Saturday, May 07, 2016

I Testify That Angels Are Sent To Help Us



I came across this post I made on Facebook last year just 7 days following major surgery.  I had forgotten about this post but since Facebook sends reminders of posts we made "On This Day", I decided that I didn't want to forget about this experience and the testimony I shared so I'm posting it here.
  

I can also testify that angels are all around us to help us through whatever trials we are going through. I love that Jessica finds ways of letting me know that she is near. I could feel her love as well as many others when I was preparing for surgery and while in the hospital afterwards. I was dealing with a great amount of pain while trying to come out of the anesthesia. My oxygen saturation kept dropping down into the low 70% which is really bad for most of us. I was having a hard time waking up and wasn't breathing like I should so they couldn't give me any more pain meds. I could tell that the nurse really felt bad that she couldn't take away my pain. She would keep reminding me to take deep breaths and she tried to get me to relax but I was in so much pain all my muscles were tightening up. She said that I would hold my breath because it hurt so much to breathe which was also a natural response to dealing with pain but I needed to take deep breaths in order to bring my O2 sats up. While going in and out of consciousness and trying to breathe through the pain I was praying for help from the other side of the veil. I remember praying silently through the tears for the Lord to send Jessica to be by my side and to help me through the physical and emotional pain. I felt comforted by the Holy Spirit telling me that Jessica was already by my side as well as many other angels. It took much longer for me to get to where they could move me to a room and for them to allow Karl to come in and be with me.
I had a rough night keeping my O2 sats and required oxygen all up that night. My pain was way up so they did their best to help me with it but I couldn't have too much pain meds due to me not keeping my sats up when I would try to sleep. (I could have sleep apnea and will be investigating that when I follow up with my primary care doctor.)
Through it all and since I've been home I have felt my loving Angel Jess helping me. I have no doubt that other angels are helping me too. I'm sure that my grandparents, aunt, nephew, cousin and more are cheering me on. I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the opportunity to be with my fall through all eternity. ♡
I can also testify that angels are all around us to help us through whatever trials we are going through. I love that Jessica finds ways of letting me know that she is near. I could feel her love as well as many others when I was preparing for surgery and while in the hospital afterwards. I was dealing with a great amount of pain while trying to come out of the anesthesia. My oxygen saturation kept dropping down into the low 70% which is really bad for most of us. I was having a hard time waking up and wasn't breathing like I should so they couldn't give me any more pain meds. I could tell that the nurse really felt bad that she couldn't take away my pain. She would keep reminding me to take deep breaths and she tried to get me to relax but I was in so much pain all my muscles were tightening up. She said that I would hold my breath because it hurt so much to breathe which was also a natural response to dealing with pain but I needed to take deep breaths in order to bring my O2 sats up. While going in and out of consciousness and trying to breathe through the pain I was praying for help from the other side of the veil. I remember praying silently through the tears for the Lord to send Jessica to be by my side and to help me through the physical and emotional pain. I felt comforted by the Holy Spirit telling me that Jessica was already by my side as well as many other angels. It took much longer for me to get to where they could move me to a room and for them to allow Karl to come in and be with me.
I had a rough night keeping my O2 sats and required oxygen all up that night. My pain was way up so they did their best to help me with it but I couldn't have too much pain meds due to me not keeping my sats up when I would try to sleep. (I could have sleep apnea and will be investigating that when I follow up with my primary care doctor.)
Through it all and since I've been home I have felt my loving Angel Jess helping me. I have no doubt that other angels are helping me too. I'm sure that my grandparents, aunt, nephew, cousin and more are cheering me on. I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the opportunity to be with my fall through all eternity. ♡

Monday, February 29, 2016

Letting Go

On this last (extra) day of February I feel it's fitting to post this photo. My dear friend Jen L Baker's daughter, Jessi, passed away just a couple of days ago from congestive heart failure due to CHDs and leukemia, etc. As you all know my daughter, Angel Jess passed away from CHDs and Ischemic Bowel Syndrome 5 years ago.
My heart has been so heavy knowing that my dear friend and her family are going through the heartbreak of losing a child too. A lot of what I went through with Jessica has come back to me. Watching Jessica take her final breath and watching her heart stop forever came back as if it happened yesterday. There are times that my loss feels so raw and all I want to do is hold my daughter one more time. As I count the months and years that go by at times I still feel as if I'm in that moment again, telling her to go to the light while on the inside I was crying, "Don't leave me!!!" That's the ultimate sacrifice. Thinking of her welfare above my own. That's what Jen had to do as well.
Praying for your child to be taken in order for their suffering to end is the least selfish thing a parent can do for their dying child. We fought for our daughters their whole lives, getting them the best care they deserve, best possible education, best therapies, home nurses, fighting with insurance companies, medical supply companies and sometimes fighting with doctors and other medical professionals to LISTEN to us because we're the ones who are there 24/7 and we know our children better than anyone else. For 22 years + 4 months for me and almost 22 years for Jen, the last thing we ever wanted to do was to pray for our daughters to leave us but when they have fought so long and so hard and are so tired.... that's when we tell them that it's time to go. We say that will be ok even if we feel like we're lying to them, that's what we say so that they will be able to go. Because we love them. that. much.
I don't have all the answers but grief is something we all must endure sometime in our lives. Grief is messy, it's ugly and it attacks at a whim. There is no timeline for grief and if you think that there are only 5 stages to it or that they come in a particular order, ... you're wrong. Grief has made me say things I never would have said or cried when I never would have cried. It has made me tired, achy and depressed. It has also made me more compassionate and to see the eternal aspects of life with a whole new meaning.
Please be patient with those of us who are still grieving or have just begun this very difficult path. Parents of special needs, medically fragile children like Jen and I have experienced what they call "Anticipatory grief" for many years, not from us sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, but from watching our children fight for their lives again and again and again over the years. Having medical professionals tell us that our child could die at any moment doesn't help that anxiety any either. I have suffered from PTSD for many years having seen my child go through countless hospitalizations, many surgeries including 5 heart surgeries, suffering strokes, being blind and paralyzed, etc. Jessica's death was the ultimate cause of PTSD and I still have flashbacks of the most difficult times in Jessica's life and her death. Her long, painful, difficult death.
This life is not one for the weak of heart.... except that I used to be one of those. I used to throw up in the downstairs bathroom as soon as I got to the hospital before I could go upstairs to see my newborn baby in the PICU when she was first diagnosed with her CHDs. There were times when I had to pray to God saying, "You gave me this child, please make my stomach strong enough that I can change her bandages without throwing up on them." I was one who sat and prayed over her for hours at a time, walking the halls of the hospital with her, doing therapies with her and sitting up with her at night giving her breathing treatments so that she could breathe to live one more day. I was the one who stayed up all night with her as she got older because her anxiety got so bad at night. I was the one who spent the most time with her and did the most for her... and I was the lucky one. My husband had to work to provide a roof over our heads, my sons had to go to school. I was the one who got to spend time watching tv with her late into the night, talking with her, listening to her, calming her fears and holding her. I am the one who benefitted from her beautiful spirit the most and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if it were asked of me to do again.
I know that a lot of other CHD moms, dads and other parents of medically fragile children have been down this road. I know you sacrifice a lot for your children and I see you. I see your sacrifices and your pain but I see the love that you have for your child and it makes me smile. Big.
So on this last day of CHD Awareness month I want to leave with you this image of my husband and I saying 'good bye for now' to our beautiful angel. Far too many CHD families have to say good bye to their children because CHD or CHD-related diseases claimed their lives too soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Silly Socks & Jess

This is a shortened version of the story that I posted online in 2012.  I posted the link to a longer version which has more photos at the end of this note as well as the link in the last sentence.  

Having felt quite alone as a CHD mom for the first 12 years of Jessica's life, I went online in 2000 to see if I could find a support group for families with children with CHD (congenital heart defects).  I found on email support group through CHIN (Children's Heart Information Network) called pdheart. I told our story of how Jessica had endured 5 heart surgeries, 2 strokes and that there wasn't anything else that could be done for her except comfort care. Jessica’s health was declining and we didn't know if she would survive until Christmas. The members on pdheart embraced us and wanted to know how they could show their support. It was a tradition on that support group to wear Christmas Socks for a child when they were going through a hard time so people all around the world started to wear Christmas Socks in Jessica's honor. The word spread like wildfire and to our amazement within a couple of months there were over 12 countries and at least 5,000 people wearing Christmas socks (or Hanukkah socks) as a way to show of their love, support and prayers. Jessica started receiving mail from all over the world as well. She LOVED the attention of course.


Christmas came and Jessica seemed to have improved a little. We enjoyed time with family and were so thankful for all the support. After Christmas was over I started receiving emails from my new-found friends asking what type of socks they should wear next! Soon Valentine's Day socks, Easter socks, Summer socks, polka-dot socks, and even toe socks were being sported around the world in hopes that Jessica would meet the next holiday and the next. After a while everyone started referring to them as "Silly Socks". 

There were many times that Jessica was at death's door and would come back to us. She had many issues including extreme heart arrhythmia, worsening congestive heart failure, bouts of nausea and worsening abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with Ischemia of the Bowels which is a very painful and terminal disease if surgery isn't possible and unfortunately for Jessica, there was nothing that could be done. In 2004 Jessica was placed in hospice due to daily lung bleeds. During that time loving people around the world were praying for and wearing their Silly Socks for Miss Jess. Jessica's hospice nurse took a shot in the dark and recommended morphine therapy to Jessica's pulmonologist and to everyone's amazement the lung bleeds STOPPED!!! 

During all of this Jessica continued to be as happy, loving and giving as she could be. Due to strokes, lack of oxygen to her body & brain (her whole life) and the diagnosis of DiGeorge, sweet Jessica never progressed beyond the level of a 7 - 8 year old. She was always our "little girl" who loved Barbies, princesses, Harry Potter, etc. 

In the summer of 2010 Jessica was nearing the end stages of heart disease and the ischemic bowel disease so we admitted her into a home hospice once again. When I announced the news to our friends on pdheart & other support groups, facebook and other social media, they once again rallied together to wear their Silly Socks for her - not for her to get better, but for her passing to be peaceful and for strength for our family. 

Our dear, sweet, beautiful Jessica Marie went to be with the Lord on October 4, 2010. TEN YEARS after the first Christmas & Silly Socks were first worn on her behalf.

I don't believe that certain socks have any particular powers but what I do believe is that God hears and answers prayers. Friends, family, church members, fellow heart families and even strangers all around the world from all walks of life, all faiths and even self-proclaimed atheists came together on behalf of one sweet, innocent, loving child. The miracle wasn't for her to be cured, but it was to bring all these wonderful people together for a good cause.  Thank you to all of you who have been such a wonderful support to us in the past and who continue to wear their Silly Socks & send messages of support.   

Every year on Jessica's birthday and angelversary we have a Silly Socks FB event where people share photos of their Silly Socks in honor of Jessica and to show their love and support for our family.  Jessica’s worst fear was that she would be forgotten.  “Oh, my dear sweet girl, how could you ever think that anyone could forget such a strong, courageous, loving child as you?”  We’ve met so many people since her death who have never met her who can still feel her legacy of love, hope and faith!  Jessica's quote, when I asked, “What would you want the world to know?” and she immediately said, “Tell everyone that I said to NEVER GIVE UP!  OK, Mommy?  You need to tell the world that I said to NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!”  NEVER give up HOPE!  NEVER give up FAITH! And NEVER, EVER give up on LOVE.

Here is the link to the original story that I posted in 2000 and edited in 2012.  It has photos from that first Christmas the socks were worn (2000).
  


Wearing Christmas socks:  L-R
Jessica's Aunt Alice (only one foot in photo), her Aunt Mandy, Jessica (herself -purple pants), her Aunt Karen and me - the Mom  

To read more about Jessica's CHDs (Congenital Heart Defects) click here and here. To learn more about Jessica's 5 heart surgeries please click here 

Thank you for stopping by!
 

Friday, October 09, 2015

5 Year Angelversary & CCHD Conference

I hope you all will bear with me. Jessica's angelversary was on Sunday but I am still having difficulty accepting that it's been 5 years since I held my beautiful, amazing, sweet, loving daughter Angel Jess. The pain isn't as raw as it used to be and I am able to focus on other things but sometimes it feels like an eternity until I get to see her again. Since my presentation at the CCHD (Critical Congenital Heart Defects) I have felt my girl pushing me to share more of her story. There are many amazing stories that I haven't put into writing and I've been too grief-stricken to write about them but since my presentation I've realized how important it is for her story to be told. Jessica's legacy should be shared so that it can live on. She was the most brave, amazing, determined, loving, generous, miraculous "little girl" I'll ever know and I'm soooo grateful that I get to be her mom for all eternity.

I was touched by the concern of the doctors, nurses and midwives who attended and it was great to see one of Jessica's peds cardiologists again. After the presentation he told me that Jessica was a pioneer. It was because of mine & my husband's decisions to have her go through certain surgeries and procedures that many CHD children are benefiting from having them available now. Jessica was the 9th child to ever have the surgery called "Unifocalization of the Collaterals" in all of the US. At the time it was the only hope for Jessica of ever receiving her complete repair. Sadly it did not work for Jess but it is saving lives every day now. They do the surgery at a much younger age now but it wasn't available for Jess until she was 5 years old.

I also had to fight the school district for them to honor Jessica's DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. After over 2 years, I was able to talk to the legal team and we came up with an agreement that DNRs would be honored if there was an Emergency Plan. Believe it or not, it came down to me that someone on the Board of Directors said, "We're not in the business of having dead children on campus". That was the reason they didn't want to honor the DNR orders. They were worried that an ambulance wouldn't take her to the hospital if they didn't start CPR. I found out that they would so that helped my case. Jessica earned the right to die peacefully. Besides, her heart was enlarged so if they started compressions it would only damage her already compromised heart and if they did mouth-to-mouth (as it was done back then) they would have to take off her oxygen so that would have been doing more damage than good. As I was telling this story I held up the original "Emergency Plan" that was the first one ever to be done in the school district. Since then both Karl and I have met people who have thanked us for setting it into place because they had children with DNR orders too.

I had the opportunity to talk to the person in charge of newborn screening in all of Arizona and I shared a flyer that was sent to me by Hazel Greig-Midlane from the UK (THANKS AGAIN!) and we are going to work together to create one to send home with every mother of a newborn baby. The flyer lists all the symptoms that a baby with CCHD - Critical Congenital Heart Defects - would have. Oh how I wish I had had one to put on my fridge to help me know that my daughter was in congestive heart failure. Jessica almost died because I didn't know she was dying. We were told numerous times that if we hadn't brought her in that day she wouldn't have survived through one more night.

This is why CHD & CCHD Awareness is so important. We need to save the lives of babies with CCHD by educating new parents about them. Far too many parents don't know the symptoms and aren't as fortunate as we were. We almost missed out on the best 22 years of our lives with Miss Jessica Marie. We are forever grateful for those years.

Many of you have told me that you miss hearing stories about Jessica and I think I am finally ready to start writing and sharing those stories. Thank you all for your continues support and love. <3 span="">

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia - Jessica style

A friend asked me to help her as she is going to school and needed to interview someone who has experience parenting a Special Needs child.  She thought of Jessica and me and I'm so glad that I had the chance to help out.  I spent quite a bit of time on it today and am including a link about Jessica's heart surgeries so that I don't have to write all of that again.  Here is what I wrote in answer to these three questions:

1- What exactly was Jess's congenital defect?
2- How many surgeries did she have and what was done
3- How did her defect (and surgeries) affect her school and academic learning?


Jessica’s heart defects were: (I am using my own words to describe the heart defects)

1 - 4. Tetralogy of Fallot which consists of 4 heart defects:

    

     1. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD): Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), is a large hole in the septum (heart wall) between the bottom two chambers (ventricles) of her heart.


     2Overriding Aorta: The Aorta is a huge artery that takes blood from the heart to the body.  An Overriding Aorta is when that artery sits directly over the VSD and allows blood from both of the bottom two chambers to go up into the Aorta and out to the body.  A normal Aorta usually sits right on top of the Left Ventricle.  

    

     3Pulmonary Stenosis:  Pulmonary Stenosis is where there is narrowing in the pulmonary artery (which takes blood from the heart to the lungs to receive oxygen).  Jessica’s narrowing was as severe as it gets.  It was narrow all the way through.  To top it off Jessica’s pulmonary arteries only branched out to 1/3 of each lung. 

    

     4Right Ventricular Hypertrophy: Right Ventricular Hypertrophy is where the wall of the heart around the Right Ventricle (the bottom right side or chamber of the heart) is thickened because of the extra work placed on it to pump blood out to the body rather than just to the lungs.


Jessica also had the added complicated CHDs of the following:


5. Pulmonary Atresia: Pulmonary Atresia is where the pulmonary valve that comes up from the Left Ventricle to go out to the lungs is either not working, closed off or not even there at all… as in Jessica’s case.  Jessica wasn’t even both with the piece of Pulmonary Artery that hooks up to the heart; in other words, Jessica had no direct connection between her heart and lungs.  The huge VSD is what saved her life.


6. Pulmonary Branch Stenosis:  Pulmonary Branch Stenosis is where the pulmonary artery branches (where the artery divides into “branches” to take blood out to the lungs) are all very narrow.


7. Nonconfluent Pulmonary Artery Branches:  Nonconfluent Pulmonary Artery Branches means that the pulmonary artery branches don’t branch out to all parts of the lungs.  Jessica's only reached to 1/3 of each lung.  


8. MAPCAS: Major Aortopulmonany Collateral Artery:  MAPCAS: Major Aortopulmonany Collateral Artery(s) is where there are small blood vessels that come off the Aorta and take blood to the lungs that way.  The problem with these blood vessels (often just referred to as collaterals) is that they are taking blood that has the oxygenated & unoxygenated blood mixed together. 


To let you know how rare Jessica's combination of heart defects of just the two:  Pulmonary Atresia and VSD are, In a 2012 study using data from birth defects tracking systems across the United States, researchers estimated that about 1 out of every 10,000 babies is born with pulmonary atresia whereas 1 in every 100 babies are born with CHD.


I edited the image below to point out Jessica’s CHD.

 Here is the original image which includes a normal working heart, Pulmonary Atresia with Tetralogy of Fallot (lower left) and MAPCAs (lower right). 




I gave my friend Amanda the link to Jessica’s 5 heart surgeries but Jessica had quite a few other surgeries as well.  She had to have her extra 2 fingers and 1 toe removed; she had numerous cut-downs on her arteries when they were doing cardiac caths, she was kicked by a horse in 2008 and developed a massive hematoma which had to be operated on.  That left a huge gaping hole which had to be packed every day.  This took an extra amount of time to heal because Jessica’s body didn’t get enough oxygen to the cells for it to heal quickly.  Jessica endured 2 strokes during her first 2 surgeries.  That information is included in the link I sent you about her 5 heart surgeries.  Here’s that link again:  http://fancydancy.blogspot.com/2007/05/five.html

Jessica spent a good part of the first few years of her life at the hospital, doctor’s appointment, labs, going to OT, PT & Speech therapies, etc.  Most babies and young children learn as they do things.  Jessica’s heart was so enlarged and the function was so poor that she could barely sustain life at first, much less have the energy to do things.  On top of that she spent several months recovering from major surgeries which most children don’t have to do.  Jessica’s body was weak so even with the different therapies she wasn’t able to reach milestones at the same time as the healthy children her age.   She sat up on her own when she was one year old and she walked at age 2. 

Over the years her body got stronger… for a little while anyway.  She was able to learn but at her pace.  She seemed to stay on a learning curve similar to her peers except that it was lower than theirs… both physically and academically. 

We participated in a genetics study in 1989 and it turned out that Jessica had DiGeorge Syndrome.  This syndrome can cause many different learning delays as well as medical issues including CHD. 

Over the years it seemed that Jessica had leveled off at the age level of a 7 – 8 year old.  For many years she seemed to be stuck in her routines, activities she liked to do and learning new things became harder for her.  Towards the end of her life she started regressing to an even younger state especially emotionally.  Her anxieties got out of control especially at night.  She started crying more easily and getting her feelings hurt more easily too.  Her pain was way up so I’m sure that had a lot to do with it but she knew that she could die and that scared her too.  

On top of that in 2004 Jessica was placed into a home hospice because she was having lung bleeds.  Those MAPCAs (collaterals that come off the aorta and out to the lungs) were bursting and bleeding into her lungs and any one of them could have been fatal.  The hospice nurse came with me to an appointment with the pulmonologist and she (the nurse) recommended that we try morphine therapy to relax the lungs and it worked!  Jessica was kicked off of hospice because her lung bleeds had stopped.   Jessica had soooo much anxiety during that time… as she was coughing up blood she would cry out, “I’m not ready to die!” as she choked on the blood.  It took me awhile to help her calm down when it was over and then I would have to go and find my youngers sons because they were scared and were trying to comfort each other.  It was very upsetting to our whole family and went on for months where she would cough up blood daily, sometimes several times a day.

Jessica also had ischemia of the bowels which was where the blood vessels going to the gut were very narrow much like her pulmonary artery.  She also didn’t have enough oxygen in the blood that actually got to her gut so over many years her bowels were dying and becoming necrotic.  It was a slow, painful death.  It was very hard on all of us to watch her suffer through so much.

Jessica wasn’t ever able to get enough oxygen in her blood which made her look blue or even dark purple.  Of course that meant that her brain never received enough oxygen either.  Even when wearing oxygen much of Jessica’s blood wasn’t able to reach the lungs to pick up that oxygen.  The oxygen served as a relaxing agent on the pulmonary arteries to help them open up a little big to make her more comfortable. 


We will probably never know the exact reason why Jessica remained as a little girl, only able to understand things at a 7 year old level.  She had several individual things that could have caused it such as delays from being sick, strokes which affected 5 areas of her brain and lack of oxygen to her brain… all I know is that she was perfect just the way God intended for her to be.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Son's Mission and His Testimony

My son, Brandon, served a full-time 2-year mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the Oregon, Salem mission.  Brandon worked hard and saved up money after he graduated from high school so that he could serve this mission.  Yesterday he shared his testimony and how he gained it on Facebook and he gave me permission to share it as well.

"You will often hear me say that I love Oregon, that I would go back as soon as I can if I had the chance. What you don't know, is that I died in Oregon.
You see, before I left, I was an uncertain, selfish, lazy, prideful son of a gun. I knew not my Savior, and I definitely did not know his gospel. I was a punk kid who would angrily argue with anyone who I did not see eye-to-eye with.
Then, something fantastic happened. I was transferred from beautiful Prineville Oregon over to the meth capital of the Northwest, Lebanon Oregon. I was stuck with a missionary who was even more of a selfish jerk than i was, and we had nobody for us to teach. We fought often and I was never happy. One day, after a particularly hard week, we had our quarterly interviews with our Mission President.
President Samuelian, albeit short in stature, was a giant of a man. He knew his Savior, he spoke with power and authority, and he loved his missionaries dearly. The first 5 minutes of our interview, I proceeded to complain about my situation, about how I hated my companion, how I hated my area, and how I didn't understand why he put me in this situation. Then, in a way that I would become all too familiar with, President Samuelian got quiet. He was listening to the Spirit to know what he needed to say to help me.
"Elder Jensen," he began, "are you done?"
"Yeah, actually, I think so," in a matter-of-fact sort of way, I answered.
"Okay," leaning forward so he could look me right in the eye, "let me tell you something..... It's not, about, YOU."
I was stunned, confused, and unsure of what would happen next. President Samuelian proceeded to tell me how selfish I was, about how I didn't have the love for others that I needed, and that I would never be happy like this. His voice struck me to my very core, I knew what he was saying was true.
There were tears. There was weeping. Mostly (actually, entirely) coming from me. He proceeded to teach me that I needed to change, or that I would never have a successful mission.
I began to die at that point. A long process where my heart and soul would suffer more pain than I had ever thought possible. I had many companions out there, each one slowly killing me until, eventually, I perished.
I was also born in Oregon. There, though the love and sacrifice of The Lord Jesus Christ, I was able to take upon myself his name and be able to wear it upon my chest proudly. I learned of him, and I acquired the attributes I needed to become a true follower of his Gospel. The one true Gospel. Selfishness, Pride, and uncertainty gave way to Love, Humility, and Confidence. I was reborn. The process is not complete, by any standards, but I know that I am on the right path.
I died in Oregon. I was also born there too.
I encourage you all to come to know Jesus Christ and to be reborn. He is the only way to peace and lasting happiness. The only way to salvation. His arms are outstretched towards you, all you need to do is to reach for him.
Ask and ye shall receive, knock it shall be opened unto you."

Here's a few photos from his mission.










Thank you for stopping by!









Saturday, August 08, 2015

Poem for Jessica by Mandy Taylor

Poem for Jessica

By Mandy Taylor (Posted on FaceBook on August 8, 2010 at 5:00pm)
For those of you who don't know, I love poetry. I don't write or read it anymore as often as I should.

This particular piece came to me a few years ago in a dream and wouldn't let me rest until I had written it down. I sent it to Nancy shortly after I wrote it and she asked me to find a copy now. I thought I'd share it with everyone, too. Feel free to re-post or direct others here if you desire.

Always the Princess

My family began with my parents' first son
And continued because they couldn't have just one!
Mama hoped next for a beautiful girl
With celestial eyes and hair she could curl.

So I came, then, in answer to prayer,
Her very own princess, though bound to a chair.
Mom and I play, giggle, and talk
Of all things to come when with angels I'll walk.

"Heaven is perfect, my princess," Mom says
As she irons and smooths my favorite dress.
"There you'll never be lonely or gasping for breath.
You'll have more family to love even after your death."

"I like it here, Mama," I say with a tear.
"I'll miss you and Papa. I'll only know fear."
She says, "Hush, now, princess. You've been there before.
God loves you, as I do, and has blessings in store.

Let Him now enfold you as you fall asleep.
I pray every day your soul He will keep.
Fear not if tomorrow in His presence you wake.
It is one step in a journey we all someday take.

I and Papa will follow when God for us calls.
We'll find you and hug you in His glorious halls.
If He calls you and offers His heavenly rest,
Go, my sweet princess. He knows what is best."

"Our family--begun with your very first son--
Is forever! Forever!" Mom smiles, "Yes, the victory's won.
I love you, sweet princess, do not needlessly stay.
We will see you in heaven, in God's glory, one day."