Weather: We Have It

We fled the frigid cold of MN when we moved to TN, but we got some crazy weather in return.

I’ve never lived in a place that could have tornadoes one day and a chance of snow the next. That’s been how things have gone this week.

During the day on Tuesday I had been reading reports that we could have severe thunderstorms and a good possibility of tornadoes late that evening/early Wednesday morning.  I woke up at 3:00 am Wednesday morning and realized I was hearing tornado sirens. I grabbed my tablet and pulled up my twitter feed because I follow the posts of a guy who is a meteorologist and lives really close to us. He said “grab your kids and your shoes and go to a safe place.” So we woke the kids and all of us camped out in the half bath on the main level of the townhouse. We stayed until we got the “all clear”. It was almost 4am at that point. I was a little frightened because the wind was really strong, but the kids did really well.

Franklin did get hit with a tornado. It was a couple of miles from us and thankfully, everyone was safe. It was only a mile long and lasted only a minute. There was some building damage and there are trees down throughout the town. Our next door neighbor’s shutter ended up under Nathan’s car. There were at least 13 tornadoes confirmed from that storm!

Tonight I’m hearing there is a chance of snow. 🙂

In Nathan news, he saw a doctor today to follow-up from the ER visit. Nathan was thoroughly checked over. There is nothing new to report. All the stuff Nathan is feeling and experiencing is “normal” for someone suffering from Bell’s Palsy. The doctor said it could take a long time to get better and that it’s possible that he could get better with weeks or that it’s a permanent thing that he has to deal with. That’s where we are at with that.

 

This is not a sunshine and rainbows post

Nathan is home today. He’s in pain because of using muscles differently and his ear hurts. He gets to see a primary care doctor tomorrow to follow up the ER visit.

Nathan is discouraged and depressed. I feel helpless.

It’s so hard not to know if we should be hunkering down for 3-6 months or more of this. That’s a totally different thing to wrap your brain around than knowing that in two or three weeks things will be better.

Imagine not being able to drink, smile, or blink on one side of your face. Imagine looking sad all the time because you can’t look happy even if you wanted to. It’s just harder than we thought it would be.

Please pray for encouragement and for immediate complete healing for Nathan. Why not ask boldly?

Hey, all!

This is the right half of Nathan’s face reporting in!

My right. Not yours. It’s like a game! Put your hand over the right half of the picture to see how I’m feeling!

Amy’s been keeping everyone appraised of what’s been going on, but I figured I should report in as well. I’m learning about Bell’s Palsy the hard way!

Some surprisingly problematic things with half a face:

  • Whistling. Nope. Completely impossible.
  • Spitting. Not gonna happen. Best you can do is open your mouth over the sink and let the toothpaste drip out like a foaming, rabid dog.
  • Drinking out of a water bottle. Somehow I did this earlier today, but I’m honestly not sure how….
  • Eating yogurt or anything off a spoon. Not impossible, but really humorous to watch.
  • B’s, P’s, V’s, and especially the dreaded F’s. You need to close your lips to make these sounds, and I get a buzz or a pbfbfbfbfbt sound instead…
  • Peanut butter. It gets stuck in your cheek and although you may not notice it, you tense up your cheek when you try to get at it with your tongue.
  • Licking off your fingers. Same pfbfbfbfbfbt sound!
  • Wild wings. I leave that one as an exercise for your imagination!

My face is about the same as it was on Saturday. My eyebrow, eyelid, lip, and nose will occasionally start twitching but nothing major. (I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or not, but it’s kinda fun.) I’m getting better at keeping eye drops in, so my eye isn’t drying out as much as it was Sunday and Monday. I’m settling into a routine and starting to get used to things as they are…

The right side of my face is a little less sore today, though my neck muscles are still doing some weird compensating that leaves them tight and sore. They, too, are less sore than they were yesterday. I must be unconsciously compensating and working muscles in strange ways.

My spirits are up. I was pretty down yesterday night when I realized this could be a long process, and I just couldn’t find a good way to tape my eye shut and things seemed so frustrating.

Today, it’s not so bad. I have an awesome wife and a great family. I have friends at work that will laugh with me. All in all a good life, even if I only have half a face to enjoy it with right now.

:-/

 

Nathan update

So, what day is this? It’s Monday. Nathan started feeling numbness in his face on Thursday (actually a little earlier). If we start counting on Thursday, that makes today day 5.
I just emailed this youtube video to Nathan so he has some tips on taping his eye shut.

I think the most annoying part for Nathan right now is that he needs to manually blink his eye. Keep praying for recovery. I know this is frustrating for Nathan. His “good” side is tired and sore from compensating for the other side.

 

Craziness

Ear infection pain to face/jaw pain to numbness to droppy muscles on the left side of Nathan’s face= classic case of Bells Palsy.

Mostly it’s just annoying for him. I think I’m going to ask him to smile for a picture for you when he gets home 🙂 He really doesn’t have muscle tone on the one side of his face and that means eating and drinking are difficult and so is talking a little. And when he smiles, it’s just half of his mouth that smiles. One of the main things he has to worry about is protecting his eye. He can’t easily blink either. So, at night, he gets to tape it shut.

Once we were pretty convinced that was what was going on, we weren’t that worried. The problem with the symptoms of Bells Palsy is that they are very similar to stroke symptoms and no doctor wants you to call and set an appointment when you might be having a stroke. So we had to go to the ER.

Once we saw the doctor, it took less than a minute for a diagnosis. Now, Nathan has antibiotics for his ear, prednisone and an antiviral and he’s taking ibuprofen. Pray that he will heal quickly. It might be a week or more before he’s back to normal.

The most famous person I know  of who had experiences with this is Jamey Sheridan for Law and Order. You wouldn’t know unless to look for it, but one side of his face droops a little father than the other, the crooked smile and even an eye path. All of this is on this clip of the opening credits. 🙂

 

Thursday Morning Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to post more, but as Jon Acuff has been saying “Action always beats intention'”. So, here I am. The kids are playing for a little while as we start our day and I feel like writing.

We’ve been busy. A typical week for the kids includes school, piano lessons, History Club, Bible Study (the kids have a class while I have a class) and AWANA. We usually meet with our small group from church on Sunday nights. For my schedule, in addition to all the kids’ stuff,  next month, I add a Monday evening Bible study that I’ll be leading and a weekly Tuesday afternoon meeting with my team of table leaders and other helpers.

This week, there are three nights with events booked. Somehow on Friday, I ended up with two places I’m supposed to be at the same time. Still trying to figure out that one!

Nathan celebrated his one year “Lampoversary” earlier this month. If anyone illustrates “lighting up” when they talk about what they do at work, it’s Nathan. They  are working on converting to using the code language that Nathan loves and it’s given him an opportunity to take more leadership and show how amazingly talented he is. He wouldn’t say it in those words exactly 😉 I am so proud of him! He loves what he does, enjoys the people he works with and he has a team leader who regularly tells him that he is doing a great job. The difference in Nathan from a year ago is amazing. I wish we had made the jump a long time ago, but this was God’s timing for us.

We’ll be sending a few more pieces of information to our realtor in regard to our home and it will be listed soon.

Amazingly, the kids have been great while I’ve written this epistle, but now it’s time for me to disconnect from the internet so I can put on my teacher hat and give my kids my attention (not that they really want it!).

A Plan, Perhaps?

We’ve been praying a lot about what we should be doing in regard to housing. We had a meeting with a financial counselor yesterday and he helped us look at options and I think we have a plan that is better than sitting around and wishing for the housing market to get better.

1. We’re going to get our MN house listed for sale and market it to investors. It’s an income generating property. It’s possible that there may be more interest in it because it already has tenants. We’re going to pray that God provides an offer that we could take without short-selling. So, go ahead and tell your friends that we have a great rental property just waiting. It has new landscaping, new carpet and a brand new roof. What more could one want?

2.We’re going to save money to be ready to buy a house next year when our lease is up. Still having a home at the same time in MN wouldn’t be ideal, but if that were the case, we could still make it work. Most likely it would not be a home in this city (because it’s very pricey here). We could easily save several hundred dollars a month by buying a home in a town south of here as opposed to renting a home in Franklin.

So that’s the plan. Please pray with us that God would provide a way to sell our home.

In Which I Talk About Finances

We’ve had some ups and downs when it comes to financial news lately.

A month ago we were thinking we were going to have to find a way to cut our budget by about $570 a month. There are various reasons for this that wouldn’t be appropriate for me to share on a public blog (it’s not really mysterious- if you want more details you can email me!). Suffice it to say, we don’t live a lifestyle that has that much extra to cut out.

Since then, we’ve seen God supply in amazing ways. he has more than made up the difference. One way we’re able to cut our costs is that the kids and I were approved for an individual health insurance policy! Don’t assume that group plans are always less expensive than a plan you can get on your own. It only took us one week to get the paperwork in and to get the approval. I am so thankful.

The other issue has to do with our home in MN. Time and again we’ve had our hopes raised that there is a way for us to refinance. Each time, when I look into it further, we’re told that it’s not an option for us. This has happened so many times. It happened again this week. We found out that we do have a loan that is approved for a streamline refinance- yahoo!! Then I called to find out more and was told it’s not for people that are not occupying the house. Another dead end. I’ve heard other people say that they got a lot of “no”s before they found a “yes’ for refinancing, but I think the only way that would work for us is to be dishonest in our paperwork. We’re not going to give the impression we are living in the home when we are not.

Today we meet with a financial advisor to get some counsel. We keep praying for wisdom for this situation.

God has provided and we know He will continue to do so.

Do-Over

I’m looking forward to a do-over today. Yesterday wasn’t fun.

Audrey struggled a bit with a page she was supposed to read. When we finished, I knew she was frustrated, but I told her she could color or do something else while I worked with Ethan on grammar. The next thing I knew, she had “x”s drawn all over her reading page. And the back of the sheet? Well, she had drawn a picture of a girl crying holding on to a paper that looked EXACTLY like the other side of the page that she had been working on reading.

Punch to the gut. Ugh. I felt awful. My 6 year old daughter drew a self-portrait of herself crying.

So, we took a little break so I could do laundry. The washing machine was full of dirty water and I couldn’t get it to rinse and spin and drain. Then the dryer belt stopped working properly so it wouldn’t spin.

And then I despaired.

Today is my do-over.

Lamentations 3:22-23

New International Version (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I Spoke Too Soon

Isaac woke us up today telling us that he was sick. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. As the day progressed, he would say he needed to “pook”. I would ask him about it and then he would change his story and tell me that he felt fine. Finally, this afternoon, I could read the signs: Lots of trips to the bathroom, gassy, burpy toddler, more declarations that he was sick. And the most tell-tale of all- voluntarily lying down on the couch.

I contacted our piano teacher and said I had to cancel. 20 minutes later Isaac got sick.

He lost his lunch and his supper. He only had crackers and water for supper, but too many of each. I’m hoping he sleeps it off. He’s on the little mattress we pull out to put on our floor for just such occasions. We call it the “sick bed”. The kids love that little mattress. I watched him from our bed for a while after tucking him in and he just looked at me and smiled as he settled in for the night. I don’t like that he’s sick, but it’s nice to be able to do little things to make him feel better.