March 20, 2012

In The News

Last summer, Amy Cowman from WCNC Channel 36 News came out and did a story on Garren. Well, she came back last week and did a follow up story. So amazing to look back and see how far he has come! You can watch the news cast here:

March 13, 2012

Things Garren Says

I've mentioned it before, but it just continues to blow me away. Garren is so positive. He has handled this whole AVM brain injury with such strength and maturity. And sometimes he says the funniest things! Here's some to make you laugh:

A couple of months ago, as we were gathering around the dinner table for a rare but welcome family dinner time together, Garren announced to us: "So, since I haven't been able to eat, I've had a lot of opportunity to watch you all, and I've learned some things about the way you eat. Dad, you eat fast, and you don't talk. Kelsey, you talk, and eat very slow. Kara, you separate all of your food, and you don't let anything touch. And Mom takes little bites."

Because he cannot swallow, Garren has to be fed a special liquid diet. It's called "1.5 Cal." So when we eat, he has a lot of time to sit and watch. The other day Nancy said something about feeling bad when she eats in front of Garren. She said it felt rude. At the time she said it, she was feeding Garren, and Kelsey was in the room. Garren looked up at Kelsey and said, "Kelsey, I'm sorry I'm eating in front of you!"

At school, Garren was supposed to write a short essay about his family. He told his assistant he needed some help. He wasn't sure what to write about. She said "Why don't you write about something going on with your family?" He thought for a minute, then said "Well, I had an AVM, my little sister is getting her tonsils out, my older sister is having headaches, my dad is having a problem with his eye, and my mom, well, she's just stressed!"

The other night Garren and Nancy were getting ready to play a game of Sorry. Nancy said "Go ahead Garren, youth before beauty." Garren looked up and said "Are you not playing?"

About a week ago I was cutting the grass. Garren and Nancy came driving home from one of his daily therapy trips. When he looked up and saw me pushing the lawn mower through the yard, he said to Nancy, "I love my AVM!" What a teenage boy will do to get out of cutting the grass!

I could go on. I'll try to share more of these stories in the future. Here's one more thing Garren said the other day. He and Nancy were talking to one of the nurses. She had had a stroke a couple of years back, and they were swapping brain injury recovery stories. Garren said "I'm glad my bleed happened where it did." Nancy asked him what he meant. He went on to say that he was glad that his personality, sense of humor and cognitive abilities were not affected. Though faced with serious limitations for now, he continues to have an amazingly positive outlook.

Thanks for all your continued prayers!

March 05, 2012


Bittersweet. Sad. Hard to believe. Change is never easy. Like a book, life is a series of chapters. There are new beginnings. There are unexpected endings. There are twists and turns along the way that may not make sense until you reach the end of the book. While these changes can be exciting for those who have an adventurous spirit, they can also be stressful for those who feel the need to be in control all the time. If we truly believe that God is the author, then we can rest in the assurance that He has a plan.

Today we closed a chapter. We are closing the doors to our Southbrook Monroe campus. It's been an amazing ride. Four years ago we began this journey, and today it has ended. For now. We don't know what the future holds, but for now we will begin a new chapter, looking forward to something new and different.

God takes us on these journeys. We travel down the path He has ordained for us. He uses us for His glory along the way. If we faithfully follow Him, we learn to trust Him more and more. As we draw closer to Him, we tend to respond more quickly to His plans. And when His plans change (at least they appear to change from our perspective) we can make the changes we need to make in order to continue following Him, to stay close to Him, to obey His will.

There are many stops along the way. Are you paying attention? God has something for you to do. No step is wasted. No stop is in vain. Every hurdle matters. We tend to get discouraged when things don't go according to our own plans. But we shouldn't be concerned with our own plans. We should be concerned only with God's plan. His plans are always better than our plans.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have played a part in this chapter called Southbrook Monroe. I was disappointed when I found out we would have to close. I understand the reasoning. As a church we cannot afford to sustain that part of the ministry right now. Everyone is making cutbacks because of finances. There are very few people today who have not been affected in some way by the economic state of our country, of our world. It makes sense on paper. What doesn't make sense is thinking about the ministry that has happened, and still is happening. Lives are being touched, changed forever. People are meeting Jesus face to face for the first time. Many are experiencing what the love of Jesus is all about, first hand. Why would God not want to sustain that kind of impact?

And I have to stop, and remember that God is the author. He began this chapter, He can end this chapter. He began the book, and He surely knows how the book will end. Can I trust Him with that? Can you? God's plans are always better than our plans.

I look forward to the next chapter. I look ahead with anticipation. Like a kid waiting in line to get on that new ride at the amusement park for the first time, I cannot wait to see what God has planned.