January 29, 2013

Snow Tubing

Last Monday we took the family up to Boone for some snow tubing. When we told Kelsey we were going tubing, we had to show her a picture. The only tubing she had ever done before was on a river. She wasn't sure about tubing in the cold water! Garren had mentioned several times that we should go. So we headed up to the mountains to give it a try.

The challenge would be transporting Garren from place to place in the snow and ice. We were able to let him sit in the tube while Nancy and I dragged him along through the snow. The bigger challenge was transporting Garren back to the top of the run! There is a moving sidewalk, about 12 inches wide, that you stand on to ride back up the mountain. Since Garren cannot stand on his own, I had to help him. Together, we stepped onto the moving conveyor, and managed to stay upright for the ride up. Only one time did we almost fall off. A huge gust of wind came out of nowhere, and we nearly fell over! Nancy had to follow along with all three of our tubes in tow. It was quite a sight!

After about an hour, the older two kids were done. It was cold and the wind was picking up. Kelsey and I ended up going back out for about another 30 minutes. It was a ton of fun!

Garren has been faithfully walking and working out in our new workout room. Today he walked for 39 minutes, for a total of 0.7 miles. He has really progressed quite a bit in the last 3 weeks. Tomorrow we are meeting with a personal trainer to see if this will be a good fit for Garren. If it works out, Garren will go train with him 2 times a week, while I continue to walk with him 5 days a week.

Still no changes with swallowing. We continue to pray.

January 17, 2013


We moved Kelsey into Garren's old upstairs room. We then transformed the empty room into a workout room. The goal is to get Garren upstairs on the treadmill 5-6 days a week. We started on January 2. Garren walked 10 minutes at an average of .5 mph. This week he is up to 25 minutes, averaging about .75 mph.

We meet with a personal trainer today to discuss strength training.

Here's Garren hard at work on the treadmill.

January 15, 2013

Abram's Simple Obedience

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’” (Gen 12:7)

Set your goals. Make a difference. Evaluate. What did you accomplish? Were you successful? We spend much of our time and energy trying to get things done. We mark our progress so we can know if we were successful or not. We spend our lives trying to accomplish something significant. When we celebrate someone’s life, we celebrate them for what they did.

Abram was known for being a man of faith. “By faith Abraham...obeyed.” (Hebrews 12:8) God promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations, that the number his descendants would be too many to count, and that his offspring would receive the promised land. But he never promised Abram that he would see or benefit from any of this.

Is it possible that we so caught up in trying to be something great for God, that we fail to simply obey Him now? Not to say that goals shouldn’t be set, or that passions and dreams shouldn’t be pursued. But, maybe instead of trying to make a name for ourselves, we should spend our time and energy simply pursuing God and responding to Him in obedience.

God obviously used Abram, but Abram never saw how God used him. Abram simply lived his life and obeyed God’s calling. When God said “Go to the land I will show you,” Abram packed up his family and went. When God said “I will make of you a great nation,” Abram simply tried to start a family. Of course, as you read about Abram’s later years, he became desperate to try and make God’s plan work out. All he did was create a big mess. Abram didn’t really do anything significant, at least in man’s eyes. What Abram did do was obey. He just did what God told him to do.

And long after Abram died, God fulfilled His plan. Abram did become the father of a great nation. Abram’s descendants did become more numerous that could be counted. Abram’s descendants did receive the land that God had promised to Abram. Even though Abram didn’t live to see how God used him, God used him because he faithfully followed and obeyed God.

Are you striving to make yourself great in God’s kingdom? Maybe we should quit trying so hard, and focus on simple obedience instead. Be faithful to complete the tasks God has put in front of you today. Rather than trying to be a part of the completed plan of God, be the part of His plan that He is calling you to be.

January 10, 2013

Happy New Year

Well, it's not really that new anymore, but Happy New Year anyway.

2012 was a year of learning. Many life lessons were taught and learned. I hope not in vain. Looking ahead to 2013 I pray that I will continue to be taught and to learn. I hope you are open to that as well.

We are quickly approaching the end of 2 years since Garren's AVM ruptured. He has come a long way. He's in school 5 days a week. He is involved in the student ministry at church. On Sunday mornings, he runs lights for the middle school service. On Sunday nights he participates in the high school ministry. And he loves it!

It's great to see a desire in him to be involved. 

Kara is halfway through her senior year of high school. She's involved in school plays, cheerleading, while trying to get through her final course requirements. She is still undecided on a school of the fall. She has a couple of options, and we will son begin the process of applying for financial aid! 

Kelsey continues to amaze us with her strong and outgoing personality. She loves school and reading. She stays busy caring for her hamster and playing with her friends.

Physically Garren continues to progress. And that's great. But with progress comes changes in his  level of professional medical care. We still have nursing at night, for which we are very thankful. Garren is still unable to swallow, and is still unable to walk on his own. Up until December he was going to Carolina's Rehab for physical therapy twice a week. 

His most recent evaluation revealed that he has reached a point in his recovery where he is not in need of "skill" development. He needs to work on strength training, and endurance training. Since the rehab focusses more on skills, they decided it would be best at this time to stop physical therapy, and for us to focus on strength and endurance training at home.

We are in the process of talking to personal trainers to wee what the best next step will be for us and for Garren. We also dedicated a room upstairs in our house to a workout room. We've dubbed it the "Chamber of Torture" for now. Using his workout table, treadmill, chin-up bars and other torture tools, my goal is to get him up there daily for a workout.

We continue to pray for swallowing. Who could have ever dreamed or imagined that we would be dealing with something like this. It truly is a bizarre thing to be dealing with. 

But God is in control. We trust Him. We believe that He has the best in store for us. Garren's attitude continues to be positive. We are very thankful for that.

Thanks for all your support over the last 2 years. I hope to continue keeping you updated on a more regular basis this year.