes installed when he was a baby - and with most kids, as they grow older, the tubes fall out. Over the years, the ENT had noticed that Titus' tubes had fallen out, but over the last two years, we have noticed that Titus would experience a lot of ear infections in his right ear. Come to find out, Titus' tubes didn't fall out - they fell IN - into his middle ear. The doctor suspects this could have been the source of those ear infections. We are thankful they noticed it and were able to remove it.



The cochlear implant will be activated in about 6 weeks. It is a slow process when they activate - only turning it on for a few frequencies/sounds - and slowly adjusting it over several months. We are so thankful for technological advances such as this that will allow Titus to hear.

Thank you for all the prayers. We are comforted in knowing that Titus is prayed for daily by many of you.
 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Titus

It's hard to believe, but Titus is 5 years old today. Although it's been a few months since I posted, Titus has been doing great. He has been healthy most of the summer and fall (avoiding hospital stays) and continues to grow. This past fall, he started back to school at Early Childhood School in Frisco. On the way to school each morning, he chatters and chatters - and it's obvious that he is very excited to be going to school. Throughout the week, he continues to go to therapy everyday after school.

Next Monday, Titus will have minor surgery to implant a 2nd cochlear implant - he will now have a cochlear implant for each of his ears. It should be a simple procedure but they will keep him overnight for observation. And since he is out of school all next week, he should be able to return to school after Thanksgiving.

On other news, I was laid off from my job last week (it wasn't a big surprise since all the indicators were there of a department re-structure). Me, along with 3 others, were let go immediately - so I am actively on the lookout for the next great opportunity. God is good and we are already seeing small miracles each day that provide for our needs.

 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Walk For Water

Tucker, Cade, and I are Team Daily Boys as we participate in Walk for Water on April 29. Our goal as a church is to raise $5,000 to build a water well at the Hosetta School in Sierra Leone, Africa where our friends, the Brockelmans, serve.

Please watch this short video as Tucker explains it to you - (and for those of you getting this through the email, you may to click on the blog site to watch - http://www.thelifeoftitus.blogspot.com/)

video

This is a topic that is really close to my heart. We've been talking about Africa a lot lately. Some of you know that Aidan is working to earn money for his mission trip to South Africa this summer (and he's still available for work). After reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, I have continually been convicted by the amount of resources that we have that we take for granted.

I have water at my fingertips. I have a pantry full of food, I have 2 refrigerators AND a freezer that are full. I have a cars for transportation. I have a job that more than supplies our needs. I have a home that is safe to live in and each of my children sleep in their own room. I am blessed beyond what I deserve - we all are. And yet, there are tremendous needs all around us. We just need to open our eyes to the need, open our heart to be used, find an opportunity that we can put our gifts to use on, and yes, open our wallets.

I cannot imagine a world where children have to walk miles to fetch water and to bring back home. And not just one trip, but multiple trips a day. But this is a reality for 10,000+ children every day.

And because they are busy carrying water, they cannot attend school.

And if they are not able to attend school, they cannot break out of the cycle of poverty.

Clean water for a village not only improves health, but can change a generational cycle of poverty.

So, this is a just a drop in the bucket. But I as I told Tucker and Cade, some day, I want to take them to Africa to see this well - and let them see what they helped build by walking 2 miles on Spring day in McKinney, TX.


If you want to help Team Daily Boys - contact me and I'll send you the address. And pray for us as we Walk for Water.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday!

Cade is our 7 and a half year old son. He tends to be very methodical in his ways and we can tell when he is analyzing a situation. At times, he may struggle with the logic of a situation. Or shall I say, the logic of a 7 year old.

Last year at Easter, he asked us "Does Jesus have to die every year?" His brain was trying to wrap itself around the discussion of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. And we explained to him that Jesus only had to die once . . .  for all. But to a 7yr old, it was awfully confusing.

And last night, he asked a new question . . . "If Jesus died, then why do we call it GOOD Friday?"

And before Becky could answer him, Tucker explained it all (sometimes it helps to have another 7 yr old talk to a 7 yr old). And sometimes it helps to keep it simple.

What the authorities did to Jesus was definitely not good. However, the results of Christ's death are very good. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." and 1 Peter 3:18 tells us, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."

So today, let's remember. It is a good day.

In Conclusion

I blogged a lot this week. And I never expect people to agree with everything I post. I would challenge people to read 'The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. It has changed how I see a "need" in our world and how we can respond.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Baskets for Tornado Victims?

I blogged yesterday about the horrific tornadoes and storms we had in the Dallas area yesterday. And today, I see that one of our local, large churches is having children collect Easter baskets and candy for those affected by the tornado.

Seriously? I really mean SERIOUSLY?

People have lost their homes and belongings and you want to show up with candy and say Happy Easter?

So excuse me while I drag out my soap box, but this is really going over the top. And I'm sure I'm going to step on some toes and be rebutted, but if I can just get one person to think about this, then I'm going to say it. As a very wise friend once told us "if it's not helpful, it's not helping". And this my friends, is not really helpful.

I John 3:16-18 tells us "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Acts 4:32-35 tells us the early church shared "everything they had" and that "there were no needy persons among them".

The damage done by these storms is devasting - right now, people need shelter, they need clothes, they need food, they need comfort, they need prayers. But do they need candy? I applaud all efforts to help out people who have lost their homes or suffered damage to their possessions. And I believe that as a church - the body of Christ - we should be leading the way in providing for people's needs at this time - just like it says in I John. But let's meet people needs with more than with an Easter Basket of candy.

Instead, let's clean out our closets and garages, let's give gift cards to Walmart or Target, let's open up our homes, let's provide meals, let's help clean up. Even give an Easter basket full of bread, peanut butter and bottled water . . . but candy? I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

Let me put it this way - if you had just lost most of your possessions or your home was seriously damaged by a tornado, and your local church showed up with a basket of candy for your kids, what would you think?

And here's my other major concern - what does this teach our children? Proverbs 22:6 states "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Here is a great opportunity to train our children on how to be the New Testament church, to meet needs, to help out. But let's not train our children that when people are in need, let's give them something they don't really need. As I said before, let's teach our children "if it's not helpful, it's not helping" and then let's look for ways to be helpful in a manner that meets their needs (and not just makes us feel good). Let's train them that the Easter is about the Jesus laying down his life for us and then coming back to life to show us that LIFE is for ALL. Can't we just be a church that shows our children that Easter is about Jesus and not just about Easter Baskets filled with candy.

Ok - I'll put my soapbox back in the closet.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sirens

I believe I can count today as one of those crazy days you don't want to happen too often in your life. Dallas was hit with incredible thunderstorms, hail, and between 6-12 tornadoes. And when all of this happens in the middle of the day with a full office of people, it makes for quick decisions and executing plans that you have documented (but really never want to execute).

This afternoon, our Business Continuity Manager came to my desk to inform me bad storms were brewing and we needed to meet with the team to determine our course of action. These are the types of meeting where you drop everything and quickly have to make a decision on what is best for the office. As we operate a call center, there were 100's of agents on the phone during that time - and stopping an agent from taking calls can cost money for us and our clients - but keeping our employees safe is also vitally important.

As we the weather forecasts and news reports became more and more clear that we were in the potential path of a tornado, I quickly and calmly walked around the building and asked everyone to move to the interior rooms of the buildings, hallways, and bathrooms. I was impressed on how calm everyone was and how quickly they moved. Within minutes of getting in the room, the tornado sirens started to go off signaling imminent danger. After 10 minutes, reports came back that our area was safe and people returned to work, only to have to repeat the entire exercise 45 minutes later when a second storm cell came through the area.

But as I walked through the building asking people to move to a safe area, I did have several doubters. I had people ask me if "they" really had to obey. I had people challenge me and tell me it wasn't even raining outside so it really couldn't be that bad. I had people who didn't want to leave their office surrounded by windows because they were on a call and it was incovenient. I had people go outside to see for themselves. And I even had a few people get in the car and leave work - and drive right into the storm.

And as I drove back home tonight, all I could think was how this exercise was a reflection of the spiritual world we live in. The signs of the times are all around us, the sirens are going off in every area, sin is rampant and yet, people still choose to not believe. People choose to ignore. People choose to listen to self instead of the authority of God. People choose (and frankly, sometimes, they make stupid choices).

I know I can't cure stupid - and that's not what God calls me to do. He calls me to tell the truth. He tells me to point the way. He tells me to be a light. He tells me to obey. He tells me to tell others. He tells me that even with the sirens going off all around, He has a plan. And I know this, God does call me to choose - I can choose to obey or disobey.

I pray as the sirens of this crazy world are going off around me, I choose to obey.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dancing With The Amateurs

I can't stand 'Dancing With The Stars'. I know that may hinder my credibility and popularity with a certain demographic, but I just never got the gist of this show. To me, it surpasses cheesy - the "celebrities", the music, the dancing, and the judges - it's just all a bit too much for me.

And, I'm not sure why tonight my thoughts are so wrapped up about a show that I really can't sit through.

But after some contemplation, I realized what it is that captivates me. It's the work and determination that people put into it. It's not just that they are vying for a mirrored, disco-ball trophy, but it's the work effort they put into doing something that they may not be comfortable doing. And you combine that with a television audience, blunt judges, and outrageous costumes, and I have to realize, it takes a lot of chutzpah to get out there and do what they are doing.

And some of them realize they can actually dance (Urkel . . . who knew?). And some realize they you may be an animal and champion on the tennis court, but that doesn't translate to grace and rhythm on the dance floor (sorry Martina). But either way, everyone is teamed up with an expert and they are honestly working hard to dance, entertain, and hopefully, not have a wardrobe malfunction. And when the season is over, all of them can say one thing - they have improved their confidence and ability to dance.

And here's the crazy thought - evangelism is a lot like Dancing with the Stars. If you really want to learn how to witness, you need to team up with an expert who knows what they are doing and then get out there and do it. It may feel uncomfortable, it may not feel natural, it may feel like you are stumbling all over yourself but when teamed up with a partner who can assist you, pray for you, give you the words to say, you can learn to do it.

I saw this in Honduras a couple weeks back. I have written that many in my group had stated they were fearful of being bold in their witness. And, as God would have it, we were in a church that planned on us witnessing everyday. We had the chance to witness while going door-to-door, in the park, in the school, even while picking up trash on the side of the road, playing soccer. Everywhere we went, we had the opportunity to share the gospel.

We were blessed with an incredible translator, Jose, who not only translated, but encouraged, re-phrased, coached, and led the way in teaching each of them what to say, how to say it, and how to answer their questions. And one of the high school seniors, Dillon, (who ended up being our second translator) also led the way by coaching and encouraging each of the other students in sharing their faith. By the end of the week, each of the teenagers were sharing their gospel with an ease and fervor that came from practice and repetition. But they each learned how to share their story in their own comfortable way and style and they did so with a confidence that exceeded their years. And more importantly, they learned that the only part they were responsible for in evangelism was being obedient to share their witness - and then let God do the rest - even if the end result may not be seen for years to come.

Isaiah 50:4-9 (in the Message version) states "The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue, So I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, Wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders. The Master, God, opened my ears, and I didn't go back to sleep, didn't pull the covers back over my head. I followed orders, stood there and took it while they beat me, held steady while they pulled out my beard, Didn't dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face. And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I'm not disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I'll never regret this. My champion is right here. Let's take our stand together!"

So tonight, my prayer is that I will dance with the Master, encourage tired people, follow orders, and speak the words that God has given me to speak and tell a world about Jesus. I still have a lot to learn about sharing my faith but I do know this - as awkward or uncomfortable as I feel today, I won't feel that way the next time or the time after that. I know if I practice and give my two left feet over to the Master, he will lead me through a delicate and beautiful dance. And regardless of what anyone has to say when the dance is over, I will have danced.

P.S Happy Birthday Mom! (and I know you love Dancing with the Stars) Your 75 years on this earth have been a blessing. You are a wonderful mom, wife, grandmother, and friend - and your life and story has been an encouragement to many. And with your new pacemaker, you can dance all night long.




Friday, March 30, 2012

Blessed to be Back Home

Titus and Becky came home from the hospital at 2:30pm today. I think the smile on his face pretty much says how he feels about being home.


Within minutes of taking this picture, Titus was sound asleep - and a few minutes later, Becky was sound asleep. I'm sure they are both very happy to be back in their own beds.

It was a long week, but we are always incredibly grateful and blessed on how we are carried through the week by prayers, support, and food.

Ever since our boys were young, whenever we drop them off anywhere (and we still say it today), we always leave them with 3 small words - Be a Blessing! And today, I want to thank all of you for being a blessing to our family.

And speaking of blessings, Titus' Fotolanthropy video continues to be viewed, shared, blogged, and posted all over the place. We love knowing that Titus' story is being a blessing to others.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hunger is not a Game

Much has been written and posted about the Hunger Games over the last week. The much anticipated movie 'The Hunger Games' brought in $155 million on it's opening week - and buzz is strong that it's second weekend will continue to be big.

And there is an incredible irony to that.

The movie (and book) shows a society that values entertainment over life. The reality game aspect of 24 tributes thrown into the arena is equal parts Survivor, Gladiator, and Lord of the Flies. And all is filmed for the rest of the country to watch their performance, bet on their success, and send gifts (hmmm - kind of sounds like American Idol)  until one wins it all - and is set for life.

And yet, with all the talk of teen-on-teen violence, I think we are missing the parallels to our own society.

You see, we will spend $155m in one weekend (not including the spend on popcorn/candy/pop) to see a movie called the Hunger Games, but did we do anything to wipe out hunger?

And if you think that statistic is startling, Americans spend $2.3 billion (yes . . that is a B as in BILLION) on candy for Halloween last year. Considering our youth in America are struggling with childhood obesity, that's a bit ironic that we will spend that much money to give out candy for ONE night of the year.

And why . . . because we want to be entertained, we want to be full, we want to have fun.

Meanwhile, millions of children are dying around the world due to hunger, famine, lack of clean water. For the cost of $900 or less, a well can be drilled in Africa that provides clean water for a village. If a village has clean water, children do not have to spend their day walking to miles to a water source and back  (sometimes multiple times a day) - which means they can attend school and get an education. And if a child can have clean water and receive an education, he can change the scourge of poverty and famine that he lives in.

Wouldn't it be great if the producer/distributor of the movie stated they really wanted to do something about the real hunger games in this world and donated a part of the profits to ending hunger.

Wouldn't it be great if we all made a donation to our local food bank (or started to save money to drill a well in Africa) equal to the amount of money that we spent on our personal entertainment/comfort this week? If you can spend $4 for a cup of coffee everyday, imagine how many kids could eat for $4 (and let's face it, do we all really NEED another cup of coffee - some of you have a little too much caffienne as it is).

Let me be transparent - I have read the trilogy of 'The Hunger Games' (haven't seen the movie . .  yet). I thoroughly enjoyed them as fiction books. And, yes, I have let Aidan and Noah read them (ages 15 and 13). Personally, I didn't find the violence in the book to be anymore violent than what I have read in my Bible. And I do realize there is a difference between a sentence telling of a killing versus a brutal depiction of it on the big screen. But, I didn't see violence as the theme of the book.

I saw the humanity of a girl who loved her family and friends so much that she was willing to sacrifice her own life (Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13).

I saw that the events of a life may not be what you envisioned, but there are times you have to step up and do that which is right ("For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14)

I saw a society in the book that valued entertainment more than worship, selfishness more than selflessness, pain more than grace, power more than serving. And I realized, we may be closer to the region of Panem than we think.

But, as shown in the book - one small spark can catch fire - and one person who is willing can make a difference. One person can help inspire others to make a difference, to right a wrong, to change their world. And as Christians, isn't that what we should be doing - changing our world . . . catching fire?





Improvement

I almost hate to blog this - but Titus has been fever free for over 12 hours (probably longer) and he is showing improvement. At this rate, he (and Becky) should be able to come home tomorrow (Friday). Which would be absolutely wonderful - we have a full weekend coming up.
  • Tucker has his first machine-pitch baseball game Friday night and Saturday morning. I think he has slept in his uniform all week getting ready for the game.
  • Aidan continues to line up jobs on the weekend as he is earning money for Africa Mission Trip this summer. I truly appreciate his strong work ethic and willingness to find ways to work for his trip. Becky and I would LOVE to go with him (Africa is on my bucket list), but it's not going to happen this year.
  • As melancholy as Noah is, I believe Noah has learned this week how much he misses everyone being around the house. I anticipate Noah spending a lot of time playing with Tucker and Cade, watching over Titus, and just being in the room with his mom.
  • And much like Noah, Quita (the golden) has really missed everyone in the house. Everynight I come home, she has been hyper - even though she has been home with Noah all day. Well - not everynight. Last night she was hiding from me when I got home at 9:30 pm. And then I found out she had eaten the remaining blueberry pie that I was dreaming about all day. This week, I found her in Titus' room in Titus bed - she can't be a guard dog without her little boy to protect.


As for me and Becky, we can't wait to have all our boys back under one roof and Becky and I can be in our own bed. When Titus is in the hospital and Becky is gone, I can't sleep - and I have stayed up way too late everynight this week and watched way too many movies. And Becky has slept in a hospital bed, gently interupted by nurses every 3 hours that come in to check on Titus.

Becky so appreciates all the prayers, phone calls, and FB posts yesterday for her birthday. That will be the other thing we get to do this weekend - celebrate her birthday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fever, Infection, Fever

As many know, we are blessed to have nursing for Titus 6 nights a week. Saturday night is the one night a week that Becky and I care for Titus which allows our nurses the opportunity to spend Saturday evening at home and allows for them to go to worship on Sunday mornings. (It may also explain to a few of you why I may nod off during worship sometimes - trust me, I LOVE FBC McKinney and Pastor Lee, but some mornings, having me sit still in a dark worship center after a night of ups and downs is just a little too comfortable).

Last Saturday night, around 3am, Titus began to run a fever. Now while running a small fever is not too big of a deal, we could observe after a few hours that this was not a run-of-the-mill fever. His breathing was labored (poor guy was just panting), his O2 SATS kept dropping and I kept turning up the O2 to maintain. By the time Becky and the boys returned from church, I was ready to take him to the ER. But, as soon as Becky got home, he showed improvement for the next few hours.

At 4pm on Sunday, we noticed that he was cycling back to breathing hard and fever and we decided that now was the time to go the ER instead of 10pm that night. Becky and Titus headed off to Medical City Childrens while I stayed home with the boys.

Since Titus is a regular visitor at Medical City Childrens Hospital, he was immediately taken back at the ER and bloodwork confirmed infection. By midnight he was ensconced in his room on the children's floor. Over the last few days, he continues to fight the fever and infection. He's on some heavy-duty antibiotics that are attacking the infection portion, but the little guy has just been miserable. Until last night, he hasn't really been resting like he usually does. But last night, he slept well and today he seems to be a little perkier.

Today was a special treat - the music therapist came by - and Titus thoroughly enjoyed feeling the vibrations of the guitar and beating the drum. As I was leaving today, physical therapy was coming in to work with him.



Becky shared with me that she had a roomful of nursing students in Titus' room last night and it gave her a chance to share how Titus is 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.

And today, March 28, is Becky's birthday. I'm sure spending the entire week at the hospital was not what she had planned this week, but she's been blessed with friends who have brought food and visited. So, while your praying for Titus, please pray for Becky. She's a blessing to me, blessing to all our boys, and such a blessing to others.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

God Hears the Prayers of the Righeous

We returned home from Honduras last night.


The word "WOW" just really doesn't convey all that occured or happened during the week. And it may take a few posts to summarize everything.

Let me recap just a bit - Our church (First Baptist McKinney) takes a spring break mission trip for the youth called AWOL (A Work of Love). This year's trip was to Siguatepeque, Honduras and we took 71 young people and adults. After 21 hours of travel (drove from Dallas to Houston, flew to Miami, flew to San Pedro Sula, bus ride to Siguatepeque) we divided into multiple teams to work with churches in the area.

My team of Deanna, Elizabeth, Kenzie, Anna Lauren, Dillon, Andrew, Landon, and Sutton, along with our incredible translator, Jose from El Salvador, went to Jesus de Otoro - a small village outside of Siguatepeque. The town is in a beautiful valley surrounded by moutains and fields of coffee beans. The only paved road in town is the highway that runs through the town. Dogs, chickens, cattle, pigs roam the streets freely - and the first lesson we learned in Honduras is that roosters crow all night long (whoever told me that roosters only crow at sunrise obviously has never been to Honduras).

As I mentioned in my last post, the team had 3 major prayer concerns and I wanted to let you know that God answered those prayers abundantly.

Many of the teens were worried about the food. Let me just say, we were fed like royalty. The pastor's wife cooked every meal for us (we slept/stayed at the Iglesia Bautista Nazarete). And her prayer request was that none of the Norte Americano's would get sick from her cooking. The church traveled many miles to purchase familiar food for us such as Corn Flakes, pancake mix, iced tea mix. We had fried fish, fried chicken, traditional Honduran meals, and developed a new dish we call the 'DillonBreakfast Burrito' which is a corn flakes, sliced bananas and honey rolled up in a pancake. No one got sick and one of the boys (who will remain nameless) even said "this is better than my Mom's home cooking" - while another stated "this beats Taco Bell".

The second prayer request was for boldness. And here is where I truly stand amazed. Each of us, each day had the opportunity to be bold in our witness. We spoke in schools, presented the gospel, and saw a harvest of souls. We picked up trash, and met people on the side of the road and saw do an incredible work of saving souls. We played soccer, went to the marketplace, went to the parks, even at the pool - and everywhere we went, God paved the way and the team was bold in presenting the gospel.

And my main prayer request was that we would serve in a church that had a plan for our week. Boy, oh boy, did our pastor have a plan. The pastor had planned opportunities for us to serve each and every day - from preaching, to school programs, to playing soccer (with a few pros), to picking up trash, to making door-to-door visits with church members, to witnessing in the parks/marketplace - we did not have a dull or unplanned moment.







One of the teens stated to me in a slightly amazed/astonished voice "God REALLY answered all of our prayers!" And if there is anything I can pray that we all learned last week was this  - God hears the prayers of the righteous. Thanks for the prayers - will share more later.

Friday, March 9, 2012

AWOL: Honduras

It's late Friday night and I really should be in bed. Aidan, Noah, and I will be leaving at 6am for Honduras with 68 others from our church, FBC McKinney. AWOL (A Work of Love) is the annual spring break mission trip for our youth group and this year's trip is Siguatepeque, Honduras.

We are going there to serve - and we will be looking for any and every opportunity to spread the gospel during the week. We covet your prayers. All 3 of us will be in different groups and I have a great group of teens in my group. Please lift up Dillon, Anna Lauren, Kenzie, Landon, Sutton, Andrew, Elizabeth and my other co-leader Deanna as we serve at Nazarete church. We have been meeting as a group over the last few weeks and I'll share the 3 major concerns they have shared with me.

  • Many of them are nervous about the food - so prayers that we will graciously eat that which is before us and maintain good health while there is one of the concerns.
  • We are all praying for boldness in our witness and presentation - especially since none of us are very convincing in our spanish (but we do sing with mucho gusto).
  • And we are all praying for rest and that we will be a blessing to our host homes.
While I'm gone, Tucker and Cade are taking a camping trip with Nana while Becky and Titus rest at home. Titus has been doing great, but in the last 2 days has had a bout of the runs - let's just say last night was a blowout of nuclear proportions. While he is exhibiting no other symptoms, and we "think" he may be cutting a tooth, it's a bit unusual for him. During his last hospital stay, Titus lost his first tooth - and it appears his new one is coming in.

And mom had surgery on her hand this week to repair the fracture in her wrist. She's still in a bit of pain but is at home resting, staying on her meds, and keeping it iced.

Last of all, thank you so much for the many comments/emails about Titus Fotolanthropy video. We have so appreciated the love shown and the numerous people who have shared his video. Please keep sharing his video. We want the world to know that all children are a blessing from the Lord - and that joy can be found in all circumstances.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Unexpected Joy

We have been waiting to share this with you.

Several months ago, we were approached by Fotolanthropy with an incredible opportunity. Katie Norris Photography and Jonathon Link Studios spent the day with us taping and taking pictures of Titus and the the family. Becky and I had a chance to share about Titus' story and the journey of the last 4 years.

And here's the result.




You can also see the results here.
http://www.fotolanthropy.com/2012/03/fotolanthropy-unexpected-joy/
We are thrilled. We are humbled. We are blessed. Please pass along the message of Titus and the mission of Fotolathropy.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Countdown to AWOL: Honduras

In 5 days, Aidan, Noah, and I (along with 68 other youth/adults) will head out to Honduras for FBC McKinney's AWOL (A Work of Love) spring break mission trip. We are all very excited about next week and all that God has in store for us. We are each on different teams - I have 7 teens in my group (2 in high school and 5 in junior high) along with Deanna P who will be co-leading the group. At this point, we are prepared to share our testimony, share in schools about life in the USA and overall, be available to assist the church we are at with what they want us to do.

We covet your prayers during the week. Becky, Titus, Tucker, & Cade will enjoy spring break in town (although I hear that Tucker and Cade may take a small camping trip).

All I can say is - what a great way to spend Spring Break! And I have to add this on Aidan and Noah. When we decided to go, both boys came to us and told us they would pay for their trip. And they did. In fact, they worked, saved, and found ways to earn money and paid off their trip way before the final deadline of the last payment. I couldn't have been more proud of my boys and the ownership they took in earning their money for this trip.(I even asked them if they wanted to chip in and pay for some of their dad's trip - they told me I could find ways to earn the money if I put myself out there).

Titus has been doing great at school. Along with all of us, he's got allergies from all the spring in the air and wind blowing, but he's been healthy and happy while back at school.

Aidan and Noah also have their one-act plays this week for Enrichment (Aidan is in Tom Sawyer, Noah is in Charlotte's Web).

And my wonderfully active mom had a slight accident on Friday and fractured her wrist. She will be going to the orthopedic surgeon this week to find out if she needs surgery or casting. She's never had a broken bone before, but as I told her, Dad waited till he was 72 before he broke a bone, I waited till I was 32 before I broke my arm - we Daily's are just 'late in life' achievers when it comes to the broken bone department.

And last of all, Aidan is praying/preparing to go on the high-school mission trip to Africa this summer. This trip will cost a lot more than Honduras. As he told me, "don't worry dad, I have a plan". And I trust that he does - Aidan has full confidence he can earn $2500 over the next few months. And if you have any work for him, he would be glad to take it on. He can house sit, babysit, pet sit, mow lawns, clean out garages, etc. You can email him at aidandaily@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Resting (and other topics)

Titus came home on Sunday afternoon - and while he is so glad to be home in a familiar surrounding, he's still got pneumonia and still sick. He requires a lot of deep suctioning throughout the day (something that he intensely dislikes), but he always calms down quickly as soon as it's over.

We are watching him very, very carefully to assure he remains stable and calm. He won't be returning to school until we know he is back to 100%.

As usual, when Titus is in the hospital, we all settle into our "hospital routine." But for some reason, over the last few years, I have developed an inability to sleep at home when Titus/Becky are at the hospital. This means, I am watching moview, reading books, and only getting 3-4 hours of sleep at night. Last Saturday night was one of those nights.

But, Sunday morning, Aidan, Noah, and I needed to be at church for an 8am meeting for our upcoming mission trip to Honduras. Punctuality is key to these meetings (for those who have been on a Youth FBC McKinney mission trip - you know exactly what I mean). As Noah, Aidan and I practiced our spanish, we keep getting tickled since one of my boys has a propensity of messing up Jorge and Jesus. I assure him that JorgeCristo will mean nothing to the Hondurans.

All through the meeting and Sunday School, I am struggling to stay coherent and awake (although I'm not entirely sure I was coherent on my words). But once church started, the caffiene had kicked in and I was ready for a great time of worship. Pastor Lee brought an incredible sermon on the end times and the "crowns" awaiting those believers. As I sit between Tucker and Cade, my heart is full with the incredible sense of worship.

As the service was ending and Pastor Lee was beginning to pray, I closed my eyes deep in prayer only to be startled with the what happened next.

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My eyes open, and Tucker looks at me with that grin - which then breaks into a smile - which is leading to a laugh. Meanwhile, the pastor is still praying, Noah's shoulders are shaking, and as I look around, I see those sitting around me stifling the laughter through the prayer.

Tucker whispers (quite loudly) "I couldn't help it - it just came out".

And while I believe spontaneous praise should burst out during worship, I'm not convinced that burping falls into that category. So, to my incredible pastor, church, and those sitting around us on on the 3rd row, I offer my deepest apologies for the disturbance (and smell) of Tucker's burp duing the most sensitive time of the service. All I can say is - we are working on it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Coming Home

Becky is headed home with Titus - while he has gotten better over the last few days, he still has some recovery to do before he has back to 100%.

We are all ready for Titus (and mom) to be back home. While Titus was in the hospital, he was on a steroid that made him hyper. He would thrash his toys around the bed, throw his pillows off the bed, and was pretty funny with all the extra "strength" he seemed to be exuding. They took him off the steroid yesterday, took his IV out today, and all of his antibiotics can be given through his G-tube now.

The boys and I went up to spend some time at the hospital yesterday. I think the picture pretty  much speaks for itself.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Slow Improvement

Titus is showing improvement - slow and steady. His oxygen has been turned down, but is still twice the level we have him at home. When he's awake, he's content and alert (except when the nurse is giving him meds in his IV). Becky has propped him up in the chair so he's not laying down all the time.

In some ways, Titus is just like any other kid in the hospital. He gets bored when there's nothing to do. He is used to going to school, going to therapy, and having 4 older brothers play with him all day. And at the hospital - well, he has mom and the nurses. And this video shows you what he is up to.


video

But, this morning, Titus had a first. Becky mentioned last night that Titus had a loose tooth. Now, this is a little strange since most 4 year olds aren't loosing their teeth yet. But since Titus was born with a horseshoe-shaped cleft palate, the doctors were always wondering what teeth would come in. And, for those that have seen his smile, you know that Titus has a full set of teeth. Several of his teeth though are fused together and pretty stained.

This morning - he lost his first baby tooth. Becky is trying to get a picture of him without it and as soon as I have it, we will post it.

At this point, we anticipate Titus coming home Sunday, but as we have learned, we take it each day as it comes.

And, I have to say this - thank you to Becca and Melissa for going down and visiting with Becky and Titus yesterday. That made her day and you guys made her laugh. You two are precious friends and we love your families dearly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

15 Years Ago

15 years ago, Becky and I were at the hospital anticipating Aidan's arrival. And right before midnight, Aidan was born. With Aidan's birth, our journey into parenthood began. And the last 15 years have been quite a ride. So, to my oldest son, happy birthday. You are a joy and make your parents proud.

And tonight, 15 years later, Becky is in the hospital again - this time with Titus. This morning, Ada,  Titus' nurse, stated Titus had started running a low fever. So we kept him home from school - and within the next few hours, his fever rose, his breathing became more labored, and his oxygen kept getting turned up. At 10:30am, Becky took him down to the ER at Children's Medical City and the diagnosis came back as pneumonia. Within a few hours, Titus was admitted to a room and has been resting.

We are very fortunate and thankful for the staff at Children's Medical City who know Titus so well and for his doctors who know how quickly Titus can take a turn for the worse. We are confident that he is where he needs to be.

Our prayers are that the antibiotics provided will help his body fight the pneumonia and infection. We know Titus' lungs are so compromised even without pneumonia. We anticipate he will be spending the next few days in the hospital.

Becky took this picture this morning before his fever was up - Tucker loves playing with Titus (and Quita is a great sport to be a pillow).