Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Tribute to Grandpa

If you know me, you know that I love grandpas.  This most likely stems back to the fact that I had the most amazing grandpa... as good as they come.  He passed away my senior year of high school, so when I married Adam, I was beyond happy gain another grandpa.  He had an amazing heart and he loved me and he loved our kids.  I will always always remember how he would pat me on the leg (as all of our kids were running crazy around the living room), give me a proud look, and say, "You're doin' a good job momma."  It always meant the world to me.  In the midst of the craziness, in the midst of the joy, in the midst of the tears, "You're doing a good job." Then he would pat his leg and each kid would run and crawl up on his lap to cuddle.  Every time he left, I would hug him, give him a kiss on the cheek, and whisper, "I love you grandpa."

He has been in and out of the hospital recently, but this past week it really wasn't looking good. Adam's mom called to let us know that she wasn't sure he was going to make it.  More than anything, we wanted to drop everything and go up to see him... but there were a few things we had to consider. Adam was selected to be on a jury and had about two weeks left in court.  Thankfully, our boys happened to be on fall break... so if Adam was able to get dismissed from being on the jury, we could go.  We were praying for grandpa that night and asking God to help us with the timing of it all.  (It was Friday night, so we weren't sure Adam would be able to get ahold of the judge until Monday anyway.)  After we finished praying, I noticed Jacob was turning through the pages of his bible.  He eventually landed in the book of Psalms and said, "Here mom.  I want you to read this verse.  It's my favorite."  It was Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord.  Be strong and don't give up.  Wait for the Lord."  At first I just merely read it... but then my heart skipped a beat.  We were just praying for timing and then Jacob all of a sudden turns to this particular verse?   Okay God.  We'll wait on you.  

As if that wasn't enough, after I went downstairs to tell Adam what had happened, I decided to read a chapter in a book I was reading.  When I opened it up to find where I had left off, something caught my eye.  I saw a sentence in bold (under a section about how God speaks) that said, "Sometimes God speaks to you through your children."  Amazing.  

So we waited and prayed through the weekend.  All of a sudden, on Monday morning, I felt like God was whispering, "Go."  I was telling Adam this before he left for court and he immediately said he would talk to the judge.  At first, I thought to myself... wow, really?  Should we wait and get an update on how Grandpa is doing first?  Then I figured, well, if God wants us to go, he'll make a way. A few hours later, Adam called and said he was dismissed from jury duty altogether.  So we packed and within a few hours, we were on the road to the airport.  (Which isn't easy with four kids, let me tell ya!  ;)  

We woke up the next morning and got a text from Adam's mom that Grandpa was moving from the hospital to a care center.  I was SO relieved to hear that he was doing better.  When we got there, Grandpa was up and talking and looked great.  My mother-in-law said it was the best she had seen him in weeks.  He smiled at us and his eyes sparkled as he saw all of our kids crowding around him.  He looked at me and said, "You flew all the way up here to see me?  That really means a lot." Later, Adam's brother and my sister-in-law and their kiddos joined us and the love of family and joy and laughter filled the room.  One of the employees saw all of us and asked, "Are you having a party? Looks fun!  I'll bring some snacks!"  And she did.  Before long, there were trays of coffee and hot chocolate, goldfish and granola bars, fruit snacks and chips.  We had a party with grandpa and it was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.  He knew we were there.  He knew he was loved. Little did I know, those God whispers had gotten us there just in time... because everything was about to change.

The next day, we found Grandpa in a wheelchair outside his room.  Right away, I knew something was different.  His eyes had lost their sparkle and were fading off in the distance.  The color in his cheeks had turned somewhat pale.  He wasn't able to talk except one word at a time in a soft whisper.  The nurse told us we could wheel him anywhere we wanted, so we took him to the library.  There were games and puzzles to entertain the kids and we just held Grandpa's hand and talked to him. Every now and then, he would point at the kids and muster up every ounce of strength just to smile at them.  Finally, he just looked exhausted and whispered, "too far away" so we had someone help him get back into bed.  He immediately fell asleep and only woke up for a few minutes at a time the rest of the day. Before we left, we all prayed over him.  The six of us, along with Adam's mom and her brother, were able to hold hands all the way around his bed.  It was a beautiful moment, especially hearing the voice of our kids as they each prayed for grandpa.  That he would ask Jesus into his heart. That God would send angels to take care of him.  That he would have strength just a while longer so we could visit with him.  My heart.

We knew the next day would be our last because Adam had to go back to work.  That morning, we found grandpa in his bed sound asleep.  We took the kids to the library and spent our time building puzzles and playing apples to apples and chess and scrabble... meanwhile checking on grandpa every few minutes to see if he was awake.  He woke up for a few minutes when the nurses brought him lunch, only to take a few sips of juice and go back to sleep.  Finally, after spending most of the day there, we knew we had to go.  And we knew it would be the last time we saw him.  Trying to hold back tears, we said goodbye and I could see his eyes struggling to open.  We squeezed his hand and told him we loved him and I left the room so Adam could have some time alone with him.  He told him about God and how much He loves him.  That Jesus died on the cross for us and through this love, everything he has ever done can be forgiven.  That he can be in heaven forever and we will see him again.  Then he asked if he could pray for him and Grandpa slowly nodded yes.  

That was the last time we saw him.  We flew home and got a text that evening that Grandpa was worse, struggling for each breath.  As we prayed, I remember Casey saying, "God please send your biggest angel to Grandpa right now."  We found out that he took his last breath a few hours later.  

I'm so thankful we got to spend this week with Grandpa.  I'm so thankful the judge let Adam off of jury duty.  I'm so thankful my kids were on fall break.  I'm so thankful to God for His perfect timing. 

We love you Grandpa Kahn.  You will be SO missed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

First Day of School!

 Summer always goes by so fast... especially when school starts on August 13th!  I was a little concerned about the transition from preschool two mornings a week to full-day kindergarten for Casey?!  He wasn't super excited about preschool either, so I had no idea what I was in for this year.  THANKFULLY, his teacher is super cute, bubbly, lovable...  Casey immediately wrapped his arms around her in adoration.  Adam said at open house, "Oh good, she's just like you.  Casey will be fine."  Lol!
 So proud of his Skylander's backpack!

 All smiles on his first day!
Mommy is trying HARD to be all smiles instead of tears.  ;)
 My big third grader... the tallest in his class!
 My even bigger FIFTH grader!  How did that happen??

 Casey wasn't sure how to make a K with his fingers... he decided to hold up six fingers because he is turning six in a few days!

 Me with my boys!!
 I missed this walk to school!  :)

 Daddy's pep talk with his boys before they walk in the gates
 All lined up!

 So cute, right??  I l.o.v.e. his teacher already.
 Meeting a little kinder friend
 Every day, when Casey is in line, he says, "BYE MOM!  BYE!"  over and over.  It's so endearing, but kind of makes me blush at the same time because he is so loud and doesn't even care.  The line is moving and he is tripping backwards over himself just to say bye and blow me kisses one more time.  Sigh... I love this kid.

His little smile assuring me it's all going to be okay.  That (along with Adam making me laugh on the way out) definitely helped me stay tear-free.  I'm sure gonna miss this little guy following me around with his cutie smile each day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jacob's baptism

If you aren't willing to put yourself in "this is crazy" situations, you'll never experience "this is awesome" moments - The Circle Maker

I love this quote.  It reminds me of our adoption, it reminds me of our move... all of those times where it felt crazy and I'm sure some people probably thought we were crazy.  "So you're flying to Russia three times and you already have three kids and you could put one or two of them through college with the cost of one international adoption?"  Crazy.  "So you're moving to California and leaving your entire family and you don't know anybody down there?"  Crazy.  But we've learned that when you fully put your trust in God and take a leap of faith toward what you believe He is calling you to do, God always shows up.  Logic might be screaming no, but faith is whispering yes.

I always had this picture of what Jacob's baptism day would look like.  All of our family and friends would be gathered together.  Adam would baptize Jacob.  I would have months in advance to plan out all of the details.  That was the problem though, it was MY plan... how I wanted it to go.  Not surprisingly, God had a different plan.

Jacob has always had this incredible child-like faith that I am in awe of.  He would pray, even on his own, and knew God was going to take care of him.  He has had these awesome dreams, one about Ella coming home all wrapped up as a Christmas present... long before we even knew she would be coming home on Christmas Eve.  Amazing.  One (on the night before Easter) where he saw an angel, telling him not to be afraid.  Amazing.  We were thinking about having him baptized at our church in Washington right before we moved... but doors seemed to be closing and the timing just didn't feel right.  So we waited.

Over the next year, Jacob's faith developed even more.  He asked lots of questions and Adam and I stayed up many nights, laying beside him and talking about God.  We found a church and there were a few days set aside throughout the year for baptisms, but they never seemed to work out with Adam's schedule.  (Events like this are really hard to plan when your husband is almost always on call!)   We knew there would be an opportunity to have Jacob baptized on May 25th, but again, Adam was on call.  Even though I had dismissed it as a possibility, Adam felt God pressing him that Jacob was ready.  To trust Him with his schedule.  That everything would work out.

When Adam came to me with this, it was May 24th.  Thoughts and questions flooded my head.  You can't just sign up for a baptism the day before, can you?  This is crazy.  Our family isn't here to watch him.  I don't have time to plan a party.  I'm not really sure how baptism even works at our church yet.  I felt this sense of peace though, as if God was whispering, "Trust me."   After all, people aren't planning out baptisms in the bible, right?  Believe and be baptized... and people were just baptized right there on the spot.  So we emailed our church on Saturday afternoon.  When NOBODY is there.   Crazy.  They called us back though, at ten o'clock at night.  They told us what to wear, what to bring, asked us a few questions about Jacob, and we were ready to go.  Fear and doubt were trying to creep in... everything was all lined up now, but what if Adam gets called and misses the baptism?  What if we tell all of our family and friends and it doesn't end up happening?  Logic was screaming no, faith was whispering yes.

Praise God, our church streams everything live so my mom and Adam's parents were able to watch Jacob get baptized from afar.  It was an awesome day.  That morning, we all held hands in our living room and one at a time we prayed for Jacob, even little Ella.  (The prayer of a little child, it melts my heart every. time!)  While Jacob was getting baptized, my favorite worship song, Oceans, was playing.  We took Jacob out to lunch and later that night, had a campfire and s'mores with some incredible friends.  God's plans always work out so much better than mine.

  If you aren't willing to put yourself in "this is crazy" situations, you'll never experience "this is awesome moments.