April 30, 2011


Garren said he would go to his 8th grade semi-formal dance "if he can walk." We talked to his therapists on Monday. They both said "We better get busy!" They started pushing Garren, doing exercises and workouts to help him strengthen his core and start coordinating his legs. We ordered a walker, which came in yesterday.

My goal with Garren is to get him up using his walker two times each day. Yesterday morning his therapists helped fit the walker to him. They stood him up and had him start working on some steps. We walked about 5 or 6 steps. Right now Garren tends to lean forward, and his hips shift to the right. I am constantly reminding him to "pull in your butt" and "pull your hips to the left." When he does, he stands nice a tall. Using the walker he can almost stand on his own, keeping his balance for a few seconds at a time. This activity tires him out quickly!

We worked on it again yesterday evening, then this morning. Every time we do it, I see improvement. He gets stronger every time. Yesterday, with each step, his feet would cross over the other one. This has to do with which muscles are stronger, and where his leg gets pulled. This afternoon I noticed that he is much better at taking straighter steps. He is so determined, wants so bad to do this. After our work out this afternoon I said "Garren, you wear me out!" He lifted his finger, pointed at me, then at himself, basically saying that I was wearing him out!

Garren's speech therapists has been great so far. She gave us some things to work on with Garren. He wants so badly to eat! Someone brought us dinner last night - baked ziti...yum! He told us he could smell it. A little later in the evening he asked us to save some until he could eat it. I told him we would get him all the baked ziti he can eat when he is able!

It's amazing how many things we do center around food. You don't even really think about it. Trying to plan things while being sensitive to Garren's inability to eat has to be very intentional. This morning I was in his room with him, and I was flipping around the channels trying to find something to watch. We came across a cooking show. I stopped, and Garren started telling me something. We grabbed the alphabet sheet, and he spelled out "that's cruel." Oops, sorry Garren.

April 28, 2011

Fun Night

We had a great time at the skate night last night. There were a lot of people. It was awesome to see everyone having a great time, all there thinking about and remembering Garren. At one point during the evening, everyone gathered on the rink, joined hands, and formed a giant prayer circle. I thanked everyone for coming, and then prayed for Garren. It is so amazing that so many people are so committed to praying for Garren.

Yesterday while we had Garren on the mat, we had him sitting up, with his feet on the floor. We had him lean back, with his hands to his sides, slightly behind him. Garren sat up, held himself up, for nearly a whole minute. He is getting stronger everyday. I can't wait to sit him up again today and see how he does.

The OT tried something new with Garren yesterday as well. He blew up a balloon, and played balloon volleyball with Garren. Garren was able to keep his eye on the balloon, and raise his hands and hit it when it came his way.

We also met a new speech therapist. She evaluated Garren and went over a lot of information with us. She used big words to describe what is going on with Garren. We're looking forward to seeing how this works out. Last night, Garren spelled to Nancy: "I want to swallow, so I can eat real food."

April 27, 2011

Tonight's the Night

It's hard to believe, but it's finally time for the Kate's Skate night benefit for Garren It all starts tonight at 6pm. It seems like ages ago when we were first approached with this idea. It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun. I hope to see you there tonight.

Also, in just a few weeks, on May 21, is the Miracle Miles 5K, a run/walk being held as a fundraiser for Garren. It will at Porter Ridge High School, and it starts at 8am. If you are planning on participating, please go ahead and register by clicking here. This will help our wonderful event planners prepare for the day. It's going to be a lot of fun as well.

Yesterday we took Garren for a follow up visit with his neuro-surgeon. Dr. Dyer was extremely pleased to see how much Garren is moving. He kept calling Garren his "superstar patient." It was awesome for Garren to finally meet one of the men responsible for saving Garren's life. Dr. Dyer is having us schedule an appointment in the next couple of weeks for an arteriogram. It should be an outpatient procedure. They will insert a catheter into the large artery in his groin area, which will then extend through the artery into the base of his brain. The purpose is to take a look and see if there is anything left from the AVM that may need to be dealt with in the future. The initial surgery was an emergency surgery with the goal being to save Garren's life. The doc did what he could to get as much out as he could, but without a closer look, it's hard to know if anything is still there.

If there is anything that needs to be dealt with, there are non-invasive procedures, such as radiation, that can be used at some point in the future.

Garren continues to improve. A little be every day. For the most part his spirits remain high. Swallowing and talking continue to be his greatest frustrations. Garren will not be at the skate night. It was his choice. I asked him why he doesn't want to go. He said "To many people." I don't blame him.

Garren's semi-formal dance at Piedmont Middle is just over a week away. I asked him if he wants to go to that. He said yes - "if I can walk." Garren - we would love nothing more than to see you walk into the dance. But we will once again submit to God's plan and God's timing.

April 26, 2011

"Free To Live" Tour

I want to invite you to join us for a free concert. Desperation Band will be performing live at Southbrook Weddington on Friday, May13, at 7pm.
This is a night of worship, speaking, a call to action and an opportunity for you to become part of the family and movement to protect victims of the awful sex trade industry. More than ever, the attention to this mass atrocity is bringing pressure to the criminals who participate in this and more importantly young girls and boys are being rescued from this life of lost hope and complete hell. This is a free-ticketed event, and at no cost to you.

You can learn more about the Free To Live Tour here.

April 24, 2011

He is Risen!

What an amazing day! Easter Sunday - the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was truly an amazing day.

I started out the morning with our amazing volunteers at Southbrook Monroe. We started at 8:00 am with FUSE - a 10 minute time of celebration and encouragement. It's so much fun to hang out with people who love our church, and who love making Sundays special. And they made Easter Sunday extra special. From the parking lot to the coffee and special baked goods, the entire experience was exceptional. I am so thankful to serve and worship with such great people.

We tried something different this year. We had two services. I was privileged to preach live at both. We had as many people in the 9am service as we typically have at the 11am service. The 11am service was packed today. So many guests, and so many people joining to celebrate our risen Lord. We had 5 people give their lives to Jesus today at Monroe. So awesome!

I tossed a little stuffed rabbit at Garren today, and he reacted, raising both arms and pulling them in to catch it! It was so crazy and unexpected.

I'm looking forward to another week of great progress from Garren. He is getting better at typing out messages, still slow, but getting better. Today he told us he wants to watch the Superbowl. We have it on DVD. We were going to watch it today, but we all fell asleep this afternoon, and then we forgot. We'll get that soon.

Have a great!

April 23, 2011


The last couple of days have been super busy. I haven't really had time to update the blog much. That doesn't mean that Garren isn't improving.

Today Garren's therapy mat came. It's an adjustable height, padded table that Garren can sit and lay on for his physical and occupational therapy. We are very excited about this. It will be very useful, and make it much easier to work with Garren. We even tried it out today, Garren did a good, hard workout.

This afternoon Nancy was headed out to the store. She asked Garren if he wanted anything from the store. Garren started to say something, but we couldn't understand. So we started spelling, one letter at a time. Garren spelled "swallow." We all cracked up - even Garren. I asked Garren yesterday what the most frustrating thing was for him right now. He spelled "voice." He told Nancy that swallowing is the hardest thing to do. It has to be so frustrating for him, to want to do something so badly, yet not be able to get his body to do it.

Tonight we were sitting around the table, dyeing Easter eggs. We looked over and saw Garren pick up a towel that was in his lap with his right hand. He then proceeded to lift the towel and wipe his mouth. For him to lift his arm so high in such a controlled way, with something in his hand, was awesome to watch!

Tomorrow is a big day. I am looking forward to an amazing day at church. I am looking forward to preaching at Southbrook Monroe campus. I am looking forward to celebrating the day that our Lord and Savior overcame death. It's going to be a great day!

April 22, 2011

Miracle Miles 5K for Garren Janes

Here's the info on the 5K benefit run for Garren. It's coming up, so if you haven't registered yet, you better register soon! It's going to be a fun day of running and walking. See you there!

April 21, 2011

New Toy

As promised, we finally found the iPad 2 in stock and got it for Garren to use. Of course, he was ever so excited to see it. We have to help him, he's still got a lot of 'fine tuning' to do with his hand and arm movement. Nancy or I can sit with him and help him move his arm where he wants, and he can point with his finger and touch the keys. The keyboard on the touch screen responds so much better than a normal keyboard. The other nice thing is that if he holds the key to long, it doesn't produce a whole string of letters, like on a typical computer keyboard.

I've been working with Garren this week on some mouth exercises. Tomorrow we are getting a visit from Wren, the speech therapist that worked with Garren in the hospital. We are so excited to see her again. I can't wait for her to see how much Garren has improved since we were there just two weeks ago!

The PT and OT continue to work together with Garren on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They are so good with him. He puts forth so much effort. As I've probably already said over and over - he's such a hard and determined worker! We are so proud of him.

We went back to the eye doctor today for a follow up visit. The doctor said it looks great - that the eye was definitely less irritated. He also said that we would probably keep the eye stitched for a couple of months. No big deal. We want to protect that eye. We have started to notice the left side of Garren's face is starting to wake of a little more. His right arm and leg are also catching up to the left side. Slowly but surely, we continue to see new improvements.

April 19, 2011


Garren continues to amaze us. Yesterday we had someone stop by the house with some switches. These are buttons that can be pushed to make something happen. For example, one hooks up to a little power strip. A lamp can be plugged into the strip. The switch is a simple clicking mechanism that Garren can push to turn a lamp on and off, or a fan, or a radio, whatever we want to plug in.

Another device she left with us connects to the computer via the USB port. Using the onscreen keyboard, this switch can be used to select letters from the keyboard, so Garren can type messages. So today I set it up for Garren to try it out. But that guy decided to forego the switch altogether! He went straight for the keyboard. It takes a while. It gives a whole new meaning to the term "hunt and peck." But Garren slowly but surely typed out a couple of words. His first word? "Steelers."

It is very slow and laborious at this point. But it is excellent therapy. He is continuing to train his muscles and fine tune his abilities. I did some research and found the iPad has some pretty cool apps that can help people like Garren communicate. I had already told Garren several weeks back that as soon as he could use it, I would buy him an iPad 2. Well, now it's time to come clean on my promise. So I went out to buy one today - and they are completely out of stock....everywhere! I guess we'll have to place our order and wait the 2-3 weeks for it to get here. In the mean time we have a laptop that Garren will continue to use. Watch out people - he may be updating his status on Facebook sometime soon!

I worked with Garren some this afternoon on swallowing, and strengthening his tongue. He did get some swallows in. That's a praise. I pray that he continues to get that swallow stronger! He told Nancy today that he's ready for some Five Guys!

April 18, 2011


I am so blessed to be a part of a church that acts like the body of Christ. It has been so encouraging over the last several months to be given the flexibility to take care of Garren, without having to worry about whether or not I would have a job to come back to. Thank you Southbrook Church.

At the same time, there are pastoral duties that have been neglected. As the campus pastor for our Monroe campus, there are many needs that have been left on hold. There are people who need to be ministered to, both in our congregation and in the surrounding community. Due to my limited availability, this has been a challenge.

About a month ago, our lead pastor, Rob Singleton, approached me with an idea. You see, we have recently been pushing in our weekend services to get more people involved in missions. We have a trip to Peru, and several to Haiti this year. Pastor Rob asked me if I would possibly be interested in taking on the role of Outreach Pastor, primarily so I could coordinate these trips.

I grew up on the mission field. I am passionate about missions. I love seeing lives changed on these trips. The people we go to minister to are impacted. But at the same time, the people we send are impacted in a huge way. I love to see that happen. So for me to be given the opportunity to help facilitate that kind of life change is a no-brainer.

As Pastor Rob was trying to use his sales tactics to sell me on the idea, I had to cut him short. "Rob, I've often dreamed about being in a position like that - you don't have to convince me - where do I sign?" God has an amazing way of bringing His plan together, doesn't He?

Due to the shift in my position, it became even more necessary that we fill the campus pastor role at Monroe.  After much prayer and several discussions, we have asked one of our incredible lay-leaders, Jonathan Bareham, to step into the campus pastor role at Monroe as a volunteer.  Jonathan and Judith have been working in many ministries and capacities and will be shifting from all of those roles to focus on this new role.  They are currently life group leaders, marriage mentors, cafe workers, lead the weekly prayer team, teach the marriage classes, FIT members... and I think I'm forgetting a few other roles.  Needless to say, he is more than qualified and excited about the opportunity!

I have known Jonathan and Judith for several years, and I truly respect them, and I love their heart for ministry. I am looking forward to working side by side with them in Monroe.

I want you to know, Southbrook Monroe, that Nancy and I are not going anywhere. I will continue to office in Monroe. We will continue to be a part of the Monroe campus. That is our church home. You will see Jonathan and myself working together to help Monroe go to the next level. Though my role and priorities have changed, my love for Monroe has not.

Change is hard sometimes. There are adjustments, there are discomforts, there are new things and new ways of doing things. But change can be a good thing! I believe that God is continuing to use Garren's situation to accomplish His will, not only in my life, but in the life of our church and community. I am truly excited about these changes.

Please pray - for Jonathan and Judith as they dive into this new role. I know God is going to use them in a powerful way - and for Nancy and myself. Though this new role will allow me a lot of flexibility, it is also a very demanding role that deserves a lot of care and attention. I am looking forward to what God has for us in the coming months and years.

April 16, 2011

Baby Steps

Today was shower day. We got Garren up, and sat him up on the side of the bed. He can help sit up now. Still working on balance and control, but his strength is developing more everyday. Yesterday the therapist had started working on raising legs while standing. I helped Garren stand to his feet, and instead of sitting him in his chair, I decided to have him walk to the bathroom. It's about 8-10 steps. I put his arm around my shoulder, and he took one step, then another. We walked all the way to the shower! It was a slow walk, it was very labored, but we made it all the way. Talk about baby steps!

This afternoon we were watching TV. A commercial came on about the Triple Crown, so his nurse asked me if I knew when the Kentucky Derby was. I had no idea. About an hour later, Garren started trying to tell us something. I grabbed the white board and started writing letters. We came up with "May Four." I asked Garren, "What is May Four?" Again, we started spelling "K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y." Kentucky? May Four? A friend was over and she said "I think I just saw a commercial that said Kentucky Derby. I asked Garren - sure enough - he just wanted his nurse to know that the Kentucky Derby was on May 4th!

Garren's eye is doing great. Thanks for your prayers. He never got the black eye, and you can hardly tell he had anything done to it. He is feeling no pain from the procedure.

My prayer now is that Garren will continue to develop his speaking ability, and that he will get stronger enough to start swallowing regularly. I know he is looking forward to tasting food again soon!

Tomorrow is church, and Garren is looking forward to seeing everyone there again this week.

April 15, 2011


I tried to update the blog a few minutes ago, but due to some technical difficulties I was not able. I'm glad I waited - the coolest thing just happened.

We were sitting in the living room (Garren on the couch) and he started trying to say something. So we gathered around. You really have to concentrate on what he is saying. We could not figure it out. So I grabbed a white board and we asked Garren to spell the words. We got through one letter at a time, asking, guessing, Garren nodding or shaking his head. W - H - A - T. "What." First word down. Next word. Garren said it. After several guesses we ended up with "What is." Garren started spelling the next word. "T - O" Nancy said "Today?" YES!

"What is today?"

Wow - Today is Friday April 15, 2011. It never crossed my mind that Garren might want to know what day it was.

Today was another great day for Garren. Nancy and I had him standing up this morning, so I asked him to lift his leg. He was able to lift both legs (one at a time). The PT and OT came this afternoon and had him working on taking a couple of steps. He is getting so strong.

Our nursing coverage dropped to 20 hours a day starting today. We will drop back each week until we eventually end up with 12 hours a day. It's nice to have some alone time with Garren. In fact, I spent the morning with Garren, just me and him. Nancy went to Piedmont Middle for a meeting with a whole team of people who are setting up an Individual Education Plan for Garren. Our goal is to make sure Garren graduates from the 8th grade and is ready for high school in the fall. We are very excited that Garren will not be getting behind in school. Thanks Piedmont for all you are doing!

April 14, 2011

Tough Man

Garren's procedure went really well. That kid is tough! Nancy and I got to sit with him through the whole procedure, and I was completely amazed at his level of toughness. He barely flinched the entire time. I think I would have been crying for my mommy!

He has two stitches holding his left eye closed. We go back for a follow up appointment next week. He will probably get a bit of a black eye, so we are trying to come up with a good story (you should see the other guy!)

This morning the speech therapist was here. She was working with Garren, helping him make some sounds. He is able to take a deep breath and make noise when he exhales. It's pretty cool. He can move his mouth enough now to start mouthing words. He said "Mom" yesterday.

So the speech therapist told Garren that she was going to ask him some yes/no questions, and that instead of shaking his head, to say "yes" or "no." So she asked Garren "Are you a boy?" Garren took a deep breath, then slowly said "Nooooo." The therapist stopped, looked at Garren, and couldn't seem to figure out what was going on. So she said "Are you a girl?" "Another long deep breath - "Noooooo." Again, confused, the therapist wasn't quite sure what to do. Finally it clicked. "Garren, are you a man?" "Yeeesss."

I was cracking up. I knew as soon as she asked him if he was a boy that he wasn't going to agree with her. He is a man. A very strong, tough man. And I am ever so proud of him.

Greens 4 Garren

Here are the details on the Golf Tournament fundraiser...

April 13, 2011

Have You Arrived?

"Not that I have already reached [the goal] or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus." - Philippians:3-12-14

As a Christ follower, we often try so hard to to the right things. Be like Christ, follow His example. Paul often compares the life of the Christ follower to a race. Keep your eye on the goal, run to win, finish strong. We want to do the right thing, but we often fail.

I've seen people who seem to think they've "arrived." They act like they have everything together, that they have somehow reached perfection. I've also met people who have a very real view of themselves. Much like Paul, they call themselves the chief of sinners.

Paul is one of my Bible heroes. He was a committed Christ follower, who endured more than most of us will ever come close to facing. He was persecuted, beaten, left for dead, yet he continued on in his faith. In fact, his faith got stronger each step of the way. But Paul was so humble. He was very careful to make sure his reader understood that he had not "arrived." He made every effort to take hold of the goal, but he certainly had not yet reached it.

I am convinced that the more you strive for the goal - the closer you get to Jesus Christ - the more you realize how far you have to go. A comfortable, easy going Christian may think they have reached the goal, or are very close. But a Christ follower who is all in, who has laid everything on the line and is truly striving to be like Christ - no matter what the cost - will realize that he (or she) is farther from the goal than ever.

Have you "arrived?" If you have then you better stop right now and reconsider. We are despicable sinners in God's sight. Only by the grace of God do we even stand a chance. We must forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead. Pursue as your goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

Yesterday we took Garren to an eye specialist. The issue has been his left eye. Because he is not able to close it completely, it tends to stay red and irritated. We have been trying to manage the redness using ointments, antibiotics, and and eye patch to keep it closed as much as possible. The eye doctor highly recommended a tarsorrhaphy, which involves suturing the two eyelids together in order to protect the surface of the eye from drying. It is an outpatient procedure. This is the second eye doctor to recommend this procedure. We were a little reluctant at first, but both doctors are confident that this is what is best for Garren. He said that the stitch could be in for up to 90 days. Without the procedure, blood vessels will begin to grow over his cornea as a way of protecting the eye from dryness. The problem is that this will cause impaired vision.

So we go Thursday afternoon to have the procedure done. He will receive a local anesthetic (just like what you get when you get a filling at the dentist), and the doctor will put one stitch in to hold the eyelids closed.

Pray for Garren as he (obviously) is a little nervous about the procedure. Pray also that the left side of his face will continue to strengthen so he can overcome this eye issue.

April 11, 2011

Monday April 11, 2011

Today we loaded up for a trip to visit the eye doctor. Now that we're at home the doctors don't come to us anymore. Nancy and I are getting pretty good at transporting Garren in the van, maneuvering through doors and elevators.

The last time the eye doctor saw Garren, about 3 weeks ago, we wasn't moving a whole lot yet. When he saw Garren today, sitting up, moving his head all around, he was amazed. "Today I've seen a miracle!" Yes doctor, you have.

He was also happy with Garren's eye. He referred us to a corneal specialist just to make sure all is well. We go there tomorrow.

Garren continues to make progress daily. When we put the footrests on his chair, he lifts his legs for us. His head movement is very strong. Today we met with all three therapy disciplines. When they aren't working with Garren, Nancy and I are. Garren doesn't want to stop. The therapist will ask him if he wants to take a break, Garren rarely says yes. He shakes his head, and we move on to the next exercise.

Garren is so determined. It is so awesome to see him so focused and intent on working out. We are so very proud of him and his positive, can do attitude.

April 10, 2011


What an amazing day. Today at church I was overcome with feelings of joy and celebration.

Garren has started nodding and shaking his head in the last couple of days. Looking up and down is a thing of the past. His head control gets stronger every day. Last night I told him that I was going to church, and that Mom would be staying home with him. He shook his head "No!" I said "You want Mom to go to church, and you stay here with the nurse?" Again, he shook his head "No!" I started to tear up as I said "You want to go to church?" He nodded emphatically "YES!"

We couldn't wait to get him up and dressed this morning. What a joy it was to be at church as a family. He was very excited to be there, and to see everyone again.

Then, to top off my morning, I had the honor and the privilege of dedicating little Elijah Webb in the service. Seth and Amanda are a special couple. I have watched them grow spiritually for nearly three years now. I've been on two missions trips with them. Elijah was born just a few days after Garren went into the hospital. I got to go visit Seth and Amanda and baby Elijah the day after he was born. I was overjoyed when I found out that they wanted me to dedicate little Elijah today.

Such a day of celebration in so many ways. All praise and glory to God!

April 08, 2011

If Only

“For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else.” - Galatians 6:3-4

We waste so much time comparing ourselves to others. “Am I as good as her?” “Is he better than me?” We think that if we can prove we are better, that we have somehow accomplished something. Competition is a good thing. Iron sharpens iron. There’s nothing wrong with striving to be the best we can be.

Galatians 6 says that if I consider myself to be something, when in reality I am nothing, I deceive myself. If I am comparing my own efforts and accomplishments to those around me, I may feel successful. But I shouldn’t compare my work to others. “Each person should examine his own work.” My reason for boasting should be in myself alone, not in respect to someone else.

Here’s the deal. God created each of us with unique giftings. He has given each of us a unique purpose, a unique job to do while on this earth. It’s easy to look around at the great things some men and women of God have accomplished, and then to compare our own lives to theirs. That’s wrong. God didn’t make you to be them, he made you to be you.

In the movie “Nowhere Boy,” which portrays the story of John Lennon's adolescent years, there is a scene in which John is comparing himself to Elvis Presley. He says “If only God had made me Elvis.” His mom looks him in the eyes and says “But he didn’t, he was saving you for John Lennon.”

The truth in that statement goes for each of us. “If only God had made me Billy Graham!” But he didn’t, he was saving you for you.

Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others. Be who God made you to be. Then boast in what God has allowed you to accomplish through His power. God was saving you for you.

April 07, 2011


Today God spoke to me. In a very convicting way. It felt a little like a punch in the gut.

It's been a chaotic couple of days. We've had all kinds of health care people in and out of the house, helping us get Garren settled. They are all very good at what they do, but when things don't go according to my plan, I tend to get a little agitated. I felt like a dog backed into a corner. I felt threatened. This is my house after all, we'll do this my way. You're on my turf now. Like a dog backed into a corner, I began to lash out. I didn't yell and scream, but I didn't have the greatest attitude either. But hey, it's my house, right?

Today our new physical therapist came by to meet Garren, and to go over some things with us. I was tired of dealing with new people walking in my house and taking over. I said some things to her in a way that really wasn't very kind. She was very kind, and I was cordial by the time I had to leave.

Then this evening I got an email from her:

"Several of us at work, including myself attend Southbrook Weddington. We know of you and have heard you speak at our services. We have followed your blog and prayed for you, Garren and your family."

That was the punch in the gut. Not from the P.T. that wrote it (She was not in anyway criticizing me or trying to make me feel bad. I am thankful for the email). I was immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit. I have been representing myself and my family on this blog as people of God. I talk about how I want to be God honoring in everything I say and do. And then I turned around and my actions were anything but God honoring.

Why am I sharing this? It's a stark reminder to us all - we never know who's watching us. We never have the right to forget that as followers of Christ, we represent not just ourselves, not just our church, but God Almighty.

Thank you P.T. for your desire to work with Garren. I am honored to have you working with him and us.

Garren took a couple more baby steps today. I worked on some therapy with him on my own this morning. I was doing some exercises to stimulate his face and mouth muscles. I talked about his smile a couple of days ago. So today I asked him to pucker up, like a kiss. He thought for a minute, and then he did! I about fell over, not sure if I should laugh or cry. Later when Nancy was there I had him do it again. She leaned over and accepted a kiss from her son, the first in over two months.

Another one of Garren's exercises is to try and push a small piece of ice out of his mouth with tongue. Tonight I put the ice in his mouth, and almost immediately he pushed it out. We did it a couple more times.

Garren is really working on his swallowing as well. Nancy and I have both seen him swallow a couple of times. Nothing consistent yet, but he's learning.

Tonight looks like it should be a restful night for all. Things have settled down. I pray that Garren is able to get some good sleep tonight. I can't wait to see what he does tomorrow!

April 06, 2011


We made it. It has been a long, exhausting day. It is also great to be home. The hospital seems like a distant dream. Garren loves his room.

Yesterday the insurance company just had to have one last piece of paper, something showing that Garren really needed a hospital bed at home. Normally the bed is delivered the day before the patient goes home. Not us. Our bed was delivered and setup about 30 minutes before we got home! So funny...

We were met at home by to of the home health nurses. They helped us organize and get settled. They got to know us and Garren. It was all pretty overwhelming. We will be working on getting some shelves and cabinets installed over the next several days. We wanted to wait until we understood what we would need to store, and where, before we built anything. Now we are ready.

Garren spent most of the afternoon in bed. He was worn out from the drive. A few of his neighborhood buddies stopped by. He was so excited to see some familiar faces. But he gets tired fast so their visit had to be short.

I'm exhausted. It's so nice to know that when I get up tomorrow there will be no long drive to the hospital. We have some more organizing to do around the house, and I plan to go in to the office and get some work done as well.

Thank you all - so much - for your part in helping Garren's homecoming be as smooth as possible. The room is great. And it is finally being used.

April 05, 2011

Tuesday April 5, 2011

Day 59. I had another patient family ask me today how long we had been here. 9 weeks. I've been thinking back to when this all started. It is amazing to see Garren now, when we think about how he lay completely motionless for nearly 3 weeks. Then the long slow steps of progress until now. We look forward to many more steps, many more days of progress in the coming days and weeks.

The walls in the hospital room are bare. We've taken down all the cards in preparation for leaving. It looks strange, but it feels great.

Garren's cough is getting stronger everyday. His eye is getting stronger as well. It won't be long until he is able to close his left eye on his own. It looks great, the redness is gone. We patch it at night to keep it from drying out.

Garren smiles, and laughs. It's more of a chuckle - without noise - but you can tell he thinks something is funny. You can also tell when he gets upset or sad. It's great to see his personality coming out. I was joking around about Tigger (our cat) and his thought that was funny.

Today Garren started something else new. When we transfer him from the bed to the chair, or back to bed, we pretty much have to lift his entire body weight. Today he started helping. When we start to lift him, his feet are on the ground. He now straightens his legs and helps push himself up into a standing position. It is so amazing!

Many of you have asked me to keep the updates coming after we get home - and I will. You all are very important to us, and we want you to continue to be a part of our story.

April 04, 2011

Monday April 4, 9:00pm

Getting ready to go home is a lot of work. We've been meeting with medical suppliers, home nurses, therapists and more to make sure we have everything in place for the transition. Everything is coming together. The kids in the neighborhood were asking to see Garren's room today. They are as excited as we are for Garren to come home.

This morning, I asked Garren to smile again. His lip curled up just a little on the right side. So cool. So I asked him to smile for Wren, which he did. Then I had Tara and Emily together, I asked Garren to smile. When he did, those two girls teared up. Garren's smile brought the girls to tears. I was talking to Tara today about some of the things we will be doing with Garren at home. We had him sitting up on the mat, upright, leaning back against a foam wedge. He was doing a great job holding his head steady. Everyone who walked in the room said "Wow, Garren, you look great sitting up!" I thought back to 5 weeks ago, when we first moved to the rehab floor. Garren has come a long ways. The thought of him sitting, moving his head, smiling, communicating with his eyes, was far from our minds.

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers. We;ve got a lot of adjustments to make over the next few days.

April 03, 2011

Sunday April 3, 2011 7:00pm

3 more days until we go home. There are a lot of things we won't miss about being in the hospital. If you've spent any time in a hospital, you know to well what I mean. I won't miss being separated from my family every night. I won't miss driving 40 minutes each way. I won't miss the plastic couch we sleep on. I won't miss the cafeteria food. I won't miss the hissing sound of air coming from who knows where. And the list goes on.

What a great day in church today! Pastor Rob talked about one of the most dreaded topics for pastors...money. It always feels a little uncomfortable to ask people to give money. But the bottom line is if we don't give to the church, the church won't be able to function. Today we took our annual Impact offering. This offering will go toward some special things we want to accomplish as a church this year.

Garren is getting stronger everyday. His cough continues to get stronger. His left eye is beginning to show some strength. Though progress is slow, there is definitely progress. I told you about his attempt at smiling. Well, today we got a laugh from Garren. Kelsey had drawn a picture of me. We showed it to Garren and Kelsey asked him if he thought it looked like me. He looked at it for a minute, then looked up (yes). I said "Seriously Garren? That looks nothing like me!" His shoulders started to shake, his eyes brightened, and the corner of his lip turned up just a little bit. He was laughing at me! It was awesome.

As you pray for Garren, continue to pray for strength to return to his left eye, for the swallowing, and for the cough to keep getting stronger. Also, this will be a pretty big week for us as we transition back to home.

April 02, 2011

Saturday April 2, 2011 9:30pm

Four more days till we come home. The room at home passed inspection, and Steve finished up the last bit of painting today. It is officially ready for move in. We have started receiving some of the medical equipment that we will be using at home. The hospital bed will be delivered to the house on Tuesday.

We found out yesterday that we will have around the clock nursing care when we go home. What a blessing! It will be great to be home, to be a family - together again. And it will be great to have professional help at Garren's side 24/7.

Nancy got to see Garren smile this evening. So awesome. We both have seen Garren begin moving his right foot. Remember, his right side is the weaker side, and it is great to begin to see some movement there. We see him getting stronger every day. His cough continues to strengthen bit by bit. A big change for Garren - he can turn his head side to side, at will. He can't hold it up on his own. But he can turn completely from left to right, and back again. He can look around the room, look to see who is coming in the door, look at whoever is talking. Very cool.

Garren is more and more aware of his surroundings every day. He knows he's in the hospital. He knows why. But he doesn't remember anything about the headache at school that day. We're not sure at this point what his last memory is. Time will tell.

We continue to pray for Garren's strength to return. He is working hard. He is so determined.

April 01, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011 4:00pm

Day 56. It's hard to believe Garren went into the hospital 8 weeks ago. So much has happened, and it all seems like it started so long ago.

When I got up this morning and started talking to Garren, I was asking him a few questions. As I was joking around with him, I looked him in the eyes and said "Are you awesome?" Of course, he looked up, indicating yes. And I am positive I saw the left side of his mouth curl upwards, the beginnings of a smile! O yeah!

Wren continued to work on Garren's swallow, and a little with his voice. With his trach capped, we were able to help Garren engage his vocal chords. He made a couple of sounds today. Wren said that once he catches on, the talking will follow. It still takes a lot of work and a lot of concentration to try and breathe out and make noise at the same time.

Tara worked on Garren's left shoulder. She put his arm in a little contraption that helps overcome some of the gravity. Then she attached a sucker to his hand. The goal was to move the arm inward and up, to get the sucker into the mouth. Garren was working hard, moving his shoulder more than ever before.

Union County Weekly wrote an article about Garren today. Check it out here.

As we wrap up another week I want to let you know about a couple of fundraiser events that have been setup for Garren:

Skate Night
On Wednesday April 27, from 6-9pm, Kate's skate is hosting a skate night and silent auction. Admission is $4. All proceeds will go to benefit Garren's medical care. Click here for more details.

Miracle Miles 5K
Get your running shoes ready! On Saturday May 21 there will be a 5K and fun run at Porter Ridge High School. To register, or for more information, click here.