Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wanting More Out of Christmas

Every year I try to down size Christmas without offending or disappointing anyone. I simply don't believe it's honoring to the Lord to go in to debt, or to be over indulgent and lose focus of the true meaning of Christmas by turning it into an excuse to spoil ourselves and others. Most the people I know, cannot think of a single thing they need and have a hard time coming up with something they even want. Gift exchanges are great, don't get me wrong. I do think it's important to keep Christmas special and a time to look forward to. It's wonderful to create good memories of the Holidays in all our minds. But I think it's more important that our children are raised with a clear understanding of what it really is they are celebrating. Almost everyone gets into Christmas whether they are Christian or not, which I think is kind of amusing. I think many are raised with the understanding Christmas is just simply a time to exchange gifts, bake, send out Christmas cards, and decorate a tree. This is all true, but the REASON we are doing this is being forgotten.

Christmas is Jesus' birthday. Without Jesus, where would we be? Jesus is our Healer, Comforter, and most important our Savior. So what does that mean? Savior...He came and lived on earth. A human, so he could teach us, feel what we feel-hunger, despair, loneliness, joy. He lived a perfect, sinless life.
But then he took on all our sin-yours and mine-on the cross, and was tortured and beaten so we could go to Heaven. He DIED for us, so we would never have to die, so we could live eternal life with him.

Now that's a lot to celebrate. That's much more exciting than any gift you could place under the tree. I know it's hard to relay all this to a child. However, there are ways to do it. There are lots of story books out there that you can read to them to help them understand. They can watch cartoons that teach the real meaning of Christmas. Maybe instead of making the focus on what children want for Christmas, we could talk to them more about what they think others may want. It would be wonderful to involve them in a conversation about what they think we should send to Grandma and what they would like to include in the box. What children really want most from us is our time. I feel we could spend half the money and twice the time with them during the holidays and they would have very fond memories of Christmastime. Children love to bake, craft, sing, decorate and read stories.

It's a great time to teach compassion for others not as fortunate as us. We are richer in general than 2/3 of the world. We can teach them about charities, and different ways to give. We can teach them love, which is what Jesus is after all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Not Waiting...On Anything.

And that just occurred to me. I'm not waiting on anything. I went from waiting for God to make a move and place adoption on my husbands heart, to waiting for my husband to make a move, to waiting on a match, then of course to waiting for each and every step in the adoption process. Once home with our new boys, we started waiting for things to smoothen out, to then waiting for our first appointments at Children's Hospital. Then we waited for Ivor's surgery, then Trigg's. Last night the waiting came to an end. At 10:00 p.m. we got an email from our pediatrician giving us the results of Ivor's final blood test. He's perfect, genetically perfect. All of the boys medical issues are a result of the twinning process. They are indeed identical, and genetically perfect. Awesome.

So what do we do now? We live. We live with out surgeries and test results looming over our heads. We move forward. It's nice. I know you are supposed to live every day to its fullest and blah blah blah. But really, there's freedom in not waiting. I hope the next time I am waiting on something, I will just keep on living while I wait, instead of holding my breath. Today I realized the last several months I have been holding my breath. Today- I exhaled. Today, we cut down our first Christmas tree as a family. I had done it when I was a kid, but not since. I still remember that day. I remember the spot we found the tree. I remember our old family dog, Odie was just a puppy romping around. I hope my kids remember today like I remember that day.

That's what life's about, making memories.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Over the Hill and Through the Woods

Those are the words that come to mind when I rehash the week.  Trigg had his surgery on Monday.  We thought we were smooth sailing.  He went back about 8:30 and was done by 10:30.  We had planned on going to a recovery room for about 2 hours.  We had an appointment for Ivor in the cleft clinic and we let the nurse know.  I think she became focused on getting us out of there in time and she let us go by about 12:45.  All went well at the cleft clinic and Ivor was cleared to eat whatever he wants.  YAY!  This child will probably forever refuse applesauce, and he was pretty excited to get something crunchy to eat.

We got on the road by 3:00.  We have a six hour drive from the hospital to our little town.  As we were climbing the pass (big huge mountain) Trigg's pain was escalating.  It was then that hit me, he was still in a dry diaper.  I called the surgeon and he was sure they would not have discharged him without a wet diaper.  I called the O.R. and had them look in the chart and my fears were confirmed. 

Needless to say we went strait to our local ER and Trigg's bladder was near bursting.  They had to drain it which was totally traumatic, after a two our wait to see a doctor.  Let's just say, our small town ER needs a lesson or two in treating kids.

These boys continue to teach me how fragile and resilient kids are, all at the same time.  They are simply amazing in how well they bounce back.  Through all the pain and agony of these surgeries and the changes they have been through, God still continues to be faithful and bless us.  It is a gift, a sweet, precious gift we have been given simply in watching them interact.  Ivor knew Trigg was down, and he acted accordingly.  He would feed him, literally feed him, and Trigg would eat, even when he did not feel like it.  He would randomly go to him and kiss him.  He would bring him drinks.  They are TWO.  Toddlers generally don't show empathy till the age of three.  They help each other up when they fall.  Again, we praise God for reuniting these identical twin boys.  He knew, HE knew how badly they needed to be together.  I am so grateful He chose us to witness their love. 



Sunday, November 25, 2012

18 candles, 19 Tears

How does this happen? Friday night I placed 18 candles on my first born child's cake. Last weekend I watched him play in his last football game. Tomorrow I take him for his senior pictures. He applied to a college. Whoa. Wait a minute. I can still remember so clearly bringing him home from the hospital. I was a scared, lonely, ashamed little girl. I had turned 16, just 11 days prior. I felt so much pressure. Pressure to learn to drive well, pressure to lose the weight so I looked like all the other sophomore girls, pressure to keep my grades up, pressure to succeed. I was ashamed and I felt bad for the reflection my choices had on my family. It was strange, spending my Thanksgiving break learning how to breast feed, healing from child birth.

I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I had know Jesus loved me while everyone else judged me. I wish I knew I was forgiven and I could ditch the guilt. I wish I knew then the day would come so soon when I would not care what my class mates were saying about me. I wish I knew then how proud this little boy would make me. I wish I would have known this sweet baby would one day be my rock and one of my closest friends.

If I could tell all the young girls struggling with insecurities and confidence a few things, I would tell them that no guy is going to "fix" that. They are knocking on the wrong door. The only way to fill the void and gain what they are lacking is a relationship with their Savior. If they will go to Him, He will do what any Good Father would do. He will welcome them with open arms. He will guide them.

I am so grateful I chose to follow Him and continue to receive His many blessings. I feel so fortunate I am forgiven. I am so grateful for my many gifts.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Boy Next Door

A teenage boy rolled into the cafeteria today in a wheelchair and it was hard not to notice him. His skin is visibly green. We found ourselves wondering what would cause this.

Later, we realized this child is our next door neighbor. His name is Charles and he and his family are quite friendly. In conversation they informed us Charles is dealing with a failed liver transplant and is waiting for another. He is a confident young man with a positive outlook. His current liver is only expected to last him three more months. I was in hopes you would be willing to send up a prayer on behalf of this young man.

Today I saw many needs. I saw many people to pray for and many hurting. The world is full of pain and illness,
which is reason to be grateful we have a Healer. We have a Savior and He is still in business healing the sick, feeding the hungry and comforting the lonely.

Ask. Seek. Knock.



Day 1 Post Op

The trick today has been figuring out which pain meds work best. He is supposed to only have them every 4 hours. Unfortunately, they wear off at about 3.5. He got extremely uncomfortable in the afternoon. His IV came out and that was a bit traumatic. Fortunately, the team made the call to leave it out and see if he will start drinking again. As of right now, he is not too big on it, so prayers would be appreciated for that. They have decided to keep him another night. We are hoping he will perk up by morning. This evening he had already made improvements.

I included a photo of Trigg hanging at the pool, waiting for brother to get better.

Thanks for all the love an support.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surgery is Over...

What a long day. Ivor was in surgery for over six hours. He went to recovery and his vitals told them his pain was creeping out of control. They taught us today that surgery pain is never 100 percent controlled. They got it managed and let us go back to see him. He looked better than I expected. The nurse was also surprised at how good he looked after what he had been through. (Prayer works). Perhaps the hardest thing to see was the thick thread strung through his tongue and taped to his cheek to keep it from blocking his airway.

Thank the heavens above for Jillian and her blessing, Haddie who helped out so much today, kept us distracted and brought us goodies. I feel so in awe of the love and support of friends and family, near and far. You just really don't know how comforting it is to have people praying and texting and face booking their well wishes, till you are in these shoes.

One of the nurses praised us for taking these boys on. She was very sweet, and genuine. I felt the need to tell her, it is we who have been blessed. The Lord has carried us through it. Jesus loves on us through others, and we felt it today. Ivor is fighting this fight and I feel so grateful he is not in it alone, in some orphanage in China, with no last name.

I'm going to get some rest...but thanks again for supporting and praying for us.

Much Love

Misty and gang

Surgery Day is Here!

I will let the pics do the talking...

A Little Distraction

As we walk around with the "dark cloud over our head feeling," we received a phone call from Tyler, who is back home since he couldn't miss this much school. He informed me he just hit a deer on the way to school. Please know, this is a child who drives very careful, has had his license for two years and has been incident free. My first thought was, "Why today?". My second thought was, maybe this is the Lord telling me He has got this. He is in control. Not me. Time to let go and let Jesus take the wheel!

Num Num Num

Knowing Ivor would not be able to eat after midnight we cut him loose yesterday and let him eat till he looked like a pumpkin. On the way up to Denver he chomped on grapes, chewed on fruit leather, downed a banana, and slid into Ruby Tuesdays where he had some Mac n' Cheese, mashed potatoes (which he did not like) and some pasta salad.

As I lay here, I dread the morning. Ivor wakes every day, bright and early. He snuggles for about 10 minutes, and then he starts signing, "Eat!". He is of course placed in his high chair where he munches away till his little heart is content. This morning he will be able to drink juice till we take him to Children's at 10:00. His operations will begin at 12:15. His surgery is scheduled for 6.5 hours. Praying he is distracted enough to not get too worried about eating.

When we travelled to China to get our sweet boys, we were accompanied by some amazing couples. We shared many moments together and became quite close. Jillian, one of the mommies and her darling daughter, Haddie, are coming today to lend their support. It will be a great distraction and we are all looking forward to seeing them again.

Thanks so much for all your prayers for our little warrior. (Ivor means Archer Warrior for those of you who don't know) and he will be a warrior today with Jesus by his side.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Denver Children's- Here We Come!

As I lay Ivor down tonight, safe in his crib in the company of his glow worm and stuffed horse, I had to fight back tears. It's best the little guy doesn't know what is coming but it's sad too. He is so happy and energetic. It's disturbing to think of him just one day away from a 6 hour surgery, that is going to sweep him off his feet. I am grateful he is here, in a family, getting the help he needs to live a healthy life. However, I know it is going to be very difficult to hand him over to the team of doctors and watch him be rolled away.

It's hard not to wonder why this little guy, who has already endured so much, has so much more to endure. It comforts me to know he is a fighter, he is strong and he has already beat all odds. The Lord has a plan for this child and He will protect him and give him strength to get through this.

I wonder to, how this will effect Trigg. At two, how much can he really understand? Will it be harder for him because he can't fully understand why his twin is suffering so?

All I can do is pray Jesus will comfort these boys, wrap his strong arms around them and help us all to get through this.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Is Here

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love breaking out the soup recipes and watching the colors change. The weather, most days is just perfect. The sun sets a little earlier and the kids and the hubs are usually in the house at a decent time and things tend to calm down. High school football on Friday nights, and the kids are back into routine. Colorado has some long winters but you just can't beat the seasons. I have always said I would love to live by the ocean once in my life but for now, God has me here and for that I am grateful.

Trigg and Ivor continue to adjust. Ivor has not been sleeping well again and I fear that will only get worse considering his operation is just 8 days away. It's hard not to worry but I am trying to be strong and let Jesus take the wheel. I know he is a fighter but I hate it that he has to go through this.

Here are some fun photos from September.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Raining Tears in Uganda

Yesterday afternoon, I was sittting at my laptop, watching the clouds move in, enjoying a glass of tea.  I had just signed onto Facebook when I noticed my dear friend Lutaaya (Lou-ty-a) was online.  I hit the "chat" button to see how he was doing.  Normally, he is quite up-beat and we conversate about how our families are doing.  Yesterday was different.

 Lutaaya was born in Kampala, Uganda and spent a lot of his time as a child struggling to survive on the streets of Africa.  I met him while I was there in April 2011, serving on a mission team.  I had given 2 weeks of my life to the children of Uganda through mission work.  Lutaaya gives every day of his.  He spends his time mentoring children that have been abandoned and left to fend for them themselves. 

Kampala has more orphaned children per square foot than any other place and it has more children in it's population than adults.  While in Kampala, I fell in love with the children, who are often happy and exciteable.  However, they have moments of desperation and when they do, very few people to turn to.  So, they turn to the "Uncles."  Lutaaya, George, Junior, and Kenny to name a few, will do everything in their power to help these "street children."  Their organization is called Africa Hearts, and some of those hearts are crying for help right now.  It is currently raining a lot, which brings major complicaitons about in the slums.  Lutaaya layed his  concerns out to me today about a few of them.  He sent me photos and is requesting prayer for these children.  One of the boys, Yusuf, sits in dirty clothing, with his hand covering his intestines.  He is in desperate need of a surgery for a hernia way past due for operation.  Another, Katumba, sits upon the ground, clearly wounded.  He was hit by a car and needs treatment.  Two others, Eddie and Sabote, lay sleeping and the "uncles" are unable to wake them easily.  Lutaaya has given them much needed pain killers.  They clearly need a doctor.  One boy, Kizito, lay covered in severe burns from cooking oil.  He is currently in the hospital and we praise God for that.    If you feel led and would like to help in a financial way, please contact me and you can donate money directly to them.  If nothing else...would you please, please pray for these children?



Monday, September 10, 2012

Ty Does the No Limit Motocross Race

When he was 9, after lots and lots of pleading Tyler got his first dirt bike for his birthday. He was overwhelmed and beyond grateful. He fell in love with the sport. However, the poor dirt bike loving child was born into a rodeo family, and it is quite difficult to pursue other summer sports.   Needless to say, he is all grown up now...just a couple months, and he will be 18 (sheesh). He is old enough to drive himself to the track and convinced his father and I to let him race this past Sunday.

I spent many days praying (pleading) with God to not let my baby get hurt (or worse) on that track. Just a month or so ago, he returned from a day of practice, missing all the skin off his hip and right forearm, and sporting a very bruised knee and ribs. Let's face it, it's a dangerous sport. However, many have brought it to my attention that, "So is rodeo."

Hubby and I, Nana and Papa, Charmaine and Mitchell, Uncle Bobby, and all the younger siblings showed bright and early Sunday morning at the "No Limit" Aztec motocross race to show our support for our boy. This mama was caught a little off guard when her son went-a-jumping through the air on his machine. We don't have jumps here at the house, so I had no idea what he could do. (Sigh).    He has never been the kind to brag, demand recognition or flash his talent, so we really had no idea how far he had come with his skills. He did really, really well and we were so proud of him.  I have a feeling that was not the last race we will attend.  And thanks to God...no injuries...