Story of a baby

This is a letter I read in church last winter during a testimony service:

Our second son was born in of 1976 in central Florida. He was a long time coming as his older brother was almost 11. We were so excited to finally have another son. You see, his older brother came with many medical problems involving several major surgeries and procedures. We did not know if we ever wanted anymore children, but time has a way of healing your memories, too.

So, I had some problems the last three months before he was born, but we never thought that he would be born with a fractured and depressed skull. The doctor wanted to do a C-Section, but he did not have time as the baby started making his appearance —feet first. One arm was also up, so he had a time when he was not breathing. The doctor came out to my husband, shaking his head, and said “it looks bad“. He was taken to baby ICU and put on machines to monitor him. By the next day, he had at least two seizures. It was not known whether the seizures were from depression on the skull, or resulted from the fracture. A neurosurgeon was called and surgery was scheduled for Monday. Our pediatrician called together my husband, his mother and father, our pastor, and a nurse friend went with them. The pediatrician said the situation was very grave. If he lived, he might be a vegetable. Or, if he lived, he might never suck a bottle, he might be paralyzed, he might never crawl or walk or talk. We would not know what part of the brain had been affected until he came to that period in his life. Then, he said that if this did not happen, that he would have some extreme positive effects instead of negative, but there was a very small chance that could happen.

On Monday, there were several friends and church friends who came to the hospital to pray while surgery was going on. This was a ping pong fracture. The process was to drill a hole through the skull and put an instrument in there, pop the depression back out. Surgery went well, and we took him home when he was eight days old. Amazing!! He was to take a very small dose of Phenobarbital every day for one year. This was because they did not want him to have any seizures. They just were not sure what had caused them before the surgery.

He sucked a bottle, moved around like nothing had ever happened to him. We knew God had worked a miracle. As his parents, this reassures our belief and faith in miracles and the healing power of God. Our son is living proof of that fact.
After reading this letter, I let them know that it was actually from my mother and that I was the baby in the letter. It was neat hearing the reaction of the congregation, most of whom had no idea that the letter was actually about me!
Be blessed, and let us realize how blessed we are, constantly and continually.

Holding Ben for the first time

Princess Melea

Princess Melea

My middle child, Melea, is 4 years old. She gives truth to the quote, “out of the mouth of babes…” She picks up everything and repeats it when we least expect it. I remember having a vivid imagination as a child, but not at the age of 4!
The other day, I was in the bedroom tinkering around on the computer and mommy was in the living room. It wasn’t any louder or quieter than normal, and we have a small house, so we were fairly sure no one was endangering life or limb.
Then she comes to me and says something like:
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”
“Yes Melea?”
“I have something to tell you.”
Now, she precedes everything she needs to tell, ask, or otherwise state with that sentence right there. Whether she is apologizing, asking for food, or saying “I love you,” she always begins with “I have something to tell you” and then waits for you to zoom in on her, lest she repeat the phrase again.
Now my daddy-o-meter kicked in. I honestly have a bad habit of zooming out of the world around me and zooming into whatever little activity I am doing (frequently computer related activities). But fortunately, God gave me the good sense to recognize that the plea from my child is more important than anything on a computer, and I was able to come out of my trance and focus on what my little girl was trying to tell me.
“Would you come buy something?” she asked.
Intrigued, I follow her right down the hall and immediately see that she has set up a store in our hallway, sprawling out from the bathroom door. All kinds of wonderful goodies are for sale. Please see the picture below:

You might notice stuffed animals, a water gun, mommy’s dress shoes and tennis shoes (I had already purchased my dress shoes for 20 cents before I had the presence of mind to take a picture), toilet paper, and various other goodies acquired from several rooms in the house.
Seriously, did I do this sort of cute stuff when I was 4 years old?
Not too many days ago I spent the ride home stifling tears as I listened to a new Point of Grace song that reminded me of Melea. She loves to dance and loves to be called Princess. She’s independent and yet she’s a great cuddler if she’s in the right mood. She’s moody like her daddy but big-hearted as any 4 year old I’ve ever seen. She’ll often confess to something she didn’t do so her big sister won’t get into trouble. What a girl. I can’t wait to see her grow up!
Here’s the words to that song:
spinning around of the tops of his feet
smile of the angels cannot be so sweet
wide blue eyes and piggy tail swirls
she’s her daddy’s girl
cuz’ he knows the jokes that always make her laugh
takes her for ice cream instead of her math
at the end of the day by the light of the moon
they turn up the music in their living room
and she yells

dance me dance me around till my feet don’t ever touch down
theres nothing better than being your girl and if i am your princess
then daddy you are the king of the world

its funny how life moves in circles of time to think so long ago
that face was mine houses get smaller
we take different names but some things in life stay the same

dance me dance me around till my feet don’t ever touch down
there’s nothing better than being your girl and if i am your princess
then daddy you are the king of the world

some day she’ll go off and find a life of her own
and marry a good man and make a happy home
until she comes back and sees with those same eyes
what time cannot disguise
she walks through the door with that look on her face
cuz’ daddy’s brown hair has all turned to gray
they talk for hours they cry and they laugh
watchin’ old movies and time goes by just as she turns to go she says
hey day how ‘bout one for the road

dance me dance me around till my feet don’t ever touch down

dance me dance me around till my feet don’t ever touch down
cuz’ there’s nothing better than being your girl
oh there’s nothing better than being your girl and if i am your princess
then daddy you are the king of the world
king of the world
smile of the angels could not be so sweet

How blessed I am watching my children grow up! More on the other two some other time.

Remembering Ardis

It’s been a few weeks since Ardis passed away. I wanted to share the article I wrote about Ardis in the June 16 Choir Newsletter as it has been requested by a few folks recently.

Ardis Tracy. Wow. What a lady. Her beliefs were evident. Her obstacles in life were enormous. Her resolve and determination were still there. Most people in her position wouldn’t fathom being part of a huge, stress-inducing Easter musical, but she hung in there. She fought along the way and she made it through.
My first memory of Ardis that comes to mind now was during my “interview” Sunday. It didn’t take long for her to make an impression on me. I remember sitting in service, everyone listening to Pastor, and she nonchalantly gets up, walks out through the choir door, gets this huge folder of music, brings it to me, and proceeds to try to have a conversation about why she wants me to have the book (yes, in the middle of service!). Apparently she already knew that I was the next worship pastor, even though that hadn’t been officially determined yet. She always put it “out there,” didn’t she?
Not to stop there, she lent us SO MUCH STUFF. In fact, we have at our house an Ardis box of stuff which we will need to decide what to do with now. Most of it is old choir music copies, CDs, a book or two, and some miscellaneous letters. Not valuable to anyone in terms of material, but it was her effort to see that I had an easier time of things by seeing what previous worship pastors did and giving me ideas that might work and some that absolutely would not work.
In particular, she did give us some great ideas during the Easter play. She was the one who showed us Nathan’s draw-up of how the choir was arranged into smaller sections that were mobile during the Easter play, giving the traditionally static choir a sense of fluidity and flexibility.
That was Ardis who showed us that. As you know, Sarah and I obviously went with that idea. Ardis was a packrat in keeping every single letter, paper, CD, and piece of music that had ever been passed out. She of course added her notes to it, all over it, etc….scripture verses, notes about pastoral staff, personal encouragements, etc.
I couldn’t possibly put myself in the position she was in. In my own frame of mind, going through life on a day-to-day basis can be frustrating, overwhelming, and challenging. Physically and mentally, I have no issues that would make that worse. Ardis was in a place I couldn’t imagine being in. And yet, we are able to remember some key personality characteristics about her:
-A big heart and a huge smile. That was one big-hearted lady. She gave me all that stuff because she wanted to help me and assist me.
-Never met a stranger. She personally invited and gave out more tickets than any other single person in our church, and was directly responsible for at least a dozen or two visitors to our passion play.
-Enthusiasm. She had one of (if not “the”) liveliest face, most exaggerated motions, and most engaging stage presence of anyone on the stage.
-Sang for the Lord. It didn’t matter to her what her personal singing ability was. She sang for the Lord, and she wanted as many people to know it as possible. It wasn’t in a boastful way. She truly wanted to lead people in worship by having them hear her worship. That lady was a magnet to microphones!
Great memories. We’ll miss her. We could never replace her. I think we can all think about the way Ardis was and take a lesson. It’s ok to be emotional in our praise. Look at what God did for us! It’s ok for us to engage our world. It’s ok for us to have a big heart for the needs of others. I am thankful for the great lessons and the reminders I learned from Ardis Tracy in the short time I knew her. We’ll see her soon!