Monday, December 27, 2010

snow. SNoW. sweet, lovely snow...falling...

The snow started falling at 9:45 pm on Christmas Day. We went to bed, not certain of what would come of it all. Did we dare hope, dream, of a beautiful snow fall? I know Ashley went to bed hoping and praying. I just went to bed exhausted.

This seemingly double life I have been living...taking care of a very fragile individual, Jackson, through the night, and then being fun and full of energy during the day, for the two beautiful daughters we have. It has been wearing me out. So, with this snow I dare dream? If it comes, will I have the energy to play in it? With Jackson's situation, do I still dare to hope? The journey has been long...

When we were up at 2:00 am with Jackson, the snow had already fully blanketed the trees. It was beautiful. I cried. It was like mercy falling around me.

It was still coming down at 4:10. At 5:30, and at 8:05...when I finally went to bed for more than an hour. When I woke, with Gabi, at noon, we dressed for the snow. It was her very first snow. I could hardly pull her from the window to get her outside. She was filled with such wonder and amazement.

Ashley's prayers were answered, in abundance.

For me, do I still dare to hope, to have faith that the Lord would intervene?

In Relevant Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011 issue, Rachel Held Evans writes this...

"Faith isn't about being right or having all the answers or avoiding pain-it's about refusing to give up when it seems like you should."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rockin' It!!!

Okay, I have written a bazillion postings, over the last few weeks, in my head. But alas, I have found no way, or time, to get them from my head to here! Today is different. I just have to get this out!

Over the last two months Jackson has been in and out of the hospital. It has been exhausting. Four months earlier, we returned from Africa with our sweet princess. 18 month before that, we started an addition on our house that is bigger than our existing house. We have been a busy say the least.

In the midst of that I have found myself thinking, "Why get all dolled up to do construction?" With Gabi, I have found myself getting her all dolled up and then running out of time for me. (Sound familiar mommies?) Then with Jackson, we are doing around the clock care, back and forth to the hospital, getting very little sleep, etc. Suddenly, the jogging suit (that was sooo cute 3 years ago!) is so handy and comfy. Why not?

I should have thought something of it the day that I ran out for Todd and Bill to get a plumbing part. It was early. I jumped into some shorts and a t-shirt. Threw on a bit of lipstick...the perfect pick me up...NOT! (It is not enough ladies!) The guy at the store just gave me the part. I walked out of there with my head held high.

I was thinking,
"How sweet is that? He must like me!"
Then I took a look in the rear view mirror...SCREAM! That guy did not think I was cute!
He was thinking,
"Dear Lord! That Girl needs to invest in some cosmetics. I will give her this part!"
Okay, fast forward to recently...
I have stumbled upon "The Pleated Poppy", through another blog, My Pink Life. These adorable girls are taking pictures of themselves and posting on Wednesdays. What in the world?
Pleated Poppy explained that it is "What I Wore Wednesday". An accountability for her general appearance as a stay at home/work at home girl. Brilliant! She is making herself accountable to the blogging world. Creative. I like it! (It also keeps her from the scrutiny of the guys at the plumbing supply house!)
I have not come to the place of posting pictures of myself ...yet. I wish I could have posted a picture of myself today though! (Camera is with Hubs in Orlando).
WIWW has really challenged me to spruce myself up a bit, bring back some dignity. I do not want to appear worn out, sad or stressed. So, I have been dialing it up a notch (last week, one of the doctor's told me I looked great. Yippee. She really loved my shoes!)
So, I get ready to spend my day in PICU today. I want to look good when Jackson wakes up. I want him to say, "Hey! THAT'S my mom!"
Deciding to stop for gas, I use tons of napkins to touch the gas nozzle. (I just hate to get that gas smell on me. It just doesn't seem to wash off.) After filling my tank, it clicks off. I use my napkins to grab the handle to remove it from the van. Gas SPEWS all over me. There is little the napkins could do.
Washing up the best I could, I knew there was no going back home. I had to keep moving forward. What is a girl to do? What is between this point and the hospital...MARSHALL'S!
I pull into the parking lot, run in, grab three pairs of jeans, two shirts, a sweater. I run to the dressing room, tell the attendant I am frazzled and in a hurry. Could she relate? A flat "No, I can't." was her reply. Oh well, too bad for her.
Tearing off my clothes and jumping into the clearance jeans, perfect fit! The clearance t-shirt is next. ADORABLE! All that is left was the sweater. A no go. I throw my "gassy" clothes back on, grab my new things, try on another cardigan on the way to check out. PERFECT! Pay. Stop at the restroom. Change into fresh clothes...after bathing out of the sink and drying off with papertowels...whew...I know. BUT, I am rockin' it in my new skinny jeans!
All in just 18 minutes!
I got to the hospital in time to see Jackson's dressing change. His arm is healing. He woke up just for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Tomorrow is another day. And another opportunity to get my "cute" on!
You know, it is not so important what I wear, but how I wear it. Am I wearing Love? What about Kindness? Gentleness? Compassion? Grace?
Those are the things that I want people to see...
well, that and my new skinny jeans!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention." -Plato

Oh, the inventions I have seen with over these last weeks! The technology I have seen has caused me say, "Thank you, God!"

Seriously! I have moved into a place of total gratitude to the Lord for the ideas that He has unleashed into the minds of men (and women). The invention and technology have saved countless lives. Once again, in an unassuming way, the Lord has shown His great love to me...and to those I love.

I am totally impressed with "the vest" that goes around a bedridden patient. It vibrates the patient to keep lungs clear. When Jackson was inti bated, he had to have this therapy daily. It sounded like the high spin cycle of my washer. It last about 10 minutes, then they took it off and were on their way. How amazing for family members who are in long term comas. Just fascinating.

When Jackson went into surgery for his arm, the doctors had to remove dead tissue and the infection that was hiding beneath it, leaving a very large wound. Into that wound, they placed the "wound V.A.C." The Vacuum-Assisted Closure heals the wound 3 times faster.

The doctor told us that Jackson would be wearing this for 2-3 months. It stays on 24 hours a day and is changed every three days. He is sedated for the change out.

All this time, other doctors have come in for the procedure, to see the "impressive" wound. Well, at yesterday's procedure, everyone was SO impressed with the healing. The surgeon feels that he can move Jackson to a change out schedule of two days a week! He also feels that this healing may be wrapped up in three weeks! This is a miracle.

I believe the invention of the V.A.C. (at Bowman Gray Medical Center right here in North Carolina!) is a miracle. On top of that, God has preformed a miracle specific to the expedited healing of Jackson's arm.

We have walked through some very dark days here, the Lord being present in each moment of every day. Jackson came home last night to a very happy family. We still have a long road to travel. I am learning to go slow and enjoy the walk...I've been running for a very long time.

Back to necessity and Plato...

I see where Plato was coming from. There is a need, and we have a desire to see it met. It's part of the creativity that resides inside of each of just comes out in different ways. What other inventions is the Lord wanting to release through his creation? The cure for autism, cancer, AIDS...the list goes on. What about the solution for clean water? Yes, I am sure of it. Friends and co-workers are woking on that right now...others are digging wells.

There is so much out there, that we are able to address. We need to first, look outside of ourselves and see the need. Then, we need to seek a way to meet that need.

You may not have the cure for autism (wish you did!), but you may have the answer to something to advocate for someone with autism, how to get a meal to someone shut inside their home, training families in Africa to farm so that they can provide for their families. Maybe you have the knowledge and resources to make your local school better.

The thing is, there are many needs out there, each of us, in our own realm, has the way to meet that need. Go for it!

Friday, October 1, 2010


It's been so long since I have been here, I almost forgot the way. Really. Some may have thought I had lost my way. No worries, I'm back.

Gabi is sleeping on this beautiful fall afternoon. Ashley is just out the window at the "City Park." Jackson is watching a movie. Todd is out running errands and I am sitting here with the laptop. All seems so normal. (Well, not the part of me sitting with the laptop, especially in the afternoon.) So, let me give you a glimpse of what is really happening around here!

It is a beautiful fall day here in downtown Charlotte. Yes, downtown. Jackson has been in PICU and on the Pediatric floor for almost two weeks. So, Gabi is sleeping on the bench/parent bed in Jackson's room. Ashley is outside his room's window, playing at the beautiful park, provided by Microsoft and he and I are watching Aristocats for the millionth time. I'm not complaining.

After 6 days of being intibated and all those days in PICU, I am thrilled to have him in a room, sitting up and watching movies between naps and walks around the floor. It is Friday and as "everyone knows", Friday is sundae making day in the playroom. (How did Todd luck out to be here for two, yes 2!, Fuel Pizza parties. That is more my style!)

We have had a very intense couple of weeks, preceeded by a very intense summer (no time, or heart, for blogging). I am "back logged" with thoughts, amazing stories of what has gone on this summer...with the house, sweet baby girl Gabi, Jackson and awesome big sis, Ashley.

For now, this simple update, from room 208...

Almost 2 weeks ago, Jackson was brought to the hospital, for an infection in his arm. After 36 hours of intense antibiotics and no visable change, Jackson was seen by a pediatric surgeon, sent for an MRI and then immediately into surgery. Here, the doctor had to remove a portion of Jackson's forearm. To say the situation was serious would be an understatement!

Later in the week, the surgeon let us know how serious it threatening. Then, over the weekend, the attending pediatrician told Todd, "Your son is very lucky. People in his situation usually do not make it to the hospital." Well, how thankful to get this information after the fact. Seriously! I know it is God's grace that I made it through each day. And God's mercy that Jackson is alive.

We are so grateful. We have a long road ahead of us. I have seen God inspired inventions on this journey. Technology that would amaze you. Things that are used to save Jackson's arm and his life. I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the incredible friends that have offered to sit with us, spend the night with Jackson so we could get a night at home, texts from a far, meals, a friend that flew in...just for a few hours...because he and his wife wanted us to know that we are not alone. There are the amazing friends that have brought meals, offered to help with the girls, sent notes, left messages on the phone, prayed for us, telling others to pray for us, etc.

To be the recipient of all this love and outpouring of kindness leaves me speechless (a miracle in itself, right!?) and teary.

We continue to covet your prayers as we walk through this season. We do not know how long we will be least another week, maybe longer.

Not sure what the path looks like from here on out. We definitely are not lost, just taking it slow, one day at a time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


After waiting for three and a half years, we got that, now infamous, email...

"Your baby is waiting!"

From that moment, life seems to have been a whirlwind. Could it be true? We had been "close" a few times before. This time, we got our shots, started packing (truth be told, it took me less than a day...I'd already done it in my mind a million times over!), made arrangements for our kids, made phone calls, bought our tickets and obtained our visas. Whew!

It is like having a make all these plans, go through child birthing classes, tour the hospital, buy the needed supplies, feel a few contractions and then...POW! The real labor starts and all the fine planning is out the window and things are moving faster than the "idyllic vision" ever dreamed! We were there this time around as well. Only now, instead of labor snacks for Todd, our suitcase was filled with foil pouches of tuna!

As we flew over Africa, from Casablanca to Lome, I just looked out the window, listening to a compilation, on my ipod, that my sweet friend Janelle had put together for me. Two songs I played over and over, as tears streamed down my face, You Are For Me (Kari Jobe) and Flight Over Africa (John Barry). The long years of waiting had broken into a whirlwind that now had me flying over Africa to meet my daughter for the first time.

I did not know what to expect. I did know that I didn't want to miss as a single moment...not one. There had been too many tears, prayers, dreams, more tears and prayers leading to this moment. I wasn't going to miss anything.

Before we left the JFK, my dear friend Ruth sent me "Traveler's Prayer" from the The Transliterated Siddur...

"May it be Your will, Lord, My God and God of my ancestors, lead me, to direct my steps and to support me in peace. Lead me in life, tranquil and serene, until I arrive at where I am going. Deliver me from every enemy, ambush and hurt that I might encounter on the way and from all afflictions that visit and trouble the world. Bless the work of my hands. Let me receive divine grace and those loving acts of kindness and mercy in you eyes and in the eyes of all those I encounter. Listen to the voice of my appeal, for you are a God who responds to the prayerful supplication. Praised are you, Lord, who responds to prayer."

Responds indeed!

While stepping off the plane in Togo, I KNEW that the Lord was going before us. I also knew, immediately, that this would be the hottest place that I have ever been!

As our friends drove us from the airport to the YWAM location, I took in every sight, sound and smell. This was my daughter's country. I have a deep sense of needing to know everything I can, so that when she needs to remember, I can remember with her.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two CERTAINLY is better than one...

20 years ago today, my dream came true...I married my true love and my best friend.

I remember on our first anniversary I said, "Oh my gosh! I married a stranger. I thought I knew you so well when we got married, but that was just the tip of the iceberg." Now, 20 years later, I love to say that I am still getting to know new things about my guy. What an adventure!

Never, NEVER did I imagine what great treasures, and truths, we would discover on this journey. It has been really amazing. We have traveled the world together. We have seen dreams fulfilled. We have laughed. We have loved. We have cried. And, we have laughed and loved some more.

I'm not sure this is where I pictured us in 20 years...but then again, I never really "pictured" us. I just knew we would be having loads of adventures...together... that's all that mattered to me. Not sure what the future held, but knowing that God held the future.

So, when we reviewed our itinerary for Togo, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we had a layover in Casablanca, Morocco. (Yes! The same Casablanca as the movie.)

We looked at each other and said,

"Happy Anniversary Baby!"

Not only did we have a layover, Royal Air Maroc Airlines, put us up at the local hotel for the day. Oh, the life of a missionary...

So, needless to say, there is no need for the dream cruise to celebrate our 20th, no huge party. Our African Adventure was a celebration of a lifetime...and continues to be. We are one very happy couple that is more in love than ever. So blessed with our 3 beautiful's so fun to say 3, three, 3!!!!!

We are intentional to see each day as a celebration and to thank God for the people that He has placed in our lives. Grateful for the places we have seen, the people we have met along the way and the lives that have touched ours. We are truly blessed beyond measure.

I'm excited to see what will unfold in the next 20 years...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


What bliss!

We have been home for one month this week. It is so hard to believe. I don't even know where to begin. This has been quite the say the least.

In looking over the process, there is something that has been so rich and actually sacred for me. I haven't written for that reason...and all the other reasons that come with having a teenager, tween and a toddler all under my care!

I want to explore my journal here, over the next few weeks, to give you just a glimpse of this truly amazing journey. For today, the word is grateful...

and pictures speak thousands of words...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

and the e-mail says...

"Your baby is waiting for you!!!"

Okay, after waiting on her for three and a half years, this news was really mind blowing! It took me days to get my head and heart around it.

Needless to say, we are over the moon! ...and on our way to Africa!!!

We leave early this week. We have gone from waiting for all these years to moving at the speed of light, almost.

People have asked how they can help. There are a few ways...

Of course we covet your prayers for

*First and foremost, THANKSGIVING for all the the Lord has done, and his faithfulness to us

*safe travels there and back

*may we find favor with God and man, in all things

*grace and peace on our "home team"...our kids and our friend Kristina, who will be caring for them

*transition for baby and her aunts and uncles, who have been sacrificially caring for her since birth

*for a very special attachment to be formed between us and our newest little Hedgepeth (that sounds great, doesn't it?)

*finances...of course we have been putting money aside, and are so grateful for the generousity of family and friends. As this waiting period has swiftly turning to running, we are finding that we are still have a need. If you would like to help out financially, you can send your tax deductible donation to Youth With A Mission, 418 E. Franklin Street, Monroe, NC 28112. Please include, on a separate piece of paper, "Hedgepeth Baby".

*Oh, and in case any of us have forgotten, we are in the middle of a home renovation (how they do it in an hour on television is beyond me!) We have a team coming this next weekend. Bill is "on call"! We are in need of a skilled electrician, and HVAC person and many other volunteers. If you can get away in the next week or two, or if you want to knwo how you can help, please contact Bill Blatz at 804 426-4059. Let's "Get 'er done!"

Alright! This has been an incredible post to write...and it was only written for those who could not hear it from the roof tops!!!

As the word has gotten out, I have been overwhelmed at the response. There have been shouts and tears and dancing and singing and more tears and plans for parties...all in the last three days! I have seen, so very clearly, that we have not been on this long journey alone. There have been so many that have chosen to "slip on your flip flops, tie your shoes, pull up your boots"...and even walked in bedroom be with us on this journey.
Thank you...we are forever grateful!
Now, let's keep moving folks... Our baby is waiting for us!!!!!!!!!

To Everything There is a Season...

Oh, delight!
After a time of winter, April showers have brought May flowers! It is so lovely to see the colors of the flowers blooming all around, to smell the heavy fragrance in the air...oh, delight!

Just like each physical season has a beauty about it, the seasons of our lives has a beauty to it. We just need to have eyes to see it.

Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty of Your season's in my life!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Extreme Home Makeover Update!

It is amazing to watch ABC's Extreme Home Makeover show. I always cry before the end of the show...I am so impacted by each family's story. I am overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of "neighbors" and the faithfulness of God (whether others recognize it for that or not. I do!).

Now, Extreme Home Makeover, and the many other home improvement shows, not only get the job done in five days or less, with modern technology, it can happen anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, on my tv. If, and I say if, I have time to watch tv, I can see numerous shows in a single day! As inspiring as they are, it leaves me with a few unrealistic expectations. ("What do you mean you can't finish the siding in an hour?")

The truth be takes a long time to build a house. I think it was Hillary Clinton that said, years ago, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, mark my words, "It takes a village to raise a house!
Another awesome team from Ephrata United Zion Church
...along with Bill, Berkeley and my fam!
I appreciate you all SO much.

That being said, I now say a million THANKS to the "village people" that came two weeks ago to help. This project depends on the generosity of others, financial gifts and precious time and talent. We are so grateful!!!

Ty Pennington has nothing on this guy! Kyle was amazing. At seven years old, he would run to the "work site" every morning. He worked on a team that caulked all the interior seams, helping to keep the house well insulated.

A few "camera shy" crew members!

This team literally went to "new heights", working to complete this project. The weather was so beautiful, sun during the day, much needed rain at night. We still need to finish up the rest of the siding. Then, we will be able to finish the inside.
Thank you for all of your prayers on this project. We appreciate them! Keep them coming! Here are a few specific prayer points...
-thanks and praise for all of the friends that we have met
-safety for everyone working on this project
-blessings on all of the volunteers that have given of their time and talents
-continued blessings on Bill, for overseeing this project, and wisdom as he completes it
-finances to finish up soon, and well
-an electrician to complete the job
It has been an amazing process. Some discoveries from "The Process"...
-I find that I am more adventurous in trying new things out side of my skill set.
-I have learned that God's timing is not my timing, I trust Him.
-I am more relaxed in my mantra, "Everything has a place and everything in it's place." (Although, I LONG for the day that I can put everything back where it belongs!!!!!)
-Everything is going to be everything there is a season.
-God is so faithful!
-Life is good...God is GREAT!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lots of Love. Locks of Love.

My daughter is beautiful. I'm talking inside AND out.

Things have been a bit crazy around here the past few, home renovations, continued international adoption process, court cases, the passing of my grandpa and then the very recent passing of Todd's dad.

There has been no time for blogging, but there is ALWAYS time for my sweet girl! This week we took an early break from "home reno" stuff to go to the least that is what we told Dad!

We planned for a later night showing of "The Diary of a Whimpy Kid", so that we could stop by the mall for a hair cut and ear piercing! We were so thrilled to be pulling off this huge surprise.

Once at the hair salon, we realized that Ashley may have enough hair being cut off to donate to Locks of Love, a non-profit group that makes wigs for children that have lost their hair due to illness. (FYI...80% of hair donations are donated by children who want to help other children.) Ashley had 10 inches cut off!

As I sat there, watching her interact with Jamie, the stylist, I was overwhelmed with such joy. I could see that she and Ashley were talking away. When it was all said and done, Jamie told me what an amazing daughter I have. I have to agree.

Our prayers over the last few months have included two people very close to our hearts. Jane, who has battled breast cancer.

Spencer Daniel who has battled Ewing's Sarcoma. Both are doing great. Both have lost their hair. This was just one way that Ashley could do something in honor of both of them.

So, sweet Ashley got her ears pierced and her locks cut off. Tomorrow I will be sending 10 inches of her ultra thick hair to Locks of Love! Tomorrow she will be going back to school and showing all of her friends her "new look!"

A Mom's Love for her Son

It's that time of year, where the rest of the world is challenged to try to understand ours.

April is Autism Awareness Month!!!

I am not looking for sympathy or pity. I do, however, want to advocate for awareness, compassion and action.

Autism is a very real situation for many more families than we, as a society, can really imagine. The numbers are only going up each year. At this point in history, there is no known prevention or cure for autism.

A few facts...
-Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism.
-1 in 110 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
-1 in 67 boys are diagnosed with autism.
-500,000 (yes 500,000) children with autism will enter into adulthood in the next decade.

No one in their right mind would choose to enter into the "world of autism", but those of us who have arrived at this place have two choices...
1. to allow autism to dictate how we live
2. to dictate to autism how we will live

We have chosen the latter.

A few celebrities, who have arrived at this same place, have used their status as a podium to bring awareness and hope to others. Holly Robinson Peete has a great article that is a must read for those wanting to become more "aware".

Jenny McCarthy

Holly Robinson Peete

Then there is me, with MY guy!

Autism doesn't just happen to an individual. It happens to a family.
Not only do we want what is best for Jack, we want what is best for our family, and other families that face the same challenges that we face. I want to see options, and supports, in place that will help individuals and families in our little area of the world. Options and supports that allow Jack, and others, to get all the help they need in order to be everything they were destined to be!
The past few months have found me doing things that I wish I did not have to do.
I did not want to be sitting in a courtroom fighting for the right for my child to have adequate services provided to him, in order to reach his full potential later in life. I'd rather be scoping out YWAM locations or colleges for him to go to next year.
I did not want to have to file papers that will allow me to be appointed guardian of Jack after his 18th birthday. I'd rather be helping to fill out YWAM DTS or college applications for him.
You know, I cannot even "park" on these issues, before I know it, I would be sliding down a slippery slope into self pity. I was there YEARS ago. I'm not going back.
So, putting on my "big girl pants"...
...we are pointed to the future, moving ahead, unsure of exactly what we might discover.
KNOWING that the Lord is with us the entire time.
KNOWING that He will never leave us of forsake us.
KNOWING that each day is a gift.
KNOWING that He uses all things to make us more like Him.
KNOWING that His love for my son far out weighs the love I have for my son.
KNOWING that His ways are higher than mine.
It is His ways that we have chosen to follow...This Amazing Journey!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Snow Flurry Equations

snow in the Monroe = 2 hour delays and cancellations=fun

Now, that is the kind of equation that we like around here! For the third time this year, we have had snow. Last night's snow did equal a 2 hour delay today. For me, it was glorious. In the middle of a busy week, all things "busy" came to a halt.

Last night's snow=2 hour delay=sleeping in=savoring great coffee and pancake breakfast!!!

French Press or Fresh Brewed?

" Pancakes up on two!"

Two weeks ago we were suppose to host a team from Ephrata who was coming to put the siding on the house. Well, a Nor' Easter blew in, giving them more snow than they had seen in a life time!

This is what we got...Narnia!

Todd and I took a midnight walk through the gate onto the ywam property.

It was glorious! The quiet that comes with the snow is breath taking. It is so pure and beautiful, majestic...quiet...lovely.


too bad this equation is NOT true
snow=2 hour delay=2 hour school day extension!!!